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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/06/14

Guests: Edie Windsor, Roberta Kaplan, Nancy Northup, Clay Jenkins

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: You can find the full interview with Cecil Roberts on our Web site, Tomorrow on "All in America", coal country is big coal, the new big tobacco. Startling similarities, tomorrow night, "All in America: Coal Country", right here 8:00 Eastern. That is "ALL IN" for this evening. And "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now. Good evening, Rachel. RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you. HAYES: You bet. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. On the day of the arguments, on the day the case was heard in court, she was pretty sure that things had gone well. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EDITH WINDSOR, PLAINTIFF IN LAWSUIT AGAINST DOMA: I think it went beautifully. I thought the justices were gentle, exactly the word I want. OK, they were direct, they asked all the right questions, but I didn`t feel any hostility, OK, or any sense of inferiority, you know, what do these people want. I felt we were all very respected and I think -- I think it`s going to be good. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: She was right. She`s an acute observer. It was good. Edie Windsor`s feeling about how the oral arguments went before the Supreme Court was borne out when one bright morning last June the court ruled in her case. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think she`s thinking right now? What is she thinking now? WINDSOR: You did it, honey. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you sure you`d win when you were waiting for the ruling? WINDSOR: When we were waiting for the ruling, no. No, I prepared three speeches. I did not allow myself to assume we`d win, OK? That`s the truth. I thought we had every right to win. I thought our arguments were sound and everyone else`s were insane, OK? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was June 26th last year. The day the Supreme Court of the United States handed down their rulings on two big gay rights cases. One of the cases they consider was about one state, California, having a statewide ban on gay marriage. The Supreme Court took that case and they heard arguments on that case. The issue of a state banning marriage they said was not properly before the court in that case. But, there was a second case, too. And that second case they looked at the same time was the case of Thea and Edie. Thea Spyer and Edie Windsor, they were a couple for 44 years. They were age 75 and 77 when they finally got married in Canada in 2007. By that point, Thea had advanced MS. She knew she did not have a long time left. But she and Edie Windsor wanted to be married. They were pretty sure of each other after 40-plus years together. So, even though they couldn`t get married here, they flew to Canada and they got married there. And because of an anti-gay law that had been signed in the 1990s called the Defense of Marriage Act, when Thea Spyer did pass away, when she died, federal law did not recognize her as having a surviving spouse. Edie Windsor, very obviously, was her surviving spouse, but under federal law, that status was denied to them, despite their legal marriage. And although the court sort of dodged the issue in the California case last summer, the case of Edie and Thea was very clearly decided. The court went their way. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Good evening. Gay couples across this country were today handed a sweeping victory by a majority of the justices on the Supreme Court. And while the justices did not suddenly make gay marriage the law of the land, they did strike down barriers in the states that have allowed it so far in what`s being called the most important ruling ever on gay rights. REPORTER: Gay rights supporters crowded outside the court cheering the historic decisions. First, a ruling striking down a law passed by Congress in 1996. The Defense of Marriage Act known as DOMA. That law blocked the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in the states that allow them depriving those couples of more than 1,000 federal benefits that other married couples have. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, that was last summer. Landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down the federal ban on refusing legal recognition to same-sex couples. The Obama Justice Department under Eric Holder had decided that that federal ban in their eyes was unconstitutional and when it came up in court, they decided they would not defend it in federal court. The Republicans in the House of Representatives decided that, well, if the Justice Department won`t defend that law, they would. They hired a very good, very expensive lawyer at taxpayers` expense to come in and try to defend that law. But they lost. Their side lost. Then, a really interesting thing happened on the losing side of that argument. So, it`s a 5-4 decision, right? Five justices voted in favor of recognizing Edie and Thea`s marriage and striking down the law that ban recognition of it. Four justices voted against. Among them was Chief Justice John Roberts. And he argued in his dissent this was a very teeny tiny, teeny tiny little ruling. Very narrow ruling. He said didn`t really mean much of anything. Really only applied to this one case. It wouldn`t have wide implications. Justice Scalia