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Elizabeth Warren interview TRANSCRIPT: 3/5/20, The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests: Elizabeth Warren

JELANI COBB, THE NEW YORKER: And I thought that that was such a valuable way to communicate.


Alicia Garza and Jelani Cobb, thank you both for joining us tonight.

That is ALL IN for this evening.

It turns out, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now with a big interview, Elizabeth Warren, who will be joining Rachel momentarily.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend.

It is a big interview. And it`s been an interesting day. This is turning out to be our living room tour of important Democratic Party locations in New England.

Last night, we did the show live from Burlington, Vermont, with an exclusive interview with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. We broadcast last night`s show in and that interview literally live from my friend, Steve`s, living room in Burlington.

Then I went back to New York this morning to go back to the office but I never made it to the office. I ended up just going straight to the train station to get on a train to come back to New England so I could come here to another very important living room.

This is Senator Elizabeth Warren`s house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, our fair city. Senator Warren announced today just hours ago that she is live leaving the presidential race. She`s suspending her campaign. This will be her first interview since making that announcement.

Senator Warren`s campaign was premised in part on the idea of competence and how inspiring that can be, the idea of not just saying what you want but having detailed plans for how to get it done, how to make government work. In that context, before I start my interview with Senator Warren, I would be remiss to note that today, the day that Senator Warren ended her presidential bid, it happens to be a day when the shortage of competence in our federal government right now is not only on display, it`s becoming somewhat terrifying.

The death toll in the U.S. from coronavirus reached 12 today with now 226 confirmed cases across at least 20 states. That`s after the president, of course, said there were only 15 cases in the country and they would soon go to zero. Well, as of today, new cases have been reported for the first time in Tennessee and in Maryland and in Colorado and in Nevada and more. Again, 20 states now are dealing with this.

That said, because of the lack of available tests, the number of cases we know about is almost certainly much smaller than the number of cases there actually are. The Trump administration today admitted despite the fact they said a few days ago there would be 1 million coronavirus tests available by the end of this week, actually they`ll miss that goal of 1 million tests by more than 900,000.

Trump Health Secretary Alex Azar saying today the government will have shipped enough tests by the end of this week for maybe 75,000 people to be tested? Not a million, but instead, 75,000 in a country of over 320 million people, just days after the vice president said, as the lead communicator on this crisis for our government, that all Americans can be tested for coronavirus. It`s just not true.

A cruise ship today is being held off the coast of northern California. California is a state that yesterday declared a state of emergency and announced its first death from the virus. The patient who died yesterday, which was announced yesterday in California, had traveled on this cruise ship last month. Now about 20 people onboard that ship are reportedly showing symptoms.

They`re holding the ship offshore. Tests today were flown out to the ship and dropped by helicopter. Officials are awaiting the results of those tests.

And while all that`s going on, a member of the president`s coronavirus task force today, Ken Cuccinelli, announced that there isn`t the capacity on land to quarantine those people off the ship. So, all of the cruise ship passengers who are on that ship, he said there`s no capacity in the United States to quarantine them here and so they will stay on the ship where there are multiple infected and symptomatic people which is part of how we got the largest initial outbreaks outside of China when cruise ship -- when a cruise ship was docked in Yokohama, Japan, and they left it there for weeks while more and more people got infected.

Congress today approved about $8 billion in emergency aid to fight the virus having decided the White House`s request for $2.5 billion was woefully inadequate. After a brief resurgence in the markets yesterday, the economic havoc caused by the crisis came roaring back into view today, again, when stocks plunged again. The Dow is down almost 970 points, 3.5 percent. S&P 500 and Nasdaq both dropped more than 3 percent as well just today.

Airline stocks took a particular beating. Carriers are announcing reductions in flight ands and they`re cutting jobs. United and American airlines both fell over 13 percent in one day.

And in the midst of all of this, of course, the 2020 presidential race proceeds at pace. Ballot counting continues in California. It will for a while yet. Bernie Sanders is leading in that primary contest, NBC News saying it`s too early to call.

Vice President Biden wrapped up more endorsements from governors and lawmakers today, as he tries to build on his strong showing Super Tuesday this week. Senator Sanders holding a rally this hour in Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix holds its primary later on this month.

When it comes to the states that are voting next week, interesting decision by the Sanders campaign. They, of course, had a terrible showing in every southern state that has voted thus far, and today, Senator Sanders canceled a planned rally in Mississippi for tomorrow even though Mississippi votes next week. Instead, he will double down on his campaign visits to Michigan.

Mike Bloomberg dropped out of the presidential race yesterday. He is making good on his promise to keep spending to help the eventual Democratic nominee, announcing today he`s forming a new group that will absorb hundreds of his campaign staffers in six swing states to keep them on the job through the November elections, where he says they will be working to defeat president Trump and elect down-ballot Democrats.

