IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 2/12/2016

Guests: Judy Lalinsky

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: February 12, 2016 Guest: Judy Lalinsky

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: That is "ALL IN" for this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Good evening, Chris. Happy weekend, my friend. You deserve the time off.

HAYES: Thank you very much.

MADDOW: Appreciate it.

Thanks to you at home as well for joining us this hour. We have a big show tonight. Happy Friday.

The next contest in the Democratic race for president is in Nevada. It looks like something might be about to happen in Nevada that has not happened anywhere else in the race so far. It is potentially really big, really important news for Bernie Sanders in particular. We`ve got that story exclusively here ahead tonight.

The contest on the Republican side, the next contest in the Republican side, of course, is not in Nevada. It`s in South Carolina. A new poll out today from the "Augusta Chronicle" has Donald Trump with a giant 17-point lead in state of South Carolina. Then bunched relatively close together behind the front-runner are Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.

Hey, Jeb Bush polling in double digits. That must feel nice and weird for Jeb Bush given how he`s been doing overall in the race thus far. But the Bush family does have a special knack for winning in South Carolina. Both Jeb Bush`s father and his older brother have won the South Carolina Republican presidential primary twice.

One of those campaigns, George W. Bush`s knock down, drag out slime fest with John McCain in South Carolina in 2000, that is one of the most memorable presidential races ever.

That year, remember John McCain had pulled off a huge win in New Hampshire in the New Hampshire primary. He was favored to win in South Carolina. South Carolina has always been known as the state with an incredibly robust and politically active veterans population. John McCain is not just a veteran. He`s a legit war hero.

McCain was absolutely favored in South Carolina particularly after what he did in New Hampshire that year. But then the George W. Bush campaign came to town in South Carolina and they activated dad`s old networks in the state and decided that year they were going to take basically a whole different approach to winning over South Carolina Republican voters.

Part of what the George W. Bush campaign did that year was some stuff that actually was pretty controversial even at the time.


FRED FRANCIS, NBC NEWS REPORTER: Evangelist Bob Jones founded the school 73 years ago for whites only. Today, many say his grandson, Bob Jones III, runs it as if it were still 1927, with only one policy change. Other races are now welcomed at its campus but no interracial dating or marriage is permitted and no homosexuals.

In what many see as the epitome of religious intolerance, the school leaders have described Catholics as a member of a cult, and the pope a dangerous leader.

It was here against this backdrop that George W. Bush came in search of votes after he lost the New Hampshire primary.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I`d have gone to Bob Jones University but I told them and look them straight in the face and said, you guys better get into modern times and do away with this disgraceful policy of yours banning interracial dating and your attacks on the pope and the Catholics. It`s disgraceful what you`ve done there. That`s I would have said at Bob Jones university.


MADDOW: George W. Bush in that legendary 2000 South Carolina primary against John McCain. George W. Bush went to Bob Jones University and gave a speech there while the school still had an active policy of banning interracial dating and calling Catholics members of a cult.

And it wasn`t like they were hiding these under a bushel, right? I mean, the Bob Jones University lost the federal tax exempt status more than a decade earlier in part because they were overtly racial discriminatory. Not to mention all the stuff about the pope being the antichrist.

And with all of that George W. Bush went any way. It now seems newly important to remember that the way George W. Bush defended himself against criticism, the way he tried to protect himself from the torrent of criticism he got for going to this racist, anti-Catholic institution and saying nothing about those matters while he was there, the way he dealt with the criticism is he held up his brother Jeb and his wife as human shields against that criticism.

Watch. This clip is from "Meet the Press" at the time. This is just stunning. Watch this.


TIM RUSSERT, MEET THE PRESS: Let me show you what Mr. Jones current thinking is. This is just as disturbing.

We believe that the Lord God created races with distinctions and that races are meant to be separate from another. We basically accept that there are three races, Caucasians, Negroes and Orientals. Caucasians can`t date Orientals. Orientals can`t date Caucasians, and neither of them can date Negroes.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Well, I disagree with that. That was also said in 1983, if you notice on that --

RUSSERT: It`s still the policy.

BUSH: It`s not a good policy. And when I go to speak to voters, I don`t necessarily have to embrace the policies of the university. I don`t embrace it.

RUSSERT: You`re giving affirmation.

BUSH: I`m not giving affirmation. I`m giving affirmation, quite the contrary. I`m giving affirmation to somebody who`s going to unite our country. I said let`s march together toward a better tomorrow.

How can I go into a university like that and subscribe to those views when my little brother, the great governor of Florida, married a girl from Mexico in my own family.

