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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/2/15

Guests: Elana Schor, Frank Rich, Dan Moynihan

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: You bet. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. Happy Monday. We begin tonight with some breaking news. Some surprising and unexpected news about one of the most politically divisive issues of the last eight years, one of the most politically divisive issues of the entire Barack Obama presidency. It has to do specifically with this object. This is the Keystone XL pipeline. You`ve heard that name before, right? It`s this massive pipeline project designed to bring hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil every day from north of our border, from Canada, all the way across the entire breadth of the United States right down to the Gulf of Mexico. The Keystone pipeline has been an object of debate and protest and anger and attack ads and political suspense and even international tension between the United States government and the Canadian government for years and years and years now. But, tonight, all of a sudden, after all of these years of fighting over it, tonight, it seems like it`s all over. Keystone is dead. We have just learned late tonight that the company trying to build that oil pipeline has essentially thrown in the towel. The company who`s going to build Keystone XL is called TransCanada and TransCanada has just asked the U.S. government to suspend their permit application to build Keystone. The U.S. government all these years has not made a decision on whether or not to approve that application or not, but TransCanada tonight has pulled the plug on it themselves. This was an unexpected result in what has been just a years-long process to try to get this pipeline built, something that has led to very acute domestic political pressure in this country. The reason this project needed the approval of the U.S. government in the first place is because this pipeline would cross the border from Canada into the United States. It would begin in tar sands country up in Alberta, Canada. It would then cross the U.S. border into Montana, stretch all the way down to Nebraska and then another piece of pipeline would stretch down to the Gulf of Mexico. And this pipeline project was controversial for a whole host of reasons. Among them a huge freshwater aquifer that the pipeline was going to pass through in South Dakota and Nebraska. But it was for a variety of reasons, the widespread opposition to this project largely but not entirely on the left, that`s made Keystone such a hot political issue for all these years. TransCanada first applied for a permit for this pipeline way back in 2008. The Obama administration has been conducting a review of that permit for President Obama`s entire two terms in office. Republicans have pushed the Obama administration to approve Keystone. But the president has continued to kick any decision on it down the road. Just today, the president`s press secretary Josh Earnest said, don`t expect a decision on this anytime soon. And then, today, sort of out of nowhere, TransCanada yanked it. They pulled the application for it altogether. Now, in terms of the timing here, the politics in Canada for Keystone may have had as much to do with this as the politics here. Earlier this year, the province of Alberta, Canada, which is the home of the Keystone Pipeline, they elected a new premier who has been on the record for a long time opposing the project. Just last month, of course, Canada elected a brand new prime minister who said he wasn`t necessarily opposed to Keystone but he wouldn`t push for it the same way his conservative predecessor had. And as the politics have turned against Keystone in Canada, at least among newly elected leaders there, Keystone has also resurfaced as an issue in this country with the leading Democratic candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, saying that she would reject the Keystone Pipeline application if she were elected president. There had been a lot of speculation, a lot of sort of extrapolating from her time as secretary of state in terms of whether or not she would support Keystone. She surprised a lot of political observers several weeks ago by saying if she were president, she would say no. Well, in their letter to the U.S. State Department tonight, TransCanada says they`re asking for their permit to be put on hold while they try to resolve a dispute with the state of Nebraska over the pipeline. And maybe that Nebraska issue will be resolved in a way that puts this application back on deck for the U.S. State Department and the U.S. government. But it kind of seems like this is done, at least for now. And yes, that means it kind of seems like the years-long protests against this pipeline, the sustained activism about this pipeline, the hundreds of arrests of people doing direct action to try to stop this pipeline, sort of seems like the effort to stop this thing worked. That effort, the anti-Keystone effort, the anti-climate change effort that crystallized this issue of Keystone as a key decision for the United States when it comes to being serious about climate change, it seems like that movement, at least as of tonight, has won. At least it`s gotten the company behind Keystone to stop asking for it. Joining us now is Elana Schor. She`s energy reporter for Ms. Schor, thanks very much for being here. Really appreciate your time tonight. ELANA SCHOR, POLITICO ENERGY REPORTER: Thank you. MADDOW: Short notice for to us book you tonight because we didn`t know this was going to happen tonight. Were