All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
June 11, 2014
Guest: Robert Costa, Jason Zengerle, Elizabeth Warren, McKay Coppins, Jess
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
Another big show for you tonight, and this time, we promise, Senator
Elizabeth Warren will be here live. Unless, of course, more shocking once
in a lifetime political news breaks, and we don`t expect that to happen.
So, to the ongoing fallout from last night`s shocking once in a
lifetime upset, when Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the
number two Republican in the House, lost the Republican primary in
Virginia`s seventh congressional district, 56 percent to 44 percent. He
lost to a heretofore unknown Tea Party economics professor named David
Brat, a man who had been thought to be the longest of long shots.
Cantor raised more than $5.4 million for his re-election race and
spent more than $5 million of it. Compared to the just over $200,000
raised by Brat. That`s a difference of 26-1.
In fact -- and this is one of the most telling details about the race
-- Eric Cantor`s campaign actually spent more money at steakhouses, about
$168,000, than David Brat spent on his entire campaign.
An internal poll by Cantor`s campaign two weeks ago showed Cantor up
by a whopping 34 points. And "The Washington Post" wrote ahead of the
vote, the only question in this race is, quote, "How large Cantor`s margin
of victory will be."
Eric Cantor is the first House majority leader ever to lose a primary.
Pretty much nobody predicted his downfall. And that includes the big
national Tea Party groups, which spent zero dollars on political
expenditures against Cantor.
David Brat wasn`t really even on the radar screen of national Tea
Party groups, in part because he skipped a pair of meetings with
conservative leaders last month. It seems that Brat, college professor,
had to deal with final exams instead.
Cantor`s loss has cast the House Republican caucus into chaos. At an
emergency House GOP meeting this afternoon, Speaker John Boehner reportedly
shed tears as Cantor spoke to his colleagues. And Cantor, who is Jewish,
in fact, the only Jewish member of the House Caucus, reported a Holocaust
survivor and said, "Suffering is part of life. Misery is a choice."
Cantor then stepped before the cameras to announce he would stepping
down as majority leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: Now, while I intend to serve out my
term as a member of Congress in the seventh district of Virginia, effective
July 31st, I will be stepping down as majority leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Cantor says he is backing House majority whip, Kevin McCarthy,
a fellow young gun, as they like to call themselves, as his successor. But
rivals are already working through the lineup of supporters, a fierce fight
is expected for Cantor`s job. The election will be held next Thursday.
There`s good news for Eric Cantor in all of this, is that at least he
won`t have to take anymore ribbing from President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, I get letters
from folks around the country every day. I get 10 that I read. This one
got to me. A Virginia man who`s been stuck in the same part-time job for
years, no respect from his boss, no chance to get ahead. I really wish
Eric Cantor would stop writing me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Robert Costa, national political reporter for
"The Washington Post."
OK, Robert, what was the scene like last night and into today among
House Republican leadership as they tried to process this news?
ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST: It was a chaotic scene today.
Last night at the Capitol, they were burning the midnight oil. And I got
there early this morning, around 7:00 a.m. and Kevin McCarthy, now seems to
be the heir apparent for Cantor`s position as majority leader. Everyone
was trying to be delicate about the situation, letting Cantor make his own
decision, make this announcement before they started counting noses, but
the leadership race began promptly in the afternoon.
HAYES: So, was it always a foregone conclusion that Cantor would have
to -- would have to step down? I mean, it seems like you just can`t play
the role of enforcer, disciplinarian, of a House majority leader, having
lost a primary in your own party.
COSTA: When I spoke to a lot of Cantor`s allies and best friends last
night, around midnight, they said there was talk about Cantor maybe staying
on through the end of the year, guiding the party through the midterm
But eventually, around 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m., when I reconnected with
them, they acknowledged that Cantor`s political capital has so diminished
by his defeat in a primary, it just didn`t make sense for him to stay on.
It`s not that he didn`t have the power, he didn`t have the influence with
the members, and that`s what he needs.
HAYES: Is Speaker Boehner imperiled at all by this?
COSTA: No. In fact, one of the most under the radar stories today
was, I think Speaker Boehner has ascended. For someone who was maybe
eyeing retirement, now Speaker Boehner is telling his friends today he
plans to run for speaker again this fall.
COSTA: It`s big news that Boehner is privately saying that. He wants
to stay on. And why is Boehner choosing to stay on? He sees it`s not
going to be too hard for him to do so.
With Cantor leaving, that`s his biggest rival gone. Kevin McCarthy is
ready to perhaps be a majority leader, but not ready to be national
speaker, be a national leader at that level.
HAYES: OK, if you could have given truth serum last night to John
Boehner at 2:00 in the morning, as he sat there working his way through a
pack of cigarettes and finishing off some bourbon, what would you have
gotten out of him? Deep in his heart of hearts, as one who reports on him,
knows people close to him, has sources around him, was he happy last night
COSTA: Boehner is someone who sometimes surrounds himself with
tragedy. I think he was sad last night. He`s an institutional man, and I
think he was disappointed to see someone suffer, see someone`s career fall
I think, though, Chris, if you`d asked me this question back in 2011,
when Cantor was trying to destroy the grand bargain on the fiscal deal,
Boehner maybe would have cracked a half smile. But since Cantor`s worked
alongside Boehner quite strongly over the last two years, they`re actually
not friends, but allies and they`ve worked together and I think he was sad.
