All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, May 12, 2014
Read the transcript from the Monday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
May 12, 2014
Guests: Robert Costa, Joe Romm, Elisabeth Jensen, David Sirota, Cameron Weiss, Mike Pesca, Esera Tuaolo
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
The collapse of large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica
appears to have begun and almost certainly unstoppable. That a quote
according to a report from "The New York Times" which credits global
warming as the cause.
Meanwhile, Marco Rubio is probably running for president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems obvious you`re getting closer to running
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I`ve openly said in the past it is
something I`ll consider at the end of this year. That I`ll look at a
number of factors, personal factors, but also whether I could best promote
this message and actually put in place these ideas I want to see put in
HAYES (voice-over): Senator Marco Rubio says he is ready to be
president if the platform will allow him to promote his message and his
ideas. One of those ideas being: climate change denialism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But let me get this straight -- you do not think
that human activity, the production of CO2, the production of CO2, has
caused warming to our planet.
RUBIO: I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic
changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. That`s
why I do not believe the laws will do anything about it, except it will
destroy our economy.
HAYES: It is now officially the price of entrance into the 2016
Republican field. You need too either literally know nothing or pretend
you know knowing.
Back in 2007, Rubio treated global warming as an accepted truth.
RUBIO: On the issue of energy, global warming, dependence on foreign
sources of fuel, and capitalism, have come together to create opportunities
for us that were unimaginable just a few short years ago.
HAYES: He advocated Florida take the lead on energy.
RUBIO: This nation and ultimately the world is headed towards the
mission test and energy diversification, demand towards such advances will
create an industry to meet it. Florida should become the Silicon Valley of
HAYES: Just last year, Rubio was far more cautious in his denial,
saying there was debate on the issue.
RUBIO: The climate is always changing. That`s not the fundamental
question. The fundamental question is whether manmade activity is what is
contributing most to it. I understand people say there`s a significant
scientific consensus on that issue, but I`ve actually seen reasonable
debate on the principle.
HAYES: But Marco Rubio`s devolution on the climate change is right in
line with the Republican Party. In fact, the GOP`s embrace of climate
denialism is one of the most dispiriting trends of the last decade. In
2003, 52 percent of Republicans thought global warming was largely due to
human activities. Just over a decade later, that number has dropped to 41
And it`s no better with Republican politicians.
As recently as 2008, the Republican Party called on their members to
address the risk of climate change based on sound science. Today, just six
years later, GOP 2016 hopefuls are running away from sound science towards
denialism and obfuscation.
Apparently, it`s somewhat of a prerequisite. In 2011, Chris Christie
said climate change was real and impacting New Jersey.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: When you have over 90 percent of
the world`s scientists who have studied this stating that climbed change is
occurring and that humans play contributing role, it`s time to defer to the
HAYES: Just two years later, he dismissed climate change as an
esoteric theory, not worth his time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several experts I`ve heard say the destruction,
though, from Sandy was probably more severe because of elements of climate
change, including rising sea levels. Are you not willing to say that`s --
CHRISTIE: No, I`m not. Because -- what did they say? First of all,
this is their business. They study it and they say, probably. Maybe.
I`ve got a place to rebuild here and people want to talk about esoteric
HAYES: And Chris Christie`s take is right in line with the 2016
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: You know, you also have to be worried about
something that is considered a so-called scientific theory that fits every
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: What I think on the left I get
tired of is this idea that -- the sanctimonious idea that somehow science
that decided all of this and therefore you can`t have a view.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Anybody who ever studied any geology
knows that over periods of time, long periods of time, that the climate
changes, OK? I`m not sure anybody exactly knows why.
HAYES: This is political cowardice at its worse and most dangerous.
But if there`s anything good to come out of their waffling, it`s that
it becomes increasingly cringe-inducing just to watch. Marco Rubio hedged
and equivocated this weekend out of fear and weakness, because the
Republican Party is losing the debate on climate change and increasingly
they seem to know it.
HAYES: Joining me now, "Washington Post" national political reporter
Robert, am I right that there`s this discomfort you see in Republican
candidates when they have to address this issue? They`re neither
forthrightly in the denialist camp, nor forthrightly in the camp of
science. They`re trying to thread a very small needle seems to me.
ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think so. I think ahead of
2016, you`re going to see a lot of Republican candidates echo Rubio. They
now that here`s just not room within the party at a national level, there`s
in the space to take a stance that is different than Marco Rubio`s. They
think it`s difficult, and especially Rubio and others who have taken some
distance on other issues like immigration, they`re really in lock-step on
this conservative position on climate change.
HAYES: And yet I can sense in the Rubio statement -- you can sense it
when we were combing through the tape of the different statements you`ve
gotten from flat earthers, they also are aware they do look increasingly
ridiculous. I mean, even Jon Karl in the interview who is, you know,
mainstream journalist, he`s not a saying, wait a second. Your saying
putting carbon in the atmosphere is not heating the planet?
