All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
May 7, 2014
Guests: Stephanie Schriock, Chris Kromm
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
And in the sober morning light, Republicans everywhere were sifting
through what happened last night in the first big round of contested
Republican primaries. There are many headlines this morning about who won
and the ceaseless battle between the Tea Party and the establishment, and
whether the Tea Party beat the establishment, or the establishment beat the
Tea Party, or the GOP establishment became the Tea Party.
But here, my friends, is the big winner from last night -- the big
winner that no one has been talking about, this guy. Senator Rand Paul was
not on the ballot in North Carolina yesterday. But he had a proxy, who was
running with Rand Paul`s backing, and who very, very luckily for Rand Paul
and his presidential aspirations lost badly.
That candidate, who was going to be the Tea Party darling in the race,
is Greg Brannon. Brannon lost last night to Statehouse Speaker Thom Tillis
by nearly 20 points. Tillis will no go up against the Democrat, incumbent
Senator Kay Hagan, in what`s going to be a battle royal in a race that
could make or break a Republican takeover in the U.S. Senate.
If you are a Rand Paul backer or staffer or friend or close associate,
you are, today, wiping the sweat from your brow, because you dodged a
bullet with that disastrous Greg Brannon performance. Why? Because if
Greg Brannon had made it to a runoff or won the Republican primary, then
the full national spotlight would have focused on the man who Rand Paul saw
fit not only to endorse, but also to campaign for right up until Election
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: It isn`t always about just attacking
the other side, but it is about thinking the problems through. And I think
as a physician, Greg will do that. But I`m proud to be part of this
effort, as much as I can.
What America craves is a dragon slayer, and that dragon slayer is Dr.
I`m here today, because Greg Brannon is a believer. And we need true
believers in Congress.
Well, the neat thing about North Carolina is Greg Brannon is a doctor
like myself. He`s a problem solver. And I think Greg Brannon would be a
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: Senator Paul campaigned for fellow Dr. Brannon the day before
the primary election. Well, here are just a few examples of Greg Brannon`s
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GREG BRANNON (R-NC), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I think it would be much
better if we had a militia of North Carolina, militia of Maryland, exactly
the way the Congress -- the Constitution has stated, and when the executive
has to act in a war, and Congress declares a war, we would be stronger,
because our state militias will go to the federal level for our protection.
Please read Karl Marx`s "Communist Manifesto". His 10 planks of a
social government. All 10 of them are law in our land today.
President Obama is not a socialist. A socialist means government
controlled. By definition, fascism is government merged with big business
controls, and that`s what they are over there.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: That is a small sampling of the very same Greg Brannon who
also happens to owe two investors in his failed startup company more than
$250,000 after a jury found Tuesday, he provided them bogus information
about a financial deal.
This guy is in Christine O`Donnell, Joe Miller, Shannon Angle
territory. I mean this as basically one step away from endorsing Cliven
Bundy and we all saw what happened to everyone who associated themselves
with Cliven Bundy. How they had to go diving away from the grenade when it
Rand Paul has now dodged that kind of moment. Rand Paul who has tied
with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush to the lead in the GOP nomination in
the latest poll. He`s tied at just 13 percent, but he`s at the top with
Rand Paul who is assiduously cultivating the power base of the
Republican Party, including the most powerful man in conservatism, Rupert
Murdoch, who was Paul`s personal guest to the Kentucky derby. Rand Paul,
who now that his really neat candidate has lost, today gave an entire
speech to the conservative leadership institute in a Republican baseball
uniform and is now endorsing Thom Tillis.
Now, the primary is over, Paul said in a statement, "It is time for
our side to defeat the Democrat who cast the deciding vote for Obamacare,
Kay Hagan, in November. I endorse Thom Tillis and look forward to working
with him in the Senate."
So, Senator Paul, we remember during the rest of your quest for
presidency that Greg Brannon was your kind of guy.
Joining me now is Stephanie Schriock. She`s president of the Emily`s
List, a political action committee.
You guys are supporting is Kay Hagan in that race down North Carolina.
STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK, EMILY`S LIST: Sure are.
