Guest: Frank Rich
MADDOW: Thank you very much, Keith. Somebody‘s now going to do a deep psychological masters level analysis of the different sounds of our imagined answering machine beeps.
OLBERMANN: Yes. Well, I was just sort of reading the boop and you were actually performing. That‘s the difference. You‘re an artiste.
MADDOW: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Thank you.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour, whereupon I will explain why and how I am trying to win a date with George W. Bush, a very specific kind of date. And I believe you may be able to help me get that date.
Also, on a very much more serious note, I will show you the flyers that our show has obtained today. They‘re flyers that stopped our staff editorial meeting in its tracks this afternoon, cast a hush over the room, and caused us to change our whole lineup for the night. These are exclusive images that have never before been shown before on television.
They‘re coming up at the back half of the show tonight—along with the first clip that we are releasing, the first preview of our new MSNBC documentary, “The Assassination of Dr. Tiller.” The documentary premieres on Monday. You will get your first sneak preview of what that documentary is tonight.
But we begin tonight with one of the side effects of newshounditis. When you follow politics in the news closely, when you get more Google alert emails that you do spam notices about the benefits of little blue pills, when you spend all day reading this time of year about the elections, you have days when things in the news rub you the wrong way—like this.
You know, Randy Moss no longer knows how to catch a football. But winning games anyway now as a motivational speaker, really, Randy Moss, really? Come on. That‘s impossible.
See, that‘s an example of just disbelieving something that you read in the news. Just thinking it doesn‘t comport with your understanding of reality. There are also times when you don‘t necessarily disagree with the news, but it seems like whoever‘s writing the headlines, whoever‘s writing the leads, is just missing the point.
There was this headline in “Politico” today, “Obama‘s white working-class problem.”
At “The New York Times” yesterday, the headline was: “Democrats‘ Grip on the South Continues to Slip.” That was the headline yesterday in “The New York Times.” The article saying, quote, saying that the Democratic Party, quote, “is facing a situation where its only safe presence in the south is in urban and predominantly black districts.”
So, this is—this spin cycle‘s political diagnosis of what‘s going on in the elections. President Obama has a white voter problem. That‘s what we‘re hearing now. White people just aren‘t voting for Democrats like they used to. And that is one way to tell that story.
But, you know, if you just turn the telescope around the other way, looking at the same thing, but just turn the telescope the other way, the other way to tell this story, the flip side of Democrats are losing the white vote is—boy, oh, boy, Republicans sure are locking up the white vote this year. The Republican Party is sure securing, in particular, that white working-class vote.
Last night on this show, we talked about what we think of as the Southern Strategy 2.0. The apparent calculation that it mathematically and strategically makes sense to really overtly offend minorities, to turn the minority vote against you, almost deliberately, because if by doing that, you may lose that smaller number of votes for minority voters, but you may also lock up solidly a larger number of white voters.
And so, you get candidates who send around really, really, really racist jokes and videos—right, Carl Paladino?
Or you get candidates who run virulently anti-Latino ads that looked like Jesse Helms wrote them, and then that same candidate makes a comment like this to Latino high school students.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARRON ANGLE ®, NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: I don‘t know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The inimitable Sharron Angle speaking this week at a Nevada high school to that school‘s Hispanic students‘ association.
The only way the math makes sense for a strategy like this, though,
is if you take out—I guess you think of it downside insurance. You have
to be sure that in locking up the white vote, which is the thing you‘re
trying for, particularly in locking up the white scared vote, you have to
sort of protect your downside. You have to make sure that you don‘t
accidentally turn out too many voters on the other side to vote against you
too many more voters who are out to vote against you, in part because of the way that you are campaigning.
How do you do that? To answer that question this year, I would like to introduce you to Sharon Meroni. You have probably never seen her before nor have you ever heard of her, but here is why at least this year she should probably be famous.
Sharon Meroni helped put together a petition demanding that President Obama resign from office for unnamed high crimes and misdemeanors. She claimed in this court filing that President Obama is not a citizen and therefore secretly not really the president, quote, “Is Mr. Obama a natural born citizen? The truth is he‘s subjectively self-certified to be legally qualified. He is the only one with proof of his affirmation and has refused to enter that proof into the public record.”
As “Mother Jones” reports this week, Sharon Meroni is going to be choosing who will work as poll workers for the great state of Illinois, poll watchers—part of a conservative stop-voter-fraud crusade in the state of Illinois, an initiative that‘s dispatching people to oversee the polls on Election Day. And the birther lady, Sharon Meroni, is one of the people who for the initiative will be choosing who gets dispatched to watch the polls.
