'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Monday, December 27th, 2010
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RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening. Thank you for staying with us this hour. Actually, thank you for staying with us all this year.
When we met as a staff to talk about what we have done this year, we ended up kind of amazed by all the places we went to cover the news, the people we convinced to come on the show, the magnitude of some of the historic stuff that we covered in 2010. It‘s all very high-minded and impressive when we‘d talked about what we done this year and when we looked at our notes about what we‘ve done.
But then we look at the actual tape of what we put on the air. And we felt much less high-minded. It turns when you look at the tape, when you look at what we put on the air, we made fools of ourselves constantly this year, convinced apparently that that was the best way to explain the news on any given day.
Looking back on it now, I am not sure we were right about that.
MADDOW: I have a Snuggie. What about it? Don‘t be a hater. I also have a Hot Pocket. Good to go for my late night snack. Hang on a second.
A senior Democratic leadership aide told the “Huffington Post” today, quote, “We are rolling out the cots.”
Oh, that‘s going to be delicious. Hold on. I‘ll get to you later.
Got to go get the cots. Hold on.
We‘re rolling out the cots. There we are.
We, too, decided to roll out the cots—although, frankly, if I had a choice, I would roll out the air mattresses. Come on. It‘s the 2000s.
The integrity of the House has been compromised. John Boehner saying he‘s going to fix that, he‘s going to restore that compromise integrity. I‘m sorry. It‘s actually hard to concentrate with what I‘m saying with all of that racket going on. What‘s going on over here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don‘t forget to vote.
MADDOW: Oh, I see. It‘s 1995 John Boehner, the then-number four leader among House Republicans. 1995 John Boehner, handing out checks from the tobacco industry on the floor of the House, while the House was in session.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A gift from big tobacco. Good to see you.
MADDOW: What if he had started off by saying good evening. OK, he actually did start off by saying, good evening. But—right after he said good evening, he said, I‘m here to announce three major developments in the response to the BP oil disaster.
We‘re coming to you live from a very quiet television studio, tucked away in an office park somewhere. Oh, no. Actually, we‘re in historic Doyle‘s Cafe in Jamaica Plains.
I am in Grand Isle, Louisiana.
The beautiful Las Vegas.
We are live at Camp Phoenix, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
But we are coming to you live tonight from a U.S. military base inside the International Zone, aka, the Green Zone, here in Baghdad.
We are broadcasting live from the Deer Park Tavern in Newark, Delaware.
We are live at the Tap Root in Anchorage, Alaska.
We‘ve relocated to Zug, Switzerland. That‘s right, beautiful Zug, perfectly nestled right in the heart of the northeast corner of Switzerland. It‘s a beautiful place, really. Lovely, alpine horns sounding in the distance. Kent Jones, as you can see, has already adopted the local dress, in traditional Swiss lederhosen. He looks awesome.
It isn‘t exactly what the tar balls look like. This smells a lot better.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MADDOW: It sort of like—the great thing about Jagermeister is it‘s a cross between happiness and sickness, because it reminds you of cough syrup. But, you know, but in a good way. Am I allowed to drink this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you‘re allowed.
MADDOW: I need to check with my boss.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He‘s gone. Suck it up.
MADDOW: Live in New Orleans.
MADDOW: Yes, I know it‘s Halloween. And, yes, I know, it‘s Sunday. But you‘re watching. And that‘s all I need. Bacon, please. Flower delivery, ma‘am. Land shark, ma‘am. Bacon police. Put your frying pan in the air, where I can see it.
I am so unexpectedly am turning out to love this election season, bacon police. First, they came for the bacon. Then, they came for the French fries. We‘re vegetable police, ma‘am. Put your (INAUDIBLE) items where we could see them. Everybody freak out.
Go on. No chicken suits at the polling places. Well, thank you very much, Kent. Appreciate that report.
KENT JONES, POP CULTURIST: No problem. Here to help.
MADDOW: Solidarity, man.
JONES: This is a great victory for free speech. The First Amendment was designed to provide protection for a broad spectrum of expression. And this case clearly falls under its purview.
MADDOW: Thank you. Thank you, Kent.
And the Dolphins player is running, running, running, in slow-mo now. And then what happened? It was a coach from the other team, sticking out his knee, and tripping the nice man who plays for the Dolphins who is portrayed here my Jamel Smith (ph). See that, see with the tele-strator? The Dolphin yes, see?
BILL WOLFF, TRMS PRODUCER: High stepping it, the drum major points where he‘s going to stand, and then the guy turns there, and then—bows to the crowd because he‘s dotting the “I.”
WOLFF: That‘s right. That‘s right. That‘s a great show. You can do it. Come on, Rachel.
MADDOW: We did not realize that while we were doing it. But it turns out, when you look at the year in retrospect, we will go to any lengths, even inadvisable lengths, to try to explain the news. Hence all the hats and stuff.
