All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
July 25, 2013
Guests: Marc Veasey, Julia Fernandes, Jonathan Alter, Melissa Petro,
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening, from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Tonight on ALL IN:
We have heard from another juror in the Trayvon Martin case. The one
nonwhite juror who spoke on ABC today and said, quote, "George Zimmerman
got away with murder." We`ll be talking about that coming up.
Also tonight, John Boehner has a cantaloupe-sized Steve King problem.
And the longer it goes on, the worse it is for the speaker of the House.
Plus, sex scandals and second chances. America seems always ready to
forgive the men involved. What about the women?
That`s all coming up.
But, tonight, we begin with Texas, once again, locked in a fierce
battle with the federal government, this time over voting. You see, Texas
probably thought they were in the clear after the Supreme Court struck down
Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act last month.
This morning, Attorney General Eric Holder speaking at the National
Urban League in Philadelphia said not so fast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Today, I am announcing that the
Justice Department will ask a federal court in Texas to subject the state
of Texas to a preclearance regime similar to the one required by section 5
of the Voting Rights Act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What Holder announced today is an aggressive and crafty step
by the federal government to try and limit the damage caused by the Supreme
Court last month. By using a little known part of the law left intact,
Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act which says the federal government could
go to court basically grab a jurisdiction and yank it under federal
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: Based on the evidence of intentional racial discrimination
that was presented just last year in the redistricting case of Texas v.
Holder, as well as the history of pervasive voting-related discrimination
against racial minorities, that the Supreme Court, itself, has recognized
we believe that the state of Texas should be required to go through a
preclearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Texas, along with many of the states of the old Confederacy
responded to the Supreme Court`s ruling with glee, and with new or
previously blocked restrictive voting laws.
Within hours of the ruling, Texas attorney general praised the voting
rights decision and announced the state`s voter ID law which was blocked by
a federal court last year would, quote, "take effect immediately."
That law is only one of two voting laws that have been blocked by
federal courts in Texas over the last year. Now, given the state`s
proclivity to passing restrictive voting laws, it should come as no shock
that today`s step from the Obama Justice Department has set off a flurry of
angry responses from Texas officials, including Governor Rick Perry -- who
said of the announcement, quote, "Once again, the Obama administration is
demonstrating utter contempt for a country system of checks and balances,
not to mention the U.S. Constitution."
We all know there`s nothing Texas loves more than a standoff with the
federal government. And today, Eric Holder let them know that`s exactly
what they`re going to get.
Joining me now is Congressman Marc Veasey, Democrat from Texas, who
represents areas of Dallas and Ft. Worth. He`s a named plaintiff in a
federal lawsuit challenging Texas` new voter ID law.
And, Congressman, my first question to you is -- given the fact
there`s a lot of Texas pride and Texans don`t like to be told what to by
the federal government, does today`s actions by the Department of Justice
put you in an awkward position politically in your home state and home
REP. MARC VEASEY (D), TEXAS: No, it does not put me in a politically
awkward situation. As a matter of fact, I applaud the attorney general for
what he`s doing.
Chris, you may remember a couple of weeks ago that I actually filed
suit in Corpus Christi to stop the voter ID law from being implemented and
I`m also a plaintiff on the redistricting case as well. And discrimination
anywhere is bad, especially in Texas. And everyone should come together
regardless of what party they`re in to make sure all voters are treated
equally and with respect. So, I applaud the attorney general and thank him
for his actions today.
HAYES: Do you think Texas has a history of racially discriminatory
laws? Not just in their impact, but the standard that has to be met, is in
their intent, that essentially what you are saying if are adhering to this
theory, is that the members of the Texas state legislature in doing
redistricting, in passing laws, for voter ID intend to racially
VEASEY: Chris, not only does Texas have a history of discrimination,
it`s a recent history. When you look at the recent findings by courts, in
regards to the voter ID law that the Republicans tried to pass that would
have disenfranchised thousands of Latino and African-American voters, when
you look at redistricting, when you look at the Republican Party`s embrace
of groups like the King Street Patriots that seek to disenfranchise
minority voters, both Latino and African-American. It`s clear that not
only does Texas have a history of discrimination, but Texas has a very
recent history of discrimination that is bad and it needs to be stopped.
And that`s why I applaud the attorney general for what he did today.
If any state needs to opt in to Section 5, it needs to be Texas.
HAYES: Texas Republicans have been remarkably brazen by all of this,
and have seemed remarkably uncowed by any of the federal government`s
actions to block them in the past. Is this going to be any different or is
this something that Rick Perry and the other Republicans of Texas can kind
of gloat over that they`re taking on the hated Obama administration and
standing up for Texas?
VEASEY: You know, sadly, they probably will gloat. You know, again,
discrimination is something that we should all band together to fight. Why
they would wan to gloat against discriminating against the fastest growing
ethnic groups in the state?
