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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guest: Ed Rendell, Amy Klobuchar

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST:  Good evening, Lawrence.  Thanks very much.

And thanks to you at home for joining us.

Tonight, the Republican Party tries some novel strategies to score

political points on the issue of health reform—even as their opposition

of the bill fails to stop it from becoming law.

Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Senator Amy Klobuchar of

Minnesota both join us.

Also, the congressman who admits to screaming “baby killer” on the

floor of the House apologizes for having done that and then immediately

tries to fundraise off the fact that he did it.

Another Texas congressman proposes ending your right to vote for your

United States senator.

And Senator Scott Brown‘s best available fundraising weapon turns out

to be a big surprise.  Apparently, Senator Scott Brown‘s best available

fundraising weapon—is me.  He‘s trying to raise money using me.  And

that very strange story tonight will make me a guest on my own show for the

first time ever.

That‘s all coming up.

But we begin tonight with an historic day in Washington.  Today,

President Barack Obama did what generations of presidents before him only

dreamed of doing.  He put his pen to legislation which officially made

health reform the law of the land.

Mr. Obama, today, joined by a huge audience of Democratic members of

Congress and a celebratory ceremony marking a year‘s worth of legislative

wrangling and nearly a century‘s worth of legislative aspiration finally

coming true.

Vice President Joe Biden, in particular today, allowed his excitement

to show when he swore a little too close to an open microphone while

congratulating the president on the enormity of this accomplishment.

That was what was going on above the surface in politics today.  This

hugely consequential legislative win, an accomplishment that will part of

paragraph one definition of Barack Obama‘s presidency no matter what else

he does in this term or even in a potential second term.  That‘s what‘s

going on.  That is the huge news going on above the surface, visibly, in

American politics right now.

What‘s going on below the surface in American politics is something

very different.  Last night on this show, we reported on three separate

incidents across the country in which it seems that people opposed to

health reform abandoned the debate over this issue and decided instead to

express their opposition to health reform through violence and

intimidation.  We described last night incidents at two Democratic Party or

Democratic-elected official offices in New York State and one in Arizona. 

All three of them were attacked over the weekend.

Today, we are updating our reporting on what‘s turning out to be a

much more serious story.  It turns out it wasn‘t just the three incidents

we described last night.  It was more.

Here‘s what we know: Sometime on Friday, a brick was thrown through a

window of Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter‘s district office in

Niagara Falls, New York.  Also, late on Friday or possibly early on

Saturday, another brick was thrown through a window at the Sedgwick County

Democratic Party office in Wichita, Kansas.  That brick was reported to

have anti-Obama—anti-Obama and anti-health reform messages on it.

A day later, on Saturday or early Sunday, another brick shattered

glass doors at the Democratic Party headquarters in Rochester, New York.

Shortly after the health reform vote on Sunday, a fist-sized rock was

reportedly thrown through the front window of the Hamilton County

Democratic Party in Pleasant Ridge, Ohio.

And at 2:40 a.m. on Monday morning, a few hours after the health care

vote, the front door and glass panel were smashed out at Democratic

Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford‘s office in Tucson, Arizona.

So, compiling all those, it‘s Niagara Falls, New York, Rochester, New

York, Pleasant Ridge, Ohio, Wichita, Kansas and Tucson, Arizona.  Five

separate attacks on Democratic Party offices in the span of four days.

Since the initial reports we have also learned that the FBI is now

investigating threats reportedly left at Congresswoman Louise Slaughter‘s

campaign office—a recorded message reportedly threatening to assassinate

the children of lawmakers who voted yes on health reform.  Again, the FBI

is now reportedly investigating that reported death threat against Louise

Slaughter‘s children.

We can also now show you what was used to smash out the glass door at

that Democratic Party headquarters in Rochester, New York.  That brick had

a note wrapped around it which reads, quote, “exremism in defense of

liberty is no device.”  Presuming they meant extremism and not exremism,

which is what they wrote, the brick wielder appears to have been, quoting

conservative U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater when he accepted the Republican

Party‘s nomination for president in 1964.

In last night‘s report on this show on some of those incidents, we

said that nobody yet had taken responsibility for any of those incidents. 

That‘s the one thing that I said in reporting on this last night, that I

would have most guessed wouldn‘t change over 24 hours.  Well, that‘s


The Rochester Democrat and “Chronicle” newspaper reporting that after

their initial story on the attack on the Monroe County Democratic office,

somebody did contact the newspaper to happily claim credit for that

incident.  His name is Mike Vanderboegh.  He‘s the former leader of a group

called the Alabama Constitutional Militia.  Mr. Vanderboegh has been

advocating specifically that people throw bricks through the windows of

Democratic Party headquarters all around the country and he wants credit

apparently whenever anyone follows his advice.

