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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: September 2, 2015
Guest: David Miliband

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: You bet.

MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

I`ve got to tell you, we are in the middle of an avalanche of late-
breaking political news, much of it either really funny or really
intriguing or both, all of it unexpected and all of it happening all at
once, just over the last hour or so. Usually when I`m getting my make-up
on at the last minute before I come do the show, I know, hard to believe
it`s make-up, right?

When I`m doing that, the executive producer Cory Gnazzo like comes by
and gives me like a couple of last words about what`s going. On sitting
there in the make-up chair tonight and Cory ran in to the make-up room
dripping sweat and heaving with breath so hard. I couldn`t understand a
word he said.

That`s how fast news is breaking right now. That means I have no
idea what`s coming up on the show.

So, poor Cory, we`ve been shifting things around, trying to make room
for all these amazing stuff that`s been crossing the wires, just in the
last hour or so, including getting in the tape that has been pouring in in
tonight`s news.

It begins with Republican Jeb Bush, and whoa, is Jeb Bush in trouble.
Jeb Bush has just picked the kind of fight that you`re going to lose. Jeb
Bush has apparently, without trying to, he has accidentally picked a fight
with probably the biggest figure in pop culture in America right now. And
this tape will explain it. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: I`m so excited for the late show premier
on September 8 when my guests will be George Clooney and Jeb Bush. Or as
the tabloids have coined them, Jeborge Clush. I`m not the only one who is
excited. So is Jeb. Which given his logo is really his only option. Jeb!

In fact, Governor Bush is so pumped for the first show that he sent
this e-mail to supporters: Today, we`re formally launching our Stephen
Colbert late show contest where we`ll fly one lucky winner to New York
where they`ll receive a VIP ticket to the late show with the new host.
That`s something you`ll still be talking about 20 years from now.

Yes. You`ll be talking about it 20 years from now when the next Bush
is running for office.

To enter, all you have to do is donate $3 to Jeb Bush`s campaign. If
you can`t afford $3, you`re probably not voting for Jeb Bush.

I think the contest was a great idea. But here`s the thing, no one
from Jeb`s campaign asked me if this was OK with me to raise money off my
first show. Where`s my cut of that sweet 3 bucks, governor? Huh? Where`s
this stuff? The house always gets its beak wet. Where`s the big, Gov?

I`m sorry I`m yelling but again you`re the one who put an exclamation
mark at the end of your name.

Well, two can play at this contest, sir. So, tonight, today, or
whenever you`re watching this, I`m launching my own Jeb Bush on the Stephen
Colbert Late Show raffle. The lucky winner will be also be invited to the
premiere of the late show. Plus, they will get to submit one non-obscene
question that I will ask Governor Bush on their behalf.

For example, one question might be, don`t you wish you had consulted
Stephen before launching your contest? To enter, go to Omaze.com/Colbert
and submit your name, e-mail and a $3 donation which will go to the Yellow
Ribbon Fund which helps injured service members and their families. See
you on September 8th.

Until them, I`m going to be on Jeb`s site trying to score a ticket to
the late show night premiere. That sounds like one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Fundraising off somebody else`s work without -- before now,
it has been Jeb Bush versus 16 other major Republican candidates for
president. Now, it looks like it is Jeb Bush versus 16 other major
Republicans for president and also against the cultural political
juggernaut that is Stephen Colbert just as he starts his new show.

I mean, it says right this in the secret political hand book, right?
Rule number three. Do not tug on super man`s cave. Do not spit in the
wind. And then it says, do not pick a fight you cannot win with a force
like Stephen Colbert, at this particular moment in Stephen Colbert`s
career.

Remember when John McCain annoyed David Letterman? In the middle of
the 2008 campaign, right, his campaign was struggling. It looks like he`s
going on lose against Barack Obama and he stood up David Letterman. He was
rude to him. He was inconsiderate to David Letterman and David Letterman
went after him and would not let it go, and went after over and over and
over again. Then John McCain never recovered? That was David Letterman.
New guy with that show is Stephen Colbert.

For the record, the Bush campaign tonight says, they thought they had
permission from the Colbert folks before starting their fundraising off of
Mr. Colbert`s show. They also said they think the whole thing is just
great. This is going exactly how we meant it to go. That`s one.

There is yet more big news that is breaking tonight that involves the
Democratic side of the presidential race. Tonight as we speak, the
president of the United States, Barack Obama is up in Alaska. We`re going
to have more on that a little later on in the show.

This trip to Alaska tonight marks the first time that a sitting
president has visited the Arctic in Alaska. While the president is in
Alaska though, while the president is in Alaska, Vice President Biden is in
the opposite quadrant of the country. Or I guess on TV, it looks like
this, right?