HAYES: Here`s the latest polling we have in the head-to-head matchup,
Thom Tillis, who won that nomination last night, and the incumbent Kay
Hagan, 43-43. It is going to be a very closely fought battle. How do you
see the dynamics of the race playing out?
SCHRIOCK: Well, this race just started today. I mean, Thom Tillis
couldn`t beat the Tea Party on his own until he became the Tea Party. I`d
say, all this conversation, as you started off with the establishment
embracing Thom Tillis, well, if this is the Republican establishment, I do
believe the establishment has become the Tea Party.
And so, as we look at the weeks and months that are going to come,
there is going to be a clear choice for North Carolina between a United
States senator in Kay Hagan, who fights for North Carolina families,
economic opportunity, bringing common sense to the Senate, versus a state
senate speaker, or excuse me, a state speaker, who has really ushered in an
incredibly right-wing legislative platform in the state legislature.
HAYES: What I think is fascinating about the dynamics of this race is
that usually the challenger basically is going to run against the Democrats
and Barack Obama and everything and try to hang that around the neck of Kay
But in this case, no one is more associated with the years of
reactionary governance in the state house of North Carolina than the
speaker of the house, Thom Tillis, who has overseen one of the most
restrictive voting laws in the country, cuts to Medicaid funding, blocking
expansion, down the line and that state -- those state representatives are
not very popular, nor is the Governor Pat McCrory that he`s associated
SCHRIOCK: You are absolutely right. I mean, the state legislature in
North Carolina has a 49 percent un-approval rating. They just do not like
They have just dismantled women`s rights, voting rights, you know,
HAYES: Is that a strategy, go after -- basically, make Thom Tillis
the face for what the record in governance --
SCHRIOCK: Well, any election is about a choice. And it`s a choice
between two candidates. And here, Thom Tillis, who has really become a Tea
Party candidate with a Tea Party agenda, that is way out of whack with
North Carolinians, whether it`s -- you know, again, women`s rights, voting
rights, economic opportunity.
I mean, this is a guy who is OK with defunding the Department of
Education -- I mean, this is really on the outside edge of the Republican
HAYES: It`s only -- it`s funny, Thom Tillis is very far to the right
and Thom Tillis` governing agenda, not just what he says, but his governing
agenda have been extremely far to the right, maybe one of the most right
wing statehouses in the country. It is only the total nuttiness of Greg
Brannon out there that made him seem like an establishment candidate to
SCHRIOCK: Well, that`s exactly right. Brannon was -- I mean, yes,
said some pretty outrageous things. And it will be interesting to see how
Senator Rand Paul in the months and years to come explains that as he runs
But the truth is that Thom Tillis, you know, moved right a long time
ago. And if this is the establishment`s desire for a candidacy, then they
have embraced the Tea Party politics of America.
HAYES: I want to play this clip of Thom Tillis. It`s, I think, from
a few years ago actually. It`s been surfacing and going around a lot now.
In which he has his own kind of 47 percent moment. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ST. SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC), SENATE CANDIDATE: What we have to do is
find a way to divide and conquer the people who run assistance. We have to
show respect for that woman that has cerebral palsy and had no choice in
her condition, that needs help, and that we should help. And we need to
get those folks to look down at these people who choose to get into a
condition that makes them dependent on the government and say at some
point, you`re on your own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`ve never heard that from a politician. We need to get those
folks to look down at these people who choose to get into a condition that
makes them dependent -- that`s pretty ugly stuff.
SCHRIOCK: That is not a leader of the citizenry of North Carolina. I
mean, what kind of --
SCHRIOCK: Right. If you actually care about the entire people of
North Carolina, you don`t have a plan to divide and conquer the people of
your own state. And to think that someone, today, and there`s more of
them, and there`s a whole Tea Party that believes this, which, I think, as
a Republican Party, that`s beginning to believe it, that folks choose.
They make a choice to struggle, to not have a job that pays enough.
And that is outrageous. And that is not where, that`s not where the
people of North Carolina are --
HAYES: That is the question, that remains to be seen in this race,
and depends a lot about who shows up to the poll and what that electorate
looks like relative in the midterms.
