All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, August 13th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: August 13, 2015
Guest: Bruce Bartlett, Nick Confessore, Josh Alcorn, Kavitha Davidson,
David Boaz, Brian Schatz
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Pork chop on a stick.
Trust me, it`s what`s for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack.
HAYES: The campaign descends on Iowa, and Donald Trump is raising the
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve just raised the
HAYES: Tonight, why the conservative fight for the Hawkeye State will
be more brutal than ever before.
Then, major Joe Biden news.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a big
(EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.
HAYES: Is a run for the White House imminent? The man behind Draft
Biden joins me live.
Plus, disruption politics arrives on the doorstep of the Republican
PROTESTERS: Black lives matter! Black lives matter!
HAYES: And why conservatives are beginning to turn on a Republican
front runner not named Trump.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re going to help
the Milwaukee Bucks pay their own way to a new arena.
HAYES: The story of Scott Walker`s stadium con, when ALL IN starts
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
This weekend, the most polarizing figure in American politics will
meet the most iconic figure in presidential primary campaigning.
That`s right. New York City billionaire Donald Trump is heading to
Iowa to meet the butter cow. This cow, of course, the star attraction at
the Iowa state fair, which kicked off today in Des Moines, it`s where
Iowans can view livestock and agricultural presentation rides, amusement
park rides, see concerts and perhaps most importantly consume the more than
70 food items available on a stick.
It is also crucially a must visit for presidential hopefuls from both
parties, many of whom stopped by the "Des Moines Register" soap box to make
their case to voters in the first of the nation caucus state. Today, the
stage taken by Mike Huckabee, Jim Webb and Martin O`Malley and plenty more
candidates are on the way.
While Iowa no longer has a straw poll, fair goers can deposit kernels
of corn to show support for their candidate of choice. Early indications
are that Trump and Hillary Clinton are dominating this extremely
Both Trump and Clinton plan an arriving at the fair on Saturday,
although Trump sadly is not being allowed to follow through on his pledge
to give helicopter rides to kids. While he promised in a release that,
yes, quote, "he will be seeing the butter cow", there was no word on
whether Trump plans to repeat his performance of the Green Acres theme song
from the 2006 Emmy Awards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP (singing): Green acres is the place to be, farm living is the
life for me, land spreading out so far and wide, keep Manhattan, just give
me that countryside --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The state fair does have its pitfalls for the candidates who
answer questions from fair goers at the soap box, and sometimes attract
hecklers. Perhaps the most famous such exchange took place in 2011 when
Mitt Romney said something that would dog him throughout the entire
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Corporations are
people, my friend. We can raise taxes -- of course they are. Everything
corporations earn also goes to people.
ROMNEY: Where do you think it goes?
HECKLER: It goes to their pockets!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The top three Republican candidates in Iowa right now are
Trump, Ben Carson and Scott Walker, all of whom will be at the fair in the
next few days. And while there are plenty of legitimate criticisms of
Iowa`s outsize role in the nominating process, the state does serve as
something of an ideological laboratory to figure out what positions fly
with the base and what don`t, what orthodoxies can be broken and which
Joining me now, Bruce Bartlett, former deputy assistant secretary for
economic policy under President George H.W. Bush and I would say a sort of
prominent heterodox Republican, a breaker of orthodoxies himself, a
lamentor of ideological drift in the Republican Party.
I am curious as we watch this laboratory evolve, because right now, on
domestic policy it is a little unclear to me where the lines are for
Republican candidates, what the Republican message actually even is, where
the kind of ideological centrality is, and I wanted to talk to you a little
bit about some of the candidates and some of the orthodoxies they may or
may not be upholding.
I`ll start with Trump. George Will has a column basically trying to
write him out of the conservative movement. You have written about Trump
basically bring him on. Why?
BRUCE BARTLETT, CONSERVATIVE ECONOMIST: Oh, I love Donald Trump,
because he exposes everything about the Republican Party that I have
frankly come to hate. It`s just filled with people who are crazy and
stupid and have absolutely no idea what they`re talking about, and the
candidates, no matter how intelligent they may be, just constantly have to
keep pandering to this lowest common denominator in American politics.
HAYES: Bruce, that seems a bit --
BARTLETT: Trump exposes that I think.
HAYES: Bruce, that seems a bit of a generalization and maybe an
elitist one at that. Stupid, crazy?
BARTLETT: Well, I think it`s a -- I think it`s pretty obvious to
anybody who follows politics this problem is, to use a term that I don`t
like, it`s not politically correct to point out the obvious. And that`s,
again, I think Trump is point this out.
Among other things, to follow up with your comments, one of the things
that we`re seeing, I think, very clearly this time more than any other year
is that issues don`t matter, policies don`t matter. The only thing that
matters is attitude.
And Trump has exactly the right chip on your shoulder attitude that
many, many people find extraordinarily attractive, that is completely
divorced from whatever he`s saying about the issues, which is precious
little, as you know.
