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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guests: Jack Balkin, Robert Moore, Heather O‘Reilly, Megan Rapinoe, Lori
Lindsey, Ali Krieger.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening. Lawrence, thanks a lot.
And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
On November 1st, 1983, then-President Ronald Reagan wrote in his diary, “Dear diary, day began with GOP congressional leadership—a full cabinet room. Last night, the Republican Senate very irresponsibly refused to pass an increase in the debt ceiling, which is necessary if we are to borrow and keep the government running.
After we gave them all the rundown on Lebanon and Grenada, we took up the budget and the necessary legislation. I sounded off and told them I‘d veto every darn thing they sent down unless they gave us a clean debt ceiling bill. That ended the meeting.”
OK, first of all, Ronald Reagan would swear when he wrote in his diary, but he would not write out the full swear word, so as enough to scandalize his diary. So, when he said—when I said that he said every darn thing, what was actually in the diary, what Ronald Reagan actually wrote in the diary was d—n. Every d—n thing.
He said he‘d veto every darn thing the Republicans sent to him unless they give him a clean debt ceiling vote.
Or maybe it was something even worse than every darn thing. We will never know because that‘s how he wrote it in his diary.
While Ronald Reagan was president, the nation raised the debt ceiling 18 separate times, 18 times.
This week, House Democrats circulated a radio address from Ronald Reagan from 1987 from one of those times that they were raising the debt ceiling. They circulated this Reagan radio address to encourage today‘s Republicans that even if they can‘t believe the trilateral commission Bilderberg group, Democrat Party, all caps, crazy font, communists, who are saying it today, perhaps they could believe the saint, Ronald Reagan, when he explained how important it is to raise the debt ceiling.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets and the federal deficit would soar.
The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes. But, of course, Ronald Reagan was a noted communist long-haired hippie.
It is important to recognize this is the state of debate right now in half of Washington. In half of Washington, the Democrats are using Ronald Reagan from the ‘80s and everything else they can think of to try to convince Republicans that defaulting on the national debt would be bad.
Think about that for a second. On the House side, the conversation could not be more basic, economy blow up, bad thing, America sad if economy blow up. Economy blow up? No.
Why—while that is the level of discussion in one-half of Washington, would you like to explode the economy? Think twice. That‘s where we‘re at with one-half of Washington.
But the other half of Washington is sort of pretending that that‘s not really happening at all in the House. The other half of Washington had the president today going before the White House press corps to praise a complicated, very conservative plan agreed to by a bipartisan small group of senators with three parts spending cuts to one part revenue increases, that is a corporate tax cuts and tax cuts for the rich, but closing some loopholes and controlling some costs and so on.
But the president and the “gang of six” senators and apparently a lot of other senators besides were very excited today on their half of Washington.
Very excited today in their half about their very conservative, very bipartisan deficit reduction plan that they think they can all sign on to as a path towards raising the debt ceiling. And I‘m sure that was a very edifying discussion about their big bipartisan, conservative, go along to get along, big Senate plan—which the president likes.
But it is not the president and the Senate who need to get together to decide this thing. It‘s the president and the Senate and the drunk kids at the other end of the building who are setting their Barbies on fire and cooking metal in the microwave until it explodes. Watch it burn! Watch it burn!
Honestly, it is time for a reality check here. House Republicans are not trying to drive a hard bargain and get the best Republican deal possible in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. House Republicans do not want to raise the debt ceiling for anything. They would please not like to raise the debt ceiling. They would like to go into default, thank you very much.
House Republicans have been actively making that argument for weeks now, that hitting the debt ceiling—ah, that won‘t hurt a bit, who cares?
Republican Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama actually told “The Washington Post” this week that on the contrary, quote, “Our credit rating should be improved by not raising the debt ceiling”—which is like saying you‘re looking forward to how that sledgehammer is going to improve your dental work.
Another Republican congressman, Rick Crawford of Arkansas, says after a catastrophic default and financial crisis, the government can just move some money around to fix things for awhile. Quote, “That wouldn‘t work for just a few days. That would work for a few years.”
Mr. Crawford adding that it‘s, quote, “an arrogant attitude to take to say that the U.S. defaulting on our debt for the first time in history would be any sort of economic big deal.”
Republican Congressman Tim Walberg of Michigan in agreement, he told “The Washington Post” that it is time to, quote, “Hold the line,” but which he means we should default, just go for it.
Republican Allen West of Florida says President Obama is fear-mongering on the debt ceiling, that it is really nothing to be afraid of.
