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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 01/22/13

Guests: Donald McEachin, Frank Rich, Nancy Keenan

ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: That`s "THE ED SHOW." I`m Ed Schultz. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel. RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. It was really fun to cover the inauguration in Washington with you, my friend. SCHULTZ: Yes, it was. But my legs were getting sore sitting there for five hours. MADDOW: I didn`t put my microphone on my belt like I normally do. At the end of six hours, I was kind of a mess. I had to crawl out of the booth. SCHULTZ: I needed assistance myself. MADDOW: Yes. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: It was a lot of fun, Ed. Thanks a lot. SCHULTZ: Yes, it was. Great job. MADDOW: Thanks. And thanks to you at home for staying with us for this hour. They are actually still dancing in Washington, D.C. -- the party for President Obama`s second inauguration is still on. After a day of speeches yesterday and poetry and a parade and three separate presidential dances with the first lady at two different inaugural balls serenaded by Jennifer Hudson -- hey, there she is again -- after all of that, the Obamas it turned out kept dancing. They danced until 3:00 a.m. at the White House, a big separate party with a bunch of friends. I try to imagine George Bush and Usher in a Gangnam Style dance-off. I try. I cannot quite get there in my mind. Maybe it happened. And then today, the president and Mrs. Obama surprised, greeted visitors at the White House. Not dignitaries, but visitor visitors, people who were on the tour of the White House who got an unexpected chance while they were there not just to see the White House itself, but to shake hands with the people who live there, with the president and the first lady. Hey, surprise, your tour includes us. If you watch all the footage of this, actually, you can see that people also got to meet the first dog, Bo, who was wearing his Portuguese water dog tuxedo for the occasion, as you can see. And actually, if you really watch all the footage that they posted on the White House Web site, you will notice that the first dog Bo creeps out from behind the Obamas for his own hellos with the people who were touring the White House, because hey, there are dos of people coming through, and maybe they will want to pet you, which is nice if you`re Bo. After all that, the president still has one more inaugural ball, which is tonight. It is the staff inaugural ball, like the White House staff. You think of it as an office Christmas party if your office was the kind of office that could book Lady Gaga to entertain the guests. The inauguration of a president, any president -- whether you voted for him or not -- is a big deal for our country. It`s a big occasion. There were hundreds of thousands of people in the crowd yesterday for President Obama`s inauguration, maybe a million, according to the inaugural organizers. Most of these people who showed up for the inauguration were just regular folks that made the trip from how ever far away to come stand on the National Mall to see history. One of the people who made the trek from Virginia, from the state capitol in Virginia was Henry Marsh, a 79-year-old Democratic state senator from Virginia. In his official biography, Senator Marsh talks about walking miles to a one-room school in coastal Virginia when he was growing up, and the yellow school bus filled with white school children passing him on the way to their new building. Henry Marsh grew up to be an influential civil rights lawyer. He worked for the integration of Virginia schools in 1960s. Way back in 1977, he became the first African-American mayor of Richmond, Virginia. He has served in the Virginia state Senate since 1992. Only two active senators have served in that chamber longer than he has. Senator Marsh wanted to see the inauguration of this president on Martin Luther King Day. Mr. Marsh is 79 years old. It seems unlikely that there will be an inauguration quite like this again any time soon. So, for a day, Henry Marsh left behind the Virginia state Senate. The Virginia state Senate I should tell you stands at an even 20-20. The Virginia Senate is equally divided, half Republicans and half Democrats -- 20 on one side, 20 on the other. And while Senator Marsh was away on this within day while he was at the inauguration, the Republicans in the Senate decided to do this -- surprise! We`re going to redraw Virginia`s state Senate districts with no warning, while you were out, we`re going to do this. Tada! "The Associated Press" says, quote, "State Senate Republicans have muscled a surreptitious redraft of Virginia`s 40 districts to passage over bitter objections from Democrats who were blindsided by the surprise move." They passed this surprise redistricting plan by a vote of 20-19 while, remember, one senator on the 19 side of that vote, Henry Marsh, was absent. The new gerrymandered map in Virginia takes away one Democratic seat entirely. Democrats in Virginia tell us they think they could be left with only 16 winnable seats, maybe less. Sixteen winnable seats out of a total of 40. In other words, Democrats will never have a chance at the Senate structurally, no matter how blue Virginia gets. Republicans there yesterday passed these new maps to give themselves essentially permanent control of the Virginia Senate from here on out. And they did it with such stealth that the news was broken by a local Democratic blogger, Ben Tribbett (ph), who was the first one to tweet the news when nobody was paying attention to the state legislature in Virginia, when the crowds were still thick on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Virginia Republicans justified this sudden zeal for redistricting all of the sudden when Henry Marsh was out of town by saying, hey, at least we created another majority black district. And they did do that, that`s how gerrymandering works sometimes. They did hit the time by carving off part of Henry Marsh`s own district while he was away at the inauguration. If Republicans had left this urgent need for redistricting to a normal day, it would have ended in a 20-20 tie. That tie would have then gone to the state`s Republican lieutenant governor, whose office says he has grave concerns about this bill and does not support it. So, he wouldn`t have voted for it and it wouldn`t have passed. But yesterday wasn`t a normal day. It was the inauguration. Henry marsh was away at the inauguration. So when they took that vote, it wasn`t 20-20. It was 20-19. It was not a tie. It did not go to the lieutenant governor, and they got it passed. The reporters today asked Republican Governor Bob McDonnell whether he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk. He said he was as surprised as anybody by these new maps. The governor told reporters, quote, "I certainly don`t think that`s a good way to do business." And while still not saying whether he would sign the bill, the governor directed everybody to please instead pay attention to his new transportation plan. He would rather talk about that. This is a Bob McDonnell patented method, right? This method where he says he is disgusted with his own party`s legislating, but he doesn`t actually reject their legislation. I don`t want to be considered part of that, but I will sign it into law. That is exactly the way that Governor Bob McDonnell played it a year ago when Virginia Republicans got themselves nationally famous with their bill forcing unwanted and medically unnecessary ultrasounds on Virginia women, right? Bob McDonnell did the same deal back then. He expressed surprise. What is this you are doing in the legislature, fellow Republicans? I certainly did not expect this. This is not my priority. Don`t associate me with this. And then, of course, he signed it, thus earning himself the national nickname ever more of "governor ultrasound". Same deal, right? What is this? What are you doing there? I definitely don`t want to be famous for that. Democrats in the Virginia capital tell us that if the surprised gerrymandering bill passes and the governor does sign it, they will ask the courts to declare it unconstitutional. But, meanwhile, Virginia Republicans are also pushing a bill that would also change the state`s rules for electing a president based on the congressional maps that Virginia Republicans gerrymandered back in 2012. So, the same maps they have created to give themselves permanent majority, permanent victories in non-statewide elections, they would also use those maps now to allocate Virginia`s electoral votes for president of the United States, essentially, rigging the presidential vote in Virginia, using the exact same means that they have already used to rig the state level votes for Republicans in Virginia. We are hearing talk about Republican plans to change the rules and thus rig the presidential in a bunch of states now. Now, these are all states that tend to support Democrats for president, but where Republicans now control the state House, and the governorship. And they think they might be able to use that local Republican control to change the rules by which those states contribute electoral votes for the presidency. This has very quietly and very quickly become one of the most important political stories in the country. Republicans are not in power in Washington. They control the House, but that`s it. Republicans didn`t win the last presidential election. They don`t control the Senate. President Obama is going to serve second term. That is the message this week in Washington, right? At the inauguration and the parade and the fancy dress dances and the Obamas showing off at the White House with the dog. But away from Washington, outside the Beltway, Republicans are working fast right now to use their power in the states to make it so that Democrats structurally cannot win no matter what. Joining us now is Donald McEachin. He`s Virginia state senator. He`s chairman of the state`s Democratic Caucus. Senator McEachin, thank you very much for your time. It`s nice to have you here. STATE SEN. DONALD MCEACHIN (D), VIRGINIA: Thanks for having me, Rachel. MADDOW: Were you surprised by how quickly Republicans in your state passed these new maps? Did you know this was coming? MCEACHIN: Absolutely not, Rachel. You know, we asked for a heads up back in November if they were going to do this. And we were sure we would be given the heads-up. But, you know, Rachel, in a span of literally 40 minutes -- because they limited debate, we couldn`t have full debate on this -- literally in 40 minutes, they rewrote 40 Senate districts without any input from the public, without any input from my side of the aisle. They just rammed it down our throats. Even though it was daylight outside, it was done in the dark. MADDOW: The other chamber, the Virginia House, has not yet approved the new districts that the Senate just pushed through. What do -- what do you make of the map`s chance there`s? That`s obviously a Republican- controlled chamber as well. Do you think these changes are ultimately