tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC November 12, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
could go way longer than just this. but that was clir anying. thank you for joining me. that is "all in" for this evening. t"the rachel maddow show" start now. >> good evening, chris. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. presidential debates ton republican side have been kind of a headache for republican party leaders this year. the party tried to take control of the debate process this year, as compared to how it went in 2012, when there was just willy-nilly debates all the time and the party had no say. the party taking control of the process this year has had good points and bad points. one of the bad points, is that it has led the party's own candidates to start attacking the party for how they're handing the debate issue. the candidates have also, of course, feuded this year with the debate moderators. various campaigns have threatened to revolt over the various formats in the debate. the formats that have been agreed to by the republican party and the network. also, there's the matter of who's in them.
from debate to debate to debate, it really has not been clear which candidates would qualify for either the main stage debate or for this weird innovation we've come up with this year, which is the kids' table debate, the so-called undercard debate. from debate to debate to debate, it's never been clear, oftentimes until the very last second, who gets in and who doesn't. but with all of that. with all of the consternation and criticism and ad hoc suspense of this year's debate process, there is one way in which this republican debate season has been a huge, unqualified success. and that is the size of the audience. more people are watching this time around than last time around by a mile. the debate this week on the fox business channel actually had the weakest showing of all the debates so far this year, but it still got 13.5 million viewers. that is still nearly double the audience for the highest-rated primary debate in the whole last election. the least-watched debate this
year is nearly double the most-watched debate from 2012. and the most-watched debate for 2012 was on network tv. it wasn't even on cable, let alone a cable channel that a lot of people don't have. so, to the extent the republicans want attention, to the extent the republicans wants an audience for their presidential candidate, boy, have they got one this time around. and so, obviously, it must be time to change everything. members of the rnc, the national republican party, met yesterday morning in milwaukee after the fox business debate to reportedly discuss changes in the criteria by which candidates will make the debate or not make the debate. and according to the conservative magazine, the "national review," what the rnc is considering doing now, mid-stream in this remarkable and remarkably popular debate season, what they're considering doing is pretty radically changing the cutoff for which candidates get allowed in to the debate.
so far in the last couple of debates, republican candidates have needed an average of at least 2.5% in recent national polls in order to make it on to the main stage. now, according to the "national review," the rnc is having discussions about raising that cutoff from 2.5% to more like 4 or 5%. well, if that higher threshold would have been in place for this week's debate, neither john kasich nor rand paul nor carly fiorina would have made the main stage. even jeb bush -- if jeb bush had been roughly half a point lower in his recent national polling average, under the new cutoff that is reportedly being proposed by the rnc, even jeb bush would have been in danger of getting kicked off the main stage. at a 4% or 5% national polling cutoff, which is reportedly what they are now considering, what the republican party is now pushing for, jeb bush would have been really, really close to being shoved down to the kids' table. except one of the other things the republican party is reportedly considering is getting rid of the kids' table.
so, the next democratic debate is this saturday, in iowa. the next republican debate is not until next month, middle of next month, in nevada. but as yet, we have no idea what the criteria will be for republican candidates being eligible to get into the next debate. if they pick that 4 or 5% cutoff, it's going to be a much smaller stageful of main candidates. the republican party held this closed-door meeting yesterday about making the qualifying criteria that much more strict. so far, they're not saying what, if anything, was agreed to. and so far, we don't know if the campaigns are even going to give the party their blessing to proceed with this new rather draconian plan. so, i mean, with the giant republican candidate field this year, there are, undoubtedly, some unique challenges in terms of how to do this. in terms of how to come up with a reasonable debate format. in terms of how to include everybody and be fair.
