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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guest: Howard Dean, Rep. Diana DeGette, Heather McGhee, Deepak Bhargava,  Kent Jones          

CHRIS HAYES, GUEST HOST:  Good evening, Lawrence.  Thank you.

And thank you for staying with us for the next hour.  As Lawrence

mentioned and you‘ve noted by now, I am not Rachel Maddow.  I am Chris

Hayes, Washington editor of “The Nation” magazine.  Rachel is off tonight,

but she will be back tomorrow.  We promise.

We begin tonight with the White House turning its rhetorical firepower

on the softest of targets as they make their latest—and they hope—

final push for health reform.



work for the American people, not just work for the insurance companies. 

The president wants to make the case again for what happens if we walk

away, what happens if we start over.  If we walk away and start over,

individuals continue to get letters watching their health insurance go up -

again, 39, 60, 20 percent.



HAYES:  That was White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs taking aim

at the health insurance industry, just one day after his boss, who is also

full-disclosure—my wife‘s boss, led that charge to pretty dramatic





gets worse.  Every year, insurance companies deny more people coverage

because they‘ve got pre-existing conditions.  Every year, they draw more

people‘s coverage when they get sick, right when they need it most.  Every

year, they raise premiums higher and higher and higher.

That‘s the status quo in America.  And it is a status quo that is

unsustainable for this country.  We can‘t have a system that works better

for the insurance companies than it does for the American people.



HAYES:  Health insurance companies have clearly become enemy number

one for President Obama and Democrats as they try to finish off health

reform.  And that is a status it turns out that the health care companies

are not at all happy about.

Today, the health insurance industry‘s lobbying arm, AHIP,

acknowledged it‘s about to launch $1 million advertising campaign to

essentially defend itself—an ad campaign that will focus on, quote,

“setting the record straight about rising health care costs.”

With headlines across the country about double-digit rate hikes, the

health insurance industry, sort of, has an image problem on its hands.  The

only group less popular than Wall Street executives at this point is, I

think, health insurance executives.

Case in point, today the health insurance industry kicked off its

annual policy conference in Washington, D.C.  Probably not helping their

cause much, they decided to hold their two-day conference at Washington,

D.C.‘s glitzy Ritz-Carlton Hotel.  But the health insurance executives

weren‘t alone at the Ritz today.  They were joined by about 1,000

protesters from the two labor unions and the group Health Care for America


The protesters wrapped the entrance to the Ritz-Carlton in corporate

crime scene tape and they depicted the bodies of dozens of insurance

victims who were killed by big insurance.

Among those protesting today was a doctor from Vermont, who also

happens to be the former chairman of the Democratic Party.


HOWARD DEAN, FMR. DNC CHAIRMAN:  This is a vote about one thing.  Are

you for the insurance companies or are you for the American people?

CROWD:  Yes!

DEAN:  The Republicans are for the insurance companies.  Let‘s have a

vote right now and see—we need a final vote.  The president is right. 

We deserve—the American people deserve a final vote.  Let‘s see who we

stand with here.



HAYES:  Joining us now is Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and

former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.  He is now a

consultant to McKenna Long & Aldridge, and Democracy for America, as well

as a contributor to CNBC.

Governor Dean, thank you for joining us tonight.

DEAN:  Thanks for having me on, Chris.

HAYES:  How much blame do health insurance companies deserve for

rising costs?

DEAN:  The biggest problem with the health insurance companies is not

just the contribution to what rising costs.  They really are a heartless

industry.  They really do push people off the rolls who need health care.

I heard a story yesterday—I was in New Hampshire, campaigning for

Paul Hodes who‘s running for the United States Senate.  And a lady came up

to me who had been pushed off of the rolls.  She got sick.  She got cancer.

She couldn‘t work because she was getting chemo and radio therapy. 

And the insurance company dropped her.  And it‘s just unbelievable.  And it

happens—it happens again and again and again.

I—today, when I gave the speech in front—at DuPont Circle, to

kick off the march, I held a picture of a 33-year-old who didn‘t get a

colonoscopy when he needed one, and he died a year later.

This kind of stuff goes all the time.  And the health insurance

industry really—they really do care more about what they—how much was

their quarterly earnings are than they do about the people who sell

insurance to.  If you get sick, you‘ve had it because they‘ll pull your


HAYES:  Now, all those sort of abuses that you‘re talking about are

exactly the kinds of things that in any version of the reform packages in

either house of Congress are going to be ended.  And yet, at the same time,

the health insurance lobby claims that they‘re in favor of reform.  We also

know they‘ve been funneling money towards anti-health reform ads.

So, what sort of reform are they in favor of, if any?

DEAN:  Well, the Senate bill is actually a treat to health insurance

industry better than I would.  I don‘t—I‘m not that crazy about the

Senate bill because they basically force, you know, several tens of

millions of Americans to buy their product.  And they don‘t really fix the

problem as well as it ought to be fixed.  But there are some very good

things in the Senate bill.

And the House is going to go through this reconciliation process, so

that they can have a straight-up majority vote on this.  And the House bill

was fairly good.

