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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 04/13/15

Guests: Guy Cecil, Marc Caputo

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, man. CHRIS HAYES, ALL IN: You bet. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy Monday. In 2008, American taxpayers bailed out Wall Street. We didn`t necessarily want to, but we did. That gigantic bailout, hundreds of billions of dollars, was seven years ago now. Six years ago now, in 2009, a congressman named Peter DeFazio, said Wall Street should return the favor. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. PETER DEFAZIO (D), OREGON: It`s time for Wall Street to return the favor to Main Street. We saved them in their time of dire need. It`s time for them to repay that, help rebuild the real economy of America. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: We all know what had happened in 2008 and 2009, right? The implosion of Wall Street, totally a crisis of their own making, had set the whole U.S. economy off a cliff, set unemployment rates through the stratosphere. Congressman Peter DeFazio at the time said that he had introduced, came up with a bill that was basically a way that Wall Street could help the country recover from what Wall Street did to all of us, and not incidentally, he thought his plan might also help prevent Wall Street from doing that to us again. What he proposed was a one quarter of 1 percent tax on Wall Street transactions. Not on every Wall Street transaction. Not on anything under $100,000. Not on anything related to a 401(k) or some other retirement account held by an average human being. This was a financial transaction tax for the big stuff. For industrial-size transactions involving big money, by big Wall Street firms. According to the DeFazio plan, he thought it would have the benefit of raising $150 billion. For U.S. infrastructure projects and other things that might help drag the country out of the depths of the Great Recession into which we were still sliding at that point. It would definitely take that money from somewhere, though. It would take that money out of the hide of big Wall Street firms, particularly the big automated quantitative firms that made more money than god, by using high-speed computer-driven speculation, essentially. This algorithm, right? They buy millions of dollars of financial instruments of various kinds, they hold on to them for a couple seconds and then sell them off again. Those firms trade on the markets faster than humans could control it. They do it by computer. They use these proprietary algorithms that work great at extracting money from the market when everything is going great in the market. But those same automated, high-volume, speed of light processes are also really bad news when things start going bad. They were part of how things got so out of control in the crash. They worked like a cinder block on the accelerator once things started to crash in 2008 and into 2009. So, Peter DeFazio at the time said, OK, let`s have a teeny, teeny, teeny, teeny, tiny per transaction tax on big financial transactions. It will raise a lot of money, because there`s so much money moving through these markets, it might also have the side benefit of slowing down that recklessly careening risk-magnifying corner of the market. And Peter DeFazio had introduced this bill a few times before. But it was after the mega bailouts in 2008 and 2009 when his old idea that had been around for a while really started to get some traction. People were mad, right? People were mad at what Wall Street did. People were mad at the way we had to bail them out. Peter DeFazio`s bill in 2009 picked up a half dozen co-sponsors in the House for the first time. He also got support in the Senate. So, this footage is from 2009, Peter DeFazio in the House and some of his House co-sponsors. Tom Harkin from the Senate also there, and they`re announcing this plan they had -- there is Senator Harkin -- announcing this plan that might have finally had a chance with a Democratic-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate and a Democrat in the White House trying to fend off the torches and the pitch forks in the street over how mad everybody was about Wall Street, getting hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and then handing out bonuses with that cash while the rest of the country burned. So, this was Peter DeFazio, December 2009 having his moment, proposing that Wall Street transaction tax. That was December 2009. Then, right after that, in early 2010, this happened to Peter DeFazio. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AD NARRATOR: Nancy Pelosi and Peter DeFazio made a mess of our economy. Their policies aren`t working. It`s time for change. Art Robinson is a research scientist, not a politician. Art Robinson, a new voice, a smarter choice. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Now, when the ad calls Art Robinson a research scientist, he`s not really a research scientist in the way that you are probably thinking of a research scientist. Art Robinson publishes a direct mail newsletter in Oregon. He has argued in the past that HIV does not cause AIDS. That AIDS is a government-conspiracy and that AIDS-related deaths are politically convenient deaths. He is a proponent of the theory that radioactivity is secretly good for you. We would all benefit from sprinkling radioactive material in, like, playgrounds and backyards all over America, because it would have beneficial health effects. Art Robinson is also engaged in a large scale, long-term direct mail campaign to convince people to send him their urine in bulk, for years. He wants all of the pee you can bear to part with. He wants you to send him your pee in Oregon through the mail. I`m sure the post office loves him. Art