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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, July 13, 2012

Read the transcript to the Friday show

Guest: Shannon O`Brien

ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: Have a great weekend.

That`s "THE ED SHOW". I`m Ed Schultz.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Have a great weekend, my

SCHULTZ: I will do that. I`m on orders by you to do that. I`ll do


MADDOW: All right. Thanks, man.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

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

After two very bad weeks on the campaign trail, after really not being
able to catch a break at all, with this week in particular just getting
worse and worse and worse day by day, today, the Mitt Romney for president
campaign did something they have never done with their normally rather
interview shy candidate.

It was a wall to wall blanket the networks blitz of interviews.
Governor Romney talked to ABC, he talked to CBS, he talked to NBC, he
talked to CNN, he talked to FOX News. He talked to MS-- well, no,
actually, Mitt Romney did not talk to MSNBC.

But in five hastily called interviews with everybody but MSNBC, Mitt
Romney repeated without variation the same thing over and over and over and
over and over again today. He left Bain Capital in 1999. He left to run
the Olympics.

And anybody criticizing him for what Bain did after 1999 should

Mr. Romney said specifically that President Obama should apologize
because he, Mitt Romney, was gone from Bain by 1999.


Bain Capital.

I had no involvement with the management of Bain Capital after
February of 1999.

I had no role whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after
February of 1999.

I had no role whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after
February of 1999.

I left in February of 1999, relinquished all management authority and
role in Bain Capital after February of 1999.

The truth is that I left any role at Bain Capital in February of `99.


MADDOW: I will admit that part of me was bummed that I didn`t get one
of these Mitt Romney interviews who everybody else got one. But on the
other hand, I realize all he would have said to me is, "I left Bain Capital
in 1999." And I would have said, pardon? And he would have said, "I left
Bain Capital in 1999." I would say, "Can I change the subject?" He would
say, "I left".

Here`s why it matters, this question of whether or not Mitt Romney
left Bain Capital in 1999. The question of Mitt Romney when he was at Bain
Capital and when he left, when he really left.

It`s critical to Mitt Romney`s viability as a political candidate that
he left Bain Capital in 1999 as he says and says and says and says. Mitt
Romney`s electability depends in part on that being true, which is why he
says it all the time.


ROMNEY: I left that business in 1999 to help put the Salt Lake City
Olympics back on track.

I worked at one company, Bain, for 25 years, and I left that to go off
and help save the Olympic Games.

I left Massachusetts to go run the Olympics and left my organization.
I was out there full time.


MADDOW: I left Bain in 1999. I was out there full time. I was here
no time.

The Romney campaign should start printing that on shirts and coffee
cups and bumper stickers and dog outfit`s because that`s statement is
central to Governor Romney`s campaign.

Last year, that assertion appeared in a very plain English on the form
that Mr. Romney had to file to run for president, his financial disclosure
form. It`s very plain English.

It says, "Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999,
to head the salt lake organizer committee. Since February 11th, 1999, Mr.
Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not
involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way."

You do not have to be a lawyer to know what "in any way" means.

The reason Mr. Romney keeps insisting he left Bain Capital a few weeks
into 1999 is that he doesn`t want to answer for things Bain Capital did
after that. He doesn`t want to answer for layoffs and bankruptcy at
Dynamic Details. Mr. Romney does not want to answer for the layoffs and
closing of the GST steel mill where the federal government had to come in
and bail out the company`s pension funds.

He does not want to answer for the bankruptcy of the American Pad and
Paper Company, or the way Modus Media and SMTC Corp sent jobs overseas. He
doesn`t want to answer for the bankruptcy of Stage Stores.

Mr. Romney does not want to answer for any of those things that
happened add Bain Capital after he said he doggone said he left that
doggone company.

And so, now, Mitt Romney has a problem, which is two fold. The first
fold: reporters have been finding and publishing lots and lots and lots of
incidents where Mitt Romney shows up in Bain Capital documents as being
very much a part of the company after 1999.

David Corn at "Mother Jones" and Josh Marshall at "Talking Points
Memo" have been publishing Bain Capital documents like this one from after
1999. This one from the year 2000, showing Mitt Romney as the sole
shareholder, sole director, chief executive officer and president of Bain

Here`s one from the following year, from 2001, same thing. Bain
Capital telling federal authorities that Mitt Romney owns Bain and is the

"The Boston Globe" yesterday built on that reporting, finding
financial disclosure forms for Mr. Romney that list him as the 100 percent
sole owner of Bain Capital in 2002.

As these stories have started breaking, as this reporting over the
last couple weeks has started snowballing, the response from Mr. Romney has
been that these documents that show his name on them from Bain Capital
after 1999, these documents don`t matter. These are just legal mumbo
jumbo. It`s just a quirk of the law.

