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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guests: Tim Kaine, Gail Collins, Malcolm Nance


RACHEL MADDOW, HOST:  Good evening, Keith.  Thank you for that and thank you for getting all of the bugs out of the system before my show started.  I‘m sorry you had to deal with all of that.



OLBERMANN:  Good luck.

MADDOW:  Thanks.  Appreciate it.

All right.  Thanks to you at home tonight for tuning in.


I want to welcome you to the 2010 campaign season, because as far as I can tell, 2010 campaign season starts tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the anniversary of President Obama signing the law that has become the unexpected sleeper issue of the 2010 campaign.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that I will sign today, a plan that meets the principles that I laid out in January, is the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history.


MADDOW:  At the one-year anniversary of the stimulus, it is turning out to offer not just economic recovery, but also Democratic political recovery.

Democrats have basically three things to do between now and November.  One: they need to get good candidates to defend their open seats.  Number two: they need to pass health reform.  And number three: they need to embarrass Republicans on their hypocrisy.

The stimulus has been a gift-wrapped opportunity for Democrats to show how Republicans have denounced Democratic legislation in Washington for political effect and then admitted in their home districts that that legislation works.  It shows not only that Democratic policies work, and when push comes to shove in their home districts, Republicans know it.  It also shows that Republicans care so little about policy that they‘re OK withholding totally nonsensical contradictory positions on important stuff.

Dozens of congressional Republicans, who have praised, say, the stimulus at home while denouncing it in Washington, seem to be unembarrassed about how two-faced and incoherent it is to tout those two positions simultaneously—at least to have seemed to be unembarrassed.  Tonight, I am pleased to report we have some early signs of embarrassment.

Among those snared in the stimulus hypocrisy web is Republican Senator James “Mountain” Inhofe of Oklahoma.  Last week, we noted that Senator Inhofe had proudly attacked the stimulus over the course of the past year, but he was caught touting stimulus spending in his state as, quote, “great news.”

In light of that reporting, Senator Inhofe has gone for help to a conservative media outlet called CNS News complaining about us.  He said, quote, “She would now like her viewers to believe that because Senator Inhofe praised stimulus money going to Oklahoma, that Senator Inhofe is somehow a hypocrite.  Hardly!”

That was the quote from Senator Inhofe‘s office.

For the record, Mr. Inhofe‘s office has not asked our show for a correction, and, in fact, none will be offered.  I understand that being called a political hypocrite is an awful thing to hear, but you can‘t just insist that you‘re not to be called a hypocrite if your record indicates that you are one.

Senator Inhofe, in fact, praised toxic super-fund cleanup spending in Oklahoma as part of the stimulus.  He praised it as great news and necessary funds.  Then he denounced the stimulus that provides those necessary funds as something that didn‘t work.  He told the same outfit, CNS News, that the stimulus bill was nothing but social engineering and welfare.  Oh, and those necessary funds that were great news for my state.

If you are both praising something as necessary and saying it doesn‘t work, you are a hypocrite.  You may not want to be called a hypocrite, but the solution to that is: don‘t act like one.  Don‘t just complain about people who accurately report how you do act, OK?

Same goes for more than a dozen other Republican lawmakers, singled out by “The Wall Street Journal” today.  Congressional Republicans including Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Sue Myrick of North Carolina, Jean Schmidt of Ohio, Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, Bob Bennett of Utah—not to mention the entire Alabama congressional delegation.  All of these Republicans have been caught on the record requesting stimulus money for ways they thought it could help their states and districts after voting against the stimulus, and trashing it as something that was useless.

You guys, it‘s either useless or it‘s useful.  It cannot be both.

Now, “The Wall Street Journal” obtained letters that these Republicans wrote, requesting stimulus funds, and the evidence is amazing.  It‘s certainly nothing short of damning.

In her request, for example, Jean Schmidt of Ohio writes, quote, “This project will not only save jobs but create multiple jobs within southern Ohio.”

Paul Ryan says, the funds will help, quote, “place 1,000 workers in green jobs.”

Alabama Senators Shelby—Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, they write, quote, “This money would help provide jobs for chemical applicators, foresters and others who would be involved in the state‘s cogongrass eradication and control program.

Senator Bennett of Utah says, “The addition of federal funds to these projects would maximize the stimulative effect of these projects on the economy.  These projects will help the economy of Utah.”

Sue Myrick of North Carolina—this is genius—the stimulus funding would, quote, “lead to solar energy-related jobs in an area hard hit by unemployment.  She also calls it, “a critical step in bringing economic opportunities to my congressional district.”  “We have an urgent need,” she says, “for a workforce that is truly prepared to contribute to the green economy.”  So says, Sue Myrick, member of Congress, on her letterhead, writing and asking for these stimulus funds that are going to produce all of these useful things in her district that she simultaneously saying is a totally useless program.

These Republicans are acknowledging in writing that the stimulus is good policy, that it works—thus proving that they don‘t mean it when they denounce the stimulus as worthless.

