'Up w/Chris Hayes' for Saturday, October 27th, 2012
Read the transcript to the Saturday show
UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
October 27, 2012
Guests: Richard Kim, Lynn Vavreck, George Packer, Sophia Nelson, Michael
Brendan Dougherty, Ana Marie Cox, Tammy Baldwin
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris
Hayes. In person early voting begins in the crucial state of Florida
today. More than 1.1 million people have already voted by absentee ballot
in Florida. We`ll be talking about the role early voting is playing on the
campaign in just a moment. And Hurricane Sandy has been downgraded to a
tropical storm but is expected to strengthen into a hurricane again by
tomorrow night. The National Weather Service warns that widespread impacts
are still expected when the storm makes landfall on the East Coast as early
Right now I am joined by Richard Kim, my colleague at the Nation
magazine, where he is executive editor of TheNation.com. Ana Marie Cox,
political columnist at the U.S. version of the Guardian and founder of the
political blog Wonkette. George Packer, staff writer for the New Yorker
and author of a fascinating story in next week`s issue about a former
lobbyist who has since become very disillusioned with Washington, D.C. And
Sophie Nelson, columnist for our sister web site, theGrio.com. And a
former Republican counsel to the House Oversight and Government Reform
Committee. Great to have all of you here.
All right. We are now ten days away from the presidential election,
and President Obama seems to be steadily regaining a narrow lead, a lead he
held over Mitt Romney before the presidential debates began earlier this
month. The latest polling averages according to Nate Silver of the New
York Times give President Obama 50.3 of the popular vote, with Mitt Romney
at 48.6. 538`s model now gives President Obama a 74 percent chance of
winning the election based on his strong performance in several swing
The president is hoping to capitalize on the momentum by encouraging
voters in those swing states to go to the polls as soon as possible by
taking advantage of early voting. As of this morning, more than 10.5
million people have already cast their ballots, including the president
himself. President Obama flew back to Chicago on Thursday to take
advantage of early voting in Illinois, becoming the first sitting president
in history to cast a ballot early.
Mitt Romney`s campaign, meanwhile, has been buffeted by a series of
developments this week that put the Republican candidate for Senate in
Indiana, Richard Mourdock, whom Romney has endorsed, became the latest GOP
candidate to make controversial comments about rape. And one of Romney`s
surrogates, former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, suggested that
former Secretary of State Colin Powell had crossed party lines to endorse
President Obama because of the president`s race.
I think what we`re seeing right now in the race is essentially the
race regressing to the mean. It`s basically the race going to what its
stable equilibrium is. If you go back and you look at the Nate Silver
model, which the role that Nate Silver`s model plays in the psychology of
liberals is in and of itself a topic we could do a whole show on. People
are wearing out their mouse button by clicking refresh.
Basically the race is where it was in June. I mean, so everything
that was, you know, before everyone started campaigning, right, Mitt Romney
gets the nomination, you basically have the race, and then you have brrrr,
the race and now we`re back to where we are essentially. And what`s been
fascinating to me is this kind of meta battle over momentum. I am
fascinated by the amount of energy and labor being put in by both campaigns
and kind of partisans on both sides trying to spin it that they are winning
when people are going to actually vote. But I really, honestly don`t get
ANA MARIE COX, GUARDIAN.CO.UK: Especially when you think about the
fact that momentum is this construct that has no application in polling. A
momentum is really like a physical thing. Let`s talk about -- there is no
such thing as having momentum in a poll. Things change all the time.
COX: I do think it`s really -- I find it endearing that people put so
much faith in Nate Silver`s model. I think he probably finds it a little
upsetting, that people sort of take him and put him in this place where his
whole model is to not put that much faith.
HAYES: Well, he had a -- (inaudible) there`s been like a Nate Silver
HAYES: So now there`s -- and this goes to the thing of the way that
basically the campaign -- there`s not new news being made on the campaign
for the most part. The candidates are kind of talking about we`re in the
home stretch. So people have been putting all that energy into like poll
reading and poll spinning, and so there`s now this like entire right wing
world of people who are like doing Nate Silver takedowns.
COX: The Nate Silver truthers.
SOPHIA NELSON, THEGRIO.COM: I actually disagree a little bit. I
think momentum is critical if you`re the Romney campaign. And what I mean
by that, it`s perception. It might not be real, as you pointed out as a
construct, but the Romney campaign has really created a narrative. Right?
HAYES: They`ve been trying hard to, yes.
NELSON: We are on the ascendancy. We have won the debates. We
showed that we are capable of running the country, being commander in
chief. I think that these rallies that they have had, where you get these
pictures with these ginormous --
NELSON: I heard that. So my point is I think momentum is something
the Romney campaign definitely sees inevitability, and the Obama campaign -
HAYES: But the big question, is there a causal relationship? This to
me remains the undetermined thing. And we`re going to actually talk to a
political scientist who studies undecided voters in a little bit. Because
the question is, is there actually causal relationship between this kind of
perception and momentum, and actually pushing people off the fence who
think I want to go with that person because they`re winning?
RICHARD KIM, THENATION.COM: The momentum stuff is also all generated
from national polls. Right? So you look at the Washington Post national
poll, the Gallup poll, none of that really matters. Right? It`s now down
to like six swing states, basically -- I think really only three or four
that are really, really in play. And in those, as Nate`s analysis showed,
it`s been even steadier. Right? So this sort of freak out about Romney
getting 50 percent, or even the white vote sort of going away from Obama to
Romney, four states, four or five states, that`s really where, you know,
all of this matters.
GEORGE PACKER, NEWYORKER.COM: It`s a little like cable news pundits
after debates talking about how people out there in the country are going
to see this debate. They have no idea.
HAYES: How dare they?
PACKER: They`re looking at their Blackberry which is getting text and
e-mails from, who? From other consultants from the campaign. So it`s a
weird closed loop that pretends to have a relation to the electorate. And
HAYES: But you said something in the green room, which hopefully you
didn`t say to me in confidence. Which is that--
PACKER: If so, I`ll never be on the show again.
HAYES: You said to me something in the green room, which is that kind
of -- which is there is a kind of -- there is a feedback loop. That you as
a political reporter, and I have had this experience too, as a political
reporter, showing up to talk to voters. Right, at some event, or just
knocking on doors. And the things you get back from them are them saying
what they heard on the news.
PACKER: But here`s the point. We`ve had the same political story in
this country for 12 years. We are an evenly divided country. The Obama
election in 2008 turned out to be a little bit of an exception because of
the disaster of the Bush years and the financial crisis. We have now, you
said we`ve gone back to the default or the steady state. We`ve gone back
to where we were in 2000. There`s a story in the Washington Post about how
there might be a split between the electoral college and the popular vote.
What does that remind you of? How many different ways can journalists,
campaigns, and other insiders talk about that story after 12 years?
COX: I just want to say, one thing on the momentum story, I feel like
when campaigns are doing that, they`re playing literally against each other
on a momentum story . They`re leaving voters out of the equation. It`s a
closed loop, and they`re just trying to convince each other that they have
momentum. It becomes this game, like people have talked about in 2000,
when Bush team made a big deal of trying to make a play in California.
That was all about, literally, that was playing to the Gore team to try to
get them to devote resources in places they didn`t need to devote
resources. It had nothing to do with voters.
HAYES: That`s a really good point about the strategic kind of game
theoretical aspect of this, which is there`s a finite set of resources, you
are deploying that finite set of resources in a strategic fashion against
the other party in terms of do you -- the marginal dollar gets spent in
Ohio or in Nevada or in Colorado, so psyching them out actually has some
NELSON: But he raises a very important point, and I think it`s true,
the 2000 election model is probably where we are. And I`ve been saying
this for weeks. People have been laughing at me. That Romney might win
that popular vote and Obama wins the electoral college, and it makes us
have to come back to another discussion as a country, do we still keep the
COX: I would be happy to have that discussion.
KIM: We at the Nation magazine have long been calling for the
abolition of the electoral college. And in fact, this scenario, I told
(inaudible) the other day, we should rethink that.
KIM: I do think there`s a remote chance that that`s the scenario,
that there is this sort of a left/right coalition around this. You`re
going to have the Tea Party really freaked out. Right? They already
question the legitimacy of the 2008 election, which is indisputable. And
this is really going to sort of -- and they have a point there. They have
a kernel of truth about the sort of populist will being denied, and it
happened in 2000, and it could happen in 2012.
HAYES: We`re going to -- we have a whole -- on tomorrow`s show we`re
going to have your colleague, Rick Hertzberg, who`s been writing about the
national popular vote, constitutional scholar Achil Lamar (ph), and we`re
going to sort of talk about the electoral college, and why it`s there and
what it does.
PACKER: And how we can`t get rid of it because we`re stuck with the
HAYES: Yes, although Achil Lamar has a very -- there`s an incredibly
clever way around that that Achil Lamar has come up with.
COX: Now you`re talking like a Republican.
HAYES: No, not with an amendment. Not with an amendment, with state
So here`s another thing that happened this week. We all know about
the Mourdock quote about rape. I`ll play that in a second. We`ll talk
about that later in the show, but there`s also this Lena Dunham ad. Lena
Dunham, who`s this wunderkind, young writer and filmmaker who`s got this
HBO series, "Girls," which I personally like a tremendous amount. I think
she is phenomenally talented.
Jim Messina, the campaign manager for the Obama campaign, tweeted out
this link to a video that she cut. We`re going to play a little bit of it.
