IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/31/13

Guests: Barney Frank, Brian Sims, David Bullock

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, GUEST HOST: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. This is Chris Hughes. Mr. Hughes is a Facebook gazillionaire. He was one of the founders of Facebook, going way back to the dorm room days at Harvard. In 2008, the young Mr. Hughes ran the online part of Barack Obama`s presidential campaign. He created the digital strategy that helped get President Obama elected. Last year, Chris Hughes got married. He married Sean Eldridge in New York state. Now, Mr. Hughes` new husband is running for Congress as a Democrat. The two of them are a Democratic power couple from bright blue New York, by way of bright blue California, by way of Harvard. And to go along with his many, many millions and his liberal politics, Mr. Hughes last year bought a liberal magazine, "The New Republic," where you can find headlines like, "New data that shows why the next Republican nominee is screwed," and "Obstructing Obama isn`t in House Republican`s self-interest." And this, "John McCain, undecided 2016 voter, an exclusive interview." Republican Senator John McCain sitting down for an interview with the leftist smart kid of "The New Republic" would be news in and of itself. But check out what he says. The magazine asked him about the painful budget cuts forced by Republicans in Congress, the ones that were never supposed to happen. John McCain voted for those cuts which were supposed to scare Congress into reaching an agreement, so they would never actually take place. Quote, "Were you surprised that Republicans allowed sequestration?" Senator McCain, quote, "It is the worst vote I have cast in many years." Senator McCain talking to a liberal magazine, openly regretting his vote, I think for good reason. Because today we got a report on the American economy, and the good news is that the economy is growing, it`s just not growing very fast. Part of why this bar is so short is the budget cuts John McCain supported then and regrets now. Without those cuts, the American economy would look more like this, with more jobs and more money to go around. Senator John McCain`s expression of remorse for that is real news. Bu it is not even the biggest news right now about John McCain. Throughout the Obama presidency, John McCain has dogged the White House, blocking the president`s domestic agenda, at one point rejecting immigration reform, though he himself had been a champion of the idea. Senator McCain reserved a special level of disdain for the president`s foreign policy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We need to take Gadhafi out. We could have ended this conflict a lot earlier if we had used the full weight of U.S. power, instead of leading from behind. We won the war and are losing peace, thanks to the president`s commitment to get completely out. On Israel, relations have never been worse. Horrible things are happening in Syria. This administration has a feckless foreign policy which abandons American leadership. The situation with Iran is such that the president of the United States will not even set deadlines. The red line that the president of the United States has written was apparently written in disappearing ink. (END VIDEO CLIPS) HARRIS-PERRY: You know, if Senator John McCain`s foreign policy, it`s always time to arm the rebels and sing another round of bomb, bomb Iran. And then ask, where is President Obama anyway? The president got a new foreign policy headache this month in Egypt when the ouster of the elected president who replaced Hosni Mubarak. Since then, Egyptian security forces have twice opened fire on supporters of the former president, killing scores of citizens each time. Egypt is kind of a disaster. And President Obama would seriously like to find some way of fixing it. Yesterday, we learned that he is sending a couple senators to Egypt. They`re going to go to try to convince the Egyptian military to let a new round of elections take place, and their names are John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Those two Republican senators are traveling to Egypt at the request of President Obama -- the same Senator McCain and for that matter, Senator Graham, who have spent the last several years calling the president soft on foreign policy. And a threat to world order. I mean, is this for real? Like is this for real at all? John McCain is going to Egypt on behalf of the president who`s foreign policy he called feckless and written in can disappearing ink. Now, besides the whiplash you may get from just hearing this news, the news itself is real, and it might actually matter for our politics beyond the question of Egypt. If it`s true that the logjam in Congress has been hurting the country, if it`s true as the data suggests that refusal by Congress to do anything is dragging down the economy. And making it impossible for the nation to address basic problems, then two Republican senators wading into Egypt on behalf of a Democratic president might signal some sort of actual change, in that Republicans who have played a specialty of refusing to govern are suddenly choosing to take part in government. And it might be that the logjam in Washington is breaking. I mean, just a little, with Republican leaders no longer united in saying, no. Sometimes, lately, it`s seemed as though the Republican Party is just having a breakup. Like when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called out senator Rand Paul for being so libertarian, even though his state brings home loads of federal dollars, and