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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: Steve Driehaus, Sherrod Brown.

HOST:  Good evening, Lawrence.  I will admit to

spending some time with that video on my computer today.


MADDOW:  It‘s good stuff.  Thank you very much.  Appreciate it.

And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.


You know, every day, when we pick our lead story for the show, we look

for what we as THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW believe is the most important news in

the country.  And for the second day in a row, I think I speak for the

staff of the show and myself in saying that we can‘t believe that this has

to be the lead story.

Today, we learned that the FBI and local authorities are now

investigating threats made against a Democratic congressman named Tom

Perriello of Virginia, who has been a guest on this show before.  Mr.

Perriello was a last-minute vote for health reform when it came before the

House on Sunday night.  As a result of that vote, a pair of health reform

opponents posted what they thought was Tom Perriello‘s home address online. 

They sarcastically encouraged people to, quote, “drop by and express your

thanks for the Congressman Perriello‘s vote.”

But the address that they posted online was actually that of

Congressman Perriello‘s brother, who then discovered that a propane gas

line leading into his home had been cut.

When one of the bloggers who posted that wrong address online was

informed that the address he‘d posted was for the congressman‘s brother and

not the congressman himself, the blogger responded by saying, quote, “Do

you mean I posted his brother‘s address on my Facebook?  Oh, well,

collateral damage.”

That gentleman is now professing to be shocked about the severed

propane line, saying he just wanted people to, and I quote, “get close to

the congressman.”

Authorities are now investigating that incident, the cut line, as an

attempted threat to a member of Congress.

Then there‘s Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan, who went

from being opposed to health reform on the grounds of abortion to

supporting health reform after the president agreed to sign an executive

order concerning abortion rights.  Well, today, Mr. Stupak released

threatening phone calls that he says he received once it became known that

he was going to vote for health reform.

Little bit of a warning here, we have bleeped the worst parts of it,

but the language used in these phone calls we‘re about to play for you is



UNIDENTIFIED MALE CALLER:  Congressman Stupak, you baby killing

(EXPLETIVE DELETED) you turncoat (EXPLETIVE DELETED), I hope you bleed out

(EXPLETIVE DELETED) got cancer and die (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  You do not—

you do not say that you‘re a pro-life and then for a few bucks, you know,

turncoat and hurt the country, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  I hope you die.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CALLER:  You are a bastard and a baby killer.  You

will rue the day you did this, Mr. Stupak.  You are a disgusting man, and I

hope you‘re haunted the rest of your living days.  Because you won‘t be a

congressman much longer, so you are a dirtbag, and the country loathes you

and God, bastard that you are.  We think you‘re a devil, and you will go to

your grave with this on your conscience.  Was it worth it, selling your


UNIDENTIFIED MALE CALLER:  Stupak, you‘re a low-life baby murderer,

scumbag pile of steaming crap.  You and your family are scum.  You ought to

fill your pockets and jump into the Potomac, punk.  That‘s what you are,

Stupak.  You‘re a piece of crap.  We despise you and every punk like you,



MADDOW:  Congressman Stupak says he referred about 50 threats like

those to the Capitol Hill police.

Among the first to be physically threatened in conjunction with the

health care vote was Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York. 

Some time last Friday, a brick was thrown through the window of her

district office in Niagara Falls, New York.

Today, Congressman Slaughter spoke publicly about that incident.


REP. LOUISE SLAUGHTER (D), NEW YORK:  I have three offices.  Niagara

was the only one we were really concerned about.  One is in a federal

building which has guards.  The other is in a building in downtown Buffalo

which has guards.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Are members concerned about the multiple


SLAUGHTER:  No, of course, they are.  I think it‘s a dreadful thing

that we‘re going through.


MADDOW:  Members of Congress, in fact, are so concerned that the

number two and number three Democrats in the House gave a press conference

today, an impromptu press conference, saying that there are more than 10

members of Congress who say they have been threatened in recent days.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you feel that your members are really at risk

in terms of their security?

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MAJORITY LEADER:  Yes.  I think that we‘ve

had very serious instances that have occurred over the last 48, 72 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So, how are you dealing with that?  What actions

are you taking?

HOYER:  Well, we have the Capitol Police just briefed members.  If

they are in any way suspicious or fearful or see actions occurring, to

report those immediately, and the Capitol Police will respond and try to

determine whether crimes have been committed.


MADDOW:  Among the members of Congress who have reported receiving

threats because of the health care vote is Democratic Congressman John

Boccieri of Ohio.  Mr. Boccieri told NBC News today that his district

office in Canton, Ohio, has received a number of threatening phone calls in

recent days.

Yet another Ohio congressman has also received threats about which we

now have some new detail.  He is Democratic Congressman Steve Driehaus.  In

the lead-up to the health reform vote over the weekend, health reform

opponents have placed a newspaper ad against Congressman Driehaus in the

“Cincinnati Enquirer.”  The attack ad was a photo of the congressman with

his children.

