'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
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Guests: Jared Bernstein, Nicolle Wallace
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: "Listen to the words of my mouth?"
HAYES: "Listen to the words of my mouth."
MADDOW: I think just "the words of my mouth, listen" might be a non-
copyright infringing way to do that. And I would endorse that, Chris.
HAYES: All right, I`m going to bring it up.
MADDOW: I also said the new Reverend Al Sharpton show should be
called "revved up." So, don`t charge on --
HAYES: I think it looks like you lost that battle based on the press
MADDOW: Yes, exactly. That`s why the naming of my own show was
taken out of my hands.
All right. Thank you, Chris. Good to see you. Appreciate it.
HAYES: See you, Rachel.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us the next hour.
One of the weirdest visuals from the east coast earthquake was this
shot of the United States Senate. We showed this on the show last night
and I sort of have not been able to get it off my mind. This is
technically the United States Senate, just doesn`t look like a picture
you`ve seen of the Senate, because this was the United States Senate in
session at the Postal Square building, not the U.S. Capitol, at a building
four blocks away from the actual Senate.
The White House, the Capitol Building, the Pentagon, they were all
evacuated yesterday`s afternoon. And so, when the Senate wanted to convene
it`s little pro forma, we`re only here for a minute or two session
yesterday, they have to find some other place to do it. So, they tried to
make this random room in the Postal Square building look as senatorial as
possible -- hence the flag and the little Senate seal and Delaware Senator
Chris Coons presiding over the fake looking proceedings.
It looks the Washington Monument is going to stay close at least for
a while. Also, an event was cancelled tonight at the National Building
Museum in Washington because of quake damage. But almost all of the other
D.C. landmarks and memorials and office buildings seem to be reopening now
after experiencing only cosmetic damage from the quake, if any.
But Chris Coons himself, the man who had to gaveled open and close,
this bizarre little session of the Senate yesterday, Chris Coons himself
may be a good marker of something else that`s going on in Washington that`s
not really getting very much attention even as the big quake is. The
Senate seat that Chris Coons holds was an open seat when he ran for it. It
was Vice President Biden`s old seat in Delaware. The election to fill that
seat was held last November, in November 2010.
November 2010, of course, was a deep, deep, deep red election day,
right? The Republicans just ran the board last November. They won almost
everything in 2010.
And even though Delaware is a pretty blue state, Republicans expected
to be able to win that Biden seat too, because they thought they had a
candidate who could not have been more perfect for the job, long time
centrist Republican Congressman Mike Castle. Of course, what happened,
though, is that good old Mike Castle got defeated in a Republican Party
primary by a Tea Party-backed challenger named Christine O`Donnell, who is
not a witch, and we all know how that worked out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: Without objection, the Senate will
come to order. The clerk will read a communication to the Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, thank you,
The same thing happened in Connecticut where a centrist Republican
Congressman Rob Simmons, who might have had a good job of winning a Senate
seat, he instead got defeated in the primary by the Tea Party-backed Linda
McMahon, wrestling executive. Linda McMahon lost and now we have
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
Same thing happened in Nevada where it looked like Harry Reid`s
political career was not long for this world, until a Tea Party-backed
candidate named Sharron Angle defeated more normal Republican candidates in
the primary, and, of course, we still have Democratic Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid.
In some places, Democrats were not able to capitalize on this
Republicans eating their own dynamic from last year -- like, for example,
in Utah, arguably the most Republican state in the country. In Utah,
incumbent Senator Bob Bennett was not re-nominated by his Republican state
party. They picked a Tea Party guy instead named Mike Lee.
Bob Bennett was retired by his own party as an incumbent senator.
And Mike Lee did go on to win that seat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re Robert Bennett. You are one of the most
conservative members of the United States Senate. How is it that you get
tossed out by this Tea Party movement or whatever it was in Utah? How does
ROBERT BENNETT (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: They don`t really care.
You can win an election screaming in anger, but you cannot hold and govern
for a significant period of time on screaming and anger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Even while hurtling through the subway system, Bob Bennett
upset and pretty visibly disappointed when his own party gave him the boot
last year. I have to say, don`t feel too bad for Bob Bennett, he now
naturally works for a D.C. lobbying firm. So, I`m sure he`s doing fine.
But Bob Bennett getting kicked out of the Senate by his own party
like that, he was a sitting senator. Getting kicked out like that was seen
as a real shot across the bowel. Any Republican with a hint of moderation
-- actually, no, Bob Bennett was not a moderate. Bob Bennett had an
American Conservative Union rating of 84 percent.
But that wasn`t enough for the Tea Party. Bob Bennett was their
victim. And Bob Bennett was a message to the rest of the country, normal
Republicans, conservative Republicans who even seem mainstream or moderate,
you are going to be replaced. The Tea Party is taking over.
