All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, May 2nd, 2014
Read the transcript from the Friday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
May 2, 2014
Guests: Dorian Warren, Terry O`Neill, Ruth Conniff, Tommy Vietor, Eric
Boehlert, Kevin Nazemi
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
The speaker of the House announced today the House will vote to establish a
new select committee on Benghazi.
Also today, the House Oversight Committee subpoenaed Secretary of State
Two very aggressive and very rare moves that signal House Republicans are
not abandoning their obsession with tying the White House to the attacks in
Benghazi. On the contrary, it looks like they are just getting started.
Today, John Boehner tweeted out the announcement of a select committee with
this very slick graphic. You are looking at right now. And, if you look
at this graphic carefully, if you look closely at it, it embodies
everything about the not one, but two Benghazis that exist.
You see, there is the real Benghazi, a city in the north of Libya, east of
Tripoli, a city of over 600,000 people. The site of an American consulate,
the place where an attack on September 11th, 2012, took the lives of four
Americans. A place of turmoil and violence.
That is the real Benghazi. That Benghazi is appropriately enough in the
background of this graphic. That embassy burning is in the background
because that`s the real Benghazi.
The other Benghazi is #Benghazi. #Benghazi is the world of online
conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls, and Facebook right wingers. #Benghazi
isn`t a real place, where real people died horrible deaths.
It`s the alternate universe of endless conspiracy theorizing and propaganda
that has sucked the entire right wing media into a paranoid vortex. And
it`s represented on the speaker`s graphic by the fake breaking news banner
that is there for no reason, this graphic and the speaker.gov.
#Benghazi is where you can find tweets about how Hillary Clinton has
buckets of blood on her hands. The White House sends more personnel to the
Bundy ranch over cows than they did to Benghazi. It`s the place where
people think that a White House communications adviser looking at White
House talking points is the next Watergate.
#Benghazi isn`t just online, it`s an entire industry, an entire imaginary
realm. It`s where, for instance, Lindsey Graham has actually been living
for the past year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This is not a FOX News story,
this is an American story. I`m not satisfied with having the executive
branch tell me what happened in Benghazi.
The scumbags are the people in the White House who lied about this.
We`re just starting on Benghazi.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: #Benghazi is the alternate FOX News universe where there is only
one thing going on in the world and it is Benghazi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. We were waiting for others to ask
questions. We know that the next question coming up is from a German
reporter. We are not anticipating that that would be about the situation
with Benghazi, which is breaking news since the president has been talking
really. So if, in fact, somebody throws him a question on this topic,
we`ll go back to that joint news conference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s FOX breaking away from a live press conference for the
president because no one had asked a Benghazi question and they weren`t
anticipating a Benghazi question, but they`ll go back to it when and if
there is a Benghazi question.
The existence of #Benghazi doesn`t mean, and this is really important,
doesn`t mean that there isn`t still a real Benghazi, a real place where
real policy failures happened, where real people lost their lives
horrifically, a place where the intelligence was not good and diplomatic
security was terrible. But, of course, if the politicians who spend so
much time hyping #Benghazi actually cared about real Benghazi, well, then
they wouldn`t have voted to cut the budget for diplomatic security in
places like the real Benghazi.
The most insidious aspect of #Benghazi is that if you express the warranted
contempt for the absolute hysteria that surrounds the topic, the people,
the denizens of #Benghazi will accuse you of disrespecting the memory of
four Americans who died in actual Benghazi. It`s exactly what they did to
Hillary Clinton last year when she grew frustrated when a senator insisted
that members of the administration had intentionally misled the American
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: With all due respect, the fact
is, we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest, or was it
because of guys out for a walk one night who decided to go kill some
Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to
figure out what happened, and do everything we can to prevent it from ever
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Clinton was painted by the right wing media as spitting on the
grave of four Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Lying to the American people for two consecutive
weeks. Now, forgive me, but I`m willing to bet that it makes a difference
to the families of the four dead Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That same routine is being played out again only this time it`s
happening to former National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor.
Yesterday, Vietor appeared on FOX News with Bret Baier. Baier wanted to
know if Vietor edited the White House talking points on Benghazi.
Keep in mind, Vietor in his role probably wrote and changed thousands of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: Did you also change "attacks" to "demonstrations" in
the talking points?
TOMMY VIETOR, FORMER NSC SPOKESMAN: Maybe. I don`t really remember.
BAIER: You don`t remember?
VIETOR: Dude, this is like two years ago. We`re still talking about the
most mundane process --
BAIER: Dude, it is the thing that everybody`s talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The frustration in his voice there, the incredulous dude there.
That is directed at Bret Baier. That is directed at #Benghazi.
But, of course, predictably, the people who inhabit the world of #Benghazi
exploded in dramatic outrage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He doesn`t understand --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He actually does understand that when you change
talking points after an ambassador is killed, three other people are dead,
in a major military operation led by the United States, then that is huge.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four Americans life brutally savagely taken, they
were killed, killed!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I think Tommy Vietor understands that four people were brutally
murdered in the real Benghazi and that is exactly why he like many others
are sick with dealing with #Benghazi. They`re tired of dealing with people
who seem to care less about what actually happened in Benghazi than how
they can use the deaths of four Americans to make Hillary Clinton and the
White House look bad.
