Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: May 20, 2016 Guest: Raymond Buckley, Maggie Lamb
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Steve. Happy Friday. You had a wicked long day today, my friend. I hope you`ll enjoy your weekend.
KORNACKI: Thank you. You too.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Super happy to have you with us here this Friday night.
This has been a busy Friday and there are a couple of serious stories that are still unfolding tonight as we speak that we`re going to be keeping an eye on, that we`ll be talking about over the course of this hour tonight as more information comes in.
One of them is the shooting that happened this afternoon in downtown Washington, D.C. very, very near to the White House. Apparently, what happens is a man with a gun approached Secret Service officers right outside the White House at one of the perimeter check points that`s manned by armed Secret Service agents.
The man reportedly had a gun, he was reportedly told numerous times that he should drop the gun. He did not do so and a Secret Service officer shot him in the chest. The man was taken to a local hospital where he was reportedly listed in critical condition.
Now, the White House was locked down very quickly when this happened this afternoon. The vice president was at the White House. He was on the White House grounds at the time. He was locked down safely. President Obama was not at the White House when this happened. The important part there is that nobody else other than this gunman was injured.
We don`t know who the gunman is. We do not know what a motive might have been or any other descriptive circumstances under what happened, but we do know that the lockdown at the White House around this incident, it was lifted around 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time today. If we learn anything any more of this over the course of the evening, we will let you know more as we learn more.
The other major story we`re keeping an eye on is, of course, EgyptAir Flight 804. Some wreckage that is believed to have come from that plane has been found. And there`s some late breaking news tonight, not necessarily about the cause of the plane crash, but it may be major clue as to what was going on on board that aircraft immediately before it fell off the radar, an Egyptian airspace early yesterday and ultimately it seems it fell into the sea. So, we`ve got that data and potentially what it could mean coming up in just a moment.
We`ve also got Chuck Todd here with us tonight, which is very nice of him to do because he has "Meet the Press" on Sunday, which means he`s very busy on Friday nights, but he`s staying here for us basically to give me a reality check on what seems to me like a weirdly important, late new development in the presidential race.
And I -- I -- I`m telling you explicitly, I believe it seems weirdly important. The reason I`ve asked Chuck Todd to join us tonight is because I want to get a gut check from him as to whether it`s just weird or it is actually important.
I can`t tell. I know it`s some degree of both. We`ll be bringing in an expert opinion from Chuck Todd on that tonight. That`s coming up in just a few minutes. There`s a lot to get to tonight.
But we start with a whole bunch of new developments on the Democratic side of the presidential race and this is all stuff that happened today into this evening. First of all, we`ve got new fund-raising numbers from both the Sanders campaign and Clinton campaign and they`re very interesting. They`re not what you think. This is what we`ve got.
Both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns have reported fund-raising numbers now for April. So, this is last month`s fundraising. And the numbers they raised in April, pretty close but Bernie Sanders is still ahead. In April, Bernie Sanders` campaign filed paperwork indicating that they raised basically $27 million in April. Hillary Clinton`s campaign filed paperwork saying they raised $25 million. So they`re both raising tons of money, Sanders is ahead, but they`re in the same ballpark there.
But now, look at this. The campaigns also have to report how much cash they have on hand, because you just don`t raise money, you also spend it. And those numbers between the two candidates are not similar at all.
This FEC filing show that the Clinton campaign started this month, they started May with $30.2 million on hand, whereas the Bernie Sanders campaign has less than $6 million on hand, $5.8 million. That`s their cash on hand reporting number from Bernie Sanders as of tonight.
So, I mean, snapshot of what`s going on between them? They`re both still raising a ton of money and raising money now at a pretty equal clip, but she`s sitting on a lot more money to spend than he is. She`s got five times his money to spend. I`m not talking super PAC money. That`s just campaign money.
So, that hasn`t been true in the late portion of the race for -- that has been true for a very long time, and that seems like a pretty big deal in terms of what`s going on in this race.
The Clinton campaign also announced today that they started working with the DNC, with Democratic National Committee, to form their general election organizations, to beef up state parties and hire field organizers, excuse me, in eight swing states.
The Clinton campaign has been making a big deal for months now how they`re not just raising money for Hillary Clinton`s campaign. They`ve also been raising money for DNC and for state parties, while this announcement today, this represents the first big disbursement of those funds. They say it`s an initial investment of $2 million to start building up Democratic state organizations for the general election in these eight states, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, eight states, building up the organizations in those states, hiring field organizers, making sure those state operations have what they need for the general election.
