Guests: Frank Rich, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Paul Krugman
ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: And, Rachel, I hope you`re feeling
better. But I want you to know, I got fresh air and I caught a fish this
big. It won`t even fit in the screen, so I can`t show it. Doggone it!
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: That fish has now set up a legal defense fund,
Ed, and has called me to be leading the campaign on his behalf. You`ll be
hearing from our lawyers.
SCHULTZ: I hope you`re feeling better.
MADDOW: I am, Ed. Thank you very much. I really appreciate it man.
Good to have you back, too.
Thanks to you at home as well for joining this hour.
It is great to be back. The reason I was out all of last week is
because I had laryngitis which I always thought people were faking until I
got it myself. You`ll hear that my voice is a little off, but it`s back,
and I feel much better and big thanks to everyone here who picked up the
slack when I was gone, and in particular, to the great Ezra Klein who sat
in for me for a full week. I`m feeling much better. I`m really glad to be
back, and there`s tons going on in the news.
As usual, though, in American political news, the most interesting
thing that`s going on in politics right now is not actually the stuff
happening at the federal level but what is happening at the state level.
This weekend for example, did you know that the Republican Party
convention happened in the great state of Montana? It was kind of a doozy.
It was held in Missoula, Montana, at the Hilton Garden Inn.
And parked out in front of the Hilton Garden Inn for the state
Republican Party convention was this. It`s an outhouse that features fake
graffiti that says, "For a good time, call 1-800-Michelle." And that`s
crossed out and it says, "For a good time, call Hillary," and that`s
crossed outs and then it says, "For a good time, call Pelosi," and that`s
circled in red.
The outhouse is riddled in painted on bullet holes as though someone
has shot it up. It also has a fake birth certificate in it for the
president, it says Barack Hussein Obama on the birth certificate, and it
has stamped on that fake birth certificate bullpuckey. Only the second
word after bull is not puckey.
As you can see, the sign that they put on the outside of this bullet
hole-ridden outhouse which again is outside the state Republican Party
convention, the sign you can see on there, is Obama presidential library.
Now, the Mitt Romney for president campaign paid the expensed for the
keynote speaker at that convention this weekend. They flew Newt Gingrich
to Missoula, Montana, to go to the convention with the outhouse out there.
They paid for Mr. Gingrich to provide the culminating speech to this
weekend`s events. There`s no word that Mr. Gingrich commented on the "for
a good time, call Michelle," bullet-riddled outhouse convention decoration,
but it`s interesting he was there on the Mitt Romney campaign dime. He did
a fund-raiser for Mr. Romney when he was there. He spoke as a Mitt Romney
surrogate, and his trip was paid for by campaign donations. It was an
You know, now that the Republican Party has their nominee for
president, Mr. Romney`s candidacy, I think, has been imbued with
retroactive inevitably. And sort of seems like, of course, he`s the
nominee, look who was in the field running against him.
I think that is the mainstream and Beltway and the certainly liberal
and Democratic take on what happened in the Democratic process this year,
but it`s interesting to note that is not really the way the Republicans see
I mean, if Republicans saw it the same way, they would be keeping Mitt
Romney`s distance from those other guys who he beat in the primary. That
group of clowns, right?
The Romney campaign is not doing that. The Romney campaign has been
treating his former rivals from the primary campaign not as embarrassments,
not as clowns, not as sideshow candidates. They`ve been treating those
other primary contenders as real assets to his campaign.
Even the really ridiculous ones, I mean short-lived rival candidates
like Donald Trump are not treated by the Romney campaign as a joke. Donald
Trump is seen as a full-time, high profile official campaign surrogate for
Tim Pawlenty represents Mitt Romney essentially as a full time job
now. There he was this weekend on ABC`s "This Week," giving the Romney
line or his closest approximation of it.
Newt Gingrich is dispatched on the Romney campaign`s dime to a state
Republican convention, specifically this week to the one with the outhouse,
bullet hole, call the first lady for a good time version of a presidential
Mr. Romney is wrapping up support from his primary rivals and using
them in his campaign. He has not moved on. He`s bringing the primary
campaign with him.
The exception, of course, as always is Ron Paul. Technically, the Ron
Paul folks are onboard with Romney in the sense that Dr. Paul`s son, the
senator from Kentucky, endorsed Mr. Romney. But as with everything,
between Ron Paul and the rest of the Republican Party, it`s a little bit
For example, this weekend, Ron Paul won Iowa. It`s official. There
will be 25 delegates plus super delegates sent to the National Republican
Convention from the great state of Iowa, and even though you heard that
Mitt Romney won on election night and you heard a couple weeks after that,
Rick Santorum won in Iowa, really, Ron Paul won. Of the 25 delegates, 21
of them are Ron Paul delegates, leaving the Ron Paul campaign to put out
this press release this weekend: Ron Paul wins Iowa. And it`s true, he
did, bottom line.