HAYES: That is an interesting point, right. So, the question here
is, is it just a tonal test or ideological one?
Someone else who I think has a very different tone from Trump but a
kind of ideological approach people like is Ben Carson, who actually --
HAYES: -- has been -- his star is on the rise. It`s certainly on the
rise in the wake of the debate. He`s at number two right now. He`s gotten
less attention than Trump because he`s quite soft spoken, in fact.
I thought this was fascinating. After -- in the wake of this sort of
dispute about Planned Parenthood and these videos, an OB/GYN went back
through the medical research record of Dr. Ben Carson and found that he
himself had published research that had used fetal tissue samples. He was
then confronted with this today and his response is to me somewhat
"If you`re killing babies and taking the tissue that`s very different,
than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it," as the OB-GYN who
sort of blew this up noted this is almost certainly fetal tissue from an
Do you think, to your question about sort of ideology versus tone,
will this hurt Ben Carson or is he tonally correct or ideologically correct
so this actual violation doesn`t matter?
BARTLETT: Oh, I think Ben Carson`s fans, supporters, will absolutely
forgive him in a second. I can`t really explain why, but certain positions
you`re allowed to change your mind on and others you`re not. But the thing
I find fascinating about this differentiation between Carson and Trump is
that one of the key charges that Republicans are using against Trump is
that he admittedly used to be a Democrat, gave money to Democratic
And, therefore, he is out of bounds. He`s not allowed to be even
seriously considered as a Republican, even though, as Trump himself points
out, Ronald Reagan was a Democrat for most of his life.
But, Ben Carson, I think people are attracted to him in some ways for
the reasons they`re attracted to Trump, which is it has nothing whatsoever
to do with the issues, it has to do with something that they see in him
that they`re simply attracted to. His temperament, his manner, as you say.
And, frankly, I think his race is a big plus for him.
HAYES: Do you think that Jeb Bush will suffer for this? This is
something I thought was fascinating. Jeb Bush did a whole argument about
sort of crony capitalism. And he says, you know, basically that we don`t
want people -- we don`t want to end the revolving door with lobbyists.
A bunch of new e-mails obtained by IBT basically shows Jeb Bush, when
he`s going in a private corporation, lobbying people that he`d appointed
or, you know, subordinates of people that he appointed for business.
There`s this idea that there`s a growing rebellion against crony
capitalism as one of the ideological strains in the Republican Party. Do
you see that actually cashing out?
BARTLETT: Oh, yes. I think it gets back to part of Trump`s appeal.
I think one of the best things he said on the August 6th debate was, yes,
yes, I gave money to politicians so that I could get favors in return.
That`s the way the system works.
And I think people admired his honesty about that. I thought it was
kind of silly that the one favor he asked from Hillary Clinton was to come
to his wedding, but be that as it may.
HAYES: Well, there was something deeply sad of giving someone money
so they`d come to your wedding. That was my reaction to it.
Bruce Bartlett, thank you very much.
BARTLETT: Thank you.
HAYES: As we`ve been discussing here on ALL IN, the Republican
presidential field absolutely huge, huge. Seventeen major candidates
fighting for media attention, most of them losing badly to Trump. There`s
still 452 days until the general election, 171 days until the Iowa
caucuses, which is a pretty long time.
But it appears the winnowing process among Republicans may have
already begun. Consider Rick Perry. Perry has unable to get traction in
the race, despite spending 14 years as Texas governor at a time when the
state experienced rapid economic growth.
Last week, despite some incredibly harsh attacks on Trump seemingly
designed to raise his profile, Perry failed to make it into the primetime
GOP debate due to his low poll numbers. Now, Perry has stopped paying his
staff because his fund-raising has dried up, though many staff work on a
volunteer basis. The cash-rich super PACs backing Perry say they`re
stepping in to save his campaign.
Perry is facing the cash crisis that could sink a candidate. The
situation raises real questions about how long the GOP field can stay this
big in the super PAC era.
Joining me now, Nick Confessore, national political reporter at "The
New York Times."
So, the old rules were particularly early on, this kind of sense of
momentum was very important for the reason of money and raising money from
donors, right? People don`t want to waste money on a losing candidate.
There was a very finite amount of these sort of bundlers and who had them
early and whether they switched.
In the era in which maybe one or two donors who really believe in you
NICK CONFESSORE, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right.
HAYES: -- and want to see you gut it out, does that same logic apply?
CONFESSORE: Well, yes, in two ways. First of all, if you can
convince just a few people and tell them a story that works, you can stay
in the campaign forever. You can use your super PAC and do things that
outsource certain things to your PAC and have a campaign for longer.
At the same time, the super PAC controls the money and we`re seeing
more and more that donors are setting up accounts so that they control the
super PAC. So, you can see that money --
HAYES: It`s literally their account.
