Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: March 10, 2016 Guest: Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: Let me endorse the idea they`re not all horrible people, because I have talked to a lot of Trump supporters and I think -- the guy socking people in the faces --
THOMAS FRANK, AUTHOR: Of course. That`s insane.
HAYES: All right. Thomas Frank, thank you for being here tonight.
That is "ALL IN" this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel. Big show tonight, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I do -- weirdly, I know we always say big show tonight, tonight, actually a big show. Thank you, my friend. I really appreciate it.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Chris is right. Boy, howdy, do we have a lot to get to tonight. We, tonight, on this show, this hour, have both an interview with Hillary Clinton, the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.
And we also are going to be joined tonight by Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren, of course, looms large in our national politics right now as basically the other populist hero in the Democratic Party not named Bernie Sanders. But Senator Warren has not made an endorsement in the Sanders versus Clinton Democratic primary.
And in fact, she has not given an interview of any kind for months now. She`s not done a single TV interview with anyone since the 2016 primary battle started. But Senator Elizabeth Warren is here tonight live to talk with me.
Senator Warren just took to the Senate floor to start what looks like a patented, a new patented Elizabeth Warren crusade in Washington. We`re going to be talking with her about the subject of that tonight and lots more. So, that is still ahead.
But we have the luxury of starting with former Secretary of State Clinton. Secretary Clinton today was busier than anyone in politics. She did campaign events in Vernon Hills, Illinois, and in Durham, North Carolina, and in Tampa, Florida. That means in one day, she hit three of the five big states that are going to be voting next in the critical delegate bonanza that`s set for Tuesday.
On the Republican side of the race, that critical delegate bonanza that`s set for Tuesday, it has made for a bunch of drama today, including news even though Marco Rubio says his whole campaign hinges on the state of Florida, the Rubio doesn`t actually have enough money in the bank to be running any ads for him in Florida at all right now. The Rubio campaign is relying entirely on a pro-Rubio super PAC to run ads because the campaign is too broke to do itself, even in Florida.
In related breaking news tonight, the pro-Ted Cruz super PAC have announced they are pulling all of their ads for Ted Cruz out of the state of Florida. And the reason they are pulling them out is because they don`t think they need them. They don`t think they need to worry about Marco Rubio potentially winning Florida anymore.
The president of the Ted Cruz super PAC telling reporters today, quote, "We looked at the numbers and we decided that Marco Rubio can lose Florida all by himself. He doesn`t need our help."
And yet, further, even later breaking news, "The Washington Post`s" Robert Costa was first to report tonight that Republican front-runner Donald Trump will get the endorsement tomorrow morning from former presidential candidate Ben Carson. Did you think Ted Cruz was going to get the Ben Carson endorsement?
Ben Carson boils at the sight of Ted Cruz. So, apparently, he`s endorsing Donald Trump even though that`s pretty complicated too.
So, there`s a lot of kind of pow, pow, pow breaking news on the Republican side tonight.
On the Democratic side, the Florida picture is also what you might call kinetic right now. This was Senator Bernie Sanders at the first of his three big Florida rallies today, started the day in Gainesville, Florida, and he actually started the day by breaking one of the cardinal rules of politics, which is that people running for president must not put things on their heads.
Senator Sanders ended up before this crowd today, there it is, putting on a hat before more than 5,000 people in Gainesville this morning. He then spoke to another 4,000 people in Kissimmee, Florida, a few hours later. And now, he`s just led another large rally in Tampa, Florida, tonight.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held her own crowded but smaller sort of intense event today in Tampa. Secretary Clinton`s rallies honestly are never as big in raw numbers as those for Senator Sanders, but the Clinton campaign seems to know that. They seem fairly at peace with that information because they have observed and concluded that rallies aren`t votes and rallies or no rallies, frankly, the polling right now says Secretary Clinton is far ahead not only in Florida but also in every other state that`s due to vote on Tuesday.
MADDOW: Joining us now from Tampa, Florida, is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Madam Secretary, thank you so much for joining us. It`s really great to have you back.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s great to talk to you again, Rachel. Thanks.
MADDOW: How are things in Florida? What`s your outlook on this big next round of states on Tuesday?