MODERATOR: Why didn`t you speak against bigotry at Bob Jones?

BUSH: I was asked a question do I support the policy of no interracial dating. I said of course not. Of course not. My little brother, Jeb, the governor of Florida, married a girl named Columba from Mexico.

KATIE COURIC: Bob Jones University is opposed to interracial marriage because it breaks down the barriers God has established. When Jesus Christ returns to the earth, he will establish world unity. But until then, a divided earth seems to be his plan.

Throughout your campaign, you said I`m a uniter and not a divider. Do you condone that thinking? And if not, why go there?

BUSH: What I don`t accept -- I don`t accept that particular policy of Bob Jones University. After all, my brother, the governor of Florida, married a fabulous woman from Mexico.

I`m not anti-anything. I don`t like being accused of being a bigot. No one wants to be called a bigot. I`ve got a Catholic in my family, my brother Jeb and my sister-in-law Columba.

REPORTER: Those allegations step from a speech you gave in Bob Jones University in South Carolina. You say you don`t regret having spoken there. Do you regret not having, during the speech spoken out against their supposedly segregationist and anti-Catholic policies?

BUSH: Listen, when I went there, I got off an airplane and went in there and gave my speech.


MADDOW: Looking back on that, looking back at how huge the fire storm was over George W. Bush going to Bob Jones University at that time. Looking back at him waving Jeb and waving Jeb`s wife in the air to take fire on that basically so he wouldn`t have to, looking back on that, it`s kind of amazing that he pulled off a win that year in South Carolina, but he did.

Now, apparently, everybody`s over any concerns about Bob Jones University. And all the Republicans speak there all the time, including today, Jeb Bush himself speaking at Bob Jones University, along with Dr. Ben Carson and Senator Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. The Republican frontrunner in South Carolina, Donald Trump, did not speak at this event today. He instead sent a surrogate, which ended up being a little awkward both because the crowd didn`t like Mr. Trump and they introduced his surrogate guy using the wrong name.


ANNOUNCER: Now, please welcome to the stage, Dr. Mike Burns, surrogate for Donald Trump.

PASTOR MARK BURNS: Hello, South Carolina. Those who don`t know me, my name is Pastor Mark Burns.


MADDOW: He was introduced as Mike Burns. His name is Mark Burns. But he was there on behalf of Donald Trump, which again at Bob Jones University just didn`t really go over.


BURNS: Donald Trump is a man who has the same values as you and I do.


BURNS: Donald Trump is pro-faith.


BURNS: He`s pro-faith. He is pro-faith. He is pro-faith.


BURNS: He is pro-faith.

And let me tell you one other thing, I`m grateful you said that, that Donald Trump is profane and that`s what you`re saying. Donald Trump is profane, but guess what? Donald Trump and I don`t know about you, but I don`t trust man that doesn`t have mistakes.


MADDOW: So, it didn`t go great for the Donald Trump approach to the Bob Jones University today. It did go great for Ted Cruz who was greeted very warmly and for some reason Ted Cruz was given about 20 minutes longer to speak than all the other candidates.

Ever since the all but collapse of the Ben Carson campaign, Senator Ted Cruz has been trying to conquer the market, corner the market on voters who are religious conservatives in the Republican electorate.

And there`s a lot of those voters in Iowa. There`s some of those voters in New Hampshire, but not very many. There`s a ton in South Carolina.

And as the campaign has shifted to South Carolina, you see the candidates doing this to one degree or another but you see the Ted Cruz campaign in particularly shifting to a more overtly religious message. And sometimes that makes more sense than others.

For example, today, the former FOX News host Glenn Beck today in South Carolina, he brought himself to tears in an introduction he did for Senator Ted Cruz. He brought himself to tears while begging South Carolinians to support Ted Cruz. In so doing, he claimed both his own powers as a modern day prophet, and he asserted that God has sent Ted Cruz to run for president this year. He brought himself to tears.


GLENN BECK, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: I`m here not as somebody to endorse Ted Cruz, even though I have. I`m not here as a guy you listen to on the radio. I`m here as a citizen, as a fellow citizen, and I am begging you, please do not dismiss the peril that we are in. Do not dismiss.

Fall to your knees and pray to God to reveal to you what the hour is. Ask the Dear Lord, our Dear Lord, to show you who the man is that has the integrity, who has the connection, who will fall to his knees at the resolute desk.

I was mocked and ridiculed. I`m telling you right now, this is your last call, America. This is your last call. This is your last call, America. Stand. Stand for the man I believe was raised for this hour, Ted Cruz.


MADDOW: And then Ted Cruz walked out.

