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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, February 3, 2012

Read the transcript to the Friday show

Guests: Jared Bernstein, Jon Ralston

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Well, no. I`m telling you I have so many bets
going on right now on the Super Bowl, I can`t -- my number of bets has
surpassed my number of superstitions.

ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: It`s on record. I`m bet-free with my
friend Rachel. I hope your team wins. I don`t care. I`m going to watch

MADDOW: You are very kind. Thanks, Ed. Have a great weekend.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next

Some great news, straight up, no snark. Actual great news for the
country, in terms of the stock market, did you see this? Dow was up 156
points. The Dow had its highest closing in three-and-a-half years. The
Dow has not been this high since May of 2008.

Also, the NASDAQ, which is more or less the tech stocks, the NASDAQ
closed at the highest level in 11 years today. Eleven years.

Those great numbers were due in large part to the fact the monthly
jobs numbers came out today. The expectation was that the number of new
jobs in the country in January would be about 140,000. It ended up being
more like 240,000. That`s how many jobs were added last month.

They also revised the earlier numbers to reflect the fact that
thousands more jobs were also created in November and in December.

Today`s excellent jobs report means that we have now had 23 straight
months of job growth. And the unemployment rate has dropped from a high of
10 percent down to 8.3 percent.

Even the internal numbers that came out are good. It`s not like a
whole bunch of people got hired to wrap packages for Christmas or
something. The numbers are good in professional and business services.
The numbers are good in hospitality, in health care, in manufacturing. All
of the internals look positive.

Really the only bad economic news today is that good economic news
seems to confuse the Republican Party`s likely nominee for president. Mitt
Romney appears to be just flummoxed right now. Mitt Romney`s case for why
he should be president basically comes down to the economy, right? Pay no
attention to his time running the state of Massachusetts. That`s

What Mitt Romney wants to be known as is a business guy. And you know
what business guys know? Business guys know money. And you know what
money is when they talk about it in the aggregate for the country? Yes,
it`s about the economy.

So, the thing that is important to you is the economy, then Mitt
Romney is your guy, right? That`s how they want you to see it. When you
see Mitt Romney, do you think money? Good. That`s the idea. That`s what
they want.

But when Mitt Romney talks about the economy, when he talks about
money, when he talks about this thing that is supposed to be the raison
d`etre for his campaign, sometimes Mitt Romney does not make sense. And
it`s not because he`s always talking about complicated things. Even the
very simplest things, he sometimes makes no sense.

For example, Governor Romney, how`s the economy?


didn`t cause this downturn, this recession. But he didn`t make it better,
either. He made it worse.


MADDOW: Worse? The word "worse" means less good. It means more bad.
Not a thumb`s up, but a thumb`s down. Going from a thumb`s up to a thumb`s
down, right? That is what "worse" means.

Here what is Barack Obama inherited when he came into office. That
was the Great Recession. That was then, and this is now. Then to now.
Bad to better.

No matter how much you hate President Obama, nobody who understands
the meaning of the English word "worse" can look at then and now here and
say now is worse.

Worse is a very simple word. It does not apply in this circumstance.

Now, Mitt Romney has gotten in trouble for saying this before, because
the whole he made the economy worse thing has been in Mr. Romney`s stump
speech for a long time. This was him back in June.


ROMNEY: When he took office, the economy was in recession. And he
made it worse.


MADDOW: The economy of course wasn`t worse then, either. When called
out on that fact, at the time when he said that last summer, Mr. Romney
took it back.


ROMNEY: I didn`t say the things are worse.


MADDOW: Oh, dude, you totally did. But at least you were embarrassed
enough to lie about it when somebody called you on it.

Now, though, having been called out on that and having had to take it
back, today in the face of great economic news for the country, Mitt Romney
is inexplicably back to his old self again.


ROMNEY: And I know the president didn`t cause this downturn, this
recession. But he didn`t make it better, either. He made it worse.


MADDOW: He made it worse. That was Mr. Romney speaking today in
Sparks, Nevada.

The most interesting thing about Mitt Romney making no sense and
flailing wildly on the basic question, "dude, how`s the economy," the most
interesting thing when he says that the president made things worse, Mitt
Romney knows that that is not true.

I`m not saying I can read his mind or that I surmise that he must know
it`s not true. What I mean is: he has said, he has explained that he knows
it is not true.


LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO HOST: You`ve also noted that there are signs of
improvement on the horizon in the economy. How do you answer the
president`s argument that the economy is getting better in a general
election campaign if you yourself are saying it`s getting better?

ROMNEY: Well, of course, it`s getting better. The economy always
gets better after a recession. There is always a recovery.

INGRAHAM: Isn`t that a hard argument to make, if you`re saying, like,
OK, he inherited this recession, and he took a bunch of steps and tried to
turn the economy around. And now, we`re seeing more jobs, but vote against
him anyway? Isn`t that a hard argument to make? Is that a stark enough

ROMNEY: Have you got a better one, Laura? This happens to be the


MADDOW: It does happen to be the truth, except on days when you
decide to say otherwise.


