All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, January 21st, 2012
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: January 21, 2015
Guest: Charles Pierce, Ross Tucker, Hines Ward, Chris Murphy, Dara Lind,
Heather McGee, Nick Hanauer
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re cheaters. They should be punished for it.
HAYES: Ballghazi, did one of the teams heading to the Super Bowl next
week break the rules in their last game? Mounting suspicion that the
Patriots have cheated again.
HOST: Would you care to weigh in on that?
TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: I think I heard it all at this
HAYES: Then, the substance and swagger at the State of the Union.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no more
campaigns to run. My only agenda --
I know, because I won both of them.
HAYES: Plus, the many, many Republicans who offered a response.
SEN. JONI ERNST (R), IOWA: I plowed the fields of our family farm.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: As a physician --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Decades ago, I played basketball.
HAYES: And what`s the state of our billionaires? Maybe Davos has an
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sharing and caring should be the motto of this
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Almost 100 million Americans gathered last week to watch the NFL
conference championship, three times as many as watched last night`s State
of the Union.
And tonight, the most profitable sports league in America, one of the
largest media enterprises we have faces yet another crisis. That is
because there is increasing evidence, according to a new report from ESPN,
that the New England Patriots now Super Bowl-bound may have been caught
cheating in their route to the Indianapolis Colts in last Sunday`s AFC
According to the report, nearly all of the game balls on the Patriot
side were underinflated. From ESPN`s Chris Mortensen, quote, "The NFL has
found 11 of the New England Patriots` 12 game balls were inflated
significantly below the NFL`s requirements, league sources involved and
familiar with the investigation of Sunday`s AFC Championship Game told
According to the report, the footballs were inflated two pounds per
square inch, or 2 psi below NFL regulation requirements. Regulation is psi
is 12.5 to 13.5.
And while underinflated footballs are often favored by both the
players who catch them and the quarterbacks, like Patriots quarterback Tom
Brady, there is no reporting thus far about who may have altered the
footballs or even whether they were properly inspected in the first place.
NFL`s official statement is simple, quote, "Our review is continuing and we
will provide an update as soon as possible."
According to ESPN, significant details emerging. Quote, "ESPN Sports
Radio 810 in Kansas City reported the Patriots footballs were tested at the
half and re-inflated at that time when they were found to be low and put
back in play for the second half, and tested after the game." The report
did not reveal the results of the test following the game. All of the
balls the Colts used met standards, according to the report.
Bear in mind, the tactile quality of the football, the lengths the
teams go through to get those footballs are quarterbacks lining (ph) within
the rules is well known. Like this fascinating "New York Times" story from
last season, quote, "A new ball despised for its sheen and waxy gloss is as
popular as the late hit. For every NFL game, each team has 12 to 20 balls,
it is meticulously groomed and repaired according to the needs of its
Indeed, back in November 2012, not other than Tom Brady himself told
WEEI Radio he prefers underinflated footballs. Quote, "When Gronk scores,
he spikes the ball, he deflates the ball. I love that, because like the
deflated ball. But I feel bad for the football because he puts everything
he can into those spikes."
Brady, of course, referring to tight end Rob Gronkowski.
You may recall that two days ago, Brady himself laughed off the idea
that footballs in the AFC Championship game were underinflated.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HOST: Did you get the sense that you were able to grip the ball
better than the Colts last night?
HOST: Would you care to weigh in on that?
BRADY: Yes, I think I heard it all at this point. Oh, God. Oh, God.
That`s the last of my worries. That`s -- yes. I don`t respond to stuff
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: So, among the many questions is this one, did the counter
practice of allowing each team to get footballs, their own footballs, about
breaking NFL rules devolved into rule breaking deflation cheating? And
just what the hell -- heck else has the New England Patriots been up to?
Joining me now, Charles Pierce, writer at large at "Esquire" magazine,
author of "Moving the Chains", an entire book about "Tom Brady and the
Pursuit of Everything."
So, here`s my -- so this is what I said when the story first happened.
I said, I will believe any allegation against Bill Belichick, because of
what we found out during spy-gate when it turned out the Patriots were
taping practices of other teams. They ended up paying a fine. They gave
up a draft pick.
This does not surprise me at all.
CHARLES PIERCE, ESQUIRE: Well, this is -- I mean, to me, there are a
couple of things going on here. Number one, I -- to me, the crux of how
serious this is, is whether or not the balls were deflated after they were
already inspected by the game official. If that happened, then the New
England Patriots are in a lot of trouble.
PIERCE: That is when I will start taking this story as seriously as a
lot of other people are.
HAYES: What do you mean taking it seriously? It`s not like we`re
leading with the story tonight, Charlie.
PIERCE: I would have loved -- I would have loved to have sat in on
the cram session you had with the staff to learn about how the NFL handles
HAYES: Oh, we are deep in the balls rule book, believe me.