It is worth noting that today‘s expose on this was published in the conservative “Wall Street Journal.”  The other big expose on Republican hypocrisy was published in the last week in ultraconservative “Washington Times.”  These are conservative papers calling out Republicans for hypocrisy.

This is the important thing.  The hypocrisy epidemic among Republicans is trouble for them in politics this year, and that‘s not just because it energizes Democrats and liberals and reminds them of why they believe it‘s important to keep these guys from taking the majority again.

It‘s also important because it separates Republicans from the people the Republicans would like to have as their own base.

The Republican Party chairman, Michael Steele, for example, met with self-styled tea party leaders today in Washington.  What‘s his message on spending going to be to those small government anti-Washington conservatives?  What‘s his message going to be?  Vote for us half the time we‘ll say we agree with you?  And the other half the time we hope you don‘t notice?

Joining us now is the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tim Kaine.  Mr. Kaine is also the former governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for joining us tonight.  Nice to have you on the program.

FMR. GOV. TIM KAINE, DNC CHAIRMAN:  Always glad to be with you, Rachel.  Thanks.

MADDOW:  Let me give you a chance to correct me first on something

that I made up.  I‘ve said, what Democrats need to do to win in the

midterms this year is, they need good candidates for open seats, they need

to pass health reform, and they need to make sure everyone in the country -

left, right and center—knows about Republican hypocrisy on policy.


Does that bear any resemblance to the actual Democratic game plan?

KAINE:  You pretty much nailed it.  I mean, there is one more, which is: we got to continue to push forward with programs like the Recovery Act so that the economy continues to improve.  Two quarters of GDP growth in a row is good.  Job loss is dropping from 720,000 a month to kind of almost net even is good.

But we got a ways to go still.  So, that would be my fourth element. 

Obviously, the president‘s been focused on that since day one.

But the other three are right.  You know, we‘re going to tell the success story.  We‘re going to point out Republicans who have been engaged in this hypocrisy, acknowledging that the stimulus is good while pretending before the cameras that they‘re against it.

And then the candidate recruitment and making sure that our folks are energized to support the candidates is the key.  In a tough climate, in a tough year, I think we‘re going to do better than people expect.

MADDOW:  On this issue of hypocrisy, and we‘ve been talking about it a lot on this show.  We‘re no longer the only ones doing it.  It seems like there‘s a lesson for Democrats here, too, on policy.

Why would you try to compromise and find common ground with people who reject their own ideas, who hold two totally opposite positions on the same policy at the same time?  It‘s like trying to divide by zero.  I mean, is there not—is there not a sort of message here for governing Democrats in terms of the futility of trying to find bipartisan policy solutions?

KAINE:  Well, Rachel, here‘s the way I would say it.  I think what the American public wants to see is, this is a time of national urgency and emergency, they want to see people working together.  The Democrats have been willing to do all this heavy-lifting while the Republicans have made a decision to be obstructionists and vote no, even to hope that these policies fail.

Nevertheless, I think they want to see us reaching out to try to get them engaged.  We shouldn‘t be deluding what we‘re doing to chase after non-existent votes, but we should still be reaching out and asking for ideas.  And if the other side has good ideas, then those should go into the policies that we put together.

I think that‘s been the president‘s strategy.  We‘re going to keep reaching out.  We‘re going to keep listening.  But we also have got to demand that the other guys take their governmental responsibilities seriously and when they engage in this kind of political games, like around the stimulus funding, talking out of both sides of their mouth, we got to point it out.

MADDOW:  I know on health reform that you think it is important for the country.  I know that you think it is important policy.

KAINE:  Yes.

MADDOW:  In purely political terms, do you think it is important for Democrats, for the November elections, that health reform is passed soon?

KAINE:  Rachel, I do.  I think it is absolutely critical.  It‘s critical because, as you point out, Americans need it.  The insured need more security from abuses by insurance company, and the uninsured need a path to affordable coverage for the first time in this country.  And we definitely need to figure out a way to stop this backbreaking premium increases and the costs that are going to keep skyrocketing, absent meaningful reform.  So, it has to happen, because it‘s good policy.

But I also agree with you, politically, it‘s a measure of our coherence and our ability to make things happen as Democrats, that we—that we, you know, follow the president‘s lead and get health reform done.  I just came out of a meeting about that, and it is—it‘s just incredibly that the Dems make it happen.

MADDOW:  When you say you just came out of a meeting about that, are you telling us that something is about to happen?

KAINE:  No, that is not—this was kind of a strategy meeting.  I don‘t—I‘m, you know, within my own pay grade.  I‘m the guy who‘s leading the party.  But I was—you know, I‘m asking questions about it, and I know that there‘s intense activity to try to find that path to success.

It‘s a harder path to find when the other guys have made it a decision that 100 percent of their game is going to be throwing up roadblocks.  But now that we know that that‘s the game, and now that we‘ve incorporated ideas such as they‘ve been offered and the president is going to keep reaching out to the guys to see if they have other good ideas, we need to make this happen.

