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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/11/2016

The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/11/2016

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: October 11, 2016 Guest:


Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  I owe you one, as I frequently do.  Thank you, my friend.

HAYES:  Oh, no.  Those all will come out in the wash.

MADDOW:  Thanks, dear. 

In the fall of 2007, in November 2007, the gods of fate and chance and gambling in Las Vegas decided that it was time for the Frontier Casino to come down.  Because it was Las Vegas, though, and because Americans love to see stuff blow up, when they decided to take down that Frontier Casino, they decided to do it right.  It slated for demolition, but they built basically a fireworks display, kind of like flares onto the front of the building. 

So, instead of just saying, four, three, two, one out loud before they demolished it, they had the lights count down, four, three, two, one and then lit up on the front of the building, they had a big TNT plunger.  You didn`t just hear them announce they were going to blow it up, you could see it acted out on lights in the front of the building as they were destroying the building. 

Just in case the explosion alone was not entertaining enough for you, they put extra explosions on the thing they were exploding. 

Two, one -- and then comes the TNT.  Yeah, this is like the most American explosion in the history of America.  This is like meat with meat sauce.  But that is how they took down the Frontier Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, in November 2007. 

Americans like to see things blow up.  Sometimes it goes great, sometimes an incredible over the top spectacle like that.  Sometimes it goes poorly.  Like when they blew up the Kingdome in Seattle and they forgot to account for all the dust that would cover all the people and then the dust covered up the downtown for hours.  It doesn`t always go great. 

But when they blow things up on purpose in this country, it almost never goes the way it went today in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, with this bridge.  This is Broadway Bridge over the Arkansas River.  It`s a bridge that is old.  It`s being replaced.  Yay for infrastructure. 

But today was a day when they actually needed to get rid of this old second of the bridge in order to make room to bring in its replacement.  And blowing up the old bridge over the Arkansas River, that kind of thing is exciting to watch, right?  People took time off from work to go watch this happen today at 10:00 local time in Little Rock.

Local TV stations have been hyping this for days.  Not just, you know, amateurs and explosion watchers but local TV shows and everybody had their cameras set up.  Tons of reporters on the scene to record the big moment when they`re going to blow up the bridge and fall into the Arkansas River. 

And again, you know, things sometimes do go wrong when we blow stuff up on purpose in this country.  But things almost never go wrong precisely like this. 


REPORTER:  We just heard the first horn which we were told that would be about five minutes out from the implosion, the excitement is building here in anticipation, Marcy, of this part of the bridge coming down.  Back to you. 

TV ANCHOR:  And to continue checking in with Shannon because she`s obviously got that best vantage point.  I don`t know about the folks in the doubletree, Shannon.  Your view looks pretty good.

If you`re just now joining us, we are waiting for the implosion of the Broadway Bridge set to happen -- well, it was supposed to happen about 10:00, but these things take a little time.  We`re at 10:02 now.  We`re going to stick with it to see if -- wow. 

So, apparently that sound, that horn was actually a two-minute alert that Shannon heard there. 


MADDOW:  So what`s wrong with this picture, right?  You can tell from the anchor`s discussion like one of the things that happened was it went off when nobody was expecting it to go off.  Was that the fine-minute warning?  Oh, there it is, right? 

So, part of what went wrong was there was no three, two, one.  Nobody knew it was going to blow up.  But we kept the shot up because something else has gone wrong here, right?  The bridge has not come down. 

I mean, we got the explosions.  You still see the smoke there on the water.  We were expecting the bridge to be blown up on the water but the bridge is still standing. 

We`ve got it from another vantage point.  This is actually a better angle.  I`ll warn you it`s coming, right?  I`ll tell you what you hear here is the explosion and then the sound cuts off on the camera because of the big loud boom.  But watch it from this angle. 

Ready?  Ready?  Three, two, one.  That`s where the sound cuts out.  See, it`s still going.  It`s still going.  Big explosion.  See all that junk fly off the bridge and into the poor Arkansas River.  The birds sort of take off.  See, here are the birds, right?  Then they`re like, ooh, fly over the other direction. 

But the bridge is still there after the explosion.  This was the Arkansas Highway Department that was in charge of imploding this bridge today.  They were very excited to blow up this bridge today. 

This is their Twitter feed today ahead of the 10:00 a.m., you know, detonation time.  Pulaski County, Broadway Bridge will be imploded at 10:00 a.m. with this guy from the department pressing the button.  Here`s the last look.

