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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Wednesday, January 1, 2012

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: Steve Schmidt, Lalo Alcaraz, Scott Pelath

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

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

The best thing on the radio in the United States is a show called
"This American Life." The best thing about the show is that it has been
the best thing on the radio in this country for the whole time it`s been on
the air, which is going on I think 17 years now. "This American Life" is
not just good, it`s unbelievably consistently good.

I think that is because the host, Ira Glass, and the other people who
work on the show designed a format for the show that is flexible enough to
handle basically any topic, any subject, but they are super, super rigorous
in terms of requiring excellent story telling. Sometimes what they do on
"This American Life" is pure story telling.

The story of a mother who knew she had taken a baby that was not hers
home from the hospital, but she decided to keep the baby and the secret for
years. A fascinating story, a true story, beautifully told.

Sometimes they do investigative journal journalism. "This American
Life" was the outlet the blew open the story of an out-of-control drug
court in the state of Georgia.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

IRA GLASS: Judge Williams takes people who relapse four times and
sends them away on what he calls indefinite sentences. I could find no
other drug court in Georgia that does this and none of the national experts
had I talk with have even heard of such a practice.

I learn details of how it works through interviews, court documents
and court depositions. An indefinite sentence is what it sounds like.
Judge Williams sends you to jail but doesn`t specify how long it`s going to
be. Often it`s because she hasn`t decided.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: Shortly after that show aired on "This American Life," that
judge being described there, Amanda Williams, resigned from the bench.

But some of my favorite "This American Life" episodes aren`t all speak
truth the power at all. They are just really funny. Like David Sedaris`
essays about working as an Macy`s elf at Christmas time.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DAVID SEDARIS: I am a 33-year-old man applying for a job as an elf.
I often see people in the streets dressed as objects and handing out
leaflets. I usually avoid leaflets but it breaks my heart to see a grown
man dressed as a taco. So, if there is a costume involved, I tend to not
only accept the leaflet, but to accept it graciously, saying, "thank you so
much," and thinking `you poor son of a bitch."

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: Sometimes, "This American Life" is just comedy like that. It
was in the context of doing comedy on "This American Life," on that show in
1996, something happened that has turned out to be a huge problem in
Republican presidential politics right now.

I have to say in the interests of full disclosure before I go any
further, there is a whole bunch of staff overlap between this show and
"This American Life." But in terms of people who are related or married to
people on that staff, but also people who work for this show now who have
worked there before. That itself is a tribute to how much I like them.

But check this out. This was Ira Glass in 1996 interviewing a guy who
said that his name was Daniel Portado. Specifically, he said his name was
Daniel D. Portado. Get it? Deport, D. Portado.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GLASS: Listeners of our program in California may be familiar with
the group Hispanics Against Liberal Takeover. They are a militant, self-
deportation movement encouraging all minorities to leave the United States.
That`s right. All minorities.

Mr. Portado says that he started the movement when he ran newspaper
accounts, when he read newspaper accounts about Mexican-Americans who were
in favor of California`s Proposition 187. Prop 187 was the proposition
that cut off social services to illegal immigrants. He thought these
Mexican-Americans who were in favor of cutting off those services had the
right idea but did not go far enough. They didn`t take it to the logical
conclusion and he felt that self-deportation was the only real solution.

DANIEL D. PORTADO: We feel that the immigrants are taking too many
jobs, are bringing down the quality of life. They are not allowing our
young American teenagers the character-building experiences of picking
fruit and cleaning hotel beds.

GLASS: Daniel Portado, if you actually believe in deportation, what
are you yourself still doing in California?

PORTADO: Well, I am here to help everyone get out. I hope to look
forward to the day where I will stand at the border and say, "Will the last
Mexican -- out of California, please turn out the lights." That will be
me.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: What was going on at the time of that interview was what you
heard the reference, Prop 187 in California. Prop 187 was sort of the
Arizona SB-1070 of its time. Prop 187 essentially said the people who are
in California illegally could not go to school and couldn`t even go to the
hospital. That would apply to millions of people in California.

California voters passed that ballot initiative in 1994, but a court
later blocked it as unconstitutional and it didn`t go into effect.

I was living in California at the time. I`m from California. And I
remember that, look at this, the huge protest. Prop 187 tore the state
apart in terms of whether or not it was a good idea to try to stop illegal
immigration by combing through the state`s kindergartens, finding the
illegal 5-year-olds and turning them out in the street.

Well, a lot of the protest against Prop 187 was angry and
understandably intense. The guy you just heard on "This American Life" was
part of the response to Prop 187 that was funny. The character, Daniel D.
Portado, supposedly an illegal immigrant himself, but conservative, and
virulently anti-immigrant. He founded a fake group HALTO. HALTO stood for
Hispanics Against Liberal Takeover, so HALT, and just randomly an O on the
end.

