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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: Janet Napolitano, Tracy Weitz.

HOST:  Good evening, Keith.  Thank you very much.  Say

hi to the guys for me.

OLBERMANN:  Rachel says hi.

CROWD:  Hi.

OLBERMANN:  They said hi back.  Did you hear them?

MADDOW:  I did.  I got that sense vaguely.  Thanks, guys.

And thanks to you at home for tuning in.

               

Given everything going on in the country right now, I am very excited

for “The Interview” tonight.  It is Homeland Security Secretary Janet

Napolitano.

Also, the all-you-can-eat buffet of political mistakes that is the

career so far of Virginia governor, Bob McDonnell, gets even worse today. 

I cannot quite figure out why no one else is really covering this yet.  But

this guy was supposed to be the Republican Party‘s great new hope for 2010

and beyond, and he‘s just imploding.

Plus, Mike Huckabee let his anti-gay flag fly and then he ripped the

reporter who published his remarks.  Luckily for us, that reporter turns

out be a very spunky college kid who has not taking it lying down, and who

had a tape recorder running the whole time.

Lots to come this hour.

But, we begin with President Obama fresh off negotiating a new global

agreement on nuclear terrorism with 49 leaders from around the world,

pivoting now to a much-tougher crowd, and probably a much steeper

diplomatic challenge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  All right.  Hello,

everybody.  I want to welcome congressional leaders to one of our periodic

meetings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Meeting with world leaders to prevent nuclear terrorism—

child‘s play.  Meeting with congressional leaders, here, to pass laws in

America, with giant Democratic majorities and the president‘s a Democrat? 

Yes, good luck with that.

Today, President Obama welcomed Republicans to the White House today

for a big bipartisan talk on Wall Street reform.  Wall Street reform, of

course, has already passed the House.  It‘s already passed the first

committee in the Senate.  It is on its way toward passing.  The only

questions now are: when it‘s going to pass and with how much Republican

support.

Coming out of today‘s meeting at the White House: Mitch McConnell and

John Boehner, the top Republicans in Congress—they affirmed that on this

issue, they really meant that whole not just the “party of no” thing.  I

think at this point, they are debuting the “party of hell no” thing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER:  The American people are

continuing to ask the question: where are the jobs.  And when you look at

this financial services bill, my concern is that it‘s going to protect the

biggest banks in America and harm the smallest banks.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER:  It‘s a bill that

actually guarantees future bailouts of Wall Street banks.  In fact, if you

look at it carefully, it will lead to endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall

Street banks.  That is clearly not the direction the American people would

like for us to go, and also not the direction Senate Republicans would like

to go.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW:  So, according to Mitch McConnell there, this reform bill will

lead to endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street.  That‘s what he said—

endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street.

What it really does is not that.  If the Dodd bill becomes law, big

banks have to pay into a bailout insurance fund, essentially, so banks have

to pay for bailouts in the future, not taxpayers.  The bill that passed the

House includes an even bigger pool that banks have to pay in to.  But the

whole idea is that if banks need bailing out, banks themselves do the

bailing out now.  Not us.  That‘s the whole idea.

In the Senate bill, the FDIC actually dismantles banks that fail. 

They sell off their various pieces instead of just propping up the giant

existing banks with taxpayer money, like we did last time.

Now, you may not like this bill.  There may be all sorts of reasons to

object to it.  But endless taxpayer bailouts?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL:  Endless taxpayer bailout.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Yes, that‘s not true.  That‘s not there.

It‘s not surprising that Republicans are opposed to Wall Street

reform.  No Republicans voted for it all when it passed the House.  The

Republican Party has pursued this unified strategy of saying no to

everything in Congress while they‘re in the minority.  It is not surprising

they‘re against Wall Street reform.

It is interesting, though, that they‘re explaining why they‘re against

Wall Street reform by railing against something that‘s not at all

recognizable in the bill in any way.  Where do they get this stuff?

Actually, we know where they‘re getting this stuff.  You might

remember back in February, we reported on a memo obtained by Sam Stein at

“Huffington Post.”  It was a 17-page memo of suggested talking points for

Republicans written by Republican pollster Frank Luntz.  The memo advised

Republicans how to not only to kill Wall Street reform but to gain the

biggest political advantage from killing it.

For example, in a section that‘s titled “Words to Use,” Mr. Luntz

recommends that Republicans include “never again.”  “Never again” in their

anti-Wall Street reform speechifying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL:  Never again—never again should taxpayers be expected to

bail out Wall Street from its own mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Well done.  Check.  Mitch McConnell.  Yes.

Back to the talking points here.  Quote, “Frankly, the single best way

to kill any legislation is to link it to the big bank bailout.”

Over to you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

MCCONNELL:  We cannot allow endless taxpayer funded bailouts for big

Wall Street banks.

