All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, October 17th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Friday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: October 17, 2014
Guest: Don Berwick, Lawrence Wilkerson, Howard Dean, Forrest Dunbar
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We got an all-hands-on-deck
approach across government to make sure that we are keeping the American
HAYES: The president names an Ebola czar and the backlash begins.
REP. BILL JOHNSON (R), OHIO: I personally thought we already had an Ebola
czar, Secretary Burwell of HHS.
HAYES: Plus, news of another Texas health care worker now quarantined on
board a cruise ship.
Then, the fear campaign, from ISIS intentionally infecting themselves with
Ebola and traveling to America --
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: I think that is a real and present
HAYES: -- to Hamas doing the same and crossing the Mexican border. .
REP. JOE WILSON (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Part of their creed would be to bring
persons who have Ebola into our country.
HAYES: And, did Alaska`s only congressman kill a guy? Sounds crazy, but
that`s what people are asking after Don Young said there`s some truth
behind what he told his Democratic opponent. "The last guy who touched me
ended up on the ground dead." That opponent joins me tonight.
ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
After growing calls for more robust federal response to Ebola, the White
House today announced today a new Ebola czar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Obviously, right now, the news is dominated by Ebola. And we`ve
got an all-hands-on-deck approach on government to make sure that we are
keeping the American people safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Al Gore and later, Joe Biden,
will be tasked with coordinating a federal government`s response to the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WH PRESS SECY: Mr. Clay was the president`s first choice for
this responsibility, principally because of his strong track record of --
because of strong management credentials both in the government, but also
the private sector.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After clamoring for the president to put someone in charge, the
choice of Klain is being roundly widely criticized by conservatives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: I personally thought we already had an Ebola czar, Secretary
Burwell of HHS.
REP. TIM MURPHY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I just don`t understand why the pick
was made of this man. This is a campaign operative. This is someone who`s
worked in the -- for the vice president, has had zero experience in the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s like having Karl Rove as Bush`s anthrax czar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Texas Senator Ted Cruz called Klain, quote, "another White House
Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander said Klain was, quote, "Not what he had
Meanwhile, the CDC is issuing a new set of Ebola guidelines to protect e
protect frontline health care workers. It reportedly includes stricter
rules about covering skin, new protocols for putting on and taking off
protective gear and new rules about disposing of medical waste.
Earlier today back in Texas from his trip abroad, Governor Rick Perry
joined his Republican colleagues in calling for a travel ban.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Air travel is, in fact, how this disease
crosses borders, and it certainly how it got to Texas in the first place.
Based on recent and ongoing developments, I believe it is the right policy
to ban air travel from countries that have been hit hardest by the Ebola
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Hours before the "Dallas Morning News" reported that one of the
first 48 people who came into contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, Liberian man
who died from Ebola, that person has been cleared from quarantine after the
21 days waiting period expired. Twenty-nine-year-old Ebola patient Amber
Vinson remains in Emory Hospital in Atlanta. Her current condition is not
Twenty-six-year-old Ebola patient Nina Pham shown here before her transfer
to an NIH isolation unit in Maryland is in fair condition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAD: Her condition is fair. She is stable
and she is resting comfortably. We fully intend to have this patient walk
out of this hospital. And we`ll do everything we possibly can to make that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, former governor of Vermont, Dr. Howard Dean. He`s
also former chair of the Democratic National Committee and an MSNBC
All right, Dr. Dean, Ron Klain, what do you think?
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN (D), VERMONT: I think it`s fine. He`s a manager.
He`s not a doctor. Look, the Republicans are just so ridiculous.
So, they had an Ebola czar. His name is Vivek Murthy. He`s President
Obama`s nominee for surgeon general which the Republicans have been
stalling at the request of the National Rifle Association since February.
So, you hear these guys -- the Republican`s idea of how to practice
medicine is to listen to the National Rifle Association. I discount
everything they say. They know nothing. They`re not interested in health.
They`re interested in politics. We`ve got to manage this thing. I think
Klain is a good manager.
I also think, you know, to get away from the political stuff for a minute.
What the CDC is doing is very smart. Ebola patients should not be taken
care of in community hospitals or even major medical centers like Texas
Presbyterian. They need to be taken care of in one of the few hospitals we
have that really understands how to deal with this very exotic disease,
which is not contagious from a distance, but is highly contagious for
And those centers are Omaha, at in Bethesda at the NIH, and at the Emory
with the CDC in Atlanta. And that`s what they`re doing. And that`s the
smart thing to do.