And then they tried to blow it up at 10:00 a.m. and that guy presumably pushed the button, but it didn`t blow up. 

This is the following tweet from them.  Look, well, that didn`t go quite as well as planned. 


So, in the local press today in Arkansas, that`s interesting, cool enough to have a planned bridge implosion, the coverage of the local story.  What`s weird is when you have to cover a failed bridge implosion, but that`s what they had to cover today in Arkansas.

Look at this, "Update, Broadway Bridge still stands after explosion attempt."  Quote, "Upon the detonation of the explosives, the bridge did not fall.  Officials are in the process of inspecting the bridge in search of a new way to bring it down.  Those working on the bridge warn that it is very dangerous and unsteady at this point and it could fall at any time.  More details to come."

So, Little Rock, Arkansas, just had this weird thing happen today.  This little bridge that they tried their darnedest to blow up and they did explode it but it didn`t collapse.  And that just was this weird thing after the detonation time, right, because after they were supposed to blow it up and they tried, it was still standing there.  So, all day today in Little Rock, there was this uncollapsed partially exploded bridge still standing there unsafe, weak, threatening to fall any minute, not fit to bear any human weight, but all day today still there. 

So, how is the Republican Party doing in today`s news?  Today at, which is the conservative website that used to be run by the man who is now running Donald Trump`s campaign, today they started running this pop-up ad in support of Donald Trump`s campaign.  You see the ad there in that sort of inset, right? 

It`s got the Trump logo on the top.  "It`s us against the world."  Weirdly, though, there`s no us in the photo.  Look who is in the photo.  It`s a photo of Donald Trump looking at himself in the mirror.  That`s the us. 

Donald Trump has spent the last 24 hours going hammer and tongs against the party that made him their presidential nominee this year. 

This is from Trump today, "Disloyal Republicans are far more difficult than crooked Hillary.  They come at you from all sides.  They don`t know how to win.  I will teach them."

He also went after the Republican Party`s presidential nominee from 2008, calling him on Twitter today, quote, "the very foul-mouthed Senator John McCain."

He also went after the highest ranking Republican elected official in the country, House Speaker Paul Ryan, calling Paul Ryan today, quote, "our very weak and ineffective leader Paul Ryan."

And whether or not Donald Trump is happily or unhappily transfixed by his own face in the mirror, he does appear to be losing the election clearly and badly right now, as he turns on his own party.  "The New York Times" number crunchers, they update every day based on new polling numbers. 

Today, their "New York Times" projections is that Hillary Clinton has an 88 percent chance of winning the presidential election.  Donald Trump`s chances by their count are down to 12 percent. 

At, it`s almost that bad for Trump.  FiveThirtyEight is giving Hillary Clinton an 83.5 percent chance of winning the election, and Donald Trump a 16.5 percent chance of winning. 

Down ticket a little bit, the projections for who`s going to win the Senate, those tend to be much tighter projections but the people who are making electoral forecasts in terms of who`s going to control the Senate next year, they are now saying that Senate control once again is leaning towards going to the Democrats as well.  Of course, the Holy Grail for the Democrats would not just be winning the White House and winning control of the Senate, the Holy Grail, the almost unattainable dream for Democrats this year would be regaining control of the House as well and turfing out Paul Ryan, putting Nancy Pelosi back in charge. 

The generic ballot where people were asked generically without names if they`d like to vote for a Republican candidate for Congress or Democrat, that generic ballot right now is trending quite strongly toward the Democrats.  We also keep reading reports that secret internal polling from both parties now shows House races to start to trend toward the Democrats.  That`s reportedly some of what drove Paul Ryan yesterday to announce that he would no longer defend his party`s presidential nominee, no longer defend Donald Trump.  Instead he would just focus only on trying to keep Republican control of the House. 

Now, that`s internal secret polling.  There`s no way for us to check that.  But we do have multiple reports from multiple sources in both parties saying that they are looking at numbers in the House and Republicans should be worried. 

And maybe that`s true.  I mean, control of the House is really an almost unattainable thing that Democrats could almost wish for.  They would need to flip 30 seats in the House from Republican to Democrat in order to get control of that chamber.  We reported just a few weeks ago that the Democrats` best case scenario is they`d only take half that number of seats, even if everything went their way.

