All In With Chris Hayes, Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
March 11, 2014
Guest: Latane Campbell, Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, Nada Bakos, Brian
Wice, Jonathan Cohn, Tara Dowdell, Brendan Nyhan
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
It`s a big night with breaking news out of Florida at this moment, in
the first congressional race of 2014, where Republican David Jolly has won
the race for Florida`s 13th district. Beating out Democratic challenger
Alex Sink. We will have much more on that race and its implications in a
But we begin tonight with new developments in the mystery of the
disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 -- information that only
intensifies the confusion over what happened to commercial airliner that
seemingly vanished into thin air four days ago with 239 people onboard.
Malaysian authorities have previously said they lost contact with the
Beijing-bound airliner over the Gulf of Thailand to the northeast of the
country. But today, the chief of the Malaysian air force told a Malaysian
newspaper the Boeing 777 was picked up by military radar after the initial
loss of contact on the western side of Malaysia, in the area called the
Those comments confirmed to wire services by high ranking military
officials suggest the flight took off from Kuala Lumpur, reached the Gulf
of Thailand where they lost radio contact with the cockpit, and then took a
hard left turn to the west taking the plane wildly, wildly off course.
The new information seems to explain why on Monday, officials had
expanded the search area for the missing plane to include the Malacca
Strait without any explanation. Crews are now searching over the 10,000
square miles in search of some sign of the missing aircraft which sent no
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS: We are flying low over the ocean off the
coast of Malaysia, well below 1,000 feet. It is calm down there. You can
see everything and nothing. There`s no sign of Flight 370.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The conflicting information and perceived obstruction from
Malaysian authorities has outraged relatives of the passengers, most of
whom are Chinese.
And compounding the mystery is this -- if the flight headed for the
Strait of Malacca, it would have passed close to a tracking beacon, one
that monitors commercial aircraft which would have picked it up even if the
plane was p flying low. But as "The New York Times" reported, the
transponder on the jet never sent a signal to that receiver which means the
transponder on the airplane had failed or been shut off by the pilot or
someone else in the cockpit.
Meanwhile, there are also developments related to the two passengers.
We now have pictures of the men who were traveling on the flight using
stolen passports. More on that in a moment.
But joining me now is Latane Campbell, an international captain at a
U.S. major airline, whose 14 years of experience flying internationally,
has flown over the area we`ve been talking about.
All right, Captain, your first thought when we got the information
today about this seemingly bizarre inexplicable change of trajectory of the
LATANE CAMPBELL, INTERNATIONAL AIRLINE PILOT: Well, I think it`s a
huge break in the investigation in the sense that it will help them
reviewing the tape to determine was the airplane under control? By that, I
mean, was it flying in a direct course? Was it altering its altitude
erratically? Something of that nature will reveal a lot to the
investigators about whether or not that airplane was having technical
Unfortunately, the veering off course and heading to the southwest
toward the Straits of Malacca and Andaman Sea, with the amount of fuel
onboard the aircraft and the lack of radar contact, after I believe 2:30
p.m. Malaysian time, or 2:30 a.m. Malaysian time, it would be -- it would
add a great degree of difficulty for the investigators in terms of how
broad a scope of search and rescue they have to have to cover all the
potential areas that that airplane may or may not have flown into.
HAYES: Can you --
CAMPBELL: Of course, this is all speculation right now.
HAYES: Right. Can you conceive of -- we don`t know what happened.
That is the mystery at the heart of this. Can you -- as a pilot, can you
conceive of situations in which you would find yourself so dramatically off
course? A mechanical failure, the loss of some kind of navigational
system, that would end up with you piloting a plane that did something that
looked like that?
CAMPBELL: No. Quite frankly, no.
If somebody told me I had one chance to fly one airplane across any
part of the country, any part of the world for that matter, it would be the
777. It`s an exceptionally reliable airplane.
In this case, again, those tapes will reveal, was the airplane under
control? Unfortunately, the fact that the transponder was not turned on or
was not transmitting probably is raising some huge question marks in the
investigators` minds as to what was going on in that cockpit. Whether or
not there was a problem with the crew or a problem with passengers entering
I`m sure we`ll know eventually, but that has to be at the forefront
right now of the investigation. The fact that it had so much fuel means
that thing could have flown 2 1/2, three, four hours out to sea. They`ll
have a very difficult time.
