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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/05/12

Guests: Jared Bernstein

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Have a great weekend, my friend. Thank you. ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: You too. Thank you. MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. Iran is getting its own Internet, its own private Internet. See the real Internet is very dissatisfying to the government of Iran. There is all sorts of stuff on the real Internet the Iranian mullahs do not like, so they`ve been busy closing off bits of Internet to the Iranian public. You can`t use Google. Now you can`t use YouTube. You can`t use specific sites where the government doesn`t like what you can read there or what you can see there. They`ve been doing that forever, kind of playing whack-a-mole with the Internet. Iran`s government is apparently getting tired of managing the increasingly complex patchwork of things they want to block the people in their country from seeing online and so instead they have a genius idea. They are suggesting that they may just close off access to the real Internet all together and instead build themselves their own internal government approved Internet. Just for their own country. So, it`s not really an Internet. It is more like an Iran-ternet. They will build their own separate but equal. It`s ridiculous, right? But you can understand that sort of controlling dictatorial impulse here that gives rise to that sort of ridiculousness. In America, we don`t have controlling mullahs. We don`t have dictators but when we have that same kind of impulse, when we are horrified by the real information in the world and we want to wall ourselves off from it and create a more comforting, fake truth for ourselves. In America when we have that impulse, it looks like this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Conservatives obviously not happy with these main stream polls that are out there. A lot of talk about the polls being weighted incorrectly. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if you`re curious for another take, go to, which is an attempt to reweight the polls as -- (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: An attempt to reweight the polls. When the polls were particularly dire for the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the election, presidential election polling this past month conservatives decided that these polls showing an American electorate that is choosing President Obama over Mitt Romney, these polls made them feel so uncomfortable they decided to develop a new fantasy electorate that they would poll in theory and their fantasy electorate, which is not the real electorate would give them a much more comforting list of results in terms of their fake polls. It was the same dynamic at work when they invented Conservapedia. Remember Conservapedia? It`s something you read about the world on Wikipedia, if it makes you uncomfortable as a conservative, Conservapedia is guaranteed to only contain information that makes you feel OK. So, if you are discomfited by the idea the human species is a result of millennia of evolution, for example, Conservapedia has you covered. On Conservapedia, not only has it been debunked by the obvious fact that humans and dinosaurs coexisted, high ho silver, not only did we coexist, but in fact, according to Conservapedia, dinosaurs are actually still here. Dinosaurs have been seen in New Guinea twice since 1990, said so in Conservapedia. See if you don`t like the real world, invent your own. You know, it`s not only the right that does this. This week we got a great lefty conspiracy theory about the first presidential debate. It was sort of an update on the Democratic conspiracy theory from the first debate in 2004. It was the theory that President George W. Bush, remember this, had a listening device implanted in his suit while he was debating John Kerry. The problem with that George W. Bush conspiracy theory, of course, was always that John Kerry absolutely destroyed George W. Bush in that debate when bush was supposedly wearing a listening device. So if he was wearing a listening device, whoever was supposedly whispering in the president`s ear was not whispering things that helped him. That`s always the part I didn`t understand. But the 2012 version of that theory now is that Mitt Romney cheated in the debate against President Obama this week not by having somebody feed him the answers through an ear piece but rather by bringing the illegal crib sheet on to the debate stage with him. You see, previous debate rules have set out very clearly that, quote, "no props, notes, charts, diagrams, or other writings or other tangible things may be brought into the debate by any candidate." And yet have a look at this damning evidence. This is at the very beginning of the debate on Wednesday night and as you`ll be able to see clearly here what is that in your pocket? Mr. Romney very clearly pulls something from his right pocket and he pops it on to the podium in front of him. Violation. Violation. According to the conspiracy, complete with the grainy, slow mo YouTube videos, this is Mr. Romney cheating. Now he must have been working from note cards the entire debate. The explanation from the Romney campaign is Mr. Romney was not pulling notes out of his pocket. He was pulling out of his pocket a handkerchief. Sure enough, a little later on, oops, in the debate Mr. Romney is seen wiping his nose with said handkerchief. So whether or not you are persuaded by Mitt Romney wiping his nose on what is supposed to be his crib sheet notes -- if you`re on the left, again, like this is a conspiracy theory that just does not help. President Obama did not win the first debate against Mitt Romney. Whether or not you`re happy about that he didn`t win. But if your takeaway from this