THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
October 1, 2012
Guest: Barney Frank
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thank you, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for saying with us this hour.
We`ve got Barney Frank coming up a little later on this hour,
responding to the Elizabeth Warren/Scott Brown debate that just happened in
Boston. That was a bit of barnburner.
But before that, I have to tell you we had a remarkable late in the
game development in the presidential race today. It is October 1st. It`s
October. But what happened today is roughly the opposite of an October
surprise, I guess?
Today, the Republican Party announced that in five of the nine or so
swing states in the presidential race this year, in the five states that
you see marked with an X on this map, the Republican Party is stopping its
voter registration efforts. The Republican Party has suddenly and totally
as of October 1st given up on trying to register new voters in Nevada, in
Colorado, and Virginia, and North Carolina, and Florida.
Each of those states is very much in play this year. Each of them
could be critical to winning the presidency.
And the Republican Party has announced that in these five key swing
states, they are going to stop registering new voters.
Here are the voter registration deadlines for those states. And,
typically, what this would mean is between now and the last minute of the
last hour on the last date that you see on the screen for each of those
states, the parties would be in a full-out sprint to maximize the number of
voters they are registering. They would be expecting with each day, they
would be registering more and more voters, because obviously as you get
closer and closer to the election, more people who haven`t been paying
attention previously are starting to pay attention.
The closer you get to Election Day, the closer you get to the end, the
more enthusiasm there tends to be. The more people who didn`t think they
were interested, start to get interested. So, you need to be gunning until
the finish line in terms of registering voters. That`s how it works,
right? It`s a crescendo.
But again, the Republican Party announced today they will no longer
even be trying to register voters in those five states. And five of the
nine or so states where this presidential election is going to be decided.
This is a remarkable development. The reason the Republicans have
stopped registering voters is that the company hired to do the work of
voter registration by the Republican Party is a company called Strategic
Allied Consulting. The Republican Party chose this company as their voter
registration vendor. They were going to pay them to do all the work for
them in these five swing states.
The RNC nationally picked that company and directed the state parties
on those five states to use them for this work. The executive director of
the North Carolina Republican Party says his state chapter had hired the
company on the recommendation of the RNC. He said, quote, "These are good
people running the RNC and I have a lot of confidence in them."
In swing state Nevada, the national party paid the company directly.
In the four other states, the national party gave the states money for the
purpose of hiring the company so the states would not have to worry about
voter registration. This company will do the whole thing.
The national party told the states to hire the company, gave the
states the money to do it, right? So this company, the good people at the
Republican headquarters, they had it under control.
Well, now, the Republican Party has fired that company. And there is
no Republican plan B for registering voters in these five swing states,
because that one company was the only company -- the Republican Party`s
only plan for voter registration.
That`s all the more remarkable, because the Republican Party knew when
they decided to put all their eggs in this basket that this was a
relatively troubled basket to be putting its eggs in. The company exists
as Strategic Allied Consulting. Because the Republican Party told the lead
consultant who runs the company that he was going to need to come up with a
new corporate name because under his old corporate names, under the old
company names in which he had been doing this work, he had gotten too much
bad press over the way he handled voter registrations.
Quote, "In order to be able to do the jobs that the state parties were
hiring us to do, the RNC asked us to do it with a different company`s name
so as not to be a distraction from the false information put out in the
The reason there`s stuff in the Internet about this company that
needed to be covered up by a change in name is because of claims from a
previous election where the Republican Party had hired them
In 2004, the same consultants company was accused of destroying
hundreds if not thousands of voter registration forms where the hopeful,
want to be new voter signed up as a Democrat. The company was accused of
doing the same thing in Oregon. Either ignoring voters who said they
wanted to sign up as Democrats or completing their forms and trashing them
In Minnesota, the company was said to have fired those who came back
with forms for new Democratic voters and give a bonus to those who got a
registration from undecided voters or from voters that year who said they
were going for George Bush or Ralph Nader.
Neither the firm nor consultant ever faced criminal charges after
those elections, but this year when the Republican Party realized it wanted
to hire them again, the Republican Party did have the good sense or at
least ask the guy to change the name of his company before he took millions
of Republican dollars this year for voter registration.
Now this same guy, he`s a former executive director of the Arizona
Republican Party, whose group was investigated in 2004, now his group
operating under a different name as the sole vender for voter registration
efforts in five swing states for the Republican Party, now, his group is
suspected of more shenanigans.
