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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, February 15th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Friday show

February 15, 2013

Guest: No Guests

ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: You know, Rachel, the Russians must
have thought they were getting bombed or something. I mean, the videotape,
and so many people that caught this is just absolutely amazing. It`s
really pictures we`ve never seen before.

Thanks to you at home joining us as well. Happy Friday.

After the last midterm elects in 2010, the one where the Republicans
did so well, after those mid-terms, the first major special election that
got a lot of national attention ended up being this one, right? The Scott
Brown Senate race in Massachusetts. Long-time Democratic Senator Ted
Kennedy had died during his term in office. So they held a special
election to fill Ted Kennedy`s seat in January 2011, after the November `10
midterms, right?

Republicans were over the moon with how well they did in midterms.
And then they were over the moon and over the moon again when this
previously unknown Republican state legislature Scott Brown won that U.S.
Senate seat and found himself going to Washington.

Now, Scott Brown did not stay there long. He ended up serving only a
partial term in Ted Kennedy`s seat. When he had to defend that seat in
this last election in November, he lost the seat as an incumbent by eight
points. Scott Brown and Herman Cain were both announced this week as the
latest contributors on the FOX News Channel. So that is what Scott Brown
will be doing now with Herman Cain instead of legislating.

While Elizabeth Warren has that seat now in Washington. Elizabeth
Warren made her debut this week at the Banking Committee that Wall Street
was so eager to keep her from joining. Her first round of questioning, she
was questioning some bank regulators, demanding to know why no Wall Street
banks ever end up on trial when they break the law. That round of
questioning has already become as much as a viral sensation as might be
possible for a round of Banking Committee questioning.

Spontaneously, I should note in the moment when she was asking those
questions of the bank regulators about why banks never end up on trial when
they break the law, she earned a round of applause in the committee room
from people who were there watching. But even though this was Elizabeth
Warren`s first committee hearing, and she has only been there since last
month, Senator Warren is now the senior senator from Massachusetts, because
the other senate seat from Massachusetts also opened up in the middle of a
term when long-time Senator John Kerry was sworn in as our nation`s new
secretary of state.

So the junior senator from Massachusetts holding the John Kerry seat
now is this guy, Mo Cowan, Senator Mo Cowan. He was appointed by the
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to just be a place holder for seat.
To fill the seat, and essentially not make any waves until the next special
election for Massachusetts Senate can be held in June. That Senate race in
June in Massachusetts is going to get a lot of national attention, no
matter what happens.

In terms of who the contenders are, though, it`s turning out to be
kind of hard to predict. It`s pretty straight forward on the Democratic
side. It`s a conservative Democratic congressman named Stephen Lynch and a
more liberal Democratic congressman named Ed Markey. They`ll be fighting
out in the Democratic primary.

The latest polling out of the state say that Mr. Markey, the
progressive, is leading Mr. Lynch, the conservative, by about seven points
among likely Democratic voters. So Ed Markey is the favorite there.

On the Republican side, though -- nobody knows. The race is wide
open. The only headlines on the Republican side of this race so far have
been from the long list of Republicans who people have heard of who are not
running. Everybody from Scott Brown himself to Mitt Romney`s son, to Mitt
Romney`s wife, to a former Republican governor named Bill Weld. None of
the Republicans who have state-wide name recognition are running.

And the ones who are running -- well, so far if you look at the
polling, it`s never heard of him versus never heard of him versus never
heard of him. And actually, the last never heard of them hymn, he is not
running either. The polling in this race tells you very little about who
is going to win on the Republican side. Nobody has ever heard of anybody
and there is new people jumping in all the time and nobody has heard of
them either.

At this point, it may not really matter who the Republicans pick. But
in part because of that, what has become the headline in this race so far
is not necessarily the polling on the people, but the polling that`s being
done on this race on the issues.

Look at this. In Massachusetts, look at this. They`re polling on the
favorability of who the guys are that are running, right? They`re polling
on the place holder guy who is holding the seat. They`re polling
interestingly still on Scott Brown, who decided not to run.

They`re polling on the Democratic Party and the Republican Party writ
large. But the one other thing they`re polling on, they`re also polling on
the NRA. Yes. That is the one other thing worth polling favorables and
unfavorables on in a major election in America right now, because this is
not just one of the first elections that is going to take place after this
last presidential race. This is the election that is going to be taking
place at Sandy Hook, after what happened in Newtown. And so, yes, you
better poll on the NRA.

And in Massachusetts throws, the unfavorable rating for the NRA is 13
points higher than the favorable rating. The NRA is deeply underwater.

In other words, at least in this race, at least in this state right
now, the NRA is poison. You do not want to be associated with the NRA,
right? In American politics, it is worth asking in how many other election
series that going to be the case as well.

