updated 3/13/2013 11:03:21 AM ET 2013-03-13T15:03:21

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
March 12, 2013

Guests: Elizabeth Est, Rush Holt.

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: And that is "THE ED SHOW."
Tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern, my exclusive interview with the man who
shot the 47 percent video.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed. I`m so looking forward to
that. Thank you my friend.

SCHULTZ: Thank you.

MADDOW: Thank you at home as well for joining us this hour. The great Ed
Schultz is actually going to be back here joining us later this hour
because as you heard him described, his show has landed a really big scoop
that is going to be airing tomorrow night. I want to get a chance to talk
to Ed about what they`ve got. It`s coming up later on tonight. I`m very
much looking forward for that.

But overall, there`s lot going on in the news today. The president meeting
today with the sultan of Brunei. The president and the vice president also
today meeting with defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, who just returned from
his trip to the war zone in Afghanistan. That trip marked by two U.S.
soldiers killed. And one appears who have been an insider attack by an
Afghan personnel.

Also, we learned today that the helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan
killed five U.S. service members. Although, there is no word of enemy
involvement in that crash, at least that we know of.

The house Republicans today unveiled their big budget ideas. We will more
on that coming up this hour. The Senate today acted on bunch of gun reform
measures. We will have more on that coming up as well.

Of course, every day now, we await news of who will be the next Pope. All
eyes on the NBC News live cam today of the Sistine Chimney, watching for
white smoke.

And Texas legislature today made a move toward naming a freeway in Dallas
after George Bush. That one I`m just going know without comment.

And today, we came to the end of yet another pointless marathon involving
the nomination of f a judge. This one might be a record. Republicans in
the U.S. Senate stalled this guy`s nomination for 484 days and then, they
all voted for him, unanimously, 91-0. So, why the 484-day wait? Why not?
Because they can.

So, there`s lots going on in the world and lots to get it this hour, but we
begin tonight with this.

This is a piece of legislature introduced by John F. Kennedy when John F.
Kennedy was a senator from Massachusetts. We remember JFK now as a remark
remarkably young president, right? A fresh face, an outsider defeating the
old establishment guy, the vice president Richard Nixon.

But John F. Kennedy was not new to Washington when he won the White House.
He had been a congressman, first elected in 1946, then a senator elected
first in 1952 and reelected in 1958. And while he was a senator, in that
year that he was running for reelection in 1958, John F. Kennedy introduced
this legislature. It was a bill to ban the importing into the United
States of guns or ammunition that were originally manufactured for military
purposes. So, we are talking about foreign weapons made for foreign
military use being sold to civilians here in the United States.

Now, the most popular weapon like that at the time looked like this. It`s
an Italian rifle called a Carkano or it sometimes called a non-liquor
Carkano. This was the most popular foreign firearm, originally
manufactured for military purposes that was sold in the United States at
the time that John F. Kennedy introduced a bill that would have banned the
sale of this gun.

If you want to get a better look at this gun, here`s another view. The man
holding the rifle is in this photo is Lee Harvey Oswald who went on to kill
John F. Kennedy with that gun in 1963. Mr. Oswald bought that gun by mail
legally using a coupon he clipped out of the American rifleman magazine,
which is the magazine of the NRA. Lee Harvey Oswald was able to buy that
gun he used to kill the president because of the bill that JFK introduced
that would have banned the sale was defeated by the NRA. Oswald bought the
gun in March 1963. He killed President Kennedy with it in November of that
year. This year marks 50 years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

In the aftermath of his assassination, there was a great impetuous to
reform the laws around guns in this country. Gallup polling after the
president`s death in 1963 showed that more than 80 percent of the country
wanted Congress to enact the strictest gun restrictions possible.

But nothing happened. The new president, LBJ, tried mightily to get gun
reform passed in the wake of the JFK assassination, but they were not able
to get anything through Congress. Even after the assassination of the
president by a gun that was bought legally by his assassin that would not
have been legal to buy under that president`s own gun control proposal.
That apparently was not enough.

It was not until the president`s brother was also assassinated and Martin
Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 than anything did finally get done
at the federal level. And even then, it was just barely which LBJ
announced bitterly upon passage of the bill that he did finally get
through.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYNDON B. JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Guns are to be
kept out of the hands of the criminal and out of the hands of the insane
and out of the hands of the irresponsible, then we just must have
licensing. If the criminal with a gun is to be tracked down quickly, then
we must have registration in this country. The voices that block these
safeguards were not the voices of an aroused nation. They were the voices
of a powerful lobby, a gun lobby that has prevailed for the moment, in an
election year. We have been through a great deal of anguish these last few
months and this last few years. Too much anguish to forget so quickly. So
now, we must complete the task with this long needed legislation begins.
We have come a long way. We have made a lot of progress, but not near
enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That was LBJ speaking in 1968.

