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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 4/15/2016

Guests: Niki Kelly, Jim Ananich

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: April 15, 2016 Guest: Niki Kelly, Jim Ananich

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Steve. Thank you, my friend. Get inside and stay warm.

Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy Friday. It`s great to have you here.

There`s a lot going on tonight. Some politics, some not politics.

We`ve got some news tonight that is of profound importance to 10,000 American military families, but it`s mostly being ignored by politicians thus far of both stripes. I will say, though, if we`re a good country, and one that is trying to get better as a country, the whole problem of politicians ignoring this thing may soon change. We`ve got that story ahead tonight.

We`ve also got some news out of Flint, Michigan.

We`ve got political news tonight about one Midwestern state, which I think is going to make a lot of Republicans really, really angry.

But we start tonight with the unsubtle art of political symbolism. When political symbolism doesn`t just happen in nature, when you don`t just accidental get a guy ringing the necks of live turkeys behind Sarah Palin without her noticing, or you don`t get out there religious right presidential candidate Gary Bower flipping a pancake so hard, he flipped himself off a political stage.

When political symbolism doesn`t just happen to you because the universe offers that to you, but instead you try to construct it. It is still sometimes as profound as moments like those. It`s also sometimes a little mystifying.

Take, for example, this picture which we`re going to look at closely. This is a picture from today`s news. This is a carefully constructed act of political symbolism.

What you see here, the main subject here is the governor of Mississippi. That`s the guy in the foreground. He`s signing a bill.

Any governor can sign a bill in private. Put it in a big stack of paper like all the other stuff he has to sign, right? You don`t need to do anything show offy about signing any particular bill. Sometimes governors choose to show off about it, and then they construct an elaborately laid out piece of political symbolism around a ceremonial bill signing. And this is the kind of thing you get.

And so, in this case we can decode bit what`s going on based on this visual of today`s event in Mississippi. So, let`s start at the lower right hand we have a little set of teeny, teeny tiny cowboy boots sitting on a hipster live edge cutting board maybe. I don`t know what`s going on there. Anybody know what`s going on, anybody can help me. I`d love to hear it.

Next to the little cowboy boots, we`ve got a copy of the book about Ronald Reagan. I believe it`s the Ronald Reagan diaries. For our political photo-op purposes, it`s got a big smiling picture of Ronald Reagan on the cover. So, we got Phil Bryant`s face right next to Ronald Reagan`s face. OK, that`s there for the obvious reasons.

Now, next to that, keep going down the desk. There`s a different book. Not the Reagan book. This is a different book, it looks older. I can`t quite tell what it is from this angle. Can we zoom in?

Kind of looks like maybe it`s a cook book. No, not a cookbook. It is a bible. An old and well worn copy of the bible.

But there`s something sitting on top of the bible. And at first glance it appears to be a hot dog, which is why I thought the book was a cookbook. What that actually is not a hot dog. It`s a light colored leather holster holding a handgun.

Oh, which now tells you what this ceremonial bill signing is all about, because today was the day Mississippi`s Republican Governor Phil Bryant signed into law a "bring your gun to church" bill. So, for that purpose, he`s got his props on his desk to provide the appropriate symbolism and that includes the people. He`s surrounded himself with a group of people who are the appropriate people to celebrate bringing your gun to church.

Now, these are all people who had some interest in this new law in Mississippi, right? These are all people who wanted to be there for the signing and helped him out in terms of his political symbolism for that particular bill.

But here`s the thing: this was just one bill for which Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant did a big symbolic bill signing today. And when it came time to do the other one, he did it in the same room, he did it from the same desk. But it`s time for a new symbolism.

So, he had to clear out all the people. Guns and churches time is now over. The who would Jesus shoot folks have to leave the office because now it`s time for a new law, new symbolism for which the governor brought in a whole new set of stakeholders and interested parties for the photo ops.

Now, notice the changes. For this one, different angle so you can see the Ten Commandments from the back corner. They have left the Reagan book on the desk there. See on the lower right hand side. They have also left the bible there next to Reagan, but they have taken the gun off the bible.

And they have surrounded the governor with a whole new group of people who really count for this bill. They surrounded him with whole new group of people/photo op human props who see their interest as most affected by this other new Mississippi law that was signed today, because the other new Mississippi law that was signed today in a big symbolic photo op bill signing was for a new ban on a common form of surgical abortion.

