The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 03/09/15

Guests: Charlie Dent, Anne Gearan, Xeni Jardin

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is "ALL IN" for this evening. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now with Steve Kornacki, sitting in for Rachel. Good evening, Steve. And happy Monday. STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC GUEST HOST: Good evening to you, Chris. Happy Monday as well. Thanks for that. Thanks to you at home for joining us for the next hour. Rachel has the night off. This, what you are looking at right now this, is the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama. It`s a church that played a major role in the civil rights movement, back in the 1960s was used by Martin Luther King, Jr. As his headquarters, sort of a staging ground for the fight for voting rights. And it was in front of the Brown Chapel in Selma, Alabama, that on Sunday, March 7th, 1965, in the face of a ban on protest marches in that city, it was on that day in front of that church that 600 demonstrators gathered and kicked off their march from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery. That was what became known as Bloody Sunday when those protesters were viciously attacked and beaten with all of the world watching by police officers. Forty-two years later, 42 years after that day on Sunday, March 4th, 2007, the 42nd anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the keynote speaker chosen to address the congregation at Brown Chapel in Selma was the junior senator from Illinois. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THEN-SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: So, don`t tell me I don`t have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don`t tell me I`m not coming home when I come to Selma, Alabama. I`m here because somebody march for our freedom. I`m here because y`all sacrifice for me. I stand on the shoulders of giants. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: I stand on the shoulders of giants. That`s what then- Senator Barack Obama said in Selma in March of 2007. Now, there were politics in the air that day eight years ago. Obama was running for the Democratic nomination to become president. He marched that day alongside Congressman John Lewis from Georgia, but also alongside then-Senator Hillary Clinton, she was also vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. That march, that day in Selma was actually their first side-by-side appearance in that campaign. And now this past weekend, President Obama returned to Selma for the first time since that 2007 march. He was there for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, and this time, he stood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge as the nation`s first African-American president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: The Americans who crossed this bridge, they were not physically imposing. But they gave courage to millions. They held no elected office but they led a nation. They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, countless daily indignities, but they didn`t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised to them almost a century before. What they did here will reverberate through the ages, not because the change they want was preordained, not because their victory was complete, but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible, that love and hope can conquer hate. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: The speech ended up running for more than 30 minutes, this weekend, covered quite a bit of ground. President Obama addressing the recent Justice Department report in the Ferguson police department, a report that came out just last week. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Just this week, I was asked whether I thought the Department of Justice`s Ferguson report shows with respect to race, little has changed in this country. And I understood the question. The report`s narrative was sadly familiar. It evoked the kind of abuse and disregard for citizens that spawned the civil rights movement. But I rejected the notion that nothing`s changed. What happened in Ferguson may not be unique, but it`s no longer endemic. It`s no longer sanctioned by law or by custom, and before the civil rights movement, it most surely was. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: President Obama also spoke about patriotism, about what it means to be a patriot, something that some people said was a response to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani`s recent comments about the president`s patriotism. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: We are well-served to remember that at the time of the marches, many in power condemned rather than praise them. Back then they were called communists or half breeds or outside agitators, sexual and moral degenerates and, worse, they were called everything but the name their parents gave them. Their faith was questioned. Their lives were threatened. Their patriotism challenged and yet what could be more American than what happened in this place? (APPLAUSE) What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people, unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many, coming together to shape their country`s course. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: And on that day, Obama also walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the bridge where those protesters, where those marchers were beaten 50 years ago. Walked across that bridge with his family and with other politicians, including former President George W. Bush. All of them walking in remembrance of that day in 1965 when hundreds of demonstrators embarked on that 50-mile journey, what was supposed to be a 50-mile journey from Selma to Montgomery. Instead, they were met with billy clubs, they were met with tear gas, they were met with state troopers who beat them in some cases to within an inch of their life on that bridge. Seventeen demonstrators were hospitalized that day, including now- Congressman John Lewis who suffered a skull fracture. In eight days after that march in 1965, eight days later after the entire nation, after the entire world looked on at what happened on that bridge, eight days later, President Lyndon Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress and called on Congress to enact voting rights legislation, to enact what those marchers had been looking for. Johnson ended that speech that day with the words "we shall overcome." And months after that, the legislation that he called for, that those demonstrators called for, it was passed by Congress, and it was signed into law by the president. That was 1965. Then, just about two years ago, on June 25th, 2013, the United States Supreme Court struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act, struck down the heart of that law passed in response to Selma in 1965. In a 5-4 decision, the court invalidated a key provision of the law. A provision that allows some states, mostly states in the South, to change their election laws without any advanced approval from the federal government. When that ruling came down in 2013, there were calls for Congress to act, calls for Congress to make changes to the Voting Rights Act so that it would still have teeth even after that Supreme Court ruling, which are calls that have yet to be answered now nearly two years later. Also, a call that President Obama renewed this weekend in Selma. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Right now, in 2015, 50 years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood, so much sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, the Voting Rights Act stands weakened, its future subject to political rancor. How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic efforts. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President George W. Bush signed its renewal when he was in office, 100 members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right to protect it. If we want to honor this day, let that 100 go back to Washington and gather 400 more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore that law this year. That`s how we honor those on this bridge. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: In politics, we have a tendency sometimes to romanticize the past, talk about how there used to be more cooperation between the parties, there used to be less posturing of yesterday`s politicians. Maybe weren`t quite as obsessed with the next election as today, or how things used to be better. That`s how we like to talk about politics a lot. And a lot of that is complete nonsense. A lot of times, it`s just not the case at all. But not when it comes to the Voting Rights Act. For decades after 1965 it really was that rarest of things in politics, a truly bipartisan issue, a nonpartisan issue, maybe even, one that both parties were for overwhelmingly. Ronald Reagan, he signed its renewal back in 1982. President George W. Bush, another Republican who again was there this weekend sitting beside the first lady. George W. Bush, he also championed and signed the renewal of the Voting Rights Act less than 10 years ago in 2006. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: The Voting Rights Act that broke the segregationists` lock on the ballot box rose from the courage shown on a Selma bridge one Sunday afternoon in march of 1965. On that day African- Americans, including a member of the United States Congress, John Lewis -- (APPLAUSE) -- marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a protest intended to highlight the unfair practices that kept them off the voter roll. I am proud to sign the Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: George W. Bush back in 2006 saying he was proud to sign into law the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. And the Senate vote that made that signing possible back in 2006, the vote on the Voting Rights Act in the Senate that year, 98-0 unanimous vote. And in the House that year, it wasn`t exactly unanimous but it was overwhelming, overwhelming and bipartisan, 33 no votes, 33 Republican no votes against it, everyone else voting was for it. The overwhelming majority of Republicans for that in 2006. But in 2013, the Voting Rights Act was dealt that severe blow by the Supreme Court and since then things have changed. Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, he`s the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told reporters he doesn`t think any changes to the Voting Rights Act are need right now. That even without what the Supreme Court took out of it, the Voting Rights Act provides the protections it needs to provide. Goodlatte, by the way, actually did vote to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act back in 2006. He was one of the yes votes. So, this used to be a bipartisan thing. It really though -- it really no longer is. Yes, there are some Republicans like then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor who talked about working with Democrats to restore key parts of the law after the ruling. But Eric Cantor is gone. He was booted out in the Republican primary last year. In fact, as of Friday evening, the night before the president was to speak in Selma, as of Friday evening, there were no members of the Republican congressional leadership who thought the 50th anniversary of Selma was important enough to send anyone, until a last-minute change of heart when House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, when the number two Republican in the House, announced