'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, November 1st, 2013
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THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
November 1, 2013
Guest: Dahlia Lithwick, John Stanton
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Thanks to you at home for staying with us for
the next hour.
We`ve got a lot going on tonight. This is one of those days when it
is a Friday and you would expect with Congress out of session and politics
kind of on hold for the day and the fact that it`s Friday in the day
Halloween there wouldn`t be that much going on, because they ended up being
a very busy news day.
And it was a busy news day that was dominated most of the late part
today by a shooting incident that happened at LAX, at Los Angeles
International Airport. A man, who is now reported to be a 23-year-old from
Los Angeles, walked into terminal three and pulled out a rifle. He started
firing apparently specifically at TSA employees.
There were points that he asked people in the terminal if they were
TSA and that he said things about TSA in the middle of the spree.
Ultimately, he killed one TSA worker and wounded as many as three others
before he himself was shot in the chest by law enforcement officers and
taken into custody. He`s reported to be in critical condition in the
Law enforcement sources tell "The L.A. Times" that authorities found a
note next to the shooter in which he expressed, quote, "his disappointment
with the government."
NBC News reporting that the shooter sent a suicidal text to his family
before entering the airport where he apparently started shooting. Again,
though, the shooter is alive in critical condition and in custody. LAX is
a mess in terms of flight cancellations and delays and thousands of
passengers getting stranded.
This is a story that we`ll be following through the night as we learn
more. So, please keep watching this space for news.
All right. Here`s the background, when George W. Bush picked Harriet
Miers as a nominee to the United States Supreme Court, he in a way was
showing his trademark loyalty to an old friend. Harriet Miers, after all,
had been his personal lawyer going back to his days in Texas. He was also
particularly happy to have found a woman who he trusted for that job since
the seat she was going to be filling on the court would be the one vacated
by the retiring Justice Sandra Day O`Connor.
Now, the Harriet Miers nomination did not work out. She eventually
pulled her name from consideration. And it was reported at that time that
it happened, that this was a sort of great political victory for the
conservative movement over the Republican establishment. Outside
conservative groups had weighed against the Bush administration and told
them that Harriet Miers was not right wing enough for the court and the
Bush administration had caved and decided to take back the president`s
That is how it seemed at the time. That is how it was reported at the
time. But in Peter Baker`s new book on the George W. Bush administration,
"Days of Fire," he reports that that story, the way it actually happened is
not at all the way that way that it was reported. Yes, the conservative
groups were unhappy with Harriet Miers. But the Bush administration knew
those groups weren`t going to be happy when they picked Harriet Miers and
they were not bothered by the prospect of having not fight with the
conservative groups. In fact, it could be a show of strength against
people on their own side who might try to bully then on such an important
Now, the real reason the Harriet Miers nomination fell apart is
because when George W. Bush picked her for the United States Supreme Court,
he forgot to check into whether she actually know stuff about the law. To
prepare for the confirmation hearings, Harriet Miers invited several
lawyers to her second floor office in the West Wing, reports Peter Baker.
They sat down in her paneled office and tried some practice questions on
One White House lawyer quizzed her on criminal law. When you search a
car, do you think the law is correct that all you need is reasonable
suspicion versus probable cause?
Harriet Miers looked hesitant and confused. Quote, "I don`t know what
either of those two mean," she admitted. The lawyers were shocked. When
it comes to the highest court in the land this was as basic as it gets. If
she could not handle the most fundamental terminology, how would she
survive under the Klieg lights of the Senate hearing?
They went through more questions and discovered how little she knew.
The Fourth Amendment on search and seizure, the Fifth Amendment on self-
incrimination, quote, "She literally knew nothing about it at all,
nothing," one official recalled.
So in the press, at the time, the conservative movement claimed they
got their scalp when the Harriet Miers nomination fell apart and it is an
interesting decision by the Bush administration for them to take the hit
themselves and give the conservative movement kudos that maybe they didn`t
Think about how much worse it would have been if people would`ve known
the truth, if people had known that president bush thought that a Supreme
Court seat should go to somebody who didn`t know what search and seizure
meant. That he had such disregard for the important of the court and
rigors of that job, but he`d just look around the room and pick the person
closest to him. Hey, didn`t you go to law school? You`ll work.
There were a lot of things that were really terrible about the George
W. Bush administration, but the way he dealt with legal issues is an
underappreciated and ongoing disaster. I mean, beyond the marquee
memorable nightmares like the Harriet Miers nomination and Alberto Gonzales
as attorney general and John Ashcroft as attorney general, beyond the
household names, the guys who were never household names are also still
amazing in retrospect.
