Guests: Ron Wyden, Catherine Crier
EZRA KLEIN, GUEST HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thank you very much.
And thank you to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
Rachel has tonight off, but we have a very, very packed show coming up.
It begins with the biggest news of the 2012 campaign so far, but it`s
important to say this, it`s not just campaign news. It`s news that will
decide whether 30 million Americans receive health insurance beginning in
Next week, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether the
individual mandate, the portion of President Obama`s health care law that
requires every American who can afford it to have health insurance or pay a
fine is constitutional. No one really knows where the court is going to
come down, but the odds don`t frankly look good for the health care bill.
A recent poll found that 54 percent of former Supreme Court clerks
think the law will be overturned. That is up from 35 percent who thought
that before the oral arguments.
Intrade, a political betting market, gives the mandate a 76 percent
chance of it being overturned.
If the court does overturn the mandate, it`s almost certainly going to
be on a party line vote, with the five Republican-appointed justices
against the law.
What can`t be forgotten here, though, what can`t be overstated and
what frankly makes the entire story so unbelievable is that the individual
mandate is an idea Republicans -- Republicans thought of in the 1990s, that
they supported all through the 2000s, and that Democrats didn`t fully
embrace until 2009. When they embraced it in part because they thought it
would help them win Republican support for their health care bill.
The mandate`s big political debut was in 1989, and health care policy
plan published by the conservative Heritage Foundation. In their brief,
the foundation`s health care expert argued, quote, "Many states now require
passengers in automobiles to wear seat belts for their own protection, many
other require anybody driving a car to have liability insurance, but
neither the federal government nor any state requires all households to
protect itself from the potentially catastrophic cause of a serious
accident or illness. Under the Heritage plan, there would be such a
Now, Heritage wasn`t alone in this. Milton Friedman, the legendary
conservative economist -- in fact a guy so revered by Republicans that in a
debate last year, Mitt Romney said he wished he could bring him back from
the dead to put him in charge of the Federal Reserve -- wrote a "Wall
Street Journal" op-ed, this was in 1991, in which he proposed, quote, "a
requirement that every U.S. family unit have a major medical insurance
OK, you might say these are just conservative intellectuals, doesn`t
prove anything about the Republican Party. Well, fast forward to 1993, the
day Republican Senator John Chaffee of Rhode Island introduced his party`s
alternative to the Clinton health care bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THEN-SENATOR JOHN CHAFEE (R), RHODE ISLAND: Mr. President, I`m very
pleased today to join with 19 of my colleagues in introducing the Health
Equity and Access Reform Today Act of 1993. This is our health care bill,
Mr. President, presented on behalf of the Republican Senate to the health
care tax force and the co-sponsors of the legislation are Senators Dole,
Bond, Hatfield, Bennett, Hatch, Danforth, Brown, Gordon, Simpson, Stevens,
Cohen, Mrs. Kassebaum, Senators Warner, Specter, Faircloth, Domenici,
Lugar, Grassley and Durenberger.
To start with, Mr. President, I want to thank the distinguished
Republican leader, Senator Dole, for his vision in directing the
establishment of a Senate Republican health care task force in 1990. Think
of it, over three years ago, Senator Dole set up this Republican health
care task force. His support and encouragement of our efforts have brought
us here today.
I`m particularly indebted to him for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: All right, so that is pretty much every leading Senate
Republican of the time, including Bob Dole, who is literally the leader of
the Senate Republicans at the time.
You want to know what was at the core of the bill, the HEART bill? It
was an individual mandate. It`s right there in section 1501.
Section 1501, requirement of coverage, (a), genera, effective January
1, `05, each individual who is citizen, a lawful permanent resident of the
United States, shall be covered under, one, a qualified health plane, and,
two, an equivalent health care program as defined in 1601(7).
Now, I know that`s poetry, but that`s half of an individual mandate.
You might say, where is the other half? Where is the penalty?
Allow me to direct your attention to section 5000A. Section 5000A,
failure of individuals with respect to health insurance. General rule:
There is hereby imposed a tax on the failure of any individual to comply
with requirements of section 1501.
That, my friends, that is an individual mandate. As far as I can
tell, it`s the first individual mandate to appear in the United States
Congress. And it was in the Republican alternative to the Clinton health
care plan, which is co-sponsored by the Republican leader of the U.S.
But it wasn`t the last individual mandate. The individual mandate
remained at the center of Republican health care thinking for the next two
decades. It was in the plan that Newt Gingrich released when he ran the
Center for Health Transformation.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: The real foundation, the
most important part of this, is individual rights, responsibilities, and
expectation of behavior. We believe that there should be must carry. That
is everybody should have health insurance, if you`re an absolute
libertarian, we would allow you to post a bond, but we would not allow
people to be free riders, failing to insurance themselves and showing up at
the emergency room with no means of payment.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KLEIN: It was in the plan that Mitt Romney passed in Massachusetts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we did, I think, is the
ultimate conservative plan. People have to take responsibility for getting
insurance or paying their own way. No more free riders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: It was in the Healthy Americans Act which Senator Ron Wyden, a
Democrat from Oregon, designed and which almost a dozen Senate Republicans
signed onto and which Mitt Romney said should be the Republicans` plan for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: We have a health care plan. You look at Wyden-Bennett,
that`s a health care plan that a number of Americans think is a very good
health care plan, one that we support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: It was as late as June 2009, something that Senator Chuck
Grassley, the top Republican on the committee that dealt with health care
said had bipartisan support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: I believe that there is a bipartisan
consensus to have individual mandates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: Six months later, in December 2009, every single Senate
Republican voted to call the individual mandate unconstitutional, every
single one. That included many who has supported the individual in the
past, like Senator Hatch from Utah and Senator Bond from Missouri, and even
some supporting the mandate at that very moment, with their names on the
Health Americans Act like Senators Lamar Alexander and Mike Crapo.
