'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Monday, August 31st, 2015
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Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: August 31, 2015
Guest: Tom Jensen
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: And so, in a weird way, I actually think
it`s in her interest, more debates.
Jesse McIntosh, Sam Seder, two of our draft card contestants, we will
give you an update on that scoring card soon.
That is "ALL IN" for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy
There`s lots of news going on today, including a lot of stuff that
has been breaking late in the day and into this evening.
So, we`re keeping an eye on President Obama`s historic trip to
Alaska. The president is in Alaska right now. He`s going to be there
today, tomorrow and Wednesday.
He`s giving remarks tonight on the issue of climate change, which is
obviously a big part of the reason he`s in Alaska. It`s also a big
question mark over how the president will deal with criticism of him just
green lighting ago Arctic oil drilling by Shell Oil. The president is
making those remarks tonight. He also spent a big portion meeting with
native Alaskan groups.
So, even though it`s late in the day, there is still new news
happening and new news breaking tonight. That probably means it`s going to
be a bit of a rollicking show tonight, which is always fun.
But we start with some legitimately new news hot off the presses.
What I have in my hot little hand here is new national polling. New
national -- a new national poll on the presidential race. We`ve got this
exclusively tonight. You have not heard about this anywhere else. So,
we`re breaking this news here.
This is a new national poll on the presidential race from Public
Policy Polling. They have polled Republican voters nationwide on the race
for the Republican nomination. And what they have found is a mix of good
news, including some surprisingly good news for the few folks who find
themselves towards the top of these poll results. But what they have also
found is just some astonishingly bad news for the folks who find themselves
at the bottom of the list.
And some of the people at the very, very bottom of the list will
surprise you. Some of the supposedly, you know, top tiered, bold face
name, national caliber politicians in the Republican field are not just
polling at the bottom of the field nationally right now, they`re like below
the bottom of the field like you thought you were on the ground floor and
hey look, turns out there`s a basement.
And this new PPP poll which again we have got exclusively tonight and
we are breaking news of right now, it is very good news for some candidate
but very bad news for others.
So, it`s Monday. Do you want the good news first or do you want the
bad news first?
All right. Let`s do the good news first. Thank you.
You didn`t think I could hear you, did you?
The best good news is, as you might expect, for the unquestioned,
unchallenged Republican presidential front runner, New York real estate
developer Mr. Donald Trump. Mr. Trump has led in every single national
poll in every one of the early state polls for more than a month now.
The closest anybody has come to knocking on his door is one Iowa
poll. Iowa specific poll that came out today from Monmouth, which showed
Donald Trump tied with Ben Carson for first place in Iowa in that one poll.
But again, even that one doesn`t show Ben Carson beating Donald Trump.
Nobody beats Donald Trump anymore anywhere.
But this new national poll from PPP tonight, it also has Donald Trump
in first place, winning by a mile. He`s at 29 percent. Ben Carson in
second place in this new national poll, Ben Carson at 15 percent, which
means Donald Trump is almost doubling Ben Carson`s level of support.
Still, though, those are the only two people in double digits. Those
are the two guys coming in first and second. This new national poll from
PPP obviously very good news for both Donald Trump and Ben Carson. This
new national PPP poll actually means that Donald Trump and Ben Carson are
the number one and number two choices of Republicans nationwide in three of
the last four national polls.
So, that top tier is really getting to be very clear. Donald Trump
and Ben Carson pretty clearly sitting on top of the Republican presidential
field as we head toward Labor Day and this new PPP poll just underscoring
This poll also has some relatively good news, though, for Jeb Bush.
Jeb Bush, he does only place third in this new PPP poll, and he can`t get
out of single digits but, still, 9 percent and coming in third, constitutes
really good news for Jeb Bush right now the way things have been going for
him recently. He`s not only been sliding nationally but in the early
So Jeb Bush coming in third tonight in this new national poll that
constitutes probably reason for celebration in Kennebunkport or Miami or
Houston. I don`t know. Where do the Bushes summer these days? I don`t
The other person who truly does have reason to celebrate in this new
national PPP poll is the candidate who comes in only one point behind Jeb
Bush for a strong fourth place finish, and that candidate is Carly Fiorina.
Carly Fiorina polling at 8 percent nationwide. That is good for fourth
place. That is good for her.
But that is not a fluke. She`s been polling very well over the last
few weeks. In this new national PPP poll, look at it, Carly Fiorina polls
better than Rand Paul and Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz and
John Kasich, and Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. She beats all of them.