Also, what was with all the guns?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Want to try?
MADDOW: Yes. This here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This one.
MADDOW: Like this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, perfect.
MADDOW: You took the safety off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s ready.
MADDOW: I think I‘m a bad shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s good.
MADDOW: Did I do OK?
Thank you. Did I hit you with a cartridge?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I already fired.
MADDOW: It‘s kicking up.
MADDOW: What is this larger weapon that we‘re going to shoot?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speedy M-249 SAW, currently in service of the U.S.
MADDOW: M-249. OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: M-249 SAW. SAW stands for Squat Automatic Weapon. It does the job very well. Really heavy, a lot of support. It is fairly easy to shoot.
MADDOW: But this is something that infantry men are using right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. It‘s part of every fire team.
MADDOW: OK. And what caliber bullets does it shoot?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a .556 round linked together just like this.
MADDOW: OK. So, it‘s automatic?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma‘am.
MADDOW: Can we see how badly I did on this one? Can we pull that target in?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.
MADDOW: On this one, I wasn‘t aiming here. As if I was aiming there, I would hit right there. I was actually aiming right there on this guy‘s arm. I nailed him. I was going for the outer forearm.
What I did in Las Vegas. It‘s one of those things where I feel myself making a mistake and I can‘t stop myself. That‘s what it feels like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make sure that the vehicle is center of the target.
MADDOW: Roger, I think it‘s good. So, I held down the power. And I hit the trigger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s right. You pull the trigger. And it‘s on the way.
MADDOW: Are you ready?
MADDOW: Yes. All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well done. Congratulations.
MADDOW: No, I realized that my bad aiming was being overridden by the ghost in the machine. But I really appreciate it. It did wonders for my ego.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you did well.
MADDOW: I did not, in fact, do well. But that was nice of him to say anyway.
The one thing we thought we could count on to be boring in this year‘s news, was politics. Midterm elections in a down economy—wake me when it‘s over, right? But even that ended up being over the top in 2010.
Carl Paladino, come on. I still miss that guy. We will be right back. This is going to be fun.
I kind of can‘t believe we‘re doing this.
Welcome to “Pin the Debt on the Donkey.” The challenge? Figure out which presidents saddled America with the most debt and which presidents didn‘t?
Our two contestants this evening are: Tricia McKinney, the only member of THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW staff who has actually been on a game show. There she is with Alex Trebek.
And also Kent.
Great to have you both here.
Here we go. First question: which modern president added $4.9 trillion to the national debt?
TRICIA MCKINNEY, TRMS STAFF: Bill Clinton.
JONES: Jimmy Carter.
MADDOW: I was hinting at this just a moment ago. It is George W. Bush. Yes. George w. Bush grew the debt by $4.9 trillion. Sorry, you guys.
MADDOW: We try and we try and we try and we try to get Republicans to come on this show. And this year, we got at about, 0-13. When we did hit the precious few times, we had interesting, friendly, mostly civil, unforgettable results. Our year of chasing Republicans and mostly not catching them, coming up.
MADDOW: The 2010 elections, the midterms. Traditionally, midterms are a giant snooze all year, followed with a diffuse set of results starring candidates whose you cannot. That‘s how the midterms usually work.
2010 was a nontraditional year in that regard, as well. It was like the circus went out of business and all the out of work acts entered Republican primaries. And then a lot of them won and ran for general elections. Everybody freak out. Ahh!
MADDOW: Carl Paladino is the Republican nominee for governor of New York, who I think maybe isn‘t running a campaign, who I think is maybe doing an art project.
Here‘s my evidence. First, the one thing voters mostly knew about him before he was chosen to be the gubernatorial nominee was the super-racist videos and hard core pornography he e-mailed out. None of which, he denies.
Second, his first campaign acted once he got the nomination, is sending a campaign mailer that I‘m not allowed to take out of the UPS mailer that they sent to us in, because it is scented with trash. One of his official platforms is a proposal to sell welfare recipients to renovated prisons.
The revelation this week that at least four of his campaign aides either have criminal records or are accused of criminal behavior also didn‘t help things. His campaign manager owes thousands in federal taxes. One of his political strategists is accused of stealing $1 million from Michael Bloomberg.
And his driver served jail time, for missing a court hearing—a court hearing on charges of driving under the influence and a hit and run on a suspended license. That‘s Carl Paladino‘s driver, a guy with a DUI and a hit and run, his driver.
And then, then, there‘s Carl Paladino‘s out-of-the blue assertion that his opponent has had extramarital affair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARL PALADINO ®, FORMER NY GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: What affairs has he had? Obviously, I haven‘t had any.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Obviously, I haven‘t because the now 10-year-old daughter you had with another woman while you were married is Jesus or something?
I choose to believe that Carl Paladino is an art project. My proof is here. There‘s a tag line that goes along with Bob Dobbs, with the iconic street art stencil guy with a pipe, smiling at you. What‘s the tag line that gets into your sub-consciousness for Bob Dobbs of the Church of the SubGenius? It‘s “I‘m mad, too, Bob.”
