'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
Past transcripts by month
Guests: Celinda Lake, Terry O`Neill, Raul Grijalva
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Good to have you back, my
ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: You bet. Thank you.
Thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour as well.
If you`re a civics dork or even just a politics dork, election day is
kind of like secular Christmas, no matter what your religion is. I mean,
every single year, even when it`s an off year election, election day is an
But if you have a job like we do here at MSNBC, it is like Christmas,
but it`s Christmas where you`re the parent, not Christmas where you`re the
kid. Meaning that even if you are totally psyched about it and it`s your
favorite day of the year, and it is, it`s also a lot of work.
It`s a fast-moving live production, a million moving parts, sort of
high-stress night of making television. It is exciting, it can be
exhilarating, but it goes way later than a normal night on TV. You`re tap
dancing the whole time. And the next day, particularly early in the day,
you`re a little bit spent.
So, today, early this afternoon here from THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW,
thanks to inspiration from the blog "Laughing Squid," we spent most of the
afternoon figuring out which politicians in today`s news are most suited
for the musthair treatment. Musthair, as in mustache hair, like this guy.
See? By the magic of PhotoShop, a man`s mustache doubles as his
Here`s another good one. Pretty good example of the musthair
You`ve also got this guy. This guy is very, very sharp looking. It`s
the musthair, everybody. It is very disturbing, and yet very awesome, all
The musthair tumbler and the "Laughing Squid" blog inspired us here at
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW today to create our own examples from some
politicians in the news.
Here, for example, Herman Cain, difficult because he doesn`t have any
hair on top to blend, but there you have it.
Incidentally, as Ed noted last hour, the American Mustache Association
did rescind its Herman Cain for president endorsement today, for what`s
Here`s the musthair version of John Bolton, very nice. Former U.N.
Here -- oh, God -- I hope he does not mind, because he`s about to be
our guest, here is Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona. I`ve always
admired his mustache.
And here`s a man name, yes, Terry Branstad. Terry Branstad looks the
most amazing of anybody I have ever seen with the musthair treatment -- the
mustache as hair treatment. And that might be the only way Terry Branstad
is ever going to become nationally famous, just being the governor of Iowa
right now is not making Terry Branstad nationally famous.
I mean, like John Kasich and Scott Walker and Rick Scott and Rick
Snyder, Terry Branstad was elected governor of Iowa in the great tide that
was the huge Republican election in 2010. He, too, has pursued an agenda
in his state that`s very, very conservatively, both economically and
But unlike those other very well-known nationally famous governors,
Terry Branstad has not become nationally famous from Iowa, and I think
that`s because in large part he hasn`t been able to get a lot of his stuff
See? The Republicans in Iowa have the amazing mustachio Terry
Branstad in the governor`s office, and they do control the statehouse in
Iowa. But the Democrats hold the state senate. So, big conservative
priorities like, for example, getting rid of same-sex marriage rights in
Iowa, those priorities have said stalled because of divided government.
But Terry Branstad is no fool. And in September of this year, when it
came time to appoint someone to an available full-time gig on the state
utilities board, he bypassed a whole bunch of people that really wanted
that job, a whole bunch of Republicans who really wanted that job --
donors, elected officials, everybody else.
And instead he appointed a conservative Democrat to the job. Now, why
is that a genius move? It`s because the Democrat he appointed to that job
was a state senator, a state senator from a Republican-leaning district.
So that promotion of that Democrat out of the state senate left Democrats
with just a one-seat advantage in the state senate.
So, you get rid of that Democrat, you force a special election in that
Democrat`s district, which is a Republican-leaning district, and then you
replace that Democrat. It`s easy-peasy, right?
Thanks to Branstad`s move, Republicans thought they could replace that
Democrat with a Republican, and then Iowa would be under 100 percent
Republican government. Iowa would become Wisconsin west.
Terry Branstad could get nationally famous now for something other
than the amazing mustache/hair thing. It was a genius political move. And
it utterly failed.
Iowa voters did pick a new state senator last night, but they picked
another Democrat. A Democrat named Liz Mathis. And perhaps they picked
her because they were treated to calls like this against her.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So before you support Liz Mathis, call her and
ask her which homosexual sex act she endorses.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes, that`s how the campaign went in Iowa. We`ll have more
on that coming up later in the show tonight.
So the Democrat won that race in Iowa. The Democrats thereby hold on
to the state senate in Iowa. And the genius Republican plan by the genius
Republican governor there is foiled. That happened in Iowa.
Even though there was national focus on ballot measures in a few
different states last night, off-the-radar places like Iowa and New Jersey
and Kentucky had some pretty striking results. In Kentucky, a number of
statewide office holders were up for election, and it was nearly a clean
sweep for the Democrats, in Kentucky.