And it`s kind of a remarkable video politically in a lot of ways,
particularly when we talk about that equilibrium, we`re talking about 2000,
2004. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LENA DUNHAM: Your first time shouldn`t be with just anybody. You
want to do it with a great guy. It should be with a guy who is beautiful,
someone who really cares about and understands women. A guy who cares
whether you get health insurance, specifically whether you get birth
control. The consequences are huge. You want to do it with a guy who
brought the troops out of Iraq. You don`t want a guy who says, oh, hey,
I`m at the library studying when really he`s out not signing the Lilly
Ledbetter Act, or thinks that gay people should have beautiful, complicated
weddings of the kind we see on Bravo or TLC all the time.
It`s a fun game to say, who are you voting for, and they say, I don`t
want to tell you, and you say, no, who are voting for? And they go, guess!
Think about how you want to spend those four years. In college age time,
that`s 150 years. It`s super uncool to be out and about and they say, did
you vote? And you go, no, I wasn`t ready.
My first time voting was amazing. It was this line in the sand.
Before I was a girl, now I was a woman. I went to the polling station and
pulled back the curtain. I voted for Barack Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. So there is an obvious metaphor. I think the best
adjective to describe that would be cheeky. It precipitated like a
combination of total fake outrage and genuine outrage I think on the right.
I want to talk about this ad, not because it`s in the news cycle and people
are getting mad about it, but to me it says something profound about the
political calculation of where we are. Because I want you to think for a
second. Would John Kerry have cut that ad in 2004? No fricking way. They
would not have touched that ad in 2004 with a million-foot pole. I want to
ask you guys why that is right after we take this break.
HAYES: So we just played the Lena Dunham ad that has this embedded
metaphor about the first time and equating voting and sex.
KIM: I want to see the Kid Rock ad.
HAYES: George, you have done political reporting and you did
political reporting in 2004.
PACKER: No, in `8.
HAYES: I`m sorry, in 2008. It seems to me that the country has
changed. The Democrats` conception of where the electorate has changed
insofar as they`re willing to do that ad.
PACKER: Right. I mean, I grew up in the `70s and `80s when social
issues were all for the Republicans, and Democrats tried to avoid them.
And it seems that things have turned. And now Democrats just, whenever the
subject of women comes up, they just assume that it`s going to work in
their favor, and it often seems to. There`s a gender gap, and abortion
rights are a huge issue in this election.
So I think Lena Dunham is their main line into young women in their
early 20s who they`re maybe worried aren`t going to come out and vote, and
somehow this is the way to get them revved up. To me, it`s a slightly
insulting view of the motivations of the voting habits of young women. But
what do I know about them? I`m over 50.
NELSON: I agree with George wholeheartedly. I think that the
challenge for me with this ad is that it says that the economic issue
doesn`t matter as much as the social issue. If you look at the trends and
if you look at Romney -- let`s face it, let me finish. The Republicans
have been a nightmare on this issue of abortion, on rape, and everything
else. The gender gap should be huge. And the issue is that you see Romney
is still neck and neck in an electorate where women should be concerned
about those issues, but it says to me that economics is still driving this.
That`s what I think.
COX: There are two points I want to make. One is in the town hall
debate, when Obama said for the first time I remember him clearly saying,
reproductive rights is not a social issue. It`s not a women`s issue. It`s
an economic issue. I think women understand that. And also, there`s that
Gallup poll that came out I guess last week that polled swing state voters,
and women put reproductive rights as a No. 1 issue they are facing.
NELSON: I don`t know if I believe that--
PACKER: Also let me also say, she name-checks the Lilly Ledbetter--
HAYES: And the Iraq war.
PACKER: And the Iraq war, which are also not social issues.
COX: I was going to say that the ad makes me uncomfortable as a not
so young woman. But maybe I`ve just gotten prudish in my old age. But I
think that it`s not insulting to young women in part because if you`re
still -- I mean, the people who are going to vote for Obama or who are
thinking about voting for Obama are not going to be offended by that ad.
And I think that`s sort of the thing that you`re pointing at, this sort of
turning sensibility that has really changed for Democrats. Obama has been
able to lead, partially, let`s face it, on the basis of his personality and
HAYES: And also this forward leaning position, which is so
fascinating. Who is the instigator in the quote/unquote culture war?
Right? And that to me is one of the dominant themes of this campaign
that`s been fascinating, is that watching, particularly covering the 2004
race, which the right was the instigator. Karl Rove put the gay marriage
ballot stuff in the states. They wanted a fight about this stuff, and
there was this entire left literature that got produced. Tom Frank,
"What`s the Matter with Kansas," and then a whole bunch of kind of lesser
versions of that argument, about the ways in which social issues were used
as a wedge to manipulate voters to vote against their economic interests.
And it just seems like we`re on the other side of this.
KIM: I would agree with you in part. The video is not even so much
about the social issues. It`s made almost entirely in the register about
the emotional. It`s about a feeling. And that`s what`s unnerving, not the
sex, but the emotion behind it, that she would liken her feelings about
Obama, this sort of keening adoration, this unshakable love for him, as if
he were the guy she lost her virginity to. And that sort of thing has --
but that capacity for Obama to elicit that sort of extra-rational, hyper-
emotional response, has infuriated his critics on both left and right. It
was Paul Krugman that first trotted it out, the sort of cult of personality
argument during the 2008 primary. And it`s what the Tea Party goes crazy
about it, and so do Glen Greenwald`s followers on Twitter.
But I think that`s actually a really interesting question of whether
or not that sort of hyper-emotional response for Obama is enduring. Is
that going to reflect itself in the 2012 polls? And if he wins, is there
the capacity to sort of use that to effect a realignment towards the
PACKER: I think it died sometime around the summer of 2009. To me,
this ad reminded me of that horrible, "yes, we can" video where all those
celebrities did their little piece of that song.
HAYES: I`m not familiar with that video. I don`t know what you`re
PACKER: And --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you involved in that?
HAYES: No, no, no, no, no.
PACKER: And it`s as if Lena Dunham doesn`t know it`s 2012 and Obama
is actually a reasonably popular president.
HAYES: That`s a great point. You say that, but the fact of the
matter is, I think this is something I think the national media has missed
a little bit. There`s a Times article about the ground game. And the lead
was all about how like, last time it was this passionate, fervent
undertaking and now it`s this joyless grind. Right? Literally, that was
PACKER: Losing your virginity versus the 30th year of marriage.
HAYES: Let`s not -- let`s do this and not extend this metaphor for
the duration of two hours of the show. But I actually think that that is
definitely the story, and there`s absolutely a core truth to that, because
there is a difference, but what it misses is that there are literally
millions of people in this country who do feel as fervently, who still feel
that way about the president. And I know this because this is a full
disclosure thing too, my brother is a state director in Nevada for the
Obama campaign, and I know what he`s doing, and he`s spending his whole
life talking to volunteers and folks like that. And there remains a
tremendous amount of this kind of intense, powerful, passionate, personal
identification with the president.
NELSON: -- into votes, does it translate into votes?
COX: I think it might. I mean, I think it is starting to. I believe
early voting and stuff. And I think also this is sort of the tradeoff that
people only pay attention to politics every four years, right? The people
who really were excited about Obama and voting in 2008 maybe kind of sort
of went off, you know, OK, he`s doing this thing, and now come back and see
the same Obama that we saw in the last two debates, and sort of currently
we`re seeing on TV is the same guy that people voted for in 2008. He`s got
that charisma, he`s got that -- God, I hate the word swagger, but I mean,
I`m going to use the word swagger. He runs ads like this. He`s doing
things that seem really different. So if you closed your eyes and didn`t
just not pay attention to the economic stuff but didn`t pay attention to,
like, how joyless a grind the presidency has been, you might -- you would
be understandable to think that you were voting, you were being involved in
that same kind of passion you were involved in.
HAYES: Hold that thought, because I want to defend extra rationality
right after we take this break.
HAYES: I just want to tell all of you that Twitter is telling me that
we sound out of touch and yesterday with our prudish recoiling at the --
HAYES: Let me say for the record, I thought the video -- I actually
thought the video was good and I thought it was kind of funny. And again,
the adjective cheeky, it`s not the biggest deal in the world.
What was interesting to me about the video is the decision to make it
and put it out there, as opposed to the video itself, because it`s a
decision about a political calculation that has Democrats in a relationship
to certain kind of cultural touchstones and touching things that can be
seen as taboo, that they never would have had before.
KIM: And they are in trouble with young voters. That`s the real
clear thing that will happen -- that young voters will turn out in smaller
numbers than they did, smaller percentages than they did in 2008, and that
they will vote for Obama in less of a percentage than they did in 2008.
And that`s troubling for them.
COX: Can we explore that?
PACKER: You know, Chris, the thing that troubled me about it, it`s
not the topic, it`s the appeal. It`s that, you know, anyone who was
liberal in the `80s felt that the Republicans were all about this appealing
to irrational emotions, using symbols that they had mastered. That was
what the culture war (inaudible), and that was what Ronald Regan did so
well, that he became a kind of a personality cult figure.
It appears that Republicans now come at economic issues with five-
point plans, and Democrats appeal to vague feelings of times are changing
and the Republicans are no longer with it.
COX: -- is as much symbology as anything else.
PACKER: I must say, where do you pretend (ph) tells a lot about where
you think the country is.
