UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
September 2, 2012
Guests: Van Jones, Robert Wolf, Neera Tanden, John Nichols, Rose Aguilar, Rob Zerban, Cynthia Dill, Kyrsten Sinema, Nate Shinagawa, Hakeem Jeffries, Saladin Muhammad
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning, from New York, I`m Chris
Hayes. The U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan have suspended the training
of new Afghan recruits after a series of attacks by Afghan soldiers with
ties to insurgents. The new United Nations envoy to Syria renewed calls on
Saturday for the government to stop its bloody crackdown on protesters
there as the death toll from Syria civil war surpassed 20,000. Right now
joining me today, we have Van Jones, former special adviser for Green Jobs
in the Obama White House and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream. Rose
Aguilar, host of "Your Call" on KALW-radio in San Francisco and an op-ed
contributor to Al-Jazeera, English. Neera Tanden, president of the Center
for American Progress and my colleague John Nichols, Washington
correspondent for "The Nation" magazine, associate editor of the "Wisconsin
Capital Times." Great to have you guys all here.
All right, the Democratic National Convention begins on Tuesday. So,
we`re looking at the state of the modern Democratic Party. The voters,
delegates, funders and interest groups that comprise the Democratic
coalition. For much of the last 80 years, one of the largest of those
constituencies was organized labor. Organized labor has been an essential
component of the Democratic coalition, providing the money and organizing
power necessary to compete with the well funded GOP. But the influence of
organized labor within the Democratic establishment has eroded considerably
in recent years. The latest example of that erosion is the very location
of the Democratic convention next week, Charlotte, North Carolina. For the
first time in a generation, the Democratic convention is being held in a
state that forbids private unions from acquiring workers to pay union dues,
effectively making it impossible to unionize. North Carolina is also one
of only two states in the country, along with Virginia, that makes it
illegal for the state to collectively bargain with public sector workers.
Not surprisingly, North Carolina has the lowest rate of unionization of any
state in the country.
The choice of Charlotte prompted an outcry from many labor leaders who
see it as just the latest in the long litany of affronts. Some are even
skipping the convention altogether. North Carolina, of course, provides a
model for what conservatives are trying to achieve in their sustained
nationwide assault on collective bargaining rights, a nation without
unions. In fact, one of the proponents of that vision, South Carolina
Governor Nikki Haley who proudly calls herself a "union buster" was awarded
a prime speaking spot in the Republican National Convention the last week,
which she used to attack labor unions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. NIKKI HALEY, (R ) SOUTH CAROLINA: We deserve a president who
won`t sacrifice American jobs and American workers to pacify the bullying
union bosses he counts as his political allies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You`re not going to hear rhetoric like that from the podium in
Charlotte this week, but that doesn`t mean that national Democratic
politicians have done a whole heck of a lot lately to aid the cause of
labor. The outcry was really quite vociferous when the convention was
announced. Labor has actually taken steps, they have not been contributing
to the fundraising for the convention itself. They`re sending fewer
people, and Rich Trumka, who is the head of the AFL-CIO had kind of
declared political independence earlier in the year, although they then
endorsed Barack Obama ...
HAYES: And so, yeah, this is the eternal conundrum. Labor has no
where else to go ...
ROSE AGUILAR, TALK SHOW HOST: Right.
HAYES: ... because that Nikki Haley is the voice of the party on
labor issues in the Republican Party. The Democrats know that. The amount
of raw union members is declining. And, so, I guess where does this go from
AGUILAR: Well, they`re also having a convention at the Bank of
America Stadium, and I understand that the Democrats are not going to call
it the Bank of America stadium, it does not look good. Frankly, this sends
a very strong message to unions and workers. I think that they chose
Charlotte, first of all, and that they are having the convention at the B
of A Center.
HAYES: Should they have not gone and had the convention in Charlotte?
AGUILAR: No, I don`t think so at all. I mean there -- I think they
are sending a strong message, and just like you said, they know that the
unions really don`t have anywhere else to go. It`s a slap in the face,
really, to workers who are struggling. And, you know, a new study recently
came out about the new jobs that have been created. We are talking -- the
majority of these jobs are low-wage jobs between $7.50 an hour and $13.50
an hour. You cannot live on that. And that is ...
HAYES: Sure as hell not unionized.
AGUILAR: No, of course, not. I mean, what`s happening right now is
that -- and I`ve interviewed a lot of people. They are being fired at
$50,000 a year jobs, and because people are so desperate for work, they`re
rehiring people at half the salary with no benefits. I mean ...
HAYES: Yeah. There`s nothing that aids -- I mean this is the broader
problem, right? The broader problem with eight percent unemployment is that
there is nothing that aids the bosses more, there is nothing that handicaps
labor negotiation just for an individual worker. Forget a collective
HAYES: ... more than eight percent unemployment, because where are
you going to go?
AGUILAR: And that`s the problem. If there is no collective
bargaining. So rather than the unions spend money on these conventions,
$100 million, they should spend money on organizing because collective
action is the only solution here.
VAN JONES, REBUILD THE DREAM: Well, I mean because this is part of a
broader problem. We have would now suddenly us not fighting to defend our
friends when now our enemies are coming for us, it turns out to be a bad
strategy. It`s not just the labor unions that are smaller and weaker.
Remember this group called ACORN, they switched -- the Democrats ran
screaming from, it turned out the little video, it was a total made up
farce, they took out probably 50 percent of the GOTV operation for African
Americans with one silly video and no defense mounted. So, you have -- you
have a party that should be growing by leaps and bounds. The middle class
is being destroyed. The American dream is being gunned down. It`s not
being gunned down by Barack Obama, it`s not being gunned down by labor
unions. It`s being gunned down by, you know, big corporate, you know,
global corporations that don`t want to pay America back. They don`t want
to pay America back with taxes and they don`t want to pay America back with
good wages, they don`t want to pay America back by respecting our air and
water. They want to take, take, take from America, give nothing back.
Corporate America would be the worst boyfriend ever, right? I mean they
just take and take and they don`t want to give anything back. That`s
destroying the American dream.
JONES: But rather than the Democrats saying the champions of middle
class people are going to be the people we rally around and we`re going to
go to the mat for. We tend to in the face of controversy back away and
then our friends are weaker, our enemies are stronger and it`s a cycle.
HAYES: Let me give just a small little -- to me, if you were to say,
what is the relationship between the Obama administration and organized
labor, and how has the Obama administration dealt with organized labor?
This -- this should be to me the article one.
This is a tweet sent by the president the night before the Wisconsin
recall election. Now, of course, the Wisconsin recall election was the key
strategic political priority of organized labor, and there is tremendous
mobilization around Scott Walker`s attempt to essentially gut the ability
of public sector unions to effectively collectively bargain in that state.
And the president didn`t go to Wisconsin, but the night before the
election, 12 hours before the election, this tweet. "It`s election day in
Wisconsin tomorrow and I`m standing by Tom Barrett, he`d make an
outstanding governor. " One hundred -- labor -- your biggest priority gets
one -- less than 140 characters.
AGUILAR: I think I`m not going to put on my shoes and to march, I`m
going to tweet.
JOHN NICHOLS, THENATION.COM: It`s -- this is really the challenge
that we`re in, and it was odd, because in Ohio in November of 2011, labor
had one of its greatest victories in modern times. Governor had put on an
anti-labor law, a really tough one, unions mobilized and they won. And the
fascinating thing was, if you wanted to know the story of what happened in
Ohio, it is that labor led, not the Democratic Party. Labor led and the
Democratic Party, so beaten up in Ohio, that it really -- it had been so
wiped out in 2010 that they followed labor and they won big. In Wisconsin,
unfortunately, the big part of what happened was the Democratic Party led
and I think they tried hard, I don`t -- I don`t -- but they could not bring
the top to bottom infrastructure in that the Republicans can on almost any
fight. And just to close the thought here, when you extrapolate this out,
understand what has shifted here. We are in a very critical juncture.
This convention is a critical juncture, the one last week. Because as
recently as 20 years ago, the Republican Party put labor people on stage at
HAYES: Yes, that`s true.
NICHOLS: It was a front page story in the "New York Times" in 1964
when three members of the AFL executive board said, we`re going to back
Johnson. We`re Republicans, Republican union men, but we think Goldwater
(inaudible). We`ve moved so far beyond that now.
HAYES: Sure. I want to -- Neera -- I think you want to defend the
administration, so I`m going to give you an opportunity to do that. I saw
it, I saw it when I was ....
HAYES: Well, go ahead.
TANDEN: And I might just have a good point.
HAYES: Go ahead. Go ahead.
TANDEN: Look, I think we can talk about Charlotte, we can talk about
Wisconsin and politics, and one could argue labor could have done more
itself in Wisconsin, and just saw the polls and chose not to put all their
resources there. They are definitely putting more in the presidential
campaign. I think the issue really should be about what the president is
TANDEN: Right around labor. And, you know, in this, in the American
Jobs Act the president has defended and asked for, actually increased
resources for public sector workers, teachers, firefighters, police
officers. He`s actually argued for, you know, the argue -- he`s made the
case very clearly that it`s public sector workers that are actually in the
firing of public sector workers who much by these Republican governors that
is actually holding this economy back. And so, in terms of what we`re
actually talking about, it`s important that we hire more people, we need
more unionization. If you look at Germany, one of the reasons why their
economy is doing better is because they have strong unionization, it drives
up wages and it creates demand. And that`s why we need more unions in our
country, but it`s also you need to recognize what the president is doing,
and he`s actually arguing for billions of dollars to put teachers back in
HAYES: So, there`s -- there`s two issues here and I just want to lay
these out because there is just two things. I want to get to this question
of political independence because that to me seems fascinating and profound
in terms of the long-term structural issues. In terms of the ledger of the
president`s record. Just so folks kind of have a sense of where this ends
up and you guys can jump in if I`m overlooking or undercounting things. I
think on the bill of complaints, there is the fact that the Employee Free
Choice Act, which the number one priority of organized labor, was
essentially left to wither on the vine. The White House putatively
supported it, but never really put much muscle into passing it. I think
that`s generally the consensus. The pay freeze on federal workers has been
a huge complaint, particularly by the AFSCME, which is the union that
represents a lot of those workers. That pay freeze is going to enter a
second year, I believe.
