Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: February 3, 2016 Guest: Elijah Cummings
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris, from across the state. Thank you, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
We are also live from New Hampshire tonight. We`re in Durham, New Hampshire, at the site of tomorrow night`s big Democratic debate. The first one-on-one face-off between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, which is going to be here live starting at exactly this time tomorrow night on MSNBC. We`re going to have more details on that coming up in tonight`s show.
If you`re thinking didn`t Rachel say this time last night she didn`t know if it was happening? That`s true. It`s happening. I`ve got the details for you ahead.
But before we get to those details, I do actually have legit breaking news hot off the presses. What I have in my hot little hand here is the first, the first new national poll in the presidential race since the Iowa caucuses. This is a poll on the Republican side. It was done by PPP.
Again, first national poll of the race for the Republican nomination since Iowa. And we`ve got this poll exclusively tonight. Nobody else has this. I am breaking this news right now.
What this new poll says is that Donald Trump is still winning. But he is winning by a lot less than he was winning before. The last time this national poll was taken by PPP, it was mid-December. Donald Trump was in the lead with 34 percent of the vote nationwide.
Now, after Iowa, he has dropped nine points. He has dropped nine points. He has dropped from 34 percent down to 25 percent of the vote. He`s still leading but leading by a lot less than he was before.
And right behind him, tied at 21 percent each are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Again, Donald Trump first, Cruz and Rubio tied for second. It`s that tiny little split between them, only four points between Trump at 25 percent and Cruz and Rubio at 21 percent.
Again, this is breaking news. This poll is going to be officially released tomorrow, again, the first new national poll on the Republican side since Ted Cruz won Iowa. We got this exclusive first look at these numbers tonight.
Basically what this poll is telling us, if this is an accurate snapshot of the race right now, what this is telling us is that Donald Trump is still in the lead but that momentum is going the wrong direction. That trajectory is downward. He`s dropping like a stone. A nine-point drop in a month is a big drop.
On the other side of the coin, Marco Rubio is the one rocketing up the fastest. Marco Rubio has risen eight points in this poll since the last time it was taken last month. Marco Rubio up eight points from December. Ted Cruz who just won Iowa, he`s up three points from December.
So, this tells us that we`ve got on the Republican side a much tighter race for the Republican nomination than we have seen in a very long time. This is the smallest national lead that Donald Trump has had in any national Republican poll since early November. And what this means, if this polling is born out, if this is not some outlier, if this is how the race looks now, this shows that Iowa matters, Iowa has really changed the race.
And believe it or don`t, this year the way it`s changed the race, the way it matters is that Iowa turned out to be terrible for the guy who came in second and turned out to be great for the guy who came in third. Go figure.
But Iowa has shifted the race. And that has now led, perhaps inevitably, to the front-runner in decline, Donald Trump, freaking out about Iowa and claiming now that the whole Iowa contest was ruined by a terrible fraud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are dishonest people, these politicians. These are worst than real estate people in New York. I`m telling you.
No, no, these are truly dishonest people.
Then he said, Ben Carson has quit the race -- the day of the election. Ben Carson -- during the caucus. Ben Carson has quit the race.
And Ben didn`t quit the race.
In other words, Ben Carson quit and let me have your votes. What kind of crap is this? What kind of people do we have running for office?
No, it`s honestly really, really dishonest and I think I know why. You know why? Because he was born in Canada.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Like Canada explains lying. I have some relatives in Canada who would like to talk with you about that. They`re very, very nice people.
After that, Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning and just let it all out. He said on Twitter today, quote, "Ted Cruz did not win Iowa. He stole it. That`s why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad."
He also said, quote, "During primetime of the Iowa caucus, Cruz put out a release that Ben Carson was quitting the race and to caucus for Cruz." Quote, "Based on the fraud committed by senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa caucus, either a new election should take place or the Cruz results should be nullified.
After that, all that today he went on "Boston Herald" radio and flat-out accused Ted Cruz of fraud.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: One of the most disgusting things I`ve ever seen. He said he was quitting the race and to vote for him.
HOST: It`s absolutely unthinkable that he would do it, but it`s presidential politics. Want to see if you`re going to consider filing --
TRUMP: It`s a total voter fraud when you think of it and he picked up a lot of those votes and that`s why the polls were so wrong.
What he did is unthinkable. He said the man has just left the race and he said it during the caucus.
TRUMP: So -- and then when the clarification, when a statement was put out by Ben Carson saying it`s untrue, they got the statement and they didn`t put it out.