CONFESSORE: Basically. So you can see that money in the super PAC,
but it`s not necessarily available to be spent by the strategists running
the super PAC unless the candidate can deliver.
So, those big totals you`re seeing in some of these PACs.
HAYES: So, how does that work? OK. So, I set up -- so Nick
Confessore is running for president. I like Nick Confessore, we went to
high school together, right? From New York City, fellow New York dude. I
set up a super PAC, Confessore for president, right?
HAYES: What does that mean I can stop the strategist from spending
CONFESSORE: You can as the candidate. The donor -- if the treasurer
of the super PAC is, let`s say, your accountant.
HAYES: Yes, of course.
CONFESSORE: Then, you basically control how that money is spent.
HAYES: So instead of saying we`ve got to go up on the air in Iowa and
the treasurer of the super PAC is my accountant.
CONFESSORE: No, I don`t think so.
Now, this is why you`re seeing the super PACs that are numbered by
private equity funds, like Keep the Promise 1, 2 and 3 because they`re each
designated by a certain donor or family or couple of donors that basically
control how the money is spent. This is an evolution away from the first
super PACs --
HAYES: Of course.
CONFESSORE: -- which raised a ton of money but were controlled by
little cabals of strategists and ad guys. After 2012 --
CONFESSORE: When people got there, no more.
HAYES: When people got their -- to use a wall street term that I
love, their faces ripped off --
CONFESSORE: That`s right.
HAYES: -- by the donor class because it was a massive redistribution
of wealth from basically slightly politically naive rich individuals into
shark consultants, right?
CONFESSORE: It was amazing. And in fact, this is one reason why the
Koch network is so popular on the right. It is a political organization
run by donors for donors. It`s for us, by us.
CONFESSORE: Right? They control it. And their staff all work on
salary and no one is getting rich out of it. It`s very professional that
way. Donors love that.
So what I`m hearing from you then, to bring it back around to Perry,
is that actually -- you can`t keep the con going. I mean, the spigots,
like the money can be there but the tap isn`t on if it looks like you`re
running into these momentum issues.
CONFESSORE: If the four or five people that put $17 million into
those super PACs for Perry are behind him still, then they can do it and it
will work. And what we`re seeing right now is they`re trying to figure out
what they can do within the law to hand over the campaign to the super PAC
without getting nailed in court on something.
HAYES: You also wonder, there`s this thing solid the sunk cost
fallacy, which is we spent 17, maybe we give him a few more million to get
What is in your experience doing all this reporting in this world,
what is the psychology of a donor that`s giving $1 million, $2 million, $3
million to a specific candidate through a super PAC?
CONFESSORE: I think it`s often friendship. Sometimes it`s access and
a policy priority on some issue. But also it depends how rich the donor
is, you know?
CONFESSORE: With Adelson, Sheldon Adelson, people also talk, oh, my
God, he put $100 million in the campaigns. He says himself that`s nothing.
He makes that in two weeks on his dividends.
CONFESSORE: So, I think people don`t understand the scale of the
wealth that is accessible to these groups through super PACs.
HAYES: It is very hard to get your head around what it would mean to
have a billion dollars at your disposal, right? So, it`s very hard to
understand that, like, I remember going back and running the numbers on
Newt Gingrich when he wrote them a check for I think $10 million back in
2012. That`s like him going to see a movie.
HAYES: That`s 10 bucks. That`s literally 10 bucks.
CONFESSORE: It sounds like a lot. But the people who can make a
million dollar contribution of cash, liquid --
CONFESSORE: -- have tens of millions or hundreds of millions or
HAYES: Right. Nick Confessore, I always -- your reporting has been
fantastic on this. I love having you here.
CONFESSORE: Good to be here.
HAYES: All right. Up next, is Joe Biden about to jump into the
presidential race? There`s no reporting suggesting the vice president is
Josh Alcorn of the Draft Biden super PAC will join me next right here.
Plus, two major blows for the forces trying to kill the peace deal
with Iran. Details ahead.
And later, why NASA scientists are warning about a once in a
generation storm they are calling Godzilla El Nino.
Stay with us.
HAYES: All right. Despite the tenor of the coverage recently,
despite what you`ve heard, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton is a
massively formidable candidate.
However, here`s a puzzle for you. If presidential candidate Hillary
Clinton were to gradually but steadily be perceived by Democrats as a
problematic choice to be the party standard bearer, to whom would they
Bernie "Feel the Bern" Sanders has already drawn the largest crowds of
any presidential candidate this campaign cycle. Vice President Joe Biden
who might feel more passionate than ever to go for it and who is reportedly
seriously looking into it or -- drum roll, please -- Al Gore.
Yes, former nominee for president, winner of the popular vote, let us
recall, in 2000, Al Gore. "BuzzFeed News" claims Gore supporters are
kicking it around.
