Guests: Jon Ralston, Ruben Kihuen, Harry Reid, Bob Irwin, Nathan Baca
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening Keith. Thank you.
And good evening, everybody, watching at home—from beautiful Las Vegas!
We have brought this show so far this election season to three Senate battlegrounds. To the Christine O‘Donnell/Chris Coons race in Delaware—that was fun. Perhaps most notable for us getting thrown out of the Christine O‘Donnell headquarters because we had the temerity to ask for an interview.
And then, yesterday, we were in Alaska for that three-way Senate race between incumbent Lisa Murkowski and Tea Party Republican, Joe Miller, as well as Democrat Scott McAdams. That trip was perhaps most notable for us trying everything we could think of that was legal to try to get an interview with Joe Miller. It did pay off, ultimately, in a bizarre walking, talking, awkward pausing, on the run interview that more than anything resembled an “OK Go” music video—and more than anything else, proved the athletic prowess of our awesome camera crew.
But now, we are here on the Las Vegas Strip for the highest profile Senate race in the entire country, the highest profile race of any kind in this year‘s elections. When we as a country look back at the 2010 elections, we will look back at Sharron Angle versus Harry Reid. And when we look back at Sharron Angle versus Harry Reid, we will not believe that this was really 2010 and this was really Nevada, and this was not 1964 in the Deep South.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SHARRON ANGLE ®, NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: I‘m Sharron Angle and I approved this message.
NARRATOR: Waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border, joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear.
And what‘s Harry Reid doing about it? Voting to give illegal aliens Social Security benefits, tax breaks and college tuition, voting against declaring English our national language twice, and even siding with Obama and the president of Mexico to block Arizona‘s tough new immigration law.
Harry Reid—it‘s clear whose side he‘s on, and it‘s not yours.
NARRATOR: Illegals sneaking across our border, putting America‘s safety and jobs at risk.
And what does Harry Reid do? He comes out opposed to Arizona‘s tough new immigration law.
NARRATOR: Reid cheers as the president of the Mexico slams Arizona‘s tough illegal immigration law. Now, Reid has introduced a plan that gives illegals a pathway to amnesty and even special college tuition rates with the money coming from Nevada taxpayers.
Harry Reid—the best friend illegals have ever had.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Sharron Angle‘s closing argument in the final days of this campaign has been yet another one of these ads, doubling down on race. Harry Reid is not on your side.
Who‘s you? What are the two sides here?
Well, these are the bad guys in the Sharron Angle ads. This is how she defines the other side. You may notice some similarities among these images. And this actually—this is what she says is the other side—this is the bad side.
And this, in Sharron Angle‘s ads, is what she describes as your side. She wants you to know that she stands on your side—not on that other significantly and quite literally darker side.
The ads are called things like “best friend,” and “Thanks, pal,” to make clear that Harry Reid is the pal of—on the side of the menacing brown people. And Sharron Angle, of course, is on the other side. Sharron Angle is on the side of the white people. It is as blunt as that.
All of the national attention, all of the outside money, all of the candidate fundraising, all of the press, all of the issues, all of the challenges facing the state of Nevada, all of the campaigning, it is all boiling down to the Republican candidate making her closing argument case that she stands with white people, and the Democrat stands against white people by standing with Latinos. And therefore, you should vote Republican, white people. That‘s what it boils down to.
Welcome to the new century—same as the old century.
DONALD “D.” TAYLOR, CULINARY WORKERS UNION: Her recent ads have made it appear that al Latinos are gang members, which is just outrageous, and I guess racism is alive and well.
They understand that they‘re trying to criminalize an ethnic group. Unfortunately, that‘s a long tradition in this country—going back, for example, just recently, 1988, with the Horton ads.
JON RALSTON, LAS VEGAS SUN COLUMNIST: They have really, really played that issue heavily in the last few weeks. These illegal immigration ads, to me, are very, very frightening, in what they‘re obviously trying to do. And it‘s interesting, because it‘s a trade-off by the Angle campaign. The Hispanic vote is huge here, or potentially huge, right?
RALSTON: And it‘s 25 percent of the electorate. It was 15 percent of the vote when Obama won the state by 12 points. The Democrats hope to get it up to 12 percent. It‘s unclear whether they can get there or not.
And yet, they are—they are willing to take that chance to drive up independent turnout, the Angle people are.
MADDOW: So, to be clear, this is—I mean, with these immigration ads, they‘re really, really pointed—pointed on race. I mean, all of the victims are white people. All of the assailants are brown people. It‘s this menacing “Brown people are coming to get you, Harry Reid is not with you,” with the implied white voter, the implied white viewer, Sharron Angle‘s saying, “I‘m with you, white people.”
So, she‘s—is she banking on Hispanic groups getting mad and saying, “We don‘t like Sharron Angle,” because that will actually reinforce the message that she‘s with white voters against Hispanics?
RALSTON: Well, I really think that the—and all the polling shows this, that what they believe is that independent voters in this state, who are a lot of the undecided, if there are any undecided left, are really moved by the illegal immigration pitch. They‘re out of work. She‘s giving the perception that these menacing thugs are coming across the border to steal their jobs.