Will guarantee perpetual taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street banks.

It will lead to endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street bank.

It provides endless opportunity for bailouts of Wall Street banks.

And this bill, make no mistake about it, is a permanent taxpayer

bailout of Wall Street banks.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW:  Go, man, go.  You are so on points.

I don‘t know if you‘d call it at this point like a choir or a chorus,

it was never all that clear on the differences between, but altogether you

guys sound great.

Another talking point from the memo is this, quote, “Taxpayers should

not be held responsible for the failure of big business any longer.  If a

business is going to fail, no matter how big, let it fail.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL:  We won‘t solve this problem until the biggest banks are

allowed to fail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  Never mind that‘s precisely what the Democrats are proposing

to.  Mitch McConnell makes some hay here.  I know you can do it.

It does take a little bit of the suspense out of this.  But if you

want to read for yourself the script that Republicans are reading from when

they say Wall Street shouldn‘t be reformed, the script was leaked two

months ago.  And we have posted it on the Maddow blog today.  You can

follow along in the day‘s news as long as this is going to be debated.

If you look at the client list of the author of that memo, I‘m sure

that the big Wall Street firms among those clients are delighted to see

that the script is being followed with such attention to detail.  The

talking points are well-crafted.  They sound great.  They are totally

disconnected from the facts.

But, hey, in health reform, you know, you don‘t think the people who

invented the whole death panels idea thought that was real, do you? 

Reality is not exactly how this stuff works.

Joining us now is Howard Fineman, MSNBC political analyst and

“Newsweek” senior Washington correspondent.

Hi, Howard.  Thanks for joining us.

HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Hi, Rachel.

MADDOW:  Is Wall Street reform going to be something that takes a year

or longer like health care, or is there—is there a path to actually

finish this any time soon?

FINEMAN:  I don‘t think it‘s going to take that long.  It‘s another

big, complex piece of legislation that I think the politics of this are

sharper and clearer, and as—try as he might, Mitch McConnell, to make

himself out to be the populist concerned for the little guy here, the

reasons that the Republicans really oppose this bill are ones that are

going to be hard for them to defend.  Because what they really don‘t like

is they don‘t want the tax on the banks, the fees on the banks.

And as you said, it‘s not a bailout bill, it‘s more like an orderly

burial bill, you know, than it is a bailout bill.

They don‘t like the new regulations on derivatives and other fancy

ways of raising credit.  They don‘t like the idea of setting up a consumer

credit agency to monitor lending by banks and other institutions, and they

don‘t like the controls on small banks.  That‘s what they don‘t like. 

That‘s what we really don‘t like.

And unlike health care, where they were able to frame the issue and

also raise, I think, populist fears and resentment about government—this

is a situation, Rachel, where the government is actually trying to rein in

reform and control actors on the global scene that American voters like

even less than they like government, namely big banks and Wall Street.

MADDOW:  I was thinking about the sort of the Republican challenges on

this when I saw Charlie Gasparino‘s reporting this week that Mitch

McConnell came to New York last week to meet with billionaire hedge fund

managers, to both ask them for Republican campaign donations and to pledge

that Republicans would kill reform.

Now, Charlie Gasparino works now for FOX Business.  And it just got me

thinking, you know, is this something on which Republicans might really

potentially have trouble with for the more populist side of their base,

those folks out on the streets at the tea parties?

FINEMAN:  Yes, I think—yes, I think so.  I think so.

And you can—can you watch Mitch McConnell trying to get ahold of

this and really not being able to do it, because at the same time he‘s

pledging his support for the small bankers and his antagonism for the big

bankers and so on.  As you say, he‘s up there promising the hedge fund

guys, “Don‘t worry, we‘re not going to let the people at the Commodity

Futures Trading Commission go crazy regulating derivatives”—which is

precisely what they think the CFTC wants to do right now.

And ironically, the guy running the CFTC, a guy named Gary Gensler, is

trying to make up for his own past mistakes in being too lenient on the

growth of derivatives and other fancy instruments by really proposing in

this bill some really tough measures.

McConnell and the Republicans don‘t want them.  That‘s really one of

the main things they don‘t want in this.  They‘re going to use that bailout

word because Luntz gave it to them, but that‘s not really what they‘re

about here and that will eventually show through.  You know, it will then

eventually be revealed.

MADDOW:  I‘ll do my best to keep revealing it.

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN:  Yes.

MADDOW:  Are Republicans sort of lining up rock solid behind McConnell

on this?  Does he have a unified caucus in the Senate?  Are there any

Republicans Democrats think they might be able to get to vote with them on

this?