Quote, "In recent days they`re getting the whole gang together, a
senior Democrat told BuzzFeed News. They are figuring out if there`s a
path financially and politically. It feels more real than it has in the
past months." A member of Gore`s inner circle asked to be quoted "pouring
lukewarm water", not, note, cold water on the chatter.
"This is people talking to people, some of whom may or may not have
talked to him, the Gore advisor said."
That`s about all we know, although we have late-breaking news from the
Tennessee newspaper saying Gore not exploring 2016 presidential bid. You
can add all that up and figure out what the number is.
But there is much more to tell about the likelihood of a Joe Biden
candidacy, which is looking more and more likely by the day. And that`s
HAYES: Well, tonight is looking like the very crowded 2016
presidential field could get yet another candidate, very soon at that. NBC
News reporting today that Vice President Joe Biden is spending part of his
South Carolina vacation calling allies about a 2016 run. His aides are
also calling around to Democratic operatives to feel out a potential run,
according to "The Wall Street Journal."
Earlier this month, it was reported that Joe Biden`s late son, Beau,
who died in June after a long battle with brain cancer wanted his father to
run for president. Days later Josh Alcorn, whose Beau`s former political
director, joined the Draft Biden super PAC.
While Draft Biden is working to lay the financial groundwork for an
eventual run, the vice president is apparently doing some work of his own.
He`s reportedly not calling people asking if he should run but saying I am
thinking about it but I`m also thinking about Beau.
And there is some evidence of an opening against front runner Hillary
Clinton. The same poll that found Bernie Sanders leading Hillary in New
Hampshire, 44 percent to Clinton`s 37 percent, also found that 46 percent
of likely Democratic voters in the state, plurality, think Biden should run
for the nomination of the Democratic Party. Earlier this week, Hillary
Clinton herself was asked about Biden jumping into the race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I consider him a friend.
We were colleagues in the Senate. I have the highest regard and affection
for him. I spoke to him at his son`s funeral. And I think we should all
just let the vice president be with his family and make whatever decision
he believes is right for him and I will respect whatever that decision is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sources close to the vice president told NBC News he is on
track to make his decision this month or next. Joining me now is Josh
Alcorn. He`s the senior advisor for the Draft Biden super PAC, previously
served political director for Beau Biden, the vice president`s late son.
Josh, first let me offer my condolences. The entire country I think
was devastated by Beau`s loss and obviously people close to him.
JOSH ALCORN, DRAFT BIDEN SUPER PAC: Thank you.
HAYES: So -- what is going on here?
ALCORN: You know, great question. We know that the vice president is
seriously considering running for president, and I`m glad he`s doing that.
I think it`s --
HAYES: Let me stop you that. Why do you know that and how do you
ALCORN: It`s been reported in "The Wall Street Journal". It`s
reported by you on this program just a couple of minutes ago.
HAYES: The order of this is that you went to Draft Biden and then we
started hearing that.
ALCORN: No, I mean, he had been -- obviously he had been considering
this for -- he ran in 1987, he ran in 2007. He`s been thinking about this
for a while.
But think back to the last six and a half years. He`s been, you know,
the president`s closest advisor. He`s been the last guy, as he said, in
the room for many, many decisions. And so, for the last six and a half
years, he`s been thinking about his day job, and I think what Draft Biden
is doing is preparing the way for him should he decide to run.
HAYES: Draft Biden is an organization that was, I think fair to say,
moribund in this sense. That it just -- without any kind of indications
from the man at the center of it that this was a real thing. It`s kind of
hard to raise money, right? Who`s going to write you a check for, like
it`s the guy who can run or not.
ALCORN: The money was one thing but what they were able to do with
limited resources is build an actual grassroots e-mail list. When I
started last week, we had 150,000 names. It`s over 200,000 names now.
So, the work that they did early on is incredibly important.
HAYES: People are going to perceive this. They`re either going to
perceive this or they were going to spin this as the following. Hillary
Clinton`s approval rating is declining, just turned her server over to the
FBI, and there`s a sense that there`s an opportunity here.
ALCORN: Yes. This isn`t about Secretary Clinton, this isn`t about
Senator Sanders, Governor O`Malley, or Senator Webb or Governor Chafee.
This is really about Joe Biden.
And what we`ve seen -- and we`ve all seen in the last week, but you
have to talk about this is the Republican debate. This is the best that we
have, right? I mean, the Republicans are out there offering a vision for
America that`s not even close to what I would like to see and I`m sure what
the vice president would like to see.
And so, this is about his voice in a debate.
HAYES: It`s interesting you talk about the last man in the room,
advisor to President Obama, because it strikes me that should the economy
continue its current trajectory, which is generally up, even though there
are all sorts of structural distributional problems within that economy,
right? Both the primary in the Democratic Party and in some ways the
general is going to be a referendum on Barack Obama`s legacy and who can
carry it out most loyally.