CLINTON: It`s really sunny and beautiful here in Florida and I`m feeling good. We`re working very, very hard. We`ve had an organization on the ground for some time, and we`re adding, you know, more folks to it and just working the state from top to bottom.
MADDOW: The last night`s -- the last big night of contests had a big surprise in it. Michigan seemed like the kind of place where you ought to win. All the public polling said you would win. Michigan had a big black population; you spent a lot of time there on local issues, including of course the lead poisoning crisis in Flint, but you didn`t win. It was close, but you lost to Secretary -- to Senator Sanders there.
When you were asked about that at the debate last night, I was -- I was struck by your response. You just basically said, listen, I`m looking forward to the next contests and you didn`t address it. Some of those next states still look a lot like Michigan, including Ohio and Illinois on Tuesday. Do you have a sense of what really did go wrong for you in Michigan?
CLINTON: You know, I think there will be time to sort of look at that, do a post-mortem, if you will. Actually on Tuesday night, I came out ahead in the popular vote by about 100,000. I came out ahead in pledged delegates. Of course, I would`ve loved to have won Michigan, and I think we may have fallen short in a couple of areas. I was obviously honored to win Flint and the surround county but we didn`t do as well in turning out our vote in some key places.
But now we`re onto the next context. And I actually feel really good about where I am. Obviously, it`s better to win than not, but where we are right now is I`ve won by far more votes than anybody on either side. I`m ahead of Donald Trump in votes, I`m way ahead of Senator Sanders in votes, and obviously, I lead in pledged delegates. So we`re going to be just working as hard as we can.
We have a jobs message. We know that you`ve got to be talking about the future. You can relitigate the past only so long before people say, hey, what`re you going to do tomorrow?
So, I have been talking about the jobs that tomorrow, good paying jobs, American jobs with rising incomes -- I talked about that right now in Tampa. I`ll be going on to North Carolina to add to that message. And I`ll certainly be underscoring it in Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri.
So I think we have a message that people want to hear and I`m going to do my best to reach as many folks with it as I can.
MADDOW: In those big industrial states like Ohio and Illinois and Missouri, and to a certain extent North Carolina, how do you respond to voters who feel betrayed by the way that NAFTA has worked out? You know, working class people who look around and say our country didn`t get the jobs that were promised by President Clinton when that was signed. American jobs just got shipped overseas. That hollowed out a big part of our economy that provided good middle-class jobs.
I mean, are working class people right to feel betrayed by how that worked out?
CLINTON: Well, look, I have said repeatedly that I would like to renegotiate it. I think there were parts of it that did not work as hoped for. But I think you`ve got to take a broader perspective.
Were some jobs lost? Of course. And was it painful and terrible that people lost their jobs and they saw factories that maybe they, their grandparents even had worked in, pick up and move? Yes.
And that`s why I`ve come forward with some, you know, very strict proposals that if you`re trying to move jobs out of America, if you`ve ever gotten one penny of government aid -- and lots of places have -- you`re going to have to pay it all back. And if you are trying to move your headquarters overseas, and this thing called an inversion that I call a perversion, we`re going to slap a big exit tax on you.
So, I think we do have to, you know, really bear down on companies that are picking up and moving and try to do everything we can to stop them.
But I think it`s fair to say, Rachel, that more manufacturing jobs were actually created in the `90s. More were created under President Obama. We lost a lot of jobs, particularly manufacturing jobs, when George W. Bush was president.
And as I said to Senator Sanders last night, he spent a lot of time, you know, relitigating the `90s, he expresses his disappointment with President Obama. Let`s focus on where the problem was.
We had 23 million new jobs and rising incomes when George W. Bush became president. Then we started losing hundreds of thousands of jobs and one of the reasons is they would not enforce the trade agreements. That`s why I voted against the big multi-national trade agreement CAFTA when I was a senator.
You know, I worry that if we don`t have both sides of the equation in place -- you`ve got to have enforcement of trade agreements and you`ve got to have a much more robust safety net for people who might lose their jobs.
So, I have a very clear idea about how to make trade work, and if I don`t think agreements work, I`ve said repeatedly for years, I vote against them and I will do my best to mitigate the consequences of the ones already in effect. And I will bear down and really enforce them.
