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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  June 27, 2012 4:00am-5:00am EDT

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clash with the romney message that the nation is suffering under president barack obama. in the last w years since the financial crisis, florida unemployment did get up over 11%. now it's getting better. still bad in florida, still 8.6%, but it's better than it had been. if you're a governor in a state where things are getting better, you want to talk about that, yo want to take credit, even if it is off message from the republican running for president has you thinking nothing is getting better anywhere. after that report came out, the romney campaign denied it and after that denial from the romney side, the rick scott folks started to deny it, too. what nobody notices at the time, was that rick scott in florida was not the first gsker to reported to have this same problem with mitt romney. just a week earlier, the wall street journal reported the same problem in a bunch of her republican states. campaigning in virginia, talking
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about how terrible president obama has been for the economy in virginia. but the state of virginia has a 5.6% unemployment rate. that's ninth lowest in the nation. lowest in the southeast. the republican governor of the state is out countering the mitt romney message about how awful everything is by saying actually, virginia is doing well. same deal in ohio. mitt romney going to ohio to campaign saying how terrible president obama has made the ohio economy. but the ohio unemployment rate is now below 6%, and the state's republican governor was telling the same crowd that mitt romney was talking to that ohio has made a lot of progress. in fact, when the governor of ohio was asked by a reporter if it bothered him if president obama got credit for this uptick in jobs in ohio and the improving economy there, the
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governor responded by saying, bother me? i hope he gets all of the credit. things are getting way better in terms of jobs in this important swing state of ohio. i hope president obama gets all of the credit for that. that's not the kind of thing that's supposed to come out of the mouth of a top romney surrogate at this point in the campaign. then last month in iowa, he was campaigning in iowa saying again how terrible barack obama has made the iowa economy. he even put out a four-minute long web ad showing how terrible things are in iowa because of president obama. in reality, the uneemployment rate has falling to 5.1%. the republican governor of iowa went out on the occasion of him coming to iowa, went out and did an interview with the wall street journal to counter what mitt romney was saying, to counter the message that iowa was a horrible mess because of president obama. he said, actually, we're doing well. we're seeing significant growth. all these republican governors in the states where things are
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getting better are told by the republican presidential campaign things are not getting better. our candidate is going to come to your stase and talk about how awful everything is. vice president biden was in iowa. he gave a barn burner of a speech there, and there was the romney campaign doubling down on the iowa sucks message, putting out a press release saying the economy is terrible in iowa because barack obama is president. these poor republican governors are being told to shut up and take it while mitt romney slags off their state and counteracts all their messaging as governors about how theistates are coming back and doing okay. and that is the cost to these republicans generally of the overall message of the mitt romney for president campaign. he's not running on his time as governor of massachusetts. he's not really running on his time at bain capital as a private equity financer. he's running on the basis that the economy right now is bad so you should fire the president. that's his message, nevermind the details about the guy you
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get if you fire the president. and you should pay attention to this new guy who you would get if you fired the president. the message from the obama campaign is what mitt romney has to offer, particularly on the economy and jobs, is the opposite of what the country needs right now. >> president obama's first 100 days creating thousands of new jobs. >> but would it? the washington post has just revealed that romney's company were pioneers of shipping u.s. jobs overseas. investing in firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by american workers to new facilities in low wage countries line china and india. >> the obama campaign releasing that ad today, specific to virgia, where mitt romney was campaigning today in virginia. they also released another version of it specific to iowa where a lot of the fight played out today in iowa, and where
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that message was designed to dove tail with this barn burning speech by joe biden. >> give mitt romney credit. he's a job creator. in singapore. china, india. >> the overarching narrative of the presidential campaign, the overarching narrative, so encompassing both campaigns is no, the economy is not back from the depression yet. and mitt romney says he would do better in bringing the economy further back. president obama on the other hand says that right now, the white house is doing their best and bringing us in the right direction. there is further to go, but mitt romney's idea and his track record are awful. even if you're not happy with the economy yet, you definitely don't want to switch to that guy. one level below that overarching message from both presidential campaigns, there's a whole high stakes world of politics that is separate from, even in opposition to what is going on in the presidential race. there's interesting substantive stuff going on. the democratic party reserved
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more than $5 million in tv ad time to support senator sherrod brown in his re-election effort in ohio. he's running against the ohio state treasurer. that race is expected to have more outside money spent against the democratic incumbent senator than maybe any other race in the country. he did an interview with talking points memo where he weighed in on the presidential campaign. he said in ohio, the obama campaign shouldcopy talking about mitt romney's record at bain. it's devastating for republicans in the industrial midwest. even so, some other democrats, particularly conservative democrats are essentially divorcing themselves from presidential politics all together. claire mccaskill saying she won't go to the democratic convection this year in north carolina. that follows similar announcements. jon tester is going to be our guest later on this hour. but it's in racing at this level, races like these, not just with conservative democrats
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but any of the races where the presidential race isn't maybe the dominant issue, where something really important is going on, and you can see in these races a bunch of really substantively interesting cross kurnts in our politics. you get a whole different sense of whool is getting listened to who, who has respect, who has a message that voters ought to listen to. i want you to look at this one thing from the jon tester race in montana. jon tester is running against a republican named denny rebrk. he is not going to the democratic convection this fall. denny reberg, the republican, is not going to the republican convention this fall. both sides a separating themselves from their parties in that way. they're both running apart from the presidential race. look what you're seeing right now in montana.