And those Republican members of Congress are not alone on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: This is a misnomer that I believe the president and the treasury secretary have been trying to pass off on the American people. And it‘s this, that if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion, that somehow the United States will go into default and we will lose the full faith and credit of the United States. That is simply not true.
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT ®, TEXAS: You would think that a responsible leader in this country would make sure that we encourage bondholders, that we encourage people who held our debt: You don‘t have to worry about anything. The only thing you guys have to fear is fear itself, because we‘re going to stand good for it.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Sure, we‘re going to default, but we‘re going to stand good for it—whatever that means. Everybody should feel better.
All of the Beltway “gang of six” excitement today about this plan in the Senate is proceeding as if Congress all understands that there‘s a reason to act and act quickly, that the country will start to default on its debt and shut down on August 2nd, that the August 2nd deadline is real and it is baring down on us. That is the assumption with all this excitement about the gang of six thing today.
But, frankly, you cannot take it for granted today that Congress, in fact, understands this.
Over in the House, do you want to know what they think the August 2nd deadline is? Do you want to know where they suspect this whole August 2nd deadline thing might have come from?
Here‘s where they think it came from.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GOHMERT: I can‘t help be a little cynical here, because, you know, we found out the president has a big birthday bash scheduled for August 3rd, celebrities flying in from all over—and lo and behold, August 2nd is the deadline for getting something done so that he can have this massive—maybe the biggest fundraising dinner in history for a birthday celebration.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: See, the president made up this fake deadline of August 2nd, put it on the calendar for his birthday—to please celebrities who would be coming to his birthday party.
The problem we have here now, as Ronald Reagan might say, is the problem of irresistible force about to meet an immovable object. The irresistible force is the—it‘s the crazy. It‘s the voices in the heads of Republicans in the House telling them default? That sounds like defund. Let‘s do it.
It‘s the let‘s burn the whole thing down chaos conference. It‘s the denialist conspiracy theory nonsense among House Republicans, even among House Republicans who are running for president—that means they are not going to vote to raise the debt ceiling no matter what the deal is. It‘s that irresistible force meeting the immovable object of the actual debt ceiling. That is a real deadline that is upon us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We‘re in the 11th hour, and we don‘t have a lot more time left. We don‘t have any more time to engage in symbolic gestures. We don‘t have any more time to posture. It‘s time to get down to the business of solving this problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama also said today, and I think this was a very important point actually. He said that so far throughout these negotiations, we have essentially been given a pass by the financial markets. But he said that could fall apart really quickly when it does start so fall apart. And that‘s what we are coming up on now.
Listen to the president make that case here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: So far, at least, the markets have shown confidence that leadership here in Washington are not going to send the economy over a cliff. But if we continue to go through a lot of political posturing, if both sides continue to be dug in, if we don‘t have a basic spirit of cooperation that allows us to rise above immediate election year politics and actually solve problems, then I think markets here, the American people, and the international community are going to start reacting adversely fairly quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: What the president said there is true, and he believes it, and time is short and the river‘s rising, and when the markets recognize that this is going to turn and turn quickly and badly against the United States of America in a relatively irreversible way, then what do you do with a problem like John Boehner?
Last night on this show, John Stanton, political reporter at “Roll Call,” said that the number of Republicans in the House who have decided it does not matter if we default, the number of denialists that this is any sort of a big deal is rising now, that House Republicans laughed a Republican economist out of a meeting with them recently when he said a default would, in fact, be a bad thing.
We‘re now really facing catastrophe without facing the debt ceiling and House Republicans seem to be getting less likely to do it, not more likely—no matter what sort of happy talk is happening in the other half of Washington over in the Senate.
So, what happens now?
President Obama has to be thinking what President Clinton rather forcibly put into words today. Quote, “Former President Clinton says that he would invoke the constitutional option to raise the nation‘s debt ceiling ‘without hesitation and force the courts to stop me‘ in order to prevent a default should Congress and president fail to achieve agreement before the August 2nd deadline.” Reported by Joe Conason at “National Memo.”
Happy talk coming out of Washington and gangs of senators all getting along with the president now is nice. It is, in fact, happy talk.
But being realistic about this means getting real about the craziness in Washington right now, too—the denialists. Faced with that, can the president lift the debt ceiling on his own if that‘s what it will take to save the country from economic, irreversible catastrophe? Is it legal for him to do that?
Joining us now is Yale Law School Professor Jack Balkin. He‘s the knight professor of constitutional law and the First Amendment at Yale Law. He also writes the very well-read blog, “Balkinization.”
