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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  October 26, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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on is glass-steagall and the big mega banks that now still threaten to crash our economy. she cannot change her position on that. as she said herself, she represented wall street -- i think that's a huge difference. >> i think we're going to see a lot more of that debate. governor martin o'malley, it was a pleasure having you come by. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> >> good evening, chris. we here at msnbc have an embarrassment of riches. you just saw governor o'malley live with my friend chris hayes. vermont senator and democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders is here tonight in my studio for an interview. settle in. it's going to be a good night. but our conversation starts on march 24th, 1994. at the time i was just about to turn 21. i had just moved to san francisco. i was an aids activist. it was still a couple of years before protease inhibitors were around to treat hiv inhibitors. i remember that at the time it just felt like the aids epidemic
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was roaring through the gay community, roaring through my community. and honestly, i didn't care all that much about electoral politics at the time. i cared about the activist issues that i was working on, which i saw as life and death issues. i cared about policy. i cared about, you know, local stuff and things directly related to the activist campaigns i was involved in. but for better or for worse, judge me for it if you will, i honestly at the time as a 20-year-old did not much care about the presidency nor did i care that much about the congress. but even then, even with that mindset at the time, i remember when in march 1994 a closeted member of congress got outed as gay on the floor of the house of representatives, in congress, in a spit-flying, furious floor speech.
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this member of congress, who i had otherwise never heard of, got outed, got forced out of the closet by a rabid right-wing republican congressman named bob dornan. >> look, i was born in manhattan, and i was raised in beverly hills from 10 to 19, when i went in the air force. and those two communities have a particular penchant for poisoning little dorothy's kansas or iowa or other parts of this country. now, the last republican gentleman -- the last -- for the state of new york or manhattan? >> mr. speaker, point of personal privilege. i ask the gentleman to withdraw his comment about my district. >> ridiculous. >> the gentleman may not assert a point of personal privilege. the gentleman may resume. >> now, the last gentleman in the well, a republican, i guess, quoting my wife again, has a revolving door on his closet. he's in, he's out, he's in, he's out, he's in. now, i guess you're out because
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you went up and spoke to a huge homosexual dinner last week, mr. gunderson, a week before last if i read the papers correctly. if i don't, correct me. >> mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i think this conversation is out of order and has no place -- >> from michigan demands that the words -- >> take them down? i'll wait. i'm sick of this. >> the clerk will report the gentleman's words. >> because the gentleman's words were the taken down, that means they were taken out of the congressional record. maybe that's why congressman bob dornan was not censured for making that kind of a personal attack on another member of congress from the floor of the house. you're not supposed to be able to do something like that as a member of congress. but because his words were taken down, that was supposed to basically unring the bell, make it so he never said it. but he did. that march day in 1994, bob dornan really did out on the floor of the house of representatives a republican congressman named steve gunderson, who had never
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publicly revealed he was gay but who had kind of tiptoed to the edge of coming out in front of some gay audiences. and bob dornan outed him as a way of selling his own anti-gay legislation to try to ban school districts from ever saying anything about the existence of gay people, particularly in relation to the issue of aids. and steve gunderson weathered it. he actually got re-elected again from his wisconsin district later that year. but those were nasty, nasty times. and two years after bob dornan outed steve gunderson on the floor of the house, congressman gunderson became the lone republican on the very lonely side of a vote that still resonates right now in the race for the presidency this year. it was a vote on something called the defense of marriage act, in 1996. that bill banned federal recognition of marriages between same-sex couples. it passed the house by a huge margin, 342 votes in favor, only 67 votes opposed. of the 67 votes opposed, 65 of
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them were democrats, 1 of them was republican steve gunderson, and one of them was an independent socialist, vermont congressman bernie sanders. that anti-gay bill passed by such huge margins in the house and in the senate, the vote in the senate was 85-14. it passed by such big margins that if president clinton had vetoed that bill his veto likely would have been overridden and pretty easily. the bill would have become law anyway, even if president clinton had vetoed it. but president clinton didn't veto it. he signed it. and before the house even passed it, weeks before they passed it, he said that he would sign it if they did pass it. and then after he signed it, he ran radio ads touting the fact that he had signed it. in the last few weeks before president clinton then went on to wallop republican bob dole in the 1996 presidential election. and now of course it is a very different time. former president clinton said in
