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[00:00:00]

The Rachel Maddow Show weeknights at 9:00 Eastern on MSNBC. Vice President Biden today recounted the story, which he is told before that he recounted the story of what he agreed with President Obama when President Obama asked Biden to be his running mate in 2008. Now, Biden has told the story before. It is sort of part of Joe Biden's lore, right? Him talking about getting that call and the discussion he had with President Obama when they agreed to become a ticket and run together in 2008.

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We've heard Biden explain this, but today with his his own newly minted running mate by his side, this story very much took on new resonance because Joe Biden today said that what he asked President Obama 12 years ago about becoming Obama's running mate. That's also what he's asking Kamala Harris now. When I agreed to serve as President Obama's running mate, he asked me what I wanted. Most importantly, I told him I wanted to be the last person in the room before he made important decisions.

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That's what I asked Kamela as common to be the last voice in the room to always tell me the truth, which he will challenge my assumptions if she disagrees, ask the hard questions, because that's the way we make the best decisions for the American people. Kamala, you've been an honorary Biden for quite some time. You know, I came first to know who Kamala was through our son, Beau Biden. They were friends. They served as attorney general.

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At the same time, they took the same big they took on the same big fights together, common in California, Beau here in Delaware, big fights and helped change the entire country. I know how much Beau respected common in her work. And that matter a lot to me, to be honest with you, as I made this decision. So now we need to get to work pulling this nation out of these crises. We find ourselves and getting our economy back on track, uniting this nation and yes, winning the battle for the soul of America.

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My fellow Americans, now let me introduce to you for the first time your next vice president of United States, Kamala Harris. It will always be an odd artifact of this time of this presidential election, of this year in history, that there isn't any applause at those moments. Right. There isn't a cheering crowd even for an event like this. I will tell you, some people apparently did nevertheless show up outside this closed Biden and Harris event today, even though the public wasn't invited in.

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Four people showed up just to hold a sign supporting them or to run to catch a glimpse, to try to catch a glimpse of one of them as Biden and Harris drove up to go to the event. Look at people running to try to see as they drove up. But the public couldn't come inside. Inside, it was just the candidates and their families and the press, and that, of course, is because of the epidemic. After she was introduced by Biden at this event today, Senator Kamala Harris took the podium as a vice presidential candidate for the first time.

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She hopped up on the little box at the podium because she is not as tall as you think and Joe Biden is taller than you think. But when she began to speak, she proved immediately that the one thing nobody likes to admit, a vice presidential pick is for the one thing everybody knows, but nobody likes to talk about, about this part of presidential politics, which is that a vice presidential pick must be able to go on the attack against the other side.

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Senator Harris today showed immediately right out of the gate that, yeah, that's not going to be a problem for her. This is a moment of real consequence for America, everything we care about our economy, our health, our children, the kind of country we live in, it's all on the line. We're reeling from the worst public health crisis in a century. The president's mismanagement of the pandemic has plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

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And let me tell you, as somebody who has presented my fair share of arguments in court, the case against Donald Trump and Mike Pence is open and shut. Just look where they've gotten us more than 16 million out of work, millions of kids who cannot go back to school, more than one hundred and sixty five thousand lives that have been cut short, many with loved ones who never got the chance to say goodbye. It didn't have to be this way when other countries are following the science, Trump pushed miracle cures he saw on Fox News while other countries were flattening the curve.

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He said the virus would just, poof, go away, quote, like a miracle. So when other countries open back up for business, what did we do? We had to shut down again. This virus has impacted almost every country, but there's a reason it has hit America worse than any other advanced nation. It's because of Trump's failure to take it seriously from the start, his refusal to get testing up and running, his flip flopping on social distancing and wearing masks, his delusional belief that he knows better than the experts.

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All of that is reason and the reason that an American dies of covid-19 every 80 seconds. It's why countless businesses have had to shut their doors for good. It's why there is complete chaos over when and how to reopen our schools. Mothers and fathers are confused and uncertain and angry about child care and the safety of their kids at school, whether they'll be in danger if they go or fall behind if they don't. Trump is also the reason millions of Americans are now unemployed.