Ted Cruz, more than any other candidate, still in the race and maybe more than anybody else who tried to run this year. Ted Cruz is running as a religious conservative specifically. He`s running an overtly religious campaign for president.

And anybody can choose to do that. But it has led this year to a few little adventures in the Ted Cruz campaign with the issue of religious tolerance or religious intolerance depending on your world view. You might remember a few months ago when Senator Cruz participated in an Iowa event with a pastor who used that same event to argue anyone found to be a homosexual in this country should be executed for that sin.

This was not just like something the pastor had been known to say in the past in other venues. That`s what he said at the event where he interviewed Ted Cruz.


PASTOR: Yes, Leviticus 20:13 calls for the death penalty for homosexuals. Yes, Romans, Chapter 1, Verse 32, Apostle Paul does say that homosexuals are worthy of death. His words and not mine! And I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And I am not ashamed of the truth of the word of God, and I am willing to go to jail for standing on the truth of the word of God.

And I know I`ve taken the counsel. Many have told me this weekend, you be careful. You choose your words carefully. We have presidentials coming down to this conference this weekend. I understand that.

But I am not ashamed of the truth of the word of God. And I`m willing to go to jail for it.


MADDOW: And then he welcomed Ted Cruz on to the stage.

We asked Senator Ted Cruz several times after that event whether he thought it was appropriate to do an event with that pastor, to do an event with someone who at that same event was calling for the mass execution of gay people in America. The Ted Cruz campaign never distanced themselves from that pastor. They never apologized for attending.

They even later bragged to the conservative media about how they avoided answering our questions about that kill the gays event, and never said anything bad about the pastor.

Last month, somewhat similar controversy came up again when Ted Cruz started bragging about and campaigning on the endorsement that he got from this nice fellow.


MIKE BICKLE: Let me tell you, these 20, less than 20 million Jews worldwide, the Lord says, "I`m going to give all 20 million of them the chance to respond to the fisherman. I give them grace. And I give them grace." He says, "And if they don`t respond to grace, I`m going to raise up the hunters". And the most famous hunter in recent history is man named Adolf Hitler.


MADDOW: So, the reason that Adolf Hitler sent six million Jewish people is because God sent him to do that. He`s doing the Lord`s work.

That pastor endorsed Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz, on his website, put out a statement welcoming that endorsement, praising the pastor. That understandably freaked out some Jewish groups in the country, including the Anti-Defamation League and the National Jewish Democratic Council.

They at least got a response from the Ted Cruz campaign about Cruz welcoming and praising and claiming credit for this endorsement that he got from the God sent Hitler pastor. But, again, Ted Cruz is not backing down. Not distancing himself from the guy. Sticking with the endorsement and sticking with Hitler was God`s Jew hunter message.

The response from Senator Cruz`s campaign said, in part, quote, "no one has a better record than Senator Cruz when it comes to standing with Israel."

So, Ted Cruz, because his campaign is built this way, he`s been kind of pushing it on this issue in terms of how much outrage his campaign can generate without them finally having to change course at some point. And after having been through all that, the Ted Cruz campaign has a new test, and it`s because of this. This is anti-Semitic graphic about gun control.

As you can see, it`s this close-up unflattering head shots of 12 different Jewish-Americans. Some of them are public officials, some of them are people who are active in the gun reform movement and commented on the issue. They are labeled within Israeli flag to mark them as Jews.

And just in case that`s too subtle, some of them have little captions on them like here`s the late Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. Underneath his name and then the Israel flag, it says hopefully, gave Russian Jew immigrant your tax money.

Or in upper left hand corner, that is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who may himself run for president this year, underneath the Israeli flag over his face, he oddly is captioned as 9/11 Israeli agent. Not exactly sure what that means.

But up in the upper left hand corner of his -- or at the top of his little inset there, you see by his name. That sort of makes it clear what`s going on. They call him Jew York City mayor, Mikey Bloomberg. Jew York City, really?

So, this graphic, this anti-Semitic graphic, who`s really behind gun control? This was posted online by a board member of the NRA, a board member whose name is Ted Nugent. And Mr. Nugent likes being as offensive as possible, right? He`s the one who called President Obama a sub-human mongrel.

He also recently said that both Hillary Clinton and President Obama should be hanged. Should be killed by hanging. Something having to do with Benghazi.

Mr. Nugent is a professional provocateur and everybody expects that from Mr. Nugent. But the anti-Semitic, Jew York City, Israeli flags things seemed to have rubbed a lot of Mr. Nugent`s supporters in the gun rights movement the wrong way.

