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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 06/04/14

Guests: Chris Murphy

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, man. And tanks to you at home for joining us this hour. OK, I`ve got it for you. What we have here is the secret decoder ring. It`s like the Rosetta stone that will let you decrypt behavior in Washington as it pertains to President Obama. Honestly, if I could turn this into some sort of clip-n-save laminated card that everybody could keep in their wallet, I would love to be able to do that. But in the absence of being able to transcend the space-time continuum that way, I will instead show it to you this way. This makes it all make sense. All right. March 2nd of this year on the "Charlie Rose Show" on PBS, the topic of discussion that day on Charlie Rose was what President Obama should do about Russia. Russia was being super belligerent toward Ukraine, they were going to annex part of Ukraine and turn it into Russia, so the topic of discussion that day, what should President Obama do about Russia behaving so badly? The guest on Charlie Rose that day was John McCain. Senator McCain, what is your advice for what President Obama should do to Russia? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think, first, I would try the Magnitsky, which is, you know, targets individuals and their bank accounts and their ability to travel, I would try that first. And then, obviously, I would look at other areas. You know, throw them out of the G-8, of course. It should be the G-7. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: OK, so this is step one. Throw Russia out of the G-8. Sanction some Russians. This is step one. John McCain gives advice about what President Obama should do. That`s step one. Step two, President Obama, in fact, does that. He, in fact, sanctions some Russians, just like John McCain said he should. And he also threw Russia out of the G-8. He got the G-8 together, lobbied all the other countries in it, and in fact they kick Russia out of the G-8, and G-8 does become the G-7, which is exactly what John McCain said President Obama should do. So, step one, John McCain says, President Obama should do this. Step two, President Obama does this. Now, here`s step three. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DON IMUS: So, now, it`s the G-7, right? MCCAIN (via telephone): Well, G-7, I`m sure that that has reduced Vladimir to tears, that he`s not going to be able to be in the G-8. Take over a part of a country, and you don`t get to go to the next meeting in some wonderful European capital. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: See? This is the Rosetta stone. This is the magic decoder ring that tells you how Washington works right now. Say that President Obama should do something and then pray that he doesn`t actually do it, because if he does actually do it, you`re then going to have to come out against the thing that you have been recommending all along. It`s a terrible idea. John McCain does this all the time, on all sorts of issues, but on the Russia thing, it was so perfect, because it was so specific. Throw them out of the G-8. Oh, you threw them out of the G-8? Well, why`d you have to go and throw them out of the G-8 for? That`s not going to do anything! It`s amazing. John McCain, I would have to make you up if you didn`t exist. But now, you`re going to need that magic decoder ring to understand the otherwise inexplicable behavior in Washington on a different subject today. You may have seen today the release of this video, which purports to show and appears to show the moment at which U.S. Army sergeant, prisoner of war, Bowe Bergdahl, was handed over from his Taliban captors, to U.S. Special Forces. As you can see, he does not look well. In the video, he is able to walk, although apparently, with some difficulty, gets some assistance at one point. You can see that the handover was pretty tightly choreographed. It happens pretty quickly, at least, according to what we can see. That said, this video was filmed by and edited by and produced for the web by the Taliban, to suit Taliban purposes. So, take it with a big theocratic grain of salt. Because they have edited this video and framed it the way they did for their own purposes. So, we`re only seeing what they want us to see. That said, "The Wall Street Journal" today reports that another video, also shot by the Taliban, may have been what drove the U.S. military and the U.S. government to make this happen, to push for Sergeant Bergdahl`s release now, and to put some urgency behind the effort of getting him out of there. According to "The Wall Street Journal" today, the U.S. intelligence committee reportedly produced some sort of analysis of what Bowe Bergdahl looked like in the videotapes they were getting of him from the Taliban. What happened progressively to this American prisoner of war over the course of the consecutive videos that the Taliban released of him. Sergeant Bergdahl was first taken captive in the summer of 2009. The first video that the Taliban released of him, showing him in captivity, that was later that year, later in 2009. They released further videos of him in 2010 and in 2011. According to "The Wall Street Journal", the intelligence community analyzed those videos, analyzed what Sergeant Bergdahl looked like in those videos, his apparent health, his apparent physical condition, to the extent they could tell, his apparent mental condition. And they reportedly concluded that between the last video that was released of him by the Taliban in 2011 and the most recent video, which the Pentagon obtained, but which was never released publicly this past December, 2013, between 2011 and late 2013, the intelligence community apparently determined in this analysis that Bowe Bergdahl`s condition was deteriorating