President Bush put this guy in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel,
the office that`s in charge of giving the president advice on whether or
not his actions are legal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN BRADBURY, THEN-ACTING DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Hamdan
decision, Senator, does implicitly recognize that we`re in a war, that the
president`s war powers were triggered by the attacks on the country, and
that law of war paradigm applies. That`s what the whole case was --
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: I don`t know if the president was
talking about the nuances of the law of war are paradigm. He was saying
this was going to tell him whether he could keep Guantanamo open or not
after what he said, they said he could.
Was the president right or was he wrong?
BRADBURY: It`s under the law of war that we hold --
LEAHY: But was the president right or was he wrong?
BRADBURY: The president is always right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The president is what now?
It`s amazing for anybody to think the president is always right
despite virtue of him being president. But when you`re in charge of the
office that actually adjudicates that as a real question for the White
House, you cannot have that belief. It`s like being a color blind painter.
Dude, that`s the one thing you can`t believe. People actually ask you when
the president is right. You cannot have that belief.
But that is who George W. Bush put in charge of the Office of Legal
In Arkansas, he nominated to be federal judge the former president of
Arkansas Right to Life, who said if you favored abortion rights, you`re
like a Nazi. He`s the one that wrote concern for rape victims is a red
herring because conceptions from rape occur with the same frequency as
snowfall in Miami. He should be a judge.
Then, there was Jay Bybee who was famous nationally only for having
authored the memo of Bybee, which authorized the use of torture as an
official American policy. He was installed as a federal judge post-Bybee
memo by George W. Bush. It`s a lifetime appointment. He`s not going
anywhere, the torture guy.
Republicans now filibuster everything in the Senate. They require a
60-vote supermajority for everything down to the level of naming post
offices. And their Beltway argument of justifying that is, well, you know,
under George W. Bush, Democrats used the filibuster a lot.
Yes, Democrats definitely used it under President Bush, but they did
not use for every piece of normal business in the Senate. They used it to
try to block the kind of amazing nominations that George W. Bush made on
Like, for example, Priscilla Owen. Priscilla Owen had been in the
Texas Supreme Court alongside Alberto Gonzalez. And even Alberto Gonzalez,
a fellow Bushy, had denounced her on the court for what he called her
unconscionable judicial activism against reproductive rights, in a case
about whether a teenage girl would be allowed by the state of Texas to have
an abortion that she wanted.
Priscilla Owen ruled that the girl should be quizzed first about
whether or not she adequately understood religious objections to the girl
getting an abortion. If she could not articulate religious grounds against
her having an abortion then Texas should not allow her to get one.
That was too much for even Alberto Gonzalez who filed a special
concurring opinion to point out how freaking nuts that was.
But when George W. Bush, nevertheless, picked Priscilla Owen for a
lifetime appointment for the federal bench, her hometown paper, "The
Houston Chronicle", was horrified. Here`s how they started their editorial
about her nomination. They said, "Earlier this month, 44 U.S. senators
refused to go along on a vote that would`ve ended a filibuster on the
nomination of Priscilla Owen to the fifth circuit. Good, Owens` judicial
record shows less interest in impartially interpreting the law than in
pushing an agenda." Citing her demeanor unbecoming of a judge, saying she
contorted rulings to her particular outlook.
"The Houston Chronicle" said, "Anyone willing to look at her record
would be hard pressed to deny she ruled to achieve a particular result
rather than impartially interpreting the law."
And "The Austin-American Statesman" was worse describing her as so
conservative she places herself outside the broad mainstream of she seems
willing to bend the law to fit her views rather than the reverse.
And those were just the Texas papers.
When it was Democrats instead of the Republicans, it was over stuff
like this. It was over judicial nominees like her. It wasn`t over 60
votes for everything in the Senate. It was for these kinds of shock
But it was in the big nuclear option filibuster showdown that happened
in the Senate in 2005, that a deal was struck between the Democrats and the
Republicans in the Senate, and that deal got them a new handshake agreement
over who could be filibustered and who couldn`t be.
As part of that deal, Democrats agreed to give up their objections to
Priscilla Owen and also to another justice named Janice Rogers Brown.
Janice Rogers Brown was out of California when she was first nominated as a
judge, she been rated not qualified by the state bar of California.
Janice Rogers Brown also gave speeches saying the minimum wage and
Social Security were evidence of a successful socialist revolution in
Democrats were wildly opposed to nominees this out there getting
lifetime appointments to the federal bench, but they made this deal with
Republicans and as part of that deal, these judges and a few others got
But within the last 24 hours, these are the two judges, Janice Rogers
Brown and Priscilla Owen, who have written the two new bombshell federal
court rulings on reproductive rights, one that at a stroke shut down 1/3 of
all the abortion clinics in the state of Texas, and one that gave
Republicans their biggest victory yet in their war on birth control.
