'Up w/Chris Hayes' for Sunday, October 14th, 2012
Read the transcript to the Sunday show
UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
October 14, 2012
Guest: Josh Barro, Zephyr Teachout, Maya Wiley, Tom Stemberg, Sarita Gupta, Alec MacGillis, Monica Youn, Nate Silver, Dave Moore
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
The Obama campaign said Saturday night that it`s broken a presidential
campaign record by topping four million individual donors.
The Taliban is claiming responsibility for a suicide attack in Afghanistan
that killed six people yesterday, including a NATO officer.
Right now joining me today, we have Josh Barro, lead writer from Bloomberg
View`s "The Ticker," Sarita Gupta, executive director for American Rights
at Work, a labor policy and advocacy group, Zephyr Teachout, professor at
Fordham University School of Law, and Maya Wiley, a Civil Rights attorney
and founder the president of the Center for Social Inclusion, a nonprofit
group that specializes in public policy research. Great to have you all
During this week`s vice presidential debate, Paul Ryan reprised a line
Republicans have used repeatedly in making the case for a Romney
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Mitt Romney -- his
experience, his ideas, his solutions -- is uniquely qualified to get this
job done. At a time when we have a jobs crisis in America, wouldn`t it be
nice to have a job creator in the White House?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is the central argument at the heart of Romney`s candidacy, he
knows how to create jobs, President Obama doesn`t. To buttress that claim,
Romney points to his career in the private sector as a Wall Street buyout
specialist and venture capitalist at the firm Bain Capital. Bain Capital,
of course, specialized mostly in leveraged buyouts, debt-financed
investments in companies that often resulted in bankruptcy, offshoring and
Since those aspects of Romney`s business career are less politically
palatable, he focuses instead on the few startups he help provide seed
funding for, companies we all recognize like Sports Authority and Staples.
The problem, however, with spotlighting those businesses is that their
success hinges fundamentally on a premise that is perhaps just as
unpalatable as the worst excesses of private equity. Those large retail
chains exploit efficiencies of scale to offer the same goods and services
that much smaller businesses do, but at much lower costs.
Large chains like Staples also keep their labor costs low by offering low-
wage sales associates jobs that pay roughly $9 an hour, which isn`t even
enough to keep a family of four above the federal poverty line.
For that reason, this July the National Employment Law Project listed
Staples as one of the 50 largest low-wage employers in the country.
So there`s an inherent tension in the economic prescriptions of Republican
candidates like Romney. On the one hand, they contend that small business
are the engines of our economy. On the other, they believe that whoever
can more cheaply and efficiently deliver goods and services to consumers
should win in the open market.
I think this, to me, gets at the heart of some of the cant and rhetoric
that surrounds how we talk about the economy in this campaign, which I`ve
generally been frustrated with, which is that I feel -- and Josh, I want to
go to you because you wrote a piece during discussion of the offshoring
stuff which you said, Just defend what you do.
JOSH BARRO, BLOOMBERG.COM: Right.
HAYES: Stop pretending you don`t do what you actually do. And I just feel
like we`re having this very disingenuous conversation. One side should be
making the case for the kind of benefits of ruthlessly efficient
capitalism, as opposed to dancing around the fact that that`s exactly what
they believe in and are doing.
BARRO: Well, I don`t think Romney`s running away from category-killer
stores like Staples or you know, ones he wasn`t involved in, like Wal-Mart.
I think that Republicans -- I mean, it hasn`t been a big issue in this
campaign, but I think Republicans would be happy to make the case for why
the transformation in retail over the last 30 years has been a good thing.
And the case starts with lower prices for consumers.
And people talk -- there`s -- you know, there`s the impact on workers, but
you also have to look at the impact on customers. Wal-Mart`s customer
base, by and large, is a lower-income base, and to the extent that their
purchasing power is being increased substantially by low prices, that`s a
I also think we overstate what we lost here. Retail jobs are low-wage jobs
because they`re essentially unskilled jobs, and it`s not like the people
who were working in the mom and pop stores that got displaced by Staples
had high-wage jobs with health benefits that they`ve now lost.
Now, there are some people who operated those businesses who have lost out.
But I -- it`s not like there was some big, high-paying job base in retail
before Staples got there.
ZEPHYR TEACHOUT, LAW PROF., FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: I want to, you know, even
go back to sort of one of the basic premises, which is a widespread
ideology, this idea that this is, over time, efficient. And actually,
there isn`t great evidence on economies of scale over a certain size. It`s
something that we all sort of accept because it seems logically necessary.
What we know is you see economies of scale in the political sphere. And
also, once you get big enough, you can crowd out other companies. But it`s
not obvious, and I think we should question whether even if you adopt their
idea of efficiency, whether over time, this is the most efficient or...
HAYES: Well, let me -- let me bring in someone who knows a thing or two
about this, which is Tom Stemberg. Tom is the guy who came up with the
idea for Staples, founder of the retail chain, CEO of Staples for 60 years.
He`s also a vocal supporter of Mitt Romney, including speaking on his
behalf at the Republican national convention.
Tom, thank you so much for joining us.
THOMAS STEMBERG, FOUNDER, STAPLES: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: I really -- I want to play this montage because you -- your company
and your business idea -- and I`ve been through your book. I was sitting
in our editorial yesterday. Is it just me, or was I think only one when I
was about 10 or 11, loved going to Staples (INAUDIBLE) my favorite store...
HAYES: ... exceedingly, exceedingly nerdy. But the consensus is that this
STEMBERG: Luckily, there are a lot of people like you.
HAYES: Exactly! This is a common feeling, actually. I was saying, you
know, it`s like when you buy a new day planner, it`s, like, My life now
makes sense. It`s all going to be OK. I have his little thing.
Here`s Mitt Romney talking about Staples and touting Staples on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Some of the companies
we helped start are names you know and you`ve heard from tonight, an office
company called Staples. You`ve heard of Staples, of course.
But Staples, for instance, is a business that while I was with the firm, we
We would invest in this office superstore. It`s called Staples.
As I was driving in to Orange City, I saw a Staples distribution facility
A little business called Staples.
A company called Staples.
Staples now employs over 90,000 people!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Tom, why do you think Mitt Romney talks about your company so much?
STEMBERG: Well, I think, you know, our company and several of the other
companies he invested in -- I cite particularly Bright Horizons day care
centers -- didn`t just make money for Bain Capital and investors, but I
think also provided a useful benefit to society.
In the case of Staples, if you look back at what existed at the time, if
you were a small business person, you were paying twice what Staples later
charged for the exact same products. You had to go to five or six
different stores -- a stationery store, a software store, a computer store,
a copier store to get everything you needed.
Staples put it all under one roof, and opened it on Saturday and Sunday,
when those other guys -- nights and early mornings -- where the rest of
them were not there, thus making it easier for entrepreneurs to run their
businesses and to save money, and thus helping foster other entrepreneurs.
In the case of Bright Horizons, I think the social benefit was that you
really need high-quality day care for women to be able to work and feel
comfortable that their kids are OK. Bright Horizons has become the biggest
single provider of workplace day care centers in the country, with well
over 10,000 associates throughout the United States. So I think these
companies didn`t just make money, but they provided major social benefit.
HAYES: Yes, and I think that`s why the emphasis is on these -- the
emphasis in the campaign has been on the -- when -- when Bain was doing
more start-up seed funding of new ideas because it comports to our kind of
entrepreneurial vision of how American capitalism can work, as opposed to
debt refinance restructuring.
But there`s a certain amount of creative destruction here that I`d like you
to speak to, as well, right, because at one level, right, there`s -- on one
side of the ledger, there`s lower prices for people who might be starting
small businesses and need these supplies. On the other, there are a lot of
small businesses that are getting put out of business, right, because they
There was -- in 1997, there were about 6,000 office supply stores compared
to 13,000 just 10 years earlier. The whole notion -- and this is Mitt
Romney in 1989 in a "New York Times" article describing the Staples plan,
which was -- "Stemberg attracted a remarkable group of blue chip
investors." "What they saw in Stemberg`s business plan is summed up by W.
Mitt Romney, Bain`s managing general partner." It`s "a classic category
killer like Toys "R" Us."
So there`s -- there`s -- there`s also the degree to which -- you know, and
I`m not saying mom and pop shops have some sort of special elevated
spiritual status, but the kind of consolidation and efficiencies of scale
that we`ve seen in Staple and Wal-Mart and Amazon does create a landscape
in which we don`t -- we just don`t have mom and pop smaller retailers doing
that kind of thing.
STEMBERG: Well, you know, Interestingly, I`m a venture capitalist now,
trying to create jobs in other countries. And amazingly, you know,
Lululemon was a startup that we invested in some five, six years ago, and
look what`s happened to that today and that entrepreneurial spirit.
J. McLaughlin, a company out of Brooklyn, New York, which is now a fast-
growing as traditional clothing outlets throughout the United States.
The entrepreneurialism in retail still exists. It`s not all about driving
down prices. It`s often -- we invested in a tea business, which is David`s
Tea, which is doing exceptionally well today. You know, there`s lots of
stuff out there and lot of opportunity still for the small stores. You
just don`t want to be in categories where the customer wants to save a lot
HAYES: Isn`t that every category? I mean, it seems to me that the trend
in American business -- and I think this is just broadly the case, is...
HAYES: ... price wins out.
STEMBERG: Chris -- Chris, that`s just wrong. I mean, look at Lululemon.
Lululemon`s prices are double what...
HAYES: Right. Right.
