'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, May 25th, 2012
Read the transcript to the Friday show
Past transcripts by month
Guests: Ezra Klein, Kathy Spillar
ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: Good evening, Rachel. I`ve got to
tell you, this has been a really tough hour for me. I`ve been breaking out
in sweats and I`m running a fever. It`s called wall eye fever, and the
only thing that cures it is 200 fish on memorial weekend.
So, I think I`m going to be OK by Tuesday.
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: We need to rush you to the lake. Stat. Get Ed
to the lake.
SCHULTZ: That`s right.
MADDOW: Thanks, man. Good luck.
SCHULTZ: Have a great weekend. Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you very much. Tight lines.
Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
The Friday before Memorial Day weekend, there`s not supposed to be a
lot of news going on, but this election season and this news cycle in
particular have not been following the usual conventions.
Tonight, we have to up with rather serious story. One of the
innovations, if you can call it that in terrorist bombings is the idea of a
double bomb. An initial bomb big any to cause damage maybe to injure
people, maybe to kill people, but the important part is the first bomb has
to be big enough to attract attention, to attract help.
The first bomb has to lure in a lot of rescuers, first responders,
emergency personnel -- because once those people are on the scene, that`s
when the second bomb goes off. The double bomb tactic. That was the
tactic used in 1997 in the United States when this man set off a double
bomb outside an abortion clinic in Sandy Springs, Georgia. Sandy Springs,
Georgia, is in the Atlanta metro area.
Eric Rudolph is remembered for bombing the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
His bomb there injured more than 100 people and killed one person.
But after Eric Rudolph bombed the Olympics and went on the run, that
same guy also bombed a gay bar in at Atlanta and injured five people and he
bombed an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama. That bombing killed the
police officer and severely wounded the clinic`s head nurse.
But when he bombed that abortion clinic in Sandy Springs, Georgia,
1997, the first bomb went off at about 9:30 in the morning. It went off at
the building. It ripped out part of a wall at the clinic. It pretty much
destroyed the clinic. But it did not injure anyone. That`s was the first
An hour later, the second bomb went off in a trash can just outside
the building. So, this double bombing was specifically designed to give
responders enough time to arrive on the scene and figure out what the first
bomb was about and the second bomb exploded then to try to kill the
emergency responders. Six people were hurt by the second blast including a
federal ATF agent. Eyewitnesses said it was a miracle that the second
blast did not kill anyone.
That was Eric Rudolph women`s clinic in Sandy Springs, Georgia, in
This year, in March of this year, another women`s clinic in the same
place, Sandy Springs, Georgia, just about a mile from the Eric Rudolph
bombing, was hit by burglars. Now, that could just be a random break in,
But a couple of months before that, another women`s clinic had been
burglarized. It was a place about 15 miles away from the Sandy Springs
location. There was one burglary of a women`s clinic in January, and then
another one in early March, and then two weeks after, the clinic in Sandy
Springs was burglarized, there was another break in at the offices of the
Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society. That happened on March
So, three burglaries and then a couple of weeks after the third
burglary, on April 5th, "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" published this
letter to the editor. It`s a letter to the editor arguing against a 20-
week abortion ban that the state legislature has just passed in Georgia.
The letter came from the Infertility and Perinatology Consortium of
Here`s the thing, though, the letter was not signed by any individual
member of that medical group. This is how the paper explained that.
"The Infertility and Perinatology Consortium of Georgia, a
professional group of doctors, opposes the bill recently passed that out
laws abortions after 20 weeks. But because of threats of violence and
outbreaks of vandalism at their offices, not one physician would sign his
or her individual name to the following column."
"It`s a safety issue," said the doctor who sent it. "One of our
doctors got 25 threatening phone calls. Unfortunately, because of
intimidation, we have to find a different way to get our message out."
Because of threats, this group of doctors who oppose this new
abortion ban in Georgia felt it necessary to public their opinion
anonymously. That was in April. That was last month, just as the
legislature gave final passage to that new abortion ban in the state of
Georgia. That ban was ultimately signed into law by the governor there,
Nathan Deal, about three weeks ago.
Then, just this past Sunday, very early in the morning, something
else happened. A fire broke out at an OB/GYN clinic in yet another Atlanta
suburb. Investigators called that fire suspicious. The fire caused heavy
damage to the clinic but nobody was in the office at the time of the fire,
so nobody was hurt. That was on Sunday.