ROMNEY: He didn`t make it better, either, he made it worse.


MADDOW: Also, he made it better.

Mr. Romney, you do not always make sense.

And here`s the reason this is important. This is not just Mitt Romney
being a not great candidate. This is not just Mitt Romney taking yes and
no on every issue. Mitt Romney taking both sides of every policy issue,
both sides of every factual issue.

All the stuff that we`ve known about him as a candidate since he
started running for president when I was roughly a toddler. What is
important is that this subject is the whole reason there is a Mitt Romney
candidacy in the first place, at least what they tell us. This is the
whole basis of his campaign. He`s supposedly Mr. Economy, right?

When you think about economic questions, you`re supposed to think
about him. If you want the economy to get better, he wants you to want him
to be president.

You can understand why it would flummox him the economy is getting
better without him but he does appear to be flummoxed after being forced to
release his tax returns showing that he is maybe the richest guy to ever
run for resident in modern times. His net worth is roughly the net worth
of the last eight presidents times two.

After having to release to these really quite spectacular tax returns,
there has been a basic question for him. Hey, Mr. Unimaginably Rich
Zillionaire guy, should people who aren`t rich people worry about the
prospect of you as president? Can you relate to the problems of people who
have nothing given that you pretty much have everything? Are you just for
rich people? Or are you for everybody?


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.


MADDOW: Aide from the weird idea they are our poor, that like Mitt
Romney owns some poor people, that was sort of the right political answer,
right? I`m concerned about the poor in this country. Despite the awkward
phrasing, as always with Mitt Romney, sort of the right answer. Good

Then this week on CNN --


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


MADDOW: Mr. Romney then went on to explain that the reason he`s not
concerned about the very poor is because of the very poor have a safety
net. When that explanation did not seem to make it any better, he then
said that his remark was being taken out of context. That did not seem to
make it better, either.

And so, in a new interview with our next guest, Mr. Romney has now
finally decided to stop defending that statement, to stop explaining it, to
stop trying to put it in context. And instead he`s now just saying it came
out wrong. It was an accident.


ROMNEY: When you do, I don`t know how many thousands of interviews,
now and then, you may get it wrong. And I misspoke.


MADDOW: Here is the thing -- I misspoke. Misspeaking is a real
thing. This for example, this is misspeaking.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right after the break, we`re going to interview
Eric (INAUDIBLE) who climbed the highest mountain in the world, Mount
Everest. But he`s gay, I mean, he`s gay -- excuse me, he`s blind. So,
we`ll hear about that coming up.


MADDOW: That is misspeaking.

Here`s another one. He`s Vice President George H.W. Bush talking
about Ronald Reagan.


GEORGE H.W. BUSH, THEN-VICE PRESIDENT: For seven-and-a-half years I
worked alongside him, and I`m proud to be his partner, and we had trials,
we made some mistakes, we`ve had some sex -- setbacks.


MADDOW: That is misspeaking. Misspeaking is when you mean to say one
word but something else comes out entirely.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are the most difficult problems he or she
will face in 2008?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. Why don`t we ask Osama bin Laden--
Osama Obama -- Obama since he won by a big amount.


MADDOW: That is misspeaking, right? That`s misspeaking.

Here is a more recent example.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I am confident with the leadership and
the backing of the American people, President Obama will turn this country
around. We believe in America. We believe that our best days are ahead of

Excuse me, President Romney. President Romney. President Romney.


MADDOW: That is one of the ways you know something is misstatement,
maybe everybody laughs, or you make some sort of noise and then you
apologize, that is a misstatement. Do we have one more? I think we have
one more.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: American needs a military
where our breast and brightest are proud to serve, and proud to stay.


MADDOW: Our breast and brightest. That is misspeaking.

There is a difference between a mistake and misspeaking. There is a
difference between a mistake and a misstatement.

And you can try to pass off a mistake, a scandalous remark as if it
were a slip of the tongue, breast and brightest. But trying to pass it off
as a mistake doesn`t usually work. You can tell what`s a legitimate
mistake and what is a slip of the tongue.

The attempt to disguise an actual mistake as a misstatement was
attempted recently, attempt and fail spectacularly by Rick Santorum, right?
You probably saw this.


people`s lives better by giving them somebody else`s money. I want to give
them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.

JOHN KING, CNN: You told an audience that you don`t want to make
black people`s lives better by giving them somebody else`s money.

SANTORUM: I looked at that quote. In fact, I looked at the video and
I don`t -- in fact, I`m pretty confident I didn`t say black. What I think
I started to say a word and sort of mumbled it and changed my thought. But
I don`t -- I don`t recall saying black.