HAYES: The transponder not signaling the beacon as it move into the
Strait of Malacca, is there --
HAYES: -- a reason that would fail mechanically, or is the
(INAUDIBLE) suggesting it was turned off for some reason?
CAMPBELL: Well, they do fail on occasion, but we have two
transmitters for that reason, now, usually "A" or "B" or 1 or 2. It`s not
infrequent that we have a problem with one and switch to another one. And
then we ask controllers, hey, do you have us now via transponder? They`ll
usually reply in the affirmative.
It is required equipment for international flying. You cannot fly
without a transponder. And I believe actually in the United States, it`s
required as well.
So they do have certain things in that region of the world, though,
that are different that your viewers need to understand. Radar
surveillance is not as integrated as it is here in the United States or as
in Europe. Part of that has to do with the geography of the area and the
fact you have different countries with differing financial abilities to
support a gigantic integrated radar coverage type of service for aircraft,
commercial or otherwise.
The other problem you have, frankly, is right now there`s, perhaps, a
little bit of a cultural issue going on with the middle -- the Far East
with people worried about being responsible as authorities. This is a very
difficult time for these families. Nobody has immediate answers. There`s
tremendous pressure on the authorities, whether they be military or
civilian, in the countries involved to come up with any kind of answer, and
obviously thus far, we don`t have any answers for them. It`s extremely
HAYES: Yes. It is -- well, the more that I`ve talked to folks around
aviation, the more I`ve heard that phrase, it is extremely odd.
Captain Latane Campbell, thanks so much for your time tonight. I
really appreciate it.
CAMPBELL: You`re welcome. Thanks for having me.
HAYES: The other big new piece of information about the missing
flight today involves the two Iranian men who were able to board the flight
using stolen passports. There has been speculation led by Rupert Murdoch`s
media empire that these men were terrorists. Murdoch himself tweeted
Sunday that the, quote, "crash confirms jihadists turning to make trouble
And today, "The New York Post," his own paper, trumpeted the Iran link
to the missing flight on its cover, pointing to the stolen passports.
But Malaysian authorities said today the Iranians were unlikely to
have been involved in any kind of terrorist plot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: We have now learned from the Malaysian police authorities
that one of the holders of these stolen passports was a 19-year-old Iranian
man and they have named him as Pouria Noor Mohammad Mehrdad. Now, they
have ruled him out as a terrorist suspect. What he was trying to do was
ultimately get to Frankfurt, Germany, probably to migrate to the country.
The other extraordinary twist in the story, his mother was waiting for
him there. She`s cooperating and helping the police there with inquiries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, someone familiar with the challenges asylum
seekers face, Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno. She`s U.S. deputy program
director for Human Rights Watch.
There`s a kind of small tragedy embedded in the larger tragedy which
is the fact that it appears this young man was attempting to reunite with
his mother in Frankfurt.
How common is this trajectory for people trying to get out of Iran,
trying to seek asylum in Europe?
MARIA MCFARLAND SANCHEZ-MORENO, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Lots of Iranians
have been trying to leave their country for years. They`re part of the
millions of refugees worldwide who are leaving their countries because
they`ve been persecuted for reasons of religion, race, political opinion.
In Iran, in the last few years, there`s been a great deal of political
repression, and of course that fuels asylum seekers, as well as other types
Many of them find that it`s very difficult to leave their countries
SANCHEZ-MORENO: It`s hard to get into other places. They don`t have
the documents. Most places have strict visa requirements.
Malaysia and Indonesia are two places that are actually a little bit
easier for Iranians to go to. So, we`ve documented how many of them go
that route. Some of them end up going from there to Australia, drowning at
sea trying to get there. Many of them end up in the hands of smugglers.
This is a global problem.
HAYES: Yes, what struck me in this twist was information was that I
think the "stolen passport", that phrase, had such powerful resonance that
someone was up to no good, someone was up to something they shouldn`t be
doing. You think of asylum as a kind of straightforward above-board legal
process and you think that stolen passports as a kind of black market
It was a revelation to me that someone would be going through,
obtaining a stolen passport, to get to the ultimate end of asylum.
SANCHEZ-MORENO: Yes, it`s very common for people to enter countries
illegally, and that means sometimes using documents that are fake. And, of
course, smuggler networks use a variety of methods.
People who come into the U.S. sometimes use fake documents or come in
illegally. And that`s one reason that it`s extremely important that
countries take seriously claims of asylum seekers, not just look at the
fact that they have a fake document and say -- well, these are criminals or
these aren`t people deserving of asylum.
