UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
September 1, 2012
Guests: Ana Marie Cox, Josh Barro, David Sirota, Bob Herbert
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris
In his weekly radio address today, President Obama marked the second
anniversary of the end of U.S. combat or operations in Iraq and reminded
Americans of the, quote, "still difficult work ahead of us in Afghanistan."
And more than 5,000 Louisiana residents remain in emergency shelters
as the remnants of Isaac move north along the Gulf Coast.
But first, my story of the week. America lost. This week, the
Republican Party gathered in Tampa to tell a terrible and tragic tale of
American decline. They couldn`t quite say that explicitly, of course.
This is the party of Reagan and sunny optimism or so they`d like to present
But you couldn`t help notice that the three days of speeches on the
convention floor were an orgy of imagine persecution, grievance, and
doleful recollections healthy (ph) on days gone by. The packaging for this
message was an insistent indication of American greatness.
As Rachel Maddow`s team documented it in a montage for MSNBC`s
convention coverage, almost every single speaker told a story of upward
mobility usually taken from their own family`s past, tracing the arc of the
American dream that had brought them to the podium.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dad got his first job when he was six years
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad never finished high school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad was a truck driver.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad grew up in poverty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad lost his job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mom also came from nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Working for parents in a meet-packing town.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a widow with seven children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn`t have much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basement apartment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then a tiny two-bedroom house.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pasta and tuna fish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Single mother.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Working class.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Working class.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Came from nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She got on a bus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Took three different buses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every workday for years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day to get to work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cleaning sheep pens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A poor farm boy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Working on the rail road.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For Welch (ph) coal miner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mopping floors, (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They both lived hard lives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paycheck to paycheck.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: $10 in their pockets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Making 50 cents an hour.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because a teenager with nothing, not at a penny.
HAYES: Part of this is just standard political trickle, a way for,
say, an extremely wealthy prep school graduate like Ann Romney to seem
relatable. But the larger reason this was such a dominant theme of
(INAUDIBLE) is that the Republican Party`s platform and tribal identity are
zealously committed to the notion of American exceptionalism.
And when people talk about American exceptionalism, this is usually
what they mean. The notion that America was different and better than
other countries, particularly, its ancestors in Europe perceives America`s
ascension to the role of soul super power and global hegemon. That
American unblemished by the legacy of feudalism, a land without nobles and
royalty was a place where each man could rise to any station in life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: America was founded on the principle
that every person has God-given rights.
Founded on the belief that power belongs to the people, that
government exists to protect our rights and serve our interests and that no
one should be trapped in the circumstances of their birth. We should be
free to go as far as our talents and our work can take us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Or as Mike Huckabee put it --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) ARKANSAS: Our founding fathers let
taxation and tyranny, seeking religious liberty, and a society of
meritocracy rather than aristocracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We should note there`s something more than a little odd about
the celebration of American meritocracy at a convention convened to
nominate a business executive turned governor turned presidential candidate
who rose from humble origins as the son of a business executive turned
governor turned presidential candidate.
A convention that on the same night in which Mike Huckabee decried the
aristocracy of foreign lands featured Sen. Rand Paul, son of Congressman
Ron Paul, uncorking a litany of up by the bootstrap stories shortly before
the screening of a video that celebrated the last two Republican
presidents, one the son of the other who himself was the son of a senator.
Somewhat oddly almost every single one of the stories of "we built it,
plucky American success" didn`t revolve around the speaker`s own experience
of social mobility but rather that of their hard-working relatives and
ancestors. It struck me listened to this indications of the labors of
previous generations as a slightly odd note, a backward looking tour of
nostalgia for an America that we are losing.
But of course, that`s precisely the message of the Republican Party
this year, and it`s a potent one, because it`s based on a core reality.
The dream of American mobility is slipping away. We all know about the
extreme and accelerating inequality, but much less is made of our
stagnating, even declining levels of social mobility.