MADDOW: Joining us now is Assemblyman Ruben Kihuen, who‘s running for state Senate here in Nevada. Mr. Kihuen is the first Hispanic immigrant to be elected into office in modern Nevada history.
Assemblyman Kihuen, thanks very much for our time. I really appreciate.
RUBEN KIHUEN (D-NV), STATE ASSEMBLYMAN: Thank you, Rachel, and welcome to fabulous Las Vegas.
MADDOW: Thank you. It is quite fabulous, even on a Wednesday.
KIHUEN: It is. It is.
MADDOW: Sharron Angle has three immigration-focused television ads that show, to my mind, menacing-looking Latino men—she says they‘re streaming across our border leaving our families in fear. All the pictured families appear to be white families.
Is this typical Nevada politicking and we are just nationally paying attention to it because of this high-profile race? Or is this not usually the way things are done in Nevada?
KIHUEN: You know, this is an unprecedented race. We obviously have the Senate majority leader running for reelection. We have a very popular leader within the Hispanic community.
Sharron Angle now knows that those Latinos, if they do come out and vote, they‘re not going to vote against her. So, obviously—
MADDOW: So, they‘re not going to go vote for her.
KIHUEN: For her, I‘m sorry.
This is why they‘re launching those outrageous, despicable, anti-
Hispanic, anti-American, un-American ads here in Nevada. And I think it‘s
it depicts the immigrant community as if we were all thugs, murderers, you know, rapists. But they don‘t depict those hard-working immigrants, those lawyers, those police officers, those elected officials that many of us are.
And I think it‘s wrong and it‘s unacceptable here in our state.
MADDOW: Everybody thinks that the calculus behind this is that the Republicans know they will give up all hope of certainly all Latino voters, but probably all minority voters by doing this. But they think that it‘s worth it because they will lock up all of the fearful white vote, that they can scare up with this sort of thing. That calculus only works if Latinos aren‘t inspired by that sort of politicking to turn out and vote against her.
What are you—what are you seeing in terms of signs about Latino turnout?
KIHUEN: Look, I‘ve been campaigning for Senator Reid from the last year. And I don‘t think I have seen the Hispanic community more motivated now than ever because of these ads. Just two weeks ago, they‘re about to launch the “Don‘t vote” ad. That right there caught the attention of the Hispanic community. And I don‘t think we could have had a better gift to mobilize and to energize the Hispanic community than that ad and also all this anti-Hispanic ads.
MADDOW: You know, I spoke with Senator Reid today. I tried to get an interview with Sharron Angle, she wouldn‘t agree to one. But Senator Reid raised that “Don‘t vote” ad. And that was run by an outside group telling Latino voters: Democrats haven‘t done anything for you, don‘t vote. It didn‘t even try to make the case for Sharron Angle. It just said, don‘t vote.
It was a Spanish language ad. It was pulled pretty quickly. But it made a big—made a big splash.
Do you think that will scare people or persuade people into not voting?
KIHUEN: You know what—look, most people in the state of Nevada are very well aware that this is the most contentious race in the nation.
KIHUEN: The most important.
At the end of the day, if they allow one ad to persuade to not go vote, obviously, that person is obviously not well-informed.
KIHUEN: We‘re excited, though, that these ads have energized our Latino community. We make up almost 50 percent of the electorate and 25 percent of the population—meaning that this election will be determined by the Latino vote. And with these ads, they‘re just getting mobilized and energized.
MADDOW: Do you think that after—after the election, no matter what happens in the Senate race, no matter what happens in your race and all the other races that are happening right now, do you think that this has done harm to the racial fabric of America? Does this type of politics hurt us in our effort to get over our sort of legacy of racial friction and violence in this country?
KIHUEN: You know, Rachel, what‘s unfortunate about this is that after November 2nd, this tension between Hispanics and everybody else that Sharron Angle has created will stick for a long time. You know, a leader should be able to unite, not to divide. And Sharron Angle‘s dividing the community.
And we have to be here. We want to live here after November 2nd, and this is only creating tension that is completely unnecessary.
MADDOW: State Assemblyman Ruben Kihuen, running for state Senate, good luck in your race, sir.
KIHUEN: Thank you so much.
MADDOW: Thank you for your time. Appreciate it.
KIHUEN: Thank you.
MADDOW: So, we are live in Las Vegas, as you may be able to tell from what‘s behind me. It‘s so exciting. There‘s a giant Donny and Marie and everything.
Part of the reason that we are live in Las Vegas is because this is quite literally the last thing I could think of to try to do to get that Sharron Angle interview that we have been asking for for months now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, Jon, you can be totally blunt with me. You don‘t have to—like, you don‘t have to sugarcoat it at all. I‘m not going to get a Sharron interview while I‘m here, am I?
RALSTON: I think the odds are better of you‘re hitting megabucks.
I‘m going to the casino right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Automatic M249.
UNIDENTIFIED MAEL: Yes, the automatic.
MADDOW: The M249 is not a full-sized—it‘s not a handgun. It‘s a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s a big one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s what you want? The M249.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That will stop people in their tracks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they‘ll have that one ready.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And maybe if she wants the Uzi, she can pick it up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Great. Yes, that‘s correct. All right.