So, you know, we`re doing the best we can. I think Texas Presbyterian made
some mistakes. I they saw their CEO taking responsibility for that. But
those hospitals shouldn`t have to cope with this. They need to be in
really professional places where these diseases can be dealt with.
HAYES: You know, it struck me today watching the president announced
Klain, that the White House right now is managing two things. They`re
managing a public health issue that I think is largely under control. But
it is scary to people and significant and unprecedented. We haven`t had
this in the states before.
They`re also managing the political management and optics of that as three
weeks before election, you have all of these demands for things. This felt
like, I mean, OK. OK. You guys want a czar. You want a czar? Here`s a
And I was happy that they gave in on that as opposed to the travel ban
which I`ve been convinced by the experts I`ve listened to really is
operationally a bad idea.
DEAN: The travel ban doesn`t at add a whole lot. However, when we know --
you know, Rick Perry, of course, is his usual ignoramus self. He knows
nothing. So, he`s -- the travel ban, first of all, people -- there`s no
direct flights from West Africa from Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea to
the United States.
HAYES: No, there are no direct flights.
DEAN: As we say in New York, this stuff is all bupkis. It`s nonsense.
You know, he`s just clearly understood the politics and the politics, which
is going to be a little tough for him, when people find out that he doesn`t
know anything, although they may know that already. But there are some
For example, the woman -- the second nurse that got Ebola should not have
been permitted to fly on Frontier Airlines to Cleveland and back. That was
a mistake that somebody in the federal government made. She asked
permission and asked advice and they said go ahead. That was a mistake.
So, there are mistakes that are being made by individuals. But I do think
this is largely under control, as you said.
HAYES: Former Governor Howard Dean, thanks for being here.
Standby, because we`ve got something much more fun to talk to you later in
the show. Stick around for that.
In perhaps the strangest turn yet in the American Ebola story, a Carnival
cruise ship is on its way to Texas right now after Mexican officials
refused to let it dock off the coast of Cozumel because on board is a lab
supervisor from the Texas Presbyterian Hospital who, quote, "may have
handed lab samples from Ebola patient Thomas Duncan."
The passenger who`s not been identified by name boarded the ship before the
CDC updated its monitoring requirements. She did not come into direct
contact with Duncan and is not sick.
She is now self-quarantined inside the ship, imagine that for a moment.
After Belize refused the request to evacuate the passenger through its
Meanwhile, inside the cruise ship, reporting indicates that people are
pretty chill. "The Daily Beast" spoke to a passenger aboard the ship who
said he knew something was up when he looked out over the edge of the ship
in his hot tub Thursday night and spotted a security boat circling it. He
went on to say that people are enjoying the buffet as if nothing happened,
and more concerned about losing money than getting sick. Quote,
"Everybody, including me, is not afraid that we`ll get sick and die."
Passengers will however bum about missing their excursions to Cozumel.
Carnival has said all passengers will receive a $200 refund and 50 percent
discounts on a future cruise.
I spoke Dr. Don Berwick, who`s a member of the Institute of Medicine`s
Global Health Board. I asked him whether he thought people were over-
reacting or under-reacting to the Ebola situation.
DR. DON BERWICK, FORMER ADMIN., CENTER FOR MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES:
It`s a time of uncertainty. There`s things we don`t know yet, but I`d say
right now, there`s a lot of over-reaction. This is a very serious problem,
one of the most serious global threats we`ve seen in decades.
This country is adequate to it. We can do it. It`s going to take to
protect ourselves, but we`re going to have to learn our way into that. And
during that period of time, people are very uncertain.
And I must say, I think that`s fed by a form of exploitation of a crisis in
the political arena that is calculated to make people more frightened. And
we need to be very mature about this. I think we can get through it.
The question is, can the lower income countries be plagued by this get
through it? And unless we get involved in a global scale in dealing with
this challenge, they and we are going to pay a big price downstream.
HAYES: You talked about learning our way into it, which I think is part of
what has concerned people as they`ve watched this, which is, you know, the
two health care workers that have tested positive weren`t on the original
list of folks that were being contacted.
And now, you`ve got this -- you know, crazy over-reaction. I think the
bridal shop that one of these women had visited in Ohio is closed, school
districts. But part of it is generated from the fact that it really is a
learning process, right?
