tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC April 27, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT
speak he lost the last page of it. was that on purpose to try to make him seem vice presidential like. that's the kind of thing that people ask in the inane but fun game of vice presidential speculation that we get to play every four years. rob portman got all but anointed vice president. who is rob portman? exactly. that's supposed to be good this year, they say. whoç knows. the vice presidential guessing game is fun in the way that car b bingo is fun. barn. amc semi wagon. vice presidential guessing is like car bingo. it's passes the time. it's pointless. it's fun. it's more about the process than the outcome in that the speculative handicapping in the
choices for vice president seems to have no affect on who the campaigns pick. honestly, nobody knows who the campaign will pick for rom until the pick is made. more importantly, the vice presidential pick usually means nothing to the campaign. other than the first initial blip once the announcement is made it never has fact on the presidential horse race except very occasionally in a negative way, john mccain. this is all unavoidable in election years. it's fun. i think it does have one useful and substantive purpose, which we are experiencing right now. watching people jockey to try to get pick and as vice president turns out can be a really clear window into something that's otherwise hard to figure out which is what are the litmus tests. what are the bright lines on policy within a party? what policies are acceptable or desirable to a particular
political party? what's a policy position that you're not allowed to have if you want to rise in stature in your own party in way that being picked as vice president would mean? we're goodç in this country at covering the horse race. the who's ahead side of politics. we are less good of covering why people are supposed to be in politics in the first place, which is to make policy. watching republican merry go round of ambitious wannabe presidents pretend they don't want to be president, watching it turns out is showing us where the republican party is internally on policy that will they don't otherwise like to talk about in clear terms. any big public experienappearana president does feels like a campaign event. the obama campaign announced the first official obama campaign
re-election event, an event is not just the president being the president but campaigning, the first official events will be held next week at universities in ohio and also virginia. virginia a very, very important swing state this year. supposedly one of top assets that can vice presidential prospect will bring to the ticket is the promise they will win their home state. it's kind of dubious but supposedly that's the promise. in the case of virginia, in the case of virginia's republican governor bob mcdonald, that already slightly dubious rule of thumb does seem to apply to him at all. the recent polling out on the subject was a çquinnipiac university poll, it shows that president obama beats mitt romney by eight points. if you add virginia governor to the romney side of the ticket
then obama still beats romney but by seven points instead of eight putting governor mcdonald on the ticket does give mitt romney a one-point boost in virginia. obviously that's not enough. that said i'm sure the romney campaign expects the numbers to tighten and maybe a one-point bump from governor ultrasound might be good enough. even though he's not allowed to run for governor and he's not declaredfully other off, he started running, i'm bob mcdonald, vote for me tv ads. vote for you for what, big guy? he clearly wants to be picked.
nestled within the obviousness of bob mcdonald's desperationç what the republican party is doing. what they are acting like in policy making terms, it's impossible to figure that out. republicans have introduced more restrictions on abortion rights than at any time since roe very issues wa erer issues wade.
