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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/21/15

Guests: Mike Castle, David Triggs

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: You`re keeping me a little nervous. I got to say. Not to like hype the stakes or anything here. But -- CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: We`ll keep the expectations low. Just -- I think it will probably be the greatest interview in the history of American journalism. MADDOW: And if it isn`t -- HAYES: Yes. MADDOW: Yes, I know, I know. Thanks, man. Thanks to you at home for joining us today on what turned out to be a very big news day. Vice President Joe Biden will not succeed Barack Obama as president of the United States. Vice President Dick Cheney did not succeed George W. Bush as president of the United States. Vice President Al Gore did not succeed Bill Clinton as president of the United States. The last time a vice president did succeed the president, who he served alongside in the White House, was George H.W. Bush, who won one term as president to succeed Ronald Reagan in 1988. Before that, it was Gerald Ford, who never actually ran for vice president, but was appointed vice president after the previous vice president had to quit in a scandal. Gerald Ford then ascended to the presidency itself in 1974 after Richard Nixon`s resignation, but Gerald Ford is a very special case. He was never elected to either the number one job or the number two job in his own right. He just sort of stumbled into it. Being vice president in theory, it seems like the best possible warm- up to becoming president yourself, right? It almost feels like an understudy job in a way, but it almost never works out that way anymore that the vice president next becomes the president of the United States. It doesn`t work out that way generally speaking anymore and it hasn`t for a long while. And when Barack Obama chose then 67-year-old Senator Joe Biden to be his vice presidential running mate in 2008, it isn`t talked a lot about now, but it was all but implicitly understood at the time that Joe Biden probably would not be a contender to succeed President Obama as president himself down the line. There`s nothing particularly personal about Joe Biden. It said nothing about whether or not Joe Biden would be a good choice for vice president back in 2008. It was the same kind of choice we understood George W. Bush to have made when he picked Dick Cheney to be his running mate eight years prior. Remember the "four more years" chants about Dick Cheney running in 2008? Yes, those for more years chants for Dick Cheney, those were sarcastic, or at least ironic, or at least they were attended to be purposely shocking. Nobody expected that Dick Cheney would run to succeed George W. Bush, and he didn`t. The unique thing about our current president deciding today not to run is not that there`s some amazing novelty of a vice president foregoing the opportunity to go next in line for the presidency in his own party. That happens. It happens to a lot of vice president. It`s not terribly unique that Vice President Biden would have been an older candidate for president. Ronald Reagan was 69 years old, and Joe Biden is fit as a fiddle and only three years older than that. Neither of these things make today`s decision unique. What makes today`s decision unique is that it`s about this vice president choosing not to run. What is unique about this decision today is specific to Joe Biden himself, and it`s that Joe Biden, more than any other major national political figure is so universally well-liked. You may or may not have voted for him and Barack Obama when they ran. You may or may not agree with Vice President Biden on the issues. But no one of his political stature has built up more of a store of legitimate human emotional goodwill with political enemies and friends alike. Nobody has that kind of reservoir of goodwill. Nobody has anything like that, compared to Joe Biden. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you can`t admire Joe Biden as a person, then you probably have a problem. You need to do some self-evaluation, because what`s not to like? Here`s what I can tell you, that life can change just like that. Don`t take it for granted. Don`t take relationships for granted. I called him after Beau died, and he basically said, well, Beau was my soul. We talked for a long time, he came to my ceremony, and said some of the most incredibly heartfelt things that anybody could ever say to me, and he`s the nicest person I think I`ve ever met in politics. REPORTER: Is that right? GRAHAM: He is as good a man as God ever created. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: South Carolina senator and Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham tearing up while describing his respect and affection for his friend Joe Biden, which persists alongside all of their very active political disagreements. When "Time" wanted to profile vice president Biden as one of the most influential people in the world, the profile of him written for that magazine was written by Eric Cantor, the Republican House majority leader at the time. He wrote, "Too often in Washington, opposing sides don`t speak to one another. The best way to find solution and common ground is to build personal relationships based on trust. No one in Washington understands this better than Joe Biden. His list of accomplishments is impressive, but most impressive to me is his ability to build bridges and bring people together. He does that by treating people with kindness and respect, and speaking with honesty and candor." This was in 2013, at a time of just abject partisan warfare, and one of the biggest warriors in that fight, the number two Republican in Congress at the time was still able to write about the Democratic vice president to praise his decency and his honesty, and to call him his friend. This year, when Vice President Biden was considering running for president, the abjectly fiercely partisan top Republican in the United States Senate said he wouldn`t weigh in on whether or not Mr. Biden should make a run for the presidency, but he too called him his friend. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I`m not somebody would be seeks his advice about whether to run for president. I do like Joe a lot. I think he`s a good man. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I think he`s a good man. You hear that a lot about Joe Biden. What other Democrat in politics -- not some conservative wannabe Republican Democrat, but what true blue Democrat, who else in politics is a Democrat would ever be talked about this way, particularly by Republicans? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Joe Biden and I have been friends for 38 years. We`ve shared some wonderful experiences together. We`ve experienced combat, and we`ve experienced differences of views, and some of those may be apparent in these conversations. But our relationship has been characterized by affection, but most of all, by respect. I respect this man as much as anyone who I`ve ever known, because I don`t know anyone who is more dedicated to serving his country. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Republican Senator John McCain saying he respects Vice President Biden as much as anyone he`s ever known. And that`s just the way Republicans talk about him. But I think that matters today, in terms of understanding the impact of what Vice President Biden announced himself today in the Rose Garden. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Unfortunately, I believe we`re out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination. But while I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent. I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully to influence as much as I can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation. This is what I believe. I believe that President Obama has led this nation from crisis to recovery, and we`re now on the cusp of resurgence. I`m proud to have played a part in that. This party, our nation, will be making a tragic mistake if we walk away or attempt to undo the Obama legacy. The American people have worked too hard, and we`ve come too far for that. Democrats should not only defend this record and protect this record. They should run on the record. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Vice President Biden made this announcement today flanked by his wife Dr. Jill Biden and by President Obama himself. And that announcement ends a months-long process of feverish speculation. And the vice president himself openly mulling whether or not he was going to run. The speculation started in earnest on the first day of August when the "New York Times" is fiercely anti-Clinton columnist Maureen Dowd published an explosive column saying that Vice President was thinking about running. Shortly thereafter, it became publicly known that he had asked liberal firebrand Senator Elizabeth Warren to come to Washington and meet with him at his house privately, to have a very long talk about politics. Not long after that, the vice president started to open up a bit in public about the fact that he really was thinking about it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: I`ll be straightforward with you. The most relevant factor in my decision is whether my family and I have the emotional energy to run. Some might think that is not appropriate, but unless I can go to my party and the American people and say that I am able to devote my whole heart and my whole soul to this endeavor, it would not be appropriate. And everybody talks about a lot of other factors -- the other people in the race, and whether I can raise the money, and whether I can put together an organization. That`s not the factor. The factor is, can I do it? Can my family undertake what is an arduous commitment that we would be proud to undertake in order circumstances, but the honest to God answer is, I just don`t know. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Within a week of those very somber, serious remarks, Vice President Biden was bounding through a campaign-style appearance on a Labor Day rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He didn`t just look fired up and energetic. It actually looked like he was running, if only because he was for much of the day he was literally running through that whole event, whole parade, jogging around, shaking every hand. Vice President Biden spoke about the process he was going through again on Stephen Colbert `news show on CBS. He talked to Stephen Colbert about his grief over his son`s death and how that was competing in his heart and in his emotions with his real desire to run. Last week, it was a letter from his closest political confidant, his former chief of staff, Ted Kaufman, telling Biden alumni the world over that if the vice president did mount a run for the presidency, here`s what it might look like. There was constant news of the vice president reaching out by phones to Democratic leaders in the early stays, to labor leaders around the country, to prominent