I mean, this has never happened before in the U.S. and it`s possible we`ll
see more mistakes through the course of it.
BERWICK: Absolutely. There`s a lot of learning to do and that`s the
nature of improvement. The way you get better at things is to learn over
time. And when you`re very anxious, that`s very difficult.
But there`s two kinds of learning, at least right now. One is at least the
biotechnology here. Eventually, we`re going to beat Ebola. We have to
learn our away as a scientific community how to do that. And the
scientists are hard at work. They need to be supportive to do that.
Meanwhile, out in the field, in hospitals all over America, all over the
world, we have to learn some new stuff. The kinds of barrier precautions
you`re seeing that really appear to be more protective, I never got exposed
to at all when I was in training nor would any doctor or nurse in most
places today. We have to learn how to use those precautions properly, how
to use information properly, and when to react quickly and when not to
And I think this is all a process. And the public, to be mature here, has
got to have an expectation that during that process, it`s going to feel a
little bit anxiety-provoking. You can`t get to perfect in one step.
That`s the problem here.
HAYES: Yes --
BERWICK: I must say, I have tremendous confidence in the biotechnology
community in this country, the epidemiology community, the Centers for
Disease Control. There`s none better. It`s one of the best and most
envied organizations in the whole world.
And as Congress looks at that, my opinion is the right question for
Congress to be asking of the CDC and other helpful parts of our government
is how can we help you and really get into a posture where we come onto one
team to fight the real enemy here, which is the virus. And the poverty
underlies that problem.
HAYES: You know, the thing you said about the training is so interesting
to me because I know it`s something you work on. But pioneering, really,
which is so much of medical advances don`t necessarily have to do with new
drugs or new treatments as much as they have to do with new systems, new
protocols, how you properly implement things. Train them. Even the little
Purell containers in every hospital room literally save thousands of lives
That`s a systems issue that we`re seeing sort of worked out in front of our
eyes right now.
BERWICK: You`re exactly right. The organization that you mentioned, the
Institute for Healthcare Improvement, IHI, that I helped start and led for
20 years before I went to Washington to run Medicare, that`s what it
Excellence involves knowledge upstream. Like the right medicines to use
or, in the case of this virus, how are we eventually going to beat the
virus? That has to do with drug development and genetics and molecular
biology. But, meanwhile, carrying out the deeds that actually offer
excellence to patients and to communities, that`s everybody involved,
learning processes, developing with new to do things, learning our way in
delivery of care. So, the Ebola prompts two different issues. It`s a
technological issue about what do you do about the virus. And it`s a
management issue about how you really help a system learn something new.
And remember, in America alone, it`s a massive system. You`re talking
about one sixth of our economy, one of the largest employers in the nation,
an entire work force that really is going to have to learn something new.
That`s going to take some time and that`s a big challenge.
BERWICK: And then you map into the country where this really is a plague
right now, in West Africa, it`s -- this is the engine of poverty, the
engine of injustice, inequality doing its work in the hands of the lethal
virus. And we need to help those countries capacitate themselves in the
same way to build the processes and systems that can actually save lives
there and, by the way, protect us.
HAYES: Dr. Don Berwick, senior fellow of the Institute for Healthcare
Improvement -- thanks a lot.
HAYES: Lots more show to come. We have the Oscar nominated star of the
"Hurt Locker", Jeremy Renner, and a new campaign featuring none other than
Cliven Bundy that deserves some kind of a word of its own.
Stay with us.
HAYES: Tonight, we are watching the power Hurricane Gonzalo in the
Atlantic, current pounding the isles of Bermuda. At this moment, Bermuda
is inside the northern portion of the eye of this category 3 hurricane.
The strongest storm to hit Bermuda in a decade.
Here`s a live picture of the port of Bermuda, where it`s night and the
National Hurricane Center has warned of a life-threatening storm surge in
which coastal seas could rise as much as 10 feet in the Pacific. The
tropical storm watch has been issued for the big island of Hawaii, as Ana
continues to gain strength. Forecasters say it is unlikely to make a
direct hit, but the islands could be facing serious rain and winds over the
Back in a moment.
HAYES: I think it`s fair to say that the nation is in an anxious mood
these days, thanks to a pretty grim news cycle. Less than three weeks to
go until voters go to the poll, Republicans are doing their best to make
the midterms a fear election.