You know, I wish the Obama administration right now would crack down on China`s dumping of steel into our market. You know, that should not be permitted. We have some tools that are available to this administration. I`d like to see them use it.
And I`d like to send a very clear message to China: You may have your own economic problems, but don`t try to undermine and take away jobs in our steel industry any more than you already have.
MADDOW: You agree with President Obama on so many issues. You stayed close to him in this campaign. There haven`t been a lot of issues on which you`ve highlighted real differences between yourself and his administration.
Why do you think he hasn`t done that on China and on this steel issue?
CLINTON: I don`t know. But, you know, I wrote an op-ed that appeared in a number of newspapers a couple weeks ago. And I pointed out the problems with the steel industry.
I also said I would not agree -- in fact, I oppose designating China as a market economy. I think that that`s very hard to justify. They are not what we think of as a free market economy -- my definition.
So, I think in some of these areas, like opposing him on TPP, I did hope that we would get an agreement I could support. It turned out I couldn`t. So, in some of these areas where I worry about the consequences of these agreements, of administration actions, I am speaking out and I am urging the administration not to go forward with market economy and to crack down on dumping of steel.
MADDOW: In terms of differences between you and the Obama administration and what appears to be sort of some new policy ground in the debate last night, last night both you and Senator Sanders said that you would basically put an end to the policy of forced deportations for people who`ve entered the country illegally. You said that people with criminal records would still be deported but basically that`s it.
Is that really what you meant? I mean, no deportation of undocumented immigrants anymore unless they`ve got a criminal conviction?
CLINTON: Well, the question was specifically about children but I would obviously like to go further. I don`t want to be breaking up families. I think we do have to focus on people who pose a threat to us, not only violent criminals but terrorists who may be part of some group planning something against us. Anybody who threatens our security should be deported, no questions asked.
But I don`t like the raids, I don`t like the round-ups, I don`t like the level of deportation that we`ve been seeing in this administration. I want to move as quickly as I can toward a comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
So, for the 11 million or 12 million people who are already here -- you know, I`ve met with so many of them, Rachel, and I saw that mother with her five kids at the debate last night, and after it was over she came up and talked with me. She was so proud of her kids.
You know, she escaped from a very difficult situation in her eyes in Guatemala. Her husband has been deported. She`s raising those five kids. She proudly told me how great they were doing in school, and even that they were taking violin lessons. You know, it was a like a mom to mom conversation.
And I think if more people met the people I meet, that I listen to, that I have a chance to really hear their stories, they would agree with me.
You know, we`re never going to deport 11 million or 12 million people. That kind of rhetoric is irresponsible and it`s frightening people. And so, if we`re not going to deport 11 or 12 million people, then let`s keep families together. Let`s weed out the ones who should be deported and let`s move toward comprehensive immigration reform. That`s my view.
MADDOW: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton putting distance between herself and President Obama saying, "I don`t like the raids. I don`t like the round ups. I don`t like the level of deportation we have been seeing in this administration", staking out some new territory on immigration there.
Wait until you see what she says next when I asked her about you know who.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Let`s say it`s November 18th, 2016, and for whatever reason, it`s President-elect Donald Trump. In that circumstance, is Hillary Clinton moving to Canada?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Her answer to that is next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Big night. We`ve got more of my interview with Hillary Clinton after this. We have my interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren still to come.
But I have to do some important election information, first. This is part of my job. I have to tell you. Tonight is the Republican presidential caucus.
In the only place in the United States where you`re legally expected to drive on the left hand side of the road., the U.S. Virgin Islands right there, southeast of Puerto Rico. Total population, 103,000 happy left-hand driving souls.
Today, the Republican party of the U.S. Virgin Islands held its caucus for the presidential race. Virgin Islands Republicans vote for their delegates directly. Not for the candidates themselves. There are a whopping six pledged delegates at stake in the Virgin Islands tonight.
As for who won them? No idea. The voting ended four hours ago, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. There`s literally zero information coming out of U.S. Virgin Islands Republican Party. We have tried calling them many, many times to get the results. When they finally answer the phone, we`ll let you know.