Asked by “Mother Jones” for a comment about her role in this year‘s elections in Illinois, Ms. Meroni referred all questions to the executive director of the Illinois Republican State Committee.
Think about that a second. Just for a second, right? It‘s not just the birthers taking it upon themselves to police the polls this year, it‘s the birthers working with a major political party and referring all questions about their role as birther poll watchers to the Republicans.
Last week, the Illinois Republican running for President Obama‘s old Senate seat, Mark Kirk, was caught on tape discussing his campaign‘s plans for Election Day. He said that he will be deploying people to very specific districts in Chicago, districts with large minority populations to, you know, watch over things.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MARK KIRK ®, ILLINOIS SENATE CANDIDATE: These are lawyers and other people that will be deployed in key, vulnerable precincts. For example, South and West side of Chicago, Rockford, Metro East, where the other side might be tempted to jigger the numbers somewhat.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias who is running against Mark Kirk took Mr. Kirk to task for that at a debate last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXI GIANNOULIAS (D), ILLINOIS SENATE CANDIDATE: I think it‘s clear what happened. He got—Congressman Kirk got caught on tape saying that he wants to put, quote, “voter integrity programs.” In what areas? On the South side, on the West side of Chicago, parts of Rockford, in areas of east St. Louis, and then he calls in the same goons and thugs who are responsible for what took place in Florida in 2000.
There‘s no voter integrity and I‘ll tell you why his comments aren‘t true. Because there‘s never been an accusation of fraud on the West and South side of Chicago. Congressman, at a time when we should be encouraging people to vote, you‘re trying to suppress the African-American vote and that‘s unacceptable. It‘s dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: If this sounds familiar, it‘s because this is not a new tactic. This is not novel. This is how it‘s done. This is how you insure minimizing votes for the other guy, right?
This is the downside insurance if you are going to pursue a strategy that tries to lock up as many white votes as you can and sort of expenses out minority votes. You don‘t have to wait until Election Day to see tactics like this in action. Early voting‘s already gone in states across the country, including Texas, where there are also early reports of voter intimidation in minority neighborhoods, particularly in and around Houston, where about 25 percent of residents are African-American.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The county attorney says it‘s received numerous accounts about overzealous poll watchers at several heavily minority early voting locations, including here at Kashmere Gardens, where a poll watcher told us he was recruited by True the Vote, an organization that proclaims rooting out voter fraud as its main goal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Houston is in Harris County, that is where a Tea Party group calling itself the King Street Patriots launched this anti-voter fraud project that they call True the Vote. This project involves sending people to the polls to watch people in districts that happen to be mostly minority districts, to watch people casting their ballots there.
The True the Vote/King Street Patriots who are organizing these election watchers put together a video about supposed election fraud. It originally contained a doctored picture of an African-American voter holding a sign that said, “I only got to vote once.” The sign that they took that from originally said, “Don‘t mess with our vote.” They remade it to say, “I only got to vote once.”
Up in Wisconsin, we‘ve also found that 75 billboards have popped up from Madison to Milwaukee. Big billboards that warn “Voter fraud is a felony: we voted illegally.” “We” being the people standing there behind bars.
In Minnesota, a coalition of Tea Party group and other conservative groups will lead voter surveillance teams at polling places on Election Day. This isn‘t new. This is how it‘s done.
Joining us now is Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for “The Washington Post,” and of course, an MSNBC contributor. Also the author of the new book, “Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America.”
Mr. Robinson, thank you so much for being here.
EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST: Great to be here, Rachel.
MADDOW: I feel like it‘s—this happens to be a greater or lesser degree in every election, at least recently, that you see voter suppression efforts targeting minority districts. Do you feel like we are seeing anything fresh and new about it this year? Or is this the same old thing?
ROBINSON: No, this is the same old thing, basically. And the only thing that might be fresh and new is the—some of the people who are behind it call themselves Tea Party activists. That designation is new, but the fact of attempts at voter suppression is not new at all. In fact, it‘s been a tenet of Republican Party strategy far long, long time.
And also an element of right-wing mythology—I mean, and just judging from my e-mail, there are—some people out on the right-wing who actually believe that there are some sort of sinister left-wing organizations out there plotting day and night to commit to voter fraud. And, you know, despite the evidence that there is no evidence, that there are no cases, that there—that it doesn‘t happen. Nonetheless, you know, mythology, I guess, doesn‘t have to have evidence to go with it.
MADDOW: Well, it‘s interesting to see the way that the mythology, I guess, plays out. This group, this True the Vote group in Texas, they have maintained that the headquarters of a get-out-the-vote effort in Houston is also secretly the headquarters of the New Black Panther Party, which, of course, has as its goals the extermination of all white people through voter fraud by two guys who braid their beard hair.