He also formed a fake group called Hispanics for Wilson, as California
Governor Pete Wilson. They sent out this press release all over
California. The group`s chairman was described as, quote, "Formerly
Governor Wilson`s top Latino official, his landscaper and personal
groomer."

The group said they would support Republican Governor Pete Wilson in
his anti-immigrant efforts by pledging to, quote, "retrain white collar
workers in middle management in the agricultural, restaurant and hotel
maintenance arts, once illegal immigrants are displaced from these highly
sought after fields."

They promised as Hispanics to never utter a word of Spanish, except
for "Adios, amigo." Quote, "In the case they don`t know how to speak
Spanish, they vow to speed learn it and then quickly forget it in the
interest of racial harmony.

The group called for the immediate deportation of singer Linda
Ronstadt for attracting Mexicans to this country with her garbled Spanish
yodeling. And most importantly, they said they would create self
deportation centers, which will encourage all Hispanics, regardless of
citizenship status, especially their elderly relatives, to return to their
countries of origin.

The whole membership for Hispanics for Wilson promises to voluntarily
leave the country when Governor Wilson wins the fall election.

Self-deportation -- they sent this press release around to news
organizations during the whole Prop 187 fight back in 1994.

And it wasn`t just press releases, they did radio ads, too.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

PORTADO: Immigrants, are you tired of being pushed around in America?
Well, don`t sit on your serape. Do something about it. Join the
conservative political action group HALTO -- Hispanics Against Liberal
Takeover.

I`m the chairman of HALTO, Daniel D. Portado.

What is self-deportation you ask? Think of it as a permanent
vacation. Just imagine, in one easy step, you could avoid all this crazy
anti-immigrant harassment in America. How? Self-deportation.

ANNOUNCER: Self deportation is a trademark of Hispanics Against
Liberal Takeover. Subject agrees to voluntarily repatriate to native land
or Mexico, whichever is nearest. All deportations are final. No exchanges
or refunds. Tickets are one way only.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: Subject agrees to voluntarily repatriate to native land or
Mexico, whichever is nearest.

This is satire, right? It`s good satire. By taking those anti-
immigrant arguments to their logical extreme, it shows the extremism of
those arguments. This is a modest proposal, right? This is how satire
works.

What, of course, is the greatest hope of all political satirists who
do work like this? It`s that their work will be so close to true that some
people will not get the joke. And when these guys did this back in
California in the 1990s, some people did not get the joke.

Telemundo put Daniel D. Portado from Hispanics for Wilson, a satirical
character, they put him on their network, they put him on Telemundo as
someone defending Prop 187. Telemundo did not get the joke.

Also not getting the joke, California`s Republican Governor Pete
Wilson, the guy who the joke was about. In the midst of the whole Daniel
D. Portado, Governor Pete Wilson wants you to self-deport satirical
campaign, this comedy routine, Governor Pete Wilson did an interview with a
columnist William Safire in which he explained that the goal of Prop 187
was to get people to, you guessed it, self-deport. He used the satirist`s
exact phrase.

This would be like if Rick Santorum didn`t understand why people were
always talking about Googling him and he launched a new campaign slogan
that was: Santorum, Google me. No, you don`t get it!

Now in 2012, the legacy of Pete Wilson not getting that self-
deportation was a joke to make him look bad, the legacy of that in
Republican politics is Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican
presidential nomination in 2012, about to head in the first primary contest
in the Southwest, with the Daniel D. Portado, satirical HALTO slogan
hanging around his neck.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBATE MODERATOR: You say you don`t want to go and round up people
and deport them but you also say they would have to go back to their home
countries and apply for citizenship. So, if you don`t deport them, how do
you send them home?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the answer is self-
deportation, which is people decide that they can do better by going home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The reaction when Mitt Romney said that during the NBC debate
last week was sort of a collective national "dude, what"?

I remember I was in my office and they had the debate on, and I`m
watching the online reaction in real times as it unfolds. If Gingrich
wins, will illegal immigrants self-deport to the moon?

David Corn at "Mother Jones," my friend David Corn, tweeted, quote,
"I`m for self-incarceration for criminals."

During the commercial break after Mitt Romney said that, I joked
online that I was self-deporting to the fourth floor kitchen at 30 Rock for
a Coke, be right back.

The reaction in the immediate aftermath of this was essentially self-
deportation, Mitt Romney? Seriously? Are you kidding me?

The right, however, the right wing quickly jumped in, though, to say
self deportation was not a joke. Do not laugh at this. This is a real
thing.

This was the response at the "National Review." It was the response
at the anti-immigrant group FAIR. They insisted that self-deportation was
a totally serious idea that should not be laughed at. This is a real
thing.