Right back with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: One of the particularly unsettling things about this political season is that violence is no longer an unexpected side show at political rallies for the Republican presidential front-runner this year. It`s now basically an expected part of the show.
In Louisville, Kentucky, last week, a woman being pushed and shoved and taunted as Donald Trump himself yelled from the podium for her to get out. The protester in Birmingham, Alabama, who was assaulted by multiple Donald Trump supporters about which Trump said on TV, quote, "Maybe he deserved to be roughed up."
This was last night at a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. A protester getting sucker punched as he was being taken out of the rally by sheriff`s deputies. The man who threw the sucker punch elbow last night in North Carolina, it turns out he was psyched by what he did afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Did you like the event?
JOHN MCGRAW: You bet I liked it.
REPORTER: Yes? What did you like?
MCGRAW: Knocking the hell out of that big mouth. We don`t know who he is. But we know is he`s not black American.
REPORTER: So, he deserved it?
MCGRAW: Every bit of it.
REPORTER: What was that?
MCGRAW: Yes, he deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That video was published by "Inside Edition". And that interview happened because the man who threw the elbow last night was not arrested for doing that last night. He was arrested today and charged with assault and disorderly conduct.
I think it`s fair to point out, though, that after this happened, after this man did this at this rally last night in North Carolina, Donald Trump, himself, from the podium continued egging on his supporters to do this kind of thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tomorrow, you`ll read in the paper, Trump has protests. Look, an individual, just an individual.
So, see, in the good old days, this doesn`t happen. In the good old days, this doesn`t happen because they used to treat them very, very rough. And when they protested once, you know, they would not do it again so easily.
Today they walk in and they put their hand up and put the wrong finger in the air at everybody and they get away with murder because we`ve become weak. We`ve become weak.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The good old days where people used to be treated very, very rough before we became weak, so says the man at the front of the room to his supporters, the man with the microphone.
Today, I asked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about her take on this phenomenon. I also asked her frankly whether Donald Trump getting elected president of this country would make her move to Canada.
MADDOW: You know, talking about those kind of experiences you`re having while campaigning, the contrast with what`s going on with the frontrunner on the Republican side is obviously very, very stark. Not only in terms of what he`s proposing but what the atmosphere is like around Mr. Trump`s campaign -- throwing protesters out of his rallies has become like a ritualized part of his campaign now, an increasingly violent one. A man was just charged today with assault and battery for attacking a young black protester who was getting thrown out of Trump rally last night.
I wonder if you have any advice for people who are -- are thinking about going to Donald Trump events in order to protest them. Do you think that`s a worthwhile political response? He`s obviously really bothered and upset a lot of people in this country.
CLINTON: Well, and me too. I -- count me among those who are truly distraught and even appalled by a lot of what I see going on, what I hear being said. You know, you don`t make America great by, you know, dumping on everything that made America great, like freedom of speech and assembly and, you know, the right of people to protest.
Clearly, I know that everybody in public life gets protested against, and sometimes people do have to be removed, but it should be done in an appropriate manner. Other people in the audience should not be joining in. Mr. Trump should not be urging people on.
This is deeply distressing and I think, as the campaign goes further, more and more Americans are going to be, you know, really disturbed by the kind of campaign he`s running.
If he ends up being the nominee and if I`m still fortunate enough to be the Democratic nominee, you know, we`ll have time to take all that on.
But in the meantime, you know, it`s really upsetting a lot of Americans and it`s upsetting a lot of people around the world.
When you run for President of the United States, there`s a certain level of behavior that is expected of you. You know, you can`t just be flailing around inside the White House saying whatever comes out of your mouth. Markets rise and fall. Conflicts can begin or get worse.
I mean, so many things really do pay attention to what happens in the office of the presidency. So, I hope Americans stop and think about what`s happening now and what that could mean for the future.
MADDOW: Secretary Clinton, I know your time is very limited. I`ll just ask you one last quick question. It`s kind of a thought experiment.