Mobility is harder to measure than inequality, but nearly all studies
show it has plateaud or declined for the past several decades. Forty-three
percent of those born into the poorest fifth of households will stay in the
poorest fifth, while only four percent will make it to the richest fifth.
But 40 percent of those born into the richest fifth of household stay
there, and only eight percent fall down to the poorest fifth.
In other words, those born rich stay rich, and those born poor stay
poor, just like those still defying bygone aristocracies our forefathers
plead (ph). This is the core betrayal that rumbles beneath the surface or
a politics. And while the GOP won`t put it in those terms, they understand
visually the unease and anxiety and even desperation it has caused in
And they have a story to tell about why it happened. It`s not the
excesses of global capitalism or American finance or the rigged game of
rent-seeking oligopolistic corporate entities who have captured Washington.
Instead, it is Barack Obama who, in three quick years, single-handedly
shifted America away from its meritocratic foundations towards an ethos of
handouts, welfare, and dependence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a president who wants his party to make us
all dependent on government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me give you a government check.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are dependent on the government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number of people on food stamps has increased
by 45 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama`s waving of the work care requirements and
welfare reforms --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Creating dependency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Government handouts and dependency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurt (ph) it into the dependency --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the government --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under President Obama, the dream of freedom and
opportunity has become a nightmare of dependency.
HAYES: That`s the message. The American dream is drying because the
first Black president is doling out food stamps and welfare checks to the
lazy and indolent. He`s seducing Americans into dependence, zapping our
natural ingenuity, and in the process, making us in some deep existential
sense less American.
It is, of course, ridiculous. First and most crucially, the decline
in social mobility is a trend that started well before Barack Obama took
office. It`s impart of American capitalism for several decades, and the
increase of those using the social safety net simply is not Barack Obama`s
doing. It`s the product of the financial crisis and the great recession.
In fact, if anything, our safe unit has been remarkably stingy.
Despite the fact that 2.6 million more people were living in poverty at the
end of 2010 than in 2009, only an additional 7,677 people enrolled in
(INAUDIBLE) that are known as welfare.
And aside from one small temporary increase in food stamp eligibility
for single people without kids during the first (ph) two months of
recovery, Barack Obama has not expanded food stamp eligibility. In fact,
the last two expansions of food stamp eligibility came under George W.
Bush, one of which rightly restored eligibility for illegal immigrants and
earned an "I vote" from none other than Paul Ryan.
So, it`s not really about the reality of what`s happening to this
country in this maddeningly disappointing recovery. It`s about telling
voters that the undeserving are making out like bandits while they`re being
robbed of their just desserts. For the real subtext of the declaration we
built it is as Clint Eastwood said on the convention`s final night to ear-
shattering applause, we own this country.
And someone else, someone who`s us has taken it away, stole it, in the
phrasing of Reince Priebus talking about Medicare, and given it to those
other people over there. It`s an ugly message, but in a time of anxiety
and diminished expectations, not a stupid one. Mitt Romney said Thursday
he wishes President Obama had succeeded, but that`s not how Romney felt in
2009. That`s next.
HAYES: On this vampyrrhic weekend after the RNC, we bump into a
little vampire weekend. This morning, I am joined by Bob Herbert, long-
time columnist in "New York Times," now a distinguished senior fellow of
progressive think-tank, Demos, syndicated columnist, David Sirota, rejoins
us at the table, co-host of new "The Run Done With Sirota And Brown" on
KHOW radio in Colorado, contributor to Salon.com, has an amazing new
article in "Harper`s" this month. We`re going to talk about later.
Ana Marie Cox, political columnist for "The Guardian" newspaper, and
Josh Barro, lead writer for "Bloomberg News Ticker." It is great to have
you all here. Anna, welcome to the table.
ANA MARIE COX, GUARDIAN.CO.UK: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Well, we had the Republican convention this week.
HAYES: Maybe you saw it. I want to start with the theme of the
convention, the "we built this" theme.
COX: there was one?
HAYES: If the goal of the convention was to successfully throw
liberals, mission accomplished, because it drove me bonkers. And maybe
that was the whole point anyway and maybe they just like having people like
me just want to claw their eyes out every time they hear the indication.