All of them, of course, were allowed into the first presidential
debate by FOX News and the RNC while Carly Fiorina was not. Because CNN
has decided to stick with that terrible idea of having one real debate and
one lesser event for some other candidates, and they`ve decided they`re
going to use some polling algorithm to divide the candidates between those
two competing events, we are in a situation now -- thank you, CNN -- where
Carly Fiorina is beating handily in poll after poll after poll both
nationally and in the other states, she`s beating lots of other candidates
who are on track to be let into the second debate.
But CNN is still not planning on letting her in. They`re planning on
sticking with this kids table debate plan, which makes no sense and is a
disservice to lots of candidates throughout the various tiers of the giant
Republican field. Carly Fiorina`s campaign sending out this sort of fake
petition thing, a way to get your e-mail address, sending out this petition
to try to pressure CNN and the RNC into abandoning their debate plans which
are going to keep her out of the next debate.
Finally, some of the other candidates are starting to speak publicly
about how bad this CNN debate plan is -- this plan for CNN to follow what
FOX News did in the debates.
Ben Carson`s campaign manager came out and complained about the
debate plans to politico.com today, which is nice, especially given that
Ben Carson is for sure going to be on that main debate stage. So, him --
his campaign saying other candidates were set to be excluded shouldn`t be
excluded. That`s a generous thing for the Carson campaign to be doing.
Also on the other end of the spectrum, Rick Perry, God bless him,
yesterday on FOX News, Rick Perry also stepped up and said that debate plan
needs to be changed if only so Carly Fiorina can be on that debate stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Carly Fiorina, I negotiated
with Carly before bringing Hewlett-Packard to Houston, I think Carly needs
to be on that debate stage. I mean, this is a class act, an extraordinary
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s nice of Rick Perry, right, to say about one of his
competitors particularly when there`s absolutely no chance that he himself
will be allowed on the debate stage as long as this kids table idea is
still the plan.
So, good for the Ben Carson campaign for their generous statement.
Good for Rick Perry for that selfless statement there.
And of course, the whole idea of Rick Perry brings us to the part
after the Republican field for whom this new national out tonight from PPP
is absolutely terrible and may be even devastating news.
Let`s just look at the bottom tier of this poll. Look at the people
who are getting 2 percent or less. Tied for tenth place at 2 percent of
the vote right now are Rick Santorum, which is where you would expect Rick
Santorum to be I guess. But who is Rick Santorum tied with? Chris
Chris Christie was supposed to be a top tier national contender,
right? Chris Christie tied with Rick Santorum for tenth place and 2
percent of the vote nationally right now.
And if you think that is bad, Chris Christie is actually sitting
pretty compared to Rand Paul. Rand Paul does even worse. Rand Paul right
now in this new national poll out from PPP, he is tied with Jim Gilmore at
1 percent in the polls. Rand Paul, Jim Gilmore and the aforementioned Rick
I mean, Rick Perry is down to exactly one campaign staffer in Iowa.
He was staking his whole presidential campaign on Iowa. His Iowa campaign
chairman left and went to work for Donald Trump.
His campaign co-chair in Iowa who just a couple of weeks ago he spent
an hour with hand in hand, literally holding hands, walking around the Iowa
state fair with his Iowa co-chair. She just left him, too. And she didn`t
even leave him to go work for the front-runner. She left him to work for
Rick Perry is dead in the water. He`s down to one last staffer in
Iowa. His presidential campaign is no longer really a campaign. It`s like
a voluntary club where they want to use your name but you don`t really have
to do anything. And the only real suspense is whether or not there`s going
to be a t-shirt for you at the end of it.
Rick Perry is over. He is at 1 percent in the polls. Jim Gilmore,
I`m sure, is delighted to have 1 percent. Most people have no idea who Jim
Gilmore is, let alone that he`s running for president, or that he has run
for president before.
But Rand Paul is tied with those guys at 1 percent. Which does mean
he`s sitting pretty compared to Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Bobby
Jindal, all of whom are polling at zero, which is a number by which you
cannot divide so sometimes it`s just easier to say they scratched.
And maybe we expect that now. Maybe we expect Bobby Jindal and
Lindsey Graham to scratch, right, to poll at zero percent.