Now, I want to repeat that, they voted for the bill they were
currently co-sponsoring was literally unconstitutional.
So, what happened in 2009? What led to this mass flip-flop on the
Congressional Democrats put a mandate into their health care bills and
President Obama who opposed a mandate in the 2008 campaign decided to
support it. After that, within a few months, every single elected
Republican in the Senate had voted to call it unconstitutional.
Oh, the Heritage Foundation, the fathers of the individual mandate in
Washington, they turned against it, too.
The individual mandate, though, wasn`t the only time we have seen this
happen in recent years. In fact, if you look at almost all of the major
policies associated with the Obama administration, they were within the
past five years policies that major Republicans supported.
Today, for instance, Republicans almost university oppose a cap and
trade plan to limit carbon emissions and slow global warming. But you know
who first introduced a cap and trade plan into the Senate? Republican
Senator John McCain, and you know who had a cap and trade plan in the 2008
presidential platform? Republican Senator John McCain.
You know what John McCain thinks of cap and trade now? He calls it
cap and tax. Very clever.
Today, Republicans almost universally say deficit finance stimulus
doesn`t work. They oppose it. They deny the very theory behind it. They
say you would only believe that if you`re a dumb Keynesian.
But in 2008, President George W. Bush pushed and signed the -- wait
for it -- the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, the $157 billion deficit
finance tax cuts, which actually had the word "stimulus" in the title.
Among those supporting the legislation, Congressman Paul Ryan. And
what does Paul Ryan think of deficit finance cuts now?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We`ve already sort of proven that
these temporary sugar high economics, these stimulus effects just don`t
work to grow the economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: This is not how politics is supposed to work. The way
politics is supposed to work is that when you`re for something and the
other guys are willing to move off their position and towards your
position, say going from single payer to an individual mandate or a
spending based stimulus to a tax cut based stimulus, you call that a win,
you call that a victory, you pop the champagne, you pat yourself on the
back for a job well done.
That`s not what has happened in recent years. What has happened in
recent years is when the Democrats take two steps towards the Republicans,
the Republicans take five steps away from the Democrats.
Next week, the Supreme Court is going to rule on the individual
mandate. If the Republicans on the panel vote en masse to call it
unconstitutional, the Republican Party will have done more than flip-flop
on the individual mandate. They will have burned the foundation upon which
most of their best health care thinking has rested and salt the earth after
And that may not be the last of the ironies of this particular story,
because when the Republicans came up with the individual mandate, they were
fighting something they considered worse, single payer, or in the Clinton
bill, an employer mandate.
But after the individual goes, if it goes, single payer and an
employer mandate will be the only viable options left for a truly universal
coverage, which in this country, like every industrialized nation will
And when Democrats proposed and when they finally have the power to
pass it, in that world, what will Republicans say? That this time, this
time they really want to compromise. This time, Democrats can trust them?
Joining us now is Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, who sits on the
Senate Health Care Subcommittee.
Senator Wyden, it`s very good to see you.
SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: Thanks for having me.
KLEIN: So, tell me a bit about when you founded the bill, because you
were one of the early Democrats to actually embrace it. When the Democrats
had not like this policy at all in the `90s, it had been the Republican
alternative, and you began looking at it in the mid-2000s.
What was the appeal?
WYDEN: I believe it was an opportunity to break nearly 100 years of
gridlock on this health care issue. You know, we had been working on this
decade after decade after decade. And it seems to me when John Chaffee,
particularly during those Clinton years, laid out an opportunity to show
that there`d be some personal responsibility, you would be required to
purchase a measure of health care coverage, we could tie it to what I
always dreamed about, which is getting everybody in America good and
Now, you have over the last few minutes described what you describe as
the irony of the whole issue. I would tell you I think what you described
is really a by-product of zero-sum politics. On these big issues, it`s
always been one side has got to win, the other side has got to lose.
That`s what I think forces a lot of this polarization.
And what I have been trying to show over the last few years and we
want a great victory early this year for Internet freedom when a
Republican, a conservative Republican, Senator Jerry Moran, teamed up with
me and we were able to make sure that Web sites didn`t become web cops,
we`ve got to break this polarization. And I`ll tell you, Ezra, it is the
only way out because this election is still not going to produce a super
majority for either side in the Senate.
KLEIN: What always worries me about the Senate now, about politics
now, is you describe it as zero sum-electioneering, and I think you`re
completely right. What scares me about the dysfunction we see in American
government right now is it`s not clear to me anybody is wrong about that.
The Republican Party experienced a very large win at the polls in 2010
based at least in part on their rock solid opposition to the health care
bill which make it much less popular.
Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate Republicans, is pretty much
said, straight out, that we need the American people to not see it as
bipartisan, because if they see them as bipartisan, they`ll think they`re
So, how do minorities escape that? I mean, it seems we have belt this
behavior into the system itself and I don`t see how it gets out of it.
WYDEN: You have to get around the middlemen in Washington, D.C. The
middlemen, essentially the lobbyists, the political consultants, the
pollsters, they`re one of the main reasons why you see this kind of
polarization, because they take these sort of instant polls. They show,
look, we`ve got a great opportunity to hammer the other guys. We can score
in this election.
And that`s why on the big issues, we see everything gridlocked.
Now, I think on tax reform, we`ve got another terrific opportunity. I
and others have put together a bipartisan bill, built around what Democrats
and Ronald Reagan did where they clean out the clutter, hold down the
rates, and we can create millions of jobs.
To do it, both sides are going to have to say we`re going to be
willing to do what`s good for the country, solve a problem -- and that
means fighting the special interests, not each other. We`ll see if it can
KLEIN: We`ll see if it can be done.
Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, thank you for being here. I hope
you`re proven right. I hope this place can still work.
WYDEN: It`s the only way out.
KLEIN: If you`re watching this show while staying at a fancy resort
in Park City, Utah, you might be a big time Mitt Romney donor in town to
schmooze the candidate himself and other high end rainmakers. You almost
certainly are not a big time Barack Obama donor because in part because
there are not nearly as many of those days, and that has a big implication
where public policy is going to look in this country going forward.
That story is next.
KLEIN: Mitt Romney hasn`t always had the easiest time finding loyal
friends on the campaign trail. But lately, he`s found one he actually
really likes. It`s a clock. But that clock may not like Romney as much as
Romney likes that clock. We`ll tell you why.
KLEIN: It was a beautiful day today in Park City, Utah, as clear, and
warm and dry with a high chance of chatting up the Republican nominee for
president provided you raised a lot of money for his campaign. Mitt Romney
is holding a fund-raiser and gab session at a fancy resort in Park City
starting today and continuing through Sunday.
The crowd includes Mitt Romney`s top fund-raisers the ones in the
$100,000 and up club, the ones who persuade their wealthy friends to give,
give, and give. And as rewards for their effort, these elite bundlers will
have a chance to meet Mr. Romney and also a bunch of Republican dignitaries
and possible future cabinet members.
In fact, you get to play beef sticks with several of the top
contenders for second fiddle also attending. Now, we don`t know much about
these super donors, the bundlers who will be hanging out with the Romney
this weekend. Unlike the last two Republican nominees, Mitt Romney doesn`t
reveal that information and the law does not require him to.
We do know that Mitt Romney and the Republican Party together raised
77 million bucks last month. And we have some idea of who will be
providing the entertainment at the Park City resort this weekend. Among
the events is a panel called media insight featuring Republican strategist
and super PAC wrangler Karl Rove. I suppose this is this other role as
But the thing Karl Rove is really especially Olympic level great at
isn`t analyzing the media, it`s raising money. Mr. Rove`s American
Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have raised an enormous amount of it for this
race, $100 million and counting.
Now, technically, Crossroads GPS is a nonprofit, dedicated to social
welfare, so the group does not have to reveal where it gets its money. The
Obama re-election campaign is challenging that status, but there might not
be a decision until after the election is over.
Mr. Rove`s other group, American Crossroads, is a pro-Romney
Republican super PAC allowed by law to support a candidate with unlimited
funds but not allowed to coordinate with that candidates, which raises the
obvious questions whether it`s kosher with Mr. Rove with his unaffiliated
super PAC to show up at a shindig for Mitt Romney`s mystery bundlers.
Hi, Karl. It`s good to so you on the other side of this split screen
and I`m on the other side so we don`t give the appearance of coordinating.
How about contributions? I mean, canapes?
This is the first presidential election since the Supreme Court`s
decision in the Citizens United. That five to four ruling radically redrew
the landscape for how candidates run and how candidates win. The ruling
gave us not just Karl Rove`s $100 million and counting money machine, but
it helped bring us casino mogul Sheldon Adelson who`s able to talk about
spending $100 million himself personally, on trying to elect Republicans
and put Mitt Romney in the White House.
Now, let me put Sheldon Adelson in perspective for you. According to
Forbes, Adelson is worth $24.9 billion, billion with a "b" -- billion
dollars. To get a sense of how much money that is, $100 million is four
tenths of one percent of his fortune.
So, let`s say you`re worth $50,000, to Sheldon Adelson, your spending
$100 million is the same as you spending $200.
But here`s the difference, when someone making $50,000 gives a
politician $200, that politician doesn`t much care. When someone gives a
politician $100 million, that politician does care, a lot. And you know
what? He cares even more if he knows that in the very next election cycle,
Adelson could give the other guy $100 million. He cares at that point a
lot, about keeping Sheldon Adelson very happy.
You know how you keep Sheldon Adelson very happy? You make policy
Sheldon Adelson likes.
Now, one major difference in this campaign, one policy difference, a
real difference, is that while Barack Obama wants to raise taxes on the
rich, Mitt Romney wants to cut taxes for the wealthy and for corporations
and for profits corporations make overseas. Overseas profits like for
instance the ones Sheldon Adelson makes for his casinos in Macau.