HAYES: How gnarly is this race for House majority leader going to get
within the caucus? You`ve got Kevin McCarthy, you`ve got Pete Sessions,
who`s a Texas Republican, who`s maybe throwing his hat in the ring, and Jeb
Hensarling, Jeb Hensarling, who is a very hard-line Tea Party type is also,
I understand, going to try to go for this as well?
COSTA: Perhaps. So I sat down with Pete Sessions from Dallas, Texas,
and he`s definitely running. He does not like McCarthy.
Remember, back in 2010, Pete Sessions wanted to be whip. He thought
McCarthy was an upstart. At the time, Sessions was running the NRCC and he
thought he deserved more credit for the Tea Party wave, so they`ve always
had tensions. So, Sessions is definitely going to challenge McCarthy.
Does Sessions have the deep base? I don`t think so.
And I don`t think Jeb Hensarling is actually looking to run. He still
seemed undecided late today. So, it looks like McCarthy, even though he`s
not necessarily the most popular person with conservatives in the House, he
seems poised to be the next majority leader.
HAYES: Robert Costa from "The Washington Post," thank you so much for
COSTA: Thank you.
HAYES: Now, let`s talk about Eric Cantor for a second. Eric Cantor
had positioned himself as an ally of the very Tea Party that ultimately
unseated him. Now, along with Mitch McConnell, Cantor has been arguably
one of the biggest and most damaging obstructionists of the Obama era. It
was Cantor who was a prime architect of 2011 debt ceiling standoff that
made Tea Party recklessness the new normal in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN A. FARRELL: Cantor proposes the that they do something which had
not been done before, which is to use the debt ceiling vote for maximum
leverage, and threatened to throw the country into default.
NARRATOR: Cantor saw the threat of a no vote as leverage to force the
president to accept dramatic spending cuts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Eric Cantor`s decision to help lead the push to risk the full
faith and credit of the U.S. was unprecedented as a political tactic. And
it worked. The Budget Control Act, sequestration, harsh austerity
measures, all that grew out of the 2011 debt ceiling fight that Cantor
But that just wasn`t enough for the Tea Party, and it wasn`t enough
for a challenger who lambasted Cantor for his eventual votes to raise the
debt ceiling after extracting concessions for the president.
As "The New York Times" wrote in an editorial today, having at least
the most destructive impulses of his party, Cantor finally fell victim to
Joining me now, Jason Zengerle, senior editor for "The New Republic."
Jason, you have been covering Cantor for a while. What role has
Cantor played in Republican obstruction in the Obama era?
JASON ZENGERLE, THE NEW REPUBLIC: I think he`s played a crucial role
in it. It was his sort of brainstorm not long after Obama was elected in
2008 to deny Obama any Republican votes on the stimulus, and he held the
Republican Caucus together during that fight, then sticking together on
that really helped them in the 2010 midterms, and they obviously carried --
HAYES: Yes, that was a key vote, so people remember. There was an
expectation, particularly if you go back and look at 2000, George W. Bush
won a very contested election. It was ultimately decided by the Supreme
Court. Democrats work with him on No Child Left Behind. That was his
first big domestic policy thing, he`d ran on it, introduced it, it was a
You had a financial crisis this 2008, and 2009, the president`s
inaugurated, sky-high approval ratings. There was an expectation in
Washington that Republicans would bring some votes to the table. Cantor
was part of making that happen.
ZENGERLE: Yes, and there was an expectation among Republicans.
ZENGERLE: And Cantor, you know, he, I think he saw that if Obama were
going to get Republican votes, that would give him a bipartisan sheen, and
he wanted to deny him that. And he did a really good job of holding his
caucus together on that. You know, against a lot of Republicans who
thought they should join Obama.
HAYES: And he was not -- he did not play a role -- I mean, he was a
lead instigator of that debt ceiling moment. He was not seen and had not
been seen as what Republicans sometimes call a squish or a RINO or a
Republican name only. I mean, he had, until recently, pretty good
conservative cred, didn`t he?
ZENGERLE: Well, you know, he started off as much more of an
establishment Republican. I mean, calling him a moderate is probably a
misnomer. But, you know, he came in when Bush was elected in 2000, very
much a kind of Chamber of Commerce guy.
He didn`t really go over to sort of the Tea Party until he saw the Tea
Party wave coming and he got out in front of it in 2009, helped elect --
helped get a lot of those guys elected in 2010. But he was always a little
bit out of character. He wasn`t a squish, he wasn`t a RINO, but he wasn`t
as rapid as those guys.