It is our successive national traumas in gun violence that have brought
about gun reform when we have been able to get it and even then, it has
been really hard. JFK`s assassination itself did not bring about gun
reform. The Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy assassinations in 1968
did eventually drive some that year, years later. That`s how we got serial
numbers on guns, for example, that they were able to do in 1968. But they
weren`t able to do anything after what happened in `63.

When we got background checks instituted, the bill that did that was named
after James Brady, who of course, is press secretary to Ronald Reagan. Mr.
Brady himself was almost killed in the Reagan assassination attempt. The
Associated Press report of this week that after presidential candidate,
George Wallace, was shot five times, paralyzed and nearly killed in the
assassination attempt in 1972, the AP reports this week that then,
president Richard Nixon could be heard on the oval office tapes after the
Wallace assassination attempt musing about how handguns should be
restricted in this country, although Nixon never really did anything about
it.

It is national trauma that makes us act. National trauma with gun violence
that makes us act on this as public policy. But not every national trauma
with gun violence results in action. Some of them don`t even when they are
really bid traumas.

The trauma that most fresh in our mind right now is, of course, Newtown,
the massacre of school children in Connecticut in December. The effort the
make sure this is one of the tragedies we do respond to, that it does
result in some concrete change, that effort is unrelenting, from the White
House down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The tragedy that occurred
at Sandy Hook elementary school has had a profound impact on the psyche of
the American people. There have been other mass murders, tragic events at
Virginia Tech, Columbine, Aurora, the Sikh Temple, but this, this in my
career, this one senseless act at Sandy Hook, this a slaughter, senseless
slaughter of 20, six and 7-year-olds, children, babies, six brave school
staff and it`s not -- brave school staff who actually tried to protect
these kids, all dead. A senseless act that has not only shocked the
American conscious, but has I think changed and galvanized the attitude of
the American people demanding some concrete action. We can`t remain
silent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Vice president Joe Biden speaking today at the national league of
cities.

Also today, the democratic front-runner for the open Senate seat in
Massachusetts, Ed Markey, today, he started running this ad saying
effectively, we should put me in the Senate and if you do, I will make it
my mission in the Senate to make sure we respond to Newtown with actions
and not just words.

Yesterday, this ad ran. And the Des Moines register in Iowa, this is
actually a two-page newspaper ad. It covers two full pages of news print.
It`s a letter from the clergy of a Newtown Connecticut, the religious
leaders of that town to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa asking him to
support gun reform. All the other signatures that all over the ad, all the
fine print, clergy and faith leaders from all across the country.

Today also, 26 cyclists, one for every victim in Newtown arrived in
Washington at the end of a 400 mile ride to ask for a concrete reaction and
not just words in respond to Newtown. They were joined on the final leg of
their trip by members of the Virginia tech cycling team., the reasons that
you can understand. Two of the riders today are the parents of kids from
Sandy Hook Elementary school.

The political pressure against gun reform is always there. It`s always
there. Everything you look at in this country that`s ever happened on gun
reform, you can also see the political pressure there on the other side.
It always looks like it does now. But it is being met this time by a
political force for gun reform that appears to be definitely equal if not
greater, both in magnitude and intensity and commitment and that organized
political pressure is buoyed by the fact that gun reform has the country on
their side.

A "Washington Post" poll today on gun policy. Did you just see this? "The
Washington Post" poll today asked Americans if they support universal
background checks for anybody who wants to buy a gun. The NRA opposes
that, right? But what proportion of the American public wants universal
background checks for anybody who buys a gun? The proportion is 91
percent, 90 freaking one percent,91.

For comparison`s sake, let me just note that if you ask the American
people, do you support capitalism, the answer is 68 percent yes. If you
ask the American people, do you like Italian food? The answer is 85
percent yes. If you ask the American people, is it important to take a
vacation? Sixty one percent say yes.

Universal background checks, it`s at 91. They are more popular than
capitalism, Italian food and vacations. Universal background checks have
91 percent support and nothing has 91 percent support.