Democratic Governor Steve Beshear and Lieutenant Governor Jerry
Abramson won re-election by a 20-point margin. Democrats also won the
secretary of state`s race, a secretary of state race there, and the state`s
treasurer race, the state auditor`s race and the attorney general`s race --
despite some big national guns weighing in on that attorney general race on
behalf of the Republican, people like Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah
Palin, the Republican in the A.G.`s race just got creamed. And in fact, in
all of those other races.
Actually, a quick correction on the attorney general thing -- I have
been calling the Republican attorney general candidate from Kentucky, Todd
P`Pool, because his name, as you can there, is pronounced, P`Pool. I`m
told today by sources in Kentucky, that it`s not pronounced pa-pool, it`s
pronounced pe-pool. My apologies.
The only race that a Republican race won last night in Kentucky was
for agriculture commissioner. Despite that electoral rout of Republicans,
the Web site "Politico" today managed to find a silver lining for the
Kentucky Republicans. A silver lining specifically for Kentucky Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Quote, "McConnell quietly helped direct the agricultural commissioner
campaign from Washington."
So, the one Republican race that won, Mitch McConnell now trying to
take credit for it. That attempt to essentially shine up a the turd led
Louisville news bloggers like Joe Sonca (ph) at "Leo Weekly," to laugh out
loud for Mitch McConnell to even trying to spin this as a positive, but
also to thank politico.com to being the totally credulous stenographer for
whatever it was that Mitch McConnell wanted them to report, no matter how
ridiculous it was on its face.
Gamely spinning Kentucky as if it was a big win for the Republicans
and for Mitch McConnell as they lost all state-wide races except Ag
commissioner. Yes, right, "Politico," that`ll do.
One perhaps unremarked upon feature from last night`s election results
is that there were some really, really big margins in a lot of the races
that were expected to be hard-fought. That Iowa state senate race wasn`t
close. The Democrat won there by 12 points.
In Maine, where voters citizen vetoed a Republican change the voting
laws, thereby reinstating same-day voter registration in Maine, the margin
there was 20 points.
The Mississippi personhood amendment was the Beltway press have been
gamely reporting was likely to pass in Mississippi, it not only lost, but
it lost by 16 points. More on that coming up in a moment.
In Ohio, the most high-profile race in the country, the bid to recall
the Republican union-stripping law there, it lost by 22 points, a blowout.
All those polls predicting an impossibly high margin of victory for the
pro-union rights side in Ohio, those impossible margin-of-victory polls
turned out to be exactly accurate.
That particular result last night doesn`t just have reverberations for
Ohio. You`ll hear about the SB-5 vote in Ohio, this vote against John
Kasich last night, you`re going to hear about this for an entire year in
Republican politics, particularly in Republican presidential politics.
Back in June, you may remember that Republican front-runner Mitt
Romney came out overtly in support of John Kasich`s union-stripping law in
Ohio. Mr. Romney saying at the time, quote, "I stand with John Kasich."
Then just a couple of weeks before the big vote on John Kasich`s union-
stripping law, Mr. Romney scheduled a campaign event, an event at a phone
bank in Ohio to fire up Republicans fighting to save John Kasich`s bill.
At that campaign appearance, Mitt Romney refused to say that he
supported the measure. Even while he was there. CNN`s Peter Hamby
tweeting at the time, quote, "incredible moments in politics. Romney
visits Ohio GOP phone bank to rally troops opposing SB5 repeal, but refuses
to take a position on SB5."
After getting just flogged on the right -- flogged in the press -- for
refusing to say he supported this thing, even while supposedly rallying its
supporters in Ohio, a day later, the Romney campaign came out and said,
"Oh, yes, oh, yes, oh, yes, he`s 110 percent behind it, we guess."
So Mitt Romney`s last known position on the Ohio union-busting issue
is that he`s 110 percent for the union-stripping bill. Now that that thing
has lost by 22 points in the polls in Ohio, stay tuned! Maybe we`ll get a
new Mitt Romney position on it.
Even more flabbergasting is the contortion that Mr. Romney is now
trying to do on that personhood initiative in Mississippi. Back in
October, Mitt Romney appeared on Mike Huckabee`s FOX News Channel program,
and he told Mr. Huckabee that he, quote, "absolutely" would support a
constitutional amendment establishing the definition of life as beginning
After us asking his campaign to clarify that position repeatedly and
him not answering repeatedly, the Democratic Party then hit him on it
through this web ad. And again, Mr. Romney chose just not to respond.
So Mitt Romney`s position, his on the record position to the question
of, do you support a life begins at conception constitutional amendment,
which is what Mississippi voted on yesterday, Mitt Romney`s stated position
on the record on that, on tape was the word "absolutely."