On his blog last week, Mr. Vanderboegh wrote an anti-Democrat

manifesto that included this call to action: “We can break their windows

before we have to resort to rifles to resist their ‘well intentioned‘

tyranny.  These windows are not far away from where you are reading this

right now.  In virtually every city and county in this land, there is a

local headquarters of Pelosi‘s party—the Democrat party.  These

headquarters invariably have windows.

So, if you wish to send a message that Pelosi and her party cannot

fail to hear, break their windows.  Break them now.  Break them and run to

break again.

Break them under cover of night.  Break them in broad daylight.  Break

them and await arrest in willful, principled civil disobedience.

Break them with rocks.  Break them with slingshots.  Break them with

baseball bats.  But break them.

The time has come to take your life, your liberty and that of your

children and grandchildren into your own two hands and act.  It is after

all more humane than shooting them in self-defense.

If we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds, thousands

of Democrat—excuse me—Democrat party headquarters across this

country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves

at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.  Break their windows.  Break them


Mr. Vanderboegh made this solicitation from Pinson, Alabama.  It‘s a

suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, where he resides and from where he expounds

in great detail online all about the federal government‘s secret plot to

assert control over your life and then kill you.

It‘s worth nothing that Mr. Vanderboegh is an ex-militia guy who is

anti-government enough to call for this type of crime and physical

intimidation targeting politicians.  He‘s anti-government enough to promote

this sort of thing and claim credit for it.  He is not so anti-government

however that he is turning down the Social Security disability insurance

checks that the “Montgomery Advertiser” reports that he lives on.

Maybe he could throw a rock through his government check and see how

that goes over at the bank.

Mr. Vanderboegh‘s efforts to inspire violent action around the country

apparently derived from his belief that he leads millions of people who

think the same things he does.



gun owners.  That‘s the muzzles of 3 million rifles who can be, if

required, pointed directly at the hearts of anyone who wants to be a tyrant

in this country.


MADDOW:  Define tyrant, mister.

Mr. Vanderboegh from his vantage point in Pinson, Alabama, is also

calling on like-minded anti-government people to prepare themselves for a

new civil war.


VANDERBOEGH:  Folks, you need to be getting ready.  You need to be

forming neighborhood defense organizations.  You need to be looking to your

larders.  You need to be looking to your—to your arsenals.

You need to be looking to your physical fitness.  You need to be

looking toward your neighbors and who can you count on, and how do you—

how do you build small fire teams and things like that.  These are the

things that you must be doing now because events will overtake you if you

do not.


MADDOW:  While claiming credit for the recent attacks on Democratic

offices around the country, Mr. Vanderboegh offered this not very veiled

threat today during a radio interview.


VANDERBOEGH:  There are rifles being cleaned right now.  Do you folks

understand that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Being what?  Claimed from where?

VANDERBOEGH:  There are rifles being taken out of the closet and



MADDOW:  Organized attacks on Democratic Party offices across the

country are crimes that are designed to intimidate political actors into

changing their policies.  And that is pretty close to the legal definition

of domestic terrorism in this country.

Mr. Vanderboegh, however, is comfortable with that.  He wants this

attention quite desperately.  He obviously can‘t claim credit for bricks

that flew or threats made before he made his blog post.  And who knows if

he‘s just tooting his horn to try to get famous.

But it should be noted that he is tied into a somewhat organized

movement.  He is a featured speaker at a forthcoming event, the Restore the

Constitution Open-Carry Rally.  This is a gun rights rally scheduled for

April 19th at Fort Hunter National Park in Virginia.

Why Fort Hunter National Park?  Well, according to the rally‘s

organizers, they believe that is the closest location to Washington, D.C. 

in which they can legally, openly carry their firearms.

Again, what these people are doing is very explicit.  They‘re trying

to get publicity.  They admit that they are just trying to get media


But their other goal is to try to intimidate the political process in

this country.  Because they can‘t get people to do what they want through

the voting process, they are instead using guns as a means of intimidating

our national politics and their fellow citizens along the way.

This gun theme has been a very consistent threat over the past year. 

You might remember this tea party protest sign that we kept seeing lots of

different events over the past year, “We came unarmed (this time).”

Remember all the people showing up at politics events last summer with

guns strapped to their side.  You might remember the guy in New Hampshire

who showed up at one of President Obama‘s town hall events brandishing a .9

millimeter pistol and he had the t-shirt on with the quote—excuse me—

the sign with a quote on it about “replenishing the Tree of Liberty with


This gun fervor that we‘ve seen, this effort to intimidate through the

show of force carried on this past weekend in the lead-up to the big health

reform vote.  This sign appeared right outside the Capitol dome, warning if

Brown, as in Senator Scott Brown, can‘t stop it, a Browning can.

And the armed and dangerous theme isn‘t just in the streets and at the

protests.  It‘s now the vernacular by which supposedly mainstream

conservative politicians address their followers now.  Sarah Palin tweeted

to her followers today, quote, “Commonsense conservatives and lovers of

America: ‘Don‘t retreat, and instead—reload.‘  Please see my Facebook


What she was directing people to on her Facebook page was this message

from her political action committee.  Twenty Democratic congressional

districts that she says she‘s targeting with rifle scopes images over each

of them.