HAYES: That`s a really important point because I think that one of
the refrains we hear is you broke the law, right? There`s criminality,
there`s rules and you broke them. And it seems like in this context, to
the extent those laws were broken in terms of purchasing these passports,
it was to an end a lot of people would have a hard time thinking was an
SANCHEZ-MORENO: In fact, the refugee convention and other
international treaties require states to ignore the fact they used fake
documents, to look at the underlying claim of asylum first and make sure
that it`s valid.
HAYES: How have European or American countries treated asylum
seekers, particularly from Iran?
SANCHEZ-MORENO: In the past, the U.S. was a major destination for
asylum seekers from Iran. They`ve limited the number of asylum seekers
they take. And, of course, Europe is often very difficult to get into.
So, asylum seekers find all sorts of different ways to get around, and
once you`re in the country, it`s sometimes a little bit easier to get -- to
get the --
HAYES: The hard part is getting there.
HAYES: Apparently, the hardest part for these two gentlemen along
with so many others on that flight.
Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno from Human Rights Watch, thank you so
SANCHEZ-MORENO: Thanks very much.
HAYES: Coming up, the Senate just declared war on the CIA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I`ve been trying to resolve
this dispute in a discreet and respectful way. I`ve not commented in
response to media requests for additional information on this matter.
However, the increasing amount of inaccurate information circulating now
cannot be allowed to stand unanswered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What is Senator Dianne Feinstein talking about? A 6,000-page
Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture that the CIA doesn`t want
anyone to see. And that is only part of the story, but it is the story.
I`m going to explain why, ahead.
HAYES: Coming up, a big day in court today. It is now up to a judge
to decide if two of the players in Chris Christie`s bridge-gate brouhaha
can refuse to turn over documents, including Bridget Kelly who in all
likelihood holds the key to understanding just why it was "time for some
traffic problems in Fort Lee." The latest developments in that scandal,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEINSTEIN: On January 15th, 2014, CIA Director Brennan requested an
emergency meeting to inform me and Vice Chairman Chambliss that without
prior notification or approval, CIA personnel had conducted a search --
that was John Brennan`s word -- of the committee computers at the off-site
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A remarkable moment on the floor of the United States Senate
today as Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the committee that oversees
intelligence, usually reliable ally of the CIA and intelligence apparatus,
took to the floor to accuse the CIA of spying on Senate staff members and
of quite possibly violating the law and the Constitution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)]
FEINSTEIN: Based on what Director Brennan has informed us, I have
grave concerns that the CIA search may well have violated the separation of
powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution. The CIA
search may also have violated the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and
Abuse Act, as well as the Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA
from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Within two hours of Senator Feinstein`s bombshell speech on
the Senate floor, the head of the CIA was fielding questions about the
allegations from our own Andrea Mitchell, at a previously scheduled
appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: As far as the allegations of, you know,
CIA hacking into, you know, Senate computers, nothing can be further from
the truth. We wouldn`t to that. I mean, that`s -- that`s just beyond the
scope of reason in terms of what we would do.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: She says there are potentially illegal
and unconstitutional breaches by the CIA.
BRENNAN: Well, there are appropriate authorities right now both
inside of CIA as well as outside of CIA --
MITCHELL: Justice Department.
BRENNAN: -- are looking at what CIA officers as well as SSCI staff
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: When he says the Justice Department is also investigating what
SSCI staff members did, he`s using an acronym, referring to the staff from
the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
In other words, what we watched play out in front of television
cameras today was open war between the Central Intelligence Agency and the
Senate committee that oversees it, with each accusing the other of
improper, even illegal behavior, referring each other to the Justice
Department for possible criminal investigation.
But while the headlines out of today`s intelligence battle focused on
the question of who spied upon whom, that crucially is not what this fight
is about. Scratch the surface and you`ll see that this is a fight about
BARACK OBAMA, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re going to close
Guantanamo and we`re going to restore habeas corpus because we`re not a
nation that locks people up without charging them. We are not a nation
that sends prisoners off in the dead of night to other countries to be
tortured. That is not who we are.
HAYES (voice-over): Barack Obama ran in 2008 on the promise of ending
Bush-era war on terror abuses. After just two days in office, the newly
elected president signed an executive order banning torture, and then the
president decided to look forward.
OBAMA: I`m a strong believer that it`s important to look forward and
not backwards, and to remind ourselves that we do have very real security
threats out there.