MADDOW: You know what Rick Santorum didn`t say there? He didn`t say
I don`t want to make blaaaa people`s lives better by giving them other
people`s money. It`s not what he said. He said black people. That is not
a misstatement. It`s not a slip of the tongue. It was a scandalous remark
he made about African Americans, he tried to make it go away by saying it
was a misstatement.

And now, Mitt Romney would like us to believe that he totally cares
about poor people, it just came out wrong. It`s four people that he`s not
concerned with, door people. Nor people.

I just babbled it somehow. I meant to say I`m concerned about sore
people, not poor people.


ROMNEY: When you do I don`t know how many thousands of interviews,
now and then you may get it wrong. And I misspoke.


MADDOW: In a state with 12.6 percent unemployment rate for the state,
in a state where 58 percent of homes are currently underwater, even as it
looks like Mitt Romney is going to run away with the Nevada Republican
caucus tomorrow, has Mitt Romney flummoxed his basic message there about
why it is that he is running in the first place?

Joining us now is Jon Ralston of "Las Vegas Sun" and the host of "Face
to Face with Jon Ralston," where Mitt Romney just explained his

Mr. Ralston, you are very busy right now. Thanks for making time for

JON RALSTON, LAS VEGAS SUN: Nice to be with you, Rachel.

MADDOW: When Mitt Romney told you he misspoke, that it was just an
error when he said he was not concerned about the very poor, what was your
first thought, how did you feel about the answer?

RALSTON: I better be careful what I say here, I don`t want to
misspeak, Rachel. But I have to tell you, I was frankly stunned when he
said it because it`s clear what happened, from when he said first that it
was taken out of context, his campaign people were seeing the damage it was
done, and that somewhat I don`t know who that might be, Rachel, might
ridicule that statement, they decided to back off and try to get it off of
the table, right?

But, of course, just based on what you did and others are going to do,
it`s not going away that simply because it reinforces the narrative that we
are going to see over and over again, if indeed he becomes the nominee of
the Republican Party, which this is a guy out of touch, not just with poor
people, but with regular people. With the middle class that he keeps
trying to say he wants to help.

So, it was a tremendously damaging part of the mosaic about Mitt
Romney, right?

MADDOW: And looking at the Nevada economy in particular, that is what
makes it so remarkable that something in the water in Nevada makes Mitt
Romney say really impolitic things about the economy. He wants foreclosure
epidemic to run its course and bottom out. He`s not concerned about poor
people. He slipped up and didn`t mean to say that when he said that.

I mean, will that stuff stick to him in the general election in Nevada
even if it doesn`t for the caucus tomorrow?

RALSTON: The Democrats certainly think it will, Rachel. And I have
to tell you, I think it will, too. There is no bigger issue here in Nevada
than not just the economy, but what essentially caused the economy to
almost die here that was the housing bubble bursting.

You mentioned those figures. It`s even bigger here in southern
Nevada, in Las Vegas, where most of the people down here, maybe 75 percent,
80 percent are underwater on their homes. And they hear Mitt Romney say
over and over again -- and believe me it will be repeated over and over
again, in ads that the foreclosure process should go through, and
essentially they should do nothing.

Right before, I asked him about the very poor comment, I asked him
about the comments. He, of course, tried to pivot immediately to talk
about President Obama and I said, but that`s not what you said, Governor.
He immediately got very testy and said, "I know what I said".

So he knows that those comments, too, are going to hurt him, Rachel.

MADDOW: Jon, in terms of the caucuses tomorrow -- obviously, Mr.
Romney is heavily favored. We have seen an exit polls from Florida this
week, more than a third of Romney voters said they wished somebody else
were running, if they had another choice to make.

How much passion do you see for him among Republican voters in Nevada?
Is he winning there because they are psyched about him or is it something

RALSTON: Well, I`m not sure you can find anybody without the last
name Romney who`s really psyched about Mitt Romney. You don`t get the
whole psyched going on anywhere.

Now, Listen, I think the Republicans want to beat President Obama.
And so, they are psyched for that reason.

But, Rachel, the reason he`s going to win here, most likely tomorrow,
is because he`s been running here as he`s been running everywhere for four
years. He`s got an organization that`s set up. He`s got money. So, he`s
buying a ton of ads to attack Newt Gingrich.

But I really still think the wild card out there that the Romney
people I think this a sub-rosa level are worried about is the Ron Paul
factor. He did well here in 2008, got 14 percent of the vote. There`s
more energy, there`s more organization among the Ron Paul folks this time.

And you know it`s a caucus, not a primary as it was in Florida.
People don`t just push a button. They go in a room with a bunch of other
people. And I think if there`s such thing as a persuadable Republican
voter, it`s a Republican voter supporting Mitt Romney right now.

And those Ron Paul people are ferocious, and they`re ready to swarm
those caucus. I would not be surprised if he beats Newt Gingrich and he
may come closer to Romney than Romney wants.

