THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
November 4, 2013
Guest: Marc Veasey, Jeff Merkley
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you at home for joining us this
The last time they voted for governor down in Texas, this is the way
Texas voted if you break it down by race. White people in Texas voted for
the Republican in that race by a 40-point margin. African-Americans in
Texas voted for the Democrat in that race by a 77-point margin. Latinos in
Texas also voted Democratic, overwhelmingly in that governors` race.
Latinos voted for the Democrat by a margin of 23 points.
Now, of course, in the overall sense, the white population was the
largest proportion of the vote overall, so the Republican candidate carried
the day in that governors race in Texas in 2010, but the racial disparities
were really, really, really stark.
Same thing in the presidential race in Texas in 2008. It was Barack
Obama running against John McCain. White voters went for the Republican by
this huge margin. This does not mean that 47 percent of white people voted
Republican in Texas. It means that white people voted for John McCain by a
47-point margin. Black voters picked the Democratic candidate for
president by a 96-point margin.
The black vote in 2008 in Texas was 98-2 for Barack Obama. For
Latinos, it was a similar huge margin for the Democrats. The Democratic
ticket did better than the Republican ticket among Latino voters in 2008 by
a margin of 28 points.
There is just a stark, stark racial divide in the voting patterns in
Again, this is the `08 presidential race. I would show you the 2012
presidential numbers, too. But, weirdly, Texas did not get exit polled in
2012, some sort of cost-saving measure or something. So there aren`t 2012
But you can see between 2008 and 2010, there is a consistency over
time. In the last governors race in Texas, in 2010, there was also a
disparity in income. Households making over $50,000 all went Republican.
Households making under $50,000 all went Democratic.
Same thing in the presidential race in 2008. Over 50 grand, they
voted for the Republican. Under 50 grand, they voted for the Democrat.
So, if you`re a Texas Republican and you`re looking at numbers like
this year after year, you`ve got to be thinking, you know, if only there
were a way to keep these darn poor people from voting, if only there were a
way to single them out, to make it harder for them to vote, that would be
good for Texas Republicans.
And same thing for Hispanics -- Latinos in Texas are almost 40 percent
of the population, that`s from the census in 2010. But in that election
that year in Texas, the proportion that turned out to vote was not 40
percent Hispanic, it was less than half that.
You`re a state with 40 percent Hispanic turnout -- 40 percent Hispanic
population with 17 percent Hispanic turnout. And Texas Republicans have to
be saying thank God for that, because look at how Latinos in Texas vote.
If more of them turn out, Texas Republicans are sunk, right?
In 2008, Latinos go for Democrats by 28 points. In 2010, Latinos go
for Democrats by 23 points. So, Texas Republicans have got to be thinking,
we have got to keep these folks away on Election Day. There`s got to be a
way to keep these folks away from the voting booth.
And there is. "The Associated Press" has done a new study of the
Republicans` changes to the voting laws in Texas. They have found that the
draconian new ID law that Republicans passed in that state is essentially a
prescription calibrated precisely to solve Republicans` problems in Texas.
Look at how this works in Texas counties. Take Williamson County and
Hidalgo County. Both of them have less than a million people. But
Williamson County is pretty well off and it`s pretty white, 65 percent
white, which is pretty white for Texas. Hidalgo County is a really poor
county and the population there is 92 percent minority.
"The A.P." today goes through the records from both counties and they
found that, hmm in the mostly white county, less than 3 percent of the
voters in that county are going to have any trouble with the new ID law.
People in that county have the ID that you need to be able to vote.
But in Hidalgo County, the percentage of voters, legal voters, who
will no longer be allowed to vote because they don`t have the right idea --
the right ID, that`s over 9 percent. Problem solved, right?
Same thing holds true in the big counties, in the urban counties, like
Bexar County and Tarrant Counties, 1.8 million, 1.9 million people in these
counties. These are big counties. Bexar County is in San Antonio, Tarrant
County is in Ft. Worth. These counties are similar in lots of ways, except
Tarrant County is mostly white, Bexar County is mostly Latino.
But the ID law is going to affect voting in these counties in a way
that is really perfectly suited to Republicans, because the number of
people who are legal voters but who are going to be turned away from voting
because they don`t have the right documentation? Look at it, it`s 2-1.
In the white county, it`s only going to affect like 3 percent of
voters, but in the Latino county, it`s going to be more than double that.
Overall, this new "A.P." analysis of voter lists from every Texas
county finds that counties with higher poverty rates or a higher proportion
of minorities had higher rates of voters without IDs.