Democrats and activists, never committing that he was going to run, but definitely talking it over. As recently as yesterday, the vice president talked at a public event in a way that convinced a lot of people who heard him speak that he definitely was running. He certainly seemed like he was, on and off for these months. But today when he finally ended that long process, there was inevitably talk about whether this long public process hurt somehow, whether it was undermining to Hillary Clinton`s front-runner campaign, whether it distracted from the project of the Democratic nominating process, which is to pick a candidate who beats a Republican in November and brings along as many down ticket Democrats as possible. If it were anybody else in Democratic politics, anybody else just in politics who had just gone through this arduous project, honestly there might be some hard feelings. But this is Joe Biden, and nobody is capable of having hard feelings about Joe Biden. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) MCCONNELL: My daughter Ellie. BIDEN: Ellie, how are you? So good to see you. MCCONNELL: My daughter Porter. BIDEN: Porter, how are you? MCCONNELL: My son Tom. BIDEN: Hey, Tom. How are you? Who is this guy? HEY, Charlie, how you doing? How are you? Are you doing OK? He said, `Grandpa, can I talk to a Democrat?" (LAUGHTER) SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: This is my sister-in-law Lorraine Durbin. BIDEN: Hey, Lorraine. How are you? DURBIN: Mother of ten. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m the mother of ten, that`s right. BIDEN: My mother would say no purgatory for you dear, straight to heaven, straight to heaven. (LAUGHTER) BIDEN: If you need somebody to negotiate a big prize for you, call me, I`m your guy, OK? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He can do it. BIDEN: I can help out, I can help out. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a wily one here. BIDEN: Oh, man! This is boring, boring, boring. Isn`t this boring? How are you doing? Can I borrow your hat? Can I borrow your hat? Good to see, you man. OK. Man, what a great family. C`mon. I like kids better than people. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: The last big unknown is now known about the Democratic field for the presidency after the presidency of Barack Obama, with his decision by Vice President Biden today that we won`t run, we now know the contours of the Democratic race. We know the size of the field. But we really don`t know the full implications of this decision. We don`t have anything to compare this to. And that`s because specifically there`s nobody like Joe Biden in modern American politics. There`s nobody else who`s almost universally personally liked and respected, even by people who disagree with him strongly. Somebody who spent 40 years, not just in public office, but in very high level public office. And after that 40-year-plus career, the bottom line about him, the same bottom line for his friends and his enemies, when everybody thinks about him is that he`s a good man. A, how do you do that in life in and in such a long successful political career? And B, how does that pay back to you in the world on a day like this, in what we know will be the apex of your career, a career which you have earned over the lifetime the amount of personal goodwill and affection that nobody else can brag about? The amount of personal goodwill and affection, that accrues because of the way he as lived his life in politics is unparalleled in our lifetimes. How does that go paid back to him now that he`s made this decision? Joining us now is Mike Castle, former governor of Delaware, former congressman from Delaware. He`s a Republican who made a run for Joe Biden`s Senate seat once Mr. Biden became vice president. Even though Mr. Castle is a Republican, he`s a longtime friend and colleague of Vice President Biden. Governor, thank you so much for being with us tonight. Really appreciate your time. MIKE CASTLE, FORMER GOVERNOR OF DELAWARE: Thank you, Rachel. It`s a pleasure to be with you. MADDOW: As a longtime friend of the vice president, somebody`s known him a very long time, are you disappointed that he`s not running? CASTLE: Well, I`m disappointed for a couple reasons. One of which is Delaware just obviously loves Joe Biden. He is a very popular figure. He`s Joe at home, not vice president Biden. People no him and like him. It was just exciting for a state of fewer than a million people to have somebody who might have been running for president and truly running this time, as opposed to the other tries where he never readily made up much ground. And that`s disappointing. But as a Republican, I like the idea that would you have Joe and Hillary sort of going at each other, perhaps easing the way for her Republican candidate to be able to move forward. I don`t know if it would worked out that way or not, but that was another aspect to it all. But I totally understand Joe`s decision, and he is a good friend. He went through a tremendous loss with Beau. Of course he went through an earlier loss with his first wife and daughter. But the bottom line is that it`s very understandable. I think he`s absolutely right when he talks about the emotional strain on the family. He`s a wonderful family man, as well as a very engaging and interesting person, and I believe that was more controlling than any thoughts about whether he could win or not win. That probably entered into it, and obviously getting off to a very late start, but I do believe it was the emotional ties to