And that will be music to the ears of Democrats nationwide, right, who are worried about the general election prospects for the Democratic Party now that the Republicans have settled on their candidate, Donald Trump, and Democrats are still embroiled in this contested primary on this side. So, it`s going to be music to Democrats` ears to hear that those general election efforts in those key swing states are starting. It`s going to be music to the ears of the Democrats specifically in those eight states, especially because in six of those states, they`ve got Republican incumbent senators who are up for re-election this year and who the Democrats would very much like to take their seats away.
So, millions of dollars in new funding, lots of new field organizers hired, beefing up state organizations. That`s now all as of today getting under way. Sanders campaign pretty aggressively criticized Hillary Clinton`s campaign for forming the joint fund-raising that they`ve had running with DNC. The Sanders folks criticize the Clinton folks for not having enough money they were raising through that joint operation. He said not enough of that money was making its way into the various state parties, but at least $2 million of that money that Clinton raised, it`s now being spent in the swing states.
And Senator Sanders is not in a position to do anything like that. Both because he has not raised money for the Democratic Party in a joint effort the way Hillary Clinton has, but also because these FCC filings makes it like he now has his own money troubles to worry about, separate and apart from the prospect that he could ever help any state Democratic Parties or any would-be Democratic campaigns in these swing states.
Six million dollars cash on hand at the start of this month is tough, especially when on June 7th, it`s in California where he desperately needs to do well in order to press his theory of the case, and where advertising rates are just prohibitively expensive given that the media markets in the big population centers in that state and just how big that state is.
So, the Democratic presidential primary continues, still being fought out. But you, I think, today, more starkly than ever before, you can start too see the paths of the two Democratic candidates diverge really dramatically. These two candidates are going in two different directions, and all of that news emerged today as the Democratic Party leadership held one of its quarterly meetings in Philly, which is the site of the Democratic national convention this summer.
Democratic Party is not just one big national party. There`s a Democratic Party in each individual state and the heads of the Democratic Party from each of the 50 states all convened today in Philadelphia to talk about whatever it is they talk about when they get together. I don`t know.
But we now know that today, a lot of the focus of their discussion was this -- this rowdy, disorderly, ultimately, arguably, sort of scary state convention that the Nevada Democratic Party have this weekend. This even that has led to so much pandering and worry across the country as Democrats have looked at the clash between Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters, between Sanders supporters and the Democratic Party of Nevada, they have looked at that and they`re worried that maybe the Democratic primary is veering into mob scene territory. They have worried that as long as this primary is going on, this might be what it looks like when Democrats try to hold meetings or conventions anywhere between now and their big national convention in Philadelphia on July 25th.
So, tonight, the chair of the chairs, the chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic party who also speaks for all of the state chairmen in the party, he is now calling on behalf of all Democratic Party chairman in the country for much changes to happen at this late date in the process.
He says between now in Philadelphia, every time Democrats have one of these state wide meetings or conventions when they`re picking delegates, they now want a change. They want somebody at those conventions who`s high ranking from the Democratic National Committee, they want somebody high ranking there from the Sanders campaign and they want somebody high ranking there from the Clinton campaign. Also, 48 hours in advance, they want these representatives from each campaign in the DNC to meet in advance of that state convention and agree what the convention agenda is going to be and how that thing is going to be run. They want that 48 hours in advance.
They also want this which -- I don`t know. This one strikes me as it might be a problem. Quote, "There must be a commitment from both campaigns and the DNC to ensure that all conventions speakers` remarks or presentations go without interruption or interference in any manner, including auditory or visual distractions from the floor."
Now, I know why people were upset about what happened in Nevada, with the screaming and the pushing and people needing medical attention and the alleged chair throwing and cursing and all the rest of it. I mean, nobody wants to see that. But no interruption or interfering of any manner including auditory or visual distractions from the floor?
I live for auditory and visual distractions from the floor. Come on. This is the Democratic Party. This is not Sunday school, right?
You know, auditory and visual distractions, aren`t those unpreventable? Aren`t those unquashable at some basic human level? I mean, if there`s not going to be any hooting and hollering, I don`t want to be in this politics.
Joining us now is Raymond Buckley, president of the Association of State Democratic Chairs. He`s also the state chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.
Chairman Buckley, thank you very much for being with us tonight. Nice to have you here.