The ruling today that your boss gets to decide whether or not
contraceptive is covered under your health insurance, that was authored by
Janice Rogers "socialist revolutionist" Brown.
The Texas ruling shutting down clinics across the state, declaring
that is it no undue burden for a woman in El Paso now to have no Texas
abortion provider within 500 miles of her, that ruling was written by
Priscilla Owen. Both of these rulings, both the Texas and the
contraception ruling will surely be appealed and may end up at the United
States Supreme Court.
But that one day back in 2005, that one fateful political decision in
late May 2005 ultimately gave rise to both of these rulings today, by
giving rise to both of these judges.
On the day that it happened in 2005, Steve Benen who you know from
Maddow Blog now writing when he was just a small child -- back in 2005,
Steve Benen basically saw all of this coming, describing that deal, he
wrote about Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen as awful nominees who
had been cleared for the bench by this deal with the Democrats. He said,
quote, "They will soon take their lifetime positions on the federal appeals
bench which is a genuine travesty."
Joining us now is Dahlia Lithwick. She`s senior editor and legal
correspondent at "Slate".
Dahlia, it`s great to see you. Thanks for being with us.
DAHLIA LITHWICK, SLATE: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: So you wrote -- you co-wrote a piece this evening at "Slate"
that headlines these rulings today as body blows to reproductive rights.
Why do you think these rulings are so serious? And do you think it`s
the end of the road or we should expect important appeals?
LITHWICK: Well, I mean, I think both of these will be appealed
clearly. You know, what we`re seeing in the fifth circuit, the ruling
about Texas is in conflict with a whole bunch of other judges who looked at
this, you know, question about whether physicians had to have admitting
privileges within a couple of miles. Everyone else pretty much strikes it
So, now, you have the fifth circuit saying I think they`re going to
win at trial. That`s how good this argument is. It doesn`t burden women,
it kind of incidentally burdens women, but as long as they can get an
abortion somewhere, some place, it`s OK.
That`s obviously on a collision course with other rulings coming out
of jurisdictions and the case that Janice Rogers Brown decided today is
already percolating up, there`s a bunch of cases splits between the
circuits about whether, in fact, for-profit, secular corporations are going
to be allowed to declare that their individual personal religious
conscience, whatever that is, is offended by the birth control mandates.
So, these cases, I think the latter is going to come to the court as this
term, it`s being determined right now. And I think the other one is coming
MADDOW: In terms of that contraception ruling, the idea of -- I mean,
I guess we all got used to the idea of corporations sort of having the
rights of persons when it comes to contributing to political campaigns. If
corporations have religious liberty rights, even if you just stick to --
that seems to have -- that seems to have big implications, but even if you
stick to health care, doesn`t that mean that like if you were a Christian
science and you led a corporation -- if you were Christian scientist and
you led a corporation, you could insist that your employees get health
coverage that covers nothing?
LITHWICK: Yes. I mean, I think it`s quite clear that the slippery
slope that says that if the corporations owners, assuming that there`s all
of the owners are in perfect religious alignment themselves, but if their
religious views can sort of be imported on to this corporation and then
ripple down to effect decisions about everyone who works for the
corporation regardless of their religious conscience preferences, then,
yes, I think the slippery slope goes exactly the way that you pause it.
And one of the things that`s so strange about the Janice Rogers Brown
opinion that comes out of D.C. today is that it`s almost just a given to
her that corporations can have -- can be effectively people under the
Religious Freedom Act that is being invoked here.
So, it`s almost as though, well, if they had speech rights, I guess
they can have a religious conscience too. And we can talk about it like
it`s wacky, but she`s not the first judge who has agreed to this principle.
And I think it`s really, re profound that we now are in a situation where
courts of appeals are more solicitous of the religious conscience rights of
a for-profit corporation than they are of the reproductive rights of honest
to goodness human beings.
MADDOW: Wow. Dahlia, in Congress this week, Republicans are
filibustering a nominee that President Obama has made for the federal bench
for the D.C. circuit. In your opinion, is the president putting up enough
of a fight and the right kind of fight on these issues given that we know
how important they are? Even years down the road?
LITHWICK: You know, you said it in your intro, Rachel, and it`s so
true. I think we absolutely underestimate that President George W. Bush`s
real legacy was that he fundamentally changed the federal bench, probably
for years and years to come.
I mean, he really did leave office having seated younger, more
conservative federalist society members. You know, these people are as you
said each and every one them, you know, walking the walk. And Obama had
the option to respond to each of those appointments with equally strong,
card-carrying ACLU, you know, bomb-throwing, Janice Rogers Brown of the
He really has opted not to. He`s done it very, very little. He tends
to favor more centrist, moderate, confirmable jurists.
