'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
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Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: February 24, 2015
Guest: Amy Klobuchar, Seth Moulton
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Chris. We`ll have updates on the live
updates coming in from Chicago in terms of the mayoral election tonight.
HAYES: Very close, interesting stuff.
MADDOW: Very close and the question about whether he avoids the run off is
like of national interest so we`ll have that as those returns come in.
Thanks. And thanks to you at home for joining us.
So, it is fight night apparently. It is fight right now. In terms of big
fight nights, this is sort of like the biggest one of recent 50 years
memory, right? Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, they fought at Madison Square
Garden in New York City, March 1971.
They billed that thing as the fight of the century. There were a lot of
other big boxing matches in the 20th Century so maybe it is hyperbole to
say it was the fight of the century, but the hype for Ali-Frazier, the
amount of money spent on that fight, it was like nothing that had come
The fighters themselves, Mohammad Ali and Joe Frazier, themselves
benefitted from the hype and the hoopla, their payday for that one fight
was the two of them personally split $5 million in prize money in 1971
And whatever else you think about boxing, the sport of boxing is very, very
good at figuring out how to turn big marquee fights, once in a generation
or at least once in a decade match ups, they know how to turn really big
fights into really big money including for the boxers themselves.
Probably the biggest one after Ali-Frazier was Mike Tyson and Evander
Holyfield in 1997. That one is famous for the ages even among people who
don`t care about boxing because that is the one when Mike Tyson tried to
bite the dude`s ear off, right, and got disqualified.
Even with the disqualification, though, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield
split prize money of $65 million between the two of them for that one
Ten years later, the next huge one was Floyd Mayweather versus Oscar Dela
Hoya. That was 2007. They split nearly $80 million between the two of
them for that fight.
Big fights like this, everybody makes a lot of money, but the fighters
themselves can make a really big payday on these really, really big fights.
Even with that history there is nothing like what is about to happen on May
May 2nd, it will be Floyd Maywhether again but this time he is going to be
fighting Manny Pacquiao. Whether or not you care one wit about boxing as a
sports event, this thing as a cultural spectacle, as an economic milestone,
this boxing match that`s going to happen on May 2nd, is almost impossible
to overstate in terms of the hype.
They have been trying to get these two guys to fight since 2009. Can you
imagine paying $95 to watch one TV show once? The pay per view cost for
this fight is going to be $95 per TV set and millions of Americans will pay
to see this fight.
Usually huge fights like this are either on HBO or Showtime. This one is
so big it will be on HBO and Showtime. The fight is going to be fought at
the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
When the date for this boxing match was announced and people started gaming
out how much money was going to involved here, the estimates were that the
MGM Grand would sell about $19 million worth of tickets just to people who
paid for a seat in the room to watch the fight live.
That estimate of $19 million in ticket sales is based on the tickets for
the fight going somewhere between $1,000 and $4,000 a seat. Right now
online, tickets for the fight are being bid out at more than $22,000 a
seat. Every room in that huge hotel sold out within minutes of them
announcing the date of this fight.
This is one boxing match. This is one boxing match that will probably last
up to an hour, maybe, but that one single event. That one hour or less,
will earn hundreds of millions of dollars. And all of the money raised and
spent around that fight that will happen on May 2nd.
Of all of that money, $200 million of it will go to the two guys fighting
the fight. Between them, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are going to
split a fifth of a billion dollars between the two of them for this one
It`s on. People have been waiting for this particular fight for years. It
has become sort of an article of faith that this dream fight could never
happen, but it is happening. And it is a whole new era in fighting. Kind
of like this.
Barack Obama has been president since January 2009. In all of the time
that he has been president, he has never fought like this before. He has
never, before today, done this for a significant piece of legislation. But
today he did it, veto, boom.
I am returning herewith without my approval, Senate Bill 1, the Keystone XL
Pipeline Approval Act, through this bill Congress attempts to circumvent
long-standing and proven processes for determining whether or not building
and operating a cross border pipeline serves the national interest.
The presidential power to veto legislation is what I take seriously, but I
also take seriously my responsibility to the American people because this
act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and
cut short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national
interest including our security safety and environment.
This bill, the president says has earned my veto, love Barack Obama.
President Obama today vetoing major legislation for the very first time in
his presidency. Now substantively this does not mean that the Keystone
pipeline will ever get built.