Ron Paul also hosting a Ron Paul revolution rally in Tampa at the site
of the Republican convention this summer the day before it opens. Which is
a rather in your face move for a guy who is not getting the nomination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: We should not be disruptive, but we should
also not be pushed around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Ron Paul`s message to supporters this weekend, announcing
their plans for this counter convention in Tampa this summer. With his win
in Iowa, this weekend, frankly, with him also winning a majority of
delegates and therefore technically also winning the states of Maine and
Minnesota and Nevada and possibly Louisiana if Republicans there ever
finish sorting that one out, you`ve got to ask what`s Ron Paul going to do
with those delegates he`s sending to the convention, especially after he
holds a counter convention in Tampa the day before the real convention
starts. Nobody quite knows what he`s going to do with those delegates yet.
It may have to do with a party platform fight, although since nobody knows
what`s in a party platform, anyway, it kind of seems like a waste of
Whatever the Ron Paul folks are going to be there to fight for,
though, it`s interesting. It`s a really interesting dynamic inside the
Republican Party that Mitt Romney is using the other Republican primary
contenders who he beat this year against Ron Paul. Using them to
neutralize the Ron Paul factor.
Rick Santorum promised last weekend that he wants to make sure strong
principled conservatives, like presumably him, will stand ready to count
counterbalance the effect of the Ron Paul folks. So, if the Ron Paul folks
make some kind of crazy break for the Republican Party platform which
nobody notices anyway, Rick Santorum is telling Republicans, that he stands
ready to counterbalance them. He will fight them on Mitt Romney`s behalf.
Mitt Romney has consolidated the support of his primary rivals. I
mean, even once they have picked their nominee, even once Mitt Romney has
consolidated that support, honestly, the Republican Party trying to figure
out who it is and who is in charge and who their leaders are, and who gets
a say, it still remains the greatest show on earth, at least the greatest
show on politics.
And in terms of this dynamic on the right, right now, with the
Republican nominee, Rick Santorum is turning out to be more than a weapon
for Mitt Romney to use against Ron Paul and the libertarians. Mr. Romney
and the Mr. Santorum this weekend essentially tag-team at something called
the Faith and Freedom Conference. Mr. Romney appeared by video link,
approvingly quoting Rick Santorum in his remarks. Then Rick Santorum
appeared right after him, approvingly quoting Mitt Romney right to him.
Herman Cain was also at the event speaking. Even Rick Santorum`s
billionaire, Foster Friess, was there, wearing a very nice shirt. Remember
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER FRIESS, GOP DONOR: This contraceptive thing -- my gosh, it`s
so -- it`s such inexpensive. You know, back in my days, they used Bayer
aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it
wasn`t that costly.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Excuse me. I`m just trying to catch
my breath from that, Mr. Friess, frankly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Remember him? So Mitt Romney spoke this weekend alongside
not just Rick Santorum but alongside that guy, right? Alongside Rick
Santorum`s billionaire, the put an aspirin between your knees guy.
The specific part of the Faith and Freedom conference at which
Santorum spoke, his speech part of it was hosted on stage by this guy, by
Ralph Reed. Ralph Reed is the guy who put on this whole weekend event.
It`s his organization.
Remember Ralph Reed? He`s the disgraced Jack Abramoff scandal guy who
got Christians to write letters in support of keeping the "made in the USA"
labels on clothes that were being made in the Marianas Island, clothes that
were being manufactured in near slave labor sweat shop conditions like
forced prostitution and forced abortions among the destitute workers there.
Ralph Reed lobbied Christians to lobby for a "made in the USA" label
on clothes made in those conditions. He did that together with Tim
Phillips who now runs the Koch brothers group, Americans for Prosperity.
He did on behalf of a Jack Abramoff client.
How did Ralph Reed and Tim Phillips get Christians, conservative
Christians, supposed values voters to write letters supporting the sweat
shops with forced abortions? Well, they mailed those Christians materials
that said those workers in the Marianas Island were exposed to the
teachings of Jesus while they were working there, presumably in between the
That was the Jack Abramoff scam, that was the Ralph Reed scam. Mitt
Romney appeared alongside the aspirin between your knees billionaire guy,
the man-on-dog fight against contraception guy, the disgraced Jack Abramoff
fake Christian scandal guy.
Mitt Romney appeared alongside the disgraced, failed presidential
campaign, with all the sexual harassment claims and the 999 economic plan
that appears to have been plagiarized from the Sim City video game.
He appeared alongside this guy as well. Remember guy at the pimp
Also, this guy, forced vaginal --governor forced probe, governor
ultrasound, depending on who you ask.
