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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, June 5th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Friday show

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: June 5, 2015
Guest: Lynn Sweet, Robert Costa



CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: Thank you for joining us all in the
movies. That is "ALL IN" for this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now with Steve Kornacki at the desk.

Good evening, Steve.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC GUEST HOST: Good evening to you, Chris.
Thanks for that.

Thanks to you for joining us this hour at home. Rachel has the night
off.

Since the year 1835, there have been more than a dozen assassination
attempts on presidents` lives. And four of those assassination attempts
actually resulted in the death of an American president.

The first one killed was Abraham Lincoln. He was shot by John Wilkes
Booth on April 14th, 1865. That was Good Friday in 1865, when that
happened.

The second president to be assassinated was President James Garfield,
in 1881. He`d only been in office for four months when that shooting
occurred.

And 20 years later, came President William McKinley. He was shot in
1901 by an anarchist in Buffalo, New York.

And then, more recently, the one that happened in many of our
lifetimes, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, November 22nd,
1963. You know this story. He was riding in a motorcade in Dallas,
sitting next to his wife. Shots rang out from Lee Harvey Oswald.

Those were the four times that U.S. presidents were assassinated.
But one of the more recent close calls actually happened in 1981. Just
over 30 years ago. It was on President Ronald Reagan.

He was just 69 days into his presidency when this happened. He was
leaving a speaking engagement. That`s when he was shot, along with three
others outside of a hotel in Washington, D.C.

Reagan was shot in the chest. He was shot in the lower right arm.
He survived, but he did have a punctured lung and suffered heavy internal
bleeding.

Now, the man who shot and wounded Reagan and the three others that
day was this man, John Hinckley Jr. And his reasoning for doing it, it was
the actress Jodie Foster. He said he did it because he had such strong
feelings for her. He was obsessed with her. He thought this might somehow
impress her or get her attention.

Hinckley went to trial in 1982. He was found not guilty by reason of
insanity. And since then, he`s been under psychiatric care at a hospital
in Washington, D.C.

Now, two months ago, that hospital, along with Hinckley`s attorney,
Barry Levine, made a plea to a federal court judge that he should be
released full-time into the custody of his mother. Levine argued that his
client, that John Hinckley is, quote, "clinically ready for the next step
in treatment," to be set free and treated as an outpatient.

Now, the judge has still not decided on that request. He has given
no specific timeline on when he will decide on that request. But it`s a
tough case for that attorney to argue, the attorney whose client is the
last man who came very close to assassinating a United States president.

And that lawyer, the man making that argument, that John Hinckley
should be released to the custody of his mother, that lawyer, we have now
learned, is facing a new challenge. He`s now representing former House
Speaker Dennis Hastert -- Dennis Hastert who was indicted last week for
bank fraud and for lying to the FBI.

Since that indictment last week, we have not seen the former House
speaker. He`s basically been in hiding. He was supposed to be arraigned
this week. That arraignment was then postponed until next week. And for
almost a week now, we have not known the name of Hastert`s lawyer. But
now, Levine`s name has turned up in court documents.

So, Levine`s job, as Dennis Hastert`s attorney, that job is not
getting easier. And it`s not necessarily because of Dennis Hastert`s
indictment itself. That indictment is actually pretty boring. It
basically accuses Hastert of bank fraud and of lying to the FBI. These are
charges that stem from some kind of private arrangement the former speaker
allegedly made to pay more than $3 million in cash to someone identified in
court documents as individual A -- payments to conceal some kind of past
misconduct that the indictment alleges occurred while Hastert was a high
school teacher and wrestling coach in the small town of Yorkville,
Illinois.

And the bigger reason that Hastert`s lawyer`s job isn`t getting
easier has nothing to do with the indictment, because it`s actually the
stuff that is going on around the indictment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: H started to talk about his relationship with
Denny Hastert and told me that they had been sexual and I was
flabbergasted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, that, that interview you just saw a clip of right
there, that is part of a late-breaking interview that NBC News got just
today. And we`re going to run a lot more of it for you later in this
segment.

That is the kind of stuff that`s been swirling around since that
indictment landed -- allegations from anonymous sources about the conduct
that the former House speaker, that Dennis Hastert, was trying so hard to
conceal. But he was paying a former student that they had sexually abused
hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep quiet. Essentially, hush money.

Those are the allegations, those are the talk, the chatter that`s
been swirling. There`s a question of whether the allegations might go
beyond that one individual, individual A, who was named in the indictment.
It has all, though, been anonymous, at least until now.