Professor Balkin, thank you very much for your time tonight.
JACK BALKIN, YALE LAW SCHOOL: Thank you.
MADDOW: Could the president, legally, constitutionally, do this on his own if Congress won‘t do it?
BALKIN: No, he can‘t do it until there‘s an absolute dire emergency. He has to act with authorization. But sometimes, if catastrophe is occurring and emergency is occurring, there‘s no time to act, the president has to act to save the country. In that case, he draws upon his emergency power.
But we really don‘t want a situation in which the president does this before there‘s absolutely no other alternative because that‘s really the kind of argument that George W. Bush made during his first term in office. We have to wait until the very last minute.
MADDOW: In terms of the, I guess, the trigger for invoking emergency powers here, that‘s the sort of thing where real harm would already have to be done to the country—already have to be in default.
BALKIN: Yes.
MADDOW: We already have to be experiencing the repercussions before he could something like that.
BALKIN: And the president would really have to act to save the country.
But I suspect that if that were to happen, you would start to see the bond markets go crazy, the Dow start to plunge and I think at that point, Congress would suddenly realize that they have brought on a terrible, terrible event. And then you would get a debt ceiling passed very quickly.
So, what you‘re really asking me is suppose if this happens, the
markets start to melt down, the Dow plunges, it‘s like the asteroid
hurdling towards earth, and they still don‘t believe. Then, in that case -
yes, the president must act to save the republic.
MADDOW: In terms of acting under emergency powers or what means he might legally go forward there, of course, we know section four of the 14th Amendment says, in part, the validity of the public debt of the United States shall not be questioned.
Is that the constitutional basis in which he‘d make the claim to move forward under emergency powers?
BALKIN: Well, what he would probably argue at that point is that he has to respect section four and he has to make sure that the validity of the debt is not questioned.
But he has two conflicting laws. One law is the law that appropriates money to be spent. That law was ratified in April, you may remember. And then you have the debt ceiling law. And since he can‘t honor both laws simultaneously and honor the Constitution, he has to choose between them.
So, he would, at that point, honor the appropriations bill, he would instruct the secretary to do a number of different things, but in this case would he instruct the secretary to issue more debt. Then, at that point, the secretary would.
But you have to understand that even if he did that, there‘s no guarantee the markets would accept this new debt as legally valid.
You have to believe that by asking the secretary of treasury to float more debt that the markets would say, oh, this debt is just as good as the treasury bonds we‘ve been buying all this time. If they did believe that, then that crisis solved. If they didn‘t believe that, then you‘re in a real problem.
MADDOW: At the top of the introduction, I mentioned what Ronald
Reagan had said about the challenges to his authority and the challenges to
the debt ceiling limit. While he was president, he raised the debt ceiling
the debt ceiling was raised while he was president 18 different times.
Different congresses and presidents have of both parties have fought about this over and over and over again.
It has never before felt we were staring into the abyss the way we are right now.
When and why did Congress enact a debt ceiling in the first place?
BALKIN: Well, the original debt ceiling goes back to 1917. Congress was worried because we were going into World War I. We had never owed this much money in our history except during the period of Civil War, which, by the way, leads to the creation of section four, and so, they did it as a safety measure.
It turned out to be unnecessary. And most countries like yours don‘t have anything like it. And as you also know, there was rule for a while that automatically raised the debt ceiling whenever Congress appropriated more money. So, in fact, the rational thing would be not to have a debt ceiling at all, but simply require Congress to make decisions about spending when it appropriations money. But that‘s the original reason we have it.
MADDOW: Law school professor, John Balkin, author of the blog “Balkinization”—Jack, thank you for being here tonight. I really appreciate it.
BALKIN: Thank you.
MADDOW: Election results from Wisconsin are expected later this hour. Also, the connection between the Rupert Murdoch scandal today and the mobster guy who used to shuffle around Greenwich Village in his bathrobe—remember him? And the interview on tonight‘s show is so exciting it made me and several segment producers—made us break something in the office while we were preparing for the interview.
While prepping tonight‘s interview, we broke some of the ceiling tiles outside my office door on the fourth floor here at Rockefeller Center. I am very sorry, and I will pay for it. That‘s coming up.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MADDOW: This is the mayor of London, his name is Boris. He‘s in the conservative party. When questioned about it last year, here‘s what he had to say about the Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, MAYOR LONDON: This is a load of codswallop cooked up
by Labour Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Codswallop cooked up by the Labour Party. Phone hacking, made up by liberals. No such thing.