it is difficult this year. but it's also important to remember that there's always some drama about who gets into the debates and who doesn't. last night, for example, we showed that incredible footage from 1980. the ronald reagan/george h.w. bush debate in 1980 that was supposed to be just bush and reagan debating each other, but ronald reagan showed up, inexplicably, with four other candidates and tried to cram them on to the stage. there was a big fight about it and there was yelling and there was the angry cutting off of people's microphones and storming off the stage. there's always a fight about debates. there's always somebody. there's always at least one, sometimes two, three, or four candidates who feel wronginglfu seclu excluded from the debate stage. another example, the 2008 debate race. in the 2008 republican primary, the guy who made the biggest public case that he had been wronged, that he had been wrongfully excluded from the debates is a congressman you may not recognize here, but you'll
probably remember his name. his name was duncan hunter. they did let congress manniman hunter into some of the early republican debates in twaegt, but as that primary season ground on and it didn't seem to be picking up any extra support, they started not letting him in, and boy was he mad about that. >> the guy who actually had some points on the scoreboard, that was myself, was not allowed to attend the debates, because some knucklehead, arrogant executive in the corporate media world of abc and fox news and some third or fourth story glass office decided that i was -- my campaign was over and the lights were going to be shut out on my campaign. so, against that backdrop, abc and fox have been asking us when i'm going to quit. so here's my answer. i'm not going to quit. i'm going to continue --
>> right after that, duncan hunter did quit. less than two weeks later. but duncan hunter is now sort of barely remembered as a presidential candidate at all. he's remembered, instead, just as a long-serving member of congress, from 1981 to 2008, there was a republican congressman from california named duncan hunter. the only reason that is ever confusing as history is because now, today, there is also a republican congressman from california named duncan hunter, but he's a totally different person than the first guy. when presidential candidate and longtime congressman duncan hunter finally decided to leave congress in 2008, he bestowed his congressional seat on his own son, to whom he had already given his name. and so now it is duncan hunter jr. who has his dad's old seat in congress. and if duncan hunter jr. is famous for anything, he is famous for this.
>> i know that at least ten isis fighters have been caught coming across the mexican border in texas. there's nobody -- >> how do you know that? >> because i've asked -- because i've asked the border patrol, greta. >> and the border patrol, they just let isis members come across the border? >> no, they caught them at the border. therefore, we know that isis is coming across the border. if they catch five or ten of them, you know there's going to be dozens more that did not get caught. >> my friend, greta van susteren at fox. we really are friends. i'm not just saying that. to her credit in that interview, she's like, wait, wait, wait, wait, what did you just said? like, zipping right by there. ten isis fighters have been captured on the u.s. border? seriously? we've got ten isis guys in custody? what are you talking about? this is kind of an amazing story, right? it's kind of a big deal! where are we holding them? are they being interrogated? will there be a statement from president obama? will there be a statement from, you know, baghdadi, the guy who runs isis?
i mean, ten isis fighters! captured on u.s. soil?! now in american custody, alive, here? no! ha-ha, of course not! think of how big a deal that would be if it were true. the department of homeland security came out immediately and said, yeah, right. ixnay on the duncan hunter-ey. what he's talking about is totally not true. but it was interesting. duncan hunter, even after the department of homeland security came out and said, uh-uh, duncan hunter insisted that it was true. and the reason he said it was true and he knew it was true is because he said he had secret information. he had secret sources that he could not reveal, who told him it was true. now, at the time when this happened, we contacted congressman hunter's office. and they refused to back down
off this unbelievable claim. they said they heard this earth-shattering information from a high-level source, someone who we have come to know and trust over the years. we pushed a little further, asked for any documentation they might have to support this claim, any evidence they might be able to show us, so at least we could follow up on this massive national security story. in response, they sent us a link to this adorable and misspelled blog post on a right-wing website, which also cited unnamed sources as their definitive proof that all these isis fighters had been arrested crossing the u.s./mexico border. after we pestered duncan hunter's office about it a little bit further, they blew us off saying that duncan hunter would be releasing additional information about this matter soon, very soon, and that information would prove his point beyond a reasonable doubt. that was a little bit more than a year now, that that has happened. a year ago. there are no isis fighters in custody. the border patrol has not been arresting isis fighters coming