And what we saw with Patricia Millet, yesterday, in the filibuster,
was even the most centrist, she`s an army spouse, she`s religious, she has
litigated on behalf of corporations, she`s really, really not Thurgood
Marshall, and yet she is unconfirmable.
And so, I think that Obama sort of made this tactical decision that
change shouldn`t happen at the courts, it should happen at the legislative
level. That`s always been his stated purpose. But I think change does
happen at the courts.
LITHWICK: And to the extent that he hasn`t answered that, it`s
MADDOW: Aiming low sort of ideologically has not paid off in him
getting more people moved. And so, it just means you aim for less and you
get less. It`s amazing.
Dahlia Lithwick, important stuff, senior editor for "Slate" -- thanks
for helping us understand what`s going on here, Dahlia. It`s great to see
LITHWICK: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. Coming up -- a guy who was long thought to be
dead now finally is dead, a park in New Orleans gets the surprise of its
life, and working in Congress gets to be a better and better and better job
all the time. We`ve got lots ahead. Turns out it`s a big news day.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: In May 1897, a guy nobody had ever heard of, James Ross
Clemens became seriously ill in London. That guy getting sick in London
made huge news here in the United States because people thought he was
somebody who he wasn`t. People back here in the United States confused
James Ross Clemens with his cousin, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, excuse me,
better known as Mark Twain -- the most famous writer in the country, one of
the most famous men on earth at the time.
His cousin got sick in London, his cousin had the same last name as
him and that was apparently enough to convince a newspaper called "The New
York Journal" that Mark Twain was dead or at least dying in London. And
that is when Mark Twain, famously said on May 31st, 1897, quote, "The
report of my death was an exaggeration."
The modern terrible inheritor to the Mark Twain legacy of being able
to debunk reports of your own demise is this guy, the head of the Taliban
in Pakistan. The first time he was reported to be dead was on the day the
Pakistani Taliban announced he was the new leader. It was an amazing
headline that day. They`ve named their new leader but we`re pretty sure
So that was summer of 2009. Turns out he was not dead. He was their
Then, in the fall of that year, again, counterterrorism officials
insist that he`s dead, dead in a drone strike. He was not dead then
So, in the summer of `09, they said he was dead and he wasn`t dead.
Later in 2009, they said he was dead and he wasn`t dead.
In 2010, in January 2010, again, officials say he`s dead, we killed
him. But he wasn`t dead then either. Then, a second time later that same
month, January 2010, Pakistan announces that he`s dead again. But, again,
he is not dead, he`s definitely not dead.
Then, January of last year, one more time, he`s dead, they announced
he was dead last January. But, again, for the fifth time reports of his
death were an exaggeration. And all along, every single time he was
reported to be dead, the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan seemingly
enjoyed calling around to let everybody know he was still here. He`d put
out a new videotape or release a new audio message. One time he even
called the BBC personally to say, not dead, I`m still here, you should take
down that story.
Now, apparently, though, he`s dead. He seems to be actually dead. In
each of the many, many, many previous times that Pakistan or the United
States or unnamed officials insisted he was dead, the Taliban itself always
insisted that he wasn`t dead. This time they`re making no such protests.
This time, they agree he`s dead and, in fact, they`re saying his funeral is
There was a $25 million bounty on the head of Osama bin Laden, you`ll
remember. There`s now a $25 million bounty on the head of bin Laden`s
replacement, Ayman al-Zawahiri. There`s a $10 million bounty on the head
of guys like Mullah Omar, who was the head of the Taliban in Afghanistan
when they planned for 9/11 attacks.
But this guy, who was just killed, the head of the Pakistani Taliban,
he was right up there, the rewards for justice program had a $5 million
price on his head. They consider him to be the author of thousands of
deaths in Pakistan. They put the $5 million bounty on his head after he
oversaw the triple agent plot in eastern Afghanistan where seven CIA
officers were killed in a devastating surprise suicide bombing.
In this video, you`ll see here, the guy on the right side of your
screen, that`s the bomber who killed all those CIA officers. They thought
he was a spy against the Taliban. That`s why the officers agreed to meet
with him, but he wasn`t against the Taliban. They thought they had turned
him, but they hadn`t and he was the suicide bomber.
This videotape right here is the martyrdom video tape he made before
going on that suicide mission. And the guy sitting next to him, the guy in
beige, that`s the head of the Pakistani Taliban who apparently was finally
killed today after many previous reports he was dead that were not true.
Now, the keyword here in his apparent death is apparent. Evidence
seems to indicate, though, this time they really got him. We do not know
for sure, but it seems like they finally did.
I`ll be right back.
MADDOW: OK. Watch this.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: That is the sound of a small child being given a haircut.
