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Friday, Oct. 22nd, 2010

Read the transcript to the Friday show

Guests: Elizabeth Newhall, Jon Ralston


KEITH OLBERMANN, “COUNTDOWN” HOST:  Part two of “The Catbird Seat” by James Thurber.  We‘ll resume with part three next week.

That‘s “COUNTDOWN.”  I‘m Keith Olbermann.  Good night and good luck.

And now, with the story of President Obama who is now up in the polls, disapproval-approval, from 48-56 to 54-40 in three weeks, the aggressive push in the last days of the midterm campaign—ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow.

Fifty-four-forty or fight, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST:  Fifty-four-forty or fight.  You know, I think at this point, every Republican wanted to run against Obama, and at this point, if the Democrats got to decide if that could happen, they would say yes.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, indeed.

MADDOW:  Yes.  Thanks, Keith.  Have a great weekend.

OLBERMANN:  You, too.

MADDOW:  Thanks to you at home as well for staying with us for the next hour.

You know, the whole “cure the gays” thing has come up again in yet another Republican U.S. Senate campaign.  It turns out that Christine O‘Donnell is not alone on that very strange issue.

Chairman Steele and the Republican Party have chosen a weird, weird place to spend some of that party‘s desperately needed cash less than two weeks before the elections.  That‘s coming up.

And a scary return in North Carolina of something that everyone one thought was very illegal now.  That‘s the subject of “The Interview” on tonight‘s show.

We‘ve got lots to come.

But, we begin tonight with President Obama on the campaign trail.  At this hour, dropping in on the highest profile Senate race in the country.  Any moment now, Mr. Obama will take the stage in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he is headlining a rally with the man you see there, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The highest profile Democrat in the country who is not on the ballot this year, Mr. Obama, is putting himself right in the center of this year‘s elections.  Heading into the last 10 days of campaigning, President Obama is in the midst of a four-day, five-state campaign swing.  It‘s his most aggressive campaigning of this election season so far.

On Wednesday night, the president traveled to Oregon to campaign for that state‘s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, ex-Governor John Kitzhaber.  Last night, Mr. Obama traveled to Washington state to stump for Democratic Senator Patty Murray—both of those events, drawing large crowds.  But nothing like the crowd that greeted President Obama today in California.

Before a crowd officially estimated at more than 37,000 people, President Obama today campaigned in Los Angeles for Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, as that California Senate race gets close to the finish line.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The journey we began together was not just about putting a president in the White House.  It was about building a movement for change.  It was about realizing the promise of the United States of America.  And understanding if we‘re willing to work for it, there is nothing we cannot achieve.

So I need you to keep on believing.  I need to you keep hoping.  And if you knock on some doors and make some phone calls and keep marching and keep organizing, we won‘t just win this election.  We are going to restore the American Dream for not just some, but for every, every, everybody in this great land.


MADDOW:  Before a crowd officially estimated at more than 37,000 people in Los Angeles, the president speaking today.

After that, Los Angeles event, the president headed straight to Nevada where he is tonight.  You see Harry Reid there right now.  That is a live image from this event.

President Obama scheduled to wrap up his marathon campaign with a trip to Minnesota tomorrow.

Now, as many of the top tier races in this year‘s election starts to tighten, in some cases, unexpectedly so, Democrats have decided to put President Obama front and center.

The president‘s appearance in Nevada tonight is a high stakes appearance in what, again, has become highest Senate profile race in the country.  It is certainly the most expensive race in the country with the Senate majority leader fighting there to hold on to his job.

Heading in to this year‘s reelection, Harry Reid was seen as having little to no chance of holding on to this Senate seat.  He trailed his likely Republican opponents by double digits in some cases.

But then the Republican primary actually happened, and in a surprise, the Republican establishment candidate lost to a contrarian state legislator with a record widely thought to make her unelectable to any significant statewide, let alone national office.

After that primary, the poll number in the race showed a rise and Harry Reid‘s likelihood of holding on to his Senate seat.  Instead of being down double digits, Harry Reid pulled ahead.

Since then, the Republican establishment has gotten over its discomfort with their party‘s candidate with Sharron Angle.  They have dumped a huge amount of money into the race, not just outside groups.  And this race is now essentially neck in neck.  It‘s also up to its own neck in spending.

The president‘s decision to campaign in Nevada tonight is a high stakes one for this reason.  The White House does not want to be seen to be fighting battles that it is not winning.