this year another 75 anti-abortion bills have passed. democrats are taking note of this trend. democrats are taking note of the anti-abortion, anti-women's health climate in the republican party of 2012. they see it in this election year as a real political weakness. want me to prove it? here is president obama speaking at a white house forum on women's issues. >> this contraception fight is illuminating. it's like being in a time machine. republicans in congress are going so far to say that an employer should be able to say in the health care decision of its female employees. i'm always puzzled by this. this is party that says it prides itself on being anti-regulation. they claim in freedom from government interference from
government. now we have governors saying that women can't be trusted to make yourç own decisions. they're pushing and passing bills forcing women to get ultrasounds even if they don't want one. if you don't like it, the goe governor of pennsylvania said you can close your eyes. look at the debates this year. instead of putting serious plans to help more americans back to work, a lot of those in the other party have chosen to fight battles we settled long ago. >> president obama speaking today at white house forum on women's issues. as republicans are becoming way more radical on this issue than they have ever tried to be before in modern time, watching bob mcdonald, the governor president obama described as the governor across the river has given us the best shot we've had of figuring out the limits after 15 years in the state
legislature during which he sponsor or co-sponsored 35 anti-abortion bills, the washington post reported this week that bob mcdonald's spokesman was insisting that the paper's described the governor's view on abortion differently than they had before. now that he is very obviously trying to be picked as vice president, the governor spokesman said that he now wants it to be known that bob mcdonald is still super anti-abortion but women that are victims of rape and incest, he'll give them a break. this is a new. throughout his career, throughout the '90s, he was verç clear, the press was very clear, bob mcdonald was so anti-abortion that even fp the way you became pregnant was you were raped or a close blood relative impregnanted you, if you were the victim of incest,
he could insist that the government force you to bear the child. now that he can smell the east wing of the white house that now under his leadership, rape victims and incest victim will get an exemption. interesting. there's the line, the veep stakes. it sometimes reveal an important trut that having the government force rape victims and incest victims to do something with their body counted as too far in the republican politics, at least at the national level. that's what we thought we learned at the beginning of this week. thank you bob mcdonald for making it clear where that line has. he's now moved the line. going after rape and incest victims we thought was too far for the republican party this year. turns out it's not too far. governor mcdonald after that piece was posted he went on wtop
radio and said no, no, his spokesman was mistaken. he blamed it on the washington postbut it was his own spokesman statement. he said he was mistaken. he wants it to be clear that he u to force rape victims to bear the child that is the result of rape. if you're raped, say you're raped by your father or uncle, bob mcdonald does want the government to force you to bear the child that's the result of that rape. his whole giving rape and incest victims a break thing, that was totally a misunderstanding. he's not giving them break. >> i've said this for 20 years. as a pro-life catholic, my personal moral view is that abortion is wrong. it should not be permitted except in cases with the life of the mother is in jeopardy. >> period. he won't force you to give birth if doing so will kill you but other than that rape victims
shut up. he's in charge. bob mcdonald turns out is kind of a window into the broader republicans. in south carolina republicans are trying to pass a rule that would ban state health insurance from covering abortions specifically for women that are the victims of rape or incest singling them out. if you're the victim of rape or incest in south carolina you could get an abortion. the republicans in the legislature there want to repeal that rape and incest exemption. it's officially part of the budget debate in south carolina. in florida, republican governor rick scott line atell me vetoed one and a half million dollars set to fund rape crisis centers. the governor spokesperson saying the reason he vetoed the rape crisis center funding because theç funding was quote duplicative and nobody was able
the make it clear why they needed the funding. it should be noted that the director of the council, the group that was to distribute the money around the state says she gave the governor's office information about the number of new survivors they are dealing with and showed them that the rape crisis centers now have waiting lists. it's hard to imagine rape crisis center waiting lists. we'll get back to you. that was not proof enough for rick scott that rape crisis centers needed any funding. in iowa, they passed a measure to repeal the provision that allow medicaid funds to be used. it was a tie vote. a tie vote to block poor women who are the victims of rape or incest, singh ling them out from having access to abortion. it's a targeted bill to go after rape victims and invest victims
to make sure they don't get something they might otherwise get. this is what's going on in republican politics right now around women's rights and abortion rights and the proper role of government. not to put too fine a point on it, but you have to ask is there a problem the republicans are trying to address. have rape victims just been coddled too much. have rape victims had it too easy? have they not had enough of other people doing things to their bodies that they don't want them to do? is éh@t a pressing problem calling out for intervention? they're cracking down. they're not cracking down on rape and incest. they are cracking down on the victims of rape and incest. if you think that the victims of rape and incest have been getting way with way too much in this country and it's time to put a stop to it, then have i got a vice presidential candidate for you. joining issues the minority whip.
it's good to have you with us. it's nice to meet you. >> thank you for having me. >> your governor made a double reversal on the issue of rape victims and incest victims and abortion. what have you understood his position to be and has it arisen in virginia state politics? >> i've always understood his position to be would be life of mother. then i hear there's an exception for rape and incest. now i'm wearing something back to where he originally was. it's actually causing my neck to get whiplash because we're going back and forth so much. it's a little shocking. it has been an issue. the governor amended mandatory ultrasound bill in virginia. he had an opportunity to let his views be known. he did not build an exception into that bill. that was a democratic legislature who put an amendment on to the bill to give an exception for rape victims.