then, Rand Paul called Chris Christie the king of bacon which considering might be kind of a remark. And then, Rand Paul goes on FOX and invites Chris Christie for a beer at the pub around the corner. These two are giving a preview of the next presidential primary. And in addition to bacon and beer, it seems to involve actual debate. Over the last couple weeks, the Senate took a vote on immigration reform and passed the bill with Republican support. Just tonight, the Senate confirmed the director for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, ATF, for the first time in seven years. If this keeps up, who knows, the Senate could start having up or down votes on all sorts of stuff. Heck, John McCain says he regrets his vote on those budget cuts that are hurting the economy. And double heck, he`s going to Egypt at the president`s request. The Obama administration reportedly thinks he is the senator they can work with now, to try to get compromise going again. Now, if you`re feeling a little skeptical at home. Don`t let me talk you out of it. It is a wonder of wonders that stuff is moving in any part of this Congress after so little has been done there for so long. Did you ever think after all of this that John McCain would become a leading light of the willing to govern coalition? And do you buy it now? Do you? Joining us now is Barney Frank, former Democratic congressman from the great commonwealth of Massachusetts. Thanks for being here, Congressman. BARNEY FRANK (D-MA), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Thank you. HARRIS-PERRY: So, should I be leading with my skeptical foot here, or is this a real coalition? FRANK: No, it`s not a real coalition. I`ve actually been amused listening to John McCain saying the president`s foreign policy was feckless. We have my former colleague John Kerry really making some major progress in the Middle East, and I`ve been trying to think now, what the opposite of feckless is, I don`t know if it`s feckful or fecky. But I think they`re showing some feck here in terms of John doing some great things in the Middle East. Look, in the first place, let`s talk about the great inconsistency of McCain and Graham. They`re for cutting the deficit. They`re against raising taxes, and they want to spend tens of billions of dollars more on the military. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. FRANK: That`s just crazy. Secondly, and it is maybe even first. I think the president is trying to call their bluff by sending them to Egypt and saying, OK, smart guys, you tell me what you think we should do. There was this assumption that it`s America`s responsibility to make things better within Egypt, within Syria, within Libya, I wish we could. I wish we could bring democracy to Afghanistan, I wish we could make Shia and Sunni get together. And it`s a great mistake to think we have the power to do it, and instead we waste enormous amounts of money even trying. And also, there was movement on one issue, as Rachel noted, immigration. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. FRANK: And that`s because John McCain can count. Every reasonable Republican understands if they don`t move on immigration, it`s a political disaster. Unfortunately, reasonable Republicans are not anywhere near a majority in the House. HARRIS-PERRY: Well, let me ask you about that, it does feel to me like, I love that part of what the president is doing here is saying, oh, you got an answer to this, go ahead and try. But it also seems that the president`s real challenge has been with these House Republicans who won`t even get in line with their own party leadership. So, does working with an elder like senator McCain make any difference in that kind of environment? FRANK: Unfortunately, probably not. By the way, we did get the confirmation tonight. And I think that`s important. Although, you know, there`s one set of confirmations that`s quite critical. The Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is the place where appeals from regulations go. And there was a Republican majority in that court, Obama has been trying to get three people nominated which would make it more even. The Republicans have been filibustering those nominations. That`s one of the reasons we have not been able to get the financial reform bill fully implemented. For example, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission promulgated a rule which we asked them to do in our legislation to restrict speculation in oil. Some of these conservative judges said, oh, no, they couldn`t have really meant that. What happened was, Harry Reid to his credit said, if you don`t start confirming people, I`m going to change the rules. I gladly did that, but it didn`t go far enough. Mitch McConnell said, gee, if you change the rules, the Senate will never be the same. I think most people think that would be a great idea. HARRIS-PERRY: Look, this point is an important one about these judges, because that court -- part of the thing that Senator McCain said in his conversation with the new republic, is that the president is now thinking about his legacy and that`s appropriate. But the court is really where the president leaves his legacy, right? That`s why there`s a Republican majority on those courts now. FRANK: Absolutely. HARRIS-PERRY: It`s the legacy from previous presidents. So, in other words, is the real bluff to call here for the senators about whether or not they`re going to get on board with those judicial nominations? FRANK: Absolutely. You know, they`ve said, well, the president has a right to appoint the people in his cabinet. You know, it goes beyond that, the Constitution says