That constitutional amendment then fails in Mississippi by 16 points
and the new headline on Politico.com today -- wait for it -- quote, "Mitt
Romney says he`s being falsely characterized as supporting a proposed
amendment to define a fertilized egg as a person."
Falsely characterized as supporting it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS: Would you have supported the constitutional
amendment that would have established the definition of life at conception?
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s like, when Newt Gingrich said, you know, if you quote
that thing I said about Paul Ryan, you`re lying. Don`t quote me. If you
quote me, it`s a lie. Mitt Romney says that us right now playing that tape
of him answering that question is falsely characterizing his position.
I did not -- I knew that he would flip-flop on it somehow. I didn`t
know that it would happen in less than 24 hours and that he would deny that
he ever held the previous position, which he said on tape. Mitt Romney,
Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, as well, both came out in favor of the
Mississippi personhood thing that got voted down yesterday by more than 20
points in Mississippi. This thing that would ban all abortions, no
exceptions, and hormonal birth control and IUDs and the morning-after pill
and in vitro fertilization, now that it has been beating in Mississippi,
Mitt Romney says he was never for it. Just amazing.
In 2006 and 2008, Democrats had huge electoral victories, right?
Democrats in `06 and `08, they took the House, they took the Senate, they
took the White House, swung more than five dozen seats in Congress from red
to blue over those two elections.
In 2010, the pendulum swung back the other way, right? Republicans
had a huge year in 2010. They took back all of the Democratic gains in
Congress from the previous two elections and then some.
Now, the next big election is in 2012. Is the pendulum staying on the
Republican side or is it swinging back?
Joining us now is Democratic pollster, Celinda Lake.
Ms. Lake, thank you very much for joining us tonight. It`s nice to
have you here.
CELINDA LAKE, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Thank you. Nice to be here.
MADDOW: What did you think we learned in terms of yesterday`s results
about turnout? About voter enthusiasm? About who actually showed up to
LAKE: Well, we learned that we have been terrified about the
disenchantment of voters, and particularly the Democratic base. And what
we learned is two things. One, when Democrats and progressives get behind
a message and organize, our voters come out to vote.
And we`ve also learned what the Tea Parties have done for a year in
taking this country over the cliff can be very mobilizing and very
empowering to Democratic voters. And I think the "Occupy Wall Street"
crystallized that and I think the election results in 2011 showed what can
happen when Democrats unite and turn out to vote.
MADDOW: Looking ahead, as a Democratic pollster, is there a
particular result or a particular state profile or results from last night
that seems like a real bellwether for you for next year`s election?
Something that Democrats should be looking to for particular lessons?
LAKE: I think that the Ohio vote was really a lesson in the sense
that voters across the board thought that the Kasich message would hurt
jobs, hurt health care, hurt their state`s budget, hurt their state`s
education system. They saw this as a very broad economic hatchet job taken
to their state, and they rejected it.
And you know who rejected it first? Women voters and union voters.
And that`s a very powerful combination for the 2012 elections.
MADDOW: Based on that profile, that demographic profile, and whatever
research you have done on electoral issues, what are you seeing as the most
powerful message that Democrats have going into the 2012 campaign season.
What are Democrats going to be strongest running on?
LAKE: I think Democrats will be strongest running on, it is time for
this economy to work for the 99 percent of us, not the 1 percent, not the
wealthiest 1 percent who don`t pay their taxes. Not the CEOs and not the
corporations that take our jobs overseas and our money to the Cayman
MADDOW: On the issue of the Republican race against President Obama,
his re-election race, anything could happen. So, I don`t want to say that
Mitt Romney`s going to be the nominee, but Mitt Romney`s going to be the
LAKE: I think you`re right.
MADDOW: And when I talked to Democrats about that, and particularly
when I talked to Washington Democrats about that, I keep hearing pushback
from Democrats on the idea that Mitt Romney, as a flip-flopper, is a good
way to run against him. There seems to be skepticism on the Democratic
side that Mitt Romney`s inability to hold a single position on any major
issue is a real electoral liability for him.
Do you see that as a liability for him? Or are people going to need
to go after him from a different way on the Democratic side?
LAKE: I think it`s a huge liability. Democrats may be getting
confused because they don`t know which Mitt Romney to run against, but of
all of the Mitt Romneys we`re presented, when we talked to voter last week,
the number one thing they said they wanted was politicians who stood for
something, who fought for it. The man has a different position every
And it`s not just a minor variation. It`s a 360-change. It`s like
those dolls whose head goes around. You don`t know which Mitt Romney
you`re getting every given morning. That`s not what the public wants.
And that`s particularly not what people think will steer this country
in a clear direction to coming out of this recession and clear direction
foreign policy. It`s a huge vulnerability. And I think Democrats just may
be bemused by which Romney they get to run against.
MADDOW: Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, thank you very much joining
us tonight. Good to talk to you.
