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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/13/12

Guests: Frank Rich, Neill Franklin

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thank you, my friend. ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: You bet. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us tonight. Happy to have you here. If you -- like me -- last spent significant time doing videogames when video games looked like this, it can be disconcerting, even disorienting to know that videogames now look like this -- which is to say it is really hard to tell that they are not movies. Ultimately, the basic principles are the same in terms of videogames then and videogames now. Most of them are fighting and shooting games, and for most of them, if you are not really good at controlling your thumbs, you`re probably not going to be a world champion at the game. But the increasing, over-the-top visual realism of modern video games is also matched by an effort of videogame makers to make the wartime combat featured in so many of the most popular games really authentic as combat. So, this game you`re looking at here is called "Medal of Honor: War Fighter". It was so authentic that when the game came out a couple of weeks ago, seven Navy SEALs were officially reprimanded for giving classified information about Navy SEAL stuff to the makers of this game, who presumably used it to make it as authentic as possible. In a new combat realism game that came out today, the makers were advised by a guy named Oliver North. Remember him? The disgraced Marine colonel indicted for 16 felonies in the Reagan-era, Iran Contra scandal. He then went on to become a FOX News personality and a conservative movement hero. Oliver North not only consulted on this new game "Call of Duty" that comes out today. He appears as a character in the game, although look at his hips. In real life, I don`t think his hips swing like a hula dancer the way he`s do in this game. When the character -- actually, I don`t know, I`ve never seen him walk. When the character Oliver North talks in "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2," this game that came out today, it is actually Oliver North`s real voice. But here`s the thing about this game that came out today and today`s news, and it`s the thing I`m guessing nobody saw coming before it happened. The game comes out today. It is set 13 years in the future. It`s set in the year 2025. And although the game is supposed to be fiction, the cameo from freaking Oliver North is not the only way they are trying to make this thing seem connected to real people in the real world. There`s also an important scene in the game that takes place on a U.S. aircraft carrier. And that aircraft carrier named the USS Barack Obama. And the U.S. defense secretary meeting on the flight deck with the commander of the U.S. aircraft carrier Obama is the American defense secretary, who in the game is named David Petraeus. Before this week, it probably was not a bad bet in video game land that in 13 years, a then 73-year-old David Petraeus might really be defense secretary. But now, today, that is a rather bad bet. It means that this video game someday in the future will be unearthed with the same glee and disbelief that accompanied the discovery of the old dating game footage of a future Michigan governor, Jennifer Granholm. President Obama was sworn into office as president. At the end of January 2009, just over 100 days after that, less than four months after he was sworn in, the new president did something absolutely remarkable -- something that had not been done in more than 50 years. The new president fired the man in charge of the war. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MALE REPORTER: President Obama has said that the war in Afghanistan is one the U.S. must win. Senior officials here at the Pentagon have decided it will take new military leadership to do it. Defense Secretary Robert Gates met McKiernan in Afghanistan last week, to break the bad news, but waited until today to announce it. ROBERT GATES, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: I asked for the resignation of General David McKiernan. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Obama relieving General David McKiernan of command. When they did that, when they relieved him of command as the lead American commander of the war in Afghanistan, that was the first time since President Truman fired General Douglas McArthur during the Korean War that an American president relieved a four- star U.S. commanding general in the middle of the war he was leading. When President Obama did that, it was the first time in 58 years anything like that happened in this country, and then he did it again. After he fired the man who was running the war when he took office, General McKiernan, the replacement general who President Obama sent to lead the war thereafter was this guy, General Stanley McChrystal. There was a media cult around General McChrystal as there was around David Petraeus. But a year after General McChrystal took command of the Afghanistan war, he, too, was fired by President Obama. He was fired for in effect insubordination after a magazine article portrayed General McChrystal and his top aides drinking their way across Europe and talking smack about civilian leadership in Washington. Michael Hastings story about General McChrystal was told first in "Rolling Stone" magazine and then it was told to epic effect in his book link account of the incident, which is called "The Operators." So, after President Obama`s first commander of the Afghanistan war was fired, after his second commander was fired, President Obama turned to the most high profile military leader in the country, General David Petraeus, to become his third Afghanistan war commanding general. That