RAYMOND BUCKLEY, PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF STATE DEMOCRATIC CHAIRS: Thanks for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: Can you assure me the rights to hoop and holler will be protected not just in the country but within Democratic Party processes heading forward, even though you`re worried about how nasty things got in Nevada?
BUCKLEY: I think hooting and hollering is what we all live for at the conventions, but we also want to make sure that the delegates are respected and that they act in a respectful manner. That it`s not really a sporting event. It`s actually quasi legislative event and since there`s a lot of business that goes on at these state conventions, a significant number of the delegates at the convention are there for the first time. This is probably their first organized political event other than going to rally or something very close to that.
So, we think it`s important that everyone is properly registered, they get into the hall before business has begun, and that every one has the rules properly explained to them and that somebody there is there that they know that they can trust. They don`t have a relationship with a lot of the establishment within the political parties, and so, they don`t have that relationship that if somebody says something that they necessarily automatically believe it. But if there`s somebody there officially representing their candidates, presidential campaign who says, we talk about this.
This is the fair way. This is how we do it. We can move on and do this because after all this election is about November. It`s about making sure that we win the White House, we win the U.S. Senate, it can affect the U.S. Supreme Court and win the races up and down the ballot.
So, it`s important that people are welcomed. There are thousands of new Democrats who are coming to these events. We want them to come back. We want them to feel they were heard, that they were listened to and that people really had a place at something they feel comfortable being at.
MADDOW: There aren`t a ton more Democratic state conventions between now and Philly. It`s a little hard to find the schedules of these things. But as far as I can tell, it`s somewhere less than 10. But there are a few more.
BUCKLEY: A little more.
MADDOW: OK. But there aren`t a majority of them left. There`s some left between now and Philly.
BUCKLEY: Correct, mm-hmm.
MADDOW: Does this -- these changes that you were calling for today. Does that reflect an assessment by you and the other Democratic state party chairs that there`s a real threat that Nevada is going to happen again, that things are going go that off the rails or is this just preventive? Even if Nevada was a fluke, you just want to make sure it doesn`t happen again even though you don`t expect it.
BUCKLEY: Nobody was happy with what`s happened in Nevada. Not either presidential campaigns, certainly not the state party, and certainly not those of us from around the country looking on. We simply don`t think that that needs to happen, and let`s take some preventive measures by everyone working together.
This absolutely depends on 100 percent participation by the Sanders campaign, by the Clinton campaign, by the DNC and each and every one of those state parties. Everyone working together to make sure this is the best experience possible and they were able to lead the state conventions and go to our national convention and head to the general election in a united form. We believe we can do that.
We`ve got some great people. It`s important that everyone feels welcome and respected.
MADDOW: Raymond Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, president of the Association of Democratic Chairs, which means you`re chair of the chairs, which means you`re a big chair -- I really appreciate your being here tonight, sir. And as long as hooting and hollering is still allowed, I think people will be on board with what you`re suggesting. Good luck, sir. Thank you.
BUCKLEY: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got a lot to get to tonight. We actually have these latest details on the crash of the EgyptAir flight, including some very, very granularly specific information about what was going on onboard that plane just before the crash and some extrapolation about what that might mean, what other types of crashes this might be like. We`ve got that and a lot more ahead.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Civics dorks don`t often get a chance to showcase broader talents and interest. But this week, in the almighty "Jeopardy" has been airing its special power players episodes from Washington, D.C. And last night, the power player in the hot seat was Senator Al Franken and then I fainted and died.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Moderate for 400.
MADDOW: I`m Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. On February 6th, 2015, I moderated the first in the South Democratic candidates forum asking these three politicians how they`d fix the party`s fortunes in the South.
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: Who are Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O`Malley?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Nicely done, Senator Franken. And thank you, "Jeopardy." It`s amazing, right? It`s weird.
I want to be the answer to all your questions, forever.
MADDOW: We got new information today about what may have happened on board the EgyptAir flight that disappeared early yesterday morning with 66 people on board. These are automated computer messages that were sent during Flight 804`s final minutes. These are called ACARS messages. They`re automatically sent out, they communicate data about the plane`s vital systems and they tell us some interesting stuff about the last couple of minutes of that flight.
At 26 minutes after midnight, two sensors on the cockpit`s right rear window went off. At the same time, a smoke sensor went off in the lavatory that`s right behind the cockpit. One minute later, there was an alert about smoke in the avionics compartment. Then, another window sensor went off. And then three minutes after all those sensors started popping off, 29 minutes past midnight, then problems were indicated with the pilots` flight controls and computers.