There are dozens of examples at YouTube and they all sound like that.
And maybe it`s because scissors and clippers are scary. Maybe sitting
still is upsetting when scissoring and clippering is going very near to
your ears. Or maybe little kids instinctively understand that when it
comes to cutting or trimming things, things can go terribly wrong in an
So pity the box wood plant which cannot cry to alert its parents that
something scary is happening nearby. The sixth largest park in the nation
is in New Orleans. It has sports stadium. It has botanical garden. It
has a museum of art. It has 11 miles worth of waterways in which you can
fish at the park. It`s an awesome public park which is well used by New
Orleanians. And it`s name is the best part, it`s just called City Park,
straight up, and to the point. City Park.
There`s even a big boxwood topiary at the park. Plants carved into
beautiful letters which have long spelled out the name of the park to see.
C-I-T-Y Park, City Park, in topiary, until this week, oh, jeez, T-Y Park,
This happened this week. A New Orleans gardener had a little bout of
overzealous this week while in the course of trimming, the famous City Park
topiary, he just started in on the "C" and "I" couldn`t stop himself,
lopped them right off and everybody was very embarrassed and apologetic.
Here`s the park spokesman saying, quote, "That would have been called
a mistake. Somebody should have been supervising the work. You know how
when you go into surgery and they write on your leg, cut this leg, not that
leg, we probably should`ve done something like that."
And you know what, eventually it will turn out fine, more boxwoods
apparently have been located, the park is replanting the "C" and "I" in
City so it`s no longer looks like it`s just T-Y Park.
In the meantime, that poor gardener who screwed up so badly could
probably use a few days off and a job to come back to. If you were a
member of Congress, he surely could.
A tribute to firmly employed people who screw up and take the rest of
the week off is coming up.
MADDOW: 2013 is an odd-numbered year which means it`s an off/off year
for politics. It`s not a midterm year, it`s not a presidential year, it`s
an off/off year. But it is November.
And even in this off/off year, there are a bunch of elections on
Tuesday, next week, November 5th, just four days from now. And the nice
thing about that in an off/off year if you`re a politics dork because we
don`t have all that many elections happening in a year like this, the
number of races that are going on that are interesting and potentially
politically important is small enough that it`s possible to keep them all
in your head at once. You don`t even need notes.
So, New Jersey, of course, has its high-profile on Tuesday. Incumbent
Republican Chris Christie versus Democratic State Senate Barbara Buono.
Governor Christie from the beginning has been heavily favored to win, even
though this week he admitted publicly that he will not promise to actually
serve out his term as governor.
So, his closing argument now is effectively, elect me even though I
don`t totally want the job and I can`t say I won`t quit half way through.
Still, though, the governor was up by 33 points in the most recent
The one interesting thing to watch in New Jersey is if that big margin
holds of election day, what are the down ballot consequences be of that in
the state? New Jersey Democrats have an eight-seat majority in the Senate.
Republicans are hoping that if Christie wins really, really big on Tuesday,
maybe that might have pro-Republican consequences down the ballot in the
state senate to try to help whittle away at the Democrats` majority.
The state Senate is also the thing in Washington state where a race
for one specific Senate seat is turning out to be fascinatingly expensive.
Republicans right now in Washington control the state Senate but it`s
really close and their control is only possible thanks to a couple of
people crossing party lines to caucus with the other side. If Democrat
Nathan Schlicher can defeat the Republican Jan Angel in the Senate race in
Washington on Tuesday, Democrats are thinking that will put them on a path
to flip the state senate back to Democratic control.
Because of those high stakes, this one Senate race has turned out to
be the most expensive legislative race ever in the history of Washington
state. Everybody from Planned Parenthood on the left to the NRA on the
right has been pouring money into that race.
Also for trivia sake, I should tell you that the Democrat in that race
graduated from college, not high school, college, when he was 17 years old,
then he became a lawyer, then after that, he became a doctor. He`s only 30
years old now, he`s already been a doctor and a lawyer and now he`s running
I spent my late 20s doing landscaping and driving a delivery vehicle,
how about you?
Anyway, there`s not a ton of polling available in that very important
Washington state race, but both sides told "The Washington Post" recently
their own internal polling on both sides makes it look basically like a
tie. That`s the Washington 26th race, that`s going to be fascinating to
watch next week.