I mean, if you consider where his financial fund-raising base was on
Wall Street, he wasn`t someone who necessarily wanted to default. He
wasn`t a hard-core true believer like some of the people like he was
working with then.
HAYES: And it`s incredible to me the amount of venom that was
unleashed on him. Here`s Laura Ingraham, who is a right-wing talk radio
host, she`s a FOX contributor, and she probably took the lead in bumping
him out. Listen to her addressing a Brat rally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO HOST: I kind of wish, thinking about this, but
President Obama would have thought this through a little bit more. And
maybe, you know, for getting Sergeant Bergdahl how far captivity, instead
of sending like five Taliban MVPs over there, he could have just traded one
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I mean, that`s pretty -- that`s pretty rough.
ZENGERLE: Yes, I mean, I think they always -- guys like Boehner, they
viewed as someone who`s a squish and didn`t stand up for them, but with
Cantor, it was much more personal. They viewed him as someone who used
them, who tricked them and then betrayed them. So they took a much harsher
view of him. It was far more personal than it was with Boehner or even
McConnell. With those guys, they always identified them as their enemies.
Cantor, they thought he was their ally and it turned out he wasn`t.
He wasn`t going to go as far as they wanted him to.
HAYES: That`s interesting. So they thought they knew who was kind of
down for the cause and who was just an institutional player and they
mistook Cantor for someone who was down for the cause and that generated
that anger and that sense of betrayal.
ZENGERLE: Yes. I mean, Cantor saw them as a very effective sort of
tactical tool he could use in opposing Obama. But he never actually wanted
to go as far as they did. And once that tactical tool had run its course,
he was able -- he started to do other things. And they viewed that as a
betrayal. So, it was very personal.
HAYES: Jason Zengerle from "The New Republic," thank you very much.
ZENGERLE: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, on election day, one polling firm decided to poll
Eric Cantor`s constituents on immigration and you are not going to believe
what they found. That`s ahead.
HAYES: Coming up, after calling ate political stunt, Republicans
blocked Senator Elizabeth Warren`s bill to reduce student loan debt today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Today is a really good day
for billionaires. For the 40 million people dealing with student loan
debt, it wasn`t such a good day. The Republicans have said they don`t like
how it`s paid for, closing tax loopholes on (AUDIO GAP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Elizabeth Warren is not happy and she`ll be here to talk about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When they know that amnesty is on the table,
amnesty loses big. I hope it will at least shut down anymore happy talk
about amnesty this year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I think this race, in the end, goes down as
one of the most significant repudiations of establishment immigration
reform that certainly I`ve seen in my 20 years of doing politics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Immigration is dead in the House. And the House
Republicans don`t want to move it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a result of this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely, as a result of this. Everything is
dead, I think, as far as this, I think, budget reform, tax reform, and
certainly immigration is dead at this point in time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It was only a matter of minutes, minutes, literally, until
everyone started citing immigration as the cause of House Majority Eric
In the last few days, images of undocumented, unaccompanied minors
detained at the border and now being held in special facilities like this
one in Nogales, Arizona, have created a media storm. It`s a humanitarian
crisis the Drudge Report has blown up into a full right-wing panic, and
which David Brat himself, citing Drudge, used against Cantor, right up to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE BRAT (R), VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE (via telephone):
Drudge, it`s at the top of the Drudge news story right now, 100,000 kids,
and the kids themselves have said, we`ve heard there`s a Kids Act. Well,
Eric Cantor is the author of the Kids Act. So if you want open borders,
vote for Eric Cantor, because he`s opening the borders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, those kind of attacks prompted response from Cantor, who
insisted on his own anti-immigration street cred, and put out mailers like
this, bragging about he was the one stopping the Obama/Reid plan to give
illegal aliens amnesty.
All of which suggest that opposition to comprehensive immigration
reform played a big role in yesterday`s surprise result. But here`s a
fascinating bit of data from Public Policy Polling, which happened to poll
Cantor`s district yesterday, on primary election day. And with only 21
percent of respondents in this poll as self-identified Democrats, the poll
found strong bipartisan support, 64 percent, for the contours of the Senate
immigration reform bill that has already passed. The one Eric Cantor
helped kill in the House.
Which gets at a fundamental truth about the politics of immigration,
opposition is intensely focused among people who will make it their cause
in life to go to the polls to vote against it, while support is widespread
This is true within the Republican Party itself. A fascinating survey
by the Brookings Institution looked at views on immigration among
Republicans, who say FOX News is their most trusted source and Republicans
who trust other sources. Call them FOX News Republicans and non-FOX News
And between those two groups of Republicans, there`s a nearly 20-point
gap on support for immigration reform that would eventually lead to
citizenship for undocumented workers. Sixty percent of non-FOX Republicans
support the path to citizenship, only 42 percent of FOX Republicans do the
There are Republicans out there who support immigration reform. But
they`re not getting wound up to go to the polls to cast a vote for someone
for that reason. I bet a lot of them stayed home yesterday in Eric
Cantor`s district. Though, of course, with Cantor`s campaign rhetoric and
efforts to kill reform, Eric Cantor hardly gave them a reason to come out
Joining me now, Jose Diaz-Balart, the newest member of the MSNBC
family. He`ll be anchoring the 10:00 a.m. Eastern show beginning this
month. And he also co-anchors on Telemundo`s "Noticiero Telemundo".
