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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 09/09/15

Guests: Nicolle Wallace

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. That was an amazing interview. That was the best interview I`ve seen anybody do with Martin O`Malley, including my own interview with him by ten miles. That was amazing. HAYES: Well, that`s very kind. MADDOW: Well done. Hi, Governor. O`MALLEY: Thank you, Rachel. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us. On October 10th, the U.S. men`s national soccer team will play Mexico`s men`s national soccer team. It`s an important international qualifier match. The TV network that will broadcast that soccer match is called Azteca. That`s just going to broadcast in Mexico. Azteca is based both in Mexico and in southern California. Today, that TV network Azteca, they created what I think is inarguably the greatest political ad of the year. And it`s not a Mexican political ad. It is an American political ad. They created this as a means promoting that soccer game in October. And this ad, it shows Mexican soccer stars being signed to professional soccer clubs. It shows Mexican players scoring goals against the United States and it shows American players looking very sad about that. So, it has all the soccer specific stuff in it to promote that game. But mostly, what it has to inspire Mexican patriotism, to inspire Mexico`s fan base for that country`s national soccer team, mostly what this ad has is Donald Trump. I -- I kid you not. I believe this is the best political ad of the year so far. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AZTECA AD) (NATIONAL ANTHEM) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When Mexico sends its people, they`re not sending their best. They`re not sending you. (MUSIC) Our country is in serious trouble. (MUSIC) We don`t have victories anymore. (MUSIC) The American dream is dead. Is dead. (MUSIC) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: You hear the slow-mo. Is dead. Best political ad of the year bar none. And it was created not to do anything for any particular candidate. It was created to promote the U.S. versus Mexico soccer match that`s happening next month. I mean, it was -- maybe we should have seen this coming. It was a little weird from the beginning that presidential candidate Donald Trump was running for president on a platform of how terrible this country is. I mean, that really was weird from the beginning. He did get up there at his campaign launch and say the American dream is dead. But that`s how he was running from the start even though that is a very useful patriotic epithet for other countries to use against us. That`s how he started running. That is still how he is running even today. And now, as the prohibitive Republican presidential front-runner, his became the voice today of opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: So I`ve been doing deals for a long time. I`ve been making lots of wonderful deals, great deals. That`s what I do. Never, ever, ever in my life have I seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran. And I mean never. All of these countries, all of these countries are going to do business with Iran. They`re going to make lots of money and lots of other things with Iran. And we`re going to do and we`re going on get nothing. Nothing. We are led by very, very stupid people. Very, very stupid people. We cannot let it continue. We are a country that owes $19 trillion. We lose everywhere. We lose militarily. We can`t beat ISIS. Give me a break. We can`t beat anybody. Our vets are being treated horribly. It will change. We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning. Believe me. I agree. You`ll never get bored with winning. We never get bored. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: We never get bored is a hypothesis that deserves testing by Donald J. Trump. But he is the Republican front-runner running on a platform of, what is it? We lose everywhere. The American dream is dead. And so, today, as the Republican front-runner, that meant not only headlining this rally against the Iran deal, it meant the other presidential candidate who is at that really as well, Ted Cruz, it meant he had to shout out Donald Trump as his good friend during his own speech today. It also meant Mr. Cruz enthusiastically hugged Mr. Trump at least twice on the stage between their two speeches. Beyond those two top tier presidential contenders being there, though, this rally to the opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal today I think it should be seen as sort of a merger between top flight current Republican presidential politics, as representative by those two huggers and also the ghost of the old FOX News Channel B team, because it wasn`t just Republican presidential contenders there today, it was everyone from the "Duck Dynasty" people to Glenn Beck complaining that he wasn`t being given enough time, which is beautiful. Michele Bachmann was there. She`s back. Also, there was a high wire amazing vocal performance from the former Republican nominee for vice president of the United States, former Alaska governor, former FOX News host, current Internet celebrity, Sarah Palin. It was amazing to watch, I will say. But in the end, what is most amazing was this was the best the American could do. This was the best the American political right could do in terms of mustering a public face for the opposition to the Iran nuclear deal. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you! Thank you! I never thought I would say it but I think you are a lot tougher than Alaskans, being able to be out here. I`m roasted. I`m melting. I always said though, sweat is my sanity. So, as I sweat, let`s bring some sanity to this discussion about this insane treaty that`s in front of Congress. PHIL ROBERTSON, "DUCK DYNASTY" TV STAR: We are anti-perversion, for crying out loud. And we are pro-God Almighty. We are pro-gun. We are pro "get your tail out there and go to work". Therefore, I love you all. God loves you. I think that America, they always say the same thing. That old Robertson guy is just too religious. You know what I say? I say America ain`t religious enough. PALIN: But now, remember, the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. But now, they`re going to inspect themselves? Oh, what could go wrong with that? Yes, don`t call us. We`ll call you, they say. That`s really good because Obama is standing by with his mighty phone and his mighty pen. In case they stretch the truth a little and they start dropping bombs. No, only in an Orwellian Obama world, full of sprinkly fairy dust born from atop his unicorn, as he is peeking through a pretty pink kaleidoscope, he would ever see victory or safety for America or Israel in this treaty. This treaty will not bring peace. You don`t reward terrorism. You kill it. GLENN BECK, TV HOST: When someone says they will wipe the Jew off the face of the earth, you must take them seriously. They mean it. I`ve been asked to speak, so we can either -- you can either let me speak or we can turn the music off or I`ll call it a day. Which do you prefer? MICHELE BACHMANN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president of the United States, were I there, were any sane person be president of the United States, this is not tough at all. What you do today, you go in and you take out your kinetic military means, the mili -- the nuclear hardware that exists in Iran today. You take it out. That does not -- that does not bring about World War III. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: There`s just one more. Bear with me. I know what you`re thinking. Just bear with me, because I want you to suss this out for me. I just listen to the words here and tell me what this means. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PALIN: So up there in Alaska, across the way, Russia, you know, there is a name for this taking advantage of America. There is a Russian name for that. And it`s called fortochka. And that means "Obama`s window of opportunity". So, as Obama leads from behind, the skirt of his right hand man, Valerie Jarrett, then it`s up to Congress to close that window. He may propose, you dispose, Congress. You got to be in to it win it because we want peace. With unapologetic mighty red, white and blue, we`ll have peace. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Senator John McCain`s choice to become president of the United States, should anything have happened to him in the White House. Never forget. Today, she is the face of Republican opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: It`s a done deal, though. Do you think this is of any use? PALIN: If it were a done deal, I wouldn`t be here today. I wouldn`t have flown all the way from Alaska and left my kids for this. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Is Sarah Palin right? I just said those words. Did Governor Sarah Palin leave her kids in Alaska today for no good reason? Because the Iran deal is already done? Or is she right that there is some glimmer of hope for the opposition to the Iran deal? There is some glimmer of hope that actually the Iran deal is not done and it might still be stopped. In fact, in the House of Representatives today, the leadership in the House did decide to shelf their planned vote against the Iran deal today. Is that just a sign of normal John Boehner led Republican chaos in Congress? Them just not being able to get it together to do something they want to do? Or does it mean this crazy clown car of the Iranian nuclear deal actually has some means of stopping it? While also inadvertently providing more advertising copy for future patriotic ads by other countries against the United States of America? Joining us now is NBC News Capitol Hill producer, Frank Thorp. Frank, thanks very much for being here. Appreciate your time tonight. FRANK THORP, NBC NEWS CAPITOL HILL PRODUCER: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: So, why did they not vote on this thing today? Does the Republican leadership have some master plan that we don`t know about? Do they have some trick up their sleeve? THORP: No. This came out of relatively nowhere. They had been planning on voting on this resolution of disapproval all the way up until this morning, until a group of conservatives had really announced that they were going to vote against a procedural rule to get to the resolution of disapproval. So, what they`ve decided to do now is they`re going to vote on three different measures. Look, they`re going to vote on a bill that would stop President Obama from suspending sanctions on Iran, congressional sanctions on Iran. They`re going to vote a resolution of approval, not disapproval anymore, and they`re going to vote on a measure that`s going to establish that they believe President Obama