Both the “Cincinnati Enquirer” and the group that ran the ad

ultimately apologized for having done that.

After that, other anti-health reform bloggers posted not only

Congressman Driehaus‘ home address online, but also directions to his

house.  Mr. Driehaus reports that he and other members of Congress have

been receiving death threats in recent days.  And now anti-health reform

protesters say they‘re planning to protest at Congressman Driehaus‘ home on

Sunday—at his home.  Not his office, not out in public somewhere where

they can be seen in order to make their case, but at his house, where they

can try to personally intimidate him and his family.

Congressman Driehaus lives in the Cincinnati area, not far from one of

the offices where a rock was thrown this weekend through the window of a

Democratic Party office.

John Boehner, the top Republican in the House represents a nearby

district also in Ohio.  In an interview with the “National Review” before

the health reform vote, Mr. Boehner warned Congressman Driehaus directly

not to vote for health reform.  Mr. Boehner told the “National Review” and

I quote directly, “Take Congressman Steve Driehaus, for example.  He may be

a dead man.  He can‘t go home to the west side of Cincinnati.”

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Steve Driehaus of Ohio.

Congressman Driehaus, thank you very much for coming on the show

tonight.  I appreciate your time.

REP. STEVE DRIEHAUS (D), OHIO:  Sure.  Thanks, Rachel.  Nice to be


MADDOW:  It is not possible for me to believe that Minority Leader

John Boehner meant that comment about you as anything other than a

metaphor.  It‘s not possible for me to believe that.  But I have to ask if

you have raised the issue with him about the way he—that language that

he used to talk about you?

DRIEHAUS:  I did, I approached Congressman Boehner on the floor

yesterday.  Like you say, he said, you know, he didn‘t mean it that way.  I

told him I didn‘t take it that way.

However, it‘s not really what he meant or how I take it.  It‘s how

some crazy person in Cincinnati or a crazy person in Indiana or Kentucky

might take it and might act upon it.

And I think Congressman Boehner, as a leader in the House, should step

up and take responsibility.  You know, these words matter and he should

take responsibility for those words.

MADDOW:  You made some broader comments today, not just about the

threats that you received, but about the relationship between threats like

those and the rhetoric that‘s being used in politics broadly right now.

What do you—what do you think that relationship is?  Do you think

that it‘s possible that a climate is being created by political rhetoric

that‘s just making threats like these more likely and more threatening?

DRIEHAUS:  Yes.   I mean, this is very, very inflammatory language. 

And people look to their political leaders for signals.  And when you have

people taking to the floor of the House, when you see them, you know,

quoted in the paper using irresponsible language, using threatening

language, those are signals.  And you only have to look at what was going

on on Sunday just outside the Capitol, some of the threats being made

against members as they walked around, to know that this is a pretty

dangerous environment.  It‘s a very tough environment.

And so, when I hear people, you know, threatening that they‘re going

to organize protests and come to my house, you know, my wife tells me that

she‘s not letting the kids answer the phone anymore and not letting the

kids walk down the street by themselves—you know, I take this very


MADDOW:  Are you and your family concerned about the protest that‘s

planned at your—at your house this weekend?  Are you doing anything to

prepare for that?

DRIEHAUS:  I don‘t know if that‘s going to materialize or not.  We‘ve

been in touch with the Cincinnati police.  They‘ve been wonderful.  They‘ve

been sending folks, you know, by the neighborhood.  You know, a squad car

was in front of the house this—today for quite some time.

But, you know, I don‘t want the Cincinnati police using their

resources looking after me.  They should be guarding the neighborhood. 

They should be going after criminals.  And I just think it‘s unfortunate

that the political discourse here has gotten as bad as it has.  I think

that‘s in part because of some of the rhetoric you hear on the floor.

MADDOW:  You know, it‘s—I feel like I understand that argument that

you‘re making very clearly.  I think that making inciteful and charged

rhetoric can very easily create a climate that is more threatening than

otherwise.  What I wonder, though, and I honestly don‘t know, is if members

of Congress, if other people in leadership positions have the same capacity

to dial it down.  I don‘t know that there is any real equivalent of un-

inciteful language.  I don‘t know if they have the capacity to calm it


Can you—can you un-ring that bill?

DRIEHAUS:  Well, I would hope so.  I think, if John Boehner gets out

there and goes down to the well and tells people to tone it down, if he

apologizes for the statements he‘s made and the statements some others have

made, I think that would go a long, long way, if they just tone down the

rhetoric.  But today, he issued a statement and he just politicized it.  He

said we should be working toward a majority and stop, you know, focusing on

violence or, you know, he rejects violent behavior.

You know, he needs to own this problem because he‘s part of it.  And

so, I think the members need to understand that their words matter, their

actions matter, and they need to ask their supporters to tone it down.

MADDOW:  One last question for you, Congressman.  I know the Capitol

Hill Police—Capitol Police have briefed members of Congress about

security.  Every member of Congress I‘ve ever talked to about Capitol

Police have great faith in their abilities.

