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Interview with Senator James Inhofe

By Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel Maddow Show - March 15, 2012

Guests: John Brabender, James Inhofe

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. I`m very excited, Ed. Tonight is the night of my big interview with James Inhofe of Oklahoma that was talking to you about the other day.

ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: A Republican is coming on your program. I can`t score any Republicans. Not that I want to, but I`m going to watch Jim Inhofe.

MADDOW: I desperately want to. I mean, if you were wondering what the fireworks were about in the hallway earlier, it`s us celebrating that we got a Republican to come in here. I`m really looking to it.

SCHULTZ: No doubt. You can ask him why he landed on the wrong runway, but that`s another story.

MADDOW: Next time. Thanks, Ed.

Thanks to you at home for staying with us. Nothing like pilot humor between guys who fly, right?

All right. I have a small beef with the state of Oregon, specifically I have a beef with the Oregon Republican Party. The Oregon Republican Party -- God bless them -- wanted to be players in this year`s race for the Republican presidential nomination.

So, in order to try to be players, Oregon Republicans scheduled a debate. They wanted all the Republican nominees to come up to Oregon to strut their stuff for Oregon voters. Makes sense, sort of in the abstract.

But Oregon Republicans scheduled their debate for next week, for Monday.

Want to know what else is going on in the Republican primary in the meantime? Well, this weekend is the Puerto Rico primary -- Puerto Rico, not on the way to Oregon from anywhere. After Puerto Rico, it`s Illinois. Then, it`s Louisiana, then it`s D.C., then Maryland, then Wisconsin, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, Indiana, West Virginia, North Carolina -- you`ve got to go all the way through those states and to May 15th before you get to the Oregon primary.

But Oregon Republicans wanted to hold their debate next week, because what? What? The Republican candidates were going to look down the field and decide from this vantage point that on March 19th it was going to be worth it to spend a day in Oregon instead of any of the other states that vote before that on the calendar?

I do not know what the Oregon Republican Party was thinking, but they thought, apparently, they were going to get all of the Republican presidential candidates to fly up to Oregon for a debate next week. And so, when one of those candidates cancelled, Mitt Romney has now bailed on the idea. Oregon Republicans, surprise, had to call the whole thing off.

Where Mitt Romney is going instead of Oregon is across the street from right here, actually, after Rick Santorum accused the FOX News Channel earlier this week of shilling, in his words, for Mitt Romney -- Mr. Romney decided to make FOX News awkward about that charge by suddenly agreeing to do a ton of interviews on FOX News Channel shows.

Mr. Romney today was on a FOX program that`s hosted by a man named Bill Hemmer. Yesterday, Mr. Romney was on another FOX News program, one hosted by a woman named Megyn Kelly. That interview actually ended up being a little testy at times.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You know, you`re struggling, though, with folks that make less than $100,000. Even in the states you won, you`ve struggled --

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, no, no. Let me tell you --

KELLY: In Ohio?

ROMNEY: You don`t win a million more votes than anyone else in this race by just appealing to high-income Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: No, no, no, no. Point of fact here, I`m on Megyn Kelly`s side.

If you are Mitt Romney, you do win races by just appealing to high-income Americans. I mean, we`ve talked about this on the show. That is how he won Ohio. Ms. Kelly was right about this.

Mitt Romney tied or lost every other income bracket in Ohio except Ohio Republicans making more than $100,000 a year. Mitt Romney cleaned up in that category and was, thereby, able to win the state, but he lost or tied with everybody else. And it was the same thing in Michigan. Mitt Romney lost every single lower income bracket to Rick Santorum.

Everybody who makes less than $100,000 a year in those brackets, he lost. But he won so big among the wealthiest sliver of the electorate that he was able to win the entire state. He`s only able to win because he wins with wealthy people, even when he loses with everyone else.

This is sort of how Mitt Romney has been winning. There are now 16 states with entrance or exit polling data, where, for example, you find out what somebody`s income is who has voted.

Mitt Romney has won the wealthiest sliver of the electorate in 14 of the 16 states for which we know that kind of information about the voters. The only states where he has not won the wealthiest sliver are Alabama and Mississippi.

But remember, he got creamed in Alabama and Mississippi. He lost everybody there. He didn`t even come in second place in Alabama and Mississippi; he came in third in both of those states.

So, yes, Mitt Romney is the rich guy campaign. He owns the richest voters.

The other reason Mitt Romney is available to do interviews at FOX News, across the street from here, is because Mr. Romney has been in New York City the last couple of days raising money from New York City zillionaires, which, financially, I`m sure makes more sense than, say, flying to Oregon for a primary that`s two months away.

Come on, Oregon, what were you thinking?

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