HAYES: That summer, the Department of Justice opened an investigation
into allegations of torture at the hands of the CIA. After three years of
investigation, the folks at DOJ also decided they, too, would look forward,
officially dropping their torture investigation, filing no criminal
But even after the DOJ dropped its investigation, the president made
nice with the CIA, the Senate Intelligence Committee was pressing on. The
committee spent four years conducting the most comprehensive investigation
into the use of torture by the CIA.
In December of 2012, the classified 6,000-page report was approved by
the committee. It was described by people who read it as a withering
indictment of the program that details how the CIA misled the country about
the value of the agency`s brutal interrogation methods, including
Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein is pushing for parts of the report to
be declassified. The White House says it supports her effort.
But the CIA doesn`t agree. Last summer, CIA Director John Brennan
wrote 122-page rebuttal challenging specific findings and the report`s
overall conclusion about the program`s value.
In other words, the Senate committee found that torture was
ineffective. The president`s CIA chief doesn`t agree with that finding.
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee fought back. In a
hearing late last year, Senator Mark Udall revealed the CIA had conducted
its own review into the interrogation program.
SEN. MARK UDALL (D), COLORADO: It appears that this review which was
initiated by former Director Panetta is consistent with the Intelligence
Committee`s report, but amazingly, it conflicts with the official CIA
response to the committee`s report.
HAYES: And now, the CIA is accusing Senate staffers of improperly
accessing their database networks to find that internal review.
And Senator Feinstein is accusing the CIA of spying on the committee
and possibly breaking the law and violating the Constitution in doing so.
But this fight is not about spying. It`s about torture. It`s about
the 6,000-page CIA torture report that the agency does not want you to see.
And today, Feinstein gave us a hint as to why.
FEINSTEIN: The interrogations and the conditions of confinement at
the CIA detention sites were far different and far more harsh than the way
the CIA had described them to us.
HAYES: For far too long, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the
CIA have functioned basically as partners, colluding to withhold
information about the activities of the agency from the American people.
Maybe now that they`ve declared war on each other, we`ll actually learn
about what`s been happening in our name.
HAYES: Joining me now is former CIA analyst, Nada Bakos, a targeting
officer on the CIA`s team in Iraq hunting for the now deceased al Qaeda
linked militant Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
Nada, what is your reaction to what played out today?
NADA BAKOS, FORMER CIA ANALYST: You know, Chris, I think you summed
it up perfectly. I think this is really about torture. It`s the
culmination of the disagreement that they`ve had over years on the
conclusions of the efficacy of the program, of the torture or enhanced
So, I think possibly they could just be forcing -- Dianne Feinstein
could be forcing her hand to get her report out into the public sphere.
So, I think -- I think you`re actually -- you`re right. But also, Dianne
Feinstein, while she has been a proponent of the intelligence community,
keep in mind she`s always disagreed with the agency on the conclusions of
this program for quite some time. So over this one point, this has been a
HAYES: Here`s what I find so striking. We talk about the agency as
if it`s this almost independent institution. Like the agency has this view
The CIA is part of the executive branch. It is now overseen by an
appointee of President Obama who was pretty clear, I thought, about
torture. And I can`t tell if the White House is pretending that they`re --
I can`t make heads or tails of who is calling the shots here.
This looks to me like the CIA just gets to say what the CIA wants to
do and doesn`t answer to the White House.
BAKOS: Well, I think the fact that it`s been referred to the internal
I.G. for the CIA and out to DOJ, the investigation will hopefully give us a
little transparency and insight into what actually transpired here and who
possibly gave orders to whom to do what.
So, I think there`s still a lot of questions to be answered, but at
the same time, I think that the transparency issue with this report, I do,
myself, believe that there should be something released to the public to be
able to decide for themselves how they want to view this because it doesn`t
matter what the conclusions are of Congress and the agency, they will
continue to differ. And I think this is all going to come up to public
HAYES: But this is what`s so striking to me. What I`m hearing from
you is that the agency believes that the torture program, I want to use
that word because other people have given up on using it. The torture
program that was implemented during the Bush era, that was an effective --
that was an effective program. And to this day, we are having a fight in
2014 despite the two elections we`ve run since then, that agency still
believes that torture was effective, that they ran a good torture program.
And that is astounding to me.