PIERCE: Which is, by the way, for a multi-about zillion dollar
enterprise, truly a stupid way to handle this.
HAYES: Yes, the self-regulation in which each team brings on
themselves and that they have to inflate them at the proper amount.
PIERCE: Well, not just that, but the teams hire the ball boys, the
ball people I guess on the sidelines. Hire them yourself, NFL.
PIERCE: I mean, it`s boutonniere money for you.
HAYES: So, the other part of this, right, is that you have this
situation in which people perceive -- I mean, last night when this broke,
that this looked like it actually happened, I was -- we were doing the
State of the Union things, that Bill Belichick is the Dick Nixon of sports.
Nixon did not need to break into Watergate to beat McGovern. He absolutely
destroyed them. He was a political mastermind even above his dirty tricks.
And yet there was no boundary in his mind between things that were fair
game and things that weren`t fair game.
PIERCE: Yes. I think there`s a lot of conflation with Bill Belichick
of cheating with gamesmanship. For example, there was nothing unethical or
untoward by him putting together some funky formations against Baltimore.
PIERCE: But that`s been lumped in with this. OK? As I said, if it
turns out they tampered with the footballs after the game officials had
already inspected them, that`s really serious. I mean, that`s --
especially since it appears that this complaint dates back to the regular
season game, between Indianapolis and New England back in November. So, he
had to know he was being looked at.
HAYES: That`s a crazy thing, the colts apparently complained about
this. I saw one report, the Colts secondary who picked off a pass late in
the first half was the one who reported it here. To me, it also makes me
wonder, what kind of stuff is going on at the edges, or outside of our view
that is like spygate, that is like this, that we haven`t gotten hip to yet?
PIERCE: This is -- you know, I think a blessed relief in some ways
for the NFL because of the scandal that doesn`t involve the destruction of
the human body.
HAYES: That`s right.
PIERCE: Or any kind of violence. This is -- this is corking the bat.
This is Gaylord Perry with Vaseline under his baseball cap.
HAYES: Yes, Roger Goodell is happy to have -- Roger Goodell is happy
to go before the cameras and take tough questions about deflated balls
rather than traumatic brain injury and domestic violence.
PIERCE: Yes. I think that`s probably true. But I think given his
absolutely pathetic performance in those two areas earlier this season, I
think he might come down very severely on the Patriots over this. Just to
demonstrate his basic integritude.
HAYES: Well, he can`t -- the thing is that he can`t do anything in
the next two weeks. And yet, this is going to be the only --
PIERCE: In theory, he can do anything he wants.
HAYES: Right. But do you think he`s going to do something in the
next two weeks?
PIERCE: Except forfeit the game, which is one of the proposals that`s
floating around out there.
PIERCE: My feeling is they won`t rule on this until after the Super
Bowl. Which I guarantee you, every journalist in America goes to media day
just once, because it`s an extraordinary gathering of absolute crazoids.
You`ll be sitting there in front -- you`ll be sitting there in front of
Russell Wilson, and behind you somebody will ask him a fairly involved
question about his nutritional regime, and he`ll turn around and it will be
a guy dressed as a carrot.
HAYES: Charlie Pierce, thank you very much.
HAYES: All right. While, not claiming any kind of football deflation
tactic would throw last Sunday`s game that badly, the Colts lost 45-7.
Indianapolis Colts fans are still looking for action from the NFL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe, you know, it`s just another one of
those Patriots gimmicks, you know? One of the Bill Belichick swindles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think there`s any question that Roger
Goodell, Commissioner Goodell and the entire league, administration is
going to be under the microscope in determining how they`re going to move
forward on this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re cheaters. And they should be punished for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Earlier today, NBC sports analyst Ross Tucker, former NFL
offensive lineman with the Patriots, and NBC sports analyst Hines Ward,
former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, gave me their reaction to
HINES WARD, NBC SPORTS: Well, it`s about the integrity of the
football game. And anytime someone uses some way, some form or fashion to
gain an advantage on the football field, you`re breaking the rules. It`s
called cheating. So, that`s why it`s a story. You never want to affect
the integrity of our football game.
HAYES: Ross, do you imagine there will be a sanction, if in fact
they`re found guilty of doing this on purpose?
ROSS TUCKER, NBC NEWS: Yes, I think there will be serious sanctions.
I think there should. I mean, this is now a pattern of behavior. This is
a second offense.
And evidently, you look back at spygate, Belichick was fined, they
lost draft picks. Evidently, that was not enough of a deterrent.
It really bothers me as a guy who spends some time there, now, I
wasn`t there on one of the Super Bowl teams, but when this stuff happens,
it`s such a minimal advantage, yet when you get caught, everybody`s able to
say, look, they`re cheaters, and it really minimizes the accomplishments of
all those guys that were there during the run earlier. Or even with what
they accomplished this year. I think it`s a shame.
