updated 11/17/2011 10:08:50 AM ET 2011-11-17T15:08:50

Guests: Eugene Robinson, Al Sharpton, John Hodgman


RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thank you.

And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.

Tell me if this reminds you of anything. This is about a year before
the presidential election. This is the front-runner for the Republican
nomination. He sat down with a local but hard nosed aggressive reporter.

And the candidate totally blew it. Just fell right on his face. What
does this remind you of?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Can you name the president of Chechnya?

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: No, can you?

REPORTER: Name the president of Taiwan?

BUSH: Yes. Lee.

REPORTER: Can you name the general who`s in charge of Pakistan?

BUSH: Is this a 50 questions?

REPORTER: No, it`s four questions of four leaders and four hot spots.

BUSH: The Pakistani general has just been elected. He`s not elected.
This guy took over office. He appears he`s going to bring stability to the
country. Think that`s good news you.

REPORTER: You can name him?

BUSH: The general. I can name the general.

REPORTER: And it`s in.

BUSH: General.

REPORTER: Finally, I asked Bush to identify the leader of India`s
government.

And the prime minister of India?

BUSH: The new prime minister of India is -- no.

REPORTER: Which led to this.

BUSH: Can you name the foreign minister of Mexico?

REPORTER: No, sir. No, sir, but I would say to that, I`m not running
for president.

BUSH: I understand. I understand. But the point I say to you is
that, you know, if what you`re suggesting is, is that -- what I`m
suggesting to you, if you can`t name the foreign minister of Mexico,
therefore, you know, you`re not capable of what you do. But the truth of
the matter is you are, whether you can or not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Truth of the matter is you is. Does that remind you of
anybody at all?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Are you ready for the gotcha questions? They`re coming
from the media.

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m ready for the gotcha
questions. They`re already starting to come. When they ask me who`s the
president of Ubecky, becky, becky, becky, stan, stan. I`m going to say, I
don`t know, do you know?

REPORTER: Can you name the president of Chechnya?

BUSH: No, can you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: People say it is impossible the Herman Cain art project could
result in a Republican presidential nomination, but why not?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: You agreed with President Obama on Libya or not?

CAIN: OK. Libya. I do not agree with the way he handled it for the
following reason. Nope. That`s a different one.

REPORTER: And the prime minister of India?

BUSH: The new prime minister of India is -- no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: In year 2000, people apparently did not care about picking a
guy who had foreign policy chops.

Today, President Obama made his first trip to Australia as president
and made the surprise announcement there that 250 U.S. Marines are going to
be stationed there starting next year. Eventually, 2,500 American troops
are going to be rotated through Australia. President Obama says it will be
a permanent outpost for us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are here to stay.
This is a region of huge strategic importance to us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The posting of U.S. Marines in Australia is being seen as a
brush back to China, essentially asserting America`s place in that very far
flung part of the world. Now whether sending the Marines to Australia
seems to you like a bad use of the U.S. military or a great use of the U.S.
military, that move today did afford the opportunity in our domestic
politics for the Republican Party`s presidential hopefuls to show off their
own foreign policy chops.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m the only
candidate that`s running right now that is currently engaged in foreign
policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Michele Bachmann. You know, in their infinite wisdom, the
Republican Party in the House did decide to put Michele Bachmann on the
intelligence committee this year. So, as a candidate, she is trying to use
that to claim foreign policy expertise -- letting Iowa voters know today
that she is Johnny on the spot when it comes to all the latest on foreign
policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard this morning on the local station here
in Spencer, Iowa, Obama was sending troops to Australia. Yes, that`s what
I heard.

BACHMANN: Are you kidding? For what reason?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know.

BACHMANN: Now, that`s -- OK -- -- I don`t know what that reason is,
but I will definitely look into that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN: Michele Bachmann currently, I guess, looking into it.

Do you remember at the dawn of Rick Perry? Part of the reason we knew
that Rick Perry was getting into the race for president was they kept
leaking that Rick Perry was meeting with foreign leaders. Remember? In
his capacity as Texas governor, of course, he happened to need to meet with
the former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf. Also with the prime
minister of Latvia. Rick Perry looks like governor of Texas but in
actuality, he`s an international statesman.

It seemed like Rick Perry, himself, believed that enough to go for it
on foreign policy at first in the debates. That overconfidence, however,
led to tragedies like this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MODERATOR: Governor Perry, if you were president and got a call at
3:00 a.m. telling you that Pakistan had lost control of its nuclear weapons
at the hands of the Taliban, what would be your first move?

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, obviously,
before you ever get to that point, you have to build a relationship in that
region, and that`s one of the things that this administration has not done.
Just yesterday we found out through Admiral Mullen that Haqqani has been
involved with, and that`s the terrorist group directly associated with the
Pakistani country. So to have a relationship with India, to make sure that
India knows that they are an ally of the United States. For instance, when
we had the opportunity to sell India the upgraded F-16s, we chose not to do
that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: So, if Rick Perry were president, he got the 3:00 a.m. phone
call saying Pakistan has lost control of its nuclear weapons, he would make
sure that we sold India some F-16s, which we already did.