There‘s one other thing to note here about what‘s going on at the edge

of politics and why this is a big deal.  The big “show your guns” rally

that‘s going to happen on April 19th, where the “throw the bricks through

the windows of Democratic Party headquarters” guy is going to be speaking,

the list of the speaker at that event.

That event is symbolic also in its timing.  April 19th isn‘t just some

convenient date for these folks to get together.  It‘s not just a random

Monday in April.  We mentioned before that Mike Vanderboegh is a former

militia member, former leader of the Alabama Constitutional Militia back in

the ‘90s, which was sort of a heyday for the patriot movement, the militia

movement, gun rights movement in this country.

Well, April 19th is like Christmas Day for the militia movement,

overshadowing the fact that it was the first day of the American

Revolution, the Battle of Lexington and Concord.  For them, it‘s also the

anniversary of the Branch Davidian Siege in Waco, Texas, in 1993 -- which

these groups see as a call to arms against the American government.  It is

not a coincidence that April 19th is also the day that Timothy McVeigh

deliberately chose for his bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in

Oklahoma City.

April 19th, that‘s when the guest speaker is “throw bricks through

political office windows” guy at the “bring your guns to Washington” rally.

We‘ll be right back.


MADDOW:  Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown was elected to replace

Senator Ted Kennedy early this year.  And he promptly became a national

Republican Party rock star.  As a national Republican Party rock star,

Senator Brown decided the best way for him to raise money is by using me. 

I am the subject of Senator Brown‘s latest fundraising campaign.

I know a lot of weird things happen to me in my life.  This is right

up there—right up there.


MADDOW:  This is what it looks like when a state attorney general gets

famous.  At least this is one way to be famous as a state attorney general. 

What you are looking at here are protesters at Virginia‘s George Mason

University.  They are protesting their State Attorney General Ken

Cuccinelli who was speaking at an event at George Mason inside.

When Virginia‘s new governor, Bob McDonnell, was elected in November,

the Republican Party treated him as their hope for the party‘s future, a

candidate with instant national stature.  Someone who they said maybe could

appeal to moderates, not apparently because of anything he did or stood

for, but I guess because he looks very moderate or something.

Since taking office in January, Governor McDonnell and his attorney

general, Mr. Cuccinelli, have worked hand-in-hand to drag Virginia back,

back, back out of the 21st century.  Between them, they have rolled back

protections against discrimination against state workers.  The attorney

general has tried to force public colleges and universities in the state to

drop their own anti-discrimination policies.  Then they made sure that

same-sex partners of state workers could not get health benefits in

Virginia.  And now, they are teaming up to kill health reform for rest of


Mr. Cuccinelli at least seems to really intent on getting famous for

these activities.  Beyond the lawsuit filed by 13 other state attorneys

general over federal health reform, Mr. Cuccinelli in Virginia has decided

to file his own lawsuit for which he has sat and received lot and lots of

press attention, and he‘s doing this with the full-backing—guess who—

his partner in turning back time, Governor Bob McDonnell.

The relationship between the governor and an attorney general in the

state is sometimes funny, sometimes prickly, sometimes fascinating.  It is

fascinating in the case of the relationship between Pennsylvania Governor

Ed Rendell and his state‘s attorney general, Tom Corbett.

Get this—Mr. Corbett, the Pennsylvania attorney general, today

signed Pennsylvania on to that multistate lawsuit against health reform

even though the governor of Pennsylvania, Mr. Rendell, is totally opposed

to what Mr. Corbett is doing.  It must make for interesting cabinet


Joining us now is Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

Governor Rendell, it‘s nice to see you.  Thanks for your time.


I was listening to your story and I happened to be on another network

as the vote was being taken.  And when I got off the network, the

governor‘s residence in Harrisburg was bombarded with calls attacking me

for supporting the health care bill, bitching because I was smiling as the

bill passed, and suggesting that I had performed some obscene acts on

myself and others.  It was a very—the trooper on duty had a very

interesting night.

But it‘s pretty shocking what is going on.  And Tom Corbett is

independently elected.

And let me start out by saying I like Tom Corbett.  We have a pretty

good working relationship.  He‘s a good lawyer—and he‘s too good of a

lawyer to have filed this suit, because any good lawyer knows that federal

the federal Supremacy Clause dominates here.


We don‘t have separate passports.  Each state doesn‘t have separate

passport.  Each state doesn‘t have separate immigration laws.  There are

some things that the federal government has the absolute power to do.  This

is one of them.

So, this is a total waste of taxpayers‘ money.  It‘s totally done for

political purposes.  And as I said, Tom Corbett is too good a lawyer to

have joined this suit.