HAYES: You know, that`s a good point, because if you`re a Patriots
player, my sense is if in fact, we don`t know, if in fact this was done
purposefully, a very small number of people knew about it. And if you were
one of the people on the squad that just had an incredible blowout victory
on Sunday, now, somehow that victory that you worked very hard for has now
been discounted in the public mind. You were never consulted on that, I
TUCKER: To me, it`s a terrible risk/reward ratio, right?
TUCKER: The reward is minimal. Brady actually played better in the
second half, and they won 45-7. So, the reward you get out of doing it is
very small. But the risk, if you get caught, which it looks like they
might have, is huge, because it totally calls your credibility into
question. And it diminishes all of your accomplishments in a lot of
HAYES: Hines --
WARD: For people who -- if you don`t think you`re gaining an
advantage, why let the air out of the football. Just leave it alone.
HAYES: Right. So, that`s my question to you, Hines, because you had
to catch footballs for a living for a number of years. Obviously, you
know, it`s harder to catch footballs in very cold weather, when it`s wet
and slippery like it was. It wasn`t super cold, but it was cold and wet
during that game. How much of a difference does it make?
There was a "New York Times" article back in 2013 about, you know, the
ritual that went into properly breaking in a ball for Eli Manning on the
Giants. It made me think, it actually makes a fair amount of difference,
the kind of grip and feel you have on the ball depending how it`s been
worked over and inflated.
WARD: Well, it`s all about the grip. You know, playing in
Pittsburgh, with Ben Roethlisberger, who has huge hands, sometimes he wore
gloves at times. So, he wanted to make sure he got a true feel for the
football. So, he would ask the ball boy to scuff it up a little bit. It`s
all how he felt about holding the football. Out of all the footballs, they
used in the game, he communicated with the ball boy, hey, I like the scuff,
scuff it up a little more, because he wanted -- it`s all about the feel.
Now, for Tom Brady who doesn`t wear a glove in the game, you know, he
just wants to use his bare hands, but sometimes you want to get a good grip
on the football. So, by doing that, you tend to let air out of the
football so you have a better handle on the football. And you have more
velocity on your throws, because he doesn`t wear a glove while he`s playing
HAYES: So, Ross, let`s say -- now you`ve got the situation where this
is the two weeks of the year where the NFL does its most amount of
publicity, right? There even the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl,
Roger Goodell gives his press conference, press all over from the world in
town. Now, this is all anyone`s going to talk about. How does the league
TUCKER: Well, most of the reports coming out indicate that they`re
going to wait until after the Super Bowl to announce anything.
HAYES: Good luck.
TUCKER: I know. I think part of that is because I think they want to
try to identify how many of their teams might be doing this. I don`t know
if they want to throw the book at the Patriots and the Patriots say, oh,
really? Because other teams are doing this, other teams are doing that.
And they`re trying to get a grasp of how many other teams are doing this.
Personally, I think they should announce something Friday afternoon.
You know, by the time early next week starts, we`ve still talk about it for
a couple of days. But whatever the punishment would be, whatever the
sanction is, maybe by Wednesday, the focus will be on the game. I would do
it Friday afternoon if I were the NFL. That`s usually when they like to
break the bad news.
HAYES: Hines, have you ever heard of something like this? Ross
brings up a good point. It looks like at one instance, it looks like
(INAUDIBLE) at USC, at the collegiate level, was doing something like this.
Was this something that anyone talked about in your NFL career?
WARD: No, not at all. It`s usually about the quarterback. He
touches the quarterback every play.
HAYES: He`s the one, right.
WARD: He`s the guy. He has to have a good feel of the football while
he`s in the pocket and throwing the passes. But I look at where -- you
know, to piggyback on Ross, this is a distraction.
This is that week that you have to really put in your game plan, and
really get the true preparation that you need, because when you go down to
Arizona next week, you`re going to have distractions throughout the day.
You`re going to be asked about this, what happened, who did it, why they
did it, you know, why they did the whole thing. And it can`t be good for
the Patriots to be on the cusp of the Super Bowl to be worrying about who -
- about the deflated football.
HAYES: All right. Ross and Hines, I really appreciate you guys
talking to me tonight.
WARD: No problem.
TUCKER: Yes. My pleasure.
HAYES: All right. It`s been 23 hours since the State of the Union.
Over that time, it`s been pretty hard to figure out just what the
Republican response to President Obama`s State of the Union actually is.
We`ll attempt to figure that out, ahead.
HAYES: Today in the year 2015, the world`s deliberative body voted
98-1 on an amendment stating that, quote, "climate change is real and it`s
not a hoax." That is, I suppose, the good news. The bad news is the
United States Senate was voting on whether climate change is real in 2015.