on the other hand, he said that was bullpucky. He agreed with John Roberts in the sense that they both voted on the same side of that opinion, the losing side, the anti-gay marriage side. But Justice Scalia lamented in his all caps italicized exclamations points kind of way that that ruling in the Edie Windsor case, he said that was going to mean gay marriage everywhere. Justice Scalia said that the majority ruling was nonsense. He said it was legalistic argle-bargle. Literally, that`s the phrase he used, legalistic argle-bargle. If you`re ever wonder, it turns there is a hyphen between argle and bargle. He said in this terrible argle-bargle ruling, it would lead to the downfall of every state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition. So, John Roberts said, I disagree with this rule bug at least it`s not going to have any wider implications. Justice Scalia said I disagree with this ruling and it`s going to be the end of the world. Justice Scalia was right, it turns out, if your world is held up by legalized discrimination against married gay couples. Since the Edie Windsor ruling last summer, what has followed is an almost unbroken streak of 40 straight rulings in state and federal courts upholding equal marriage rights for same-sex couples and striking down state laws which ban the recognition of those rights. Then, today, in a move that surprised basically everybody, the Supreme Court decided to let the Edie Windsor case keep blazing that trail. In a stroke, the Supreme Court today denied appeals from gay marriage cases in Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah -- all those appeals were all turned down all at once today, which means that lower court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage rights in all of those five states today instantly became the law of the land. In those five states, and over the course of the next few days, in six other states where those courts have jurisdiction as well, gay marriage will be legal. Once again, though, there is something weird on the losing side. So, there are nine Supreme Court justices. Do the math. If you want to win a case at the Supreme Court, you need five votes. You need five justices on your side. You need five votes to win a case. But it only takes four votes for the Supreme Court to decide to take a case in the first place. So, we know there are four anti-gay marriage justices on the Supreme Court -- Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas. If they had wanted to hear one of these cases today, if they had wanted the chance to overturn one of those pro-gay marriage cases from the lower courts, those four justices had enough votes to take the case to do it. I mean, the anti-gay marriage side could have taken one of those cases if they want to. So, why didn`t they? It`s a really consequential decision that they didn`t. I mean, instead of 19 states and the District of Columbia recognizing gay marriage, which was true before the open of business today, by this time next week, it`s probably going to be 30 states recognizing gay marriage. That would not have happened had they taken up one of these cases an appeal today. So, why didn`t they take up one of these cases? It was within their power to do it. The obvious answer is that they thought if the court did take up another anti-gay marriage case, their side would lose again, just setting their cause back even further. Now, a more Machiavellian motive was suggested today, which is that they wanted to keep their options open. They may not be able to win one of these cases today, but if the make-up of the court changes in the future like, say if a Republican president is elected in 2016 and he or she gets to put someone new on the court, well, then they could take up one of these gay marriage appeals, overturn it, stop the whole thing in its tracks. And, yes, maybe they`re all Machiavellian, right? Maybe that is what`s they`re doing. But you know what, the number of states in which gay people can legally get married went from 19 yesterday to 24 today and it will be 30 next week. If you had to bet, right, you`d also say that when the ninth circuit rules soon, on a case like this, they`re going to add another five states, Idaho, Nevada, Alaska, Arizona, and Montana. You`re up next. I mean, anybody hoping to run out the clock and get to a brighter, more anti-gay future in the Supreme Court, they`re going to have to contend with a country in which not just thousands but tens of thousands of couples are legally married -- and undoing that through the courts by some sweeping anti-gay Supreme Court ruling in the future. That is a prospect of such daunting radicalism, it is hard to even imagine it as fiction, let alone as the future. And so, today, this was the scene in Virginia. In Norfolk County, Virginia, the county clerk there had fought all the way to the Supreme Court to keep his constituents in Norfolk County from being allowed to get married there. Today, when his side lost their case and had their appeal turned down by the Supreme Court, Timothy Bostick (ph) and Tony London (ph) showed up at their county clerks office to get their marriage license and they shook their county clerk`s hand and told him, quote, "It was a pleasure suing you." The clerk responded, according to a local reporter who was there, quote, "I enjoyed being sued." They shook their hands, he signed their marriage license, and Timothy Bostick and Tony London will be married in Norfolk County, Virginia. The day after Oklahoma passed its