FINEMAN:  Well, I was talking to Republican source just a little while

ago, said they had a closed door meeting today.  McConnell is trying to

line them all up.  I‘m not sure he‘s going to be able to get them all

there.  Because as I say, the politics are a little different from health

care.  And the “party of no” or “hell no,” I‘m not sure it‘s totally going

to work here, because people want something done to rein in the banks. 

They do.

So, they‘re not going to get Scott Brown, so I‘m told, at least

initially, the Democrats that is.  He‘s going to stick with McConnell on

this, so far.

But I think the Democrats who only need one vote after all to break a

filibuster, if that‘s what they‘re going to try to do, have a good shot at

getting one or both of the senators from Maine, Collins or Snowe, and I‘m

told that the Democrats are aiming also at George Voinovich, who‘s leaving,

from Ohio—Republican from Ohio, but a real populist in some ways.

And also, oddly enough, and don‘t laugh, but Judd Gregg, who‘s also

leaving from New Hampshire.  And don‘t forget that Judd Gregg had a brief

flirtation with joining the Obama administration.  I don‘t think he‘s going

to do that now.  But he wants some kind of orderly structure here.

What McConnell is arguing, Rachel, is akin to what you might argue in

the old days against having the Corps of Engineers build dams upstream

from, say, Louisville, Kentucky, where Mitch McConnell lives.  Mitch is

saying, no, no, you don‘t want to build the dams because you‘re only going

to have a flood every 30 years.  Well, Louisville will be flooded every 30

years.

MADDOW:  Right.

FINEMAN:  That‘s sort of what Barack Obama and the Democrats are

proposing here—what McConnell is going to trying to fight.  I‘m not sure

he‘s going to be able to get it done this time.

MADDOW:  And with your flood analogy, he would probably have a lot

more luck with that analogy had we not just all finished drying out our

basements, or maybe half of us finished drying out our basements from the

giant flood.

Howard Fineman of MSNBC and “Newsweek”—it‘s always great to have

you here, Howard.  Thank you very much.

FINEMAN:  Thank you.  Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  So, “The Interview” tonight is our nation‘s homeland security

secretary, Janet Napolitano.  I have been looking forward to this all week. 

That is next.  Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Senator Chuck Grassley was determined that any health reform

bill passed by Congress would apply to members of Congress and their staff. 

None of this “It‘s OK for you but not for me” stuff.  So, Senator Grassley,

last September, drafted a provision in the health reform bill that meant to

keep members of Congress and thousands of congressional staffers on

reformed health care.  Ha!  That will show them commies.

Only problem?  What the provision actually did was ban members of

Congress and their staff members from having any health insurance at all. 

Oops!

Senator Grassley admits to drafting the original language but he tells

“The New York Times” now that other people must have redrafted what he

wrote, and those unnamed re-drafters must have made this mistake.

The good news, Senator Grassley says he wants the problem fixed.  We

wouldn‘t want anyone to go without health insurance now, would we?  That

would be barbaric.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BETTY MCCOLLUM (D), MINNESOTA:  I don‘t want another Oklahoma

City to ever take place again.  And just as we would not give aid and

comfort to al Qaeda, let us not allow the words of elected leaders to get

comfortable excuses to extremists bent on violence.  When members of

Congress compare health care legislation to government tyranny, socialism

or totalitarianism in the hopes of scoring political points, it‘s like

pouring gas on the fire of extremism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  That was Congresswoman Betty McCollum of Minnesota, speaking

on the House floor this week in support of a resolution honoring the

victims of the 1995 attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in

Oklahoma City.  The resolution passed.  Monday, of course, is the 15th

anniversary of the bombing which killed 168 Americans.

On Friday, Bill Clinton will be the keynote speaker at a symposium

marking the anniversary.  It‘s an event designed to be a forum for

discussing how the country reacted to the attack 15 years ago and what

lessons learned from the Oklahoma City bombing can be applied to today‘s

America.

On Monday, our next guest, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet

Napolitano will be in Oklahoma City itself for the official remembrance

ceremony.

Also that day, again, on the anniversary of the bombing of the federal

building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh, an anti-government extremist

with ties to the militia movement, there will be two marches on Washington. 

One is being called the Second Amendment March, it‘s leading up to their—

in leading up to their march in Washington, this group has been holding

armed rallies at state capitols from Kentucky to Montana to Virginia—

anti-government marches and rallies at which participants are encouraged to

wear and display their guns.

Now, even though those folks have been armed at all the state capitols

leading up to the April 19th march, when they actually head to the grounds

of the Washington Monument on the actual anniversary of the Oklahoma City

bombing, they‘re not allowed to open-carry there.  So that Second Amendment

March will be unarmed in D.C.

That said, right across the Potomac from that site, at Gravelly Point

Park in Virginia, that march on D.C., also on the occasion of the Oklahoma

City bombing anniversary, that march will be armed.  Participants of that

one are being encouraged to bring guns.