And the other bad news is that after passing this amendment, they
voted on two more amendments on climate change. The first one stating,
quote, "Climate change is real and human activity contributes to climate
change." And that failed to overcome a filibuster, going down to defeat
The last amendment went one step further stating, quote, "Climate
change is real, and human activity significantly contributes to climate
change." That, by the way, is the overwhelming scientific consensus around
the planet across thousands of scientists. And this one, while it also
failed to overcome a filibuster and barely got a majority, 50-49.
This is what your Congress does in the year of our Lord 2015. They
deliberate and vote on whether or not to declare the empirically verified
truths about the world, because apparently, the jury is still out on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: At every step, we were told our goals were misguided, or too
ambitious, that we would crush jobs and explode deficits.
Instead, we`ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our
deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health
care inflation at its lowest rate in 50 years.
This is good news, people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president last night didn`t sound humbled by November`s
electoral defeat. In fact, while speaking to a Congress-dominated by
Republicans, he sounded confident and unapologetic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I have no more campaigns to run. My only agenda --
I know, because I won both of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: "New York Times" writing Obama defiantly sets an ambitious
agenda. In a tweet, former Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol called it a
fighting speech, as FDR would put it.
U.S. version of "The Guardian" said, quote, "Off the cuff and full of
swagger, Obama`s State of the Union leaves the GOP enraged."
Among those Republicans upset by last night`s speech, Senator Orrin
Hatch of Utah, who said the president slipped back into the role of
campaigner-in-chief, with his premature veto threats and a refusal to
enforce laws he doesn`t agree with."
Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole told "The Guardian", quote, "Frankly, he
needs to remember he lost the midterm elections. He`s the one who said his
policies were on the ballot. Instead, we`ve had one provocative move after
Joining me now, Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut,
member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Before we get to Iran, and Keystone and all that stuff, what was that
moment like in the gallery when the president ad libbed that line?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: You know, it was hard for a lot
of us to hear what he said. So, we were all leaning over to each other,
asking one another what he had just said. But clearly it was a pretty
And -- I think most Republicans that I have talked to gave him credit
for ad libbing pretty successfully. You know, the reality is, there`s no
reason for this guy to be humbled, because he didn`t run for president and
win midterm elections, he ran for president to bring this economy back to
life, to restore purchasing power to the middle class, and fix the broken
health care system.
And he has a right to stand up there, as he did last night, and just
explained what the facts are, that our economy is in a better position than
anybody thought it would be six years into his presidency, that major
pieces of legislation like the health care law are doing better than even
the biggest proponents like me thought it would. That`s not defiance.
That`s not poking Republicans in the face. That`s just telling it like it
HAYES: He now, on the day after the State of the Union, the day of
the State of the Union, he gets sort of set the agenda. Obviously, it`s
his speech. He`s the one that gets to get it. All the eyes are on him.
Today is the first real working day after that in which the Republican
Congress in both houses get to set their agenda. They clearly are headed
on a path of confrontation with the president, particularly on two issues,
on Keystone and Iran.
I want to talk to you about Iran.
This is Bob Menendez, ranking member in the Foreign Relations
Committee. This is what he had to say about the president and White
House`s rhetoric on Iran negotiations and their oppositions to new
sanctions. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: You know, I have to be honest with
you. The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it
sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran. And it feeds
to the Iranian narrative of victimization, when they are the ones with the
original sin. An illicit nuclear weapons program going back over the
course of 20 years, that they are unwilling to come clean on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, the president has issued a veto threat on new Iran
That sounds like you got Menendez onboard, and you can probably find
about ten Democratic votes. Where is this going?
MURPHY: Well, the president`s made it very clear to both Democrats
and Republicans that an attempt to pass sanctions today is an invitation to
scuttle these negotiations. What you effectively do is give the Iranians,
one, an excuse to walk away from the table because new sanctions would be a
violation of this interim agreement we`re living under today. And two, you
would give countries like China and Russia to walk away from sanctions
because they blame the United States for the negotiations falling apart.
I hope that we`re going to stand with the president. I have a lot of
respect for my friend Bob Menendez. I think it`s unfair, the
characterization that he made of the way that the president talks about
And it`s not just the Obama administration. This is everyone sitting
at that table. The United States and our European partners saying with one
voice to the United States Congress: don`t blow up these negotiations, and
I hope they`ll listen.
HAYES: OK. Let me ask you this. This seems to be the key question
in how the dynamics play out between the Republican Congress and the White
House, how much they take these veto threats seriously, because if they
don`t take them seriously, they`re going to test them. And if the
president compromises at the last minute and say, if you do this and this,
maybe I won`t veto it, we`re going to have a very different two years. And
if he just vetoes, he`s true to his word and Congress operates knowing they
basically got a two-thirds threshold.