Whatever Rick Perry meant about what`s associated with the Pakistani
country, the other candidates realized in that moment -- this is when Rick
Perry was flying high. Other candidates realized this was an advantage to
seize an advantage over Rick Perry. Here`s Rick Santorum making his move.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To answer the question on
Pakistan, I`m not too sure was answered --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Rick Santorum, very excited, going in on Rick Perry because
Rick Perry didn`t make sense on Pakistan. As you can see, Rick Santorum
has come up with his own answer on this and he`s going to hit a home run
where Rick Perry has just struck out.

You can see the gleam in his eye. He`s super excited. He`s going in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: We should be establishing relationships in Pakistan with
allies of ours, folks like, you know, relationships with president
Musharraf, with others in the country. If, in fact, something like that
would occur, we could work in concert to make sure that coup could be
overturned and make sure the weapons do not fall into those hands.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Rick Santorum saying if he got the call at 3:00 a.m. that
Pakistan lost control of its nukes, he would call the former president of
Pakistan, President Musharraf, the former -- I think who is in Texas right
now meeting with guys like Rick Perry.

Rick Santorum when in the senate was on the intelligence committee.
Michele Bachmann is still on the intelligence committee, which is amazing.
Rick Perry did apparently have some fixer hook him up with a meeting with
the prime minister of Latvia and Pervez Musharraf. This guy tried to
develop some expertise on foreign policy, it`s not just really working out
this year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you view China as a potential military threat
to the United States?

CAIN: Yes, they`re a military threat. They`ve indicated they`re
trying to development nuclear capability.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: For the record, China is not trying to develop nuclear
capability. They have had nuclear weapons since 1964.

The Herman Cain campaign has tried to deal with its foreign policy
problem every time it manifests, using a few different strategies. At one
point, his campaign told the "Daily Caller" Web site that Mr. Cain was
getting a one-page briefing on foreign policy issues almost every day. A
full page, almost every day.

But when things did not get any better, despite that extensive
briefing, instead of trying to explain it away, make people try to not
worry about it, they have now tried to turn this into an asset. Mr. Cain
telling the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" after his interview if which he
didn`t know what Libya was, he`s telling "The Journal Sentinel," quote,
"I`m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy."

To be fair, Mr. Cain also says that about things other than foreign
policy. He also says now he`s not supposed to really know much about much.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: I`m often criticized about the fact that I`ve never held public
office. And criticized that I don`t know this and I don`t know that and I
don`t know that and I don`t know this. You know, a leader doesn`t have to
know everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: I don`t think I have to try to prove this anymore. I think
the evidence is overwhelming. Can we just concede that we agree on this?

No, you need more? OK. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Would you favor a military strike against Iran to stop that
country from developing a nuclear capability?

CAIN: That`s not a practical top-tier alternative, and here`s why.
If you look at the topography of Iran, where are you going to strike? It`s
very mountainous. That`s what makes it very difficult.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The American military needs flatness. If there isn`t
flatness, we can`t do anything. Bumpy areas, steep areas, steepness is
very peaceful. Has to be.

Mr. Cain went on to say he would consult -- actually, just play it.
Just play it. Come on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: The United States to unilaterally go in and attack Iran, to try
and stop them, I would want to consult with the intelligence community, the
commanders on the ground in that part of the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Before attacking Iran, Herman Cain would want to consult with
America`s military commanders on the ground in Iran. See, they must be in
the flat part.

Today, at a campaign stop in Miami, Herman Cain asked, how do you say
delicious in Cuban? In what? In Cuban, he asked.

All right. The common wisdom right now about the weakness of the
Republican field on the issue of foreign policy and all things foreign is
that it doesn`t matter very much. This isn`t going to be a foreign policy
election, so who cares if Rick Perry can`t tell Pakistan from Pashmina?
Who really cares that this guy cannot tell becky, becky, becky from 9-9-9?
Although today, Herman Cain tried to make it nueve, nueve, nueve, which is
awesome, and also, I`m just saying, I win.

The other reason there`s no generalized alarm about this in the
Republican field is because the common wisdom that Republican candidates,
no matter how individually idiotic they may appear on international issues,
they sort of count on the Republican Party having a good brand on national
security and foreign policy. That is the Beltway common wisdom. That
common wisdom may be changing.

"The New York Times" today quoting Republican foreign policy
heavyweights who are not pleased with this crop of Republican candidates
and all the stuff they keep screwing up on foreign issues. A former George
W. Bush national security official telling the "Times" quote, "This is the
core of the Republican brand. You mess with it at your peril. Republicans
should be concerned about this."

A former White House counsel for the first President Bush saying,
quote, "People are taking this stuff in stride. But at some point, the
public picks up on it."