MADDOW: That`s going do make tomorrow really, really, really
fascinating to watch. I totally agree. Jon Ralston, columnist for "The
Las Vegas Sun," the host of "Face to Face with Jon Ralston," the busiest
man in the country right now who is not himself running for office. Jon,
have fun tomorrow, man. Good luck with the caucuses. Really appreciate

RALSTON: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. We got a best new thing in the world coming up
tonight, that will stick in your head and not leave -- but in a good way.
That`s coming up in just a few minutes.

But first, one more thing, about things that go oops in 2012 politics.
Today, "BuzzFeed" first reported this afternoon that Rick Santorum might
not qualify to get his name on the ballot in Indiana for the Indiana
Republican primary. That reporting was early this afternoon.

And then tonight, Rick Santorum did miss getting on the ballot in
Indiana. The state Republican Party says Mitt Romney made it, Ron Paul
made it, Newt Gingrich made it, but Rick Santorum has failed to qualify to
be on the ballot in Indiana. He apparently ran in trouble in Marion
County, which is basically Indianapolis, where it should be noted, 55,000
people voted Republican for Congress last time. Mr. Santorum only needed
500 signatures there, he did not get them.

This is the guy Iowa Republicans picked in the presidential caucus
preference this year.

Tell me again why Iowa Republicans get to go first? Tell me again the
importance who Iowa Republicans choose for president?


MADDOW: Best new thing in the world today involves singing and
politics, and has nothing do with Mitt Romney singing or Scott Brown`s
daughter singing. That is ahead.


MADDOW: Right after the November 2010 election, something happened
all across the country. It happened instantly, out of the blue, and a
seemingly coordinated fashion.

Newly elected Republican governors and newly elected Republican state
legislators started pushing one bill after another, all aimed at doing
essentially the same thing, rolling back union rights for people who work
for a living.

Of course, the place where this got the most attention at first was in
Wisconsin, where newly elected Republican Governor Scott Walker had not
campaigned on going after union rights. But then, boy, did he -- arguing
that he had to destroy union rights in Wisconsin in order to improve the
state`s budget.

Mr. Walker rammed through all sort of union-busting legislation. It
shocked not only the Democrats in the state legislature, but pretty much
all of Wisconsin.

In covering the remarkable large scale protests against Scott Walker,
we made the case at the time that a fight over union rights in Wisconsin
was a fight about a lot of things, but it was not a fight about the budget.
We made this point repeatedly on the show back then when we were covering

The first hint that what Republican Governor Scott Walker was doing
was not really about the budget was that along with the legislation to kill
union rights supposedly to save the budget, the governor also blew an even
bigger hole in the state`s long term deficit with a whole bunch of tax
giveaways to business groups.

Another hint this wasn`t about the budget? Governor Walker
specifically exempted from his union-stripping bill certain public safety
union that had supported him when he was running for governor.

So, what Scott Walker was doing just didn`t smell like, didn`t look
like the actions of a person who was being motivated by their concerns
about the budget. It looked like the actions of a person who had partisan
motivations -- a person who was specifically trying to use public policy to
benefit the Republican Party, because if you kill the unions, you kill the
funding and organizations that Democrats have to compete with Republicans
in elections.

This is what campaign spending by outside groups looked like in the
2008 election. The two groups that spent the most of that year were
unions. And they mainly spent for Democrats and against Republicans.

Then look what happened in 2010 after Supreme Court`s Citizens United
ruling. The big money on the right skyrocketed, seven of the 10 outside
spending groups that year, thanks to Citizens United, were on the right;
largely fueled by corporate contributions. The only non-conservative
groups that cracked the top 10 were unions.

And so, if you eliminate the unions, you eliminate the Democratic
Party`s only way to compete in terms of big money in elections. Even with
Scott Walker likely facing a recall election this year as a result of his
union stripping in Wisconsin, even with the Ohio union stripping thing
which was just like Wisconsin`s, being repealed by Ohio voters in November,
even with this huge backlash against stripping union rights where it`s been
tried so far, the Republicans are still pursuing it, but now, they don`t
say it`s about the budget anymore. Now, they say it`s about jobs.

So, in Indiana, Republican Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law that
state`s brand new anti-union right-to-work bill. Republicans there say
it`s about creating jobs in the state.

Republicans in Minnesota advanced their effort to bring the same anti-
union legislation to Minnesota, too. Same with Republicans in Ohio.
Republicans in Michigan are considering pushing it there as well.

The argument from these Republicans is that this is all about creating

But in the same way that what happened last year in places like
Wisconsin was not about the budget, this is really not about the jobs,
because passing anti-union laws, anti-union right to work laws, does not
appear to do anything to spur job growth.

This is not a hypothetical thing. This is not theoretical. This has
been tried, there is evidence.