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>> i served with the montana army national guard in iraq. i served and came home safely. over 1,000 have left limbs in iraq and afghanistan weren't so lucky. but congress rehberg voted against prosthetic funding. he voted to give himself a pay raise but voted against funding for vets. now he wants us to call him senator? no way. >> that's an ad from vote vets against denny rehberg in montana. who is running against jon tester. that same group is running pro-claire mccaskill adds in missouri. >> when some tries to make cuts to va hospitals, she fought them. >> she pushed the new gi bill through and ow anow i'm earning my degree. >> claire has our back. >> and senator, we've got yours. >> vote vets is a democratic leaning group of post 9/11 veterans. they're also supporting iraq and afghanistan veterans themselves who are making runs for congress, like tolsy.
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there's vote vets on the left. there's iraq veterans against the war who are on the farther left. there's also vets for freedom which is a republican joint on the right. they mostly seem to be running their own vets for freedom guys for office. but they're associated with all these big name brand name republicans. they have a congressional candidate running in a congressional primary tonight. they almost have a senate candidate in minnesota this year. those are just the partisan or the idelogically identifying post-9/11 veterans groups. there's also the big one, iava. the first and largest post 9/11 veterans group. they're totally nonpartisan, aggressively nonpartisan, and they are not just influential in politics. they're actively feared on capitol hill and more broadly in washington, d.c. i don't spend a lot of time in washington, but whenever i do, i'm usually talking to people about national security stuff. you talk to people in washington about anything that touches iava's political turf and i swear you can take it from me,
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you can see people retract physically when they start talking about the paul topics. it's better sometimes to be respected and feared than it is to be liked. particularly in washington. particularly when you have a long-term horizon on the stuff you're advocating for, and for the interest of iraq and afghanistan veterans, seeing that physical reaction on both sides of the aisle, i have to think for veterans' interests, that's a good thing. so yeah, hey, it turns out if you spent 11 years and trillions of dollars fighting two of the longest wars in american history simultaneously and uprooting the lives of 2 million american families to do that, you change
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politics. you create a powerful new political force in the process of doing that. a force with a heck of a lot more moral suasion, persuasive power on their side. this is a respected powerful interest group now that we didn't have before. they have a lot of pull. and so given that, how can it be that on the public policy issue most directly affecting those veterans as veterans, we have a total disaster on our hands? we've got nearly 900,000 veterans with outstanding claims. nearly a million veterans waitg to hear. the v.a. starts counting the claims in a backlog once someone has been waiting four months just for an answer. there are hundreds of thousands of veterans in the back log. in places like oakland, california, in the san francisco bay area, people are waiting a year to even hear back about whether or not they are getting what they are owed by our country. think about that. you come back from how many tours of duty over how many years? you have a combat related disbltd, and maybe that mines you can't work. and you don't even hear for a year whether you are getting anything to pay for your living expenses, whether your disability claim is approved? what do you do in the meantime. you're home from combat and you can't work. you wait a year to hear? this is a disaster. when the veterans administration's inspector general looked at the department's mental health care, they found the data on how long
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veterans were having to wait, they found it to be of no real value. you can't believe the v.a.'s answers when you ask them how poorly they're doing. the v.a. for its part says it has a plan to clear the disability claims backlog by not this year, not next year, not the year after that, but by the year after that. by 2015, they have a plan for that. that's what they're aiming for. that's their best case scenario, and that led -- hearing last week to the ranking democrat in the veteran's committee in the house, frankly just letting loose. >> hired in the last few years, 10,000, maybe 12,000 employees.