When the Senate judiciary committee today moved a universal background
checks bill, they move through committee to send it to a floor vote, the
Senate later this week. Do you want to know how many Republicans voted for
universal background checks on the economy? Zero. The vote was 10 to 8.
All the Democrats voted in favor, all the Republicans voted against.

All the Republicans voted against something with 91 percent support among
the public. Tell me how this ends for the Republican Party?

Joining us now is the congresswoman who represents Newtown. She is
Elizabeth Esty, Democratic Connecticut.

Congresswoman Esty, thank you very much for being here. It is nice to be
here.

REP. ELIZABETH ESTY (D), CONNECTICUT: It is great to be here.

MADDOW: I know today that you were part of - I know that you saw the bike
riders leave on their Newtown journey to Washington and you were there
today in Washington when they arrived. What do you see as the political
impact, the political importance of that kind of personal commitment we are
seeing by people who care about this issue?

ESTY: Well, it is tremendous. And I think what you have mentioned is
going to take the country being galvanized. And the courage that these
folks are showing, that these parents who lost love d ones who lost their
friends and neighbors are showing not anger, not retribution, but
commitment for real common sense gun laws. And that is just what the
country wants. You just said it, 91 percent of the public which I wonder
if that is related to the about 90 percent of the public who think Congress
is doing a lousy job. And it is time for us to step up.

MADDOW: When you look back at the kinds of events that have galvanized
real change in this country, it is fascinating to look back at see how hard
people tried to pass some sort of gun reform after the assassination of the
president in 1963 when John F. Kennedy was killed by a gun that would have
been illegal under his own gun control measure that was opposed by the NRA
and did not pass in Congress.

It was amazing to me they were not able to get anything passed then and it
took five years more and more assassinations until they were able to pass
something in 1968 with a lot of Democrats in Congress. You look at back
the history of this galvanizing events, do you see any rhyme or reason in
when we get change and when we don`t? Is there something magic that
unlocks the possibility of change?

ESTY: I think children do. I really think children do. And I think this
is the sort of galvanizing event that we saw with the Birmingham bombings.
Americans care deeply about their children. And when we see this massacre
of the innocence that we saw it on December 14th, when we saw it in this
country with children at Sunday school being blown up in Birmingham while
worshiping; that galvanized this country to take on real change. And I
think we are on that moment. We adore our children. They are our future
and we need to do better. And this is our wake-up call. It must be our
wake-up call.

MADDOW: You represent Newtown. This week marks three months since the
attacks in Sandy Hook elementary school. When you were elected to
Congress, you cannot have known that this was going to be the defining or
at least dominating event of your time in Congress and this time in your
state and in some ways, this time in the country. What do you feel like
you need to do to be the most effective advocate for the people of your
town after this tragedy?

ESTY: Well, I respond as a mother of three children who cares passionately
about our future and about every child in this country. And when I am
thinking about what I need to do in Congress, I think about what I would
want someone to do for me if I were in this horrific position of these
parents who have suffered the most unimaginable loss.

I have got to know these families very well. And every day, they are my
thoughts and in my prayers. And every day, I realize they are getting up
to a much harder task of going forward with their day, caring for other
children. And if they can do that, then I can get down on the floor of the
house. I can go button holes senators. I can make phone calls and be a
voice for them. For again, something common sense and simple. Common
sense reforms that respect the second amendment and have our community
safer. It`s just not that complicated.

MADDOW: Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, Democrat of Connecticut, including
Newtown Connecticut in your district. Ma`am, thank you very much for your
time tonight. It`s nice to have you here.

ESTY: Thank you so much.

MADDOW: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right, 91 percent public support for universal background
checks. Zero Republican votes for it. That ratio cannot stand. It just
politically is unsustainable. I don`t care whether you agree with the 91
percent or you with the 90 percent, politically, that`s not sustainable.

All right. Gun regulation is not the only subject for the public and
certain elected leaders are on completely different planets. We have got
another one of those ahead. Stick with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: In the great presidential race of 2012, and what was supposed to
be the politically white hat month of July 212, Republican Mitt Romney was
stuck in the dull drums. Sometimes he was falling a point or two ahead of
President Obama that month. Maybe, but more often, governor Romney was
trailing. His fellow Republicans were carping publicly about how the
Romney campaign was being run, but most of all, what was going on in July
was that Mitt Romney was being dodged by the question of his old tax
returns which he was refusing to release.

"Business Week," what`s Romney hiding in his tax returns?