In fact, the next senator in line for that treatment was the other
Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch. Orrin Hatch has a 90 percent rating
from the American Conservative Union. In normalsville, is thought of as a
very conservative senator. Orrin Hatch is, in fact, a very conservative
But perhaps not conservative enough. Tea Party supporting extremely
conservative Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah has been making
very loud noises all year long ever since they ousted Bob Bennett, that he
was going to go after Orrin Hatch next. He was going to primary Orrin
Hatch from the right, take that deep red Republican Utah Senate seat and
make it even deeper red.
This week, Jason Chaffetz finally made his big, long awaited
announcement about challenging Orrin Hatch and he`s not doing it. Now,
Jason Chaffetz hasn`t just been hinting, it`s been telling everybody he was
likely to do this. He was very open about the fact that he was going to
challenge Orrin Hatch and kicked him out of Senate. But he has decided not
to run against him. This is not going to happen again in Utah this year.
After Orrin Hatch, the other senator who was told to watch out for
this phenomenon was Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine. Olympia
Snowe was up for reelection in 2012. The warning was that she`s going to
be replaced by some hard-right Tea Party challenger.
Well, there are some activist guys running against her, but frankly,
nobody who`s making a dent, no offense intended, one of her challengers has
made news by just continually demanding that Olympia Snowe resign. Not
necessarily a path to victory.
Another man running against her described by the "Washington Post"
this week as an all-black-wearing, music columnist, novelist, and self-
Now, who knows? Maybe Maine is ready for a cyber punk Republican
But it just doesn`t seem like the same Tea Party phenomenon that
drove all of last year`s Republican politics is still driving them now. At
least at the state level.
And now, add to that what we know about the Tea Party`s role not just
among Republicans but in national politics. The latest "New York
Times"/CBS poll reveals that the Tea Party is the most unpopular it has
been since they started polling on the Tea Party`s favorability back in
April of last year.
The percentage of Americans who think the Tea Party movement has too
much influence within the Republican Party is the highest it has ever been.
And this "New York Times" poll squares with other polling out there. A CNN
poll released around the same time again shows the unfavorability rating at
the highest it`s ever been since they started polling on the Tea Party last
And the Tea Party is not just unpopular as a political group. They
are among the least popular groups of any kind of Americans in politics and
culture right now. According to data compiled recently by a pair of
professors, one from Notre Dame, one from Harvard, the Tea Party ranks
lowest popularity of any of the 24 separate groups of Americans or
individuals who they polled on.
All of these groups you see here are more popular than the Tea Party
with Americans broadly speaking. The Tea Party is more unpopular than
Muslims, nothing against Muslims, of course. The Tea Party is more
unpopular than atheists as a group -- again, nothing against atheists, of
all the groups in politics you could ask about, Democrats, Republicans, gay
people, liberal, conservatives, Muslims, atheists, all of them, the Tea
Party is the single least respected and least liked group in the entire
And I do not mean for that to seem ad hominem. I don`t mean this as
an insult. I`m reading you the data.
If you asked America would you want a Muslim president or a Tea Party
president -- the data shows that America would pick a Muslim president, and
not a fake Muslim president, but an actual Muslim president. We`re going
to have one of the researchers behind that data on the show tomorrow to
talk more about this, which I`m very much looking forward to.
But it does bring us to this question, and it`s an open question
because I don`t know the answer to it. If you were the Republican Party
and were going to give one of these groups veto power over who was going to
be the presidential nominee, they were going to declare there could not be
a Republican unless that nominee got these people`s first, which of these
groups would you -- I mean, really? You would give that power to the one
at the very, very bottom underneath the atheists, really?
Did you hear the big Republican politics joke that was going on
around today? The big laugh line in all the online political discussion
today about presidential politics, the big joke? Was that George Pataki is
about to announce that he is running for president.
MADDOW: That`s the whole joke. The idea of George Pataki getting
into the race so transparently hilarious that it alone with no other
explanation elicits laughter from anybody paying attention to this year`s
A new Gallup poll came out put the one guy in the Republican field
who is seen as the non-Tea Party guy, the guy who`s willing to say things
against the Tea Party, Jon Huntsman, put him at 1 percent.
So, I guess George Pataki is going to get in there to try to split up
the 1 percent maybe, try to get a little piece of that?
You cannot go anywhere in national Republican politics, certainly not
in Republican presidential politics as anything remotely appearing to be
centrists. You cannot go anywhere unless you pledge fealty specifically to
the Tea Party. And who are they again? They are these guys at the bottom
of that list.
