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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 03/27/15

Guests: Gerald Surya, Matt Nash

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is "ALL IN" for this evening. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now. Good evening, Rachel. RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Happy first day to your little boy, Chris. I had to do my eye make up twice because I made the mistake of doing it while you wished him happy birthday. HAYES: He`s so cute. MADDOW: He`s really, really cute, and you`re a very sweet dad. Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. If you`re a public, particularly a political public figure, there is nothing to worry about if people hate you, and that`s because hate, first and foremost, is a form of attention, and politicians need attention like fish need water right? Like macaroni needs cheese, like Burt needs Ernie. Politicians need attention. Hate is a form of attention. Also the hate of one group of people can sometimes be leveraged into admiration or even love from some other group of people who hate the ones who hate you. Hate itself is not the problem. Particularly if you`re running for office and you are in the primary part of the campaign. You`re not trying to get a vast swath of people to sign up with you, you`re just trying to energize a big enough sliver of people that you come out on top of all the other candidates, who have a slightly worse ratio than you do, of the sliver of people who hate, versus the sliver of people who love you. Hate for a national level politician -- for, say, a politician running for president in 2016 -- hate is nothing to worry about. What you have to worry about is when they stop bothering to hate you. On the left side of your screen is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. On the right side of your screen is former congressman, former Republican candidate for president, full-time anti-immigration professional torn in the side, Tom Tancredo. Last year, Tom Tancredo ran for governor in Colorado, or at least he tried to. He never became the Republican Party`s candidate for governor because he lost the primary. He lost the Republican primary to a former congressman named Bob Beauprez. Now, at the time, the head of the Republican Governors Association nationwide was New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie. And it was the state of policy of Chris Christie`s group that they would not pick favorites in primaries. Yes, it`s their job to make sure as many Republican governors as possible get elected in November, but they said they wouldn`t pick sides in the states as to who the Republican Party in each state should nominate to run in the general election. Well, Tom Tancredo in Colorado, he lost that Republican primary for governor in that state, and Tom Tancredo believed, he still believes, that the reason he lost the primary is because Chris Christie lied about not getting involved in that primary. According to Tom Tancredo`s view of things it may have been the policy of the Republican Governors Association under Chris Christie not to interfere in this Colorado primary, but Tom Tancredo believes that Chris Christie did. He believes that Chris Christie engineered a win for Bob Beauprez over Tom Tancredo. And then, of course, Bob Beauprez went on to lose the general election to the Democrat in November, even though Republicans basically ran the table everywhere else in the country, including doing really well in their other big Colorado races. Tom Tancredo not only believes he would have been the Republican nominee for governor in Colorado last year, were it not for that meddling Chris Christie. Tancredo also believes he would have actually been Colorado`s governor by now, except for that guy from New Jersey who Tom Tancredo cannot stand. And so, in November, a super PAC was born. It had the admirable title the "Stop Chris Christie PAC." This is their web site. It`s formed in November by Tom Tancredo. Mr. Tancredo did a great interview with MSNBC last year where he explained that stopping Chris Christie`s run for the presidency is his new reason for living. Literally, he called it his raison d`etre. But now, that was only November. Now, something has changed. The Stop Chris Christie PAC has only existed since November but now Tom Tancredo is now giving it up. He is shelving the whole thing and he says he won`t raise money for his Stop Chris Christie PAC anymore. But check out the reason. He tells MSNBC`s Aliyah Frumin today this, quote, "It would not probably be worth the time that we put into it because now, nobody believes Chris Christie has a chance." Quote, "I don`t think anybody is going to give money to stop Chris Christie because he is someone who they believe is probably stopped already." Tom Tancredo is giving up raising money to Stop Chris Christie with Stop Chris Christie PAC, because he thinks there`s no point in raising money to stop a guy who has no chance anyway no matter what anybody does. And that is something coming from a guy who was most famous for losing high profile elections, right? I mean, whether or not Tom Tancredo is right, and there is no point in trying to stop Chris Christie because there`s really no risk of him going anywhere in this national campaign, Governor Chris Christie is still out doing things that look very much like him running for president. Tonight, he is doing a Republican fundraising event in Michigan. On Tuesday, the quarter is going to close for this quarter`s fundraising. Part of the reason that Chris Christie on paper looked like he might be competitive