So, I‘m really hoping very much that the House will fix this.  Forty

Democratic senators have now signed on to a public option.  The obvious

public option is to allow people who are under 65 to buy into Medicare. 

You‘ve already got—everybody understands it, you already have the system

working.  You can start signing people up within two months of the

president signing the bill.

And I‘m very much hoping that that‘s going to get into the

reconciliation bill, and we‘re going to have that as part of this.  If you

put that in, that solves almost every problem that the insurance companies

create.  When people get choices, they don‘t have to sign up for these

insurance companies anymore.  Then the insurance companies will have to

clean up their act.

HAYES:  And what‘s interesting is that you—all those sort of

movements towards a Medicare buy-in or the public option—we now have 40

senators who are saying they favor putting in to reconciliation.  You know,

you had said earlier in December, when the Senate bill was passed, you were

arguing pretty vocally, and I thought persuasively and strongly Democrats

to kill the Senate version of the bill.  Do you still feel that way, or has

something changed between now and then that even if—even if that is the

version of the bill that is the core of it, you would be willing to support


DEAN:  Well, what they have agreed to do is that—because the

Republicans have been so obstructionist and are now able to kill the bill,

we don‘t have to live with just the Senate version of the bill.  We pass

the Senate version of the bill of the House, and the Democrats in the

Senate have agreed to pass something in addition to that.  If you can put

back some of the stuff that the Senate took out, then this would be once

again a decent bill.

I was very much in favor of the House bill, but not so much the Senate

bill, because it really does—there‘s a lot of goodies in there for the

insurance companies, and that‘s not—and goodies for the insurance

companies mean baddies for the American people.

HAYES:  Right.  Well, how optimistic then are you about the prospects

for either Medicare buy-in or a public option in this process over the next

few weeks as this plays on?

DEAN:  Well, I still think it can be and it should be done.  It‘s

smart politics for the Democrats.  One of the things—if you don‘t put it

in there, the Democrats are going to have to explain this bill for two more

election cycles.  If you do put it in there, then as soon as the president

as long as it‘s Medicare buy-in and that‘s the form of the public option

they use, then the president doesn‘t have to explain.


The other thing, you don‘t really need a public—you don‘t really

need an individual mandate.  You know, we‘ve done all this stuff.  Sixteen

years ago, we did most of this stuff that‘s being talked about in the

Senate.  Except, frankly, we‘ve done it a little bit better than it‘s being


And we don‘t have an individual mandate, but we still have 96 percent

of our kids under 18 with health insurance.  We have a sort of a public

option.  We didn‘t call it that when we did it. But it allows you to sign

your kids up for Medicaid if you make less than $66,000 a year and you pay

480 bucks a year and everybody under 18 has health insurance.

That‘s—you know, that works fine without an individual mandate.  Is

it better with an individual mandate?  Yes, a little bit, but I think it‘s

going to be a political problem.

So, there are some changes that can be made.  And I think the House is

going to make some changes and make it a better bill.  So, I really want to

see something passed.  I‘m tired of being pushed around by the far right

wing of the Republican Party, tired of Republican senators who put the

interest of their party ahead of the interest of their country.

We had a chance for bipartisanship, the president opened his hand and

he got it slapped, and I think it‘s time now to have an up or down vote,

let‘s see who‘s with the insurance companies and who‘s with the American


HAYES:  Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National

Committee—thank you very much for your time tonight.

DEAN:  Thanks for having me on.

HAYES:  If health reform is finally going to happen this year,

Democrats still have one giant obstacle standing in their way—his name

is Bart Stupak.  Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan has

threatened for the last week to pretty much anyone who will listen, to

bring down the health reform bill if the anti-abortion language he prefers

is not in it.  And Bart Stupak says he‘s not just speaking for Bart Stupak,

he‘s speaking for the Stupak dozen.


REP. BART STUPAK (D), MICHIGAN:  There are at least 12 of us who voted

for health care who have indicated to the leadership and others, and unless

you fix this abortion language, we can‘t vote for a final version of the



HAYES:  As Democrats in the House scramble to find every last vote

they can to pass health reform, a 12-vote bloc committed to voting no just

might be the single biggest obstacle they face.  And so, Democrats have

apparently started negotiating with Congressman Stupak who told reporters

yesterday, quote, “I‘m more optimistic than I was a week ago, I think we

can get there.”

So where exactly is there?

Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado. 

She‘s co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.

Congresswoman DeGette, thank you for joining us tonight.

REP. DIANA DEGETTE (D), COLORADO:  Good to be with you.

HAYES:  In terms of the substance of Congressman Stupak‘s complaint

that he claims the federal bill would allow federal funding of abortion. 

Is that correct?

DEGETTE:  Congressman Stupak is completely wrong.  The House version

that we passed before—or the one we considered before his amendment had

a compromise that we reached in my committee which kept the status quo in

place, because we want this to be a health care bill, not an abortion bill. 

So, we agreed that we would keep current law that says no federal funding

for abortion.  That language was also contained in the Senate version that

was passed.  So, there‘s nothing in the law as it stands right now that

would allow federal funding for abortion.