the Senate shall advise and consent. That doesn`t mean they have to say yes, it does mean they have to say something. What they have done, for example, with the consumer bureau or NLRB, they don`t like the agencies. They don`t have the votes to repeal it. They don`t have the votes to undue an independent consumer bureau. So, they try to block it by not appointing somebody. But with those judges, you`re right, and you know this, it`s the second most important court in the country. By all laws, any appeal from the Securities and Exchange Commission, any appeal about the Volcker Rule, any appeal about derivatives, goes to that court, it`s an unbalanced conservative court because as you pointed out, frankly, I think the president hadn`t been as careful at who he appointed from our standpoint as Reagan, Bush and Bush were. And by blocking his ability to appoint three judges, they are locking in a conservative majority which works to try to frustrate our ability to get financial reform. HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask one last quick question. Even if we can`t expect sort of a long term coalition between the president and Senator McCain, is there one issue they can agree on, and specifically, is it closing Gitmo? Is this a coalition that could hold to get that presidential goal taken care of? FRANK: I would hope so. I would hope so. On two levels, if they can`t get the votes through it, the House of Representatives isn`t really - - it`s full of people who don`t believe in governance, they want to make things worse. I mean, Rachel was quite right, we would have been doing better than normal in an economic recovery now, or at least as good as normal if they hadn`t been forcing cuts. Oh, we cut government. Why don`t they say what they`re really doing? We`re cutting cops. HARRI-PERRY: Yes. FRANK: We`re taking away environmental inspectors. We`re talking health inspectors, food inspectors, firefighters. That`s -- we`ve gained about 7 million private sector jobs, but we`ve lost a million and a half public sector jobs. They say the private sector is being crushed by the public sector. It`s the reverse. But I hope McCain would at least say to the president, look, if we can`t get the votes through that House to close it, that you use the fullest of your executive authority to get people out of there, and I will support you against the criticism. I think this is a real test of whether or not John McCain wants to break with the Republicans. And maybe it`s time for John to think about his legacy. Although he doesn`t appear to ever want to retire. So, maybe he -- HARRIS-PERRY: Maybe he doesn`t have to worry about that. FRANK: A living will. HARRIS-PERRY: The always effective (ph) Barney Frank, former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, thanks for being here tonight. FRANK: You`re welcome. HARRIS-PERRY: Inexorable marches toward equality are full of hurdles, folks. But don`t be discouraged, just be aware. News about marriage equality is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: A question for my senator, David Vitter: does it make sense to you that when our cities need help, the right solution is to withhold all help? Right, unless, of course, there`s a hurricane. I got it. What Vitter is up to is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: It`s time to update the mat, the right to marry map. Gay people can get married in 11 states, California, Washington, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and, of course, Washington, D.C. In just a few hours, though, that number jumps to 13. Beginning tomorrow, gay people in Minnesota and Rhode Island will be able to get married. In Minnesota, the mayor of Minneapolis will officiate the first gay weddings at midnight tonight. He will marry 42 couples between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Usually, when you get married in the middle of the night, your officiant is Elvis. But not in Minneapolis, there, you get the mayor himself. Another two dozen couples will be tying the knot in the city council chambers. Meanwhile, the governor of Minnesota, Democrat Mark Dayton, will head to St. Paul. There, he`s attending a big freedom to marry rally at 10:30 tonight. And at that other great Minnesota institution, the Mall of America, a wedding chapel will conduct its first same sex weddings. Rhode Island has been accepting preregistrations to obtain marriage licenses all week, people can pick them up starting at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow and get married right away. But with Rhode Island being the last of the states in New England to institute marriage equality, the rush to the alter isn`t expected to be a stampede, so as of midnight tonight, local times, gay marriage will be legal in 13 states. The surprising thing is just how unsurprising it is to see two more states expand rights to gay people. As far as we can tell, there have been no big anti-gay rallies in Minnesota or Rhode Island, not even any grandstanding in Congress on the issue. Very little publicity-seeking outrage. But that does not mean that the whole country is on the same, inevitable path to marriage equality. Take Pennsylvania, for example. This show recently reported that in Montgomery County, the guy in charge of issuing marriage licenses announced that he would issue those licenses to gay people despite a 16-year-old gay marriage ban in his state. The state technically banned gay marriage, but he`d give them marriage licenses anyway. But as Bruce Hanes, the register of wills told Rachel, he did it because it was the right thing to do. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRUCE HANE, REGISTER OF WILLS: It`s one thing to talk about this academically or from a lawyer standpoint. You have two folks come in and ask for this recognition of their union. That puts it in an entirely different framework. It`s not academic any more. It`s not ethereal. I`ve been speculating as to the number of people who are going to show up today. It was going to be zero or a line around the block. It turned out to be five. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: It was five couples the first day, and as of yesterday, he said it`s up to 34 -- 34 same sex couples have gotten their marriage licenses in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. But, now, the Republican Governor Tom Corbett is suing Bruce Hanes for issuing those licenses. He demands that Mr. Hanes stopped issuing licenses immediately. Mr. Hanes declined to comment. This is actually the Republican governor`s second lawsuit to try and prevent gay people from getting married in his state. The state`s attorney general, Democrat Kathleen Kane is refusing to defend the state`s ban on gay marriage. The ACLU is suing the state over it. And she says she won`t defend it. The governor`s lawyer stepped in. He will be the one to protect marriage as a straight people`s institution only. Governor Corbett is fighting gay marriage at the local level in Montgomery county and he`s fighting statewide, too. This is what Governor Corbett wants to be famous for -- straights only marriage. You know, dealing with your local laws, after a Supreme Court ruling related to those laws, I mean, it can be tough. Just ask East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, officials there still haven`t adjusted to a Supreme Court ruling from 10 years ago. Over the last two years, sheriff`s deputies have arrested a dozen men for flirting with the intention to have sex. The men did not break any other laws. Seriously, no law broken. They were arrested and charged under a law that was found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court a decade ago. The case has now gotten some national attention, and the sheriff says he will expunge the men`s records and waive the court fee to do so. And one Baton Rouge councilman is calling for an anti-discrimination ordinance. Other councilmembers said they would take a look at such a proposal. But said that there are already laws in place to protect gay people. You mean like the 10-year-old Supreme Court rule? That doesn`t seem to be enough here guys. It is truly exciting that, as of midnight, there will be two more states that let gay people get married, but we will still have a patchwork system in this country where rights are not dolled out equally. But then again, 13 states, that`s all we had when we, the United States, first became a country. You can do a lot with just 13 states. Joining us now is Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims. Representative Sims asked to speak on the Pennsylvania House floor about the Defense of Marriage Act the day the Supreme Court struck down the law. Republican lawmakers shut down Sims attempt to speak on the floor that historic day. Blocking him was a procedural maneuver. Representative Sims, it`s good to have you here tonight. STATE REP. BRIAN SIMS (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Hi, Melissa. Thanks for having me on. HARRIS-PERRY: Talk to me about this boundary pushing going on in Pennsylvania. So that folks at home can really understand it. What does it mean to have a governor saying don`t do this, and someone else actually issuing the licenses? SIMS: You know, it took you a little while to do the intro, to explain really all that`s happening in Pennsylvania. I think that`s the best place to start. Pennsylvania doesn`t have any statewide LGBT civil rights. We`re talking about marriage equality right now. But the truth of the matter is, in Pennsylvania, if I weren`t a legislator I could be fired from my job for being gay or kicked out of my House for being gay. So, we have a long way to come and that`s important, because, you know, we`re the only state in the entire northeast that doesn`t recognize relationships for LGBT couples. But it`s a lot deeper than that. We don`t recognize basic civil rights for LGBT couples in this state. We`ve got a governor who is openly hostile to LGBT quality. We have a general assembly that is the same. And, you know, right now, we`re working in the assembly, we`re working in the courts, but we`re pushing pretty hard. There`s a lot going on right now for equality in Pennsylvania. HARRIS-PERRY: Representative Sims, I`m so glad you took us to that broader movement, because as we were looking and thinking about what`s going in my home state of Louisiana, what`s happening in Pennsylvania, is the sense that we had this huge DOMA decision, the Prop 8 decision, and you start feeling in the public discourse as though there is an inevitable move toward equality around LGBT issues. And I just feel like it`s important to keep saying, hey, you know, the struggle continues, we`ve got to keep fighting here. SIMS: It`s one of the struggles in all LGBT and all civil rights movements. You get to this point where you know that the end is within reach. That you`re going to win, and you don`t want to let up, it`s the worst time to let up. And what we see is that, now, those people that are opposing LGBT civil rights have a lot less places to do battle. So, they`re putting up a harder fight sometimes in places that they are in and we`re seeing that here in Pennsylvania. There`s no reason that the commonwealth shouldn`t be recognizing even the basic level of civil rights for LGBT