ABC News ran an interview this morning with a woman who says that her
brother, Steve Reinboldt, told her that he was a victim of sexual abuse at
the hands of Dennis Hastert. Now, this is the first time that a person has
been identified as a possible victim of Speaker Hastert by name.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOLENE BURDGE, SISTER OF STEVE REINBOLDT: I asked him, "Stevie, when
was your first same-sex experience?" I mean, he just looked at me and
said, "It was with Dennis Hastert." And I just -- I know I was stunned. I
said, "Why didn`t you ever tell anybody, Stevie? I mean, he was your
teacher? Why don`t you ever tell anybody?" He just looked at me and said,
"Who is ever going to believe me? In this town, who is ever going to
believe me?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, 20 years ago in 1995, her brother passed away. She
alleges that Speaker Hastert came to her brother`s funeral that year and
that she then confronted him in the parking lot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURDGE: I just looked at him and I said, "I want to know what you
did to my brother?" He just stood there and stared at me. And I just
continued to say, "I want you to know that your secret didn`t die in there
with my brother and I want you to remember that I`m out here and that I
know."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And she says that took place in 1995. And then she says
that she tried for years after that to get news organizations to pursue the
story, to pursue this story about her brother and Hastert. And she tried
with no luck.

Then she says that two weeks ago she was contacted by the FBI. And
that they wanted to talk to her about Hastert.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURDGE: There are no words to describe what it felt like to -- you
know, it was just like, Stevie, we`ve done it. It`s going to happen. We
got him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, that interview aired on ABC News today.

Then, hours after that interview aired, a friend and a classmate of
Steve Reinboldt spoke to NBC News about these allegations. And he asked us
to conceal his identity. He told NBC what he says Steve Reinboldt told him
years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He started to talk about his relationship with
Denny Hastert and told me that they had been sexual, and I was
flabbergasted. I said, what do you mean? And he said, well, we would do
things sexually and it would sometimes start with a massage. And we didn`t
go much further into that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, we should say, NBC News cannot independently verify
any part of this story. NBC has made repeated attempts to reach Dennis
Hastert without success. We`ve also reached out to the former speaker`s
attorney, Mr. Levine. We did not hear back from him today.

Now, Hastert is due in court in person next week, on June 9th, at
2:00 p.m. Central Time/3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Joining us now is Lynn Sweet. She`s the Washington bureau chief for
"The Chicago Sun Times."

Lynn, thanks for taking a few minutes.

So, this is one of these stories, you can see, over last week, it has
slowly grown, where you had this very mysterious indictment. Then you had
some reporting about who individual A or sort of what the nature of the
relationship with individual A might be. Now, we have somebody else coming
forward and saying, hey, here`s somebody else, by name.

How big do you think this could get. How expansive do you think this
could get?

LYNN SWEET, CHICAGO SUN TIMES: Well, right now, there`s even a third
person who you haven`t mentioned yet, that was interviewed by the FBI. The
"Chicago Sun Times" and other news outlets reported this last week, so now
there are three. And one of whom has been identified.

So, I don`t want to speculate in terms of if other people will come
forward. I think you have plenty right now, Steve, just really with three
people, who the FBI has talked to -- three people whose cases the FBI has
been interested in. That`s plenty.

KORNACKI: And in terms of Hastert`s response, there`s been no
response from Dennis Hastert at this point. We are, in some way, going to
hear from him next week. Is there any indication what he might be saying?
Is he going to deny all of this?

SWEET: We just don`t know. No one has seen him. No one has acted a
as a spokesman for him.

His son, Ethan, is a lawyer in a Chicago law firm. We have not heard
from him, his other son, or any family members.

So there has just been total silence. So, it is a mystery where
Denny Hastert is hiding. It is a mystery who individual A is.

Now, on Tuesday, if he comes to court and pleads, we may not know a
lot more officially in the court record. If Hastert decides to go towards
a trial -- well, then we`ll know more.

KORNACKI: You know, what strikes me as I was thinking about this
today is the funeral, Steve Reinboldt`s funeral that his sister is
describing took place in 1995. And she`s saying she confronted Dennis
Hastert in the parking lot, at the funeral, told him, I know your secret.
And it`s just three years later, in 1998, that Bob Livingston is supposed
to become the speaker of the House, a sex scandal causes him to resign, and
Republicans turn to Dennis Hastert, because he`s supposed to be Mr. Clean.

This guy then takes charge as speaker of the house, knowing three
years earlier, this woman had confronted him, supposedly saying, I know
your secret. It`s hard for me to imagine how he could even do that.

SWEET: Well, also remember, he locked in the votes for speaker on
the day that the House voted to impeach Bill Clinton, who is in trouble, in
part because of his affair with Monica Lewinsky. You know, his legal
trouble was on other grounds, but we all know about the Lewinsky saga.

This is interesting, because one of his associates who I talked to
today wondered why this woman who did come to the news organizations in
2006, why she didn`t try to speak up just in those weeks when he locked in
the votes and before he was elected speaker in January of 1999. If there
was a whiff of scandal or controversy around Denny, his support might have
just disappeared.

