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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  August 7, 2012 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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because it's the most likely place where they might be able to find organics in what looked like had been an instant streambed that had an environment conducive to life. >> derrick pitts, thank you for joining me on "the ed show." >> thank you. and my best wishes for your wife's recovery. >> thank you so much, sir. i appreciate that. thank you so much, sir. that's "the ed show." i'm ed schultz. the "rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> welcome back, my friend. >> good to be back. thank you for your kind and wonderful communication. i appreciate it so much. so does wendy obviously. >> while you guys are in new york and back home, our company is you and your are our company. we're all together. >> i appreciate that very much. >> thanks to you for staying with us for the next hour. for the second time in just over two weeks, there has been a mass shooting with multiple casualties in an american town. two weeks ago, it was in aurora, colorado, of course. 12 people killed there, almost 60 people wounded there, and an apparently random mass shooting at a movie theater in the middle
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of the night. yesterday, yesterday morning, another mass shooting. this time in oak creek, wisconsin. which is a suburb of milwaukee. but this time, because of the location of the shooting, because of who was killed, and frankly, because of what is known so far about the apparent gunman who was killed in the assault, we are now grappling with the possibility that the targeting here was not random. it was deliberate. in wisconsin, six people were murdered plus the gunman himself being killed. it happened at about 10:15 yesterday morning. a man entered the sikh temple in oak creek, wisconsin. there were about three dozen people there. services were not scheduled to start for another hour. eyewitnesses say the stranger started shooting within moments of arriving. first at a group of priests who had gathered in the lobby. police say the shooter was armed with a nine millimeter hand gun and multiple rounds of ammunition. by 10:25 a.m., about ten minutes into the assault, the first
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calls to 911 started pouring in. at first, dispatchers said there was a lot of noise. the calls coming in were garbled. police didn't know how serious the situation was. they just knew the calls were coming in. nevertheless, police were on the scene three minutes later, three minutes after the calls came in. brian murphy was one of the first police officers to arrive on the scene. a more than 20-year police veteran, he was the emergency management liaison for oak creek. when he arrived at the temple, he tended to a person he found in the parking lot who had been wounded. while he was tending to that person, that's when the gunman shot lieutenant murphy, too. he was hiding in an ambush nearby. he shot the lieutenant eight times at close range. his bullet-proof vest may have saved his life, but he was reportedly shot in the neck and cheek as well as the bullets that hit his chest. officers say after he was shot and they rushed to tend to him,
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lieutenant murphy waved them off and sent the other officers and responders not to help him but to help the other victims on the scene. police officers ultimately found the shooter in the parking lot. they ordered him to drop his gun. he did not. high fired back at the other police officers, hitting at least one police car. officers returned fire and the shooter was killed. police say they believe the shooter in this incident acted alone. he is a 40-year-old male with known neonazi ties. he's reported to have played in a number of lousy white supremacist punk bands. he once served in the army in the 1990s. he was not a combat vet. he was discharged with reduced rank for bad behavior. of the six people that he reportedly killed, five were men, one was a woman. they ranged in age from 39 years old to 84 years old. four of the bodies were found inside the sikh temple. another two were found in the parking lot where the gunman himself was shot down.