We now ought to expect Donald Trump and Ben Carson to be leading in
every poll. But who expected Chris Christie to be tied with Rick Santorum
and Rand Paul to be tied with Jim Gilmore, right? At 2 percent and 1
This is just disastrous news for them. And this new PPP poll that
we`ve got exclusively tonight, that we are breaking news about right here
tonight, this is a -- this is a national poll. But the bad news part of
these findings especially for the candidates who are supposed to be
contenders, supposed to be top tier guys, the bad news part of these
findings from PPP and their national poll tonight, those bad news findings
really are replicated in the early state polls that are out today and
yesterday, as well.
I mentioned earlier that Monmouth, Iowa, poll which has an
interesting finding right at the top with Donald Trump and Ben Carson tied
-- well, down at the bottom end of that poll, looks familiar. Chris
Christie up at 1 percent of the vote, he`s in a three-way tie for 12th
place along with Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry. Rand Paul is ninth place
with 3 percent of the vote. That`s the Monmouth, Iowa poll out today.
The gold standard Iowa poll still considered to be the one done by
the "Des Moines Register." that poll came out yesterday. It`s also a grim
picture in the small numbers. Chris Christie in a three-way tie for tenth
place with 2 percent of the vote. Rand Paul tied for eighth place with 4
percent of the vote.
The real problem for these campaigns, though, as we head towards
Labor Day and that sort of psychological barrier for Labor Day, the real
problem for these campaigns right now is that none of this seems like a
fluke anymore. Donald Trump really is at a resilient and now pretty long-
standing secure position at the top of the polls. This is not one of those
weeklong flirtations like a few candidates had in `08 or even in 2012.
This isn`t Newt Gingrich`s mini surge after he had that one good debate,
right? This isn`t the brief 999 madness of Herman Cain presidential front-
I mean, Donald Trump is at the top and appears to be staying at the
top. And just as, you know, indelibly it looks like now guys like Chris
Christie and Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal but particularly guys who are
supposed to be real contenders, guys like Christie and Rand Paul, they`re
also really not moving anymore. And it`s one thing to survive a brief
plunge in the polls, right, to rocket down to the small single digs because
you`re having a low spot here and there.
It`s another thing to become a permanent part of this distant third
tier of candidates that regularly polls at 2 percent or less, right? These
irrelevant rounding error candidates that are undeniably ignorable.
If you want to be seen and treated as a viable presidential
contender, it is one thing to visit that tier occasionally. But when you
start to live there, it starts to be over for you.
For those candidates, though, who are being just roundly and now
consistently rejected by Republican voters this year, I will say one little
happy thing. This new PPP poll that we are breaking news out there
tonight, it does have one ray of sunshine for the losers -- maybe not a ray
of sunshine. More like a reason to laugh mirthlessly into your beer as you
ponder how low you`ve sunk.
But it is from another part of the same PPP poll which we`ve got
exclusive tonight. In addition to asking who these Republican voters
wanted to be the nominee for president, it also asked Republican voters
nationwide some of their other views and I can`t help but think this has to
be a comfort to some of the people who believed the hype, right? Who
believed their own press. Some of the people who really thought they would
be real contenders for the presidency but can`t get any traction with real
I have to think that the answers to these polling questions tonight
have got to be a comfort to guys like Chris Christie, guys like Bobby
Jindal, guys like Rick Perry, people who just can`t get anywhere. This
question was asked of all the Republican voters in the PPP poll.
Quote, "Do you think Barack Obama is a Christian or a Muslim, or you
are not sure?" Fourteen percent of Republican voters say President Obama
is a Christian, 14 percent. The percentage of Republican voters who say
he`s a Muslim, 54 percent. And the percentage of Republican voters who say
they aren`t sure whether or not President Obama is a Christian, that is 32
President Obama is, in fact, a Christian, but 86 percent of the
Republican electorate either doesn`t believe that or they`re not sure.
Similarly, this was question 28 in the new poll. Dear Republican
voters, do you think Barack Obama, president of the United States, was born
in the United States? The proportion of Republican voters who say, yes,
President Obama was born in the U.S., is 29 percent. The proportion who
say, no, he wasn`t born in the United States is 44 percent. And another 26
percent aren`t sure.
In fact, President Obama was born in the United States. Do I have to
say it? But fully 70 percent of the Republican electorate just doesn`t
believe that or they say they don`t know.
Only 29 percent of Republican voters think that President Obama is
actually president, because if he was secretly foreign, he couldn`t be,
right? Twenty-nine percent of Republicans think President Obama was born
in the U.S. -- 29 percent.
PPP then asked the world`s most perfect follow-up question. They
asked the same voters, 29 percent of you -- only 29 percent of you believe
President Obama was born in the United States. Do you guys think Ted Cruz
was born in the United States?