No, it`s not. It really is a joke.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

PORTADO: What is self-deportation you ask? Think of it as a
permanent vacation. Just imagine, in one easy step, you could avoid all
this crazy anti-immigrant harassment in America. How? Self-deportation.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: Self deportation is satire. It is satire making fun of
people who are super-ridiculously, over-the-top anti-immigrant.
And as "The New York Times" noted in a great piece today on their "The
Lead" blog about this, Daniel D. Portado still exists. Here`s Daniel D.
Portado on Twitter on the day of the Florida primary. "Latinos, I want you
to vote for Mitt Romney today in Florida, then I want you to get on your
little lanchas and self-deport." Lancha means boat in Spanish.

He also did an interview with the satirical Web site Pocho.com, excuse
me, where he took credit for having encouraged Mr. Romney to use the self-
deportation concept. The question was: have you spoken to the Romney camp
about self-deportation? Daniel D. Portado`s answer: yes, I want to camp
Mormonhead for a hunting trip. I mentioned self-deportation to him, and
the rest is history.

Everybody who is saying this is not a joke, this is a joke. This is a
joke. This has been a joke from the beginning. This has been the joke
since before the beginning. This was even fake trademarked as a joke.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Self deportation is a trademark of Hispanics Against
Liberal Takeover. Subject agrees to voluntarily repatriate to native land
or Mexico, whichever is nearest. All deportations are final. No exchanges
or refunds. Tickets are one way only.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: When Mitt Romney kept talking in Florida about how his father
was born in Mexico, and how he, Mitt Romney, would love to be seen as a
Hispanic American, somebody who seems suspiciously a lot like Daniel D.
Portado formed another Twitter handle called "Mexican Mitt." I am the Juan
percent, says Mexican Mitt.

It is a joke. This whole thing was supposed to be a joke. And the
parts of it that are not a joke, frankly, are absurd.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: If I were elected and Congress were to pass the DREAM Act,
would I veto it, and the answer is yes.

Amnesty is a magnet. What we have had in the past, programs have said
people come here illegally are going to get to stay illegally for the rest
of their life, that`s going to encourage more people to come here
illegally.

We want to the company and we said, look you can`t have any illegals
working in our property. I`m running for office for Pete`s sake, I can`t
have illegals.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: As previously Republican policies like the DREAM Act have
become anathema to this year`s Republican politicians, as the rhetoric on
immigration has gone hard right, the Republican candidates are actually way
outstripping their own voters, in terms of how anti-immigrant they are, at
least that`s what it looks like now.

In 2008, Republicans in the Florida exit polls were asked if all
illegal immigrants should be deported. Forty percent said yes. That
number this year is down to 31 percent.

In 2008, Republicans were asked if there should be a path to
citizenship in Florida. Only 29 percent said yes. But this time, 38
percent said yes.

So, there appears to be declining -- a declining amount of anti-
immigrant feeling among Republican voters, as anti-immigrant policies
simultaneously go off the charts for the Republican candidates.

This is beyond not getting the joke. Something is out of whack in
Republican electoral politics around this issue.

Remember Russell Pearce? Russell Pearce just became the first Arizona
legislator ever recalled from office ever, after he championed the super
anti-immigrant Arizona SB-1070 law, last year`s Prop 187, right? Russell
Pearce got turfed out of office in a Republican district, by Republican
voters.

He got replaced by another Republican who was not as rabidly anti-
immigrant as he was. He got turfed out of office for how anti-immigrant he
was

Want to know what happened yesterday? The Arizona Republican Party to
give him the number two job in the state party. So, their voters are
against it, but the party is all for it.

As the presidential contest heads to the southwest now, with the next
contest in Nevada, everybody knows that fighting about immigration has
always been part of the un-capitalized version of "This American Life" and
this set of American politics, right?

But Republican politics on immigration right now are so strange, it is
getting impossible to tell whether or not they are satire.

Joining us is Lalo Alcaraz. He`s the satirist and cartoonist and
editor in chief of Pocho.com, who brought us this joke in the first place.
He is perhaps the very person to come up with term "self-deportation".

Mr. Alcaraz, thanks for joining us.

LALO ALCARAZ, POCHO.COM: Hi, Rachel. Truly exciting to be here/

MADDOW: It`s exciting for me to be able to talk to you.

When I explained your Prop 187 self-deportation campaign, did I -- did
I explain it right? Is that pretty much what you guys did?

ALCARAZ: Yes, you know, myself and my writing partner, Esteban Sol
(ph), we were sick of like everybody else in California, we were sick of
hearing about the -- and living the anti-immigrant hysteria going on in
California during the prop 187 era, and I mean people were losing their
minds, people in pizza places, clerks were asking dark skinned Mexican
people for ID before they could buy a pizza. I mean, the world was just
gone as they say in cartoons, plum loco.