constitutional amendment banning gay marriage a decade ago, Mary Bishop (ph) and Sharon Baldwin (ph) sued their state for the right to get married. It has been a 10-year battle for them. They sued in 2004. It is now 2014. Today, they got their marriage license in Tulsa County, Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, in Utah, in Virginia, in Indiana, and Wisconsin, it happened today. In North Carolina, in South Carolina, in West Virginia, in Colorado, and Kansas, and Wyoming, it is about to happen imminently. Yes, I said Wyoming. And the anti-gay marriage groups are denouncing this as despicable. And Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Mike Lee are saying in the United States Senate they`ll amend the United States Constitution to stop this tyranny. And who knows? Maybe John Roberts is hedging some complicated legal bet on the prospects of a Bobby Jindal presidency in 2016 that`s going to turn back this tide. Somewhere tonight, Antonin Scalia is listening to opera really loud and looking in a mirror going argle-bargle. It`s all argle-bargle. The decision today does not legalize equal rights in all 50 states. They decided this matter in effect by not deciding. But thanks to Thea Spyer and Edie Windsor, and Edie`s decision to fight for their marriage, this is beginning to feel like a thing that just cannot be undone. No matter what. Joining us now is Edie Windsor and her attorney Roberta Kaplan. Thank you both so much for being here. Congratulations. WINDSOR: Thank you for having us. It`s wonderful. MADDOW: Am I fairly describing what happened here? Am I misrepresenting? WINDSOR: No, I believe it`s perfect. MADDOW: All right. Let me ask you how you feel. Obviously your case was last summer and that decision, seeing it effectively become almost the law of the land today. How did you feel about -- WINDSOR: It`s incredibly joyous. Just incredibly joyous. I feel like this glorious accident of history, OK, that put me here in this position. And I get stopped on the street all the time by young people. By old people, too, saying thank you, or starting to cry. And it`s just wonderful. MADDOW: Robbie, when you look at this decision today, it`s actually - - it`s a decision. It is not a ruling. ROBERTA KAPLAN, ATTORNEY: It`s a non-decision decision. MADDOW: Yes. Does that undercut your satisfaction in seeing this case blaze this trail? Would you be happier if it was a 50-state ruling rather than something that seems like it`s just going to creep across the country? KAPLAN: You know, look, I`m a practical lawyer and I believe in results. The results today are incredible. The results today mean, as you said so eloquently in your introduction, that gay couples have already married, already married today in places like Utah and Oklahoma and Virginia, and soon it will be 30 states and you`re right about the ninth circuit. I think it will include the ninth circuit and I think it will include the sixth circuit, which will be another four. And it will become inevitable very, very soon. And so, whether it`s by a sweeping ruling which would have been great or it`s by today`s decision which is also great, the reality is the reality. And this country soon will know its neighbors, its friends, its relatives, its colleagues as married people who just happen to be gay. And that`s the way it should be. MADDOW: Edie, when I was watching -- I went back and looked at your comments the day of the oral arguments, that was really struck when you said, I didn`t feel insulted. I didn`t feel like anybody was talking down to me. I didn`t feel like it was essentially an undignified occasion. And I was struck by feeling that you were surprised by that, that you were surprised that your dignity had been protected in this proceeding. Was I right to read that? WINDSOR: I don`t know. It`s very hard to know. It`s hard to know how I felt really. For instance, I really -- I disappointed everybody at one point because they were asking what was the most important thing that happened that day. And the most important thing was that Nancy Pelosi was sitting on the far right of my row and I was on the far left. She got up and came over and introduced herself. And I was thrilled. OK. (LAUGHTER) WINDSOR: OK. MADDOW: So in the moment, it could be anything. WINDSOR: Robbie was incredible that day. And the other thing is in previous things, I didn`t really hear what Robbie -- Robbie`s answers. I guess then because I had read the briefs, so I guessed how she was answering. But in the Supreme Court I had hearing things and I heard every word she said, and she was so cool and calm and knowing. You know, I felt my heart would burst. MADDOW: This has been a really contested strategy. I mean, there wasn`t -- you guys were not part of a gay rights master plan where you were picked as the perfect plaintiff and you were picked as the perfect attorney and it was some great coming together. There`s a lot of contested ground over how this should be moved forward. Now, that it is moving forward and we`re seeing the law change in the most unexpected places of all, literally, Wyoming -- do you feel like this is a resilient way forward or do you feel there could be backtracking? Right now, actually, the polling numbers have started to go down in terms of approval of same-sex marriage for the first time in the long time. KAPLAN: But they were 49 percent in Utah last week, which is incredible. No, I think I completely agree. I don`t think it`s going backwards. I think the decision today actually virtually