He also appeared along side this guy, who wept from the stage this
weekend. Remember this guy?
He now has a pay-per-view TV show on the Internet. He used his speech
at the Mitt Romney event this weekend to talk about how the television
program "Glee" is destroying America and how he`s going to create right-
wing version of "Glee" to save America by destroying liberals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, GBTV: We have given enough. We have given enough. We`re
going to lose.
A year ago, I was watching the show "Glee" with my wife, and we
watched it like this -- I mean, it`s horrifying, some of the things they`re
teaching high schoolers. But it`s brilliantly done. It`s brilliantly
done. It`s produced brilliantly. It`s music brilliant, acting brilliant.
Cinematography, brilliant, all of it.
And I said to her at the end of this, a year, a year and a half ago.
We lose, there`s no way to beat that.
Well, yes, there is. We have spent about a year now trying to put
together a push back with artists, with music, but not that`s stereotypical
conservative Lee Greenwood music. I call it my Oedipus project because the
left will be making out with me and they`ll never see it coming.
Somebody will say, don`t you know who produced the music? No, I
really like it, it`s great. Yes, yes, it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes, I`m secretly your parent and you`re making out with me,
You know, a Democratic president does not have to do this kind of
stuff on the left. I know the Beltway common wisdom is there`s an
equivalent and parallel and exactly equal counterbalance on every partisan
side of every issue, right?
It`s not true. There is no equivalent to this on the left that a
Democratic president has to decide what to do about. I mean, yes, there
are people who are out there on the left and weird and creepy, maybe not
exactly the same way, but on the left, there are people who say things that
are very, very politically incorrect or otherwise have a high gross-out
That happens, but they`re not the kind of people who are so central to
Democratic politics that a Democrat president or presidential candidate has
to make a decision about whether or not to associate themselves with them.
A candidate has to literally share a stage with and appear at their
events and co-bill himself along with this person while running for
president. It doesn`t happen on the Democratic side the way it happens
with the Republicans, right?
Imagine a world in which Democrats use this dynamic to their
advantage, in which they actually made a Republican presidential candidate
who stood alongside this stuff and lent his name to this kind of thing,
imagine if they made him answer for it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: We have given enough. We`ve given enough. We are going to
lose. A year ago, I was watching the show "Glee" with my wife and we
watched it like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Imagine that in an attack ad. It`s not that hard to imagine,
right? I mean, that`s what Mitt Romney did this weekend. We watched
"Glee" and -- that`s what Mitt Romney did this weekend, as he was hosted by
the Abramoff scandal, forced abortion guy, alongside the man on dog guy,
the can Ubecky, becky, becky, stan, stan guy, and the pimp costume guy.
Not to mention Mr. Aspirin between your knees.
And what did Mitt Romney give a speech abut with these folks?
Contraception, the evils of access to contraception and he multitasked.
While he was doing that himself, his campaign was paying for the keynote
speech at a "for a good time, call the first lady bullet-riddled outhouse
as president library" event. That`s what Mitt Romney did weekend as the
Republican Party`s nominee for president.
With Mitt Romney dragging around all this stuff from the right behind
him as he runs for president, why aren`t the Democrats making sure that
those cans that are tied to his bumper make some noise? Why aren`t they
making him answer for that?
And if the Democrats ever did hold them accountable for the right wing
of his own party which he does not disavow in which he courts in every way,
would the Beltway simply explode from the Democrats being so audacious as
to press what really, really ought to be their obvious advantage here?
Joining us is Frank Rich, "New York" magazine writer at large. His
latest article is called "Nuke "Em: Why Negative Advertisements are
Powerful, Essential and Sometimes Even Artistic".
Frank, it is great to have you here. Thank you for being here.
FRANK RICH, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Great to be with you.
MADDOW: Democrats are amused by the way Republicans can not disavow
even the craziest stuff on the right wing of Republican politics. Do
Democrats ever stop just laughing about it and actually use it against
RICH: You`d wish. I mean, that`s -- in the piece I go back to the
Goldwater campaign. Johnson, they used it against Goldwater. They used
the crazy fellow traveling with, you know, absurd right wingers.
But, you know, what happens on with the Democrats is Obama makes a
rather gentle ad attacking Bain, not nearly as vicious as Newt Gingrich`s
ad attacking Bain, and you have Cory Booker and Ed Rendell and the whole
sort of political saying oh, this is frightening the horses.
He should -- I feel the Democrats if they want to win, actually have
to go after this radical party for which Romney is essentially a front man.
I mean, he`s the perfect sort of faux moderate mask of you know -- I mean,
a ring-wing version of glee. Does that mean John Ashcroft comes back and
resumes his singing career with Orrin Hatch? I don`t know.