I think, increasingly, there`s a distance between the orthodoxy of the
Republican Party and what just kind of mainstream consensus accepted
opinion among everyone is.
COSTA: I think that`s right, Chris. I think the most thing about
climate change right now within the Republican Party is that it is similar
in some ways to gay marriage or abortion. One issue that the Republican
position has not changed and will not likely evolve in the near future.
Republicans, especially conservative base, are not interested in doing
At the same time, at the national level, if you`re looking to run for
president, are you going to lead with talking about climate change denial?
Are you going to lead with talk about marriage? Are you going to lead with
talk about abortion?
Probably not. I don`t think Marco Rubio is going to run on his
climate change position, but he`s going to make sure he stays with it so
the Tea Party doesn`t dessert him.
HAYES: That is a great point. There are two categories I think for
any politician. The category of issues they want to talk about and the
category of issues they don`t want to talk about. In some ways, those two
categories are as important as the substance of what they believe or their
messaging is. And I thought this one from Michigan was really interesting.
You see there in a very contested race, Gary Peters, who`s a Democrat
running for that Senate seat against Terri Lynn Land, going after his
Republican opponents and saying we want to hear where you stand with
climate change. This is him talking, and this is Terri Land`s people
saying, "Terri believes there should be a healthy and educated debate on
the impact of human activity on our environment. She does not agree with
radical liberals like Tom Steyer," who`s a wealthy man who`s contributing
to the cause and Congressman Peters on the extent of the effect of human
behavior on our climate.
I thought that was fascinating. She basically doesn`t want to take a
position. She wants to hand wave away with the debate.
COSTA: And you`ve seen this from Terri Lynn Land on other issues,
such as the minimum wage. I did a piece from "The Washington Post" over
the weekend about this, and Terri Lynn Land is supportive of a small
increase in the minimum wage. It makes her a little different than some
other Republicans and on climate change, her equivocation puts her with a
little bit of distance from the national party and the conservative
This is because in a lot of these purple states, Republicans like
Terri Lynn Land are nervous, but they`re not nervous enough to really break
from the GOP line.
COSTA: But they are nervous enough to have these almost vague
positions where they try to come up and thread the needle.
HAYES: And I think you`re so right about what it signifies to voters.
Increasingly I think climate is in the issue where even people that don`t
care a ton about the issue, where it`s not in their top priority, they`re
not thinking about it all the time, it becomes a kind of signaling point, a
sort of symbolic, is this person like me? Do I want this person in a White
House? When they`re the kind of person that has no 90 percent of scientist
engaged in the most massive conspiracy history of peer review, you think, I
don`t know if that`s the kind of person that I want to put in the oval
COSTA: And when I speak to my Democratic sources, Chris, this is
smart politics for Democrats, to put Republicans on this spat about climate
change, on the defensive.
HAYES: I totally agree.
COSTA: Because you know what? It disengaged here, and a lot of
Democrats are worried about turnout. When they talk about climate change
and they remind where Republicans stand, I think base voters on the
Democratic side, they get energized, they get reminded about why they`re on
the ground fighting.
HAYES: Robert Costa of "The Washington Post" -- thank you.
COSTA: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Joining me now is Joe Romm, founding editor of
"Climate Progress," and the chief science advisor for the "Years of Living
Joe, one of the ironies here which was pointed by Alec MacGillis today
in "The New Republic" and by a number of people, of course, is that if you
look at the modeling, of what parts of the country are going to be hit the
worst and already feeling the effects worst from the climate, Florida and
Miami specifically where Marco Rubio hails from is right at the top of the
JOE ROMM, CLIMATE PROGRESS: Absolutely. You know, I was thinking
that, you know, in the real world, Rubio`s remarks really should disqualify
him from being president of the United States, but it really disqualifies
him from being a senator from Florida.
I mean, you mentioned the study about Antarctica. I talked to some
leading experts today. What it basically says is, we are faced with the
worst-case scenarios for sea level rise, and we`re talking maybe five or
six feet of sea level rise by the end of the century. That is going to
depopulate southeastern Florida, but the other point is, you cross a point
of no return, sea levels keep rising and rising to the point where most of
Florida ultimately would be underwater, and --
HAYES: Wait, I want to stop you there because that`s obviously super
depressing. Let`s try to address that -- because one of the things I think
is so nefarious about the Rubio answer, which I think you`re already
seeing, is basically this Republican denialist front, climate change is not
happening, and then they`re starting to move immediately from that to --
well, we can`t do anything about it, because we have stalled long enough,
it`s gotten so bad that we`re screwed so we shouldn`t pass your measly cap
and trade, and you saw Rubio pull off the one-two dance move in that very
ROMM: Yes. No, that is a sweet one, where you go from denying
there`s a problem to saying, oops, it`s too late to do anything about it.
But the scientists I`ve talked to say it`s not too late. It`s certainly
not too late to make a big difference in, let`s say, the rate of sea level
rise and ultimate amount of sea level rise, whether it`s going to be 10
feet or 200 feet.