Even though I Mitt Romney have signed these documents saying that I,
Mitt Romney, am principally engaged in the business of serving as the sole
stockholder of the firm, that`s just legal stuff. That`s just a
technicality. I don`t mean it. It`s not really true.

If you were a rich investment manager like me, you would understand.
Really, you would understand in your heart.

Today, Mr. Romney elaborated on his defense by saying all of the
forms, his norms being on all of the forms well after 1999, all of these
forms, what they meant was that he was the owner, but he was not as the
owner paying attention to these things that he owned. He was not paying
attention to anything at Bain. He was not steering anything. He was not
going to meetings, he was not making decisions, he was not doing anything
at Bain -- he was just still owning it.

If that`s true, it means Mr. Romney wants us to believe -- look at
this, look. Look. He wants us to believe that he got paid a lot for doing
absolutely nothing. He made $100,000 in 2001 and again in 2002 for the job
of doing absolutely nothing at Bain Capital. Nothing at all.

That 100 grand salary is not the return from an investment. That`s
not somebody paying him back a loan. That`s Mitt Romney making $100,000
for a job that he insists he did not do.

Are there any more of those jobs available out there where you get
paid 100 grand to do nothing? To swear you`re doing absolutely nothing?
Are these jobs available if your name is not Mitt Romney? No, maybe, call

Well now Mitt Romney has a further problem beyond that. Back when he
ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Mr. Romney gave sworn testimony
about being a legal resident of Massachusetts and therefore being eligible
to run for governor. I lived in Massachusetts at the time, I still do, and
I remember people having a little consternation over the fact that this guy
who lived in Utah was going to be governor of Massachusetts.

But he testified that actually he didn`t live in Utah. He still lived
in Massachusetts.

In his testimony, he said, even though he had been busy running the
Olympics in Utah, he traveled to Massachusetts all the time for both
personal reason and for business reasons.

Business reasons? He specifically mentioned having to come back for
board meetings in 2002. Including apparently board meetings for a company
that Bain had a stake in.

So he swore then he was coming back to Massachusetts in 2002 to go to
board meetings. He says now he was doing nothing, nothing, nothing at all
related to Bain after 1999. So Mitt Romney says he was not there at Bain.
He also says he was there. It all depends on who`s asking and why.

This year, when Republicans were trying to pick a Republican nominee
to run against President Obama, Mr. Romney`s opponents in the primary tried
to nail him on this. They tried to say he should release his tax returns.
He should clear up all this stuff.

Didn`t really go anywhere in the primaries. The first person who
realized Mitt Romney was struggling with this, that he was trying to create
a little cognitive dissonance around this, that he was trying to make
people believe two opposite things at the same time, he wanted to evade
responsibility for what happened at his firm while still getting credit for
being at his firm, the first person who realized that, the first person
somebody who wrestled with that in the campaign against Mitt Romney was his
opponent back in that Massachusetts governor`s race a decade ago.


cut people`s health care benefits, cut their pension benefits and close the
plant, it has become known that your company made $102 million in profits
from the sale of that company, from dismantling that company. My question
to you is, couldn`t you have made $80 million instead of $102 million and
helped keep people in their health care benefits for a little bit longer or
extended their pension benefits?

ROMNEY: I was off at the Olympics at the time --

O`BRIEN: Are you going to answer the question?

ROMNEY: I was at the Olympics when that occurred.

O`BRIEN: Are you going to answer the question? The fact is you were
still signing documents as CEO of the company while you were away. As a
matter of fact, in the summer of 2001, when you were leaving the Olympics,
you made a statement in the paper that in the summer of 2001, you were
finally relinquishing 100 percent control of your position in Bain. And so
apparently, you hadn`t relinquished that beforehand.


MADDOW: Joining us now is Shannon O`Brien, Mitt Romney`s Democratic
opponent in the 2002 race for Massachusetts governor. Ms. O`Brien is a
former Massachusetts state treasurer, a former member of the both the state
House and state Senate.

Shannon O`Brien, it`s really nice to have you here. Thank you for
being with us.

O`BRIEN: Hi, Rachel. Very nice to meet you and nice to meet a
neighbor from Northampton. I lived in Easthampton.

MADDOW: Very good.

You know, looking back at the debate footage, as the first person to
press Mitt Romney in that campaign about what really happened at Bain
Capital and when he was responsible for Bain Capital`s actions, are you
surprised to see it coming up again now? Is this the same basic issue you
were confronting him with 10 years ago?

O`BRIEN: Yes, it`s the same basic issue and he criticized me deeply
for having done something like this. For having deigned to question his
truthfulness. And it`s taken 10 years to figure out that actually maybe he
wasn`t telling the truth.