he has been consistent on that that he only believes if life of the mother. it's a little disheartening to seeç him flip and say rape and incest because it leaves virginians note knowing where he stands. >> his apparent vice presidential ambitions affecting virginia state politics, do you think the governor has been describing his positions or legislating in way that reflects national ambitions or has he been doing the same thing all along. >> right now it's that he has national ambitions. he campaigned on jobs in the economy then supports extreme social agenda. right now he spent several hundreds of thousands of dollars for tv commercials and stomping around for mitt romney and other extreme republicans on their elections and on their campaigning. it's a difference message is being spent.
i know that he's trying to make up for all the bad publicity that he's gotten for the mandatory ultrasound bill. he's trying to cover it. it's unfortunate for virginia because he needs to be here talking about jobs in the economy. >> as a person who has been covering virginia, i think the attorney general and governor mcdonald were elected and came to power at the same time with such interesting very far right backgrounds. one of the things that's been interesting covering it, i'm curious to your perspective is that particularly governor mcdonald always talks about how his priority is jobs, jobs, jobs. he only wants to talk about jobs and the economy. that's all he answers. it seems like inside the legislature there's a ton of
social issues legislation that's being moved. he moved 35 anti-abortion bills himself as a legislateture. what do you see as the distance between the articulation that jobs, jobs, jobs is the ageneral dap and what your real agenda is living as a delegate? >> exactly. they articulate jobs, jobs, jobs and don't want to articulate on things they will take issue on. they still don't have their polls on middle america. when they file those extreme bills, what happens is my office spends time responding to people that are calling frightened to death about what they are seeing and hearing. that's very true. it's very honest. it's very interesting that they always want to minimize these social issues. we're talking about constitutional rights, voting, access to reproductive health care, very fundamental things to
americans and they seem not to get that this is something serious and that people will take it serious, and they can't just turn it off and say i want to talk about jobs. we got to hold them accountable. >> virginia house delegate, chair of the legislature reproductive rights caucus. thanks for joining us. hope you come çback. >> thank you. this very day, not very long ago today, a few hours ago, we got a note from rick santorum. it's not a form letter. it's not a fund raising letter. it was address to me. stick around.
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rick santorum is no longer running for president. he suspended his campaign two and a half weeks ago. before he suspended his campaign, this is one of things he said on the campaign trail. >> just reading something last night from the state of california, and the california universities, i think it's seven or eight of the california system of universities don't even teach an american history course. it's not even available to be taught. >> the california university system, uc system, does not teach american history. american history is not taught and cannot be learned in the university of california system. why? why would you think that was true? why would it be? it doesn't even make sense. can you elaborate?
>> it's not even available to be taught. just to tell you how bad it's gotten in this country where we're trying to disconnect the american people from theç root of who we are. >> a coupuouple of days after h said they do not exist, something almost as incredible as that statement happened right here in this room. a republican, a real life republican agreed to come on this show. he was john braybender. republicans of any sustain potential in american politics never agree to come on this show. we ask and we ask and we beg. sometimes i ask on tv thinking it will increase the leverage but the answer is always i'd love you to but i can't. pencil me in a quarter after never. we had a nice civil discussion with john braybender.