What this veto means today is that President Obama has stopped Congress
from overriding superseding him in terms of making this decision. He had
stopped Congress from overriding his own ability as president to say yes or
no to projects like this based on what he thinks is in the national
President Obama might yet say yes to Keystone, but this veto today means
that it is his decision, hence the proverbial boom heard today in
Now in terms of what happens next, the Republicans say they will schedule
votes right away to try to override President Obama`s veto. There is no
chance that they can override President Obama`s veto.
This was the vote in the House on this bill and the vote in the Senate on
this bill. This is the number of votes that they would need in each of
those chambers in order to override President Obama`s veto of this
There is now way they are going to get to those numbers in both houses, but
for some reason they have decided to schedule these trying for an override
votes, which will definitely fail. They`ve decided to schedule them right
They say they will happen before this time next week. So President Obama
just defeated the Republicans in Congress on this at the White House with
this veto. Now they say they want to rush right away into President Obama
defeating them on this in the House as well, and then into President Obama
defeating them on the Senate after that.
They want to make sure they rub their own faces in it a lot, all week long,
I guess. That is what will happen next here, I guess. Welcome to the veto
era of the Barack Obama presidency. We`ve never been here before. We
didn`t know before today what this is going to be like. Now we know and it
is kind of exciting.
The new fighty feeling in Washington was heightened by this visual, the top
Democrat in the Senate, Harry Reid, still looks, honestly, absolutely
terrible. No offense after his bizarre home exercise equipment injury,
which he suffered on New Year`s Day.
Senator Reid has had two rounds of eye surgery to try to restore the vision
in his right eye after that terrible injury. After appearing over the last
few weeks in a variety of bandages and eye patches and sort of medical
instruments on his face, today Senator Reid switched to this gangstery
Then he gave a really spectacularly hostile pregnant pause and clipped
response when one brave reporter was frisky enough to ask him about the
shades. Watch this.
It starts off like it might be a funny moment, and very quickly it is clear
this is not going to be a funny moment, it will be kind of scary or at
least definitely hostile.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (R-NV), MINORITY LEADER: Speaker Boehner says that`s what
he`ll do, I take his word for it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Reid, is your bandage goes for good now? And
is this a sign you`re getting better?
REID: We`re working on my beauty here. I have these on. Tomorrow we`re
going to try some other things. I can see out of my right eye, just not
very well. It has not been healed. I have been patient. I appreciate
your interest, but it`s the best I can do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Harry Reid today killing a reporter with the length of
that pause before answering about his eye injury sun shades. What that
press conference was about today, though, on day one of the veto era of the
On day one of this whole new form of fighting in Washington that we have
never seen before during this presidency, what Senator Reid was there to
talk about other than his eye injury was the next big fight in fighty,
fighty Washington right now.
It is about whether or not the Homeland Security Department is going to be
shut down. This week, Republicans in the House and the Senate are in a
hair pulling name calling fight amongst themselves right now about whether
or not they are going to shut down the Homeland Security Department.
And it is kind of fighty fun to watch in its own right, but it is an
absolutely open question right now as to how expensive that fight will be.
And what it will cost all of us and what it will cost the government,
It is an absolutely questionable as to whether or not we are actually
heading into another partial government shut down right now this week
courtesy of the Republicans own fights among themselves within this
Joining us now is Senator Amy Klobuchar from the great state of Minnesota.
Senator, it`s great to see you. Thanks for your time tonight.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Well, thanks, Rachel. We must point
out, I thought you are going to have me on in boxing when I listened to the
lead in, but let us remember that Harry Reid was once a boxer.
MADDOW: He was once a boxer.
KLOBUCHAR: Exactly and I think, you know, he looked pretty tough in that
MADDOW: Well, you know, when he first did his home video explaining I know
I look like I have been run over. I know I looked terrible. Here`s what
happened, he gave this whole litany about, you know, listen, I wasn`t
fighting Manny. I was not fighting Floyd. I wasn`t riding a bull.
I wasn`t doing all this other stuff. I slapped myself in the face with
some exercise equipment. It feels like we`re in a new fighting era in
Washington where we don`t know exactly what the contours are.
I mean, President Obama vetoing this legislation, but also the partial
shutdown maybe coming. I feel like I don`t know what to expect.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, let`s look at what we`re fighting for on
Homeland Security. People in Minnesota woke up on Sunday morning to see a
video. Someone from Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group, the ones that killed 60
people in that mall in Kenya basically standing up and saying, you know, we
want to go after Mall of America in Minnesota.
