ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
September 9, 2013
Guests: Neera Tanden, Sam Stein, Lara Setrakian, Bill De Blasio, Joy Reid
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Tonight on ALL IN:
A way out. An offhand remark by Secretary of State John Kerry may
have actually paved the way for the U.S. to avoid a military strike in
Syria. That in just a moment.
Also tonight, Michael Bloomberg accuses a New York mayoral candidate
of running a racist campaign for campaigning with his family. That
candidate will be here to respond directly.
And later, George Zimmerman is briefly taken into police custody after
he allegedly threatened his estranged wife and her father with a handgun.
Reaction to this story with Joy Reid are coming up.
But we begin tonight with a remarkable and possibly accidental
development in the ongoing march towards a U.S. military attack on Syria.
The White House has clearly been in full court press mode, scheduling
interviews for the president with six news networks for tonight, heralding
President Obama`s speech to the nation tomorrow night, all to persuade a
deeply skeptical American public and Congress of the necessity of a
military strike against Syria.
In what seemed to be a political train wreck in the making and/or the
possibility of yet another war in the Middle East, suddenly, today looks
like a crisis that might be improbably altogether avoided -- when Secretary
of State John Kerry, asked at a London press conference if Syria could do
anything to stop an attack, said this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Sure. He could turn over every
single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the
next week. Turn it over, all of it, without delay, and allow a full and
total accounting for that. But he isn`t about to do it, and it can`t be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Within a matter of hours, that idea was being quite taken
seriously enough that President Obama was addressing it in his interview
with NBC News`s Savannah Guthrie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think what we`re
seeing is that a credible threat of a military strike from the United
States, supported potentially by a number of other countries around the
world, has given them pause and makes them consider whether or not they
would make this move. And if they do, then this could potentially be a
significant breakthrough. But we have to be skeptical, because this is not
how we`ve seen them operate over the last couple of years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In between Secretary Kerry`s appearing to be offhand remark
and President Obama treating it publicly as a potential breakthrough, we
saw this. From the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: "If the
establishment of international control over chemical weapons in that
country would allow avoiding strikes, we will immediately start working
From the Syrian foreign minister, "I announce the Arab Republic of
Syria welcomes the Russian initiative."
From British Prime Minister David Cameron, "If Syria were to put its
chemical weapons beyond use under international supervision, clearly that
would be a big step forward. I think we have to be careful, though, to
make sure this is not a distraction tactic."
From the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrat Dianne
Feinstein., "I would welcome such a move. I believe that Russia can be
most effective in encouraging the Syrian president to stop any use of
chemical weapons and place all his chemical munitions, as well as storage
facilities under United Nations control until they cane destroyed."
Then from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was at the
White House today to speak about wildlife trafficking, but who was expected
to open her remarks by addressing Syria after having just pretty with
President Obama, Secretary Clinton said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Now, if the regime
immediately surrendered its stockpiles to international control, as was
suggested by Secretary Kerry and the Russians, that would be an important
step. It is very important to note that this discussion that has taken
hold today about potential international control over Syria`s stockpiles
only could take place in the context of a credible military threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Meanwhile, as Secretary Kerry`s idea took off, over at the
State Department, they felt the need to clarify. Kerry was, quote,
"speaking rhetorically about a situation we thought had very low
probability of happening. We will have to take a hard look at the Russian
And in an already remarkable day, President Obama said he had not yet
decided what he would do if he lost the votes in Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: For me, the president, to act without consensus in a situation
where there`s not a direct, imminent threat to the homeland or interests
around the world, that`s not the kind of precedent that I want to set. I
think it`s important for me to listen. I`ve made my decision about what I
think is best for America`s national interests, but this is one where I
think it`s important for me to pay close attention to what Congress and the
American people say.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS: Are you confident you`re going to get the
OBAMA: You know, I wouldn`t say I`m confident. I`m confident that
the members of Congress are taking this issue very seriously and they`re
doing their homework, and I appreciate that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced a
delay in the first vote to officially open debate on Syria. Reid office
says a major factor was this latest development. Perhaps Reid just doesn`t
have the votes.
Joining me now is NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker.
And, Kristen, my head is spinning at the rapidity of these
developments, which -- am I wrong as an observer on the outside and doing a
little reporting talking to people around the White House and so forth,
this was not a planned rollout of this idea -- John Kerry speaking in
England today before the British foreign office, to get from that point "A"
to the president`s point "B" interview, this was not what everyone`s
expecting when this day began.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You`re absolutely
right. This was not a planned rollout. This was not an official offer. I
think it`s important to point out, though, it comes against the backdrop of
conversations like this going on behind the scenes between Secretary Kerry
and his counterparts. President Obama said that he addressed this idea
with President Putin.
However, they didn`t put a whole lot of weight to this idea. That`s
why you heard Secretary Kerry sort of dismiss it as soon as he brought it
up. But what happened today in my conversations with the White House is
that the response by the Russians, by the Syrians seemed to be more serious
than what they had heard until today.
And one of the things that they point to is the fact that there was an
acknowledgement and there has been an acknowledgement now that Syria has
chemical weapons. This is really the first time that Syria has
acknowledged that. So, that is a significant development.