But, you know, you characterized the people better than I could.
Donald Trump, I guess, is a statesman next to Ralph Reed, who is a
statesman next to Herman Cain.
But they should go after it. Because Romney is a placid front for the
party that is a radical right-wing party.
MADDOW: Well, in terms of the Democratic criticism of it -- I mean,
your whole take on this, your whole piece is about how everybody says they
don`t like negative ads but (a), they work, and (b), there`s nothing
shameful them provided they are factual and they are done for the right
reason, which is essentially to win because you ought to win over somebody
who has hard truths that should be told about them.
But one of the things you`d say is that every president should go
negative early and often and without apology if the goal is victory. The
notion that negative campaigning is some toxic modern aberration in
American democracy is bogus.
Everybody on both sides of the aisle believes it`s modern, believes
that we never used to do this.
RICH: It`s just crazy. I mean, one campaign I talk about is the
Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams campaign where Jackson was accused of
cannibalism. His wife was described as a bigamist, his mother a
prostitute. And those were the nice things that were said. That was in
the earliest part of the 19th century.
But the truth is, I don`t -- people are saying Obama is going negative
so early. Both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in their re-election
campaigns, their second campaigns, began earlier than Obama did. They
began in March and April. Obama didn`t begin until May.
And so, this kind of squeamishness, is it amnesia? Is it -- I don`t
MADDOW: I would understand why the Beltway, which I think sort of
leans conservative. That`s my take on it. But the Beltway leans
conservative and the Republican establishment would say don`t you dare go
I don`t understand why Democrats would say that. I mean, I think that
-- Cory booker is a friend of mine. I believe he very legitimately and
passionately wants President Obama to win.
MADDOW: I think that Ed Rendell feels the same way. I think they are
both loyal Democrats and they are relatively strategic guys. But why is
there a Democratic instinct to say, no, no, no, don`t do what might work if
RICH: I think some of it, in this case, is tied up with what is
thought of the Obama brand. I hate that word. But hope and change and the
feeling is, boy, that really worked and we don`t want to mar that. We
don`t want to -- it`s so pure, it`s so lovely, it`s so idealistic, it`s all
of the things that a lot of people, including me, liked. But you can`t
fight the last war, that was four years ago.
MADDOW: But that last war also had a lot of negativity about John
McCain it in.
RICH: It did. Remember the ad with McCain couldn`t remember how many
homes he owned?
MADDOW: And the ad was called seven is the answer to the question.
RICH: You know, they were negative then but it is like people forget.
But the thing is, that was then. You know, this is a tough election for
Obama. This is not a nostalgia tour for 2008.
He is fighting a bunch of extremely wealthy people with -- many whose
names we don`t know. We know some of them. We know Foster Friess, but we
don`t know all of them, who are writing unlimited checks and he`s got to
MADDOW: Yes. You know, it`s -- the fact that everybody looks back on
2008 and doesn`t remember any of the negativity tells you what you need to
know about people who say don`t go negative, people will hold it against
you. Once you win no one remembers how you won.
RICH: Absolutely not. And one thing I found in doing this piece was,
we all remember the Willie Horton ad and the Dukakis and Bush 41 race.
Actually, Dukakis ran more negative ads than Bush did that year, but
everyone has forgotten that, too.
MADDOW: Frank Rich, I so like talking with you about these things.
RICH: It`s great to be with you as always.
MADDOW: Frank`s new piece at "New York" magazine piece is called
"Nuke `Em" in his typically subtle style.
All right. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Since the 2010 elections, which Republicans did so well,
particularly in the states, America`s Republican Party has been laser-
focused on jobs, jobs, jobs, by which I mean abortion. In the Republican-
controlled House of Representatives in Washington, the third bill -- the
third bill that Republicans introduced upon gaining control of the House
was an anti-abortion bill. It is H.R. 3. They do them in numerical order.
Then the line in the sand over which Republicans threatened to shut
down the whole federal government was their effort to defund Planned
Parenthood. Now, in the second year of their majority in the House,
congressional Republicans are still working on anti-abortion legislation
all the time. They are fighting right now to restrict abortion rights in
Washington, D.C. since Congress has some control over the district`s
affairs. That has led D.C. residents to stop by one Republican
congressman`s office with a long list of other more pressing issues he
might take on if he cares so much about D.C., things like potholes and
vermin infestation and parking tickets and so on.
The Republicans` presidential primary this year, that abortion above
all else climate has led to a race in which not only -- lead to a race in
which not only did all of the leading candidates say they would overturn
Roe versus Wade, to make having an abortion a criminal act. But beyond
that, all of the leading candidates for president on the Republican side
this year said they supported personhood for fertilized eggs.