ROBINSON: Yes, yes.
MADDOW: But it‘s such an obscure—it‘s such an obscure piece of mythology that it‘s very easily traceable. I mean, that‘s a FOX News mim (ph) that‘s been pushed there exclusively really for a year. Is it worth fighting back against those things, or do you just assume that everybody who watches FOX is going to believe that stuff?
ROBINSON: No. I think you fight back against it. I mean, take the example of the, quote, “New Black Panther Party,” end quote. I put it in quotes, because it‘s not an organization. It‘s a few, you know, crazy guys, FOX ran over and over again, that same several-second clip of those same two guys at the polling place.
What is fascinating is the receptivity—that audience was receptive to that repeated clip and to that mythology of a New Black Panther Party that presents some sort of grave danger to the nation when nothing of the sort exists. Nobody has ever heard of this group and it‘s not really much of a group at all.
And it‘s—the interesting thing, I think, is that it strikes a chord among people who think they are taking over the country, that they, I guess, being minorities, and being people other than my kind of people. And I think that‘s the same spirit that‘s behind the “take our country back” signs at the Tea Party rallies and stuff like that.
And so, if they‘re taking the country by the sinister method of voting, they must be doing it illegitimately, because voting is a good thing, and we can‘t oppose that. So, they must be cheating somehow.
MADDOW: Gene, briefly, last question—it seems like the way to fight voter intimidation is obviously to protect voters from vigilantism and to protect voters from organized effort to suppress or intimidate—to suppress their vote or intimidate them from going to the poll and place from actually casting their votes, to make sure that all the votes are cast. That‘s the sort of technical way to do it.
The bigger political way to do it is to do everything you can to promote turnout, particularly of minority voters. Do you think that Democrats this year are focusing on that with appropriate intensity?
ROBINSON: They certainly are right now. And they should have been, you know, a few months ago. But President Obama was in Philadelphia, gave a speech to a mostly black crowd, and for good reason. A big turnout in Philadelphia can decide the Sestak/Toomey race. A big turnout in Chicago can decide the current Giannoulias race.
So, there‘s a lot at stake here. And if Democrats can increase minority turnout, we can really have some surprises on November 2nd.
MADDOW: Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for “The Washington Post,” MSNBC contributor, and his new book is “Disintegration:
The Splintering of Black America.” Gene, thank you so much, as always.
ROBINSON: So great to be here, Rachel. See you soon.
MADDOW: Thank you.
So, I‘m not super big on online contests. OK, except the once where they‘re giving away Metallica tickets. If I don‘t cop to that, somebody‘s going to find me out about that and tease me. So, yes, fine, I love online contests for Metallica tickets. But I don‘t otherwise love online contests.
That said, it turns out there is an online contest right now that is not for Metallica tickets, but that I‘m really into—because the prize is getting to interview former President George W. Bush. I‘m entering that contest. I may need your help. Please stick around for that.
And for “New York Times” columnist Frank Rich who joins us in just a few minutes.
We‘ll be right back.
MADDOW: With fewer than two weeks to go until the election, we have been talking a lot on this show about political strategy, about how Democrats and Republicans are running against each other this year. But now, with the election very fast approaching—yay—we are getting a clearer picture of how the candidates are actually doing, that‘s because new polling this week from high-profile, top of the ticket races across the country, is now putting these races into much sharper focus.
Some of what‘s being revealed was not at all expected at this point. Take a look at this, for example. In Colorado, Democratic Senator Michael Bennet is now within strikes distance of Republican Ken Buck. He‘s down only three points in an Ipsos poll from “Reuters.” As recently as August, that same poll had Buck up by nine over Bennet. That was well outside the margin of error.
Over in Wisconsin, the latest numbers from a Wisconsin public radio survey also have Democratic Senator Russ Feingold closing the gap. He now trails Republican Ron Johnson by only two points. Last week, this exact same poll had Mr. Feingold down by seven.
In Kentucky, the latest poll from a Bennett, Petts & Normington has the Democrat in the race, Jack Conway, now leading the Republican Senate nominee, Rand Paul, 49 percent to 47 percent. Now, of course, the Democratic Party is delighted about this poll. The caveat here is that the poll had a small sample size, only about 600 people. But still, it shows Jack overran Paul by two.
A Mason-Dixon poll taken one day later had Rand Paul still leading Conway by five.
Over in West Virginia, a new poll from Orion Strategies gives the Democratic governor there a 10-point lead over the Republican, John Raese, in that Senate race.
Nate Silver of the excellent “FiveThirtyEight” blog at “The New York Times” predicts that Governor Joe Manchin‘s chances of winning that Senate race are now about up 62 percent. That is up five points since just last week.