Do you believe him when he says he`s going to veto all this stuff?
MURPHY: I do believe him. And I think the Republicans are going to
test him, in part because on these two issues that you mentioned, there`s
not a lot of wiggle room in the middle, right? You can`t go halfway on
violating the joint plan of action under the Iran negotiations. You can`t
approve half of the pipeline, right?
You actually -- you actually either have to be for the construction or
against the construction. You have to let the administration do its work
on sanctions or you`re going to substitute your judgment for the
And so, I think you`re going to see some of these pieces of
legislation, maybe not Iran sanctions, because I`m not sure the votes are
still there for it, but on the Keystone, he may have to pull out his veto
pen. And listen, and good for him -- I think it`s important for him to
stand up for what he believes and what he said in his State of the Union
HAYES: I completely agree with that. Senator Chris Murphy, thank you
All right. House Speaker John Boehner and Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu are teaming up over their dislike of President Obama,
and the way they`re doing it might surprise you. We`ll talk about that,
HAYES: Over the years there are a few things we expect from an Obama
era State of the Union. A flash of charm, a decent joke, and a few barn-
burner lines, and, of course, an ever multiplying number of Republican
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: Good evening, and happy Mardi Gras.
HAYES: In recent years, the quickest way to go from rising Republican
star to former rising Republican star is to deliver the response to the
President`s annual address to congress.
JINDAL: Americans can do anything.
HAYES: For Republicans, looking to make their mark, the hope is that
the American people will remember them for their ideas and rhetoric.
But more likely, they will be remembered for stage craft.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: In the short time that I`ve been here
in Washington, nothing has frustrated me more than the false choices like
the one the President laid out tonight.
HAYES: Note to future responders, it is important to hydrate before
giving a televised response.
Also, important to look into the right camera.
FRM. REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, (R) MINNESOTA: The tea party is a dynamic
force for good in our national conversation, and it`s an honor for me to
speak with you.
HAYES: Even if the response itself doesn`t kill one`s political
ambitions, it does serve as a reminder that the GOP sure does know how to
BOB MCDONNELL, FRM. GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA: Good evening. I`m Bob
SCOTT THUMAN, NBC CORRESPONDENT: The judge sentenced former Virginia
governor, Bob McDonnell to two years in prison.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McDonnell was convicted of corruption and for
taking more than 150,000 dollars in gifts in exchange for political
HAYES: Last night the American people got five responses from the
Republican party, at least.
First, there was the official response. That was delivered by freshman
Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa.
SEN. JONI ERNST, (R) IOWA: I`d like to have a conversation about the
new Republican congress you just elected.
HAYES: Then there was the official response in Espanol.
That honor went to congressman Carlos Curbelo of Florida.
REP. CARLOS CURBELO, (R) FLORIDA: Buenos noches. Soy Carlos Curbelo.
HAYES: Then there was this response...
REP. CURT CLAWSON, (R) FLORIDA: Decades ago, I played basketball at
HAYES: Which featured a two minute long aside on the virtues of
Purdue Boilermakers basketball team.
CLAWSON: We`re all the same. Washington could benefit from Coach
Katie`s advice, I think.
HAYES: That was the tea party response from congressman Curt Clawson
of Florida. A guy with some real foreign policy chops.
CLAWSON: I am familiar with your country. I love your country. And
I`m hopeful with the new change in regime, that the future and the land of
and the land of opportunity of India can finally become so.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think your question is to the Indian
government, and we certainly share your sentiments and we certainly will
advocate that on behalf of the U.S.
CLAWSON: Of course.
HAYES: Those officials Clawson was speaking to, were from the U.S.
Next, there was the Rand Paul response, delivered by Senator Rand
Paul, posted to his Youtube channel.
SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: Good evening.
I wish I had better news for you, but all is not well in America.
HAYES: Finally, there was this free lance response from Senator Ted
It didn`t go according to plan.
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: The President tried to say his policies are
lifting the middle class, and yet today, median incomes have stagnated for
over a decade.
Let me start over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A good lie. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) it.
HAYES: If you`re hungry for even more republican responses, they`re
Some of them could use a little love. But with all these responses to
choose from, it`s a little tough to figure out what exactly is the GOP`s
You get a response.
You get a response.
You get a response.
Everybody gets a response.
This messaging free-for-all is kind of like Time magazine honoring you
as the person of the year.
If you are giving the response to the State of the Union, then,
well, no one is giving the response to the State of the Union.
One of the responses from last night was billed as a Spanish
translation of the official GOP response. But it turned out to be something
far more interesting than that.
We`ll explain next.
HAYES: Out of the five Republican responses last night, two were
official, one in English, featuring Senator Joni Ernst, one in Spanish,
staring congressmen Carlos Curbelo.