Even though only 29 percent of Americans think that President Obama
was born in the U.S., 40 percent of them think that Ted Cruz was.
Ted Cruz was not born in the United States. He was born in Canada.
But more Republicans think that he was born in the U.S. than think that of
our own president, by a big double digit margin.
So, you know, you`re Bobby Jindal, if you`re looking at these
numbers, you`re Chris Christie, you`re Rand Paul, you`re poor Rick Perry,
you`re looking at these numbers. You cannot get a vote or a poll number
out of the Republican electorate to save your political life, Republican
voters just cannot stand you and they`re not budging, I have to think that
for those candidates it has to be some small comfort that Republican voters
also probably have no freaking idea what they`re talking about.
Joining us now is Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling.
Mr. Jensen, thank you for being here. Thanks you for giving us
access to this new national poll.
TOM JENSEN, PUBLIC POLICY POLLING DIRECTOR: It`s great to be with
MADDOW: I have to ask you, I know that the top line here is the
Republican presidential results. I have to ask you if you were surprised
by the birther numbers among the Republican electorate, that so few of them
believe President Obama was born in the U.S.
JENSEN: I would be surprised if it hadn`t been what we`ve been
finding in the polling for the last six years, and it`s really consistent
with what we found over time. I think what this poll is really
illuminating about is who Donald Trump supporters are. More than 60
percent of Donald Trump supporters think Barack Obama is a Muslim. More
than 60 percent think he was born in another country. More than 60 percent
of them want to deport children.
And I think that these are attitudes that Republican voters and the
country have had a long time, but they`re kind of things you weren`t
allowed to talk about in public. And now you have the Republican front-
runner talking about all of these things in public and not apologizing for
it one little bit. It`s not surprising that these kinds of voters are
really gravitating towards Mr. Trump.
MADDOW: Are you finding in terms of the minority of Republicans who
believe President Obama was born in the United States, who believe that
President Obama is a Christian, who don`t want to deport children, are you
finding that Republicans who have more centrist views or more rational
views on these things, are you finding that they`re gravitating toward any
particular candidate in the Republican field, or are they such a small
number that their influence doesn`t show up?
JENSEN: Well, here is what we found. There`s only three Republican
candidates who supporters think Barack Obama was born in the United States
and that he`s a Christian. Those were Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Chris
Christie. Obviously, having the support of those kind of people is only
good enough to get Chris Christie to 1 percent. John Kasich at least has a
little bit of momentum.
But what I think is really interesting is Jeb Bush. He is in third
place at 9 percent. But when you look at his favorability numbers, overall
more Republican voters nationally have a negative opinion of Jeb Bush than
a positive one. And what`s really driving down those numbers is when you
look at very conservative voters, they have quite an unfavorable opinion of
I think sort of the lesson you take from that with a Republican
electorate this extreme, even when you`re not that moderate -- I mean,
you`re the brother of one of the most conservative presidents in the
history of the country -- that`s still not enough to please this dominant
right wing of the Republican Party.
MADDOW: The other thing that is, I think, striking here in these
numbers is the combined performance of the three high-profile candidates
who have no political experience whatsoever, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and
Carly Fiorina placing first, second and fourth in your poll. Combining
that with this interesting Monmouth Iowa poll out today which has Ben
Carson and Donald Trump tied in Iowa has me wondering about the
particularities of Ben Carson`s support.
Are you finding any distinguishable differences between a Donald
Trump and Ben Carson supporter?
JENSEN: No. Ben Carson is tapping into the same sort of
conservative outrage that Donald Trump is. What`s interesting about
Carson`s numbers is we`re actually now consistently finding him to be the
most broadly popular candidate in the Republican field. Even though Donald
Trump had the most people who said he was their first choice on this poll,
Carson had the highest favorability rating. And when you look at Trump
supporters, they say Carson is their second choice.
So, if at some point Trump does implode as he`s long been expected to
but hasn`t yet, Carson may be a beneficiary.
MADDOW: Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling -- thanks for
being here. Thanks for sharing this new national poll. It`s great to be
able to break this news -- thanks.
JENSEN: Thank you so much, Rachel.
MADDOW: Again, the top line here will always be who is at the top of
the polls, Donald Trump at 29 percent in the new PPP national poll. Second
place, the only other candidate with double digits in this new national
poll is Ben Carson at 15 percent. Everybody else is in single digits.