BAKOS: So I think -- well, I will say within the agency, within the
CIA, there are varying degrees of opinions about the torture program. And
not everyone has the same opinion and has arrived at the same opinion.
And I think the leadership right now is saying that, yes, they believe
it was more effective than Congress did, but whether or not they`re saying
that this is something they want to do going forward I think is a
completely different question.
I also think the president`s spoken about this. You know, we can
haggle over this for another 10 years on whether or not this was an
effective program, but the president said this is not something we want to
do and doesn`t uphold American principles.
HAYES: Former CIA analyst Nada Bakos -- thank you so much for time.
BAKOS: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. The latest developments in Chris Christie`s bridge
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIDGET ANN KELLY: She`s a junior and she`s good, she`s good --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s great.
KELLY: She has a prom next week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next week?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miss Kelly, do you want to apologize? Anything to
say? Any comment at all? Something to the people of New Jersey that you
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Bridget Anne Kelly had some company today on her way into
court. The former deputy chief of staff to Governor Chris Christie who was
fired by the governor was in court with her attorney fighting a New Jersey
State Legislative Committee`s attempt to compel her to turn over documents,
to shed some light on the George Washington Bridge scandal.
And Bridget Kelly is naturally at the scandal`s very center because
if there is a single person in the entire world who knows the answer to the
mystery that persists as to why those lanes in Fort Lee were closed, well,
then, you`d imagine it would be the person who sent the e-mail "time for
some traffic problems in Fort Lee."
But Bridget Kelly, along with former Christie campaign manager, Bill
Stepien have refused to turn over the requested documents citing their
Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. For two months now,
Bridget Kelly has been holed up in purgatory without a job, while the man
who fired her is going around the country giving speeches attempting to
revive his political fortunes.
At today`s hearing, a lawyer for the New Jersey State Legislative
Committee was adamant there were relative documents in the possession of
Kelly and Stepien.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REID SCHAR, ATTORNEY, NJ LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE: This is not, has not
been, and the subpoenas are not fishing expeditions of any sort. Quite the
opposite, we have, in fact, presented to your honor communications in the
form of e-mails both, from Mr. Stepien and Miss Kelly, or between them, on
this very topic. We`re aware they have communications responsive and
relevant to the subpoena.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One of the many pressing legal issues raised today is whether
key witnesses could use their Fifth Amendment right against self-
incrimination to refuse to comply with a request f or documents in their
possession. Judge Jacobson asked for further legal analysis to be
submitted and promised a decision as soon as it was feasible.
Joining me now, Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Wice, a former
special prosecutor. So that`s the first question. Maybe I was naive or
uninformed. I guess, I just didn`t realize the Fifth Amendment covered
BRIAN WICE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, if we think, Chris, for a
New York minute that the privilege against self-incrimination protects us
against things that incriminate us, we`d be wrong. Ultimately that
privilege does not extend to incriminating communications made in e-mails,
text messages, post-it notes or cocktail napkins. The framers of the
constitution probably didn`t recognize that in the 21st Century more people
would find themselves jammed up as a result of things they say via e-mail,
text, or any other communication. I think, I`ve said it on the air before,
but I think it bears repeating, the "e" in e-mail, Chris, stands for
HAYES: Well, so here`s the question. How novel a theory is this and
how likely are Stepien and Kelly to succeed in being able to block the
production of documents by invoking the Fifth Amendment?
WICE: Well, it`s almost March Madness, Chris, about as likely as a 16
seed beating a 1 in a couple weeks. The case law as I understand it is
fairly clear. There`s to privilege that exists that keeps you from
producing documents regardless of how incriminatory they may be with
certain exceptions. If there is anything, for instance, impacting the
attorney-client privilege or a lawyer`s work product, notes, thoughts,
trial strategies or tactics, but that`s not going to impact Judge
I think it`s a fairly clear-cut issue and I think Bridget Kelly
is going to turn almost everything that she has in the possession including
the home movies from her kids` bar mitzvahs over to the legislative
HAYES: So here`s the next question, right? This question of immunity
and there was some back and forth today about immunity, and one of the
things that`s a little strange here, or not strange, is that you`ve got
parallel investigations. This is the legislative investigative committee.
It, of course, can`t afford her any kind of immunity from any criminal
prosecution because that actually isn`t in their purview, right?