The organizers are holding it in Virginia and bringing people right up

to the Gravelly Point on the Potomac because they say that‘s as close as

they think they can legally get to D.C. with loaded weapons.

One of the speakers at the event, the one with guns, is the ex-Alabama

militiaman who made news encouraging people to go to Democratic Party

offices and throw bricks through the windows.

One other high profile attendee of that armed march is backing out

now.  He‘s the president of the Oath Keepers.  They‘re a group of pro-gun

law enforcement and military personnel who say they plan to disobey orders

in order to—in their words—prevent possible future egregious

violations of the Bill of Rights, and to—again, in their words—stop a

dictatorship from taking root in America.  The Oath Keepers has pulled out

of the armed march on almost Washington, citing published statements by

some participants in the upcoming rally that indicate that the event will

have a confrontational stance.

Joining us now for “The Interview”—I‘ve been very much looking

forward to this discussion—is secretary of homeland security, Janet

Napolitano.

Madam Secretary, thank you so much for joining us.

JANET NAPOLITANO, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY:  Well, thank you.

MADDOW:  As a U.S. attorney in Arizona at the time, 15 years ago, I

know that you were part of the investigation into the Oklahoma City

bombing.  You‘ll be participating in the commemoration on Monday.

Do you feel like we approach the threat of domestic terrorism

differently now as a country than we did before that incident?

NAPOLITANO:  Well, yes—in part because every time there is an

incident—and it‘s hard to describe something as horrific as the bombing

of the Murrah Building as an incident, it was an outrageous criminal act. 

But every time one of those things happens, we learn.  We apply that in a

law enforcement way to the next set of events.

So, yes, experience does teach us some things.  And, unfortunately,

the Murrah Building bombing taught us a lot.

MADDOW:  And in terms of that—and I know that I‘m raising a report

for which there was a lot of political heat.  Your department got some heat

last year when you put out a report that said the current economic and

political climate has some similarities to the ‘90s when right-wing

extremism experienced a resurgence.

In terms of that report, in terms of your government‘s advice and

support to local law enforcement, how do you advise them and how does the

country is dealing with the threat of domestic extremism now?

NAPOLITANO:  Well, what we do is work with law enforcement to give

them information—information about threats that we are seeing,

information about trends that we are discerning, so that they are better

prepared to protect public safety on the ground.  And we, in turn, receive

information back from local law enforcement.

And so, you know, we will provide information, for example—we had a

recent case where individuals were buying large amounts of hydrogen

peroxide to make explosives.  It got into the news.  And we advise local

law enforcement to watch for unusual purchases of hydrogen peroxide. 

That‘s the kind of direct tactical information we want to get into the

hands of law enforcement.

MADDOW:  What were some of the things that law enforcement did with

some of the more extremist militia groups and other domestic terrorist

organizations, as you defined them in a report last year, what were some of

the things that law enforcement did right to essentially stem the growth of

those groups after Oklahoma City?

NAPOLITANO:  Well, I think in a way, Oklahoma City was such an

outrageous criminal act that in and of itself, it had an effect on the

growth of militia movements, of armed violent militia movements.  And so,

we did see almost an immediate drop-off after 1995.

And you know, we‘ve had militia groups, armed militia groups, from

time to time throughout American history and indeed throughout the last

decades.  They seem to kind of come in and come out as circumstances

change.

But prior to 1995, the Murrah Building bombing, they were really a

rapidly growing phenomenon throughout the United States, particularly in

some areas of the states like Arizona, where I was the United States

attorney.  Then they seemed to have dissipated.  And now, of course,

recently, recent events show us that we have some groups starting up again.

MADDOW:  Considering the threat of terror from abroad and Department

of Homeland Security‘s role in international counterterrorism, I know that

you‘re just back from Nigeria, the home country of the attempted Christmas

Day bomber.  I know you were there to meet with leaders of a whole host of

African countries about boosting the international side of airline

security.

What was accomplished there?  What are leaders agreeing to to try to

fill some of those gaps?

NAPOLITANO:  Really, it‘s an amazing global response to the attempted

bombing on Christmas Day, where region by region around the world we are

forging a consensus about information collection, information-sharing,

passenger vetting, and improved security at airports.  I think people

already will have seen some of the things going into place in airports in

the United States.  It‘s objectively better technology for discerning

someone who may be trying to bring explosives or other material on to an

airplane.

But we‘re seeing the same kind of response internationally, and it was

particularly encouraging to see it amongst the union of African nations

over this past weekend.

MADDOW:  I was thinking about the—preparing for this interview,

this chance to talk to you today, and I was trying to narrow down all the

things that are in your purview as secretary of homeland security.