You know, it`s going to take centuries to do this but I think if we
listen to the Marco Rubios of the world, then all we`ll ever remember him
by is maybe somebody will put buoy out in the ocean, this is where Miami
was, and, frankly, they can put one where Cuba was, too.
HAYES: Marco Rubio legacy buoy right where Miami used to be, maybe it
will like one of those, like animated Hallmark greeting card that plays the
quote out to the boats passing by.
Joe Romm, that`s bleak. Joe Romm, founding editor of "Climate
Progress" -- great to have you on, man.
ROMM: Yes. And be sure to have people watch "Years of Living
Dangerously" on Showtime.
All right. What`s in a name? Everything. When that name is
Obamacare. The new hard data that backs up what a whole lot of anecdotal
evidence suggests about the Affordable Healthcare Act, next.
HAYES: New insight just who is benefiting from New Jersey`s pension
funds and what the Christie administration might have to do with it. That
story is ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s a story that
came out of Kentucky where some folks were signing people up at a county
fair somewhere and some guy goes up and he starts looking at the rates and
decided he was going to sign up, and he turns to his friend and said, this
is a great deal. This is a lot better than Obamacare -- which is fine,
because we -- you know, I don`t have pride of authorship. I just want the
thing to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Obama took that anecdote about an Obamacare opponent
in Kentucky who got healthcare under the Affordable Care Act without
realizing it from a "Huffington Post" story in the early days of the fight
to get people sign up. Now, the president lost Kentucky by a whopping 23-
points and Kentucky officials branded the state change not as Obamacare but
a completely unrelated name, Kynect, with K-Y, because it`s Kentucky.
Kynect has turned out to be an indisputable success as noted by the
Kentucky Democratic Governor Steve Beshear, more than 413,000 Kentuckians
purchased insurance or qualified for Medicaid through Kynect before the
March deadline and 75 percent of them were people who lacked health
insurance before Obamacare.
Now, the story the president told last September was anecdotal, but
today, we got striking numbers to back it up. A new NBC News poll found
that while Obamacare remains enormously unpopular in Kentucky, with a 57
percent unfavorable rating, Kynect which is just Obamacare under a
different anyway is more loved than it is loathed, with a 29 percent
favorable rating with a 22 percent unfavorable rating.
There`s good news and bad news for Barack Obama and the Democrats.
The bad news is the GOP message that Obamacare is a disaster still
resonates in the minds of many Americans particularly in red states like
Kentucky. The good news is that when the healthcare law is depoliticized,
the reviews in a deep red state like Kentucky get a whole lot better.
And since as we have been discussing on the show, Republicans are now
effectively waving the right flag when it comes to attacking Obamacare with
House Republicans planning no votes or hearings on the health care law, the
polling on Kynect may serve as a preview for how Americans may soon view
Joining me now from Lexington, Kentucky, is Elisabeth Jensen. She`s a
Democratic candidate for Kentucky`s sixth congressional district.
And you have run an ad about your support for the Affordable Care Act.
I want to give folks a small listen to your radio ad. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELISABETH JENSEN (D), KY CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Thanks to Governor
Beshear, Kentucky Kynect connect provides health care to Kentuckians who
had no insurance. But Barr, along with Mitch McConnell vote to end Kynect
and let insurance companies drop coverage, deny care and charge women more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s an attack ad against your Republican incumbent Andy
Barr for voting against what is Obamacare. In that ad, it shows as Kynect.
HAYES: And so clearly --
JENSEN: Was that a question?
HAYES: Well, right. So, clearly, you`re making a judgment there that
this is a very popular program. You have the political wind at your back
on this issue.
JENSEN: Absolutely. I`ve spent more than eight months talking to
folks in every county. There`s 19 counties in the district, and I`ve
listen to people in every county, telling me it`s working for them.
I have stories from small business owners who are saving $10,000 to
$12,000 a month by allowing their employees to get their insurance through
the state exchange, through Kentucky Kynect.
I`ve talked to a mother here in Lexington who is saving $2,000 a year
on her children`s premiums.
I just met a woman last weekend in Estill County who, for the first
time, she is 57 years old -- for the first time, she had health insurance,
and she immediately went to the doctor after insurance for the first time,
they found a heart condition and she immediately had to have surgery. And
she might not have gone to the doctor if she did not have Kynect.
So, there are real stories that are out there every day, real success
stories. There`s 413,000 people enrolled, and Andy Barr and Mitchell
McConnell are going to have to fight against that if they want to repeal
this act. Andy Barr has already voted 19 times to end Kentucky Kynect.
HAYES: Do people know that, right? That`s the interesting question
about this polling. Do the think, oh, Andy Barr is against Obamacare which
I don`t like. Do you`ve have a kind of voter education role to play to let
people know that`s the same thing he voted against, not this abstract
Obamacare monstrosity but the Kynect your cousin is on?