This Massachusetts Senate race is not going to be the first election
that we have after the presidential. There`s one that`s happening even
sooner. It`s in Illinois, in the second district there. Jesse Jackson Jr.
quit his seat there, holding a special election in Illinois to replace him.
And it is happening in less than weeks. The primary happens a week from

This is a heavily, heavily, heavily Democratic district. So it is
pretty well accepted that whoever wins the Democratic Party is going to win
this seat in Congress. That`s why we had 17 Democrats announce that they
were going to run for this seat when it first became open.

In a field that crowded and in a race that is this short, name
recognition and perceived status is everything. Right? Whoever seems like
the obvious choice, whoever seems like the frontrunner, whoever seems like
the heir apparent, will have a big advantage.

So, on those terms, being the person who is running in that primary,
who themselves is a former member of Congress and who left Congress in good
standing with all the name recognition and the status that brings with it,
that person is not necessarily a shoo-in in a primary like this, but that
person, the x member of Congress who left in good standing, that person is
probably the front-runner.

But in this case, in this election, there is a problem with that
would-be front-runner there is a problem with her record. There is a
problem with this tape still being accessible on YouTube today.


in Congress, but I spent 12 years as a state senator working very hard on
the rights and on behalf of gun owners. You know, as a sponsor in Illinois
of concealed carry legislation and as a three-time NRA A-plus member, I
know how difficult it has been, but I also know that securing our Second
Amendment rights in Illinois has been a very long road. I believe that the
Constitution -- remember, the Constitution should apply fairly and equally
to everyone.


And especially our law-abiding citizens, because laws always hurt the
law-abiding citizens. The criminals are the ones that get the guns.

We know that the criminals are always going to get it done, and we
know we don`t want the criminals to feel secure and empowered. And right
now, they`re the only ones that are secure. They`re the only ones that
feel empowered.

That is wrong. We must make sure that our law-abiding citizens feel
secure and empowered. And that`s you.


Our fight has just begun.

Thank you for your passion. Thank you for giving me that passion to
help you. And please know wherever I am, wherever I am, I am going to be
your voice, your advocate for your Second Amendment rights. Thank you.


MADDOW: That was Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, a Democrat,
promising a crowd at a gun rights rally she will be their voice wherever
she goes. That same Debbie Halvorson, now a former member of Congress,
still a Democrat, is trying to win the first congressional election taking
place in America after the Sandy Hook shooting.

Maybe once upon a time, that kind of position on guns, maybe once upon
a time having an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association would be
a great asset for getting elected to Congress. I`m sure at some point it
might have been, but it is not anymore.

A couple of weeks ago, we showed the ad that the super PAC run by
Mayor Mike Bloomberg had started running in that Illinois district.
Highlighting Debbie Halvorson`s A rating from the NRA and highlighting it
is not a good way.

Despite protests from Debbie Halvorson, the PAC is running a second ad
essential hi making the same argument, but essentially just adding an
exclamation point.


NARRATOR: Gun violence, it`s out of control. Debbie Halvorson will
make it worse. Halvorson oppose as ban on deadly assault weapons. She co-
sponsored a legislation to allow some criminals to carry loaded, hidden
guns across state lines. No wonder Halvorson received an A-plus rating
from the NRA, the special interest lobby against effective background

Debbie Halvorson`s record -- more guns in the hands of criminals.

Independence USA PAC is responsible for the content of this


MADDOW: Now, interestingly, once these ads started running against
Debbie Halvorson, the perceived front-runner for the seat because she is a
former member of Congress with all the name recognition, once these ads
started running against her in Illinois, a state senator, who also has a
lot of name recognition, also a known quantity in the district, a candidate
named Toi Hutchinson, she tried to take advantage of the damage being done
to Debbie Halvorson by these ads because of her association with the NRA,
she tried to take advantage of it by stepping up and establish herself
instead as the should-be front-runner for this seat.

The problem with that is that she has the same problem Debbie
Halvorson has if that she also has an A rating from the NRA, which at this
point in a congressional election in this congressional election is a
scarlet letter.

So, now, enter one well regarded former state representative in the
race, who is very, very, very proud and increasingly very vocal now about
her rating from the NRA and her rating from the NRA is an F.

With support from "The Chicago Tribune", with support from liberal Web
sites like Daily Kos and increasingly from liberals around the country who
are learning about this particular difference between candidates in this
race, the Bloomberg group and its enormous checkbook has now decided to go
all-in. They have picked the candidate who is proud of how much the NRA
does not like her.


NARRATOR: In the race for Congress, the big issue: fighting gun
violence. Debbie Halvorson and Toi Hutchinson both earned an A from the
NRA. They can`t be trusted.