We want to go after Edmonton Mall in Canada, a mall in London, and really
calling on people to do it, calling on them to go after Jewish-owned
shopping centers. That happened.
We are very glad the FBI and Homeland Security secretary said, look, you
should be fell free to keep going to the mall and our people, they stood
tall. They went on with their day.
I talked that night to 500 hospitality workers that worked half of them in
the mall, half of them near the mall. They went to work that day. They
were people working at the front desk of the hotels.
People working at the restaurants, pizza delivery people, they did their
jobs. And the least that we can see coming out of the Republican side
right now is to fund Homeland Security at a time when we have cyber
security threats out of North Korea.
We`ve got people being shot in Paris. We`re going to say to these
terrorists, well, you know what? We`re having a fight over extraneous
amendments on immigration reform, which will put on by the
Republicans in the House, so we`re going to fund down our security.
That is not the message we want to send to that guy that did the video. I
was really glad my colleagues stood together today. I`m hopeful that
senators like Lindsay Graham, John McCain, are saying this thing is in the
Texas courts right now. Let`s get this done and vote on a purely funded
Homeland Security bill for this country.
MADDOW: Do you actually expect that will happen? I mean, we`re getting to
the point right now where I know this has been threatened for a long time.
Everybody sort of felt like this was a brinksmanship game.
This is a way for the Republicans to talk with their base and fight it out
with their base. But we`re getting really, really close to the deadline
now and it seems to me like what Mitch McConnell put forward is his way to
avoid this thing, I can`t see it happening.
Not with conservatives particularly on the House side mobilizing against it
and saying that would be a terrible vote. And nobody should cast that vote
if they are Republicans.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I`m hopeful talking to some of my Republican colleagues
that some common sense will prevail here. The key is the House. They have
to get their act together and figure out how they will maneuver this
We can have debates about immigration reform and the courts can battle it
out. It is very important to me. I was a big supporter of the
comprehensive bill and we need to move forward.
But right now this is about funding Homeland Security. Not just about
terrorism at the Mall of America. It is also about our firefighters, the
coast guard, and thousands of employees that will be furloughed or have to
go to work without pay.
And it`s just not the message that we want to send where we`ve got people
being burned in cages and you`ve got, you know, young people that are
watching this on TV. This is not the message that we want to send to the
rest of the world.
MADDOW: In terms of how things work in Washington or don`t, do you think
that things are going to change meaningfully in Washington now that we do
have this new dynamic that we`ve never had before under this president
where he is vetoing stuff.
The Republicans are saying they are going to try to override the veto. I
see that there is no way that they can override the veto. I mean, we are
going to have votes on that over the next week.
The president sent his veto message today, it was stern and without
fanfare, do you think that changes the dynamic in Washington at all?
KLOBUCHAR: I think that right now we have a lot of energy coming out of
the president`s State Of The Union where we finally talked about things
like income inequality and how we have to move forward for the middle
And you have heard some Republicans talk about funding infrastructure,
moving forward on some education issues. I think at some point since they
are now in charge of both houses, we`ll have to get to some governing.
For me the first real test, Rachel, is what happens with this bill this
week. Are they going to be able to shut down some extraneous amendments
and fund this simple Homeland Security bill that was negotiated between
Democrats and Republicans?
So that I can go home to Minnesota and say to those workers that go to the
mall every day and do their jobs, you know what? The United States of
America is behind you. That is what we should be doing in Washington.
MADDOW: Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator, it is great to see you,
thanks very much for being here.
All right, remember when it looks like President Obama`s pick for attorney
general would sail through confirmation that was so January. We`ll have
latest details on that.
Coming up later, we have an installment of debunction junction including
some news about sledding down the actual Capitol Hill and my Fox News
colleague, Bill O`Reilly. He loves it when I talk about him. Please stay
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REID: As most people know I fought for a couple years. After any of those
fights I never looked like I do now. However, I didn`t get this black eye
by sparring with Manny, by challenging Floyd Mayweather. I was not bull
riding or riding a motorcycle. I was exercising in my new home. The
doctors have told me I better take it easy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: If you could please cue the music, election night, it is election
night, in one place in Chicago. Voters are choosing a mayor and all 50
members of the Chicago City Council today.