JENSEN: That`s what we`re going to keep reminding everywhere, that
Kentucky Kynect is working and Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell have been
voting against its for two years.
HAYES: Do you think that you`re going to see any turnaround in the
politics of this from your opponent Andy Barr or from Mitch McConnell
statewide? Do you think that they will stop talking about Obamacare as we
head down the stretch, as we get out of primary season into general
election season? Do you anticipate them making a decision it`s no longer
politically expedient to beat up on Obamacare when it`s having that success
in the state of Kentucky?
JENSEN: They have been talking about this and trying to repeal it for
years and it`s going to be really hard for them to backpedal. Hey should
Our state that Kentucky is in, our health, we`re at the top of the
list of obesity, we`re at the top of the list for heart disease, we`re at
the top of the list for lung cancer. Our state needs this. It`s getting
people insurance. It`s getting people covered. It`s getting people health
care, and it`s wrong for them to fight against this for so long, and
they`re going to have to take the blame for that.
HAYES: And you think they`ll take the blame for it? Are voters going
to make that connection? Because it`s one thing to have it and have it
fade into the background. It`s another to keep it alive as a live election
issue. I mean, if Republicans have done a great job demonizing it, often
it seems Democrats haven`t figure out the way to good own offensive about
JENSEN: I`m going to be on the offense for if every day. I`m going
to make sure the voters in the district are aware of it. I think all of
the Democrats in our state should stand up. Our governor has done a great
thing to get this off the ground, to get it rolling, to get 413,000 people
in our state covered, and I think it should be a model for all the country.
HAYES: Elisabeth Jensen, who is running for Congress in Kentucky,
thank you for joining us tonight.
Up next, I agree with Senator Rand Paul and Senator Paul agrees with
the ACLU. How that Venn diagram comes about, next.
HAYES: Ever since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the
trigger on the so-called nuclear option, removing the obstacle of
Republican filibusters on most judicial nominees, the fortunes of the White
House in filling judicial vacancies has really turned around. During the
six months prior to Senator Reid`s decision, the Senate confirmed 24 of the
president`s nominations. Just under six months later, 39 more have already
But now, the administration has run into an obstacle with two proposed
nominees set to be considered tomorrow, one of whom is Georgia state judge
Michael Boggs, conservative Democrat who is opposed by pretty much every
single liberal interest group, for very good reasons. As a state
legislator, Boggs voted to, quote, "choose life license plates" and to
tighten restrictions on minors seeking abortions, even in cases of rape or
incense, and to keep the Confederate insignia on the Georgia state flag.
The other judicial nominee facing obstacles is David Barron, and he is
being opposed by an interesting ideological coalition that includes
Democratic Senators Mark Udall and Ron Wyden, Code Pink, the ACLU, and
Senator Rand Paul. They`re making a fairly simple request. When Barron
worked in the Justice Department`s Office of Legal Counsel, he co-authored
a legal memo that provided a legal basis for the U.S. government to target
and kill U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. This in spite of the Constitutions
fairly plain guarantees to a trial by jury and due process.
The bipartisan coalition of senators wants that memo and all the other
ones Barron authored released. Whether or not you agree with the memo on
constitutional grounds, I can think of no conceivable reason the logic
contained therein should be kept secret from Americans.
And yet, that`s exactly what this administration has done. Summaries
of the memo have leak and the Obama administration has agreed to make that
one -- only that one memo available to the senators that want to read it.
But, frankly, that`s not enough.
Senator Rand Paul in today`s "New York Times" writes, quote, "Legal
arguments that affect the rights of every American should not have the
privilege of secrecy. The Obama administration has established a legal
justification that applies to every American citizen."
That may be true or not, the fact is we don`t know without seeing the
memo. The request for transparency is absolutely right and warranted,
independent of David Barron`s own merit as a nominee. But if this is the
lever that is going to pry open this obviously important public
information, then so be it. Release the memos.
Governments are entitled to keep secrets. They are not entitled to
keep secret law.
HAYES: I`m going to let you in on an open secret in the world of
You see, when laypeople like us think about real money, we think about
hedge funds, investment banks. But inside the world of Wall Street, what
they refer to as real money are the pension funds. See, that`s where the
gigantic buckets of unguarded money really is.
What the investment banks and hedge funds want is to get their hands
on real money, which is pension funds, to manage them and charge fees for
doing so and make a killing. And it`s precisely because of that, precisely
because these huge pools of money that are such inviting targets for
financiers, that the state of New Jersey has these extremely strong rules
to make sure that the politicians charged with overseeing that money don`t
give out contacts to manage that money as a kind of quid pro quo for
It`s called pay-to-play laws. In fact, Governor Chris Christie rose
to power criticizing among other things then Governor Jon Corzine`s close
connections to Wall Street. In a 2009 Web ad now unavailable, Christie
equated Corzine to Wall Street villain Gordon Gekko. And the Web ad
included this clip from the movie "Wall Street."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL DOUGLAS, ACTOR: The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that
greed, for lack of a better word, is good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, since then, things have changed.