As recently as a few weeks ago, Democrats weren`t even dreaming of being able to take over the House.  They were dreaming of getting halfway there.  It is still exceedingly unlikely that they could ever take over the House unless there was a huge landslide on November 8th. 

We`re talking, you know, a double digit win for Hillary Clinton, and knock on effects down ballot, all across the country, as Democrats turn out to vote and Republicans don`t or as voters of every stripe decide to vote for Democrats instead of Republicans out of revulsion for the Republican Party having nominated Donald Trump and most of their candidates sticking by him. 

It`s hard to imagine the Democrats would be even in a position to dream about taking the House let alone hope to be taking back the House, let alone plan to be taking back the House.  But all of a sudden, today, a lot of things fell in place that point in that direction all at once.  Not least of them is the fact that the Republican Party`s own presidential nominee is now campaigning against House Republicans and hoping they lose their elections. 

When Republicans started peeling off from supporting Donald Trump this weekend after the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape, Donald Trump started openly rooting for them to lose their elections this year.  This was him Sunday morning, 10:00 a.m., "So many self-righteous hypocrites," meaning people abandoning him in his own party.  "Watch their poll numbers and their elections go down."

This is not Trump tweeting against Democrats.  That`s him tweeting against Republicans, right?  He`s egging his supporters on to get excited about Republicans losing their elections this year.  That is what this has turned into in the home stretch, right?  Us against the world and by us, he means himself and the vision of himself he sees in the mirror. 

I mean, Donald Trump still does have an us.  He still has a running mate, Mike Pence.  Donald Trump says he chose Mike Pence to be his running mate specifically for the purposes of party unity.  Mike Pence is supposed to be the bridge between Donald Trump and the Republican Party.  He`s supposed to be the part of the Trump campaign that makes normal Republicans feel comfortable with Donald Trump being their nominee. 

But I`m here to tell you tonight that there is something weird going on with Mike Pence in the Trump campaign and it`s not about the earlier rumors that he was going to jump off the ticket or anything like that.  This is something different, and I believe we`re the first to report this and this is foundational as to whether the Republican Party and the Trump campaign are even pulling in the same direction anymore. 

Now, I believe we`re the first to connect these dots, but follow me here.  I think there`s something odd going on with Mike Pence.  You might have seen something in the political press over the last couple of days over the fact that Pence had a fund-raiser scheduled in Nebraska.  He was supposed to do a fundraiser today in Nebraska with Nebraska`s Republican Governor Pete Ricketts. 

That Mike Pence fundraiser in Nebraska was canceled.  That itself isn`t a big deal.  You know, campaign events get canceled, fund-raisers get moved.  But check out why it was canceled.

It was canceled for, quote, "a lack of interest in the donor community in Nebraska for the Trump/pence fund-raiser."

Now, the Nebraska governor is Pete Ricketts.  The Ricketts family are a billionaire Republican family.  They have their own super PAC supporting the Trump/Pence ticket, but apparently, even they couldn`t rustle up enough donors to make it worth Mike Pence`s while to come to Nebraska for a fund- raiser. 

So, that Mike Pence Nebraska fundraiser canceled for a lack of interest.  We`re the first in the national news to now report that that Nebraska fund- raiser is not the only one canceled this week for a lack of interest.  Mike Pence was also supposed to do a fund-raiser in New Jersey, heavily Republican part of the state, Ocean County, New Jersey.  Word got out over this past weekend that that New Jersey Mike Pence fund-raiser was being canceled.  And a lot of people assumed because of the timing that Pence had canceled that event in New Jersey because of fallout from the Donald Trump "Access Hollywood" tape that came out on Friday. 

But look at the local coverage.  Ocean County politics was among the first to report that that fund-raiser was canceled and Gavin Rousey (ph), the editor of Ocean County Politics, he tells us it wasn`t the "Access Hollywood" tape that resulted in the Mike Pence fund-raiser getting canceled.  He tells us, in fact, that fundraiser got canceled a day or two before the tape came out.  And the reason that fund-raiser in New Jersey got canceled, according to multiple Republican sources who were involved in planning it is because they couldn`t get anybody to show up.  Again, a lack of interest in attending that fund-raiser with Mike Pence. 