his family that were more important to him than anything else in politics today. MADDOW: Governor, as home state colleagues from such a small state, especially with political careers that overlapped for so many years, with you in opposite parties, I imagine there must have been both things you had to work together on, because you both agreed they were right for Delaware and things you disagreed. Over a long period of time, having had so much interaction with him, I wondered, as a Republican, who liked -- and you guys liked each other, did you ever really fight? Did you ever really have it out over an issue in which you disagreed? CASTLE: No, we never had it out. We never spoke ill of each other, that I know of, and certainly not publicly and I don`t think privately. I think we always respected one another. That`s beyond Joe and myself. I think that was true of Tom Carper, who is in the Senate now, and other people who have been elected in Delaware. We`re small, you know each other. You go to the same events. You see each other. On the weekend, you may bump into each other ten times or something of that nature. You might be at a Delaware football game, or you might be at a chicken festival, or whatever the heck it may be. And as a result, it`s different than when you`re sort of lobbing grenades at each other from television stations all over a big state. Because of that personal knowledge, I think we have a sort of easier politics, if you will, and we tend not to attack one another. We run against each other, but we tend it to be more gentlemanly about it than you`ll see in most states, I believe. MADDOW: Yes. And I think that extrapolated to his national career in a way we`re all appreciating now. CASTLE: Absolutely. MADDOW: Mike Castle, former Republican governor and congressman from Delaware, close friend of Vice President Biden -- thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it. CASTLE: Thank you, Rachel. My pleasure. Thank you very much. MADDOW: All right. We still got lots ahead tonight, including some breaking but slightly confusing news from D.C. about whether or not we have a new speaker of the House. We`ll have that straight ahead. Stay with us. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: So I`ve known him a very long time. I like him. We`ve always been friends. I didn`t stop liking him when Hillary and him ran against each other in 2008, and if he runs again, I won`t stop liking him then. He`s a good man. He`s been in public service in the United States. He was first elected when he was 29. He`s been in public ever since. I think he`s a good man, and nothing will change that. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, the breaking news at this hour last night was that Congressman Paul Ryan said he would only serve as House speaker if the most conservative caucus among House Republicans endorsed him. Well, that caucus voted tonight and everybody is still trying to figure out what the results were, or at least what they mean. It`s not at all clear, but in its confusion, it`s fascinating. Details on that are next. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: Not mathematically possible. REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: It is mathematically possible, it`s been done before. It`s precisely what we`re proposing. BIDEN: It`s never been done before. RYAN: It`s been done a couple times -- BIDEN: It has never -- RYAN: Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates, increase growth. Ronald Reagan -- BIDEN: Oh, now, you`re Jack Kennedy? RYAN: When we look weak, our adversaries are much more willing to test us, the more brazen their attacks. And our allies are less willing to -- BIDEN: With all due respect, that`s a bunch of malarkey. MODERATOR: And why is that so? BIDEN: Because not a single thing he said is accurate. This is a bunch of stuff. Look, here`s the deal -- MODERATOR: What does that mean, a bunch of stuff? BIDEN: Well, it means it`s simply accurate. RYAN: It`s Irish. BIDEN: It is. We Irish call it malarkey. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Vice presidential debates are always the most fun. Nothing will ever beat Sarah Palin versus Joe Biden, remember, can I call you Joe? He was like, sure, governor. But Joe Biden versus Paul Ryan in the vice presidential debate in 2012, that was a high point, if only because Vice President Biden appeared to think that Paul Ryan was hilarious for most of the debate. In the last 24 hours, though, both of the debaters from that debate have had fairly epic days in the news. Vice President Biden, of course, announcing that he will give up on his presidential dreams forever. He said today he will not enter the presidential race himself this year. And his 2012 debate opponent, Congressman Paul Ryan, announced late last night that he will throw his hat into the ring to try to become speaker of the House, but he said he will only do it if Republicans agree to a whole host of conditions that he`s laying as a price of him even considering running for the job. Paul Ryan is demanding unified support from the three caucuses in the House that represent center right Republicans, right-wing Republicans and super hard-line right wing Republicans. He wants all three of those caucuses on board endorsing him by Friday of this week. And he says he wants to be excused from the usual fund-raising responsibilities of being speaker of the House so he can spend more times with his families and wants a rules change to make it harder to fire him as speaker once he gets the job. That last one has been a