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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/27/15

Guests: Robert Costa

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you. CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: You bet. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. After the first Republican presidential debate this year, you might remember that former Texas Governor Rick Perry quit running for president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICK PERRY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That is why is today I`m suspending my campaign for the presidency of the United States. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Rick Perry was the first major candidate to quit the Republican presidential race. That happened after the first Republican debate. Then, after the second Republican debate, it was Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who quit the Republican race for president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, so far after each of the Republican debates, we`ve had one of the major household name candidates for the Republican presidential nomination quit the race. Well, now, we`re about to have the third debate tomorrow night. And I ask you, I beseech you, is no one else going to quit? Apparently not. Tomorrow will be the second consecutive Republican debate in which former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore has not only not allowed on the stage, he`s not even allowed at the kids` table. But even so, Jim Gilmore is apparently not quitting the race. In fact, this week, Jim Gilmore called on Marco Rubio to quit the race. He said Marco Rubio should quit running for president because he`s missed too many votes in the Senate. You go them, Jim Gilmore. Jim Gilmore, though, is apparently himself not quitting. If not Jim Gilmore, my best guess for who might quit next all along has been Bobby Jindal. I mean, when CNBC and the Republican Party announced their qualifying criteria for the debate and Bobby Jindal was once again for a third straight time slated to appear only at the kids table and not the main stage, remember, the Jindal campaign threatened if he was going to get stuck at the kids table, Bobby Jindal just might not show up at all. The debate`s logistics for tomorrow night`s debate arguably were tweaked at the request of the Ben Carson and Donald Trump campaigns. Once that happened, Bobby Jindal`s campaign got up at a time leg and said if other candidates are demanding changes and getting them, we want a change, too. We want the qualifying criteria to change so Bobby Jindal will be allowed to sit with the big kids for the first time ever. Or maybe we won`t show up. As far as I can tell, nobody even bothered to respond to that threat from the Bobby Jindal campaign. But today, he caved. His campaign announced that despite that previous threat, despite no changes that ha would allow Bobby Jindal to get into the big debate or anything, Governor Jindal won`t boycott. He will actually participate in the so-called undercard debate. He will show up for the kids` table and be there in Boulder tomorrow night just like he has at the previous two debates when they didn`t let them on the big stage either. Quoting from "The New Orleans Times-Picayune" here, quote, "Asked what`s changed since Jindal`s threats not to appear, the campaign said, quote, `We just thought about it.`" And so, Jim Gilmore is not dropping out and Bobby Jindal is not dropping out. That kids table debate tomorrow night is slated to be these four candidates. Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Rick Santorum and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. None of those candidates has made it on to any main debate stage yet. Among those four candidates, though, I will say Lindsey Graham was definitely the candidate most improved between the first kids table debate and the second kids table debate. On the left side of your screen, you see basically what Senator Graham looked like in the first debate. It looked like somebody that either just punched him in the kidney or maybe hurt a small animal that he felt emotionally close to. In the second debate in contrast, he was cracking jokes. He kept talking about drinking. He seemed to be enjoying himself at the second debate. So, that may be one factor worth watching tomorrow night at the kids table, is Lindsey Graham going to revert to sad, miserable Lindsey Graham from the first debate or going to be the fun guy we saw at the kids table last time? Another thing to keep in mind with Lindsey Graham for tomorrow night is that he`s actually having a Lindsey Graham sized surge in the polls right now. In the last national poll that came out for the Republican nomination nationwide, the CBS/"New York Times" poll which came out early this morning, Lindsey Graham gets more support than he has had all year long in national polling. Look at that, Lindsey Graham has surged ahead to 2 percent in this latest national poll which not only puts him ahead of everybody else with whom he will be seated at the kids table tomorrow night, it also puts him ahead of one of the candidates on the main stage, Lindsey Graham at 2 percent in the latest national poll frankly doubles Chris Christie`s 1 percent showing in the latest Republican national poll. He`s swamping Chris Christie. Governor Christie`s campaign continues to do much more poorly than had been expected. One percent in a national poll is not a new low for Governor Christie. He`s been there before. It is not a good place to be heading into the third debate. Governor Christie is supposed to be an excellent debater. He`s supposed to shine at an event like we`re going to see tomorrow night. So the stakes for him will be very high in terms of the importance of his debate performance tomorrow night in Boulder. In preparation for tomorrow night`s debate, Governor Christie has been doing a bit of a media blitz, including this interview alongside his wife which the governor did this morning on CBS. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) INTERVIEWER: Right now, the polls are not in your favor. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I noticed. INTERVIEWER: Yes. I`m not rubbing it in but they`re not in your favor. Even the residents in your own state are not saying Chris Christie`s our guy. CHRISTIE: Yes. INTERVIEWER: That`s got to sting a little bit. CHRISTIE: No, it`s kind of natural. That`s kind of natural. INTERVIEWER: Why is it natural? CHRISTIE: Because when you say that you want to leave and take another job, people get offended. They wonder why doesn`t he want to stay here forever? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Governor Christie arguing that New Jersey residents give him terrible poll numbers because they just love him too much. Their affection is too strong. And so, it comes out seeming like the opposite of affection but really it`s love. This is such a weird line from him. Chris Christie has been trying this all year long. This is not -- this is not by any means the first time he has tried to use this very, very novel explanation. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: The polls in New Jersey right now say by a 65 percent to 29 percent margin, the New Jersey voters say you would not make a good president. Now they know you the best. Why shouldn`t we trust them? CHRISTIE: They want me to stay. A lot of in that 65 percent want me to stay. I`ve heard that from lots of people at town hall meetings, don`t leave to run for president because we want you to stay. KELLY: But they say you would not make a good president. CHRISTIE: No, I think people hear the question they want to hear. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Forget what they were asked. That was Chris Christie five months ago trying to get away with that line. He`s still trying to get away with it now which maybe is the kind of astonishingly self-deceiving egotistically mindless optimism/Shinola that you need in order to persist with your presidential campaign when you are at 1 percent in the polls and losing to Lindsey Graham, the captain of the kids table. There really is no sign that Chris Christie is quitting the race. There`s no sign that Rand Paul is quitting the race, or that Bobby Jindal is quitting the race, or even Jim Gilmore is quitting race, or any of them are quitting the race. Nobody is getting out even after the early departures of Rick Perry and Scott Walker ten days apart in September created the expectation there would be a faster pace or at least a more regular pace of these guys in this giant field quitting, getting out. They are in fact not getting out. And even tonight, they continue to try to reinvent themselves and relaunch themselves and roll out brand-new stuff. Tonight in Denver, Colorado, Senator Rand Paul spoke before what was billed as a big Rand Paul rally. He did only get 300 or 400 people to show up. But immediately before taking the stage tonight, Rand Paul announced a new plan to the press. He has a new plan that he`s going to mount a one- man filibuster against the bill to raise the debt ceiling. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One thing do I have to announce today is that I will filibuster the new debt ceiling bill. I think it is a horrible -- it`s hard for me not to the use profanity in describing it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Manfully resisting the urge to use four letter words but saying he will filibuster the new bill to raise the debt ceiling, the new bill which was agreed to by White House and congressional negotiators apparently as late as last night. The bill was put forward today. For what it`s worth, if you were wondering if this is a serious legislative maneuver by Rand Paul or a serious act of governing by Rand Paul, or whether this might just be a campaign stunt, it should be noted for the record Rand Paul technically cannot filibuster the debt ceiling bill. It`s not allowed. The rules under which they are bringing up the bill will allow Senator Paul to speak for a grand total of one hour in opposition to it if he so chooses and that is not a filibuster. He will presumably call it a filibuster and raise money on it in the hopes that will make you want to vote for him for president. So, that`s kind of the definition I`ve campaign stunt but make of it what you will. The more surprising and more important new campaign gambit that was tried tonight came from Ohio Governor John Kasich. He held a rally in his home state of Ohio today. It was billed as a sendoff rally for his trip to Colorado for tomorrow night`s debate. At that rally in Ohio today, John Kasich basically hit the button marked mad as heck and I`m not going to take it anymore. And what he said today in Ohio, it`s not the kind of tone or the kind of argument that we are hearing from other Republican presidential contenders. And so, therefore, maybe this is dangerous for John Kasich. But maybe it`s the sort of hinge that might set him apart from everybody else in the field. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you know how crazy this election is? Let me tell you something, I`ve about had it with these people. And let me tell you why. We`ve got one candidate that says we ought to abolish Medicaid and Medicare. Have you ever heard of anything so crazy as that? Telling our people in this country who are seniors who are about to be seniors that we`re going to abolish Medicaid and Medicare? We`ve got one person saying we ought to have a 10 percent flat tax that will drive up the deficit in this country by trillions of dollars that my daughters will spend the rest of their lives having to pay off. You know what I say to them is why don`t we have no taxes, just get rid of them all, and then a chicken in every pot on top of it. We`ve got one guy that says we ought to the take 10 million or 11 million people and pick them up -- I don`t know if we`re going to go in their homes, their apartments, we`re going to pick them up and we`re going to take them to the border and scream at them to get out of our country? That`s just crazy. That is just crazy. We`ve got people proposing health care reform that`s going to leave believe millions of people without adequate health insurance. What have has happened to our party? What has happened to the conservative movement? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Ohio Governor John Kasich today, not sounding at all like the other Republican candidates for president. And maybe what you just heard from him there, maybe that`s not a Republican friendly message the way he`s criticizing the other contenders in the race. But you know what? Seeing like just another candidate among all the zillions of people running on the Republican side hasn`t been working for John Kasich up until now. This is different. Maybe this sort of thing will help him break out. Honestly, that side of John Kasich that you just saw in that tape is why I have always seen him as a dark horse potential contender in this race even as his poll numbers have stayed low. But that said, I`m a bad predictor. And in a field of candidates this had giant, it`s hard for anybody to predict what`s going to work, what`s going to hurt and make somebody stand out in a good way versus standing out in a bad way. I honestly think the most surprising thing about this giant field of candidates at this point in the race is just that the field of candidates is still this giant. Only Scott Walker and Rick Perry have quit. Nobody else appears to even be mulling getting out. They just tonight announced the criteria for the next Republican debate, the one after tomorrow night, the fourth one that`s going to happen November 10th in Wisconsin. And they just announced tonight at that debate again, they`re going to have another kids table. They`re going to have a main stage and then the sidebar happy hour kids table secondary stage. They can`t get rid of the kids table because none of the kids will leave. They`re still expecting to have over a dozen candidates by not just tomorrow night but by the next debate in mid-November. So, this is the field that just will not shrink. But think back to those last two candidates who did actually quit. When Rick Perry quit in September and Walker quit a couple of weeks later in September, both of them in their announcements that they were suspending their campaigns did not just announce that they were out. They both explicitly announced as they were quitting that part of the reason they were quitting is because they felt that it was very important that Donald Trump not be the Republican nominee for president and they hoped that their quitting might help that cause. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PERRY: The conservative movement has always been about principles. Not about personalities. Our nominee should embody those principles. He or she must make the case for the cause of conservatism more than the cause of their own celebrity. WALKER: I believe that I`m being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field. I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current front-runner. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Nobody is quitting anymore. But the last two guys that did quit, quit they said because they thought it would give the Republican Party a better chance of ousting Donald Trump as the fronts runner for their party`s presidential nomination. In both of those instances, Rick Perry quitting and Scott Walker quitting, they didn`t do anything to hurt Donald Trump at all. But today, for the first time, Donald Trump actually has been knocked out of the lead. Dr. Ben Carson is now not only leading in the last four Iowa Republican polls, Dr. Ben Carson now as of today`s "New York Times"/CBS poll is leading for the first time since the Fourth of July in a nationwide poll of Republican voters. Dr. Carson is now ahead of Mr. Trump by four points. Donald Trump and Ben Carson are at 22 points and 26 points respectively in this latest poll and look then what happened. Nobody else in the Republican field is even in double digits. They`re at 26 and 22. The next closest person in the race is Marco Rubio at 8 percent. But still, with Ben Carson ahead of Donald Trump, that is the first major lead change of the race. Contrast it with 2012 when it felt like the lead changed every 10 days. This today is the first time that Donald Trump has relinquished his position at the front-runner in almost four months. As of tonight though, he is running second. What a weird race. What a weird and exciting time for them to be having their next debate. Watch this space. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, this is slightly late breaking news. It`s at least something in politics that just happened. It was a very unusual campaign appearance tonight in Iowa from the man who until recently was the Iowa front-runner and the national front-runner but who now as we just mentioned is trailing Dr. Ben Carson in four straight Iowa polls and in his first national poll today, as well. Apparently judging from what just happened at this campaign appearance in Iowa, that whole not winning anymore thing is not wearing well for the former Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: From the time I announced, I`ve been at the top of the polls almost at the top. You know, we`re doing well. Iowa, will you get your numbers up, please? Hey. (APPLAUSE) When you get these numbers up, I promise you, I will do such a good job. Will you get the numbers up, Iowa, please? This is ridiculous. I mean, what is my competition? In all fairness, in all fairness, what is my competition? Do you think these guys -- I`m not going to say Carson. I`m not going to say Rubio who really is way down. I mean, I am second. It`s not like terrible but I don`t like being second. Second is terrible to me. So, we could we do, please do me a favor? Let me win Iowa. I`m not leaving Iowa. I`m not leaving Iowa. Now, if I lose Iowa, I will never speak to you people again. That I can -- (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Candidates oftentimes ask for votes, candidates sometimes beg for votes, candidates very rarely threaten to speak to the whole state of Iowa again if they don`t win the Iowa caucuses. That again, all the standard rules are kind of out the window this year. That just happened tonight in the Sioux Falls. More ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Carli`s performance was so good that by the time the game was over someone had changed her title on Wikipedia from midfielder to president of the United States. (LAUGHTER) Which by the way, the job`s about to open up. (LAUGHTER) What`s another candidate in the mix? I guarantee you Carli knows more about being president than some of the folks who are running. But that`s a whole other -- (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: President Obama hosting the U.S. women`s national can soccer team at the White House today, praising star midfielder Carli Lloyd and throwing some shade at the current crop of presidential candidates. One might expect that he meant most of that shade for the Republican candidates who are starting to gather now in Colorado ahead of tomorrow night`s debate in Boulder. Joining us to talk about how the campaigns are approaching this, what`s at stake for them, what we should expect tomorrow, is Robert Costa. Robert Costa does great unparalleled reporting, particularly on Republican ins and outs. Robert, it`s great to have you here. Thanks for joining us. ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: So, this is the first debate in wit Ben Carson is the -- is leading in a national poll and in Iowa. His performances in previous debates, at least to my mind, have not been all that memorable. What do we know about how his campaign is approaching this tomorrow night now that they`re in this new position? COSTA: I`ve huddled with Carson`s campaign, his top advisors and his friends and they said previous debates, Carson was just trying to survive, introduce himself to the country. Now they expect Trump to be on the attack. The key for them, they said, is to remain calm. To keep that cool temperament that they think is helping them ascend in Iowa. MADDOW: Do they worry at all that cool reads to some people as sedated? As sleepy? I feel like there are people who like him already, appreciate that aspect of his demeanor, people who either don`t like him or who are new to paying attention to politics can be either put off or at least a little distracted by just how slow and softly he speaks. COSTA: Well, there is a cool and calm surface to Dr. Carson. But when you talk to Carson supporters and his team, they tell you that he has a razor sharp message. He speaks in apocalyptic terms about the future of the United States. He has a hard right view when it comes to his ideology on most fronts. But he has appreciator like cadence, a doctor`s bedside manner. They think that`s the right combination for electorate in the Republican Party that embraces evangelicals, religious conservatives, but at the same time wants things defined in stark terms. MADDOW: Robert, are there any campaigns who see their candidate as being in do or die mode with this debate tomorrow? Who has sort of the greatest downside risk of needing a good performance, potentially being at grave risk if they have a really bad night tomorrow? Who has the most to lose? COSTA: At the top of that list, former Governor Bush. His campaign won`t say it , but Bush donors, Bush supporters long-time bush family friends say this is in a sense a do or die moment for the governor because he`s not catching on. He`s had to slice the salaries of his staff. He`s looking for a moment. And he`s not as convincing in having that John Kasich-type punch back at the outsiders. So they need him to revive his campaign whether it`s talking about his Florida record or going after Trump, they`re not sure exactly how it`s going to unfold but they think he needs to have a big night. MADDOW: Carly Fiorina was the big relative term winner of the last debate. I think that`s inarguable. She got a big polling boost out of the second debate. But she has not been able to sustain it. She sort of disappeared since that initial polling bump. Is the Carly Fiorina campaign any better positioned now to bottle that lightning, to try to sustain any renewed interest if she does really well tomorrow night on that stage? COSTA: It`s hard to say because Fiorina has had a tough few weeks. She`s not been able to sustain her momentum coming out of that Reagan Library debate in terms of small dollar donations. She had a bounce. But it`s hard, if you`re not a national media like every day in the same way Trump is or Carson is doing on the campaign trail, getting those conservatives excited, Fiorina shows the limitations