HOST: You I`m sure have a bevy of very fabulous lawyers wondering if you`re thinking about filing a lawsuit against him for this.
TRUMP: Well, you know, the problem with politics, it`s so dishonest. I mean, one of the problem we have is we have all these dishonest politicians. Politics is so dishonest.
Did ever hear anything like that? A man has just left the race, essentially they said he`s quitting the race, vote for me.
HOST: Knowing that --
TRUMP: And many people did that. And then he put out a clarification not even clarification, he put out a statement that it wasn`t true. Meaning Ben Carson, who`s a very good guy. He put out a statement that it wasn`t true. Cruz got the statement and they never released it.
HOST: Mr. Trump, you talked --
TRUMP: Then they apologized -- they apologized after the caucus was over, the vote was over. They apologized.
Well, how does that help? He`s the nasty guy. He`s got no endorsements from the people that work for him, United States senators.
Think of it, out of all these senators, not one has endorsed them. He works with them. He`s a nasty guy. Nobody likes him. I thought this was a step too far.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: What Donald Trump is so upset about is this e-mail that was sent by the Ted Cruz campaign while the Iowa caucuses were getting under way on Monday night. You see at the top, from the Ted Cruz campaign officially. You see at the top there in the all caps. It says, "Press reporting, Carson to take break after Iowa." Says, "Dr. Carson will be making a big announcement this week."
This is the Ted Cruz campaign the night of the Iowa caucuses basically telling everybody in Iowa that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race. Quote, "Please inform any Carson caucusgoers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted Cruz instead." That e-mail from the Ted Cruz campaign on Iowa caucus night was followed up by this from Ted Cruz`s most high-profile surrogate and endorser in the whole state of Iowa, conservative Republican Congressman Steve King. You can see from the time stamp here, he sent this out after 5:00 on Monday night, so night of the Iowa caucuses as people were going out to caucus. He sent this out, "Ben Carson looks like he`s out. Iowans need to know before they vote. Most will go to Cruz I hope."
This one also from Steve King, even more explicit. He`s talking about Ben Carson here. He`s retweeting somebody else`s tweet about Ben Carson. He says, "Skipping in New Hampshire and South Carolina is the equivalent of suspending. Too bad this information won`t get to all caucusgoers."
This really is the Ted Cruz campaign spreading a lie that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race. And it turns out that news did get to Iowa caucusgoers that night. It wasn`t true, but apparently Republicans all over Iowa really did hear it thanks, to the Cruz campaign spreading that word.
I mean, one of the more perplexing thing was this strange story about Candy Carson, Dr. Ben Carson`s wife. We heard she made up to the caucus site to make the case that people should caucus for her husband, and instead of being able to make her standard pitch she had to spend her allotted time to convince everybody in the room at that caucus that Ben Carson was still in the race, that he doesn`t dropping out because they`d been told he was dropping out.
Well, today, Ben Carson convened reporters at the National Press Club to go off on Ted Cruz about this. But, of course, he did so in his own quiet Ben Carson way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s obvious there were people in his organization not only knew about it but who carried it out, who executed it. So, you know, we have to look at the obvious things that are going on.
REPORTER: Dr. Carson, do you think it obviously affected the result, your result in Iowa? What you`re describing?
CARSON: I think it did, yes. I was getting a lot of intelligence from a lot of different places saying that I was going to do extraordinarily well, and I do think it affected that.
There was one instance where my wife went to a caucus and my representative had already spoken, but the Cruz representative had spoken and told people that I was, in fact, not going to be continuing. And the people wanted to actually hear from my wife. So, she was an unscheduled speaker and she obviously disabused them of that notion and they were extraordinarily happy, I must say, gave her a standing ovation, and I won that precinct.
Who`s to say what the outcome -- I don`t think we can say what the outcome is, but we can say whether or not we take something like this and just sweep it under the rug and say, it`s just the way it is, or are there consequences?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Dr. Ben Carson today speaking at the National Press Club.
The Ted Cruz campaign does admit that it spread this rumor, this false rumor that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race. That they spread this rumor ahead of the Iowa caucuses. They also admit that they used it as a way to try to get Ben Carson supporters to switch their support to Ted Cruz instead. They acknowledge they did that.
Senator Cruz has actually apologized for it especially because when Ben Carson and his campaign heard about this rumor that Ted Cruz was spreading, and they rebutted it directly, the Ted Cruz campaign really didn`t clear the matter up with their supporters, they didn`t follow up these announcements they made, these e-mails and tweets they made, they didn`t follow them once they got the clarification, in fact that Ben Carson was staying in the race.