Then on Wednesday of this week, another fire. On Wednesday of this
week, another fire at another women`s clinic in suburban at Atlanta. This
time, the fire was set during business hours. The clinic was full of
people when the fire went off. Patients were being seen at the time.
It took more than 20 firefighters to put out the flames. The third
floor of the building is reported to have sustained extensive damage. The
lower floors were damaged by water when the firefighters tried to put out
the third floor blaze.
Employees from the clinic told local reporters that they saw two men
go upstairs and then leave the building in a hurry just minutes before the
fire was discovered up on the third floor. Clinic workers were able to get
the building evacuated before. Firefighters arrived on the scene.
The clinic workers say they are thankful there were no patients under
sedation in the clinic when they had to evacuate in a hurry. Thankfully,
it was not true at that moment. Thankfully, it was not true at that
moment. Everybody got out safely and nobody was hurt.
The FBI is investigating both of the clinic fires in Atlanta this
week as arson. They released these surveillance photos saying they are
looking for this man, described as a black male, 5`10" to 6`1", driving a
gray Mercury Marquis. They are looking for him as a potential witness to
The ATF says they are also working on the investigation in Atlanta.
An ATF spokesman told us today that they are investigating whether there is
a connection between those burglaries and these new two fires.
An employee from the clinic that was the target of the latest
suspected arson attack on Wednesday has told "The Huffington Post" that the
clinic will be up and running next week and none of the workers will be
intimidated by the protest, threats, or by the violent attacks. Quote,
"We`re going to have stricter surveillance and we`re just going to keep
treating patients with respect and dignity. Their end result will be the
penitentiary and ours will be maintaining patients and taking care of
That sentiment strikes much the same chord that was struck of one of
the victims of Eric Rudolph`s 1998 bombing of that clinic in Birmingham,
Alabama. That bombing, a part-time security guard was killed and a nurse
in the clinic named Emily Lyons was critically injured. Police arrived on
the scene of that bombing to find Emily Lyons laying in pools of blood and
broke glass. She had her shins blasted away, her left eye was destroyed,
her entire body was full of nails and shrapnel that had been packed in with
the explosives and the bomb.
When Eric Rudolph was finally sentenced for that bombing of that
Birmingham clinic in 1998, when he was finally sentenced in 2005, Emily
Lyons was in the courtroom and she turned to him face to face and said to
him in the courtroom, quote, "It really doesn`t matter what you say because
I will go back to my home and you will go back to jail. The clinics in
town will still be open and abortion will still be legal."
There`s a history of terroristic violence in this country by anti-
abortion extremists. Up to and including multiple murders of doctors and
clinic workers in this country. There are two things that really stand out
about this string of increasingly serious incidents in the Atlanta area
over the last few weeks, including the two fires this week.
Two things that I think deserve some attention. There`s one detail
about Wednesday`s fire and the investigation into a clinic workers report
seeing two men -- two men together heading upstairs when the fire started,
being there for just a couple of minutes, and then leaving the building
just moments before the fire was discovered.
The possibility that two people were working together to commit
violence against an abortion clinic is a significant thing. I mean, anti-
abortion extremist who have committed murder and clinic bombings and
participated in incidents like this in the past generally had connections
to the extreme anti-abortion movement, but they have most often been lone
wolves, right? They have acted alone.
The prospect that people are working together to plan and execute
acts of violence adds an extra level of alarm to what is already an
alarming situation. The other thing that is remarkable about this series
of escalating crimes in the Atlanta area is an apparent link to policy
making and politics to what is happening in the Georgia statehouse.
Remember, as you noted earlier, Georgia`s Republican governor, Nathan
Deal, signed into law this month a new bill restricting when women in
Georgia are allowed to have an abortion. It would be a vast understatement
to say the debate over that bill was contentious.
When this abortion ban passed the Republican-controlled Senate last
month, if you remember, our coverage of this, Democratic women senators
unfurled yellow cushion tape which they covered themselves in as they
marched out of the chamber, chanting loudly enough -- according to "The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution`s" reporting -- chanting loudly enough that
they could still be heard inside the chamber once they were outside of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Women will remember in November! Women will remember in
November! Women will remember in November! Women will remember in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: One of the issues that was debated as part of that anti-
abortion bill was whether to keep the names of doctors who perform
abortions in the state of Georgia private, or whether to make abortion
doctors names public as part of the state record reports on abortion. What
could possibly go wrong?