The clear choice, Robin Kelly, endorsed by "The Chicago Tribune".
Integrity, pragmatism, works hard. Kelly will join President Obama to take
on the NRA for effective background checks and to ban deadly assault

Robin Kelly for Congress, a champion in the fight against gun

Independence USA PAC is responsible for the content of this


MADDOW: A champion in the fight against gun violence. These ads from
the Bloomberg super PAC are ubiquitous now in Chicago, on broadcast TV, on
cable TV. If you live in Chicago, raise your hands. You are seeing these
ads constantly.

And there is no competing ad on the horizon riding in to save these "I
got an A from the NRA" candidates against whom she is competing. Being for
the NRA, having the endorsement, or having an A rating from the NRA is not
an asset anymore. It is a liability.

And, yes, this is not every race. And this is not every part of the
country. But this is the first race in America after Sandy Hook.

Today, as President Obama awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal
posthumously to the courageous principal and teachers and staff at Sandy
Hook, who died trying to shield their students from that massacre, wiping
away a tear today as he awarded them those medals, it was announced today
that the New York City Teachers Pension Fund will divest all its money from
gun manufacturers. The New York City Teachers Fund is pulling all of its
investments, every cent from five companies that make firearms.

That follows after California State Teachers Pension Fund also took
its money out of gun companies. And after the mayor of Chicago said he is
considering whether to get money from his city`s pension funds out of the
gun companies as well.

It also follows the private equity firms Cerberus deciding to sell the
giant gun company that they owned. A move Cerberus made after a call from
its client, a California public employees pension fund, questioned their
involvement in the firearms business.

When investment firms and big pension funds start taking their money
out of the industry of making guns, the politics here are taking a step up.
This is not any more about the optics of grieving parents and frustrated
law enforcement and what everybody believes is going to be the futility of
trying to change anything.

This is about taking the argument that something must be done right to
the door of the companies that profit from their being lots of guns sold in
this country and all the associated accessories, right to the front door of
the companies that have blocked new laws aimed at regulating guns and
curbing gun. Whenever and where they can, they`re taking the fight to the
industry, they`re following the money.

And if you are this guy, that is very bad news indeed, right? Wayne
LaPierre of the National Rifle Association. You ever wonder why everything
he says seems increasingly inflammatory?

It`s not that he is dumb. It`s not that he doesn`t know what is going
to upset you when you listen to a speech or a sound bite from him. The
National Rifle Association exists to bug you. The National Rifle
Association exists to make you think of him, to make you pay attention to
him and to the NRA instead of to the industry that pays the NRA to be their
heat shield.

Nobody knows the names of the CEOs of the manufacturing companies in
this country that make guns. Nobody knows who runs the various gun
companies and the accessories companies who makes those extended magazines
anyway. Nobody knows who those guys are.

But everybody knows who Wayne LaPierre is. He wants you to hate him.
That`s his job.

And I think that Wayne LaPierre and the NRA are not even in this to
win elections, which is why they stay in business despite compiling a
winning record of less than 1 percent in elections like this last one.
Wayne LaPierre and the NRA exist to make you think of anything other than
the makers of guns when you feel outraged by gun violence. That`s their
job, to be a heat shield, to deflect the flame of public anger over gun
violence, so those flames never reach the people who are really monetarily
invested in there being no gun reform in this country. That is how the
game has been played.

But we`re now seeing signs that is not how this game going to be
played anymore. The NRA is a scarlet letter in some elections now. They
are becoming less of a distraction from the real politics of the gun
industry and what it might take to change things in this country. They
keep saying that this is one area of policy where things can`t change. But
this is changing.


MADDOW: The one and only Chris Hayes is here right now and on TV in
just a minute.



NARRATOR: In the race for Congress, the big issue fighting gun
violence. Debbie Halvorson and Toi Hutchinson both earned an A from the
NRA. They can`t be trusted.

The clear choice, Robin Kelly, endorsed by "The Chicago Tribune".
Integrity, pragmatism, works hard. Kelly will join President Obama to take
on the NRA for effective background checks and to ban deadly assault

Robin Kelly for Congress, a champion in the fight against gun

Independence USA PAC is responsible for the content of this


MADDOW: That ad from Michael Bloomberg`s super PAC we are told these
days is inescapable in Illinois where having earned an A rating from the
NRA is becoming more of a scarlet letter than an endorsement to be proud
of. The PAC ad is running -- that PAC is running that ad against two
Democrats with A ratings from the NRA and in support of a Democrat who got
an F from the NRA.

This Illinois special election, the first congressional contest since
what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary last month happens just a week from

Joining us now is Chris Hayes, the host of "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES",
weekend mornings at 8:00 here on MSNBC.