conspiracy theory in this debate is the reason the president didn`t win is because Mitt Romney cheated, then what`s the utility of that theory for you? What is the utility of that information? How do you think President Obama should then prepare for the second debate? Should he just do exactly what he did this past Wednesday night, except keep a closer eye out for the cheating because that`s the only reason he lost? I mean, it may be comforting to tell yourself this is what really went wrong here but that is not really what went wrong here and making the case that it was does not help your candidate. The worst example of this though, the invention of a comforting new parallel reality that does not mean you have to face hard truths. The worst new instance of this is how the right today responded to the new jobs numbers. Today, the unemployment rate dropped from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. It didn`t drop for any of the bad reasons that the unemployment rate sometimes drops. It dropped for the good reasons. It was actually a pretty good jobs report which, of course, to the right is terrible news. So they have chosen to not believe the new jobs numbers. The first place this blew up today was on Twitter. The former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch -- General Electric I should say is a minority owner of this company. Mr. Welch tweeted, quote, "Unbelievable jobs numbers. These Chicago guys will do anything. Can`t debate, so change numbers." Jack Welch accusing the Obama campaign of manipulating -- I mean, accusing the White House of manipulating this month`s jobs data so it would look better for the president. Always up for a good conspiracy theory, Republican Congressman Allen West of Florida concurred and wrote, quote, "In regards to today`s jobs report I agree with former G.E. CEO Jack Welch, Chicago style politics is at work here." From there, it was sort of off to the races. Republican Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia, quote, "September jobs report raises questions." Quote, "I don`t think BLS cooked numbers. I think a bunch of Dems lied about getting jobs." That would have the same effect. That was from a senior writer at something called the "Washington Examiner," a conservative thing online. Eric Bolling, who is at FOX News, he wrote, "Wow. Obama Labor Department smarter than all 25 of America`s top economists. Or something far more insidious." Insidi -- I don`t know. Then there was this from conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham. Quote, "Jobs numbers from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis are total pro-Obama propaganda." Just looking on Twitter you could see the groundswell on the right that they were going to build their own Iran-ternet on this. Forget the real world they were going to build their own private world that made them happier. The real Internet is inconvenient. We will have our own. The real facts are not accepted. We will have our own. It`s time for fresh fact, right? You could see the groundswell building for this on the right first online, but then, of course, where it fully blossomed was on cable news. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VARNEY STUART, FOX NEWS: Oh, how convenient that the right dropped below 8 percent for the first time in 43 months, five weeks before an election. That`s why there is some mistrust of these numbers. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told you they`d get it under 8 percent. They did. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A great argument. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can let America decide how they got it there. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some people will be very cynical a government number will come out this great on the eve of the election. I`m going to make a guarantee right now. I don`t like to do this but I guarantee when this is revised the unemployment rate will be back above 8 percent. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are alleging specifically that the president is engaging in a cover-up of the data. You are saying that the administration is actively manipulating that data. Correct? REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: Well, absolutely. ERIC BOLLING, FOX NEWS: Let me do this. Guys, pull up the full screen, something we found out today. We did our home work a little bit. The Bureau of Labor statistics full screen if you can show that. There are at least two. Harley Frazis and Stephen Phillips that work at the Bureau of Labor Statistics currently who both have been donors to the Obama campaign. JACK WELCH, FORMER G.E. CEO: Look, I don`t know what the right number is, but I`ll tell you these numbers don`t smell right when you think about where the economy is right now. CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: What evidence do you have that they got to the BLS? WELCH: I don`t. MATTHEWS: Chicago guys got to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and jimmied these numbers by 0.3 percent, as you put it? WELCH: I have no evidence to prove that. I just raised the question. MATTHEWS: You didn`t raise the question. You said these Chicago guys will do anything -- WELCH: Yes. MATTHEWS: -- so they changed the number. You say these Chicago guys will do anything so they changed the numbers. Do you want to take that back? WELCH: No, I don`t want to take it back. MATTHEWS: This is an assertion there was corruption here and infiltration or getting to the -- it`s not funny, Jack. You`re talking about the president of the United States playing with the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. This is Nixon stuff. Jack, do you want to take back the charge that there was corruption here? WELCH: No, I don`t want to take back one word in that tweet. You don`t think it`s coincidental that we`ve got the biggest surge since 1983 in