STEMBERG: ... what the other people charge because it`s better quality and
better fit. Now -- so it`s not just about price in every category.
HAYES: In the future, we will all be either yoga instructors or a retail
HAYES: ... retail sales clerks at yoga instructors. Those will be the two
job categories when the BLS releases its non-farm payroll. Josh?
BARRO: Well, that sort of literally Matt Yglesias`s vision...
BARRO: ... of the future economy...
BARRO: ... when he writes about this, and you know, the problems with, you
know, the hollowing out of the mid-skill sector.
BARRO: His comment is basically that we should just have a lot more
personal trainers and people making the best sandwiches you can find.
HAYES: I mean, that -- that`s the way the economy seems to be going, is
that there`s some small sector of high-skilled employment, and that`s very
lucrative. And if you look and -- you know, you hear this all the time --
and engineers, there`s a lot of job openings for and the wage -- there`s a
huge wage differential, and then a sea of $9-an-hour retail jobs.
MAYA WILEY, CENTER FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION: That`s right. And it`s $9-an-
hour retail jobs without health benefits or where you`re required to pay
for health benefits, which means at the end of the day, there are families
who are working who are poor, who actually are experiencing food
insecurity. So in other words, they`re not able to translate those
earnings into the ability to get child care for their children or to make
ends meet by the end of the month. So I think the...
STEMBERG: ... just to clarify...
WILEY: Wait, wait. I`m not done. I`m not done. Costco -- Costco. So I
don`t think we`re saying that venture capital is bad or doesn`t add value
to the economy. I think the question is what kinds of jobs are we adding
and what do they deliver for people, as well as consumers, because
remember, workers are also consumers.
HAYES: Let me just put this up on the...
STEMBERG: Remember, all these big companies you mentioned so far, every
single one of them, provides health care benefits to their associates. So
the notion that these...
SARITA GUPTA, AMERICAN RIGHTS AT WORK: Well...
STEMBERG: And I would tell you, Staples, Costco, Wal-Mart, they all
provide that service. You`re just flat-out wrong.
GUPTA: I beg to differ here. If you look at Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart -- they
get around, you know, providing health care for their associates by just
cutting the hours.
GUPTA: They just make sure that the associates don`t work enough hours to
actually, you know, be eligible for their health care plan.
HAYES: Hold on one second. Let me -- I want to -- I want to show some
statistics on wage growth in this category, and I want to -- I want to dig
in on this because I think this is -- this is something really essential
about how -- what we`re talking about when we`re talking about the economy
broadly, not just the recovery, right after we take this break.
HAYES: We`re talking about American -- large American enterprises like
Staples and other so-called category killers and their effect on the
American economy and sort of the future of the American economy because I
think that`s -- we have a cyclical question about the recession and then we
have a broader question of what the American economy looks like if and when
we do recover, which I think still is a -- a little bit of an open
And we have Tom Stemberg, who was the founder of Staples, is a Mitt Romney
supporter. And Tom, we put up this data here just about where the -- what
the median annual salary for the largest-growing jobs is from the Bureau of
Labor Statistics and what the federal poverty line for a family of four is,
which is $23,000, and the median annual salary for a retail sales person.
And in the 2011 Staples annual report, they discuss -- you know, Many of
our associates, particularly in retail stores, are in entry level or part-
time positions with historically high rates of turnover.
I think the question is, if this is a fast category of job growth, is this
the kind of category of job growth that is -- that can sustain a middle
STEMBERG: Without (ph) going to Staples, because I`ve been out of there
for seven years...
STEMBERG: ... so I wouldn`t (ph) talk about that. But if you look at who
the most successful retailers are -- Costco is probably the single most
effective and successful big box retailer out there. Their strategy,
avowed strategy, is to pay more...
STEMBERG: ... than anybody else.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s right.
STEMBERG: Lululemon is the most successful apparel retailer in the world.
Their avowed strategy is to pay more than anyone else. So you know, I
think this basic notion that the winners just get there by paying less is
just not true.
HAYES: Well, that`s -- that`s an interesting question.
STEMBERG: The biggest success stories in retailing pay more.
HAYES: Right. That`s an interesting question because the argument you
just made -- you know, and we have this argument and there`s a -- there`s
been a big discourse on Wal-Mart, particularly, particularly in the -- in
the -- I would say among liberals and even intra-liberal debate.
I mean, Jason Furman, who`s now working for the president, wrote a piece
for CAP called "Wal-Mart, a Progressive Success Story," which made the
argument about prices that Josh was making earlier -- if you look at the
purchasing power of lower-income Americans, it`s been improved by Wal-Mart.
Other people, particularly in the labor movement, look at the worker
conditions and say, you know, this is a bad story for the middle class.
And then people always point to Costco to say you can actually have both.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
HAYES: You can be a successful enterprise that does large sort of
efficiency-type marketing and selling and also pay a living wage.
GUPTA: That`s right. I mean, Costco pays $19 an hour for their employees.
Wal-Mart pays $8.81. The average salary for a Wal-Mart associate is
$15,500 a year. How is anyone supposed to survive on that?
STEMBERG: Sarita? Sarita, the biggest difference is that the vast
majority of hours worked at a Wal-Mart store are part-time. The vast
majority of hours worked at a Costco store are full-time.
HAYES: But that`s an intentional strategy.
STEMBERG: That`s really the fundamental difference you`re talking about.
GUPTA: Exactly. But that`s -- but that goes back to what kinds of jobs
are being created. I mean, what we see -- there was a survey done of HR
professionals earlier this year who said -- you know, 34 percent of these
professionals said that they`re leaning towards more temporary and part-
What does that mean for our economy? If people have -- how are people
supposed to survive on temporary, part-time jobs?
STEMBERG: Sarita -- Sarita, I think what you`d find out, if you go into
these stores and talk to the people, as I do, that because of the
tremendous destruction in net worth that`s happened during the Obama years,
where average income per family has gone down by almost $5,000 per family,
most of these folks are working these jobs as a second job, not as a
primary job, because they have to work there to make ends meet.
STEMBERG: And the way to really create justice for workers in America is
to create job growth. And that`s what a Mitt Romney presidency will do.
HAYES: Let me -- let me just say I think -- I think full employment...
HAYES: Believe me, no one loves full employment more than me, more than
the traditionally (ph) left. In fact, (INAUDIBLE) people who have been
objected (ph) to full employment, if you go back and you look particular
during debates in the 1990s about the Fed actions...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s right.
HAYES: ... the people who worried about full employment have generally
been business owners precisely because full employment drives up labor
costs. And labor costs, as we all know, are the biggest part of costs,
particularly if you`re doing retail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s right.
HAYES: So I don`t think the -- I don`t think you`ll find any disagreement
here, at the table at least...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
HAYES: ... about the virtues of full employment as -- as -- as the
ultimate kind of end goal.
WILEY: I`m also curious about this point because if Romney -- Romney`s
campaign states that they created -- he created through Bain Capital
100,000 jobs. And independent economists have said that stimulus created
So if we`re just doing a straight-up analysis of job creation, then I think
those numbers have a specific answer about how jobs are created at that
level of scale. So what`s the response to that?
TEACHOUT: I mean, I think all this goes to what I see, actually, as
Romney`s truly pessimistic vision for America, this dystopia. Like, Maybe
we can get to a society full of $9-an-hour people working second jobs
because they have to. And it`s actually relatively unambitious.
TEACHOUT: And then it has a real effect not just on workers as workers but
workers as citizens...
TEACHOUT: ... because it`s hard to be a citizen if you`re a $9-an-hour...
GUPTA: That`s right.
BARRO: I don`t think that`s what it is. I think the reason Romney talks
about Staples and Sports Authority is because it`s what`s there. These are
the large companies that he was involved in fostering at Bain Capital,
where that wasn`t the principal thing he was doing. Retailers also tend to
have a lot of employees. So if you`re going to talk about companies...
HAYES: And they`re recognizable.
BARRO: ... numbers of jobs, then he`s going to talk about these.
I think Costco is an interesting and challenging story here because, yes,
they pay relatively well, but they also have only about a quarter as many
workers per dollar of sales as Wal-Mart. And it`s because of their model.
BARRO: They do this bulk sale thing. And so if you have an unusually
small worker base for a retailer, it becomes more affordable to pay more.
The workers are also -- I don`t -- I don`t know specifically what they`re
doing, but I think, in general, what a worker does in a Costco store is
different and quite possibly more skilled than what a worker is doing in a
WILEY: There is that argument that it`s both more skilled -- and also the
product line at Costco. It has that luxury product line, so you can get a
Cartier watch at Costco, and that creates a higher price margin, as well.
So I think that`s right. They`re -- big box doesn`t mean they`re all the
TEACHOUT: But Josh, what do you think Mitt Romney -- so his ideal, six
years from now, what does the economy look like? I mean, that`s...
HAYES: Tom, that`s a -- that`s a great question for you because I know
you`re -- you`re -- you`re close to Mr. Romney or...
STEMBERG: I think -- I think...
HAYES: Sorry. Hold that thought because we have to take a break, but I
want you to get your answer when we come back.
HAYES: Tom, sorry to cut you off. We had to go to break. We are talking
the vision of a Romney, post-recovery. I wanted to hear your thoughts on
STEMBERG: First of all, he wants to move back closer to full employment
and with good-paying jobs, and he knows that starts with education. So
here in Massachusetts -- Massachusetts became the number one educational
state in the country under Mitt Romney` leadership because he understands
that if you can get people trained so they can be computer programmers or
work on machine tool equipment, they can make a lot more money, more than
double the $9 an hour you`re talking about, whereas to end up as retail
clerks, they won`t make that kind of money.