Chris, it is great to see you as always.

CHRIS HAYES, UP WITH CHRIS HAYES: Always great to see you.

MADDOW: Did you ever think you would live to see the day when an A
rating from the NRA would be an albatross for politicians?

HAYES: You know, the weird part of it is I saw that day when it I was
13 years old or 14 years old, when there was this period, the Million Mom
March, the assault weapons ban, when this kind of thing was good politics
for Democrats and the Democratic Party leaned into it. And then there was
this longs period of exile. There was a backlash. There was a story that
was told I think implausible about how Al Gore lost his home state of
Tennessee because of support for the assault weapons ban in 2000.

And basically, Democrats completely gave up on the issue, and they
allowed this mythology to take hold that the way that your median gun owner
in rural Oklahoma feels about guns is the way that the median voter feels
about guns. And the way that voters everywhere around the country feel
about guns.

And what Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party discovered when the
issue was working in their favor in the 1990s was that there are lots of
constituents in the country who don`t feel that way about guns.

And I actually think, certain things on the ground have changed.
Obviously, Newtown changed things, certain things about the demographic
coalition that makes the Democratic Party have changed. But in some ways,
they`re recovering lost knowledge from a previous generation of Democrats
that actually did know this back in the mid-1990s.

MADDOW: Do you think they`re also recognizing that it`s not just the
median gun owner in Oklahoma, doesn`t represent the country as a whole, but
also the -- the statements of the National Rifle Association --

HAYES: Absolutely.

MADDOW: -- do not even represent the beliefs of the standard National
Rifle Association member.

I mean there is also this --


MADDIOW: -- dysmorphia between who speaks on the issue and who has
strong feelings about the issue.

HAYES: I am now forever going to conjure the image of Wayne LaPierre
when I hear the word dysmorphia, which is not that often, but actually has
sort of perfectly captures Wayne LaPierre.

No, that`s actually right, and that actually has gotten worse, right?
I mean, one of the perverse consequences of Republican conservative victory
on guns is that the NRA increasingly has had to justify its existence.
They have a very big fancy headquarters outside of Washington. You see it
when you drive into the city. They raise a lot of money.

And there is no battles to fight. I mean, there literally have been
no battles for them to fight. So they have had to pick increasingly
extreme battles, stand your ground laws, telling doctors that they cannot
talk to gun owners about the storage of their guns in their homes when they
have little children, which is the legislative fight they picked in
Florida, right?

They have had to get more extreme in order to justify their existence
in an era in which no one is fighting them on a national political level,
and that has produced this very perverse set of values, beliefs, and stated
principles that is the modern NRA.

MADDOW: And that shows the distance between what their membership
believes is reasonable gun law and what they have to advocate. Right.

So -- but the thing -- there is two things going on here. One is that
Democrats are feeling their oats in terms of making this an issue and
holding people accountable for having taken the other side on gun rights.
But the other thing that`s happening now is divestment.


MADDOW: And I have always believed that the NRA functions as a heat
shield for the manufacturers. The whole idea was that the gun
manufacturers are like we never want to end up in Congress the way the
tobacco CEOs did. You are going to have to be a magnet for media attention
and all of the anger over this. So that everybody always wants to hear
from you and they never get curious about us.

Does divestment change all that?

HAYES: I think it does. And part of the reason is, it is the pension
funds that are the big money, OK? We saw it with CalPERS. We`re seeing
now with Bill de Blasio spearheaded the New York City effort. That`s a lot
of money.

I mean, pension funds are the big money on Wall Street, right? And
Cerberus got very worried when the pension funds, when CalPERS started
making noises about this.

So, A, it does change it. I think it also changes in precisely the
way you`re illustrating, which is that it puts the emphasis and focus back
on the gun manufacturers themselves. And the dirty secret of the gun
market right now is there are two lines that go in opposite directions.
The percentage of households that own guns is going down, and the number of
guns in the country is going up.


HAYES: A smaller group of people are buying more and more guns, which
means the manufacturers themselves have the same incentives as Wayne
LaPierre, which is to cater to the most extreme gun obsessive acquirers,
because that is where their market, and those interest people whose views
are the most outside the mainstream. And that makes them politically toxic
if they step forward.

MADDOW: And that makes them not a great thing to have hanging around
your neck if you are running in a general election.

HAYES: That`s exactly right, because it`s increasingly kind of a
hobby, hobbyist fetishistic audience. It`s not your casual person who may
own one shotgun. That`s not where the growth in the industry is. The
growth in the industry are people who own 12 guns.

MADDOW: Right. And the latest stuff from the NRA, the latest stuff
from Wayne LaPierre is it`s not paranoid to stock guns.