And now former Democratic congressman, former White House chief of staff,
now Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to win a second term as mayor
tonight. He`s held the office since 2011 after he left the White House to
go back home to Chicago.
Mayor Emanuel is in the race against four challengers tonight including one
very popular progressive Democrat named Jesus Garcia, who is a county
Now Rahm Emanuel is widely expected to finish with the most votes in
tonight`s election in Chicago, but if he doesn`t get more than 50 percent
of the vote, he will have to go through a run-off election on April 7th.
The polls just closed in Chicago a little while ago, and so far these are
the results that we have got. Rahm Emanuel right now with 46 percent of
the vote. Jesus Garcia is second behind him at 34 percent of the vote.
You see this is with 71 percent of the vote in.
Again, the crucial threshold here, though, is by the 100 percent of the
votes are in, Rahm Emanuel has to cross 50 percent or he will be in a
runoff election in April. We`ll keep watching this over the course of the
night as these results come in. More news to come, please stay with us.
MADDOW: It has been just over three months since President Obama nominated
Loretta Lynch to succeed Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United
States. At the time the president nominated her, the Democrats still were
in control of the Senate.
The Democrats could have started the Loretta Lynch confirmation hearings
right then and there before Republicans took over, but Senate Democrats
decided apparently in some sort of gesture of good faith. I don`t know
they decided to wait.
They decided to roll her nomination over into the New Year and to allow
Republicans to handle the Loretta Lynch attorney general confirmation
process once they took over control of the Senate.
Now at that time, that decision seemed to me to be a little bit ominous.
True, at that time there now substantive objections to Loretta Lynch.
Republicans really did want to see Eric Holder gone as attorney general.
But the longer the Democrats let this thing roll on, the longer Republicans
had to try to cook something up about this nomination. So it seemed to me
like a worrying sign for the Loretta Lynch confirmation when Democrats
decided to give Republicans control over the confirmation process.
Well, last month, the new Republican-led Senate did indeed hold her
confirmation hearings. Loretta Lynch sailed right through, unscathed,
nobody laid a glove on her. But then when it came time for the Senate
Judiciary Committee to vote and move the whole nomination process forward,
without explanation they decided to delay their votes.
They still have not voted on her. Now this week, more than four dozen
Republican members of the House have sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary
Committee pleading with committee members to vote no on the Loretta Lynch
Quote, "We contend that at the very least you should reject Ms. Lynch`s
nomination to register your disapproval with this administration`s
persistent lawless conduct. We respectfully ask that you refuse to vote
Loretta Lynch out of committee."
So now we have a sizable group in the House lobbying the Republicans on the
Judiciary Committee in the Senate that they should vote against Loretta
We also know have Ted Cruz lobbying his fellow Republicans in the
conservative media that they should block her nomination by any means
Saying that even if she does pass the committee, the Republican leadership
should just refuse to put her nomination on the floor for a full Senate
vote so that`s what happens when you delay it and let them control the
Now there is no clear sign that Republicans are going to confirm her even
though they have raised zero objections to her. Zero objections to what
she has done. There is no sign whether or not she has enough votes in the
committee to survive.
If the nomination is even allowed to go to the floor, amazing. The
committee vote is scheduled for the day after tomorrow through no fault of
Loretta Lynch`s own. The current attorney general says he will not step
down until his replacement is confirmed.
Republicans really hate him, but they get to keep him in office. And
apparently he will be wrapping things up he says that the findings of the
shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last year.
They announced they will not bring federal charges in another high profile
case, the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida. Eric Holder accused to be
cleaning off his desk, a controversial matter, Loretta Lynch.
But the same Republicans that hate him so much now appear to do whatever it
takes. Whatever they can to keep him attorney general indefinitely, it
doesn`t make sense. That doesn`t mean you could not see it coming. Then
that committee voted for the nomination that is Thursday`s, the day after
tomorrow. Nobody has any idea what`s going to happen. Watch this space.
MADDOW: It is these 3 seconds of tape that landed one of the president`s
members of the cabinet in hot water today. That is the Veterans Affairs
Secretary Robert McDonald in a squib of tape that ran in a CBS News story
about veterans and homelessness.
Secretary McDonald has pledged to reduce homelessness among America`s vets.
He participated in the annual count of the homeless population in L.A., and
the VA invited a CBS News crew to come along and show the VA secretary
doing that count, and that`s how they caught those 3-seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT MCDONALD, VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY: Special Forces, what years?