across the border from mexico. it never happened. congressman duncan hunter never apologized. at one point, he even started giving local media interviews to southern california tv stations, denouncing the department of homeland security for denying his story! that was last year. serving member of the u.s. house, duncan hunter. also last year, there was the joni ernst one. during her campaign for a u.s. senate seat in iowa. republican candidate joni ernst insisted that she, too, had access to secret information which proved something that you might not otherwise believe. she was speaking with the "des moines register" editorial board. >> i do have reason to believe that there were weapons of mass destruction in iraq. that was the intelligence that was operated on. i was not at a level to question that. so -- >> are you -- >> again -- i have reason to
believe there was weapons of mass destruction in iraq. >> what is that reason? >> i will tell you, my husband served in saudi arabia, on central command, sergeant major for a year. and that's a hot-button topic in that area. >> hot-button, to say the least. as a candidate for the united states senate last year, joni ernst insisted that despite what you might have heard, despite what had been pretty thoroughly investigated, her inside access to secret intelligence proved to her that there were weapons of mass destruction in iraq. this "i have secret information" thing is one of the weirder ways to try to get away with a lie as a politician. but it does happen every now and again. and interestingly, it doesn't seem to hurt these guys when they do it. i mean, duncan hunter is still comfortable ensconced in his dad's seat in congress. joni ernst went on to win the election to the united states
senate and they put her on the armed services committee and the homeland security committee where all her secret personal intelligence is presumably being put to good use. the question is whether the i have access to secret intelligence lie works not just at a congressional level and not just at a u.s. senate level, but whether it works also at the presidential level. because now we are having a very, very over-the-top test of that in this area's presidential race. and that's next. (vo) around age 7, the glucose metabolism in a dog's brain begins to change. (ray) i'd like to see her go back to her more you know social side. she literally started changing. it was shocking. she's much more aware. (jan) she loves the food. (ray) the difference has been incredible. she wants to learn things. (vo) purina pro plan bright mind promotes alertness and mental sharpness in dogs 7 and older. purina pro plan. nutrition that performs.
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so the presidential race has just been ever so slightly up ended by one leading candidate claiming to have personal secret information that nobody else has about a very big national security issue. and in real life, the top military adviser to the secretary of defense, a three-star general, was just suddenly and mysteriously fired the tonight in washington and nobody saw it coming before it happened. we've got both of those stories, straight ahead.
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guy from the palestinian authority, they were kind of college roommates. and ben carson didn't just accidentally blurt this out once while playing world leaders names refrigerator poetry on fox. he said it at least five times. >> in the class of 1968 at patrice la bumba university in moscow, mahmoud abbas was one of the members of that class and so was khomeini, ali khomeini. they were classmates. and that's when they first established relationships with a young vladimir putin. >> vladimir putin, mahmoud abbas from the palestinian authority, the supreme leader of iran, they were basically frat brothers. all at college together in moscow at the same time, which is either patrice la mumba university or patrice la bumba university, depending on which time he was talking about it. really, ben carson? no. there's no evidence outside of ben carson that that is true. but when he kept saying it over and over again, people started
to wonder where he got the information from. and ben carson finally got pinned down on the matter by the christian broadcasting network. he told cbn that he had some slam-the-door-shut proof for them to shut down all follow-up inquir inquiries. he told cbn, dr. carson would not disclose his sources, but told cbn he learned about the ties between leaders from advisers. he said the connection helps to explain what is currently happening around the world. he told cbn, "that's what i call wisdom." dr. carson also went on after refusing to name his sources to assure cbn that there was more secret intelligence where this came from. "there's a lot more information that i've gotten that is probably not appropriate for revelation." that was last month. now, in this week's debate, ben carson has done it again. his answer to a fairly open-ended question on national security got a bunch of attention for being a little
hard-to-follow, a little vague. but there was one part of that answer which was very, very specific, and has now led to further revelations of ben carson's secret and mysterious sources of information. >> do you support the president's decision to now put 50 special ops forces in syria and leave 10,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan. >> well, putting the special ops people in there is better than not having them there. because they -- that's why they're called special ops. they're actually able to guide some of the other things that we're doing there. and what we have to recognize is that putin is trying to really spread his influence throughout the middle east. this is going to be his base. and we have to oppose him there, in an effective way. we also must recognize that it's a very complex place. you know, the chinese are there, as well as the russians.