Why is that? I mean, mathematically, why is that? The Beltway
explanation of this is that the Tea Party is such a new phenomenon, it`s so
unprecedented, that nobody has ever dealt with anything like this. So,
there`s maybe just a fear factor among politicians -- even though they may
be very small and very unpopular, and getting less popular all the time,
even though they are getting only more disrespected by most of the American
people, politicians are scared of the Tea Party because the Tea Party is
such a new thing.
But if you care to look at the data about it, instead of just
listening to the Beltway jabber about it, the only other thing that is as
clear about the Tea Party right now, as how unpopular and disliked they
are, the only thing as clear as that is how not new they are.
From the people who have been studying these folks over time, and I
quote, "Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as non-partisan
political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party supporters today were highly
partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born. In fact, past
Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party
support today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of
being a Tea Party supporter today is a desire back in 2006 to see religion
play a prominent role in politics. They were disproportionately social
conservatives in 2006."
In other words, the Tea Party is the same old, same old Republican
base it has always been. It`s the social conservative movement that we
have known about for a very long time. There is nothing new here.
Republicans have been handling the issue of their base and dealing with
this problem effectively for years. Why are they so flummoxed by it this
Joining us now is Nicolle Wallace, someone with whom I very much
enjoy disagreeing about politics. She was White House communications
director under President George W. Bush and a senior advisor to the McCain-
Palin campaign. Nicolle is also the author of the novel "Eighteen Acres,"
which is now out in paperback. And the new book, it`s classified. It`s
due out next month.
Nicolle, it`s great to see you again.
NICOLLE WALLACE, AUTHOR, "EIGHTEEN ACRES": Great to see you. You
managed to tie my brain in a knot and make me wish there were something
stronger than water here all at the same time.
MADDOW: That can be arranged. This is the one show and that can be
arranged at the drop of a hat.
Why is Jon Huntsman at 1 percent? Why is George Pataki joining the
race a laugh line? Why is centrism seen as nationally impossible?
WALLACE: I think it`s a challenge for both parties. I think that in
our party, at this moment, we are experiencing something that David Axelrod
described after the outcome in 2008. every presidential election is
usually a reaction to the one that came before it. And I think the
reaction on the right to Obama`s presidency is this almost correction, I
think, this purification of the conservative movement.
And I found that op-ed fascinating for a lot of reasons. But I think
the reason they are relevant and the reason the White House yielded to them
on the debt ceiling debate isn`t because of the attributes described in
that op-ed to this self-described card-carrying bumper sticker on the back
of the SUV or whatever they drive.
It`s not just them. The reason that the White House yielded to them,
the reason all the Republicans in Congress are listening to them is that
there are a whole lot of voters acting like Tea Party members.
And that`s the graver threat, I think, to the Democrats. It`s not
that this, you know, 26 percent of what you just described as wildly
unpopular people are going to hijack the country, impossible. Impossible.
MADDOW: But don`t Republicans look at the Christine O`Donnell,
Sharron Angle, Linda McMahon, Joe Miller phenomena of those Tea Party
candidacies taking over the Republican Party in 2010 and saying, wow, even
in a huge red Republican year, we lost all those seats we might have
otherwise won. I mean, the country is not Utah where it worked with Mike
Lee. The country is much more Delaware or somewhere in between those two.
WALLACE: Not just a country, but a national lection, the big
enchilada is someone who needs to win more than Utah. I mean, if that
determines election, we would have a very different roster of past
So certainly. And I think you`re starting to see some of the most-
respected voices in the Republican Party speak to this. Jeb Bush did a
national interview yesterday and was talking about how it`s noble to be
proud of your conservative, you know, attributes and believes and ideology
-- but, you know, I don`t want to paraphrase here. But basically said that
you have to be able to speak to the whole country.
MADDOW: Yes. And you can`t just, he was saying you can`t just be
saying no to the president, you have to have something to offer.
WALLACE: Exactly, exactly. And not just because it`s the right
thing to do, but because it`s how you win elections.
MADDOW: Right. And that`s why I wanted to talk to you about this.
And that`s why I say this is an answered question, because we`ve got Mitt
Romney now for the first national poll not leading. He`s not only not
leading, but Rick Perry is ahead of him by 12 points in the Gallup poll
that came out today. And we got the poll nominating process seemingly
geared to make Tim Pawlenty a laughingstock, to make George Pataki quite
literally a laugh line, to make Jon Huntsman a 1 percenter.
I mean, to have Ron Paul be polling at 13 percent right now, which is
where I think he`s at, and Jon Huntsman at 1 percent right now, to have the
Republican dynamics working in that direction makes it hard for me to
believe that the adults in the Republican Party are not thinking that you
guys are about to do a Christine O`Donnell.