And what‘s on Carl Paladino‘s lawn sign? “I‘m mad, too, Carl.”
I‘m telling you, this is an art project.
The national story of this race is, oh, there‘s this Tea Party uprising. And all sorts of people from the Republican Party are getting primaried from the right and it‘s a very unusual national thing going on. But in 2002, you got primaried from the right and in 2004, you got primaried from the right.
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI ®, ALASKA: No, not in 2002 because remember—
MADDOW: But you were in the state legislature.
MURKOWSKI: Oh, oh—yes, yes.
MADDOW: And then when you were in the state legislature, you got primaried from the right and you won.
MURKOWSKI: That‘s true. That‘s true. Right.
MADDOW: And in 2004, defending the Senate seat, you were primaried again from the right.
MADDOW: And now, in 2010, you‘re getting primaried from the right again.
MURKOWSKI: Yes. You would think I would get the message.
MADDOW: Well, what is the message? I mean, why does this keep happening to you?
MURKOWSKI: Well, I mean, I‘m from Alaska. Over 54 percent of the people in our state choose not to affiliate themselves with a major party. And so, when you come on, you are the Republican, you‘ve got to expect that there is going to be a challenge. That‘s kind of the nature of the politics in our state.
MADDOW: Senator Murkowski, this is a tough race for you. You‘re trying to do something historic.
MURKOWSKI: It‘s a fun race. It is a fun race.
MADDOW: If you do this, nobody has ever won a statewide write-in in Alaska ever. Nobody has won write-in to the Senate since 1954 since Strom Thurmond.
MURKOWSKI: It‘s about time, though, don‘t you think?
MADDOW: Since last Friday, we at THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW have been trading campaign ads which, for me, are fake, but for him are real, with the Republican Senate hopeful, from the state of Florida, a man named Marco Rubio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUBTITLE: On Tuesday, Marco Rubio announced 12 simple ideas to grow the economy and create jobs. How can you know the plan is right?
Rachel Maddow thinks it‘s wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was his whole argument. If Rachel Maddow thinks it‘s wrong, it must be right. Tada!
Still, though, there remains the issue of why I brought up Marco Rubio in the first place. Marco Rubio calling himself a deficit hawk while proposing adding more than $3 trillion to the deficit—that is still the point. So, we tried to get him to address the point instead of just me as a person with this—it was sort of our rebuttal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUBTITLE: Even if everything about me is inherently wrong just by virtue of who I am—this is still true about Marco Rubio: His economic proposals will add $3.5 trillion to the federal deficit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Perhaps inevitably, Mr. Rubio thought our response to his response was hilarious. And so, yes, he put out another ad again featuring me, and again totally avoiding the point. The point of all this—since the beginning—the point being that he wants to add $3.5 trillion to the federal deficit.
At our news meeting today, we sat down and tried to figure out a way to keep this going, to keep the music which we love, to give Mr. Rubio a shot—but not to give Mr. Rubio any other distractions, any other things he could respond to other than the point—which is his phenomenally fiscally, irresponsibly bad ideas about the deficit.
So, this is our effort, Mr. Rubio, to keep you focused, to see if you can get the point.
MADDOW: They said it couldn‘t be done. Actually, it was me, saying it couldn‘t be done. The U.S. Congress wasn‘t going to vote to repeal “don‘t ask, don‘t tell.” The military wasn‘t going to do it by itself. The president wasn‘t going to be able to do it by fiat. The courts, that just wasn‘t going to happen. No way.
And then, it happened—a look at the part when it couldn‘t be done, and the part when it was. Coming up.
MADDOW: The unofficial mission of this show, the way we talk about it as a staff, at least, is that we are trying to increase the amount of useful information in the world. That‘s sort of our in-house motto.
Over the past year, one of the things we‘re most proud as a show is the amount of no useful information we‘re able to bring to light about the impact of one policy in particular, the military‘s “don‘t ask, don‘t tell” policy.
As the nation debated that policy, we were able to introduce you to the people who were losing their jobs, losing their careers over it. I‘m still proud now to have earned the trust that it took for these folks to join us, to teach us all what that policy was costing us as a country.
MADDOW: You were relieved of duty while deployed in Iraq. Can you talk about the impact on the mission, of the folks you were working with there, of your getting fired?
MAJ. MICHAEL ALMY, FMR. U.S. AIR FORCE COMM. OFFICER: It had a tremendous impact after I was fired. I was working in an amazing squadron. The people there were just incredible. They were highly-dedicated, highly-trained. They worked very hard at getting the mission done and we‘re very successful at that. We had strong unit cohesion, in other words. After I was fired, it had a complete disruption to the unit, to the cohesion, to the mission.
MADDOW: Lieutenant Choi, you have had a heck of a year.