Let`s say it all does go pear-shaped. Let`s say it is November 18th, 2016, and for whatever reason, it`s President-Elect Donald Trump. In that circumstance, is Hillary Clinton moving to Canada?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, I do not think that will happen. And I have every confidence, if I`m the nominee, it certainly won`t happen. I would never leave our country, but I would certainly be spending a lot of time yelling at the TV set, Rachel.
MADDOW: Fair enough.
Secretary Clinton, thank you so much for your time today. I know it`s an incredibly busy time. I really appreciate you making time to be with us.
CLINTON: Great. Good to talk to you.
MADDOW: You too.
CLINTON: Thanks a lot.
MADDOW: Thank you.
MADDOW: President candidates, they are just like us. They yell at the TV, too. When you guys yell, I can hear you.
Hillary Clinton today said she would not move to Canada in the event of a Trump presidency. Now, that`s on the record.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: So, this morning, I got a text from my executive producer before I was awake. But still, it was a good one -- telling me had booked an interview with Hillary Clinton. Surprise.
That was very exciting morning, right? And on most days, that`s where the big booking excitement would stop.
Oh, but not today. Today, that was the morning. The afternoon, our booking producers booked perhaps the most sought after Democratic guest in the country who is neither the president nor one of the people running for president.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is my guest tonight. She has not done an interview in nearly three months. She has not done an interview since the primary process started on the Democratic or Republican side. But she`s going to be here talking with us live exclusively in just a moment.
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: Endorsements are almost always awkward. Some are more awkward than others, though.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When he says he went after his mother and wanted to hit her in the head with hammer, that bothers me.
He said in the book, I haven`t seen it. I know it`s in the book that he`s got a pathological temper or temperament. That`s a big problem because you don`t cure that. That`s like, you know, I could say they say you don`t cure, as an example, child molester.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: When Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson were both running for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump likened Dr. Carson one time to a child molester.
This is also the footage from when Donald Trump called Iowa voters stupid if they believed Ben Carson story that he once hit someone with a belt buckle with a knife when he was a kid. That was technically before him calling Ben Carson a child molester. But it was same vintage from this years campaign.
And now, tomorrow morning Dr. Ben Carson will endorse Donald Trump for president. Thank you, sir. May I have another.
It`s awkward. It`s always a little awkward. But this year, it isn`t just awkward among presidential candidates. This year, Republicans all over the place are finding out that have an awkward political relationship now with this guy, Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: Donald Trump is dangerous for America.
TRUMP: I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn`t lose any voters, OK?
I would bring a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.
AD NARRATOR: But no matter what he says, John McCain will support him for president.
INTERVIEWER: Including Donald Trump, you would support him?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
TRUMP: She said he`s a pussy.
I like to punch him in the face, I`ll tell you.
INTERVIEWER: Donald Trump.
MCCAIN: Yes, yes.
(END VIDEOI CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s an ad being run by Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick against John McCain in his Senate reelection bid this year in Arizona.
There`s a similar ad now that just started running against Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire as she fights against the odds to hold onto her U.S. Senate seat in that state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Delay, delay, delay.
AD NARRATOR: Donald Trump wants the Senate to delay filling the Supreme Court vacancy so he can choose the nominee next year.
And Senator Kelly Ayotte is there to help. Ayotte joined Trump and party bosses in refusing to consider any nominee, ignoring the Constitution. Newspapers call Ayotte`s action appalling, wrong and disappointing.
TRUMP: Delay, delay, delay.
AD NARRATOR: Kelly Ayotte, ignoring the Constitution, not doing her job.
Senate Majority PAC is responsible for the content of this advertising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Kelly Ayotte hit not just for her association with Donald Trump, which every Republican in the country is going to have to figure out what to do with now. But specifically also, now, she`s having to answer for what will now be described as the Donald Trump plan for the Supreme Court -- the Republican plan to keep a seat on the Supreme Court vacant for more than a year than even consider President Obama`s nominee to fill that position.
It is plan that is totally unprecedented in U.S. history. President Obama said, today, that he hopes cooler heads will prevail and that the Senate will act on his nominee when he submits one to the Senate.