The night before a Senate committee was set to debate that point,
whether or not to keep the abortion doctor`s names private, or whether to
release them publicly in state reports, the night before that discussion is
the night the offices of the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society
Quoting "The Atlanta Journal Constitution`s" reporting on that
burglary, "The intruders bypassed three laptops and appeared to make a
beeline for two happen to computers in the executive director office which
stored the names and addresses of doctors."
So, the night before a debate on whether or not to publicly release
the names of abortion doctors in Georgia, computers containing the names of
abortion doctors in Georgia are stolen -- are targeted and are stolen when
other computers are left behind.
According to the "Associated Press," the physicians who were victims
of these three burglaries and Sunday`s fire did not perform abortions
themselves. But they had all visited the state house this session to
discuss the impact of abortion related legislation.
The president of the burglarized Georgia Obstetrical and
Gynecological Society told the paper, quote, "We are concerned that each of
these physicians spoke with lawmakers during the session and that each
became targets of felony crimes."
This is the pattern that is emerging in the state of Georgia right
now. Physicians who try to speak out about policy making that targets
their line of work, becoming the subject of harassment and intimidation and
vandalism and theft and arson. If you`re a doctor in Georgia right now and
you try to take a political position in public, if you are willing to speak
out on the issue of reproductive rights, it is starting to look like the
very real possibility that you will soon become the victim of a crime.
Joining us is Kathy Spillar. She is the executive vice president of
the Feminist Majority Foundation and the executive editor of "Ms.
Kathy, it`s good to have you here. Thank your joining us.
KATHY SPILLAR, FEMINIST MAJORITY FOUNDATION: Thank you.
MADDOW: Do you see a connection, as somebody who`s worked in this
field for the very long time and knows a lot about the extreme anti-
abortion movement, do you see a connection between this series of violence
incidents in the Atlanta area and politics, the fight over reproductive
rights right now?
SPILLAR: I don`t see how you can`t see the connections.
You described a very contentious legislative session in Georgia. It
was hostile and brutal according to many of the salespeople I`ve spoken to.
And the doctors who testified even during the session were receiving death
threats at their homes and death threats at their offices.
I don`t see how there can be -- how you can deny any kind of a
connection. You`ve got this extreme political agenda that`s being run not
only in congress but in many state legislatures around the country, extreme
positions being advocated by religious leaders. We`ve characterized it as
war on women. It is fueling the extremism of the most extreme and violent
wing of the anti-abortion movement. There really can be no question.
MADDOW: We have never seen as many pieces of anti-abortion
legislations moved in this country since Roe versus Wade as we have seen
the 2010 midterm elections. It`s unprecedented, the number of anti-
abortion pieces of legislation that have moved.
Over time, are there noticeable patterns following more mainstream
anti-abortion politics? Is that something for which there has been a
correlation over time, or you`re just seeing both of them happening at the
same time right now?
SPILLAR: There has been a correlation. And the interesting thing,
Rachel, that usually during presidential election years and congressional
years, we`ve actually seen the extremist wing, the violent wing tamp down
the level of activity, because any time you see an outbreak of arsons and
bombings and murders and death threat, the public reacts very strongly. In
fact, political candidates who are running on an extreme anti-abortion
platform are hurt by that in an election.
What we`ve been surprised by this year is how the extremist
politically climate, this war on women, has indeed fueled the more active
extremist wing. We`ve been very surprised. The number of arsons is up.
The number of doctors being stalked at their homes with wanted posters,
death threats. A clinic director in Birmingham, Alabama, was physically
assaulted by an extremist. We`ve been surprised at how brazen the violent
wing has acted out this year even during a presidential election year.
And, you know, we`ve just come through a Republican primary season
where the candidates all pledged not only to outlaw abortion but to go
after birth control. This is how extreme the debate on the war on women
has become. It clearly has emboldened the violent extremist who would use
bombings and arson and murder.
MADDOW: Kathy, on the issue of so-called lone-wolf assailants, that
has been the pattern for most anti-abortion extremist violent incidents,
even people whom have been associated with the movement when they acted in
a violent way, whether it was arson or a bombing or an attack, or attempted
murder or a murder, it`s usually one person acting alone. In this case, if
there is in fact a pair of suspects acting together as law enforcement has
indicated there may be in these Atlanta cases, is that a new thing? Is
that -- does that seem like an important detail to you?
SPILLAR: Well, it is a very important detail. And remember in the
Sandy Spring bombing by Eric Robert Rudolph, eyewitnesses had seen in the
company of another man at that time before the bombings and immediately
after the bombings. That other suspect was never found or arrested.