So, she is coming forward now, though, in the context of the FBI
having officially said that there was misconduct. The indictment doesn`t
say what, just says some misconduct dating down to the days when he was a
high school teacher and wrestling coach team. Certainly suggestive, isn`t
it?

So, that, I think, perhaps, I`m guessing, emboldened her into wanting
to finally come public in a very big way.

KORNACKI: And again, next week, we will at least see Dennis Hastert
in public. We will hear from him, at least through his lawyer, maybe more
from that. So that is the next, perhaps the next shoe to drop in the
story.

Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for "The Chicago Sun Times,"
appreciate you taking a few minutes tonight. Thank you.

SWEET: Thank you, Steve.

KORNACKI: Just ahead, a look at some of what you might call
predictable responses from her Republican rivals to Hillary Clinton`s call
for automatic voter registration.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. We have a lot to get to tonight, including the
Republican Party`s strategy to responding to two major events this week.
Hillary Clinton`s push for voting changes and the national dialogue around
Caitlin Jenner. We have a look at this weekend`s big Triple Crown attempt.

A lot of that and a lot more, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe we should go
even further to strengthen voting rights in America. So, today, I`m
calling for universal automatic voter registration, every citizen in every
state in the Union.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Maybe time to stop being surprised when Hillary Clinton
gives a big speech staking out turf on the left. Since she`s announced her
run for president, she`s gone much farther to the left than anyone
expected. Yesterday, the topic was voting rights. Speaking in Houston,
not only did Clinton call for universal automatic voter registration when
everyone turns 18 years old, and also, 20 days of early voting nationwide,
she also went after specific Republican presidential candidates by name,
for voting restrictions they`ve implemented in their states.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Here in Texas, former Governor Rick Perry signed a law that
a federal court said was actually written with the purpose of
discriminating against minority voters. He applauded when the voting
rights act was gutted. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker cut back early
voting and signed legislation that would make it harder for college
students to vote. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie vetoed
legislation to extend early voting. And in Florida, when Jeb Bush was
governor, state authorities conducted a deeply flawed purge of voters
before the presidential election in 2000.

Today, Republicans are systemically and deliberately trying to stop
millions of American citizens from voting. What part of democracy are they
afraid of?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That`s Hillary Clinton yesterday going after her potential
Republican opponents on voting rights.

And then today, those Republican candidates got a chance to respond.
Scott Walker did not hold back, saying that Clinton`s criticism, quote,
"defies logic." "Once again, Hillary Clinton`s extreme views are far
outside the mainstream."

And others chimed in as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: I like Hillary. But I got to tell you,
the idea that we`re going to divide Americans and we`re going to use
demagoguery, I don`t like it.

I like Hillary, personally. She`s been kind to me. I like her. I`m
not for her, for president, obviously. But, you know, you can`t get into
that demagoguery and divide the country.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Secretary Clinton doesn`t know
the first thing about voting rights in New Jersey or in the other states
that she attacked. And my sense is that she just wants an opportunity, you
know, to commit greater acts of voter fraud around the country.

RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it makes sense to
have a photo ID to be able to vote. When I got on an airline to come up
here yesterday, I had to show my photo ID. She just went into my home
state and dissed every person who supports having an identification to
either get on an airplane or to vote. And that`s highly popular.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KORNACKI: Now, obviously, that`s quite a range of responses there,
but none of those responses really actually responded to Clinton`s
proposals. What do those candidates think, for instance, about her call to
automatically register everyone to vote when they turn 18? Or what do they
think about the idea of a minimum of 20 days of early voting in every state
in America? No real responses to those questions.

Now, among voters, these were popular proposals, as you can see on
your screen right there. At some point, Republicans will probably have to
take a position on them.

Hillary Clinton has now given three major policy speeches in this
campaign, and every time she`s done so, she comes out sounding more liberal
than most people were expecting. She surprises the Democratic base. She
surprises them in a way that they like.

And yet when you look at her actual proposals, they`re not
necessarily that far to the left of public opinion. A lot of what she`s
calling for is actually popular across the board. And she`s framing all of
this in ways that could put Republicans in an awkward spot.

Back in April, Clinton decided to make the very first policy speech
of her campaign about the issue of criminal justice reform, about the idea
of reducing incarceration rates and demilitarizing the police. These are
popular ideas. Again, you can see that on your screen.

Then, Clinton moved on to the topic of immigration. Once again, she
went much farther than immigration reform advocates had been expecting.
She said that she would go beyond the reforms that President Obama has made
through executive action. And she called out the Republican candidates on
one of their more unpopular positions.