Joe Biden tonight is at a Democratic fundraiser in Florida. Vice
President Biden gave a speech earlier today at Miami-Dade College, on the
issue of college affordability. After that visit to Florida today --
Florida, Florida, Florida -- that has renewed speculation about whether he
might mount a run for the presidency in 2016.

Mr. Biden spoke in Florida this afternoon. He`s meeting Democratic
Party fundraisers there tonight. People keep saying, oh, the reason you
can tell he`s not running because he`s not fundraising. Now, he`s meeting
with fund-raisers.

Now we know also that this weekend, he`s going to be in Pennsylvania,
taking part in a Labor Day march with the leader of the country`s largest
labor union, the AFL-CIO, who hasn`t endorsed in the Democratic
presidential primary.

And then, next week, Joe Biden is going to be a guest of Stephen
Colbert, on the premiere week of Stephen Colbert`s aforementioned new late
show on CBS.

So all of this Joe Biden activity has led as you know to renewed
speculation, tea leaf reading about Joe Biden and 2016. And tonight, into
all of this interesting and late-breaking news, dropped one more
interesting tea leaf, because probably the biggest thing, the biggest
granular thing that really sparked this new round of interest about whether
or not Joe Biden is going to run is when someone in the Biden camp last
month leaked that the vice president had requested and in fact taken a
private meeting in Washington, D.C. with Democratic Senator Elizabeth
Warren of Massachusetts, right?

Joe Biden had been home in Delaware at the time but he traveled back
to Washington, D.C. just to meet with Elizabeth Warren. And it was just
the two of them. And that was what really kicked off all the Joe Biden
wondering. And it`s been sort of a mystery since then about what exactly
was discussed in that private meeting.

But tonight, "The Boston Globe" spoke with Elizabeth Warren about
that meeting. A "Globe" political reporter named Joshua Miller interviewed
her at an event at Suffolk University in Boston. He asked Elizabeth Warren
what she and Vice President Biden talked about during that meeting. He
asked specifically whether they talked about a potential Joe Biden run for
the White House and whether they talked about potentially running together
on a joint ticket.

Watch how she responds. This took place just a short time ago in
Boston. We just got in the tape.

This is how Elizabeth Warren described what took place during her
meeting last month with Vice President Joe Biden and then listen to what
she says about what`s happening in her political future.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We talk about the
direction the country is going in. We talked about the capture of this
country by those who have got money and power. It was, yes, a long,
rambling policy, conversation. Just like they ought to be.

JOSHUA MILLER, THE BOSTON GLOBE: What did you have for lunch?

WARREN: It was a chopped salad thing. I was never entirely sure
what it was.

(LAUGHTER)

MILLER: At least with fast food, you know what it was.

WARREN: That`s the thing. You never have to ask what the fillet of
fish is. It`s pretty clear. Yes. Of course, it resembles no fish anyone
has met. Yes.

MILLER: Was there any talk of a joint ticket even jokingly?

WARREN: It was a long conversation.

(LAUGHTER)

MILLER: OK. OK. Do you plan to meet with him again?

WARREN: Look, I meet with anybody who wants to talk about policy and
might be able to help out here.

MILLER: There is a lot of chat about Vice President Elizabeth
Warren. I wanted to ask you a question this way. Will you pledge to serve
out your whole U.S. Senate --

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: So, I love my job. I truly want this job. And it is all
I`m thinking of. And you just can`t put a different thought in my head. I
am thinking about my job as United States senator.

MILLER: Sounds like a truly great gig. I wonder whether you`ll stay
in it for the duration of your six-year term.

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: It`s all what I`m thinking about. I am where I am.

MILLER: OK, it seems like --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: I am where I am. You can`t give me another thought.

That was Elizabeth Warren. "And did you and Vice President Biden,
was there any talk with the vice president with a joint ticket even
jokingly?" "It was a long conversation."

Elizabeth Warren tonight in Boston letting out that long pause when
she was asked whether or not Vice President Biden talked about forming a
joint ticket when they met last month. It was a long conversation. And
because all political news decided to break basically within the same hour
tonight, we got that news on the Colbert, Stephen Colbert/Jeb Bush thing.
Then, the Republican Party, right? Then, we got the news on the Democratic
Party, this Elizabeth Warren thing tonight in Boston.

Because everything is at the same time tonight, at the same time, we
also just got something from the other thing in American politics, which
doesn`t always feel like either party, and that is the Donald Trump wing of
the 2016 presidential race. And I say it sometimes doesn`t feel like
either Party because one of the issues around the candidacy is that he has
not been willing to swear off the possibility that he might leave the
Republican Party and instead make a run for president as an independent, or
as a third party candidate.