New Jersey, among all 50 states, ranks number two in the amount of
pension funds it`s invested in Wall Street hedge funds. Texas is number
one. And right now, the Chris Christie administration and one of Chris
Christie`s fellow Republicans politicians are fending off a flurry of
inquiries about New Jersey`s pay-to-play laws and/or New Jersey Treasury
rules and whether they have been violated.
And the kicker is that the fellow Republican politician, Charles --
Charlie Baker, happens to be running for governor of Massachusetts, for the
second time. All right, here`s the basic timeline that no one is disputing
as set out in a Pando exclusive and corroborated by "The Boston Globe."
"Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker donated $10,000 in
May 2011 to the state party committee of Governor Chris Christie New
Jersey. Now, only seven months later, a Christie administration-controlled
fund committed $25 million to an investment firm that lists Baker as a
Now, Baker has offered arguments disclaiming any wrongdoing
whatsoever, that he was a registered investment professional, that he never
discussed the contribution with others at the investment firm, General
Catalyst Partners, that he did not contribute at the behest of others at
General Catalyst Partners, and even that he was not an actual employee in
the strict legal sense of the firm General Catalyst Partners, that even
though Pando has uncovered 33 documents which suggest otherwise.
So it`s quite possible Baker did not violate New Jersey`s pay-to-play
laws, but Baker would probably have to explain a great deal more to make
And the same may be true for the Chris Christie administration. ALL
IN has asked for a comment from the Christie administration, but has yet to
receive a reply.
Joining me now from Denver is the author of that piece, David Sirota,
staff writer for PandoDaily.
All right, David, Baker`s folks are saying you`re totally out of line,
this was completely innocuous, and he`s not really part of this firm.
Convince me they`re wrong.
rMD-BO_DAVID SIROTA, PANDODAILY: Well, I think he`s already tried to
convince you that you`re wrong when he filed as his employer on 33 separate
campaign documents -- when he listed as his employer the same firm in
The fact remains that Charlie Baker made a $10,000 contribution to the
New Jersey Republican State Committee a few months before the New Jersey
pension fund controlled by Chris Christie gave that same firm a large
And Charlie Baker never disputed that he was an investment person,
never disputed that he was an employee at the firm in all of the news
coverage previous to this. Only now, when pay-to-play laws, when pay-to-
play rules have been brought up is Charlie Baker saying, oh, all those 33
campaign documents that I said General Catalyst was my employer and all the
times that I said I was an investor or an executive or partner in
conjunction with that firm, all that stuff, now that was just in error. I
made a mistake.
SIROTA: And what it really says...
HAYES: But explain to me -- so, let`s say -- and this was your
investigative report, you found this, you published this, you have
published the follow-ups. It`s been front page of "The Boston Globe," the
fallout for this for the Baker folks.
So, OK, so, look, money changes hands. Baker is a big, well-connected
Republican. He happened to give Chris Christie money. His fund happened
to get money. What is the problem there from any kind of legal or rule-
breaking sense, even if it turns out to be the case he is as associated
with this fund as you seem to suggest he is?
SIROTA: Well, it`s because Chris Christie, first and foremost, has a
responsibility under New Jersey Division of Treasury rules, to not give out
pension contracts to firms whose employees or associates -- that`s in the
rules -- associates have given money to Chris Christie or really any state
politician in New Jersey.
So, first and foremost is the question is, where is the due diligence
from New Jersey in the middle of a culture of corruption? Is there anybody
even looking at these rules in the Christie administration?
Secondly, the larger problem is, this comes out of a problem where
people, as you suggested before, have been spending money on campaign
contributions for pension contracts. The problem with that is that pension
money is supposed to be invested solely with the fiduciary regard for the
money of retirees. It`s not supposed to be spent with regard for whether
the pension fund person or the politician controlling the pension fund is
connected to a political donor.
HAYES: So we have heard a lot of reaction from Baker`s people. Baker
has been pushing back against this very hard. He`s been saying, I`m not an
We have basically heard nothing, as far as I can tell, from the
Christie administration, although it seems to me that the implications are
more severe for them. I`m kind of curious, what have you heard? Have you
gotten any response from the Christie folks?
SIROTA: The only response that we have gotten from the Christie folks
is that General Catalyst, Charlie Baker`s firm that he has listed 33
separate times, that he`s been in the press bragging previously about how
he works there, the only response we have gotten is that, well, they filled
out his disclosure form and they didn`t list Charlie Baker`s political
contributions on it, which then raises the question, is that the only due
diligence that the Christie administration is doing?
SIROTA: Aren`t they asking deeper questions? Aren`t they even
searching New Jersey`s own government searchable contributions? This was
on the New Jersey government Web site. The fact that the Christie
administration apparently didn`t seem to know about this is astonishing.
HAYES: And you have got to also think about the fact, New Jersey
happens to have very strong rules.