Clinton pointed out that the Republican candidates do not generally
support a path to citizenship, but the American people do. Hillary Clinton
is stake out ownership of these broadly popular positions while the 19 or
so Republican candidates have to spend months trying to outflank each other
on the right. It remains to be seen, though, where she can keep those
policy debates on her terms.

Joining us now is MSNBC political correspondent, Kasie Hunt. She is
on the ground in Des Moines, Iowa.

Nice to see you, Kasie. Another big weekend, a Republican cattle
call, of sorts out there, slightly different one.

But let me ask you what Hillary Clinton is doing here, because -- I
mean, she`s intentionally picking a fight here. It`s one thick to give a
speech and say, hey, I want universal registration, I want 20 days of early
voting, but when you call out Republicans by name, Republican candidates by
name, she`s looking for the responses she got today.

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL REPORTER: She is looking for those
responses, Steve.

And think about what this does for these Republican candidates. If
they go on the record at this stage in the campaign and they say that they
disagree with her on these things, that might be what the Republican
primary electorate wants to hear, but in a general election, that`s a
difficult position to stick to when you`re looking at somebody who is
trying to build on what Democrats would call the coalition of the
ascendant.

Think about what Hillary Clinton has to do here, what her concern
might be. It`s whether or not those minority voters who came out in droves
for President Obama, they support Hillary Clinton, but the question is
whether or not she`s going to show up. And this is definitely designed to
motivate voters like that.

And the more that the Clinton campaign can put these Republicans on
the record, on these issues, where they`re going to push them, further to
the right, the better off they feel they`re going to be when it comes time
for the general election. And the longer that fight drags out, the longer
the primary goes on, the more ways they can do this, the better off they`re
going to be.

KORNACKI: OK. So, this is where we say, it depends if she can keep
the debate on her terms, because on the terms she laid out today, as you`re
saying, she`s on pretty popular turf and she`s posh potentially putting the
Republicans in an awkward spot.

But let me turn this around a little bit, because when we start
talking about these issues of voter restrictions and voter ID and all this
stuff, the issue there that Republicans are always talking about is, this
idea of voter ID, of passing laws that say, when you show up at the polls,
you`ve got to show some form of identification.

Democrats very much generally oppose that. And Hillary Clinton
didn`t touch that. I think here`s a poll on that question, do you think
people should show an ID to vote? Look at that, 77 percent say yes, 20
percent say no.

So there is a little bit of a risk here for Hillary Clinton.

HUNT: There is a risk there, Steve. And I think you`re hearing
voter ID is one of those areas that Republicans are able to seize on,
because voters respond to this idea that you shouldn`t be allowed to cheat
the system. And that`s how voter ID is framed. It`s, this is, you know,
we`re trying to prevent fraud. You have to show, you know, you need an ID
to drive a car, for example. There are just many ways in which people
interact with these IDs in their regular lives. They seem to understand
it.

Scott Walker, for example, talks about voter ID in every single one
of his stump speeches. And, frankly, it`s one of the biggest applause
lines of all the things he talks about. It does get wild applause. So I
think it`s telling that she steered clear of that and into this other
territory where she is on solid, poll-tested ground, if you will.

KORNACKI: All right. So, we`ll see. Another big speech coming up
soon. She`ll be on Roosevelt Island in New York City giving her first
formal kickoff speech about a week from now.

Anyway, MSNBC political correspondent, Kasie Hunt, from Des Moines --
thanks for the time tonight.

HUNT: Steve, nice to see you.

KORNACKI: All right.

This week, Caitlin Jenner sparked a national dialogue, but the
Republicans running for president have stayed noticeably silent on what she
talked about. Is this a strategy or is this a problem for Republicans?
That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. Chart imitates life.

Let`s start with a little civics 101. The U.S. Constitution`s
separation of powers gives the president the power to appoint judges, but
only with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. And when the
Senate is controlled by the opposition party -- well, you might think that
means the end of the consent part.

But not always. For instance, toward the end of the George W. Bush
presidency, that`s back in June of 2007, that`s when the Democrats had been
in control of both houses of Congress for about five months, back then,
President Bush still managed to get some of his judicial picks through the
Democratic controlled Senate.

As of today`s date, eight years ago, as of June 5th, in that year,
2007, as of then, the Senate under Democratic leader Harry Reid, had
confirmed 18 of President Bush`s judicial nominees. And three of those
were appellate court judges.

Now, as of this same exact point in the Obama presidency, as of June
5th, 2015, after five months after Republicans took back control of the
Senate. Here is how many of the president`s judicial picks under
Republican Mitch McConnell`s leadership has confirmed -- four. And of
those four, none are appellate court nominees.

