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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/31/12

Guests: Jan Schakowsky, Lou Dubose

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Thank you, Michael. I really appreciate that. More than you know. Thank you. And thanks to you at home as well for joining us this inimitable hour. Starting two years ago this month, if you had cancer or a chronic condition of some kind that made it hard for you to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition, starting two years ago this month, you finally got some help in the United States of America. They set up these new high risk insurance pools that you could get into at a reasonable cost even if you had a pre-existing condition. That was new and that was July a couple years ago. By September that same year for the first time, it became illegal for insurance companies in this coverage -- insurance companies in this country to refuse to cover a child on the basis of that child having a pre-existing condition. And by September of that same year, September 2010, young people were allowed to stay on their parents` insurance plans until age 26. That was also brand new starting two years ago in September. In September of 2010, it also became illegal for your insurance company to drop you to cancel your coverage because you have the audacity to try to use your insurance, because you filed a claim. Starting that same month, your insurance stopped being able to put a lifetime limit on you in terms of what they would spend on your health care needs. So, if you get really sick, your insurance company no longer gets to say, too bad, we know you paid for this coverage and everything, but we thing we`ve spent enough on you and your illness already, so die already. You`re on your own. Also starting in September 2010, it became a new rule if you were paying for health insurance in this country, that insurance has to cover some preventative services like mammograms and colonoscopies without charging you extras. If you have insurance, those life-saving and frankly money-saving things are covered without you having to pay extra in the forms of a copayment or deductible. That all happened in 2010, within months of health reform passing Congress and being signed into law by President Obama. Then last year, improvements to Medicare. So seniors would start getting free preventive health care through Medicare and last year, insurance companies for the first time were required to spend 80 percent to 85 percent of your money, the money that you pay them in premiums on your health care instead of on marketing or CEO bonuses or whatever. If they don`t spend 80 percent to 85 percent of what you pay them in premiums on health care, they have to refund you. They have to pay you back. That part of the health reform law took effect last year, which means right now, this year, millions of people in businesses are starting to get checks in the mail from their health insurance companies because the insurance company did not in fact spend enough of their money on their health care. So people are getting a refund. Insurance companies are paying out over a billion dollars in refund checks this year because they didn`t spend enough of what you paid them in premiums on actual health care. Starting a few months from now January 1st, there`s also going to be expanded preventive health care for people on Medicaid and there will be higher payments to primary care doctors who treat people on Medicaid. And by the year after that, January 1st, 2014, for the first time, it will be illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to anyone, not just kids, but anyone with a pre-existing medical condition. It will also be illegal for insurance companies to charge women more for health insurance just because they`re women. And beyond just the lifetime caps on your coverage, insurance companies will also then not be allowed to set a yearly cap, a year to year cap on what they`re willing to spend on your health care. And that`s the evil Obamacare. Sounds awful, right? Evil health reform -- doesn`t it sound terrifying like it`s going to reach out and grab your ankles when you get out of bed in the morning? That`s what Republicans keep voting to repeal. That`s what Mitt Romney says he will definitely get rid of starting day one if you vote for him for president. But you know, there`s another piece of health reform that goes into effect tomorrow. Starting tomorrow, August 1st, if you have health insurance, you will be able to get for free under your insurance a whole bunch of for preventive care designed to help women. Starting tomorrow, new and renewed health plans are required to cover without copayments or deductibles, required to cover a whole host of preventive care for women -- from pap smears to detect cervical cancer, to STD screenings, to other kinds of cancer screenings, to gestational diabetes testing if you`re pregnant, to breast feeding supplies if you`re a new mom, to, of course, the star of this year`s loudest and longest "I can`t believe it`s the 21st century" controversy, yes, birth control, covered without a copayment and without a deductible. And so today, on the eve, literally the eve, it starts tomorrow, on the eve of this new wave of pre-preventive coverage for American women that`s starts up under the health reform law, Democrats have been doing a bit of a victory lap. Democrats today talking up not just the new stuff that starts tomorrow, but all of the life-saving preventive coverage that insurance companies are now required to provide for women, thanks to health reform. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D), MARYLAND: During the health care debate, we wanted to do two things. We wanted to be able to save lives and save money. One of the most important tools we women have is mammograms. But in the midst of the health care debate, they wanted to take our mammograms away from us. Well, hey, not while I`m here. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland speaking at a Democratic press conference about what women frankly are going to be able to get now thanks to health reform and thanks to the fight that it took Democrats to get it passed with zero Republican votes. I also want you to watch this. I don`t think this has been picked up anywhere else today, at least that I know of. But this is Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, also speaking today. I think this was remarkable. This is him talking about this in really, really personal terms. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: I lost both my sisters to breast cancer, my only two sisters, at a fairly young age. When my older sister Marianne (ph) died and we went to her funeral, her younger sister Silvia (ph) was there and had no idea that she also had breast cancer. Within two years, she was dead also. And they left young families. They lived in rural areas, small tow towns. They didn`t have any money. They didn`t really have health care coverage. For them to go to get a check-up would have cost money -- money that they could ill afford at that time. They had a number of kids. And as I said, they didn`t have a lot of money. They didn`t have health care benefits. I often think what would have been different if they could have had this available to them -- early check-ups, early screenings. But for both of them, it was way too late by the time they discovered it. So, this has a personal, poignant meaning to me. And I just hope that women in this country now will take advantage of this. And will now go and get those annual screenings and get those checkups. Early detection -- early detection we know works and millions of lives can be saved and as Senator Mikulski said, families, families will not have to lose a parent or a sister because of breast cancer or cervical cancer, all the others. So when I hear Republicans say, and they still say they want to repeal this, and they want to take this away from women -- I stand with Senator Mikulski. Not as long as we`re here. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa speaking today about the kinds of cancer screenings and preventive care that health insurance companies as of tomorrow are required to provide to American women at no cost, saying it`s the kind of care that could have saved his own two sisters lives. That`s what Democrats are talking about today, about the benefits that women are getting, starting tomorrow, thanks to health reform. The benefits they are about to get thanks to the Democratic fight for health reform which Republicans opposed. And so, naturally, today on the eve of those new benefits kicking in for women, Senate Republicans again tried to repeal health reform. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY: I think given the fact that our friend on the other side are going to focus on that bill this particular week, it might be a good idea to have a vote on it because I think it would be appropriate to have a vote on the repeal of Obamacare. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell asking today on the eve of all of the brand new women`s health benefits kicking in, on that occasion, specifically for that occasion, calling for a vote to repeal the law that made the benefits possible. The Republicans proposal did not go over well in the Senate today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: I am stunned that on the eve of the broadest increase in benefits in my lifetime, the Republicans want to repeal these benefits from women. This is a continuation on their part of the war on women. And they can get up and stand on their head and deny it and everything else. How else can you explain why on the eve of the day that the women are going to get all of these benefits, they want to now cancel Obamacare? And stop all this from happening. MIKULSKI: You know, every senator has to decide what they are going to do that day, when they wake up in the morning. And for some in this chamber, they wake up everyday thinking about how they`re going to stop President Obama. How they`re going to stop his agenda and how they`re going to do everything they can to stop him from having a second term. People will come to this floor and they`ll pound their chest and complain about the president. We want to pound the table and make sure that women have gotten the health care they need. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Senators Barbara Mikulski and Barbara Boxer. So, on the Senate side, the Republicans picked the fact that tens of millions of American women are about to get access to free cancer screenings tomorrow as the occasion to try to stop that from happening. That`s how it happened in the Senate today. You saw the reaction from the Democrats in the Senate. On the House side, Republicans picked that same occasion, that same day in Congress today. What do you think? Jobs, jobs, jobs? No, of course not. They`re voting on yet another new federal anti- abortion bill today because there isn`t anything else to work on. House Republicans voted on a new abortion ban, specifically for Washington, D.C. -- a new ban that breaks new grounds even for these Republicans by making sure that rape victims and incest victims are not