Where did Mayor Boris get his information? Mayor Boris got his information about the phone hacking allegations being codswallop from John Yates, the number two police officer in London. John Yates, who it just so happens had to resign as the number two police officer in London just this week—as did the number one police officer in London, the chief of Scotland Yard.
And that is just one of the ways the whole Rupert Murdoch scandal is getting awkward for politics, for the conservative party specifically and its most high-profile politicians—like London Mayor Boris Johnson. Same goes for David Cameron, he‘s also the leader of the conservative party. And the man he picked to be his communications director was arrested earlier this month.
Today, the prime minister‘s party, the conservative party, admitted ties to another person who has been arrested in the scandal. According to reporting in “The Guardian” today, David Cameron‘s former spokesman who has now been arrested was advised on political matters in the run-up to the general election by a man named Neil Wallis.
Neil Wallis, it just so happens, was also arrested in this scandal last week, in the same phone-hacking scandal.
In terms of the scale of the criminal behavior at hand and how much the company brass knew about it, the list of people we know to have been paid off by Murdoch‘s company so they wouldn‘t take their complaints to trial, or to keep the story from getting any bigger, now includes 700,000 pounds paid to a soccer union boss, signed off on James Murdoch, Rupert‘s son. One of the conditions of the settlement was that the payment—one of the conditions of that payment was confidentiality.
Also, a million pounds to a celebrity publicist to drop his case in a deal arranged by News Corp executive Rebekah Brooks, who was also arrested this week.
Also, the actress, Sienna Miller, got 100,000 pounds and a soccer commentator named Andy Gray was paid 20,000 pounds, all settlements made by Murdoch‘s company after those people‘s phones were hacked into, which is illegal.
Is it plausible that the brass at Rupert Murdoch Inc, including Rupert Murdoch, did not notice that they kept having to make big payments to people to keep the same criminal activity by their companies out of court and out of the news? Over and over and over again, just not noticing that they kept having to write big checks to cover up the same, exact illegal activity over and over again? Is that plausible that nobody noticed that this was a surprise every time, that nobody saw a pattern here?
Don‘t ask Rupert Murdoch himself. He‘s old. He‘s confused. And he wants you to think he doesn‘t remember.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you informed about the findings by your son Mr. Murdoch or by Rebekah Brooks?
RUPERT MURDOCH, CEO, NEWS CORP: I forget, but I expect it was my son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When were you informed about the payments made to Gordon Taylor and Max Clifford?
MURDOCH: Nope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were not informed?
MURDOCH: Nope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you or anyone else at your organization investigate this at the time?
MURDOCH: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that right?
MURDOCH: I forget the days. I never heard—I didn‘t hear that.
That is the first I‘ve heard of that. I just don‘t remember.
There‘s no excuse for breaking the law at any time. Sorry, I was told not to gesticulate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: A man named Vincent “The Chin,” Vinnie “The Chin” Gigante used to wander around Greenwich Village in his bathrobe. He spent decades essentially faking mental illness, hoping he would be seen as crazy and doddering enough to evade responsibility for being a New York mafia crime boss, which, in fact, he was.
His scheme did not work. Vinnie the Chin was convicted on racketeering and conspiracy charges in the 1990s, he ultimately died in prison.
Is Rupert Murdoch pulling a Vinnie the Chin here? Is he Kevin Spacey playing Keiser Soze and as soon as he gets up from the interview table, he‘s dropping this whole fake limp? Or is Rupert Murdoch really that out of his depth, unaware of most things going on around him, unaware even of how much he‘s using his hands when he talks?
Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch‘s son, James—he‘s only 38 years old, so he can not even try an “I‘m too old to understand anything” defense today in front of parliament. Mr. Murdoch‘s son James today instead just tried a Donald Rumsfeld impersonation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MURDOCH, NEWS CORP: I‘m not saying that somebody should have told me. To my knowledge, certain things were not known.
DONALD RUMSFELD, FMR. U.S. DEFENSE: There are some things we do not know. But there also unknown unknowns.
MURDOCH: It‘s difficult to say the company should have been told something if it‘s not known that a thing was a known fact to be told.
RUMSFELD: The once we don‘t know, we don‘t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now is Robert Moore of ITV News.
Robert, thanks very much for joining us. Appreciate your time tonight.
ROBERT MOORE, ITV NEWS: Good evening. Hi.
MADDOW: David Cameron is coming home early from a trip to Africa, just as it seems the scandal is getting closer to his party and to him. Broad terms, what do you think he‘s coming home to here?