In Florida, the company turned in more than 100 suspect voter
registration forms in Palm Beach County. They were suspect because they
were missing obvious information or names were spelled one way and then
signed another. The company blamed the problems on a single employee, a
single bad apple in that one county.
But then, Florida election officials found registration forms that
also looked fraudulent in nearly a dozen Florida counties. Worse, the
Republican parties trusted firm for voter registration appears to have
misled voters in Colorado.
You might have seen this video kicking around on the Internet. This
young woman signing up voters at a grocery store saying she`s working for
the local county clerk and that she can only sign up Republicans. She does
not appear to be working for the local county clerk. She does appear to
sign up just Republicans.
In Nevada, the firm is accused of tearing up the form of someone who
wanted to register as a Democrat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a statement the person gave to the secretary of
state`s office, they say the witness demanded registering voters in
Henderson (ph) and, quote, "He told her she needed to fill out another form
and when she marked Democrat, he told her to rip it up and fill out another
form and leave party affiliation blank."
Our source was later able to fish out the form from the trash and gave
us this picture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: One employee of this firm in Florida says that he was told to
ask people who they supported. If the answer was Mitt Romney, he was
supposed to sign them up. If not, well, then not.
In Virginia, after the Republican firm canvassers were reported to be
fishing for voters at local libraries, one county election official felt
compelled to remind them that the law says you cannot throw out voter
registration forms just because you do not like the party registration of
The reason it`s illegal in lots of states, including Florida, to pay
canvassers per registration is that it creates an incentive for that
canvasser to make up fake registration, to make up fake people that
register to vote so they can get paid for those registrations. It`s a form
of fraud and it`s a bad thing, but it doesn`t necessarily affect any
election outcomes because those are fake people who are being made up and
register. And those fake people don`t exist in the real world so they`re
not going to show up and vote.
The actually worrying thing in voter registration fraud is if you do
get real people to fill out real voter registration forms, and they,
therefore, believe they are registered, and then because you don`t like
their party affiliation, you tear it up. And then that real person thinks
they have registered, show up on Election Day only to find out they are not
on the rolls and not allowed to vote.
After the reports in the past few days, the Republicans firm is now
under investigation in Florida and reportedly in Nevada and in North
Carolina. And the collapse of the Republicans voter registration scheme
has resulted in the Republican Party ceasing all voter registration efforts
in five of the swingiest swing states in the country with another week and
a half left for them to be trying to register voters. They`re not going to
be able to do that. They have ended those efforts -- just a remarkable
Joining us now is E.J. Dionne, columnist of "The Washington Post,"
MSNBC contributor and author of "Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle of
the American Idea in an Age of Discontent."
E.J., it`s great to have you here.
E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: Good to be here.
MADDOW: The Republican Party entrusted its voter registration efforts
and have the key swing states to a group with a bad record and have gotten
themselves in very hot water this year. Have you seen anything like this
DIONNE: I can`t remember anything like this before. I had this
mischievous thought that the Republicans haven`t been able to find very
much voter fraud to justify all the laws so they decided to create some
And actually, that is one of the, sort of, terrible down sides of this
if they now use this as an excuse to e say, we need these terribly tough
voter ID laws because you made the essential point. There were two broad
points of view on this. One is we`re so worried about fraud we`re going to
make it really hard for a whole lot of people to vote, or that this whole
process is supposed to make it easy for people to cast ballots.
And that the worst thing they did was to destroy people`s voter
But I don`t remember anything like this except ACORN. And I think
this is where we`re going to have to ask our conservative friends. They
went nuts over ACORN, the progressive group sort of having some bad
ACORN itself, by the way, had called the attention of voter registrars
to the fraud themselves. They disciplined themselves. And yet this was a
big scandal and ACORN lost a lot of money and had to go out of business.
Why isn`t this the same thing for conservatives, given what they did
MADDOW: The thing that`s amazing to me is ACORN was a community-based
group, a legitimate community-based group. It was not a fake grassroots
group at all.
As you say, they are the ones that realized they had some canvassers
who are screwing up voter registrations. They raised their hands and said
these were wrong. They disciplined the people who did it, and that was it.
The Democratic Party was not counting on ACORN to be its sole voter
registration vendor in the five most important swing states in the country,
and the Republican Party counting on this group when they knew it had
enough problems that it asked them to change the name to avoid the bad
appearance of their previous scandals seems like a Republican problem more
than a jerky consulting company problem.
