All In With Chris Hayes, Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: March 24, 2015
Guest: Kitty Higgins, Adam Entous, Jess McIntosh
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN:
A German plane crashes in the French Alps, killing all onboard.
Tonight, why investigators are focusing on the eight minutes of descent.
Then, a "Wall Street Journal" blockbuster.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Frankly, I was a bit
HAYES: Was Israel spying on America and feeding intelligence to
Plus, why Ted Cruz birthers have it all wrong.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: On 9/11, I didn`t like
how rock music responded.
HAYES: And the man who shut down American government to end Obamacare
is now signing up for Obamacare.
CRUZ: So, we`ll be on the federal exchange, like millions of others.
HAYES: And why isn`t anybody taking Joe Biden seriously?
BARNEY FRANK (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: He can`t keep his mouth
shut or his hands to himself.
HAYES: Plus, he`s the undisputed king of the podcast world.
MARC MARON, WTF: Yes, I don`t know if it`s resolved.
HAYES: Tonight, my exclusive interview with WTF`s Marc Maron on the
new media explosion.
ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
There are no survivors in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525. The
Airbus A320 went down in the French Alps about one hour after takeoff this
morning, on a flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany,
carrying 144 passengers and 6 crew members. Investigators are at the crash
site now, and have recovered one of the black box components, the cockpit
voice recorder, amid a horrific scene in which the plane is described as
Joining me now, NBC News chief global correspondent, Bill Neely, near
the crash site in the Alps.
And, Bill, what do we know at this hour?
BILL NEELY, NBC NEWS CHIEF GLOBAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good evening,
This is a crash that frankly has the experts baffled. A plane flying
apparently normally, in good weather, that suddenly plummets from 30,000
feet -- from 38,000 feet, but plummets 30,000 feet in less than 10 minutes,
unimaginable for those on board.
I`m at rescue headquarters, where the search has been suspended.
We`re now in darkness, as you can see. It will be begun again in first
light. But today, they have been searching the mountainside, a really
appalling scene. Tiny fragments of that plane.
It looks like from what eyewitnesses have said, that the plane was
intact when it hit the mountainside, but the pieces are just tiny
fragments, thousands of them, not a single one apparently bigger than a
car, and no sign of life on board.
As you say, 150 people, 144 passengers, 67 at least from Germany, at
least 45 from Spain. There were also passengers from Turkey, from Belgium,
and possibly from Britain. Among those passengers were 16 teenagers from
Germany who had just had a week`s exchange with classmates from Barcelona.
Also, two very famous opera stars, who had just performed in Barcelona and
were returning to their homes in Germany.
Of course, at the very center of this is how on earth could it have
happened? The plane, which took off from Barcelona at 10:00 had within
half an hour or so, reached that comfortable cruising altitude when people
relax. But it was only there, for between one and three minutes when quite
suddenly, and it is unexplained at the moment, it began a fairly rapid
descent over eight to ten minutes. It was descending at a rate of 3,000 or
4,000 feet a minute.
So, steady, nothing that would cause the plane to break up. The
weather, as I said, during the flight was good. The plane was 24 years
old, but it had been maintained regularly. It had had a routine inspection
just yesterday and a full service two years ago.
So, Germanwings and aviation experts are saying there was nothing
untoward in the design or in the maintenance of the plane. No hint of
terrorism, according to U.S. security experts. So, quite why it descended
so far, so fast remains a great mystery.
And there was no mayday call, Chris, from either of the pilots. Now,
that could mean one of two things, either they were just too busy in those
eight minutes to make any kind of radio call, and some experts are saying
that is most unlikely, that they wouldn`t have time to call, or at that
point, they were simply incapacitated and could not call, possibly by
So, the mystery remains. The good news, if there is any good news in
this, is that, as you say, one of the flight recorders, that`s the cockpit
voice recorder, has been recovered. And that will tell air accident
investigators what the pilots were saying, not just to air traffic control,
but to each other, and it will pick up any ambient noise in the cockpit,
including any flight attendants who may have come in to report anything
untoward in the great body of the plane.
But at the moment, here, the search is suspended, a somber mood here.
And it will resume at first light, for the remains of 150 people who have
died onboard that plane -- Chris.
HAYES: NBC News chief global correspondent, Bill Neely, thank you so
Joining me now, former NTSB board member, Kitty Higgins.
Ms. Higgins, it seems to me that almost the biggest anomaly here is
that rapid descent, just a few minutes after it reached cruising altitude.
What possible theories do we have about what could cause that descent?
KITTY HIGGINS, NTSB BOARD MEMBER: Well, Chris, until we recover the
data recorder, we won`t know for sure. But the descent, while rapid, was
also steady. It took 10 minutes and the increments, apparently, were about
the same every minute. So, 3,000 to 4,000 feet a minute.