i'm glad he was here for agreeing to speak with me. he sderves credit for being here. he also deserves credit for saying that if rick santorum had been wrong about the no american history in the university of california thing then mr. santorum would surely admit fault. >> i would guess if that somebody he felt was credible gave him information that he thought was credible and he felt he misspoke, i think he would be the first person to say i was wroing and i'm going to tell you. that's the type of person he is. >> i will follow up on you. these are easy ones. >> these are easy ones. a cursory search revealed that uc davis along debunks rick ç santorum. a further search showed that not just uc davis but all of the other campuses also teach american history. we did follow up with mr. santorum. today, just a few hours ago, he
responded. he sent us a note. quote, rachel, on a recent show you dus skused a statement that american hift was not being taught at a number of california universities. you questioned the accuracy of my statement. based upon your broadcast i went back and reviewed the facts. it's clear my memory was faulty. what i should have said is that none of the uc campuses teach a survey course in western civilization. i appreciate your efforts pointing out my misstatement and giving me the opportunity to set the record straight. signed rick santorum. senator, if you want to talk about this in person, you're so welcome here any time you want. my chair is your chair. any time. the letter was polite and straightforward. i have to say he's still wrong. mr. santorum said from his note what i should have said is none of the uc campuses teach a
survey course in western civilization. to the google. this spring at the university of california santa barbara you can take western civilization 1050, 217. at the university of los angeles you can take introduction to civilization. 1715 to the çpresent. at the university of california davis you can take three courses on the history of western civilization from the renaissance to the 18th century and the 18th century to the present. at uc berkeley, you will find a course in the roots of western civilization. down south at uc san diego where my brother went you may partake in a course titled foundations of western civilization. it took mr. santorum to write that letter claiming what i
meant is the uc schools don't teach survey courses in western civ. it took us 15 to find all those courses on western civ. you can tell from the tape where rick santorum is saying the thing about uc is he is really tired and the campaign trail is exhausting. i have empathy for the exhaustion factor and the too much going on factor affecting what people say. also, getting things wrong can be embarrassing. i know. i get things wrong. it doesn't make you bad person. you just have to correct it. you got to correct it. fp at first your correction goes horribly wrong then correct, correct, correct again. you just keep doing it until what you say seems true because we will fact check you. capital e cash rewards card gives you a 50% annual bonus. and who doesn't want 50% more cash? ugh, the baby. huh! and then the baby bear said, "i want 50% more cash in my bed!"
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there are hundreds of hundre hundredsof billions of dollars in our federal budget. they fund roughly a billion programs and departments. when republicans and the house of representatives were looking to take some dollars from a program or a department, from any program or department, when they needed money to pay for something else, from whom do you think they took the money? what's the first place they looked? what's the first chip off the chopping block for them? that's next. how did i get here?
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congress. kcaucukacaucuses are the small legislatures because they share some interest. there's a congressional bike caucus. there's a congressional bourbon caucus by members of congress from kentucky. i'd prefer a rye caucus. there's all sorts of caucuses for all sorts of causes. this week we got word that a brand new caucus is forming in the republican controlled house of representatives. it's a republican only women's caucus called the women's policy committee. this is not just caucus for the ladies. it's a caucus for the republican ladies. this doesn't arise right now as a coincidence. there's a yawning gap.
republicans appear to be trying to burnish their cred among the ight we mentioned that theg the 5-year-old republican young guns caucus formed by eric cantor, paul ryan have just unveiled a new young guns program for women. it's called yg woman up. they are proposing a slate of female republican candidates along their much larger slate of male candidates. young guns is proposing a vision of gender equality in congress that's slightly worse than the gender imbalance is now. still, they're doing it in pink. as they struggle with ways to be more appealing to female voters, congressional republicans are pushing back as loudly as they can, angrily on the idea that they need be doing any of this.
they are trying to get away from the idea that they have a problem with women that they have to be trying to make go away. they don't understand why everybody keeps saying they have this women problem. it's just made up. >> my friends, this supposed war on women or the use of similarly out landish rhetoric bipartisan operatives has two purposes and both are political in their purpose and effect. the first, purely political. the first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cableç television. i don't believe the posturing that's con joured up this imaginary war. >> there's no war on women. it's imaginary. today house republicans decided to hold their big vote on
student loans. they caved into the president's pressure this week. they did a u turn on their previous position. they agreed to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling this summer. house republicans passed their bill today and the only real drama here was how are they going to pay for it. what are they going to find in the budget to pay for the student loan rate extension? they decided to pay for it by repealing something called the prevention and public health fund. what does that do? it provides for hundreds of thousands of screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer. really you guys. right when john mccain is giving his whole -- you could have picked any government program to cut from. you picked sp eed specifically that pays for breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings. seriously.