Online, this week, in defending himself against criticism, he`s not made things easier for himself. He`s somewhat inexplicably called himself a war hero. Look, Ted Nugent, "I am a war hero."

As far as anybody knows, Ted Nugent never served in any war. Look, he says "I`m war hero. Fallujah `04."

Mr. Nugent did not fight in the Iraq war. And, by the way, most war heroes don`t call themselves war heroes.

But he`s also posted this. Jews for control are Nazis in disguise. Plummet on, punks. Meanwhile, I adjust my yamika at my barmitzva playing my kosher guitar. Eat me.

Now, so far, apparently, the NRA is fine with this. They gave a statement to "The Washington Post" that`s fairly anodyne saying, no individual NRA board member speaks for the NRA.

OK. So, the NRA apparently has no problem with Ted Nugent and his anti- Semitic Jews are coming for your guns thing.

But what about the presidential race?


LARS LARSON: Hey, tell me this: do you have a presidential favorite yet?

TED NUGENT: You know, yes, I do.

LARSON: You going to say?

NUGENT: Ted Cruz. I think he would make a wonderful president.


MADDOW: Nobody is responsible for their own endorsers. Nobody can be held accountable for the thoughts and actions of people who like them. You can`t control who likes you.

If you`re Senator Cruz, and you put this up on your website, proudly embracing that endorsement from Ted Nugent, showing off, campaigning, even tonight, on the fact that you are the choice for president of Ted Nugent, then you do kind of own this.

Just like you own the guy who said that God sent Hitler to kill all the Jews because you campaigned on his endorsement too.

Just like you own it when the guy says every gay person in America should be executed, because you attended his event. You shared stage with him. You did not have to do that.

There`s always some level of controversy around issues like this, particularly around the time of the South Carolina primary. But honestly, this year, Ted Cruz is shooting the moon on this stuff. I don`t know how long it`s going to be before the beltway actually notices this pattern and realizes it might be a real issue for him.

He won`t answer our questions about it. Maybe somebody else can get him too. We`ll see.

We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: Into every beautiful relationship, a little rain must fall. The presidential candidate with whom I have the most affectionate relationship, and I have his phone number and he has mine. He has now decided to break my heart.

That story, maybe with a little violin music, I don`t know, that story is next.



MADDOW: We`ve been waiting a long time. Let`s now do it, let`s poof Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie off our list of candidates. Ready? Carly Fiorina, three, two, one, poof. And Chris Christie, three, two, one, poof.

And this remains the Republican slate of candidates for this party`s presidential nomination this year. The guy on the bottom, that`s my boyfriend, Jim Gilmore. He just got ten times as many votes in New Hampshire as he got in Iowa. I`m just saying.


MADDOW: On Wednesday night`s show, it seemed like things were looking up for my boyfriend Jim Gilmore. After getting 12 votes in Iowa and 133 votes in New Hampshire, I think we all thought that Gil-mentum had finally arrived. Unfortunately for me and him, that was wrong.

As of this afternoon, Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia, the only veteran in the Republican race, he has officially suspended his presidential campaign. And so, it is with real sadness that I do this.

Jim Gilmore, it has been a pleasure reporting your campaign. You seemed like a thoroughly decent and earnest man. I wish you all the best in whatever you do next.

But now, three, two, one, poof.

Just six Republican candidates left.

We`ll be right back.



SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Overwhelmingly, the American people want to raise the minimum wage. Congress does not. Then, the job is to rally the American people to tell Congress to do what the American people want, pay equity for women, overwhelmingly. The question is there`s a huge gap between Congress and the American people. What presidential leadership is about is closing that gap.

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And you don`t think President Obama has successfully closed that gap?

SANDERS: No, I don`t. I mean, I think he`s made the effort, but I think what we need, when I talk about a political revolution is bringing millions and millions of people into the political process in way that does not exist right now. It`s tough, but I think you`re seeing in this campaign the kind of turnouts that we`re seeing, the kind of voter turn out that took place yesterday in New Hampshire. The good turn out we had in Iowa.


MADDOW: That basic theory of the case my have flaw. It`s possible it might work some time soon. But so far at least, this theory which drives the Senator Bernie Sanders campaign, the most basic argument for him on how he can win and accomplish his agenda if he was elected president, so far, it`s not bearing out.


SANDERS: The reason I think I can help the entire Democratic Party at the head of the ticket is we have got to increase voter turnout. I think I can do that. I think that`s what our campaign is about.

Here is why I think I will be the strongest candidate, if nominated the strongest candidate. Democrats when there is large voter turnout.

Our campaign is the campaign that is generating excitement and energy that will result in a high voter turnout.