he would, in fact, make the trip. He did make the trip. He was there on Saturday in Selma. Today, only a small handful of Republicans in Congress say that they see a need for the Voting Rights Act to be restored fully -- Republicans like Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JIM SENSENBRENNER (R), WISCONSIN: I am committed to restoring the Voting Rights Act as an effective tool to prevent discrimination, more subtle discrimination now than overt discrimination. My job is to fix the Voting Rights Act. Now, the first thing we have to do is to take the monkey wrench that the court threw in it out of the Voting Rights Act and then use that monkey wrench to be able to fix it so that it is alive, well constitutional, and impervious to another challenge that will be filed by the usual suspects. I`m with you on this. (APPLAUSE) This is something that has to be done by the end of the year so that a revised and constitutional Voting Rights Act is in place before the 2014 election season, both primaries and general elections. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Has to be done by the end of the year. The year Congressman Sensenbrenner was talking about there, 2013, two years ago. Now, Sensenbrenner is sponsoring a bill with Democratic Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, a bill that would reinstate parts of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court gutted out. There were only six Republicans who are co-sponsoring the bill, six Republicans out of all of the Republicans nearly 250 of them in the House of Representatives. Among those Republicans who are co-sponsoring that bill, Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. And joining us now is Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. Congressman, I really appreciate you taking a few minutes to join us tonight. Let me -- let me just start with the bottom line question. The bill that you have your name on, we talked about the margins back in 2006 when it was 390-33 in the House to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. If the bill with your name on it right now came to the floor and got a vote, would it pass? REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Absolutely. And, Steve, thanks for having me on the show. I absolutely believe that the Sensenbrenner bill that would reauthorize the Voting Rights Act that changes the formula would pass overwhelmingly. There would be strong Republican support. True, only six Republican co-sponsors, but I believe there`s considerably more Republican support for the bill than there are co-sponsors. KORNACKI: So, what is the holdup here? Because I look back, we say this used to be such a bipartisan issue and really when you look back at the voting rights debate back in the `60s, it wasn`t just moderate liberal Republicans, but some of the most conservative Republicans in Congress back then were behind the Voting Rights Act in the 1960s, and that was a story as we say through Reagan and Bush. So, if you say the vast majority of Republicans would be for it now, this thing would pass easily. Why isn`t it getting a vote? DENT: Well, obviously, the bill has been held up in the committee, and you`re correct, Steve, back in the 1960s, I believe larger percentages of Republicans voted for the Voting Rights Act than did Democrats back then. So there is great Republican support for that. But right now, I think there`s some issues with some on the Judiciary Committee and I`m not sure why I understand what their issues are. That said, what Sensenbrenner laid out I think is a very -- I think he threads the needle, let`s put it that way. He threads the needle. He protects states` rights and voting rights, and he does it in a way to prevent discrimination, and I think it should be given a very serious -- very serious look by my colleagues. It`s a good way to proceed. In fact, under the Sensenbrenner bill, four states would automatically be in preclearance as opposed to nine that were in preclearance under the old formula. So, I think it really does strike a good balance. You mentioned Congressman John Lewis, you know, an icon of the civil rights movement. He`s very supportive of this bill and others. So, I believe if this thing ever gets a fair consideration in the House floor, it`s going to sail through -- just like in 2006 when I voted for that reauthorization, as well. I was proud to support it. Again, this Voting Rights Act is the most significant piece of civil rights legislation ever passed in American history. KORNACKI: Let me -- let me ask you this way in terms of where resistance might be coming from. I don`t imagine we would hear this publicly. But in politics, it`s true on basically any issue in politics. Politicians often think about -- selfishly about their own political self- interests. Are there Republicans you think who look at this and say President Obama got something like 97 percent, 98 percent of the black vote, Democrats routinely get 90 percent-plus of the black vote. In the last 50 years, since 1965 there hasn`t been a single Republican presidential candidate who`s gotten more than 20 percent support among black voters. Is there a self-interest, politically, here for Republicans where they look at this and say there is simply nothing in this for us, that if we do this, we`re helping Democrats? DENT: No, I really don`t. I think there are some members probably representing the states that are in preclearance that feel like they`ve been on the probation list forever and that their states are not the same today as they were in 1965 and, therefore, that there should be -- they should be given better consideration than has been the case given their history. Now, that said, the Sensenbrenner bill does allow jurisdictions. States that have been violation-free for ten years, they`re out