MADDOW:  When you say that he is doing it for political purposes, I

know that Mr. Corbett is running for the Republican nomination for

governor.  Is he not—do you think this is about his primary fight to try

to run for governor?

RENDELL:  Well, he doesn‘t really have a major primary opponent.  He‘s

a very active state representative running against somebody who has no

money.  Tom is a slam dunk to be the Republican nominee—and frankly, at

this stage, probably the favorite to become the next governor.

But he‘s always been a fairly moderate person in his approach to

things.  And again, he‘s too good a lawyer to file this suit.

And I will tell you that I think this tactic that the Republicans are

taking, filing the suits, people promising, former Congressmen Toomey came

out today and said he vowed to repeal the health care reform act.  As you

said, I think last night, they‘d have to pick up 113 seats to have the

power to repeal the health care reform act to be veto-proof.  It‘s not

going to happen.

They are looking, I think, mean-spirited and irrational.  Do they

really want to reform the rule that says that you cannot be denied health

care if you have a pre-existing condition?  Do they want to take that back? 

Do they want to repeal that?  Do they want to repeal the rule that says

your health care company can‘t drop you if you become sick?

I think the Republican should think again about this strategy because

I think this is a strategy that could turn what looks like a good year for

them into a pretty bad year.

MADDOW:  I wonder what you think about the specific—the specific

thing you‘ve identified there which is the futility of this.  It‘s—

nobody really, I think, seriously thinks that any of these lawsuits, either

the one in Virginia or the one that your attorney general in Pennsylvania

has joined—nobody thinks these suits are going to go anywhere.  It seems

sort of like an open and shut constitutional case.  They do seem like

they‘re just for show.

Same with the repeal.  Even if repeal was wildly popular, it‘s not

just going to happen.  Numerically, these are futile cases that they are


And so, in the political calculus there, why do you run on something

like this that you know you‘re never going to achieve?

RENDELL:  Because it feeds the base.  And as far as the lawsuits are

concerned, I wouldn‘t care very much about the lawsuits because they are

futile, except they waste taxpayers‘ dollars.  And there are petition

drives like you said in Virginia.

There‘s a petition drive in Pennsylvania.  People who were signing a

petition to urge Attorney General Corbett not to go forward with this

futile suit and not to waste taxpayers‘ dollars.  And I hope he listens.

As I said, Tom Corbett is a very decent guy.  He‘s been a moderate

before.  He doesn‘t need to do this to win the primary.  He‘s pretty home


But I think the Republicans are making a big mistake.  I think the

mean-spiritedness—I happened to be on the air and listened to the every

minute of the Boehner speech and the Pelosi speech, and that mean-

spiritedness, the American people don‘t like that.  They don‘t like that. 

Even if they agree with substantively, they don‘t want mean-spiritedness in

politics.  They don‘t want extremism in the way you express yourself.

I think it‘s going to backfire dramatically.  And in a sad way, it‘s

the best thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party.  But it‘s a sad

commentary on the state of politics in the country.

MADDOW:  Governor, did you lobby?  Did you call members of Congress

and try to encourage them to vote for this?  In pure political terms, not

in terms of the policy, but how do you make the political argument to

members of Congress when you know, in some cases, that this is going to be

a difficult vote for them?

RENDELL:  Well, I said basically two things, Rachel.  Number one, I

said, look, I‘m going to support you whatever you do, you know?  I know

this is a difficult decision for you.  My support is not contingent when

you‘re voting one way or the other.

But I said, number one, this is good policy.  And as people understand

what‘s in this act, it‘s going to become more and more popular between now

and November.

And, number two, hey, all of us and I‘m an elected official and I‘ve

lost two elections, all of us got elected to do something.  And if we‘re

going to lose, let‘s lose doing something that‘s going to change the fate

of 32 million Americans.  There are some things that are risking and losing

about.  And that‘s why we‘re here, to do something, to change people‘s

lives, to protect the most vulnerable citizens, to give people opportunity.

So, go ahead.  Don‘t be afraid.  If you lose, you‘re losing for the

best of all possible reasons.

MADDOW:  Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, thank you for your time

tonight, sir.  I really appreciate it.

RENDELL:  Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW:  Thanks.

So, the scariest thing you can say right now about the fate of a piece

of any legislation is: and now, it goes to the Senate.  Dysfunction

junction, next stop.  Our guest is Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Please stay with us.


MADDOW:  The president signed sweeping health reform legislation into

law today.  But the job still is not quite done.  The Senate promised the

House that a majority of senators would vote to pass a package of fixes to

the health reform bill, fixes that the House demanded as a condition of

their passing the Senate‘s version of health reform.