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2013 that his own law, that doma law, should be overturned. and it was. it was overturned by the united states supreme court in one of the biggest gay rights legal victories of all time. both former president clinton and former secretary of state clinton have now said they are of course in favor of marriage equality. more than that, secretary clinton became a vocal champion of gay rights, both now as a presidential candidate and before that in her time as secretary of state. she even promoted some landmark pro-gay rights legislation as a senator from the great state of new york. and now we're in a position where if you want to talk about a divide on this issue it's between the parties. the parties could not be more different on this issue. all the beltway happy talk about how gay rights is settled, we've supposedly had this great evolution in support of gay rights in this country, but consider just how deeply and uniformly anti-gay the republican field is this year. i mean, even the supposedly newfangled republicans all agree that that it is totally kosher
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and totally legal for you to be fired for being gay or if your boss thinks you might be. and forget it on marriage. none of them support marriage rights. meanwhile, on the other side of the partisan aisle, if you are a supporter of gay rights you have an embarrassment of riches among the democratic presidential front-runners this year. you cannot find a whisper of difference between senator sanders and secretary clinton in terms of their commitment to equal rights now. but there was a difference back in the day. back in the bad old outing closeted congressmen on the floor of the house days of the mid 1990s. and even for people who had no interest in electoral politics at the time, even like 20-year-old me, boy, did that send a shiver down my spine. and there is -- you know, there is a difference now, i have to say, between presidential candidate bernie sanders and presidential candidate hillary clinton, even though there is no issue now, no difference now between them in terms of what policies they support now, there is a difference between them as
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candidates, as to whether or not president bill clinton signing that anti-gay law, whether that was an anti-gay and lamentable mistake that never should have happened or whether, as secretary clinton argued here on friday night, it was actually a well-meaning effort, a well-meaning effort to head off a great area harm that would have been done had president clinton not signed that discriminatory bill. >> one of the things that i have been struck by during the obama administration is that a lot of ry the civil rights achievements of this administration have actually been undoing things that were done in the clinton administration, whether it was don't ask don't tell or the defense of marriage act or the tough on crime mandatory sentences. former president clinton is progressive on all those issues now, but the policies that he signed for politically practical reasons in the '90s have taken the political miracle of barack obama's election and a decade of progressive activism to unwind those things to get back to zero.
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and so i know that you and president clinton are different people, and i know that you're not responsible for what he did as president. but is your approach to civil rights issues the same as his or is it different? >> well, i want to say a word about the issues you mentioned because my take on it is slightly different. on defense of marriage i think what my husband believed, and there was certainly evidence to support it, is that there was enough political momentum to amend the constitution of the united states of america, and that there had to be some way to stop that. and there wasn't any rational argument because i was in on some of those discussions on both don't ask don't tell and on doma where both the president, his advisers, and occasionally i would chime in and talk about you can't be serious, you can't
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be serious. but they were. and so in a lot of ways doma was a line that was drawn that was to prevent going further. >> it was a defensive action. >> it was a defensive action. the culture rapidly changed so that now what was totally anathema to political forces, they have ceded, they no longer are fighting except on a local level and a rear guard action. and with the u.s. supreme court decision it's settled. >> most gay rights activists say that actually there wasn't an active threat of an anti-gay federal constitutional amendment at the time that he president clinton signed doma. in fact the real push for that kind of an amendment did not come until the george w. bush administration. i mean, honestly, bottom line, fast forward to today, hillary clinton and former president bill clinton both support equal marriage rights with gusto. neither one of them would
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support that anti-gay bill today. but they did back then. and hillary clinton's presidential primary opponent bernie sanders is going out of his way to make sure that history about this matter is told in the right way. >> in 1996, i faced another fork in the road, a very, very difficult political situation. it was called the defense of marriage act, doma. brought forth, brought forth by a republican-led congress, and its purpose was clear -- to discriminate against gays and lesbians into the law. and let us all remember, the gay and lesbian rights were not popular then as they are today. it was a tough vote.