Governor Phil Bryant and these other four white men gathering around the sign into law to make sure your pregnancy proceeds according to their preferences under pain of criminal punishment.

And, you know, we know from the guns and churches bill signing there were women available at the Mississippi governor`s office today to put them in the picture in case they wanted to show that sort of thing. But instead, they went out of their way to make sure the bill signing picture for the new abortion law was just all white men.

I know these guys are political pros, but it`s just like they -- it`s like they don`t know how this sort of thing will be received. They can`t think enough outside themselves to realize what this might look like to other people, particularly to other people of the female persuasion.

When Ohio Governor John Kasich, signed legislation in 2011 that ended up closing nearly half the clinics that provide abortions in the state of Ohio, notice something similar. This was his photo op that day. That`s the photo op that Governor John Kasich staged in Ohio for signing that anti-abortion legislation. It was him and a bunch of grown-ass white men.

And for good measure they included in that bill signing ceremony, a very, very young man. They also brought in a little boy who the governor invited to sit on his lap and dot the "I" in the word Kasich as the men folk of Ohio got together to show the boy folk of Ohio how women`s pregnancy can be controlled by the law.

So, this sort of thing happens in Mississippi. This sort of thing happens in Ohio. This sort of thing also happened in Indiana sort of with a twist.

This is what it looked like when Mike Pence signed one of his anti-abortion bills into law. They did include women, but see what I mean about the stakeholders issue.

When Governor John Kasich of Ohio did this in 2011, it was, at one level, it was sort of just the same thing that over Republican governors do with anti-abortion bills in other states, but in another way it was a Ohio specific expression of -- and it`s sort of an extension of John Kasich`s general tone deafness when it comes to issues related to women of all kinds.

So, John Kasich has introduced himself basically to the people of Ohio. It`s a statewide elected official who says stuff that you can`t believe he`s actually saying. Sometimes he`s offending women. Sometimes, he`s just being radically offensive.

Eleven days after he took office as governor of Ohio in 2011, he got on stage to make a speech or at least to give sort of off the cuff John Kasich style remarks to a group of state workers. This was 11 days after he became governor.

In the middle of these remarks, on camera, out of nowhere, totally out of the blue, unprompted, he launched into this.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Have you been stopped by a policeman who was an idiot? I had this idiot pulled me over on 315. Listen to this story. He says to me, he says, he says you passed this emergency vehicle on the side of the road and you didn`t yield.

He goes back to the car, comes back, gives me a ticket and says, "You must report to court. If you don`t report to court, we`re putting a warrant out for your arrest." He`s an idiot!


MADDOW: John Kasich, right after he got elected governor of Ohio screaming to a group of unrelated state workers about the idiot highway patrolman in his state.


KASICH: He`s an idiot.


MADDOW: John Kasich is one of the last three remaining Republican presidential candidates now. Compared to the other two, he`s viewed as the normal one. The calm one, the one who says only predictable things.

That may be true in relation to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. It`s not at all the reputation he`s earned in Ohio. I mean, the "cops are idiots" thing was not a standalone occurrence from John Kasich`s time as governor of Ohio. But also, even if you don`t care about his time as governor of Ohio, on the campaign trail, while he has been running for president, he`s slowly been accumulating quite a record now almost a reputation for saying just incredibly awkward things.

And he says awkward things sometimes them when he`s fired up and angry, but he even says incredibly angry things sometimes when he was trying to be nice.


KASICH: I look at our friends in the Latino community as people that ought to be voting Republican. I mean, they`re very strong family. We can all learn a bit from them about the importance of family, couldn`t we? They are great. They`re God-fearing, hard working folks.

And a lot of them do jobs that they`re willing to do. And that`s why in the hotel, you leave a little tip. You know -- this lady, my hotel in L.A., she wrote this note. It said, "I really want you to know that I care about your stay."

That just -- is that like the greatest thing. "I really care about your stay." She had like a little tree with some that she drew a little art work. It`s just absolutely awesome.

So, you know, let`s -- we can learn a lot. She`s Hispanic. I didn`t know it at the time, but I met her in the hallway, asked her if I could get a bit more soap. I got to go.

Thank you all very much.


MADDOW: That`s it. I killed it. Got to go. I`ll drop the mic and leave on the soap antic.