LT. DAN CHOI, DISCHARGED FROM ARMY OVER DADT: It‘s been quite—
MADDOW: It‘s been quite a year.
CHOI: And I‘ve seen so many activists throughout the entire country, and so many organizations that do so many wonderful things. And I knew that when I was on that fence, I was not alone. Robin McGhee (ph) -- somebody who was so inspiring in all of her life. She handcuffed me to that fence. And when I had those chains on me, on my waist and the tethers and the shackles on my legs, for the first time, I knew that on the outside, it matched what was on the inside, having to live in the closet and to suffer through “don‘t ask, don‘t tell.”
MADDOW: Are you angry after giving the Army, more than—more than 10 years of your life? After West Point? After three combat tours? I mean, to find yourself a civilian for the first time today, do you feel mad?
JONATHAN HOPKIS, DISCHARGED FROM ARMY OVER DADT: I don‘t think that‘s the right emotion. The bottom line is: I love the Army. I‘ve always loved the Army, or else I wouldn‘t have spent—I wouldn‘t have spent nine years depriving myself the ability to have happy personal relationships with others, a reasonably successful personal life, and focused professionally because I loved what I was doing.
MADDOW: When you entered West Point, did you think that “don‘t ask, don‘t tell,” would be repealed by now? Or if even if it was still in place, you would be able to endure it?
CADET KATHERINE MILLER, U.S. MILITARY ACADEMY AT WEST POINT: Before high school, I was very much in the closet. I had to come to terms with myself, until high school. But around that same time, I knew that I really wanted to go to West Point. And I really wanted to serve my country.
And I was able to put my personal aspect of my identity in the backseat, that being my sexuality, so we could fulfill these wishes. But being positive, has been much bigger challenge than I ever anticipated. And it‘s taken a much bigger toll, socially, mentally, emotionally than I could have imagined. And I completely underestimated this, when I decided to enter into the military.
ALMY: We do it for the love of country. And for the people, the men and women, that we serve with, the mission, “don‘t ask, don‘t tell” was absolutely horrible and destroyed my career, and darn near destroyed my life.
LT. COL. VICTOR FEHRENBACH, U.S. AIR FORCE: I was at the lowest low, where I wanted to quit a lot of things, including life. And somebody said, you need to hear this story about Major Margaret Witt in Washington. She just won a case. She fought and she won a case. And this could apply to you somehow. So, read about that and I did, and that was the first sign I had of hope that somebody could actually fight and win.
MADDOW: A federal judge appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002 has issued a federal court ruling late today, essentially dismantling the “don‘t ask, don‘t tell” policy.
Marge, after the ruling, the judge in this case, Judge Leighton, I know that he brought himself to tears, and much of the courtroom to tears, when he read a statement describing the stresses on you as a person, to be what he called a central figure in a long-term highly-charged civil rights movement. He described how it resonated with him personally when you said how important your family was in supporting you.
I imagine that was surprising. What does it mean to you that the judge addressed you in those very personal terms at that point?
MAJ. MARGARET WITT, WON COURT CASE AGAINST DADT: It was very surprising. It was very heartfelt. He spoke to me directly. I think he really understands the impact that it has on everyone around you, particularly family and how thankful I was, to have my parents behind me. And I think he really—he really gets that and he knew that it was—it was a big struggle and a big event.
MADDOW: Colonel Fehrenbach, you were currently fighting your own discharge from the airport. Like Major Witt, you did not tell anyone about your sexual orientation. You were outed by a third party. What does this decision today mean to you and to your case?
FEHRENBACH: Well, the decision today just solidifies what was before known as the Witt standard and sets a precedent. So, it gives me a lot of hope that we‘ll be successful in my fight.
MADDOW: In terms of deploying and being in a relationship, how did you deal with the logistics of that? How did you deal with the responsibilities of that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you deploy, spouses have a lot of support back home. One of the things - you know, they get to say goodbye. I didn‘t get that luxury. I don‘t - other than in private, at home, but he did not get to come out and see me goodbye, did not get to see me come home.
My partner had medical issues at the time that were pretty serious. His heart had stopped. I didn‘t know that and he didn‘t tell me that.
MADDOW: You found out about it once you got home?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once I got home. If that had been someone‘s spouse, they would have been flown home immediately to be with them. There was nothing I could do. If he died, I would have had to finish out my tour.
MADDOW: What does the military lose? What does the country lose, if you are kicked out of the military, if you‘re kicked out of the Air Force because of this policy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, they‘re going to lose a 14-year veteran of the Air Force, a very experienced F-15 pilot, an instructor. I‘ve been an instructor in several bases around the world, a combat veteran, and someone that they‘ve spent millions of dollars on.
But regardless of the money, if they lost me and other gay service members, we are the ones that are training the young service members coming up now. And so, they‘d lose a lot of experience that they would have to completely start over with.