Of course, we know the background, the context, and the president was
talking about all the infrastructure and elements of the social contract
that support the building of businesses. When he says, you know, you`ve
got a business, you didn`t build that, he was almost certainly referring to
the roads and bridges.
He had referenced (INAUDIBLE) earlier clause. It has been
intentionally misunderstood, incredibly disingenuously, and deceptively
about the Republican Party and made into their calling card.
COX: I was going to say, can anyone think of another example when
there`s been an off script moment by a candidate was turned into the theme?
HAYES: Yes. What was the theme going to be until he said that? Were
all the Republican speech writers are just sitting around being like, I
HAYES: I have nothing. And then, he`s like he said we built it and
was like yes -- Josh.
JOSH BARRO, BLOOMBERG.COM: Actually, I can. I think when John Kerry
said I actually voted --
COX: That wasn`t their theme. They didn`t have signs that said I
voted for it before I voted against it. I mean it`s the --
HAYES: Like the theme would have been like voted for it, still for
COX: Yes, I know.
COX: Actually like bump per sticker applause line, you know? And
that`s actually the thing I was going to say, did you notice there was a
theme to this convention? I mean, it was such a haphazard kind of
arrangement in a lot of ways. And I`ve been to a few conventions now.
And, yes, they`re always kind of chaotic.
But what I found interesting is that Wednesday, he`s got off the rail.
The one thing they had to come back to was mocking Obama. This is what the
Eastwood speech really meant. Yes, it was a weird moment for a lot of
reasons. That what really checked (ph) out to me and this actually was
true of Ryan`s speech as well is that there were these stumbles.
It`s like false footing (ph) for a long time, and then once you hit
all those cliches --
HAYES: About Obama.
COX: About Obama. Once you start hitting -- once you start hitting
on raising the oceans, we built this gulf, I mean, I don`t know. Like,
then you start to get people to coalesce around it. And I don`t know about
you guys, but when I talked to actual convention goers, that was the
feeling I got as well.
HAYES: That`s what excited them.
HAYES: I want to just play, because I do think -- I actually -- I
think there are two ways of interpreting the convention that sort of
haphazard nature for it -- symbolized in the 11-minute adlib that comes --
HAYES: -- from American iconic, Clint Eastwood that he`ll (ph) talk
about a little bit. But I actually thought the "we build this" theme was
fairly unified, and the speechwriters did really wade up here. Here`s just
a little montage of "we built this" drumbeat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t tell me that my parents didn`t build their
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we built it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we do build it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They learned English.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He moved to a small town.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A small hardware store.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One he built by himself, by the way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, they did build it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one dared tell Americans you didn`t build that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitt Romney was not handed success. He built
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did build that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did build that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it true? Yes, you did build that.
HAYES: And that --
DAVID SIROTA, SALON.COM: The thing that drives me crazy, and maybe
this is a small point. They`re inside a publicly funded stadium.
SIROTA: There are tens of millions of taxpayer dollars --
SIROTA: So, in a sense we built it --
COX: In a hurricane zone.
SIROTA: But we, the people, built it. They`re actually -- the visual
image is actually of the opposite point that they`re making. They`re
either oblivious to it or everybody`s oblivious to it, but they`re
literally sitting in a building that was built by the taxpayers that proves
BARRO: You know, I think liberals are laboring here under the
misimpression that --
BARRO: Well, no. That if people listened to that whole speech from
Obama in context, that they wouldn`t be offended by it, and that they would
agree with the message. I just think that`s wrong. I think, you know,
yes, he misspoke, and he meant to talk about infrastructure but what he`s
saying more broadly in the speech is he`s criticizing business people for
taking too much credit for their successes.