I mean, in White House political calculations, there‘s arguably some political nobility, some political capital even in being seen to fight but lose battles in the legislative process.

But in electoral politics, in elections?  No.  No.  In electoral politics, if you‘re the White House, you want to show that you accept the things you cannot change.  You have the courage to change the things you can, and you have the wisdom to know the difference.

Out of Mr. Obama‘s trip to Nevada today, Republicans—they have rolled out the welcome mat with a vituperative, anti-Obama ad titled, “Welcome to Nevada, Mr. President.”  When they say “welcome,” they really, really, really do not mean it.

The election in Nevada, like in many states has actually already started.  Early voting has already begun in Nevada.  That‘s expected to be one of the things that Mr. Obama highlights in this speech tonight which again we are anticipating in just moments.

Election officials in Nevada have special early voting polling locations where any voter can cast their vote very Election Day.  You don‘t have to do anything special to vote early.  So far, early voting statistics show a strong turnout for both Republicans and Democrats, with a slight edge favoring the Republicans.

This Harry Reid-Sharron Angle is a fascinating race on its own terms.  But the fact that this is such a rough-and-tumble, hard fought, no-holds-barred race makes it particularly fascinating that the White House today has chosen to put the president right in the middle of it.

As we await the president‘s speech in just moments, we go now NBC News correspodnetn Mike Viqueira, who covers the White House.  He is live tonight at that event in Las Vegas.

Mike, thanks very much for joining us.

What can you tell us about the White House decision to send President Obama into this race in Nevada?

MIKE VIQUEIRA, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Rachel, I think it‘s the confluence of two political imperatives.  It‘s almost become a cliche in the last week, these two phrases: fire wall and the enthusiasm gap.  But that‘s exactly, if you look at where President Obama has been, who he‘s been talking to, he‘s been talking to base Democrats in areas where normally Democrats have no problems: Washington state, Oregon, and California.

Now, be that as it may in California, the president was also there raising money, almost $2.5 million in the last 24 hours alone.

But he‘s got to win those.  It‘s been said many times, if do you the math, you carry the one.  If he wins Washington, California for Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray, respectively, and Harry Reid holds on here in Nevada and pulls out what you correctly identify as a bruising race, then the Senate stays in Democratic hands.

So, the president is here doing that.  Hard Harry Reid for his part

you know, the White House has said all along, we will campaign for virtually any Democrat who wants us there.  And Harry Reid has clearly made the calculation that he has got to get his vote out here.


You mentioned that early voting.  A number of speakers have said, hey, look, there‘s an early voting polling place over by the JC Penney, a block away.  It‘s open until 9:00.  Get yourself over there tonight if you‘re really motivated.

So, Harry Reid has clearly made the calculation that he‘s got to turn out his base.  He‘s tremendously unpopular here.  Ironically enough, he‘s got the endorsement in the last few days leading up to this rally of a couple of statewide Republicans in the state legislature and the politicians towards Reno who said that Harry Reid is the only thing stands in the way of having a 19th century mining law repealed and grazing on federal land.

So, parochial politics here in Nevada at play, but that‘s sort of insider status is also obviously working against Harry Reid.  He told our friend, Ed Schultz, the other day, but for me, there‘d be a worldwide depression.  He‘s been ridiculed by Republicans for that, saying, if you could stop a worldwide depression, if that‘s what you‘re so worried about, why is the unemployment rate here, the highest in the nation, the foreclosure and bankruptcy rate also the highest in the nation?

So the political winds blowing very strong against Harry Reid, his manhood being called into question by Sharron Angle, the Republican and Tea Party favorite.

Today, Harry Reid told another friend of ours, John Harwood over at CNBC, he‘s never had his manhood called into question and that Sharron Angle is an embarrassment to the state of Nevada.  So, no holds barred here for the former boxer, Harry Reid—Rachel.

MADDOW:  NBC News correspondent Mike Viqueira live tonight in Las Vegas, Nevada, at this Harry Reid/President Obama event—Mike, thanks very much for being there for us tonight.  Thanks for your time.


MADDOW:  We‘ll be back in just a moment.  We are expecting President Obama to be speaking live at this event today in Nevada.  Again, an interesting decision by the White House to put President Obama in the middle of what is not just the most expensive Senate race in the country, not just the highest profile race in the country, but what has been a brutal, bruising Senate race here.

Let‘s than two weeks out from the election, President Obama expected to appear before a large crowd tonight in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Outdoor, Harry Reid is addressing the crowd right now.  President Obama expected in just moments.  We‘ll it have for you live right here on MSNBC.