exempted from the new ban. So, if a rapist impregnates you in the District of Columbia, the Republicans new law could insure that even you are forced by the government to complete the pregnancy that is the result of the rape and give birth to the rapist`s child against your will, if the pregnancy falls within new narrowly defined parameters. Parameters narrowly defined by House Republicans. Two hundred twenty-two cosponsors for the Republicans` "let`s specifically punish the rape victims and incest victims" new D.C. abortion bill -- 222. Because of the way the Republicans brought up their anti-rape victim and incest victims antiabortion bill today, they needed a two thirds majority for it to pass. They did not get that two thirds majority and it did not pass. But voting on yet another anti-abortion pill is the way the Republicans in Congress celebrated the fact that women all across America are going to get new free access to reproductive care and cancer screenings, and contraception and even breast feeding supplies for new moms -- thanks to the health reform law passed by the Democrats that the Republicans are still trying to get rid of. How is that gender gap looking for the election in November? Even Republicans in Congress are complaining about how this looks for them. Ahead of today`s vote, anonymous Republicans talked to "BuzzFeed`s" John Stanton about what bad messaging they thought this all was. Quote, "Leadership told us that the get out of town week messaging was stop the tax hike. It baffles many of us that they would muddy that messaging by scheduling an abortion bill vote." Quote, "Obama raising taxes is supposed to be the message of the week -- not this." You know, for a while there, the Republicans actually did have their messaging under control. Even while they were constantly working on anti- abortion legislation, they weren`t talking about it. They were at least talking about jobs, jobs, jobs, and tax cuts. But now, kablooie, it has blown up. This week, Republicans who are the ones talking about jobs and tax cuts, are the ones whispering and complaining anonymously to the press while the Republican leader of the United States Senate is scheduling a vote to repeal women`s health benefits. And in the House, they actually did hold a floor vote on Congress forcing rape victims and insist victims to give birth against their will because Republicans in congress say they should. Joining us now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois. Representative Schakowsky, thank you for being here. Nice of you to take the time. REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you so much, Rachel. MADDOW: Two hundred twenty-two cosponsors on yet another anti- abortion bill from this crop of House Republicans. Why do you think they got 222 cosponsors? What does this symbolize for so many of these House members? SCHAKOWSKY: They all march in line. The leadership requires them to do so. You aw some of the Republicans are resigning because if you dare to buck the leadership, you won`t get the committee that you want, and you will be punished. And the good news is that it`s not just the Right to Life people that are scoring this bill, that are going to rate members on it, but also NARAL and Planned Parenthood are going to do the same and they`re going to be hearing from women in their districts. Now, this applied only to the colony of the District of Columbia because that`s how they treat the District of Columbia. But the proponents of the legislation said it was landmark and it was laying the foundation of what they want to do around the country. Twenty weeks and after that, there would be no abortion. But you know, you heard that really poignant story. I heard it as well, from Tom Harkin. If a woman needs an abortion after 20 weeks, something has gone very wrong. This is probably a wanted pregnancy, and either her health is in danger and there`s no exclusion for women`s health either at all -- a narrow, narrow exclusion for the life of the woman. So some dire circumstance is at hand that would cause a doctor to prescribe to order an abortion at that point, but they would take that away. And they could literally cause the death of a woman or sterilization or some other horrible health condition that would last the rest of her life. MADDOW: We are having these reports, these anonymous behind the scenes reports to the press of some Republicans, even conservative Republicans, frustrated that these votes are still happening. That people who even if they are anti-abortion themselves, they want to focus on economic issues, but the House can`t seem to stop itself. In the House, you`re obviously a known combatant on this issue on the pro-choice side. Do you see signs of frustration even from people who disagree with you? SCHAKOWSKY: You know what? I honestly don`t care if they`re frustrated. Only six Republicans voted against the bill. Whining doesn`t count in the end. You know, 222 people voted for. That`s the bill that`s on record. That`s the bill that will go down in history. And if it were a straight up and down vote, and not what we call a suspension vote that required a super majority, that bill will have been passed and sent over to the Senate. So whine they might, but it`s women that really suffer when they do that kind of legislation. So, you know, I really am not that concerned about their feelings until it turns into a real uprising against the ridiculous war on women that`s being waged. They`re following right along. MADDOW: We`re 98 days out now from the general election in November. What do you expect your party, the Democrats, to be able