And it`s, you know, the part where he`s like I`m always struck when
people say, well, I must have been so smart or I must have been so hard-
working. People are put off by that. People are put off by the speech
played in full context, and they`re also put off by the Elizabeth Warren
remarks that basically similar. So, I think --
HAYES: You`re wrong, but they are. I mean, if you tell people,
particularly, successful people, if you try -- I mean, I just wrote a book
about the myths (ph) of meritocracy, and I got e-mails from people being
like I`m a good liberal, and you know, I like your MSNBC ja-blah-blah, but
don`t tell me that I didn`t, you know, work hard or I didn`t earn what I
I mean, the idea that -- it`s an extremely core story we tell
ourselves about our own success. And I agree, there is something actually
radical in a certain way about just stating the obvious fact that it`s
borne of a whole variety of preconditions.
BOB HERBERT, DEMOS.ORG: There is a subtext here that the real theme
of the Republican Party. Actually, I just want to make the point that
after listening to these wealthy old republicans, my childhood wasn`t that
bad. My parents actually made an OK --
HERBERT: But, you know, when they started talking about -- I`ve been
saying that the Republican Party has been a party with out a theme in this
presidential election, but the truth is they`ve got a theme that they can`t
speak and that theme is a racial theme and when they start talking you
built it or we built it and when Eastwood starts talking about we own this
country, everybody in that hall knows what they`re talking about.
And it would seem to me that a large part of America knows what
they`re talking about. They`re running against Obama in a painstaking way
of trying to paint him as the other and that is the primary theme of this
party. It has been for a long time, but it`s really clear this time.
HAYES: When they quickly defend another interpretation of the "we own
this country." The next clause is just because since we`re talking about
taking things out of context, it struck me, too, in that way. But in his
defense, the next clause was, you know, politicians work for us. And we,
it was an endorsement of the Republican virtues of self-governance and the
fact that leadership --
HERBERT: I would buy that if it wasn`t --
HERBERT: -- every other aspect of this Republican campaign. The
birther movement, the suppression of the vote and on and on and on.
COX: And I just want to point out. I mean, it`s me -- doesn`t need
to be, but I`m going to anyway, which is that not of it is -- not a lot of
it is conscious. Some of it is conscious, but not all of it.
And I also want to say, to your point, that there is a weakness in
Obama when he does say these things like, you know, you didn`t build that
and he has this -- the reason why I think he gets conservatives so fired
(ph) up is not just because he`s the other. I don`t think that plays the
part of it. It`s that he is like intellectual and decent and kind of
I mean, that is our president`s like real weakness when it comes to
communicating with voters.
HAYES: I think -- yes. I think he can -- I think he has moments of -
HAYES: I don`t think that`s a main thrust of him rhetorically, but I
think that`s a --
COX: I think that`s what they pick up on in that particular phrase.
HERBERT: But we built this thing, you have to think of in the context
of their portrayal of Obama as the president of welfare, the food stamp
president. They keep talking about the people who work so hard. We did
it, and the implicit message is that they are lazy. They don`t work for
living. They want these government handouts.
SIROTA: And that`s why if you put it into the context of the
nostalgia and how -- there was a lot of the Reagan language, And Reagan, of
course, was the guy who campaigned against welfare queens. I think that
when you look at what they`re pining for, what they`re pining for -- to go
backward is it`s not spoken.
It may not even be conscious, but it`s -- we have an Africa-American
president, and we want to go back to a time where we --
SIROTA: -- where African-Americans, what people of color, where the
other didn`t have power.
BARRO: I think you need to be careful not to overstate this. I think
there are obvious appeals to racial resentment in the Republican campaign,
this cycle and the previous cycles, and I think the best examples of that
is the basically completely made up attack on welfare reform. And I think
that the objective there is to, you know, foster this idea.
And I got e-mails on this this weekend, including -- I basically got a
guy fired from his job as a corporate executive who`s had really racist e-
mail in response --
HAYES: Hold that thought. I want you to tell the story, because I
think it`s a really interesting one.
HAYES: And then I want you to tell us to not impute too much --
HAYES: -- right after we take this break.
HAYES: All right. We were talking about the "we built this" theme of
the convention. And Josh, Josh you had a story that you created about. In
the context of talking about, let`s not overread the subtext of this team
as necessarily one predicated on racial animus of white folks towards the
first African-American president. I want you to tell the story and then
circle back to defending that deal.
