Guests: Dave Weigel, E.J. Dionne
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Really? Look at the light. Look at the light.
ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: OK. OK.
MADDOW: Are you really?
SCHULTZ: No. Fun time. You know how it is. You know, when you get
a little -- you wonder what kind of kill will this be like. Anyway, great
time last night, again you did a super job of running the show, enjoyed it
and it`s going to be very interesting in South Carolina to say the least.
MADDOW: Thank you, Ed. Thank you very much.
I will say with all John Sununu crock of crap thing, that even though
he was totally wrong as you and Ezra just described, when people are
totally wrong to our faces, I would hope they could all be as entertaining
about it as John Sununu was.
I mean, crock of crap is a great phrase, even if you`re totally wrong
when you say it.
SCHULTZ: That`s right. We`ll see you tomorrow night.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
MADDOW: I appreciate it, man.
Thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour as well.
In 2008, here`s how the Republican Party picked their nominee for
president. Republicans knew coming in that race that they would have a
candidate who ran for president -- does that work? Who ran for president,
once before, and came in second place the last time he ran. A candidate
with whom the Republican Party`s elite was very, very comfortable even
though the Republican Party`s base did not like him very much.
The Republicans look at that guy`s chances and they think, well, you
know, maybe the elite is behind him but the party is not behind him. We
can do better than that.
So, you get this roster of all different kind of challengers.
You get an under-funded but absolutely authentic social conservative
guy -- a guy with unimpeachable social conservative religious credentials.
But he`s not really taken very seriously other than social conservative
You also get the libertarian cause candidate. He`s got the old Pat
Buchanan isolationist thing going on, which has some wide appeal, but
mostly what he wants to talk about is stuff like getting rid of the Federal
Reserve. While it doesn`t have a broad appeal, it is a message that
appeals to some people, and it appeal to young people in particular --
which is important for Republicans.
Then, you put another guy, who is absolutely offended -- you can tell
-- that he`s not the choice of the Republican elite, right? He`s kind of
an elder statesman, at least to the extent that he`s been around for a long
time. He`s got name recognition. But he does have a little bit of a
problem with the social conservatives because, among other things, he`s
been married three times.
So, there is the guy who is the choice of the elite. There`s all
these various challengers. And the conservative base of the party looks to
this group and thinks, none of these guys is that great. Frankly, we need
somebody better who is still a conservative. We need somebody who checks
more of the boxes for all the things we`re looking for in a conservative
The right wing base, conservative base looks at this field and said we
need a proven right wing star.
And so, they get -- former TV star-turned-politician-presidential
candidate Fred Thompson. Excuse me. Yes, Fred Thompson.
Remember all the punditry about how sexy Fred Thompson was? Around
the time he was getting in the race. He had so much movie star charisma.
I realize this is not my area of expertise, but I never really got that
about Fred Thompson.
But people were at the time. You go back and you look at the way
people talked about him, very excited about the prospect of Fred Thompson,
including his animal magnetism, his physicality. Fred Thompson was the
dream conservative candidate early in the primary process for 2008.
And as the dream conservative candidate, as soon as Fred Thompson got
in the race, he immediately rose right to the top of the national polls.
But then almost instantaneously collapsed in the polls right after. His
campaign just seemed lazy, he didn`t know what he was talking about.
And, honestly, Fred Thompson was a little bit weird in debates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to see a show of hands, how many of
you believe global climate change is a serious threat and caused by human
FRED THOMPSON: I`m not doing hand shows today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No hand shows.
THOMPSON: No hand shows.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m with him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that yes or no for you? Do you believe that
global climate change is a serious threat and cause by human activity?
THOMPSON: Do you want to give me a minute?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don`t.
THOMPSON: Then, I`m not going to answer it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: No hand shows today.
By the time the primaries roll around, that once upon a time supposed
dream candidate, Mr. No-hand-shows today, he`s down to polling in single
digits. Nobody is really taking him seriously. He is on the verge of
being, in fact, a national laughing stock. The Website
fredthompsonisinherentlyfunny.com comes into being. You could check it
By the time that it is time to vote, to finally vote in Iowa for the
2008 race, the huge surprise awesome Iowa showing of the night ends up
being the social conservative guy, ends up being Mike Huckabee, right?
Wow, this under-funded guy who nobody really takes seriously except on
abortion and what is wrong with gay people, maybe he should be taken more
seriously, maybe he can go the distance. He`s done well in Iowa.
And that Iowa success for Mike Huckabee translates into essentially
nothing for him in New Hampshire. And his campaign suffering from all of
its old weaknesses, basically just goes back to puttering along and isn`t
much heard from again.
So, the dream candidate turns out to be a laughingstock, but does try
to make a go of it in South Carolina. The media is still quite interested
in the elder statesman married a lot guy. But it sort of seems like the
race has passed him by. Social conservative guy has had his Iowa moment,
which then went nowhere.