HAYES: I want to argue with that, and I promised I would argue and
make a case for hyper rationality, which I think there is this case, I
think there is this degree to which -- I think the liberal version of this
argument, which is the God, guns and gays argument, which is that these
people, these other folks have been tricked into not pursuing their own
self-interest because they have been diverted by attention to these
cultural signifiers. And my feeling about that --
PACKER: And that`s wrong, by the way.
HAYES: That`s wrong. And my feeling about that, both with
conservative voters and with liberal voters, and again, I think there`s a
ton of substance to what Lena Dunham is saying there, actually, and birth
control I think is incredibly substantive economically, but even when
you`re talking at the level of cultural signifier, is that voting is an
expression of a human being in all their manifest self-contradictory
craziness. And that`s what human beings are. And they care about
different things and they care about cultural identification, and they care
about who recognizes them, who sees them. And those are perfectly
PACKER: They cannot have it both ways.
COX: It depends on what the costs are. I think what happens if you
go on wherever, (inaudible) new alliterative slogan for the opposite of
God, guns and gays, but if you do this sort of cultural, social issues
symbology, and run on personality, the danger is if things get worse, all
that turns on its head the same way that it has for--
HAYES: Go ahead.
NELSON: My challenge with this ad is likening a vote for Barack
Obama, the president of the United States, to your first sexual experience
as a virgin. Doesn`t make us a prude. Does it -- is that appropriate?
COX: It`s going to be disappointing for sure.
NELSON: I`m not touching that. Bottom line is, I think that`s really
the issue. I think we all agreed what she said. She is entitled to that.
You`re right, Chris, people can feel how they want to feel, but is it
HAYES: I think this connects to what happened with John Sununu this
week, actually, and it connects to the argument the Romney campaign has
been making is basically the Obama machine is trying to hoodwink people
into not thinking about his record and not think about the economy. And so
when former, you know, secretary of state and chair of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, Colin Powell, comes up and endorses Barack Obama for the second time
-- he did in 2008, it was a huge deal in 2008. I know people around the
McCain campaign have told me that it really hurt them, it really kind of
pushed Obama over the edge. He comes back, he does it again, and here`s
John Sununu on another cable network, talking about why that was the case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIERS MORGAN, CNN: Colin Powell has decided to opt for President
Obama again, despite apparently still being a Republican. Is it time he
left the party, do you think?
FORMER GOV. JOHN SUNUNU, R-N.H.: Well, I`m not sure how important
that is. I do like the fact that Colin Powell`s boss, George Herbert
Walker Bush, has endorsed Mitt Romney all along, and, frankly, when you
take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that`s an
endorsement based on issues or whether he`s got a slightly different reason
for preferring President Obama.
MORGAN: What reason would that be?
SUNUNU: Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that
you`re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for
standing with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON: This is why I`m not a Republican anymore. This is a perfect
example of -- and I say this on national TV. When John Sununu is the GOP
poster boy and spokesman, and he says stuff like that, that is why Colin
Powell and people like myself and others, we`re still -- you know, we may
lean that way, but we don`t want to own it, because of people like that.
They`re completely out of touch. Talk about out of touch. You`re
supporting the president of the United States because he`s black? Maybe in
2008, I will admit, when I voted for President Obama, first Democrat I ever
voted for in my life, President Obama, part of it was that he was African-
American, I won`t lie. It was history. I think all of us would own a
piece of that, but the second time around he has a record now, and to
suggest that is just offensive.
COX: And Romney has a record. And also, there`s a degree to which
the amount of condescension in Sununu`s attitude on this is so
HAYES: Yes. Can I also say this, every time people talk about this,
black voters voting for black candidates -- the history of the American
republic is black people having to vote for white people. No one votes for
people of a different race more, more reliably and historically than
African-Americans, who just have been voting for white people for years and
years and years and years. You know who votes for white people? All the
white people vote for white people.
COX: -- that explains all the write-in votes for Bill Cosby.
HAYES: All right. The truth about voters who say they`re undecided.
HAYES: Every four years, the nation turns its lonely eyes to an
extremely small, extremely hard to understand group of the electorate, the
mythic undecided voter. This group, which according to polls makes up
anywhere from roughly 2 to 8 percent of the electorate, is lavished with
attention from all corners in the waning days of presidential campaign. On
Wednesday, according to pool reports, President Obama spoke on a conference
call to 9,000 voters who say they have not yet made up their mind. A last-
ditch effort to persuade those seemingly immune to persuasion.
Undecided voters are brought in to ask the questions during debates,
and they are empaneled by networks to react to those debates. Because the
undecided voter is so hard to categorize, every cycle political strategists
inevitably come up with a catchy label to try to explain who exactly these
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: All three boys happen to play soccer, so
that makes you in the eyes of political strategists, a soccer mom.
LISA MYERS, NBC NEWS: Out of touch is a phrase soccer moms often use
to describe it all.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don`t have
soccer moms anymore, we have security moms.
JOHN HARWOOD, WALL STREET JOURNAL: So-called security moms.
OLIVER NORTH, FOX NEWS: Soccer moms, or waitress moms, whatever they
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, WASHINGTON POST: People called waitress moms.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, FOX NEWS: Wal-Mart moms. They are the demographic
that is all coveted this year.
KIKI MCLEAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I`ve worked on the Wal-Mart moms
HAYES: Joining me now is Lynn Vavreck, co-author of "The Gamble:
Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election," a professor of
political science at UCLA. Lynn, it`s great to have you at the table.
LYNN VAVRECK, UCLA: Great to be here.
HAYES: You`ve been doing research on voters who are undecided and
tracking them. Quite a big database of them over the course of the
election. What do we get right and wrong about who these voters are?
VAVRECK: Well, we have about 1,600 of them in our panel, so we can
take a pretty close look at them. And one of the things I think that is a
myth about undecided voters is that they`re low information voters. And I
think it`s true that they have less political knowledge, but I really like
to engage the conversation about the other 95 percent of the electorate,
whose presences are stable a year from the election until today.
VAVRECK: So is that a more informed vote? The whole campaign goes by
and those people never move. So in terms of information, I`m not sure
we`re fair to say that undecided voters are low information. They for sure
know less about politics, they pay less attention to news. They`re less
interested in politics. All of those things are true.
HAYES: OK. Hash out that distinction for me. You are saying all the
things you just said there conform with the stereotypes we have, right,
more disengaged, watch the news less.
HAYES: I`ve seen data that showed in undecided voters, four out of
ten couldn`t tell you which party had a majority in the House, and another
two out of ten thought the Democrats had a majority in the House. So
that`s 50 percent of the voters who either don`t know or they have it
VAVRECK: They absolutely know less than the people who make up their
minds early, and they have positions on issues that tend to be more
moderate. Or they don`t have a position at all. They`ll say, I`m just not
sure, on simple things. Do you approve or disapprove of Barack Obama`s
handling of the economy, and more undecided voters will say, gee, I`m just
NELSON: I have a question. Is it that they don`t care? Or what`s
their motivation? Why are they like this? I`m curious.
VAVRECK: You know, I stared at these numbers a long time trying to
tease out exactly what`s going on with these people, and two sort of
analogies that I like is they`re just a little bit of a faded image of an
early deciding voter. Everything is a little less vibrant for them.
PACKER: Low conviction voters. Low passion voters.
VAVRECK: They`re just not interested in politics. It`s not a hobby
for them. They are not watching us right now. They`re doing something
VAVRECK: And the other thing is, their dictionary, their political
dictionary doesn`t work very well. It`s like it`s a foreign language and
they can`t interpret it.
HAYES: This to me is really a profound insight. And I am -- in 2004
before I was sort of a full time, full time journalist, I took two months
off and I went and canvassed in Dane County, around Madison, Wisconsin,
which is -- a lot of swing voters there. And we were doing a persuasion
canvass. Knock on the door, ask the person if they are undecided or not.
If they`re decided, you go to the next door; if they are undecided, you
engage them in a conversation. So I did this for two months and talked to
a lot of undecided voters. And the biggest thing that jumped out at me is
that, when we talk about issues, we think issues are a coherent, conceptual
category that essentially cleaves the world at its joints. Right? If I
hired anyone at this table and said, I`m hiring you to run the web site for
the Romney or Obama campaign, you would know what things to put in the
heading, right, about the economy, debt, fiscal health care, energy,
whatever. But those are constructed by a constant conversation that we`re
having politically. And if you`re not engaged in that, it doesn`t
necessarily make sense that those issues cohere in the way that they do to
all of us transparently.
VAVRECK: This is a great conversation. It goes back to what you guys
talked about in the last segment, about symbols. Political symbols. And
for us and for people for whom politics is a hobby, the symbols make sense.
They`ve been infused with meaning by people like all of you, and they know
what they mean. But for these less engaged, undecided voters, those
symbols don`t mean anything to them.
PACKER: But between us and them is what, 95 percent of America. I
mean, it`s not as though you`re either a pundit on TV or you`re an
undecided voter. So there must be something that --
HAYES: That`s a very good point.
PACKER: -- keeps them from joining the overwhelming majority.
KIM: Those unengaged voters, I think maybe their unengagement makes a
lot of sense. I mean, let`s imagine you`re sort of tabula rasa, put in
Ohio for the last two months. You see these presidential debates that
exclude so many issues, that need to be fact-checked and are deeply
confusing. You see these ads.
It`s a really compelling case to say that they`re not in this
political system because the political system really sucks.
HAYES: Well, that -- the other thing I would say -- my argument would
be that partisanship, so when you look at the other people who are deciding
a year out, we talk a lot of smack about partisanship. Oh, America`s so
partisan, we`re more polarized than ever, partisanship is terrible.