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three additional people were wounded, including lieutenant murphy. he had surgery and is expected to recover, although he's still in critical condition. now, the fbi, we're told, is taking the lead on the investigation into this incident. it's being described by law enforcement sources as an incident of domestic terrorism. president obama today ordered all flags in the united states to fly at half staff. >> all of us are heartbroken by what's happened, and i offered the thoughts and prayers not only of myself and michelle but also of the country as a whole. i think all of us recognize that these kinds of terrible tragic events are happening with too much regularity. for us not to do some soul searching and to examine additional ways that we can reduce violence. if it turns out, as some early reports indicate, it may have been motivated in some way by
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the ethnicity of those who were attending the temple, i think the american people immediately recoil against those kinds of attitudes. and i think it will be very important for us to reaffirm once again that in this country, regardless of what we look like, where we come from, who we worship, we are all one people, and we look after one another and we respect one another. >> president obama speaking about the tragic shooting at the sikh temple yesterday in oak creek, wisconsin. as the president said, we do not yet know more about the shooter's motivation. but we have seen a huge outpouring of support in particular from various religious communities. the wisconsin counsel of churches is calling for a day of prayer at their services this sunday. the director of the action center for reform judaism and the head of a catholic university issued statements expressing condolences and
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support, and last night, hundreds of people attended a vigil for the victims in milwaukee. this man was the president of the sikh temple in oak creek. he was one of the six people killed in the mass shooting yesterday morning. joining us now is his son. thank you for joining us at this difficult time for you and your family. i'm so sorry for your loss. >> thank you so much for having me here. >> how would you say the sikh community in oak creek and oak creek in general, your community, is coping with what happened at the temple? how have you spent your day and how are people treating one another? >> i think it's a day for heroes because the moral of the story is uncover, and the more i walk around and i see people, a lot of people did a lot of good work that day. in order to, i guess, bring the situation to a halt and kind of safe haven the people inside,
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including my mother, who every minute now i go home and try to thank her and love on her and comfort her. so i think we're coping well because we're all looking towards the positive in the situation. >> we're trying to piece together what might have been motivation for the shooter in this utterly senseless act. there's been more biographical information released about the shooter over the course of today. do you know if the temple or the sikh community in wisconsin has ever faced any threats in the past? have there ever been any incidents of violence or hostility that could be linked to what happened here? >> i think there's a lot of soft attacks that happen on immigrants. by soft, i mean things that go unnoticed or you get a broken window or somebody slashes your tires. i was in georgia and somebody hit me from behind and then wrapped around me and gave me the middle finger and told me to get out of the country and this
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was post 9/11. in the soft attacks, i thought it's just happening to me once in a while. we had a congregation at our house of well over 200 people that came to pay their respects to my father. the more stories i would hear from them of these soft attacks where people thought, it's not something we should tell people, it's not something we should just -- you know, push it out there, they wouldn't even tell their friends and family. i didn't tell mine until they started telling their stories. i started thinking to myself, oh, my god, how many soft attacks are happening out there? this is obviously like critical attack. but what is happening out there right now? what's the pulse of our nation? how is immigration and immigrants, how are they doing right now? because 99% of us are immigrants on this -- on this land. and we all have to look at each other and figure out each other's culture and background. >> in terms of trying to remedy that situation and that epiphany you have had in the past 24 hours, do you feel like there's
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leadership or policy actions or anything else you could look -- you're looking to the country for, looking to wisconsin for in terms of trying to remedy that? is there more coming out about that issue you want to see from your own community? what do you want to happen? >> first and foremost, we had a great discussion with the leadership here in terms of governmental leadership. but i absolutely at this point look to the people. the government's always going to give you the missing gap information. they're going to actually leave a bunch of information out like such as the soft attacks or anything you give them. the people know the pulse of their own community. the people know the pulse of their neighborhoods. if your neighbor is new, if your neighbor doesn't look like you, approach that person, create a conversation, create a dialogue. if you don't look like other people in your area, if you are a chinese or of immigration descent, go out and contact
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people in the community and make sure they know you and make sure they understand you. and my father, i thought, i mean, he did a tremendous job of doing that in milwaukee, whether it be the latino community, the african-american community, every alderman knew him by first name, and it was amazing how much he did. and i'm not saying that all that stuff is for naught. i think it's why we're having such an outpouring of support. it's because he did those things and he planted those seeds, in a form of protection for us when he built this temple. >> hearing that you are receiving that support now is some comfort in this horrible aftermath, but again, we're so sorry for what you have been through, and thank you for taking the time to talk to us tonight. i really appreciate it. >> thank you so much, rachel. >> good luck. thank you. >> god bless. >> we'll be back with much more news. stay with us. the blissful pause just before that rich sweetness touches your lips. the delightful discovery,
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lots more going on in the news tonight, including senate
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majority leader harry reid acting out in a way that is uncharacteristic for him and that seems to have unnerved the entire republican party. that's coming up. stay with us.