Joining me now is Tommy Vietor, former national security spokesman for
President Obama. Tommy, first I should get you to respond to the reaction
to your interview yesterday. Were you saying dude that was two years ago
about what happened there, or about the question pertaining to whether you
edited some talking points?
VIETOR: Yes, I mean, Bret was asking me to remember what, if I changed a
word on September 14th, 2012. And my frustration came through. I guess
you`re only supposed to speak the Queen`s English on FOX.
But obviously what happened that day was an absolute tragedy, and what I
wish we talked more about on FOX and everywhere else is what we`re doing to
make sure it never, ever happens again, like you discussed.
HAYES: Yes, well, that seems to be absent because as far as I can tell the
obsessive coverage of this in the right wing media is about hurting Hillary
Clinton`s chances in 2016, frankly, and because they have worked themselves
up to believing that there was some massive cover-up to essentially quash,
I don`t know what, it keeps changing, to make the president look good.
Was there a massive cover-up?
VIETOR: No, there was not. And yet, no one has explained to me what it
was that was covered up. What I do know is that FOX News and right wing
radio has constructed this alternate reality where Barack Obama watched
video, drone footage of the incident as it happened, where the CIA was told
to stand down, where the military could have come to their rescue and
didn`t because some choices made not to -- all of those things have been
debunked in the real world. But in the FOX News #Benghazi world, these are
things people still believe.
So, of course, people on Twitter or listening to these shows are incensed
about it, because they`ve been fed this fake reality created by FOX News
and these other outlets that in no way mirrors what actually happened that
HAYES: Four years or two years after this happened, are we in better shape
in both -- in Libya or around the world in protecting embassies? I mean,
has, it seems to me there`s been zero policy discussion about how it went
down, zero policy discussion about the actual intelligence failures that
may or may not have happened and zero policy discussion of how we protect
VIETOR: So, in the wake of those, in the wake of the series of protests
that were the result of the "Innocence of Muslim" videos we had daily twice
daily meetings about embassy security. And people asked really, really
hard questions about are certain facilities in Pakistan or Yemen or Sudan
in truly, truly dangerous places secure enough for our diplomats and
changes were made.
But at the end of the day, Chris, it really does boil down to the fact that
these are brave people serving in dangerous places and there is some risk
inherent to it. But I -- you know, it still doesn`t change my frustration
from the fact that we`re still talking about talking points. I mean,
there`s not a select committee on Condi Rice`s Sunday show prep call where
she said a smoking gun could become a mushroom cloud. And clearly that had
a far bigger impact on our nation`s national security than Susan Rice`s
comments after Benghazi already occurred.
HAYES: How far are they going to go with this?
VIETOR: It`s hard to tell. I mean, you know, I have some close Republican
friends who say to me, they`re sick of this. They`re sick of repealing
health care. But they need to gin up something against Obama to keep the
crazy Tea Party people from ginning up stuff against the leadership in the
House, or in the Senate.
And, you know, they`re candid with me about this and I understand it, but
it`s cynical and it`s disgusting.
HAYES: Former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, thank you
VIETOR: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Joining me is Eric Boehlert, senior fellow at Media Matters.
And I have to at a certain point -- I don`t know you sort of tip your cap
out of kind of perverse respect that they just will not let anything stop
them from keeping this truck going. I mean, it was the lead on every FOX
show. It was -- I mean, yesterday in the right wing media, if you don`t --
if you`re not imbibing it to the extent that I am, it was the only story in
America that mattered for the last two days.
ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS: Yes, and if we went back to May of 2003, we
were in the exact same pattern, right, when we were talking about e-mails
from the White House and Benghazi in a cover-up.
HAYES: Yes, exactly a year ago.
BOEHLERT: Exactly, 15 weeks ago.
And so after that passed, after it blew up, after it was debunked, after we
realized those emails --
HAYES: Exactly, there was there was basically hearsay of someone saying
what was in e-mails that was leaked that at first looked incriminating,
then they released the actual e-mails and they were not incriminating at
all. We have gone through this pattern, I don`t know, 50, 60, 70 times in
BOEHLERT: Oh, at least. And so, you think about where FOX News was 10
days ago they were humiliated with this Cliven Bundy fiasco where they had
gone all in on a racist rancher.
So, they don`t like playing defense. They like playing offense.
You know, this is a perfect example of the synergy of FOX and up on the
Hill, and Judicial Watch and they`re all churning the same stuff, and they
get everyone excited and here we are again. Look, if they want to know
what happened why don`t they -- you know, they form this select committee -
- why don`t they read the Senate select committee that was released in
January. No White House cover-up, there was no specific threat.
BOEHLERT: There was no stand-down order. There was ties to the video, et
cetera, et cetera.
We -- the House is saying, we had 20 months of this, we`ve had hearings, we
spent millions, let`s start all over, because we can`t find what we want to
HAYES: As a media watchdog, I saw this everywhere in the right yesterday.