When you look at the state of Texas, Chris, for instance, between 2000
and 2010, Texas was the fastest growing state of any other place in the
Union, 90 percent of that growth between 2000 and 2010 was Latino and
African-American. Why the Republicans would want to discriminate against
Latino and African-American voters instead of trying to do outreach
continues to puzzle many, and I think that it`s a bad thing.
We all need to band together to stop these sort of actions and need to
be doing everything we can to get everyone to vote. Trying to limit the
right of individuals to vote and to exercise their suffrage is a bad thing
and it`s not the friendly Texas thing to do.
HAYES: Well, that`s very supporting.
I have theory or two why Republicans might want to restrict the
franchise for the people you named.
Congressman Marc Veasey of Texas, thank you so much for joining us
VEASEY: Thank you very much.
HAYES: Joining me at the table is Julia Fernandes, former deputy
assistant attorney general in the Justice Department, where she worked on
the Voting Rights Act, now a senior policy analyst with the Open Society
I did not know what section three of the Voting Rights Act was until
today. I consider myself a little bit of a Voting Rights Act buff. What
is Section 3? What is the federal government doing here? Why do they have
the authority to do it?
JULIA FERNANDES, OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE: Well, Section 3 is the
provision in the Voting Rights Act that has been there since 1965, that
allows federal courts to order certain jurisdictions be covered by the
preclearance obligations if they find that that jurisdiction has engaged in
HAYES: So, the idea here, just to walk people through this -- you`ve
got this map that is covered by Section 5, which is preclearance, right?
HAYES: Section 4 is the part of the act that draws the map. These
are the places, you have to two to the federal government and be like, is
this cool we do this? They say yes or no, right?
HAYES: Section 3 says we`re not going to limit the area simply to
that map because things may change.
So, in the future, federal government, you have the power to go to
court and grab people and say, OK, you`re going to be subject to
FERNANDES: They have the ability to -- the attorney general or
private plaintiffs can go to a federal court and say we think this
jurisdiction is discriminating and we think that if you find they`ve been
discriminating where it`s intentional and there are other factors present
that make you worried about their future, intention discrimination or
discrimination against minority voters, then you cover them under the
preclearance regime. The Section 5 preclearance regime always had a way in
and a way out.
HAYES: Right. So, this is the way in.
Here`s my question. We`re hearing about the law that`s been proposed
by Republicans in North Carolina. That is being called the most
restrictive voter law ever anywhere in the country. It`s going to make it
much harder for a lot of people to vote, right? Can the federal government
or private parties use this kind of -- this Section 3 of the Voting Rights
Act to stop that law in North Carolina as well or any laws wherever they
might be across the country?
FERNANDES: Well, I think the question that Congress is going to have
to look at, because Congress is right now looking at whether or not the
tools that are left in the Voting Rights Act after Shelby County are enough
to protect minority voters. And what they`re going to have to look at is
whether or not 3-C is a realistic mechanism, the way it`s currently drafted
in order to have the worst actors brought into a preclearance regime to
stop discrimination. And are the other parts of the statute also
So this is -- 3-C is not a panacea as it`s currently written, and I
think no one sees it that way. This, what`s happened in Texas, is an
example of how it could be used. But there are lots of questions for
Congress to answer here about the effectiveness of this mechanism.
HAYES: What I`m hearing from you is this is a creative playing of a
bad hand that has been dealt to the Justice Department in the wake of the
Supreme Court`s reckless decision. But it is not in any way a substitute
for the part of the act, the heart of the act, the preclearance provision
which has been rendered moot by the Supreme Court.
FERNANDES: Well, part of this really, Chris, is that Texas
redistricting is very high profile. Tons of people are in this case.
There`s lots of litigation.
HAYES: It`s our "A" block tonight. We`re starting the show with it.
FERNANDES: Exactly. There are lots of -- you know, the civil rights
group have been litigating this stuff. There`s tons of resources going
For the most part, for most voting changes, that`s not the case. In
counties, parishes, school boards around the country, the discrimination
that goes on will never be under the radar.
It will not be well-resourced for litigation, affirmative litigation
will never be the way.
HAYES: You sat in the building, Department of Justice, looking at
these applications from those places.
FERNANDES: Well, we used to get them. We used to get -- in DOJ when
we had the preclearance regime before Shelby County, we would get
submissions from lots and lots of places around where discrimination was
happening. Now, we don`t get that. Now, who knows what`s happening?
HAYES: Julia Fernandes with the Open Society Institute, thank you so
FERNANDES: Thank you.
HAYES: When we return, one of the six jurors who found George
Zimmerman not guilty tonight tells ABC she thinks he got away with murder.
HAYES: Quote, "George Zimmerman got away with murder." Those are the
words of the second Zimmerman juror to speak out tonight on ABC. And
suffice it so say, she sees the case quite differently than the first juror
we heard from. That`s coming up next.