Having said that, Chris, there is still a lot of skepticism here at
the White House and on Capitol Hill, in part because Syria`s chemical
weapons are spread out all over the country, and there`s a lot of questions
about how would the international community actually get in to secure the
chemical weapons and confirm that they had reached all of those chemical
So, certainly, a striking turn of events today. It sort of seemed to
recalibrate this entire process and negotiations. However, while there is
some hope that possibly Russia and Syria could be serious about this,
there`s also a lot of concern about how realistic this proposal is.
But you are right to point out the fact that this was not something
that Secretary Kerry was planning going into today -- Chris.
HAYES: Well, the definition of news is the unexpected.
HAYES: And what we saw today was genuine news. And I think it`s
clear that we don`t quite know, every day that develops in terms of the
Syria story, we don`t know what will come next, which brings us to tomorrow
night. The president is still planning on addressing the American public
in prime time. We will carry it here live on MSNBC.
Has that -- do your sources tell you if that speech has now changed
based on what happened today?
WELKER: I wouldn`t be surprised if President Obama referenced the
developments of today. I think they are still working through that. But
certainly, his tone, I think, tomorrow will be to stress what we have heard
from the White House in this full court press, which is that the use of
chemical weapons are a threat to the United States` national security. He
will likely bring up concerns over what Iran might do.
And again, he`ll probably reiterate that point that you heard him make
there in the interview with Savannah Guthrie, which is that these latest
developments came because the United States was threatening a military
strike, and that has been a part of moving the needle. In terms of the
extent to which he will discuss these latest developments, I think that all
of that is still being sorted through, because these developments are sort
of evolving rapidly around all of us, including the folks at the White
HAYES: NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker, thank you
WELKER: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now, Neera Tanden, president of Center for American
Progress, a progressive tank think. And Sam Stein, political reporter for
"The Huffington Post."
Sam, Reid has said he`s delaying the vote. It looked like the Senate
was going to vote on Wednesday. It now looks like they`re delaying that
How do we understand that decision to delay?
SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, first of all, are we sure there
haven`t been any major developments on Syria since you started this
HAYES: It`s entirely possible!
STEIN: They couldn`t stop.
I think you have to interpret the delay as the most logical answer is
probably the right one here, which is that they just don`t know if they
have the votes at this point. That said, I do think this Russia gambit
actually has caused a lot of senators to say, OK, let`s seek this out,
let`s see what happens here.
I spoke to Joe Manchin, conservative Democrat from West Virginia who`s
on the Armed Services Committee. He is so opposed to intervening in Syria.
This gave him the opportunity to say, listen, let`s put the pause button
for a little bit. He has actually a bill, a resolution out right now that
says, let`s have 45 days, let`s see if Syria will sign on to the chemical
weapons convention, let`s see if they will give up their stockpiles and
agree that they would have international inspections, and then we can make
So, basically, the mood on the Hill, at least on the senate side, is
let`s just slow down a little bit. We don`t want to rush into it. And
partially, Reid is taking that. Partially, I think he`s worried about the
HAYES: Well, what`s remarkable about the developments today is it
provides an off-ramp in two ways. It provides an off-ramp to a possible
military confrontation in which missiles would fly, things would be
destroyed and people would die, and that is by far the most important
development today. A subsidiary calculation is the fact that it provides a
strange adjustment to the political calculus on the Hill.
And, Neera, this has looked to me like just speaking in totally
political terms, headed towards a disastrous result at the White House,
because every whip count indicates the support is just not there. It`s not
popular in the country. It`s not popular among Congress.
The latest whip count has 22 against in the Senate, 44 undecided, 25
for. In the House, you have 122 against, undecided 169 and only 26
What do you think is happening on the Hill right now and between the
White House and the hill about the politics of these upcoming votes with
the developments today and with the president speaking tomorrow?
NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Well, I think the most
important thing is the developments around Russia. Obviously, you know, we
have to look at what our goal was here. Our goal is actually to insure
that there isn`t chemical weapons used in the world. That`s the actual,
you know, that`s what the president`s been talking about for weeks.
And if we can have a situation where we get rid of chemical weapons or
they`re taken out of Syria -- I mean, that`s an important objective of our
foreign policy. So, it seems to me the substance here really does matter.
Obviously, the president had a huge uphill battle in the House. I
think things look better in the Senate. But you know, the truth is, this
is the kind of issue where people are not going to declare until the last
moment. I do think we`ve obviously heard a lot of skepticism. The country
So, I think there are developments around Russia, important
developments substantively, but obviously have a political effect, which is
to at least allow people to take a few more minutes to breathe, make the
president -- allow the president, actually, to make his arguments, and
we`ll see where we are on Wednesday.
HAYES: Well, what possible -- I mean, you`ve been involved on the
Hill for a while and you were in the administration during Obamacare.
I mean, what possible argument does the president have to war-weary
members of Congress? I mean, what is that -- what is the case? The case
can be made in a sort of abstract level, it could be made at the level of
this important international norm, but in a brass tacks political sense,
what is the possible upside for a yes vote on this if your district really
doesn`t want this to happen?