I‘ll keep you updated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Just an average production day. If she wants the Uzi, she‘ll pick it up off the rack.
Second Amendment remedies from a very different angle than usual—coming up in just a moment.
MADDOW: Ninety-five hundred miles in four days. Whoo!
Do you want to know what we‘ve learned over 9,500 miles in four days? We have learned that when you arrive in Anchorage, Alaska, you want Shannyn Moore from the “Mudflats” blog and take Levi Johnston‘s bodyguard to show you the Anchorage ropes, immediately.
And when you arrive in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas ropes to get shown to you by one of the best political reporters in this country—the totally irreplaceable bottomless pit of political knowledge that is Jon Ralston of the “Las Vegas Sun.”
RALSTON: Hey, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thank you so much for doing this.
RALSTON: Oh, it‘s my pleasure.
MADDOW: I have to warn you that I‘m—even though I‘m not the sharpest tool in the shed, slightly duller than usual because of this sleep deprivation, so you‘re going to be really emphatic.
RALSTON: Las Vegas is a lot more exciting than out in Alaska. I promise. I promise.
MADDOW: All right. Excellent.
RALSTON: I‘ve never driven a van before, so this could be an adventure.
MADDOW: What do you normally drive?
RALSTON: A Land Rover. So, it‘s not that far off. But—
MADDOW: I was going to say, I don‘t—you don‘t strike me as an M.G. (ph) guy.
RALSTON: I don‘t?!
MADDOW: We are less than a week out, the race is certainly in top gear, but you said that it‘s felt like it‘s been in top gear for months.
RALSTON: Yes. And now, you‘re just seeing the intensity ratchet up to, I think, a level that nobody could have anticipated with everything that you see in the last minute of a campaign from both sides. And you do see some unusual things, too, Rachel—I mean, Harry Reid is out in public every day, which nobody expected, because he‘s not that good in public.
I think if Harry Reid wins the race, the key part of the whole race, Rachel, would have been six weeks after the primary, when they ran this relentless, “she‘s crazy” ads, and she went from an eight to eleven-point lead to being that even in the polls and her negative started going up.
The interesting thing is that most of the really crazy stuff she said came after that—talking about that there may be domestic enemies on Capitol Hill. And what I still think, frankly, is the most frightening thing she‘s said, which is in a rural town called Mesquite, which, by the way, is where Sue Lowden made her “chicken” comments, it‘s the locust of everything—
MADDOW: The Mesquite triangle, don‘t go there!
RALSTON: Exactly—is where she actually said to a group, when talking about the Muslim terrorist situation in the United States, that there are two communities that have Sharia law, which is—you know, the Reid people think, oh, this is the dog whistle to “The Muslims are coming, the Muslims are coming.” But I just think this is emblematic of Sharron Angle. She just says things without thinking.
RALSTON: And is very careless with very dangerous rhetoric that‘s incendiary, whether it‘s Second Amendment remedy or domestic enemies or this that thing that there‘s Sharia law in this country. And—
MADDOW: And when confronted about that, her explanation was—oh, I thought, I‘d heard that once?
RALSTON: I read that somewhere.
RALSTON: I read that somewhere.
Imagine if people just said who were running for office what they read somewhere, you know? I mea, it‘s just—it‘s the lack of uncritical thinking. She can‘t get below the surface on anything once she‘s asked about it, which, of course, is why she‘s not doing many interviews.
And then there are some people who thought she topped that a couple weeks ago when she was talking to a group of Hispanic students at a local high school and said all manner of crazy stuff, “Some of you look Asian to me.” But I really thought the more amazing, she seemed to be unsure of those images she‘s using in these very borderline at best racist, illegal immigration spots whether or not those are Latinos or not, she seemed not to be quite sure. And then said, well, the real problem is the terrorists coming across the Canadian border.
RALSTON: Which is, you know, as I said in the column I wrote recently, maybe I overstated this, in an ordinary election, that‘s a disqualifier to hold public office, right?
RALSTON: To say something—not this year.
MADDOW: I‘ve been trying to understand, this race is so important. It‘s got so much money. It‘s got so much attention. The Senate majority leader, Sharron Angle‘s amazing.
But in trying to figure out how this works, it seems like we really have to understand the relative strength of the parties in this state. The Democratic Party, even though this isn‘t a Democratic year, is strong in this state, has good turnout effort, has good infrastructure.
The Republican Party in this state is not very together. And—is Ensign part of the reason why, his scandals and everything?
RALSTON: One of the reasons the party doesn‘t have any money is because of John Ensign. I mean, right before this scandal happened in June of 2009, he was a rainmaker for the party.
I mean, here‘s a guy who was about to go to Iowa. He was being talked about as a presidential candidate. He could go all across the country and raise money, and he was known as a big fundraiser for the party. That all ended on June 16th of 2009.
And so then you have a party with a scandalized senator, scandalized governor, the two highest elected officials, and nobody else to raise the party any money. They can‘t get any money.
MADDOW: Why hasn‘t he disappeared? Why has he held on this long?
RALSTON: Because he‘s delusional, because he thinks he can win re-election. He‘s actually talking to people about running for re-election. He cannot raise any money. His PAC has no money.