But as far as I`m concerned, the big news here is what`s happening at
the very bottom of the Republican race for president. At 2 percent and
tied with Rick Santorum is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
And at 1 percent, tied with Rick Perry and Jim Gilmore, is Kentucky
Senator Rand Paul -- who the Beltway keeps saying is the most intriguing
man in politics, 1 percent and tied with Jim Gilmore. That is intriguing.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: We`ve got an expose coming up tonight about the future. It
turns out I can tell you tonight what your angry great uncle who watches
FOX News all day is going to be angry about tomorrow. I can tell you
tonight what he is going to be sending you a misspelled, all capital
letters e-mail about this time tomorrow.
What your Uncle Timmy is going to be very mad about tomorrow. I will
explain tonight, coming up.
MADDOW: Hey, so just a few minutes ago more than 7,000 pages of
Hillary Clinton`s e-mails were released by the State Department. This is
the largest batch after Secretary Clinton`s e-mails to be made public so
far. Even though the e-mails were just released within the last few
minutes, we already have one headline that`s getting some attention and
that is, as you see here, of the 7,000 e-mails about 150 of them have been
partially or entirely censored because the State Department says they
contain classified information.
That headline, we should note, comes with a big caveat, which is the
information was not marked classified at the time the information was sent
several years ago. So, these e-mails are being treated as confidential now
but they were not being treated that way at the time Secretary Clinton sent
or received them on her private e-mail account.
The reason these documents are attracting so much attention is
because they were housed on a private server that Mrs. Clinton used as
secretary of state. Late last year, she gave the State Department tens of
thousands of e-mails from that server that she said were not work -- excuse
me, that she said were work-related.
This past May, a judge ordered that those e-mails should be released
on a rolling monthly basis. So what that means is once a month, right at
the end of the month, there`s a big news dump of these documents, thousands
of them every month now, and we as journalists, scramble to figure out what
they are and to read what`s in them.
And so, that is what the staff of this show is doing literally right
now. The documents came out at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. This is one of our
producers, this is Jen Morani (ph), printing out and going through some of
the 7,000 pages worth of e-mails as they came out.
If you need an idea just how big that heap of e-mails would be if we
printed them all out, well then -- voila, that right there is roughly 7,000
pages worth of messages. It is a stack big enough that our big, strong,
manly producer Nick Tuths still needs a hand truck to wheel them in. We
tried to have him pick them up but Nick toppled right over. Also, we could
have unwrapped the paper to make it look pretty, but it was so dauntingly
wasteful to do that that we decided not to.
Thank you, Nick.
With today`s release, we now have about a quarter of Secretary
Clinton`s work e-mails that have been gone through by State Department and
cleared for public release. Today`s 7,000 pages come on top of the other
6,000 or so that have already been made public since May.
Out of those e-mails, there has been no news of any significant
import. And it may be that there`s incredibly important and significant
news buried in these new 7,000 pages that just came out tonight, but it
will take us a while to figure that out.
And if past is any prologue, what this is going to amount to is us
feeling really guilty and wanting to plant a tree in your name but that
will pretty much be it.
MADDOW: Sometimes when you`re doing a live TV program on the TV
machine, mistakes can happen. Like, for example, let`s say you mean to be
talking about Pennsylvania Congressman Pat Meehan but in looking up file
photos you accidentally show a picture of Pennsylvania Congressman Mike
Kelly. You can see how that mistake might happen, right?
For the record, Congressman Meehan is on the left. Congressman Kelly
is on the right. That`s a hard one.
But, you know, we hate making mistakes. It`s embarrassing. Each
individual mistake you make on TV is avoidable in itself even if you know
it`s impossible to get everything right all the time. Ultimately, if you
do this sort of thing long enough, you will screw up. When you do, you
just say you`re sorry, you explain what was wrong and you correct it.
Even knowing that as a general principle though, you make a mistake,
you make a visual mistake on television that is so wrong, it is hard to
even know how to start to correct it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: With this many people in the running, honestly right now,
nobody even knows who to poll on. I mean, should they be polling on Carly
Fiorina? Should they be polling on Donald Trump? Should they be polling
on -- what was that? That was hilarious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We`re having a hard time keeping track of all the Republican
candidates? Let me sprinkle in a little Kanye West to keep you on your
toes. I did that on live TV. I was expecting to see Jim Gilmore and Carly
Fiorina and Donald Trump and there`s Kanye West on the screen of all
Why did we even have a picture of Kanye West in the system? Do we
have a code for that? That is by far my favorite visual mistake I have
ever made on the show.