But Senate Republicans aren`t planning on doing that, no matter who the nominee is. And that is such a radical decision, it really is going to be hard to defend. At least that`s the case now being made by the loudest and most influential voice in the Democratic Party who is not either in the White House or running to get there this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Their response to one of the most solemn and consequent tasks that our government performs, the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, will be to pretend that the nominee and President Obama himself simply do not exist. Cannot see them, cannot hear them.
At the same time, that they are blocking all possible Supreme Court nominees, Senate Republicans are in panic because their party seems to be on the verge of nominating one of two extremists for president -- two candidates who think nothing about attacking the legitimacy of their political opponents and demeaning millions of Americans, two candidates whose extremism, Republicans worry, will lead their party to defeat in November.
Now, these are not separate issues. They are the same issue. If Republican senators want to stand up to extremists running for president, they can start right now by standing up to extremists in the Senate. They can start by doing what they were elected to do right here in the Senate. They can start by doing their jobs.
Since the first day of the Obama presidency, Republicans senators have bowed to extremists who reject his legitimacy and abuse the rules of the Senate in an all out effort to cripple his administration and to paralyze the federal courts. No matter how much it damages the nation. No matter how much it undermines the courts. No matter whether it cripples the government or it lays waste to our Constitution.
Senate Republicans do pretty much everything they can to avoid acknowledging the legitimacy of our democratically elected president. For too long, the Republicans in the Senate have wanted to have it both ways. They want to feed the ugly lies and nullify the Obama presidency while also claiming that they can govern responsibly.
Well, that game is over. Candidates motivated by bigotry and resentment, candidates unable to govern, candidates reflecting the same extremism that has been nursed along for seven years right here in the United States Senate are on the verge of winning the Republican Party`s nomination for president.
And now, Republicans senators must make a decision because here`s the deal. Extremists may not like it but Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 by nine million votes. He won re-election in 2012 by five million votes.
There were no recounts and no hanging chads. No stuffing the ballot box or tampering with voting machines. No intervention by the United States Supreme Court. No.
President Obama was elected the legitimate president seven years ago, and he`s the legitimate president right now.
So, if it is true that some Republican senators are finally ready to stand up to the extremism that denies the legitimacy of this president and of the Constitution, I say to you, do your job. Vote for a Supreme Court nominee. Do your job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Do your job.
Senator Elizabeth Warren joins us live, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Do your job. Vote for a Supreme Court nominee.
Do your job. Vote on district court judges and circuit court judges.
Do your job. Vote on ambassadors.
Do your job. Vote on agency leaders and counterterrorism officials.
If you want to stop extremism in your party, you can start by showing the American people that you respect the president of the United States and the Constitution enough to do your job right here in the United States Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren doing her job picking a fight in Washington that connects the Republican parties freak-out over extremism in its on presidential race with the need to say no to extremism in governance like, for example, refusing to consider a Supreme Court nominee for vacancy for a solid year.
Senator Warren joins us now for the interview.
Senator, I really appreciate you being here. It`s really nice to have you here.
WARREN: Good to be here.
MADDOW: You are known for big impassioned speeches, but even for you that was a barn-burner. I just have to ask you to spell it out for us here. What`s the connection -- what`s relationship you see between the Supreme Court seat being held vacant and the Republican Party basically cracking up over who is winning their primary?
WARREN: OK. So, look, what`s the problem with the two guys they`ve got at the top right now with Donald trump and with Ted Cruz?
These are both people who basically deny the legitimacy of their opponents. They go on the attack. They demean millions of Americans.
That`s what identifies them as extremists and why Republicans -- man, Republicans in the Senate are breaking apart over this. And yet, what have Republicans in the Senate been doing since the very day that Barack Obama was sworn in? They have given in to their extremists. In fact, they have nursed their extremists along, so that there have been fights and delays over, what, over the basic things that happen in government.
So, the president tries to get his team out -- you know, starting this 2012, after he had been reelected by five million votes. We all come back.
And first thing that happens is the Republicans in the Senate want to shut it down. They don`t want anybody to go forward to be the head of the NLRB. Why? Because they are trying to shut down the NLRB.
They don`t want anybody to be appointed to the head of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Why? Because they don`t want the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to be able to function.