Check this out. This is manufacturing job losses in the United States
since 1994. It`s better to have a smaller bar on this chart, right,
because that means fewer jobs lost.

As you can see, there is no correlation between whether you are a
state with union rights or without union rights, in terms of whether you
have been losing manufacturing jobs. Killing union rights does not make
your state more desirable for employers. There is no correlation.

You want to look at one state`s experience longitudinally over time?
You can look at Oklahoma. Here`s manufacturing jobs in Oklahoma from 1990
to 2001.

In 2001, Oklahoma passed its anti-union law. Oklahoma passed its own
right to work law. Look what happened to manufacturing jobs in Oklahoma
since then. Oh, they have fallen off a cliff.

This is not to say that Oklahoma`s right to work law caused all those
job losses, but there does not seem to be any correlation to the job
picture getting better, either. It is not about jobs. It is about
destroying the only hope that the Democratic Party has at competing with
the corporate side that funds Republicans for elections.

This is about making it so Democrats cannot contest elections with
Republicans in any of these states, so that Democratic presidential
candidates can`t win in these states.

Jon Nichols wrote about it yesterday at "The Nation". Two days after
Ohio voters repealed their anti-union bill there by a 22-point margin. Two
days after that rebuke of the anti-union agenda, Wisconsin Scott Walker got
on a plane and flew to Arizona. Scott Walker flew to Arizona and he gave a
speech at a right wing think tank to 1,000 Arizona conservatives, telling
them now it was their turn to go after union rights in Arizona.

He said, don`t be afraid about what happened in Ohio, don`t be afraid
about what happened in Wisconsin, quote, "We need to make big fundamental
permanent structural changes."

Because isn`t that what you associate with the word conservative?

That group that Scott Walker spoke to has now championed a radical
stripping of union rights in Arizona that is rocketing through the state`s
Republican legislature. Introduced on Monday, passed out of committee
Wednesday and on its way to the governor`s desk in no time. Killing union
rights in Arizona -- a radical, radical set of proposals.

This is not about the budget. This is not about jobs. This is about
destroying the Democratic Party in partisan terms.

This is about making it so that Democrats cannot compete in terms of
organization or the big money that decides elections. This is about taking
off the table, making illegal the sole means by which Democrats can compete
with the unlimited support Republicans get from corporations. It is about
using public policy, not to help the country, but to help the Republican

It is true of how they are changing the voting laws to make it harder
for likely voters to vote in the states. It is true of how they are using
redistricting to make more seats safe Republican seats, and it is true of
what they are doing to union rights, using state law to kill unions, in
order to hurt the Democratic Party in elections. That`s what this is.


MADDOW: We have been covering the Iraq war parade story, right? St.
Louis had a parade last weekend to mark the end of the Iraq war and thank
veterans, 100,000 people showed up in St. Louis. The veterans were very,
very happy to have the end of the Iraq war noted like that, to be thanked
for their service and welcome home.

But so far, St. Louis, God bless `em, St. Louis is it. They`re the
big city that`s done this.

The big kahuna, New York, where we usually have ticker tape parades to
mark the end of the war, the mayor of New York has resisted this idea.

But this story is evolving and quickly. We`ve got some news on this
story tonight, some exclusive news on it coming up in just a moment.

Also have to give a programming note. This Sunday morning, I will be
on "Meet the Press" on NBC. Newt Gingrich will also be on "Meet the
Press:" but he will not talking to me. He will be talking to David
Gregory. And then after Newt Gingrich, I`ll be on with Mr. Gregory and
David Brooks and Alex Castellanos and Congressman Xavier Becerra. "Meet
the Press," Sunday morning.

Then after "Meet the Press" on Sunday morning, you may have heard that
there is a football game, while you`re watching the pre-game festivities,
sometime around 3:30 p.m. Eastern, through the oscillating heat waves
coming off your platter of vegan (INAUDIBLE), you will see THE RACHEL
MADDOW SHOW`s Super Bowl ad. We are told it will be around 3:30 Eastern
during the pre-game.

We also have a Super Bowl related ad for the show in the print edition
of the Sunday "New York Times" this weekend. All that plus the return of
Ferris Bueller and David Beckham in his underpants. It`s a big weekend.

All right. That`s it for business. We`ll be right back.



ROMNEY: Don`t try to stop the foreclosure process, let it run its
course and hit the bottom.

RALSTON: So, you stick by what you said, don`t try to stop the
foreclosure process even though it is going on, maybe hurting a lot of

Listen, I understand you`re a free market guy.

ROMNEY: It depends when you say don`t stop.

RALSTON: That`s what you said.

ROMNEY: I know that`s what I said. When I say don`t stop the
foreclosure process, what I mean by that is the best way to stop it is by
getting the economy going.

RALSTON: Playing devil`s advocate here, sir. Look, Mitt Romney
doesn`t want to help me, the president does.