What suggests to me that it was probably on auto pilot, that they were
not actually flying the plane, which may support the theory that they were
incapacitated and couldn`t fly the plane. The plane, apparently, was
intact, according to eyewitnesses, but was descending, and didn`t clear the
If they had been flying it and had total control, they would have
avoided the mountains. They -- there are lots of theories at this point.
We don`t know for sure. That`s why we need that flight data recorder.
HAYES: If the plane were to experience some kind of catastrophic
engine failure, would we expect it to plummet more rapidly than the
trajectory that it appears to have followed?
HIGGINS: That`s my understanding. If it had lost capacity in the
air, it wouldn`t have just done a steady step -- stair-step kind of climb
down. It would have spiraled down, it would -- some other formation. But
it wouldn`t have just slowly descended, even though it was 4,000 feet a
minute, that`s a reasonable landing rate, if you will, but obviously, they
had no place to land.
And again, fortunately, we have the voice recorder, the French
authorities and investigators will read that out, we may have more
information on that tomorrow, and I`m sure they`ll be looking very quickly
and carefully for that data recorder.
HAYES: This plane, the Airbus 320, is a stalwart. It`s the workhorse
of international travel. It has a pretty good safety record, right? I
mean, this is -- this model of plane isn`t some sort of new thing. This is
the standard, essentially.
HIGGINS: No, it`s a very -- as you said, it`s the workhorse,
considered the workhorse, like the 7:37 that Boeing makes. Not only is it
a very safe plane, it`s also, you`re talking about Lufthansa, they have a
terrific safety record. This particular airline has a good record on its s
And you`ve got pilots who were apparently well-trained and experienced
with this kind of aircraft. So, that`s why it`s such a mystery. All of
the things you normally look for, we don`t -- we`re not aware of yet.
And, again, until we -- we shouldn`t speculate, and that`s why we need
the information those recorders will provide and other witnesses that will
HAYES: Also, we should talk here about the basic context of the
European commercial air travel. I mean, this -- there obviously was the
Malaysian airlines flight that was shot down over Ukraine that had nothing
to do with anything other than the fact that there`s an active war zone in
that part of Europe. But the safety record of European American air travel
is quite good generally, right?
HIGGINS: It is very good. I mean, we`ve had accidents. I mean,
Airbus -- Air France had a major accident, not in France, but heading
towards France from Brazil. We know what happened with that accident.
The AirAsia crash that happened just around -- between Christmas and
New Year`s, was also an A320. And the French authorities are investigating
that. We still don`t know what caused that plane to go down, although we
have some clues in terms of weather and other kinds of things.
But it`s -- there`s a very good track record. And, again, we have to
remind ourselves and the public that aviation is still the safest form of
travel, as witnessed of the record of not only this airline, but so many
HAYES: Kitty Higgins, thank you very much.
HIGGINS: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. The other big story in the news today, a bombshell
report in the "Wall Street Journal" that Israel spied on the U.S. to gather
intelligence on nuclear talks with Iran and then turned around and used
that intelligence to engage in a partisan political fight over the
potential deal. According to "The Journal", it was part of the strategy
concocted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as ambassador to the
U.S., Ron Dermer, to mobilize opposition against the primary foreign policy
objective of the sitting president.
It appears to be the same strategy that prompted Netanyahu to address
a joint meeting of Congress, without consulting the White House on the
dangers of a deal with the Iranian regime. And that led Tom Cotton and 46
of his Senate Republican colleagues to write a letter to that regime,
warning them that their own president is untrustworthy.
According to the "Wall Street Journal," U.S. intelligence agencies
discovered Israel`s espionage while themselves spying on Israeli
communications. The senior U.S. official telling "The Journal," it is one
thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing
for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to
undermine U.S. diplomacy.
Three top Israeli ministers strenuously denied the report. The
nation`s intelligence minister saying, quote, "Israel does not spy on the
United States, period, exclamation mark."
Meanwhile, the man who helped orchestrate Netanyahu`s address to
Congress, House Speaker John Boehner, professed total surprise at the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: I read that story this morning, and frankly, I was a bit
shocked, because there`s no information revealed to me whatsoever. I was
shocked by the fact that there were reports in this press article that
information was being passed on from the Israelis to members of Congress.
I`m not aware of that at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Taking questions at a press conference today, President Obama
declined to comment on "The Wall Street Journal" report. He did address,
however, his administration`s response to Israeli prime minister,
renouncing a two-state solution -- another source of the escalating tension
between Israel and the U.S., despite Benjamin Netanyahu`s attempts to walk
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we can`t do is
pretend that there`s a possibility of something that`s not there. And we
can`t continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that
everybody knows is not going to happen, at least in the next several years.