MADDOW:  Still more ahead from President Obama‘s big foot presence on the campaign trail tonight.  He is smack dab in the presidential middle of the most expensive hardest fought, highest election.  We‘re anticipating momentarily President Obama‘s speech in Las Vegas, Nevada.

We do have one curious note for you, though, from the other side of the aisle tonight.  As Republican-leaning outside groups continue to swamp Democratic-leaning outside groups in terms of campaign funding, it is the Republican Party itself that continues to struggle in terms of money.

Today, the RNC announced that it ended September—look at this—

$3.4 million cash on hand, but with $4.6 million in debts and obligations.  So, $3.4 million minus $4.6 million, that is not good.  Actually, that‘s underwater.

Plus, the RNC took out a $2.5 million loan.  You can stuff that in your election year fiscal responsibility message and smoke it.

If there is one truly weird detail, though, about all the Republican spending and debt news today, it is this—with the RNC swimming in red ink, totally broke heading into the midterm elections, RNC Chairman Michael Steele has dug deep in the midst of the RNC‘s financial crisis.  And Michael Steele has found 15,000 RNC dollars that he is sending to Guam.

Guam—again?  Yes, Guam again—where Michael Steele himself went at RNC expense at the start of the midterm campaign season right after Labor Day.  Guam, where no one is electing any voting representatives to Congress in these elections that are less than two weeks away.

The RNC is totally broke.  The RNC is worse than broke, and Chairman Michael Steele just sent 15,000 RNC dollars -- $15,000 of RNC money to Guam.

What is up with Michael Steele and Guam?  Seriously?  And why do Republicans keep letting him do this?


MADDOW:  We‘ve got President Obama.  This is a live image right there.  Live image of President Obama starting to address the crowd at a Harry Reid reelection event in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The president in the midst of a multistate, multiday campaign swing.

OBAMA:  It is good to be back in Nevada.

MADDOW:  The White House having made a decision to put him right in the middle of the hardest fought Senate race in the country.

Let‘s go right now live to President Obama in Las Vegas.

OBAMA:  There are a couple folks I want to make mention of.  First of all, Congresswoman Shelly Berkeley is in the house.


OBAMA:  An outstanding freshman congresswoman, Dina Titus is here.


OBAMA:  Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford is in the house.


MADDOW:  As we hear President Obama saying the thank yous that are starting his speech tonight, we‘ve got Jon Ralston, sort of dean of Nevada‘s political reporters standing by with us in Las Vegas.  Jon Ralston will be joining us right after we get out of the president‘s speech here to talk about the importance of this presidential appearance in this hard-fought race.

Of course, it would be a titanic event for the Democrats to lose their majority leader in these elections.  Not an unprecedented event, but a big deal that the Democrats are trying to avoid.

Here‘s President Obama:

OBAMA:  I am happy to see all of you.  And I have to say, for some reason, whenever I‘m coming to Vegas, suddenly a whole bunch of folks on my staff want to come with me.  I don‘t know.


OBAMA:  Suddenly, there are no seats on Air Force One.  It is all crowded.

So, I‘ve already told them they got to behave themselves a little bit while they‘re here.

But the main reason I‘m here, the main reason I need you fired up, is because, in just 11 days, you have the chance to set the direction of this state and this country, not just for the next five years, not just for the next 10 years, but for the next several decades.


OBAMA:  And if I‘m going to be able to help middle class families all across this country live out their dreams, then I want to have a partner in the United States Senate named Harry Reid.


OBAMA:  You know, Harry is not the flashiest guy.  Let‘s face it.


OBAMA:  You know, Harry kind of speaks in a very soft voice.  He doesn‘t move real quick.


OBAMA:  He doesn‘t get up and make, you know, big stem-winding speeches.  But Harry Reid does the right thing.


OBAMA:  Harry Reid has never forgotten what it‘s like to grow up in Searchlight, Nevada.  We got a Searchlight folk here.

He knows what it‘s like to be poor.  He knows what it‘s like to work hard.  He knows what it‘s like sometimes to hit some bumps in the road, to hit some obstacles, to have to overcome some stuff, that thing don‘t always work out perfectly.

But because of that, because he remembers where he came from, it means that he thinks he have single day about how am I going to give the folks in Nevada a better shot at life?


OBAMA:  And so, I want everybody here to understand what‘s at stake.