So, the way for satirists to cope with reality and with awful, awful
things like Prop 187 or anti-immigrant hatred was to satirize the thing, to
try to knock it out. And so, yes, we were pushing back using satire.

MADDOW: When you heard at the time, when you heard Governor Wilson
back at that time use the term self-deportation, sort of not getting that
it was a joke, when you heard Mitt Romney do it last week in Florida, how -
- did you -- did you feel like you should be taking credit or did you feel
horrified?

ALCARAZ: I felt like I had fallen into a hot tub time machine or
something, you know? Like everything had stood still.

You know, this happens sometimes with my editorial cartoons. I`ll get
an e-mail from somebody, a picture of their college dorm door, covered with
my cartoons from the `90s, and they are about this percent era, about
immigration. And then I read in 2012 and you can almost just change the
year on them and they still apply. It`s kind of -- you know, hearing those
two guys mention self-deportation, it just -- you laugh but it`s still sad
that we`re still stuck in this anti-immigrant hysteria.

MADDOW: And also, I mean, the reason I played that clip of Mitt
Romney talking about the DREAM Act is because the DREAM Act was one of
those things that -- that was the Republican response to Democrats who
wanted to do comprehensive immigration reform, that was the Republican
response of no, no, no, we can`t actually have real immigration reform, we
just want the DREAM Act. That was the conservative idea.

And now, that is anathema. That is something that Republicans now
would veto. I guess as a person who deals with the comedic edge of what`s
going on in politics as a satirist, do you feel you`re chasing the edge now
that you can`t get to the right fast enough before these guys pass you up?

ALCARAZ: Well, you know, especially during this presidential
campaign, comics, comedians, writers are all both thanking their lucky
stars for just the blessing of, you know, Michele Bachmann, and, you know,
Herman Cain. I missed Herman Cain so much.

MADDOW: We all do.

ALCARAZ: He made my writing, you know, so easy, and was still funny.

So I don`t know -- it`s kind of a double-edged sword, you know? Ever
writer`s dream is to see their words come to life, but I don`t know if that
should be every satirist`s dream.

MADDOW: Lalo Alcaraz, satirist, cartoonist, editor in chief of
Pocho.com, and the guy who should be credited any time any Republican says
self-deportation with a straight face -- Lalo, thank you very much for your
time. I really appreciate it, man.

ALCARAZ: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thank you, Rachel.

All right. Best new thing in the world is coming up tonight.

Steve Schmidt is here, I`ve got a bone to pick with Steve Schmidt
about Republicans supposedly being so psyched to run against President
Obama this year.

Plus, there is some politics stuck in your Super Bowl and we will take
care of that in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Still ahead, little warning: we have a sort of profane best
new thing in the world. And we have some actually profane news relating to
any my best Republican friend who doesn`t return my calls, would be
Republican vice presidential candidate, Bob McDonnell.

Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: For our election night coverage here on MSNBC, this year, we
have an incredibly asset on our side for covering this race. We have the
guy who ran the presidential campaign that has ever beaten Mitt Romney. We
have the guy who orchestrated the last winning campaign for the Republican
presidential nomination.

We have Steve Schmidt, who was the senior strategist for the John
McCain for president campaign. And the McCain campaign, if course, came
out of nowhere. The McCain campaign came out nowhere to beat not only Rudy
Giuliani, and Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee, but also Mitt Romney, to win
that nomination in `08.

So, in terms of understanding the race this year, Steve Schmidt is an
incredible asset.

Also, he`s funny. It is nice to be on set with him. He`s pleasant
guy. I find him to be blunt spoken, which is a pleasure especially on
nights like that, where there was a lot of blowhardiness.

But Steve Schmidt keeps saying something that I find to be not
possible. He keeps saying something I just do not understand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think what will bind
Republicans to the eventual nominee is Barack Obama, is the cause of
defeating the president. So, I think the Republican Party will be unified.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: OK. Despite how much I really, really like Steve Schmidt,
here is what I do not understand. Here what is I do not understand about
that.

In 2008, at this point in the primary season, this is the number of
people who had turned out to vote in the Republican primaries. In Iowa,
New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida, in 2008, that`s how many people
turned out. This year, this is how many people have turned out to vote in
the Republican primaries. It is a smaller number.

There is nothing about Barack Obama being president that seems to be
motivating people to turn out in this Republican races. Now, you say `08-
`12, that`s apples and oranges, you can`t compare the two years like that
in 2008. There could be enthusiasm cross-over because of that very
exciting Democratic race.

If you want to take the pulse of Republicans in this year`s primaries
you should just compare what Republicans did last time, compared to what
Republicans are doing now.

