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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/24/15

Guests: Dan Rather, Benny Zelkowicz

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is "ALL IN" for this evening. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel. RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. Chris Hayes of the multiply all Emmy Award-nominated show, "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES". HAYES: Thank you very much. MADDOW: Congratulations, very exciting. Have a great weekend. It`s true. Chris Hayes got nominated for multiple Emmy Awards this year. It`s true. He`s amazing. And thanks to you for joining us at this hour as well. We got a lot to come in this hour. There`s a lot of news in the world tonight. Lots to update you on. We`re going to have an update for you in just a moment on what we learned today and tonight about the latest American mass shootings, inexplicable, attack in Lafayette, Louisiana, last night, in which a man with a semiautomatic handgun shot and killed two people, shot and wounded nine other people before he turned the gun on himself. We have information about who he was the condition of the survivors still hospitalized after that attack, and we`ve got some very difficult questions raised today and tonight about how the shooter obtained the gun he used in that mass shooting given some of the very disturbing things that we now know about his personal history and his criminal history. So, we got an update on that coming up in just a moment, including the latest from local authorities on the scene in Louisiana, who have been releasing new pieces of information about that shooting and that shooter, well into the evening tonight. So, that`s ahead. Plus, we got a bit of unfinished business coming up with my interview this week with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Rick Santorum made quite a bit of news in that interview he did with me here. We`re very happy to have here. But there is one important matter that was unresolved in that interview that we will hopefully be finishing up tonight. That`s still ahead. Plus, there is some sad news tonight for Congress. Not sad as in tragic but sad as in having to work through the weekend in inexplicably in late July. They are not happy about it for good reason. So, all of that is still ahead tonight. Plus, we`ve got some bacon that comes in a jar that never goes bad. And that could be yours. Happy Friday. We start tonight, though, with a legitimate Friday night news dump. I mean, when you have information you have to release to the world, you have news that is not good news, there is a great tradition of trying to bury that bad news by releasing it late at night on a Friday. I mean, yes, the new cycle is 24 hours, yes, everybody has access to news 24 days a day, seven days a week. But honestly, who wants to read the news on a beautiful sunny Saturday in late July, right? So, if you can crumple your bad news out, and make it as small as possible, and then sneak it out late in a day, on a Friday, you will increase the chances that maybe people won`t really notice your bad news at all. So, the next time you see Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, tell him, you are sorry, you noticed. You saw what he did. Late at night on Friday July 24th when he sent out the world`s teeniest, tiniest, nothing to see here, move along, don`t read this announcement explaining finally much later than all the other candidates, explaining how much money he`s raised so far for his presidential campaign. Almost all the other candidates put this information out a while ago, but Rand Paul has been holding out all this time. He didn`t release the numbers until tonight, until Friday night. And now we know why, because Rand Paul`s fundraising numbers, at least by our population, put him just above Ohio Governor John Kasich and well below Texas Governor Rick Perry. If you want to be seen as a top tier Republican candidate, you do not want to be between John Kasich and Rick Perry, especially right now when it looks like neither John Kasich nor Rick Perry is likely to even make it on the stage to be in the Republican presidential debates. I mean, that is not the territory that Rand Paul is supposed to be in? Between John Kasich and Rick Perry? I mean, one of the basics how Rand Paul is supposed to be able to compete, right, it`s his supposedly amazing donor network which he got from his dad. Everybody thought that Rand Paul would be able to raise tons and tons of that sweet, sweet Ron Paul money like his dad did, right? Topping that huge donor class, that the other candidates can`t touch because their donors don`t overlap with everybody else`s, right? Because Rand Paul is supposed to be not just any other Republican candidate, he`s supposed to be the leader of a movement, of die hard followers who would have done anything for Ron Paul and they`ll do anything for Rand Paul. Well, it turns out one of the things those people will not do for Rand Paul is send him any money. I mean, he released his PAC numbers today, it turns out he raised about $5 million between two different PACs, 40 percent of that money he raised for his PAC came from just two guys, two individual people who each wrote him a check for a million dollars. So, I mean, the beltway press has been so fascinated with Rand Paul, the most fascinating man in politics. The beltway press has, in part, been fascinated with Rand Paul, because they thought he would be so different. They thought they`d be able activate this otherwise invisible network of die hard supporters who would not only support him and be enthusiastic