tenure in Afghanistan lasted a year. As the president surged tens of thousands of more Americans into that country, ultimately tripling the number of troops who were there when he first took office, that year at the front ended for General Petraeus when he came back to Washington to become head of the CIA -- a job from which he unexpectedly and suddenly resigned last week saying he had been having an extramarital affair. Meanwhile, yet another confirmation hearing is due this week for yet another new commander of the war in Afghanistan. Marine General Joe Dunford is due to take over the reins in that war from the outgoing commander, John Allen. John Allen is the man who took over from General Petraeus. But while General Allen is still now running the war over there, he too has been caught up in the Petraeus affair scandal. General Allen`s confirmation hearings for his next big job, NATO supreme allied commander, those hearings are now on hold while the matter of General Allen`s only personal relationship with one of the women involved in the Petraeus affair harassing e-mails, FBI investigation thing, can be sorted out. General Allen is in Washington for his own now postponed confirmation hearings for his next job and for his own now canceled role in the confirmation hearings for his successor to lead the Afghanistan war. In Washington, he is denying any suggestion that he had an inappropriate relationship with anyone. And for now, it seems that the Defense Department and White House are standing by him while the investigation continues. And while he submits his plans to the president now for which Americans are going to remain in Afghanistan after the official U.S. troop withdrawal from that war, which is not this year, and it`s not next year. That doesn`t happen anytime during the following year until the very end of the year after that. He submitted plans already for American troop presence in Afghanistan starting in the year 2015. And after President Obama signs off on that post-2015 plan in the next couple of weeks, the White House is due to start their plans for how many Americans have to stay in the war this year, 2012, and next year, 2013 and the year after that, 2014. Those recommendations will come from General Allen, who if you`re keeping track now is the tenth U.S. general to lead the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Before this latest hullabaloo, he was due to be replaced this week by our 11th commanding general for the same war, which is now its 12th year, with planning well under way for year 13th and year 14th and then, something different they won`t call a war but has Americans there in year 15 and going on indefinitely. And for the moment, General John Allen, successor to the disgraced Petraeus, successor to the disgraced McChrystal, successor to the fired McKiernan, John Allen today remains in command of the U.S. war in Afghanistan where 68,000 Americans are at this very hour risking their necks for a country that has not in a decade paid as much attention to that war as it is paying to the sexual misconduct and disgrace of one of the many, many, many, many, many, many men who have led it. Joining us is Frank Rich, "New York Magazine`s" writer at large. Frank, it`s great to have you here. Thanks for being with us. FRANK RICH, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Great to be here, Rachel. MADDOW: We`ve just come through a presidential election in which we pretty much did not talk about Afghanistan. There`s new interest in our military commanders there because of the details surrounding General Petraeus and these e-mails from General Allen. Is this inevitable, and can this be a way to turn country`s attention back to the war? RICH: Well, it would seem if you turned this long-running war, which I think is really off the public radar screen. It wasn`t only not discussed in the campaign, in the debates, it didn`t register in the polls. It`s as if we`re not at war, except for the people who actually are fighting it. So, to turn it into the "Real Housewives of Tampa" may be the way to sell it or get people interested. Although I suspect, the moment this is resolved in way or another, people will go back to ignoring the war. MADDOW: Is there any way -- I guess the parallel question other than public interest is political interest. I mean, you have seen in Congress right now, including some of the Republicans who are returning to Congress in the House that they still control, a real softening of attitudes on the issue of how long the Afghanistan war should go on. I continue to feel like if there`s anybody who wants to push on this door, they will find it`s an open door and that there could be political support for leaving sooner than we`re planning. RICH: I think so. I thought it was true before the election. I felt that Romney even was giving signals and even at times almost explicitly stating that it`s good we`re getting out. And so, that shows that kind of softness. Who really in this country is pushing for extending it? Lindsey Graham, John McCain and the departing Joe Lieberman. I don`t know of any other voices in the national political scene who are saying, we can`t leave, we have to -- you know, do as long as it takes and stay there forever. I don`t -- and there`s no public support for it. MADDOW: Right. And because of this scandal, I just -- I mean, one of the things that you hear from veterans groups, that people outside the military I don`t think seem all that comfortable talking about is the personal toll of these long deployments over multiple years on people`s personal lives. Young veterans bemoan the rate of divorce among veterans. How difficult it is to sustain a family and sustain relationships. I don`t know why we would think that it`d be any easier for top commanders than it is for, you know, your average infantryman