John Kasich is running for president against a businessman who`s never run an election or won an election. His other opponent is a U.S. senator, but he is a U.S. senator who has run this precisely run election in his lifetime in order to become a U.S. senator and that is it.

John Kasich ran for state legislature in Ohio starting in the `70s. He won nine straight congressional races in Ohio. He won two governor races in Ohio. This is the second time he`s running for president. And that is an impressive amount of experience.

It`s marked him out as someone who has gone far in politics given what tends to happen when he talks to people, or about them particularly, when those people are women. It doesn`t have to be women but it`s usually women.

Behold, happy Friday night. This is our child`s treasury of John Kasich engaging with women voters.



UNIDENIFIED FEMALE: Are you serious?


KASICH: How did I get elected? Nobody was -- I didn`t have anybody for me. We just got an army of people who -- and many women who left their kitchens to go out and go door to door and put yard signs up for me.

All right. I`m going right there. Yes, young lady. Do you go to school here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sir. I`m a nursing student here.

KASICH: Better yet.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First off, I want to say your comment earlier about the women came out the kitchen to support you, I come to support you, but I won`t be coming out the kitchen.

KASICH: You ever been on a diet? Many times. You`re the perfect example. OK. We set a goal and you reach it. And what happens?

How about a little (INAUDIBLE)? How about a trip over to Mario`s? You know, an extra -- you ever go there Mario`s? We`re there last night. How about a little (INAUDIBLE)?

You know, Jane Portman, Karen Kasich and Janna Ryan, they operate an awful lot of the time in the shadows. It`s not easy to be a spouse of an elected official. You know, they`re at home doing the laundry and doing so many things while we`re up here on the stage.

All right. Who`s next? Yes, young lady right there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. So, my question is pertaining to Social Security in my generation and what your plan is to protect Social Security and make sure that my generation can still retire and be safe?

KASICH: Now, why do you care about that? How old are you?


KASICH: You`re 16 years old and you`re worried about Social Security.


KASICH: What else do you worry about?

Did somebody tell you to ask this question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I think for myself.

KASICH: If we`re that neighbor you`re married for 50 years, who no one calls anymore. You want to change the world? You take her to dinner on Saturday night. She`ll wear that dress she hasn`t worn in six months. I trust you.

God bless the veterans. I mean, OK.


I don`t have any tickets for, you know, for Taylor Swift or anything or -- you know, or Linkin` -- go ahead. Yes, I know, you`re just so excited. Yes?


MADDOW: Turns out the young woman who was calling on there did not want Taylor Swift tickets nor Linkin` Park tickets. She actually had a super serious question for him about immigration and employment law.

After that experience with John Kasich mocking her for being so excited, you want Taylor Swift tickets, she ended up writing a furious and very articulate follow up in her student newspaper about how offended she was to be patronized by him, and how weird it was at the same event when he told the other girl sitting near her in the front row that she is so pretty she must get invited to all the parties.

Whatever else you think of John Kasich`s run for president and all of its tactical audacity, today, Kasich did another one of these things. And I think the important thing to understand here is that this wasn`t new. I know there`s been lots of reason to not pay attention to John Kasich as a national figure, but if you have been paying attention to him for a national figure, you would see what he did today is not unusual thing.

This one he did today did make a bigger splash than usual. I think that`s because people are paying attention to him more than he`s used to. But the history of John Kasich, even just the recent history shows he does stuff like this all the time. But today, let`s roll the tape. This was John Kasich today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is being I`m a young female college student, what will you do in office as president to help me feel safer and more secure regarding sexual violence, harassment and rape?


MADDOW: So, that`s the question John Kasich was asked today. This was at a town hall in Watertown, New York. He ended up giving a long answer to it, but he decided to stick the landing with this.


KASICH: We`re in a process of making sure that all higher education in our state and this ought to be done in the country, that our coeds know what the rules are, what the opportunities are, what the confidential policies are so that you`re not vulnerable, at risk and can be preyed upon. I have two 16-year-old daughters. And I don`t even like to think about it, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s sad that it`s something I have to worry about, just walking.

KASICH: Well, I would give you -- I also give you one bit of advice -- don`t go to parties where there`s a lot of alcohol. OK, don`t do that.


MADDOW: Listen, co-ed.

That`s the kind of thing that John Kasich says to women and young women all the time. At this point in the presidential race because there aren`t that many other people left besides John Kasich, people are paying attention to him when he says stuff like there. And so, he was criticized for this today and he came out shortly after those remarks at that town hall and he tried to walk it back.