for him, and caucus for him, and vote for him, they would donate to him and make him a viable candidate even if he wasn`t otherwise in a mainstream of Republican politics. Well, it turns out, those folks aren`t there. So, bad news today for Rand Paul. Bad news he tried to sneak out in a real live Friday night news dump. Good news for Rand Paul. Good news today though for the aforementioned Rick Perry. So, there are a lot of firsts. A lot of historic pioneers in this huge field of Republican candidates running for president this year. For the first time, there is a major candidate for the Republican Party presidential nomination who is Indian-American, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. It`s very exciting. The Republicans are also running two Cuban-American candidates this year, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. They are running and independently wealthy, successful businesswoman female candidate, Carly Fiorina. But the Republicans also, for the first time this year, with the candidacy of Rick Perry, they are also making history, because Rick Perry is the first major party candidate, Democrat or Republican, to seek the presidency of the United States while also being under felony criminal indictment. He is a pioneer. That`s never happened before. Governor Perry last summer was hit with a two count felony indictment for coercion of a servant and authority. That`s his mugshot there. Well, today, a court in Texas threw out one of those two felony charges pending against Rick Perry. And it was interesting. They didn`t just throw out the charge against him. They actually threw out the whole wall. They threw out the whole statute under which he was charged. This court in Texas today ruled that coercion of a public servant, that charge as a law shouldn`t exist. That law is unconstitutional. So, nobody could be charged under that law, including Rick Perry. That one`s gone. The other charge against Governor Perry, the abuse of power charge, that one does still stand and that is where things got a little bit weird today in Texas. Watch this. This is Rick Perry`s reporters speaking today in Austin. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TONY BUZBEE, RICK PERRY`S ATTORNEY: The court today threw out what we believe to be the greater of the two charges, that is the coercion charge. The remaining count we believe to be a class C misdemeanor. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: You believe to be? Rick Perry`s lawyer telling reporters today that the remaining felony charge against Rick Perry, they don`t think of it as a felony. We believe to be a class C misdemeanor. He thinks of it as a misdemeanor. It`s not a misdemeanor. It`s a felony. What`s pending against him is a felony charge that carries a potential sentence of five to 99 years in prison. But apparently, part of his defense is that he got to look at it as a felony. He thinks that more as, I don`t know, damming with fake praise. Yes. Amazing. But Rick Perry really is still facing a felony, even with one of the two charges against him dropped. He is still the only major party candidate to make a run for the presidency while under indictment. That history will always be his. And Rick Perry is also still doing terribly in the polls, despite being a historic pioneer. In the latest PPP poll yesterday, Rick Perry polls at 1 percent, which means he is locked in a tie with my friends Rick Santorum. In another new national poll that came out today from "The Economist" at a polling outfit, Rick Perry doubles his support at 2 percent. That`s actually down from 3 percent in the same poll two weeks earlier. It puts him underneath Carly Fiorina in the polls. Rick Perry is so far down not only is he not on track to make it into the Republican presidential debates. Rick Perry is losing in the polls, even compared to the other people who aren`t going to make into the Republican presidential debates. I mean, he really is getting beaten in the polls now by Carly Fiorina. And it`s not like that`s because Carly Fiorina is spiking in the polls. She is doing terribly as well. She`s not going to make it on the debate stage either, not unless something changes. I mean, she is trying to make something change, Carly Fiorina`s campaign now sending out this e- mail appeal asking people to send her money so she can make it onto the debate stage. Now, I don`t know -- you can`t buy. I don`t know how the money will help. She may decide to spend that money the way Chris Christie is, which is trying to get him on the debate stage. Chris Christie is another of these candidates who`s really on the bubble in terms of whether or not he`s going to be allowed to debate. Poll numbers are so low for Christie right now. It`s very questionable as to whether or not he`s going to be allowed to debate. But groups supporting Chris Christie`s campaign decided to just dump a quarter of a million dollars into running pro-Chris Christie ads on the FOX News Channel. Which must be a nice thing for the FOX News Channel. I mean, it was the FOX News Channel that set this rule, right, that they`re only going to let ten people into the Republican debate. They`re going to decide which ten are allowed into the debate based on national poll numbers. So, any Republican that wants to make it on the debate stage has ever incentive in the world to spend all of their money doing everything they can to boost their national poll numbers. You can`t boost your national poll numbers by going to county fairs in Iowa and New Hampshire and doing the traditional campaign stuff that candidates would be doing this time of the year in the early states. Now, if the