DIONNE: Yes. I mean, you wonder what priority were they giving voter
registration period if they were giving it all to this one company. And
you also wonder what is it in the connections among consultants and the
party that made all this money go there?
I think that it`s in the way, the people who should be most upset are
rank-and-file Republicans. Because the Democrats are going great guns.
Obama registered 250,000 new voters in North Carolina. Everybody said
North Carolina won`t really be competitive this time. I thought that along
with Indiana, it was probably those two states he was most likely to lose
yet he`s holding up in the polls.
If he carries it, it`s probably going to be that registration edge
from the massive registration he`s doing and now the Republicans can`t do
MADDOW: Watching the -- one of the things I did in prepping the
segment was watch a lot of local news coverage of how (VIDEO GAP) hearing
from people who live in Colorado, don`t believe the polls. It`s a lot
closer than it seems. Colorado is going to be really hard fought.
Maybe Mitt Romney had a hard time in the primaries in 2012. He did
great in 2008. People will remember him. Half of what the Colorado party
has spent on this election it`s spent on that voter registration contract
with this bogus company that`s now been fired and can do no work in the
last home stretch of the campaign.
I mean, there`s a basic competence issue in terms of what it means to
run a party here. I mean, I feel like the rank and file voters must be
duped, but the state parties must be enraged. They must be furious.
DIONNE: Well, they must be enraged. And I think we`ve seen some real
money management issues. Remember, all the stories that Mitt Romney was
going to outspend Barack Obama by vast sums of money. And then we learned
that the campaign didn`t have quite as much money as we thought they had.
And so -- I`m not supposed to quote Mike Dukakis. Maybe it isn`t
ideology. Maybe it`s about competence.
MADDOW: Yes. E.J., let me just ask you one last question as we turn
this week toward the debate. You saw Ed Schultz broadcasting from Denver
tonight. I`m very jealous that Ed is having a post-show party in a bar
with viewers, the eve of the debate, because people are so psyche for
watching this debate this week.
The Romney campaign is telegraphing that they need to have a clean
win, that they need to absolutely turn the momentum around. They are not
trying to lower expectations because they need to be reassuring their
supporters, that they are capable of pulling it out.
Do you think it`s wise for them to be setting up for the debate that
DIONNE: No. I mean, I thought about this -- if I were there, I would
say we need a three-debate strategy and we`re going to begin to lay the
groundwork and this one and you`re going to see us move, rather than lay it
on the line here, because in order to do that, I think they not only need
Romney to have a great debate, they need President Obama to make some kind
of a mistake. He needs to have, you`re likeable enough Hillary moment,
which you can be sure he`s going to be guarding himself against.
They also need -- I think the biggest danger for Obama is that he has
the most to lose here because the election seems to be going his way. And
therefore, if he`s too cautious, he will look too laid back and might let
Romney, who can be ferocious in these things, as we saw in the Newt
But Romney`s problem is there`s so much damage to undo about himself
before he gets to Obama. The 47 percent comment and the whole image of him
as somebody who doesn`t care about the middle class and only the rich.
He`s got to use this debate to repair that and only then can he pivot to
Obama, which is why he needs a long strategy.
MADDOW: The last point is exactly right. It`s a difficult match
between the venue, the medium that he has in that debate and what he needs
to accomplish, which is about seeming like a guy who cares about the middle
class. There`s ways to do that in ads and staging and all sorts of other
things -- hard to do that when you`re standing next to the president, even
if you`re perfect debater. But I think that is the distance he needs to
E.J. Dionne, columnist of "The Washington Post", MSNBC contributor,
E.J.`s book is "Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle of the American
Idea in an Age of Discontent" -- great to have you here.
DIONNE: So great to see you. Thanks.
All right. It`s political debate season to be sure. Massachusetts
Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren just completed their second
televised debate. You might recall the first one. Let`s see if Senator
Brown`s "but she doesn`t look Native American" card is the only one in his
Congressman Barney Frank joins us ahead.
MADDOW: In just a moment, Congressman Barney Frank helps us assess
tonight`s Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren debate which just wrapped up.
Don`t miss that.
MADDOW: "The Columbus Dispatch" released their latest poll yesterday
and found in the state of Ohio, it`s President Obama leading Mitt Romney
right now by nine points. The other big home state newspaper poll that
came out yesterday was from "The Des Moines Register". According to that
poll, `The Des Moines Register" poll in Iowa, it is President Obama leading
by four points.