But I have to say that we don`t know whether there have been other
people involved in planning and executing the murders and the bombings,
because there`s never been other people affiliated with the person who
actually commits the murder or sets the bomb, arrested and prosecuted.
We`re waiting right now on the results of a grand jury investigation
in Wichita. They are looking into whether or not Scott Roeder in fact,
because he was affiliated with Army of God extremists, whether he might
have been assisted in planning and strategizing and actually committing the
murder of Dr. Tiller. We`ve always argued that indeed these extremists
almost always are connected to this network of other extremists. And
unless you dismantle that extremist network that is fueling this kind of
violence, you`re never going to be rid of it.
We`ve got a terrorist movement in this country attacking doctors and
abortion providers. And it seems to be very closely correlated with the
political as well.
MADDOW: Kathy Spillar, the executive vice president of the Feminist
Majority Foundation, executive editor of "Ms. Magazine" -- this is a tough
story. And I expect that it should get more national coverage that it is
getting as people starts to realize it`s happening. Thanks for helping us
break it here tonight. I appreciate your time.
SPILLAR: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Do you know what Vice President Biden did today?
What he said proceeded was with, "I probably shouldn`t say this with the
press." But he said it anyway and it was like nothing I have ever seen
before. And we have the tape, next.
If you have not seen it, you were going to want to see it. Please
MADDOW: This is called "Flags In". It`s a U.S. military tradition
that happens just before Memorial Day each year. Yesterday, 1,200 soldiers
worked through the day at Arlington National Cemetery, excuse me, to put
flags at the more than 250,000 U.S. military grave sites there. The flags
will come down after Memorial Day.
Also every year, roughly this time of year is the TAPS Survivor
Seminar, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which provides help
to the surviving loved ones of members of the military who`ve been killed.
At today`s TAPS gathering, there were more than 2,000 people in
attendance. General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, was there. So was Vice President Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden.
Jill Biden and Michelle Obama, of course, have both made it their priority
during the Obama administration to work with military families.
The Biden`s son, Beau, of course, served in Iraq. And talking about
Beau Biden`s service in Iraq started a very personal, very off-script
moment from Vice President Biden, when he was talking to these families who
have lost a loved one in the military.
I don`t know if you saw any of this today when it happened. But I do
not think I`ve seen a speech like this from a president or a vice
president. I`ve never seen something this raw and emotional said by a
president or vice president before ever, I don`t think.
We`re going to play an extended clip of this here, sort of because I
want this to be on the record as news, I guess. I want you to know this
happened. I think this is a big deal. Please watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My son spent a year
in Iraq and I don`t say that --
BIDEN: When he came home, it`s going to sound strange to you, maybe
to anybody but this audience. We felt almost a little guilty because he
came home whole, because there`s so many, so many funerals I`ve attended,
so many bases I`ve visited. And, you know, not all losses are equal. Not
all losses are equal.
What used to drive me crazy, I could be wearing one of those red
shirts, not for the military but when I was a 29-year-old kid I got elected
to the United States Senate out of nowhere on November the 7th. I got a
phone call like you guys got with someone walking up to me. On December
18th, I was down in Washington. I`m the first United States senator I ever
I was down in Washington hiring my staff. I got a phone call saying
that my family had been in an accident. The call said my wife was dead, my
daughter was dead, and wasn`t sure how my sons were going to make it.
Christmas shopping and a tractor trailer broadsided them in one instant.
Killed two of them and, well.
I have to tell you, I used to resent. I knew people meant well.
They`d say I know how you feel.
BIDEN: I knew they meant well. You knew they were genuine. But you
knew they didn`t have any damned idea, right? Isn`t that true?
That black hole you feel in your chest like you`re being sucked back
into it. Looking at your kids, most you have kids here, and it was the
first time in my career, my life, I realized someone could go out and I
probably shouldn`t say this with the press here -- but it`s more important,
you`re more important.
For the first time in my life I understood how someone could
consciously decide to commit suicide. Not because they were deranged, not
because they were nuts, because they had been to the top of the mountain
and they just knew in their heart, they never get there in the end. There
was never going to get -- there never going to be that way ever again.
That`s how an awful lot you have feel.
There will come a day, I promise you, and you parents as well, when
the thought of your son or daughter or your husband or wife brings a smile
to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. It will happen.
My prayer for you is that day will come sooner or later. The only
thing I have more experience than you is, is this, I`m telling you, it will
You have one advantage -- you say, Biden, how you say I can have an
advantage over anything. You have that incredible thing called the
military. You are not alone.