In the voting booth, someone like Sheldon Adelson faces a choice
between a candidate who would raise his taxes and a candidate who would
lower them. And he can make one person/one vote decisions on which one he
But in this election, someone like Sheldon Adelson also faces a choice
on where to put his many, many, many, many, many, many millions. And does
he want to put it with the lower taxes guy or the higher taxes guy? Which
is a good investment. Which is going to give him a return on his
It should surprise no one the Democrats super PACs like the
counterparts to Karl Rove`s American Crossroads have had trouble raising
money. The Democrats super PACs count their increments in ones, not tens,
and for a number of reasons. Democrats often disagree with the whole idea
of unlimited campaign giving. It makes them uncomfortable. It`s not how
they think politics should work.
But that is politics. It is just politics.
Arguably, the bigger problem is that Democrats don`t make policy that
rich people like as much.
And "The New Republic," Alec MacGillis had a terrific article on the
difficulties Democrats are having keeping up with Republicans among rich
donors. He quotes one wealthy Democratic donor as saying, quote,
"Everything I`m doing goes against my financial interests."
And he`s right. The rich Democrats who fill super PAC`s coffer have
to do so against the immediate interest of their own tax bill. The effect
on policy that t has is important and it`s this. If proposing to raise
taxes on the wealthy now costs a politician not just the votes of rich
people but millions or even down the road billions of dollars in campaign
support, then that proposal becomes very, very, very difficult to pass.
If Barack Obama loses this year and Democrats believe it`s because he
got outspent, because the billionaires were on the other side, they`re
going to make damn sure they`ve got some rich people back on their side in
2016. And that will mean offering them policy they like better, that they
like better even in Republican policy.
The reality of campaign giving now is we have dragged the center of
politics towards the right and very much towards the rich.
Joining us now is Steve Kornacki, senior writer for Salon.com and
excitingly, co-host of MSNBC`s newest show, "THE CYCLE," airing at 3:00
p.m. Eastern, starting Monday.
Congratulations, Steve, on the new gig. That`s wonderful.
STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: Thanks, Ezra. I`m pretty excited about
KLEIN: So, we tend to talk about the effective campaign giving in
terms of election results, and I want to talk about it in terms of policy.
If the cost of ideas is that your opponent swamps you with money,
don`t officials think twice about promoting them in the feature?
KORNACKI: Yes. I think it depends how the results exactly gets
interpreted by the politicians because -- I can see a scenario here, this
fall, where, you know, Obama does despite being outspent, actually survive
and wins re-election. Even if he`s outspent significantly, even if the
super PACs really kind of just, you know, leave him in the dust on the
But I think you can look at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue and
ask what happens in the congressional races at that point, look at the
House, look at the Senate, and look at the super PAC spending there, and I
think you can also look at a situation where super PAC spending could keep
the Republican majority in the House, could install the Republican majority
in the Senate, and I think there`s a difference in how the money works.
The money at the presidential level I think has really diminishing returns.
I think when you`re talking about the congressional and Senate level,
I think the money really matters because the candidates aren`t known that
much, you know, money for television advertising is going to go farther in
the average House race than it is in the presidential race.
So, at that point, if you end up with a split verdict, you know, I
think it`s an open question. This is the real first presidential election
of the super PAC era and I really wonder if that`s the result, how it gets
interpreted by the policymakers.
KLEIN: I actually that`s 100 percent true. I`m much more like you
are worried about the money on the congressional level, in part just
because Barack Obama, President Obama, is well known to the American
people, Mitt Romney is well known to the American people. People have
formed opinions. They don`t have formed opinions on the guy running for
Senate in Missouri.
But the reason I worry about that if anything much more is that it`s
sometimes harder to see. So, we think a lot of the policies being
generated from the White House. But, as you know, the White House
generates the policies by figuring out where the votes are in Congress.
And if folks in Congress are saying to them, look, yes, you may be
right that we should raise the taxes on the rich to close the budget gap,
but I can`t lose my next election. Then, it`s sort insidiously what you
see is the White House proposing policy that is less good, and you can`t
even follow the money trail because you weren`t in there when there was
that conversation with the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee
that led to that being the policy that the Democrats ended up proposing.
KORNACKI: Well, and the other thing, you look at if you have this
dynamic where Obama gets re-elected and he`s trying to work with Congress
to do like the Bush tax cuts or raising taxes on, you know, he`s sort of at
loggerheads with the Republicans in Congress, there`s going to be tension
there coming from a few places. And one is from within the Republican
Party, because one of the things we see in the cycle, we talk about the
role of super PACs in congressional races, we`re seeing them in the
You know, there was an example in Kentucky a month or two ago where
there was a House primary where a 21-year-old college student from Texas
who inherited a fortune I think from his grandfather, took the money,
started a super PAC, has his own sort of pet conservative issues and went
randomly into this House race in Kentucky and his candidate won, arguably
because of his financial support.
So you look at the Republican members of Congress, whatever message
they might take from Obama surviving if he does, Obama surviving the
presidential election against all of the money spent against him from
billionaires, the average Republican congressman knows in his party, in his
next primary, if he were to say, you know, maybe we should show a little
flexibility on taxes, he`s going to be the target of the super PAC.