guarantees it won`t go backward because we`re going to have the majority of Americans in the majority of states living in states that allow gay people to marry. And just like the Supreme Court recognized about Edie and Thea`s marriage, their marriage was the same as the marriage of any couple who`d been together for 40 years. Soon, most Americans will realize that about their friends and neighbors, and it will become a nonissue. And as you put it, the Supreme Court is not going to unmarry anyone. Once these people are married, they`re going to be married and this will be the reality for everyone. MADDOW: That was the thing. I mean, looking at your relationship, you know, more than 40 years together. Had they been making a decision about whether or not you would be allowed to get married -- I can see them having all sorts of arguments. But recognizing that you were -- you were plainly married, but not just legally, but you were clearly together. Even they couldn`t take that away from you. And now, you`ve given it to the rest of the country. WINDSOR: Yes. MADDOW: Well, thank you both. Congratulations. A huge day. It`s really nice have you here. WINDSOR: Thank you so much. MADDOW: All right. Civil rights icon Edie Windsor and her attorney Robbie Kaplan right here, not holograms, right here with me. I know. It`s my job. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: The court upheld a new law in Texas. You don`t like a lot of regulation on business, except if the business is an abortion clinic. Eighty percent of these abortion clinics in Texas are going to be basically out of business because of this new law. Too much regulation? Is that fair? Why regulate on the abortion issue now until maybe the law is -- maybe wait until the Supreme Court, you win a fight in the Supreme Court where you outlaw abortion altogether. Why restrict a business now in the state of Texas? REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, I mean, you obviously have to talk to someone in Texas. But the fact of the matter is that we believe that any woman that`s faced with an unplanned pregnancy deserves compassion, respect, counseling, whatever it is that we can offer to be -- TODD: But 80 percent of those clinics are gone. So they have to drive 300 miles. Was that compassion? PRIEBUS: The issue -- listen, Chuck, the issue for us is only one thing. And that`s whether you ought to use taxpayer money to fund abortion. I mean, that`s the one issue that I think separates this conversation. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The issue of taxpayer funding for abortion actually has nothing at all to do with what Chuck Todd was just asking about there in Texas, but that gymnastic snarling evasion was Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus` best effort to stop talking about what the Republican state government in Texas just did. In the last year for which there`s any data, which is 2011, there were 73,000 women in Texas who had an abortion that year. These were the clinics in Texas at which a woman could get an abortion in 2011. Then, last summer, Republican Governor Rick Perry of Texas signed a new law designed to shut down abortion clinics all over the state. As of last week, that law had succeeded in shutting down about 21 clinics in the state of Texas. And then on Thursday, a federal appeals court ruling closed down 13 more. Thanks to the anti-abortion legislation passed by the Republican Texas legislature and signed by the Republican Texas governor, the 73,000 Texas women who used to get abortions every year in that state will now have roughly 80 percent fewer choices of where they can get that service. No clinics west or south of San Antonio, nowhere in the whole huge Rio Grande Valley. If the same number of women still want to get abortions in Texas, which after all is their legal try to do so, Amanda Marcotte at calculated the last few remaining clinics would have to stay open 365 days a year doing more than 25 abortions a day, seven days a week in order to keep up with the demand. Of course, there won`t be that kind of demand, though, right? Not if the nearest legal clinic is a 500-mile round trip. The idea of closing 80 percent of the clinics in Texas is to make it impossible for most Texas women to even try to have an abortion. Unless they have enough money and resources to basically escape the state. The court ruling that let the Texas law go into effect happened on Thursday afternoon. It went into effect that night. Overnight, 13 clinics, including this one in McAllen, Texas, were forced to stop providing abortion services immediately. Amy Hagstrom Miller who owns the clinic in McAllen, she tells us now that dozens of women came to the McAllen clinic on Friday, the day after the ruling, but they had to be told they could not get the care they were looking for that day. And there`s really nowhere else for them to go. Not for hundreds of miles. Since the Texas law was first passed against Wendy Davis` marathon filibuster effort against it, that Texas law has been expected to end up before the United States Supreme Court. Today, the Center for Reproductive Rights took steps to try to make that happen. It filed an emergency petition with the highest court in the land, asking the Supreme Court take immediate action to put that Texas law on hold, essentially to reopen those dozen clinics shut don last week until the case can get a full hearing. Joining us now is Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Nancy, it`s nice to see you. Thanks for