And it was three or four minutes after that when the plane started turning wildly and falling from the sky and eventually dropping off the radar. We`ve got all that information. All of that still does not tell us what might have caused all those things to go wrong or caused the crash. Certainly it could have been a bomb that caused a fire. It could have been a fire in the cabin.
There have been instances in the past where improperly stored cargo has combusted in the cargo hold and brought down a plane. That`s what brought down ValuJet Flight 592 in the Everglades in 1996.
That said, the smoke alerts from the ACARS system from EgyptAir 804, they may not even have been caused by smoke. "The New York Times" reported today that sensor warnings like these could also be set off by conditions like condensation or sudden drop in air pressure. It doesn`t have to be smoke.
In any case, those are clues. We now know something catastrophic happened onboard that plane. We still don`t know what. If it was a terror attack of some kind, nobody is taking responsibility for it.
We may only find out the cause of this disaster through the physical investigation of the remains of the plane. And given where the first debris was discovered today, finding the rest of the plane and its recorders is going to be a challenge. Authorities have mirrored their search area to about 40 square miles. But this part of the Mediterranean Sea where the plane is believed to have gone down is nearly two miles deep and it is very unforgiving territory.
Egyptian, Greek, French, and American ships and planes are all scouring that patch of the Mediterranean. More ships are expected to arrive in coming days. They`re on a deadline. Those black box recorders only send out their electronic location pings for 30 days.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: The National Wresting Hall of Fame is in Stillwater, Oklahoma. It`s been around for 40 years. Earlier this month, for the first time in its history, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame rescinded an award they had previously given out.
The guy they took the award back from was Denny Hastert. Denny Hastert had been a wrestling coach in his home state of Illinois before he went on to become the longest serving Republican speaker of the House in U.S. history.
Now, it`s happened again. This time, it`s Northern Illinois University. They just rescinded an honorary degree they gave to Denny Hastert almost 20 years ago.
Denny Hastert is due to report to prison June 22nd. He was convicted on charges related to paying hush money to a man who says Denny Hastert molested him when he was a high school student. And since Denny Hastert was indicted and convicted and admitting an open court to mistreating boys that he coached, since then, institutions like the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Northern Illinois University which once gave him an honorary degree, they have moved formally and publically to wipe him off their slate, to defend their honor as institutions despite their previous association with him.
But, you know, you don`t look at Denny Hastert and think, Northern Illinois University. You don`t look at him and think, you know, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. You look at him and think, U.S. House of Representatives. He was the longest serving Republican speaker in U.S. history.
But so far, as the U.S. House of Representatives is concerned, they haven`t -- as an institution have done nothing to distance themselves from Denny Hastert other than taking down his picture. Literally, they took his portrait down in the hall and that`s it.
The U.S. House of Representative has the ability to censure both its members and its former members if they want to. It`s not an everyday thing. The last time, a former House member was censured was in the 19th century. It doesn`t happen often, but then neither does Denny Hastert. He`s the highest ranking American elected official to have ever been sentenced to prison.
He`s the only high ranking American official to have been sentenced to prison after admitting in open court to being a serial child molester. This Denny Hastert thing is not a run-of-the-mill former member of Congress gone bad thing, he was the longest running speaker of the House, and it was not that long ago that he was speaker.
But since he has been convicted and sentenced to prison and given a report date, even as all these other institutions in the country have taken steps to disassociate themselves from him and make clear where they stand in relation to Denny Hastert, Congress, the House of Representatives has said beep, nothing. No reprimand, no censure. Are they really just going to let this go?
MADDOW: So this is a quote to "The New York Times." If you`re looking to get reintroduced to the world, here`s one way to do it. Quote to "The New York Times."
Quote, "I can hear the glass crunching on Kristallnacht in the ghettos of Warsaw and Vienna when I hear that, honest." Kristallnacht. Really? That will get everyone`s attention.
Bill Weld is the former governor of Massachusetts. He was named yesterday to be Gary Johnson`s potential vice presidential running on the libertarian ticket this year. Governor Bill Weld left office in Massachusetts in 1997. So, he hasn`t been around for a while in active partisan politics, but he was named to the perspective libertarian ticket yesterday.