of these debates. It can give you a bounce but doesn`t sustain, it doesn`t give you everything. MADDOW: In terms of stuff that`s breaking late that may be a factor tomorrow, Marco Rubio tonight and announced he`s against lifting the debt ceiling, against the debt ceiling bill agreed to in Washington. Rand Paul said tonight he will filibuster that bill, even though it seems like technically under the rules you can`t really filibuster it. Is that big Washington story likely to travel to Colorado and to factor in tomorrow night? COSTA: Certainly. When you speak to every campaign who has participated in these debates, they say that Trump, Carson battle, that dynamic is going to paramount. It will likely dominate. But the debt ceiling, the budget deal coming out of Washington, a new speaker in Paul Ryan, look for Senator Cruz to harken back to his days of the government shutdown. Senator Paul, Cruz, and others to say, we`re going to go against what they call the Washington cabal to really draw the fault line between the establishment and grassroots. Washington is an issue at the top of the agenda. MADDOW: It will be interesting to see if there`s a lot of inveighing against the debt ceiling deal, if it changes the weather around in Washington. In Washington, it feels like it`s going to pass if we get a full two hours tomorrow night from the leading Republican lights on that stage inveighing against it. It will be interesting to see what happens. Robert Costa, national political reporter for "The Washington Post" - - thank you as always. It`s great to see you. COSTA: Thank you. MADDOW: All right. So, today, I got to tell you on the eve of this big third Republican debate, somebody played what is kind of a cruel joke on Donald Trump. Somebody apparently mocked up a terribly insulting cover of what purports to be Donald Trump`s new book which is due to come out next week. Whatever you think of Donald Trump, come on -- he would not possibly call his new book "crippled" something, right? He would not possibly use that particular picture of himself on the cover. This in fact seems like a joke today when was unveiled as the cover of his new book. But that really is the cover of Donald Trump`s new book. The new book really is titled "Crippled America." I feel like I have to apologize even for saying it out loud while reading it. With regard to the picture, Mr. Trump said today, quote, "I wanted a picture that reflected the anger and unhappiness that I feel." Mission accomplished. That is a very unhappy making thing all around. And it could be yours for the low, low price of $24.99 on sale next week. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: A few days ago, on the House floor, just after he had locked up the support of his Republican colleagues in his bid to become speaker of the House, Congressman Paul Ryan was handed a letter. He was handed this letter. It`s from Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama. If the name Mo Brooks is ringing a bell, it`s because Mo Brooks is also the congressman who just that said if Hillary Clinton is elected president, she should be impeached on her very first day in office. That`s Mo Brooks. And this is what Mo Brooks wrote to Ryan in this letter: "Paul, yesterday during discussions about the speaker race, you made two representations about immigration that stood out. One, it`s unwise or unproductive to bring up any immigration legislation so long as Barack Obama is president. And, two, as speaker, you will allow any immigration bill to reach the House floor for a vote unless the immigration bill is supported by a majority of the majority of Republican House members. Although you talk faster than I can write your words down, I believe the above statements properly reflect what you said. If your assurances as I have portrayed them are accurate, then I am much more comfortable voting for you for speaker on the House floor. If, however, you would use the speaker`s chair to advance an immigration belief system that is unacceptable to the Americans I represent, it will be very difficult for me to vote for you for speaker on the House floor. Sincerely, Mo Brooks." It says handwritten at the top of the letter. It says hand delivered on House floor to Paul Ryan at approximately 4:00 p.m., October 22nd, 2015. Paul Ryan then called Mo and confirmed accuracy of letter at 5:20 p.m. Smiley face star. Not really. So if you`re wondering what exactly it was that Paul Ryan had to do to get his party`s hardliners on board with him being speaker, well, there it is in writing. Paul Ryan doing a written deal with Mr. Let`s Impeach Hillary Clinton on Day One, to make sure, to promise that immigration reform absolutely positively will not happen. Keep that in mind the next time somebody gives you that facile Beltway lip service about how Republicans really want to do immigration reform, too. Tonight in Boulder, Colorado, just down the street from the site of tomorrow`s Republican presidential debate, tonight in Boulder, Republican and conservative Latino groups gathered to a big public event which they described as a warning to their own party. A warning to Republican candidates ahead of that debate tomorrow these conservative and Republican Latino activists convening this meeting tonight and telling the press basically to tell the Republican candidates that they must stop race- baiting and insulting Latinos even though that has really been the hallmark of this presidential campaign thus far. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROSARIO MARIN, FORMER U.S. TREASURER: Heed our warning. Don`t expect us to come to your side during the general election. You are not with us now, we will not be with you then. You don`t need our vote now, you won`t have it then. You insult us now, we will be deaf to you then. You take us for granted now, we will not recognize you then. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Wow. Heed our warning. These are not liberal immigration reformers. This is not like La Raza or something, right? These are conservative activists many of whom have worked in high level positions in Republican administrations. This is Republican Latinos begging the party to come to its senses in the way they talk about Latinos and deal with the issue of immigration. That is happening tonight at the site of the next Republican debate. And meanwhile, today, we learned in writing in a letter introduced into the congressional record now, in writing in order to become speaker of the House, Paul Ryan had to promise his own caucus that immigration reform is definitely 100 percent dead. I won`t even try. I do not think the Republicans are heeding this warning from beleaguered Latino members of their own party. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, the country`s been fairly transfixed for the last 24 hours by this shocking and hard to look at tape of a police officer inside a South Carolina public high school classroom, really brutalizing a young female student, throwing her to the ground, dragging her across the floor. It is just a terrible scene to see in any context. It is made all the more terrible because it is in a classroom. The officer in this incident is white. The student, the young woman in this case, is black. This is a very upsetting thinking and part of a pattern of police behavior toward African-Americans that has been driving a pretty intense national conversation for the past couple of years now. Well, in terms of how this particular incident is being handled, here`s what you need to know. The officer in this case has been suspended without pay. The sheriff you see here who leads his department made remarks tonight about the internal investigation into the case. The sheriff is being criticized for having noted in his remarks as a seeming non sequitur that this deputy has been dating an African-American woman recently. Great. But in terms of what to watch for next here in this case, that has obviously been upsetting to a lot of people for clear reasons, the FBI says it`s going to look into the case. But what to watch for tomorrow is that the sheriff`s department itself says they`re going to release their own independent investigation into what happened here very, very fast. They say they`re going to release their findings of their independent internal investigation tomorrow. So, that`s worth knowing about tomorrow, because we are expecting to hear that from sheriff`s department tomorrow, you should expect tomorrow to be another full day of focus on that very, very upsetting tape from that South Carolina high school. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So last week, we got the stunning news out of Iraq that American Special Forces reported to be Delta Force launched a dramatic last second raid on an ISIS facility where ISIS was apparently holding more than 70 hostages and was preparing to execute them all in a mass execution the next morning at dawn. This is video supposedly of that raid that was provided exclusively to NBC News. It appears to have been taken on helmet cameras from Iraq by Iraqi Kurdish forces during that raid to free those ISIS hostages. That mission was not -- we`re told -- designed as an American-led mission. These American commandos were there in support of Iraqi Kurdish forces but it was the Iraqi Kurdish forces who themselves were supposed to be leading, they were the ones carrying out that raid. That said, things don`t always go accord according to the plan and what the Pentagon says is, once a considerable fire fight started on that site, with ISIS forces on the ground, the American forces moved out of their support role to instead participate in direct combat. And it appears that on the ground that was a hell of a fight. We`ll have more on that in a moment. Since those initial reports though about that dramatic raid and rescue, there have been a couple of fairly stunning further developments in the story. First of all, the Pentagon released this tape of cockpit camera footage showing a coalition aircraft going backing to that ISIS site on the same day of the raid after all those hostages had been freed and you can see whatever is dropped by this plane blows that place to smithereens. So that is prison in which they were holding all those hostages, that facility is now gone, leveled. Also, as soon as we got word of the raid, we were told right away that one American had been killed in action during the raid. They didn`t at first release the identity or any information about that soldier. We have since been told that the American who was killed is Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler. Master Sergeant Wheeler was 39 years old. Which to us civilians probably sounds old for a frontline soldier involved in direct combat, but apparently that is not all that unusual for very experienced high level Special Operations forces. They can tend to be older than you might expect because it has taken them that much time and that much experience to rise to such an elite level of the U.S. military. In addition, it`s almost unbelievable to say but what we know about Master Sergeant Wheeler`s military record is also fairly typical of those incredibly elite forces like Delta Force which is that the number of deployments he had to Iraq and Afghanistan is measured in the double digits. The Pentagon says that he had been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan 14 times, which is almost impossible to wrap your head around. I mean not just imagining the demands put on a soldier like him, also just imagining the demands put on his family, 14 deployments. The third piece of information that we have learned since the stunning news about that raid is that direct combat by U.S. forces literally with boots on the ground doing the fighting against ISIS, at least according to the Pentagon, that is not going to be an exceptional circumstance anymore. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ASHTON CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We won`t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Direct action on the ground. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter testifying today before Senate promising honestly what sounds like a big change in U.S. policy, promising that U.S. forces are now going to start engaging in ground combat against ISIS rather than just helping out the Iraqis or Syrian rebel groups to do that fighting on their own. So, first, it was U.S. air strikes against is in Iraq and Syria. Then it was U.S. troops on ground in Iraq in an advising and training capacity against ISIS. Then, of course, it was U.S. special operations raids in Syria and in Iraq. And now, it is apparently U.S. ground combat direct action on the ground by U.S. forces and not just in Iraq but in Iraq and in Syria, as well. This seems like a biggest escalation. This seems like a big policy change to be announced in a pretty soft spoken way in unheralded testimony before a Senate committee that basically had no spectators there. Is it actually as big a change in policy as it seems? Are we now moving to a boots on the ground combat operation in Iraq and or Syria? And is this agreed to already or is the Pentagon just announcing this is something they would like to do? "The Washington Post" says today President Obama is considering this as a change in policy, but the way the defense secretary put it today basically sounded like it was a done deal and this is the new way things are going to be. What is going on here? This does seem like a really big deal. Joining us now to try to sort it out is Courtney Kube, NBC News national security producer. Courtney, thanks for your time tonight. It`s nice to have you here. COURTNEY KUBE, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY PRODUCER: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: Is this a big policy change? Isn`t this boots on the ground? KUBE: So, if you ask the White House, they insist this is no change, this is just an extension of what`s already been happening there. But our question back to them was, well, then give us other times there have been raids that the U.S. has been involved in like the one in Hawija that we saw in Iraq last week that freed all the prisoners? The reality is, this is a change. The U.S. has been in Iraq in an advisory role. They`ve had a counterterror mission, as well and they`ve had, of course, a force protection mission. But now, they`re talking about offensive raids. And the way that the Pentagon and U.S. military and the White House is justifying this is by saying that they will be partnered with what they called capable partners, capable forces who are there on the ground and that they`ll be there still in somewhat of an advisory role, but there`s the potential for us to see what happened last week where these U.S. forces, these U.S. Delta Forces were there in what we`re told is an advisory role. Again, it`s the continuing problem that we have in much of Iraq and Syria, right now where we really have to rely on what the military is telling us is happening because we don`t have people there. We don`t know necessarily what`s going on. They tell us they`re there in an advisory role and that when things heated up, when the Kurds were pinned down, the U.S. became -- was entered into this more combat role on the ground in Hawija. MADDOW: Courtney, if there is not misunderstanding and not miscommunication but if there`s sort of spin I guess around whether or not this is a new decision as you`re saying it appears that this is a policy change. The White House is saying it`s not a policy change. The way that Ash Carter announced today, it sort of sounded like it`s going to be a policy change. What should we read into that in terms of whether or not this is something that is being floated or proposed? I mean, is there going to have to be a formal agreement to or announcement by the president that this will be the new way going forward? KUBE: So, Ash Carter actually sort of telegraphed this last week after the raid in Hawija when it came to the briefing room and said we`re going to see a lot more like this. And it was sort of lost. But he, in fact, acknowledged that there`s going to be more raids like this. And so when you look back at exactly how the one last week began, the Kurds said, we need some help. The U.S. said, OK, the Kurds are our strong allies, our strong partners, so we`re going to help them. There`s really, when you think about it, there`s almost no limit to what this could potentially mean for the U.S. role on ground there in Iraq. Every time the Kurds need help, the U.S. says, yes, we want to continue to help out our ally, there`s a potential for raids like this to happen all the time, not necessarily at a prison but for the U.S. to work in conjunction with the Kurds and frankly, by extension with the Iraqi security forces in Iraq. And so, as far as whether this is going to need some sort of a new approval, we`re not talking about enormous deployments of troops. We`re not talking about brigades, like the surge that we saw in Iraq almost 10 years ago now. We`re talking about small, most likely special forces, special ops troop, that are going