Robinson runs his own self-proclaimed scientific institute in Oregon, sort of a compound. He`s got set up in Oregon populated by his own relatives. Art Robinson mostly studies pee and really would love to have yours if you can part with it. And even though it is not hard to imagine a guy like that wanting to run for Congress, believing that Congress needs more guys like him, it is a little hard to believe that somebody like Art Robinson could run this kind of a slick campaign for Congress. Well, it turns out, this particular ad campaign for Art Robinson and lots of other ads besides -- hundreds and thousands of dollars spent on ad campaigns for Art Robinson in this sleepy little Oregon district in 2010, turns out all those ads and all that money had less to do with Art Robinson, direct mail pee scientist, and more to do with the guy he was running against, Peter DeFazio. Because when you sponsor the financial transaction tax to try to get a little taxpayer pay back from the hedge funds of the world, turns out the hedge funds of the world notice you. At least some of them do. And that is how the Art Robinson for Congress campaign, however unlikely, became the very, very, very, very, very ostentatiously well- funded Art Robinson for Congress campaign in Oregon 2010. Thanks to that money that flew all wait into Oregon to benefit Art Robinson, from one guy on Wall Street. The guy who sent all that money is the owner of the Sea Owl super yacht -- super yachts are yachts big enough that they have their own web pages. There was some consternation in the super yacht world I learned today when Mr. Sea Owl took over the hedge fund, because the guy he took it over from is the owner of the Archimedes super yacht, which also has a lot of web pages about it. It turns out there was no reason to worry. The yachts are fine. The hedge fund has done great since the Sea Owl guy took over from the Archimedes guy. Both the Archimedes and the Sea Owl are fine. The super yachts are OK. Don`t worry. This particular hedge fund manager, the Sea Owl guy, is universally described as press-shy. He does not like to have a lot of publicity. He did get an unwelcome round of publicity in the national press around the time that he started this jihad against Peter DeFazio with him spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to defeat Peter DeFazio. He got an unwelcome round of press right around that time when his daughter shocked the previously unshockable New York City high-end real estate world by combining not two, not three, not four, not five, but six of the most expensive apartments in New York City into one giant apartment. In one of the most expensive apartment buildings in the city, the six different apartments were combined into one. One 17-bedroom, 14,000-foot castle in the sky. Big enough it made the "Wall Street Journal". I mean, the New York City mayor lives in Gracie Mansion, which as the name implies is a mansion and it`s really grand. This apartment, this hedge funder`s daughter, is twice the size of Gracie Mansion -- 17 bedrooms. The man who is the source of that money, the Sea Owl guy and all the rest of it, his name is Bob Mercer. He runs a hedge fund in New York City. It`s called Renaissance Technologies. After Peter DeFazio started getting traction on his transaction tax, which is a kind of tax a firm like Bob Mercer`s might feel because they`re one of these firms that uses computer algorithms to trade huge volumes of financial instruments in very, very, very quick time, holding on to stuff for seconds at a time before they sell it on again. It`s the kind of thing that they might actually feel. And once Peter DeFazio started getting traction with that transaction tax, good old Bob Mercer suddenly developed a keen interest from across the country in this once previously sleepy Oregon congressional district. That guy dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars in that district to try to unseat Peter DeFazio in 2010. And then he did it again in 2012. And then he did it again in 2014. He has not knocked him off yet. Peter DeFazio is still there. But around the time that Bob Mercer started that crusade against Peter DeFazio, around six years ago now, around that time, the IRS also started looking into Bob Mercer`s firm. "The New York Times" reported this weekend, quote, "Last year, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations accused Renaissance Technologies of using complex financial structures that allowed it to underestimate how much it owed the Internal Revenue Service by $6 billion - - $6 billion in underestimated taxes, $6 billion. Bob Mercer`s hedge fund says they have done nothing wrong. They have never done anything illegal when it comes to their taxes. They will obviously do everything they can to avoid paying the IRS $6 billion. Since that Senate report, though, last year, Bob Mercer has suddenly developed a new political interest. When Ted Cruz surprised everybody by becoming the first one out of the gate to announce his candidacy for president of the United States this year, the common wisdom take on Senator Cruz and his chances was that he was, yes, popular enough with the base Republican voters in the country, but he probably never would be able to get anywhere near raising enough money to be truly competitive with the Jeb Bushes of the world. Popular guy, could never raise the money to be big leagues. It was therefore a second Ted Cruz surprise when his campaign last week started bragging to reporters that the super PACs supporting Ted Cruz for president were already sitting on more than $30 million in support of his candidacy, which is a lot. "The New York Times" reported this weekend the man pumping that money into the Ted Cruz super PACs is our old friend, Bob Mercer, the same guy who`ve been trying to kill off Peter DeFazio all these