there signals? Was there -- were there indications leading up to this that Keystone might do something like this? SCHOR: Well, Rachel, ever since the Canadian election the long- standing expectation that the president would say no to this pipeline has only intensified. And it`s because of the reasons you just laid out. The new leader of Canada says he supports Keystone, but he really wants to work with the president on climate. It`s a new day in Canada. Oil is so cheap. There is a myriad of reasons why the president would say no. And TransCanada knew that. What this really is, though, it really is less of throwing in the towel and more of a Hail Mary that they`re hoping a Republican president will catch in 2017. They are betting on a GOP White House. MADDOW: And obviously, the politics between the two parties on this are pretty stark. I think I can say without Googling it, I think, that every Republican candidate for president would probably be in favor of approving this application. We know that all the leading -- all the Democratic candidates are against it now that Hillary Clinton has gone on record about this. Is there evidence, is there direct evidence from Canada that this is a bet on the U.S. elections or is that sort of us extrapolating from their own corporate decision-making? SCHOR: Well, it`s a combination. I mean, in my day-to-day job I talk to these folks quite a lot, and what they`ll tell you off the record behind the scenes hush-hush is that TransCanada knew it had no shot if a Democrat won the White House. And it kind of knew it had no shot with President Obama. So, this is really the only last remaining avenue they can take to try to get approval but even they know, it`s a long shot. MADDOW: So this is them trying to avoid a no. So in case a Republican is elected, they could reapply then and get a yes. They couldn`t get to a yes if they had already previously been turned down with a Democrat in the White House now. SCHOR: Essentially. What this Nebraska request means is Nebraska will take between 7 and 12 months to work through its own process, which is a pretty obscure and arcane thing, but that`s all you need to know, right? Because what happens in one year, an election and we get a new president. If they get this pause, they can stay alive pending the outcome of, you know, who wins the White House. MADDOW: Elana Schor, energy reporter for It`s fascinating story. Finding out what`s going on in terms of the strategic interests from the Canadian side and the American politics around this and how all this pressure worked or didn`t is going to be something to sort out in coming days and it`s going to be fascinating to watch. Thanks for helping us sift through this tonight. Appreciate it. All right. We`ve got much more to come tonight. Frank Rich is here. Stay with us. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: You know there`s those greeting cards that have a little digital chip in them and when you open up the card it plays a thing? If I was going to be a greeting card company and I was going to make political greeting cards for like election season, this is the sound that would happen when you opened up my happy 2016 election season greeting card. Ready? Go. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo. Whoo. Errr. Errrr. Blah, blah, blah, blah. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Turns out Jeb Bush has been providing the perfect soundtrack for the deepening chaos that is the 2016 Republican field. But even after he`s given us all that, when this weekend the presidential field got even more chaotic, this weekend, Jeb Bush`s soundtrack of weird noises for the campaign got even better. There`s a new one. Stay with us. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo. Whoo. Errr. Errrr. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: One of the nice things about covering Jeb Bush as a presidential candidate is the fact that he makes weird noises on the campaign trail. He makes a Twitter noise and a whoo noise and an err grr and a couple different blah blahs. Well, today as promised there was a new one. He was talking to reporters after a speech in Florida and then this happened. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: We reduced the state government workforce, we led the nation in job growth, we were one of three states to go to AAA bond rating. I could replicate that by changing the culture in Washington. (CROSSTALK) BUSH: Whoo. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I don`t even know what it means. Blah, blah, blah I get. It means blah, blah, blah. The whoo is just like I`m excited. But this was just like howling at the moon. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: Whooo. Whooo. Whooo. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: In what other circumstance does he use this noise? Does this mean specifically too many people are talking to me at once? Does this mean happy Halloween? What does this mean? Do it again. So, that`s one of the things that happened in today`s politics news. We also got a new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll. It has Ben Carson in first place nationally leading Donald Trump by six points. That poll also is bad news specifically for Chris Christie who may not be making it onto the main debate stage at the debate next week, depending on which polls the Fox Business Network uses to set its eligibility for that debate. That said, who knows if there`s even going to be a next debate? After almost all the campaigns met last night in northern Virginia to list their grievances about the debate process and potentially yank the whole process out of the hands of