ALCORN: Of course, absolutely. And what you`re seeing the vice
president talk about the economy, I mean, he was the man who championed the
Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
He was out there at bridge constructions. He was out there in front
of buildings that were being built and talking about the importance of
reinvesting back in America and putting people back to work.
HAYES: How close are you to the world of Biden donors? I know you
not only were political advisor to Beau but had worked for actually the
vice president in earlier sort of political jobs, right?
ALCORN: I was an assistant to the finance director on that first
presidential campaign, so as low as you can go.
HAYES: Not assistant finance director, assistant to the finance
HAYES: How much are you in conversation with his people, I guess is
what I would say, and how enthusiastic are they?
ALCORN: Well, that was part of the reason I think I joined Draft
Biden was I was hearing from the donors that Beau and I had met over the
course of our time together, I was hearing from people in Iowa who I had
worked with after I was assistant to the finance director, I was a field
organizer in Waterloo.
And so, I was hearing from a lot of people who were close to Beau who
I knew in Iowa saying is he going to do it, is he going to do it, is he
going to do it. At that point, it became clear to me that Draft Biden
needed to have a lot more -- a much larger grassroots network, and I could
go there and help them kind of build that.
HAYES: The first --
ALCORN: By lending it some -- you know, some credibility and some
seal of approval almost.
HAYES: The first Democratic debate, I believe, is the second week of
ALCORN: Yes, Las Vegas.
HAYES: One would think that -- I mean the decision seems like it
should be -- it`s got to be pretty soon, right?
ALCORN: I`ll leave the decision-making up to the people who make
those decisions. What I know is that over the next four to six weeks with
an eye towards this debate, there`s some really good work that Draft Biden
could do that we will do.
HAYES: Are you not -- can you look me in the eye here and say you`re
not talking to the vice president and the vice president`s people?
ALCORN: I can definitely tell you that.
HAYES: I guess legally you can`t so you have to say that.
ALCORN: The last time I talked to the vice president was at Beau`s
HAYES: Josh Alcorn, thanks for being here. This is interesting to
Up next, the Black Lives Matter movement stages its first protest at a
Republican presidential candidate on the campaign trail. How Jeb Bush
handled the pressure, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARZA: We should really be thinking activists who have taken the risk
to make sure that our lives are represented in every candidate`s platform,
and that is our plan from now leading up to 2016.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement vowed on
this program earlier this week that the group would not just disrupt
Democratic candidates, like it has previously, but all presidential
candidates. They seem to be making good on that promise.
Yesterday in north Las Vegas, Nevada, a Jeb Bush town hall ended
abruptly after the former governor answered a series of questions from
activists. Bush`s campaign said the candidate met with members of the
Black Lives Matter movement
before the event. He`s later asked publicly about racial disparities in
the criminal justice system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH, 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have serious problems, and
these problems have gotten worse in the last few years. Communities,
people no longer trust the basic institutions in our society that they need
to trust to create -- just to make things work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Then came pushback. One activist asking how the former
governor could relate to the issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I relate to that by saying -- I relate to it by -- as a
president to try to create a climate where there is civility and
understanding and to encourage mayors, leaders at the local level, to
engage so that there`s not despair and isolation in communities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Shortly thereafter Bush wrapped up foregoing his usual final
statement. Instead of shaking hands with those in attendance as the
activists gathered began chanting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Black lives matter, black lives matter! Black lives matter!
Black lives matter! Black lives matter!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Black Lives Matter movement has previously disrupted
Democrats, including two Bernie Sanders speeches and Martin O`Malley`s
speech and reportedly had plans to disrupt a Hillary Clinton event.
Now the effort has gone bipartisan.
Now, the uncomfortable truth at the heart of all of this as we watch
this play out throughout this entire campaign season, and it is only going
to intensify, is that Republicans and Democrats together worked hand in
hand at every level of government over four decades to build the largest
prison and policing apparatus in the history of democratic nations on this
And since this system was built by both parties, both parties are
going to have to give answers about how they are going to unbuild it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This morning, Minnesota Senator Al Franken became the 19th
senator Democrat to come out in favor of the nuclear deal with Iran,
writing in an op-ed
for CNN, for a long time it looked like our only options when it came to
Iran would be allowing it to have a nuclear bomb or having to bomb the
country ourselves. This agreement represents a chance to break out of that
He was followed not long after by Senator John Tester from the
somewhat more conservative state of Montana, and with that the Obama
administration comes another
step closer to the 34 senate votes it needs to defeat an override of the
president`s veto, if as expected the Republican majority in congress votes
to reject the international agreement.
As it stands, 20 senate Democrats, 20 now publicly support the deal.