This was a tweet, read this closely, "Coincidence #Benghazi cover-up."
This is from Heritage Foundation.
"CBS Evening News" fails to cover the latest Benghazi developments, it
identifies Ben Rhodes White House deputy national security adviser. David
Rhodes, his brother, is CBS News president.
So, isn`t this the smoking gun?
BOEHLERT: That`s right. So, let`s go back to last fall where was CBS in
terms of Benghazi? They admitted they had their biggest embarrassment in a
decade because they went with this right wing Benghazi report.
HAYES: Whose story was totally debunked. They led put a huge amount of
their "60 Minutes" into it and the guy who oversaw that is David Rhodes.
BOEHLERT: Right. So, how can CBS be covering up for the White House and
Benghazi now if CBS went out on a limb and embarrassed itself, humiliated
itself by sort of echoing these right wing charges about Benghazi. You
can`t have it both ways.
HAYES: Also David Rhodes -- do you know where David Rhodes, America,
worked for CBS for 15 years? He worked at FOX News.
BOEHLERT: Well, that`s right. That`s right. Of course.
HAYES: That is where David Rhodes worked. So if you think he is pulling
But it really is, it is, it does remind he of -- in a worrying way, it
reminds me of late Clinton years, `97, `98 when it was just like they`ve
been pulling at threads for so long and it was, and they kind of lost the
plot themselves about what the scandal was. Was it cattle futures or
Whitewater or was it -- where was it? And they ended up with an
BOEHLERT: And they dumped it all in Ken Starr`s lap. Here the GOP does
not have the independent counsel, $40 million budget to vacuum all the
stuff up. So they have to do it piecemeal.
And, again, the House -- they did a piecemeal. They decided we haven`t
gone anywhere, let`s start all over. And then, of course, FOX is hitting
this all the time.
HAYES: Eric Boehlert from Media Matters, thank you.
You`ll never guess what I was doing on Wednesday.
Why did I spend my morning testing out a potentially game-changing new gun
and what does that gun have to do with one of the most talked about stories
in the country today? I`ll explain ahead.
HAYES: When attacking Obamacare by saying no one signed up stopped
working, Republicans went another way, saying no one had paid for it.
Well, up next I`m going to talk to someone who is actually running an
insurance company, and find out, is he getting paid?
HAYES: New job numbers today look pretty good. That is, of course, if you
were naive enough to believe them, 288,000 jobs added to the economy,
unemployment rate falling to 6.3 percent.
But we all know exactly how it works over at the Obama White House where
secret Obama agents are injected into the Bureau of Labor Statistics to
muck around with the data to make tyrannical leader look as good as
Oh, you think that sounds crazy and paranoid? Well, let me introduce you
to one of the most respected CEOs in American history, one month before the
2012 presidential election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE WELCH, FORMER G.E. CEO & CHAIRMAN: And it just seems somewhat
coincidental that the month before the election the numbers go one tenth of
a point below where they were when the president started.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: These Chicago guys will do anything so they
changed the numbers?
WELCH: I have no evidence to prove that. I just raised the question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Remember, this was actually a thing. This was a thing in the fall
of 2012, when there was a decent jobs report and when otherwise apparently
sane people like Jack Welch bought into this conspiracy theory that the
jobs numbers were manipulated.
Well, just yesterday, we got the official report from the U.S. Commerce
Department`s office of the inspector general, which determined that the
whole jobs report of conspiracy was bunk. The independent investigation
found no evidence to support the allegations. Now, the I.G. did identify
areas where the system could be improved. But it also arrived at a picture
of just how hard it would be to manipulate those monthly unemployment
How to fudge the unemployment numbers in 27 easy steps. The I.G. might as
well called it that because the report found it would take 27 field
representatives conspiring and changing each of their own findings to alter
the unemployment number by just 0.1 percent.
How to fudge the unemployment in 78 easy steps? It would take 78 field
officers conspiring to change the monthly unemployment number by 0.3
percent. Think of the secret meeting that would require that would be one
hell of a meeting or would they do it by conference call or e-mail chain,
who knows because it never happened?
But if you think today`s I.G. report will put an end to statistical
trutherism on the right -- no, no, no, no, no Republicans have turned their
sights to the Obamacare numbers that they`ve been waging a war against
since day one. Their obsession as enrollment started getting significantly
better a few months ago was that the books were cooked in part by not
accounting for how many enrollees had actually paid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: The number doesn`t have any
basis in reality. Cannot tell me how many people have used some type of
payment device to enroll in Obamacare and sign up for health insurance.
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: I think they`re cooking the books on
this. People want to know the answers to that.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If we were cooking the books,
don`t you think we would have cooked them in October and November?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most important number that we don`t know is how
many people have paid.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: And now that enrollments for the exchanges have gotten even better,
surpassing 8 million people, the House Energy and Commerce Committee
released a report finding that only 67 percent of enrollees had actually
paid, only about 5.5 million of the 8 million enrollees. Oh, my God.