the jobs surge? Come on, Chris. MATTHEWS: Do you mean it`s a coincidence or do you mean you have evidence that there was corruption here in these numbers? WELCH: I have no evidence of corruption. None whatsoever. MATTHEWS: OK. So these Chicago guys had nothing to do with number coming out today. WELCH: I don`t know that. JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I just heard from Jack Welch was about -- with respect I guess -- was about 10 minutes of absolute nonsense with no grounding in what the Bureau of Labor Statistics actually does. (END VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: Joining us now is Jared Bernstein, who you just saw there responding to jack Welch on HARDBALL today. He is a senior fellow at the Budget and Policy Priorities and MSNBC and CNBC contributor. Jared, thank you for being here. I was absolutely riveted by that today and could not wait to continue the conversation. BERNSTEIN: Look. It`s funny. I just walked by the BLS on my way up here. It is a venerable institution. You know, they`ve been putting out reports for well over 50 years and there`s never been any allegation or any substance to a claim like that at all. In fact, I was trying to remember there was something and it was back in 2008. The Bureau of Labor Statistics mistakenly released a report 25 seconds early and, boy, heads rolled and they had to do a whole investigation of the data release procedure. I mean, this is an agency that, where statistical integrity is above all. If I took you through some of the procedures, the encryption, the discipline -- I mean, when they have meetings they put paper over the windows. Janitors aren`t allowed to empty their waste baskets until the reports are released. So if you are going to make an allegation like Jack Welch made, you better have some really solid evidence. He had not even un-solid evidence. He had nothing. MADDOW: Jared, one of the things we`ve seen over the course of I guess it`s more than the past year, sort of the ramp up of the presidential campaign so maybe the past 18 months or two years, is that every time there is a bad jobs number the right moves on it as if it is gospel. But every time there is a good jobs number, good unemployment number, they have been questioning it more or less. Today was definitely more -- but more or less for more than a year now. I mean, is there any -- you just described the carefulness of the BLS. Is there any history of these things in modern times being jimmied for political gain? Is this -- are they going on anything real? BERNSTEIN: No, they are not going at anything that`s real. There is absolutely no history. Now, what there is and you just got at this -- what there is -- these are sample data. They come from a sample of about 50,000 households every month. Now, when you have samples you have statistical noise, margins of error. The same thing you talk about when you say poll results are within this many points margin of error. These samples and these results have those same margins. And sometimes you get a large positive outlier like in the jobs side today and sometimes a large negative outlier. In fact, one of the things I wrote in my report on these numbers early this morning before all that Jack Welch craziness was that I would discount this number because -- but over the past three months, the jobs numbers from the household survey have been essentially flat. I knew that was wrong too. In fact they had a couple negatives in there. So you have to average over the past few months. Now, if you take that average, if you do that, you will find and now I`m using establishment data which is more reliable month to month, let`s talk a little bit about facts here. If you actually average the jobs data you`ll find that over the past three months we`ve been adding 146,000 jobs per month. If you go back to the previous quarter, the second quarter of the year, we were adding 67,000 jobs per month. So no question that there`s been an acceleration in the pace of job growth and that is a good sign. There is some momentum in the labor market. MADDOW: It`s a good sign provided that you want good things for the country. It`s a bad sign if you want the economy bad so you can blame the incumbent president and beat him at the election. BERNSTEIN: Providing you are amenable to facts and reasonable discourse and you know something about the way statistical procedures work -- it is a good thing to know, yes. MADDOW: Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the center on budget and policy priorities, thank you very much for your time tonight and for being willing to call B.S. where it needed to be called. Jared, thank you. BERNSTEIN: Thank you. MADDOW: I will say my take on this to my Republican friends who are watching and I know you`re watching because I can hear you complaining sometimes -- here is the thing about complaining about these numbers. You`re not helping even your own guy. You heard what Jared just said there about how we are getting improving jobs numbers. We are getting accelerating economic growth, right? If you are going to lie about the numbers you can only lie for so long before people stop believing your conspiracy theory, and eventually, your candidate is going to need a theory and a case to the country for why he should be elected even though the economy is getting better. Denying that truth and thereby precluding him from making that argument will not help him get elected president. Word to the wise that you will never take from me, I know. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: In 2008 nearly 30 percent of voters on the great state of Ohio cast their ballots before Election Day. One-third of the electorate in that crucially important swing state voted early in the `08 election. Of the people who voted early in Ohio 2008, they favored Barack Obama over John McCain by nearly 60/40. So early voting was a great thing for the Democratic side the last time Barack Obama ran for president. If you`re a Republican you can see the problem. When the Republican Party subsequently took over control of state government in Ohio, they moved to shut down as much early voting as they could. Ohio Republicans first tried to cut early voting in half. Democrats were able to block them on that so then they came up with a plan where only Republican leaning counties would have weekend and week night early voting, but Democratic leaning counties would not have those hours. That was subtle. They didn`t get away with that either. Finally, they tried to settle on all the counties in the state having the same early voting hours but early voting would stop throughout the state days sooner than it usually did. The last three days before the election, including the all important last Sunday before the election when African-American churches in particular typically organized their souls to the polls car pool trips to bring people to early vote. Ohio`s Republican governor and legislature and secretary of state tried to settle on a plan where, yes. There would be some early voting and OK, fine. It`ll be basically uniform throughout the state but they wanted to cut off the last three days. They wanted to cut off early voting before the crucial last three days before the election -- when something like a hundred thousand Ohio votes were cast the last time around. They tried to lop off those last three days. Well, today the sixth circuit U.S. court of appeals blocked Ohio Republicans from doing that. The court today reinstated early voting on the final three days before the election. Ohio`s Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted responded by saying that he was reviewing the court`s decision and, quote, "No action will be taken today or this weekend." Yes. No rush. Not like there is a big election already under way or anything. It`s not like anything hinges on Ohio. Take your time. More ahead on this. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Last night on this show we had a scoop about the election in Pennsylvania. It`s a bit of an unfortunate scoop. The basics of the situation in Pennsylvania are these. The deadline to register to vote in that state is Tuesday. Today is Friday. If you want to vote in this election, you`ve got to be registered in Pennsylvania by Tuesday. You have to be a U.S. citizen. You have to live in Pennsylvania. You got to be 18 years old by Election Day. What if you don`t have a driver`s license or another state issued form of ID? That`s OK. You can still vote in this election in Pennsylvania. It may not be true in subsequent elections but for this election it`s OK. Republicans in the state of Pennsylvania tried this year to block you from voting if you don`t have a driver`s license or another ID like that but they didn`t get away with that new law. A judge ruled this week the new rule about ID will not be in effect for this election. But yesterday and this was the scoop, we called the state of Pennsylvania to ask some questions about voting there in that state this year. This is what we got. Listen to this. It`s amazing. And remember, legally you can vote even if you don`t have an ID in Pennsylvania in this election. You can. Listen. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) OPERATOR 1: Thank you for calling the Pennsylvania Department of State Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation. Press one for English. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Para Espanol? (BEEP) OPERATOR 1: Press one for information on Pennsylvania new voter ID law. Press 2 -- (BEEP) OPERATOR 2: Hello. All Pennsylvania voters will be required to show a photo ID before voting at a polling place, beginning with the November 2012 general election. All photo IDs must be current and contain an expiration date unless otherwise noted. (END AUDIO CLIP) MADDOW: So that was our scoop last night, our bad scoop, because what you just heard there from the state of Pennsylvania is not the law. But it`s what the state of Pennsylvania was telling people anyway as of yesterday afternoon on the phone line that the state was telling people to call if they had any questions or if they were at all confused about voting this year. So say anybody who doesn`t have a driver`s license and was calling the state to find out if they can vote, as of yesterday, that recording on the state`s phone line for voting help was telling them no, you can`t vote when in fact legally you can. Ultimately, when we question the state elections office about that yesterday afternoon, they took down that recording. They said it was just an oversight that they`re telling Pennsylvanians they cannot vote when in fact they can. The judge`s ruling on this case was a big deal. People were counting down to the decision but whether or not everyone who can vote votes in Pennsylvania this year, whether or not people who don`t have driver`s licenses are effectively locked out of this presidential election, it only partially depends on the judge`s ruling blocking the Republican law. It doesn`t just depend on the law itself. It depends on what people think the law is in Pennsylvania. People are calling the state calling that toll free number to find out about voting and being told when they call that number to effectively not show up if they don`t have an ID then honestly it doesn`t matter what the judge ruled. People without ID will probably stay home. Pennsylvania elections officials said this week they are pulling their multimillion dollar ad campaign targeted at educating voters about the photo ID requirements because of course there is no longer an ID requirement. But you know what? Even before you get to taking down your ad campaign as you meander around with that task, Pennsylvania, you might also want to consider this. The bureau of elections for Cumberland County in Pennsylvania