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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/03/15

Guests: Lee Miringoff

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Alex, it`s great to see you. I have to tell you -- you guys hit -- you guys just hit on something really important about the Ted Cruz bacon video. We`re going to do a huge fact check that`s going to change everything about the Republican field. ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC: Awesome. MADDOW: I`m telling you, you`re onto something here. WAGNER: Thanks, Rachel. MADDOW: Thanks. Great to see you. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. We are going to do a big fact check on the making bacon with a machine gun video. And that`s coming up. I`m sure it`s going to change everything. There`s a lot coming up on the show tonight. Happy Monday. Happy August. August. It was all the way back in May when I instructed our poor beleaguered graphics department that they need to come up with a single image, a single way to show on screen all at once all of the people who we thought might conceivably be running for the Republican nomination this year. And I am ridiculous boss, and that was a ridiculous request, because obviously, there`s no normal situation which you would try to show in an identifiable way 22 different people all on the same screen all at once, right? I mean, Hollywood Squares is nine people. Yes, you get a crowd shot where you don`t care who all the individual people are, but 22 individual humans, you`re supposed to able to identify individually and have separate thoughts about? You don`t put 22 individuals on screen all at once. It just doesn`t make sense. But I insisted we do that, because there was no other way to show at a glance who was in the running for the Republican nomination. So, even though it was unfair, it was an unfair thing for me to ask, we did it. And, by necessity, it was a mess from the beginning. The only silver lining is I thought we wouldn`t have to live with it for long. I thought for sure when we made this chart back in May showing these 22 Republican contenders, I felt sure that this chart would not stay so cluttered for long, that a lot of these people, yes, maybe they were toying with running, but when it came down to it, they wouldn`t actually get into the race, especially when they saw how many other big names were getting into the fight for the Republican nomination. We figured we would be able to thin this out really quick and start once again making normal looking pictures to put on TV. That`s not how it worked out. We started with this chart of 22 people in May. And, yes, there were some who dropped out, not many. First, it was Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. He said he would not run and so we got to poof rick Snyder. Then it was the very stern, very well-connected governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, who seemed to be quite visibly rattled by the big gay rights controversy he created in his state this year. Soon thereafter, Mike Pence said he would not run for president. So, Mike Pence was out. Three, too, one, poof. Then, it was the bellicose New York Republican Congressman Peter King. Three, two, one, poof. Then it was the even more bellicose U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. He`s basically made a career since he left the George W. Bush administration. He`s made a career out of saying he might run for president. So, it was sort of surprising when he definitely said that he would not. But he said he would not, so we were able to say John Bolton, three, two, one -- poof. Four guys dropped out. But other than those four guys dropping out, all the rest of them stayed in. All the rest of them, declaring one by one that they were in fact running for president. The last one was the guy way down there on the bottom row in the middle, my friend Jim Gilmore, the former governor of Virginia. Jim Gilmore made his announcement that he`s running in this -- do we have the video here? The less than riveting, unrelenting 11-minute long YouTube video he used as his announcement. Most of it, it`s 11 minutes long. Most of it is just one excruciating, unmoving close-up shot of his face. And Jim Gilmore is a very dynamic and handsome man. But 11 minutes just looking at his -- it was not the most scintillating start to a national political campaign. Still though, he got in last week, and it was exciting to be able to complete our chart that we started all those months ago. Just a nice sense of completion to nail down the decisions and the fate of all of these candidates. So, first thing we were able to do is poof out four guys who dropped out. Goodbye, Rick Snyder, Mike Pence, Peter King, John Bolton. They`re all gone. OK. You know, start at the top, everybody else stays in. This is our field. Now we know. Mike Huckabee, in, Ted Cruz in, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich, Donald Trump, George Pataki, Jim -- hold on a second, there`s one extra person. We forgot one. Who is that guy again? Right next to Jim Gilmore? Who is it? I totally forgot about that guy. The guy in the bottom, that is Bob Ehrlich. I forgot about him for months. Bob Ehrlich, former governor of Maryland, I completely forgot. He`s the only one of our original 22 who as of this weekend that had not made up his mind whether or not he was going to run. But then, yesterday he told "The Boston Globe," poof me. He did not say "poof me" to "The Boston Globe". But for our purposes, that is what it means when he told "The Globe" he would try to advance the issues he cares about by using a political action committee instead of running for president himself. So, OK, we got to poof Bob Ehrlich again which doesn`t give me the same sense of completion because I forgot he was there. But at least that`s it now, right? A total of 17 candidates