trying to hold his family together. Is this potentially -- we tend to defer to the military`s own judgment on these things. We ask the commanders on the ground, their own opinion for all of these things, but is this not another occasion for civilians to say, you know what? This is being done in our name. The military isn`t fighting this war because it wants to, they`re fighting because they think we want it to be -- we want them to be fighting it. Could this be an occasion for us to say we`re asking the military to do too much for too long now, this is not personally sustainable? RICH: I`d like to believe it`s the case. We went through the stop leave, the multiple tours of duty during Iraq, which was so many strains -- mental, physical, marital -- on the people who are fighting and their families. Now, this is at a high level -- MADDOW: Right. RICH: -- possibly a dramatization of the strains even in the privileged part of the military complex. But I just -- the public is not engaged. It`s 1 percent of the country that`s fighting this war. Most people sadly don`t know people involved in the effort. So it`s sort of out of sight, out of mind. This will maybe cast a spotlight, but will it be forgotten as we return to the fiscal cliff or whatever we return to next month or next week. MADDOW: In terms of the Petraeus affair as it were itself -- RICH: Right. MADDOW: -- the story is definitely getting more sorted as days go by, which I think is why it`s continuing to hold public attention so far. As it is getting more sorted, though, it is just getting more personal, or do you actually see it getting more political now? Is this at this point a scandal or is it just a tragedy? RICH: I think it`s just a tragedy. I mean, based on what we know now, it seems to be there`s some things about it that are scandalous. I don`t understand how a general could be involved in 20,000 or 30,000 pages worth of e-mails, as we`re supposed to hearing about Allen, how is he doing his job? Forget, let alone -- MADDOW: Very short -- (LAUGHTER) RICH: Very short, but still 20,000 to 30,000. My God. But I do think that it`s really more -- so far, it`s the level of personal tragedy, and I think everyone understands that. There was an attempt by Republicans to try to connect it to Benghazi, to accuse Obama of some cover-up before the election as if it had been known before the election it would have had any effect. It wouldn`t have. I think the political efforts are now over or seem to be subsiding, and so, we`re left with what this country really loves, a good, sorted sex scandal. MADDOW: On the issue of Benghazi, the president is trying to put together his second term cabinet. There`s been a lot of talk where John Kerry is going to go, whether he would be secretary of state, whether he might be secretary of defense. There`s this question about whether Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador, might be elevated to secretary of state. And the Republicans, of course, tried to turn it into a national scandal that she commented after the Benghazi attack and said that at that point, best intelligence indicated it might have something to do with that protest about the film. The intelligence community essentially later changed its mind saying, no, they don`t think it`s related. And the Republicans have tried to hang her out to dry on that subject. Do you think that`s over, or do you think if she gets the secretary of state nomination, that`s a real hurdle for her? RICH: I don`t think it`s a real hurdle if she gets it. And, frankly, I don`t think Republicans want to go up against a very distinguished African-American woman in public life with no grounds whatsoever. Getting back to Kerry -- Kerry, who actually did serve, could be and has been in the past a great voice for what you`re talking about for taking care of our military, taking care of our veterans, dealing with these issues in whatever big post he ends up in -- and he certainly did it as a senator -- that would be a big plus. MADDOW: Connecting with the country`s concerns to the war that we`re still fighting that we prefer not to talk about. It`s a big job, but somebody has to do it. RICH: Exactly. MADDOW: Frank Rich, "New York Magazine`s" writer-at-large -- thanks for being here, Frank. Appreciate it. RICH: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: All right. News ahead on liberal seeming things that happen in Utah. Also, election results still due to come in. And next, President Obama`s mini summit today with a who`s who of liberal America. And it was on purpose. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Do you plan to stay on as the leader? Will you plan again for the top slot? REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: Let`s see. What time is it now? It`s 2:00 on Tuesday. I`ll see you right here 10:00 tomorrow morning. While I love you all very dearly, I thought maybe I would talk to my own caucus before I shared that information with you. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That`s the top Democrat in the House, Nancy Pelosi, responding to a question this afternoon about her future in the leadership. So, 10:00 tomorrow morning, we have to wait until then for her to share any information about whether she intends to try to stay on as leader of the Democrats in Congress. That was 2:00 this afternoon she said it. But then here`s the press release Mrs. Pelosi`s office sent out later in the afternoon about that 10:00 a.m. press conference tomorrow morning. They say the topic of the press conference will be to highlight the historic number of women elected as parts of the House Democratic Caucus. Now, does that sound like the kind of event you`d hold if you were stepping down from the leadership, especially if you like Nancy Pelosi were an integral part of women in the Congress, having been the first