Well, here`s the thing. Numerous problems with this report, it was done
before many first month premiums were even due. Insurers learned
explicitly the April 15th data was incomplete. And even the insurance`s
main trade group says the actual group who have paid is more like 85
If only someone knew whether people were making those payments to insurance
companies like maybe someone who -- I don`t know ran an insurance company
created for the Obamacare market.
Joining me is Kevin Nazemi. He runs an insurance company created for the
Obamacare market. It`s called Oscar. Full disclosure, my brother works
Kevin, good to have you here.
KEVIN NAZEMI, CO-FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, OSCAR: Great to be here, Chris.
HAYES: How much trouble are you guys in, no one`s paying you?
NAZEMI: We`re getting paid and I think overall things are working. For
us, we`re seeing well over 90 percent of people who sign up are paying so
far, and they have until the 15th of the month to pay.
HAYES: Ninety percent?
NAZEMI: Over 90 percent.
HAYES: So this is not while we`re the FOX and Republicans are very worried
on your behalf that no one`s paying you, you`re here to say you are getting
paid by 90 percent of your customers?
NAZEMI: In general, what we`ve been seeing is that things are working and
people are paying. That doesn`t mean there hasn`t been a bit of
turbulence. But overall things are working.
HAYES: One of the things you guys have to figure out is the billing. I
mean, this is --you`re in novel territory here, right? I mean, are you
going to bill like a cable company which -- God I hate cable company bills,
I hate how hard they make it to pay them. What are what are companies
drying to do to make sure that they are getting paid?
NAZEMI: This is really the basis for why we started Oscar, because
traditionally consumers were forgotten as part of the health insurance
experience because health insurance historically was sold through the
employer. So they didn`t have to collect from, from their members.
Now, we do. And so, we tried to create it like any great consumer
experience, which is to make it seamless and provide you with choice to pay
in the means that works for you. So, whether that`s a debit card, whether
that`s an ECA (ph) transfer, whether that`s in person at 1,000 locations we
try to make it easy and seamless.
HAYES: You`re inside the machine. And you and I have been talking about
this, every month I say what`s going on where are you with Obamacare? What
do you see coming on the horizon? What`s going to be the next blowup that
people start freaking out about? Because one of the things I`ve learned
here is that this is a disruptive piece of legislation because the old
system was broken and to fix it, you have to disrupt it.
NAZEMI: Without a doubt, this is a big change. And as I said, overall
things are working, but what you see is a lot of people navigating the
system for the first time and communication between a lot of different
parties, whether that`s providers or the federal government or insurers for
the very first time. And so, amidst that I think it`s the navigation of
the system that`s difficult.
And understanding as a consumer, what are your options, what are the price
differences between those options, and it`s up to us, we believe, as
carriers in this new consumer world to provide that transparency to help
HAYES: Because that transparency hasn`t been there, right? I mean, it
hasn`t been a business in which there`s prices for consumers to pick from.
That just has not been part of the health care market.
NAZEMI: And that`s a big change that`s happening. For the first time
through the ACA, 50 million Americans are now relevant as consumers to
health insurers. And so, we`ve got to compete and give them that
transparency so they pick us.
HAYES: You told me that some of the earliest people that signed up were at
the doctor very soon afterwards, and are people with serious illness?
NAZEMI: You bet. And that`s our job as an insurance company. That`s what
we do which is when you get sick, we`re there, so that when you`re not
sick, you`re with us for the long-term as well. So, we`re happy when we
see that. And a lot of these people didn`t have insurance before and now
they do. And that`s a great thing.
HAYES: I mean, you`re talking about people with cancer with very serious
illnesses showing up on day one day two of eligibility -- you got to be
thinking, what were they doing before?
NAZEMI: Absolutely. And that`s what makes us proud to do what we`re
doing, because it has impact. We`re able to get people the help that they
HAYES: Do you see this as a profitable business long-term?
NAZEMI: We got into this because we felt we could be impactful in a long-
term sustainable business, absolutely. We think that if we serve members,
we serve in a consumer way and provide them a consumer experience that
delights them, they`ll stay for the long term.
HAYES: Kevin Nazemi from Oscar, thank you so much.
NAZEMI: Thanks so much, Chris.
HAYES: All right. Coming up, one of the most fascinating things to come
out of the whole Donald Sterling leaked taped message this week was the
first thing conservative did after the tapes were released. I`ll tell you
what it is. What it says about politics in the Obama era, ahead.
HAYES: What if there was a handgun that could prevent police officers from
being killed with their own gun. A gun that could dramatically reduce the
number of children killed in accidental shootings, a gun that would turn
useless if it were ever stolen from its owner.
That gun, that potentially game-changing weapon, it exists. It`s been
built. And two days ago, I went to a shooting range in Maryland and I took
that so-called smart gun for a test run.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
HAYES: The Armatix iP1 digital smart gun will only fire if it is within 10
inches of a special wristwatch personalized for the user. That means if a
kid finds it hidden away in a drawer somewhere or a criminal is able to
wrestle it away from a police officer, it cannot be fired.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Authorized user.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now move the hand back.
HAYES: Move the hand back like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Won`t fire.
HAYES: That`s really cool.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, if you want to go out and buy that gun, you`re out of luck.