So, tomorrow is Election Day in Texas, just as it is all over the
country, but thanks to the w voting laws Republicans have pushed through in
that state, that playing field in Texas is on a nice, steep angle, right?
And it`s going to stay that way, unless Democrats find a way to get that
law thrown out.
In Texas tomorrow, even though they have made this big change to who
is allowed to vote in the state, it is a fairly low-profile election
tomorrow. It`s just a bunch of constitutional amendments and some
municipal races that are going to on the ballot tomorrow. It`s not a high-
profile race there.
But that dynamic that is at work in Texas about who is going to be
allowed to vote, that dynamic is happening all over the country, including
in the state that is the highest profile race in the country tomorrow, and
that, of course, is in Virginia. In the Virginia elections tomorrow,
they`re electing a new governor, new lieutenant governor, new attorney
Ahead of tomorrow`s election in Virginia, the Republican-controlled
board of elections forced counties in that state to throw tens of thousands
of people off the voter rolls, with no clear instructions for what happens
to those people if they turn up to vote tomorrow and they find that they`ve
been struck off the voter list. Counties are not being required to notify
voters that they were purging them, and they`ve purged more than 40,000
people off the list.
So, 40,000 people have been purged. Who knows how many of them have
been notified that they`ve been purged. They`re going to turn up to vote
tomorrow with no notice that there`s been any problem and no indication of
what should happen once they point that out to voting officials.
So, tomorrow may be a weird day at the polls across Virginia. In the
past, Republicans have not liked to admit publicly what they will sometimes
admit privately and what has become an article of political science faith,
which is that lower turnout elections benefit Republicans. Higher turnout
elections benefit Democrats. That`s always been sort of a known thing in
political science. It`s something that Republicans will talk about behind
closed doors and in sort of the conservative movement.
But for some reason, this year, this has now become something that
Republicans are no longer embarrassed about. This has become something
that Republican officials will actually get less shy about saying in public
and to reporters.
So, in Virginia, heading into tomorrow`s big statewide race, the
chairman of the Virginia Republican Party did an interview with "Politico"
this weekend, in which he just blatantly prayed that people don`t turn out
to vote in his state. It`s the Republicans` only hope to get Ken
Cuccinelli into the governor`s mansion, is if voter turnout is really,
"The path for the GOP`s gubernatorial candidate, Ken Cuccinelli," the
chairman says, "looks like this: if turnout is in the 30s, the low 30s, we
are going to win."
"Politico" points out that in the last presidential election, voter
turnout in Virginia was 72 percent. In the last governor`s race, it was 40
But the plan and the prayer and the hope of the Republican Party in
Virginia this time around is that nobody turns out. They don`t want to be
at 72 percent or at 40 percent. They`ve got to be down toward maybe 32
percent or lower, and then the Republicans might get their way. That`s the
only way the Republicans can win.
They think 32 percent`s their ceiling. Below that, it would be even
greater. Anything above that, they start to get into trouble. Plus,
they`ve got the purge on their side, so there`s that.
Something has ticked over this year. Something has been triggered or
unleashed somehow in this of off-off-year election cycle, where Republicans
have been willing to admit this in public, that they really do not want you
to vote. The fewer people vote, the better off Republicans are.
It`s happening in Texas, it`s happening in Virginia. This is what it
sounds like in Nevada.
This is the leader of the Republicans in the state assembly in Nevada.
This is him talking about why Republicans should all be hopeful about
Nevada elections this year.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
STATE ASSEMBLYMAN PAT HICKEY (R), NEVADA: We have some real
opportunities in 2014. This is a great year in an off-presidential
election. Probably where we had a million voters turn out in 2012, we`ll
have like 700,000, a lot of minorities, a lot of younger people will not
turn out in a nonpresidential year. It`s a great year for Republicans!
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s a great year for Republicans. Young people might not
vote. Minorities might not vote. We might have a very small number of
Wouldn`t that be great for Republicans? That`s how we can win.
That`s the only way we can win.
This has become a very unsubtle, very overt thing in partisan politics
all of a sudden. Today on the eve of Election Day in Minnesota, a lawsuit
was filed against the secretary of state in that state, in Minnesota. Just
a month ago, the secretary of state, who`s in charge of the smooth running
of elections, after all, he launched this new Web site.
In Minnesota, it gives you an easy way as an eligible Minnesota voter
to register to vote online. The secretary of state is a Democrat who put
this up in Minnesota.
In the month that the Web site has been up and running, more than
1,900 Minnesotans have applied to register and vote online -- applied to
register to vote online. And 1,900 in a month is a pretty good pace,
right? Especially for an off, off-year when there`s not that much going on
in politics. It shows people really want to register to vote, and if they
can do it online, that is a very convenient way for them to do it.