MADDOW:  Let me ask you one last question that I think could go some distance to reassuring a lot of people who voted for Barack Obama and Joe Biden in the fall, and who are worried about what‘s going to happen this fall.  What do you think went wrong in the Massachusetts Senate race?  What are the lessons learned and what are you going to do differently because of what you saw happen there?

KAINE:  Rachel, I would say a couple things.  You know, first, you know, there‘s all these things that could be better about campaigns that are run, even winning campaigns could be run better.  So, I think there were some things about the campaign that could have been done better.

But let‘s set those aside.  I think from our standpoint, at the Democratic Party, you know, when a candidate says, hey, look, this race is going fine, we‘re in great shape, we need to check under the hood.  And we need to make our own assessment of, in fact, is that true.

We were able to generate intense activity from volunteers at the DNC.  Volunteers in support of this race, once we realized there was a difficulty in this race.  But I think candidly, from our side, we should have started earlier.

I think there are some issues about messaging and the focus on policies that were important to independent voters in Massachusetts.  Some of it is about, you know, items of significance, you know, certainly jobs in the economy, dealing with this tough and thorny issue of the deficit.  Very important for independent voters, but also, not just policy, but in the way it‘s communicated.

So, I think there are lessons for the Democratic Party and there are lessons for the White House.  But I think people—you know, I think, I‘m describing this as our ghost of Christmas future experience, Scrooge didn‘t like what he heard from the ghost of Christmas future, and he asked, “Hey, look, do I get to change the future?”  And the answer was: yes, you do get to change it.

If you make some adjustments now, you could make some changes.  I would rather have learned in January of 2010 than November of 2010.

MADDOW:  Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, former governor of Virginia—sir, I know you know this, but you‘re good on TV, and you should be on TV more.  We haven‘t seen enough of you recently, and I think people—

KAINE:  Yes.

MADDOW:  -- would like to.

KAINE:  The two-job thing was a challenge on my first year.  You‘re going to be—you‘re going to be sick of how much you‘re seeing me soon.

MADDOW:  Very good.  I look forward to it.  Thank you, Governor. 

Appreciate it.

All right.  “New York Times” columnist Gail Collins will be our guest next.  I‘m very excited about that.

And later on, as Keith mentioned, Glenn Beck apparently knows my name, even though he will not say it out loud as a matter of principle.  His amazing and weird problem with me and this show—coming up.

Please do stay with us.

But, first, “One More Thing” about the other major party‘s chairman, Michael Steele.  I want you to know that we‘ve invited Mr. Steele to be on this show many, many times.  Our producers called his office for good measure again today.  But once again, we were told politely by his staff that his schedule is full.

Back in January, Mr. Steele was on his book tour in this very building, just right over in front of that room around the corner, and he told one of the producers from our show then that he would love to appear here on the show with me.  Even as his handlers were telling us that would never happen.

Mr. Steele, I just want you to know, we are still waiting.  We would love to have you.  Please don‘t let your handlers hold you back, you can take ‘em.


MADDOW:  Today, there‘s a bit of a mainstream breakthrough on the issue of our broken Senate.  There‘s a “USA Today” newspaper editorial today.  “USA Today”—the most mainstream of mainstream newspapers—has run a blistering op-ed calling for Democrats to solve the filibuster problem once and for all.

Columnist DeWayne Wickham blasts the complexity of the Democratic majority, describing how Senate Democrats have, in his word—in his words, “eight more votes than they need to stop Republicans from using the filibuster to effectively block the will of the majority.”  Mr. Wickham goes on to note that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appears unwilling to kill the filibuster now even though Republicans were quite happy to threaten to kill it five years ago.

And then, Mr. Wickham closes with this, check this out: “The filibuster is a Faustian bargain that undermines the will of voters.  The promise of change that swept Barack Obama into the presidency and padded Democratic majorities in the House and Senate last year has been largely derailed by the Senate‘s Republican minority, which has kept a broad array of legislation from coming to a vote.  More than outrageous, this legislative tyranny holds hostage our democracy to the whims of a political party that was on the losing end of an election cycle.

The voters who gave Democrats control of Congress and the White House in the recent elections expect results, not inaction.  They expect Congress to bring bills to a vote, not allow a mean-spirited minority to filibuster them to death.  If Democrats won‘t use the majority voters gave them to end this bad practice, then they deserve to suffer their wrath in November‘s elections.”

That was in “USA Today.”  Tomorrow, the world.  And I have to admit, I sort of like the “USA Today” turn of phrase there, legislative tyranny, he called it.  Mr. DeWayne Wickham, I‘m taking that as an official entry in our “rename the filibuster problem” contest which, by the way, is going on right now online at  We expect to have a winner by Friday.

In the meantime, today‘s featured entries include “fewtocracy,” rhymes with theocracy.  “American idle,” homonym, get it?  “Nothin‘ but nyet,” I like anything with the New Jersey reference.  “Mostbuster,” that one comes with a little visual, see?  And today‘s most war-like featured entry, “WMD, Willful Minority Device.”