Now, what`s driving this slowdown? Well, you can call it payback
politics. When Democrats were in the Senate back in 2013, Republicans were
filibustering a lot of President Obama`s nominees and Democrats got sick of
it, so they decided to change the rules. They went with what is called the
nuclear option, which made it a lot tougher for the minority party, for the
Republicans back then to stop judicial confirmations.

But now, Democrats are the minority party in the Senate and they will
be for at least the next 18 months, and the Republican leader, Mitch
McConnell, the majority leader, is making it clear that he has no plans to
stop blocking Obama`s nominees in that time.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

HUGH HEWITT: And my last question goes to judicial nominations. I
am one of those people who wouldn`t confirm another judge, given the antics
they pulled last year. But what is the situation vis-a-vis federal
judicial nominees and the process in the Senate right now?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, so far, the only
judges we`ve confirmed have been federal district judges that have been
signed off on by Republican senators. .

HEWITT: And do you expect that that will continue to be the case for
the balance of this session?

MCCONNELL: I think that`s highly likely, yeah.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And when you hear that cliche about elections having
consequences, well, this is a perfect example of it. Republicans won back
control of the Senate last November, and when it comes to confirming judges
now, they`ve decided to do a lot of advising and almost no consenting.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: This week, the world met Caitlin Jenner. "Call Me
Caitlin", she said on the cover of "Vanity Fair" magazine. Caitlin`s big
announcement of her transition received lots of positive feedback and
attention and it was one of the biggest pop culture stories of the week.

But not everyone took the news in stride.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS: Bruce Jenner is now Caitlin Jenner. I want
you to check out the new "Vanity Fair" cover. What the hell is going on!
What do you think of all that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the era that we`re living in, right?

CAVUTO: It is. Rome, final days. But that`s fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, people act like I`m trying to be
politically --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, if you want one snapshot of
just how corrupt, how morally corrupt, how morally bent, how morally
twisted, how morally confused, how morally bankrupt we have become -- all
you`ve got to do is take a look at the cover of "Vanity Fair" magazine.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: This quest to redefine normalcy has
another component to it, which is to redefine the new weirdos. And that`s
us, folks. Conservatives and Republicans are the new weirdos, the new
kooks.

And that is part of the political objective here in normalizing all
of this really marginal behavior. I mean, if less than 1 percent of the
population is engaging in it, it`s marginalized behavior. It isn`t normal,
no matter how you define it.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KORNACKI: Now, the backlash from some on the right regarding Caitlin
Jenner`s transition to a woman comes at a rather awkward time, at least in
terms of national politics. It`s just a week after a new Gallup poll shows
that Americans overall are moving to the left on many cultural issues.

And that is creating a dilemma for the Republicans who are running
for president, as they confront one of the biggest pop culture stories of
the year.

So far, at least, they are not handling this like you might expect
them to. They actually seem to have decided to hit the pause button.

This week, Mike Huckabee was in Orlando, Florida, for one of those
candidate cattle calls, and as he finished a Q&A session with reporters and
walked towards the door, a report stopped stop stopped him to ask him for
his reaction to Caitlin Jenner`s announcement this week. And Huckabee`s
response, quote, "Not going there", and the walked out of the room.

Now, the awareness on Mike Huckabee`s part not to answer that
question, not to go there, strongly suggests that he gets what a land mine
he might set off by answering that question. And that is a pretty big
change for Huckabee. After all, just a few months ago, he asserted if
Republicans stopped standing their ground on conservative views, on same-
sex marriage and abortion, he might leave the party entirely.

This week, some tape from February resurfaced, in which Huckabee
joked about pretending to be transgender.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, I wish someone would
have told me when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman
when it came time to take showers in PE. I`m pretty sure I would have
found my feminine side and said, coach, I think I`d rather shower with the
girls today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So even Mike Huckabee says he doesn`t want to see
socialist issues avoids in the party, even he is now taking a step back and
biting his tongue on this topic.

And granted, not everyone is treating this with kid gloves. George
Pataki is not among the top tier of Republican candidates in the field
right now, but he is a moderate when it comes to cultural issues. And this
week, he was asked about those comments from Huckabee back in February.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Are his comments appropriate?

GEORGE PATAKI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think it was
meant in humor. Obviously, he didn`t mean it seriously. But I think the
more important point is we should give people their dignity and let them
make their own decisions. People often make decisions that I don`t agree
with.

But in a government where it`s supposed to be of the people, if
someone chooses a path that`s different from mine, we should respect that
as opposed to mocking it or in any way trying to prevent that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So we`re hearing that from George Pataki. We`re hearing
nothing from Huckabee right now, and we`re not really hearing any
condemnation of Caitlin Jenner from any of the GOP candidates. The base of
their party remains very conservative on cultural issues, but the broader
country is moving, really, has moved to the left on many of these issues.

So, are we seeing evidence here that the Republican candidates for
president get this? And that they`re changing their tune because of it?