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and i'm sorry to have to tell you that that bill won by an overwhelming majority in the house of 342-57. that was not a political easy vote. now, today some are trying to rewrite history by saying they voted for one anti-gay law to stop something worse. that's not the case. there was a small minority in the house opposed to discriminating against our gay brothers and sisters, and i am proud that i was one of those members. >> senator bernie sanders speaking this weekend in iowa. and tonight he's here live for the interview. senator sanders, thank you so much for being here. it's really nice to see you back. >> great to be with you, rachel. >> so you have been remarkably consistent in your policy positions over the years. also your style. you have, as far as i can tell,
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in 35 years in public office you have never run a negative ad against an opponent. i can find no instances of you even saying anything particularly nasty or even sharp-tongued about an opponent. but you are drawing a sharp contrast here. >> i am. and the reason that i am is i think it's important for voters in the democratic primary process to understand one very important fact. yes, it is a good idea that recently, for example, hillary clinton has decided to oppose the tpp, transpacific partnership. that's great. i'm glad she did that. well, i have been opposed to these disastrous trade agreements from day one. i'm glad that hillary clinton has come on board and now said, well, she's against the keystone pipeline. well, you know what? if you take climate change seriously and you understand the cataclysmic impact that it will have on this planet, it is a no-brainer. i've been against that from day one. everybody knows that. and then we get to this issue of doma. here was my point.
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it was a simple point. i have had in many years in politics, had to make tough votes. and let me, as you just indicated, the times then were very, very different. we had a lot of homophobia going on. right-wing republican leadership clearly trying to push this anti-gay legislation. and it bothered me to hear secretary clinton saying, well, you know, doma, what it really was about was to prevent something even worse. that just wasn't true. it wasn't true. and i think, you know, if you hear today what many of the gay activists are saying, they will concur with me. hillary rosen, who you know. >> sure. >> she's a supporter of secretary clinton. she said bernie sanders is right. note to my friends bill and hillary, please stop saying doma was to prevent something worse. it wasn't. i was there. end of quote. so my only point there was that was a tough vote. it really was. and there were a lot of decent people who in their hearts
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wanted to vote no and voted yes for political reasons. i didn't. that's the only point i want to make. >> as you've drawn those points of contrast, in the jefferson jackson dinner speech and again right here, you were arguing that basically you were right on day one on tpp, on keystone, on the iraq war vote, on doma, on all of those issues you and secretary clinton agree now. >> yes. >> so i wonder if i can zero in on exactly why you think it's important that you were right first. when democratic voters are making their decision about who the nominee ought to be, why are you a better choice on those grounds? >> it's an excellent and fair question. and the answer is we live in a tough world and leadership counts. it's great that people evolve and change their minds. and i respect that. i'm not being demeaning here. but it is important to stand up when the going is tough. and that was a particularly tough vote.
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and if you look at my career, i have taken on every special interest when it was tough to do. and where we are right now in american history is we have a rigged economy with wall street and the big money interest exerting huge power over the economy. we have a corrupt campaign finance system with super pacs prepared to buy elections. what the american people and democrats have to know, which candidate historically has had the guts to stand up to powerful people and take difficult decisions. that's the point that i was trying to make. and i think anyone reads my record from when i was mayor of burlington, where i took on the entire establishment, as a member of congress, was a leader in so many areas, united states senator, i think that they will conclude that when the going was tough, when leadership was
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needed, i was there. >> i have one more question that i want to ask you on this subject, and then i have a whole bunch of questions on a whole bunch of other subjects. will you stay? >> yes. absolutely. >> yes. my first victory. we'll be right back with senator bernie sanders. (patrick 1) what's it like to be the boss of you? (patrick 2) pretty great. (patrick 1) how about a 10% raise? (patrick 2) how about 20? (patrick 1) how about done? (patrick 2) that's the kind of control i like... ...and that's what they give me at national car rental. i can choose any car in the aisle i want-
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joining us once again is democratic presidential candidate senator bernie sanders. senator, thanks for sticking with us. >> my pleasure. >> i have one more question for you on this doma issue, on the gay rights issue in which you've been drawing this contrast with secretary clinton. obviously, 1996 you voted no as a member of the house on the defense of marriage act. ten years later, though, when you were running for senate in vermont, you also said that you would not support vermont moving forward to legalize same-sex marriage. obviously, vermont had civil unions at the time but not marriage. you said when you were asked during the campaign, not right now. i don't think that's because you have an anti-gay bone in your body. i think that's because you thought for politically tactical reasons -- >> here's what happened.