running for the Republican nomination for president -- 17, done. Except maybe not. Because there`s another guy who we forgot so hard, we never even put him on our initial list of 22 back in May. He was the commissioner of the IRS in the George W. Bush administration. He also worked in the Reagan administration. He was involved in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. He`s got this big long federal career. He`s now filed a formal complaint with the FEC seeking to force the FOX News Channel to allow him not even into their presidential debate Thursday night, he filed this complaint with the FEC just to be allowed to be led in to the pre-debate event that involves all the other candidates that FOX won`t allow on the debate stage. His name is Mark Everson. And he just wants in to the kids` table. He doesn`t even want into the debate. The question is, on what grounds could FOX reasonably say no to that request? I mean, Mark Everson is not Limberbutt McCubbins, right? He`s not Deez Nuts, or Brystol Palyn, or Sara Palyn, both of which are spelled wrong and neither of which is the Bristol Palin or the Sarah Palin you are thinking of. His name is Mark Everson. He`s not a joke candidate. He`s not a protest candidate. He`s not the guy Oh Savior, he`s not the guy who calls himself on the FEC filing "Titus the great." He really was the IRS commissioner under George W. Bush. And he points out in this FEC complaint, that the Republican Party is supposedly organizing these debates with the media partners. Well, the RNC in one of their scammy online, who do you want to vote for, for president fake polls has been including Mark Everson`s name on the list of people who Republicans can choose to fake vote for in a Republican primary. So, if they`re using him to promote the Republican primary, why wouldn`t they actually let him into it? Why wouldn`t they let him into the debate -- or I`m sorry, not into the debate. Why wouldn`t they let him into the event before debate that`s just for the candidates who FOX News says will not be allowed into the real debate because FOX News says so? On what grounds can they keep him out? But FOX is not saying whether they`re going to let Mark Everson into that event on the debate night that`s going to make place before the real debate. FOX is still not -- it`s this week. FOX is still not even saying whether they`ll let Jim Gilmore in. Interesting story about Jim Gilmore. Right now, it`s freaking August. This is the first week of august. Jim Gilmore told his hometown in Richmond, Virginia, several weeks ago that he would make his announcement about whether or not he was running the first week of August. He said he would announce this week. But he`s already announced. He didn`t wait as long as he said he would. He made his announcement last week. Maybe that`s why his announcement video was so terrible. Maybe his staff was rushed. But the Gilmore campaign has now confirmed to us that the reason they moved up the date of his announcement and had him announce last week instead of waiting until this week is specifically because they thought if they announced last week, he would be able to get into the kid`s table event that FOX is putting on before their debate on Thursday night. That`s why they did it. Is FOX going to let him in? Don`t know. FOX isn`t saying. They`ll decide when they feel like deciding. FOX changed their rules, one of many rules chances they`ve had since they first got this debate. They changed the rules, so there`s no lower threshold in terms of a polling floor, polling ceiling I guess that candidates have to hit in the polls in order to be included in that pre- debate event. Jim Gilmore has been included in some national polls although the results are not pretty. But Jim Gilmore thinks he ought to be at that event. Now, he recognizes. FOX is going to keep him off the big debate stage. But if they`re going to do another event for candidates who aren`t polling as well who are serious candidates and they are running, why shouldn`t Jim Gilmore be in it? Why shouldn`t Mark Everson be in it? He thinks he ought to be at that event. FOX News just won`t say. They won`t say even now whether candidates like that will be allowed in. It does seem a little unfair, not only to those candidates but to the other candidates who are trying to figure out who they`re going to be on stage with. Who knows? FOX still, the week of their debate, they won`t announce which polls they`re going to be using for their calculations. They`re going to announce apparently tomorrow night which ten candidates they`re going to allow on stage to debate. But even now the day before, less than 24 hours ahead, we still have no idea the criteria that FOX is going to use to decide which polls count, who`s going to be allowed to debate for the Republican nomination, who`s not, on what grounds they`re going to say the candidates are competing for those seats, are they going to round to whole numbers, are they going to take account of a number of errors? Is it all going to be the same kind of poll? Is it going to be polls that just pick the candidates who FOX News wants to be on the stage? They`re not saying. It`s nuts. And that`s how we`re picking a new president. It`s so nuts now that the national polling companies have started to go into revolt over how FOX wants to use their data, or at least cite their data to give themselves some sort of semblance of scientific objectivity the way they`re setting up the first debate. The pollsters are starting to want nothing to do with this. Marist College, for example, is a very respected national poll and they do state by state polls as well. Marist announced today they will not release national Republican primary polling this week because they believe FOX News is misusing that kind of polling in order to include and exclude various candidates from the debate. Monmouth University, they