In fact, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he has a letter signed

by 52 Senate Democrats who have all agreed to pass those fixes through the

budget reconciliation process.  That‘s the process that‘s underway right

now.  The debate over those House fixes kicked off in the Senate this


And if, indeed, Senator Reid has those 52 votes, it should be just a

matter of time before the fixes are passed and health reform is totally,

completely, once and for all, or at least once until next time, done.  It

is essentially inevitable if he‘s really got those 52 votes.  Health reform

is already law and the House fixes, those tweaks, will soon become law as


However, Republicans are still taking every opportunity they can to

show themselves off as very opposed to health reform.  As such, they are

all very excited about their Senate strategy for obstructing any further


Republicans in the Senate know that they‘re going to lose on this

issue essentially.  But they‘ve decided that they want to look good losing. 

They want to stake their reputation and their image as a party and being

seen opposing health reform every single step of the way no matter how


They‘ve decided to flood the Senate with amendments to this

package of House fixes.  The problem is that when you combine futility with

desperate showiness, you tend to get awkward results. 

Case in point, it‘s time for the Republicans‘ last stand against

health reform now.  They want all eyes on them.  It‘s time to unleash the

amendments.  They really want to be seen doing this. 

So who among them leads the charge at this critical moment when

they want the nation‘s attention on them as they demonstrate their

continued opposition on health reform even in the face of certain defeat? 

Who is first up from the Republicans in this moment in the sun? 


SEN. DAVID VITTER (R-VA):  This fight is not over by a long shot. 

I‘ll be on the floor regularly all this week fighting the separate

reconciliation bill. 


MADDOW:  I can‘t tell you how happy Democrats are about that.  For

some reason, it‘s Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana and D.C. madam phone list

fame who has been given the privilege of introducing the first two symbolic

Republican stall tactics show-off amendments to the reconciliation package. 

One of them is a repeal-the-bill thing, which, of course, in the

near term would mean letting insurance companies deny kids health coverage

because of preexisting conditions.  Good luck selling that one. 

The other amendment that Sen. Vitter introduced was about ACORN. 

Seriously, that was the second amendment he introduced.  It‘s an amendment

aimed at prohibition on funding for ACORN which, you might have heard,

doesn‘t really exist anymore. 

That is the Republicans‘ big high-profile rollout of their last

ditch anti-health reform strategy.  That is what they want America to see

them doing because they think it makes them look great.  Sen. Vitter, lead

the way against ACORN or whatever. 

Joining us now is Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota. 

Sen. Klobuchar, it is very nice to have you back on the program.  Thank you

for being here. 

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN):  Well, thank you, Rachel.  I do want to

recall - what was it that you called us?  That I‘m live from dysfunction

junction?  That was really - a nice way to introduce me.  Thank you. 

MADDOW:  Do you deny that the Senate is where legislation goes to die


KLOBUCHAR:  Could I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that in the last month, we passed

that major jobs package, remember, actually, with was some bipartisan

support.  We‘ve got the FAA reauthorization props which may sound small,

which is actually a big deal for getting our air traffic modernized. 

So we are starting to get some things done here in a big way. 

And you will see a big thing this week with health care.  As you pointed

out, they are going to delay and obstruct every step of the way. 

You can call it the voter-rama-drama.  And it will be going on

into the night.  But our people, despite what you may poke fun at us, we

will not waiver and we will get it done. 

You saw this in December when we got every single one of us

together to vote for that bill.  And you can‘t actually say that about the

House.  But Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, our leadership were able to unite our

caucus on that bill and you‘re going to see that again as we go forward. 

And we are going to be hit with difficult amendments.  But the

most important thing is to get health care done for the people of this

country.  I was just looking at our letters in the office to kind of get me

going and inspire me for this week. 

And the one that always sticks out for me is a woman who wrote

from Bemidji, Minnesota named Sherry.  And she was writing for her

daughter, Mickey.  She said, “Mickey just called me,” her words.  She said,

“Mickey was sobbing so hard I couldn‘t hear what she said.  She said her

husband‘s company just cut them off of their health insurance.  It is a

small business.  They couldn‘t afford it.” 

She said, “And here‘s the deal.”  She said, “My daughter, Mickey,

has cystic fibrosis and she won‘t be able to get insurance anymore.”  And

then, she said, “She has been fighting her whole life and we need someone

to fight for her.  We need to get this done.” 

And so all of us that go to the floor this week that have to vote

on these just horrific amendments that are just meant to really hurt us

politically, are meant to delay things, are going to have one thing for our

guiding light, and that‘s the people of this country that need health care

but also people who have health care that see it getting astronomically

more costly. 

I wanted to put these costs under control and make it more

affordable, something in Minnesota that had been than my major focus from

the beginning on this bill.  And as you know, half the bill is about our

cost control and it reduces the deficit by $130 billion in the first 10

years.  And that‘s what we‘ll be focused on. 

MADDOW:  Senator, let me ask you about one - it‘s not altogether

procedural.  It‘s about whether or not these fixes are actually going to

pass.  I know the idea originally was that Senate would pass the House

fixes exactly as is.  So after the Senate bill, health reform would go to

the president and will really and truly be done including this package

that‘s still pending. 