Ron Paul keeps being Ron Paul.
This guy, the Republican establishment guy, who`s hated by the base,
is so dispiriting to the Republican Party as a whole that he inspired all
of these other characters to get in the race, the guy with no natural
source of enthusiasm for his candidacy outside of lobbyist politician
fundraiser permanent Republican ruling class that`s making deals in the
backrooms, this guy goes on to South Carolina, after what happens in Iowa,
after what happens in New Hampshire, this time in the race, last time
around he arrives in South Carolina. And he wins.
All those other guys who were still in the race, they don`t take a
piece of the vote for themselves. They split up the anti-establishment
vote, but the establishment guy, who nobody liked very much, inherits the
nomination with a period instead of an exclamation point. And then he
picks Sarah Palin and then he loses.
That`s how the Republican Party did it last time around in 2008.
That also appears to be exactly how this year in 2012. This year, the
Republican establishment elite candidate guy is Mitt Romney.
This year, the does good in Iowa social conservative guy, Rick
Santorum. The thrice married elder statesman guy who can`t get any
traction Newt Gingrich. The supposed superstar going to change everything
is not Fred Thompson but is instead -- we have no oops? We had oops on
Texas governor, oops Perry. And, of course, Ron Paul, still Ron :Paul,
It`s essentially the same cast of characters, and the same dynamic
playing out four years later. It`s kind of amazing.
Dave Weigel wrote up this thesis today at Slate.com to show the
bizarre exact parallels between the Republican Party process four years ago
and the Republican Party process now. Dave Weigel is going to be joining
us in just a second.
But what I think is most remarkable about this, is that between 2008
and now, there was supposed to be a huge tidal wave in Republican politics,
right? A phenomenon that was changing everything.
In 2008, when this happened, there wasn`t any Tea Party yet, right?
The Tea Party movement that emerged after the election of Barack Obama was
supposed to represent this massive sea change in the Republican Party, a
huge challenge to the Republican establishment, a populist, activist, angry
hoard throwing out all of those bums out of the backrooms and taking over
the Republican Party.
Thanks to the Tea Party, right, Republicans would never make another
mistake like John McCain again. And yet, after that supposed big change,
they are doing exactly the same thing. I mean, to be clear, that there is
evidence that to the extent the Tea Party does exist, they are anti-Mitt
Romney. We can go to NotMittRomney.com and read the news about all the
right wing activists and Tea Party people who have come together to say
that they agree on one thing, Mitt Romney -- they say, Mitt Romney should
not be our nominee, emphasis in the original.
You can find self-proclaimed leaders like this guy going on TV talking
all sort smack about Mitt Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: If Newt isn`t the candidate, can the Tea
Party rally behind the candidate like Mitt Romney?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the Tea Party will never rally behind Mitt
BASHIR: Really, never?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
In South Carolina, the next Republican primary state, the Tea Party
there is outwardly hostile to Mr. Romney. The head of the Spartanburg Tea
Party telling NPR recently quote, "There is no Tea Partier I talked to the
state or nationally that want to promote Romney. I do not personally know
anyone that does not despise Mitt Romney and doesn`t hate the idea of him
being our nominee."
The former head of the Columbia, South Carolina Tea Party saying,
quote, "I think there is one Tea Party member in Columbia who likes him.
But throughout the state, the rest of the leaders, there is not one who
seriously is looking at him."
Now, it should be noted for the record that this is the last visual
evidence we have of the strength of the Tea Party in South Carolina, which
is a Tea Party event that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley addressing
the -- I don`t know, do we call it a crowd? Addressing the duo there.
Governor Nikki Haley, of course, went later on, went on later to
endorse Mitt Romney, supposedly incurring the Tea Party`s wrath. So, maybe
those two people in those lawn chairs were really angry about it.
I mean, overall, what we`ve got here is a test. Does the Tea Party
exist? Is the Tea Party an actual force in the Republican Party? Like
everybody has been saying for 2 1/2 years now. Or aren`t they?
A group called NationalTeaPartyAlert.com sent out an e-mail today from
Newt Gingrich, it had the subject line, "Do you want to stop Mitt Romney or
not?" In the e-mail, Mr. Gingrich writes, quote, "There is no more time
for talking about stopping Mitt Romney. We`re going to do it next week in
South Carolina or he`s almost certain to be the Republican nominee, whether
conservatives like us want it or not."
Mr. Gingrich asks for money to, quote, "defeat Mitt Romney and the
Republican establishment next week in South Carolina."