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He inherited the longest economic expansion in history from Barack Obama and Joe Biden. And then, like everything else he inherited, he ran it straight into the ground.

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He ran it straight, and I don't think this part of the running mate job is going to be a problem for senator and Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris. The part with the presidential candidate talks about what he wants to do and his positive vision for the nation. And the vice presidential candidate takes on the job of defining and attacking the other side. Yeah, no worries. She's going to be fine at that. Kind of seems like she was actually sort of made for that, at least in this moment.

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The right and the Trump campaign clearly haven't decided how they want to try to attack her yet. The president literally tonight sent out an email saying she's, quote, horrible. OK, I actually laughed out loud, quite hard when I saw the conservative magazine, The National Review say that in choosing Kamala Harris, Joe Biden was choosing authoritarianism as his running mates ruined her.

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I mean, here's President Trump literally calling for the election to be postponed and ordering federal agents without name badges or ID to go attack and gas peaceful protesters in the streets. But Kamala Harris is authoritarianism personified. Really? National Review her. OK. Yeah, I mean, they do not. Doesn't she look like authoritarianism personified? They don't know how they want to run against her yet. Calling her a horrible is a nice start, I suppose. But they'll come up with more adjectives that come up with something that come up with everything.

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Who knows? Tonight, we're going to be joined by two women who were themselves considered for this gig, Susan Rice, U.N. ambassador and national security adviser to President Obama. She was in the Obama administration and high profile important national security positions for all eight years. She is a long time trusted colleague of Vice President Biden. She enjoys a very close relationship with him. She was reportedly in contention for the vice presidential slot until the very last. Susan Rice has already issued congratulations to Senator Harris has has congratulated Vice President Biden on the Picchi has said that she she has said that she thinks Biden and Harris will be unbeatable as a ticket.

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Ambassador Susan Rice is going to be joining us here live in just a few minutes. We're also going to be joined tonight by Senator Amy Klobuchar, who, of course, herself ran hard against both Biden and Harris to try to win the nomination for herself. Ultimately, she took herself out of the running as a potential vice presidential pick for Biden. She said that Biden should instead pick a woman of color to run with him. Senator Klobuchar didn't just issue a statement of support when Biden announced Kamala Harris as his running mate.

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She said she was, quote, filled with joy about the fact that Senator Harris was the pick filled with joy. Senator Klobuchar is going to join us live in just a moment as well. Senator Klobuchar, I should tell you, also is deep in the fight right now over what is turning out to be one of the very dark turns that the president and this administration are taking to try apparently to mess with the election. Senator Klobuchar is the lead author tonight of this letter from all.

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Forty seven Democratic U.S. senators pushing President Trump's newly appointed head of the Postal Service to reverse the things he's already done to slow down the mail and to take back and rescind his threats that the delivery of ballots in advance of what's about to be our country's first mostly mail in ballot election. He's threatening that the delivery of ballots and the return of ballots is at risk by policies that he wants to change in the Postal Service in terms of how political mail is handled.

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Senator Klobuchar taking the lead on this, quote, Many state deadlines allow voters to request absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots within a few days of Election Day. So it is vital that standard delivery times remain low and pricing remain consistent with past practices to which election officials and voters are accustomed. Again, that letter tonight from all the Democrats in the Senate held by Senator Klobuchar is going to join us in just a moment. The Democrats in the House are pushing the same way now in this which was just sent to Trump's postmaster general from the house tonight.

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They say, quote, It is always essential that the postal service be able to deliver mail in a timely and effective manner during the once in a century health and economic crisis of covid-19. Though the Postal Service's smooth functioning is a matter of life or death and is critical for protecting lives and livelihoods and the life of our American democracy. And then they get very specific, quote, The House is seriously concerned that your implementing policies that accelerate the crisis at the Postal Service, including directing post offices to no longer treat all election mail as first class if implemented.

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Now, as the election approaches, these policy changes will cause further delays to election mail that will disenfranchise voters. And this this may sound like kind of a picayune thing, like treating election mail as first class mail as opposed to not first class mail.