HAYES:  Congressman Stupak appears to be negotiating behind the scenes

here.  Is there room for any kind of deal?  I mean, it sounds like there

was a deal struck.  Is there room for a deal now with Congressman Stupak?

DEGETTE:  Well, we certainly are always willing to talk to Congressman

Stupak and anybody else.  But the pro-choice caucus which has 190 members

has really said, we are not going to agree to final legislation that

restricts a woman‘s right to choose beyond current law, period.

And what Congressman Stupak wants to do is to ban people who want to

buy insurance with their own private money in these insurance exchanges

from doing so.  And that would be a vast expansion of a restriction on a

woman‘s right to chose, and we can‘t agree to that.

HAYES:  With the members of your caucus, if there was some deal struck

with Congressman Stupak, if the final legislation looked more like things

that were in the Stupak amendment than the version of the Senate bill,

would those 190 members really vote against the ultimate health reform

bill?  Is that what you‘re saying?

DEGETTE:  After Congressman Stupak passed his amendment in the House

version, which said nobody could buy insurance in these exchanges with

their own private dollars if it included abortion coverage, I circulated a

letter and the letter simply said to Speaker Pelosi, “We are not going to

vote for a final version of the bill if it restricts a woman‘s right to

choose beyond current law.”  Forty people signed that letter.  I‘ve gone

back and checked with all those 40 people, plus additional people, probably

about 10 or 15 more, who say, if a final bill restricts a woman‘s right to

choose beyond current law, we‘re not going to vote for the bill.

And so, I think—I mean, we‘re—we can‘t use this as a vehicle to

restrict a woman‘s right to choose.  History shows that if we pass a

restriction on a woman‘s right to choose, we‘ll never get that back.

And we think women should be entitled to have a full range of

reproductive services under their insurance.  They have it now.  They can

go out and buy insurance policies with their own money that gives them full

reproductive services.  We believe they should be able to get that under

this bill, too.  We don‘t think we should give up a woman‘s right to chose

as a devil‘s bargain to get health care.

HAYES:  Democratic Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado, co-chair

of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus—thank you for your time tonight.

DEGETTE:  Good to be with you.  Thank you.

HAYES:  Look out history, Karl Rove is peddling his version of the

Bush years.  Wayne Slater, author of the book about Rove, joins me for that



Plus, later, the internal split the tea party doesn‘t want you to talk


Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It is my honor and absolute delight to now

pronounce you Robert and James, husband and husband.


HAYES:  That was one of the first same sex couples to get legally

married in Washington, D.C., this morning.

Also celebrating today, D.C.‘s wedding industry, which is looking

forward to a little localized economic stimulus, according to “The

Washington Post.”  The paper cites a study predicting that same sex

marriage will create 700 jobs and bring more than $52 million to the

economy in the D.C. area.

Not celebrating?  Catholic Charities of the archdiocese of Washington,

which responded to D.C.‘s new law by taking away spousal benefits from all

new employees just to be sure they wouldn‘t have to give any to the gays.


HAYES:  Welcome back.  I‘m Chris Hayes in for Rachel Maddow, who has

the night off.

In his ongoing quest for relevance, Karl Rove has written a book. 

“Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight.”  And to

sell it, he went on “The Today Show” this morning—where he tried to

explain away the Bush administration‘s mishandling of Hurricane Katrina.


KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH ADVISOR:  The president of the United States,

if he had dropped into New Orleans that morning, would have discombobulated

the recovery efforts.  It would have had to close down the airspace.  We

would—there would have been—you know, rather than a cargo plane

coming in with rescue people, it would have been President Bush.

MATT LAUER, “THE TODAY SHOW”:  But that picture almost, would have

been, was worse than no picture.

ROVE:  No.  We should have gone to Baton Rouge, which is where the

governor was and where the emergency center was and that‘s where we should

have gone.

LAUER:  You also write in the book, we did not have the ability to get

real-time information so did not realize the initial reports we were

getting were wrong.  This is the president of the United States.

ROVE:  Sure.

LAUER:  Did anyone at the White House turn on the TV?  We had real-

time information.

ROVE:  Well, you know what?  The media did not have real-time

information.  For example, the media led people to believe that there were

snipers.  So, as a result, rescue personnel refused to go into some of the

some of the—



LAUER:  We showed the suffering though in some of these places.

ROVE:  You know what?  And that‘s the point is, is that you—for

example, you didn‘t know about the suffering at the convention center until

the government did, but the government should have known about it earlier.


HAYES:  You didn‘t know about the suffering at the convention center

until the government did.

But according to someone who was there, Mr. Rove still doesn‘t have

his story straight about what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane

Katrina.  NBC News photojournalist Tony Zumbado, who shot that terrible

scene at the convention center exclusive for NBC News told us today that it

was NBC News that called then-FEMA Director Michael Brown to alert him to

the scene there.  Until that moment, Brown didn‘t know about the convention


Joining us now is Wayne Slater, senior political writer for “The

Dallas Morning News” and co-author of “Bush‘s Brain: How Karl Rove Made

George W. Bush Presidential.”