Democrats win elections when large numbers of people come out and vote. That`s what Obama did in 2008.


MADDOW: That is what Obama did in 2008. And Senator Sanders has nothing but praise for President Obama over the way he inspired massive Democratic voter turnout in 2008.

Beyond just following that as model though, Senator Sanders is suggesting even more millions of Americans need to be drawn in off the sidelines and inspired to participate in the Democratic process, so not only will a Democrat win again but he or she will have a massive mandate from the voters and such massive support from the American people for his or her agenda, that it will create a de facto political revolution, as he puts it -- a political revolution that will make possible the enactment of things like free college education for all and single-payer healthcare and the other proposals around which Senator Sanders is building his campaign. That`s the theory of the case.

Senator Sanders will not only win, he will create a new political climate essentially with a huge numbers of people he will bring into the political process. That`s the theory of the case.

Here`s the reality so far: in 2008, in the Iowa caucuses there was a huge record turnout. A record number of Democrats turned out to vote in 2008: 240,000 Democrats in Iowa. This year in Iowa, it was 172,000.

In New Hampshire in 2008, again, huge numbers. A record set on a Democratic side: 288,000 people turned out on the Democratic side in New Hampshire. That year 2008, it was 288,000. This year, it was 247,000.

And these numbers for Democrat turnout this year, they are not bad numbers. They`re not record breaking numbers. They are distinctly lower than the last competitive Democratic contest in 2008.

That is a particularly cold splash of water when you consider that the Republicans in both Iowa and New Hampshire this year, they have had record turnout while the Democrats have not.

So, that`s not good for Democrats broadly looking ahead to the general election. That`s not good particularly for Senator Sanders who has not just been claiming that he can generate record voter turnout, he`s put the claim at the very center of why and how he`s running for president. Why he can win and how he would govern if he were elected.

If it`s not true, if the record turnout isn`t coming, then the Sanders campaign is going to need a whole new theory of the case, which is a bummer if you`re a Bernie Sanders supporter.

But here`s your lifeline, because the next race is in Nevada. Nevada has had this early caucus for three presidential elections now. It`s fairly recent contest. The first one they did was in `08. The second was in 2012. This is the third one.

Most of the reason a state likes to go early in the election years is because they want their state to get national attention. For the politicians and the political parties in the state, the really great thing about having an early contest with tons of national attention to it is that hopefully in a good year, being an early state primary or early state caucus, that`s going to cause a lot of people in your state to get excited and to register to vote because they want to participate in this very exciting election that will be so consequential for the presidential contest.

And that has worked. That has happened every year that Nevada has had its caucuses.

Here`s what happened in first one before the `08 Nevada caucuses, which was the first year that Nevada was an early state. They did get a huge big jump in new voter registration, particularly from Democrats. They got a big spike also in new voter registration for Republicans. They even got a big spike in new voter registrations for people who didn`t sign up with either party but still registered. That was `08.

Then, for the 2012 race, these numbers on the right. Numbers looked different in 2012. All right. Not as great for the Democrats. It wasn`t very exciting. It was just President Obama running for re-election.

It was a little better than in `08 for the Republicans, though. Lots of new nonpartisan independent registrations in 2012. So, that`s the last two times, `08 and 2012.

Now, check this out. Check out the new voter registration numbers in Nevada, ahead of this year`s Nevada caucuses, ready?

Boing. Where did all those people come from. Look at that. Republicans like doubled their voter registration numbers from their last really good year in 2012.

The Democrats did too. I mean, the Democrats thought they had this massive year in 2008. Look at how high their numbers are this year.

And the non-partisan numbers, those are off the charts too. I have no idea what explains this, what caused it. But that is a huge number of new voter registrations in Nevada and the biggest number of new voter registrations in Nevada is for Democratic voters.

So, so far in Iowa and New Hampshire the Democratic voters turn out numbers have been fine, they`ve been good. They have not been great. That is a particular bummer for the Bernie Sanders campaign because of the way the Bernie Sanders campaign has explained how they will win. That`s been the case so far.

But looking ahead to Nevada, that might be about to change. And that could be huge, if you know what I mean.


MADDOW: So, we`re heading into Iowa and New Hampshire. The closer we got to those contests, there were more and more polls every day, right?

Heading into the Democratic caucuses in Nevada, though, that`s not going to happen. The consensus view is that there`s basically not going to be any significant amount of polling in Nevada ahead of the Democratic caucuses there. Established polling firms think they can`t get a statistically sound sample of the electorate in Nevada that in any meaningful way will predict who will turn out and go to the caucuses.

