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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/22/13

Guests: Tammi Kromenaker

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy Monday. Happy new royal baby day. It`s been exciting around here I have to say, to be around all the happy coverage of the royal family in Britain getting a new baby boy. Congratulations to them. Mazel tov! Continued good cheer for everybody who`s psyched for them and for their new baby. It`s a good day. Good news. It`s been fun to be around all this coverage today. At this point, the baby is born and everybody is reportedly healthy and well. So, it is not likely that there will be any updates further on this story tonight. But if there are, I promise we will bring them to you. Plus, a little later on in the show, we`re going to have some reporting on the one technical who gets to be king detail that is both fascinating and actually kind of newsy news about the new baby. We`ll have that coming up a little later on this hour. But as American television has lost its collective mind over this happy announcement today, the networks jockeying for position trying to attract to their network the largest proportion they can of all the people who are interested in this happy story, as the networks fall over themselves to outdo each other on this story -- quietly back home, the news has broken already about who is winning the overall fight among all the networks to attract viewers. And among all the networks, all the big ones, among NBC, which is our parent company, and ABC, and CBS, and FOX, you know who`s number one right now? None of them. Look at the number one most watched network in the whole country right now. Tada! Univision. For the month of July, the Spanish-language network Univision has had more viewers under the age of 50 than CBS, NBC, than FOX, than everybody. They put out an open letter to all the other networks taunting them with the news today. Numero uno is the new number one. We are the new American reality. And then to add injury to the insults, they ran that open letter in "The New York Times" where everybody could see it. And, yes, this is of competitive interest if you care about competitive interest in the TV business, which you probably don`t. But even if you don`t, this is also of huge political interest, for everyone in the country. Because what is happening on the most watched TV channel, the most watched TV network in the whole country, is that their flagship politics show is doing interviews now with Republican congressmen about whether or not those Republicans really do think that immigrants are like dogs. And they ought to be thought of as such by native-born Americans. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JORGE RAMOS, UNIVISION: In a town hall meeting in Iowa, you actually compare immigrants to dogs. (CROSSTALK) REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: I told you if you watch that video, you would know, that was a speech celebrating legal immigrants. Legal. Not illegal immigrants. Legal immigrants. And I said they are the cream of the crop. It`s the vigor of America that comes because people from all donor civilizations on the planet want to come here. They dream. We get the best -- RAMOS: You don`t want to apologize for that comment, Congressman? KING: That was the speech, and it`s been mischaracterized by people on the left as been intentionally and dishonestly done so to drive wedges between people on the base of race. I think it`s a sin to do that, Jorge. RAMOS: So, from your point of view, you did not compare immigrants to dogs? KING: That`s -- I said that speech was about the vigor of legal immigration. It was a very complimentary speech, and, no, I did not do that. RAMOS: I don`t think many people found that complimentary. KING: You should go back and look at the video. RAMOS: It is not complimentary to compare a group of -- KING: And you`ll know that. RAMOS: You know it is not complimentary to compare a group of people, immigrants to animals. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: It is not complimentary to compare a group of people to animals. Can we agree on that? You probably suspect this by now, but the Univision anchor there, Jorge Ramos, is the who`s right in that fight, and Steve King is wrong. Cue the Republican congressman compares immigrants to dogs tape, please. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KING: You want a good bird dog? You want one that`s going to be aggressive? Pick the one that`s the friskiest, the one that`s engaged the most, and not the one that`s over there sleeping in the corner. If you want a pet to sit on the couch, pick the one that`s sleeping in the corner. You get to pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog. Well, we`ve got the pick of every donor civilization on the planet because it`s hard to get here. They had to be inspired to come. We got the vigor from the planet to come to America. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: See, immigrants, they`re the frisky kind of dog. And when you pick your immigrant, make sure you pick yourself a frisky dog immigrant and not a lazy dog immigrant, America, because immigrants are just like dogs. Steve King said that thing about immigrants and dogs last year. This weekend, on the most watched television network in the country, on Univision, anchor Jorge Ramos went back at Steve King for it again and again and again, making sure that the congressman did not want to apologize for comparing immigrants to dogs. The congressman did not want to apologize for it. He wanted to keep explaining on the most watched TV network in the country in any language why he and other Republicans are opposed to immigration reform. Tomorrow, the House of Representatives takes up immigration reform again, a subcommittee that Steve King is on as it happens. We`ll get to hear those kinds of arguments again. Those things are supposed to be not as raw, not as out in the open in the U.S. Senate as they are sometimes in the House. But in the Senate, the no side has been pretty out there as well. Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama was reportedly working the crowd last week in D.C. and Republican Senator Ted Cruz was on the list of speakers at this Republican rally against immigration reform, when talk turned to immigrants having donkey DNA. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From those incredible bloodlines of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and John Smith, and all these great Americans, Martin Luther King -- these great Americans that built this country, you came from them. And the unique thing about being from that part of the world, when you learn about breeding is you learn you and not breed secretariat to a donkey and expect to win the Kentucky Derby. You guys have incredible DNA, and don`t forget it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Donkey DNA crossing with American good DNA, that`s why we can`t have immigration reform. Senator Jeff Sessions, Senator Ted Cruz, Congressman "immigrants are like dogs" Steve King, all were built as part of that rally on Capitol Hill. The reporter for "The Nation" who captured that audio said Jeff Sessions was standing right next to him, when he did, glad-handing the crowd, while the donkey DNA thing resonated. Another one of the prominent no votes against immigration reform in the Senate was Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. News today about Senator Rand Paul that was maybe overshadowed by all the royal babiness, Rand Paul today lost his Southern Avenger. Senator Rand Paul had hired as a senior Senate staffer this man who goes by the name the Southern Avenger as a commentator and pundit and radio host. He would wear a confederate flag wrestling mask and opine on avenging the South. "John Wilkes Booth was right." John Wilkes Booth, of course, assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. "John Wilkes Booth`s heart was in the right place. I raise a personal toast every May 10th to celebrate John Wilkes Booth`s birthday. Modern Americans are not wrong to deplore the millions of Mexicans coming here now. A non-white majority America would simply cease to be America." This was one of my favorites. "Just because we have fair skin, we`re always denied fair treatment." Those were all quotes from the Southern Avenger in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. In 2009, he was reaffirming his Southern Avenger name and explaining, quote, "In my early 20s, I was a full-blown right wing radical as a member of the Southern secessionist group, the League of South, I argued seriously for the states of the old Confederacy to break away from the rest of the Union." Years later, he said, "I thought it might be better to tone down the radicalism and appear more respectable. But when I came across an old column of mine last week, I realized I never really changed. I`m still just as radical or crazy depending on your perspective. In fact, I might be getting worse." He goes on to defend the idea that the South, now, should go Confederate again and secede from the Union since America is becoming too different, too diverse, too multicultural. So the South should secede again. So, he argued in 2009, and it was less than a year later that Rand Paul hired the guy to write his book. And then he hired him on to his Senate staff. After a conservative Web site did a detailed report on the Southern Avenger`s background earlier this month, Rand Paul responded by saying, "Are we at a point where nobody can have had a youth?" For a couple weeks now, Rand Paul has been standing by his Southern Avenger staffer. But today he finally cut him loose. The first half of the day had the Southern Avenger resigning so has not to be a distraction to Senator Rand Paul as he mounts a probable run for president. But then later in the day, Senator Paul described it as a mutual decision -- a mutual decision between himself and longtime Confederate flag mask-wearing alter ego who after all did write the senator`s book for him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: This is true, he is resigning, and I think because of the views he expressed before my employment, it became a distraction. REPORTER: Did you ask him to resign? PAUL: It was a mutual decision. You know, I think everybody occasionally has people that work for them that sometimes have a background that damages what you`re trying to do, and so we`ll see. Only time will tell. But I think people can judge me on who I am and what I`m trying to do rather than, you know, trying to go after, you know, one of my employees and say, oh, this is all about you. REPORTER: Was he fully vetted? Are you going to change your vetting process? PAUL: Let`s try another issue. Anybody else got another issue? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Anybody else got another issue? Today, while all eyes were on London and the royal baby and happy news there, today here in Washington, they started fixing the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The memorial, overall, is pretty stunning in person. I have to say, I am a fan. But arguably, they screwed up part of it. They took the core of a sermon that Dr. King had delivered in 1968, just a few weeks before he was assassinated. It was a sermon that criticized the impulse in social movements for people to want to be seen as leaders, to want to be seen as out in front of the people, wanting to be seen as drum majors instead of as marchers, themselves. The memorial took that sermon and nutted it up in a way that many people felt twisted its meaning. The memorial just said etched into the stone, "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness." Which is kind of an appropriate keyword index to what Dr. King said, but it`s pretty much the opposite of the spirit in which he meant it. So, today, here in Washington, D.C., they started fixing that. They`re going to score new deep grooves into the stone to take out the screwed up inscription. They want it done before the 50th anniversary of the 1963 march on Washington -- the "I Have a Dream" speech march on Washington which is going to happen late next month. We have a peculiar knack in this country for getting it wrong on race. Even the most deliberate, literally, carved in stone best intentioned things we do about race, we have a talent for screwing up. Mistakes get made. But when do they start self-correcting? When do we get the equal and opposite political reaction that forces a change to what we`ve got now, which is Republicans going on Spanish-language television to lie about their record comparing immigrants to dogs before their side probably prevails in Congress in blocking immigration reform. Nobody is perfect, but how do we get more perfect than this? Because what we have got right now is absolutely terrible. Joining us now is my friend, E.J. Dionne, "Washington Post" columnist, senior fellow at Brookings. E.J., it`s great to see you. Thanks for being here. E.J. DIONNE, WASHIINGTON POST: Great to see you. Buenos noches. MADDOW: The country is not nearly so bad off with race as we were half a century ago. We hear an elected conservative congressman comparing immigrants to dogs, saying that was celebratory and his side is likely to win to stop important legislation in the House. Why is that part of our politics so stuck? DIONNE: Well, I do, I actually do think there`s a answer for that in the House because I still think those folks are in a minority. But we are in a kind of regressive period, we`ve done through a number of cycles like this in our history. We fought a civil war. We had reconstruction. African-Americans got equal rights in the South. There were prominent African-American elected officials. And then we had the reaction. The Southerners, who threw out the reconstruction government, called themselves redeemers. I`m sure the Confederate Avenger identifies with those redeemers. Then we went through a long period of real regression, you know, until the time that WEB DuBois started writing. It took him a long time. And we went backwards on race and went forward again in the civil rights years. And I think what`s really disturbing right now is there was a long time where even people who had been against the civil rights bills felt an obligation to speak in a certain way about race. I felt an obligation to say I believe in the equal dignity of immigrants and of African-Americans. Since Obama`s election and maybe a little bit before that, we pull back some. Tonight, I was thinking about a guy called Mel Bradford. Mel Bradford was one of those neo-confederate intellectuals. He`s rather high tone, thoughtful (ph) guy. There was talk Ron Reagan would make him head on the council of humanities. There was a huge blowback in the conservative movement against the neo-confederate ideas. Bill Bennett got the job instead. Those forces are now on their way back with influence on the right and I think it`s something our friends on the right really have to think about and start speaking out against. MADDOW: Do you see any sparks on the right? I think you`re right that the place to look for it immediately is a self-policing impulse or at least some sort of sign of embarrassment on the right so that people on right can talk to each other about this. Do you see any spark there? Any signs of life? I had expected to see more of it by now. DIONNE: Funnily enough, you`re seeing it with George W. Bush. George W., whatever else we say about him, he may have been wrong about Iraq, but he always spoke with real feeling about immigrants. Our friend, Joan Walsh, said, why can`t they be right on both wars? Usually the ones who are right about the civil war were wrong about Iraq. And I think you`re seeing other conservatives getting upset, but I think they -- and let`s be clear, we`re not talking about free speech here. The neo-confederates and everyone else is free to say what they want, but a political movement needs to tell people who we are and who we`re not. Bill Buckley made a point of ridding the Birchers out of the conservative movement in the `60s. He made a point of ridding anti-Semites out of the movement. He, himself, corrected himself on race over time. And so I`m looking for more conservatives to speak out and say this isn`t what conservatism ought to be. MADDOW: Do you feel like there is anything constructive that is coming out of the discussion about the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin trial, specifically about the stand your ground laws? You wrote really eloquently about Cory Booker and President Obama and the way they`ve responded to that in personal terms, in terms of, you identify real leadership there. Are you seeing signs of constructive discourse there? DIONNE: Well, first of all, I think Trayvon Martin`s family has done an extraordinary service to the country, and I think no matter where people stand on this, when they look at the dignity of that