Stephanie Schriock from Emily`s List -- thank you.
SCHRIOCK: Thank you.
HAYES: Far beneath the headline election in North Carolina, there`s a
brutal and fascinating battle over the composition of the state Supreme
Court with big money pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars to unseat
Democrats on the state Supreme Court -- a Supreme Court that just happens
to rule over adjudicating regulatory fines for oh, I don`t know, companies
like Duke Energy. Same Duke Energy currently embroiled in litigation and a
criminal investigation over coal ash contamination.
Joining me now is Chris Kromm, executive director of Institute for
Southern Studies, a progressive media research and policy center based in
And, Chris, what is going on with this deluge of big money coming into
the state Supreme Court race there?
CHRIS KROMM, INSTITUTE FOR SOUTHERN STUDIES: Well, electing judges in
North Carolina has become a big business. Record amounts of money, we
expect, just shattering all records. Mostly outside money that`s coming
in. This primary election, so this is going to be a big year in North
Carolina. We have four Supreme Court races on a seven-member state Supreme
Court. Seven state races total with the court of appeals.
And in this state, judges are elected and we used to have a campaign
finance reform, public financing, which kind of leveled the playing field
and allowed a lot of different people to come into the races. That got
eliminated last year, courtesy of our budget director, Art Pope, and now
outside money has really flooded in this.
HAYES: Set the table, you guys had public funding, basically the idea
as well. It`s probably not the best idea in the world to have the state`s
highest court, which, of course, is going to be ruling over all sorts of
cases for lots of big-money enterprises like Duke Energy, to have them
funded by those same entities. And you had a law that stopped that.
And then conservatives came in, the budget director, Art Pope, who is
big multimillionaire funder of conservative causes there, came in. They
got rid of it. The conservative governor got in. Big money flowing in,
hundreds of thousands of dollars, particularly from Duke, which right now
probably had a lot of cases before this very court, right?
KROMM: Well, that`s the issue. Public financing didn`t stop this
outside super PAC money, but at least it leveled the playing field, so an
everyday candidate could at least get in the race. Now, what we`re seeing
is just records amounts coming in.
And in this primary season, which was amazing, we saw $1.4 million
flooding into just a primary race -- these two Republicans trying to unseat
the sitting Democratic these are nonpartisan races, but a registered
Democratic judge, Robin Hudson. And out of nowhere, the super PAC called
Justice for All NC.
And when I use the word organization very elusive, we went to visit
their office and it turned out to be the mailbox of a UPS mail center in a
Raleigh strip mall, but it`s basically a money funnel that took $900,000
from the Republican state leadership committee in D.C. and started is
running these attack ads, accusing the sitting judge of coddling child
Now, everybody unanimously condemned the ad, said it was one of the
nastiest in political history. And remember, this is North Carolina.
We`ve had Jesse helms and other folks, so that`s saying something.
KROMM: But one I don`t have the nastiest political ads in our
political history, and they were trying to take out this sitting incumbent
judge, take her out of the primary, so two Republicans could run in
The interesting story, though, is that Robin Hudson ended up winning
that race and ended up becoming the top vote getter. And I think in some
ways, it was a backlash to the growing influence of this big money in these
HAYES: You know, the dollar figures you`re talking about, I want to
make sure people understand this, we`re talking about a state Supreme Court
race in the state of North Carolina. You`re talking about $1.4 million.
You`re talking about $900,000. These are big amounts of money for state
Supreme Court races.
And, of course, if you are a business or an interest that might have a
case before that court, that`s kind of a small amount of money to pay if
you`ve got a $50 million settlement that might come before them. Or you
might be appealing a regulatory fine that is in the tens of millions of
KROMM: Well, that`s the issue. And a lot of these are shadowy groups
and it takes a while to figure out who the donors are.
But we know, for example, the Republican state leadership committee,
one of their top donors is Reynolds American, the tobacco giant, which
routinely has cases come before the state supreme court.
Also, the very fact that the Republican state leadership committee was
kind of indirectly involved in our redistricting of our state`s political
lines, which also ends up in the state Supreme Court. So, when those --
that money is backing the very people who are on those seats, you start to
have to wonder, if they have business before the court, are these justices
going to remember who helped get them in office?