Well, if you like at just self-identifying Republicans, people who
tell exit pollsters, I identify as a Republican, those numbers are even
worse this year. Here is Iowa, `08, Republican turn out on the left, this
year on the right, an 11 percent drop. In New Hampshire, here`s the
numbers from `08 to this year, they dropped 15 percent. Now, South
Carolina did go up, South Carolina went up 20 percent.

But in Florida yesterday, the big enchilada, the bigger primary than
all the other previous races combined, look, Florida, also, like Iowa and
New Hampshire, down, Florida down 16 percent compared with the last go-
around.

Overall the Republican turn out is down over all, you combine them
down 10 percent even with the big uptick in South Carolina.

So, what is going on here? Republicans do not seem to be psyched.
The super smart totally knows what he`s talking about guy Steve Schmidt,
the guy who has the most relevant experience in the entire world to be
talking about this stuff keeps saying Obama brings Republicans together,
they will be fine, they are going to be super psyched to get out and beat
Obama, but where are they?

I believe everything Steve Schmidt says. And, Steve, on this I just -
- well look, joining us now there is Steve Schmidt.

Steve, please tell me you`re ready to set me straight here. What am I
not understanding about this?

SCHMIDT: Well, the president is not yet on the ballot. And we know
there is an enthusiasm gap for these candidates on the Republican side
right now. You saw in the exit polls yesterday where 40 percent of the
respondents, you know, were still interested in finding another candidate
for the race.

What I`m trying to say, Rachel, at the end of the day, when the
nominee is chosen, even if people come to reluctantly accept him, he`s
going to be in Republican eyes far preferable than the president getting a
second term. And when it`s that nominee and the president on the ballot,
I`m confident that both parties bases are going to be motivated to turn
out.

And I dismissed earlier this year when there`s a lot of talk that
disaffection in the president`s liberal base, you know, was going to
manifest itself and people holding back support from him, I never thought
that was true, either.

I think the reality of this race and you saw it in the poll out today,
is I think the Republican floor is 47 percent of the vote, I think the
Democratic floor is about 47 percent of the vote, and both sides will be
fighting over a very narrow sliver, 6 percent.

MADDOW: Do you see a difference in enthusiasm. I mean, I look back
at 2008, and no offense to your candidate, to your guy, John McCain, or
anything, but I look back at `08 and I didn`t feel Republicans were excited
about their options then either.

Why would there be lessen enthusiasm now for these candidates compared
to the guys in `08? In `08, it seemed like there was really all that much
to be excited about then.

SCHMIDT: Look, we spent a hot of time talking over the last year
about the reality show that has been the Republican primary process,
particularly in the year leading up to it. From Herman Cain, cameo
appearance by Donald Trump, the only thing we were missing was Snooki
swinging through on a trapeze, you know?

I think that, you know, hasn`t been great for the party. I don`t
think that Republican voters are particularly enthused with the choices
that they have in the race, otherwise you wouldn`t see a number as high as
40 percent after the fourth contest of people still looking for another
candidate. But I think it`s a different proposition when you get into a
general election and the choice is going to be, you know, for Republicans,
you know, Obama second term, or second term for the president or new start.

And remember, the president as far as polarizing figure and this isn`t
all attributable to the president, in my view, but he is as polarizing
bipartisanship as any president the country has ever had. And so, I think
that is evidence of the strong support that Republicans will ultimately put
behind the nominee.

MADDOW: Steve, you talked last night about how Newt Gingrich`s win in
so many of the Panhandle counties in Florida indicated a potential Southern
strategy for him going forward. And I pivoted to raise the issue whether
he was hitting a racist note with the food stamp president thing and
entertainer in chief line that he`s been using against the president. And
when that whole conversation started you got very quiet.

So I have been wondering for the past 24 days, do you think I`m nuts
with that? Do you think I was off base?

SCHMIDT: No. Listen, I think the food stamp comment is totally
inappropriate. I think it`s disrespectful to the office of the president
of the United States, and I think the president should be treated with
respect.

I didn`t hear racism in the entertainment -- in the entertainment
comment, you know? And I don`t think there was the intent there. I think
it want an ineffective line.

I think that speech was off the wall. It was all over the place.
He`s planning, you know, after a double digit loss what he is going to be
doing between the inaugural breakfast and inauguration and lunch -- and
lunch after it.

But I do think when you have the first African-American president, and
you understand the history of race relations in this country, that shows at
a minimum a lack of sensitivity. And when you are talking about someone
like Newt Gingrich who has always been provocative with his language, who
puts words together for maximum political effect, it`s my belief he knows
exactly what he`s doing, and I think it`s wrong. And Republicans should
not brook it.

MADDOW: Steve Schmidt, I like talking to you about these things. And
so, I have to tell you, whether it`s like on this show, but even more when
we`re doing election night things, I either don`t hear something from you
that I`m desperate to know your opinion or you say something that befuddles
me, I think about it for 24 hours at least until I can talk to you again.