So, Pence is supposed to be the bridge from Donald Trump to normal Republicans, right?  To the rest of the Republican Party.  What we`re seeing now in Nebraska and New Jersey, two very disparate parts of the country, two very disparate types of people in the Republican Party, right, what we`re seeing is that Mike Pence can`t even do fund-raisers for the Trump campaign right now because there aren`t enough normal Republicans left who are willing to come to those events.  Not enough Republicans will show up in person at an event with Mike Pence to give him money.  Not enough to make it worth his while to show up. 

And so, could it be a landslide, right?  Could it be an implosion of the Republican party big enough to bring the whole thing down, to make the unthinkable thinkable?  To turn Washington blue instead of just the White House? 

The headline tonight in "The Washington Post" is Trump declares war on GOP, says the shackles have been taken off.  Today, midday, in fact, Trump did send out this tweet.  "It`s so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to."

I don`t know who he felt was shackling him.  But what he mostly appears to be fighting now that the shackles are off is the party that nominated him for president.  He`s rooting for their demise. 

As the Republican Party consumes itself with this war within, A, fascinating to watch.  But B, it`s an incredible opportunity for the Democratic Party, right? 

And they`re pouncing.  They appear to be doing everything they can to take advantage.  Which is unlike Democrats.  They usually don`t rise to those occasions. 

But all over the country, Democrats are going for in House races trying to tie every Republican candidate for Congress to Donald Trump. 


AD NARRATOR:  Mike Gallagher says we have to support Donald Trump. 

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I moved on her like a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) but I couldn`t get there.  And she was married.  When you`re a star, you can do anything.  You grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

AD NARRATOR:  He didn`t pay income taxes for 18 years. 

TRUMP:  That makes me smart. 

AD NARRATOR:  And mocked disabled reporter. 

TRUMP:  I don`t know what I said.  I don`t remember. 

AD NARRATOR:  Mike Gallagher says we have to support Donald Trump. 

No, we don`t.  We don`t have to support Mike Gallagher either. 


MADDOW:  That`s a House race in Wisconsin where a Democrat named Tom Nelson is running against a Republican called Mike Gallagher.  And the Democratic Party says ads like that will run against congressional Republican candidates all over the country.  They`re going to tie every Republican candidate in the country to Trump. 

I mean, at this point at the top of the ticket, usually each candidate would be talking to their own voters, trying to get out the vote, trying to mobilize their own party`s base at this point in the race.  On the Trump side of things, that`s definitely not happening.  He`s openly rooting against the fortunes of his own party on the Republican side. 

On the Democratic side, at the top of the ticket this year, Hillary Clinton is going all out not only for her own base.  She`s also now going all out for base Republican voters. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We are Mormons for Hillary, join your fends and family and vote. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  On November 8, please vote early by mail. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Or at your polling location on November 8. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It is not uncommon for autistic kids to flap their hands.  And so, when I saw that, that was completely disqualifying.  I`m a Republican, but this election is so much bigger than party. 

My son Max can`t live in Trump world.  So I`m crossing party lines and voting for Hillary. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I fought for my country in Kosovo and Iraq.  And I`ve been a Republican all my life.  I`m voting for Hillary Clinton. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I became active in the Republican Party to elect Ronald Reagan.  I thought I would be able to support whoever the Republican candidate was.  I always have.  I`m going to vote for Hillary Clinton. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I voted Republican then and I have ever since.  I`m putting party aside and voting for Hillary Clinton. 


MADDOW:  The Clinton campaign in the last few days debuting multiple ads targeting Mormon voters, targeting Republican voters, targeting lifelong Republicans, including Republican activists who now say they`re voting for Clinton.  But Democrats aren`t just going for their own base in the closing argument here, they`re going for the Republican base as well because they see them as available. 

And, you know, even though this is starting to feel like a very one-sided fight, there`s still a Trump campaign.  Mike Pence apparently cannot fill a room for a fund-raiser, but he did do an event where he had to fend off the audience saying they`re going to launch a revolution.  That was an awkward moment. 

The Trump campaign launched a new television ad today that showed Hillary Clinton coughing and falling down, saying she doesn`t have the strength to protect you. 

The conspiracy theory Info Wars website is reportedly now paying bounties to people who can get into political events and get themselves on TV to yell that Bill Clinton is a rapist. 

So, the Trump campaign still does exist.  It is still plugging away.  They`re doing their thing.  That`s how they`re doing their thing now. 