And, Jose, is that your understanding of the fundamental dynamic here?
Is that the obstruction is so concentrated in a group of people, even if
they`re not the majority, who will make this the one issue they vote on,
that that has been the obstacle, back to 2006 and 2007 with McCain-Kennedy?
JOSE DIAZ-BALART, MSNBC ANCHOR: You know, you`re right on, Chris. It
is exactly what`s been going on, and what I think happened in Virginia if
the fact of the matter is, I don`t -- I think it`s very tough to dispute
the fact that Cantor`s immigration position was a huge factor in his defeat
yesterday. But, you know, what`s interesting is the fact that he, I think,
was looked at by other Republicans that are for immigration reform in the
House, that have been quietly working to try to get the majority of that
caucus to agree to let some form of immigration reform hit the House this
They looked at Cantor as possibly someone who could have the bona
fides to say to other conservative members, listen, you know, this is not
the Senate bill, let`s work on it.
So, whereas, you know, he did lose his seat because of the perceived
support for immigration reform, I think that the real damage is going to be
his loss for those Republicans, and there are only a handful, who are
really looking for some comprehensive immigration reform this year. And,
by the way, you know, this puts President Obama in a very tough spot,
politically, as to what does he do if the House doesn`t do anything on
immigration reform this year?
HAYES: And that brings us to where you are right now, McAllen, Texas,
on the border with Mexico. That`s, I believe, an unmanned surveillance
outpost behind you for the border.
DIAZ-BALART: It is, it is.
HAYES: I`m curious, what is your reaction to the story about the
story of these -- of the kind of unaccompanied minors? Because it has been
blown up into a kind of media firestorm that has driven a narrative of
bordering being overrun and Barack Obama`s amnesty invited them in, which
was a huge part I think in the last the two or three days of building the
kind of momentum that Brat needed to take out Cantor.
DIAZ-BALART: Yes, there`s this logic that we see a lot, running
around, and I guess in Washington and in some media sites. The logic is to
tie one thing that has nothing to do with something else, and make that the
running story and not what really has been happening here in this border.
It reminds me of the people who say, the moon is round, cheese is
round, so the moon must be made out of cheese! Well, let`s talk about
that. Because the president did, in fact, give deferred action to some
hundreds of thousands of kids that no other country in the United States,
they don`t even speak Spanish, many of them. They`ve never left the United
And so, he`s saying, you can stay here, temporarily, until, hopefully,
something is done on immigration reform.
Now, what`s different, and it`s a different story altogether, it`s
what`s happening just 50 yards from where I stand now. You know, from the
Mexican border, unaccompanied kids have been coming across, at an increased
number, recently. By the way, they`re not from Mexico.
DIAZ-BALART: They`re from, mostly Honduras, El Salvador, and
Guatemala. And just today on "Noticiero Telemundo", on the evening news
that I anchor, we had a story out of El Salvador, Chris, where mothers were
speaking to our cameras, you know, identifying themselves, saying, no, the
coyotes have told us and come to our towns to say, listen, if you come to
the United States now and you have -- if you`re either expecting a child or
have a small child, now`s the time to do it, because they`re probably going
to let you stay.
Now, why are they doing that? And who`s doing that? And that`s the
story that I think that we need to be thinking a lot about.
I`m thinking that maybe there are organizations that have nothing to
do with immigration reform --
DIAZ-BALART: -- that want immediate, quick cash.
And you know what? If you charge $5,000 to cross the border from
Mexico to the United States and you bring in 160,000 people this year,
that`s $300 million, cash.
DIAZ-BALART: I`m thinking, why don`t we start wondering -- and the
moon logic, why don`t we start wondering, who is prompting these rumors and
why are they being done now? I don`t think it has anything to do with
President Obama`s deferred action or Cantor losing or immigration reform.
HAYES: Which, let`s be clear, he issued in 2012, right? If we`re
going to see a spike afterwards, it would presumably be around there. And
also, as you note, from the countries that people could be immigrating
from, three of them are providing about 80 percent of the people.
If the incentive is there because of deferred action, we would see it
across the board.
Jose Diaz-Balart from Telemundo -- always a pleasure, my man.
DIAZ-BALART: A pleasure. Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: All right, coming up, Randolph-Macon College.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT R. LINDGREN, RANDOLPH-MACON COLLEGE PRESIDENT: Randolph-Macon
is a truly outstanding residential liberal arts college in Ashland,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You`ve probably never heard of it, but it`s suddenly become
the single most interesting small liberal arts college in America and I
will tell you why, next.
HAYES: Randolph-Macon College is a liberal arts college in Ashland,
Virginia. It got 1,300 students, a pristine college campus nestled in the
It`s a small school that punches above its weight, having already sent
four alumni to Capitol Hill.