You can`t. You cannot buy that gun. Because even though the Armatix smart
gun is legal for use, no one in the United States of America will sell it
to you. Why? Because the National Rifle Association and other self-styled
defenders of the Second Amendment do not want this gun on the market.
When I was in Maryland on Wednesday, I met a guy named Andy Raymond (ph)
who describes himself as on the right wing vanguard of gun rights. Raymond
was planning to be the first person to sell the Armatix smart gun in the
entire country and he told me those who don`t want it sold are no better
than proponents of gun control.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is all about freedom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really is, man. So the NRA who is the bastion of
great freedom and they say this thing should be prohibited, how
hypocritical is that? They`re bowing down to fear, bro. It`s cowardice.
They`re afraid, so they bow down to that. That is cowardice.
That is not what people who stand for freedom do. You stand up and you
fight for what you believe. You do not bow down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As word of Andy`s decision to sell the smart gun and our interview
got ought, Andy Raymond began getting angry calls and death threats. Some
of his critics said the smart gun could be controlled by the government or
others pointed to a New Jersey law that mandates that once a smart gun goes
on the market anywhere in America, New Jersey must eventually sell only
Last night in a video, he has since taken down Andy Raymond reversed
course. He apologized and announced he no longer planned to sell the
Armatix smart gun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY RAYMOND, CO-OWNER, ENGAGE ARMAMENT: I would never -- never cooperate
with anti-gun (EXPLETIVE DELETED) people.
So, maybe Armatix are anti-gun people. Maybe. I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This is just one small part of an utterly amazing story about the
intense battle over smart guns in the United States.
We, in fact, have breaking news on that New Jersey law tonight on our Web
site. You won`t find it anywhere else. It`s at allinwithchris.com.
And this Monday night, we will bring you our full exclusive report on this
story with some amazing footage and interviews you`re not going to see
anywhere else. That`s Monday night. Don`t miss it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD STERLING, OWNER, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: Well then, if you don`t feel
it, don`t come to my games. Don`t bring black people, and don`t come.
V. STIVIANO, EX-GIRLFRIEND OF DONALD STERLING: Do you know that you have a
whole team that`s black, that plays for you?
STERLING: You just -- do I know? I support them and give them food, and
clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else
give it to them?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: You know what was one of the weirdest thing about the whole Donald
Sterling blowup? It was the rush in the first moments after the story
broke by a variety of conservatives to call Donald Sterling a Democrat.
Someone out there thought, hey, I bet this guy is a Democrat, and looked up
his donation records to find he`d given some money to a few Democratic
candidates years ago, as if that would be embarrassing to the Democratic
Party, as if that would implicate people who voted for Democrats.
"Mother Jones" cleared up that Sterling is, in fact, a registered
Republican, which I should be clear I still don`t think really matters at
I can`t even begin to understand the mind-set that hears that tape and
immediately wonders which party Sterling is registered with. But I think
it exposes how conservatives think of the way us liberals talk and think
about race in the Obama era, which is this.
They think we think Republicans are racist, and racists are Republicans,
end of story. And the truth is way more complex, sophisticated and
interesting than that.
In fact, FiveThirtyEight did this great post about white Republicans and
white Democrats` racial attitudes in the Obama era. And most of the data
is actually encouraging. White Republicans and Democrats` aggregate
attitudes on race track pretty closely. And while the numbers are still
way too high for the most part, they are at least trending in the right
But, unfortunately, there`s two big exceptions to this trend, the
percentage of white people who say black people lack the motivation to pull
themselves out of poverty, which has opened up to a 16-point percentage gap
between white Democrats and white Republicans, an even greater divide, 23
points, between white Republicans and Democrats who say too much money is
spent improving conditions for blacks.
And that question is at the heart of what is racialized about politics in
the Obama era, not racism writ large, not, don`t bring black players to my
game. It`s the intersection of the state and government and the perception
of who that government benefits.
Joining me now is Dorian Warren, associate professor of political science
and international public affairs at Columbia University.
It`s great to have you here, Dorian.
DORIAN WARREN, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Great to be here, Chris.
HAYES: So, this seems to me really, really key and important. I thought
that data was incredibly revealing.
When you ask white Democrats and white Republicans about comfort within a
racial marriage or how close they feel to black people, there`s not much
difference. This is where we see the divide. Who is the government
WARREN: And we have always seen this.
Marty Gilens wrote a book, a political scientist, a long time ago called
"Why Americans Hate Welfare," where he showed that Americans are actually
supportive of anti-poverty policies, unless they are racialized in some
way. And so welfare, in particular, because it was racialized, white
support went way down on that issue.
And what we know now is that, in the Obama era, any policy that he takes a
position on immediately becomes racialized. So if you take the economy, if
you take health care...
HAYES: Obamacare is the biggest one.
WARREN: ... a seemingly nonracial issue, and then you associate it with
Obama, white support goes down, way, way down.
And, in fact, another political scientist, Michael Tesler, has done an
experiment, really cool, analyzing this. He shows pictures of Bo Obama,
the dog, with Ted Kennedy`s old dog, Splash. Portuguese water dog, same
kind of dog. If you associate President Obama`s dog with his name, support
for the dog even goes down among white Americans, because -- so this is...