speaker of the House? We`ll have more on Ms. Pelosi`s future and the many, many surprises -- the many awkward surprises of freshman orientation week on Capitol Hill is just ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Today was orientation day on Capitol Hill, important information for the new kids. Where`s the cloakroom and all that? But with some races still undecided in this year`s election, orientation this year is even more awkward than usual. Por ejemplo, one of this year`s still to be decided races is a House contest in California between Republican incumbent Dan Lungren and his Democratic challenger Ami Bera. Mr. Bera leads in the vote count but it hasn`t been officially declared. But yet, today, still, there was Mr. Bera at orientation. And who runs the four-day long orientation for new members of Congress? Dan Lungren, Mr. Bera`s opponent. The committee that Dan Lungren chairs runs of orientation for new members of Congress. And so, today, with that particular race still undecided but with Dan Lungren behind in the race, Dan Lungren had the job today of training the guy who looks like he`s about to oust him from Congress. Awkward. But not the most awkward thing in Congress today. That prize today was won in the Senate, and specifically by Republican leader there, Mitch McConnell, who really wanted today`s photo-op with the three new Republican senators in Washington to be a simple smile and shoot affair. It was not. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY: Every two years it`s been the week that new senators come to town for orientation. I`m pleased to be here with our new members who have a couple of days here to get used to the way it gets started in the United States Senate. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: There are only three new Republican members of the U.S. Senate this year, while there are eight new Democrats and a new independent. So that alone is an uncomfortable position for Mitch McConnell and the three new Republican senators forced into this horribly awkward photo-op today, including one whose race is not necessarily settled in Arizona where they are still counting. So it was awkward enough when Mr. McConnell thought reporters would stand there silently and take their picture after he gave those brief remarks. It got much, much worse when the reporters in the room decided that they weren`t just going to stand there and take pictures. They were going to speak. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCONNELL: The election is behind us, and we`re ready to get started. Thank you, everyone. REPORTER: Senator McConnell, are you comfortable with the investigation that is taking place in the Petraeus affair, and do you believe that the FBI should have notified Congress earlier about this matter? SENATE AIDE: Thanks, everybody. REPORTER: How productive do you expect the lame duck session to be? SENATE: Thank you, everybody. REPORTER: Senator-elect Flake, do you agree with Senator McConnell? (LAUGHTER) REPORTER: Did you get your official results, Senator Flake? Is it Senator Flake? REP. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: We`re comfortable. REPORTER: Senator McConnell, are you still willing to compromise? SENATE AIDE: C`mon guys, go. Come on. REPORTER: Can you not push me and push everybody else? SENATE AIDE: Yup, push it along. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Push it along. Nothing to see here -- even though we invited you here to watch us sit here in these chairs. We just didn`t want you to speak to us once we stopped talking. Meanwhile, over at the White House, the president spent his congressional orientation day meeting with liberals, true blue liberals, lots of them. And unlike most of my adult life, the liberals weren`t at the White House to protest outside and chain themselves to the fence. No, the liberals were there to talk with the president of the United States at his invitation. Several different labor unions, the liberal think tank the Center for American Project, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a group called the Common Purpose Project, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the group Move On, the Center for Community Change. That was today`s meeting at the White House. Tomorrow, the president is going to be hosting a big meeting for business leaders. He`s also going to be holding a press conference. On Friday, the president will meet with congressional leaders including, as we mentioned, the Democratic leader in the House Representatives Nancy Pelosi, about whom there has been much speculation recently and who is due to announce tomorrow morning whether she will stay on as leader of the Democrats in the House. I do not play poker. I am not a betting person, and I am bad at predictions. But it is my personal guess that it`s a cold day in hell when Nancy Pelosi willingly steps aside from a job that remains to be done. We`ll see tomorrow. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, you know, this whole General Petraeus sex scandal thing and, you know how a bunch of people in Washington are all upset that they only found out about it when you and I found out about it, you know how they`re are now conspiracy theories about why the FBI didn`t tip off more people sooner than they did? What if there was actually a good reason for that? Or a whole bunch of good reasons? I believe in keeping the tinfoil hat handy at all times. You never know when you need it, but this story ought to be enough to keep everybody riveted without having to make up, stuff about it. That`s coming up with help from the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is the list of rum that is sold in the state of Utah. This is the full list of light rum, white rum, that you can buy in Utah -- the kind of rum to make a daiquiri. It`s an OK list. It`s