Hundreds of cities are also picking their mayors next week, including
Miami, Boston and New York. In Miami, the candidate with the most
potential to unseat the incumbent dropped out back in August because he was
wife was going to have a baby and honestly because his campaign was kind of
a wreck. But with that competition for the sitting mayor out of the way,
the smart money in Miami says the incumbent Republican mayor is likely to
stay in that job after next week`s elections. Who knows? But those are
The Boston mayoral race is very close right now, just three points
separating the two candidates, both candidates are Democrats. This is the
first time in two decades where there`s no incumbent mayor running in
Then, there`s New York City where Michael Bloomberg presumably cannot
believe what he`s seeing right now. After running New York as a Republican
mayor for six years and an independent for six years after that, Michael
Bloomberg is now leaving office with the Democratic candidate running to
replace him leading the Republican by almost 40 points.
In a recent poll, 65 percent of New Yorkers said they`d vote for Bill
Blasio over the Republican Joe Lhota. "The New York Times" points out that
if those numbers hold on election day on Tuesday, Bill de Blasio would win
by the widest margin ever for a non-incumbent.
And, of course, there`s Virginia. My beloved Virginia, the other
governor`s race this year besides New Jersey.
The Virginia race has appeared to be leaning very strongly in favor of
the Democratic candidate, with the latest "Washington Post" poll as of
Monday putting Terry McAuliffe over Cuccinelli by 12 points. In the mix of
that huge margin was a crazy huge lead for the Democrat among women voters
in Virginia. Women preferring Terry McAuliffe over Ken Cuccinelli by 24
But then two days ago, an even newer poll was released by Quinnipiac,
which shows a much, much closer contest for Virginia governor. In the
Quinnipiac poll, Terry McAuliffe is still in the lead, but only by four
For a candidate who has not led a poll outright since he led exactly
one back in mid-July, Ken Cuccinelli being down by four in late October
represents at least on paper an epic surge, a Cuccinelli surge which sounds
like an FCC violation. Cuccinelli has not led in the polls in months. And
now, days out, he might actually be closing the gap. What does that mean?
Joining us now is John Stanton. He`s Washington bureau chief at
Mr. Stanton, thank you for being here tonight.
JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: It`s good to be here.
MADDOW: Do you see a way that Ken Cuccinelli ends up surprising
everybody and being hero and scratching out a win here?
STANTON: Yes, sure. I mean, if Terry McAuliffe`s staff lets him out
of the box they`re keeping him in, yes, sure. I think that would allow him
to start talking and say things that would probably hurt his candidacy.
But other than some major gaffe on his part, no, I don`t think Cuccinelli
is looking at a win at this point, no.
MADDOW: At this point, so much of the attention on sort of what`s
wrong and interesting about this race is how people seem to be planning to
vote against one of the other candidates if they`re planning to vote at
all. Everybody expects low turnout and a lot of hostility basically on
A paper on Roanoke today said that they`re not endorsing anybody and
they think people should write in a guy who is not running and has no
MADDOW: Not exactly, you know, inspiring Democratic moment.
STANTON: No, it`s not. You know, this whole race has been sort of
fascinating. And I think most people look at Terry McAuliffe and say how
is he close to winning a governor`s race? He was an attack dog for the
Clinton administration for the Democratic Party for years. He made his
name being a very controversial partisan figure. And yet now in a state
that is very much a divided state, he looks like he`s going to become the
And I think a lot of that comes down to how poorly Cuccinelli`s
campaign has been run, the difficulties, some of the down ballot problems
particularly with E.W. Jackson. A lot of that has turned off a lot of
people, and I think, you know, this is sort of the fascinating bit of
electoral train wreck on all sides right now to watch.
MADDOW: I`ve got to say, the most -- the biggest gift of Terry
McAuliffe other than the fact he`s a scarily capable fundraiser, and that
helps, is that he`s running against Ken Cuccinelli, who`s amazing even if
you are running for nothing. And I wonder, though, because Ken Cuccinelli
got the gig -- became the nominee essentially by screwing over the party
establishment, getting -- maneuvering his way into being chosen at a party
convention instead of through a primary, alienating the entire
establishment in the process. Obviously, there`s no love lost between him
and Bob McDonnell, the scandal-ridden governor he`s trying to replace.
Is there something to be said about the organizational capacity of
each side? I mean, it seems like the Democratic Party is going to have no
problem doing door-knocking getting people out on the McAuliffe side. Does
Cuccinelli have an organization to call on on his side?
STANTON: I mean, he certainly does have an organization. And I think
a lot of the conservative groups are supporting him and they will turn
people out. But, you know, Democrats over the last couple of elections,
particularly the presidential elections, have very much refined their
turnout operations in Virginia. You know, they figured out ways to get
very marginal voters and very, very marginal parts of the state to turn out
when they figured -- well, my neighbors aren`t going to be voting for
Barack Obama. There`s no chance he`s going to win my district in my
precinct or whatever there`s not much reason to go, and they found ways to
convince people to go to the polls.
If they`re able to do that, I think that is a huge advantage for them.