WALLACE: Well, obviously, it makes a lot of people nervous, because
you see stories in "The Wall Street Journal" and, you know, all over the
conservative press about rumors of Paul Ryan, who`s shut down those rumors
and Governor Christie of New Jersey and others stepping in. So, it does
make people nervous, but I think that the reason that Perry has surged
ahead is there was a feeling that was field wasn`t complete.
Now, I don`t know if his lead over Romney is one that he can sustain,
but he certainly has generated a lot of excitement, and it`s not just from
Tea Party-like voters.
MADDOW: What way was the field complete then complete with Rick
Perry. I mean, if you wanted somebody who didn`t believe in evolution, who
didn`t believe in global warming, who wants to end the Fed and uses sort of
violence all the time, the only thing you get with him is he`s not a woman.
You`ve already got Michele Bachmann taking on this position.
WALLACE: Howard Dean was very exciting to Democratic primary voters
WALLACE: And he ended his own candidacy with the Dean scream in
Rick Perry is pretty exciting to Republican primary voters. He`s a
straight talker, which was enough to really endear John McCain and help him
win the nomination. He`s plain spoken at a time when distrust for every
elected -- not just Republicans, Republicans and Democrats -- every level,
there are no more arbiters of truth in Washington, D.C. anymore. We had
nonpolitical people saying that if we are to default on our debt, that is
horrible for America. People didn`t believe him, not just Tea Partiers. A
lot of Americans felt like they`ve been duped.
I mean, there is a historic level of distrust in this country, and I
think Rick Perry kind of is a fresh breath of air to a lot of voters.
MADDOW: The parallel with Howard Dean, though, the extent of Howard
Dean`s extremism was that he was against the Iraq war.
WALLACE: But it`s more than this ideology.
MADDOW: Not I want to lynch the Fed chairman.
MADDOW: He wants to treat them ugly down in Texas, wink, wink.
WALLACE: Well, and you saw Texan Karl Rove really come down hard on
MADDOW: Although I don`t get the sense that Rick Perry wouldn`t want
to treat Karl Rove ugly down in Texas, too.
WALLACE: That`s another story.
MADDOW: We have time for no more stories. But maybe if you stay
later, I will get th copy and get it right.
WALLACE: Sure next time.
MADDOW: Nicolle Wallace, thank you so much.
WALLACE: Thank you.
MADDOW: Nicolle, of course, is White House communications director
under President George W. Bush, a senior adviser to the McCain-Palin
campaign and no matter what you think about that campaign or that
presidency, Nicolle is a very nice person to talk to. Get off my back.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: OK. Graph theater, we have not done this in awhile. This
edition is called if you think you`re sick of this lousy economy now, just
wait until 2017. The chart on your screen is new today from the
Congressional Budget Office, from the new forecast from our economy, that
kind of yellow brown line, who picks these, anyway?
Yellow brown line shows the prosperity America could be enjoying if
the economy were working right right now. The blue line shows where we are
and where we are going in this CBO`s estimation from now until 2017, six
years from now. Unless we do something about this economy, we are going to
stay stuck for a long time.
And yet the common wisdom in Washington, D.C. is that nothing can be
done to get us unstuck, that Republicans will never agree to help the
economy, Republicans will never agree to another economic stimulus. And
even if a stimulus was somehow politically possible, the common Beltway
wisdom says you can`t really get real projects off the ground.
"Want to build a bridge?" The Wall Street Journal" said today,
"Preparing to create such an economic stimulant requires at least five
years, assuming no complications."
House Speaker John Boehner`s office just flat turned down the idea of
having the new budget supercommittee look at deficit reduction and jobs
creation and getting the economy going again at the same time. A Boehner
staffer telling Ezra Klein, quote, "My concern would be this is some sort
of new window dressing for the same tired, old, discredited Washington
stimulus spending proposals."
OK,, John Boehner is not into the government trying to help the
economy, which according to the common wisdom in Washington these days
means it`s just not going to happen.
Do you want to see who believes a stimulus might happen, might happen
and can happen anyway? Wall Street. Wall Street believes, ladies and
gentlemen, the Dow Jones jumped more than 300 points yesterday, and call
them crazy, but these guys believe there`s a real reason for optimism, the
economy is so bad, that, quote, "what investors are reading is that the Fed
has got to do something."
By the Fed, they mean the Federal Reserve. Its chairman, Ben
Bernanke, scheduled to be giving a speech on Friday. And they rumor is, he
might, might, say the Fed will take stimulative action to try to help the
Even though the Fed shows little sign of actually being ready to do
that and even though I am the most committed, immutably pessimistic person
on planet earth, even I am beginning to believe that we not only can and
not only should, but we might even do some kind of stimulus. The kind of
stimulus specifically where you build things.
Exhibit A, Florida Senator Marco Rubio who has been auditioning as
the Republican Party`s favorite vice presidential possibility for 2012.