OBAMA:  I appreciate everybody saying Obama but I want everybody to say, Harry!  Harry!  Harry!  Harry!


OBAMA:  That‘s right.

I need partners like Harry and I need partners like Dina Titus.


OBAMA:  And I need partners like Shelly Berkeley.

Look, but it all depends on you—just like you did in 2008, you can defy the conventional wisdom.  The wisdom that said you can‘t overcome cynicism in politics.  The wisdom that says the special interests always win.  The wisdom that says somehow the folks with the big money who are running the most negative ads, somehow they‘re always going to be successful.  The wisdom that says we can‘t tackle big challenges in America anymore.

In 11 days, you can say to them, you may think no, we can‘t.  We think yes, we can.



OBAMA:  Yes, we can.  Si, se puede.

There is no doubt this will be a difficult election.  And that‘s because we‘ve been through an incredibly difficult time as a nation.  And nobody has been hit harder than Nevada.

But keep in mind: things were tough even before the financial crisis hit.  Between 2001 and 2009, average middle class families in America lost 5 percent of income, when the Republicans were in charge.


OBAMA:  We had the slowest job growth since World War II when the Republicans were in charge.


OBAMA:  You saw your health care costs go up; you saw the cost of a college education go up; too many jobs being shipped overseas; too many folks working two, three jobs, and still barely making ends meet—and all this culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

So, we know the results of the Republican philosophy when it comes to the economy.  It‘s no secret.  Basically, their theory was: you cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, you cut regulations for Wall Street and other special interests, and then you cut middle class families loose to fend for themselves.

MADDOW:  President Obama speaking right now live in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Joining us on the phone is Jon Ralston, columnist for “The Las Vegas Sun,” the host of “Face-to-Face with Jon Ralston.”

Jon, how big of a deal is it that President Obama is there tonight?

JON RALSTON, THE LAS VEGAS SUN (via telephone):  Well, he is the first person I‘ve ever heard, Rachel, who could get a crowd to chant Harry Reid, Harry Reid, Harry Reid!


RALSTON:  So, he—you know why he‘s there.  And he‘s there because Harry Reid needs the base to turn out.  You know, it‘s not that so many Democrats aren‘t enthused about this election.  They‘re not enthused about Harry Reid.  He‘s got negatives even among Democrats.

And so, I think Obama is talking to them about the greater picture here and that‘s what he‘s been doing across the country, is saying, this is my agenda.  We can‘t let my agenda fail.  Harry Reid is my partner—you‘ve heard him use that word.

And I have to tell you, Rachel, what I‘ve heard is that Obama has a real personal connection to Reid and really has a lot of gratitude to him for carrying through two very tough pieces of legislation, the stimulus and the health care bill, much to Harry Reid‘s detriment.

MADDOW:  Jon, the Reid campaign is hampered in the some sense by the political skills of the campaigning skills of its candidate.  What does Reid need to be able to do to actually pull this out?

RALSTON:  Rachel, you have such a gift for understatement.


RALSTON:  Listen, Harry Reid was never going to win this by being the most charismatic politician in the world.  He had tremendously high negatives here.  So, he had to do two things.

One, he had to essentially illuminate all the things that are out there about Sharron Angle that you‘re well aware of.  And then he had to get the base to turn out.

Democrats outnumbered Republicans in registration in the state, and especially in Las Vegas, where Barack Obama is right now.  He needs a high turnout.  As you mentioned earlier in your program, early voting has already started here.  And there is no sign of any great Republican surge.

MADDOW:  Jon Ralston, columnist for “The Las Vegas Sun,” host of “Face-to-Face With Jon Ralston”—Jon, this is getting more and more fun all the time.  Thanks for being here.

RALSTON:  It is indeed.  Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  All right.  Alaska‘s Tea Party Senate candidate Joe “Handcuff that reporter” Miller has reportedly hired a consultant to run something called Hope for Homosexuals.  We‘ve had a very strange time today learning exactly what it is he is hoping for for the homosexuals.  That is coming up.


MADDOW:  Out of all the issues in politics, out of all the issues in the country, out of all the issues in the world, I could not have imagined before it happened that this issue would have a significant role in this year‘s elections.




COHEN:  So, I started saying, Mom!  Mom!  Mom!  Mom, why did you do that to me?

It‘s nonsexual.  It establishes like parent-child relationship.  So, he didn‘t experience this growing up with his dad.