There are also a ton of national tracking polls out today. And
spoiler alert, they all show President Obama ahead by two, three or four
In terms of the Senate races, that same "Columbus Dispatch" poll out
of Ohio that shows President Obama ahead by nine there, it shows Democrat
Sherrod Brown leading by Republican Josh Mandel in the Senate race by 10
Heading into the Elizabeth Warren versus Scott Brown debate in
Massachusetts, we`ll be talking about that with Barney Frank in just a
moment. There`s a new WBUR poll out today in Massachusetts that has
Elizabeth Warren over Scott Brown by two. And a "Boston Globe" poll out
this weekend had Elizabeth Warren ahead in Massachusetts by five.
And in Pennsylvania, a "Morning Call" newspaper poll released over the
weekend put the Democrat in that race, Democrat Bob Casey, the incumbent,
ahead of his Republican challenger by eight points.
As Mitt Romney`s, shall we say, second place standing in the swing
states poll starts to look like more and more of a permanent residence as
he starts to seem like a longer and longer shot for winning the presidency,
the down ticket effect of that on other Republicans running for lower races
is starting to become a bigger part of the conversation. You saw a potent
manifestation of that last week right here on the show when the House
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi came on this show and said that,
essentially, Democrats can win back the House. Nancy Pelosi said not only
is she confident that Democrats can get the 25 seats they need to take e
back control of the House, which is a huge number, she says she`d, quote,
"like to have 35 seats," which would be a lot.
And while it is newsworthy that the Democrats think they can take back
the House, as well as keeping control of the Senate and keeping control of
the White House, it should also be said that a number of other outside
observers looking at the same prospect are calling the idea that the
Democrats could take back the House pretty much impossible. Dave Weigel
writing about that in "Slate" this week. "Politico" publishing a piece on
it recently, too.
One of the consequences of Republicans winning so many seats in the
state legislatures in the big election of 2010 is that because that was a
census year, that was also a redistricting year. And all of those bright
red Republican state legislatures that were elected in that year, they were
able to redistrict congressional districts in their states to protect the
Republicans who won congressional seats in the midterms.
And so, despite the Democrats enthusiasm right now, most observers say
it`s going to be basically impossible for Democrats to win back the House.
Most outside observers say that.
Not everyone though. You know Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in
the Senate? Mitch McConnell gave an interview over the weekend to his
hometown newspaper, "The Louisville Courier Journal", and he said to his
newspaper something that may have been a little too revealing. Think of
this. He`s discussing what he tells donors about supporting Republican
Quote, "Our view is Obama has done a poor job," the senator said.
"Virtually everything he did that was wrong was when he had overwhelming
Democratic support in Congress during the first two years of his
presidency. It`s appropriate to ask now, how did that work out?"
And then Mr. McConnell added this. He said, quote, "I`m pretty
confident the American people are not going to go back to 2009 and 2010 and
let the other side have total control of the government."
Total control of the government? Think about that for a second.
Mitch McConnell is talking about Democrats controlling the Senate and
Democrats controlling the White House and Democrats controlling the House.
I mean, few people other than Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats are
talking about the Democrats conceivably taking control of the House. But
Mitch McConnell seems to think that`s a possibility.
As the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell is most
concerned with Senate seats and that`s what he`s backstopping here when
pitching to donors. But the pitch he`s making to Republican donors is
amazing. He`s pitching that Republicans need to work hard and collect your
hard-earned money in order to hold on to seats in the Senate because the
Republicans are going to lose the house and incidentally, he`s saying that
Mitt Romney is going to lose his race for the White House, too.
It`s almost like it goes without saying for these guys now. This is
the guy more in charge of the Republican message than anybody else in the
country. And part of his pitch is, effectively, listen, Mitt Romney is
going to lose. You need us so Democrats don`t control everything.
Everybody has been sort of waiting to find out if Mitt Romney looks
like such a losing prospect that down ticket Republicans are going to be
cut lose to essentially campaign on their own to campaign against him, the
way some of them have already started to.
But campaigning on the assumption that it Mitt Romney is going to
lose? That`s something new. And it`s even weirder when it was voiced by
Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts at his tonight. Hold on, that`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI: It seems to me first of all from what I
understand from doctors, that`s really rare. If it`s a legitimate rape,
the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri
this year, Congressman Todd Akin. One of the things lost down the memory
hall as soon as Todd Akin said what he said about legitimate rape is that
his Democratic opponent, incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill had essentially
hand-selected Todd Akin to be her Republican opponent before he ever made
those comments about rape.