LAKE: Thank you.
MADDOW: I`ll tell you that at our news meeting today when we talked
about the results of the Mississippi personhood bill, the way I talked
about -- the way I presented the issue to the staff today, I said, well,
you know, this is going to be a real issue for Mitt Romney going forward,
because Mitt Romney has been so shellacked on the flip-flopping thing, that
he can`t come out and say, I wasn`t for the personhood amendment. He had
said he was absolutely for this thing that got completely beaten,
horrifically in Mississippi.
What`s he going to do? He can`t come out and say he wasn`t for it.
He can`t do that. He already looks like such a flip-flopper, what`s he
going to do?
By the time the news meeting was out, "Politico" was already reporting
he wasn`t for the personhood amendment. I sent that out to the staff with
the subject line "ha-ha ha-ha."
It`s been a weird day. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Last night, the great state of Mississippi elected its next
governor in a landslide. This guy, Haley Barbour`s lieutenant governor,
Phil Bryant, beat the Democrat in the rates by more than 20 points, so the
Republican candidate, Phil Bryant, won in Mississippi last night.
But according to Phil Bryant`s own logic, Satan also won in
Mississippi last night. Going into yesterday`s election, this is how Phil
Bryant described the vote on a Mississippi ballot measure that would have
defined a fertilized egg as a person.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LT. GOV. PHIL BRYANT (R), MISSISSIPPI: This is a battle of good and
evil. The evil dark side that exists in this world is taking hold. And
they`re saying, what we want you to be able to do is to continue to
extinguish innocent life. You see, if we could do that, Satan wins.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Satan wins.
See? In the governor-elect`s allegory there, what Satan wants is for
the personhood amendment, which would ban all abortions and hormonal birth
control and some fertility treatments and open up miscarriages for criminal
investigation. In his allegory there, it was Satan who wanted that to fail
As it turns out, that measure did fail in Mississippi, but a huge
margin, by double digits. So the state`s next governor has the voters of
Mississippi to thank both for his and for Satan`s victories in last night`s
Mississippi election. And now he is faced with the unique challenge of
governing an electorate that he has accused of voting for Satan by a 16-
point margin, which would be awkward.
The Mississippi electorate is a very conservative one. These
fertilized egg as person measures have not done well elsewhere in the
country. But the common wisdom that sprung up around the Mississippi one
was that it would pass there because it`s Mississippi.
I mean, in 2001, Mississippi voted to keep the Confederate flag as a
part of its state flag by a 28-point margin. In 2004, Mississippi voted to
ban gay marriage by a 72-point margin -- 72 points was the margin of
victory. Every single county in Mississippi voted in favor of the gay
marriage ban. That`s a simple map.
This year in 2011, a Public Policy Polling survey found only 40
percent of Mississippi Republicans think that interracial marriage should
So, Mississippi has a really radical, really conservative record when
it comes to their opinions and their voting record on other Mississippians`
Mississippi is also a really anti-abortion state. Survey USA polled
all 50 states on abortion rights in 2005. The national average was 56
percent of Americans identifying themselves as pro-choice. In Mississippi,
though, you can drop that by nearly 20 points, please. Only 39 percent of
Mississippians said they were pro-choice.
So the ban abortion and birth control and IVF folks probably figured
if they could get this fertilized egg as a person thing passed anywhere in
the country, it would be in Mississippi. They got Mike Huckabee and Bret
Favre`s wife to be celebrity endorsers. They produced a bunch of really
slick-looking ads. They had a ton of religious right money.
But, ultimately, a mostly grassroots opposition effort came together
against the personhood amendment and to the surprise of lots and lots and
lots of people, this happened. The scrappy, mostly homegrown DIY
opposition group defeated the personhood bill in Mississippi by a ton. The
no on personhood folks won more than 60 of the state`s 82 counties,
including Haley Barbour`s home county of Yazoo.
Look at Mississippi last night as compared to Mississippi in 2004 with
the gay marriage vote, which is not to same that this same electorate
wouldn`t vote to ban gay marriage again if given the chance, but the egg as
person thing really, really unpopular, which is why today, suddenly, the
Mitt Romney campaign is suddenly flailing around trying to make it sound
like he never supported something like this, when he told Mike Huckabee he
would have supported something like this in Massachusetts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUCKABEE: Would you have supported the constitutional amendment that
would have established the definition of life at conception?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: When we first saw that clip last among, we among the staff
here, we wonder if Mitt Romney had really meant what he`d just said -- if
he`d maybe somehow been tricked by Mike Huckabee. I mean, in this
interview, Mike Huckabee really giving him the business about his totally
communist abortiony Romneycare health reform. So maybe Mitt Romney was --
he just felt pressured, he was just saying whatever Mike Huckabee wanted to
We kept asking Mr. Romney campaign if he really meant it. If he
really was for a 100 percent, no exception abortions ban, and banning the
pill and banning in vitro fertilization and making miscarriages a site for
a criminal investigation. But the Romney campaign never returned our e-
Other people asked him about it too. "Politico," says, for example
that he would not respond to them when they asked about it.