ROMNEY: The president has been in office three years. If they feel
he`s helped them, they got to vote for him. If they feel that the economy
is going in the right direction, they got to vote for Barack Obama.


MADDOW: And that`s how Mitt Romney writes Democratic campaign ads.

Every Friday morning, I wake up and think it`s Friday, it`s going to
be relaxed day. I can take it slow, there`s nothing going on. It`s
Fridays. And then Fridays keep turning in to these huge news days.

I mean, today, we got the news that the Komen Foundation has caved
after everybody got so upset with them for going along with this right wing
defund Planned Parenthood jihad after their affiliates started balking and
their staffers started quitting. After the Internet essentially sharpened
their pitchforks and lit their torches, Komen has caved. The Komen
Foundation is saying they are un-defunding Planned Parenthood.

Also, we got this major economic news today, the stock market closing
higher than it has since the financial crisis. The Dow closing higher
since May of 2008. The NASDAQ closing higher than it has since the year
2000. Unemployment dropping to the lowest it has been in three years.

And on the same day we get that news, Mitt Romney in Nevada says if
you think the economy is now going in the right direction, you should vote
for Barack Obama. OK.

Meanwhile, the president announces his plan for a program to put
veterans to work, rebuilding trails and roads and levees on public lands.
That`s like Civilian Conservation Corps, WPA style stuff. And it is for

It`s probably the most direct and efficient way to deal with
unemployment in a group like this. And it`s veterans.

Therefore, dare the Republicans to try to block this idea. You will
hear from the veterans and veteran supporters and everybody who has ever
understood econ 101 if you do.

Today, not just for a Friday, but for any news day, that was just a
giant pool of news. And, and, the huge deal news story barely noticed in
the giant pool of news today was this one.


REP. MARCY CAPTUR (D), OHIO: Why should any American citizen be
kicked out of their homes in this cold weather in Ohio? It`s going to be
10, 20 below zero. Don`t leave your home.

Because you know what? When those companies say they have your
mortgage, unless you have a lawyer that can put his finger or her finger on
that mortgage, you don`t have that mortgage. And you`re going to find they
can`t find the paper up there on Wall Street.

So I say to the American people, you be squatters in your own homes.
Don`t you leave.


MADDOW: That was not today. That was three years ago. You`ll find
they can`t find the paper on Wall Street. That was Marcy Kaptur.

With the tidal wave of foreclosures was hitting in the midst of the
financial crisis, Marcy Kaptur, Democrat of Ohio, on the floor of the House
was exactly right. The people trying to kick you out of your house, the
Wall Street firm or bank trying to kick you out of your house, might not
hold your mortgage.

In order to use mortgages, in order to use your house as a casino
chips so they could bet on it and profit on it and trade it wasn`t a house,
it was just a piece of paper, they had to turn your mortgage in a piece of
paper or into an electronic record. And in the process of doing that, in
lots of cases, they pretty much legally gave up their right to foreclose on
you and kick you out of your house, when they are turning houses into
casino chips and destroyed the economy and destroyed housing market so you
couldn`t pay your mortgage anymore.

And today, in the midst of all of these higher profile news, the
crusading attorney general of the state of New York, Democrat Eric
Schneiderman, brought a huge lawsuit against some of the biggest names on
Wall Street -- Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, over what they
did to homeowners, over whether or not this is legal.

And whether or not this lawsuit made it on the front page today has
two huge implications for the country. Number one, accountability --
accountability for the manmade disaster that was the financial catastrophe
at the end of the Bush presidency. Accountability, that`s one.

Eric Schneiderman himself explained that part of it when he was here
on the show recently.


folks who are trying to rewrite history and paint it like it was a volcano
or an earthquake, and that now we can move on to the problem of paying too
much to cops and teachers and firefighters. This was a manmade crisis. It
was created by regulatory neglect and greed, and I assure you, without
telling you anything about secrets of our investigation, we have not found
a trace of evidence that a cop, firefighter, teacher or sanitation worker
contributed to blowing up the American economy. We think we have to hold
accountable the people that caused the disaster.


MADDOW: So, number one, accountability.

The other big consequence of this big lawsuit today, this the lawsuit
against Wall Street field by Eric Schneiderman is that Eric Schneiderman is
now part of the face of the Obama administration on accountability for Wall
Street. As announced in the State of the Union address, Schneiderman has
been brought onboard the Obama Justice Department`s new fraud fighting unit
to deal with Wall Street crime.

The Obama White House, frankly, in raw political terms is no longer
being overshadowed on stuff like that by more progressive state attorneys
general like Eric Schneiderman. Eric Schneiderman is now working with

And so, yes, it`s accountability. But for the sake of national
politics, it`s also that this is the unified Democratic side now. And on
the other side, speaking for the Republicans on this issue, is this guy.


ROMNEY: Don`t try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its
course and hit the bottom.

The banks aren`t bad people. They are just overwhelmed right now.