TANDEN: Look, I think the big problem the president is facing, and
it`s almost an unfortunate thing, is this isn`t the political calculus
vote. You know, you can`t really argue to members, by the way, this is
going to be a huge win for you, because it`s supposed to be a limited act.
It`s supposed to be a limited action, so we`re not going to have some giant
invasion or anything that American troops will feel, Americans will feel
will rally around it. It`s supposed to be very limited.
So, I don`t think that the arguments here are political. They really
are substantive. The substantive arguments are that -- you know, if
chemical weapons become ubiquitous, if people just use chemical weapons,
especially in the Middle East, that`s going to endanger global security
over the long term, and the United States will be forced to act more
aggressively with more, you know, more military engagement in the future
and if this is a limited act.
Obviously, that`s a hard sell to a country that`s very weary about it.
HAYES: Well, what`s happened recently in the wake of today is that
the argument has now pivoted, right?
This is a statement from John McCain and Lindsey Graham in response to
some of the developments about this idea of some kind of international
custody taking of Syria`s chemical weapons. "It should be clear to members
of Congress that only the threat of military action against the Assad
regime`s chemical weapons capabilities is what could create a possibility
for Assad to give up control of those weapons. For this reason, Congress
should proceed with its plan to consider and vote on the authorization for
use of force that is now before the Senate. Today`s developments should
make members of Congress more willing to vote yes."
Sam, that is the argument the president made in the interviews
tonight, and it also is precisely the same argument the Bush administration
made in the run-up to the Iraq War, that, basically, the credible threat of
force was getting the weapons inspectors back in, and it was only that that
allowed any kind of diplomatic, nonviolent solution to be possible.
STEIN: Yes, and you know, I guess the Assad regime wasn`t watching
the domestic political debate, because anyone who was watching it would
probably come to the conclusion that they were never going to pass the
authorization to begin with.
But I don`t doubt the idea that the possibility of a U.S. military
strike weighed on Assad. What happens, what differentiates Obama from
Bush, I guess, in the end, is what do you do once you get back to that
negotiating table? How much leeway will the administration give the Assad
regime to let inspectors in, to secure that chemical weapons? What kind of
power do we grant the Russians in the process?
There are a million other questions that surround this. And the
question of course comes down to time. How many more people are you going
to tolerate being killed in this civil war, which is ongoing in tandem with
this chemical weapons attack? So, there`s a ton of variables out there.
HAYES: Neera, that --
TANDEN: Chris, sorry.
Chris, I think that issue of the Iraq analogy is breaking down right
now. I mean, the president is taking a pause.
TANDEN: He said he wants to actually see where this goes. He said
himself, he said tonight, I`m sure he`ll continue to say that military
action should be our last resort. That`s exactly the opposite of how the
Bush administration approached the run-up to the war.
HAYES: Yes, and I think that`s the key point, is that we`re at this
decision procedure where there is an opportunity to climb down from what
looked like an all but, you know, foreordained military strike, and the
president seems open to the possibility of that, and I think that`s to his
Neera Tanden from the Center for American Progress, Sam Stein from
"The Huffington Post" -- thank you both.
STEIN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: In an interview with an American journalist, Bashar al-Assad
issues an ominous warning that if the U.S. strikes Syria, they should,
quote, "expect every action" in retaliation. That`s coming up.
HAYES: Ahead, George Zimmerman allegedly threatened his estranged
wife and her father with a gun today. We have the 911 tape.
HAYES: Today, for the first time in almost two years, two years in
which tens of thousands of Syrians have been killed by his forces and
hundreds of men, women and children allegedly gassed with chemical weapons,
we heard directly from Bashar al Assad on an American TV network.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE ROSE, CBS NEWS: Do you consider chemical warfare equivalent
to nuclear warfare?
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SYRIAN PRESIDENT: I don`t know. We haven`t tried
ROSE: Yes, but you know. You`re head of state and you understand the
consequences of weapons that don`t discriminate, at are beyond --
AL-ASSAD: Technically, they`re not the same, but morally, they`re the
ROSE: Morally, they`re the same.
AL-ASSAD: They have the same, but at the end, killing is killing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Tonight, with a possible off-ramp for both the United States
and Syria coming into view, it`s more important than ever to try and
understand where Bashar al Assad, a man who holds the fate of millions of
people in his hands, is coming from.
Joining me to discuss that now is Lara Setrakian, co-founder and
executive editor of Syria Deeply, an independent digital media project.
She`s a former Middle East correspondent for ABC News and Bloomberg
The interview with Charlie Rose what was your takeaway? Obviously,
the interview happened before this new development today, but in terms of
understanding how Assad is approaching this and approaching the possibility
of an American intervention into this. What was your takeaway from Assad?
LARA SETRAKIAN, CO-FOUNDER, SYRIA DEEPLY: The most important thing in
my mind is Assad is a master of maintaining control. He knows what to say
and what to do to stave off a U.S. strike. The one thing I disagree with
the last block was that Assad has been watching the domestic debate in the
U.S. and he`s been delighting in it because he knows that this is slowing
down the momentum here in the U.S. toward any kind of military action and
he just bought himself a lot more time in the past 24 hours.