“FiveThirtyEight” has yet to crunch the latest numbers from the rest of these Senate races. Overall, Nate Sliver wrote on Monday that the Democrats, in his view, remain favored to retain the Senate. Nate silver now, at least this week, giving the Republicans only a 17 percent chance of reaching a majority in the United States Senate.
Everything could, of course, still change. We‘re still just under two weeks out, but that‘s where we stand, with lots of unexpected numbers in lots of races. If anything, though, the tightening poll numbers should lead us to expect this much. Be prepared for a long night after polls close on November 2nd. A long, thrilling, “I won‘t mind pulling an all-nighter because I so love this stuff” kind of night.
MADDOW: Hey. Good news. We finally found out who the Concerned Taxpayers of America are. Do you remember laughing woman carrying her son standing in front of trees? And remember happy family? They were the istockphoto.com models whose pictures were posted at the Web site of Concerned Taxpayers of America to show that that group represents, in their words, citizens from every walk of life and political affiliation.
If you live in southwest Oregon and you saw one of the anti-Democrat political ads that Concerned Taxpayers of America blanketed that district with and you wanted to know who was spending more than 150,000 grand in that district to try to unseat incumbent Democrat Peter DeFazio, well, the Web site of Concerned Taxpayers of America would be of no help to you. It has no donor names, no information—just these very pretty stock photos.
When interviewed the beneficiary of those Oregon ads, the Republican running against Peter DeFazio, before we got to the part of the interview about AIDS being a government conspiracy and him thinking that low level radiation is good for you and nuclear waste should be sprinkled over the oceans, I did ask him if he knew who was spending all of that money in his district on his behalf. He said he had no idea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us for the interview tonight, I‘m delighted to say, is Republican congressional candidate, Art Robinson.
Mr. Robinson, thank you very much for your time, sir.
ART ROBINSON ®, OREGON CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Thank you for yours.
MADDOW: Am I correct in saying that you really have no idea whose funding this $150,000 ad buy that promotes your candidacy?
ROBINSON: That‘s correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Single last normal moment in the interview.
Now, however, we know who was funding it. The Concerned Taxpayers of America funding the giant $150,000 ad campaign in Oregon for “the radiation is good for you” guy, turns out is it just one Concerned Taxpayer of America, just one guy—one guy who runs a hedge fund who lives more than 2,500 miles away from that congressional district in Oregon. He lives in Long Island, New York.
He appears to have nothing to do whatsoever with Oregon, but he does run one of the most successful hedge funds on Wall Street.
And now, thanks to the miracle of modern campaign finance laws, that hedge fund manager is personally, individually bankrolling a massive ad campaign against the Democratic member of Congress who hedge fund managers everywhere know as the sponsor of last year‘s “let Wall Street pay for the restoration of Main Street” act—an act that would have imposed a fee on the types of high-tech, high-risk, highly opaque securities transactions that have made people who run hedge funds like Renaissance Technologies lots and lots and lots and lots of money—so much money that this one guy in particular can afford a $2 million train set half the size of a basketball court in his house, so much money that he can personally spend enough to make the “radiation is good for you, nuclear waste, AIDS is a conspiracy” guy conceivably have a shot in this election in Oregon.
Launder enough money and you can make even Art Robinson look like congressional material.
There is nothing wrong with being richer than God. There is nothing wrong being richer than God and wanting to promote challengers for members of Congress who are preventing you from becoming even richer than two gods. But before this year, nobody would have thought it was normal or feasible or even conceivable that an individual person could individually give $156,000 individual political donation to an individual candidate, which is what this amounts to.
Does that make you feel less inclined or more inclined to donate that 25 bucks that your local candidate just hit you up for?
Joining us now for “The Interview” tonight is “New York Times” columnist Frank Rich.
Mr. Rich, it is always a pleasure to have you here.
FRANK RICH, NEW YORK TIMES: Great to see you.
MADDOW: It seems to me like the two big stories of these elections, two big pictures stories, are extremism in candidates running for office and funding, unrestrained, massive, secret funding of campaigns.
Are the extremism issue and funding issue related?
RICH: Maybe to some extent, because you have this unalloyed pouring of millions of dollars by billionaires often or hedge fund people or oil people into sometimes crazy candidates, sometimes less crazy candidates. But it shows that they‘ll basically take anyone who will be a tool for their corporate interests once that congressman or senator is in Washington.
So, it seems to be completely indiscriminate, so there‘s no bar at all. Just any extremist can receive this money from someone semi-respectable or respectable.