>> this is the latest plank in the so-called war on women. entirely created by my colleagues across the aisle for political gain. >> aww, awww.ç congressional republicans, this is not a style issue. the whole war on women thing did not emerge from some democratic attack machine focus group. it's not a baseless but a literal attack. this came from observation of what you have been doing. this is about policy. it's about gutting women's preventive health care in order to pay for something you didn't want to pay for. it's about threatening to shut down the federal government over funding for planned parenthood. it's about campaigning on jobs, jobs and to roll back women.
the violence against women act voting against that bill were 31 senate republicans. 31 senate republican men voted against the violence against women act. among them proudly standing against the women against violence act was potential republican vice presidential nominee marco rubio. i don't know if there's a divide here in terms the way the democrats and republicans think about this. when republicans turn away from policy, they turn toward messaging. when democrats get mired in policy, they go from policy into messaging. they try to turn whatever their policy concern into a plemessag. it's like looking through both side s of a telescope. in this case the republicans are convinced that they are doing everything perfect about women. what they don't understand is the democratic and the female critique ofç them on this issu comes not from something that
they are pronouncing wrong or some wrong color or whether or not they say nice things about their wives. it comes from an observation of what they are doing in policy. joining us now is steve. let's explain this one. congressional republicans are accu accused of waging war on women. they are angry about this so let's get rid of breast cancer and cervical cancer screening. i don't think that republicans are dumb. i think we have different cognitive abilities as liberals and conservatives. how do you defend yourself and make that decision? >> i think not to oversimplify is but the big rally is they didn't read the bill. read the bill. i don't think the republicans read the bill. the give away on this has been that republicans took an issue of health care reform where they
proposed what obama ended upcoming with. they originally proposed it and turned on it and called it socialism. the details were never really going to make sense. one of the talking pints to emerge from their fight against health care reform was this preventive care money amounted to a slush fund. it became something that was repeated. there's a slush fund in there. we've got to get it way. this looked like a good opportunity for boehner to say i've got to get the conservatives to go along with kind of giving inç a bit on an obama goal. i've got to sell this to the conservatives the. what better say is we will stick it to obama on his slush fund. i think that's where this came from. i don't think anybody looked at what this exactly means and efrlg you just explained. i don't know they looked at that until right now. >> it's one of those situations where if you listen to only fox news and right wing talk radio
you thought this was totally noncontroversial. if you're willing to break out of that bubble you would have seen the peril. what republicans are warning them? a lot of liberals watch fox news in order to find out what the truth is on the other side so they can be forewarned. a number of democratic elected officials told me they do that by way of apologizing that they haven't been watching me. is there anybody that is being farsighted about this if only for their political benefit. >> it's tough. when you have voices that do this they are treated as sell outs for going over to the democratic side and selling out the movement. you have stories like lisa murkowski who was going along with there is no war on women and she went home to alaska and talked to her constituents and heard from women. she came back sounding a different tune.