And, of course, now, it turns out that was not a mistake at all. It
turns out it was just I was very mistakenly ahead of my time. That`s
Stay with us.
MADDOW: If you happened to be near a TV last night or a computer or
a phone or a radio or a fax machine or a telegraph machine for that matter,
if you were near anything that beeps, whirs or whistles, chances are you
could not escape hearing something about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KANYE WEST, RAPPER: In the small box that we are as the entertainers
of the evening --
I`m not no politician, bro. I still don`t understand award shows.
You all might be thinking right now I wonder did he smoke something
before he came out here? The answer is, yes, I rolled up a little
something and knocked the edge off.
I`m confident. I believe in myself because it ain`t about me. It`s
about ideas, bro. New ideas. People with ideas.
And, yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have
decided in 2020 to run for president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We do not usually cover musicians and their award show
speeches, especially when they admit to having taken the edge off before
giving that speech. We do not usually cover Kanye West doing much of
anything unless we accidentally show a picture of him when I`m supposed to
be showing Republican presidential candidates which is a thing that
happened live on the show. I was expecting to be showing like Carly
Fiorina, and Jim Gilmore and up popped a picture of Kanye West and Kim
Kardashian. I almost died. That was so random.
But at in speech at that award show last night, Mr. Kanye West`s
announcement of his run for presidency in 2020, it momentarily took over
the world. Twitter exploded. The world en masse trying to make sense what
the heck he was talking about and for better or worse, I think probably for
better, this is what the whole Western world was talking about last night -
- the whole western world minus these guys.
These are some of the members of Ohio`s congressional delegation.
These guys were all over social media last night outraged. Just outraged
about President William McKinley, our country`s 25th president. The
members of the Ohio congressional delegation including the top Republican
in the House, John Boehner, what they wanted to talk about was how terrible
it was, what a tragedy it is that the Obama administration has decided to
let the name of the tallest mountain in North America revert to its
originative Alaskan name Denali.
It was only in the late 1800s when a random gold prospector from New
Hampshire decided to declare a new name for Denali in honor of the news he
had just heard that William McKinley won the Republican nomination for
William McKinley had nothing to do with that prospector or with that
mountain. He never set foot on Denali. He never set foot in Alaska. He
was from Ohio.
And even though Alaska broadly speaking has long wanted to change the
name back and they even did officially at the state level in the 1970s, the
federal name Mt. McKinley stuck mostly because Ohio Republicans insisted
that it not be changed for years now.
So, now that President Obama has gone ahead and changed it, Ohio
Republican and House Speaker John Boehner says he is deeply disappointed
President Obama has decided to take away William McKinley`s random tribute
and restore the name of that mountain to Denali.
The National Park Service is so excited they already printed new maps
with the new name and everything.
Again, William McKinley never set foot on the mountain. He never
even saw Alaska. The first sitting president to travel to Alaska was
Warren G. Harding. He went to Alaska in 1923. We do not have video of his
1923`s trip to Alaska for obvious reasons.
We do know, though, that when he was there, the U.S. Navy ship on
which he was traveling, shot mortar rounds into glaciers while they were up
there so the president could see the glaciers blow up for fun. Why not?
They`ll always be there, right? Shoot that glacier.
Well, President Obama is in Alaska today. This is the first day of
his three-day trip to the state. He has not yet asked the Navy to blow up
glaciers for his amusement.
Just moments ago, President Obama spoke in Anchorage on the topic of
climate change. He talked about communities that are living with the
effects of climate change day to day already. In the speech tonight, he
said definitively that he recognizes America`s role in having created this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fact is that
climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it. That, ladies
and gentlemen, must change. We`re not acting fast enough. I`ve come here
today as the leader of the world`s largest economy and its second largest
emitter to say that the United States recognizes our role in creating this
problem, and we embrace our responsibility to help solve it. And I believe
we can solve it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The world`s largest economy and the world`s second largest
emitter. President Obama speaking tonight in Anchorage on day one of a
three-day trip that is set to highlight his commitment to fighting climate
His environmental legacy will include a lot of different efforts to
combat climate change and reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
That legacy will also include his decision weeks ago to give Shell the go-
ahead to drill the Arctic for oil, something that has never been done
offshore at that scale before and something that really nobody knows how to
clean up if it goes wrong. And if it goes right, it`s a whole new world of
fossil fuels that wouldn`t be otherwise be burn that are going to be burned
for fuel. And what`s that he said about emitters?