In the Republican primary in Missouri, Democrat Claire McCaskill used
her campaign money to run ads that were essentially for Todd Akin,
advertising him to Republican primary voters as the true conservative in
the race. That`s because Claire McCaskill knew before he made his
legitimate rape comments that he was the kind of guy who would say stuff
And since then, Todd Akin has proved her right, over and over and over
again. Remember when Rand Paul sort of came out against the 1964 Civil
Rights Act and then had to take it back when he was running for Senate?
Remember how bad that was for him? Did you hear what Todd Akin just said?
Stay with us. That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: I want to thank Ayla and Arianna
for their help as well.
BROWN: And just in case anybody watching throughout the country --
yes, they are both available.
BROWN: No, no, no. Only kidding, only kidding. Only kidding, only
kidding. Ariana definitely is not available but Ayla is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop.
BROWN: This is Arianna and this is Ayla. I can see I`m going to get
in trouble when I get home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was Scott Brown the night he won the special election to
fill the Massachusetts United States Senate seat two and a half years ago.
Right now, in trying to get reelected to that seat, he faces a deficit
among women voters of about 12 points. Interestingly though, the most
politically damaging thing about that very, very awkward introduction to
the national political universe might not have been what Mr. Brown said
about his daughters while they tried to make him stop, but what happened
right before that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Scott Brown`s victory is a
shot heard around the world. Here he is, the United States senator from
Massachusetts, Scott Brown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The man who introduced Scott Brown at his victory party was
his dear friend and political ally, Mitt Romney.
These days if you went by Massachusetts politics, if you only had
Massachusetts media fed into your home, you`d have no idea that the same
Mitt Romney guy was running for president.
Today was the second debate between Scott Brown and Democratic
challenger Elizabeth Warren. There are two surprising things you`ll
remember in the first debate. First was the vehemence with which Scott
Brown attacked Elizabeth Warren on the basis of race in the first debate,
saying he could tell by looking at the Oklahoma-born law professor that she
wasn`t really Native American.
That was followed up by two Scott Brown TV ads attacking Elizabeth
Warren on the basis of race. It was also followed by a bunch of Scott
Brown staffers at a political event mocking Native Americans with fake war
whoops and tomahawk chops.
Tonight, Scott Brown addressed the same controversy and kept arguing
that race is relevant and a decision the voters have to make in the
Massachusetts Senate race. He still did not apologize for staffers making
fun of Native Americans even though the principal chief of the Cherokee
tribe asked him to. And he failed to explain how he knows Elizabeth Warren
is not Native American -- you know, other than just by looking at her.
The other surprising thing from the first debate was that the name
Mitt Romney was never mentioned in that first debate. Mitt Romney who was
the governor of Massachusetts who introduced Scott Brown when he won the
Senate seat who once ran for Senate himself, whose campaign manager or
campaign senior adviser is also Scott Brown`s campaign senior adviser, Eric
Fehrnstrom, and the guy who happens now to be the Republican nominee for
president, he was never mentioned in the first debate.
But in tonight second debate hosted by Umass Lowell and the "Boston
Herald," tonight, that oversight was remedied.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GREGORY, MODERATOR: This is a quote from you. "When it comes
to dealing with economic issue, there`s no one I would trust more than
Governor Romney." Would you be a reliable ally of a President Romney?
BROWN: David, I think you pointed out in your initial comment about
the dysfunctionality of Washington. I tell you, when I went down there, I
thought it was dysfunctional and when I got there, it was even worse. And
it`s still and you see it every day.
That`s why I`m taking great pride and I`m speaking to the independent
voters of Massachusetts and being that independent voice. I vote about 50
percent with my party and 50 percent with the Democratic Party. That`s
different than what professor Warren would do to being lockstep.
So to answer your question, I don`t work for anybody. I don`t work
for President Obama or Mitt Romney or Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid.
GREGORY: But it is striking that you support President Romney, I mean
--excuses me, Governor Romney for president, I assume?
BROWN: As I said, he`s going to -- when it comes to dealing with
economic issues, yes, absolutely. But we`re two different people. I mean,
I`m from --
GREGORY: But you`d be a reliable ally when it came to his economic
BROWN: Listen, it comes down to what the issue. It`s difficult --
GREGORY: On his economic plan? You said there was nobody better
than, no one I would trust more than Governor Romney.