And, of course, the big news, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren ended her campaign for president today. And I am honored to be here now very much intruding in her home for the first sit-down interview she`s done since making that decision earlier today.

Senator, it`s good to see you.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA):  It`s good to see you. And you`re most welcome here.

MADDOW:  It`s -- well, yes, I mean, I imagine today of all days is the last day you want TV crews and random TV people here.

WARREN:  It`s fine. No, no, you`re very welcome here.

MADDOW:  How are you?

WARREN:  I`m doing fine. I`m doing fine. And I`ll tell you partly why I`m doing fine.

So I was at campaign headquarters this afternoon, and all the people who are still located in Boston or at least nearby were there. And I was struck -- I went through and, of course, you know exactly what we did. We did selfies. We did hugs. We all talked about what we`re still doing.

But I thought about all of these mostly very young people who have fought a campaign with passion and conviction, who have learned whole sets of new skills, who have seen a campaign that wasn`t built on sucking up to millionaires and billionaires, who have been part of a campaign that ran on real ideas. And as you say, ran on competence.

And they all got pieces of it. They were all important parts of it. And now they`ll leave this campaign, but they`ll never be the same. They`ll take the skills with them, they`ll take that passion with them, they`ll take that vision with them, and there they are.

They`re going to go out into the world and some of them are going to run for office. And some of them are going to run other people`s campaigns. And some of them are going to redesign policy for this country and some of them are going to motivate and help build movements across this country.

Maybe it`s the teacher in me, but seeing all these people that I had this chance to fight alongside, seeing who they are and what they are and what they`re going to take from this to go forward, I felt pretty good about all of it.

MADDOW:  How are you changed by this campaign?

WARREN:  You know, in so many ways -- look, I spent my whole life studying why families go broke and what it is that`s broken in America that causes so much money to flow to the top and so many families to get so stressed financially.

But doing more than 100,000 selfies, boy, you get it in really personal ways that, you know, you do a bunch of selfies in a row that are just fun and people take silly pictures and we all hug and we have, you know, a couple babies stopped crying, you know, lots of that.

But then it`s the next one up who just says, I`m taking care of two parents with Alzheimer`s and I can`t hold down a job and take care of them. And I don`t know where I`m going to turn.

Or the next one up who says, I`m working three jobs and paycheck number two and paycheck number three go to pay off my student loans and I`m actually falling behind. I now owe more money than I borrowed eight years ago.

The woman who had her little girl and the little girl bounced through and she`s -- she was great. The little girl was. And as the little girl bounces, we did our pinky promises and as she bounces on off the stage, her mother gives me a hug and whispers, stay in the fight for health care and points to her daughter and says, she has stage 3 brain cancer.

And for every one of them, it is the reminder they need a government on their side. They`re not asking for a handout. They`re asking for a government that just isn`t all about giant banks and giant pharmaceutical companies and giant corporations but a government that just tried to be there to help them.

MADDOW:  So it sounds like the process of running for president backed up, rarified the reasons that you decided to run in the first place.

WARREN:  Yes. That`s a good way to put it.

MADDOW:  And yet you have now decided --


MADDOW:  -- that it`s -- that you can`t go on.

What -- tell me about the decision-making process that led up today, who you talked to, what the factors were that made it so clear to you that this was the right time to end it?

WARREN:  So, you know, I`m so grateful for all the people who volunteered, for all the people who were part of the team, for all the people who helped out, for all the good policies because, dang, I still think they`re good, you know? I think it`s good stuff to talk about.

But at the end of the day, the numbers just weren`t there in the -- in the elections. And I was disappointed and it just didn`t seem to be a path to make that happen.

Look, I would get out every day and talk about how we can make this country better. I`d get out there and fight this fight every day, but real elections are occurring and people are toting up those delegates and I just didn`t think it was going to happen. So --

MADDOW:  I would like to ask you about the elephant in the room, which is a conversation you`ve had a number of different ways and you talked about it eloquently today.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  I thought in pretty blunt terms today.

I think that a lot of women around the country right now feel differently about you dropping out, whether or not they were supporting you, specifically, for president, you leaving the race feels different. If Hillary Clinton can`t win when she gets the nomination, and then you can`t get the nomination, and neither can Kamala Harris and neither can Amy Klobuchar and neither can Kirsten Gillibrand -- I mean, I think part of what`s going on today is women around the country are like, OK, honestly, you know, if it`s not going to be any of them, let`s get real, is it just - - is it just that it can`t be any woman ever?

Are we just going to run, you know, white men in their late 70s against each other, both parties, and that`s all we can agree to do?