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But this is like this is this is a really big deal. It is the long standing practice of the post office to treat election mail, to treat political mail as first class mail. And the Trump administration really has just stopped that less than 90 days out from this election. That is going to be the first mostly vote by mail election that we've ever had. And that change that they have implemented could be the difference between us all getting ballots on time and getting them counted on time or not.

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And it's by design. The Washington Post tonight has this from a postal worker in Michigan who's sort of blowing the whistle, but on the condition of anonymity, quote, Every political season, we treat political mail like first class mail. It was always the priority to go out. Now they're treating it like bulk rate mail, first class mail. We always try to get it to you. We forward it to you. If you moved, we try to find you.

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But the bulk mail that doesn't go out, we recycle it. Now we are recycling political mail, and by recycling, they mean throwing it away. For accountability reasons, the way things work in the Postal Service before now. Just in case something went wrong in an election because something got screwed up in the political mail around that election. Right now, the Postal Service's operations manual says managers and postmasters have to keep a log of any political mail their offices receive to make sure stuff doesn't go Watkis right to make sure there aren't shenanigans.

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But according to postal workers under the new Trump guy who Trump has just installed, under the new rules and practices that he's put in place, they're not even doing that. They're not even documenting what political mail they're handling, despite the fact that the Postal Service manual says they have to, according to postal worker in Michigan. Speaking with The Washington Post tonight, quote, Keeping up a log of political mail is the lowest form of accountability. It's the lowest form of keeping track of this mail.

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But now we are not doing it. So, again, the revelation here is that these changes are not just proposed. They're not just something that's potentially worrying about how they're going to mishandle a political mail deliberately in order to slow it down and in some cases ensure that it gets thrown away instead of delivered. It's not just a threat to do this. Postal workers now saying that's what's happening.

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So we're going to talk with Senator Klobuchar about that and more coming up. Again, she's kind of taking point on this in the United States Senate. In related news, you should know that in the perennial swing state of Ohio, they've got their own new trouble. There's a Republican secretary of state there who today announced that local officials are not allowed to put out any new drop boxes for people to drop off their ballots. Right. That's one of the safeguards just in case the mail is slow in getting people their ballots or in case people are worried it'll be too slow for sending back their ballots.

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Right.

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If you're worried about that or something's gone wrong in terms of the mail being screwed up with you requesting and receiving a ballot, filling it in and mailing it back in one of the safeguards that Ohio had put in place and lots of states have put in place is that instead of putting your completed ballot in the mail, you could drop it off yourself at a Dropbox specifically set up for this purpose. That's the way they do it in states all over the place that have lots of experience of voting by mail.

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But in Ohio, where they are going to be voting by mail this year, as per the secretary of state today, no new drop boxes are allowed. To make it convenient for people to drop off their completed ballots, you can have one Dropbox at the local elections board, but no more. That's it, according to the Republican secretary of state today. He says, quote, Boards of election are prohibited from installing a drop box at any other location other than the board of elections.

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Now, why is he saying that? That is not. Like in the law in Ohio, he's not telling you what the law is, he's just declaring that the Republican secretary of state in Ohio just decreeing that today on the basis of nobody knows what. Right, but you can you can see the flow chart here, you know, screw up the mail, then screw up any chance of people being able to circumvent any problems they have with the mail by taking away or at least making very inconvenient their chance to submit their ballot some other way.

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And of course, they're doing it in Ohio, right? This is going to be a wild election everywhere that Republican and pro Trump officials have any control over the way the election is conducted. I mean, that said, it's turning into a wild year for Republicans anyway. You might have seen there's lots of national attention today to the very far right, very vocally racist, anti-Semitic. Q And on conspiracy theory, candidate who just want a Republican congressional primary in Georgia when her track record and that sort of eye burning quotes she had issued about black people and Jewish people and other things came out during the campaign.

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There was this moment when the Republican leadership in the House all denounced her and supported her opponent in that primary, but she won that primary very easily. And President Trump today immediately gave her a hearty endorsement. And that is a really Republican district in which she won in Georgia. And so she is expected to become a new member of Congress in the fall. Up the eastern seaboard in the great state of Connecticut, the Republican Party is also saddled today with a congressional candidate who was literally arrested on the night before the primary, charged with strangulation and unlawful restraint in what was apparently a serious domestic violence incident.