Also, Anthony Weiner is asking voters for forgiveness. What happens
to women embroiled in a sex scandal? We`ve got someone who`s lived through
HAYES: The first juror to show her face and the only nonwhite member
of the all-female jury who decided to acquit George Zimmerman became the
second juror to speak publicly, and she sat down with ABC`s "Good Morning
In the interview, Juror B-29 who said her first name was Maddy but
didn`t disclose her last name said that she thought Zimmerman was guilty of
killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
"MADDY", ZIMMERMAN JUROR: My first vote was second-degree murder.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Second-degree murder?
MADDY: In between eight and nine hours, it was hard. A lot of us
wanted to find something bad, something that we could connect to the law.
For myself, he`s guilty because the evidence shows he`s guilty.
George Zimmerman got away with murder. But you can`t get away from
God, and at the end of the day, he`s going to have a lot of questions and
answers he has to deal with. The law could improve it, but, you know, you
know the world goes in circles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It was on the second day of deliberations in which she
realized there wasn`t enough evidence to convict Zimmerman of murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDY: As the law was read to me, if you have no proof that he killed
him intentionally, you can`t find -- you can`t say he`s guilty.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you want to step out at all? Did you want
MADDY: I was the juror that was going to give in the hung jury.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel in your heart of hearts that you and
the jury approached it and came with a decision and you stand by that
decision to this day?
MADDY: I stand by the decision because of the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After the trial, Maddy said she continued to wrestle with her
decision, and that she had a hard time sleeping and eating and that she
owes Trayvon Martin`s parents an apology.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDY: I feel that I was forcibly included in Trayvon Martin`s death,
and as I carry him on my back, I`m hurting as much as Trayvon Martin`s mom
is because there`s no way that any mother should feel that pain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Michael Eric Dyson, MSNBC political analyst,
professor at Georgetown University who is testifying before the
Congressional Black Caucus yesterday with Trayvon Martin`s father, Tracy
Michael, my first question to you is -- hearing this, does this make
you feel better or worse about that verdict?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that`s a great
question because there`s an ambivalence there. On the one hand, you feel
relief that somebody understood the human stakes in this matter and that
they understood that the overwhelming evidence suggested that George
Zimmerman be found guilty of manslaughter, at least, and second-degree
murder more probably.
On the other hand, I feel bad because I can feel her pain that she
felt forced by the law, handcuffed, if you will, into a decision that she
truly didn`t agree with and, of course, there`s the wish that maybe she
might have held out. Maybe she could have held out to say, this is wrong,
we can`t do this, we`ll hang the jury and we`ll start clean again.
Then, thirdly, I feel bad, Chris, because I think the prosecution did
such a horrible job of connecting for these jurors what the law allowed.
DYSON: The law didn`t say he had to intentionally kill this person in
order to be found guilty, certainly of manslaughter. We know he killed
him. That`s a fact. People who don`t intend to kill people who kill them
can still be found guilty.
So, it`s a muddling and mangling of the law that is really at stake
here as well.
HAYES: My reaction to it was similar to yours and what I thought was
interesting was, what I wanted to feel about that jury when the verdict
came down was that they understood that something very wrong had happened
that night, terrible, but that the law -- the burden of proof was not met.
But that was not at all what we heard from the first juror. The first
juror`s impressions made me feel like the jury was completely clueless.
HAYES: And so hearing this makes me think that there was a very
different conscience in that room and I was reminded of the statement that
four of the jurors drafted in response to the first juror`s interview with
Anderson Cooper in which they basically disowned her views. Opinions of
Juror B-37 expressed on the Anderson Cooper show were her own, "Serving on
this jury has been a highly emotional and physically draining experience,
the death of a teenager weighed heavily on our hearts but in the end we did
what the law required us to do."
I was struck by how much her conscience seems completely weighed down
by what happened.
DYSON: It`s burdened and seared. You can feel the pain. You can
empathize with her. And she empathizes with Trayvon`s mother.
And I think we should empathize with the fact that this jury was given
a set of directives from the prosecution that all but, to me, lost the
case. Because they weren`t willing to make explicit what their beliefs
They didn`t have a narrative. They didn`t draw the lines between the
dots for these jurors. And they were left on their own. They were
unhinged and unmoored, to mix metaphors, on the judicial deliberation.
HAYES: The fascinating thing to me about this, is if you -- we found
out the jury had four white women, one woman who was not white. Her
ethnicity was undisclosed. We now know she`s Puerto Rican.
HAYES: What was fascinating is -- the crudest, racial stereotyping of
how these jurors would come down is now -- it appears to me, coming out to
be true, in the sense we know the first vote there was one juror who voted
for second-degree murder and we now know that was the only nonwhite juror.