I was in Special Forces.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The reason the secretary is now in trouble for those comments is
because Secretary McDonald was not in the Special Forces. He served in the
military, the 82nd Airborne in the 1970s but Special Forces? No.
And maybe he made it up on the fly, right, in an empathetic attempt to
connect with that veteran, who he encountered on the street that night in
L.A., but you know what? It doesn`t really matter. People noticed he was
lying and it has become a big embarrassing deal.
Today, Secretary McDonald apologized very forthrightly. He said that what
he said was inaccurate and a misstatement and he had no excuse.
There`s basically been a mixed response to his apology so far for veterans
groups. Some are definitely angry with Secretary McDonald. There`s like
the Iraq and Afghanistan vets group, IAVA. They said that he just made a
mistake, it is a mistake, but they accept his apology.
President Obama also had to come out and say he accepted the apology from
When anyone in public life gets caught lying, obviously, it`s a bad thing
for them. It is particularly upsetting kind of lying though to lie about
your military record, right, or about experiences of war that other people
really have gone through and that you have not.
And whether you are a presidential candidate who said you took sniper fire
when you didn`t, or a member of Congress who said you received a specific
naval honor when you didn`t, or another member of Congress who made it seem
like he served in Vietnam when he didn`t, or a trusted news anchor who said
his chopper took fire in Iraq when it didn`t, or a guy on cable news who
said he was reporting from an active war zone, reporting from a combat zone
when in fact he was covering a protest about the war, not the war itself.
Not telling the truth and whole truth specifically about your time in the
war or lack thereof, there is a reason that that sort of thing upsets
people more than just regular lying. There`s a reason that sort of thing
upsets people so much. And that rule applies to everyone, applies to
everyone except our next guest, weirdly.
Congressman Seth Moulton is a new member of Congress from Massachusetts.
He`s also a United States marine who volunteered to be sent to Iraq even
though he disagreed with the Iraq war. He served four combat tours in
And when Seth Moulton came home from the war and ran for Congress, even
though people knew he was a marine and about his four combat tours in Iraq,
he left out one very salient detail about his military record. He didn`t
overtly lie about it, but he left it out. He never talked about it -- to
the point where his hometown paper, "The Boston Globe", turned on the
investigative unit to expose Seth Moulton`s real military record and what
he was not talking about in his campaign.
What "The Boston Globe" found, their shocked report, was that Set Moulton
was, quote, "a former marine who saw fierce combat for months and months in
Iraq. But Moulton chose not to publicly disclose that he was twice
decorated for heroism, until he was pressed on the subject by "The Boston
Congressman Seth Moulton did not even tell his parents about him winning
the Bronze Star for heroism in combat. He never told a soul who wasn`t a
fellow marine, even as he was running for Congress, until the local paper
had to dig it up as like an expose of his humility.
In a world full of people making it up, here is the guy who is not only the
opposite of that, he is starting to feel like the antidote to that. And he
is here tonight for the interview.
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: This has been a weird winter for us here in the United States,
particularly in the Northeast, also in the South, which has been pounded by
snow and ice for a few weeks now. And it has not just been a bad winter
here in the U.S., though.
This is Turkey. This is Istanbul in turkey. It does not usually snow a
whole lot in Istanbul. But last week, Istanbul got more than a foot of
snow. In some areas of the city, the snow broke records. It shut down
whole huge parts of the city, including the airports.
But all of that snow provided one brief cause for hope that an
international manhunt in Turkey might be solved.
One week ago today, last Tuesday morning, these three girls vanished in
Britain during a half term break from school. They walked out of their
London homes and essentially disappeared into the world. Instead of going
to study together, which is what they told their parents, they went to the
airport. They went to Gatwick Airport, just outside of London, and the
girls boarded a flight to Istanbul. Two of the girls are 15. One of them
And the fear was that they were traveling to Istanbul to eventually plan to
cross the border into Syria and join up with the terror group ISIS.
Since those three British girls disappeared last week, there has been a
frantic search to try to find them before they got into Syria. British
police officials went to Turkey to try to find the girls there.
That totally out of the snowstorm -- totally out of the ordinary snowstorm
in Istanbul gave officials some hope earlier this week that maybe just
because of the weather they might not have been able to get transport
arranged out of Turkey and into Syria.
But, no joy. Over this past week, they have not been able to find them.