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He reviewed excuse me, he withdrew from the race upon being arrested. But eastern Connecticut Republican primary voters appear to have maybe voted him in as their candidate anyway. He at least appears to be in a virtual tie for the win there. The Connecticut Republican Party had naturally endorsed him in that congressional primary before he was arrested for strangulation. The weird saga continues as well over the sort of strong candidate the Republican Party and the Trump White House are trying to run for president in multiple swing states.

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Now, I'll give you an allegory here, which either will resonate for you or won't. It's the only allegory for anything like this that I can come up with. And it's about Vladimir Putin.

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Putin did something like this in twenty eighteen when he was running for president in Russian elections. His popular, well known, telegenic opposition in that campaign, in that election was Alexei Navalny, who's running quite hard against Putin. And, you know, Putin probably wasn't at any real risk of losing anyway, given his long standing experience in stuffing ballot boxes and otherwise cheating at elections. But he went to the trouble in twenty eighteen of picking his own replacement opposition candidate who he preferred to run against rather than Alexei Navalny, just because he kind of wanted to muddy the waters about whether there was any real opposition to him.

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He picked a TV personality in Russia who happened to be the daughter of one of Putin's best friends, and he stood her up as his preferred opposition candidate. He decided that he wanted her on the ballot as his opposition instead of the real opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, who he ultimately had arrested and banned him from the ballot. So in that presidential election in Russia in twenty eighteen, Putin ran himself for president, but he also ran his handpicked fake opposition to thinking that the people of Russia wouldn't understand what he was doing, but he was more comfortable with that than he was with a real opponent.

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That's the only sort of allegory that I know for what the Republicans and the Trump White House are doing now in twenty twenty in our country, it's kind of the same playbook, but it's, you know, Republican operatives and lawyers and people associated with the Trump campaign. And now it's apparently the Trump family themselves who this year in our case, they're trying to stand up the troubled pro Trump rap star Kanye West as President Trump's preferred fake opposition candidate. The New York Times reporting today that Mr.

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West met in Colorado last week with Jared Kushner, the president's son in law, who apparently is running the president's campaign.

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He met with Jared Kushner in Colorado just as Republican and Trump affiliated lawyers who Kanye West never had anything to do with before, were working hard in multiple states to get him on the ballot, both in Colorado and elsewhere.

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If you can't if you don't think you can win fairly, then, you know, bamboozle them, you know, run fake candidates, stop people from voting, tell people in advance that the election is illegitimate even before the first results come in.

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And what else you got? Today, we have been continuing to watch some very worrying developments in Belarus and a nation on Russia's western edge, on the eastern edge of Europe. The dictator in charge there for more than twenty five years claims this past week to have been reelected with 80 percent of the vote. But his country doesn't believe him. BBC reporters in Brest, in a city in southwestern Belarus, today reported that security forces have started using live fire.

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They started using ammunition, live ammunition to shoot protesters in the streets. Now the opposition candidate, the real opposition candidate who ran against Alexander Lukashenko, gave him a real run for his money. She has now fled the country after she posted what looked like a terrified hostage video in which she alluded to threats against her children. And she told people in a very terse monotone that they should no longer protest tonight.

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Protesters, actual protesters from the streets of Belarus, what appear to be just regular young people, were lined up on state television in this footage that you see here, looking terrified, many of them visibly wounded and hurt. In this footage, they all, one by one, renounce their participation in the protests while money off screen is clearly menacing them. And this is happening in 20, 20. Our country used to be the kind of country that would lead international condemnation and pressure to protect people in that circumstance, standing up for their democracy in their own country, right.

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To try to stop what may be shaping up to be a massacre or at least a mass use of military force against civilians in that country on the edge of Europe. We used to be a country that would stand up and make a difference on things like that. Joe Biden is just a candidate now, but he has released this about that situation in Belarus. He says, quote, Democracies are built on the simple concept that citizens have a right to elect their leaders and have a say in their country's future after suffering systematic repression for the past twenty six years under the authoritarian regime of President Alexander Lukashenko.