not great if you`re a big rum fan. But I`ve got to tell you -- it is better than the mezcal list. Look, this is all the mezcal that you can get in the state of Utah. That`s it. Those two legally -- even though one of the two mezcals you can get apparently has "Illegal" as its brand name. This is all you can legally get as far as it goes mezcal in the state of Utah. However, if you have a kind of rum or a kind of mezcal or even a label of wine that you would like to be able to get but that isn`t on the Utah state list, you can request it from the state government. If you click on the little shopping cart there on their Web site, it takes you to the special orders page where you can ask your state government to please buy you some better mezcal or whatever. You have to ask them, though. They do try to be helpful. There`s a whole section of the state government`s Web site about how to best pair the wines of the state of Utah with various types of food. This is not like a tourism thing. This is not an export thing. This is not just wines made in Utah. It`s wines from everywhere, but the state has to get them for you. Used to be a state employee in Utah whose job it was to taste every alcohol, every wine, every whiskey that the state was considering allowing into the state to be sold. I don`t know if there is someone who has that job, but it wasn`t that long ago. That`s because in Utah, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is not only tasked with enforcing liquor laws in the state, doing things like giving out liquor licenses. They also choose which wines and beers and spirits the citizens of the state of Utah may purchase. The state government on behalf of its residents tastes wine and decides if it is good enough for Utah. Whether did the states deal with booze is really weird. I always thought it`s because we had a long, strange, national failed experiment called prohibition that was not that long ago, from which we really haven`t quite totally recovered. When prohibition ended in 1933, Americans could legally buy and sell and drink booze for the first time in 13 years. And people were obviously psyched when prohibition ended. But there was a the lot of policy to figure out how to sell and regulate alcohol. Would cities do it? Would states do it? The federal government? Should you have to apply for a license to sell alcohol? How old should you have to be in order to drink alcohol? States came up with their own answers to those questions, and the laws between the states, even all these decades later, are still really diverse. Today, for example, 18 states are called control states -- which means they control the wholesale and retail sales of alcohol. That`s why in a controlled state like Utah, the state chooses your wines for you and hopefully we`ll help you pair them with dinner. Weirdly, the state of Maryland is not a control state, but there`s one county in the state, Montgomery County that does it that way, too -- a little taste of Utah in the middle of Maryland. The heterogeneity on these issues isn`t just between places that have state stores for booze and states that don`t have state stores. I mean, in some places, you can buy beer or wine or even the hard stuff at your average Rite Aid or your average gas station. In some places, you can buy beer at a gags station, but spirits come from a state store that looks like a prison, right? There are all these different levels of control on the sale and distribution of booze up to and including the state becoming the retailer that sells you the booze. And now, that is about to happen with pot, too, sort of. Three states had wide-ranging new rules about pot the on the ballot this year. Not about medical marijuana but just about recreational use of marijuana. The measures passed in Washington and in Colorado but not in Oregon, which is interesting, given that Oregon is a more blue state than Colorado is. But Oregon was voting on something slightly different. The model of the state-run store that sells all the liquor in the state than Utah model, right, that is what Oregon was considering for pot. The idea that the state would regulate people growing pot, regulate people processing it like drying it and packaging it and getting it ready to be sold. And in Oregon, the proposal was that the state itself would buy all of the pot in the state and then sell that pot to Oregon residents, presumably at stores that look like prisons, like they do with whiskey in North Carolina and Utah and a bunch of other states, too. That model of how to deal with legalized pot is what was rejected in Oregon this year, but what was accepted in Colorado and Washington state, on the other hand, was a proposal that those states should license and regulate people to grow marijuana. License and regulate people to process it and prepare it for sale. But then in Colorado and Washington, what they said is that the state should also regulate normal businesses, private for profit stores to operate like regular liquor stores, like regular businesses selling this new illegal product regulated that will be regulated and taxed by the state. That is the proposal that won by 10 points in Colorado and by 12 points in Washington state. According to these ballot initiatives, it will not be illegal to buy or possess less than an ounce of pot if you`re over the age of 21. So, on paper at least, the idea is that pot will now be regulated, much the same way that alcohol is. But the really important difference is, the really important difference is that according to the federal government and therefore for the whole United States of America everywhere, according to the federal government it`s still illegal to possess or buy or sell pot. That`s just as much the law as these new state laws that say quite the opposite. So, what`s going to happen here? Is it legal or not? Is