going to become law? MCEACHIN: Well, I hope not, Rachel. You know, this plan has a huge germaneness problem when it comes back to the House of Delegates. And I wouldn`t hazard a guess as to how the speaker rule. But there is a germaneness problem. There is a constitutional problem as well. It`s our hope that the system will correct itself, that cooler heads will prevail, and that if the bill finds its way to the governor`s desk, that he`ll take the opportunity to veto it and restore a bipartisan atmosphere to the Virginia legislature. MADDOW: We have been covering this sort of story at the national level, this fast emerging strategy by Republicans in states that picked President Obama this time around, but are under Republican control at the state level -- in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, we are hearing talk about Republicans trying to change the rules how they pick a president, so electoral votes get awarded based on these gerrymandered districts that favor Republicans so much at the state level. Your state, I know, has a bill like that too in Virginia. For your Democratic Party in Virginia and in these other states, should we be seeing this as sort of a wake-up call for a Republican strategy that we didn`t know was going to happen until it started happening? MCEACHIN: Absolutely, it`s a wake-up call. I call them the "sore loser bills", because the Republicans could not believe that they would lose twice in a row to this president, that Virginia would vote twice in a row for this president, given the demographics, given the polling, given the economy. They just knew they had won it. And when they found out that they lost the election, they decided to change the rules. And now they what they would do is take the president who carried Virginia and give him four electoral votes and give Mitt Romney nine electoral votes under this plan. Even though the president carried Virginia -- it is a war on Virginia voters. We have moved from the war on women to the war on voters. MADDOW: Do you think you can stop it if that goes forward any further than it has? MCEACHIN: Well, we`re going to need a lot of help in stopping it, you know? We`re going to need folks to write in, to call their legislators -- Democrats, Republicans and independents and say, look, fair is fair. And the plans that you all have cooked up to interest Virginia voter, they`re just not fair. It`s truly beneath the dignity of this commonwealth. MADDOW: Virginia State Senator Donald McEachin, thank you very much, sir. I appreciate your time. I have a feeling we`ll be talking about this with you as time goes on, as this continues to unfold. Thank you. MCEACHIN: And thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: I appreciate it. All right. We`ve got Frank Rich coming up tonight, and a lot still to come on tonight`s show. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: In his first official State of the Union Address in 2010, President Obama said something that prompted the second best visual image of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that we have ever had as a country. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With all due deference to separation of powers, last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: When the president said that, when the president criticized the Supreme Court in that State of the Union Address, we all got treated to the sight of Samuel Alito licking his gums and then exaggeratedly mouthing the words "not true" -- at President Obama. Not true. That was the second weirdest visual we`ve ever had as a nation of Samuel Alito. The first weirdest visual we`ve ever had of Samuel Alito was yesterday. Nice shades, Mr. Justice. That was on the official inaugural platform during the swearing in of the president. But while the justice was dreaming of snowboarding and looking on at President Obama`s second inaugural yesterday, did the president do the same thing again, the same thing that so upset Justice Alito back in 2010? Was President Obama yesterday again shouting at the Supreme Court, except this time doing it ahead of an expected controversial Supreme Court decision rather than waiting until after? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths -- that all of us are created equal -- is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forbearers through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: And Stonewall? Joining us for the interview is Frank Rich, editor at large for "New York Magazine". Mr. Rich, thank you for being here tonight. FRANK RICH, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: What do you think of my little theory? RICH: I think you`re exactly right. I think he was nudging this forward. It was very interesting. As you said, it`s a decision that hasn`t been made yet about same-sex marriage. And it`s a very important decision. And I think by taking Stonewall and linking it to the greater history of American civil rights and it really was taking a very strong position -- first of all, very moving to hear the president of the United States do this, particularly when it had been somewhat laggard on this issue. But also, I think he is appealing particularly to John Roberts because I was baffled, I think, as many were by Roberts, sort of, from the rights point of view caving on so-called Obamacare. And I`ve always felt as I think many observers do that he has, like the president, an eye on history and his role on it and his stature within it. And everyone thinks that the same-sex marriage decision is going to come down to Anthony Kennedy, a