the Republican Party. Today, the campaigns circulated a draft letter detailing the specific temperature they want for the debate room, explaining that they do not want their candidates to have to raise their hands, they do not want a lightning round, they do not want yes or no questions, they do not want candidates to ask each other questions, they do not want props or pledges to be allowed, they do not want reaction shots from the audience or the moderators. They do not want any camera angles that show the cameras from behind. They want 30 seconds for opening statements. They want 30 seconds for closing statements. And on and on and on and on and on. OK. What happens to the debates, though, if these demands from the candidates aren`t agreed to? Who knows? Who will negotiate these specific demands with the networks? If the networks are OK with some of these things but they really want to shoot the candidates from behind sometimes, who`s going to negotiate that? Who knows? Why are the candidates demanding all these things from all the rest of the debates but not from the next debate, to be hosted by Fox Business? Who knows? But they`re going for it. Actually, no. Not all of them. Some of them are going for it. Now even this chaotic mess of demands has fallen into even more chaos because not all of the candidates are going along with this thing. Carly Fiorina`s campaign did not show up to last night`s meeting. Today her campaign announced that she would not sign their demands letter and she wants nothing to do with this little revolt. Chris Christie today and John Kasich today, they did send people to the meeting last night but today, they both said they will also not sign the demands letter. Donald Trump`s campaign is also indicating that they also might not sign the demands letter because in part they plan to keep negotiating with the networks on their own. And so, it`s chaos upon chaos with a special side order of extra chaos. Carly Fiorina today tried to recruit Glenn Beck as a debate moderator. Ted Cruz says he only wants moderators who vote in Republican primaries. Lindsey Graham says that`s a terrible idea. Rand Paul today pitched the idea of having no debate moderators at all. Like anarchist soccer, three teams, two goals, everyone go. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Republican Party said today that everything`s totally under control. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: No. The truth is we`re involved, we`re in control. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Everything`s fine. Go back to your homes. Stop calling 911. Everything`s fine. This is all totally normal. Joining us now is Frank Rich, writer at large at "New York" magazine. Frank, it`s great to see you. Thank you for being here. FRANK RICH, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: It`s great to see you, Rachel. MADDOW: Is Reince Priebus correct, that this is all totally normal, nothing to see here, completely under control? RICH: Sounds like a teacher, kindergarten teacher about to be canned. Dealing with the unruly charges. It`s hilarious because first of all if you look at their demands in this letter which they`re not even all agreeing to, they seem to have been drafted by Stalin. It`s so tedious, it`s so fascistic really, no one will watch except the hardcore -- MADDOW: Stalinist and fascistic. I just thought it seemed scared and small. RICH: Well, scared -- they seem like scared little children. But also they want to control things so much, there won`t be a single spontaneous moment if there is -- there aren`t even many now. They just want to get out their sound bites, do their stump speeches. Who will watch except the Republican base that would watch anyway no matter what? MADDOW: So, news organizations that are being -- that may or may not be confronted with these demands, and there may or may not be an or else that comes with these demands. We don`t know. But let`s say news organizations are confronted with these demands. Would you expect as a keen observer of the media, would you expect news organizations to go along with this and say yes, you can decide what camera angles we`re allowed to show, we will allow you to dictate to us the tenor of the questions that our moderators are allowed to ask? Won`t news organizations all say no to this? RICH: Of course they will. Just as if Stalin were in charge, they`d say yes. Instead we`ve got a bunch of people who are fighting among themselves and also don`t even have a coherent set of demands. I think the real winner here may be Donald Trump because he`s the only one who actually knows something about television in this whole group. He`ll get terms favorable to whatever the hell he wants to do. It will be every man for himself. But in the end, the networks will win anyway and do whatever they want. MADDOW: If the -- if this sort of plays out to the conclusion that is implied but not overtly threatened and the candidates, at least some number of them, say we won`t participate unless we get X, Y and Z, do you think it`s possible that we end up sort of blowing up the debate process and we end up just not having sanctioned debates, candidates debate when and where they feel like it, the RNC is unable to enforce any sort of discipline, whether it`s participation in future events or allocation of delegates, do you think it could get that chaotic? RICH: No, because in the end television holds the cards. These people want to be on television. You know, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, they`re celebrities to the GOP base. They`re not celebrities to independent voters who might be attracted to them for the general