it going to be legal to buy and sell and smoke pot in Colorado and Washington, or is it not? We are not the only ones asking this question. The people in charge are asking the question, too. The governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, has indicated that he also has no idea how this is going to work. On Election Day, he put out a state reminding Coloradans that under federal law pot is still illegal, so Colorado residents should hold off on the Cheetos and Goldfish for the time being. In Washington state, the outgoing governor there, Chris Gregoire, met with the federal deputy attorney general today to try to figure out how this is going to be handled. This direct conflict between federal and state law. Meanwhile, prosecutors in the two largest counties in Washington state have taken matters into their own hands. They have dropped hundreds of cases of pot possession in that case. Hundreds of criminal cases have been dropped. The King County prosecutor says there`s no point in continuing to seek criminal penalties for conduct that will be legal next month. True enough. However, in the same state, out in the eastern part of Washington state, in Spokane County, prosecutors there say they plan to keep arresting people just as they do now for pot-related offenses. Their argument out in Spokane is that the only legal way to get pot in Washington even after this new state law goes into effect will be to buy that pot from a state- regulated pot store. And those state-regulated pot stores don`t exist yet, but they might soon be created if the federal government allows that to happen and nobody knows that the government will allow them to happen. This is policy soup, and I don`t mean that as a munchies joke. We`ve all had enough of those. This just literally does not make any sense yet. Joining us now for the interview is Neill Franklin. He`s the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. He served in Law enforcement for 30 years as a narcotics officer with the Maryland State Police and is commander of training for the Baltimore Police Department. Mr. Franklin, it`s very good to have you here tonight. Thanks for joining us. NEILL FRANKLIN, LAW ENFORCEMENT AGAINST PROHIBITION: Rachel, thanks for having me. What a great lead-in. MADDOW: Let me ask you, first. You are more familiar with these laws than I am. Did I get the contours of that right? Do you feel like the comparison with alcohol prohibition is appropriate here? FRANKLIN: Absolutely. It is appropriate. It was the states back in 1933 that ended alcohol prohibition. They were the ones that took the initiative to move the federal government towards change. MADDOW: You are a supporter, I know, of the decriminalization of marijuana. With your background in law enforcement specifically working in narcotics law enforcement, how did you -- how did you come to this political point of view? FRANKLIN: Well, it didn`t happen overnight, but there was one key moment back in 2000, October. I had just retired from the Maryland State Police the year before. I went to work for Baltimore Police Department as a commander of training. And a good friend of mine and comrade, Ed Toatley, was working undercover for the Maryland State Police. He was assigned to an FBI task force in Washington, D.C., and he was buying drugs from a mid-level drug dealer. This time the drug dealer decided he wanted to keep the drugs and the money, and he executed Ed Toatley right on the spot. He shot him in the side of the head. And that made me start to think, I thought back to Marcellus Ward, who was working undercover for the Baltimore Police Department when he was back in the `80s. He was killed in a similar manner. A couple of officers were killed right on the street by drug dealers. But then a couple years after, the Dawson family of seven right here in Baltimore were murdered one night by a drug dealer who occupied the corner right outside their home. The mother was working with the police being a good citizen. He set their home on fire because he disagreed with her interfering with her marketplace. That was my turning point. MADDOW: When you talk to people who disagree on this issue and when you try to make the case for decriminalization, how do you explain why incidents of violence like that, people that you know and worked with and seen colleagues who have died in the line of fire in this war on drugs, how do you make the case that decriminalization would get rid of that sort of horrific violence? FRANKLIN: Well, let`s be clear -- not decriminalization, because all that does is remove the criminal penalty from possession. You still would have your elicit trade, the drug dealers on the street, the cartel in Mexico. Legalization with regulation and control is what we want to do. We want to move -- remove this completely from the hands of criminal gangs and the cartel. That will affect the violence. That`s when the violence goes down. MADDOW: In terms of what`s been approved by voters in Colorado and Washington state, it seems unclear to me now what`s going to happen in these states, where state law is in opposition to federal law. How do you think that law enforcement is going to handle this? And ultimately is this a decision that`s made at the political level or at the law enforcement level? FRANKLIN: Well, it`s made at both levels, and I think this is a win- win for police. In Seattle, the police chief said they`re not going to arrest people for possession of marijuana anymore, even though the law doesn`t take effect until December. It`s a win-win because it has been drug prohibition like with marijuana that has driven a wedge in between police and community. Number one, police can get back to the business that they want to do, of what they want to do, and that is to protect people from violent people -- rape, robbery, murder, crimes