Can you tell us anything about either advice that the Capitol Police

have given you or any way that they‘ve reassured members about security

steps they‘re taking?

DRIEHAUS:  The Capitol Police have been fantastic.  I think the

members here know that they‘re in good hands with the Capitol Police, and

we feel perfectly safe around here.

The Capitol Police did a great job this weekend with some of the

protesters that were getting a little out of hand.  But you know, we‘re

fine here.

I‘m far more worried about my family back home, and the families of

other members back home.  You mentioned Tom Perriello‘s brother—you

know, this is the stuff we‘re facing and I think, you know, there‘s reason

to be concerned.

MADDOW:  Congressman Steve Driehaus, Democrat of Ohio—thank you

very much for your time today, sir.  I‘m sorry you‘re going through this.

DRIEHAUS:  Thanks.  Appreciate it.

MADDOW:  All right.

So, if you set a brush fire, you are responsible for where it goes and

what it burns, right?  A pretty well-accepted criminal law precept in

America.  The current climate of threat and intimidation is getting its

fuel from some specific political leaders.  Up next: a reminder of the

potential consequences of actions like those.

Please stay with us.


MADDOW:  We have experienced this level of political intimidation and

political threat in this country before in our recent history.  A reminder

that no one really wants to be reminded of, but we‘ve got to do it.  Next.


MADDOW:  As we‘ve reported, the number two and number three House

Democrats, Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn, gave a statement today about

physical threats of harm to members of Congress, including the severing of

a gas line at the home of one congressman‘s brother, after anti-health

reform groups posted that address online, mistakenly believing it was the

address of the congressman‘s own home.

After Mr. Hoyer‘s and Mr. Clyburn‘s initial statements to reporters

today, there was this one really interesting exchange that took place with

one of the reporters there.  I want—I want you to hear this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Mr. Hoyer, you said at the outset that you hoped

you could use this—make this message jointly with the other side of the

aisle.  Have you spoken to leaders on the other side of the aisle?  Are you

trying to work with them?

HOYER:  We have spoken.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And what was the—what was the outcome of that


HOYER:  It wasn‘t an outcome per se, but there was an agreement that

the sentiments I‘ve just expressed are appropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Is there going to be a joint statement?  Are you



HOYER:  Well, I don‘t know that to be the case, but we‘re continuing

to discuss appropriate action.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Are you disappointed that they didn‘t come out

earlier and say something?

HOYER:  No, we‘re continuing to discuss this.


MADDOW:  What Steny Hoyer is essentially saying there is that

Democrats had a bipartisan discussion with Republicans about this issue of

threats to members of Congress.  And then, as you can see from that event,

only the Democrats convened a press conference to talk about having any

concerns about it.

Now, House Majority Leader John Boehner did go on FOX News Channel

today, and he said this—


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER:  There are a lot of angry

Americans and they‘re angry over this health care bill.  They‘re angry

about the fact that the Democrats here in Washington aren‘t listening to

them.  But I‘ve got to tell you that violence and threats are unacceptable.


MADDOW:  Now, don‘t be too unequivocal there, Mr. Boehner.  Make sure

you get in the dig that Democrats deserve all the anger before you distance


The number two House Republican, Eric Cantor, also commented today

saying, quote, “No one condones that kind of behavior where you threaten

people, where you hurl racial epithets or spit on someone, that‘s

reprehensible behavior.”

“No one condone that‘s kind of behavior.”  Well, what was actually

going on while members of Congress were having racial epithets hurled at

them, while they were being spat on?  Because those aren‘t theoretical,

those things actually happened.  That happened at the Capitol building this

weekend, and how did Republican members of Congress treat that crowd on the

lawn of the Capitol that was doing these things that Eric Cantor says no

one was condoning.

This is what those members of Congress were doing.  They were egging

them on.  They are taking the signs that the crowd was using, they were

waving them on the balcony of the Capitol.

Republican California Congressman Devin Nunes was asked afterwards

about what protesters did this weekend, the congressman excused that

behavior as the result of he called, quote, “totalitarian tactics by


Today, Republican Darrell Issa, also of California, also excused the

behavior as the result of, quote, “bought votes,” in what he called a

corrupt Congress.

If you go to right now, this is what‘s up at on the

front page.  We didn‘t doctor this.  This is actually the front page of the

Republican Party‘s Web site and has been for more than two days now.  It‘s

Nancy Pelosi on fire.  Fire Pelosi.

Here is the chairman of the Republican Party, Michael Steele, speaking

last night on FOX News.


MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN:  This November, they‘re going to pay. 

So let‘s start getting Nancy ready for the firing line this November.


MADDOW:  Let‘s get Nancy Pelosi ready for the firing line.

I don‘t bring this up because I think it makes Michael Steele and

Republicans look bad.  The importance of this is not about political

consequences for this at all.  I mean, if there‘s one thing we know in

politics, is that there really is no shame.  So, it would be dumb for me to

bring them up—bring this stuff up just because I thought it might have

political consequences if they felt ashamed of it.