Ronald Reagan`s former chief of staff saying, quote, honestly the
Republican debates have become a reality show. People have to be perceived
as being capable of governing this country.:

Now that we`re less than two months out from the voting in Iowa,
candidates trying to get themselves into the top tier, trying to keep
themselves in the top tier are realizing they do have to make some gesture
toward seriousness on foreign policy, make some gesture toward not being
laughably ignorant on foreign policy. And so, they are starting to go
after each other on this.

Newt Gingrich saying about Herman Cain on a conservative radio show
today, quote, "I think it`s fairly important in a dangerous world to have a
president who knows something about foreign policy."

Take that Mr. I don`t need to know anything about foreign policy. I
think it is at least encouraging that Mr. Gingrich is trying to say foreign
policy matters. That said, glass house, throwing stones. Newt Gingrich
this year, you will remember, went from demanding U.S. intervention in
Libya before President Obama made that decision, to totally reversing his
position and insisting we should not do that once President Obama decided
what we should do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: What would you do about Libya?

GINGRICH: Exercise a no-fly zone this evening. Communicate to the
Libyan military that Gadhafi was gone. This is a moment to get rid of him.
Do it. Get it over with.

I would not have intervened. I think there are a lot of other ways to
affect Gadhafi. I would not have used American and European forces.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Newt Gingrich is trying to sound like the serious guy on
foreign policy. But like the other Republican candidates this year, he has
not exactly distinguished himself on this.

In order to seem like a serious candidate, you have to seem like you
can handle some basics of foreign policy. That`s why it`s important for
the likely nominee, Mitt Romney, to seem serious on this issue as well.
But Mitt Romney, in turns, for all his perceived seriousness, is just as
bad as the rest of them on basic foreign policy issues.

ABC News recently adding up Mitt Romney`s positions on the issue just
of Libya, they ended up with a grand total of five. First, it was that
President Obama didn`t act fast enough. And, then, Mitt Romney decided
that he would go totally silent on the issue. No comment at all. Then,
Mr. Romney argued that Mr. Obama was being too aggressive in Libya.

Then Mitt Romney cheered Mr. Obama`s aggressiveness after Gadhafi was
toppled. And finally, Mitt Romney returned to his original position which
is that President Obama didn`t act fast enough.

The response so far to anybody who might question whether or not Mitt
Romney knows anything about foreign policy, he`s never worked in foreign
policy in his life, the response from the Republican establishment is
essentially don`t worry, he`s surrounding himself with a great foreign
policy team. That`s what they said about George W. Bush, too.

In the case of Mitt Romney, though, the great foreign policy team that
Mitt Romney is loading up with are foreign policy advisers from the last
Republican administration, which would be the administration of George W.
Bush.

If there`s one thing the American people think of when they want to be
comforted about foreign policy expertise, naturally, it`s the
administration of George W. Bush.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Can you name the president of Chechnya?

BUSH: No, can you?

REPORTER: And the prime minister of India?

BUSH: The new prime minister of India is -- no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: No. Joining us now is Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for
"The Washington Post" and MSNBC political analyst, Gene Robinson.

Gene, I`m sorry about the banner.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: The banner is great.

MADDOW: I want to stop saying. I figured I would show it instead.

ROBINSON: We`ve talked about this before. I`m down with your theory.
I`m with you on this. It`s true. It has to be an art project -- getting a
little old, but never mind.

MADDOW: The art project or the assertion?

ROBINSON: No, the art project.

MADDOW: Yes, you know, foreign policy is supposed to be a big
political strength for the Republican Party, broadly speaking. Is this a
throw in the towel moment? Is this all of the campaigns saying, you know
what, we don`t care so it doesn`t matter if we screw it up? Or are they
actually trying and just failing?

ROBINSON: I think they`re trying at this point. Look, Mitt Romney in
a normal cycle, we`d say, you know, he`s a fairly credible candidate. He`s
a little weak on foreign policy.

Compared to this field, he looks like Benjamin Disraeli -- Henry
Kissinger, name your sage. You can chalk up his five positions on Libya to
the Republican imperative to be against whatever Obama is for. He must
have done something wrong. Even if, you know, I would have done the same
thing. He must have done something wrong.

Maybe this is just wishful thinking that Romney is not a total foreign
policy idiot, because frankly, the rest of them sound like foreign policy
idiots.

MADDOW: Graded on the curve.

ROBINSON: Yes.

MADDOW: Once Republicans do pick a candidate, and they want their
nominee, if only for the sake of the party, to not look disqualified on
foreign policy, how do they do that? I mean, what George W. Bush did,
everybody thought -- I mean, that performance made an impact in 1999. It
was about this time in the campaign, in the 2000 presidential campaign, and
the way that the Republican establishment reassured everybody is they said:
don`t worry, people like Dick Cheney and his dad`s advisers will be around
and they`re grown-ups.

Who are the grown-ups now that are available to a Republican nominee?
Everybody`s a George W. Bush person.