In this metaphor, the bridge is technically still standing, this Republican Party, this bridge between the Donald Trump campaign and the Republican Party.  There have been concerted efforts to blow it up but Donald Trump is still the Republican Party`s nominee, Paul Ryan`s House Republicans still do have a house majority.  It would take a historic landslide to take that away from them.

  The bridge in this metaphor still stands.  But the explosions have been detonated.  We saw them live on TV.  The Republican Party`s presidential nominee really has declared war on his own party.  And nobody knows exactly what`s going to happen next in the election, but for what it`s worth in Arkansas today, they set off those explosions that were supposed to bring down that Broadway Bridge this morning at 10:00 a.m., that thing wavered, it shook all day, they yanked at it on ropes, they tried to pull it down with barges, that thing stood there perilously for five hours with nobody knowing what to do there and everybody staying away because it was unsafe. 

But ultimately, 3:00 this afternoon, inevitably, the darn thing finally went down. 

Woo-hoo.  Finally. 

We`ll be right back. 


MADDOW:  I mentioned a moment ago this news that I think we`ve unearthed tonight about Mike Pence apparently having to cancel two fund-raisers over the space of just a few days, in both cases because of a lack of interest.  A remarkable stage in the campaign where apparently four weeks out from Election Day, the Republican vice presidential nominee cannot fill a room to hold a fund-raiser for his campaign.  It has happened in two states now in a matter of days. 

I also just mentioned that Mike Pence had a bit of a hard time tonight in Iowa with a supporter vocally threatening revolution.  We had reports of that earlier tonight.  Now we`ve got the tape. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  My name is Rhonda. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I`m on social media every day all day nonstop. 

PENCE:  So am I.  I mean not me. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Pushing Trump.  And one of the biggest things that I can tell you is a lot of us are scared of is voter fraud. 

We are -- there`s a lot of us that are out here saying that we go to vote, we`re going to wear red.  Our lives depend on this election.  Our kids` futures depend on this election.  And I will tell you just for me, and I don`t want this to happen, but I will tell you for me personally, if Hillary Clinton gets in, I myself, I`m ready for a revolution because we can`t have her in. 

PENCE:  Yes, don`t say that. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No, I`m just saying.  Am I not speaking people here?  Am I not saying the truth, guys?  Come on. 


MADDOW:  Mike Pence today in Iowa, oh, don`t say that.  Oh, don`t say that. 

Robert Costa from "The Washington Post" joins us next.


MADDOW:  This will down in history as the only time in the lead-up to any presidential election when this could be the lead in "The Washington Post" tonight, "Republican Party presidential nominee declares war on the Republican Party."

Joining us now is Robert Costa.  He`s a "Washington Post" national political reporter.  This front page report that he co-wrote appears in "The Post" tomorrow morning. 

Robert, it`s great to have you with us.  Thanks for being here.

ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST:  Great to be with you, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  Is war overstating it?  Is this a continuation of the same friction that there has been between the party and this nominee over time or are we in a new phase? 

COSTA:  Well, there are no actual weapons involved, but I don`t know what to call it except political war.  It`s an unprecedented moment in Republican history, to have a party that so long has been about discipline, about the next in line, about staying in line, now you have a candidate running against the speaker of the house. 

MADDOW:  When you say that he`s sort of running against him, I`m definitely seeing that in the language of his tweets, for lack of a better way to put it. 

COSTA:  It`s more than that. 

MADDOW:  He`s hoping for Republicans who don`t support him to fall in the polls, to lose their elections.  He`s calling Paul Ryan an ineffective leader. 

Is he, in fact, maneuvering to try to cost the Republicans as many seats as possible in November? 

COSTA:  I`ve done extensive reporting on this today.  He leaves Trump Tower and he goes to the airport in New York, he starts tweeting multiple times about Speaker Ryan. 

He flies to Texas.  He has a fundraiser in San Antonio and Dallas.  He talks to the donors behind the scenes about Ryan.  One told me tonight, Rachel, that he just couldn`t stop ripping on Paul Ryan.  He taped an interview with another network, rips on Paul Ryan as one person who watched it said, and then tonight in Florida, more on Paul Ryan. 

This is head-on directly against the congressional Republican majorities.  This is how the GOP is trying to hold on to its grip on power, just behind me at the Capitol.

MADDOW:  If he creates enough anti-Ryan sentiment among his supporters, and there are a lot of them, there are millions who voted for him in the Republican primary, if push comes to shove with the Republican Party and Reince Priebus and other Republican Party leaders have to make a decision about Paul Ryan and Donald Trump, who do they side with? 