BROWN: Well, I also would like to read the bills as I do, because a
lot of people don`t read the bills down there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Brown`s reluctance to pledge allegiance to the Romney
may have something to do with this. The two polls showing he who should
not be named losing to President Obama in Massachusetts by 27 points and 28
points in the two latest Massachusetts polls.
Congressman Barney Frank was at the debate. He joins us next, live.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BROWN: Let me talk about mistakes, I made mistakes. I will make more
mistakes. As a matter of fact, before I got elected, in my victory night,
I said my daughters are available on national TV. That was a pretty good
mistake. And I`m still paying for that one.
But the difference between when I make a mistake, I correct it. I
immediately corrected it.
GREGORY: Who is your model Supreme Court justice?
BROWN: Let me see here. That`s a great question. I think Justice
Scalia is a good judge. Justice Kennedy -- Justice Kennedy is obviously
very good. And Justice Roberts, they are -- Justice Sotomayor, I think
they`re very qualified people there who actually do a very good job.
GREGORY: Scalia and Sotomayor don`t exactly --
BROWN: Well, you know what? That`s the beauty of being independent,
David. You can actually --
GREGORY: If you had to pick one -- if you had to pick one.
BROWN: Listen, I don`t need to pick one. We have plenty of justices
up there and I`m proud of the ones we have.
With regards to the DREAM Act, yes, I don`t support it. It`s a form
of backdoor amnesty. We can`t take a class of citizens that are here
illegally and move ahead of the 4 million people that are trying to do it
ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Senator Brown is
right. This is a big difference between the two of us. He voted against
the DREAM Act. I would strongly support the DREAM Act. I believe in it.
BROWN: You`re going to comment on my record, I would at least have
you refer to -- excuse me.
GREGORY: Go ahead.
BROWN: I`m not a student in your classroom. Please let me respond.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Joining us now for the interview tonight, live from outside
the Massachusetts Senate debate at Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell is
Democratic Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts.
Congressman Frank, thank you for being here. I appreciate your time
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: You`re welcome.
MADDOW: What do you think were the salient political differences
between debate one and debate two? We spoke after the first debate as
FRANK: Well, I was frankly disappointed in David Gregory`s choice of
topics. To spend many minutes on this nonissue of Cherokee ancestry and
about a minute and a half on Afghanistan is about as bad a set of
priorities as I have seen. I understand the format, (INAUDIBLE) David
But beyond that though, there were two extraordinary moments. One was
when Senator Brown, and I would hope this would get a lot of focus, when he
claimed he hasn`t made up his mind who he is going to support for majority
leader. Then I must tell you that it`s wholly improbable (ph). I think
everyone including him knows he`s going to vote Mitch McConnell as majority
What you got here is a confirmation of the fact that the Massachusetts
voters are fairly sophisticated, and they are now (ph) prepared to vote for
President Obama, the numbers you actually quoted, and then put into the
majority leadership of the Senate a man who says his number one agenda is
to frustrate President Obama. You also have Scott Brown literally raising
money with an e-mail that says, "Send me money so I can help check the
So you have his recognition that what he plans to do is -- you talk
about credibility for him to claim he hasn`t made up his mind for majority
leader is literally non-credible.
The other issue is when he was asked who were his best Supreme Court
justices, his first mention was Scalia. I think as you sat there, you
could see him say to himself, maybe that wasn`t the best thing to say.
He`s a man who claims he is supportive of the women`s right to choose.
He said he believes in legal equality for LGBT people, that these women
should get equal pay for equal work. And the first word out of his mouth
when asked about Supreme Court justice he preferred is a ranting, fervent
opponent of all those causes.
So, I think what you got was Scott Brown -- the other thing that
struck me when Scott Brown at least a half dozen times when asked on
issues, I have an open mind on this. Well, I think he`s kind of crossing
the line from independent into incoherence, and it`s because he understands
that if he were to say what he really plans to vote, it would be
unattractive to the voters.
MADDOW: I was home in Massachusetts this weekend and I was struck by
seeing a lot of Scott Brown signs and a lot of Elizabeth Warren signs and a
lot of Obama/Biden signs and not a single Romney sign evident anywhere I
went in western and central Massachusetts all weekend long. I wonder if
Scott Brown could do anything to make himself seem like a non-Republican
nominee at this point that you think would be credible. Is there a way
that he could separate himself from the national party?
FRANK: No. He`s trying very hard, but it`s not credible. In the
first place, as I said, he`s sending out e-mails. We have seen the
documents where he says give me money so I can block the Obama agenda.