This isn‘t about politics.  This isn‘t about political consequences. 

It‘s about real-life consequences and our real-life country and our real-

life modern history, and it is serious.

As we talked about last night, on April 19th, the anniversary of the

Oklahoma City bombing and the siege of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco,

and the opening battle of the American Revolution on April 19th, the modern

day anti-government movement is trying to get as many people as they can,

openly carrying firearms to get as close as they legally can to Washington,


It‘s a “bring your guns to Washington” rally held on the day that‘s

essentially militia movement Christmas.  It‘s the anniversary of Timothy

McVeigh‘s crime on Oklahoma City most recently.

As we discussed on last night‘s show, one of the featured speakers at

this event is the Alabama ex-militia leader who lives on government

disability checks who is lapping up the national attention right now for

having called for people to break windows at Democratic Party offices all

around the country.

Back in 1995, on the morning of the Oklahoma City bombing, just after

the explosion, a member of Congress named Steve Stockman, Republican of

Texas, was sent a fax touting the bombing.  He was sent that fax by

somebody in the militia movement.  Mr. Stockman later turned that fax over

to the FBI.  He was never implicated in any way in the bombing itself, but

there is a reason that the militia movement trusted a member of Congress

enough to go to him with that.

Mr. Stockman had, for example, written an article in “Guns and Ammo”

magazine, proclaiming that what happened at Waco was a government

conspiracy to, quote, “prove the need for a ban on so-called assault

weapons.”  Mr. Stockman peddled conspiracies that he got from the militia

movement about the government planning a takeover, the government planning

attacks, paramilitary attacks on American citizens.  This sounded all


Helen Chenoweth was a Republican member of Congress from Idaho at the

time.  Helen Chenoweth was famous for convening hearings about her

fantasies of communism in the government and government overreach.

A gentleman named Sam Sherwood of the United States Militia

Association bragged of providing the volunteers that got Helen Chenoweth

elected to Congress.  Mr. Sherwood was invited to testify at Chenoweth‘s

hearings—despite the fact Mr. Sherwood had been quoted saying, “Go up

and look legislators in the face because some day you may be forced to blow

it off.”

Helen Chenoweth and Steve Stockman, both members of Congress, neither

of them obviously bombed that federal building in Oklahoma City.  They did

not do what Timothy McVeigh did.  But what they did in politics back in the

early and mid-‘90s helped create and nurture the environment that led to

what happened on April 19th, 1995 in Oklahoma City.

Timothy McVeigh emerged from a movement that was promoted and nurtured

and encouraged by a lot of things.  But among those things were some

radical members of Congress.

This isn‘t theoretical.  This isn‘t play-acting.  This isn‘t a bell

that you can ring for political effect and then un-ring once it gets scary.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  Thomas Jefferson said, a

revolution every now and then is a good thing.  We are at the point, Sean,

of revolution.

And really now in Washington I‘m a foreign correspondent on enemy

lines.  I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous.



REP. STEVE KING ®, IOWA:  If I could start a country with a bunch of

people, they‘d be the folks who have been here standing with us the last

few days.


KING:  Let‘s hope we don‘t have to do that.  Let‘s beat that other

side to a pulp.  Let‘s take them out.  Let‘s chase them down.  There‘s

going to be a reckoning.

I think if we‘d abolished the IRS back when I first advocated it, he

wouldn‘t have a target for his airplane.  And I‘m still for abolishing the

IRS.  It‘s sad that the incident happened down in Texas.  But by the same

token, the IRS is an agency that‘s unnecessary.  And when the day comes

that that is over and we‘ve abolished the IRS, it will be a happy day for

all Americans.


MADDOW:  Saying what he‘s saying there at the end, where you can see

him moving his lips but not saying is, “This November, they‘re going to

pay, so let‘s start getting Nancy ready for the firing line this November,”

referring to Nancy Pelosi.

Words matter, right?  Actions have consequences.  But in politics, as

in everything—with leadership comes responsibility.  I do not want to

lead with this story again tomorrow night.  I hope I don‘t have to.

We‘ll be right back.


MADDOW:  Do you remember with the stimulus how a whole bunch of

Republicans not only voted against it, but they trashed it, they said it‘s

bad for America, it wouldn‘t create any jobs, it was a complete waste of

money?  Then they went back to their home districts and bragged about how

the stimulus was so great for their district.

Remember the blatant hypocrisy on the stimulus?  Well, boy, it didn‘t

take long for the same thing to happen on health reform.  The ink on the

bill isn‘t even dry yet and Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is

already a stimulus-style hypocrite on health reform.  Senator Grassley not

only voted against health reform every step of the way, he also denounced

health reform in some of the craziest ways that health reform was



SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY ®, IOWA:  And there‘s some fear because in the

House bill, there‘s counseling for end-of-life.  And from that standpoint,

you have every right to fear.

When you couple this with all the other fears that people have and

what they do in England, then you get the idea that somebody‘s going to

decide grandma has lived too long.