If you want to get a sense of the climate on the right, look no further
than this highly scientific poll from FOX News, or this one, the one-two
punch of threats facing America. Indeed, those two supposedly eminent
threats have been the dominant themes of the GOP campaign. For weeks now,
Republican candidates and groups have been running ads play up the ISIS
menace and portrayed Democrats as weak on security.
Just today, a super PAC called Secure America -- Secure America Now finally
took down a series of ads showing American journalist James Foley in the
moments before he was murdered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: While radical Islamists threaten to attack America, and
millions crossed our border undetected, President Obama and Senator Shaheen
have done nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP
HAYES: The group initially refused to pull the ads and only took the video
down after Foley`s parents publicly objected.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN FOLEY, FATHER: I think deplorable and I think there should be an
DIANE FOLEY, MOTHER: It makes me very sad that people would use the
brutality of our own son`s death for their own political purposes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now that Ebola is grabbing the headlines, it`s become fodder for
conservatives seeking to capitalize on the public`s anxiety. At least six
Republican Senate candidates have made Ebola a campaign issue, calling for
a travel ban, and blasting the president and his party for letting the
But the real creative thinkers in the Republican Party, the ones breaking
new intellectual ground, are those bringing all of these things together in
a kind of unified theory of fear. People like Congressman Mike Kelly of
Pennsylvania and Joe Wilson of South Carolina, linking Ebola, terrorism and
the GOP`s favorite bugaboo, the border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE KELLY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: We have American citizens who have left
our country, and gone to other parts of the world, to learn how to do
horrible things. Come back home, blow themselves up in a mall, and take
lives. Think about the job they could do, the harm they could inflict on
the American people by bringing this deadly disease into our cities, into
our schools, into our towns and into our homes.
WILSON: The creed of Hamas, we value death more than you value life.
What? That`s their creed, Ok, well, part of their creed would be to bring
persons who have Ebola into our country. It would promote their creed and
then, all of this could be avoided by sealing the border promptly,
thoroughly, come on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Calling this phenomenon threat clue. It was ISIS with the Ebola on
the southern border.
Joining me now is retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former
chief of staff of Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Colonel Wilkerson, I`ve got to say, I understand politics. People run ads.
I was shocked that they would use the murder of this American in this ad,
in this way, and that it didn`t actually even seem to precipitate much of a
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET): You should be shocked. I was
That said, this isn`t anything new. Remember Joe McCarthy and the politics
of fear of the cold war in the `50s and his exploitation there of it.
Fear is a human commodity that is very exploitable, and politicians will
take advantage of any such of commodity. And in this case, I think my
party is running the gamut in terms of taking advantage of it. It`s to be
expected I think.
HAYES: There`s something about -- obviously, we`re in a very different
place as a nation than we were in the days after 9/11 for a variety of
reasons. But there`s something about the kind of atmosphere right now that
reminds me a little bit of that period. And obviously, in that period, we
were dealing with a genuinely terrifying traumatic event. The murder of
3,000 of our fellow citizens, the fear that that induce in people I think
completely reasonable fear, led to a kind of politics that produced a lot
of terrible outcomes.
And you were -- you sort of watched this play out and I wonder what you
think, as you think about how Washington operates under conditions of fear.
WILKERSON: I did, Chris. And I have to say that the initial reaction was
understandable and digestible. The region that began to happen though
several weeks and even months, now, as you`ve pointed out, for a decade
plus, is not understandable and I think is reprehensible.
Let`s just face it: there`s a reason to be scared of Ebola. There`s a
reason to be scared of the Islamic State forces and so forth. Fear is a
justifiable commodity in that respect. But it is not justifiable in terms
of the way it`s being exploited.
Statistically, Americans have just about as much chance of dying of a
terroristic attack, or from Ebola for that matter, as they do a lightning
strike. So, I like what Dr. Berwick said earlier on your show. Very sane
comments, very wise comments.
I dealt with Ebola early on in the chairmanship of General Powell. A
rhesus monkey from the Philippines have came in and Ebola Zaire was the
virus effected at that time. It had an 88 percent mortality rate and the
young lieutenant colonel out at Ft. Dietrich tore her spacesuit in the bio
level 4 facility there and she continued throughout the quarantine period
that she necessarily had to endure to do her work. She did it well and
That`s the way the rest of us need to react. We`re not a nation of
HAYES: That is exactly right. And I just -- I -- it strikes me so much
how much the country that is strongest, richest, powerful country in the
world, the richest country in the world, the country with the biggest
military -- I just want to understand that, you know, we`re going to be OK.