ROBINSON: Exactly. I mean, they`re all kind of associated with and
dare I say tainted by that association with the Bush administration. So,
what`s hard to figure exactly where you go to -- you`ve got to, you know,
you`re going to have to search through the weeds and try to find the few
Republican leaning foreign policy experts who had doubts about Iraq and
there were some, and who weren`t really in favor of torture, and there were
some, although I guess that would be for OK for candidates.

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW: It wouldn`t bother them.

ROBINSON: Torture is very popular.

MADDOW: Is there an opening for Ron Paul? I ask that seriously.

Ron Paul, perking up in the polls right now in Iowa. He has a very
distinctive foreign policy vision. He`s a Pat Buchanan-esque isolationist.
Something that clear from any one of these candidates, and it`s seemingly
informed on the issue, more than any of these guys at least seem to be.

Could that be an attraction in a field that is essentially a vacuum on
this issue?

ROBINSON: You know, I think that can get him some support. I don`t
think it can get him the nomination, but it can get him some support. The
problem is that, I think there is this growing sense in the Republican
Party, this growing faction in the Republican Party, that is more
isolationist, that thinks we ought to bring back the troops and do what Ron
Paul essentially said we should to.

However, some of those people who go to the Ron Paul side are going to
hear him start talking about the Austrian economic school and how we should
all be wheeling around our wheelbarrows full of gold ingots to do our
shopping and they`re going to say, that`s a little too far.

MADDOW: Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The
Washington Post" and good humored friend to sit here while I was doing
ridiculous things with a banner, thanks.

ROBINSON: This banner goes in the Smithsonian.

MADDOW: Thank you, Gene.

All right. Tonight on the interview, it`s John Hodgman from the
"Daily Show." He`s here. He has some angle on Occupy Wall Street that he
will not tell me about, but I predict it will be detailed, strange, and
strangely detailed. John Hodgman just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: The Reverend Al Sharpton is my guest coming up next.

And the interview tonight is the one and only John Hodgman. That`s
coming up. That is all.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: You may love Thanksgiving, you may hate it, I don`t know.
It`s your business. But you know who never finds Thanksgiving fun? The
turkey.

The turkey is always invited and never wants to go. The turkey does
not care whether your grant aunt puts marshmallows in the sweet potato
casserole or not. The turkey does not care if the stuffing is actually
stuffing or is in fact dressing cooked on the side. The turkey just knows
that it does not love Thanksgiving.

It`s kind of like when you`re a governor, like Wisconsin Scott Walker,
say, and your constituents decide they`re going to try to recall you. A
campaign to recall Governor Walker started yesterday. These photos were
posted yesterday on the liberal Web site Daily Kos from the rally in
Milwaukee.

The recall effort from their perspective looked pretty much like party
at this point. Look at this -- they made a big battery powered sign out of
LED Christmas lights you can carry around with you, lights and all.
"Recall Walker" in bright, glowing LEDs.

They carried that sign around Governor Walker`s neighborhood while
they collected signatures for their recall petitions. From the perspective
of the recallers, recalls are fun, as long as you`re not the turkey, right?

The subject of the recall effort, Governor Scott Walker today told
public radio that this idea of recalling Scott Walker he thinks is a bad
idea.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I think most of your listeners
across America probably are scratching their head on the recall to begin
with, because most states have recalled and say misconduct in office, some
sort of thing like that, that triggers it, not just I disagree or agree
with a piece of legislation.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: Recalling Scott Walker a bad idea according to Scott Walker.
The effort to recall him gets under way this week, a brand new poll says a
large majority of Wisconsin voters do want the recall effort against him to
succeed. They say they would vote to throw Governor Walker out of office.

This is a new news. Democrats have always wanted to get rid of
Governor Walker by a huge margin. Now nearly a quarter of Wisconsin
Republicans said they, too, would like to vote to recall Scott Walker.

The Wisconsin Republicans who say they want to recall Walker tend to
be younger. They also tend to make less money than other Republicans.

And perhaps totally unrelated Wisconsin news, Republicans have moved
this week to make it much harder to vote in Wisconsin. If you`re a student
at a technical college, students at technical colleges do tend to be
younger than your average voter and they tend not to come from highfalutin
backgrounds. Wisconsin Republicans this year passed a law that says you
cannot vote anymore in Wisconsin unless you show documentation you`ve never
had to show before and hundreds of thousands of eligible Wisconsin voters
don`t have.

After Republicans initially said a college ID would not allow you to
vote in Wisconsin at all, a deal was worked out so college ID would allow
you to vote, except now Republicans are specifically trying to block IDs
from technical colleges.

There are 47 technical colleges in Wisconsin. It`s this huge system.
There are 400,000 Wisconsinites who go to these schools. That`s 10 percent
of all the voting age population of the state.

But with your ID from that school, one in 10 Wisconsinites, you can`t
vote, at least if the Republicans get their way.

One Democratic lawmaker responding, quote, "Why do you want to treat
tech college students as second class citizens?" Maybe because 10 percent
matters in a close election, like a close recall election of your party`s
unpopular governor, maybe.