The entire Republican establishment is now piling on Newt Gingrich
right now, to try to stop -- to try to make him stop attacking Mitt Romney,
specifically for Mitt Romney`s business record. Don`t run the when Mitt
Romney came to town attack ad about his economic record in the private
sector, stop saying all these populist things and get on board. Private
equity executives are our kind of people, shut up, Newt Gingrich.
So, this is the test. Is there an anti-establishment right wing
populist insurgency inside the Republican Party that matters or was the
whole Tea Party story line that we`ve all been wallowing in for years much
ado about nothing? Has absolutely nothing changed between 2008 and 2012?
Joining us is the aforementioned Dave Weigel. He`s an MSNBC
contributor and a political reporter for Slate.com.
Dave, thanks for being here. I`m sure you are tired after all your
days on the campaign trail recently.
DAVE WEIGEL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I`m been woken up completely by
watching my blog posts be illustrated by tiny heads. That`s made my night
MADDOW: They`re almost life-size. John McCain`s heads are almost
WEIGEL: Actually, they are two dimensional. But they are full size.
MADDOW: Yes, very good.
In terms of your thesis, I mean, that was in part your thesis. Was
that the overall point that you were trying to make that the same dynamics
that were driving the Republican Party`s decision-making last time around
are still driving it now, that nothing really has changed?
WEIGEL: You know, that is what was surprising to me. And I almost,
in making the comparison, probably soft peddled how well Mitt Romney is
doing because John McCain last time figured how to pawn on Iowa, not trying
very hard, coming fourth place, a bit of a tie with Fred Thompson, and then
when New Hampshire, Romney actually tied with Rick Santorum -- the clip we
saw may have been a Santorum victory, and then did very well in New
Hampshire. I mean, performed exactly what the polls were saying, staved
off this Huntsman surge that everyone in the fourth estate decided to
believe in at the last minute.
He heads to South Carolina which for all the talk we`re going to talk
about conservative voters, the record of South Carolina is that they affirm
the establishment`s candidate. You can bungle it. I mean, somebody could
try to bungle it and he might, but George H.W. Bush, who is not the most
right wing candidate, won that. Bob Dole, who was not the most right wing
candidate won that.
There`s -- I think, you know, we mentioned there is this meeting this
weekend of evangelical leaders who will talk about the way to stop this,
it`s clear they blew their best chance to stop this months ago.
MADDOW: Looking at the exit polling in Iowa and New Hampshire, I was
looking to day at the people who identified themselves as strong Tea Party
supporters, and Mitt Romney -- there was a significant number of those
people in both states, more in Iowa than New Hampshire, but a lot in both
places, and Mitt Romney lost a huge majority of those people in both states
even while either tying or winning in both of those places.
I wonder if part of the issue is that even if the Tea Party movement
is real and doesn`t like Mitt Romney, it`s very small. It`s smaller than
the attention paid to it would indicate in terms of who turns out to vote.
WEIGEL: This was a dynamic you notice in New Hampshire. I mean, a
Tea Party candidate had taken over the state Republican Party and Jack
Kimble. He then was ousted after they just -- basically they lost a few
special elections, in the year he ran the party, he didn`t raise a ton of
money. He was kicked out.
The party hasn`t raised a ton of more money since he got into it but
there was a reaction against the Tea Party, not just in pure electoral
terms. And I think you saw that in voters I talked to on Tuesday,
especially when I was going to polling places, you met people who really,
really loved Herman Cain or they really worship Jim DeMint. One guy was --
a Jim DeMint voter he would have been if he jumped in the race. But since
he wouldn`t he was ready to compromise for someone that could beat Barack
I mean, it`s almost like they`ve got a score card and they are willing
to get candidates at lower level, but a candidate who can beat Barack Obama
there at the top. And there`s some savvy there. If you have Mitt Romney
in the White House and if you believe as the Tea Party believe that he`s
pretty malleable, then if he has a very right wing Congress, he will
probably do what they say.
If you don`t believe he wants to get rid of Obamacare, well, he`s
going to be confronted if you do your work with a really right wing Senate
and right wing Congress that are going to do it for him and it would be odd
if he tried to veto.
There are already dealing, it`s just that they must realize that the
month they spent on Herman Cain -- that`s like the Jack Lemmon last weekend
of the whole primary, the Michele Bachmann interlude. They`re going to
look back -- I mean, here`s some sort of look back in early 2009 and say,
why did we not pick Huckabee or somebody sooner? Why do we waste this time
in these other candidates?
And, you know, it`s -- I think it`s human error and now, they are
dealing with it.
MADDOW: Dave Weigel, MSNBC contributor, political reporter at
Slate.com -- Dave, your reporting has been detailed in a way that I
appreciate, but also really, really insightful. I`m glad that you`ve been
out there on the trail. Thanks for being with us tonight.
WEIGEL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. One of the big polling firms has just started
polling Republicans in South Carolina on whether they would vote for
Stephen Colbert for president.