So, thank you for letting me go back to you with this, though.

SCHMIDT: You bet.

MADDOW: Thanks. Steve Schmidt, former senior strategist for the
McCain-Palin campaign, and now, an MSNBC political analyst.

All right. Still ahead, check out huge crowds, look at this -- huge
crowds today in Indianapolis. And not one of those people there is to see
Tom Brady.

Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, do these voters look happy to you?
That story is straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Whether people talk about Bob McDonnell as a potential vice
presidential choice this year, some people will think of him giving the
Republican Party State of the Union response that one year.

Some people will think of his time at televangelist Pat Robertson`s
university when he wrote that public policy should be used to punish,
cohabitators, homosexuals and fornicators. And after this week, thanks to
one Democratic senator, when Bob McDonnell is discussed as potential vice
presidential nominee, a lot of people will now also think of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The senator from northern Fairfax, Senator Howell?

ST. SEN. JANET HOWELL (D), VIRGINIA: Thank you, Mr. President. There
is a floor amendment that`s being distributed and I would ask the clerk to
read the floor amendment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without objection, the clerk will read the floor
amendment.

CLERK: Page two of the substitute line 120 after party period.
Insert, prior to prescribing medication for erectile dysfunction, a
physician perform a digital rectal examination and cardiac stress test.
Informed consent for these procedures shall be given at least 24 hours
before the procedures are performed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Governor Bob McDonnell and Virginia Republicans have just
pushed through legislation that would have the state government force
Virginia women who have medically unnecessary ultrasounds against their
objections, and against the objections of their doctor, before they would
be allowed by the state to have an abortion.

In response, Democratic Senator Janet Howell introduced and amendment
you just heard here that would have the state government force Virginia men
to have medically unnecessary rectal examinations against their objections,
and against the objections of their doctor, before they would be allowed by
the state to have treatment for erectile dysfunction.

The exuberantly profane Web site Wonkette explained, "This way,
everyone can enjoy the experience having their nether parts unnecessarily
prodded by the cold, uncomfortable indifference of lawmakers` whims
equally. Fair is fair."

Senator Janet Howell`s forced rectal exam`s bill did not pass. It
failed by two votes. But it turns out, some other lawmakers this week were
thinking along her same lines. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: When you become a state legislator in Indiana, the government
sets you up with a few things to help you in your new job. You get an
office, you get a desk, you get a phone for instance, you get a page on the
legislature`s Web site with your name and picture and bio so constituents
can look you up.

Indiana legislators might get one of these under a bill that passed
the statehouse this week. It`s a cup to pee in so they can be tested for
drug use. That`s because Indiana lawmakers, in one chamber at least, have
just voted to make themselves prove on demand that they personally are
drug-free.

If lawmakers cannot or will not submit their urine for examination by
the state, then under this new bill, they could lose their legislative
privileges, like their parking spaces and their laptops. The reason the
Indiana House passed the bill is not because the Republican majority wanted
to make sure lawmakers aren`t high, even if they sometimes propose high-
seeming idea, it`s because the majority in the state wanted to start drug
testing people in Indiana who need welfare.

And Indiana`s Democrats, the minority in the legislature, the
Democrats, turned that Republican idea into a boomerang. Democrats amended
the bill to add mandatory drug testing for lawmakers.

You say you have to be drug tested if you`re taken any state money.
Well, lawmakers get paid in state money, so you ought to pee in a cup, too.
They shamed the majority Republicans into drug testing, not just Indian`s
poor, but also themselves.

Since the red tide of the 2010 elections, Indiana Democrats are very
much in the minority. Republicans controlled the governorship and both
chambers of the state legislature. But Indiana Democrats are showing signs
that they might be clever enough not to lose everything automatically in
state politics. The Indiana Senate for example has been considering a bill
would let schools teach creationism along with actual science, like
evolution -- you know, jobs, jobs, jobs.

The Republican sponsor of this bill says his pastor and members of his
Sunday school class encouraged him to introduce it. This religion equals
science bill passed yesterday, but Democrats were able to add one notable
amendment -- if school districts want to teach a religious version of
creation mythology, they can`t just pick one. They will not have to teach
a lot of religious versions, thanks to the amendment which includes, but
says it`s not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism
and Scientology. You can imagine a school superintendent trying to explain
that decision to parents.

What is the scientology creation story anyway?

Anyway, the big news this week in Indiana, of course, is the Super
Bowl. The game is on Sunday. Indianapolis is filled with fans, and media
and players. Indiana Republicans have been trying for weeks to pass a bill
to strip union rights and they really, really wanted to get that done
before the game. So, the thousands of pro-union rights protesters who
would be protesting that decision wouldn`t get their case to make their
case to an audience that couldn`t get a chance to make their case to an
audience of several dozen million Americans.