All year, we`ve seen Republican legislatures and Republican governors
work to roll back voting rights. In Maine last week, voters repealed a
Republican law that made voting harder. Voters put back the right to
register to vote and vote on Election Day, which Republicans had taken
away.

Now, like Wisconsin, Maine Republicans say they want to block you from
voting anymore in Maine unless you show documentation you`ve never had to
show before and many eligible Maine voters do not have.

In Ohio, this year, Republicans passed a law that cuts early voting in
half and cuts absentee voting by almost as much. In September, a campaign
to repeal that law delivered petitions to put it on the ballot this year.
They got help in collecting the petitions from the Obama re-election
campaign in Ohio. It`s a sign of how important Democrats think voting
rights are to their political prospects in crucial swing states like Ohio.

But even with that help from the Obama campaign, the petition drive on
the Ohio early voting thing has fallen short so far by about 10,000
signatures. Ohio Democrats say they will turn in 150,000 more signatures
this week, more than enough. And they say they`ll turn them in in plenty
of time.

But the fact that they got national help from the Obama re-election
campaign and still had to go out a second time makes you wonder how strong
the fight back is for the activists sticking up for voting rights, sticking
up for voting rights against very, very, very concerted Republican
opposition.

Joining us now is the Reverend Al Sharpton. He`s host of MSNBC`s
"POLITICS NATION." He`s the founder and president of the National Action
Network and he`s an activist on voting rights and many other issues.

Reverend Sharpton, it is great to have you here. Thank you.

AL SHARPTON, "POLITICS NATION" HOST: Glad to be with you.

MADDOW: You have seen a lot of organizing campaigns on a lot of
issues. The effort to oppose Republicans rolling back voting rights in the
states this year, how do you think that effort is going?

SHARPTON: I think it`s going well. It needs to go even better,
though. I think, the fact is, you have framed it right. This is a very
serious voter rights issue. Not just a partisan issue.

The ramifications of this clearly are designed for 2012, but it will
go beyond that. Because in many ways, it will disenfranchise large
percentages of voters ongoing. And I think that is where it must be framed
-- seniors who don`t have a lot of the IDs and a lot of young people,
disproportionately African-Americans. I think 25 percent.

When you look at Wisconsin, when you`re talking about first college
students, now technical college students. You`re talking about age.
You`re talking about a class situation. And it is really geared toward the
voters that are most likely to vote against someone like Governor Walker.

So, there`s clear politics here, but it really speaks to the heart of
voting rights in this country.

MADDOW: And it also dovetails very nicely with groups that are
probably least organized and, therefore, least able to fight back when
their voting rights are taken away. I guess that`s why the Ohio result
seems important to me. The fact that they didn`t get enough signatures
first pass, they say they will ultimately, but even with Organizing for
America, the Obama group (ph), trying to help them out, they did not turn
in enough signatures.

Do you think that`s an ominous sign?

SHARPTON: I think that can be, but it also could be an energizing
sign. Because it could mean we`ve got to dig in deeper, it could mean
there`s got to be a lot more focus and a lot more public education because
people need to "A," know what is at stake, and "B" know it is not hopeless.
A lot of people will just give up.

And I think people know they can win. When you look at the fact that
two state senators were recalled in Wisconsin, which no one felt when
Walker came in and his crew just totally went after collective bargaining
and voting rights.

So, I think you have to try to convince people that if you do fight,
you can win, if you don`t fight, you`re guaranteed to lose.

MADDOW: Reverend Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC`s "POLITICS NATION,"
which airs at 6:00 p.m. here on MSNBC and is doing great. I just have to
tell you personally, your show is really creative and ambitious and cool.
I enjoy it every day.

SHARPTON: We don`t have a banner yet, though.

MADDOW: I can loan you mine. The other side is not yet written on.

SHARPTON: We speak Castro.

MADDOW: You speak Castro?

SHARPTON: It goes with our Cuban.

MADDOW: Reverend Al Sharpton. Thank you, sir.

SHAPRTON: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. John Hodgman is here for the interview tonight.
Stick around for that. Speaking Castro.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Late last Friday night, Secret Service agents say they heard
several gunshots near the White House in Washington. They then reportedly
witnessed a car speeding away westbound on Constitution Avenue. That car
and a semiautomatic rifle were found abandoned on Constitution Avenue
shortly thereafter.

Yesterday, the Secret Service confirmed that a bullet from somewhere
did in fact hit the White House. Cracking a window in a room called the
yellow oval room, which is apparently just down the hall from the
president`s bedroom. The bullet was stopped by bulletproof glass. Another
bullet was found on the grounds of the White House, but outside the actual
building.

Now, again, this was Friday night. President Obama and the first lady
were not home. They`re traveling.

And for the record, the secret service says the damage at the White
House has not been conclusively connected to Friday`s reported shooting
incident. They say an assessment of the exterior of the White House is
ongoing.