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vermont was the first state in the union to pass civil unions. you know that. >> yeah. >> and trust me, i was there and it was -- it brought forth just a whole lot of emotion. and the state was torn in a way that i have never seen the state torn. so vermont led the nation in that direction. and what my view was, give us a little bit of time. give us a little bit of time -- >> internal rancor in the state, people being upset by the change. >> yes. there were anti-civil union demonstrations. the state was very much split. and i felt that at that time given the fact that vermont had gone first in breaking new ground, let's take it easy for a little while. that was my reasoning. >> and that was not to suggest that you were anti-gay or that you had some anti- -- some views on marriage that wouldn't support eventually -- >> no. what it says is that vermont --
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sometimes the world has changed a lot. vermont was first in the country. that was a huge deal, to say that if you are gay you're going to get the same benefits as a straight couple. that was pretty revolutionary at the time. it split our state, and i thought that things would calm down before we go further. >> isn't that -- the reason i want to draw you out on that is because i want to ask, isn't that the same kind of tactical thinking, the same kind of political pragmatism, that may have driven the decision for which you have criticize add secretary clinton? >> all that i criticized secretary clinton on was saying something that wasn't accurate. i mean, you can argue that, you know, somebody made -- hey, look, i don't agree with doma politically, i have to do it. you can make that argument. but you can't say that doma was passed in order to prevent something worse. that is just not the case. that's the only point that i want to make. >> there's news tonight out of washington. and nbc has not confirmed this. it's being reported by other sources. but there's news tonight that
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there may be a mega budget deal that's about to drop in washington as part of an agreement to lift the debt ceiling. it's apparently complex, it's obviously not official yet. but the word is that it would include fairly significant cuts to medicare and social security disability benefits. have you been briefed on this at all? do you have any reaction thus far? >> i have not been briefed on it. i know what you know. and if that is in fact true, and i don't know that it is, i would not support that. our goal is to expand social security benefits. is to push for medicare for all single payer program. i will not be supportive of cuts in those programs. >> if the debt ceiling depends on it, rising the debt ceiling depends on it, comes down to your vote, is raising the debt ceiling, avoiding that sort of catastrophic effort -- catastrophic effect on the economy, would that be worth it? >> that's a hypothetical. i don't think actually that it's going to be the case. >> you joined unionized verizon workers protesting earlier today in midtown manhattan.
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why were you walking the picket line today? >> because verizon is now doing exactly what many, many other large profitable corporations are doing, and that is as the corporations make huge profits, as their ceos get huge compensation packages, they are either not negotiating with a union in one case, workers can't get a first contract, or else they are bringing forth a contract for other workers which is a bad contract. and they fired another worker whose crime in life was that she was busy organizing, trying to organize the union. so to my mind what verizon is doing is what we're seeing all over this country, is corporations going to war against their own workers. they are making huge profits. they are demanding in many cases cuts in wages, in health care, and in pensions. this is what the race to the bottom is about. this is why we have more and more income and wealth disparity.
