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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 09/08/14

Guests: Julia Macur, Jose Diaz-Balart

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, Pam. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. In 1987, "The New York Times" magazine did a long profile of a Democratic senator and presidential hopeful named Gary Hart. Gary Hart as a senator was brilliant. He was brash, very confident. He had a knack for getting himself right into the middle of the most important political stories in the country. He was tall and handsome. And in the 1988 presidential race Gary Hart was going to be a real contender. But there were these persistent rumors about his personal life, specifically about infidelity. "The Miami Herald" had run an investigative piece linking him to a specific woman in Miami. But Gary Hart denied all of these rumors, denied stories like that, and when he did that profile with "The New York Times" magazine in 1987, he told "The New York Times" that he had nothing to hide. He told them specifically this. Quote. "Follow me around. I don`t care. I`m serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They`d be very bored." That`s the pool quote in the dictionary now, next to the phrase, "tempting fate." Because sure enough, people took him up on the offer and this is the picture that derailed Gary Hart`s 1988 presidential hopes. The picture was published by one of that shiny skinny little newsprint magazines that you can get at the supermarket checkout line right next to the Sudoku and the horoscope books. The picture was published by "The National Enquirer." We don`t think of the tabloids as contributing all that much on the journalistic side of things in our country, but don`t tell that to Gary Hart. Don`t tell that to John Edwards, either. It was "The National Enquirer" as well that also broke the John Edwards`s story in 2007. In the abstractive, nobody would have believed it, right? But it was "The National Enquirer" that did the actual investigative work to track down the fact that former vice-presidential nominee, former Democratic Senator John Edwards had not only had an extramarital affair, but he had despite his denials, fathered a child, secretly in that relationship, and basically was maintaining a whole second secret family. Had he been elected vice president, which is not a stretch, I guess the plan was to stash the secret family somewhere in Washington? So he could have access both to his official public family and the other secret family? He didn`t think anybody would ever know about? Maybe? What could possibly go wrong? I mean tabloid journalism is tabloid journalism. But sometimes, tabloid journalistic outlets breaks real journalistic stories. They break stories that are way more important than their usual, you know, celebrity feuds and Justin Bieber`s latest coke rash. "The National Enquirer" is still around. It`s still very next to the Sudoku books, but the tabloid outlet that has largely, I think, taken its place in the Internet era, taking "The Enquirer`s" place at the top of the trashing news zip. It`s the outfit called TMZ. When the owner of the L.A. Clippers was forced out of the NBA and made to sell his team, even though he didn`t want to, that was because TMZ sports published audiotapes that appeared to show that NBA owner using racial slurs and talking disparagingly about black people. That was TMZ. You know, in 2009, in the middle of the financial crisis and the emergency bailouts to the financial sector by the government, it was TMZ of all places that broke the story about Northern Trust Bank. Remember this story? Northern Trust Bank took $1.6 billion in a taxpayer-funded bailout, 1.6 billion with a "b" and then just weeks later, that same bank spent millions of dollars to sponsor a lavish, professional golf event. They flew hundreds of their own employees and their clients across the country for a celebratory dinner party at a Ritz-Carlton. That included a private performance by the band in Chicago, the following day, the bank rented a private hangar at the Santa Monica Airport to host another celebratory dinner after which "Earth, Wind and Fire" played. And not like an "Earth, Wind and Fire" cover band, but actually "Earth, Wind and Fire." Then the culminating event was renting the entire House of Blues night club in West Hollywood for a blowout dinner and a Sheryl Crow concert. Enjoy the bail out! Taxpayers are happy to help. That story including the great details like everybody at the Chicago concert getting a gift bag from Tiffany`s, that story was broken by TMZ. And so, yes, in "The National Enquirer" and the places like TMZ, mostly, it is about like celebrity feuds, right, and plastic surgery and wearing controversial swimsuits and stuff. But, sometimes, tabloid outlets like this, "The National Enquirer" before, TMZ today, sometimes they break the biggest story in the country. And that happened today. In February this year, February 15th, there was an altercation at an Atlantic City New Jersey hotel involving a football player named Ray Rice and his fianc‚e. It was a violent altercation of some kind. Neither of them was taken to the hospital, but both of them were initially charged with simple assault by the Atlantic City police, which responded to the incident. Four days after the incident, TMZ sports published this disturbing video, surveillance video, apparently taken from the lobby of the hotel. The woman on the ground being roughly drug out of the elevator. It`s apparently Ray Rice`s fianc‚e. Ray Rice is the figure in the baseball cap, pulls her out of the elevator before you then see somebody else appear in