Nevada has only been doing the caucuses for three presidential elections now and polling firms are not eager to get in there and screw up. So, there just aren`t going to be a lot of polls, or maybe any polls -- which is why everybody got very excited today when word broke that there was a new poll in the Democratic presidential race in Nevada. And there was the result, those were headline-worthy as well. Bernie Sanders tied with Hillary Clinton in Nevada at 45 percent. Wow. Tied. That`s big news, maybe.

Here are some things you should probably know about this poll that nobody was expecting. The outfit that commissioned this poll is a very, very conservative website called "The Washington Free Beacon". If you go to their online store for a little flavor here, you can buy, for example, "Washington Free Beacon" tactical vests. You can also buy a walker that says "I stole this from Hillary". That`s nice. You can buy t-shirts that have pictures of George W. Bush on them that say, quote, "greatest living president, fantastic painter."

That`s who paid for the poll. And the group who did the poll, it`s a group called Target Point, they are a Republican company. This is their client page on their website. Bush-Cheney, RNC, the Republican Governors Association, Mitt Romney. Also, Target Point has no real track record on public polling.

One thing you look to see if a new poll to see if it`s legit, one thing you look at is their methodology. You check look it their methodology and their track record has been born out over the years.

For Target Point, there`s no numbers over the years. There`s no public polling trail to follow. There`s just this poll. Just the one.

Isn`t it kind of weird, if you think about it, that it`s only a Democratic poll? It`s a conservative website hiring a Republican company to poll the Democratic race, just the Democratic, not the Republican race that will happen many the same state three days later. Weird, right?

So, we called the polling company to ask them when we should expect their Nevada polling results from the Republican field, because surely they must have done that, too. They told us we could expect those results the 15 of nebruary. They said they won`t release the results because they didn`t conduct any Republican polling.

And they said they didn`t conduct any Republican polling because their client, "The Washington Free Beacon" with the website with the selling the tactical vests and the Hillary Clinton walkers, and the W. tees, "The Free Beacon", they told us, did not request a Republican poll. They didn`t want it. They only wanted Democratic numbers, which is interesting.

So, why on earth would a far right conservative website have a Republican firm poll Nevada`s Democrats in a race that`s seen as impossible to poll? They couldn`t possibly be trying to influence that race, could they? Or trying to influence perceptions of that race? I don`t.

But that`s what I`m going to ask Nevada`s best political reporter, next.



HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This was an extraordinary day with an absolutely wonderful outcome. I`m so grateful to the people of Nevada who participated and made sure their voices were heard.

REPORTER: Despite the fact, if you look at the percentage point, they chose Hillary Clinton with a big win, the Obama campaign said that actually, if you do the math, he ended up with more delegates there. Now, if you look at it that way, that means there was no real knockout here.


MADDOW: Hillary Clinton in 2008 celebrating on caucus day in Nevada only to run up against the boring but harsh reality of the delegate math that day.

Joining us now is the dean of the Nevada political press pool, a man who`s been covering Nevada politics for more than a quarter century, Jon Ralston. He`s the host of "Ralston Live", which airs statewide on PBS and he recently signed on as an MSNBC political analyst.

And I will tell you, Jon, when we got an e-mail from our boss telling us that in our newsroom at THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW, an audible cheer went up throughout my staff and everyone was so excited to see it. So, we`re super glad you`re with us for this season, Jon.

JON RALSTON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I really appreciate that, Rachel. Thank you.

MADDOW: Part of the reason we`re super happy to have you is because you seem to understand things about Nevada that are otherwise completely confounding. One of them, that doesn`t make sense, is that you apparently can`t poll in Nevada.

Why do we expect no significant amount of polling before these Democratic caucuses?

RALSTON: Well, I think one of the reason, maybe the main reason, what you alluded to when you introduced the segment is we haven`t been doing this that long, right? There`s no real sense of the caucus electorate the way there is in Iowa where you have Ann Selzer who`ve been doing this for years and really knows who`s going to go in caucus. And New Hampshire is a primary.

We haven`t been doing it that long. You look at the turnout, Rachel, it`s very difficult to poll when you know the turnout is going to be low. It`s been really incredibly low on the Republican side. It was only 8 percent or so last time.

Even though they had a record turnout in that caucus you just referred to where Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama but lost in the delegates, it was a record turnout for a caucus here, about 120,000 people. That`s still only about 27 percent in the turnout. So, it`s difficult to know that.

Let`s add the other wild card. Same day registration makes it very, very difficult. It was quarter of the turnout in 2008. And so, nobody really knows who those voters are going to be because they`re not voters yet.