There was North Carolina Congressman Walter L. Steele. Who could
Virginia congressman, then governor, Claude Swanson. Nice mustache.
Senator Hugh D. Scott of Pennsylvania.
And current congressman from Virginia, Randy Forbes.
Last night, a professor at Randolph-Macon tweeted, "Looking forward to
another quiet summer here at Randolph-Macon in our sleepy, small town in
That was a joke, of course, because Randolph-Macon has likely been
doing extra work over the past 24 hours of reporters across the country are
trying to find out any and all information about the newly, most famous
member of the faculty, economics professor, David Brat.
But here`s the thing, Randolph-Macon might want to think of renaming
itself Randolph-Macon congressman, because whatever happens in this
election -- that joke is so bad. Whatever happens in this election, it`s a
pretty good bet, the next congressman from Virginia`s seventh district will
be a faculty member of the school. And that is because Brat`s Democratic
challenger is another Randolph-Macon faculty member, Randolph-Macon
congressman, associate professor Jack Trammell.
According to the school`s Web site, Trammell came to the school in
2000. He serves as director of the honors program and teaches courses in
disability studies in the sociology department. His latest book is on the
Richmond slave trade.
Now, you`ve got these two faculty members squaring off, polling in
this race is going to be hard to come by, and we all know how unreliable it
was the first time around. So, the ALL IN elections team came up with its
own formula. It`s called ratemyprofessors.com. Luckily, both men are
represented on the size.
One student says that while Brat`s class was of average quality, he`s
so charming. Plus, he`s total eye candy.
Trammell`s page on ratemyprofessors.com is no less glowing. One
students raves: "He`s the best professor ever."
But while Jack Trammell may be edging out David Brat on overall
quality, 4.2. to 3.4, on ratemyprofessors.com, it all comes down to
chilies. And that`s where David Brat has the edge. You see, his hotness
factor glows just a little bit brighter than Trammell`s, and right now
that`s probably a better predictor than Eric Cantor`s internal polling.
HAYES: All right, the margin last night, Eric Cantor lost his
Republican primary district by was a tally of 56-44, which is described as
an enormous political upset, a shocking, resounding defeat for the second
most powerful House Republican.
Today, the U.S. Senate held a vote, which came out 56-38. And the
side with the 38, that side won, because that is the upside-down logic of
democracy in the United States Senate. And the bill at issue is exactly
the kind of thing you would expect to result in a lopsided 18-point margin.
It would have allowed an estimated 25 million Americans to refinance
their student loans at lower interest rates, which wouldn`t cost the
government money, but would cut into the profit the federal government is
currently making off of student loans. And that reduced revenue, that
would have been paid for by instituting the so-called Buffett rule, named
for billionaire Warren Buffett, setting minimum tax rates for people making
over $1 million per year.
The bill was the brainchild of Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth
Warren, who managed to persuade 55 of her colleagues to vote with her,
including Republican Susan Collins, Bob Corker, and Lisa Murkowski. She
did not get enough Republicans to break the Republican filibuster, led by
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
And joining me now is Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat from
Senator Warren, your reaction to today`s vote?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I just think it`s
outrageous, I really do. I mean, let`s face it.
What this vote was about is, whose side do you stand on? Do you stand
with the billionaires protecting every single tax break that they get,
every loophole, every subsidy? Or do you stand with the students, the
people who went out there and played by the rules and tried to get an
education and are trying to start their lives?
Do you stand with those who have already made it big, or do you stand
with those who are just trying to get a fair shot and try to build
something for their future?
The Republicans, all but three, said, we`re going to stand with the
millionaires and the billionaires. The Democrats, the independents, and
three of those Republicans, said, we`re going to stand with the students.
And it was -- it was just not quite enough to get us past the
HAYES: Mitch McConnell, basically, had counseled his members to
filibuster. This is what he had to say. He basically said this was a
stunt. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: We`re going to have
another show vote in the morning on a tax increase bill styled as a student
My counsel to my members is, why would we want to get on a bill like
that, that clearly is not going anywhere? It would be blue-slipped by the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Was this a stunt? Is this just an election-year gimmick,
knowing that it wouldn`t go anywhere in the House, knowing that you`re
probably not going to get the votes? Is this a gimmick?
WARREN: Let`s just be really clear.
There are 40 million Americans dealing with student loan debt, $1.2
trillion outstanding in student loan debt. This bill would have put
hundreds of dollars, thousands of dollars back into the pockets of millions
of people across this country, and would have been a real jump-start for
Young people today can`t buy homes, can`t start businesses, because
they`re spending so much on student loan debt. They`re stuck in these
interest rates up at 6 percent, 8 percent, 10 percent, 12 percent, and even
higher. This was a chance to bring it down.
For Mitch McConnell to lead the attack against that just shows whose
side he stands on. Mitch McConnell is there for millionaires and
billionaires. He is not there for people who are working hard, playing by
the rules, and trying to build a future for themselves.