He hasn‘t been able to raise any personal money. He spent a lot of money on a legal defense fund and he has now started spending money on some of these former staffers. But he still thinks—because he goes to these base events that don‘t get a lot of coverage, and people still love him.
MADDOW: So, he thinks that people still love him broadly—
MADDOW: -- even though he‘s just in that bubble?
RALSTON: And I think it is a bubble, it‘s going to burst. I think he will have a primary if he does decide to run for re-election.
But, of course, anything could happen—it‘s a long ways away, as you know. He could get indicted. He could finally see the light and decide not to run.
If, by some chance, Sharron Angle loses to Harry Reid, she‘s—she‘s the energizer bunny of Nevada politics. She‘s just going to keep running and running and running. And she will see, I got $14 million from across the country from the third quarter, I can raise money. I beat John Ensign in a primary.
MADDOW: So, she‘d primary John Ensign.
RALSTON: I would not be surprised if she were to lose that she would do that.
MADDOW: And then we could come back.
RALSTON: And do this Angle story al over again.
MADDOW: John, it is absolutely invaluable to have you to show us around—but I got to say, in this most spectacular of Senate races, the fact that there‘s somebody here like who‘s so good at explaining this stuff, is an asset to the entire country. So thank you so much.
RALSTON: Thanks so much. A pleasure.
MADDOW: Really appreciate it, Jon. Thanks. All right.
MADDOW: The insight as well as the excellent first-time-ever driving a van acumen of political reporter John Ralston.
As we arrived here today trying to figure out what is going to happen in the highest profile race in the country, which is the Senate here in Nevada.
Jon Ralston, also, one of the few lucky reporters who have been actually allowed to interview Sharron Angle—something we tried very, very hard to do today.
Also, there was some Second Amendment remedies investigation.
That‘s coming up—ahead.
But, first, “One More Thing” about John Ralston‘s observation there, that this year there‘s really nothing out of bounds in politics. Today—today, I kid you not, “The Huffington Post” reported and the candidate‘s Web site confirms that the “I dress up like a Nazi” guy, the Nazi-uniformed Republican House candidate in Ohio is holding a campaign rally this weekend with the man who will be speaker of the House if Republicans win a majority in the House in these elections—John Boehner appearing this weekend, the weekend before the elections, at a campaign rally for Rich Iott, pictured here in his Nazi Waffen-SS uniform.
This year is not like other years. Are you planning on voting?
MADDOW: So we‘re here at Sharron Angle‘s Las Vegas headquarters, which is just west of the Strip. And we‘ve been trying to get an interview with Sharron Angle ever since she was apparently going to win the primary and then did win the primary. Now that we‘re here, I‘m, of course, hoping that all of those noes will magically turn into a yes.
What‘s the status of our—Mike, of our interview request now?
MIKE YARVITZ, TRMS PRODUCER: So, we‘ve been asking for her for a long time. In the lead up to us coming to Las Vegas, we asked for an interview request. None of those requests have been accepted.
MADDOW: Obviously, Sharron Angle has not been—not been eager to talk to the press. It‘s been a campaign issue for her. I sort of don‘t expect that she‘s even going to talk to us, but I would be happy to talk to, like, a staffer from the campaign, to anybody who would speak on behalf of the campaign, even if we can‘t get her.
YARVITZ: I have fingers crossed and I think this may work. I think we may get somebody to talk to us.
YARVITZ: I do.
MADDOW: All right. Well, I don‘t want to—I don‘t want to have a camera follow you in there and I don‘t even want to go in—I don‘t want to go in myself, because I don‘t want them to think it‘s a stunt.
MADDOW: I honestly am just trying—I just—I just want us to do our best to try to get this interview. So, will you take that microphone off and go in there and I‘ll just wait out here and try to look like I‘m just hanging out.
YARVITZ: Sounds good. I‘m going to kill them with kindness in there.
MADDOW: All right.
We‘ll see how it goes.
SUBTITLE: Minutes later—
YARVITZ: No luck.
MADDOW: No luck. They were nice, though? They weren‘t—
YARVITZ: They were nice, but they clearly didn‘t want to talk to us.
MADDOW: All right.
YARVITZ: They asked a couple times who we were here with—who we were here with.
MADDOW: Who‘d you say?
YARVITZ: I said, MSNBC, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW. We‘ve been trying to get an interview for a while now, and we just figured since we were in the neighborhood, we‘d stop by. But they were very adamant that we must go through this one person to try to get an interview.
MADDOW: Which is who we‘ve been going through and they won‘t.
MADDOW: They won‘t do it.
MADDOW: All right. Well, due diligence, right? Like you never give up. Never surrender.
MADDOW: Apparently we did get to the right person at Sharron Angle‘s opponents‘ campaign, at Harry Reid‘s campaign. My interview with the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid—when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD D. TAYLOR, NEVADA CULINARY WORKERS UNION: The issues that our members affect everybody, it‘s about the economy, it‘s about jobs, it‘s about foreclosure questions, it‘s obviously about health insurance. It‘s about having a better future for our kids. The other issue is immigration. You know, our recent ads have made it appear like all Latinos or gang members, which are just outrageous and I guess racism is alive and well.