HAYES: Chris Kromm with the Institute for Southern Studies, thank
KROMM: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, Republicans have made Benghazi their new Obamacare,
their new Fast and Furious, their new IRS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This was all about
getting to the truth. This is not going to be a side show. There`s not
going to be a circus. This is a serious investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What do you think it`s like right now to be a Republican
trying to get a seat on that committee? We`ll talk about that, next.
HAYES: Coming up, last night we told you whether the Koch brothers
were out for Jack Hanna and his animals at the Columbus Zoo. What other
local elections are they getting involved in and why? We`ll tell you,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I have never sought to raise a
single penny on the backs of four murdered Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
GOWDY: So to the extent that they would look to me as some evidence
of what`s appropriate and what`s not, there are two, still, even in a
culture of hyper-partisanship, certain things that ought to be above
politics, like the murder of our four fellow Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina has a very
important job in the Republican Party. He`s the man heading up the
scandalicious House select committee on Benghazi. And earlier this
morning, in fact just this morning, he talked about that job with great
But here`s the thing. The people over the National Republican
Congressional Committee, the organization tasked with electing Republicans
to the House, that Trey Gowdy serves in, they did not get that memo.
Demonstrated by this fundraising email they sent out less than an hour
before the congressman said those words. That e-mail directs you to
Benghaziwatchdogs.com, a Web site set up at the NRCC that tells you, you
can become a Benghazi watchdog right now, asking you to add your name and
to, quote, "help fight liberals by donating today."
The site hails Gowdy as the chief Benghazi watchdog, who at one point
today asked them to stop fund-raising off the investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOWDY: I cannot and will not raise money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the NRCC is, sir.
GOWDY: I also advised my colleagues to follow suit, and I think I did
so in a pretty unambiguous way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Not only the Web site still up, they are explicitly using
Congressman Trey Gowdy, asking you to stand with him and the Benghazi
select committee, and, of course, contribute your money.
Now, if you`ve been wondering, why the heck has there been so much
attention paid to Benghazi the last few days? It`s because of what we call
on this show, #Benghazi -- #Benghazi is an immensely lucrative opportunity
for anyone who can channel the #Benghazi fever, as evidenced by the fund-
raising, NRCC has been doing, and others have been doing on it since the
end of last year.
And by the fact that Congressman Westmoreland tells "The Washington
Examiner`s" David Drucker that 206 House Republicans have been asked to be
considered for the #Benghazi select committee. They can all send out their
own #Benghazi fund-raising e-mails.
Not only that, it gives Republicans -- well, something to talk about,
because as we`ve ask on this show, what the hell are they running on in
2014? Particularly, now, since the previous scandal they were campaigning
on, the disaster of Obamacare is -- well, actually out there quietly
working, driving down the uninsured rate and getting people health care
they so desperately need.
And if you think this is some conspiracy theory I`ve cooked up about
the cross fate between Obamacare and Benghazi, check out FOX News`
programming on these two topics. As Obamacare kicks in and starts working,
actually providing people with healthcare, FOX talks about it less and
less, while shoring up #Benghazi returns with a vengeance.
Joining me now is MSNBC contributor, Sam Seder, host of "Majority
The fundraising thing today -- I mean, what galls me is, what happens
is if you poke fun or you ridicule or you have contempt for the gross
obsession with trying to pin this on Hillary Clinton, this sort of
#Benghazi, they get so angry and self-righteous. How dare you spit on --
SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right, how can you talk about --
HAYES: Give me a break! Give me a break.
SEDER: Yes, watchdog Benghazi, you know, I don`t know what to say. I
mean, I guess someone should start to submit a graphic with sort of a
bloodhound and maybe wearing a, you know --
HAYES: That would be as classy as what they`re doing.
SEDER: Yes, I mean, it`s ridiculous. This is -- and I think that
graphic, that graph shows really what the story is here, with Benghazi.
And I think the other thing that makes this sort of perfect is -- you know,
I remember living through the first Clinton administration with travelgate,
with Watergate, with White Watergate, with Foster-gate, I mean, it just
went on and on and on.
