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Interview with Vice President Joe Biden

By Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel Maddow Show - December 13, 2011

Guests: Eugene Robinson, Joe Biden

ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel. Looking forward to seeing the vice president tonight.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Thanks, Ed. And I`m glad to hear about the Pelosi interview, too, man. Congratulations on that.

SCHULTZ: Thank you.

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

We`re coming to you from Washington tonight because the interview tonight is with the vice president. The vice president. The vice president of the United States. That`s coming up this hour. Very excited to bring that to you.

Plus, the attorney general of the United States is putting his dukes up. On an issue that has been scorched earth in the states all year long: Red states changing their laws to make it harder to vote. There has been a big pushback on that tonight from the U.S. attorney general, from Eric Holder. That`s all ahead over the course of this hour.

But we begin tonight with what`s turning out to be a rather bumpy road to the Republican presidential nomination this year. Today, Newt Gingrich`s new political director in the great state of Iowa agreed to resign. He agreed to resign after word got out he had called Mormonism a cult. Mormonism, of course, is the faith of Mitt Romney, Mr. Gingrich`s primary competitor for the party`s nomination at this point, as well as long-shot candidate Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah.

A Gingrich campaign spokesman saying the Mormonism was a cult comment was, quote, "inconsistent with Newt`s 2012 pledge to run a positive and solutions-orientated campaign." For what it`s worth, I checked. He does say orientated. I would say oriented. But, hey, potato, potato. Maybe he`s British.

In any case, Mr. Gingrich has been saying for months now that the key to the Republicans beating President Obama next year in the general election is that the Republican primary should be conducted in a positive fashion. No Republican on Republican fighting, Mr. Gingrich says. No negative ads. Smiles, everyone. Smiles.

Back in September, back when Mr. Gingrich was polling in the single digits, he actually refused to answer a policy question at one debate on the grounds that him answering that question might cause Republicans on stage to fight with each other. He also called on his fellow candidates to do the same that night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I for one, I hope all of my friends up here, are going to repudiate every effort of the news media to get Republicans to fight each other.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Newt Gingrich is very proud of this don`t say mean things idea he`s got this year, right? His idea that all the Republican candidates should stick together and get along and have a super friendly, no going negative collegial type primary.

Last month in an interview with Yahoo! News, Mr. Gingrich bragged about this as a strategy, saying, quote, "Watch the way in which I`m methodically not getting engaged in a fight with my friends."

This past weekend in Iowa, Mr. Gingrich again talked up this no negatives Republican strategy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: We`ll not engage in negative ads. We`re not going to engage in tearing people down. We should have a positive campaign on the Republican side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Sadly, the Newt Gingrich happy Republican plan started to unravel that very same night. During that night`s Republican debate when he let this little boldness of negativity slip his lips.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: Let`s be candid. The only reason you didn`t become a career politician is because you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now wait a second. Wait a second. That`s -- now, wait a second.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: I`m no expert, but I`d say that counts as negative. As, what do we say, tearing people down?

But it`s nothing compared to what Mr. Gingrich unleashed against Mitt Romney yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Governor Romney said this morning on FOX News that you should return the money that you earned from Fannie Mae and Freddie.

GINGRICH: I love the way he and his consultants think of these things. I would just say that if Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he`s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, that I would be glad to then listen to him. I bet you $10, not $10,000, he won`t take the offer.

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