MADDOW: Obviously, the Obama campaign has been going after Mr. Romney
for the apparent conflicts in the record. I wonder, have you been in
contact with the Obama campaign? Are they interested in what you know?
Are they following any of your lead from what you raised with him a decade

O`BRIEN: Well, I certainly thing that a lot of the record that was
created in 2002, the Obama people are certainly looking at. I mean, I
can`t see this from here, but I guess you have had the videotape of one of
our earlier debates from 2002.

And so I really think that after 10 years, it`s really making sure
that you hold someone accountable for the statements they make. You know,
governor -- former Governor Romney has demonstrated a pattern of basically
not being completely transparent about his financial dealings. On the one
hand he says the reason he should be the president of the United States is
because he`s a job creator and the reason we should believe he`s a job
creator is because of his fantastic track record at Bain.

But then when pressed about the bankruptcies and the lost jobs, then
he doesn`t want to have anything to do with that. So I think that we were
able to uncover quite a bit of that in 2002, and I think it`s just looking
at the inconsistencies, not only in 2002 but you know in his last race and
in this race. Just making sure that he`s being truthful and making sure
he`s being consistent in the message he`s pressing for making the case to
the people of the United States.

MADDOW: I have been marinating in the various documents for a few
days, trying to figure out what`s important, what might really be legal
mumbo jumbo the way his campaign is pointing out, and it sticks out for me
he was paid $100,000 both in 2001 and 2002 by Bain, not because of an
investment but as a salary for being an executive.

And if he is simultaneously claiming he did nothing, he did absolutely
nothing, and that he was paid $100,000 for being an executive, it seems to
me like one of the things cannot stand. This has to fall apart, if only on
that point.

Is that detail about him getting paid 100 grand for each of those
years, is that new to you? Did you know that at the time?

O`BRIEN: I mean, that was part of his statement of financial interest
when he was in the campaign, and I think that that`s one of the reasons
that we pressed him on this issue in 2002. And I actually probably believe
that given the time that he was taking to run the Olympics before he came
back to Massachusetts to run, probably the day to day operations of the
business of the size and magnitude of Bain, he probably wasn`t doing.

But what happens in these private investment companies is initially in
essence when you make an investment, you get seats on the board, and
there`s a reason you get seats on the board. Because you`re basically
watching overseeing the management of these other companies, watching the
decisions that they`re making, making sure they`re following good corporate
governance and in essence protecting the investment that you`ve made.

I actually have sat on a number of different corporate boards
including some financial institutions and I understand that even if you`re
not involved in the day to day operations, it`s that board work that also
becomes important. So, he probably was getting paid for some of that board
involvement he was continuing to maintain while he was still running the
Olympics. That`s my reading from all of the stories I have seen in the

MADDOW: Well, having him say so black and white today over and over
and over again on all of the network interviews, I was doing nothing,
nothing, nothing, and then getting paid for definitely something --

O`BRIEN: But, Rachel, as someone who sat on a board, it`s sort of
interesting because board members be good board members, and we get told
this by management all the time, there`s a bright line between what
management does and what a board does. What a board does is very, very
important, frankly not only to the governance to a company, the sort of
direction that the company is taking, the major decisions that a company is

And so, even though you may not be involved in the day to day
management of Bain or even in day to day management of the companies that
you discussed before I came on, but you`re certainly involved in the
direction and the major decisions that are taking place.

So, you know, I think that it`s somewhat disingenuous for him to say
he was not involved if he was acknowledging that he did board work as a
result of his involvement on behalf of Bain`s investments.

MADDOW: Shannon O`Brien, the 2002 Democratic Massachusetts
gubernatorial nominee who ran against Mitt Romney -- thank you for your
insight and helping us figure this out tonight. This rabbit hole is yet
deeper and we`re going to keep going. But you helped us figure out some of

O`BRIEN: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. One quick programming note on this actually. One
of Mitt Romney`s former partners at Bain Capital, Ed Conard, is going to be
Chris Hayes` guest live tomorrow on "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES". That`s tomorrow
morning at 8:00 Eastern, here on MSNBC.

That`s going to be really good. You should definitely watch that. If
you`re not going to be up that early, DVR it. OK? Good.

All right. Lots still ahead, including a popcorn-worthy spy movie
ending to this show tonight. Please stay with us.


MADDOW: We are breaking news tonight out of Mississippi. We have
been following this story closely.

As you know, the state`s only abortion clinic, there`s only one
abortion clinic in Mississippi and it`s been threatened with closure by a
new law in Mississippi. It`s a new law that specifically targets new
regulations only at abortion providers. These new rules designed to be
impossible for clinics to comply with, it seems. It seems pretty clear
that it`s designed to shut them down. The proponents of the law said
that`s what they were trying to do with this law.