MILADIS ACANDA, NEVADA CULINARY WORKERS UNION: This is what I talk to people. You know what, you cannot pay attention to those commercials. That is commercial, that is other stuff. We need to have clear one thing. With Harry Reid, we have the future of this country. Not with Sharron Angle.
TAYLOR: They understand that they‘re trying to criminalize an ethnic group. Unfortunately, that‘s a long tradition in this country going back, for example, just recently, 1988, with the Horton ads.
BEVERLY HOFFRICHTER, NEVADA CULINARY WORKERS UNION: If Harry Reid doesn‘t get into office, I think this city is through. Because Sharron Angle wants to do absolutely nothing for this city.
ACANDA: If you‘re not going to do nothing for us, if when the media is trying to talk to you, you run away from, you don‘t stop and say something, why you running for senator then? You can answer a simple question.
HOFFRICHTER: Sharron Angle is too extreme. She wants to take away Social Security, Medicaid, especially the Department of Education, when the kids are the most important, because they are our future.
TAYLOR: People from outside the state who are spending all this money to like knock Harry Reid, they don‘t live here, they don‘t care about—it‘s all part of a jigsaw puzzle. I think the people in this state can very much make their own decisions and frankly, I wish that people from, you know, New York, Washington, L.A., Seattle, Chicago who don‘t live here, just stay out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW”: The views of Nevada‘s very influential Culinary Union, their members speaking to us there. You know, their turnout efforts are seen as key to democratic chances here in Nevada. Just hours ago, I caught up with a democratic candidate for Senate who was counting on those union votes in order to try to keep his seat. He is of course, the Senate‘s Majority Leader, Harry Reid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The closing argument from your opponent, from Sharron Angle, appears to be about immigration. She‘s running this, in my opinion, a very racially charged ads, showing Latinos or Latino actors, models, menacing—in a menacing way, while talking about immigration. It seems like because that is her strategy, Latino voter turnout on the democratic side may be very important to you. What is the—what is your strategy for trying to turnout Latino voters and what‘s your message to them?
HARRY REID (D), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, my goal is to turn out all voters. But I think we have an especially difficult situation in which she‘s created. I think everyone in America knows the immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed, and I‘ve worked very hard to get that done. However, all she does is causes people to be afraid. There‘s no reason to be afraid. We‘ve got to work our way through this issue. She has not issued one positive statement, one constructive statement about what we do with the issue of immigration. It‘s something we have to fix and we‘re willing to do that, but we can‘t do it with people like her demagoguing the issue.
And to think, to think that someone would suggest, in America, that people should not vote, she has been part of an effort to have people not vote. They try to get up some TV ads, thank goodness the Hispanic stations wouldn‘t run them, but now they‘re passing out literature in areas that are heavily Hispanic, saying, don‘t vote. And that is about as un-American as you can get.
MADDOW: Now, was that when in the television ads I was aware of, that was not a Sharron Angle campaign effort, it seemed to be at least an independent effort, but you think that she was—she has something to do with it?
REID: But wouldn‘t you think that if something as negative, irresponsible and un-patriotic as that, wouldn‘t you think somebody would denounce it? She‘s never said a single word, that it‘s wrong when they are doing. She is in the background urging them on, I‘m certain.
MADDOW: In terms of the message to Latino voters and the fight for the Latino vote in this state, of course, the issue that has been used against you from the right, is that immigration reform hasn‘t gone anywhere and that you as majority leader bear responsibility for that and if you really were doing right by Latino voters, that would have been voted on already.
REID: Well, the one group of people that disbelieves that totally are Hispanics. They know that I‘ve spent more time the last two congresses on immigration than any other issue, period. And we had a pretty good deal going. We had Senator Kennedy and Senator McCain leading the effort the last Congress. Well, Senator Kennedy has passed away. John McCain has gone to some other place and he has been no constructive voice at all on immigration reform. Hopefully, when he gets the election over, he‘ll come back and pick up where he left off last Congress. But we can‘t do it alone. I don‘t have 60 votes. We have to have 60 votes to get anything done. I can get 95 percent of the Democrats, I would hope, that we could get 15 percent of the Republicans and we haven‘t gotten one.
MADDOW: Why is it that everything takes 60 votes now? I mean, it used to be 60 votes was a headline. If somebody forced 60 votes, that meant they were filibustering and that meant that they were taking an unusually strong stand against something. Now it‘s 60 votes even for routine.
REID: Rachel, this has to change. It‘s wrong what they‘re doing, because it‘s never happened before.
REID: It reminds me kind of the spitball in baseball. That used to be illegal, they abused it, they got rid of it. The great college coach, Dean Smith, he could win whatever he wanted too and he decided, look, if I get ahead, I‘m going to man a new offense, called the four corner to stall the game. They abused the system and they got rid of it. That‘s where the time clock came from. The Republicans, just this time have abused the system, and it‘s going to have to change. We‘ll have to look at ways to change that, because there should not be 60 votes in the Senate.
MADDOW: So, you would support efforts to change the rules around the filibusters so that there won‘t be a 60-vote threshold for every vote?