as of today hopefully informing its visitors that, quote, "all voters will be required to show photo ID at the polling place in the November, 2012, general election." Actually voters will not be required to show photo ID at the polling place in the November 2012 general election, but you`d never know it. Look at Montgomery County department news. Pennsylvania`s newly adopted voter ID law will not take effect until the November, 2012 election. They also link to this handy voter ID flyer. This is not the law. What it says here, this is not true. They are telling people to stay away from the polls when it is in fact legal for them to show up and vote. Pennsylvania elections officials, I respect what you do for a living. Everybody knows you are busy, but it is 32 days to the election. You have to change the information you are giving the voters so it accurately reflects the law and you are not telling people to stay home who are legally entitled to vote. You are suppressing the vote in your state if you do that. Shortly after we called Montgomery County today to ask why they were still telling voters in their county on their Web site that they needed ID, Montgomery County responded by actually changing the language on their Web site and they took down the link to that scary voter ID flyer. Wasn`t that hard right? But it is not comforting to us here at this show that these things seem to only be getting done in Pennsylvania because these counties have gotten a call from a dumb cable news show. Really? We`re your fail safe here? I mean, the state, the counties? It should not take THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW calling you for you to fix this. Follow Philadelphia County`s example. Philadelphia had the wherewithal to just change it without us calling or anything. I suggest all the other counties in Pennsylvania crib the language from Philly. Go to their Web site. Cut and paste. It`s right there on that site. You will be allowed to vote even if you don`t have an ID. It`s not that hard to do if you care. Democrats have been patting themselves on the back all over the country these past couple weeks about the fact they have been winning these voter suppression battles in court against the Republicans. They have been winning in court, stopping the worst of the Republican voter suppression laws and it is true they are winning in court all over the country. But if these Republican run states are still telling their citizens that they`re going to be disenfranchised, then the effect is the same, whether or not you won the court battle. It should not be a TV show that is first to notice or first to blow the whistle that Pennsylvania in practice is ignoring the Democrats` big win in the courts. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: You know how the candidates pick somebody to stand in for their debate opponent before the debates? President Obama has had John Kerry playing the role of Mitt Romney in his debate preparation. Mr. Romney`s stand-in for President Obama is Ohio Senator Rob Portman. Today, I spent the morning with the man who was playing the part of Vice President Joe Biden in Paul Ryan`s practice sessions for the vice presidential debate next week. Seriously. Not kidding. Seriously. Want to know what happened? That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The next debate is the vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan. It is set for next Thursday. Vice President Biden`s debate practice sessions, he`s got Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland playing the role of Paul Ryan for the purpose of practice. In Mr. Ryan`s debate practices the role of Vice President Joe Biden is being played by celebrated conservative attorney and former George W. Bush solicitor general Ted Olson. Ted Olson is not your average former Bush administration official. He is the former Bush administration official who`s been leading the legal effort to overturn California`s ban on gay marriage and maybe every state`s ban on gay marriage. He is very, very, very, very conservative. But he is on the pro-gay side of this marriage fight. Today at NYU`s law school, I got a chance to interview Ted Olson and his counsel, the celebrated Democratic attorney, David Boise. They fought against each other in Bush v. Gore in the 2000 election but they are fighting together on the side of marriage equality in this federal case. And Ted Olson is the one of course who sticks out like a sore thumb here. He`s a straight, married guy. He does not have a gay family member who has driven him to this decision. He`s decided as a rock-ribbed conservative, small government Republican stalwart that marriage equality for gay people is a really important issue for the country and therefore for him. And despite the fact his Republican Party is not with him on this issue pretty much at all, he is still very active in Republican politics. Again, he is the guy who is helping Paul Ryan prep for next week`s vice presidential debate. I talked to Ted Olson and David Boise about it today. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are pledging a federal constitutional amendment to define marriage as only for straight people at the federal level, which is unchanged from a George W. Bush promise that went unfulfilled. They`re also promising to defend DOMA with the Democrats stopping doing that right now under this administration, the House Republicans are defending DOMA. Why isn`t the Republican Party following public opinion on this? And why would you want to elect Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in this circumstance given how you feel about it? (APPLAUSE) TED OLSON, FORMER BUSH SOLICITOR GENERAL: You may have overlooked the fact that for the last few weeks I`ve been Joe Biden. So -- (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Mr. Olson has been playing the part of Joe Biden in Paul Ryan`s debate prep which will help Paul Ryan get better at debating which will help him become vice president which would be bad for gay rights, right? (APPLAUSE) DAVID BOIES, ATTORNEY: Or he might persuade Ryan on this issue. OLSON: Don`t understate the possibility that dialogue and talking about these issues makes a difference. Not just independents and not just Democrats but Republicans, too. The tides are changing. Attitudes are changing. And the way to change those attitudes is dialogue. And the way to change those attitudes is to talk to people about the fundamental right. And the way to deal with Republicans in my opinion is to say we are the party of Abraham Lincoln. Let`s not forget that. What are these -- we say that. Let`s live up to that. Let`s think about our principles here. What is decency and privacy and respect? Can`t talk about what happens in debate preparation but when those issues, if they`re issues, they come up in the preparation because they might come up in the debate and you talk about those things and I can argue persuasively as I`m capable of arguing because I`m Joe Biden now. And even if I was Ted Olson I could make those arguments and they have to listen, because they have to answer those arguments. And so I`m doing everything I possibly can to convince people of my party because I think it`s right for America. (END VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: He went on to finish his thought and got a huge round of applause from this very liberal, pro-gay room. In terms of the day-to-day news from the campaign it`s kind of an interesting point right? The vice presidential debate is Thursday. Paul Ryan is prepping for that debate with a guy who is also arguing at the Supreme Court if they agree to hear it this year, arguing passionately for a federal constitutional right to same sex marriage. That`s whom he is debate prepping with. As you, know public opinion has been shifting fast on this issue. National polls now show a majority of Americans support gay couples` right to get married but that ground appears to be shifting under the feet of the Republican Party. They are not moving nearly as fast as public opinion is. With this virulently antigay national platform of the Republican Party and a very, very antigay presidential and vice presidential nominee, both spots on the ticket, the question of when Republican politics catch up with the national change in attitude on gay rights is a question that`s getting closer and closer to being a called question. Before now being very antigay probably seemed to most Republican politicians and many Democratic ones like a very safe course like maybe the only safe course. Over the past 15 years or so, there have been 35 statewide votes on marriage rights and 34 of them have gone against gay rights. The one exception, that was in Arizona where voters rejected a gay marriage ban in `06, but in `08, they turned around and changed their minds and voted for the gay marriage ban after all. So, there have been zero victories over all for gay marriage rights at the ballot box in 33 states where it has been on the ballot. And now, before now, every single time gay marriage rights were put on the ballot, that issue was put on the ballot by the antigay side. By the side that was confident in the country`s antigay voting record and wanted to continue it. This year, it`s different. This year for the first time ever, the pro gay rights side is so confident in how attitudes have changed that it is the pro-gay rights side that has put marriage equality on the ballot for the first time ever, because they are convinced they are going to win with voters. It looks like they may be right. The latest polling on Maine`s ballot initiative to legalize same sex marriage shows gay marriage winning in Maine by anywhere from eight points to 21 points. Both Maryland and Washington state this November will be voting on whether to keep marriage rights that were approved by the state legislatures there. In Maryland, the gay marriage ballot initiative is up by 10 points in the polls. And in Washington support for gay marriage rights is up by 15 points. Gay marriage rights are also on the ballot in Minnesota this year. And in that state, the polling is almost dead even. It`s down by one at this point but is very close. Marriage equality so far has a really terrible record at the ballot box but this year there is reason to believe it might be different. What does that do to the Republican Party`s politics on this issue? Joining us now is Steve Kornacki, co-host of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE" and a senior writer at Steve, thanks for being here. STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: Happy to be here. MADDOW: There were a ton of these gay marriage bans on the ballot in 2004 and the common wisdom was Republicans thought it would drive up turnout and help George W. Bush get elected by bringing out conservatives who might not like him but who really hated gay people. Did that turn out to be the case in `04? KORNACKI: There is all sorts of speculation about that. You can certainly match up. It was a year in which turnout went up surprisingly overall and it was sort of a base election where the base of each party was activated. I`ve never seen a definitive study that said yes we can clearly link the X number of voters in Ohio or whatever would have stayed home if not for this being on the ballot. You can certainly find a correlation between people who voted against it in a place like Ohio and who voted for George W. Bush. But you can find correlations like that on a lot of other issues, too. MADDOW: OK. Sort of a mixed bag. The common wisdom doesn`t match how fuzzy the data is on that. KORNACKI: Right. MADDOW: So this year, we have same sex marriage questions on the ballot in four states under very different circumstances -- the pro-gay side putting it on in one state. Two