That is something that we have to -- for the sake of our own credibility, I
think we have to be able to be honest about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Coming on the heels of some strong words about Israel from the
president`s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, while addressing the liberal-
leaning pro-Israel J Street yesterday, today`s scoop in the "Wall Street
Journal" built on leaks from senior U.S. officials -- let`s be clear --
looks like the latest salvo in an increasingly acrimonious, in fact,
possibly unprecedented battle between the White House and Benjamin
Netanyahu and his Republican allies.
Joining me now on the phone from Jerusalem is the author of that
scoop, "Wall Street Journal" national security correspondent, Adam Entous.
Adam, first, I want you to respond to blanket denials that had been
issued by members of the Israeli government. Did you get this story wrong?
ADAM ENTOUS, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (via telephone): Right. So,
what the -- if you read -- if you look carefully, "The Wall Street Journal"
story basically said that the Israelis were spying on the negotiations, not
on the -- it didn`t say specifically spying on the U.S. negotiators. So,
there`s a critical distinction here between what Israeli officials consider
to be targeted espionage against U.S. officials, i.e., bugging officials,
hacking into secure U.S. communication systems, and what Israeli officials
say that they do do, which is, they sweep up U.S. communications, with
other officials that they are targeting, including, for example, the
Iranian delegation in these negotiations.
So, in other words, John Kerry provides a proposal to the Iranians.
The Iranians turn around and send an e-mail or make a phone call to provide
that information back to Tehran, and in the process, the Israelis can pick
up that -- those details. And that`s how they basically, in the words of
one official I spoke to, Israelis consider that to be a legitimate backdoor
to try to get American information.
HAYES: And then the reporting that --
ENTOUS: That`s the way I read the Israeli`s -- very specific to what
they say, spying on the United States directly.
HAYES: Although one should also note that there`s very good reason to
believe, at least in precedent, that allies, U.S., Israel, lots of other
countries, spy on each other all the time.
So, the notion that that is somehow out of bounds is frankly a little
hard to believe.
The remarkable thing here is the notion that those collected
communications would then be used as a back-channel to subvert, to sort of
create opposition among U.S. lawmakers, fed through Ambassador Ron Dermer.
ENTOUS: Right. So, I think it`s important here to think that what
the Israelis are doing here, their intelligence agencies, their diplomats,
everybody out there, they have been tasked with finding -- trying to find
out exactly what are American -- what are American bottom lines, what are
the Iranian bottom lines, the French bottom lines in these negotiations.
So, they are, in addition to espionage, they are also having
diplomatic meetings. They`re having lunches and dinners and going to
restaurants, collecting information like a journalist collects information
and like diplomats collect information and report on the information that
So, all of this is getting swept up into, you know, kind of reports
that are reaching the prime minister`s office, reaching Ambassador Dermer,
you know? So, there is -- you know, espionage is one piece of the overall
collection that the Israelis do, that then they use to inform their
briefings, that they then provide to lawmakers.
HAYES: But let`s be very clear about --
ENTOUS: But the lawmakers, they have a very, very special perspective
here on what they see as a train wreck.
HAYES: That`s right.
ENTOUS: And they, you know, according to U.S. officials,
administration officials, the concern is that the Israelis are cherry-
picking information that tilts views against negotiations and not providing
information about the concessions and safeguards that the administration is
trying to build into the agreement.
HAYES: Yes, it`s almost out of "House of Cards." You`ve got
briefings that are being architected around the goal of subverting the
talks, which are then being given to lawmakers, which they are then saying,
that the Iranians are snowing the White House, the White House is selling
you out, and here`s the reason that you should not back this deal. I mean,
that is clearly the goal here.
Adam Entous, great report in "The Wall Street Journal", from Jerusalem
-- thank you very much, sir.
ENTOUS: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
HAYES: Are you, dear viewer, looking for a new job? We`ve got one.
How about applying for the position of fund-raiser for the Draft Joe Biden
super PAC? That`s a real thing. And I`m going to talk to the guy behind
the effort, ahead.
HAYES: Yesterday, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz became the first
major candidate to declare a run for president, which prompted Donald Trump
to weigh in with this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: He was born in Canada. If you know and
when we all studied our history lessons, he`s supposed to be born in this
country. So, I just don`t know how the courts would rule on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK, I`ve been seeing this in a lot of places on Facebook and
people have been e-mailing me. So, let`s get this out of the way. This,
by "The Dallas Morning News," is Ted Cruz`s birth certificate, complete
with vintage Canadian graphic design.
As you can see, Cruz was indeed born in Canada, in Calgary, to a
father from Cuba and a mother from the great state of Delaware.
Here`s what the Constitution says, you have to be, and I`m quoting
here, "a natural born citizen to be eligible to be president."
While there is some debate among legal scholars, most believe you`re a
natural born citizen if you were born to an American citizen. That is,
able to have American citizenship at birth. That does not mean -- this is
key -- that you have to have been born within the physical borders of the
United States. If, for instance, my parents had happened to be living in
Italy when they had me, I would still have been a natural born citizen, I
can still run for president. Who knows? Might happen.