And the whole difference is education. And I think you`re going to see a
tremendous effort on education. It will not be building the Department of
Education and the bureaucracy in Washington. It will be giving incentives
to the states to do the right thing for their citizens.
HAYES: That is -- I mean, I -- I actually have -- that story that you just
told about education and employment is one that I have -- I`m very
skeptical of. But I will say it is the identical story the Barack Obama
campaign tells about employment.
I mean, that -- that is exactly -- you can go back through the speeches,
you can talk about Mitt Romney`s praise for Race to the Top, as essentially
the story that I think both campaigns are telling about a vision for a
post-recovery economy is one about higher-skilled workforce efforts...
STEMBERG: Chris, if I had to cite one...
TEACHOUT: I want to return to a basic...
STEMBERG: ... Obama administration official who I admire tremendously,
it`s Arne Duncan.
STEMBERG: That`s not just because he`s a Harvard basketball player and...
STEMBERG: ... I`m fond of that fact, but because he`s been willing to take
on the unions and do the right thing for students even when David Axelrod
gets very upset with him.
TEACHOUT: Well, we can have a different conversation about education, but
when I ask about what vision you have for an economy, I want to know, is it
six major companies, all of whom have, you know, $15 billion in asset and -
- you know, or is it a society and a few startups that eventually might,
through creative destruction, take their place? Or is it...
STEMBERG: Well, first of all, most startups...
TEACHOUT: What does it actually look like on an institutional level, not
just on a worker...
STEMBERG: Zephyr, to be clear, in these kind of jobs -- I don`t think Mitt
Romney thinks these big, huge corporations are the answer. Matter of fact,
you know, Mitt spent much of his consulting business career critiquing how
these big elephants weren`t working very well. I think you`re going to see
a far more entrepreneurial...
HAYES: Restructuring them.
STEMBERG: ... economy. And most of these companies, by the way, are not
going to be, you know, category killers in the sort of, you know, creative
destruction mode. They`re going to be brilliant ideas, particularly in
technology, where we can lead the world.
HAYES: Tom, this -- I totally understand why that`s an appealing vision,
but I just think it completely mismatches what our actually policy
infrastructure looks like and what we actually do. I mean, the fact of the
matter is, we don`t -- look at Bain Capital. Bain Capital started out
doing the kinds of things that led to Staples, which is venture capital.
And then -- and this is not -- I`m not making this up. This is the people
who were around Bain Capital and Mitt Romney (INAUDIBLE) The returns --
there was too much risk and the returns took too long to come back. So
they moved to private equity. They moved to, essentially, financial
STEMBERG: Let me just tell you...
HAYES: But they did -- I just want to establish this factually. They
changed the business model...
STEMBERG: No, I don`t think it`s true.
HAYES: It is true.
STEMBERG: Let me give you a story. Chris, let me give you a specific
story. My son works for a company called Kiva Systems, which is funded --
was funded by Bain Capital Ventures. So they still have a major venture
capital arm. That business is in the business of robotic warehouses.
Robotic warehouses are good not because they eliminate associates, but
because they reduce workplace injuries.
The company was just acquired by Amazon.com because they thought it was the
best way to run a safe warehouse for their associates. That was a Bain
Capital Ventures company started three years ago, and it`s the kind of
innovative technology company where we can lead the world and sell systems
around the world and create American jobs doing so.
WILEY: I think one of the questions is, what policies will Mitt Romney put
in place that would then create a viable economy for the American worker?
Because what we`ve heard so far is that his plan is to cut taxes. And
there`s a lot of research that shows that -- in fact, of the 50 states, the
states that have the highest incomes also have significantly higher tax
rates than the states that have the lowest wages and that there`s an
inverse relationship even at the national level between producing good jobs
at high pay and tax rates.
And so it seems to me that if the policy suggestion is cut taxes in order
to create this vision of the economy that there`s a disconnect from what we
actually know from social science about how that happens.
So from your perspective as a venture capitalist, is that the way to create
the vision that you`ve just articulated?
STEMBERG: Well, the fact of the matter is the best state for business and
the fastest-growing business state in the country is Texas, and Texas has
very low taxes. And I don`t think that`s a coincidence. Probably number
two or three is Utah. And again, they have low taxes. Where there`s
stagnant business growth outside the financial manipulation business is New
York, and they have very high taxes. So I do think -- I question the
premise that you`re working on.
BARRO: I think we somewhat overstate the ability of the government to
shape the nature of the economy here, you know, deciding, you know, do we
want category killers, things like that. That`s not something that arose
because of public policy. It arose because of innovations in business that
would have happened regardless of what public policy was.
So I think, you know, there are important policy concerns to address here,
but I think a lot of this stuff is out of the control of a president of
TEACHOUT: Well, all of this is -- you know, comes from our liability
rules. It comes from our anti-trust rules.
HAYES: Right. Exactly.
TEACHOUT: There`s a broad...
HAYES: There`s a huge legal infrastructure -- and let me just say this as
a sort of final note on this. If we -- if the goal is entrepreneurial
capitalism, which everyone seems to be -- to talk about in hosannahs on
this campaign trail, you need a financial system that works much better
than the one we have now.
And right now, American finance is failing to do the single thing it`s
supposed to do, which is to channel the money of savers into productive
investment. You have $8 trillion of cash sitting on the sidelines. You
have crisis -- you have, essentially, boom and bust cycles. You have the
worst crisis in 70 years.
So to me, the thing upstream of all this is reforming and not further
Tom Stemberg, founder of the retail chain Staples, I really enjoyed our
time together this morning. Thanks a lot.
STEMBERG: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Breaking news about the Koch brothers are using their company to
round up votes for Romney. That`s up next.
HAYES: There is a breaking story out today from "In These Times" magazine,
my former employer, which obtained documents sent by Koch Industries, the
multi-billion-dollar company owned by conservative brothers Charles and
David Koch, offering guidance to its 50,000 employees on how to vote in
this year`s presidential election.
"In These Times" provided us with access to the documents before publishing
the report. The packet sent to employees includes a letter dated October
1st from Koch Industries president and chief operating officer David
Robertson writes, quote, "Dear Co-worker. While we are typically told
before each presidential election it is important and historic, I believe
the upcoming election will determine what kind of America future
generations will inherit. If we elect candidates who want to spend
hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few
favored cronies, put unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses,
prevent or delay important and new construction projects and excessively
hinder free trade, then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and
contractors may suffer the consequences. It is essential that we are all
informed and educated voters. Our future depends on it."
The packet includes editorials blasting the Obama administration written by
Charles and David Koch for newspapers like "The Wall Street Journal" and
"The New York Post." And then there`s the flyer it includes containing
information on early voting options and voter registration deadlines. The
flyer contains this passage. Quote, "The following candidates in your
state are among the candidates who have received support from a Koch
company or KochPAC, the employee political action committee of Koch
And there just beneath that passage, you can see listed at the top the Koch
brothers` favored candidates for president and vice president, Mitt Romney
and Paul Ryan.
We asked Koch Industries for a comment, and they said in a statement,
quote, "To encourage employees to be informed about and engaged in the
political process, Koch mailed a letter in early October to its 50,000
U.S.-based employees. The communication to our employees makes clear that
decisions about which political candidates to support are up to each
employee and should be based on factors most important to him or her. In
addition to the letter, the employees were given information they often
request, voter registration deadlines, early voting options for various
states, and a list of candidates supported by Koch companies and KochPAC,
Koch`s employee political action committee."
It`s no surprise, of course, that the Koch brothers support Romney for
president. They promised to spend as much as $400 million this year
through organizations like Americans for Prosperity to stop President Obama
from winning a second term.
But these new documents raise serious questions about the propriety of
employers engaging in such blatant political advocacy with their employees,
and they fit a pattern of aggrieved CEOs attempting to marshal the support
of the people who work for them in order to advance their own political
Earlier this week, for example, according to the Web site Gawker, Westgate
Resorts CEO David Siegel, already notorious for building the biggest home
in the country, e-mailed his employees and said that he will have no choice
but to fire people if President Obama is reelected and his personal income
tax rates go up.
The e-mail says, quote, "The economy doesn`t currently pose a threat to
your job. What does threaten your job, however, is another four years of
the same presidential administration. If any new taxes are levied on me or
my company, as our current president plans, I will have no choice but to
reduce the size of this company. So when you make your decision to vote,
ask yourself which candidate understands the economics of business
ownership and who doesn`t? Whose policies will endanger your job?"
Siegel`s e-mail comes just months after a similar incident involving a
prominent Romney backer in Ohio. "The New Republic" has reported that
Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy, sent a letter to his employees
hectoring them to donate to the company`s political action committee,
telling them if they did not, quote, "the coal industry will be eliminated
and so will your job."
And then in August of this year, Murray forced his employees to attend
without pay a mandatory rally for Mitt Romney at a mine operated by Murray
Energy in Ohio. In response, the Obama campaign produced this biting ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seen the coal miners in these ads? Turns out they were
told that attendance at Mitt Romney`s rally was, quote, "mandatory." Their
mine was closed, lost the pay they needed, all to be props in Romney`s
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Employees feel they were forced to go. They had to
take the day off without pay, but they took a roll call, and they had a
list of who was there and who wasn`t and felt they wouldn`t have a job if
they did not attend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We are joined now by Monica Youn, Brennan Center Constitutional
Fellow at New York University School of Law, where she focuses on 1st
Amendment issues, and Alec MacGillis, the senior editor at "The New
Republic" who did the reporting for that story on Murray Energy. Great to
have you both here.