rapidly. According to "The Wall Street Journal," officials who have seen the video described Sergeant Bergdahl`s condition in that latest video as alarming. Seeing is him like that, we had to go get him. Well, now, again, that latest video, the one from December, the one that reportedly so upset and shocked U.S. officials that it caused them to change their game plan, change their time frame, make new attempts to negotiate his release, that video from December 2013 has never been shown to the public. It is reportedly in the Pentagon`s hands. But even though nobody before tonight, outside the Pentagon, had ever seen it, the existence of the video was reported earlier this year. It was described in reporting. And it was reported as the reason the government was redoubling its earlier efforts to arrange some sort of prisoner swap with the Taliban, to try to get Sergeant Bergdahl back. So, this reporting was back in February. This is interesting. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: Just weeks ago, the U.S. military obtained a new video, it`s never been publicly released. It`s raised concerns, though, about Bergdahl`s health. The Taliban has long demanded the release of five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo in exchange for his release. Well, today a U.S. official confirmed that new discussions led by diplomats and the Pentagon are underway. Would you oppose the idea of some form of negotiations or prisoner exchange? I know back in 2012, you called the idea of even negotiating with the Taliban bizarre, highly questionable. MCCAIN: Well, at that time, the proposal was that they would release Taliban, some really hard-core, particularly five really hard-core Taliban leaders, as a confidence-building measure. Now, this idea is for an exchange of prisoners for our American fighting men. I would be inclined to support such a thing, depending on a lot of the details. COOPER: So, if there was some, the possibility of some sort of exchange, that`s something you would support? MCCAIN: I would support -- obviously, I`d have to know the details, but I would support ways of bringing them home. And if an exchange was one of them, I think that would be something I think we should seriously consider. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, get out of your secret decoder ring again, because, right, this is step one for John McCain. An exchange of prisoners for our American fighting men, I would be inclined to support that. That is step one. Step two is President Obama does that. The same deal that had been on the table and had been discussed with Congress for months, if not years, exactly what John McCain said he would be inclined to support, an exchange of prisoners for our American fighting men -- specifically, an exchange of prisoners with the Taliban for our American fighting man. So, step two is President Obama does exactly what John McCain said he would be inclined to support. And what`s step three? Well, now, of course, John McCain has to be against his own idea. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCAIN: This decision to bring sergeant Bergdahl home, and we applaud that he is home, is ill-founded, it is a mistake, and it is putting the lives of American service men and women at risk, and that, to me, is unacceptable to the American people. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Senator McCain did not think that that very same exchange of prisoners would be unacceptable to the American people when he, himself, suggested it in February. But once President Obama actually did it and got Bowe Bergdahl home that way, well, then, the senator had to complete step three of his magic decoder ring process. He had to come out against his own idea as a terrible and outrageous and dangerous idea, because President Obama actually did it. It is amazing. And Senator McCain does this on lots of issues. Look for this pattern in other things from John McCain, because he does it over and over again. But right now, it`s not just John McCain. You can see all sorts of conservative politicians getting sort of confused by, getting spun around by, getting called out by the upside down, gonzo-Washington politics on this story of the return of America`s Afghan war POW. And you can see these Republican politicians, all over the country, having to adjust to the fact that this isn`t a satire. This isn`t some cruel joke. They really are, as conservative politicians, expected now to be against an American POW and against the deal that brought him home. You can see them adjust from their natural reaction of being happy that we got our POW home to this conservative imperative now that they are supposed to treat that as bad news. That uncomfortable adjustment, as they move from a normal reaction to what they`re told is supposed to be their political reaction, unfortunately for some of them, that adjustment has been happening in public. And everything`s searchable now. rounded up some of the most obvious adjustments today by conservative politicians. Republican Congressman Lee Terry of Nebraska put out a statement on Saturday, the day it was announced that Bowe Bergdahl was coming home. Look, this is nice. "A grateful nation welcomes the news of the return of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. There`s nothing more solemn than the pledge to never leave one of their own behind on the battlefield." Congressman called Sergeant Bergdahl a national hero. But then, apparently, the memo went out that Sergeant Bergdahl is supposed to be attacked and not praised by politicians and him coming home is supposed to be a scandal and not a cause for celebration, and so now, whatever is sacred or not, when you go to the page on Congressman Terry`s Web site that used to have that statement, and now just said, "Sorry, there is no document by that reference here." The statement has been