being here. NANCY NORTHUP, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: It`s good to be here. Thank you for continuing to follow this story. MADDOW: Yes. Well, just watching the dots disappear on that map, it`s -- Texas is a big place. And this is a radical, radical change that has happened. Do we have any parallel in history for a state closing off so much access to so many people? NORTHUP: No. What we saw last Thursday was the decision by the United States Court of Appeals from the Fifth Circuit is unprecedented. In the 40 years since Roe, there`s been a lot of litigation, there`s been a lot of attempts by politicians to shut down access to abortion services, but we have never seen the effect of a law like we`ve seen in Texas where you lose 80 percent of the clinics in a state. MADDOW: If the Texas law stands, do you think it will become a model for what red states will do across the country? NORTHUP: Well, it`s already become a model. So, we have laws like this in Wisconsin and in Louisiana, in Oklahoma, in Alabama, and it`s being litigated. The admitting privileges laws are being litigated in all those. Now, most of those are -- well, all of those admitting privileges have been enjoyed except for in Texas. The other courts have seen these for what they are. They are pretext. They are meant to shut down clinics. They have nothing to do with health and safety. But the Fifth Circuit has seen fit to go against the district court who after a trial found that there is no medical necessity for these laws. And that`s why we`ve gone to the Supreme Court to try to get these clinics back open, to truly advance women`s health in the state of Texas. MADDOW: And is that -- forgive my ignorance on this, is that the basis of the legal path forward, the legal appeal here, that other circuits have found or other federal courts have found that these are too restrictive, that they interfere in a constitutionally protected right. And this is essentially a rough circuit. Therefore, the court should intervene. Is that the path? NORTHUP: Well, actually, the path right now is just that they should intervene, because what the fifth circuit did was wrong on the facts and the law in this case. The facts here are clear. There`s not a basis for the law for this kind of restriction and the impact is huge. MADDOW: In terms of what the impact is, right now -- obviously, looking at that data from the Guttmacher Institute, 73,000 women in Texas, in 2011, got an abortion in that state that year, what do you expect will happen materially to lose 80 percent of the clinics providing that service? Will women simply have more unwanted pregnancies that they otherwise wouldn`t have had? Will they go to Mexico? Will they go to other states? Will they turn to illegal means? What will happen? NORTHUP: I think you`re going to see all those things. You`re going to see some women who are going to resort, to buying abortion drugs on the Internet, as we saw with the mom in Pennsylvania who`s now in prison. You`re crossing the border into Mexico to buy drugs on the black market. You`re going to see women decide that they can`t get the abortion that they feel they need to have. And then you are going to see some women who will go to extraordinary lengths because they need to try to put together the money and time off from work and to drive those 500 miles round trip. You`re going to see all that. But what you`re going to see for sure is that the state of Texas, unless the Supreme Court steps in, is that the state of Texas has been allowed to let the politicians there for absolutely no good reason, cut off action to abortion services. MADDOW: In terms of the court`s response, you`re obviously asking the court for emergency intervention here. When do you expect a response by? NORTHUP: We don`t know. MADDOW: They`re on their own timeframe, the Supremes? NORTHUP: That`s right. But what we really know is that women in Texas are being hurt right now and we need this court to step in. MADDOW: Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, keep us apprise of how this goes. NORTHUP: Thank you. MADDOW: Thank you. All right. Ahead on the interview tonight, we`ve got the Dallas official who is charged with handling America`s first-ever Ebola case. And he`s doing so with remarkable personal involvement in the issue. He`s here for the interview. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This was the scene outside Clay Jenkins` house in Dallas County, Texas, this summer. Democrat Clay Jenkins is the top elected official in Dallas County. By title, he is the Dallas County judge. This summer, he announced that county of Dallas -- excuse me, Dallas County, would shelter unaccompanied minors who had crossed the border into Texas. He said all children are made in the image of Gold, and Dallas County would welcome all children. And once he said that, the protesters showed up outside the Judge Jenkins`s house. More recently, Clay Jenkins has been at the heart of the response of the first diagnosis of Ebola in this country which also happened in Dallas, Texas. On Friday, he showed up at the apartment where the Ebola patient had stayed. The judge personally drove the man`s family as they left the apartment where they`ve been stuck for days. He moved them to a house that he`d helped find for them. He said, just like in the Bible, there needed to be room at the inn for these folks in their time of need. I don`t know how that looks to you, where you are, but this was one perspective on what Judge Jenkins did. The headline at "Naive liberal Texas judge enters Ebola apartment without protection." Or this one, "Liberal judge drives Ebola exposed family, attends presser wearing same shirt." The same shirt! Scandal. That judge from Dallas County, the one with the protesters outside of his house and the right wing media scandalized in their virologic ignorance about his shirt, he is actually leading the response to this first ever U.S.