"Reuters" said what might be hiding in Romney`s tax returns?

This one, why Mitt Romney won`t release his tax returns, six theories.

This was becoming too much of a focus, right? Republicans were in danger
of the candidate getting swamped before he ever got to the November
election. Mr. Romney was getting swamped by the mystery of the tax
returns, which he would not release. And so, Republicans at that time of
the campaign, in July, they were trying as hard as they could to get the
focus off the campaign, all for what they consider to be these little
destructions about Mitt Romney, all these small bore questions about Mitt
Romney `s character and his financial history. They were trying to get the
focus off those meddling questions and instead, turn the focus to big
ideas. Big ideas like the Republican vision for the country. The clash of
big, different ideas about where the country should go.

Republicans were stepping in as of July 2012 to try to help the Romney
campaign refocus. Some of them were carping, some were trying to help.
And notably among those trying to help was their future vice presidential
pick, Congressman Paul Ryan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: What I think this all
means, Maria, is whoever wins this election basically is going to determine
what this looks like next year. Yes, we are stuck with this current
situation and the log jam that has to be broken, unfortunately, is going to
have to come up on November 6th by the voters of this country to decide
which of these two features do they want? And what we`re saying is here`s
what we`ll do if we win this election. Here`s what the tax system is going
to look like. Here is what we are going to do on tax policy, on spending
policy, on sequester fiscal cliff and all of those things. We are going to
be as clear as possible to the country so they know what they`re getting if
they support us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: So they know what they`re getting whoever wins this election.

Congressman Paul Ryan saying whoever wins gets to decide which plan for
taxes and spending the country`s going to get. We are trying to be as
clear as possible, he says, about the choice between our Republican plan
and the Democrat`s plan. That`s what this election is going to be about.
Make a choice, America. Choose the Republican idea or the Democratic idea
and then we`ll have to live with it.

That`s what Paul Ryan said last July. Come November, we did get to make
that choice. We had that vote. Mr. Ryan himself was on the ticket as
Romney`s running made. They were effectively running on Mr. Ryan`s budget.
We had that vote and the Romney-Ryan plan for the country lost by a lot on
the scale of presidential elections, this was not especially close.

The country voted and they voted against the Romney and Ryan vision for
America by a clear margin. But hey, election, smell election. Maybe Mitt
Romney gets to go out and ride the rides at Disney land and give speeches
and whatever now, but Paul Ryan is still a congressman. Paul Ryan still
has to make a living. So today, Paul Ryan tried out the Paul Ryan budget
again as if the country never voted on it at all. Really, it is almost
exactly the same budget that the Republicans ran on just a few months ago
when they lost.

The new version, sure, kills Medicaid more than it kills Medicare, but it
is the same idea. Just like the old Paul Ryan budget, the new one comes
with giant tax cuts for the richest people in the country. And just like
last time, Mr. Ryan does not say how the government would make up for the
trillions in lost revenue due to the tax cuts. Trust him, it`s magic.
Give rich people a tax cut and pay for it with Humana, Humana, Humana (ph).
You just slash spending and cut taxes and somehow, it all works out.

Remember how Mitt Romney got pilloried for this during the election for
refusing to say how his tax plan would work? He said he would give us all
the details after the election? Do you remember the Web site that mocked
the Romney-Ryan trust us plan with the button forget the details that you
ended up just chasing all over the screen because you were never going to
get the details?. Do you remember that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan lost
because Americans voted against them and their no details, we`ll tell you
later, tax cuts for the rich, kill Medicare plan for the country?

Bringing back essentially the plan you just got defeated for, seems like a
weird way to respond to that defeat. Republicans seem to think they can
try the same thing, only get different results this time.

Democrats, on the other time, on the other hand, think that this is going
to turn out the same this time as it did last time. The Democrats response
to Mr. Ryan revealing his budget today was almost gleeful. Already, the
Democrat`s Senate campaign has announced plans to how the party will run
against 16 Republicans by pinning the Paul Ryan budget on them as
frequently as they can from now until the next election in November 2014.
Republicans have seen how this movie ends really, really recently. They
have responded by casting themselves in the sequels.