REID: Well, that‘s right, not for every vote. We‘ll have to change some of the rules, and I know how to do it, and we‘ll going to have to take a hard look at it. They have abused those rules, just like the spitball and stalling a game in basketball. Even though this is more serious than an athletic contest, it‘s still the same principle. You can‘t have 60 votes be the vote of the day. It‘s never been that way before, and they‘ve made it this way and it‘s really stopped us from moving forward, as easily as we should. We‘ve had to work around all this, this whole Congress.
MADDOW: If you pull out this race and Democrats broadly pull out this race, and Democrats maintain control and you‘re still majority leader, undoubtedly there are going to be more Republicans in the Senate in the next Congress than there are now. If 60 votes has been the problem in terms of getting important legislation passed, what‘s the strategy for getting stuff passed with even less, even fewer Democrats than you have now?
REID: I really believe that the efforts to stall everything for the election, that will be gone. And I think they will find that it hasn‘t worked very well. It is pretty clear, I‘m not an expert on House, on the Senate, we‘ll be in the majority when this is all over, and I think there‘ll be an effort to work together. I‘ve spoken to Mitch McConnell before we left and I think there‘ll be an effort to work more closely together. I would certainly hope that‘s the case. My opponent, you know, has a strange view of government. She said what she wants to do is throw some sand in the gears and slow things down.
Well, I don‘t think that‘s a very good approach to governing, but she is against everything, so I guess she‘s against progress also. I mean, she‘s against Social Security, she‘s against Medicare, she‘s against Medicaid. She is—Department of Energy, Department of Education. She‘s against the veterans‘ administration. She wants to privatize that, and on and on with all this non-sense that is so extreme and dangerous to Nevada and I think the country.
MADDOW: One last question for you, and it is on the Senate at Large. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Minority Leader, said recently that the most important goal of Republicans in the next Congress, no matter whether they win majority or whether they don‘t, the most important goal, their preeminent goal is to make sure that Barack Obama is a one-term president. It is hard to imagine with that being their perspective, his admitted perspective on this, that there‘s going to be more opportunity for consensus in working together.
REID: Well, I‘m certainly sorry to hear Mitch having said that. I worked as closely as I could with President Reagan, the first President Bush, and the second President Bush. I think that we have to work as a country. I don‘t think we can work as political parties. I think we have to work together. Legislation is the art of compromise. And when anyone says that the number one goal is to defeat somebody running for president, that‘s not very sensical. And I think that‘s not a good way to go. Barack Obama, like all presidents in their second term, is going to have a different view of how we proceed in government. He was here just a few days ago. He knows where we‘re headed. And I think he has been governing really hard for two years, and remember, he can campaign too, so I don‘t think that‘s pretty good strategy.
MADDOW: Do you have any suggestions for me on how I can get Sharron Angle to talk to me while I‘m here in Vegas?
REID: Maybe you should do what she does, pretend you‘re somebody else.
MADDOW: Put on a disguise, you think that might work?
REID: It might work. Yes.
MADDOW: All right. Well, Senator Harry Reid.
REID: Maybe you could dress up as Bill O‘Reilly.
MADDOW: You know, she might be more comfortable in that regard. Does anybody have a suit I can borrow?
REID: I don‘t think it‘s the suit, I think it‘s the face.
MADDOW: Senator Reid, good luck to you, sir. Thank you very much for your time.
REID: I appreciate it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So we did get Senator Harry Reid to agree to an interview today. Great fall to the senator for that time. He‘s a busy guy, probably more busy as Senate Majority Leader than his opponent Sharron Angle, who would not agree to an interview with us. But we did come all the way to Vegas trying to get that interview. And we did end up asking a rounds, and it did end up being a really fun and illuminating in all sorts of unexpected ways. That‘s next. We are live in Las Vegas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENT JONES, WRITER AND PERFORMER, MSNBC: Hi, Rachel. Remember when you did that story about the new incredible Hoover Dam Bridge and about how Americans can do anything they want to if they just dream big enough, and about how cool it would be to actually go there? I did it. Huh? Nine hundred feet high, 1,900 feet across. It‘s the seventh highest bridge in the world. OK, that is Nevada. That, Arizona. The Hoover Dam, eighth wonder of the world. Look at that bridge. Isn‘t this unbelievable? Infrastructure, whoo!
Scale of one to ten, what do you think of the bridge?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Ten.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It‘s a 10, it‘s amazing that a human being can build something that large, so far up in the sky, you know, it‘s just amazing.
JONES: I think it‘s sexy, I don‘t know about you, what do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Sexy!
JONES: If this bridge was a rock star, who would it be?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Bono.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Bono, yes, definite.
JONES: He‘s Irish, though, wouldn‘t it be like Elvis? Wouldn‘t it be an American or something?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No, Bono.
JONES: Would you bungee jump off that?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No. I wouldn‘t mind fishing from it though that but...
JONES: That would be the longest fishing line in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It would be worth it. It would be worth it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Oh, Kent Jones, I, of course, would have loved to have taken a side trip to see the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, but instead I spent all my time in Las Vegas chasing Sharron Angle. More on that totally exhausting effort, ahead. We are live from Las Vegas and having a great time.
MADDOW: Kicking up. (Gunshots). And the smaller weapon, what‘s this?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This would be a, as you see, 9 millimeter round, made for women in the Israeli army, it‘s from what I hear.