I‘ve been told that the brain tumor that Senator Kennedy has, because

he‘s 77 years old, would not be treated the way it‘s treated in the United

States.  In other words, he would not get the care that he gets here

because of his age.

We should not have a government program that determines you‘re going

to pull the plug on grandma.


MADDOW:  That‘s some of the choicer things that Chuck Grassley has

said about how bad and evil and murderous health reform is.  But now, Chuck

Grassley has sent out a press release taking credit for provisions in the

health reform bill and talking about how great they are, even though he

voted against the bill.

So, he—to be clear—voted against the thing he‘s taking credit

for.  Senator Grassley simultaneously is vehemently opposed to and very

proud of health reform.  And he‘s apparently not embarrassed by these two

sides of his face being at war with one another.

Close on Chuck Grassley‘s heels in the race for the ought-to-be most

embarrassed about health reform award today is Senator John Barrasso from

Wyoming.  Mr. Barrasso made this allegation about Democratic Congressman

Jim Matheson of Utah this week.


SEN. JOHN BARRASSO ®, WYOMING:  In Utah, a member from Utah who

voted on the bill, you know, he was against it and then he was for it.  And

what a coincidence that his brother just got named to be a federal judge.


MADDOW:  Here‘s what‘s embarrassing about that, Sen. Barrasso.  You know

the guy you‘re sliming and saying voted for health reform in some dodgy,

corrupt, quid pro quo?  Does it matter at all to you that the guy that

you‘re sliming here didn‘t actually vote for health reform? 

Does that affect your argument in any way?  Or is that immaterial? 

According to Sen. Barrasso‘s spokesperson, Mr. Barrasso misspoke on this


There is one portion of health reform that has not passed yet.  In

order to try to stop that, Republicans are now essentially trying to shut

down the Senate.  Watch this clip.  Watch what happened this morning.  This

is in the middle of a hearing on homeless U.S. military veterans. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In the HUD studies sponsored by HUD and in the VA

studies as part of the chronic homelessness in issue in 2003, that 85

percent housing civility number is the same number that the researchers

that conducted those studies found. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you.  Ladies and gentlemen, I‘m very sorry, but I

must interrupt this hearing here.  Committees are allowed to meet while the

Senate is in session based on the unanimous consent of the members.  And

this is a standard procedural agreement that is always permitted.  However,

there‘s been an objection on the floor to allowing most committees,

including our committee, to meet. 


MADDOW:  Starting at around 11:00 this morning, in an action, that will

have no effect on health reform whatsoever, Republicans have just decided

to shut down Senate hearings on pretty much everything, not because they

object to what‘s happening in those hearings, but because they‘re just mad. 

Hearings that were already under way, like the one about homeless vets

you just saw.  Hearings that were already underway were interrupted,

stopped dead in their tracks.  Hearings not had not started yet had to be

canceled including, for example, one on our military policy toward North



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I would note that this unanimous consent request is

supported by my ranking member, Sen. McCain.  We have three commanders

scheduled to testify this afternoon.  They‘ve been scheduled for a long


They‘ve come a long, long distance.  One of them has come from Korea. 

One of them has come from Hawaii.  And I would, therefore, ask unanimous

consent that this previously-scheduled and currently scheduled hearing of

the Committee on Armed Services be allowed to proceed. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not impressed, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Is there objection? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not impressed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Senator from North Carolina. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  As a member of the committee and I side myself with the

chair and the ranking member that I have no personal objection to

continuing.  There is objection on our side of the aisle, therefore I would

have to object. 


MADDOW:  Republican Senator Richard Burr of South Carolina bravely

objecting on behalf of some other guy he decides not to name.  It‘s

definitely not himself.  He‘s totally not the one who wants to obstruct the

Armed Services hearing on our military stance toward North Korea for which

our military have traveled from places like Korea and Hawaii. 

The confirmation hearing from Goodwin Liu, the president‘s nominee to

serve on the largest federal appeals court in the nation was also canceled,

as was a homeland security subcommittee hearing on contracts for Afghan

national police training, not to mention hearings that were also stopped

yesterday by Republicans, including an energy subcommittee hearing on the

causes of western forest fires that was called off, and a homeland security

subcommittee hearing on government transparency. 

That was shut down right in the middle of it, shut down in progress. 

Welcome to the shutdown the government pout rage phase of the Republicans‘

opposition to everything. 

Joining us now is Sen. Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio who has been

busy voting all night.  Senator, thanks for breaking away from the Senate

floor to with us.  Really appreciate it. 


tried to do the same thing.  We were doing the markup in the Agriculture

Committee of the Child Nutrition Act.  And several people didn‘t get to

offer amendments. 

Sen. Bob Casey who had some good amendments with Sen. Gillibrand and

me and some others on summer feeding programs and school breakfast

programs.  We were not even allowed to be offered because the time clock

ran out. 