KLEIN: Right. Steve Kornacki, senior writer for Salon.com and now
co-host of MSNBC`s newest show, "THE CYCLE," airing at 3:00 p.m. Eastern,
and it begins on Monday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. So, you should all watch.
Steve, thank you. Good luck on the new show.
KORNACKI: Thanks for the plug.
KLEIN: If I use the term eurozone, I`m willing to bet your eyes kind
of glaze over a little bit. However, there`s a eurozone story tonight that
makes it compelling and easy to understand. It`s an easy goal, if you
will. There`s even video of people cheering and running around. That`s
KLEIN: So, in Europe, what is the preferred method of solving
ideological disputes? Is it this -- or this?
Why some goals are harder than others, coming up.
KLEIN: There is breaking news right now from Bellefonte,
Pennsylvania, where it`s reported that there`s a verdict in the Jerry
Sandusky child sex abuse trial. Sandusky was a successful and popular Penn
State assistant football coach and was retired when allegations arose last
year he had long been a serial sexual abuser of boys.
Those allegations which were painfully detailed and horrifying led to
the firing of top Penn State officials, including legendary head football
coach Joe Paterno, who had been Sandusky`s boss during the accused man`s
career. Sandusky stands accused on 48 counts of sexual abuse against 10
boys over a period of 15 years.
The jury of seven women and five men got the case yesterday at around
1:00 p.m., and deliberated until 9:30. They resumed today at 9:00 a.m.
And this hour, they have arrived at their verdict.
That verdict has not been announced. We expect there will take time
for the principals to gather in the courtroom, and for each of the verdict
on each of the counts to be read. Only then we`ll be able to report the
result of this trial.
NBC News correspondent Ron Allen has been following the trial and is
in front of the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
Ron, thank you for being here.
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Ezra.
We have been given official word that the verdict will be read in 20
minutes. It`s actually now about 15 minutes from now, in open court here.
We understand that Jerry Sandusky and his wife Dottie are on their way
here to the court room. We learned earlier today that the attorney general
for the state of Pennsylvania, Linda Kelly, is here, the attorneys are
here, the media is here, and, of course, the jury is here.
They have been here now for some 20 hours and 48 minutes over the past
couple days. They have been sequestered, unable to have contact with the
outside world, with outside media, telephones, to their families, locked up
in a room to try to deliberate and try to figure out this case, this very
emotional case that has really weighed very heavily on this community, on
Penn State University, on the entire surrounding state of Pennsylvania, for
Now, again, as you said, there are some 48 counts, 48 criminal counts
that Jerry Sandusky faces. There are 10 accusers, 10 alleged victims.
That`s why it may take some time for the judge, the clerk of the court to
read down the charge sheet to explain what all the charges are. With 10
alleged victims, some -- there are five charges involving one, four
involving the other, some of those charges are more serious than the
But the rules s that the court has put in place are that they -- we
can not publicly tell you what the charges are until all of the charges
have been read in court and court is adjourned. How long it`s going to
take, we`re not sure. But again, it`s been a very emotional process.
The defense made a very strong last-ditch effort to try and raise as
much doubt as they can about Jerry Sandusky`s guilt. Of course, anyone who
has listened to the case from any distance is wondering why is it taking so
long to reach a guilty verdict, which most people think is going to happen.
But, of course, he is innocent until proven guilty.
Joe Amendola, the defense attorney has said this is a big conspiracy,
he took the alleged victims in a group and said, how could it be that all
of these 10 young men now, who were young boys then, how could they be
telling essentially the same story? He alleged a conspiracy involving
them, their attorneys out to make money, so on and so forth.
However, the prosecutors, of course ,have insisted that all this was a
pattern that lasted over a long period of time, 15 years, at least.
There`s also new allegations against Jerry Sandusky that have been
surfacing in recent days, including one of his adopted sons Matt Sandusky,
who came out publicly yesterday who`s attorneys and said that he is a
victim of his own father`s sexual abuse over a period of time. He didn`t
So the case continues and continues to unravel. Even after tonight,
once we hear this verdict, there are still civil cases to come, more
criminal cases to come, an internal investigation of Penn State University.
So, regardless of what happens tonight, this is still going to
continue on, but hopefully in the next few minutes or so, we`ll know what
Jerry Sandusky`s fate is. He faces hundreds of years in jail -- Ezra.
KLEIN: Given what you have learned about the trial and gathered from
other observers, is there anything that you see in the timing of the
verdict or the relative speed, slow or quick, that will tell us how it`s
going to come down?
ALLEN: No, I think all that is reading tea leaves. You know, the
jury is a very odd jury. There are nine members of the jury who have some
close tie to Penn State University. A former professor, a current
professor, student who I believe is a junior, people who know Jerry
Sandusky, Sandusky wanted the trial held here, he had the option to try to
have it move elsewhere, but he wanted it here.
So, how does the dynamic affect things? It`s very unclear.
A lot of people here feel -- remember Jerry Sandusky before all this
happened, a revered figure in the community, one of the greatest assistant
coaches in college football history, dare I say, under Joe Paterno. That`s
the man they remember -- the man who ran a charity that was doing great
deeds in this community.
And now they see this other individual that some can`t believe it`s
true, but many people, just -- there was a state of denial, but I think
many people have come to see there`s so much evidence, so much -- so many
allegations all pointed in the same direction, that I think most people
here as someone has said, where there`s smoke, there seems to be, there`s
got to be fire.