HAYES: That is amazing.
WARREN: So there`s this process of racialization. In fact, we`re not
post-racial. We`re the opposite. We have become more racially polarized.
We have racial conservatives and racial liberals, which is more pronounced
now in American politics.
HAYES: And so what does that -- how does that cash out for our politics?
Because I think what -- what conservatives hear is, you liberals play the
race card, you call everyone a racist.
And when I say something like, I can`t look at Medicaid expansion and look
at the map of Medicaid expansion, in which basically there`s two regions of
the country, the old Deep South, many of the states in the former
Confederacy, and the Plains West, right?
When you look at those states in the Deep South, it`s hard to look at
Medicaid expansion and not see a racial story...
HAYES: ... about who would benefit from Medicaid expansion, and which
party and which party supported by people of which color control the
WARREN: Yes, and that`s a great point to be careful about any kind of
study or analysis of racial attitudes, because attitudes do not equal
And attitudes don`t necessarily lead to particular policies. We should be
looking at behaviors and the racial impacts of policies, right?
So, I will give you another example. There`s very famous sociological
study by Richard LaPiere from the 1930s. He sent a survey to Southern
establishments, motels, hotels, restaurants, asking, would they serve an
Asian-American? They all said no. And then he went around to those very
same establishments with his Asian-American graduate assistant, and almost
everywhere, they served...
HAYES: That`s fascinating. So, people were more racist in...
HAYES: ... more racist in what they were responding than what they
actually did, right?
WARREN: Than in how they behaved, right? It`s called the attitudinal
So we have to always be careful about...
HAYES: That is fascinating.
WARREN: ... about reading too much into racial attitudes, even though
they`re important to assess, and to assess progress in particular.
HAYES: There`s one other place where you see a split. And it has nothing
to do with race explicitly. And I think it gets to this point.
It says, whites who say too much money is spent on trying to improve the
education system in 2012 -- and there`s a big gap there -- 16 percent of
white Republicans say too much money is being spent on education. You
basically can`t find any white Democrats who feel that way.
And maybe that`s not a racial effect, but it seems like you can create a
story where it`s not surprising that there`s some racial effect there.
WARREN: That`s right. It`s not surprising, especially when we know after
Brown v. Board of Education and the Supreme Court and federal courts were
mandating racial integration, that was a period over decades we saw white
flight from cities into suburbs for better schools. Right?
They didn`t want to either integrate with black children, their children
with black children, or they wanted just better funded schools. So, that`s
an example of behavior, right? It`s one thing to have an attitude. It`s
another thing to take action which then has -- creates racial disparities
for other populations.
HAYES: I would say, in summation, if you want to see people leading the
charge on this idea of the government`s giving too much to black people or
they`re too lazy, there`s a program on cable news at 8:00 p.m. on another
network where you will hear that over and over and over again.
WARREN: And even with Obamacare, we -- Rush Limbaugh kept saying,
Obamacare is reparations for black people. So it was specifically framed
HAYES: Dorian Warren from Columbia University, thank you.
WARREN: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: This spring and summer, we`re getting out and doing some exclusive
on-the-ground reporting across the country and across the political
spectrum for a series we`re calling "ALL IN America." Our first
installment has taken us to Buffalo, New York. It premieres tonight. It`s
an incredible story I`m really proud to show you.
Stay tuned for that next.
HAYES: Coming up: For the first time ever, a natural birth clinic has
been opened inside an abortion clinic -- the story behind that next.
HAYES: If you`re a doctor in this country and you decide to provide
abortion as part of your medical practice, you just expect a certain amount
of protest and harassment and menace. You hope to escape violence. It`s
just part of the job.
Tonight, we will introduce you to a doctor who`s been facing all that for
decades who was undeterred by the extreme violence of the `90s abortion
wars and is pressing forward with a new fight.
DR. KATHARINE MORRISON, OBSTETRICIAN-GYNECOLOGIST: In this country, what
we do is we infantilize women, so the woman that comes for a termination of
pregnancy, she just must be a completely deluded woman who stumbled into an
abortion facility, and had an abortion, didn`t want it.
And so what we do is, we persecute the providers. And you will see that
also in natural birth.
HAYES (voice-over): For 30 years, Dr. Katharine Morrison has been
providing abortion care in Buffalo, New York. She`s an OB/GYN by training,
also attending to women giving birth.
But now she is embarking on a new endeavor in her field, opening up the
country`s very first natural birthing center housed inside of an abortion
clinic, something that would have been inconceivable just 22 years ago.
TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: And, tonight, the city of Buffalo, New York,
is preparing for a street fight between the forces opposed to abortion and
those in favor of abortion rights.
HAYES: Buffalo was one of the major flash points of the abortion wars of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a dead baby. This is a dead human being.
HAYES: After staging successful demonstrations in Wichita, Kansas, the
anti-abortion group Operation Rescue found a receptive audience in the
largely Catholic area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think reasonable people can sit down and settle
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, personally, I don`t believe murder is debatable.