against our children, domestic violence. We can get back to the business of that. We didn`t -- most of us didn`t sign on this job to it arrest people for smoking pot. It will repair -- it gives us an opportunity to repair the damage that has been done between police and community. You know, racial profiling -- the foundation for racial profiling today in this country is the drug war. And the drug war just doesn`t work anymore. There`s not one piece of it that works. We have more drugs in our community than ever before. It`s very costly. Four decades, $1.3 trillion. Our prisons are bursting at the seams, many with black and brown people. We need a change, and it`s time for the president to lead on this one. MADDOW: Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a three-decade long career in law enforcement -- sir, thank you very much for your time tonight. You speak with uncommon authority on this subject. Thank you. FRANKLIN: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. I can`t help but wonder, what would J. Edgar Hoover have done with the Petraeus file? Hold on. That`s coming. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOWE: Hey, Arizona, anytime you want to finish counting ballots in your Senate race, it`s fine with the rest of us. Don`t let us stop you. Really. More ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Did you get your official results, Senator Flake? Is it Senator Flake? FLAKE: We`re comfortable. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona, not Senator Jeff Flake, not even yet Senator-elect Jeff Flake, awkwardly telling reporters today he feels comfortable about the vote count in his Senate race in Arizona, against Richard Carmona. That was at this morning`s less than comfortable photo-op with Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell along with two actually, totally, all the votes have been counted, entirely official Republican freshmen senators-elect. There were two of them and then there`s Jeff Flake. That`s the problem with being from the state of Arizona these days, or with being a voter from the state of Arizona these days. A full week after Election Day now, and only 83 percent of the vote is tallied in Mr. Flake`s Senate race against Democrat Richard Carmona. Yesterday, that number was at 80 percent, meaning roughly 1:5 votes in that race still uncounted. That led Mr. Carmona`s campaign yesterday to say maybe they had conceded that Senate race too soon. Arizona has been counting its ballots at a snail`s pace, working its way through a mountain, hundreds of thousands of ballots, many of them provisional ballots from first-time minority voters who showed up to vote on Election Day, just to be told that even though they may have registered, their names were not put on the books. Well, today, officials in Pima and Cochise Counties in Arizona were counting ballots in one of the few still, undecided congressional races in the country, the race for Gabby Giffords` old seat between former Gifford staffer Ron Barber and Republican Martha McSally -- only 700 votes separate these two candidates. Who wins could depend on whether voters in a heavily Latino precinct in that district get their ballots counted, and that now is a matter for the courts. The Republican campaign, the McSally campaign went to court today to keep 130 provisional ballots from being counted. They want them thrown out. They`re claiming the envelopes weren`t properly sealed, so the ballots inside the envelopes were maybe tampered with. Ninety-six of those 130 ballots come from a heavily Latino precinct that leans strongly Democratic. So, yes, they don`t want them counted. Meanwhile, two more House races in Arizona that were not decided on election night have been decided, both of them in favor of the Democrats. Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema were both be going to Congress, both by only a few thousand votes in Arizona House races. Last night, the Arizona secretary of state announced that over 300,000 early and provisional ballots in Arizona still needed to be counted. Tonight it`s still over 300,000. They`ve still got more than 320,000 still to count. And in one whole day of counting, they made 18,000 votes worth of progress. Really? Voters in Arizona who cast provisional ballots have until the close of business tomorrow, Wednesday, to return to your county elections office with your ID to prove you`re a registered vote so your provisional voters so your provisional ballot can be cast -- can be counted, excuse me. County elections officials in Arizona have just until Friday, this Friday, three days from now, they have until Friday to verify and count the remaining provisional ballots, all 324,000 of them, by Friday. And they`re counting them now at a rate of 18,000 a day. You guys are going to need to pick up the pace a little bit if you`re going to meet the deadline, aren`t you? Come on, Arizona, this is ridiculous. You need to fix this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: In 1942, the Federal Bureau of Investigation broke into the offices of a group called the American Youth Congress. It`s 1942. American Youth Congress was a progressive group at a time when that could get you branded a communist and hauled before government officials to defend yourself. At the time, the American Youth Congress was concerned with questions like why young Americans were being drafted into war at age 18, even though for every other legal thing in the country, people were not considered to have full rights of citizenship until they turned 21. When the FBI broke into their offices in 1942, they went looking for correspondence that that group had had with one very specific notorious anti-American revolutionary of the day, the first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, who was known for being an advocate for youth and