Now, if Donald Trump were running as a centrist kind of guy, a third
party campaign from him, that might take votes from both the Democratic
nominee and the Republican nominee. Conceivably, if he ran as a centrist
candidate, that could be a hard to predict impact kind of decision. Much
like it was when Ross Perot ran in 1992, contrary to the common political
wisdom. When you look at the number, Ross Perot actually took votes from
Bill Clinton and Poppy Bush pretty equally in 1992.

But with Donald Trump running the way he`s running this year, he`s
not going to be a Ross Perot. Donald Trump running this very hard right
campaign he`s running for president this year, there is no question if he
bolts the Republican party and runs as an independent or third party
candidate, basically all the votes he would get would be taken away from
the Republican nominee. A Donald Trump independent or third party
candidacy would virtually guarantee, I think, that Hillary Clinton or some
other Democrat would become the next president.

So, that gives Donald Trump a ton of leverage. He keeps saying,
well, if the Republican Party treats me nicely, we can talk about that. If
they don`t, I`m not going to swear that off. Mr. Trump has not sworn off
the possibility of running not on the Republican Party ticket. And that
has been freaking out the Republican Party for the obvious reasons.
Republican Party in the states have been talking about the possibility of
state based Republican loyalty oaths for candidates to even get on to the
primary ballots for the Republican Party in those states.

Mr. Trump got asked right up front about this at the FOX News debate
last month. Asked about the possibility of running as a third party
candidate, would he swear off that possibility? He would not swear off
that possibility and he still has not. They keep asking him, say you`ll
only run as a Republican, say you`re only going to run as a Republican. He
has not been willing to say that.

But now, we have just learned, we`re being told tomorrow, heads up.
Tomorrow, Donald Trump is meeting with the Republican Party national
chairman, Reince Priebus, in New York City. After that meeting, Donald
Trump is now scheduled to hold a press conference at his headquarters in
New York City at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

Now, this meeting between Reince Priebus and Donald Trump is
happening the day after the Republican Party nationally quietly started
circulating a loyalty pledge to all of the Republican candidates for
president, asking them to affirm their allegiance to the party.

I, state your name, affirm if that I do not win the 2016 Republican
nomination for president of the United States, I will endorse the 2016
Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is. I further pledge
that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate, nor
will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.

They want candidates` signatures, all of the candidates to sign this.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus started circulating
this yesterday.

Tomorrow, he meets with Donald Trump, and then right after Donald
Trump does one of his patented Donald Trump press conferences.

Again, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is scheduled
to be there tomorrow in New York City. Who knows? If he swears off a
third party run, he is giving up 50 percent of the leverage he`s got for
not only this campaign but for what he gets to reap the rewards of this
campaign for the rest of his natural life.

It`s hard to believe he would give up that leverage because as he`s a
smart businessman, but we will find out tomorrow. That will be a huge
victory for the Republican Party if he swears off leaving and running as an
independent. They are basically signaling that they think that`s what he`s
going to do tomorrow. I`ll believe it when I see it.

Big busy news night tonight. And we are just getting started. We`ll
be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: So the there is lots of news coming tonight -- including
footage, we have the footage of the president of the United States making
history with an overexcited fish. We were there. We have the tape.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: The president of the United States likes fish jerky. In
case there was ever any question about that before, that matter has now
been conclusively resolved.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: OK, so what do we got
here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fish jerky.

OBAMA: Fish jerky.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re welcome to try it.

OBAMA: Fish jerky, really good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: President Obama enjoying salmon jerky, assuring America that
it`s really good.

President Obama is a thin person. I have seen him eat before, but I
have never seen him eat like a whole thing. He eats a little of something
and then doesn`t finish the thing. I have seen it myself.

Do you know what? He ate all of that salmon jerky. He wolfed it.

Here`s the thing about being president, though -- if you like salmon
jerky and you get to go to Alaska to the exact spot where they`re hauling
salmon nets, exact spot where they fillet that salmon to make that jerky
and you get the opportunity as president to meet the expert, awesome local
native Alaskan fisherwomen who do that for a living, and to feed their
families and those fisherwomen offer you on the spot to show you how they
make this thing that you like, how they cut the salmon and dress that
salmon that they just caught right there a few feet away, if that is what
you want to do as president of the United States, you want to say yes. I
would like to see you fillet that salmon. Please show me how you do that.
If that`s what you want and you are president of the United States, you
cannot have that, because knives, knives.