sticking point for the super hard-line right wing caucus called the Freedom Caucus, who are already the most unlikely group of Republicans to support him for speaker anyway. Well, tonight, there`s news because members of that Freedom Caucus Group tonight came out after a meeting with Congressman Ryan and think say they do support him for speaker. That made everybody think that was the biggest hurdle, now Paul Ryan is a shoo-in to be a speaker, it`s a done deal. But then, just moments later, the Freedom Caucus` cofounder came out and said oh, wait, perhaps you misunderstand, when we said we support him for speaker, we didn`t say we supported him in sufficient numbers that he can actually get or endorsement as a caucus. And Paul Ryan did say what he needs is their endorsement as a caucus, as one of his conditions for even running. And, technically, he is not going to get that endorsement. So, now, nobody knows what happens next. They support him, but they don`t him. He said he needs that are endorsement or if you -- but they do support him but they don`t -- see how this works out? Yes, me neither. Watch this space. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Four days ago, conservative pundit Bill Kristol tweeted that a Democrat he trusted told him Vice President Joe Biden was, quote, "almost certain to run for president and would announce in time to speak at Iowa`s Jefferson Jackson dinner this coming Saturday." Then, yesterday, Bill Kristol tweeted that Joe Biden had confirmed to President Obama at lunch that he was running. See, Bill Kristol was hiding under the table at that lunch. He even had a specific time and place for the announcement. It was going to be today at the University of Delaware. Bill Kristol is kind of famous for making very bad, very confident predictions, like victorious Vice President Sarah Palin, and President Obama`s nominee for the United States Supreme Court? Jennifer Granholm? And Rudy Giuliani is going to run for president in 2012, definitely, which he definitely did not do. Mr. Kristol may be a nice person, and I do not mean it as an insult, he`s famous for being wrong out loud and in public. This time, though, he had a lot of company on that limb. Here`s the editor at large of "The National Post", quote, "Biden definitely running, good source." "New York Magazine", "Joe Biden is running for president -- fact that`s been obvious and true for weeks." FOX News, "Three sources close to the vice president telling me he`s expected to announce he`s running." Three sources. Even a Democratic congressman, "I have a very good source close to Joe who tells me Vice President Biden will run for president." That doesn`t even include the innumerable writers and pundits and analyst who is said they heard or just knew that he was running or knew he would make a decision by the end of September or by the end of September, or by this weekend or in the next 48 hours or in the next five minutes. Honestly, what we did all know was that if we waited long enough, Joe Biden would tell us, he would either get in or he would not, and then we would know. So, honestly, seriously there was no reason to make it up before then. And the point is not so much that all those people were wrong. They were. The point is that what they were talking about was unknowable unless your name was Joe Biden. You couldn`t know what Joe Biden`s decision was going to be, because it was his decision alone. Yes, there were a lot of sources who wanted to talk, but for the most part they wanted to talk, because they wanted Joe Biden to run. And that`s not news. You can`t turn your wishes or hopes or rumors into news just by calling it news. And so I sort of hope this whole saga, these last three months can be a cautionary tale. Joe Biden had to make up his mind. Today, he told his decision. In the end, he was the only source that mattered and everybody else who got out ahead of their skis on this is rightfully embarrassed for having done so. Joining us is NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss. Mr. Beschloss, it`s great to have you here. Thanks for being here. MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: Do you have any insight into why so much of the punditry and prognostication around this was both overheated and so wrong? BESCHLOSS: Well, I think people have a tendency to think if a politician is saying he`s undecided about running, oftentimes in history, I think, you would be the first to say it is fakery and they`re just sort of trying to encourage a public draft, but in this case this was a story that it`s more clear today than it`s been during the last five months, it`s a story of a man who was in a situation that was poignant and cruel. You know, Beau Biden only passed the last day of May, less than five months ago. So you see a vice president who`s been thinking about running for president for decades, coping with this horrible event in his life, trying to see if his family is OK, trying to get through the grief process, at the same time these nominating processes these days are very front loaded, harder and harder for a candidate to declare this late. You see him going back and forth in public. I think it was natural for people to assume it was posturing. In retrospect, the zigs and zags, the agonizing, that was all very real. MADDOW: Is there any precedent -- is there any historical precedent for the public playing out of this saga? Obviously, a lot of people take a long time figuring out if they`re going to run. And as you say, his emotional predicament is unprecedented. We can all agree. But, historically, has there been a public wishing and waiting for such a long time? BESCHLOSS: Oh, absolutely. Mario Cuomo famously in 1991, the primary process that Bill Clinton finally won in the Democratic Party, Mario Cuomo kept on giving signals, I will, I won`t, did not declare that he was not going to run until the 20th of December, so that`s later in the process that we`re talking about. Robert Kennedy, when he was thinking about whether to run LBJ over the Vietnam War issue in late 1967, 1968 was agonized, finally only declared 16th of March of that election year -- the spring of the year that election would have been held. MADDOW: Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian -- thank you for being here. It`s great to have you here on big nights like this to give us some perspective. BESCHLOSS: My pleasure. Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: That`s interesting. We have not had a vice president succeed the president who he served alongside since Pappy Bush. But we`ve also had two very, very consequential vice presidents in a row now, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden, both very powerful vice presidents with big policy remits inside the administration. I wonder if the vice presidency is a job that`s sort of evolving to be less of a steppingstone to the presidency, and more of just a good job in its own right? We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is the authority on this issue? The chicken or the egg? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people are on Becky`s side, but a lot of people point out there was an egg that probably mutated. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it wasn`t a real egg, so the chicken came first? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god, this you don`t see every day. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone was calling in my ear. SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: I`m from Ohio. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A commercial when you guys are running together. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rob Portman. Who says snooze button with you? You`re on fire. PORTMAN: You want to hear the chicken laying the egg? (CLUCKING) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a man who -- PORTMAN: That answers the question. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you go. He`s on my side. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rob Portman, Republican from Ohio. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Ohio Senator Rob Portman does a good chicken impression. (CLUCKING) MADDOW: Where is the egg? Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. If you know nothing else about Senator Rob Portman, you will always know he makes bird noises very, very well. As does Republican presidential candidate George Pataki. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE PATAKI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: At the risk of appears to be a complete nerd, which sadly sometimes I am, you know what you do to attract a bird is you make sounds, because they`re curious. So like -- let me just try this now. Birds will hear that, and they`ll actually come to see what`s making the sound. I attracted a 707, I think. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Former New York Governor George Pataki calls birds with his mouth, fairly well, I think, though I`m no expert. But apparently, Governor Pataki does bird watch and he can make that noise. George Pataki can do that. What George Pataki cannot do is make it onto the major stage for the Republican debates. Governor Pataki has been the tallest kid at the kids table for the last two Republican debates. And tonight, we learned he will be stuck at that kids` table again for the third debate as well. We just got the announcement tonight after the last qualifying poll came out today. The last qualifying poll is an ABC poll that shows Donald Trump way out ahead with 32 percent of the vote, one of the highest he`s had all years. It has Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and John Kasich all doing terribly. They`re all down at 2 percent and 3 percent. But I got to tell you, those 2 and 3 percent finishes in this final qualifying poll, those are enough to get all of those candidates qualified by the skin of their teeth for the next debate. These are the ten candidates who have made it to next week`s Republican debate. This is how they`re going to be arranged on stage, in descending order of their polling averages. So, it will be Donald trump will be in the center, and then radiating outward by polling number, you`ll then have Ben Carson, Marco, Rubio, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Rand Paul. Rand Paul, you made it. At the kids table debate, I think they`re not ranking these guys. So, I don`t know what order they`ll put them in, but these little strivers who were invited at the kids` table, it`s Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, bird- calling genius George Pataki, and Bobby Jindal, although I should tell that you Bobby Jindal`s campaign is making noises that he might not even bother showing up for the next debate if in fact he is at the kids table again. I should tell you that good old Jim Gilmore did not even get invited to the kids table, but when we asked for comment on that today from the Jim Gilmore campaign, all we got was our own voices ricocheting back out to us from the swirling vortex of void into which we had shouted, kind of, sort of, but him not making the kids table I think probably means that he`s done. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Programming note times two: Friday night on this show, Hillary Clinton will join us live for an interview. This will be Secretary Clinton`s first sit-down interview since vice President Biden announced he will not be running for president. It will also be the secretary`s first interview after her full day of testimony on Capitol Hill tomorrow before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Again, Hillary Clinton here for her first interview after both of those rather epic political events right here Friday night, 9:00. I`m thinking about maybe just sleeping here at the office until it happens just to make sure nothing goes wrong. I`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: There was a time in American history when whole neighborhoods, whole areas of cities were named by the ethnic group that had decided to move in there. This, for instance is Germantown. It`s an area of St. Louis that saw a huge influx of German immigrants in the 1840s. It was named after them. Germantown was later renamed Baden. But still, even by then, it was a tiny place in St. Louis, population of about 400 people. The whole neighborhood consisted of 11 stores, three wagon shops, four schools and four churches. One of those churches, the earliest Protestant Church in Baden was called Ebenezer Lutheran. It was organized in 1869 by eight families who first held their worship services in a log house. Over the years, of course, Baden has changed a lot. It`s now more than 90 percent after African-American, for one. But Ebenezer Lutheran Church has been there all along, in this big, beautiful church, big beautiful building, it sits right in the middle of the residential neighborhood there and the neighborhood is predominantly black, but Ebenezer Lutheran congregation is racially diverse. It`s black people and white people and all kinds of people worshipping together. But when you worshippers arrived there this past Sunday morning services, they found that something had tried to burn the place down. The front door of the church was scorched black. It was clear from the damage that somebody had set a fire there before. And with that discovery, Ebenezer Lutheran Church became the sixth church in less than two weeks that had been set on fire in that immediate area in what officials are now calling a string of arson attacks. The string of fires all happened at predominantly black churches in predominantly black neighborhoods, all in about a three-mile radius in north St. Louis, and St. Louis County. The first fire was sparked on October 8th as Bethel Church, about 2 1/2 miles away from Ebenezer Lutheran. There have been a string of them since. Investigators say in each of the six incidences, the church`s front doors were set on fire, so similar crimes. Most of the churches sustained relatively minor damages, but one of the churches was nearly destroyed by the fire. Now, investigators are not calling it a hate crime or anything yet. Officials from the ATF, though, said in the statement, quote, "This fire- setting activity is meant to send a message." A $9,000 reward is now being offered for anyone who has an information that leads to an arrest in this string of fires. One of the churches that sustained the worst damage is called the New Life Missionary Baptist Church in the Walnut Park neighborhood of St. Louis. The front doors to this tiny white church were charred in again what appears to be an arson attack on Saturday. The siding of the church entrance was completely melted. New Life Missionary Church was in such bad shape this past Sunday morning when congregants turned up for services that the pastor and his congregation were forced to move outside. They held their services outside on the church`s lawn, right in the shadow of their burn out church. Six churches burned in less than two weeks, within a three-mile radius. Again, it`s not yet clear what the motive is here. Officials are still investigating, but joining us now is David Triggs. He`s the pastor of the New Life Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. Pastor Triggs, thank you so much for joining us. It`s a real honor to have you here with us tonight. PASTOR DAVID TRIGGS, NEW LIFE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH: Thank you for having me, Rachel. MADDOW: When you got the call this weekend that the church had been damaged by fire, what went through your mind? What did you find in terms of the extent of damage when you got there? TRIGGS: Yes, it was a really disappointing site when I arrived on the scene. The damage is very extensive. As you read in the report, we were not able to hold service in the church. But we did want to send the message that although the building had been broken, the body was s still going to stand strong. We will not be able to use the church again the way that we used to use it, but we are moving forward with high spirits and high hopes that we will be able to rebuild. MADDOW: Have you found alternate accommodations? Are you going to continue to hold services in some ad hoc way until the repairs can be done? TRIGGS: Absolutely. We`ve gotten tremendous support from the neighborhood. Companies like Better Family Life, we`ve been partnering with, several other pastors in the area, the Red Cross may be helping us out with tents in case of the weather conditions this coming Sunday. But we do still plan on holding services outside. We have to send a consistent message that we`re going to continue to stand