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Thursday, Aug. 28 at 11:30 a.m. ET

Election 2008: Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow
Rachel Maddow (Msnbc - MSNBC)
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Rachel Maddow
Host, "The Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio; Future Show Host, MSNBC
Thursday, August 28, 2008; 11:30 AM

Air America Radio host and future MSNBC show host Rachel Maddow will be online live from Denver on Thursday, Aug. 28 at 11:30 a.m. ET to take readers' questions about progressive Democrats in the 2008 election and at the convention.

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Submit your questions and comments before or during the discussion.

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Rachel Maddow: Hey howdy everybody -- thanks for having me -- looking forward to this chat.

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Philadelphia: You are listed here as a future MSNBC show host. When does your show begin and what will you be doing on your show?

Rachel Maddow: Hi Philadelphia -- my show starts on September 8th -- a week from Monday -- at 9PM Eastern, on MSNBC. Boy, that's soon.

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Baltimore: As a progressive and an activist, are you disappointed or surprised that there hasn't been more discussion in the Democratic Party this year about AIDS?

Rachel Maddow: There hasn't been a ton of conversation about HIV/AIDS in mainstream electoral politics for a while. Particularly on the domestic side. President Clinton's emphatic emphasis in his speech last night on the American HIV/AIDS epidemic was heartening.

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Fearful in Virginia: I'm very proud to be a Democrat today, but I'm fearful of a Dukakis repeat. Can you say something to reassure me and other progressives and Democrats that Obama will be able to effectively counter the Rove clones who apparently are running the McCain campaign? On the flip side, how many Americans want a 72-year-old, whomever his is, running the country? I have to hope that the contrast between Obama and McCain when they are on stage together will be striking and positive for Barack.

Rachel Maddow: Hi Fearful -- on your first question, the answer is "no". You've got two choices -- wait and see, or get involved with the campaign to try to encourage them to do things in ways that you think that will be more effective. On your second question -- the age issue -- I think concerns/prejudice about McCain's age will be important to some voters -- just as concerns/prejudice about Obama's race will be to others. I don't believe there's much that either candidate can do to fully alleviate those concerns -- Obama can't get less African-American and McCain can't get younger (though boy howdy he'd be even richer if he figured that out). McCain's self-deprecating humor on the subject is probably his best strategy.

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Prescott, Ariz.: Rachel, congratulations on your new gig. Hey, your co-worker Norah O'Donnell thought the Democrats were too soft on Day 1, and she was wondering why they didn't let someone like Claire McCaskill go up there and "throw some red meat" to the crowd. Well McCaskill actually spoke on Day 1, and actually threw some "red meat" to the crowd -- MSNBC just happened to cut away from the speeches to deal with more superficial issues. Would you mind letting O'Donnell know she is free to issue a correction (unless she prefers to operate as a walking metaphor)?

Rachel Maddow: Hi Prescott -- don't be mean, hey? Although come to think of it, I'm not sure what a "walking metaphor" is, so maybe that wasn't an insult. It's true that a lot of the most interesting speeches haven't been on primetime TV -- I played Brian Schweitzer's speech on my radio show yesterday, for example.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Hey Rachel -- congrats on the new show. I enjoy seeing you on MSNBC, even though we'd probably disagree on many issues. My question for you is this: After Mark Warner's keynote address on Tuesday, you criticized his message -- of being united as Americans around good ideas and not by the "D" or the "R" by our name -- as being something extremely unrealistic, saying that in reality, Washington is a harsh place where political identity is required. However, isn't this a central component of Barack Obama's approach to governance? You have seemed to be supportive of many of his positions, and this one seems to be a key part of his idealism, so your attitude towards Warner's speech was surprising to me.

Rachel Maddow: Hi Silver Spring -- thanks for the question. I credit my colleague Norah O'Donnell, actually, for pointing out what was unrealistic about the Warner speech: what he said makes a lot of sense if you are talking about governing -- but it doesn't make a lot of sense in terms of getting Barack Obama elected. Obama has pledged to run a different kind of campaign -- but I don't think anyone would contest the idea that to win an election, the voters have to have a good sense of the contrast between their choices. That means contrast between Obama and McCain -- and it also means contrast between the Democratic and Republican parties. It's weird and counterproductive for a keynote speech at a Democratic Convention to argue, essentially, that the Democratic party is obsolete.

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Boston: Are you keeping the radio show (sadly for us in Boston, only available as a podcast)? Are you keeping "Ask Dr. Maddow?"