Today, a lawsuit was filed to shut down that Minnesota Web site, to
stop the Minnesota secretary of state from registering people to vote in
that convenient way. Guess who filed the lawsuit? Four Republican state
representatives, plus two conservative activist groups in Minnesota.
Heaven forbid that people be able to register to vote online. Then
they might register to vote! And then they might vote! And that, of
course, would be bad news.
And so, Republicans are suing to stop it. Republicans in state after
state after state after state are increasingly openly and overtly admitting
that the more people vote, the more that is a problem for them.
But tomorrow is election day in mostly low-profile races across the
country, Americans have been turning out to vote early already, are
planning on voting tomorrow. In states where Republicans are in control,
voting has mostly gotten harder over the past few years.
In the Texas election tomorrow in Dallas County alone, one out of
every four voters has had to file a legal affidavit in order to try to get
their vote counted because of these new laws, one in four!
In Texas, even the state government admits that something like 700,000
people in the state are legal voters but do not have the ID that you need
to be able to show to be able to vote in that state now. Of those 700,000
people, we learned today the total number who have been issued free IDs by
the state of Texas so they can get their vote cast and counted -- out of
700,000 people who need these IDs to be able to vote, do you know how many
people have got their IDs from the state out of 700,000?
As of today, the number is 121 -- not 121,000 -- 121. That is the
latest figure we`ve got. We asked tonight and that`s what they told us,
121 out of 700,000 people -- 121 legal voters who will be able to vote;
699,877, eh, maybe not.
Happy election eve. Good luck voting. You might need it.
Joining us now is Congressman Marc Veasey of Texas. Congressman
Veasey is one of several plaintiffs in a lawsuit contesting Texas`s voter
ID law. He was a member of the Texas legislature when it originally passed
that bill in 2011.
Congressman Veasey, thanks very much for being with us tonight.
REP. MARC VEASEY (D), TEXAS: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, tomorrow`s going to be the first statewide test of the ID
law in Texas on Election Day. We`ve already seen one of the implications
of early voting. One in four voters in Dallas is having to file an
affidavit in order to try to get their vote counted.
How are you feeling about Election Day in your home state?
VEASEY: Well, Rachel, Greg Abbott has made a mess out of Texas
voting. There was nothing wrong with our voting system in Texas previous
to this voting ID law that was passed in the legislature.
Texas had great voting laws. We have a very nice early vote period.
You can vote for almost two weeks during early vote. Senior citizens have
the right to vote by mail. We made it easy to vote by Texas.
But because of the numbers that you talked about earlier, Republicans
are seeing the growing numbers of Latinos in the state, the growing numbers
of African-Americans, and they are beginning to be concerned because they
haven`t made any sort of outreach to the black community or the Latino
community. And so, they`re trying to skew the elections their way. I
think this is a tragedy.
And, Rachel, I`ll tell you that it`s so bad that you -- I`m sure that
you saw earlier that Wendy Davis actually had to file an affidavit to vote.
Greg Abbott, her presumptive opponent in the general election in 2014, he
actually had to file an affidavit to vote. But the former speaker of the
House, Jim Wright from Ft. Worth, he went to go and try and obtain a voter
ID card, and he couldn`t obtain a voter ID card.
That`s how absurd this law is. That`s how bad it`s gotten here. And
it`s all about suppressing the rights of African-Americans and Latinos,
elderly and the poor to vote in the state of Texas.
MADDOW: I was struck by the "A.P." observation, what they found in
their assessment. They went through county by county and looked at the
voter lists in every county in Texas to see the impact of this ID law would
And they found that Texas voters who don`t have the right ID to be
able to vote live disproportionately in counties with high poverty rates
and/or a large percentage of minorities. Was that -- was it known that
that would be the consequence of this law when you were originally debating
it and fighting it in the legislature when you were there?
VEASEY: Absolutely. When I was in the state legislature, I made
these points. Other Democrats made these points over and over again. We
had data that showed that the people that would be disproportionately
impacted by this voter ID law were Latino voters and African-American
The Republicans never answered the questions that we raised. They
were just so eager to pass this particular law that would disenfranchise
voters, and I think that what is really sad, Rachel, is that women are
being disproportionately impacted by this law in larger numbers than was
previously thought. It`s absolutely terrible.
And for a state like Texas that is growing so fast, that has such a
good reputation as a place to live and do business, it`s sad that now,
because of this law that was passed by Republicans, we are known as a state
that is trying to make it harder for people to vote just so it can favor
the Republican Party. I think it`s terrible.