MOORE: Well, he‘s back, Rachel, in London tonight. He cut short a pretty ill-judged trip to Africa and he‘s coming back to nothing less than a kind of political firestorm. Today was all about consuming James and Rupert Murdoch.
But tomorrow, there‘s an extraordinary special emergency session of the House of Commons. And absolutely, the pressure is going to be on David Cameron, not in the least to explain his judgment in hiring Andy Coulson, the former editor of “News of the World” as his spokesman.
So, you know, the scandal is lapping ever closer to the famous black front door of number 10 Downing Street. No one is talking at this stage of possible resignation, but they are raising ever more searching questions about David Cameron‘s judgment. And in the long term, Rachel, that raises questions about Cameron‘s political future.
MADDOW: Mr. Cameron‘s administration released e-mails today showing, or at least appearing to show his chief of staff specifically telling Scotland Yard not to brief the prime minister on the phone hacking investigation.
What do you make of that? It read to me as an early sign of the prime minister‘s chief of staff being thrown under the bus and sort of blamed here.
MOORE: Well, sure, that‘s the case. I mean, Cameron‘s private office is saying actually showing it shows that the prime minister was being kept away from a potential conflict of interest.
But, you know, if what we‘re looking at tonight is not only was Cameron‘s advisor who‘s now been arrested, chosen to be his spokesman. Well, not only was that a bad judgment, but the advisor‘s advisor was also kind of close to “News of the World,” close to Rupert Murdoch and News International. So, it just puts the scandal ever closer into the political arena.
And think about this—you know, not only has Britain lost faith in their journalists, particularly those writing for Rupert Murdoch, but they‘ve lost faith in politicians and now in the police as well.
A point to make is, growing up as a kid in London, you look at Scotland Yard and you‘re stunned by their own investigate zeal, their incorruptibility—hand on a second. It now emerges they were taking payments from journalists.
So, you know, one of the great pillars of the British establishment suddenly looks up pretty fragile.
MADDOW: Speaking of fragility, Rupert Murdoch himself is 80 years old. Today, he appeared out of it and sort of doddering. I don‘t mean that as an insult. I just mean that as the description.
For much of the questioning today, of course, somebody tried to pie him in the face, he looked like a mugging victim. How plausible is his sort of implicit claim today that he‘s really not in charge anymore?
MOORE: Well, I think it‘s inherently a difficult defense, isn‘t it, because, you know, he might say he can‘t remember. But then, that just raises questions about his role of chief executive of a very prominent, multi-billion dollar sort of business—you know, one of the predatory media companies in the world.
So, you know, he can defend himself against sort of charges that he knew about criminal activity from British journalists, but that only puts him into deeper water in terms of his role as chief executive and chairman of News Corp. So, you know, it‘s a very difficult defense. He may keep him out of legal trouble. It seems to put him in ever greater corporate trouble.
MADDOW: Robert, let me ask you about something that‘s broken late tonight. ABC news is reporting the U.S. Justice Department is getting ready to launch a preliminary investigation into whether News Corp engaged in a systemic conspiracy to pay bribes to British police. If so, the Justice Department here would have to decide whether News Corp violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
How serious does that strike you as a development and for the possibility of this scandal crossing the pond in a bigger way than it has thus far?
MOORE: Well, I think it‘s a real danger. I mean, we know there‘s been an FBI probe now for a couple of days. You know, they‘ve said that they are looking primarily at whether the phones of 9/11 victims were hacked illegally. That, obviously, would, you know, in reputational terms, be a catastrophe for Rupert Murdoch if that was proven true.
But you‘re right, there‘s also vulnerable to, you know, was he guilty of corruption in the sense of did he know and any sense of his journalists paying British policemen. Obviously, that would be an illegal action and has implication, legal implications here in the United States.
So, he‘s clearly buffeted on both sides of the Atlantic by, you know, reputational and legal issues. It‘s growing ever more dangerous for him—as it probably is as well for David Cameron, the prime minister, he recently was supporting for the roll of the leader of Britain.
MADDOW: Robert Moore, Washington correspondent for ITV News—
Robert, it‘s good to have your insight on this. Thank you for joining us.
MOORE: It‘s a pleasure. Thanks.
MADDOW: Michele Bachmann campaign staffers today roughed up an ABC news reporter physically. Brian Ross of ABC news is reported to be OK, but the incident doesn‘t report well on Bachmann‘s campaign or frankly on Ms. Bachmann. One Republican soon-to-be candidate appears poised to steal some of Bachmann‘s political thunder to try to replace her as the threat to Mitt Romney on the right for the presidential nomination.