Thanks for being here.

WAYNE SLATER, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS:  Great to be with you, Chris.

HAYES:  Well, what you said about Hurricane Katrina at least was a

provable moment where Karl Rove is sharing misinformation with the American

public.  What else in the book is misleading?

SLATER:  Oh, there‘s—as you can find, it didn‘t take me long before

I found the first one or just the first few pages.  He talks about a 1990

race in which he was running against a liberal Democrat in Texas, an

acquaintance of his who was the FBI agent, came in and began investigation

this race, and there were embarrassing disclosures in the newspaper.

Now, in his book, Rove says, “I didn‘t have anything to do with this,

in fact, I was just reading the newspaper to find out what was going on

each day.” Well, I‘m one of the reporters that Karl was calling and was

giving the information, myself and some colleagues.  And so, he was very

actively—trust me Chris—he was very actively involved.

But the other thing that Karl does is let‘s falsehood go without him

correcting it.  Either denies a different argument or farces his words. 

And the biggest example in the book that I‘ve seen so far is really Scott

McClellan.  Scott McClellan asked him, “Were you involved in the disclosing

the identity of the CIA agent?”  He says he wasn‘t.

Scott was sent out and Rove understood what was going on to say

something that wasn‘t true.  And it really hurt Scott McClellan.

It reminded me really of that scene in “Animal House” where the

fraternity guy has taken the pledge, Flounder says, “We will hurt your

car.”  With over his trust, when they wreck the car, then fraternity guys

tell him, “Hey, you screwed up, you shouldn‘t have trusted us.”

HAYES:  Well, the Plame affair was one—was one of the iconic

examples of official malfeasance with the truth.  The other big one, of

course, is weapons of mass destruction.  Rove writes in his book that

without the threat of WMD, quote, “the Bush administration itself would

probably have sought other ways to constrain Saddam,” yet the vice

president—end quote.  Yet, the Vice President Dick Cheney disagrees the

war wouldn‘t have happened if they had known there were no WMDs.

So, who should we believe here?

SLATER:  Great—this is a great question.  I‘ve got—either Rove

or Cheney.  These are our choices?  Can I have a lifeline?

HAYES:  It‘s the devil‘s choice.

SLATER:  I think—I think I believe Karl in this case.  And the

reason I believe Karl is, because of Colin Powell.  Colin Powell has

subsequently said that when he was sent—when he tried to investigate all

the evidence, that he didn‘t get all the evidence.  He didn‘t get specific

information and specific information about one of the key sources about

Saddam Hussein‘s alleged cache of weapons of mass destruction.

So, if Colin Powell hadn‘t gotten that information, he never would

have gone to the U.N. and made the speech, he never would have gone to war,

and voila—I think Karl‘s right.

HAYES:  So, I‘m putting a tick mark here in my true/false column for

Karl Rove after that.

So, Rove also in his book, he writes this interesting line.  He says,

“I have the common adjective.  There is something called a Rovian style of

campaign, and it‘s meant as an insult.”  Then he goes on to defend his

campaign record.

You‘ve done a lot of reporting and digging around how—what Rovian

means and where that adjective comes from.  Can you remind us why that term

exists?  And did—does Karl Rove deserve it?

SLATER:  He absolutely deserves it.  You know, it began years and

years and years ago here in Texas in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.  And it

became conventional wisdom among the political operatives and the political

reporters that when a campaign Karl was involved with, when they erupted

dirty tricks or some kind of, sort of, interesting and underhanded episode,

then it was the mark of Rove.  That was what it used to be called 20 years

ago in Texas.

If you look at the entire history of Karl Rove, he began his career as

a young Republican, as a college Republican with Lee Atwater teaching dirty

tricks in seminars.  There were the smears against Ann Richards when she

ran against George Bush, raising questions about her sexuality.  In the

same year, exactly the same thing with a judge in Alabama.  You look at the

South Carolina attack on John McCain, the whisper campaign, and the Swift

Boat scene of John Kerry.

The same thing happened in every case—one, Karl Rove was the

consultant.  Two, he denied any responsibility for any of it.  And three,

Karl‘s candidates benefited.

So, I think—I think the nature of the Rovian campaign is very well-


HAYES:  Wayne Slater, senior political writer for “The Dallas Morning

News” and co-author of “Bush‘s Brain”—thank you so much for your time


SLATER:  Great to be with you.

HAYES:  Coming up: the latest about Heidi Montag and Obama‘s latest

push for financial reform and yes, the two are related.  Thank you, news

gods.  That‘s next.  Stick around.


HAYES:  Welcome back to the show.  I‘m Chris Hayes sitting in tonight

for Rachel.

Now, when I agreed to guest-host, I did it on one condition, that we

would do a segment about “Hill” star and semi-professional partygoer Heidi

Montag, and here I am.  So, welcome to Montag talk.