And, you know, as you pointed, Cuccinelli and the establishment within the
party on the Republican side, there`s not a lot of love lost there, no.
And I think that could end up hurting them.
MADDOW: I think -- we saw similar dynamic with that with Sharron
Angle in Nevada where she didn`t have what remained of the Nevada
Republican Party behind her and on Election Day, she underperformed the
polls because there was nobody there, door-knocking, getting people turned
out. It`s going to be fascinating to watch on Tuesday.
John Stanton, Washington bureau chief for "BuzzFeed" -- I`m sorry I
ditched you on Wednesday because I had to watch the Red Sox.
STANTON: That`s all right.
MADDOW: Appreciate it, man.
All right. If you have ever wished you could work half the days
everybody else worked but still call it a full-time job and get paid for a
full-time job, I have career advice for you. You`re probably going to need
to set up a super PAC, but I`ve got all the details ahead.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: During the 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney had a
problem. I mean, obviously Mitt Romney had a lot of problems, but he had
one particular problem when he picked as his running mate, Congressman Paul
Ryan, who was nationally famous at that point for one thing, for being the
budget guy who wanted to kill Medicare. Paul Ryan had released budget
after budget after budget over a period of years that all called for the
dismantling of Medicare.
And Mitt Romney didn`t want to be known as the presidential candidate
who was trying to kill Medicare. That`s a really tall order. So the
Romney camp came up with a solution, kind of "I`m rubber, you`re glue"
Look, Mitt Romney claims President Obama will end Medicare. Oh, he`ll
-- I see. Ta-da, problem solved.
In politics, this is a classic. When you`re getting attacked for
something, just accuse your opponent of being guilty of the same thing.
Whatever the attack is, if it`s sticking to you, just apply those words in
a substantively meaningless way to whoever`s saying it about you so at
least it seems to start seem confusing to people or the words losing their
It`s in that tradition that last night came to this. Look. Rachel
Maddow mocked Rand Paul for plagiarism, but she`s been accused of it too.
This article on the conservative website which includes input from
Senator Paul`s representatives and even a statement from a Rand Paul
adviser presents no evidence at all of plagiarism by the show. The closest
it gets to accusing the show of plagiarism is noting other people on the
Internet made similar historical analogies in stories to the news that we
But look at the headline, Maddow`s guilty of it too. I`m rubber,
So sure, Senator, sure sources close to Rand Paul, you can try to make
this whole problem for yourself about me, try to make me the story -- go
for it, good luck, I can take it. But you are going to have to I`m rubber,
you`re glue, a lot of other people than me because there`s more people than
me who have reported this factual, checkable information about what you`ve
done wrong that you still haven`t owned up to, you still haven`t apologized
for, you still haven`t said you will fix. You`re going to need a bigger
brush if you`re going to tar all of us.
After our original report aired on Monday, the Web site "BuzzFeed"
also reported another example of Senator Rand Paul plagiarizing in a
speech. Now, today, the Beltway newspaper "Politico" has revealed two more
instances of Rand Paul plagiarizing. "Politico" pointed to a 2013 speech
by Rand Paul in which he responded to President Obama`s State of the Union
Address, also another speech this year at Howard University.
In the State of the Union response, Senator Paul plagiarized a section
portion of this "A.P." article. "The A.P." article reads, quote, "The
ranks of America`s poor swell to almost one in six people last year,
reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans
struggling and out of work." That`s straight from "The Associated Press".
Here`s Rand Paul.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The ranks of America`s poor have
swelled to almost one in six people. We are now at an all-time high in
long-term unemployment. Millions of Americans are struggling and out of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, it`s not just Wikipedia anymore. It`s also "The
Associated Press." And what was kind of a high-profile speech for him.
The other example that "Politico" dug up was from a speech that Rand
Paul delivered at Howard University in April. Senator Paul appears to have
plagiarized the passage of that speech from a conservative group called
Focus on the Family.
So, Wikipedia multiple times, "The Associated Press", and now the
conservative press. I believe it was their newsletter. That`s the tally
so far that we know of. After all these examples that now started to come
out, Rand Paul is no longer saying this is just a bunch of nonsense from
Rachel Maddow, that hater, which is what he said on Wednesday.
Staffers for Senator Paul are now saying, quote, "Going forward, he
will be more cautious in presenting and attributing sources," even though
they are still not admitting any blame. Right around the same time that
Rand Paul`s staff finally started to concede that maybe they might do
something different in the future, mysteriously, the Rachel Maddow is a
plagiarist and, you know, has a war on women thing came down off of the
Drudge Report where it has been prominently featured for a few hours. So
nice try, though.
