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MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript

Interview

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MADDOW: Joining us tonight for the interview, I`m very happy to say, is Senator James Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Senator Inhofe, thank you so much for being here. I`m really happy that you`re able to be here tonight.

INHOFE: Well, Rachel, you won`t believe this, but I`m happy to be here with you.

MADDOW: When I talk about all those investigations clearing the scientists and the university and I talk about the general consensus what happened with climategate being different from your consensus, do you feel I`m part of the hoax? Do you feel I`m being misled? How do you feel about that?

INHOFE: First of all, you talked about FOX News and some of the right wing, as you refer to them. Let me talk about the left wing and how they responded to it.

This climategate was a big deal, hold on, just a minute now, you got to listen to this. "The U.K. Telegraph", one of the biggest ones in London. They said it`s the worst scandal of our generation. "The Financial Times" said the stink of the intellectual corruption is overpowering, the IPCC -- this is one that came from the United Nations, was a fraud on a scale I have never seen before.

The U.N. scientists, and this guy, Dr. Phillip Lloyd, called it the fraud result is not scientific. "Newsweek" finally changed their position and came out and was condemning it.

I mean, you can`t find anyone white-washing thing except you.

MADDOW: Wait. Hold on. I don`t have an opinion on it, though.

What I was citing was the University of East Anglia, the British House of Commons, the Penn State investigation, and the American government`s investigation.

INHOFE: Everyone you named was someone investigating themselves. What is different here is --

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW: Higher external researchers to do it. There was nobody from the university, they hired an external, independent investigative unit to look into it.

Do you think that East Anglia was corrupt?

(CROSSTALK)

INHOFE: East Anglia and these organizations here, these are news organizations quite frankly, three of the five I read were very much on the liberal side of this issue for a long period of time.

MADDOW: "The Telegraph"?

INHOFE: But, you know, so, instead of you and me talking about what our opinion is, let`s look and see who the media what studied this is. Yes, I`d say "The U.K. Telegraph," that`s the first one I mentioned.

MADDOW: That`s the most conservative paper in Britain. You know how we have partisan TV, they have non-partisan --

(CROSSTALK)

INHOFE: They`ve got other problems too.

MADDOW: They have non-partisan news on TV in Britain, but they have really partisan papers and "The Telegraph" is the most right wing of all papers. "The Financial Times" --

INHOFE: They say the intellectual corruption is overpowering, would you say the same about "The Financial Times"?

MADDOW: Whatever you think about "The Financial Times", I think saying that liberals have decided that climategate was real was an overstatement. I mean, I think the British House of Commons looking into
sort of matters more than what conservative papers in England think about it, right?

INHOFE: You know, when this thing came out. the appropriate thing you may not have remembered, Rachel, is that I asked the question of Lisa Jackson. By the way, you and Lisa Jackson and Barbara Boxer are my three favorite liberals, I enjoy watching you very much.

Lisa even has a picture of my 20 kids and grandkids hanging on her wall. She and I get along fine.

I asked her the question before I left for Copenhagen. I said, you know, have a feeling, as soon as I get out of town, you`re going to have an endangerment finding so that you can regulate the very thing you could not pass legislatively, that`s cap and trade. She kind of smiled, and I said when this happens, what science are you going to use? She said, well, of course, the IPPC.

Now, that`s what we`ve been talking about here. Everything that is coming out in terms of regulation or, I should say, overregulation, is going to be predicated on this science, and this is the serious problem
that we have.

By the away, when I talk about the cost of this thing, back during the time that we`re looking at Kyoto, then we have the McCain/Lieberman bill, we had all these cap and trade bills, the cost to the American taxpayers would be between $300 billion and $400 billion a year.

Now, Rachel, if you look at that, go back to what I thought was the biggest tax increase in three decades, the Clinton/Gore increase of `93. This would be 10 times that great.