No matter who you are, if you are meeting the president of the United
States in person, the one thing you do not get to keep out is your big
sharp fillet knife. No way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: How about this, can you sow us?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn`t let me have my knife.

OBAMA: Secret Service, do you have a knife? Or did we leave them
all at home?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t have any.

OBAMA: Come on, guys! You can`t fillet a fish without --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, excuse us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: President Obama today in Dillingham, Alaska, which is one of
the stops he made today. If you want to know where Dillingham is, I see
Anchorage marked on the map there, sort of center, middle, right, center,
at the top of the screen, Dillingham to the left.

His trip there to Dillingham was not his ultimate destination in
Alaska. It was just one part, one stop. A big full day of events he`s
doing on this last of day of his three-day trip. Some of what the
president is doing right now on the strip is historic.

He is doing stuff presidents have never done. Going places
presidents have never been before. Some of what he`s doing, he`s going to
have political implications.

Honestly, though, I am guessing that what he is going to remember
most acutely, the thing that`s gong to be foremost in his mind at the end
of his big long historic day, or at least the thing I think the president
will tell his friends about when he gets back to the lower 48, I am
guessing, will be this moment.

The moment when one of those two salty local fisherwomen had to tell
the president of the United States what that fish just did on his shoe
means that fish was happy to see him. This is amazing. Watch this.
Watch, watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Uh, oh, what happened there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s spawning.

OBAMA: Did you see that? That got on my shoes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s spawning.

OBAMA: He was spawning a little bit which -- generally you don`t
want fish spawning on your feet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was happy to see you.

OBAMA: She said he was happy to see me.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: President Obama today in Dillingham, Alaska. That was not
fish pee squirting on to the shoes. That was really a whole different
idea.

The president also went to a school when he was in Dillingham. He
wore a sweater. And he was absolutely unafraid as all presidents should
be, to dance with the little kids at that school who did a traditional
dance. Not just for him but ultimately with him, including the big finale
which involves putting your hands behind your back in a tail feather
gesture. And the president pretended at that point that he threw his back
out doing it but he didn`t really.

After leaving that fishing community, after leaving Dillingham,
Alaska, today, the president`s next stop was Kotzebue, which is up there on
the Alaska map. And the historic nature of that president`s visit to
Kotzebue is that that little town is in the Arctic. It`s above the Arctic
Circle.

And no American president has ever gone to the Arctic before for any
reason. President Obama went to see that part of country that he governs.
To meet the people there, but also to see how climate change is evident in
the very far north, and how that should help us explain the overall scope
of climate change as a challenge, as a problem we are already living with.
Not just something that affects us in the future.

But for the 3,000 or so people who live in Kotzebue, regardless of
exactly why the president of the United States came to visit their town,
the fact remains that their little town of 3,000 people way, way out in the
middle of nowhere got a full blown visit from the sitting president of the
United States of America and they were psyched about it.

Watch this from the NBC affiliate in Anchorage. This is about
Kotzebue getting ready. But check out the news they break here. I think
they`re breaking news here from the Kotzebue mayor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAIMA CHASE, KOTZEBUE RESIDENT: It`s crazy. It`s a once in a
lifetime thing that he is coming to a tiny little village basically.

REPORTER: Things have been crazy.

CHASE: I`m excited though. This is crazy.

REPORTER: You see, the president gets to town on Wednesday, get a
ticket.

CHASE: They spelled my name wrong.

REPORTER: And you get to see him.

CHASE: I am over the moon. I was pretty upset yesterday when I
didn`t get one and then my sister called this morning and said, we have
your ticket. I was like, aww. It`s crazy. It`s the president of the
United States of America.

REPORTER: That`s her sister, the mayor of Kotzebue. Thing like this
press conference, that`s rare stuff for Kotzebue.

And Maija Lukin has a crazy story for the president when she meets
him at the airport.

MAYOR MAIJA LUKIN, KOTZEBUE: I was so excited to meet you that my
appendix burst. No. I am trying to think of something that he`s going to
remember me by.

REPORTER: Are you really saying that?

LUKIN: I`m going to say it. I`m going to say it. I mean, come on,
when you do ever get a chance to say something like that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: So, the president has just landed in Kotzebue. We do not
have a live feed of his arrival so we don`t know yet until we get the tape
whether or not Kotzebue`s mayor actually did greet the president by saying
"I`m so excited to meet that you my appendix just burst." In fact, we`ve
been trying to say why she would say that specifically, whether or not her
appendix recently burst. She does seem fine. We don`t know.

But, obviously, they`re very excited out there. A reporter for the
local CBS station in Anchorage KTVA also tweeted out this shot that she got
today of school kids in Kotzebue preparing to meet President Obama there
tonight, by practicing the native Alaska song that they`re planning to sing
to him when he arrives. The kids are 4 years old.