Those results plus who this guy Dick Perry is, Dick Perry, who is on
the ballot in Arizona. That`s all coming up.
MADDOW: One under appreciated thing about last night`s primary
yesterday, could we see that, do we have there, could we have this that we
could show it on the screen?
This was the ballot. There we go. This is the ballot.
This is what New Hampshire voters had to work with in the voting booth
yesterday. As you there, the first listed candidate is Joe Story, then
Linden Swift, James A. Vestermark, then Vern Wuensche, then Michele
Bachmann. She`s out of the race.
Also, then, Bear Betzler, Timothy Brewer, then Herman Cain, oh, he`s
not on the race either anymore. Then, Mark Callahan, Hugh Cort, Randy
Crow, L. John Davis, Jr., Keith Drummond and then Newt Gingrich. He`s
This is the presidential ballot in New Hampshire from yesterday. You
get down to the 14th name on the list before you get to somebody you have
maybe heard of and who is definitely still running. Jon Huntsman listed
17th on the ballot. Fred Karger is listed 19.
Mitt Romney is listed 28th on the ballot. Mitt Romney at 28th on the
New Hampshire ballot, right below Buddy Roemer at 27. Buddy Roemer looking
on the bright side of last night`s returns rolled in, tweeting, quote,
"With 12 percent of votes in, I`m happy to report I`m ahead of Herman Cain,
total write ins, and a guy wearing a boot on his head"
Fred Karger also looking on the bright side last night. Tweeting
this, quote, "We`re in solid 8th place ahead of Michele Bachmann and 21
Even in the midst, though, of people trying to puzzle their way
through this massive New Hampshire presidential primary ballot, the state
of Arizona announced its primary line-up. We learned that appearing 4th on
the ballot will be Dick Perry. While the perhaps better known Rick Perry
will be listed 17th.
Also, Jon huntsman will not appear on the Arizona ballot at all. Jon
Huntsman`s people paperwork was rejected by the state of Arizona.
And don`t forget, the big Super Tuesday primary in Virginia they have
the opposite problem, that Arizona and New Hampshire have with their giant
unpredictable ballot. At this point, the only Republican slated to be on
the ballot are these two, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.
State Republicans in Virginia say they are the only two who are
qualified, so that`s who will be on the ballot. Some of the other
candidates are still fighting in court to try to force to add them to the
ballot. But so far, they have had no luck.
We`ve also learned this week that Rick Santorum has essentially only
partially qualified to run in Ohio. He will be on the ballot but Mr.
Santorum apparently failed to qualify to collect delegates from three of
the state`s districts. So, even if Rick Santorum and comes and wins hugely
in the state of Ohio, he won`t be able to collect delegates from some parts
of the state.
The next contest, of course, is South Carolina in 10 days. Rick Perry
appears to have just overcome an even more pressing logistical hurdle in
South Carolina. Talking Points Memo pointing out today that Rick Perry
does not meet the published requirements for participating in the South
Carolina/CNN debate which is scheduled for two days before the primary.
Now, to get in that debate, CNN said you had to place in the top four
in Iowa or New Hampshire, and you had to be polling at an average of 7
percent in either three national or three South Carolina polls this month,
taken in January.
Rick Perry has done none of those things. Apparently, forget the
rules, CNN has reportedly decided this afternoon that regardless of their
published rules, they`re just going to let Rick Perry in the debate anyway.
I mean, I understand if you have rules, that being justify case for
excluding somebody. But if you`re not going to follow the rules, why not
have Buddy Roemer, too? To the extent that the CNN`s rules actually apply
to their debate and aren`t just some sort of weird CNN trickery, it should
be noted that Jon Huntsman should be qualified to be in that debate, thanks
to his third place finish in New Hampshire last night.
That said, it`s not all good news for Mr. Huntsman. The latest PPP
poll out of South Carolina over the weekend shows Mr. Huntsman being
outpolled by a man named Stephen Colbert.
Stephen Colbert from Comedy Central, who is not running for president,
but who PPP thought to poll on in South Carolina just in case.
Among likely primary voters in South Carolina, Stephen Colbert is
polling at 5 percent, Jon Huntsman is polling at 4 percent. Again, Stephen
Colbert, not actually running.
At this point in the race, what we have is Mitt Romney on what is
likely to be a long, slow, difficult path of sewing up the nomination. But
there are still a lot of people engaged in the contest, whether they are
running and nobody knows it, people like Bear Betzler, right, who is on the
ballot in New Hampshire. Or maybe they are running and even though people
do know that they are running, they are still failing, people like Rick
Perry or like everybody other than Mitt Romney and Ron Paul who did not
qualify for the ballot in Virginia.