In a speech at the Reagan Presidential Library last night, Marco
Rubio made the case the government needs to spend money on this stuff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FloridA: And it is the proper role of
government to invest in infrastructure. Yes, government should build roads
and bridges, but it should do so as part of economic development, as part
of infrastructure, not as a job`s program.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I`ll take it. We should build roads and bridges. Marco
Rubio, darling of the Republican Party, darling V.P. pick of 2012.
OK. So, we think we shouldn`t build roads and bridges to create
jobs? But imagine a few jobs get moderately created on the side, would he
mind if that happened? If we didn`t say it was the point?
If another economic stimulus can, should, and might actually happen,
if it might suddenly be possible instead of impossible, then you are going
to need a good pitch for it, because if you think what you`re trying to do
is never going to happen, you don`t really have to worry about how good
your idea for it is. But if you believe you have a chance, if you believe
it might succeed, you really have to get the pitch right.
Like maybe this pitch for Fix Americas Schools Today. Conveniently
acronymed as FAST.
The FAST folks argued that we could end the tax subsidies for
incredibly profitable oil companies and use those savings to, instead, fix
the school buildings themselves.
Our schools are on average more than 40 years old. They need better
plumbing, better heating. They need new paint so they don`t look like
prisons anymore. Ending tax breaks for oil companies so we can help public
schools. And so, public schools made more energy efficient can run on
leaner budgets in the future and maybe create a few jobs by accident, Marco
Rubio. Who could say no to that?
I`m joined now by Jared Bernstein, former member of President Obama`s
economic team and former economic adviser to Vice President Biden and one
of the thinkers behind this FAST proposal. Mr. Bernstein is now a senior
fellow at the Center on Budget Policy Priorities, as well as being an MSNBC
Jared Bernstein, thank you for being here.
JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you for inviting me.
MADDOW: Did I fairly characterize the idea behind the FAST
infrastructure investment proposal?
BERNSTEIN: Absolutely, and you know, you heard Mr. Rubio talking
about roads and bridges. One of the things that recommends FAST, and I was
there during the Recovery Act -- I traveled around the country with the
vice president and went going to work sites, and we saw lots of great roads
and bridge projects. But one of the things we saw there is that work has
become considerably more capital intensive. It used to be more labor-
And right now, we want to make sure we`re creating jobs for people,
not for machines. FAST, Fix America`s Schools Today, which would repair
the backlog and the 100,000 public schools across the nation, that work is
very labor-intensive -- insulation, repair work to the structures,
replacing windows, boilers, even maybe even greening up these schools with
solar panels. That kind of work puts a lot of folks back on the job. And
don`t tell Marco Rubio about that part, but it does work.
MADDOW: And the idea is that this is sort of a scalable problem that
you can do this on a smallest level as one school or a bigger level as all
the schools in the country, depending on what political resources were
freed up for it. Is that how you arrived at the idea of paying for this
with the oil company`s price subsidies?
BERNSTEIN: Very much so. I mean, that and one of the goals of FAST,
of this repair and modernization of our schools, was to generate savings.
So, we thought there was a connection there as well. But if you look at
the 10-year price tag of those oil and gas subsidies, about $50 billion --
now that would -- that`s a relatively small share of the maybe $300 billion
backlog in repairs. But let`s take those as a program that could last a
year or two at $50 billion, probably create about half a million jobs, we
think that`s a marriage of a big problem, the backlog and the repairs, and
the, you know, well over a million construction folks that have been put
out of work when the housing bubble went bust.
MADDOW: Are there parallels of these sorts of initiatives that
you`re recommending the president pursue here?
BERNSTEIN: Not only are there parallels, but you used a word earlier
in the show that I`ll take here, normalsville -- back in normalsville
times, infrastructure programs like this, and actually Rubio`s quote is
relevant in this regard, infrastructure programs like this were very
supported in a bipartisan manner. Republicans generally feel pretty good
about this American institution called public schools.
But if you look at the state of disrepair, and this is something I
feel pretty -- I happen to be a parent who drops their kids off at public
schools, and I live in a very affluent part of the world here and even in
my area, you see the condition of the schools and I really, frankly, kind
worry about the message we`re sending to our kids. I mean, at one level,
we talk about education being really important, and in the other level,
we`re sending kids especially in the hard hit districts to schools that
just are falling apart and are unhealthy and are unsafe. I think that`s a
MADDOW: Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and
Policy Priorities and an MSNBC contributor -- Jared, it`s good to see you,
thanks for joining us.
BERNSTEIN: My pleasure.
MADDOW: OK. Today, I sent an e-mail to two of the producers on this
show, to Cory Gnazzo and to Bill Wolffe. I was asking Cory and Bill
together. You know, you send an email, you CC them, or you put them both
in the two line, right? But the reply came back from Cory alone explaining
why Bill wasn`t able to answer my question.