is not upholding the law when they -- because they believe that they did not receive all the information regarding the Iran nuclear deal. They think that the Obama administration has left out some key pieces of information and as a result, he hasn`t upheld the law. What that effectively is though, that measure is really almost a preface for what could be an eventual new lawsuit against the Obama administration. We had a number of conservative Republicans say today this is what this measure is. It`s actually more of a preface for a lawsuit than it is actually any kind of practical measure to actually stop the Iran deal. MADDOW: So in terms of stopping it through congressional action, nothing that the -- the reason the House didn`t do what we thought they were going to do today is they had an internal fight about how to go forward. The leadership plan was rejected and they had to try something new. But it sounds to me like with all of these new things that they`re trying, none of them will change bottom line that Congress isn`t going to be able to stop the Iran deal. That`s still the truth. THORP: Right. That`s true. The bottom line is the reality in the Senate remains the same. We still have 42 Democrats who announce they had support the Iran nuclear deal. That could result in a filibuster of this resolution. We`re going to have a vote on that as soon as tomorrow. You know, there`s a number of House Republican who`s are coming out of their House Republican conference meeting this afternoon, admitting that even this new strategy doesn`t really get them anywhere. And I talked on a Senate Republican leadership aide who called the entire strategy bizarre. I mean, they didn`t see this coming and they don`t understand where they`re going with it. The idea with House Republicans is that instead of voting on a resolution of disapproval, they`ll vote on a resolution of approval in an effort to kind of change the narrative, because they`ve realized that they`ve lost when it comes to the resolution of disapproval. They realize that the resolution of disapproval will never become law and it may never make it to President Obama`s desk. So, now, what they`re trying -- they`re hoping to do, if this resolution of approval gets a vote, they`re hoping to paint it as Democrats voting for the deal instead of against the resolution of disapproval. But what`s interesting about this entire strategy is that in the end, we may not have a single vote on a resolution of disapproval at all in either chamber as a result. MADDOW: Wow! And -- I mean, and the important part, as you say, they didn`t see this coming. They didn`t know this was going to happen. What they didn`t see coming was their own side not being able to be held together around their own side`s plan. And that at this point is a familiar story. THORP: Yes. And I think that the point, the reality is that in September, Congress has two things that they need to take care of. One is the Iran nuclear deal and the second is government funding. The Iran nuclear deal was the one we expected to be easy for congressional Republicans -- MADDOW: Right. A one day job. THORP: -- because they agree that they disapproved of this deal. So, this seemed hike a gimme for them that they were going to vote on this resolution of disapproval, while it might not get the support that it needs to make it to the president. It was going to -- or at least see some kind of consideration. And then the fight, the real fight would end up being on government funding and whether or not they try to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood. But now, this is a really scary preface to what could be a really huge fight on government funding if Speaker Boehner and Republican leadership is unable to see what`s coming from his own conference. MADDOW: Right. Even on what is supposed to be for them the easies issue of all. Frank Thorp, NBC News, Capitol Hill producer, super clarifying there, thanks very much for being with us, Frank. Appreciate it. THORP: Thank you. MADDOW: This is one of those delays where it`s really, really important to have a reporter on Capitol Hill who is following the twists and turns, because everybody thought that one thing was going to happen today and then it didn`t. Nobody was expecting it to fall apart. And so, you have to have somebody there figuring out what just fell apart. The whole narrative of how this was going to go in Washington just went down the tubes with Glenn Beck outside complaining about the music was playing and Sarah Palin talking about unicorns. God, what a day! We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Tonight, one of my favorite Republicans in the whole world is here in person for the interview. In fact, I can be specific. This person is definitely my favorite Republican under the age of 50, in the whole world. I haven`t checked out the whole world of them over 50. But under 50, this is one. Here tonight live. That`s the interview. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: It may be after Labor Day, but it`s freaking hot almost everywhere. It was 90 degrees plus earlier tonight inside the Anaheim Convention Center in California. It was that hot inside the convention center because of a busted air conditioner. But look at this. Thousands of people turned out early in that very hot arena with the busted air conditioning to see a Republican presidential candidate named Ben Carson. The Ben Carson campaign says over 6,500 people showed up for that rally in Anaheim, California, tonight. Lucky for them the air conditioner kicked on just before Dr. Ben Carson himself hit the stage. He has been turning out the largest crowds of anyone in this campaign who is not named Sanders or Trump. Yesterday, he packed a room at the commonwealth club in San Francisco, which is not exactly a Republican hotbed. At least San Francisco isn`t. A couple of weeks ago, a few thousand people turned out to see him in Little Rock, Arkansas. Before that, 12,000 turned out to see Ben Carson in Phoenix. Crowd size is an inexact science. It`s one of the things that people like to exaggerate. But Carson has really been making more than credible showings in very large venues, and while the Beltway press really still treats him as a cult figure or a special taste, the Ben Carson campaign is making a difference on the ground, surging in the polls and turning out big numbers. He`s the only Republican getting anywhere near Donald Trump numbers at this point and we`ve got some very specific evidence only and some weird consequences of it ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: You`re interviewing a presidential candidate. You`re interviewing a presidential candidate who`s actually doing pretty well in the polls right now. He is at least having the highest profile moment so far of his presidential campaign. This is a real get. This interview with this presidential candidate at this time in his campaign, you`ve got it. He is there on your set. What do you ask him? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: Governor, describe the rally yesterday. I understand, this is something you would be a part of. Why did you decide to be the face of outside Ms. Davis? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: God bless the FOX News Channel, particularly in the morning. Now put yourself -- now imagine you`re the guy in the other seat. Now imagine you`re the presidential candidate. You`re Mike Huckabee. How are you supposed to answer when this is the question you`re asked? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KILMEADE: Why did you decide to be the face of outside Ms. Davis? (END VIDEO CLI)P) MADDOW: Why did you decide to be the face of outside Ms. Davis? How do you answer that? It turns out there is an answer and it was even more satisfying than that truly amazing question and it solved a mystery from the presidential campaign about what is turning out to be a fight between two of the leading candidates. Hold on. That`s coming. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KILMEADE: Why did you decide to be the face of outside Ms. Davis? (END VIDEO CLI)P) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: We started the show last night with a weird mystery on the presidential campaign trail. There was a weird physical confrontation yesterday between Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz and somebody who last night we could not identify. It happened at a rally for the county clerk in Kentucky who`s been jailed for contempt of court after she refused to issue marriage licenses from her office. It seemed like that really would be a Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz event. We knew they were both there yesterday. But in the end, the rally ended up just being a Mike Huckabee thing in part, because Ted Cruz wanted to go to the left of your TV screen, to go talk to all the assembled reporters here. But that guy in the red shirt would not let him pass. And it was this weird mystery, and we didn`t know who that man in the red shirt was. All we knew was last night, because of the physical stand- off of red shirt guy and Ted Cruz, the getting out of jail moment looked like this. I will tell you again. We did not add the sound track here, you should know. They were playing this music out loud at the event. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: Incidentally, the band Survivor is now upset about the use of "Eye of the Tiger" at that rally, and they are apparently considering a lawsuit. Whether or not anybody gets sued for the epic soundtrack, though, this really did end up being Mike Huckabee`s moment. He got to be there making it look like he was the one springing her from jail. Even though Ted Cruz had gone all the way to Kentucky to be there, he was totally boxed out. It turns out the guy in the red shirt is not some official from that jail or some official from the county. MSNBC can now report that the man in the red shirt is the director of advance on the Mike Huckabee for president campaign. That means he`s in charge of event logistics. So, now we know, this was a Mike Huckabee staffer, acting on behalf of the campaign, physically blocking Ted Cruz from getting anywhere near all the Kentucky anti-gay clerk glory. A Huckabee spokesperson later explained to the press, it was our event and Ted Cruz just shows up. You need to be asking him why he showed up at our event. My rally, my clerk, mine. Mike Huckabee himself explained it to our friends at the FOX News Channel. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was our event. We were surprised that he showed up. Once he was there, we invited him to come and meet with her. So, I`m not sure what the controversy is. The program, of course, was already settled. And I was happy that he was able to come and show his support for her even if it was at the last minute. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Even if it was at the last minute. We asked Senators Cruz` campaign for a come. We asked, can you comment on reporting that Senator Cruz was physically stopped from addressing reporters by a Huckabee campaign staffer? A Ted Cruz campaign official told us in response, "I`m not going to comment on that." So, two Republican presidential candidates, grown men who are not in junior high school, are nevertheless competing over who gets to jump on to the cause of a clerk in Kentucky who served time in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. They`re fighting over her physically. And with that level of competition to get in on her story, it may come as welcome news for these Republican presidential campaigns that the story is probably far from over. This federal judge in Kentucky who is a George W. Bush appointee. He`s the son of a Republican Kentucky U.S. senator, former senator. This judge released Kim Davis from jail yesterday on the explicit condition that she not interfere in any way with her deputy clerks issuing marriage licenses from her office. Kim Davis has not said whether or not she will obey that ruling. If she doesn`t obey that ruling and she does interfere with the issue of licenses from her office, which her lawyers say she will do, they say she will interfere, then she would be violating that court order and she could end up back in jail. So, even just her story is very much unresolved. Also, though, and I think this has been largely overlooked in the nationwide coverage of this story. Kim Davis is by no means the only person in the country who`s in that particular contempt of court boat. I mean, there are local officials in Oregon and in Texas who have been fighting for the right to deny gay people marriage licenses. In Alabama, at least 10 counties and potentially as many as 15 counties, have stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether in order to keep gay people from getting married, just like Kim Davis did. In North Carolina, more than 30 local magistrates are refusing to issue marriage licenses. So, Kim Davis in Kentucky is not alone. She is just the one who so far has got Republican politicians fighting amongst themselves in the most junior high way possible, including physically fighting over her. And her case, of course, is the national news story right now. But who knows? Maybe the next time there`s a rally for her the next time she goes to jail or maybe the next time there`s a rally for the next clerk who`s going to end going through the exact same thing. Maybe next time Ted Cruz will win his physical confrontation with Mike Huckabee`s chair, Aaron Chang. It turns out there are plenty of anti-gay officials to go around if all the candidates will compete over them. And that brings us to the bigger picture problem here for the Republican Party, which is that having all your candidates fight over who can most associate themselves with the now fringe anti-gay movement. That was not supposed to happen this year for the Republican Party, right? The Republican Party, after 2012, was supposed to have figured this out. They were supposed to be secretly relieved when the Supreme Court settled the law on this issue. So Republican candidates could start avoiding talking about this issue. They could start making the Republican Party start seeming like something other than the last refuge of angry homophobes in America. I am not a Republican. I do not play one on TV. But I really thought that the plan from the top of the Republican Party on down was that anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-minority stuff in the party, they were going to fix that this year, at least in the presidential race. They were going to stop that stuff from being their marquee issues in the 2016 presidential race because they knew it didn`t serve them. It didn`t win their last general election or the one before that or the one before that. This was finally going to be the year when it didn`t happen again for Republicans. But it`s happening again. Why is that? The one person I most want to talk about that because I think she might know is here next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: If you squint, here`s what the Republican field looks like. You`ve got two top tier candidates physically fighting over who gets to be associated with a super anti-gay local official in Kentucky who has gone to jail for contempt of court. And you got the front runner, the clear front- runner running on who is doing the raping, build a beautiful wall, fulsomely anti-immigrant platform. This was supposed to be the year when this stopped happening in the Republican Party. This is happening again for the Republican Party with a bigger exclamation point than we have seen in previous years. Joining us for the interview is Republican strategist, Nicolle Wallace. Nicolle, I miss you. It`s nice to see you. NICOLLE WALLACE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I`m so happy to be here when you spend the whole guy talking about my guys, and woman Carly. Thank you. MADDOW: Well, here, I honestly don`t understand why the anti-gay and anti-immigrant thing have become the top tier issues. Is this the sort of thing where the party said, don`t do this and so then everybody said I`m going to do it, I`m going to do it? (CROSSTALK) MADDOW: Yes. WALLACE: OK. Let me separate them out, because the -- I watched this moment yesterday with Kim Davis