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this is why tens of millions of people are working two or three jobs. so what i believe, we've got to stand with unions, we've got to grow the trade union movement, and we've got to tell corporate america and the billionaires in this country they cannot have it all. their greed is destroying this country. and that's exactly what's taking place with verizon. >> the workers' rights issue, employees' rights, union rights, that issue has obviously been core to you for a very, very long time. >> yep. >> it's a big ideological powers that be issue. but as a matter of state policy is where it has been changing most radically over these last few years, and that's because republicans have made it a priority and they've taken over so many state legislatures and governorships. if you were the republican -- the democratic party's presidential nominee, you're effectively the leader of the democratic party, what would you do to make democrats win more down-ticket races, to take back more state legislatures and governors? >> rachel, republicans win when
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voter turnout is low, which is what happened last november. when people become demoralized, when they don't think their vote matters. one of the things i'm very proud of in this campaign is that we have created a huge amount of enthusiasm. over 300,000 people have come out to our meetings. 750,000 individuals have contributed more than any other candidate in history at this point to the campaign. okay? we're -- and a lot of young people and working-class people are coming out. the reason that i think i can help the entire democratic party at the head of the ticket is we have got to increase voter turnout. we've got to get low-income workers. we've got to get young people to stand up and fight back and get involved in the political process, and i think i can do that. i think that's what our campaign is about. so that's the message. we win when people come out, republicans win when their big money buys low voter turnout elections. >> we'll have more with senator bernie sanders right after this. stay with us.
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senator bernie sanders is here. we are getting him a fresh cup of water because i have a lot of questions and i intend to ask them all. the senator has offered to generously answer my questions. so stay with us, senator sanders. stay with us you at home. we'll be right back. but at t. rowe price, we can help guide your investments through good times and bad. for over 75 years, our clients have relied on us to bring our best thinking to their investments so in a variety of market conditions... you can feel confident... our experience. call a t. rowe price retirement specialist or your advisor see how we can help make the most of your retirement savings.
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what these companies do is use their power to cut wages, to cut health care benefits, to cut pensions. their greed has no end. and what this campaign for president is about is saying to corporate america, you cannot get it all. >> a lot of presidential candidates come through new york city in the course of a presidential campaign. very few of them come through new york city and make sure to stop by at a picket line. but that's where bernie sanders was today at a union rally at verizon here in new york city. senator sanders, thank you for staying with us. >> my pleasure. >> i want to ask you a political process question. i understand that you have hired a pollster, which is a not very bernie sanders-sounding thing to do.
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is that because we're about to see sanders for president ads? tv ads. are you -- >> oh, yeah, we are. absolutely. >> is that what the pollster's for? >> yeah, in one way. it's obviously not going to be to change my message. but sometimes it's important to know where people are so you can better connect to them with the message. and it's also to prepare us for some negative ads that maybe coming down the road. >> do you -- have you found that you have needed to sort of change your political ways or change the way that you have approached things in the past as a political figure and as a politician in order to compete at this level of presidential politics? >> well, this is a crazy level. i represent a small state that has 620,000 people. i know that state pretty well. now you're running all over the country. the size of our organization, the number of people that we have hired, you know, makes life very, very different. it's a big learning curve. one of the problems that we have
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is we have grown so fast that we haven't been able to staff up appropriately. we are now expanding our staff in many, many states beyond iowa and new hampshire, into nevada, into south carolina, into many states all over the country. >> i want to ask you specifically on that point, when we spoke in september, you talked about that issue of staffing up, building up infrastructure. you said you're putting a lot of resources into iowa, new hampshire, and south carolina. you said specifically you would do better than people expected in south carolina. now, the latest polling has you doing very well in new hampshire. the latest poll has you up by 15 over secretary clinton in new hampshire. has you very close in iowa. down by three in the latest poll. but it has you way, way down in south carolina. the bloomberg poll has you 43 points behind in south carolina. has something gone wrong there with your strategy? >> no. we have just a lot more work to do. and let me be very honest with you. we have a lot of work to do specifically in the african-american community and