MADDOW: Well, that—in that—I guess everybody says, disclosure is the issue then. Disclosure means that you can weigh these people‘s interests against the other interests that might balance them out on the other side. But if one guy is spending $156,000 to run ads for one guy for whatever quirky reason, disclosure will go some distance towards highlighting the absurdity of that, but doesn‘t ever really balance it out. I mean—yes?
RICH: No. It‘s sort of the Manchurian candidate, but run by money. And of course, we don‘t even have disclosure in a lot of cases. It‘s amazing here that we actually in this district, we know. But a lot of this money is secret. So, it‘s the worst of both worlds, it seems to me.
MADDOW: I‘d also like to get your reaction to reporting by your paper, by “The New York Times,” and by think progress about the Koch Brothers. It‘s like a liberal fantasy about the way the right wing works. They‘re convening these oil billionaire brothers, right, convening secret strategy meetings for conservative zillionaires twice yearly. These secret meetings twice yearly to direct white wing money and strategy. Now, that meeting in talking strategy doesn‘t seem that conspiratorial interesting to me. And by these secrets, that‘s a little weird. What‘s seems interesting to me is that Supreme Court justices Samuel—excuse me, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are listed as past-attendees at these bi-annual meetings. Is that a weird thing for Supreme Court justices?
RICH: I think so, if that‘s heavily partisan, of course Supreme Court justices have a right to hear public speakers and hear even somewhat ideological speakers, I guess. But if you‘re going to events sponsored by two of the richest people in the country, according to the Forbes list, who, by the way, are involved with lost of funding, including some that‘s at the root of the Tea Party movement under, again, kind of cloudy organizations with very benign names, I think it‘s a conflict of interest, potentially. But, of course, in Clarence Thomas now, between him and Ginni Thomas, it‘s like—it‘s a full menu of conflicts of interest, you know, making weird calls to Anita Hill and al the rest of it.
MADDOW: Do you think that Ginni Thomas being so overtly involved in the Tea Party movement itself presents potential conflicts of interest for Justice Thomas, or is it narrowly—is any potential conflict narrowly about whether or not she has received funding from anybody who has interests before the court?
I think the funding issue is important, because, you know, you can‘t -
spouse is not, you know, chattel, and so Ginni Thomas is entitled to have whatever views she wants politically. But if she‘s involved with organizations that spend money in the political arena, you have a problem. And what‘s really depressing about it, if that exists, who‘s going to adjudicate that?
MADDOW: Yes. There‘s no appeal.
RICH: So it just hangs there. I find that very depressing.
MADDOW: We have a new documentary airing on Monday about extremism and violence. It‘s about the murder of Dr. George Tiller last year.
MADDOW: So, I‘ve been thinking a lot, not just about extremism in politics, but about culture war issues too, like abortion and also gay rights and sex ed and prayer in schools and all of these things that feel very early ‘90s again. Do you feel like we are in for another round of big early ‘90s-style culture war fighting?
RICH: I think to some extent, and again, like the early ‘90s, connected in some cases to guns and to the militia. And you know, we now have reports from the FBI, we have a Time magazine investigation, all of the sort of extreme right-wing stuff is on the rise. And invariably, some of it about culture issues like abortion and gay rights, but some of it is also just crazy anti-government, which is even in some ways scarier, because it‘s so amorphous and it just really targets the fundamental rule of law as an enemy.
MADDOW: Yes. Frank Rich, “New York Times” columnist, always a really welcome guest here. Thank you for coming in.
RICH: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Good to see you. Thanks.
OK. Coming up in a few minutes, we actually have a preview, a clip of our new documentary, a preview we are showing here tonight for the first time anywhere. We are already, I will tell you, getting hollered at about this documentary before anybody has seen any of it. So, we don‘t think it will stop the hollering, but please stay tuned for an exclusive first look at that. That‘s coming up.
MADDOW: Earlier today in the Rachel Maddow show offices, before I put any sort of product in my hair whatsoever. (INAUDIBLE)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: OK, Ken.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.
MADDOW: Just confirm for me, I mean, we asked George W. Bush for an interview like a news show, like normal people do, but with we‘re not getting it.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That‘s not going to happen.
MADDOW: Do you think this Facebook thing might really work?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We don‘t know unless we try.
MADDOW: I mean, ultimately, he‘s the decider of that. He‘s never going to pick us.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The Facebook people will actually decide the first round of this.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So, I mean, you should try it. Go ahead.
MADDOW: OK. We have good questions. You put this on the blog yesterday and people have given us good suggestive questions. Do you think we should like just test run them?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, yes, yes, go ahead.
MADDOW: Can you—should I—can you please define compassionate conservative and explain how exactly your policies as president displayed these ideals.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That is good.