Keep them coming.  We‘ll have a winner on Friday.

Joining us now is “New York Times” columnist Gail Collins.

Ms. Collins, I am a fan of your work.  Thank you so much for coming on the show.


MADDOW:  There‘s a feature on the “New York Times” web site called “The Conversation.”  You and David Brooks talked to each other between columns.  And in last week‘s conversation, you said the filibuster should die.

In a shockingly blunt way, what‘s your case against it?

COLLINS:  Oh, my Lord, it‘s ridiculous.  I—nobody out there understands what it is.  If they did, they would all go nuts instantly.  You have a Senate that already is so tilted toward small, rural, under-populated states.  We got the—North Dakota has 600,000 people, that‘s as many as on my block.  But they get as many votes as California or New York does.

Plus, besides that, they have this new rule that they‘ve come up with, that everything takes 60 votes, that you can‘t get the third deputy secretary of agriculture confirmed without 60 votes.  It‘s completely nuts.

MADDOW:  Well, we‘ve been struggling on this show with how to talk about the filibuster problem.  I mean, it is admittedly sort of an—it‘s sort of a boring-sounding, esoteric-sounding concept, and we‘re trying to come up with a way to communicate—that communicates how important it is, and also, that sort of memorable.  I am finding, though, that it‘s being talked about more and more.

Do you think it‘s starting to get through?

COLLINS:  Yes, it‘s sort of it is.


COLLINS:  Nobody really understands it, but there‘s a sense out there that there‘s something bad that‘s going on in the Senate, that it‘s weird, and it‘s not like “Mr. Smith Went to Washington” any more.  And even Mr.  Smith went to Washington didn‘t make any sense if you really listened to it.

It—yes, I think it‘s coming along, but I must say, you know, Tom Harkin, who‘s got the bill in Detroit to get rid of it—

MADDOW:  Right.

COLLINS:  -- says he wants to make it topic of discussion in these campaigns.  I have never once in my life been to a Senate campaign in which anybody ever asked a senator whether they would support getting rid of the filibuster.  I think it‘s a great question.  Every single candidate should be asked it every day.

MADDOW:  I will tell you, I did not know you were going to say that, but we have a great intern on our staff right now who was just tasked this afternoon with calling every single member of the Senate to ask how they were disposed to this as a general concept.

COLLINS:  This intern will be so popular.


MADDOW:  Julia, we got your back.  I‘m telling you—you‘ll extra—get fewer coffee runs, extra no money.

COLLINS:  Go Julia.



MADDOW:  Well, one of the things that I think makes it—the things that make it not just important, but hard to imagine getting done, is that Harry Reid keeps saying that it can‘t be killed.  The Republicans said in 2005, oh, we could kill it at the drop of the hat, which caused Democratic panic.  How do you explain those two different takes on it?

COLLINS:  The Republicans are always meaner than the Democrats.  I mean, that‘s just a fact of life when it comes to legislation.

MADDOW:  Tactically meaner.

COLLINS:  Yes.  I mean, just legislatively, they can just—they‘re very mean and the Democrats are very wimpy.  It‘s just an absolute true fact.

Also, I think the vice president can promise to do something about it, when he calls the next session in in two years, if he wants to.  I think he can set the rules.  The vice president‘s office has shown such a stupendous disinterest in doing this.


MADDOW:  Although Joe Biden does keep bringing it up as a problem.

COLLINS:  I know.  I know, it‘s interesting that suddenly, it‘s, you know, sort of a talking point after all this time.  I don‘t think they‘ve ever envisioned really, really changing it.  But, boy, if you need a tea party against filibusters, there must be a way to do that, just to have people with funny hats on, running around, screaming and looking strange and deranged and then, you know, things will happen.

MADDOW:  Well, I think between Julia‘s telephone survey and that‘s coming up with a funny new name for it—that‘s inexorable pressure right there.



MADDOW:  Can I ask you one totally unrelated thing about a column you wrote recently?


MADDOW:  You wrote a very funny column about trying to figure out whether the political culture was worse in Illinois or in New York.  Did you get like—

COLLINS:  Illinois won.

MADDOW:  Yes, Illinois.  (INAUDIBLE).


MADDOW:  So, people wrote in to tell you which they thought was worse?

COLLINS:  No, people wrote in to protest the fact that I have said it was Illinois, because they all felt their states deserved to be mentioned.  Many, many, many letters say, wait a minute, Georgia, or you know, I‘m from Nevada, my heavens, how could you not mention New Jersey?  The New Jersey people were very upset that we didn‘t mention New Jersey.  And there‘s a real competition out there for most terrible state politics.

MADDOW:  Americans all believe that their state is the worst.

COLLINS:  Possibly not Iowa.  I don‘t know, but normally Americans all believe—

MADDOW:  I bet Vermonters are pretty psyched about their government, too.

