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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 1/14/2016

Guests: Hillary Clinton

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: January 14, 2016 Guest: Hillary Clinton RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for being with us tonight. Usually this is the time in the show where I`m about to start talking for an uninterrupted 17 minutes that involves a lot of really arcane historical illusions. Tonight something different, because you`ve been very good. Tonight, we`re joined by a special guest, who is hard to get. She was here in the building to do "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon. And we asked if she could swing by, it turns out she could. So, joining us now for the interview is Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. Secretary Clinton, thank you. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Excellent, I thought I would come during historical illusion time. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Yes, like we`ve heard enough about 1952, Maddow, let`s go further back. Very good. Well, let me ask you, start with something very much in the headlines right now, and interestingly, it was in the headlines during President Obama`s State of the Union. That was the situation with these sailors who were taken by Iran. CLINTON: Right, right. MADDOW: Obviously released yesterday, in part because we have more open lines of diplomatic communication with Iran, which is a good thing. What`s your reaction, though, to Iran videotaping these Americans as prisoners, broadcasting their surrender on their boats, what appeared to be an out-of-context apology. Was that upsetting? Should there be consequences for that? CLINTON: Well, of course, it was upsetting to me. I think that the American sailors and up the command chain made it clear it looked like there was a mistake, you know, we were inadvertently in their territorial waters. OK. Fine. Let`s recognize it and let`s move on. Don`t try to turn it into some political propaganda coup, because it isn`t and shouldn`t be. And it raises the kind of challenges we`re going to have going forward with Iran, because after all, I support it, I helped start the process that led to the agreement on the nuclear weapons. And we have to enforce that agreement vigorously. If there are any slips or misses on the parts of the Iranians, there have to be consequences. But we have this whole other arena of problems we have to deal with when it comes to Iran. MADDOW: Nonnuclear issues. CLINTON: Nonnuclear issues. In fact, one of the best arguments for the nuclear agreement was let`s put a lid on their nuclear weapons program, it would give us time and breathing space to deal with a lot of the aggressiveness, the undermining of governments, continuing outrageous support of Assad as he murders his people day after day. So, it wasn`t clear to me, but if I were guessing, you`re right, good that we have an open channel. Because when I was there we had very little opportunity to communicate. It was complicated. We would often have to go through other countries to get a message -- MADDOW: As intermediaries. CLINTON: Intermediaries, right. So, that`s the good side. The not-so-good side is, if you`re going to be a mature country and you`re going to shoulder responsibilities, which you leaders claim you are ready to do, act like it. So -- MADDOW: In terms of pressing Iran for consequences on that, what would you do? CLINTON: I think on this one, I would put them on notice that, just as we`ve said and I have given a lot of remarks about this, we`re going to enforce the nuclear agreement very vigilantly, we`re also going to be looking -- if they want to play a game where they turn something that was accidental into an international case, well, they`re going to have to take the consequences if we do the same. MADDOW: I want to ask you about the presidential race right now. New Iowa polling out in -- today from "The Des Moines Register", the race is tightening in Iowa. You always said you expected that it would tighten at this point in the race. CLINTON: Right, right. MADDOW: But "The Des Moines Register" had this write-up when they put out the poll explaining basically what`s going on. At least the way they read it, they say that Senator Sanders is basically doing better than you with the same groups that powered President Obama`s victory in Iowa in 2008, namely young people, first-time caucus-goers and independents. So, if Iowa this year against Bernie Sanders looks a bit like Iowa in 2008 against Barack Obama, don`t you need to change what you`re doing to try to crack the code with those kinds of voters? CLINTON: Well, I don`t think so and here`s why. I have a much better organization than I did back in `08. I have an organization that is a great mixture of people who worked for President Obama in `08 and 2012, people worked for me, people new to the process. I`ve got a lot of confidence in them, what they`re doing, and we have a very significant core of committed supporters. That`s what the caucus really eventually ends up counting. Who will come out on February 1st? It`s cold in Iowa right now. We`re all a bit chilled, and actually be there for whatever amount of time it takes. I feel very good. Now, that doesn`t mean I`m not going to work like crazy to reach as many as I possibly can, because that`s what I`m doing, that`s what I will be doing. And, of course, I want to reach groups of people that, you know, are still making up their minds or may think they have made up their minds