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The people of Belarus are now demanding their voices be heard after a presidential election marred by electoral fraud. Citizens peacefully protesting to demand an accurate count are now being met with riot police using stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets. The Lukashenko regime has cut Internet access, arrested protesters and independent journalists and tried to muzzle foreign observers. These are not the actions of a political leader confident that he has won a fairly conducted election. But thanks to brave citizens, journalists, activists and ordinary people documenting these extraordinary events, we know the truth about the assault on democracy being committed by that regime.

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I stand with those who are calling for a transparent and accurate vote count and the release of all political prisoners. I call on President Lukashenko to respect the rights of peaceful protesters and to refrain from further violence against them.

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My administration will never shy away from standing up for democratic principles and human rights, and we will work with our democratic allies and partners to speak with one voice in demanding these rights be respected.

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And I know that Joe Biden is talking about Belarusan there, but, my God, does this echo differently in our own country right now? Right. Does this echo in our country right now in a way that it never has before in our lifetimes?

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Susan Rice joins us tonight live, and Amy Klobuchar is here as well. We've got lots to come. Stay with us. These past few months, I've become a pro at coloring my hair at home, and that's all thanks to the actual pros at Madison Reed, Madison Reed is game changing color. You can do yourself in under an hour. It's simple to get started. Just go online, take their color quiz to find your perfect shade and they'll deliver it right to your door.

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[00:26:22]

I'm Trymaine Lee, host of Into America, a podcast from MSNBC. Join me as we go into the roots of inequality and economic injustice and racial injustice.

[00:26:32]

And then when you add health is a health injustice into what's at stake, people are going to be voting not for a person, but for stability and into what comes next into America, a podcast about who we are as Americans and who we want to become. New episodes every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

[00:26:50]

Subscribe now. If you feel tired of the noise and the nonsense and our politics, and if you are tired of the extremes, you have a home with me. And I think, you know, you have a home with Joe Biden. It is up to us, all of us, to put our country back together, to heal this country and then to build something even greater. I believe we can do this together. And that is why today I am ending my campaign and endorsing Joe Biden for president.

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You can hear the crowd crowd chanting there, let's go, Joe, let's go, Joe. The senator, Amy Klobuchar in March is the eve of Super Tuesday, ending her own campaign, but also taking all the forward momentum she had accumulated and giving it to Joe Biden for his campaign. Senator Klobuchar, of course, ended up on Biden's short list for a potential running mate for all the obvious reasons. But then she made a surprise announcement in mid-June when Senator Klobuchar said she no longer wanted to be considered for that job.

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She says she told Vice President Biden that this is a moment to put a woman of color on the ticket. Well, now here we are. Joining us now is Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Senator, it's great to see you. Thank you so much for being here. Thanks, Rachel. So everybody else who is known to have been considered for this job put out a statement praising this choice by Joe Biden, praising him, praising Senator Harris.

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You alone said this pick filled you with joy. And I don't think of you as I know.

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I know you're kind of poetic, but I don't think of you as like I'm filled with joy, regularly effusive person like that. I wanted to ask you why you were uncharacteristically effusive and excited there. Well, every step of the way, I have felt this joy in this process. And I mean it when I stood there in Dallas and it was so fun to hear when we could go to rallies, it was so fun to remember that moment. As I said, it's hard to end a campaign, but this was actually a moment of joy because I knew that Joe Biden would stand up for people in this country, that he would get things done and he would stop this divide that Donald Trump creates every single day.

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And then my friend Kamala Harris, who we campaigned against each other. And a lot of times these campaigns, of course, tear people apart. They don't even talk to each other when it's done. But she and I became closer friends. And I have a very fond memory of that debate where you were moderating it, Rachel, and it was so cold in that room. Remember when we were in Atlanta and she and I were on, the breaks would huddle together, going, would someone turn up the heat now?

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Man, it's hard when you're a woman. It's freezing out there. And she and I just have a lot of good memories from that campaign. And most of all, I will say, adding to the historic moment for a woman of color. Yes. The fact that she can make the case against Donald Trump with this economy that he's left in shambles with people in assisted living, isolated, with people getting sicker and with no testing standards for this country.