In this case, the new law in Mississippi requires all abortions to
have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Something the primary
providers at the only Mississippi clinic do not have. Something
Mississippi`s Republican governor knew they did not have when he signed
that la bill into law in April.


GOV. PHIL BRYANT (R)., MISSISSIPPI: I think it`s historic that today
you see the first step in a movement, I believe, to do what we campaigned
on, to say we`re going to try to end abortion in Mississippi.


MADDOW: They admitted they wanted to shut down all access to abortion
in Mississippi. The goal of Mississippi lawmakers in passing these new
targeted legislations -- targeted regulations -- was to shut down the
state`s only clinic.

The clinic as we have been reporting here, sued in federal court to
block the law, to keep themselves open. Tonight, a federal judge has
issued a ruling that partially grants the clinic`s request.

The judge did not block the law itself. He ruled tonight that the new
law will be allowed to take effect in Mississippi, but he`s blocking the
state from enforcing the law`s penalties as long as the clinic is trying to
comply with the new law.

So, bottom line, as yet unseen. It seems that the state is still
trying to shut down the last clinic in the state, but they will not be
allowed to take action against the clinic to insure of that, at least now.

In any case, here`s how the clinic`s owner is reacting to this ruling


pretty happy. This is -- this was our major concern, whether or not we
could be criminally or civilly prosecuted. As you know, we have done
everything we can to comply with this law. We`ve put in all of our
applications. We`re calling the hospitals weekly.

But everything is out of our hands now, and into the hands of the
hospital. So we`ll be able to operate without fear of either being
criminally or civilly prosecuted which is a major, major relief.

I think that the judge was clear that we can come back at any time if
we need to. I`m hoping that we`re going to be effective and able to get
the privileges. I would certainly like to extend an invitation to Governor
Bryant and all of the officials who have been real concerned about this,
maybe they can help us out and make some calls to the hospitals to see if
they could, you know, hasten the process. Otherwise, you know, we plan on
seeing it through.


MADDOW: So as of tonight, a bit of a reprieve. The law that`s
designed to end abortion in Mississippi has been allowed to stay on the
books, but access to abortion will not be ended in Mississippi just yet.

Center for Reproductive Rights responding saying they will remain
vigilant in their fight to ensure that the clinic isn`t subject to
penalties that would force its doors to close and deprive Mississippi women
of their constitutionally protected rights.

The clinic`s owner making it clear to us tonight that if she is not
ultimately able to comply with that law, she will continue to fight it in
court. We will continue to watch it closely because Mississippi is still
trying its damnedest to become the first state in the country to ban
abortion with or without overturning Roe versus Wade.


MADDOW: Did you ever go to Even if you`re not a
person who is into boats, even if you don`t live by a big waterway or
anything. If you`re anywhere near as dorky as I am, you will find fascinating.

From their world map here, you can zoom in anywhere in the world and
see a live representation of what ships are doing in what body of water.
So zooming in on New York City, you can see all of the little vessels

If you click on one of the boats and that boat really is there in that
spot right there where you clicked on it -- it`s a tug boat -- on New York
City, in New York City harbor, you get a name, you get a picture of the
tugboat. Sometimes you get a bunch of pictures of the boat is seeing it in
different places. You can find out its size, its home port, where it`s
going. It`s totally mesmerizing.

And you can get it in real time all over the world for all kinds of
ship traffic. And because exists and I`m obsessed with
it, I find it very easy to get full details and lots and lots of lovely
photos of this guy, the Altair Voyager.

The Altair Voyager is a Chevron oil tanker that used to be very
famous. That`s because the Altair Voyager used to have a different name.
Until the George W. Bush administration took office in 2001, the Altair
Voyager was called the Condoleezza Rice.

Dr. Rice was a long time board member of Chevron when George Bush
hired her to be the country`s national security adviser. She had a tanker
named after her. So, yes, the former oil executive president picked the
CEO of the oil services company Halliburton to be vice president and he
picked a board member of Chevron who had a tanker named after her to be
national security adviser. It was a different time.

But pity poor Chevron, right, because when the Bush administration
took office, Chevron faced the prospect of having one of its oil tankers
floating around the Middle East or off the coast of Nigeria or something
with the American national security adviser`s name painted in big letters
on the side of their tanker. That`s awkward. That was awkward even before

So Chevron decided in 2001 that they would change the name of the
Condoleezza Rice. It would no longer being the Condoleezza Rice. It would
instead be the Altair Voyager, which is the name of a star, a very
noncontroversial star.

But now the woman who once had her name painted or so it would stop as
a floating symbol of the Bush administration`s cozy ties to the oil
industry is once again having her name turned up in a new round of
Republican politics, for a guy who hopes that name stands for something
else now.

Melissa Harris-Perry joins us next. Stay with us.