So, it was a dirty trick. It was definitely a dirty trick. Not an unprecedented dirty trick but it was a dirty trick.
Donald Trump who came in second to Ted Cruz in Iowa, he`s not just complaining about this dirty trick now, he`s now suggesting he may sue, he may bring some sort of lawsuit to attempt to nullify or overturn the Iowa Republican caucuses because of what Ted Cruz did. That may be the way Donald Trump is used to settling disputes like this when he feels like he has been wronged, but this is not a zoning board, not arguing with the Atlantic City utility district over the width of your sidewalk out your casino, right?
This is -- this is politics. And however dirty Iowa is, whatever lawsuits are filed over dirty tricks in Iowa this year, we are already seeing that Iowa as a political event has consequences.
Last night we saw that in very stark terms when we got to remove Mike Huckabee`s portrait from our roster of Republican presidential candidates as of last night. After Iowa, good-bye, Mike Huckabee. Poof.
Today, it was slightly more surprising news when we learned that we would also to poof Rand Paul. It`s interesting Rand Paul quit today because Rand Paul is not actually doing terribly in the grand scheme of things, at least he wasn`t before he quit today. He`s not doing well, but he wasn`t actively on fire like Mike Huckabee was.
For example, in this new PPP poll that we just got tonight, this exclusive poll that we got, first national poll taken since the Iowa caucuses, Rand Paul comes in in that poll at 5 percent. Not good. But it ties him for fifth place with John Kasich and Jeb Bush. Puts him well ahead of Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina and they`re not quitting. But Rand Paul is quitting.
One other reason it`s surprising that Rand Paul is quitting is that he didn`t do that badly specifically in Iowa. Rand Paul got about 4.5 percent of the vote in Iowa. That was good enough for a solo fifth-place finish. His campaign had said ahead of Iowa that a top-five finish is all they were aiming for in Iowa.
One senior adviser to the Rand Paul campaign said, quote, "the going end goal was if we got a top five in Iowa, we would go on." Well, Rand Paul did get a top five in Iowa. He placed fifth. Today he decided to quit, anyway. It`s a little weird.
Especially because the next is in New Hampshire, if there`s anywhere in the country he should spark some interest it`s here in Live Free or Die New Hampshire where there is a big libertarian subculture not just at jam band concerts but also in state Republican Party politics.
If you are the son of Ron Paul, New Hampshire ought to be a state that you are aiming at, that you`re excited about, that you`re hoping to do your best in. It shouldn`t be a state you would so dread competing in it that you`d quit less than a week before the primary. But Rand Paul has now quit.
And, I mean, you can see how they justify it. He hasn`t polled in double digits in the national poll since May. He didn`t appear to be on track to make it into the next Republican debate this weekend. He`s the only Republican presidential contender this year who has his own re-election bid at home for the Senate to contend with alongside the presidential race.
There`s also just sort of the secret sauce of Rand Paul`s failure to thrive this year, which is that he appeared to actually actively in a day-by-day way hate campaigning for president. Republicans like to talk about being a happy warrior, right, or campaigning for president with joy in your heart. They talk about these sort of things.
We noted back in August that that was not the way Rand Paul seemed. We noted back in August that the tenor of communication that Rand Paul`s campaign was sending out to his own supporters, taken in part by a snapshot of the subject lines of his campaign`s e-mails.
Look at the subject lines. "I`m afraid it has come to this." "This is a tough e-mail to write." "This is horrible." "This could get ugly." "Am I on my own?" "Please help." "Has it all been decided? " "Is this all there is?"
That was the tone from the Rand Paul campaign from the beginning, should have been sort of a sign they warrant exactly enjoying themselves. There was also an indelible moment, I think this is sort of have been lost in history, but it really was the day the criminal trial started in Iowa in the bribery case from Rand Paul`s dad`s 2012 campaign in Iowa, on the day that criminal trial started in Iowa, the Rand Paul campaign decided to kind of do a stunt to attract attention to something other than dad`s bribery case, and what they decided to do was livestream an entire day on the campaign trail with Rand Paul and that gave us all a chance to see a political candidate just truly in the depths of his own human misery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The next question is how old is Rand Paul? The answer is, or the real answer, I guess, is 52, but I sometimes feel about 10 to 20 to maybe to 30 to 40 to 50 years older after a day of this.