They don`t want a secretary of labor. They don`t want anybody confirmed over the Environmental Protection Agency. They don`t want the president of the United States to be able to fill any, any of the three vacancies then on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the second most important court in the United States. They want to leave dozens of ambassadors stranded.
And what`s this all about? It`s not about problem with a particular nominee. What they were trying to do was effectively deny the legitimacy of this president, try to shut down the government, try to keep it from functioning.
So, they did that. Seven years, they did it. They fought and they fought and they fought, and now, they`ve got the biggest one of all -- and that is a vacancy in the United States Supreme Court.
And notwithstanding what it says in the Constitution, Article 2, Section 2, the president shall nominate with the advice and content of the Senate. Notwithstanding that, notwithstanding the oath they took, they want to say, "I don`t care who you bring us, we`re not going to hold hearings and we`re not going to hold a vote on anyone."
In other words, no legitimacy for you, the president of the United States. No buying into the basic functioning of government.
All I can say is that`s what constituted extremism in the United States Senate. That`s what has nursed what`s going on now in the presidential primaries.
MADDOW: Is that crisis that they`ve tried to create, as you argue around the legitimacy of President Obama, is it specific to him? Or if one of Democratic candidates ends up winning the presidential election this year, are you concerned that Republican senators would keep that blockade even of the Supreme Court vacancy in place even after President Obama if there`s a new Democrat elected?
WARREN: You know, we`ve been talking about this over and over. This is the party of no. This is the party of blockade.
This is the party that says, shut down the legal functioning of the government. I mean, really, I -- think about what that means when they say with this president -- they don`t want him to put anybody at the NLRB because if the NLRB doesn`t have a quorum, they can`t function. And what does that mean? We lose our government agency that supposed to decide disputes between employers and employees. You just effectively shut that down.
They didn`t want anybody at the CFPB because then they couldn`t issue rules. Issue rules against payday lenders or mortgage servicers who were breaking the law. It`s a shutdown approach.
Now, they`ve gone after President Obama for this from the beginning -- whether they would continue that or not, obviously, I don`t have any way of knowing.
But I do know this: they are paying the price for their own extremism. It has now taken them by the throat. And so, when they stand up in the Senate and say, "Oh, my gosh, what`s going to happen to us? We now may have a presidential nominee who is so extreme that he will pull us over the edge electorally and cause us a disaster in November."
The answer is: guys, this is what you did to yourselves. If you really want to stop it, stop it right now. Stand up and do your job.
MADDOW: When you -- when you see that, those two things happening at once. We`re in this very unusual moment. It`s mesmerizing to see the Republican Party, as you say, freaking out about the prospect of who they are about to nominate as their presidential candidate --
WARREN: Yes, and, frankly, I`d be freaking out too if I were a Republican.
MADDOW: Given that they are and freaking out publicly, and it`s now very -- it`s an easy to see thing -- is that leading to any Republicans in the Senate, any Republicans in Congress, starting to get a little shaky on some of this other stuff that you`re talking about, starting to change their minds maybe about the court or some of these approaches that they had the governance?
WARREN: Well, you know, that`s the question. What`s it going to take for these guys?
Ron Johnson, today, said, "Well, if it were Republican president, yes, we`d feel differently about doing that vote." I mean, can you be anymore naked about what`s going on? There is no point of principle here for those guys.
This is naked politics. And they`re saying, "Hey, if our team`s in, we want to grab everything and make it work for our side. We want to stand in there and fight for the people we represent. We want to make government work for the rich and powerful even better."
That`s what Ron Johnson is saying. He is in hotly contested election. He`s got somebody after him who`s going to say to the people of Wisconsin, "Hey, bud, you are going to be held accountable here."
And I think that`s frankly, what we`ve got to hear everywhere. When the Republicans in the Senate are thinking about November and they`re thinking about their own hides, this is really about the American people coming up on this one really saying, there has to be some accountability. There has to be some accountability in the United States Senate for people who say, "I put politics ahead of the Constitution, I put politics ahead of respect for the duly elected president of the United States, I put politics ahead of everything except my own job."
MADDOW: You have not made an endorsement in the presidential race. I know you`re not going to do that tonight. I will not pressure you to do so.