MADDOW: At "The Washington Post," Chris Cillizza reported today that
Mitt Romney is adding two new communications professionals to the Mitt
Romney for president communication`s team or "Rom Com" we call them in when
we`re in a hurry. This followed an avalanche of bad news and, frankly, bad
handling of bad news over there.

All of the new detail on Bain, the Swiss bank account issue, even his
own surrogates calling for his tax returns, even as some of his other
surrogates say, no, no, don`t release the tax returns, getting booed at the
NAACP. The members of team Rom Com have really been back on their heels
all week long.

Just an example, here is how team Rom Com handled just the last 24-
hour news cycle. This right here, I can`t make it look any better than
that. This right here appears to be the only picture that exists of Mitt
Romney`s high profile fund-raiser in Wyoming last night with former Vice
President Dick Cheney. That`s it, a picture of people`s backs taken from a
distance from behind a pole, maybe a tree. That`s the only photo.

The Romney team was so nervous that their candidate would be
photographed alongside Dick Cheney, Mr. 13 percent approval rating, that
they banned TV cameras from covering the event. "The L.A. Times" reports,
"A pool of reporters was allowed into the country club event, but media
photos of Cheney and Romney together were not permitted. Not only were
they banned from photographing Romney and Cheney together, they weren`t
even allowed to eyewitness the two men standing together."

Quote, "When Mr. Romney arrived at the reception, he greeted Mr.
Cheney with a hand shake and his wife, Lynne, with a kiss, but reporters
were promptly escorted out by the campaign." Later a little while later in
the evening, quote, "Once at Mr. Cheney`s private residence, a reporter
within earshot of Mr. Romney`s remarks, heard Mr. Romney invoke Mr. Bush
but was not able to make out the context and was again escorted away by a
came pain staffer."

The Romney campaign went to great length to allow there to be a Dick
Cheney-Mitt Romney joint appearance last night while also squelching any
discussion or evidence that Mitt Romney and Dick Cheney have anything to do
with each other. That was a hard one to pull off, right?

And then, in that same news cycle, the we`re not like Bush-Cheney news
cycle, in that same news cycle, somebody in Romney land apparently had the
genius idea of floating as Mr. Romney`s vice presidential nominee, the
highest profile person from the Bush/Cheneys administration who was not
George W. Bush or Dick Cheney. Ta-da! But please don`t think of George W.

So, yes, they`re getting new communications in over at Romney land.
It seems like a good idea.

With or without these, I`m sure excellent new communications folks
coming in to try to tune up the shop at Rom Com, it`s going to be hard for
them to run from the real connections between Mr. Romney`s campaign and the
last Republican presidency. I mean, even if Mitt Romney has so far managed
to avoid being seen next to George W. Bush, there are now a bush of
statements on the record of him and Dick Cheney making proverbial googly
eyes at each other.

Mitt Romney saying back in September that Dick Cheney is, quote, "man
of wisdom and judgment," somebody he would model his own vice presidential
pick after. Dick Cheney saying last night, "When I think of the kind of
individual I want in the Oval Office, that man is Mitt Romney." Mitt
Romney then returning the favor, saying of Dick Cheney last night, quote,
"That`s quite a man, quite a leader."

Seventeen of Mitt Romney`s 24 foreign policy advisers are people who
served in the Bush/Cheney administration. When Vice President Joe Biden
accused the Romney campaign of being laden with Bush/Cheney foreign policy
guys, the Romney campaign conference call to rebut that charge was with by
two Bush/Cheney foreign policy guys.

And on matters of policy, in terms of what they`re in favor of, Mitt
Romney and Dick they`re on the same page even on just on very simple issues
like the wars. Like Mr. Cheney, said it was a great mistake, in his words,
it was tragic to end the war in Iraq. And like Dick Cheney, he also does
not want an end to the Afghanistan war.

I understand some of what they might think is the appeal of floating
Condoleezza Rice as Mitt Romney`s vice president, particularly since it`s
not about Bain Capital and that makes it a comparatively good topic of
conversation today.

But did they not realize that putting Condoleezza Rice into today`s
news make them think about all of the connections between the Bush and
Romney administrations. Is Condoleezza Rice supposed to be blindingly
interesting that we don`t remember why it is she`s that famous?

Or maybe it was an intentional thing. Maybe the Romney campaign is
getting closer to allowing the photos, right? To say publicly that a Mitt
Romney presidency might be a third term of Bush/Cheney and, hey, what about

Joining us is now is the host of the great new show, "MELISSA HARRIS-
PERRY," her on MSNBC, a woman named Melissa Harris-Perry.

Great to have you here. Thank you.


MADDOW: Which is your dream ticket, Mitt Romney/Condoleezza Rice, or
Mitt Romney/Liz Cheney?

HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, no, it`s Romney/Rice?


HARRIS-PERRY: Well, for lots of -- I mean, Romney/Rice is fun to say.
But there`s actually some reasons I really like a Romney/Rice ticket. One
is I like the idea of a Condi Rice/Joe Biden presidential debate. I think
that`s an actual debate about folks who have sort of foreign policy about
the two big issues that have dominated our foreign policy scene,
Afghanistan and Iraq. And I would like to hear Condoleezza Rice talk about
how she would defend that, particularly in a political circumstance because
she hasn`t had to do that. So ,I would love that debate.

The other piece of it is I just -- I am ready for an America with an
African-American woman political scientist who used to be provost of a
university as a vice presidential candidate. It makes me happy.

MADDOW: Well, she was secretary of state. She was national security
adviser. She definitely got chops. I was an attendee of that university
when she was the provost there. And if that was some sort of audition for
something, I don`t think I`d recommended her. I can tell you from my
personal experience.

But the idea of Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney has long been my favorite
matchup because I want to call the question, right? I want to call the
question on whether or not the current Republican Party is an inherited or
the Bush/Cheney legacy or whether something has changed. If something has
changed, what has changed?

Because there`s this lacuna -- to use a favorite term of Condoleezza
Rice -- between what they are allowed -- what we know happened in the
Bush/Cheney era and what Republicans explain about what they do different.
There`s this gap. I don`t know what they do.

HARRIS-PERRY: You know, part of it I think is interesting like we
can`t stand next to Lynn or Dick Cheney, we`re not going to say George W.
Bush`s name in ear shot of a reporter is this challenge of what the
Republican Party currently is.


HARRIS-PERRY: Now, we`ve talked about, I think, in the primary season
around the kind of moral, Southern, right-wing base, and how is a
relatively moderate rich guy going to sort of pull along those populous
right wingers, but the real challenge, I think is not just showing those
up, that`s part of it.

But the other real challenge is how do we manage the fact that the
last Republican president was not Ronald Reagan. It was George W. Bush.
There`s a real record of Republican decisions and those are all decisions
from tax policy to the reduction of a social safety net, to foreign policy
that looks precisely like the record that Mitt Romney wants to run on.

MADDOW: Are we getting close to a point where Romney starts pivoting
to defending Bush/Cheney, though, that he starts pivoting to defending
those years? I mean, with all of those advisers, with the Dick Cheney
thing, the float of the Condoleezza Rice thing, which I can`t say is from
the Romney campaign, but nobody believes Drudge made it up himself.


MADDOW: I mean, are they getting close to the point where they start
saying actually, the Bush/Cheney years were good years?

HARRIS-PERRY: No, I don`t think 13 percent approval for Dick Cheney -

MADDOW: That`s where he was when he left office.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. But I mean, look, we saw those bumper stickers
fairly early on in the Obama administration, the George W. Bush`s stickers,
do you miss me yet? I think the re-sounding answer was no.

MADDOW: No. No, thanks for asking.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right, exactly.

MADDOW: Melissa Harris-Perry, thank you so much for being here. I
really appreciate it.

HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely.

MADDOW: All right. The new "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" show is weekend
mornings, 10:00 a.m. here on MSNBC, mandatory viewing.

All right. Still ahead, the man who was turning out to be the
strangest senator in Washington is still refusing to do an interview on
this show, but once again, he`s making news on this show -- strange,
strange news from senator mcstrangy strange. That is still ahead.


MADDOW: Quick correction, I said earlier that Ed Conard, one of Mitt
Romney`s former partners at Bain Capital is going to be on Chris Hayes`
show "UP" this weekend. I said he was going to be Chris` guest on
tomorrow`s show. I was wrong. Actually, it`s going to be on Sunday`s

I`m very sorry about that. What it means is you have to tune in
tomorrow for what will surely be an excellent "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES", but
you need to make sure you tune in again on Sunday if you want to see
Chris`s interview with Romney`s former Bain partner. That interview is
Sunday, not Saturday. I`m sorry I screwed that up.

We`ll be right back and I have to advice you that you`re going to need
your popcorn ready for our end of the show special spy movie tonight.
We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: Last time we checked in on Senator Scott Brown of
Massachusetts, he was trying to recover from what turned out to be a whole
series of exaggerates he made about the type of high level meetings he was
taking as the junior senator from Massachusetts.


SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: Each and every day that I have
been a United States senator, I`ve been either discussing issues, meeting
on issues in secret meetings with kings and queens and prime ministers and
business leaders and military leaders, talking, voting, working on issues
every single day.


MADDOW: Secret meetings with kings and queens. That was the strange
claim that Scott Brown made during a radio interview last month, a strange
claim that as you might have guessed was not strictly speaking accurate.