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so i think we did something on the show recently that had unintended consequences. i'm not sure 100% we're to blame, but we might be. we did a segment about congressional republicans and their single-minded focus on all things jobs, jobs, jobs, by which i mean abortion. that particular day, their abortion obsession was particularly remarkable because republicans were holding up the flood insurance bill by attaching an abortion amendment
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to it. they were holding up a bipartisan flood insurance bill at a time when the american southeast was being flooded by tropical storm debby. it turns out this act to block the flood bill, it was too much for democratic senate majority leader harry reid. he just lost it. you want to see? ready for some emotional catharsis, you ready to feel the rage, america? >> really? on flood insurance. i'm not going to put up with that on the flood insurance. i can be condemned by outside sources, my friends can say let them have a vote on it. there will not be a vote on that on flood insurance. after all the work that has been put in this bill, this is ridiculous. >> see, when you read the transcript, when you look at the words in print, you can tell he is mad. it just doesn't sound very mad when it comes out of harry reid's mouth. so that day in june, to convey the fact he really was mad, on
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this show, we ran harry reid's words through a rage producing device by the name of kent jones. so it's harry's words but kent's rage. >> i'm not going to put up with that on flood insurance. i can be condemned by outside forces. my friends can say, let them have a vote on it. there will not be a vote on that in flood insurance! >> all right. here's the problem. ever since we did that segment, essentially sending up harry reid for being insufficiently demonstrative about his rage, ever since then, harry reid has been transformed into a one-man rage bot. i don't know if it was us, but something seems to have activated a major case of reid rage. the first sign after we did that segment was what happened when he found out the uniforms for u.s. olympians had been made in china. >> i am so upset that i think the olympic committee should be
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ashamed of themselves. i think they should be embarrassed. i think they should take all of the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start over again. >> suddenly, harry reid who is search an incredibly mild mannered person, even when he's saying angry things, he doesn't sound angry, but suddenly, he sounds angry. then last week, more. senator reid let this fly in the middle of the floor on a debate on taxes. >> we haven't done the appropriation bill. do you think 85 filibusters had a thing to do with that? 85. we haven't done a budget. that is poppycock. >> senate majority leader harry reid using sarcasm in language and tone and using poppycock in a sentence, a very angry sentence, then more in senator reid called one of the members
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of the nuclear regulatory commission one of the most incompetent people i have ever dealt with, a liar, a first class rat, a tool of the nuclear industry, and an expletive stirrer. wow. reid rage activated. and that was apparently still just a warm-up act because last week, the new 100% more rage harry reid really went off the rails. the big story in the presidential campaign right now is of course mitt romney's tax returns and why nobody is allowed to see them except for john mccain. on tuesday of last week, harry reid decided to offer his own theory that the reason his tax returns are kept under lock and key is because mr. romney did not pay any taxes over a ten-year stretch. none at all. senator reid offered no evidence for that claim whatsoever. other than saying a bain investor told him so over the phone. now who knows, maybe harry reid
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is right. but he has not produced any evidence. it's just a wild allegation. it is hearsay. and yet, the next day, the newly activated harry reid man of rage not only didn't dial it back. he cranked it up to 11. saying when he was pressed for evidence to back up his claim, quote, i don't think the burden should be on me. the burden should be on him. he's the one i alleged has not paid any taxes. he truly said that. the burden is on mitt romney, not because it's traditional for presidential candidates to release their tax returns, not because president obama has released his, not because other republicans are calling on him to release his tax returns. not because he mitt romney has attacked his opponent in the past for not releasing their tax returns. harry reid said the burden is on mitt romney because he's the one i have alleged has not paid any taxes. and then the next day, he dug in further. he took his idea for a guilty
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until proven innocent system along with his new prop pencety for both anger and hearsay right to the senate floor. >> the word's out he hasn't paid any taxes for ten years. let him prove that he has paid taxes because he hasn't. >> yes, senator reid, the word is in fact out that mitt romney has not paid taxes for ten years. if by "the word" you mean your own accusation. that day, senator reid put out a press release on the subject saying, quote, it's clear romney is hiding something and the american people deserve to know what it is. he followed that up the next day with another press release on the occasion of mitt romney heading to harry reid's home state in nevada to campaign, saying he couldn't be confirmed as a cabinet secretary let alone anything higher without releasing more of the taxes. people are understandably being judgmental about raging harry's tactics here. but as a matter of form, it is also worth noting that nobody has disproven him.
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he may be wildly irresponsible here, but no one can say whether what he is saying is true or not. you may not like that he's saying it, but you can't say whether it's true or false. not unless you're john mccain or mitt romney. not even ranks priebus who has healthy rage issues of his own. >> as far as harry reid is concerned, listen, you might want to go down that road. i'm not going to respond to a dirty liar. >> you think harry reid is a dirty liar? >> i just said it. >> ranks priebus for all his righteous indignation has offered no proof that harry reid is a liar, clean, dirty, or otherwise. neither for that matter has politifact which says harry reid is lying. but they produce zero evidence to support their claim that harry reid is lying. but you know, that's politifact and par for the course which is why it's okay to not take them seriously on anything ever.