to go in, but they will be more forward than what we`ve seen. Right now, the U.S. troops that are there in Iraq, they`re inside the wire, inside the line. Now, they`re going to be out on a -- you know, pretty much on the frontlines with some of these Iraqi and Kurdish forces, potentially. MADDOW: Courtney Kube, NBC News national security producer -- that is imminently clarifying. Thank you. We really appreciate it. KUBE: Thank you. MADDOW: I will say -- to Courtney`s point there about knowing what`s happening and taking the military`s word for it, one of the hallmarks of operations that are, special operations, raids, special operations actions is that even when the military -- even when the media has a hard time getting access to what the military is doing, special operations actions are a matter -- a different magnitude in terms of whether or not the press is allowed to be in on those things. I mean, you can get embedded as a reporter with regular troops. You can`t really get embedded as a reporter with the kinds of raids that we saw in that Delta Force action last week. It will be interesting to see if there is going to be a big new frontline presence by U.S. troops, whether there`s always going to be a commitment that the American people are allowed to know about it. This is hairy stuff. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The good news in the polling for Hillary Clinton today is pretty stark. In North Carolina, the new PPP poll has Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders by 37 points. In South Carolina, the new Clemson poll has her leading Bernie Sanders also by 37 points. In two new polls out of Iowa today, the Monmouth poll and the Loras College poll, they both have Secretary Clinton leading by big margins, by 41 percent and 38 percent respectively in Iowa. So the polling news right now is pretty unequivocally positive for Hillary Clinton. But here`s something to keep an eye on. In the Monmouth poll out of Iowa today, the one that shows Hillary Clinton with a 41-point lead, look at the bottom. It`s Martin O`Malley in third place at 5 percent. Same thing in the North Carolina poll today. Hillary Clinton, way out in front, but Martin O`Malley at 5 percent. Martin O`Malley is nowhere near Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. And there are plenty of sands for whom 5 percent would be a very bad day in the poll, but there are candidates this year for whom 5 percent would be freaking Christmas. And Martin O`Malley is one of those guys. And with Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee now out of the Democratic race, Martin O`Malley may only be at 5 percent, but honestly with the smaller field now, he has never been more poised to actually start taking up space in the Democratic race. And at this auspicious moment for him, I am pleased to announce that after our Hillary Clinton interview on Friday night and Bernie Sanders interview last night, tomorrow night, we`ve got Martin O`Malley here for the interview! Very excited. Much more to come tonight. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So tomorrow night is obviously a big deal in American news and politics. Republican debate in Boulder, the first one in which Donald Trump is no longer the Iowa and national Republican front-runner. Ben Carson now leading both in Iowa and nationally. That`s going to be fascinating. But before all that happens, tomorrow during the day, here`s something to watch for in the news that could be pretty dramatic. Former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, the longest serving Republican House speaker in history, is expected to plead guilty tomorrow in federal court in Chicago to charges that were brought in a shock and ruinous indictment back in May. Prosecutors alleged in that indictment that Denny Hastert paid an unnamed individual more than $3 million to compensate for and conceal what was described in the indictment as, quote, "prior misconduct". The indictment never spelled out the alleged prior misconduct, but federal officials tell NBC News that the alleged misconduct took place when Denny Hastert was a high schoolteacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville, Illinois, in the 1960s and the 1970s. They said the conduct was specifically sexual in nature and that it involved a student at the high school. That news broke in May, with the unsealing of the indictment. Earlier this month, lawyers for Mr. Hastert said they had reached a plea agreement in the case, a plea deal. That, of course, means Mr. Hastert would avoid a trial. At which presumably details of the alleged prior misconduct might be discussed. We now know that trial will not happen. And now that they`ve got a plea deal, Denny Hastert is expected to appear in court personally tomorrow to enter a guilty plea on two charges, one of trying to hide those outsized bank withdrawals, and one for lying about it to the FBI. Again, one key issue here is that by pleading guilty now, the former House speaker will avoid having his alleged sexual misconduct or predatory behavior portrayed in detail in open court. What he does seem unable to avoid, though, is prison. Denny Hastert tomorrow will be facing a potential sentence of ten years in prison. In terms of expectations, he`s expected to get between six months and two years in prison. We don`t know, we won`t know until the judge pronounces the sentence. But it appears in this case, actions will still have some very considerable consequence, even for a man who was among the most powerful people on earth when he served as the longest-serving speaker of the house in the history of the Republican Party. Watch for that tomorrow. 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