And the beauty of Benghazi for the Republicans is that you can never
solve the mystery. They can have smoking gun after smoking gun, but no one
can even articulate to you, what is the point? What it is that the gun
supposedly shot at?
HAYES: That`s right.
SEDER: Nobody knows what the scandal is.
HAYES: So it can never be debunked, because it changes.
SEDER: And it`s just going to keep going and going and take them
through this election and it will come back after another year or so, so
that they can gin up their base again with Hillary Clinton.
HAYES: So, here`s the big strategic political question, I think, is
quite interesting. Do Democrats participate in this? This is DCCC chair,
Steve Israel, who says, "If this were a fair inquiry, the Republicans
would`ve accepted our offer for balanced rules, that is 50/50 split.
Instead, it`s become a Republican political strategy meant to raise money,
excite their base. We should have nothing to do with that," is the last
line of that statement.
Do you agree with him?
SEDER: I do. I think they shouldn`t even show up. I mean, it`s a
joke. And the bottom line --
HAYES: I agree completely.
SEDER: -- look, there is no convincing -- anyone who`s interested in
Benghazi at this point, whatever the mystery is, they`re not going to vote
for Democrats. I mean, this is a good opportunity for Democrats to
actually continue ahead with an agenda and express the fact that while
we`re trying to pursue an agenda, these guys are off with their Benghazi
watchdog t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, whatever it is that they`re selling.
HAYES: Well, that`s the thing. I think it does have a certain point
-- I do think there`s a disconnect between them understanding how it looks
to their base and how it looks to everyone else. And frankly, the way the
House is set up, they don`t have -- the folks in the House don`t have much
to fear from everyone else.
SEDER: Right, and it`s not even so much that they have so much to
fear. All their incentive structure is built upon these type of things.
They are playing to a very small but very sort of pure segment of the
That`s what these people want. This is what`s going to bring them out
to the polls. It`s what`s going to keep Republicans in the House in
office. And so for them, it makes total sense.
HAYES: Although, here`s the danger. The danger is that the pack of
horses get away from you. And John Boehner has been trying to kind of ride
this momentum and not let them get away from him. And naming a select
committee is, Lord knows where it goes.
SEDER: Oh, yes. You know, I think this is -- but that`s the perfect
metaphor for what has happened to the Republican Party. I mean, it has
gotten away from them. Frankenstein is now running through the streets,
and there`s nothing they can do about it. It won`t hurt them, necessarily,
in the midterms, but it`s going to hurt them --
HAYES: And you don`t want to go back to the day of Dan Burton
shooting a pumpkin in his backyard. You know, you`re not that far from
SEDER: I think we`re past it. Well, we`re selling tote bags. You
get a tote bag of Benghazi watchdog -- it`s crazy.
HAYES: MSNBC contributor, Sam Seder, thank you.
SEDER: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, we`re doing a new series we`re calling "All in
America". We`re traveling all over the country and bring you stories you
won`t see anywhere else that you must see. And we`re going to show you one
of those stories tonight. Stay tuned for that.
HAYES: There is nothing America loves more than a winner. There is
nothing America is more obsessed with than the cult of success. Successful
people tell us how they become successful. We love that stuff.
But one of the most successful people in America to touch a basketball
is Oklahoma City star, Kevin Durant. And yesterday, Durant received the
NBA`s Most Valuable Player Award, and in accepting that honor, he gave a
speech I found profoundly moving, because every second of it was a
rejection of the cult of the individual and the cult of success. Instead,
it was a tribute to all the people in Kevin Durant`s life, his teammates,
his coaches, his mother. All of the people who helped make the guy we know
as Kevin Durant happen.
First up, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant went on to thank his
teammates individually. Here`s just a small sampling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN DURANT, NBA MVP: The vets of this team, Fish, Nick, Kurt, Tabu
(ph), Caron, I just want to say thank you to you guys, man. Y`all mean so
much to me. Just because I can walk in and have a terrible day, and I can
see Hasheem smiling at me at 7`3", with small pants on and that`ll change
Caron, even though you just got here a few months ago, you know, we`ve
grown so close over these last few weeks and I can remember when you first
got here, you put a piece of paper in my locker. I don`t know why I`m
crying so much, man. You wrote a piece of paper in my locker and wrote,
"K.D., MVP," and that`s after we had lost two or three straight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Then it was the coaches` turn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DURANT: I know those days when you want to look at that film and kill
me, for not playing defense, taking bad shots, getting too many techs.