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But the third part about it is that she's going to be able to govern. She ran a Justice Department that was incise second only to the United States Justice Department. And she's been able to govern and get things done, has a zest for life, a zest for government. And I think we need that kind of feeling we got today as the two of them stood together. We need that back in our politics.

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Vice President Biden was a very consequential vice president to President Obama, he had a big brief, obviously they were close together. There was never any daylight between them, but he had a lot of responsibilities in the national security field and on the issue of Iraq specifically and on the stimulus. And it just seemed like it was a constructive relationship in which the vice presidency was a big deal. There wasn't any like, you know, just weird long cabinet meeting shots where the vice president just praised the president the way that Mike Pence often does with this one, having seen those kind of models of the vice president presidency, having worked alongside Senator Harris in the Senate, is there anything that you can tell us about what she's like to work with and what we should expect in terms of a skill set from her and interest from her if she ends up in the vice presidency?

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I mean, you've you've seen her up close and a lot of different contexts. Sure. Well, I think we saw it today. We've certainly seen it in the hearings in the United States Senate, and that is that she has a passion for what she believes in. And we need that now. We need someone that has empathy for the people that they represent. So what she and Joe Biden go in there, they're going to be able to get the job done.

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She's able to explain things quite well, complex things, and she's going to be able to work with Congress. We already know her in the Senate. I think all of those things are going to matter because those first one hundred days will be critical. Her role as serving on the Intelligence Committee, she's going to be able to bring that to the table in terms of helping him with foreign relations. All of that's going to matter. But what most matters, of course, is that he trusts her, Walter Mondale and Hubert Humphrey, both from Minnesota, where the state of vice president's good vice presidents.

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And Walter Mondale always told me that the key thing was that there was trust. And so I really like that moment at the beginning when Vice President Biden talked about his relationship with Barack Obama and said that he wanted her just like he was for Obama to be that last voice in the room, to be the one that he listened to that would have his back.

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Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota ran her own strong Democratic campaign for president. Senator, I really appreciate you being here tonight. I know that one of the things you're working on in the Senate right now is the issue of protecting the postal service, protecting vote by mail as this evolves over the next few days. We'd love to have you back over the next few days to talk specifically about that, because it seems like that's really coming to a head.

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I'll take I'll take you up with Postmaster Dejoy or if I call him postmaster, no joy for anyone looking for their mail. And so we've got to really get this done. You can't have more delays. They've got to come back to the table so we can work out an agreement and get the funding we need for our elections for our states as well as the Postal Service. Thank you. Senator, Senator Klobuchar, thank you. All right, all right, we've still got a lot to get to tonight.

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We are also, as I mentioned at the top of the show, we're going to be speaking with another top contender for Biden's vice presidential choice. Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice was reportedly in contention for position right until the very, very last. We're going to speaking with Susan Rice. We've got lots more ahead.

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Stay with us. Hi, everyone, it's Joy Reid I'm so excited to tell you about my new MSNBC show, the Read Out every weeknight, I'm talking with the biggest newsmakers about the most pressing issues of our time, like Joe Biden, the words of president matter and so is President United States.

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The first thing I'm going to do is stand up and talk sense and be honest with the American people.

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Level with them. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. We need as many voices as we can have as possible sounding the alarm, encouraging people to wear masks and to take all precautions and to follow the science and the data. Senator Kamala Harris, we send folks into a war wearing camouflage. So what is going on here when you send camouflage uniformed officers into a city and many more?

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You can listen to the readout as a podcast by searching for the readout. That's r e i o u t one word wherever you're listening right now and subscribing for free. Thanks for listening. Joe Biden's list of possible vice presidential picks reportedly started out with 20 names when he narrowed that down to finalists that were still nearly a dozen women in the running. But in the final days of the search process, there were only a handful of people still under serious consideration.

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One of them, obviously, was Senator Kamala Harris, but another was Susan Rice, UN ambassador and then national security adviser in the Obama Biden administration. In her memoir, published last year, Susan Rice wrote that as national security adviser, her, quote, favorite unannounced visitor at her West Wing office was Vice President Joe Biden. Rice's former deputy, Ben Rhodes, pointed out to The Washington Post that, quote, Biden spent years essentially beginning his day with a briefing from Susan Rice when Biden announced his decision yesterday.