And it`s very hard. It`s funny, you would think there would be a market
for that in politics. But there weirdly doesn`t seem to be a market for
that in politics. What their seems in politics to be a market for the
WILKERSON: I think you`re right. Karl Rove was right to a certain extent
when he said if we exploit this, we could be in power for a long time,
meaning, of course, 9/11. He also said, if we believe Ron Suskind, I
didn`t hear him say this, but Ron Suskind reports that he did, that we`re
an empire. And when we act, our actions are truth.
WILKERSON: And so, if politicians -- if that`s the case for a second --
let`s just say that`s the case for a second. If my party wants to make the
main reason for this empire`s existence, the politics of fear, I think
HAYES: Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, always a pleasure. Thank you.
WILKERSON: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Just a factual note, I think the Ron Suskind quote that Mr.
Wilkerson was referring to was off the record. I don`t know if that source
has ever been identified as a small factual note.
All right. If you`ve been watching our coverage of the wild gubernatorial
debates in Vermont this week, you`ll know that politics is way more fun
when everyone gets to play. Coming up next, the former government of
Vermont, Howard Dean, is back to break down and analyze this epic race and
that epic hat.
And then, the new contender for best political ad of midterms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know black folks have had a hard time with slavery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A brave white man like you might be just what we need
to put an end to this political correctness stuff in America today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is not a spoof. More on the return of Cliven Bundy, ahead.
HAYES: This week, we have brought you the very best of Vermont politics,
with highlights from not one but two of the state`s recent gubernatorial
debates, debates in which all seven candidates on the ballot got to
participate -- a wide range of topics were discussed and a wide range of
views were heard.
MODERATOR: Why don`t we begin by telling us a little bit about yourselves
and how you`ve prepared for the top political office in the land.
PETE DIAMONDSTONE, VERMONT GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I am a revolutionary,
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I consider myself what is known as a light worker.
And why I`m in the race is to bring forth the very exciting solutions.
SCOTT MILNE, VERMONT GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: My name is Scott Milne, a
third generation, born in Vermont -- take that back, I was born in
CRIS ERICSON, VERMONT GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Second of all, I would
reinstate all the rest areas on the state highway that Peter Shumlin has
GOV. PETER SHUMLIN (D), VERMONT: You know, we`ve actually been adding
state rest area facilities. We`ve built a new one in Bennington. I cut
the ribbon on that.
ERICSON: You`ve taken them out in `91 and `89.
SHUMLIN: I can assure you that there have been no rest areas removed under
DIAMONDSTONE: We have to stop the military. Zero military budget. Close
all the bases. Stop the factories that build all of that equipment and
ship it off to the Zionist regime so it can defend itself against the
gigantic Ghazan military.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been an honor to meet everybody and I want you
to go out and protest motor boats on Lake Champlain. Your kids could get
killed swimming in Lake Champlain and I want you to go out and protest F-35
strike fighter jets because they are designed dual capable that carry
nuclear bombs and we`ve got to stop nuclear proliferation. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much.
HAYES: Back with me now to break it all down, the man who once held the
office of governor of Vermont, Dr. Howard Dean. Governor, I checked and we
saw that in 1998, you did not have to debate all of the candidates, just
your Republican opponent. Did you miss out in that?
FORMER GOV. HOWARD DEAN (D), VERMONT: I actually did have to. On public
television, they asked everybody to come so whoever was on the ballot, and
there were at least three of us, I guess, to do that, although the three I
had were actually fairly respectable candidates.
The Republican nominee and the progressive nominee at the time who`s now a
state senator, but I have to agree. We`re a democracy with a small d and
everybody gets a chance to have their say in Vermont. I think even though
they said some pretty unusual things, I think it`s a good thing for the
HAYES: I completely agree. I`m not joking here. It`s amazing to watch a
debate in which such a wide range of views are aired. Important question
here, where do you stand on the rest stops? This seems like this could be
a tough issue for Mr. Shamblin down the stretch of this election if he`s
taken away Vermont rest stops.
DEAN: He`s not taking away anybody`s rest stops. I tried to close a
couple of them and we ended up fixing them all up over the last three
governors, one of them was a Republican. I think she didn`t quite have her
facts right. Not all the debates are like that.