MADDOW: Congressman, when I look at the numbers about Latinos in
Texas and their political preferences, which are very, very strongly
Democratic, the last few elections voting Democratic by 20, 25-point
margins or more. But then I look at turnout numbers in a state that the
census says is 40 percent Latino, to only be turning out 17 percent Latino
on Election Day, that is obviously something that very much scares
Republicans in terms of what would happen if Latinos did start turning out
in greater numbers.
But it also represents a real failure for the Democratic Party for not
having been able to maximize their vote among that population that`s been
so friendly to Democratic candidates.
What do you make of that and do you think Democrats are getting any
VEASEY: Well, you know, Democrats, we`re working harder and harder
every day on outreach, and we are making gains in the state. And I will
tell you that when you look at this voter ID law, I`ve worked on campaigns
before, I was an elected official.
I worked on campaigns and I saw many Latino citizens that would come
into the mall where we ran voter turnout programs in southeast Ft. Worth,
and we would ask, would you like to go and vote?
And oftentimes, many of those voters would say, yes, I want to vote,
but I rode the bus here, or I don`t have my own car, you know, but I -- you
know, and so, I can`t vote. And we would say, no, you can vote in Texas,
because we have good laws here in Texas.
If you have a copy of a bill or if you have an ID card from your
university or your high school, you know, you can vote as long as you`re 18
years of age. And now, I know that that same population that I talked with
at that mall in southeast Ft. Worth that really wanted to vote, that
they`re going to hear this law and they`re going to be discouraged.
They`re not going to go back like Speaker Wright did or like Wendy Davis
did. They`re going to say that -- they`re going to think that the state of
Texas doesn`t want them to vote and they`re going to sit out. And the
Republicans knew exactly what they were doing when they saw to
disenfranchise these very voters that you are talking about right now.
MADDOW: Congressman Marc Veasey, Democrat of Texas -- thanks for
helping us understand this tonight, sir. It`s nice to have you here.
VEASEY: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thank you.
All right. So, Senator Rand Paul has a message for anybody who has
accurately reported his habit of lifting other people`s work in his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: If dueling were legal in Kentucky, if
they keep it up, you know, it would be a duel challenge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I`m going to have to check the MSNBC handbook, but I am
almost sure I would have to turn down that offer anyway. I think it`s must
always wear blazer, must never have duel with sitting senator, plagiarism
or not. I`m going to have to check. It`s something about that and also
you can`t reheat fish in the microwave. I don`t know. We only have a few
rules here, but that`s one them.
We`ll get back to you.
MADDOW: Happy election eve. Election day this year is a little
weirder than usual and a little more interesting than usual, because this
year in politics, the most interesting fights going on around the country
are not Republicans versus Democrats, they, of course, are Republicans
versus other Republicans.
For example, the number two Republican in the U.S. Senate, Texas
Senator John Cornyn, is a powerful incumbent senator who`s facing re-
election next year, but the latest potential challenger to emerge for John
Cornyn`s Senate seat is not an up-and-coming Democrat who wants that seat,
but rather, this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And whether killing is through abortion or drugs
or suicide or anything else, you open the door to killing, it`s got a lot
of different manifestations, but that`s the problem. If you choose leaders
who say, oh, I support killing. We`ve opened the door to all of it. A
door has been opened and we have said, you know, we embrace a wicked
OK, then I`ll take my hand of protection off your nation and, whack,
here comes storms like we`ve never seen before and here comes floods and
here comes climate stuff that we can`t explain all the hot times and all
the cold times and too much rain and not enough rain and we`re flooding
over here and droughts over here. And today we`re saying, oh, no, it`s
No, we opened the door that lost God`s protection over our
environment, and that`s our choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, global warming is real and caused by mankind by our
choices but not the way you think. Global warming is actually caused by
Wow. And that`s the kind of thing that lands you on the website Right
Wing Watch all the time, because you, David Baton, are an amazing thing.
David Barton, the abortion causes global warming guy, promises that he
is a historian, that he has thoroughly looked into these matters. The
former FOX News host Glenn Beck is already calling David Barton senator.
He can barely contain himself, he wants him to run against John Cornyn so
So, who knows? Abortion causes global warming guy, he could in Texas
unseat this guy, could unseat the second most powerful Republican in the
Senate. That was the news just today from the Republican civil war, the
Republican war on its own incumbents. And every day is a new amazing story
that way about the way Republicans are attacking themselves.