It‘s - these children - I mean, children.  I‘m not talking about the

kids with child nutrition.  I‘m talking about the children that are

blocking these, and nobody - just like kids, nobody‘s taking personal


Sen. Burr was like, “It‘s not me.  I‘d really like to stay, but I

can‘t do it because it‘s those people downstairs in the big room that are

saying no.”  I mean, it really is outrageous.  Anything to obstruct,

anything to slow down - that‘s what they‘re doing tonight, straight

downstairs from where I am. 

That‘s they way they‘re playing this.  To them, it‘s a game.  To the

American public, they want health care.  They want this done.  They want us

to focus on jobs and do this right. 

MADDOW:  In terms of those hearings, did you know that this tactic was

coming?  Do we know if these hearings are going to be rescheduled?  Do we

know how long the shutdown is going to last? 

BROWN:  we heard about an hour into the hearing that that‘s brought into

our - ours was markup where we were doing amendments.  We heard about an

hour in that we only had another hour to do this. 

I had four amendments.  Two of them I offered were accepted.  The

other two I did not offer partly because of the time squeeze.  I saw that

happen with Sen. Casey and it could happen with others. 

I mean, it‘s just child‘s play and it‘s childish.  It‘s not child‘s

play.  And I don‘t get it.  I mean, it‘s - this whole period for the last

year of health care, education, all the kinds of things we‘re doing. 

They‘re just - any way to delay and obstruct and slow down and throw sand

in the gears and every other mixed metaphor I could use. 

MADDOW:  In terms of the voter-rama on the Senate floor right now, which

you say downstairs from where you‘re sitting right now, can you explain to

our viewers who may not be familiar with voter-rama except as a term that

sounds like a joke?  What‘s actually happening and what will be

accomplished by the time you guys wrap tonight? 

BROWN:  Nothing is going to be accomplished because the Republicans want to

make one change in the reconciliation bill so it has to go back to the

House so they can try to slow it down there.  And then there‘s a conference

committee and all that. 

We know the House and the Senate - we all worked out the

reconciliation package.  They sent it to us.  We need to pass it, get it

out of here quickly so this bill is finalized. 

So they‘re offering all kinds of them.  One amendment that was

particularly interesting was they offered an amendment to lower student

loan interest rates. 

The Republicans?  I mean, they‘re always on the side of the banks. 

They‘re trying to block us from taking the money from bank subsidies, which

they wanted to do, and put it directly into student loans.

And now, they‘re acting like they‘re on the side of the students.  I

mean, it‘s all - it‘s all - you know, in the end, you follow the money with

this crowd.  You knew what they - they tried to block health care because

they were - because the insurance companies are one of their biggest


They‘re trying to block the student loan direct lending because the

banks are one of their biggest benefactors.  And they‘re wrong.  The public

knows they‘re wrong.  They want to confuse people with these amendments. 

It‘s their same old game.  I mean, the public is more and more

starting to be onto it.  That‘s why when I hear people say this is going to

be such a bad year for Democrats, they‘re wrong, because the public is more

and more catching on to what they‘re doing, to their hypocrisy about all


They criticize us on budget deficits.  They ask tax cuts for the rich,

didn‘t pay for them, a war that cost $1 trillion - didn‘t pay for it.  Give

away to the drug and insurance companies and Medicare - didn‘t pay for it. 

Took on huge surplus, turned it into a huge budge deficit during the Bush

years, as you know, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  Sen. Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, I know that you are getting

yanked right now to go back and do more voting on these - on these

amendments downstairs.  Thank you for taking time to join us tonight. 

BROWN:  My pleasure. 

MADDOW:  I appreciate it, sir.

BROWN:  Thanks for what you‘re doing, Rachel.  See you. 

MADDOW:  Thank you.  OK.  So the deal with Sen. Scott Brown and me is this. 

I am not running against Scott Brown for Senate in Massachusetts.  I am


Nevertheless, he sent out a fundraising E-mail implying that I was. 

Then today, he doubled down on the whole “Rachel Maddow is running against

me” thing, even after I said I‘m definitely not running against you, dude. 

Senator, good luck in your primary race, OK?  I want to wish you good luck

in your primary race because the Easter Bunny‘s imaginary existence and

purported candy-giving practices are simply wrong for America.  I stand

with you. 


MADDOW:  Check out this tease from the Pentagon spokesman about something

that is about to be announced but hasn‘t been announced yet about “Don‘t

Ask, Don‘t Tell.” 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Has the secretary made a decision on the more humane

application of “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell?”  And if so, when will it be



Jeff - he is prepared to offer a way ahead on that subject this week.  So

stay tuned.  Hopefully, you‘ll be seeing him later this week and can

address the changes that he is going to be making to the department‘s

policy to provide for more humane enforcement and application of the law. 


MADDOW:  A more humane enforcement and application of the “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t

Tell” law.  According to multiple reports today, what we are due to hear

from Secretary Gates tomorrow is that until the “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell” ban

is repealed, in the meantime, the Pentagon will stop separating people from

the Armed Services if those people are outed against their will by a third


Now, if indeed this is what Secretary Gates is going to announce, a

few big questions remain.  Will the policy only be changed from here on

out?  Or will it apply to people who were outed by third parties whose

discharges are now pending? 