I think there`s a -- there`s a feeling that your campaign ending is very specific to you and it also feels a little bit like a death knell in terms of the prospects of having a woman for president in our lifetimes.

WARREN:  Oh, God, please, no. That can`t be right.

MADDOW:  You know what I`m talking about. These feelings.

WARREN:  I know exactly what you`re talking about. I know exactly what you`re talking about.

This cannot be the right answer. And part of the way I know it is not the right answer is that I walked through my headquarters today and I saw all those strong, powerful, women. I saw all those women who said, thank you for standing up to Michael Bloomberg.

I saw all those women who said, thank you for being smart and making that OK. Thank you for talking over men sometimes because I`m just damn tired of always having it go the other way.

I`m so -- it`s one of the hardest parts about this. All those pinky promises. All those little girls were going to do this. It`s just going to be a little longer before we`re able to have a woman in the White House.

And -- but it doesn`t mean it`s not going to happen. It doesn`t mean it`s not going to happen soon. It just -- look, here`s how I see this. You get in this fight, you know when you go into it there were multiple people who just said, this will be part of the problem.

But you get in the fight because you just got to keep beating at it until you finally break the thing. We`ll know that we can have a woman in the White House when we finally elect a woman to the White House.


WARREN:  Right? That`s what it`s going to take.

MADDOW:  I will -- I am -- I`m 46. I am professional. I`m -- I live in New England. I have an advanced degree.

Like, you have a lot of people of a lot of different stripes support you around the country but, like, I`m your stripe. My marching order is, like, is your bull`s eye.

And as such, and I recognize all the specificity of that -- I don`t mean to be reductive about. But as such, I`ve been hearing all day today from people who I know in my personal life, people I know in my professional capacity, women who are just bereft.

WARREN:  I know.

MADDOW:  People telling me they can`t get off the couch.

WARREN:  I know.

MADDOW:  And these are not people working in your campaign -- 

WARREN:  I know.

MADDOW:  -- or people particularly involved in politics, but there`s something about your fight and your qualifications and your qualifications, indeed, compared to the people who are still in that does feel -- it was inspiring and now it feels crushing.

And I think you are embodying that, too, because it`s -- I mean, I saw the emotion today in making the announcement, talking about those pinky swears.

It`s just more work is the only answer, right?

WARREN:  It is the only answer, and it`s -- it`s that we can`t lose hope over this.


WARREN:  You know, we can`t lose hope because the only way we make change is we get back up tomorrow and get back in the fight. We persist.


WARREN:  That is how we make change. And it feels like we`re never going to make change until we make change.

We were never going to elect a Catholic until we elected a Catholic. We were never going to elect a black man until we elected a black man. And we`re never going to elect a woman until we elect a woman. So we`re just going to stay in this.

MADDOW:  Are you ruling out another presidential run, yourself?

WARREN:  Oh, my gosh. Are you asking me that today?

MADDOW:  I`m asking it -- you could run again in four years or in eight years.

WARREN:  Oh, my goodness.

MADDOW:  And you would still be younger than Bernie Sanders is today. You would still be -- I mean, are you --

WARREN:  I -- I have not ruled it out. I just -- I think I heard my husband laughing over there. Yes.


MADDOW:  This is going to (INAUDIBLE) awkward.


WARREN:  It was my husband or it was Bailey, our dog. One or the other.

MADDOW:  Did Bailey have a burrito today?

WARREN:  Oh, my gosh.

MADDOW:  What happened there?

WARREN: He said the pressure of running for first dog -- I think it was stressing him.

MADDOW:  It wasn`t that he had been offered a burrito.


MADDOW:  It was that he availed himself of a burrito.

WARREN:  Of a burrito.

You know, he`s a dog who stands up and says, I`m not waiting for someone to offer, I see what I wanted and I go straight after it. Yes, he -- he did. Bailey`s mostly a good boy.



WARREN:  Mostly.

MADDOW:  I saw him on the way in. He seems none the worse for wear.



WARREN:  No. Nothing is worse for wear.


WARREN:  That`s the thing about, though, dogs, he wakes up with a happy heart every -- from every nap. He`s ready to go.

MADDOW:  I sure ate a burrito, I`m fine, why, do you have another?

WARREN:  Yes, exactly.

MADDOW:  You were asked today right after you made your announcement if you`re going to make an endorsement. And you said you`re not going to make an endorsement today.

WARREN:  Not today.

MADDOW:  Do you have timing in mind? Do you know how you`re going to approach the decision?

WARREN:  No. I had lot I needed to do today.


WARREN:  All the people who volunteered, all the people who have been part of this team, all the people who`ve helped out, I had to focus on that today. And to get it right, to talk to them and spend some time with them.