but are still persuadable. So, between now and when the doors open on February 1st at 6:30, we`re going to do everybody we can to add to the numbers of people who have committed to caucus for me. MADDOW: The character of the campaign, the tone of the campaign, the way you`re trying to persuade those undecided voters seems to have changed a bit in the last week or so. Just this afternoon, your campaign in my estimation set its hair on fire a little bit when you guys convened this press call to discuss what you called Senator Sanders` attack ad against you. Your campaign said it was -- he was the first candidate to go negative in this campaign. I have seen the ad that you`re referring to. Honestly, it is not much of an attack. It never says your name. It says there`s two Democratic visions for regulating Wall Street, his, and one that says, I`m going to quote it directly -- "It`s OK to take millions from big banks and then tell them what to do." So, yes, that`s an oblique criticism of you taking Wall Street donations, but it`s not like something new. It`s not something over the top that means that he`s now this personal attacker in the campaign. CLINTON: Well, let`s put it into the broader context. Obviously, Senator Sanders has said repeatedly he doesn`t do that, he doesn`t, you know, engage in negative attacks, and I take him at his word, on anything personal. We don`t do that in our side of the debate, you know? We engage on substantive differences. We have some. He`s been pointing out what he believes to be differences for quite some time from his point of view. So, I have been pointing out what differences are, because I think the voters expect us to have something of a spirited debate and to let them know where we stand on health care, on guns, on the economy and all the rest of the really important question that voters are asking about this election. So, what I think people reacted to is that it was a very broad assertion that caught up all Democrats. I mean, basically, it`s also a very direct criticism of President Obama, who you may recall took a lot of funding from the financial industry when he ran in 2008. That didn`t stop him for fighting for the hardest regulations on Wall Street since the Great Depression, signing Dodd/Frank, getting everything he could get out of the Congress at the time. So, there is a difference. I think that, you know, the president and many Democrats who support Dodd/Frank, we are fighting to prevent it from being turned back and eviscerated by the Republicans, you know, are saying, wait a minute, this is hard work. And what the president got done and what the Democrats who stood with him got done is a pretty important accomplishment if we`re going to rein in the excesses on Wall Street. So, it`s a funny kind of charge. It`s sort of a pox on all your houses for all the Democrats, and I think that`s what raised some eyebrows. MADDOW: The way you have rebutted that, particular your campaign has rebutted that, is about Senator Sanders and the way he`s campaigning. I mean, you are saying he`s the first candidate to go negative, calling that an attack ad. Recently, your campaign has said, quote, "He can`t level with the American people. He`s not done what he has promised, shifting answers." Senator Sanders, obviously, is your opponent. Nobody expects you guys to walk hand in hand and come to consensus who ought to be nominee. But he also doesn`t have an enemy in the world in the Democratic Party, and he doesn`t have an enemy in the world in his home state. People say in Vermont, Donald Trump rally, I`m considering voting for Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, it`s because his appeal is so strong that he`s even appealing to the Trump voters up there. He`s a very well-respected figure. Your campaign is essentially fighting in millennium with a way that is casting aspersions on his character, calling him dishonest. CLINTON: No, no, I can`t -- MADDOW: He won`t level with the American people? CLINTON: Let`s parse this out. First of all, I`m very proud to have the support of the present governor of Vermont, two former governors of Vermont, including Howard Dean. I`m very honored to have the support of the other senator, Patrick Leahy. So, people who are from that same state have concluded that they want to see me become the Democratic nominee and, in fact, are working hard to make that happen. I have no -- I have nothing but good things to say about Senator Sanders either personally, and I admire his incredible advocacy for the positions he holds. But the specific question that was raised here has to do with health care and taxes, because I`ve been laying out my plans, Rachel. I`ve been telling you where I`m going to get the money, I`ve been telling how much it`s going to cost, what I will do, and for months, his campaign has been saying before the Iowa caucus, we will tell you what we are proposing in taxes and the bulk of what he is advocating for is a single-payer health care system which would probably cost about $15 trillion. So, the voters have been led to believe that before they go make their decision, they`ll be able to compare what I want to do to get to universal care, which is to defend, support and enhance the Affordable Care Act, and what Senator Sanders has said he wants to do, which is to basically start all over again, start a contentious debate, try to get to a single-payer system, but he`s not telling us what it will look like and cost. MADDOW: Do you disagree with that goal? Do you agree with single payer as a good -- you just think it would be too hard