and that our voice isn`t going to be silenced and that we`re not going to hide in fear. MADDOW: One of the reasons that this is a national story and we`re talking about it here in national news, that the ATF is involved and all the federal agencies is involved because these -- I mean, church burnings happen. Burnings of commercial buildings, all sorts of things happen. Sometimes it feels like there`s more of a string than usual. In this case, it seems very clear. All the patterns of arson seem very similar and all the churches are so close together, such a tight radius in which these things have happened. Does that give you any insight into what might have motivated this? Who this might? Where this might have come from? Or was this a complete shock? TRIGGS: You know, it was a complete shock. However, we are going to always have people who are against whatever God is trying to do good for our neighborhoods. This person obviously was someone who is spiritually sick. And I believe that this person may have once upon a time been injured or hurt by the church. I`m not sure what his history is, or this person`s history is. However, I do believe that this person is very familiar with these churches. And in some ways, we have failed to reach the community as a church. But what this has done for the churches in the St. Louis metropolitan area, is it has accelerated -- it has accelerated the need for us to become united, to come together to put our differences aside by denomination, by tradition, by race, color, nationality .and come together, united, making one sound through one spirit. MADDOW: Pastor David Triggs from New Life Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis -- it`s inspiring to hear you be so positive and constructive after you`ve been through. Good luck. TRIGGS: Thank you. MADDOW: Thank you. TRIGGS: Thank you. MADDOW: All right. What you need to know for tomorrow`s big event on Capitol Hill, which is going to be a big event here on MSNBC. Stay with us. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Maybe it`s something about the job. This you might recall was Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this year, confined to his hospital room after breaking his right femur in a biking accident. John Kerry is an avid cyclist. This was s not his first fall, but that accident kept him sidelined for weeks. This was John Kerry`s predecessor in that same job. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TV ANCHOR: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a nasty fall as she boarded her plane yesterday. Clinton was leaving Yemen for the next stop on her Mideast tour, Oman. The secretary of state is OK this morning. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not hurt in that fall on that plane. But then the following year it happened again in a much more serious circumstances. She was at home recovering from a stomach virus when she became dehydrated, fainted and suffered a concussion. Secretary Clinton was out of work for three weeks because of that concussion, and the injury wiped something off her calendar at the time. She was forced to postpone her planned testimony that December to the congressional committees investigating the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Secretary Clinton was scheduled to testify before the house and Senate on that matter, but she had to delay her testimony after she got hurt. Lots of Republicans at the time got really classy and accused her of faking it. George W. Bush`s of U.N. Ambassador John Bolton at the time said Secretary Clinton had come up with a diplomatic illness, which is an outrageous thing for anybody to say about somebody with a concussion, but for John Bolton, that kind of thing coming out of his mount just meant it`s Tuesday. When Hillary Clinton finally did give that testimony in January, you might remember that she did so wearing prismatic special glasses that she had to wear as a result of that concussion. That testimony was supposed to be her definitive testimony on the Benghazi attacks. That was the showdown Republicans had been waiting for. But when all that was over, they decided they wanted more. That testimony yielded this report on the Benghazi attacks. There was also this one. There was also this one. There was also this one. And also through there have been seven congressional investigations into that attack and even though Secretary Clinton sat for five hours testifying about it the last time around, now it`s time for the next round. Tomorrow morning starting at 10:00 a.m., Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify again in front of yet another Benghazi committee. Her testimony is expected to go on for eight hours or more, not including breaks. This latest round of testimony comes in the wake of two House Republicans acknowledging on tape that this latest investigation has basically just been an exercise in trying to bring down Hillary Clinton`s poll numbers. So, it will be interesting to see how Secretary Clinton reacts to that new dynamic tomorrow, if at all. It will also be interesting to see whether Democrats on this committee resign en masse once her system is over, which is something they suggested they might be do. They might wait until her testimony wraps and say right, are we done here? We`re out. That`s the threat. The testimony begins at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. It could go all day and into the night. And yes, you can watch it here on MSNBC. That does it for us tonight. We hope to 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