KASICH: I want to make sure that our co-eds, our young women have a safe place to go. That`s why Ohio`s been leader in this effort.


MADDOW: Governor John Kasich has backed away from the earlier assertion today that our co-eds ought to know better than to be around alcohol at party if they don`t want to get themselves raped. But he is still calling them co-eds.

And this isn`t a new style gaffe for Governor John Kasich. This is what he`s like when he talks in public. And, you know, when he was the governor of Ohio, that didn`t necessarily matter all that much. But if you`re looking for a reason why Governor John Kasich is never going to be anything other than the governor of Ohio, this particular problem he has and his speaking to women in particular, this is as good a reason as any.

Governor Kasich right now is poised to come in second place in the New York primary on Tuesday night. That said it`s only Friday. He`s got three more days of talking to get through until New Yorkers vote. So, anything can happen, young lady.


MADDOW: There`s one state right now, one Midwestern state where people complaining about the politics there right now, they aren`t just wing because they`re losing. That is true in most states particularly when it comes to presidential politics. But in one state right now, the complaints sound like whining but they`re actually real complaints and not just sour grapes. That sort of upsetting story is next. Stay with us.


MADDOW: So, there`s only one state voting on the Republican side of the presidential race next week. That`s Tuesday, that`s New York. The latest "Wall Street Journal"/NBC News/Marist poll shows that not only is Donald Trump likely to win New York, he`s likely to win by an absolutely gigantic margin.

In New York polling right now, Donald Trump is laughing the rest of the field. He has 54 percent of the vote. With that, he is more than doubling his nearest New York competitor, who is John Kasich. Ted Cruz languishes even further behind that.

So, New York is the only primary happening next weeks. That`s on Tuesday.

One week later, a week from Tuesday, there`s going to be five states voting, and they`re all northeastern states. In three of those states, there had been recent polling, and in all three of those states, Donald Trump has double digit leads. The other two states there hasn`t been polling. That`s next week.

And then, a week after that, the state that votes is Indiana. And in Indiana, there`s no polling, which is a little shocking because the state has a really big haul of delegates, 57 delegates at stake in Indiana, which is a lot. And even though Indiana is the only one voting that day, still, there`s been no public polling.

Even though the state of Indiana has not yet voted, though, and there`s no polling, I can confidently hereby tonight proclaim, I can tell you tonight and it`s not even a prediction, I can actually tell you that whatever happens with the Republican vote in Indiana on May 3rd, no matter how Indiana Republicans vote that night and that day, I can tell you Donald Trump will lose Indiana. He will lose it, at least, in the only way that really counts.

And the reason I can tell you that is because the delegates, the 57 actual, in the flesh, human delegates that are at stake in Indiana have already been named. The state doesn`t vote for another two plus weeks, but the delegates were picked this week by Indiana state party leaders. Of those 57 delegates from Indiana, only one is known to be a committed supporter of Donald Trump. The rest of them, particularly if you look at their public statements and like their Facebook feed and stuff, no.

I mean, if Donald Trump does well this the vote in Indiana, then at least some of Indiana`s delegates will be compelled to vote for him on a first ballot at the convention. But nobody thinks the presidential nomination will be picked on the first ballot. After that first ballot, Donald Trump can likely kiss all of those Indiana delegates good-bye except the one guy`s pledge to him who is running the campaign in the state.

The party picked the delegates already before the vote. And they picked one guy who supports Trump and 56 other people who do not.

Now, in case of Indiana, this is not appear to be the Ted Cruz campaign out-organizing, running rings around the Trump campaign like we`ve seen in other states. In this case, it really is the party that screwed over Donald Trump and his campaign in that state by naming the delegates, ahead of the vote, and picking vocal anti-Trump folks as delegates before anybody else got say. I mean, you want to see the establishment in action, the establishment actively trying to block Donald Trump, then the best case for that is what`s happening in Indiana. And that kind of thing is one reason why Donald Trump maybe losing the Republican nomination despite this huge lead he`s got in the polls and all the wins he`s wracked up in so many states. He`s getting things snuck out from under him by the state party, in places like Indiana.