years, to the point where he`s been willing to shell out huge money, year after year after year, to the guy who collects pee for a living, just because that`s the only guy in Peter DeFazio`s district who will keep running against him. Bob Mercer`s new cause after the "AIDS is a conspiracy sprinkle radiation on your kids, pee through the mail" guy, his new cause after that guy is Ted Cruz for president. Bob Mercer is, quote, "believed to be the main donor behind a network of four super PACs supporting Ted Cruz, which reported raising $31 million." You remember that Ted Cruz gave his "I`m running for president" speech at Liberty University, right? That`s where he announced. What did he do right after he announced? As soon as he was done making that presidential announcement at the Jerry Falwell school, the very next thing he did, his next stop after that speech was New York City. He came to Manhattan and did a fund-raiser at Bob Mercer`s daughter`s apartment, at the 14,000 square foot apartment with the 17 bedrooms. That`s the first place Ted Cruz went after he announced he was running. One family, one hedge fund guy, it`s kind of all you need. In Bob Mercer`s case, the name of his firm is Renaissance Technologies, that`s the firm that the Senate said last year has possibly underpaid the IRS by $6 billion in an ongoing investigation. Ted Cruz, effectively now is Renaissance Technologies` candidate for the White House. They are his sponsor in viability. Perhaps it`s a coincidence, but Ted Cruz is running for the presidency on a platform of abolishing the IRS. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Imagine abolishing the IRS. (CHEERS) MADDOW: Imagine how great that would be for guys who owe $6 billion to the IRS. Ted Cruz was the first candidate to get into the race for the presidency this year. It remains to be seen how much of his viability is linked to the very, very, very, very, very deep pockets of his de facto sponsor, the man whose individual donations to Ted Cruz alone have made Ted Cruz a potentially viable major party candidate. And now that the richest people in the country can give whatever they want, they can spend infinitely on anyone`s candidacy, how does that affect what the candidates do and how they run? All candidates say they want donations from normal people, right? And the kinds of amounts normal people can afford to give. And surely they want those small dollar donations from small dollar donors. I mean, theoretically, small dollar donations can add up. But the increasingly poorly kept secret about our politics right now is that if you send a candidate 5 bucks, they may ask can for donations starting at 5 bucks. If you send a candidate five bucks, your 5 bucks is worth less to them than your name and e-mail address you send them along with your piddling amount of money, because they don`t really need your 5 bucks when the other checks they`re getting have five zeros on the end of them before they get to the decimal point or more. Today, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida became the latest candidate to announce a candidacy for president of the United States. For more than a week, his campaign, his Twitter feed, social media presence of all kinds, all his public remarks have been laser focused on 6:00 tonight in Miami, Florida. They even ran a countdown clock, counting down to 6:00 p.m. tonight when Marco Rubio would make his big announcement he was running for president -- 6:00 p.m. Monday, 6:00 p.m. Monday. Everything has been focused on tonight`s big announcement. So, why were there headlines all day today saying he had already announced? Because he scooped himself. And he announced early, not to regular humans, but to the people who really matter. At a breakfast and a conference call with major donors, Marco Rubio actually announced early this morning to the people that he really needs to know that he`s running for president. And so, yes, he announced again tonight at the 6:00 p.m. thing. But the cat was already out of the bag, the headlines were already out all day long. Across the aisle this weekend, we were told that Hillary Clinton would announce her campaign for the presidency by dropping a video on social media, announcing that she was officially starting her campaign. She did drop that video late yesterday, but not before her campaign scooped her -- scooped the video by sending this e-mail to donors ahead of time so they could have first word that Secretary Clinton was officially in. The rest of us can wait. The donors -- heads up. We saw some of this in 2012. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson propped up Newt Gingrich. Billionaire Foster Friess propped up Rick Santorum in the same primaries. For a while, it seemed like everybody had their own billionaire benefit factor, right? So, we have seen some of this play out before. But if you had hoped that 2012 was maybe a fluke, it wasn`t. This is the way we are now. This is the way our country is now. This is the way our democracy works at the highest levels now. What does that tell us about how these people are all going to run? And if you`re not a billionaire, what`s your role in this process? Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched her potentially historic campaign for the White House this weekend with that video, and with the note to donors. She has a better chance than any woman in history at being the first female major party nominee for president. And she launched her campaign -- despite that advanced heads up to the donors -- she launched her campaign with an emphatic and specific explicit focus, saying she wants to be a campaign for everyday Americans. How do everyday Americans fit into presidential campaigning anymore? How can that be? A veteran senior strategist from Hillary Clinton`s last campaign joins us next. We`ve got lots ahead tonight. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TV ANCHOR: The Democratic presidential hopeful made a pit stop through our area after announcing her bid for 2016 yesterday. Hillary Clinton planned to travel to Iowa to kick-start her campaign. During that journey, she was spotted at this gas station in -- yes, Clinton County. She tweeted some pictures with people she chatted with at the Pilot Travel Center, it`s right up the Lamar Exit of Interstate 80. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was a local ABC affiliate in Scranton, Pennsylvania, reporting today that Hillary Clinton had spotted locally. Clinton County, what are the odds? It is sort of weird when a politician sighting is news. But this really was news today when Hillary Clinton was spotted first at a rest stop in Pennsylvania, and then at a Chipotle in Ohio while on a road trip to Iowa. I have been trying of since we saw this photo figure out what the order is but I can`t figure it out. We should also tell you that NBC News honestly can report tonight that Hillary Clinton has now made it to Iowa. I repeat. Hillary Clinton has made it to Iowa, according to reporting from NBC News tonight. The thing is, all of this on the ground Hillary-spotting stuff is apparently part of the plan. And that plan is our discussion next. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now I`m applying for jobs. It`s a look into what the real world will look like after college. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m getting married this summer to someone I really care about. UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I`m going to be in the play and I`m going to be in a fish costume. Little tiny fishes -- HILLARY CLINTON (D), 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m getting ready to do something too. I`m running for president. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. So, you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead and stay ahead, because when families are strong, America is strong. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was part of the presidential campaign announcement video from Hillary Clinton, released online yesterday. Tonight, Hillary Clinton has arrived in Iowa, where she is set to officially start her on the ground campaigning for the presidency. Joining us now is Guy Cecil. He`s a veteran senior strategist from Secretary Clinton`s last campaign. He`s also been advising her this time as she begins another quest for the presidency. Mr. Cecil, nice to meet you. Thanks for being here. GUY CECIL, CLINTON 2008 CAMPAIGN SR. STRATEGIST: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: So, what will be different about how Secretary Clinton runs this time compared with last time? CECIL: Well, I already think we`re seeing huge differences. I mean, from the video this time that featured the stories of everyday Americans, compared to the video last time which had her isolated in a living room -- the drive to Iowa, to meet with voters one-on-one. But I also think the important thing she did over the course of the last 36 hours, I would remind everybody, is ground the campaign in an economic message. And I expect that over the next month, she`s going to build on that until she does more public events in May. MADDOW: On the subject of the economic message, it was striking and direct and emphatic, this idea of focusing on everyday Americans, being a champion for everyday Americans, obviously putting it implicitly in economic terms, talking about with all those folks in the video talking about what`s going on in their own decisions in life about work and their families. But what we`re seeing, watching the political process, is what it looks like it`s going to be a multibillion dollar campaign, and billionaires already shaping up to spend infinitely to shape the campaign in their own weird billionaire images. How do you run anything focused on everyday Americans when the money in the campaign comes with five, six and serve zeros attached? CECIL: Well, I would make two points. I think the first thing is, there is a clear difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to wanting to change campaign finance law. And we would love nothing more than to provide some common sense solutions to this problem. Everyone on our side agrees, it`s gotten out of hand. But the way we respond to it is, one, we do raise money from small donors. I think the Obama campaign was a lesson that everyday donors, people giving $5, $25, $100, can actually make a difference. And the second is, we get lost in the process arguments when campaigns start. But the reality is, there is a clear difference on economic issues between Republicans and Democrats. We saw that today with the Rubio announcement. We saw it a couple weeks ago with the Cruz announcement. I think if we focus on those issues, we`re going to see a pretty big difference. MADDOW: Why does the campaign believe that small-scale retail politics, including, you know, driving to Iowa in a van, not doing a chartered helicopter or any of those other higher profile things, but really doing the road work here? Why do you think that`s the best approach for the candidate this time? And as members of the media, how much access do we have to the candidate while she does that? CECIL: Sure. Well, I think, first of all, the campaign is not going to be litigated in its entirety over the next 30 days. And Hillary herself wanted to get a chance without a lot of spotlight, without a lot of attention, to get to talk to real people, one-on-one, about the things that they care about. You know, she`s been meeting with policy visors over the last three or four months and I think she wants to talk to them about the things she has been hearing from those advisers, to see if it matches with the real experiences