HAYES: So, then, what`s your recourse here? I mean, this is the
maddening truth of the math in the Senate right now. It`s the maddening
truth of the Republican-controlled House. And it`s the maddening truth,
frankly, of the 2014 -- the rest of 2014 in Congress. What can you do?
What accountability or cost can be brought to bear on someone like Mitch
McConnell or others for this kind of vote?
WARREN: Well, accountability is exactly the right word, because I
plan to fight back on this. And I hope everybody else does too.
One way I`m going to start fighting back is, I`m going to go down to
Kentucky and I`m going to campaign for Alison Lundergan Grimes. She`s
tough, she`s feisty, she endorsed the student loan bill, said she wanted to
bring down the interest rates for Kentuckians.
And, so, my view is, I`m going to get out there and try to make this
happen for her. And I hope -- I hope lots of people give her money at
AlisonforKentucky.com. I hope people will support her, because it`s really
a way to say Alison is a candidate who`s there for all of us, for trying to
make sure that everybody gets a fighting chance.
And, you know, it`s one way to deal with this.
WARREN: I have got to tell you, given what Mitch McConnell has been
doing in the United States Senate, the way it`s just block, block, block,
no, no, no, you get Alison Lundergan Grimes in there, and I feel like she
could almost single-handedly get rid of some of the gridlock here in
HAYES: Well, it`s interesting, right? Because it would be, I think,
unprecedented for a Senate minority leader to go down. I don`t think it`s
ever happened before, but, of course, we had an unprecedented thing happen
last night, which is the House majority leader goes down, which I think is
an indicator that you never know, right?
HAYES: There was this piece -- well, what`s your reaction? First of
all, what`s your reaction to the result you saw last night?
WARREN: You know, I think this really is about whose side you stand
on, trying to get out there and make the argument. We can`t have these
guys who just keep coming to Washington, and all they do is stand up for
the millionaires and for the billionaires.
You know, Mitch McConnell is so out of touch on this. All he wanted
to talk about is not what it means to try to deal with student loan debt,
not what it means that you have got student loan debt up at eight or 10 or
12 percent, and other people can refinance, homeowners can refinance,
businesses can refinance, but student borrowers can`t refinance.
No focus on that. All he worried about is that millionaires and
billionaires might have to pay as much in taxes as regular middle-class
families have to pay. That was his concern. That tells me who he
represents in the United States Senate.
HAYES: Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you very much.
WARREN: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, everyone has their theory about why Eric Cantor
lost last night. I will tell you mine, ahead.
HAYES: Everybody has their theories today about why Eric Cantor lost.
Eric Cantor represents everything that is loathsome about the modern
institutional Republican Party, and not just loathsome to me as a liberal,
but loathsome to Tea Party activists, loathsome to ordinary Americans and
loathsome to the voters in Cantor`s Virginia district.
If there`s one detail that sums up what we all find so distasteful,
it`s of course this one. The Cantor campaign spent almost $170,000 on
fancy steak houses like Bobby Van`s and BLT Steak, more than his opponent
spent on his entire campaign during the same period.
Neither of those outlets have any restaurants in his district, it
would appear. Now, it would seem like a safe bet Cantor wasn`t taking many
of the constituents out to dinner. Maybe all that steak had something to
do with the huge share of campaign cash he was raking in from PACs and
In the end, Cantor raised almost $5.5 million. And that is no small
feat. Where did it all come from? Well, largely from the financial
industry, from private equity firms, hedge funds, from Wall Street.
And if the financial industry seemed to love Eric Cantor, which
believe me, they did, he made sure they knew he loved them right back.
Here he is expressing that love in 2011.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: We want to help you
continue to lead for America. That means we have got to do our part when
you see the implementation of Dodd/Frank coming at you like a barreling
So the Republicans in our growth agenda are very focused on stopping
regulations that negatively impact people who want to create growth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Even if you believe this a totally unfettered free market and
have all kinds of terrible ideas, which the man who defeated Cantor seems
to, this kind of relationship between Wall Street and Washington is
offensive to everyone across the political spectrum.
It is everything that people hate, not just about the Republican
Party, frankly, but about our modern political system in general. That is
why Eric Cantor lost, because people in his district viewed him as out of
touch, as a creature of this corrupt system. His opponent successfully
painted him as a corrupt symbol of a corrupt Congress, and his opponent was
Joining me now, Sam Seder, MSNBC contributor, host of "MAJORITY
REPORT," McKay Coppins, senior editor for BuzzFeed, and Jess McIntosh,
communications director for the progressive PAC EMILY`s List.
Ryan Lizza had this really interesting piece where he talked about the
kind of populist campaign that Brat ran, in which he talked about the fact
that big business and big government were in with each other and that he
talked about Wall Street and he talked about the fact that Cantor wasn`t on
the side of the little guy. And I think there`s just a lot of -- there`s a
lot of populist anger against Congress and Eric Cantor kind of represented
the worst of it.
SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, and I spoke to a couple of local
reporters from that district today. And they both had stories along the
lines of Cantor when he would rarely visit the district would come in with
an SUV and a bunch of bodyguards, and literally shove people out of the
And so I think that sort of -- that expanded upon that narrative. I
think that`s why that narrative stuck to a guy like Cantor, because he
seems to have been sort of personally the epitome of...
HAYES: That`s right. And there`s something concrete about it and
also ideological. Right?
The ideological part is about big business and big government or --
and the bailout, which Cantor of course voted for. There`s that aspect,
and then there`s just the blocking and tackling of constituent services.
And it just seems like the guy was totally AWOL.
MCKAY COPPINS, BUZZFEED: Yes, you have to go through at least the
pageantry of local politics when you`re a congressman.
You have to show up at your district, you have to eat at the local
diner, you have to know your neighbors and hang out there. You can`t roll
in with the motorcade and be on...
HAYES: You have to pretend to care about the hoi polloi.
HAYES: ... sending you back to have steak with banking lobbyists.
COPPINS: Because let`s be totally truthful here. It`s not as though
John Boehner or Nancy Pelosi are really men and women of the people.
They`re all, you know, well...
HAYES: They`re creatures of Washington.
COPPINS: But they at least pretend to be in touch with their
constituents. And Cantor had given up on that, it appears.
HAYES: Jess, as someone who works on campaigns and works in politics,
this would be a teachable moment.
If I was John Boehner today in that emergency meeting, I would have
been like, everybody, go back to your district, knock on doors, eat in the
local diner, talk to the local press. Like, no one in this room is too
good for doing that.
JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY`S LIST: No, candidates are supplicants.
You are asking to people put your trust -- their trust in you and to
give you their vote. You have to actually ask them to do that nicely. I
think the part of all of this in all of the incredibly valid and
substantiative reasons why he lost last night that have been discussed
today, he`s just hilariously unpleasant.
MCINTOSH: I mean, his constituents didn`t like him, the press didn`t
like him, his colleagues really didn`t like him, the people that he
reported to certainly didn`t like him.
There was just something about this guy that he was not willing to
ingratiate himself to anybody. So, we shouldn`t quite be surprised that
folks were ready to look elsewhere.
HAYES: It`s funny. I don`t know Eric Cantor personally, so I can`t
render an independent judgment about his unlikability, but it is true that
kind of unlikable, prickly people seem to do better in politics often than
one would suspect.
MCINTOSH: We will call it the Mitch McConnell factor then.
HAYES: What`s that?
MCINTOSH: We will call it the Mitch McConnell factor.
HAYES: That`s exactly right.
MCINTOSH: He might have the same problem this year. He`s not really
particularly ingratiated himself to anybody in Kentucky or otherwise.
HAYES: If I`m McConnell, the biggest -- the person I would most be
worried from last night`s defeat is Mitch McConnell, because if you`re
going to run a campaign against anyone that you could tee up to occupy the
same slot as Cantor, it`s McConnell.
SEDER: Right. And I think there was a confluence of events here.
You remember, it`s not a huge -- we`re not even talking a full state.
This is a small town -- a small district.
HAYES: Right. It`s got part of Richmond.
SEDER: And it`s got part of Richmond and there`s an awareness of the
family and there`s sort of this air of aristocracy that he was just sort of
I think projecting on some level.
And just to reinforce to point, on that same list with the steak house
is over 200 flights, you know, with Delta. He lives 90 miles away from his
district. He`s not flying there. He`s flying somewhere else during that
HAYES: Right. In fact, he was just -- I love this -- he was just
raising money for some candidate in Long Island last week. It`s like,
buddy, get back in the district.
MCINTOSH: Yesterday morning.
HAYES: Yes, yesterday morning he wasn`t in his district.
COPPINS: That`s right.
HAYES: I don`t -- here`s my question, my outstanding question if I
was sitting in that press conference today.
I wanted to ask Eric Cantor, did you vote yesterday?
HAYES: No, I`m honestly asking the question, because his schedule had
him in D.C. all day until he left at 6:00.
COPPINS: Oh, wow.
HAYES: He came back after the polls closed. So unless he cast an
absentee ballot or he was there first thing in the morning, that`s my
I want to talk about the polling disaster that was yesterday. Also,
you did some reporting on this secret dinner, the Montgomery Burns-esque,
HAYES: I want to hear about all of that after this break.
HAYES: Eric Cantor and his campaign staff weren`t the only ones who
had a terrible night last night. It also turned out to be pretty
disastrous for a Republican polling firm McLaughlin & Associates.
They were responsible for the much-publicized internal poll showing
Cantor a whopping 34 points ahead of challenger Dave Brat, who ultimately
defeated Cantor by a margin of more than 11 percent.
Now, this wasn`t the first time McLaughlin & Associates got it so
very, very wrong. Daily Kos collected a long list of the firm`s misfires
over the last election cycle, including a four-point edge for Mitt Romney
in Colorado, a state he went on to lose by five points. And according to
Daily Kos, McLaughlin had Romney up seven points in Virginia, where he
ultimately lost by four.