to do over the next 98 days to press the advantage you have with women voters? Not just because of these issues but in part because of these issues? SCHAKOWSKY: Well, first of all, we have a great plus. I thank you very much for talking about what is actually in Obamacare instead of all of the myths that have been said about the dangers and creating fear about Obamacare. This is now the time for us, all of us, to be explaining, especially to women, the wonderful things that are in there for them and for their families. And then to do the litany of the legislation one after another that shows the utter disrespect. I don`t remember a time when there`s been such impunity to speak about women and women`s bodies and women`s rights and women`s paychecks like there is right now. I don`t know what has happened to give these people permission to take out of backrooms onto the House floor these kinds of conversations. So I think we need to replay them. We need to retell them. And every woman who agrees with what I`m saying right now needs to feel herself responsible to talk to other women about how really dangerous it would be, dangerous to our health, and our economics for Mitt Romney to win and for us not to take back the House of Representatives and keep the Senate. MADDOW: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois, thank you for joining us tonight. I know it`s a busy time in Washington. Thanks. All right, tonight`s best new thing in the world is a social event to which I am retroactively inviting myself. Stay tuned for that. A really good one tonight. And coming up next, an abject lesson in what not to do with the moral high ground once you`ve got it. It involves a little bit of swearing, but I promise we will be careful and respectful, mom. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The biggest, reddest state in the Union as of tonight is looking even deeper red -- so deep red that it is trending toward purple. We`re going to give Karl Rove electoral dyspepsia in just a moment. It`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Here`s are question for the Republican Party`s presidential nominee that I would love to hear an answer to. Mr. Romney, when you ran for president back in 2008, you personally contributed more than $42 million, $42 million of your own Romney bucks to your presidential campaign war chest, $42 million. This time around, you and your wife Ann have so far contributed $150,000. Why is that? Why not spend your tens of millions of dollars on your own campaign this year like you did last time around? What`s the difference between this time and last time? Here`s another question for Mitt Romney: Mr. Romney, you announced earlier this year that the chairman of your energy advisory group is an Oklahoma oil billionaire named Harold Hamm. A few weeks after that announcement, Mr. Hamm made a donation of nearly $1 million to your super PAC. Are those connected? Aside from Mr. Hamm, who else is advising you on energy policy? Why haven`t you disclosed any of the other names? Are they also people who have contributed to your super PAC? Here is question three: Mr. Romney, you and your wife Ann own a dressage horse named Rafalca that is competing in the Olympics. Congratulations. Despite the fact that dressage appears to be a hobby of your family`s, you classified the horse as a business on your taxes in 2010, allowing you to take a tax deduction on the horse. Why did you classify the horse as a business as opposed to just a hobby? Question four: Mr. Romney, why were you registered to vote in the unfinished basement of your son`s house in Belmont, Massachusetts? Here`s a layout of that house. Did you ever really live in your son`s unfinished basement? OK, Mr. Romney, just one more question. You have explained the change of heart that you had on the issue of abortion between your U.S. Senate run in 1994 and today. But in that same Senate run, you also said that you would be to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights were you elected. Have you also a change of heart on that? If so, what change caused your change of heart on gay rights or do you think you`re to the left of the late Ted Kennedy on the issue of gay rights? I`m asking these questions here in public as a sort of Hail Mary pass. Obviously, Mitt Romney is never going to take the questions from me, but I don`t know what the answer is to any of those questions and I think they`re important questions. And maybe somebody who gets to ask him a question somewhere will get some answers to them if they get asked. We could -- you can file them away. We could make flash cards out of these questions. And in case Mitt Romney returns to you and said, yes, I`ll answer a question, you could ask them. It`s a Hail Mary, I recognize that. It is really hard to get answers of any kind on political questions from Mr. Romney mostly because he almost never takes questions from the press. And that fact, Mr. Romney`s chronic press avoidance was actually the thing that was behind the final horrible gaffe on his horrible gaffe ridden trip abroad for Mr. Romney this past week. You saw what happened today? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Governor Romney! REPORTER: Governor Romney, are you concerned about the some of the mishaps on your trip? REPORTER: Governor Romney, do you have a statement for the Palestinians? REPORTER: What about your gaffes? REPORTER: Governor Romney, do you feel your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip? RICK GORKA, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: This is a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect. Show some respect, Jim REPORTER: We haven`t had another chance to ask him questions. GORKA: Kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) this a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: He followed it up by telling another reporter to shove it. You have to love the press guy saying, show some respect, kiss my -- show some respect, kiss my -- it`s a holy site, shove it. That should have been a good moment for the Romney campaign. I mean, honestly, particularly from the vantage point from which that footage is shot, it`s hard to feel sympathy for the reporters who are screaming in that clip. You don`t necessarily come out on their side of it when you see the tape, right? You don`t sympathize with those people yelling those rude questions. But just when you start to feel bad for Mr. Romney, you wish for the rude reporters to be quiet, then -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: We haven`t had another chance to ask him questions. GORKA: Kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) this a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: You are starting to root against the reporters and then you get -- kiss my! If the Romney campaign took the moral high ground there, stuffed a land mine into it, blew it up, and now it`s the low ground. You took unsympathetic seeming reporters and turned them into seeming victims of the boorish swearing guy from the Romney campaign. What are you doing? And the reporters sort of had a point in terms of what they were complaining about once they were confronted and stopped shouting their questions. I mean, they all went along on this foreign trip -- these news organizations spent their money to have the reporters go there to cover news. They were all with Romney for all of these days, of these different things happened over there -- newsworthy things that in fact required in many cases additional explanation or comment from the candidate and campaign. And yet, what were they there for, in total, over the course of seven days, three questions from the traveling press corps. Seven days, entire press corps, three questions. The beat reporters who cover Mr. Romney got basically zero access to him. So, why were they there? They were essentially there to describe photo ops. That was it, could have been one person, could have been an intern. This sort of thing has a material effect on the Romney campaign. Frankly, they think this is to their advantage, but I`m not sure it is. It doesn`t allow them to shape the narrative at all -- to tell the story that they want to tell. Frankly, if you tell the reporters to describe your photo ops, they`re real reporters. They`re not going to do that. The inability of the Romney campaign to engage with the press takes away their about to start new news cycles or to shape existing news cycles based on the candidates` impressively newsworthy quoted words. They don`t offer those words and so they`re not affecting the news cycle. The news cycle is about them, not from them. And so, as our own John Harwood pointed out last night, it may be after all of the mistakes on the foreign trip, it may be that the biggest screw-up of this awful blown campaign stunt full of screw-ups is that upon the candidate returning to the United States after this mess of a trip, what are they still answering questions about? Mitt Romney`s tax returns. They were hoping to leave that behind, but it`s not something they have been able to pivot away from because they will not answer questions about it and turns out that doesn`t help. When ABC News did get a formal sit-down interview with Mr. Romney on Sunday, Mr. Romney`s answer to a question about his tax returns was that he would go look and see if he had ever paid a tax rate lower than 13.9 percent on his tens of millions of dollars on annual income. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS: We know that there was one year when you paid about a 13.9 percent tax rate. Can we clear this up by asking you a simple yes or no question? Was there ever any year when you paid lower than the 13.9 percent? MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I haven`t calculated that. I`m happy to go back and look. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I`m happy to go back and look. Now, typically, the way a campaign, not even a presidential campaign, but any campaign, handles something like that is when the candidates says I will go back and look, the campaign then follows up and releases a statement to the news organization answering that question that the candidate said he would go back and look at. But in this case, Mr. Romney said he would answer it and now it appears his campaign does not have any intention on following through on what he said. And so, ABC News gets to keep the story alive about him dodging questions, even ones he said he would answer about his tax returns. They get to keep running segments about Mr. Romney refusing to answer questions about this thing he desperately doesn`t want to be asked about anymore but that he cannot clear out of the press cycle as long as he`s still evading the press on it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: ABC News reached out to the campaign today after Romney`s answer. A spokesperson would only reiterate, "Mitt Romney has paid his taxes in full compliance with U.S. law and he`s paid 100 percent of what he has owed." (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: And now, ABC gets to revisit it every single newscast they do until he answers the question. Almost every single week, we send the Romney campaign lists of questions