And one of the most powerful parts of this entire court proceeding has
been the fact that there were eight alleged victims who came forward and
told their stories to the court. Young men who were often in tears who had
hidden these secrets deep inside of them for so long, shameful, they
couldn`t tell anybody.
But once this started to explode, once this starting to become public,
they made their way to the court and they told the stories. And that, by
every indication had a powerful impact on the jurors who were sitting there
and listening to this.
It`s hard to not believe what they were saying, but again, there are
48 different charges, five charges against one individual case, and six in
another, so he may be charged, he may be convicted or not of a more serious
sexual offense or a lesser sexual offense or something less. So again,
that`s why it took some time to do due diligence and to go through the
process carefully, it would naturally take some time to look at essentially
48 decisions that had to be made by the group of 12 people.
ALLEN: That`s why it`s probably taking the period of time that it
has. But whether this is long or short, who knows. Once they come out and
if they will talk to us, we`ll have a much better idea of what they were
going through. Certainly, a very painful and emotional process for them as
well -- Ezra.
KLEIN: So, you talked about the fact that Sandusky wanted the trial
held there and the role he played in the community and the number of people
who know him. What is the atmosphere there like now?
ALLEN: Well, I think the short story is, and I think most people want
this to be over. It`s taken a tremendous toll of the community. They want
this to be over.
This happened back in November. You`ll remember it has led -- we have
seen the death of Joe Paterno in January. There are top Penn State
officials facing criminal charges.
This was a bombshell when it hit this community, when it hit this
university. Remember, Penn State University had a pristine reputation in
college sports. You know, they were the guys who wear the blue and white
crisp uniforms, the conservative look, Joe Paterno was there with his thick
And of all the scandal that has tainted college sports in so many
ways, Penn State was above all that or seemed to be above all that, and
then this hits. This is not about money. This is about some very, very
horrifying, frankly, sexual allegations, sexual abuse allegations involving
young boys, as young as age 10 or 11.
Some have said they were abused dozens of times over many years. They
allege there was a pattern, that they were groomed. And many of the kids
were -- met Sandusky they say, through a charity. They were kids from
broken homes, kids who were from underprivileged back grounds who saw Jerry
Sandusky as this huge father figure, this huge icon, this person who they
could not dare say anything negative ability.
And many of them have told stories that when they cold counselors at
school, when they told the people in the community, they weren`t believed.
So, they were scared. So, that`s why they also held this inside, adding to
the pain they were feeling over so many years.
Now, imagine you`re a juror sitting there listening to all that. It`s
very difficult not to believe that those stories are true.
But again -- again, he`s innocent until proven guilty, and the jury
again because of their close ties to Penn State University, it`s a probably
a very well-educated jury. They have gone through this very carefully, I
would imagine. They know that their analysis, their decisions will be
heavily scrutinized and heavily debated. People will know who they are in
the community, they`re going to stand by what they decide. And so, I`m
sure for those reasons and many, many others, they have taken this very
KLEIN: So, what happens next? Very specifically, what is the timing
and sort of schedule of events we`re expecting from here forward?
ALLEN: Well, I have kind of lost track of time, but I understand Mr.
Sandusky is in the courtroom. So a clerk of the court will bring the jury
in, they will ask him as you have seen them on TV so many times, the
foreman will say we have our verdict, and either the judge or the clerk of
the court, I guess, will read down this list of charges -- again, 48
Now, how long that will take, it`s unclear, and how long it will take
to poll the jury, whether the judge will poll the jury on each count or
each victim of the 10, the group of charges that involved that particular
case, it`s unclear. It`s really a big wild card. We don`t know.
This could take some time, but I`m sure they want to get through it as
expeditiously as possible. But, again, we`re here on hold, just waiting
like everyone else is to understand and to learn what the outcome of this
very dramatic situation is going to be -- Ezra.
KLEIN: Ron Allen of NBC News in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, tonight --
Ron, thank you so much for reporting for us.
Here in New York is the host of "THE ED SHOW" on MSNBC, Ed Schultz.
Ed has covered the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case from the time it broke,
and he carries forward our coverage of tonight`s impending verdict.
Welcome back, Ed.
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: Thank you, Ezra.
Breaking news out of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, this evening, at this
hour, a jury has decided the fate of former Penn State football assistant
coach Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky is accused of molesting 10 young boys over the course of 15
years. His arrest in November absolutely rocked Penn State University and
its community and its legendary football program. Two former university
officials face criminal charges for their handling of the matter. The
scandal caused the university president his job. It also caused the late
Joe Paterno his job after nearly 46 years of coaching.
Sandusky faces life in prison if he is convicted on 48 counts of
abuse. Prosecutors argued that Sandusky used gifts and the allure of Penn
State`s football program to attract and molest young boys who came from
troubled homes over the course of the trail.
Eight young men testified they were abused by Sandusky. Witnesses
detailed the abuse of two other alleged victims. Sandusky has repeatedly
denied the allegations but did not testify during the trial.
And now after just hours of deliberation, we`re awaiting to hear the
jury`s verdict tonight.
I am joined by NBC`s Ron Allen in front of the courthouse tonight.
And also with me here in New York is Catherine Crier, attorney and author
of "Patriot Acts: What Americans Must Do to Save the Republican."