And in his first interview after making ticket, he told "The New York Times" when they asked him to explain his main issue with the Donald Trump candidacy, he said his main issue was Trump`s plan to round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. In response to that plan, he gave this quote, "I can hear the glass crunching on Kristallnacht in the ghettos of Warsaw and Vienna when I hear that, honest." Wow. Right?
I`m not saying a lot of people haven`t been thinking that sort of thing, having been making those sort of analogies right in their mind. But coming right out there and saying it, it`s kind of, you know, right to the kisser. Pow!
Now, on the other hand, Nazi analogies make people queasy for a reason. Calling somebody a Nazi is usually a nice shortcut to losing an argument, right, because there`s nothing quite like a Nazi that`s not actually a Nazi. It`s usually a bad analogy.
Still, though, nice to re-meet you, Governor Bill Weld, because that`s kind of the wrapping of where I`m at. The wrapping of hello, nice to re-meet you, and also Nazi metaphor in the same bonbon. That`s kind of where I`m at right now on the issue that has me genuinely confused and I`m not sure what to think. It`s question of whether or not the libertarian party might make a real run for it in 2016.
I mean, if they`re ever going to, 2016 kind of feels like this year might be the year. Most people couldn`t tell you who`s on the top of libertarian ticket for 2016 right now, but the FOX News poll this week actually asked people if they would vote for Gary Johnson, libertarian, for president. He polled 10 percent against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton nationwide.
I mean, in general terms, that puts Gary Johnson about five points away from qualifying to be in the national presidential debates this year. That`s with nobody even knowing he`s running. You can see why some conservatives who don`t like Donald Trump might be willing to consider a longshot that`s maybe not that long in terms of Johnson getting into real contention in this race.
Also this year, and not unrelated factor here, the Republican Party`s nominee for president this year is a different kind of cat, different kind of Republican from anyone who has ever been nominated by a Republican Party before. Mr. Trump`s nominee has created at least uncertainty as to what`s going to happen among some conservatives, even among some Republican stalwarts who do not want to vote for Donald Trump but also do not want to vote for Hillary Clinton, are they really going to get a plan C? If they can`t get on board with Trump and they can`t get on board with Clinton, will they not just sit on their hands and look for somewhere else to cast their vote?
Could this be a third-party year? Could this be specifically a Libertarian Party year?
There also been some rumors, right now, there are just rumors, that really mega conservative donors like the Koch brothers, very rich guys who have been favorable to libertarian party and libertarian causes in their distant past, there are rumors this year that they might conceivably come back to the Libertarian Party if Libertarians could put together a reasonable ticket that might have some constructive role in national politics this year.
So there are all these little reasons stacking up that may make it seem like maybe this year, this could be for real. Maybe 2016 is the libertarian moment for presidential politics?
On the other hand, it`s the Libertarian Party, and even though they always make a case that they ought to matter, they never matter. They really never matter.
Well, now we know who the Libertarian Party is likely to pick as their ticket this year. It`s likely to be Gary Johnson again. He was also their candidate in 2012 when he pulled the big 1 percent of the vote, and we know as of yesterday that Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts, would likely be Gary Johnson`s running mate. That was the big surprise announcement from the Libertarians yesterday.
So, now, when it comes to figuring out if this might be the year for the Libertarians to matter, if they might actually be a real factor nationwide in this year`s presidential election, now it`s not just the political science of it. Now, it`s not just the political circumstances of it.
Now, we know specifically that it`s these two guys and so now we get to consider them as people and candidates as well, and that brings us to today`s wild card and me figuring out what I think about the libertarian prospects of affecting the 2016 election this year. The wild card is what I call the strength from the sky factor -- the strength from the sky factor. Is it a good thing or is it a bad thing?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Why should Americans be comfortable with Gary Johnson as commander in chief?
BILL WELD (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: Gary is a force. I mean, he`s climbed the highest mountain on all seven continents. I remember him being the massive ironman triathlete. So, he`s a physical throw himself against the wall, kind of a Teddy Roosevelt guy. He`s a real Westerner. He`s a real outdoor guy.
I think being a real outdoor guy makes him calm. He draws strength from the sky almost.
TODD: So, you believe he has the temperament to be president?
WELD: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Strength from the sky almost.
Joining us now is Chuck Todd who just did that interview with Bill Weld, who will likely be the vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party this year.
Chuck, of course, is NBC`s political director and moderator of "Meet the Press."
Mr. Todd, thank you for being here.