But this afternoon police arrested this man, Oscar Ramiro Ortega-
Hernandez, after circulating his picture and description. Mr. Ortega-
Hernandez was found and arrested at a Hampton inn in Indiana, Pennsylvania,
a little more than four hours` drive from D.C.

The suspect has the record of arrest for fairly minor offenses in
three different states. He`s 21 years old. On the question of a potential
motive here, one anonymous federal official is telling the "Washington
Post" tonight that the suspect, quote, "hates the president, hates
Washington, he hates society."

That is all we know at this point and what we`ve got from the
"Washington Post" on motive there is obviously anonymous hearsay. This is
obviously a troubling story. We will let you know if and when we learn
more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Today was moving day at the sanitation garage on 57th Street
in Midtown Manhattan. That`s where the Occupy Wall Street protesters`
stuff was taken when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent in the
police to evict the protesters in the middle of the night on Monday.

So, today, moving day at the sanitation department. The Occupy Wall
Street library folks expecting to have lots of stuff to move, lots of stuff
to pick up from there. They did their own version of the phone call you
make to your buddies who are good at lifting heavy boxes and have a pickup
truck. They put out a call for help.

They put out this call for help with a handy map to guide volunteers
to the sanitation garage to go pick up the library. They also included a
list of what they thought they would need to move, an inventory of what had
been taken during the police raid on the Occupy Wall Street camp. They
expected to be moving between 2,000 and 4,000 books. Custom-made stamps
for the Occupy Wall Street library, laptop computers, shelves, tables.

Also, they were helping to collect two librarians. Quote, we are also
missing two librarians, two young men are still in the system and we`d like
them back, please, Mr. Bloomberg.

The folks behind the Occupy Wall Street library tell us both of the
young men librarians have been released from jail. But as for the contents
of library, that didn`t fair so well. The Occupy Wall Street librarians
who went to retrieve the library reported back that many of the books from
the library were just destroyed and most of the equipment and the
structures necessary to put the library together were missing.

They said among that stuff that was missing was all of the reference
section. They were particularly upset by that. Here`s a photo posted of a
Bible that looks to have been very much damaged in all of the hullabaloo.

The Occupy Wall Street librarians say more or may not be coming out of
a giant trash pile at the back of the building. We asked the mayor`s
office for permission, again, today to go inside the sanitation garage on
57th Street to look at the library to get our own photos of it. Again, the
mayor`s office declined to give us that permission.

Last night when the Occupy Wall Street librarians got back into
Zuccotti Park, they started the library up all over again, started taking
in book donations again. Tonight, they tell us they were back up to 100
newly donated books.

But they say police told them they had 15 minutes to remove them
tonight. When they didn`t, police and private security officers at
Zuccotti Park worked together to confiscate the new books for the library.

We`ve not been able to verify that account. We did reach out to the
mayor`s office and the NYPD to ask about it. Neither of them had
information for us on that yet. They did give us a statement, though.

The statement is this: "Thousands and thousands of people read books
in New York City parks every single day, but they don`t leave stacks of
their stuff, books or otherwise."

"The New York Times" reporting on what drove the mayor`s decision to
break up the Occupy Wall Street protest early Tuesday morning. One of the
factors is said to be the protesters were threatening to disrupt the stock
exchange and city subways on Thursday. That would be tomorrow, with
demonstrations marking their two months of occupation of Zuccotti Park.

I guess the reasoning being that if you empty out the park and break
up the protest a couple of days before that, then you will prevent
disruptive demonstrations for Thursday, I guess? Right?

Wrong. The Occupy Wall Street folks are planning their big day of
action for tomorrow, involving the stock exchange and the New York City
subway system and local bridges. They say that is still going to happen.
It`s not going away, Mayor Bloomberg. Closing down the park, making a
whole bunch of arrests, putting everybody`s stuff in a sanitation garage
and tearing up the Bible isn`t going to end the movement.

Tomorrow is not just a big day for the occupy movement in New York
City, but looking to be a big day for occupying cities all over the
country. Tomorrow, protesters will be occupying bridges they say in dozens
of cities including Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and Portland and
Phoenix and Little Rock and Tulsa and Peterborough, New Hampshire, and
Chambersville, Pennsylvania, and Normal, Illinois. Dozens of cities across
the country expecting protests mostly on or around decrepit bridges.

Police can clear people out, arrest people, but I do not believe this
movement is going away. We will talk about where it looks to be heading
with a deranged millionaire. John Hodgman joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Next, John Hodgman is here -- which is one of the more
promising things I ever get to say on television.

Also, how do you imbue a mustache with the qualities of a cedar tree?
That`s the subject of the best new thing in the world, coming up right at
the end of the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: If you have been on the Internet in the last 24 hours, here`s
what the Internet wants you to know about. The Internet wants you to see
this photo by a "Seattle Post Intelligencer" photographer named Josh
Trujillo. This is a photograph of an 84-year-old woman just after she was
pepper sprayed in the face by Seattle police.

Seattle police broke up a "we are the 99 percent" occupy demonstration
in that city last night. They used pepper spray in mass quantities as you
see here to break up that demonstration.

