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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/21/13

Guests: Zeke Emanuel, Jeff Cook-McCormac

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. By some measures, this was one of the scariest moments in recent American history, January 2009. We lost more than 800,000 jobs, the most in more than a generation. The following month, we lost another 700,000 jobs. We were shedding jobs the way a sheepdog sheds fur in summer. The economy was like a boulder running downhill, crushing things as it went but just picking up speed as it rolled. And in the middle of that harrowing, are we still tumbling, yes, we are still tumbling national free fall, President Obama signed a $700 billion economic stimulus plan into law to try to arrest that fall, to try to make the nightmare stop. The president went to Denver, Colorado, to sign that bill when it was ready to be signed. And on the occasion of President Obama`s trip to Denver to sign that stimulus bill to try to save the economy, they staged a rally called "Barack Obama: You Don`t Know Stimulus." It had a name. And I say it was a staged rally because it was organized by Americans for Prosperity, which put out a call on conservative networks for people to show up in costume pig noses and carrying giant checks. It was a staged protest with help from the Tea Party group, Americans for Prosperity. They staged these in states around the country, not always with pig noses. At the rally in Virginia, you can see the supposedly grassroots angry commoners all showed one preprinted Americans for Prosperity signs. Also that year, Americans for prosperity tried the same kind of color-by-numbers prefab protests on energy issues. They called it their hot air tour, a supposedly grassroots movement against the whole idea that global warming might be a real thing. 2009 was the year when Joe the Plumber was still briefly famous and Americans for Prosperity hired him. They sent Joe the Plumber around the country on a supposedly grassroots campaign against union rights. If you go to today, today just looks like another dodgy, generic weight loss scam site. But back in 2009 in the middle of all those Astroturf campaigns, was where Americans for Prosperity orchestrated yet another supposedly grassroots campaign against health reform before the bill ever passed Congress. Americans for Prosperity orchestrated supposedly spontaneous outpourings against health care, thanks to the tender guidance and cash of the Americans for Prosperity benefactors known as Charles and David Koch. If you combine the two billionaire brothers` net worth together, Charles and David Koch collectively are the richest men in America. Individually, they`re halfway down the top 10 list, I think at this point, but combined, they have more money than anybody else in the country. They got that way because they inherited a privately owned oil and chemical corporation from their dad. They`ve used that immense fortune to try to create the impression that large numbers of grassroots Americans believe exactly what the billionaire brothers believe about what is best for America and also what is best for Koch industries. But regardless, America, too. Now, the Koch brothers have a whole new campaign going. We`ve been talking on this show about the Koch brothers funding the groups that brought us the government shutdown. Koch Industries declaimed any responsibility for the shutdown once under way, but Koch brothers groups were funded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, the major groups that pressured the Republicans to do it were all funded by Koch-related outfits. Now, though, the government shutdown is over, they started turning the lights back on again on Thursday. That means stuff like, oh, we`re finally getting a new jobs report 2 1/2 weeks after it was due. The people who put together that report got furloughed, so we won`t get the 2 1/2-weeks-late jobs report until tomorrow. New poll out today from CNN says for the first time since taking control of the House, Americans think it`s a bad thing that Republican have control of the house since they used that power to shut down the government and bring us to the brink of default. A majority of Americans in the new CNN poll say they don`t want Republicans controlling the Congress anymore because when they control the Congress, that`s bad for America. So, politically, the 16-day-long shutdown was not kind for Republicans while it was dragging on. It continues to hurt them now that it`s over. The Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, though, insists that the shutdown was worth it, was worth shutting everything down to strike a stylistic, if not symbolic, if not substantive blow against Obamacare, which they hate so much. They`re warning already, even in the wake of the shutdown, even in the wake of poll numbers like those from CNN, they`re warning in the wake of the shutdown that their fight against Obamacare, their fight against more Americans having health insurance, is a fight that has only just begun. Sheryl Gay Stolberg at "The New York Times" has been reporting on what the sharp end of that Republican campaign looks like now. It`s not happening in Washington. It`s actually happening in the states, in state capitals. And it turns out that effort in the states looks a lot like the fake Astroturf, Koch-funded rallies about the stimulus bill or union rights or about whether or not global warming`s a real thing. Hundreds of volunteers in green t-shirts turned out for a commission hearing, bust in by the Americans for Prosperity organizers who provided them with Subway sandwiches for lunch. Quote, "This has been one of the trench warfare efforts for a year now and I think it`s one of those hidden stories of the whole fight against Obamacare," says the president of Americans for Prosperity. It`s not flashy, it`s just in a whole bunch of state capitals and in the districts of a whole lot