Banks are scared to death, of course. They are feeling the same thing
that you`re feeling.


MADDOW: Bank feelings.

Joining us now, Jared Bernstein, former chief economic adviser to Vice
President Biden, now a senior fellow at Center on Budget and Policy
Priorities and an MSNBC contributor.

Mr. Bernstein, as an expert on bank feelings, it is nice to have you

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you. Yes, we need to put
some of those banks on the therapist couch, I think.

MADDOW: That`s right.

What is -- what is the practical implication of this lawsuit filed
today by the New York attorney general? If he is successful, does he stand
to make a real difference, to change banks behavior and get some relief for

BERNSTEIN: He absolutely does. And, by the way, that`s kind of the
heart of what I think A.G. Schneiderman is all about.

I don`t know anyone has tried to get to the heart of precisely that,
Rachel -- a real behavioral change, holding the banks accountable in this
case for allegedly fraudulent documentation. You know, if you want to hold
someone accountable for defaulting on a mortgage loan, you kind of have to
have the IOU. And if you don`t own the loan, you really can`t foreclose.

And I thought -- it was interesting to hear Marcy Kaptur say that
three years ago, as actually quite (INAUDIBLE).

MADDOW: What`s the logic behind the alternate message on this, the
competing message from this on the right? Mitt Romney saying that his
policy, what he would pursue as president would be to let foreclosures
bottom out, let them run their course. What`s the logic behind that?

BERNSTEIN: When I hear that, I really go back to Herbert Hoover
liquidate, liquidate, liquidate. That was kind of his solution to the
Great Depression.

The problem Mitt Romney is having with this is he`s just not
understanding the extent of what really brought this economy to where it
was in 2009, as you noted early. It`s getting better.

And that was a massive bubble in the housing market which then
imploded, inflated by the financial mess we were just talking about. If
these were perfectly normal times, if there wasn`t an overhang of housing
and all the foreclosures, some of which we have discussed could be
fraudulent, if it wasn`t, if we`re not looking at all the unemployment and
risk and banks, we might have a reasonable discussion about the role of
government in the mortgage finance.

That`s not the economy or housing market we`re talking about. Massive
market failure, lots of people who will lose their home if we don`t engage
in interventions that the president was talking about this week. In fact,
the more aggressive the better in this regard.

MADDOW: Do you have high hopes for these financial crimes, this fraud
task force that the Justice Department is now heading up? President
mentioned it in the State of the Union. That is a very high profile place
to launch something like that. Obviously, as we`ve been discussing,
Schneiderman brought on as a co-chair of that.

Do you have hey hopes?

BERNSTEIN: I have high hopes, in fact. And I haven`t had
particularly high hopes in many of the areas in the housing space, because
a lot of policy has underwhelmed. But first of all, I think Schneiderman
really knows of what he speaks. He`s going after some crack -- I have a
feeling he knows where bodies are buried and ways others who have gone in
this haven`t.

But also, I think he`s coming at this with an authority, coming from
the level of the states where he really gets what is happening on the
ground, particularly in New York with the securitization market. He might
not have gotten as much of that from the Justice Department

MADDOW: Jared, one last question. On the jobs numbers today, you
wrote on your blog, "This is a critical mess aim for policymakers. We got
some real momentum on the most important economic issue to the American
people, jobs. Let`s not screw it up."

What does "let`s not screw it up" mean? How could they screw it up?

BERNSTEIN: Let`s not screw it up means we got some, as I said, we got
momentum going here, quite clearly, in the job market. We`re not talking
banks or interest rates or deficits. We`re talking jobs.

If they were to continue to squabble about extending the payroll tax
benefit and unemployment insurance benefits, the extended benefits, and
fail to extend those at the end of this month when they expire, boy, that
could really put a damper on again, what`s a trend that is moving in the
right direction, so that`s what I mean, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. Fair enough. Jared Bernstein, former chief
economic adviser to Vice President Biden, now a senior fellow at the Center
on Budget and Policy Priorities -- Jared, thanks for being with us tonight.
Have a great weekend.

BERNSTEIN: My pleasure. You, too.

MADDOW: Thanks.

All right. Best new thing in the world, a musical edition coming up.


MADDOW: News to report on this end of the Iraq war parade issue that
you have been inundating me about since we started talking about it on the
show. Some news on that, that`s next.


MADDOW: The organizers of the St. Louis parade to mark the end of the
Iraq war and to say thank you and welcome home to U.S. troops who fought in
Iraq, the regular Joe citizen organizers of that parade tonight tell us
that St. Louis turned out 100,000 people for their parade last weekend,
they have been contacted by people in more than a dozen cities who want to
organize veterans parades in their towns to mark the end of the Iraq war.