HAYES: Coming up next, the president`s support for some large-scale
firings of teachers in Rhode Island and some other rhetoric around
teachers` unions. These seem to me some of the big complaints. On the
side of support for the president or things he`s done in terms of labor,
aside from the American Jobs Act and the parts of the Recovery Act that
sent money to states to close those budget deficits which meant people
didn`t lose their jobs, there are some very good appointments to the
National Labor Relations Board, including one recess appointment the AFL-
CIO fought very hard for. There is some beefed up staffing at the
Department of Labor under Hilda Solis, and some enforcement on wage staff,
and hiring a very zealous enforcer from New York state that has been
cheered by labor folks. So there is a mixed record in a lot of ways
TANDEN: Let`s not also forget that how important it is to labor that
we`ve passed the Affordable Care Act ...
HAYES: Yes, right.
TANDEN: ... because that issue becomes, which is, you know, not a
minor piece of business in labor negotiations how much we are--
NICHOLS: But typically ...
TANDEN: ... also some problems with the health care act.
HAYES: I don`t want to litigate ACA-
HAYES: But hold on one second, hold on one second. Hold on one
All right. I want to talk about this, about the record, I also want
to talk about political independence, and a fight that`s going on in
Charlotte. We`re going to hear from an organizer down there right after I
take this break.
HAYES: All right. We`re talking about the relationship of the
Democratic Party and labor and particularly organized labor and talking
about the president`s record on it and I should state that a contested,
fraught relationship between the Democratic president and an organized
labor is not something that never -- that just happened.
NICHOLS: Ask Jimmy Carter.
HAYES: I mean, go back to the New Deal. John Lewis, who was one of
the most towering figures in some sense has built what we have today in
many respects. I think he -- I`m pretty sure he endorsed Roosevelt`s
opponent in 1949.
NICHOLS: In 1940s he endorsed Windell Willkie in a national radio
HAYES: Yes, I mean, at a time when John Lewis would do a primetime
radio broadcast, all of the radio network would cover it because he was a
huge figure in American life. Rose?
AGUILAR: Well, I just want to come back to the wages and bringing
this down to the ground where it really matters to people. Harold
Wilkerson - or Meyerson had a great piece in the "Washington Post" back in
April and he looked at the standard wages at auto manufacturing plants in
the Midwest and found that the wages have gone down from $28 an hour to $15
an hour. New hires are capped at $19 an hour, regardless. OK, and then
one more thing, because this is important. A new high-tech plant in
Muncie, Indiana. Caterpillar is hiring people at $12 an hour. $24,000 a
HAYES: Yes, a travesty. But my question is, what do you want the
president to do about it? I mean that is what has happened in terms of
that, is that unionized labor has moved to the non-unionized south, which
have states like North Carolina, that have -- and Alabama where Toyota is
manufacturing a lot of cars. That have right to work laws. Right?
TANDEN: That`s not all that`s happening. What is really creating
downward pressure is the fact that we`re dealing with outsourcing. That`s
the real challenge. The reason why manufacturing jobs incomes are coming
down is because there is global arbitrage about labor costs and basically
people are now competing for lower costs manufacturing and the challenge
with the lack of unionization is that there is not enough power to bring
those wages up.
NICHOLS: And this is a big problem for Barack Obama, because Barack
Obama did not break with the Democratic Republican, Democratic Republican
consensus on free trade. And I will tell you that in the upper Midwest, if
you talk to folks who are hurting, there is an awful sense, and I hear it
from people who will do down ballot hard work, they are going to work to
re-elect Sherrod Brown. You get them on Barack Obama, and Sherrod Brown is
senator from Ohio, you get them on Barack Obama and they have, they
struggle with it. They will probably vote for him, but there is a real
struggle because Sherrod Brown in Ohio running for re-election has battled
free trade day and night saying and teaching the people of Ohio, teaching
them that a free trade, no, let me just finish this thought. Teaching them
that if they do, if free trade goes forward, they`re going to lose their
jobs and then they have got a president standing up announcing that he is
doing a new free trade pact. That ...
AGUILAR: Behind closed door deals is what`s happening. Public
citizen says this is horrific. They cannot get the information. So, you
have got corporate executives behind closed doors making these deals. How
is it any different from what George W. Bush did on free trade? And ...
NICHOLS: The trade consensus goes back. That`s OK. I`m not ...
JONES: Here`s where you have the heartbreak. This is a heartbreak
for union folks. They use their power to help this president. They use
their power to help the Democratic Party. And it was time for the
Democratic Party to use its power to help them, which was EFCA, which was
giving them the power to go out and organize the Democrats were missing in
action. And when you break that trust, I mean, you`ve got to remember,
labor stepped up in a way you`ve never seen before. They put all their
chips to say we`re going to put in place and people who are going to help
us. We`re going to help you with a little we got, you help us. When that
didn`t happen you leave labor now without a strategy going forward and then
comes the attack.
JONES: That`s the problem. That`s the problem. Its card check was
-- card check was going to give (inaudible) ...
HAYES: I should be clear here, you`re talking about -- the Democratic
Party here. I mean, before the main obstacles to Employer Free Choice Act,
more than anything, were Senate votes, right? I mean, it was ...
JONES: Take it away from just Obama.
HAYES: -- talking about Democrats in the Senate.
JONES: No, OK, you agree or disagree?
TANDEN: OK, look, I appreciate that we should have passed EFCA, I
agree, I totally agree with that. But I mean I think we should step back
here and really have an honest conversation about what`s happening with
manufacturing jobs and jobs overall. I agree that we should have a tougher
negotiation with trade agreements on trade agreements, put the challenge on
trade really is, we`re facing, we are facing downward pressure on wages
from countries we don`t have trade agreements with. Biggest downward
pressure is coming from China. We don`t have a China free trade
(inaudible) -- so and I believe we should ...
NICHOLS: We a favored nation trading status with China.
TANDEN: I believe we should have a tougher stance with these
countries. But regardless of whether we have that, people in these
companies are making decisions, and that`s why we do need stronger unions,
and it would have been important to pass EFCA, but we should recognize as
well that we didn`t pass --
JONES: I agree with (inaudible).
TANDEN: ... because the senate would not pass it. And the president,
look, the president ...
TANDEN: ... made a decision about health care. He made a decision
TANDEN: ... to pass health care over EFCA. He didn`t think he would
get EFCA, I believe, he didn`t think he would get EFCA, and he thought he
could get health care. So he made that decision. It`s not like he decided
not to do EFCA and decided not to do anything else.
TANDEN: He actually decided to make, what I think is transformational
change for all workers by passing the Affordable Care Act, but it`s not
like he just decided to do nothing.
HAYES: And we shouldn`t lose sight of the Affordable Care Act in this
conversation. Which is what you were talking about before I think is
important, insofar as, to not -- I mean -- to the extent that labor plays a
unique role in American politics as a, quote, "interest group," it is the
fact that its interest are larger than the narrow interests of its
membership, and they worked very hard, I will say this about the labor
HAYES: It worked very hard to pass the Affordable Care Act. Despite
the fact that, actually, from the very narrow self-interest perspective,
right, the people who have health care in America are organized, unionized
workers. So they were actually -- had the least -- they had the least
amount in play. I mean the 50 million people who are going to get medical
-- who are going to get Medicaid, the Medicaid expansion, those aren`t
HAYES: By and large ...
TANDEN: Absolutely. But it does help labor, the fact that they don`t
have to negotiate on health care in the same way that they have ...
HAYES: Labor has been in what we`ve seen, I think, the last few years
a lot of defensive actions by labor, right? Rear-guard actions...
TANDEN: That`s because the Republican Party has the boot on the neck
HAYES: But I want to talk to someone in North Carolina who is trying
to actually organize public sector unions, not just defending rights of
existing public sector unions, but organize new public sector unions in the
hardest state to do that, and Saladin Mohammed is going to join us up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD TRUMKA, AFL-CIO PRESIDENT: Our role is not to build the power
of a political party or a candidate. It doesn`t matter if candidates and
parties are controlling the wrecking ball or simply standing aside to let
it happen. The outcome is the same either way. If leaders are blocking
the wrecking ball and advancing working families` interest, then working
people will not support them. This is where our focus will be now, in 2012
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s Richard Trumka declaring kind of political independence,
and declaring political independence. I want to bring in Saladin
Mohammed, an organizer of the local united electrical workers union, which
is seeking President Obama support in its fight with the city of Charlotte.
Saladin, can you tell us a little bit about the history of anti-unionism in
North Carolina is profound and fascinating and in some senses is kind of
dark vision of what the future of the entire country might look like. What
are the conditions under which you are working to try to build the labor
movement in terms of North Carolina`s legal structure?