That story is coming up.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This didn‘t used to be so --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus, Maddow, what can‘t you do?
MADDOW: I was good. That was me and Ronny in 6th grade at Middle School for the champion soccer jugglers of our class.
CROWD: Whoa!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a crime scene.
MADDOW: Here we go.
CROWD: Uh-oh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. There goes our ceiling.
(LAUGHTER)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That very expensive round of office ceiling tile smashing hi-jinx, I swear was research for tonight‘s interview.
You know the way restaurant critics do research by eating delicious food and travel editors do research by flying to Bali? That was not us just goofing around when we destroyed our cubicles today and smashed those office tiles, which I swear I will pay for, that was research.
“The Interview”: members of the U.S. national soccer team is next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MADDOW: The highest rated soccer game on cable ever in the history of showing soccer on cable was this weekend‘s World Cup final. The highest rated soccer game on network TV ever was the World Cup final the United States was in in 1999. Both of those games, incidentally, both record-setting American audience games, both of them were women‘s games.
The countries around the world we tend to think of as soccer crazed, places like Britain or Brazil, they are, in fact, crazy about soccer, but they are crazy about men‘s soccer specifically. They are, frankly, not as crazy about the women‘s game.
The BBC, for example, had to be bullied to carry the British team‘s match in the quarterfinals this year against France.
You want to know what country is crazy about women‘s soccer and getting crazier all the time? Turns out you are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CROWD: USA! USA! USA!
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: In our country, where there‘s this whaling and gnashing over the men‘s game struggling to capture the national consciousness, Beckham or not, let the record show that the women‘s team is having no trouble getting people all over the country to leap out of their seats and hug strangers and scream “USA, USA, USA,” until they are hoarse.
Joining us tonight for “The Interview,” fresh off their World Cup final appearance against Japan are four members of the U.S. national soccer team: Heather O‘Reilly, Megan Rapinoe, Lori Lindsey, and Ali Krieger.
I‘m so excited to have you here. I might die, in which case you have to finish the show. Thank you for coming here.
Sure you guys are beat and done talking about this, but I‘m so excited I‘m going to die.
Do you guys know—can you tell that you have returned to a country that is more soccer crazed than it was before you left, that you have changed the country in this way, can you tell?
MEGAN RAPINOE, U.S. WOMEN‘S SOCCER TEAM MIDFIELDER: I think we didn‘t
quite understand the gravity of it until we got back and there was hundreds
of people lined up outside our hotel when we first arrived. I think we got
the general pulse of it, but we didn‘t even win the World Cup and we have -
we‘re on THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW. It‘s unbelievable.
MADDOW: You could also be a bigoted state legislator and get here easier, but this is a better way to do it.
How many of you are expecting to stay in international competition? I mean, you‘re all sort of early on in your careers, right? You‘re all sticking with it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m in.
MADDOW: You‘re all in?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hope to keep playing—hope to have another run at a World Cup.
MADDOW: So, given that, I know you all play professionally, given that, how much do you—how much is the World Cup different than anything else? And at some point, when do you start sort of clicking over and thinking, though, we‘re all focus on London next summer, in the Olympics, focus on the next professional game. How big of a sort of shadow does the World Cup cast over your lives right now in soccer?
HEATHER O‘REILLY, U.S. WOMEN‘S SOCCER TEAM MIDFIELDER: Well, as a soccer player, the world cup is the pinnacle of everything. It‘s every kid‘s dream to play in the World Cup. But the good thing is that we have the Olympics right around the corner. And for the women‘s side, they bring their full senior teams to compete in the Olympics. I mean, to win an Olympic gold is huge as well.
So, we‘re going to be back at them, we love it‘s just a year away, we‘re hungry already.
MADDOW: Yes. I can imagine.
I know that the World Cup next time around is going to go -- 16 teams this year. It‘s going to be 24 the next World Cup.
How is it going to change things?
ALI KRIEGER, U.S. WOMEN‘S SOCCER TEAM DEFENDER: I don‘t know. I mean, you know, you have 16 teams who are vying for the same championship, and I think when you have, you know, 24, that just adds to the pressure and adds to, you know, the highest stage and brings more teams in, more competition, and people willing to win a gold medal. I think it‘s just going to make it more fun, more interesting, and yes, you know, more tough of a tournament.