MADDOW: Why is it worth it to you, to take the risk to speak out like this and to do the work you have done without, sir?
“J.D. SMITH,” OUTSERVE, CO-DIRECTOR: I think why it‘s important for me is that at some point, while you‘re serving under the military and under this policy, you see some of the atrocities that occur to people across the world, including myself, who is blackmailed under this policy.
At some point, you have to see that there‘s something larger than yourself out there and you have to take these risks to do something like this to help others and to help create the change that‘s needed.
MADDOW: One area in which our show regressed, in 2010, compared to 2009, was in the area of persuading people who don‘t generally agree with me about things to come on the show and discuss our respective views.
We got worse at that this year than we were last year. I have great regret about that. I really like to interview conservatives and Republicans. I like to talk to people with whom I disagree. If you would like to see more of those folks on this show, I agree with you. And it‘s not like we haven‘t been trying really hard all year.
(on camera) I feel like, yes, I want to talk to Joe Miller. I would love to talk to anybody from the campaign. I talked to McAdams‘ campaign people. I would love to talk to the Murkowski campaign people, see if there‘s anybody here right now who might want to talk with us. We won‘t send the camera because I don‘t want to ambush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘ll draw straws.
MADDOW: All right. OK. We‘ll go check it out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There‘s no doorbell. There‘s no way -
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MADDOW: Hi, Mr. Miller. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. I would like to talk to you afterwards, if you have just a second.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
JOE MILLER (R-AK), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: We may be able to do that.
MADDOW: OK. Thank you very much. Good luck.
MADDOW: We‘re here at Sharron Angle‘s Las Vegas headquarters, which is just west of the strip. And we‘ve been trying to get an interview with Sharron Angle, ever since she was apparently going to win the primary. And then, did win the primary.
Now that we‘re here, I‘m, of course, hoping that those no‘s will magically turn into a yes. What‘s the status, Mike, of our interview request now?
MIKE YARVITZ, PRODUCER: So we‘ve been asking for it for a long time. In the lead-up to us coming to Las Vegas, we asked for an interview request. None of those requests have been accepted.
MADDOW: Obviously, Sharron Angle has not been eager to talk to the press. It‘s been a campaign issue for her. I sort of don‘t expect that she‘s even going to talk to us. But I would be happy to, like, a staffer from the campaign, anybody who would speak on behalf of the campaign, even if we can‘t get her.
YARVITZ: I have fingers crossed and I think this might work. I think we may get somebody to talk to us.
YARVITZ: I do.
MADDOW: All right. Well, I don‘t want to - I don‘t want a camera to follow you in there and I don‘t even want to go in - I don‘t want to go in myself because I don‘t want them to think it‘s a stunt.
MADDOW: I honestly am just trying - I just - I just want us to do our
best to try to get this interview. So will you take that microphone off
and go in there -
YARVITZ: I will.
MADDOW: And I‘ll just wait out here and try to look like I‘m just hanging out.
YARVITZ: Sounds good. I‘m going to kill them with kindness in there.
MADDOW: All right. We‘ll see how it goes.
TEXT: Minutes later -
YARVITZ: No luck.
MADDOW: No luck? They were nice, though? They weren‘t -
YARVITZ: They were nice, but they clearly didn‘t want to talk to us.
YARVITZ: They asked a couple times who we were here with.
MADDOW: What did you say?
YARVITZ: I said MSNBC, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW. We have been trying to get an interview for a while now. And we just figured since we were in the neighborhood, we‘d stop by. But they were very adamant that we must go through this one person to try to get an interview.
MADDOW: Which is who we‘ve been going through and they won‘t.
MADDOW: They won‘t do it.
MADDOW: All right. Well, it‘s due diligence, right? Like you never give up, never, ever surrender.
Would you, Scott Brown, like to push your whatever agenda on my nightly platform? Because you‘re very much invited to do so.
Michael Steele, you‘re welcome quite literally anytime. We would love to have you.
Marco Rubio has declined every single one of our requests to interview him.
We asked Sen. McConnell to please appear on this show to discuss it. His office has declined our request.
We have asked Sarah Palin to come on the show - I don‘t even know how many times.
Sen. Bennett, call me.
This is as close as I‘ll ever get to interviewing Liz and Dick Cheney. Hi, Rachel Maddow. Love to interview you sometime.
LIZ CHENEY, DAUGHTER OF FMR. VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: How are you?
MADDOW: Take care. I think that was it. I don‘t know what she said.
She smiled at me.
Say yes, Christine O‘Donnell. It will be fun, I promise. Say yes, Sharron Angle. You‘ll get a fair shake. Pinkie swear. Say yes, Sarah Palin. You have our number. I know you do. Ken Buck, come by anytime. Joe Miller, I would love to talk to you.
Liz Cheney, the door‘s always open to anybody in your family, actually - any Cheney, anytime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
We have asked President George W. Bush if he would please join us for an interview on this program. We have not heard back ever, any of the times that we have asked George W. Bush to please be on the show.