It`s a legal idea design by the right to outlaw the most common forms
of contraception used in the United States while also outlawing all
abortions. That was at the federal level.
At the state level, it has been an anti-abortion free for all since
the 2010 elections with more anti-abortion legislation being introduced and
more being passed than anytime since it became a legally -- a legal
constitutionally protected right to get an abortion in this country in the
So, after that laser-like focus on jobs, jobs, jobs by which I mean
abortion, it seems like now maybe, in this current news cycle, maybe, the
pendulum is swinging back in the other direction, or at least people who
are on the other side of the issue for Republicans are starting to make
some real noise about how far Republicans have swung the pendulum since the
Today in Michigan, for example, Republicans got a performance that
they did not ask for, but they definitely did earn. You may have heard,
particularly on the this show last week, state Republicans banned two
Democratic lawmakers, both women from speaking on the floor of the Michigan
House. It was the first time in anyone`s memory that lawmakers had been
censored like that.
It began during a debate on a new omnibus Republican anti-abortion
bill that expands the state`s right to regulate abortion clinics out of
existence. I mean, not accidentally, intentionally. Intentionally onerous
regulations designed to shut down abortion providers.
The measure passed in Michigan mostly along party lines. But during
debate on the bill, female Democratic legislators argued against it
vigorously and one legislator used a word that got her sent to the penalty
box by the Republicans in charge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. LISA BROWN (D), MICHIGAN: I have not asked you to adopt
and adhere to my religious believes. Why are you asking me to adopt yours?
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I`m flattered that you are all so interested in my
vagina, but no means no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: For that comment and a few others from Democrats that day the
Republican majority floor leader in Michigan banned State Representative
Lisa Brown and another woman Democratic legislator from speaking.
That was last week. Fast forward to today, and this was the rather
incredible scene outside of the Michigan capitol. Playwright and activist
Eve Ensler there to perform her famous work "The Vagina Monologues." The
state legislator whose comment caused all the hullabaloo and the headlines,
she and nine other legislators starred in the play. They used the word
that must be named more than 100 times.
So that`s Michigan.
In Virginia last week, home of governor ultrasound, the state`s board
of health did something shocking. The state board of health in Virginia
last week decided not to make it more difficult for abortion providers to
operate in Virginia. Virginia Republicans wanted to do the same thing they
are doing in Michigan. They had wanted to pass intentionally onerous
regulations, specifically targeting abortion providers to put them out of
But the state board of health unexpectedly voted to block the
Republican`s move. The state board of health voted to exempt existing
abortion providers from the new rules that seemed specifically driven to
shut them down. The board made this vote against the advice of Virginia`s
radically anti-abortion Republican attorney general. The decision now goes
to Governor McDonnell for review.
So, that`s going on in Virginia.
In Florida, over the weekend, 1,200 mayors from all over the country
gathered for the 80th annual conference of mayors. At the end of the
three-day conference, the mayors issued a list of adopted resolutions that
they all voted on, things like anti-violence programs and drug treatment
Also on the subject of reproductive rights. The mayors` resolution
recognized 10 different ways in which women`s health care was being
restricted and women`s rights were being impinged across the country.
The resolution affirmed the importance of women`s reproductive rights
and it called for Congress and the states to improve women`s access to safe
and comprehensive reproductive health care.
So, that`s the nation`s mayors but wait, there`s more. Today, a group
of Catholic nuns launched a bus tour of nine states from Iowa to Virginia.
They are calling it nuns on the bus. Nuns drive for faith, family and
After the Vatican said in April that nuns in America are spending too
much time on social justice issues and caring for the poor, when they
really ought to be focused on being good anti-abortion activists, the nuns
decided, no. The nuns decided instead to travel around in their bus now
the talk about other things.
They are now, for this week, for example, talking about how much the
Republican Paul Ryan budget that Mitt Romney said he would adopt as
president would hurt the poor and the sick, and the people who nuns can`t
help but be nice to and be concerned about even when the church tells them
to focus on other things.
So whether or not all of these developments mean the pendulum is
really swinging back or people are at least getting mad at how far the
pendulum has swung, I have one thing to say here personally. Not as a TV
show host here but just as a person who happens to be related to some nuns
-- don`t mess with nuns. It`s not a warning. It`s not advice. It`s not a
It`s fact that I have learned from personal experience. Ask anybody
in my family, if you mess with nuns, you will lose every time. You will
always regret messing with nuns.
Joining us now is not a nun, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a member of
Congress from Florida, chair of the Democratic National Committee --
Congresswoman, thank you for being here.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Thanks, Rachel. Great to
be with you.
MADDOW: I realize that you`re not Catholic. Do you agree with me
that one should not mess with nuns?