Get your tickets now. This is going to be a good one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: One quick note for you, on today`s one-on-one meeting between
President Obama and the sultan of Brunei, did you hear how the sultan of
Brunei got to the meeting? The president today explained.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, overall, I`m very
grateful for the majesty`s outstanding leadership and his friendship. I`m
glad that he said yes because he got here yesterday and flew in his own
747, meaning he piloted it himself. I think he is probably the only head
of state in the world who flies a 747 himself. So, in case Air Force One,
you know, pilots have problems, you know who to consult.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: So, that`s one more thing that the sultan of Brunei has in common
with John Travolta.

Also, while we await word from the Sistine Chapel, this was the NBC News
live camera shot that we watched all day of the chimney on top of the
Sistine Chapel, where we are watching of course for white smoke to signal
that the new Pope has been chosen. While we await news of who will serve
as Pope alongside Pope Emeritus Benedict who will still be around at the
Vatican, it is worth noting that like the sultan of Brunei and like John
Travolta, ex-Popes/Pope Emeritus Benedict is also a pilot.

In his case he is a helicopter pilot which means that, although Benedict
did not actually pilot himself on his dramatic fly-away over Rome at the
end if his popeship, he could have done so if he wanted to.

First one to submit the most plausible joke wins. The sultan of Brunei,
the Pope Emeritus and John Travolta walk into an airport bar. And?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Regional American accent quiz. Are you ready? All right. Here`s
your test.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINA MCCARTHY, EPA ADMINISTRATOR NOMINEE: As you know in March of 2012,
EPA announced the first ever carbon pollution standard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Carbon pollution standard. Regional American accent quiz. If you
guessed Texas, you would be wrong. If you guessed the great state of
Wisconsin, maybe? Yes, you would be wrong. No, the regional American
accent locater you are for for Gina McCarthy, the president`s nominee to
run the Environmental Protection Agency, is Boston. Specifically south
Boston.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCARTHY: As you know in March of 2012, EPA announced the first ever
carbon pollution standard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: See, in south Boston, they do not have carbon in March, they have
carbon in March. And they packed their cars and you know the rest.

The reason -- the reason it matters that President Obama`s nominee to head
the EPA has that spectacular south Boston accent is because it is an
indelible reminder of where she comes from. She comes from Massachusetts
which is both where she is very obviously from and where she used to work
for Republican governor, Mitt Romney, specifically.

She was a top environmental official in the state of Massachusetts under
Mitt Romney and as such she oversaw the implementation of Mr. Romney`s
climate action plan to combat global warming.

The centerpiece was a plan for Massachusetts to join with all the other
states in the northeast in a regional cap and trade system for emissions.
That was Mitt Romney`s plan to be overseen by Gina McCarthy, and then Mitt
Romney decided to get the -- to try to get the Republican nomination for
president in 2008 and so he decided to turn against all his own ideas.

He backed out of the regional cap and trade thing and all of his other
climate stuff. Gina McCarthy ultimately left what had suddenly become a
dead end job because the boss decided to run for the Republican nomination
for president.

Republican political ambition and environmental concerns mix about as well
as oil and water. On the other hand, our current Democratic president has
made a really big deal about the subject from his lengthy and rather
impassioned treatment of the issue on his second inaugural address to his
big speech accepting the nomination for president in the first place last
year.

Even little moments like the one today when the president was speaking to
his export council and he brought up how rising temperatures are going to
raise really practical logistical issues from managing our nation`s
waterways as a means of shipping goods around the country. He talks about
this issue all the time frequently and at length.

Of course, talk is one thing. Talk is cheap, right? Talk is easy. What
about action? I mean, amid headlines like this, do headlines get any
blunter than this? Look at that line. "Global Temperatures Highest in
4,000 Years."

Amid headlines like that, at a time when "The Wall Street Journal" is
publishing the scariest chart I have ever seen published in the "Wall
Street Journal", and they`re kind of known for their scary charts, look at
that. Look at that graph. Temperature change over time. Do you see how
it shoots straight up off the chart at the end? Like it hasn`t in 11,000
years?

At the time when the data and the headlines look like that but the idea of
climate change is still a laugh line for one of our two political parties
in this country. Republicans are uniformly opposed to doing anything about
it.

What is possible? What is realistically possible? Some of what has been
possible so far is encouraging the development of other forms of energy and
other types of energy usage that could compete with traditional fossil
fuels.

In the presidential election, though, it of course became part of Mitt
Romney`s stump speech to derive the fact that there were government
supported loans for the electric car company, Tesla. Mr. Romney said that
was investing in losers and the government shouldn`t have done that. Well,
now Tesla has just released its annual report explaining that it will start
early repayment on its government backed loans.