HAYES: It`s catering to those people. That`s right.

MADDOW: There is going to be hurricanes.

HAYES: Looting everywhere in the era of climate disaster. That`s my
favorite, right? As climate disaster hits everybody is going to be
marauding through the streets like some dystopic videogame.

MADDOW: So, if you already have guns, you definitely need more.

HAYES: Plenty more.

MADDOW: Chris Hayes, also "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES", weekend mornings at
8:00 here on MSNBC. I`m going to be talking about you behind your back a
little later on in the show.

HAYES: I hear, I hear. Awesome.

MADDOW: I want to keep the suspense. Thank you.

HAYES: I can`t wait.

MADDOW: We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: Correction, I screwed up and I`m sorry. Earlier in the show
I said the special election that Scott Brown won to become senator in
Massachusetts occurred in 2011 after the 2010 midterms. Duh, wrong, I`m
sorry. Scott brown was elected in January 2010, not January 2011, which
was right at the end of the whole health reform fight thing, but before the
midterms that year. That was just me totally screwing up for absolutely no
reason, but no excuse. I`m very sorry.

And, Scott Brown, if I upset you personally with this mistake, he will
happily buy you a beer to make up for it, provided you promise to drink it
here on set while you let me interview you.



Thank you.

The new phone book`s here, the new phone book`s here!


MADDOW: Today, I got something that I wait for all yearlong. Today,
something arrived at our office that every year when it comes makes me leap
around the office like the Steve Martin character Nathan Johnson on phone
book delivery day.

Today, today, today is the day that the CPAC schedule came out. The
CPAC 2013 program is here. It`s here, it`s here, it`s here, here, yay.

CPAC, of course, is the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Now, the Beltway likes to call every gathering of politicos a prom. But
CPAC is no prom. I`m pretty sure they don`t even allow dating at CPAC.
It`s ideologically incorrect.

CPAC is like more like comic-con or a tricky convention for
conservatives. It is super nerdy, but they are super into it. And that
alone makes it precious and awesome. It`s three days of conservative
speeches and conservative panels and conservative movies and conservative
prayer breakfasts and meet-and-greets and parties and swag.

The thrill, of course, that it is where establishment conservatives
mingle with, you know, the college sophomore Ayn Rand book club presidents
and the bloggers and the John Birch Society, which still exists. You can
tell, because they`re at CPAC, still preaching the dangers of fluoride.

A few years ago when the John Birch Society was a cosponsor of CPAC, I
dropped by their booth and talked tooth decay with them. Tooth decay and
mind control and communism. I have not been back to CPAC since then
because that year I think I was a little scarred. I was scarred with
disappointment by a very, very disappointing encounter that I had at CPAC
with Liz Cheney.


MADDOW: Hi. I`m Rachel Maddow from MSNBC.


MADDOW: I think that was it. I don`t know what she said. She smiled
at me.


MADDOW: What I said was I would love to interview you some time if
you would ever want to do it. And she said, "Oh, hi, Rachel." I asked if
she would call and she never called. I would still love to interview you.
I know you will never call. But still.

Every year, when the CPAC roster gets announced, it is an exciting and
telling window into what is going on in conservative circles and to who is
in fashion, who sought of fashion, what conservatives are thinking about.

This year at CPAC on Friday night of CPAC this year, they`re going to
be screening, for example, a movie about the White House being overrun by
North Korean terrorists. So there is that there is also a panel on United
Nations versus the United States.

And they`re doing another thing on threats, harassment, intimidation,
slander, and bullying from the Obama administration. You know how they

There are lots of things this year about loving fracking. That comes
up three or four times in the program.

The anti-union rights stuff is titled "Free at Last." That`s classy.
It`s what you would expect from a CPAC, right, except for a couple of
things which I present with genuine interest, and no snark, even though I
have been snarky the whole time. I did not mean this with snark.

First of all, I am generally interested and impressed that they have
invited Chris Hayes to CPAC this year. Chris Hayes, host of "UP WITH CHRIS
HAYES" here on MSNBC invited to speak on a panel with Ralph Reed.
Fascinating. Nobody would talk to me to save my life when I went to CPAC,
other than the John Birch guys talking to me about fluoride and mind

But they have invited Chris Hayes this year, which is very interesting
and cool. I don`t know if he is going to go, but I think it`s cool that
they asked him.

Also, there`s this -- happening on day one of CPAC. It is a panel,
one of the first official events on the first day of CPAC conference. Look
what it`s called. Too many American wars? Should we fight anywhere, and
can we afford it?