MADDOW:  And, of course, that was a man named Richard Cohen, a guest on this program last December.  Mr. Cohen believes that he can cure the gay, that he can cure homosexuality through a complicated combination of beating pillows with tennis rackets, cuddling, if you‘re a man, with him, and religion.  And if you just send away for one of Mr. Cohen‘s books or overpriced DVDs, no checks or COD please, he‘ll be happy to show you the “cure the gay” way.

As it turns out, the “homosexuality can be cured” racket is not just guys like Richard Cohen seeking to knit their own ragged souls back together and to profit from your gullibility and shame.  It is not just the sad sack Richard Cohens of the world.  It is also now two republican candidates for the United States Senate.  Two.  We already knew that Delaware candidate Christine O‘Donnell‘s rise the prominent as a Christian activists, involve the nation wide tour promoting the idea of curing the gay.  She toured the country with a young man named Wade Richards who is now gay again.  Mr. Richards put out a YouTube video when Christine O‘Donnell won the republican primary for Senate.  He seems very nice and happy and says, he is very much still gay.  But at one point in her career, Christine O‘Donnell toured him around the country showing him off as cured. 

Now, thanks to David Corn‘s reporting at Mother Jones magazine, we also know that Alaska‘s Joe Miller is also linked to the cure the gays racket.  Joe Miller has on his campaign pay roll a man who runs, hope for  You know, what you‘re hoping for, for homosexuals, I‘m sure is very different depending on who is asking.  For this particular guy, Joe Miller‘s guy, Joe Miller‘s guy, Terry Moffitt, his hope for homosexuals is that they will be homosexuals no longer.  As David Corn reports, hope for in June flew an airplane towing a banner over Disney world‘s annual gay day‘s event.  The banners said, Jesus Christ:  If you visit that website, you will find all the usual cure the gays malarkey.  You know, being gay is the result of trauma, being gay is also a choice. 

I don‘t know how those two things are together but here they are.  Also, being gay kills you.  Boo.  David Corn points out the more interesting thing about this although which Joe Miller should probably be asked about, the most interesting thing here is that the anti-gay organization run by this man on the Joe Miller campaign pay roll explains its anti-gay advocacy by saying that it is motivated by a healthy fear of God‘s judgment that would otherwise be wrote on individuals who reject God‘s laws and our nation for turning a blind eye, and our nation.  God‘s judgment on the nation, if a blind eye is turned to homosexuality.  So, the whole reason that Joe Miller‘s campaign consultant is trying to cure the gays is to save the country from God‘s wrath may be?  America, land of the free, home of the straight or else?

Do you remember when Jerry Falwell said that 9/11 happened because of the gays?  I think this might be the same idea.  Joe Miller famously has said that he will not answer any questions about his past.  Not going to do it.  Wouldn‘t be prudent.  Joe Miller‘s cure the gays adviser, however, it‘s Joe Millers present, not his past.  This is happening now.  Mr.  Miller, do you care to comment?   


MADDOW:  We reported exclusively this week on these wanted posters that have turn up in Charlotte, North Carolina.  We have blurred out the photos and exact name and addresses of the doctors who were targeted by these posters but I can assure you haven‘t seen the originals that the information here is very specific.  Three of the four doctors in question are pictured on these wanted posters.  Their exact office addresses are listed.  And in one case, a doctor‘s home address is given as well.  The emergence of these wanted posters targeting doctors to provide abortions.  Has sent a shock wave through the abortion rights world.  Because this hasn‘t happen for a long time.  It used to happen a lot before Dr. David Gunn was murdered, there was a wanted poster out targeting him before Dr.  John Britton was murdered.  There was a wanted poster out targeting him. 

Dr. George Tiller was murdered last year but before he was shot the first time in 1993, it is believed this wanted poster was targeting him.  It was being circulated.  In the mid ‘90s, this poster was distribute nationwide by a group calling itself the American Coalition for life activists.  It contained names and in most cases, addresses for 13 doctors who were providing abortions around the country at the time.  You‘ll notice that Dr. George Tiller is on the list along with his home address.  The information from that poster and others like it was also listed on an extremist anti-abortion website titled, The Nuremberg Files.  The contention being that any doctor performing abortions in America was a Nazi war criminal.  You can still find shadow versions of the Nuremberg Files websites online today. 

