MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript

Interview

By:  Barney Frank
Date: Oct. 1, 2012
Location: Unknown

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Congressman Frank, thank you for being here. I appreciate your time tonight.

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: You`re welcome.

MADDOW: What do you think were the salient political differences between debate one and debate two? We spoke after the first debate as well.

FRANK: Well, I was frankly disappointed in David Gregory`s choice of topics. To spend many minutes on this nonissue of Cherokee ancestry and about a minute and a half on Afghanistan is about as bad a set of priorities as I have seen. I understand the format, (INAUDIBLE) David Gregory well.

But beyond that though, there were two extraordinary moments. One was when Senator Brown, and I would hope this would get a lot of focus, when he
claimed he hasn`t made up his mind who he is going to support for majority
leader. Then I must tell you that it`s wholly improbable (ph). I think everyone including him knows he`s going to vote Mitch McConnell as majority leader.

What you got here is a confirmation of the fact that the Massachusetts voters are fairly sophisticated, and they are now (ph) prepared to vote for President Obama, the numbers you actually quoted, and then put into the majority leadership of the Senate a man who says his number one agenda is to frustrate President Obama. You also have Scott Brown literally raising money with an e-mail that says, "Send me money so I can help check the Obama agenda."

So you have his recognition that what he plans to do is -- you talk about credibility for him to claim he hasn`t made up his mind for majority leader is literally non-credible.

The other issue is when he was asked who were his best Supreme Court justices, his first mention was Scalia. I think as you sat there, you could see him say to himself, maybe that wasn`t the best thing to say.

He`s a man who claims he is supportive of the women`s right to choose.

He said he believes in legal equality for LGBT people, that these women should get equal pay for equal work. And the first word out of his mouth when asked about Supreme Court justice he preferred is a ranting, fervent opponent of all those causes.

So, I think what you got was Scott Brown -- the other thing that struck me when Scott Brown at least a half dozen times when asked on issues, I have an open mind on this. Well, I think he`s kind of crossing the line from independent into incoherence, and it`s because he understands that if he were to say what he really plans to vote, it would be unattractive to the voters.

MADDOW: I was home in Massachusetts this weekend and I was struck by seeing a lot of Scott Brown signs and a lot of Elizabeth Warren signs and a lot of Obama/Biden signs and not a single Romney sign evident anywhere I went in western and central Massachusetts all weekend long. I wonder if Scott Brown could do anything to make himself seem like a non-Republican nominee at this point that you think would be credible. Is there a way that he could separate himself from the national party?

FRANK: No. He`s trying very hard, but it`s not credible. In the first place, as I said, he`s sending out e-mails. We have seen the documents where he says give me money so I can block the Obama agenda.

Elect me so I can be a part of the check on President Obama.

We also have his voting record. Someone -- I was just talking frankly to former Governor Michael Dukakis who said that he noted that of the first 32 votes on breaking filibusters when Scott Brown was in the Senate, he voted with his Republican colleagues 30 of the 32 times. Once it was a little bit announced, he`s begun to moderate that a little bit more.

Well, he will try hard to dissemble. Frankly, I think the notion he hasn`t made up his mind for majority leader is one of the least honest things I have heard said. And he`s going to have the -- this is going to be his serious bump. He`s going to vote to Mitch McConnell. He`s going to make some of the most implausible right wingers, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, (INAUDIBLE), Elizabeth Warren said, in power, a man who would be destructive in any effort to deal with the environment.

So, no, I don`t see any way for him to credibly deny he is what he is,
a Republican. By the way, he was a Republican member of the state legislature for 20 years. He`s a lifelong politician. Not that there`s anything wrong with that since I have been a lifelong politician, though I hope not to be lifelong, because I hope to live after I retire. But I was longtime politician.

He was never seen as a moderate or an independent. He was a very Conventional Republican. He understands that to survive in Massachusetts,
he has to give the appearance of independence, but as I said, it comes across as incoherence.

MADDOW: Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, thank you so much
for joining us tonight. It`s great to see you. I know there`s a couple more debates. I hope I can monopolize you after those as well.

FRANK: OK.

MADDOW: Thank you, sir.

FRANK: Thank you.

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