SALADIN MUHAMMAD, UNITED ELECTRICAL WORKERS: Well, first of all, I
think it`s important to state that North Carolina epitomizes a regional
problem. In all 12 Southern states together combined, there are more union
members in a state of New York than all 12 Southern states combined. So,
you know, it`s important to really recognize the role that the South has
played overall in weakening labor throughout the country. The South has
become a global reasoning (ph), you know. In North Carolina in 1950 -- in
1947 when the Taft-Hartley Act was passed, and also in `59 when right to
work was established, there were no blacks in the legislature. Black
people couldn`t even vote. So when we think about the emergence of right
to work, particularly throughout the South, it comes out of a particular
history, you know, that had a system of Jim Crow, which had already shaped
the relationship between workers and the employers.
In North Carolina, we call right to work a Jim Crow law. The last Jim
Crow law here. In Charlotte, it`s so important to point to Charlotte,
because Charlotte was the leader in leading to the enactment of the denial
of collective bargaining for all state, all public sector employees.
State, county and local government. In `58, the chairman, chairperson of
the Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte introduced a report and proposed a
bill - their representative proposed a bill calling for the prohibition of
collective bargaining rights, not only prohibition, but to make it illegal
for all public sector workers to join the union.
HAYES: And my understanding is that there was even a misdemeanor law
on the books in North Carolina that it was illegal to be a member of a
union, which is, obviously, plainly and patently unconstitutional, because
you have the freedom of association in this country, and that was struck
down by the Supreme Court, but kept on the books in North Carolina.
HAYES: Now, I want to ask this question.
MUHAMMAD: Yes, absolutely. In fact --
HAYES: Go ahead.
MUHAMAMD: In fact, the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union
had to challenge that, and they had to get a print change because
supervisors would use that statute in the bold headlines that it`s illegal
to join the union, and it is a misdemeanor, to scare the workers from
joining and organizing the union.
HAYES: Just so people are clear on this, this law that was struck
down as unconstitutional stayed on the books, and people that were trying
to stop organizing efforts were using the law, even though it had the foot
note obviously saying this law is invalidated. But still on the books, it
is illegal, it is a misdemeanor.
NICHOLS: Might possibly still be a problem.
HAYES: Right. When you -- let`s zoom out and look at the stakes of
this public sector union fight because it`s so important in terms of where
the power right now of unions is, as private sector union has been just
destroyed by all the forces you talked about, sustained assault on
collective bargaining, globalization, and Saladin makes a good point.
Before there was China, right, there was South Carolina.
NICHOLS: In many American states, public sector unions --
MUHAMMAD: The first outsourcing.
HAYES: That`s right.
NICHOLS: -- are the Democratic Party. Not the whole of it, but they
are the infrastructure that has kept the Democratic Party strong and
functional. Doesn`t mean there isn`t a Democratic chairman or, you know, a
Democratic committee, but the fact of the matter is that public sector
unions have stepped up. It is not because they love the Democratic Party
per se, and they will sometimes endorse Republican candidates for different
offices, but they defend the public. They defend the commons, and, as
such, because the Republican Party has in the last decade begun a militant
campaign to assault trade unionism at all levels, they have been pushed
more and more into a clear Democratic position, and had to spend more and
The interesting thing is that we are now at a remarkable juncture
where we listen to Saladin here talking and this incredible story.
Understand that this goes back -- there is deep history here, and I`m not
going to tell the whole deep history, but I`m going to say that the deep
history is that trade unionism has changed our parties, and it has changed
our politics. Now, as there is an effort to fully remove trade unions from
one party, we have to -- Democrats have to really be conscious. They`re
going to a place where they can, indeed, without going overboard, speak a
language of support for collective bargaining and trade unionism that I
think could be very, very vital, not just in the north, but in the south.
And they better do it.
AGUILAR: And I would love to hear Saladin tell us a couple of stories
about what workers are actually facing, because I have a piece coming out
in Al Jazeera English tomorrow, about warehouse workers in Southern
California, and I want to give this guy, Ruben Valadez (ph), a voice. He`s
61 years old, and what he does is unloads all the crap that people buy at
Walmart. And he starts working at midnight when we`re all sleeping. He
works from midnight until 8:00 in the morning. He makes $8.50 an hour. He
gets no benefits. He does not have access to clean drinking water. We`re
talking about Southern California, the largest port in the country. He
barely gets a break. Because he`s speaking out, he`s followed to the
bathroom. They cannot even mention the word union. His hours have been
cut so much that he is not able to pay his rent. He got evicted. He`s now
living in a motel. This is 61-year-old --
JONES: American heroes who are fighting for America`s middle class
and need a champion in the Democratic Party, and they can have a champion
in the Democratic Party, but we have to understand the stakes that as a
party, we -- we have a key pillar being knocked down by Republicans, being
knocked down by global corporations. Let`s come to the rescue. I think the
Democratic Party can be an ally.
HAYES: Saladin, I want to hear about the front lines of the fight
with sanitation workers down there. We have to take a quick break. And
we`ll come back and hear that.
HAYES: Saladin Muhammad from the United Electrical Workers in
Charlotte, North Carolina. Tell us about what the workers that you`re
trying to organize are facing. I think one of the arguments that gets made
about public sector unions, oh, they just want big pensions and benefits,
and because people are used to hearing about it in the context of people
that already have union contracts, we forget sometimes what jobs like, say,
being a sanitation worker in Charlotte can look like when you don`t have
MUHAMMAD: Well, first of all, I think it`s important to recognize
that the attack on public sector workers is an attack on public services.
And there`s an attempt to hide that. Organized workers are the strongest,
strongest power to defend public services. This attack on public sector
workers is a part of a strategy toward privatizing public services, and,
again, you know, making them for-profit entities. That is very, very much
missing, I think, in the argument, in the debate. There is a part of the
social safety net that working class people rely on.
Here in North Carolina and also in Tampa -- it`s ironic, you know,
that the whole Republican and Democratic convention, you can secure federal
grants and federal funding in the amount of $50 million in Tampa and $50
million in Charlotte. Now, I mean, but the workers, you know, can`t get a
decent raise. Workers are required to work 12 to 15 hours a day. They`ve
enacted now a new policy of minor infractions, accidents, et cetera, of 30-
day suspension without pay. Now, any time workers are working 12 hours a
day, it`s quite possible that somebody might have an accident. Yet, these
workers don`t have any official voice. The only voice they have is when
they picket the city hall, when they go and pack and the city council
meetings, when they call on their allies, you know, to make noise on their
This is why it`s so important, because in a society and an economy
where a job is required in order to provide basic necessities for the
family, then workers` rights is a human right. Of course, it will just
dislodge the whole community if workers have no rights to be able to
address the issues that impact them on a job.
HAYES: I want to reemphasize one point you made that gets lost about
public sector unions, because they`re in an assault, particularly from
Republican governors on public sector unions, it`s this idea that they`re
greedy. And when you think about a public sector union worker who is
working in, say, a mental hospital. OK? That mental hospital, those
patients have no voice. There is no constituency that fights for better
services in that mental service hospital, it`s a public hospital. The only
possible political power constituency that can say, no, don`t cut the
hours, don`t cut the funding for this place, are unionized workers inside
it. They played this kind of (inaudible). I`m just restating what Saladin
said, because it`s such an important point. Van.
JONES: Unfortunately, I`m still sort of in shock because I just left
Tampa. I was down in Tampa at the GOP convention doing a little coverage
and commentary down there, and the Republican Party wants the entire
country to be North Carolina. All of the horror stories that you just
heard, they want that for all 50 states. And I think the challenge that we
have right now is, we have this frustration that we haven`t been there for
labor now. If we think it`s bad now, if we don`t -- if we don`t now rally
to make sure that we don`t have these kind of policies happening across the
country, I think we`re in real trouble.
I grew up hearing -- I never heard the team public sector worker when
I grew up. I heard teacher, firefighter, nurse, librarians, and those were
the heroes we were supposed to look up to.
TANDEN: I think all of this discussion gets why unions are important,
and I think what we should be arguing about is what we`re really seeing in
this economy. Right now, with 8 percent unemployment, but also with the
drive down in wages, what is really happening is we`re not creating enough
demand, and that`s hurting all of us. And so why is it important to hire
teachers, firefighters? Because when they`re fired, they can`t buy
anything, and that is what the real challenge is, why we`re facing lower
growth, why we don`t have better unemployment, is because this economy
drives on consumption, and we`re not - we are really losing that. And
that`s why it doesn`t really make sense for corporations who really need
that demand to drive down wages in the long run, but that`s what`s
HAYES: We should also say that wage stagnation is a trend. There`s
the microtrend of what`s happening in the recession, but wage stagnation is
a trend that`s happened--
TANDEN: But really accelerated over the last ten years and is a
product of the inability of people to really organize.
AGUILAR: And productivity is off the charts. You had at -- $378,000
per worker in 2007 in productivity. Last year, $420,000.
HAYES: It`s incredible.
AGUILAR: Walmart just posted their second quarter profits, $4
billion. And this guy is making $8.50 with no clean water. This is
unconscionable in the year 2012.
HAYES: "Mother Jones" called this the great speed-up, because one
thing that`s happened in the recession, and partly it`s able to happen
because of the declining union density, is that the places that fired
workers but maintained their level of output by just working people harder.
I want to thank Saladin Muhammad. Thank you so much for joining us
this morning, of the North Carolina public sector -- Public Service Workers
Union, and good luck with the convention this week. Thanks so much.
MUHAMMAD: Thank you.
HAYES: We`re going to talk about the -- more about the role of labor
in the Democratic Party, as well as the role of finance and how a party can
manage to represent the interests of both at the same time. Is it
possible? When we get back.