NAPOLITANO:  Good luck with that.

MADDOW:  Exactly.  I mean, there‘s something like 200,000 employees in

this agency, 22 agencies all brought under one, everything from FEMA and

airline security and H1N1 and drugs and immigration and all of these

different things—I don‘t know that you can actually answer this and

still be politic, but does the Department of Homeland Security make sense

that it‘s one thing?  I‘m not sure that—I‘m not sure what the advantage

is that all of these things are in one agency now.

NAPOLITANO:  Look.  It was borne out of 9/11 and I think it does make

sense.  But you have to kind of take all those 22 agencies and boil them

down into what are—what are the major missions that we are focused upon

so that we can really sculpt a vision for the entire department.

And so, when you do that, you know, we‘re really focused on

counterterrorism.  We‘re focusing on securing our borders, be they land,

air or sea.  We‘re focused on immigration—immigration enforcement, even

as we advocate for reform of the immigration laws.  We‘re focused on

protection of cyberspace, and I think we‘re the first U.S. department

that‘s really singled that out as, you know, kind of the next wave of

things that needs our focus.  And then finally, the ability to respond—

prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

And when you boil it down to those five major functions, then you

could really see how far the department and all of its various components

make sense.

MADDOW:  I could also see how if I had your job, I‘d want to clone

myself five times so I could have one person in charge of each of those

things, plus a spare to rest.

NAPOLITANO:  Indeed.

(LAUGHTER)

MADDOW:  On that issue of immigration, not in your Department of

Homeland Security purview because this is at the state level, but your home

state of Arizona this week has passed a very—a very, very strong anti-

immigration bill.  I think of it as the “papers please” bill.  It compels

police officers to demand papers from anyone they reasonably suspect of

being an illegal immigrant.  It‘s now a misdemeanor to not carry your

immigration paper work with you at all times in Arizona.

Didn‘t you veto something like that when you were governor there?

NAPOLITANO:  I think I vetoed things like that at least twice.  And I

did because—first of all, immigration is primarily federal.  Not

exclusively, but primarily federal.  But secondly, it doesn‘t allow law

enforcement to focus on where law enforcement needs to focus, and to

prioritize the way law enforcement needs the ability to prioritize for the

protection of the public safety.

There are other reasons as well, but it was no surprise to me when I

was governor of Arizona that, by in large, law enforcement, the men and

women who are charged with protecting public safety, oppose legislation

like that.

MADDOW:  One last question for you, Madam Secretary, and I‘m sure

you‘re going to dodge it, but I‘m going to ask it anyway.  Are you ready?

NAPOLITANO:  Go for it.

MADDOW:  Wouldn‘t being on—wouldn‘t being on the Supreme Court be a

great job?

NAPOLITANO:  Well, nice try, but I‘m flattered to be asked.  But I‘m

focused on the job I have.  And as you‘ve already described, it‘s a big

one.

MADDOW:  Secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, a very,

very busy person by definition—thank you so much for joining us tonight. 

I appreciate your time.

NAPOLITANO:  Thank you for having me.

MADDOW:  OK.  So, remember the brilliant idea to bring back the old

south de facto literacy test for people to get their voting rights in

Virginia?  That brilliant idea is being abandoned now.  Happy Confederate

History Month!  That‘s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Still ahead, Mike Huckabee picks a media feud with a college

journalist.  And Mike Huckabee is losing.  Wow, is he losing.  That‘s

ahead. 

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

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell today took another step further down from

the mantle of moderate seeming Republican Party potential savior. 

Mr. McDonnell doubled down today on his latest public relations

disaster backtrack.  Last night, we reported Gov. McDonnell‘s indirect,

amorphous, somewhat feckless denial that he had instituted an essay

question, a sort of literacy test for ex-felons trying to get their voting

rights back in Virginia.  The denial sounded like this. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GOV. BOB MCDONNELL (R-VA):  There‘s no essay.  We‘ve asked for just a

simple statement of what the person has done in order to be reintegrated

into society.  A little bit about their crime, what they‘ve done to get

back into society, any community activities. 

And we‘re still in the draft stages.  And I just ask people to

just give us a few months.  We‘re going to - we haven‘t even announced the

final process. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW:  We‘re still in the draft stages.  No final process.  Give us

a few months.  This walk-back ran into evidence of Gov. McDonnell‘s

actions, which totally gave lie to that denial.  This wasn‘t a draft

policy.  They have, in fact, already put it into place. 

They‘ve already sent out hundreds of letters like this one to

people in Virginia.  See right there under the state seal?  The letters

demand that people who want a petition to get their voting rights back have

to write Bob McDonnell a personal statement, explaining among other things

that their church activities show that they should get the right to vote. 