He`s also getting out maneuvered by the other campaigns at state and local conventions. We saw that in North Dakota. We saw that in Colorado, where the Trump campaign just did an absolutely terrible job. We`re likely to see that dynamic again this weekend in states like Wyoming and Georgia.

Georgia was supposedly won by Donald Trump. But it looks like he`s going to have the delegates snatched from him by virtue of his poor organization in Georgia starting this weekend.

But Indiana is a different kettle of fish. Indiana is different. Today, Donald Trump continued to criticize what he is calling a rigged system. He took to the op-ed pages of "The Wall Street Journal" to single out political insiders in Colorado taking the vote from him in that state.

But in that state, it really was the other campaigns just beating him to the punch. It was the Cruz campaign being better at the rules. If he really wants to appear about a system appearing to be rigged against him, the state to start with is Indiana.

Joining us is Niki Kelly. She`s reporter for the "Fort Wayne Journal Gazette".

Ms. Kelly, thanks for being here. I really appreciate your time tonight.


MADDOW: So, I`m just struck by the numbers, right, because Indiana hasn`t voted yet, because there is only one known Trump supporting delegate among 57, I mean, could the Trump campaign done more to get a foothold or was this stacked against them from the beginning?

KELLY: The majority people are just long time Republicans in the state who probably would have picked as delegates no matter who was running. So, I`m not sure that anyone could have gotten ahead of it too much. I think these are party insiders and support the party. A lot of them have been delegates before. So, it`s not surprising to see their names on there.

MADDOW: There hasn`t been, as I mentioned, there hasn`t been any public polling in Indiana. And there`s -- you know, this happens on two tracks. The more important track is what happens with the delegates at the convention. But people are going to turn out and vote on May 3rd in Indiana.

Do you have any sense of how things will go there? Do you have any good evidence on the ground about how the campaigns are doing in terms of trying to motivate voters?

KELLY: Well, they just started in the past week opening offices, things like that. Today, the state party just announced that Ted Cruz will be at the spring dinner next Thursday. It`s really ramping up.

We expect that last week in April to be, you know, full head on with all the candidates around.

As far as polling, I know of one that might be coming out in next week or so. I hope we get to see it. And I know a lot of voters are really engaged and really asking questions about the delegate process.

I just hope they get out and vote, because we have had just abysmal turnouts in the past. I think we were last in the nation in the last election. So, I hope this actually spurs people to action.

MADDOW: Well, and that`s -- I mean, that`s part of the sort of psychological question here, is that people tend to turn out when they think their vote matters. This part of the process, I mean, in advance Indiana could expect to have no impact, thought it would all be sewn up, turns out it`s not.

But then there`s this countervailing force, in which the delegates are already chosen. And that kind of must cut against people`s sense that this is going to matter.

KELLY: Yes. The Indiana Republican party knows that. They have been sending out releases in the last week saying repeatedly, your vote will matter. Here`s how our delegate system works. They stress again and again that these people are locked in only on the first ballot but they are free to vote, you know, how they would want after that.

And, obviously, I haven`t talked to all 57 delegates. You`re right that only one has publicly come out in support of Trump. He might have a few more in there somewhere. But it is weird because Indiana is used to not mattering at all. Our primary is so late that most of the delegates in the past, the joke is that they might even not have known they were delegates and they were just going for the party at the convention.

MADDOW: Well, this convention probably is going to be a party. It`s going to be party of a very different character than we`ve seen in a long time.

Niki Kelly, reporter for "The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette", it`s really nice to have you here. Thanks for being here tonight.

KELLY: Thank you.

MADDOW: It`s Friday night. I love Friday night shows. This is a really good one. We`ve got lots more ahead tonight.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: The best interview I`ve ever seen about drinking poison, I know just trust me on this. It involved a lobbyist for Monsanto and French TV network Canal Plus.



MONSANTO LOBBYIST: I do not believe that glyphosate in Argentina is causing increases in cancer. You can drink a whole quart of it and it won`t hurt you.

REPORTER: You want to drink some? We have some here.

MONSANTO LOBBYIST: I`d be happy to. Not really. But --

REPORTER: Not really?

MONSANTO LOBBYIST: I know it wouldn`t hurt you.

REPORTER: If you say so, I have some guy --

MONSANTO LOBBYIST: No, no, I`m not stupid.


MADDOW: It`s totally safe. Would you drink some? I`m not stupid. Of course not.