Just 20 seconds here. Watch the little boy in the green shirt. If
any one of these kids is going to end up being a politician, it is the
little boy in the green shirt. Watch.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

MADDOW: Four-year-olds at the local preschool preparing to greet
President tonight with a big cat cough and a song that they were practicing
this morning at breakfast before the president`s arrival. The schools
those kids go to is an immersion school where they do all their lessons and
everything in one of the native Alaskan languages.

In case you are suffering from a shortage of cuteness in your life,
we have posted that video at our Web site tonight at MaddowBlog.com, so you
can top out on that whenever you`re having a bad day. It turns out that
little kid going is the cure for everything.

So President Obama has had this kind of remarkable three-day trip in
Alaska. He is making history right now as Air Force One lands in the
Arctic and he`s going to be giving a speech in Kotzebue a little later on
tonight. Stay tuned to MSNBC for that.

But while the president has been wrapping up this trip, this trip on
which it seems like he`s having a lot of fun if nothing else.
Simultaneously, back home in Washington, D.C., the administration today had
one of its biggest political victories ever. One of its biggest victories
of the entire Obama administration. And that`s` next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: So there`s no connection at all between the two events but
while President Obama was on this historic Alaska trip today, this is the
president earlier today in Alaska. While the president was on this Alaska
trip today with the ice cream shop and the spawning salmon and the adorable
kids and the crew neck sweater and all the rest of it, while he was doing
that today, President Obama also just today sealed what is maybe the
biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency.

Last night on this show we said one of the things to watch for on
today`s news was President Obama, as of last night, he was one vote away
from getting the go-ahead for the Senate with the nuclear deal with Iran.
He had 33 votes as of this time last night. He only needed 34 votes to be
able to guarantee that any effort by the Republican led Congress to block
the Iran deal could be held off. He had 33 votes last night. He needed
34.

Well, this morning, he got 34. It came from Barbara Mikulski, the
deciding vote. Barbara Mikulski, the feisty Democrat from Maryland who is
retiring at the end of this term. Because this Iran deal is so fraught and
so politically controversial and so much money and so much lobbying being
spent trying to stop it, it is a hard political decision for even a lot of
Democratic senators to side with President Obama on this deal.

And so, on the one hand, it just makes sense that the deciding vote
for the deal would come from a senator who will never face re-election
again, who`s never going to have any political blowback from this that she
is ever going to have to worry about.

On the other hand, that didn`t make it a sure bet that Barbara
Mikulski was going to be a yes. One important factor we`re told is that
the other senator from her state, the other senator from Maryland, Ben
Cardin, is still legitimately undecided on how he`s going to vote on the
deal, and Barbara Mikulski didn`t want to split her state`s votes with --
she didn`t want to split votes with the other senator from her state on
this important issue.

So it was not at all sure that Barbara Mikulski was going to be a
yes. But as of today, she is a yes. That means it is done. It is a done
deal. I mean, there are ten Democrats including Ben Cardin who say they
are still undecided. Who still haven`t said how they`ll vote.

But brass tacks, doesn`t really matter. The White House and
supporters of the Iran deal have got what they need. Congress will not be
able to stop the Iran deal. It`s not going to happen.

And this is a huge political victory for the Obama administration.
This was something that was really hard to negotiate as a deal. It was
really hard to imagine that they`d be able to fend off these domestic
political challenges to it in Congress. A lot of people thought they would
never be able to get this done, but they got it done.

And this will be seen as one of the top tier political achievements
of any kind from the whole Obama presidency. And one of them that was
hardest to achieve against the worst odds.

It happened today. And yet, even though president did seem happy
today, in Alaska, he did not say he was specifically happy about this huge
achievement. And he was happy about the salmon jerky and about the kids
and the awesome dancing and that salmon that was so happy to meet him. I
mean, the president seems like he`s in a good mood.

But there`s been no declaration of victory from him or from the White
House. There`s no victory lap, no crowing about how they got it done this
thing done, and what a huge deal it is.

Instead, since the Barbara Mikulski announcement this morning that
put him over the top and got them that magic number of votes, the White
House, the president, the whole Obama administration has kept its head down
all day and said they`re going to stay focused on winning more votes to
support the deal. They want more votes to support of the deal from those
ten remaining Democratic senators who haven`t yet said how they will vote.

They still want to focus on getting more of them on board even though
they have already hit the magic number that they need. Why is that? Why
are those extra votes so important to them? And if they`re so important to
them, are they likely to get them?