But spare a thought tonight -- spare thought also for the guys who
could have run this year, and didn`t. The people who opted out at the
start of the campaign season, even though a lot of people wanted them to
Boy, are their lives different than they would have otherwise been,
right? Take for example Haley Barbour, the now former governor of
Mississippi, who has supporters and colleagues standing ready to support
him when he considered running for president in this year`s election.
Yesterday, it was Haley Barbour`s last day as governor of Mississippi.
He was term-limited out of office after two terms. On his way out of his
last day in office, Haley Barbour issued pardons to 193 people who had been
convicted of crimes in Mississippi. He had 10 pardons previously, so that
brings the grand total to 203 full pardons over his time in office,
including 17 pardons to convicted murderers.
The other most recent Mississippi governor issued 13, 4 and one full
pardon, respectively respectively. Haley Barbour more than 200. This is
what it`s like to be Haley Barbour today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Outraged family members and victims are
denouncing the pardons of four murderers by former Mississippi Republican
Governor Haley Barbour.
TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Families of crime victims are outraged
STATE REP. DAVID BARIA (D), MISSISSIPPI: There`s just outrage across
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of people angry.
HALL: Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour`s final act in office has
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have been convicted of burglary, rape and
in some cases murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they ought to be -- the governor should
have to look me and the family in the eyes and say, hey, I`m going to let
this guy go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a clear signal that he probably is planning
to be finished with electoral politics.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Mississippi judge actual hi temporarily blocked the release
of some of the prisoners who Governor Barbour pardoned or otherwise
released. But while the state of Mississippi fumes over and even fights
against Haley Barbour`s pardons out of office, Haley Barbour is on his way
out of office.
One day out of the governor`s office and it has already been announced
that Haley Barbour is going back to being a high dollar lobbyist.
Given what he did on his last day in office, not only is he not trying
to be president, he is not trying to be anybody`s vice president either.
And there`s Mitch Daniels. Mitch Daniels is governor of Indiana, also
considered running for president in this year`s election before ultimately
deciding against it. Mr. Daniels is also term limited, so he can`t run for
reelection this year. Mitch Daniels delivered his state of the state
address in Indiana yesterday, his last one as governor.
Check out what was going on at the state house. Out in the hallways,
while the governor was addressing the general assembly -- look at this.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: This is during the speech. Hundreds of protesters gathered
outside the House chamber booing as Governor Daniels walked in to deliver
his speech, chanting "shame on you, shame on you" as left.
These protesters are protesting Governor Daniels` decision which he
announced last month to support his fellow Republicans plan to strip union
rights in Indiana this year. Once upon a time back in 2006, Mitch Daniels
said pushing anti-union right to work legislation in Indiana would be
enormously divisive, said they shouldn`t do it. But now in his last year
in office, Mitch Daniels has decided to go ahead and pursue that kind of
anti-union legislation in his state, just three and a half weeks before
Indiana hosts the Super Bowl, at the time when the eyes of the world will
turn to Indiana to watch the most famous unionized workers in the world do
their jobs in that state`s capital city.
The NFL Payers Association, that union coming out in loud opposition
to what the Indiana Republicans are doing to strip union rights in the
Mitch Daniels has decided now is the time to go ahead with the big
anti-union rights push in his state. Republicans, including Mitch Daniels,
are trying to get it down before the Super Bowl to avoid the attention, but
Democrats are doing their damndest to slow them down.
This is what Mitch Daniels has on his hands as a result.
With Mitt Romney seeming to be running away with the presidential
nomination, you don`t really envy anybody the prospect of being yet another
of the non-Romney Republicans in the race right now. It`s kind of a tossup
right now if you`re considering whether you`d rather be one of the also-
rans, not managing to qualify for the ballot in Virginia right now, or
whether you`d rather be Mitch Daniels, having picked this fight with his
own state and looking forward to this being sound of his Super Bowl, too.
MADDOW: It`s all this pressure right now from the Republican
establishment that Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry should not go after Mitt
Romney`s business record. They should leave it alone, which is a pretty
good sign for Democrat, right? That if Mitt Romney is the nominee even
Republicans know his time in corporate finance may be more of a liability
But what if that Republican establishment pressure works on Gingrich
and Perry? What if Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry cave like spineless twerps
before the Republican Party establishment and say, OK, OK, you`re right,
Mitt Romney probably does have a glass jaw on the corporate raider thing,
so we won`t punch at it? We`ll leave that for the Democrats, for the
What if Perry and Gingrich cave on going after him for his time at
Bain? But they want to go after him. They leave the Bain record out of
it. Do know what else they would use against Mitt Romney?
Yes. Yes, do. Today, a conservative Web site leaked this video from
the Newt Gingrich campaign. It is apparently their non-Bain attack on Mitt
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I like being able to provide
to fire people that provide services to me.
Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes -- of course,
they are, everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people.