WICE: And once again, I`ve always believed that this legislative
committee hearing is really AAA. The show, if you will, is going to be
U.S. attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman`s investigation. That is going
to be where lives are changed, careers are made and people ultimately go up
Interstate 84 to Danbury. At this point, Bridget Kelly understands, as
does her lawyer, that she is not going to be bargaining with the committee
that ultimately can`t give her a walk no matter how much she has to say.
HAYES: So there was a back and forth today also about this
public/private distinction I thought was fascinating. Was basically this.
The lawyer for the committee basically saying, we saw evidence of moments
in which there was a beginning of an exchange on official e-mails that then
went to private channels and we want those, too. What is the precedent
there? Because that seems like something increasingly common among actors
in this sort of technological atmosphere.
WICE: Yes, and you`re right, Chris. It`s increasingly common, but it
doesn`t mean that those communications are going to be beyond the reach of
either this committee or Paul Fishman later on down the road. It doesn`t
make any difference what form of communication it is. If it`s relevant to
an investigation, that subpoena, the prosecutor`s best friend, is
ultimately going to be the game changer.
HAYES: OK. If the judge finds that the Fifth Amendment does not
cover this, what`s the next step?
WICE: Well, at some point, Bridget Kelly is going to realize if she
hasn`t already that her life`s about to change. And whether it`s in
dealing with this legislative committee, or in my estimation, in dealing
down the road with Paul Fishman and the feds, she`s going to realize she`s
like a hitchhiker in a really bad hailstorm. She can`t run, she can`t hide
and can`t make it stop. What she needs to do is make the best of it by
crafting a deal that limits her liability and ultimately gives her an
opportunity to get on with what will pass for the rest of her life --
HAYES: Attorney Brian Wice, thank you so much.
Coming up, there`s one line that sums up everything involving
Obamacare, and that line is this. "I personally don`t believe it." I`ll
explain who said it, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID JOLLY (R-FL), CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: I`m honored and I`m humbled to
have received the support of my community and have the opportunity to serve
as your next representative from Florida`s 13th Congressional District.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was a new congressman-elect of Florida`s 13th
Congressional District just moments ago. Republican David Jolly has won
the first congressional race of 2014 in what many have viewed as the first
political litmus test for Obamacare this year beating Democratic
challenger, Alex Sink.
There was a huge amount of outside money spent in this race.
Roughly $12.5 million flooded into the district, according to the Center
For Public Integrity, and less than one third of that was controlled by the
candidates` own campaigns. Jolly and his big spender conservative allies
tried to turn the election into a referendum on, you guessed it, Obamacare.
Because Sink, the Democratic candidate, supports Obamacare and
conservative campaign strategists the country over think that is enough to,
well, sink her. Tonight, that conservative campaign appears to have
worked, although it`s unclear exactly how it worked. We`ll talk about that
in a second.
But Republican, David Jolly, has won the first congressional race of
2014, that result, Florida`s special election in the 13th District,
Democrats got a small electoral snapshot of what Obamacare might mean for
them in the midterms and most importantly whether the reality on the ground
is established enough to beat back the myths on the airwaves.
We`re going to talk about one amazing example where the myths seem
to be winning, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Julie Boonstra and five years ago I
was diagnosed with leukemia. I found out I only have a 20 percent chance
of surviving. My insurance was canceled because of Obamacare. Now the out
of pocket costs are so high, it`s unaffordable. If I do not receive my
medication, I will die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is almost certainly one of the most effective political
ads of the cycle so far. There are some problems with it which we`ll
detail in a moment. The ad was produced by Americans for Prosperity, the
dark money group funded by the Koch Brothers in an effort to attack
Democratic Congressman Gary Peters who is running against Republican Terri
Lynnland in the hotly contested Senate race to replace retiring Senator
Americans for Prosperity is coming off a million-dollar three-
week spending spree against Peters, which is a lot of money to spend nine
months before Election Day. Of course, what they`re trying to do here is
tie Gary Peters to Obamacare and make that the central issue of the
campaign as they try to do in Florida `13.
But soon after the ad came out, lawyers for Congressman Peters wrote
to television stations asking them to demand verification for the claims
they made. Senator Harry Reid pushed back on the Senate floor,
specifically calling out the Koch Brothers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: A leukemia patient whose insurance
policy was canceled, would die without her medication. Mr. President,
that`s an ad being paid for by two billionaire brothers. It`s absolutely
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Some conservatives responded by accusing Democrats of, quote,
"declaring war on cancer patients." And Julie Boonstra, herself, the
cancer patient in the ad came out with another ad, titled "Gary Peters` war
on a brave woman."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I heard that Congressman Peters was going
after my credibility, it was devastating. I just want Congressman Peters
to help me, to listen to me. Instead, he`s trying to silence me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: She also went on Fox News to talk about how her insurance had
been canceled and her new Obamacare plan was unaffordable. Here`s the
thing. If you watched these before, you know where I`m going with this.