Sen. Baucus said today there might be a few changes to the

reconciliation package in the Senate.  That would mean it would have to go

back to the House again which opens up a whole other can of worms, takes

this out for longer and also opens it up to more of these Republican

delaying tactics in both houses.  Do you think that will happen?  Are you

worried about that? 

KLOBUCHAR:  You always have to worry about that.  But really, the hope

here is to not have that happen, to pass this bill pure.  We have made some

major fixes in this bill that needed to be made. 

From the left to the right people agree that that Nebraska deal

should get out of there.  And that is what one the major fixes is.  It‘s to

extend the same benefits to the people of this country, some of the changes

to the excise tax and some other things that were necessary to be made. 

So from the Senate perspective, we are simply taking a bill that

had some very good things in it and making it better, making these

improvements, fixing the bill.  And that is what reconciliation is about. 

And as you have done so beautifully done on your program many

times pointed out, reconciliation is something that has been used 22 times,

16 times by Republican Congresses.  And it just gives you an ability to fix

a bill. 

MADDOW:  Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, thank you for your time

tonight.  It‘s been too long since we had you on the show.  And I promise

not to use the dysfunction junction thing next time. 

KLOBUCHAR:  It was a nice rhyme, I have to tell you. 

MADDOW:  I‘ll use the voter-rama one next time, OK? 

KLOBUCHAR:  Yes, I gave you one - voter-rama-drama. 

MADDOW:  Thank you, Senator.


MADDOW:  OK.  Super-conservative Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert is

famous in THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW officers because he is the guy who once

made an overt toilet joke about the health reform bill.  We like bathroom

humor.  But the good Congressman has one upped even himself now.  That‘s



MADDOW:  Still ahead, Sen. Scott Brown is already raising money for

re-election by blasting his presumed Democratic opponent for Massachusetts

Senate, someone I know really, really well.  In just a few minutes, watch

me get dragged into the political arena kicking, screaming, et cetera. 

And later on in the show, carbo rating at The Last Supper.  That

is all coming up.  Stay with us. 

But first a couple of holy mackerel stories in today‘s news. 

When Congressman “You Lie” Joe Wilson screamed at President Obama during a

joint address to Congress last year, what did you think the effect of that

outburst would be on Joe Wilson‘s career? 

Congressman Wilson‘s outburst was widely criticized by everyone

in mainstream politics.  But on the far right, Joe Wilson became a hero. 

He became a hero for screaming at the president during the joint

congressional session from the floor of Congress. 

And that lesson, apparently, has not gone unnoticed by the

latest, very conservative member of Congress who had shrieked out an

epithet at the top of his lungs in the middle of someone else‘s speech in


This time, it‘s Texas Republican Congressman Randy Neugebauer who

now admits that it was he who screamed the words “baby killer” at

Congressman Bart Stupak during the House votes on health reform on Sunday



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Those who were shouting out are out of order. 



MADDOW:  Common wisdom holds that the person who screamed “baby

killer” in Congress would look back on the incident with regret, that he or

she would be embarrassed.  That common wisdom would be totally wrong. 

Congressman Neugebauer now looking back on that incident and trying to use

it to raise money for himself. 


NEUGEBAUER:  Hello.  I‘m Randy Neugebauer and this is my wife, Dana. 

Last night a very historic vote took place on the floor of the House of

Representatives.  Not only did we see the government take over your health

care, but we saw the lives of unborn children used as a bargaining chip to

get to somehow get the needed votes to pass this legislation. 

I feel very passionately because I believe what was going on was

not right for America.  You know what?  I‘m never going to quit speaking on

behalf of the unborn.  I‘m never going to quit speaking on the behalf of

the people of Texas and the people of the United States of America that

find this policy up acceptable. 

And I will continue to speak with the same passion that I spoke

last night, maybe with a little bit different form but still, with the same


I want to thank you for the tremendous outpouring of support. 

But more importantly, I want to thank you for the opportunity and honor of

representing you in the United States Congress. 


MADDOW:  “I‘m Randy Neugebauer, and if you want more screaming ‘baby

killer‘ on the House floor, you can donate right here.  Oh, and also, I‘m

really sorry for the screaming.” 

The Congressman “vote for me, I‘m the screaming baby killer on

the House Floor” Randy Neugebauer is not the only member of the Texas

delegation who is making news today.  There is also Louie Gohmert. 

Louie Gohmert is the congressman genius enough to combine his

vitriolic fervor against health reform with a theme of deservedly very

popular children‘s book.  It is hard to make health reform fit the plot of

this book, but if anyone can do it, Louie Gohmert can. 


REP. LOUIS GOHMERT (R-TX):  This should not be passed by anyone unless

they eat it.  If they eat it, then I‘m in favor of them passing it. 

Otherwise, don‘t pass it.


MADDOW:  The recap - if you eat it, you can pass it.  It took me all

day to practice saying that without turning as beet red as I am right now

and losing my composure. 