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it's also worth noting how senator harry reid continues to comport himself on the issue. taking criticism from left, right, and center, and stupid for the way he has been pursuing this allegation. he gets trashed on the sunday shows, called a dirty liar, and how does he respond? he digs in deeper, telling reporters today, quote, the whole controversy would end very quickly if he would just release his income tax returns just like everybody else who runs for president. so, it has felt like an emotional outburst from a guy who had pent up emotions ready to burst out, but whether or not it seems to be uncharacteristically emotional from harry reid, it does not seem to be a stunt. even though the way he has gone about it has been kind of embarrassing, harry reid is not embarrassed by this. he's not backing down, he didn't do it accidentally and he's not being intimidated into not pursuing it. now that it's out, it's not going back in.
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whether or not you like him when he's angry.
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small government looks great on a bumper sticker.
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in may of last year, our awesome producer trisha mckinney was selected via a nasa twitter contest to get to go witness the launch of a space shuttle in person. trisha's reaction to that incredible event was without question the best new thing in the world that day.
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that's trisha on the right in the little box down there. and she's so genuinely and sincerely and uncynically overwhelmed by what she is seeing happening. by what nasa is achieving on behalf of human kind that honestly, i could watch her watch that all day long. tonight, a different moment that happened in the midst of a whole new outburst of pride and joy in spaceville. you have seen how happy everyone at nasa was to have landed the curiosity on mars. you have seen how happy everybody was, but you have not seen this particular part of it that is the best new thing in the world today. that's coming up. [ male announcer ] count the number of buttons
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today's august 6th, the first monday in august, which means that this is supposed to be a totally dead time in politics, and specifically in the presidential campaign. common wisdom says no one cares about politics or the presidential campaign until a month from now. not the first monday in august but the first monday in september. labor day is when people are supposed to make up their minds and pay attention to the campaign. maybe that used to be true. that is no longer true.
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in the latest polling on the presidential race, whether you like how your candidate is looking, probably the most telling thing about the polls right now is that almost nobody is undecided. there's only a teeny, teeny, teeny portion of the electorate that has yet to make up its mind between president obama and mitt romney. and yes, that teeny, teeny, teeny tiny slice of the population will be fought over like the last piece of kibble at community puppy feeding time, but there's just not much there. there's just not that many people who are likely to vote in november who do not yet know who they are going to vote for. so that turns old ideas about campaigning on their head. by and large, here to the election is not -- no longer about persuading people who don't know how they're going to vote. the campaigns are still trying to persuade people to their side, but mostly they're trying to get people they know are on their side to actually prove it, to register to vote, to get out
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and vote, to do both of those things in a way that makes sure their vote is counted. we're already at that part of the campaign. and it's not -- it's true, not just for the candidates themselves but also for the activist groups and interest groups and funders who are increasingly now doing what the political parties used to do. nobody is waiting until labor day. everybody has hit their stride already. we are in primetime right now. and you see it just in the weekend schedules, even. this past weekend, the koch brothers founded americans for prosperity. they had phone banking sessions and shuttle buses to their anti-health reform rally and screening of an anti-obama movie. the koch brothers have pledged to spend $200 million in this election cycle against president obama. remember, the head of americans for prosperity is a guy named tim phillips. remember him? he is a longtime republican activist.