So, hang onto each other. Hang onto each other. And I can`t tell
you, I can`t tell you how deeply the five of us on this stage feel about
the sacrifices you`ve made for this country. That doesn`t -- that doesn`t
feel the black hole. You should know only 1 percent of you have fought
these wars and much less thank God than 1 percent that fought the wars are
through what you`re going through.
We owe you more than we can ever, ever repay you. As I said, my
prayer is that that smile will come sooner than later, but I promise you it
will come. God bless you all and my God protect our troops. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s Vice President Biden speaking to Gold Star Families,
families who lost a loved one in the military.
This Monday is the first Memorial Day since the end of the Iraq war.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America are going to be laying a wreath at
the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at noon on Monday, on Memorial Day.
They`re asking people to pledge to observe a moment of silence at 12:01 on
Monday no matter where you are.
MADDOW: Occasionally, a local news clip comes along that sweeps you
off your feet. Such was the case last year with the all time greatest
local news clip of all time, out of Salt Lake City, Utah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The contestants, proud parents and judges were ready. One
thing missing? The only horses in the arena were in this bucket because of
an outbreak of contagious and fatal horse herpes virus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, instead of using horses, we`re testing the
girl`s knowledge and ability to adapt. They get to ride stick horses.
REPORTER: The contestants can still show their horsemanship, that
they know the patter and sequences, though with a little more effort.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A stick horse is a lot different, because you
have to do all the work. I think it`s going to be a lot more tiring than
with a real horse.
REPORTER: What really shined were the true trait of a queen, poise
and personality amid trying times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s uncontested. The greatest local news clip of all time.
God bless you, local news and the stick pony you road in on.
There was this local news gem from Los Angeles last month which also
sort of doubled as a public service announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Looks like he`s turning into at driveway. We`re going to
see if we can get another shot.
REPORTER: A resident there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just saw the bear. Ah!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The giant black bear meet man who is texting while walking.
Texting guy, meet, giant black bear.
Yes, local news. Without you I`m nothing.
But now, tonight, maybe the best local news clip about Mitt Romney.
We`ve got it. It`s next. Stay tuned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: This is the garage at Mitt Romney`s La Joya home and there
are big plans for it, including a sophisticated car elevator called the
Phantom Park that will take his cars and lower them into a 3,600 foot
And tonight, we`re going to talk to the man that`s going to make that
The Phantom Park lowers into a subterranean garage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is at the grade level, it actually looks
like a regular garage floor. When you hit the button, a whole other car
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Infrared lights that surround this is an option.
If someone comes too close, it will shut down.
REPORTER: Brad Davies created the sophisticated car elevator. His
shop is in downtown Escondido. But he`s installed them in homes around the
BRAD DAVIES: We just recently installed one in London. We had one
in New Zealand. One in Norway.
REPORTER: Clients included Harrison Ford and Britney Spears. Now,
presidential hopeful Mitt Romney wants to install a Phantom Park in his La
Joya home. But first, he`ll bulldoze the 3,000 square-foot home and build
one that`s 11,000 square feet. Plans 10 News first told you about back in
The basement alone, 3,600 square feet. And it will have one of
DAVIES: It`s exactly what he`s getting.
REPORTER: To store his cars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I love local news. I love local news.
I mean, let`s be honest. Being president of the United States is not
exactly a blue collar job. All of the people who have been president in
the modern times at least ended up being very well-off.
But Mitt Romney is a different breed of cat. Mitt Romney`s reported
net worth is more than the last eight presidents combined. Now, his wealth
is nothing bad. It`s not morally good thing or a morally bad thing about
Mitt Romney. It`s just a fact about him.
But it is a strategic conundrum for the Romney campaign how to keep
the candidates relatable, how to create the sense among voters that might
have some idea what the average Americans life is like, despite his vast
and lifelong wealth. They`re not going to change who Mr. Romney is but
given his own mega wealth, how he talks about the issue of wealth and who
has money and who doesn`t is really important and sensitive subject for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not concerned about the
Rick, I`ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks. $10,000 bet?
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I`m not in the betting business.
I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of
I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Mr. Romney actually said in an interview today that he
regrets saying that last one. He regrets saying I`d like to be able to
fire people. Yes, you can see why he might regret that.
But if he is trying to appeal to voters who aren`t rich like him, who
are maybe even on the lower end of the economic spectrum. Mr. Romney has
to worry not just about what he says, but what he does. And what he would
in terms of policy, this man who would be the wealthiest president in
modern history by a mile, his economic plan would raise taxes on poor
people on purpose. It could single them out on purpose.
