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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 09/26/12

Guests: Nancy Pelosi

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: And thanks to you at home staying with us for the next hour. We`ve got Nancy Pelosi here tonight live for the interview. Very excited about that. If this was the image of the week, across the country, for last week, the surreptitiously filmed Mitt Romney addressing wealthy Republican donors in Florida and telling them how no good and horrible half the country was, if that was the image of the week last week, then this would surely have to qualify as the image of the week this week. Touchdown? No touchdown? Touchdown? Oh, no! Right? The big NFL referees scandal thing. The Green Bay Packers getting totally robbed of a win on Monday night football. That image from this week has crossed over now from being just a sports story to being an America story. It`s now even an American politics story. Yesterday, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, who of course is most famous for stripping union rights in his state, Scott Walker actually came out in favor of bringing back the union refs to the NFL. See, when it`s about something that doesn`t matter much like education, screw the unions. But when it`s something important like football -- well, look for the union label, America. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have all seen fit to weigh in on this one football game from Monday, on the referees issue. All three men saying that the Green Bay Packers deserve to win that game. The Packers got robbed. So even as the Packers` agony crossed over into national politics this week, I still have to say that it remains true that the single west political Green Bay Packers moment in history, the best moment of all time in the overlap that exists between the Green Bay Packers and politics is still this moment. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOMMY THOMPSON (R), FORMER WISCONSIN GOVERNOR: There are 30 teams, but only one Packer organization, and that is the greatest football organization ever in America`s history. There are only 187 days before training camp. And 360 days before we go back to Miami! Whereas the Packers are America`s real team, and we`ll always be winners in the hearts and minds of the people of Wisconsin, therefore I, Tommy Thompson, governor of the great state of Wisconsin, do hereby proclaim January 27th, 1998, all over Wisconsin, Green Bay Packer Day in honor of all of you, the fans! Congratulations. Thank you. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Tommy Thompson, from the great state of Wiscons -- declaring Packers Day. He was the governor of Wiscons back in the `90s. He after that went on, of course, to be in the George W. Bush administration. And since then, he keeps running for office. He ran for president for a hot second back in 2008, trying to convince people he was the other guy named Thompson who was not named Fred. Now he is the Republican nominee for the United States Senate in Wisconsin. Tommy Thompson right now is losing that race. The last five polls out of Wisconsin all show Tommy Thompson losing, including one poll out today that shows him losing by 12 points. And that was before the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" today posts this video of Tommy Thompson this summer telling a Tea Party group what his plans are for Medicare and also for Medicaid. Listen to this. (BEGIN VDIEO CLIP) THOMPSON: Change Medicare and Medicaid like I did welfare, and who better than me, that`s already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Who better than me, to do away with Medicare? We`re going to have to wait until the next round of polling in Wisconsin to see how the tape of Tommy Thompson saying he wants to get rid of Medicare affects his numbers, in a state that as of today appears to be inclined against him already by 12 points. What do you think the next round`s going to look like? Mr. Thompson`s Democratic opponent incidentally in this Senate race is named Tammy Baldwin. One snapshot of politics right now in this country is, of course, how the presidential race is going. But the race to control the United States Senate most days is a more amazing story, or a more amazing amalgamation of stories. I mean, yes, today, Tommy Thompson is on tape saying, who better than him to get rid of Medicare! But something like that can`t even win the shocking election tape of the week award, not when it`s up against other competitors from this week, like this tape. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: This is the tape we aired here last night of five staffers for Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown, as well as other Republican Party operatives, chanting fake Native American war whoops and doing tomahawk chops, to mock Native Americans. The ABC affiliate in Boston identified the Scott Brown staffers here as his deputy chief of staff, his constituent services counsel, his state director for Massachusetts, and his special assistant. Also, there is a Massachusetts state Republican Party guy here, who works in conjunction with the Brown campaign. Scott Brown came out shortly after he heard about this tape yesterday to say that he did not condone the behavior of his staffers here. But you know, this is not exactly an isolated incident. I mean, Senator Brown right now is basing his re-election campaign for the Senate on the issue of Elizabeth Warren`s ethnicity and what he thinks it really is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: Professor Warren claimed that she was a Native American, a person of color, and as you can see, she`s not. That being said, she checked the box and she had an opportunity, actually, to make a decision throughout her career, when she apply to Penn and Harvard, she checked the box claiming she was a Native American. And you know, clearly she`s not. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Clearly. "Clearly she`s not." That was how he opened up his first debate against Elizabeth Warren. The very first ad that Scott Brown aired after that first debate was not an ad addressing any specific issues in the country or in the Senate race, but rather an ad attacking Elizabeth Warren on the basis of race. Scott Brown has had a campaign Web site up for weeks in which he describes Elizabeth Warren as a, quote, "fake Indian". That`s the language he uses on his Web site. After all of that, Scott Brown said yesterday while he did not condone the tomahawk chop, war whoop, making fun of Native Americans behavior by his Senate staffers, he said that he did think an apology was necessary. And that apology was necessary from Elizabeth Warren. Scott Brown described Elizabeth Warren yesterday as offensive. She is the one that`s offensive here, according to Scott Brown. These are his staffers. Senate staffers, we pay their salary. Today, the chief of the Cherokee Nation put out this statement. Quote, "The Cherokee Nation is disappointed in and denounces the disrespectful actions of staffers and supporters of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. The conduct of these individuals goes far beyond what is appropriate and proper in political discourse. The use of stereotypical war whoop chants and tomahawk chops are offensive and downright racist. The individuals involved in this unfortunate incident are high-ranking staffers in both the Senate office and the Brown campaign. A campaign that would allow and condone such offensive and racist behavior must be called to task for their actions. I will not be silent when individuals mock and insult our people and our great nation. We need individuals in the United States Senate who respect Native Americans and have an understanding of tribal issues. For that reason, I call upon Senator Brown to apologize for the offensive actions of his staff and their uneducated, unenlightened and racist portrayal of native peoples." Late tonight, after saying nothing all day long in response to that, Scott Brown`s campaign, late tonight, finally put out a statement saying that he regrets the unacceptable behavior of his after. His spokesperson added, quote, "This kind of conduct will not be tolerated." Scott Brown, to be clear, has never disproven that Elizabeth Warren has Native American ancestry, right? It`s not like anybody`s ever produced any evidence to say that she is not Native American. The whole basis for the Brown campaign making fun of Indian people, right, the whole basis for all of this making fun of Native American people by Scott Brown and by his campaign is that he says he can tell by looking at her that she is way too white-looking to really be Cherokee or of any other Native American ancestry. To be clear, that is the chief of the Cherokee Nation on the left-hand side of your screen and that`s Elizabeth Warren on the right-hand side of your screen. Scott Brown says, look at her. I can tell she`s not Native American. Scott Brown, as the incumbent senator in Massachusetts, had been leading in the polls. The Republican-leaning Rasmussen poll right now puts the Massachusetts Senate race at a tie. About four of the last five polls in the state show challenger Elizabeth Warren beating the incumbent Scott Brown in Massachusetts. The operating assumption for Republicans when it came to the Scott Brown race was that the problem as not going to be Scott Brown. He`s supposed to be great at campaigning. The only problem for him in this race was supposed to be the headwind he was going to get from being in such a Democratic-leaning state. Well, now thanks to the way he`s running his campaign, the headwinds he`s facing no longer appear to be the only factor that ought to worry Republicans in this race. In Missouri, though, the opposite dynamic has been at work. The Democratic incumbent in Missouri, Claire McCaskill, she was thought of having almost no chance of holding on to her seat this year because of the Republican headwinds in the state of Missouri, because they have grown so strong since she was elect there had in 2006. That, since about the Claire McCaskill race, was before Republicans decided this guy would be their nominee to try to unseat her. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI: If it`s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri explaining the difference between legitimate rapes and other rapes. You know, things called rape, but, you know? Todd Akin`s been getting away with saying stuff like that for his whole career. But now that he`s a U.S. Senate candidate, you`re not supposed to articulate things that sound that crazy. So when he said that last month, everybody went nuts, including the right. His own party decided he could no longer be the U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri. The other Republican U.S. senator from Missouri, Roy Blunt, said at the time, quote, "Todd needs to get out of this race." The head of the Senate Campaign Committee for the national Republican Party said of Todd Akin, quote, "We`re done." Just about everybody in Republican politics, from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, all the way down to the Scott Browns of the world called for Todd Akin to get out of that Missouri Senate race. That was a month ago, right before the Republican convention,. But now, apparently, now we know how much time outrage wears off in. Now Republicans have decided they`re over all of their concerns about Todd Akin. Here he is doing a press conference last week with Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich there showing his support for Todd Akin. Today, Republican Senator Jim DeMint and former presidential candidate Rick Santorum threw their support behind Todd Akin. Republican Senator Roy Blunt, remember him? The guy who