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40 trance formational things going on. i don't know where the name transformation comes, doesn't do anything. what have we done in the last few years indoubled the backlogs. rate of inaccuracy, recent report, 25%. this is disgraceful. nis is an insult to our veterans. >> that's congressman bob filner from san diego. he's a democrat. he's also running for mayor of san diego. filner is proposing that the v.a. change its system to actually be more like the irs. in this sense, when you file your tax return with the irs, unless something is wrong, the irs assumes it's fine and they approve it. they keep people honest by watching for unusual things that warrant checking and tax returns. but also by auditing a percentage of what people turn in. so the system goes pretty fast. pretty reliable, and people mostly don't cheat because
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they're afraid to be audit because if you get audited and get caught cheating it's a bad thing. bon filner said the v.a. should blow up the way they're doing things now and go to something like that. assume the veterans aren't lying. it has been proposed at book length from a harvard economist as well. veterans groups are not in favor of this change, not in favor of the v.a. changing like this. but they're furious about how badly the system works right now, and it works really, really badly. maybe at least debating this, make it like the ira idea and putting this on the table, maybe it puts a spotlight on the problem. but the problem need a spotlight. how do you pay somebody back for agreeing to serve in a war and risk being killed because the country has asked them to do that? personally, as citizens, we all need to work that out for ourselves. but in a country that has been at war for 11 years with 99% of the population not fighting in those wars, we have all got to figure those things out. individually and as civilians, we have to figure out what our responsibility is, how we pay ba.
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as a country, though, as an institution, it's a less esoteric thing. as a country, we make some really specific promises to veterans in exchange for their service, including promising them their health needs will be covered. we have them covered for health care needs. that's our promise, and we're breaking our promise. and while that has ethical implications for all of us since we're the civilian side of the deal breaking the deal, in this political climate we're in, in this political climate we are in with the political power and respect afforded to this generation of veterans, this problem ought to incur some real political costs for the people who ought to be able to fix it but haven't and political
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what have we done in the last few years. doubled the backlogs. rate of inaccuracy, recent report, up to 25%. this is disgraceful. this is an insult to our veterans. >> congressman b filner of california suggesting not all that delicately that america has failed in our treatment of wounded veterans coming home from iraq and now afghanistan. mr. filner telling a congressional hearing a couple days ago the system we have in place now is so bad we frankly ought to blow it up.
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and do the v.a. totally differently. we ought to do it more like the irs. he said the current system is so bad, we have hundreds of thousands of vets waiting up to a year to even hear back about whether they're going to get the benefits they should get. joining us now, bob filner of california. i should also mention he's running for mayor of the city of san diego. congressman filner, thank you very much for being here to help us talk about this. >> thank you, rachel. an honor to be on the best show in television. >> flattery will get you everywhere here. you are a democrat. you're not one of these people who is idealogically committed to the idea that government knets everything wrong. why do you think we're getting this so wrong. why is this so screwed up? >> i just want to go one step further about how bad it is. people die before they get that final adjudication or may commit suicide. it's so bad that these things occur. and i think it's a bureaucracy