MADDOW: But I have been watching the pressure on you to do it. A lot of people obviously feel like your endorsement -- because of your leadership in the party, because of the way you connect with people, people feel like your endorsement could have a determinative effect on the election and you ought to use that power.
I just have to ask if that pressure is uncomfortable. I feel like I -- some of what I`ve seen directed toward you on this issue, and the fact that you haven`t endorsed, I feel like some of that pressure has been sort of ugly towards you and I want to know how you have felt about it.
WARREN: You know, we`re Democrats. We`re passionate. We believe, and I get that.
But look, I care about what`s going to happen in this race. God, I care about it, and it is important that we have Democrats and a conversation going on about what we think are the principal issues in this debate, and that`s what we`re doing.
We`re out there talking about -- both our candidates are talking about the importance of holding Wall Street accountable. We`re having a debate back and forth about the best way to make sure that our kids can make it through college without getting crushed by student loan debt. We`re out there having a big conversation about trade and what kind of trade policies we should follow.
We`re doing what Democrats should be doing. We`re talking about the issues and more than anything else, we`re talking about who it is that we want government to work for. And, boy, does that make a contrast with what`s going on on the other side, where those guys are just trying to out-ugly each other and making the difference as clear as is possible for the American people.
I think -- I think this is what democracy should be about.
MADDOW: Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts -- it`s been too long since we`ve spoken, Senator. Thank you for coming back tonight. I hope we`ll have you back again soon.
WARREN: You bet.
MADDOW: Appreciate it.
All right. More to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, we`ve got one more big story for tonight`s show. In addition to that, in addition to everything else in the news right now, which is frankly a little overwhelming, I also want to tell you that my colleague Lawrence O`Donnell has on his show tonight the Donald Trump protesters who took that elbow sucker punch in the face at the Trump rally last night in North Carolina.
That protester is going to be on live with Lawrence. That happens right after our show, 10:00 p.m. sharp on MSNBC.
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: The whole world is watching the American presidential race right now and what they are wondering is if the anti-Donald Trump efforts within the Republican Party are going to work. And the state of Florida is going to be the first real big test of that. I mean, there have been here and there scattershot efforts by anti-Donald Trump super PACs or occasionally some of the other candidates he`s running against have tacked hard against him.
We`ve seen some surprise tactics in recent days like Mitt Romney doing anti-Trump calls for Marco Rubio in some states this past Tuesday, and also for John Kasich in some other states on that same day. So, there have been a few things here and there, some of them innovative and some of them effective, some of them.
But in Florida, the effort isn`t a sprinkler head like that anymore. It`s a fire hose. Outside groups are spending more than $10 million on anti- Donald Trump efforts in Florida right now. Two out of every three dollars are anti-Donald Trump ads.
So, Florida`s going to be a big test of whether the anti-Donald Trump efforts in the Republican Party are working. The early results are not promising.
This was Senator Marco Rubio`s rally yesterday in Hialeah, Florida. In is it what a 5,000 seat stadium looks like when you stick a couple of hundred people in the end zone. The crowd didn`t make it past the 20-yard line of the football field.
You know what, don`t book a football stadium for something like that. Book a conference room. Book a medium-sized van. That`s terrible.
It`s one thing to have a visual like this in your home state, but this is also Senator Rubio`s home district. This is where he`s from.
In terms of polling, most polls show Senator Rubio losing in Florida to Donald Trump by double digits. In terms of early voting in the state, the numbers there are also not that promising for Marco Rubio. Of the nearly 230,000 Floridians who have cast early in-person ballots, 80 percent of those are white, less than 10 percent are Hispanic. That`s an unexpectedly bad number, considering that Senator Rubio was really hoping to turn out the Hispanic vote in large numbers.
That said, maybe Jeb will help. In advance of tonight`s Republican debate in Florida, Jeb Bush reportedly planned to meet with all the remaining Republican presidential candidates not named Donald Trump. Governor Bush has not yet endorsed anybody in the race. It`s not clear whether the former Florida governor will endorse in his home state before this crucial vote on Tuesday, but, hey, if he does, couldn`t hurt.
Or actually in this race, maybe it could hurt. Now, feel free to look that gift horse in the mouth, you guys.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END