Today, we called all ten of the Democratic senators who have still
not said how they are going on vote on this deal. None of them wanted to
come on the show to talk about it.

But I want to know not only how they`re all going to vote. I want to
know why the White House cares so much. Since they have the magic number
they need to get the deal done.

So, to get those answers to those questions, the next call I made
after I called ten different senators was to call my friend Steve Clemons,
because even though Steve Clemons is not a senator, he tends to know these
things.

Joining us now, Steve Clemons, editor at large for the Atlantic,
MSNBC contributor.

Steve, it`s great to see you. Thanks for being here.

STEVE CLEMONS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Great to be with you, Rachel.
Sure.

MADDOW: Why does the White House care so much about getting more
votes, now that they have the number they need?

CLEMONS: Because there`s another magical number, and that number is
41. So, they got 34 votes and if they get 7 of the 10 people, 7 of the
senators and hit 41, then theoretically, they have the possibility of him
preventing that legislation from even going to a vote. That`s called a
filibuster. They can prevent cloture from succeeding and they can stop all
of this if they can make sure all of that.

Now, I talked to one of the senators today. And that`s just one out
of the ten. He made a very interesting statement. That was Senator Joe
Manchin.

And Joe Manchin said no matter which way he votes, this is a direct
quote, on this, on the Iran deal, he will not stand for the hypocrisy of
the Democrats trying to filibuster this.

So, Joe Manchin will not support a filibuster of the Iran deal. And
he hasn`t said that publicly. He said in it an interview with me and I had
permission to quote him on it.

So, at least he is one. And Chris Coons has sent smoke signals along
the same lines. I don`t know if he`s made such a declarative statement as
that, but the White House is trying to get seven of those 10 to support a
filibuster.

MADDOW: But, Steve, am I right materially there would be no
difference in the Iran deal going through because it got filibusters in the
Senate, and the Iran deal not going through because President Obama vetoed
it? I mean, materially, either way, the Iran deal goes through.

CLEMONS: Materially, you`re right. But the world then never sees an
actual vote by the United States Senate supporting a resolution of
disapproval on the Iran deal. That`s a big deal.

MADDOW: So the idea, the rest of the world seeing American resolve
or seeing two American faces on this issue. That`s, it is a sort of
impressionistic power of that rather than the --

CLEMONS: Yes, in the end, the president will prevail. He will not
have his veto overridden. You`re absolutely right on the substance. And
so, this is a big deal.

But it`s very different when you have two houses of the Congress
passing very large proportion a negative statement on the Iran deal. And
this 41, this magic number of 41 robs those opponents of the Iran of that -
- of that prospect.

MADDOW: Steve Clemons, editor at large for "The Atlantic", and an
MSNBC contributor, eventually someone is going to do a big victory lap on
this. We`ll see which magic number they do it on about.

Steve, thanks so much.

CLEMONS: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more to come on this very busy
news night. Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: I mentioned at the top of the show there`s been a lot of
late breaking political news. Tonight, one of the weirder and more
personal, and honestly, just sort of more creepily agro fights of the day
ended up looking like this. Yes. This was how it looked by the end of the
day. This was one of those "Clash of the Titans" political fights. We`ve
got an important announcement about that fight coming up on this show
tonight.

Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: This is something you do not see every day if you live in
Beijing. Blue skies. Not altered, this photo. Blue skies, crystal clear
blue skies seen over Beijing`s Tiananmen Square today.

Normally, that particular view looks a little more like this. Smog.
You can`t see your hand in front of your face smog. But today at least in
Beijing, the skies are very bright blue and that`s in part because for
weeks, nearly two weeks, smog producing factories have been shut down,
millions of cars have been taken off the road and it is all on purpose, to
pretty up the Beijing skies, to artificially clean them up for China to
hold big a military parade today.

Parade marking 70 years since the end of World War II. This is going
to be the largest military parade in Chinese history, 12,000 troops taking
part.

It`s a military parade so it is a show of force in some ways. And
that`s controversial for all the obvious reasons. But for all the military
chest beating and the not inconsiderable triumphalism that this represents
for China, this is also China`s way of commemorating in a way that it
hasn`t done in such a big way before. It`s their way of commemorating, not
just the end of World War II, in victory in World War II, but also, how
much China sacrificed in that war.

China had 14 million people killed in World War II. That war created
80 million Chinese refugees, the forced movement of 80 million people. A
phenomenal number of human beings forcibly displaced. And while every
allied country, I think, imagines itself to be the hero of World War II in
some way or another, countries around the world, including ours, are still
grappling with the conscience implications of what we did not do for some
of the worst-off refugees in that global war.