Here`s a report from the local FOX affiliate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Dozens of protesters were hit, including this pregnant
woman. An 84-year-old elderly woman was also sprayed and just moments
before, one woman had told us about taking a breather.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Folks thought that we`d take a little short rest
here.

REPORTER: But that wasn`t in the cards. This was the second time
today pepper spray was used.

Now, there`s been a lot of interest generated about this 84-year-old
woman who was hit with pepper spray. We can tell you online tonight, a lot
of e-mails, comments, sharing of her pictures, she said she`s doing OK and
credits not being trampled in the crowd because a war veteran came to her
aid.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The Web site Think Progress today posted this video showing
the moment when that Iraq war veteran escorted this elderly woman to
safety. He introduces himself to her.

You`ll see this -- it shows the immediate aftermath of the pepper
spraying. It`s a little confusing at start. People are hurt. You can
tell there`s some confusion. There`s this big strapping guy with this
elderly woman who`s just been pepper sprayed and he`s telling her she`s
safe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m from the Army. I`m Sergeant Walls. You`re
safe. You`re a strong lady. They were pushing me. You`re a strong lady.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: He says -- I think what he says there is, "I just got out of
the Army. I`m Sergeant Walls. You`re safe."

The woman who was pepper-sprayed, her name is Dorley Raney (ph), she`s
84 years old. After the incident last night, she wrote an e-mail to an
alternative paper in Seattle called "The Stranger" describing what
happened.

Here`s what she said, quote, "Something funny happened on my way to a
transportation meeting in Northgate. As I got off the bus at 3rd and Pine,
I heard helicopters above. Knowing that the problems of New York would
certainly precipitate action by Occupy Seattle, I thought I better check it
out. Free speech does have its limits as I found out as the cops shoved
their bicycles into the crows and simultaneously pepper sprayed the so-
captured protesters. If it had been for my hero, Iraq vet Caleb, I would
have been down on the ground and trampled. This is what democracy looks
like."

Then she said, "It certainly left an impression on the people who rode
the number 1 bus home with me. In the women`s movement, there were signs
which said, `Screw us and we`ll multiply`."

Screw us and we`ll multiply. She`s 84.

Joining now for the interview is my friend John Hodgman, author of the
new book "That is All." He`s also, and I think this is a RACHEL MADDOW
SHOW first, he`s a self-described deranged millionaire.

Mr. Hodgman, thank you for being here.

JOHN HODGMAN, AUTHOR: Hello, Rachel, how are you?

MADDOW: I`m good.

HODGMAN: It`s nice to see you.

MADDOW: You, too.

HODGMAN: Do you mind if I take my shoes off? I just would feel more
comfortable.

MADDOW: I understand you`re an eccentric deranged millionaire.

HODGMAN: Well, now that I have my money right, no one can stop me, I
have rights in this country now.

MADDOW: Do you feel better?

HODGMAN: My socks are still on, we`ll deal with that later.

MADDOW: Is that mustache real?

HODGMAN: Yes, it`s very real.

MADDOW: It`s awesome.

HODGMAN: Thank you.

MADDOW: Watching that footage from Seattle last year, tear gassing
84-year-olds and here in New York City Mayor Bloomberg ordered everybody
camped out at Occupy Wall Street to to scram, cleared Zuccotti Park --

HODGMAN: Good for Bloomy.

MADDOW: Really?

HODGMAN: Yes. He was doing his part.

MADDOW: Does it matter for the importance of this movement that it is
a billionaire mayor who is the "Occupy" figure?

HODGMAN: Yes, it`s perfect. They couldn`t be more perfect. I mean,
not to discredit the movement and their goals, whatever they may be, but it
is a little bit like Herman Cain.

It is an art project and demonstration of something. They chose one
of the weirdest places in the world, a publicly -- a privately-owned public
space, an exercise in contradiction, Brookfield`s own weird art project, to
find out what is a public space, to put themselves in the way of Wall
Street. To see what would happen if, you know, Wall Street traders had to
look at hippies all day forever and ever.

And when the masters of the universe had to listen to drum circles all
day long, who was going to blink first? The confrontation of this kind of
inevitable, and I think it`s only part of the project. There was no better
way than to have a billionaire operating at the request of a major
corporation to send in police to kick everybody out, and then throw a bunch
of books in the garbage.

I mean, he might as well as be a paper mache puppet in an anarchist`s
parade.

MADDOW: Does this -- understanding it that way, it means that the --
you`re seeing that the establishment essentially blinked first, that Wall
Street blinked first? The protesters were perfectly happy to stay, but the
establishment couldn`t handle it and so, they forced it out. Is that sort
of a victory for the protesters?

HODGMAN: Well, I think it certainly is a turning point, because it is
essentially a wonderful closing act in a long period of tense
confrontation. At some point, this confrontation was going to happen, and
I think that to some degree this is the perfect way for it to end because
if the occupation anticipated because of the winter, if the occupation
turned ugly because it was co-opted by people who didn`t have the best
intentions or whatever, it wouldn`t send the message that everyone is
getting today, which is that there are tensions here that need to be
resolved.