on one topic or another. More often than not honestly, they never get back to us at all, even to say no comment. And so, I get it, listen, you guys obviously are not ever going to take advice from me on anything, and somebody obviously told you that running against the press is a way to achieve political advantage particularly if you`re a Republican. But you know what? If it looks like you`re running from the press and not just against the press, that technique you have been advised to follow is an ineffective technique. It makes you look like you`re afraid. What it looks like right now is that you are running from the press. You are afraid to answer real questions from real reporters who have real jobs covering your real campaign. Not answering is worse for your campaign than whatever the answers could be -- unless of course the answers themselves are way worse than anything we can yet imagine. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The best new thing in the world today ended up involving the whole RACHEL MADDOW SHOW staff -- and something unexpectedly heartbreakingly awesome from the great state of Idaho. The best new thing in the world is great tonight. It`s quick, it`s awesome, it`s coming up right at the end of the show -- after some important news from Texas and from something totally undercover in Washington today. That`s all ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: In 2009, a congressman from Ohio said something on the House floor that prompted one of the all-time greatest politics headlines ever in the "Cleveland Plain Dealer". Quote, "Congressman Steve LaTourette blames D.C. sucking sounds on politicians` sphincters." That was the headline in the newspaper and the headline was not a lie. Here is what prompted the line from Congressman LaTourette. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. STEVEN LATOURETTE (R), OHIO: Ross Perot, when he ran for president in 1992 talked about the giant sucking sound. Well, today, there`s another giant sucking sound going on in Washington, D.C., and that`s the tightening of sphincters on both ends of Pennsylvania as people are having to explain who put into the stimulus bill this provision of law. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: See, the headline was not wrong. He did actually blame a D.C. sucking sound on politicians` sphincters. Congressman Steve LaTourette! Here`s the thing, though, what ended up having the most impact on Steve LaTourette`s long-term career prospects as a Republican congressman from Ohio was not that he criticized politicians sphincters and what sounds they can make. But rather that when he levied that criticism, he levied it at politicians of both parties, and even politicians on both ends of Pennsylvania, in the White House and in the Congress. Steve LaTourette was not the most partisan or the most conservative Republican in the world, and if you are not the most partisan and not the most conservative, it is a difficult thing to be in today`s Republican Party. And so, Steven LaTourette is leaving Congress. He`s quitting. He`s stepping down, unexpectedly announcing he will not run again. We first got news of this yesterday on the same day that another not that partisan, not that conservative Republican congressman from New York told his home town paper that his own Republican Party is quote, "rendering ourselves incapable of governing when all we do is take severe sides." Congressman Richard Hanna telling "The Post Standard" of Syracuse, quote, "I have to say I`m frustrated by how much we, I mean, the Republican Party, are willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes in this moment in history." He also called his fellow Republicans essentially just plain mean. He said, quote, "I would say that the friends I have in the Democratic Party, I find much more congenial -- a little less anger." It is not an easy thing to be not the most partisan, not the most conservative Republican in today`s Republican Party. Did you see what happened today in Connecticut? Public Policy Polling released numbers on the Senate race there. This is the race for Joe Lieberman`s seat. He`s retiring from the Senate. This is Chris Shays. He is the establishment guy. He was a Republican congressman for more than 20 years. He`s a very known quantity in the state, probably, honestly in my assessment, the only Republican who would have a prayer of getting that Senate seat for the Republicans if they do have a prayer of it. And in this new poll, results out today from PPP, look at this, look at the margin. He`s losing the Republican primary by 48 points. That`s the margin by which he is behind. He`s behind a professional wrestling mogul named Linda McMahon, behind her by 48 points. It is hard to be the Chris Shays guy in this year`s Republican Party. It`s not like Chris Shays is a liberal. None of these guys is a liberal, right? They`re all conservative in fact by any reasonable measure. But they`re not conservative enough because there is room at all to their right. They`re all subject in one way or another now to the purification process, this ongoing purge that is still gripping Republican Party politics. So far, it has killed or cut short the careers of Senator Dick Lugar of Indiana and Senator Bob Bennett of Utah and Congressman Mike Castle of Delaware, and Governor Charlie Crist of Florida, and John Bruning in Nebraska and Trey Grayson in Kentucky and, and, and, and. And tonight in Texas again, the case of a genuinely conservative Republican, Rick Perry`s lieutenant governor seen here ostentatiously holding a Chick-fil-A bag this week to prove how anti-gay