The Spanish language response was specifically billed in a GOP.gov
press release as the, quote, translated address of Senator Joni Ernst
Now that initial language was removed from the release, according to
the Latin Post, and in the end not only was the Spanish language address
delivered by congressmen Corbello not a translation of her own speech, it
was substantively different than the official GOP response in some very
Joining me now to discuss the GOP`s different messages, Dara Lind, who
covers immigration at Vax.com.
Earlier today she wrote a piece looking at the eight ways the GOP`s
State of the Union responses was different in Spanish and why it matters.
And I thought this was fascinating.
At first I thought it was a weird idea, they were have a translated
speech, because presumably there would be a lot of first-person details
from the official response that would sound weird coming from someone who
didn`t actually do them.
So how did he handle that? Did he talk about, like I grew up in Iowa,
the way Joni Ernst did?
DARA LIND, VAX.COM: This is actually the fourth time the GOP has done
response. And actually in the past it has been a straight translation and
they`ve just cut out the biographical parts if it`s someone else reading
In this case, really, it was a different speech.
Not only was he not only was Corbello instead of talking about, you
know, Ernst`s history as a veteran or something like that, or her
grandparents growing up in Iowa and the farming, he talked about his
parents coming from Cuba as emigrants leaving the Castro regime, and how
they came with nothing but their faith and the desire to make a better
future for their family.
And then said that`s my family`s story, and I know it`s yours,
Which is something that Ernst, for obvious reasons, didn`t do in hers.
HAYES: So in terms on specific substantive areas, Ernst basically
said basically said nothing on immigration reform.
Corbello did say something. "We must also work thought the proper
channels to create permanent solutions for immigration`s system to secure
our borders, modernize legal immigration, straighten our economy."
That is definitely not the top line English language GOP message that
it is sending its base.
LIND: So, Corbello is to the left of the rest of his party on
Last week, most of the house voted to not fund the Department of
Homeland Security, unless President Obama agreed to end his executive
actions to protect
immigrants from deportation.
Corbello voted against those. But, what he said last night is actually
not that far out of the line with his party. There are people in the
Republican party who want to pass something on border security, who want to
expand high-skilled immigration because they figure at least those are
things they can get some support
of course, today, the Senate Republican Leadership appointed Senator
Jeff Sessions, who`s one of the few opponents of legal immigration in the
Republican party, to run their immigration subcommittee. So who knows where
they`re going to be on that.
HAYES: But this is precisely the problem, right?
This is not a sustainable strategy. They cannot basically continue to,
almost literally, talk out of both sides of their mouth. They can`t have
the party be voting to deport 4 million people, deport the dreamers, defund
DHS, have ------- talking about deportables and then, you know, trot out
someone to speak in Spanish, in far more humane language. That is not going
LIND: No, it`s absolutely not. And, of course, the funny thing is that
Curbelo`s giving this address on Spanish language television where Jorge
company are famous for holding politicians accountable for not supporting
immigration and not doing enough. But, I think that this is worthwhile,
because Democrats do have a tendency to assume that because Republicans are
so terrible on
immigration and so terrible at reaching out to Latinos, that they don`t
And this speech was something of a window into if something happened
and Republicans were able to get immigration off the table for one reason
what would their Latino approach look like? And frankly, from that
perspective, it was a very impressive speech. And if I were a Democratic
communicator right now, I would be moderately concerned.
HAYES: Dara Lind, thank you very much.
All right, if there`s one thing I want to impart to you tonight, it`s
that the state of our billionaires is strong. Stay tuned for that.
HAYES: It`s no secret that House Speaker John Boehner and Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are not big Barack Obama fans. They both
made it clear at times they would like to see the president politically
defeated and his policies stymied. They both indicated they would rather
the White House nuclear negotiations with Iran were not happening.
So while it should not come as a big surprise that they appear to be
teaming up on this issue, their methods are apparently quite unusual.
Boehner announced this morning he`s invited Netanyahu to speak before a
joint session of congress next month about the grave threats posed by
radical Islam and Iran.
In other words, Boehner doesn`t like the president`s Iran policy so he
is bringing in reinforcements in the form of a foreign leader who is
essentially being invited to rebut the president from the same podium where
Obama delivered his State of the Union Address last night.
Both the White House and the State Department seem taken aback by the
announcement today. White House Spokesman Josh Earnest calling the process
a departure from protocol telling reporters "the White House first heard
about the invitation this morning, just before Boehner announced it to the
Apparently it`s not normal for a foreign leader`s government to fail
to notify the White House they`re going to be showing up in Washington to
Secretary of State John Kerry said Netanyahu is welcome to speak in
the U.S. any time, but that it was, quote, "a little unusual to hear about
the speech from John Boehner`s office."
If there was any doubt about John Boehner`s intentions here allow me
to read from the Washington Post today citing a senior GOP aide quoting
Boehner as saying the following during closed-door meeting with
Republicans: "Obama expects us to stand idly by and do nothing while he
cuts a bad deal with Iran. Two words, hell no, we`re going to do no such
Of all the items on the president`s agenda right now, this is probably
the biggest, most high-stakes fight. It finds a president on one side and
Republicans in both houses of congress plus a lot of Democrats and
lobbyists and the Israeli government on the other.
And the backdrop for Netanyahu as this episode unfolds is that he,
himself, is facing an election this spring with increasing opposition
coming from his right flank.
You know, it`s a shame he`s not eligible to run for president here in
U.S. because if Benjamin Netanyahu doesn`t win reelection this year, he
would stand a heck of a chance in the 2016 Republican primary.
HAYES: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of congress, my
fellow Americans, we are 15 years into this new century, 15 years that saw
Main Street, and Wall Street pitted against each other, that saw the
housing market implode and big bank collapse and titans of the financial
industry facing possible prosecution, and a tidal wave of backlash. It has
been an unusually hard time for the rich.
But tonight, we turn the page. Tonight the banks have escaped
criminal prosecution, and they`re bigger than ever. Last month the Dow
Jones finished above 18,000 for the first time ever, while corporate
profits skyrocketed to record highs in 2014.
America, for all we endured, for all the lobbying and corporate
donations it took to protect the interests of the super rich, know this,
the shadow of crisis has passed and the state of our billionaires is
Several years ago, David Seagal (ph) and his wife Jackie (ph) were a
typical married couple, trying to make a home for their children in the
single-family house in the United States a 90,000 square foot mansion in
Florida named Versailles after the famous palace in France.
Their story was portrayed in the documentary The Queen of Versailles.
David was the owner of Westgate Resorts, a time share company while Jackie
(ph) stayed home to take care of the kids with help from a few nannies.
It`s a real American story.
But then the recession hit, the housing crisis took a toll on David`s
business, and facing setback after setback, the Siegels (ph) were forced to
their dream of living like Louis XIV.
So, the family tightened their belts, laying off 7,000 Westgate
employees and selling the company`s flagship on the Vegas strip.
But soon, with help from the improving economy, things started to turn
around. In fact, they turned so far, that David Siegel (ph) recently
declared 2014 the best year in his company`s history and gave his employees
And after all the hardships they faced, the Siegels (ph) restarted
construction on their dream house, which is due to be completed this year.
Now there are many other signs our billionaires have made a full
recovery. Just two days ago, a penthouse here in New York smashed the
record for the most expensive condo in the country`s history selling to an
anonymous buyer for $105.1 million.
Since the financial crisis, the number of billionaires worldwide has
more than doubled according to new research from Oxfam, and they`re on
track to control more than half the world`s total wealth by next year.
Meanwhile, the 1 percent continue to consolidate their outsized
influence in politics, thanks in large part to Citizens United handed down
by the Supreme Court exactly five years ago today.
With President Obama proposing to raise taxes on capital gains and
close the so-called trust fund loophole, billionaires can rest assured the
Republican congress will never let it happen.
And I come before you tonight at a very special crucial time of year
for our billionaires when they congregate from their ilk from around the
globe at the World Economic Forum now underway in Davos, Switzerland.
From the looks of attendees` social media feeds, they may have had to
deal with a bit of unfortunate traffic on arrival, but away from the hustle
and bustle of their daily billionaire grind, they`re taking the opportunity
to enjoy the Opera ski champagne, or test drive a new Audi on ice.
One of those billionaires has some sage advice for the masses of
Americans who have failed to achieve his stratospheric level of success.
I`m going to bring you those words of wisdom next.
HAYES: Jeff Greene is a real estate investor and makes billions of
dollars betting against the subprime mortgage market. He`s attending the
World Economic Forum in Davos. In an interview with Bloomberg, he shared
some of his thoughts on the state of the U.S. economy. America`s lifestyle
expectations are far too high and to be adjusted so we have less things and
a smaller, better existence, Greene said. We need to reinvent our whole
system of life."
According to Bloomberg, Greene flew his wife, children and two nannies
on a private jet plane to Davos for the week.
Joining me now, Heather McGee, president of Demos; and Nick Hanauer,
venture capitalist and technology entrepreneur.
So, this is a -- we`re going to check in on the state of our
Nick, I want to start with you, you know some billionaires. You`ve
been writing about the world of the 1 percent. What is -- is the state of
our billionaires strong? It seems quite strong.
NICK HANAUER, VENTURE CAPITALIST: The state of our billionaires is
very strong, it`s galactically awesome to be us at the moment.