citizens, but it`s not. And that`s because there`s been a conscious effort on both the far right and in the religious far right to oppose these equality measures, and luckily as you reported, every day, we`re seeing that equality is winning, which should nobody. That`s a part of our American values, our history, if you will. HARRIS-PERRY: If we`re moving toward equality winning. And particularly I think on this larger agenda, certainly marriage equality being part of it, but issues of housing fairness, employment fairness, the ability to protect one`s own children and custody, all of that sort of thing, is Governor Corbett going to find himself in a difficult political position? Not just historic, sort of how history will remember him. But is this bad for his actual electoral opportunities? SIMS: I think it`s one more thing that`s bad for this governor. We`re hearing every day the national polls that say that our governor, Governor Corbett, is the Republican governor right now, least likely to win re-election. Every challenger he has, every Democratic challenger he has, has come out in support of LGBT civil rights, Rob McCord (ph), Allyson Schwartz. I think that we`re just as likely to see the -- LGBT civil rights in Pennsylvania signed into law by a different governor than we have. This is an entrenched governor for a lot of reasons, what he`s done with education, what he`s done with our budget, what he`s not been able to do with our budget. So, I think that, yes, I absolutely add this to the list. I`m excited to see that it`s on the list. And I think that`s what`s so important here. You know, talking about LGBT civil rights is not something we only do in the cities, or something we are only doing at the local level, we`re having a statewide conversation about what equality means to Pennsylvanians, and it means something different to this governor. You now, right now, when we poll in this state, their support for marriage equality, more than 50 percent support for marriage equality, and overwhelming support for nondiscrimination, this governor either chooses not to see that or quite frankly doesn`t support it, I think it`s the latter. HARRIS-PERRY: Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims, thank you so much for joining us tonight. As we continue to talk about it on a larger level, I hope you`ll get to talk about it on your house floor that you were unable to do previously. SIMS: Most definitely. Thank you for having me. HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely. Thank you. And ahead, Republicans attempt some linguistic gymnastics, but they don`t stick the landing. What words don`t mean is just ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: The news media and late night network TV monologues continue to go bazonkers about New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and his embarrassing creepy, sexual compulsion issues. There`s also bazonkerism about New York City comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer`s history of unlawful infidelity. OK, legitimate drama there. But, meanwhile, senator David Vitter of Louisiana is not only still Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, despite his history of unlawful and shall we say infantile infidelity, he`s also still doing family fund- raisers, including a thousand dollar a head get together at a Justin Bieber concert. Apparently, Senator Vitter lacks not only memory and or a sense of irony, but also a Google machine with regard to Justin Bieber and family. And that is not all -- Senator Vitter is also fixing to make sure that America`s imperiled cities stay imperiled. Not the vulnerable cities where he`s from, of course, just the struggling cities where you might live. And that story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome to the summer of scandal, folks. It seems like every day we`re getting more details, e-mails, texts, interviews and in some cases pictures that we really wish we had not seen. For the most part, I have been trying to avoid talking about Mr. Anthony Weiner, but it`s difficult to avoid when an intern`s tell all is on the front cover of tabloids and when Ms. Press Ladies (ph) response to it chockfull of colorful language we cannot repeat on TV. But while we`ve been trying to avoid it, Republicans are embracing the summer scandals as their newest strategy to diversify their party. That is the game plan straight from the NRCC spokeswoman`s mouth. Quote, "The best tools we have as Republicans to recruit women candidates in this cycle are three Democrats named Bob Filner, Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner. Well-played. I mean, who in their right mind would defend these cheating, tweeting, harassing donkeys? Even if you are a Democrat. But let`s be clear -- these dudes and their poor choices do not constitute a Democratic Party war on women. When women cast our votes, we are not looking for an honest date, we`re looking for good lawmakers, and by good, I mean those who work to ensure women have equal rights and access. So, let`s compare the party record, shall we? Let`s start with equal pay. Remember when the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 aimed at closing the gap between women`s and men`s wages passed in the House. The vote of 250 in support, 177 against, it included only three Republicans who voted in favor of equal pay. And as a follow-up, this past April, House Republicans blocked a vote on the Pay Check Fairness Act that would require employers to show pay disparities between male and female employees related to job performance, not gender. Not so into equal pay? How about equal representation? Remember