deleted. Republican Congressman Mark Amodei of Nevada tweeted on Saturday, look, "Best news I`ve heard in a long time, exclamation point, #standwithbowe". And that tweet got deleted the next morning. Joni Ernst, the newly minted Republican Senate candidate from the state of Iowa, she said by Twitter, "Thoughts and prayers go out to Sergeant Bergdahl and his family." And she deleted that. No more thoughts and prayers going out to Sergeant Bergdahl and his family. Did I say that? I didn`t mean that. I`m neither thinking of you nor praying for you. Senator Thad Cochran, "Welcome home, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. A grateful America thanks you for your service", for three days. And then, Senator Thad Cochran deletes that sentiment. America apparently no longer grateful for your service. Conservative Democratic Congressman Steven Lynch from Massachusetts, Democrat, same deal. "Great to hear that Bowe Bergdahl has been released from captivity. Warmest regards to his family, with gratitude for his and their service and sacrifice." But then, as of this morning, deleted. No more warm regards for you. Warm regards hereby rescinded. Congressman Steven Lynch of Massachusetts no longer wants anybody to know that he once thought that it was good news that an American prisoner of war had been freed and wants to scrub the record of any evidence that he ever thanked this service member and his family for both their service and their sacrifice. He`s hoping that one goes down the memory hole. Tonight, the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan and other White House officials walked over to Capitol Hill and did a rare briefing for the full United States Senate on the administration`s actions to end Sergeant Bergdahl`s captivity in Afghanistan and get him home. That briefing was closed to the public, no cameras allowed inside, but we are told that one of the things the senators were allowed to see at that briefing that nobody had seen before outside the Pentagon and the intelligence community, what we`re told is that senators were able to see that proof of life video from December, which the U.S. government somehow obtained from the Taliban in December and it`s the one that reportedly showed a deterioration in Sergeant Bergdahl`s condition, that it changed certain officials` minds about what it was worth to try to get Bowe Bergdahl out. The director of national intelligence, for example, James Clapper, reportedly is one of those senior officials who previously did not want to do the Taliban prisoner swap for Bowe Bergdahl, until he saw that video, and then after that video and the plan was laid out, then he changed his mind. Whatever`s on that tape from December, it hasn`t been shown publicly, it may never be shown publicly, but apparently, all of the senators of the United States Senate got to see it tonight, at that briefing tonight. And joining us now is Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. Senator Murphy, thank you very much for being with us. I appreciate your time on this busy night. SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Sure. MADDOW: So, let me ask you about that videotape, first of all -- the one that reportedly prompted the administration to try to speed up its efforts on this exchange. Did you see it and can you describe what you saw? MURPHY: Well, I can`t talk about the substance of the classified briefing, but I can say this -- after this briefing, I`m confident that our military and the administration was right to take all the steps necessary to go in and get Bergdahl out of there. His health was clearly compromised. But, of course, that sacred duty that Representative Terry referred to in his tweet exists no matter the health or the condition of the soldier. When someone is taken as a prisoner of war, no matter the condition that they`re in, we have long had an obligation to go get that prisoner and bring them home. And the chilling effect that it would have on our military, on recruitment for our military, if we started to condition that responsibility, on the condition of the soldier, would be absolutely catastrophic. So, I do think that part of the decision here was educated by the condition of Bergdahl. But regardless of the condition, we should go to great lengths to bring people like Bowe Bergdahl home. MADDOW: In terms of what`s been going on in Washington since the announcement this weekend that Sergeant Bergdahl had been rescued, I confess to being a little bit bewildered by the turn in politics. And you can see it in some of those individual members of Congress and candidates for Congress and the Senate. They started off feeling the way that I felt, which is that this was great news, that he`s home. And there since has been a hard political turn there. I have to ask, sitting there with your colleagues and getting this classified briefing, do you feel like the people who are now so angry about Sergeant Bergdahl being home, about this deal to get him home, do they seem at all -- I don`t want to say appeased, but do they seem calmed by what they learned from the White House tonight? MURPHY: No, I don`t think so. I think that we are locked into an electoral environment, and, of course, what`s so frustrating to Republicans is that President Obama`s foreign policy has been a strength for a large part of his presidency. And much of their efforts, today around Bergdahl and over the last year on Benghazi has been an attempt to try to turn what has been a strength into a weakness. And, of course, just flip this the other way. Think of what would have happened if Bergdahl had died in captivity, had Obama not gone to great lengths to rescue a soldier who was held as a POW, do you really think that Republicans would have laid down without absolutely eviscerating the president? When it comes to Republicans` critique of Obama`s foreign policy, he`s in an absolute