Quote, "On average households making less than $20,000 would see
their taxes increase by more than 60 percent. People making more than a
million dollars would get tax cuts averaging 15 percent." That`s Mitt
Romney`s tax plan, and it`s on purpose. It is not an unintended
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I think it`s a real problem when you have half of Americans
that are not paying income tax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s the real problem. The problem Mitt Romney is trying
to fix when it comes to poor people in America is that they have too much
money and the government should take some of their money away. It`s a real
This is the thing in Republican politics right now. I mean, it
sounds crazy, right? The problem with poor people is they have too much
money so government has to fix that by taking some money away from the
poorest people in the country. It sounds crazy.
But this is a thing right now among Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I think it`s abysmal that the bottom 51
percent do not pay income taxes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Republicans are anti-tax except they`re not anymore and it`s
not getting much debate. But Republicans are pro-raising taxes now on
people who have the least money. They are just not ignoring them, they are
overtly raising their taxes on purpose.
Democrats haven`t even really bothered to rebut this because I`m not
sure Democrats are broadly aware that this is happening. But almost
everywhere that Republicans have control right now and can set policy,
they`re not just talking this way, they are acting on this.
Earlier this year, Republicans this South Carolina introduced their
tax reform bill. It would raise taxes on the poorest families in South
Carolina and cut taxes for people who are well off because, you know, poor
people have it too easy.
After the Republican takeover in Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott
Walker introduce a budget to cut taxes for everybody in the state except
for poor people. Scott Walker`s budget would raise taxes on the poorest
people in Wisconsin.
This week in the great state of Kansas, that state`s Republican
governor, Sam Brownback, signed a bill into law that cuts taxes for the
richest people in the state and raises taxes on poor people.
This is amazing. I mean, the Republican Party has this anti-tax
reputation but they are only pursuing agenda for rich people. You would
they that they might just be ignoring people, ignoring poor people. But
they`re not ignoring the poor. They are actively seeking out ways to make
poor people more poor using the tax code.
Joining us now is Ezra Klein, columnist for "The Washington Post" and
"Bloomberg News" and MSNBC policy analyst. Ezra, it`s great to see you.
Thanks for being here.
EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC POLICY ANALYST: Good evening.
MADDOW: I wanted to talk to you about this, Ezra, because I feel
like I need a wonk check is there some cogent quantitative economic
philosophy that says this reverse Robin Hood approach makes sense for the
KLEIN: No there`s a philosophical one. So, the Republican argument
here is that if you don`t have poor people paying income tax, if they`re
not bought in, they will want to vote themselves larger and larger shares
of government spending, because they won`t be paying for it. They`ll see
government benefits as free and, as such, they`ll go to the polls and say,
we want more Medicare, more food stamps.
It`s sort of a political economy viewpoint.
But I think it`s important to say it isn`t true. When they keep
saying income taxes, right, Romney says income taxes, Orrin Hatch who you
play clip from says income taxes. Most middle class people, the main taxes
they pay are payroll taxes. The taxes go to fund Social Security and
And beyond that, Topeka, Kansas, they pay state and local taxes,
which tend to be quite regressive. Brownback was looking to pay for his
bill. He wanted to raise his state sales tax and also tax away income tax
deduction for the poor on his state. So, poor people and middle class who
do pay large amounts of taxes, the income tax is the one primarily
progressive tax we have in this nation. So, when you only focus in on
that, you have taken out the taxes that poor people pay.
MADDOW: All of these Republican legislatures, not everybody, but
just about everybody, it`s a rounding error to consider who hasn`t sworn a
blood oath to Grover Norquist that he or she will never raise taxes on
anyone, at anytime, for any reason while they hold public office. Is there
an asterisk in the no tax pledge that says actually it`s cool if you`re
raising taxes on poor people.
I mean, why isn`t Grover Norquist and all the anti-tax purists out
there calling for these Republicans heads for raising taxes?
KLEIN: Because they`re not that pure. Although I should say in
Grover Norquist`s defense, he tends to be quite consistent. He doesn`t
necessarily go to the ramparts over this kind of thing, but he will say,
it`s not good, if you let the payroll tax cut expire. What Romney is
attempting to do is her which is let some of the stimulus provisions that
help out people. He`ll say it`s not. He good feel that is in fact, a tax
increase. So, he`s fairly consistent here.