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that has been in charge for decades that doesn't want to do anything any differently. it's veters groups who sort of have -- they drank the cool-aid of the bureaucracy. they say, well, let's just play around the edges of it. and they're afraid to take on the system also. and i think what's really going on, rachel, is that we want to talk about the glory of war. how patriotic it is, and we don't want to focus on the cost of war, what happens when the young men and women come back. we don't want to pay too much attention to it because it undercuts what every government wants and that's support for the wars it carries out. i think democrats particularly who are anti-war like myself, have to be very pro veteran and say no matter what we thought about the war, we've got to make sure every young man and woman who gets back gets all of the care, the attention, the love, the dignity that a nation can
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give. >> when i have been looking into the issue and monitoring really dramatic hearings in your home state of california about this, people talking ability not being able to get, not even get an answer. and california has some of the worst v.a. centers in dealing with this. waits up to a year long. it seems from the veterans group side, they're angry about this, upset about this. you have a difference with thel about whether or not your proposed change is the way to fix the problem, but i wonder if that disagreement is the end of a conversation or if that's the beginning. it seems to me that their anger on this issue is a starting place given how much political power they have in a country that really does respect what they have done particularly since 9/11. >> you would think so. there's a disconnect between the grassroots fetevens and the people in washington who supposedly represent them. the people in washington have drank the kool-aid. they're tied into an inefficient system. as long as the system is so bad, veterans will come to them for
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help rather than say let's have a raed calchange. you mentioned the irs. 20 years ago or so ago, they were completely dysfunctional. now when you file your 1040 on april 15th, if you have a refund coming, you get it back in three weeks guaranteed. how did they change from one dysfunctional agency to a very modern and efficient one? they said, look, we're going to accept your claim, subject to audit. and that's what keeps us honest. we can do the same thing with veterans claims. when we have certified veterans officers all over the country, the american legion, vfw, if you're helpful to the veteran in filling out the forms, we should accept it subject to audit, then they get their check, get their life together, and move on right
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away. >> bob filner, thank you for venlting your spleen the way you did in this hearing. it put a spotlight on the issue. >> the american people have got to understand we sends the kids to war. you have to take care of them when they come home. >> appreciate your team tonight. this policy that congressman filner is proposing without the veterans groups onboard with it, i'm not sure it's going to be the way that we proceed in trying to fix this, right? people who -- all of the different stake holders need to be on board, but you know what, all of the different stakeholders need to get on board with something. this is an unsustainable ethical problem. this is a problem we made, a problem we created, a promise we broke. this has to be fixed. >> coming up at the end of the show, we have discovered a way to expose to the light the rage that is lurking inside the most soft spoken man in washington. involves flooding and a libertarian from kentucky and a lot of flying spittle. that's coming up.
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you know, for a while, it looks like maunlt mont may be the country's only hope for something in american elections surviving beyond the reach of citizens united and this flood of dark money into our politics. montana was going to be our only hope. then montana lost at the supreme court yesterday. and boy, is montana mad about it. that's the interview coming up.
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>> promise broken. >> that's an ad that has nothing to do with some politician named president obama. this is an ad that has nothing to do with any particular candidate either. >> senator claire mccaskill was a key obama adviser in passing his failed $1.18 trillion stimulus. >> that has nothing to do with claire mccaskill of missouri. nothing. >> and now here is an ad that has nothing to do with sherrod brown. >> no surprise he voted for obama care. he supports obama's agenda 95% of the time. in brown's washington, talk is cheap. in ohio, it's costing us a fortune. >> that has nothing to do with sherrod brown. this is all by karl rove's crossroads group. it's a dark money group. they do not disclose where they get their money from. they don't have to because o this rule that says if you're running ads that aren't about a candidate, then all your money can be totally secret wrfrb that has been a self-policing rule.