His spokesman attempting at first to simply clarify the comments to
Greg Sargent at "The Washington Post" by saying Senator Brown was speaking
generally about private meeting he has had with foreign and domestic

Right, so, their private meetings not secret meetings? But really,
seriously, he`s meeting with kings and queens? No, next clarification, he
misspoke when he said kings and queens.

You know, the secret meetings with kings and queens thing did not come
in a spontaneous moment of Walter Mitty-like daydreaming like abandon. It
turns out his fantastic secret meetings with kings and queens is something
he talks about a lot, which the Massachusetts Democratic Party had made
tape of and which they proceeding to gleefully unleash to the interwebs
complete with a sound track from ABBA.



BROWN: Meetings with kings and queens.

World leaders and business leaders, kings and queens.

From the kings and queens.


MADDOW: If you thought that the humiliation of seeing your bizarre,
wildly overstated self-aggrandizing proclamations set to "Dancing Queen"
would be enough to deter you from further embarrassing exaggeration on the
campaign trail, you`re not Scott Brown.

Don`t forget, this is also the guy who said he saw the photos of dead
Osama bin Laden.


BROWN: I`ve seen the picture, he`s definitely dead. And if there`s
any conspiracy theories out there, you should put them to rest, OK?


MADDOW: No, Scott Brown, no. You did not see a picture of dead bin
Laden. You saw the same hoax picture on the Internet everyone saw. It`s
just that you thought it was real, and you told everybody it was real so
you`d seem important, a big important senator who gets shown big important
things regular people don`t get to see. His staff had to clarify that one
as well.

Now, he`s got a new one.


BROWN: I can name a litany of Democratic sponsored bills that never
would have passed if it wasn`t for me. The president had called me and the
vice president calls me and Secretary Clinton calls asking for my vote all
the time.


MADDOW: My phone will just not stop ringing. The president, the vice
president and Hillary, she`s calling and calling and calling.

The inevitable clarification coming by way of the "Boston Globe"
today, quoting "Globe", "In reality, Senator Brown`s staff said he has
spoken by phone with Hillary Clinton just twice in his whole Senate career.
Most recently over a year ago on July 5th, 2011. The other call occurred
in December 2010."


BROWN: Senator Clinton calls asking for my vote all the time.


MADDOW: So, by all the time, he means twice ever, the last time more
than a year ago. And when he says the vice president calls him, Senator
Brown`s staff now clarifying what he actually means is he had a phone call,
one, with the vice president, and that was a year and a half ago.
Presumably, Scott Brown did not clarify these remarks himself because he
was in a very important secret meeting with a number of kings and queens
looking at bin Laden pictures he found on the Internet but I swear there
were real.


MADDOW: Because it`s Friday and we love you, here`s your real life
spy story.

If you are watching on a podcast or something, now is a good time to
hit pause, go get some popcorn or near beer or whatever and then come back,
because this is nuts. Ready?

OK, ready? Here it goes.

Georgi Markov, Bulgarian novelist and dissident, defected from
Bulgaria to England in 1969. Went from the Soviet, left and went to
England. He went to work for the BBC and communist overlords back home
went to work trying to figure out how to assassinate him.

On September 7th, 1978, while waiting for a bus at Waterloo Bridge in
London, Georgi Markov felt a little jab in the leg, a little scrape or
something. He turned around and a saw a man picking up an umbrella like
this. The man reportedly apologized for bumping in to him and hopped in a
cab and he took the umbrella with him.

And while this is what it looked like on the outside, this is what it
looked like on the inside. The umbrella had a trigger, a release catch, a
spring, a gas cylinder, piercer, a barrel and, oh, yes, a poison pellet.
It was rigged as a tiny concealed gun to fire that poison pellet out of the
tip of the umbrella.

And so, a few days after that man accidentally jabbed this guy with an
umbrella at the bus stop, Georgi Markov died. The pellet contained a
deadly poison called ricin that is derived from caster beans.

To this very day, we still don`t know who killed Georgi Markov, who
ordered the killing, who carried it out.

But after the Soviet Union fell, a Bulgarian general and former
intelligence chief was sentenced to a year and a half in jail for
destroying documents related to that assassination. A former deputy
interior minister was called to testify about the destruction of those
documents, but he committee suicide instead. A third guy who supposedly
ran the assassination plot died in a rather mysterious and unexplained car

Years later, "The Guardian" newspaper in Britain reported that when
the Bulgarian government collapsed, a stack of those special umbrellas was
found in the interior ministry.

Because this kind of thing is the stuff of spy novels, it can be hard
to get your head around the fact it really does happen in real life
sometimes. We think that our government`s targeted killings abroad by
drone aircraft is an exotic thing. But how about a targeted killing abroad
by means of murderous caster bean umbrella gun?