HAYES: In fact, there is a letter today from Syrian parliamentarians
to their colleagues in the U.S. arguing for why they should vote against
the strike and quoting FDR. And clearly, Assad is pushing all the buttons.
He`s talking about Colin Powell and this is no better than Bush and show us
the evidence. So, he clearly is fairly read into domestic politics of the
U.S. in terms of how he`s evaluating this.
SETRAKIAN: Absolutely, and it is not a question in my mind that just
the threat of the U.S. strike has changed conditions on the ground for
Assad himself, for the core of his regime and for the dynamics on the
battlefield. You`ve seen a lot of movement in the past week, at least my
sources suggesting that there have been a lot of hopes for defection, some
actual defections from the Assad regime, and this sense that they really
are scared of the strike.
I felt like I could see it in that interview with Charlie Rose. He
was not his regular self.
HAYES: So, do you think the Assad regime are factoring quite heavily
into their thinking the possibility there`s an American strike, even
though, as we`ve heard, it is going to be targeted and limited, and even
though John Kerry called it incredibly small today, and even though
intelligence about where their military capabilities are may not be
complete, you think this really weighs heavily on them?
SETRAKIAN: Chris, for the first time in 2 1/2 years, American is
showing some foreign policy muscle. We were a wet noodle four weeks ago
and now we`re showing some muscle. That is a dramatic change in Damascus.
HAYES: But wet noodle and muscle are the kinds of descriptions to me
that sometimes, it seems like obscure more that be they reveal, right? I
mean, if we can be muscular in a way that`s massively stupid or counter
productive, that doesn`t help us necessarily, right? I mean, there`s going
to be some response to an American strike in Syria, should that come about.
SETRAKIAN: Absolutely, and you heard that also in the interview and
Assad throwing out the threat of asymmetric warfare, its alliance with Iran
and Hezbollah clearly in the mix and on the minds of a lot of Americans
worried about what can come from this.
I`m just telling you what I`ve heard from Syrians on the ground and
from rebels, secular and also from the al Qaeda-linked on the ground, which
is a sense that the battle has really been this kind of bloody stalemate
for 2 1/2 years, and the notion of a U.S. strike that would not just take
out chemical weapons capacity but some of their air capacity from a regime
that is very comfortable sending Scud missiles at civilians.
HAYES: OK. But this is precisely -- this is precisely the ambiguity
that is at the heart of the debate over Syrian intervention, which is that
if you talk to people allied with the rebel forces, if you talk to people
connected to the opposition, the hope is that this strike will tip the
balance of the battlefield. Yet, the argument that John Kerry, President
Obama and others have to make to the American people is that this is not a
strike to tip the balance of the battlefield, because we refuse to take
possession of the civil war. This is a punitive strike for the use of
chemical weapons to enforce an international norm. And yet, that`s not how
it`s perceived on the ground in Syria.
SETRAKIAN: Welcome to a wicked problem in the Middle East in the 21st
century. The Obama administration has to play to an audience at home while
scaring an audience in Damascus. It`s very, very complicated.
But across the board what we`re hearing from U.S. sources and even
from Syrians is that the biggest disaster would be a complete and sudden
collapse of the Assad regime. Nobody wants that because nobody wants the
vacuum. Everybody knows it`s a messy picture.
But over the long run, if you don`t have a solution in Syria, it`s
going to cost us. My main point, I`m not directly for or against the
strike. I really see the down sides in both cases, but I have to tell you
that when I look at Syria, it looks like a bill that we just haven`t paid
for 2 1/2 years.
This is a highly consequential war, it`s a proxy war. You have the
U.S. and its allies on the other side, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah on the
other. This is going to have to solve for something.
HAYES: Given that you have these proxy geopolitical alliances sort of
at an impasse, does today`s news mean that we have a possible climb-down?
SETRAKIAN: I think we do have from this possible strike. But while
we`ve been talking about chemical weapons, the Assad regime has been using
cluster bombs, Scud missiles, conventional weapons. The conflict itself
isn`t drawing to a close unless we really do something about it.
Does that mean we use a threat of the strike as a stick and move
everyone towards the negotiating table? Can we do that? Are we
That`s the real test for the Obama administration. What they want is
a calm and stable, and hopefully, contained conflict in Syria. And that`s
not what they have now.
HAYES: Lara Setrakian from Syria Deeply, thank you so much for your
time. Really appreciate it.
SETRAKIAN: My pleasure.
HAYES: We will be right back with #click3.
HAYES: Coming up, New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio will
be here to respond to the current mayor calling his campaign racist.
And George Zimmerman is briefly taken into police custody after
allegedly threatening his estranged wife with a gun and is released and
given his gun back. I`ll talk to Joy Reid about that.
First, I want to share the three awesomest things on the Internet
today, beginning with a job search gone wrong across the pond. Currys is a
chain of electronics retailers in the U.K. and one of its stores has
recently been outed for a rather disturbing hiring practice.