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Susan Rice immediately offered her warmest congratulations to Senator Harris. She called Senator Harris a tenacious and trailblazing leader. She said she will, quote, do my utmost to help them win and govern. Today, that history making Democratic ticket spent their first full day on the trail. Biden, Harris, 20, 20, has launched and they have launched with the loud backing of longtime friends who also happen to be among the country's most accomplished public servants. And although Susan Rice will not be Biden's vice president, it seems quite reasonable to think that her history with Joe Biden is not over yet.

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Joining us now is Susan Rice, former national security adviser and U.N. ambassador. She's also also author of the recent book Tough Love My Story of Things Worth Fighting For. Ambassador Rice, it's really nice to see you. Thanks for making time tonight. Thanks for having me, Rachel.

[00:36:49]

It's always great to be with you. So you have never run for office yourself, you are not, therefore, by dictionary definition, a political animal. But I know you understand politics as well as anybody, if not better than anybody. You've been very vocal, even though you yourself are in contention to the very end. You've been very vocal about the fact that you think Senator Harris will help Biden win in November. I wanted to hear from you.

[00:37:17]

Why you think that is why you think she's such a strategic asset to the ticket in terms of the general election. Well, Kamala Harris is warm, she's empathetic like Joe Biden. She communicates very powerfully in small groups before a large audience. She's substantive and serious and ready to govern. I happen to know her quite well, and she's somebody that I consider a friend. So I'm excited to see her join Joe Biden on this ticket. I think they're going to be a winning combination, and that's what we need right now.

[00:37:57]

More than anything, we have got to elect Joe Biden and put competence and decency and integrity back in the White House so that we can restore our economy, put people back to work, turn the curve on the coronavirus and get our kids back into school. And every day Donald Trump is in there, he's postponing that reality. I want to ask you about the part of the process that you have seen up close. I feel like I kind of can't believe that nobody's written the book yet about the alternate future in which John Kerry and John Edwards got elected.

[00:38:39]

And then once they were in the White House, it was revealed that John Edwards had a secret second family, which we didn't find out about until after that election was over and they had lost. I mean, there have been some absolutely off the hook vetting failures when it comes to vice presidential choices. I think when John McCain chose Sarah Palin, lots has been written, lots have been written about why he chose her and how very little has been written about the fact that John McCain didn't seem to know that she was a little bit crazy when he picked her to be vice president.

[00:39:08]

I feel like vetting failures happen. Was this, in all honesty, was this a good vetting process that the Biden campaign laid out? I know you went through it right to the very end. Did they do a good job? In my experience, they did an excellent job and this was a long, incredibly thorough, comprehensive, detailed, tireless, painful process for all of us who went through it, but painful only because of its thoroughness. It was so professionally executed.

[00:39:42]

I have to say that the folks on the campaign were in charge of the legal side of this, as well as the political side, were incredibly discreet, supportive, I believe, of each of us. And the fact that we got through what was a two and a half month long process or something of that magnitude without the selection leaking. And we got to the moment of the announcement, uncorrupted is an extraordinary feat and it's reflective of the fact that they took this very seriously.

[00:40:16]

I think when you have somebody like Joe Biden who's been through the process and understands how sensitive it is, is guidance to the team was don't screw this up and don't embarrass anybody and make sure you get every last piece of information you possibly can. So I believe it was quite thorough. And I say that having been vetted twice for cabinet level positions, I've never experienced anything quite like this. Wow, that is that's comforting. I mean, sort of worrying and comforting in the same way.

[00:40:53]

Let me just ask you something else about which you've been really outspoken, and that is what we should sort of expect over the next, I guess, eighty three days and that small D democratic threat that the president will try to delegitimize the election, that he will try to mess with people's ability to vote, that he will defy the results of the election if it turns out that he loses his office. How are you thinking about those things now after a lifetime in national security positions, knowing Vice President Biden as well as you know him, facing down these kinds of challenges and threats, what do you think we should all have in mind?