Our inaugural segment finds the bizarre pseudo-celebrity world Heidi

lives in strangely intersecting the one the rest of us occupy, because

today, Heidi Montag is stumping for financial reform.  Yes, Heidi Montag is

putting her every bit of her substantial power as a kind of, sort of,

somewhat (INAUDIBLE) person into pushing for a Consumer Financial

Protection agency.


HEIDI MONTAG, REALITY-TV STAR:  With hidden fees and standard interest

rate increases that $11,000 jaw line can end up costing you upwards of

$50,000.  Being in debt for elective surgery is bad enough, but when I

think about the thousands of Americans whose only method of paying for food

is their credit cards, it‘s enough to make me cry without moving my new


That‘s why I support the creation of a consumer agency to help protect

average citizens and reality stars alike.  A consumer agency will stop

banks and credit card companies from being such sleazy jerks.

Call your senators and tell them to hold big Wall Street banks

accountable and to fight for strong consumer protection.


HAYES:  OK.  So, why does this proposed consumer watchdog agency need

Heidi‘s help?  Because Senator Chris Dodd, the Democrat in charge of the

banking committee is working on a financial reform compromise with

Republican Senator Bob Corker.  And Senator Corker said on the record,

going into those negotiations, that he could not support a stand-alone

Consumer Financial Protection Agency.  In other words, Senator Dodd is very

likely whittling away at the consumer agency to try to bring Corker on


And the best evidence yet that that‘s going on, news from Sen.

Corker today that they almost reached a deal on the agency.  Here, for your

viewing pleasure, is his warm-up victory lap on CNBC today. 


SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN):  I don‘t think we ought to try to pass

legislation that solves every problem in the world.  I think when we do

that, we end up with things like what‘s happening right now with health

care reforms. 


HAYES:  In fact, the financial reform debate is a lot like health care

reform debate, but not for the reason Bob Corker says.  Here‘s the real

analogy.  The Consumer Financial Protection Agency is the new public


Both the public option and the consumer agency would have meant

major changes for a major industry.  And both industries have half-

heartedly pretended to support reform in theory, but often fought tooth-

and-nail against it. 

And both industries focused the fight on that one piece of reform

would have meant a new source of power over them, something independent and

something they couldn‘t subvert.  And so far in both cases, it‘s looking

kind of like Democrats are going to cave. 

Joining us now is Heather McGhee.  She‘s director of the

Washington Office of Demos, a non-partisan research and advocacy group. 

Heather, thanks so much for coming on the show. 


for having me. 

HAYES:  So an independent agency to protect consumers seems like a

very popular idea.  Why would Republicans be fighting against it?  And

maybe more perplexingly, why would Democrats want to abandon it? 

MCGHEE:  I‘ll take the easy one first.  I really think that it‘s very

popular.  Seventy-five percent of Americans recognize that the banks and

the payday lenders have been gouging them for years as the federal

government has looked the other way, and really support a strong

independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency. 

We have to realize that Republicans and all people in Congress

have more than one set of constituents.  They have the voters who are

paying attention sometimes, and the donors and the lobbyists who are paying

attention all the time. 

And they‘ve been swarming Congress for the past year, ever since

the financial crisis, trying to weaken and ultimately kill a Consumer

Financial Protection Agency. 

HAYES:  So those banks that have been trying to kill this thing, and

they‘ve been going at it with hatchets from the very beginning.  What is it

they‘re so afraid of?  Why are they fighting so hard against it? 

GHEE:  What we‘ve seen is over the past 30 years, there‘s really been

a really radical experiment in financial deregulation across the board. 

But at the consumer level, there‘s just a new Wild West situation out there

where the banks, the payday lenders, the rent-to-own stores, the used auto

dealers have just basically had very little oversight and they‘ve profited

from that regime. 

HAYES:  Right. 

MCGHEE:  The financial crisis has absolutely shown that that was not

only bad for consumers.  It was bad for Wall Street.  It was bad for the

entire country.  And they know that the jig is up, unless they can beat

down a consumer protection agency. 

HAYES:  So then, what is your sense?  And I know that you have been

working with a lot of groups on the Hill.  What is your sense of where the

Consumer Financial Protection Agency stands? 

MCGHEE:  I think we‘re at a very critical point.  You mentioned health

care.  Unfortunately, I really think that the financial reform battle has

really been waged in the shadow of health care. 

The American people shouldn‘t have to learn that there‘s a fight

going on for their wallets from Heidi Montag and the “SNL” presidents, but

they have.  I mean, really, I think that most Americans, if they knew what

the stakes were, that there were payday lenders and subprime mortgage

companies on one hand and a Consumer Financial Protection Agency on the

other hand, would be really outraged. 

But the Democrats haven‘t been able to take the mike and make

that contrast clear.  And so we‘ve got backroom deals right now.  We‘ve

really got - Sen. Dodd really wants to make a deal, and he‘s going to give

away, I think, a real opportunity to make a very clear contrast and say,

“Hey, this is what the Democratic Party stands for, and it‘s you, your

family, your retirement savings and your home.” 