So the possibility of a rule violation here where a contribution
happens and a few months later a contract goes out, that`s only a possible
violation by the rules or the law because the bar is so high in New Jersey.
There`s 49 other states in which the bar is much lower. And I kept
thinking, as I`m reading all this reporting you have been doing on
pensions, particularly this Jersey story, what the heck is going on in
other states where there`s essentially very little in the law to stop this
kind of thing from happening?
SIROTA: That`s a terrific question.
And if it`s happening in New Jersey, you can bet it`s happening all
over the country. We have a situation now where there are $3 trillion
worth of money in public pension funds. And there is -- it`s the Wild West
in many cases. We reported earlier about the company Blackstone and how it
employs basically an army of lobbyists in the state of Kentucky.
And it`s gotten large pension contracts there. These are just example
after example after example where Wall Street is funneling money, Wall
Street and financial firms are funneling money into the campaigns of the
legislators and state officials who are making -- who overseeing these
pension funds. And the question for taxpayers and retirees are, what is
being given out?
SIROTA: Pension management contracts with high fees, those are a
ripoff for taxpayers and they`re a ripoff for retires.
HAYES: Most of the hedge funds that I saw in a list just published
recently missed the S&P performance in this year and they`re charging fees
that are anywhere from two to 10 times what a standard index fund would.
So, if you have a pension fund investing in a hedge fund, they better
be getting a good return for that taxpayer dollar they`re putting to them.
Otherwise, they`re getting, in the parlance of Wall Street, their faces
David Sirota, staff writer for PandoDaily, great work on this. Thank
SIROTA: Thank you.
HAYES: Michael Sam becomes a Ram and the first openly gay football
player to get drafted in the NFL, but now what? His agent will join me
HAYES: It`s pretty rare to have business meetings that are also TV
ratings gold. But, somehow, the NFL has pulled it off.
The annual event in which the National Football League selects which
college players to draft on to their teams is a breakout success for the
sports network carrying it.
On the first night of the draft, ESPN`s viewership was up 48 percent
from last year to a whopping 6.8 rating, the highest ever for the draft.
It means nearly eight million households were watching on average to the
Compare that to what else was on TV on Thursday and more people
watched the NFL draft than watched either NBA playoff game combined,
meaning more people were watching men in suits decide who will play in
sporting events months from now than were watching actual playoff sporting
events happening live.
As to what actually happened in the draft, it was a big night for than
just America`s sports networks.
Michael Sam`s agent will join me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Cameron the NFL draft has become this big television event
year and year out. It gets bigger every year. I have a feeling this year
there`s going to be even more people tuning in cheering for your client.
CAMERON WEISS, SPORTS AGENT: There was definitely a time in this
country when sports were ahead of the curve. When Jackie Robinson broke
the color barrier, we were far ahead of any of the civil rights changes
that had happened yet.
And if people pass over Mike because of his sexuality, I think it is
going to be a sad moment for us all, because it will truly signify the fact
that sports have fallen just very, very far behind the rest of society in
terms of where we`re at our acceptance and tolerance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There were 256 players by teams selected in the 2014 NFL
draft, an event that has become a three-day multimedia extravaganza in
which fans in crazy outfits flock to Midtown Manhattan and millions more
watch live on TV, all this just to have the pleasure of watching other
people read a list of names, and watch athletes in expensive suits put on
baseball caps and hug the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.
And yet somehow at it all imbued with tremendous drama. This year,
there was extra drama, because, by Saturday evening, on the third and final
day of the draft, 248 people had been drafted. Only eight more selections
And in the parlance of the draft, this guy, the SEC defensive player
of the year, an openly gay athlete, Michael Sam, was still on the board.
With everyone watching and time running out on the draft, the question
lingered of whether the NFL was going to, well, frankly, pass the social
test set before it and bring an openly gay football player into the league.
Then the call finally came.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the 249th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the
Saint Louis Rams select, Michael Sam, defensive end, Missouri.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And then the reaction from Michael Sam himself. The reaction
to that instantly iconic moment when Michael Sam celebrated by kissing his
boyfriend went two ways.
According to ESPN`s Adam Schefter, fans inside Radio City Music Hall,
where the draft itself was taking place, were heard chanting, "Michael Sam,
Michael Sam." Even President Obama celebrated the news, saying in
statement -- quote -- "From the playing field to the corporate boardroom,
LGBT prove every day you should be judged by what you do and not who you
The other side of the reaction was of course predictable. Twitter was
full of messages like this one spotted by Deadspin: "I`m not going watching
ESPN until this Michael Sam story dies. It`s gross. I`m not trying to
watch two dudes kiss on a sports show."
Joining me now from California is Michael Sam`s agent, Cameron Weiss.
Cameron, congratulations. But take me through what you guys were
thinking in Saturday morning, into midday Saturday, or even Friday, when it
was getting very, very, very close to the end of this draft and looking
like your client might not make it.