when in 2010, Republican women inspired by the vice presidential candidacy of Sarah Palin decided to launch the year of the GOP woman? It was supposed to be a historic year for women in Congress, and it was. The 2010 midterm elections marked the first time since 1970s where the number of women in Congress declined. Thank goodness the Democratic ladies raised their hands in 2012 which resulted in the mighty 113th, boasting the largest number of women ever to serve in the U.S. Congress. No equal pay, no equal voice and, oh, yes, don`t look for reasonable protections either. It took months to finally convince the Republican dominated Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. And when it finally passed, more than 130 House Republicans still voted against it, why? Because, quote, "conservative lawmakers balked at the addition of expanded protections for undocumented immigrants, native American, and LGBT victims of sexual assault." So, maybe it`s not war on all women, just some women, especially poor ones. The latest front in the GOP war on women is happening in the grocery aisle. As Republicans seek to slash tens of billions in food subsidies for women, and, yes, so-called food stamps are a woman`s issue because women are twice as likely as men to have received stood stamps at some point in their lives. It is women who usually bear the burden of feeding America`s 16 million poor children. Speaking of which, even as Republican policies make it harder for women to feed their children, the GOP has been working overtime to ensure women have fewer choices about when to have them. According to the Guttmacher Institute, these past few years have seen the highest number of abortion restrictions ever. Even when women like Texas State Senator Wendy Davis and thousands of Texas women demand to be heard on issues that affect their health, Republicans silence, ignore and even arrest them -- all while shuttering clinics that provide safe, medical procedures that women have a constitutional right to access. Despite his campaign promises to the contrary and following the lead of his party earlier this week in North Carolina, Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a super restrictive anti-abortion bill that will likely close 15 out of 16 clinics in that state. To protest this assault on their rights, women gathered outside of his mansion in opposition. Guess what he did? He came out to greet the protesters with cookies. See? There`s no war here. I brought cookies. Please listen, Republican strategist, I agree, we women don`t want to have to deal with the texts, tweets, head locks or excuses of poorly behaved Democratic men. But even those annoyances, as despicable as they are, are not going to make us forget the all out war that your party is waging on women. And no, cookies don`t help. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: The city of New York was on the brink of disaster in 1975 when residents woke up to this headline in "The Daily News", "Ford to city: drop dead." We have since learned that President Gerald Ford never said those exact words, drop dead, but the sentiment behind them was very real. President Ford had given a speech in which he said he would deny New York federal assistance to save the city from bankruptcy. So, even if he does not actually say drop dead, in reality, President Ford was still telling New York to drop dead -- even suggesting the second largest city in the world at the time should drop dead was a very unpopular thing to do. President Ford traveled to an economic summit in Europe, where the president of France and the chancellor of Germany told him that a New York City bankruptcy would be seen by the rest of the world as the same thing as the bankruptcy of America itself. The dollar would crash, the stock market would suffer and the entire thing was unthinkable. So, Present Ford reconsidered. He signed legislation that provided New York with federal loans, which were paid back with interest. In 1970s, New York dug itself out of its financial mess. It did not go bankrupt. And Times Square over the coming decades went from looking like this to looking like this -- an example of how even when they are in huge financial trouble, cities in this country can be saved. Earlier this month, Detroit became the latest and greatest American city ever to file for bankruptcy. And late 2008 and early 2009, $80 billion federal bailout saved the motor part of Motor City, the auto industry from collapsing. But right now, in 2013, there will be no bailout for Detroit itself. Mayor Dave Bing has not requested one. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is not asking for one. And the White House is not offering one. So, it was really surprising Republican members of the Senate started trying to block a bailout of Detroit -- this thing that does not exist, no bailout, not only for Detroit, but for any American city. No federal funding of any kind for any struggling city anywhere ever, unless they`re hit by a natural disaster, because, you know, hurricanes, they have a tendency to hit the sponsor of another measure`s home state with regular frequency. The first no bailout no money of any kind amendment did not pass, it was defeated on a close party line vote. Its sponsor, Senator Lindsey Graham, tweeted, if you weren`t worried about the federal government bailing out municipalities like Detroit now, you should be. Be afraid of this thing that does not exist, so afraid that four other Republicans are proposing similar legislation to keep the federal government from helping American cities in trouble. You know who lives in America`s cities, most