the more that happens, the more it's possible they start to get this message. sometimes it just takes they wander into these traps and it takes gettingç this blow back r it to register. the comparable thing may be the pal roll tax where republicans started to pick a fight over how to pay for the payroll extension and realized it wasn't a good idea. that may be where this ends up now. it will be interesting to see. >> on the violence against women's act thing. on this what thai are using to pay for the student loan thing. i have a piece of advice. go talk to lisa murkowski. you don't have to be persuaded by them but hear their reasoning. you're never going to hear it from me pm talk to republican women. you might be surprised about some of the political pitfalls you can avoid. i'm just saying. thanks for being here. this week is a very big anniversary for a very big and
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january 23, 1991. the united states was at that moment in the midst of going to war in iraq and kuwait in gulf war i, and grand central terminal taken over. this banner said money for aids, not for war, goes up to the ceiling of grand central, a huge crowd of activists there. ultimately, 263 aid activists would be arrested that day. they had marched on wall street that morning. the night before, the same activists disrupted the cbs nightly news with dan rather. >> this is the "cbs evening news" with dan rather. >> we'll take a break for a commercial. we'll break for commercial. we'll be rightç back. >> say fight aids, not arabs. mr. rather apologized for the eruption in the studio and then
started his newscast. the same protesters got into pbs, tried to chain themselves to one of the anchors. tried and failed to get into the nbc nightly newscast. six months before that day, that same group of protesters launched a massive protest at the national institutes of health. watch tom brokaw. >> a major day of protests by aids activists. 1,000 of them converging of the national institutes of health, demanding more research on the disease. 81 arrested. robert bazell with march on a group that's taking the struggle to the streets and beyond that. >> reporter: today demonstration by the militant group, act up. it has increasing influence on aids policies. the weekly meetings attract hundreds. and it counts 10,000 members nationwide. mostly young, mostly gay. >> let's do a big demonstration
there and keep it there. >> reporter: the atmosphere at the meetings and group's headquarters characterized by enthusiasm and belligerance toward established institutions. playwright larry kramer started act up to accelerate the aids drug approval process. >> what right doesç the fda an nih have the right to tell a dying person what to do with his or her body. >> reporter: act up's tactics often offend. many catholics were angered by this demonstration at st. patrick's cathedral in new york. to criticize the church's opposition to homosexuality and communism. sometimes the group attacks individuals. act up proclaimed former new york city health commissioner steven joseph was more dangerous than the aids virus. >> their goals are the right ones and the tactics very much
the wrong ones. brown shirt, stormtrooper, unwillingness to see any other point of view and a willingness to condemn any other point of view as evil on it. >> i am so sick of hearing about our tactics offending people. the vietnam war was not ended by people being nice. nice people walk into gas chambers. >> reporter: mark harrington has made an expert on aids. he helped organize today's demonstration. >> i call that the inside/outside strategy. >> reporter: strategy, enormously successful to get the fda to loosen new regulations for aids. now they are trying to force scientists to work faster to develop and test new treatments. in the past, scientists have strongly resisted such pressure. actup thinks the scienthcts can be made to listen.
robert bazell, nbc news, bethesda. >> may of 1990, that report. a few months earlier, in the fall of 1989, seven members of the same protest group had chained themselves to the balcony at the new york stock exchange and infurled a banner that said sell welcome. they made azt, only aids drug, technically at a cost of $10,000 a year in 1989 llars. new york stock exchange had trading stopped. the group that did all of this was act up, the aids coalition to release power. it was founded 25 years ago this week. by playwright larry kramer. the medical journals were writing about something that would later be called aids, killing people in every-increasing numbers as early as 1981, by the time 1987,
when act up was thousands, 37,000 had been diagnosed and 20,000 americans had died, and the president of the united states, ronald reagan, had never said the word aids in public. 20,000 dead americans, all in his time in office, before he ever said a word about it. this week to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of act up, one of the most effective activist groups in american history, long-time members of the group, some new supporters from the occupy protests, marched again on wall street, again, using the group's trademark rather bad ass graáhics, and demanded a less than a penny toll, a tiny tax on every wall street financial transaction. they want it to be used to finance medication and needed services for people with aids and get people access to health care. aids has killed more than 30 million people worldwide. even in the united states, right now, there are thousands of hiv positive americans on waiting lists for treatment. on waiting lists for what is
called the aids drug assistance programs, programs that don't have enough money to get hiv treatment to americans who need it. in this country, in 2012. without adequate treatment and health care, hiv can be a chronic, manageable condition. and that's how we think of it. even though around the world not everyone is there yet. but the reason aids can be a product manageable condition, the reason it's possible to imagine it ending, the reason ending it is within even reach now, in significant part is due to a very radical group called act up. which i belonged to a big defining chunk of my life before i was in media and has a deserved place in american history that a lot of people will try to ensure never gets told. but it will be told. happy 25th birthday act up. you set out actively and aggressively to change the world and you changed the world that does it for us tonight, which is good, because are you totally late for prison.