HAYES: The group was even invited to come protest by Buffalo`s Democratic
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they can close down one abortion mill, I think they
have done their job.
HAYES: But Buffalo was not Wichita. Operation Rescue was met with heavy
resistance from pro-choice groups.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we hold the line in Buffalo, then that will have
an effect on what happens in Milwaukee, and what happens in Columbus, and
what happens in Schenectady.
HAYES: For two weeks, thousands took to the streets, leading to hundreds
of arrests, patients harassed, clinics blockaded, including one named
Buffalo Women Services.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a right to walk on the sidewalk.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don`t you go home and reconsider another day?
HAYES: In the wake of this sort of anti-abortion interference, federal law
was passed to address it.
BROKAW: Blocking abortion clinics became a federal crime in this country
today. President Clinton signed a landmark bill which includes harsh new
penalties for demonstrators who block access to abortion clinics or who
harass patients and workers.
HAYES: Four years later, Dr. Morrison began working at Buffalo Women
Services, a clinic providing abortion care led by Dr. Barnett Slepian, a
local OB/GYN like Morrison. At the time, Morrison voiced her concerns over
safety to the clinic owner.
MORRISON: I said, isn`t it dangerous to do abortions? Isn`t it very
political? And she said, no, not anymore. And I was quite naive, and it
did seem that it wasn`t that -- that it wasn`t a huge deal anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was an execution-style killing. One bullet fired
from a high-powered rifle crashed through the window of Dr. Barnett
Slepian`s suburban Buffalo home, striking him in the back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Slepian`s murder may fit a pattern of attacks that
have occurred over the past four years in Upstate New York and Canada.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are doctors -- are doctors who provide abortions.
They`re all shot in their residences from outside the residence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are outraged that somebody would have the audacity
and the just terrible gall to come in and do that to another human being.
MORRISON: Certainly, after Dr. Slepian was murdered, a couple of providers
stopped working right away. People don`t want to take the chances. And
his family paid a terrible, terrible price for his courage.
So, right in the aftermath of him being murdered, I quit, because I was --
I was terrified. I had young children. My parents were still alive. I --
I did not want to die. I really wanted to live and be a parent to my
children and be a daughter to my parents.
And then, after three months, I -- two or three months, I came here, and I
really felt ashamed, you know, that there were people who were doing that
important work, and so I came back.
HAYES: In the years since Dr. Slepian`s murder, the abortion wars have
left the streets and entered the statehouses. Across the country, abortion
rights are being stripped away through legislation designed to shame women,
punish providers, and limit access to care.
Little by little, hospitals and providers in red states and blue states
have walked away from offering women the care they need because it has
become too difficult.
MORRISON: So, because abortion has been segregated, because it`s been
removed from the hospital, and because private practitioners either are
afraid to do their own terminations, because they can`t bring patients to
the hospital or because they haven`t been trained for it, they don`t know
that women have unintended pregnancies and choose to terminate them.
So, it`s the same patient who is getting pregnant and continuing a
pregnancy, and maybe next time getting pregnant and terminating a
pregnancy, and next time maybe having a natural birth. These are all the
It`s our beautiful birth room.
HAYES: It was ending that segregation that inspired Morrison to open up a
natural birthing center under the same roof as an abortion clinic.
Morrison collaborates with Eileen Stewart, a certified nurse midwife.
It`s this kind of comprehensive facility, offering women different kinds of
care, that Morrison and Stewart hope take the stigma from both kinds of
services. Stewart has seen an evolution of thinking over the course of her
EILEEN STEWART, CERTIFIED NURSE MIDWIFE: I just think that we`re moving in
the direction where people are thinking about alternatives in lots of ways.
HAYES: Yet, both women have found that the idea of natural birth is met,
in some circles, with the same kind of vitriol that abortion care is in
MORRISON: I think I`m seen as someone who cares for the wrong sort of
person, and that the other providers are taking care of the good patients.
And they`re good because they continue their pregnancies, and they`re good
because they go to the hospital to have their babies, and they have a C-
section when they`re told to. And I`m seen as somebody who is -- has a
HAYES: But the mission is to give women choices in their own health care.
MORRISON: Nobody looks back in their life and doesn`t think about the
birth of their baby, or quite honestly, an abortion as some significant
aspect of their life -- and being treated with respect and dignity around
that, so important.
HAYES: Dr. Morrison is trying to do something that extends far beyond her
own clinic in Buffalo. She`s trying to upset the conventional wisdom on
What she`s after is nothing less than to fundamentally change the way
pregnant women are treated in this country, not just by their doctors, but
by all of us.
HAYES: In a few minutes, I will be joined by Terry O`Neill, president of
the National Organization for Women, and Ruth Conniff, editor of "The
Progressive" magazine to discuss this.
HAYES: We`re back.
And I`m here with Terry O`Neill and Ruth Conniff.
Ruth, you have some intimate familiarity with natural childbirth. Right?
RUTH CONNIFF, EDITOR, "THE PROGRESSIVE": I do. I had three little girls
at home with a home birth midwife. And it was a phenomenal experience. It
was a really great experience.