of preclearance. I think that`s really the issue. And I say preclearance for your listeners. I mean, many of these states must have the justice department approve whatever changes those states make to their election laws. And so, those states always had to go through Justice Department. But there`s a way for them to get out. Now, we set up a national model, so any jurisdiction could potentially go into preclearance if they behave poorly. So, I don`t believe any Republicans are looking at this saying, boy, we haven`t done well in the African-American community. Therefore, we should punish them by not approving the Voting Rights Act. I don`t think that`s the case at all. I do believe our members are -- I think some still have questions because this formula can be a little complex for some who aren`t familiar with it. But it strikes the right balance. Sensenbrenner has done a great job with it. KORNACKI: All right. Republican Congressman Charlie Dent from Pennsylvania, one of the Republicans sponsoring that bill to restore the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court ruling -- thank you for your time tonight. Really appreciate it. DENT: Thank you. KORNACKI: All right. We have a lot to get to tonight, including some really fascinating and surprising new information about the 2016 presidential race. Brand new polling out tonight that will surprise you. Plus, a brief appearance by Kim Kardashian on this show. Just don`t tell Rachel. I promise it is for a good cause. A lot more ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: This was the scene in the Wisconsin state capitol today, hundreds of people filling the rotunda in Madison to protest the shooting death of an unarmed black 19-year-old named Tony Robinson, shooting by a white police officer. Many of those heard chanting slogans like "No justice, no peace" and "black lives matter" were students from local high schools around the city, as well as from the University of Wisconsin. Students left their classes there this morning and marched down to the state capitol for a third day of protesting. On Friday, a veteran Madison police officer responded to a call about a suspect jumping in and out of traffic after having assaulted someone. The officer then pursued the suspect, that`s Tony Robinson, into a nearby apartment. And the officer forced his way into that apartment. Police officials say the unarmed teenager assaulted the officer before the officer shot and killed him. Today, the Madison chief of police apologized in an online post to the family of the slain teen saying, quote, "Reconciliation cannot begin without my stating I am sorry. I don`t think I can say this enough. I am sorry." The shooting is being investigated by the Wisconsin division of criminal investigation, which is part of the state`s Department of Justice. According to a state law passed in 2014, which is thought to be the first of its kind, an outside agency must investigate all officer-involved deaths and once that review is complete, the Dane County district attorney is going to determine if charges will be filed. This was the third straight day of protests over the shooting death of this teenager in Wisconsin. We`re watching the story very closely. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wisconsin is now officially a right-to-work state. Governor Walker signing into law that controversial bill that makes union dues optional for workers. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signing into law a bill today to make his state a so-called right-to-work state. It`s a major blow to unions in Wisconsin, passed the state assembly in a party line vote, all the Democrats voting against it, all the Republicans voting for it. In right-to-work states, workers can choose not to pay union dues if they don`t want to even though, as union backers point out, they can still reap the benefits of a contract that union negotiates. Waging political war with unions has become one of Scott Walker`s calling cards. Remember the massive protests back in 2010 when he signed a law dramatically curbing the power of public employee unions? But the effort to recall Walker from office over that failed. He also won re-election as governor just last fall -- meaning he has now won three statewide elections just since 2010. And this is a story that he, Scott Walker, believes can make him the Republican candidate for president next year. The idea that he is someone who has pursued a deeply and aggressively conservative agenda in a Democratic state and still managed to win elections in that state. And here`s the thing -- he may be right. Tonight, hot off the presses, we have brand new numbers from the NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll. These are numbers that show how excited Republicans across the country are about Walker and these are numbers that are very ominous for the supposed front-runner for Jeb Bush. I want to take you through his numbers now and show you those two things. First of all, the bad news for Jeb Bush and the opening that creates for someone like Scott Walker. So, let`s take a look at this. This, first of all, gets to the argument that Jeb Bush wants to be making to Republicans about electability and the idea he`s the Republican best positioned to win next year. Well, look at this. All voters, Democrats, Republicans, independents, do you have a positive or negative view of these major political figures? See Bill Clinton doing well, Hillary Clinton pretty good for a potential candidate. Barack Obama. Look at this, though. George W. Bush right now more popular with all voters than Jeb Bush. George W. Bush, who left office in 2008 with an approval rating of about 30 percent is more popular right now according to our poll than Jeb Bush. Very tough for Jeb Bush to look at Republicans and say, hey, I`m