COLLINS:  Yes.  The little tiny states where people who only come for like three days a month and don‘t get paid anything.  They‘re very—they really like their legislators a lot.

MADDOW:  “New York Times” columnist Gail Collins, again, I am a great fan of your work and it‘s really nice to have you on the show.  Thank you for coming in.

COLLINS:  Thanks.

MADDOW:  So, what would you say about America not only totally defeating al Qaeda, but doing it in just 24 months, two years?  Malcolm Nance, a genuine, bona fide expert in counterterrorism says it can be done.  He‘s written down the plan and published it.

Mr. Nance joins us for “The Interview” next.  This is going to be really good.  Please, do not miss this.



ANNOUNCER:  Today‘s security briefing will be conducted by Malcolm Nance, retired naval intelligence officer, fluent in Arabic, has been posted all over the Middle East, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.  He was an instructor at the U.S. Navy Survival Evasion, Resistance and Escape School.  He helped create the advanced terrorism abduction and hostage survival school.

His specialty: Middle Eastern terrorism.

His assessment of the enemy: al Qaeda is a cult.  Its ideology is a dramatic corruption of traditional Islam.  Doctrine is based on destroying and reengineering Islam.

Plan of attack: code name, “Circuit Breaker,” a mind war to separate al Qaeda from its base of support.

Expected outcome: total defeat of al Qaeda within 24 months.


MADDOW:  Twenty-four months?  Two years until the total defeat of al-Qaeda?  Joining us now is the man who has a plan to do just that.  He lays it all out in his new book “An End to al-Qaeda” which I‘ve been freaking people out by reading on the subway recently.  Malcolm Nance is 27-year intelligence and combat veteran.  Thank you very much for coming back on the show tonight.  It‘s nice to see you.

MALCOLM NANCE, AUTHOR, “AN END TO AL-QAEDA”:  It‘s always my pleasure. 

MADDOW:  I feel like when I read this on the subway people gasp when it says “al-Qaeda” in big letters and I keep trying to point out “An End to” - “An End to.” 

We are at war with al-Qaeda right now, what changes do we need to make in the way that we‘re fighting it in order to literally end it within two years? 

NANCE:  Well, as you might have noticed, over the last couple months, we‘ve had this discussion about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the young gentleman who flew on an airplane and tried to explode himself over Detroit. 

Now, for the most part, everyone wants to talk about the kinetics of warfare - that‘s bringing down lots of heavy artillery, weapons and explosives down on the terrorists.  And that‘s a great method.  It‘s one, you know, I enjoyed in my time, but it is not the only way to attack the enemy.

And one way that we have completely ignored - we have yielded the entire battlefield to al-Qaeda over the last 20 years - is we have never attacked their ideology.  What they stand for, why they stand for, and why they - and how they can motivate young men to get on to an airplane and blow themselves up. 

MADDOW:  You make the case into al-Qaeda that al-Qaeda both is a cult, should be seen as a cult, and America should go some way toward internationally defining them as a cult.  Why do you think that‘s so important? 

NANCE:  Well, for the most part, al-Qaeda has defined us, the United States, and their mission with no challenge from the United States government or from any global body for that matter, although a little bit by the Saudis over the last 20 years. 

Ever since their very inception, they have determined what they are.  They see themselves as a band of nomadic knights who go around the Middle East and the Muslim world and they fight for Islam. 

That is not what they‘re really about.  They intend, if you read al-Qaeda doctrine, if you read the words of Osama Bin Laden, they intend to reengineer Islam.  Islam is the component that they need in order to have a clash of civilizations between what they view as a radicalized Islam and the west. 

However, to do that, they have to break down all of the traditional structures of Islam and radicalize those people. 

MADDOW:  And that‘s why they don‘t have any qualms about the fact that such a high percentage of their victims are Muslims. 

NANCE:  Yes. 

MADDOW:  Something that would be completely verboten in traditional Islam of any stripe.

NANCE:  Well, the beautiful thing about the way the al-Qaeda manages to usurp the opinion of the Muslim world is that they use our mistakes, our political errors, our policy errors.  And they tend to come forward as these fighting knights and usurp those opinions and make it appear as if they are the people who are speaking for the Muslim world.  The Muslim world has no idea what al-Qaeda really intends for Islam and itself. 

MADDOW:  How does America wage a war with that mission, with that message mission, that mind war as its central dominating, I guess, as its prime mover?  The reason I ask is because it‘s hard to - as you say, it‘s hard to think of that as war.  It sounds like that‘s PR. 

NANCE:  Well, it sounds like PR, but if you notice that we have spent, what, trillions of dollars right now, putting down the heavy metal, putting down the kinetics on to our terrorist enemies, looking up at the intelligence. 

But we have never, at any point, decided to stop their ability to recruit and get support from the very community that we want to usurp.  So it‘s not as sexy as, you know, putting a predator drone up in the air and killing a man from 30,000 feet.  It‘s not as sexy as putting 175 grade sniper round through the head of somebody who‘s out in the middle of Afghanistan. 