[00:41:29]

Or what do you think the country should be working on to try to shore ourselves up and brace ourselves for the worst case scenario in terms of what this president might do with the peaceful transfer of power?

[00:41:41]

Rachel, this is an extraordinary circumstance that we find ourselves and we've no, at least in our lifetimes, had a president of the United States who has told us that he may not abide by the results of the election, has told us that he may seek to delay the election itself, has told us that he's going to cast doubt on the legitimacy of mail in ballots and go out of his way to make it as hard as possible for Americans to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

[00:42:13]

It's unbelievable. And then he sends troops into the streets of our cities to attack peaceful protesters. The the range of possible threats that he poses to our democracy is truly quite mind boggling. And I think it's important for the American people to be aware of this. And that's before you get to what we understand now from our intelligence community. The Russians continue to do and have stepped up their efforts to interfere in our elections with, it seems, the blessing of Donald Trump, who said he would accept foreign help in the election and has refused to call out Russia on any number of things, least of all its involvement in the twenty twenty election.

[00:42:58]

So the American people, first of all, have to be aware. Secondly, I believe we have to come out and vote no matter what. Hopefully through absentee ballots where that's deemed to be the safest way through early voting. But we have to vote and the result should be overwhelming. The more resounding the outcome, the harder it is for Donald Trump to manipulate and obscure a potential loss. And we just have to be super, super vigilant to all of these different scenarios.

[00:43:32]

I believe that we have bipartisan interest in elections being fair and transparent. It affects candidates up and down the ballot, not just at the presidential level. So even if Republicans think that it's in their interests for Donald Trump to retain power by any means necessary, it may not be in their interest because the same tools that he uses to his own advantage can disadvantage members of both parties. So the American people just need to be on top of this and we need to be vigilant and we need to not let anybody, Republican or Democrat, get away with any games.

[00:44:10]

And we know in Joe Biden we have somebody you can trust in that regard as well as every other. Susan Rice, national security adviser and UN ambassador in the Obama administration, the author of Tough Love My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For, Ambassador Rice. It is really good to have you here tonight. Thanks very much for your time.

[00:44:30]

Thank you, Rachel. Thank you. All right. Well, we'll be right back. Stay with us. Something to keep an eye on. As you probably know, we're now as a country at more than two straight weeks now of an average of over a thousand coronavirus deaths every day. The state of Georgia and the state of Florida both just recorded their worst daily death tolls. Yet Florida also today reported another eight thousand plus coronavirus cases, which is bad.

[00:45:03]

More than a half million infections in Florida alone. And the bad news out of Florida follows reporting yesterday that the number of cases in Florida kids, Florida children, has more than doubled just in the past month. Now, you might think that the rise in cases among kids in particular would make the Florida state government rethink some of the stuff they've decided around schools. For example, the emergency order, they issue schools last month, the state education commissioner, you might think, might want to reconsider mandating schools to open their doors in August, which is what his emergency order says.

[00:45:39]

Well, the state is apparently not reconsidering that despite the numbers that they're seeing of spiking infections in kids. And so the teachers are now taking action. The Florida Education Association, which is the Teachers Teachers Union in Florida, they're now challenging that order from the state education commissioner in court. Their lawsuit says the order that states excuse me that schools must open up in August violates the state constitution, which guarantees Floridians the right to safe and secure public education.

[00:46:11]

But they're asking a judge to decide. They're asking a judge to weigh in and block that order. Well, tomorrow morning, a state judge in Tallahassee is going to hold a hearing on that lawsuit, that potentially hugely consequential lawsuit. We will keep you posted. Stay with us.

[00:46:29]

In the one hour after the Biden campaign announced Kamala Harris as the running mate for the Biden ticket, they apparently had their biggest fundraising hour ever, which then turned into their biggest fundraising day. The Biden campaign now saying they raised twenty six million dollars. And the twenty four hours after they announced Kamala Harris would be on the ticket, they then raised another nine point six dollars million tonight at a fundraiser off to the races. That does it for us tonight.

[00:46:54]

We'll see you again tomorrow on The Rachel Maddow Show weeknights at nine Eastern on MSNBC.