the frame. Although Atlantic City police as I said had initially charged both Mr. Rice and his fianc‚e in that incident, prosecutors ended up dropping all charges against her. In the following month, the incident happened in February, in March, a grand jury in Atlantic City decided to indict Ray Rice on a very serious charge. They indicted him on third degree aggravated assault. That`s a felony. It could be up to five years in prison. Now, as far as we know, Ray Rice has no previous criminal record. He is not known to have any previous disciplinary problems in the National Football League, his employer. He pled not guilty to the aggravated assault charge, he was eligible to enter a diversionary program for first time offenders. In that program, he would have that participating counseling and basically stayed out of trouble for a year, but if he met those conditions and stuck with that program for the year, ultimately, the charge would be wiped off his record. That`s how diversionary programs work. At that time, the NFL in May, when he pled, the NFL and this is the Rice football team, the Ravens, they had him to a press conference, on which he apologized for his behavior, his behavior, again, had resulted in a felony assault charge and him knocking his girlfriend unconscious, right? She was knocked out, cold, by his hands. But at the end, this press conference in May was sort of - it was obviously very serious circumstances, but it was sort of bizarre and emotional press conference. In part, because the woman who had been his fianc‚e when he knocked her out, was, by then, his wife, they went through with getting married after the incident and before this press conference. She said next to him through that press conference in May. He basically described them as having some sort of mutual challenge as a couple, having been through some sort of mutual trouble. And then, at the end of the press conference, after he had been speaking for all this time, then at the end of the press conference, she apologized? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RAY RICE: I just want to first off apologize to, you know, Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, and Coach Harbaugh, yeah, and I also want to apologize to my fans, my - to the kids, to everyone who was affected, you know, by this situation that me and my wife were in. I want you to know that, you know, I`m still the Ray Rice that you know or used to know or grown to love. I`m still the same guy. You know, and as me and Janay wish we could take back 30 seconds of our life, I think my wife has something to say. I don`t want to be the only one who - you know, we`re in this together. So, Janay, you got something. JANAY PALMER: Yes, first I want to say, thank you for all of those who have supported us throughout the situation. I do deeply regret the role that I have played in the incident that night. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was in May. It was July before the NFL announced what action it would be taking against its employee in this case. They announced that Mr. Rice would be suspended for two games, for context here, Ray Rice`s team, the Ravens, they played their first game of the season yesterday. They played their second game of the season on Thursday of this week. So, had that been the end of it, Ray Rice would be back on the team less than two weeks into the season and playing ball again professionally. But that, of course, is not the end of it, because today TMZ somehow obtained and then published a second tape of this beating at that Atlantic City hotel. That previous tape that they had released back in February, just a few days after the incident that had shown the aftermath of the incident. But the tape that they released today was apparently shot by the surveillance camera that was inside the elevator. And it shows Ray Rice and his fianc‚e clearly involved in some sort of mutual confrontation. They`re clearly upset with each other. But then, unmistakably, he hits her in the face really hard with his left hand. He punches her in the face so hard, it knocks her out immediately. And it is a terrible thing to see. But this has become the highest profile story about domestic violence and violence against women in years in our country. And the reason it has become such a high profile story, frankly, is the tape. And if you do not want to watch the tape, there`s no shame in that and you`ll want to just turn away for a moment. Because we are now going to show it, and I feel like after a lot of consideration, I feel like we have to, because it is impossible to tell this story without showing it. The tape shows Mr. Rice and his fianc‚e entering the elevator walking into the elevator from out in the hallway. And then shows Mr. Rice very quickly striking his fianc‚e, it shows her sort of lounging at him or coming at him and then it shows him hitting her with the punch from his left hand and knocking her out instantly. Then it shows him dragging her seemingly unconscious body out of the elevator. He ends up - see, the elevator stopped, and for then he ends up dragging her out, rearranging her limbs, basically. Eventually, another person approaches the scene at the very end of the video. See, sort of roughly moving her body around. It eventually shows her seeming to regain consciousness towards the end of this video. So, this is the tape that TMZ published today. Since it was posted this morning, the football team that Ray Rice was employed by the Baltimore Ravens, they`ve announced that they`ve terminated his contract. The NFL who previously only planned to suspend him for two games, for less than two weeks, then standing light of this video evidence, they would suspend his - they would extend his suspension to be an indefinite one. The NFL and the Ravens are both insisting publicly that they`ve never seen this second video before today. The Ravens` coach repeated in a press conference tonight that the team was not aware of the video before today and asked for the league he said he could not say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Coach, how come your team wasn`t able to see the video until today? JOHN HARBAUGH: I have no answer for that. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coach, do you believe that the NFL has seen that video before today? HARBAUGH: I don`t have any understanding or knowledge of any of that, I don`t know. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you satisfied with the level of diligence that the organization took to see what occurred on the night of the video? HARBAUGH: Absolutely. Absolutely. Sure. I`m not following where you are going with that. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m just curious why the team wasn`t able to see the video soon. HARBAUGH: I don`t know why that would be hard thing to understand. It wasn`t made available. It wasn`t there for us. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the legal standpoint. HARBAUGH: As far as I know, yeah. I mean it wasn`t something we ever saw or we ever had access to. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That`s the Baltimore Ravens coach Johan Harbaugh tonight. He`s apparently the person who the NFL thought would be the best spokesperson on this issue for the nation. I should mention that the coach in the same press conference talked about how excited he was about the number of yards his team was able to gain in yesterday`s game and how very things is offences right now, and how much he is looking forward to playing in Pittsburgh on Thursday. There`s a real question as to whether or not it is true that the NFL had not seen this video today before it was posted on TMZ. It had been reported in July at "Sports Illustrated`s" website. And also on ESPN that there was a second video. There was a surveillance camera video shot from inside the elevator. On ESPN radio, back in July, it was what was on the video was described in detail. ESPN radio, in July, describing the existence of a second tape saying it showed Mr. Rice hitting the woman hard and then the woman hitting her head on the handrail inside the elevator after she was punched and then she clearly became unconscious on the floor. The detailed description that aired on ESPN in July is absolutely in detail what the video did show inside that elevator. So at least somebody in the sports world seems to have seen that video as of July. Seems to have seen it well enough to describe exactly what that video shoed. If so, if people inside professional football knew about this video before today, knew about the contents of this video before today, then the big press conference, right, the firing today, the indefinite suspension today. Not that it was because the NFL learns today that this is what transpired in that elevator. It`s all actually just because all the rest of us learned today that that`s what transpired inside that elevator. Remember, all along, since the incident happened, since TMZ published the first video in this incident, there has never been any ambiguity as to what happened here. We have known all along that Ray Rice knocked her unconscious in that elevator. The NFL only moved to fire him today once we all saw him do it. And this went from being a tragedy to being a tragedy with apparently really bad P.R. consequences for a very, very expensive football league. At the - after the initial uproar about the league giving Mr. Rice only a two games suspension back in July, the commissioner of the NFL did admit that perhaps the suspension had been too light. Perhaps his action just given him two game that - given the impression that the NFL didn`t care about domestic violence as an issue. The commissioner, last month, announced new guidelines for stricter punishment in domestic violence cases among NFL players. Since those new penalties were announced last month, two more NFL players have been arrested in domestic violence cases. A wide receiver who plays in the practice squad with the Jets, he was arrested in Florham Park, New Jersey on August 31, the same day a defensive tackle from the San Francisco 49ers was arrested as well on another domestic violence charge. And the eventual punishment for those players is yet to be determined. It`s hard not to wonder, though, whether the punishment will depend on TMZ or "The National Enquirer" or somebody else publishing some cell phone video of what happened. This week marks the 20 year anniversary of the passage of the Violence against Women Act, which beefed up investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women including domestic violence. This month marks the arrival of the one really big, thick monthly edition of the fashion magazine, "Vogue." Apparently, I`m advised, September is when fall fashions come out and so September is always a really big, thick magazine. The advertising is presumably therefore very expensive in the September issue. Because they can sell so much of it. In this month`s "Vogue" magazine, the NFL has bought a four-page spread of full color fashion magazine ads in the September "Vogue" trying to make the NFL appear - appeal more to women. I think we`ve got close ups of the ads there. Oh, yeah. "Together, we make football fierce. Together, we make football stunning. Together, we make football fashionable. Together, we make football captivating." See that one on the right there? He`s