said Todd Akin has to get out. He put out a statement today saying that now he is supporting Todd Akin. The state Republican Party, which had expressed grave public doubts about Akin after his comments about some rapes being legitimate last month, they now say they`re all in for Todd Akin as well. Even the National Republican Party`s Senate Campaign Committee, the guys who said we`re done when they were talking about Todd Akin, apparently they are thinking now of not being done with him anymore. So now we know just how offended all of those Republicans really were about the legitimate rape comments. They were offended enough to try to replace him with a candidate who might have a better shot against Claire McCaskill, until the deadline passed and they couldn`t get off the ballot and they couldn`t replace him anymore, and now they`ve decided they`re all right with the whole legitimate rape thing. The outrage just wore off. Took about a month. Todd Akin had been heavily favored by double digits in that Senate race before this whole thing started. But the latest polling out of Missouri now shows Claire McCaskill ahead. She is now back to having two big headwinds, right? One is that the Republicans are expected to win the state at the presidential level. But two is that Todd Akin is out of the doghouse. Now that the outrage has worn off, he`s now going to be benefiting from tons of conservative money from all over the country to elect the legitimate rape guy. The presidential race is continuing to trend the way it has been in recent days, which is that it`s trending in Barack Obama`s favor. New polling by "The New York Times" and Quinnipiac has President Obama up in Florida by nine points. In Ohio, President Obama up by 10 points. In Pennsylvania, that poll has President Obama up by 12 points. There are other smaller and more local polls that have the margins slightly smaller in Pennsylvania and Florida today, but those other polls also show President Obama winning in the swing states. A new PPP poll in Iowa today shows President Obama leading in Iowa by seven points. A grievous marketing poll in Colorado showing President Obama leading in Colorado by four points. Nationally, President Obama has seen his lead rebound in recent days. In the Gallup daily tracking point, he initially got a six-point bounce out of the Democratic convention. That lead evaporated in the days that followed, but now as you can see, President Obama has regained that six- point lead as if he just did the conventions all over again. With just 41 days left until the election, a snapshot of the race is very clear. In fact, we do these polls every day and it`s almost starting to seem static at the presidential level. These swing state polls that we do every day, pretty much the map always look like this -- President Obama leading in all of the swing states or at least leading in almost all of them. A standard caveat, of course, is that anything could change. But the longer that it goes on without changing, as long as it starts to look like this is calcifying as the state of the race, especially now that more than half the country is already voting, half the swing states, already voting right now, while that is happening, if that part of the race is staying and this is the way it`s going to look, at times the more interesting part of the election is not just the race for the White House, but the race for control of the Senate. And maybe even for control of the House. Those races all get inflected by what`s happening at the top of the ticket, right? At a certain point, though, if it stays like this in the presidential race, now`s the time to start asking: are these outside groups who have been spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the presidential race, on behalf of Mitt Romney, look at those poll numbers and say, why are we spending all this money? Why are we sending good money after bad? Is the Romney campaign at risk of being written off by Republican donors as Republicans decide that they may want to save their down ballot struggling House and Senate candidates instead? The Democrats are not only saying now that they are going to hold on to the Senate, the Democrats are now starting to talk about taking back the House, which in all likelihood would make Nancy Pelosi speaker of the House again. Nancy Pelosi is our guest, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joins us tonight live here for the interview. And we`ve got a best new thing in the world today. And some new news on how not to answer when you are asked about your history of lying. The hint here is that you probably shouldn`t lie in your answer. That`s straight ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Paul Ryan has become an intellectual leader of the Republican Party. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: That is the day things really changed. We were on a path. I would have said to you then, we were dead even. Well, momentum is very much with us, the Medicare issue in this campaign. So we have a message, we have the messengers, we have the money, we had the mobilization. We have a very excellent chance to take back the House. For 18 months, they have been the three most important issues in the campaign, in alphabetical order -- Medicare, Medicare, Medicare. And when Ryan was chosen, the agent for the destruction of Medicare was chosen as the vice presidential candidate -- well, it clarified the debate for many people in the races that we are active in. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Whatever it says about American politics, the fact is that the balance of power in Congress and the House of Representatives has been shifting pretty wildly in these past few elections. In `06 and `08, the Democrats swung 52 seats in their direction. They seized both control of the House and a huge majority in the House. Then in 2010, the Republicans swung 61 seats back in their direction, and they got control in 2010. And now for this year, Beltway common wisdom says there`s really no chance the Democrats can swing enough seats back to them to take the House back over. But some political scientists say, actually, that is a real possibility, that the Democrats could take back the House. And the Democrats themselves sounding increasingly confident that they might do it. And frankly, stranger things have happened, even very recently. Joining us tonight for the interview is the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Madame Leader, it`s great to have you here. Thank you for coming. PELOSI: My pleasure, Rachel. Great to be here, always. MADDOW: Democrats need 25 seats? PELOSI: Yes, we have a drive for 25. MADDOW: You have said that you think the majority is with you. The momentum is with you. Is that based on what`s going on in the presidential race, or is there something else that`s going on that makes you feel that momentum? PELOSI: Well, both. We have been working very hard to get to a place to put the House in place. We did that by, say, late spring/early summer. But when August 11th, mark that date on your calendar, when Ryan was chosen, that made a very big difference, because Medicare, Medicare, Medicare, the three most important issues in the campaign, in alphabetical order, that issue was clarified, focus was on it, and we could not lose the debate about Medicare, because if we do, forget Democrats, forget Republicans, Medicare is gone. We`ll be back to a time before Lyndon Johnson. We will be putting seniors at the mercy of the insurance companies by giving them a voucher, but not a guarantee. And the severing of that guarantee, the architect of that, is Paul Ryan, his being chosen made a big difference for you. MADDOW: And so, you feel like the choice of Paul Ryan made essentially every other campaign issue, at least, fall away for any House candidate who chooses to run on that. That that`s a clear enough issue on that issue that nothing else really has to matter? PELOSI: Well, on House races, especially in a presidential year, you only have a small opportunity to get people`s attention and to hit them with your best shot, as to what your message is. And this has been an issue that hits every generation. It`s about the seniors, of course, it`s about their families, and how all of them can have economic as well as health security, because their seniors are taken care of. We`re very excited about it. But I wish that it were not a race about Medicare, because the fact is, Medicare is on the ballot. My name is on the ballot, the president`s name is on the ballot, many people`s names are on the ballot. And if we do not win the House, and of course if the president doesn`t win, but we feel pretty good about the president`s winning, that would be very much at risk. MADDOW: In terms of how you think that shapes the map and opportunities for House Democrats, are there places in the country that you feel like you might, honestly, not be all that competitive this year. But specifically on that issue, specifically because Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan, there`s geographical parts of the country are Democrats can compete better. PELOSI: Well, first of all, the fact that President Obama is on the ticket will get more people to the polls. On many of the races, the battleground states that you showed earlier, are just a few states. We`re in more states than the president. So we`re basically on our own, Texas, California, New York, Illinois, Maryland, Washington state, Arizona, although it may become a battleground state, because the opportunity might be there for the president. And we expect to win about 20 seats in the states I just named. Then we go where the president is, Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, states like that, to take us, oh, I want to go beyond 25. I`d like to have 35. But the -- it`s a very discreet races, some states have blue patches that we want to win back. There are 66 districts that are held by Republicans that were won by President Obama and about a third of those were also won by John Kerry. And so, we think there`s real opportunity. Now, mind you, people didn`t say we were going to win the House in `06 when we first made this attempt. MADDOW: Yes. PELOSI: Yet. It took like another few weeks before they started to see the handwriting on the wall that the momentum was with us, and that the polls, and that these individual districts were coming our way. Right now, we`re in about an average of five, five points ahead, average in the generic. Some eight, some two, average of five, that five is enough to win the House. I`d like six or seven percentage points difference in the polling for us to take -- MADDOW: In terms of the generic ballot, people are asked, do you prefer a Republican or a Democratic Congress? PELOSI: In individual districts. MADDOW: In individual districts. One of the issues that gets a lot of attention in terms of how it might affect the presidential race is the issue of voter suppression, becoming more difficult to register to vote and to vote. If you have a moment, we have actually some new news on that out of Florida. Can you hold on a moment, we come back and comment on that? How that`s going to affect not just the presidential race, but also the race to control the Congress. We`ll be back with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Check this out. This is new news tonight. This past spring, Florida`s Republican governor, rick Scott, started a purge to get people off the voter rolls in Florida. One of the Floridian voters who was targeted in that purge was a man named Uhroll Arroliga (ph). Mr. Arroliga is U.S. citizen. He immigrated from Nicaragua 17 years ago, became a citizen, registered to vote. But he got this letter from the state of Florida this spring ordering him to prove his citizenship within 30 