That letter explaining the new requirement has already gone out

to hundreds of people in Virginia.  It wasn‘t just a draft, bad idea.  It

was an enacted idea.  Caught in the act. 

So now naturally, cue throwing the staffer under the bus.  Bob

McDonnell‘s spokesperson told “The Washington Post” today, quote, “The

letter was sent without approval by a well-meaning staffer attempting to

continue to process requests even while new procedures were being

considered.” 

I wonder if this was the same well-meaning staffer who

accidentally proclaimed confederate history month without mentioning

slavery or who got stuck drafting the pitiful “I didn‘t really mean it”

proclamation after the governor rescinded nondiscrimination laws for state

workers. 

Gov. Bob McDonnell has so far distinguished himself as Virginia

governor for having perfected the art of the far-right screw-up back flip

with a “double blame the staffer” finish.  I wonder if they‘ll run him for

president in 2012. 

Next up, when man first landed on the moon, Neil Armstrong

announced in words, both inspirational and aspirational, that the future

had arrived. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL ARMSTRONG, ASTRONAUT:  That‘s one small step for man, one giant

leap for mankind. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  On the other hand, when man first tweeted, it was an

announcement that he was setting up his account, please forgive the typos. 

Oh, maybe we‘ve become jaded in the 21st century on matters of

technological breakthroughs.  But that‘s not to say we don‘t appreciate

history in the making, which is why that first tweet and every other 140

character or less train of thoughts will be donated to and stored at the

oldest federal cultural institution we have in the United States.  It‘s the

Library of Congress. 

And yes, the Library of Congress does have a Twitter account too. 

They‘re going to archive all of Twitter, back to the very beginning of the

service.  Privacy-protected accounts will not be included in the electronic

donation, and it‘s only after a six-month delay that tweets will be made

public, I guess, at the library. 

But that still leaves us with, you know, false reports of

celebrity deaths, almost instant reporting of major news stories as they

happened, everything Shaquille O‘Neal ever thought, everything Neil Patrick

Harris ever thought - thank god.  And of course, heroic and heart breaking

political organizing and activism the world over. 

Twitter will not tell us how many users it has, but according to

the Twitter blog, it receives more than 55 million tweets a day which

totals billions of tweets since the service was launched in 2006.  And it‘s

all going to the Library of Congress. 

And yes, that means that this Justin Bieber person I keep hearing

so much about may soon be the most-mentioned person in the Library of

Congress.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Dr. George Tiller was murdered by Scott Roeder in Kansas last

year.  Scott Roeder made clearer than clear after his arrest and at his

trial that the goal of that murder was to stop the provision of legal

abortion in the United States. 

There are very few doctors left in the U.S., only a handful, who

are willing to brave the violence and intimidation that it takes to work in

the specialized field of complicated and later abortions like George Tiller

did. 

In the wake of the terrorism that took George Tiller‘s life,

there are a couple of ways elected officials could have reacted.  One way

would be to recognize the real threat faced by these doctors who are

providing a legal service in the United States and take steps to support

them and protect them. 

Another approach would be to join in the attack from the

legislative side.  After Dr. Tiller was murdered, his friend and colleague,

Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who operates his own clinic in Bellevue, Nebraska,

started providing some services that Dr. Tiller did before his death, but

obviously could not anymore. 

That decision prompted groups like Operation Rescue to shift

their focus.  Operation Rescue, of course, had moved to Wichita, Kansas,

specifically to harass Dr. George Tiller years before his death. 

Their new focus after Tiller was assassinated has been Dr.

Carhart‘s clinic, to specifically, quote, “encourage and train pro-lifers

who are working with us on this project to stop Carhart from becoming the

next George Tiller.  So Carhart‘s days in Nebraska could be numbered.” 

How did Nebraska‘s elected officials react to the targeting like

that of one of their constituents after another doctor who did the same

thing had been murdered in Kansas?  How did they react to a doctor

regularly getting death threats for doing his job, a job that is legal

under American law? 

Nebraska politicians changed the law.  LB 1103 passed by a vote

of 44 to five in the Nebraska legislature, signed into law yesterday by the

Gov. Dave Heineman.  It bans most abortions in Nebraska after 20 weeks on

the basis of this theory of fetal pain. 

It‘s the nation‘s first law restricting abortions that relies on

that rationale.  Sen. Mike Flood, speaker of the Nebraska legislature who

sponsored the measure said he did it as a direct attempt to stop the legal

medical services provided by Dr. Carhart. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIE SCHMIT-ALBIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEBRASKA RIGHT TO LIFE:  He

had a burden when he heard LeRoy Carhart last summer upon the death of

George Tiller, when he heard LeRoy Carhart talk about how he wanted to make

Nebraska the late-term abortion capital of the Midwest. 