MADDOW: I think that‘s good. The first one I bet that he really wants to talk about.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, I like that.
MADDOW: OK. Do you think that Sarah Palin has the skills, experience, and qualifications necessary to be president of the United States of America? I think it‘s a good question, but I totally know what he‘s going to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Everyone wants to know that though.
MADDOW: Yes. But he‘s just going to—I mean, what‘s he going to say, no?
MADDOW: Have you successfully eaten a Pretzel in the last eight years?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I want to know that one first.
MADDOW: I know!
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.
MADDOW: Yes. But that one has to be towards the end.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Why?
MADDOW: This one, I actually—I am—this is the one that I‘m most legitimately curious about.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: OK.
MADDOW: We have heard you pronounce the word n-u-c-l-e-a-r as nuclear before, but most of the time, you chose to say it nuke-leer.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Nuke-leer.
MADDOW: Why choose to say it more often like that? I honestly want to know.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. All right. Me too.
MADDOW: Is it true that Cheney protected himself by embedding his entire torso with gems and gold?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That‘s what I want to know. I hear that every day.
MADDOW: All right. Are we still taking more suggestions on the blog?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Absolutely, yes.
MADDOW: All right. Deadline‘s tomorrow. We can do this, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Can we? We‘re going to get this.
MADDOW: Thank you, Ken.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We‘re going to get this!
MADDOW: All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This is a real thing. This is how it works. President Bush is hosting a contest on Facebook. The winner of the contest gets to fly to Texas to interview him. To enter, we have to submit five questions for him in the comment section of his Facebook page before 5:00 p.m. Central Time tomorrow. They pick 100 finalists who get to submit a two-minute video, then the top five videos - how do they pick the top five? Get posted on his Facebook wall. Facebook users then get to vote for the winner and the winner gets round-trip airfare to Dallas to go interview President George W. Bush. Which is definitely the only I will ever get to interview George W. Bush. OK? So, we are starting with “is it true that Dick Cheney protected himself by embedding his entire torso with gems and gold?”
We‘re starting with that. If you have other suggested questions you would like to help us out with so we can win this contest, please help us. Maddowblog.msnbc.com before 1:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow. If you can, I want to win this so bad, please help us.
MADDOW: Recently we have been covering on this show the tension between extremism and electoral politics. The role that politicians can play in mainstreaming even violently radical politics. In the course of that coverage, I made a brief reference two nights ago to former politician named Steve stockman. Mr. Stockman was a very conservative republican politician elected in 1994. That was the last time we had our first midterm elections after a new democratic president was inaugurated. Now, I mentioned Steve Stockman on Monday‘s show, but it‘s not the first time we have discussed him and his record on this program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Back in 1995, on the morning of the Oklahoma City bombing, just after the explosion, a member of Congress named Steve Stockman, republican of Texas, was sent a fax touting the bombing. He was sent that fax by somebody in the militia movement. Mr. Stockman later turned that fax over to the FBI. He was never implicated in any way in the bombing itself, but there is a reason that the militia movement trusted a member of Congress enough to go to him with that. Mr. Stockman had, for example, written an article in “Guns & Ammo” magazine for claiming that what happened at Waco was a government conspiracy to, quote, “prove the need for a ban on so-called assault weapons. Mr. Stockman peddled conspiracies that he got from the militia movement about the government planning a takeover, the government planning attacks, paramilitary attacks on American citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: When I mentioned former Congressman Steve Stockman again on this show on Monday night, I misstated the details of that true account that you just heard me give there back on the show in March. On Monday, I said that Mr. Stockman notice from the militia movement about the Oklahoma City bombing was advance notice. It wasn‘t in advance, it was right after the bombing. I apologize for the misstatement. It was an editing error and it was mine alone. To all the conservative bloggers who are extremely angry with me for making that mistake and who know doubt will now be extremely angry with me for airing this correction. Let me say this to you guys, thank you. Thank you for signaling such enthusiasm for discussing guys like Steve Stockman and for getting all the details right. If the country talked a lot more about the Steve Stockman‘s of the world and anti-government extremism and what the experience of having anti-government extremists in Congress was like for this country, the last time we tried it. I think that would be good for us as a country. Particularly before this round of elections. So, I am sorry for the error. And thanks, you guys.
MADDOW: This is a wanted poster. A wanted poster that was distributed by anti-abortion forces targeting a doctor named David Gunn. It lists the color, the make, the model of the car that he drives, lists his exact license plate number. It lists the office address where he works. It describes Dr. Gunn physically, quote, 45 to 50 years old with curly gray hair, approximately five feet, eight inches tall, weighs about 135 to 150 pounds, he walks with a noticeable limp. In other words, the poster is giving everything you need to know to be able to find this guy. It then describes him as responsible for killing children at two specific addresses in Pensacola, Florida. After this wanted poster was distributed, Dr. David Gunn was shot and killed by an anti-abortionist extremist. That was in March of 1993.