Yesterday, the lack of progress opened up a minor diplomatic rift between
Turkey and the U.K. Turkey`s deputy prime minister said it had taken the
British three days to tell them the girls were in his country. He said
that was condemnable.
He said, quote, "It would be great if we can find them, but if we can`t,
it`s not us who will be responsible, it would be the British who are
That finger-pointing and searching for them in Turkey apparently ended
today, when British police announced with some resignation that they do now
believe that these three girls in fact made the crossing into Syria.
The BBC reporting the day of the crossing might even have happened as long
as four or five days ago. So, the British authorities now believe that
despite their best efforts, these three British girls flew from London into
Istanbul, then somehow they made their way to the other end of Turkey and
crossed into Syria.
Within the last few days, couple of hundred miles east from that border,
near a town called Tal Tamer, ISIS, the group that these girls travelled
all the way to join, we now know that ISIS carried out their latest
propaganda atrocity. In predawn raids in rural villages, ISIS kidnapped
dozens of Christians in Syria. Some reports put the captives as high as
150, including women and children. Three thousand people reportedly fled
the assault into nearby cities.
Now, nobody knows where the kidnapped Christians are, or what has become of
them. ISIS, of course, has made a practice of executing prisoners for the
sake of propaganda, though there is some hope, if you can call it that,
that these new Syrian Christian captives, maybe they are holding them in
order to try to exchange them with ISIS fighters that are prisoners, we
don`t know. That`s the hope.
These horrific stories about ISIS, you know, pile up by the day. And
because there is so much fighting about other things in Washington right
now, I think any real American political debate about what we as a country
want to do about ISIS has been pushed back a little bit.
It has been two weeks since President Obama asked Congress for a new
authorization for the use of military force to combat ISIS. Two weeks
since he set parameters for a military campaign that`s been going on for
months already. If and when Congress does get around to debating that
request for a war authorization, really, nobody knows what Congress is
going to do.
I mean, reaction to the president`s proposal hasn`t fallen along neat
partisan lines so far. It is sort of all over the place. There are
Republicans who say they will support President Obama`s authorization
request, but they want to give him more power than he is asking for. There
are Democrats who support the president on this and there are Democrats who
oppose the president on this. The debate about this doesn`t break along
the usual partisan lines or usual liberal conservative lines.
That unpredictability can be seen specifically in someone like Democratic
congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts. Seth Moulton served four tours
of duty with the marines in Iraq. He won his House seat just last year.
He defeated an incumbent Democratic congressman in a primary in order to
win that seat.
And on the president`s war authorization request, Congressman Moulton, this
Iraq war veteran now serving in the House, he says he is a no right now, at
least as the president`s request is currently written. Congressman Moulton
is just back from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan among other countries. It
was his first visit back to Iraq since serving there as a marine.
Joining us now for the interview tonight is Congressman Seth Moulton.
Congressman, it`s great to have you back on the show. Thanks for being
REP. SETH MOULTON (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: Let me just ask you, before we talk politics or anything, let me
ask you about this trip that you just took. I mean, obviously, having
spent a lot of time in Iraq as a marine, now having visited as a
congressman, what was it like for you?
MOULTON: Well, it`s strange to go back. I spent almost three years of my
life there, and I still have Iraqi friends. In a sense it was good to go
see similar territory.
But at the same time, it`s incredibly frustrating to see how much of our
effort has gone to waste. Those of us who fought there for years,
especially during the surge, really putting things back on track are now
looking at a country that is rife with terrorists, a government that people
don`t trust, and we`re looking at having to go back there again.
MADDOW: The foreign policy discussion in thinktank-ville, if not in
Congress officially yet, and certainly the case is being made by the
administration, is that the military campaign that`s being waged against
ISIS right now is effectively waged in Iraq if not so effectively waged in
Syria. That Iraq with a combination of Iraqi security forces and what the
United States is doing in terms of air strikes and support, it has been
effective. It`s sort of containing and pushing back ISIS.
Do you think that`s true? Do you see that while you were there?
MOULTON: I would actually agree with that. But my concern is that there
is no long-term political strategy to insure that whatever military effort
we have today won`t be in vain. What I want to make sure is that even if
we`re able to defeat ISIS militarily, we don`t have to go back there three
or four years down the road just to do it again against ISIS or some other
group that might crop up in the political vacuum left by a dysfunctional
MADDOW: Do you think there should be military force right now against ISIS
targets in Iraq and Syria? Obviously, the authorization that the president
is asking for is to authorize something already under way. Do you think
the military campaign should stop and it should be potentially restarted in
the future if it makes sense as part of a larger strategy? Or do you think
that what`s happening right now should continue?