But you always believed that I can -- I can -- I can be the guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After all that came Durant`s tribute to his mother, Wanda
Pratt, single mom who worked the night shift at the post office to make
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DURANT: When something good happens to you, I don`t know about you
guys, but I tend to look back to what brought me here.
And you wake me up in the middle night in the summertime, making me
run up the hill, making me do pushups, screaming at me from the sidelines
at my games at 8 or 9 years old.
We weren`t supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off
the street, put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn`t
eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry, you sacrificed for
us. You`re the real MVP.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: "When you didn`t eat, you made sure we ate." Think about that
sentence for a second.
A testament to Durant, to his mom, to the millions of single parents
struggling to get by. I just wish our politics were as gracious and large-
hearted as K.D. is.
HAYES: I am very excited about a new series we have launched called
"ALL IN America."
And the idea behind it is to get out of this studio, and go out and
find stories is across the country and across the political spectrum,
looking for things happening at the ground level of American life that
illuminate some of the biggest conflicts we have in this country.
The last few days, we have brought you footage of our exclusive report
on what seems like a small battle over one gun that happens to illustrate a
whole lot about the way our gun politics work.
These are the kinds of stories we`re looking into and we want you, our
viewers, to help us out. We want you to send us pitches. You can tweet us
at #allinAmerica. You can post ideas to our Facebook page. You can e-mail
us, @allinwithchris@MSNBC.com, the subject line, "ALL IN America."
Tell us about the stories you`re seeing on the ground, battles in
education, health care, and culture, that illustrate the big political
fights in this country.
We`re working even harder to bring you the stories you`re not going to
see anywhere else, like this next story about one clinic in Buffalo, New
York, we first brought you last week.
It`s a window into the violent history of the `90s abortion wars.
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
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 the 1990s.
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 this issue?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, personally, I don`t believe murder is
HAYES: The group was even invited to come protest by Buffalo`s
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
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
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
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 career.
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
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
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 women`s health.
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: Coming up, big money in politics goes local. It`s coming to
an election near you -- more on that ahead.
HAYES: Quick programming note to tell you about.
On Friday, we are going to be broadcasting this show live from
Atlanta. We will be at the Sweet Auburn Springfest. So if you`re in the
area, please come by, watch the show in person. Go to
MSNBC.com/growinghope for more information. Hope to see you there.
Back in a moment.
HAYES: The Koch brothers were on the ballot on Election Day
yesterday, and we brought you the story of the weirdest race they got
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The billionaire Koch brothers must be best known
for spending big to influence presidential campaigns. But they are now
trying to throw a monkey wrench into the Columbus Zoo levy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s right. Americans for Prosperity, an organization
backed by the Koch brothers, whose net worth now stands at more than $100
billion, lobbied to defeat the Issue 6 tax levy in Franklin County, Ohio, a
small tax increase to fund expansion and maintenance at the Columbus Zoo
and Aquarium, whose director emeritus, "Jungle Jack" Hanna, pushed hard for
the measure to pass.
Well, Issue 6 went down hard yesterday, 70 percent to 30 percent,
thanks in part to this, a flyer from Americans for Prosperity`s Ohio branch
which falsely claimed that property taxes would have gone up 105 percent if
Issue 6 had passed.
We talked to Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman about this last night. He
said he was surprised to see the Koch brothers poking around a municipal
tax levy issue and warned they were far from finished.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COLEMAN (D), MAYOR OF COLUMBUS, OHIO: This is incredible that
the Koch brothers are interested in a zoo levy.
But you know what? What that tells me is that they`re going to be
involved in our school board races.
COLEMAN: They`re going to be involved in our city council races.