You‘ll recognize the same basic idea behind this poster for Dr. George Wayne Patterson. It describes him as a white male, approximately 6 feet, one inches tall and 185 to 200 pounds. Again, at least the year of the make and the model of this car, gives his medical license numbers in Florida and Alabama. This doctor, George Patterson actually owned the clinic where Dr. Gunn had been murdered. Dr. Patterson himself was murdered five months after Dr. Gunn was killed. Dr. Patterson‘s killing is still unsolved. When “The New York Times” reported at the time on Dr. Patterson‘s killing, they got a comment from an activist named Paul Hill. Paul Hill said, whether Dr. Patterson was killed by an anti-abortion advocate or just a thug, quote, “the killing has stopped, so it had the desired result.”
The desired result, the doctor‘s dead. Less than a year after giving that quote to “The New York Times,” Paul Hill himself shot and killed, yet another doctor who provided abortions. A man named Dr. John Britton. Do you want to see the wanted posters that the movement put out for John Britton? Again, the wanted poster provides Dr. Britton‘s exact home address, his exact office address, a description of his vehicle including his license plate number, also a physical description of him, approximately six feet, two inches tall, 190 to 200 pounds, gray hair, race, why is, age, 68. They show him in a bulletproof vest, in case you want help on aiming, I suppose.
On another version of the wanted poster for Dr. Britton, you actually see photos of his home, his office, and his car. This version of the poster lists what the extreme anti-abortion activists who distributed call his crimes against humanity. Again, that doctor, John Britton, murdered by Paul Hill. These wanted posters were distributed and then he was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist too. Then, of course, there‘s Dr. George Tiller. Here‘s a wanted poster with Dr. Tiller‘s name and face on it. This was distributed before Dr. Tiller was shot the first time in 1993. Dr. Tiller worked in Wichita. You will see they have turned it in this poster into “Auschwichita,” get it?
It goes on a long time, Dr. Tiller‘s picture quote Mr. Tiller‘s says he is a Christian, caution. Adolf Hitler said, I am a servant of Jesus Christ. They describe one of the aliases here as “Tiller the Killer.” You may have heard that on FOX News and Bill O‘Reilly show in particular. Then the wanted poster gives the exact address of Dr. Tiller‘s office which is actually where he was shot in 1993 after this poster was circulated. Where the wanted poster reads, “an equal opportunity executioner.” I honestly don‘t know whether the designers and distributors of this poster were referring to Dr. Tiller himself, or describing themselves or the people they would like to execute him, because they wanted to take matters into their own hands. This Dr. Tiller wanted poster went up before Dr. Tiller was shot in 1993.
Dr. Tiller was not killed in that shooting. That didn‘t happen until last year. But this pattern of wanted posters going up and then the doctors featured in the wanted posters getting shot or murdered, it‘s a well-established pattern in the extreme anti-abortion movement. And I kind of can‘t believe I am telling you this right now, but it is happening again, now. We have exclusively obtained three wanted posters from the Charlotte, North Carolina area. We have blurred the names and addresses of the doctors featured in these posters as well as their faces. Three of the four doctors being targeted are pictured on their wanted posters. Just like in the early ‘90s when abortion doctors are being killed, following the distributions of new ones posters. These new ones provide in addition to color photos, the exact address of where these doctors practice.
And in at least one case, the exact home address of the doctor in question. This is what happening right now in North Carolina. This is the climate that these doctors are living in in America. We‘re told by contacts working in North Carolina that these wanted posters first turned up very shortly after Dr. George Tiller was murdered last year. We have a documentary set to air on Monday night about Dr. Tiller‘s murder, about how it happened and why it happened. As we were finishing up making the documentary, we learned that a federal grand jury is now investigating whether there wasn‘t just one anti-abortion extremist acting alone in the murder of Dr. George Tiller, but whether the killing was connected to a broader case involving radical anti-abortion activists.
In our continued reporting on this story, we have found that there is a lot of anxiety among abortion providers in America right now because many of them believe that there is a network of anti-abortion extremists at work. And as long as that network they believe is supporting the murder of abortion doctors is not dismantled, as long as only the shooter himself is apprehended and identified, they feel that they are just waiting for another murder. We‘ve got an exclusive first-time ever anywhere preview for you of a scene from our new documentary coming up in just a moment. Plus, the pre-action from the far edge of the anti-abortion movement in this country. They are very upset about it. Even though they haven‘t seen it yet. That‘s next.