They`ve heard from people in Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, San
Antonio, Oklahoma City, Tucson, Nashville, Greensboro, North Carolina, and

One of the objections to doing a national parade to welcome home the
troops at the end of the Iraq war has, of course, been that there isn`t a
national appetite to do this, that people don`t really care enough to do

It turns out people care. A lot of people want to do this. I can
tell you even just anecdotally, that has been our experience of the
response we have had just covering this issue.

Adding some urgency to this debate now is the fact after the Super
Bowl this weekend, either Boston or New York will likely be throwing a
parade for their football team for winning this weekend`s game. Iraq and
Afghanistan Veterans of America have challenged the mayors of New York and
Boston with a petition saying, "If the Giants and Patriots deserve a Super
Bowl parade, don`t Iraq vets?"

Responding to the objection raised by New York Mayor Michael
Bloomberg, that he doesn`t want New York to host a parade for the end of
the Iraq war because the Afghanistan war is still happening -- excuse me --
the head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Paul Rieckhoff wrote
at "Forbes" today, "Americans know the Afghanistan front still rages on
with the end of the combat operations not expected until 2013. But that
doesn`t mean our country can`t start welcoming home those who have already
returned, and paved the way for those still to come. It will show our
troops in Afghanistan now they won`t be forgotten when that war ends, too."

"If we can afford two wars," he writes, "we can afford two welcome
home parades."

Here`s the big news on this, though. Even though Mayor Mike Bloomberg
has, so far, been shy on this issue of the end of the Iraq war parade in
New York, it`s starting to seem like the rest of New York City government
may not be so shy. They may be coming around.

New York`s powerful city council speaker, Christine Quinn, has just
put out a statement saying, "After the initial drawdown of forces in 2010,
we called for a celebration, a parade, in honor of the troops returning
from Iraq when the time was right -- when the time was right. In 2012, the
time is now. A citywide celebration is in order. The sacrifices made by
our troops and their families cannot be ignored and deserve to be honored
by cities across the nation, New York City first and foremost."

This might yet happen. In Boston, around the country, in New York,
this might yet happen. Christine Quinn is going to be our guest on this
show on Monday.


MADDOW: Happy Friday. Best new thing in the world today.

Here`s the situation -- there`s a foreclosure, there`s a bunch of
foreclosures. The people kicked out, banks repossessing, there`s a
foreclosure auction to sell these properties.

Defending people from foreclosures, blocking foreclosures from
happening is something the Occupy movement has been focusing on recently.

Do not take these people`s home. They need it more than the bank
does. We will physically put ourselves in the way.

We will do direct action. We will gum up the process. We will be
there when you try to take their home away.

We will pitch tents in the front yard. We`ll be in the way. When the
bank shows up, we`ll turn out to stop it.

This kind of direct action is not always pretty but it more often than
you think works. And actually sometimes when it works, it is pretty.
Sometimes at least it sounds great.

Listen to this.


MADDOW: Multipart harmony. The words are, "Mrs. Auctioneer, all the
people here, we`re asking you to hold all the sales right now, we`re going
to survive but we don`t know how." Then they repeat that refrain over and
over again.

The singers are from Organizing for Occupation. I`m not sure if
Organizing for Occupation technically should be seen as an off-chute of
Occupy Wall Street. They actually started before Occupy Wall Street was
under way. So, I think that means they can`t be an offshoot.

Now, the point is, they`re trying to prevent unfair foreclosure
evictions, trying to keep people in their homes. This was -- a little
while ago, this took place a while ago in civil court in Brooklyn. It
worked. They stopped this auction.


MADDOW: The group used the tactic a second time just last week, same
Brooklyn courtroom, same song, same outcome. Clapping. But despite some
of them getting arrested -- again, the action was apparently successful.



CROWD: Mike check.


CROWD: Just in case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn`t hear.

CROWD: You didn`t hear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We shut down the auction.

CROWD: We shut down the auction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before they could finish.

CROWD: Before they could finish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were only able.

CROWD: They were only able to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To sell one property out of four.

CROWD: To sell one property out of four.



MADDOW: Direct actions to stop foreclosures are taking place all over
the country. But as far as we can tell, Organizing for Occupation is the
first group to use singing, to use good multipart harmony singing as their

A member of Organizing for Occupation told us when we asked that the
lyrics to the songs they`ve been using were written by a poet named Luke
Nephew (ph). The point of the song, a member, Jay Kim, told us, is to do
more than just make noise -- to try to change hearts and minds about what
counts as a problem and what counts as a solution in the ongoing housing
disaster. She told us that their idea is to surprise people and to try to
move people while trying to stop the foreclosures from going ahead.

And just like that, every chant of "hey, hey, ho, ho, insert now has
got to go" has been rendered obsolete. Politics of all kinds, politics of
all kinds, not just protest politics but electoral politics, and all the
different ways people do politics get better when they get creative -- best
new thing in the world today.

I will see you Sunday morning on "Meet the Press." Meanwhile, I will
meet you in prison right now.


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