election. They need to be on television. They can`t be on an Internet site or, you know, doing fillings in their teeth or whatever they`re proposing. So, in the end, the siren call of publicity will trump everything, so to speak. MADDOW: In terms of these candidates who are now opting out or at least turning away from this little bit of a revolt, that also seems like a strategic matter. We`ve got John Kasich and Chris Christie both saying they don`t want to be playing these reindeer games. Carly Fiorina`s campaign sent out a very snarky letter saying while you were all discussing debate rules, we were at an Appleby`s in Iowa doing the hard work of campaigning. RICH: And fighting with "The View." MADDOW: Yes. And fighting with "The View" doing the really tough substantive work of being a presidential candidate. Is there -- is there any advantage to be gained in trying to rise above this fray? Does this now look so small with the candidates fighting over the temperature of the room and the quality of their green rooms that somebody might actually get some advantage out of putting this controversy in its place? RICH: Well, I think that what Kasich, Fiorina and Christie have in common is they`re all doing terribly in the polls, as Donald Trump would say. So their best case scenario is sure, let all the others not do it and we`ll be in primetime alone. And meanwhile, they can look statesman-like, as you said. But I don`t think -- I think it`s a win-win for them. MADDOW: If the Republican Party gets boxed out of this and the way it gets resolved, and we sort of go back to the way it was, in 2012, there were more than 20 debates because any, you know, local bake sale could add a Republican presidential candidates debate to it and there was no reason not to. So, we have all these debates. The Republican Party decided that was bad, they wanted a short sanctioned list of things they could control. If that blows up and the Republican Party this year gets boxed out of the process entirely, is that bad for the Republican Party? Is it bad if their own institutional structure no longer functions for process stuff like this? RICH: Absolutely. It allows the super PACs to take over even more. It turns it into individual sort of city-states. And also, there`s nothing wrong with too many debates. The whole premise is faulty. You want to be on TV as much as you can with your candidates, particularly lesser known, non-Trump candidates want to be. So, Ben Carson should want to be on television. A lot of people don`t know who he is. So, the whole thing is kind of like shooting themselves in the feet. I don`t understand it. I think the only rationale for it is, they saw at the last debate beating up on the media in general still riles up the base, gets big applause. So, this is a way of doing that on a grand scale. But if they actually succeed of robbing themselves of debates, they`ve shut off their own oxygen on American television. MADDOW: That`s a very good point. I never really bought the idea that there being so much TV exposure in 2012 was what damned Mitt Romney. RICH: No. MADDOW: Obviously, you`ve got to be good on TV in order to win the general election. So maybe it`s a got test. RICH: Yes, exactly. MADDOW: Frank Rich, writer at large for "New York" magazine. It`s great to have you here. Thanks, Frank. RICH: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: You`ll be interested to know that President Obama has also been keeping tabs on this debate controversy. He gave his take on it tonight from the set of "Hamilton" here in New York City at a Democratic Party fund-raiser, just a few blocks from where I am sitting. Watch what he said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Have you noticed that every one of these candidates say, you know, Obama`s weak, Putin`s kicking sand in his face, when I talk to Putin - (LAUGHTER) He`s going to straighten out. Just looking at him, I`m going to -- he`s going to be -- (LAUGHTER) And then it turns out they can`t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators at a debate. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That said, John Harwood did notoriously once kick Vladimir Putin`s butt at judo. No. So, no, that was President Obama speaking tonight in New York City. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Programming note: Tonight, I will be on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon on NBC talking about fear of failure. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIMMY FALLON, THE TONIGHT SHOW: Anything you`re going to do differently after seeing what they did to CNBC? Anything you`re going to change? Why are you having sleepless nights? MADDOW: I am motivated by fear of failure. So, I imagine -- last night I dreamt that I walked up onto the stage and that a lot of people immediately threw tomatoes at me and I had to do the whole debate covered in tomatoes. FALLON: They don`t do that anymore. No one -- MADDOW: I know. But that`s the way my mind works. No, I don`t -- FALLON: They`re not going to throw tomatoes. They don`t do that anymore. MADDOW: Now, someone`s going to because I said it on "The Tonight Show." FALLON: No, no. Don`t do that. It would be so uncouth. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Much more on why I cannot sleep in advance of our Democratic candidates forum this Friday in South Carolina. Plus, the unveiling of my new camouflage sneakers. "Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon", tonight, 11:35 Eastern on NBC. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Just outside the house chamber inside the U.S. Capitol is a really, really nice hallway called the Speaker`s Lobby. It`s lined with portraits of every speaker of the House in U.S. history. Although the portraits do not quite go up until the present day, generally don`t get your official portrait done until a few years after you`re gone. So, there`s no portrait of John Boehner, for example, who just left last week, and there`s no portrait yet of Nancy Pelosi, but there will be someday. In fact, the most recent portrait in the speaker`s lobby is the guy who went before Nancy Pelosi. It`s Dennis Hastert. At least his was the last portrait in the speaker`s lobby until today. Because today was day one of the new speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and one of the very first things that Paul Ryan did with his new power as speaker was he took down that picture of Denny Hastert. Which they were maybe even a little late getting to since Denny Hastert pled guilty last week to federal charges in Illinois and is just now awaiting sentencing to find out how much time he`s going to be serving in prison. So, yes, taking down the Denny Hastert portrait is how Paul Ryan had to start his first week as speaker of the House, a little redecorating, sprucing up the place, taking down the portraits of recently convicted felons. But this morning several members of Congress and a whole bunch of 9/11 first responders had a pretty compelling recommendation for what Paul Ryan`s first piece of legislative business ought to be now that he`s speaker. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: Late last week, the Congress elected a new speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. And in his speech, Paul Ryan said Congress is broken, we`re going to wipe the slate clean, and we`re not settling scores. There is one score that needs to be settled, and that is what we owe 9/11 recovery and rescue workers. That needs to be settled. And it`s already -- it will be settled in this bipartisan bill. Now, today we`re calling on the new speaker of the House as his first order of business to put his money where his mouth is and pass this bipartisan bill. Ladies and gentlemen, 240 members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans -- in this polarized environment when you have 240 Democrats and Republicans agreeing on something, pass it. Don`t debate it. Don`t delay it. Pass it. (APPLAUSE) Pass it this week, under this new speaker. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: What Steve Israel`s talking about there is the bill that pays for the health care costs of people who were injured as 9/11 first responders, those recovery and rescue workers after 9/11. When that law was first passed five years ago, politically speaking, it was thanks in large part to Jon Stewart making it his mission on "The Daily Show" to shame members of Congress into supporting it. And they did have to be dragged kicking and screaming to do it. But now, it needs to be renewed five years later, and frankly it`s got huge majority support. You need 218 votes to pass something in the House, right? This thing has 240 co-sponsors. And yes, most of them are Democrats, but almost 60 of the co-sponsors are Republicans. It also has filibuster-proof bipartisan super majority support in the United States Senate. So, if the Republican leadership in Congress were to lift one finger to bring this bill to a vote, it would pass with huge margins in both the House and the Senate, it would go straight to the president to become law because he would sign it. Instead, the 9/11 first responders bill has been left to expire. And that`s because even though it`s got majority support, it does not have a support of a majority of House Republicans. And so, apparently, the Republicans don`t want to do it, at least not yet. So, as Paul Ryan takes over the speakership, yes, there have been a lot of questions about big picture issues and what kind of speaker he`s going to be and, you know what? This is something that`s happening right now, something that needs action for 9/11 first responders of all people. And time is of the essence. Clearly, this of all things should not be a heavy lift. Joining us now is Dan Moynihan. He`s a 9/11 first responder who`s had some severe health consequences from the toxic exposure he had as a rescue worker. Dan, happy to have you back here. Thanks for being here. DAN MOYNIHAN, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER: And thanks again for having me back on. MADDOW: Absolutely. On paper at least, in what I described the politics of it, this seems like a fairly easy thing to pass, if only because it`s got clear support, enough to pass. Do you think you will have luck with this under Speaker Ryan? MOYNIHAN: Well, you know, this bill has such broad bipartisan support across the entire country, you know, from Congresswoman Maloney and Congressman King in New York to Congressman Takei of Hawaii to the Congresswoman McSally of Arizona, Senator Gillibrand of New York, Senator Murray of Washington, Senator Kirk of Illinois, Senator Vitter in Louisiana. I mean, how can you go wrong? It`s bipartisan, all over the country. But then you get into the fact that, all of a sudden, you`ve got the head of the Judiciary Committee in the House who comes outs and says we want to give you another five-year bill. MADDOW: Instead of making it permanent. MOYNIHAN: Instead of making it permanent. And he himself, Congressman Goodlatte, has 26 first responders who rely on this bill in his own district, 26 first responders who came and worked the pile in New York who are now sick and who are registered on the bill, rely on the bill and yet the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and he under the darkness of night