However, more critical to this mission - and like I said, we call it circuit breaker.  If you break their ideology, you break their link to Islam and Muslim support from people who aren‘t quite sure what they really stand for, but don‘t actively oppose them in anyway. 

If you can actually flip that switch, it will be like the Anbar awakening in Iraq, when the Iraqis determined that al-Qaeda was just not going to lead them into an Islamic society against their will.  And they turned off that support and they killed that organization within less than a year. 

MADDOW:  And it happened fast.  That‘s one of the points that I think you make very compellingly, that al-Qaeda may want this to be a long war.  We don‘t and we shouldn‘t let them determine the terms of it.  Do you think we‘re capable of doing this? 

NANCE:  I think if we actually decide to go after al-Qaeda with all the resources of the United States government.  Right now, it‘s been the Department of Defense and a few times, we look into it. 

You know, the State Department wanted to reengineer how the United States was viewed around the world.  We need to realize this is a virus that is going - that will burn through the Muslim world. 

This is why Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab‘s father had no impact on the boy to the point where he couldn‘t talk him out of whatever radicalization he was into.  He had to go to the Central Intelligence Agency to go out and try to bring the boy back to reality.

But this cultist-like ideology that they have within there is irreconcilable.  There is no turning this off from members of al-Qaeda once they‘ve gotten within that organization.  So in doing so, we have to come to the defense of the Muslim world.  We have to realize that our ally in this fight is the Muslim world, and we have to help them stop this virus. 

MADDOW:  Briefly, Malcolm, you‘ve been on the show in the past.  We‘ve talked about interrogation techniques.  We‘ve learned that the Taliban‘s top military commander has been captured in Pakistan.  How should the U.S.  be handling this interrogation? 

NANCE:  Right now, unfortunately, he‘s not in our hands.

MADDOW:  He‘s in Pakistan - yes. 

NANCE:  He‘s in the hands of the inter-service intelligence agency.  And if he were to have fallen in our hands, we need to process him as quickly as possible.  But we cannot use any of the methodologies we‘ve used before. 

I know Vice President Cheney has got, you know - is a great advocate of using what some people call enhanced interrogation techniques, which I, as a professional, call torture.  Sadism is not something the United States needs indulge itself in as a personal fantasy.

We need to act as intelligence professionals.  We need to bring whatever information you can give us about our enemies off the battlefield and down to the unit commanders so that they can actually fight this fight. 

MADDOW:  Malcolm Nance, spoken as a man who knows, author of “An End to al-Qaeda: Destroying Bin Laden‘s jihad and Restoring America‘s Honor,” compelling reading.  And I‘m grateful you wrote it, and I‘m grateful that you‘re here.  Thanks.  It‘s good to see you.  Thank you. 

OK.  Bill Nye, the Science Guy was on this show last week to remind everybody that one snowstorm does not refute climate change.  Now, a Fox News host named Glenn Beck has accused me of being an alarmist who changes or loses key data. 

That‘s a quote, this is so weird.  I‘ll respond to Mr. Beck and reflect on this weird and perversely flattering development in my life in just a moment.


MADDOW:  Coming up on “COUNTDOWN,” Keith asks John Dean whether Vice President Cheney just confessed to war crimes. 

And ahead on this program, the new man in my life, Glenn Beck and his curious, newfound infatuation with me that I do not understand. 

But first, a couple holy mackerel stories in today‘s news.  The two most important holidays in the North Korean are very easy to remember even if you know nothing else about Korean customs. 

They‘re basically the same.  They‘re the birthday of the late Kim Il-Sung, founding leader of North Korea, and that of his son, North Korea‘s current dear leader, Kim Jong-Il.  No one quite agrees on the living Kim‘s birthday.  The day, the year, even the location of his birth are in dispute as are the official state claims that on the day of his birth, a double rainbow and an especially bright star marked the occasion. 

However, none of that prevents North Korea‘s government from forcing North Koreans from celebrating this holiday as only a Stalinist dictatorship can - with things done in unison.  

So today, Kim Jong-Il‘s official state-approved birthday was observed with lots of dancing and marching in unison.  There was synchronized swimming, of course, and a series of speeches from government officials all saying the same thing - Kim Jong-Il‘s power and leadership are peerless, which is true in the sense there‘s nobody else quite like him. 

Two ice skating performances were dedicated to the leader.  The performances were named “push back the frontiers of science, and let us meet at the front.”  And, of course, there was the annual flower show exhibiting the flower named for Kim Jong-Il.  It‘s, of course, called the Kimjongilia. 

Elsewhere, sweets were handed out to children, cookies, candy, et cetera.  All of that - creepy stage craft according to plan.  Human rights activists across the border in South Korea did their part to you-know-what in the party punch bowl. 

They released balloons to North Korea, balloons filled with about 20,000 anti-Kim Jong-Il pamphlets as well as about 30 radios that would pick up short wave broadcasts.  For any northerners on the fence about whether to grab one of these balloons, the South Koreans also put dollar bills in them for extra oomph. 