COSTA:  Well, Priebus is close to Trump and he`s close to Ryan.  He`s clearly not going against Ryan at all, but he`s with Trump.  It`s striking that Priebus is with Trump on the road.  He`s with Trump in debate prep. 

The Republican National Committee, to the chagrin of some of its members and to the positive of other, they`re with Trump.  But the consequences of what the party is doing right now, not only the civil war but the way it`s all navigating this has deep consequences whether Trump wins or not because now, Ryan`s political capital is being diminished by the presidential nominee. 

You have members in Congress openly very much up in arms against their own speaker.  This is a civil war that does not end in 27 days. 

MADDOW:  Robert Costa, "Washington Post" national political reporter, right at the heart of this story -- Robert, thank you.  It`s good to have you here.

COSTA:  Thank you.

MADDOW:  All right.  Much more ahead tonight.  Please stay with us.


MADDOW:  The Chevy Corvair was kind of weird.  It was weird on purpose.  They gave it aggressively sleek lines.  They put the engine in the back.  They said you`d get more power, better traction, better ride all in a better-looking car and you could put the groceries in the front because the trunk was in the front, with the engine in the back. 

It was weird enough, though, that it took a little convincing to sell it when it first came out. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Here on the challenging Lime Rock, Connecticut Raceway, the 1960 Corvair was really put through its paces.  Made to prove itself.  And it did.  It proved its stability and then some. 

Talk about stamina and reliability.  Just look at this.  Using the stream for its highway, the Corvair actually plowed along like this for over 20 miles and not once did its reliable turbo air engine falter. 

Just to see how it would stand up, they tried to make the Corvair roll over.  It wouldn`t.  They locked the wheels so it had to roll over. 

The Corvair took the punishment and asked for more. 


MADDOW:  Yes.  Not really.  That isn`t really how it worked in the real world. 

The Corvair was beautiful.  It was hot.  But remember that rollover?  Right away the Corvair became known for catastrophic wrecks.  For deadly rollovers, for fatal spinouts. 

And in 1965, it was first introduced in 1960, 1965 up popped an eloquent young activist who says those rollovers, those fatal wrecks, they weren`t a surprise.  The company that made that car knew it would be a death trap because the way it was designed, and they sold it like that anyway.  He wrote a book about it called "Unsafe At Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile."  He called the Corvair a one-car accident. 

And it worked.  GM halted the production of the Corvair four years later.  In addition to ending the Chevy Corvair, that activist, Ralph Nader, he brought us life savers like seat belts and head rests and Freedom of Information Laws and recalls for unsafe products like, say, exploding Samsung cell phones which were finally killed off by their manufacturer this week, Corvair style.

Ralph Nader went on for decades campaigning for consumer safety and for integrity and openness in government and then he decided that he wants to campaign for himself for president in the election year 2000.  Liberals knock on the nominee that year, Al Gore, was he was boring, he wasn`t all that different from George W. Bush, but liberal Ralph Nader, he sure was different.  He ran on a green party ticket.  He grew crowds, he was a crusading hero especially with young voters.

And Ralph did get plenty of protest votes all over the country that year, 97,000 of those votes came in Florida.  And in Florida that year, Al Gore lost to George Bush in the official but contested tally by less than a thousand votes.  It was that close. 

You can`t say definitively that Ralph Nader`s quixotic run for president in 2000 is why Al Gore lost.  You can`t say that definitively.  But you know what, they help.  And now, the name Ralph Nader and the ghost of what might have been in the presidential election in the year 2000, they`re back for this election. 

Today in this bunkers land election we`re in now, we got the news that Al Gore himself is back as well.  And that story is coming up.  

Stay with us.



TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS ANCHOR:  Monroe, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit that the Democrats held up as an example of the prosperity of the last eight years.  President Clinton met with Vice President Gore to hand off the party leadership and finally, the political spotlight with one more endorsement. 

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT:  He is the right person to be the first president of the 21st century -- Al Gore. 

AL GORE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT:  Bill Clinton worked hard to get this economy right.  And I`m pledging to you here today I am not going to let the other side wreck it and take it away from us.  We`re going to keep the prosperity going. 