Do you realize I was actually on your side of this issue when I was chairing that committee and first heard about this? I thought it must be true until I found out what it would cost. When I started questioning the
science, our phone was ringing off the hook in my office in Washington by scientists who said that they were -- they were rejected from the process because they didn`t agree with the conclusion.

So, I`d say it`s a rigged deal.

MADDOW: Well, here`s one issue that I had with your book and, I think, your overall approach to the issue. You take small anecdotes and you extrapolate to the broader conclusion that there is no global warming.

For example, you write that in the past, in the 1970s, the media wrote scary stories about a coming Ice Age.

INHOFE: Oh, yes.

MADDOW: And you use that as a data point to point out, to prove there is no global warming today, because the media was wrong before and so there is no global warming today. Or you write that not all scientists agree there is global warming happening, and that`s true.

But something like 97 percent of scientists in relevant fields do agree -- and you`re right, they don`t all agree, but they mostly do, and you never -- you never concede that in your arguments.

INHOFE: That isn`t true, Rachel. You say something over and over and over again and sooner or later, people are -- particularly your audience, there`s a liberal audience, they want to believe it. Except for me, I
watch you all the time. I want to see what the other side is doing.

But this 97 percent, that doesn`t mean anything. I named, literally, thousands of scientists on the floor. I didn`t name them all by name, but had them on a Web site people could refer to. These are top people.

And I know you get tired of hearing from Richard Lindzen from MIT. But he`s the guy that was talking about the severity of this. He said, cap and trade or global warming is a -- regulating cap and trade is a
bureaucrats dream. If you regulate carbon, you regulate life.

And so, I`d have to tell you, I know you disagree with this, and I know that Larry Combs (ph) disagrees with this, because I had an interview with him. But that`s, in my opinion, what it`s all about.

MADDOW: OK, the only point I would say is I think your argument would be stronger if you don`t try to make it seem like all scientists are on your side on this, most scientists aren`t on your side. And you`ve done a good job highlighting the ones that are --

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW: But you do have to concede that numerically, more people are on the other side.

INHOFE: That`s not true. That`s not true.

MADDOW: You don`t think that more scientists --

INHOFE: Everyone believes that because it came from the IPCC.

And, again, I hope if you read the book. Have you read the book?

MADDOW: I have read the book. I read the whole thing.

INHOFE: Did you read the whole thing on the United Nations?

MADDOW: Yes, I read the whole thing.

INHOFE: OK, that`s fine.

MADDOW: I got to say, let me -- let me bring up one other thing.

You joke in your book, when people ask you how much of your campaign contributions come from the energy industry, you answer "not enough," which is a very funny answer and your top three donors are Koch Industries, big part of their business is petroleum refining; Murray Industry, a coal company; and Devin Energy, which is an oil and gas natural company.

INHOFE: And they`re a great group. Let me mention to you --

MADDOW: Hold on. Let me just ask you a question -- why wouldn`t a reasonable person learn that about you and assume that your anti-global warming, pro-fossil fuel stance is what your donors are paying for?

INHOFE: Because we hear things about big oil, what you named there is not all that big of oil. But it doesn`t really make any difference. There`s an article that you would love, and I dare say you haven`t seen it
yet. It was in "Mature" magazine, a very liberal publication, or publication on your side, and they talk about this thing from American University, and they analyze.

They say, why is it we, on the global warming side, are not winning? We are spending more money, we have the media on our side eight to ten, 80 percent of the media is on our side, yet we`re losing. And then they go into the detail as to how much money actually comes out.

Did you know, and I dare say a lot of your guys on your program in your camp don`t realize that the environmentalist groups raised, and this is in the period of 2009-2010, $1.7 billion as opposed to the other side, $900 million. So, you`re talking about spending twice as much money. And that`s --

MADDOW: You think that the environmental groups have more money to spend on this issue than the entire energy industry?

INHOFE: Absolutely.

MADDOW: The energy industry is the poor partner here?

INHOFE: You get to MoveOn.org, the George Soros, the Michael Moores, and all the Hollywood elites, and all your good friends out there -- yes, they sure do.