family, the grace of that family, I think it makes people think, again, maybe I wouldn`t do that if that were my son. Maybe I wouldn`t be able to behave like that. So, I think that`s a big deal. I think President Obama really putting himself out there as an African-American man who could have been, who was treated like this, snap door locks and all that. I think a lot of people identify with that. I mean, almost all of us have probably done that at some point in our lives, and I think, yes, revisiting stand your ground. Beginning to ask the question, if you`re for law and order, why do you want to undercut the authorities like that? Why do you want to make it harder to prosecute gang members who can always say, I was shooting in self-defense, which is, I`m sure, often technically true? And then lastly, how do we treat young black men in this society? How do we treat them? Hos those of us who are white, those of us who are any other color, treat them as brothers and say, no, this whole part of our society, all these folks have equal dignity and should not be just left out there to suffer in very difficult circumstances. I`d like to think something good could come of this. What I`m worried about is the stuff you`re seeing on Twitter at times. There`s a kind of racial rawness right now out there that I think should bother us all. And when I say all, I mean us all and not just people who are liberal or progressive. MADDOW: I would say on that point, that John McCain`s positive words this weekend about reviewing Arizona`s stand your ground laws. I have hopes maybe that even Rick Scott in Florida might respond more to the pressure that is continuously put on him by those young people in Florida, might consent to a review there particularly because his scandal-ridden lieutenant governor led the last review. I think there`s reason to hope there. E.J., thank you. DIONNE: Always hope. Thank you very much. MADDOW: Thank you very much. E.J. Dionne, "Washington Post" columnist, senior fellow at Brookings. All right. Coming up, it is the thing that happened in the news today at the exact same moment as the royal baby announcement which means it will be forever lost to the news hole -- except here. And that story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: At the height of the royal baby frenzy today, as everyone was clamoring to learn exactly when the royal baby was produced and at what size, and as the guy with the big hat was playing the thing and the paper was on its way to the suddenly very important easel -- I`ll explain the easel thing later -- at the height of all that today, something unbelievable was going on at the exact same moment 5,000 miles west of the palace. There was a press conference planned for maximum effect, choreographed for maximum drama, maxing out just about what you can say on television without getting in trouble. But the timing coincided exactly with the announcement from London about the royal baby. And so, it basically got swallowed up by that news which, as press conferences go, is probably a shame. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR ACCUSER: There have been a number of press articles referring to Mayor Filner and suggesting that he asked a woman to work without her panties. The woman was not named. Irene is the woman. Her job required her to suffer Mayor Filner, telling her that she should work without her panties on, that he wanted to see her naked, that he could not wait to consummate their relationship, and that he wanted to marry her. IRENE MCCORMACK JACKSON, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: The past six months turned out to be the worst time of my entire working life. I had to work and do my job in an atmosphere where women were viewed by Mayor Filner as sexual objects or stupid idiots. I saw him place his hands where they did not belong on numerous women. I was placed in the Filner head lock and moved around as a rag doll while he whispered sexual comments in my ear. Mayor Filner challenged me to give him one example of how his behavior toward me was improper. I pointed out that he had asked me to work without my underwear on. He had no comeback. He is not fit to be mayor of our great city. He is not fit to hold any public office. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Irene McCormack Jackson explained today she took a $50,000 pay cut to become communications director for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. She says she did it because she believed in him, because she believed in his progressive administration. Ms. Jackson took that job in January when former Congressman Filner was sworn in. She filed her lawsuit today against both Bob Filner and the city of San Diego. It has been 11 days now of accusations of sexual harassment against the first Democratic mayor of San Diego in two decades. Very specific allegations by multiple women including the thing about telling women not to wear underwear and forcibly grabbing and kissing women who worked for him and putting women in head locks and saying gross things to them. When these allegations first started coming out last week, Mayor Filner immediately released a strange but restrained DVD statement in which he apologized and said he needed help. He said he would participate in sexual harassment training, but he did not resign. He has still not resigned. He has, though, been trying to avoid the media. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Mayor, we`d like to ask you just a few questions. Mayor, if he`s allegations are not true, then please say it. REPORTER: How come you won`t talk to us? REPORTER: Mr. Mayor, are these allegations true? REPORTER: Mayor Bob Filner refusing to answer questions from reporters, then making a getaway. Watch here as his driver even runs this red light. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Today after the press conference where the city communications director accused him of telling her to come to work without underwear, two members of the San Diego city council, the Democratic president of the council, and a leading Republican member of the council, joined a growing chorus of people who are calling on Mayor Bob Filner to resign. You want to know when things are bad in your town? When your town gets a hotline number for women to call to talk about their experiences being sexually harassed by mayor. Congratulations, San Diego, you are now the only city in country where there is a hotline, a dedicated official telephone number that is set up and being advertised as the number to call specifically for anyone wishing to report sexual misconduct allegations against the mayor. Because the San Diego Police Department reports to the mayor, it`s actually the sheriffs department that has set up this hotline but it is now up and live. We tested it. Mayor Filner has released a statement tonight saying that he does not believe the claims in the sexual harassment lawsuit files against him today are valid. He says he intends to defend himself vigorously. He says, quote, "I know that justice will prevail." So as of tonight former Congressman Bob Filner is still mayor of the second largest city in California. As of tonight, that is still the case check your watch, though. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Behold Britain, the sovereign state from which we are estranged. Amicably estranged, but still. You know, the sex pistols, the clash, mummified Jeremy Bentham at the University College of London. Look, there he is. Also. Yorkshire pudding. Really, really, really depressing weather. Britain is famous for lots of things but today, on this very day, Britain is famous for a giant baby -- 8 pounds, 6 ounces, certainly the most famous baby of the last 24 hours. Now, I recognize that not everyone has been transfixed by the news, and some folks who do not care about the news actually go further so as to resent that anybody who does care about the news actually cares about it. But even if you did not care about this news, even if you resented other people were caring about it, did you know about the actual news part of it? The crown act of 2013 part of it? Fascinating it turns out, even if you hate the whole baby mania thing. Hold on. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: We have been reporting basically for the past three years on how Republicans in the states, particularly since the 2010 midterms, have rolled back abortion rights further and faster and more radically than any time since Roe versus Wade was decided 40 years ago. But you know what, Roe v. Wade still is the law. Everywhere. And so, in this era of Republican governance, about, I don`t, once a week or so, at the stroke of noon, some judge somewhere in the country has to do what a federal judge did today in North Dakota. Quote, "The state of North Dakota has presented no evidence to justify the passage of this troubling law. The state has extended an invitation to an expensive court battle over a law restricting abortions that is a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women. The United States Supreme Court has unequivocally said that no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at point prior to viability. North Dakota House bill 1456 is clearly unconstitutional under an unbroken stream of United States Supreme Court authority." And therefore, the court grants the plaintiffs motion for injunction. Federal judge today blocking the law passed by North Dakota Republicans to ban abortions after six weeks, which is something you obviously cannot do in this country. But still, this is what Republicans do. They do stuff like this all the time. And it gets blocked all the time. In Kansas, Republicans passed TRAP laws to shut down clinics there. That law is blocked by courts. In Ohio, Republicans passed laws to restrict medication abortions there. That law is blocked by the courts. In Oklahoma, their Republicans passed their own laws to restrict medication abortions. That law is blocked by the courts and headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In Mississippi, the Republican TRAP law to close down the last clinic in Mississippi is blocked by the courts. In Alabama, the Republican TRAP law to close down Alabama clinics is blocked by the courts. In Wisconsin, the Republican TRAP law to close down Wisconsin clinics is blocked by the courts. In Georgia, the Republican ban on abortions at 20 weeks is blocked by the state courts. In Idaho, the Republican abortion ban in that state is blocked by a federal court. In Arizona, the Republican abortion ban is blocked by a federal court. Republicans have long wished that Roe versus Wade did not protect women`s right to have an abortion in this country. But something changed in the past few years and they stopped just wishing for that and advocating for that. And instead they just started behaving as if that were not true. And so, once a week now a court strikes down what they`re doing. There are four states in this country where there`s only one clinic that does abortions in the whole state. North Dakota, right now, is one of those states. The clinic in North Dakota is called the Red River Women`s Clinic. It`s in Fargo, and we visited that clinic in January. Producer Rebekah Dryden spoke to the clinic director about what it is like to be the one and only state in the whole state and trying to end access to legal abortion in your state by shutting you down. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TAMMI KORMENAKER, RED RIVER WOMEN`S CLINIC: Any time when the legislature meets, they absolutely know there`s only one clinic. They targeted, the legislature targets us just as much and they a lot more power and clout to make things difficult for us. And so, in this next legislative session, we think a personhood bill is going to pass which would basically outlaw abortion and then somehow that would have to be tackled and fought against. And being the only clinic also would make us the ones that have to take on those challenges. That`s the other big kind of downside is that when you are the only clinic, you`re the one who has to step up and fight the battles and take on the challenges to do those, to fight against the legislative actions. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was in January. Since then, the Republican legislature in that state passed a ban on abortions at six weeks which is for many women before they even know they are pregnant. That is the ban that the federal judge blocked today. This afternoon, Tammi Kromenaker from the Red River Women`s Clinic tweeted a link to the federal court`s ruling and said relieved and pleased. What we are seeing today in North Dakota in terms of a judge having to step in and say you`re kidding, right, this isn`t even close to constitutional, that is happening all over the country, repeatedly. The single most important legislative priority of the Republican Party in the era of Obama is a legislative priority that is illegal everywhere in this country. That is not stopping them. Joining us now is Tammi Kromenaker. She is director of Red River Women`s Clinic of Fargo, North Dakota. Tammy, it`s nice so see you again. Thanks for being back with us. KROMENAKER: Thank you for having me back, Rachel. MADDOW: So how does today`s ruling affect you guys in Fargo immediately? What does this mean for your clinic? KROMENAKER: What this means is come August 1st, at this point, we still have one more hurdle but this was a big one. Since we`ve gotten over this one, we`re going to still be able to see our patients and our patients are not going to have to rush in and make an appointment, try to get to us prior to that six-week mark. And so, it`s going to give women time to make their decisions and it`s going to keep our doors open. MADDOW: What do you think happens next in the legal battle? You say there are continuing hurdles. What happens next and what do you expect you`re going to have to continue to do in order to stay open? KROMENAKER: Well, it seems like this North Dakota legislature, just like legislatures in other states, seemed determined to pass laws that are blatantly unconstitutional, just like the judge said. And so, it is going to have to be the courts. At this point, we have one more battle. We have a state court hearing on July 31st, the day before the law is set to go in effect to see if we can get an injunction against the admitting privileges law. The admitting privileges law and the six-week ban are the two laws that would have stopped us from being able to offer the services that we do to women in our state. And so, one down, one to go. We feel confident that we`ll get that injunction as well. All we can do is battle this out in courts, wait for the next legislative session and hope legislators take a cue from this and stop passing these unconstitutional laws. MADDOW: Tammi, what are the material consequences of there being just one clinic in the whole state right now? I mean, obviously you`re fighting these fights with the legislature and in the courts to try to stay open, but you`re also serving your patients and you`re seeing firsthand the effect of the incredibly limited access to abortion services that there are in your state. With you being the only clinic right now and one that`s fighting to survive. What does that mean for your patients? KROMENAKER: Well, we`ve already heard from our patients. As soon as any news hit, you know, earlier this session. Our patients are worried that abortion is illegal, or they`re calling right now and saying, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I have to get in, I have to get in. You know, these laws are going to go into effect. Or they actually already think it`s illegal but still want to call us and still make an appointment. Abortion is already difficult to access in state of North Dakota just like in many other states. We are the only provider and we`re here as the only provider because that`s what the population of North Dakota supports. It`s not like a state like Mississippi where other clinics have been legislated out of practice. But abortion, it is still legal, but it`s very difficult for many women to access, and we hear stories every day. We had a woman last week who slept in her car the night before because she couldn`t afford a hotel room but she lives all the way across the state on the western part of the state. So, it`s available, and it`s here, but it`s still difficult to access. MADDOW: Tammi, we`ve been hearing reports that there are pro-choice activists who are mobilizing around the country to try to essentially attract national attention to one-clinic states like yours and to also other places where the remaining clinics are having a real hard time fighting against efforts to shut them down. Places like Wichita, Kansas, where they`re trying to re-open Dr. George Tiller`s practice or another practice on that site. Are you -- is there a material consequence of you in that national support? Does it make a difference to you when people