an advocate for progressive causes, including the youth congress. The demand for a report on first lady Eleanor Roosevelt`s dealings with that group came directly from the director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. One of the more notable examples of our top law enforcement agency in this country is being used to gather potentially politically damaging, potentially embarrassing, but hardly criminal information about public figures. But it was not of course the last instance of that. Decades later, we`re still wrestling with the legacy of J. Edgar Hoover and the fiefdom that he made of the nation`s premiere law enforcement organization, the FBI. Mr. Hoover kept extensive files that he called official and confidential files. There were secret documents that tracked the lives of famous and powerful people, including details about those peoples` lives that were not criminal but would have been embarrassing to those famous people if they became known. Mr. Hoover kept these special files in his office, out of the mainstream of FBI business, away from the criminal investigations that were supposed to be what the FBI was doing. He kept those secret files because the secrets they contained gave him power. And as such, they were not suited to any law enforcement purpose. They were suited to his own needs and that`s called abuse of power. We now know from those now released Hoover files, for example, that Mr. Hoover wiretapped President John F. Kennedy. We know that he told President Kennedy he was aware of an extramarital affair the president was having, and then Mr. Hoover told the president which Chicago mobster Mr. Kennedy`s mistress was also visiting. As civil rights movement unfolded, J. Edgar Hoover wiretapped Martin Luther King, Jr. We know that Mr. Hoover tracked Dr. King`s personal life, including supposedly which day of the week he supposedly met with his mistress. Apparently, it was Tuesdays. In "The Secrets of the FBI", Ronald Kessler wrote that the agent duly recorded that Robert Kennedy had gone to visit his suspected extramarital sweetheart, Marilyn Monroe, shortly before she died. And all these stories might pique the public`s interest. None of them appears to have been criminal in nature. Each of them gave J. Edgar Hoover power over these public people whose secrets he harvested. He used federal law enforcement tactics and resources to gather personal and noncriminal damning information on public people and then he lorded it over them to advance his own causes. Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI became a freelance agency, sometimes used against the president, but it was sometimes for hire by the president. Like when the FBI tapped the phones of reporters that Richard Nixon didn`t like. And sometimes the FBI was just used for the sake of J. Edgar Hoover`s sad twisted little ends. When the FBI, yes, worked on crime, but under Hoover the FBI worked on politics, too. The agency`s efforts in the latter undermined everything the nation needed from the FBI on the former. And that is why Congress ordered reforms for the FBI after Watergate, investigating crime while also secretly playing politics is a combination with a bad outcome. That`s one of the things we learned from the scandal of the Nixon administration and its downfall, but also from decades watching J. Edgar Hoover operate. Last week, we learned that General David Petraeus, director of the CIA, had an affair. And that the FBI discovered that affair over the summer while it was looking into something else. Those revelations about General Petraeus led to protest from members of Congress that they had not been told sooner than last week, along with everyone else. They wanted to be notified about this. The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, says the FBI should have told Congress. It`s bipartisan, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee calls alerting Congress in an issue -- in an instance like this the FBI`s obligation. Lawmakers are sure to demand answers for why they were not told what the FBI knew as soon as the FBI knew it. They`re sure to demand answers about that later this week when White House officials are called to testify about the attack on our consulate in Benghazi. We`re still wondering whether or not David Petraeus will be called to testify about that, too, despite what has happened and his resignation. Those attacks were kind of thing, right? But the story about Petraeus is quite another thing. One is a matter of national and international importance, the other appears to be unfortunate end of a decorated military career, the cratering of one guy`s family life, and maybe one woman`s family life, too. Mindful of the legacy of J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI kept the embarrassing personal details of David Petraeus` private life separate from the question of whether he broke the law. That, of course -- I mean, we are all human, right? We would all like to know about the affair Petraeus, right? It has become the must-see soap opera of the national week now that the election is over and before the new Congress begins. It is way more gripping than the inaptly named fiscal cliff, right? It`s apparently more riveting to the press than our legal long war in Afghanistan or General Petraeus last served before the CIA. From senators to members of Congress to little old me and probably you, we would all like to know more about the Petraeus scandal in the basis, most prurient possible sense. I wager not many of us, even those hopping mad lawmakers, though, would want to go back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI uncovering personal peccadilloes and then using them for its political game. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Have a great night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END