The third question, most popular question from Google is, is Rand Paul still running for president? And I don`t know, I wouldn`t be doing this dumb (EXPLETIVE DELETED) livestreaming if I were. So, yes, I still am running for president. Get over it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Oh, the joy in his heart.
And so when it comes time to poof most candidates off the roster of Republican presidential candidates, it usually makes me a little sad for them. You know, it`s the end of a dream or at least bad news from them they`re being disappeared from the ranks of the contenders. In the case of Rand Paul, I do not feel bad. In the case of Rand Paul, I have a feeling that this feels great, that this is a really good day for him.
Rand Paul, congratulations. As of today, you are no longer running for president which I have a feeling means to you that your life is about to get a lot better because I think you`ve hated every single day of this.
So, congratulations, Rand Paul, with joy in all of our hearts, yay. Three, two, one, poof.
The other Republican candidate who gets poofed off the roster today is a man who actually won the Iowa caucuses last time around in 2012, Rick Santorum. Rick Santorum, you ready? Three, two, one, poof.
It`s particularly satisfying to say that about Rick Santorum, poof.
Rick Santorum came in first place last time in Iowa. This time, he came in 11th out of 12. Not only does Rick Santorum have no money in the bank, there are reports today that he`s somewhere in the range of about a half million dollars in debt after this very, very failed presidential run this year.
Unlike Mike Huckabee who dropped out last night and Rand Paul who dropped out this morning, Rick Santorum tonight decided to pair his announcement he`s quitting the race with an endorsement of one of his rivals.
Tonight on the FOX News show hosted by my friend, Greta Van Susteren, Rick Santorum announced he`s getting out of the race. He announced simultaneously that he wants his zillions, rounding up to the nearest zillions -- he wants his supporters to instead support Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio.
And maybe Marco Rubio will pay off some of his campaign debt in exchange for the endorsement. I don`t know.
But I`ll just point out one really important thing about this year`s Republican presidential race -- which you cannot tell unless you look up close. And that is that on paper, you would expect a guy like Rick Santorum if he was going to make an endorsement, you`d expect him to endorse a guy like Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz on paper is the same kind of candidate, same kind of Republican as Rick Santorum, deeply socially conservative, wrapped up tons of support and endorsement from hardcore conservative leaders and groups in the country. He won Iowa on the strength of that hardcore religious conservative base.
On paper, you think a guy like Rick Santorum would be throwing his support to a very similar guy, Ted Cruz. That is not what happened today. Rick Santorum endorsed Marco Rubio and not Ted Cruz.
And that brings us to the fact that there`s a lot about Ted Cruz that is not what it appears on the surface. And the most important part of that is next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, this is what the stage looks like. That`s the actual stage. It`s not fake. That`s it.
Tomorrow night at this time, this bat time, this bat channel, this is going to be the site of the first ever one-on-one debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. We are literally building the stage and building the set right now.
I mean, nothing against having Martin O`Malley along for the ride before now, but now that governor O`Malley has left the race, what happens here tomorrow night is going to be the first time Bernie Sanders and Clinton have been on -- and Hillary Clinton have been on stage together head to head, hand to hand. It will be the two of them for the first time. And it is also the last time these candidates will debate before the vote in New Hampshire.
You might remember as recently as last night, I was not sure if we were going to have this debate, but look. It`s on. The moderators are going to be Chuck Todd from "Meet the Press" and me.
And we`re going to have pre-debate coverage all day here on MSNBC. The candidates will take the stage tomorrow at 9:00 Eastern. It`s very, very exciting. I can barely contain myself.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: The common wisdom, but also the received well-learned wisdom about presidential elections in the United States is that we absolutely know how they start. At least on the Republican side. On the Republican side, always every time no one candidate wins both Iowa and then New Hampshire.
Iowa and New Hampshire, that hasn`t happened in any competitive race on the Republican side in modern history. So, the political history has taught us anything, we shouldn`t get too excited about who just won Iowa because in the short term that person is definitely not going to win New Hampshire and in the longer term, that person is probably not going to win the nomination.
Rick Santorum stunned everybody at the 2012 Iowa caucuses. Only to earn a goose egg in terms of New Hampshire delegates. Mike Huckabee finished more than nine points ahead of everybody else in the `08 Iowa caucuses but then finished a distance third in New Hampshire.
This year, is Ted Cruz like that? Maybe. We`ll see.
But here`s a really important difference between Ted Cruz on the one hand and guys like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum on the other. It is that Senator Ted Cruz has a ton of money.