Catherine, the number of counts, 48, what are we going to see unfold
now with the jury tonight?
CATHERINE CRIER, ATTORNEY: Yes, it`s interesting, because the judge
made it clear that he didn`t want reporters to be discussing charge by
charge, as you`re seeing with the Michael Jackson trial, or other cases.
He wants all of the charges to be read out in the verdicts before we`re
supposed to be reporting. So, it may take a few minutes. But literally,
you know, it will be count one, guilty or not guilty. Count two, it won`t
take that long to read all of these.
But it will be interesting because you`ve got a variety of cases
where, you know, a couple of them you didn`t have the victims there to
testify. You had the secondary witnesses. The jury may or may not find
credibility there. They might find that in fact, in some counts then,
there was insufficient evidence, and others that there was sufficient
His own attorney came out was chastised by the judge, but came out and
told reporters that you know, he basically thought it would be crazy if his
client walked on all these charges.
SCHULTZ: Jerry Sandusky has arrived at the courthouse. And we were
given a 20-minute warning some moments ago. So we`re awaiting the verdict
from the jury, 48 counts.
As Ron Allen reported, one of the victims, the alleged victims, was
involve involved in five counts and another in six counts.
Now, will they be dealt with first, do you think, as this is all
unfolding in the courtroom?
CRIER: I would expect it would be as to, you know, victim 1, the
number of counts, as to victim two, the number of counts, reading each of
the verdicts. So don`t be surprised if it`s mixed verdicts because of the
kind of testimony that appears in this case.
But I would I think as his own lawyer said be surprised if it was
acquittal across the board.
SCHULTZ: I have to ask the question. Is there any chance that he
would be found not guilty?
CRIER: There`s always a chance. But in this one, I wouldn`t be
betting the farm on that, no.
SCHULTZ: The jury asked the judge to clarify some instructions today
concerning one of the alleged victims, and that`s pretty standard, is it
CRIER: Sure, sure.
SCHULTZ: And is there anything to be made of the number of hours just
some 20-plus hours of deliberation by the jury?
CRIER: Conscientious jury with 48 counts, it tells me they were going
to be very purposeful in their findings because they know the kind of
scrutiny this is going to get and they want to be able to justify it once
they walk out the door.
SCHULTZ: Jerry Sandusky wanted this trial to be held in this
community, and there are nine people on the jury who have had ties with
Penn State University. Was that his best move in all of this?
Because he had had such -- he had been such a revered person in the
community. I mean, this man was going to replace Joe Paterno.
SCHULTZ: As the head football coach at Penn State University,
arguably the football legend of all college football in America. This man
was one of his defensive coaches. They had a long association.
CRIER: But think about that, Ed. When he left that program, he moved
into almost oblivion. And for any coach with that kind of history, what
would you expect? Instant recruiting by another major university.
So when this story broke, one of my first questions was, hmm, why was
he basically sent off into the exile? There was probably a reason and
that`s back to what we talked about on your show earlier is I`d like an
investigation into just how many people -- whether it`s law enforcement,
university, football program -- who knew about this.
SCHULTZ: Well, there will be civil cases coming and more criminal
CRIER: Yes, there will be.
SCHULTZ: And also lawsuits. One of Sandusky`s adopted sons released
a statement just last night that the Jerry Sandusky abused him. Is there
any chance that information like that could get back to a sequestered jury?
And the timing of it, apparently his adopted son met with prosecutors
this week. Attorneys met with prosecutors and explained what happened to
SCHULTZ: This complicates it even further.
CRIER: Well, I think the prosecutors actually approached the judge
about whether or not he would testify and could testify. But also, they
retained several other cases so if something happened in this case, if he
was acquitted across the board, they`ve got other cases and here now we
know that his adopted son could we`ll be one of those.
SCHULTZ: OK. Then that is the point I was getting to is if Sandusky
is acquitted, will other accusers like Travis Weaver be used by
CRIER: They`re not leaving this case.
SCHULTZ: They`re not leave ago this.
CRIER: No, no. If he`s acquitted we will see more charges. The
likelihood of a sequestered jury, nowadays the bailiffs are getting really
smart. Cell phones are confiscated. Televisions are turned off. They
probably did not get that information.
SCHULTZ: Give us insight into Jerry Sandusky with what appears to be a
mountain of everyday and numerous alleged victims. He, of course, has
maintained his innocence throughout all of this.
CRIER: When I watch the interviews, he did "The New York Times" over
the weekend, the Bob Costas interview -- very uncomfortable, very seemingly
unaware of the kind of effect. Let`s just say it was sort of the tingling
and soaping in the shower.
This man doesn`t seem to have any concept of the kind of trauma that
that can produce in a child, much less when we`re talking about sodomy and
the horrible events that have been described. I think he`s very unaware.
I have seen this in child molesters before. There is the guy in the
raincoat, the evil guy we think about, and then there are plenty that truly
in their minds think they`re loving children.
SCHULTZ: So you`ve seen this behavior before if other cases.
CRIER: Oh, yeah.
SCHULTZ: Just total denial all the way through it.
CRIER: What they`re doing is loving children, not abusing children.
SCHULTZ: You`re watching MSNBC tonight. We`re waiting the verdict of
the Jerry Sandusky trial.
Sandusky the accused in this trial has arrived at the courthouse. And
the verdict has been reached in the trial. Catherine Crier joins us
tonight here in the studio in New York. Ron Allen, NBC reporter is on the
ground who has been covering this trial.
Catherine, the impact of the community has been just absolutely gut-
wrenching. What this has done to Penn State University, its football
program. It`s going to be years for them to recover.
And what amazes me is that Jerry Sandusky doesn`t recognize that. And
he has maintained his innocence throughout all of this.
CRIER: Yes, and when I say that there are molesters who don`t
understand, that is not at all making excuses, condoning anything. But
there is a psychological state where I think this man is -- I love
children. I want to be with children.
"The New York Times" this weekend, I really miss this. And on some
level, he probably doesn`t understand, not only devastating the lives of
these victims but tearing part an entire community.
But I think it`s important for this community, it`s important for this
country in cases like this that people who have responsibility are held to
account. I don`t mean a witch hunt. But I truly believe you would find.
SCHULTZ: There were numerous people here that were given information
and did not act on it.
CRIER: And beyond the number that we know, I`m sure.
SCHULTZ: We are waiting the verdict of the jury in the Jerry Sandusky
trial. Let`s go now to Ron Allen, outside the courthouse in Bellefonte,
Ron, I would imagine that the anticipation by the crowd is rather
intense right now.
ALLEN: Yes, it`s relatively small courtroom. I don`t know perhaps a
couple of hundred people. There`s an overflow room where more reporters
Perhaps you can see behind me, there is a huge array of media here
standing here waiting, there`s a podium just beyond that crowd. And that
is where we expect the attorney general, the prosecutors to come out, the
defense to come out and make remarks after this is all decided.
But, yes, it is quite a night here. It`s an electric night. We spent
a couple days here waiting in anticipation.
And, you know, the thing about a jury verdict, you never know when
it`s going to happen. There were some thinking they might want to get this
done before they Friday, before going into the weekend. They`ve been
sequestered now for a couple days. There were plans and there was talk of
going into the weekend to try and get this done.
But again, as I said before, and I think that most people in this
community that I`ve talked to really just want this to be over. They want
to take a big step forward.
Now, regardless of what the outcome of the verdict is, they want to
get past this huge chapter because they know there are many waves to come.
There are civil cases that are coming, there are criminal cases coming that
involve the two Penn State administrators who allegedly failed to report
what they were told to police, to the FBI, to the state police. To other
authorities as they are required to by law.
There`s also an internal investigation of Penn State University. A
lot of who knew what and when there. The board of trustees has been
overseeing that as well as the formerly FBI director Louis Freeh.
So a lot of scrutiny still here at this university and you`re right.
It is in some ways changed Penn State for dare I say forever, but certainly
for the foreseeable future, because it will be impossible I think for
people to think about Penn State as much as they would not like this to be
the case without thinking about what has happened with this Jerry Sandusky
case because it was that profound.
SCHULTZ: I think that every college president in this country is
watching this story thinking, what if this comes to my door with these
allegations? Allegations brought to administrators from this point on will
be handled with tremendous intensity in the education community throughout
We understand that the Sandusky family, the entire family is there at
Bellefonte. But, Ron, you have been in that community. If you could
capsulize, you say that they just want to get this over with, but is there
hurt? Is there anguish? Is there anger?
Is there a wave of emotions that`s going through that community and
leading up to what we have seen unfold?
ALLEN: I think there is all that and much, much more. There`s shame,
there`s guilt. There`s a feeling that a lot of people have that they
should have known this. How could this have happened?
And there are a lot of people think we`re just seeing is the tip of
the iceberg, because the charges in this case go back over 15 years to a
time when Sandusky was in his early 50s. Ironically in the closing
arguments, his defense attorney said how could it be that a man just
becomes a pedophile in his mid-50s? How could that be?
And a lot of people say, well, we think it happened even before that,
but we don`t know the about that. If you look at the cases of Mr. Weaver
and Matt Sandusky, who come forward in recent days, they`re older. They`re
both in their early 30s.
Most of the alleged victim who`s testified I think the oldest was 27
or 28. So when you add Matt Sandusky and the other young man, it takes it
back more years to an earlier time in Jerry Sandusky`s life and the stories
that at least one of them is telling fits the pattern, if you will.
So again, a lot of people at one point were saying there could be as
many as 50 victims here. Now, that number has not been repeated often, but
since, but there is a feeling that this continues, that there are still --
there`s still more here and there may be more people who come forward,
because they feel emboldened, they feel confident, they feel able to do
this depending on the outcome of this trial.
So, a long, long way for this community to go, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Ron, have you sensed any or heard any conversation in the
community that people want him to -- want to see him get convicted? I
mean, there is so much anger that is out there surrounding Penn State, that
the best way for Penn State to move forward is if they get conclusion here
and get justice.
ALLEN: Well, yes, there are certainly people who there`s no doubt in
their mind what happened. You know, I haven`t done a poll. I`m not quite
sure whether it`s most or many, but certainly there`s a significant number
of people who feel like, you know, all these allegations couldn`t be wrong,
all these young men wouldn`t put themselves through what they did he to
come here and to speak to investigators first, to make what happened to
Remember, these -- they were 10, 11, 12, 13-year-old kid when this
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