SCHULTZ: Absolutely. They would be way at the bottom of list of
women or men I would want to mess with.
Let me ask you, looking at all of those developments in turn, the
conference of mayors` resolution -- obviously, the mayors speak for a lot
of Americans. The Virginia board of health --
SCHULTZ: And they`re a nonpartisan group.
MADDOW: Absolutely. And also seen as a sort of technocratic group,
doing what is best for their constituents.
The Virginia board of health defying what the Republicans were trying
to do there, this outpouring in Michigan, thousands of people out on the
steps of the Michigan state capitol today in response to them shutting up
those women legislators last week, and the nuns defying the Vatican and
saying, we`re not going to be anti-abortion activists. We`re going to do
what we think is right, do you think that it`s right to cluster those and
talk about the idea there is sort of a reaction to what we have seen as the
Republican agenda on reproductive rights in women`s health for the past
couple of years? Is there a backlash?
SCHULTZ: Well, I think there really appears to be. You can take it
back to the beginning of this Congress when the Republicans took over the
House and became the majority and introduced the bill you referenced, the
H.R. 3, which also would have changed the definition of rape to mean only
So, I mean, there has been this relentless attack on women, and a
relentless hyper-focus on women`s reproductive rights in spite of the fact
that the number one, two, and three issue is creating jobs and getting the
economy turned around. So, their obsession with women`s bodies and
controlling women`s bodies has really seeped all the way down, so deeply,
and the extremism has seeped so deeply in the Republican Party, that you`ve
got state after state that is initiating this legislation, and so much so
that yours and my generation, which has really benefited from having
reproductive freedom for our entire lives and essentially has become
complacent, now even women who are my girlfriends, and probably your
girlfriends, who never pay attention, are saying. OK, you know, this is
enough to get me off my couch and out of my house, and onto the lawn of a
state capitol to fight back.
MADDOW: You know, in terms of strategy on these issues, I feel like
the big dynamic in American partisan politics is that on the right, there`s
a conservative movement that operates independently of the Republican
Party, and they constantly are pulling the Republican Party to the right,
demanding orthodoxy, purification, and they`re doing that whether
Republicans are in power or not. They`re always just exerting however much
power they got.
MADDOW: It`s an external force to the party at least.
In the Democratic Party, there isn`t a progressive movement that has
the same kind of effect on the Democratic Party. So, Democrats don`t move
that much on the issue, they`re not drawn to the left the same way
Republicans are dawn to the right.
Because of that, abortion rights are a litmus test for Republicans.
There are almost no pro-choice Republicans left. There`s a lot of pro-life
Democrats. There`s a lot of anti-abortion rights Democrats.
And so, how can the Democratic Party say to women who are upset by the
Republican`s agenda, come to us? When there are so many Democrats running
for office right now and holding important elected office right now who are
against abortion rights?
SCHULTZ: Because we are the big tent party, and we welcome the
diversity of points of view, and you oftentimes see Democrats that are
anti-choice, that aren`t making that the top of their legislative agenda.
So there`s a difference between someone who simply has a personal view that
is different than the majority of our party, and someone who says, I`m
going to Washington or I`m going to the state capitol to make limiting
abortion rights my number one priority.
And that`s -- we`re tolerant and respectful of a diverse point of
view. The Republicans are not, and on top of that, they nominate
candidates for president like Mitt Romney who want to take it even further
-- support personhood amendments and who when it comes to the issues
important to women like paycheck fairness and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay
Act, won`t take a position and say whether or not that they would allow
those things to become law.
It`s -- the dramatically out of step, out of touch extremism that
exists from the top to the bottom of the Republican Party is really, I
think, finally startling and shocking to women, enough to get many women
who aren`t normally involved and engaged off the sidelines.
MADDOW: That key issue about intensity both among elected officials
and also intensity among people who care about --
SCHULTZ: That`s enough.
MADDOW: You`re right on that.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee,
member of Congress from Florida, and again, not a nun.
SCHULTZ: Not a nun.
MADDOW: It`s nice to see you. Thank you for being here.
SCHULTZ: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Frank Rich was here, Congresswoman Debbie
Wasserman Schultz was spitting here. And coming up, Paul Krugman will be
I don`t have much of the voice, but this is probably my best night at
this desk in quite some time.
MADDOW: At the top of the show tonight, we talked about the fact that
the Montana Republican Party convention this weekend featured a bullet-
riddled outhouse labeled the Obama presidential library. The outhouse also
included a birth certificate that was labeled bull bleep. You keep it
classy, Montana Republican Party.
However, Republican birthers are even winning bigger battles that the
decorative outhouses outside on the lawns outside their state conventions.
That story is coming up.