Tesla thinks it will be profitable this quarter and it is moving ahead of
schedule to repay the investment made in that company by the government.
An investment that was made to try to goose the American development of
cars that run on electricity instead of gas.

Here`s the thing, though. That loan to Tesla that Republicans made such
fun of during the election, that loan that actually turned out great in the
end with early repayment and everything, that was made through a loan
program created in 2007 signed into law by the previous president who was a
Republican named George W. Bush. And now even when that is paying off,
even when it is working, it is a laugh line to them.

Mitt Romney was good on the climate issue until he wanted to run for higher
office. Republicans were all for investing in electric car until they
decided they would call it a joke and a travesty.

At a time of some urgency on this issue, what are our chances of moving
forward at a time when half of our political world is moving backward on
this issue even against their own ideas?

Joining us now is a man who knows something about science and technology.
He is a nuclear physicist who beat IBM`s computer at "Jeopardy,"
Congressman Rush Holt of New Jersey.

Congressman Holt, thank you very much for being with us tonight.

REP. RUSH HOLT (D-NJ), NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE: Rachel, it`s always
good to be with you.

MADDOW: When the Republicans are criticizing or trying to hold back this
sort of investment, what impact do you think it has on innovation and new
technologies that could help on these big issues of energy and climate
change?

HOLT: You know, I don`t know how many wildfires, hurricanes, barges
running aground in Mississippi, tornadoes, it takes before people realize
that facing up to and dealing with climate change is in the public
interest. And if that requires new research and development, somebody has
got to pay for it and if the private sector is not paying fully, not paying
enough for research, not providing the financing that we need for the
development, then there`s nothing immoral or illogical about the federal
government doing it.

It is in the public interest to do so and it often pays back big. And for
something as big a crisis as climate change, we should hope for a big
payback.

MADDOW: The common wisdom seems to be that this president has demonstrable
commitment to this issue, but the likelihood of doing anything through
Congress is just nil because of essentially uniformed Republican opposition
to doing anything that even acknowledges the problem let alone tries to fix
it.

Do you -- do you share that sort of skepticism about anything being
possible through Congress? Do you see any way that your colleagues on the
other side of the aisle might get more creative or constructive on this
issue?

HOLT: I mean, on this issue, I`m not sure yet. There are a few promising
signs as you know. The Violence against Women Act, the Hurricane Sandy
relief, those who were brought to the floor and passed with Democratic
votes. The speaker allowed that to happen, so that`s -- that`s
encouraging.

On climate change, I still don`t see it. I don`t know what it`s going take
for people to wake up. You know, they`re just saying over and over again,
well, we can`t afford that. We can`t afford to deal with it. Well, we
can`t afford not to deal with it and, you know, we`re not a -- we`re not a
poor, impoverished nation. We`re just acting like one.

We should be investing as if we believe there will be a future for us. We
should be investing in education and infrastructure, and research and
development and particularly to deal with those problems that are staring
us in the face such as climate change.

MADDOW: Looking at this decision by Tesla to early repay its loan at the
same time they`re announcing that they expect to be profitable this
quarter. So obviously, we don`t know in the long run whether or not that
investment is going to -- is going to pay off in specific ways, but we can
see some early signs that that might have been a good move.

HOLT: Sure.

MADDOW: Given that, given your background as a scientist and your position
as a congressman, are there other investments like that that you would like
to see the government making, that you`d like to see the public sector
endorsing that we haven`t done yet?

HOLT: Well, the way we produce and use energy is the greatest insult to
our planet. So there are a myriad of projects that should be undertaken.
Advances that need to be made in the way we produce and use energy. And
energy efficiency, in new technologies, fusion energy. Networks,
networking and energy storage for wind.

All of those things and, you know, there is, as you`ve pointed out in
Congress an aversion to having the federal government involved in it.
Well, the federal government has been involved in research and it`s worked
out well. There are a couple of fellows named Bren and Paige who were
doing a digital library, federally funded, NSF project, it turned into
Google.

You know, that was a good investment. The human genome project. And that
was a pretty good investment. Nuclear magnetic resonance that gives us
MRIs. That was a pretty good investment. We can -- there are so many
things we can do. We are badly underinvesting in research and development.

And we can see that by historical comparisons here in the United States or
more strikingly by comparisons with other countries. And as I say, for
something like climate change, which is very costly in lives and dollars,
if we don`t deal with it, there -- it`s staring us in the face as something
that we need to do research and development in.