Most of them are, in fact, just the major candidates. But public
television and radio I think has an obligation to let everybody have their
say and they do. So even though it`s great theater, and I understand Jon
Stewart had a lot of fun with it, I do standby the notion that at least one
of debates ought to include everybody.
HAYES: I completely agree, Former Governor Howard Dean, thank you very
DEAN: Thank you.
HAYES: OK, one of the best lines from an article this week, the best line
from an article this week. Are you ready? "The good people of Alaska want
to talk about the issues, not some esoteric inside-the-Beltway process
story about whether representative in Congress murdered somebody."
What is heck is going on, you ask? I will tell you next.
HAYES: Did Alaska Congressman Don Young kill a guy? Now that is on its
face a ridiculous question. I`m asking it in complete jest but for a
reason. First let me explain, Congressman Young has been called a colorful
figure. He`s the guy who brandished a walrus penis bone at a committee
He is the guy making goofy unrelated gestures as a fellow congressman was
trying to pay tribute to a dead soldier on the House floor. And just this
summer, he was called by an NBC news producer twisting the arm of some poor
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressman Young was caught by our own producer, Frank
Thor, grabbing the arm of a congressional staffer like he was a misbehaving
3-year-old in the checkout line. The staffer was trying to keep him from
entering a meeting through the wrong door. The veteran congressman ranks
fourth in the House. He has apologized.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Congressman Young who has been Alaska`s one and only representative
for four decades is up for re-election and does have a challenger, Democrat
Forrest Dunbar, who will join me in a moment. The two just got into a
disagreement just before a debate at the beginning of October.
Dunbar described it like this, "He freaked out. There is no other way to
describe it. He kind of snarled at me" and said, "Don`t you ever touch me.
Don`t ever touch me. The last guy who touched me ended on the ground
Now, the most generous interpretation of that incident is from someone
what`s angry and in the heat of the moment or perhaps, those that cross Don
Young tend to get unlikely and struck by lightning or collapse of say, a
The most literal reading of it is that Don Young was threatening to kill
Forrest Dunbar if he touched him and had already killed someone who had
done that in the past. So the blessedly literal minded reporters at CQ
Roll Call decided to ask about that comment whether the last person to
touch him really did end up dead.
The congressman responds, "There`s some truth to that." So, wait? What?
It`s unclear if he was suggesting there was some truth to what Dunbar said,
Young said or more hair-raisingly, if there was some truth to someone
ending up dead, and if so, under what circumstances.
Roll Call says that Young didn`t elaborate. Just to do our due diligence,
we checked on the present condition of that Hill staffer Young grabbed this
summer, David Smentek, who is a policy advisor for the House Republican
Conference under Chair Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington.
We have confirmed as of this hour, that Mr. Smentek is alive and well.
Joining me now from Sitka, Alaska is Forest Dunbar. Mr. Dunbar, can you
tell me what exactly happened between the two of you before you`re going to
take the stage in that debate that got him so angry?
FORREST DUNBAR, DEMOCRAT RUNNING AGAINST REP. DON YOUNG: You know, it was
basically how it was described in the newspaper. It started out he had
said something about me not being from my hometown of Cordova. So I was
puzzled by that. He said he had me looked into. So I went up to him and
lightly touched him on the arm and asked what he meant by that and then he
did what you described earlier.
HAYES: So Congressman Young has a kind of reputation for this. He has a
reputation for all kinds of acting out that in other circumstances, would
probably get that politician in trouble, but the voters of Alaska seem to
love the guy. What is it going to take? What is your case against him to
get him voted out?
DUNBAR: Well, there was a time when Congressman Young was very powerful
and effective. He was the chair of the Natural Resources Committee. He
was the chair of the Transportation committee. So he could do these kinds
of things and sort of get away with it.
And we forgave him because he still brought home a lot of resources and
projects for the state. But that all ended in 2008 with his ethics
violations and about that time, he lost a lot of his former power.
So our message is letting people know that this is kind of
counterproductive now. This is not beneficial for the state. He`s sort of
speaking loudly and carrying a small stick.
HAYES: Do you think he actually killed a guy that touched him?
DUNBAR: No. No. I`m an attorney and if I was defending Don Young, I
would use the defense of delusion. And I would say he`s giving a false
confession and I would win that case. Mr. Forest dunbar, thank you.
HAYES: Mr. Dunbar who is running against Don Young to be the at-large
congressman from the great big old state of Alaska. Thanks a lot.
DUNBAR: Happy Alaska Day. It`s tomorrow.