I just want to say, Alec, you`ve been doing some of the best campaign
reporting in this whole country this cycle. Everybody should be checking
out what you`re doing at "The New Republic." It`s been fantastic
reporting. Really, I can`t praise it enough.
Also, people should check out the story by Mike Elk in "In These Times."
The part that we talked about with Koch Industries` letter is a small
portion of a very long and lengthy investigative look into Koch Industries`
activities in terms of the political activity of their own employees.
The Murray Energy story is kind of amazing. Can you give us an update
here? Because my understanding is the Ohio Democratic Party now has filed
a formal complaint for the way in which Robert Murray has been trying to
convince employees to donate to the Romney campaign.
ALEC MACGILLIS, TNR.COM: Right. They`ve filed a complaint with the feds
and with the county prosecutor in Ohio, asking them to look into this,
alleging that it does violate federal laws, the law`s that you cannot
reimburse employees for giving to campaigns and you cannot force employees
to give to campaigns.
The people I spoke with, my sources, told me that they were definitely
pressured to give to campaigns. Their sense was also that their bonuses --
their monthly bonuses rode somewhat on their participation in the fund-
raising. So there are legal questions that may be raised here. There was
also a complaint filed by one of the good government groups in Washington,
you know, to look into this.
My piece does not -- I want to make clear that the company denies that they
did anything wrong, and my piece raises questions about this. It`ll up to
others to determine if they actually crossed the line.
HAYES: And this -- this gets us into the sort of substance of this
conversation because I -- we started doing some research on this when we
saw the Gawker piece, the Siegel letter. And we were saying, Well, what --
what can you -- what does the terrain look like here? I mean, I`m -- you
know, I`m running my business. Like, what can I do and what can I not do?
And the place where the law is clearest is actually on donations, right? I
mean, we have very, very clear prohibitions. You can`t, for instance, say,
I`m going to give you a $5,000 raise if you then government and give those
$5,000 to Mitt Romney.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
HAYES: But the question of forcing someone -- I mean, that`s the
fascinating question because Murray Energy acknowledges they wrote the
letters. They acknowledge they asked people to attend those fund-raisers.
The question is, is that forcing, right? How coercive is it?
MACGILLIS: Right. There`s a definite gray area here. The pressure --
what was described to me and what the documents I got reflected was a
constant barrage of pressure. Basically, when you arrived at the company
as a -- this is not the coal miners, I I want to make clear. These are the
HAYES: Right. Supervisory...
MACGILLIS: These are engineers, surveyors, accountants, those types. But
when you arrived at the company, it was made clear to you, sources told me,
that you were expected to give to the PAC, 1 percent, typically.
But in addition to that came a constant barrage of letters from Bob Murray
himself urging you to attend his personal fund-raisers for a whole slew of
national candidates. It`s remarkable. There was this -- this cycle, this
whole, you know, sort of long line of people who would come through to this
little Italian banquet hall in St. Clairsville, called Undo`s, just across
the Ohio River from Wheeling -- Scott Brown, Jim DeMint, everybody, Carly
Fiorina in from California -- would come...
HAYES: The Undo`s circuit!
MACGILLIS: ... would come to this little banquet hall and pick up the
checks that these hard-working, middle class, not particularly well-earning
people would be expected to give to them.
HAYES: And you went to -- you went to a few homes for another company --
this is a company called Suarez in Ohio. I want you to tell a little bit
about that. And then Monica, I want to talk about -- we`re not talking
about donations, we`re still talking about -- about urging people to vote.
MONICA YOUN, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW: Yes.
HAYES: What kind of footing we`re on in terms of the 1st Amendment and in
terms of post-Citizens United right after this break.
HAYES: Can your boss tell you who to vote for? That is what we`re talking
about. Or can your boss tell you who to give money to? That`s what we`re
Alec MacGillis, you`ve done some reporting. I want to do one -- talk about
one more part of your reporting I thought was mind-blowing, which is in
another story you wrote about Ohio and a company called Suarez, if I`m not
MACGILLIS: Right. Right.
HAYES: Their supervisory employees -- again, this is management -- had
given lots of money...
MACGILLIS: Lots of money.
HAYES: ... lots of money to candidates. And you went and you went and
talked to the employees who are on the -- who are -- you know, it`s all
publicly listed, who the employees are who gave money. And you showed up
at their homes.
HAYES: And you`re showing up at the homes of people who have maxed out and
MACGILLIS: It`s $20,000 as a couple.
HAYES: Given $20,000 a couple living in a home that, according to, say,
Zillow.com, is worth about $140,000.
MACGILLIS: Yes. Yes.
HAYES: What did you find while you were knocking on those doors?
MACGILLIS: I found people who did not want to talk about this, not want to
talk about why they`d given to Josh Mandel, the Senate candidate...
HAYES: Who`s running against Sherrod Brown, a Republican.
MACGILLIS: ... and Jim Renacci, the House incumbent running against
another House incumbent in a very close race in the Canton area. And I
went to all these houses. It was a lot of fun, spent a few hours going
around the greater Canton area one evening and would go to these quite
modest ranch houses, split levels, and say, Ma`am, you gave -- you and
your husband gave $20,000. That`s a lot of money. Why? Do you really
love Josh Mandel? And they didn`t want to talk about it.
Finally, one -- one -- one woman said that she really didn`t want to talk
about it because the FBI had already been through to talk about it.
HAYES: Ding, ding, ding!
MACGILLIS: And so the FBI, in that case, was looking into it.
Subsequently, the -- both candidates under pressure gave back money. It
was a lot of money. It was more than $100,000.
I think it`s worth pointing out here why this kind of scheme, if you want
to call it that, is valuable for candidates these days. And you wonder
HAYES: ... Citizens United -- yes.
MACGILLIS: ... super-PAC era, why not just -- if you`re Bob Murray, why
not just cut a $2 million check to Mitt Romney?
HAYES: Why sort of try to push your employees.
MACGILLIS: Why they push employees to give. And there`s a few reasons why
this is still valuable, this kind of old-fashioned kind of giving. One is
that it makes the candidate you support appear more broadly supported...
HAYES: Right. Right.
MACGILLIS: ... more popular. You can say, Look, I`ve got all these
MACGILLIS: ... in coal country in Ohio who are giving to me.
HAYES: Right. Right.
MACGILLIS: And it gives you this sort of -- this...
MACGILLIS: ... egalitarian sheen. The second thing is that it is simply
more valuable to the candidates to have that money than the super-PAC
money. It`s under their control and they...
MACGILLIS: ... themselves -- and it`s also literally worth more in ad
HAYES: In ad purchasing.
So Monica, let`s -- let`s talk about the -- (INAUDIBLE) Josh, I want to
bring you in here, too. Let`s put aside donations because that`s sort of
guided by its own statutory framework, and let`s just talk about this
massive gray area. I have 100 employees, and Lord, I want them to vote for
my candidate. What can I do and what can`t I do?
YOUN: I mean, you can do quite a lot. There`s -- and you know, you can
sort of rightly do quite a lot. I mean, there are real problems, you know,
1st Amendment problems with trying to be too heavy-handed about regulation
in this area. I mean, you don`t want to say, OK, we`re going to have no
political speech in the workplace. You don`t want to say, you know, Oh, I
can`t go to my friends at work and say, Hey, I`m hosting this fund-raiser,
you guys want to stop by?
YOUN: I mean, you want to be really careful that when you`re trying to go
after these very heavy-handed tactics that you don`t, you know, silence a
lot of very valuable political speech.
But I think that the legal protections that are in place tend to be
relatively piecemeal and they tend to focus around retaliation.
YOUN: So there are laws in about half of jurisdictions that prohibit
retaliation for various forms of political activity. It could be political
speech. It could be voting. It could be contributions. It could be
signing a ballot petition.
HAYES: But if you`re no -- let`s say you`re not in one of those
jurisdictions, and I find out -- I`m your boss and I find out -- and we`re
in the Boston suburbs, and I find out that you`re going door to door for
Elizabeth Warren. And then next day -- I don`t know if Massachusetts is
one of those jurisdictions. I probably assume it is. But let`s say it`s
not. Or you`re going door to door for a candidate I don`t like, I call you
in the next day and I say, You`re fired? I can do that.
YOUN: I think you can do that, yes.
HAYES: I mean, that`s crazy to me! I`m sorry, but that is crazy to me.
YOUN: I mean, that`s crazy to me, as well.
HAYES: But what we`re saying, I think, is that our understanding of the
law is that in half of the jurisdictions, that`s not explicitly prohibited,
that is perfectly legal.
GUPTA: Well, and let`s deal (ph) with what that really means. Like, what
-- let`s understand what working people are facing...
GUPTA: ... in this election. It means, so I go to work, I get a letter
from my employer or I get told, I`m nudged, intimidated into making
donations or voting a particular way. And at the same time, let`s not
leave out the attacks on my voting rights. At the same time, we`re
reducing early voting. There`s craziness with the registration process
itself, absentee ballots -- will they be counted, will they not?
So at the same time, my voting rights -- I`m losing my right to vote and
I`m also -- not to mention, in today`s workplaces, most private sector
workplaces, for sure, we`ve, like, pretty decimated the right to form a
union, which is the other place where we see this kind of intimidation play
HAYES: And this is the thing -- this is what I think is so interesting, is
that speech that comes from the boss...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
HAYES: ... is very different than...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly!