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the latino community. and we are going to do that work. and i think once the african-american community knows my record and once they know our agenda, which is going to focus on the need for real criminal justice reform, creating jobs for young people, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour, these are issues that are very relevant to all americans but even more so to the african-american and latino communities. so i am confident that we're going to gain a lot of ground within those communities, but we still have a long way to go. >> republican presidential front-runner donald trump has attacked you specifically, went out of his way to go after you individually specifically for the way you responded to black lives matter protests. he said it was a sign of weakness at one event that you basically ceded your microphone to the activists who had interrupted you and let them speak their piece. can you -- i'm not going to ask you to respond to donald trump but i would like you to explain
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how those kind of interactions, those kind of interventions by activists challenged you and changed you. >> well, the message -- i'm not greatly in favor of people disrupting meetings. we were talking about immigration reform, a huge issue, and in another case social security. but the issues these young people are talking about are of huge consequence. and i'll tell you the truth. i think many white people are just not aware of what goes on in terms of police relations with the african-american community. and what they are saying with black lives matter is about is hey, do you understand that our people are getting beaten up, that unarmed people are being killed, that we're afraid to walk the streets, that we are afraid of police. they're not helping us. and it's important that we understand. it is important. and to my mind as president i will move very aggressively. we have more people in jail than any other country on earth. 2.2 million people. we spend $80 billion a year
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locking up people. in my view we have got to invest in education, in jobs, rather than incarceration and in jails. we need real reform. we need to demilitarize police departments. we need to make police departments look like the communities that they are serving. we need to do away with mandatory minimum sentences. we need to end this outrageous level of recidivism. people get out of jail. they end up going back. we need to rethink the war on drugs, which has just destroyed so many lives in this country. these are some of the issues that black lives matter are raising. they are real issues, and they need to be dealt with. >> senator bernie sanders of vermont is -- we've talked a lot over the years. i always enjoy talking to you. and i hope you'll come back whenever you can. it's really nice to see you here. >> you keep up the great work, rachel. >> thank you, sir. we'll be right back. stay with us.
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the context here is that i think is unexpectedly relevant to a story like this, is that house speaker john boehner got his stuff moved out of his office today in washington. john boehner is leaving. he is packing up and moving out. he said that he would stay in his job as speaker until the end of october. now we know that he meant not one day longer. he's stepping down as speaker and he's leaving congress and literally they are trucking his stuff out there have. there is one thing, though, that speaker boehner has said he really wants to get done before he leaves. >> i don't want to leave my successor a dirty barn. i want to clean the barn up a little bit before the next person gets there. >> what's left in the barn if the barn is dirty? do you mean like a stable? i don't know. clean the barn. give the presumed next speaker a clean slate. make him not need a shovel on day one. make it easy as possible on presumed next speaker paul ryan.
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well, tonight it appears that john boehner may actually manage some attempt at cleaning the barn. there have apparently been weeks of talks between the white house and congressional leaders that have produced a possible deal on roughly everything. stopping premium hikes for medicare patients, funding the nation's highways, locking in a two-year budget deal. and yes, raising the debt ceiling so the government does not go into default. oh, and by the way, paul ryan is not involved in the negotiations. so if you don't like the deal, don't blame the incoming house speaker paul ryan. heading into a leadership meeting about this deal tonight, speaker boehner was asked by nbc's luke russert whether he was about to clinch this deal he wanted to get done before leaving his post. >> is this what you've been waiting for? you're not a legacy guy, right? is this the last hurrah? >> cleaning up the barn. >> how clean is the barn going to get, mr. speaker? >> how clean is the barn going
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to get? if all goes according to what we are told is the plan, this giant deal will be voted on on wednesday. paul ryan is expected to be elected speaker on thursday. john boehner will thereby offer -- hand over a clean barn and ride off into the sunset. as you heard, senator bernie sanders reacting to the fact this deal may include medicare cuts and social security disability cuts. we heard senator sanders a moment ago saying he at least would be opposed to such a deal. and of course the other big kahuna here is the majority of the house. the house republican caucus. whether or not they're in the middle of switching speakers, how often do things go according to their plans? watch this space.