TODD: Hello, Rachel. Strength from the sky. It was something else.
MADDOW: Well, for you to -- I mean, that was sort of genius moment to get from strength from the sky to do you mean temperament for president? It was a generous -- it was a generous leap there that you made for Governor Weld.
TODD: Well, look, I think that that`s the -- that`s what`s going to be the difficulty here. Look, Gary Johnson four years ago was a candidate that didn`t look like he was ready. Remember, he was running in the Republican primary. He didn`t look he was ready for prime time.
In his defense, I had him on the show a couple of weeks ago, on "MTP DAILY", and he seemed to be a lot more practiced. He seemed to have thought this out a little more. There was less willy-nilly about it.
So -- but I`m guessing he`s probably not liking the way Bill Weld described him as a potential commander in chief. You do need to get past the plausibility factor, but let`s talk about why we should be paying attention. Why we should be paying attention is what we pointed out.
You have two people, majority of the country have unfavorable views of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. There is a vacuum here.
There are to two minor parties that have battle access, the Libertarian Party and the Green Party. Well, suddenly, you have a Libertarian Party with not one but two former two-term governors, both happen to be Republican, but both sort of running, feeling as if their party left them. They`re social moderates, fiscal conservatives.
And Bill Weld is personally wealthy. Why does that matter? At a minimum, there are state ballots that libertarians have to fight to get on. Well, maybe Bill Weld helps pay for that fight to get on.
So, then all of a sudden, there are these ballots, there is this vacuum, they could become de facto none of the above. And there does seem to be in our new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll that`s coming out this weekend, Rachel, our pollster said there was an unusually high neither factor in here, meaning we asked a two-way race, Clinton or Trump. We didn`t give them the option of picking neither, and yet the highest number or pollsters in a presidential head to head picked neither. So, there`s a vacuum out there.
MADDOW: Chuck, how do pollsters decide broadly speaking? I know every pollster is different. But how do pollsters decide whether or not to put somebody like Gary Johnson and Bill Weld as a possibility out there when they do national polls? It`s going to end up potentially being an important factor in their candidacy if they`re trying to get into the general election debates. They need that 15 percent threshold in national polls.
TODD: Look, I think the right standard -- look, every news organization -- it depends on -- we as a news organization tell our pollsters whether or not to include in stuff like that. So, for instance, we believe in asking it both ways, right? You ask two-way and then you ask it three-way, because sometimes offering the option first and a respondent may not know and go, oh, yes, I`ll pick the third option.
I think the right way to do this and understand it is to always see both numbers side by side so you have an idea of what the possibility is. But I think in this case, because you have two nominees with unusually high negatives, that`s when you should put on the -- check to see, well, if they have a third option, will they go there, because that doesn`t impact.
Rachel, let`s play this out. The way third party candidates have work and have had an impact before, to me the first 5 percent takes equally from both parties any time you see any of those numbers. It`s the next ten, right? The next two five percent that starts pulling from one side or the other. When you start doing that and you lower the minimum number in some states, I think the libertarian could put some in play for Democrats that are normally or a little bit out of reach, say, in Missouri, and then the libertarians could pull somewhat from the left and maybe some Sanders supporter, maybe they put a Minnesota in play for the Republicans type of thing.
If you lower the winning number to 45, 46, 47 percent, then you start seeing certain red states that could go blue and certain blue states that could go red. So, they could really sort of upset the entire structure of swing states which I think as a junkie and as an American citizen is a good thing because then you`d have to have candidates campaigning in more than just the eight to 12 states they`d campaign in in the fall.
MADDOW: You`d have to have them campaigning in a more interesting matrix of issues, so that the libertarians couldn`t take popular issues away from you that might -- yes -- see, you have made me now not feel crazy for thinking this might be an important libertarian year. Thank you for that.
TODD: I think we should not ignore that until they give us cause to ignore them.
MADDOW: Fair enough, Chuck Todd, thank you for staying late on a Friday to do this, my friend. I really appreciate it.
TODD: Good to talk to you, Rachel.
Chuck is, of course, host of "Meet the Press", mandatory viewing Sunday mornings here on NBC. I should tell you he has an exclusive guest this Sunday you might have heard of. Her name is Hillary Clinton on "Meet the Press" this weekend with Chuck Todd.
All right. We`ve got lots more ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: A sitting U.S. president is about to go where no sitting U.S. pretty has ever gone before. Not the moon, not the one little desert hole that`s the last place on earth where the endangered pupfish live.