MADDOW: What is this larger weapon that we‘re going to shoot?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Speedy m-249 SAW. Currently in service, U.S. military.
MADDOW: M-249, OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: SAW stands for Squat Automatic Weapon. It does the job very well. Real heavy, a lot of support. It will fairly easy to shoot.
MADDOW: But this is something that infantry men are using now.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, yes, it‘s part of every fire team.
MADDOW: OK. And what caliber bullet does this shoot?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You have vf-56 rounds, linked together.
MADDOW: OK. So it‘s automatic.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, ma‘am.
MADDOW: Can we see how bad I did on this one? Can we pull this target in?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Sure.
MADDOW: On this one, I wasn‘t aiming here. If I was aiming there, I would here right there. I was actually aiming right there on this side, so, I got—nailed them. I was going for the outer forearm. What I did in Las Vegas.
So, we‘re here at the Gun Store, which is a Las Vegas Institution, -- business, they‘ve been here for 25 years and the owner is Bob Irwin. Bob, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
BOB IRWIN, LAS VEGAS GUN STORE OWNER: Thanks for coming in, appreciate it.
MADDOW: I understand that you‘re running for State Assembly this year.
IRWIN: I am.
MADDOW: How‘s your campaign?
IRWIN: The campaign is going pretty well, basically because of this, I have a lot of name recognition and as it happens, I‘m a Republican candidate and we‘ve kind of got some—the state is really embroiled in this because of the Sharron Angle versus Harry Reid situation.
IRWIN: So, we‘re getting a lot of play.
MADDOW: That‘s one of the reasons that I wanted to come here and talk to you, because I know that you guys held a Sharron Angle gun rights night. And I‘m—coming from outside the state, I‘m trying to understand, you know, what you tell on the ground here that you can‘t tell from outside. And so, why is—why does her candidacy represent gun rights to you?
IRWIN: She‘s quite pro-gun, but it‘s actually reverse. It‘s Harry Reid being anti-gun.
IRWIN: The gun world, if you will, took offense to his endorsing lots to Supreme Court justices.
MADDOW: On that same issue, the other side of the gun issue that has
received a lot of national attention with Sharron Angle, is these
comments that she‘s made about there being second amendment remedies to
IRWIN: I remember the comment.
IRWIN: I saw it, actually, on Reid‘s commercials.
IRWIN: I didn‘t see her make that. I‘m not really up to speed on what the context of that was.
MADDOW: Let me give you—I can give you the exact quote.
IRWIN: I don‘t think she held a news conference and said, this one sentence and walked away.
MADDOW: Well, the thing that was interesting to me about it is that she said it a bunch of times. She said on Lars Larson‘s radio show, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment Remedies and saying, my goodness, what can we do to turn this country around? And I‘ll tell you, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.
And she said it on another radio show, Second Amendments is the right to keep and bear arms for our citizenry, it‘s for somebody who is in the military, it‘s not for low enforcement, this is for us, for our government becomes tyrannical. It‘s to defend ourselves and you know, I‘m hoping that we‘re not getting the Second Amendment Remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems.
IRWIN: Well, a vote is the cure.
IRWIN: I really can‘t speak for Sharron Angle‘s campaign or Sharron Angle.
MADDOW: Yes. I know.
IRWIN: I know it would be nice if I could and tell you what Sharron Angle does and means.
MADDOW: No, but as somebody who—because you held the gun rights event for Sharron Angle, does that, do those statements about her Second Amendment Remedies.
IRWIN: Well, that‘s backwards too.
IRWIN: We held the gun rights things just the Second Amendment rally to generally get conservative candidates noticing the store and our candidacies and our candidates. It wasn‘t a Sharron Angle rally. Sharron Angle came in as our keynote speaker, which was very nice of her, but it really wasn‘t a Sharron Angle rally. It was a Second Amendment rally, let‘s all cheer and support the Second Amendment.
MADDOW: Her comments about there being second amendment remedies, if the vote doesn‘t get what she wants, does—do you agree with her? Does that trouble you? Are you concerned by those comments?
IRWIN: I don‘t want to comment on Sharron Angle‘s campaign.
MADDOW: But you do support her?
IRWIN: I am supporting her and I am personally voting for her. You know, I would suggest you ask Sharron Angle or her.
MADDOW: I would love to.
IRWIN: I‘m sure you would.
MADDOW: Do you have a poll?
IRWIN: Yes. I don‘t remember but the—yes, like I said, the same with Harry Reid, he‘s said things he wished he hadn‘t said. And we‘re kind of at an impasse there.
MADDOW: I just want to find out if she indeed wishes she hadn‘t said it. That‘s all I want. That‘s all I want, if that‘s all I could get from this trip to Vegas, I would be happy.
IRWIN: Well, with the number of questions I‘ve gotten about, I wish she hadn‘t said it. And so, you know, there are things that I‘ve said I wish I haven‘t said. I personally wish the whole campaign wasn‘t so negative. That they would vote to say, this is what I‘m for, and this is what I‘ve done for you. This is what I‘m planning to do. Yes. Please vote for me. That‘s it.
MADDOW: That will be the day.