Partisanship is a really rational, kind of clean and efficient way of
reducing the cognitive load for people that have busy lives and are doing a
lot of things, right? Which is, it actually makes a lot of sense. In
fact, the fact that there is this correlation between higher information
voters and partisanship I think should tell us something. So I want to
hear you respond to that right after we take this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Together with a focus group of uncommitted voters
in Orlando over at the University of Central Florida. Soledad, how did it
SOLEDAD O`BRIEN, CNN: If you`re watching on TV, you saw the squiggly
lines. Those were our very focus group watchers, and you were getting to
see what they were thinking. Tone was very important to the folks in the
focus group. We could see it. We were watching the squiggles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you`re going to vote for Obama?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m teetering right there. All I need is a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is serious. Of course it has something to
do. It has something to do with integrity. It has something to do with
honesty. It has something to do with they lied about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on! We are on live television and I have
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many of you have now made up your mind and
have a choice, have a candidate? Raise your hand. Anybody. Anybody. OK.
HAYES: Some of the great undecided voter panels we`ve been treated to
over this election season. I think it`s part of -- I do think people start
to feel -- people who do pay a lot of attention to politics, start to feel
kind of resentment toward, like why do these people get all of the
attention when they are the less engaged?
Why -- the argument I made before we went to break was about
partisanship is being a very efficient means of roughly calculating which
political coalition you`re part of. Isn`t that true? Shouldn`t we have
everyone just --
VAVRECK: It is absolutely the truth that party identification is a
great shortcut, and most voters use shortcuts. This idea that there are
voters out there who go out and research the issues, and gather the
information, and think about their own preferences and figure out who --
people are using party as a cue. And 95 percent of self-subscribed
Democrats are going to vote for Barack Obama, and similarly among
Republicans and Mitt Romney, and they knew that in December of 2011, and
they haven`t moved.
So the number of people who are shifting in and out of undecided and
the number of people who are actually bleeding to the other candidate is
PACKER: Isn`t it also true of independents? They say they`re
independent but they`re actually closet Democrats or Republicans, and
always vote the same way?
VAVRECK: You can push them and they`ll lean one direction. There are
very few, fewer independents.
HAYES: We actually have a little bit of data on this. I think it
actually -- possibly comes from you, Lynn -- that most undecided voters
actually identify with a party.
VAVRECK: Yes, about half.
HAYES: About half of them identify with a party. We can see that
there. That the largest plurality of independents are independents, but
there`s weakened (ph) lean Republican and lean Democrat, strong and weak as
NELSON: So, Lynn, is it a myth then, the undecided voter, the
independent voter, is that a myth of sorts?
VAVRECK: What`s interesting about this is that party as a cue for
these undecided voters, it doesn`t work as well. So that number I said for
early deciders was 95 percent will vote their party. Among the undecided
voters, who have come to decisions -- we`re following them over the whole
year. And as they make up their mind, we know who they`re voting for, and
only 65 percent of those self-described partisans are voting for their
party. So again, this is what I mean about the dictionary doesn`t work as
HAYES: So once you get down to that, you say of the people who have
some party preference, still 65 percent are going to vote for the party
they prefer, right?
HAYES: So you take those people off the table. Then a certain amount
of these people aren`t going to vote. Right? That`s the other thing about
HAYES: That when you keep calling people up, you`re calling them
three weeks before the election in a polling and they say, I`m undecided,
there`s a pretty high chance they are just not going to motivate themselves
to go vote.
KIM: I have a question. In your study, is there a cohort of
undecided voters that are actually very high information? That they know
an awful lot, but they don`t feel that the current partisan framework
speaks either Republican or Democrat for them, and that`s why they`re sort
VAVRECK: Yes. There`s a small set of people.
VAVRECK: For whom that`s true. It is really not -- those are sort of
not the majority.
HAYES: Most interesting conversation I had when I was canvassing in
2004 was a couple that were very pro-life environmentalists. This was the
rare mythic like issue cross pressured, very high information swing voter.
NELSON: One of the questions I have, I would be curious in your
analysis, 2008 was an historic election year. We had an African-American
that had won the major party nomination. One in five Republicans, 20
percent, voted for President Obama, then candidate Obama. My question is,
are people going to, now that it`s not an historic election, do we come
back again to our natural inclinations? We were kind of having this
conversation in the green room about--
HAYES: Resetting to the kind of natural partisan--
VAVRECK: Well, I was thinking about this as I was listening to you
guys. And so I did a little bit of data crunching while you were doing
this, and I thought, you know, because I wondered, you know, I hadn`t
looked at actually who did the undecided voters vote for in `08, and it
turns out that a majority -- well, 50 percent, half of them voted for
Barack Obama. About 30 percent voted for John McCain in `08.
VAVRECK: And 10 percent voted they said other, they voted for someone
else. So the question I think is, do we think that history is a guide and
they will fall back on habit and vote for him again or is it --
HAYES: Break towards the challenger.
VAVRECK: -- they can`t do it and so that`s why they`re --
HAYES: I want to ask you about increasing partisanship and why that`s
happening. Why are there fewer people who behave like this as we go
through time, right after we take a break.
HAYES: My understanding is everyone talks about the country getting
more partisan, which means there are fewer of these folks. You`re telling
me that`s not the case?
VAVRECK: Well, in 2008, we also ran a big study like this, a panel
over the course of the election, and we had about the same level of
undecided voters in 2008 that we`re seeing now.
HAYES: That`s interesting because all the reporting has not been
that. All the reporting says, you read this, every political report says
fewer undecided, more deadlocked, more partisan election.
VAVRECK: Yes. You know, all I can tell you is that --
HAYES: Your data.
VAVRECK: -- big panels over the course of the election year in `08
and in 2012 looked pretty similar.
HAYES: OK. So if these folks, the political dictionary is different,
they`re deciding differently. Then what is making up their mind? And the
thing, the reason I think this is really important is because there is, in
political science, there`s something called the median voter theory, which
has been kind of dogma in that world for a long time. I think it`s losing
some of its lock on -- yes, thank God.
HAYES: Losing some lock on the academy. But basically the idea is
the natural tendency of a democracy is that the competition between the two
parties will lead each party towards the, quote, median voter, the voter
who`s exactly in the middle, because that`s the voter that will give them
the marginal vote that will have them win the election. So they chase the
The interesting thing about the median voter theory is that if the
median voter is someone whose political dictionary doesn`t work, or doesn`t
have any (inaudible) issues, what does that produce in the political
VAVRECK: Well, OK. This is a great conversation, and I just taught
this in my seminar last week at UCLA. So we could talk about this for a
long time, but one of the things that, you know, what you need in order to
get the median voter argument to work is the distribution of voters that is
centered on the median, obviously.
HAYES: Right. Right. Right.
VAVRECK: So if we really think the country is moving away from the
middle, that`s going to change the behavior of parties and candidates. OK.
I`m not sure that we`re there yet, but to answer your question, if the
people who are at the median are a little less sophisticated politically,
what is that going to do? I think another thing we know from coding a
bunch of ads and all this over the years is that candidates make vague
statements in their advertising.
VAVRECK: They tend not to be specific. And we call those valence
(ph) ads. And the reason they do that, is that so that they can be all
things to all people. And they`re like sort of the hero in a big budget
film. They need to be everyman.
HAYES: And Mitt Romney, of course, has taken a very specific strategy
in this campaign to not come out with specifics. In fact, he`s been
criticized by the political press for not coming out with specifics, but
it`s very clearly been an explicit political strategy for precisely that
NELSON: Well, Romney is doing exactly what you say, he`s moderate
Mitt now as President Clinton called him. He had to come back to the
center. He had a long, drawn out, very conservative primary, which caused
him to go way to the right of who Mitt Romney truly is.
KIM: He says, for example, right, that I support abortion now in the
case of the health of the mother, and then his campaign has to walk that
back and assuage the polarized right wing. No, that`s not true.
KIM: We don`t know who he is.
HAYES: This gets back to -- this gets back to why partisanship is a
fairly efficient and I think overall useful metric for people to use,
because it doesn`t matter what Mitt Romney thinks. Mitt Romney is going to
be the head of a Republican Party, and that Republican Party has an
institutional basis, institutional commitments, interest groups that
determine its behavior, a world view that is stitched together by its media
and by the people within it and the people that are recruited into it. All
of those things are far, far, far more determinative of how the Republican
Party will act, what that coalition looks like, than Mitt Romney`s personal
PACKER: But the fact that he has had to tone it way down and that
he`s actually changed some positions in the last few weeks tells you two
things. One, that unlike 2004, this is not a, you know, divide the country
into two and hope that you have 50 plus one election. That was Karl Rove`s
strategy and it worked. And I don`t think that`s what the Republicans are
trying to do now. They`re trying to grab the middle. But the other thing
it tells you is that the Republicans don`t feel that their true positions
have the country any longer. George Bush didn`t have to conceal his real
positions in 2004, and he won. They have to conceal them now to win, which
tells you the country has moved away from some of those--
HAYES: E.J. Dionne just wrote a piece in the Washington Post about
this, saying the right is already the loser of this election, for precisely
VAVRECK: Let me blow your mind for just a second, because here is
something that I could not believe came out of our data, and we see--
HAYES: Hold that thought.
VAVRECK: I will hold that thought.
HAYES: Blow our minds after we take a break.
HAYES: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Here with Richard Kim, my colleague from TheNation.com; Lynn Vavreck,
political science professor at UCLA; George Packer from "The New Yorker"
magazine; and Sophia Nelson from TheGrio.com.