DYSON: We also know, therefore, what conclusion do we draw from this?
The racial divisions that are poisoning the well -- no. It means we have
to have diversity on the juries, Chris, because without that, we won`t have
an alternative perspective that allows us to arrive at a clearly cogent,
compelling explanation of the data that obviously is rooted in one`s own
HAYES: And it`s a perfect microcosm why you need diversity, not just
in a six-person jury, but in the halls of Congress, in corporate America,
in big media companies, whether this place or FOX News across the street.
MSNBC political analyst, Michael Eric Dyson -- thank you.
DYSON: Thank you, sir.
HAYES: Up next, Boehner`s dilemma deepens. Will he have the calves
to deal with his Steve King problem head-on? That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I want to be clear.
There`s no place in this debate for hateful or ignorant comments from
elected officials. Earlier this week, Representative Steve King made
comments that were, I think, deeply offensive and wrong. What he said does
not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Speaker of the House John Boehner realizing just how
big his Steve King problem has become.
King, for his part, isn`t backing down from recent comments he made in
which he described young immigrants as drug mules with, quote, "calves the
size of cantaloupes." In fact, he`s claiming victory. "People start
calling you names, that`s what confirms you`ve won the debate."
As for Boehner`s assertation that King`s comments were ignorant, King
told "The Wall Street Journal" those remarks were, quote, "anything but
ignorant. They may have been the best informed in the entire U.S.
And if that doesn`t irk the Republican leadership, considering King`s
latest entry, this afternoon the congressman defended his thesis on the
floor of the House and he did so by sharing his full understanding of
As NBC`s Carrie Dann tweeted, "If you had Visigoths in Steve King
bingo today, jackpot."
King also discussed Mosaic Law, Ancient Greece, the Founding Fathers,
the royal baby and he may or may not have compared himself to Jesus Christ.
As "The Atlantic" put it "If King`s goal was to offset critique from
John Boehner, that his comments on immigration were ignorant, today`s
overview of history and international migration probably wasn`t a good
But if King had an objective here -- mixed in with history lesson was
King`s argument that this country is the apex of rational thought, the kind
of rational thought that King not only adheres to but allows hi to
characterize young Latino immigrants as cantaloupe calved drug mules.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: No nation should have an open-border
policy. No nation should have a blind eye policy towards the enforcement
of the laws. No nation can long remain a great nation if they decide to
sacrifice the rule of law on the altar of political expediency.
No nation like the United States of America can continue to grow and
be a strong nation if we`re going to judge people because they disagree
with our agenda rather than the content of our statement. We have to be
critical thinkers. We have to be analytical. We should understand facts
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Look, the point is not that Steve King has terrible views on
immigration. We know that he does. The point is that until we are shown
otherwise through action, Steve King speaks to the Republican Party on this
issue. Because right now, John Boehner and the GOP leadership are hoping
to ignore the problem until it dies and we move on to something else.
But the Spanish-language press won`t let them do that. This broadcast
won`t let them do that. The millions of people whose lives and fates are
on the line won`t let the do that. And the Dreamers who came to King`s
office today delivering, of course, cantaloupes, won`t let them do that,
Joining me at the table, MSNBC political analyst, Jonathan Alter, a
"Bloomberg View" columnist, and author of the recently published New York
Times bestseller, "The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies."
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Chris.
HAYES: Jonathan, here is the play that they are trying to make, John
Boehner and Eric Cantor and the Republican leadership, is just stall,
because they have an impossible situation. They`re screwed either way. If
they bring a comprehensive immigration bill that looks anything like the
Senate`s, their base is going to go nuts and the Tea Party caucus is going
to go nuts. If they kill the thing in any kind of obvious fashion, they
are going to further alienate themselves from Latino voters. And yet Steve
King walks into this vacuum and articulates the id, the sub text of what
this entire thing is about.
ALTER: Exactly. Look, I actually think the better play for them
would be to swallow hard and take the Senate bill or something pretty close
to it and then just move on and eventually the objections of the Tea Party
conservatives will subside and then everybody can move on.
If they don`t do that, if they stall and they kill the bill, then you
know what they`re doing to the Republican Party?
ALTER: They`re slitting the throat of the GOP. This is not a
fantasy. This is reality. You --
HAYES: So you don`t think -- there`s people saying this is all over
ALTER: That is completely ridiculous.
ALTER: They got -- Mitt Romney got 29 percent of the Latino vote. It
is the fastest growing demographic in the United States, demographic group
in the United States. As we heard earlier on this broadcast, they are
growing so fast in Texas that Texas will very likely become blue at a
Republicans must compete with -- compete for this vote. They cannot
win a presidential election until they can get it up to at least 35
percent, 40 percent of the Latino vote. If they let this bill go through,
will Obama and the Democrats reap most of the benefits? Yes. But at least
they can be competitive moving forward with Latinos. If they don`t, they
won`t be competitive.