So --

MADDOW: Can I see your socks?

HODGMAN: Sure. Hang on.

MADDOW: I just want to confirm that.

HODGMAN: Sorry.

MADDOW: That`s all right.

HODGMAN: Now I feel much better. Now I can be comfortable.

MADDOW: What do you think the protesters should do now that they`ve
been kicked out of the park, or at least for staying overnight?

HODGMAN: Well, I mean, it`s a real question. I mean, here`s the
thing -- if you consider it a demonstration, kind of an art project, I know
from years in entertainment the show goes on too long, it eventually
becomes accused of spreading tuberculosis everywhere, that`s why they have
to close "Cats," ride? What is the next logical thing?

Occupying bridges, decrepit bridges in particularly, that`s a great
way to destroy some bridges. Maybe they`ll have to build new ones then.
Do you know what I mean?

MADDOW: In Boston, the Occupy Boston protesters actually say they are
going to demonstrate at the Charlestown Bridge but just right next to it
because they`re worried that if they walk on to the Charlestown Bridge, the
century-old rivets in the bridge will pop into the river and that will be
it.

HODGMAN: That would certainly make a statement.

MADDOW: Yes.

HODGMAN: That`s what liberals do best, right, make great, beautiful,
descriptive statements about things. But what could you do, you could have
one person standing in there in perpetually in shifts, so, you know,
forever or whatever.

But you know, it`s hard to say. I think they need someone to organize
us a little bit.

MADDOW: You think they need a leader?

HODGMAN: Yes, well, a CEO. Maybe me, for example.

MADDOW: Are you available?

HODGMAN: Well, sure. I don`t know anything about running a business,
but I don`t have to. I`m an art project, too. I`m like Herman Cain, too.

And the thing is, they`re sitting -- they`re practically millionaires
themselves. They`re sitting on half a million dollars of donations. Give
that to me, I`ll put on some mortgage-backed securities and I`ll make them
all deranged millionaires in three weeks. That`s the American Dream,
right?

MADDOW: Have you considered donating "That is All" to Occupy Wall
Street people`s library?

HODGMAN: I was actually -- have been invited to go down before the
library before this happened, and I haven`t been able to because I`ve been
on this book tour. I`ve seen the Occupy movement in Portland and have seen
in Boston, all through the windows of (INAUDIBLE). But I was very
impressed.

And I was really looking forward to going down to the library, and it
really hurt my heart. I mean, no disrespect to 84-year-olds being sprayed
with pepper spray, that is awful obviously on its face. There is something
really bad, too, about throwing books away. That is a demonstration of
political force that never cheers anyone. You know what I mean?

MADDOW: No.

HODGMAN: To me, it seems so blinkered and weird that they chose to do
that.

MADDOW: I will note for the record just as a favor to the people
doing this that messing with librarians never ends well for anybody except
the librarians.

HODGMAN: No, no, they will put you in order. That`s what they do.
They put things in order.

MADDOW: John Hodgman`s new book is called "That is All." It`s
brilliant.

Nice to see, my friend.

HODGMAN: It`s lovely to see you.

MADDOW: Thank you for being here.

All right. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Today, Politico.com ran a correction on a story that was
titled, "Mustache group shaves Cain support." Here`s their correction, are
you ready?

"An earlier version of this story referred to Cain having a cedar-
quality mustache. The proper term is theater-quality."

The original piece not cedar quality instead of theater quality. It
went on to define cedar quality as, quote, "a mustache that appears
convincing as a full, proud mustache but doesn`t stand up under closer
examination. You know, just like a cedar tree. That makes total sense.

But that is not even the best Herman Cain-related recent correction in
the media. That goes to a conservative media outlet called Pajamas Media.
They recently ran a salacious and very anonymously sourced scoop alleging a
sexual encounter between Herman Cain and a young staffer at the National
Restaurant Association.

You could tell just from the corrections they had to run on it how big
a deal they thought this was and how badly they screwed it. Here we go,
corrections, plural. "A previous version of this story mentioned that a
source witnessed Cain and the women entering a taxi together. This was
incorrect. The previous version also mentioned that the woman awoke in
Cain`s bed. The source actually only claimed that the woman awoke in
Cain`s apartment. The previous version incorrectly attributed comments
from one source to the other source."

Well, it turns out it was Herbie McCain, totally different guy. Our
bad.

But even the greatest Herman Cain correction pails against this one,
which recently got a shout-up on the all: Books of the Times review
described "Angry Birds," a popular iPhone game, incorrectly. Slingshots
are used to launch birds to destroy pigs and their fortresses, not to shoot
down the birds.

"New York Times" revealed as "Angry Birds" posers in the most
spectacular correction of the year, best new thing in the world.

That does it for us tonight. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with
Lawrence O`Donnell.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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