HAYES: ... Hey, do you want to go -- than the speech among equals. And I
want to get into what that -- how we think about that legally because when
you get a letter saying, If you don`t vote for this candidate...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
HAYES: ... your job might not be there the next day...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
HAYES: ... that is very different than if I knock on your door, Alec
MacGillis, and say, I`d really like you to support my candidate. More on
that right after this break.
HAYES: We`re taking about political speech in the workplace and
particularly the sort of fascinating and fuzzy line of what your boss can
tell you to do and what your -- and how that speech -- and the point that I
was making before we went to break is that it`s -- you know, the -- an e-
mail from a boss -- and you know, here`s -- here`s another one. I`ll just
This is one we obtained. This has not been made public yet, so we`re
breaking this. This is from a company called ASG. And we tried to contact
them. We tried to contact Arthur Allen, who`s head of it, several times by
phone and e-mail during business hours on Friday. His outgoing message
said he was out of the country.
We placed calls, we sent e-mails to several other officials at ASG during
business hours on Friday. We did not receive a response. I just want to
be clear that we reached out to them.
This is an e-mail from Arthur Allen, president and CEO of ASG Software
Solutions, a Florida-based company of 1,000 employers. (SIC)
"Will the U.S. presidential" -- subject, "Will the U.S. presidential
election directly impact your future jobs at ASG?" Again, the same theme
that we`ve seen in the other places. "Please read below. We have been
able to keep ASG an independent company while still growing our revenues
and customers, but I can tell you if the U.S. reelects President Obama, our
chances of staying independent are slim to none. I believe a new president
and administration would give U.S. citizens and the world renewed
confidence and optimism," blah, blah, blah.
"If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th and we
lose our independence as a company, I don`t want to hear any complaints
regarding the fallout that will most likely come. I`m asking you to give
us one more chance to stay independent by voting in a new president and
administration November 6th. Even then, we still (INAUDIBLE) able to
remain independent, but at least give us a chance."
Josh, this -- this does feel to me fundamentally coercive.
BARRO: Well, OK, but I mean, what do you want to do about it? I think,
you know, the -- you know, I have a right to say to you, you know, I -- you
know, I think you should vote this way. And if you don`t vote this way, I
think terrible things are going to happen. And that guy has a right to say
it to his employees, too.
HAYES: But he can make those terrible things happen. That`s the
difference. You can`t -- you can tell me if Barack Obama is reelected,
it`s going to be terrible for MSNBC and your show`s going to go off the
air, but you`re not actually my boss who`s going to make the programming
BARRO: Well, again, what do you propose to do about that? Do you want to
ban him from selling his company if the president gets reelected?
HAYES: No, I don`t.
BARRO: I`m sure you don`t. But so, I mean, what do you -- I`m -- there`s
all sorts of behavior that`s untoward that, really, we can`t address
legally, and I this falls in that category.
HAYES: This -- I would agree with you on this, right? So I think this is
1st Amendment-protected speech. I don`t want to ban it. But it`s also
fundamentally coercive. And the reason the coercion is important is
because there`s other things that I think are also protected right now that
shouldn`t be protected. I mean, to me, the big question, Sarita -- this is
a tactic that comes from union organizing.
When there`s a union (INAUDIBLE) drive, you can have mandatory meetings for
all your employees, where you say, Here`s all -- you know, here`s an eight-
hour-long teach-session about all the evil things the union will do and how
it will destroy your lives and everything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
HAYES: That`s totally legal to do that. The question is, is it legal
right now if I -- if I were the Koch brothers -- and I`m not saying they`re
doing this, I`m counterfactually -- and got all 50,000 employees for day-
long eight-hour sessions about everything that`s terrible about Barack
Obama, mandatory attendance on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday, could you
do that legally? I think that`s an open question, and I want to talk about
whether that`s legal, and if so, whether should be, after this break.
HAYES: Hello from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. With me this morning, I
have Josh Barro from "Bloomberg Views, the Ticker," Sarita Gupta from
American Rights at Work, Monica Youn from NYU`s Brennan Center for Justice
and Alec MacGillis from the New Republic. Great to have you all here.
We are talking about what you can do in your workplace in terms of
political activity and what the boss can do in your workplace in terms of
political activity and what he can and cannot compel you to do.
We have a whole variety of examples of employers pushing donations to
candidates and where that client is. And then also sending e-mails or
notes that employees are saying you should vote for this person, which I
think we all agree is first amendment protected speech.
But then let`s talk about what is -- as we get closer to the red line,
right, it`s illegal, Monica, if I`m not mistaken to say, if you don`t vote
for this person, I will fire you, right?
YOUN: There are voting laws that protect against that.
HAYES: OK, so that`s illegal. Now the question is, you come in and say
today, for your job, you are the middle manager in the Chris Hayes
Industry, today, we are all, as part of our work, we are going to go knock
on doors for candidate "A."
YOUN: Yes, that`s much less clear. I think in most jurisdictions that is
perfectly legal. You can say, look, as a company endeavour, let`s go back
our favorite candidate. It`s -- it`s -- you know, it`s problematic.
You were talking about this eight-hour teaching example prior to the break.
You know, I think that sort of behavior is inappropriate. I would hope
that a company, you know, employment policy would protect against that, but
I agree with Josh.
Once you try to legislate against that kind of behavior, you run into just
really insuperable first amendment problems. I mean, what you say, you are
not allowed to talk about, you know, politics in a meeting?
You are not allowed to talk politics, you know, on company time? It just
becomes, you know, the problems with trying to legislate something like
that just sweep up so much protective speech.
MACGILLIS: Citizens United comes in on this. It`s going to make it even
easier to do the kind of coerced requisite going door-to-door kind of work.
The Republicans on the Federal Elections Commission just rules that they
see this as giving company resources.
HAYES: There`s a fascinating example of a utility union in Hawaii actually
favoring a Democratic candidate requiring its employees to go do election
activity for the Democratic candidate. It`s a Democratic candidate.
It`s a 3-3 split on the FEC. The Republicans said it was fine. The
Democrats said it was not fine because they are all thinking of the
category of employers more broadly.
YOUN: Well, that`s why I said it`s not clearly illegal because it`s hard
to say with this continuing gridlock on the FEC that anything is clearly
illegal within, you know, outside of certain very clearly defined
parameters. I mean, the FEC is unable to agree on what is legal and what
If it`s allowed, it would have to be reported as a donation to the
candidate, right. Some companies, probably most companies would be
reluctant to do that. They would be on the record as, you know, taking
their employees time for this political purpose.
HAYES: Let me do something dangerous here because I`m not a lawyer. To
push back on this we can`t start legislating this, right. I mean, it seems
to me that speech in the workplace that emanates from the top down as a
different kind of fundamental quality.
I`m not sure the way that we kind of legally acknowledge, but there are
ways that we legally acknowledge it. In other place, in labor law, right,
we do have restrictions on what the boss can say because we recognize that
that speech is actually speech that comes with an authoritative force, a
YOUN: Yes. Definitely in terms of like title seven and terms of
employment discrimination, you can, you know, I as your supervisor, there
are things that I can`t say that I would be able to say when we`re with
peers. I`m just kind of talking in a workplace.
HAYES: What is an example of that?
YOUN: Let me think off the top of my head.
YOUN: You -- you have to come out with me tonight.
HAYES: You have to go to this party, exactly.
MACGILLIS: There is an issue of we were talking about this before whether
in some industries you could argue there is a shared interest between the
employer and the workers where it`s, you know, the employer, let`s take the
example of this story in the republic with the coal company.
You have this coal owner who is relentlessly telling employees Barack Obama
is going to take your job and destroy your industry and coal. There are
banners up everywhere. You are driving through the countryside and banners
saying save Ohio, stop Obama.
It`s true. Obama has been and will be tougher on the coal industry than
Mitt Romney will be. Not as much as Bob Murray thinks, but he will be. In
that sense, he`s telling his workers look --
HAYES: We have a shared interest.
MACGILLIS: On the other hand, you know, there are all sorts of other
reasons why it`s in their interest to vote Democratic, say mine safety.
MACGILLIS: There was a huge accident in Utah, nine people died. Arguably,
there will be stronger mine safety enforcement. But, there are, it gets
gray. There are legitimate, clear reasons for a coal employee to vote
BARRO: Another great example of this is in the Nevada Senate race.
HAYES: We have this e-mail.
BARRO: These e-mails among executives at Cesars Entertainment, which owns
almost half the casinos on Las Vegas strip, so among the executives and
with them and the culinary union are coordinated effort to get as many
workers as possible out to vote for Harry Reid.
HAYES: This is, you know, from Harrah`s VP for Public Policy and
Communication, Marybel Batjer to other Harrah`s executives referring to
Senator Harry Reid.
She asked me to reach out to you to please do whatever we need to do to get
the supervisors to know there`s nothing more important than to get
employees out to vote.
Waking up to a defeat of Harry Reid, November 3rd will be devastating for
industries` future. I know everyone is working hard, but somehow the
effort is not getting through the ranks.
BARRO: And they are talking something real here, which is that the
influence that Harry Reid has as majority leader is very good for the
casino industry. Both for people who are in casinos and people who work in
You know, when Congress periodically talks about banning wagering on
college sports. That`s something that would be against the interest of
people on both sides of this equation.
And so I think -- I don`t think it`s unreasonable for them to get together
and say what can we do to organize politically for the interest of our
I think it`s different from an executive who`s basically just wants to
lower tax rate that is beneficial to him and not necessarily to his
workers. I don`t know if there`s a legal distinction.