do another respected national poll. They did release their latest polling number for the Republican candidates today. Surprise, surprise, Donald Trump wins. But they also, with the release of that data, they also put out a cautionary statement explaining their polls, like every poll, they`ve got a margin of error, saying overtly that it is statistical nonsense to be making these hugely consequential political decisions about who is allowed to compete for the Republican presidential nomination based on infinitesimal differences in polling numbers between the candidates. They actually released a new stacking of the Republican candidates. Look closely at these, look at these columns here. The number they put in their poll, but the lower and upper margin, the support range including the margin of potential sampling error. They`ve released this new stacking of the Republican candidates using their own data, their own poll, using how -- you know what? If you`re honest about it, if you are honest about it, if you actually want to look at what these numbers really say, and you take account the margin of error, you take account, you know, the statistical noise in surveys of this size, and basically almost all the candidates overlap. Yes, there are a few candidates who you could safely say are top ten candidates like Donald Trump right now. And you could safely say that George Pataki and my friend Jim Gilmore, they`re undoubtedly way down at the bottom. But pretty much everybody in the middle, almost everybody in the middle overlaps. To say there`s some meaningful statistical difference between John Kasich and Rick Perry is nonsense, because statistically speaking, they really do have the same amount of support. It is radically biasing to the Republican presidential primary process to say John Kasich gets into the debate and Rick Perry doesn`t, when there is no statistical justification for making that kind of distinction between them. So, the pollsters are not only pointing that out, they`re basically in revolt. The candidates have moved beyond complaining to the press to making formal federal complaints. FOX is still not saying, still, who is even before considered for one of their events and they`re still not saying how they`re deciding who`s going to be in the actual debate. And it`s this week. We`re going to have more on the pollster`s revolt later on in the show. Suffice to say, though, FOX still has a chance to make the very easy switch here that basically every unbiased observer, and lots of biased observers, think they ought to choose. There`s an easy way for FOX to fix this problem. And there`s nobody who could rightfully complain about it in terms of its fairness compared with what they`re doing with their thumb on the scale in picking the candidates for this debate on Thursday. It`s a very easy fix. They could still do it. Nobody would be mad. I mean, what Iowa Republicans and South Carolina Republicans and New Hampshire Republicans have all asked FOX to do, what pollsters like the lead pollster from Marist has suggested they might do, what the Republican voters surveyed by Monmouth say they prefer that FOX should do, by a very large margin, is the easiest solution that this problem that they`ve got of this giant Republican field. Yes, I know it`s a crowded graphic. That would be a crowded stage. You don`t have to put them on all at once. Just do two heats, two events. Not some kid`s table and the real thing, but two events, equal, randomly assign eight to ten candidates to go first. And then the remaining eight to ten candidates you randomly assign to go second. Just divide it that way. Two equal heats. We don`t know who`s going to be in each heat until that night. It would be exciting to give you bingo balls to pick who is in each heat or something. People would watch both. FOX could still do that. There is still time to fix this. But tonight in New Hampshire, nearly all of the Republican candidates did all appear all at once on one debate stage. It wasn`t so terrible. The first time we`ve seen them together for the first time in the 2016 campaign. And at this event in New Hampshire, which took place tonight, some of the candidates overtly made the case from that stage that the way FOX News is running the first real debate this week does a disservice to the whole Republican field and particularly Republican voters in the early states. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, if I may just start by saying, thank you, St. Anselm, for hosting this, and thank you, Joe McQuaid as well for reminding the political class that we don`t have a national primary and managing to get all of the candidates here to the first in the nation primary state. Thank you for doing that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That`s from this event tonight that happened in New Hampshire, that just ended moments ago. This may be the closest the Republican presidential candidates will ever come to being all on the same stage together. It was a fascinating thing to watch. Rick Perry was asked if he wanted to redo his oops moment from the last time he ran for president. We`ve got that. We`ve got a live report from what happened there at this event in New Hampshire tonight. That`s coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, tonight, more than 10 Republicans running for president this year all got on the same stage at the same time. When will we see that again? You`re not going to see it at the first official Republican debate which will happen on FOX News this week. But what happened tonight in New Hampshire was basically the kickoff to the competitive 2016 Republican presidential nominating process. Remarkable event tonight in Manchester, New Hampshire. We`ve got a live report from the scene in just a moment. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, this was very exciting tonight. It started on time at the stroke of 7:00 p.m. Eastern, zero, zero, zero, zero. They emerged. And it was super exciting to see all of them, all these Republican candidates standing on one stage, ready to debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. I say debate. Technically, they weren`t debating, because according to the Republican Party`s rules, this was not one of the officially sanctioned debates this year. So, no one candidate was allowed to address directly any other candidate. Instead what happened is the candidates answered questions, individually. The questions had been selected for each of them by the moderator. And then it was like this -- it was like a fire drill. They were just quickly musical chairs with one chair? I don`t know. They were quickly hustled off the stage. It was like a Republican conveyer belt. OK, you`re gone, OK, you`re gone. OK, you`re gone. Three of the 14 candidates in this debate, three of the senators, joined the forum remotely in a "Brady Bunch" box because those three wanted to stay in Washington for a vote in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood. That vote failed, but they wanted to register those failing votes any way. So, they were in the "Brady Bunch" box with an unfortunate satellite delay between them and the moderator. But all together, this was the first time we`ve had them in this big of a group, between the guys on the satellite feed and the 11 guys on stage, we had 14 of the 17 Republican presidential contenders participating tonight in this forum. And hey, who remembered George Pataki was so tall? There was more than one open seat in the room. The room was not filled, which I find hard to believe with all those candidates there. But the room was by no means full. Hard to believe. The first candidate up was Rick Perry. He was really fired up, like almost inappropriately fired up. He had his Wheaties, he seemed very excited to be there. At one point, over the course of the night, they gave him a chance to redo his oops moment that sunk his 2012 chances. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MODERATOR: Governor Perry, in the past you mentioned cutting federal agencies. We talked a lot tonight about the debt, size of government not working for the rest of America. What specifically, what agencies would you either eliminate or cut? RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve heard this question before. (LAUGHTER) MODERATOR: I thought you might go there. PERRY: I thought you might do it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Honestly, the forum itself was a little subdued. I think in part because the audience was not allowed -- they were directed specifically to not react to the candidates. So there was no clapping, people trying to stifle any sort of response. Also, the candidates would not react to one another, so a little dry in part. The only candidate who got much reaction be ended up being Senator Lindsey Graham who unprompted brought up Hillary Clinton and bill Clinton, and he got a rise out of people. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As to Hillary Clinton, the last person in the world you want to send into the ring with the Russians is Hillary Clinton. As to the Clintons, I`ve been dealing with this crowd for 20 years. I`m fluent in Clinton speak. You want me to translate that? When he says, Bill says, "I didn`t have sex with that woman," he did. When she says, "I`ll tell you about building the pipeline when I get to be president" means she won`t. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Lindsey Graham got a mild titter from the crowd there. It`s amazing that FOX News is not going to allow him to debate -- how is this possible? But that was Lindsey Graham tonight in New Hampshire. The only real competition between all the candidates tonight really did seem to be about one specific thing in their biographies, the one thing they really fought it out amongst themselves was who had it harder growing up. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two decades ago, my mother was a maid at a hotel, my father worked was a bartender working banquets behind a portable bar in a back of a room. GRAHAM: At 22, I was flat broke when my parents died within 15 months. SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Fifty-eight years ago, my father fled Cuba. When he was standing on the deck of that ferryboat looking back at imprisonment and torture in Cuba. GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank God that my father carried me on his back. His father was a coal miner. My mother, her mother could barely speak English. FIORINA: I started out as a secretary in a little nine-person real estate firm, and went on to lead the largest technology company in the world, and now I`m running for the presidency of the United States. My story is only possible in America. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Hard scrabble upbringings and ancestors to whom much is owed. That was kind of a personal theme. Much of the rest of it went sort of as you might expect. They all agree on basically all policy. So, lots of promises to repeal Obamacare, lots are vowing to secure the border. Scott Walker worked into the very first few words of his very first answer, the fact that he is an Eagle Scout and that`s why he wants clean air. Some of the biggest headlines to come out of this event tonight is about who chose not to be there. My friend, Jim Gilmore did not participate tonight. Apparently he announced he was running for president too late for the satisfaction of the New Hampshire debate organizers. Mike Huckabee didn`t show up tonight. We called his campaign last week to find out why he was going. And we never got an explanation for him. I don`t know why Mike Huckabee didn`t go, but strange he didn`t. The biggest outstanding empty chair tonight, though, was from the distant front-runner for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump. Donald Trump was not there tonight answering any questions at this forum. He explained basically he didn`t like the newspaper that had convened the forum in the first place. "The New Hampshire Union Leader" wrote an editorial about him that he did not like, so therefore, he would not do their event. Mr. Trump could not stay away entirely, though. He did pose his own questions to all the candidates on his Facebook page. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would like to ask all of the candidates that as politicians and really people that don`t negotiate jobs and lots of other things, how are you going to make America great again? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was Donald Trump`s contribution to the New Hampshire candidates forum tonight. They didn`t ask that question nor did they play the tape. It would have helped their ratings. We are three days away from the real Republican debate in Cleveland hosted by FOX News. Mr. Trump will be at that event. He will be center stage as the Republican front runner. As for tonight, maybe this was the practice round. Maybe this is the stuff you say as a candidate when you can speak uninterrupted for several minutes at a time, and where there is no Trump factor. But this was really the opening salvo. This was the first bit of competition, the first night of competition for the 2016 Republican presidential candidates. Joining us now from the spin room, at the first Republican candidates forum of the 2016 campaign is MSNBC political reporter, Anthony Terrell. Anthony, I love that you`re there for us. Thanks for doing this. ANTHONY TERRELL, MSNBC POLITICAL REPORTER: Hi, Rachel. Thanks for having me. MADDOW: So, watching it tonight as it was happening, it was weird for me that the audience was forbidden from making noise or responding to the candidates. When you were there inside the room, could you get any bead on how the candidates were being received or was it a mystery to you in the room? TERRELL: Right. It was a little subdued. There were some empty seats. You know, Lindsey Graham got one of the biggest rounds of applause. They were all sitting next to each other which kind of subdued it a little bit. But I`ll tell you one thing, Rachel, it really put an exclamation point on how big this field is with 11 of them on stage. They each had about 6 1/2 to 7 minutes and it felt like speed dating. MADDOW: Yes. TERRELL: There were some folks in the room saying is that it, is that all? So, the enormity of the crowd really shows what we`re looking at in the next six months. And you know what, this was also a preview of what we may be seeing on Thursday when these candidates can go after one another. Tonight, it was a little more polite, more of a forum setting. But on Thursday, these guys tested out their -- and Carly Fiorina, tested out their messages here. But on Thursday, we`re going to see them go after one another. MADDOW: Anthony, were they -- I mean, I know that they`re not allowed to engage. You know, they`re not allowed to go "you, sir, you are lying about my record." They`re not allowed to do that sort of thing at this forum. They weren`t on stage together. They had that little conveyer belt thing going on, where one would get on the stage and one would get off. But were there oblique shots at each other or at Donald Trump, were there -- was there any distinctions drawn between any of the candidates on policy? I felt like they were all talking about supporting the same policy and having the same noble grandparents. TERRELL: Well, you`re right, Rachel. They were each actually complimenting one another. They try to make themselves stand out as Scott Walker did of saying, he`s won three times in four years in a blue state, something that Rick Santorum did, as well. So, these guys were hyping their own records. They weren`t really going after one another, but they were going after the Democrats and Lindsey Graham really went after Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. So, that drew the biggest laughter and applause in the room. So, they were focusing their attacks on Democrats. That will change on Thursday. MADDOW: MSNBC political report Anthony Terrell -- Anthony, I love having you up there. Thanks for being with us, man. Great to see you. TERRELL: Thank you, Rachel. I appreciate it. MADDOW: All right. We got lots more ahead tonight, including -- we`ve got an interview tonight, live interview with one of the pollsters who is in revolt, who is publicly defining the FOX News debate strategy and how they are using polls and saying, I want me and my poll to have nothing to do with this. Fascinating take. We`ve also got a brand new installment tonight of Debunktion Junction. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So here comes a gun sound. You may want to put on your headphones and protective goggles, now. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: That is the sound of automatic gunfire. That is an automatic rifle being fired for so long. Do you see the flames there this that it catches fire. And presidential candidate Ted Cruz just made that newly important in the presidential race, that phenomena. And when he made that important in the presidential race, it turns out he totally screwed it up. And that`s straight ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Sizzurp, also known as purple drink to those in the know. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: If you`ve never seen it -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All day, that purple drink. REPORTER: Chances are, your teenager has. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve o`clock, afternoon -- REPORTER: With YouTube hits growing. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s turning purple. REPORTER: It`s called Sizzurp, yes, called like that, or the purple drank. A mixture of soda, jolly ranchers candy for color, and extra sweetness, and prescription cough syrup with codeine, an instant high, described as euphoric. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The word is Sizzurp, purple drink. I`m sure I am saying it wrong. Even with that helpful pronunciation guide. I`m sure I`m getting it wrong. But the rise of Sizzurp in song lyrics and celebrity social media accounts, and its increase use particularly by young people, its perceived dangers, caused such a media frenzy and much concern last year that last April, one of the companies that makes Sizzurp`s main ingredient, an innocuous sounding pharmaceutical company called Actavis. Actavis decided they would yank their product off the shelves. They made this cough syrup with codeine in it. There was nothing wrong with that cough syrup, except for the day it was being misused in the real world, misused in the real world, turned out to be the base for this popular party drug. And so, they yanked their cough syrup off of store shelves. They stopped selling it. This is how they explained it: "Recently, one of our products has gained significant attention in the media and elsewhere for its illegal recreational abuse. This attention has glamorized the unlawful and dangerous use of the product, which is contrary to its approved indication. Given these significant concerns, we made the bold and unprecedented decision to cease all production and sales of this product. While we regret the impact this will have on the consumers who rely on this medication for its intended use, we believe that this is the responsible course of action." So, this is a bold step for this company, right? I mean, this product has a real use. There`s nothing wrong with the product. But they felt that the only responsible thing to do was to yank the product off the shelves anyway, because it was being wrongfully and dangerously misused in the real world. And yes, maybe Actavis, maybe this drug company just wanted to avoid a lawsuit or avoid the media spotlight or avoid showing up on Soulja Boy`s Instagram account. But it was an honorable move. It was not a problem they created, but the misuse of their product was wrong and dangerous. And so, they fell on their sword. They pulled their product from the market place. And now, the new Sizzurp is national polling on the candidates for the Republican nomination for president of the United States. The new codeine cough syrup is national polling among the Republican candidates. National polling among the Republican candidates itself is fine, it serves a purpose. But it`s being wrongly and dangerously misused by the FOX News Channel and the Republican Party. And so, now, the pollsters are doing the only responsible thing and they are pulling their product out of the market place. FOX News says they`ll only invite the top ten candidates from an average of five recent national polls to be on stage for Thursday`s debate. Which five polls will they use to determine this, who knows? Will they round up to the nearest whole number? Who knows? Will they use a decimal point and pick among the candidates based on tenth of percentage points? No idea. Who knows? And that is nuts for the candidates, right, that their campaigns are being made or they`re broken by something this arbitrary and opaque and irrelevant and random. But for the pollsters, it`s also a little bit of a moral issue, right? Do you really want your work to be misused this way and in such a consequential way? Misused as if you, the pollster, are saying something way more precise than you`re actually saying, and having your work thereby misused not just in the way that people don`t understand it, but it`s being allowed to decide who is allowed into presidential debates. Well, now, a number of pollsters decided they don`t want to be part of this problem anymore. They are warning people that Sizzurp must be stopped. They do not want their polls misused to determine who makes the debate stage. The pollsters, as of today, appear to be in revolt. Today`s new Monmouth University poll found Donald Trump in first place with a whopping 26 percent of the vote. He`s ahead of Jeb Bush who is in second place by more than a 2-1 margin. But that same poll also came with a warning, that FOX`s system figuring out who makes the stage this year based on polls like this one is a really bad idea. I mean, factoring in their margin of error, all these highlighted candidates could make the top 10, but it`s literally unknowable as to whether or not they`re a top ten nationally ranked candidate, because they are so statistically close to one another. Ten candidates have polling results so close, they statistically overlap. There is literally no sound way to tell which of them ranks higher than the other one. The Monmouth poll director writes in their poll release, quote, "Based on current polling, there`s no good rationale for arbitrary selecting a top ten." Another well known national pollster is taking it a step further. Marist College also just released a poll. They did some interesting general election match-ups. They found Hillary Clinton would beat Jeb Bush and Donald Trump if Donald Trump were to enter the race as a three-way party candidate. That`s an interesting three-way, general election hypothetical. But when it comes to figuring out who Republican voters would vote for, for the Republican nominee, Marist says they will not poll on that now. Not because that information is wrong to have, not because that information is hard to get, but because that information is being misused as a determining factor for who gets into the debates, and that`s wrong and they don`t want their data used that way. The director of the Marist poll today lamenting, quote, "Now, the public polls are affecting the process they are supposed to be measuring." So, Marist