MADDOW: Jon, one of the things that you have noted in Nevada leading into the caucuses this year is there seems to be a big number of new voter registrations in the state, particularly, among Democrats but actually a lot among undeclared voters and among Republican voters. What do those new voter registration numbers mean to you?

RALSTON: You know, it`s very interesting. Let`s get to the last thing that you said first. The rise in independence and non-partisan in this state has been going on for some time now. It`s now about a fifth of the electorate.

If you add in some of the others, you really see that the major parties really only have about three quarters or so of the electorate. What`s interesting about those numbers to me and you outlined them correctly, that Democrats did well, but so did the Republicans.

The Democratic machine, the Harry Reid machine in this state has been formidable for some time. What`s been going on now and you and I have talked about this before, is the state Republican Party here is an absolute disaster. They wouldn`t know how to register voters if you gave them the forms and told them where to go. But there`s been outside organizations including one called Engage Nevada that was started by a former Republican national -- he`s a current Republican National Committee political director Chris Caro, former executive director here.

Now, they are registered as non-partisan organization, Rachel, but they`ve been registering a lot of Republican voters and they managed to keep pace with the Democrats. So, the margin in this state is very worrisome for the Democrats, which is why they very are happy to have this same day registration. They registered 30,000 voters in 2008. We`ll see how well they do.

The Republicans made a big mistake in my opinion, from their point of view. They do not have same day registration for their caucus.

MADDOW: Jon, I remember covering the Sharron Angle, Harry Reid Senate race with you. That was another one of those races where the Republican Party was such a mess. They had external groups come in and say we don`t need a party. We`ll do the organizing as a third party group. That was kind of the theory behind the Sharron Angle run and it was a disaster.

A year when every other Republican won, Harry Reid took care of her. Is there any risk of that same dynamic happening with this engaged Nevada taking over for where the Republican Party ought to be working?

RALSTON: Well, the difference is Sharron Angle is a once in a lifetime gift to the Democrats. You`re never going to see a candidate that bad.

By the way, not to get you excited, she`s talking about running for the U.S. Senate again this cycle. So, she may be back.

But the anointed candidate on the Republican side is no Sharron Angle. His name is Joe Hick. He`s a congressman from the third district and he`s running against a former attorney general who would be the first Latina ever elected to the U.S. Senate. That race is really going to be a barn burner.

I do think the Republicans, not the party, but the Republicans themselves, Brian Sandoval, the governor`s machine and especially this outside group engage Nevada, have showed they can do pretty well in voter registration. Something they didn`t do that well in 2010 when Angle lost to Reid.

MADDOW: Jon Ralston, host of "Ralston Live", which aired statewide on PBS, now an MSNBC political analyst -- thank the gods -- Jon, congratulations on that. We`re super happy to have you. And have a good weekend. Thanks, my friend.

RALSTON: Thanks so much, Rachel.

MADDOW: This is one of those days where today`s news makes it possible to predict tomorrow`s news and possibly even tomorrow`s scandals. That`s next. Stay with us.


MADDOW: Today, the state of Michigan released over 21,000 pages of e-mails related to the Flint water crisis. That`s what that 21,000 pages looks like. Right now, tons of reporters in Michigan and elsewhere, including in this building, are going through the documents. So if there`s anything to expect for the weekend it`s news stories about the Flint water crisis this weekend.

The other thing to look ahead to on the Flint story is that Governor Rick Snyder has finally agreed to testify in Congress. We still don`t have details on when that`s going to be, but the agreement has apparently been made. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will testify in Washington on Flint. So, for those reasons and more there`s going to be a lot of Flint news in coming days.

Watch this space.


MADDOW: Behold it`s coming, faster than you think.

Yay! Friday Night News Dump time.

Nick Tuths, who is tonight`s lucky player?

NICK TUTHS, TRMS PRODUCER: Tonight`s player is Judy Lalinsky from Green Lane, Pennsylvania. She`s a music teacher for a parent child program. She`s a singer/songwriter, got two kids, three grandkids.

Rachel, meet Judy.

MADDOW: Judy Lalinsky, it`s very nice to meet you.

JUDY LALINSKY, GREEN LANE, PA: Hi, Rachel. It`s great to meet you.

MADDOW: You are a singer, songwriter and a music teacher and a parent and a grandparent.

LALINSKY: And a wife and a runner. I do a lot of things.

MADDOW: How do you have time to be doing this right now?

LALINSKY: It`s that important to me, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right.

LALINSKY: I love you.

MADDOW: I love you back. I love you already.