HAYES: On Thursday, President Obama will close the Democratic
National Convention in Charlotte with a speech at the Bank of America
Stadium, a venue whose name has Democrats squirming. Here`s the DNC chair,
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The whole sort of culmination of the whole week
is at a Bank of America Stadium. Democrats and I know a bunch of
literature are calling it Panther Stadium. Panther Stadium. Do you have a
problem with a mega bank sponsor?
MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, D-LOS ANGELES: I don`t have a problem
with the sponsor and whoever is talking about the Panthers -- Panthers do
play there and they are a great--
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you calling it?
VILLARAIGOSA: I`m calling it the football stadium.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Villaraigosa`s awkwardness about President Obama speaking at a
stadium whose naming rights were purchased by a major U.S. bank highlights
almost perfectly some of the contradictions of the modern Democratic Party.
As the power of labor in the Democratic Party has diminished in both
members and finance after the past - over the past two decades, two things
have happened. Inequality has risen and campaigns have become much, much,
much more expensive. In turn, Democrats have looked to the financial
sector for funding. In 2008, Barack Obama raised more money from the
finance sector than any other campaign in history -- $22 million to John
McCain`s $13 million. That mountain of Wall Street cash serves to heighten
the contradictions in the modern Democratic Party. While the Republicans
can just ruthlessly protect the interests of capital, the Democratic Party
must try to represent the interests of both capital and labor. While
attempting to do just that, President Obama said this in 2009.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of, you
know, fat cat bankers on Wall Street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That single utterance uttered by President Obama that hurt
bankers` fee-fees, combined with Dodd-Frank financial reform, pushed the
titans of finance back to the Republican Party in a huge way. So far this
cycle, the finance sector has donated over $17 million to Mitt Romney, and
only $6 million to President Obama. This sweeping reversal in just a
matter of years ushers in a potentially new era for the Democratic Party,
one less dependent on finance and capital, and more responsive to labor.
I want to bring in Robert Wolf, former president of UBS investment
bank, and outside adviser and fund-raiser for President Obama, a member of
President Obama`s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. He`s also host of
the weekly webcast "Impact Players" on Reuters channel on Youtube TV.
Robert, it`s great to have you here.
ROBERT WOLF, FORMER PRESIDENT, UBS INVESTMENT BANK: Thank you, it`s
great to be here.
HAYES: So, I am obsessed and amazed with the story that you see, the
story you`ve written about, Jane Mayer (ph) has written about, whole bunch
of people have written about, how spurned the titans of finance feel. And
nothing makes me love President Obama more than these stories, I`ll be
honest, honestly, not because - because if he, if the people, if Jamie
Dimons of the world are mad, he must be doing something right. That`s my
WOLF: I left UBS August 1st. It`s fine by me now.
HAYES: I`m curious because, I`m curious to get some insight. When
you look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average, profits on Wall Street, the
banks are incredibly healthy from a capital (ph) perspective, people that
make a lot of money are making a lot of money. Is it really just that they
don`t like the word fat cats, is it Dodd-Frank? Why are people so upset?
WOLF: Well, those are two good things to start on. Let`s start with
fat cat. I`m glad he used the word fat cat. It helped me go on a diet, I
lost 30 pounds.
WOLF: Let`s be blunt here. We had been called a lot of different
things by a lot of different people. Whether he used that term or another
term, it`s really meaningless, and what we have accomplished over the last
four years, which now segues right into the Lehman weekend.
No disrespect to everyone who talks about the Lehman weekend. I was
one of the 12 individuals sitting there for the three days of the Lehman
weekend. When Governor Romney or Congressman Ryan say, are we different
than four years ago? I mean, come on. January 2009, we lost 800,000 jobs.
The most in 60 years. OK? The stock market`s up since the president took
office almost 100 percent. We have 500,000 more manufacturing jobs than
we`ve had. That`s the best since the `90s. Our exports as a percent of
GDP have been gaining double digits ever since he`s been in office.
So, we have had economic stability. We`re not where we want to be.
With respect to Dodd-Frank, we need reg reform. Just to be clear, we did
not have the tools that weekend, OK, for what we needed. OK? I`m not
saying I agree with all 5,000 pages. I liked it better when it was an 85-
page Treasury blueprint, but reg reform was needed.
HAYES: I want to go back to this first part, because that, to me, is
the key point. I mean, when I surveyed the scene, from my perspective as a
humble journalist, not in the room during Lehman Brothers weekend, I look
at the banks and I say, these guys saved your bacon. They saved your
bacon, they saved your livelihood, they saved you from total destruction
and discrediting. Remarkably, it`s almost like the whole thing never
happened. It feels like the whole thing never happened in the rest of the
country, because the recession has been tough on jobs. But from the
perspective of finance, why are you complaining? You should be throwing
roses at the feet of -- I`m being serious. Why is there not more
gratitude? This is the thing that drives me bonkers.
TANDEN: But there is a choice in this election, right? And it`s not
just between one person and the other. Like, there are people on Wall
Street who understand that, and there are people in finance who understand
that. You know, you`re one of them, there are others. But, look, one of
the reasons why so many people of incredible means are giving to the super
PACs on the Republican side and to Mitt Romney is because it`s a return on
investment. They`re looking at a 20 percent across the board tax cut, and
they`re looking at their own --
HAYES: For Sheldon Adelson, you`re looking at the end of the
inheritance tax, which is a darn fine thing--
TANDEN: Look, there`s other people on Wall Street recognizing that
it`s better for the entire economy to grow, and I think those are people
who are supporting the president. I think that`s the difference. Like,
they`re looking at it longer term versus only immediate short-term issue.
HAYES: I want to find out how much of this is temporary and how much
of it you think is long term and where things go from here in terms of the
two parties and the two candidates and this election right after we take a
WOLF: Great, thank you.
HAYES: Neera Tanden, you just made a point, and I think it`s great.
Right? I`m saying, why aren`t the people - why aren`t the Wall Street
bankers lining up with roses at the White House to thank President Obama
for saving them. And Neera, you made an excellent point, the election is
between two candidates. One candidate is proposing things like getting rid
of the inheritance tax entirely, getting rid of -- a 20 percent tax cut,
lowering capital gains, in fact Paul Ryan I think wants to get rid of
capital gains altogether, and Mitt Romney would pay zero percent.
TANDEN: I think it`s 1, I think for Mitt Romney it`s 1.
HAYES: OK, 1 percent. So you`re saying it`s a return on investment.
I would like you to respond to that. Is that your understanding of it?
WOLF: Listen, as opposed to talk about why someone is moving that way
because of taxes, we should talk about this way. Why do we need taxes to
go up for the wealthy? It`s about having a shared sacrifice, and I need to
put one fact on the table. Since 1776, every war we have ever had in this
country was followed up with taxes. Every war. We have been in a ten-year
war. It is time that we look at the sacrifice differently.
This is not like -- I don`t want my taxes to go up, but at the end of
the day, this is what I would recommend for this country. They all give
the president grief about clarity. This is very straightforward. We could
pass right now tax relief for 98 -- the extension for 98 percent of this
country. Let`s do it. Then let`s have the argument on the last 2 percent
and see which way it goes, but let`s bring clarity to 98 percent of this
HAYES: I agree. And if you look at the polling, right, that`s where
the polling is. The problem that we face is that the 2 percent there has a
lot of money on the table. I mean, you`re talking about tens, hundreds of
millions of dollars.
NICHOLS: This is the fundamental disconnect of the moment. Because
we have, absolutely, everything we`re saying here, everything you`re saying
is totally right, except that that president who will say it and probably
say some of that quite well this week, still has -- they desperately -
look, I talk to DNC people all the time. They desperately look at that
Romney pile of money, and they keep saying, people saying, oh, my gosh, we
have got to get some of that money.
TANDEN: The president could not be more clear.
NICHOLS: I am saying that the emphasis on that message is undermined
by the absolute fear of Romney`s--
WOLF: But that`s not accurate. Let`s be clear. The top 2 percent,
OK, they are absolutely willing to give back. What they want to see as a
fiscal deal. OK? So, they understand where their dollars and cents are
going. And I think the president put something on the table, OK, which was
for every $3 of spending cuts, it`s a dollar of revenues. And we should
just look at the facts. 15 percent of our GDP right now is revenues; 24
percent is spending. The average has always been 18 percent of revenues,
21 percent of spending. So, when the Republican Party stands up and say
zero to tax increases, it`s silly time. It just doesn`t work. OK. You
need taxes to go up, OK, less than spending. You need spending to go down,
and that`s where we need to be. That`s the whole battle on GDP.
HAYES: Let me point one more thing out here. You`ll note astute
viewers and listeners, 18 percent revenues, 20 percent in spending. We
always run deficits, right?
HAYES: No, no, I`m saying this is a good thing.
TANDEN: We have run surpluses.
HAYES: If you look at the totality-
WOLF: In the overall scheme of things, deficit-
HAYES: -- of the last 100 years in American history, we run deficits
and we run them for a good reason. More on that after this.
HAYES: Hello from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. With me today I have
Van Jones from Rebuild the Dream; Robert Wolf, a fund-raiser for the Obama
campaign and former president of UBS investment bank. Neera Tanden from
the Center for American Progress, and John Nichols, my colleague at "The
We are talking about finance, Wall Street and the Democratic Party and
this election, particularly their relationship to the president, his re-
election campaign and the raft of stories we`ve seen about the ways in
which the titans of finance have soured on the president. And as I said at
the top of the show, nothing makes me love Barack Obama more than that.
HAYES: Here`s Jamie Dimon of course of JPMorgan Chase on "Meet the
Press" describing his own political affiliation in the wake of the
president`s first term.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS: You supported President Obama, you`re a
JAMIE DIMON, CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: I would call myself a barely
Democrat at this point. And I didn`t support anyone last time around. I
am on a New York Fed board, I`m not allowed to. But I am a Democrat, yes.