College graduate Allen Bacon says he applied as a sales clerk at the
Currys in South Wales. He didn`t get the job, but today, he`s getting an
Mr. Bacon, explain the deal to the BBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN BACON, UNIVERSITY GRADUATE: I and nine other job applicants
were taken to a back room and we were, after some short introductions, we
were made to dance with each other as part of the job process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Bacon says he thought it was a joke, but the store manager
wasn`t kidding. And, when Daft Punks around the world and began to play,
the job seekers danced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACON: The general feeling in the room was, "Oh, this is a joke, just
messing with us this whole time. But no, they were being quite serious."
On the surface, I have to look positive. I was smiling, just laughing
along with it, but inside I felt degraded.
HAYES: The electronics giant is now the one getting a public shaming,
apologizing for what they said was a team-building exercise and something
that isn`t a part of their official Curry`s recruitment process. #Click3
would like to remind anyone doing any kind of hiring that there is only one
David Brent and he is only funny because he is fiction.
The second awesomest thing on the internet today, the most accurate
and simultaneously most understated headline of the day from the website
Mashable, car narrowly avoids being crushed by boulder.
And, indeed, as viewed from a dashboard camera on a Taiwanese roadway,
here`s a car and here`s a car that narrowly avoids being crushed. And,
wait for it. There`s the boulder. Ka-thunk! The smartest person on the
planet was the driver with the dashboard cam who quickly backed the heck
out of there!
Thankfully, "The Taipei Times" reports the driver of the white sedan
was not hurt. But, 20 seconds before impact, you can see the landslide
begin all the way at the top of the mountain. The driver possibly too
distracted by the tantalizing glow of the golden arches to notice. There
is a lesson to be learned here, folks, and there isn`t. It is the next
time you`re on rainy mountainside stretch of road in Taiwan, maybe pullover
for a Big Mac before you drive into a giant boulder.
And, the third awesomest thing on the internet today, Patrick Stewart,
internet folk hero. The classical trained actor and #Click3 favorite has
received worldwide web glory for meaning a double posing with rare fruit
and, of course, instructing viewers on the art of the take.
HAYES (voice-over): But now he`s truly outdone himself. Captain
backyard, who is online avatar shows him sitting alone in a ball pit,
tweeted out an affirmation of sorts to followers -- "Yes, married." The
accompanying photo shows Stewart and longtime girlfriend, now his wife,
Sunny Ozell, both in a ball pit confirming reports that the two got hitched
And, in the ultimate geek pay off Sir Ian McKellen`s, Stewart`s X-
Men`s co-star posted this Facebook photo showing off a minister t-shirt, "A
Doctor of Divinity" certificate with a caption, "I did my part. Yes,
Captain Picard got married by Gandalf and announced his nuptials on
Twitter. We have truly reached the final frontier." You can final all the
links for tonight`s "#Click3" on our website, allinwithchris.com.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You may have heard over the weekend that Michael Bloomberg
called someone`s campaign racist. That someone is Bill De Blasio, who will
join me in a moment. And, he`s the candidate who, to the shock of much of
New York`s 1 percent, appears poised to win tomorrow`s New York mayoral
democratic primary. And, the reason why Mr. Bloomberg called Mr. De
Blasio`s campaign racist and then kind of sort of tried to walk it back is
because of ads like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANTE DE BLASIO, SON OF BILL DE BLASIO: I want to tell you a little
bit about Bill De Blasio. He is the only democrat with the guts to really
break from the Bloomberg years. And, he`s the only one who will end a
stop-and-frisk era that unfairly targets people of color. Bill De Blasio
will be a mayor for every New Yorker, no matter where they live or what
they look like. And, I`d say that even if he weren`t my dad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Bill De Blasio has a multiracial family, and like every other
candidate in the history of modern political campaigns, he has featured his
family in campaign ads. Somehow, that has offended Michael Bloomberg`s
sensibilities. De Blasio has positioned himself as the anti-Bloomberg
candidate in the race, and it`s clearly made the billionaire mayor a little
In an interview with "New York" magazine, Bloomberg characterized the
campaign as one fueled by class warfare and racist to boot. When asked to
clarify what he meant by racist, the mayor tried to backtrack -- "Well, no,
no, I mean he is making an appeal using his family to gain support."
I think it`s pretty obvious to anyone who is been watching what he`s
been doing. I do not think he himself is racist. It is comparable to me
pointing out that I`m Jewish and am attracting the Jewish vote. Entail
your messages to your audiences and address issues you think your audience
Following the publication of that interview, the mayor`s office asked
"New York magazine" to add an interjection that was inaudible on the
magazine`s audiotape in the Exchange. Magazine said the added remarks do
not alter the meaning of the conversation. In the meantime, De Blasio`s
daughter, Chiara, is defending her dad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIARA DE BLASIO, DAUGHTER OF BILL DE BLASIO: I can see from afar how
maybe people would think that my dad was using his family, but if you look
at the facts, he did not seek out a black woman 20 years ago to marry and
then put on display. And, my mom, my brother, and I are all capable of
making our own decisions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Bill De Blasio, democratic candidate for
mayor of the city of New York, current public advocate for New York City.
Were you surprised to read that interview?
BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Well, I didn`t read
it, Chris. I walked out of Reverend Sharpton`s Saturday morning rally at
the National Action Network, met a group of media in the middle of the
questions this quote was read to me for the first time.