We were talking as we have 10 days until the election, there`s still
some room for some movement in the polls, I think it`s fair to say.
There`s still remained some people who have not decided. We`re talking
about that tiny cohort, that small sliver of the electorate who have not
undecided and what they are going to decide.
And we`re talking about what -- when we left, we`re talking about
what effect that has on our politics. This is something I think about a
lot as someone who is quite ideological, quite committed to a very specific
world view, who thinks a lot about politics. That, you know, my vote is
essentially taken for granted and the vote that politicians are catering
towards, particularly down the stretch, are these folks.
When they don`t seem to have a kind of coherent, fixed conception of
what they even want, how does that play itself out in what actual policies
LYNN VAVRECK, UCLA: Right. We were talking about ideology and
Romney moving to the middle. And I was just teasing a little bit and
saying I have this result that was going to blow your mind. And so, we`ve
been tracking these people over the whole year. We asked them to place
ideologically. And I`m now talking about the entire electorate, not just
VAVRECK: And we have in place the candidates. And when we looked to
see which candidate is closer -- so, we were talking about the median voter
theorem, people think on average that Mitt Romney is closer to them
ideologically than they think Barack Obama is.
HAYES: That`s fascinating.
VAVRECK: The thing that blew my mind about this is that distance is
constant since January 1st. So, when he was in the primaries people did
not see him as farther away even now.
HAYES: That`s hilarious. That just means that none of this matters.
That just means that everything that -- what you just said is that one day
he`s getting up and beating the crap -- can I say that on air, beating the
crap out of Rick Perry for allowing illegals to get in state tuition at the
cost of $100,000 in Texas, and then the next day he`s talking about how
he`s going to bring immigration reform and people say, "Yes, he basically
shares my views".
VAVRECK: We`ve been talking about party. It is the lens through
which all political information is filtered. When 95 percent of the
electorate has made up its mind --
VAVRECK: -- a year ahead of the election, you`re going to see
reduced a lot of reducing cognitive dissonance.
SOPHIA NELSON, THEGRIO.COM: One of the struggles that I had I this
HAYES: Yes. You`re the only person sitting at the table who has --
I don`t know your position.
NELSON: The deal is, we were talking about this. I like the
president on social issues and things like that. But then Governor
Romney`s appealing to me on economic and the strength of the national
security, kind of the flag waving stuff, right?
Not that the president has been bad on anything. He`s done a great
job. When you`re someone like me, you`re going I like things about both of
them, so what do I do?
GEORGE PACKER, NEWYORKER.COM: I say you should vote for Romney. Not
because I want him to win but because I think what matters once you`re in
office is almost always issues like taxes and spending and budget.
NELSON: I disagree.
PACKER: The others are great campaign issues.
RICHARD KIM, THENATION.COM: The Supreme Court certainly matters a
PACKER: It matters. It matters. If you weigh --
PACKER: If you weigh one Supreme Court appointment against the day
in, day out battle on Capitol Hill --
HAYES: I think the Supreme Court appointment wins on that.
PACKER: You do?
KIM: Because the Supreme Court decides on economic matters, too,
HAYES: Well, but also, there`s a duration effect.
I always think about it this way. Bill Clinton, all right, we all
love Bill Clinton now in retrospect even though at the time a lot of us
were very from us frustrated with him.
Everything Bill Clinton that was awesome, which was basically the
performance of the economy vanished as soon as he was gone. Everything
that was not awesome, which is the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the
Efficient Death Penalty Act, EPDA, which is an immigration bill --
PACKER: Chris, you don`t think 30 years of inequality has anything
to do with how people have governed in Washington?
HAYES: Oh, I absolutely do. I think it`s the fundamental thing that
drives people --
PACKER: Then you just confirmed my point that you should vote for
Romney. It`s economic issues, which to me inequality is the fundamental
question in this country. It has been for generation.
HAYES: That I agree with.
KIM: What do you like about Romney on economics? I`m curious.
NELSON: I like that there`s a more definitive plan. I like that
he`s saying he`s going to create jobs. Again, there are others who would
say that`s bogus --
HAYES: There`s no plan. Sophia, I`m sorry. I`m sorry. There is no
NELSON: I like the Web site. There is a plan.
HAYES: OK, there`s a plan because --
KIM: When you say plan, the plan that McCain had and every
Republican has had since 1988.
NELSON: Look, I think a lot of people get caught up into this.
There`s the newness of a new guy. Again, I like the old guy too so I`m
HAYES: You are edging perilously close to that territory.
VAVRECK: This is the challenge I think for Republicans in this
election and going forward -- women, undecided voters, women make up 60
percent of the undecided voters right now this week.
NELSON: Wow. That`s huge.
VAVRECK: As women have been undecided in making up their mind
throughout the year, they are braking heavily for the president.
HAYES: That`s been revealed in your data?
NELSON: Why. Why, why? What`s the factor?
VAVRECK: I wish I could tell you. Because again there`s this sort
of muted image of a voter, everything matters.
NELSON: Do you think it`s the social issues? Like Romney scares
them on the abortion?
VAVRECK: The other thing that comes out of our data that you can see
very clearly is in terms of people who initially support Obama or Romney
and flipping to the other sides, the most switching is happening for women
who initially supported Romney and have now slipped to support Obama.
NELSON: It`s the social.
VAVRECK: I think you`re right. This is going to be a big challenge
if they allow the party identity to become tied to this message.
HAYES: This gets us to the so-called waitress moms which is the
coined phrase. It`s not totally ungrounded. There`s some data that
suggests that basically women without college are -- and who are working
are the group that have the largest, sort of demographically richest group
of undecided voters at this point.
I was reading coverage of folks who are in that demographic who have
not made up their mind. And really, it`s just a granular brutal story
about the American economy, right? I mean, these are folks who are in
tough shape. It`s super hard to get by. That is taking up 110 percent of
all the attention we have.
There`s this -- this is something I encountered in 2004 when I was
talking with swing voters, which is there`s a fundamental skepticism, I
think this goes to the story of inequality over 30 years. There`s a
fundamentally skepticism that it`s going to matter either way. That
whoever is in office, like you`re working for $9 an hour 50 days a week and
trying to find day care for your kid and that`s going to be the case in
February no matter who is elected.
PACKER: Chris, this gets to if I can put in a plug for "The New
Yorker" this week, it`s a story of a lobbyist who started as a Biden guy
and went into the Clinton White House, and then really made a lot of money
lobbying for a bipartisan lobbying firm Quinn Gillespie before going back
into the Senate to fight for financial reform.
His basic life story tells you that the red/blue divide, the war
between the colors in a way matters less in Washington than what I think of
as the war of organized money which is not a war of attrition evenly
matched, a few inches of ground gained a year as the war between the
It`s a route. Every day it`s a route because organized money defeats
the public interest on a daily basis on Capitol Hill. And it really
doesn`t get much attention. It`s not talked about much in the campaign.
It`s not the thing that gets out the undecided voters.
So, that to me is the deeper story behind pretty much every election
of our lifetime.
KIM: But I disagree with you on the idea that for these waitress
moms who in Washington doesn`t matter.
HAYES: I`m not saying that substantively. I`m saying that`s their
belief that it won`t matter.
KIM: OK. SO, look at the Affordable Care Act. This matters
essentially to working class women who have families that are trying to
hold down jobs. And that is what will be eviscerated should Romney win.
NELSON: Now, we`re getting into a demographic of I`m a high educated
voter, right, as are you? We`re sitting around this table. And you said -
- we`re having a high end intellectual discussion.
HAYES: I wouldn`t go that far. Continue.
NELSON: I`m saying that if you think of the waitress mom, she`s not
watching us. Like you said, she`s working and making a living for her
kids. You`ve got the suburban mom, the soccer mom is different than the
waitress mom. You`ve got the professional woman that`s married, single,
Gen X. All of this matters.
HAYES: But let me say this --
KIM: The Healthcare Act, for example, I think is the greatest
domestic policy achievement of the Obama administration. Most of that
hasn`t kicked in yet. I think if it had earlier, you know, we would be
looking at a different mean.
HAYES: I was just about to make exactly this case which is that this
is the single greatest achievement of the Obama administration. It remains
not tangible for the majority of people that it will one day benefit.
There`s still -- there`s concrete benefits up front. There`s already
things that have kicked in and people keeping their kids on their
insurance, et cetera.
But the vast majority of people who will benefit have not benefitted
yet. A lot of those are folks who I think are on the margins of our
political conversation who if it was different from one day to the next,
having health care, not having health care would know they have a stake in
VAVRECK: This is the challenge of messaging I think in any campaign
but in particular this campaign. I think that if we were writing the
retrospective on this election, we would call it -- it`s the counter
factual stupid election because Romney is out there saying things could
have been so much better than they are.
VAVRECK: Think about the counterfactual.
You`re saying the Obama campaign should be saying, you`re going to be
so much better off than you are. Just think about that.
VAVRECK: And that`s a really tough campaign to run.
HAYES: That`s because the status quo is mired in this frustrating
kind of low-level fever. It`s not that the country is, you know, in
crisis. We`re not Greece. We`re not about to pitch over the abyss. And -
PACKER: And that`s why this election has been passionless and why
it`s being fought out over little things like what John Sununu said or what
HAYES: That sort of always happens. A lot of cable air.
PACKER: It does, but I think this feels different. It feels like
we`re in the mud, we`re in World War I.