HAYES: There isn`t. It`s clearly the case. I mean, I think you made this
point, which I think is true is that one of the things I think it`s
interesting here is seeing the fact that there`s a huge mismatch between
the world of democracy, one person, one vote.
And the world of American capitalism, which is not a very equal space and
the frustration that the CEOs and billionaires feel moving from one
building to the other, right? How is it the case?
I have all this money. I have all these employees. I have all these power
and yet on Election Day, I just get this one vote like every other poor sap
that works for me, right?
MACGILLIS: No, I think essentially -- actually there`s sort of a hopeful
lesson in that. Your vote still counts. Those 100 coal company employees
account 100 times as much as Bob Murray.
And so that`s why -- it`s so important to send this message out because on
that day, you know, as much as he`s this lord over South-eastern Ohio, you
know, it`s kind of a throwback kind of thing.
He`s presiding over this entire part of the state. Everyone, you know,
sort of owes work or livelihood to him. On that day, he`s one vote.
Really must kill these guys.
HAYES: I want to thank Surita Gupta of America Rights At Work, Josh Barro
from "Bloomberg Views The Ticker," Alec MacGillis from the New Republican
and Monica Youn from the Brennan Center at NYU School of Law for joining
us. That was a really great conversation. Thank you.
Making sense of the polls, please God with Nate Silva when we come back.
HAYES: Gallup`s daily tracking poll puts Mitt Romney leading President
Obama by 2 points nationally among likely voters right now. But Gallup is
just one of dozens of different types of polls that are published every
The polls released in a dizzying speed and often with contradictory data
are enough to drive a person insane. And yet, no one, including myself can
seem to look away.
Republicans question or rather freaked out over several polls released
prior to the first presidential debate showing a sizable lead for President
Obama over Mitt Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That begs the question, are these polls dishonest?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Look, we endow them with a false scientific
precision they simply don`t have.
JOHN KASICH (R), GOVERNOR OF OHIO: These polls, I don`t pay attention to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Polling is good at saying how you are going to vote.
It`s very bad at saying who is going to vote. The models these folks are
using are crazy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These two polls today are designed to convince
everybody this election is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Democrats engaged in their own form of polling hysteria earlier
this week questioning the methodology of Pew Research Center poll released
Monday that put Romney up four points over Barack Obama. Both parties much
like the American people have a tortured emotional relationship with
polling simultaneously obsessed and maddened.
So why do we continue to listen? And even more importantly, this is really
important, what are the polls actually telling us? Joining us in the table
is Nate Silver, author of a great new book "The Signal and the Noise: Why
So Many Predictions Fail, But Some Don`t" and also founder of Five Thirty
Eight, the go-to place for analysis of political polling now published on
the "New York Times" web site.
Maya Wiley, founder and president of the Center for Social Inclusion,
Zephyr Teachout, professor of Fordham University School of Law and David W.
Moore, author of "The Opinion Makers," an insider exposes the truth behind
the polls, a senior fellow at the institute of the University of New
Hampshire and a former senior editor in Gallup where he worked for 15
It is great to have you all here. OK, let`s begin, Nate, this is a quote
from your book, and the book is not about polling. It`s about prediction
in a very broad sense across a range of domains.
Interesting stuff about how we use data to make predictions and how we, as
we get more and more quantity of data, how do we identify the date we
actually need, which is exactly the problem we have.
There`s more and more polls and they drive me nuts. OK, not only does
political coverage often lose the signal, it frequently accentuates the
noise. If there are a number of polls in the state that show the
Republican head, it won`t make news when another one says the same thing.
But if a new poll comes out showing the Democrat with a lead, it would grab
headlines. Even though the poll is probably an out liar and won`t predict
the outcome accurately. We just saw it in an Arizona poll that was just
out showing President Obama winning Arizona.
NATE SILVER, AUTHOR, "THE SIGNAL AND THE NOISE": Yes, it was a big story,
Obama was up two in Arizona, which is a really unlikely result given where
the election is at nationally right now.
It`s from a good polling firm, but even a good pollster will have the
outlying poll, occasionally. But of course, that makes for a big, dramatic
story. You can write a whole story line around, is there a new swing state
You know, the reliable poll that says the same as the other 10 polls
usually doesn`t get many headlines. You know, that`s where the real meat
of the story is most of the time.
HAYES: OK, how should we be responsible consumers of polling -- aside of
fivethirtyeight.com, which I mean, you can say that. What should we do?
When there are 15 polls that come out in one day, like what should we do?
SILVER: So, you know, this is a little bit self-serving, right. We update
our web site once a day with the polls. I think it`s about the right kind
of temperature level you should have for how often you should be reading
People on Twitter who are trying to critique every poll and every all time
and there are days when Obama will four, five polls a day. You have a run
of Romney polls that are equally good for him, right.
People perceive patterns and random noise all the time, right. So at least
if you sit, at the end of the day and kind of you digest everything, you
know, with a Coke or a whiskey, whatever you want, then you have some time
to have more perspective.
We have had some very important and dramatic days recently with real shifts
in the race. But most of the time, especially in the summer, it all adds
up to basically nothing. It was the same story, day after day after day.
DAVID MOORE, AUTHOR, "THE OPINION MAKERS": I think it`s important to look
at the average of polls. I think that`s essentially what happens at Five
Thirty Eight. There are other sites. I think one of the things we really
have to be careful about it as consumers of polls is that you can`t trust
any single or individual poll.
Even if you look at Gallup is doing a tracking poll, that`s fine. It`s a
trend. But if you take a look at Gallup and you take a look at Pew, they
found conflicting results by a difference of six percentage points. So you
can`t trust any single poll. You really do have to go to the average.
HAYES: Are we doing no more now that we have more polling? I mean, is it
the case that we have a more accurate sense because there is a larger body
of data, and we can aggregate over that body of data. We can average it
out, sitting here 25 days before the election, 24 days before the election,
2012, am I in a better place, am I measuring more accurately than 20 years
SILVER: So we had pretty good elections in 2004 and 2008 where the polling
averages were very good. The 2010 was pretty good for the most part.
Although one scary thing I have seen in the data is that pollsters are
becoming less independent from one another.
Here is their average. That must be right. We don`t want to be outside
the consensus. You see some polls kind of magically that are out of
consensus, converged towards others.
HAYES: It`s terrible.
SILVER: That`s terrifying, right. If you`re observing a phenomenon, we
don`t want to have an effect on the experiment that we are trying to
observe. On one hand, look, there are some bad polls out there. I don`t
want to be too much of a critic about an individual poll and scare the
pollster into changing their methods apart from where it gets just from the
scientific sample that it`s taken.
WILEY: Yes, I was curious about the issue of cell phone only users. I
know that one of the issues people are raising around the accuracy of
polling is increasingly people are only reliant on cell phones and so much
of polling happens with conventional landlines. And I know for communities
of color, I mean, it`s a color much, much more likely to only be cell phone
users. Do you think that`s a pattern?
MOORE: It`s not a problem. Major pollsters are all incorporating cell
phones into their --
SILVER: The major ones do. Some of the ones that use robo dialling
MOORE: They use about third of our cell phones. Robo dialling or
automated dialling doesn`t necessarily preclude it as long as for the cell
phones you have --
HAYES: You cannot robo dial cell phones.
WILEY: It`s a cost issue. I thought half of polling was news outlets and
if they can afford --
SILVER: They have realized that you can`t make a credible claim in taking
your scientific survey if you don`t call people who have cell phones only.
It`s a third of the population now. A lot of people, I have a landline, it
came with my cable package.
HAYES: I have my ringer off. I want to talk about what polls are good at
predicting and what are bad at predicting. Polling as the way we
understand the elections and polling as we way we take the temperature of
the American people right after this.
HAYES: Talking about poll mania and the way that polls have just
completely taken over our political culture. The pure quantity has shot
up. I think a lot of us spend a lot of time.
I was saying just during the break that it`s like -- when you are a sports
fan and you are walking on a Wednesday and you feel like down in the dumps
and you forget why.
And then you remember it`s because the Cubs lost the night before. It`s
the same thing with polling, right. Why do I feel out of sorts, right,
that really bad poll number that came in.
Here is an annual number of mentions the phrase opinion poll in U.S.
newspapers and wires from 1960 to 2006. This is fascinating data. Take a
look at this chart, huge, huge up tick, right?
We see it starting in the late `70s and 1980 and just goes up and then it
sort of goes with election cycles. My question here is, polling on how
people vote. It looks to me that if you aggravate all those polls, you
come up with an average, decent at predicting outcomes.
Then there`s the other world of polling, which is what do people think, how
do they feel, what are their preferences, do they like this position or
that position. We cited them all the time here. I`m sure I cited them
today. I`m sure we`ve shown them full screens and my question is, are they
measuring anything real? What is that stuff that measures? You seem to
have strong feelings?
TEACHOUT: I`m curious to know because what I suspect is that it measures
sort of an instant reaction and there`s a lot of research on deliberative
polling that after some information, people`s minds change.
But even more so than that, when they are in a position of power, people
have a difference of opinions. So not just what do I think after learning
things, but what do I think if I`m actually responsible for it? And that
to me is what we care about the citizens that we want to know what would
HAYES: If you having this belief meant something as opposed to it meant
getting off the phone with the pollster.
MOORE: One of the problems that we have with public policy polling is that
a lot of people, probably anywhere from the third to a half are unengaged
on any given issue. The polls only use these questions. Do you approve or
And then they don`t give you the say don`t have an opinion. If you say I
approve or disapprove of it, you may say that simply because you are in a
polling context and you have to come up with something and they don`t
And that`s why you get -- so for people who don`t have an opinion, they are
very, very much influenced by the way in which the question is asked, by
the context. If you ask questions about health care, for example, and now
you ask this question.