Same way, John McCain is a natural born citizen, despite being born to
American parents in the Panama Canal Zone. And the same way that Barack
Obama, even if he had been born in Kenya, which, of course, he wasn`t,
would have been a natural born citizen, because his mom was American.
So, Ted Cruz is constitutionally eligible to be president. Now, just
because he can be president doesn`t mean he should be. More on that,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: Imagine in 2017, a new president signing legislation, repealing
every word of Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ted Cruz yesterday at Liberty University, announcing his
presidential bid. And, of course, the man who helped shut down the
government to try to stop Obamacare is still intent on killing it.
Ah, but, Ted Cruz is running for president now. And Ted Cruz`s wife
has taken unpaid leave from her awesome job at Goldman Sachs to help out
with the campaign, which means, guess what -- Ted Cruz needs health
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: So, she`s taking an unpaid leave of absence from her job, so
we`re transitioning, we`ll be getting new health insurance, and we`ll
presumably do it through my job in the Senate. So, we`ll be on the federal
exchange, like millions of others on the federal exchange.
DANA BASH, CNN: So, you will be getting Obamacare, effectively?
CRUZ: It is one of the good things about Obamacare, is that the
statute provided that members of Congress would be on the exchanges without
subsidies, just like millions of Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. That is right, OK? Ted Cruz is going to sign up for
Obamacare. Now, I should note, as he makes allusion to, he doesn`t have
much choice. The way the law is written, members of Congress who don`t get
insurance from Medicare or spouse are required to enroll in Obamacare, and
that provision itself was the result of a dumb rhetorical bluff in which
Republicans said to their Democratic colleagues, well, if you love
Obamacare so much, why don`t you marry it by requiring it to Congress? To
which Democrats said, OK, fine, let`s do that, fine.
But I guess Ted Cruz will change all that when he repeals every word
of Obamacare and kicks his own family off its health insurance.
Ted Cruz made that stunning comment as part of his post-announcement
publicity blitz, though he wasn`t the only politician taking the airways to
make his or her presidential case. Rand Paul, who`s expected to announce
his own run on April 7th -- drum roll -- popped up on FOX News last night
to workshop his anti-Cruz argument.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Ted Cruz is a conservative, but it also
goes to winnability. And people have to make a decision, which is the
Republican that cannot only excite the base, but can also bring new people
into the party?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Hmm, interesting.
Still, Rand Paul can`t deny that Cruz does excite a certain element of
the right. Conservative talk radio hosts led by Glenn Beck have embraced
the Texas senator wholeheartedly. Beck even cut a new video to express his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, TALK RADIO HOST: Is with the establishment GOP. Cruz is
a direct threat to their rule. It will be all hands on deck to save their
own skins and crush him. And if they do, we`ll be stuck with another
progressive Republican candidate, because -- say it with me -- that`s the
best chance to win. I don`t know about you, but I`m done playing that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Over it. Done! Get out of here.
Joining me no to talk about all of this, Jess McIntosh, spokesperson
for Emily`s List.
I -- so I was fascinated by the -- I`m fascinated by the FOX News
primary jockeying that`s going to happen over the course of this.
JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY`S LIST: Yes!
HAYES: Last night, you`ve got Rupert Murdoch tweeting about the fact
that Rand Paul on Megyn Kelly right before Ted Cruz on Hannity. "Just saw
Rand Paul on Megyn Kelly. Smart move ahead of Ted Cruz on Hannity.
Contest warming up early, danger folks get tired."
Can you imagine being a booker over there, as this thing heats up?
MCINTOSH: No, this is --
HAYES: The air time is like a piece of pizza that everyone is
MCINTOSH: This is like slap fight for the ages. Like I`m really
excited that we are actually talking about a non-hypothetical candidate.
MCINTOSH: This is a person who has announced that they are running
for president and now we can talk about the presidential campaign, because
it has started.
That said, I think Ted Cruz just wanted to like comment first on the
post. He didn`t really have anything new to say and he just wanted to get
out there in front of Rand Paul. I think that`s going to push Rand Paul to
do more media appearances. They`re both going to jockey for the same
incredibly socially conservative piece of the Republican pie right now,
because there`s kind of -- there`s only going to be room for one anti-Jeb
or they`re just going to split too much of that.
So, I think we`re going to spend the next few months watching them
cater to the base that they think they have better lock on. Rand Paul, at
least, kind of tries to try, to talk to people who aren`t die-hard
evangelical Republicans. Ted Cruz doesn`t, but he`s much, much better at
So, I`m looking forward to this all-around.
HAYES: I think there`s something fascinating about Cruz, for a number
of reasons. One is that, here`s a guy who`s sort of running as the kind of
folksy populist, who has checked every box of the meritocratic elite. I
mean, Princeton undergrad, Harvard law, big appellate courtship, Supreme
Court courtship, fancy law firm, his wife works at Goldman Sachs.