captivating her Today, as the story breaks, in the opening week of the NFL, the richest and most monopolistically dominant cultural institution that we have in our country, today as the story becomes the most talked about story in the country, frankly, a good part of the country is hiding behind its hands unable or unwilling to watch a video of this horrible and this raw and this really shocking and upsetting. Another part of the country, another part of the media, at least, apparently sees this as just one tabloid story among many. Look where it broke, it broke on TMZ. Maybe there`s even a kind of a funny side to this thing. Here`s how they covered the story on a show called "Fox & Friends" this morning on the Fox News Channel. The host of the program showed the video, the same video that we just showed you, they watched the video in the studio and then here`s how they wrapped up their discussion and moved on. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the message is take the stairs. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The message is when you`re in an elevator, there`s a camera. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: There`s a camera. Yeah. Don`t be an idiot. Cover up the camera next time. The NFL was ready to have Ray Rice still in its employee - back on the field next week before this tape was published by TMZ today. Do we get better as a country or worse as a country at confronting domestic violence? Violence by men against women. Could we get better or worse at handling that problem as a nation when that violence happens under the clieglights of the most potent cultural institution that we have as a country. What happens next here? Joining us now is Julia Macur. She`s sports reporter for "The New York Times." Thanks very much for being with us. I really appreciate your time tonight. JULIA MACUR, "NEW YORK TIMES": You are welcome. MADDOW: So, when John Harbaugh held this press conference about an hour ago, he said about the new video, it`s something we saw for the first time today. It changed things, of course. It made things a little different. Why did seeing the video change the course of the story so dramatically when we knew the outcome of the assault even before seeing the video? MACUR: It changed the course of the Baltimore Ravens and NFL for sure, because they finally had to do something about it. They were pressured into doing something about it, because the whole world saw exactly what happened in that elevator. Even though they had already, if they looked into it at all, everyone would have known exactly what happened in that elevator based on the facts that the police have brought forward and the short video that TMZ had published early on, showing Ray Rice drag his fianc‚e out. And we all knew that he had punched his fianc‚e and that she was unconscious, but having it on video really hit at home, so to speak, to so many people. And the NFL was pressured into doing something about it, which is really sad for the NFL. And it should be embarrassing for the NFL that they needed a video and people tweeting to them and making comments on our website, we have 1200 comments on the news story they were on today. Saying how ridiculous it was that they gave Ray Rice two months - I mean, sorry, two game suspension early on, that they should have done more much more quickly. MADDOW: Well, in - I mean it`s hard to talk about the NFL without understanding sort of what a juggernaut they are, both culturally and economically. There`s really nothing else in American, you know, it sort of arts, sports and letters that competes with the NFL in terms of its dominance and its own field, in terms of how economically huge it is as an engine in the sports and entertainment world. I mean what does make them move? Obviously, the problem of domestic violence - among players and the problem of, in fact, some other criminal involvement by players is never enough to move them dramatically in the past. Is it the fear of lost revenue? Is it upset? Is it just PR more broadly? Do you have a sense of what makes them move? MACUR: It`s PR more broadly. But, of course, it`s the fear of lost revenue. I mean they know that women are powerful when it comes to who buys the tickets, season tickets. You know, who lets their husband go to the games on Sundays. And they are right now, they are very sensitive about how - how the NFL is seen when it`s treating women. Which is seemingly kind of ridiculous after the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gave Ray Rice such a pitiful two games suspension that day. You would even think that they would care about what women think of them. But obviously, now that they are taking out ads and women`s magazines saying, oh, look at the NFL, it`s - if that cares about women so much, and together, we`re making a great form of entertainment for the world. It`s kind of a joke, when you think about it. I mean like I said, this is an embarrassing moment for the NFL, perhaps the most embarrassing moment in the history of the league. And we don`t know if the NFL commissioner had seen the video tape or if the Ravens had seen the videotape, but from my perspective, I don`t think it matters. The facts are out there that Ray Rice had punched his fianc‚e unconscious. He was charged with the crime. And nobody did anything about it that really meant anything. And the NFL has a huge effect on people in this country, whether it`s children, other players, guys and women that watch the games on Sunday. If they came out and fired - if the Ravens fired Ray Rice immediately or if the NFL had a strict - stricter NFL domestic violence policy back then, it would have made a huge impact just