This is called running from your mistakes. I mean, the story has gone
from bad to worse for Senator Paul. I think because he basically refused
to take responsibility for what he did. It`s not the worst thing to be
accused of. You cheated, you stole stuff from Wikipedia, high school
students have done it and go to detention.
There`s no tension for Senators. So, instead you go, oh, shucks, I`m
sorry, I screwed up, and it won`t happen again. Blame an intern, dude.
Instead of just acknowledging that he screwed up or at least that his staff
screwed up and explaining how it happened, Senator Paul at first
disappeared and refused to comment to anybody, including even his hometown
newspaper. Then, he started smearing the people who brought the story to
Because of that refusal to own up to what happened, we now know this
is not just a Wikipedia thing. Rand Paul seems to have a penchant for
plagiarizing from all sorts of different places. This now seems like a
bigger problem than it first appeared -- which now means it`s going to
require more of an explanation.
MADDOW: Happy Friday. It has been a long week, but if you`re week
has been tough, spare a thought for your poor member of Congress. The
House of Representatives had to work two-and-a-half days this week. They
are freaking fried.
To try to recover from their two-and-a-half long day workweek this
week, the house is taking a break. They are not going to work at all next
week. They won`t be back to work until after veteran`s day.
In fact, the only day of work they have planned in November is two
four-day weeks, and that`s it.
When the Republicans took over the House, when John Boehner became
speaker, they planned from the beginning that they would work as little as
possible. When they got sworn in in 2011, the Republican leadership set
new rules for how much Congress would work. Majority Leader Eric Cantor`s
plan was to give everybody a week off for every two weeks at work. Work
two, get one free. It was a major change from how Democrats had run the
House, but the Republicans from the get-go were committed to working less.
Since then, though, since they have been in charge and set those
rules, they have fallen even below those low initial expectations that they
set for themselves. Between right now and the end of the year, the
Republican leadership in Congress has planned exactly 16 total days of work
-- 16 days of work in two months.
But the awkward thing about that schedule for the Republican
leadership is not that they are working too few days, the problem that they
have is that they don`t know what to do with the days that they do have to
go to work. They are -- according to politico.com -- quote, "Struggling to
come up with an agenda to fill the handful of days they are planning to
work over the next two months."
Their proposed solution so far is to consider giving themselves some
more vacation. They`re in talks of canceling some of their remaining days
in session, because, you know, nothing to do.
In the middle of all this, in the middle of mulling whether or not
they should take more time off this year, Republicans have just announced
their new schedule for next year. They looked at the calendar, looked at
their agenda and made some hard decisions. They have announced that next
year, the House will be in session for the entire year for a grand total of
113 days. Significantly less than half of the working days in the year
will be days they actually work. That`s even less than they work this
This is the least productive Congress on record in America. And
they`re going to work less. This is what working 113 days per year looks
like on a calendar. Shaded days are work days, everything else is not.
Nice, right? Thank you, Eric Cantor.
Now, on one hand, these guys get paid a minimum of $174,000 a year to
work this schedule, which is ridiculous. On sunny side, though, given what
they have been doing when they are in Washington, maybe we should be
grateful when they are there less. If you don`t come to work, maybe that`s
less time to work on destroying the government that you technically work
Well, in honor of our House of Representative that not only does not
work, they don`t like to work and they rarely show up for it, and in honor
of my great pride and excitement of being on "The Simpsons" this weekend,
it is appropriate to celebrate and learn the world`s greatest great lazy
old man drink. Take it away, Moe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOE SZYSLAK: Hello, Moe`s tavern. Birthplace of the Rob Roy.
BART SIMPSON: Is Seymore there, last name Butts?
MOE SZYSLAK: Just a sec.
Hey, is there a Butts here? Seymore Butts? Hey, everybody, I want
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Moe`s tavern, birthplace of the Rob Roy -- the recipe for the
Rob Roy. Maybe born at Moe`s tavern.
You want blended scotch, two and a quarter ounces. Like this. You
want sweet vermouth, aka, Italian vermouth, aka, the red kind. Three
quarters of an ounce. Like this. Very simple, very easy.
Then, you want orange bitters, which used to be hard to find, but now
you can get them all over the place. Orange bitters. Don`t use angostura
bitters if you can`t find orange bitters, because it makes a whole
different thing that you won`t like.
And then stir. And that`s it. There`s no additional garnish.
There`s nothing I have to shout at you that you`re not allowed to eat.
It`s just the greatest old man drink of all time.
And because it`s so easy, it`s particularly good for lazy old man,
which is what we all aspire to, especially when we see how Eric Cantor has
set up the schedule for the House of Representatives. It`s been a long
week but not a bad one.
That does it for us tonight.
Now, it`s time for "UP LATE WITH ALEC BALDWIN."
Have a good time. Have a great time. Stay with us.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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