While the rest of the country was forced to celebrate his birthday, it should be noted that Kim Jong-Il was actually nowhere to be found.  He didn‘t show up, which for anybody else in that country would probably be a punishable offense. 

And Republican Utah State Senator Chris Buttars has created his fame trifecta.  Sen. Buttars was famous for two things - first, for saying this about gay people almost one year ago to the day.  He said, “They‘re mean.  They want to talk about being nice.  They‘re the meanest buggers I have ever seen.”

That, of course, is funny for a lot of reasons, not the least of which what the word “gay” means.  And then, in November of last year, Sen.  Buttars outdid himself. 


SEN. CHRIS BUTTARS (R-UT):  I meet with the gays here and they were there in my house two weeks ago.  I don‘t mind gays.  But I don‘t want them stuffing it down my throat all the time, and certainly in my kids‘ face. 


MADDOW:  Somebody get that guy into a remedial health class stat. 

Having earned “oh, yes, that guy” status for his verbal acuity, Sen.  Buttars is now making a name for himself on policy.  He‘s promoting the idea of less education. 

State Senator Chris Buttars has proposed closing Utah‘s $700 million budget shortfall in part by getting rid of the 12th grade.  He wants to do away with senior year all together. 

I, for one, am an education advocate.  We must teach our children at the very least to never say things like this. 


BUTTARS:  I don‘t mind gays.  But I don‘t want them stuffing it down my throat all the time. 

MADDOW:  One of the useful things about 12th grade is that in 12th grades all across the country, that kind of a statement would at least get you a wedgy.


MADDOW:  The open-and-shut story of Bill Nye and Glenn Beck is open again, courtesy of Glenn Beck.  We‘ll try to shut it again, next.


MADDOW:  Glenn Beck is a very successful host on Fox News and talk radio who addresses his audience of zillions every day on themes such as “Barack Obama is out to get you so be afraid.”  And also, “Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are out to get you so be afraid.” 

He also somehow mixes it up by talking about liberals from the past who are “out to get you so you should be afraid.”  We don‘t spend a lot of time on this show, talking about what‘s on his show or any other show for that matter. 

But we did notice last week when Mr. Beck took a swipe at one of our guests, Bill Nye, the Science Guy.  Mr. Science Guy did an interview with me about people on TV last week implying or coming right out and saying that the big February east coast snowstorm disproved climate change. 

Mr. Beck went after Bill Nye for being critical about that.  And

he said something embarrassing and plainly wrong in the process.  We

summarize that as follows -


BECK:  Oh, it‘s un-American, unpatriotic - unpatriotic to claim.  First of all, who has claimed that this snowstorm is proof that global warming doesn‘t exist? 


MADDOW:  Who has claimed that?  Dude, you have a lot. 


BECK:  Well, the snow is hammering Washington, D.C., again I believe God is just saying, “I‘ve got your global warming here, eh?  You want a piece of global warming?” 


MADDOW:  Same radio show, same guy.  If that was the case we made.  In going after good old Bill Nye, the Science Guy, Glenn Beck denied he ever said snowstorms disproved global warming. 

He had indeed said that and he shouldn‘t have denied it.  Sort of an easy one, right?  Open and shut.  And it‘s open again now, apparently.  Here‘s Mr. Beck incredibly today. 


BECK:  Bill Nye the science guy appeared on a show I refuse to name because, well, I mean, they‘re only bringing up for attention.  And I think more people now will view this video blog than watch the entire network.  But here‘s what Bill Nye said. 

BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY:  If you want to get serious about it, these guys claiming that the snow in Washington disproves climate change are almost unpatriotic.  It‘s really - they‘re denying science. 

BECK:  First of all, unpatriotic?  Really?  Danny Glover, Sean Penn, all of these other Chavez-loving idiots - they‘re cool.  But I‘m asking for an open debate on an issue and it‘s unpatriotic? 

Secondly, no one is saying that one storm causes global warming.  But after I made fun of this clip on the air, the host, instead of hiding in shame, decided to call me a liar.  Now, watch carefully.  Here‘s what they showed. 

MADDOW:  Mr. Beck played the clip and then mocked Mr. The Science Guy. 

BECK:  All right.  Go ahead, Bill. 

NYE:  There‘s more energy in the atmosphere and this is stirring things up. 

BECK:  Oh, boy. 

NYE:  If you want to get serious about it -

BECK:  Seriously. 

NYE:  These guys claiming that the snow in Washington disproves

climate change -

BECK:  Nobody‘s saying that.  Stop, stop. 

NYE:  They‘re almost unpatriotic. 

BECK:  Oh, boy.  Hit the Tim Robbins - I‘m sorry, the Mr. Sarandon bite again. 

TIM ROBBINS, ACTOR:  A chill wind is blowing in this nation. 

BECK:  Oh, it‘s un-American, unpatriotic - unpatriotic to claim.  First of all, who has claimed that this snowstorm is proof that global warming doesn‘t exist? 