HAYES: All right, we should know, we reached out to Congressman Don Young
and we did not hear back.
The Oscar-nominated actor, Jeremy Reynold will be here to talk about his
new film, an incredible story on which it is based ahead.
HAYES: Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, we found it, the new leader in the
clubhouse in the race for best ad of the 2014 election cycle. This one
from Nevada independent congressional candidate, Comal Bacari featuring the
one and only Clyde and Bundy in a 2-minute western calling out Attorney
General Eric Holder over a comment he made about racism five years go. It
doesn`t make a ton of sense, but it is an instant classic. Enjoy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clavin, political correctness is bad for America. A
man ought to be able to say what you want to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s exactly right. I know a lot of black folks who
have had a lot of hard time with slavery and the government was in on it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want my whole life without mistreating anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hear you Clavin. I believe you. A brave white man
like you might be just what we need to put an end to political correctness
in this country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t sell yourself short.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I`m as sick as you are. I feel ashamed when I
hear black folks whining about white folks this, white folks that. I know,
I`ve got an idea, let`s call Eric Holder out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell him you`re a white man who is not scared to talk
to him about race.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like that idea. Mr. Eric Holder, this is one white
man that`s not scared to talk about race. I dare you to come to Las Vegas
and talk to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And don`t give us that you too busy stuff. You weren`t
too busy to go to Ferguson, Missouri.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the fighting words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPRESENTATIVE MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: My big concern that my
government could in any way been involved in or had knowledge of drug
trafficking has caused me to spend much of my own time and resources to
find out more about these allegations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sixteen years ago, Congresswoman Maxine Waters testified before the
House Intelligence Committee about what the CIA would describe later as,
quote, "managing a nightmare." In her testimony, Waters addressed a
blockbuster three-part report out of the "San Jose Mercury News" by
journalist, Gary Webb, called dark alliance, the story behind the crack
And the artwork you`re looking at right now, someone smoking crack over the
CIA`s official logo is what accompanied that report when it ran back in
1996. Webb`s story which drew links between cocaine trafficking, a CIA-
backed army in Nicaragua and South Central Los Angeles was an explosive
piece of journalism.
It`s one of the first stories ever to blow up on line. It sparked
congressional hearings and led to an unprecedented town hall meeting
between then CIA Director John Deutsche and the people of South Central
Despite the general uproar surrounding Webb`s investigation, a lot of what
was included in there wasn`t really new. A decade earlier the "Associated
Press" had linked Nicaraguan rebels to cocaine trafficking.
It was around this time, a young senator from Massachusetts named John
Kerry issued a sub-committee report that read in part, quote, "It is clear
the individuals who provided support for the Contras were involved in drug
trafficking one or another agency of the U.S. government had information
regarding the involvement either while it was occurring or immediately
Still, for the most part, the AP story never really caught on and Gary`s
report was largely ignored. When Gary Webb picked up the story in the mid-
90s, he managed to connect it to the crack trade in Los Angeles which had
But you know, Webb`s reporting did not flat out state the CIA ran drugs in
Los Angeles. Its tone suggested a tight causality. Webb wrote, "A San
Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods
street gangs of Los Angeles and funnelled millions in drug profits to a
Latin American guerrilla Army ran by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
This drug network opened the first pipeline between Colombia`s cocaine
cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles."
It was this causality that made the CIA realized they had a public
nightmare on their hands. From the CIA, "The charges could hardly be
worse. A widely read newspaper leads many Americans to believe the CIA is
guilty of at least complicity if not conspiracy in the outbreak of crack
cocaine in America`s inner cities.
A backlash in suit, three of the country`s biggest papers, New York Times,
Washington Post, the L.A. Times worked to discredit Webb`s work and destroy
his reputation by pointing out some of the flaws and inconsistencies in his
reporting. Their efforts worked.
Webb was transferred to a tiny remote bureau and left the "San Jose Mercury
News" a short time later. He never worked for another major paper again
and ultimately shot himself in the head.
Ten years after his suicide, Gary Webb`s story is now playing out in the
big screen in a movie starring Jeremy Reren called "Kill the Messenger."