But now -- now, that the Romney campaign realizes that this personhood
thing is really unpopular, so unpopular that it lost in a landslide even in
uber conservative Mississippi, the Romney campaign now today telling
"Politico" that Mr. Romney is being falsely characterized as supporting the
See? Clear as day. He doesn`t support that thing that everybody
hates. He just said that he would support it, absolutely. Don`t you see
the difference? Wow.
Joining us now is Terry O`Neill, president of the National
Organization for Women.
Terry, I know you spent last night refreshing your browser every five
seconds for election returns. So, thanks for staying up to be here
TERRY O`NEILL, PRESIDENT OF NOW: Thank you, Rachel. It`s great to be
MADDOW: Do you have an opinion about why Mitt Romney cannot make up
his mind about personhood?
O`NEILL: You know, I don`t understand it. And I`m really disturbed
by his suggestion that this should be thrown out to the states and allow
the states to make a decision. The last time I checked, a woman`s life is
a life worth saving. And you are just as much worth saving if you live in
the state of Mississippi if you live in the state of New York or New
So, I don`t know where he`s coming from with let`s let the state
decide when a woman can actually take steps to protect her own health and
when she can`t.
MADDOW: The thing is, though, in this case, it was Mississippi trying
to decide as a state. Mitt Romney said that he would absolutely support
something like that. Now that Mississippi has voted no for it, he says,
no, no, no, don`t say I was in favor.
Is there a -- is there a secret anti-abortion language by which what
he`s doing is making sense in some level? Is this one of those things
where there`s jargon within the anti-abortion movement that might make this
a consistent position, or is he just changing his mind about what he`s for?
O`NEILL: You know, I think he`s just changing his mind about what
he`s for. But it`s very interesting to me that the Catholic bishops did
not support the Mississippi personhood amendment. In fact, Phyllis
Schlafly`s Eagle Forum didn`t support it either.
And this thing has come up in Colorado. We`ve beaten it back twice in
But when it comes up in other places, when it`s proposed, it`s very
often couched in the way that Mike Huckabee couched it, in that life begins
at conception. Conception is actually a lot more kind of fuzzy term.
I looked that up on a medical dictionary online, and on the same Web
site, I saw one definition that said conception is fertilization of an egg,
and on the very same Web site it said, well, conception is implantation on
the uterine wall.
And hormonal birth control works to prevent implantation. So, on the
second definition, there`s no conception. On the first definition, there
would be conception.
And I think that there`s this debate going on within the right wing,
not only about what conception means. I think there is that debate. And
it`s a religious and philosophical debate.
But I think there`s also a debate going on inside the right wing about
what is the best way, frankly, to raise money on this issue and to -- and
to march in a very solid and predictable way towards overturning Roe versus
MADDOW: Well, we have seen, I think -- we have seen sort of parallel
but purportedly separate movements against abortion rights and against
access to contraception. Access to contraception is becoming a much more
open battlefield for the right in the past year or two.
I mean, we have a Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum,
who is openly campaigning against contraception. We`ve had House
Republicans in the past month convene hearings on trying to limit access to
contraception through health insurance regulations. We`ve got in
Wisconsin, at a special jobs-related session, the special session of the
legislature, Wisconsin Republicans voted to ban all discussion of
contraception in Wisconsin schools. I`m not exactly sure what that`s going
to do for jobs.
Are we seeing something that was sort of a proxy fight for a long
time, really become a frontline war in reproductive rights politics?
O`NEILL: You know, I think we are. And I think the good news, from
my point of view, is that the mask has really been ripped away from these
right-wing organizations that keep talking about abortion and keep talking
as if all they want to do is ban abortion, when, in fact, they are
interested in banning abortion and birth control.
And, you know, all of this talk on the right wing in Washington, D.C.,
about defunding the title ten family planning clinics, it`s not just
banning abortion and birth control, it`s STD screening, it`s mammograms and
cervical cancer screenings. It`s the entire range of reproductive health
care that women really need.
I think what we`re seeing now is the proof, and the Mississippi
personhood amendment fight, I think, really revealed this, that what is it
stake is whether women will have control over their own sexuality. This
withholding health care from women who are sexually active is really, I
think, motivated by this strange but persistent desire to control women
And I like the fact that in Mississippi, the voters of Mississippi,
who voted basically, 60-44, a very conservative, Republican governor.
They also voted virtually 60-44, 58-42, to say, no, we really do want
women to have access to birth control. And we really do want women to be
able to survive an ectopic pregnancy, which could kill them, and could have
killed them had this personhood initiative had passed. And we really do
want women to have the basic right to protect their own health.