MADDOW: I would put Michael Moore up against Exxon any day.

INHOFE: Hey, Rachel, this is in their article.

MADDOW: OK.

INHOFE: And, again, it pretty well-documented. So, I suggest you read that, maybe the most recent copy. Anyway, about the study that was done by American University.

So, you could use the argument, but, you know, assuming that you`re bought and paid for. All I want to do in energy is be self sufficient, Rachel. We have more recoverable reserves than any country in the world.
We have more than any country in coal, oil, and gas. We could be completely self sufficient from the Middle East just with our -- with the Canada, Mexico, and us, in a very short period of time.

We`re the only country in the world that doesn`t exploit our own resources.

Now, you heard today the president made a speech where he talked about he wants all the above and all that. But, again, when it gets down to it, I`m sure it upsets a lot of your people out there. But he really doesn`t. He has fought this tooth and nail, fossil fuels.

MADDOW: Oil production has gone up. Oil production has gone up under President Obama compared to what it was under President Bush.

INHOFE: Yes, it has. Absolutely. And there`s a good reason for that because of the new shale findings are there.

MADDOW: So, but talking about him as a guy who`s stopping production is not true.

INHOFE: No, no -- look at all in -- you normally don`t expect it, in New York, in Pennsylvania, the Marcellus there, all the opportunities. We have a guy named Harold Hamm (ph), who`s up right now in North Dakota.
He`s from Enid, Oklahoma. He`s the largest producer up there now.

You know what his biggest problem is, his biggest problem is -- they are fully employed, can`t find anyone to work.

So, anyone who`s watching us right --

MADDOW: The point you made here is President Obama is blocking production and doesn`t want us to be producing energy. Energy production, oil production in particular, is up under President Obama versus President Bush. So, making this a problem with President Obama doesn`t make any sense no matter what anybody --

INHOFE: Well, it makes sense because these finds took place, they were into the oil sands the way they are now. And that`s what it`s made -- when I say we could run the United States of America at present consumption for 90 years on natural gas and 60 years on oil, that`s true today. If we were having this conversation two months from now, it would probably be 110 years and 80 years because of what`s going on out there. But that`s in spite of the president.

(LAUGHTER)

INHOFE: The president will tell you that he`s done everything he can to stop fossil fuels, hasn`t he?

MADDOW: And they`ve gone up under him. Senator Inhofe, I know you are a free market capitalist, so you`ll understand that we have to take a commercial break for a second. Do you mind sticking around?

INHOFE: I`d love to.

MADDOW: All right. Thank you. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma when we come back, in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Joining us again for the interview is Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma.

Senator, thank you very much for staying with us. I`m glad you could.

INHOFE: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: One of the things that`s buoyant and happy in your book is that you pretty gleefully talk about criticism you have received as a senator. I was very flattered that in a couple of different times in the
book, you talk about me mentioning you on the show. You specifically called me out on a show that I did where I talked about you December 3rd, 2009. Did you actually watch that show that you mentioned in the book?

INHOFE: You have to repeat it. What happened on December 3rd?

MADDOW: December 3rd, 2009, I mentioned you on my show, and you, twice in the book, write about how I talked about you on my show. I`m wondering if you actually saw the show or somebody just gave you --

INHOFE: Well, I`m sure I did. But, you know, this book is 320 pages of fine print. I can`t remember exactly what happened on that date. If you tell me, I`ll tell you whether or not, you know?

MADDOW: It`s the part about me, so I just wanted to -- you made it seem in your book I went after you because you had just gone to the Copenhagen summit.

INHOFE: Oh, I see.

MADDOW: That wasn`t what I was talking about actually on most part of the show that night.

Here`s what we did on the show that day and what we talked about. I just want you to see it now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The Family, of course, the secretive religious organization that runs the dormitory for lawmakers in Washington is led by a man named Doug Coe. Republican Senator James Inhofe credits Doug Coe with launching his own activism in Africa.