GREGORY: So, what happened? Why barely a Democrat now?
DIMON: You know, I`ve gotten disturbed at some of the Democrats`
anti-business behavior, the sentiment, the attacks on work ethic and
successful people, and I think it`s very counterproductive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Attacks on work ethic. Can someone please say to me when
President Obama has attacked the work ethic? How do you respond to that
Jamie Dimon quote? I`m letting you play the straight man, I`m the one
getting all upset so you can--
ROBERT WOLF, FORMER PRESIDENT, UBS INVESTMENT BANK: Listen, I have a
lot of respect for Jamie, so how he wants to frame where he is personally,
that`s up to him. The way I would see it is, we have had 30 straight gains
in private sector jobs. Over 4.5 million private sector jobs. So, I think
the private sector is starting to actually build a nice foundation.
Housing, OK, foreclosures is at a four-year low. Housing starts at a four-
year high. The auto sector -- and something we should just bring up. When
the governor of Ohio the other night said that they have gone from 48th to
4th in job creation --
HAYES: This is great.
WOLF: And one in every eight jobs is in the auto sector, it should
end with, "and thank you, Mr. President."
WOLF: So I think, listen, we`re seeing our country make things in
America, build things in America, export from America. Those are good
HAYES: I`m sorry. I just want you --
WOLF: On the Jamie thing --
HAYES: But that specific thing. I mean, forget about Jamie Dimon. I
mean, this idea that you hear this a lot -- I`ve heard it in interviews I
have done in my own reporting, talking to folks on Wall Street, hedge
funds, whatever. Attacks on success, attacks on the work ethic. This idea
that Barack Obama has some secret socialist program to sap the
entrepreneurial dynamic verve of the American people.
WOLF: I don`t buy it, because listen, I hear, as I said before, the
Republicans can put out Donald Trump and have their talk, but I`m proud
that Obama has people like Warren Buffett, Jim Sinegal of Costco, Eric
Schmidt of Google. Maybe we`re just not touting who is for him on the
business side as much as we should. Maybe we just don`t yell as much. But
at the end of the day, there`s a lot of business people for the president,
and there is a lot of business people for Governor Romney. That`s where
this country is. And I think Wall Street does not define business.
VAN JONES, REBUILD THE DREAM: And I think that`s a very important
thing, as well. We were talking about this at the break. Wall street is a
part of the business community. You have a lot of people in the business
community that understand that turning the country over to Wall Street has
devastated Main Street businesses. And so, you hear this sort of scream
I don`t understand how Wall Street got away with such a small slap on
the wrist. They got the bailouts, they got the bonuses, they got all the
great stuff, and they literally are crying because he used the word fat cat
once. When you ask them, what is it you would have him do differently?
It`s an emotional thing. But they`re putting their kind of emotional pain
over the rest of the country`s need for economic gain.
WOLF: Listen, I think it`s nice to point the finger at Wall Street,
them doing this, them doing that. I mean, Wall Street, you guys are
defining Wall Street much more broader than how I define Wall Street.
JONES: How do you define it?
WOLF: They`ve done a lot of great things for this country, they are
very philanthropic. OK? You cannot blame Wall Street because TARP helped
them, and we sped to recovery more quickly. It is a positive that our
banks are firm today. OK? We have economic stability. We are the most
stable industrialized country in the world, OK, because the banks are
stable. That`s a good thing. We should not move away from that.
NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Can we just go on this
issue of success for a second and the president`s rhetoric? Because if you
listened to the Republicans last week, there was a lot of argument that
somehow the president is attacking success. And I think what`s really
happened here is if you look at what happened in 2008 in Wall Street and
housing and a whole variety of areas, you know, there was a crisis, and
people lost a lot of their wealth. 30 percent of the wealth of their
HAYES: $8 trillion in total.
TANDEN: $8 trillion. And, you know, a lot of people made bad
decisions. A lot of people on Wall Street made some bad decisions. A lot
of people in the government made some bad decisions with allowing a
deregulation system that you referenced earlier.
But I think, you know, the president has just spoken to that level of
anger in the country. That people who did nothing wrong lost their jobs,
lost income, lost their housing value. People are angry about that. And
what the Republicans have done is conflate that criticism the president has
made about these poor decisions in the past with an attack on success.
That is a failure, and we need to call them out on that. We have not
attacked success, we have attacked the unfairness that has come from an
economy that is not working for everybody.
JOHN NICHOLS, THENATION.COM: At the Republican National Convention,
the watch word on the t-shirts even before the speeches, but in every
speech was the "we built it." And I want to emphasize, that is at the
heart of this thing. There is a desire to suggest that Barack Obama,
because of -- in one speech, which he actually explained exactly what he
was saying, about infrastructure and that, that Barack Obama is somehow a
militant foe of the person -- not Wall Street, but the scrappy guy trying
to start a business.
NICHOLS: And what I want -- what scares me about this, what scares me
about this discourse is that desire to kind of come back at that and try to
explain that. That goes deep into the weeds of where they want to be. A
debate about whether Barack Obama is anti-business or not. That`s what
they want. And I think the answer on this one is to go, it`s much of what
you have been talking about here. But also to point out one thing, the
magazines that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney read, the newspapers they read,
"The Financial Times," "The Economist," they keep talking about the
American success story of the last three years. They keep saying, European
countries tried austerity, that really did not work. In America, this
Obama guy, he did stimulus, that worked. And so I think it`s important to
point out that there have been some success here, and that`s a way to
counter the "you didn`t build it" stuff.
WOLF: I say two things. One that "we didn`t build it" completely
taken out of context.
WOLF: This is a guy in the president of the United States who
believes in infrastructure as one of the growth engines for this country.
We should also be very clear. For every dollar spent, it is a multiplier
of 1.6 times on GDP. The fastest multiplier there is for any business. He
put out a bill, OK, and there was even a bipartisan bill, Kerry-Hutchison,
OK, that didn`t get past. How could you not pass infrastructure? I hosted
a summit that had the Chamber of Commerce on one side, the unions
(inaudible) on the other side, both begging.
WOLF: -- and the regulation in Texas, they were all for it.
NICHOLS: Begging for it.
WOLF: So the idea that we just have a polarizing environment today,
we have to get back to--
NICHOLS: We`ve got polarizing in Washington--
JONES: But I think this is one of the great tragedies, is that there
is common ground. There is common ground between business, there`s common
ground between labor, and it has to do with investing in infrastructure and
human capital, but there has been an absolute desire on the part of
Republicans to see nothing go forth, even stuff that is good for small
TANDEN: Yes, I mean, they supported infrastructure--
JONES: Even stuff that is good for infrastructure. They won`t -- the
Republicans won`t pass their own bills because they would rather see the
economic pain build up than to actually have the country move forward and
have Obama get credit for it. I think that has to be raised as a question
of real treachery. You can`t have in an economic emergency -- think about
the environmental emergency we had with the hurricane. Everybody jumps in
to help. You have an economic emergency, the president jumps in to help,
and the Republicans don`t jump in to help. That`s a big problem.
WOLF: A year ago today, a year ago today, he came out with the
America`s Jobs Act.
JONES: It was mostly Republican ideas.
WOLF: 70 percent of that was tax breaks. 30 percent was--
JONES: For small business.
WOLF: -- infrastructure. So argue about the 10 percent that no one
NICHOLS: -- domestic auto industry not be the same sort of thing.
These are fundamental things.
WOLF: The first economist to come out that this was good policy was
WOLF: McCain`s Republican economist, who said, 1.7 million jobs, OK,
1.7 and maybe 2 percent on GDP.
NICHOLS: And it went nowhere in the House.
WOLF: And that was Paul Ryan.
HAYES: But explain that. Because that to me is also interesting,
because why is it the case, you know, Neera, you articulated this idea that
what`s -- it should be the case that a better recovery is better for all
those folks. We`re talking about return on investment. Right? All those
folks who are giving tons of money to Mitt Romney. It should be the case
that, you know, you need customers. Even if you`re a bank, you need
customers. Although sometimes not so much, depending on what kind of bank
But, generally, the folks that are giving all this money to Mitt
Romney, you would think there would be pressure brought to bear on the
Republican Party not to do that, precisely because a recovery would be
broadly helpful. And I think the problem here, and it gets back, and I
don`t want to litigate the Wall Street financial crisis, I have a million
shows to do that -- but the problem here, right, is that there is a
bifurcated recovery, and this gets to this profound point. Is that it`s
increasingly the case that those folks that are giving money to Mitt Romney
feel that obstruction on the front of jobs in a recovery that they can
achieve a new equilibrium in which we have 8 percent unemployment and high
profits, in which banks are making money and people are out of work, and
that is a durable equilibrium into the future. So those 1.7 million jobs
that are on the table when the president comes forward with the American
Jobs Act, they could write that off, because they are still -- their
quarterly profits are breaking records. And the question is, are they
right or are they wrong? Because if they`re right, that is a serious and
deep and profound political problem for the political coalition of the
Democrats and for the American political economy down the road.
And with that, Robert Wolf, former president of UBS--
HAYES: I`m sorry, I`m not going to let you respond, but you`ll be
back on the program to do it. Really appreciate it.