swing justice, who has a good record on gay civil rights issues. But I wonder if Roberts couldn`t be pushed a bit. Does he really want to be on the wrong side of history? And by framing it as history, putting it as gay civil rights as part of the big American historical narrative, it`s a little bit of an elbow or whatever in the ribs. And I wonder, really, whether Roberts might not be won over since clearly in the case of Obamacare, it wasn`t just about the law, because his legal argument really barely made sense -- even if you`re in favor as I was of Obamacare being upheld. MADDOW: So meaning that you think that Justice Roberts had an eye on the historical impact of the decision, more than the legal particularities of it and he might have in the same have that -- RICH: Right. And in some ways -- here he didn`t want to look -- look, it`s my speculation. Who knows? But he didn`t want to look like someone exercising a partisan point of view in an election year against this president. So, he sort of seemed to find a rationale for something that he didn`t quite really believe in. This is in some ways a much bigger thing, because this gets to the Bill of Rights and the very definition of America more than health care does, as important as that may be. And I think by framing it this way, Obama laid down quite a challenge to him, and to the court, in general. MADDOW: And it was a two-part mention. We only played the part where he put Stonewall in the context of Selma and Seneca Falls, putting the struggle for gay rights alongside the struggle for civil rights, and along this side for struggle for civil rights. In that case what he is talking about is an American story. The second part of his story on the subject is not just about how this fits into history, and essentially elevating it to be equal with those other more widely recognized movements, more widely recognized struggles, and in some cases more successful struggles -- he also made the case just bluntly that equality ought to be agreed upon, that equality of love as he described it ought to be seen as a basic American value. That sort of fit more into the rest of the speech, talking about what have been seen as progressive causes, progressive values, as centrist American old ideas. What do you make of that as an argument from him? RICH: Well, I think it`s a great argument. I also think it has another historical resonance because it brings up the loving decision that ended the strictures on interracial marriage not that long ago -- MADDOW: Right. RICH: -- you know, 100 years after the Civil War. And I think it`s a very strong argument. And, again, it takes it to me out of the area of sort of partisan politics. It gets to the most fundamental identity of the country and goodwill, what -- yes, what love means or what marriage means. But also this sense of fairness and equality, which is, you know, is along with freedom central to the American identity. MADDOW: It`s core. The president talked about election reform, climate change at length, equal pay, gun violence, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, immigration, ending the idea of perpetual war. This was a liberal speech from a president who has not always seemed like a liberal to liberals. Conservatives have always thought he was liberal or worse. Liberals have not necessarily always recognized him as liberal, and I would include myself in that. Have we just not been listening closely enough to other liberal things he has said, or was this really something new? RICH: Well, people like you and me have been tough on him, and sometimes he says things that are -- not that he says things that aren`t liberal or progressive, but he has failed to say things. Sometimes, often what he doesn`t say or what seemed to be his inability to fight for some issues that are near and dear to liberals. Now, he`s just, you know, very straight forward about it. He seems liberated. It doesn`t mean that all this is going to happen. Of course, a lot of it won`t happen. But some of it may happen. And I feel, in general, it`s part of him just stepping up to the plate all together. I think at the end, the very end of his first term since the election, him facing down the Republicans about tax raises and getting them whatever they want to call it, a postponement, a retreat on holding the debt ceiling hostage, those are real changes from the sort of kumbaya Obama that we saw a lot of at this time this time early in his first term. So I think it`s all good, and I think that he may be emboldened. His views, he is essentially a liberal centrist. I don`t think anyone can really ever doubt that. But he hasn`t always stood up for it. And sometimes it seems he is so eager to find some kind of nonexistent bipartisan compromise to the party of no, that he sort of shirked from it. But -- MADDOW: I think he has stopped -- he went -- moved from saying we can find something between us that we can agree to move together on, that was sort of what he started off saying. And now, he is saying we can agree to do it my way. My way, actually, is widely agreed upon. And it is the way that we can move forward, and I think we ought to. It`s a bolder stance. RICH: It`s a bolder stance. And by the way, he won the election. And -- MADDOW: Yes, exactly. And that`s why he`s free to say it. RICH: This doesn`t stop them from calling him a socialist, radical, et cetera, et cetera. MADDOW: Oh, no, there would be no fun if they stopped that. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Frank Rich, editor-in-large for "New York Magazine" -- thank you for being here tonight. It`s always great to have you here, Frank. RICH: Great to see you. MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK. We`ve got lots more to come tonight, including the singular importance of this particular moment at the inauguration yesterday. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: On something like a million people gathered on the National Mall yesterday to see President Obama sworn in for a second term, that number was down from the 1.8 million who gathered to see him sworn in for the first time. That crowd in 2009 was not only the largest number of people to gather for a presidential inauguration ever, in 2009, that was the largest single gathering in Washington, D.C. for any purpose ever in the history of that city. Still, a million people turning out yesterday is a lot of people. It is more than what was expected. For the record, it is more people than turned out for both of George W. Bush`s inaugurations combined. Although inaugurations are explicitly about putting elections behind us, about accepting the results of the election and agreeing mutually that we will proceed with this new government now which we have chosen as a group, it is hard on days like that not to look back, at least a little, to appreciate how different Inauguration Day would have been had the election gone the other way. Particularly for an inauguration that took place on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Roe versus Wade. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hope to appoint justices to the Supreme Court that will follow the law and the Constitution. And it would be my preference that they reverse Roe v. Wade. In my view, the right course for Roe v. Wade is to have it overturned. I would love the Supreme Court say, let`s send this back to the states rather than having a federal mandate through Roe v. Wade, let the states again consider this issue state by state. My view is that the right next step in the fight to preserve the sanctity of life is to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade? Yes, I do. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: It used to be that Republicans were a little more subtle about this question. They would talk about there not being a litmus test, or how they respected Supreme Court precedent and thought every case should be assessed on its merits. But with this Republican ticket this year, there was not subtlety about this issue at all. They were very clear that had Mitt Romney become president yesterday instead of Barack Obama being sworn in again yesterday, the Romney/Ryan administration would have done everything they could to overturn Roe versus Wade. And that means that if there were a vacancy on the Supreme Court, any Romney nominee to the Supreme Court realistically could be expected to be a surefire bet to vote to overturn that 40-year-old decision. When President Obama leaned over to hug the rather fierce but rather small figure of 79-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg yesterday at the Capitol luncheon that was filled with all the Washington VIPs, and President Obama had that moment with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, that physical contact, that hug between that particular justice and this particular president was a very real manifestation of the consequences of this election we just had. Today, outside the Supreme Court, as they do every year on the anniversary of Roe, anti-abortion groups protested, expressing their view that it should be illegal to get an abortion in this country. There were also counter protests -- people and groups supporting the decision defending abortion rights. The anniversary of the Roe v. decision at the Supreme Court is one of those rare places where you actually see scenes like this where you have demonstrators who are against abortion rights, right alongside demonstrators who are for abortion rights. And they`re all showing up together on this day at the same place with their dueling messages. You rarely see that. But you see that today at the Supreme Court. And for both sides, their audience is the court. But it is also each other. This year on the occasion of this big 40th anniversary of that Supreme Court case, but also in the midst of the Republican Party`s renewed aggression at rolling back abortion rights wherever they can, and it does not seem to be abating much in the states, since the efforts spiked after the 2010 elections, we`re still seeing record levels of new anti-abortion laws passed in the states -- this year, on the midst of that, on the occasion of the 40-year anniversary of the Supreme Court`s ruling on abortion rights, we sent producers from this show, Anthony Terrell (ph) and Rebekah Dryden to go to the four states that are only served by one abortion clinic. We visited the only remaining abortion provider in North Dakota, and in South Dakota and Mississippi and Arkansas -- where the doctor we spoke to Arkansas asked us to conduct the interview in silhouette to protect his identity for his safety. We asked that Arkansas doctor, given the obstacles that he`s practice faces, given the personal risks he is taking by doing this work, why does he choose to do it? Why does he decide every day to be the only abortion provider in Arkansas? His answer was that it is a needed thing. Somebody has to do it. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DOCTOR, ARKANSAS ABORTION PROVIDER: Prior to Roe v. Wade, the number one killer of women of child bearing age was complications associated with abortion. And now it`s not in the top 100 causes of death in women of this age group. I think that something that has been forgotten by a younger group of medical providers, they just haven`t seen the consequences, and the American people have forgotten as a general rule what things were like prior to the legalization of abortion. And limiting access to abortion doesn`t keep people from getting abortion. It just makes it less safe and increases the incidents of complication. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: In other words, as he sees it, the big change ushered in by Roe versus Wade is safety. The big change is not now there is abortion in America. There was always abortion in America. The big change since Roe is that women can go to a doctor for abortions, which is why they don`t die from them, because it can now be a legal procedure. Women are not trying to hack this cure themselves. They`re able to go to a trained, licensed physician and a licensed medical facility to get modern, expert, trained care. And that means that the procedure does not kill them. We do not actually know the precise death rate due to illegal abortion in the days before Roe versus Wade because, hey, it was illegal. But illegal abortion is rather definitively considered to be a leading cause of death for women of child bearing age before Roe. And today, death from abortion complications is almost nonexistent. Today, you are far less likely to die from complications related to an abortion than you are to die from complications related to childbirth. And that`s because abortion is legal. It`s because you can go to a doctor to get one. But today, women`s access to legal care by trained professionals in legal medical facilities that they can go to for an abortion is something that the anti-abortion movement and anti-abortion lawmakers in the states have been able to change, even with the constitutional protection that is supposedly afforded by Roe. If the landmark practical change in the lives of American women that was brought about by Roe 40 years ago is that a leading killer of women of child bearing age stopped killing women of child bearing age because women could get them by doctors in real clinics, it is worth recognizing now that as a practical matter we are heading back toward a situation where many American women can`t get to a doctor and a legal licensed medical facility to have an abortion without taking on increasingly extreme hardship to do so. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SARAH STOESZ, PLANNED PARENTHOOD MN-ND-SD: First of all, imagine how large South Dakota is. It`s -- the entire Eastern Seaboard could fit into our state. It`s huge. It`s sparsely populated. Women live hours and hours from Sioux Falls. TAMMI KROMENAKER, RED RIVER WOMEN`S CLINIC: Because we don`t have any local physicians, the patients come only one day a week. We`re not here every day. So that makes it sometimes difficult for women who have day care work issues that they have to deal with. BETTY THOMPSON, JACKSON WOMEN`S HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Before, they drive in the parking lot. They are accosted by the people outside with pamphlets and bombarded with information that is not true before they ever get inside the clinic. When they do come inside of the clinic, they have a 24-hour waiting period. They have lots of paperwork to do. They have to make choices about their ultrasound and whether they want to hear the heartbeat or see the monitor, et cetera, et cetera. CLINIC DIRECTOR, ARKANSAS ABORTION PROVIDER: A patient must call and make an appointment. At least a day prior to their appointment, they have to have phone counseling with one of our trained staff where they review some state-mandated information with them. STOESZ: Very shortly, we`ll be implementing the 72-hour mandatory delay. Under those circumstances, with a woman will have to drive in 72 hours in advance of her procedure, have this conversation with the doctor, and then leave and wait 72 hours. So she may have to drive back another four or five hours, arrange child care again, endure all of these expense, take time off work, so on and so forth. When she comes back, she is required to have a sonogram. The doctor has to read to her the results of the sonogram and record her reaction to his or her description of the sonogram in her permanent medical record. KROMENAKER: We have to hang posters that the state provides. We have to provide mandated counseling to the patients that the state provides. STOESZ: She also has to be told that she is at life-long risk of suicide and depression. These are things for which there is no medical evidence whatsoever. This is complete fiction. It`s not based on any science. And yet, our doctors have to say it to her, and she has to hear it. And she also is told that she has a relationship with a unique living separate being that she is about to sever. KROMENAKER: We have to tell a woman that North Dakota law says -- defines abortion as terminating the life of a whole separate unique living human being. It`s ideological language that is difficult for -- you know, it`s not something I believe. And so, I have to tell a woman something I don`t believe. DOCTOR, ARKANSAS ABORTION PROVIDER: You`ll have parental notification move to parental consent. Or you`ll have a new list of things you have to tell the patient before the patient can come into the clinic. Or you`ll have new regulations regarding the construction of the clinic that have nothing to do really with patient care or the well-being of the patient, but the legislature passes them and then the board of health