I mean, they are like -- this is the elite of the elite of the elite.
And this is the guy who`s going to come to America and say, I`m the guy --
I`m one of you.
MCINTOSH: I understand people like you. He`s going to win the
"understands people like me" polls.
And the guy also loves a captive audience. And I think that that`s
what we`re going to see from him in the next few months. Like up until
Iowa, which either he wins or he`s out at that point, he likes talking to
people who have to listen to him. This is the guy who stood on the Senate
floor for what, 23 hours and read "green eggs and ham."
He announced his presidency at Liberty University, where students were
mandated to be in attendance or they would be fined. Not as much as they
would be fined for possessing R-rated movies or practicing witchcraft, but
still, they had to pay money if they didn`t want to see him.
That`s an odd choice for someone who is asking for your vote, who`s
essentially introducing themselves as a supplicant. That`s weird.
HAYES: Also, he -- there`s something about him that I find so sort of
inauthentic in all moments, so overly performative.
Here`s a moment from CBS this morning that sort of captured that.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: I grew up listening to classic rock. And I`ll tell you sort of
an odd story. My music tastes changed on 9/11. On 9/11, I didn`t like how
rock music responded. And country music collectively, the way they
responded, it resonated with me, and I have to say, it just, at a gut
level, I had an emotional reaction that said, these are my people. So ever
since 2001, I listened to country music.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Are you kidding me? I mean, this was a question from Gale
King, meant to get off politics, like, what kind of music do you listen to?
It`s just like the level of pandering, the over-determination of pandering
in that answer is remarkable to me.
MCINTOSH: I mean, I`m a New Yorker. I was mad about a lot of things
right after 9/11 and rock music wasn`t one of them. I don`t think anybody
in the country is going to see a music question as a moment to get divisive
HAYES: Yes! And also, to weirdly cast aspersions on the rock
community, for their insufficient patriotism in the wake of the largest
mass murder in American history.
Jess McIntosh, always a pleasure. Thank you.
MCINTOSH: Going to be fun. Thanks.
HAYES: All right. If you want to hear the best interviews happening
anywhere in the media right now, there is one place to go to, the place I
go to, that`s straight to comedian Marc Moran`s podcast, WTF. Marc will be
with me later on the show. You don`t want to miss that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re going for the 45th President, so I`m going
to pick 17th.
HAES: Impeccable logic!
Figure it out. 17th, prime number. Will it deliver for Jess Macintosh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden. From the hard-scrabble city of
Scranton, Pennsylvania. Over three decades in the Senate.
He`s the V.P. who`s a B.F.D, and he`s ready to run the U.S.A.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT: I promise you, the President has a big
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vice President, Joe Biden!
HAYES: That`s a B.F.D. right there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s right. Vice President Joe Biden was one of the
candidates drafted in the All In 2016 fantasy candidate draft. And today, a
There is now officially a draft Joe Biden Super Pac, and the website
for the pac is asking, why not Biden? After all, it`s the season.
Just yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz became the first candidate to
officially declare a run for Presidency. And in the post-citizens united
era, there are all kinds of ways to raise money and plot a campaign before
you actually declare you`re running.
Former Governor Jeb Bush has Right to Rise, Senator Rand Paul has Rand
Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has Ready for Hillary. And
that`s just to site a few.
And now, there`s officially a legal vehicle for Vice President Joe
Biden, who is, I have to say, weirdly absent from Presidential speculation,
given that he is, on paper at least, one of the most qualified, possibly,
the most qualified politician in the country to become the next President.
Biden has been Vice President during a successful, two term Obama
Presidency. He has a long resume as a well-respected U.S. Senator prior to
that. He has no typical disqualifiers, although, possibly some atypical
The Vice President was in Iowa just last month promoting President
economic policy, and, as always, when a major politician goes to Iowa,
stirring 2016 speculation.
So, why is it that Joe Biden is not taken seriously?
Joining me now, Will Pierce. He`s the executive director of the Draft
Mr. Pierce, what is Draft Biden, and why have you decided to commit your
life to trying to get Joe Biden to run for office, or President?
WILLIAM PIERCE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF DRAFT BIDEN: Thank you, first
off, Chris, thank you very much for having me on.
The reason why we started this movement is because we believe that the
Vice President is the most qualified candidate to run for President.
Here`s a man who has over three decades of experience as a United
States Senator, he has all his foreign policy experience, as well as all
his loyal to the
Democratic party. He`s a great candidate and we believe that he`s the
candidate for 2016.
HAYES: When you say movement, is there really a movement to draft Joe
I guess my question for you is, is this a thing?
So, a week ago today, we launched Draft Biden. We had about 2,000
collectively, 2,000 people who were involved in our movement. And under a
week, we`ve actually quadrupled.