WOLF: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Some of the less talked about political races this
season could have more of an impact than who wins the White House. Coming
HAYES: In a presidential election year, it`s easy to overlook the
down ballot races, even as they move into their final stages. But these
races matter more and more as control of Congress becomes more fluid and
contested, especially on domestic issues. The future of this country may
be shaped more by who wins Congress this November than by who wins the
White House. With the exception of a few brief interregnums, the Democrats
controlled both houses of Congress for nearly the entire latter half of the
20th century. Then came the so-called Republican revolution in 1994 that
turned Capitol Hill upside down. The Democratic sweep in 2006 that seized
control of the House back, and the Tea Party backlash of 2010 that gave
President Obama the most obstructive and implacable congressional
opposition in generations, the nature of which took a while to sink in in
the Oval Office.
President Obama said, "I think there were many times in my first
couple of years when I kept on sitting there trying to see if we can
negotiate some sort of compromise, and there was just a lot of refusal on
the other side`s part to compromise."
As the last two years have illustrated, the parliamentary discipline
and maximalism of the modern Republican Party makes congressional control
arguably more important than ever. So with the Democratic Party convening
this week, we wanted to hear directly from some of the Democratic
candidates in House and Senate races, because these are the people who hear
directly from the voters. Which is the reason why we have invited five
downballot candidates to join us this morning.
Here with me at the table is Rob Zerban, Paul Ryan`s Democratic
challenger for the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin. Hakeem
Jeffries, Democratic candidate for New York`s 8th Congressional District.
Cynthia Dill, Democratic candidate for U.S. senator for Maine. Nate
Shinagawa, Democratic candidate from New York`s 23rd Congressional
District. And joining us from Phoenix is Kyrsten Sinema, a Democratic
candidate for Arizona`s new 9th Congressional District. It is great to
have you all here.
I want to start out talking about the role that incumbency plays, and
this is especially true for two of you. Rob, you`re running against an
incumbent whose name is now familiar to America, Paul Ryan. Nate, you`re
also running against an incumbent, one-term incumbent, John Reed.
NATE SHINAGAWA, D-NY, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Tom Reed.
HAYES: Tom Reed, sorry. Former mayor of Corning, right? A
Republican. And he is -- the district has been redrawn, and he`s not in
exactly the same district as before.
SHINAGAWA: That`s right.
HAYES: For both of you running against incumbents, the dynamic of
this election so far has been about the economy, the Republicans making the
case the economy is bad, it`s Barack Obama`s fault. Vote Barack Obama out.
But, of course, we have divided government, and Congress has been, you
know, playing quite a role in the economy. Look at the debt ceiling fracas
a year ago. How does that play in your district? Are you making a case
about the economy and tying it to the incumbent? Is that part of what the
SHINAGAWA: Absolutely. In the 1st Congressional District, since Paul
Ryan has been our congressman, we had a mass exodus of jobs. We had a GM
plant close in Janesville, which he actually --
HAYES: Which we heard about.
ROB ZERBAN, D-WI, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Which we heard about, in
his misrepresentation of the facts. And then we also had a Chrysler plant
close in Kenosha, where I`m from. And so that right there combined is over
12,000 jobs that we have lost since he`s been our congressman. So, yes,
I`m pointing this out to people, and I think that due to his speech and the
outrage that it generated among the people and former UAW members in
Janesville, it is front and center.
HAYES: That`s interesting. Has there been a lot of local backlash to
that line in the speech?
ZERBAN: Absolutely. Because people are looking and they look at this
and they say, he either blatantly lied or he didn`t know the facts, which
as your congressman, it`s unacceptable.
HAYES: We were looking at -- there is this amazing and sort of
heartbreaking slide show over the last day of SUV production of that plant,
December 23rd, I believe, 2008, and pictures and signed signatures. And --
SHINAGAWA: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I think that this Congress has
been totally obstructionist, and you know, you had that jobs` bill on the
table that was just discussed, you know, for a year, and no action actually
taking place. My district is very much like Rob`s. We have a lot of
manufacturing, a lot of agriculture, a lot of major decisions that need to
be made this Congress that haven`t been made. I`m running against an
incumbent, Tom Reed, who was recently in this Sea of Galilee scandal as
well. And -- and it`s an instance there--
HAYES: Scandal is a little strong.
SHINAGAWA: It`s true. True, all right. But he was part of it, and
when he was part of it, it just showed that he was part of that culture in
Washington. He went in there. This whole Tea Party movement went in there
to change Washington, and they ended up becoming part of the problem.
Right? And you know, he`s still taking taxpayer-funded trips all the way
overseas, right, and not taxpayer -- not just taxpayer funded trips, but
also just paid for by lobbyists and special interests, right, and so he has
become part of the problem.
I think what voters are concerned about is that this status quo means
that fairness does not pay off in this country. And there isn`t fairness
in this country, and so working and middle-class people feel like they`re
being left behind, and that status quo, that this Tea Party Congress is a
part of, they`re continuing that.
HAYES: OK. So we talked about the American Jobs Act and some of the
job losses in the district. Cynthia, you`re running in Maine. Hakeem,
you`re here in New York, and Kyrsten, you`re in Arizona, and I was thinking
about this conversation. I was remembering back in 2006 the Democrats very
successfully nationalized that election. A lot of it was around the Iraq
War and opposition to the Iraq War and a feeling of exhaustion.
Let`s say everyone at this table wins and we have a Democratic
majorities in both Houses. What is the agenda? Kyrsten, what do you --
when you say to the folks in your district, I`m going to go to Congress,
and if we, if you put Democrats in charge, we will do -- what`s the fill in
the blank there?
KYRSTEN SINEMA, D-AZ, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, Chris, you know,
when we`re walking and talking with voters in our district, what we say is
the only way to change Washington is to change the people we send there.
Because unfortunately, from Arizona, we`ve been sending a delegation that
is more interested in partisan bickering than in actually solving problems.
And I`ll tell you, Chris, voters are concerned about one thing and one
thing only in Arizona -- jobs. One third of Arizonans are worried that
they can lose their jobs some time this year. So they wake up in the
morning and they don`t really think about being a Democrat or being a
Republican. They think about whether or not they`re going to have their
job. Whether or not they can pay their mortgage, whether they can put
their kids through school, and whether they will have a safe and strong
economic future. That`s what they care about.
HAYES: But when you are talking about that economic insecurity,
right, the national election is happening at the same time. And when
you`re talking about economic insecurity, the argument that the opposition
party is making is that it`s the fault of the person at the top of the
ticket, Barack Obama. I want to hear how you respond to that. I also want
to hear what is surprising you that you`re hearing from voters. Because
you guys are in touch with them, right after we take a quick break.
HAYES: Talking to Democratic congressional and Senate candidates.
Cynthia, how do you respond to the fact that voters are feeling
economically insecure, and you`re campaigning to go to Washington and help
change that. At the same time Republicans` message about the source of
that economic insecurity is very straightforward. It`s Barack Obama. What
is your message to them?
CYNTHIA DILL, D-ME, U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: My message is that the
Republicans are wrong, it`s not Barack Obama that is obstructing the
ability for Americans to get jobs. It`s the extremists in the Republican
Party, who have made it their life`s work to prevent any success on the
part of the president and Democrats. And so, what I tell voters is there
are these packages up on the shelf, bills waiting to be passed, that could
provide a veteran`s job corps, that could provide tax fairness, that could
help the refinancing of homes, that could build infrastructure projects.
These things are just waiting to happen, but we need the votes. And so,
they need to send people like me, people like the fine candidates at this
table, so that the president can have the support and the Congress he needs
to move the country forward.
HAYES: Do people know about those bills? I mean, I feel like, do
people know -- when you tell a voter, there is a thing called the American
Jobs Act that would do X, Y, Z, what is the response? Do they know in your
district that that exists?
HAKEEM JEFFRIES, D-NY, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: People may not know
the specifics, but what they do know is that this Republican leadership in
the House of Representatives and the Tea Party conference has blocked the
ability of the president and the American people to move forward in a
Now, notwithstanding the tremendous obstructionism that we`ve seen
that`s evident to the people on the ground that I talk to day after day
after day, what we have been pointing out is that progress, notwithstanding
the obstructionism, has been made. There are 4.3 million private sector
jobs have been created under this administration, that the automobile
industry in Detroit was saved for the good of the country, that we have
seen foreclosure rates at a four-year low.
So, progress has been made, notwithstanding the obstructionism, but,
of course, more needs to be done. The president inherited a tremendous
train wreck of catastrophic proportions. The only way to get it back on
track is to make sure that we send people who are committed to doing the
business of the people to Democratic Party there (ph).
SHINAGAWA: One of the things I found interesting in my district is
that people are concerned about public sector job loss, as much as they are
about private sector job loss. And they see Republicans very much part of
What`s happened is you look at school districts in my district. I
have Elmira, the city of Elmira. It`s only a city of 30,000 people. 200
job losses in just teachers alone. And that is hurting these communities,
and it is hurting people across this entire district. And so when we`re
losing those public sector jobs, we`re losing middle class jobs, and that`s
a huge problem, and I think that people see Republicans at fault for that.
HAYES: If you`re talking about obstruction, that`s part of the case.
Kyrsten, I am curious, because you are in a district that is if I`m not
mistaken a new district, and my understanding of its political dimensions
is that it`s a real 50/50 kind of district, and you`re one of the No. 2
ranked swing districts in terms of how close the electorate is.
Can you, in that environment, when you just said to me, we need to
send people who want to solve problems and not bicker, can you
simultaneously say I am going to work to save problems, and there is this
implacable, nihilistic, obstructionist party on the other side that will do
nothing, will stop at nothing to destroy the Democratic Party?
SINEMA: Well, you know, Chris, I just served seven years in the
Arizona state legislature. Really, if I can manage that, I can certainly
The truth is, is that there are opportunities to work across the
aisle. The problem that we faced in Congress is that there are so many
extremists who are just like my new Tea Party opponent, who are more
interested in partisan gridlock than in finding shared solutions.