Take a look. At the time he had that huge victory in 2008, Mike Huckabee`s campaign had roughly $2 million in the bank. He did have more cash on hand than, like, Duncan Hunter. Who? But other than that, look at the rest of the field. He was the most broke guy in the race. Show the rest of the field. Come on. There we go.
When he won Iowa, Governor Mike Huckabee had less cash on hand than any other candidate in the field other than Duncan Hunter. He was a full $10 million behind Rudy Giuliani at the time.
Flash forward to 2012 when Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucuses and, again, he was broke compared to the rest of the field. In total, Senator Santorum had $370,000 cash on hand at the time he won Iowa. That was a teeny tiny bit more than Jon Huntsman, but look at how he compared to the rest of the field.
Look at how he compared to guys like Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Rick Santorum was $43 million behind Mitt Romney when he won Iowa in 2012. And so, naturally, Mitt Romney went on to clobber Rick Santorum thereafter.
Huckabee and Santorum did great in Iowa then they tanked everywhere else. That`s in part because they had no money compared to the rest of the field they were running against.
Now, this year, here`s Ted Cruz. These are the latest financial figures disclosed by each of the Republican candidates and their respective super PACs. Senator Ted Cruz sitting on $50 million, that`s more than Mitt Romney had in 2012. That`s double what any of the other candidates have with the exception of Jeb Bush. That`s it.
So, yes, Senator Cruz is a really, really hard right religious conservative who just won Iowa, but he is a different kind of cat than the usual really hard right religious conservatives who just want Iowa then they peter out soon thereafter.
On the strength of money, alone, and money is not everything, just ask Jeb Bush, but on the strength of money, alone, it may be fair to expect Ted Cruz to be a more formidable challenger for the rest of the primary than other Iowa winners have been in the recent past. So, yes, common wisdom`s told us the winner of Iowa won`t win the nomination but this time around -- buyer, beware.
Joining now is Robert Costa, national political reporter for "The Washington Post."
Bob, it`s great to see you here in Manchester. Thank you for being here.
ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST: Great to be with you.
MADDOW: So, Senator Ted Cruz is sitting on a big war chest. Is that going to make a difference for his prospects in New Hampshire?
COSTA: I think this is an away game for him. Iowa was his home game. He returns to his home turf in South Carolina especially March 1st. Cruz is running a long-term campaign. He sees the Super Tuesday primaries in the Deep South as his place regardless of what happens to come back and maybe get the nomination.
MADDOW: I guess we should have seen that telegraphed today when he spent time in South Carolina today in addition to the time he spent in New Hampshire.
COSTA: And especially what we saw in the summer, Cruz spent many days around the south. That was his buffer. If something happened bad or didn`t do well early on, he was going to come back in the South.
MADDOW: And have the money to do it.
Senator Santorum is out now. He`s endorsing Marco Rubio. Senator Rand Paul is out as is Governor Mike Huckabee. They are each not endorsing.
Now that the field is starting to thin out, do you think those kinds of defections and the endorsements, whether or not they come, do you think that`s going to meaningfully effect the race for people still in it?
COSTA: I think so. I think, two things together today, the Santorum endorsement of Rubio, Ben Carson`s criticism of Cruz, there is evidence the right is not consolidating around Cruz. For personal reasons, candidates don`t like Cruz, the way he`s run his campaign. But also there`s discomfort among some conservatives about Cruz.
You`d think at this point Santorum on the hard right would be getting behind Cruz, but he`s not.
MADDOW: One of the reasons senators Rand Paul may have jumped now is because it looked like he wasn`t going to make the debate this weekend. There was also no kids table at that debate. Carly Fiorina is now appealing to be let into that debate. It looks like she and Jim Gilmore are the only remaining candidates who will be excluded from the stage.
COSTA: That would be quite a debate.
MADDOW: I would actually -- the nice thing about going to that one is they`d probably let you on the stage with them just to flush it out. But for Carly Fiorina, I mean, is this do or die for her, she needs to get into that debate?
COSTA: It`s hard to see a path for Carly Fiorina at this point. She doesn`t have a base in New Hampshire of any significance and this is a state where you would think she would bring in some independents.
She has to be on the stage. She has to get some kind of momentum. But ever since the Reagan Library, it`s been a fizzle.
MADDOW: In terms of Mr. Trump admitting he had a lousy ground game in Iowa, that might have been why he lost, what does that mean for him in this state?
COSTA: It`s critical for him to have a ground game.
I spent all day, Rachel, at Trump`s headquarters trying to get a sense of what they`re doing in this state to try to fix whatever happened in Iowa. You see Trump has a lot of people doing phone banks. There`s not as much data analytics.