the most electable when he`s running below his brother, George W., in that question. How about this? Look back to a 1999 -- this is what I mean. When George W. Bush was running for president, himself, at the same point in the 2000 cycle, this same question in this same poll, he came in at 55 percent positive, 14 percent negative. His brother today, 23 percent positive. When George W. Bush was running and telling Republicans to get on board with me because I can win, these are the numbers they were looking at. Very, very different story. There`s more we can show you here -- this is Jeb -- excuse me, Jeb against Hillary Clinton on the question of which one of these would be a return to the past or which one has new ideas? Sixty percent saying that Jeb Bush would represent a return to the past, old policies, past policies as opposed to new ideas. Hillary Clinton, you know, 51 percent, not exactly a good one, 51 percent saying she`d represent a return to the past. But that is a bigger problem for Jeb Bush. Again, that gets to the electability issue. Then there`s this, if you look at Republicans, you look at Republican voters and you say, could you see yourself supporting this candidate or could you not see yourself supporting this candidate? So, this is measuring sort of basic acceptability of all these candidates to Republican voters. What jumps out at you here? Look who does the best, 53 percent of Republicans right now say, yes, I could see myself supporting Scott Walker in this primary next year. Only 17 percent saying no. That`s a spread of 36 points. You see Marco Rubio doing pretty well, Ben Carson doing pretty well, Mike Huckabee doing pretty well. Go down a little bit and Jeb Bush clocking in, 49 percent saying, yes, they could support him. Just under half, 42 percent saying no. A spread of only seven points. Look at that difference. Plus 36 for Walker, plus 7 for Jeb Bush. That`s a big problem for Jeb Bush early on. And now, how about this, take a look at this. If you looked at the top two in the horse race or at this same stage going back to the 1988 cycle. Early 1987, if you took the Republican race for president, George Bush Sr. against Bob Dole, they were one and two in the polls. George Bush was clearly ahead of Bob Dole back then by 20 points. In 1996, early 1995 that stage of the cycle, Dole was crushing Phil Gramm. How about George W. Bush in 1999 crushing Elizabeth Dole. You could see they were way out ahead at this point in the cycle. Only two recent nominees weren`t, John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2011. At this point, they were running in the teens. You remember, they both had lots of trouble getting the nomination. We`ll take a look. Where does Jeb Bush fall if you average all the polls taken, Republican polls for president on average, Scott Walker is leading Jeb Bush right now, 16.2 percent, 15 percent points. Jeb Bush, the supposed front-runner, just 15.8 percent averaging puts him in that McCain/Romney territory, and that`s the threat of Scott Walker. Mitt Romney was able to survive in 2012 because he had very, very weak opponents. Ultimately, he was running against Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum. Well, Jeb Bush is going to be running against Scott Walker. Could be a different match up for him. This is a very good news for Walker, very bad news for Jeb Bush in this NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll. And we will be back with more of the show right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: So, here are two things I really don`t know that much about. Pop culture and the tech industry but I learned today that the mega-giant of the tech word, Apple, is worth about 10,000 times more than the megaist of the megastars, Kim Kardashian -- and that is newly important to today`s news. That`s ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: We talked earlier in the show about how only at the last minute did Republican congressional leaders send a representative to Selma this weekend. Well, there was also one major political figure who was absent, conspicuously absent from Selma this week, Hillary Clinton. Instead of being in Selma, Clinton was in Miami on Saturday for an event sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative. The decision to go to her family foundation event over the Selma anniversary earned Hillary Clinton some bad press. It`s also a reminder the heat is starting to turn up on her. By all measures, she`s getting ready to run for president again and so she`s going to be facing more and more scrutiny over her decisions. And the criticism over her decision to skip Selma is nothing compared to the other thing on Hillary Clinton`s plate right now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL PLANTE, CBS EVENING NEWS: Mr. President when, did you first learn that Hillary Clinton used an e-mail system outside the U.S. government for official business while she was secretary of state? OBAMA: At the same time everybody else learned it through news reports. REPORTER: Do you think your wife`s been treated fairly with the e- mails? WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I`m not the one to judge that. I have an opinion, but I have a bias. REPORTER: What`s your opinion? REPORTER: President Clinton, what`s your opinion. CLINTON: I shouldn`t be making news on this. SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: What I would like for her to come forward and say what the situation is because she is the pre-eminent political figure right now. She is the leading candidate, whether it within Republican or Democrat for the next -- to be the next president and I think that she needs to step up and come out and state exactly what the situation is. You know, some people say, well, she has a server in her -- CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Do you think the silence is hurting her? FEINSTEIN: I think at this point, from this point on, the server -- the silence is going to hurt her. (END VIDEO CLIPS) KORNACKI: That was Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein from California just yesterday, telling NBC`s Chuck Todd that Hillary Clinton needs to explain why as secretary of state she conducted all of her official State Department business over a personal e-mail account. Clinton has been plagued by bad press about this topic ever since "New York Times" broke the story last week. Now to be clear, Hillary Clinton remains the overwhelming favorite, stress that, the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic nomination for president next year. In a new NBC poll out just tonight, the number of Democrats who say they can see themselves supporting her is a whopping 86 percent. And Democratic women in the Senate have basically been a united front in her favor for awhile now, for example, on this show, Rachel`s tried to make the case that moderate Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is perhaps the most electable Democrat out there right now. But McCaskill has been adamant. She says she wants Hillary to run. She says she`ll support her if she does. So, now, for Dianne Feinstein, for a fellow Democrat, for a powerful longtime member of the U.S. Senate to come out and say Hillary needs to step up and speak out about the e-mail situation, to say she`ll be in trouble if she doesn`t do that -- well, that`s a pretty big deal. It`s also not Clinton`s strategy or at least it hasn`t been her strategy so far. It`s been more than a week and still hasn`t said anything in public about any of this. She did put out one tweet saying that she`s asked the State Department to release her e-mails, but in general this scan dell is yet another reminded of just how long Hillary Clinton has been out of day-to-day campaign-style politics and even though she remains a huge public figure, she has been able to stay on the spotlight mostly on her terms for the last few years. The question now, is can she afford to keep trying to do that. Can she afford to keep ignoring questions, to keep refusing interviews, to keep staying out of public except for occasional and highly scripted appearances where she only talks about what she wants to talk about and nothing else. Another new 2016 poll that just came out today, the Marist poll, show Scott Walker, one of her potential Republican challengers, closing in on her. She may in great shape with her own party but what about the rest of the country? How does all this look to them? There are signs that people in the Clinton camp are beginning to take this more seriously. Longtime supporters like James Carville and Lanny Davis now coming to her defense vociferously. And just over the past few hours, reports have emerged that she will finally address the e-mail situation at some point this week, maybe within the next few days. So, what should we expect? Will it signal a turning point in Hillary Clinton`s strategy and will it be enough to curb the slew of bad press she`s received? Joining us now is Anne Gearan, reporter for "The Washington Post", covering Hillary Clinton. Thanks for joining us tonight. I appreciate it. ANNE GEARAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST" NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you. Happy to be here. KORNACKI: Well, so let me ask you what you`re hearing then. We`ve heard nothing from Hillary Clinton publicly for a week now. Are you hearing that we will hear from her in the next couple of days? GEARAN: Well, I mean we haven`t -- not that we haven`t heard anything from her publicly. She has been part of a couple of the sort of scripted events that you -- KORNACKI: Right. But on the e-mail question, we`ve heard zero, except for this week. GEARAN: Right. Exactly. Exactly. I mean, when Dianne Feinstein says you`re doing it wrong, you have a problem, and she has to confront that problem because it`s gone beyond the argument that she and her defenders can make that this is not a big deal or a completely manufactured Republican hit job. It`s definitely gone beyond that at this point. So, she will have to respond. We don`t know in what venue, we don`t know exactly when, but she will have to do this in some way that directly and fully confronts the major question involved here, which is why was the e-mail system set up the way it was when it was? What was her thinking at the time? KORNACKI: And when Dianne Feinstein comes out, as we say, it`s a big deal. It is the fact that somebody in her own party, when she has those poll numbers, would say that. Does that speak to something broader in the Democratic Party right now, frustrations with how she`s handled this issue, maybe frustrations with how she`s handling public appearances in general? GEARAN: Well, I can`t speak for Dianne Feinstein, but there definitely is a sentiment that sort of where there`s frustration on two fronts. One is, why hasn`t the Clinton camp handled this better? That`s sort of a short-term problem. And, then, the second source of frustration is the idea that she`s it, and whatever she says goes. And you alluded to this a bit in your introduction. I mean, she has been able to dictate the terms of just about everything so far and in a way that she certainly wasn`t able to when she ran eight years ago, and the way -- or six years ago -- and the way the Republicans are now. I mean, we got a zillion Republicans out there, and they`re all, you know, having a feeding frenzy on one another. There simply isn`t that same dynamic happening on the Democratic side. She`s it. So when -- KORNACKI: She`s the only show in town. GEARAN: She`s the only show in town, and when she says she`s going to do something, she does it on her