MADDOW: 1984, Ronald Reagan won re-election by such a huge margin, he
won 49 states. Ronald Reagan that year even won Wisconsin as a Republican,
which is almost statistically impossible. Democrats always win Wisconsin
in presidential elections. Since Democrats lost that one year in 1984 when
they lost everything, they have won Wisconsin every year since.
When the Democrats lost the next election in 1988, they still won
Wisconsin. Michael Dukakis won in Wisconsin in `88. In 1992, Bill Clinton
and the Democrats won Wisconsin. In 1996, same again, Democrats won
In 2000, when the Democrats lost, when George W. Bush beat Al Gore,
still Al Gore, nevertheless, won Wisconsin. In 2004, when George W. Bush
beat John Kerry, still, John Kerry won in Wisconsin.
In the last six presidential elections for the last 24 years,
Democrats have won Wisconsin in presidential elections every single time.
This year, however, Republicans say they`re going to win it -- at least so
said Mitt Romney today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re going to win Wisconsin
and we`re going to get the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The implicit case that Republicans are making this year,
about them having good chances in Wisconsin, the implicit case is not so
much that Mitt Romney is a perfect candidate for trying to win over a state
that hasn`t gone Republican in 24 years, it`s not so much about Mitt Romney
as an individual candidate, is that Republican politics are getting very
When Mr. Romney took the stage in Gainesville, Wisconsin today, he was
shoulder to shoulder with the chair of the Republican Party, Reince
Priebus, who is from Wisconsin, and there was Wisconsin Governor Scott
Walker, who just survived a statewide recall campaign two weeks ago, and
then, of course, there was Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican budget
Mr. Romney has endorsed Mr. Ryan`s kill Medicare budget at his own.
He`s also started hiring Paul Ryan budget staffers as his own policy
For the Republican Party right now, Wisconsin is not just a place to
try to win that they don`t usually win. It`s not a place where they think
this particularly Republican presidential candidate has a particular appeal
and therefore, particularly good shot at winning.
For the Republican Party, it`s not about that. For the Republican
Party, Wisconsin is important because Wisconsin all of a sudden is what
Republicans stand for. Wisconsin this year is where Republicans are
getting all their ideas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: He wants us to hire more government workers. He says we need
more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of
Wisconsin? The American people did, it`s time for us to cut back on
government and help the American people.
I think at the national level, we can learn a lot from this guy, you
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This guy, Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
The message of Wisconsin, according to the Republican Party`s
presidential nominee this year is: it`s time to cut firemen and policemen
and teachers. That`s the message of Wisconsin.
And he says the message of Wisconsin is now the national message for
the Republican Party.
Here`s the thing, though, if the big Republican idea this year is
cutting firefighters and teachers and police officers, it`s shrinking the
public sector, firing people with public sector jobs. We`re already doing
that now, and you know what? It`s not helping.
This is a chart of public sector jobs in the last four recessions. We
have organized the recessions by president. So what`s the difference
between the current fragile recovery from this current recession and the
better recovery from the previous three recessions?
Well, first of all, this recession was worse. But second of all, in
the previous three recessions, policymakers let public sector employment
keep growing, which frankly helped with the recovery.
President Obama has proposed doing that this time, too, with his Jobs
Act, right? But Republicans in Congress have said no, along with some
conservative Democrats. And so, in trying to recover from this recession,
we have been doing something differently than we did in previous ones. In
trying to recover from this recession, we have been hampered by a public
sector that is still firing people -- cops and teachers and firefighters.
We have been trying to recover from a recession while firing people in
the public sector, all the while wondering why things aren`t getting better
like they did in previous recessions.
When Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, writes about
this dynamic right now, he calls it the Republican economy that we`re in,
and that, of course, drives Republicans nuts, but he means it and he says
that it`s a huge, huge problem. Not just politically, but for the country.
He says, "Over all, the picture for America in 2012 bears a stunning
resemblance to the great mistake of 1937 when FDR prematurely slashed
spending, sending the U.S. economy into the second leg of the Great
Depression. In FDR`s case, however, this was an unforced error since he
had a solidly Democratic Congress. In President Obama`s case, much if not
all of the responsibility for the policy wrong turn lies with a completely,
obstructionist Republican majority in the House."
Paul Krugman writing about the first depression, but you what he said
what we`re in right now is another depression. He says it`s not a
recession right now, it`s a depression. He does say it`s beatable, though.
He says it`s beatable politically and economically, and he says that
understanding why Republicans are blaming everything on policemen and
firefighters now is the key that unlocks the door to making things better.
Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman is here tonight for the interview.