>> so dr. carson has a softspoken, sort of soft riffic, monotone way of speaking which sometimes makes it hard to follow what he's saying. but the part about the chinese being in syria. "we must recognize it's a very complex place, the chinese are there as well as the russians." the chinese are in syria? what is that about? >> some questions have been raised about your suggestion last night that china is involved in syria. can you clarify that? >> well, china has been trying to extend its influence, not only throughout the middle east, but throughout africa and in several locations. and their interests extends into that region as well. you know, i have to refer you to some other people to get you the actual data, but they've shown it to me. >> they have shown it to you. who is "they"?
dr. carson did make his top staffer available to msnbc to explain the "they." >> you said -- not on the ground in syria. i understand what you're saying, with the brevity of time, but dr. carson said that the chinese were -- are in syria, which is not accurate. >> well, tammra, from your perspective and what most people know, maybe that is inaccurate, but from my intelligence and what dr. carson's been told by people on the ground involved in that area of the world, it has been told to him many times over and over that the chinese are there. but as far as our intelligence and the briefings that dr. carson's been in, and i've certainly been in with him, he's certainly been told that the chinese are there. >> "as far as our intelligence." republican presidential front-runner ben carson and his campaign say that the source of his claim that the chinese are operating militarily in syria is dr. ben carson's own secret intelligence that he cannot
divulge, but that he swears is true. and because he is the republican presidential front-runner right now, or at least he shares that title with donald trump, the issue of ben carson's secret intelligence ended up getting raised today with the actual national security adviser to the united states in the actual white house. >> ben carson in the debate regarding syria says that there's evidence that the chinese are involved in syria. i was wondering if that's true. >> what did he mean by "involved"? >> well, a little unclear, but it was in the context of the russians, the russians and the chinese -- >> i can't -- i really can't speak to what he was referring to, but, you know, unless you're talking about having a diplomatic presence, i'm not sure what he was referring to. >> -- military involvement --? >> i have not seen any evidence of chinese military involvement in syria. >> slightest smile there.
i mean, that said, why would the white house and president obama and president obama's national security adviser, susan rice, have access to the kind of high-level secret on the ground intelligence that ben carson has access to? and -- so, on the one level, this is kind of funny. i mean, this sort of thing may happen on both sides of the aisle. i only know of it happening recently on the republican side of the aisle, where in the wake of the bush/cheney administration, foreign policy chops have not been highly developed. it's not been an in-demand part of the republican party's wheelhouse. but getting away with this stuff and it not hurting you in congress, duncan hunter. and it not hurting you in the senate, joni ernst. and it maybe not hurting your presidential campaign, ben carson, weh'll see, on one leve, that is hilarious. on another level, it is unnerving, to hear from somebody who might be the republican party's nominee for president of the united states, at a time where our country is involved in a whole lot of war.