BROKAW:  And to celebrate this moment in his political life on his way out of Michigan, Bill Clinton stopped for lunch at one of his old favorite haunts, McDonald`s.  He ordered the crispy chicken and an extra large order of fries. 


MADDOW:  That clip.  Tom Brokaw intoning extra large order of fries. 

There was always time for crispy chicken and fries.  Even if there was not much time for Bill Clinton in the Al Gore campaign for president in the year 2000. 

Al Gore was worried that the Monica Lewinsky scandal had done President Clinton too much damage with swing state voters so he decided to basically ban the sitting president from campaigning in the battleground states that year and also from doing any network TV interviews whatsoever in the final stretch of the campaign. 

We all know what happened in that campaign, Al Gore lost the closest presidential election in U.S. history ultimately decided by 500-odd-some voters in Florida and the way those votes were counted. 

Incidentally in Florida, a Green Party candidate Ralph Nader polled almost 100,000 votes that year. 


GORE:  Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court`s decision, I accept it.  I accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College.  Tonight for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. 


MADDOW:  Al Gore`s concession speech in 2000.  Since then we`ve not seen a lot of him at Democratic Party politics.  He did speak at President Obama`s convention in 2008, and he campaigned for President Obama that year.  But he didn`t attend the 2012 convention in Charlotte and he also skipped Hillary Clinton`s convention this year, he said he had obligations in Tennessee. 

That came after Al Gore basically sat out this year`s Democratic contest entirely.  He did finally endorse Hillary Clinton in a series of three tweets on the opening day of her convention.  No rush. 

Al Gore basically beamed himself out of Democratic politics after what happened to him in 2000.  The last time he had a chance to campaign with a Clinton in 2000, he jumped away from that chance not toward it.  Now today, today he`s back. 


GORE:  My first message, the climate crisis is and must be regarded as a top national priority and a top global priority.  Here`s my second message: your vote really, really, really counts a lot. 


You can consider me as an exhibit A of that group. 

If you think your vote does not matter, take it from me, your vote can make all of the difference in this election. 


MADDOW:  Former Vice President Al Gore with Hillary Clinton today, naturally in Florida.  Not to underscore the point too much, but in Florida.  At a time when the Clinton campaign looks like it may, may be sewing things up in this election, why is today the day they brought Al Gore back?  And what`s he been doing anyway? 

Joining us is the great and good E.J. Dionne, "Washington Post" columnist, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a great all-around person. 

E.J., it`s lovely to see you.  Thank you for being here.

E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST:  It`s great to be with you, Rachel.  Thanks so much. 

MADDOW:  Let me ask you if you know what Al Gore has been up to all of these years?  We did see him briefly in 2008, but I feel like other than his climate activism, which I`m a little bit aware of, I don`t know what he`s been doing. 

DIONNE:  He`s been making some money on the side, of course, but the climate stuff, he`s been pushing for political reform.  He`s written a lot of books.  But I think that the climate activism has been at the center of his life.

And if you ask the question, why was he campaigning today for Hillary Clinton, it`s because Donald Trump is completely wrong on that issue.  And so, even though he and Hillary Clinton have had tensions going back to the time in the White House when she was often a more influential voice not surprisingly perhaps than he was and he tangled again when she ran for the Senate and he was worried that`s going to take money away from my campaign.  Despite all tensions, there was no doubt about who he was going to campaign for eventually. 

MADDOW:  Should we be reading more into the reference he made today about your vote counts.  Take me as exhibit A.  I mean, I use the Ralph Nader story, a little bit of it, in order to set this up because, A, they`re in Florida and, B, I`m wondering if this means that the Clinton campaign is worried about the Green Party candidate or the Libertarian Party candidate taking some votes in places like Florida? 

DIONNE:  Oh, I think they are.  I think when you look at the pattern of support for most of the green votes, if they come from either of them, come from Clinton and the libertarian vote, the early votes in are probably Republican, but as Gary Johnson has added votes, he`s taken more away from Clinton. 

And you know, there`s been controversy did Nader cost Gore the election?  I think the evidence is pretty clear.  Even a political science study designed to debunk the Nader effect found that Nader voters are about 3-2 for Al Gore.  So that would have tipped the result in Florida that the Supreme Court had ratified. 