The race to succeed President Obama is in full swing and Donald Trump
is swallowing up all the Republican news coverage. And yes, the 2020 race
has started up, too, with Kanye West making his 2020 presidential
announcement last night.
There`s a lot of news every day about who is going to replace this
president, but this president is very much still president and he is trying
to make a forceful case now with this trip that nobody can write the
history of his administration`s environmental record yet.
He`s making the case when it is written it should be seen as more
than just drill, baby, drill, with a kinder, gentler attitude about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If we do nothing to keep glaciers from melting faster and
oceans from rising faster and forest from burning faster and storms from
growing stronger, we will condemn our children to a planet beyond their
capacity to repair -- submerged countries, abandoned cities, fields no
longer growing. Any leader willing to take a gamble on a future like that,
any so-called leader who does not take this issue seriously or treats it
like a joke is not fit to lead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now from Anchorage, Alaska, is NBC News senior
White House correspondent Chris Jansing. She`s following the president on
his trip to Alaska.
You`re in a beautiful spot up there, Chris. It`s great to see you
there. Thanks for being with us tonight.
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: My
MADDOW: So, the White House on the occasion of this trip, this isn`t
the most important thing about the president being there, but they unveiled
this name change, the sort of name unchanging of Denali/Mt. McKinley. Are
-- is that actually going to be the big change, the big news announced on
this trip, or are we expecting other changes, other policies to be
announced by the president?
JANSING: You always get right to the heart of it, don`t you? Look,
this announcement before the president got here did send an important
message. It sent an important message to the natives here, and I`ve spoken
to some of the indigenous people. I spoke to a tribal leader today.
This matters to them deeply. I mean, we can say it`s not important
but to them this is something they have been fighting for for decades. To
them, it really speaks to American imperialism, right?
I don`t want to be dismissive of that, but those same people have
also been concerned for economic reasons that the president was going to
come here and announce sweeping changes, that there would be executive
orders that would hurt their ability to revive this economy, an economy
which is largely built on oil, fossil fuel, two-thirds of the budget in
this state is derived from oil.
And so, you have almost this classic push and pull between
environmental protection and economic development, and that`s a very fine
line the president is walking here, Rachel.
MADDOW: On that point about those fears and what the president is
basically trying to line up in terms of his environmental legacy, I mean,
it is hard to square the president talking about climate change in these
very aggressive terms in Alaska, talking about leadership, about the
climate, it`s hard to square that with the green light that he just gave to
drill the Arctic for oil up there giving Shell that green light despite
their, frankly, really bad safety record in terms of trying to do this up
I mean, does the White House think that is something people should
overlook when it comes to the president`s legacy on climate change, or are
they making a case for it not being as bad as it seems?
JANSING: They`re making a case. And I have to say that some of the
environmental leaders and groups I talked to out and out called him a
hypocrite for deciding to go ahead with the Shell lease, which we should
say, to be fair, started in the Bush administration. But then to come here
and say that this is the defining issue of our time, that climate change
and what we do about it is going to determine the future of this century, a
defining moment for this century, what happens in Paris.
Here is what the White House -- the president says about this. He
said, look, we are trying to go to more sustainable fuels but we`re not
there yet. In the meantime, the reality is we have to have an energy-
driven economy and that the thing that they have done with these oil leases
is that they have made the protections stronger than any leases that have
ever been seen before.
Having said that, it`s hard to find a major environmentalist or major
environmental group who doesn`t look at the president`s statement and he
felt so strongly about it. He knew the push back was so great. He made a
video that he put online before he came here that those groups aren`t
terribly disappointed and they`re really watching very closely to see what
MADDOW: Chris, because you`re traveling with the president, I do
have to ask you about another topic that`s not directly about his Alaska
trip, but there was a big ripple of news today when the president of
Columbia University in New York City said at a freshman convocation that he
looked forward to President Obama being back at his alma mater, being back
at Columbia University, once he leaves office in 2017. The president`s
office at Columbia has since sort of clarified, walked that back. We`re
not exactly sure what that means.
Do you have any sense what that was about? Is the White House
confirming any of that?
JANSING: The White House is not confirming any of that. The White
House is saying the president is -- has not made any decision about his
post-presidential life. Having said that, look, it makes sense that
President Bollinger, I`m sure, has said out of hand. The truth of the
matter is that the president`s alma mater desperately wanted his
presidential library. They didn`t get, as you know. It`s going to
So, I think the presumption has always been that there will be this
tie between Columbia and its most famous alum. And so, I don`t think it
would be surprising to see that he had some things going on with Columbia
starting in 2017. He`s going to do there and do a full professorship and
give up a public life? No, but there is a little tease there that -- A,
help do a little push maybe but also it doesn`t help when you`re standing
in front of all these incoming freshmen and their parents to say, oh, by
the way, I know you`re paying a lot of the tuition but guess who`s going to
be here during the four or five years while you`re here.