as the war in afghanistan steams into its 15th year now, today president obama bestowed the medal of honor on the tenth living recipient of that award who earned the medal while fighting the long, long u.s. war in afghanistan. the u.s. military is also carrying out not just air strikes, but also certain levels of ground combat, both in iraq and in syria, in a not imaginary fight against isis, that is being waged very far away from duncan hunter's district or the u.s./mexico border. today, it was front page news across the country, when kurdish fighters in iraq launched one of the biggest military operations yet against isis. this is in northern iraq. it's long a key contested supply line route between the city of mosul and the syrian border. and as the white house continues to expand the u.s. military involvement in iraq and syria and studiously avoids taking any kind of debate to avoid that military mission, now there's
surprise news tonight that a very senior u.s. military officer operating at the highest level of policy making on defense matters has mysteriously been removed from his post. this is a three-star general. he's the top military assistant to the u.s. defense secretary, ash carter, and he was removed from that position by the defense secretary after unspecified allegations of misconduct. defense secretary ash carter says he has referred the matter to the inspector general of the defense department. the general is not being fired from the army, but he is being removed fl this high-ranking position as the defense secretary's top military adviser. and although there have been scattered hearsay reports about what that might be about, at least at this point in unofficial terms, we have no idea. and we are left with this gaping and sort of unnerving chasm between the level of seriousness in our politics about national security matters and the serious of the national security challenges that our country is waging in day-to-day sort of way. joining us now is courtney kube,
nbc news national security adviser. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> there's this breaking news out of the pentagon about the defense secretary and the firing of his senior military assistant, who's a lieutenant general. do we know yet what happened there? >> so far, a senior defense official tells us that there were some allegations of some sort of inappropriate personal relationship engaged in by lieutenant general ron lewis. general lewis is well-known around the pentagon. he actually was the head of army public affairs until just earlier this year. so the pentagon press corps had a lot of interaction with him. we know him very well. he's also known -- he's very well respected. he skyrocketed up from a colonel in '06 to a three-star in literally a matter of months, in just over a year. >> wow. >> yeah. and of course, there's no set amount of time that an officer would go, you know, is promoted through the ranks, but to go from a colonel to a three-star
in such a short amount of time is remarkable. he's very well respected. i can tell you as someone who's known him for some time, it's very surprising news to hear this. and as you mentioned, you know, he's still going to be working in the pentagon. he's been assigned to the vice chief of staff of the army, general allen, why the department of defense inspector a general conducts an investigation to look into these allegations. it all just came to light in the last 48 hours. secretary carter just found out about it tuesday night. >> that was going to be my follow-up question to you. this isn't something that has been brewing for a while about which there were sort of rumors and we were expecting something to happen. this really did just come up very quickly out of nowhere? >> no. there are rampant rumors throughout the pentagon about all things. and i can tell you, as a member of the pentagon press corps, we were very surprised to hear this this evening. >> courtney, on the situation in northern iraq right now, the area around mt. sinjar is the site of renewed and as far as we can tell, very large-scale
fighting between kurdish fighters and isis. how big of an engagement is that and do we expect any involvement there? >> the u.s. has already been involved. the whole operation began with u.s. coalition primarily u.s. air strikes that really pounded in and around sinjar overnight, as about 7,500 kurdish special forces, peshmerga, and some fighters descended on the town to try to take it back. it's all about this critical supply route that flows between raqqa in syria and into mosul. sinjar literally lies right in between those two cities. and isis is able to bring weapons, fighters, money, oil, illicit oil. they were able to bring it back and forth, and use sinjar as this hub or this stopping point in between. so, of course, it's within the coalition and the iraqi security forces, the peshmerga, the kurds, especially, it's within their best interests to take
back this city. s sinjar came to light about a year ago, where there was this huge crisis, where there were thousands who had been chased up the mountains by isis and it's what got the u.s. involved in air strikes there in iraq. >> courtney kube, thank you for helping us understand that. thank you. >> thank you. >> it is remarkable when you contrast the level of complexity and our sort of expectations of the quality of the discourse around national security and our politics. and the national security challenges that we've got. the complexity, the rapidity with which they arrive, their unpredictable nature. if there could be a better balance between what we're facing and what we're facing, we would be much better off as a country. we have a guest tonight that is really, truly plucked from the headlines. he did not set out to become a face of the interwebs right now, but there she is. she'll tell us her story here live tonight. sort of cannot wait for this. please stay with us. no matter how fast
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a quick update tonight on the last governor's race that will take place in the country this year. it's the runoff election for the governor's race next weekend in louisiana. two new polls out today show republican senator david vitter way behind in that race. one of the polls is by a firm called market research. we couldn't validate their methodology. they show david vitter trailing by 13 points pb for what that's worth. but there's another poll out by
the university of new orleans, showing their bottom-line result is that david vitter is trailing john bel edwards by 22 points. this is a red state, but the republican candidate's behind by 22 points. and look at this. look at his numbers specifically with african-american voters in louisiana. david vitter is behind among black voters in his state 90-5. that is not a typo. and that comes as david vitter has been making an appeal to black voters in his state. he made a stop yesterday at southern university, which is an historically black college in baton rouge. senator vitter was asked while he was there about a controversial campaign ad he's run this year, in which he accuses his democratic opponent of wanting to release dangerous thugs from prison into louisiana. here's how that went.