And so, I think Gore`s message is very pointed, which is, you know, third parties have played a noble role in our history, socialist, farmer, labor rights, libertarians.  But you have to decide if it really doesn`t matter to you if Al Gore -- if Donald Trump gets elected president in order to cast that third party vote.  If you really care about whether Clinton or Trump prevails, you can`t vote third party.  And I think that`s what Al Gore was down there saying because if this race gets closer, those votes could count. 

MADDOW:  Both saying it and embodying it. 

DIONNE:  You bet. 

MADDOW:  Which is a powerful way to get a message across. 

E.J. Dionne, "Washington Post" columnist, senior fellow at Brookings -- E.J., it is great to see you.  It`s been too long since you`ve been here.  It`s nice to have you back.

DIONNE:  It`s good to be back.  Thank you.

MADDOW:  All right.  We`ll be back.  Stay with us.



ALEX JONES, INFO WARS:  They should listen.  She`s a freakin` demon, and she stinks and so does Obama, like what, sulfur.  They smell like hell. 


MADDOW:  Fizzy, fizzy sulfur-phobic edge of the far right conspiratorial American id has been trying to get somewhere with these tee shirts since July, since the Republican National Convention this year.  It turns out he may just have needed a little more investment by the Republican candidate. 

The truly weird, almost literally stinking story is next.


MADDOW:  So, this is disgusting.  But, here`s a little decoder ring, a little de-disgusto ring for a new phenomenon that you may have noticed at recent Democratic rallies.  We first saw it in Las Vegas Thursday night.  Tim Kaine was interrupted by a protester who was wearing a shirt that said "rape" on it.  And the guy yelled out "Bill Clinton is a rapist."

That first happened Thursday night.  Then, we saw it happen multiple times at multiple Clinton events today, including one where the featured speaker was President Obama and one where the featured speaker was Bill Clinton himself. 


PROTESTER:  Here`s the problem!  Bill Clinton is a rapist!




Ah-oh, somebody`s yelling at me again.

There`s a guy on the radio who apparently Trump`s on his show frequently.  He said me and Hillary are demons, said we smell like sulfur.  Ain`t that something? 


MADDOW:  There`s a guy on the radio. 

The guy on the radio is Alex Jones who runs the Info Wars conspiracy theory website and Internet radio show, and in fact, he does call President Obama and Hillary Clinton demons.  He says they smell like sulfur, he says he has it on good authority that they are in fact literally possessed by demons. 


JONES:  He is an abject demon from hell that as soon as she gets into power they`re go being to take over the planet.  I`m sure of that, and people around her saying, she`s so dark now and so evil and so possessed that they are having nightmares, they`re freakin` out. 

Folks, let me just tell you something -- if the media wants to go with this, that`s fine.  There are dozens of videos and photos of President Obama having flies on him indoors at all times a year, and he`ll be next to a hundred people and no one has flies on.

Hillary, reportedly, I mean -- I was told they think she`s demon possessed.  I`m just going to go ahead and say it, OK? 


MADDOW:  All right.  Ready to connect the dots? 

The guy who says he has it on good authority that President Obama and Hillary Clinton are literally demons, he`s the reason we`re getting the people screaming "rape", at all the Clinton events because he and his conspiracy theory demon possession website, they are now in support of the Trump campaign, they`re now offering $1,000 bounty to anyone who can get a Bill Clinton rape shirt on TV for 5 seconds, and a $5,000 bounty for anybody who can being heard on TV saying "Bill Clinton is a rapist" while wearing the shirt.  It`s a way to sell shirts. 

So, these protests breaking out in Democratic rallies, they are not organic, right?  They are highly coordinated with a monetary incentive by Donald Trump`s number one Internet radio conservative Internet conspiracy theory supporter, the guy who also says President Obama is a demon, because the flies tell him so.

  So, there you have it.  Ta-da.  Dots connected.  Nausea induced. 

We`ll be right back.


MADDOW:  OK.  Donald Trump currently holding a campaign event in Panama City, Florida.  He just had some very interesting advice for his supporters there.  This is a thing that just happened. 


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We`re doing something that`s incredible.  It`s a movement.  But, if we don`t win, all it is, is a little asterisk in history.  There`s never been anything like this.  So, go and register, make sure you get out and vote, November 28. 


MADDOW:  November 28, get out and vote, 20 days after the election is over, make your voice heard, or it will be an asterisk.  That does it for us tonight. 

We will see you again tomorrow.  Now, it`s time -- it made Jackie laugh -- now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell. 

Good evening, Lawrence.


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