Cory`s reply and I quote, "At the moment, Bill is playing the part of
a flamingo," and he really was. Why Bill was unable to answer my question
today because he was playing the part of a flamingo is actually a
newsworthy story, coming up -- well, sort of -- in just a moment.
MADDOW: When Tea Party Republican candidates like Rick Scott were
elected in last year`s big Republican election year, those candidates like
Rick Scott were commonly described as favoring smaller government, since
that`s the brand that has been ascribed to the Tea Party. Despite that
awesome branding, it turns out smaller government is not what these guys
favor -- at least it`s not the way they have governed.
All over the country, the election of Tea Party Republicans has
resulted, for example, in a radically expanded role for the government, an
expanded role, in deciding what happens to your pregnancy, an unprecedented
rollback of individual rights on the issue of abortion.
In Rick Scott`s Florida, his brand of Tea Party Republican big,
intrusive government has also expanded the role of the state to include
mass examination of Floridians body fluids. Florida Republicans this year
at Governor Scott`s urging instituted mandatory drug tests for Florida
residents receiving public assistance, not Florida residents receiving
public assistance and suspected of drug abuse for any reason, just anyone
who`s getting assistance. If you`re getting public assistance, you have to
submit urine, blood, or hair samples to Rick Scott.
Here`s Governor Scott explaining why this is such a priority for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: Studies show that people on welfare
are higher users of drugs than people not on welfare. But the bottom line
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To that point -- to that point, that would stop
people in their tracks, I don`t have whatever study you are referring to,
but you`re saying people out there who need this assistance, lost jobs, on
welfare, have a higher tendency to use drugs?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Absolutely. Florida Governor Rick Scott in June defending
his drug test poor people plan on the grounds that poor people do more
drugs than rich people.
Rick Scott`s forced drug testing plan did go into effect last month.
"The Tampa Tribune" reporting that the state`s own numbers from the new
program showed that about 2 percent of welfare applicants are failing the
drug tests so far -- and, hey, look, a study by the Office of National Drug
Control Policy showing that just over 8 percent of Floridians use illegal
So why was it again that Rick Scott thought it was so important to
drug test everybody on welfare?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: People that are on welfare are higher users of drugs than
people not on welfare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Not according to figures being gathered as a result of your
forced drug tests, Governor.
The ACLU of Florida argued today, "We`re not testing the population
at large that receives government money; we`re not testing people on
scholarships or state contractors. So, why these people? It`s obvious,
because they are poor. This is just punishing people for being poor."
Really, really, really big intrusive government, Tea Party-style.
MADDOW: Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum you may know
has a Google problem, that he sort of can`t be Googled. That`s because if
you put Santorum into the Google search engine, you get information, you
get vivid, vivid information. But do not get what you were looking for
about Rick Santorum.
But you know who else has a Google problem? Moammar Gadhafi, but not
for the same reason as Rick Santorum, thank God. No, the reason it`s
really hard to Google Moammar Gadhafi, at least in English, is because no
two American news organizations spell his name the same way.
Here`s Gadhafi`s name in Arabic. There`s only one way to spell his
name in Arabic. But in English, it`s a whole other different story. The
State Department spells it with a Q. "The Associated Press" spells it with
a G -- as does "Reuters," although they replaced one of the Hs in the
middle with the D.
And if you surf around the cable news channels, you will see that
each network has a different spelling. NBC News and MSNBC have decided,
for the sake of continuity, to spell it with a K and there`s a Y at the end
-- that almost nobody else uses. CNN spells it with a G, the same "The
Associated Press" does. FOX spells it with a Q, but not a State Department
Q, a different Q spelling with two Ds in it. ABC news once counted and
they found 112 variant spellings.
A hundred and twelve different spelling of the name of the Gadhafi,
which makes him hard to Google among other things.
But now, copy editors and news archivist rejoice, the Romanoff about
using word, may at long last have a real answer to the burning question of
how do you spell Gadhafi?
Max Fisher of "The Atlantic" wrote today about a video someone in
Libya has uploaded to YouTube that purportedly shows the diplomatic
passport of one of Gadhafi`s sons, Mohammed -- presumably looted from
Gadhafi`s presidential compound this week. The passport is partly written
in Arabic, but there are also some pages in English, and one of them, very
difficult to make out, but if you squint hard, you can see his name is
spelled out officially on that passport Gathafi, GATHAFI. Seriously,
that`s the answer? I thought our version was the weirdest one.
So, if this diplomatic passport is authentic, we now have the
solution of one of the great writer style book questions of all time.