And just one publicly opposes it. And that one, of course, New York
Senator Chuck Schumer, due to become the new senate democratic leader when
Harry Reid retires next year. And Schumer maintains that while he`s made
calls to a couple dozen
colleagues to explain his decision, he`s not trying to influence their
That role is being played by numerous groups spending millions of
dollars on TV ads and congressional lobbying by big money donors who
according to the New York Times have been reaching out to lawmakers to try
and shape the debate and by people like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu who met with Republican and Democratic House delegations in
Israel this week.
Both groups taking the traditional trip for House freshmen sponsored
educational wing of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby now spending upwards of $20
million to campaign against the deal.
And while liberal House Democrats are increasingly seen as likely to
give the president a win on Iran, the senate is still an open question.
And at least one influential senate Democrat has yet to make up his mind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID, (D) NEVADA: The missing piece for me at this stage
is I have friends that I want to talk to, because I owe that to them one
way or the other. I don`t want them saying why didn`t you talk to me. So
IO`m going to try to talk to everyone I can.
Because when it all boils down to it, it`s a question of conviction,
it`s not a political calculus for me anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, someone who made news earlier in the week as
the 17th Democrat to come out in support of the deal, Hawaii senator Brian
Senator, take me through your decision-making process to getting to
yes and to stating it publicly.
SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ, (D) HAWAII: Well, I think the first thing that you
had to do was read the deal. And it was posted publicly, but it was
noteworthy, I think, that there were so many Republicans and others who
immediately upon the announcement of the deal but before the posting of the
deal and before they possibly could have read the deal or received any
briefings, classified or otherwise, were already in opposition.
So I read the deal a couple of times. I got briefed by my own staff
and then I tried to kind of pursue a process of taking as much time as I
needed both in
the classified and unclassified setting, and here`s what it came down to
First of all, I think that it`s a good deal in and of itself. It
exceeds, I think, most of the reasonable expectations of people in the
nonproliferation space in terms of what they thought was possible with a
deal. But even if you kind of don`t agree with that analysis of the deal,
we have to remember that there is really no alternative, that the
alternative is to allow Iran to move apace with their nuclear weapons
program and they get the money. I mean, they`re going to get this $56
billion because if we reject the deal, the P5+1 has already articulated to
us directly that they`re not going to participate in multi-lateral
So the question at this point becomes do you want to pursue this deal,
eliminate 98 percent of their fissile material, knowing they may want to
cheat later on but that still seems to me a far superior option than to go
ahead and give them their money and their nuclear program.
HAYES: I`m going to ask you a question that politicians almost never
answer honesty but I`m going to ask it anyway and maybe you will. How hard
did people come for you behind the scenes on this? How hard were you
getting lobbied? How much pressure was there? Are there long-time
supporters and donors of yours who thought this was the opportunity to
punch your number into the cell phone and work you on this?
SCHATZ: Well, I certainly got lots of very enthusiastic phone calls
on both sides of this issue. But I think there is a little bit of a
respect factor in terms of this being an issue of conscience. I think
Harry Reid in the earlier segment said it exactly right, you know, this is
not a political calculus for most of us, this is a question of conviction.
And Chuck Schumer is my very good friend and he`s going to be our
Democratic leader, our majority leader in the Senate, but I think that he
came down on this
in terms of his own convictions.
The lobbying is furious. But I think it`s kind of heated up over the
last couple of weeks. The first week or so because we were in the senate,
were briefings, because we were trying to at least preserve some semblance
of dignity within the institution, the lobbying from outside groups -- you
I say that, but the lobbying from outside groups hadn`t heated up until I
think both pro and con people had the sense they were going to try to get
to us when we came home for our summer recess.
HAYES: The coverage of this, particularly in the way that this has
proceed, particularly the kind of vote counting, it`s been notable to me
obviously because Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, has worked so hard,
pro-Israel groups are against this deal.
There`s obviously a strong affinity and connection to the American
Jewish community on that. There has been a real focus on high profile
Jewish politicians: Chuck Schumer, yourself, Rahm Emanuel who is the mayor
of Chicago who came
out for the deal, which, you know, I don`t know what the mayor of Cleveland
thinks and the mayor of Philadelphia. What do you make of that? What do
you make of the sort of intense focus on particularly Jewish politicians
and where they stand on this?
SCHATZ: Well, I think it`s not unreasonable at all. I mean, if you
had an issue of major importance for the U.S./Japan relationship, you would
be interested in what Americans of Japanese ancestry and AJA politicians
If likewise there were an issue having to do with the Hispanic
community -- I don`t think it`s at all unreasonable to pay particular
attention to Jewish
American leaders. But I think what we`re seeing is that Jewish American
leaders are split, as the American public is split.
Everybody is trying to sort this out. And from my standpoint, the
opponents have been able to kick up enough dust in the first sort of 10 to
20 days of this to
create confusion, create concern.
And look, nobody really wants to make a deal with Iran as a matter of
instinct because they are not our allies. And even if we proceed with this
deal as we should, they`re not going to become our allies. And so they
kicked up enough dust.