Recently, I sat down with Rener himself and Director Michael Cuesta and
talked to them about making a movie about the complicated rise and fall of
Webb and the scrutiny that comes of going after an explosive story. We
will have that interview for you next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just got a call. NBC is cancelling your segment on
the story. They are not going to rush and you`re not going to believe
this, but we`ve heard that the "Washington Post" is going to say you are an
active part of Ricky Ross`s defense. That your involvement verges on
complicity and that you and Ricky Ross are telling this fairy tale
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The movie, "Kill The Messenger," actor Jeremy Rener plays Gary
Webb, a journalist who tells a very dangerous story that leads to Webb`s
editors distancing themselves from his reporting because some claims he
made seemed to imply the CIA was directly plugged into the Los Angeles
I asked Academy-award nominee, Jeremy Renner, what made him want to do this
JEREMY RENNER, ACTOR: My interest in it was initially creative. Thought
the character was amazing and the story was terrific. But then was
juggling the idea of why does this deserve to be on the big screen. With
it being a true story, was the main thing to that.
But then digging deeper into my research into it, it became a movie that I
really wanted to play to a movie I had to do and the story I had to get up
on the big screen just because of the way and the importance behind -- it
being just a cinema now --
HAYES: Did you go back -- how much did you know about this? Because I
think what`s fascinating about seeing this film come out and the publicity
around it is people maybe know, right, I remember there was those stories,
wasn`t that all kind of discredited? It`s kind of the arc. What did you
approach it with in your head and what did you learn when you went back to
sort of dig into it?
RENNER: Everything was fresh to me because I grew up 70 miles from where
this all took place. I had zero recollection. It may have been just the
amount of access that I had to it. So everything was fresh to me every
part of the story.
HAYES: Michael, it`s the story of a guy who sort of takes on the system as
it were and the system tries to destroy it. It`s fascinating because the
real man, and the character played in the film, is a flawed person. And
it`s precisely those flaws that allow him both to kind of to do what he
does and also provide kind of a sieves of his own doing.
MICHAEL CUESTA, DIRECTOR, "KILL THE MESSENGER": The project came to me. I
related to this passion that he had for journalism as I think a film maker
needs to make movies that matter or necessary movies. So I really related
to Gary`s sort of pure sense to the truth and identifying the bad or the
real guy. He was very, very clear on that and really wanted to expose
HAYES: Also, the character realities of people that are able to bring that
level of commitment or the thing that make them easier targets when they go
up against powerful interest.
CUESTA: He was -- remember the whole -- he was -- look, this story became
two stories. It`s what Gary -- what was printed in the "San Jose Merck",
what he wrote, it was a three-part series and then what the story became
after that. What the big media became another story.
So I just want to be clear. He never got a chance to follow up on the
original story he wrote and that is clear in the film, but this idea of the
Russian Monofact of people reading off of the cliff note so to speak,
that`s sort of the tragedy.
HAYES: And people in the Bronx would tell you the CIA started the crack
epidemic in black neighborhoods to kill black people. It was the product
of a fact that went viral.
CUESTA: Remember, as far as the CIA starting the crack epidemic, Gary
never wrote about that. He connected Nicaraguan exiles to south central
through drug dealing. He never mentioned U.S. officials or anything like
that. That`s the thing that actually brought him down.
It turned into people put words in his mouth and said there was an
intentional or there is sort of conspiracy involved and Gary always made it
clear that it was a mistake and people looking the other way, which is, I
guess, the same. But it turned into black paranoia and Gary never wrote
HAYES: There`s all of this press now around Gary Webb because partly
because of this film in which people are now going back revisiting. Do you
feel like he`s vindicated?
CUESTA: Vindicated, I mean, I guess that`s all relative, right. I mean,
I`d like to think that this movie vindicates him because despite the
discrediting, we make a point of showing that he made a difference and got
people talking and he got the CIA director to go down to South Central, an
unprecedented event, to take questions from the African-American community.
Two reports were released. I think that vindicates this man, that he did
connect some dots, but it`s clear he didn`t get to follow up. He didn`t
have that machine behind him to push him through.
HAYES: Is there a lesson about what happens in this film? Do you see it
about what happens when you try to take on something as big as the CIA?
WENNER: A lesson? No, I`d certainly see it as a David and Goliath story.
That`s one of the things I was attracted to. I love that theme. Those
sorts of things are really attractive to me. Are there lessons from that?
I don`t know. Hopefully, it`s a variety of things and I`m excited to see
what those things are. I`m really excited about it. I want to see that
debate and those feelings. So I`m excited what the lessons are.
HAYES: Jeremy Renner and Michael Cuesta, great thanks.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW" show starts
right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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