tried to sneak a five-year bill underneath. All of a sudden -- it`s so suspect. The timing of the bill is so suspect. It comes at a moment when the Senate, as you said, has crossed that filibuster-proof line and the House has 240 co-sponsors. I mean, how does he do this? We just don`t understand it. MADDOW: Well, it`s doable unless somebody undoes it. MOYNIHAN: Right. MADDOW: The question is there`s so much power concentrated in the leadership in terms of the legislature for how these things work. If the speaker said we`re voting on it, then it would be voted on. If only the co-sponsors voted for it, it would pass. MOYNIHAN: Right. MADDOW: So, it sort of means you`re lobbying a universe of one. This is now about the house Republican leadership and whether they want this done. MOYNIHAN: Yes. And my personal feeling, my personal hope is Speaker Ryan would say, hey, listen, if you want to save money, saving money is we don`t save money on the backs of 9/11 first responders who are sick and dying and on the backs of our veterans. This is not where we save money. MADDOW: How are you doing? I know you`ve had a couple of difficult days recently. MOYNIHAN: Yes. I was supposed to be on your show last Friday. Unfortunately, I had to cancel that because I was back in the hospital. Unfortunately, you know, this happens. This happens with all of us. I appreciate your patience. Thank you for having me back in this week. It`s -- again, I mean, I think about, you know, friends of mine who are much worse off than I am. You know, Joey Higgins from -- he`s got throat cancer. All these guys that have cancers and this and that. Friends of mine say how do you deal with all these headaches and all this stuff? It`s like, well, I`m still walking around. MADDOW: Yes. Well, your willingness to be an activist on it and a spokesman on it through everything you`re dealing with personally is inspiring. Dan, thanks for being here. MOYNIHAN: I appreciate it. MADDOW: Dan Moynihan is a 9/11 first responder and the Zadroga bill has not passed. All right. To lighten your load today, to cleanse the palate, still ahead, we`ve got what we believe to be, you will like this, the first ever use of the word "toilet" at a presidential press conference. And there`s a legitimate news reason to bring it up. I swear. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANNOUNCER: The A-Team, Riptide, and Remington Steele will be seen after the president`s news conference on most of these stations. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Three of my favorite shows of all time delayed. It was February 1986. "Remington Steele" and "The A-Team" both bumped from local NBC stations so the president of the United States, President Reagan, could hold a live press conference. And I can`t say for sure but I believe that primetime press conference was the first time the word "toilet" has ever come up at a presidential presser. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LESTER KINSOLVING, COLUMNIST: Why did you so strongly denounce the misrepresentation of Secretary Weinberger as being wasteful and the cartooning of him with a toilet seat around his neck while at the same time you were rewarding the very newspaper that did this by giving them an exclusive interview yesterday? RONALD REAGAN, THEN-PRESIDENT: Well, I`ve given others exclusive interviews. I try to do that when it`s possible in our timing to do that. And it was an opportunity due to the question that was asked that I could point out the injustice of this, because we didn`t buy any $600 toilet seats. We bought a $600 molded plastic cover for the entire toilet system. And it is the same thing -- (LAUGHTER) It is the same thing that is used in the commercial airliners and they pay the same kind of money that we have to pay for it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: President Ronald Reagan denying that his administration paid $600 for a toilet seat. They did no such thing. What they paid $600 for, see, was molded plastic covers for the whole toilet system. Ah. Well, that`s better, then. That was February 1986. And that robust explanation from the president himself was not enough to make that story go away. There remains basically a whole category of news about what`s wrong with the military and what`s wrong with the government that takes the form of stories like the $600 toilet seat and the $400 hammer. Well, into that gold-plated well-worn bucket of news today came this. You might have heard about this today. This is a gas station in Afghanistan that we the taxpayers paid for as part of the ongoing reconstruction effort in that country. The U.S. has built other stations like this in other countries abroad and they usually cost around $500,000 to construct. This one, though, in Afghanistan cost $43 million. That`s what $43 million buys you. That almost unbelievable bit of waste was reported today by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, which is an agency of government that kind of restores your faith in government. Their job is to essentially audit all U.S. spending inside the boondoggle- welcoming environment that is the war zone of Afghanistan. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has already suggested that there will be hearings about this one. But $43 million for a gas station? To be fair, it is full service. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Tomorrow is the first Tuesday in November which means it`s Election Day. When you think about Election Day this year you will naturally think about this e-mail. Check this out. Subject: Todd Courser, our state representative, breaking scandal. State Representative Todd Courser caught behind a Lansing nightclub! Christian conservative or godless addicted monster? Truth!!!! Representative Courser was secretly removed from the Republican caucus several weeks ago due to male on male paid for sex behind a prominent Lansing nightclub. Action coming soon to remove Courser. He is a bisexual porn-addicted sex deviant. It`s all over Lansing since the election. And that is why he was thrown out of the caucus. Well, Republican operatives in Michigan and members of the Michigan media found that sort of outrageous e-mail in their inboxes May 20th of this year. The godless, addicted monster described in this e-mail is this man, Representative Todd Courser. He`s a super conservative tea party Republican state rep. He`s married. He has four kids. But this all-caps exclamation point e-mail that went out about him in May said he had been caught with a male prostitute in back of a nightclub. So when this all went around in May, the first question was obviously, is this true? Second question was, where`d this come from? The answer to the first question, it turns out, is that no, it wasn`t true. But the answer to the second question, the question of where this came from, that one turns out to be a doozy. Because it turns out this Tea Party Republican state rep guy made up this whole story about himself. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) BENJAMIN GRAHAM: What did you have in mind? What`s the e-mail? Did you write it yet? REP. TODD COURSER: It`s already written. I didn`t print it. I don`t know what God`ll do, buddy. I don`t have an idea on that. I thought I was dead several times before already. So I`m not going to -- Todd Courser aught on tape behind Lansing nightclub. Truth. Courser secretly removed from caucus several weeks ago due to male on male paid for sex behind a prominent Lansing nightclub. He is a bisexual porn addict sexual deviant. Then you just get nasty about it. This guy was seen all over Lansing since the election and that is why he was thrown out of the caucus. GRAHAM: Are you serious? What are you talking about? That`s ridiculous. COURSER: It is ridiculous. I need it to be over the top. GRAHAM: Nobody`s going to -- nobody`s going to believe any of that. COURSER: You are correct. No, they`ll believe some of it. They`ll believe some of it. He`s a freak. GRAHAM: They`re not going to believe any of that stuff. Why would anybody believe any of that? I don`t -- is that not the point? COURSER: I`m not a homosexual. GRAHAM: I know that. COURSER: That`s -- you know, probably part of the problem because they can`t, you know -- I don`t do alcohol. I don`t do drugs, right? GRAHAM: That`s what I mean. That`s why it`s not believable. COURSER: Right. But they don`t know that. Now anything that comes after this is part of that. It`s a burn. And then people go, I`m not listening to that. That`s bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Who would do that to somebody? It`s awful. They`re attacking him. Right? Now, it goes further. Work with me, Benjamin, OK? (END AUDIO CLIP) MADDOW: Work with me, Benjamin. OK? Work with me. That was Representative Todd Courser on May 19th, the day before the e-mail went out, talking to one of his own staffers who just happened to be recording the conversation. That itself is never a good sign. Todd Courser explaining his plan there to send out a fake e-mail which he had already written containing crazy and scandalous allegations about himself, an allegation he wrote about himself, claiming that he had been caught with a male prostitute. That way when people heard about his real scandal later on they wouldn`t believe his real scandal because by that point, Todd Courser would have convinced people that people were always saying crazy stuff about him that should never be believed. Tea partier, family values politician, married father of four, Republican Todd Courser was not, in fact, caught having sex with a male prostitute behind a Lansing nightclub. His real scandal was that he was caught having an affair with another state representative, a fellow Tea Party Republican named Cindy. Anonymous blackmailer reportedly got wind of the affair and confronted Todd Courser about it and Todd Courser planned his defense against having his real affair exposed would be to fake a totally different scandal about himself which would divert everybody against his real scandal and look like those darned liberals would hang crazy things on him -- an audacious plan that naturally and obviously blew up in his face. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Representatives Courser and Gamrat who are both married, they both have families and both have admitted to having that affair. The two first-term Republican lawmakers who were elected with strong Tea Party support shared an office after they were elected. State members suspected the two were having an affair. One staffer claimed Courser tried to have him distribute a phony e-mail alleging Courser engaged in sex with a male prostitute to deflect attention from that affair. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: You know, every Election Day there`s one story that rises above the others, right, in terms of just out loud, sheer American strangeness, audaciousness. Well, this Election Day, the story is Michigan philandering and whether state resources and staff time and computers were used to concoct the fake scandalous e-mail allegation that the dude having an affair was instead secretly gay as way of covering up the fact that the dude was specifically not gay with someone else`s wife. To look into those potential misuses of resources, the Republican- dominated Michigan House held a 14-hour session on the subject of this affair and its cover-up. They needed to decide what to do with the two lawmakers and their affair and the freaking really weird fake gay cover-up and use of state resources, and all the rest of it. The hearing went from Thursday evening into Friday morning. Just after 3:00 a.m. on Friday, when it became clear they were going to expel him from the House, Representative Todd Courser resigned his seat instead. About an hour later, after 4:00 a.m., Michigan lawmakers voted to expel Cindy Gamrat to kick her out of the legislature, it wasn`t even close, the vote was 91-12. And so, when all that happened, months ago, sort of seemed like the two sleeping together and lying about it, fake gay scandal, a raging Tea Party family values lawmakers were done, right? One resigned, one forced out. She was marched out of the state capitol. Bizarre story, right? But at least it`s over now. They`re both gone. The governor called a special election to fill those two seats. That special election is tomorrow in Michigan on Election Day. But at least those two who created this giant and weird scandal, at least they`re gone, right? Back to normal in Michigan, right? Right? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the sex scandal that rocked Lansing and apparently, it is not over yet. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gamrat and State Rep Todd Courser was thrown out of office for misusing state resources to cover up their extramarital affair but Gamrat is not going away quietly. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. She talked with our Mara McDonnell about her decision and whether she thinks she can win this -- Mara. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good evening to you, Devin. And she is all in. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: And she is all in. Sorry, just lost my IFB. What she`s saying there, she is going for it anyway. She was expelled from the state house because of the scandal. Now, she`s running in the special election for her own seat that is only vacant because she was thrown out of the House. She`s going for it. Do you want to know who else is going for it? Yes, of course, Todd Courser. The man she had the affair with, her office mate, the fellow tea partier guy, the guy who sent that crazy self-smearing e-mail about himself, fake having sex with a fake prostitute behind a nightclub because he thought that would cover-up his own affair. He, too, is running to get his seat back. They are both running in the special election to win back their own seats tomorrow. That election is tomorrow. Happy Election Day, Michigan. Happy Election Day, America. Turnout on off-year elections are usually pretty low, which could mean, who knows? Maybe the ill-fated fake gay shtupping tea partiers could win and get lack to the legislature. Who knows what they will do next. Election Day tomorrow has that special election going for it, Michigan. Also in Virginia, the Senate is one seat away from going back to the Democrats and Democrats think they might get that seat back tomorrow. In Colorado, voters are going to decide tomorrow what to do with the money the state is making on legalized pot. In Ohio, voters in Ohio are going to decide whether or not to legalize pot in that state, but by a controversial means which would only let ten rich investors grow all the pot in the state. In Houston and in Philadelphia and Salt Lake City, they`re going to be electing mayors tomorrow, and all those big important U.S. cities. And in Kentucky, tomorrow is a very big day. Statewide races for everything in Kentucky tomorrow including governor, which is in Kentucky turning out to be one of the few southern states where Democrats might have a chance of winning up and down the ballots. That`s going to be the focus of most attention tomorrow. But, all in all, Election Day is probably fun where you are no matter where you live. Election Day 2015 tomorrow. It`s not going to be as huge a deal as Election Day 2016 I know. But still, 2015 has the fake gay philandering expelled tea party couple in Michigan and not every Election Day has something that spectacularly weird. Be grateful. Get out and vote tomorrow. When it`s all over, you will want to say you did. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LAWRENCE LESSIG, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: I may be known in tiny corners of the tubes of the internets, but I am not well-known to the America public generally. No doubt a better candidate could have gone further, though I doubt anyone could have worked harder. But regardless, I must today end my campaign for the Democratic nomination. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The Democratic field for president got smaller today by one. Law professor Lawrence Lessig dropped out today. Larry Lessig`s campaign was an issue-based campaign about trying to fix the small D parts of the democratic process, things like getting big money out of elections, getting rid of gerrymander districts that ensure that specific parties win specific seats. Mr. Lessig says he will continue to work for those reforms but no longer do so as a Democratic presidential candidate. And if you are curious about Larry Lessig and why he ran and why he quit and what he`s going to do now that he has quit -- well, I have good news for you because he`s going to be on "THE LAST WORD" tonight right here on MSNBC, oh, look, right now. So you should watch. And now, it is time for "THE LAST WORD." Alex Wagner sitting in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening, Alex. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END