around the world, really. MADDOW: Do you think it`s possible that Roger Goodell will be basically in trouble because of this? That the owners may decide or that the NFL may decide more broadly that his initial decision for that very light two game suspension was sort of the original sin here? After Mr. Rice`s behavior itself that maybe Mr. Goodell is going to be in need of a new job? MACUR: I think a lot of people are calling him - calling for him to step down right now because of the just the humongous gaffe that he has already done. But I think we`ll have to watch what happens over the next days and months about the other players, how he treats the other players who have already been charged with domestic violence. Like you said earlier, they`ve already been two of them that have been charged. How he treats those players, how he moves forward and gets himself out of this really massive haul that is really unprecedented. MADDOW: Julia Macur, sports reporter for "The New York Times." Thank you very much for being with us to help us understand this tonight. I appreciate your time. MACUR: You are welcome. MADDOW: Thank you. All right. Lots more ahead tonight. We`re going to be joined by Jose Diaz-Balart in just a couple of minutes to talk about President Obama`s decision to delay immigration reform. Later, we`ve got some important Scott Brown news that I`m going to very much enjoy delivering to you. There`s lots ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, hey, Congress is back. Did you miss them while they were away? You know, I think it`s fair to say they know they were not missed. Members of Congress were on a five weeks plus vacation. That included the entire month of August and then some. But they have now had to come back to D.C. to work for a few days. Boring. That said, there is a lot to do. And, right away, on the new "Meet the Press" yesterday, the debut of Chuck Todd as the moderator of "Meet the Press" President Obama made news when he announced that he`d be doing a major address to the nation this week about ISIS and about what he wants to do to fight that militant group in Iraq and Syria. The speech is going to be on Wednesday, the day after tomorrow. We don`t yet know if it`s going to be a speech during the day or whether it`s going to be a prime time, nighttime address. Around that effort to make the case to the country for fighting ISIS, the White House says it also intends to hold intensive briefings this week for every single person serving in Congress. Tomorrow, the president himself is due to meet directly with the leadership from both houses of Congress to talk with them about ISIS. And then on Wednesday, the White House is going to hold a classified briefing for all 100 members of the United States Senate. Then the following day on Thursday, they are going to do a classified briefing on ISIS for all 435 members of the House. Now, it`s always fun on those days to see which members of Congress leave in the middle of the classified briefing to go do TV interviews, instead, in which they claim that they`re just not getting briefed enough. That will be fun to watch. I`m looking at you, John McCain. But those meetings directly between the Congressional leadership and the president, those classified briefings of the entire Congress, those are the signals of a major political effort in Washington to basically try to get the whole of the U.S. government, if not on board, then at least on the same page when it comes to the president`s proposals right now for how to fight ISIS. The plans for presidential address to the nation the day after tomorrow, that`s an effort to get not just the government, but the whole country on the same page about strategy against ISIS as well. And all of this political and sort of diplomatic work here at home, it all happens in the midst of an intense international effort by the administration to try to get the rest of the world on the same page. Not just about the necessity to combat this group, ISIS, but to try to do so in a coordinated, international way so different countries aren`t working at crossed purposes when it comes to trying to stop this group. And particularly, the administration wants high profile involvement from countries that have big, Sunni Muslim populations. Since ISIS is a Sunni Muslim group. They also, particularly, want and need participation from countries that are in the immediate neighborhood of the threat posed by ISIS, countries including not just Iraq and Syria, where the group is based, but also countries like Turkey and Jordan and Saudi Arabia and Qatar, they want those countries to be seen as helping lead the international response. So it`s not just the West against the Muslims. It`s the world against ISIS. And nowhere nearby to offer them any safe haven or support. And so, the diplomatic effort around this is intense, right? This is a very big diplomatic aim, this is a big ask of countries that do not like having big things asked of them publicly, particularly when it`s the U.S. doing the asking. But there was a big development on that front today. Members of the Arab League, which is a group of 22 countries of the Arab League signed onto a resolution in support of immediate measures to combat ISIS. That`s a big deal, because they are the Arab League. Even with that advance, though, that still does leave the tough work of negotiating individual commitments from all the individual countries that really could play a key role against ISIS. Particularly the nation of Turkey. Turkey has turned out to be a real key player here for the Obama administration. A senior U.S. defense official tells reporters today "Turkey by the fact of its geography is inevitably