MADDOW: One of the reasons I was asking is because in the last time the U.S. was in the final, it was China, right? This year, China didn‘t even qualify for the World Cup and I sort of felt like—oh, right, what does the U.S. have to do in order to maintain World Class championship level soccer?
Like, China, obviously, didn‘t do it. I‘m sure they are very nice people, but they couldn‘t pull it off this time around. Their threshold is going to be different for the World Cup.
But looking ahead to the Olympics, what do countries have to do in order to commit to compete?
LORI LINDSEY, U.S. WOMEN‘S SOCCER TEAM MIDFIELDER: I think continue to develop the youth programs. I think showing that China didn‘t qualify for this World Cup just shows the evolution of the game, more competition to qualify.
So, I think for us, it‘s difficult. We were the last team to qualify. We actually lost to Mexico, but made it to the final game though. So, I think that youth program development and just continue to get players to become better and compete at the highest level to compete against the other teams.
MADDOW: Is there a way to convert how psyched people are about you? You saw people at civic center at San Francisco there losing their minds, right? And we had 50 videos to show you from all over the country people like that and for all of your games.
And is there a way to convert into support for youth programs, support for the kinds of structure that will make this sport more successful in the long run?
O‘REILLY: I think so. Everyone wants a champion and loves a champion, and I think that the U.S. has witnessed that we‘re so close and we‘re right up there with the best in the world. And some might say we are the best in the world, but they know it‘s not a one-time thing, it takes investment.
And there are so many young girls out there that are saying now, I want to play in the World Cup finals because they got to watch us. And that‘s what we wanted to do. We were inspired by the ‘99 generation of players. And now, we are happy to say that we inspired a new generation of players.
MADDOW: Can I ask one very specific question about the difference between the turkey handshake and the wild turkey handshake? Is that only a World Cup era thing? Does it get retired now?
(CROSSTALK)
MADDOW: Can you show us the turkey and wild turkey, explain the difference?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, this is NBC, right?
MADDOW: You can swear, we‘ll bleep it. No, you can‘t swear.
(LAUGHTER)
RAPINOE: Turkey is your run of the mill good job, turkey, pat on the back. Do a little fist.
MADDOW: One person like this, one person like this. Looks like a tom turkey. All right. OK.
LINDSEY: Then we added our little spin on it.
RAPINOE: Major kudos, you have to do something pretty amazing to get a wild crazy.
LINDSEY: She had in the Brazil game to Abby Wambach—the wild turkey.
MADDOW: For example.
(LAUGHTER)
MADDOW: OK. That‘s the coolest thing that‘s ever happened to me in
my life
(LAUGHTER)
MADDOW: I will. Thank you. I can die now.
Heather O‘Reilly, Megan Rapinoe, Lori Lindsey, Ali Krieger, members of the U.S. national soccer team, it means so much to me and all of our staff that you guys are willing to come in here. Thank you so much. Congratulations.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for having us.
MADDOW: Thanks a lot.
All right. While attacking President Obama‘s debt ceiling, Arizona Republican Trent Franks claimed today that the people buried at Arlington Cemetery are against raising the debt ceiling. My friend Ed Schultz on “THE ED SHOW” next hour will be representing the view point of the living in that argument.
And here, Wisconsin is having its full-on (INAUDIBLE) recall election tonight in the wake that state‘s adventures in union-stripping. Polls have closed this hour. We will have the latest results, just ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MADDOW: There‘s one former high ranking member of the George W. Bush administration who‘s involved in the a lot of Bush administration scandals, particularly around the Iraq war, who would probably already be lost to history, who would probably already be long forgotten, were it not for the fact that people he used to work with in the Bush administration have a tendency to insult him really enthusiastically.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRENCE WILKERON: Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, who most of you probably know, Tommy Franks said was stupidest blankety-blank man in the world. He was.
(LAUGHTER)
WILKERSON: Let me testify to that, he was. Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was Lawrence Wilkerson who worked at the State Department during the Bush administration, agreeing with someone else‘s insulting characterization of another Bush administration official, Douglas Feith, and then adding his own insult to it.
What happened to old Douglas Feith after his term of insult magnet for Bush administration officials? What happened to the guy who they all try to blame for deciding to use the WMD lie to sell the Iraq war, to the guy who was in charge of Iraqi prisons about Abu Ghraib, to the guy who was in charge of planning for that smooth, American occupation of Iraq that we‘ve all been enjoying for the past eight years? What kind of demand is there for a guy with a resume like that?