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so the way that groups like karl rove's group say that ads like that aren't about any candidates is they put tags on the end that say tell claire mccaskill this, or tell president obama that. we're not advising you how to feel about thesis politicians, we're just helping you deliver to them a message about an issue. honestly, that's the one rule we have left in campaign finance in this country, and it's a farce. but there was a court ruling earlier this month that said if there is going to be that rule, actually, these groups shouldn't just be policing themselves. the federal elections commission should make the decision about whether or not these ads are about candidate or are about issues and therefore whether you should be able to keep where all your money comes from a secret. once that ruling came down, the obama campaign's top lawyer wrote to the fec and said, you know what, given the court ruling, if you are responsible for looking at groups and
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enforcing this rule where you have to disclose your donors if you really are talking about candidates, look at karl rove's group. karl rove was askled about that on fox news channel, and here was how he responded. he's responding to that complaint about that group going to the fec about secret donors. >> this is an attempt to intimidate the people who might otherwise contribute to gps. and this is frankly thuggish behavior. earlier, we were talking about the time that i went up to the congress. to testify, one of the accusers was bob bower, who was the attorney for a woman named dana jill simpson who alleged i had encouraged her to investigate -- a woman i never met in my entire life, that i asked her to investigate the sexual shenanigans of democratic governor segleman of alabama,
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and you know, bob bower was her attorney, got her on "60 minutes" big hao-ha about it. this is the kind of guy he is. i know what he's doing. >> the question was about whether or not you're going to reveal who is giving you all that money to run the anti-obama ads you have been running, and the president is president obama's lawyer was the lawyer for a woman who said i was involved in a sexual shenanigans investigation in -- what are you talking about? this happened on fox news last week. we have been keeping an eye on it ever since, wondering if there was going to be another shoe that dropped, what it could have mend, but there has been no other shoe dropped by mr. rove. you should just know this is happenic because there is something weird going on. in this fight about all of the dark money being spent against obama this year. karl rove has a long history in alabama politics. there was a scandal about an operative saying karl rove when he was working in the bush white
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house sent her to get dirt on this democratic governor in alabama, catch him cheating on his wife or something. but this is something that happened more than ten years ago. this has absolutely nothing to do with this year's campaign or secret money or the fec or any of these things. karl rove's response to the obama campaign asking them to disclose their donors, his response was essentially the obama campaign, their lawyer was a lawyer for this woman in alabama 11 years ago when she went on "60 minutes." completely bizarre. one of the strangest and bluntest and most non seq.witter diversionary tactives i have seen. the only reason i think it might be important is because i think karl rove is supposed to be a slick guy, right? he's obviously and factually totally wrong in his assertion. president obama's campaign lawyer is a guy named bob bower.
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karl rove said on fox news that he was the lawyer for this woman, dana jill simpson, after karl rove went on fox news last week and made this weird allegation out of the blue, president obama's campaign lawyer wrote a letter to karl rove which we have. the letter says i have never represented dana jill simpson nor had anything to do with your allegations. i have never met ms. simpson or talked to her on the phone or crossed her path in any way. the identity of her lawyer is public record, a lawyer i have never met, but whom you can find through the search engine of your choice. you can google who the lawyer was. we spoke with the lawyer. we asked her about the weird thing we heard on fox news about bob bower, and she said, quote, bob bower was toty unknown to everybody down here. there were a lot of other lawyers on the periphery, but he was nowhere to be seen. he was not involved in any way nor was his firm. i think karl rove is delusional.
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i think leers lying. we contacted mr. rove's office today to see what he was talking about. why did he bring this up? and at about the fact it was totally made up? we have no response from mr. rove. in the meantime, what is most interesting about this strange thing that happened on fox news a few days ago, this very unexplained eruption from karl rove, the most amtrusting thing about this is the reason why he did it. which was to avoid answering the question to him about who is paying for all of those ads against president obama that he's been running. and why shouldn't he have to disclose who those people are. one of the targets of karl rove positive rath, although it's not about the candidates, one of those candidates joins us next.
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tell jon tester obama's way is the wrong way for mont mon. tell him to say no to obama's proposed trillion dollar deficit. >> remember when jon tester said -- >> this a time we make the senate look a little more like montana? >> now tester is looking a little more like washington.
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he called himself a dirt farmer. >> tester is a dirt farmer. those are ads that are being run against montana senator jon tester. and those are ads that are supposedly not at all about jon tester. they're just issue ads that happen to mention him. because they're supposedly issue ads that mention him, the karl rove unlimited donation group running those ads doesn't have to say where they're getting their money from. the money in politics situation is disgusting everywhere. in the state of montana, the pro and post citizens united difference is stark. montana had been a lone state hold-out, retaining their anti-corruption laws at least for their state level elections even as the supreme court handed elections over to corporate spending. then the court rules that montana couldn't hold out any longer. their state laws are overruled, too. joining us is jon tester of mont
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mon. facing re-election in november, in a race that is saturated with over $3 million in ads from outside groups. thank you for being here. >> great to be with you, rachel. >> you have said that the supreme court ruling rolled montana back 100 years. back when the zillionaires bought the elections outright wrfrb what is the effect? >> what you're seeing at the national level in senate races and house races, montana is going to see it in the state-wide races, too. i think it's unfortunate. back in 1912, the voters in montana got tired of folks like william clark buying their state, buying their government, and becoming a government that serves corporations. and they said enough is enough, and in 1912, they changed it. unfortunately, the supreme court, i don't think, used good judgment or common sense when they made this decision to make korchgzs like people to ve corporations more rights than people, and now we're going to see in montana is corporations and their big money controlling elections a lot more than people and their ideas, and people and ideas are what elections should be about. that's a montana value.