It`s more generally Republicans who when they talk about what they
want to do on taxes. What they really want to do, the way they really see
the economy is they want to lower taxes on richer folks. The folks they
think of as job creators under the theory that that`s going to unlock some
dramatic amount of economic potential in the economy. It`s important to
say there`s no economic evidence that actually happens and more to the
point, we ran a very large experiment on this in 2000s when the Bush tax
cuts came into effect, which by the way are part of the reason that poor
people don`t pay as many income taxes.
It did not work. We did not have a wonderful decade of economic
growth. But that hasn`t done anything to undermine this theory in
MADDOW: It is -- I mean, what you`re just describing there in terms
of their philosophy people in terms of rich people, I feel like we`re
having a debate about that. What they are trying to do to poor people, I
feel like Democrats are in denial that it`s impossible that Republicans
will consider it. And so, we`re not yet debating it.
But here on the Friday before Memorial Day, we will launch the
national discussion, you and I, Ezra.
KLEIN: It`s never going to be the same.
MADDOW: Exactly. Brace yourself, America.
Ezra, have a great weekend, man. Thanks for being with us tonight.
I really appreciate it.
KLEIN: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Still to come, the Wizard of Oz has campaign advice for one
of the candidates for president, in living color. Plus we have a cocktail
moment coming up.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Cocktail moment. It`s Friday, coming up.
MADDOW: What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the ape in
apricot? What do they got that I ain`t got?
Ever since he won Donald Trump`s endorsement, ever since he emerged
with Mr. Trump from behind that curtain in Las Vegas days before the Nevada
caucuses, ever since that February meeting, Mitt Romney has made Donald
Trump a leading surrogate for his campaign. Mr. Romney won Nevada and
Donald Trump claimed some of the credit. Mr. Trump said he`s able to show
voters the real Mitt Romney. And he is out there trying.
With his considerable fortune and his considerable fame, Donald Trump
might be the single best known household name to speak up for Mitt Romney
in this election year.
When Mr. Romney desperately needed to win the Michigan primary, for
instance, he called on Donald Trump and then Donald Trump robo-called you.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP: I support Mitt Romney because he`s the outsider in the
race. He knows what`s happening. He knows how to handle China. He knows
how to handle OPEC.
He`s a good man. He`s working hard. We got to get him elected
because he`s the one person that`s going to beat President Obama. He will
win. You`ve got to give him that chance.
ANNOUNCER: This message is paid for by Romney for President, Inc.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Mitt Romney won Michigan and then Donald Trump hit the air
waves for him in Ohio. Mr. Trump did interview after interview in Ohio, in
the days leading up to Super Tuesday, telling people there to vote for Mitt
Romney. He worked so hard for the Romney campaign in Ohio that Mrs. Romney
thanked him by name and called him an honorary Buckeye.
Mr. Romney won in Ohio, Mr. Trump began working on national
robocalls, so everybody could hear the Romney campaign message as delivered
by Donald Trump. Mr. Trump has also been key to Mr. Romney`s fundraising.
The week before the Michigan primary, the candidate who argued that
we should let Detroit go bankrupt ducked back east with Donald Trump held
at a law firm specializing in bankruptcy. That was a nice touch.
Last month, Donald "the honorary Buckeye" Trump, hosted a fund-raiser
at his home in New York City. They hauled in more than $600,000 at that
A Donald Trump spokesman says the Romney campaign wants Mr. Trump to
host another one when Mr. Romney secures the nomination. Whatever it is
that Mr. Trump does for Mitt Romney, it seems to be working and Mr. Romney
seems to think he needs it, which makes Mr. Trump`s continued insistence
that President Obama might not be an American citizen, that much more of a
question mark for Mr. Romney`s campaign.
Yesterday, Mr. Trump told "The Daily Beast" all the nice things he
always says about Mitt Romney. And then he said this, quote, "A book
publisher came out three days ago and said in his written synopsis of his
book, he said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia, his mother
spent a day in the hospital."
Donald Trump is not letting the birther thing go. But oh, moral
dilemma, he is still useful to Mitt Romney. On Tuesday, Donald Trump will
attend a fund-raiser with Mitt Romney in Las Vegas. Then next month,
another fundraiser, the Romney campaign offering a chance to dine with
Donald Trump and Mitt Romney. While Donald Trump continues to travel the
country telling reporters and everybody he meets that President Obama is
secretly foreign, and is secretly not really the president. He`s Kenyan
After Mr. Trump`s latest trip to birther land, and "The Daily Beast"
today, an adviser to the Romney campaign said today that next week`s fund-
raiser with Mitt Romney and Donald Trump, that fundraiser is still on.