HAYES: Lynn Vavreck, professor of political science in UCLA, and,
George Packer of "The New Yorker" magazine -- it`s great to have you both
PACKER: Nice to be here.
VAVRECK: Thank you.
HAYES: The Tea Party movement could keep Democrats in control of the
Senate again. That`s next.
HAYES: All right. The basic story of the presidential election for
the past month has been Romney`s polling gains after the Denver debate that
seemed to bring things to a tie following things settling back to a narrow
but consistent lead for the president in the Electoral College.
But this back and forth has obscured a very consistent, almost
shocking trend in the Senate race. Two months ago, just two months ago,
Nate Silver`s "FiveThirtyEight" blog gave Republicans a 61.5 percent chance
of gaining a majority in the Senate. Chance for Democratic majority sat at
Now, "FiveThirtyEight" puts the likelihood of Republican Senate
majority at a minuscule 13.7 percent.
HAYES: That`s different than the screen. Democratic chances for
majority are almost at 90 percent.
This turn of fortune for the Democrats could be the result of the
attention some of these Senate races have getting.
Missouri Representative Todd Akin, perhaps you`ve heard about him,
cease to being a sure thing in the Democratic race against Democratic --
Senate race against Democrat Claire McCaskill after his legitimate rape
comment in August. Then in Tuesday, during an Indiana Senate debate
against Democrat Joe Donnelly, Republican candidate Richard Mourdock said
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE DONNELLY (R-IN), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I believe that life
begins at conception. The only exception I have for -- to have an abortion
is in that case with the life of the mother. I just -- I struggled with it
myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God and
I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it
is something that God intended to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Mourdock and Akin are considered Tea Party candidates,
Republicans who came from the party`s conservative grassroots. Mourdock
won a surprising victory in the primary over six-term Republican incumbent
These kinds of primary challenges have been a central part, the
possibly the central part of the Tea Party`s political and electoral
strategy. For a second election cycle now, though, the Tea Party seems to
have caused severe damage to Republican`s hopes of a Senate majority. Two
years ago, Tea Party candidates like Christine O`Donnell, Sharron Angle and
Ken Buck caused Republicans to lose three Senate seats.
So, while the movement has been successful in pushing the party
ideologically, it failed in actually getting a Republican majority in the
Senate. "The Washington Post`s" E.J. Dionne argues that even the
ideological victories of the Tea Party have been short lived as the
electorate moves back towards the center.
"If conservatism would be winning, does anyone doubt that Romney
would be running as a conservative? His strategy at the end is to try to
sneak into the White House on a chorus of me-too`s. The right is going
along because its partisans know Romney has no other option. This, too, is
an acknowledgment of defeat, a recognition that the grand ideological
experiment heralded by the rise of the Tea Party has gained no traction."
Back at the table is Ana Marie Cox from "The Guardian".
And joining us now is Michael Brendan Dougherty, national
correspondent for "The American Conservative." It is always great to have
MICHAEL BRENDAN DOUGHERTY, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE: Thanks.
HAYES: I want to play this. So I think this is fascinating because
I think the Tea Party dominated all discussions of American politics for a
while and then just seemed to kind of disappear from the discussion. And
part of that has to do with the fact that they took over the House so the
Tea Party just became the House Caucus. It was channeled into that.
Part of that has to do with the fact that what once was a fairly good
brand in the American politics, which is the Tea Party, in the tri-corner
hats and the Gadsden flags, has become a terrible brand. It polls very
poorly and you see this reflected in Democratic candidates stopping at
nothing to invoke the Tea Party against their candidates. Take a look at
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
NARRATOR: Do you think Tea Partier Richard Mourdock will work with
both parties to get things done? Hardly.
REP. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT), SENATE CANDIDATE: Voters are deciding
between Linda McMahon and myself. But they are also deciding whether the
Tea Party should be in charge of the United States Senate.
STATE SEN. CYNTHIA DILL (D-ME), SENATE CANDIDATE: The Affordable
Healthcare Act comes up over and over again when you`re in the state that`s
being governed by Tea Parties.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO), SENATE CANDIDATE: He is part of the
gridlock. Where is the farm bill? Where is the postal bill? Where are
the bills that the Tea Party is trying to shut down?
FMR. GOV. BOB KERRY (D-NE), SENATE CANDIDATE: You`re not going to
get it done by somebody who is basically satisfying every single
requirement of the Tea Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, Michael Brendan Dougherty, has the Tea Party succeed or
DOUGHERTY: It`s not so much the Tea Party. I would say the
conservative movement by which the Tea Party is kind of a subset is
shrinking and dying and in a way, you know, I think of electoral majorities
like enduring presidential electoral majorities. The new majority of Nixon
that created two 49 state landslides has been disintegrating for a long
time. It was built on the idea that the left represents a small radical
counter culture that`s against you.
Increasingly, the Tea Party is representing a counter cultural force
that`s the minority force in our politics. I`m part of that.
HAYES: Yes, you`re proudly part of the counter cultural minority.
DOUGHERTY: Yes, the moral minority.
So that alienates voters. They feel that they`re out of the
mainstream. It`s very weird that the party that used to represent an
unbelievably large coalition in American politics is now controlled by like
a very small subset of voters within that coalition.
Part of it`s because the conservative movement trains activists and
then when those people become the candidates and part of it`s just the
demographic shift of America. But I think you`ve just seen the inversion
of the Nixon majority.
KIM: I think that decline is way exaggerated. I think that`s
exaggerated because if you look at the Senate or the presidential race it
appears that the party is going to cost them control of the Senate.
If you go -- the further down ballot you go, particularly if you go
to statehouses, the Tea Party is absolutely in charge of places like New
Hampshire, you know, Wisconsin. There they have passed a shocking number
of laws clamping down on voting rights, on transvaginal ultrasound, any
number of things.
I don`t think that is going away. I haven`t looked lately at the
sort of state legislatures, but I think that is a force there to stay.
ANA MARIE COX, THE GUARDIAN: But, Chris, like the way in terms -- I
think the Republican Party might start having to police it, because those
down ballot races and the state legislatures are starting to give the
national party a bad name.
KIM: I`m not sure they can police it.
COX: Well, except that, like Michael said, they have a much firmer
farm team system.
NELSON: But this is my point, that there`s a difference between
national politics and state and local which we know. We`re seeing it play
out in the Republican Party I think in a very interesting way, because
these Senate races where they`re talking about rape, these guys look like
Neanderthals back from the cave man days where they`re saying -- I mean,
they`re white, they`re male. Nothing wrong with being white male. But
you`re white, your male, and yYou`re trying to tell women that rape is an
awful thing. But even the child that`s the by-product of that rape is
god`s will that that child has been born.
And it`s just -- you know, that kind of thing makes people squeamish.
Like the professor talked about, Chris, you don`t want to identify with a
Republican Party like that. You feel like icky.
HAYES: It makes people squeamish because as you said, Michael, it is
a radical minoritarian position.
DOUGHERTY: Listen --
HAYES: You believe it.
DOUGHERTY: -- Obama`s position on abortion, that it should be legal
in all circumstances for any reason is also a minority position.
NELSON: I agree.
DOUGHERTY: Most Americans are for only the good abortions.
DOUGHERTY: It`s only partisans or ideological people like us like
have a coherent view.
The other thing is when we`re talking about the person who`s actually
running where Martha Coakley was a terrible candidate, the Tea Party
supported Scott Brown and he won. There`s a way the Tea Party can be
bloody minded and practical. They knew Scott Brown was a squish but they
said we have to get this one more vote in the Senate to kill Obamacare and
it didn`t work.
DOUGHERTY: But you have Christine O`Donnell, Richard Mourdock and
Akin, these are not exactly like your A-Team best people.
HAYES: And I think -- one of the things I think that`s been really
interesting about this is the role that abortion has played in all of this
partly because I think of a kind of bait and switch that was pulled off
during the rise of the Tea Party movement.
I want to talk about what that bait and switch was right after this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This fall, I`m supporting
Richard Mourdock for Senate. As state treasurer, Richard worked with
Governor Daniels to balance the budget and make government more
accountable. As senator, Richard will be the 51st vote to repeal and
replace government-run health care. Richard will help stop the liberal
There`s so much at stake. I hope you`ll join me in supporting
Richard Mourdock for U.S. Senate.
MOURDOCK: I`m Richard Mourdock and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s Mitt Romney who cut an ad for Richard Mourdock who`s
been in the news this week after talking about rape and pregnancy resulting
from rape as being a product of God`s will.
And what I think is fascinating about that ad specifically and the
way it relates to the Tea Party is a sustained bait and switch. There was
a political strategy that Dick Armey and Karl Rove and a bunch of other
strategists pursued during the kind of Tea Party uprising which was to take
a conservative base that was still the same conservative base that everyone
was writing about as evangelicals who are concerned about social issues in
2004, it was those same people and channeled the anger against Barack Obama
and make the headline issue the stuff that Mitt Romney talked about in that
debt, the deficit, Obamacare, et cetera. And not talk about abortion. Not
talk about those issues.
And then, all of a sudden, lo and behold it turns out these people
have super radical ideas on abortion and now, it`s blowing up in their
So, you`re seeing exactly the consequence of taking that political
tact with the Tea Party and now, it`s just sort of coming back.
KIM: You know what the saddest part of that race is that Richard
Mourdock`s opponent, Joe Donnelly, also is apposed to abortion, has also
voted to defund Planned Parenthood, his stance on abortion is exactly the
same as Mitt Romney`s which would outlaw 93 percent of abortions performed
in this country.