for the Republican nomination for president is it was assumed he`d be able to get all of the big Wall Street money, all the major donor establishment money on the Republican side of the ledger. That`s why Tuesday is going to be so important for Chris Christie, and the all important question for him as to whether or not his campaign is basically already stopped. If he has not been able to raise any significant money, if he`s got nothing else to cite in terms of his expected fundraising, that`s deadly for him in his presidential campaign, because he really doesn`t have anything going for him in the asset column. He doesn`t have anything that might put him at the top of the PAC in the race for the nomination, unless it`s huge money. Republican based voters don`t like Chris Christie. Iowa Republican voters don`t seem to like Chris Christie very much. New Hampshire Republicans don`t even seem to like him any better than anybody else in the field. The big thing Chris Christie was going to have was the money -- the big, establishment high dollar money. Instead, it looks like that big money has been going to Jeb Bush, who just out-maneuvered Governor Christie and the Republican mega donor ATM line. So, this is really worth watching over the weekend -- the last few frenzied days before the quarter closes on Tuesday. It`s really worth over the weekend and over the next three to four days, before that quarter closes on Tuesday, because what happens on Tuesday, if the numbers look as people expect they`re going to look, that could be an even worse sign for Governor Christie`s presidential hopes, than the stop Chris Christie PAC being shutdown for lack of perceived need to try to stop him. As we head toward that potential death kneel fundraising deadline on Tuesday, Jeb Bush is really pulling out all of the stops to try to just bury everybody else -- to bury any potential rivals, to shock everyone with a huge lead that he`s got in money so his rivals drop out, or decide not to get in, so donors see that no one else but him looks like a available candidate. A mega number fro Jeb Bush could do that. That`s how his brother did it 15 years ago. George W. Bush raised so much money so early when he was first running in 1999 and 2000 that he effectively knocked all of the other Republicans out of the race and got to enjoy being the inevitable Republican nominee in the year 2000. Of course, that`s sensitive subject. Jeb Bush doesn`t like people making references to his brother or to his father when they consider his own run for the presidency this year. Jeb Bush`s de facto kick off campaign speech was organized to get across one simple message, "I am my own man." He said at that kick off speech, "I love my father, and brother. I even love my mother. I hope that`s OK. But I am my own man." And everybody dutifully wrote that down, "I am my own man." And now that we have that out of the way, my mom would like to talk to you about donating to my super PAC. And also, my brother would like to talks to you about donating to my soup every super PAC. And now today, my dad would like to talk to you about donating to my super PAC. They should rename this thing the "I am my own man Bush family" super PAC. Collect them all. I am my own man. Don`t think about my family. My family would like to talk to you about my run for the presidency. Do you have your wallet? In addition to Chris Christie and Jeb Bush competing for the biggest donors in the party, it will also be interesting to see the kind of money that Scott Walker has been able to pull in since he is being seen right now as the one possibly plausible alternative to Jeb Bush getting the Republican nomination. Scott Walker gets lots of positive press. He`s in a press honey moon right now. People giving him lots of slack on legal gaffes and stuff. Nobody in the national press for example, even pick up on the Yahoo News story this past week Scott Walker`s secret donations from the richest man in Wisconsin, and what that donor has also received from Scott Walker`s state government since those secret donations came in. Scott Walker is in a bit of a honeymoon period right now. The press is treating him as Jeb Bush`s only real rifle. But they`re really only printing positive things about him. Everybody is talking about how he`s just blowing people away on the campaign trail, charming everyone as he travels the country and gets ready to start this campaign. And that press honeymoon is why when a liberal group in Wisconsin said today that Scott Walker is prepared to be commander-in-chief, he said that he was prepared to be commander-in-chief, he`s prepared to be president, because he`s an Eagle Scout. When that headline popped in the political press today, all day today, I kept seeing headlines about that and references to that and all day today I thought it was a metaphor. I thought like, oh, Scott Walker is finally getting critical press. He must have made a clumsy response to a question about his qualifications. It turns out no, it is literal. He really said he is ready to be president and not worried about the responsibilities of being president and being commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States because of his own experience in the boy scouts. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HEWITT: Does the prospect of being commander-in-chief daunt you because the world that you describe when you were talking about safety is going to require commitments of American men and women abroad obviously at some point. And how do you think about that? GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: It`s an appropriate question. As a kid, I was in scouts and one of the things I was proudest of when I was in the scouts is earning the rank of Eagle. Being an Eagle Scout is one of the few things that gives a kid that you are not in the past. It is something you are. And so, every time I go to an Eagle Scout ceremony, I go during and speak to the young man who`s gotten the rank and I say, I`m not here to congratulate you. I`m here on behalf of all of the other Eagle Scouts like me to issue a charge to you, to tell you that because you`ve attained this rank, you are now for the rest of your life responsible for living up to the calling of an Eagle Scout. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: And that`s why I`m qualified to be president of the United States. That was the question. Are you daunted by the prospect of being commander-in-chief of the armed forces? Hey, I was an Eagle Scout. Yay, for Eagle Scouts. Eagle Scouts are awesome. Also, it is hard to see how long Scott Walker`s honeymoon in the press is going to keep lasting if he keeps talking in public and people keep accurately writing down what he says. That event where he said he was qualified to be president because he was an Eagle Scout, that event was apparently supposed to be closed to the press. But a Democratic tracker apparently got in and sent that around. So, there is one last thing to keep an eye on, at this turning point phase that we`re in in terms of national politics. The number one dark horse possible candidate for the presidency, the number one guy who is not obviously in the race already but who party insiders pined for in 2008 and they pined for him again in 2012, and now, presumably, they are secretly pining for him again, even though the field basically already has every Republican in it who you`ve ever heard of and about 10 others who you`ve haven`t heard of, party insiders apparently see him as the best chance most viable candidate on the Republican side who is not in the race already. And he has just in the past 24 hours been hit with a huge wage of national publicity. He is this guy, the guy in the middle there, between all of the nuns and friars and stuff. He is the one at the desk. Mike Pence, Republican governor of Indiana, perennial wishing and hoping favorite of the elite conservatives at the Republican political class, Mike Pence has to decide whether he is running for reelection as Indiana governor next year or if he is going to run for president instead. He cannot do both. And he has been salting the political press about this, trying to keep their hopes up that he will run. I`m not saying I will, I`m just saying I might. But what`s going on for him at home right now is the kind of stuff that`s going to be very hard to figure out how it might play in the national contest, because what`s going on under him right now in Indiana, it`s funny. It is a serious mess on a couple of different levels. And in both cases, they are things that no other state is dealing with in the same way at all. Mike Pence is out there going out there on his own on this stuff. The first thing going on is that Governor Pence has just declared a public health emergency in Indiana because of a very large outbreak of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: Today, I declared a public health emergency? Scott County, Indiana, due to the outbreak of HIV virus that has reached epidemic proportions. An epidemic as the CDC explained to me is whenever you have a disease that breaks out of the statistical norm. In a county the size of Scott County, the average number of HIV cases on an annual basis is roughly five cases. As I stand here today, we have 79 confirmed cases, and more testing it being done. And we expect that number to go up. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Because this outbreak is being attributed to people sharing needles when shooting prescription drugs, Governor Pence has announced for one month only, he will drop his opposition to needle exchange, so people can exchange used needles for sterile ones in order to not run the risk of contracting a virus like HIV when they shot up. Needle exchange is a controversial but proven life-saving harm reduction technique that, yes, prioritizes keeping people from dying even if they can`t stop using IV drugs. Governor Mike Pence has never supported that kind of program in the past. In fact, he says he is still against it, but he`s got this huge cluster of dozens of people all turning up HIV positive all at once in a specific part of his state. And so, he has declared, this public health emergency, including an emergency needle exchange for 30 days. Thirty days? Thirty days seems like it`s not going to cut it for a problem this big. I`m just guessing. But that`s what he`s decided -- 30 days and then he says he will reassess. While in the midst of mounting that response to the shock public health outbreak in his state, though, Governor Pence has simultaneously been busy turning the state government`s attention to the pressing need of making sure that it is legal to discriminate against gay people in the state of Indiana. You might remember that Arizona, a couple of years ago, passed a bill and sent to the governor that would have given businesses in the state of Arizona the explicit right to refuse service to gay people. The Arizona legislature did pass that bill, but when the country figured out what Arizona has just passed and businesses and organizations all over the country, including professional league sports, when people all over the country letting Arizona know that if that bill became law, people would move businesses out of Arizona, move businesses and events and conventions and maybe even the Super Bowl out of Arizona in protest because they didn`t want to do business in a state that had a law like that, in Arizona, in the face of those national boycott threats couple of years ago, Jan Brewer decided to veto that Republican bill. Not Mike Pence, that`s him signing it. That same thing that got vetoed in Arizona, Mike Pence at that signing ceremony just signed it -- making Indiana the first state in the country to move, overtly, wholesale, on purpose, to legalize and say the state approves of businesses refusing service to people on the basis of sexual orientation, or anything else your religion might encourage you to discriminate on the basis of. He just did what even Jan Brewer was smart enough to avoid doing. Mike Pence just did it yesterday and it is landing with a thud in his home state. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, the much debated religious freedom bill is now law in Indiana. Governor Pence made it official yesterday. But reaction remained swift and sharp and it`s coming from across the country. Reporter Chris Kirschner is live this morning with possible backlash and what it also means for Indiana businesses -- Chris. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, good morning, Julia. On the surface, it appears this new legislation which supporters say is meant to protect from discrimination will be bad for Indiana business, especially that business that relies on Hoosier hospitality. You know, despite protests throughout the debate over this legislation and protests that even continued Thursday, Governor Pence signed the religious freedom bill into law. The groups opposed are many and varied. From the Indianapolis chamber, which called it a, quote, "divisive and unnecessary law", to the NCAA, which expressed concerned about how the legislation will affect athletes and employees. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: To the point of the NCAA is headquartered in Indianapolis. The men`s final four in the NCAA basketball tournament is in Indianapolis next week. The NCAA put out a statement today expressing their concern about this Mike Pence bill that he just signed, saying they will, quote, "closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events, as well as our workforce." Again, the NCAA doesn`t just hold a lot of events in Indianapolis, they have their headquarters there. Could they move the whole NCAA because of this? The CEO of Yelp said today that that company will not expand in Indiana because of that law. He also says they won`t expand in any state that passes a law like that. A big company called Salesforce is based in California, but that company just bought an Indiana-based company Exact Target last year for $2.5 billion. The CEO of Salesforce now says that because of what Mike Pence just did, that company will cancel all of their Indiana-based programs even though they just bought this huge Indiana-based firm. The CEO of a little company you may have heard of named Apple, that company that now has double the market valuation of ExxonMobil, roughly, Apple CEO said today, quote, "Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana`s new law and calling on Arkansas` governor to veto the similar bill." That bill in Arkansas is basically the same thing that Mike Pence just signed in Indiana. It`s pending in Arkansas, passed the Arkansas Senate today. It looks like it will be on the way to the way to the Arkansas governor`s desk and soon. If that happens, that governor can look forward to looking down the same barrel, of the same, huge coast to coast business backlash that Mike Pence just brought down on his state, because of his urgent desire in the middle of actual real challenges facing his state, his urgent desire to change state law, to make sure it is legal for businesses to refuse service to gay people. Could make an excellent basis for a presidential campaign, no? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRICIA MCKINNEY, TRMS SENIOR PLANNING PRODUCER: Hi. We have a news dump coming up. We had some player play, and we need some prizes to give said player. MADDOW: Nice bucket. MCKINNEY: Yes, I know. I don`t know why we have it. MADDOW: It seems like a big thing to be looming around, that none of us have seen. Do we have like a whole room full of stuff that way? MCKINNEY: It was in a closet. So that`s one possibility. (INAUDIBLE) I could give a whole box of thin mints. MADDOW: OK. MCKINNEY: This is from way back in the day when we used to do game shows, on the show, remember pin the tail on the donkey. (LAUGHTER) MCKINNEY: We had three podiums, these were in the front of the podium. MADDOW: This was our set dressing? MCKINNEY: Yes, this was our set dressing. So there is three of them, it could be like a TRMS, I even still have the price is right style nametag that I wore, and -- we saved -- (CROSSTALK) MCKINNEY: I had it at my desk. MADDOW: Very nice. But I love that we saved construction paper by having to double side it. So, the kids, the bucket, this is just a galvanized made in Mexico bucket. MCKINNEY: Or some cookies. MADDOW: I think we should offer a bucket full of Girl Scout cookies, and I`ll add more boxes. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Today, after investigators searched the home of the co-pilot who allegedly deliberately crashed the passenger airplane into the French Alps this week, after locking the pilot out of the cockpit, today, after the search of his home German prosecutors say they found several doctors notes indicating some sort of illness that rendered that co-pilot officially unfit for work, including one doctor`s note dated the day of the crash. The airline says they never received any such note about the co-pilot and his health on the day of the crash. But prosecutors say these documents support a preliminary assessment that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and from his colleagues. The co-pilot had been treated at a hospital clinic as recently as 17 days ago inside Germany. Germany has strict medical privacy laws, and citing those laws, the clinic has declined to say what the co-pilot was treated for. They said it was not depression. Apparently, aviation authorities did know that the co-pilot had had some kind of medical condition at least in the past. That was indicated by a special coding on his pilot license. It was coded "SIC", which in this context apparently means specific regular medical examination. It`s not clear, though, what condition that referred to, what earned him that designation on his license. It`s not clear whether it was physical illness or mental illness. In this country, in order to be medically certified to fly by the FAA, a pilot has to go online and fill out a detailed questionnaire which includes this medical history section where they`re asked to self-report mental disorders, substance abuse, suicide attempts. The questionnaire is then transmitted to an FAA medical examiner who does an in-person exam with that pilot. But, of course, a lot of what the doctor has to go on is the information that the pilot, him or herself, has provided on this form. After that, once a pilot has his or her medical certificate, he or she is required to have a physical example every year or twice a year if they`re over 40. Beyond that, though, airlines basically rely on pilot self reporting, or on their colleagues bringing concerns to superiors if they think something might be up with one of the people they`re expected to fly with. Airlines say they will help any pilot who reaches out, but naturally, some pilot say they would fear for their jobs if they ever revealed any mental health issue in the context of their work environment. Joining us now to give us some insight on this latest reporting about the Germanwings co-pilot and what is in place to try to stop something like this from happening is Dr. Gerald Surya. He`s a medical director and senior aviation medical examiner from Medport at JFK and LaGuardia airports. Dr. Surya, thanks very much for being here. DR. GERALD SURYA, AVIATION MEDICAL EXAMINER: Thank you for having me. MADDOW: Pilots fill out a form and self declare any conditions that might raise red flags or call out further evaluations? Is that basically accurate that`s what they do? SURYA: That`s the first step. MADDOW: OK. And then once you as a medical examiner in that context see what the pilot has listed on that form, if they don`t check yes in any of those boxes, if they don`t raise any red flags themselves, are you still empowered to follow up on those things yourself and try to discern the answers to those things as a physician? SURYA: Sure, definitely. The guidelines are set by the federal surgeon and the Aeromedical certification division. Any doctor can get certified to do this, but they have to be they don`t have to be a psychiatrist, and we don`t have to do an official mental status exam, but we are encouraged to form a general impression based on their emotional reactivity and cognitive functioning during the examination. The first step is that form and the FAA is very -- encourages to probe deeply to see if there`s any conditions which are not reported. MADDOW: Have there been any instances in your own practice -- obviously, I don`t want any specific information about anybody that would violate their privacy, but have you ever recommended a pilot for further recommendation before that pilot being OK`d to fly even if the pilot didn`t self-report any problems? SURYA: Yes, when there`s certain vague medical conditions like chest pain, or difficulty sleeping, those can be indications of actual psychological disorders. So, this -- the air, the aviation medical examiners are encouraged to follow up in an integrative way, the symptoms, the history, as well any, you know, reports that they get. MADDOW: In the absence of formal psych evaluation of pilots, whether it`s just initial psych evaluation or periodic as a part of this sort of recertification, we`re left to sort of see how these other things that you describe sort of fit together to create a safety net, to protect passengers from a pilot whose mental issues might end up creating a safety issue for everybody onboard that plane. One of those things that fits together to form the safety net is that pilot`s colleagues and superiors are supposed to be able to basically turn them in if they think something is wrong, even if the pilot doesn`t think anything is wrong with himself or herself. Does that actually happen? Dou you ever get pilots or airline personnel saying, hey, I want you to take a look at this guy, I don`t think he is all right. SURYA: Those serious cases would go more straight to the FAA rather than to a routine examiner, in the context of the way I perform it. In a post-9/11 world, I feel like there should be more directed question in terms of -- instead of just, is there a history of suicide? Does the applicant have any way to rationalize suicide? That has to be a direct question in my opinion. It`s not enough to ask if there`s been something in the past. MADDOW: So, there could be further questions even for psychiatrist physicians doing that kind of exam. SURYA: Yes. MADDOW: Interesting. Dr. Gerald Surya, senior aviation medical examiner, thanks for your time. It`s good to have you here. Thank you. SURYA: Thank you. MADDOW: All right. Lots more ahead, including a major announcement from a true two-fisted politician. Also, this season`s must have attorney general fashion accessory. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: November 7th, 2008, three days after he was just elected president, Barack Obama was giving his first press conference as the new president-elect of the United States. The U.S. economy was mid-meltdown, but the pressing issue that day was this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With respect to the dog, this is a major issue. I think it`s generated more interest on our Web site than just about anything. Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic. On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog. But obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are much like me. So, whether we`re going to be able to balance those two things I think is a pressing issue on the Obama household. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That pressing issue for the Obama household, three days after dad got elected president, that pressure issue was solved a few months later when along came the Bo, the Obama family Portuguese water dog, they got two of them now, Bo and then Sunny came along in 2013. There had been lots of presidential dogs over the years of all kinds. There is one unchanging, harden fast rule about presidential dogs of all kinds, which is that you do not mess with the presidential dogs. That rule is a rule that it turns out is not always followed, and that story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This adorable Scottish terrier is Barney. Barney was first dog of the White House for eight years. He belonged to President George W. Bush. He liked to play with soccer balls. He liked to watch people play horseshoes. Sadly, Barney died a couple acquires ago. And despite the charmed life he led while at the White House, Barney did have to put up with his share of adversaries, like for example, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who once told President Bush that Barney was not a good -- not as good a dog as Mr. Putin`s own dog, a big dog you see there. His name is Koni. Vladimir Putin once told President George W. Bush to his face that Koni was, quote, "bigger, tougher, faster, and meaner than Barney." Wow. The only other high ranking government official that we know who had the gall to insult the first dog of the United States to the president of the United States` face, the only other person to have ever done that was Nevada Senator Harry Reid. This is from "The New York Times" magazine in 2010, quote, "When Bush invited Harry Reid for coffee in the Oval Office in the final weeks of his presidency, the president`s dog walked in." How did Harry Reid greet the arrival of Barney? Harry Reid told the president, quote, "Your dog is fat." Poppy -- don`t listen, don`t listen. But at that point, President Bush was probably used to Harry Reid not mincing his words. February 2002, quote, "President Bush is a liar. He betrayed Nevada and he betrayed the country." May 2005, when asked President Bush, Harry Reid says, quote, "The man`s father is a wonderful human being. I think this guy is a loser." And while some people might have backtracked on calling President Bush a loser and a liar, that is not Harry Reid. Quote, "The things you heard me say about George Bush you never heard me apologize about any of them, because he was. What was I supposed to stay? I called him a liar twice because he lied to me twice." And that in the nutshell is Harry Reid. The steadfast but freaking combative leader of the Senate Democrats for the past decade, which is not to say he`s incapable of being cordial. Just the other day, Harry Reid said some very nice and unprompted things about Republican Senator Rand Paul on the Senate floor. He thanked Senator Rand Paul effusively. Senator Paul is an ophthalmologist and Senator Reid said that Rand Paul had been very kind to him and offered him expert advice while Senator Reid recovers from his eye injury. That was very nice. Harry Reid can do nice. He is capable of nice. But when he is trying to be confrontational, Katy bar the door. That picture there is not random. The guy on the right is Harry Reid. The guy showing all of his teeth while he punches the other guy`s lights out, that`s Harry Reid in his boxing days. In 1970s, when Harry Reid was chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, somebody offered him money, $12,000 cash, if he`d approve a use of some new gaming devices in Nevada casinos. Harry Reid called the FBI to report this attempted bribe. The FBI set up a sting operation to catch the guy in the act, and the plan was that Harry Reid would take a meeting with this guy, FBI agents would set up a hidden camera. They`d be watching from the next room. Harry Reid was supposed to say, "Is this the money?" That was the signal, and then the FBI agents would know to rush in and arrest the guy. That is not how it worked out, though. Harry Reid did take the meeting, did offer him the money, but then instead of just saying the signal phrase so the FBI could rush in, a videotape of the sting reportedly shows Harry Reid, quote, "getting up from his chair and saying, `You son of a beep, you tried to bribe me`,"and then he attempts to choke the guy. The FBI did have to rush in to make the arrest, but also to save the attempted briber from Harry Reid who at that moment had his hands wrapped the guy`s throat and he was squeezing. And then he rose up to the ranks of the U.S. Congress and multiple terms in the Senate and became the leader there. Harry Reid is very soft-spoken. He is also a pugnacious so and so, who shows his teeth when he punches, literally. Now, with Senator Reid announcing today that he will not run for reelection next year, not only will Nevada need to replace him, Senate Democrats will need to replace him as leader. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer from New York seems poised to take over the job. People who know these things say that it`s not so much a leader`s policy preferences that matter once they get a huge Washington job like this. It`s so much what they want in terms of policy, it`s their style. That has been Harry Reid`s style. The Democratic Party will be very different in Washington without him there. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Behold the new fashion statement at the Justice Department. This wrist bands say "Free Eric Holder." They have apparently begun popping up all over the Justice Department headquarters in the last few weeks as the nomination for Eric Holder`s successor as attorney has just stopped in the Senate. Last night, the Senate held 43 votes all in one night, it`s what they called a voto-rama. Forty-three votes, but not one on Loretta Lynch to be attorney general. And after failing to vote on her nomination last night, the Senate is now bolting down for two weeks of vacation. So, no new attorney general, they just will not vote on her. So, free Eric Holder. This thing has gone on so long, it is now entering the merchandising phase. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, we have been watching an awesome story out of Kentucky, where high school students drafted a "we want to be involved bill" that will allow a high school student to seat on the selection committee for picking a local superintendent of schools. After those high school students did that very reasonable civic-minded un-cynical thing, these two Republican state senators attached their own controversial and completely unrelated amendments to the kids` bill, one demagoguing the issue of bathroom use by transgender students. And the other expanding basically the right to discriminate in Kentucky schools in the name of religious freedom. And then they came up with another genius amendment to make the student on the committee a nonvoting member. Oh, that`s nice. So, in Kentucky, they took a bill, written by students, designed to give students a voice in the selection of their superintendent, they stripped the voting power out of it, and filled it with poison pills on uncontroversial unrelated issues, and then they lectured the high school kids on what they just done. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STATE SEN. DAMON THAYER (R), MAJORITY FLOOR LEADER: It goes back to that old Rolling Stone song that I like to quote so often, Mr. President, you can`t always get what you want, but you can try sometimes. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Because if there is anything the Rolling Stones stood for, it`s overbearing authority figures. Who had the most -- maybe the only mature response to this Kentucky ordeal were the teenagers themselves, who just wanted their bill passed. When it all blew up this week, they thanked the legislature and they said, quote, "This was not the result we wanted but we will be back next year, continuing to push for legislation that recognizes the value that student voices can bring to the table." See you next year. I remain moved by these kids` perseverance and their dedication to be absolutely freaking continued. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Friday night news dump time. Kent Jones, who`s playing tonight? KENT JONES: Tonight, Rachel, we have Matt Nash from Boston, Massachusetts. He is an artist and a professor, a self-described history nerd and a little controversial here, he claims to be Steve Benen`s biggest fan. Matt Nash. MADDOW: Oh, Matt. Very nice to meet you. MATT NASH, BOSTON, MA: Hello. Thank you for having me. MADDOW: I am a bigger fan of Steve Benen than you are. What? NASH: We`ve have to arm wrestle over that or something. I don`t know. I`ve been following his career for a long time. MADDOW: He is a special dude. And you`ll get to talk to him in just a moment because he, of course, is the lord of veracity here. But, first, very happy to have you here. We`re going to get three multiple choice questions about this week`s news. If you get at least two of them right, you`ll win this tinny little piece of junk. KENT JONES: As always, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW cocktail shaker. MADDOW: It probably leaks. NASH: Which I`ll use to make tiny cocktails and I will think of you every time I drink them. MADDOW: Thank you very much. If you get all of the questions right or if you do very poorly and you need extra credit or likely just because I feel like it, we have something random for you that we found in a closet, in our office. Kent, I have a vague memory -- NASH: Rachel, can I ask? Is it from Steve`s office, by any chance? MADDOW: No. JONES: No. MADDOW: I`ve never been allowed into Steve`s office. JONES: No, no, random but delicious. A bucket of Girl Scout cookies. MADDOW: So, he gets the bucket and all the cookies inside? JONES: Oh, yes. Twofer. MADDOW: Pretty good. And you get to talk to the disembodied voice of Steve Benen, the lord of Maddow Blog. Matt, meet Steve. Steve, meet Matt. STEVE BENEN, MADDOW BLOG: Matt, pleasure to meet you. NASH: Steve, I`m so excited to talk with you and Rachel. I`m a fan of both of your work. But I have to say it`s really exciting to talk to Steve today. MADDOW: You know, it`s kind of nice to feel like I`m in the