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>> you have never been a particularly idealogical guy. you have been a pretty independent, centrist democrat in washington in your career before that. when you talk to people in montana about this, does it have an idealogical cast? do people have an opinion on this based on where they're coming from on other political issues or is this something montanaens can see eye to eye? >> i think it cut party lines for sure. i have people come up to me all the time, and i guarantee they're not all republicans, not all democrats, and they say what's going on with citizens united? is congress going to be able to do anything about it? because they understand, they understand what a negative impact this is going to have on elections. it really is a kick in the teeth to our democracy, and i thin montanans understand that. interestingly enough, my
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opponent in the race believes the citizens united decision was a smart decision. he said that in a debate a few weeks ago. and he's endorsed by citizens united. the differences between me and my opponent are stark. he has nearly $4 million they have spent on negative ads trying to make me into something i'm not and if they can do that and have fiction trump fact, they have a chance of winning the election. we have been holding our own pretty well even though the amount of money coming from third parties, secret money you talked about in the previous segment, is ridiculous. and it's not good for democracy. >> when you have run in previous races, in a political climate that was not like this in terms of there being dark money around, can you give us what the difference is? obviously, you have done well
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raising money. you have raised more in your campaign fund than denny rehberg raised, but there's all that outside money going to support him. how do you have to run differently? >> we have to be smarter. we have got to run better ads, we have to outwork them. i mean, just up and down the line. we have to do a better job. the unfortunate part is, and rachel, and your viewers, montana has been a very trance parrot state. their government is very transparent. i think that's a good thing, the way the should be in washington, d.c., too. as transparent as possible. what ends up with the secret dark money is there's brr no transparency, no accountability. we don't know where this money is coming from at all, and there's absolutely -- could be from out of foreign corporations that are putting the money into this thing. it really -- it really allows itself for a high level of corruption. and that's not how -- that's now how the government should work and certainly not how a
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democracy will work over the long haul. >> do you think congress can do anything to stop it? the bar got a lot higher with the supreme court decision? >> the only way it can be done is a constitutional amendment. hopefully people will get sick of this and understand they need to take their government back. i they think they will. i think this cycle is going to show them what it's like. if it's not repeals2014, it will be shortly after. obviously, the court isn't going to help us. >> u.s. senator jon tester, thanks for your time. i appreciate it. >> thank you, rachel. >> up next, acting.
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okay. acting, coming up. i promise. the republican party's agenda in congress hit a big snag in the senate today.
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the republican party's agenda in congress is, of course, jobs, jobs, jobs, by which i mean abortion. their laser-like focus on jobs, jobs, job-abortion has produced a ton of legislation already this year. they tried to amend the house spending bill to restrict access to abortion under the health reform law. they expedited a bill to the house floor that would require doctors to investigate women's motives for seeking an abortion. they introduced a u.s. senate bill to make it harder for young women to get abortions. they pushed a bill in the house to limit the time during which women can get abortions in washington, d.c. and speaking of d.c., after threatening last year to shut down the entire federal government over republicans' desperate need to ban d.c. from using its own money to fund abortions for low-income women, house republicans this year have already put the local d.c. abortion funding ban into this year's budget. and bill that would have given d.c. more control over its own money and its own budget died an unceremonious death in the senate today. it was removed from the schedule after republican senator rand paul tried to add a host of amendments to force on d.c. his own chosen gun laws, his own
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chosen runbas, and that ban on using local d.c. funds for abortion. the republicans are focused. the republican focus on jobs, jobs, jobs, by which i mean abortion, has just been exhaustive this year. they don't get that much credit for it, but it really most of what they're working on. but if you are a member of congress, even if you are a republican member of congress who is singularly dedicated to the very important issue of creating jobs, by which i mean restricting abortion rights, sometimes you still simply have to work on something else. you have to work on other issues that happen to be important to the running of the country, besides abortion. things like infrastructure. keeping the nation's higays running, or emergency preparedness, or maybe, for example, extending the country's flood insurance program, which
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covers 5.6 million properties in flood-prone areas. the flood insurance program is set to expire at the end of next month. and as if to remind us all how important that is, big swaths of the state of florida are underwater right now. tropical storm debby has been dousing the western coast of florida. one florida county near tallahassee has seen more than 2 feet of rain in the last few days. residents stranded there by flooding had to be rescued by boat. parts of the interstate along a 50-mile stretch of florida between jacksonville and tallahassee were shut down because of all the flooding. so, great, sounds like a good time to make sure the nation's flood insurance program doesn't expire, right? well, what had been a bipartisan effort in the senate to extend that program suddenly became a partisan disaster today. because today, the flood insurance bill came face to face with the republicans' abortion above all else agenda. they couldn't help themselves. they couldn't let a totally unrelated bill with broad bipartisan support about flooding, they couldn't let that pass without turning it into some way to go after abortion rights.