Republicans are trying to gut investor protections, consumer

protections.  They‘re trying to stand up for the subprime lenders and the

payday lenders.  I mean, this should be a very easy political fight. 

So I think if we can make that political fight more visible to

the American people, and it‘s really just starting to heat up, then I think

we‘re going to have a stronger hand to try to get this consumer agency


HAYES:  Heather, maybe we can get a Lady Gaga video on the Internet in

favor of the agency.  Heather McGhee, Washington Director of the non-

partisan group, Demos, thanks so much for joining us tonight. 

MCGHEE:  Thanks, Chris. 

HAYES:  Up next, watch Congressman Eric Massa make Glenn Beck‘s world

fall apart.


HAYES:  Still ahead, the issue that could tear apart the tea party

movement.  I‘ll tell you about that shortly.  And “Saturday Night Live,”

watch out.  The folks in one New York town don‘t take lightly to you

calling them a bunch of rock eaters.  Kent Jones explains.

But first, a few holy mackerel stories in today‘s news.  All eyes and

ears were on recently resigned Congressman Eric Massa this afternoon who

made his first TV appearance since accusations of harassment were lobbed

against him last week. 

The self-described “salty old sailor” appeared on the “Glenn Beck

Show” for what Beck promised to be a barnburner of an interview.  Beck‘s

idea was to give over an entire hour of his show to a man who, just today,

earlier, seemed poised on revealing the dark, secret inner workings of the

whole socialist conspiracy running the country, a man who knew who the

bodies were buried.

And now, on live TV, he was going to name names.  But then things

did not go quite as Beck had hoped. 


GLENN BECK, HOST, “THE GLENN BECK SHOW”:  Tell us what you know.  Make

a difference now.  Pick up a shovel and show us where to throw the dirt. 

FMR. REP. ERIC MASSA (D-NY):  Sir, the most important thing that

people can do is to get involved. 

BECK:  No, no, no. 

MASSA:  Involved -

BECK:  You‘re in - no, no. 

MASSA:  OK, go ahead. 

BECK:  Please don‘t be a commercial. 

MASSA:  All right. 

BECK:  Everybody knows that. 

MASSA:  All right.

BECK:  People - you‘re in.  You claim that the system is corrupt.  I

agree with you. 

MASSA:  Demand we do one thing in Congress, and that‘s change campaign

finance reform, because nothing else matters until we do that.  Until we do

that, nothing will change. 

That‘s my - that to me is the number one issue facing America

today.  It really is.  We won‘t change jobs.  We won‘t change anything

until that is changed.


HAYES:  Beck really, really didn‘t know what to do with that.  You

could see his brain frying right in front of your eyes.  I want names.  On

the left and the right, we‘re always looking for villains, the bad guys who

are screwing people over or screwing up the country. 

But a lot of times, the problems go much deeper than that.  And

the answers involve pretty boring sounding reforms like campaign finance. 

As Glenn Beck might expect, a dirty hippie like myself to say, “It‘s the

system, man.  It‘s the system.” 

Now, in one of the more colorful electoral races this year, Florida

Governor Charlie Crist is in a bare-knuckles primary fight for the Senate. 

It‘s a job Crist thought he had locked up a year ago.

Now, fast forward to March 2010, and Charlie Crist is desperate. 

His Republican primary challenger, Marco Rubio, leads him by more than 30

points in the latest poll.  If there‘s one thing we know about desperate

campaigns and desperate candidates, it‘s that they make really stupid

mistakes.  Here‘s Crist last night taking a jab at his opponent. 


GOV. CHARLIE CRIST (R-FL):  He‘s trying to pawn himself off as a

fiscal conservative.  In yet, just in recent weeks, about two weeks ago -

it‘s come out in news accounts that he had a Republican Party of Florida

credit card, that he charged a $130 haircut, or maybe it was a back wax. 

We‘re not really sure what all he got at that place. 


HAYES:  So beyond just insinuating the hirsuteness of your opponent,

is there a political point here somewhere?


CRIST:  The (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from reality is stunning to me.  And you

know, to try to say that you‘re a fiscal conservative, yet you spend $130

for maybe a haircut and maybe other things - I don‘t know what you do at a

salon when you‘re a guy. 


HAYES:  Well, you could tan there, I suppose.  But how would a regular

old fellow like Charlie Crist know about that? 


CRIST:  I get my haircut for $11 from a guy named Carl the barber in

St. Petersburg, Florida where I grew up.  And you know, to me, that‘s real

fiscal conservativism. 


HAYES:  Yes. Finally, someone standing up for real fiscal

conservatism.  Where a Senate candidate gets his or her haircut would be

relevant if the super-cuts were a federally funded program. 

But so long as a senator merely has to appropriate federal funds,

consent to treaties and confirm presidential appointments, Crist is

probably barking up the wrong palm tree on this one. 

Marco Rubio is the tea party-approved candidate and he is also

the son of immigrants.  More on why that does not compute - later on in the


And finally, even if you know nothing about hockey, you do know that

Canadians love it.  I mean, they really, really love it.  And they are good

at it too - Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky and of course, Sidney Crosby who

scored the winning goal for Canada in its incredible gold medal match

against the U.S. in this year‘s Winter Olympics. 