nationally are paying attention to the kind of needs that your clinic has? KROMENAKER: I think definitely it`s helpful. Any time there`s national attention, because I think that we need people in this country to see that this is happening all over. I mean, Texas last week. It`s happening in North Carolina, Wisconsin. All the states you just named. You know, our first primary focus is on our patients. But if we can get people to wake up, see what`s happening. If this abortion rights freedom ride is going to do that and make people wake up, it`s no wonder that people feel compelled to be involved because they`re seeing it everywhere. They`re seeing this happen in every state and every court, it seems like, and it`s almost like a wish for the national attention to lead to maybe a Supreme Court ruling that kind of redraws the line in the sand. I feel like the line in the sand that Roe started and Casey kind of lined up a little bit clearer has become extremely murky and these state legislatures are constantly going over that line and I think all the national attention we can get, you know, like your show, other shows, media, is important to highlight these issues because I think that the American public has gone to sleep on this issue and that`s what`s happened. And that`s why the Republicans are able to push through this agenda, get elected on jobs and the economy. And they are just rabidly fixated on abortion and women`s rights. MADDOW: Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women`s Clinic of Fargo, North Dakota -- Tammi, thanks very much for your time tonight. Stay in touch with us as you keep going on this fight. We`d love to stay in touch with what`s happening with our clinic. Thank you. KROMENAKER: Absolutely. Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: Thanks. The abortion rights freedom ride that Tammi is talking about there is a protest effort where they`re going to be trucking, literally caravanning to a lot of places in the country where abortion rights are most at risk. Places like North Dakota. Places like Mississippi. Places like Kansas. Trying to put the national spotlight, where abortion is about legislated out of existence by Republican opposition to women having access to that right. But they`re trying to hold on. All right. It turns out that royal baby having day is a spectacular day to bury other totally unrelated news. I kind of love news days like this because of all the stuff that nobody else notices. So, we`ve got more to come. Including actually some royal baby related news. Seriously. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Very late on Friday night, there were a flurry of e-mails fired off from Pentagon -- really late -- after 10:00 p.m. on a Friday night in mid-July. So basically guaranteed for nobody to notice what was going on. The news was actually pretty big news. In some ways, it could be biggest news about Guantanamo since President Obama announced on day two of his presidency that he was going to try to close it. According to this utterly buried news this weekend, dozens of prisoners at Guantanamo are going to get what "Miami Herald" is characterizing as parole board style hearings to determine if they represent a continuing significant threat to the United States. Now, these will not be legal hearings about whether or not it is legally kosher to keep holding these guys in prison. It`s a hearing about whether or not these guys are dangerous to the U.S. whether keeping them in prison is necessary in order to protect against a continuing significant threat. Of the 166 men still being held at Guantanamo, 86 of them have already been cleared for release, more than half. But conditions sent by Congress will not let the Obama administration release them. Those guys who are already cleared for release but still not released, they are not the ones who are getting these new hearings. Rather, these new hearings apply to other prisoners who have not been cleared for release but who also have not been charged with anything, nor have they been put on trial. Those guys will now at least start to have some sort of process to assess whether the United States even wants to have them in prison anymore for any reason. If more people are cleared for release, does that make does it make it more likely that any of them will be released? I mean, if we go from half of the prison cleared for release, which is what we have now, but say we go from half of it to 90 percent of the prison cleared for release, if that happens, can anyone ever get released ever? Hello, is this thing on? Here`s one thing to watch. In the president`s big last pronouncement about how he really does want to close Guantanamo, the president said he was announcing two new envoys to get the job done. He said there would be one close Guantanamo chief for the State Department and one for the Pentagon. The State Department has their guy. He has been announced. He has been installed. He`s in the job. He`s working it. The other envoy is supposed to be from the Pentagon, so far no word on that. The Pentagon still has not even picked anyone for that gig. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, please call your office. When we do get one, when we finally do get an envoy at the Pentagon in charge of closing Guantanamo, who`s betting we`re going to hear about it very, very, very late on a Friday night in the summer? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The Succession to the Crown Act of 2013. Whether or not you are as psyched about the royal baby news as everybody else is, consider the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013 -- a change in the rules to make succession to the crown not depend on gender. Before this change the old who gets to be king, who gets to be queen laws in Britain dated back more than 300 years and the rules said basically boys first. The heir to the throne was to be the first-born son of the monarch. Well, then how did we get any queens, then? Only when there were no boys. Only when there were no sons, no boys, no immediate princely-type heirs would the crown be passed to the eldest daughter. That is how we got, say, Queen Elizabeth. Girls only as a last resort, only when there were no boys. It was not until 2011 when they finally started thinking that maybe they should change this. But here`s the thing about changing something like this: Britain cannot just change that on its own, because when it comes to the queen-ship, when it comes to the monarchy, the British empire is still hanging around like a vestigial tail. Yes, the prime minister and the government of Britain only rules Britain, but technically, the queen still rules the whole commonwealth. So if you want to change the rules pertaining to the queen, you need to get everybody in the commonwealth to sign off all around the old colonial world. So, it was in 2011 in Perth, Australia, when the 16 commonwealth countries of which the queen is still queen met to discuss. And British Prime Minister David Cameron announced at that meeting that they were going to do it, they were going to make the change. Boys would no longer trump girls. The commonwealth countries had all agreed, he said, to give female royals the exact same rights of succession as their brothers. Quote, "Put simply, if the duke and duchess of Cambridge`s first-born were to be a girl, that girl would one day be our queen." David Cameron came back to the U.K. with the consent of all the commonwealth countries to go along with it. He introduced a bill last year, the Succession of the Crown Act. It passed through both houses of parliament, and it was officially made the "who gets to set on the throne" law three months ago. Just in time. So, the gender politics of royal babies are basically by the skin of their teeth suddenly all 21st century. But when it came time to make the official baby announcement today, the world`s eyes turned to a gold-trimmed easel propped up outside Buckingham palace. Behold the royal news-breaking easel. The easel is basically the bulletin board where the official announcement of the birth gets posted when the time comes. This particular easel was also used to announce the birth of Prince William back in 1982, and maybe his brother? I don`t remember. I don`t follow this all that closely. Anyway, all day today, in the broiling heat of July in London people congregated today at Buckingham Palace staring at the easel. Not standing in front of the electronic news scroll in Times Square or HD screens on their smartphones, or everything. Everybody just propped themselves up in front of the easel, waiting for the big news to be pinned up. The easel, of course, got its own parody Twitter feed, which probably confused it and made it frightened but in an adorable Downton Abbey accented kind of way. At 3:30 p.m., the announcement of a baby boy finally came, by press release. But still everybody stared at and took pictures of the easel until the official announcement finally got pinned into it. At St. Mary`s Hospital in Paddington, the parents` press secretary came down the hospital steps to begin the process of putting all other birth announcements to shame, at least in the gaudy department. The announcement with the official birth notice encased in a red leather folder embossed with the Buckingham palace emblem. An orderly and a police officer drove with the royally embossed birth announcement from the hospital to Buckingham Palace in a blue jaguar. Upon arriving the orderly paused for a picture and then passed the announcement off to Queen Elizabeth`s press secretary, who then finally posted the bulletin where a proper birth announcement goes, into the gold- plated easel, where thousands of people were staring, waiting to see it. And in the event that you could not get close enough to ye olde gold- plated birth announcement easel which is awesome, if you could only get close enough to hear but not see, that is where still having a town crier comes in extremely handy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOWN CRIER: In the year 2013, we welcome -- a future king. The first-born of the royal highness, the duke and duchess of Cambridge. The third in line to the throne. Our new prince is the third great-grandchild of her majesty, the queen, and the first child of his royal highness the prince of Wales. May he be long-lived, happy, and glorious and one day reign over. God save the queen! (BELL) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: May he be happy and glorious. Why don`t we say that for every baby? Yes, there is still an official town crier in London, and to do the town crying he still gets gussied up in really quite a spectacular outfit, red and gold and black breeches and black boots and a tri-corn hat. Stands outside St. Mary`s Hospital and he cries. Whoo! The duke and duchess of Cambridge had a baby boy, weighed eight pounds, six ounces. It arrived with his royal life at 4:24 this afternoon in London. Mazel tov, of course, to the happy parents, to the happy royal family member day, people who go for that sort of thing, and to everybody who freaking enjoyed it. Come on. Don`t begrudge people their happiness with this. It is legit good news. May he be happy and glorious. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow night. 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