The "Detroit News" talked to Boonstra after deciding which plan under
Obamacare she wanted to go with ultimately and discover that, I`m quoting,
"The new plan will save her at least $1,200."
While it is true, her new plan appears to have a higher
deductible and higher out of pocket costs until she hit the deductible.
Her monthly premium is dramatically lower. Under her old plan she was
paying $1,100 month in premiums. Under her new plan, according to rep for
Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Michigan, Boonstra would pay $571 a month.
But in what serves as the single most fitting summary of the entire
contentious story of Obamacare`s passage and implementation. When told
about the details and savings, Boonstra said, and I quote, "Can`t be true,
I personally do not believe that."
Joining me now, Jonathan Cohn, a senior editor of the "New
Republic," who`s been covering the story, he is also author of "Sick: The
Untold Story of America`s Health Care Crisis and The People Who Pay the
Price." That`s it, Jonathan. That`s the whole Obamacare fight for me, in
a nutshell, I do not believe it.
JONATHAN COHN, "THE NEW REPUBLIC": It`s really quite remarkable. I
was, about two hours ago, we had the local news on. I live in Michigan and
there was the new ad and it`s been everywhere. And, you know, it is
impervious to facts, it seems. Everybody I think feels for this woman.
She`s got cancer. Everybody wishes her the best. But, you know, these
claims, you know, people, opponents of the health care law, they make these
claims. They get debunked and they keep coming out.
I think responsibility for that frankly does belong with
Americans for Prosperity with the Koch Brothers. Not just for spreading
these false claims but, you know, what are they telling these people like
Julie Boonstra when they come to them? Are they bothering to explain to
them, guess what, you have good insurance options out there? Are they
helping these people or using them as props?
HAYES: Think about the psychology here of encountering someone who is
in a terrible health situation, one I think everyone feels tremendous
empathy for, and rather than being, like, well, actually let`s look at
these plans and see what we`ve got here. To say, you know what, let`s make
an ad and let`s make in that ad that you`re losing your doctor.
And this is another part that`s key here, Americans for Prosperity
confirms Boonstra was able to find a plan that had her doctor in its
network. That`s the crucial claim at the center of the whole thing. The
scary, terrifying disruption that everyone fears is you will lose your
doctor and that is not true in this case.
COHN: Yes, I mean, look, I think everybody who understands the law
would readily concede that the law is not perfect. There are people who
end up with plans they don`t always like. But it is sort of amazing.
Almost every single story we see like this, you just push at it a little
bit and the claims fall apart. It makes you wonder if they`re having this
much trouble finding people who have real genuine heartrending stories,
maybe is it just possible maybe the law isn`t as bad as they say?
HAYES: And, yet, I would say in defense of Miss Boonstra, one thing
that also comes through here is disruption is disruption even when
disruption might be better. And I think there is a natural part of folks
that if you`re in the midst of cancer treatment, any change seems scary and
there`s a very powerful impulse that`s being leveraged right now on the
right to make that the key thing that people think about Obamacare. It is
change, it is disruption.
COHN: No, question about it. And, again, you know, I think if the
claim here was that, look, I didn`t want to change my plan and I`m angry
about that, that`s a legitimate claim. You know what? That also needs to
be weighed against the fact that just today we learned 140,000 people in
Michigan, 4 million people nationwide have gotten health insurance through
the new exchanges. A lot of those people never had insurance before.
There`s a lot of good in this law, and that needs to be weighed against the
HAYES: John Cohn from "The New Republic," thanks so much.
Coming up, there`s a reason why you shouldn`t talk politics at
family dinners. What makes people form political beliefs and stick to
them, even you, liberals, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Now, we may
never satisfy the law`s opponents, I think that`s fair to say. Some of
them are rooting for this law to fail. That`s not in my opinion, by the
way. They say it pretty explicitly. Some have already convinced
themselves that the law has failed, regardless of the evidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`re back. Joining me now, political consultant, Tara
Dowdell, and Brendan Nyhan, he is an assistant professor in the Department
of Government at Dartmouth College. His research focuses on political
scandal and misperceptions about politics and health care.