HAYES: And the thing that`s fascinating, as they stop -- as they try
to stall what fills the space is Steve King. See, that`s the problem for
them. The problem is almost in some ways less policy. The policy matters
because people want those 12 million folks to come in from out of the
shadows, be recognized as citizens.
But worse than the policy is someone walking around talking about
human beings like they`re animals.
ALTER: Right. And when Boehner goes to the floor, this is the lamest
kind of damage control.
HAYES: Right. It`s transparently lame.
ALTER: Yes. So, you know, this is why I spent so much time on my
book looking at the 2012 campaign`s efforts to win the Latino vote. If,
you know, Obama had not gotten 71 percent. If he had gotten 65 percent, 60
percent of Latino vote, we would not even be having this conversation.
HAYES: That`s right.
ALTER: It was all about how they drove up their totals with Latinos
that even tees up immigration for debate. So, this history is very
important politically. Smart republicans like Karl Rove, Bill O`Reilly --
ALTER: -- they get this. So, there`s a fight within the Republican
Party, now, between the smart caucus and the dumb caucus. And, Steve King
is just the most kind of ludicrous example of the dumb caucus. Boehner is
caught in between.
HAYES: Republicans are going to have to decide whether they belong to
the Steve King faction of the Republican Party or the get it done faction
of the Republican Party. That`s Xavier Becerra from California, who is one
of the Gang of 7 working on a version of the house bill.
They even propose this idea of inviting republicans to joint town
halls over the august -- I think the August recess is going to be very
important in terms of when happens in those recesses in terms of future of
this. MSNBC political analyst, Jonathan Alter. Thank you.
ALTER: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: We will be right back with #Click3.
HAYES: With sex scandals or more accurately sexting scandals
dominating the news cycle once again. I will talk to a woman who is living
proof that while male politicians often get a second chance, women like her
are not afforded the same forgiveness. You want to stick around.
But, first I want to share the three awesomest things on the internet
today. The first awesomest thing, Pete Souza joined Instagram. Who? Come
on, you know Pete Souza. He is the fantastic official White House
photographer who has brought us not only these iconic images of President
Obama over the years, but his work spans back as far as the Reagan
He is an amazing photographer. But, as we all know, everything is
better with lo-fi. So, this makes Souza join the online photo sharing site
and OPM den of instant feedback called Instagram. He started posting cell
phone shots behind the scenes with the president and his staff.
It is amazing stuff but really a bit unfair. While the rest of us are
trying to make art of our half-eaten dinner and begging for thumbs-up. He
has gotten 24-hour a day access to the president of the United States
inside the White House, an air force freaking one. Of course this photo is
going to get 2,000 likes, not that I`m jealous. Hey, have I mentioned you
should be following us on twitter lately?
The second awesomest thing on the internet today, one man`s pains are
another man`s pleasures. Odds are you have heard Robin Thicke`s pop
earworm "Blurred Lines" at least once this summer. It is currently the
longest reigning number 1 song of the year.
Seven straight weeks atop the billboard chart. And, you probably
heard it more ways than one. Mash-up maker Barack gave the world a
"Blurred Lines" cover from former president Bill Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: If you can`t hear what I`m
trying to say, if you can`t read from the same page
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But, the latest iteration of "Blurred Lines" is truly a family
affair. The brilliant mash-up artist "The Hood Internet," slammed "Blurred
Lines" together with the them song for `80s sitcom "Growing Pains," which
star Robin Thicke`s father, Allen Thicke, who actually wrote the "Growing
Pains" theme song. Meta!
HAYES: It`s enough to make Kirk Cameron uncomfortable. Well, for the
rest of us who provides the promise of future Alan Thicke theme song
mashups. We anxiously await the garage rock remix of Alan Thicke`s most
famous composition, the theme song from "Diff`rent Strokes."
And, the third awesomest thing on the internet today, it is the tale
of matrimonial photo bum turned internet means for the ages. Nick Landis
of Plymouth, Minnesota, brought his girlfriend, Erica Boon, all the way to
Walt Disney World to ask her to be his bride.
Landis asked a park employee to take a picture. He got down on bended
knee right in front of the castle and then this guy photo bummed the big
moment. Landis told that they neither of us realized that it happened at
the time because we were focused on one thing.
Luckily for Landis there were other photos, so the moment wasn`t
ruined. Luckily for us, Landis posted the photo bummed picture to re-edit
and the mean has since exploded. The identified man of the photo will now
forever be known as "In the way guy" and he is everywhere. Always
disregarding the fact that his presence on screen kills the moment for the
rest of us. Absolutely ruining iconic moments throughout epic history,
just so he can redeem his pass task for the Dumbo ride.