that people are going through. There is going to be plenty of time for big rallies and high school gymnasiums around the country. But I think giving her a chance to remind voters, you know, this is the same woman that went door to door for the children`s defense fund. This is a woman that helped create the children`s health insurance program. I think getting a chance to talk to voters about what they`re experiencing and developing policy proposals and rolling those out in May and June and beyond is exactly the right thing to do. MADDOW: One -- I feel self conscious sitting here in April talking intensively everyday now about 2016. But the fact is, it`s starting and we`re getting new people in almost every day now. Second Clinton yesterday, Marco Rubio today. We got a date for Ben Carson today. He`s going to be in -- CECIL: Oh great. MADDOW: -- sometime in early May, I know we`re all waiting on that. In terms of the strategy there -- I mean, Rand Paul started running his anti-Hillary Clinton ads today, started running anti Clinton ads in four states. I mean, there`s going to be -- I don`t know, somewhere between a dozen and 10 dozen Republicans running on the other side. Is she going to be able to ignore them and pretend that she has a Democratic primary and she`s focused on that, or does she have to start rebutting those ads, running against all 25 guys at once now as they start taking shots at her? CECIL: Well, I think the most important thing, first and foremost, is to make sure she is the nominee of the party. There has been a real emphasis on her part, on the part of the campaign not to take the primary for granted. But I don`t think that forecloses us drawing clear distinctions between what we saw with Marco Rubio today talking about a new American century. And when I -- was watching the speech, all I could think was, if a new American speech involves cutting the minimum wage, calling it silly, if it involves ignoring climate change, if it involves all the things that he talks about bringing us back to the last American century, then that`s a pretty important debate that we want to engage in from the very beginning. But I suspect that there will be time for her to talk about that. Right now, while the Republicans are all talking about Hillary Clinton, I think Hillary Clinton is actually going to talk to and about Americans and what they`re facing every day and what she thinks we can do together to solve their problems. MADDOW: Guy Cecil, former executive director, adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign -- Guy, thanks for being with us. I appreciate you. CECIL: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: Thanks. I will say, as a member of the press who talks about politics all of the time, it has never been easy to get folks from the Clinton world to talk with us here on MSNBC. So I`m appreciative that Mr. Cecil was here. I will also say as a blanket statement to all you ten dozen presidential candidates out there, you will find if you come on the show, that there is nobody yelling at you. You don`t get interrupted. You got to say your piece. I will probably have read something about you before you get here, but you might enjoy it. Everybody is welcome. Really, see? It will be OK. You can do it. Just call me. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, five years on from a major American disaster, a solution to prevent that kind of thing from happening again has finally been put forward, five years late. It`s finally happened, though, and it is infuriating, for a very specific reason. And that story is coming right up tonight. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 2009) GOV. CHARLIE CRIST (4), FLORIDA: Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm Florida welcome to President Barack Obama. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: President Obama went to Florida the second month that he was in office. He was promoting a $700 billion stimulus package to try to rescue the cratering economy at the time. The new president in early 2009 went to Florida, and the Republican governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, hugged him. Years later, Governor Crist called that moment -- quote -- "the hug that killed my Republican career." Arguably, that embrace between Charlie Crist and the new Democratic president did cost Charlie Crist the U.S. Senate race in 2010 the following year, 2010, when he lost that race in 2010 -- he lost it to this whippersnapper. Young Marco Rubio had just wrapped up a few years as speaker of the House in Florida. He was term-limited out in 2008, so he was kind of between gigs. He was teaching political science, kind of just waiting around for his next big opportunity. Florida did have that U.S. Senate seat opening up in 2010. But Republicans planned that Charlie Crist would go for that. Governor Crist was better known, better funded. He was the establishment candidate. He was the governor, for crying out loud. But in that 2010 election, it was Tea Party Marco Rubio who won the Republican nomination for Senate. And then Republican Marco Rubio won the general election in a walk. And so Florida got U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a new face, a Tea Party guy who said he wanted to do new things, he wanted to be the anti-insider. The Senate was still in Democratic control then, and when they started to work on comprehensive immigration reform, new Senator Marco Rubio joined the bipartisan gang of eight that was working on some form of comprehensive immigration reform. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Here in America, generations of unfulfilled dreams will finally come to pass. And that`s why I support this reform, not just because I believe in immigrants, but because I believe in America even more. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: And it worked, sort of. Marco Rubio and the gang of eight got immigration reform passed through in the Senate in 2013. They had details to work out. They had to get the House on board. But this was going to be a major policy advance for the nation. And it was going to really help Republicans with a major political problem that had been hamstringing them for years. It was going to help Republicans with their long-standing problem with attracting Latino voters. It was finally going to get done with this bipartisan solution that Marco Rubio helped make happen. And then, as the bill sat in the House, waiting for weeks on end without a vote, Senator Marco Rubio bailed. He declared that he no longer supported his own bill. He abandoned it. The deal collapsed. In political terms, Marco Rubio aimed high and scored in terms of getting his Senate seat. He pushed out the inevitable candidate. He beat the governor. He pushed Charlie Crist not only out of that Senate seat. He pushed Charlie Crist out of the Republican Party. Charlie Crist is now a Democrat. That`s what happened in political terms. The story of Marco Rubio is, he shoots, he scores. But in policy terms, it is not that same story. And building on that record of political audacity, but policy, what, retraction, policy collapse, today, Senator Marco Rubio announced that he would be running for president of the United States. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUBIO: This 21st century will also be an American century. (APPLAUSE) RUBIO: This will be the message of my campaign and the purpose of my presidency. And to succeed on this journey, I will need your prayers and your support... (APPLAUSE) RUBIO: ... and ultimately your vote. AUDIENCE: Yes. (APPLAUSE) RUBIO: And so tonight I`m asking you to take that first step with me by joining us at our Web site, (END VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: If you were moved enough by Marco Rubio`s announcement speech today that you tried to go to, it did not work, which is a good sign, because it probably means a lot of people tried to go to that Web site all at once. It`s probably a bad sign, because they didn`t plan for that eventuality. But here`s one thing to consider about this announcement today and how important it is that Senator Rubio is running. It`s a really specific thing. Senator Ted Cruz is running, obviously. He was first in. Senator Cruz was first elected to the Senate in 2012. Senators serve six-year terms. So, that means that Ted Cruz is not up for reelection until 2018 in the Senate. So, if Ted Cruz loses running for president in 2016, no big deal. He`s up for reelection as a senator two years later. Senator Rand Paul was next to get in. He was first elected to the Senate in 2010. That means that he`s up for reelection in the Senate in 2016, the presidential election year. Now, Kentucky law says you can`t be on the ballot twice for federal office, so that`s a real mess in Kentucky. Right now, the plan is for Kentucky Republicans to not hold the presidential primary for 2016. And instead, they`re going to hold a caucus. So, technically, Rand Paul will not be on the ballot, because they will be caucusing instead of voting. If Rand Paul does end up on the ballot in November as the nominee for president or vice president, though, he also won`t likely be allowed to take his name off the ballot for senator. That means Republicans in Kentucky will have to run somebody as a write-in candidate if they want a chance of holding on to that Senate seat for the Republican Party, a seat that would otherwise probably be a safe Republican Senate seat if Rand Paul weren`t hogging all the lines on the ballot for himself just to make sure there is no chance he will actually be out of a job next year if and when things don`t go his way. But, in Florida, Marco Rubio is not hogging the ballot. He`s all in. He`s going to run for president, instead of running for reelection to the Senate, which means if he doesn`t win a presidential or vice presidential spot for 2016, he`s back to teaching political science. He`s a one-term senator, regardless. And regardless of what else happens with his candidacy for president, Florida Republicans now have to find somebody else to put on the ballot to defend that Senate seat in heavily contested swing state Florida. Neither Rand Paul nor Marco Rubio is a sure thing or even a distant favorite to win the nomination for either president or vice president. Each of them presents the risk of a lost Senate seat for the Republican Party. But Rand Paul is making that worse for his party by hedging his bets. Marco Rubio is not hedging his bets. He`s going for it. He`s all in. It tells you something about the difference between those two guys. Joining us now is Marc Caputo, longtime Florida political reporter who now covers the state for Politico. Mr. Caputo, it`s nice to have you here. Thanks for being here. MARC CAPUTO, POLITICO: Well, thanks for having me again. I appreciate it. MADDOW: So was there any doubt that Marco Rubio would give up his Senate seat in order to do this? Is that something that he had to really seriously consider? He`s out there without a net. CAPUTO: Well, there was a little doubt on our behalf in the news media at first. But, as it got on, as the months rolled by, and as we heard more and more from Rubio`s camp, and as he suggested, he was essentially saying, look, if I`m all in for president, I`m all in for president, and I won`t run for reelection to the Senate. Now, he has left himself the smallest of cracks in the door, where there`s a possibility he would get back in. But nature abhors a vacuum, and politicians certainly abhor an open Senate seat. So you`re starting to see a very big influx of interest from other Republicans in the state who are going to be running for the seat. So if