Professor, let`s start here. This is the bet Democrats have
been making. The bet is basically get the thing up, implement it, give
people the tangible benefits and ultimately the reality will outpace the
myth. And I guess my question is, having read this story about Miss
Boonstra and others, is that a good bet based on the psychological research
we have that that actually will happen?
BRENDAN NYHAN, DARTMOUTH COLLEGE: It`s going to take time, Chris.
Over time it was a communist takeover of the health care system went away.
In the short term, though, it`s true. My research suggests it`s very
difficult to change people`s minds even with facts and evidence. This
woman was presented with information that her own health care plan was
better than the one she had before in terms of out of pocket costs and she
simply refused to believe it. So it is going to be very hard, especially
with the folks like her who are predisposed to reject information about how
the law might be beneficial.
HAYES: I think, Tara, it`s important here to distinguish between the
project of persuading people and motivating people. And I think
particularly when you`re talking about a midterm election, particularly
when we`re talking about the Florida `13 special election, I think people
perceive the GOP harps on Obamacare because they think it`s the way to win
swing voters. I don`t think that`s what`s happening. It`s not a
persuasion play. It`s an activate the base play. It`s what get people
riled up. People who already hate the law to come out and vote.
TARA DOWDELL, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Absolutely. Because midterm
elections are all about turnout. That is the bottom line. We all know
turnout in midterms always favors the right. They`re more aggressive.
They respond more to fear. They respond more to anger. So what Democrats
need to do is need to recognize that they`ve lost a lot of ground here.
The right has spent over five years over and over again pushing this
aggressive and well-funded misinformation campaign.
But all is not lost. Democrats need to do a few things. First
of all, we`re going to be outspent in most instances. That`s the bottom
line. We need to leverage our social media better, we need to track this
misinformation aggressively, expose it immediately, and then get it out
peer to peer, social media. Get it out.
HAYES: Here`s the thing. Exposing it, Brendan, the thing that`s
confounding about your research is your whole point is exposing
misinformation does squat. Am I misreading the literature?
NYHAN: No. On some cases it can actually make the problem worse. So
from weapons of mass destruction, to death panels, to vaccines, we`ve
actually seen in some cases correcting misinformation can make people
double down on the myths they believe in or move them in the opposite
direction from what you might expect. In a lot of cases when people are
predisposed to reject them, they`re good at doing so.
HAYES: This is from Mr. Weigel talking to an activist in Florida`s
congressional district. She said "The idea that we`re using or moneys for
health care for these illegal aliens or here illegally that is for the
birds. I`m at an age where I`m expendable. Let`s say I got a terrible
disease. Would I get any coverage? The death panel would probably
It`s 2014. This woman isn`t making a joke. She really
believes this. This is a belief. I think the key to me is the asymmetry
of motivation around Obamacare, from its foes and its supporters, right,
which is that does the law succeed and get Democrats out to the polls? And
that`s the thing I`m skeptical of.
DOWDELL: Well, my concern is a lot of Democrats have bought into the
misinformation. I think in the face of -- I think research is probably
spot-on for people who are predisposed to believe the bad things about the
affordable care act. The misinformation. I think for Democrats we have a
lot of Democrats out there that have serious concerns, and people --
HAYES: That`s a good point.
DOWDELL: -- are not acknowledging that.
HAYES: That`s a good point.
DOWDELL: They have serious concerns. We need to be concerned and
focused on our base and their concerns. The other thing is Democrats still
are no doing a good enough job of explaining the affordable care act. The
irony of the ad is the whole purpose of the act is to improve health care.
DOWDELL: It is to actually improve the delivery of care. In this
country, if you get into a car accident, get shot, we`re the best country
in the world to be. But to make people well, to get rid of diabetes, to
keep them from developing diabetes, we don`t do those things well, and
diabetes costs a lot of money.
HAYES: Brendan, is there a way out, quickly, I mean, there`s a sort
of annalistic conclusion here, but is there a way out?
NYHAN: There`s no short answer, Chris, but there are certainly ways
you can communication information more clearly, more effectively. Things
like graphics. But it`s true ultimately that how much people want to
believe in something matters a lot and that`s the bottom line.
HAYES: Political consultant Tara Dowdell. Brendan Nyhan from
Dartmouth College. Thank you both. That is ALL IN for this evening. "The
Rachel Maddow show" starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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