No. The president is going at the end of our political reach, our human reach. He`s going to a very, very, very bold and controversial frontier. That`s next.
MADDOW: The presidential election in the year 2000 happened on November 7th that year. November 7th, 2000. That, of course, was Bush versus Gore, ultimately decided by the Supreme Court.
That was the American presidential election that took more than a month to get resolved even though some people think it never really was resolved. But Bush versus Gore was a drama in and of itself.
It was also technically speaking, it was a drama about who would succeed the outgoing president at that time who was Bill Clinton. So here`s the question -- while Bush v. Gore was being decided, what was President Clinton doing all that time?
It sort of seems strange looking back on it now, but while that was happening, while the United States was in the midst of that unprecedented and super precarious constitutional crisis, the man who was still sitting president of the country at the time left the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: If it weren`t for this presidential election melodrama, the sitting president would be a big story today given where he is tonight. President Clinton arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, today on the historic three-day visit. On the agenda, the tragic legacy of the Vietnam War for both sides, the new ties linking once bitter enemies.
NBC`s Andrea Mitchell has more on the president`s visit tonight.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS REPORTER: A remarkable new chapter in history. Thousands of Vietnamese in throngs on the streets of Hanoi, the most Vietnamese to ever turn out for a foreign leader, trying to catch the glimpse of an American president, Bill Clinton. The first U.S. president to visit Vietnam since Richard Nixon in 1969.
Back then, a young Bill Clinton was a graduate in England, protesting the war and Nixon. Now, Clinton says he`s learned as president that decisions to use force are hard with unintended consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was November 16th, 2000. It was more than a week after the presidential election had taken place that year. It was nine days from what would ultimately be five weeks of uncertainty about who had won that presidential election and who would be the next president and how our country would figure that out, how we would pick the next president.
But in the midst of that, Bill Clinton left the country and went to Vietnam, and him going to Vietnam was a really big deal. First president to go Vietnam since Nixon. Big deal.
Not as big a deal, though, as what President Obama is about to do starting this weekend. President Obama is leaving tomorrow. He`s going to retrace Bill Clinton`s footsteps a little. He`s going to Vietnam. He`ll be in Hanoi, and in Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City.
But then he`s going to Japan, a Japanese visit by President Obama that will start with the big G-7 Summit. But then on Friday, it will end at Hiroshima. No sitting American president has ever visited Hiroshima since the United States in 1945 made the decision to drop an atomic bomb on that city to try to end World War II.
Japan did surrender within less than a week of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki threes days later. But those bombs killed over 100,000 citizens and they remain the only time nuclear weapons have been used in war by any country for any reason anywhere on earth.
And since we did that, no U.S. president has been to Hiroshima, but President Obama is about to go there. He leaves the White House tomorrow. He`ll arrive in Hanoi on Sunday night, which sounds a little weird, but it`s mostly because of the time difference.
He`ll go to Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday. He`ll then fly to Japan for that G-7 summit on Wednesday and Thursday, and it will be on Friday, a week from today, when President Obama will be in Hiroshima.
The White House tells us there will be no apology for the U.S. dropping a nuclear bomb on that city. But beyond that, what will he say while he`s there? What can he say?
Watch this space.
MADDOW: Do you hear something? I think -- I definitely, I definitely hear something. It`s coming.
Whoo-hoo! Friday Night News Dump time. Happy Friday!
Kent Jones, who is tonight`s lucky player?
KENT JONES, TRMS: Tonight, Rachel, we have Maggie Lamb from Arlington, Virginia. She is a communications consultant. She once rescued a cat in Cambodia. And also it says she once went on a date at the Soviet tank park in Kabul, Afghanistan.
JONES: Please meet Maggie.
MADDOW: Maggie, are you lying about any of those things? They all seem too amazing to be true?
MAGGIE LAMB, ARLINGTON, VA: No, they`re all true. The little cat is her royal Princess Twiggy of Twiggystan (ph) and she`s been with me everywhere I go.
MADDOW: How did the date go?
LAMB: Well, it was fun at the time.
MADDOW: I got you. I know exactly how that one ended.
Well, Maggie, I cannot guarantee that this game will be more fun than a date in a Soviet tank park in Kabul. But it`s really nice to have you here. Thanks for playing.
LAMB: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. You`re going to get three questions all together, all about this week`s news. You probably know, you need to get two right to win this little ball of yum.