And Speaker Flood took up that gauntlet and it has resulted in

the passage of LB 1103. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  That‘s the executive director of Nebraska Right to Life

talking about the motivation for this bill that just passed in the Nebraska

legislature.  The new abortion ban in Nebraska will take effect on October

15th unless the courts stop it first. 

Joining us now is Tracy Weitz.  She is a director at the Bixby

Center for Global Reproductive Health.  She‘s an associate professor at the

University of California in San Francisco.  Professor Weitz, thanks very

much for coming back on the show.  Appreciate your time. 

TRACY WEITZ, DIRECTOR, BIXBY CENTER FOR GLOBAL REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: 

Thank you for having me back. 

MADDOW:  Do you expect that this new law will take effect?  Do you

expect that it‘s likely to be stopped by the courts? 

WEITZ:  Well, it certainly is unconstitutional according to current

law which says that states may only ban abortion with the health exception

after the point of viability, which is after the - what the legislature is

saying is the point at which the fetus can feel pain. 

MADDOW:  Several pro-choice groups have focused in specifically on

this fetal pain rationale and said that they think that - codifying that

into law is essentially designed as a challenge to Roe versus Wade, that

this is legislation to get Roe versus Wade before the Supreme Court again

because they think that it would be overturned by the conservative majority

there.  Do you think that‘s the case?  Do you think that‘s what‘s going on? 

WEITZ:  Well, I definitely think this is a direct challenge to Roe

versus Wade.  I think it‘s important, Rachel, to point out that the

scientific evidence does not support that the fetus can feel pain until

well into the third trimester. 

I was very disappointed this morning to read the “New York Times”

suggests that there is sort of contested science around whether or not the

fetus can feel pain at the point at which the Nebraska legislature is

asserting that it can, when the published scientific literature does not

support that. 

MADDOW:  The other law that the Gov. Heineman signed into law

yesterday and did it at the same signing ceremony mandates that doctors

sort of extensively mentally screen women who come for abortion services. 

I don‘t - I have to admit I don‘t understand it.  As far as I

read it, I feel like their allegation here is that women have abortions

because they‘re crazy.  Is that the implication that they‘re making here? 

WEITZ:  Well, I think there‘s two things.  Like the fetal pain bill,

this is an extensive misuse of science.  This bill says that doctors need

to inform women of any characteristic.  That may have to be a demographic. 

That may have to be a social characteristic.  That may be a health

condition.  That may be a mental health condition that has been shown to be

associated with a problem after abortion. 

It‘s a long list of things.  People don‘t know what it means. 

But it‘s clearly meant to say to women, if you have any kind of health

condition, you need to know that you might suffer poorly after an abortion,

something that, again, science doesn‘t support. 

MADDOW:  Professor Traci Weitz, director at the Bixby Center for

Global Reproductive Health and associate professor at UCSF, University of

California in San Francisco, thanks very much for joining us tonight.  I

have a feeling this is not going to be our last discussion on this Nebraska

bill.  Thank you. 

WEITZ:  I hope we can keep talking about it. 

MADDOW:  Thanks.  Coming up tonight on “COUNTDOWN,” Keith reports on

the Republican Party takeover of the tea party movement with some smoking

gun documents to prove his case. 

And coming up on this show, Mike Huckabee attempts to take down a

student journalist.  Keyword here, “attempts.”  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Big news from the war in Afghanistan today about an isolated

region in the eastern part of the country.  On the map, it‘s known as the

Korengal Valley.  It‘s frequently described in the news as “the valley of

death.” 

In many months of reporting there, NBC‘s Richard Engel witnessed

ferocious combat in that region firsthand. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  It‘s

just after 8:00 p.m. when suddenly - incoming.  But the soldiers can‘t tell

where the Taliban are hiding. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Who is that? 

ENGEL:  There‘s no high-tech way to find the militants.  American

military superiority doesn‘t mean much in these mountains. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  That‘s from Richard Engel‘s award-winning documentary “Tip of

the Spear” which was filmed in the Korengal Valley. 

Today, the U.S. pulled its last troops out of the Korengal

valley, taking everything they could with them, including 500,000 pounds of

satellite equipment, lots of unused ammunition.  And then they destroyed

much of the rest of what they brought in with them.  Richard Engel was back

in the Korengal this week. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Fire in the hole! 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Fire in the hole! 

ENGEL (voice-over):  Just moments ago, there was a building here full

of munitions.  Now, there‘s just a field of debris, some of it still

smoldering and hot.  The U.S. military is blowing up this outpost piece by

piece.  The soldiers don‘t want to leave anything useful behind for the

Taliban. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW:  In essence, the U.S. military has written the Korengal Valley

off at least for now saying it may never be a place with government as we

understand it.  One veteran in the fighting there telling the “New York

Times” today, quote, “It is frustrating because we bled there and now we‘re

leaving.  So you question, were those sacrifices worth it?  But just

because you lost guys in a place, doesn‘t mean you need to stay there.” 