So, I`ll get up tomorrow morning and start thinking about that question.

MADDOW:  There was a great benefit to Joe Biden when in quick secession succession he got endorsements from Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar, and Mike Bloomberg. I actually think you got quite a momentum boost when Julian Castro got out of the race and endorsed you right away.

WARREN:  Yes, I did too. Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  Are you at all concerned that by taking your time with this decision, by waiting that you might be blunting the impact and the influence it might have?

WARREN:  It`s only been a day. Just give me a little space here.

MADDOW:  Will do.

All right. We`re going to take a quick break. And when we come back, I`m going to ask you more questions that I know you don`t want to answer.


MADDOW:  We`ll be right back with Senator Elizabeth Warren.



MADDOW:  We`re back now in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Senator Elizabeth Warren who ended her presidential run today.

And this is her first interview since making that announcement.

Senator Warren, thanks again.

WARREN:  Oh, I`m so glad you`re here.

MADDOW:  It was reported today that you`ve been in touch with Hillary Clinton since you started thinking about exiting the race. Is that true?


MADDOW:  No? Interesting. Aha! Thank you for correcting the record.


MADDOW:  Can I ask, what -- four years ago around this time, I talked to you about the prospect of potentially being Hillary Clinton`s vice presidential --

WARREN:  I remember that.

MADDOW:  -- running mate.

I asked you if you felt that you were ready to become president, which is the most important aspect of the job of vice president. You said, oh, yes, I`m ready.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  Are you thinking about the prospect that one of these remaining nominees -- one of these remaining candidates might ask you?

WARREN:  No. Look, I`ve been running for president -- 


WARREN:  -- because I`m ready to be president. So I got to -- I got to kind of rework.

MADDOW:  But the job of vice president is a good job. You`d agree?

WARREN:  Uh-huh, uh-huh.

MADDOW:  And you would consider it if you were asked?

WARREN:  Hey, look, the job of senator is a good job.


WARREN:  As a matter of fact, the job of teacher is a good job. It`s one I loved.

You know, after I became a senator, for years, I still had teaching dreams. Yes, yes, yes.

MADDOW:  What`s the teaching dream of? What happened?

WARREN:  I`m still in the classroom. I`m still --

MADDOW:  But you`re not like not wearing any clothes -- 


WARREN:  No -- 


WARREN:  -- the ones where I was late.


WARREN:  So, I had a class and it started at 10:00 and I couldn`t find the room. I did have those anxiety --

MADDOW:  I have can`t find the studio -- 

WARREN:  Can`t find the studio -- 

MADDOW:  -- and didn`t write my script dreams.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.


WARREN:  That`s right. Or they all read a different thing than I`m -- read.

MADDOW:  Uh-huh.

WARREN:  And so we`re going to have to figure out --

MADDOW:  Interestingly, your anxiety is never about you not being prepared. It`s about other people screwing up.


WARREN:  Seems right to me.

MADDOW:  Can I ask you about your relationship with Vice President Biden and your relationship with Senator Sanders?

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  Obviously, having these two be the last two men standing in the race, has demographic -- it`s a striking demographic similarity but two very, very different men. What is your history with Vice President Biden and your relationship with him like?

WARREN:  So, we go back a long way. We were in the bankruptcy wars against each other.

MADDOW:  Uh-huh.

WARREN:  When he was vice president, I got to do some work with him. He, you know, he is exactly -- at least this is my view -- he is exactly who he says he is.

He`s a decent guy. I mean that in the good of decency. And it comes through in pretty much everything he does.

MADDOW:  You have disagreements with him on a number of --

WARREN:  Oh, sure.

MADDOW:  -- core policy issues, though.

WARREN:  Yes, yes, yes. And agreements on a number of core policy issues.

You know, my whole life has been about working families and more about how government should be there to be on their side. Be there to strengthen working families.

I believe that the vice president has the same goal. We may have come at this from different directions and may continue to come at it from different directions, but I don`t have any doubt about the sincerity of the goals.

MADDOW:  In terms of Senator Sanders --

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  -- he said this week that he`s spoken you in the last few days.

WARREN:  He has.

MADDOW:  So that one`s accurate.

WARREN:  Uh-huh. That`s right.

MADDOW:  That`s good.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  What`s your relationship like with Senator Sanders? You obviously share a lot of important -- 

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  --- policy goals, but some differences and you`ve been competitors over these last few months.


MADDOW:  What`s your relationship with him?

WARREN:  So, Bernie and I have been friends for long, long time, dating back way before I ever got involved in politics, and through the housing crash, in particular, kind of here were central issues we were working on.

I came up -- in fact, the first town halls I`ve ever done were in Vermont, were for Bernie Sanders.