MADDOW: Paul Krugman is here for the interview. That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Most of the ideas that
would create jobs and grow our economy, Republicans in Congress have not
lifted a finger. And right now, Congress should pass a bill to help states
put thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers back on the
job. They should have passed a bill a long time ago to put thousands of
construction workers back to work, rebuilding our roads and bridges and
ROMNEY: He wants to hire more government workers. He says we need
more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Joining us now for the interview is Paul Krugman, Nobel
Prize-winning economist, Princeton professor of economics and international
affairs, "New York Times" columnist, and the author most recently of "End
This Depression Now!" And he does mean depression.
Paul Krugman, thank you for being here.
PAUL KRUGMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: Hi. Good to be on.
MADDOW: Government jobs are real jobs, obviously. I do not think of
them as a huge proportion of the overall American economy.
How much of a difference could it really make to the overall economy,
the overall unemployment picture if we just hadn`t lost all the public
KRUGMAN: OK, the right comparison is if we had normal job growth in
the public sector, which is roughly with population. So, which is what
happened more or less under George W. Bush.
So if we`d had that kind of job growth instead of actually laying off
600,000 public employees, we`d have an unemployment rate that was about 1
percentage point lower, just directly from those jobs. So, we`d be at
something like 7 percent unemployment, and that`s even counting the
indirect effects, the fact that schoolteachers, if they were still working,
would have money to spend on other things, and we`d have more private
sector jobs too.
So, you know, this would not be a depression if we hadn`t had those
big public sector cuts. It would still be an economy that was
underperforming, but it wouldn`t be anything like the disaster that we`re
MADDOW: Is there any way you can quantify the economic impact about
decisions made about public sector employment that could made at the
federal level versus what`s been decided at the states?
KRUGMAN: Well, the thing is, for the most part, most states -- states
operate under balanced rules, they can`t -- and local governments, too. So
they cannot do a lot of deficit spending. They could have raised taxes to
hire more workers or have fewer layoffs.
But mostly, it`s a question of making sure that they have the money,
and if we had a federal revenue-sharing program, which we did have at the
beginning of the Recovery Act, which President Obama opposed last fall,
then you can do that.
So, if we had, I`ve been saying, $300 billion a year, but we can
negotiate numbers here, if the federal government were to provide that
money, then those schoolteachers would be rehired with and we would be out
of this depression.
MADDOW: In terms of the Republican counterargument on this, I`ve been
sort of calling this Wisconsin school Republican politics, Romney arguing
against the idea of public sector employment as something that somehow
crowds out private sector employment. But there`s also been a strange
argument, at least strange to my mind, made by his campaign that we
actually need fewer teachers. That we`ve got too many teachers right now,
artificially supported, I guess, by union rules or something, and that we
ought to have fewer public sector people, because we`ve overpopulated those
KRUGMAN: First of all, try visiting a classroom. Do you get the
impression -- you know, I sometimes wake up with nightmares of actually
ending up being an elementary schoolteacher or a high school schoolteacher,
which would be a much harder job than I have now.
Do you really think those hard-working teachers are -- have an easy
time because they don`t have -- they have too few students to teach?
But the other thing is, look, we are in a depression. Right now,
public sector employment doesn`t crowd out private sector employment, it`s
reversed. Slashing those jobs is making our economy worse. This is not
the time -- I think it`s a stupid argument to say we need fewer
schoolteachers, but for sure, this is a really bad time to be laying them
MADDOW: Even if we didn`t have enough, this might be a good time for
KRUGMAN: That`s right. And, by the way, the president also did say,
you know, what about the potholes, which are proliferating, certainly, all
over my state of New Jersey. What about construction? What about repair?
What about all this public spending we`ve been cutting at exactly the
time it should be increasing instead?
MADDOW: Paul Krugman, Princeton professor, "New York Times"
columnist, author of "End This Depression Now!" which is required reading,
thank you for being here. I really appreciate it.
KRUGMAN: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you, Paul.
All right. A big election update coming up next.
MADDOW: Update tonight on what I may think may be the most single
riveting race in American politics that nobody has been paying attention
to. It`s the Kreep versus Peed race for a county judgeship in San Diego,
California. The contenders are a birther guy named Gary Kreep and a career
prosecutor named Garland Peed.
The race finished a week ago with Mr. Kreep ahead by 56 votes. Since
then, the San Diego election folks have been counting 135,000 absentee
ballots that were cast. They`ve been posting daily updates.
At one point, it seemed like the career prosecutor guy had grabbed
what seemed like a significant lead, go, Garland Peed. Bu it was not to
last. Now the birther guy has crawled out into the lead.
Tonight, one of our great nation`s preeminent advocates of the idea
that President Obama is secretly foreign is incredibly close to taking the
bench in an actual American courtroom. Gary Kreep ahead by 1,400 and
something votes with just 2,000 ballots left to tally.
Yes, this is really happening. Yes, this is your country.
Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell. Have a
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