MADDOW:  Who‘s claimed that?  Dude, you have.  It is one thing to be totally outrageously wrong about facts and science.  But the price of that is getting made fun of for it and getting called out on it, boom, by Bill Nye, the Science Guy.  On climate change, new rule - you lie, you must pay the Nye. 

BECK:  Ah, I see.  I‘m a liar, but - and here‘s the inconvenient truth

what was the very next sentence I said that they cut off? 

BECK:  Who has claimed that this snowstorm is proof that global warming doesn‘t exist?  How many times have I said both for hurricanes and no hurricane, this doesn‘t - one storm, one storm does not prove anything?  It is a trend.  Kind of nukes your whole point, doesn‘t it? 

I guess that‘s why they didn‘t show it.  No wonder they sympathize so much with the alarmists who hide and lose key data.  Looks like they don‘t mind doing exactly the same thing themselves. 


MADDOW:  The - exactly they say do what now?  That bit at the end?  Alarmists who hide and lose key data?  This is amazing to me.  As little as I care about how other people who work in cable TV do their shows and make their arguments, Mr. Beck is supposedly the best they‘ve got. 

Mr. Beck is this phenomenon, right, who they‘re keeping on the air for his ratings even as he lost so many sponsors.  He‘s supposedly the leader of a political movement, not just a TV host. 

I get hate mail from all sorts of conservatives all the time.  I always have.  But it is the hate mail of self proclaimed fans of Mr. Beck that is most likely to contain death threats and threats of violence against me expressed as extension of the frenzied devotion his fans feel for him. 

They think he is the second coming.  And because of that, I just want to point something out here.  What Mr. Beck is accusing me of - and he went on in his radio show to call me a liar and propagandist and all this other stuff because of it. 

What he‘s accusing me of is cutting out part of his quote.  But did you notice what he just did?  Just very short.  Just watch his clip again.  Watch this. 


MADDOW:  who‘s claimed that?  Dude, you have.  It is one thing to be

totally outrageously wrong about facts and science -


What was that little the flip clip in the middle there?  What happened there?  Was there something that you cut out?  To accuse me of making it up when I said Glenn Beck is among those who have claimed snow disproves global warming, he just edited out the part where I gave the evidence of him doing that, the part where I showed him and a bunch of other people on Fox saying that snow disproved global warming. 

You showed no evidence because I‘ve edited out the part where you did show the evidence.  It‘s incredible.  Here‘s what he edited out. 


BECK:  First of all, who has claimed that this snowstorm is proof that global warming doesn‘t exist? 

MADDOW:  Who‘s claimed that?  Dude, you have.  A lot. 

BECK:  Well, the snow is hammering Washington, D.C. again.  I believe god is just saying, “I got your global warming here, eh?  You want a piece of global warming?”

MADDOW:  Same radio show, same guy.  And it‘s not like that was a one-off occurrence. 

BECK:  I don‘t think it takes a genius to see through the “more snow is proof of global warming” claim. 


MADDOW:  Glenn Beck is telling his viewers that I‘m a liar and a propagandist for pointing out his cockamamie claim that snowfall disproves global warming.  He has in fact made that cockamamie claim a lot, no matter how much he denies it. 


BECK:  It doesn‘t snow very much in Virginia.  And it looks like it‘s

going to be the worst snowfall in the state in about 20 years.  And the

reason I bring this up is because -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, global warming first of all. 

BECK:  First of all, Al Gore is full of crap.  I promise now I‘m going to idle my SUV 24 hours a day, seven days a week to make sure it doesn‘t snow again in May in Virginia. 

If we don‘t find Al Gore by 5:00, I‘m starting an AMBER alert.  I don‘t want to panic anyone, but it is strange that he has just disappeared in the largest snowfall in Washington, D.C., history. 

But you‘d have to think, “Wow, I really wasted my life, haven‘t I?  Wow, everything that I worked on seems to be a miserable failure.”


MADDOW:  “Because my global warming contention is disproven by this giant snowfall.”  I commend Mr. Beck for his success.  I wish his giant audience all the best.  He has made a lot of people very afraid about a lot of things.  And that tried-and-true strategy has reaped big financial reward for him and for Fox News. 

I think it‘s between you and your God or you and your conscience as to how much you‘re willing to stir up Americans‘ fear and prejudice for profit.  But it‘s between you and me when you accuse me of lying.  I didn‘t lie.  Back off.


MADDOW:  Late update on what‘s happening to Evan Bayh‘s Senate seat in Indiana.  One Democrat, you recall, had said she thought she had a chance of getting on the ballot by today‘s deadline.  She was wrong. 

The Indiana Democratic Party telling us that Tamara D‘Ippolito fell roughly 97 percent short of the number of valid signatures she would need to get on the ballot, so there will be no Democratic primary for Bayh‘s seat.  Instead, the state party‘s committee will choose who they want to run.  

Thanks for sticking with us tonight.  “COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann starts right now.  Good night.



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