only thing that matters is boosting your national poll numbers, well, if you are a Republican running for president, you better spend your resources increasing your profile with Republican voters who might some day get called by a pollster. I mean, that`s how you have to fight for your political life right now. You need to increase your national profile among Republican voters. How would you do that? Well, you better start running ads on FOX News. I mean, the FOX News debate rules basically instruct the candidates to start spending their campaign money buying ads on the FOX News Channel. It`s amazing. It`s a great racket FOX has set up. Chris Christie`s side, as of today, is spending a quarter of a million on new ads, not in Iowa, not in New Hampshire. Not in South Carolina, but on the FOX News Channel instead, ka-ching. It must be very nice for FOX. Other candidates are trying other things, to the extent they can. Bobby Jindal`s top political consultant has written an op-ed on the pages of the conservative "Wall Street Journal" editorial page. "Wall Street Journal`s" owner, Rupert Murdoch, also happens to own the FOX News Channel. So, maybe he`s trying to get in that way. It`s basically a plea for FOX to change the debate rules. This is the op-ed. Let all 16 candidates debate. Lindsay Graham, he continues to be loud and aggressive and making the case that FOX News shouldn`t disallow some of the candidates from debating. Lindsay Graham has been making that debate on cable news, trying to pressure the Republican Party, saying just because FOX News wants to do it this way and cut the candidates out of the debate, doesn`t mean the Republican Party is going along with that. Lindsay Graham has also set up this Web site, If you go to our and Lindsey Graham your first and last name and your email address, he will sign you up for this petition to let him into the debate, to let all the candidates into the debate and sign you up for his fundraising list. But you can sign that petition. You can -- from that Web site you can post on Facebook, post on Twitter that you think FOX News is wrong, they should let all the candidates debate. Conservative media is also starting to realize that FOX News is really basically messing up the Republican presidential process this year. The right wing Web site Breitbart is making the same case, publish this today, quote, "Through a process of our own making, Republicans are killing -- through a process of our own making, Republicans are killing the candidacies of some of our brightest and brightest candidates who not only are capable of defeating Hillary Clinton. They have the potential to be amazing leaders for our nation." So, with the candidates revolting this way, with the obvious sort of -- what do we call it? I mea, conflict of interest? That FOX News has set up here in terms of the way they`ve set up the debate rules to financially benefit themselves as a company? With conservative media now balking at what they`ve done? FOX News and the Republican Party are going to have to decide what to do here. I mean, Lindsey Graham is right that the Republican Party, no matter what FOX says, the Republican Party doesn`t have to go along with this. They could say, forget you, FOX, we don`t like these rules. We`re not going to do a debate with you. The Republican Party could decide to let all their candidates debate, but they`ve only got a few days left to change their mind. They`ve only got a few days left to act. If they do not change course on this, the candidacies, including seriously some of the candidates who are most impressive on paper, including a bunch of presidential candidacies, including a bunch of governors, their candidacies are effectively going to end by the end of next week when those debates are set to start and they will not be allowed on stage. Meanwhile, the Republican front runner Donald Trump, he started selling those hats. You know that enormous oddly shaped very proud baseball hat he wore to Texas this week? I don`t mean proud like he had pride in it. I mean, proud as in like a geometric shape. It has a big head. That odd shaped sea captainy proud baseball hat that he wore on that trip, if you think he looks great in that, you can now buy that hat. It`s at the Donald Trump gift shop at Trump Tower. Hunter Walker, reporter of "Business Insider", went over to the Trump Tower, to the Donald Trump merchandise area, and he got himself a $20 Donald Trump make America great again baseball cap. He purchased it, or at least selected out of this fancy display case, and the person working at the shop wrapped it up for him in black tissue paper embossed with the Donald Trump logo an stuffed it into a gold gift bag with a fake gold handle, only $20. Mr. Trump continues to dominate the Republican field not only in terms of attention, but also in terms of numbers. Some new polling numbers came out in the race today that prove once again that everything the beltway press is saying about Donald Trump, everything that Republican insiders and the Republican establishments are saying about Donald Trump is wrong. Everything they keep telling us to expect about what`s to happen in the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump just isn`t happening. We have those new numbers for you next. Plus, hopefully, an explanation of what this all means from legendary network news anchor Dan Rather, who`s here live tonight. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Lots still to come on the show tonight, including some very important unfinished business from my interview with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. That`s coming up. Plus, Dan Rather is here next live. Stay with us. Lots ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Here`s the thing I don`t understand. In the two national polls that have been taken since Donald Trump said that terrible thing about John McCain, since he denigrated John McCain`s military service and said John McCain is no, hero because he was captured in war, since Donald Trump said that, Donald Trump has still come in first in the next two national polls that were taken since he said what he said. This is the PPP poll that came out yesterday. This is people being asked about Donald Trump after those John McCain remarks, Donald Trump in first place. Now, the new poll that came out today, "The Economist" poll and YouGov, Donald Trump again the leading candidate. Quote, "Donald Trump`s rise in the Republican contest for the 2016 nomination does not appear to have been slowed much by the recent controversy over his criminals of Arizona Senator John McCain. He is still ahead and far ahead when Republicans are asked to choose among the 16 currently announced candidates." And actually, if you look specifically at that poll, Donald Trump is further ahead in that specifically poll now. He`s further ahead now than he was in that poll before he said what he said about John McCain. He`s increased his lead since he said that about John McCain. I do not get it. How do you say what Donald Trump said, denigrating the military service of a war hero and have Republican primary voters not just still want you as their nominee. They want you more than they used to as their nominee. I cannot get my head around these things. I need help. I need Dan Rather to explain what is happening. Luckily, Dan Rather is here to help. Joining us now for the interview, Dan Rather the host of "The Big Interview" on AXS TV. Dan, it`s great to see you. DAN RATHER, AXS TV: Great to see you. MADDOW: Can you help me? Is it explicable or is this an unexplainable thing? RATHER: No, I think it`s explainable. As you know better than most, I`m often wrong. Here we are, Donald Trump, he is voicing what a lot of Republican primary voters are thinking but they don`t want to say. They think it`s kind of -- they don`t know how it will go down. Not only will they like it, but they love it. Secondly, Donald Trump is the epitome of an anti-Washington candidate. They love that. But the John McCain thing which I thought then and believe now is a big mistake. He damaged himself personally and damaged his chances for what he wants to accomplish. However, John McCain and Lindsey Graham from South Carolina are not all that popular with the large segment of the Republican primary voters. Third, what he said about immigration, about Mexicans, abhorrent to most of us -- again, that`s something that`s reflected. It`s a deep down feeling of a lot of people that don`t want to express or feel they can express it and Donald Trump is expressing it for them. And besides that, he`s tapped into the anger, frustration, rage and fear of a lot of people not all of them in the Republican Party, who are sort of scared about what`s happening with their country. And he`s tapped into that. Now, it`s a long list and I`ll end it here. But Trump is the classic leading man figure. I know you were saying there is nothing classy about Donald Trump. But it`s classic leading men and American politics, particularly presidential politics, is theater. Trump understands that it`s theater. Theater needs a leading man. He plays like a leading man. And you can hear him saying, frankly, my dear, I don`t give-a-damn, or as Clark Gable once did, as Clint Eastwood in "Dirty Harry" saying, "Make my day." Now, how long this lasts? I don`t know. The question now is whether he`s a shooting star and can begin to fade or whether he`s a planet, who`s going to be around this Republican primary process for much longer than most people think. I am of the opinion that the latter is true. I think he`s going to be around longer and maybe a lot longer, you know, he`s a Republican`s nightmare, because as long as he`s in their party running in their primary, most of the candidates feel like they`re facing a manure spreader in a windstorm. (LAUGHTER) RATHER: But, if he gets out of the party, for any reason, if they force him out, whatever, he`s already talking about wanting a third party candidate. Keep this in mind, this is no small flame, because Ross Perot in 1992 ran as an independent third party candidate. He was on the stage for the presidential debate. MADDOW: Right, not the primary debates, but the general election debates. RATHER: And he got almost 19 percent of the vote and there are plenty of Republicans who believed that the presidency was delivered to Bill Clinton. Now, let`s take the case of Ralph Nader, got a miniscule amount of votes on a national basis. But he was the difference in Florida. MADDOW: Right. RATHER: So, any time the Republicans look around, they don`t know, in the country`s (ph) phrase, they can`t figure what wine to watch or bark at the moon. MADDOW: The Ross Perot thing I think is fascinating. Because when you look at the numbers, he drew evenly from the Democratic side and the Republican side. There is a lot of -- the interesting data in terms of exit polls and all that stuff, Republicans, you are absolutely right, believed that Poppy Bush would have been reelected if it weren`t for him. They convinced themselves that Bill Clinton was never going to make it on his own. He needed Ross Perot to help him, and there`s all this fear around a Donald Trump presidency. Here`s the question I have specifically about I go es the historical context and the John McCain thing. The reason I believe Donald