The site listed as this version still does names of doctors who provide abortions.  And in some cases, much more detailed information about how to identify and find those doctors.  The names of doctors who were murdered had a line drawn through them on the website.  Murdered doctors were crossed out.  The name of doctors who had been injured or maimed by anti-abortion extremists.  Their names appeared in gray.  Like they were, you know, almost dead.  On their way.  Some of the doctors targeted by that website in that wanted  poster decided to fight back in court contending that the pattern of violent attacks and assassinations of abortion  providers in this country meant that putting them on wanted posters constituted a threat under the, at the time, new freedom of access to clinic entrances law. 

That argument is not exactly a leap of logic, right?  But when the doctors won the case and when their victory was ultimately upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, it was seen as a landmark decision.  When the anti-abortion activists appealed further, the Supreme Court decline to hear the case.  And at that point, after that decision on behalf of the doctors being targeted by these wanted posters, it became clear legal precedent that this kind of tactic was legally off limits.  That the extreme anti-abortion forces in this country would no longer be able to do stuff like this.  And yet we are told by the folks at the Feminist Majority Foundation who have been tracking this, that these wanted posters started appearing in North Carolina almost immediately after George Tiller was murdered last year. 

Joining us now for the interview is Dr. Elizabeth Newhall.  She was one of the doctors targeted by the so-called deadly dozen posters.  She practices medicine in Oregon.  Dr. Newhall.  Thank you so much for joining us. 


MADDOW:  Well, thank you.  Well, first of all.  Let me just ask you what‘s going on right now in North Carolina.  What‘s your reaction to seeing this wanted poster tactic being used against abortion providers again.  Same thing that was used to threaten you in the ‘90s. 

NEWHALL:  You know, threatening physicians for providing health care is illegal, immoral, unethical, all of the above.  I confess I wasn‘t really aware of the new posters until I heard about them today from the feminist majority and of course, realizing that this is ongoing and that there are in fact connections between the murderers.  It is certainly unsettling, to stay the least. 

MADDOW:  When that deadly dozen poster, the so-called deadly dozen poster first came out, did you immediately see your name being on that poster as a threat, a physical threat to you?

NEWHALL:  Yes, ma‘am.  I will tell you, the day before we heard that this tactic was going to be proposed, and a dear friend of mine was very much harassed by operation rescue.  And we had a service at the Unitarian Church the day before to commemorate Dr. Gunn and other providers that had been killed.  And I‘m thinking, don‘t let it be sue, don‘t let it be sue, don‘t let it be sue, and the next night the FBI called me up, is how I found out and offered to send a federal marshal to my house.  And could they send the police to put in silent alarms.  And so on and so forth, that‘s how I found out when the FBI called me. 

MADDOW:  Did you accept a lot of that protection?  How did being on that poster change your life?

NEWHALL:  I was living with my three children at that time.  All of whom were teenagers, we had silent police alarms in our house.  Which as I say, a little unsettling, nonetheless.  I didn‘t have a federal marshal.  I didn‘t want that kind of intrusion, really.  Not an intrusion but I wore disguises.  Friends gave me different cars.  I never park in underground parking lots.  We had to put in bullet proof glass.  We were in the middle of doing medical abortion studies at the time.  And we were doing our research while they were putting in bullet proof glass and steel gauge doors.  And the doctors arriving in a disguise with a bullet-proof vest.  It was a little unreal, surreal to say the least. 

MADDOW:  Do you still feel like you‘re a target?  When we called you today to talk to you about doing this interview, we had no idea whether you would feel comfortable being on television.  Whether you would feel comfortable being identified.  Do you still feel like you‘re under threat?

NEWHALL:  I think we‘re all under threats every day.  Anyone who provides abortion services.  As I‘ve said before though, I‘m much more frightened by a world where women don‘t have reproductive freedom than I am personally.  I really believe that this is excellent medicine.  This is mandatory for public health and for women‘s health and all of our health, children‘s health.  Women have abortions because they care about motherhood.  I don‘t think people really realize that.  And so, I suppose yes, frightened.  And yes, determined to continue to provide women health care. 

MADDOW:  Do you see a future in America in which doctors aren‘t at risk for getting shot at and threatened and conceivably murdered anymore?  Can you imagine a future in which this gets better?

NEWHALL:  Yes, I absolutely can.  And thank you for the question.  Because I believe that as long as we marginalize abortion care and it is provided slowly in clinics where everybody knows your business there, then targets are easily made.  If we incorporated abortion care into general gynecology, if you went to your gynecologist for surgery or a medical abortion instead of to a clinic, we wouldn‘t have this problem at all.  Services would be invisible.  So I call upon my colleagues to provide the service.  That‘s what the problem is.  We have allowed, you know, we were so happy to have abortion made available in the early ‘70s and the clinics were initially a feminist boon.  But when the violence started, when the targeting started, I believe the correct answer is for physicians to provide services everywhere and for this to be a private issue between a woman and her physician in a place where nobody knows what she is there for. 