Since his “go ahead, eat it and then pass it” contribution to the

health reform debate, Mr. Gohmert has decided that the democratically-

elected Senate voting for health reform is the actual problem. 

His proposed solution is that we don‘t democratically-elect

senators anymore.  Louie Gohmert is proposing now to repeal the 17th

Amendment of the Constitution so state legislatures would just pick

senators from here on out instead of letting the regular citizen riffraff

in the states choose their own senators by voting. 


GOHMERT:  The 17th Amendment took out the last check and balance on

usurpation of states‘ rights.  It‘s time to get the balance back in place. 

We have 39 states upset, wanting to do something and not have another

unfunded federal mandate coming down their throats. 

This will do it.  Let‘s get an amendment that gets the balance

back into the country and the Constitution before this Congress destroys

what‘s left. 


MADDOW:  In other words, take the 17th Amendment to the Constitution,

chew on it for a while, swallow, allow it to travel through the narrow

passage of the legislative process where it will be broken down into

smaller constitutional molecules, wait between 24 and 72 hours and then

dump it out. 

Then and only then will you have a real Louie Gohmert-style

democracy where democratically-elected legislators never again take

majority votes in favor of something they campaign to do.


MADDOW:  Sen. Scott Brown is my senator in Massachusetts and I

apparently am his fundraiser against my will.  Extraordinary measures will

be taken to correct this situation right here, next.

MADDOW:  For the first and probably the last time, I hereby recuse

myself from hosting this segment. 

BILL WOLF, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER:  Good evening.  Good evening I‘m Bill

Wolf, the executive producer and one-time-only proxy host of THE RACHEL

MADDOW SHOW block in a moment, a very special guest.

Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts is not up for re-election until

2012, but he‘s taking nothing about his extraordinary popularity or

perceived mega-power in the U.S. Senate for granted. 

For fully two-and-a-half years out from his next election, Sen. 

Brown has begun raising money in earnest.  And to motivate his base, he

chose the single most frightening potential opponent that the Democratic

Party could produce, a possibility so disastrous in its consequences as to

scare cash money right out of Massachusetts wallets and into Sen. Scott

Brown‘s war chest. 

Who or what could instill that sort of populist mania?  TV‘s

Rachel Maddow.  Maddow hosts an hour of cable news on MSNBC weeknights at

9:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 Central, 7:00 Mountain, 6:00 Pacific. 

And Sen. Brown sent this urgent communique to potential campaign

donors in the base saying, quote, “Friends, the political machine in

Massachusetts is looking for someone to run against me.  And you are not

going to believe who they are supposedly trying to recruit, liberal MSNBC

anchor Rachel Maddow.” 

“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


“The Democratic Party bosses in Massachusetts want a 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.  What about you?” 

Though it‘s not entirely clear, Sen. Brown‘s rationale for

playing the Maddow card, as it‘s known, likely derives from this tweet by

Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair John Walsh on March 5th.

Quote, “Some of you - some are talking about you running versus

Brown in ‘12.  I‘m the chair of MA Dem Party.” 

Mr. Walsh did not specify who “you” was in that tweet, though

there was Internet speculation that he meant Rachel Maddow.  Of course, in

the world of fundraising for reelection campaign for statewide office,

anything about which some are talking is presumed to be absolutely true, as

is everything on Twitter, an all Internet speculation. 

Joining me now in studio for the interview is the host of MSNBC‘s

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW, the Rachel Maddow.  Rachel, thanks for making time


MADDOW:  I didn‘t know I was going to be the interview.  That‘s


WOLF:  We have you, yes.  And we appreciate you making time.  We know

you‘re busy at this time of night.  But first, the obvious question - in

his E-mail to supporters, he says, “I‘m sure she‘s a nice person.”  Is Sen. 

Brown right?  Are you a nice person? 

MADDOW:  I am a bewildered person. 

WOLF:  Yes. 

MADDOW:  I have to say, you know, supposedly - not just the Democratic

Party supposedly try to recruit Maddow.  It was reported that they‘re

trying to recruit her.  Why didn‘t they just call and ask me if it was true

before sending out the fundraising letter? 

WOLF:  Let me take this opportunity to clear some things up. 


WOLF:  To what degree is the machine, Democratic machine in

Massachusetts, recruiting you to be the Democratic candidate for Senate in


MADDOW:  If they are doing so, it‘s a silent invisible machine that

hasn‘t yet contacted me through any means. 

WOLF:  That happens more often than you think.  Oh, yes. 

MADDOW:  I mean, there‘s a Facebook page. 

WOLF:  Yes.

MADDOW:  My friend, Bill, did it, I think, as a joke. 

WOLF:  A different friend Bill. 

MADDOW:  A different friend Bill.

WOLF:  Yes. 

MADDOW:  No, I mean, actually there‘s a Facebook page, but there‘s a

Facebook page for a lot of things. 

WOLF:  Oh, yes. 