He‘s now advising Rick Perry on foreign policy! Yes, in another even surer sign that Governor Rick Perry of Texas is going to run for president, it was leaked this week to the conservative Website the “National Review Online” that Governor Perry met last week with a foreign policy team of advisers, including Douglas Feith. This is notable not only for the fact that Rick Perry now wants to be seen as somebody who‘s trying to learn foreign policy, but also that he is being seen as someone who‘s trying to learn foreign policy from the Bush administration.
Today is also the day that major potential fund-raisers and bundlers who are not yet committed to other presidential candidates met in Austin, Texas, to see if they could rally around and support Rick Perry. The meeting convened by a former major bundler for George W. Bush.
CNN reports that the governor did not meet with them but would have dinner with them in Austin.
Before that, he spoke at a bill signing in Texas and made clear that if he is running for national office, he is not running to be second on the ticket.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY ®, TEXAS: I think you kind of go vice president, governor of Texas, John Nance Garner had a pretty good handle on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: John Nance Garner, he says, had a pretty good handle it. John Nance Garner‘s handle on that, by the way, who thought the vice presidency wasn‘t worth a bucket of warm bloody fluid.
Most interestingly, though, as people continue to Google Rick Perry and the guys who appear as endorsers on a Web site of his stadium prayer rally in a couple of weeks, the guy who says Oprah is the harbinger of the antichrist, the guy who says Hitler was sent by God to hunt the Jews, the guy who says Hitler started World War II in a gay bar, the guy who says that the Japanese stock market is depressed because the emperor had sex with the demon—Rick Perry today told reporters that he would not reject the endorsement of any of those folks.
He also appeared on video feed talking about his stadium prayer vent. He spoke on that video feed to a group of more than 600 pastors in South Carolina.
Why South Carolina? Right. As Rick Perry continues to gear up to announce he is, in fact, running for president, his campaign, his pseudo-campaign, has to see his only real competitors for the nomination as Mitt Romney on the left and Michele Bachmann on the right. With Michele Bachmann, the theory has to be wait long enough and allow that campaign to implode.
Today, there were early warning signs as handlers from her campaign physically attacked the ABC News correspondent Brian Ross as he tried to ask Michele Bachmann questions.
But in terms of the rest of his competition, it has become clear this week that not only will Mitt Romney this year avoid Iowa in terms of early campaign states, he‘s also apparently avoiding South Carolina. So, then where was Rick Perry today? South Carolina.
Forgive me, not Rick Perry in the flesh, but the image of Rick Perry, beamed into South Carolina—South Carolina pastors.
I continue to believe that Governor Rick Perry of Texas is the real dark horse in the Republican race and that he has got a great shot at the nomination. Here is what to watch for in coming days.
On Saturday, the Republican Party of Iowa has to decide who gets a slot in the straw poll, the Ames, Iowa, straw poll, which is frankly a sort of scammy fundraising things that just helps the Iowa Republican Party and doesn‘t really help the candidates.
Rick Perry, of course, is not a declared candidate for president, but there are signs that his operatives are trying to get him on that straw poll ballot in Iowa, even though he‘s not declared.
And if Iowa Republican Party decides they want it, the Rick Perry non-campaign makes it happen and he turns up on that ballot, I am telling you, consider it done—the guy is in.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MADDOW: Polls closed just under an hour ago in Wisconsin‘s very first recall election this year. Not a primary, the actual election. This is a Republican challenger running against an incumbent Democratic state senator, David Hansen. Senator Hansen left the state of Wisconsin in February along with his 13 fellow Democrats, rather than give Republicans the quorum they needed to pass Governor Scott Walker‘s original union-stripping legislation.
And, tonight, the Democrat has won, successfully defeated this recall challenge. With 65 percent of precincts reporting, incumbent Democratic Senator Dave Hansen is at 69 percent, while the Republican challenger David Vanderleest is at 31 percent.
“The Associated Press” calls this race for Senator Hansen just moments ago.
Senator Dave Hansen is one of three Wisconsin Democrats who will be facing recall. Republicans wanted more than twice that many senators recalled. But three is what they got, and one of the three recall efforts against the Democrats failed pretty badly tonight.
Tonight‘s election was widely expected to be indicative of what might happen next month when six Wisconsin Senate Republicans will be up for recall. We will keep you posted on Wisconsin politics as we have all year, of course.
I‘m happy to say that Senator Dave Hansen who just won his attempted recall election tonight is going to be a live guest on “THE ED SHOW”—which starts right now. Thanks for being with us.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
END
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