Democratic legislators in Indiana have been boycotting that vote off
and on, pushing the vote closer and closer to game time, long enough for
the country to see these protests, long enough for the high profile union
members who play in the Super Bowl to register disapproval of Indiana
Republican union-stripping plans.

Well, today, the Indiana legislature finished passing this bill to
strip union rights in Indiana. Governor Mitch Daniels used to say that he
was against this policy, but today, he signed it right away. Almost as if
he was in some kind of a hurry.

And thousands, thousands of union protesters pro-union rights
Indianans took their case where the governor feared he would take it and
where he knew they would take it. They marched in the heart of
Indianapolis` Super Bowl village.

Joining us now is Indiana state legislator Scott Pelath, the assistant
Democratic leader in the House.

Mr. Pelath, thanks very much for being back with us.

STATE REP. SCOTT PELATH (D), INDIANA: Good to be back, Rachel.

MADDOW: Did you expect the kind of outpouring we saw today with these
thousands of protesters marching to Lucas Stadium? I mean, the aerial
shots are intense.

PELATH: You better believe it. I tell you what I`m trying to smile,
it has been a rough week and it was a rough day. But the word you hear
most in Indiana today is the word disgrace. We believe that this governor,
this radical majority has brought disgrace on us, brought disgrace on our
very proud labor traditions here in Indiana, brought disgrace on the
hundreds of thousands of workers who are going to have their wages driven
down.

But here`s the biggest disgraceful thing, Rachel, we now have Indiana
as the playbook for the rest of the nation to try to push forth this right
to work mess that does nothing other than make people work more for less.

If there is a silver lining in it though, Rachel you saw it today.
Thousands of workers turning out to make their voices heard. They`ve given
actually Indiana Democrats something that we never ever have, and that is
an angry group of single issue voters. It`s in their hands now.

MADDOW: What do you think will happen to that angry group of single
issue voters? Obviously, this has enthused and exercised and angered
Indianans in a way that`s really palpable. I mean, those are big crowds, I
know you and the legislature, and other Democrats have been fighting this,
support from people, what happens to all that energy? Where does it get
channeled to?

PELATH: Well, I tell you what? You know, sometimes we wonder what
peoples attention span is. But this is the type of anger that lasts.
This is a type of anger that actually is multi-generational.

And I`ll tell you -- the biggest mistake the Republicans made on this,
you know, you put together your group of typical Tea Partiers. Let`s be
honest, a lot of them don`t tend to support Democratic candidates, but you
see those people marching, those labor supporters, those regular everyday
workers -- in Indiana, a lot of them vote Republican. And they are back in
our camp and that can`t help but have consequences come November.

MADDOW: This weekend, when the Super Bowl comes to Indianapolis.
Obviously, it has come to Indianapolis, the Super Bowl village was the site
of the protest today, you can see that the city has already really
organized and really filling up in terms of this huge spectacle. Do you
expect when people tune in to watch the Super Bowl or when people are in
the city to participate in the festivities, they are going to be aware of
what`s going on in Indianapolis? Is there going to be some effort to
either protest or let people know what the concerns are?

PELATH: Well, let`s remember, we got two union teams playing each
other in a stadium built by union workers in Indianapolis. There is going
to be some education going on. We may have had the setback in Indiana but
it`s much bigger than that.

This national platform has to be used to let the rest of the country
know because guess what? The speaker of the house in Indiana already is
bragging that he has had guys from other states calling him wanting to know
how you cram through this right to work. We`re hearing calls from Michigan
-- remember the old domino theory, Rachel, we could see it start to happen
in the Rust Belt.

MADDOW: Do you feel you have support from national Democrats? I
guess, I mean, from D.C. Democrats but also from grassroots Democrats
across the country in terms of fighting this? Or do you feel like this was
an Indiana-only battle?

PELATH: Oh, no, you know, it starts out on the state level but it
grows from there, and the attention that Indiana has received not just this
year but also starting last year, when they first showed the signs of
trying to bust unions in Indiana and hurt the middle class, that can`t help
but attract attention.

You know, you fight to stop this thing but sometimes just by virtue of
fighting, you bring attention on yourself, and we feel we played an
important part in helping let the rest of the country know what kind of
radical agenda this is. And we`ve got folks that just believe the solution
to every single problem is to get money and power in the hands of the right
people and not in the pockets of workers and that is something that`s going
to change.

MADDOW: It`s certainly something that`s going to be tied to Mitch
Daniels bumper for the rest of his career like a tin can trailing behind
the car. I mean, if they pick him for vice president, they`re going to see
what just happened today in Indianapolis is going to happen coast-to-coast.
I can see it.