This is CPAC. This is the conservative comic-con. I mean, even
asking a question about whether we might be fighting too many wars, I don`t
know what their answer will be to this question, but given where American
conservatives have been in recent years on this issue, the fact that they
are asking it as a question is itself news and really interesting. And
we`re going to have more on that in just a second, along with our last
preview of the new MSNBC documentary that I`m going to be hosting here on
this very subject on Monday night for its premiere. That`s coming up.



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: To be honest with you, Neil, it goes
back to there is a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he
was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly. At one point
said he was the worst president since Herbert Hoover, said that the surge
was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which is nonsense, and was
very anti his own party and people.

People don`t forget that. You can disagree, but if you`re
disagreeable, then people don`t forget that.


MADDOW: That was Republican Senator John McCain on FOX News yesterday
explaining why exactly he is participating in filibustering Chuck Hagel`s
nomination to be secretary of defense. He says Chuck Hagel is too darn
disagreeable. So says John McCain.

Quote, "In a heated dispute over immigration law overhaul, McCain
screamed, `F you` at Texas Senator John Cornyn who had been raising
concerns about the legislation. `This is chicken -- stuff,` McCain snapped
at Cornyn."

Quote, "`Are you calling me stupid?` Senator Chuck Grassley once said
during a debate with McCain over the fate of the Vietnam MIAs. `No,`
replied Senator McCain. `I`m calling you an f-ing jerk!`"

Quote, "At a GOP meeting last fall, McCain erupted out of the blue at
the respected Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, saying, quote, `Only
an A-hole would put together a budget like this.` Offended, Domenici stood
up and gave a dignified, restrained speech about how in all his years in
the Senate, through many heated debates, no one had ever called him that.
Another senator might have taken a moment to check his temper.

But McCain went on, `I wouldn`t call you an A hole unless you really
were an A hole.`"


MCCAIN: You can disagree, but if you`re disagreeable, then people
don`t forget that.


MADDOW: Ah, the arbiter of disagreeable. It is rich to hear that as
the supposed criticism of Chuck Hagel coming from John McCain. But
honestly, it`s not just John McCain`s personal hypocrisy here. This is a
Washington-wide thing. It has never been a problem in Washington to be a
disagreeable person. It`s actually the kind of thing that is worn as a
badge of honor.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Did you really tell Senator Leahy bleep


WALLACE: Any qualms or second thoughts or embarrassment?

CHENEY: No, I thought he merited it at the time.


MADDOW: Being disagreeable does not disqualify anybody from a high-
ranking job in Washington. It never has. What is really going on here is
not that John McCain does not like Chuck Hagel`s tone. What`s really going
on here is Iraq.


MCCAIN: He attacked President Bush mercilessly. At one point said he
was the worst president since Herbert Hoover, said that the surge was the
worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which is nonsense.


MADDOW: John McCain`s hang up with Chuck Hagel is about Iraq. It`s
about Chuck Hagel at the height of the Iraq war going before the United
States Senate and the American people and saying this --


THEN-SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: I don`t know how many United
States senators believe we have a coherent tragedy in Iraq. I don`t think
we`ve ever had a coherent strategy. There is no strategy. This is a ping-
pong game with American lives. These young men and women that we put in
Anbar province, in Iraq, in Baghdad, are not beans. They`re real lives.

And we better be damn sure we know what we`re doing, all of us, before
we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder. We better be as sure as
you can be. And I want every one of you every one of us, 100 percent of us
to look in that camera, and you tell your people back home what you think.
Don`t hide anymore, none of us.


MADDOW: That`s what this is about. It`s about Iraq. We should have
known that this was John McCain`s hang up on this when his questions to
Chuck Hagel during his confirmation hearings this month could not get past
the Iraq war, which is over. But John McCain`s obsession with it did have
the silver lining of giving Chuck Hagel a chance to elaborate on his
position on it.


MCCAIN: You continued on and on for months afterwards talking about
what a disaster the surge would be, even to the point where it was clear
the surge was succeeding. Do you stand by that -- those comments, Senator

HAGEL: Well, Senator, I stand by them because I made them.

MCCAIN: Were you right? Were you correct in your assessment?

HAGEL: Well, I would defer to the judgment of history to sort that
out. But I`ll --

MCCAIN: The committee can deserves your judgment as to whether you
were right or wrong about the surge.

HAGEL: I`ll explain why I made those comments.

MCCAIN: I want to know if you`re right or wrong. That`s a direct
question. I expect a direct answer.

HAGEL: Well, if you would like me to explain why --

MCCAIN: I actually would like an answer, yes, or no?

HAGEL: Well, I`m not going give you a yes or no. I think it`s far
more complicated than that. And as I already said, my answer is, I`ll
defer that judgment to history.