So, where do you think it goes? Whose pocket? Whose pockets?
We hired a lawn company to mow our lawn and they had illegal
immigrants who are working there. So, we went to the company and we said,
look, you can`t have any illegals working on our property. I`m running for
office for Pete`s sake, I can`t have illegals.
Ten thousand bucks, $10,000 bet?
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not in the
I know what it`s like to worry whether you`ll get fired. There were a
couple times I wore wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.
I`ve always been, if you will, a rodent and rabbit hunter, small
varmints, if you will. And I began when I was 15 or so, hunted those kind
of varmints. Since then, more than two times.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: I had a yellow Lab named Winston. I would
no sooner put him on the kennel on the roof of my car than I would one of
my children. Question, what were you thinking?
ROMNEY: This is a completely air-tight kennel mounted on the top of
the car, he climbed up there regularly, enjoyed himself in. He was a
kennel at home a great deal of times as well. We love the dog, was where
he was comfortable, we had five kids in the car, my guess he liked it
better in his kennel than he would like it inside.
Who let the dogs out? Who?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: An air-tight kennel? What does that even mean? Air-tight
does that mean the dog has scuba gear on or something? Air-tight?
That web ad was leaked by a conservative Web site. It is alleged to
be a draft ad at least for the Newt Gingrich campaign. Of course leaking
an ad online is one of the ways campaigns float trial balloons for campaign
tactics. Is that the type of ad Newt Gingrich can run without getting him
attacked by the Romney Republican establishment the way Mr. Gingrich has
been attacked for the past few days? I think it probably is.
Is that the kind of ad that can knock Mitt Romney over the coronation
stand in South Carolina? What`s the proportion of dog owners in the South
Carolina Republican electorate?
MADDOW: Today the Newt Gingrich PAC, I`m supposed to say a PAC that
is supporting Newt Gingrich but has absolutely nothing to do with him,
forget it. Today, the Newt Gingrich PAC Winning Our Future today posted
online the full 28 minute hit piece we heard about called "When Mitt Romney
Came to Town." The film highlights four different communities where Bain
Capital under the CEO Mitt Romney came to town and took apart local
businesses, stripped them down, fired the workers, sold the assets,
pocketed the proceeds themselves and left town. It`s on the web at
There is a fight raging among Republicans as to whether or not it`s OK
to criticize as part of Mitt Romney`s record. Other candidates, the Club
for Growth, kingmakers like Jim DeMint, the talk radio and conservative
establishment columnists, they are all pressuring Newt Gingrich and Rick
Perry and everybody else to shut up about his record of making money for
himself by shutting down U.S. companies and firing their American workers.
But while that debate rages among Republicans, the White House today
put forth their own argument implicitly against Mr. Romney`s economic
record. The president today hosting a White House forum on in sourcing
jobs, of bringing back to the U.S. jobs that were outsourced, jobs that
were sent abroad by race to the bottom financiers with names like -- well,
with names that rhyme with pain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, my message to
business leaders today is simple: ask yourselves what you can do to bring
jobs back to the country that made our success possible, and I`m going to
do everything in my power to help you do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The White House said today to expect new tax proposals from
the president in the next few weeks -- tax proposals to reward companies
that invest here, and tax proposals to eliminate breaks that companies get
now for sending U.S. jobs overseas, because tax breaks for companies that
send jobs overseas still exist whether or not you were fortunate or not to
have Mitt Romney come to your town.
Joining us now, "Washington Post" columnist and MSNBC contributor,
also senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, Mr. E.J. Dionne. Hi, E.J.
It`s nice to you.
E.J. DIONNE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good to see you.
MADDOW: I know you are writing about this in your new column. Are
Republicans trying to define good capitalist versus bad capitalist? Is
that a difference they`re going to try to make for the campaign?
DIONNE: Well, I think the Republicans comrades, Rick Perry and Newt
Gingrich are definitely trying to do that. I mean if you look at their
quotes, if anyone else said that on what they have said on MSNBC, they
would be called socialists. Rick Perry said they are just vultures. You
know, they leave the skeleton and eat the carcass of these private equity
companies. Newt Gingrich talked about how they looted companies.
Now, I think this is a very useful thing. It`s useful for two
reasons. One, Mitt Romney is his main calling card is: I was in private
equity, I was in business, I`m a job creator, so you should make me
president. He likes to brag about his successes, Staples, Domino`s, the
Sports Authority. OK. That`s fine.
Well, let`s look at what Bain actually did. Did they create jobs?
Did they destroy jobs?
Then I think it goes to the Karl Rove`s classic technique in a
campaign, you go at a candidate`s greatest strength and if you can
undermine that, you can win. I think that is what Gingrich and Perry are
doing. But I think Romney has to be accountable.