JONES: Of course, this is THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW cocktail shaker, small, but powerful. Essential.
MADDOW: Small. It`s not -- and a little leaky. If you get extra credit, we do have some extra good random office swag tonight.
Please explain, Kent.
JONES: It is extra good. This comic book is about civil rights legend John Lewis. It`s part of a trilogy of books. It is super cool. I think this is one of the best gifts -- best prizes.
MADDOW: We have previewed the graphic novel march. It`s a trilogy and they made this comic book that gives you little excerpts of each one of the volumes of the trilogy, including the third one, third volume, which is not yet out. And it`s really good. So you could win that tonight.
JONES: Oh, that`s amazing.
MADDOW: I know. I think so too.
All right. Let`s bring in the disembodied voice of Steve Benen from Maddow Blog. He will determine whether or not you got the right answer and get the swag.
STEVE BENEN, MADDOW BLOG: Good evening to you both.
MADDOW: First question, Maggie. Ready?
MADDOW: Wednesday`s show, I interviewed a former Bernie Sanders staffer who is now helping run a new campaign effort. And that new campaign wants to run 435 candidates for Congress, all at once, all on the same platform, all using the same campaign, in the midterms, in 2018.
What is the name of that new campaign? Is it, A, the 50-state solution? B, for the win 2018? C, Brand New Congress? Or D, progressive insurance.
LAMB: I like 50-state solution, but it was, in fact, C, Brand New Congress.
MADDOW: Steve, did Maggie get that right?
BENEN: Yes, she did. The correct answer is Brand New Congress, and Maggie is one for one.
MADDOW: Brand New Congress, well done. Off to an excellent start.
OK. Next question is from Tuesday`s show. Actually, that`s actually Tuesday election coverage, but we talked about it on Monday`s show in advance. Because Tuesday we got election results from Kentucky and from Oregon. And Oregon has a unique method of voting.
What is different about voting in Oregon? Is it, A, that Oregon lets every citizen vote, regardless of age, including children. B, Oregon casts votes only by mail. C, every Oregon ballot is write-in, only. They don`t print candidates` names on the ballots. Or, D, every Oregon ballot has a bird on it.
LAMB: Well, it should have a bird on it, at least for Portland, but it`s B, they vote only by mail.
MADDOW: Steve? What`s the right answer?
BENEN: I think she`s the first one to ever laugh at some of these answers. Let`s check the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: One of the things that`s exciting about covering Oregon primary night is that Oregon is really weird. Oregon -- and I mean that in the best possible way. But Oregon is the first state in the country where everybody votes by mail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BENEN: Yes, the correct answer is "B," and Maggie is right once again.
All right, this is the big one. This is for all the marbles and the actually good thing you could win tonight. Last night`s show, we talked about whether a third party candidacy could be a significant factor in the presidential election in November this year.
One crucial factor for that, as you know, is ballot access. So, here`s the question. In addition to the Democratic and Republican candidates for president, which other party`s candidate will almost assuredly be on the ballot in all, if not most, of the 50 states this November? What other party has really good ballot access, besides the Democrats and the Republicans?
Is it, A, the Independent Party? B, the American Freedom Party? C, the Libertarian Party? Or d, the fight for your right to party?
LAMB: Oh, I really want it to be "D," but, sadly, it`s those really grumpy people in "C," the libertarians.
MADDOW: They are trying to improve their image. Steve, do you have the answer for us?
BENEN: Let`s check last night`s show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Getting on the ballot in all 50 states right now with an independent candidacy, it`s just not possible. But the libertarian candidate this year almost assuredly will be on the ballot in all 50 states. They`ve got ballot access.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BENEN: Yes, the correct answer is Libertarian Party and Maggie is right once again.
MADDOW: Kent, do the math! Did Maggie win everything?
JONES: Crushed it!
MADDOW: Crushed it!
Maggie, you`re amazing. And your cat is lucky to have you. And we thank you for playing. It was really nice to meet you. Thank you for being here.
LAMB: Thank you very much.
MADDOW: Yay! We`ll send you your stuff.
If you want to play to win more or less awesome stuff that we find in our offices, please send us an e-mail, Rachel@MSNBC.com. That`s our real e- mail address. It works. Rachel@MSNBC.com. Tell us who you are, where you`re from, why you want to play the news dump.
And don`t go anywhere, because here comes Chris Matthews and "HARDBALL".
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END