In the universe of interviews about drinking poison, that moment is obviously the disputed champion. Nobody can top that.

But today, it got a run for its Monday. That`s next. Bottom`s up.


MADDOW: The governor of Michigan lives here in Ann Arbor. The people whose town got lead poisoned by that governor`s administration, they live there, about an hour away in Flint.

And so, when Governor Rick Snyder says, as he`s been saying, that the water is OK for most people to drink in Flint if they have the right kind of filters on their faucet. He`s describing water that he doesn`t have to drink on daily basis.

But there has been this recurring question throughout the Flint water lead poisoning crisis. Going back to the very beginning, when the water started looking rusty red or muddy brown or maybe kind of like really bad light beer.

There`s been this recurring question, would Governor Rick Snyder drink that water himself. Would he pour himself a glass of Flint`s contaminated tap water and drink it himself? Will he pour himself a glass now, now that he says the filters work, the filters make the water safe?

Today at a meeting about Flint water, somebody told the governor that the people of Flint would very much like him to come to their homes and drink the filtered water himself if he feels so comfortable about it. And after this meeting today, where he was told that, reporters pressed him for an answer.


REPORTER: There was an invitation for you to come drink the filtered water. Something you`ll do?

GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: Yes. I mean, if someone -- I`m happy to look into that.


MADDOW: Rick Snyder is happy the look into that.

The thing is, if Rick Snyder is going to go into Flint popping into houses and having a glass of tap water, we actually know it would be like him playing a game of lead poison Russian roulette.

I mean, that`s not my description of Flint`s water right now. That`s the description that come from Mark Edwards, the Virginia tech researcher who blew the whistle on the lead crisis. He`s a hero of the crisis in Flint. He actually has now been put in charge of testing Flint`s water.

The second highest lead level ever recorded in a house in the city of Flint was recorded less than two weeks ago, testing not just a dangerous level, but testing it more than double the level of led that`s considered to be hazardous waste less than two weeks ago.

A lot of people in Flint refuse to bathe in the water that comes out of their taps. Reports of rashes connected to the water have been widespread, the federal government has sent a special federal team to investigate just that part. "New York Times" this week published a whole article just about the daily struggle of showering in Flint. How would you feel, showering with bottled water for couple of years now?

I mean, we`re seven months into the part of the crisis where everybody admits it`s a crisis. And people in Flint are still trudging to water resource centers to get bottled water to use for everything.

We used to wonder when the state could get it together to start daily delivery of water to Flint homes. It now appears there`s no when. Home delivery is just not happening. Governor Snyder and his administration are not working on trying to do that. They don`t even aspire to do that.

Go pick up the water yourself. Don`t have a car, good luck.

Flint`s mayor, Karen Weaver, she started a project to start replacing all of Flint`s lead pipes into people`s home. That project did get off the ground a month ago, thanks to the mayor`s determination. But so far, it`s this little program that they are averaging one house a day. They`ve got thousands to go.

And the state legislature is in no rush to help. Maybe a few months from now they`ll think about the funding. In Washington, D.C., Utah Senator Mike Lee just singlehandedly killed a bipartisan aide package that had been agreed for Flint. He killed that on the conservative principle that if Flint gets an aid package, then everyone will want one.

As for Governor Snyder, he keeps putting out big heroic plans that actually don`t solve the problem at hand and the way people are still living right now. And today, he proposed tighter rules on how much lead can be in water, rules the governor says it can be a model for other states follow and to prevent additional water crisis, which is great.

But water in Flint is testing twice hazmat levels. And this has nothing to do with the problem in Flint. The faucets in ordinary homes are testing like toxic waste dumps right now.

Governor Snyder also proposes now creating plans within the next decade for replacing all the lead pipes in the whole state of Michigan, which is also nice, but also does nothing to help Flint right now. Flint is the place where the pipes were fine until the Snyder administration ruined them and left them spewing lead right now.

He wants lots of ways to fix them in the very, very long run. But in terms of Flint getting fixed now because you`re hearing less about it right now in the national news doesn`t mean it`s fixed. The people of Flint are still living with this thing, still not getting clean water, still not getting the lead out of their pipes.



REPORTER: There was an invitation for you to come drink the filtered water. Something you`ll do?

GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: Yes. I mean, if someone -- I`m happy to look into that.