And now, in a smaller way, a different way, it`s happening again. A
humanitarian crisis of refugees, women and children, whole families, a
crisis that is getting increasingly acute every day. For months, people
all over the world have been taken aback by the heart-rending images of
what are sometime called migrants, sometimes called refugees and asylum
seekers.

Hundred of thousands of people fleeing conflicts in the Middle East,
Africa, coming by foot, by foot, by any way possible to try to get to
safety in Europe. It seems like every day, the pictures get more
desperate. Today, one very hard to look at image is showing just how god
awful things have gotten. You have probably seen this today already. It
led the news around the country today.

But even whether or not you`ve seen it, you may not want to look. It
is graphic. I`m going to show it in 3, 2, 1.

This is the image. It shows the body of a small Syrian boy, a
refugee who washed ashore in Turkey. His family`s boat sank on its way to
Greece. Absolutely terrible image. It is resonating around the world
tonight though.

And alongside how terrible this crisis is, we are seeing people being
moved to try to help with or without their governments. In Vienna this
week, 20,000 people took to the streets to show their support for the
refugees arriving on their doorstep. In Iceland, thousands of citizens
have signed a petition calling on the Icelandic government to allow more
refugees into their home. People have been offering up their own homes.

Tonight in Hungary, some imaginative volunteers set up an outdoor
screening of Tom and Jerry cartoons for some of the displaced kids there.

This past weekend, German soccer fans unfurled big banners that said
"refugees welcome". Train stations in Munich had been so overrun with
donations that police officers had to tell people to stop bringing them.

Every country is responding to this crisis differently. In some
places, the reaction of the people is not at all the same as the reaction
of their country`s government. But one of the things that has been
interesting to watch right now is that the government of Germany is taking
a welcoming and relatively organized stance amid this tide of people who
are trying to get there.

Germany has announced that it`s on track to take in 800,000 refugees
and asylum seekers, 800,000 this year. Contrast that with Britain, which
is the second largest in Europe. Today, the British prime minister said
taking in more refugees is not the answer.

This difference, this very stark difference playing out on the front
cover of two of this country`s major newspapers. One the left is the front
cover of Germany`s "Daily Bild". It shows two young refugees with the
headline, "We Help". On the right in Britain, "The Daily Express" says,
"Migrants swarm to Britain". Swarm.

Amid this huge human tide of sadness and need, why are these two
important countries reacting so differently in Europe? And not
incidentally, how about us? What`s our role in this? Are we helping? Do
we have plans to? How should we?

Joining us now for the interview is David Miliband. He`s the former
British foreign secretary. He`s now president and CEO of the International
Rescue Committee.

Mr. Secretary, it`s a real honor to have you here. Thanks for your
time.

DAVID MILIBAND, FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Thank you very
much. Good to be here.

MADDOW: How should we understand the difference in the German and
British reactions? Obviously, both very close allies of the United States,
both big economies in Europe. Why such a stark difference?

MILIBAND: I think the conscience of Germany has been picked in a
very fundamental way. There`s been leadership from the top. It`s a
coalition government of central right and center left. Both the chancellor
and vice chancellor are very committed.

And I think for historical reasons, Germany has a special thought
about its role in humanitarian crisis. It is also the point Germany is now
the largest economy in Europe. And the question of what German leadership
and German responsibility means in the modern world is a very big question
in Germany. And here`s chance after all the trauma of the euro crisis
where Germany has been accused of teetering and being slow, here`s a chance
for Germany to show real humanitarian, political leadership on a scale that
not just Britain but the U.S. simply can`t keep up with.

MADDOW: When he we look at these images, and we look at almost the
sort of, hard to get your head around the scale of this and the fact that
it is unrelenting now, this tide of people. And the fact that people are
not just coming from one place, they`re coming from so many different war
torn places. It feels like it is breaking Europe, and not in the sense
that there are too many people coming, but that Europe`s rules don`t fit
this problem. And that the rules that were in place supposedly to deal
with this sort of thing don`t seem to be fitting and now seems to be
flouted.

MILIBAND: Now, there are two aspects I would question. First of
all, they are not coming from that many places. The International Rescue
Committee, my organization, we have staff in Greece, on the islands of
Greece where people are arriving. Two-thirds of the refugees arriving in
to Europe are coming into these islands, more than 60 percent are from
Syria.

So, the five-year Syria crisis, 4.5 million refugees, most of them in
the neighboring countries, Lebanon, Jordan, et cetera, that`s the main
source of refugee numbers, also Afghanistan to some extent.

Secondly, you said in your introduction, sometimes we call them
migrants, sometimes we call them refugees, there`s a huge difference.

MADDOW: Right.