of slate legislators, but it is important in rolling back Obamacare." Trench warfare in a bunch of state capitals, the specific capital in that report was Richmond, Virginia, where the Republican-controlled state government is still considering whether to use federal money to offer health insurance to thousands of people who do not currently have health insurance in Virginia. The Koch brothers are or orchestrating this fight against expanded health insurance in Virginia, right down to the bright green t-shirts packing all the public meetings. Last night, a Tea Party chapter in northern Virginia sent out this e-mail to all of its members, asking them to turn out for another Virginia hearing today. They say, quote, "This time, our goal is to have our expert witnesses testify for our position. There`s been a move to silence us and not allow our witnesses. However, we will have two witnesses of the seven this time." They continue, "Unfortunately, Americans for Prosperity," meaning the Koch brothers group, "will not be providing us buses this time. Please come anyway, if at all possible, to support our witnesses." Support our Tea Party witnesses. Yes, there may not be a Koch brothers funded bus to drive us there this time, but at least we`ll have our witnesses telling Virginia what to do on health reform. And sure enough, if you look at the agenda for this Virginia state government hearing today, right there under Medicaid reform options Virginia should consider are two witnesses from Koch brothers connected groups, two of them scheduled for 45 minutes of public time brought to you by the same billionaires who spun those 2009 town halls against Obamacare out of pure air, who spent hundreds of millions on the organizations who brought on the government shutdown from which the nation is still emerging. And the guy from Americans for Prosperity says they`re waging trench warfare in state capitals around the country. This is what they mean. And they`re not just in Virginia. The same woman from the hearing in Virginia, here she is telling the Idaho state Senate to not expand Medicaid under Obama. Here she is again in Oklahoma telling lawmakers in that state not to give more people health insurance. Here she is in New Hampshire telling lawmakers there, quote, "In my opinion, I don`t think there`s one good reason to expand Medicaid." She must be getting very good at fitting her luggage into the overhead compartment. Here she is again, this time in Mississippi, talking to lawmakers there as a, quote, "Medicaid expert." This is a traveling Astroturf road show of Koch brothers-connected, quote-unquote, "experts," all trying to stop the states from getting health insurance to people who don`t have it now, particularly to low- income people. We saw this with the Koch brothers trying to stop college students from signing up for health insurance, right? Remember the creepy ads with the paper mache head, Uncle Sam turning up in your gynecological exam? They`re trying to persuade college students not to sign up. In the states, they`re trying to persuade state government, particularly Republican-controlled state governments, to not allow more people in those states to get health insurance. And in a great many places, this road show is working. It is having the effect the Koch brothers intend, with all the millions they have spent on this cause. That said, it`s not working everywhere, notably Ohio today became the 25th state to say that they would expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands more people in the state who currently don`t have health insurance or an affordable way to get it. Ohio`s Republican governor, John Kasich, today steamed past the hard right legislature to get more people covered, even if it costs him the support of some in his own party. Ohio`s decision leaves half the states in the country, all of them red states, controlled by Republicans who are refusing to expand Medicaid to cover more people. But these two billionaires are trying to hold that line. Do they get their way in the half of the country that is still up for grabs? Can they push their agenda, state capital by state capital, when the rest of the country is either struggling to make this thing work or just too fixated on D.C. to notice much of what they`re doing? Joining is Dr. Zeke Emanuel, he`s former White House adviser on health care policy, former chair -- chair of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Emanuel, thanks for being here. DR. ZEKE EMANUEL, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: Thanks for having me again. MADDOW: Why is it important from your perspective that states do expand Medicaid to cover more people? EMANUEL: So, there is the health reason, which is this is the poorest people in the country that are being excluded. They`re people who earn under 138 percent of the federal poverty line, roughly for a family of four about $27,000, $28,000. So, they`re poor. They need health care just like everyone else, and they`re being excluded, and they`re typically working people. They work already, but their jobs either don`t have health insurance or don`t pay enough so that they can purchase it. And Medicaid has been the solution for that problem. MADDOW: What is striking because of that, because of the people who we`re talking about being most affected, who are in most need who are being affected by this campaign is to have these incredibly, incredibly rich guys -- EMANUEL: Who inherited their money, by the way, did not earn it. MADDOW: Who inherited -- I mean, they`ve done a lot with dad`s money, but they got it from dad. To see them ideologically campaigning in a very effective way, state to state, and really funding the lion`s share of these efforts to keep poor people from getting health insurance. Is it an economic interest to them in their business concerns or is it an ideological argument? EMANUEL: Well, it`s clearly an ideological argument on their part. In most states, it`s also an