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ANNOUNCER: She says, rape victim should be forced to have the baby.
ANNOUNCER: If a girl is raped by a relative, Angle says, they should just make.
SHARRON ANGLE, NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE (voice-over): A lemon situation into lemonade.
KEN BUCK, COLORADO SENATE CANDIDATE: I‘m pro-life and I‘ll answer the next question. I don‘t believe in the exception. Rape or incest.
ANNOUNCER: Are we ready to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape or incest? Colorado is no place for Ken Buck‘s extreme ideas.
ANNOUNCER: She would make abortion a crime. Carly Fiorina, just too extreme for California.
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MADDOW: Over the last few days, we have highlighted Democrats committing politics on an issue that common wisdom says they are not supposed to commit politics on. Democrat hitting their republican opponents for extreme anti-abortion positions. Now, the extreme anti-abortion lobby is up with an out of its own. A group calling itself Personhood USA is out with a web ad urging people to vote for an anti-abortion amendment in Colorado because, wait for it.
Because Barack Obama is the angel of death. You know, of course. Voting for this anti-abortion measure in Colorado. Surely, the only way to defeat the president‘s last angel of death. Do you see how secretly reappearing he is? Abortion politics are turning out to be a big deal in this year‘s elections because the slate of republican candidates for high office, if they are elected, will main stream a position on abortion that was previously held only by the very, very far edge of the anti-abortion movement. The government forcing rape victims and incest victims to have the baby that is the result of rape or of incest. But like the angel of death ad shows, shining a political spotlight on positions, this far out in the anti-abortion movements, can get very in your face and even very strange very quickly.
On Monday night, we are debuting our new MSNBC documentary. It is called the assassination of Dr. Tiller. This week, the always blunt and never in doubt folks at operation rescue put out a press release advertising our documentary. It is a press release that includes images of cut-up body parts on the press release. This is how they want to promote their appearance in a documentary about a murdered doctor. The people at operation rescue said, they are very mad in advance about the documentary even though they have not seen any of it yet. We are very much looking forward to every one including them getting a chance to judge the documentary for itself. Here for the first time ever, for the first time any somewhere is a brief preview.
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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Can you tell the jury what kind of led up to your conversion?
SCOTT ROEDER, TILLER MURDER SUSPECT: Yes. I had been watching the 700 club regularly, a Christian program. I was alone in my living room. And that day, I kneel down and I did accept Christ as my savior.
LINDSEY ROEDER, SCOTT ROEDER‘S EX-WIFE: He discovered the pro-life movement. I don‘t think he really had given abortion a thought up until ‘92 or ‘93.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So, what are your feelings on the practice of abortion?
SCOTT ROEDER: From conception forward, it is murder. It is not man‘s job to take life or—it is our heavenly father‘s.
LINDSEY ROEDER: And that‘s when he really began to meet people. It was shortly after that, that he started talking about Paul Hill. And how Paul Hill had killed a doctor in Florida. And that was great. That was wonderful.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Around the same time, Roeder began reaching out to Rishel Shannon (ph), the imprisoned anti-abortion extremist who had attempted to murder Dr. Tiller in 1993.
LINDSEY ROEDER: He started talking about how it was murder. That these doctors were murdering babies. If they‘re going to murder the babies, we‘re going to murder them. If they kill, then they should be killed. It was hard to live with. Nick went to school one morning. I went to work. I came home and Scott was gone. The money was gone. His clothes were gone. He was just gone.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: After leaving his family, Roeder gets involved with an anti-government militia known as the Montana Freemen.
EDDIE EBACHER, FORMER MONTANA FREEMAN: He focused all the rage that he had upon the abortion issue and he chose Dr. Tiller as his target.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: One day Roeder approaches Eddie Ebacher, a fellow ex-member of the Montana Freemen, with a proposition.
EBACHER: He came over and pulled me aside and said, would you help me assassinate this doctor. And I told him, absolutely not. We don‘t go around snuffing out doctors. Not at this time anyway. Knowing Scott, what he would do is sit and pray about the situation. And I could almost hear the prayer that he would say would be, Lord, make me an instrument of your destruction. And apparently that‘s exactly what happened.
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MADDOW: Scenes from the assassination of Dr. Tiller will premier here on this show on Monday night, October 25th at 9:00. We hope you‘ll watch. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow night. Now it‘s time for the last word with Lawrence O‘Donnell. Good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC COMMENTATOR: Good evening, Rachel. I will be watching Monday at 9:00.
MADDOW: Thank you very much.
O‘DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.
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