INHOFE: Doug Coe has always been behind the scenes and very quiet. He talked me into going to Africa, I had no interest in going to Africa.

MADDOW: Religious conservatives saw Uganda specifically as a place that they can some real influence. Uganda`s first lady became an emphatically born again Christian. Her husband, the president, is believed
to have serious ties to the Family. Same goes to the ethics minister of Uganda, as well as legislators there. Senator Sam Brownback traveled there to look into the AIDS issue in 2005. Senator James Inhofe made at least 20 trips to Africa just since 1999, mostly to Uganda, as well as Ethiopia.

In March of this year, a group of three American evangelicals traveled to Uganda for a conference on the evils of homosexuality. There message was that homosexuality is a choice, that it can be cured by a relationship with Jesus. There`s been a dual effort under way here -- anti-gay proselytizing by American evangelicals and assurances from conservative American politicians that we can solve that nation`s AIDS problem.

The culmination of these efforts, this massive focus on Uganda is a piece of legislation that`s been introduced in that country now that attempts, it says, to tackle the AIDS problem in that country and the
problem of homosexuality all at once. It`s a bill that calls for the execution for any gay Ugandan who`s HIV-positive who was caught having sex, death by hanging specifically. And it`s not just gay Ugandans, who are HIV positive who are being targeted. The sentence just for being gay is life imprisonment.

This bill was written by a Ugandan legislator, reportedly taken in by Senator James Inhofe and the Family here in America. We`ve been repeated calls to the offices of Senator James Inhofe and Senator Sam Brownback, we have yet to hear back from either of them on this issue, despite the fact they`ve been so proudly outspoken on issues affecting Uganda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Senator, when you talked about that show in your book, you made it sound I was going after you for Copenhagen. But that was the actual context, and that "kill the gays" bill is back now. I`m wondering
if you want to weigh in on that issue for the first time publicly and say if you`re for it or against it?

INHOFE: Are you saying, are you suggesting, Rachel, I want to make sure everyone understands this -- that I am for executing gays? That I somehow knew something about what their philosophy is over there and what they`re doing legislatively?

I know Uganda, I now Ethiopia, I know Ghana, I know Benin, I know Africa better than anyone else certainly in the United States Senate. I`ve spent a lot of time over there. I`ve developed close relations over there.

And when 9/11 happened, I was -- since I was the only member of the Armed Services Committee who knew where Africa was, and we were making a decision to get into Africa to help train them to resist all the things coming into the state, into the country, into the continent. That`s what I did. So I do know Africa well.

As far as Doug Coe is concerned, you know, I think, when you hear about persecution for the sake (INAUDIBLE) I can`t think of a better example. I wish you knew Doug Coe. I`ve never known anyone in my life that just loves everyone. You know I see him persecuted and my heart bleeds for him. I do -- I`m sorry you did that. That`s way out of --

MADDOW: I did that in 2009. That`s what you were quoting me from totally out of context. I mean, the reason I`m asking --

(CROSSTALK)

INHOFE: Then I go with what I said. I think it`s really bad. When you go after a guy like that just because he believes -- I`m sorry, go ahead.

MADDOW: The "kill the gays" bill sponsor has brought the bill back now. He`s telling reporters as of last month that the whole idea for the "kill the gays" bill came from, as "the New York Times" put it, quote, a
conversation with members of the Fellowship, aka, the Family in 2008 --

INHOFE: No, it`s just wrong.

MADDOW: This is what he says. This is how he explains where the bill came from.

INHOFE: Who is he?

MADDOW: This is David Bahati. He says he was told by Americans that it was too late in America to propose such legislation. That`s David Bahati speaking to "The New York Times."

INHOFE: And can you tell me who he is? I`ve never heard of him.

MADDOW: David Bahati was described as The Family and The Fellowship`s key man in Ugandan. Did you ever talk to any Ugandan legislators --

INHOFE: How would I know if -- how could -- I don`t have any idea who you`re talking about. And I certainly don`t have any idea on these accusations of executing gays.