But what has happened as people actually study the particulars is that
this is a very good deal for the United States, for peace in the region,
for Israel, and
the most important thing here is there really is no viable alternative.
And the idea that we would pursue any kind of military action, it`s just
really important to point out that any military plan, and the three-star
and four-star generals and admirals that wrote a letter to the congress and
others saying this I think was a really important moment this last week.
They basically said, look, there`s no war fighting plan that will make as
much progress with respect to pushing back on Iran`s nuclear intentions as
And so the professional war fighters are the ones that are saying that
diplomacy is the best approach here.
HAYES: Brian Schatz, senator from Hawaii. First time on the program,
believe, thank you very much. Definitely come back. Good to have you.
SCHATZ: thank you.
HAYES: All right, coming up, big government for me but not for thee.
The growing conservative backlash against Scott Walker`s basketball arena
HAYES: As if California hasn`t suffered enough from climate extremes,
climatologists at NASA`s jet propulsion laboratory are saying that El Nino
2015 may be the worst since recordkeeping began in 1950.
El Nino circa 1997 devastated parts of Southern California with floods
and mudslides. And looking at this year, NASA`s Bill Patser (ph) telling
the L.A. Times, quote, this definitely has the potential of being the
Godzilla El Nino.
Here`s why, so far this year`s El Nino is already stronger than the
same time of the year in 1997, which is shown on the left. 2015 is shown
on the right. You can see that band of heat there.
Those areas in red and white are the warmest sea surface temperatures.
So the trend this year is bad.
It is those warm temperatures which stir up the strongest storms of El
Nino, carrying all that energy. And this graph underscores the problem.
Ocean temperatures west of Peru are higher than in 1997, which is a
key factor scientists look for.
A sliver of good news, perhaps, this year`s El Nino has already
contributed to heavy rain that has lessened drought conditions in Colorado,
Texas and Oklahoma.
Here`s the problem, massive rain and storms after sustained drought
tend to produce floods and mudslides and general destruction.
And by the way, since that climatologist has now dared to call this
year`s El Nino Godzilla, which may or may not pan out, did he have in mind
the goofy unintentionally funny old Godzilla, the one that anyone in their
right mind would of course welcome and embrace, or is he thinking of the
newer, gloomier, CGI Godzilla, the one that no one in their right mind
likes very much at all.
And one more thing, what happens to all those shade balls we talked
about yesterday that are now floating in the reservoirs of Los Angeles when
Godzilla El Nino comes to town?
All this will be continued.
HAYES: Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott
Walker is, by his own protestations, the champion of the taxpayer, a fiscal
conservative who just last month, a day before he jumped into the 2016
race, decided to take on his state`s higher education system and slashed
$250 million from the university of Wisconsin system.
Yesterday, however, Walker`s fiscal probity ran up against the threat
of moving the NBA`s Milwaukee Bucks to another city and he signed a bill
that will approve $250 million, dollar for dollar the same as the cuts, in
public financing for a new arena for the team.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, residents would
ultimately pay $400 million when you account for interest over 20 years.
The team`s new owners on the other hand, who run hedge funds in New
York, they`ll just put up $150 million. Handing taxpayer money to
billionaires seems like the most obvious violation of sacrosanct principles
of modern free market conservatism, which is perhaps why the Wisconsin
chapter of Americans for
Prosperity, the political advocacy group founded by the Koch Brothers who
have given million dollars of support to Walker`s policies have come out
against the deal.
They told the Huffington Post, quote, "from our perspective, this just
isn`t the role of government and we should be using our resources
You might wonder what would persuade Scott Walker to put his state`s
taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars? Here are a few
facts that might help answer the question, thought they`re not necessarily
The national finance co-chairman of Walker`s campaign is a man by the
name of John Hames who through a limited liability corporation registered
under his son`s name donated $150,000 to a super PAC committee backing
Walker in May. Well, he`s also co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Walker is hardly the first public official, Democrat or Republican, to
sign a deal for a sports stadium that is financed by taxpayers. But you
have to ask yourself, will there ever be a rebellion against this practice?
We`ll tell you about one place where the revolt may have already started
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN OLIVER, COMEDIAN: The Milwaukee Bucks, who are also currently
threatening to leave if they don`t get a new arena, are running this ad
ANNOUNCER: The ripple effect starts here. This is Wisconsin`s home.
OLIVER: Settle down, Milwaukee Bucks.
For a start, I don`t think Wisconsin will be transformed by one new
arena. And also, if you really are looking to make a tangible change, how
about coming up with a better slogan than fear the deer. Deers aren`t
scary, they`re timid forest ponies with sticks on their heads.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: John Oliver with a massively awesome monologue on precisely
Joining me now, David Boaz. He is executive vice president of the
Cato Institute. Kavitha Davidson, sports columnist at Bloomberg View
David, Cato has been very consistent on this. This is I think an area
of real left-right synergy and agreement. What do you make of this deal?