MILIBAND: And one of the most dangerous things, including in
Britain, is the fact that the idea of a refugee, the status of someone who
has a well-founded fear of persecution, which is the definition of a
refugee and international law, that`s being muddied, that`s being diluted,
it`s being undermined in this talk of -- well, migrants who chose to come
for economic reasons.

MADDOW: Right. All the headlines are about migrants, as if this is
just immigration, as if this is people moving in a normal context without -
-

MILIBAND: And it`s really important to say to people, this isn`t
about being politically correct. It`s about being correct. That a refugee
is fleeing persecution, an economic immigrant I would prefer to say, rather
than migrant, is seeking a better life. It`s not that one is good and one
is bad, but they`re different.

And the refugee has rights in international law, rights to protection
and responsibilities from governments that need to be upheld. And one of
the fundamental challenges now is to ensure the very notion of a refugee is
not lost in the talk and the headlines about a migrant crisis.

MADDOW: What about the United States? Obviously, the United States
is in a different position, particularly with regard to people coming from
Afghanistan, people are coming from Syria, making their way by land across
Europe. But what about American leadership?

MILIBAND: Historically, America has been the leader of refugee
resettlement. I don`t want to throw too many figures at you, but if you --
the record last year, 20 million refugees around the world. Those who
resettled in richer countries, about 150,000 or so. The U.S. takes 70,000.

But the record from Syria, I`m afraid does not amount to leadership.
The United States since the Syria conflict began has taken 1,234 Syrian
refugees. So, more or less 250 a year. The State Department announced a
target of 5,000 to 8,000 in 2016.

But that is way below the kind of leadership that`s needed for
America to play its historic role, never mind to compare with the German
reaction of 800,000 asylum seekers and refugees. OK, it`s our
responsibility. We`ll take them.

MADDOW: David Miliband, former British foreign secretary, president
and CEO of the International Rescue Committee now, thank you for being
here. The world`s most serious issue and it`s really nice to have you here
to talk about it. Thank you.

MILIBAND: Thank you very much.

MADDOW: We`ll be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: This morning, "The Washington Post" published a op-ed about
Donald Trump. It was an op-ed that Donald Trump did not like. Happy
Wednesday.

But this op-ed was written by NBA hall of famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
the all-time leading scorer in the NBA. Very smart man, good op-ed,
debunking the whole Bernie Sanders and Trump are two sides of the same coin
mainstream media troupe.

Good op-ed, Donald Trump hated it. But the way Donald Trump chose to
display his contempt for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar`s op-ed was writing a mean
note on it and sending it to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Quote, "Kareem, now I know why the press treated you so badly. They
couldn`t stand you. The fact is that you don`t have a clue about life and
what has to be done to make great again." And then he closes it with,
"Best wishes, Donald Trump." That is a what he wrote to Kareem Abdul-
Jabbar. Nobody likes you and now I know why.

Based on the way he reacts to criticism, you would think that Mr.
Trump is the one that made 11 all defensive teams, right? Tomorrow night,
right here exclusively on THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW we will be joined by
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who`s right in the middle of what`s turning to be a
very fun and very weird fight. It`s going to be very, very beautiful.
It`s going to be very, very beautiful.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: So, we have an update to our little avalanche of breaking
political breaking news on the top of the show tonight. We started tonight
with Jeb Bush picking the kind of fight you can`t win by fundraising off
his forthcoming appearance on Stephen Colbert show. He told people that in
exchange for a $3 donation to his campaign, they could be entered in a
raffle for a chance to get tickets to Stephen Colbert`s first show as the
host of the "Late Night Show" on CBS.

Mr. Bush is going to appear as one of the guests on the first show.
But, apparently, he didn`t ask Stephen Colbert if it was OK for him, for
his first show to be a Jeb Bush for president fund-raiser. Bad move,
Governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLBERT: No one from Jeb`s campaign asked me if this was OK with me
to raise money off of my first show. Where`s my cut of that sweet 3 bucks,
Governor? Huh? Where`s this stuff? House always gets its beak wet.
Where`s the big, Gov?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That was earlier tonight.

Now, Jeb Bush just responded with a hilarious comedy routine of his
own.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, Stephen, I`m at the
Philadelphia airport. I thought the host was Amy Schumer. I totally blew
it. Since it is you, we are lowering our contest fee to $1 and I will
enter yours with a donation to the Yellow Ribbon Fund.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Jeb Bush from the Philadelphia Airport trying to get ahead
of the feud he just started with Stephen Colbert before he starts his late-
night show. How this plays out and what it means, we do not yet know.
It`s all happening right now.

That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.

Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."

Good evening, Lawrence. Welcome back.

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

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