So, when I heard it, I had an impulse of thinking this couldn`t
possibly be the truth. And, I said at the time, of course, if that`s true,
that`s inappropriate. When I heard the whole interview, you know, I don`t
know what`s more troubling, the comment about the racist -- quote, unquote
"racist campaign" or the comment about class warfare, which really gets to
the fact that Bloomberg is in denial about the reality in New York City.
The tale of two cities, are often talked about, the fact that 46 percent of
people in the city are at or near the poverty level according to a
DE BLASIO: So, I think there was a level of denial, a level of
disconnect from the lives of the people he`s supposed to be serving, and
obviously an angst by the fact that the events were now moving beyond his
control. But the core that when he directed at my family was just
absolutely uncalled for.
HAYES: Here`s my theory. Ready? Tell me if I`m wrong. Mike
Bloomberg thinks you`re the easiest candidate to beat among the democratic
field. He wants the republicans to beat you. And so, he has decided to
throw the election your way in the last few days by calling you a racist
for featuring your multiracial family.
Thereby, creating a backlash that pushes you over the 40 percent
threshold, so you avoid a runoff and then get your clock cleaned by a
republican opponent on an election day. What do you think of that?
DE BLASIO: Chris, I think you need to get out more often.
DE BLASIO: That`s what I think. It`s a fascinating theory. I think
when you look at the whole interview again, there is an angst running
through it. And, I think this piece about class warfare really is the
fulcrum of the whole interview, that his sort of theory of "Noblesse
Oblige" is being rejected hourly by the people of this city.
HAYES: Here he is. He`s talking about the way to help people who are
less fortunate -- this is his comment, "The way to help those who are less
fortunate is number one, attract more fortunate people. They are the ones
that pay the bills. People that would get very badly hurt and are going to
drive out the very wealthy are the people he professes "You build De
Blasio try to help. Caring people part with his two cities thing doesn`t
make any sense for me. It`s a destructive strategy for those you want to
help the most. He`s a very populist, very left-wing guy; but, this city is
not two groups, and if it is to some extent, it is one group paying for
services for the other."
What about people who worry about the tax base, who say look at the
actual dollars and cents here, look at the New York City budget every year,
a huge amount is coming from finance. When Wall Street has a good year,
the city`s coffers are high, and when it has a bad year, the coffers are
low, and that means cuts in schools and cops and all sorts of city
DE BLASIO: Well, I would flip it this way and say, first, on the
Bloomberg watch, with that theory in place, free market lassie fair
approach, we have gotten to 46 percent of folks at or near the poverty
level, and the mayor`s own administration acknowledges that, and it`s
So, by definition, something`s got to give. You can`t continue on
this path productively. Second, one supporter I have I`m very honored to
have is Joseph Stiglitz the Nobel prize-winning economist, who is one of
the most powerful voices in this country on the point that if you don`t
restructure this economy for everyone having some kind of buy-in, some kind
of opportunity to move ahead, some kind of buying power, we`ll continue in
a structural decline. And, I think here locally, we have to act on that
point that we`ve got to find ways to get people back on track to have a
decent living in this city.
HAYES: Can a mayor do that?
DE BLASIO: A mayor can do part of it. Paid six days, which is
locally controlled, helps to create a little more economic stability.
Living wage legislation helps make sure that when we subsidize the company,
they pay a better wage. Mayors can help the fast-food workers to organize
and use the influence of the mayor`s office to do that.
Mayors can take subsidies away, and I would do this, from big
corporations and direct it to helping small business, helping the city or
university where people can get skills for better-paying jobs. There`s so
many, and I most profoundly talked about taxing the wealthiest New Yorkers,
those over $500,000 or more to help our school system actually serve our
HAYES: For the folks that are watching this right now that don`t live
in New York City, are not going to vote tomorrow, should they care whether
DE BLASIO: Oh, absolutely, because this is about a direction that
would give us a chance of reversing these inequalities. I always say, the
inequalities we`re experiencing in New York City, income, education, health
care, policing, they have all become structural. If it goes on much longer
HAYES: Across the country, you`re saying.
DE BLASIO: Well, across the country, but I`m saying in New York City
DE BLASIO: -- they`ve really dug in the last few years, the five
years of a very bad economy. If we don`t start the reversal now, I don`t
know how long it will take to ever get back.
HAYES: People who are going to vote tomorrow, let me give you the
most cynical view of Bill De Blasio you respond. Basically, this is
somebody who very smartly understood the campaign message to push with this
Everybody else thought, "Hey, everybody loves Bloomberg, fourth term
of Bloomberg. That sounds great." No. Bill De Blasio, very fine for city
politics, understood that what was going to resonate with his progressive
message, a tale of two cities, haves and have-nots, but that, that is just
talk. If that is just a way of winning this primary -- very smart way of
winning this primary in a crowded field and that`s going to be long gone by
the time he`s mayor.
DE BLASIO: You know, pundits who don`t bother to understand someone`s
history get to that conclusion very quickly, or cynical people do. I
started out in movement politics, you know. I started out in the Nicaragua
movement. I started out in the anti-nuclear power movement. I started out
in the Dinkins World, which was the ultimate insurgent political movement
in New York City taking on then incumbent Ed Koch.