ideological argument, because most states, like Ohio, stand actually to benefit net-net on their budget from expanding Medicaid. And here`s how that works. Right now there`s a hidden tax on states who have to provide health insurance to their state workers, their legislators or cabinet members. And in that money is money to pay for uninsured people who go to hospitals and youth services. That will decrease. Similarly, most states have a way of compensating hospitals who take care of the uninsured for the expense. That will decrease if you have Medicaid. And the federal government`s picking up 100 percent of the Medicaid bill for the first three years, then it drops down to 90 percent. So, it`s estimated that more than $13 billion will go to Ohio, for example, and it will change their budget over the next 10 years by about $2 billion added to their budget because of these decreases in state insurance expenses and support for hospitals. So, from a state budget perspective, this is a winner. So, it`s economically rational to do, the only reason not to it is ideology. MADDOW: Even the dimmest governor can add numbers that big in their head, probably. Seeing John Kasich resist members of his own party that tried to force him to not expand Medicaid, seeing him go ahead and do that anyway, seeing a number of other Republican governors making noises that they`re being, you know, dragged to it but doing it anyway, do you think ultimately as states start to do this it becomes a matter of competitive advantage that more states will have to? EMANUEL: Oh, absolutely, because it`s going to be better for their budget, and therefore, their bond rating and borrowing money. It`s also going to be better for companies in the state to know they have a stable health package and to know that the premiums are down because of things like competition in the exchanges, et cetera. So, I think, actually, states that do a good job on this are actually going to see more businesses come in, and businesses want to do, want to work in those states. I think this is -- I`ve actually predicted that by the end of the decade, all the states are going to be on board, because it makes so much sense. Again, a lot of this is driven by the next election and probably the presidential election in 2016. Once those are over, states are going to see the economic rationality. MADDOW: We`re seeing so much of a patchwork, both in terms of whether or not states are expanding Medicaid, which has a huge impact on the number of people with insurance in the states, but also on whether or not the exchanges work and whether they work well and whether or not they`re being well promoted in the states. In states where it doesn`t work well, where people, the number of uninsured isn`t dropping and the number of people having easy access to more affordable care doesn`t go up very quickly because the states just aren`t doing a good job by hook or by crook, does that adversely impact the effect of this law at making health insurance more affordable in states where people are trying to make it work? EMANUEL: Probably not. So, I think actually, we`re going to have an interesting natural experiment. California has gone full steam ahead with expanding health care. It was the state with I think the third or fourth most uninsured people. They have a very good Web site, easy to shop on, very good pricing, lots of companies in there. They`re expanding medical very vigorously. And then you`re going to compare them to Texas, which has the most uninsured people, which has been resistant to everything under the sun. And we`re going to see what happens to health insurance premiums in those states for the uninsured people and for businesses, we`re going to see what happens to the health status of people in the state, and I think we`ll have this experiment where California`s going to show that really doing it well and doing it properly is much better for the state and going to be much better for the state economy. By the way, the more competition there is in the exchanges, the more they bring premiums down, the better for employers who are offering insurance, the better for everyone else. So, there`s an important dynamic here where the more people you get into the exchanges, the more people who shop or have medical also is going to benefit all the rest of us, and I think that`s not fully been explained to most people. Texas, I think hospitals are going to hurt there because they`re still going to have a large number of uninsured, and I think as a consequence, people are going to see their premiums not come down. MADDOW: From a policy perspective, that comparative natural experiment is going to be fascinating to watch. It also makes me feel like if I was watching this from Texas right now, I would think, I`m not sure I want to be that guinea pig. We shall see. Dr. Zeke Emanuel, former White House advisor on health care policy, now, University of Pennsylvania, thank you for being here. EMANUEL: Thank you. MADDOW: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took an interesting stand today on a civil rights issue that he used to feel differently about? No, he says he feels exactly the same way about it today, it`s just caused him to act in an opposite manner. Right. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Governor, do you think this sort of confrontational tone can increase your odds of getting this through the legislature? GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You know, Tom, you must be the thinnest skinned guy in America, because you think that`s a confrontational tone, then you should really see me when I`m pissed. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Governor Chris Christie of New Kersey. You should really see him when he`s -- that video`s from May of 2010. The man he`s calling the thinnest skinned guy in America was at that point and still is a longtime columnist for "The New Jersey Star Ledger." He`s also the newspaper`s editorial page editor. Governor Chris Christie is the first governor in the history of New Jersey to refuse to speak to the editorial board of that paper. It`s the largest paper in the state and he will not talk to them. So, the governor and the largest paper in his state, he insults the editorial page editor in public for political effect, he insults the whole paper by refusing to speak with them over four years in office. So, what happens in the pages of that same newspaper when that governor has to run for re-election? You`d be very surprised what happens. That story is coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: NOM, NOM, NOM. NOM, NOM. It has been a very bad day for NOM, for the National Organization for Marriage. The National Organization for Marriage is the Prop 8 group, the group that came into existence six or so years ago to make sure that gay people in California would never be able to get married. But when they lost that battle, they found a lot of other things to do. They got several Republican candidates for president, including the one who became the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, to sign a pledge promising that they would keep gay people from getting married if they were elected president. Senator Marco Rubio, who`s made robocalls for the National Organization for Marriage. They sponsor events with up and coming Republicans like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who spoke at this summit sponsored by NOM, NOM, NOM this year. In their short tenure in conservative politics, the National Organization for Marriage has tried to make itself a big deal in Republican politics. And as the politics of marriage change in this country, they have still convinced a lot of otherwise up-and-coming Republican politicians to saddle themselves with an association with this high-profile, antigay group. All that said, this has not been a good few days for NOM. Over the weekend, we learned that the bill that would have made it legal for the Russian government to take children away from their parents and put those kids into orphanages if their parents were gay, that lawmaker who introduced that bill in Russia decided to withdraw the bill from consideration, at least for the time being. Russia has taken a really severely antigay turn in the past couple of years, but American antigay activists have been helping with that, egging them on. The president for the National Organization for Marriage, a man named Brian Brown, has been traveling back and forth to Russia to address the Russian parliament and to encourage their antigay legislation over there. He was there this summer, right after Russia passed a bill making it essentially illegal to advocate for gay rights, and right before they passed a bill banning adoptions b gay people or by even some straight people if they were from countries seen as too pro- gay rights. Mr. Brown spoke in the Duma in the Russian parliament and he made the same case on Russian TV. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRIAN BROWN, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE: Right now, you`re having the fight over adoption, but the adoption is indivisible from the marriage issue. If you don`t defend your values now, I`m afraid we`re going to see very negative developments all over the world. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, it`s being translated into Russia because it`s being broadcast -- translated into Russian because it`s being broadcast on Russian TV. The head of the National Organization for Marriage actually traveled back to Russia again this past week, again to work with the Russians on antigay legislation. The folks at Right Wing Watch noticed Mr. Brown`s most recent trip to Russia. We asked him, following their reporting, to confirm today whether or not he had actually just gone to Russia again and in what capacity. He confirmed to us that he did, in fact, go to Russia last week. He said he`s working on organizing an antigay summit there for next year and he says he is proud to work with his Russian allies against gay rights. So, it`s got to be a sad day for NOM, now that the next planned antigay legislation in Russia, the steal your kids from you bill, has been put on hold. That bill had been slated to February, which is when Russia is hosting the Olympics. Now the bill`s author says he plans to resubmit the bill later, maybe when everyone`s not paying attention to Russia because of the Olympics. Maybe a quieter time would be a better opportunity to pass a law that would forcibly take children away from their parents and put them in orphanages, maybe with not so much attention. So, that was reason number one, that the National Organization for Marriage is having a bad day. Things are getting slightly less terrifyingly antigay in Russia, where they`ve been doing their best to make things as antigay as possible. Reason number one. Reason number two, up until today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seemed like a National Organization for Marriage kind of guy. He said all the right antigay things and he said them again and again and again. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) CHRISTIE: My view and my position is that marriage should be between one man and one woman. It always has been my position, it remains so. I ran that way in 2009, told people that. It was an issue in the campaign. I made myself very clear and now that the legislature has passed that piece of legislation, then I will veto it because that`s what I promised to do and that`s what I think is the right thing to do. If my children came to me and said they were gay, I would grab them and hug them and tell them I love them, just like I would do with any of my children, but what I would also tell them is that dad believes that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that`s my position. Let`s make sure that political maneuvering is not what judges this, and let`s not make sure this is not just someone trying to have fun and create a campaign issue. It`s too serious. The institution of marriage is too serious to be treated like a political football. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been vocally and unapologetically antigay marriage rights since he was a candidate for governor, so much so that he vetoed legislation that would have legalized same-sex marriage, legislation that passed the New Jersey legislature in February of last year. So, all this stuff about him not wanting unelected judges to be the ones ruling in favor of gay marriage, he didn`t want the elected legislature ruling in favor of gay marriage either. Chris Christie has always been an antigay, National Organization for Marriage kind of Republican. Despite the moderate image, that`s been his position. When not just the legislature but the court said that marriage equality should be the law in New Jersey, Chris Christie appealed the decision. He said he would fight it all the way to the Supreme Court. Well, today in New Jersey at one minutes after midnight, same-sex couples began getting legally married for the first time ever in New Jersey, because the state Supreme Court said they could, pending the governor`s appeal. Just a few hours after those couples started getting married, Governor Chris Christie unexpectedly announced that he was dropping his appeal, that he`s ending his fight to stop New Jersey couples from getting legally married. He had a spokesman put out a statement saying that the governor is still totally against allowing gay people to get married, but he just won`t fight it anymore, after fighting it all this time. The National Organization for Marriage responded with outrage. He said Chris Christie has "failed the test." They said he`s revealed as a man who lacks the courage of his supposed convictions. They promise now that he will never get the Republican nomination for president. And that may be true. It may also be the dying gasps of a group that calls itself national -- that`s the "N" in NOM, NOM, NOM, but lately they have to go to Russia to get any of their ideas put into law. It may that be they`re a little desperate. In any case, though, it does raise a pretty interesting question about what Chris Christie is trying to do here, and how antigay exactly Republicans are expected to be now if they want to aspire to office. Joining us now is Jeff Cook-McCormac. He is senior advisor to the American Unity Fund, which is a group funded by a Republican hedge fund manager named Paul Singer. American Unity Fund works to get elected Republicans to support at least some gay rights. Jeff, thanks very much for being with us. Nice to have you here. JEFF COOK-MCCORMAC, AMERICAN UNITY FUND: Rachel, thanks for having me. MADDOW: So, Governor Christie is still pledging that he is as antigay as he ever was. He`s just not going to act on it anymore. I have to tell you that I see this as ridiculously craven and self- serving, but I am guessing that you see this as progress. COOK-MCCORMAC: Well, Rachel, you know, the governor has really been pretty consistent throughout this entire process on his position on the issue of marriage. Clearly, we don`t agree with him on the freedom to marry, but he`s been very thoughtful and respectful throughout this entire dialogue. But at the same time, he has been truly an inclusive governor. He signed a ban on reparative therapy, which, of course, is dangerous to young people across the state of New Jersey, and he also signed the toughest anti-bullying law in the country. So, I think that what the governor is trying to do here, and the type of leader that many Republicans across the country are looking for is someone who can step away from some of the divisive politics of years ago and really focus on the things that unite Republicans -- economic freedom, turning the economy around and creating jobs in New Jersey and across the country. MADDOW: It`s not consistent for him to have said I will fight this all the way to the Supreme Court and then, once it gets to the Supreme Court saying, eh, I am not going to fight this anymore. I mean, he makes the decision on the day that a statewide poll comes out that shows even Republicans are in favor of same-sex marriage rights in New Jersey and they want the governor to stop fighting it. He makes the decision on the day that everybody else who`s a rival for his attention, for statewide attention in New Jersey is getting great press for supporting these very happy couples that are getting married. Isn`t it a better idea in his case to say that he has changed his opinion on gay marriage? How can you be the guy who just wants to stop fighting it, even though you`re just as antigay as you ever were? COOK-MCCORMAC: Well, Rachel, as you know, tremendous progress that`s been happening on this issue has just happened in the last few days. Over the last few weeks, we have seen six legislators who previously weren`t with us on the freedom to marry, agree and express publicly that they`d be willing to support an override of the governor`s veto in the fall veto session. So, there`s been a lot of progress over the last couple of weeks. But you know, the legislature and the court in familiar these last few days has already made clear that when they denied the stay and allowed the marriages to move forward, the writing was on the wall that, essentially, that they were going to find the constitutional freedom to marry. We believe that the governor did the responsible thing here. We know he doesn`t agree with the decision of the court, but at the same time, his job is as governor of the state of New Jersey is to enforce the laws and to end what could have been an ongoing, contentious debate and to provide real certainty for families what are celebrating a really amazing day in New Jersey. MADDOW: Jeff, your group has focused in some ways not so much on marriage equality going forward, but instead on the Employment Non- Discrimination Act, an antidiscrimination