And there`s a bait and switch going on on the Democratic Party side,
too, which was sending out massive fundraising appeals, you know, DCCC, to
raise money around this. They have not committed, right, to only
supporting pro-choice candidates.
So, I think if you`re getting one of those e-mails, don`t give money,
give the money to Emily`s List.
HAYES: Yes. I think people have made this point. The DCCC will
send out fundraising emails about the war on women, about these issues, and
then they will give, they`re writing checks to people that are not good on
KIM: Essentially Mitt Romney on this issue. That is Joe Donnelly.
COX: Right. I was going to say, simply put, the national party
having some control of more local races, or state level races. And this is
how they have control.
But they can choose -- but they won`t exert that control as long as
people are still winning. You have to lose really badly in state level and
something go really wrong before the national party steps in.
NELSON: This goes back to our earlier discussion about where is
politics really and different are we really? And don`t forget, these guys
are running Indiana, right? They are running in their state for United
States Senate, but it reflects the culture of the state they`re in as a
very conservative state.
HAYES: Indiana is a conservative place.
NELSON: So, I`m not surprised that Democrats also have a similar
position as the Republican. And that`s where this gets murky about state
and local to federal.
DOUGHERTY: Well, and Democrats had success in 2006 recruiting
candidates that were pro-life or culturally more in tune with their
HAYES: To get the House majority.
DOUGHERTY: To even Pennsylvania. So it doesn`t clean necessarily
along those lines. I mean, we all say -- you are talking about this the
first hour, the introductions about the economy. It`s about pocketbooks,
But we do all like talking about the cultural issues. Both sides
like talking about what this country is, what it`s about, who`s it for,
what does freedom even mean, freedom to do what?
COX: None of those -- of course this has support. None of those
cultural issues are just cultural or social issues. I mean, when you think
about what this country is and who it`s for, I mean, who should pay for
what, you start to get into social and cultural.
HAYES: Right. Can you control your reproductive health? It`s
economic issue. Can you get married to someone you love, and then you
leave them your inheritance or has the hospital visitation rights. I mean,
those are all economic issues as well.
What`s interesting to me is the issue of we tend to overreact in
American political journalism to the latest, you know, whatever happened
recently. So, George W. Bush`s fairly narrow victory in 2004 if you look
at it, particularly for an incumbent, was a sign that the left was dead
forever. Permanent Republican majority and then 2006 and 2008 was, oh,
man, the Republicans are going to be a permanent minority party. And then,
2010 -- we write these pieces.
But the long-term demographic trends are not great for the Republican
Party, right? I mean --
NELSON: People of color. We talked about this. The Republican
Party`s greatest challenge, I`ve been saying this for 20 years, is that you
can`t just continue on with white voters. If Mitt Romney wins the
election, he`s going to win with white voters. We`ve seen that polling
The challenges as a governing president, do you want to just win
elections with just white voters? Women don`t really like you, African-
Americans, Latinos. That`s not a governing coalition and that`s the
HAYES: One correction there, which is that the gender gap is nowhere
near where the racial gap is. They`re not in the same ball park.
NELSON: It`s huge, though, for the race gap.
HAYES: We are now headed -- there`s a headline yesterday, if you`re
looking at the internal of the polls, where editors, the most racially
polarized election since 1988. Remember, that was the famous election of
Willy Horton. That`s the direction in which this is headed. And it`s a
question about whether those political coalitions are that way.
DOUGHERTY: Right. I think the Democratic coalition is growing. You
can see like Texas is trending Democratic. And that is an enormous state.
Although they have something written into their Constitution where they can
divide into five states, I don`t think they can gerrymander every Hispanic
voter into just one --
HAYES: They might just try.
COX: Let me remind you that they can`t. I actually was with the
Texas delegation for much of the Democratic Convention. My family is from
Texas. I knew some people there. And they are insistent, though. They
are the next Colorado.
HAYES: Yes. My brother worked there for a while.
Wisconsin Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin who`s up in her race in
Wisconsin is going to join us right after this.
HAYES: I want to bring in Wisconsin Democratic Congresswoman Tammy
Baldwin, who is running for U.S. Senate against former Republican Governor
And, Congresswoman, you were behind in this race just a few months
ago. Polls are showing you consistently in the lead right now. I just
want to get from your perspective, what has changed up there. What are you
hearing from voters? What are you seeing in your numbers?
REP. TAMMY BALDWIN (D), WISCONSIN: Well, I have to say that right
after the Republican primary, Tommy Thompson got a bounce, but just about
the time that both partisan conventions had come to a close, people in
Wisconsin really began to study this race. It comes down to the simple
question, whose side are you on?
I`ve been fighting throughout my public service career for
hardworking middle class families.
People are beginning to figure out what Tommy Thompson has done with
his life since he left Wisconsin to join the Bush administration in 2001
and then became a partner at a large powerful lobbying firm in Washington,
D.C., and realized that he`s really taken the side of big, powerful
interests and he`s not for us anymore.
And that`s really when we saw. The polls beginning to change, the
momentum beginning to change. And, you know, as it comes down to the wire,
it`s a tight race. It`s a competitive race. But that`s what we`re seeing.
People are saying, you know, whose side are these candidates on?
HAYES: I`ve been in a few different states that have competitive
Senate races and seen some of the television advertisements. It seems
national as supposed as very local and specific. It`s been a lot about the
Ryan budget. It`s been a lot about Medicare.
I`m wondering has that been the case in your campaign as well. Have
the big budget issues and economic issues particularly dominated or as
we`ve been talking about today, have things like birth control, marriage
equality been a big part of the conversation as well?
BALDWIN: You know, the majority of this campaign has really focused
in on jobs and the economy, the difference between our tax plans, the
difference between our deficit reduction plans. And, certainly, a lot
about health care and Medicare, especially given the fact that my opponent
is a former Bush cabinet secretary where we have a real record to contrast
with regard to health care and Medicare.
And in each of those questions, there`s also been a local element to
it. What have I been doing throughout my public service career and not so
much what Tommy Thompson did as governor, but what has he been doing after
(ph) Wisconsin and joining the Bush administration and join a large
I think that`s where people are looking at this old expression, you
work hard, play by the rules, you`re supposed to get ahead. And too many
families in Wisconsin are just getting by. They know it`s not their work
ethics that`s changed, it`s the rules. So, who set the rules and whoever
can hire the most powerful lobbyists get their way.
And in Wisconsin`s proud progressive position, the people want a
voice. And so that`s what we`re seeing as a sort of local nuance on this
otherwise pretty nationally focused race.
HAYES: It sounds to me like Tommy Thompson`s years in Washington --
obviously, he was quite a popular governor and he`s obviously won statewide
election before. And also, at a certain point in time, I remember reading
a lot of profiles of Tommy Thompson as a national Republican figure and a
kind of vanguard of some new moderate, enlightened vision of Republican
I want to play a little bit of sound. He was caught on tape talking
about Medicare. To me it says a lot about the kinds of promises that these
Republican candidates have had to make in their base and how that comes
back to bite them.
We`ll take a quick break and I`ll show you that right after this.
HAYES: All right. Congresswoman Baldwin, I want to play this sound
for our audience. It`s your opponent getting caught on tape talking about
his plans for Medicare and Medicaid. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER GOV. TOMMY THOMPSON (R-WI), SENATE CANDIDATE: Change Medicare
and Medicaid, like I did welfare, who better than me it`s already finished,
one of the entitlement programs to come up with the programs do away with
Medicaid and Medicare. Let`s block grant what the state has and allow the
states to determine, what`s going to go into Medicaid. And Medicare, let`s
wait, let everybody that`s right now that`s under 55, reaches 55 by age
2020 and give them a choice, whether or not they want to purchase health
insurance with a subsidy from the federal government or stay in Medicare.
I`m here to tell you, when you look at the situation, nobody`s going to
accept it because Medicare is going broke by the year 2022.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s Tommy Thompson talking to a Tea Party audience, saying
words programs -- he wants to do away with Medicare and Medicaid. What
kind of effect does that have in the race?
BALDWIN: Well, certainly people were shocked when they saw that
video and Tommy Thompson`s trying to do a fast dance around this whole
tape. He`s claimed that it was taken out of context, even though you`ve
played it in its entirety.
He has -- in the last night`s debate, he and I had our final debate
last night. He said, I never supported a voucher program for Medicare. He
has his own new plan. The bottom line is that he supports the elimination
of traditional Medicare in much the same way that Paul Ryan has proposed.
They offer plans that would shift costs to seniors and they would be
tremendously burdened with out-of-pocket expenses if their voucher didn`t
keep up with run away health care costs.
I was raised by my grandparents. And so I had a chance as a young
person to understand the value of Medicare. You know, I don`t believe it`s
just a program, it`s a promise. And in my campaign it`s a promise that I
vow to keep should I become Wisconsin`s next U.S. senator.
HAYES: Congresswoman, the polls are showing Wisconsin at the
national -- in the presidential race -- closer than I think people had
anticipate anticipated. John Kerry won Wisconsin 2004. So, I think it`s a
little surprising it`s being considered a swing state. Paul Ryan on the
ticket is part of it.
Part of it is the economy, am I right? I mean, it seems like the
Wisconsin economy is underperforming nationally. How do you talk to voters
about President Obama`s record when that`s the case?
BALDWIN: Well, we all see signs of recovery, but I think across the
nation and certainly in Wisconsin, we`re frustrated with the pace.