Eighty percent of Canadians were watching that game - 80 percent. 

And not just as casual viewers either.  Pat Kiernan, a news anchor here in

New York, draws our attention to a graph which shows water consumption in

one Canadian city, Edmonton, during the gold medal game, OK? 

So here we have water consumption before the game - pretty

straight line.  And then, it falls off drastically for face-off.  First

period ends and everyone runs to the bathroom.  Oh, game‘s back on. 

Now, second period ends - back to the loo.  Players back on the

ice?  Quick, hurry, bathrooms in Edmonton are emptier than a Sarah Palin

book signing in Berkeley. 

End of third period - sweet relief.  The game goes into overtime,

Canada wins, and they get their medals.  And then, once again, it‘s back to

being an acceptable time for a bathroom break. 

Canadians are great at hockey, and if it were to be an Olympic

sport, they would probably also be very good at synchronized you-know-what-



HAYES:  When Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol launched their smear campaign

aimed at Justice Department lawyers who previously defended Guantanamo

detainees, I hoped it would finally be the tipping point, the at long last

“have you no decency” moment when the Washington establishment said enough. 

And it has occasioned something of an attack of conscience from a

number of prominent right-wing lawyers who have come forward to condemn the

witch hunt. 

The latest is Sen. Lindsey Graham who said today that, quote,

“Every time a defense lawyer fights to make the government do their job,

that defense lawyer has made us all safer.” 

But while conservatives are busy condemning Cheney, “The

Washington Post” is, well - if not endorsing it, at least giving its

endorsers a pretty nice platform.  Yesterday, their newest columnist,

former Bush speechwriter, Marc Thiessen, wrote a piece recapitulating the

same execrable garbage as Cheney and his fellow “Post” columnist Bill

Kristol have. 

I‘m not going to repeat it.  You‘ve heard it all before.  The

column could hardly come as a surprise to “Washington Post” opinion

editors, given since Thiessen was given his gig after publishing a book

that defended the torture regime at length and accused of President Obama

of, quote, “inviting the next attack.”   

We have witnessed our national conversation over national

security grow so degraded that war crimes are now debated on TV as if they

were the gas tax.  Someone needs to say no more. 

If Ted Olson can do it, then “Washington Post,” you can, too. 

Really.  We believe in you.


CHARLIE ROSE, HOST, “CHARLIE ROSE”:  Now back to the tea party and you

had pointed out that it is a very big tent.  What part of that tent are you

uncomfortable with? 

FMR. REP. DICK ARMEY (R-TX):  I was, for example, not really happy to

see Tom Tancredo on the stage calling himself a tea party guy with because

of his harsh and uncharitable and mean-spirited attitude on the immigration


ROSE:  But what do you say to that?  Do you speak out against that? 

ARMEY:  Absolutely, I have.  And I‘ve taken a lot of heat for it, too. 


HAYES:  That‘s former Republican House Majority Leader, Dick Armey, in

his new job as head of Freedom Works.  He‘s done his darnedest to focus the

tea party‘s energy on issues that unite the right wing coalition like

deficits and bailouts and Obama care, so they don‘t spend their time

fighting over issues that divide the tea party movement, like immigration. 

But how long is that going to work?  Remember this reaction to

former Congressman and well known anti-immigrant activist Tom Tancredo at

last month‘s tea party conference. 


FMR. REP. TOM TANCREDO (R-CO):  Mostly because I think we do not have

a civics literacy test before people can vote in this country.  People who

could not even spell the word “vote” or say it in English put a committed

socialist ideologue in the White House.  The name is Barack Hussein Obama. 


HAYES:  Sure sounds like those were cheers you heard when Tancredo

suggested bringing back the literacy test for those who can‘t say “vote” in


So as the White House vows to pass comprehensive immigration

reform and a group of pro-immigration activists plan to hold a “March for

America” rally in Washington, D.C. in support reform, when tea party

activists and Republicans were counting on their support in the midterm

elections, turn to anti-immigration agenda. 

Joining me now is Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the

Center for Community Change, a grassroots advocacy group that focuses on

policies that affect low-income people and people of color.  Mr. Bhargava,

thanks for being here. 


be here, Chris. 

HAYES:  What has been your experience with tea party activists and

immigration?  Is the tea party really just all about deficits? 

BHARGAVA:  Well, my sense is that this is going to be a case of two

bad things that are going to go very badly together, meaning the tea party

activists on the one hand and nativist anti-immigrant movement on the


The anti-immigrant movement is in real decline in the country. 

Lou Dobbs is off the air.  Their turnout at meetings is low.  So it‘s no

surprise that they are looking to get on the tea party bandwagon.  But I

don‘t think that‘s going to work because it‘s going to divide the base of

that movement. 

BHARGAVA:  You say divide the base.  I mean, when people think about

immigration often, they think about it dividing the Democratic base. 

Immigration is considered such a third rail of politics.  I‘m wondering,

can you make a political case for immigration reform? 