Joining us now is Robert Costa, national political reporter at "The
Washington Post." He wrote about the Republican response to Caitlin Jenner
today.

Robert, thanks for joining us.

So, I was actually in Orlando when that incident happened -- not
really an incident, but when Mike Huckabee was asked about Caitlin Jenner
this week and looked at the reporter and said, "not going there" and left
the room and it really struck me because of what we just showed there.

Do you read that the same way, that maybe Mike Huckabee and others
like him in the Republican Party are recognizing this moment of the country
moving to the left and maybe rethinking what they might have said in an
earlier time?

ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think so. And it was
fascinating for me to report this piece for "The Post", because I kept
calling around to different campaigns. And first thing they would say, off
the record, they didn`t want to have any kind of on the record comment
about Caitlin Jenner. But I said, does this person, does Caitlin offend
the candidate? They said, no. Does it offend you as an adviser? They
said no. But they`re just reluctant to weigh in.

KORNACKI: You know, on that front, I want to play this. It`s a clip
of Rick Santorum, it`s from a few weeks ago. He was asked about when the
news first broke about Bruce Jenner`s transition. He was asked about it.

He said, if Jenner says he`s a woman, then he`s a woman, and then
went on to clarify it by saying this.

Let`s play this clip.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If Bruce Jenner says he`s
a woman, then I`m not going to argue with him. I know what anatomically
and biologically he is, and that doesn`t change by himself identifying
himself. You know, his genetics and DNA isn`t changing.

But out of respect, I`m not going, I`m not going to -- as you said,
I`m not going to argue whether Bruce Jenner`s a woman with Bruce Jenner.
I`m going to treat him with dignity and respect and that`s what I said.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, Santorum hasn`t said anything this week since that
"Vanity Fair" cover came out. Maybe that in and of itself says something,
that Rick Santorum hasn`t.

But the fact that Rick Santorum went as far as he went in that
interview signals some kind of a change here.

COSTA: Rick Santorum`s emblematic of what these candidates are all
going through. So he gives that statement to a reporter, that if he says -
- if Caitlin Jenner says she`s a woman, she`s a woman. And then he had to
talk to Breitbart, the conservative news site, to kind of walk it back and
soften his comments, went up on Facebook with another comment, he gave more
interviews explaining, that though that`s his personal view, he`s not
advocating for any policy change.

This is why no one wants to interact or engage, because they believe
-- they thought this was going to be a political fight this summer on same-
sex marriage, maybe a legislative and legal fight, now it`s a cultural
battle, a cultural moment, and that`s tougher to deal with.

KORNACKI: What do you think that`s going to look like? We had a
segment where Hillary Clinton thinks she`s got the Republicans on the
defensive, where she kind of wants to bait them . I imagine this is an
area, broadly speaking, cultural issues, where Democrats hope they can get
Republicans to say very provocative things in the primary season this year,
where maybe they can paint Republicans into a corner where they take
positions that are going to haunt them in the general election.

How is this going to affect the Republican race that we see unfold
over the next six months?

COSTA: Well, they all have to grapple with the general election.
So, is the nomination worth having if you`re going to run a campaign in the
general that`s really socially conservative campaign, that`s not going to
be able to reach out to those young voters, who see something like Caitlin
Jenner, an episode like Caitlin Jenner or social issues in general as a
litmus test, where the Republicans stand really matter to them, and that`s
the only way to have an entreaty to convince them on other issues.

I think we`re also going to have to watch, Jeb Bush has talked a lot
about compassion. He`s talked a lot about expanding the party`s reach. How
far does he go in talking about transgender issues and gay rights?

KORNACKI: All right. Robert Costa, national political reporter with
"The Washington Post" -- thanks for your time tonight.

COSTA: Thank you.

KORNACKI: All right. Still ahead, the most fun way to lose money
this weekend. And good-bye to one of the greatest gotcha Web sites ever.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: They held viewing hours today for the late Beau Biden, son
of Vice President Joe Biden. The former Delaware attorney general died
last weekend at the age of 46. Today, the public was welcomed to the
viewing at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington,
Delaware, just as they were welcomed at a service yesterday when Beau Biden
lay in honor at the Delaware state capitol in Dover. The vice president
and his family greeted hundreds of mourners afterwards yesterday and
tomorrow morning, in fact, there will be a funeral mass for Beau Biden at
St. Anthony of Padua, again in Wilmington. Again, that will be open to the
public.

Today, the White House press secretary said the president and his
family have grown very close to the Bidens. He said the first family is
taking the loss of Beau Biden personally. And it`s President Obama himself
who will be giving the eulogy tomorrow for his vice president`s son. That
funeral mass for Beau Biden is scheduled to begin at 10:30 tomorrow
morning. I`ll be anchoring special live coverage here on this network
starting at 10:00 a.m.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: So, you`ve probably heard the expression, won it by a
nose, right? That phrase was essentially built for this situation, right
here. This is the finish of the Belmont stakes horse race back in 1998.