MADDOW: Congressman Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, it`s always good to
talk to you, sir. Thank you very much for being here tonight.

HOLT: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Really appreciate your time.

Well, the most striking contrast to me is what we are not able to do now.
That Republicans themselves were proposing that we do just a few years ago.
Not just not proceeding, but actually making a U-turn on this issue and
half of our politics. That`s the thing that blows my mind.

All right. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: If you are wondering why there`s lots of Mitt Romney in the show
tonight, it`s partly by accident, but partly because it`s his birthday.

Happy birthday, Mitt Romney.

And Mitt Romney turns 66 years old today. He celebrated with a can of Diet
Coke and with an "It`s My Birthday" party hats. Also with a whole tray of
Fluffernutter cupcakes. We know this because this photo was posted online
today by his Mr. Romney`s eldest son, Tagg.

So happy birthday, Mr. Romney, sincerely.

What a difference a year makes. Right? Today, I mean, there was Mitt
Romney in what may be the conference at his son`s office where he works one
week a month now? I mean, it does look like kind of a festive scene, but
it is nothing like the way he celebrated his birthday last year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do they have a birthday cake for you because I
understand it`s your 65th birthday today. Happy birthday.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. Thank you so much.
It`s a happy birthday on the road and I`m hoping for a real big present
tomorrow from Alabama and Mississippi.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Mitt Romney did not get that real birthday present from Alabama
and Mississippi the next day. He ended up losing both of those primaries
to a man named Rick Santorum. That was March 13th, one year ago tomorrow.

Mr. Romney of course did go on to rebound from those losses. He ended up
sweeping the primaries in the entire month of April. He carried that
success right into the month of May. He won the Nebraska primary and the
Oregon primary on May 15th, but then, then, then May 17th happened. On May
17th, just as he was beginning to wrap up the Republican nomination, Mitt
Romney attended what ought to have been sort of a run-of-the-mill
fundraiser.

It`s at the home of a private equity manager in south Florida. Mr. Romney
did not know it at the time but that fundraiser was about to turn his
entire presidential campaign upside down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president
no matter what. All right? There are 47 percent who are with him, who are
dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe
that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that
they`re entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it. And
so my job is not to worry about those people. I`ll never convince them
that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Forty-seven percent of Americans cannot be convinced to take
responsibility for their own lives and Mitt Romney is not going worry about
those people.

The definitive history of the 2012 presidential campaign is written, that
clip will get its own chapter, it will probably get more than one chapter.
From the day that it was exposed by David Corn of "Mother Jones" magazine,
it hung around Mitt Romney`s neck like a LED anchor. Even now four months
after he lost the presidency, Mitt Romney is still trying to answer for
those comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: It was a very unfortunate statement that I made, it`s not what I
meant. I didn`t express myself as I wished I would have. And it was very
harmful. What I said is not what I believe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: "What I said is not what I believe." Funny thing about that clip,
though, is that even though it played on a near-constant loop during the
presidential campaign, to this day, nothing is known about the person who
shot it, the person who set up that camera in the first place.

He has been completely unknown to the public this entire time. And that is
about to change because my colleague, Ed Schultz, has a heck of a scoop.
Ed has been able to arrange a sit-down interview, the only one ever, with
the man behind the 47 percent video. The man who shot it.

It is a big exclusive that`s going to air tomorrow night here on MSNBC on
"ED SHOW" at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Here`s a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I simply wanted his words to go out and everybody could
make a judgment based on his words and his words alone. The guy was
running for the presidency and these were his core beliefs and I think, you
know, everybody can judge whether, you know, that`s appropriate or not or
they believe the same things he does, but I felt an obligation to expose
the things that he was saying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Wow. Joining us now is my colleague and my friend Ed Schultz, the
host of "THE ED SHOW" here on MSNBC.

Ed, first of all, I just have to say congratulations on this scoop. I`m
not going to ask you how you got this story, but it`s an incredible one.

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC`S "THE ED SHOW" HOST: Well, Rachel, the -- I guess the
harder you work, the luckier you get. It always takes luck to get a story
like this but this is a very unique man. This is a man who didn`t want
anything to do with the limelight, he didn`t want to put himself in front
of the story, he didn`t want to make any money on it.

He just wanted to make sure, as a wage earner himself, that people across
America knew exactly what Mitt Romney was all about behind closed doors.
And he will tell this story tomorrow night. Everything from taking the
camera in there, setting it up, the environment, what he heard, what upset
him, what motivated him, how he followed up, how he did his own research,
and how he made the connections to reach out to people.