days or lose his right to vote. Mr. Arroliga was very concerned, he sent in his proof of citizenship. He wanted to insure his right to vote. Today, Mr. Arroliga was told by Rick Scott`s administration that that`s not good enough. He`s going to prove his proof of citizenship all over again. They`re trying to purge him a second time. He`s a citizen. "Miami Herald" is reporting tonight that Governor Rick Scott`s election division has sent Florida counties yet another new list of voters it wants purged off the voter rolls now, less than six weeks before the election. His last purge targeted 82 percent minority voters, in heavily Democratic Miami-Dade County, 98 percent of the people who he tried to purge off the voter rolls as noncitizens, 98 percent of those who responded actually were citizens. But of course 100 percent of the people targeted by the purge have been threatened by the state of Florida about exercising their right to vote this November. And all the counties who were told by the state today to start another round of purging, well, it`s not like they have anything else to do, right, 41 days before they need to get 11 million potential votes cast and counted. Back with us for the interview tonight is the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Thank you again for your time tonight. PELOSI: Thank you. MADDOW: What`s happening here in Florida is obviously part of a big increase in purges and changing the voting laws in states where Republicans are in control in order to make voting and registering to vote harder for this election. Are you confident that Democrats are heading that off well? PELOSI: Well, here`s what I said about that -- don`t agonize, organize. We just have to go out there and shine a bright light on it, so the public knows the immorality of putting up barriers to voting. It`s just plain wrong. But apart from that, OK, we know that`s wrong. This is ridiculous, what he is doing. But what we have to do is make sure that every person who is eligible to vote gets the ID, goes through the motions, is registered to vote, and their vote is counted as cast, because this thing keeps going. Counted as cast -- that`s very important. It`s part of what they`re doing. Suffocate the airwaves with endless, unidentified special interest money, suck the air out of the airwaves. Suppress the vote with these regulations and laws that they have passed, and the other way they suppress the vote is to help people -- it`s no use even going, you`re not going to be able to vote, it`s a turnoff. What else is a turnoff is their poisonous campaign. If you suffocate the airwaves, suppress the vote, poison the debate, people throw up their hands and say, I just don`t even know if I want to participate in this. And when they walk away, right, thinking people walk away, the special interests achieve a victory. So we have to keep the campaign positive, about what our president could do, in the case of Elizabeth Warren, in case of our Democrats, how this could be different and was different when we were in the majority, with a Democratic president and a Republican president. So, again -- don`t agonize, organize. Early voting is a good way to overcome some of the obstacles there, establishing. Governor Scott is ridiculous beyond words in what he is trying to do to his own people. They`re afraid of the people. They`re afraid of their votes. And they have to suppress them. We have to overcome that. Because by winning, we winning we can prove them wrong in their tactics. And by winning, we can -- I have a dare. Win -- the first day we`re there, disclose, I`m Nancy Pelosi, I approve this message. We have to have disclosure of where this money`s coming from in campaigns. I have to say my name, but these multi-multi-billionaires don`t have to say their name on an ad. Amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United. It can be done. The public wants it. We have to take the first step. Reform the system, public financing of campaigns. Get rid of the role of money, and E-D-A-R-E, elect reformers. I don`t even care if they`re Republicans or Democrats or whatever, who are willing to stand up for our democracy that our Founders sacrificed everything for -- the government of the many, not the government of the money. And this is really important, because as long as they can control the mechanics of elections, they have an advantage. And we have to offset it. But we also have to win, so that we can change it. MADDOW: In terms of just the idea of dispiriting people that the campaigns mean anything, poisoning the debate, making people feel like it doesn`t matter if I vote or not, one of the issues that I, just as a citizen, feel frustrated is not being addressed in the presidential race, that I think is something people care a whole lot about is the war that we are in. We are in the longest war in American history. And you and I have talked in the past and in previous interviews, you once told me the political dynamics around the war in Afghanistan are not particularly partisan. And just this last week, Republican who chairs the Defense Subcommittee in Appropriations, Congressman Bill Young of Florida, he changed his mind on the war, came out against the war. He said, I just think we`re killing kids that don`t need to die. It`s not being discussed in the presidential campaign at all. Mitt Romney didn`t even put it in his nomination speech at the convention. But should ending the war before the president`s scheduled timetable in 2014 be a matter of presidential discussion? Should it be a matter of debate for House candidates right now? Is it a matter for Congress to decide? PELOSI: Well, it is a matter of our national security, and how does this fit into that. The president is on a course to get this done. It doesn`t mean it will take all of that time. But it will be done by that time. And that is progress from where we had been. You have to remember, when