The other more important question of where is Mr. GATHAFI remains
unanswered as does this hour, as is the question of whether anybody knows
where his weapons of mass destruction are right now.
Stay tuned for that.
MADDOW: Behold, we have found Moammar Gadhafi`s nuclear program. We
have found it. It`s here. This is it.
This is Moammar Gadhafi`s entire nuclear program, the whole kit and
caboodle. If you are thinking, Hey, Maddow, that doesn`t look like at all
like Libya. That looks actually like Tennessee. That`s because this is
Tennessee. That`s where Gadhafi`s nuclear program is.
In 2003, Libya allowed U.S. and U.N. and British officials to inspect
10 previously illicit Libyan weapons facilities. The deal included Libya
coming off the state sponsors of terrorism list and Gadhafi becoming less
of an international pariah, and Western companies being able to do business
But the cost to him was his weapons facilities were not only
inspected, the officials who did the inspecting left Libya with 55,000
pounds of documents and nuclear components with the blueprints of a nuclear
bomb with centrifuges, thousands of them, with Scud missiles, and most
importantly, with highly enriched uranium. Gadhafi`s entire nuclear
program was moved, basically whole, to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in
Tennessee where we still have it.
One thing Gadhafi did not give up, however, was a bunch of raw
uranium and also chemical weapons, at least not all of them. He did sign
on to an agreement which forbids making or using chemical weapons, but what
about his existing stockpile of chemical weapons that were not yet
destroyed? Who controls them now, who`s guarding them?
According to "The Associated Press" today, quote, "There are still
some 500 to 900 metric tons of raw uranium, yellow cake stored in drums at
Libya`s lone nuclear reactor east of Tripoli and, quote, "The scheduled
destruction of some 23 tons of mustard gas didn`t start until last year and
was only halfway finished when the system used in the destruction broke.
The remaining mustard agent is stored inside a domed concrete bunker a few
miles south of Tripoli."
One Libya official quoted saying that facility contains also more
than 13,000 tons of precursor chemicals that could be combined to make
After what the Bush administration sold us in the lead up to the Iraq
war, Americans are irrevocably, inherently skeptical about this stuff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The British government has
learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of
uranium from Africa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: From Africa.
When it comes to hearing about the risk of WMDs falling in the wrong
hands and the risk of uranium in Africa, the American public is
understandably skeptical, a little scarred by that experience, but in this
case, really? WMDs may be falling into the wrong hands, uranium in Africa.
Joining us now is Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund,
a global security foundation. He`s also a member of Secretary State
Hillary Clinton`s international security advisory board and council of
Mr. Cirincione, thank you for joining us tonight.
JOE CIRINCIOINE, PLOUGHSHARES FUND: My pleasure, Rachel.
MADDOW: Do we know what`s still in Libya, what didn`t get removed as
part of the deal we cut with Gadhafi back in `03. Do we know how dangerous
what`s left is?
CIRINCIONE: We have a pretty good idea. We have this yellow cake,
which is one of the components you use to make enriched uranium. That is
probably the least of our worries because it requires a very complex
manufacturing process to turn it into anything close to a weapon.
We also have this mustard gas you spoke of, about 10 tons of it.
Fortunately under the program that Gadhafi negotiated, we destroyed almost
all his weapons delivery capability for that mustard gas, about 3,000
rockets and shells, so it`s deteriorating. It has a certain shelf life,
and the mustard gas is aging, but still dangerous.
The thing that probably people are most worried about is the
radioactive isotopes, that are at this research reactor. These are the
byproducts of the fission process, grand quantities of these isotopes could
be mixed up with dynamite or a plastic explosive and used as a dirty bomb,
a high terror value in that and very easy to make.
And the thing we`re most worried about is somewhere around 20,000 to
30,000 shoulder fired anti-aircraft weapons called MANPADS or SA-7s, most
are Russian-made SA-7s. We don`t know exactly where they are -- very
portable, very dangerous.
MADDOW: In terms of the nonconventional weapons there, radioactive
isotopes which themselves are not weapons but could be used to make a dirty
bomb. Also, the mustard gas in the form it is in.
In terms of where those are in the country, do we -- are we
monitoring those right now? Is NATO monitoring them? Is anyone -- is
there any plan to sort of secure that material?
CIRINCIONE: We`re monitoring all this from a distance. So, we`ve
had international inspectors there since the 2003 deal as you noted,
looking at this, cataloging it, and now since the hostilities have broken
out over the last few months, we`ve been using British, French other
national assets to monitor the -- he particularly the chemical weapons
which are stored, as you said in the concrete facility some 200 miles south
We have a good idea, of course, where the radioactive material is.
And, again, we`ve been assured by State Department and Department of
Defense officials that were carefully watching of any suspicious activity.
It`s the shoulder-fired weapons that we don`t really have a good handle on.