WEISS: You know, tensions were high. It often gets that way on draft
day anywhere you are. Obviously, the stakes were a little bit higher here,
So, Joe and I were just continuing to put feelers out there, talk to
people we knew on the inside, and trying to get an accurate gauge of where
Michael was going to go.
HAYES: What was the atmosphere in that room like as the possibility
of not getting drafted must have entered the picture? Was there
frustration? Do you get any beef between people, like, we shouldn`t have
come out, we shouldn`t have done this, I`m mad about this?
I can imagine tensions get so high under the circumstances because you
have no control over the future of your life and career.
WEISS: Yes, the room was definitely tense, but there never any
finger-pointing or anything like that.
We have an unbelievable relationship with Mike, and bottom line is,
people already knew that he was gay. Scouts already knew that he was gay.
If he was going to fall in the draft because of his sexuality, whether or
not we came out publicly, it was still going to until affect him.
HAYES: So, there are arguments, sort of Monday-morning
quarterbacking, to use the phrase, about where he landed in the draft
compared to where he was possibly projected.
Early projections had him maybe in the fourth round, around there. He
said himself he should have been taken in the first three rounds. Do you
think that his sexuality and him coming out accounts for slipping to the
final round of the draft?
WEISS: There`s a lot of different things that go into grading a
player, and ultimately where he is taken. Sometimes ,it doesn`t have to do
with what he did on the field the year before.
Mike had some results at the combine which we weren`t quite so happy
with. He obviously improved on them. To speculate as to what role his
sexuality subconsciously played in the minds of 32 general managers, for me
to comment on that would just be conjecture. And I really don`t think it
had anything to do with it.
HAYES: So he has to make the team now. It just occurred to me as I
was watching the tape of him and thinking about the coverage, this is a
Professional athletes are under a tremendous amount of pressure.
There`s a lot of money on the line. There`s a lot of scrutiny. These are
young -- young adults. They`re 21-, 22-year-old individuals. And now on
top of that, he has got the whole world looking at whether this seventh
round player is going to make a team that has already got actually a pretty
good defensive line.
Like, is he ready for this? It strikes me that the amount of
intestinal fortitude this guy must have to put himself through the
situation is just pretty remarkable.
We know what he has to do, too. He is all about work. He said after
he celebrated Saturday night he was going to turn the page and it`s all
work from here out. He is going to a very talented and well-coached unit,
a great organization. And he knows that he`s going to have go out and
compete hit butt off if he wants to make the roster.
HAYES: Do you worry about what happens if he doesn`t make the team,
both from a kind of personal standpoint of your client, but also that this
dream dies, that there is all this coverage, that there is all this second-
guessing? You guys have set yourself up for yet another climatic moment in
the near future.
WEISS: That seems to be the Michael Sam story, doesn`t it, Chris?
We`re very confident he is going to make the roster. If it`s not with
Saint Louis, he is going to be contributing on someone`s 53-man roster this
season because he has all the tools to do that.
HAYES: I thought the kiss, the image of the kiss was so incredible
and moving. You guys have had to manage these intimate parts of his life
in a way that is not normally expected of an agent with a heterosexual
Was there discussion about that? Was there discussion about the
optics of it? Was there discussion about, oh, we should do this or not do
this or these people should be in the room?
WEISS: I didn`t know it was going to happen. Neither did Joe.
And, frankly, it didn`t matter to either of us. We have obviously
seen Mike and Vito kiss many times. And the joy that was in the room, the
sense of relief that was in the room, I thought it was completely
appropriate, and it was a beautiful moment that people were allowed to
share in with Mike and with us.
HAYES: Cameron Weiss, who is Michael Sam`s agent, congratulations on
the draft. Thanks a lot.
WEISS: Thank you very much, Chris. Pleasure having me on again.
HAYES: Michael Sam might be poised to be the first openly gay player
in the NFL, but he won`t be the first gay player in the NFL. We will talk
to someone who lived it next.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SAM: The 2013 co-defensive player of the year is ready to (EXPLETIVE
DELETED) show the world that he`s also ready to work.
QUESTION: You sound like you`re ready to get out there in the regular
season now, Michael.
SAM: Let me tell you something. If we were playing the Vikings right
now, I would probably have three sacks the first game.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Mike Pesca, who holds the great new Slate
podcast "The Gist," and Esera Tuaolo, a former defensive lineman from the
NFL and author of "Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL."
Mike, Michael Sam`s agent did not want to speculate on this question
that everyone is asking whether he slipped in the draft because of the
publicity around him being gay. What do you think?
rMD-BO_MIKE PESCA, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: OK.
He was a fifth round -- projected to be a fifth round before the
public knew he was gay. He did not do well in working out in the combine.
Fifth round picks who put up as few weights as he did in the bench press
slip to seven.
So we don`t know why, but it`s totally plausible, given his overall
resume, that he would slip. And then the reason he went -- and Fisher, the
coach of the Rams said this is -- just look what he did on the field. He
didn`t work out well, but he was so good on the field, at least one team
HAYES: Esera, there was some ugliness after the moment he was
But I got to say, like, to put it in perspective, Miami Dolphins
player Don Jones tweeted "OMG" and "horrible" after seeing the kiss. He
then put out an apology statement.