Cruz is big on data. Big on money. Trump is old school get out the vote.
But there are a lot of white working class voters who live in New Hampshire and people who from around the country who want to be part of the Trump phenomena. The thing is if the Democratic race is seen as a Bernie win here, do independents start to vote in the Republican primary? That`s what all the campaigns are watching.
MADDOW: Robert Costa, reporter for "The Washington Post," good to see you.
COSTA: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thanks a lot.
All right. We are live from where the debate is going to be tomorrow night, live from the University of New Hampshire.
We`ve got much more ahead. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Really, this New Hampshire primary is now down to a choice between me and Marco Rubio and everybody knows it. Senator Rubio knows it. I know it. That`s why he`s engaged me and why I`m engaged with him, because we know it`s down to a choice between me and Senator Rubio.
I`m always hopeful. I`m hopeful the boy in the bubble will come out of the bubble. If he does, the governor of New Jersey will be waiting for him. We`re going to see if Senator Rubio can handle the heat this week. It`s going to get hot in New Hampshire.
And I think we have a date Saturday night. I`m looking forward to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: For a second straight day here in New Hampshire, Governor Chris Christie is trying his very, very best, trying his hardest putting all f his former federal prosecutor muscle behind it to try to make the boy in the bubble nickname for Marco Rubio catch on.
He`s trying to make himself half of a top-tier fight between Chris Christie and Marco Rubio to win New Hampshire. OK.
For his part, Marco Rubio does not appear to have noticed that that fight exists, but can`t blame Chris Christie for trying to gin it up. On the other hand, Iowa winner Ted Cruz appears to be very much in the fight with the guy who came in second behind him in Iowa, and who now leads him in the polls in New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is no surprise that Donald is throwing yet another temper tantrum, or if you like, yet another Trumper tantrum. It seems his reaction to everything is to throw a fit to engage in insults. And I understand that Donald finds it very hard to lose.
The American people are not interested in this circus sideshow of insults. You know, my girls are 5 and 7, and I got to tell you, Caroline and Catherine are better behaved than a presidential candidate who responds by insulting everyone every day when he loses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Behave. Behave.
Oh, Founding Fathers would be so proud of the tone of the debate by now.
We got more ahead from New Hampshire and we`ve got more ahead from not New Hampshire.
Stay with us. Lots going on tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: There was discussion today during the congressional hearings calling on the former emergency managers as well as yourself to testify during those hearings. Is that something --
GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: Yes, the first thing is I haven`t even been invited to testify, so if that comes about, then I`ll seriously look at that issue.
REPORTER: Can you reiterate, if it has to come, you will show up?
SNYDER: Well, again, I haven`t invited. That`s a question I`ll address when I am invited.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder`s absence was a point of contention on Capitol Hill today in Washington as the first congressional hearing into the Flint water crisis took place.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee led by ranking member Elijah Cummings of Maryland repeatedly asked why Chairman Jason Chaffetz hadn`t invited Governor Snyder to come tell his side of the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD), OVERSIGHT CMTE, RANKING MEMBER: The problem is that today we are missing the most critical witness of all, the governor of the state of Michigan, Rick Snyder. He is not here. Governor Snyder was a driving force behind Michigan`s emergency manager law which he signed in 2011 and invoked to take over the city of Flint from its local elected leaders.
The governor handpicked appointees to run the city. And they decided to use water from the Flint River. We asked the chairman to invite him today, but he would not. He asked the chairman to give us a date in the future for a hearing with Governor Snyder, but he would not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: In a letter to Chairman Jason Chaffetz today, Congressman Elijah Cummings and all of his fellow committee Democrats invoked a House rule that they say requires the committee to schedule another hearing and to invite the witnesses that the Democrats want to hear from. They want to hear from not only the governor, but also the three emergency managers that he appointed to run the city of Flint since they were the ones calling the shots as the lead poisoning crisis unfolded.
But for all the political and legal drama today, the thing everybody`s going to remember, the thing that I think rattled Washington today about this, was all the Flint residents and for former residents who packed the hearing. They rode buses through the night to be there. They held vigils outside.
They held one -- there was one Flint mom turned reluctant activist who gave formal testimony today at this contentious hearing. By the way, when you hear her say MDEQ here, that`s Michigan`s state environmental agency. Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEANNE WALTERS, FLINT MOM: The citizens in Flint were assured for 18 months that the water was safe. My home was being tested because of the discoloration of my water and the health issues my family was experiencing. We fought the city and the state, saying there was something wrong and we were dismissed.