Of course, that was in the heady days of fall 2012, back when a little
Web site called UnSkewed Polls was predicting a big loss for President
Obama, and Republicans were steadfastly refusing to believe anything that
showed their candidate behind.
And there was Karl rove disputing FOX News`s own number crunching on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Do you believe that Ohio has
KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: No, I
don`t. And, look, if we are calling this on the basis of 74 percent of the
vote being in, we have got to be careful about calling things when we have,
like, 991 votes separating the two candidates and a quarter of the vote yet
to count. If it`s going to happen, let the votes begin to show it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We never miss an opportunity to play that video.
Still with me, I have Sam Seder, McKay Coppins, Jess McIntosh.
What`s up with this? I remember there is this movement among
grassroots activists in the early aughts, 2004, 2005, against the
Democratic consultant class, which they felt was ripping off small-dollar
donors and campaigns and producing nothing of value.
And I wonder if you`re going to see something similar in the
Republican consulting class.
COPPINS: You actually already hear it among Tea Party activists and
conservatives. They rail against the broken consulting class.
But it`s actually true. You look at these pollsters, it`s not just
this group. The Romney campaign used a number of pollsters throughout the
country. And I remember, as a reporter, covering that campaign, that,
especially in the last weeks, they would break out these spreadsheets and
these sophisticated models, and, you know, on background, let me show you
this poll. And they really -- it wasn`t B.S.
They really believed they were going to win.
HAYES: They believed it, right.
COPPINS: And they were just so off.
And in the Cuccinelli race in Virginia, you also had this problem,
where they thought they were way further behind than they actually were.
And now with Cantor -- the GOP has got to fix its polling problem.
HAYES: Yes. And the polling seems like -- polling seems like a
relatively easy thing to fix, although it`s also possible that the dynamics
changed so quickly that it was actually a really -- I mean, it is possible,
right? Why? Because it`s possible he was up by that much two weeks ago.
SEDER: Well, I think they had the wrong model as to who was the
likely voter. And, to be fair, there was a 40-point margin of error on
HAYES: In the plus or minus 40.
SEDER: But I think the problem extends to their entire political
shop, I think, at Cantor, because both the reporters I spoke to today from
that district said those ads that tried to paint David Brat as a liberal
college professor were ridiculous, because no one knew who he was.
It was basically just like, we want to introduce you to this guy, and
you have got plenty of time to figure out whether or not he`s actually a
liberal college professor running as a Republican.
HAYES: And, Jess, that is -- I got to say, that`s the model on both
sides of the aisle.
The model is, raise a lot of money, raise as much money as you can,
take that money, big ad buys, and that`s -- you know, that`s how most
congressional races are run, particularly at a time when all the
sophistication you see on a national campaign that`s in voter contact has
not trickled down to congressional races. It`s still just like, raise a
lot of money, run a lot of ads, show up and smile on Election Day and cross
MCINTOSH: Well, first, I would say that Democrats usually are
invested in getting as many people out to the polls as possible. We tend
to do better with a larger electorate.
So voter contact, especially in those final days, really does matter
for us. But if I can defend the Republican pollster for a second, I`m not
MCINTOSH: Their primaries are so much more volatile than ours are
MCINTOSH: I mean, Democrats really haven`t been terribly surprised by
any primary of this year yet. I mean, we have lost a couple we thought we
were going to win, but it was close, in open primaries in California, et
Like, Republicans are dealing with just an amazingly volatile
HAYES: That`s right.
MCINTOSH: They don`t know what -- their establishment picks are
catering to the Tea Party wing. Sometimes, they`re being beaten by the Tea
Party wing anyway. It`s hard to see where that wing ends and the
I think we`re in a period that`s really tough for Republican
HAYES: What the universe is, McKay.
COPPINS: What makes David Brat`s win all the more remarkable is that
you had big business, big Wall Street, you know, show up for Cantor. You
didn`t even have big Tea Party, as it were, show up for David Brat.
HAYES: No. No.
COPPINS: None of these national organizations came out for him. And
they were caught just as much by surprise as everyone else was when it
turned out Brat won.
But I don`t think this is a Tea Party vs. establishment race. He
doesn`t identify as a Tea Party. He was on "Hannity" last night saying,
there is no difference between the grassroots, the Tea Party, and the
establishment in terms of principles and policies. I think this was more
about a guy...
HAYES: Drives around the district in an SUV.
SEDER: Exactly. And somebody there who could actually sort of stand
up and talk for an extended period of time and not completely flub it,
HAYES: No, he`s actually a relatively poised, charismatic individual.
SEDER: When you get into the details, it starts...
HAYES: Right. No, I`m not saying he`s substantiative at all
All I`m saying is that when I saw him last night, I was like, oh, he
can stand up in front of a microphone, and I can see people looking at that
guy and being like, oh, I will take a flyer on that guy, if you don`t like
MSNBC contributor Sam Seder, McKay Coppins from BuzzFeed, and Jess
McIntosh from EMILY`s List, thank you all.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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