Here`s "in the way guy" in front of Kanye`s I`m going to let you
finish moment. Even found "in the way guy" blocking the video for LL Cool
J`s "Around the way girl." Have you no shame, sir? You can find all the
links for tonight`s #Click3`s on our website, allinwithchris.com. We will
be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA MINORITY LEADER: The conduct of
some of these people that we`re talking about here is reprehensible. And,
it is so disrespectful of women. And, what`s really stunning about it is,
they don`t even realize it. You know, they don`t have a clue. And, it is
really -- if they are clueless, get a clue. If they need therapy, do it in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is what it sounds like when you ask Nancy Pelosi to
comment on version 2.0 of former congressman Anthony Weiner`s sexting
scandal. As he launches campaign from New York City as Mayor, it was just
starting to look like Weiner was going to be able to move past the scandal
that caused him to resign from congress two years ago.
Until this week, when brand new explicit messages emerged and Weiner
was forced to admit he hadn`t actually stopped sending women pictures of
his junk even after that habit lost him his job in congress.
And, then today as if to prove that he is being crushed by the weight
of these new revelations, he tried to answer a fairly direct and simple
question and instead offered a bizarre, awkward and slightly disturbing
window into how he managed to get himself embroiled in the exact same
humiliating scandal twice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: How many women were there? Can you
ANTHONY WEINER: There are more than -- there are a few. I don`t have
a specific number for you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Can you ballpark it?
WEINER: There are a few. I said at the time of my resignation there
were six. I don`t believe there have been any -- I don`t think in total
there are any more. Here`s the problem. As I start to say this, you
know, I don`t -- there are people that I have had exchanges with the that
are completely appropriate and there are no pictures or no elicit texts or
anything like that.
Now, if those people want to say they don`t like the exchanges we had,
either, I don`t know where to put them. All I can say to this is it is not
dozens, like I told "The Post" and they made a big headline out of it.
It`s not dozens and dozens. It is six to ten, I suppose. I can`t tell you
absolutely what someone else is going to consider inappropriate or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Headline there isn`t the number. The headline is it turns out
Anthony Weiner is not entirely sure what constitutes appropriate online
correspondence. The most monumental development in his new version of this
same scandal is not actually about him. It`s about latest woman he
apparently sexted with, after her identity was reported by a number of
A 23-year-old Sydney Leathers sat down in front of a camera for an
interview with "Inside Edition." Her name and face are officially public
now. And, that means her life is going to be changed forever. And, this
is the part of these sorts of scandals we don`t ever fully address or
Story always goes something like this. Part one, powerful man engages
in sexual indiscretion. Part two, can said powerful men be forgiven and
resurrect his career? But, there`s another side to every powerful man`s
sex scandal, the usually not so powerful women who also involved and
And, when we all talk about whether Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer
can redeem themselves and reclaim their careers, we don`t think in the same
terms of whether the women involved in their indiscretions will get a
chance to rebuild their own lives.
My next guest is someone who has a really unique perspective on
scandal and forgiveness. She went through the whole New York City tabloids
herself a few years ago, after she wrote a piece from the "Huffington Post"
about having been a sex worker. That piece lost her job as a public school
teacher in the Bronx. Joining me now, the cabalist, Melissa Petro. It is
really a pleasure having you here.
MELISSA PETRO, BRONX PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Walking through what happened. You wrote this piece on
"Huffington Post." You were at time a arts teacher in Bronx elementary
PETRO: Correct. I thought art and creative writing in the south
Bronx. I had been a tenured teacher. I had three years at the school
where I taught and at that time I published an article in the "Huffington
Post" in defense of the rights and dignity of sex workers in which I used
my first-person experience to support the narrative claim that not all sex
workers were victims of pimps or under control of traffickers because I
hadn`t, that was that story. And some days later, weeks later actually, I
was front page news.
HAYES: Like literally front page news.
PETRO: Correct. On the "New York Post."
HAYES: Yes. I went back and looked at the "New York Post" coverage.
And, of course, this is like a gift from God to the "New York Post." It`s
like prostitute teacher in your schools.
HAYES: Like they just --
PETRO: So, they had basically taken my story and made it theirs.
HAYES: Right. And, now, that is -- I mean, you wrote this great
article for "New York" magazine talking about your perspective on watching
the Spitzer rehabilitation campaign.
You said "Five years ago Eliot Spitzer got caught paying women like me
and now he`s stumping, smiling for photographers and topping the political
polls for New York`s next controller. I would be fine with Spitzer`s
return to politics, if sex workers were allowed the same dignity of
returning to normalcy. Apologizing and getting my career back wasn`t
exactly an option of our society supports."
Why -- why is that? What is your understanding of why that standard
is so different as applied to Eliot Spitzer and applied to Melissa Petro?