is not doing a Republican candidate`s national poll now. These pollsters are basically telling FOX News, stop doing what you`re doing with our information. Stop doing what you`re doing with our product. You are doing it wrong. You`re using it wrong. You were using it in a way that is dangerous and now how it`s intended to be used. These pollsters are now saying to FOX News and the Republican Party, it was not our decision for you to use our information this way, and we actually don`t want to be part of it. We don`t want to be part of this disgrace any longer and one of those pollsters is here next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Joining us tonight for the interview is Dr. Lee Miringoff. He`s the director of the Marist Poll which announced they are leaving out of their polls questions about who Republicans will vote for in the primaries. And they`re specifically doing that because they don`t want that polling information misused as a determining factor for who is allowed to appear in the first Republican debate on Thursday. Dr. Miringoff, thank you so much for being here. DR. LEE MIRINGOFF, MARIST POLL: My pleasure, Rachel. How are you tonight? MADDOW: I`m good. I am -- MIRINGOFF: But you`re upset. MADDOW: Well, no. I think this is an important turn. You and Monmouth have done something different but with a similar thrust, which is you do not like the way that the polls are being used to determine who is in and out of the debate. We talked about this a little bit -- a few days ago. So, why did you make this extra step to not collect this data? MIRINGOFF: Well, we did do a poll. We did a national poll with McClatchy, as we do very often. But we just didn`t ask the ballot question, the tossup question for the very reasons you`ve been citing. We don`t think it`s good use of polls to determine the eligibility of who sits at the table basically for the Republican debate, or for a Democratic debate if they had a big crowd for that matter. So, it`s a problem. It`s a misuse of the data and, look, it`s affected the way the candidate have behaved. They`re all trying to get the bump right now so they can get the invitations, so they can get to the debate. It`s so early in the process, even some people you think are well known in our poll today, 36 percent don`t know who Marco Rubio is, 42 percent don`t know who Scott Walker is. And other people are known less well. So, it`s so early, there`s a chance for people to sort of look at the field to see who is out there. MADDOW: You feel -- we don`t know which polls FOX is going to use. MIRINGOFF: Sure. MADDOW: If they ended up using a national Marist poll as one of the five they were going to average in to do this, do you essentially feel like you`d be implicated in a way that was not -- I guess not -- wasn`t treating your numbers with integrity? MIRINGOFF: Well, that`s correct. I don`t think there`s a great high crime against the future of democracy. There are plenty of polls to pick from. I should say one thing the way FOX is doing this and the way CNN is doing this that is good, in the polls that they have talked about, the ones they are likely to pick from are at least the scientifically based polls. There`s a lot of junk polls out there. Those aren`t the ones are being considered. MADDOW: Well, we think. We don`t know. We see what they choose to or if they even announce which polls they use. MIRINGOFF: Well, I think they probably will, but we hope they are ones that have live interviewers. They called cell phones as well as landlines. That they did a whole variety of things that ensured at least the quality of those numbers is responsible. Even if I`m unhappy with how the polls are being used to determine eligibility, at least they`ve identified some decent polls we think because a lot of the networks do serious polling. Someone is saying, oh, great controversy out there among the pollsters. We talk to each other, but we`re hardly out there figuring out who are we going to put in front this week. It doesn`t work like that. MADDOW: Your stand on this and your explanation of why you`re doing it, coupled with Monmouth coming up with a similar explanation, they did it, this may be the bump they need to make the change this week. If it happens, it will largely be because of you. Dr. Lee Miringoff, thank you very much. MIRINGOFF: If pollsters were so powerful, they would just let us pick the presidential candidates. MADDOW: But when you say my integrity of a pollster, I`m not going to be part of this is a powerful thing to have done. MIRINGOFF: Yes. MADDOW: Thanks for being here. MIRINGOFF: Appreciate it, Rachel. MADDOW: Good to see you. MIRINGOFF: Yes. MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead, including Debunktion Junction. We`ll be right back. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: In the great wide world of pork-related and pork-seeming products, there`s bacon, which is bacon. There`s faking bacon which I think is a tofu product or some other form of not meat. And then there`s real bacon that you can make using a gun. Ted Cruz brought that into the presidential vernacular today, and he did it wrong. That story is ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Hoot, hoot. Haven`t done this in a long time. It`s very exciting. Debunktion, junction, what`s my function? First up, today presidential candidate Ted Cruz did a hilarious video where he said in Texas, the way they cook breakfast food is to wrap their bacon around the muzzle of a machine gun and then fire the machine gun until the hot barrel of the gun cooks the bacon. Senator Cruz starred in this video posted online today. This is the title screen, "Making machine gun bacon with Ted Cruz." This is designed to be hilarious obviously. It`s also designed to make gun enthusiasts very excited about Ted Cruz, which it did. This is the headline, "Ted Cruz cooks and eats machine gun bacon." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: In Texas, we cook bacon a little differently than most folks. (MUSIC) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. CRUZ: Mmm, machine gun bacon. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Here`s the question: Is that true or false? Did Ted Cruz just make and eat machine gun bacon? I mean, this is the title, right, making machine gun bacon with Ted Cruz. Is that true or is that false? (BUZZER) MADDOW: It`s false, because that`s not a machine gun. We reached out to the gun range where Mr. Cruz shot that video. They`ve confirmed what we thought, which is that it`s not a machine gun being used in that video. It`s a general AR-15. It`s semiautomatic. You have to pull the trigger for each bullet you want to fire. And, in fact, it`s kind of obvious, this is not a machine gun. If you listen to the sound the gun makes while the senator fires it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (GUNSHOTS) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Here`s what it would sound like if it really were a machine gun cooking your breakfast meat. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (GUNSHOTS) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: It`s true. You can see the flames here. Guns can get really hot when you fire them a lot. The Internet is lousy with videos of people setting fire to guns by firing them too much and too fast, particularly in fully automatic mode. But there`s a difference between a fully automatic machine gun like this and what Ted Cruz made bacon with. Does he really not know what a machine gun is? Does he think he was firing one here? Does he want us to think he was firing one here and he knows he wasn`t or does he not know? We now await the moment when all gun groups get mad at Ted Cruz and say Ted Cruz doesn`t know what he`s talking about when he talks about guns. Apparently, Ted Cruz doesn`t know what he`s talking about when he talks about guns. Sorry, Senator. Next up, Governor Chris Christie -- there`s little doubt that Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen. You can`t be a truther about it. There`s video evidence. This is our cherished clip of Chris Christie rockin` out without a care in the word at a Bruce Springsteen concert 15 years ago. But in a recent interview with a conservative news site called LifeZette, everything we thought we knew about Chris Christie and Bruce Springsteen went out the window. He did a series of rapid fire, would you rather type questions, and he and his wife were asked and each picked Jon Bon Jovi over Bruce Springsteen. It`s kind of sad, right? I mean, if you know three things about Chris Christie, statistically speaking, one of them is probably the bridge. One of them is like he yells at teachers and one of them is loves Bruce Springsteen. But apparently for the purpose of running for president he`s given that up. It`s very sad. I kind of figured thought that was the end of it when he did interview. It`s very sad. But then this weekend, my friend Jake Tapper at CNN did an interview with Governor Christie and asked him to explain what that was all about. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAKE TAPPER, CNN: I read something in the press that really upset me the other day where you were quoted as saying -- and maybe it was a misquote but you were quoted as saying when it came to your favorite New Jersey musician, it was no longer The Boss, Mr. Bruce Springsteen, it was Jon bon Jovi. Would you clear this up? And how can you justify such an egregious flip-flop? GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s not an egregious a flip-flop. What we asking, what Laure Ingraham was asking, both me and Mary Pat, was, as a friend, who do you prefer, Springsteen or Bon Jovi? TAPPER: As a person? CHRISTIE: Yes, as a person. And Jon and Dorothy Bon Jovi are friends of ours. TAPPER: And they`re lovely people. Absolutely. CHRISTIE: They`re good friends of ours and that was the answer. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Of course, I didn`t turn my back on Bruce Springsteen. You must have misheard the exchange. You didn`t listen. See, what the interviewer was asking as a friend specifically not in terms of their music, do you prefer Springsteen or Bon Jovi. It was specific to the friendship. It wasn`t the music. That`s how Chris Christie explains what happens in that interview. But is that true or is that false? (BUZZER) MADDOW: It`s very false. Very false. Here`s the exchange with Laura Ingraham that Governor Christie was referencing. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen? MARY PAT CHRISTIE, WIFE OF GOV. CHRISTIE: Ah, that`s hard. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this a hard question? M.P. CHRISTIE: Their music or their person? INGRAHAM: No explanation. M.P. CHRISTIE: Bon Jovi. GOV. CHRISTIE: Bon Jovi. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Your explanation, Governor Christie of dissing Bruce Springsteen is not true. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRISTIE: What she was asking, what Laura Ingraham was asking, both me and Mary Pat, as a friend, who do you prefer, Springsteen or Bon Jovi? TAPPER: As a person. GOV. CHRISTIE: Yes, as a person. M.P. CHRISTIE: Their music or their person. INGRAHAM: No explanation. M.P. CHRISTIE: Bon Jovi. GOV. CHRISTIE: Bon Jovi. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I don`t think anybody really cares which New Jersey singer the state`s governor likes more. I do think people might care that he would pick that as something to lie about overtly. Governor Christie, in a blind taste test, you and your wife chose Bon Jovi. That is a choice you are going to have to live with. We have the tape. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL". Good evening, Lawrence. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END