no-win position. If he had left Bergdahl to die, you would see the exact same level of critique that he is receiving for having gone and rescued this guy. MADDOW: General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, today he gave an interview to Yahoo! News in which he reinforced the military, and the thoughts that you leave no soldier behind on the battlefield, said it was the right thing to do, and said any questions about Sergeant Bergdahl`s conduct that led to his capture should be settled as a separate matter. I imagine that General McChrystal`s words will have an impact on this debate. But from your position on Capitol Hill and having seen the way this went today, you describe this as an electoral environment in which this is being discussed. What do you think happens next here? Where do you think this is going? MURPHY: Well, what happens next is that the information that we`ve been waiting for comes out. I mean, it`s really stunning that people are making their own determinations on the circumstances of Bergdahl`s departure, when we haven`t gotten any of the necessary information to try to make that determination -- not the least of which is hearing from Bergdahl himself. But we heard reports, fairly loosely reported over the course of the last few days, for instance, that there were upwards of eight or nine soldiers that had died looking for Bergdahl. And Secretary Hagel came out today and said, there`s no evidence, right now, that any soldiers died on patrols, looking for Bergdahl. And so, what is going to happen in the next few days is that slowly the truth is going to creep out. And ultimately we`re going to hear from Bergdahl himself. I don`t know the exact circumstances of his departure. And the military doesn`t either. But everybody needs to just chill out and stop rendering political decisions on this crisis and on this issue, until we get the facts and hear from this guy from his own mouth. MADDOW: Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, again, I know this is a busy night tonight in Washington. Thanks for being with us. I appreciate it. MURPHY: Thanks, Rachel. MADDOW: Thanks. We`ve got a lot ahead on the show. We`ve got a busy show tonight. We`ve got a story out of Michigan that you will not see anywhere else. And we`ve got some important news affecting the fight to control the United States Senate this year. And that is all ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK, this is not about Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. It is about other Americans being held in Afghanistan against their will, apparently by the Taliban. As the "I can`t believe it`s not satire gonzo Washington politics" continue to unfold around the Bowe Bergdahl case, around what you would think would be the joyful occasion of the return of this American soldier and POW, as the reaction to the safe return of sergeant Bergdahl after five years as a Taliban prisoner, that reaction gets yet more shrill and partisan on the right with each passing day, "The Associated Press" today had this remarkable report on the other American captives that the Taliban still holds. This is Caitlin Coleman. She`s from Pennsylvania. She has apparently been in Taliban custody for one year, seven months, and 27 days. She is American. She`s married to Joshua Boyle, who is Canadian. And when Caitlin and Joshua were abducted in Afghanistan in October 2012, Caitlin Coleman was reportedly six months pregnant. She was due to give birth last January. Well, today, "The Associated Press" reports that the families of Caitlin Coleman and Joshua Boyle have decided to go public about the fate of their kids. They have decided to go public with video evidence that they say they were sent from the Taliban twice over the course of the last year, showing, essentially, proof of life of both Caitlin and Josh, and apparently their child, who Caitlin Coleman reportedly refers to in the proof of life tape. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CAITLIN COLEMAN: I am prisoner of the Taliban. My husband and I here. JOSHUA BOYLE: My name is Joshua Boyle from Canada. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The couple was reportedly planning on being home back in North America by December, because their child was due to be born last January. If the child was born when that birth was expected, then the child will have been born in Taliban custody last January and so would now be about a year and a half old. The families say they decided to make these videos public now in light of the publicity surrounding the rescue this weekend of Sergeant Bergdahl. The families say they are disappointed that their children and their grandchild were not freed as part of the same deal that freed Sergeant Bergdahl. Now, they`re appealing for help from anyone who can give it, including the couple`s captors or the government. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Katie will know how to reach us. Please work with her to contact us. We will do everything we can to get them back. Katie, your mom and I love you very much. We`re looking for you and anxiously await your safe return home. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Katie, you know I love you. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Again, this American and Canadian couple and their baby have been held by the Taliban, apparently in Afghanistan, for more than a year and a half now. Any efforts to free them have so far been very quiet. But the families are discarding any advice they have been following to allow things happen quietly and now are publicly releasing these proof of life videos they say they got from the Taliban and they are now appealing widely for help. So far, the U.S. government in the form of the State Department is not saying anything publicly about the case, not to "The A.P." today and not to us either. But whether or not the family`s strategy will pay off, of making this a public story now, instead of a quiet one, remains to be seen. And you can imagine their agony, worrying that publicity might hurt the prospects of getting their kids home safe. But the families have now made that decision to try it this way. Since, so far, it has been more than a year and a half, and the berth of a grandchild, with nothing working at all. We`ll let you know more as we learn more. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: There is one story that we did on this show, to which we received more response from you, our viewers, than anything else we have ever done in more than five years on the air. We have a long-awaited update on that story ahead tonight at the very end of the show and I want you to stay with us for that. Thanks. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: John Walsh, the junior Democratic senator from Montana, the one who has the same haircut as the senior senator from Montana, John Walsh, the guy on the left here, he`s only been in office for about four months. He was sworn in in February, after being appointed to fill the seat left empty when Max Baucus became ambassador to China. But now, less than 120 days after getting the job in the first place, Senator Walsh is having to get going on his re-election campaign, which is kind of really is his election campaign, since even though he`s the incumbent, he never ever actually had to run to win that seat. That said, Senator Walsh of Montana had no problem winning the Democratic primary last night. Given the results of the Republican primary last night in Montana, we now know that the general election in November is going to be a big purple state fight in Montana between incumbent Senate Democrat John Walsh and Republican Congressman Steve Daines. Congressman Daines` voting record ranks him as the single most conservative congressman that his state has sent to the house since World War II, and that`s part of how John Walsh is already against him. But even ahead of Congressman Daines locking up the Republican nomination last night, Senator Walsh`s campaign was already running against Congressman Daines, one of the starkest, hardest hitting ads I have seen any Democrat do on any issue this whole year. Look at this ad out of Montana. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN WALSH (D), MONTANA: I`m John Walsh and I approve this message. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was raped when I was 14 years old. I know the pain it caused me. That`s why it`s so insulting that Congressman Steve Daines sponsored a bill to make abortion illegal for victims of sexual assault. He`s even proposed making women criminals for having an abortion. Ultimately, I got the support I needed to live again. But if politicians like Congressman Daines have their way, other women will be left with no options at all. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Beltway consensus would have you belief that abortion politics are over. That that`s so 2012. But the policy positions that made 2012 into such a politically potent fight over this issue, those policy positions are widespread again, among this year`s class of Republican Senate candidates. And so, yes, general election campaigns are going to be like this, again, this year. We know that now in Montana, where Democrat John Walsh, who`s already started his campaign to hold on to his Senate seat against Congressman Steve Daines using ads like this, and it`s likely we`re also going to see the same thing at play for the race for Senate in Iowa. It turns out the Republican candidate for Senate this year in Iowa -- this is Tom Harkin`s old seat, he`s retiring -- the Republican candidate for that seat will be the candidate who got a lot of national attention for her campaign ad about castration. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JONI ERNST (R), IOWA SENATE CANDIDATE: I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I`ll know how to cut pork. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Joni Ernst`s squealing castration ad propelled her to the Republican nomination for Senate in Iowa last night. She won by enough that she doesn`t have to go through anymore rounds of voting. Joni Ernst will be facing off against Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley for that Senate seat. And Bruce Braley is already out with his first general election ad, which presumes if you`ve only heard one thing about Republican Joni Ernst, you`ve probably heard about her and the ad for castrating. So, the Bruce Braley campaign is just starting there. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AD NARRATOR: We`ve all heard the one about pigs squealing, but when Joni Ernst had the chance to do something in Iowa, we didn`t hear a peep. In the state senate, Ernst never sponsored a bill to cut pork, never wrote one measure to slash spending. In fact, the Iowa Republican says she backed measures to actually increase spending. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, it`s going to be peeping chicks versus squealing pigs in the Iowa Senate race for Tom Harkin`s seat. And I cannot say that I`m not in favor of us pushing this barnyard theme as far as it will go for that seat. That said, like in Montana, this Iowa candidate has a very hard-core abortion record, including sponsoring a personhood constitutional amendment, which would make all abortion criminal in every case, even for rape victims, and that would ban popular forms of birth control. So, the Beltway won`t see it coming, just like they didn`t see it coming in Montana either, but expect radical anti-abortion politics and anti-birth control politics, and again, specifically, the issue of rape to play a role in this year`s Iowa Senate race, just as it already is playing a role in Montana. That said, Iowa Democrats are going to have a lot to work, if they can succeed in making that Iowa race about Joni Ernst. In addition to banning birth control and no abortions even for rape victims, she has also said she would privatize Social Security. She`d abolish the minimum wage, she would change the United States Constitution to ban gay people from getting married, and she says she doesn`t believe in the Clean Water Act or the farm bill -- the farm bill in Iowa. She also said she had secret information that Saddam Hussein really did have weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq invasion. She heard that. So, yes, particularly in Iowa, there`s room to run there. But both those primaries last night in Montana and Iowa settled those matchups for the fall, and now Democrats will set about trying to make Joni Ernst and Steve Daines nationally famous, just like Todd Akin and Richard Murdock became nationally famous in 2012, when Democrats held Senate seat that those two were fighting for in Missouri and Indiana, M and I in 2012 were Missouri and Indiana. Democrats are going to try to make this year`s M and I, Montana and Iowa. And hold the phone on Mississippi. As you`ve heard today, the race for Republican Senate campaign -- the Republican Senate candidacy is now officially a runoff between incumbent Republican Senator Thad Cochran and his Tea Party challenger, Chris McDaniel, after neither was able to clear the 50 percent threshold and secure the nomination. Three things to know about how this is going to go with the Mississippi thing: first thing to know is that turnout in this election was terrible. Something like 300,000 votes were cast, total, in the Senate race last night, which is like, less than half the population of one House district, let alone the statewide population that could vote for a senator. Turnout was terrible. Terrible turnout usually helps the more right-wing candidate. In this case, that will be Chris McDaniel. And if you think turnout was terrible for the primary, with a whole bunch of races to be voted on, that number is only going to drop when it comes to a single race runoff three weeks from now in late June. So, the turnout issue is bad news for Thad Cochran. More bad news for Thad Cochran is that one of the anti-Tea Party Republican groups, that helped him in his race so far, that helped him against Chris McDaniels, it`s Karl Rove`s American Crossroads group, they announced today they are pulling out of Mississippi, essentially abandoning Thad Cochran now when he most needs them, even though they helped him before. But the third thing to know here is that Democrats are psyched, or psyched for Mississippi, about the prospect of not running against incumbent senator, Thad Cochran, who would surely be re-elected in the general election. They`re psyched to have the prospect of running against this Tea Party guy instead. Today, reported that private Democratic polling has shown that the Democratic nominee, former congressman, Travis Childers, would start a general election statistically tied with the Tea Party guy Chris McDaniel. A race against the incumbent Republican Senator Thad Cochran, though, who`s well liked by independents and many Democrats, that race would be difficult for Democrats to the point of futility. So, in this hyper-competitive year, nationwide, right, where both parties are running full-tilt to try to control the Senate, it is very hard to imagine that Mississippi might be one of the states where Democrats could pick up a Senate seat this year. But Mississippi Republicans appear to be doing their best to try to make that happen. When it goes to a runoff on the Republican side here, it makes it shocking to imagine that Senator Cochran might win. And if Senator Cochran is out, all of a sudden, Democratic Mississippi Senator Travis Childers is not just a hypothetical possibility. This is why you should never give up on electoral politics. It`s always fun, right? I mean, you think you know what`s going to happen, and all of a sudden we`re trying to ban the birth control bill in Iowa, and Mississippi Republicans are throwing out their perfectly safe Republican senator. You think you know what`s going to happen, but then all bets are off. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS MCDANIEL (R), MISSISSIPPI SEN. CANDIDATE: This is a historic moment in this state`s history. And because of your hard work, because of your dedication, we sit here tonight leading a 42-year incumbent. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That`s Tea Party challenger, Chris McDaniel, addressing his supporters last night in Mississippi. He`s going to be in a runoff election against incumbent Republican senator, Thad Cochran, on June 24th. Joining us now is Kasie Hunt, NBC political reporter. She`s just back from Jackson, Mississippi. Boy, your arms must be tired. Just flown in. You were in Mississippi last night. I know, we talked from Cochran headquarters and you were saying that everybody was kind of on all ten toes, a little stressed out about this. They must be worried about the runoff. KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS POLITICAL REPORTER: This was the last thing that anyone was expecting. No one was prepared for this. And, you know, they`ve been running this campaign, Senator Cochran wasn`t really ready for this, he announced late, didn`t really have any money. The sort of Barbour family, the Mississippi establishment, rose up around him and protected him around this, and now, they`re going to have three weeks of attempting to do that, and I think it`s going to be much, much harder for them to pull that off and the scrutiny will be much, much more intense. And the campaigning has been so negative. Everyone on both sides is sort of sick of the ads. That`s going to depress turnout probably in a runoff, which probably does not bode well. MADDOW: And when I look at the