We now have an e-mail list of about 14,000 to 18,000 people. We have
people who, every single day throughout the whole entire country signing
For example, earlier today, I talked to Courtney down in Virginia,
who`s just a general volunteer. There`s a gentleman all the way out in Los
Angeles, California, who`s an attorney, he`s getting involved.
People, no matter what, black or white, rich or poor, they`re getting
involved, and that`s because they believe the Vice President is a perfect
candidate for President.
HAYES: Okay, so here`s my question to you. Why do you think it is the
case that there is a gap. I think there is a gap between his resume and how
formidable he would be as a candidate, and the amount of speculation.
I mean, is he just not going to run? Is he doing anything that you
know of to possibly lay the groundwork for that?
PIERCE: Well, you know, since we can`t comment because of the Super
Pac and everything, what we`ve been doing for the most part is we`ve just
Our plan mainly focuses around the summertime, because there`s been
numerous media accounts from the Vice President on making his intentions
known some time this summer.
So, right now we`re organizing in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South
We`re focusing on those states, but we`re organizing throughout the whole
Yesterday, for example, I was contacted by a few state reps out in
Iowa who want to get involved, and, basically we`re just organizing fully.
HAYES: Alright, Will Pierce, Draft Biden, thank you very much.
Coming up in the show, comedian Marc Maran and a firing squad, not
necessarily in that order.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The police officers you say who investigated the original
crime are the people who are given the first opportunity to join the ranks
of those who will
pull the trigger on the firing squad?
PAUL RAY, UTAH STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Yes, the jurisdiction that the
crime happened in, it could be the investigators, it could be just anybody
in that jurisdiction, has the first option for the firing squad.
HAYES: And what`s the rationale there?
PAUL RAY, UTAH STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well, it`s closure, I think, for
When justice is dealt out, and you know, somebody needs to do it, and
it gives those guys the option to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Firing squad is officially back in the United States of
Two weeks ago, I spoke with Utah State Rep Paul Ray, who sponsored a
bill to reintroduce the firing squad as a backup execution method if lethal
injection drugs aren`t available.
Yesterday, Governor Jerry Herbert signed that bill into law.
Utah`s move follows a string of grisly botched executions in Oklahoma,
Ohio and Arizona, as many death penalty states are scrambling to maintain
lethal injection drug supplies, largely because the drug makers who make
those drugs are refusing to supply prisons.
But Utah seems to hold a particular affection for the firing squad.
Only three executions have been carried out by firing squad since the
Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. All three were in Utah.
The state only stopped offering the firing squad as an option in 2004.
And in light of its return, the Associated Press has compiled a handy
guide explaining how, exactly, it works. The prisoner is seated between
stacked sandbags so that the bullets don`t ricochet. A target is pinned
over the prisoner`s heart.
The firing squad will aim for the chest, because, according to the bill`s
Representative Paul Ray, it`s a bigger target than the head and makes for a
Five shooters are positioned about 25 feet away from the prisoner with
.30-caliber Winchester rifles pointing through slots in the wall. The
shooters are chosen, as the state rep told us a couple of weeks ago, from a
pool of volunteer officers with priority given to volunteers in the area
where the prisoner`s crime
As gruesome as this sounds, and make no mistake, it is gruesome, very
gruesome, it is arguably less gruesome than running free lance chemical
experiments on death row inmates, which is essentially what is happening in
lethal injection executions across the country right now.
Lining up five volunteer shooters behind a wooden panel, where they
will open fire on a prisoner strapped to a chair 25 feet away with a target
pinned to his chest, that`s grim business. But, ritualized killing by the
state has never been a
pleasant undertaking. At least firing squad is honest about what it is
HAYES: For my money, the best long form interviews happening anywhere
in the media are happening on Marc Maron`s WTF podcast. I have no idea what
it stands for.
A couple of times a week, Maron sits down to talk with comedians,
filmmakers. People like Chris Rock, Amy Poehler, Conan O`Brien, Will
Ferrell, and they talk about their careers, their relationships, sometimes
their darkest thoughts.
The conversations can take on this sort of gripping, emotional, raw
quality of a confession booth, or a therapy session. Think Tony Soprano
sitting down for some of those unforgettable exchanges with Doctor Jennifer
Maron has a tendency to get things out of people I think no one else
In a conversation with Louis C.K. in 2010, which Slate hailed last
year as "the best Podcast ever", two comedians talk about their own
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOUIS C.K., COMMEDIAN: Our friendship faded away at some point. And,
I had time when I was writing you e-mails, to connect with you personally.
MARC MARON, WTF PODCAST: Yeah.
C.K.: And you ignored me.
C.K.: Yeah, for a long time.
MARON: What the [ bleep ] was my problem?
C.K.: And at some point, I caught you on the phone and you said that
you felt like when we talk, it`s just about me, and I don`t really listen
to you. That I`m very self-centered.