They`re going to be involved in every tax issue that comes before the
voters in the city of Columbus. And they`re going to be telling us what --
how we should be deciding how we govern ourselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for The
Ryan, I couldn`t get over this story, the fact that they were like
going big on this tax levy. So much of this is part of a much larger
RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, and, tactically, it`s the exact
same thing that they`re doing on Obamacare.
When you have this kind of disproportionate amount of money, it
doesn`t matter if you lie, because you can say, look, this woman lost her
health insurance and can`t afford new health insurance because of
Obamacare, and it can be completely false, and it can be called out as
false by the different fact-checkers, and the local paper can run
something, and you can get tsk-tsked, but they don`t have the hundreds of
thousands or millions of dollars to air that ad, and the same on a
different scale with this flyer.
You put out a flyer that says your property taxes are going to go up,
that`s completely false, and a blogger might have picked that up. In
Franklin County, a paper might have mentioned it, but voters see the flyer,
they see them everywhere. They`re glossy, so they look official, and then
you go in and you vote it down. So...
HAYES: Yes. You have also got this -- you have also got the
situation in which the actual local Issue 6 opponents, people who were
trying to get rid of it, were basically saying, yes, the 105 percent number
is kind of nutty. But you`re right. It doesn`t matter.
GRIM: Right. Right. Exactly.
And this is scary on another level, too, because there are two ways
that money works out there. There`s reward. You know, they try to
encourage action by rewarding it financially, but the threat of spending
money also discourages action.
For instance, I know, actually, of one progressive congressman who --
you know, who votes the Democratic Party line in a lot of ways, but he
happens to have a very energetic billionaire who gets a lot of his money
from for-profit schools in his district. Now, I don`t think that they have
ever had a conversation where he`s said, look, you need to vote with me on
for-profit schools, or I`m going to take -- I will put together a war chest
and come at you.
But if you look at it, he votes for these for-profit schools. And
it`s out of character. But the threat of spending that money is what
changes the calculus.
HAYES: This is a great point. It`s called the -- I have seen some --
I think one political scientist called it the iceberg theory of money in
politics, right, what you see and what you don`t see.
In this case, we have this very clear example. You see the flyers.
Americans for Prosperity`s name is on them. But the question is, the next
time that you`re some politician who wants to vote for a tax levy or wants
to bring some local tax levy up because you need a new community center to
get people some health care, or you need to hire some more teachers, right,
you`re going to be thinking about the threat of the fact that maybe some,
you know, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars,
is rain down from these outside groups to beat you up over it, and that`s
going to make people think twice.
GRIM: Right, because as much as people will say, well, you know,
there`s money on both sides, there really isn`t.
Take an issue like for-profit schools. There isn`t someone on the
other side that`s going to come in and defend this particular
GRIM: ... because, you know, nobody cares that specifically about
that issue that is well-funded enough to come in and defend him.
And, you know, the same is -- the same is true on a bigger issue, say,
with climate change. You know, 10, 15 years ago, you know,
environmentalism still had some Republican supporters. The Koch brothers
have made sure that there is nobody on the right that will support any
efforts to do anything about climate change or anything else to curb carbon
emissions or anything else related to climate change.
GRIM: There was a corporate group, corporate front group that tried
to put together some kind of trans-partisan coalition they usually roll
All they could find was Gary Bauer. They had to dig up this -- a
relic from like the 1980s. I think they had to pay him some extraordinary
sum, like 60 grand. But that`s what they are resigned to at this point.
HAYES: And that`s what -- and everybody -- everybody knows that
money`s out there, just waiting to strike.
Ryan Grim from The Huffington Post, thank you.
GRIM: Thank you.
HAYES: The Koch brothers are not the only billionaires who are
getting all up in your local elections. Gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson
is coming to a state and town near you. And that`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A cynic would say, basically, you`re just trying
to protect your own land-based casinos.
SHELDON ADELSON, CHAIRMAN, LAS VEGAS SANDS CORP.: Any skeptic could
say that I`m -- that money is the consideration. Money is not the
consideration with me. I think it`s a train wreck. That`s -- it`s really
toxicity. It`s a cancer waiting to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sheldon Adelson runs a casino empire. He is worth an
estimated $38 billion. And he has an important message for America`s
parents: Online gambling is coming for your kids.