MADDOW:  It shouldn‘t be inconceivable. 


MADDOW:  It shouldn‘t at all.  Dr. Elizabeth Newhall, thank you so much for joining us tonight.  I know it is not an easy decision to speak out at time like this.  So, thank you. 

NEWHALL:  I appreciate you too, Rachel.  Thank you.

MADDOW:  Thanks.

Taking an unblinking look into the environment that Dr. Newhall just described, MSNBC has produced a new documentary called the assassination of Dr. Tiller.  It explores how and why the murder of Wichita‘s Dr. George Tiller happened last year.  The anti-abortion people are already very mad at us about this film, even though they have not seen it yet.  We think it is fair.  And frankly, we think it is fascinating.  I am the narrator of the film that premiers right here in this time slot, Monday at 9 p.m.  Eastern.  We‘ll give you one last preview of the film in just a moment.


MADDOW:  Monday night is the premier of our new MSNBC documentary, “The Assassination of Dr. Tiller.”  The documentary explains how Dr. George Tiller‘s murder at his church in Wichita, Kansas, was planned.  It details the environment of fear and intimidation in which Dr. Tiller and his colleagues lived their life and did their work for years before the assassination.  It also by necessity shows the kind of human resilience and determination it takes to keep on, to keep going in that kind of an environment.  And that is a side of the story that has not really been told on the national stage before.  Tonight a short preview. 


MADDOW:  As the millennium turns in Wichita, Kansas, a growing sense of anxiety and paranoia surrounds Dr. Tiller and his clinic.  And for very good reason.  The anti-abortion group operation rescue embarks on a relentless campaign to shudder Dr. Tiller‘s clinic for good. 

ANN ROSE, ABORTION RIGHTS ADVOCATE:  Their approach is to wear him down.  And to peck at him from every angle.  From harassing him personally at his home to harassing vendors, or whoever else might be doing business with the clinic. 

ROY NEWMAN, PRESIDENT, OPERATION RESCUE:  We release a list of people that we called collaborators.  Those that would collaborate with the abortion industry.  If there was any businesses that would have regular association with Mr. Tiller would it list that. 

JOAN ARMENTROUT, TILLER‘S OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR:  Our plumber, our electrician, people that hauled our trash. 

SUSAN ROBINSON, MD, COLLEAGUE OF DR. TILLER:  Wichita is a pretty big town.  There is three cab companies.  Two of them refused to bring patients from the airport to our clinic. 

SHELLY SELLA, MD, COLLEAGUE OF DR. TILLER:  Fed-Ex said that they wouldn‘t deliver their packages to us anymore.  And would it be OK if we just drop them off some other place?

ROBINSON:  And that wasn‘t Fed-Ex as a policy.  It was our driver.  And the driver has the right apparently to say that they don‘t feel safe in a certain location. 

SELLA:  It‘s like we had become pariahs and no one wanted to deal with us. 

MADDOW:  And it isn‘t just the businesses in Wichita.  It is also his employees who are targeted. 

CATHY REAVIS, NURSE:  Operation rescue had a website just dedicated to all of us and all of our pictures and names and they knew more about us than we knew about ourselves. 

ARMENTROUT:  They started finding out where we all lived. 

SELLA:  So our neighbors got this barrage of postcards, some of them quite graphic, outing us.  Did you know that your neighbor Shelly Sella is an abortionist?

ARMENTROUT:  Did you know your neighbor worked for Dr. Tiller?

REAVIS:  Do you know Cathy Reavis is using blood money to pay for her house?

ARMENTROUT:  Mostly it would make me angry and certainly cemented my feelings about why I was working there. 

MADDOW:  But no one is targeted as intensely or tenaciously as Dr.

Tiller and his family.  For them, real violence always looms. 

REAVIS:  He purchased a bulletproof jeep and wore a bulletproof vest.  

He had the federal marshals living with him for something like 30 months in his house.  

PAUL RYDING, TILLER FAMILY FRIEND:  There‘s no way I can imagine what his family went through.  It‘s impossible for me to comprehend that.  I don‘t think they could ever wake up a day and feel secure in knowledge that nothing was going to happen.  