WARREN:  And Bruce drove me up on a Saturday and we did a couple of town halls, and -- but it`s a set of issues we`ve worked on, both of us, for a very, very long time.

MADDOW:  That`s --

WARREN:  I respect that.

MADDOW:  That is usually grounds for mutual trust or at least mutual understanding when you`ve had a relationship like that.

WARREN:  I sure hope so. Yes. Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  One of the reasons I wanted to ask you about that relationship with Senator Sanders is something I talked to him about last night when I was in Vermont.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  And that is there have been some really untoward attacks by Senator Sanders` supporters, not by him, himself, against you, particularly online. His supporters have called you a snake. They used the snake emoji for you. They`ve called you a traitor.

They tried to organize somebody to primary you, to force you out of your Senate seat here in Massachusetts. And the senator said last night, he responded, he said: I condemned that. And he`s distancing himself from what his supporters have done.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  But I wanted to ask if -- if that rose to your level of consciousness, if you -- if you were aware that was going on, if you have any reaction to that or to his comments about it last night?

WARREN:  You know, it`s -- it`s not just about me. I think there`s a real problem with this online bullying and sort of organized nastiness, and I`m not just talking about who said mean things. I`m talking about some really ugly stuff that went on.

You know, in the -- out in Nevada, when the UNITE HERE had put out an analysis of the different candidates and their views on health care and other issues, and some of the Bernie supporters online took exception to it and they didn`t just take exception that we disagree, you know, outrageous way to do this, which anybody can do. That`s fine. And you can be clever and you can find clever ways to be kind of mean sometimes. OK. I get that part, too.

But they actually published the phone numbers and home addresses of the two women, the executive director and the communications director, women of color, immigrant women, and really put them in fear for their families, of -- they -- these are -- these are not, you know, these are tough women. Tough women who`ve run labor organizing campaigns and really earned their jobs in their union, I mean, the hard way.

And, yet, said for the first time because of this onslaught of online threats that they felt really under attack and -- and that wasn`t the first time it happened. Working Families Party, two women there, women of color, who were attacked right after they endorsed me.

And I think this fundamental question about what goes on online and where those lines are and how much each of us -- and I want to say this for all of the candidates, back when there were lots of us -- we are responsible for the people who claim to be our supporters and do really threaten, ugly, dangerous things for other -- to other candidates.

MADDOW:  And it`s a particularly -- it`s a particular problem with Sanders` supporters.

WARREN:  It is. I mean, it just is. Just a factual question, and it is. And that`s something I think that -- that --

MADDOW:  Have you ever talked with Senator Sanders about that?

WARREN:  I have.

MADDOW:  What was that conversation like?

WARREN:  It was short, but, yes, we`ve talked about it. But I think it`s a real problem.

MADDOW:  Does he not share your view that he`s responsible for the behavior of his supporters?

WARREN:  You know, I shouldn`t speak for him. It`s something he should speak for himself on.

But I do think it`s something that we need to reckon with in our political discourse, in particular, because this is what politics is about is to get out and put your ideas out there. People choose sides. People vote. People say, I`m holding a sign for her, I`m holding a sign for him.

That is part of what we do, but what underlies that is a fundamental human decency and respect for each other and understanding that nobody tries to put somebody`s family at risk or somebody personally at risk because they disagree with you on the politics of it, because they see the policy different, because they don`t support your candidate and they support some other candidate. No.

And if we follow that same kind of politics of division that Donald Trump follows, that notion of -- he draws strength from tearing people apart, from demonizing people, from saying, oh, those are bad people and that`s -- that`s kind of how they draw their strength.

It`s not who I want to be as a Democrat. It`s not who I want to be as an American. And to the extent I have any power to control that, I do what I can and I call on others to do the same and I think we have to have some accountability around that.

MADDOW:  If that is a persistent problem in the movement around Senator Sanders, that was a problem that a lot of people complained about in 2016 around his presidential campaign, all the more so this year -- and the senator, you know, says that he`s against it and says that he`s condemned it. I`ve talked to him about it directly, but if it is a persistent problem and there`s -- for whatever reason he can`t control it or it`s not being controlled by him, is there something else that the party could do about that? I ask because I think that it has an ongoing schismatic effect in the Democratic Party.


MADDOW:  I think in 2016, it made it very hard for the post-primary general election campaign of Hillary Clinton to get anywhere near success.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  And I think it`s going to do the same thing whether or not Senator Sanders is the nominee this time. I see it as factionalist, and schismatic and injurious. If he can`t fix it, I don`t know if there`s anybody else who can.