You know, let`s talk about the book. Let`s talk about something to do with global warming instead of getting off on these hysterical things.

MADDOW: Certainly, sir, this isn`t hysterical. This is the context in which you brought me up in your book, totally out of context. And so, I`m trying to redress something that`s wrong in your book. I wasn`t
talking about Copenhagen when I brought you up. I was talking about Uganda and your contacts with Ugandan legislators and influential people in Uganda who claim their relationship with American conservatives such as yourself, associated with the Fellowship, is how they came up with the "kill the
gays" bill. That`s why I`m asking you.

INHOFE: Yes. I don`t know. I don`t know anything about it and the individuals you`re talking about, I don`t know -- I do know Doug Coe, and I can`t think of a greater injustice being done to any great person than what`s been done to him.

MADDOW: Well, I`d be happy to talk to him if he returns my calls. We`ve tried to contact him a number of times on this issue and he won`t talk.

INHOFE: OK, that sounds good.

MADDOW: Well, let me just ask you one question so we can agree on something -- end on something we agree with.

INHOFE: Did you like the chapter about the igloo my daughter wrote?

MADDOW: It was a funny anecdote. The fact your family calls you Popeye for Pop Inhofe. It`s very cute.

INHOFE: Yes, Popeye. Yes, I always remember when my granddaughter came over to the school, and this is country story. I think this might be in the book, she said, Popeye, she`s in the fifth grade, why is don`t you
understand global warming? And I said, well, why did you ask that?

I went back and checked. She was in a public school. Everything came from the Environmental Protection Agency brainwashing my grandkids in school. This is one of the things is my goal to stop. That is unelected
bureaucrats taking positions, contrary to the elected officials in brainwashing our kids. That would be a good subject for you and me to talk about sometime.

MADDOW: Well, here`s something on which I think we might be able agree on, whether or not we agree on brainwashing. It is the issue of free market capitalism and energy.

Even if we don`t agree on global warming, shouldn`t you and I agree that taxpayers shouldn`t be giving $4 billion a year in subsidies to the oil industry because the oil industry is so profitable? And even if
they`re not profitable, shouldn`t the free market be taking care of that? Why are we subsidizing oil?

INHOFE: Well, first of all, I don`t call that a subsidy, those are taxes. When they talk about the manufacturing tax that they`re talking about repealing, that Obama`s been trying to go in his effort to do away with fossil fuels, that`s a tax that all manufacturers pay and that`s one that is for them.

Now, you talk about the subsidies, what about subsidies for wind, for solar, all of those subsidies? And I have to say, a lot of those came during the Bush administration. So, that`d be a good topic to talk about.

MADDOW: But the $4 billion in taxes they would pay if they weren`t singled out to get a tax subsidy for their manufacturing, don`t you think that the oil industry can handle that on their own? They don`t need that kind of help, do they?

INHOFE: They`re actually doing very well right now. I`m glad we`re finding this -- they are key do being self-sufficient. I think it could happen.

By the way, we do agree on one other thing, Rachel, and that is -- and I say the same thing about my friend, Barbara Boxer. I really love people who are liberal and are honest about it. The ones I don`t like are the hypocrites.

I had a good friend that was a very liberal person I served with in Congress who`s deceased now. I said, how in the world can you get by with all those liberal positions? And you`re from the state of Oklahoma? He
said, it`s very -- it`s easy, Inhofe, all you do is vote liberal and press release conservative. We have a lot of them.

Can you name one person who votes conservative and press releases liberal?

MADDOW: Well, a lot of liberals think that about most Democrats -- that Democrats try to seem more liberal than they are and go along with you guys too much.

So I think this is -- we live at opposite ends of the telescope, Senator. When you look into the middle, we can`t see much of each other. But I appreciate us at least trying. I`m grateful that you were here
tonight.

INHOFE: You bet.

MADDOW: Thank you.

INHOFE: Thank you.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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