Nevertheless, I think Wisconsinites are clear how we got in this mess in
the first place. It was decisions made in the Bush administration
supported by my opponent when he was a cabinet member in the Bush
And we know it`s going to take some time to work out of it. I
focused so strongly on rebuilding Wisconsin`s manufacturing economy. You
know, between Indiana and Wisconsin, we compete with each other for the
number one spot of having the largest manufacturing economy as a percent of
our population and yet, we`ve taken it on the chin in recent years.
And so, that`s why I worked on a bipartisan basis to pass legislation
that reins in China`s unfair trade practices, whereby they`re subsidizing
their industry. Particularly paper. We`re the number one producer of
paper in the country.
So, the president and myself have a plan. Frankly, we haven`t seen
anything from Romney or tomorrow Thompson in that regard.
HAYES: U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin -- thanks for joining us
this morning. I really appreciate it.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
HAYES: So, what do we know now that we didn`t know last week? My
answers after this.
HAYES: In just a moment, what we now know that we didn`t know last
But, first, a quick update on a story we`ve been following. We told
you about e-mails we obtained from Arthur Allen, CEO at ASG Software
Solutions, pressuring his employees to support Mitt Romney. Since then,
several more e-mails have surfaced from CEOs threatening their employees
jobs if Romney doesn`t win.
According to the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel", Mike White, a chairman
and owner of Rite-Hite, a major manufacturer of industrial equipment in
Milwaukee, told his employees in an email this week that they, quote,
"should understand the consequences to them of having our tax rates
increased dramatically if President Obama is re-elected."
White said neither he nor the company wanted to, quote, "prejudice
any employee for their political views and totally respect your right to
vote as you choose. I am simply trying to protect the business you have
built. Please think carefully about your vote on November 6th."
And as the "Huffington Post" reported, Jack DeWitt, the head of a
Michigan processed food company called Request Foods, slammed President
Obama in this month`s employee newsletter, writing, quote, "The past four
years with President Obama trying to lead and represent us has been a
complete failure. What can we do? What am I going to do? I am going to
vote on November 6th for new hope and change by voting for Mitt Romney,
Paul Ryan and Republican Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra. I hope you will
join with me."
Both of those companies, it should be noted, received federal grants
during the Obama administration from programs that were expanded by the
American Recovery Act.
On a show Monday, Stephen Colbert captured the irony of this kind of
CEO blackmail perfectly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDY CENTRAL: Some of America`s top CEOs are
assuring a Romney victory by doing the unthinkable, talking to their
HAYES: This is an e-mail from Arthur Allen, president and CEO of ASG
Subject: Will the U.S. presidential election directly impact your
future jobs at ASG. I can tell you if the U.S. reelected President Obama,
our chances of staying independent are slim to none. If we fail as a
nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our
independence of the company, I don`t want to hear any complaints regarding
the fallout that will most likely come.
COLBERT: Yes. If these CEOs or their companies have their taxes
raised, you employees would lose your jobs, which would be terrible because
you couldn`t work at that great place where your boss threatens you.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: We`ll, of course, post links to these stories on our Tumblr,
UpwithChris.tumblr.com after the show.
All right. So, what do we know now?
Thanks to a three-part investigative series from "The Washington
Post," we know new facts about the Obama administration`s ever expanded
policy of targeted killing. We know the administration is working on
converting the list of targets known informally as a kill list into a
spreadsheet of targets with various possible outcomes from killing to,
quote, "sealed indictments". And they`re calling this new and improved
database a, quote, "disposition matrix".
We know while the administration institutionalizing targeted killing,
it has yet to account on the record for the death of 16-year-old American
citizen Abdul Rahman al-Awlaki who was killed by a drone strike in Yemen
just two weeks after his father, the American Islamist cleric Anwar al-
Awlaki was also killed by a drone strike.
We know according to an unnamed official in "The Washington Post"
story, the 16-year-old was not the target of the strike that killed him.
We know that if you`re going to talk about the death of a 16-year-old
American boy by our hands, far better to call it an outrageous mistake, as
that official did, rather than try to justify it by suggesting that America
can kill children for the sins of their fathers as Obama campaign senior
adviser Robert Gibbs did when recently asked about the issue by the group
We Are Change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s an American citizen that is being targeted
without due process of law, without trial. And he`s under age. He`s a
ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: I would suggest that
you should have a far more responsible father if they`re truly concerned
about the well-being of their children. I don`t think becoming an al Qaeda
jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We know that justifying the death of a 16-year-old boy by
reference to his father`s alleged sins is the moral logic of collective
punishment that has historically been used to justify out right atrocities.
We know it`s always possible to misspeak in the moment, particularly
on a difficult, sensitive, classified topic. So, we fully expect Mr. Gibbs
to retract and apologize for what he said.
We now know one effect of this exchange about the auto bailout during
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I said these companies need to go through a managed
bankruptcy and in that process they can get government help and government
guarantees. What they need to go through bankruptcy to get rid of excess
cost and the debt burden they had built up.
OBAMA: Governor Romney, that`s not what you said.
ROMNEY: Fortunately, the president -- you can take -- you can take a
look at the op-ed.
OBAMA: Governor Romney, you did not --
ROMNEY: You can take a look at the op-ed.
OBAMA: You did not say that you would provide, Governor, help.
ROMNEY: You`re wrong, Mr. President. You`re wrong.
OBAMA: I-- no, I am not wrong.
ROMNEY: You`re wrong.
OBAMA: I am not wrong. And --
ROMNEY: People can look it up. You`re right.
OBAMA: People will look it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, people did look it up. Mitt Romney`s now "New York
Times" op-ed titled "Let Detroit go bankrupt" was most viewed article on
"The Times" Web site. We know his spin was to let the companies go into a
free fall bankruptcy financed by the private market rather than the pre-
negotiated managed bankruptcy funded by credit lines from the U.S.
We also know that headline presumably chosen by "The Times" op-ed
editor may be the most consequential op-ed headline in history.
And, finally, we don`t know the name pictured at this voting location
in Chicago on Thursday. We do know he had the most surreal voting
experience of anyone in the country since he happened to be next to this
other guy who was casting his own vote. Don`t mind me, no pressure. Vote
for whoever you want.
I want to find out what my guests know they didn`t know at the
beginning of the week.
KIM: So, right after this show, I`m going to an Asian magazine
wedding, and it`s a same sex one. Our former director of digital Kelly
(ph) is marrying her partner Anja (ph) who is my former intern at "The
Nation." So, I totally want to congratulate them first of all.
I want to congratulate my friends Brian Cape (ph) and Jonathan Cohen
(ph) who also recently got married.
We know Mitt Romney would support a constitutional amendment banning
gay marriage. But now we know, thanks to "BuzzFeed," reporting from
"BuzzFeed," that he also thinks hospital visitation rights should not be
allowed to gay couples.
Bay Buchanan, his adviser, has said that he would repeal an executive
order that Obama passed in 2010 that would allow hospital visitation rights
HAYES: That`s a great thing to know.
Ana Marie Cox?
COX: I was just going to say that this week, we marked the 10th
anniversary of Paul Wellstone`s death in Minnesota, where I live now, my
adopted home state. The great tradition of affirmative progressivism is
alive and well in Minnesota. Obama is going to win.
It might be one of the first states to fully reject a gay marriage
amendment, which is very exciting.
HAYES: The Paul Wellstone death was so devastating when it happened.
He just remains a testament to conviction politics and to organizing and
everything that I think is great about politics and can be great about
politics was represented by Paul Wellstone.
Michael Brennan Dougherty?
DOUGHERTY: I didn`t know about an incident that happened in 1995
where Norwegian scientists wanted to study the aurora borealis. They
warned the Kremlin that they were going to launch a rocket into space to do
this. But still, the radar signature to rocket looked like a U.S. trident
missile sent in the direction of Russia as an EMP.
Boris Yeltsin was awakened in the middle of the night and he actually
opened a nuclear football and began discussing whether to launch hundreds
of ICBMs at the United States.
HAYES: Oh, my God!
DOUGHERTY: And I would like to bring this up to bring up a retro
issue which is the abolition of nuclear weapons which is something that
even Ronald Reagan proposed to --
HAYES: And President Obama is in support of abolition of nuclear
weapons. He`s on the record with that, negotiated START Treaty.
NELSON: This week for me was the Mourdock issue of the rap and the
fact that you could say it was something God intended, the pregnancy, as a
result, not the rape. And that really was eye-opener for me, which caused
me to go back into my undecided vortex of what am I going to do in this
election? So --
HAYES: You`ll have to let us know how that turns out. My thanks to
Richard Kim from TheNation.com, Ana Marie Cox from "The Guardian, Michael
Brendan Dougherty from "The American Conservative", and Sophia Nelson from
TheGrio.com -- thanks for getting UP.
Thank you for joining us today for UP. Join us tomorrow Sunday
morning at 8:00. We`ll have Jane Mayer of "The New Yorker" on her new
report about a notorious figure from Bush era voter suppression. It turns
out he`s back.
And coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP," the
campaigns on pace to pass the $2 billion mark. Melissa asks, are our votes
Plus, good news in this week in voter suppression. There is a plan
to fight back. Find out what it is on "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY," next.
We`ll see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2012 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2012 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
WATCH 'UP W/CHRIS HAYES' SATURDAY AND SUNDAY FROM 8:00A.M. ET TO 10:00 A.M. ET ON MSNBC.
MORE FROM MSNBC
Add msnbc headlines to your news reader: