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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/12/12

Guests: Raquel Lopez, Frank Rich

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC: Good evening, Rachel. Great job quarterbacking the show last night. I used to be a quarterback, but I`m just your offensive lineman right now. I kind of -- I really do enjoy that, by the way. RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Ed, there is nothing offensive about you anymore. Thank you. It was a great night. I am so looking forward to Tuesday, I can hardly stand it. Usually I look forward to the weekend. Now I just can`t help but look forward to the next debate. SCHULTZ: I hear you. Great job. Have a great weekend. MADDOW: Thanks, man, you, too. All right. Thanks to you at home as well for staying with us for the next hour. We do have to start tonight with breaking news. We have more details for you about the breaking news that is just in tonight about this shot, this gunshot fired at the Obama campaign`s headquarters in Denver, Colorado, late today. These are pictures that we`ve got of the shattered window front of the Obama campaign office. According to the reports that we have so far, there were people inside the campaign office at the time of this incident, which is in part what makes this a story of national significance. Again, there reportedly were people inside the Obama campaign headquarters when the shot was fired that broke this window at the front of the headquarters. Thankfully no one inside, nobody involved in this incident at all appears to have been injured. The Obama campaign is as of now declining comment on this incident today in Denver. They have been referring all questions to the police. Joining us now on the phone is Denver police spokesperson detective Raquel Lopez. Detective Lopez, thank you very much for your time tonight. We really appreciate it. RAQUEL LOPEZ, DENVER POLICE SPOKESPERSON (via telephone): Sure. MADDOW: What can you add to what we understand so far about this shot fired at the Obama campaign headquarters? LOPEZ: Sure. The information I can give you is that we received a call at about 3:00 p.m. on a criminal mischief in progress. When officers arrived they did observe a shot had been fired into the structure. Like you said, thankfully nobody was hurt, because there was folks inside the office. Right now, this case is an active investigation so we are looking, you know, for any witnesses that can come forward or any information that they can provide to us, to the detectives on this. MADDOW: Is there a person of interest or a vehicle of interest or any other leads you`re pursuing on this? LOPEZ: It`s an active investigation. They`re looking at avenues. We don`t have a description we can provide but the detectives are working on this actively. MADDOW: Detective Lopez, were there any threats made known to the local police about this specific incident? Any politically relevant threats that had been reported either physical threats or verbal threats? LOPEZ: No. Not that I`m aware of. Like I said, this is the only incident, it sounds like it`s an isolated incident with the one shot being fired into the structure. As far as I know, there has not been any threats. MADDOW: One last question for you, detective. I understand that this was on West 9th Avenue near Acoma Street in Denver. Tell us what that neighborhood is like. Is that a relatively densely populated urban area or was this a sort of a spread out spot? LOPEZ: It has -- there`s, you know, folks that actually live -- it`s off of, like, Santa Fe and 9th Avenue. We do have a lot of different businesses. It`s a popular area. A lot of art studios. So there`s just a variety of people that do live in the area. MADDOW: But this is not the -- LOPEZ: And have businesses in the area. MADDOW: Sorry to interrupt you there. This is not a neighborhood where you`ve frequently had to deal with sort of stray bullets and people, and gunfire being associated with other types of crime, is it? LOPEZ: Right. Right. MADDOW: OK. Denver Police Detective Raquel Lopez. Thank you very much for your time tonight. I appreciate it, ma`am. LOPEZ: Sure. Have a good night. MADDOW: Thank you. We will, of course, keep you posted as we learn more on this tonight. But, again, a bottom line is a shot was fired at the Obama campaign headquarters in Denver tonight as you heard the detective just say there. It`s a populated area, an area that has a lot of retail. There were people inside the headquarters when the shot as fired into the building and shattered that glass. Nobody was injured. It is an active investigation. They`re not releasing any sort of description of a suspect or anything of that sort. But we will keep you posted. All right. On to today`s news. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hi, Liza, how are you? Hi, Liza. How you doing? Hi. Wait a second, is this Charlie? No, that`s Sam. I know Sam. Hey, Charlie, how are you doing, buddy? CHARLIE RYAN, PAUL RYAN`S SON: Good. ROMNEY: Hey, man. Nicely done, my friend. REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Thank you. ROMNEY: Way to go. Way to go. Way to go. Way to go. What a job he did. Oh, he was fabulous. Great job. JANNA RYAN, PAUL RYAN`S WIFE: I was OK. ROMNEY: Ann was so nervous for me. P. RYAN: You know, he was acting so (INAUDIBLE). ROMNEY: Careful. (LAUGHTER) P. RYAN: Oh, yes. I didn`t see that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan earlier today on an airport tarmac in Columbus, Ohio, pointing at something, and ix naying any (INAUDIBLE) about the debate day because of that icrophone may. What they were pointing out there, Mitt Romney was alerting Paul Ryan to there, a suspicious looking boom mike that was hovering up above that was capturing what Mitt Ryan -- Mitt Ryan? -- what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were saying. The point Mitt Romney interrupted Paul Ryan is when he was saying, he was just acting so -- Romney jumped in, careful, careful. Ixnay on the (INAUDIBLE). At his post-debate appearance today in Wisconsin, Vice President Joe Biden took the final topic of last night`s debate, the issue of abortion rights and hit Paul Ryan with it pretty forcefully. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If anyone had a doubt about what`s at state in this election, when it comes to women`s rights, and the Supreme Court, I`m sure they were said last night. It was made clear last night that they don`t believe in protecting a woman`s access to health care. It was made very clear that they do not believe a woman has a right to control her own body. These guys have a social policy out of the `50s. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was Joe Biden`s first major campaign appearance today after last night`s big event with Paul Ryan. Now, Paul Ryan`s first public appearance after last night`s debate was not that moment on the tarmac with Mitt Romney with the funny microphone, it was actually this. His campaign did one of those odd way too personal things where they allowed the press in to witness his family doing an otherwise normal family thing -- in this case eating breakfast. It quickly becomes an awkward not at all normal interaction because of all the press that are there. Everybody`s trying to pretend like it`s normal but it really is not. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: So how did Biden do, you think? RYAN: I felt great about it. REPORTER: Did you feel knocked around by him? RYAN: No. No. It`s what I expected. All right. REPORTER: Do you regret sending those two letters to him for the budget? REPORTER: For the stimulus? RYAN: We`re going to eat breakfast now. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Obviously his family should be allowed to eat breakfast in peace and he should be allowed to peruse the menu and order. The campaign did allow these reporters in to watch them eating breakfast. He did agree to start taking questions from them. You can`t really be shocked what the reporters wanted to ask about was the stimulus moment, the biggest oof moment of the entire debate which we`ll play for you in just a moment. But I think even as people realized that that stimulus moment, the letters thing was probably the most devastating moment of the debate last night, I think the more important thing is that moment, itself, fits a pattern. It`s about this problem with Paul Ryan`s brand which I think earned him the vice presidential nomination -- Paul Ryan`s brand as a serious, principled policy guy, right? The more attention Paul Ryan`s record gets, the less that brand for him makes sense to an almost ridiculous degree now. Some of these things got called out last night directly by Joe Biden in front of that giant TV audience. But not all of them got called out. I mean, say it this way. The first one happened right away, right at the top of the debate, where you could see this huge distance between what Paul Ryan says he believes and how he has behaved when he`s had choices to make about these things that he says he has these beliefs about. This was the beginning of last night`s debate on the topic of Libya. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RYAN: When we look weak our adversaries are much more willing to test us, more brazen in attacks -- BIDEN: With all due respect, that`s a bunch of malarkey. MARTHA RADDATZ, MODERATOR: And why is that so? BIDEN: Because not a single thing he said is accurate. First of all -- RADDATZ: Be specific. BIDEN: I will be very specific. Number one, this lecture on embassy security. The congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That is true. Paul Ryan`s house Republican caucus where he is the budget guy proposed slashing hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for embassy security last year. Paul Ryan is saying this embassy security has been under-resourced. Paul Ryan proposes cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from embassy security. That little perfect instance of hypocrisy as well as the stimulus hypocrisy were the things that got called out most overtly last night. But there are a ton of these problems in Mr. Ryan`s record. And there`s never been a brighter spotlight on it than there was last night. Like there was this exchange on the military. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RYAN: You don`t cut defense by $1 trillion. That`s what we`re talking about. This invites weakness. Look, do we believe in peace through strength? You bet we do and that means you don`t impose these devastating cuts on our military. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: When Paul Ryan condemns defense cuts as a nefarious Democratic idea that he is fighting valiantly against, he did not mention he voted in favor of those exact same defense cuts. Also on the issue of Medicare -- I mean, maybe it`s been said enough now that it doesn`t need to be said every time, but once again at the debate Paul Ryan pounded his chest and criticized Democrats for a change in Medicare funding that he`s denouncing on the campaign trail. Last night as a $716 billion cut to Medicare. Well, that`s a cut to Medicare that he put in his loan own Paul Ryan budget. You can be before that thing or you can be against that thing, but you cannot simultaneously be for that thing and against that thing, not if we`re supposed to take you seriously on policy which is supposedly the whole idea of you -- which brings us to the issue of the stimulus. Today TiVo said, not your personal TiVo but TiVo the company, said this was one of the top two most watched moments in last night`s debate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RYAN: Look at just the $90 billion in stimulus. The vice president was in charge of overseeing this -- $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups. BIDEN: I love my friend here. I`m not allowed to show letters but go on our Web site. He sent me two letters saying, by the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin? We sent millions of dollars. RADDATZ: You did ask for stimulus money. BIDEN: Sure, he did. RYAN: On two occasions we advocating for constituents who were applying for grants. That`s what we do. We do that for all constituents who are applying for grants. BIDEN: I love that. I love that. This is such a bad program and he writes me a letter saying, writes the Department of Energy a letter saying the reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs. His words. And now he`s sitting here looking at me? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The other nice additional hypocritical element of that is when he says, green pork? At the top which I think is supposed to sound as disgusting as it is. It`s the idea there would be alternative energy, green energy stimulus projects. The "Associated Press" today published the letter specifically for Paul Ryan asking for green pork stimulus funding for his district. Specifically, like electric cars and stuff. Paul Ryan was begging for that money. There is -- there is a pattern of hypocrisy here. Paul Ryan gets all of his credit as being a principled guy who stands by his convictions but that brand is not supported by his record and that has been true of his record forever, as long as he`s tried to do that as a congressman but campaign a different way. It`s always been true of him, but now it is finally getting pointed out on live TV in front of 50 million people. Here`s the other thing, though. What you just saw in that clip was Joe Biden sort of teaching other Democrats I think you can actually defend Democratic policies. You can actually defend even the stimulus -- you can defend the stimulus as good policy, good policy that even Republicans admit is good policy, instead of just leaving it out there as low hanging political fruit that you are refusing to pick because the Republicans have said mean things about it. Joe Biden did not call out Paul Ryan on all of these instances of hypocrisy last night but he did call him out on his hypocrisy and on the malarkey of their argument against the stimulus bill. Democrats have been totally afraid to run on the success of the stimulus. But by hitting Paul Ryan on it like Joe Biden did last night, maybe this opens up new political territory for Democrats to take advantage of. We`ll talk about that next, with the great Chris Hayes. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The one and only Chris Hayes joins us next. And Frank Rich is coming up, too. We`ve got a big night. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) CALLER: I assume you voted against the stimulus and I`m just curious if you accepted any money in your district? RYAN: No, I`m not one who votes for something then writes the government to ask them to send us money. I did not request any stimulus money. REPORTER: A report came out again today in the "A.P." It was a repeat of the "Wall Street Journal" article from a couple years ago where you had asked for stimulus money for your district. Is that report accurate? RYAN: I never asked for stimulus. I don`t recall -- I haven`t seen this report so I really can`t comment on it. I oppose the stimulus, because it doesn`t work. It didn`t work. Look at just the $90 billion in stimulus. The vice president was in charge of overseeing this -- $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups. BIDEN: I love my friend here. I`m not allowed to show letters, but go on our Web site, he sent me two letters saying, by the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin? We sent millions of dollars. You know why he said -- RADDATZ: You did ask for stimulus money, correct? BIDEN: Sure he did. RYAN: On two occasions, we advocated your constituents applying for grants. That`s what we do. We do that for all constituents. BIDEN: I love that. I love that. This is such a bad program and he writes me a letter saying -- writes the Department of Energy a letter saying the reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs. His words. And now he`s sitting here looking at me? (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Paul Ryan, no, I`m not one of those people who votes for something and writes to the government to ask them to send us money. I did not request any stimulus money. Paul Ryan -- no, I never asked for the stimulus. I oppose the stimulus because it didn`t work. Paul Ryan -- yes, on two occasions, I -- it will create growth and jobs was the quote. Paul Ryan last night being amazing. Joining us now is Chris Hayes, the host of MSNBC`s weekend show "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES." Chris` new book "Twilights of the Elites: America after Meritocracy." Chris, thank you for being here tonight. CHRIS HAYES, "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES" HOST: Great to be here. MADDOW: We watched two elite Washington operators last night, two men who spent their whole adult lives in Washington. Does that mean that Paul Ryan`s sin is such a common sin that it`s not an important one? HAYES: No. No. It is very important, and it is very common. But here`s why it`s so important. There seems to me sometimes a desire on the part of the Romney campaign and equal desire sometimes among liberals and the Obama campaign to talk about this grand ideological battle about the size of government. Really what we`re having, we`re fighting about the size of government and there is nothing in the record of the Republican Party to suggest that they will shrink government. It just doesn`t -- it`s not there. You`ve written about this in your book "Drift," under Reagan, we`ve seen it under George W. Bush. Government grew as a share of GDP, security spending, even things like Medicare Part D, right? So, the question is, who will government benefit? That is question at issue in the campaign. Do not let yourself -- the reason that hypocrisy is so important, do not let yourself get suckered into the belief that this is a battle over how big government is going to be. I don`t think that`s actually what`s on the table. What`s on the table is: are the poor going to see their Medicaid cut and the Pentagon get $2 trillion, or is the balance in the other direction? That is what is on the table. MADDOW: It`s not just a false debate about the size of government. It`s a false debate about whether or not government works. The thing that I thought was important last night about Biden and the reason that we cut that sound bite as long as we did there, so you can hear what Biden says, is that he doesn`t just say, ah, you`re a hypocrite, you wanted this money. He says, you wanted this money because as you argued to me, this spending works. It would work in your district. If you believe it would work in your district, how could you argue it wouldn`t work in the country? HAYES: And as you argued in 2002 when you got up in the well of the house and made an impassioned argument for Keynesian stimulus when it was a stimulus plan being put by George W. Bush, and when you voted for $700 billion in stimulus, $700 billion in stimulus which was the Republican stimulus package that was passed by -- that was voted on by the Republicans in the House, in parallel to the actual Recovery Act. So, again, they can`t -- what they want to do now in opposition is create this ideological vision of smaller government, of going after malformed bureaucracies. When they are in power, they do not do that. No one should be suckered into thinking that they will. MADDOW: So here`s my question. When it comes to smaller government and malformed bureaucracies what you get from the Democrats is arguments against all of those things. You get the argument from the Democrats saying, we are also against all of those sorts of things. HAYES: Yes. MADDOW: We are just interested in reforming things in a more compassionate way. So they`re still arguing the Republicans` line on this even though they`re pursuing policies that are more defensively distributive. HAYES: Yes. What I thought was important is that Joe Biden defended the stimulus last night -- MADDOW: Yes. HAYES: -- in that moment. And people should read Michael Grunwald`s "New New Deal" which I`ve talked about before on air because he lays out in some ways what Joe Biden did in overseeing that stimulus spending. It wasn`t some petty undertaking. It was actually really remarkable. In fact, they lived up to despite all the Solyndra demagoguery that`s come from Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney they lived up to an incredibly high standard in terms of the efficiency and prudence of spending that much money in that period of time. It was in some ways a great testament to effective bureaucratic deployment. It was a great testament to government doing what it should do. And that story has remained woefully untold. MADDOW: We went through this process with the Democrats on Obamacare which involved them embracing the term Obamacare, which is when they had been running away from their achievement in health reform because they didn`t like the way Republicans talked about it and then something click, Democrats -- a few braves one first, started running on it saying we see this as a great political asset. Are we due for that with the stimulus, too? HAYES: I would like to say yes. I think the stimulus, when the recovery happens, and if the recovery happens under a Barack Obama administration in the second term, retroactively, the stimulus will take on this very haloed view. People will go back and look at it and say it in incredibly favorable light. But everything hangs, as much does, as much as, frankly, the general opinion of the liberal project hangs on the re-election of Barack Obama, frankly. How that story is written is a story that is written about whether Barack Obama is re-elected or not. MADDOW: That`s exactly right. You`re very smart. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Chris Hayes is the host of MSNBC`s weekend morning show "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES," which is going to be the bomb tomorrow. Chris` new book is "Twilights of the Elites." Chris, thank you. Appreciate it, man. HAYES: (INAUDIBLE) MADDOW: All right. Last night`s vice presidential debate was full of obvious entertainment value but also two really important and substantive policy issues that finally became part of the campaign that I think changed the campaign in a really serious way. Two issues, have not been the focus of the news about the debate today, but they`re about to be the focus of this show. That and Frank Rich coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Twenty-five days until Election Day. Mitt Romney has been campaigning for president for longer than today`s kindergarten students have been alive. And in this moment, this close to political judgment day for Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan, at this moment, 25 days out, the Republican ticket as yet has nothing coherent to say about one of the only things a president is directly and personally responsible for under the Constitution of the United States. What I think is the most shocking and consequential revelation of last night`s debate is coming up next with Frank Rich. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: You know, honestly, personally, I have never had more fun watching a debate in my entire life. When we got off the air last night, somebody sent me a note that there had been a big -- a physical fight, a physical altercation at a debate in California between two congressional candidates this week, and so I thought -- oh, no, maybe this Joe Biden/Paul Ryan thing wasn`t actually the single most entertaining and illuminating debate of my adult lifetime. But then I watched the supposed big California congressional debate fight and it was really just this, this one guy weirdly aggressively awkwardly hugging the guy really hard. That was it. So who cares? The record stands. Paul Ryan versus Joe Biden in Centreville (ph), Kentucky, last night. Come on, this is add good as it ever gets. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) BIDEN: Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me something. Show me a policy. Show me a policy where you take responsibility. RYAN: This is a plan that`s bipartisan. It`s a plan I put together with a prominent Democrat senator from Oregon. BIDEN: There`s not one Democrat who endorses it. Not one Democrat who signed the plan. RYAN: Our partner is a Democrat from Oregon. BIDEN: And he said he does no longer support you for that. RYAN: We put it together with the former Clinton budget director. This idea -- BIDEN: Who disavows it. RYAN: This idea -- BIDEN: This is a bunch of stuff. Look, here`s the deal. RADDATZ: What does that mean, a bunch of stuff? BIDEN: Well, it means it`s simply inaccurate. RYAN: It`s Irish. BIDEN: It is. We Irish call it malarkey. RADDATZ: Thanks for the translation. BIDEN: The idea -- if you heard that -- that little soliloquy on 47 percent and you think he just make a mistake, I think you`re -- I got a bridge to sell you. RYAN: With respect to that quote, I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don`t come out of your mouth the right way. (LAUGHTER) BIDEN: But I always say what I mean. And so does Romney. RYAN: We want -- (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: The right is all upset today because vice president Joe Biden interrupted a lot and smiled a lot and openly laughed at Paul Ryan all night long. I can see why they would be upset. But, you know, here`s the thing. We knew from the Democrats saying it all week long that they thought Mitt Romney`s effectiveness in the first debate last week was largely due to him saying stuff that was not true, denying the existence of big fundamental parts of his record. The president at that debate apparently came prepared to debate Mr. Romney on his record but he was not prepared to make Mr. Romney admit what his record is against his will. The Democrats had over and over and over again this past week that they were not going to make that mistake again at the second debate. They were not going to let matters of truthfulness and the Republican side`s record just slide. They were going to be aggressive on that. And Vice President Biden`s way of being aggressive on that was to laugh in Paul Ryan`s face. Thus signaling to the moderator, to the audience and importantly to Mr. Ryan, himself, essentially, OK, man, seriously, this has got to be a joke. I`m not going to let you get away with that. And that strategy put Mr. Ryan on the defensive. It rattled him. That drove the right nuts. And listen, both sides do this. Both sides complain like this, but when you complain like this, it really is one of the ways that you can tell you`re losing, on both sides. Look, last week, even during the presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, the Obama campaign tried to push on Twitter the idea that Mitt Romney was being inappropriately testy. They tried so hard to push the testy Mitt idea. They tried so hard to make that into a thing that people should feel about that debate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: He got testy about it. He got testy about being on defense. I think that came across to the American people. JIM MESSINA, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: A testy Governor Romney who spent the entire time on defense. DAVID PLOUFFE, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: I think for some folks at home it probably came across a little testy. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Yes, no. Nice try. I mean, maybe Mitt Romney was testy, at the presidential debate, and maybe Joe Biden did laugh in Paul Ryan`s face all night at the vice presidential debate. But that is in part because these guys, Mitt Romney and Joe Biden, were pumped and they were pumped because they were obviously winning their debates. And complaining about that does not change that. But the other person who was pumped last night and whose performance was both winning and, therefore, grating to the side that came out the worst last night, was the moderator, ABC`s Martha Raddatz. She did not favor one candidate over the other. She interrupted both candidates at roughly the same rate. She gave both candidates almost exactly equal time. But Martha Raddatz who I officially would now support for president, herself, Martha Raddatz kept it moving and stopped these guys from diving down talking points rabbit holes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) BIDEN: With all due respect, that`s a bunch of malarkey. RADDATZ: And why is that so? BIDEN: Because not a single thing he said is accurate. First of all -- RADDATZ: Be specific. Wasn`t this a massive intelligence failure? Was that really appropriate right in the middle of the crisis? You have refused, and, again, to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20 percent across the board tax cut. Do you actually have the specifics, or are you still working on it and that`s why you won`t tell voters? (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: And when he wouldn`t give her the specifics she followed up by saying, OK, no specifics. By knowing what she was talking about particularly on foreign policy but essentially the whole night, and by interrupting judicially and ab libbing appropriate follow-up questions, Martha Raddatz covered a lot of ground that did not get touched if last week`s debate, that has not been touched in the campaign much at all really and importantly, she helped expose some big blank spots on the policy map for the challenging party in this presidential race which before last night had been able to get away with zero specifics on anything they did not want to be specific about. So last night Paul Ryan either had to give specifics or we finally, finally got a giant national spotlight shining on the fact that he had no specifics to offer. That`s why this debate was awesome. That`s why this debate went fast. This was an exhilarating amount of ground to have covered in 90 minutes, an exhilarating amount of new information and new political truths that we did not know about before last night, but that we know now. It started right away, started right away. Paul Ryan saying we should have apologized for U.S. Marines urinating on Taliban corpses in Afghanistan but he would not say when asked directly and when pressed with a follow-up, he would not say if the U.S. was right to apologize for burning Korans. No answer. No position on that. George W. Bush administration apologized for that, the Obama administration did, too. Paul Ryan is running with a guy who literally wrote a book called "No Apologies." Does he also mean no apology for that? No answer. Asked directly if a military strike on Iran would technically be an effective means of stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon -- Vice President Biden said yes to that question, Paul Ryan, no answer. Asked what a Romney/Ryan administration would do differently on Iran and Syria than is more strong than what the Obama administration is doing since they`ve criticized the administration as weak, what would they do that would be stronger? No answer from Paul Ryan, which led Joe Biden to say, hey, the only other thing we`re not doing that we could be doing is war. Are you saying you want a war? No answer. Here`s my favorite one. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RADDATZ: Let me ask you quickly -- what`s your criteria for intervention? BIDEN: Yes. RYAN: In Syria? RADDATZ: Worldwide. RYAN: What is in the national interest of the American people, what is in the national security of the American people. It`s got to be in a strategic national interest of our country. RADDATZ: No humanitarian? RYAN: Each situation will come up with its own set of circumstances but putting American troops on the ground, that`s got to be within the national security interests of the American people. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, Congressman, how will you make national security decisions about sending troops abroad? We will make those decisions by considering national security. Yes, Congressman, that`s the topic at hand here. On what are the grounds on which you would make that decision? Yes, we would make that decision about the national security. We would base it on national security. Hall pass for the bathroom, please. Mr. Ryan also flatly denied his campaign`s stated position that military spending should go up by $2 trillion. Mr. Romney has been guaranteeing that he will reserve a specific proportion of GDP to be spent on the military no matter what our defense needs are. That is a promise of a huge, huge increase in military spending. A huge increase that the Pentagon says it does not want. It`s been called a force-feeding plan for the Pentagon -- the Romney/Ryan spending plan here. But last night, Martha Raddatz`s questioning and Joe Biden`s badgering got Paul Ryan to disavow this plan altogether, saying he does not want an increase at all despite the fact it is what he and Mr. Romney has been campaigning on. Paul Ryan broke new ground on saying how and why he and Mitt Romney would overturn Roe v. Wade and make abortion criminal. His answer on rape in particular has people going nuts today for obvious reasons. We`ll be covering that in future shows. Joe Biden also dipped Paul Ryan in tar and rolled him in feathers on the issue of the stimulus. And Mr. Ryan`s supposed principles on that issue. We talked about that moments ago with Chris Hayes. But there are two things that I think are hugely important to the presidential campaign that happened last night. Two things that I, frankly, never thought we would get to. And that we got to and, boy, howdy, is this new territory. First was this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You asked, do I feel free? Let me put it to you this way. I earned capital in the campaign, political capital and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That`s what happened in, after the 2000 election. I earned some capital. I`ve earned capital in this election, and I`m going to spend it for what I told the people I`d spend it on, which is you`ve heard the agenda. Social Security and -- (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Social Security, first on the list. When George W. Bush won re-election in 2004, the first thing he said he wanted to spend his political capital on, first on the list was Social Security. Specifically what he meant was privatizing Social Security. No more Social Security safety net, just hand it over to Wall Street and hope your numbers come up as cherries instead of lemons when the Wall Street slot machine dial stops spinning, minus the fees from your broker, of course, grandma. Did they warn you about those fees? The Republican plan in the second Bush term to privatize Social Security was a political disaster. The more President George W. Bush traveled around the country and talked about this idea, the less popular the idea became and it started off about as popular as food poisoning. And at the time George W. Bush was traveling around the country promoting this disastrous idea, back in Washington, back in the House of Representatives, a young radically conservative congressman from Wisconsin was promoting legislation in the house that would privatize Social Security even faster than the Bush plan, and more radically than the bush plan and with an even bigger direct payoff for Wall Street. Even the Bush administration at the time denounced Paul Ryan`s version of privatizing Social Security as irresponsible. But he really believed in it and he did not give up on it. After trying and failing along with George W. Bush to privatize Social Security in 2005. In his budget in 2008, he said we should privatize Social Security. In his budget in 2010, he said we should privatize Social Security. It was not until last year that Paul Ryan dropped privatizing Social Security, that old disastrous George W. Bush idea from his Paul Ryan budgets. So there was some suspense heading into last night, right? This is a big, potent political issue. And the Democrats have been keeping their powder dry on this. Is Biden going to hold Paul Ryan to it? Is Paul Ryan going to have to disavow something he`s been working on since even before the P90X workout was invented? Is he going to have to disavow this thing he stood for, for so long now that he`s trying not to stand for it on the national stage? How is he going to handle this? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RADDATZ: You were one of the few lawmakers to stand with President Bush when he was seeking to privatize Social Security. RYAN: For younger people. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: This is what Bush said back then, too. Just for younger people. Don`t worry, grandma. We`ll privatize it for everyone who isn`t getting it yet. So you`re grandfathered in, grandfather, but then we`re killing it. This is the same old George W. Bush argument. They thought that this made it seem less scary. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RYAN: For younger people. What we said then, and what I`ve always agreed, is let younger Americans have a voluntary choice of making their money work faster for them within the Social Security system. That`s not what Mitt Romney`s proposing. What we`re saying is no changes for anybody 55 and above. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: When Charlie Pierce from Boston wrote up that moment from the debate at "Esquire" magazine today he wrote this: "You could hear the screams from Romney headquarters all the way up the Charles to where I was watching." Democrats have so far been keeping their powder dry on this very, very potent issue, on the Republicans wanting to privatize Social Security. Not just privatizing Medicare, and thereby getting rid of it, which has been an issue in this campaign, but privatizing Social Security and thereby getting rid of it. Before last night, that was Paul Ryan`s record and it was George W. Bush`s record. But nobody knew if Romney and Ryan were going to try to drag that old disastrous idea over the threshold of the White House with them. Now we know they are dragging it with them, which is amazing. When I said there were two points from last night, and one last thing I think needs to be mentioned that I think changed the race last night. And it`s the war. Before the debate started, there was a really weird moment. This was yesterday, but before the debate. It was on FOX News. It`s a weird moment when George W. Bush`s Iraq war spokesman, Paul Ryan`s senior staffer on this campaign, a man named Dan Senor, and he went on FOX News yesterday afternoon to try to explain what the Republican position is on the war in Afghanistan. Dan Senor said Romney and Ryan support the president`s timeline for leaving Afghanistan in 2014 but then he also screwed up and said this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAN SENOR, ROMNEY SENIOR ADVISER: So this is important. Governor Romney has always said it is a mistake to broadcast timelines, if you`re the commander-in-chief, to broadcast timelines so our enemies are in the know about our next move. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: It`s a weird mistake, right? I mean, you can`t be onboard totally with the timeline and then say the timeline is a huge mistake, broadcasting a date to our enemies. So that was a weird thing that happened on FOX News before the debate, Paul Ryan`s senior staffer on the campaign. Then at the debate, it turned out that was not a mistake. They are trying to say this is a policy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RYAN: With respect to the Afghanistan and the 2014 deadline, we agree with the 2014 transition. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Oh. OK. You agree with the timeline to leave in 2014. So you don`t agree with your senior staffer guy who went crazy on FOX News today and said a timeline is a big mistake, a broadcast to our enemies? You agree with the transition, you agree with the deadline of 2014. It was -- I`m glad to know you agree with that because it was crazy when your senior staffer guy said that would be a big mistake. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RYAN: We don`t want to broadcast to our enemies, put a date on your calendar, wait us out, and then come back. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: What used to be frustrating is that the Republican side in this campaign was not capable of or willing to talk about the war in Afghanistan for which they would be assuming responsibility if they were elected. Eek. Last night, they finally did have to talk about it because the debate was really good. And their position apparently is that we should leave in 2014, because saying we are going to leave in 2014 is a huge mistake. We used to talk about something called a commander-in-chief test in vice presidential politics. Last night was that test for Congressman Paul Ryan. How would you grade him on that test? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RYAN: Joe and I are from similar towns. He`s from Scranton, Pennsylvania, I`m from Janesville, Wisconsin. Do you know what the unemployment rate is in Scranton today? BIDEN: I sure do. BIDEN: I sure do. RYAN: It`s 10 percent. BIDEN: Yeah. RYAN: You know what it was the day you guys came in -- 8.5 percent. BIDEN: Yeah. RYAN: That`s how it`s going all around America. Look -- BIDEN: You don`t read the statistics. That`s not how it`s going. It`s going down. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: It is going down to 7.8 percent nationwide. One of many insta-fact checking moments courtesy of Joe Biden in last night`s debate. Joining us now is Frank Rich. "New York" magazine`s editor at large, his next feature story is out next week. It`s called "The right will triumph in the end. Frank, thank you for being here on post debate Friday. FRANK RICH, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Delighted to be here with you. MADDOW: I had such a good time watching that debate. It moved so fast. Martha Raddatz made it really substantive. And I hope the interrupting was not pointless. I thought the interrupting was sort of an accountability thing. What did you think? RICH: It was an accountability thing. And so, it was conversational. It wasn`t stagey. It didn`t seem like a stunt put together, although probably it was. Also I think a thing that worked for Biden he comes across as genial and having a sense of humor and that makes his interruption seem not so bad. Except obviously to Republicans who are now saying he`s an alcoholic, drug, pill-popping maniac out of a horror movie. Stop being cry babies, boys, I would say. MADDOW: Well, they`ve said that it was very, very damaging for the president to be scowling and it was damaging for Vice President Biden to be smiling. (LAUGHTER) RICH: What are they supposed to do, look constipated the whole time? The thing though, what I liked about it is, I don`t think a vice presidential debate really has consequence in the election. But there was a softening up here that really sets the stage and hopefully he`ll live up to it for the president to come in and do a knockout or some kind of knockout Tuesday. MADDOW: I think that, you saw my introduction there. I think that the privatization of Social Security has been waiting in the wings as a very potent domestic issue for the Democrats. They haven`t much touched it even it is there in Ryan`s records. I don`t if last night means they`re going to go with it, but they certainly have room to go with it after his answers. I also think the stuff on the war was a bit of a commander-in-chief test and I thought Paul Ryan was terrifyingly vacant and coherent on the subject. I thought those were the most important things. RICH: I think they`re both very important. On the Social Security privatization, that is a ball waiting to be hit out of the park. You know, you work through a scenario in the privatized Social Security. You could have bought stock in General motors in 2004 and then in 2008 let Detroit go bankrupt. That`s one example of what that`s about and that should seize it. In the case of national security issues, his tutor, his minder, Ryan`s minder, is Dan Senor, who is sort of the Baghdad Bob of the American side. He is the flack who lied about the state of the situation during the occupation of Iraq by -- in the early days of the war. So that this guy, who is one of the most failed records in the history of foreign policy, is essentially given Ryan cliff`s notes that he regurgitated not terribly well. Couldn`t improvise beyond the talking points he had and the simplest questions whether from Raddatz or from Biden that penetrated that, he didn`t have an answer. MADDOW: What I thought was going on last night on the issue of Afghanistan was the issue that Paul Ryan was confused and did not realize that he was giving an incoherent answer. That he sort of got lost in his words. He may not have understood what the words meant. He was sort of repeating things he`d been told. So, he didn`t get the incoherence. That was my take on it last night. My take on it changed when I went back and looked at the tape of Dan Senor just before the debate saying the same thing. I mean, what does it mean to have as their on purpose, overt, not screwing it up strategy that they`re going to leave in 2014 the way the president wants to and that leaving in 2014 is a mistake. And saying we will leave in 2014 is a mistake and we`re saying we`re going to leave in 2014. I mean -- RICH: It`s like everything because it`s not a real foreign policy. There`s no intellectual basis to it. It`s the charged of sort of the neocon remnants of the Bush years, and being pushed by the same guys and so, it`s basically they take whatever Obama is doing and they make it slightly more truculent. So we`ll do something more active in Syria or with Iran. MADDOW: Stronger. RICH: Stronger, but there are about as many details as there are in their tax numbers. There`s no details. And so what -- so they have this preposterous, it`s like a Rube Goldberg contraption about leaving Afghanistan, of course, it makes no sense. But they were trying to find some desperate distinction from the policy that`s in place, even if it`s meaningless and it makes them look stupid. Right now, I don`t think Ryan has the knowledge -- by the way, neither does Romney. Romney has absolutely no foreign policy experience or background and said almost nothing about foreign policy until this entire campaign until he made that wonderful trip to London and insulted our closest ally. MADDOW: And to Canada. RICH: Yes. MADDOW: Frank Rich, "New York" magazine`s editor at large. Next feature story is, "The right will triumph in the end," which is smart, but obviously wrong. RICH: I hope I`m wrong. Thank you. MADDOW: Nice to have you here. We`ve got more ahead. Stay tuned. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: We want to bring you more details about tonight`s breaking news of that gun shot fired at the Obama`s campaign field office in Denver, Colorado, late today. A gun shot was fired when the offices were occupied. Earlier this hour, Denver police spokesperson, detective Raquel Lopez told us that no one at the site was injured although the site was occupied when the shot was fired. A campaign official also confirming to NBC News tonight that the shot was fired and that everybody at the Denver office is OK. While the Denver police told us they can`t comment on this ongoing investigation, detective Lopez told the "Denver Post" tonight that the department has a description of a possible vehicle of interest. That word vehicle perhaps indicating that the incident may have been a drive-by shooting. We`ll bring you more information on tonight shooting at the Obama field office in Denver, Colorado. We`ll keep you posted on this evolving story here at MSNBC, as we learn more. That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again Monday night. But now it`s time for a special live Friday campaign edition of "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Have a great weekend. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END