But it`s not all just promises, it`s not all just frothing at the
mouth and exciting Glenn Beck about what might be some day. Sometimes it`s
real concrete action and elections, and tomorrow we`re actually going to
know the result of one of these fights, in Alabama. The fight in Alabama
is between these two Republicans. They`re in a runoff to fill a
The guy on the left is Bradley Byrne. He`s been in public office for
a lot of years, went to the University of Alabama`s Law School. He served
on the state board of ed. He was a state senator for two terms.
The guy on the right is Dean Young. He is a business guy, and he is
the Tea Party guy in this Republican-on-Republican contest.
"The Guardian" newspaper recently posed some basic getting to know you
questions to these two congressional candidates. For example, who is the
current treasury secretary? Bradley Byrne has a little trouble but gets
there eventually. He says, "Is it Jack Lew?" Yes, it is.
Dean Young cannot get there. He says, it was Paulson. Is it Tim
No, it is not.
They asked, who`s your political hero?
Bradley Byrne says, "Winston Churchill". Pretty out there. That`s a
foreigner, as you know.
Dean Young, for his part, says, "Judge Roy Moore." Judge Roy Moore is
the guy who got thrown off the court for putting up the ten commandments in
the courtroom. Yee-haw!
Next question, who is the Republican whip in the House of
Representatives? Which, of course, is the institution that these guys are
running to join.
Mr. Byrne says the Republican whip is Kevin McCarthy, which is true.
Dean Young says, "I don`t know. Eric Cantor? Is that who it is?"
No, that is not who it is.
This was a real hard one. Do you think gay people can feel the same
love for one another as straight people?
Bradley Byrne says. "Yes".
Dean Young says, "When you start talking about that, I don`t even
know. Homosexuality is wrong and that`s just the way it is. Always has
been, always will be."
They saved the stumper for last. Where was President Barack Obama
Mr. Byrne says he was born in Hawaii. He has produced a birth
Dean Young says, "That`s what I call the $64,000 question. I have no
idea!" When pushed for an answer, he said, "Kenya."
In this Republican versus Republican race in Alabama, guess who`s
leading into the polls heading into tomorrow`s voting? If you guessed the
Kenya guy, the who`s Eric Cantor guy, the who`s the treasury secretary guy,
you would be correct. He is ahead in the most recent poll in this
congressional race by three points.
Republican-on-Republican fights are always amazing, but tomorrow is
going to be really amazing. I hope you plan to stay up late with us
tomorrow to watch these results come in.
MADDOW: There are some late developments to bring u tonight on, you
guessed it, another previously unreported example of what appears to be
plagiarism by Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
It was a week ago tonight that we first reported this story, but now
every single day, the story seems to get worse. Tonight, Andrew Kaczynski
at "BuzzFeed" is reporting for the first time that a September op-ed
written by Senator Paul in "The Washington times" appears to have been
largely lifted without attribution from an article that appears in a
magazine called "The Week," just a few days earlier than the op ed.
That article in "The Week" reads in part, "By design, mandatory
sentencing laws take discretion away from prosecutors and judges so as to
impose harsh sentences, regardless of circumstances."
That exact line, word for word, appears in Senator Rand Paul`s op-ed
for "The Washington Times," with no quotation marks and with no attribution
given to the source. And it`s not just that one section. Senator Paul
appears to have plagiarized large sections of that whole article for his
"Washington times" op-ed in September.
He also, apparently, repeated those plagiarized sections without
attribution in testimony that he delivered before the Senate Judiciary
Committee on September 16th. So, plagiarism in print and plagiarism in
testimony to the Judiciary Committee. Again, he`s saying this stuff as if
it is his own words, when it`s not. It`s copied.
So, this is just now the latest reported example of plagiarism by
Senator Rand Paul. You can add it to the list, which at this hour is long
and still growing.
We`re going to have more on this coming up. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Frequently, but apparently, without any consequence at all,
frequently, the Web site "PolitiFact" is wrong, completely wrong.
Marco Rubio said a majority of Americans are conservatives.
"PolitiFact" looked into that, found that that is not true, and then they
ruled his statement half true.
President Obama made two claims about jobs numbers in a big speech,
claims that were true. "PolitiFact" admitted the claims were true. They
rated his statement half true.
"PolitiFact" fact-checked a statement by Lawrence O`Donnell that the
G.I. Bill had once been denounced as a form of welfare. That happened in
real life. That is a true statement. "PolitiFact" rated it mostly false.
"PolitiFact" is terrible at what they do. "PolitiFact" is terrible.
Fact-checking is an important, important job, and there are people who do
it well. "PolitiFact" does it terribly over and over and over again.
Here was "PolitiFact" being terrible in May of this year. This was
something they completely bollixed up when they tried and failed, as usual,
to fact-check the CBS show "Face the Nation."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA, TENNIS LEGEND: We still don`t have equal rights.