a partner. It`s got to be a partner. It won`t work without Turkey." It won`t work without Turkey. And when you look at a map, you can see why that geographic inevitability is so. I mean Turkey with its close proximity to both Syria and Iraq, Turkey has served as a point of transit for fighters trying to join up with ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. They crossed over from Turkey. And the U.S. wants Turkey to stop that. Basically to crack down on militants crossing their border. If Turkey was on board with the broader strategy, they would also conceivably provide a key launching point for some broader military action, particularly if there was going to be an advantial (ph) campaign of U.S. airstrikes in Syria. So, so Turkey, geographically and diplomatically is just critically important here. Turkey for its part, has been a little bit hesitant to take a stand for or against ISIS, especially since ISIS militants are currently holding 49 Turkish citizens hostage after a raid on a Turkish consulate in Iraq in June. Turkey has tried very hard to avoid becoming the next target of ISIS. But the U.S. is basically putting full court press on them right now, to try to get them on board. Today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel landed in Turkey`s capital to meet with the Turkish president and other top officials there. This is the first time that a U.S. defense secretary has visited Turkey in almost three years. A U.S defense official telling reporters that the purpose of the trip was, quote, really to see how far they are willing to go to assist in a U.S.-led coalition. One of the reasons that`s been kind of hard to figure out so far is because we, as a country, don`t have an ambassador to Turkey. Really? With all of this going on in the world? Nope? We don`t have an ambassador to Turkey. Thank you, Congress. President Obama nominated a long time career diplomat named John Bass, nominated him for the - way back in June, a very non- controversial appointment. But since then, Mr. Bass`s nomination has just suck in the Senate along with dozens of other ambassador nominations. Living all of these hot spots around the world without an ambassador. For no reason, other than the fact that this Congress cannot get it together. The Obama administration realizing how important it is to get a fix for the American government on the ground there, especially right now, the Obama administration has taken a sort of remarkable step to send a temporary ambassador to Turkey while it tries to get a full time one. They`ve sent Ross Wilson who held the same position during the George W. Bush administration. But again, he`s just a placeholder. His appointment is only temporary, and he only just got back to the region this past Saturday. So the president is going to roll out his strategy to try to defeat ISIS this week. Turkey is assuredly going to be key to that strategy. We have a huge ask that we need to make of that country. And we have nobody to ask. We have no permanent ambassador there. It`s one thing to talk about the world being a mess. It`s another thing to realize that Congress being a mess makes the world being a mess, an impenetrable thing. This Congress has been a failed Congress on so many different levels, but they have set a new bar in this particular area. You may remember right before the Senate began its summer break in July. The Senate was essentially shamed into finally confirming an ambassador to Russia after months of not having one and this having this huge standoff with Russia. We, at the time, really desperately needed an ambassador to Russia. They were finally at the last second before vacation shamed into signing one up. Now that the Senate is back from vacation and not for very long, maybe we can finally get an ambassador to Turkey now, too? Maybe? No rush. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: A year ago this week, commuters and the ambulance drivers and little kids on the bus on their first day of school, got themselves stuck in epic traffic because lanes were closed down on the world`s busiest bridge on what appears to have been the orders of a top official in the administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. National Democrats marked the one-year anniversary of the bridge shutdown today with a press conference at the bridge. Also, a new ad campaign about the scandal and its implications for Chris Christie. The closing down of those lanes on that bridge is still under investigation by federal prosecutors. One year later, we do not know much about that very opaque investigation, except that it does extend to Governor Christie himself and that it is something that is not over. Again, that`s a very opaque process, federal prosecutions. What we can see in New Jersey, though, in the meantime is this. On Friday, New Jersey got its credit rating downgraded again. Again, specifically over Governor Christie`s handling of New Jersey state finances. Governor Christie, would be Republican standard barrel for the nation, has now provided over seven credit downgrades since he has been governor. And yes, that is a new record for the Garden State. So, tomorrow will mark one year since the Christie administration shut down the George Washington Bridge for whatever political vendetta we still do not understand. But the shutdown of the state`s credit worthiness, that is story that apparently never stops under Chris Christie in New Jersey. Seven downgrades. Happy anniversary. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: In June, President Obama said that if Congress will not act on immigration reform, he would. And he would do it by the end of the summer. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue. And Congress chooses to do nothing. And in this situation, the failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security. It`s bad for our economy. And it`s bad for our future. I`ve also directed Secretary Johnson and Attorney General Holder to identify additional actions my administration can take on our own. Within my existing legal authorities to do what Congress refuses to do and fix as much of our immigration system as we can. If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours. I expect the recommendations before the end of the summer, and I attend to adopt those recommendations without further delay. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was President Obama speaking in June since the president set that end-of-the-summer deadline for himself. [no audio] immigration reform lobbying the president to go big on immigration reform. If he`s going to act on his own, he should act on his own in a very significant way. Republicans on the other hand, have campaigned against the president`s promise casting his end of the summer deadline as proof that this is a president who governs by Fiat. And whose - beyond this executive authority. As recently as Friday, the president said, essentially, that him doing as much as he could on immigration would be the right thing to do for the country. He reiterated that point on Friday. But then on Saturday morning, the White House announced that President Obama had decided to put off his end of the summer pledge. They now say he will not act until after the elections in November. With control of the U.S. Senate in the balance, Democrats say they`re worried that action by President Obama now would cost them key Senate races in red states like Arkansas and North Carolina and Louisiana and Alaska. White House officials are arguing that if the Democrats lose the Senate over immigration, they`ll not be able to get votes for immigration reform basically ever. They say, yes, this is a political calculation, but they say this is practical politics. They`re trying to preserve the chance for reform by Congress at some later date. They think they would destroy that chance if the president acted now before the election. Are they right in that calculation? And regardless of whether or not they`re right, how are they going to deal with how mad they have made everyone who favors immigration reform by reneging on this very clear promise made not that long ago. Joining us now is Telemundo anchor and MSNBC host Jose Diaz-Balart. Jose, thanks for being here. It`s nice to see you. JOSE DIAZ-BALART, TELEMUNDO ANCHOR: Good evening, Rachel, what a pleasure. MADDOW: What do you think of the calculation as it is being explained by the White House? It`s not just that they just want to hold onto those Senate seats and they think the president`s actions would be unpopular in those states and hurt those Senate chances. It`s that they think that the president acted, it would essentially foreclose the possibility of reform through Congress any time in the near future. Do you buy that? DIAZ-BALART: Rachel, let me tell you, I go back to my reading of medieval theology in the 14 century, a British mystic who wrote "The Cloud of Unknowing." There seems to be a cloud of unknowing for me, at least, on what the logic is. Between the president being so forceful in June announcing that he will take unilateral action to deal with a system that everybody agrees is broken. The left and the right both say immigration is broken. The House had the opportunity this year to deal with it. There were people on both sides of the aisle that were willing to handle this very difficult situation and they punted. And they punted for strictly political expediency. Then, the president says, well, if you people aren`t going to do the job you`re paid to do, I`m going to have to step up for the nation`s betterment and deal with it. And I`m going to do it before the end of the summer. And that`s what really to me, is something I can`t understand why he would say that if he wasn`t already willing to do just that. Because the crisis on the border that started last October was already going on. The elections in November were already coming. And, so, what is it that one can gain by doing this after being so forceful on the announcement? The only thing I can think of, Rachel, is that the Democrats in the Senate and in the House behind closed doors were very forceful to the president not to act. There were only a handful of them, as you know, the Senator from Minnesota, the senator from Florida who publicly said it would be a good thing if the president kept his powder dry until after the elections. But I`m pretty sure a lot of other people weren`t willing to give their face and take the heat by asking the president to do something that I am certain he is ready to do and he wants to do. MADDOW: Are the Democrats not giving enough consideration to not just the potential negative effect of doing this politically, but the potential positive effect had the president done something. I mean you look, they keep citing the example of the assault weapons ban, back in 1994. DIAZ-BALART: Right. `94. MADDOW: That really motivated right wing voters who might not have otherwise turn out to come out vote against Democrats. And you could say, maybe there`s a similar dynamic at work on immigration, maybe in some states. But what`s different about this than in gun control issues is that this potentially has a chance to galvanize Democratic base voters to boost particularly Latino turn out at a time when Democrats are trying to come up with anything they can to boost turnout in a midterm election. DIAZ-BALART: Yeah. MADDOW: Now, are they underplaying the possibility of that? DIAZ-BALART: I don`t` know. But I think that in 2014, the gamble is that the - Latino electorate will not be big enough in the key areas and the key races right now where this issue could make a difference. So, taking Colorado out of the equation, there are probably very few states in 2014 that will be affected by lower-than-normal Latino participation. And I do think that if you are looking at the strictly politically, not putting in to the mix that there are more than 1,000 deportations in the country every single day. Deportations like a young man named Luis who, on the morning show at 10:00, 7:00 a.m. Pacific time, it`s a cheap plug for my show, but I really do think that we want to talk about Luis who is a Guatemala man who was currently in a church in Arizona where he has sought refuge. He has been here six and seven years and has family in this country and he is facing deportation. So if we remove that aspect, the humanitarian aspect of a thousand people being deported every single day, a thousand people being deported tomorrow, maybe 60 or 70,000 people deported by the time the president decides to act on this issue. If you remove that, then maybe, maybe by the time you get to 2016, and there will be another candidate that won`t be Barack Obama running for president, then maybe what happened today is not going to be as well-remembered by some. MADDOW: Jose Diaz-Balart, Telemundo anchor and the host of "Jose Diaz- Balart Mornings" at 10 here on MSNBC. As he says, 10 on the East Coast, seven on the West Coast. Jose, thanks for staying up late with us tonight. I really appreciate it. DIAZ-BALART: Thank you so much. MADDOW: Thanks. Good to see you. All right. Still ahead, some Scott Brown news and a very exciting programming note about something coming up on this show, stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: As far as we can tell, nobody has ever mounted a serious major party campaign for president while also being under criminal indictment, but Texas Governor Rick Perry appears to be giving it a go. "The Dallas Morning News" reporting today that despite facing felony abuse of power charges in Texas, Rick Perry`s basically going to running for president school now. So he can do a better job this time than he did last time. Rick Perry has been governor in Texas for 14 years. But he`s not running again. In November, the two candidates will be facing off to try to replace him in Texas, the state`s Attorney General Greg Abbott on the right side of your screen, and national Democratic Phenom State Senator Wendy Davis. Wendy Davis has a new book that`s out tomorrow, and we here on the show have an exclusive interview with her about it. We`re going to be the first cable news interview that Wendy Davis is doing. That`s tomorrow night on this show, set your DVR, we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: There is a state in the country that has two women U.S. senators, a state that also has two members of the House, and they also are both women. And that same state also has a governor who is a woman. The entire Congressional delegation and the governorship are all held by women in the great state of New Hampshire, but one former fashion model is trying to change that. The polls say Scott Brown is on track tomorrow to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. And then the polls say that will put him on track to lose that race for Senate in the general election to the incumbent Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen. If the polls are right, and it goes that way in a primary and the general, that will mean that Scott Brown will make history. He will be - If it goes the way the polling say it`s going to go, Scott Brown will be the first person of the male persuasion to have lost two U.S. Senate races, both to women. Good luck, sir. "Time" magazine`s Jane Newton-Small points out that potential historic achievement this week in a reported piece for "Time," which also reports out a strange strategy that Scott Brown is now trying in New Hampshire, in an effort to reduce the 14 point margin, by which he`s losing female voters to Jeanne Shaheen, 14 points. To help make up that deficit, apparently, Scott Brown`s idea is to give out trophies to women, little plaques with engraving on them, all in cursive. Because women love cursive. This woman really only wanted to meet with Scott Brown to talk about health care costs at her business, but Scott Brown inexplicably showed up with a plaque tor her, naming her a women for Scott Brown hero. He took a picture with her and the plaque, then he sent out a press release about this award he was bestowing on this woman. She appears to have been mystified by the whole thing. That is the latest from planet Scott Brown or the candidate is apparently winning over the lady voters of New Hampshire one trophy at a time. How long can it take? Primary New Hampshire`s 105 being held tomorrow. Tomorrow is the last primary day before the November election. Tomorrow`s the last primary, it`s New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, and New Hampshire all voting tomorrow. That means by this time, tomorrow night we should basically know everywhere in the country, who`s going to be running in the general election on election night in November. So we have all the results for you in tomorrow`s primaries, right here, same bed time. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great show. We are proud of you. MADDOW: Thanks. That is the rest of the night. We`ll see you again tomorrow, and now it`s time for the last word THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END