I started doing independent testing with Virginia tech and 30 tests were done, tests that were performed in accordance to the LCR. My average was 2,500 parts per billion. My highest was 13,500 parts per billion. Hazardous waste is 5,000.
Regardless of this information and the fact my son had lead poisoning, the city and the MDEQ still continued to tell everyone the water was safe as the EPA sat by and watched in silence. I urge you to help restore the trust lost and protect all the citizens in the United States by never allowing this to happen again. We need this to happen now, not ten years from now. Thank you.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Thank you. Again --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s Leanne Walters, whose family was poisoned and who personally as a citizen did everything humanly possible to raise the alarm on the lead poisoning crisis in Flint and to try to protect her family.
Congress for their part, they`re still thinking about whether or not they might want to help. Water is still testing at thousands of parts per billion in Flint homes. The lead pipes in Flint are all still in the ground and there`s still no door-to-door distribution of clean water in that city. Still.
Joining now is Congressman Elijah Cummings. He`s the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee.
Congressman Cummings, really appreciate your night tonight. I know you`re a very busy man, thank you.
CUMMINGS: Rachel, I appreciate you and all the attention you`ve given to this issue.
MADDOW: Congressman, thank you. You made clear today that this was -- it was good that there was a hearing, but this is not the hearing you wanted. This is not the hearing that you and your Democratic colleagues thought needed to happen in order to get to the bottom of things here today. Do you think that today accomplished anything? Did you learn anything?
CUMMINGS: Yes, I did learn some things.
But what this hearing did do, Rachel, was lay the foundation for future hearings. As the chairman -- I think we`ve gotten the chairman in the position, and Republicans in the position to show their policies of austerity, not investing in infrastructure, and not trying to make sure the people of Flint were taken care of with regard to their water problems, shows when this is what Republican success is all about, then the country is in deep trouble.
So, we`re in a position now where the chairman has said as late as this evening that we will probably be bringing in Governor Snyder, but we also need to bring in, Rachel, the emergency managers. Darnell Early who is the one who shifted the water to the source, to the Flint River, we sent him -- we encouraged and got the Chairman Chaffetz to send a subpoena to him and his lawyer refused to take it. And then we decided that we are going to send a marshal and another subpoena to him to have him appear, so now the lawyer`s saying he will have him appear.
Keep in mind, Rachel, what they did here was you had the state government taking over a municipality then going in calling themselves, saving money and making things better by changing the source of water and they made things worse. But I am convinced that the Republicans on the Hill are embarrassed about all this. They know it`s wrong.
Congressman Kildee and Congressman Lawrence have been working with us very closely from that area and we`re going to get something done. I will not rest until these folks are made whole. In our country, we have a law of jurisprudence that says if you break it, you better fix it. And that`s what this is all about.
MADDOW: Congressman, I was very struck today, I was very -- I have to say, I was moved today to see so many people from Flint who rode buses all night long in order to get themselves to D.C. to be there, show pictures of their kids, show picture of the water in their houses.
So, that`s -- that`s very moving. That very human level. Now, Congress is considering whether or not to appropriate a bunch of money to try to help Flint.
We`re now hearing that there may be procedural issues for that in terms of the way the Republicans want to stop it. We are hearing that maybe the Democrats will have to filibuster the entire energy bill in order to try to force that through.
Do you have any faith that Congress will act to try to help Flint in the face of all those people showing up and bringing the problems to the Congress that way?
CUMMINGS: Yes, I have faith, Rachel, but it`s going to take a lot of pressure. It`s going to take an outside game and an inside game.
That`s why I complimented you because your coverage, a lot of people commented on it today -- and by the way, Rachel, I went out into the hall and met with some of the people and they were so happy that somebody was listening to them and people were crying. One lady got so upset when she heard at the way they had been duped and the fact they still had this bad water. She started crying and had to rush out of the hearing.
So, we`re not going to let them down. We`ve got a whole cadre of people, the Republicans are saying they`re going to work with us and I`m saying, yes, you know, show me, let`s make this happen. And Chairman Chaffetz has said that he`s working on getting the governor to Washington.
But, again, Rachel, I do not want to have motion, emotion, and no results. I don`t want this to be another Katrina where people look back and say, oh, poor people from Flint, and yet they are -- and our children are not made whole, that there`s no fund established for all the damages that are being done and that the pipes are not repaired. We have got to do all of those things.