But I didn`t actually think there was that much, frankly. I felt like
we were running to Twitter to search for horrible things people were
saying, and it all amounted to not that much. It seems to me like that has
been the story so far, which is not that big deal in the way people have
dealt with it.
ESERA TUAOLO, FORMER NFL PLAYER: I know, the big kiss, right?
When the Rams announced that they took -- they picked Michael Sam, I
tell you what, it was such an emotional feeling. It was such an amazing
feeling. And it was such a different response from when I got drafted back
You know, I had a panic attack when my name got called. But to see
Michael Sam embrace his partner and show affection was the most amazing,
amazing feeling for me. And that this young gentleman is going to be able
to go into the NFL and be himself, and not have to worry about looking over
his shoulder, not having to worry about not introducing his partner to the
team or anything like that, so it was -- for me, it was very emotional and
I was very excited.
But I also was a kind of a little -- a little ticked off, like a lot
of other people, that he went in the seventh round. So...
HAYES: Tell me -- when you said you almost had a panic attack on your
draft day in 1991 -- again, it was probably not being broadcast live,
watched by eight million people.
TUAOLO: Yes, exactly.
HAYES: Why did you have that panic attack?
You know, I did -- I had a panic attack. And it was because I was in
the closet, because I was gay, and I was living with this crippling secret
all my life. And, for me, I was thinking that someone would see my name on
the board, my name on the board, and contact the Green Bay Packers that
they just drafted a gay guy.
HAYES: Oh, wow.
TUAOLO: And that`s -- I wasn`t able to enjoy it that way.
But, man, just to see from when I came out, when I got drafted to now,
absolutely amazing. And it was such a historical moment.
PESCA: You know, by the way, that`s the answer to whenever anyone
says, why do we care about his sexual orientation, why can`t he keep it to
himself? That`s the answer. That`s what happened. That`s called being in
HAYES: That`s exactly right.
TUAOLO: That`s the answer, yes.
HAYES: Please, Esera.
TUAOLO: Well, I have to tell you guys, like, when I went to the Super
Bowl with Atlanta, right, so I`m watching all the wives. I`m watching all
the families come in, and they`re getting introduced to all the coaches and
So my partner at the time, Mitchell, had to like hide in the shadows.
TUAOLO: That`s the kind of stuff that really took a toll on me and
put me into that depression, because I wasn`t able to do that.
Man, what Michael Sam -- not only that. He is going to be able to
play to the best of his potential without like having to deal with any of
that. And let me tell you, it`s going to be -- it`s going to be amazing.
HAYES: Right. I keep thinking about the amount of -- I`m really
blown away by this guy, Michael Sam, just as an individual, part of the...
HAYES: Just -- this is someone who has chosen to do something that
puts such unbelievable stress and pressure on himself, as a 21-, 22-year-
I just -- even the kiss itself, Mike, I just thought that so awesome
and courageous and proud. And just it really makes me admire this guy. I
think he`s an incredible story.
TUAOLO: Actually, like what -- go ahead. go ahead.
PESCA: Well, I was just going to say, the greatest thing about it is,
it just seemed so honest and non-contrived and in the moment.
HAYES: Right. Exactly.
PESCA: Like, I`m going to kiss Vito, because that`s what I want to
do, is kiss Vito.
TUAOLO: That`s how we celebrate in America, right?
TUAOLO: When something good happens, you embrace the person that you
And so that`s -- it was just natural. But I have got to tell you
this. I`m excited that he`s going to the Rams, not only because they
picked him, but I`m also excited because my coach, Mike Waufle, will be his
coach, defensive line coach with the Rams.
So I was able to talk to Mike today. And it was -- we had a great
discussion and an amazing discussion.
HAYES: So, here`s my question to you, Mike.
HAYES: Do you think there was anyone from the NFL on the phone with
those teams as it was getting down to the 10 and the eight, being like, one
of you better take this guy, because if he had not been taken, it would
have been the story everywhere on Monday.
PESCA: Well, they deny it, and I don`t doubt them.
But what they do is set a tone. And they know that -- they make it
clear that not only will he be welcomed, that this will be a good thing for
the league. I think that that`s the circumstance for the Rams. And who
knows. Maybe one of the other teams were going to pick him, too.
Their owner, Kroenke, went to Missouri for like all three, J.D., and
MBA and all that.
HAYES: Right. Right.
PESCA: So, he`s got a nice home there.
Seventh round picks are not guaranteed to make teams. He might get
cut. He might make a taxi squad. But I think if -- I went back at the
last like five guys that were picked in his spot, and they have all played
in the NFL. And I think that is what is going to happen with him.
HAYES: Mike Pesca, host of "The Gist" podcast on Slate, and former
NFL player Esera Tuaolo, thank you gentlemen, both.
That`s ALL IN this evening.
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