But the other thing is, we have to have an argument what kind of
capitalism we want in our country and we have had arguments like that
throughout our history. Not from socialists although we had distinguished
socialists, (INAUDIBLE) Mike Harrington, but from people like Teddy
Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson. They wanted the market system to work but they
concentrated economic power is not the way to make it work.
So, let`s bring on that argument and say thank you to Perry and
Gingrich for starting it.
MADDOW: If Perry and Gingrich, or even the Democrats are able to sort
of cloud the Bain experience so that Mitt Romney can`t run on it, does he
turn to running on his record as Massachusetts governor? You almost would
not know he was a former Massachusetts governor from the way he campaigns
I remember from living in Massachusetts when he ran for governor
there, that he ran not at all on Bain, he ran on his turnaround of the Salt
Lake City Olympics. Does he have the ability to pivot to other parts of
his resume that he`s sort of been ignoring up until now?
DIONNE: Well, he could run on his health care plan of Massachusetts.
The excellent plan that laid the basis for Obamacare. You know, I think
he`s not running on that. I`m surprised -- he talks about the Olympics in
But, obviously, they have a very clear, disciplined strategy. This
election is about the economy, unemployment is high, Romney is the jobs
guy, because he was in business and I don`t see how they pivot off that.
And I`m reminded of how some of these questions raised in primaries
end upcoming up later down the line. I think it was a big debate among
Democrats, well, if this stuff comes out now, is he immunized later?
I don`t think so. I think some of the doubts that were raised in the
primaries about Al Gore or Mike Dukakis ended up haunting them later in the
campaign. And I think that is what`s more likely to happen here with Bain.
MADDOW: Romney did obviously know that this attack was coming from
Democrats, the attack on his sort of, for lack of a better phrase, vulture
Has he been able to -- I guess has he telegraphed the way he was going
to respond to it to Democrats in the way he has responded to Republicans?
He knew it was coming. He`s getting a chance to do his response earlier
than he would have otherwise.
DIONNE: Well, what he`s trying to say is any criticism of his record
at Bain is a criticism of free enterprise -- the phrase he`s used over and
over again is: they are putting free enterprise on trial.
Well, we should have an argument how capitalism works, but this isn`t
about putting free enterprise on trial, it`s about putting Mitt Romney on
trial in terms of making him accountable. That may work with Republicans
that argument, maybe he will push back Gingrich and Perry, but I don`t
think that`s going to detain the Democrats, and it shouldn`t detain the
media from doing explorations as the "Wall Street Journal" did about Bain
and how it worked.
MADDOW: "Washington Post" columnist, MSNBC contributor, and clear
thinker, E.J. Dionne -- E.J., thank you for being with us tonight. It`s
nice to see you.
DIONNE: Thank you so much.
MADDOW: All right.
Right after the show in THE LAST WORD, Mitt Romney`s 40 relatives who
are living in Mexico. Lawrence O`Donnell with the Romney family travel log
there. That`s coming up.
And here, we got the best new thing in the world. And tonight, it
MADDOW: Best new thing in the world, straight ahead.
MADDOW: "Debunktion Junction," what`s my function?
First up, going into last night`s primary, the New Hampshire secretary
of state`s office made a prediction. They predicted that 250,000 people
would vote in the Republican primary, which would be a record. It would be
more voters in the Republican primary in New Hampshire than in 2008.
Then there were anecdotal reports and some projections yesterday that,
actually, turnout in New Hampshire was lacking to be a little bit low. So
how did it turn out? Was the prediction that a quarter million voters
would turn out for the Republican primary yesterday in New Hampshire, was
that prediction true or was that false?
True. Well, almost. According to a little RACHEL MADDOW SHOW math,
the total number of voters who cast ballots in the Republican primary
yesterday in New Hampshire was 248,485. That`s including the 12 people who
voted for Randy Crow and the three people who voted for James Vestermark.
Now, because independents and Republicans can vote in the New
Hampshire Republican primary, it`s possible that the number of Republicans
was down and the difference was made up by independents, but nobody knows
that yet. We will know that when we get the official data from the
secretary of state about exactly who turned out and voted. But in terms of
raw numbers in New Hampshire, no matter what you heard, the secretary of
state predicted record turnout, and that is basically what they got.
Next up, last night, Mitt Romney declared victory in Manchester, New
Hampshire, with his wife, Ann, and his five sons standing behind him. That
is noteworthy, because usually only four of the Romney sons campaign with
his dad. One of them is a doctor doing his residency, and therefore he
can`t spend much time on the campaign trail. Someone on this network last
night, someone at MSNBC, who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are
Rachel Maddow said this about one of the Romney sons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: All five of his sons, for the first time, his son, Matt,
who`s a doctor, doing a residency in Utah, has not been on the campaign
trail thus far, but all five Romney sons are there tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So is this true or false? Matt Romney is the doctor Romney
son who before last night was unavailable to campaign with his dad? Is
that true or is that false?