We have allied forces in the area destroying those that they found in
rebel controlled territory, but they haven`t gotten into the hot combat
MADDOW: To be clear, Joe, the type of weapons -- shoulder fired
surface to air missile that you`re describing here, that`s the kind of
weapon that took down the Chinook helicopter, such a tremendous loss of
life in Afghanistan not that long ago?
CIRINCIONE: That`s exactly right. And anyone who`s seen "Syriana"
knows these are fairly portable weapons. You can move them in fairly large
sort of guitar sized cases, and extremely dangerous. You`re worried about
a large supply. You`re talking about thousands of these and the known
large demand for these weapons by a variety of groups around the world.
MADDOW: Does the United States have a strategy to overall reduce the
number and availability of weapons like that? Which as you say are not
going to be covered by any weapons of mass destruction treaty or protocol
of any sort, but do have the potential to cause real damage in a low tech
CIRINCIONE: Yes, no international agreements for these kinds of
shoulder-fired weapons. In this case in Libya, we have been working
closely with the rebel forces to search any areas that the rebels have
controlled to destroy these weapons about 30 so far have been destroyed.
The problem is much larger than we`ve been able to deal with so far.
MADDOW: Thirty out of 30,000 is not a good percentage.
Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund -- Joe, you always
know these things and deliver them in a way I can understand even when
they`re terrifying, and for that I thank you.
CIRINCIONE: Thank you, Rachel.
All right. We will be right back with the best new thing in the
world today. Frankly, it is sorely needed.
MADDOW: Two things to note tonight about the earthquake that hit the
East Coast yesterday.
One, the Washington Monument is still closed tonight after three or
four significant cracks were found on the very top of the obelisk. They
found some cracks yesterday. They found more today. The monument will
remain closed until further notice, while structural engineers examine the
The second thing to note about the impact of the East Coast quake,
particularly in D.C., is also our best new thing in the world. If you`ve
ever wondered whether animals can sense earthquakes before they happen, or
whether they affect animals strangely, a press release from the National
Zoo in Washington, D.C., should help. It offers spectacular detail about
what the National Zoo`s animals did before, during and after the
Like the fact that the red roughed lemurs sounded an alarm call about
15 minutes before the quake and then again just after it occurred. The
black and rufous giant elephant shrew hid in his habitat and refused to
come out for afternoon feeding. And Murphy, the zoo`s Komodo dragon sought
We have no video of these animals doing things because the web
cameras set up around the National Zoo only stream video. We actually
spoke to the zoo today and they told us sadly they were not recording any
of the streaming footage when the earthquake hit.
So, we have no video but we do have these descriptions. And you know
else we have? We have people who work here in August. We also have a
green screen and very little pride. We cannot promise this has any degree
of accuracy, but here`s what we think happened at the zoo yesterday based
on the press release.
The earthquake hit the great ape house and think tank exhibit during
afternoon feeding time. About five to 10 seconds before the quake, many of
the apes including Kyle the orangutan and Kojo, a western lowland gorilla
abandoned their food and climbed to the top of the tree like structure in
About three seconds before the quake, Mandara, a gorilla, let out a
shriek and collected her baby, Kibibi, and moved to the top of the tree
structure as well. As you can see here.
Iris, an orangutan began belch vocalizing an unhappy/upset noise
normally observed for extreme irritation before the quake continued this
vocalization following the quake.
The howler monkeys sounded an alarm call just after the earthquake.
All the snakes began writhing during the quake, copperheads, cotton mouth,
false water cobra, et cetera. Normally, they remain inactive during the
One of the volunteers at the Invertebrate Exhibit was feeding the
cuttlefish and it was not responsive. The water is normally very calm in
the tank, but the earthquake caused the tank to shake and created waves,
which distracted the cuttlefish, as you can see here, during feeding.
Damai, a female Sumatran tiger, jumped at the start of the earthquake
in a startled fashion. Her behavior returned to normal after the quake.
The zoo has a flock of 64 flamingos. Just before the quake, the
birds rushed about and grouped themselves together. They remained huddled,
as you see here, during the quake.
During the quake, all Eld`s deer and tufted deer immediately ran out
of the barns and appeared agitated. Immediately after the quake, the
female Eld`s deer herd began alarm calling, a high staccato barking sound,
until they were called by their keeper and subsequently all congregated in
the corner of the pasture nearest the keeper for a short time.
According to keepers, the giant pandas did not appear to respond to
the earthquake at all. Pandas in the West Coast, we`re impressed with
that. Actually I made that last part up.
The very detailed news of just what happened with the animals at the
National Zoo during yesterday`s quake obviously best new in the world
That does it for us. "ED SHOW" starts right now. Sorry, Ed. Sorry.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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