I have been getting on Twitter, oh, why does this matter? I don`t care,
which is kind of code for I really don`t want to know. But it does matter,
because in 29 states in this country, you can still get fired for not just
being gay, but if your employer thinks that you`re gay, you can still get
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Tennis legend Martina Navratilova saying on CBS show "Face
the Nation", that in 29 states in this country, you can get fired for being
gay, or even if your boss just thinks you`re gay.
"PolitiFact" decided to check that out. It`s not a hard thing do. If
in fact, they found without looking into it too much Googling, it`s pretty
easy to find, that indeed only 21 states prohibit employment discrimination
based on sexual orientation.
So, let`s see. There are 50 states. If only 21 of the 50 states had
discrimination laws that protect gay people, that means, right, 29 states
do not have that protection. So, in those states, just like Martina
Navratilova said, you can get fired for being gay or even if your boss just
thinks you are.
So, they checked what she said, they found it to be true.
So, naturally, "PolitiFact" finding that her statement was true, rated
it -- half true! "PolitiFact" is terrible! Terrible, terrible at what
And also, in 29 states, you really can be fired from your job if
you`re gay or if your boss thinks that you`re gay, just like she said.
The next time you want to cite "PolitiFact" as a source on something
being truthful or not, don`t. Just fact-check whatever it is yourself.
Even if you are drunk at the time you are doing it, you will do a better
job than "PolitiFact" does.
Stop talking about them and maybe they will wither away. OK.
Today, in the United States Senate, there was a bit of drama involving
plane rides and timed votes. It was a 15-minute vote scheduled on ENDA,
which is the nondiscrimination bill that would make it illegal to fire
somebody for being gay in all 50 states.
Two of the senators who were known to be in favor of the bill, one a
Democrat, one a Republican, were stuck on airplanes and not back to
Washington in time to cast their votes. When it became clear that they
might not be able to defeat the Republican filibuster against this bill
without their votes, supporters of the bill started lobbying other
Republicans to try to get over the 60-vote threshold, extending well into
the allotted voting time with every Democrat on board but not enough
Republicans there to get it done.
That on the floor and in the cloak room lobbying today finally at the
last minute brought on board these three Republican senators, Kelly Ayotte
of New Hampshire, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Rob Portman of Ohio. And
with their votes, the bill cleared the Republican filibuster and is now on
a path to pass the Senate once and for all on Wednesday or Thursday of this
week. It was very dramatic.
Passing the Senate, though, isn`t enough to make it law. And the
Republican leadership in the House today said they will not even allow this
discrimination bill to be brought up for a vote in the House. The speaker
says he`s against it, says the Republicans will not even let the House
What`s weird, though, is the stated reason why they`re against it.
John Boehner and the Republican leadership in the House say they will not
allow a vote on this bill because they say it`s already illegal to fire
someone for being gay. Quote, "They believe existing law provides these
protections." Existing law does not provide these protections. Remember?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAVRATILOVA: In 29 states in this country, you can still get fired
for not just being gay, but if your employer thinks that you`re gay, you
can still get fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s true! That is a true statement. Whatever
"PolitiFact" takes issue with, you can be pretty sure that it is true, and
that is true.
But this is a weird thing about this law in particular. Republicans
are not necessarily arguing about this law on its merits. They`re arguing
that the law already exists, and therefore, there is no need for this
Speaker John Boehner`s office telling Sam Stein at "Huffington Post"
today, quote, "This is covered by existing law." That is not true at all.
In 29 states, there really is no protection in law against you being fired
for your sexual orientation. It`s even more states for your sexual
But the Republican explanation for why they will not follow the senate
to fix that problem is to deny the factual truth of what existing law is.
This is not usually the way we fight over policy in this country.
This is a really, really weird one, or as "PolitiFact" would say, this is
Joining us now for the interview is Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon.
He introduced the ENDA legislation in the current Congress. He led the
effort to pass it in the Senate.
Senator Merkley, thanks very much for being with us. It`s nice to
have you here.
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D), OREGON: Oh, you`re welcome, Rachel. It`s
great to be with you.
MADDOW: So, 17 years ago was the last time this nondiscrimination
issue was voted on in the Senate. It lost by one vote 17 years ago.
Why are you on a path to pass it in the Senate right now, do you
MERKLEY: Well, the difference now is that that vote 17 years ago, we
only needed a simple majority or 50 plus the vice president. We lost 49-50
because one senator was absent. And now, we have to get 60 votes, both to
close debate to get on the bill.