bill at the federal level. Do you expect Republicans who are holding on to an antigay stance on marriage to nevertheless move on employment discrimination, to be willing to vote yes on the discrimination bill, even if they`re still antigay on the marriage issue? COOK-MCCORMAC: Well, what we`ve seen is, clearly, there`s not a majority of support for the freedom to marry within the Republican Party at this point. However, there is a diversity of opinion, and the number of Republicans that are standing up for the freedom to marry is growing and it`s growing quickly. More than 220 Republican state legislators across the country have stood up for the freedom to marry and lived to tell the tale. What we`re seeing on nondiscrimination is a completely different political reality for Republicans as they look at their primaries. Not only is there broad-based support across the country, but we also see very clear majorities of Republicans in primaries also supporting the concept that people in the workplace should be judged on their merit and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity. So, yes, there`s much broader political support at this point in time among Republicans for nondiscrimination, and we expect that to continue to grow, so much so that we expect that as Senator Reid has promised, that there will be a vote on the floor of the Senate later this fall on nondiscrimination. When he keeps his word, which we certainly hope and will be holding him to that promise, we expect this will be the 60 votes to get this out of the Senate and give the House an opportunity to starts conversation. MADDOW: That is the shiniest thing I`ve ever heard anybody say about politics. The idea that Harry Reid might be the problem on nondiscrimination and that you just want to get it to the House where they`re going to have a sober conversation about this? You know what`s going to happen when it gets to the House, right? COOK-MCCORMAC: Well, I think -- MADDOW: Really? I mean, honestly, John Boehner`s going to put it on the floor and Republicans are going to vote for it and it`s going to become law? COOK-MCCORMAC: Well, Rachel, your cynicism`s pretty thick here and I understand that, but I think as we`ve seen in legislatures across the country, you know, whether it`s Governor Christie signing the toughest anti-bullying law in the country or Senate Republicans in New York advancing the freedom to marry, when the gay and lesbian community and those who believe and support freedom for gay and lesbian Americans stand up and pursue an authentically bipartisan strategy, many things are possible that we never thought were possible before. This issue will never be accomplished and people will never be treated equally, fully equally under the law until people in both political parties recognize that what unites us as Americans is much more than what divides us, and we all deserve to be treated equally under by our government. MADDOW: Jeff Cook-McCormac, senior advisor at the American Unity Fund, I thank you for your tonight. You are right that my cynicism is clouding out your smiley face. But your smiley face on this is astonishing. Thank you so much for being with us, Jeff. I really appreciate it. MCCORMAC: You`re welcome. Thanks for having me. MADDOW: We have a programming note coming up, and the most insulting endorsement I have ever read in politics. That`s all still ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN.-ELECT CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: There being no objection to the marriage from here, those present, having exchanged their vows, I now, by the power vested in me, thank God, by the state of New Jersey, it`s about time, I declare Joseph and Orville to be lawful spouses in the state of New Jersey! (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Programming note: Senator-elect and Newark mayor, Cory Booker, is going to be here tomorrow night for an exclusive on the interview. Hope you will tune in for that. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK, speaking of Chris Christie, one of the weirdest things in 2013 American politics is the calendar for politics this year in New Jersey. New Jersey just elected a brand new U.S. senator to fill the open seat that had been held by the late Frank Lautenberg, but not only was that statewide election held on a Wednesday, it was held on a Wednesday that is two weeks and six days before New Jersey has another statewide election. Rather than just have both elections on the same day, Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decided to spend an extra $24 million in state money so that Cory Booker`s big Democratic victory in that U.S. Senate race would not happen on the same ballot, on the same day as governor Christie`s own re-election race. So, the taxpayers of New Jersey are out $24 million that they otherwise wouldn`t have had to spend. Cory Booker is New Jersey`s senator-elect, and New Jersey still has to go back to the polls two weeks from tomorrow to vote again, to vote for Governor Christie or for his Democratic challenger, State Senator Barbara Buono. It`s a system. Actually, it`s not a system, it`s just -- somebody`s a little chicken, but that`s how it goes this year in New Jersey. It`s really weird. And ahead of the governor`s race in New Jersey, the state`s largest newspaper just published their endorsement for the governor`s race, and in their endorsement, they just savaged Govern Chris Christie. Listen to this. "The governor`s claim to have fixed the state budget is fraudulent. The property tax burden has grown sharply on his watch. He`s hostile to low-income families, including raising their tax burden. He has been a catastrophe on the environment. New Jersey`s credit rating has dropped during his term." The paper says Chris Christie`s ego has done damage, quote, "by removing two qualified justices from the Supreme Court without good cause, he threatened the independence of judges at all levels." They