Trump isn`t going to go away -- not a flash in the pan like the beltway says, like all the Republican insiders say, is because I feel he`s gaffe-proof that I would have thought that saying something like that about John McCain, about a legitimate war hero and about a revered Republican senator and the previous tom know that that was grabbing the third rail, you`re dead, it`s over. If you can increase your chances after something like that, it seems to me that there`s no way he can damage himself by sticking his foot in his mouth. There is nothing he can say that will offend anybody. The Republican electorate, a big clunk of the Republican electorate is un- offendable, I don`t see why he`s going to collapse. Is there anybody else like him? RATHER: Look, that`s very insightful. That`s one of the things I don`t see any imminent collapse of his. It was in television. There is a lack of dignity in television. You can`t be on television and have your dignity stay intact. Trump again understands that. Remember, this guy had his own television reality show, which by the way is basically what these Republican primary debates are, television reality shows. They`re not debates, actually. In those primary debates -- and, by the way, did you notice he`s pulled out of a very early debate. MADDOW: The New Hampshire one, that`s right. Yes. RATHER: Again, people underestimate Donald Trump. You can like him or not like him. Listen, Donald Trump did not go to school just to eat his lunch and did not become a multibillionaire by not being pretty smart. He`s not only smart, but he`s shrewd in his kind. He`s made a good move by saying I didn`t have anything to do with this very early primary because his friends at FOX love that, because he will appear on their set of debates. Very shrewd move on his part. MADDOW: Dan Rather, the host of "The Big Interview" on AXS TV, and a man who it is us as an honor to have across the table. Thank you for coming here, Dan. RATHER: Thank you very much, Rachel. MADDOW: And let it be said, that it was here on this air, when Donald Trump earned the nickname that will stick with him. He is the manure spreader in a wind storm. Dan Rather. Oh, yes. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, there is new information that we have just learned about the shooting attack in Lafayette, Louisiana, last night. We now know what kind of gun the shooter used to commit the attack. Police say it was a .40 caliber high point semi automatic handgun. We also now know that the gunman he had two 10-round magazines for that gun. Out of those 20 available rounds he apparently shot 11 people. Two people killed. Nine people injured. In terms of the victims of the attack, the two people who were killed who have been identified, 33-year-old Jillian Johnson and 21-year-old Mayci Breaux. Jillian Johnson was a local musician in Louisiana. She was a public radio host. Mayci Breaux was a student about to begin studies in radiology at Lafayette General Hospital. Four of the nine people who are injured in the attack have been treated and released from hospital, which is good news. But five of the nine are still hospitalized tonight, including one of those five people said tonight to be in critical condition. So, we have learned that in terms of how he did it and who he hurt. In terms of the shooter, we learned two interesting and as yet not fully explained things about him today. The first is his recent and extensive online activity and apparently radical political views, which honestly may or may not have had something to do with why he committed this crime. NBC News is reporting the gunman posted dozens of vehement comments on internet message boards, comments that range from anti-gay to anti- Semitic to generically anti-government and expressed an interest in white supremacy groups. These are photos of the shooter taken in 2001. That`s him in the lower right-hand corner there. Those photos taken in 2001 in front of a bar he once operated in LaGrange, Louisiana. In response to the city`s decision to revoke his liquor license that year, he apparently hung a swastika flag on the side of the building. Now, no matter what has been reported and circulated online today about this man`s political beliefs and political affiliations, nobody has been able to prove thus far that the reason he did what he did in that theater last night was because of those political beliefs. As of tonight, the question of motive remains an open question. But the other thing, the other important thing we learned today about the shooter concerns his apparent history of mental illness and how he was able to obtain the gun he used to kill those people last night. We learned from court records today that in 2008, his family obtained a protective order against him. As parts of that process, a probate judge in Georgia had this man involuntarily committed. He had him sent against his will to a hospital in Columbus, Georgia. One thing about our country`s very, very loose gun laws is that federal background checks are supposed to prevent you from being able to purchase a gun if you have been adjudicated mentally ill by a court of law. This man was. In addition, today, authorities in Russell County, Alabama, said this man was, A, treated there for mental illness and they knew about it, and, B, he was turned down for a concealed carry permit in that county a couple of years prior to treatment for mental illness because of other arrests. I mean, nevertheless, though, after all that, after the protective order against him, after being treated for mental illness, after being involuntarily committed at a judge`s order for mental illness -- nevertheless, this