Rachel Maddow: Hi Boston! I hope that Boston's going to get a new Air America affiliate sometime soon. I am indeed keeping my radio show -- and we do intend to keep doing Ask Dr. Maddow. I guess I'm sort of doing a version of it right now!

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Washington: You told Howie Kurtz that you're not that pretty. Don't be ridiculous. Of course you are, but maybe in a less conventional way. Have you noticed a difference in debating with men between the way they treat you and the way they treat the more traditional long-haired women pundits?

Rachel Maddow: Washington, that's very nice of you to say. I don't really watch other pundits, so I'm not sure how the extra-pretty people get treated on TV. If I'm getting the short end of the stick, I hope you'll let me know...

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Alexandria, Va.: Rachel, congratulations on your new show! I read in The Post that you may have some conservative guests on the show, and I was curious if you had anyone in mind. I'd like to see more "small c" conservatives rather than the partisan operatives you see so often on the airwaves. In other words, I'd like there to be potential for the conservative to agree with you (or vice versa), instead of playing the role of opposition regardless of the story. Your thoughts?

washingtonpost.com: Rachel Maddow, MSNBC's Newest Left Hand (Post, Aug. 27)

Rachel Maddow: I enjoy both arguing with conservatives -- and talking substantively with them about stuff on which there isn't a clear partisan divide. Pat Buchanan and I enjoy raging against Guantanamo together, for example. I'd be happy to hear some suggestions of conservatives you'd like to see me host... you could post them here, or at my radio show blog, at airamerica.com. thanks!

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New York: I wonder why the Democrats have not mentioned much about Roe v. Wade being overturned if McCain gets elected...

Rachel Maddow: I wonder that, too, New York. Particularly given the reports this week that the former Hillary Clinton delegate appearing in the John McCain campaign ad... was supporting McCain in part because she (mistakenly) believed that McCain was against overturning Roe v. Wade. Old McCain might have believed that at one point -- but New McCain (Candidate McCain? 2008 McCain?) certainly does not.

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Washington: First of all, congratulations on your new show. You are a most welcome addition to the world of TV political punditry! My question is this -- some convention speakers have referenced "equal rights" for "all Americans," but overall I'm not getting the impression that gay rights are an important issue for the Obama campaign or Democrats in general this year. With the landmark decision on gay marriage in California, I'm wondering why we're not hearing more about this issue. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks! (And thanks for calling out Pat Buchanan the other day!)

Rachel Maddow: Hi Washington -- I have actually heard quite a few references to non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at the Democrats' convention this week. Not to mention more than a couple openly-gay speakers. John McCain is a vituperative opponent of gay rights -- his stated position that he's in favor of gay people being "allowed" to enter into legal agreements is frankly insulting. Gay people are supposed to be delighted that Senator McCain doesn't want to ban them from participating in American contract law? On the other hand -- it's not like gay rights advocates have had much presidential leadership from the Democrats either. Obama and Biden are against gay marriage, too -- but at least they're in favor of the second-class citizenship of civil unions, rather than McCain's wish to demote gay Americans even below that.

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Florissant Valley, Mo.: Good morning, Rachel. I can't wait for your prime-time extravaganza. I've loved you on "Hardball" and Olbermann and all that other MSNBC folderol. (They need a female face, incidentally.) Do you think the lineup will undergo another major shift after Nov. 4? Won't we all be burned out on politics? Thanks.

Rachel Maddow: Hi Florissant Valley! I've got no idea, sadly -- but I'm sure my bosses at MSNBC would be delighted if you stayed tuned in to find out!

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Portland, Ore.: Rachel, you are wonderful! Why do Democrats insist on prefacing every criticism of McCain with "he's a great man and a hero but..." The Republicans proved four years ago that it's perfectly acceptable in American politics to impugn the service of a war hero, even going so far at their convention as to denigrate the sacrifice of every Purple Heart winner this nation has every had. Why the double standard?

Rachel Maddow: It may be acceptable to Republicans to impugn the service of a war hero (even, as you say, "going so far at their convention as to denigrate the sacrifice of every Purple Heart winner this nation has ever had) -- Democrats are showing in this campaign season, to their credit, that it's not acceptable to them, and they don't think it should be acceptable in the country at large. Clear advantage to the Democrats on this issue, in my opinion.

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Rachel Maddow: All right, everybody -- this has been a hoot. Thanks for coming and for the thoughtful questions. Hope to do it again sometime!

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washingtonpost.com: The Post Politics Hour discussion is live following a delay, and Al From and Dana Milbank are coming right up.

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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