Well, I`m sure you know how this works. You`re going do get three questions about this week`s news and if you get at least two of them right, you will win this piece of junk.

Nick, please show it off.

TUTHS: This is the Rachel Maddow drink mixer.

MADDOW: Teeny, teeny, tiny cocktail shaker.

For a bonus prize for you we have something we brought back from our time on the road in New Hampshire this week. This is better than a usual gift. Nick, what is this special swag tonight?


LALINSKY: Fabulous.

MADDOW: It is the old school New Hampshire license plate with the old man in the mountain and old -- you go it. So I know. Extra, extra excitement there. Incentive really.

We also need to bring in Steve Benen from Maddow Blog. Steve will determine whether or not you got the right answer.

Steve, meet Judy. Judy, meet Steve.

STEVE BENEN, MADDOW BLOG: Good evening to you both.

MADDOW: Good evening.

LALINSKY: Hi, Steve.

MADDOW: All right. Question one. Are you ready?


MADDOW: Question one, this is from Monday`s show. We reported on a great New Hampshire primary tradition involving a newspaper that`s called the "Conway Daily Sun".

When presidential candidates are seeking the endorsement of the "Conway Daily Sun", what is the weird thing they all traditionally do at the newspaper`s office? Is it, A, they climb up on the roof of the newspaper office and scream "Live Free or Die" at the top of their lungs? B, do they do a round of shots with the newspaper`s publisher? C, do they took a sharpie and write their name on the refrigerator in the staff break room. Or D, do they pose for pictures with the "Conway Daily Sun`s" office dog who was named Henry?

LALINSKY: OK, A sounds great, but I think I`m going go with C.

MADDOW: C, they take a sharpie and write their name on a fridge in the break room.


BENEN: Let`s check Monday`s show.


MADDOW: Interesting New Hampshire tradition. Candidates sign the fridge in the staff break room at the local paper.


BENEN: Yes, the correct answer is C and Judy is one for one.

MADDOW: Spectacular. Let`s go to question two. Wednesday`s show, we reported that one former 2016 presidential candidate who had already quit the race might now be getting back into the race. That`s what we reported on Wednesday. Then, on Thursday, it turned out his big announcement was a resounding never mind.

Which candidate decided this week to not reenter the presidential race after all? Was it A, Michael Bloomberg, B, Bobby Jindal, C, Scott Walker, or D, Jim Webb?

LALINSKY: Ooh, man. I think it`s D.

MADDOW: Steve?

BENEN: Let`s check Wednesday`s show.


FORMER SEN. JIM WEBB (D), VIRGINIA: We are not able to put together the kind of funding that would allow us to get on the ballots in this period of time and run a campaign that could look at the presidency. So, we`re not going to do that.


BENEN: Yes, the correct answer is Jim Webb and Judy is it two for two.

MADDOW: All right, Judy, I can tell you a ringer, but here`s the last question. This is slightly harder than the other two.

This is last night`s show. We reported that Marco Rubio is spinning his fifth place finish in New Hampshire in a very optimistic way.

How did Marco Rubio describe his New Hampshire fifth place finish this week? A, did he say he tied with Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz? B, did he say he was in a three-way split decision for third place? C, did he say he came in first place among the bottom six candidates? Or D, did he say he could have won if he wanted to, but he didn`t really try?

LALINSKY: It`s between A and B. I think I`m going go with A.

MADDOW: Steve?

BENEN: I love this one. Let`s check last night`s show.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we have to have some perspective here. You know, Governor Bush spent a lot of money in New Hampshire and finished basically tied with me and Ted Cruz.

MADDOW: Senator Rubio Jeb Bush did not tie you and Ted Cruz in New Hampshire. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush came in third and fourth in New Hampshire. They both beat you. You came in fifth.


BENEN: Yes, Marco Rubio pulled a Joe Lieberman and Judy is correct.

MADDOW: The reason it`s a trick is that Joe Lieberman said he was in a three-way split decision for third place when he came in fifth.

But, Judy, you were not fooled. You were not fooled. You know all of this.

Nick, did Judy win the prizes?

TUTHS: Three way tie for all prizes.

MADOW: Including the "old faht" license plates. I hope that does not offend anyone in your family.

Judy, it was --

LALINSKY: We`re all old farts here.

MADDOW: At least in spirit. No, fart is FEC approved. Don`t worry.

Judy, it was great to meet you. Please say hi to your whole family. It`s really nice to meet you.

LALINSKY: I will. Thank you. Thanks a lot.

MADDOW: Thanks.

If you want to play the news dump it`s easy send us an e-mail,

But now you have to go do the crowbar hotel.