This is a man who is -- I think has a tremendous amount of integrity and is
not really a political, but someone who was aware of the political
conversation and the climate and the seriousness of the discussion that was
taking place in the presidential election, and I will give you this caveat
that when it was recorded, he didn`t know what to do with it. He actually
sat on it for several weeks, tossed and turned, lost sleep over it, and he
explains it all tomorrow night.

MADDOW: Wow. That is amazing. Ed, well, can you tell us what made him
want to come forward right now to tell his story after staying out of the
limelight while it was breaking so big? Why haven`t we heard from him
before now? Why does he want to talk now?

SCHULTZ: Because of the clip you just played, Rachel, when Mitt Romney on
March 3rd went on FOX News and was still in denial and said things that
just didn`t square up, he thought that it was time to come out and do it
now. And also with the fact that Mitt Romney is coming right up to speak
at CPAC.

He`ll explain his motivation there to make sure that people don`t forget
what this is all about. It is a war on labor coming from the right and
it`s a war on people who are in the middle class and he wants to make sure
that the American people know exactly that they`re going back to the same
old narrative and he was willing to inject himself into it.

He`s had a real tough time, you know, since this tape came up. He is
somewhat of a marked man and he knows it and he`ll explain all of that
tomorrow night.

MADDOW: Wow. Just amazing. I`m glad he`d sought you out or that you guys
found each other.

Ed Schultz, the host of "THE ED SHOW" here on MSNBC. Congratulations again
on this big scoop. This is the big remaining question mark from the
campaign. And you have answered it.

Ed, congratulations. Man, thank you.

SCHULTZ: Thank you, Rachel. Good to be with you.

MADDOW: Thanks. You too.

You can see Ed`s entire interview tomorrow night on MSNBC right here at
8:00 p.m.

I cannot wait to see that.

All right. A moment of global empathy or at least a reasonable facsimile
thereof is the best new thing in the world today and that is next. Stay
with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Best new thing in the world today. OK, you may recall how Iran`s
state run news agency covered the Oscars this year. They redesigned the
Oscars dress for First Lady Michelle Obama by adding sleeves to it. They
turned her ball gown into kind of a spangly T-shirt. Well, if you like
that, get this. Last week, Iran`s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, went to
Hugo Chavez`s funeral in Venezuela and at one point at the funeral this
happened.

Ahmadinejad comforted Hugo Chavez`s grieving mother, which is a nice human
thing to do, unless you are supposed to follow the Iranian mullahs` orders
that a man may not touch a woman that he is not related to for any reason.
Not touch a pot, not ever.

And they`re serious about it. Just last month, Iran`s ambassador to
Germany had to make up some story about this incident when a woman high-
fived him. After the video surfaced, he had to say that actually he was
just waving hello and she misinterpreted and touched him against his will.

But now with the clerics very upset with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for apparently
touching Mr. Chavez`s grieving mother, Mr. Ahmadinejad`s supporters are
claiming that it never actually happened. They`re arguing that the
photograph of Ahmadinejad and Chavez`s mother is fake. They say the real
picture actually looked like this. Mr. Ahmadinejad holding hands, not with
a middle aged lady but with an old bald guy who it turns out is actually
Mohamed ElBaradei, the guy who used to run the International Atomic Energy
Agency. Yes. So yes -- no.

That said, if you do find it convincing, we can always go to the tape.
There is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad greeting Hugo Chavez`s mother, and here comes
the touching, yes. There`s the touching. They touched. It happened. So
this is embarrassing for Mr. Ahmadinejad and the clerics back home.

I mean, never mind that he appears to have attempted to avoid touching her
and maybe he was just kind of caught in the clasp of a grieving mother and
could do nothing about it. But this really horrible attempt by his
supporters to cover up the evidence of what happened and replace that nice
lady with that man, this failing so spectacularly is actually a good thing
for the world because when people who lie and make stuff up for political
reasons get caught and become an international laughing stock, when I am
handed politically motivated Photoshopping does not actually advance you
politically and instead makes you look ridiculous.

Then honestly, a small blow has been landed for truth, justice and the un-
doctored verifiable record of actual events. So to be really atrociously
bad, Iranian Photoshopped doctors I`m going to proclaim you the best new
thing in the world, mostly because it`ll annoy you but also because I want
you to leave --


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

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