>> david vitter yesterday at southern university telling the african-american audience there that they should go read the dictionary. did i mention he's losing the black vote in his state, 90-5? early voting has already started in louisiana and this is a deep, deep red state, but you know what, anything's possible. we could enjoy life's simple pleasures. now it's our turn. i'm doing the same for my family. retirement and life insurance solutions from pacific life can help you protect what you love and grow your future with confidence. pacific life. helping generations of families achieve long-term financial security for over 145 years.
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okay. you have seen this vine online. tell me you have seen this vine. this is a donald trump rally this week in illinois and that is a young woman in the background of this donald trump rally who was staging a most unexpected and possibly quite brilliant form of political protest. at a donald trump rally, and it has sort of captured the internet. that young woman who pulled that off this week, who has become sort of anonymously famous for having done so. as a result, she's actually
going to be here tonight. she's my guest tonight for "the interview." i cannot wait to talk to her. that's coming up. stay with us. t you could put tvs anywhere without looking at cable wires and boxes in every room. how are they always one step ahead of us? well, because their technology is far superior. or because they have someone on the inside. is that right, gil? sir, i would never... he's with them! he's wearing a wire. take off his shirt! take off his shirt! oh! ah! alright, i'm putting you in charge of the holiday party. (vo) get rid of cable and upgrade to directv. call 1-800-directv. ♪ [ girl ] my mom, she makes underwater fans that are powered by the moon. ♪ [ birds squawking ] my mom makes airplane engines that can talk. [ birds squawking ] ♪
okay. this is something we don't usually do, but i think it is worth doing. so, this is a story of two things happening at once. one of the things that's happening is that donald trump, for months, has been the front-runner for the republican nomination for president. now he's the front-runner alongside ben carson, but for months, he was the stand-alone front-runner by a mile. and, i think it is inarguable to say that his campaign has been remarkably racially charged. he wants to build a wall around the country, he has embellished the usual anti-immigration republican policy rhetoric with his own repeated ad hominem characterizations of what americans should think about mexicans in particular. >> they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists and some i assume are good people.
>> some are good and some are rapists and some are killers. if you look at the statistics of people coming -- i didn't say about mexican -- i say the illegal immigrants. you look at the statistics on rape, on crime, on everything coming in illegally into this country, they're mind boggling. somebody's doing the raping, don. i mean, you know, it's -- i mean, somebody's doing -- women being raped, who's doing the raping? >> that's not all, but that has kind of been the tone of mr. trump's campaign. and that kind of tone has, i think, led to some real ugliness around his campaign and his campaign events, including some incidents involving his own supporters. >> you are very rude. it's not about you. >> it's not about -- >> get out of my country. get out -- >> this is not -- >> i'm a u.s. citizen, too. >> well, univision, no, it's not about you -- >> it's not about you. it's about the united states. >> so, okay, i said there are two things going on here. that's one thing that's going
on. that is the front running republican presidential campaign this year. mr. trump has been more or less steadily leading in the polls with that kind of a campaign since around the fourth of july. so that's one thing going on. and now, here's a totally different thing that has also been going on. this is something that you never hear talked about on cable news, you've never heard me talk about it before, but bear with me here, i promise it pays off. a couple of years ago, a fairly well-known professor of poetry, professor from pomona college, started publishing some sort of experimental new work in literary magazines. i don't know exactly how that world works, but from what i understand, it's not that unusual. that an established poet will publish individual new poems here and there in various outlets before they publish a whole new book of poems. and when claudia rankin started doing that. when she started publishing her new work here and there a couple of years ago, it made a splash. it was kind of a literary sensation. she is an established artist, she's an established poet, but
she was doing something sort of experimental that was having a big effect. it was really smacking people hard. it was getting a lot of attention and ultimately, a lot of praise. and the subject of this new work that she had started publishing was race. it was, everyday experiences of racism in the united states. and by the time claudia rankin was ready to publish those poems as a book, university of massachusetts poetry professor jill mcdonough, who's a good friend of mine, who i talked to about this, i asked her about what the impact was of that book and how big a deal claudia rankin's book, citizen, was in the poetry and the literary world. jill's characterization, to me, was that claudia rankin's new book, "citizen," when it was due to come out, it was the most highly anticipated book of american poetry in years. and there is an easy way to check this, interestingly enough, but there's also a pretty good chance this was the best-selling book of new american poetry also in years. so in that world, it's a big