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republican senator rand paul, who's eoretically a small government, get the government out of my business guy, he is pushing for a personhood amendment to the flood insurance thing. rand paul wants to add to flood insurance a personhood measure, like the one that was defeated, even by voters in mississippi last fall. a measure that declares a fertilized egg is a person, declares a woman to have become two people, essentially as soon as she has had sex, thereby banning all abortion as well as some common forms of hormonal birth control. that's what rand paul wants to do with the flood insurance bill. this kind of thing has been happening all session. jobs, jobs, job-abortion. but this time, this time, senator harry reid on the democratic side has had enough. the rand paul personhood amendment to the flood thing seems to have aroused real genuine anger in the mild-mannered senate majority leader. in responding to the personhood amendment, senator reid lost his temper today. he lit into republicans on the senate floor. here's the thing about harry
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reid losing his temper, though, and lighting into republicans. harry reid is so soft spoken, so mild mannered, so beyond calm and collected, his demeanor so politely unperturbed, that even when he is saying mean, angry, fed up, even sarcastic words, he does not sound mean, angry, fed up, or sarcastic. he sounds nice. for example, about two-thirds of the way through his tirade about the anti-abortion personhood amendment to the flood bill, senator reid says, "i think this is outlandish." only, here's how he says it. >> i think this is outlandish. >> outlandish. the substance of senator reid's speech was compelling and important and fiery if you read it on the page, but the delivery was -- >> outlandish. >> outlandish. so in order that you may fully appreciate the substance of harry reid inveighing against the republican jobs, jobs, job-abortion agenda today, kent jones has translated it for us,
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translating harry reid's angry-looking words into actually angry-sounding words. >> i have been very patient working with my republican colleagues, in allowing amendments, that are relative amendments on issues, and sometimes we even do non-relevant amendments. but, really, on flood insurance?! the big pushers of this bill are republican senators, veteran republican senators! and they better work on their side of the aisle -- because i am 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. we will either do flood insurance with the amendments dealing with flood insurance, or we won't do it!
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>> harry reid's "rant" against the republican effort to attach an anti-abortion personhood amendment to the flood insurance bill, as translated for our non-sleeping viewer by the great kent jones. kent, i have never loved you more than i love you in this moment and i have loved you for a long time. >> i'm still pretty angry. >> i have a cough drop if you need it. >> i will. a quick programming note before you go. tomorrow night, our guest for the interview is going to be massachusetts senate candidate elizabeth warren. obviously, we would love to have her opponent, republican senator scott brown on this show as well, but he never returns our phone calls. we are always excited to have elizabeth warren here. scott brown, call me, anytime. have a great night. mile high inferno, tens of thousands are ordered to evacuate as a massive wildfire moves towards colorado springs. remembering nora efron, the
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author of romantic classics, has died. and name change -- lawmakers want everyone to call london's iconic big ben by a different new name. those stories and more are straight ahead, this is "first look" on msnbc. and we are going to begin this morning with up in smoke. searing record-setting heat all across the interior west is fueling worsening wildfires throughout that region. and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee from their homes in colorado alone, firefighters are struggling to contain eight separate blazes, burning across the rocky mountain state. near colorado springs, sheriff officials have ordered an estimated 32,000 people to evacuate. more than


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