to do? CLINTON: No, I agree with universal health care. MADDOW: No matter how you get there? CLINTON: No matter how you get there, but to me Affordable Care Act is one of the signature accomplishments not of this president, but of the Democratic Party. We`ve been trying to get something like this done since Harry Truman. MADDOW: Right. CLINTON: I worked really hard on that in `93 and `94, and I was thrilled when the president signed the Affordable Care Act. Now, I expect the Republicans to do what they`re trying to do, repeal it, they did it last week. Thankfully, the president could veto it. But I`m a little surprised to be having this debate and it`s really a very general debate when it comes to Senator Sanders about, no, we need to have a single-payer system. Well, what does that mean? Now, the only clue that I can find because he hasn`t laid out a plan is to go back and look at the bills that he`s introduced nine different times and it`s a bit concerning to me, because it would basically end all the kind of health care we know, Medicare, Medicaid, the CHIP program, children`s health insurance, Tri-Care for the National Guard, Military, Affordable Care Act exchange policies, employer-based policies. He would take all that and hand it over to the states. And -- MADDOW: Well, he calls it Medicare for all. He`s basically would say we replace -- (CROSSTALK) CLINTON: But Medicare for all is not the same if you`re turning it over to the states. Now, if he has changed his mind after introducing the bill nine times, he owes it to the public to tell them. If he has changed his mind about having the federal government pay 86 percent of the cost and having states have to come up with the remaining 14 percent, when in fact we know Republican governors won`t even pay for Medicaid, which they are going to get initially for nothing -- well, that`s what we need. Now, we`ve been rolling out our plans and policies on the assumption that when we get toward the end, when people are really paying attention, they`re going to say, OK, I`ve got to compare this and contrast it, what`s their position on guns, what`s their position on health care? And it`s a little bit concern that -- you know, the devil`s in the details when it comes to health care. I am both passion and somewhat informed about how this is. So, if you`re going to say free health care, Medicare for all, you owe it to voters to say, this is what it will cost and you will have to contribute x from your payroll tax. X from the income tax and if we`re still going to hand it over to the states, the states are going to come up with money from somewhere, and you`re going to have to kind of figure out how you work with the governor of this state. So, that`s not Medicare for all. Medicare for all is a very different model. And -- so I`m just saying that we`re only engaging in substantive differences. And I think that`s what you`re supposed to do when you`re in a contest as important as this one. What`s your policy? What`s my policy? How do you defend it? How do you explain it? And then we let the voters make up their minds. MADDOW: Let me ask you about a different kind of health issue. You`ve put out statements on the lead poisoning crisis situation in Flint, Michigan, which we`ve covered a lot. CLINTON: Yes. MADDOW: I know you sent a couple of staffers yesterday to meet with the mayor in Flint. CLINTON: Yes. MADDOW: What is your view of what`s wrong there? If you were president now, would you do something in terms of the response that isn`t already being done? CLINTON: Well, I`m very pleased that FEMA is trying to do what it can there. In speaking with the congressional delegation, Senator Stabenow, Congressman Kildee and others, they`re trying figure out how they`re going to get enough funding so that kids can be tested, adults too, but let`s focus on the kids because that`s where the real damage is. This is infuriating to me. I did a lot of work on trying to get rid of lead in residential housing in Upstate New York. I care deeply about this issue. We know it has an affects on behavior and educational attainment. So, we need to test kids. We need to provide quickly whatever health care they can get, whatever antidote is possible, and we need a fund for education, because some of these kids, if they`ve been too exposed, the damage may be irreversible. And we`re going to have to do more to help them actually learn. MADDOW: And you think there`s a federal role on that? You say we -- CLINTON: I think there is a federal role. I would make it a federal role. Right now, as best I can understand, the governor, the Republican governor, Governor Snyder, is refusing to ask for the triggering of the federal help that he needs in order to take care of the people who are his constituents. I am just outraged by this. I find it, you know -- lead is one of the most pernicious, horrible, toxins that kids are exposed to, and that has such serious long lasting effects on their behavior and their learning. I would be doing everything I could, and I would be expecting everybody in a position of authority to do the same. Let`s find out how much it`s going to cost to fix the infrastructure problem. I think finally the governor called on the National Guard, deliver water, do what you can to at least avoid further harm. But we need to do a full-fledged health study to determine of the 99,000 people who live in Flint, who has been exposed, how much? We need to make sure that no mother is mixing any food with water for babies. And so, the information -- literally people need to be going door to door. Because, you know, a lot of folks who are busy, maybe not even paying attention now, so, the churches, civic organization, not just the political authorities need to be fully engaged. And I would pull out every stop. I think I would look for any provision in the law that would permit me to override the lack of request from the governor if he refuses to still ask for what I think his people deserve to have. MADDOW: Secretary Clinton, I have one last question for you. I realize we are out of time. Would you give me permission for one more question? CLINTON: Absolutely. MADDOW: We`ll be right back with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, really. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Joining us again is Secretary Hillary Clinton. Thank for you staying. CLINTON: I`m so happy to. MADDOW: My last question is weird. CLINTON: OK, let`s have it. MADDOW: But it`s about Democratic women. CLINTON: OK. MADDOW: I look at Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Elizabeth Warren, I look at governors like Gina Raimondo in Rhode Island, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, that kind of bench for Democratic women in any other year, they would definitely be short-listed for vice president, but the common wisdom says this year there`s no way if any get picked, not if you`re the nominee. So, is that common wisdom correct, if you`re the nominee real politically speaking, it is out of question for you to choose a running mate? CLINTON: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. MADDOW: Really? CLINTON: Absolutely not. Look, I am going to do everything I can to be the nominee, so I have the great opportunity to make that decision. We`re living in a very unusual political atmosphere, and we need people who are tough enough, tenacious enough with a track record to take on the forces that are raid against continuing progress, to protect President Obama`s legacy, and the progress and accomplishments that he has labored to achieve here at home and around the world. So, I`m looking for a team, and the most important member of that team would be whoever I ask to be my running mate. And I`m not ruling anybody out. MADDOW: You don`t have to choose from Grizzly Adams Mountainman in order to comfort the people who would be freaked out at the prospect of a woman president? CLINTON: Well, yes, I`m going to look at a lot of different people. MADDOW: Grizzly mountain man is not out? CLINTON: I`m not sure Leo DiCaprio is available, but we`ll see, right? I think what is -- MADDOW: You have to ask the bear. CLINTON: Yes, ask the bear. I think it`s important to really look at the talents, the experience, the energy, the commitment, the stamina, you know? You`re knocked down a lot in this kind of profession, and the people who dust themselves off and getting right back up are the people I feel the closest to. So men, women, I`m going to looking at anybody who can fit that role for me. MADDOW: Former secretary of state, Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton -- thank you so much. It`s always great to see you. Thank you for coming. CLINTON: Great to see you. Thanks. MADDOW: We`ve got lots more ahead tonight and we are literally on the phone trying to book the bear for later in the show, or at least Leonardo DiCaprio if we can get through to the bear. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are two Democratic visions for regulating Wall Street. One says it`s OK to take millions for big banks and tell them what to do. My plan: break up the big bank, close the tax loopholes and make them pay their fair share. Then, we can expand health care to all and provide universal college education. Will they like me? No. Will they begin to play by the rules if I`m president? You better believe it. I`m Bernie Sanders, and I approve this message. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That is the new campaign ad that was just released by the Bernie Sanders for president campaign. It will soon by running in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Senator Sanders` campaign is spending a ton of money on TV ads in those states right now, in the homestretch in both Iowa and New Hampshire. But this add in particular appears to have set off a minor firestorm, at least inside the Hillary Clinton campaign. Shortly after this particular ad was released, the Clinton campaign set out a press release, denouncing this ad as an attack ad against her, claiming that with this ad, Senator Sanders is the first candidate in the Democratic race to go negative, they`re saying he`s broken his pledge to not run negative ads, attacks. Given the actual content of the ad, which you just saw, I feel like that reaction is a little over the top from the Clinton campaign. I told Secretary Clinton that tonight, she disagreed with that characterization. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That`s an oblique criticism of you taking Wall Street donations, but it`s not like something new. It`s not something over the top that means that he`s now this personal attacker in the campaign. CLINTON: Well, let`s put it into the broader context. Obviously, Senator Sanders has said repeatedly he doesn`t do that, he doesn`t, you know, engage in negative attacks, and I take him at his word, on anything personal. We don`t do that in our side of the debate, you know? We engage on substantive differences. We have some. He`s been pointing out what he believes to be differences for quite some time from his point of view. So, I have been pointing out what differences are, because I think the voters expect us to have something of a spirited debate. What I think people reacted to is that it was a very broad assertion that caught up all Democrats. I mean, basically, it`s also a very direct criticism of President Obama, who you might recall took a lot of funding from the financial industry when he ran in 2008. That didn`t stop him for fighting for the hardest regulations on Wall Street since the Great Depression. What the president got done and what the Democrats who stood with him got done is a pretty important accomplishment if we`re going to rein in the excesses on Wall Street. So, it`s a funny kind of charge. It`s sort of a pox on all your houses for all the Democrats, and I think that`s what raised some eyebrows. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Bernie Sanders casting a pox on all Democrats` houses. That`s criticism from Secretary Clinton you saw here tonight. It might actually be criticism that senator Sanders wouldn`t disagree with. He might wear that as a badge of pride. Joining us is the great Chris Hayes, who is the smartest guy I know of to explain politics, particularly on the left. Hello. CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: Hello. How are you? MADDOW: I`m trying to figure out whether or not that sort of new territory between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. HAYES: So that was -- so I agree with you that the kind of hair on fire response from the Clinton campaign about this ad was a bit much, particularly the last few days saying he`s going to take away your health care more or less. So -- MADDOW: Well, they want to justify how negative they`re going on him -- HAYES: That`s right. So, again, this is all -- you know, ain`t bean bag, et cetera. MADDOW: Here`s what was smart about that politically and I think substantively correct, when it`s an attack on Barack Obama. Fundamentally, it is true that the Sanders world view is a world view that the current Democratic Party, the last eight years of -- you know, arguably the most successful Democratic president since FDR has been part of the same corrupt system. It has been operating within the general corruption of the system, which is bought and paid for by this sort of plutocratic world, and he wants to somehow break that up. MADDOW: So, he`d say yes, Dodd/Frank was fine, and I support it, but we could have done much more, and I would do much more, because I`m not captured by the same special interests in the same way that a good guy like President Obama is. HAYES: So, he`s -- the difficult line he has to walk with Democratic primary voters is to say that, is to say that like fundamentally, the system needs to be shaken up more than it has been without appearing to criticize Barack Obama which is extremely beloved and popular among Democratic primary voters. MADDOW: Right. HAYES: So, Hillary Clinton`s -- the most politically -- the political advantage she has over Bernie Sanders is the degree to which she can hug Barack Obama close to her, because she served in his administration, and also, I think fundamentally is more embedded in the system that Barack Obama has been operating in than Bernie Sanders who I think views himself as, though embedded in it, a critic of it in a sort of fundamental way. MADDOW: There`s some base structural things with that. He doesn`t have any super PACs. HAYES: He is not taking money from big banks. That was an interesting point, for Hillary Clinton to say, look, he took some money from the finance industry, and we got Dodd/Frank. MADDOW: And still did good work. HAYES: The argument on the other side is, yes, frankly, and Dodd/Frank might have been tougher if he hadn`t. MADDOW: What do you think will happen in the Democratic primary now that clearly the floodgates are open? I was -- it was interesting. The sharp tone from the Clinton campaign and from Secretary Clinton herself towards Bernie Sanders is not very old. It`s really only been a few days. HAYES: Literally a week, yes, at the most. MADDOW: Yes, it`s a week on the campaign trail. So, because there started literally just today this coverage of how maybe it`s not a smart move, maybe it`s backfiring, maybe it`s driving a lot of Bernie Sanders fund-raising. I wanted her to say, we`re not going to do that, no, that`s not what I intended. Instead, she went way further down that room. That`s where they`re going. HAYES: Yes, they are going to attack. And again, I think, you know, so far, we`re mostly in the area of substance. I mean, on the health care, right, which she also sort of re-upped, right? MADDOW: Oh, yes, in great detail. HAYES: I think the part of it that strikes me is implausible is the idea of Bernie Sanders is going to take away your health care. I mean, he`s going to scrap all these programs, right? And it is true. Go read the bill. Yes it does say replace these things. It also says in the clause that health care is an entitlement, right? So literally in writing grants to people the fact that this health care cannot be taken away. MADDOW: She`s saying, if you try to do something so radical, you put the good things that we got at risk. HAYES: Yes, exactly. That`s this question about really a fundamental question for Democratic primary voters about the level of appetite that they have for sort of like new political fights versus consolidation of the gains of Obama. MADDOW: Yes, that`s exactly right. That`s it. HAYES: Risk/aversion. Do you want to relitigate health care? Might that backfire, and you lose the ACA, is a kind of interesting political question and gets to people`s, voters` I think temperament, frankly, more