MADDOW:  If that‘s the basis for famous Sen. Scott Brown making me the

fundraising pitch, that - it surprises me about him. 

WOLF:  So is there any chance whatsoever that you are running for

Senate in 2012. 

MADDOW:  You know me well enough, Bill, for you to be able to answer

this question.  What do I think about my current job? 

WOLF:  She‘s left some wiggle room, folks. 

MADDOW:  No, I have the best job in the world.  I‘m not running for

office.  I never said I would run for office.  Nobody has asked me to run

for office.  Scott Brown didn‘t ask me if I was planning on running for

office before he decided to write a fundraising letter using my name to

raise money for him. 

WOLF:  Yes.

MADDOW:  Well, it‘s completely made up by him. 

WOLF:  What‘s most interesting to people on the staff is that you are

the scariest possibility he could think of. 

MADDOW:  Yes, exactly.  I mean, you think about -


MADDOW:  You think about all of the things that he has to run on. 

WOLF:  Yes. 

MADDOW:  The fear of Rachel Maddow is what he‘s raising money on in

Massachusetts, “Massachusetts donors, open your wallets.  Maddow is


WOLF:  Sounds like an effective campaign. 


WOLF:  Quickly, any plans for your non-campaign or non-candidacy that

you can tell us. 

MADDOW:  Yes.  Actually - Julie, are you here?  We‘ve made a t-shirt

so far.  It says, “I‘m raising money for my nude model U.S. Senator right

now.  Ask me how.” 

WOLF:  Oh, that‘s very grassroots. 

MADDOW:  We only have one so far, but we‘re thinking about branching


WOLF:  Well, that‘s fantastic. 

MADDOW:  Thank you, Julia. 

WOLF:  Thank you very much, Julia.  Excellently done.  We‘re going to

put something extra in your non-check.  Rachel Maddow, you are the host of

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW, every night - every weeknight here on MSNBC.  We‘re

all big fans of the show.  We sure appreciate you taking the time to be

here with us. 

MADDOW:  This is so weird.  Thanks, Bill. 

WOLF:  I find it to be extremely weird as well.  Coming up on

“COUNTDOWN” - I guess this is my job.  Sarah Palin‘s violent rhetoric when

it comes to health reform. 

And next on this show, Rachel Maddow returns to the host position,

thank god, to explain how - thanks to President Obama‘s 22 different pens,

you can know more about exactly what you eat.  Stay with us, I implore you. 


MADDOW:  One lesser-known part of the health reform bill that

President Obama signed into law this morning requires restaurants with 20

or more locations nationwide to display nutritional information on their


That means you‘ll be able to see the exact number of calories in

that burger or pizza, or extra super-ginormous really quite large bubbly

drink before you order it and put it in your mouth. 

New York restaurants have already been displaying this type of

info for a couple of years in an attempt to make people - to help people

make healthier choices when they order. 

Expect conservatives to begin seeing Maoist numerological plots

in the calorie counts on menus at any moment. 

But while legislation might now be helping us become a slightly

less obese nation, it turns out that art has been no help at all in this

fight against the fat.  Kent Jones has the story.  Hi, Kent. 

KENT JONES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, senator.  You know,

art looks at life and then says back to us, “Eat more carbs.”  Here‘s the

scientific proof right here. 


(voice-over):  We live in the golden age of big, stupid food.  Portion

sizes have ballooned and ballooned until voila, we are absolutely flab-


Professor Brian Wansink of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab wanted

to know if this craving for more and more food was a new phenomenon or

something that‘s been expanding over time, like we have.  So he analyzed

the food shown in 52 of the best-known paintings of “The Last Supper” from

1,000 AD until today. 


We measured the size of the food, and measured the size of the plates and

measured the size of the bread.  We indexed them based on the size of

people‘s heads. 

JONES:  And he found that the main courses shown in the paintings grew

by 69 percent, the plate size by 66 percent, and the bread size by 23

percent.  As it was written in the Gospel, according to Olive Garden. 

Said Wansink, “I think people assume that increased serving sizes

or portion distortion is a recent phenomenon.  But this research indicates

that it‘s a general trend for at least the last millennium.”

So basically, more food in the real world means more food in the

paintings.  And that means more food for Jesus and the apostles.  It‘s a


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think it was blessed are the cheese-makers. 

JONES:  Amen. 


MADDOW:  I love that they based it on head size. 

JONES:  Yes. 

MADDOW:  That was the index. 

JONES:  Yes.  Don‘t eat anything bigger than your head, right? 

MADDOW:  Because that‘s the rule, right?  I broke that rule in


JONES:  We heard about that.  But anyway -

MADDOW:  I‘m sorry.  All right.  That does it for us tonight.  Thank

you very much, Kent.  We will see you again tomorrow night.  Until then,

our new blog at is awesome.  We hope you check it out. 

“COUNTDOWN” starts right now.  Have a good night.




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