When faced squarely with that question, even the very conservative
community in Mississippi said, no, they really want women to have access to
MADDOW: Terry O`Neill, president of the National Organization for
Women, thank you for your time tonight. It`s nice to have you here.
O`NEILL: Thank you so much.
MADDOW: There were issues on the ballot last night and individual
people on the ballot last tonight. There`s a reasonable debate about what
was the most significant issue, but there`s a pretty clear-cut most
significant person. That`s coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE TYSON (as Herman Cain): My vice presidential nominee will be a
computer program to think like Ronald Reagan.
VOICE: Please insert a jelly bean into my USB port. I run on jelly
beans like Ronald Reagan.
TYSON: I love you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You may not believe this, but I assure you it is true.
Something beat that for the title of "Best New Thing in the World Today".
That video, Mike Tyson as Herman Cain video from funnyordie.com was not the
"Best New Thing in the World Today". It was edged out to the actual "Best
New Thing in the World Today", which is related to that. Ha! It`s coming
MADDOW: Before last night, no lawmaker had ever lost his or her job
in a recall election in the history of the great state of Arizona. Before
last night, no state senate president had ever been recalled in the history
of the United States of America. Both of those precedents were established
last night by this guy, Russell Pearce, recalled from office by a big
margin from last night.
For a long time, Russell Pearce has been the most powerful Republican
in the state of Arizona who is not the governor, Jan Brewer. And some say
he`s been even more powerful than she is. Russell Pearce was the architect
of SB-1070, the Arizona law to demand documentation, to demand papers from
anyone who looked like they might be an illegal immigrant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: What does an illegal immigrant look like? Does it look
GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: I do not know. I do not know what an
illegal immigrant looks like. I can tell you that I think that there are
people in Arizona that assume they know what an illegal immigrant looks
like. I don`t know if they know that for a fact or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Russell Pearce was the lead sponsor of the papers, please,
law in Arizona. At the time, he was head of the senate appropriations
committee and reportedly a maxed out recipient of campaign donations from
two of Arizona`s largest for-profit prison companies. One convenient
consequence of SB-1070, of course, is that it would result of lots more
people locked up in Arizona on suspicion of immigration crimes.
Immigration crimes are federal crimes. Federal detention facilities
are run by these for-profit prison companies. So, more people picked up on
immigration charges, more money for the federal prison industry. Those
dots are not that far apart. They`re not that hard to connect.
Even before the "papers please" law, Russell Pearce has been trying to
privatize the prison system in Arizona, so that every time anybody got
locked up for anything, it would benefit these for-profit prison companies.
It`s not hard to imagine how some state lawmakers get to be very, very
powerful in their states. And it`s not hard to understand how some state
lawmakers get to be very, very radical in their stays.
But Russell Pearce is one of those guys who makes you wonder how a
politician can get so powerful while still being so radical. Russell
Pearce as state senate president, in a state in the United States of
America, talked about nullifying federal laws in that state, essentially
Arizona seceding from the nation. He tried to conjure up ways to impeach
President Obama from Arizona.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSELL PEARCE: This is the first time in the history of the United
States a sitting president has sided with a foreign governor -- government,
to sue the citizens of its country, for defending our laws, for defending
and protecting the citizens of the state of Arizona? It`s outrageous and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Russell Pearce once sent an e-mail to his supporters that
included a racist white national screed, saying the media was pushing on
the unsuspecting public a view of the world, quote, "in which every voice
proclaims the equality of the races, the inerrant nature of the Jewish,
quote, `Holocaust` tale, the wickedness of attempting to the halt the flood
of non-white aliens pouring across our borders."
Russell Pearce sent that out to his supporters in Arizona, then later
half-apologizing, saying that he didn`t really know what it was.
Russell Pearce has also been assailed by his critics in Arizona for
his longtime relationship with this neo Nazi, J.T. Ready, one of those
vigilante guys with a gun at the border.
But now as one of the most powerful Republicans in the state with a
huge amount of money, he outspent his opponent three to one. He even tried
to dirty trick where he invented a fake Democratic opponent to try to split
the vote against him. Russell Pearce has been recalled from office by a
lot, his own district, recalled him last night, and replaced with a guy
who`s kind of a normal Republican.
The only thing that is harder to believe than the fact that Russell
Pearce is gone now is that he was there in the first place. That somebody
that radical could be that powerful in a state like Arizona.
Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona.
Congressman, thank you very much for your time tonight. It`s nice to
have you here.
REP. RAUL GRIJALVA (D), ARIZONA: Hi, Rachel. Thank you.
MADDOW: Why do you think that Russell Pearce was recalled?