Nobody can be responsible for their views of all of their supporters.
If you like Mitt Romney or you like Barack Obama, Mitt Romney or Barack
Obama does not have to answer for everything you think and say just because
you like them. But Donald Trump is not you. Donald Trump is not just a
Romney supporter. He is a prominent part of the Romney campaign.
Donald Trump is a representative of the Romney campaign. Mr. Romney
is raising money off of Donald Trump. They are doing joint appearances,
joint fund-raisers, paid robocalls together -- and Donald Trump is
simultaneously preaching that Barack Obama is secretly not really the
president. He is not entitled to hold the office. His birth certificate
and his citizenship are a fraud.
If you`re Mitt Romney in this situation, what`s the right thing to
do? I mean, you`re making a lot of money off this guy, but he`s wrong.
But you`re making a lot of money off this guy, but he`s wrong.
Are you seriously going to do this fund-raiser with Donald Trump next
week, Mitt Romney? After all the birther stuff was reiterated today?
Seriously, are you still going to do that fund-raiser?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARACTER: What makes the seventh wonder? Courage. What makes the
dawn clap like thunder? Courage. What makes the Hottentot so hot? What
puts the ape in apricot? What do they got that I ain`t got? Courage. You
can say that again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Courage, Mitt Romney. Courage.
Cocktail moment, dead ahead.
MADDOW: We lost the cocktail shaker. Ha!
There could be lots of excuses for doing a cocktail moment this fine
Friday night. It is geek pride day. Also, it is towel day. Don`t panic
if you don`t know what that is. That`s actually a joke, specifically for
people who know what towel day is.
Also, the fleet is here in New York City. Fleet Week.
Those are all good reasons for a cocktail. But I am picking a
different reason for a cocktail moment tonight. And I`m picking it because
of hometown privilege.
I grew up in the San Francisco bay area. This, of course, is the
Golden Gate Bridge, carrying U.S. 101 from the city of San Francisco, north
to Marin County, or the other way around, depending on your perspective.
The beautiful, bewitching, other worldly Golden Gate Bridge turns 75 years
old this weekend, which is both amazing to think it is 75 years old, and
also kind of amazing for the opposite reason to think that there are a lot
of people around on this earth who were here before the Golden Gate Bridge
In any case, happy birthday to the Golden Gate Bridge. And as an
excuse to teach you how to make a real delicious whiskey drink that has a
horrendous name, I hereby present to you, the Frisco. It`s the worst name
in cocktailia, right? I mean, nobody -- one thing about being from a place
is that you learn from a very early age how to identify when a person is
not from your hometown. Anybody who says Frisco is not from anywhere near
San Francisco. Nobody from San Francisco would ever use that word.
But drink is delicious. So here we go. We only have -- we could
only find our tiny baby-size cocktail shaker? Do we really not have the
other one? Anyway, I think it will work. It`s two ounces of rye, in this
case using 100 proof rye, because -- well, guess, 100-proof rye. This is
written house bonded. Anything that`s bonded, it`s 100 proof.
It is half ounce of lemon juice. And you want to use fresh lemon
juice, not something that is from a plastic container marked lemon. Half
ounce of lemon juice.
And then the magic secret ingredient that makes everything better,
Benedictine, one of those weird things only like invented by monks and you
would never use until you`re an adult who is taking cocktails seriously.
It`s like the secret sauce for cocktails.
Benedictine, it`s kind of herbal, sweet, it is, in fact, the
sweetener in this drink. Don`t be put off by the tiny cocktail shaker.
It`s totally normal. We totally planned on that. It`s not that we lost
the normal cocktail shaker. No, this is fine. Oops.
The Frisco follows the traditional two half-half pattern.
MADDOW: Makes my hands look enormous. I`m squeezing your hand. Two
ounces of rye, half ounce of Benedictine, half ounce of lemon juice, and --
no matter what size the cocktail shaker, within reason, you will be
Seventy-fifth anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, on the 50th
anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, I went out with my family, we got up
before dawn and we went on this special commemorative, we`re going to close
it to traffic and you can walk across the Golden Gate Bridge thing, and so
many people did it that the bridge from its usual arc as a suspension
bridge flattened out. It`s the scariest thing I have ever done in my
entire life. Now it`s 75 and they`re not doing that stunt again.
Not bad. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again next
But now, say it with me now, come on. You know where you`re going.
In three, two, one. Prison!
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