HAYES: And is there any sign -- it`s kind of amazing thing about this
six years of recovery that this group of people who a lot of whom hate
Barack Obama, they think he`s a socialist, they hate redistribution, it
really just has been an incredible time to be super rich in this country.
I mean, you`ve got unprecedented amounts of gains flowing to those
HANAUER: Right. You know, I mean, we have structured the economy to
benefit a very tiny minority of people and that process essentially is a
feedback loop, which is accelerating. And, you know, there`s not a better
example of the way in
which we`re currently manipulating the economy to benefit people like me,
than the $700 billion a year, you know, American corporations currently
spend on stock buybacks, which do nothing but inflate the, essentially the
paper value of assets for the benefit of the very, very rich.
HAYES: This is just a point I think that`s important to realize is,
the things that precipitated the crisis, there`s a theory about the global
pool of money theory, right, which is like there`s so much money
concentrated in so few hands, chasing investment, looking around, and it
just was sloshing around, sloshing around. Eventually it was like, we`ve
just got to make stuff out of thin
air to essentially soak up all the money.
And you are seeing that again. You can see financial markets, this is
my own personal opinion, I`m not a professional at investment. You can
start to see them get weird again I feel like right now, because we have
the same underlying features.
HEATHER MCGEE, DEMOS: And meanwhile, the -- as the pope said,
actually, as meanwhile, as Pope Francis says, the excluded are still
waiting, right. There are millions of people who would love just a tiny
bit of that capital in order to fulfill their dreams. And what we`re not
seeing is it flowing exactly where it should.
The financial sector is supposed to be a pipeline for capital to go
into productive uses in the economy. And right now, it`s just a casino.
Share buybacks is something that we`ve done a lot of research on at Demos,
because we calculate for all of these major companies that are employers...
HAYES: Explain a share buyback.
So basically, what happens is, it`s because of, of course, the obscure
regulatory change, about 20 years ago, that made...
MCGEE: That made what used to be -- thank you -- that made what used
to be seen as suspect in terms of regulators, actually, now, sort of what
every corporation does.
And essentially it`s where, let`s take Walmart, America`s biggest
private employer, will spend tens of billions of dollars buying back their
own shares in
the market in order to inflate the earnings per share.
HAYES: Ah, right, sure.
MCGEE: And exactly that amount of money that they spent last year
Walmart doing that, could have given all of their low-paid workers a nearly
$6 an hour
HAYES: OK, that`s a great example, right, because that capital is
essentially the sort of paper manipulation, right, financial manipulation.
And it`s not, Nick, you know, the idea of the pipeline is so key,
right. Right now billionaires, you have this money, and there`s stuff you
can do. You can buy fancy cars and private jets, right? But you run out
of that pretty quickly, right. The money has got to go do something
productive, right. That`s the whole point of capitalism. And there are
all sorts of ways it gets channeled into not
particularly socially productive or even economically productive purposes.
And the world is awash in capital. Even the Bain Company calls it an
era of capital super abundance. We`re awash in capital. What we`re not
awash in is robust consumer demand, because what we`ve done is we`ve -- as
power has shifted
from workers to owners, what`s happened is, you know, the profits have
doubled as a
percentage of GDP over the last 30 years, and wages have fallen by exactly
the same amount, about $1 trillion per year.
And what Americans have to realize is that $1 trillion, that extra $1
trillion in profit annually isn`t profit because it needs to be or has to
should be, it`s profit because powerful people like me prefer it to be.
HANAUER: It could be used as wages, it could be used as discounts to
MCGEE: And a big part of that story, obviously, is the lack of worker
collective bargaining power. There was a recent study showed between 20
percent to a third of the rise in the inequality can be explained just by
the lack of union power, which of course gets us back to that feedback loop
to politics, right, because there are political decisions that make it
harder for people to form a union. And they could be different political
decisions if working people had more power.
HAYES: And we are of course on the five-year anniversary of Citizens
United. And we are seeing this invisible primary play out on the
Republican side in which these folks, the Kochs and others, these
billionaires, right, are deciding which horse they`re going to back. And
you know what that`s going to produce. It`s similar on the Democratic
side, frankly, as people line up...
MCGEE: It is. We did a report actually just last week, sort of in
honor of the Citizens United fifth anniversary, showing actually a bunch of
different candidates who were decent candidates, who were not able to be
competitive, because they don`t have networks of millionaires and
billionaires to help them run.
And then we modeled what it would be like if we had small donor match
public financing, like we have here in New York City. And those candidates
did not have to be anything more than waiters, and, you know, waitresses,
and teachers and firefighters, to be able to run competitive campaigns.
HAYES: All right.
Nick Hanauer, thank you very much. And Heather McGee -- you`re
actually a member of the World Economic Forum?
MCGEE: I went to the nerds Davos. And it was fascinating.
HAYES: Sure, likely story.
All right, that is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow shows
starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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