accused him of a "power grab gone wrong." The paper says that even what seems good about Christie is actually bad. They say, quote, "The public gives him top marks for his handling of sandy, but the record is mixed. Why would his administration park New Jersey transit trains on a low-lying area where they flooded? Why should anybody believe taxpayers got the best price on refuse removal from the governor awarded a no-bid contract through a political friend?" Against this litany of what the paper calls his measurable failures, "The Star Ledger" concludes by saying "his spin is way ahead of his substance," "you have to conclude he is much better at politics than governing. "Our own view", they say, "is that Chris Christie is overrated." And then they endorse him. Seriously? Seriously. That`s the endorsement. That`s the devastating tirade about how terrible Chris Christie has been about governor of New Jersey, how he has failed, how he is a fraud, how he`s overrated and people who like him are inexplicably giving him credit for stuff he actually failed at. After listing all of that, they endorse him. This is weird, right? This is weird. Somebody chalked an allegation on the sidewalk outside of the newspaper`s offices saying how weird this was. "The Star Ledger" itself published a follow-up story to their endorsement that`s all about how bewildered their own readers are by their editorial board talking substantively and at length about how terrible Chris Christie is as a governor before endorsing him in same breath. We hate him, but it`s all you`ve got, New Jersey. It`s one thing to, like, damn with faint praise. This is praising with robust damnation. This is the weirdest newspaper endorsement I have ever seen. What a truly bizarre decision. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Happy Monday. Because it is Monday night, which means you survived another Monday morning, you get a treat. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: That colorful, harmonic, sort of trippy retro ad was created by the state of Oregon, obviously, as a way to promote the thing that you saw right there at the very end of the PSA. Cover Oregon, the official state health insurance exchange created under our new national health reform law. Cover Oregon was supposed to launch October 1st along with the new national exchange, but like the federal exchange, Oregon`s system had some technical difficulties so they decided not to open the site yet. People can prep their applications for health insurance but their applications will be processed by hand until the online system has worked out the kinks. Even with those technical glitches, something amazing has happened in Oregon since October 1st, so in just the last three weeks, they have managed to sign up so many people for health insurance that they have cut the total number of health insurance in the state by 10 percent already. Look at that headline. In the span of the first two weeks, the number of uninsured people in Oregon dropped by 10 percent in total thanks to Obamacare and that is without the exchange opening up. That`s because the other part of Obamacare is the expansion of the existing health insurance program for low income families which we have had for decades. They expanded the criteria for who can qualify from that program, from Medicaid, and in so doing, Oregon officials have signed up tens of thousands of people in the state who were uninsured before Obamacare went into effect. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In states where governors and legislatures have wisely allowed it, the Affordable Care Act provides the opportunity for many Americans to get covered under Medicaid for the first time. So, in Oregon, for example, that has helped cut the number of uninsured people by 10 percent just in the last three weeks. Think about that. That`s 56,000 more Americans who now have health care. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The original Affordable Care Act when it passed congress mandated that all states would have to do what Oregon did. They would have all to expand the eligibility rules to help people get insurance through the Medicaid program. But when the health reform law went before the Supreme Court last year, the court overall upheld the constitutionality of the law, but they did change part of it. They changed it so that the Medicaid thing in the states is now optional instead of mandatory. So, because of the Supreme Court ruling, states can opt out of expanding their Medicaid programs. Twenty-two states have either opted out or leaning towards opting out already. This number is still fluid. It continues to change. For instance, Ohio today moved towards saying yes to expanding Medicaid. But at this point, there are 22 states that are moving toward opting out. And, yes, those 22 states are mainly states with Republican governors. And so, now, even just a few weeks into the start of implementation of this new national project, we`re starting to get really vastly, unequal outcomes and unequal progress among the 50 states. There is no single story to tell about how reforming health care in America is going so far. There`s a lot of different smaller stories. The right, of course, is hoping for just broad-brush failure. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: The average Americans, their families were also feeling the pain thanks to the health care overall train wreck. And six of them are here to tell their story, which, by the way, the media ignored. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That`s a man named Sean Hannity, who hosts a television program on the FOX News Channel, which is across the street from us. Mr. Hannity recently interviewed three families who he said have been suffering with the boot of Obamacare on their necks. That`s the narrative on the right now, Obamacare is the end of liberty. Obamacare is destroying America. recently published a fact-check of those Obamacare horror stories that were aired on FOX News. A former staffer to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, Eric Stern who was on "ALL IN" tonight, he decided to track down each of the Hannity show`s guest, who said Obamacare was ruining their lives. One guest said that Obamacare was destroying his construction business. He was firing employees. Well, he maybe firing employees but it`s not because of Obamacare because his business is small enough that nothing in the new law applies to his business at all. Another guest said that her health insurance plan was being terminated because of Obamacare. True as it turns out. But that`s because here plan was overcharging her, and now, she can spend less money to get a plan that covers everything that used to be covered plus more. Isn`t that terrible? Same goes for the third couple that appeared on the show on Friday night. They told the FOX News audience that their existing health insurance plan was also canceled. They said they think they are facing a 75 percent rate increase. Actually, it turns out they can get a plan that covers what their old plan covered for much cheaper. It`s on the Obamacare exchange. The reason that couple does not know it`s on the Obamacare exchange is because they refuse to look at the exchange. They are opposed to shopping there on principle and so they will not look. So, awkward cable TV segment. But the right has their narrative and they`re sticking it. Off TV and back in policy land, the states and the federal government are plugging along with varying degree of success. This past weekend, the federal health insurance exchange was taken down for more maintenance. President Obama at the Rose Garden event today said the administration was mounting a tech surge to make the site work better. This week, Republicans in Congress are planning to hold oversight hearings about how horrible and terrible it has gone so far, even while experts continue to fix what`s wrong and press on with the rollout. Who knows how it will shake out politically? Who gets the credit, who gets the blame? But in the meantime, brass tacks, 56,000 non-hypothetical real people in Oregon who didn`t have health insurance last month have it now. Right next to Oregon, the state of Washington, they`re crowing now about how -- if you look at Oregon compare to them, Oregon is a failure compared to Washington state. In Washington state, they`ve got their online exchange open, and they`ve already signed up more 60,000 people. And again, most of them are from the Medicaid expansion. But tens of thousands of them are due to the Obamacare exchanges. We are seeing this work in some places. It`s going to take a while. It is falling in to place at different rates and different ways, depending, in part, on whether your Republican governor wants to run for president. But that is what is coming in to focus more than anything. It`s a patchwork of unequal outcomes. In some places it`s working with, in some places it is not working yet but it`s going to work and in some places they are doing their damnedest to make sure that it doesn`t work no matter what. Not ever if they can help it. The consequences of that being a patchwork of outcomes in our nation I think are hard to foresee at this point. Certainly, the outcome for that politically is very, very hard to see. But these outcomes are beyond just politics and maybe beyond health care. We dramatize everything in politics saying everything is life and death, right? We overuse that idea. Whether or not you can access health care can be a life and death thing and even when it is not a life and death thing, it is certainly a thousand of dollars for your family year after year, for regular everyday families no matter how your family votes. I mean, if these differences in outcomes persist in a way that has a real material effect on people`s lives, forget the politics. Should we expect migration? Shouldn`t we expect that people might move from states where you really can`t get good health coverage for your family to places where you can get that coverage? It would have a huge material effect on your life if these differences between the states are sustained over time. This is a work in progress, but right now, if you are in a red ate without good health coverage, you probably are still screwed now and for the foreseeable future. But in some blue states that want this thing to work, inch by inch, things are looking up in a very concrete way. How does that change many our country in the long run? That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow night with our exclusive guest, New Jersey Senator-elect Cory Booker. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE". Thanks for being with us. Have a great night. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Ted Cruz spent the weekend attacking Republicans and refusing to rule out another federal government shutdown. This is, of course, bad news for almost everyone except Democrats trying to take back the House of Representatives. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We`re going to stand against the train wreck that is Obamacare. SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: The fight on Obamacare took us off message. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The shutdown should be in our rearview mirror. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show a little self-restraint, take a step back. GRAHAM: Don`t do this again, Ted. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The internal divisions of the Republican Party. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fighting, the posturing, the disinformation. UNIDENTFIED FEMALE: They are now taking center stage. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It all comes down to winning elections. CRUZ: You want to win an election in 2014? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s turn to Ted Cruz. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END