HAYES: And there was that line in there that I thought -- Dr. Morrison
says that -- it`s an amazing contention -- she says almost as controversial
as abortion. What...
CONNIFF: Yes. I don`t know...
HAYES: What is the controversy, or what is the -- what is the resistance
one faces in natural childbirth?
CONNIFF: Well, I think her point that women are infantilized in our
medical system in this country in particular is a really great point.
And I found that, when I was pregnant, and I was researching my options,
and we were taking childbirth classes, that really more and more wanted to
have more control over my experience myself, and have that sense of support
and respect that midwives offer.
And I think that that -- there is this real connection between women
controlling their reproduction, whether it`s giving birth or having an
abortion. And I think she makes a great point. In fact, the history of
midwifery is, midwives used to offer both childbirth assistance and
And that moved into the hospital. And there was a real sense of male
authorities taking over. And I think we still experience that cultural
force, the sense that women should be docile patients. She talks about how
the good women follow orders and they do what they`re supposed to do.
And we have this incredibly technological childbirth process in this
country. We have like a 33 percent C-section rate. And the World Health
Organization says maybe 5 percent to 10 percent is healthy.
CONNIFF: So it`s crazy how technological it is in the hospital and the
pressure on you there.
HAYES: It`s striking to me actually that when you go back to Roe, original
Roe, the Roe decision is about the right of privacy of the doctor.
TERRY O`NEILL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: Of the doctor.
HAYES: I mean, people don`t realize this.
The finding in Roe -- and I`m going to read this -- this is the controlling
opinion in Roe, Harry Blackmun -- "Prior to approximately the end of the
first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to
the medical judgment of the pregnant woman`s attending physician."
HAYES: "The decision vindicates the right of the physician to administer
medical treatment according to his professional judgment."
So even Roe is shot through with this perspective.
O`NEILL: Even Roe.
And, Chris, it gets worse, the case after Roe, Planned Parenthood v. Casey,
Sandra Day O`Connor talking about how women aren`t necessarily the right
people to make this decision, that the state should have the right to
proselytize her, to pressure her, to encourage her to make the decision
that the state wants her to make.
Later on, in Carhart -- in the Carhart case that upheld a criminalization
of a safe abortion procedure, a late-term procedure, Justice Kennedy
specifically said, it`s OK to criminalize this safe procedure for women
because women regret the choice they make.
So it`s this -- the law is riddled with distrust of women`s ability to make
HAYES: There`s also the case -- I mean, Ruth, when I heard this story --
and -- and two of our fantastic segment producers sort of found it and and
pitched it and told it to me.
And I heard the story, and I said, oh, you know, that`s crazy. Why do I
have the reaction I have to it? Like, the tweet link version is natural
birth clinic open an abortion clinic. As a supporter of abortion rights, I
still was like, yes. There was some part of me. And what is that reaction
CONNIFF: I mean, I think it`s about the sense that we have a lot of fear
and pain that we associate both with childbirth and abortion, and
particularly with abortion, it`s been drummed into our heads, yes, women
have all these regrets.
Actually, the data show that, in fact, they don`t.
O`NEILL: Right, they don`t.
CONNIFF: And this is a really sad, awful thing.
And I think that that narrative has just overwhelmed the sense that,
actually, women make these decisions in a routine way, that one in three
women have an abortion in her life...
CONNIFF: ... and, you know, that there is this continuum of care that you
can expect, that actually we could demystify women`s bodies.
HAYES: That`s right.
CONNIFF: We could take power over our own bodies, and we just have a
healthy and happy relationship with ourselves.
HAYES: And the idea when Roe was decided, there was an assumption that of
course OB/GYNs would be providing both. They would be delivering children
and they would be providing abortion, because who else was going to do it?
What happened was, the politicization of that segregated that service.
O`NEILL: And segregates abortion out, which is a really bad thing.
I will tell you that it seemed the most natural thing in the world to me
that you have the same doctor or the same team of health care providers
providing the entire spectrum of your reproductive health care needs.
O`NEILL: If one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime,
many women also have pregnancies who have had abortions, or carry
pregnancies and have childbirths and then terminate a pregnancy for
You want to have a relationship with your health care...
HAYES: Same person.
O`NEILL: But you want the same person.
HAYES: And I have been through this incredibly dramatic and important
decision in my life. I`m -- I`m choosing to terminate right now because
it`s not the right time or for whatever reason, and three years later, I`m
HAYES: And we`re extremely excited to be bringing this child into the
world. And it`s the same person who knows your history.
O`NEILL: And it`s the same decision-making process. It`s a hugely trying
decision to have a baby, to actually continue a pregnancy.
O`NEILL: It`s scary. It can be dangerous. But, clearly, abortions are
far safer than childbirth.
HAYES: Right. Right.
O`NEILL: So, either way, these are momentous medical procedures.
HAYES: Terry O`Neill from the National Organization for Women, Ruth
Conniff from "The Progressive" magazine, thank you both. That was really,
CONNIFF: Thank you.
HAYES: All right, that is ALL IN for this evening.
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