C.K.: And I took that to heart, but I also thought, well, I felt like
it was unfair. And look, this is yours to edit, you put in what you want
MARON: What happens to me is that, my friendship with you, like, for
some reason, over the years, you know, despite however much distance, or
whether or not we see each other, whatever our lives have happened, I feel
very close to you as a friend.
C.K.: Yeah, no, that`s the way I`ve always felt.
MARON: And, I get choked up about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Maron is a long stand up comedian, working clubs from Boston
to Los Angeles and along the way he hosted three shows for Air America.
In 2009, he found the format that made the most of his worrying,
dynamic, neurotic talents, with the WTF podcast. Recording the first
episodes on the sly in Air America studios, before moving the operation
into his garage.
Now, it is massively successfully. Not only in the podcast world, but
in the comedy world more broadly.
It`s even spawned a T.V. show, which is about to kick off its third
And joining me now, at the table, Marc Maron.
MARON: Nice to see you, Chris.
HAYES: It`s great to have you, I`m a very big fan of the podcast, as
you probably can tell.
MARON: I`m ready. Are we done? I thought that was great! I`ll leave
on the intro.
HAYES: Here`s the thing I love the most about the podcast.
You talk to people in showbiz, comedy, and somehow, like, there is a
real -- I mean, it`s a cliche to talk about the sad clown, but, show
business generally has a tremendous amount of pathos and angst and neurosis
at the center of it.
People are trying to navigate a career in which they`re constantly
getting feedback about whether they`re good or not, whether they`re
succeeding or failing, and there are people who are needy by design.
And somehow, you get people to be very honest about that on your show.
MARON: That`s because I`m needy and infantile, and emotionally
shattered most of the time.
I think that if you listen to the first hundred or so WTF`s, it`s
really a thinly veiled effort for me to get emotional help from
That was really --
HAYES: The therapy is going in the other direction.
HAYES: They`re Doctor Melfi, you`re Tony Soprano.
MARON: Absolutely. No doubt.
I think the reason that I connect is I need to.
I don`t feel that I interview
people. I feel that I need to connect in conversation and emotionally. I
have a very -- I`m very adept at becoming co-dependent within seconds.
Like, right now, I`m very concerned about you, and I really need to
know where you grew up and what your father did.
So, that`s really the basis of how the thing evolved, was just, I had
a real -- a lot of people I had ideas about who they were. Like, a lot of
people, I`d known for 20 years, but I`d never really talked to.
Most of the interviews are first encounters with people that I`m
familiar with, and then I just sit there, and I assume something about
them, and I slowly let them deconstruct my assumptions and the, I get to
know them as people.
HAYES: You started this thing, and it relates, I think, in some ways,
to the pathos that`s at the core of a lot of these interviews that people
in show business, who are kind of like, always on their hustle, always on
their grind, am I going to get this pilot or not, or, I got the pilot and
then it didn`t get picked
up, and I went through this dark period and then I went through this
You started this thing as this kind of side project that has now
become massively successful.
MARON: Well, wait. Is side project code for hail mary pass? Because,
it wasn`t a side project. I was really at a loss of where to go next with
my own career.
You know, I was respected as a comic, I had a good comedy career, kind
of, but I didn`t really sell tickets, I didn`t have a lot going on. After
the last job at Air America, I didn`t know what I was going to do. I had
just gotten out of a horrible divorce, and I knew people were doing
podcasts so, I did it.
And, I had no expectations out of it, and it seemed to save me in a
lot of ways. Reconnect me with my peers, the community, with myself. It was
a profound experience and continues to be.
HAYES: Podcasting had this moment when podcast started. I`m like a
very obsessive podcast listener, I love podcast. I travel on train
everyday, I go for walks, and I like to listen.
They had this moment when they seemed huge, and then they really fell
off a little bit. Partly, I think, because there was a business concern,
were people actually listening to the things they downloaded. Now it feels
like they`re having another moment. Like, there is a lot of growth.
MARON: Well, what`s happened is, you know, I quickly want to address
one thing from before really quickly.
All of those emotions that you said, the pathos of show business,
And I think one of the reasons why my podcast is popular is people who
just listen, who live average lives, normal lives -- to hear somebody that
they`ve respected or appreciated in the media or entertainment, sort of
persevere through struggles is very connecting.
And, I think the thing that is happening with podcasts now, to address
that question, is that -- it`s weird, I`m talking like someone in politics
right now. Like, to address you`re previous thought, I don`t want to leave
that hanging -- is that, I think with Serial becoming popular, a podcast
that became popular, as a podcast, you know, produced by This American
Life. So, it became huge, I personally, you know, I like to listen, I just
don`t have time to listen to podcasts.
The thing was is that people ask us about, what did you think about
Serial? And I`m like, great.
HAYES: Now, people are talking about podcasts.
MARON: Sure, maybe a whole generation of people can now figure out
how to get a podcast.