In the half decade of fighting in the Korengal Valley, 42

American troops lost their lives there.  Now, that geographic part of this

long, long war appears to be over.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW:  Former Arkansas governor, minister and Republican

presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, spoke last week to the Student

Government Association at the College of New Jersey for which he was

reportedly paid $25,000. 

While he was there, Mr. Huckabee also gave an interview to

student reporter, Michael Tracy, who writes for the campus alternative news

magazine, “The Perspective.”

Now, in this interview, Mr. Huckabee talked about Republican

politics, his feelings about Michael Steele.  He talked about his

opposition to repealing “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell.” 

He talked about his opposition to same-sex marriage.  When he was

discussing same-sex marriage with this reporter, Mr. Huckabee explained his

views this way. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AK):  You don‘t go ahead and accommodate

every behavioral pattern that is against the ideal.  That would be like

saying, well, there are a lot of people who like to use drugs, so let‘s go

ahead and accommodate those who want to use drugs. 

There are some people who believe in incest, so we should

accommodate them.  There are people who believe in polygamy, so we should

accommodate them. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW:  You know, being gay, just like being on drugs or doing incest

or having lots of husbands.  Reporter Michael Tracy then asked about Mr.

Huckabee‘s position on same-sex couples adopting children. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MICHAEL TRACY, STUDENT REPORTER:  Arkansas passed a ban on gay

adoptions in ‘08, I believe.  What was your take on that? 

HUCKABEE:  Children are not puppies.  This is not a time to see if we

can experiment and find out, how does this work?

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW:  After these comments to the student publication became

national news for obvious reasons, Mr. Huckabee struck back by attacking

the reporter, Michael Tracy. 

In a statement posted on his Political Action Committee‘s Web

site, Mr. Huckabee got really classy and said, quote, “The young college

student hopefully will find a career other than journalism.  I would ask

that he release the unedited tape of our conversation.” 

“He attempted to sensationalize my well-known and hardly unusual

views of same-sex marriage.  The young journalism student chose to focus on

the issue of same-sex marriage and grossly distort my views.” 

So instead of addressing the substance of his puppies defense or

the state accommodating incest thing, Mike Huckabee blamed the college

reporter which was apparently the wrong thing to do since Mr. Tracy did not

crumple into a corner in the student center. 

Instead, he did post the unedited tapes online along with this

blistering response, quote, “It is telling that nowhere in his statement

did Huckabee suggest he was misquoted in the article and rightfully so.  We

have the audio and transcripts to prove that everything reported is

accurate.  His words speak for themselves, and it is a shame that he is now

so quickly embarrassed of them.”

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

HUCKABEE:  There are some people who believe in incest, so we should

accommodate them.  There are people who believe in polygamy, so we should

accommodate them. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW:  “How dare you publish what I say?”  If you are keeping score

at home, it is students at the College of New Jersey, one.  Presidential

candidate Mike “Puppies” Huckabee, zero.  So far, he has zero.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KENT JONES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  If there‘s one thing

the right wing hates, it is President Obama‘s logos.  Back in February, we

reported about the kerfuffle over the new U.S. Missile Defense Agency logo. 

MADDOW (on camera):  Here‘s a look at it.  Some people think that the

circular red, white and blue design looks a lot like Obama‘s campaign logo. 

Others are critical of the crescent and star look.  They mean that it is a

similar symbol to Islam. 

JONES:  Oh, suspicious graphics.  That firestorm died when everyone

figured out it was a Bush administration design.  But still, that same

crypto crescent phobia is now hounding the logo for the Nuclear Security

Summit. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why, because apparently you see that crescent in

those four flags there - Muslim countries, Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia and

Pakistan. 

JONES:  Connect the dots, people.  Obama, crescent, Muslim, nuclear -

why aren‘t you more afraid?  “New York Post” columnist Michael Goodwin goes

even deeper, saying, quote, “No, I am not suggesting President Obama is a

secret Muslim.  But I am certain the crescent-like design of the logo is

not a coincidence especially at an event where Iran‘s nuclear ambition and

al-Qaeda‘s search for a bomb are prime topics. 

Of course, liberals might tell you the logo is just a stylized

version of a hydrogen atom.  Sure it is, but when you take a really close

look, Obama‘s Islamic crescent nuke terrorist icon also looks like this and

this and even this.  Coincidence?  Wake up, America. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MADDOW:  The Piggly Wiggly - I knew it.  Thank you, Kent.  Appreciate

that. 

JONES:  Sure. 

MADDOW:  “COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann starts right now.  Have a

great night.

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