You know, Chris, I have got an opponent who wants to eliminate the
Department of Education, right? No Pell grants, no student loans, no
funding for K-12 schools. It`s hard to find common ground with those
individuals, but I believe that you can always find a way to reach across
the aisle and solve some problems.
What we need is a Congress that has folks on both sides of the aisle
that are willing to do just that.
ZERBAN: Chris, I was a small business owner, I was somebody who
employed 45 people, providing excellent wages and benefits, and I can tell
you that there is not this overregulation of small businesses that people
on the Republican side like to talk about. You know, my businesses were
located in the northern suburbs of Chicago, in one of the states they call
a nanny state for being overregulated and trying to demonize it, but I had
a lot of success.
You know, the greatest impediment I found to my business, was not
having a holistic solution to the health care crisis our nation faced, you
know, and the Republicans response to addressing that was to do nothing.
Now, we have a president who gets in and passes the ACA, and this is going
to do a lot to help people get started in business.
HAYES: How does the Affordable Care Act play in your district? Do
you talk about it much? What do you hear from voters about it?
ZERBAN: Well, it comes up quite a bit, because with Paul Ryan having
written this kill Medicare budget. You know, I think the solution is
Medicare for all, and that`s how we get the small business of
entrepreneurship going again. That`s how we support our small businesses,
by making an environment where they`re not worried about having to pay
horrendous amounts in health insurance costs, or not have the kind of
protection for their family that they need for fear of bankruptcy.
HAYES: Do we have a Medicare for all consensus at the table?
Medicare for all? Medicare for all?
DILL: I`m in.
JEFFRIES: I think the Affordable Care Act as it passed fits into this
broader thematic war that is playing out with progress for the many, which
I think everyone around the table is articulating, and prosperity for the
And the notion is that you have these entitlement programs that have
been successful -- Medicare, Social Security -- that are under intense
attack by the Republican Party, by Mitt Romney, by Paul Ryan, by the
extremists on the right, that really threaten the capacity for average,
ordinary, everyday Americans to move forward. And that really is the
stakes of this election, and I think the more that we can emphasis that in
our own districts and across the country, the better we`ll be in November.
DILL: The Affordable Care Act you asked about, how it plays out in
various races. In Maine, the first thing that our Tea Party governor did
when the Supreme Court announced that the Affordable Care Act was
constitutional, but the Medicaid, you know, the waiver issued might be out
there, was try to throw people off of health insurance, like 27,000 people.
It`s just -- so the Affordable Care Act comes up over and over again when
you`re in a state that is being governed by Tea Partiers, because their
goal is to take as many people off of health care as possible, and so it is
a great opportunity for progressives and Democrats to talk about it.
HAYES: We have now heard the word "Tea Party," the phrase "Tea Party"
15 times, which suggests something about the polling on that phrase.
I want to talk about the era of big money and super PACs and how
that`s playing in your races. We`re hearing a lot about it at the top,
right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- for Senate, and gives King or Cynthia Dill,
both reliable Obama allies on health care and taxes, but there are
differences. Cynthia Dill is pro-labor and supports raising the minimum
wage. Angus King vetoed it. Dill is known as a bold progressive and a
champion of marriage equality and stronger gun laws. Cynthia Dill, a
Democrat you can feel good about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`re running an ad that was run for you, Cynthia Dill,
because it points to a fascinating set of circumstances, specifically in
Maine. You`re the Democratic nominee, there is a Republican nominee, and
then there is an independent running by the name of Angus King, very well
known in the state, two-term governor, had hosted a talk show I think at
some point, a television show. Very well known, high levels of name
recognition, has polled quite highly in the early polls, although you told
me that those are old polls. And this was a super PAC ad taken out by whom
on your behalf?
DILL: It`s a Republican super PAC by the name of Freedom Works, and
while it`s unusual in a lot of respects, it`s also erroneous in one regard,
and that is that Angus King supports extending Bush tax cuts for everybody.
So, he`s on the side of the Republicans when it comes to tax fairness.
I support the president`s view that we should extend tax cuts only for
families making less than $250,000.
But the ad itself certainly a phenomenon in politics, at least in my
lifetime. I`ve never seen the Republicans do something to help me like
they did in this ad, and I understand from news reports that today a new ad
is going to be rolling out from the same Republican super PAC. So I
haven`t seen it, but hopefully it talks about my great legislative record.
HAYES: Well, this is a fairly cynical attempt to essentially get
Democrats to split the vote of Democrats between Angus King and yourself,
paving the way for a path to victory for the Republican opponent, Charlie
DILL: Right. I mean, there is nothing really good to say about the
Republican candidate, so what they`re going to do is repeat--
HAYES: What happened in the governor`s race.
DILL: -- what happened in the governor`s race, which is absolutely
impossible, given the circumstances.
HAYES: Kyrsten, are you seeing -- there is going to be a lot of money
on both sides. The national committees are going to probably spend a lot
of money in that district. You`re on the red-to-blue list. Are you seeing
super PAC money or dark money from 401(c)4`s (ph), groups like Freedom
Works or Crossroads? Is that a specter that looms in your race?
SINEMA: Well, we`re not sure what`s going to happen in the general
election in this race, but I can tell you, Chris, I just went through a
very hard-fought primary. There was a super PAC against me in the primary.
It was a shadowy group from Tennessee. We don`t know where the money came
from, we have no information about it, but we do expect that to play again.
And as you mentioned, Chris, I`m on the red-to-blue list, which the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has listed 50 seats across the
country as their top priority to switch from Republican to Democrat, or in
my case, a brand-new district that is pretty evenly split between Democrats
and independents and Republicans. So, we do expect to see the specter of
secret outside money in this race.
From our perspective, we think it is even more important that we do a
good job of defining ourselves and the folks that we serve early on in the
race, so that people aren`t swayed by some of this shady -- exactly.
HAYES: Are you seeing that kind of money, Nate?
SHINAGAWA: Well, in my district, one of the big issues is fracking,
natural gas fracking, high-volume hydraulic slick-water horizontal
fracking. And this stuff is, it can be -- it has a big risk to our water
in the area.
Congressman Reed is the co-chair of the Marcellus Gas Shale Caucus.
The American Petroleum Institute is already sending mailers into the
district. Other oil and gas industry PACs and super PACs are contributing
to this race. And so I`m definitely seeing it already.
But also, I want to mention that this, even before this Citizens
United era, the influence of money in politics is there. My opponent, I
raised $500,000 already from mostly individuals. My opponent has raised
$790,000 from corporate political action committees. And that --
SHINAGAWA: We need to absolutely be pushing, especially as
progressives here, too, for public financing of elections so we get the
money out of politics, and actually get democracy in the hands of middle-
HAYES: How much time, give me an estimate, of your time spent waking
and working. I`m going to go around the table -- do you spend raising
money. Be honest.
ZERBAN: 75 percent.
JEFFRIES: Well, you know --
JEFFRIES: We`re in a different situation, but we raised over $1
million in a heated primary that was necessary in order to get our message
out. These congressional districts have grown. 717,000 people in the size
now, and the cost of media in order to be able to broadcast --
HAYES: How much time? How much time are you spending?
JEFFRIES: I would say greater than 50 percent.
DILL: We spend about 25 hours a week in call time, and the rest of
the time out meeting voters and, so --
SHINAGAWA: I spend about 25 hours a week too, and, actually, I have a
big rural district. And so there are places where I can`t get cell
service, I relish the lack of cell service.
HAYES: Kyrsten, how about you?
SINEMA: You know, I spend a lot of time fund-raising. The good news
about -- the good news about Arizona is that the majority of my donors come
from within the district. So I get to spend a lot of time talking to
voters about what they care about and garnering support for our grassroots
campaign at the same time. But, I`ll tell you, it`s expensive. We spent
almost $1 million in the primary. We have to do that same amount, again,
in the general.
HAYES: I will tell any viewer that is watching, when you hear call
time, which may sound like an innocuous phrase, it is a soul-sucking,
destroying enterprise of sitting in some fluorescent back room with a
telephone and a printed out sheet of paper, and probably a staffer being
like, get on the phones, get on the phones, as you call through and ask
people for money. I have watched people do it. And if you ever thought,
you really thought going -- running for office is going to be a glamorous
enterprise, you should go watch someone do call time.
More on what those dynamics look like after this break.
HAYES: All right. Candidate forum lightning round. Democratic
challengers and in some cases not challengers running for Congress. I want
you to tell me one thing you`d change about Washington.
ZERBAN: I think we need to get rid of the out of touch Washington
insiders like my opponent, Paul Ryan, who has never worked outside of
Washington, D.C., never had a job in the private industry, and I think we
need to change the culture and we need to get rid of those type of people.
HAYES: You need to put in place a job creator, which is, I
understand, the entire argument of the RNC, which seems to be -- which
seemed to necessitate if you followed the logic, a vote for Rob Zerban over
Paul Ryan. Hakeem Jeffries.
JEFFRIES: I think we need to end the permanent campaign. There is a
time for politics, but once the campaigns end we have got to get about the
business of the American people, and what we`ve seen over the last two
years is that the campaign continued when it was supposed to be time to
govern. And hopefully coming out of the November election, we can all get
back to turning the economy around. Whatever the outcome is, I certainly
think that the president will be re-elected, we`ll take the House back in
Congress and we can move forward.
DILL: We need more progressive women in the Congress and we need
people who are going to stand up for small families -- excuse me, working
families and small businesses. That`s what we need for the country to
really move forward in a way that`s productive and healthy and can bring
prosperity to families.