I don`t want to be cynical. I`m just suggesting perhaps there`s a
little combination of things going on.
MADDOW: Telling the freshmen who would still be here in 2017 when
something amazing is going to happen. Yes, that is smart thinking.
NBC News senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing -- it`s
always great to see you, Chris. Thanks very much for being with us.
JANSING: And you.
MADDOW: Chris joining us tonight from Anchorage, Alaska, just
looking at the scenery up there, it is such a beautiful place. I was up in
Anchorage to be cover the crazy Lisa Murkowski-Joe Miller Senate campaign,
remember? I came back not having learned all that much about the Lisa
Murkowski-Joe Miller Senate campaign but really wanting to spend more time
in Alaska. I have to go do that.
I`ll be right back.
MADDOW: We here at THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW, we do not fear the
future. We see the future. We see the future and we raise you one all
capital letters e-mail from your crazy great uncle who watches FOX News all
day. And even your Uncle Timmy has not even finished typing that message
with that one angry finger that he types with, we are about to share that
e-mail with you magically.
Stay right there.
MADDOW: If you`re going to trick someone, if you`re going to pose as
someone else using a fake name and everything, one piece of advice, do not
send them your fake aliases in an e-mail under the heading, hey, my
falsified information is -- that`s just not a good way to trick someone.
Don`t blow your own cover.
But that e-mail was sent to a Hillary Clinton volunteer a couple of
weeks ago from a person asking her if she could volunteer and if she could
bring some things to a voter registration event for the Hillary campaign.
She attached to that email, "Hey, my falsified information is this." See
that on the right hand of the screen there?
That raised some red flags to say the least. The Clinton campaign
responded by asking for more details, more names, addresses and e-mails and
phone numbers. More info on these supposed new volunteers. In response,
that woman sent along that fake alias again, the one she had previously
sent as my falsified info.
So the Clinton campaign understandably thought something strange was
going on. They say they notified their offices that at least two women had
been posing as supporters, but something was fishy about them. They said
they didn`t know these women`s exact motivations, but it seemed like maybe
this was one of those conservative fake sting videos where they go after
liberal groups and Democrats and try to trap them into saying something
that looks terribly incriminating and awful and it`s taken out of context
and played on FOX News Channel for months on end, as if it is a
journalistic product, even if it wasn`t actually incriminating or criminal
in the first place.
The group that does most of these things, at first, they wouldn`t
confirm if they were mounting one of their patented out off context video
entrapment things against the Clinton campaign but the Clinton campaign was
pretty sure they were. And so, they tried to get out ahead of it.
They released the sketchy e-mails from fake volunteers to
buzzfeed.com. They released photos of the fake campaign volunteers who
they think were actually consecutive activists. They told "Time" magazine
that the women were engaged in several efforts to entrap Clinton
supporters. The Clinton campaign did all of that first before this
conservative activist group would even admit what they had been doing.
But now, sure enough here it comes. Late last week, this
conservative group released a teaser video showing a Clinton campaign
staffer encouraging a volunteer to ask people who are registering to vote
who they are supporting for president. The conservative group is
breathlessly accusing the Clinton campaign of being criminals and outlaws
for doing that. Unfortunately, for the conservative activists, even
Republican field staffers are willing to admit to the press that what`s in
that video, the Clinton`s campaign`s approach to training volunteers is,
quote, "standard operating procedure across field campaigns."
That won`t stop, say, our friends at the FOX News Channel and
conservative media more broadly from going wild about this anyway, even if
the repress probably won`t touch this one.
But now, the conservative group who did the first video, they say
more is coming. They say that tomorrow morning at 10:00, they will release
a new video -- Hillary caught red-handed. And maybe, maybe they caught her
Given the history of this particular group, probably nobody was
caught red-handed. But if you are looking to place bets that right wing
talk radio and Republican TV is going to go crazy about, you can set your
clock for 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. This is it.
The mainstream press has mostly given up on covering these stunts.
But your uncle who watches FOX News all day is due to send you an all
capital letters email about this one, in three, two, one.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD." Alex Wagner sitting in for
Good to see you, Alex.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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