states, it`s the antigay side putting it on there, but it follows the state legislature having passed it through the legislative process and in Minnesota it is a traditional antigay measure. What do you think about the Democratic confidence or pro gay rights confidence that these measures are going to do well this year? KORNACKI: I think it`s very well-placed, because you can put that map on the screen and it shows 32 or 33 states a complete wipeout for gay marriage at the ballot box all these years. You`re talking about four, six, eight years ago on this particular issue. That is an eternity. If you look at the evolution of public opinion on gay marriage, it`s astounding how fast it`s come around. In 2004, when this sort of landed on the national radar because of Massachusetts and the Supreme Court ruling I think the first poll I saw back then nationally, 30 percent support. Now you`re talking well over 50 percent at the national level. When you break that down even further what you`re looking at is near 70 percent in the Democratic Party, maybe even higher now. That affected the Democratic coalition, a bit. Independents, 57 percent. Again, this is before Obama`s announcement. It`s only in the Republican Party down at 22 percent. That`s what`s keeping the overall number in the low to mid-50s. Outside the Republican Party this is basically a settled issue. So, what you`re seeing is that means when you put it in a blue state, Maine clearly blue, Washington clearly blue, Maryland clearly a blue state. The odds are very good that this thing is going to pass comfortably. Minnesota we think of as a blue state but it`s actually, as it gets closer, three, four, five point win for Democrats commonly there -- a lot more social conservatives there. So it`s not surprising it me it`s a little closer than Minnesota but I think we`re at the point where if this goes on the ballot in a blue state it passes. In a swing state it could pass, it might not pass. If it`s on the ballot in Mississippi or Kentucky or places like where it is Republican heavy, you`re a long way away from there, a real long way. MADDOW Spending the day today with Ted Olson seeing his passion and commitment on this issue and also seeing how central he is to the Republican Party politics -- do individuals, can individuals have an out sized impact on what their party does? I mean, there`s nobody more central to the power in that party than he is. He`s such a -- I mean, he`s a real advocate on this issue. Historically, is that the kind of thing that moves parties? KORNACKI: It can. I think there is going to come a day in both our life times but it might be years from now when the Republican Party will come around. That is where society is heading. But that might be a decade from now. That might be 15 years from now. I think it has to be somebody with currency in the evangelical community, because I think the number is so low. There are a lot of factors. But about half the Republican primary voters nationally in elections call themselves evangelical Christians. And if you look within that community, if you look at, you know, middle age and older evangelicals, wild opposition to gay marriage. Eighteen to 29-year-old evangelicals, there is a poll a year ago, 44 percent support it. So I think that`s where the movement is eventually going to come. MADDOW: It`s going to take time, aging. KORNACKI: Yes. MADDOW: Steve Kornacki, co-host of "THE CYCLE," weekdays at 3:00 Eastern here on MSNBC. That was very smart. I think about these stuff all the time, but that some of the numbers I`ve heard about it. Thanks for helping. KORNACKI: Thanks. MADDOW: Appreciate it. All right. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK. There is a story I bet you have not heard about help that the Republican presidential campaign is about to get in this election that I`m not sure is help they want. But they are getting it anyway whether they want it or not. It is coming from Alabama. Have you heard this story? It is a weird one. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Are you a non-swing state voter? I am, too. I feel your pain. If you live in New York or Mississippi or Oklahoma or Vermont, there`s not a lot of mystery about the election in your state this year. In years like this, no matter how excited you are about the presidential election, if you are a non-swing state voter, you can feel like you don`t count. But there`s always phone banking, right? Calling people who are in swing states to try to convince those folks to vote for one candidate or the other. Usually when non-swing staters get involved, it`s stuff like that, it`s phone calls, right? But on the left, there have been some fun culture clashes over the years, involving physically getting up and going to swing states, to try and help the Democratic candidates in undecided America. You saw that famously in 1968 with the get clean for Gene idea. Hippy college kids for Eugene McCarthy who was running as an anti-Vietnam War challenger to President Lyndon Johnson in the primary. Those young volunteers famously underwent de-hippifying makeovers, right, so the New Hampshire electorate would not feel accosted or crept out by these subversive, outsider, long hair dudes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By bus or own cars and otherwise, they have come to New Hampshire from campuses from as far away as the south and Midwest. In the morning in the medicine quarters in an empty store, they got a briefing on how to canvas door to door the most effective ways as to how to win votes for their man McCarthy rather than losing. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than anything -- since your encounter with the voters will be brief, they`re going to judge you on your appearance and demeanor. And so, it`s just crucial that you pay very close attention to the appearance you are presenting. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Get your haircut, hippies. Your appearance, your demeanor, clean for Gene volunteers did make a difference. Gene McCarthy got 42 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary. And ultimately, President Johnson on to quit the race. You know, you saw a similar mass influx in 2004 in Iowa, on behalf of the anti-Iraq war candidacy of Vermont Governor Howard Dean. The Dean campaign`s called it the perfect storm, an estimated 3,500 Howard Dean supporters, converging on Iowa, ahead of the caucuses. The perfect storm campaigners were easy to spot because they wore these Day-Glo safety orange stocking caps. In the end, Howard finished a disappointing third place in Iowa, the perfect orange storm hat did not work. The news editor at at the time suggested putting yourself in the boots of an average Iowa Democrat. Quote, "The campaign is so intense that it`s become a form of political harassment. Your form rings every 10 minutes with an automated robocall on behalf of one candidate or another. Your mailbox is jammed at political junk mail. Then a knock comes on your door and there you find a couple of committed campaigners from Park Slope, for Noe Valley or Wicker Park telling you that Howard Dean is your man, and they wearing these really loud orange caps. I can`t help but think that Dean-ites come off as maybe a little precious, maybe a little cultish in those caps." How your campaign presents itself, when it is deploying volunteers to disputed territory, every nuance of how you present yourself in that circumstance matters. And this year is no exception. Consider the great state of Alabama. There`s no mystery where Alabama`s electoral votes are going to go this fall, right? So, if you`re really psyched and you`re from Alabama, there`s no use of you volunteering and canvassing in your home down. So, Alabama Democrats this year have been taking their pent-up desire for the president`s reelection and they`ve turned into sending car loads of Alabama Democratic volunteers across the border into the Florida panhandle to campaign for President Obama there. Again, the Democrats are not going far. They`re going right over their state border, to that part of Florida that sometimes gets called "Florabama", because it seems so much like Alabama over there. That`s what the Democrats are doing. But the Republicans from Alabama, they are not just day tripping across the state border to somewhere very much like where they are. No, the Republicans in Alabama are going long. Two hundred Alabama Republican volunteers have reportedly signed up to campaign in Ohio, and in some other states in the House, but also Ohio -- going door to door, soliciting votes for Mitt Romney. In great Howard dean perfect storm-style, the Alabama Republicans have a name for the volunteers they`re going to be busing around the country. They`re calling them Battleground Patriots. They`re not just going on trips to Ohio or North Carolina or Florida or Virginia. They say that they`re going on deployments. So busloads of Alabama Republicans are deploying, they`re going to descend on swing states later this month to persuade people who aren`t necessarily going to vote for Mitt Romney, that those people ought to vote for Mitt Romney. One of the things that Mr. Romney is up against in this election is that regardless of voters say how they feel about individual candidates, voters this year do not like the idea of the Republican Party. The Republican Party is not selling right now. More people dislike the Republican Party than like it. And so now, into that political reality, what we`re going to do is we`re going to take Alabama Republicans and spread them out around the country. Send them out to meet undecided voters in Ohio, to remind those undecided or independent voters what Republicanism is all about. Hi, we`re from Alabama and we`re here to help. Hey, Ohio, when you`re thinking about voting for Mitt Romney, think Alabama Republicans. On the day of his inauguration, Alabama`s current Republican Governor Robert Bentley said, quote, "Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as your savoir, I`m telling you you`re not my brother and you`re not my sister." Inauguration day. The last time we had a Democratic president running for reelection in 1996, it was a Republican state senator in Alabama who wrote and distributed a speech about how slavery was not only justified by the Bible, he said the really under-appreciated thing about slavery in the United States was how good slavery was for black people. This was in 1996, not 1896. And the reaction by Alabama Republicans -- well, they just kept him around. He stayed in the state senate for two more years after the slavery was good for black people thing. Why not? Why get rid of him? What`s the problem? Last year when demonstrators came to Alabama to protest its draconian, new anti-immigrant law, the Alabama Republican party chairman told the local press, quote, "This is recommend necessary event of others coming into our state to cause trouble." Remind you of that, huh? The Mitt Romney for president campaign is about to get the benefit in probably the most important swing state in the country of a self-proclaimed deployment of hundreds of Republican partisans from Alabama, spreading out through Ohio -- knocking on doors, talking to people who are statistically likely to have a very negative view of Republicans. They`re going to be making the case to these people that this visit from the Republican Party of Alabama is why you should vote for Mitt Romney. Undecided Ohio voter, meet a bus-full of Alabama Republicans. What could possibly go wrong? I wonder if they will have matching hats. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again on Monday night. Now, it`s time for a special live Friday edition of "THE LAST WORD." Have a great weekend. Good night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END