-diagnosed case in Dallas and he`s our guest tonight for the interview. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is week two of the Texas state fair which has been held almost every year in Dallas since 1886. Over the past few decades, fairgoers have been greeted by this handsome fellow. His name is Big Tex. He stands 55 feet tall and he bellows greetings like, "howdy, folks" to everybody at the fair. Welcome to the state fair of Texas. This year, though, he`s also the bearer of an important health warning. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIG TEX: Remember, always wash your hands before eating. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Thanks, Tex. Always a helpful reminder in any circumstance. But Dallas has the special circumstance right now of being home to the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. And I have to be said that is not always bringing out the best in people around the country. One Texas congressman who has voted more than 30 times to repeal Obamacare now says we need to start using Obamacare to fight Ebola. Remember that whole time when there was a big right wing freak out after President Obama was elected about czars, when the right decided it was a huge scandal for the president to appoint anyone to be the czar of anything. Well, now, the Georgia Republican congressman who introduced the anti-czar bill in 2009, he now says, you know, we really ought to pick a czar to fight Ebola. Two other co-sponsors of the "no more czars" bill today also called for a czar to fight Ebola, even though again, they don`t believe in czars. So, the first Ebola case in the United States, it may be just one case but it is causing an odd outbreak of some strange politics in some quarters. In other quarters, though, the closer you get to the actual crisis, you are getting an outbreak of a different kind of politics -- politics of pragmatism. In some cases, remarkable personal commitment from the officials who are on the front lines. Officials right now are monitoring 48 people who they say have had some contact with the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in this country. They had contact with him after he started to feel symptoms on September 24th. Officials say they are closely watching 10 people specifically, including four people who lived in the apartment where this man was staying when he fell ill. Ebola is only contagious if the person who has it is also exhibiting symptoms. An exposed person typically starts to show symptoms eight to 10 days after contracting the virus. So far, not one of the people who health officials are watching has begun to feel symptoms of Ebola. But today, I should say marks exactly eight days since the initial patient was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian hospital and put into isolation. On Friday, decontamination workers started cleaning the apartment where the first patient had been staying. As of noon local time today, local officials said that cleaning was complete. Workers in hazmat suits loaded up barrels of material that contained everything that was potentially in contact with the man`s bodily fluids, including things like bed sheets and mattresses that he slept on. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is the top administrative official in Dallas County. He`s been leading the county`s response on the ground. Judge Jenkins, you might remember from earlier this summer when he made headlines by announcing that Dallas County would take responsibility for housing kids from central America who crossed the border into Texas in such huge numbers this summer. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLAY JENKINS, DALLAS COUNTY JUDGE: The politics of this is that there are no politics of this. This is about children. It need not be partisan. It need not be political. It need not be shrill and hateful. These are not others. These are children. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Judge Jenkins made that case over and over the summer that we had a moral obligation. That Dallas County had a moral obligation to house those kids who are coming across the border and have nobody to take care of them. Well, now, that his county is the first in the country to deal with this new problem, he`s handling it in exactly the way you`d think. He`s handling it with unapologetic compassion, specifically concerning the way that Dallas County is treating not just this first patient Thomas Eric Duncan, but his relatives who were confined to that apartment where Mr. Duncan fell ill just two weeks ago. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JENKINS: Those people in the apartment are part of -- part of Dallas County. And they are going to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity in this unusual situation. I am concerned for this family. I want to see this family treated as my own -- as I would want to see my own family treated if I were incapacitated in a hospital. We have moved the family to an appropriate location, sort of a location that would be acceptable for my family, for Mike Rawlings family or your family to be in. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: On Thursday, Judge Jenkins entered the apartment where this first patient had been staying and he met with the family living there and who had been ordered to be confined there after the patient was admitted to the hospital. Judge Jenkins wore his regular clothes into the apartment. It had not yet been cleaned by the hazardous material crew at that point. The following day, Judge Jenkins personally drove the family to a new home where they could stay temporarily -- a home that he personally found through the faith-based community in Dallas. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JENKINS: So, my first call of the day was to a faith friend, and I told my faith friend, there`s no room at the inn and we need your help. And Mike called that same faith friend and that faith friend was able to find something that is suitable and secure and safe for this family. What I told Louise last night is I don`t want to see you treated any differently than how I`d want you to treat me and my family if I were the man in Presbyterian Hospital fighting for my life, and my family were afraid that they might have contracted the disease and also worried about me. So, the faith community stepped up like they did with the refugee situation. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Judge Jenkins has been a very, very, very busy man this week. But again and again and again, what he has been modeling is a form of leadership that is obviously very calm but also pragmatic and personal in the face of a lot of fear from a lot of other people. Joining us tonight for the interview is Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who has been leading Dallas County`s emergency response to the first diagnosis of Ebola in the U.S. Judge Jenkins, thank you very much for being back tonight. Welcome back. CLAY JENKINS, DALLAS COUNTY JUDGE: Hi, Rachel. Nice to be with you. MADDOW: So, what have been your greatest challenges in dealing with this? I have seen you put one foot in front of the other. I`ve seen you be deliberatively, even ostentatiously calm when a lot of other people are very excited and worried at a time like this. What has been hardest for you? JENKINS: Oh, I think the hardest thing is just to try to make sure that everyone in this, from the people that are being monitored, to the people that are afraid, and everyone in our community is being treated with respect and is getting the information that they need to know that we`re doing everything in our power to keep their family safe. And we are. There were a lot of challenges when I overtook this incident command. But everyone has worked really hard. I`m proud of our team and we`re making steady progress. And, you know, every 15 minutes, we`re a little bit closer to being to the end of this outbreak or this -- it`s not an outbreak, this situation. MADDOW: In terms of the way that your action has been received, and the way that Dallas has handled the worry over this patient, this man`s diagnosis, do you feel like it`s starting to sink that the public education is working in terms of the fact that people aren`t going to be contagious unless they`ve got symptoms, that somebody who`s been exposed does not -- shouldn`t be seen as a carrier or vector of the disease. You`ve been very articulate and sort of insistent about those details. Do you find as you`re going through this day today that more people understand those basic facts about what Ebola is? JENKINS: I think so. It`s -- this is not a new disease, but it`s new to Dallas County and to America. The CDC and the National Institute of Health has been evolved in every -- every Ebola outbreak or case since it was discovered in 1976. So, the science is clear and I`m relying on the science. It`s important for us to have repetition in our messaging to people so they understand what is happening with the science. And I think a picture is worth a thousand words. I went to carry Louise without any gear on because that`s what -- she`s a person, it`s safe to do so, and I want her to know I saw her and the three young men as my equals and as people who needed help, and I wanted to help them. But I also knew that our citizens would see that and know that the words that we were saying were true words and they could tell that because we weren`t dressed like spacemen. MADDOW: I have to ask about the initial response. It seems like you`ve been clear about what the risks are and what the risks aren`t about this disease. It seems like you`ve been able to make yourself available on a daily basis to local press, and as have other Dallas officials and the mayor and health officials. But it did take a very long time to get that apartment cleaned up, to get the hazardous material and potentially hazardous material in there cleaned up, to get the family moved into better accommodation. Why were there delays around some of those basic needs of the people who definitely hadn`t been exposed to Mr. Duncan when he was ill? JENKINS: Well, it took too long. We`ve got to streamline this process. And this is a teaching moments for the United States. As I have said to my faith friend who found the place where she`s now staying, there was literally no room at the inn. We tried every apartment owner, every rent house, every housing unit. The fear kept anyone from agreeing to allow them to move there. And then the permitting process and the uncertainty about how things can be disposed of between the various