Uh, false. Matt Romney is not the Romney son doctor. That`s actually
Ben Romney who is the Romney son doctor. I mixed up my Romneys. Struck by
the rare Romney sons confusion bug, which I think I picked up last week in
New Hampshire. I`m feeling much better now, but I`m sorry to have made
that Romney son confusion mistake.
And last night my colleague Ed Schultz asked Mitt Romney supporter
John Sununu a question about Mr. Romney`s tax policies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: According to the Tax Policy Center that went through his tax
policy and they came out and said that Romney`s tax plan would increase
taxes for families making less than $40,000, and a millionaire will see his
taxes drop by almost 5 percent. Do you think that that fits with the
JOHN SUNUNU (R), FORMER NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR: Well, that`s kind of
strange -- I`m sorry, go ahead.
SCHULTZ: Go ahead, sir.
SUNUNU: Look, I think that`s kind of strange when the governor has
made it clear he`s not cutting taxes on the upper brackets, that he is
cutting taxes on the hard-earning taxpayers in the middle, and that he`s
committed to flattening and lowering taxes across the board. So with all
due respect to that organization, there`s a technical term for that, it`s a
crock of crap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So true or false, stat crock of crap that Mitt Romney`s tax
plan would raise taxes on people making less than $40,000 while
millionaires would see a drop in their taxes? Is as John Sununu said so
eloquently last night, the technical term for that assertion -- a crock of
crap? Is that crock of crap assertion true or false?
False. Meaning it`s not a crock of crap. The Tax Policy Center`s
analysis of the Romney tax plan was picked up all over the place, including
here at McClatchy. The Tax Policy Center crunched the numbers. They found
that some Americans making under 40,000 grand a year would see their taxes
rise under Mitt Romney`s tax plan while nearly all millionaires in the
country would get tax cuts that average $150,000 a year.
The Tax Policy Center is an independent, nonpartisan group that
analyzes tax-related newsy topics. Their analysis is neither left wing nor
a crock of crap.
But John Sununu saying crock of crap really loud on our air last night
is still one of my favorite things that happened on our entire broadcast
over the entire evening. So even though he was totally wrong, I still
think he gets points for being kind of adorable.
MADDOW: Best new thing in the world, with no politics in it.
This is yummy looking food, which you can find at a restaurant in
Lowell, Massachusetts, about 40 minutes outside Boston, up by the New
Hampshire border. This is Iraqi food. The restaurant is called Babylon.
Babylon has been open in Lowell, Massachusetts, for less than a year,
but judging from its Facebook page and this rave review in "Merrimack
Valley" magazine, people really seem to like this place.
The Babylon restaurant is owned by this man Ahmed al-Zubaidi and by
his family. Mr. Zubaidi is a journalist by trade. He and his family
emigrated to the U.S. just a year ago from Iraq.
Back in 2003, as a journalist in Iraq, Mr. Zubaidi reported on Saddam
Hussein torturing prisoners. After publishing that article, he was
attacked by a group of six men. He was hurt badly enough that he had to
spend the next two months recuperating in a hospital.
He and his family were finally able to emigrate last January, a year
ago, and they opened this restaurant in Lowell. Mr. Zubaidi are about one
of 35 Iraqi families who are now living in Lowell.
Last Wednesday at about 3:00 a.m., a man not from Lowell, threw a 20-
pound rock through the Babylon Restaurant window. A small rock through
your window is scary enough. A 20-pound rock is terrifying.
Police have ID`ed the guy they say is responsible. He`s due to be
arraigned in Lowell district court. Although the police say they don`t
think the crime was motivated by prejudice, nevertheless, Mr. Zubaidi and
his family were a little understandably shaken up. A 20-pound rock through
your window does not come from the welcome wagon.
Enter veterans of the United States military. On the wake of this
attack on one innocent Iraqi American small business owner in
Massachusetts, a Veterans for Peace organizer decided that not just Lowell
as a whole, but veterans in particular should make a visible show of
support for their neighbor. What kind of support means the absolute most
to a new small business owner? Business. A lot of business.
And so, last night, Veterans for Peace, who had vowed to fill all 50
seats in the Babylon restaurant, did better than that. They filled twice
over. They were World War II veterans, Vietnam veterans and veterans of
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And from these pictures, it seems like they had a great time and they
got very well-fed in the meantime. The story even made the front page of
the local paper, which is the "The Lowell Sun."
Americans are always grateful for and proud of our veterans, but this
particular new reason in Lowell, Massachusetts, why we are grateful and
proud of them -- best new thing in the world, and with no politics in it at
And that does it for us tonight. Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD"
with Lawrence O`Donnell.
Have a great night.
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