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♪ and the rockets' red glare ♪ the bombs bursting in air ♪ gave proof through the night ♪ that our flag was still there ♪ ♪ oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave ♪ ♪ o'er the land of the free ♪ and the home of the brave >> do you believe her hitting that high note there? that was candy carson, wife of republican presidential candidate ben carson, and she can sing. boy howdy, she can sing. and she has a husband who right now is enjoying a major surge in the polls in a place where it counts more than anywhere else in the country. i don't know if it is because candy carson is now singing the
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national anthem at his events. i don't know if the two things are related. but for whatever reason ben carson is really hitting the high notes right now in iowa. in the latest monmouth university poll, which is just out today, ben carson has now opened up a double-digit lead over the guy who was starting to look like the permanent presidential front-runner for the republicans in every state in the country, including iowa. he's up double digits over donald trump. 32%% of likely republican caucusgoers saying they support ben carson for president. while donald trump is way back in second place at 18%. ben carson and donald trump were tied in that same poll back in august. now dr. carson has a 14-point lead. dr. carson's support has gone up among all ideological groups in iowa. but he has really stolen the vote away from donald trump. essentially among a couple of key voting groups there. ben carson now leads donald trump among non-evangelical voters by a nine-point margin. in august donald trump had a
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six-point lead among those same voters. ben carson is also now leading donald trump among men in iowa. he now leads donald trump among men by 11 points, which erases a ten-point lead that donald trump had among those same voters back in august. this new monmouth poll overall, this is the fourth poll in a row now that has ben carson leading in iowa. what is behind this shift? should we have seen it coming? and can we tell anything from the character of that lead right now that tells us whether or not it's going to last? joining us now is patrick murray. he's director of the monmouth university polling institute. mr. murray, thank you for being here. >> my pleasure, rachel. >> was this foretellable? were there signs of softness in donald trump's earlier polling that should have alerted us to the fact that somebody else is poised to take his lead? >> yes. absolutely. and this goes back months and months and months. i spent some time out in iowa specifically talking to iowa voters. and every donald trump voter i met said i might consider some
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other candidates including ben carson. ben carson voters said no, i would not consider voting for donald trump. there is a difference in the different type of voters, even though they were both going for outsider 0s and they wanted an outside candidate, they didn't want an establishment candidate. the carson voters are -- and particularly in a place like iowa, this is why i think it should have been predictable in iowa, is there's this thing out there in the hawkeye state called iowa nice, which is that's ben carson. he's iowa nice. donald trump isn't. and i think there was a natural ceiling on donald trump's support. he could never go above 30%. even among the angriest voters out there in the republican party. and there was a lot of real affection for ben carson and his personal story. that's what i kept hearing over and over again. it's his personal story, it's his personal story. i like where he stands on the issues. and i don't think he hurt himself with his "meet the press" interview in talking about abortion in the way he did. because it resonated with those evangelical voters out there.
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but the other part of it, or the flip side of it was his own personal bearing and character. >> the way that this was i think being described broadly when people saw donald trump's lead slip and saw ben carson starting to move up, first it was just one poll. now it's been four in a row. i think the sort of bottom line that everybody assumed on this was oh, this must be religious voters, this must be a lead that is entirely driven, it must be religious voters like ben carson, donald trump doesn't seem religious enough, and therefore he can't win in iowa. that's not actually what's going on. >> that is not what's going on. because if that were true donald trump would have been losing those voters to a lot of other people. you would have seen ted cruz doing even better. ted cruz is doing well with that 10%. but you would see him doing better, you'd see mike huckabee doing better. you'd see rick santorum doing better. that's not what's going on here. because ben carson is getting evangelical voters and non-evangelical voters. i mean, he's opened up leads among both groups. and it's because of the sense that these voters want an outsider. but the more they look at donald trump the more they say not quite the kind of presidential bearing that we want.
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where as ben carson does. >> in terms of that bearing issue and in terms of what iowa voters like about ben carson, i have to ask you heading into this wednesday debate we're about to have, ben carson at the previous republican debates has been a flat line. he hasn't said anything that has resonated beyond that evening at all. i think the most memorable thing that has happened for him at the debates was when bad lip reading made it seem like he was creating a puzzle at his podium. he hasn't registered. he hasn't hurt himself but hasn't done badly. is that not a weakness for a candidate who is liked in the way he is liked by the voter who's say they want him? >> it's not a weakness in a field that spills over the stage where you can't fit all the candidates up on the stage. you can be in the lead with 30% by a lot whereas in another race years gone by, there would be three or four candidates. so far 30% wouldn't be enough.