And I should clarify, tonight we just broke the filibuster to get on
to the bill. We`ll have to break another filibuster to get to a final
MADDOW: Oh, wow.
MERKLEY: So, we have amendments in between. We`re not there yet.
But I do hope that what happens this week in the Senate will provide the
momentum that we`ll finally as a nation say you should be able to get hired
and not get fired without your sexual identity being the issue.
MADDOW: When you have done the personal lobbying that you have done
of your colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle, and when you have
seen Republicans who support this legislation lobby their colleagues about
casting a vote in the same way that you did today, what are the arguments
that are persuading them? Why are people like Pat Toomey and Kelly Ayotte
and Rob Portman and Mark Kirk and these other Republicans able to come
along when the rest of their colleagues on the Republican side aren`t?
MERKLEY: One of the real concerns was religious exemption, and we
anchored it in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and that`s answered a lot
of the concerns that they had about balancing religious organizations and
this issue of employment discrimination. By taking the standard of the
Civil Rights Act, that helped a lot.
The only thing they were really worried about we lawsuits, and by
looking at those 21 states you referred to and their record, we find that
lawsuits do not materialize in surprising numbers or cause a real problem
for business, and thus, businesses are very much on board with
So, those have been two key factors in bringing this together.
MADDOW: What do you make of the argument from the house leadership
that they are not going to allow a vote on this on their side of Capitol
Hill because they believe it`s legally unnecessary? They believe it
already is illegal to fire someone for sexual orientation or sexual
identity. I have to admit that I was struck by the strangeness of this as
a factual assertion.
MERKLEY: It`s one of the most astounding things I`ve ever heard. To
have it be perfectly legal to fire somebody in 29 states of this nation
because of their sexual orientation and then to have somebody say those 29
states don`t really have those laws? But they do.
MERKLEY: And it`s why we`ve been having this conversation for, it`s
almost 40 years since Bella Abzug first introduced this in the House of
Representatives, 39 years this year. And millions of Americans have been
denied the opportunity to have full pursuit of happiness or equality under
the Constitution because of these laws, and it`s time to put an end to this
kind of discrimination, because it affects not only the individuals and
their ability to fulfill their dreams, but it affects the promise of all of
America when the potential of individuals is compromised.
MADDOW: Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, you have been a very clear
voice on the subject. I know you have fought hard on this.
Congratulations on today`s procedural vote and keep in touch with us
this week as this moves forward.
MERKLEY: Very good. Sure will. Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks very much, Senator Merkley.
Rand Paul`s Wikipedia plagiarism scandal is metastasizing into weird
shapes unforeseen just a few days ago. We will have the latest with no
shooting, straight ahead.
MADDOW: Tomorrow is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in
November, which means that it`s Election Day across the country!
Washington state is going to vote on a ballot measure about whether or
not products derived from genetically modified organisms have to be labeled
as such. One of those failed in California last time around. Washington
should be very close. That will be interesting.
Eleven counties in Colorado tomorrow are going to vote on whether or
not they want to secede and form north Colorado. It will probably never
happen, but still, they`re trying.
New Jersey not only tomorrow votes for governor, they also vote
statewide on whether or not to raise New Jersey`s state minimum wage.
New York is going to vote for New York City mayor tomorrow. But also,
on the statewide question of whether to open casinos across New York state.
Boston`s going to pick a mayor tomorrow.
Virginia, of course, picks a governor and Virginia picks a governor,
lieutenant governor and an attorney general.
It may be an off off-year Election Day tomorrow, but it is still an
election. And we are going to be all over it tomorrow night here on MSNBC,
with the election music and everything.
Cancel your plans. You will want to spend tomorrow night with us
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: What used to be the controversy about Senator Rand Paul as an
author was that he hired this guy to be his ghost writer, the Southern
Avenger! A conservative Confederate flag wearing commentator who would
write longingly about avenging the South.
"John Wilkes Booth was right." John Wilkes Booth, of course,
assassinated Abraham Lincoln. So says the Southern Avenger, quote, "I
raise a personal toast to every May 10th to celebrate John Wilkes Booth`s
When Rand Paul was called out for having this guy ghost write Rand
Paul Tea Party manifesto book, Senator Paul`s defense for having the
toasting the Lincoln assassin guy as his paid ghost writer, was that all of
that Confederate stuff from that guy was sort of a youthful indiscretion.
Can no one do dumb things in their youth that they grow out of as adults?
The problem with that defense was it turns out it was only a few
months before Rand Paul hired him that the Southern Avenger was still
defending in print the virtues of southern secession.