As to the comment I made about the most dangerous foreign policy
decision since Vietnam was about not just the surge, but the overall war of
choice going into Iraq.


MADDOW: Ah. Not just about the surge, it was about the overall war
of choice going into Iraq. Right.

So is John McCain trying to relitigate that? The overall war of
choice going into Iraq? Is he trying to relitigate that the decision to go
into Iraq was a disaster?

Yes, actually, yes. That is what this is all about, an effort to
rehabilitate the Iraq war in the American mind, to make it seem like it was
success, or at least that it wasn`t a bad idea, or at least that it wasn`t
the biggest foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, or at least that it
wasn`t a scandal that ought to scar everybody associated with it in
American politics for the rest of their careers.

And because being wrong about the Iraq war was not just an individual
scandal, but a big scandal, this ends up being a big project, this
revisionist history, until we come clean about this. Until we get honest
about it. Until we can draw a line under it and say, you know what? That
was a bad idea. Until we are able to do that cleanly, this kind of stuff
really is going to drag around behind everybody who wants to be in public
office in the future who was in public office then, or who was in a
position to comment on it when it was all happening.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Do you believe that the people of Iraq,
or at least a large number of them will treat us as liberators?

MCCAIN: Absolutely, absolutely.

I believe that we can win an overwhelming victory in a very short
period of time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Romney, was the war in Iraq a good idea
worth the cost and blood and treasure we spent?

decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time. I support it now.

Based on what we knew at the time, we were very much under the
impression as a nation, as our president was under the impression that they
had weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam Hussein was intent on
potentially using those weapons. And so, he took action based upon what he


MADDOW: No, it wasn`t based on what he knew. And the Iraq war was
not a good idea. We went to Iraq to get weapons of mass destruction that
were not there. Weapons that we knew were not there.

There was no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in the
first place. There was no credible evidence of a nuclear program. There
were no ties to 9/11. There were no ties to al Qaeda. None of the things
that we were told were true were true.

The government perpetrated a massive deception campaign on us. But as
long as those who were wrong about the Iraq war, as long as those who did
it can count on us not being blunt about that, as long as we as a country
avoid coming to terms with what happened then, not only do you Mr. It-was-
the-right-decision-get-to-run-for-president, but you get to pick this guy
to be your top foreign policy aide while you`re rung.

His top foreign policy aide was Dan Seymour, the Bush administration`s
chief spokesman in Iraq. How do you fail up into that job? Not only do
you get to make that guy your national security expert, but the two foreign
policy speeches at the Republican National Convention in 2012 get delivered
by Senator "we will be greeted at liberators" and by secretary of the
smoking gun might come in the mushroom cloud? Those are your two foreign
policy experts? Those are your two foreign policy speeches?

Ten years out, there was a major effort under way right now to make
the war in Iraq seem like it was a reasonable idea at the time. To make it
seem like we were all in it together in making this unfortunate mistake
when we made the decision to go in. Actually, 10 years ago today, you want
to know what was happening around the world? In 600 cities around the
world, including dozens of cities here in the United States, there were
mass street protests against it.

Not everybody was wrong about this. We didn`t all blunder into this
together because we all believed what that lousy intelligence turned up.

It didn`t go that way. There was a deliberate campaign to deceive the
public, and it succeeded well enough to start a war based on threats and
stories and evidence that were not true. And if the revisionism that we
are experiencing right now 10 years later is able to succeed, then we are
doomed to repeat this again as a country some day, if we do not come to
terms with what happened and how it happened, if we do not learn the
lessons of that disaster as a country and how we were duped, how it worked,
then history says we are doomed to repeat it.

On Monday night, MSNBC`s new documentary on exactly this question is
going to premiere right here at 9:00 p.m. It`s called, "Hubris: The
Selling the Iraq War." I`ll be hosting it.

Here`s an exclusive preview clip.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General Franks is both a warrior but also a wise
and inspiring commander.

MADDOW (voice-over): A declassified memo from November 2001 reveals
that Donald Rumsfeld met as early as then with CENTCOM commander, General
Tommy Franks, to review plans for the decapitation of the Iraqi government.
They discussed ideas on how to start a war.

One suggestion is to create a dispute over WMD inspections.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: This is a regime that agreed
to international inspections, then kicked out the inspectors.

possible for the first time to persuade the American people to break a
tradition of not launching offensive wars.

MADDOW: The pressure to find evidence falls heavily on all 15 U.S.
intelligence agencies.

PILLAR: The extremely strong policy wind that was blowing at the
time, and that everyone in government corridors felt made it absolutely
clear what was preferred and what was not preferred.