agencies, you know, led to longer than I wanted for the clean-up. So, it was important to me the night before Louise and the three young men and I moved went over to see her with an EPI team from the CDC and Dallas County. And told her on behalf of all government agencies that I wasn`t happy with her living conditions and that we wanted to treat her the way that we would want to be treated in that situation and pledged to her that I would get her and those three young men out of there. And, luckily, we were able to do that. Unfortunately, it took nearly 24 hours. But we were able to get them to a great location now. MADDOW: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, your -- the response that you are leading in Dallas County, you and mayor there and the other local officials there, will be studied for a long time in terms of what went right and what went wrong and the way you handled your leadership and responsibilities when America dealt with this problem for the first time ever. Thank you for helping us understand how you`ve gotten through it. So, I really appreciate it. JENKINS: Rachel, thank you very much. MADDOW: Thank you, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Programming note. She`s been called the soul of the Democratic Party and the scourge of Wall Street. She has said she will not run for president but it is hard to find another Democrat who has as much real candle power on the campaign trail as she does. She was in Oregon today helping incumbent Senator Jeff Merkley in his reelection effort. She`s going to Wisconsin to help Mary Burkes try to beat Republican Governor Scott Walker there. But tomorrow night, she will be here. Joining us live here on this show. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is the interview tomorrow night. See, I told you it was a programming note. Elizabeth Warren here live tomorrow. But, coming up here next, it`s the worst 10-year anniversary ever, and the worst possible way to celebrate it. Do it with me, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This was 10 years ago tonight. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and there haven`t been for a long time. That`s not a campaign charge from Senator John Kerry. That`s the conclusion of the administration`s own weapons inspector Charles Duelfer in a voluminous report and personal testimony today. Duelfer said that Saddam Hussein has not produced WMDs since 1991, the end of the first Gulf War. Duelfer did say that Saddam was eager to get back into the WMD business, but his report today flatly contradicts the president`s primary reason for going to war against Iraq and the intelligence that led him to that decision. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was 10 years ago today. We get the very politically inconvenient report that everything the Bush administration had told us about why they wanted to, needed to start a war in Iraq was wrong. Charles Duelfer led the hunt for Iraq`s supposed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after the U.S. invasion and he did not find those supposed weapons because those supposed weapons were not there. Or were they? They still exist on the right. A sort of dead-ender fringe who believe that actually Saddam Hussein really did have weapons of mass destruction. He must have. George Bush couldn`t have been wrong about that. I say it`s a dead-ender fringe because even President Bush had to admit that he was wrong about that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Now look, part of the reason we went into Iraq was -- the main reason we went into Iraq at the time was we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. It turns out he didn`t. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Even George W. Bush had to admit he was wrong about weapons of mass destruction. Iraq did not have them. But today, on the 10-year anniversary of that being proven in the official U.S. government report on that subject, today, have you met the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Iowa? Her name is Joni Ernst. She`s running neck and neck with Democrat Bruce Braley for the U.S. Senate seat in Iowa. And Joni Ernst, in addition to many other amazing things about her, Joni Ernst says she has secret information that, in fact, Saddam did have the weapons. She knows personally, somehow. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JONI ERNST (R), IOWA SENATE CANDIDATE: I have reason to believe there was weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is that reason? What makes you -- ERNST: I will tell you my husband served in Saudi Arabia, to Army Central Command sergeant major for a year. And that`s a hot-button topic in that area. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: It is a hot-button, Saudi -- we are four weeks out from the elections this year. It is 10 years today since our own government officially admitted the whole WMDs thing about Iraq was a lie. It`s not like an accusation that it was a lie. It`s a lie. We`ve admitted it was a lie. But apparently, it`s not such a big lie that it keeps you out of the running for a United States Senate seat in 2014. I guess. Really, Iowa? It`s not a problem? Happy anniversary, worst anniversary ever. That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL". Good evening, Lawrence. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END Content and programming copyright 2014 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 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