WARREN:  So, I think of this more as not the party fixing it, or somebody else. I think of it more as -- has the time come for us to just start trying to think more creatively about how to do this? You know, do you set up something, for example, from the campaign that every single day answers back to this with the -- the authority of that person`s campaign and says, we`re not doing this, I`m flagging these, we don`t like this, we don`t want this, we don`t want any part of this, we condemn it, how many times do I have to say this.

And I -- and I want to say it`s -- it`s -- let`s work on doing this creatively.

Can give you just an analogy here?

MADDOW:  Please?

WARREN:  You know how we talk about money in politics and we talk about the super PACs and the outside money and so on, people have always just said there`s nothing we can do about it. It`s too bad.

When Scott Brown and I ran in 2012, remember, we developed a contract between the two of us and said we`re going to keep super PAC money out of this campaign. And we figured out our own enforcement device and we made it work.

Now, it`s not a perfect analogy, but the point is you don`t have a creative solution to sit down and try a creative solution. And if the first one doesn`t work, move it aside and let`s try the second, and if that one doesn`t work, move it aside and let`s try a third.

But throwing up our hands and saying, no, we can`t do this, that cannot be the right answer.

MADDOW:  You`re suggesting there could be a plan for this.

WARREN:  I think you`re on to something.


MADDOW:  I have a number of other questions to ask you.

We`re here with Senator Elizabeth Warren in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We`ll be right back.



WARREN:  I`d like to talk about who we`re running against. A billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians, and, no, I`m not talking about Donald Trump. I`m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.

Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist policies like redlining and stop-and-frisk.


MADDOW:  Say what you really mean. I think I get where you`re going at.

But Senator Elizabeth Warren`s living room is the site of our interview this evening in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Senator Warren today has announced the suspension of her presidential campaign.

Senator, you outlasted Mike Bloomberg in this campaign.

WARREN: Oh, yes, was he still in that race?

MADDOW:  He was still in that race but nobody could tell after you destroyed him on the debate stage that way.

A lot of postmortems on his campaign credit you basically with singlehandedly tanking his candidacy with the way you took him apart in that debate.

Do you -- is that what you were trying to do?


MADDOW:  Do you take credit?

WARREN:  Sure. But the point is he`s not going to be the Democratic nominee and he shouldn`t be the Democratic nominee. In my view, he was absolutely the riskiest candidate for Democrats on that stage. And let me tell you part of the reason why.

All of those things in his history mean that he could never launch any of those attacks against Donald Trump. Think about the things we are going to need to talk about -- hiding your taxes, history with women, embracing racist policies. When you`re in charge, helping bazillionaires and leaving everybody else behind.

Shoot, he wouldn`t even be able to launch the autocrat argument against him because Michael Bloomberg`s the guy who when he was mayor literally got the change in the laws so he could hang on to power longer.

So, from my perspective, the idea that a billionaire would just spend enough money to buy his way onto the stage and then not be able to be an effective candidate against Donald Trump, that was not -- not good for democracy, the billionaire buying his way on, and not good for Democrats, a guy who I think would have had the worst chance against Donald Trump.

MADDOW:  Bloomberg in dropping out quickly decided that he would endorse Joe Biden.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  Today, he announced a formation of an independent expenditure group that will both try to elect Vice President Biden, try to oppose Trump, and support down-ballot Democrats. Presumably the checkbook is still infinite.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  NBC reporting that this effort is going to include field offices in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, all crucial swing states. That`s what he`s going to keep spending money and keeping people on the payroll to do.

Should he be doing that?

WARREN:  Yes. I mean, this is -- he`s playing by the rules that are the rules of our government right now. And until you can either get a deal among the candidates, themselves, which you`re not going to get within all these races and certainly not with Donald Trump, or until we change the laws, those are the rules. And I don`t like the fact that we have unlimited spending in our campaigns.

I have a whole democracy plan -- hey, is still up. Go read the plans about how we can change that.

But until we do, it`s important that we have the resources to be able to elect a president and it`s important that we have the resources to be able to elect down-ballot candidates.

MADDOW:  Which is basically the feeling that you had about the PAC that was formed without your permission to support you.


MADDOW:  You said you weren`t going accept super PAC support. But when a bunch of women went ahead and did it, anyway, you said -- well, you`re not going to tell them to cease and desist.

WARREN:  But remember, after every other person on that stage except Amy also had super PACs and had been spending and spending and spending. I had from the first day said let`s not do this, it`s a Democratic primary. Maybe you`re going to have to do this in a general, right, to let this happen, but it`s a Democratic primary. Let`s not do this.

Could we all just agree, all the candidates? You know how many candidates went along with that?

MADDOW:  Right.

WARREN:  So -- but we make other changes. We make other changes.