turnout factor in any election, I expect a lower turnout to benefit the right wing candidate, that comes from a grassroots kind of place. Do they expect that they`ll have a real challenge with turnout? The turnout was terrible yesterday in Mississippi. HUNT: They do think that they`re going to have a challenge, I think, turning out the people that they need to turn out. And I think that in particular, the super PAC that`s been backing Cochran is going to shift its focus to that, because it`s not necessarily that the turnout was lower than they needed it to be. It`s more that they didn`t do as well in the places that they need to do well. (CROSSTALK) HUNT: The counties that should have been strong for Cochran weren`t. So, they need to try to fix that going forward. MADDOW: What about this decision that was reported by Cook today, that the Karl Rove Crossroads group, which is one of the outside groups, establishment, sort of anti-Tea Party Republican group, that was supporting Cochran against McDaniel thus far, that they say, we`re not going to keep supporting you, we`re moving on? It feels to me like they`re cutting him loose because they expect him not to be able to beat McDaniel. HUNT: My sources tell me there`s no good options for McDaniel in this race. I mean, they`re not an incumbent retention committee. They don`t, like the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- (CROSSTALK) HUNT: Responsible for electing incumbents -- if they go up with positive ads, they might not be terribly effective. If they go up with negative ads, they`re going to knock down someone who could very well be their nominee. And if their goal overall is for Republicans to keep the senate, they don`t want McDaniel to be excessively damaged. MADDOW: You don`t want to put the cart before the horse and start thinking about the general, but the prospects for Chris McDaniel in that runoff are what Democrats right now are actually having shiny feelings about Mississippi. HUNT: And it sounds to me, I`m hearing Democrats will go all in for him and that national Republicans frankly wouldn`t blame them for going all in. MADDOW: Fascinating, amazing. Mississippi, amazing. Kasie Hunt, NBC political reporter, thank you for your time tonight. HUNT: Thanks, Rachel. It`s great to see you. MADDOW: All right. Coming up next, an update on a story that has been very fear and dear to our hearts on this show like few other stories ever. Stick around for that. But first, one more thing, about that Mississippi Senate race, where there is going to be a runoff. Take a look at this headline from "The Clarion-Ledger" in Jackson, Mississippi, from late last night. Tea Party official locked inside courthouse. At about 2:00 in the morning last night, with that Tea Party versus Republican Party race not yet decided, the head of the county Republican Party in Hinds County, Mississippi, got a call from an official with the Central Mississippi Tea Party. The reason she was calling the Republican guy at 2:00 in the morning is because she was locked inside the courthouse and she couldn`t get out. The courthouse was where all the election materials had been turned in for the night. Hinds County is where the state capitol is. Apparently, they locked up for the night at about 11:30 p.m., but this Tea Party official for some reason showed up at the courthouse anyway about 2:00 a.m., went through a door that was inexplicably propped open, then the door closed behind her and she couldn`t get out, on election night, where the ballots were. And so, she called the Republican guy. So, in this knockdown, drag out Tea Party versus Republican fight, the Tea Party activist stuck in the courthouse called the Republican Party for help. And there have already been four arrests of Tea Party Chris McDaniel supporters in this primary in Mississippi so far -- now this. Apparently, a sheriff`s department report has been filed. We will let you know more as we learn more. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK. Some stories leave a mark on the people who hear them. But also on the people who tell them. Some stories we tell here on this show end up leaving a mark on us, as individuals and us as a show. And a few years ago, we got one of those. We brought you the story of Catherine Ferguson Academy -- one of a kind public school that specifically served pregnant girls and young mothers with young kids in Detroit, Michigan. The school specializes in sending girls to college after they graduate and in teaching them farming of all things while they`re still in high school in the middle of Detroit. Catherine Ferguson has a farm on site in inner city Detroit. And they, with that land and those animals, and that educational mission for those girls, they have been an oasis inside that city for generations of young women. An oasis where the young women could do well and a place that really expected them to do well, high standard, and also the help to make it happen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want everybody to have the same opportunity that I had. I got out of here. I want you to graduate the same way I did. I have two kids. You can make it with one, two, however many you got. You have got to make it happen. Ms. Andrews will make it happen. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Ms. Andrews is going to make it happen. Students there are talking about Asenath Andrews, who founded the school nearly 30 years ago. She is the kind of person who makes you believe you can do anything. She created this school for girls who other people said shouldn`t be bothered with. She pulled and pushed and nurtured and cajoled her students they would go to Catherine Ferguson Academy. They offered day care right in the building, they could bring their kids with them, their course work would be real course work, and they would be expected to go to college after graduation, after all of that. The school`s motto was "success by choice not by chance." Catherine Ferguson Academy opened that choice to generations of young women in Detroit. Young women who had kids as teenagers from whom the expectations in many cases would otherwise be nil -- but not there. We picked of the story in 2011 when a state appointed emergency manager for the Detroit schools ordered that Catherine Ferguson Academy should be closed. As an emergency manager in Michigan, he didn`t answer to anybody democratically elected. The elected school board and all the other elected officials were bypassed. This emergency manager just got emergency powers and could do anything he wanted purely on his own say so. And so, he wanted the school closed. It would close. He said it would close. At least it looked like it would close. But he had not counted on the young women of Catherine Ferguson. What they`re doing here is painting signs, because they staged a very dramatic sit-in at their own school, in April 2011, including some graduates of the school coming back to take part. They said they would not leave their school unless the police hauled them out. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: You almost could not hear the girls` voices as they chanted over the police sirens as they were being handcuffed and arrested for refusing to leave their school. But you could see what had happened to them. You could see what the school meant to them. And Catherine Ferguson Academy was spared that year, in 2011. They kept it open. But the system of by passing electing officials and instead just installing these emergency managers and giving them unilateral power, that business in Michigan rolled on. Voters actually repealed existing emergency manager law the following year in 2012. Michigan Republicans in the legislature put in a new one right away that voters couldn`t as easily repeal. Even though it is really not at all clear whether this sort of thing works, or helps these towns when you bypass democracy and instead install a little dictator to act alone without oversight. In the town of Muskegon Heights, a state appointed emergency manager was put in place to take over the school district there in 2012. He announced they were off to the healing process. Hooray. Then, he laid off the entire staff of the school district and hired a for-profit company to run the schools. And now, that company is quitting the job effective this month because it turns out they couldn`t turn a profit. That leaves the town looking for a new way to run the schools. They got three proposals last month that we know of. One from a group of local citizens who suggested the radical idea, maybe the district should try something called public education. Another town we covered, Benton Harbor, they`ve got a per capita income in Benton Harbor of $9,000. The emergency manager there forced the town to accept a loan from the state to balance its books. The elected city commission voted against the loan, but that doesn`t matter. Under emergency management, no elected officials mean anything. Nobody who you elected can do anything, democracy does not matter. The emergency manager forced the city to accept the loan anyway. And then he pronounced their financial emergency was over. He was done. Have fun paying off the new loan I got you. I`m out of here. In a sense, the problems of Benton Harbor and Muskegon Heights and Detroit are not unique in the nation except perhaps for the scale and the degree. Just the other day, the Census reported that Detroit has lost another 10,000 residents since 2012. A new federal report recommends that Detroit tear down 40,000 buildings just as a starting point. At Catherine Ferguson Academy after the girls saved their school they did struggle through a couple of difficult years. At first, the city arranged to have the school run by a charter company that had previously just focused on educating young men. The school`s new principal always said or school`s principal Asenath Andrews had always said that being pregnant didn`t make you a bad person, didn`t make you a criminal, but the new system required girls to get a court referral before they could enroll at Catherine Ferguson Academy as if being pregnant was a crime. Last year, a group of students sued the school over the way classes were now being thought. Funding dropped. Enrollment dropped. Detroit was emptying out. And so, to some extent was Catherine Ferguson. Well, today we learned that Catherine Ferguson Academy is closing. I think this time really closing. The board in charge of the school voted to end their contract with the school district. They say there are not enough students anymore to keep it going. The city says it will start a new school, to serve young mothers of Detroit, who have for three decades now have pursued their studies at Catherine Ferguson Academy with their garden, and their goats and babies all in one place, and with the expectation that they will all go to college. The last day at Catherine Ferguson is June 30th. This has been a very long fight for them. And maybe they just could not, or did not want to keep fighting. I don`t know. Just as I, I don`t know what is best for Detroit. Or what is possible there. But we do know the story of those young moms and the way they fought for themselves. It left a mark on us as a show. And you have told us that their story left a mark on you. We have, in the entire time we have been on the air, more than five years, we have heard more from you, the viewers, on this story an anything else we have ever done on this program. So, I thought you would want to know how it is coming to an end. Amazing story. Amazing Detroit. Amazing Michigan, as always. That does it for us tonight. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD". Thanks for being with us. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END