And Sheldon Adelson wants to outlaw it, not, let`s be clear, because
it threatens his profits, but you know, for the children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: With Wi-Fi, I figured out how to get on gambling
sites with my dad`s log-in. He doesn`t know that I know it. It`s a lot
cooler knowing that I`m playing a real game, not just like "Candy Crush" or
"Fruit Ninjas." I especially like blackjack. It`s fast and I`m getting
pretty good at it. I still double-down too much, but it`s so much fun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
There is a massive battle happening right now at every level of
government, local, state, and federal, over Internet gambling. And Sheldon
Adelson has decided to make it rain.
As "The Washington Post" laid out in a great piece today, Adelson is
hiring both Republicans and Democrats to lobby in opposition to online
gambling, and giving money to candidates at every level, including Florida
Republican Governor Rick Scott, who just happened to send a letter to
members of Congress in opposition to online gambling last month, and who
also just happened to get $750,000 in support from Adelson between 2010 and
Joining me now, Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston, host of
"Ralston Reports," which is broadcast on Nevada NBC affiliates.
Jon, you`re a longtime Sheldon-ologist. Do you believe him that this
is about the kids?
JON RALSTON, "RALSTON REPORTS": Chris, your voice is just dripping
with cynicism. I can`t handle it that...
RALSTON: ... you just couldn`t believe this is about the kids.
Listen, I can tell you that his friends in the gaming industry who
aren`t too friendly toward him these days don`t believe that. They think
he`s a total hypocrite. But he makes two arguments. One is that it will
cannibalize land-based casinos, that it becomes too widespread. Google or
Facebook will start up a site and it will kill land-based casinos.
The other argument is the argument that kids will get on there, that
desperate folks will get on there and lose fortunes. But all of that
doesn`t matter. Look how he`s going about it. And you mentioned Rick
Scott, but there are other governors too who are writing letters, including
Mike Pence and Rick Perry, saying, ban Internet gaming.
Don`t forget, too, that he`s hiring all these Democrats. And these
Democrats are willing to sell themselves, Blanche Lincoln, Wellington Webb,
Chris Lehane, who you know used to be a big-time Democratic operative in
California, because he`s going into Sacramento, too.
His assistant, Andy Abboud, who is his government affairs guy, has
said -- and they love this phrase, Chris -- he will spend whatever it takes
to stop this. And he`s going to do state by state if he has to, if he
can`t get it.
And, oh, another coincidence, by the way. Lindsey Graham, who
introduced his ban...
RALSTON: ... the Internet gaming in Congress, just happened to have
his bill written by a guy who used to work for who? Sheldon Adelson.
HAYES: You know, first of all, this is just a perfect illustration of
how politics actually works, as opposed to how we pretend they work, first
Second of all, I love the ideological tangle here. Here`s a guy who`s
giving money, tens of millions of dollars to Republicans, who hates labor
unions, doesn`t like government regulation, free market up by his
bootstraps, who`s made all his money largely from the grant of a government
monopoly, right, to open a casino, and the Chinese government giving him a
casino in Macau, right, and who is now going to spend that money in the
post-Citizens United era to make sure that government regulates his
competitors out of business.
This is the classic crony capitalism. And it`s not hard to connect
the dots. Some people will say it`s a chicken and egg, but is it a
surprise that Lindsey Graham is suddenly against this after he gets some
money from Sheldon Adelson or that Rick Scott gets the $750,000 and then is
against Internet gaming?
We have a senator here, Dean Heller, who just suddenly started
parroting the Adelson rhetoric.
RALSTON: But even the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, sounds a
little bit now like Sheldon Adelson.
And, as Ryan Grim was pointing out before, maybe it`s just the fear of
what Sheldon Adelson could do to a Harry Reid in 2016, right?
HAYES: That`s exactly -- that`s exactly right. You make a few
examples of people, and then you don`t even have to spend a dollar for
people to say, well, you know what, am I really going to -- is this -- is
the hill I want to die on Internet gambling?
Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston, thank you.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
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