MADDOW: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder today grimacing after he said he`ll be happy to look into the prospect of drinking some tap water in Flint himself. Get folks on that. He gave that answer after announcing a whole bunch of new plans for addressing large scale led infrastructure issues for the whole state, years from now. Years after he`s gone as governor.

Model programs that everybody in the country might use some day. Neat. While in Flint, itself, people tonight still cannot drink the water. And still are not even having clean water brought into their homes.

Joining us now is Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich of Flint -- Flint born and raised.

Senator, it`s really nice to have you here tonight. Thanks for your time.

STATE SEN. JIM ANANICH (D-MI), REPRESENTS FLINT: Thank you very much, Rachel. Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: What do you think of this latest plan the governor has put out?

ANANICH: Well, I think it`s unfortunate. It`s like so many of the other proposal proposals. I won`t call them plans because plans generally have an action item that gets them resolve and gets action for them.

I think all of us want to have strict guidelines and safer water. But we are going in our third year right now to having unsafe water in Flint. And the governor -- you know, he parachutes in and has a press conference about this big plan that he`s going to do. We don`t have clean water in our community. We still have to rely on bottled water and filters. I think that`s unacceptable.

MADDOW: Senator, as you`re mentioned you`re born and raised in Flint. I`m also advised by a high level source that you`ve got a new baby boy in your family right now.


MADDOW: First of all, congratulations, which is very exciting.

ANANICH: Thank you.

MADDOW: I just have to ask as somebody who lives in Flint and you and your wife and your son, among thousands of Flint parents who have to worry about this, what`s it like not to just deal with this as an acute crisis but to deal with this, as you say, going into three years? How is it affecting families?

ANANICH: It`s -- you know, I think I`m just like most people in Flint. You know, we have fear, anxiety, guilt, you know, that we`re not protecting our families.

And we did not wrong. This is failed policies of the governor and emergency manager. We don`t have the luxury to look into using our water. We have to use it.

I would give an invitation to the governor, one that first come drink water in one of these homes with the high lead levels and also come before my committee and answer questions to the citizens of my community. Let me ask under oath and let him answer those questions he`s for so long dodged.

MADDOW: We keep hearing the legislature is happy to let the question of things like funding for replacing lead pipes to let that ride for a few months and handle in the fall to get around to that eventually, even they are positively inclined toward those kinds of fixes. It feels like there`s no urgency for that kind of thing at the legislature.

Is that an accurate perception?

ANANICH: I think that`s 100 percent spot on. There`s no question about it.

I think one of the things the governor should be doing as opposed to coming up with plans that deal with the future, he`s got a problem right now. He should come to his -- the speaker of the house in the Michigan legislature, go speak to Senator Lee and tell people to stop playing politics with my community.

These are the people`s lives in my community. We need those services. We deserve them. This was not a problem we created. We`ve been waiting for a long time. We shouldn`t have to wait any longer.

MADDOW: Michigan State Senate minority leader, Jim Ananich, Senator, thank you very much tonight.

ANANICH: Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: We won`t stop covering this. I promise.

ANANICH: I appreciate that. I think that`s important to say. It`s what`s helping keep this issue in front of us.

MADDOW: All right. Thank you, sir. We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: Because it`s Friday, I have something for you. It`s just a gift. It means nothing other than what it is. It`s not a metaphor. It`s just exactly what you think it is.

It`s a nice grandma sitting in the driver seat of a Tesla Model S while that car is driving on autopilot. Enjoy. Enjoy.


GRANDFATHER: There`s a car coming. This car is -- put me for me to control it. Oh, dear. Jesus! I could never. Ah, ah, oh, where`s it going?

Oh, my God. This is so scary. Oh, Jesus, this is my first day out and I`m about to die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, come on, relax.


MADDOW: Sometimes a nice swearing grandma driving a car on autopilot is just a nice swearing grandma driving a car on autopilot. No metaphor necessary. This is what it is.

Happy Friday. We now live if a world where cars drive themselves. That`s all. That`s all.

We`ll be right back.



JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We`re working now in so many different areas. We`re working on Sudan. We`re working on Yemen. We`re working on Libya. We`re working on the DPRK. We`re working on the South China Sea. And above all, still Afghanistan. And so, I think --

HOST: Where does Afghanistan stand? Are the Taliban continuing to make gains in Afghanistan, owning more territory?

KERRY: They have made some gains.


MADDOW: Afghanistan, still? Yes, still.