Rubio decides to get back in the Senate seat, it would really cause a measure of chaos and let`s say displeasure with him. And I don`t think he`s going to do that. You`re talking about Rubio being all in. What`s really kind of amazing is the kind of personal -- interpersonal family drama that you`re seeing in the Republican Party here. Jeb Bush is essentially like his uncle, his mentor, and he`s -- he not only announced today that he`s running for the seat. He said, look, some people are telling me that I should wait my turn, and I`m not going to do that. Well, that`s a pretty veiled shot at the folks who back Jeb Bush. So, Rubio let them know, like, hey, just like I ran against Charlie Crist in 2010, there`s a possibility I will be running for this seat and therefore against Jeb Bush in 2016. So it was gutsy and kind of typical of Rubio. He certainly seems to relish a fight or, when he decides to do something, he`s pretty stubborn in going ahead and doing it. MADDOW: Well, in terms of that personality that you`re describing now, that history, he hasn`t been a national figure for very long. He just hasn`t -- he sort of popped out -- from the national perspective, popped out of nowhere when he took that Senate nomination away from Charlie Crist, ended up a United States senator after a very easy general election campaign. But he was in public office for many years in Florida and in the Florida legislature and the Senate there. Is there anything from his political past either that he still may have to answer for on the campaign trail nationally or that you think is particularly illustrative in terms of what we should expect from him now? CAPUTO: Well, that`s a good question. Whenever someone runs for president, they really learn what it means to be under the national spotlight. Take Jeb Bush. "The Washington Post" had found some obscure state form -- I still don`t know how they found it or where they found it -- that showed his wife had borrowed a bunch of money to buy a bunch of jewels at one point. "The New York Times," for Jeb Bush, had found that he or someone mistakenly checked the Hispanic box on this voter registration form. Rubio can certainly expect a lot of the scrutiny. And in Rubio`s past, he has had questions about the way in which he spent money. Specifically, he had a Republican Party of Florida credit card, and it looked certainly to his opponents that he was spending a lot of that personally. He had various explanations. Incidentally, the FBI did ask a few questions around there. I`m not sure it`s safe to say in hindsight that it was an investigation, but we could certainly call it a federal inquiry or federal interest. In addition to that, he had some political committees that helped him become House speaker and some of those expenditures in the 2010 cycle raised questions about how he spent that money, whether he was living off of it or not. It certainly appeared, in part because of the way the laws are written, that it was legal, but it raised questions. And those questions are going to be raised again. Nothing old will not come out again if you`re running for president, certainly in this nation and with the amount of media coverage we have, both on the left, the right and center, on television and blogs and newspapers and the like. MADDOW: Marc Caputo, senior writer for Politico, has covered Florida politics for years. Marc, it`s nice to see you. Thanks for being here tonight. CAPUTO: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. MADDOW: All right. We got lots more to come, including a very embarrassing thing that happened at our news meeting today. We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The manhole cover thing, it`s so much -- it`s like the Grand Canyon. You can have somebody tell you it`s great, and you can imagine that it`s going to be great. And then you see it, and it`s so much greater than anybody could possibly explain to you. Just it`s... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Try not to oversell it. MADDOW: No, it was -- it can`t be oversold. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were -- pretty much evacuating the building. We were waiting for the children to finish... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch yourself. Watch yourself. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heads up! Heads up! Heads up! Heads up! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think so. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s coming down. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That fire is traveling. And the first manhole actually was a little bit up the street on Tupper. That second one was right here at the corner, so the fire seems to be coming down the street towards this way. And pretty much what you just seen right there is what we heard a moment ago, before -- when the first explosion took place. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty scary, huh? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was definitely startling. MADDOW: The fact too that the guy was being interviewed while the thing goes, and he`s just like dude on the street. And then, like, he like kind of takes over. He`s like, heads up, heads up. Everybody, clear. And then afterwards, he, like, brings the camera man with him. He`s like what this means -- the fire is moving underground. The last manhole was down there. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: We`re moving. We`re moving, people. Like, that guy just takes over. I don`t know if he`s the mayor of Buffalo, but he ought to be. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were -- pretty much evacuating the building. We were waiting for the children to finish... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch yourself. Watch yourself. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heads up! Heads up! Heads up! Heads up! (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: If you thought the exploding manhole was good, coming up next, we have a story that we have waited years and years and years for the chance to tell you. The outcome here surprised us, again, after years of waiting. But, tonight, that story is finally ready, and it is here. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Really early in the morning on April 1 just a few weeks ago, something lit up the sky over the Gulf of Mexico. Middle of the ocean in the middle of the night is generally about as dark a place as you can find on Earth. But this was the scene in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico earlier this month, April 1. This is an oil platform just off the coast of Mexico that exploded and caught fire in the middle of the night. It`s an oil rig operated by Mexico`s state-run oil company, Pemex. It is still not clear what caused that huge explosion on that oil platform. It took a total of eight firefighting vessels just to put the fire out; 300 people were evacuated from the rig. The initial reports were that one rig worker was killed in that explosion, but that number has since been revised from one man up to four, four men killed, and, as of last week, the Mexican government still searching for three more workers on board that rig who remain missing more than a week after that explosion. The scenes from that accident this month, an oil rig on fire, out of control in the Gulf of Mexico, hundreds of people being evacuated, multiple people killed, that scene obviously eerily reminiscent of this scene. It was first years ago next week that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew out in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 people on board that rig and causing the worst environmental disaster in American history. That BP well that blew out gushed oil uncontrollably for 87 days. It dumped more than 170 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. That was April 2010. Now, five years later almost to the day, new rules have just been announced from the federal government in response to that worst oil spill ever. It only took five years. You might remember that one of the main issues when it came to that disaster was a device on the oil rig called a blowout preventer. A blowout preventer is supposed to do the thing that is literally suggested by its name. A blowout preventer is supposed to prevent blowouts of oil wells. It`s a sort of last line of defense on an oil platform if and when everything else goes wrong. When the BP oil disaster happened, we spent a lot of time on this show covering why, at the Deepwater Horizon spill, that blowout preventer didn`t. And that`s because one of the things that was most shocking when all the investigations were done about that accident is that the blowout preventer in that case did not seem to be defective. It did sort of work as designed. It was not that that specific blowout preventer at that disaster was a dud. It was that these devices generally are duds. They have critical design flaws. They don`t work. The thing that is supposed to be the last line of defense was designed in such a way that it could never really do its job, so it`s giving us a false sense of security all this time. In the aftermath of the BP spill, I had a contentious interview on this show with the man who at the time was the top federal regulator for offshore oil drilling, a gentleman named Michael Bromwich. And I pressed him on this issue about why his agency was giving out new permits to drill offshore, even though they knew these blowout preventers would never really prevent a blowout. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 2011) MADDOW: We have been talking about the blowout preventers issue because we were sort of horrified to the see the new report come out and the forensic examination of what went wrong with that blowout preventer, suggesting... MICHAEL BROMWICH, DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT: But, Rachel, it didn`t... (CROSSTALK) MADDOW: Wait. Wait. I will talk and then you talk -- suggesting design flaws in blowout preventers. Why give out the permits now, before the new rules are in place? BROMWICH: Well, you can always improve the equipment that`s being used. But you -- that doesn`t mean that you bring activities to a standstill until you can enhance those rules. We`re in a much different and better position now than we were back in April, even with respect to blowout preventers. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Don`t worry about these blowout preventers. We`re in a much better position now when it comes -- that was April 2011. Today, four years later, the Interior Department has announced that they are overhauling the rules in place when it comes to blowout preventers. Oh, yes. They`re fundamentally changing the way blowout preventers are designed and maintained and inspected. This is a wholesale change when it comes to that piece of equipment. And, as such, these news rules are an acknowledgment that the blowout preventers that were being used in American waters for decades were insufficient and that, when the U.S. government gave the oil industry the go-ahead to start drilling again back in 2011, even after the BP disaster, they did so knowing that these blowout preventers were critically flawed, even as they tried to do their best to say that these things were better and we should all feel confident in them. And they made that case even here on this show, which was infuriating and patronizing at the time. We now know it was bull-pucky. These new rules were announced today. They will go through a public comment period of 60 days before they finally go into effect. Grrr. Watch this space. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END