GRIJALVA: I think that at some point, the basic decency of the people
in Arizona and certainly in this district came to force. Excellent work on
the part of many people to organize, certainly the now-elect Senator Lewis
put together a wonderful team. People like Randy Pares, Peter Falcon did a
lot of work to energize, build a coalition of people that were -- wanted
decency returned to our policy making.
Russell Pearce has been a power in this state. He`s now gone. And so
his defeat sends a ripple effect not only across the state, but I think
across the nation, because many people have tried to mimic what he does and
use that as a caliper to keep themselves in office or to get elected. So,
it was a resounding message, and for those of us in Arizona that feel that
decency should take over, it was a really good night.
MADDOW: The man replacing Russell Pearce in the Senate is not a
Democrat. He seems like a mainstream Republican. His name is Jerry Lewis.
Is this being seen as a progressive victory? Or is this really more about
Russell Pearce, almost beyond partisan politics?
GRIJALVA: I think almost beyond partisan politics. It`s about, you
know, Senator-elect Lewis is a Republican. He`s a moderate, he`s a
But there`s a level of civility to what he brings to the table, which
has been missing in Arizona politics since the extreme wing of the
Republican Party took over.
You know, without Russell Pearce, I don`t know what Jan Brewer`s going
to do. She`s got no one to take direction from. Russell Pearce was the
architect of all this debacle we`re having with our redistricting
And so, his defeat is a domino effect. And many people in this state
are going to have to reconsider that they can`t use those same politics,
those anti-immigrant politics to cover up the fact that there`s a legacy of
So I think the people in Arizona are looking for solutions, they`re
tired of the rhetoric, it hasn`t worked, and they`re tired of the
reputation this state has acquired as a consequence of people like Russell
Pearce and the policies that he promoted, and, unfortunately, got passed
through this legislature.
MADDOW: U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona -- thanks
very much for joining us tonight, sir. Thanks for being here.
GRIJALVA: Thank you, Rachel. Appreciate it.
MADDOW: Right after this show on "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence
O`Donnell, Lawrence will be breaking down tonight`s Republican presidential
debate. Lots to talk about there.
And here among other things, yesterday`s elections were also sort of
gay. Yes, I know, but I`m telling you, it`s true. That story`s next.
MADDOW: "Best New Thing in the World Today" is coming up tonight with
popcorn and Ronald Reagan and stuff.
And also, the ways last night`s elections were sort of gay, in a good
way, and in a bad way. That`s next.
MADDOW: On a night that was pretty bleak for Republicans across the
country, one place where Republicans thought they would have a huge night
was in the commonwealth of Virginia. Democrats control the state senate in
Virginia by a narrow margin and Republicans heading into last night thought
that they would take it back. It turns out it`s close.
Democrats promising a recount effort in a deciding race where the
sides are only about 200 votes apart right now. Even as the question of
who controls the Virginia senate remains unsettled, one thing is sure from
last night`s results: Virginia is getting its first-ever openly gay state
senator, a Democrat from the northern part of the state.
It turns out last night was generally a big night for gay candidates
and causes. The cities of Indianapolis and Houston and Charlotte, North
Carolina, all got their first-ever openly gay city counselors. As did
Cincinnati -- Cincinnati, Ohio -- where the city charter was once amended
to make clear that it is A-OK in Cincinnati to discriminate against people
for being gay. The councilman elected last night in Cincinnati had been
instrumental in repealing that.
The mayor of Houston, Texas, Annise Parker, is also openly gay. She
won a second term yesterday, despite ads against her like this one. Oh,
no, if she`s re-elected, this might happen! Also, this drag queen may
appear in ads for gay stuff, and Annise Parker will greet women by air
kissing them on the street, like straight people do, too.
Will this be your future, Houston?! Will it?! Turns out it will.
Annise Parker, re-elected.
But that wasn`t the weirdest thing anti-gay thing in the elections
yesterday. Last night, as you know, Maine voters rejected a Republican
bill that ended the ability to register to vote on Election Day in Maine.
The Republican -- it had been a long-standing thing that you could do
in Maine, 38 years. Republicans took it away. Last night, voters
In the lead up to the vote, the Maine state Republican Party cited a
few reasons why they thought it was critical that Maine residents must not
be able to register to vote on Election Day anymore, including this ad that
the state`s Republican Party ran in Maine newspapers. Registering to vote
on Election Day, according to the Republican Party of Maine, it`s a gay
conspiracy -- a gay experience meant to corrupt democracy itself! Same
day, voter -- yes.
That`s not even the weirdest, totally gratuitous anti-gay thing from
yesterday`s election, though. That distinction goes to a robocall by a
shadowy group, person, lady voice against a Democratic candidate who is not
gay in Iowa. The group says it`s called Citizens for Honesty and Sound
Marriage in Iowa, and just before the senate election in Iowa, which pitted
Democrat Liz Mathis against Republican Cindy Golding, some unsuspecting
Iowa residents picked up their phones and heard this.