And the argument Scott Walker says which is this is a great return on
investment, revitalize the Milwaukee Center. We need this. We`re going to
get back $3 for every $1 we put in.
DAVID BOAZ, CATO INSTITUE: You can pretty well assume anything
politicians say about economics is wrong. All economists know, they have
studied this, it doesn`t work, it`s not a good way to increase jobs,
increase income or increase growth. And you`ve got Democrats who say they
want to stop helping the rich and you`ve got Republicans who say they want
to stop intervening in the economy, and yet when you put an actual chance
to stop on the table, you find both Democrats and
Republicans are right there to subsidize millionaire players and
HAYES: Yeah, I`ve got to say that the politics of this always strike
me as crazy, because what David said, there is a really robust literature
on this. I mean, this has been studied time and time again. There have
been dozens of examples of this. Most of the time there is no return of
investment. Most of the time taxpayers end up holdings the bag. And yet
there seems to be continued political support for it.
KAVITHA DAVIDSON, BLOOMBERG VIEW: Right.
Well, first of all, sweetheart deals cross party lines, so you have
Democrats and you have Republicans on both sides who always approve these
kinds of deals.
HAYES: And in fact it was a bipartisan vote in the legislature.
DAVIDSON; Exactly. But you also have criticism from both sides. And
incredibly, you know, I don`t think there`s anything David and I really
ideologically agree on except for this one issue, which is that this is
corporate welfare essentially.
But it really comes down to, you can state all of the facts and all of
the data that there is no economic growth that`s actually generated from
public funding of stadiums and it comes down to this emotional connection,
the fact that a local populous feels like their civic identity is wrapped
up in their sports teams and the threat to leave really supersedes any kind
of economic argument there.
HAYES: I should say Hames, the man I mentioned in that intro, is a
minority owner and there are also Hillary Clinton donors, right at play
DAVIDSON: Yeah, the co-owner of the Bucks is Mark Lasry, one of the
hedge fund managers. He was also one of Hillary`s biggest fund-raisers,
which raised some eyebrows on the right as well.
HAYES: David, do you think -- I saw this and I thought to myself,
man, if I am trying to take down Scott Walker in Iowa or I`m trying to take
him down in New
Hampshire, like this seems like a pretty good issue for a rival Republican
to go after him on.
BOAZ: You`d hope so.
I haven`t seen anybody do it yet, but I have to say at this point it
might just be that Scott Walker is not a big enough guy, he`s not the front
runner, people aren`t shooting at him right now.
But you`re right. A Ted Cruz, a Rand Paul, a Bobby Jindal, any of
those people ought to be saying I`m not going to pull boondoggles like
HAYES: Boston was -- Boston had a set of city leaders who wanted to
bring the Olympics to Boston. And it`s a little different with the
Olympics. It`s a little different than the team, but we have seen similar
kinds of public taxpayer
investment that ends up grossly benefiting private hands and not really
producing a huge amount of public benefit.
And there was this rebellion in Boston that made me think maybe we`ve
turned a corner here.
DAVIDSON; Well, that was really the incredible thing is that the
local populous never usually gets to vote on anything when it comes to
subsidizing their own stadiums. You usually bypass that. And the people
of Boston really spoke out against this.
Now what they were trying to do in Boston, which is actually kind of
similar to the whole playing on the emotions of people when the teams
threaten to leave is
they were saying it was easier to sell raising infrastructure money and
getting funding for infrastructure improvements if it were based on a
sporting event, which is a very sad state of affairs and it might be true,
but that`s not how we should be accepting the current political landscape.
HAYES: Well, it also strikes me, David -- and this is something I
think that people of different sort of ideological stripes can agree on, is
that the integrity of a project should stand on its own independent of --
whether you should build the thing or you should not build the thing, you
should spend taxpayer dollars on it or
you should not. Its connection to sports seems a bizarre way to go about
DAVIDSON: Well, that`s certainly right in the case of saying we`re
build infrastructure because it will be the Olympics.
The difference, unfortunately, for people who like to stop stadium
deals is stadiums cost half a billion, Olympics cost $5 or $10 billion and
bring huge disruption to the city so it was easier to organize.
But right now in St. Louis, they`re trying to subsidize another
stadium and they had a law on the books that said you have to have a
popular vote and they got a judge to overrule that and now they say no
So it would be fun to actually take a popular vote on one of these
HAYES: Well, that I think is going to be something that is in the
Missouri situation, which is really heating up, we`ll see. There was a
fight over in Cobb County that the stadium builders won, so we`ll keep our
eye on that one.
At some point this is going to turn around. David Boaz, Kavitha
Davidson, thank you both.
All right, that is All In for this evening. A special edition, very
exciting, special edition of The Rachel Maddow Show, it`s called Tale of
the Tape, really excellent. That`s up next.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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