Elect me so I can be a part of the check on President Obama.
We also have his voting record. Someone -- I was just talking
frankly to former Governor Michael Dukakis who said that he noted that of
the first 32 votes on breaking filibusters when Scott Brown was in the
Senate, he voted with his Republican colleagues 30 of the 32 times. Once
it was a little bit announced, he`s begun to moderate that a little bit
Well, he will try hard to dissemble. Frankly, I think the notion he
hasn`t made up his mind for majority leader is one of the least honest
things I have heard said. And he`s going to have the -- this is going to
be his serious bump. He`s going to vote to Mitch McConnell. He`s going to
make some of the most implausible right wingers, Jim DeMint of South
Carolina, (INAUDIBLE), Elizabeth Warren said, in power, a man who would be
destructive in any effort to deal with the environment.
So, no, I don`t see any way for him to credibly deny he is what he is,
a Republican. By the way, he was a Republican member of the state
legislature for 20 years. He`s a lifelong politician. Not that there`s
anything wrong with that since I have been a lifelong politician, though I
hope not to be lifelong, because I hope to live after I retire. But I was
He was never seen as a moderate or an independent. He was a very
conventional Republican. He understands that to survive in Massachusetts,
he has to give the appearance of independence, but as I said, it comes
across as incoherence.
MADDOW: Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, thank you so much
for joining us tonight. It`s great to see you. I know there`s a couple
more debates. I hope I can monopolize you after those as well.
MADDOW: Thank you, sir.
FRANK: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, the next
time you want to say anything about women, deep breath first. OK? His
latest disaster, just ahead.
MADDOW: Fifty years ago this weekend, the University of Mississippi
was integrated by force. The federal government intervened to force the
University of Mississippi to admit an African-American student against the
state`s will, asserting that federal law overruled what the state wanted to
do in this case. The federal government is saying to Ole Miss, you cannot
operate your state university as a segregated whites-only institution.
That same principle, that same constitutional protection applies not
just to public institutions but to private institutions as well, some of
them, right? Under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, you cannot operate a private
business that serves the public that also excludes people based on their
You can`t operate your business, for example, like this, right? Even
if it is your private business, and even if your local law enforcement
authorities are OK with it. And even your state`s government says stuff
like segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever. You`re
part of the United States of America and under our Constitution, you cannot
operate racially discriminatory businesses.
Nobody thinks you can do this anymore, right? Lives were lost and a
lot of blood was shed to enforce that basic constitutional American
principle. But it is settled now, right?
Well, it was settled. It was a settled matter in mainstream American
political thought, Until the last couple of years.
When Kentucky Republican Rand Paul won a seat in the United States
Senate in 2010. It was after a campaign in which that future senator said
the 1964 Civil Rights Act made him uncomfortable. He wasn`t sure, he said,
that anybody should be able to tell a private business that, for example,
you have to serve black people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Would you have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I like the Civil Rights Act in the
sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains and I`m all in
favor of that.
PAUL: You had to ask me the "but". I don`t like the idea of telling
private business owners. I abhor racism. I think it`s a bad business
decision to ever exclude anybody from your restaurant. But at the same
time, I do believe in private ownership.
But I think there should be absolutely no discrimination in anything
that gets into public funding, and that`s most of what the Civil Rights Act
was about to my mind.
MADDOW: But maybe voting against the Civil Rights Act, which wasn`t
just about governmental discrimination, but public accommodations, the idea
that people who provided services that were open to the public had to do so
in a nondiscriminatory fashion. Let me ask you a specific so that we don`t
get into the esoteric.
PAUL: There`s 10 different -- there`s ten different titles, you know,
to the Civil Rights Act. And nine out of 10 deal with public institutions
and I`m absolutely in favor of. One deals with private institutions, and
had I been around, I would have tried to modify that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Then candidate Rand Paul and I went around and around on that
issue back when he was running. And he would not say that businesses
discriminating on the basis of race should be illegal. He said he was
against it and it was a bad idea, but it shouldn`t be illegal. That was
early on in his race. But within a day of that interview on this show,
Rand Paul walked it all back, he recanted what he said before, releasing a
statement that he does support the Civil Rights Act.
He said, quote, "I will unequivocally state that I will not support
any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights of 1964."
So that happened. That was in 2010. Right? He started to run a
Senate campaign that was against the Civil Rights Act. That was against
banning segregation and racial discrimination from businesses. He got
pressed on that issue until it nearly broke him. And then he recanted.