MADDOW: That is a portion of what is going to air on Monday night,
right here at 9:00 p.m. It is a documentary based on the best-selling book
"Hubris" by Michael Isikoff and David Corn. Ten years later, this is a
story that could not be more timely. Monday, 9:00, right here.

We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: By now, you have heard about the meteor that flew over and
then crashed into Russia today. More importantly, you have seen the
meteor, right?

The video is amazing and there is so much of it caught on Russian
surveillance video, and Russian close circuit television and Russian dash
board cameras, of which there are apparently a ton. Russians love that.
Who knew?

Russian scientists say the thing weighed 20,000 pound and was going at
least 33,000 miles an hour.

When the meteor hit and its associated shock wave hit, as well, the
ground shook, glass shattered, more than a thousand people were injured and
3,000 buildings were damaged. Some of what was left, left a hole in the
frozen lake that was 25 feet across.

There has not been a spray rock crashing to earth anywhere near this
dramatically in more than 100 years. And back in 1908, the last time it
happened this dramatically, we didn`t have nearly the number of Russian
dashboard cameras than we have now to watch it happen as now, over and over
again, from a million different super compelling angles.

And yet, less than 20 hours after this meteor won the prize for the
most accidentally well-documented astronomical event ever, there are
already meteor truthers in Russia.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky is a Russian politician and was sort of generally
acknowledged to be a kook. But Vladimir Zhirinovsky he has distinguished
himself in the wake of this very strange thing happening in Russia, by
saying that this was not a meteor that hit Russia.

The Russian state-run media quotes him as saying, "Nothing will ever
fall out there. If something falls, it is people doing that. People are
the instigators of war, the provocateurs." He says, "Those aren`t meteors
falling. It`s the Americans, testing new weapons." And man the battle
stations -- oh, Russia, with your massive and catastrophic meteor strikes
and your kook end, conspiracy-loving elected officials, here in America we
don`t have those things.

Well, here in America we don`t have the meteor strikes. As for
conspiracy-loving elected officials we are still well-stocked there.

Not too long ago a conservative Web site published this story saying
that Chuck Hagel, the president`s nominee to run the Defense Department had
received money from a group that he did not want to disclose to the Senate
as a source of income. Quote, "One of the names listed is a group
reportedly called Friends of Hamas."

Friends of Hamas, that sounds terrible. That sounds not just
terrible, that sounds illegal. Also, it sounds kind of made up, right?

Not only is there no known proof that Chuck Hagel had any connection
to such an illegal and scary-sounding organization, not only that, but as
our friend Dave Weigel points out over at "Slate," there is literally no
proof that "Friends of Hamas" even exists anywhere.

So, crazy, right? I mean, some whack job conservative Web site says
something with no proof, that happens to be super inflammatory and is both
very unlikely and totally unsupported by any known facts. Someone is wrong
on the Internet, big whoop, right?

But in Russia, they have their meteor deniers. And in America, we
have Republican Senator Rand Paul, who as a senator gets to take part as to
whether or not Chuck Hagel gets to be defense secretary. And here is Rand
Paul`s take on this on "talk radio" a few days ago.


HUGH HEWITT: Let me bring up one piece of information that Ben
Shapiro at Breitbart put out today, which is one of the foreign funders
behind Senator Hagel, that he has not yet disclosed formally is something
called Friends of Hamas. If that is, in fact, true, Senator, would that
lead you to vote against Mr. Hagel?

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: You know I saw that information today
also, and that is more and more concerning. With each day, there are new
things coming out.

HEWITT: You can`t take money from a terrorist organization and come
from the United States Senate and ask for a vote, can you?

PAUL: Yes, I am very troubled by it.


MADDOW: I am very troubled by it, it being Chuck Hagel`s imaginary
connection to an imaginary organization that exists only on a
server, and apparently in Rand Paul`s mind. That is who gets to vote to
confirm the defense secretary, who`s very troubled by this terrorist
organization that he heard about in a chat room somewhere.

Don`t feel so bad, Russia, every country`s got `em, we just give them
more power than most countries do.

Republicans filibustered Chuck Hagel`s nomination yesterday. That has
never ever happened before in the history of this country. No cabinet
nominee has ever been blocked by a filibuster ever. We have been hit by
meteors, but this was never done.

They filibustered him and then they went home. Now, the Senate is in
recess. The second try at confirmation will probably happen in about a
week and a half, unless of course we have to hold Rand Paul chair emergency
hearings on the president`s birth certificate of the president, or
something else that Republican senators find more compelling than us
needing to have a defense secretary when we`ve got 66,000 Americans
deployed in a hot war.

That does it for us. We`ll see you back here Monday, Monday night at
9:00, for the premiere of the brand new documentary, the MSNBC documentary,
"Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War". See you then.

Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD".

Have a good weekend.


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