Polls really overstate the percentage of people who have an opinion. They
really are able to influence what people say by the context and the
question wording it in a way that is really, I think bad.
HAYES: We have an example. I think actually it`s an example pointed to on
a blog. This is a question about health insurance in an ABC/"Washington
Post" poll on the public option. It does not indicate choice or an option.
It says, would you support or oppose having the government create a new
health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans, 52
percent support, 46 percent oppose.
Now in another poll, if you say, do you support or oppose giving people the
option of covered by a health insurance plan, 62 percent support and 32
percent oppose. You have this, you know, 20-point swing essentially just
based on this one bit of wording.
WILEY: It`s wording. It`s question order, right, which we have talked
about. But also none of it tells how people are actually going to behave
at the point and time when they have to act on a decision.
So I think -- you know, with the opinion polls, I`m saying are you going
vote for President Obama or vote for Mitt Romney, you are really asking
people something that is a really complex set of questions.
They are going to be influenced in multiple ways over times, like who is
delivering the message and who they have talked to that week and whether
they had some personal experience that shifted their perception of the
importance of the issue.
TEACHOUT: I mean, I think there can be a valuable role for polls. It`s
dangerous to have them be part of the rhetoric as if a reason for something
is in itself the polls. If there`s a real disconnect, like we see on
financial reform, like if there`s 72 percent of the country or some huge
number that support one thing and the Congress isn`t acting, it`s useful.
HAYES: Go ahead. Sorry.
SILVER: I guess, what is the alternative though, right? I mean, the
reason why these news bureaus like the "New York Times" pay a lot for high
quality polling is because they do want to give the proverbial man or woman
on the street some voice instead of having elites completely control the
HAYES: This is the vision. This is George Gallup`s vision. George Gallup
who is the father of modern polling, he had this to say. I mean, he
thought what he was doing -- this is his 1940 book, "Polls of Democracy,"
What he thought he was doing was bringing the scientific method to improve
feedback, to improve the way the democracy works. If the democratic public
opinion acts and learns by action, if true are relative upon the results,
which action achieves, it`s chief faith is a faith in experiment.
It believes in the value of every individual`s contribution of political
life and the right of ordinary human beings to have a voice in deciding
their faith. Public opinion in this sense is the polls of democracy.
MOORE: That`s true. Gallup was one of the primary pushers of this idea
that in between elections you can find out what the public is thinking.
With Gallup, a lot has changed since Gallup died and since he was bought
out by another organization. Most of the polling groups are now media
MOORE: When Gallup asked a question about the Tartly Law, for example, he
said don`t you have an opinion and first of all he asked whether people
even knew about it.
HAYES: And Tartly law was a law --
MOORE: In the 1950s.
HAYEs: In the 1950 restricting a certain union organizing activities it
seems like sympathy strikes.
MOORE: Right and so the question is whether or not it should be renewed.
So you can ask that question today about almost any policy and you can find
95 percent of the public has an opinion because of the way in which the
questions are used. He didn`t do that.
HAYES: He didn`t?
MOORE: No, not there. What he did is he found that two-thirds of the
public had not any information what so ever.
MOORE: And then of the people that heard about it, 5 percent to 10 percent
didn`t have an opinion. Now that kind of information would never be
produced today. You would never find a media organization saying half or
two-thirds of the public is unengaged on the issue and doesn`t have an
HAYES: We should talk about how we might reform polling to do that or what
ways we might begin to measure things like preference and intensity because
I think that`s the other distinction right after we take a break.
HAYES: Talking about polling and a polling mad world. Polling,
particularly in terms of how good of a job it does in predicting elections,
which I think it actually that`s thing -- to me, it`s a tool that does a
pretty good job at this one thing.
Which is with enough data, aggregated enough, it does a pretty good job of
telling us who is going to win on Election Day. I mean, if you take the
poll, you know, the weekend before the election, more times than not, the
average of those polls tell you who is going to win.
Then there`s the other use of polling, which is in some way is a larger use
of polling because it happens in between elections. It`s what do we, the
American people believe? W hat is public opinion?
And there are teams much hazier than it`s helping us or doing anything.
You`ve talked about first choice, what do we even mean when we say public
opinion? When we say someone has a position or this position is polling,
does that measure any actual thing that`s out there or is it being
constructed by the taking of the poll?
SILVER: Well, it measures how people are responding to a question. People
don`t necessarily know as much as the beltway media think they do about the
issues, right? So for example, we were talking on break, cap and trade is
a complex policy solution for example --
HAYES: To climate change. It would be a way of capping carbon emissions.
SILVER: Pretty complex policy even by Washington standards, right, 50
percent of the people support cap and trade and some other polls are a pop
quiz where they ask is it environmental policy or a health care policy or a
And only about a quarter of people even know had anything with the
environment so in that case where there`s not that much public discourse,
the poll doesn`t tell you anything at all.
The other thing is that the people who respond to polls are likely to be
heavier news consumers. Only about 10 percent of people, even for the best
surveys like Gallup or Pew respond now. For the worst cheapest surveys,
maybe 2 percent or 3 percent of people do. So you are probably getting
people who are more --
HAYES: There is some selection bias in terms of people`s level of
MILEY: I also worry about the fact that polls tend to go to a likely voter
pool. So when they identify who they are going to find to ask, they are
looking for likely voters, which means increasingly in this nation, we`re
probalby undercounting and under asking people of color and low income
people who are also the fastest growing demographics in the country.
MOORE: But with respect to likely voters, I think that`s really when you
are talking elections. It`s not true for most of the major media polling
organizations when you are not talking about elections. I think maybe
Rasmussen does likely voter. I think NBC and "Wall Street Journal" for
awhile only registered voters.
HAYES: Other public opinion polling?
MOORE: The most public opinion polling is the adult population. So, it`s
not so much that. It is the fact that so many people are unengaged on
issues that the pollsters don`t want to recognize that they can really get
big differences. For example, the difference between a bailout and loans
to the auto industry, found big differences. Sorry.
TEACHOUT: What I want to know then is, you know, you are sophisticated
pollsters, I`m not. If I look at a public opinion poll like cap and trade,
you know, what are the like two or three questions I would want to know to
know whether --
HAYES: It`s useful or not. What should we be asking ourselves when we see
a poll about public opinion what should we as consumers of polls or --
TEACHOUT: What is my certified seal of throw this out, this is not
information or this is --
MOORE: The first thing you want to do is you want to see who did the poll.
I personally only rely upon the major media polls including Gallup and the
Because I think for the most part, to the extent you are getting objective
information, you can more or less rely on them. But then the most
important thing after that is, what is the way the question is worded
because the question wording will absolutely effect what they say.
HAYES: Here is a question. It seems they all have forced choices. Why is
it the case to have an industry standard if you just stop having forced
choices in public opinion polling?
Shouldn`t we just have an industry standard that if you are going to ask
people, do you believe or support or not support cap and trade or have you
not heard of it or do you not have an opinion? Because I think just as the
background bedrock we are operating on, that would help a lot.
SILVER: There`s no big -- there`s a conference, right. It`s a free
country, right and polls can use different methods. There`s a give and
take between on the one hand you see the industry trying to not look at
robo polls or internet polls.
I think some of that is well grounded, but there`s also some fear of
competition. You can take a robo poll for a couple cents per call and it
costs tens of thousands of dollars to do the traditional way.
MOORE: The really important thing is what you asked about earlier. What
is public opinion? We are talking the concept. I think what`s happened is
the polling industry particularly the media polling industry have
determined that for them, public opinion is what our forced choice poll
questions say it is.
But, I think from a political science or politics point of view, it`s
really important to differentiate those opinions people hold that they want
their representatives to represent versus opinions that people will give
totally off the top of their head and not care about it one way or the
HAYES: This is where this argument that I hear on the left, that you were
making before and I say, financial reform, 70 percent of people are in
favor of financial reform and Congress isn`t doing, but those people don`t
care. They don`t wake up in the morning. They don`t get into arguments
where their cheeks get flush or financial reform.
It`s the arguments that make your cheeks flush, right. Those are the
places where voters really matter as much intensity as preference. I
remember seeing Grover Norquist speak about this once where he talked about
turning taxes into one of those issues.
That`s what representatives respond to. So I want to say, can we measure
that? Sorry, right after this break.
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HAYES: All right, we are talking about polling and what polling measures
and doesn`t measure. Well, on the question I asked over the break is
between preference and intensity. You wanted to say something. We are
talking financial reform specifically.
TEACHOUT: We all fall into this rhetoric, this is the currency, what do
people think. But what it does is it also -- it`s sort of a more of a
consumer model in a couple ways. You were comparing polls to scotch
earlier. People are selling polls with high numbers because we get a hit
off the high numbers.
TEACHOUT: We have to demand is certified humane polling model that you are
HAYES: Organic polls.
TEACHOUT: I`m not going touch that poll.
HAYES: It`s true, though.
TEACHOUT: And then I`m interested, also in that it turns us, if we answer
a poll question, it`s different than being a citizen on it as you suggest.
If we want to have a portrait of society, we should accuse politicians if
it turns out 50 percent of people don`t know -- and use polls as a way to
say, you aren`t doing a good job of educating the public.
MOORE: We just did a poll on ethics for ourselves and we did a poll on the
bailout of the auto industry or the way Pew phrased it, the loans that were
given to the auto industry in order to prevent them from going under. They
got a big majority who are in favor.