BHARGAVA:  Well, look, John McCain actually lost a number of states -

Colorado, Nevada, Florida, New Mexico - in large part.  And this was a pro-

immigrant candidate.  In large part because Latinos reacted viscerally to

the demagoguery and anti-immigrant hate that was coming out of many


And 20 out of 22 Congressional candidates who took this anti-

immigrant message on the road lost in 2008.  So I think we‘ve seen that the

Republican Party faces a kind of long-term electoral suicide if it pursues

this anti-immigrant course.  Some of the wiser heads like Dick Armey

recognize that that‘s the case. 

HAYES:  President Obama is meeting with Democratic Senator Chuck

Schumer and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday to discuss

bipartisan immigration reform. 

Do you believe immigration reform will pass?  Is this another

example where we‘re talking bipartisan and it‘s just absolutely hopeless? 

BHARGAVA:  No.  I think there really is hope that we‘ll get this done

this year.  I mean, look, candidate Obama promised the Latino community

over and over again that we would get immigration reform in the first year

that he was president and that he‘d put a stop to the terror and the raids

and the deportations that are devastating communities all over this


He has yet to deliver on that promise.  The community is

extremely restless, extremely angry.  There‘s a lot of pressure on him to

deliver.  And there are parts of the Republican Party that recognize that

they‘ve got to take this issue off the table if they‘re going to have a

long-term future.  So I think there‘s real prospect for getting it done

this year. 

HAYES:  Do you think - you said that there‘s a lot of anger about the

policies.  My sense is that a lot of things have been continued in a way

that have been deeply frustrating and angering to a lot of the groups that

you work with. 


HAYES:  Do you see a potential for Latinos to just stay home in the

midterms?  How has Obama been on the - even if he hasn‘t passed reform -

how has he been on enforcement issues and so forth? 

BHARGAVA:  This administration has actually managed to deport more

people in its first year in office than the last administration, the Bush

administration, did in its last year in office.  And that‘s a shock.  It‘s

a record level of enforcement. 

A thousand people a day are deported.  So that anger is really

building in the community, and I think there‘s a huge expectation that the

president and the Democrats who they helped to put in office are going to

stand up and deliver. 

HAYES:  Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center of Community

for Change, thank you so much for your time tonight. 

BHARGAVA:  Thanks, Chris.  Great to be with you. 

HAYES:  Coming up on “Countdown,” an exclusive interview with Scott

McClellan who reacts to Karl Rove‘s book and Karl Rove‘s refusal to

publicly apologize to him this morning. 

And next on this show, comedy writers gone wild.  We‘ll be right back.


HAYES:  We turn now to our hellhole correspondent, Kent Jones.  Hey

there, Kent. 

KENT JONES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hi, Chris.  Chris Hayes, everybody. 

This is great.  You know, “Saturday Night Live” is having such a good time

skewering New York‘s Governor David Paterson.  But now, I think they may

have stepped on the wrong toes.  Check it out. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Governor, how are you going to fill out your

remaining year in office? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, I‘m going to do a farewell tour of upstate

New York, hellholes like Plattsburg and Peekskill.  I‘m going to speak at

their town halls or whatever abandoned Shoney‘s they huddle in. 

I‘m going to give those rock eaters something to cheer about. 

Those freaks love me up there, Seth.  They find me refreshingly off. 

JONES (voice-over):  Freaks, rock eaters, hellhole?  Mary Foster is

calling you out. 

MARY FOSTER, MAYOR, PEEKSKILL, NEW YORK:  Why call it a hellhole?  You

know, that felt a little weird.  . 

JONES:  That would be the honorable Mary Foster, mayor of Peekskill,

New York, who, during a real live press conference, has now responded to a

pretend shot by a comedian on a fake news cast. 

Mayor foster even invited the “SNL” writers to visit the jewel of

the Hudson valley.  Hellhole?  Rock eaters?  I think not. 

FOSTER:  But we do think of ourselves as a hip city.  We work very

hard in not saying things to other things to other people that could be

viewed as offensive. 

JONES:  Here, here.  If I may, Mayor Foster, the writers probably

picked Peekskill because of that combined P and K sound which is a

guaranteed laugh, you know, like pickle or cupcake or porcupine. 

Peekskill, right?  But I digress. 

FOSTER:  Really, you shouldn‘t make fun of people. 

JONES:  Comedy writers, they‘re hopeless.  Trust me. 


Peekskill, it‘s one of the great funny words.  You can‘t escape


HAYES:  I‘ve been to Peekskill.  It‘s a very nice place. 

JONES:  I‘m sure it is.  I think this is slander - horrible. 

HAYES:  Well, thanks a lot, Kent.  Really appreciate it. 

JONES:  Thank you. 

HAYES:  So that does it for us tonight.  I‘m Chris Hayes sitting in

for Rachel who will be back here tomorrow night.  Until then, you can E-

mail us at .  And our podcast is at iTunes or at 

Thank you so much for joining us.  “COUNTDOWN” starts now.  Good





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