Now, we have a new cause for hope, because George W. Bush is holding a contest on Facebook. If you win the contest on Facebook, you get to fly to Dallas to interview George W. Bush in person, which I very, very, very, very, very, very, very much want to do.
To enter the contest, you have to submit interview questions that you would like to ask Mr. Bush. We got a ton of help from you guys, who submitted hundreds of potential questions when we asked for help at MaddowBlog.MSNBC.com.
BILL WOLFE, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: In your presidential opinion, is the rent too damn high?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been to Crawford, Texas since leaving office? And do you claim the ranch as a workplace for a tax break?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: WMD. WTF?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you ever dream you were a Democrat?
KENT JONES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: If you were a crayon, which sovereign nation would you invade?
MADDOW: Just some of the many very good questions for George W. Bush, submitted by you guys at the “Maddow Blog,” auditioned by the members of THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW staff. We did finally whittle it down and submitted our application today with about 17 minutes to spare.
We will post our actual application at MaddowBlog.MSNBC.com so you can check it out. Thanks to everybody for your help with this. Thank you in particular, for the one about the crayon. That one, in addition to being totally inappropriate, was also perfect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
When we finally did manage to land a boldface name Republican on the show this year, I had a ton of questions lined up for him. I thought we were talk about something topical, like, say, the current election, for instance.
Instead, our interview went back in time and it stayed there. It went all the way back to 1964 and never got out of 1964. Coming up next, one of our most surprising interviews, one of the things we did that got more attention than anything else, our interview with then-Republican Senate candidate, Rand Paul.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Should Woolworth lunch counter have been allowed to stay segregated? Sir, just yes or no.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): What I think what would happen - what I‘m saying is I don‘t believe in any discrimination. I don‘t believe that any private property should discriminate either.
I wouldn‘t attend, wouldn‘t support, wouldn‘t go to. But what you have to answer, when you answer this point of view, which is an abstract, obscure conversation from 1964 that you want to bring up. But if you want to answer, you have to say then that you decide the rules for all restaurants. And then, do you decide that you want to allow them to carry weapons into restaurants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: My interview with Senator-elect Rand Paul of Kentucky, the day after he won the Republican primary, is next. The technical term for what this is a “doozy.”
MADDOW: Do you think that a private business has a right to say, “We don‘t serve black people.”
PAUL: I‘m not in favor of any discrimination of any form. I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. We still do have private clubs in America that can discriminate based on race.
But I think what‘s important about this debate is not written into any specific “gotcha” on this, but asking the question: what about freedom of speech? Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent? Should we limit racists from speaking?
I don‘t want to be associated with those people, but I also don‘t want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior. I think the problem with this debate is by getting muddled down into it, the implication is somehow that I would approve of any racism or discrimination, and I don‘t in any form or fashion.
MADDOW: But isn‘t being in favor of civil rights but against the Civil Rights Act a little like saying you‘re against high cholesterol but you‘re in favor of fried cheese?
PAUL: I‘m not against - you know -
MADDOW: I mean, the Civil Rights Act was the federal government stepping in to protect civil rights because they weren‘t otherwise being protected. It wasn‘t hypothetical. There were businesses that were saying, “Black people cannot be served here.”
And the federal government stepped in and said, “No. You actually don‘t actually have that choice to make.” The federal government is coming in and saying, “You can‘t make that choice as a business owner.” Which side of that debate would you put yourself on?
PAUL: In the totality of it, I‘m in favor of the federal government being involved in civil rights. And that‘s, you know, mostly what the Civil Rights Act was about. There‘s 10 different titles, you know, to the Civil Rights Act, and nine out of 10 deal with public institutions, and I‘m absolutely in favor of.
One deals with private institutions. And had I been around, I would have tried to modify that. But you know, the other thing about legislation, and this is why it‘s hard to say exactly where you are sometimes, is that when you support nine out of 10 things in a good piece of legislation, do you vote for it or against it? And I think, sometimes, those are difficult situations.
MADDOW: Let‘s say there‘s a town right now and the owner of the town swimming club says, “We‘re not going to allow black kids at our pool.” And the owner of the bowling alley in town says, “We‘re not actually going to allow black patrons.” And the owner of the skating rink in town says, “We‘re not going to allow black people to skate here.”
And you may think that‘s abhorrent and you may think that‘s a bad business decision. But unless it‘s illegal, there‘s nothing to stop that from - there‘s nothing under your worldview to stop the country from re-segregating like we were before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which you are saying you‘ve got some issues with.
PAUL: Well, the interesting thing is that there‘s nothing right now to prevent a lot of re-segregating. We had a lot of it over the last 30 or 40 years.