MADDOW:  One of the things that surprised me the most about the way the primary has gone thus far is that the results so far feel divorced from the actual work and expenditure of campaigning. Ads didn`t work, as proven by Steyer and Bloomberg blanketing the country with ads and both failing early.

But on-the-ground field organizing didn`t necessarily turn out results either. You had one of the biggest field operations of the entire field which among other things is an expensive thing to maintain.

WARREN:  Oh, yes.

MADDOW:  Biden only had field offices in 5 of the 14 states that voted on Super Tuesday, but he still won 10 of the 14 states.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  He won by 30 points in Virginia with only one field office in Virginia.


MADDOW:  So if it`s not expenditures on things like ads and it`s not field -- field organizing that`s doing it, I mean, it sort of feels like whatever the rules are that we think are supposed to govern these sort of outcomes got suspended.

WARREN:  You know, I think of it slightly differently.

MADDOW:  Good.

WARREN:  And that is, 2 1/2 years ago, people -- they ran polls and who were the two leading Democratic nominees? Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, right? And people said to me when I was thinking about running, they said, look, there is an incumbent progressive president, Bernie Sanders. And there is an incumbent president moderate, and that`s Joe Biden.

MADDOW:  So, those lanes are filled.

WARREN:  Those -- they are filled and they are filled with incumbents. That is they have -- each one has an incumbent and there are no more lanes. So, this isn`t going to work.

And I, of course, you know, as I do on so many things say, well, then I`ll just have to invent it myself and develop a plan for this to make it happen.

You know, there`s another way to look at it is to say, at least chipped away from that and got -- you can take the soft parts of it, got more ideas into it, helped rebuild the democracy because that`s what field does. I still believe in field organizing. Helped at the margins.

You don`t know what I would have had without it. I might have been at zero, right? It pulls people in. It inspires people. It helps down-ballot candidates.

So, look, I`m not sorry for one nickel I spent on field. In fact, I`ll tell you something. If anyone does the woulda, shoulda, coulda, I probably spent less money on television advertising and put more money into field because field is the person-to-person. It is the part about rebuilding our democracy.

And it -- I don`t know whether it showed up in my results or not because you don`t have the way to control and say, OK, this is what happens if she doesn`t have field. But here`s what I do know. There are people who come into that campaign office and volunteer or people who get hired as part of the first little staff to do it. Those are some of the entry entry-level staff jobs, who end up running for office.

They`re people who end up running somebody`s campaign to be city council. They`re people who bring in other Democrats and who begin to say, oh, wait, you`re interested in, oh, in the same thing about school funding, so am I. How about we get together and we repair this little bit of democracy?

It`s like the exact inverse of what Michael Bloomberg wanted to do. He said, if you got a half a billion dollars to spend in the first few weeks of a primary, you can just buy your way in. And the answer is, no, not in a democracy because it -- if that`s the way we shift, we`re going to lose the whole thing, we`re going to have a country that`s only about millionaires and billionaires.

And so, pulling it back, I get it. This really may have been that it was two lanes and that`s all there was room for. But I`m not sorry for any part of the field part of this, of the volunteer part of this, of all the young people who got their first job or got their second job, got that managerial job, got that opportunity to move up, got to be part of a policy team or comms team. God bless. That`s how we`re going to rebuild our democracy.

MADDOW:  I have one other thing that I`m going to ask you about if we can take a quick break, when we come back, it`s just one other thing. It`s sort of the biggest thing in the world. I`ll hold it with that excellent tease until we get back.

We`re here with Elizabeth Warren in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Stay with us.


MADDOW:  We`re back now with Senator Elizabeth Warren who announced today she`s suspending her presidential run.

Senator Warren, thanks again for letting us invade your house.

WARREN:  Good to see you.

MADDOW:  So, the Dow dropped almost 1,000 points again today.


MADDOW:  Ten-year T-bills are below 0.9 percent yield as of today, which I think is maybe a first. And I`m no market whiz but I know that means that people are (INAUDIBLE) their money.


WARREN:  That it`s there.

MADDOW:  It means people are afraid to put their money elsewhere.

WARREN:  That`s right.

MADDOW:  Energy stocks, airlines, industrial sector, banks, financial sector -- I mean, everything is off the cliff.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  And markets are not the economy. But this now looks less like a panic and more like what the markets are reacting to is a global economic cliff dive.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  You rose to national prominence around the last global financial catastrophe, predicting it, crucially helping explain it while it was happening and then trying to save us from its impact.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  This crisis we`re going through now and heading into because of coronavirus is different. Is it reasonable to be worried this might be a financial disaster of a similar scale?


MADDOW:  Do you think it is?

WARREN:  So understand it this way. Before coronavirus was on anybody`s radar screen, this economy was already showing the cracks.