MOULTON: Well, I think that what is happening right now as unfortunate as
it is to be in this situation is important. I believe that ISIS is a
national security threat to the United States. They brutally killed
Americans abroad and made clear their intention to kill Americans here at
home. And so, some action is necessary.
But we`ve got to realize, this can be a very slippery slope. I mean, right
now we put military advisors in Iraq. I was a military adviser 10 years
ago. When the Iraqi unit that we were advising started to get overrun by
the militia, we went to their assistance and that started some of the most
brutal fighting of the Iraq war until that time.
So, a military advisory mission can quickly become a ground combat mission.
Let`s not forget, the Vietnam War started as a military advisory mission.
MADDOW: Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts -- I don`t know when
this debate will start in earnest in Congress in terms of settling this
request for the authorization of the use of military force. But I`m glad
you`re going to be part of the debate.
Thanks for your time tonight, sir. Nice to see you.
MOULTON: Thank you, Rachel.
All right. Still ahead, Debunktion Junction featuring a special appearance
bay FOX News host whose name is Bill O`Reilly who really likes when people
on MSNBC talk about him. Please with us.
MADDOW: OK, Debunktion Junction is still ahead. But this is my favorite
visual news story of the day. If you`re washing the dishes right now and
just hearing me in the background and not looking, you have to come over to
the TV, this one is visual.
All right. Today, we`ve got some news out of Cleveland, Ohio. The
Cleveland Browns football team got a new logo. For a long time, sort of
the thing to know visually about the Cleveland Browns didn`t have a logo.
The Browns are the only team in the NFL that does not have a logo on their
helmet. The helmet basically is their logo.
I mean, for awhile they had this guy, Browny Elf until a new owner bought
the team in 1961 and they got rid of the embarrassing elf because the elf
They pretty much since then, since 1961, their look has been this.
Nothing. Right? No logo, orange helmet with a brown and white stripe and
a white face mask. That is it. That`s always been it.
Well, in 2013, the Cleveland Browns decided, you know what? It`s time to
update our style. So, for the past two years they have been working on a
revamp. They`ve been doing surveys and focus groups trying out different
And today, they were finally ready to unveil the new and improved Browns
logo. Before I show it to you, remember, here is what it was up until
today. OKkay, you got it? Now, as of today -- here is the new one. Tada!
See that? Amazing. Maybe you don`t see the difference. Look at them side
by side. See? The orange. Come on, it`s a different feel. It is so much
As the Browns announced today that the orange, quote, "matches the passion
of our fans and city," we were all left to absorb this is the change
they`re amounting. For the Browns, that makes the Browns, quote, "The
Browns," the Brown is unchanged. The orange is more orange, everything
else is -- change is good.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Programming note: tomorrow here on MSNBC, the great Jose Diaz-
Balart, host of "THE RUNDOWN" here on MSNBC and anchor of Telemundo, Jose
is going to be hosting a town hall tomorrow night on MSNBC, with President
Obama. The town hall is at Florida International University in Miami.
Unless Republicans in Congress find a way to pass a bill to fund homeland
security, Jose is going to be talking to President Obama live on the eve of
the Homeland Department Security shutting down. A potential shutdown that
would happen as a protest against President Obama`s executive actions on
Well, that town hall with President Obama is about immigration, and more.
And it`s going to air at 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC tomorrow
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Debunktion Junction, what`s my function?
We start with a controversy involving an anchor at the FOX News Channel who
is named Bill O`Reilly. Mr. O`Reilly, you may have heard, has been under
fire in recent days over allegations that he embellished his time as a CBS
correspondent in the 1980s. Specifically, he described himself as
reporting from an active war zone in Argentina, saying he survived a combat
situation during the Falkland`s war, when it appears that he did not.
These allegations were raised by David Corn at "Mother Jones" magazine last
week. Mr. O`Reilly has responded to that reporting by essentially going
ballistic against not only David Corn and "Mother Jones", but also his own
former colleagues at CBS News, who have raised similar questions about the
timing question, as well as other journalists who have even dared to try to
report on this story last week and this week.