What I would say is that we did some very important things in the
‘60s, that I‘m all in favor of, and that was desegregating schools,
desegregating public transportation that use public roads and had public
monopolies. Desegregating public water fountains -
MADDOW: How about desegregating lunch counters? Walgreens lunch counters? Are you in favor of that, forcibly because the government got involved?
PAUL: What happens is - right. Well, what it gets into is, is that if you decide that restaurants are publicly owned and not privately owned, then do you say that you should have the right to bring your gun into a restaurant, even though the owner of the restaurant says, “Well, no. We don‘t want to have guns in here.”
The bar says, “We don‘t want to have guns in here, because people
might drink and start fighting and shoot each other.” Does the owner of
the restaurant own his restaurant? Or does the government own his
restaurant? These are important philosophical debates, but not a very
practical discussion. Now, if we can make something out of this -
MADDOW: But it is practical to people who had their life nearly beaten out of them, trying to desegregate Walgreen‘s lunch counters despite this esoteric debates about gun ownership.
PAUL: Right. Well, the thing is -
MADDOW: This is not a hypothetical, Dr. Paul.
PAUL: Yes, but I - yes. Well, I think what you‘re doing, Rachel, is you‘re conflating the issue.
PAUL: You‘re saying that somehow, this abstract discussion of private property has any bit of condoning for violence. There‘s nothing in what I‘m saying that condones any violence. And any kind of violence like that deserves - people deserve to be put in jail. So nobody is condoning any of that.
MADDOW: Well, I understand that you‘re not condoning violence. But
the people who were beaten for trying to desegregate Woolworth‘s lunch
counters weren‘t asking to be beaten. They‘re asking -
PAUL: Those people should have gone -
MADDOW: For private businesses to be desegregated by the government. You‘re saying those people should have gone to different places? Left them segregated?
PAUL: People who commit violence - people who commit violence on other individuals should go to prison and go to jail. And there is nothing we should ever do to condone violence on other individuals.
MADDOW: And should Woolworth‘s lunch counter should have been allowed to stay segregated? Sir, just yes or no.
PAUL: What I think would happen - what I‘m saying is, is that I don‘t believe in any discrimination. I don‘t think that private property should discriminate either. And wouldn‘t attend, wouldn‘t support, wouldn‘t go to.
But what you have to answer when you answer this point of view, which is an abstract, obscure conversation from 1964 that you want to bring up. But if you want an answer, you have to say then that you decide the rules for all restaurants. And then do you decide that you want to allow them to carry weapons into restaurants.
MADDOW: I can - we could have a fight about the Second Amendment.
But I think wanting to allow private industry - private
PAUL: No, it‘s the same fight. It‘s the same fight.
MADDOW: To discriminate along the basis of race because of property rights is an extreme view. And I think that that‘s going to be the focus nationally on your candidacy now. And you‘re going to have a lot more debates like this. So I hope you don‘t hold it against me for bringing it up. I think this is going to be a continuing discussion for a long time, Dr. Paul.
PAUL: Well, I think what you‘ve done is you bring up something that really is not an issue, nothing I‘ve ever spoken about or have any indication that I am interested in any legislation concerning. So what you bring up is sort of a red herring or something that you want to pit. It‘s a political ploy. I mean, it‘s brought up as an attack weapon from the other side, and that‘s the way it will be used.
But you know, I think a lot of times these attacks fall back on themselves, and I don‘t think it will have any effect because the thing is, is that every fiber of my being doesn‘t believe in discrimination, doesn‘t believe that we should have that in our society. And to imply otherwise is just dishonest.
MADDOW: Dr. Rand Paul, Republican nominee for the United States Senate in Kentucky, where he‘ll be representing not only his own views about how to live, but what kind of laws we should have in America.
Sir, I enjoy talking with these things with you. I couldn‘t disagree more about this issue, but I do respect you for coming on the show and for being able to have this civil discussion about it. Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: I think the Rand Paul interview, right after he won the Republican primary in Kentucky, was an important moment for us. I still have a lot of respect for Rand Paul as a person. I hope that both him and his dad, Ron Paul, will return to what it used to be like between us when they would come and talk to me on the show.
I think that because of that interview with Rand Paul on May 19th, because it got so much attention, though, it hurt my ability to get conservative guests and Republicans to come on this show for the rest of the year.
But in the final interviews that we‘ve got for you tonight, I hope we can make it clear that conversations between people who disagree about politics can be fun conversations. They can even be funny conversations. They can even be fall-off-your-chair funny conversations. That‘s next.
MADDOW: Sometimes, when people with whom I don‘t see eye to eye on politics come on the show, it not only isn‘t cringe-y or confrontational, it‘s really very nice. Really. I swear. Come on in. The water‘s fine.
MADDOW: Do you get defense where people standing up for you in a way that surprises you and makes you happy? Have you (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
MEGHAN MCCAIN, DAUGHTER OF SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Yes. I mean, coming on this show, I mean, I know a lot of people continue to say that they like me coming on this show. Right-wing people - of course you go to her show. But I appreciate that you‘re letting me talk. It‘s nice.