than ideology, or do you want to -- yes. Now, the Sander camp, I think the legitimate thing that`s coming out of the Clinton is I do think the Sanders camp has an obligation to say how you get from A to B, which is to say -- MADDOW: And they have delayed their explanation in terms of financing this thing. They have delayed. HAYES: Everyone understand -- a Sanders administration is not going to be the Medicare for all act, right? OK, what are the incremental things you can do that moves the system closer to single-payer, right, that wouldn`t be another huge legislative battle over universal health care? MADDOW: Right. And that -- and that is a substantive fight. HAYES: Totally. MADDOW: I think it makes -- HAYES: But it`s not Bernie Sanders is going to take away, I think that part of it -- MADDOW: Bernie Sanders is putting our existing good things in our health system at risk because he wants to do such a radical thing? HAYES: That`s right. MADDOW: I mean, that is basically -- I think it makes people very uncomfortable is it`s at turning negative. It`s not personal at this level, but it is turning negative. I think the Sanders camp is less comfortable with that than the Clinton camp is. So, whatever the substantive fight is here, I sort of hope it doesn`t get loss in people feeling so oogie about the tone. This interview tonight confirmed for me that it`s -- HAYES: It`s also not turning back. Like, it`s politics, they`re trying to be the president of the United States. MADDOW: Yes. This is hard. HAYES: It`s amazing that it`s in some ways it hasn`t gotten here sooner. That`s because it is really a tight race right now. MADDOW: Yes, fascinating. Chris Hayes, host of "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" here on MSNBC -- see, I told you, smartest guy in the country to talk to about politics on the left. It`s true. HAYES: Thank you. MADDOW: See you soon. And while all the attention understandably is focused on the increasingly hot contest between Clinton and Sanders, spare a thought for old Martin O`Malley, who has been suffering headlines like these recently. These are from last week. Headlines in the Beltway press speculating that`s he might not qualify for the next Democratic debate. The cruddy thing about those headlines, is that at the time those ran, Martin O`Malley was actually watt mathematically on track to make the next Democratic debate and now, in fact, he officially has. So all of that insult for none of the injury, unless those wrong headlines themselves injure his campaign. But Martin O`Malley will in fact be there. We also now know more about how that next Democratic debate is going to go. It`s this Sunday night, 9:00 Eastern, hosted by NBC News from Charleston, South Carolina. The moderator is going to be Lester Holt from "NBC Nightly News". He`s going to get help with the questions, though -- the candidates will also take questions from Chuck Todd, host of "Meet the Press", and from the great Andrea Mitchell. So, now you know what you`ll be doing on Sunday night. The pregame starts at 8:00 Eastern here on MSNBC, the debates kicks off at 9:00 p.m. Sunday night on NBC. And, yes, martin O`Malley will be there. Leave him alone. Don`t be mean. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: Right now, as best I can understand, the governor, the Republican governor, Governor Snyder, is refusing to ask for the triggering of the federal help that he needs in order to take care of the people who are his constituents. And I am just outraged by this. I would pull out every stop. I think I would look for any provision in the law that would permit me to override the lack of request from the governor if he refuses to still ask for what I think his people deserve to have. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here just tonight talking about the lead poisoning disaster in Flint, Michigan, that was actually literally caused by the state government there. She called it infuriating. She said she were outraged. She said if she were president now, she would look for ways to get federal help into Flint, even if they had to find a way around the governor to do it. So, that was tonight right here. Today, in Michigan, the expressions of outrage were out loud and they started on the capitol steps in Lansing. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (CHANTING) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You cannot take your signs inside the building. (CHANTING) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Then they piled inside. Now, these protesters today, many of whom came to the state capital from Flint. Once they assembled that way, they were told they couldn`t bring their signs in, then they made their way inside. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (CHANTING) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: They streamed in chanting, again without their signs, because they weren`t allowed to bring those in. They made their ways up two flights the stairs, the same chant the entire way. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (CHANTING) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: For context here, the people were making their way through the capitol to Governor Snyder`s office. Yes, it`s largely a ceremonial office, but still. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (CHANTING) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: There were so many people at this protest today. They filled the rotunda inside the state capitol all the way around, and some people made their way up yet another flight of stairs where the Michigan house was in session. All this happened today. Flint`s residents, Michigan`s residents making a deliberately loud civil nuisance of themselves, calling on their governor to resign over the state government poisoning the water in Flint. That`s what the residents of Flint traveled by bus to their state capitol to do today. Meanwhile, back in Flint today, a big announcement on the crisis that was neither by nor about Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Twice we`ve had, a truly heroic -- the local pediatrician who basically realized what was going on and took it upon herself with no funding, with no directive, that she should start testing the kids in Flint to see if they had lead in their blood. It turns out they did, in huge proportions. And Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha blew the whistle on that as loudly as she could. And the Rick Snyder administration tried to discredit her and told people to ignore her. But she was right. Her data was right. And even now the governor has had to acknowledge that Dr. Mona was right, and he`s now having her stand at his press conferences like they were always working together. Even now, she`s still now such a bad ass -- forgive me. She still such a bad add, that she`s still blowing the whistle on what the Snyder administration is doing right now. She`s still blowing the whistle on the way they are underplaying the crisis. That`s why she was here last night, still this week at that Governor Snyder`s press conference in Flint this week, the administration was still understating the problem, understating the number of people who have been lead poisoned by oh, say, tens of thousands of people. Such a bad ass, doing such uncompromising brave, good work. Somebody like that you think, God, why isn`t that person in charge? Well, that`s what happened today in Flint. Now, Dr. Mona is in charge. It was announced today in Flint is that they have now set up the health initiative that`s going to be in charge of testing kids` blood levels and doing long-term monitoring of all of those kids and then doing long-term intervention with all of those thousands of exposed kids to treat what can be treated, to mitigate what can be mitigated, to do whatever intervention can be done to literally try to mitigate the brain damage caused by the lead that all of those kids were exposed to. Since the scale of this problem became clear, everybody`s basically been saying, my God there`s going to have to be monitoring for years, all these thousands of kids and their families, this is lifelong. They`re going to need help and support for years, maybe for decades. As soon as you realize how big a problem this was and what happened, immediately you realize that`s what was needed. Well, now, that has finally been set up. They have put Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha in charge of it, which is about the only thing in this whole crisis that just seems right and competent, finally. Details on how to support the Flint kids fund are online right now, or you can go there directly at They`re taking donation from the public. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Here`s an update. When I asked Hillary Clinton tonight about the lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan, I was surprised by the intensity of her interest in the story, how much she knew about it, but also the force of her critique of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. She called him out for refusing, as she put it, him refusing to ask for federal help. She said she was outraged by his failure to fully engage the federal government in trying to take care of his constituents. She said she found it infuriating. Given what said and the sort of ferocity, we turned around right quick and asked Governor Snyder for comment tonight. We gave them a transcript of her remarks and we asked for a respond. We did get back a smidgen of news from governor`s office. The governor`s office tells us this, quote, "Governor Snyder this week spoke to the White House and to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about what kind of assistance the federal government can provide to help the people of Flint. The governor this week spoke to the regional director of FEMA, which already has staff in Flint, assisting with some aspects of our efforts to help people get the help they need. The governor already has asked for a pledge from FEMA to coordinate an interagency recovery plan that would coordinate other efforts with other federal agencies to provide resources in Flint, and then he said there are tremendous efforts to go door to door to make sure people get filters, bottled water and water tests in homes. We are working on short and long-term plans to address health issues as we move forward." So, Governor Snyder says he`s talked to the White House, and specifically to the Homeland Security secretary about this crisis in Flint. That is new news, potential important news for Flint. Still not the same as calling of FEMA to do disaster response. We asked the governor again tonight if he has any plans to do that. We have not gotten an answer to that part of it yet, but stay tuned. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Debunktion junction, what`s my function? We start with President Obama who held a town hall event this morning as part of his generally quite upbeat, quite happy post-State of the Union tour. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I ran for office in 2007-2008, I did not say yes, I can. I said -- CROWD: Yes, we can! OBAMA: Yes, we can, people. God bless you. Love you. Thank you, New Orleans. God bless America. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: True or false, President Obama was in Thank you, New Orleans, today? (BUZZER) MADDOW: No, President Obama was not in Thank you, New Orleans. He was 80 miles away in poor put upon Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: God bless you. Thank you, New Orleans. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: And also Baton Rouge. Next week, the president is expected to hold a similar event at the International Auto Show in Detroit. Thank you in advance, Kalamazoo. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: I`m so looking forward to doing that. Ha! All right. Next up, a story from "New Yorker Magazine`s" Jane Mayer who has written about the billionaire conservative activists Koch brothers. Jane Mayer is a great reporter. She`s one of the best of our age. And she has a new book out called "Dark Money." And in this new book, she tells a story about the Koch brothers` dad, his name was Fred. Now, before I go any further, I should point out that the Koch brothers are well known to forceful responses to stories they feel slighted by. Trust me. OK, back to Papa Koch, Fred Koch. Jane Mayer reports that Fred Koch helped build one of the largest oil refineries in Nazi Germany. A refinery that was personality approved by Adolf Hitler. As you might expect, this story has not pleased the Koch brothers. The story that their dad has helped Hitler. But is it true or false that Fred Koch, the Koch brothers` dad, from whom they inherited their fortune and business, part of his business is that he helped build an oil refinery for the Nazi? Is that true or is that false? (RING) MADDOW: True. And the reason we know unequivocally that this is true is because Koch Industries was very quick to respond to this story. And despite their anger about their story, their angry response to it had the side benefit of confirming Jane Mayer`s reporting. They put their response in a letter to Koch Industry`s employees this week. Koch officials wrote, "Between 1928 and 1934, Winkler-Koch Engineering handled more than 500 projects. Of these, 39 involved signed contracts to build cracking units. One of those cracking units was included in the refinery in the port area of Hamburg, Germany. Simply put, it was just one element in the composition of a single refinery." Koch brothers only built part of that refinery for the Nazis. They also went to great lengths to point out, all of the other projects that dad`s companies worked on that were not for the Nazis. Neat. Except for that one that was. Jane Mayer wrote her own response to the Koch`s response essentially thanking them for, quote, "confirming Fred Koch was involved in the creation of a German refinery which Adolf Hitler personally greenlighted." We reached to Koch Industries for a comment on Jane Mayer`s response. They directed as back to their letter about how Fred Koch worked on just that one Nazi refinery, which admittedly is almost the same as him working on no Nazi refineries. Almost the same. Almost. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, here`s an intriguing update. This past Friday, we reported that the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court were scheduled to discuss Bob McDonnell. The federal corruption case of Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell. You recall that he was convicted of multiple corruption charges and was sentenced to two years in federal prison. Governor McDonnell has already lost his appeal at an appeals court, one level below the Supreme Court. So, the supremes considering his case this past Friday, that`s basically his last chance. It`s a suspenseful thing. Maybe the supremes will come to his rescue and hear his case. If they don`t, though, Governor McDonnell has to go to prison. The supremes had this case on their docket to consider it on Friday. We had thought that we would get the court`s order on the Bob McDonnell case. We actually thought we would get it on Monday this week. But it didn`t happen. The justices talked about the case this past Friday but Monday rolled around, all week has rolled around now and they said neither yay nor nay about the case. What is that mean? Intriguing, right? At base level, at the very least, Bob McDonnell didn`t get told no. His case is still alive. He didn`t have to go to prison this week. Pete Williams of NBC News also points out that back in August, the justices stepped to in when they didn`t have to and decided Governor Bob McDonnell would not have to report to prison while he still had a shot of taking his case further. Pete Williams told us, quote, "If they thought his appeal was baseless, it`s unlikely they would have done that." So maybe these are all good signs for Governor Bob McDonnell. In any event, here`s the very, very intriguing thing that`s happened since. After the justices didn`t say what they would do with his case on Monday, or any other day this week so far, the justices then said they would put it back on the docket to discuss it again starting tomorrow. So, I don`t know if hope springs eternal for the convicted governor, but hope definitely does have a little more spring in its step than it used to for Bob McDonnell. This is a case we have followed since the beginning. Tomorrow may very well be the biggest day in this case yet. Watch this space. That does it for us tonight. We`ll se you again tomorrow. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL". Good evening, Lawrence. END