Now, one of these horses, I`m not going to tell you which one is a
horse named Real Quiet. Real Quiet back in 1998 was trying to become the
first horse to win the Triple Crown in 20 years. Real quiet had won the
Kentucky Derby. He had won the Preakness. All he needed to do that year
was win the Belmont Stakes to complete the Triple Crown and to attain horse
racing immorality.

This was 1998. Real Quiet was the odds on to win that race and to
make history. And here is the absolutely unforgettable ending to that race
called by the legendary Dave Johnson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As they arrive at the top of the stretch, real
quiet is taking the lead, he`s coming to the eight pole. Twenty years in
the waiting, one fur long to go. But here comes his rival, Victory Gallop,
as they come to the final 16th, imploring Real Quiet to hold on, Victory
Gallop, a final surge, it`s going to be very close. Here`s the wire. It`s
too close to call!

Was it Real Quiet or was it Victory Gallop? A picture is worth a
thousand words. This photo is worth $5 million. Oh, no. History in the
waiting on hold until we get that photo finish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: A photo finish with history on the line. And then the
photo dashed those dreams. It revealed that real quiet had lost that race,
he lost it by a nose to that rival horse, Victory Gallop, who came out of
nowhere to stun real quiet at the last possible second.

The Triple Crown has been for a long time now one of sports` most
illusive achievements. Even if you`re not a horse racing fan, you know
that the Triple Crown is a big deal. In order to win it, you need to first
win the Kentucky Derby. That is the race with all the fancy hats and the
mint juleps.

And then you need to win the Preakness Stakes two weeks after that.
And finally, three weeks later, you need to win the Belmont Stakes. This
has only been done 11 times in history.

No horse has managed to pull it off in nearly 40 years. Not since
1978, when the legendary horse Affirmed won all three races. But this
year, tomorrow, there is a chance, a real chance for history to be made all
over again.

You may have heard that a horse called American Pharoah has that
chance. This weekend, to win the Triple Crown. American Pharoah won the
Kentucky Derby last month. He then won the Preakness stakes by a huge
margin two weeks later. And now this weekend at Belmont Park, here in New
York, he has the chance to win the Belmont stakes and to take the Triple
Crown.

But here`s the thing about going for the Triple Crown. It has been
almost incredibly out of reach for every horse in recent years. Many
horses have tried. They have been in this position and they have all
failed, often in epic fashion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not going to get it done. It`s a photo finish
and the Triple Crown will go unclaimed for the 21st year in a row.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And War Emblem`s quest for the Triple Crown, he
did not break alertly. War Emblem was off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: War Emblem has given way. No Triple Crown for
the 24th year. Funny Side is doing his best, but he`s dropping back.
Empire Maker has won the 135 Belmont Stakes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2004`s test of the champion, Marty Jones had
the crown jewel in his sights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smarty Jones enters the stretch with a roar to
120,000, but the whip is out on Smarty Jones. It`s been 26 years. It`s
just one furlong away. Bird Stone is an upset. But they`re come down to
the finish. Can Smarty Jones hold on? Here comes Bird Stone. Bird Stone
surges past. Bird Stone wins the Belmont Stakes!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Actually, I should clarify I here for a second. That is
the track announcer from Belmont Park.

Anyway, that is the recent history here that American Pharoah was
contending with. Triple Crown hopefuls lose in this race, in the Belmont
Stakes. They consistently lose. They often lose to long shot horses in
that race, just in the last 15 years.

Since 2000, there have been six horses that have gone to the Triple
Crown and none of those horses have won it.

That is part of why the Triple Crown is such a feat because it is so
hard to pull off. And this is the horse they`re trying to beat tomorrow.
This is American Pharoah arriving in style earlier this week. He arrived
via private jet on a Tuesday afternoon.

The horse`s name is derived in part of the fact that his owner is
Egyptian-American. American Pharoah goes into this race as the odds on
favorite to win. He`s a 3-5 favorite. That means if you bet $5 on
American Pharoah to win and he wins, you`ll make a total of $3.

And the odds are probably going to be even shorter than that by the
time the race actually goes off tomorrow because a lot of people are going
to bet on him tomorrow for the chance to say they were a part of history.

But now, think of all that history, that history of futility in this
race. All those horses that came into the brink of history and that left
as losers, and then think of what Damon Runyon said which is that he`ll go
broke playing favorite.

With that mind, may I please present what I have decided to call my
completely irresponsible, the degenerate gambler`s guide to losing all of
your money on tomorrow`s race. Are you with me?