of us -- 80 percent, with more of us moving to urban areas all the time. It`s where the jobs are, because cities are the economic engines that help drive the prosperity of the entire country. And there are other benefits to city living. I`m not just talking about the night life. Cities are also energy efficient, with densely populated residential areas and mass transits, and things that make it easier to have a smaller carbon footprint. Senator Lindsey Graham lives in a small city, with the population of only 8,000. And he represents a smallish state. The biggest city in the state still isn`t very big. There are 189 cities in the country, bigger than Columbia, South Carolina. The entire state of South Carolina falls somewhere in the middle of all states. The Senate itself has always had disproportionate representation by design. The number of House districts is determined by population. But every state gets two senate seats, no matter how many people live there. That was the Founder`s grand bargain, to balance the interest of big, slave-holding Southern states, against smaller, Northern, free states. But at no time has the Senate been more disproportionate than it is right now. In 1790, Virginia was the biggest state, and Delaware was the smallest. With Virginia, 13 times the size of Delaware by population, giving a voter in Delaware, 13 times the influence a Virginia voter had in the Senate. But in 2010, those states were California and Wyoming. California now 66 times as big as Wyoming by population. So, a resident of Wyoming, has 66 times the influence that a Californian does in the Senate, 66 times. If it feels like 80 percent of the U.S. population, all those city dwellers, if it feels like they`re not getting a fair shake right now in the Senate, there`s ample evidence to support that they are not. The bailout of Detroit, the Republicans are actively trying to block in non- existence, but the slides of American cities by Republicans in the Senate - - well, that is all too real. Joining us now is Pastor David Bullock, founder of Change Agent Consortium and president of the Detroit Chapter of Rainbow Push Coalition. Pastor, thank you for being here tonight. REV. DAVID BULLOCK, CHANGE AGENT CONSORTIUM: Thank you for having me. HARRIS-PERRY: All right. So, nobody know the Obama administration is offering to bail out Detroit? And no one in Detroit is necessarily asking for one. But should we be thinking about bailing out Detroit? Should Americans care more about what happens in a big city? BULLOCK: Indeed. America should care about Detroit. America should care about all of the cities across the country that if they are not struggling with pension liabilities and health care liabilities will be heading that way. We believe Detroit is ground zero for this question of how the federal government should respond to cities that are in financial crisis. We must care about Detroit. HARRIS-PERRY: There`s kind of a minors canary issue going on right here. All of the things that helped to hollow out Detroit and make it difficult for Detroit to have an economic base are the same things that are happening in other municipalities around the country. BULLOCK: That`s right. I mean, Detroit suffers because, one, the foreclosure crisis decimated the ranks of the city of Detroit. Manufacturing in many ways have gone overseas, gone offshore. Those jobs left the motor town. And so, this is not about local bad government. This is not about the myth of mismanagement. This is about trade policy affecting Detroit. This is about the foreclosure crisis. And so, these are big issues that need federal intervention. And then if you add pension requirements and health care costs, the city of Detroit needs a bailout, and maybe while the mayor`s not asking for it, and while the White House has not responded wholeheartedly, they are citizens on the ground that are saying, we need a federal intervention in Detroit now. HARRIS-PERRY: So, I want to read you a little bit from Mo Brooks from Alabama, where he says that cities like Detroit and Stockton have knowingly and recklessly squandered their resources, neither they nor their citizens have any moral standing to be bailed out with the largess of the American people. So, I want to add, apparently, he says, basically, the citizens there as being knowingly and recklessly squandering their resources. I got to say, it`s interesting, because it sounds a lot like the pull your pants up, you know, get your own boot straps, you guys are morally and ethically wrong, therefore, we have no responsibility towards you. BULLOCK: You know, it does sound like that. And you must remember, Detroit is an 82 percent to 85 percent African-American city. And so, I wonder if the racial make up of the city of Detroit somehow is a part of how people respond. Look, New York was bailed out. The government came out and helped the city of New York. And Detroit deserves the same deal that New York got many, many years ago. This is the city that put the world on wheels. And we also wrote the soundtrack with Motown. This is the arsenal of democracy. I mean, Detroit is an American city. And who is more American than Detroiters? And so, we believe that the city of Detroit is on the road to recovery, but that recovery is going to require federal intervention. HARRIS-PERRY: Pastor David Bullock of the Change Agent Consortium, I appreciate you representing for your city. I`m a New Orleanean and I know that federal government intervention makes a big difference when you are trying to recover. BULLOCK: That`s right. Thank you so much. We have been hit by an economic hurricane. And so, we need relief right now. HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. BULLOCK: Thank you. HARRIS-PERRY: And next, at what does a colleague turn into a hero? Or should I say, she-ro? We go all fan-girl for one of the all-time greats in this business, as she celebrates a milestone. Don`t miss it. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: On this date, 35 years ago, on July 31st, 1978, "Time" magazine was reporting on a magical idea, a test tube baby. U.S. Olympic hero Bruce Jenner was enjoying his pre-Kardashian days, starring in this nationally broadcast Wheaties commercial. Baseball legend Pete Rose tied a national league record with his 44- game hit streak. And NBC News, the esteemed parent company of this network, did something that would forever change the course of history. On July 31st, 1978, NBC News hired a local TV reporter out of Washington, D.C., and they stuck her right on the air a few weeks later, as something that was then called a general correspondent. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: When the final role was called, D.C. voting rights passed the Senate by 67-32, with just one vote more than the two thirds needed. But it still must be approved by 38 state legislators, and that fight could be very difficult. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, the Capitol. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: The incomparable Andrea Mitchell 35 years ago today was hired by NBC News, and she has not taken a break since. If you are a regular viewer of this show, if you are a regular viewer of this network, you are no doubt familiar with Andrea`s intrepid reporting at all corners of the globe. But that reporting got its start here 35 years ago when Andrea Mitchell became one of the very few women correspondents regularly covering Capitol Hill and the White House -- a White House which was then occupied by Democratic President Jimmy Carter. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITCHELL: The president is planning to fight hard for his energy program. Tomorrow, he will ask a group of freshmen congressmen for their help at a breakfast meeting. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Andrea is now a NBC News` chief foreign correspondent. But back then, she reported mostly on an energy issue of NBC News. And in 1979, the big energy story in the entire country was this one, the Three- Mile Island disaster in Pennsylvania. Even though Andrea spent years reporting in nearby Philadelphia, even though she was on the energy beat for NBC News, when Three-Mile Island happened Andrea Mitchell was kept back in D.C. She wasn`t allowed to cover it because she was a woman. Andrea sat down with Rachel recently to discuss that particular experience. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITCHELL: During the first week of the emergency, the news bureau chief, the bureau chief in Washington was sending all of the men to Three- Mile Island. And the only two women in the bureau had not been sent. And so, finally, Friday night came and we marched into his office and said, why is it that we`re the only two correspondents that have not been sent? And the bureau chief said because you`re women of child bearing age, and we don`t know how bad the radiation is. And I said, has it occurred to you make men`s balls are as vulnerable as women`s ovaries? (LAUGHTER) MITCHELL: And this was back in the `70s when nobody talked that way. So -- RACHEL MADDOW, TRMS HOST: And his response was? MITCHELL: I got sent the next day. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: More vulnerable, Andrea, more. I mean, sure enough there was Andrea Mitchell reporting on Three-Mile Island for NBC News back in April 1979. Andrea`s career has taken her across the globe where she interviewed world leaders like Fidel Castro, and dogged reporting from places like Sudan has gotten her in trouble with strongmen, who don`t quite get the concept of free press. One of our favorite Andrea Mitchell moments on this show is her fearless reporting from the floor of the 2008 Republican convention, in the face of an unforeseen foe. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITCHELL: I don`t know if you can see me, because I have chosen the worst place to be on this floor. I`m right in the middle of the balloon drop. I am somewhere, somewhere on the floor of the convention, surrounded by balloons, and confetti, but it certainly does mirror the excitement of this crowd. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Andrea Mitchell can`t be stopped. Anybody who knows or watches Andrea Mitchell knows that she is the single hardest working woman in television, her day often starts as it did yesterday, reporting live on "The Today Show" at the crack of dawn. By 1:00 p.m., she is doing her hour-long show, "ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS" right here on MSNBC. And then, there she is a few hours later reporting on "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams". As a result of that sheer grit and skill and determination, earlier this month, the National Press Club announced that they have selected Andrea to receive the highest honor that they give out, the Fourth Estate Award. And I think I speak for everyone in this industry when I say they could not have chosen a more deserving honoree. Andrea Mitchell, you are a legend, you are an inspiration, and you are a treasured colleague. Congratulations from all of us here on Rachel`s show for a brilliant career. We are quite sure it has only just begun. That does it for us. We`ll see you again tomorrow night. And right 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