PETRO: Sure. Well, it`s hard to tell a complicated story in 15
minutes and I think we are used to some pretty familiar narratives. When
it comes to sex in general, but when it comes to sex workers in particular,
we`re really portrayed as victims or villains, and any sort of complicated
story that most of us have, actually, that fits in between that. There`s
little room in society`s sexual imagination for those stories.
HAYES: And yet, that it is precisely -- from the male perspective, it
is precisely this complexity that is the stuff of a million interviews,
right? I mean, Bill Clinton giving an interview. Anthony Weiner being
like, "Look things are complicated. We went through a bad period."
That is what you`re trying to explain. And, as someone looking at the
"New York Post" coverage of your case, do you feel any sympathy for Anthony
Weiner as you watch him go through the same coverage on the cover of the
"New York Post"?
PETRO: I can say that I feel sympathy for his family, for sure. And,
even for him, also. There`s this pull towards becoming a caricature when
you see yourself being portrayed and to sort of embrace this lesser version
of the truth or a less true version of yourself. And to resist that, I
think, is really challenging and I certainly have that experience and I --
HAYES: You felt that way.
PETRO: I did.
HAYES: You felt like you were watching some lesser version of
yourself reflected back.
PETRO: And, even the women involved in these scandals, too. I think
that there are familiar narratives to describe ourselves and our experience
that we gravitate toward because it is complicated. And, one reason I
became a writer was to truly reflect and understand my experience.
HAYES: And, the other part of this, of course, is the way notoriety
is hung around the neck of women, which is a very old story.
HAYES: -- Any patriarchal society. But, also is specifically, like,
just a Google search. Like, if you go for a job -- if you move to
Arkansas, and you applied for a job as a teacher and they put into Google -
HAYES: This is what pops up.
PETRO: Sure. And, this is less true for a wealthy man. It can
become a part of their story but not their entire story.
PETRO: And, they can apologize and move on. But, for women, the
point of "New York" mag piece was really to say that we are branded by
HAYES: When we come back, we`ll be joined by a woman who found her
political hopes dashed amidst a controversy involving pictures of her in a
party in her young 20s. She also happens to be a co-worker of mine. Stay
HAYES: We`re talking about how men are often given second chances in
society when it comes to sandals involving sex and how women are rarely
afforded that same opportunity, even when there was, well, in the case of
Anthony Weiner, no actual sex involved.
My two guests have firsthand experience with this. Krystal Ball, who
is a co-host of "The Cycle" here in the MSNBC. She returns for the show
from maternity leave on Monday, which she will be joined Abby Huntsmen.
We`re still joined by writer and educator Melissa Petro. And, Krystal, I
actually didn`t even know about this story.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC CO-HOST OF "THE CYCLE" SHOW: Really?
HAYES: I mean I knew about it as --
BALL: I`m glad.
HAYES: -- Somewhere it was lodged in the back of my head. That`s
exactly the thing, right? Like you have succeed in bumping that off the
front page of your Google results, which is precisely the thing we are
HAYES: Just for people who don`t know, like what went down?
BALL: So, I was the democratic nominee for congress in the first
district of Virginia in 2010. Not the best time to run as a democrat,
BALL: -- but I was very serious campaign, raised over $1 million. It
was a long shot to start with. But, you know, really proud of what I did
to establish a serious and credible campaign. And, about a month away from
Election Day, a right wing blogger released these pictures of me at a
party, fully clothes with the standard red solo cup that we all know so
HAYES: I`ve been there.
BALL: In some fairly sort of provocative poses with actually my at
the time husband.
BALL: So, overage, no drugs.
HAYES: And, they`re also like -- they are not that provocative.
They`re all -- they are like sort of tongue in cheek and jokee.
BALL: Right. Exactly. It was a costume party.
BALL: And, the thing went crazy. I mean it went viral. Within days
I was once of the most Googled things on the internet. And, it was just
absurd. And, of course, my whole campaign became about this particular
And, the advice that I got from, actually, the women`s campaign fund,
which is an organization, bipartisan, that promotes women seeking office,
was to address it directly. Call it out for being sexist and then pivot
back to the campaign. And that, in fact, was the best advice. Because
once you say, "This is a bunch of bull." --
BALL: It will go, "You are right. This is a bunch of bull."
HAYES: But, that was --
BALL: But, they need to hear that first.
HAYES: So, here`s my question.
HAYES: We don`t do -- Like I think about, you know, I think about
Monica Lewinsky right now, who just turned 40 and there was all these
headlines about her. And, it`s like, you know, she was 22 when that thing
HAYES: -- and that name is attached to this small tiny little sliver
of her life. Bill Clinton, by the way, like it is in his obit, but it is
not. You know, there`s a lot of other stuff in there.
HAYES: My question is, I feel like the way we handle a scandal like
the one that`s happening right now makes things worse, because the impulse
through shame is then used in the case of your situation, in the case of
your situation, which are very different. But, in both cases, right,
there`s this kind of pure public shaming that goes on.