and I saw Huckabee there. And this is sort of Huckabee`s wheel house. I mean, he has stood up for religious liberties. There are people that feel their religious liberties are under attack. I am not one of those people. Jeb Bush isn`t one of those people. Jeb Bush heartened me in his response to Kim Davis when he said there are laws. Even Trump said, you know, there are laws on the books. We are a nation of laws and we should be able to find some laws. If Kim Davis didn`t want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples who have the same right to a marriage license in every county in American, as any other couple, then find someone else to do it. MADDOW: Right. So, there are some Republican candidates who have a majoritarian -- WALLACE: Yes. I mean -- MADDOW: Three quarters of the country is like, yes, even if we sympathize with you, you have to follow the law if you work as a public official. The fringe -- WALLACE: And it is a fringe problem, too. I understand why we`re talking about it because it happened and it became a flash point. But every other two counties, both of them are in Kentucky or another southern states where this happened, but every other county in the country has found a way to do this. MADDOW: No, that`s true. There are dozens actually. There`s all these magistrates. WALLACE: But most are finding a way to accommodate the law which is to issue licenses to same-sex couples. MADDOW: And in the middle of that, there is this fight in the Republican field to see who can run with this fringe. WALLACE: There are only two guys there. I don`t think it was a fight. There were two candidates. And listen, also -- MADDOW: Jindal, Huckabee, Cruz -- WALLACE: Well, they were with Kim. They stood by Kim and that`s where they stand. And they`re going to have answer for that. I don`t think any thinks that either one of those men will be the nominee in the Republican Party. MADDOW: OK. WALLACE: OK? So Trump is serious. He is the front-runner. My dad supports Trump. We had a very interesting debate. MADDOW: Ironically. So, he`s like -- he is into it. He is not doing it just to needle you. WALLACE: No, no, no. You know, I work for Jeb Bush, I love that Jeb Bush speaks two languages. I`m sending my three and a half-year-old to school and he will learn a second language. I think it is a wonderful American value that we value bilingual education. MADDOW: You also have the world`s most perfect child. WALLACE: You haven`t seen him lately. I don`t want to use the word perfect except after a few glasses of wine. But I think we are spending a lot of attention talking about the wrong reasons for Trump soaring. He isn`t number one in the Republican field because of his positions on immigration. Trump is number one because of what`s on his hat, "Making America Great Again". There is a hunger, not just in the Republican Party, but I think in the country for someone who champions this country and I think that`s the root -- MADDOW: His campaign slogan on his hat is "Make America great again". His biggest applause line is "the American dream is dead." (CROSSTALK) WALLACE: For independent voters who determine outcome of elections, most are women. Women are the deciders. Listen to that. Immigration -- (CROSSTALK) WALLACE: See, if you work for W., you get to say deciders and you get to say that women are the deciders. But immigration is a 3 percent issue. More people care about global warming. Independent voters care more about global warming than immigration. So, this isn`t something that`s going to affect outcome of the general election a year from now. When we sit down a year from now -- MADDOW: Is this the time the Republican Party is a virulent -- (CROSSTALK) WALLACE: I don`t disagree with you. I don`t disagree with you. If Trump is the nominee, it will be a huge problem. And that`s why you saw Brett Stevens, who`s the deputy opinion page editor at "The Wall Street Journal" called Trump appalling yesterday and said his supporters are appalling. You see thought leaders on the right really coming out and indicting, not just the immigration stance but his treatment of women. I think it is fair to call him a misogynist. He said look at Carly Fiorina`s face. Do you think anyone wants that face as president? His record of, you know, statements against Rosie O`Donnell. His bullying on the Twitter of Megyn Kelly. I mean, you know, it`s not just his positions on immigration that would be a policy problem. It is his stance on women. So, there are a host of problems about Donald Trump but the entire field has to study why his supporters are so enthusiastic about him. Why people like my dad love him so much. He is against everything that Washington has become. MADDOW: And it is instructive that as Republicans thought leaders such as yourself make those arguments for Jeb Bush in your case, or just generally against Trump, Republican voters -- WALLACE: I mean, I like Scott Walker and Marco Rubio. MADDOW: But Republican voters like your dad are looking at Republican thought leaders and saying, screw you, the more you hate him, the more we love him. WALLACE: My dad said that to my face every night over summer break. MADDOW: We have to go out and talk about it. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace, I really do miss you. Thank you for being here. WALLACE: Missed you, too. MADDOW: And Nicolle`s dad, if you`re being mean, I have your number. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: When Barack Obama was campaigning for president in 2008, he made one thing very clear, he does not belong on the professional bowling circuit. Here`s the big windup and the release and -- possible bad grip, possible slippery shoes, it was bad. But this year`s crop of presidential candidates is giving a new meaning to the term gutterball. This may become a regular feature on the show, but we`re not going to play hardball there tonight, we`re going to play gutterball -- and that`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Professional bowling looks different than it used. I will admit, I am not a professional bowling rabid fan. I don`t follow the sport closely. But this is sort of what I thought professional bowling still looked like. I mean, why would with it change? But esthetically, professional bowling has changed a lot. Look. This is what professional bowling looks like now. They wear sunglasses. They have logos all over them like it`s NASCAR or something, and I`m sure this isn`t weird to people follow it as a sport. But just as a casual viewer, I had no idea they wear gloves when they bowl now. I didn`t know. I didn`t know. The new look of professional bowling is a little intimidating. They are very intense looking guys. It`s a little scary even when things go horribly wrong it`s a little intimidating. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Use an IQ tour edition, medium hook potential and great soft touch in rotation. Pete Webber is at the bottom. Whoa! Channel. Lost it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Lost it. When he says channel I think that is the term you and I would call gutter ball. Channel! At 7:00 here on this channel, on MSNBC, every day 7:00 p.m. Eastern, you know that it is time for "HARDBALL", Chris Matthews, my friend, master of American electoral politics. It`s "HARDBALL" every night. He is at 7:00. Here at 9:00 we are not "HARDBALL". We are gutterball, because at least this year electoral politics, some of the most amazing things happening in the competition for office is among people who are failing radically and dramatically in those contest. The bottom of the heap is full amazing stuff. Look, for example, at this new PPP poll just out in South Carolina. At the top of the poll, there`s a remarkable split. Number one in this PPP poll in South Carolina is, of course, Donald Trump. Huge numbers in South Carolina, he`s 37 percent of the vote. I think that`s the biggest statewide lead he`s had anywhere all year long. In second place behind him is Ben Carson, polling at 21 percent in South Carolina. So, they are the top two, 37 and 21 percent. The next closest candidate is all the way down at 6 percent, where Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz are tied for third. That`s remarkable split, right? Carson is 16 points behind Trump. But everybody else is at least 15 points behind him and below Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz tied at 6 percent, nobody else even cracks 5 percent in South Carolina. It`s just incredible. That can`t crack 5 percent group also includes Lindsey Graham, who`s tied with Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Scott Walker at 3 percent in this latest South Carolina poll. I mean, there is all of this beltway buzz around Rand Paul and Scott Walker but 3 percent is around where they are settling in now. They are just doing unexpectedly terribly. And while being tied even at a low number with Rand Paul and Scott Walker might usually be a great day for if a cellar dweller like Lindsey Graham, this particular South Carolina result is also an unexpectedly bad showing for him because South Carolina his home state and he`s only getting 3 percent this his home state. The PPP polling firm added insult to injury by also asking Republican voters in South Carolina if they thought their home state Senator Lindsey Graham should just stop running for president. This is the proportion of South Carolina Republicans who said, yes, Lindsey Graham should quit the race for president -- 78 percent want him to quit and he`s their home state senator. PPP put out this poll today under the headline, South Carolina Republicans to Lindsey Graham: drop out. I mean, as weird as it seems, Donald Trump being hugely ahead in the race for the Republican nomination, that`s kind of like a dog bites man story at this point. That`s normal news. That doesn`t garner any headlines. At this point, the headlines are about not who`s at the top of the poll but bottom, about who is losing most dramatically. Right now in this South Carolina poll, losing even worse than Lindsey Graham are these guys, all three of them big name, nationally known Republican governors, all of whom were supposed to be real contenders for the presidency this year. All three in South Carolina right now polling at 1 percent -- Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal. Looking at Bobby Jindal, I`m not sure anyone knows what his game is to get out of the cellar, but he`s routinely now polling at 1 percent or even zero percent in most polls. Today, the new Bobby Jindal campaign gambit was that he tried to make fun of Donald Trump. Bobby Jindal campaign today released this video. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We`re leading in every single poll. CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: I`m sorry, winning. TRUMP: But the polls have been through the roof, every one of them. SHEEN: Like winning. TRUMP: And Kanye West has been so great. I`d never say bad about him because he says such nice things about me. SHEEN: Giant marquee name comes through on your caller ID and it`s like, winning. TRUMP: I`m winning in all the polls. SHEEN: Duh! Winning. TRUMP: I`m winning in all the states. SHEEN: You know, you make a choice to win and you win. TRUMP: I`m winning everywhere. SHEEN: Wow, winning. I`m by winning. I win here and there, now what? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: It is very funny to see Donald Trump compared to Charlie Sheen like that. Unfortunately for Bobby Jindal, it is funny when they proposed the way to get serious for running for president is Bobby Jindal. Both sides of that ad seem funny. One you are laughing with him, one -- but Bobby Jindal is trying new campaign tactics making fun of Donald Trump. Maybe it will work. The other person who Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal are tied with in South Carolina at right now is poor beleaguered Rick Perry. Former governor of Texas, he too is at 1 percent right now in South Carolina. Perry really looks dead. He said he is not dead. This is the "Texas Tribune" right now, quote, "Perry continues to battle rumors of campaign demise." Rick Perry is now down to one campaign staffer in Iowa, zero in New Hampshire. We learned yesterday he has closed his campaign headquarters in South Carolina and he has no national paid staffers anywhere. But whoever is still speaking for that ghost campaign and doing so as a hobby presumably now, whoever Rick Perry`s spokesperson still is, is trying to keep the national press convinced that Rick Perry technically is still running. It`s an explicit criteria for eligibility in the next Republican debate that each candidate has to have at least one staffer in two of the first four states that will vote in the nomination. Perry campaign said it has carefully not died in specific enough ways to still meet that criteria. So, they`ve got one staffer in Iowa and one staffer somewhere else who with they are importantly keeping on the payroll so Rick Perry can qualify in to the CNN debate a week from tonight. So, that technically means the Rick Perry campaign is not dead even though he hasn`t been seen anywhere for a week and a half. I think if you accidentally unplugged Rick Perry at this point, he would quietly, politically expire. But below even Rick Perry in the polls are these two guys, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore. Governor Pataki is the one on the right. I know it`s hard sometimes. Jim Gilmore is probably not going to qualify to make the debate next week, but "The Washington Post" reports that that may not be a severe blow for Gilmore since he is not campaigning at all. Jim Gilmore is not holding events in any of the early states. He explained to "The Washington Post" he is trying to get on cable news now where hopefully people will still describe him as running for president, even as he does nothing to prove it. I think even that will stop soon for Governor Gilmore. There`s one last amazing, truly unexpected story in gutter ball today on the Democrat side where one of the candidates who just cannot getting gear at all has picked up an unlikely patron saint in the form of late night comedian called Conan O`Brien. A few weeks, Conan O`Brien launched a campaign to help get Lincoln Chafee to 1 percent in the polls just so he didn`t have to be at zero. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CONAN O`BRIEN, COMEDIAN: Right now, no one is less popular than Democratic hopeful and former Rhode Island governor, Lincoln Chafee, who`s currently at zero percent in voting polls. I`m not making it up. That`s an actual headline. That`s why I`m taking a short amount of time here and making it my mission tonight to help Lincoln Chafee get from zero percent all the way to 1 percent. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) O`BRIEN: Wouldn`t that be amazing? Getting to 1 percent. Yes! Let`s be honest, I`m not trying to get him elected, OK? In fact I`m personally not going to vote for him, OK? But I think we should least get him on the board so he is not humiliated. It seems like the nice thing to do. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was a nice thing to do. Here`s the thing, though. It didn`t work. Monmouth`s been doing national polling in the Democratic race in the last three Monmouth polls, they have found Lincoln Chafee`s national support to be zero. Since the third poll in which Linc Chafee got zero, though, Conan O`Brien launched the campaign to get him up to 1 percent. The new Monmouth Democratic national poll just came out and turns out the results of Conan O`Brien`s efforts is that Lincoln Chafee is still at 0 percent, which is itself is an accomplishment. That itself may elevate him. With this many thousand people running for president, there will not be just a loser in this campaign, there`s going to be a lot of losers. But the caliber of the people who are now losing and badly is itself becoming an amazing sort of political spectator sport. At least on the Republican side. I mean, unless Donald Trump really is going to be the Republican nominee for president, one of these guys is going to have to pop out of the gutter to win someday and maybe someday soon. The second Republican presidential debate is a week from tonight. Woohoo! 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