So we know how this goes now. The U.S. military has been doing this for long enough that we know how this goes and it goes like this. In Afghanistan, every year, a miraculous thing called winter slows down the fighting, literally because it`s snowy and cold. The fighting ebbs. The snow cuts off mountain passes and trails that the Taliban uses for supply routes and for transit and so winter slows down the war.

And then we know how this goes, every year, spring means the fighting starts back up. And now, it is spring. It`s spring here and it`s spring there. So, like clock work the Taliban this week announced the sort of this year`s spring fighting season.

They proclaimed in an e-mail to reporters that fighting season this year started at 5:00 a.m. local time on Tuesday. And the reason that doesn`t strike us as weird anymore, the reason we expect this and we know how this cycle goes, is because we have been doing this for such a long time.

This is the 15th straight year that the brave men and women of the United States military have done this. This is fighting season number 15 that we have put them in now. We have never in the history of our country fought a war as long as the one our military is still fighting in Afghanistan.

The U.S. currently has 9,800 troops in Afghanistan. That`s a level that has remained steady over the past year. President Obama had set a goal for getting those 10,000 troops out of Afghanistan by the end of his presidency, but he officially gave up on that goal last fall, instead, he said the war in Afghanistan would be handed off to his successor.

He set a new goal to cut the number troops from 10,000 down to between 5,000 and 6,000 before he leaves office, but even that troop decrease is now under review.

If you`re counting dollars, the U.S. has now spent more on Afghanistan reconstruction than we spent on the Marshal Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II.

Think about that for a second, and inflation adjusted, real dollars, we have now spent significantly more on reconstructing Afghanistan than we did on the Marshal Plan. Just let that sink in for a minute.

In terms of return on investment, even ahead of this year`s fighting season, the Taliban already controls more territory now than at any time since the U.S. invaded and toppled the Taliban government in 2001. They directly or exert influence over about one-third of the country right now.

Last year in September, the Taliban, you might remember, they briefly took over and held a major city in northern Afghanistan, the city of Kunduz. Today, now that the fighting season is on again, today, the Taliban starting attacking Kunduz again and at least one member of the council there says the city might fall again to the Taliban.

American forces have been involved in planning defense tactics for that city, but at the moment, no additional U.S. forces have been sent into Kunduz try to defend it again. But in that big city at least, it`s on. Again, in year 15, officials say they expect very tough combat in months ahead.

And now, in year 15, the mission is expanding. President Obama directed a new effort by Special Forces in Afghanistan to conduct new offensive operations in that country, but not against the Taliban. This time, these new operations are against ISIS.

We think of this forever war in Afghanistan as a two-sided fight, but we`ve now been there long enough that`s out of date. Now, the fight against the Taliban is being waged alongside a separate war against a new player, roughly 1,000 fighters for ISIS, who are hostile to the U.S. and to the Afghan government, but the Taliban.

So, ISIS guys are fighting the Taliban. We`re fighting the Taliban. Does that mean we`re on the side of ISIS? Of course not.

On the other hand, we`re fighting ISIS. The Taliban is fighting ISIS. So, are we on the side of the Taliban? No, of course not.

We`re fighting the Taliban and ISIS, and ISIS and the Taliban are also fighting each other.

If we had a sane and responsible political system in this country, this is what our presidential candidates would be clobbering each other about right now. This is what they`d be clamoring to beat each other about politically, because we the voters would be holding them accountable for whether or not they could fix this, because this -- for us, this needs a political solution.

I am no expert and neither you are, but a solution that has not worked in 15 straight years of trying is one that is probably not going to work in 16 years either or 17 or 18. Nothing starts to work in year 16.

And if we`re going to get a new approach here, it`s going to have to come from Congress, ha, as if, or it`s going to have to come from one of these nice folks. And as long as the war is seen as a foreign story, something that only effects military families, and as long as the fate and the work of 10,000 American troops is not seen as something that American politicians actually have to make decisions about, as long as this is just seen as an interesting international news story, then a smart solution is never going to arrive like a gift from heaven. This thing is just going to keep chugging along.

This week, we started our 15th straight fighting season in that country. First presidential candidate to notice that wins a prize. The first presidential candidate to credibly talk about how to fix that ought to win the White House if our political system made any sense.

That does it for us tonight. We will see you again on Monday.

Now, it`s time for a special Friday night edition of "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".