he is, Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst was wildly favored initially to walk away with the Republican nomination to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison when she retires this year from the U.S. Senate, and there was no problem with Mr. Dewhurst`s conservative bona fides that should have stopped that from happening -- until a challenger came along to Mr. Dewhurst who said he was outflanking Dewhurst on the right. And although one might not think there was any actual room to the right of Texas` lieutenant governor and indeed there are no policy differences between these two candidates, in today`s Republican Party politics, really, all you got to do is call the other guy too liberal, call him conciliatory, say you`re farther to the right and more confrontational and then just watch the Republican primary float your way. That was the state of the Lone Star State heading into tonight`s Senate Republican primary where the last polls closed 43 minutes ago at 9:00 eastern. Just moments ago, "The Associated Press" called the primary. They called the race. "The Associated Press" says in fact the Tea Party favorite has won. Ted Cruz has won the Republican nomination for Senate in Texas. He was running against Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst from the right. Ahead of tonight`s results, an unnamed Republican consultant describes as nationally known, that consultant told "The Texas Monthly," quote, "If Ted Cruz wins the Senate race, Texas will be a purple state in four years." That`s a Republican saying that about his own party`s overreach. Democrats have been saying Texas is heading purple already, including President Obama saying it this month in San Antonio. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You`re not considered one of the battleground states although that`s going to be changing soon. (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Texas? Texas. The run-off tonight in Texas followed weeks of campaigning, frankly, by folks who are not from Texas. Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint and Grover Norquist`s Club for Growth, all those folks all trying to get Ted Cruz the nomination. Since the winner of the Republican primary at least for now is a lock to win the seat in November, Texas Democrats pretty much ignored their own Senate primary, you kind of have to in the Texas of today. But the Texas of tomorrow, frankly, Texas Democrats have their eyes of something much bigger than that one Senate race. You might remember our current president giving the key note address for the Democratic National Convention in 2004. That speech was how America met Barack Obama. This week, we learned that the man Democrats have picked to give this year`s keynote address at the DNC is this guy, San Antonio`s mayor, Julian Castro. Republican strategist Mark McKinnon has said that Mayor Julian Castro may be America`s first Hispanic president. And in a purple Texas, maybe he could even carry his own state. More ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Best new thing, really good one tonight, coming up. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: You`re not considered one of the battleground states although that`s going to be changing soon. (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: President Obama speaking in San Antonio this month. We do have election news tonight in Texas. We have a winner in the Republican primary for Senate, which frankly, means we probably know who the next U.S. senator is going to be from the state of Texas. Tonight, the Tea Party-backed challenger to the establishment Republican candidate has won the primary. Former Solicitor General Ted Cruz has beaten Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in Texas. Ted Cruz ran from the right, calling David Dewhurst a moderate, and that proved to be a winning strategy for the Republican in the primary again. Joining us now is Lou Dubose, former editor of "The Texas Observer". Hi, Lou. It`s good to see you. Thanks for being here tonight. LOU DUBOSE, WASHINGTON SPECTATOR EDITOR: Good to be here, Rachel. Thank you. MADDOW: Was the man who lost here actually a moderate, which he was accused of being in this race? DUBOSE: Not even by the standard of Texas politics. He was Rick Perry`s lieutenant governor, but he was also Rick Perry`s lieutenant. The power has shifted. That used to be the most powerful office in the state, but Perry`s been in office so long, by power of appointment, he has consolidated his power, and David Dewhurst was essentially his fact totem in the Senate. And Rick Perry`s, you know, man in the Senate -- he cannot be a moderate. It`s really remarkable. The sucking sound is coming from the governor`s mansion two blocks west of here, where they`ve got to be stunned by this. And clearly he knew it was coming, in the polls, but this is a remarkable defeat. I mean, how do you defeat a former CIA officer, Air Force pilot, 14 years elected office in the state, and he`s a genuine conservative who once advocated executing juveniles? You know, it`s a sign of the times. It`s, you know, what happened in Indiana, as you said earlier in the segment. Works best when your opponent has a record, because there`s always some conciliation in that record, and that`s what he beat him on, for cooperating with Democrats as lieutenant governor. It`s stunning. MADDOW : The way that -- the way, at least, it looks like this was one is both sort of riding that national coat -- those national coattails of the phantom Tea Party leaders of the Republican Party, right, where just by calling somebody