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the last time we had him on the show, i tried to talk to him about his previous career in republican politics. before he was at americans for prosperity, he was a partner in a pr firm called century strategies along with ralph reed, the right hand of god. century strategies had an instrumental role in one of the more disgusting parts of the jack abramoff corruption scandal. tim phillips and ralph reed working on behalf of jack abramoff got american christians to write letters in support of keeping the made in the usa label on clothes that were being made in the mariana islands, which is a u.s. commonwealth which abramoff lobbied for. how did they get christians to support that? they mailed them material that said the workers were being exposed to the teachings of jesus while they were working there. what they failed to say was they were working in near slave labor conditions with things like forced prostitution and forced
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abortions. he had their big beat obama $200 million this year confab this weekend. also this weekend in arlington, texas, tim phillips' old business partner, ralph reed, he was doing his big beat obama confab. he never got indicted in any of the jack abramoff scandal stuff, but given what he got caught for in that scandal, it is almost impossible to believe that ralph reed got to rejoin polite political society, especially as a super pious guy. it wasn't just the mariana islands thing. his role in the abramoff scandal was as the guy who was willing to cynically use his connections with christian voters and his perceived personal piety as a way to, as he put it, start humping in corporate accounts. the senate investigation into the abramoff scandal, quote, shows that reed who once branded
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gambling a cancer on society, reaped millions of dollars in tribal casino proceeds that were routed to him through nonprofit groups. they paid ralph to whip up grassroots christian opposition to prevent rival tribes from opening casinos. it's interesting, though, that that's from a description of ralph reed's role in the scandal written in the washington post in 2008. that was written back during the last presidential campaign, when john mccain was running against barack obama. the washington post noted at the time in the same article. ralph reed's much publicized role cost him the republican primary for georgia lieutenant governor. now ralph reed is on the sidelines. handicapping mccain's prospects. in 1998, he's humping in corporate accounts. by 2006, the senate is issuing its report on the fact that he was humping in corporate
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accounts. he's getting paid by gambling interests to secretly trick anti-gambling christians into unwittingly helped casinos paying him for the privilege. he tries to run for office that year in 2006. he gets laughed off the ballot because of the scandal. by 2008, by the next presidential race, he is on the sidelines. he's this disgraced figure. but now, by 2012, he's no longer on the sidelines. now, look. there he is. he's back. and as ostentatiously pious as ever. only now the corporate accounts he's humping in are apparently the $10 million checks from some of the country's wealthiest conservatives. $10 million bank roll to presumably convince christians to vote for mitt romney and against barack obama. the same christians he once tricked on behalf of jack abramoff's clients. jack abramoff himself is out of jail. he's marketing himself as a truth teller. he's learned the error of his
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ways. he has a radio show on satellite radio now, but all of the other people who you thought would have been drummed out of public life, not only are they not repentant, they are now in this election in the middle of republican politics. they're in the middle of the presidential race. tim phillips is helping to run a $200 million effort on behalf of the koch brothers. ralph reed is helping as a faith and values guy despite his faith and values con man past. and as all of the outside groups and the campaigns themselves and the political parties turn now to what is going to decide the election, which is whether or not people get registered to vote, whether they turn out to vote on election day, whether their vote is counted, it turns out all of the jack abramoff scandal sleaze balls are in the middle of that, that, that, that, that specifically. when the group alec, the corporate funded secretive network, when they announced
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earlier this year under pressure of a major boycott effort they would stop pushing voter suppression efforts through the states, through the republican state legislatures. the group that said they would take up the mantel after alec dropped it was this group. the national center for public policy research. you may remember them getting famous in the jack abramoff scandal as their role as a pass through for abramoff, for perks he wanted to spreads around on behalf of his corporate lobbying clients. here's how the washington post reported on their involvement in the scandal at the time. as far back as 1996, abramoff was using the national center for public policy research to hide the source of funding for trips and other ventures intended to boost the interests of his lobbying clients. that group still exists. and even though they acknowledged their role in the abramoff scandal at the time, they now get very upset when anyone tries to link them to the scandal. they just published their first
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paper on voting laws. they were going to take up the mantel on why voter id is actually secretly awesome for african-american voters. they say secretly, voter id is great news for black voters. and even though they don't want to be linked to the abramoff scandal anymore, the author of their new paper on voter id happens to be a guy who pled guilty in the jack abramoff scandal. the website talking points memo reported on this last week. the group that does not want to be associated at all with the abramoff scandal, put out their report authored by a man indicted in 2009 on five public corruption charges, charged with exchanging favors for gifts. he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to 36 months of probation. but pay no attention to the jack abramoff scandal. jack abramoff himself at least has the decency to be embarrassed.
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the people who helped him out in his legendary republican corruption and bribery scandal, though, do not have that same decency. nor do we as a society have the decency to remember scandals like this, long enough to shame people like this out of our politics when they try to come back in this lifetime. in the long run, we have to grapple ethically and practically with the fact as a society, ralph reed walks onto a high profile political stage in the year 2012 and people do not laugh and throw proverbial tomatoes. that's about us. and the short run, though, the thing all of these abramoff scandal sleaze balls have in common in addition to being abramoff scandal sleaze balls and they're working hard right now on the practical, it starts early this year election end game of getting one side's voters to the polls and keeping the other side's voters away from the polls. we saw the emergence of hand to hand combat on early voting in ohio. there's an underappreciated role
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on the groups of get out and vote and voter suppression. what will be answered is which side's political professionals, which side's pros are better. which side is better prepared and which side has the more aggressive posture on the thing we used to not do until after labor day but this year we're doing already, which is getting souls to the polls. the shoe leather house by house voter ground game. joining us now is steve kornacki, cohost of the cycle. he's also senior writer for steve, thank you for being here. >> happy to be here. >> does the fact that voters have mostly decided earlier on their preference in the presidential campaign this year, does it mean that it's more of a mobilization battle than a persuasion battle? >> i wouldn't underestimate the persuasion battle.