Spencer Ackerman at “The Washington Independent” reports that a source

has told him that while the change won‘t apply retroactively, it will apply

to ongoing active cases. 

Now, we here at THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW have a particular interest in

that because that means that this change could presumably include the case

of Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach who has been a guest on this show several


If the change is as Spencer described, this change would not affect

the case of Maj. Mike Almy.  Maj. Almy was kicked out of the Air Force, you

will recall, a couple of years ago after he was also outed by a third party

against his will. 

If this change is - that‘s due to be announced tomorrow, is as

expected, it sounds like Maj. Almy would not now be allowed to rejoin the

military as a result of this policy change. 

And of course, what does this mean for brave men and women like Lt.

Dan Choi who was not outed by anyone but who came out himself so he

wouldn‘t have to lie anymore?  How long until the whole policy isn‘t just

softened but ended? 

And do the people who have been kicked out under “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t

Tell” in the past get to come back to their old jobs?  That Gates

announcement tomorrow morning is a big important one.  Watch closely.  We

will be.


MADDOW:  Coming up on “COUNTDOWN,” Congressman Barney Frank on the

escalating tones of violence against members of Congress who vote health

care reform.  But first on this show, Scott Brown, Republican senator and

user of me to scare money out of donors.  Today, he said publicly to “bring

her on,” meaning bring me on. 

I‘m not running for office against Sen. Scott Brown.  Nobody ever

asked me to.  But if he insists, I will indeed bring it on in my non-

elective capacity.  Please stay tuned. 


MADDOW:  Last night, I found out that Republican Senator Scott Brown of

Massachusetts is using me to raise money for him.  He sent out this

fundraising letter, quote, “Friends, the political machine in Massachusetts

is looking for someone to run against me.  And you‘re not going to believe

who they are supposedly trying to recruit - liberal MSNBC anchor Rachel


“Rachel lives in western Massachusetts and recently it was reported

that the chairman of the state Democratic Party had apparently tried to

reach out to her in an attempt to coax her into a race against me.  The

Democratic Party bosses in Massachusetts disagree - “ blah, blah, blah.

“They want to rubber stamp who will vote for their plans to expand

government, increase debt and raise taxes, someone like Rachel Maddow.  I‘m

sure she‘s a nice person.  I just don‘t think America can afford her

liberal politics.  Rachel Maddow has a nightly platform to push her far-

left agenda,” blah, blah, blah. 

So Sen. Scott Brown is using a rumor, a rumor he didn‘t even bother to

check to see if it was true, to get people into giving him money.  It turns

out he is sending this out of state conservatives.

He is using, as the lawyers say, my name and likeness to raise money

for himself, which would be flattering if I were actually running against

him.  But since that is completely made up, it feels more like it‘s just

gross and harassing. 

So here‘s today‘s new news on this very weird saga.  Sen. Brown‘s

office never called me to ask if I was running against him.  They could

have just called.  I would have told them no.  They didn‘t call.  They just

sent out the letter. 

When I saw the letter, I made clear, on TV even, that I am not

running.  I never said I was running.  The Democratic Party in

Massachusetts never asked me to run.  I‘m not running.  So Scott Brown is


But he‘s still trying to run against me even after all that.  He went

on talk radio on WAAF in Boston today. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE RADIO HOST:  I wanted to ask you about another topic

which is Rachel Maddow who says that you sent out a fundraising letter

saying she was going to run against you.  And we have some audio from her

actually which I‘ll let you hear. 

SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R-MA):  Yes.  No, I listened to it. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE RADIO HOST:  OK.  She said she is not running for office

and that you didn‘t ask if she was running before sending out the E-mail. 

SCOTT BROWN:  Well, I didn‘t realize I had to. 


MADDOW:  Yes.  Why bother finding out if something is true if it makes for

good fundraising material anyway? 


SCOTT BROWN:  With all due respect, I‘m going to continue to fight and do

my job and work hard to do just that.  And bring her on.  I don‘t care. 


MADDOW:  Bring her on?  Bring what on?  I‘m not running against you.  I‘m

not running for anything.  You made this up. 


SCOTT BROWN:  Bring her on. 


MADDOW:  Bring her on.  Bring on this - Scott Brown is my senator.  Isn‘t

this weird?  Sen. Brown not only didn‘t call to check any rumor before

raising money off of it.  He won‘t come on this show to talk about this


His Senate office is refusing to even return our phone calls.  And

this is legitimately surprising to me.  They are apparently not going to

retract the letter that they‘ve sent out all over the country saying I‘m a

terrible, awful, far-left rubber stamp person who is running against him

even though it is not factually true. 

I mean, I may be an awful person like he says but I‘m not running

against him.  I‘m really not.  I never was.  Apparently, they are just

going to leave this letter out there and keep trying to raise money off it

on talk radio and all the rest of it even though it‘s not true. 