MADDOW: Well, I‘m sorry that that has to be - I‘m sorry that that has to be a positive thing and not the baseline. Let me ask you about the comments about Christine O‘Donnell that started this.
M. MCCAIN: And again, I did not wake up in the morning being like, “I‘m going to start a big fight with Christine O‘Donnell today. I had just done a lot of research before I went on a very prestigious Sunday news show. And I got more and more scared the more research I did.
MADDOW: Why does she scare you?
M. MCCAIN: Because she has little-to-no qualifications to be a principal, let alone to be a senator. I mean, it is the ethics complaints. It‘s the bizarre social things, that she thinks she has secret information about China that‘s going to take over America.
In any other context, in any other election, this would be a joke. And originally, people like Karl Rove were against her. But all of a sudden, everybody is just rescinding and now supporting her.
And the difference between me and everybody else is I am saying what everybody backstage is saying. And I have the balls to come on television and I sit and I take heat and everything that comes because I do not lie. And this is how I feel about this woman.
MADDOW: Why isn‘t anybody else able to do it? Because they‘re going to lose their funding? They‘re going to lose their jobs?
I mean, one of the things that I have admired about the conservative movement over time, even from before I was born, is that there has been an effort to try to sort of defend the honor of the movement sometimes. There have been adults who have said, “You know what? If we‘re going to all be identified as conservatives, I‘m not OK with what you are saying about that.”
And there has been some sort of internal - not policing, but at least standards within the movement about what counts as - who gets to be a spokesperson for the party and who actually ought to be exiled.
M. MCCAIN: Yes.
MADDOW: I don‘t see that happening anymore.
M. MCCAIN: There‘s a purity test you have to take, I mean, that has been - that was (UNINTELLIGIBLE) by the RNC. I don‘t know anymore. I know that I am comfortable with who I am as a person and what I speak about, politically. There are a lot of people - whether these people like it or not, I do have a following with young people.
MCCAIN: It doesn‘t mean anything. You know, it could mean nothing to them. But I am not going to stop speaking out just because a whole bunch of people are going to bully me around.
MADDOW: Nicolle Wallace knows a whole lot of things we would like to know, having served George W. Bush as White House communications director and the McCain-Palin campaign as a senior adviser. Admit it - you would like to know what she knows about lots of stuff.
Nicolle Wallace‘s new book is called “Eighteen Acres.” It‘s a novel, but it‘s a thriller about life in and around the White House in D.C. It is great. I read it in one sitting. It is really a very good book.
Nicolle, thanks for being here. Congratulations.
NICOLE WALLACE, FMR. SENIOR ADVISER, MCCAIN-PALIN CAMPAIGN: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: I have to ask you, when everybody in Palin-ville did start throwing you under the bus, you said, “If people want to throw me under the bus, my belief is the most honorable thing to do is to lie there.”
I wanted to meet you as soon as you said that, and it took a long time. Why did you say that? What did you mean?
WALLACE: I mean, frankly, it was really the logistics, you know. I mean, on a campaign, you‘re so harried. It‘s like I can‘t spend - I‘ve got to catch a plane. I can‘t spend 40 minutes explaining to you that I would never do anything to harm the candidates I work for.
Just ask the last six I worked for. You know, I served as Jeb Bush‘s press secretary. I‘ve been White House communications director. It really - I didn‘t say it to - you know, to duck the questions. I just thought it was - you know, I think the first - the only thing the campaign staff is truly needed for is logistically moving a candidate around.
You know, the people that are really vital are the schedulers and the travel people. The rest of us, you know, if the highest calling is to be thrown under the bus, to take a fall, that‘s what you sign up for.
WALLACE: I mean, you know, ask the claim guys. I mean, you have to be willing to take the fall. So I didn‘t - I wasn‘t fazed by that. But what became extraordinary was just this climate of chaos and dysfunction that just kind of erupted.
And it was - at the time, it was really hurtful and, you know, as I said, you and I talked when Palin‘s book came out and I took it personally. But as a writer of fiction, I was so thrilled that I had experienced, you know, true humiliation and that I had the whole range of emotions.
Because my characters are so much better for really knowing what the triumphs feel like and really knowing what the, you know, more degrading parts of being a woman at the highest level of any profession feels like. And so I think I wrote better characters because of everything I‘d been through.
MADDOW: You also got in - you got to give them all of the best lines to give. There‘s nothing you think of after the fact. I got through precisely two of my 11 questions that I wrote for you. So I hope that you‘ll come back, Nicolle.
MADDOW: Thank you so much.
WALLACE: Thank you. Thank you.
MADDOW: Congratulations on the book.
See, these things can be nice. Disagreement can be friendly. It has been an at times disagreeable but at times friendly 2010. Frankly, we are having a blast. Thank you for being with us tonight. We will see you tomorrow. Good night.
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