own terms, and when she doesn`t feel like doing it, apparently thus far, she`s been able to not do it. This is a real test I think in terms of how far -- like how long is that leash? How far does she get to say I`m not playing that game? I`m not doing things the way you want me to do. KORNACKI: Yes. So, I mean, what about, too, what we`re hearing today, Lanny Davis is out there, James Carville out there on networks saying all of this basically saying he kept saying all of this, all of the questions about her e-mails and all of the things she has yet to address publicly, these are just right wing talking points. It reminds me of her initial response to the Lewinsky scandal, a vast right wing conspiracy. It seems like they`re trying to bring that language back into this. Can they do that? GEARAN: Well, I mean, respectfully, no. I mean, if it -- you don`t have to have talked to any Republican in the last week to have the same basic question I posed a moment ago, why did she set up a parallel e-mail system to the State Department one? I mean, there may be an explanation for it. Great. Let`s hear it. But that has nothing to do with it being a Republican hit job. That`s a simple question of public accountability. KORNACKI: Right, and especially when there`s the fact here as well that the president himself, that this was his administration saying you can`t be keeping things -- GEARAN: Oh, and, by the way, the president was e-mailing with her on that account. It`s not like it was a secret. KORNACKI: Right. All right. Anne Gearan, reporter for "The Washington Post" -- thank you for your time tonight. I really appreciate it. GEARAN: Thank you. KORNACKI: All right. When was the last time you gave much thought to your wrists? That`s right. Your wrists. Take a moment to ponder the humble wrist because it turns out the wrist is the key to the future of everything. We`re going to try to explain that, coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: Today in rural Halifax County, North Carolina, this happened. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to get down. (INAUDIBLE) oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh! (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: That is an Amtrak train ultimately bound for New York striking the flatbed of a tractor trailer head-on at a grade crossing around noon today, and upon impact, the train`s engine and car behind it immediately derailed, went airborne along with the tractor trailer. The trailer`s load was separated and pushed down the tracks. Officials say at least 55 of the train`s passengers were injured. None of the injuries, though appear to be life-threatening at least at this time. The train was carrying 212 passengers and 8 crew members. This Amtrak crash was not only the major train derailment that happened in just the last 48 hours. That story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: So, here`s a good news/bad news situation for you. You may remember the oil train derailment in Western Illinois we told you about last week. Twenty-one cars full of oil went off the tracks. Two exploded. Three others caught fire. That fire burned for three days after that. The good news is that fire is finally out, and an EPA official says they have not seen any oil in the Galena River, so that is the good news. And now, here is the bad news. It`s from Ontario, Canada. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Flumes of smoke continue to billow as crews try to put out burning tanker cars full of crude oil. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enormous, enormous amount of flames. REPORTER: More than 30 cars derailed. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just heard a big boom. REPORTER: No one was hurt in the nearby town of Gogama, but five cars fell into this river. Many say this could have been far worse. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What if it had been another two kilometers, and it would happen in the middle of the village? You can imagine the size of the fire just by the size of the smoke coming out of there. Gogama could be gone. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Thirty-eight cars derailed Saturday morning. It`s not clear how many are on fire. Canada`s Transportation Safety Board apparently doubled the number of investigators at the scene today. They are still unable to actually investigate, though. A TSB spokesperson saying today, quote, "The fire is still burning, we`re not able to access the accident site so we have to wait." This was the third oil train derailment in northern Ontario in less than a month, also the second in this area around Gogama. In fact, the local in-keeper said her hotel was still full of workers cleaning up from the last crash. Here in the U.S., every time one of these trains has blown up, it`s not been in a populated area, but Canada hasn`t been so lucky. They lost a whole downtown and 47 people to one of these trains. Someday, our luck is probably going to run out, too. This is a photo from one of our viewers showing the CSX oil train line running right through the center of Philadelphia, and in the background, that construction site? It`s a new office and research facility for the children`s hospital of Philadelphia, right along those tracks. What could go wrong? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TIM COOK, CEO OF APPLE: Apple Watch is the most personal device we have ever created. It`s not just with you. It`s on you. You can see things like weather. Your calendar, right from your wrist you can receive messages. You can receive calls on your watch. I have been wanting to do this since I was 5 years old. The day is finally here. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: All right. Full disclosure now, I really have no idea what any of that means. I know that Apple`s CEO Tim Cook held another one of his big blowout events today. Today`s headliner was the Apple Watch, which apparently is going to be available next month. It`s a wearable device that pairs with your iPhone, lets you do everything from checking e-mail and weather, and, of course, the time, it monitors your health, order Uber, pay your bar tab, answer a call. Prices of this thing start at 349 bucks. There are multiple face sizes, multiple straps that escalate the price quickly. And I know it`s going to be a huge hit because I know it`s an Apple product and Apple products are always big hits. And this is not -- this show is not supposed to be QVC. It usually is not about covering the latest gadgets and gismos. If it was that, I wouldn`t be the guy here to guest host it tonight. But the announcement from Apple is a different thing. Back in September, when the Apple Watch was first announced, one of the show`s most popular guests was on hand for it and hailed it as an iPhone or iPad level moment. This is Xeni today wearing the luxury version of the new Apple watch which is fitted with super-durable 18 karat Apple gold if that`s really a thing. It will run you more than $10,000, $10,000. I thought watches were supposed to go the way of fax machines. I don`t wear a watch anymore because I have a cell phone and the cell phone is supposed to replace the watch. That`s what I thought. So, it`s hard for me to understand importance of a development like this. Seriously, this is what I picture when I think of Apple`s developers and designers hard at work. It`s completely foreign to me, and that is exactly why I`m bringing in a specialist. Joining us now is someone the show trusts implicitly when it comes to these issues. Xeni Jardin is co-editor of boingboing.net, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW`s in-house tech Sherpa. So, thanks for taking a few minutes to set me straight. So, let me ask you a really a basic question. I thought they don`t wear wristwatches anymore, we don`t want anything, because we got the iPhone, the iPhone`s got the time on it, it`s got our e-mail, it`s got everything. What`s going on here? XENI JARDIN, TECH CULTURE JOURNALIST: Steve, it`s not about the tick tock. This is -- it`s like a benevolent Trojan horse. This is a very small networked computer that you wear in a familiar form factor of a wrist watch. But this -- the idea behind the Apple Watch is wearable computing, wearable communication. So, the ability to, as you mentioned, pay for goods and services with a flick of your wrist, to read your heartbeat, to send your heartbeat to your loved ones, or draw a little doodle to your wife or your kids or your mom. All kinds of things are possible. And as with other Apple products, like when the iPad launched, it`s one of those design moments where you don`t know that you actually need it until you have it in your hands. KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, is that part of the appeal of Apple here, too? I say I know it`s going to be a hit because it`s an Apple product. Can Apple basically put anything out and people are going to buy it? They can make up a -- oh, yes, you really need this gizmatron for your kitchen and everybody would buy it because it`s Apple? JARDIN: You know, if they did start making kitchen gadgets, honestly, I probably -- I was joking about this earlier today with other journalists. At this point they have a strong enough track record with innovative products, at the end of the day, we`re just going to be suckers and try them out. But I think what`s most interesting about the watch is not what happens at launch. This is the tip of the iceberg. And I think once they`re out there in the wild and developers start trying new things that are a little bit off brand or maybe even conflict with Apple`s ideas of what ought to be happening with the watch, that`s when things are going to get interesting. And part of what`s so interesting is apple has this huge, huge footprint. They have a massive App Store, massive user base. So, it`s completely different than an upstart company trying something similar. KORNACKI: I guess in the doomsday science fiction world or whatever, when we talk about the sort of advance of technology, you talk about we`re turning into robots, the rise of the robots, that kind of thing. But I got to tell you, when you look at this thing, it seems like you`re packing, you`re condensing more and more functionality, more and more purposes into a smaller and smaller thing that now we`re going to be wearing, apparently. And it does -- I do look at it, and I think this is the mark to becoming a robot. JARDIN: Relax, Steve. It`s going to be fun. It`s a smaller device, so you won`t get in trouble as often for diverting your attention away from the people or things you actually want to enjoy. I think the idea is to get the device out of the way and make the computing and communication experience what`s really the focus. KORNACKI: And I`m gong back to wall-mounted clocks and, you know, yes. Anyway -- JARDIN: Or wear your grandfather clock on your wrist, right? KORNACKI: Exactly. Something like that. JARDIN: I`m with you. KORNACKI: Xeni Jardin, co-editor of boingboing.net, times for your time tonight, I appreciate it. JARDIN: Thank you, Steve. KORNACKI: All right. That does it for us tonight. Rachel`s going to be back tomorrow. Now, it is time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Good evening to you, Lawrence. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, THE LAST WORD: Steve, the Apple Watch was explained in 1899, by a very important economist of the day. Two words: conspicuous consumption. KORNACKI: There it is. O`DONNELL: That`s all it is. Steve, thank you very much. KORNACKI: All right, Lawrence. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END