President Bush was president, there was no plan. We had been there 6 1/2 years with no plan. We routed the Taliban, we did not defeat them, and then we left and went to Iraq. So President Obama had to put a plan in place and a timetable to get it done. So it may not be as fast as we would all like, but the fact is, the cost of this war, in terms of our human treasure, the most important part, our young people, the casualties to their lives and to their physical well-being and their mental -- it`s all physical, mental or not. So, yes, I do think that this is taking to us a place where we should really understand that war, as a resolution of conflict, is an obsolete idea. And we should take the debate to a bigger place, a bigger place. I`ll never get over the fact that President Bush took us into war on a false premise, that he knew was false, that his administration knew was false, for a different agenda, and look how long we stayed in Iraq. MADDOW: Whether or not it ends up becoming an issue in the presidential race, is this a matter for Congress to decide, in terms of when we leave, before the election or after the election, or is it the president`s call? PELOSI: Well, it`s a combination. Because when we won in `06, one of the big issues was ending the war in Iraq. And we went to see the president and we said, OK, we`re here, how do we end the war, and he said, that`s not going to happen. And the president, of course, unless you have two-thirds vote, you`re at the mercy of. But let me say, this election, because of what we have been through, I want to make this one point. People are saying, the Republicans had the nerve to say, are you better off than you were four years ago? And many people have -- there are struggles. And part of it is that still remnants of what happened during the Bush years. But the fact is, is that four years ago, September 18th, just a week ago -- just a week ago, in my office, the speaker`s office, and the presence of the Republican and Democratic leader in the House -- leaders in the House and Senate, the chairman of the Fed said to us after Secretary Bernanke described a terrible meltdown of our financial institution, the chairman of the Fed said, if we do not act immediately, we will not have an economy by Monday. This is the place that had taken us to. This is the place that President Obama and House Democrats tried to take us from. This is the place that the Republican majority has blocked any of President Obama`s initiatives to do more to help individual families in our country. But how could they possibly even pose the question, are you better off, when the chairman of the Fed, that day, four years ago, and one week ago, if we don`t act immediately, we will not have an economy? An economy by Monday. We certainly are better off, and as a country, and now we have to make sure we elect a Democratic House to work with the president, so that we can pass the jobs bill, that we can pass political reform. You can`t separate -- Walter Ruth (ph) said you can`t separate the bread box and the ballot box. If you want the right politics for working families, you have to get to the polls. So, onward to victory, don`t agonize, organize. Drive for 25. MADDOW: (INAUDIBLE) whether or not it is possible for the Democrats to take the House is shifting with each continued day of very, very blue polls of the presidential race and down ballot. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California, the former speaker of the House, current Democratic leader of the House, it`s always really nice to have you. PELOSI: Thank you, my pleasure. MADDOW: Coming up next, a candidate asked about his honesty. The candidate responds by telling a lie about how honest he is. I`m hoping this one is performance art. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: There has been a recurring theme, sort of pattern of behavior, in the Mitt Romney for president campaign that is unlike other campaigns. And we have been covering this pattern of behavior in that campaign for months. The candidate himself had never before copped to this pattern, had never addressed it with reporters, before now. He has finally, finally decided to mention it. It is tape, it is terrifically awkward, but it is all finally on the record. That story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The Mitt Romney for president campaign yesterday finally addressed something that we on this show have been talking about for months. Something we first raised back in November. We have been hoping for the Romney campaign to address this issue ever since then, but they`ve just been able to avoid talking about it for months -- until now. This week, Mitt Romney himself finally forced to address it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Just the other day, you said the president has been trying to fool people with his ads and his speeches about your record. But fact checkers have also taken issue with your ads. Haven`t you also played fast and loose with the facts from time to time? MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve been absolutely spot- on. And anytime there`s anything that`s been amiss, we correct it or remove it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Hmm. What he`s describing there, removing or correcting false claims made by the campaign once you realize they are false, that is a process that a normal campaign does follow. That`s what makes this statement so newsworthy, because the Romney campaign hasn`t been doing that. That`s what we`ve been reporting since November. They haven`t been removing their false claims from the record when they`re proven to be false -- which is a strange decision for a campaign operating at the presidential election. I mean, look at one of the first general election ads released by the Romney campaign. This was released back in November of last year. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need to provide relief for homeowners. It`s going to take a new direction. If we keep talking about the economy, we`re going to lose. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: "If we keep talking about the economy, we`re going to lose, lose, lose." That is how Mitt Romney`s ad quoted President Obama. Here`s what President Obama actually said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Senator McCain`s campaign actually said, and I quote, "If we keep talking about the economy, we`re going to lose." (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So the Romney ad tried to make it sound like President Obama said this thing that he was quoting someone else saying, and he was quoting it to say that he disagreed with that statement. I mean, there are lots of little lies in politics, little exaggerations, but that`s really big, really bad lie. And it was their first ad against President Obama. And so, naturally, Mitt Romney got skewered for this, for building his first general election ad on a really obviously blunt lie. What did the Romney campaign do about the whopper in that ad? Did they correct it or remove as Mitt Romney now says has always been his campaign policy? No, they didn`t it. That ad is still up on his campaign web page. Not only did the Romney campaign not remove or correct that ad, Romney defended it just as it was getting all attention for being a lie, remember? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: There was no hidden effort on the part of our campaign. It was instead to point out what`s sauce for the goose is now sauce for the gander. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Sauces and gooses, whatever. But Mitt Romney didn`t correct or remove the ad that had the lie in it about what President Obama said about the economy. He said, essentially there, I mean, what are you going to do about it? Also, geese. It`s the same dynamic at work with these other Romney campaign ad seeking to make political hay out of the Solyndra bankruptcy. This is from May. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The inspector general said contracts were steered to friends and family. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That is not true. Point of fact, the inspector general did not say that. That is an empirical claim. It is empirically false. You can check stuff like that, which again the press was quick to point out. So has the Solyndra ad with this whopper about the inspector general been corrected or removed? No. It has not. It is still right there on Mitt Romney`s campaign web page. And then there`s the now-infamous welfare ad from the Republican anno Romney campaign last month. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NARRATOR: President Obama quietly ended the work requirement, gutting welfare reform. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That is not true. That did not happen. President Obama did not strip the work requirement out of welfare quietly or otherwise. Quite the opposite, in fact, which, again, has been pointed out ad nauseam by political reporters. But the Romney campaign`s response about getting caught lying about President Obama`s welfare policies was not to correct or remove the ad, like Mitt Romney said has always been done, that ad is still there on their campaign web page. In fact, the Romney campaign responded to all the criticism of that ad by telling BuzzFeed at the time, quote, "We`re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers." When Jim Acosta from CNN was asking Mitt Romney about playing fast and loose with the facts yesterday, Mr. Acosta asked specifically about the untrue welfare ad. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: Any time there`s anything that`s been amiss we correct it or remove it. The president on the other hand -- REPORTER: Even the welfare ad? ROMNEY: Absolutely. It has been shown time and again that the president`s effort to take work requirement out of welfare is a calculated move. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The president has made no effort to take work requirements out of welfare. So even as he`s claiming that the campaign corrects the record when it gets caught getting the facts wrong, Mitt Romney is repeating the exact falsehood from the welfare ad that got him in so much trouble in the first place. I mean, here`s the thing -- campaigns get stuff wrong. Campaigns make claims in the heat of the moment get overstated or maybe they say things they know are wrong but then they get called on them, but then they called on them and then they have to apologize. I mean, that sort of process is not weird here. That`s normal. That`s politics. What`s strange here is not that the Romney campaign has made some false claims in the campaign, right? What is strange here is that when they have gotten things wrong, when they`ve been called out for getting things wrong, they have not tried to fix it. They have not treated it as a concern when they have been caught lying, when they have shown to be making demonstrably false claims. It doesn`t cause them any stress. But even within the Romney campaign, I have to say there is another model for dealing with problems like this. And this may come from the way Mr. Romney was beaten in 2008, the last time he ran for president. It may have left his campaign determined that he not get stuck with the flip flopper label again. So, even though they leave the ads with the lies in them up, right, sometimes Mr. Romney goes on TV and says a different kind of lie, in a sense that he invents a brand new policy position he`s never had before. But after he does that, his staff follows behind him and quietly releasing statements taking back his quotes. When Mr. Romney was asked in an interview with Univision America radio last week, he was about one of his immigration advisers, Kris Kobach, he`s the guy who wrote the papers please law in Arizona, Mr. Romney said he had not met with Kris Kobach, and that he could not confirm whether Kris Kobach was a member of his policy team. That`s what he said in the interview on Univision. But later that same day, the Romney campaign quietly corrected the record saying Mr. Romney has, in fact, met with Kris Kobach. And that yes, Kris Kobach is a Romney campaign adviser. So Mr. Romney tells an interview he`s never met with Kris Kobach, but then his campaign says actually what he said was not true. Same thing happened last month when Mr. Romney came out with a whole new policy position on abortion rights when he was being interviewed on "60 Minutes". (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: I`m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest in the health of the life of the mother. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Mitt Romney says he believes abortion should be allowed to protect a woman`s health. You heard him say it right there. Afterwards, his campaign came out and said that`s not actually what Mitt Romney believes. His spokesman, while refusing to say that Mr. Romney misspoke nevertheless told NPR that Mr. Romney doesn`t actually support the legal right to have an abortion if you need one to protect your health as a woman. The same thing happened earlier this month when Mr. Romney came out with a whole new take on Obamacare during an interview on "Meet the Press". (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: I`m not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I`m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with preexisting conditions can get coverage. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I`m not getting rid of all of health reform. After Mr. Romney said that he wanted to keep the part of health reform that requires insurance companies to cover people with preexisting conditions, his campaign came out afterwards and said, what he just said there, he doesn`t mean that. He does not want to keep that part of health reform, saying that Mr. Romney was not in favor of a law requiring that coverage. The same thing happened just a week ago when Mr. Romney suddenly retreated from his foreign policy attacks against President Obama, when he suddenly, surprisingly, told George Stephanopoulos on ABC said that his red line on keeping Iran from going nuclear is the same as President Obama`s red line. After Mitt Romney said that on tape that he believes his red line is the same as President Obama`s, his campaign quietly afterwards said actually what he just said there, he doesn`t really believe that. They took the quote back. Mr. Romney doesn`t believe that. They said actually it was maybe the guy who was asking the question, it was maybe Stephanopoulos who was wrong and suggesting that President Obama`s red line was the same as Mitt Romney`s redline. And when Mitt Romney said, yes, that was in fact the case, he was just being agreeable or something. Same thing happened again this week. Mitt Romney conceded another one of his frequent attacks on the president. He`s been charging for months that President Obama has raised taxes on middle class Americans. But then he admitted on tape that President Obama has not raised taxes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: He`s got one new idea, one thing he did not do in his first four years which is to raise taxes. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So Mitt Romney admits that President Obama has not raised taxes during his first term as president. He says that on tape and his campaign says afterwards, what he said he does not believe that. Again, they`re not admitting that he misspoke. They`re not saying that he said the wrong word. They`re saying he didn`t mean what he clearly said. What seems to be happening here is that in the moment, when he`s talking to an interviewer or speaking to an audience, and maybe he can sense what it is they want to hear, he just says what they want to hear, even if it`s not really his position or can`t remember what his position is supposed to be, or if it not really what he believes. But his campaign can`t have the flip flop be on the record. They`re so sensitive to that label from 2008. So quietly, a few hours, or a few days later, they just erase the quote. They take it back. They say he never said that. They never admit that he might have said the wrong thing. They just try to erase from the record the wrong thing that he said. So it`s two strategies here, right? With the ads they just leave the false ads up, saying, screw it, we don`t care if it`s not true, right? But when the candidate himself says it, they let him say whatever seems right to that audience right in front of him. They never have him apologize or say he misspoke, but the campaign just quietly tries to change the record later. Whatever you heard him say, he didn`t really say that. So with this campaign you really do have a choice. Which of these two ways of lying is a better way to lie? They`ve got a lot of practice at both. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: You know, it turned out that more people watched the Democratic National Convention here on MSNBC this year than anywhere else on cable, which is awesome and it`s thanks to you. Thank you for watching that here. But now up next, presidential debates. They start next week, a week from tonight. I`ll be here at our anchor desk in New York. Chris Matthews will be in Denver, the site of the first debate. We`ll start at 8 p.m. Eastern, going all the way to midnight. The debates are starting, whoo-ho! So, 8:00 p.m. Wednesday night. You are on notice. You have one week to cancel your plans to be here with us. It will be worth it. All right. That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow night. Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell. Have a good one. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END