Or by means of a nuclear cup of tea that turned its victim bright blue
before it kills. Alexander Litvinenko, Russian, a spy, like Georgi Markov,
he defected to Britain and he worked there as a journalist. He also
consulted with MI5 and MI6, the British equivalent of the FBI and the CIA.

In the fall of 2006, Mr. Litvinenko met with men who he believed to be
former Russian spies like himself. They met at a fancy hotel in London.
They had tea together. And later that day, Litvinenko became ill, very,
very ill.

Shortly speaking, his hair fell out, his organs failed, he was
hospitalized. Ultimately, he turned blue. And within a few weeks he was

What killed him was polonium 210, a rare and very radioactive
material. Some very small amount of it was dropped on Mr. Litvinenko`s tea
at the meeting with the other former spies.

Alexander Litvinenko had to be buried in a coffin lined with lead.
His body was really quite radioactive.

Now, the Brits traced the polonium used to kill Mr. Litvinenko to a
nuclear power plant in Russia. When the Brits tried to extradite a suspect
in the killing from Russia, the Russians declined. And so, the mystery of
who killed Alexander Litvinenko was never solved.

Litvinenko`s death is sometimes called the first death by nuclear
terrorism. Either a state denying its actions or some other non-state
actor using radioactive materials to kill someone. Litvinenko was the
first, at least they used to say, but now, there are allegations there may
have been another.

In late 2004, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser
Arafat, became ill. Nobody knew exactly what was wrong with him. He flew
to France for medical attention. But a few weeks later, he died. Doctors
said the death was caused by a massive stroke and a blood condition that
couldn`t be explained.

The sudden illness, that non-diagnosis, the political stakes of him
dying, it`s not surprising his death is a subject of more or less wild
conspiracy theories -- everything from him dying of AIDS, to him being
deliberately infected with HIV to cause AIDS, to some other poisoned plot.

At the heart of most these conspiracies is the allegation that Israel
was responsible for killing him.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A nephew of late Palestinian President Yasser
Arafat said Saturday his uncle may have died an unnatural death. Many
Palestinians believe Arafat was poisoned. Israel denies that claim.


MADDOW: Israel`s denials did not stop the poisoning rumors and
conspiracy theories. But how he died is a source of rumor and intrigue and
investigation. A few years ago, a couple of years ago, a couple of Israeli
journalists got ahold of the 100-page medical report from the doctors who
treated him in France until he died. The report said his doctors looked
for evidence of the most common poisoned but didn`t find the evidence.

There were also two investigations by the Palestinians that turned up
nothing in terms of cause of death. No evidence of a conspiracy or
poisoning. Nothing fishy except for a lot of rumor and suspicion for
almost eight years -- until now.

The news channel Al Jazeera has now conducted its own long, detailed
investigation in to Yasser Arafat`s death based in part on his widow giving
them her late husband`s medical files and some of his belongings, including
some of the clothes he wore at the end of his life and a toothbrush of his.
The al Jazeera journalist sent those items to a lab in Switzerland to be
tested for all sorts of thing.

First, doctors looked for heavy metals and for common poisons. They
did not find any. You don`t test the person for poison generically. You
have to know what poison you are looking for.

But after looking for common poisons, they then decided to look for
something much more rare -- a certain radioactive element which they found.
They reportedly found on Arafat`s clothes and on his toothbrush polonium
210, the same radioactive element that killed Alexander Litvinenko, that
Russian ex-spy in London two years after Arafat died.

Here`s why this Arafat was killed by nuclear terrorism theory is still
seen as a little bit wobbly. The French hospital where Arafat was
initially treated never tested him for polonium. So, we don`t have any
idea if he was actually exposed to it. We only know it`s apparently on his
belongings that were sent to the Swiss lab.

But we also know that polonium degrades really quickly. It`s got a
half-life of just over four months. So, why would they be able to find it
in his clothes in pretty high concentrations almost eight years after he
died? And if there was plenty of this material on his belongings, why
didn`t it make Mr. Arafat`s widow sick as well. She was in possession of
these items that got tested. It`s unlikely they were being held in a lead

So, maybe the polonium was planted on his belongings after he died.

What`s the next step? What would you do? What would you from do
here? You dig him up. Seriously. They are going to dig him up.

Yasser Arafat`s widow has asked them to exhume her late husband`s body
to test it for polonium, to prove whether or not he was assassinated. He`s
buried in a mausoleum, on the same compound where the new Palestinian
president has his office. And last week, the new Palestinian president
agreed to the plan to dig up Yasser Arafat.

When that happens, his bones will be taken apart and taken away and
tested for polonium-210. What could possibly go wrong?

I hope you have a good weekend. I plan to. Why don`t we start it off
by spending some time together in prison?


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