This is amazing. Listen to this:
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Liz Mathis also endorses homosexual marriage.
Homosexual marriage obviously involves homosexual sex. So before you
support Liz Mathis, call her at 391 (BLEEP) and ask her which homosexual
sex act she endorses.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes. Nobody has been able to figure out who was behind that
call. This group, Citizens for Honesty and Sound Marriage, "chasm," they
don`t have a Web site. A local reporter tried to trace their number and
didn`t come up with anything.
The Republican campaign for that senate race said they had nothing to
do with it. The National Organization for Marriage, better known as NOM,
NOM, NOM, an anti-gay group, that did get involved in this race on the side
of the Republican candidate, NOM, NOM, NOM, also disavowed this anti-gay
But it`s amazing, right? Amazing. Call her up and ask her which gay
sex act she`s in favor of.
The Beltway keeps telling us this year that conservatives are over all
the social issues, anti-gay stuff, right? That was Karl Rove era, that was
Bush administration era. They`re all over that now. Now, they`re all
about fiscal issues.
Really? Ask Iowa about that. Ask Maine.
MADDOW: "Best New Thing in the World Today" -- confirmation of the
long-standing but not necessarily defamatory rumor that President Reagan
did not exactly mind-reading. But if he had the choice, he would prefer to
receive his intelligence briefings in video format. And since a president
tends to get what with a president want, the CIA made briefings for
President Reagan into movies that he could watch. And now they have just
declassified a bunch of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: The ninth day of your summit trip will be the final day in
Moscow. Following some brief remarks and a mix and mingle session with
embassy personnel and their families at Spaso House, you and Mrs. Reagan
travel to St. George`s Hall for a farewell with general secretary and Mrs.
Then it`s off to the airport and the official departure ceremony.
Departure time will be 11:00 a.m., with Air Force One scheduled to arrive
at London`s Heathrow Airport early that afternoon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Since London`s not in the middle of the Atlantic, hopefully
the president was not relying on these videos for too much geographical
Other CIA videos were designed to prime President Reagan on Soviet
politics, on Soviet media portrayals of the United States. There was also
this totally awesome one on this Soviet space program. Look at this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: As it has evolved over the years, the Soviet space program
might be described as something with a dual personality, a Jekyll and Hyde,
so to speak. That is, it exists of two parts. One that is highly visible
and acceptable to the public, while the other moves in a sort of shadow
land and is cloaked in high secrecy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: A dual personality, a Jekyll and Hyde, and one in the shadow
land. Even I`m intrigue. Reagan liked that particular video so much, he
wrote in his diary, he wrote in his diary after watching it. He wrote,
"saw a CIA classified video on the Soviet space program, they are much
farther ahead than most people realize and their main effort has been
Here`s how he learned that from the movie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Since the early 1970s, the Soviets have focused their
effort on space systems for military support. As mentioned at the
beginning of this presentation, Soviet space caverns can be divided into
two parts: military and scientific.
This is also true within the manned space station program. While
Soyuz I, IV, and VI are all involved in scientific research with some
military applications, Soyuz II, III, and V are clearly part of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The military program. See? The spooky music makes it all so
much more believable.
The CIA also put in movie form for President Reagan what was going on
in Afghanistan in the 1980s. You can roll that one. This is great.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Moscow faces some formidable tasks in its efforts to prop
up the unpopular Marxist regime in Kabul. Even the Soviets can see that
the insurgents dominate most of the country. The tribesman, although still
alarmingly short of the weapons needed to combat invaders, continue to
receive supplies from sources outside the country.
It`s unlikely that the Soviets will be able to effectively close the
Afghan borders in the mountainous war zones. "I`ve often wondered," said
one of the rebels in a mountain encampment, "why Allah gave us mountains
and ravines instead of rich, flat plains. Now I know why."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s possible that video on Afghanistan should still be
mandatory presidential viewing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: This tele-production, a current assessment of the nuclear
accident at Chernobyl was produced in the director of intelligence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Produced in the director of intelligence because the
president likes movies, so that`s how he`ll get his intel. The CIA`s
YouTube channel now showing how President Reagan liked his intel briefings
to be acted out with spooky music, definitely the "Best New Thing in the
But tomorrow, did you hear what they`re declassifying tomorrow?
Nixon`s Watergate testimony, Nixon`s grand jury testimony on Watergate,
which nobody`s ever seen, comes out tomorrow along with 45,000 other new
pages of Watergate stuff.
If Election Day is like Christmas. For civics dorks, this is like
Christmas, birthday, graduation, anniversary, Hogmanay all rolled into one.
Very exciting week in the news.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell. Have a
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