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they're counting on at the end of the election, whatever swing voters are going to turn against obama because of where the economy is, but the parallel has been drawn to 2004 because it was a turnout election. a lot of people say this was a 2004 election in reverse. reverse the dynamics, what was working in bush's favor is working in obama's favor, what was working in kerry's favor is working in romney's favor. and the liabilities are flipped around, too. there's an extra twist with romney which is he needs the republican base to turn out in big numbers and the republican base is not going to turn out for mitt romney. they're going to turn out against barack obama. so mitt romney himself is not going to inspire these people, but when you talk about ralph reed, for instance, he's going to play a critical role for the republicans in the turnout strategy because he's back organizing and mobilizing christian conservatives. what he did for pat robertson and what he's doing again. there was no group in the republican coalition that was
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more resistance to mitt romney than evangelical christians. he had the nomination locked up and they were still voting for rick santorum in primaries. this is a group that is a huge group, about 44% of the entire republican party, they're very hostile to mitt romney but equally -- much more hostile, i should say, to barack obama. romney himself can't go to the group with much credibility, but a guy like ralph reed, believe it or not, after all you said, still can. >> to see ralph reed and tim phillips and the anti-voting rights people at the same time, to me, it's like the rats who survived the sinking "s.s. abramoff." i can't believe they're in public life at all. but their very survival ought to be seen as their testament to how good they are playing the game. as a liberal, i look at the cretins of the right and think, liberals can't match anything like that in terms of sheer, hard-nosed survival instincts, hard ball politics stuff. am i just being liberal about that? is the left just as good at
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playing the games? >> we're seeing real differences, you know, between the two parties. voter id gets to it, when we talk about the effect that could have this fall. there's sort of -- i don't know the right way to say it, but a tradition in american politics where not everybody is going to vote in every election. both sides look at it and say this is the group we need to gin up turnout among. maybe it would be better if this group didn't turn out in big numbers. there's messaging, tactical strategies, and both sides are equally guilty of that, but it's been taken to a completely different level in the last couple years with the republicans saying, okay, these are the groups we need to vote. these are the groups we don't need voting. now we're going to build laws, we're going to etch into law, you know, provisions that will help our people and hurt their people. that's completely different. that is not an equal opportunity. that's not one side. that's not both sides. that's one side doing it and the other side isn't. and republicans as we're seeing are good at it because they have the network establishes where you have these bogus studies and all of this grassroots
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organization. they are in position to implement the laws in all of the states. that could have a huge impact. >> they have a long history of trying to do that, but it's happening more systematically. steve kornacki, cohost of the cycle, and the owner of the best tie in rockefeller center. >> i rarely am complimented on my wardrobe. >> as a person who never is, take it for what it is. >> if it wasn't surreal enough to be having political focus over the issue of contraception in the 21st century, it's just become all the more surreal. surreal enough to maybe even be funny if we're allowed to have a sense of humor about these things, and i think we are. [ female announcer ] how do you define your moment?
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all right, this is a doozy. did you hear about this? there's an evangelical university in the great state of illinois called wheaton college. when the obama administration unveiled the new insurance regulation that requires health insurance plans to cover birth control, wheaton college said it was outraged, outraged at the idea of having to include emergency contraception in the college's health plans. they said as a college, they believe emergency contraception is morally wrong. they said being forced to include it in the health plans would be a violation of their freedom, it would trample on their rights.
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so the first step for wheaton college before trying to sue the pants off the obama administration for this whole birth control travesty being thrust upon the school, the first step was to apply for a one-year exemption to the new birth control rule. the obama administration was offering an exemption from the requirement to any religiously affiliated institution who objected to the requirement on religious grounds. wheaton went to apply for the exemption. when they went to apply for the exemption, this thing they vigorously and piously oppose because covering emergency contraception was so bad to them, they found they had a problem. they problem, it turns out, is that the health plans at wheaton college already covered emergency contraception. the thing that they couldn't possibly be expected to do, the thing they were going to fight, the thing they claim violated their religious freedom was something they were doing of their own accord.
