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Interview with White House Advisor David Plouffe

By Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel Maddow Show - November 30, 2011

Guests: David Plouffe, Paul Rieckhoff, Rocky Anderson

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thank you.

And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.

Just a moment ago, just seconds ago, they officially lit the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in midtown Manhattan right outside. Do you want to see it though?

Ready? OK. Here we go, ready, and here it goes. Bink. Yay! And the newsroom erupted in cheers.

And with that, we now begin the arduous process of making end of the year lists, right? It`s now officially, now that the tree is lit, it is now officially end of the year list making time in America.

For everybody who`s making their list about the worst, the best, the most ridiculous, the most amusing moments in American politics this year, I have a pitch I would like to make. I do not want Senator Jon Kyl to be left out. I`m worried he`s going to be forgotten.

It was April of this year when the Republicans were threatening to shut down the federal government if they didn`t get their way on defunding Planned Parenthood. That`s what it came down to in the end, remember? Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona got up on the Senate floor and he told a lie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood and that`s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Not true. Very, very not true. Of all the things Planned Parenthood does, abortion is more like 3 percent of what they do. And 3 percent, I`ve checked, is not over 90 percent like he said.

Asked to correct the very, very, very bad math that he expounded on the Senate floor, Senator Kyl`s office responded with something I think should be on or at the top of or at least near the top of every year-end list about notable moments in politics this year. I`m just saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: You know what? I just want to give it to you verbatim. It says, "His remark was not intended to be a factual statement."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Ta-da!

Even if that were all that happened in that episode, not intended to be a factual statement was already I think in Hall of Fame territory for political moments of this year.

But then Stephen Colbert started the "not intended to be a factual statement" hashtag on Twitter. For example, for the past 10 years, Jon Kyl has been two children in a very convincing Jon Kyl suit. Not intended to be a factual statement.

Also, once a year, Jon Kyl retreats to the Arizona desert and deposits 2 million egg sacks under the sand. Not intended to be a factual statement.

Or Jon Kyl is an accomplished nude hula dancer. He`s not welcomed in Hawaii. Not intended, right?

Or this might be my favorite one -- Jon Kyl once ate a badger he hit with his car. Don`t worry, Wisconsin, it`s not intended to be a factual statement.

The only off-note in the brilliant humor of the whole not intended to be a factual statement fiasco is that Senator Jon Kyl, himself, never really seemed to get it, which makes it less fun. I mean, he never seemed to understand what everybody was laughing about. He never poked fun at himself about it. He never seemed to realize he had made himself into a bit of a joke.

And so, now, seven months later, as the number two Republican in the United States Senate, Jon Kyl, I think in part because he didn`t get it the first time around, is getting himself into the same kind of trouble he was in with the Planned Parenthood thing. He`s walking into essentially the same trap.

And you can tell he`s got no self-awareness about it at all, which is kind of a pity. Here`s how he got himself all bollixed up now. In July last year when Republicans wanted to add $700 billion to the deficit by extending the Bush tax cuts, including for the wealthiest Americans, Jon Kyl was the guy they put out to convince the country that doing that would actually be totally free of cost.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: How are you going to pay the $678 billion just on the tax cuts for people over -- making more than $200,000 a year?

KYL: You should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending and that`s what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: This is Kyl`s statement to reporters in the halls of the Congress. "My view, and I think most of the people in my party, don`t believe that you should ever have to offset a tax cut."

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

MADDOW: Now, this is something that is sometimes called believing in the tax fairy. It`s a belief that if you reduce the revenue that government is taking in, the government doesn`t actually take in any less revenue. You reduce the amount that they`re getting, but they don`t get any less. If that sounds magic, it`s because it is. It`s called believing in the tax fairy.

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