Lending defaults -- loan defaults were up. Small businesses were failing and not able to help pay their -- not able to service their debts. There were declines in manufacturing. You kind of can see shaky signs in the economy, problem number one.

And then problem number two, the Trump administration had spent the bailout tools. So they`d done this ginormous tax break, right, and ballooned the debt, and done rate cuts to juice the economy.

And the consequences of both of those had not been investment in the real economy. It had been to do things like stock buybacks that produced things for a handful of folks at the top and for the corporate executives but didn`t actually create more goods and more services in the economy.

So, OK, so you`ve got a kind of cracky economy and you`ve got the tools spent down and along comes the coronavirus. And now, you`re going to get hit again because it`s things like supply chains, the trucks that are stopped in China and just literally the stuff is just not coming over.

So, manufacturers here in the United States that need 147 parts to put something together to send it out, two of those parts come from China, you`re done. You need to the ingredients to be able to manufacture a drug and two of those come from China and you`re just done on this. So that starts twisting the economy.

Then part two, you have an economy right now that is deeply interrelated. Five big banks in America now, and they`re not only here, they`re tied all around the world. So, as soon as one of these businesses that can`t do its manufacturing or can`t produce its drugs because it has a supply chain problem, can`t make a loan payment and you start stacking those up, all of a sudden, those banks are -- they`re in trouble themselves. More defaults on the loans. Now the banks start to get in trouble, because like what happened in the mortgage market, more defaults, the defaults start to stack up and the risks start to go up.

Now, the banks have already tried to seize advantage from this and said, I know, reduce supervision of the banks. Very bad idea.

MADDOW:  Right.

WARREN:  Right. This is not the time to reduce supervision of the bank. But that`s the second problem in this.

And then there`s a third problem, an incompetent administration. An incompetent administration is like its own natural disaster. When you`ve got a president who engages in magical thinking and says, no, I decided there were only -- he decided there were only 15 cases and they would all be gone by April.

And whatever it is he decides, my gosh, it almost doesn`t matter what he decides. The point is he`s not listening to the scientists. He`s not listening to the experts on this.

And then he picks Mike Pence as the person in the White House who`s really going to be in charge of this. He picked the one person who actually has experience with a health care crisis and that was back in Indiana, and Mike Pence was in charge as governor and made it a whole lot worse.

It`s -- it`s like the worst of all connections here.

So, if we were doing our dead level best and going at this smart, we`d be working on the coronavirus, we would be working on the tests as you talked about at the top, the vaccines, we would set aside a big fund of money so that we now would let anybody take sick leave who is diagnosed so people can keep themselves inside and try to slow down the spread.

There are a lot of steps we could be taking, they`re not taking them. They`re engaged in a magical thinking. But there`s also steps we could be taking on the economic front, and it`s not just a rate cut. It`s actually - - we need to be talking about stimulus now.

And look, yes, they did the tax cuts and ran the debt up and that makes it a lot tougher for us to get stimulus through now.

So, all these pieces are related to each other, and none of them are good.

MADDOW:  It would be amazing if we have a president who understood all those things all at once and could like spout off of (ph) them on the top her head without notes and no warning that I was going to ask you that.

We`ll be right back with Senator Elizabeth Warren who today announced the end of her presidential campaign.

Be right back.


MADDOW:  Wearing -- it`s a "consumer watchdog" collar that Bailey`s wearing?

WARREN:  Yes, it is.


MADDOW:  Can I tell you? So, Bailey ate a burrito today -- 


MADDOW:  -- because he was -- he had his own feelings about the end of the campaign.

WARREN:  Uh-huh.

MADDOW:  He just came over and ate some of my notes. Do you want to know what question he ate?

WARREN:  What? What question did he eat?

MADDOW:  He ate the Michael Bloomberg debate question.


WARREN:  Go Bailes! He`s made me (ph) --

MADDOW:  Are you your mommy`s dog?

WARREN:  Such a good boy.

MADDOW:  Do you want take another bite out of crime (ph)?

WARREN:  That`s right. Take another bite out of them, boy.


MADDOW:  Senator Warren, it`s been an odyssey this year. It`s been an honor to be able to talk to you multiple times throughout this campaign and to be here today on the day that you decided to close up shop. It`s real -- real honor and we really take it seriously and thank you.

WARREN:  Thank you. I so much appreciate your having me.

MADDOW:  I look forward to your next act. I have a feeling that you`ve outpunked us all on this one, and you`re going to surprise us.

WARREN:  Oh, we`re going to -- 

MADDOW:  Fair enough?


MADDOW:  OK, that`s going to do it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.


Good evening, Lawrence. I`m sorry that me and Senator Warren`s dog ate your A block.

                                                                                                                THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END