past 84, he was somehow able to buy a gun. He bought that .40 caliber high point semiautomatic handgun at a pawnshop in Alabama early last year. And this is the part that`s very troubling. And that I don`t understand. Police say when he bought that handgun early last year in Alabama, it was a legal purchase. How can that be a legal purchase? But what`s done is done. And as of tonight, two people are dead. One is in critical condition, four others still being treated in a hospital. The shooter, himself, is dead. All we have as we try to figure out how and why this happened are thus far unanswered questions about how he could have had access to the gun, whether there was anything that could have been done to stop this from happening in the first place. (COMMERCIAL BREAK (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRICIA MCKINNEY, TRMS SENIOR PRODUCER: Hello. MADDOW: Hello. MCKINNEY: It`s time to discuss the swag gifts for the Friday night news dump. MADDOW: You weren`t wearing that earlier today, were you? MCKINNEY: What do you mean? (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: I have an item that can be a swag possibility here too. MCKINNEY: Oh, really? MADDOW: Tell me yours first. MCKINNEY: This awesome jacket? MADDOW: (INAUDIBLE) MCKINNEY: No idea, we just -- I literally found it in the drawer, nobody has any memory. MADDOW: Seriously? (CROSSTALK) MCKINNEY: I might keep this, if you don`t give it away. MADDOW: It ripped a little. It`s a little racy. OK. MCKINNEY: Definitely. And also found another random item, a Texas longhorns -- MADDOW: Teeny tiny. Texas Longhorn beer stein/espresso cup. MCKINNEY: I would think, yes. MADDOW: Do we know where this came from? MCKINNEY: No idea. Things are appearing in that drawer. MADDOW: You remember we had Anthony Terrell on last week from Iowa. He came on with Iowa themed things. He brought us Iowa corn nuts, which are salted corn nuts covered in milk chocolate, which I`m steadily making my way through, which could have given these away except I`m eating them. But this one is all natural bacon rub which gives you bacon wrapped flavor. You add it to anything, all natural bacon flavor rub. No bacon. The ingredients are brown sugar, dehydrated garlic, mustard power natural smooth layers, yeast extract, but it tastes like bacon. From Iowa. MCKINNEY: OK. So do I get to choose? MADDOW: Yes. So your jacket bacon rub, Texas longhorns. MCKINNEY: Bacon rub. MADDOW: We can do the Texas longhorns some time soon. MCKINNEY: OK. MADDOW: Congratulation on your new jacket. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The weather in Boise, Idaho, will be beautiful this weekend. Bright sunshine, a little hot on Saturday, Sunday looks absolutely gorgeous in Boise. In Raleigh, North Carolina, it`s barely going to hit 90 degrees this weekend, which for North Carolina in the high summer, that is pretty great. We don`t usually do weather reports on this show, that is in part because I am not nearly good looking enough to be perceived as qualified to describe the weather on American television. But there is a good reason for even somebody who looks like me to talk about the weather this weekend as part of tonight`s news. And here`s why -- at the end of this month, the funding to maintain our country`s highest and bridges is gong to end. It`s up to Congress to pass a bill to make sure that doesn`t happen. Congress, of course, goes on vacation for the entire month of August. So, tick-tock, here at the end of July, they`re really up against it to get that thing done. Now, on that must-pass high bill, Republicans have now attached all sorts of ridiculous amendments that that nothing to do with funding roads and bridges. The top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, for example, he says he likes to use the highway bill to repeal Obamacare for the gazillionth time. Other Republican senators are planning to use the highway bill to go after Planned Parenthood, or to try to stop the president`s Iran deal. What that has to do with roads and bridges. Nothing, it`s just how the Senate works these days. So, because they really do need to pass a highway bill and time really is ticking, the Senate is going to have to work through this weekend. A few members of the Senate tried to skip down for a little while today after their last vote today, but even if they did leave today for a while, they will have to come back this weekend for votes on things that will have absolutely nothing to do with the highway bill and vote some things that will never become law. So, sorry, Mike Crapo and Jim Risch of Idaho. No weekend full of perfect Idaho sunshine for you. Sorry, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, you will just have to go to Carolina in your minds, because in reality, you will be in Washington, D.C. entering votes on procedural votes and amendments that have absolutely nothing to do with the really important highway bill that you are going to have to pass. So, have a nice weekend. We`ll enjoy the sunshine for you. Any of you guys fish? It`s going to be a great fishing weekend back home. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK. A couple interesting things happened in the interview I just did with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. First of all, it is borderline amazing that it happened, right? I mean, it is rare that I can get any Republican to come on this show, particularly a Republican running for office, it`s very difficult. So it`s great he was here. I am very grateful he agreed to come on. Also, he said for the first time while he was here, he regrets using the phrase man on dog when he was asked about same sex couples that want to get married. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Why did you say the word dog? RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because I was quoting Justice White in his 1986 decision and that`s why I was referring to his opinion that that was the majority of the opinion at the time. The -- that`s why I discussed it the way I discussed it. MADDOW: You see how it gave people -- (CROSSTALK) MADDOW: -- put it that way. SANTORUM: Trust me. I wish I never said that. MADDOW: You wish you never said it? SANTORUM: It was -- it was a flippant comment made to a reporter who was not being professional in the way she was conducting the interview. But that`s not an excuse me. I take responsible for what I said when I said. MADDOW: You regret it? SANTORUM: Absolutely. I mean, it was a flippant comment that should not have come out of my mouth. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Rick Santorum joined me in studio. He took back the man on dog comment about gay people that made him nationally famous for years before he ever decided to run for president. But now, he is running for president again t. Another news he made during our interview is he will participate in the proverbial kids table which the FOX News Channel is offering to give some pitiful on-air consolation price to the Republican presidential candidates who that cable news network will not allow into the real Republican presidential debate. MADDOW: So, if Senator Santorum doesn`t make the ten candidates only FOX News debate inexplicable cutoff. He said, he will do that kids table thing they are offering instead even though he doesn`t really want to. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANTORUM: I was very frank with them. I told them, I don`t think that`s a good idea. I don`t think it`s -- MADDOW: Are you going to do it? SANTORUM: L, I`m here. You know, I`m going to take every opportunity I can. Are you kidding me? (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Well, if I`m a stepping stone to the kid table, FOX News debate. SANTORUM: Congratulations. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, very interesting to have Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum here. I hope to have all the presidential candidates on this show. None of the rest of you ever said man on dog. Think how much easier your interview will be here? I hope Senator Santorum will give me a good reference. I thought it was really nice to have him here. But there is one thing I forgot to do in that interview, which I wish I had done. We purchased a domain name a while back inspired by a Rick Santorum campaign story about him meeting a nice lady with a dog while he was door knocking on the campaign trail one day. And long story short, the dog ended up peeing on him. That anecdote inspired this headline in Florida newspaper, quote, "Dog pee can`t stop Santorum." When that headline came out, we bought We set it up so when you go to, it redirects you to our Web site, to Maddow Blog. Well, while the senator was here, I meant to formally offer that Web site to him as a parting gift. Senator, it`s yours to do whatever you want to with it. In the end, things got a little exciting at the end of the interview, you know, taking back the man on dog thing, all the rest of it, I totally forgot. So, now I am making it right. I am officially offering that Web site to Senator Santorum. Sir, if you would like, it is all yours. In the meantime, while you make up your mind, we have changed the landing page of that address so it no longer goes to Maddow Blog. It now goes straight to look, watch where it goes, watch, go, yep. Where does it go? It goes to a lot of very handsome picture s of Rick Santorum, in glasses. Here he is looking good with the American flag. now takes you to handsome pictures of Rick Santorum. And, Senator, if you want to direct people somewhere else with that, all you have to do is ask. It`s all yours. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Are you ready? I`m ready. Yea! Friday night news dump time. Producer Nick Tuths, who`s tonight`s lucky player? NICK TUTHS, TRMS PRODUCER: Tonight, we have Benny Zelkowicz from Los Angeles, California. He`s an animator. He once published a neuroscience paper in a major journal and he`s co-author of a novel for young readers called "The Foundry`s Edge". Rachel, meet Benny. MADDOW: Benny, it`s very nice to meet you. You are a fascinating person from all I hear. BENNY ZELKOWICZ, LOS ANGELES, CA: Thank you very much. It`s nice to be here. MADDOW: What was the topic of your neuroscience paper? ZELKOWICZ: It has to do with semantic memory in Alzheimer`s patients. MADDOW: Semantic memory in Alzheimer`s patients. You are fascinating guy. I`m very happy that you`re here. Thank you very much for playing. ZELKOWICZ: My pleasure. MADDOW: Three multiple choice questions. They`re all about this week`s news. I debated whether or not I could ask you questions when Steve Kornacki was hosting at the beginning of the week and I was off fishing, but I decided only from shows that I hosted so that`s only fair. So, it`s a sort of condensed quiz this week. But if you get at least two questions right, you will win this. TUTHS: Mini Rachel Maddow drink mixer. MADDOW: Teeny cocktail shaker. For extra credit or consolation prize, we have something for you that until tonight was cluttering up our office. It is extra weird tonight. Go ahead, Nick. TUTH: We`ve got bacon rub. MADDOW: It`s to create the sensation of bacon, but there is no bacon in the bacon rub. ZELKOWICZ: Bacon rub. I look forward to rubbing it on something. I`m not sure what. MADDOW: Very good. Our friend Anthony Terrell was producing in Iowa. Apparently Iowa is lousy with this stuff. Anyway, we have it for you. We will bring in the voice of Steve Benen from Maddow Blog, the man who determines whether or not you got the right answer. Hello, Steve. STEVE BENEN, MADDOW BLOG: Good evening to both of you. MADDOW: Good evening. All right. Yes, he is up there for you, too. MADDOW: He`s in all of our orbit. ZELKOWICZ: Yes. MADDOW: First question from Wednesday`s show. On Wednesday`s show, we described some possible movement on one of the first priorities President Obama outlined when he came into office. "The New York Times" reported that day that the White House as soon as next week may be giving a final plan to Congress to accomplish which of the following goals: A, a nationwide $15 an hour minimum wage, B, closing Guantanamo, C, covering immigration reform, or, D, changing the national motto to fired up and ready to go? ZELKOWICZ: As much as I wish it was D, I think it is closing Guantanamo. MADDOW: Steve, did Benny get that right? BENEN: Yes, he did. The correct answer is B, closing Guantanamo and Benny is 1-1. MADDOW: Tada! Well done. Thank you, Steve. That`s right. Supposedly as early as next week, a plan will go to Congress where it will promptly die and the White House presumably will do something else to get that done. Something is going to happen. All right. Question two: last night`s show -- we talked about the parallels between this year`s run for the presidency by Donald Trump, and the 1992 run for the presidency by Ross Perot. Both men positioning themselves as independently wealthy, straight talkers instead of politicians. Well, when Ross Perot ran for president in July of 1992, he unexpectedly dropped out of the race in July and didn`t reenter the race again until October. When Ross Perot came back to the campaign trail, Benny, what explanation did he give for his three-month disappearance? Did he say, A, that honestly, he just got sick of campaigning, B, he had a business crisis at his company that he needed to attend to, C, he had a pre-scheduled vacation that year that he didn`t want to miss, or, D, he need to overt a secret dirty trickster plot to disrupt his daughter`s wedding? ZELKOWICZ: I`m happy to say the answer is D. MADDOW: Steve, is the answer D? BENEN: Let`s check last night`s segment. MADDOW: OK. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROSS PEROT: I got this report from a fellow in Arizona through an intermediary saying that he had seen a doctored photograph they were going to give to the tabloids to smear my daughter before her wedding and that they were going to disrupt the wedding with in the church. (END VIDEO CLIP) BENEN: Oh, poor Ross Perot. The correct answer is D. MADDOW: What`s that, Benny? What did you say? ZELKOWICZ: Hard believe that`s the correct answer. MADDOW: It really, and totally lost in history at this point. No one remembers that he was gone for months. All right. Last question from last night`s show, also about Donald Trump. I`m sorry. But we mentioned a "New York Times" report about a possible plan to keep Donald Trump out of the Republican presidential debates this year. According to "The New York Times," what criteria could the other Republican candidates insist on to potentially keep Donald Trump out of the debates? Is it, A, they could say they will only debate people who commit to running as a Republican and not running as a third party candidate, B, they could say they will only debate people who have run for at least one lower office before seeking the presidency, C, they could say they will not debate anyone who questions the heroic war record of John McCain or, D, they could say they will not debate anyone who can`t pronounce the word "huge"? ZELKOWICZ: Oh, how I wish it was D this time, but it`s A. MADDOW: Steve, you got the answer for us on this one? BENEN: Let`s check the segment from the show. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: One interesting to know. "The New York Times" reporting today this Republican circles, they are so worried about the potentially disruptive effect of Mr. Trump on the debates that they have floated the idea that maybe some of the other candidates should say they won`t participate in the debate as long as Donald Trump is there, specifically because he won`t rule out running as an independent. (END VIDEO CLIP) BENEN: Correct answer is A and Benny is correct again. MADDOW: Benny, I sort of believe that not only were you right on these but these were easy and maybe you should come and work here. ZELKOWICZ: Sure, I`m free next week. Next time I`m in New York, I`ll let you know. MADDOW: All right. Well, very good, what is Benny going to be winning? He`s got everything? TUTH: Benny got the shaker and he`s going to rub bacon on everything. ZELKOWICZ: Bacon cocktail. MADDOW: Yes, exactly. If you find a way to use bacon in the cocktail, do not tell us about it, and the job offer is off. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Benny, thank you vey much. It`s been great to have you here. Thanks for playing. ZELKOWICZ: All right. Take care. MADDOW: If you want to play, send an e-mail and tell us who you are, where you are from and why you want to play the news dump. We really want you to take our ridiculous junk because it is getting weirder all the time and, you know, maybe if you take some of that junk, someday down the road, you can sell it. And if you can sell it for a lot of money, you`ll be able to afford an awesome lawyer who will be albe to keep you from going to prison all the time, like you always do. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END