Here is the plan. We`re going to take the favorite. We`re going to
American Pharoah and throw it out. We`re going to throw him out. He`s a
loser. Get him out of here.

Instead of betting on American Pharoah, we`re going to take a long
shot. We have a lot of options her, too. Here is the rest of the field.

My eyes naturally gravitate to a horse named Frammento. Frammento,
the longest of the long shot, a 30-1 shot on that board. But consider
this, Frammento`s trainer has twice now foiled the Triple Crown in the
Belmont stakes, with a horse whose odds were greater than 30-1. He did it
in 2004, he did it in 2008.

So, if you`re looking for the ultimate underdog tomorrow, Frammento
is your guy.

Or how about Keen Ice? He clocks in at 20-1 in the odds right now.
You can make some real scratch with those long shots.

But now, here it is, the moment you`ve been waiting for. Here is who
I`m going with. This is my official release. I`m playing a tout here.
This is my official release. For the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes,
I like a horse whose trainer knows the track, whose jockey knows the track,
whose long shot long enough to win me some money, but not so long that it`s
a crazy and irresponsible pick. Even though it is a crazy and
irresponsible pick, which means I like a horse named Materiality, currently
listed 7-1.

So, here`s your chance to get on board and roll in the dough on me,
although a warning here -- my career record betting this race is one in 18.
About maybe this is my year or maybe it`s a year for history.

The first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. That is what American
Pharoah is going for tomorrow with the entire country watching. That race
is tomorrow evening on NBC. The main event will take place around 6:50
Eastern Time with all that history on the line tomorrow night.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: This week, the news cycle lost a valuable resource when
Twitter officially killed off a website named Politwoops.

Now, a lot of you don`t know this me about me but one of the things
that I am absolutely terrified of the sites flying is being out too late at
night, maybe having a few cocktails and going on Twitter and saying
something that ends being really embarrassing that I have to apologize for.
Seriously, that is one of my nightmares.

Now, luckily for me, if I actually admit, for example, that if I`m
excited for the movie "Entourage", but when I come to my senses, I can
delete that tweet. One click, my Twitter related shame can be washed away
for good.

But not everyone is so lucky, though. The reason for that is
twofold. One, I`m just not that famous, where everybody is going to notice
if I do that, right away. But two, also, I`m not a politician.

And the main reason politicians in particular have been unable to
enjoy the cleansing power of the delete button on Twitter has been that
site. It has been Politwoops. Since that`s the site that logs and curates
deleted from politicians. And since 2012, Politwoops has been gathering
these deleted tweets from our elected officials.

Now, these tweets get elected for a variety of reasons. Often it`s
because of a simple spelling or grammar mistake, an auto correct issues
maybe.

But not all deleted tweets are made equal. Politwoops has also
worked to catch politicians messages that are no longer politically
advantageous. For example, when Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was rescued
after five years imprisonment, it was a big deal with politicians going out
of their way at first to welcome home Bergdahl. But apparently some of
these people changed their minds when the political winds shifted.

Politwoops caught six different politicians deleting their
celebratory messages. Joni Ernst deleted her thoughts and prayers. I take
them all back, she said.

Sometimes it`s public pressure that spurs the deletion, from Senator
Ted Cruz did a lot shopping with Senator Mike Lee in Houston today, and
that is a tiger skin rug there with senators Cruz and Lee. Ted Cruz took a
lot of heat from animal rights groups about this picture. But he stood
about it.

For about a week, though, and then he took it down. But mostly, this
is just fun to see what politicians accidentally tweet out. Or that their
teams accidentally tweet out. Like a time when Congressman Raul Labrador
tweeted out, "Me likey Broke Girls", which I assume is in reference to the
CBS sitcom, not the actual demographic.

Or this tweet from Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar to Arsenio Hall,
"Hey, next time we`ll meet outside the room." I can`t believe he deleted
that one.

And there`s this tweet, which we just discovered. It`s from
Congressman Darrel Issa annd it`s to Rachel, "Stimulating Rachel Maddow." I
feel like this is going to be the last time I`m allowed to host her show.
And that wasn`t even my tweet.

Either way, this treasure trove of deleted tweets is now gone.
Politwhoops has been taken down. The site was formed under the idea that
these public statements from our elected officials should be public,
preserved for everyone to see. But Twitter has apparently decided
otherwise. They have cut Politwoops from their data, thus killing the site
and Twitter feed.

Farewell, Politwoops. We are going to miss you. We already do.

And to everyone meeting me at midnight for the "Entourage" movie,
well, save a seat for me. I`m on my way.

That does it for us tonight. Rachel is going to be back Monday. I
will see you in a few hours on my show up.

Up until then, as Rachel would say, you`ve got to spend some quality
time with your jailer. Good night.

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

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