HAYES: One thing you would change about Washington?
SHINAGAWA: I would absolutely bring back fairness to all the policies
we have out there. Instead of having a Ryan plan that attacks women, it
attacks children`s health, it attacks education. Instead we need to have a
budget that focuses on middle class people, and have the Democrats push it
out there, and actually invest in the 21st century economy and
infrastructure and education system, and make sure the rich pay their fair
share in taxes in order to do it.
HAYES: Did your opponent vote for the Ryan budget?
SHINAGAWA: Yes, he did, twice.
HAYES: And your opponent wrote the Ryan budget.
Kyrsten, you get the last word about what you would change about
SINEMA: What we need in Washington are more people who are focused on
common sense, pragmatic solutions. And fewer people who are interested in
partisan bickering and gridlock. That`s a pretty simple thing to achieve.
Just elect different people. People who have a proven track record of
standing up for middle class families, and who are interested in solving
HAYES: If only gridlock can be dissolved unilaterally, which it
cannot be. Kyrsten Sinema, congressional candidate in Arizona. Rob
Zerban, running for Paul Ryan`s seat in Wisconsin. New York congressional
candidate Hakeem Jeffries, U.S. Senate candidate Cynthia Dill from Maine.
And Nate Shinagawa, also running for Congress in New York. It was really a
great pleasure. Thank you so much.
HAYES: What you should know for the news week ahead. Coming up next.
HAYES: In just a moment, what we should know for the news week ahead.
But first, a quick update on the subject we follow on this program. After
months of pleading from economists across the political spectrum and cable
news hosts such as myself, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday
hinted forcefully at further easing from the Fed. Bernanke called the job
market quote, a grave concern, and argued that despite already low interest
rates, there is more the Fed can do to combat unemployment. He cited
research showing that two rounds of so-called quantitative easing have been
successful, creating as many as 2 million jobs, prompting the question why,
with over 12 million people unemployed and inflation at near record lows,
the Fed hasn`t done more.
So what should you know for the week coming up? You should know that
while the professional fact checkers look forward to running this week`s
Democratic convention through their truthometers, one of our viewers,
Daniel Brook (ph), dug up another misstatement in Mitt Romney`s speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Everywhere I go in America, there are monuments that list
those that have given their lives for America. There is no mention of
their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a living.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In fact, Brook points out that there is a World War I Memorial
near his house in New Orleans Ninth Ward that list servicemen by race. You
should know that one lists, quote, "white men in active service," and the
plaque next to it lists, quote, "colored men who died in service." You
should note that you too can fact-check Romney by sending pictures of U.S.
war memorials that do mention race, party affiliation, or what they did for
a living to our Twitter account or @upwithchris, or e-mail them
@firstname.lastname@example.org. We`ll post the best on our website, up.msnbc.com
You should know that when the Democratic delegates meet at the
convention to update the party platform, they will have to decide whether
to tweet the section that denounces the Bush administration`s understanding
of executive power. The 2008 platform says, quote, "We will not ship away
prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, or
detain without trial or charge prisoners who can and should be brought to
justice for their crimes or maintain a network of secret prisons to jail
people beyond the reach of the law."
You should know that under executive orders, issued by the Obama
administration, the CIA can still carry out rendition of prisoners, which
was condemned by the European Parliament, as quote, "illegal instrument
used by the United States." You should know that President Obama signed
the National Defense Authorization Act, whose statutory language preserves
the possibility of worldwide indefinite detention, and you should know that
a secret prison system in Afghanistan has been exempted from the Freedom of
Information Act, although journalist Aman Gopal (ph) was able to get an
inside look on the ground there.
You should also know that in the mother of all pre-holiday weekend
news dumps, last week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the
Justice Department will close its investigation into the CIA`s torture and
abuse of detainees without bringing any charges. The ACLU responded,
quote, "continuing impunity threatens to undermine the universally
recognized prohibition on torture and other abusive treatments and sends
the dangerous signal to government officials there will be no consequences
for their use of torture and other cruelty." Today`s decision not to file
charges against individuals who torture prisoners to death is yet another
entry in what is already a shameful record.
And finally as you barbecue tomorrow on Labor Day, you should know the
holiday isn`t just a way to recognize the end of summer, but that it was
made a federal holiday in 1894, just six days after President Cleveland
sent 12,000 troops to break the Pullman strike, firing on and killing some
protesters. You should know that for all its celebration of bosses at the
RNC, no one mentioned the small, inconvenient fact that businesses aren`t
just built by their owners. No small business founder and owner, no matter
how visionary, can function without workers. And the same goes for largest
corporations in the world. Tomorrow is a good opportunity to survey the
vast landscape of American civilization from our roads and bridges to the
cars that travel upon them to the new gleaming skyscraper now stretching up
into the air over ground zero, and remember, labor built that.
I want to find out what my guests think you should know as we head
into this week. Van Jones of Rebuild the Dream.
JONES: That`s good. Well, obviously, we`re going into the convention
this week, so let me talk about politics, but totally outside of politics,
this week tickets go on sale in Chicago, September 24th, for Prince`s
concert. Prince has not been in Chicago for almost a decade. He`s going
(inaudible), and he is partnership with Rebuild the Dream. It`s not about
politics, he wants to bring some positivity. He says it`s time to start
rebuilding these communities from the ground up. It`s going to be very
exciting to see Prince put on a show in Chicago, he had been there for
almost a decade, and he`s going to do it in partnership with Rebuild the
HAYES: That was great.
AGUILAR: The Republican Party should know, especially the Republicans
who spoke at the convention last week, that immigrants did not arrive to an
empty country. Native Americans are never talked about. You should note
tomorrow on Labor Day, the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was
passed in California, which would give 200,000, mostly women and
immigrants, basic rights, overtime pay. They can sleep if they are live-
ins, things that we all take for granted. The Farmworker Safety Act also
passed. It allows workers to sue employees who fail to provide clean
drinking water and shade only when it hits 85 degrees. I don`t know what
happens when it`s 83, I guess you have to put on a hat. But California --
these bills are on the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown.
AGUILAR: If you live there, call him. Get these bills passed.
JONES: Yes, yes.
TANDEN: You should compare the actual platforms of the Democratic
Party and the Republican Party. I think there were a lot of platitudes
last week, but if you actually want to see where the Republican Party
stands on how to build jobs, or not, or the rights of women, or not, you
should actually look at their platform, and I hope all viewers will
actually compare the platforms of the two parties.
HAYES: We spent a lot of time last week when we were doing this show
for the Republican convention, previewing the Republican convention,
talking about the platform. Because it was fascinating to see what
happened, which was that the platform came out, started to leak, and all
the Republicans rushed to the microphones to say we have nothing to do with
it. Platform? What are you talking about? This is the manifesto document
(inaudible) saying what the modern Republican Party stands for. And the
thing I`ve been hammering home on is, with the House caucus the way it is,
and with the way the modern Republican Party, which functions as a very
disciplined parliamentary body, there is no separation between what the
candidate says and what the party wants.
TANDEM: You think Mitt Romney is going to veto what the House
Republicans want on any issue? No, absolutely not, not with Paul Ryan as
his vice presidential candidate. But you know, there was a lot of talk
about women, lots of homage to their mothers and sisters and daughters, but
when the rubber meets the road, the Republican Party has a backward view of
HAYES: In fact, they officially endorsed 14th Amendment due process
protections for fetuses, and they also endorsed cutting off federal funds
to universities that allow undocumented students to enroll at in-state
tuition, which would be the entire, for instance, University of Texas
system would be cut off from federal funds. That is in the Republican
platform, every voter should know that.
TANDEN: And no exceptions for rape or incest.
HAYES: John Nichols.
NICHOLS: You should know that our president in an online conversation
last week basically embraced a constitutional amendment to overturn
This is an incredible thing. Very rarely does the president call for
a constitutional amendment, or at least even begin the conversation. It is
a fantastic thing. I am very proud of Barack Obama to do it. It`s the
extension of his calling out of the Supreme Court during his State of the
Union address as regards Citizens United. I hope he will mention it in his
speech to the convention, and I hope that the Democratic Party will embrace
this. Because at the end of the day, if we want to talk seriously about
money in politics, we`re going to have to amend our Constitution to say
free speech is for people, not corporations.
HAYES: You know, there is tremendous grassroots energy around the
opposition to Citizens United. I`m always struck when I talk to people how
much it looms. And one of the things I think that`s been a little lost as
we talk about the super PAC era, is that most of the money now -- super
PACs were in the primaries. It`s all shifting to the dark money now. At
least the super PACs have reporting requirements. I mean, the reason we
know how much money Sheldon Adelson, for instance, gave to Newt Gingrich`s
super PAC is the super PAC had to report. The operation Karl Rove is
running -- we have no idea.
I want to thank my guests today. Van Jones from Rebuild the Dream.
Radio host Rose Aguilar. Neera Tanden from the Center for American
Progress. And John Nichols, my colleague at "The Nation." Thank you all.
Thank you for joining us. We`ll be back next weekend, Saturday and
Sunday at 8:00 Eastern Time with our coverage of this week`s Democratic
National Convention. I will be part of MSNBC`s DNC coverage this week
Tuesday through Thursday from 7:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern time. And
coming up next, Melissa Harris-Perry. On today`s "MHP," Melissa previews
the big blue tent that will be on display this week in Charlotte. She`ll
also dig deep on a looming health care crisis in America, talk about the
doctor shortage that could devastate our system. That`s "MHP" coming up
next. We`ll see you next week here on UP.
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