The other thing, last but not least, during the hearing, I complained that we had people in Flint that were paying for water that they could not drink and could not wash in. And why were they paying for that water? While we were in the hearing, the governor made a decision to try to give back 47 percent of all the money that the people had paid in bills. I told him on TV that`s not good enough.
And so, we`ve just got to keep up the pressure. To answer your question, if we keep up the pressure, we will get this done. I`m determined that we`re going to do that.
MADDOW: Congressman Elijah Cummings, thank you -- I can hear that this story has wrapped its way around your heart the way it has around mine.
CUMMINGS: Rachel, because I know the damage that it does to children. Thank you.
MADDOW: That`s exactly right, sir. Thank you. Thank you.
We`re going to be right back from the University of New Hampshire. Go, Wildcats.
MADDOW: So this where I am right now, not fake. That`s the actual stage. Throughout the entire 2016 campaign on the Democrat side, the top two contenders have never faced off one on one. They`ve never had a one-on-one debate. The two of them are the only two people standing on the stage answering each other`s questions. That`s going to happen here, right there tomorrow night at 9:00.
MADDOW: We talked earlier in the show about how Ted Cruz is not like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, the guys who came out of Iowa with a win but with no money, no ability to compete in future states.
Ted Cruz is not like them. He has a ton of money. Bully for him, scary for anybody who doesn`t want Ted Cruz to win the nomination.
On top of all of that, though, the only other Republican candidate who has more money in the bank than Ted Cruz, that guy may have had his worst day yet on the campaign. That`s next and it`s ugly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will be a commander in chief that will have the back of the military. I won`t trash talk. I won`t be a divider in chief or agitator in chief.
I won`t be out there blowharding, talking a big game without backing it up. I think the next president needs to be quieter, but send a signal that we`re prepared to act in the national security interest of this country, to get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Please clap. And they did. Eventually they clapped.
Jeb Bush still has a ton of money, but he got 2.8 percent of the vote in Iowa. Things are not looking bright in please clap, New Hampshire.
After two straight and very full days here on the campaign trail here, things aren`t looking good. That please clap moment is getting all the play in the news today, but consider also that twice this morning in Hannover as the former Florida governor was trying to jump start his campaign, twice somebody turned the lights off on him. The first time went well, laughed it off. The second time, enough already.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: And that`s my advocacy for you. Here in New Hampshire -- someone is sitting on that damn light again.
Here in New Hampshire you all elect presidents and I hope you elect someone or nominate someone in our party at least that can win and can lead. I hope you elect me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I hope you elect me. Maybe if there`s nobody else. Just think about it. Or somebody like me.
If Governor Bush appears to have a confidence problem on the stump, part of what`s eating him may be this problem that he has with his supposed friends and supporters, a problem that is getting worse. In December, you might remember a top donor at this super PAC told Politico.com that Jeb Bush supporters, quote, "know they`re in a death spiral now. There`s no getting out of this."
Last month, other major Jeb Bush donors told reporters they were waiting for the family hall pass to be allowed to jump to another campaign after New Hampshire. One donor saying, quote, "I`m resigned to it being over frankly, it`s really disappointing."
Another donor quoting a Bush fundraiser telling him, quote, "Hey, I need you to throw away money on Jeb out of loyalty." These are his supporters.
And now, today, it`s Hank Greenburg who recently donated $10 million to Jeb Bush. He`s now bragging to Bloomberg News about who he`s going to throw his money to, next, once Jeb Bush quits.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch has also endorsed Bush. He said today that he now, quote, "leans toward Rubio." Congressman Pete Sessions also endorsed Jeb. He now says today, quote, that, quote, "the person who gets closest to me is Rubio."
Then, "The New York Times" ran this quote today from Senator Lindsey Graham who endorsed Jeb Bush last month, after he suspended his own campaign. This is from Jeb Bush today, quote, "If Rubio beats him badly in New Hampshire Jeb is toast."
Lindsey graham said this after being out on the campaign trail in New Hampshire all day stumping for Jeb Bush with Jeb Bush. He`s probably toast. With friends like these, who needs jerks who want you to lose?
I don`t know the future of the Jeb Bush campaign. Neither do you. There`s a good chance he`s still in it for the long haul, he is well-funded for it, if nothing else and besides, what else is he doing? He has no other job.
But if Jeb Bush does pack it up soon, if he`s toast as his friend and endorser Lindsey Graham says, at least he can get started on finding some new friends and maybe that for him will be something worth applauding.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Please clap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow for debate night here at the University of New Hampshire.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
END THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END