HAYES: And, when that is done, women are always going to end up with
the worst part of that.
BALL: Absolutely. Well, and this is an old technique because soon as
you sort of turn a woman into a whore, you undermine her credibility. And,
so this is something that`s done intentionally to women. And, you will
note that it`s hard to make an equivalence between how would the press or
how would society treat a female in the position of Anthony Weiner?
BALL: Because e haven`t had a female politician go anywhere close to
the sort of sex scandals that we`ve seen from men. So, we don`t even know
how it could be treated. The public cannot handle any sort of sexuality in
female politicians and female who is elected in sort of high positions of
HAYES: Do you think that`s true?
PETRO: Absolutely. And, I just wanted to add to that, that any woman
who presents herself as a sexual being, which all people are can`t
necessarily be turned into a quote/unquote "whore."
PETRO: That`s just our impulse.
HAYES: I read this -- I was reading something today. I was with
Rebecca Chaser, who has been on the show, was citing a book that reports,
Janet Granholm, having to take herself -- getting advice to take herself
off her own political ads because she was too attractive and it was
actually -- and they were running focus groups and they were running
polling and it was doing -- it was triggering some part -- I think in the
male voter that was mutually exclusive with taking her seriously as an
BALL: Do you ever despair for your gender by just looking at some of
HAYES: Yes. All the time. Consistently and constantly.
BALL: And, there is this double bind because God forbid you to be
ugly as a female politician or public person.
HAYES: And, what I have been thinking about today because of the
revelation of the woman who was on the other side of these texts, who,
again, I don`t want to rob her regency. She chose to gave these texts and
I think has now chosen to come forward. I don`t know how much that was
But, there was this piece in the "Times" when Anthony Weiner first
launched the mayoral race about the women who are on the other side of the
first go-round of this. Conservative -- and they had a brutal terrible
time. Conservative minded colleagues sought to have one of the women
The press lined up outside of her house and showed up at the casino
where she worked causing her to miss work for weeks. While coping with it,
she drank heavy amounts of alcohol, a habit that persists. I obsess about
it, she said, every day.
BALL: And, for her there is no redemption. There is no public
apology to her. That`s it. That`s all the public knows of her. That`s
how they have defined her in that place.
HAYES: What do you think would happen, to game this out? There`s a
great film called "The Contender" with Joann Allen in 2000, which was all
about a Vice Presidential candidate and female politician possibly having a
And, it`s a great movie. I`d recommend people see it. What would
happen if something, if we, for a second, play the thought experiment of
Anthony Weiner as a female member of congress?
BALL: You know, partly I think it would depend on the circumstances
of the sex tape.
BALL: And, how the woman responded to it, because I do think the
response is key. If you point out the fact that the response would be
different if it was a man, that`s helpful. But, I do still think we are at
a place where the public cannot accept --
HAYES: They would --
BALL: The sexuality.
HAYES: Let me -- Let me end the suspense in my own thought
experiment. No chance they ever come back again, ever, absolutely.
PETRO: I mean I just want to say that the way Krystal Ball handled
your situation --
BALL: Thank you.
PETRO -- it was so eloquent and inspiring and really the direction we
need to go and that women can be both sexual beings and fit for serious
public service. And hopefully we`ll, someday, be ready for that.
BALL: I think it`s going to change.
HAYES: And, also, the other thing I would say, is no one is -- no one
should be the sum total of their being is not any one individual moment of
something that is embarrassing. That, you know, that doesn`t make, or even
not embarrassing. Just sexual in nature, right?
That is not the sum total of who a person is, which, of course, is the
precisely the argument that a man like Eliot Spitzer and a man like Anthony
Weiner, a man like Bill Clinton have made, and they are correct about that.
BALL: They have the luxury to make it that others don`t.
HAYES: Exactly. Exactly. What I want to see a world in which that
argument can be made on both sides of the gender divide. MSNBC`s Krystal
Ball and writer Melissa Petro. Thank you both. That was great.
BALL: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: That is "All In" for this evening. And, "The Rachel Maddow
Show" starts now with a special treat. It is hosted tonight by the one and
only Ezra Klein. Good evening, Ezra.
EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC CO-HOST: Good evening, Chris. I got it tell you,
that segment -- those two segments on Weiner were really the smartest and
most emphatic things I have actually seen coming off of that insane news
story. That was really, really well done.
HAYES: I genuinely appreciate that and I will say this to you, that I
-- that segment bumped any chance of talking about the Federal Reserve
chair from the show tonight. And, I am glad we made the decision, but I
thought to myself, I bet you Ezra is going to do that. So I am hoping that
KLEIN: Well, you have to watch to find out.
HAYES: I will.
KLEIN: And, thanks to you at home for being here tonight. Rachel has
the night off.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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