That was in 2010. Now in 2012, next big election, the Republicans are
running another Senate candidate who is making a similar case against civil
rights law. In this case, he`s making an argument that businesses in this
country should be able to discriminate in how they pay their employees.
In other words, if a private business wants to pay its Asian workers
or its black workers half of what it pays its white workers, that`s what
should be allowed, because, you know, freedom. They should be allowed to
pay women less than they pay men. It`s not illegal discrimination in his
view. It`s just a private business`s private decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AKIN: Yes, sir?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
I think in (INAUDIBLE). Why do you think it`s OK for a woman to be paid
less for doing the same work as a man?
AKIN: Well, first of all, the premise of your question is, is that
I`m making that particular distinction. I believe in free enterprise. I
don`t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what
you don`t pay. I think it`s about freedom.
If somebody wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that`s
fine. However it wants to work. And so, the government sticking its nose
into all kinds of things got us into huge trouble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill has just released that
tape of her opponent in this year`s election, Congressman Todd Akin. Todd
Akin explaining why it`s cool for business to discriminate when they pay
their employees, who`s the government to come in and tell businesses they
have to pay people the same money for the same work.
If business owners want to discriminate on race or on gender, if a
business wants to pay a women less than a man, that`s the business`s
decision. If they want to pay black people less than white people, that
must be up to them, too, right?
The country has a debt to pay Todd Akin this year, because in the year
when the boundaries all get very fuzzy, Todd Akin as a man has become the
personification of the bounds of Republican political acceptability. We
thought that he had established that saying some rapes are legitimate and
some are illegitimate put him outside the bounds of political acceptability
for Republicans. We thought that put him outside the realm of what you can
say and still be a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. And that was true
for about a month when the Republicans turned their backs on him.
But now, Republicans have decided they`re actually OK with him on
that. He picked up the endorsements of former Missouri Governor Kit Bond
and Missouri Senator Roy Blunt last week. These four sitting U.S. senators
are reportedly acting as honorary hosts of a Todd Akin fundraiser this
Wednesday in Washington.
And after saying that Todd Akin should drop out of a race, after
saying that the party would not sent him a penny, Republican Party chairman
Reince Priebus now says the party is dedicated to doing everything it can
to promote the entire ticket of Republicans running in Missouri, including
Todd Akin. He says, quote, "Well, absolutely. That`s a given. And as
chairman of the party, I have an obligation to make sure we win as many
seats in the Senate as possible."
Todd Akin has already put his fellow Republicans in a pretty tough
position by not jumping out of the race when he became the legitimate rape
guy. But now that they`ve all given up on denouncing him, now that they`ve
decided that being the legitimate rape guy does not disqualify you from
getting the support of the Republican Party establishment, now Todd Akin
has a whole laundry list of other issues to test the threshold of
Republican acceptable politics, because since he floated his fake science
theory about pregnancy and rape -- since then, he has also described his
Democratic opponent, the incumbent senator, as, quote, "un-ladylike".
Also, the folks at right wing watch released video from him, video of
him from last year reminiscing about spending time in jail for illegally
blocking the entrance of an abortion clinic. And we now know that he is
defending his vote against fair pay for women, not by saying that women
don`t suffer in terms of pay discrimination, but by saying instead that he
just doesn`t believe that discrimination is wrong. He doesn`t believe that
businesses should have to follow any laws about who they discriminate
The government shouldn`t tell you what you pay and what you don`t pay.
Fair pay, schmer pay. Discrimination is just freedom for business owners
who are getting a really good deal on their lady workers.
Republicans now have to weigh how badly they want a Republican
candidate for Senate in Missouri to win in the abstract. They have to
weigh that against how much it`s going to cost them to be associated with
the legitimate mitt rape, your un-ladylike, jailed abortion protester, I`m
against civil rights guy in Missouri.
And now that he has said that businesses should be able to
discriminate in how they pay their workers, inevitably, what`s the next
question, right? Inevitably, you know he`s going to be asked now about how
else businesses should be allowed to discriminate. Inevitably, now, Todd
Akin is going to be asked about segregated lunch counters.
And what do you think he`s going to say to that? Do you want to bet,
$10,000 or otherwise? Hey, Mitt Romney, hey, Reince Priebus, are you sure
you absolutely support Todd Akin`s candidacy? You`re just going to wait
until he answers that next question on segregation before you cut him loose
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell. Have a
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