enforces them. So over time, it becomes more and more difficult to obtain care and more and more expensive to meet those requirements. That`s the kind of legislation that just keeps piling up and making just a little at a time, making access more difficult and making it less desirable for physicians to enter practice. (END VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: Access to doctors to get this procedure done legally by trained professionals is why the Roe decision 40 years ago was important to American women in practical terms. The legacy of Roe is not that there became a country named America in which there was abortion, and there hadn`t been abortion before. The legacy of Roe is that women very, very, very, very rarely die from abortion in this country anymore, and they used to die from it a lot. So what does that mean that that legacy, women`s access to real doctors who do this procedure safely is being so successfully eroded by anti-abortion lawmakers in the states and the activists who are threatening providers? What does it mean for your 41 of this constitutionally protected right in America and beyond? Joining us now is the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Nancy Keenan. Nancy, thanks very much for your time. It`s nice to have you here. NANCY KEENAN, NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA: Great to be back, Rachel. Thanks. MADDOW: Is it more difficult for American women to access abortion today than it was in the `70s after Roe v. Wade was decided? KEENAN: I think so. And I think it`s no longer about the legality, which was the battle of Roe, making abortion legal in this country. It has now become a debate and a fight around access. As you heard from the wonderful folks providing the care, how difficult it is for women to travel great distances, to be read a script by the government, to be told to have a procedure like a mandatory ultrasound that is neither medically needed nor does she want it. This is the most extreme pressure on women that the ultimate decision is not with her. It is with a politician here in Washington, D.C. or in the case out there in the states, in those state Capitols, where these folks are cruel, they are intimidating women, and their ultimate goal is to deny that care to women across this country. MADDOW: How good is the pro-choice movement, your side of the movement? How good is your side at fighting fights in the states versus fighting fights nationally? I think nationally we in broad terms still tend to think of the abortion fight as the Roe fight, as a Supreme Court fight. But as you`re saying, the rubber hits the road in the states. And that`s where most of the politics happens. KEENAN: Well, we`ve had some wins. And when you think about the personhood amendment in Mississippi, that the people, the people, when they had that vote at the ballot box, they rejected that extreme measure. In South Dakota, there were two times that we fought bans on -- outright bans on abortion. And the people said no, when they had the chance to talk across the fence and down at the school and in their own churches. When they had a chance to talk about it and say no, this is too extreme and we reject it -- we have won those battles. Where we have not won the battles are when legislators are elected. It`s kind of the bait and switch. They don`t run on this issue. They run on jobs or the economy. And then once they get there, we see this war on women. And we see that their whole intent is to deny women this care and letting women, their doctors, their families make the decision. It is unbelievable that we have so many anti-choice legislators. And I think what the American public has to do is when they show up at your door, ask them: do they protect freedom and privacy in letting women make the decision, or do they want politicians to make it? And that`s the million dollar question. Who gets to decide -- politicians or women and her family? MADDOW: We`ve talked a number of time, you and I, Nancy, on this show about overall strategy, about the connection of this -- the issue politics of this as an issue and how it relates to electoral politics between the two parties. I know you are stepping down from NARAL very soon. Your successor has already been named. What would you tell the movement that you have been a part of? What would you tell the abortion rights movement in this country as a sort of exit interview? What do you think is the most important strategic thing for the movement to focus on moving forward? KEENAN: That we have an enormous opportunity in this next generation. They share our pro-choice values. They`re the millennials. They are 76 million strong in this country. And by 2020, they`re going to be 40 percent of the voting population. They will have enormous political power, either running themselves or helping candidates run. And the fact is we have to connect and they have to connect eventually the personal pro-choice values with political action. And I think for the next -- for my predecessor, Ilyse Hogue, who is going to be fantastic, she has the opportunity now to be that next generation and the face of that generation, to make sure that we secure this right and maybe actually roll back some of the horrible legislation that has denied women access to this care. MADDOW: Nancy Keenan, outgoing president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, to be succeed by Ilyse Hogue, which has just been announced. Congratulations on managing that transition. I know that was a big, important part of why you decided to leave. And we`re looking forward to welcoming you back after you have had time to go fishing and take some time off. KEENAN: Thanks, Rachel. Talk to you soon. MADDOW: Thanks. KEENAN: All right. Congress, now that the inauguration is over, you`ve got one big thing on your plate right now. You can do it, you really can, right now. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. Last night on this show, the presidential historian Michael Beschloss put a cold, hard number on all of the promise represented by the inauguration ceremonies that kicked off President Obama`s second term yesterday -- a cold, hard number. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: When a president comes in for a second term, he usually has about six to eight months to get things through Congress. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Six to eight months? That is it? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BESCHLOSS: He usually has about six to eight months to get things through Congress. It may seem small, but even LBJ in `65, with 61 percent presidential landslide, more Democrats in Congress than at any other time in the 20th century except for Roosevelt, he knew enough about the Senate and House, he said, I`ve got six months because I`m going to be asking some Democrats and Republicans to cast some risky votes. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Six months, six months, maybe eight? Historically speaking, that`s the time frame that a president has at the start of the second term to get er done. If that`s true, then tick tock, right? No time to waste, not with an agenda as big as this president laid out yesterday in his inaugural address. But late today, some news broke out on that front, on the pace of what happens next, when we get an ultimatum, and a unilateral action, with specific number of hours attached to it from somebody very important in Washington. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I hope within the next 24 to 36 hours we can get something we can agree on. If not, we`re going to move forward on what I think needs to be done. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Twenty-four to 36 hours, and then it is over, we`re moving, I`m going ahead myself. What`s that about? That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: There are a few things the Constitution agrees that we can do as a country but it should not be easy. Like impeachment -- yes, you can impeach a president or justice, but it is hard, it takes a super majority, you need two thirds votes in the Senate for that. Same goes for the Congress kicking out one of its members, you can do it, but it`s hard. You need a super majority. Also, overriding a presidential veto, that takes a super majority. Ratifying a treaty. Treaty should not be entered into lightly, so no mere majority can ratify. It has to be a super majority. Also, amending the Constitution. We don`t do that willy-nilly, right? You need a super majority to that. But that`s what the Constitution spells out. Those huge deals, like changing the Constitution, that`s the stuff for which you need more than the majority vote, stuff like re-naming a post office, regular Senate business does not rise to that level. Except now it does. Since the Republicans went into the minority in the Senate, they have finagled a way to use the rules there to force a super majority of senators on votes of pretty much everything. The Senate is supposed to be a majority-vote kind of body, except in extreme cases. But they have made it into a case where you always need a super majority even for the littlest things. This is not the way the government was designed. And this un-debated change, change is a fundamental and structural thing about how our democracy works. Now, we keep saying that the Democrats have just one shot to change those rules on the first day of this Congress when the rules are set by majority vote. We keep saying that we can fix this problem, and that is still true. But Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid keeps changing the definition of what counts as the first day of Congress. We thought it would be January 3rd, which is the day they were sworn in. Then, we were told they were extending the first day until today. Now, it seems that the first legislative day is going to stretch on yet further, because nothing happened yet today. Apparently, no final decision has been made yet about whether Democrats are going to change the rules or not, or how they`re going to change the rules if they do. Our latest reporting indicates that Democrats might be able to pass a more aggressive reform of the filibuster if they just allow a majority vote on the floor, rather than Harry Reid trying to work out some deal with Mitch McConnell. Senator Reid has reportedly now issued a 36-hour deadline to come up with some kind of deal before the Democrats just go ahead and do it on their own. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REID: I hope within the next 24 to 36 hours, we can get something that we agree on. If not, we`re going to move forward on what I think needs to be done. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: A threat -- neat. But bottom line, as yet, no action. If you have been wondering whether this big change in our government was going to be allowed to stand or whether it might be fixed by filibuster reform on day one of the Senate, the news today is that it is apparently still day one of the new Senate. It has been weeks now, Democrats could still do it, but they have not yet. Tick tock. 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