way. BENEN: You`re not, really, you`re not. I promise. NASH: You have a very important part to play in this. I`m just trying to work the refs here to get the judges on my side. MADDOW: I got you. I know my important part, it`s just bridging the relationship between you and Steve. It`s all right. I`m fine. First question, from Monday`s show. And on Monday`s show, you are from Massachusetts, you are joining us from Boston. On Monday`s show, we talked about the tiny, tiny, tiny Republican delegation in the Massachusetts state Senate. Republicans hold only six of the 40 seats. NASH: That`s right. MADDOW: But each and every one of those six lonely Republicans does get something surprisingly great for their service in the state senate. Do they all get, (a), leadership title and the extra $15,000 salary that comes with that leadership title, do they get, (b), taxpayer funded cars, which happen to be all painted Republican red, (c), do they get free college tuition for their own kids but for all their staffer`s kids, or (d), a t- shirt that says, I got elected to the Massachusetts Senate as a Republican, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt? NASH: I would be happy to send them all a t-shirt, but I`m 100 percent certain they all get a leadership title and the money. MADDOW: Steve, did Matt get that right? BENEN: Let`s check the statement from Monday`s show. MADDOW: OK. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: They have given every Republican in the Senate a leadership title, which, by the way, means they all get an extra $15,000 in their salary. If you check under your state right now, you get a leadership job and you get a leadership job, everybody gets a leadership job. (END VIDEO CLIP) BENEN: The correct answer is (a), and they all gave themselves a sweet gig on Beacon Hill and Matt is one for one. MADDOW: Matt, you`ve already got one down. NASH: Yes. Two to go. We can do this. MADDOW: You have to get two right to guarantee yourself the cocktail shaker. Let`s go to question two. NASH: I live in Boston. I work in Cambridge. If I miss these, I can`t go to work on Monday. Nobody will talk to me. So, let`s do this. MADDOW: Let`s do this thing. Well, it`s too bad you never worked in Utah, because this next question is about Utah. Monday show, we reported that Utah`s Governor Gary Herbert surprised everybody by signing into law a piece of legislation that he had previously described as, I quote, "a little gruesome." What did that little gruesome legislation do? Did it (a), ban so- called flushable baby wipes that people use as toilet paper, because they`re really flushable? (b), was it a new set of regulations on how dentists dispose of the teeth that they pull? Was it (c), a new bill to overtly legalize discrimination against gay people by Utah businesses? Or was it (d), a bill to bring back the firing squad in Utah as an official way for Utah to kill its prisoners? NASH: I`m pretty sure that (c) is Indiana. So I`m going to go with (d), the firing squad. MADDOW: Steve, what`s the right answer? BENEN: Let`s take a look at the segment from Monday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Utah Governor Gary Herbert has just signed the bill that will bring back the firing squad as a method of execution in Utah. (END VIDEO CLIP) BENEN: The correct answer is (d), firing squad. Matt is right once again. MADDOW: Matt, you are on a roll. This is very exciting. NASH: Can I do Muppet face yet or should I wait to the third one? MADDOW: Oh, you should wait. Don`t do it yourself. Muppet face is very powerful. NASH: That`s true, that`s true. I don`t want to get ahead of myself. MADDOW: All right. This one is from last night`s show. Last night, we talked about the new governor of Oregon signing a landmark law and being so happy about it, she did break into a Muppet-like open mouth smile. Now, presumably the governor is happier now, now that her neighboring state of California is thinking about copying Oregon`s new law, which she just signed. What is the policy that might be moving from Oregon to California? Is it (a), everybody will now vote by mail instead of a polling place? (B), the state will automatically register everybody to vote? (C), there will be in California a $15 an hour minimum wage? Or (d), mandatory attack owl protective helmets for all joggers? NASH: Hmm. I`m going to go -- we know it`s not the owl. I`m going to go with voter registration. MADDOW: Voter registration. Steve, you got the answer for us? BENEN: I do have the correct answer. It`s b. The governor showed us the infectious smile, while signing the bill automatically, registering everyone to vote. And it`s on its way to California. MADDOW: Matt, you`re the king of the world. Kent, what did matt win? JONES: Everything. Cookie time! Cookie time! MADDOW: You get the cocktail shaker, you get the cookies, the bucket that the cookies come in. Matt, it was awesome to have you here. Thank you very much for playing. NASH: Thank you for having me. This was amazing. Steve, it was great to talk with you. Rachel, we love your show. Thank you so much. MADDOW: I love you back. That was awesome. That was great. If you want to play, send us an e-mail, It`s OK if you like Steve better than me. A lot of people around here like Kent better than me. A lot of people around like everybody better me, but I still like playing this game. E-mail us, -- tell us who you are, where you`re from, why you want to play the news dump. There is a lot of lousy muck and occasionally also new galvanized buckets around our office that could have your name on them. Now go to prison. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END