IRWIN: It‘s pretty bad right now.
MADDOW: Well, thank you so much for your time and for letting us in to see your business. And I will say that I know the economy sucks right now in Nevada. But things look pretty busy here today.
IRWIN: We‘re doing pretty well.
IRWIN: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We‘ve had a really good time this campaign season, inexpertly but doggedly tracking republican Senate candidates who don‘t like to talk to press that is guaranteed to be firmly to them. Christine O‘Donnell‘s campaign booted us right out of their headquarters in Delaware.
We wouldn‘t take no for an answer from Alaska‘s Joe Miller, sort of
works. But Sharron Angle here in Nevada was always going to be just
Coming up, our month‘s long effort to meet the Second Amendment Remedies candidates and what it takes to try to cover her campaign for the United States Senate without promising to raise money for her. We‘ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What do you mean—what do you mean, Second Amendment Remedies?
SHARRON ANGLE ®, NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Second amendment remedies, anything?
ANGLE: We are looking at how can we best benefit from the media.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Sharron, will you answer some questions really quickly?
ANGLE: I‘m not going to earn anything from people who are there to badger me.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Sharron, can we talk to you about why.
ANGLE: Shhh. I have to get on but I just want to ask you to get out the vote, OK? Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Why won‘t you answer what Second Amendment Remedies means?
ANGLE: We needed to have the press to be our friend.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Sharron, you don‘t have any.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I‘m sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You don‘t want to answer what Second Amendment Remedies means?
ANGLE: We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer, so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We tried to ask you that question earlier, we‘ve actually tried with your campaign for days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now is one of those members of Nevada‘s media that you‘ve just saw there chasing republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle through parking lots all over the state. Nathan Baca is a news reporter for KLAS-TV here in Vegas. Nathan, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
So, all right, other than having to wear running shoes to work.
NATHAN BACA, KLAS-TV-LAS VEGAS REPORTER: Yes.
MADDOW: What are the particular challenges of trying to cover this Senate campaign?
BACA: It‘s difficult to get clear answers about even just straight policy questions, because we are trying to figure out not only domestic policy questions, but there are entire fields of this policy, foreign policy, natural security that have not even been asked. And we don‘t have any answers. Early voting‘s going on right now, and we haven‘t been able to tell any of these voters right here, exactly what Sharron Angle‘s feuds are about the two wars that we‘re in. How we‘re going to be prosecuting these wars, whether or not National Security issues, whether or not we need to spend more in the military or less. We have—we‘re able to get one question in about her—about wanting to withdraw from the United Nations.
She stands by that decision, but why, because she speaks about wanting to stick with America‘s willing allies. Well, if we withdraw from the United Nations, she has to realize that she a political situation, a lot of NATO allies in Afghanistan are maybe going to not want to stand with the United States. We have no Air Force base right here. Many of our men and women are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they need to know whether or not the United States is going to be radically altering its foreign policy and National Security stance.
MADDOW: So, trying to cover this from the perspective of trying to inform Nevada voters, there are things about which she is sort of on the record, from her previous career, from her previous statements, particularly by the media. You‘re not able to follow them up in order to figure out your explanations for them. I can see why she‘s doing this. I mean, if I were Sharron Angle, I would not want to answer your questions. Your follow-up questions in particular about the U.N. I wouldn‘t want to talk about other things that were in my record that I didn‘t particularly want to explain. I knew they were maybe not going to play so well at the national level. Do you think that for all the frustration this has caused you, this might have actually worked out well for her campaign?
BACA: It can in a sense, because now, she‘s able to use the news media as a symbol. The lame stream media.
BACA: We still want to try to get these questions out there, and we still want to try to figure out these policy questions, even if we are attacked as lame. That‘s fine.
BACA: I don‘t mind because—I mean, these people out here deserve to know what these policy issues are. Whether or not, ultimately they agree with her or not, that‘s for them to decide, but when it comes down to attacking those who do decide to do the questioning, myself or my colleagues here in Southern Nevada, that‘s a whole other issue. But it just comes down to whether or not we‘re ever going to be able to ask these questions. And time is running out.
MADDOW: Time is running out. Briefly, is this—is there any precedent for this in all the time you‘ve spent covering Nevada politics? Is any other politician for a top tier race like this ever done this?
BACA: Not that I know of, and I‘ve asked, you know, our long-time political reporter Steve Sebelius now and he says no, this hasn‘t really happened been happening in the past few decades here.
MADDOW: It‘s amazing. I hope it‘s not the new normal. And if it is, our jobs are going to out weirder than they already are and they‘re already apparently weird.
BACA: I‘m going to get a new pair of running shoes.
MADDOW: Nathan Baca, new reporter with KLAS-TV here in Las Vegas.
Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it, Nathan.
All right. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow night back in New York. If you think I look pretty tonight. Boy, am I going to be pretty tomorrow? Meanwhile, there‘s a lot more from our trip to Las Vegas. A lot more actually on our blog, maddowblog.msnbc.com. Now, I am very pleased to tell you, it is time for “The Last Word” with Lawrence O‘Donnell. Good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, HOST, “THE LAST WORD”: Viva Las Vegas, Rachel.
O‘DONNELL: Thanks a lot.
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