Because there was a lot of people of a certain age, they were like,
what do you do? How does it come out?
HAYES: And I think the ubiquity of Smartphones and the ease with
which you can get them now --
MARON: Yeah, they have is podcast platforms.
HAYES: Right. And you don`t have to through this, I got to download.
Oh, it`s downloading. Oh, I have to plug my phone in.
We had a conversation, I think last week. We were doing this segment
about AA, and this big Atlantic article does it work or not? Some criticism
on it. We did the segment. It got a huge response, some of it angry,
MARON: On what side?
HAYES: I think people felt like we were being unfair to the 12 steps
MARON: You were or the article?
HAYES: I think there was a little allusion between them.
So, you are someone who has been outspoken about recovery and what
kind of recovery, so I want you to stick around and talk a little about
that after the break.
MARON: As much as I can, I will.
HAYES: Okay, great.
HAYES: So with me, Marc Maron, who, I want to, before we get into the
slightly heavy stuff about recovery -- five to six million downloads. And
you`ve seen huge growth?
MARON: Yes, huge growth over the years, definitely. And certainly
since Serial and also since certain interviews that we put up.
HAYES: And they get really big and --
MARON: I think 580 maybe, and you know, we have an app, and you can
get, the most recent 50 are always free.
HAYES: And you can go back for sort of a premium.
MARON: Right, if you go to WTFPod.com you can get all set up there,
but, they`re all pretty evergreen and yeah, those downloads are across the
spectrum of all the episodes.
HAYES: So, we did this piece about Alcoholics Anonymous, 12 step
There was sort of critiques about whether it is scientifically valid
when you look at peer reviewed studies, although that`s a great contest to
literature. There`s a question of how much it crowds out other stuff.
I guess, what`s your feeling about it. You, your friends --
MARON: Well, here`s the deal, whatever it takes to get you sober, do
If you can stay sober, good for you. If you need help staying sober,
there are places you can go for that help.
I don`t represent AA, and I can`t represent for AA, and you`re not
even supposed to, really.
But, you know, what a lot of those articles miss, is the real struggle
drug addict or an alcoholic. They seen to be written from almost this
And that`s something that happens to addicts and alcoholics
frequently. If you don`t have the bug, if you don`t understand that hunger
that will make you destroy your life so you can have that thing, no matter
what anyone says, you know, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, tough
love, whatever it is. If you don`t have that, you can`t understand the
And, it`s a difficult struggle, and most people don`t win it.
So, really what it comes down to is, fine, that article can say
wants. It can make any sort of judgment it wants. Whatever you have to do
to stay sober, if you have the sickness, then do it.
I have had success in AA, and life is not roses, but it did sort of
give me a frame work through which, how to become a person that functions.
HAYES: How central is just talking to all of that. Because it strikes
me, you know, you talk about the podcast being therapy, in a certain sense,
right? And, so central to what the meaning is just, is talking. Is just
getting stuff inside out.
MARON: The very idea of it, the kernel of truth of the AA idea is one
drunk talking to another so they don`t drink.
That was really where it started. Like, I`m going to drink, I have to
talk to another guy that gets this.
HAYES: Right, and we will bind each other together to not do that.
MARON: Yeah, for as long as you`re talking. When you walk out that
door, how are you going to protect yourself? What are you going to have in
place? What are you going to have in place to survive with that hunger
until it goes away, if it
A lot of people write about this stuff, and some people understand it.
Some people have alcoholics in their life, they have drug addicts in
their life, they can see how that mental illness ravages people and makes
them operate against their will. Like a possessed person, which is,
probably the closest analogy you can really make to somebody who has the
But look, whatever you got to do. You know, just try to stay sober.
And, I think that`s really the hardest thing for anybody that gets sober,
is to keep it.
How do you stay sober?
And, look, I know it worked for me, but I`m not going to say that
HAYES: We, I want to play this interview. There`s this guy named
Harris Wittels, he`s a comedian, he was on Parks and Rec. He was the co-
executive producer of Parks and Rec and he was on your show talking about
his own struggle with that demon.
Let`s take a listen for a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARON: What was your experience with hallucinogenics? I mean, were
you -- at that time, what were you chasing?
HARRIS WITTELS: I think I`ve always done drugs recreationally. If
you`re watching a movie, or playing a video game, or taking mushrooms, it`s
all (EXPLETIVE DELETED) the same, we`re all just trying to distract
ourselves. I just really liked acid. It was just really fun to laugh for
eight hours at nothing.
MARON: I hope if there`s one thing you get out of that, listen to
that tone of someone who still liked drugs, before they killed him --
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: Harris Wittels died of an overdose.
That is a really good taste of what your podcast does to effectively. I
hope people check it out.
Marc Maron, thank you so much for joining us tonight. I really
MARON: Thanks, Chris. Thanks for having me.
HAYES: All right. 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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