a moderate, you essentially establish them as unelectable in a Republican primary. But the other thing was money. I mean, there was a ton of outside money. David Dewhurst is a very rich guy. He`s self-financed and raised a lot of money. But Ted Cruz had all of this money coming in from outside Texas. Do you think that`s sort of the new normal now? To get rid of normal Republicans to make room for a new fringe? DUBOSE: I mean, they defeated a guy who loaned himself $24.5 million in this race. Dewhurst is immensely wealthy, probably $200 million. He loaned himself $25 million. But the money was the usual suspects., the same money that defeated Richard Lugar. It was the club for growth, 80 percent of his outside funding came from the Club for Growth. They spent $5.5 million in the race. And, you know, the Club for Growth, as your viewers know, is an anti-growth, anti-government, you know, funding operation that has been doing this across the country. And that they could do it against a candidate as, you know, the establishment favorite, in a really conservative state is truly remarkable. MADDOW: Lou, I quoted an earlier, an anonymous and reportedly nationally known Republican consultant talking to "Texas Monthly" earlier this month saying, if Ted Cruz wins, Texas is going to go purple within the next four years. We have -- we have heard Democrats and increasingly Republicans talking about Texas soon becoming a battleground state. Both because of Republican Party politics and because of the demographics in an increasingly Latino state. Do you see Texas swinging? Do you see Texas moving to be a more purple place? DUBOSE: Only if somebody harnesses those demographics, Rachel. I mean, the real weakness of the Democratic Party is that there`s no structure in place that seems to be turning out the votes. Something like the Oregon bus project, which from the ground up would register voters and turn people out -- and they`re talking about coming to Texas, by the way. But, you know, Paul Sadler is -- was a distinguished state legislator, the Democratic candidate, who -- that race is newsworthy because it`s not newsworthy. He raised $139,000. MADDOW: Total. DUBOSE: $139,000 total. MADDOW: Wow. DUBOSE: And he can`t -- he won`t win in November and the following election cycle, they won`t raise money because Democratic candidates can`t raise money. So it`s sort of an electoral death spiral, in which you don`t raise money, and because you didn`t raise money, you do poorly at the polls. So, you know, I`ve heard this demographics argument for a long time, but there are 600,000 unregistered voters in Travis County alone. Register those voters and get them to the polls, and that`s what`s going to have to happen. And Hispanic voters are not great voters. They don`t turn out that well. So that whole demographic needs to really be worked. MADDOW: Lou Dubose, editor of the "Washington Spectator" and for the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted, my old buddy. Lou, it`s great to see you. Thanks for being here. DUBOSE: Good to be with you, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. Best new thing in the world includes an all- hands-on-deck dramatization. It`s really good. Stay tuned, that`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: Hi. This is me at my desk. This is a message for Robert Blurton and Eileen Johnson, who live in West Boise, Idaho. Today the Web site "BuzzFeed" posted an article that has a picture of you guys under the headline, 90-year-olds get married, your heart melts. And since that is exactly the kind of sucker punch emotional sweet spot headline that none of us here at this show results, naturally, click - - click, click, click. Clicked through the article, it has pictures of you guys and links through to an Idaho statesman newspaper story about your wedding this weekend. You guys had both lost your spouses years ago, you were both now living at the Salmon Creek Retirement Community in West Boise, and you met, and you fell in love. And at the ages of 91 and 92, you decided that you were going to get married! OK, so here comes this part of the story. I want you to imagine Bill Wolff, who`s the executive producer of this show, and he gets to this part of the story that we`ve all been looking at, right, we get to this part of the story, and we`re in the middle of our news meeting and we`re talking about, and Bill goes, wait, and he goes to his BlackBerry and reads this part of the story off his Blackberry. BILL WOLFF, TRMS EXEC. PRODUCER: Though Bob and Eileen are in generally good health, their knees make getting around a little more difficult. Their hobbies now are simple, holding hands, Eileen said, she squeezed Bob`s hand. They enjoy watching movies on Turner Classic and political commentator Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. MADDOW: And the whole news feed goes ahhh! And we all start crying happy tears and we just want to say, uh, congratulations on your wedding. CROWD: Congratulations! MADDOW: Bob and Eileen, former beauty queen, former Navy pilot, newlyweds in Idaho, who watch this show. You have made a whole bunch of really, sometimes occasionally cynical kids in New York City very proud and very happy today. You are the best new thing in the world today. (CHEERS) WOLFF: Now back to work! (END VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: That`s really what it`s like here. Best new thing. That does it for us tonight. Now, it is time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell." Eileen and Bob, congratulations. Have a great night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END