MADDOW:  Scenes from “The Assassination of Dr. Tiller” which will premiere here on this show on Monday night, 9:00 Eastern.  We hope you‘ll watch.



STEPHEN BRODEN ®, TEXAS HOUSE CANDIDATE:  Let me tell you, that is something that happened in Germany when the Jews were walking into the furnaces and they walked in there and didn‘t even try to stop or fight their way.  They walked in because they did not believe that this was happening.  They didn‘t believe that humanity could be so evil, so downright ugly and they just walked into the furnaces believing that the people would do right.  I‘m submitting to you tonight that that‘s where America is right now.  We believe that they will do right.  They will not do right!  Adrian said it best, they are our enemies.  And we must resist them. 


MADDOW:  So, hey, that guy is running for Congress.  That‘s Stephen Broden, republican nominee for Congress, from the great state of Texas, 30th district.  That was not a super secret exclusive tape of the republican nominee Mr. Broden saying, America is like Nazi Germany being marched into the ovens right now.  That was at a Tea Party rally in Forth Worth last year.  We got that off the YouTube.  That is on the record, on the permanent internet record.  Despite that, the national Republican Party is so behind the guy‘s candidacy, the Chairmen Michael Steele drove his giant red fire Nancy Pelosi bus all the way to Mr. Broden‘s district to campaign with him. 


MICHAEL STEELE ®, NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:  Whether talking you‘re about a Nicky Haley in South Carolina, a Tim Scott, Pastor Broden here, there‘s a huge opportunity for us to show the other side of who we are and what we believe. 


MADDOW:  Now, thanks to WFAA in Dallas, we know a little bit more about that who we are and what we believe thing. 


ANNOUNCER:  Broden said in June 2009, there is a solution. 

BRODEN:  We have a constitutional remedy here, and the framer says, if that don‘t work, revolution.  

ANNOUNCER:  Broden says revolution, first means at a ballot box but a violent overthrow is an option.  

BRODEN:  Our nation was founded on violence. 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN:  In 2010, you would urge that as an optional?

BRODEN:  The option is on the table.  I don‘t think that we should ever remove anything from the table, as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms. 


MADDOW:  Should be clear the thing he‘s saying that is on the table that will not be removed from the table is the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.  Not a metaphor.  That‘s what he means.  We‘ve been talking a lot about extremism in politics, the connection between extreme politics and just extremism.  Extreme politics are being extremely excited about politics, it‘s not just something that we tolerate in America, it is something we, and the royal we meaning me, actually celebrated.  It is one of great things about having the freedom to fight it out amongst ourselves, fighting it out. 

In order to comfortably exercise that freedom to fight it out though, it has to be fairly clear that we‘re not literally fighting violently.  That there isn‘t somebody with a gun to anybody else‘s head.  There needs to be an assumption that everybody at the table fighting about stuff is actually there to talk.  We occasionally have this discussion in American politics about people using extreme language.  I would say that when Stephen Broden claimed that the U.S. is just like Nazi Germany being marched off to the ovens, I would say that he was using a very unfortunate simile.  People use over the top similes and metaphors and analogies all the time.  Is it something different though to soberly and deliberately threaten violence as a way to achieve your political goals. 


BRODEN:  Our nation was founded on  violence.  

UNIDENTIFIED MAN:  In 2010 you urge that as an optional?  

BRODEN:  The option is on the table.  


MADDOW:  Stephen Broden is a candidate who  most people in the United States have not heard of before but he‘s a major party candidate for Congress.  And the national Republican Party is fully endorses him and the Republican Party chairman did an event with him.  It should be noted the party‘s highest profile Senate candidate, he‘s also made substantively the same threat over and over and over again. 


ANGLE:  You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government.  In fact, you know, Thomas Jefferson said it‘s good for a country to have a revolution in every 20 years. I hope that‘s not where we‘re going.  But, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those second amendment remedies, and they‘re saying, my goodness what can we do to turn this country around?


MADDOW:  We can do a lot of things to turn this country around.  That‘s what this whole thing is about.  That‘s what we‘re supposed to be arguing about.  That‘s what the election is about.  That‘s what the whole election process is about.  That is what our freedom to speak, possibly assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances is all about.  The threatening that you‘ll violently overthrow the government or that conservatives should expected to try that if they don‘t get what they want at the ballot box, is not politics.  It‘s against politics, it seeks to overrule politics by force.  This has not turned out to be a typical election year, good  night.    




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