DE BLASIO: So, my world view has been always how to use the electoral
progress for progressive social change, and I`m following it through now in
a way that`s very, very consistent with the values I`ve always held. I
think what`s so shocking is the values I`m talking about I think are the
majority values of this city.
HAYES: Well, right now, they are proving to be, as you poll very well
and heading into tomorrow with a sizable lead in the polls. New York City
mayoral candidate Bill De Blasio, thanks so much.
DE BLASIO: Thanks, Chris. Appreciate it.
HAYES: Coming up, George Zimmerman is back in the news, and it is not
for speeding this time. Today, he was briefly taken into custody for
allegedly threatening his estranged wife and her father with a gun. Joy
Reid will be here to discuss that, coming up.
HAYES: 58 days since being acquitted of all charges, including
second-degree murder for shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
George Zimmerman found himself today briefly back in police custody in
Florida. According to Lake Mary Police report, Zimmerman`s wife Shellie,
who just a few days ago filed for divorce, called the police to report that
Zimmerman had punched her father. He was putting his hand on his gun. We
pick up the 911 call just after George Zimmerman left the house but
remained on the property.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN, WIFE OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: He continuously have his
hand on his gun and keeps saying, "Step closer," and he`s just threatening
all of us with --
FEMALE POLICE OPERATOR: Step closer and what?
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: -- with his firearm. And, he`s going to shoot us.
He punched my dad in the nose. My dad has a mark on his face. I saw his
glasses were on the floor. He accosted my father and then took my iPad out
of my hands and smashed it and cut it with a pocket knife. I don`t know
what he`s capable of. I`m really, really scared.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: At this point, the police arrived and Shellie Zimmerman can be
heard telling her father to take cover.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: Dad -- Dad, get behind the car or something. I
don`t know if he`s going to start shooting at us or not.
FEMALE POLICE OPERATOR: Are you outside right now?
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: Yes, we are -- Dad, get inside the house! George
might start shooting at us, I don`t know. We`re going inside the house.
FEMALE POLICE OPERATOR: OK, go back inside. Are you guys both inside
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: Yes.
FEMALE POLICE OPERATOR: OK. Stay in there, OK? Let the police take
care of it.
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: OK. He`s got his hands in the air. He`s not
touching his weapon.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: A few hours after the call, George Zimmerman was taken into
what police are calling investigative custody, which means he couldn`t
leave the scene until police were done trying to figure out just what had
Around the same time, George Zimmerman`s brother, Robert Zimmerman
tweeted "We`ve learned from George Zimmerman`s case not to jump to
conclusions, to wait for facts, to avoid speculation. News is a business,
not your friend."
Shellie Zimmerman, essentially, decided not to press charges against
her estranged husband, who claims that Shellie was the aggressor. George
Zimmerman is a free man tonight and attorney Mark O`Mara says he got his
gun back. Since being acquitted, George Zimmerman has twice getting pulled
over for speeding. One of those times he was armed.
And, another incident, he visited the manufacturer that made the gun
he used to shoot Trayvon Martin. It is hard to hear this story today and
not have some kind of reaction. MSNBC Contributor Joy Reid spent a lot of
time covering George Zimmerman when he was on trial of the killing of
Trayvon Martin, which he was acquitted of. We`ll get her reaction to this
latest turn, next.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
FEMALE POLICE OPERATOR: Shellie, you`re doing really good. OK? This
is a tough situation for anyone, all right? I`ll stay on the line with
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: OK.
FEMALE POLICE OPERATOR: All right? Until our units can speak with
you, all right?
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: OK.
FEMALE POLICE OPERATOR: All right, are you OK? You said he did take
something out of your hand. Do you need medical as well?
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: I don`t think so. But, we`re just shock.
FEMALE POLICE OPERATOR: OK, all right. I`m going to go ahead and get
MD to respond, OK?
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: OK. Dad, get inside right now.
FEMALE POLICE OPERATOR: Make sure he stays inside until someone comes
and lets you guys know it`s OK to step out. Stay inside.
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: OK.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is MSNBC Contributor Joy Reid, also managing
editor of thegrio.com. This news broke today and just everything in my
social media universe just went nuts.
JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Mine too.
HAYES: Why, why the intensity of the reaction of this?
REID: Well, you know, it`s interesting. As we were having this
conversation, we were talking about sort of -- remember after the O.J.
verdict? There was a sense in a lot of America, particularly among White
America that, you know what, karma`s going to get this guy?
HAYES: Right. That`s right.
REID: Sooner or later, this person who we know did it is going to do
himself in and something`s going to blow his whole life up. And, I think
that there is a sense that George Zimmerman since the trial has not behaved
like a man chastened by the act of killing someone, that he`s someone who
is speeding through Texas and speeding through Florida and just sort of
living his best life now --
HAYES: Well, let`s also say, the gun -- I mean the speeding --
whether he`s speeding or not --
HAYES: -- the visit to the gun manufacturer to me personally --
HAYES: -- because I watch -- as I try to understand who this person
is and how they feel about what happened and whether they`re appropriately
sorry for what happened -- that was the moment where I was like, "Whoa, no,
no, no, no, no."
