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Interview with Representative Barney Frank

By Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel Maddow Show - September 20, 2012

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOWSeptember 20, 2012

Guests: Veronica Degraffenreid, Barney Frank

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Good evening, Ed. Thank you, my friend. I have to ask you about that clip you just played from the debate in Boston.

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC: Sure.

MADDOW: What is wrong with Elizabeth Warren being Native American?

SCHULTZ: There`s nothing wrong with that. That`s why I asked, you know, why would he go down that road? It`s a cheap shot. Do people in Massachusetts, or anywhere in this country, really care about ethnicity now when it comes to public service? I mean, I think that it was just a marquee mistake on his part to go down that road.

MADDOW: It is amazing to me. You know, it didn`t move the polls when he was doing it before and it ultimately comes down to him saying, she shouldn`t be a senator because she`s Native American.

SCHULTZ: How do you think she handled the answer? I thought it was terrific.

MADDOW: I mean, I think she has the moral high ground on this. I think if I were her, I would show more outrage. I think that what she explained is sort of un-controvertible but he is proving to try -- he is trying to make it an issue. I find it remarkable. I don`t understand why it`s sort of not more of a scandal.

SCHULTZ: Well, from the clips I saw, I think she showed tremendous poise tonight. This was her first real debate on the big stage at this level in politics. Rachel, thanks.

MADDOW: Thank, man. Appreciate it.

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

I will confess to being slightly more allergic to reporting on new polls than the average person who works in cable news. Generally, I think that polls are made to seem more important than they are, most days. In terms of predictive value for elections that are sometimes really far away. Right? Far away in time.

But at this point in the election, when we are less than 50 days out and the playing field has narrowed for the presidency, too few enough states that you do not need two full hands to count them, now, now is the time to go ahead and look. Now is the time to actually be following these day-by-day.

This week earlier on the show we showed you a version of this map. The swing states and the maybe swing states in the election along with what the current polling shows us about who is winning. We updated these numbers today. But, with regard to who is ahead in these swing states and where, not much has changed. Mitt Romney still leads in one of these nine states. In New Hampshire.

And if you look at North Carolina, you can see governor Romney had been ahead in North Carolina, but the latest poll out of North Carolina now shows the North Carolina race to be tied 46-46.

Here`s the other number you need to know about North Carolina right now. It is that one, 30,000. That`s the number of voters who are on the North Carolina voting rolls that a self-appointed, supposedly nonpartisan tea party outfit has announced should be stripped from the rolls, 30,000 people.

The tea party group says 30,000 need to be dropped off the North Carolina voting rolls because this group, this tea party group has determined that those 30,000 voters are all dead people. And the group is, therefore, challenging those voter registrations now in North Carolina with the election less than 50 days away.

Couple of weeks ago this group calling itself the voter integrity project in North Carolina delivered a list of almost 30,000 names to that state`s board of elections. The group`s leader said that 90 percent of the names on the list should be taken off the rolls for sure and handed those names to the election officials.

Now, they got tons of dramatic great press when they did that. Here`s one local TV station in North Carolina reporting because this group told them so that these 30,000 North Carolina voters on this list are dead. They say so.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Volunteers focused on finding dead voters say they have proof of the widespread problem across the state. Members from the voter integrity project cross referenced date to from the public health department with registered voters. Of the state`s six million voters, 30,000 are dead? And while it`s a small percentage, the group`s executive director says it has significant implications.

JAY DELANCY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VOTER INTEGRITY PROJECT: Thirty thousand is a lot of people, considering the last presidential election was won by 14,000 or close to 15,000. So yes, you look at it as a percentage, you go so what, this amount of number. But that`s a lot of people on the roll, and any of them could have their identity stolen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: The group says it doesn`t know how many of the 30,000 names were actually used to vote illegally yet. Next step, volunteers will match names with voting records.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Doesn`t know how many of those names were used to vote illegally yet. Of the state`s six million voters, 30,000 are dead. That`s the press on the Voter Integrity Project in the swing state of North Carolina.

But guess what? Those 30,000 people are not all dead, even if this Tea Party affiliated Voter Integrity Project says they are. We know these people aren`t dead because North Carolina officials started the laborious process of reviewing this list of allegedly dead voters last week. They whittled the list down to 5,000 names that matched up enough for a second look and started sending out letters to those voters. And the results so far have been spectacular.

Look at this. One voter, Carolyn Perry has been voting in North Carolina since 1967. This month, she got a letter from her county board of elections saying she might not be qualified to vote anymore on account of she might be dead.

She says, quote, "my initial reaction, I was mad as hell." Yes. Understandably. Carolyn Perry`s county is sending these "you might be dead" letters to 148 voters because of this kick the people off the voting rolls process that was started by a North Carolina tea party group. They sent letters to these voters alleging they are dead and actually already 42 of the people on the list have raised their living hands and said, hold on there, hold on there a minute, now, I do not appear to be dead, at least when I look at myself in the mirror.

So far, North Carolina elections officials say they have found not a single instance, not one, of anybody on the tea party group`s challenge list who has voted when they were not supposed to vote. So the press is saying, because this tea party group says so, that 30,000 of the voters in North Carolina, 30,000 of the votes in North Carolina were maybe cast in dead people`s names. Right? 30,000, massive fraud. The real number, at least so far, is zero.

As for Carolyn Perry, she told the local press her theory on why she got challenged. She said, quote, "I`m a senior, and I`m African-American and I`m not registered in the same party they are most likely." Carolyn Perry I should tell you is a Democrat.

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