So, the confederate flag wrestling mask unrepentant Confederate
toasting the assassination of Lincoln, him being hired by Rand Paul to
ghost-write his book, that used to be the controversy about Rand Paul as an
author. Now, the controversy about Rand Paul as an author is what was
first reported by "BuzzFeed" Andrew Kaczynski over the weekend.
Reported that three solid pages of Senator Paul`s most recent book was
lifted without quotation marks directly from a right wing think tank. For
context, I should tell you that is a block of text longer than the lead
story in today`s "New York Times" just copied straight up and reprinted in
his book as if it is his own words.
And another section of the same book was lifted directly from a
different right-wing think tank.
And then tonight, yet more, Mr. Kaczynski at "BuzzFeed" reporting
tonight on yet another example of Rand Paul lifting language, in this case
from a magazine article for an op-ed that he wrote in "The Washington
Times". He then apparently repurposed that same plagiarized text to use as
testimony in the Senate.
Asked on ABC`s Sunday morning show yesterday about just some of what
he has been caught stealing from others and presenting as his own work,
Senator Paul told ABC the people reporting this information about him are
hacks and haters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: I think I`m being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and
haters. And I`m just not going to put up with people casting aspersions on
my character. I take it as an insult and I will not lie down and say that
people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting, I have never
intentionally done so.
And like I say, if -- you know, if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if
they keep it up, you know, it would be a duel challenge. But I can`t do
that because I can`t hold office in Kentucky.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Paul takes the reporting what he does in his books
and his speeches as an insult. He says he is being unfairly targeted. He
goes so far to say it would be the cause of a challenge of duel if dueling
were still allowed in Kentucky.
Senator, there`s nothing wrong in the reporting and there is nothing
intended to be personally insulting about the reporting. It is true
reporting which shown in many instances, in print and out loud, you have
lifted whole long passages of other people`s work and passed it off as your
own. I understand that may be an uncomfortable thing to hear.
Senator Paul seems to be sort of skirting the line between shame and
anger on this, right? But there`s nothing wrong with the reporting. This
sort of thing happens. You know, this show, we`ve been on the air long
enough I have experienced this kind of argument before.
At one point, we had a strange exchange when Marco Rubio was running
for the Senate, where on the show I pointed out he was running as a fiscal
conservative, but he`d put out a budget proposal that would raise the
deficit by $3 trillion. Mr. Rubio responded to that reporting by me by
saying, essentially, I`m proud to be insulted by this Rachel Maddow
character. If she thinks I`m wrong, then I must be right.
OK. You are still putting forth a budget that would raise the deficit
by $3 trillion. How about engaging with the facts?
This is how it works, though, right?
We pointed out that FOX News TV host Bill O`Reilly had unfairly
smeared a government employee named Shirley Sherrod rod. Mr. O`Reilly
responded by saying, well, you have low ratings.
OK. You can try to make this about me. But how about addressing the
And now, Senator Rand Paul wants to shoot at me or stab me with a
sword or something for reporting something true that he has done wrong as a
Responding to the person rather than to the charge is a time-tested
tactic. Honestly, it is a symptom of immaturity in our political discourse
that this is expected that it is part of the way you respond.
But the way the senator is comporting himself in the light of this
controversy seems to be having bigger controversy for him than who he tries
to start fights with. In the senator`s home town press back home in the
state of Kentucky, the reaction to this whole episode has been pretty
brutal and it hasn`t had anything to do with me.
Last week, on Halloween, in response to the plagiarism revelations,
"The Lexington Herald Leader" published a stinging editorial that read in
part, quote, "With Senator Paul`s shape shifting history, the plagiarism
raises a more fundamental concern, how will the public ever determine what
he believes or knows? The sheriff with a big tin star for the law and
order crowd, Robin Hood for the liberal enclave. Judging from the flexible
persona of the adult Rand Paul, one wonders if the little boy changed
costumes from block to block after determining the preferences of adults
handing out candy."
Today, "The Louisville Career Journal" wrote that the plagiarism
revelations in the way that Senator Paul has dealt with this issue calls to
mind his refusal to answer their questions about a whole host of unrelated
topics, namely, Senator Paul`s refusal to answer the "Career Journal`s"
questions about his medical practice and whether or not he really is a
board certified ophthalmologist. Which it kind of seems like he`s not.
I do not care if Senator Rand Paul ever responds to me personally. He
has not come on the show since he wouldn`t answer my questions years ago
about the Civil Rights Act. But Senator Paul may yet feel compelled to
finally answer questions from his hometown press because of this pressure
on him. If that is the case, then this may yet be a growth experience for
the young freshman senator.
We shall see and we shall hope so.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
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