Indiana State Representative Scott Pelath -- sorry, go ahead, sir.

PELATH: Oh, I see. Union buster is a term that sticks with you.

MADDOW: Yes, that`s right. Indiana State Rep. Scott Pelath, thank
you for taking the time to talk to us about this. I know it was a tough
day for you. Thanks for being with us.

PELATH: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. Right after this show, on "THE LAST WORD,"
Lawrence O`Donnell has (INAUDIBLE) who is really funny. You should
definitely stay and watch that. Plus, he`s got the details on this new
conservative swipe at Planned Parenthood.

Also here, best new thing in the world coming up. Plus, why the Mitt
Romney "I don`t care about poor people" thing today is way more than just
another Mitt Romney screw-up. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Here`s Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney
speaking at a campaign event a couple weeks ago in South Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m concerned about our poor in this country. We have to
make sure the safety net for our poor is always strong and able to help
those that can`t help themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Mitt Romney very concerned about the poor in this country.
That was two and a half weeks ago. Here was Mitt Romney today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m not concerned about the very poor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Today, Mitt Romney not concerned about the very poor. The
poor, they`re fine.

Two weeks ago, he was concerned, worried about whether the safety net
wasn`t strong enough. But now, poor, no need to worry. It turns out
there`s this awesome safety net.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net
there. If needs repair, I`ll fix it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got to ask you, you just said there, I`m not
concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net. I think
there are lots of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say that
sounds odd. Can you explain that?

ROMNEY: Well, you had to finish the sentence, Soledad. I said, I`m
not concerned about the very poor, it has a safety net, but if it has holes
in it, I will repair them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got it. OK.

ROMNEY: The challenge right now, we will hear from the Democrat
Party, the plight of the poor, and there`s no question, it`s not good being
poor, and we have a safety net to help those that are poor. We have a very
ample safety net, and we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened
or whether there are holes in it. But we have food stamps, we have
Medicaid, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Mitt Romney, zillionaire, not concerned about the very poor
in this country. He does admit that it`s not good being poor, in his
words. But, hey, he says, that`s what the safety net is for. And if that
safety net has holes in it, Mitt Romney says he will fix them.

That`s what he says. Here`s what`s been actually proposed as policy
by Mitt Romney, self-proclaimed safety net repairman.

For starters, he says he would sign Congressman Paul Ryan`s budget
into law. Almost two thirds of the budget cuts in the Paul Ryan plan come
from programs that serve the poor, including more than $2 trillion in cuts
from Medicaid and Medicaid related health care. That`s one of the safety
net programs Mr. Romney specifically said he would fix the holes in today,
by cutting it dramatically. The plan also cuts $127 billion out of the
food stamp program that Mr. Romney cited as reason to not be all that
concerned about the poor.

Mr. Romney`s own budget plan would cut tens of billions of dollars
from Medicaid. He wants to make less money available for this key safety
net program that he said he would work to fix, to strengthen if it needs
it.

So, yes, Mitt Romney saying he`s not concerned about poor people in
this country is another one of those things that Mitt Romney keeps saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

ROMNEY: I like being able to fire people that provide services to me.

Rick, I`ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet?

Corporations are people, my friends.

Never get involved in politics if you have to win an election to pay a
mortgage.

I get speakers fees from time to time, but not very much.

I should tell my story, I`m also unemployed.

I`m not concerned about the very poor.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: Yes, this is another line to add to the oh, my God, I can`t
believe the Republicans are going to nominate Thurston Howell for president
files, right? But it is not just for the Thurston Howell files. It turns
out the "I don`t care very much about the poor people" line today is also a
good quick and dirty summary of what Mitt Romney is proposing in terms of
policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m not concerned about the very poor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: So, last night, I spent five hours -- five solid hours
covering the Florida primary. And then I went upstairs to our offices to
find out that everyone who works on this show is actually a 13-year-old
boy. They were all giggling over this -- because apparently the idea of
somebody drawing a circle around the Florida Panhandle is hilarious.
Whether it`s Chuck Todd with his illustrator or John King with his magic
wall on CNN, which is apparently even funnier because he`s done putting his
hands on it, members of my staff were swearing that putting shapes on the
state of Florida is always problematic.

And, yes, I get it, kind of. I actually get it less than most people.
But I do see something in the "Associated Press" map of Florida returns by
country. Mitt Romney won the counties in orange, Gingrich won the ones in
red. You guys see what that looks like. Look closer.

At BuzzFeed.com today, they totally saw it, look. It`s a giraffe.
So, Florida as Rorschach Test is best new thing in the world today.

And RACHEL MADDOW SHOW staffers, you are grounded. No Xbox for two
weeks.

It`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell. Have a great
night.

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

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