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"the huffington post" reporting this out, confirming what the spokesman for the school, which we also confirmed today, that despite trying to appear morally outraged, wheaton was already voluntary complying with the emergency contraception coverage requirement when the new rule was announced. which made their objection to that new rule, the one they already complied, rather difficult to sell. so what do you do when you get called out in something like this? do you give up? do you admit the fact you've already been offering birth control in the health plans, and that means, by definition, a rule making you offer birth control doesn't exactly trample on your rights? of course you don't admit that. wheaton, instead, scrambled to get rid of their emergency birth control coverage as quickly as they could, so then they could claim that if they covered emergency birth control, that would trample their rights and destroy america. so wheaton college, having just scrambled to get rid of that birth control coverage, is now asking a federal judge for an emergency ruling, exempting them from the birth control coverage
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they used to provide. saying, "wheaton otherwise faces the imminent prospect of irreparable harm to its religious freedom, its integrity, and its employees' well-being." which was all fine when the college was happily providing birth control coverage, but now they're all threatened because -- did i mention how irreparable the harm is here? obama care! bogeyman! genius.
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best new thing in the wod today. it is related to some exclamations of joy that you may have seen a little of today. >> good. touchdown confirmed. we're safe on mars! [ cheers and applause ]
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>> now we'll see where curiosity will take us. >> that was a control room full of rocket scientists at nasa's jet propulsion lab in pasadena, geeking out over the successful landing of the mars curiosity rover. and it is safe to say that their intense celebration is directly proportional to the aerospace engineering feat that they are celebrating here. the rover is theize of a car. it weighs about a ton, which means it's too big and too heavy to land using the only ways we have successfully ever put anything on mars before. so engineers had to come up with a really novel and sort of crazy plan for how to do this. the rover wouldn't just plummet down to the surface of mars. they came up with a plan in which it would start to plummet to the surface of mars, but then at the last minute, it would essentially stop and dangle from a rocket-powered platform. the rockets would control the
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descent, until the rover touched the ground gently. then, even more crazy, the platform's rockets would fire again after the rover had landed, which would send the rocket part to crash land at a safe distance away from the rover, so it didn't just crash down right on top of it. it may have been crazy, it is a crazy idea, but it could work. and it did work. and right after landing, curiosity sent back its first pictures of the surface of mars. so those were the stakes, right? but i want to get back to the tense moments right before the landing, right before the celebration. but this time, i want you to take a look at one specific guy in the back row. watch. >> good. touchdown confirmed. we're safe on mars! >> so that guy is the one guy in mission control -- look at him, before anybody else. the one guy in mission control who did not wait for the head of the descent team to declare, touchdown confirmed, mission
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accomplished, something that guy heard or saw on his screen made him get all excited, just a few seconds earlier than everybody else in the room. i have to give a hat tip to dan o'meara of "new york" magazine who first pointed this guy out to us today. but dan pointing it out was not enough for us here at the show. we had to figure out who this guy was and what he knows and why he popped off earlier than everybody else did. so a couple of our producers scrutinized the video and the stills of the scene and figured out that he probably works in avionics. and we called nasa and we called around and we were able to get the guy's name, and it's true, he's an avionics system engineer, named jonathan grinblat. that's one mystery solved. we know who he is. but the other mystery is, why did he react first, before everyone else reacted? after a really fun day's effort, we reached mr. grinblat at nasa today and asked him. and he explained it to us. he told us that everybody knew
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that there were several landing criteria, right? d he calls them checkpoints. these landing criteria checkpoints. and everybody knew that if they were met, that meant the landing was successful. he says when he saw the rover's sky crane, the rocket thing that eases the rover on to mars, and then fires itself away so it doesn't crash land on to the rover, when he saw that thing successfully fire and fly away to leave the rover safely on the ground on its own, he said, that was the checkpoint he was waiting for. he knew the landing was successful. he also heard a little animated chatter in his head set from engineers not in that room with him, but in nearby rooms, meaning that the other engineers felt it was a success too. but our guy was apparently too excited to wait to cheer with everybody else. which i totally get. that totally would have been me. so to all of the amazing scientists and engineers at the jet propulsion lab, you have done something wonderful and we salute you.