When I found out today that Scott Brown‘s office is refusing to talk

to us, refusing to make the senator available to come on the show to talk

to me - he would just rather talk about me - and that they‘re refusing to

retract the untrue thing they have said about me for fundraising purposes,

I got this idea. 

I decided I should do a robocall to my fellow Massachusetts residents

to let everybody in Massachusetts know that whatever they are hearing from

Scott Brown is not true.  He‘s making this up. 

It turns out - I didn‘t know - that is against MSNBC rules.  They

won‘t let me do the robocalls, which I totally understand.  So anyway, I‘m

going to make a few calls right now because I‘m not a robot, right?  Make a

few calls right now to some folks in the Bay State just to set the record


OK.  Here we go.  I‘m going to use the script that I wrote that they

wouldn‘t let me use for the robocalls. 



JONES:  Oh, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  I‘m Rachel Maddow.  I host a TV show at MSNBC weeknights at 9:00

pm.  I live in western Massachusetts in the beautiful towns between North

Hampton and Pittsfield.  This week, our new senator, Scott Brown, sent out

a fundraising letter to try to tap the same out-of-state conservatives who

funded his Senate campaign. 

The letter says that I‘m going to run against him 2012.  And since

I‘ll be so awful for the country, those conservatives in North Carolina or

Texas or wherever, should send him more money. 

Do you remember when Mitt Romney ran for president after being our

governor and he went around the country talking about how awful

Massachusetts was?  Well, to have our new senator raising money around

country by saying how awful one of his Massachusetts constituents is kind

of feels the same way to me. 

I‘m not running against Scott Brown.  I‘ve never said I‘m running

against Scott Brown.  Massachusetts Democrats never talked to me about

running against Scott Brown.  But Scott Brown doesn‘t care about that.  I‘m

his constituent and he didn‘t have the decency to call and ask me if what

he is saying is true before he smeared me around the country to raise money

for himself. 

It is standard now for conservatives to invent boogie men to run

against.  The supposed death panels, the fake controversy about the

president‘s birth certificate.  I guess Scott Brown is going to be one of

the politicians who make stuff up to raise money instead of dealing with

real issues. 

I‘m Rachel Maddow and I paid for this call, not because I‘m running

against Scott Brown - I‘m not - but because I think he is being a creep

here.  And maybe this will make him think twice the next time he wants to

smear one of his constituents to raise money out of state. 

My show airs at 9:00 p.m. Eastern in Massachusetts on MSNBC.  So far,

Scott Brown refuses to come on.  Maybe he‘ll change his mind.  I hope he

does.  Thank you for listening. 

Never done that before.  I think it went really well.  I wonder if

Scott Brown is going to have the decency to call me back.


MADDOW:  In just two weeks‘ time, if you are in the Minneapolis area, you

may get the opportunity to attend a fundraising party for Republican

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. 

Her special guest will be half-term governor and one-time Republican

vice presidential nominee and who is now social networking maven, Sarah


At that fundraiser, for the low, low prize of just $10,000, you could

have the opportunity to get your photo taken with both Michele Bachmann and

Sarah Palin.  $10,000.  Or as we first pointed out on this show last week,

you could always save your $10,000 and just instead spend 20 minutes or so

Photoshopping yourself into a picture with them instead. 

It is a suggestion that one of Michele Bachmann‘s political

challengers is running with.  Minnesota State Senator Tarryl Clark is

seeking the Democratic primary nomination for the seat that‘s currently

held by Michele Bachmann. 

She has put up a new Web site called “My $10,000 Photo.”  For the low,

low price of absolutely nothing, you can make your own picture with

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former half-term governor Sarah Palin. 

Some people just posed with Palin.  Some people posed with Palin and

Bachmann.  Some people posed with their entire posse.  I like this one. 

Still others have used the Web site to make even better photos. 

Here is Sarah Palin giving the thumbs up to a wolf hunter.  Here is

Michele Bachmann touching God in the Sistine Chapel ceiling.  Even Sarah

Palin with the man whose country she can see from her house - a neighborly

wave at the Russian communist, Vladimir Putin. 

And State Senator Tarryl Clark is not the only one encouraging

Photoshopping.  We, on this who, you might recall, asked for your efforts

for the better part of the week or so. 

Here is what some of you came up with.  Robin Gordon sent us this

“palling with Palin” shots.  Eric Witts channeled Jim Henson for this. 

Jess Idres(ph) offered up this one.  Nice.  Please do keep them coming. 


Two last things - two things I said wrong tonight.  First, Senator

Richard Burr is from North Carolina, not South Carolina.  And John Boehner

is minority leader - duh - not majority leader.  I‘m sorry I messed those

up in tonight‘s show.  I will beat myself with a big horrible tree branch

for an hour penance.  I‘m sorry. 

OK.  That does it for us tonight.  We‘ll see you again tomorrow night. 

Until then, our new blog again -  “COUNTDOWN” starts

right now.  Have a great night.




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