deal. and so that book, this book, "citizen" by claudia rankin, it came out in october of last year and has this haunting image on the cover, a disembodied black hoodie, just the hood. and the book really is a sensation. it's a finalist for the national book award, bins the national book critic award in poetry. i told you these two stories would come together. here is where they come together. a few days ago, president obama donald trump held one of his rallies in springfield, illinois. it was a fairly typical donald trump presidential rally, even down to the point where there was a fairly typical donald trump rally protest in the crowd. >> but, you know, what's going to happen is mexico is going to pay for the wall. i will tell you right now, they're going to pay for the wall. because they've been doing a number on us. their leaders are much smarter, much more cunning than our leaders. our leaders don't have a clue. they do not have a clue. and they're really far more
cunning -- [ chanting ] [ booing ] get out of here! >> that happened fairly early on at this fairly typical donald trump rally in springfield, illinois, on monday. but people watching this event at home, people watching the feed of this event started to notice something else that was a little bit unusual about this event. there was a tight little group of people sitting right behind donald trump on stage, who were not necessarily reacting like all the other excited donald trump fans at the event. and then people watching started to notice this one very poised young woman, who was calmly reading, flipping pages in a book that shef was reading, rigt
behind mr. trump as he continued with his speech. who is this woman? what's going on here? some donald trump fans, at one point, interceded with her, and there was an interaction or two, that didn't look all that pleasant. they ultimately roped in another person sitting near them to start complaining about this young woman. but she stuck with it. sometimes watching what donald trump was doing, but mostly reading. mostly reading, right behind him. and by this point, people had had started to notice online, and donald trump's speech goes on and on and on, and she's starting to become internet legend, as the donald trump page turner. and then the donald trump rally in illinois, it ends, and the donald trump supporters leap to their feet and they're clapping and waving their political signs. and then she's still there, too, but she's waving that book. she's waving claudia rankine's book of poems. she's waving that book about how racism works now in everyday ways in our country. and now, from that not quite a
protest, just that unbowable presence, that young woman has become kind of a literary touchstone for these two stories coming together, these worlds colliding. and not just worlds colliding accidentally, but this young woman, bringing about that collision herself, quietly, on purpose, in a way that drove people absolutely nuts. who is she? well, she joins us now for "the interview." the young woman who was captured on camera behind mr. trump reading claudia rankine's book, "citizen," thank you very much for being here. >> hi. >> hi. >> it's good to hear your voice. >> thank you. it's nice to see you and -- >> i wish i could see your beautiful -- >> i should tell you, we have a little bit of a delay because of the satellite feed, which is often awkward, but just tell me the story of how this happened. how did you end up at a donald trump campaign event, especially
sitting right behind him? >> my friend left the day before, gabby chavez, said she had some extra tickets and tick. and her friend bailed on her so she had six extra tickets, so it was the two of us. i was like well, i guess i'm not doing anything else. and i looked at it as an opportunity. it is a presidential candidate. and he is a well respected businessman, so why not? why not go? why not experience something that's free in my hometown, if i have nothing else to do . and if i leave, at least i have a good story out of it, you know? i did come -- we did come, my friends came with an open mind. we were -- we had low expectations, but we still wanted to see maybe the media
was misreporting, maybe he had something to say. >> in terms of the book you were seen so visibly reading there. was that intentional? did you bring it as an intentional object. did you mean to have claudia rankin's book there and is that what you put together there in a conscious way? >> i saw claudia rankin about two weeks ago in chicago at an event, i think, it was at the museum of contemporary art museum. and it was called citizens and it was her reading her poetry and other artists talking about what it means to be citizen and an american, how the experience differs for each person. and that was a powerful event. that's how i got the book. i had read her poetry online and saw her videos on youtube, but
someone had an extra copy and i wanted the signature. i got the book from there. and i was reading it. we got there two hours before the event started, and i decided that i want some books to read, you know, to pass the time. and that was one of the books that i brought. and i was actually reading it before the cameras, before the event started. so it was actually something that i brought to pass the time, before donald came on. >> and when you had that interaction that we've shown tonight, between the people who were nearby you who seemed confrontational or annoyed with you or something. what was going on there? and how did you feel about that? >> i feel like they felt like i was disrespectful for reading during the rally. but there was a shifting point that you showed with the protesters and the supporters. and there's an aggression.
i don't know if you saw it, but there was a small aggression of a young woman who was a protester. she was 16 years old. and a man took off her favorite obama crowd and threw it out in the crowd which was cheering. and me and my three friends were disgusted, because, yes, protesters have every right to protest. if they're going to be escorted out, let them be escorted out, but they don't have to be disrespected. not by you. and to kind of, like, explain that, the kind of get out of here, was like -- i mean, bernie sanders invited the black matters protesters on stage. and if you're going to -- if that's your opponent and you're trying to make a point and you're trying to make me someone who's trying to have an open mind gain vote, that's not one
way to do it. i was more disgusted by his support supporters and how he let it happen and kind of egged it on. because also, there was an incident in florida where his supporters were violently -- his protesters, i'm sorry, were violently dragged out of one of his rallies. incidents like that are bullying and they're not needed and they shouldn't be supported. so i was 30 minutes into the speech and i was like, okay, i came here because i wanted to see, i wanted to see this man and i wanted to try to have an open opinion about him. and after i saw those incidents, i felt uninterested. and i didn't feel like this is
what i'm looking for and i felt disappointed. disappointed a little bit in -- yeah, yeah. >> johari, i do see your willingness to -- i'm sorry, with the delay, it's very awkward. i was going to tell you your willingness to show that feeling even when other people tried to interrupt you out of it received a lot of attention because of its boldness, and hearing from you what was going on there and why you did it and how it worked for you is very helpful to understand what you're doing. i want to thank you for being here with us tonight. thank you for being willing to talk with us about it. >> thank you so much. i can't wait to see your face on tv. >> thank you. you look great. it's great to have you here, trust me. we'll be right back. stay with us. the best of everything is even better
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>> this was me in the 1960s. >> controversy. that was from our first in the south democratic candidates forum last friday in south carolina. you might remember i asked bernie sanders about this photowhich he described and i described as being from his day as a student activist at the university of chicago in the 1960s. tonight there's mystery about whether the person in that photo actually is bernie sanders. "time" magazine spoke with four alumni who said the guy in the photo is actually another organizer. they said bernie was there and he was involved in the activism at that time, but they think the university of chicago has misidentified the man in that photo. the university's photo archives does caption the man in that photo as bernie sanders. they say now they're reviewing it. a spokesman tells us the
university archives has identified it as a picture of bernie for 50 years or so now. it shower looks like bernie and bernie thinks it's bernie. if the university changes its mind and says someone back at the time misidentifieds a photo in its archive, then we will live with that. controversy. we will eventually sort that one out together. watch this space. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> big surprise. republican presidential candidates are now using the problems at the university of missouri to play their usual game of racial politics. >> as protests grow on campuses -- >> i think it's disgusting. i think the two people that resigned are weak a ineffective people. >> i'm still trying to figure out exactly what i