Gallup said do you favor or oppose the bailout of the auto industry and
they got a majority opposed. But when we replicated it, we got the same
We asked if they would be upset if the opposite happened of what they just
said. And then that result was that approximately half of the public did
not have a meaningful opinion on the policy at all.
The rest of them were evenly divided between strong support for and strong
opposed. That was a better picture of the public.
HAYES: Is that a way of getting -- the question I left of is this
distinction between reference and intensity and we see it in the way
Washington works. The example we gave during the break is gun control,
You can get people saying, yes, 60 percent of the public favors some kind
of gun control. It doesn`t happen in Washington because the people who
oppose, right, oppose it with vim, vigor, money and structure behind them.
Is there a way of getting a better sense of what public is?
Like can we do better, can we measure it? What are you going to be voting
on when you go in on November?
SILVER: The reason polls work well for elections is because they literally
are a yes or no question, right? Romney or Obama or I guess, Gary Johnson.
You have two choices.
For that, right, that happens to work well with the frame work of the
simplicity we like. But for most other public policies, there`s nuance and
complexity. So I think we have to demand more of ourselves.
We both in terms of the media and the public to be more tolerant of looking
at different sides of an issue and it`s not always easy to pick public
opinion is instead of wanting a poll result that explains everything.
There`s no way to do that.
WILEY: What about the intensity? Finding out what people are intense
about. I think so much of what we are talking about, issues that aren`t
resonating for people. It`s not their bread and butter issue. These kinds
of polls that are better at articulating what Americans are actually
HAYES: I think we see this all the time. My suspicion is this is true on
the deficit. This is something where people tell pollsters are worried
about the deficit. It`s a stand in for, you know, a bad economy or moral
degradation or whatever you think it is. I just refuse to believe many
people are showing up at the polls on Tuesday, Election Day.
MOORE: A lot of times pollsters ask, do you feel strongly about that or
not strongly? The problem is they don`t know what to do with it. What
they do is combine the not strong and the strong and they treat them as
though they are equal degrees.
Now, it is a very difficult, I think philosophical opinion or approach or
problem to try to differentiate an opinion that matters versus top of the
mind. One of the ways we did it, we said, if you supported the bailout, we
say how upset would you be if we hadn`t supported it, and you say, I
wouldn`t have been upset.
HAYES: That`s a very good question.
MOORE: That`s one way of getting intensity and finding out that your
opinion is not one that you want to represent because you didn`t care.
HAYES: We should say because we`re being critical. I`m asking there`s one
place or places in which it seems like longitudinal studies in public
opinion are really measured in something real, gay marriage, for instance.
We have a long data set on people`s opinion. It really does seem like, you
know, the polls are moving in a direction that are measuring a real shift
in public opinion as a fact about where people`s opinions are.
So it`s not completely useless. It`s a lot more complicated than it looks.
I love to revisit this topic again in the future. All right, what you
should know for the news week ahead, coming up next.
HAYES: A quick update on a discussion we had earlier in this program with
Staples founder Tom Stenberg, now a Romney supporter. Tom disputed my
assertion that under Romney, Bain Capital turned from a venture capital
model toward less risky leverage buyouts.
Reporters in the "Boston Globe," however, spoke with Romney himself about
exactly this matter and reported in February that quote, "Initially, Romney
thought that putting money into young firms," and they quote Romney here,
quote, "would be just as good as acquiring an existing company and trying
to make it better."
But Romney found that, quoting again from Romney, "There`s a lot greater
risk in a start up than there is in acquiring an existing company."
They go on to say Romney was much more comfortable in an environment where
the issue wasn`t whether or not it would pan out, but whether the numbers
work. He knew himself. He was not at heart an entrepreneur.
So, what should you know for the week coming up? You should know that
frustrated workers at Wal-Mart have issued a remarkable ultimatum to one of
the nation`s largest employers.
Stop retaliating against workers who complained about the company`s
conditions or face a one day labor action on the Friday after Thanksgiving,
typically the biggest single shopping day of the year.
The announcement came a day after Wal-Mart workers in 12 states walked off
the job in a one day action and in the wake of labor action`s buying please
of Wal-Mart contracted warehouses in California and Illinois.
You should know that while Wal-Mart is a massive powerful corporation that
it`s thus far ruthlessly suppressed any labor actions, its supply chain is
quite vulnerable to work stoppages. So you should know this could get
You should know that Arizona Republican Representative Jeff Flake who is
running for state`s open Senate seat against Democrat Richard Carmona
denied during their debate this week that he signed Grover Norquist`
infamous no tax pledge.
You should know that according to Norquist`s own group, Americans For Tax
Reform, Flake has indeed signed the pledge. You should know polling in
Arizona shows a surprisingly close race between the two men.
You should know that 170 workers at a factory in Free Port, Illinois stands
to lose their jobs at the end of the year when Bain Capital, which owns
their firm closes the plant and shifts jobs to China.
You should know the workers are asking Mitt Romney who`s made hundreds of
thousands of dollars off of (INAUDIBLE) investment in the company to use
his influence to save their jobs.
You should know Romney has refused to meet with the workers and that
they`ll bird dogging Romney this week at the debate at Hofstra on Tuesday
night. You should know we`ll have one of the Sensata workers here in
studio next weekend to talk about the story.
Finally, you should know that Romney and President Barack Obama will be
squaring off for their second TV debate on Tuesday night at Hofstra
University in New York.
You should know the format will be a town hall with undecided voters posing
questions for the two candidates. We will, of course, be covering the
debate here on MSNBC.
You should know special coverage begins here at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and will
be anchored by Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews along with Al Sharpton,
Lawrence O`Donnell, Steve Schmidt and yours truly.
And you should know I`ll probably once again sell out and wear a tie. All
right, I want to know what my guests think we should know for the week
coming up. Dave Moore, what should people know?
MOORE: Well, next week in the debate, it`s going to focus on foreign
policy and most pundits tell you the foreign policy is not important in an
election because people focus on domestic policy and the economy.
But, what I would say, you should know that foreign policy, while the
substance may not be important, the way in which the candidates portray
themselves, whether they portray themselves as knowledgeable, informed,
competent to be commander in chief is very important and it`s extremely
crucial particularly in this next debate.
HAYES: Very interesting. Maya Wiley?
WILEY: One in six U.S. households will still not have enough food to eat
by the end of the month. Half of all jobs will still pay less than $34,000
a year and we will not hear much discussion of poverty in America in the
debate this week.
HAYES: I hope we get some question about poverty in the debate on Tuesday.
The irony here is you have a situation you cynically see the Romney/Ryan
campaign occasionally invoking the poverty statistics as a way of beating
up on the record of the incumbent they are running against.
But of course, at the same time, two thirds of the cuts from the Ryan
budget for instance come to programs for the poor, huge cuts to Medicaid
that would be devastating for hospitals.
TEACHOUT: Poor kids in school.
HAYES: Cuts to food stamps at a time when food aren`t secure. You only
see poverty used very cynically as a campaign caudle and never actually
TEACHOUT: Well, there`s a major legal battle in Ohio about early voting in
Ohio. We are waiting to see whether the Supreme Court takes the case about
whether to uphold or strike down at least for this important election,
early voting in Ohio.
HAYES: Early voting specifically in the weekend before the election, which
is what it -- at issue, the Obama campaign filed a complaint against the
secretary of state of Ohio to maintain that window of early voting the
weekend before the election.
TEACHOUT: Yes, courts currently say it would violate equal protection to
not allow early voting giving that that they allow early voting for some.
The great irony is that the Obama campaign is citing Bush versus Gore as
its equal protection president. Ohio is saying that the Bush versus Gore
shouldn`t be used because it`s not powerful in that area.
HAYES: They said don`t use that. It`s always an indicator fine legal
reasoning is about to happen. When your Supreme Court says it should not
SILVER: We are having a debate this week, a little rant here. I think the
media coverage of debates is pretty abysmal.
HAYES: How dare you?
SILVER: How dare I say so, right? But especially aids of social media,
the group that will creep in right away, I mean, actually miss the first 15
minutes of the first presidential debate, I did think Obama lost.
It was already decided I think that he lost. It made everything read in a
different frame, a different frame for the second debate.
If I was the Commissioner of Presidential Debates, I would say let`s have a
blackout for the first half hour after the debate, show pictures of panda
bears or something, right and then you have a site to the poll that`s
conducted and then the pundits can talk instead of influencing people`s
minds based on one person`s opinion instead of --
HAYES: You are getting me where I live. You are getting me where I live.
I stayed off Twitter for the last debate. I didn`t want to be subject to
it. I`m going to do it Tuesday night. I want to form my own independent
I want to thank my guests today, Zephyr Teachout from Fordham University
School of Law, Nate Silver, author of the "Signal and The Noise, Why So
Many Predictions Fail, But Some Don`t." I want to have you back to talk
about some more stuff in that book in the future.
Dave Moore from the University of New Hampshire and Maya Wiley from the
Center for Social Inclusion, thank you all. Thank you for joining us.
We`ll be back next weekend, Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 Eastern Time. Our
guests will include Patrick Gaspard, the executive director of the ANC and
Ann Marie Slaughter, former director of Policy Planning in the Obama State
Coming up next is Melissa Harris Perry on today`s MHP. Melissa takes her
this week in voter suppression segment to Florida for activists who are
trying to clear thousands of voters names off the role and a blatant
attempt to impact the outcome of the 2012 election. That`s coming up next.
We`ll see you next week here on UP.
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