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but it would in a place like iowa to some extent it works in new hampshire in terms of the personal connection but it wasn't work when you get to the big media states. super tuesday, it doesn't work, as well. this is why he's doing well in iowa. not sure that's going to carry over into he's other states. >> patrick murray, an expert at talking about polling in a way that makes sense in human terms. thank you for being here. >> my pleasure. >> much more ahead tonight. stay with us. sure, tv has evolved over the years.
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well ben carson is suddenly doing in the iowa polls. four straight polls now in which he is beating donald trump in iowa. in all fairness to mr. trump, i guess, which even feels like a weird idea, there is one more piece of polling that's making the rounds today which i think is absolutely stunning and important to know about. it's from the a.p. about who republicans think would be their single best candidate in a general election. so not who do you like but who do you think republicans ought to nominate if they want to win in november. according to this new a.p. poll, the percentage of republican voters who say that you donald trump would be their party's best candidate in the general election is 71%. regardless of whether or not they are supporting him, 71% of republicans think that donald trump is the best we've got. there's nobody better to represent the republican party and to try to win the white house than trump. 71%. even when donald trump was doing very well early in this race, the people who said they wanted
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to vote for him didn't always say they thought he would get the nomination. and they didn't necessarily think he would win if he did get the nomination. they just liked him anyway. now some transformation has happened and republicans, whether they support donald trump or not, seem to think that he really is their best chance of winning the general election next november. literally that's the republican mindset right now. i'm not sure whether or not i really like trump but i might vote for him because it's really important to me that the republicans win the white house in 2016. and he's our best bet. really? just a stunning piece of polling and a stunning window into the republican mind right now. we'll be right back. the cold truth is...
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ideas are frightening because they threaten what is known. they are the natural born enemy of the way things are. yes, ideas are scary, and messy and fragile. but under the proper care, they become something beautiful. there has been a resolution at long last in the federal corruption case that has been
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hanging around the campaign of republican presidential candidate rand paul. rand paul's former campaign manager, the guy who has been lately running his presidential super pac was one of three people indicted by the federal government earlier this year on charges related to the ron paul presidential campaign in iowa in 2012. the charges followed allegations that rand paul's father's presidential campaign, the ron paul campaign in 2012, basically paid a bribe for an endorsement in the iowa caucuses last time around. the results of that federal criminal trial turns out to be kind of a bad news, good news thing for both rand paul and his dad. the bad news is about the guilty verdict. ron paul's former deputy campaign manager, a man named dimitri casari was convicted of causing a false record. basically because they didn't report the bribe money for that state senator that they bribed as a campaign expense on government forms, he was found guilty of that one charge.
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faces up to five years in prison on that charge. that ron paul deputy campaign manager convicted on that crime in federal court, awaiting sentencing. there was a hung jury on the other counts against him. the good news for the ron paul/rand paul world of politics is that the other former ron paul, former rand paul campaign staffer, jesse benton, who again had been running rand paul's presidential super pac this year, jesse benson was found not guilty in fer court on the charges against him of lying to the fbi while they investigated that case. when jesse benton was indicted it was a shock to the rand paul for president campaign. again, he was running rand paul's super pac at the time. this federal trial has been under way in iowa as rand paul tries to campaign for votes in iowa but, again, jesse benton, one of rand paul's key aides, has now been acquitted of all wrongdoing by a federal jury in iowa. found not guilty in charges
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related to that scheme to bribe an iowa state senator for his endorsement back in 2012. and now that he's been found not guilty, he's now already back in charge running the america's liberty super pac trying to get rand paul elected president. we will see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> question quick maybe you can help me with. why is rand paul still run for president? >> i imagine it's more fun than holding on to his doomed senate seat in kentucky. >> there's that. with joe biden out, hillary clinton and bernie sanders have each noticed that there is only within person standing between each of them and the democratic presidential nomination. and donald trump suddenly refuses to believe the polls. the polls showing him running behind ben carson. >> the doctor is dominating the donald in the latest iowa polls. >> i don't believe i did fall behind. >> the trump campaign is never going to admit that there's anything wrong.