And that leads us to the latest twist, ""Bill O`Reilly threatens reporter
from `The New York Times`." Surely that`s got to be hyperbole. He is
bombastic, that is his shtick, right, but this is about debunking bunk. So
is it true or false that Bill O`Reilly threatened a "New York Times"
reporter trying to report on this story? Is that true or false?
MADDOW: True. It is literally true, and not just a matter of
interpretation or allegation. From "The New York Times" this morning --
during a phone conversation Mr. O`Reilly told a reporter for "The New York
Times" there would be repercussions if he felt any of the reporter`s
coverage was inappropriate. Quote, "I`m coming after you with everything I
have", Mr. O`Reilly said. That`s the quote from Bill O`Reilly to this "New
York Times" reporter who contacted him about this story. If any of your
coverage is inappropriate I`m coming after you with everything I have.
And just in case he didn`t make his point absolutely clear he followed up
with this. Quote, "You can take it as a threat."
Now, "The New York Times" reporter in question is Emily Steel. She
followed the article in "The Times" today by tweeting the direct quote from
Bill O`Reilly, just so everybody is clear on what happened. "I am coming
after you with everything I have. You can take it as a threat."
After David Corn first broke this story last week, Mr. O`Reilly responded
to him by saying once the truth of this story came out, David Corn would
be, quote, "in the kill zone where he deserves to be." "Mother Jones"
asked for an apology for that, but Bill O`Reilly said it was just a slang,
it was just a figure of speech and he wouldn`t apologize.
But lest there be any confusion about whether or not Mr. O`Reilly is
threatening reporters who report on this story, he really is. I mean, in
his own words, you can take it as a threat to this "New York Times"
reporter just covering the story.
FOX News has a bunch of folks like Mr. O`Reilly on their shows. It`s part
of why I call them Republican TV, right? They have a lot of folks like Mr.
But they also have a lot of real reporters on staff who do real reporting
all day long on real news. They have White House reporters, and
congressional reporters, and even media reporters.
I`m sure they don`t take kindly when their own reporters get threatened for
trying to do their job. But it is hard to imagine what this is going to do
at the work environment for FOX News Channels for the FOX News Channel`s
real reporters and they do have them. But this really did happen on the
record and apparently without apology.
Next up, a pallet cleanser. Is it true or false that this happened in real
life? Look, look, oh! Just walking along and then, poof.
Yes. Are you kidding me? Did that happen for real? Did that happen for
MADDOW: That is real. Those floor tiles ate those people. This is the
people gobbling end of a sinkhole in Seoul, South Korea. Two people
hopping up a bus this week turned to walk up the sidewalk and just dropped
ten feet down a hole. They were rescued by firefighters, treated by for
only minor injuries, which is a good thing. But now, we know that the
earth can swallow us at any given moment. No fuss no muss. So, there is
that. That is true.
And finally, this is freaking unbelievable. When snow falls in Washington,
D.C., it`s a local tradition for local families to head to Capitol Hill,
which really is a hill to do some sledding on the snow. But it has
recently been reported that after this week`s snowfall, the Capitol police
have been dropping the fun hammer on would-be Capitol Hill sledders,
turning kids away, telling them sledding is not permitted any more on
Those are very bah humbug reports. But there has to be a kernel of truth
at the bottom of this, right? Is it true or false that it is illegal to
sled down Capitol Hill? Is that true or false?
MADDOW: True. Seriously, it`s true.
Now, there`s a reason for the confusion over this issue, because people
have been sledding on Capitol Hill for as long as anybody can remember, but
technically, it actually is illegal. The sledding ban was put in place
after September 11th, it`s there in the regulations of the architect of the
Capitol. "No person shall coast or slide a sled within capitol grounds."
That was apparently some sort of national imperative after 9/11, even
though they don`t always enforce it. But for whatever reason, they are
apparently enforcing it right now in D.C. snow. And D.C.`s delegate to
Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton is now trying to overturn what she calls
this Scrooge-like ban, particularly because people have flouted the band
with one day waivers from Congress, and also just whenever they can because
no one is looking for years.
And when people have flouted the sledding on Capitol Hill ban,
miraculously, al Qaeda has not been able to take advantage of that to harm
us and our national security. So, for the record, I`m with Eleanor Holmes
Norton, free the toboggans. But right now, you should know, officially,
there is a ban.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."
Good evening, Lawrence.
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