REID: Yes. There`s something sort of insensitive about it. And, I
think that we don`t know George Zimmerman, obviously.
HAYES: At all.
REID: We don`t know his interior life. We don`t know what he`s doing
in between the speeding incidents, in between going to get the gun. But,
there is a sense that in his public presentation. There is a sort of
bravado to it that I think has really pricked at a lot of people,
particularly in the African-American community.
And, so, when this happened, there was a sort of holding of collective
breath. OK, what`s going to happen? Is this going to result in an arrest?
What is going to be the adjudication of this situation? And, I think as it
played out, the initial reaction to it was, this is the George Zimmerman we
didn`t get to see during the trial.
REID: The person who had the past violations of the law, the person
who had a domestic in his past.
HAYES: March of 2012.
REID: Correct. And, the person whose attorney really played out
every negative thing they could find that they believed about Trayvon
Martin, but who presented Zimmerman as a total innocent. And, then now
you`re seeing this other side to him. So, I think there was a certain
amount of Schadenfreude out there in the social media world.
HAYES: I should add this in terms of the domestic dispute. It
wasn`t 2012, earlier --
REID: In 2005.
HAYES: Your right, 2005. There`s also an hour report coming out of
our local affiliate that is possible that some police are saying the gun
wasn`t there in this incident that happened today. What I think is
interesting is that his wife appeared to think the gun was there whether it
was or not.
HAYES: And, what it hit home to me listening to the terror in that
911 call, it`s just the way in which the presence of a gun is
transformational on all interactions between humans in the midst of
conflicts. That is the bedrock fact of what happened on that horrible
night in which we lost Trayvon Martin is the presence of a gun absolutely
alters the calculus of everything that happens between two human beings
involved in any kind of conflict.
REID: Yes. And, it increases the level of terror, I mean on the part
in this case of Shellie Zimmerman, just believing, whether it turns out
there was a gun there or not; but her believing, she was saying she was
afraid they were going to be shot, she and her father, that just the
presence and terror of that -- yes, absolutely.
And in domestic situations, we know taking the Zimmerman case out of
it entirely, we know in domestic violence situations, the presence of a gun
can be absolutely deadly. And, that it is much more common, in fact, for
that interaction to end in someone being harmed than the situation with
HAYES: And, that gets us back to the record when we`re talking about
the Zimmerman people who feel like they saw him on trial or not -- and
again, I don`t know the man at all and this is all through the prism of an
incredibly intense public covered trial, which can be distorting, we should
HAYES: That said, what struck me is that having reported on domestic
violence, been around people that work in domestic violence is violence to
an intimate partner is something that we somehow put in another category.
HAYES: There`s the thing that happens in the home and then there is
violence to a stranger. And, one of the things I think we`ve learned over
the years as domestic violence policy has gotten far more enlightened --
HAYES: -- is that there is a connection between the two.
REID: No, absolutely. And, by the way, in Florida, as in most
states, had he been arrested. He would have lost a title to that gun, and
that there is in the law a direct connection, that if you are arrested on a
domestic violence incident, one of the first things that happens is that
your gun is taken away because the law does recognize the connection and
the causal connection between really deadly violence and the home, domestic
violence and presence of a firearm. So, had he actually been arrested?
You know, the police there in a sense preserved his right to keep his gun,
because had he been arrested, he would have lost it.
HAYES: And, yet, is the presence of the gun that of course lurks over
this, lurks over George Zimmerman`s life from now on. And, that was the
other thing I thought today when I saw this was like, "You have become this
symbolic figure of injustice." Right?
HAYES: And there is no -- there is a certain percentage of the
population I think understandably, and I am incredibly sympathetic to,
that is just going to see you as embodying this horrible thing that
HAYES: And, that pain is not going away any time soon.
REID: It is not going away. I was struck at the 50th anniversary
celebration for the March on Washington. How many people, including
HAYES: How president was.
REID: -- Yes -- Members of Martin Luther King Jr.`s family, his
sister mentioned Trayvon Martin, unasked, read him into the narrative.
He`s become sort of an Emmett Hill figure for a lot of people because he is
the embodiment of the sense of profiling. The sense of being out of place
in one`s own country and the terror of a gun. And, the sense that you`re
not safe as well as with someone with a gun thinks you are threatened.
HAYES: And, that thing that lurks there even if it is all staged.
MSNBC Contributor Joy Reid, thank you so much.
REID: Thank you.
HAYES: Appreciate to have you today. That is "All In" for this
evening. "The Rachel Maddow Show" starts right now. It is celebrating its
fifth anniversary on MSNBC. Congratulations. You changed everything.
Everything came on news, everything on news. It is amazing. You`ve plowed
this ground that has all these wonderful seeds in it sprouting. Thank you.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST OF "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": Thank you,
man. I have to say turning 5 in T.V. is kind of like turning 100 in people
years, so --
HAYES: 500, are you kidding?
MADDOW: Yes. Thank you, man. I really appreciate it. Which is a
nice way of sort of saying that I feel old. But anyway, here we go.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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