BARRO: Right. Well, I mean, first of all --
BARRO: I wrote this critical piece on Paul Ryan`s speech, and I got
an e-mail the next morning that opens by asking me whether I was performing
certain sexual acts on the president and then goes on and basically says,
you know, what Obama and his handlers, what their real goal is is to take
the money away from us and give it to -- and he uses a racial slur for
Black people and then to the gays and the lesbos.
I don`t know. I haven`t gotten my check, but so, -- and then I see --
you know, these e-mails for some random person. It`s from the business e-
mail account of a senior manager at a major real estate investment trust.
And so, I respond to it and I copy their like V.P. for communications and
basically say I don`t think you should send e-mails full of racial slurs to
reporters from you`re working now.
BARRO: And, I got an e-mail. They fired the guy like very quickly.
So, I mean, the company handled it very appropriately.
HAYES: So you were saying about they`re not being a racial --
BARRO: No. There is a racial subtext. That`s very real, and I think
a lot of conservatives are in denial of that. But then, on the other hand,
when you had like on your network this week, you had Lawrence O`Donnell and
Martin Bashir talking about the gulf stuff. And Martin Bashir asked about
Lawrence O`Donnell says, well, you know, this isn`t an attempt to tie
the president to Tiger Woods and his skirt chasing, basically. It`s like,
no. That`s not what the golf stuff is. This is an attack that goes all
the way back to Dwight Eisenhower, and it`s always nonsense sort of
attacking the opposite party president for not working hard enough.
But that -- the gulf thing is not about the president being Black.
So, it`s possible to look at this and look at everything the Republicans
say and read a racial angle into it. And in fact, the Republicans have,
you know, lots of objections to the president, only some of which relate to
racial resentment, and they also have very real substantive policy
And so, I think it`s -- you need to be careful not to go overboard and
sort of assume that every objection to the president or at least more of
them than actually are are related to --
HAYES: And part of the problem, I think, when we`re doing this kind
of textural analysis of the themes is that, you know, there`s no -- there`s
no scientific test we can put on, right? We`re essentially trying to, you
know -- there`s no counterfactual to run against -- there is the Bill
Clinton, although, he was racialized in certain ways, too.
COX: And that`s actually I was going to make the point that also we
don`t know what of these (INAUDIBLE) work in terms of like swing voters out
there or anyone who`s voting for or against the president.
HAYES: Although I would say this. The welfare ads have proliferated
and keep getting run. So, I think they`re working.
COX: Who are they working on? I mean, they`ve already -- this is
actually one of the really confounding things about this particular
campaign that I`m sure all of us has noted is that how -- when are they
going to stop appealing to the base?
COX: Like when are they going to stop pandering to the base, because
I don`t believe that there are a lot of swing voters out there who sit
there -- the main concern is the economy. They aren`t particularly
resentful of Obama who are hearing these racially quoted attacks and
thinking, yes, that`s going to sway me.
HAYES: Yes. And Karl Rove said this in this presentation that was
captured by "Business Weekly" when he was talking to American Crossroads.
They simply saying swing voters, Obama voters, we have to win like the
president -- and I think, actually -- let me turn to Mitt Romney`s, speech
because I think that`s the first time that we saw a real genuine appeal to
not the base, right?
That speech is the -- so, here`s, first of all, Romney talking about
his own "up by the bootstraps" story. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOV. MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I grew up in
Detroit in love with cars and wanted to be a car guy like my dad, but by
the time I was out of school, I realized that I had to go out on my own,
that if I stayed around Michigan in the same business, I`d never really
know if I was getting a break because of my dad. I wanted to go some place
new and prove myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: "Out on my own" is a great line. The place that he went to
which was not mentioned in that speech and wasn`t mentioned in the bio
video, and I was sitting there tweeting, your (INAUDIBLE) was Harvard
University where he went to get a law degree -- by the way, note to Clint
Eastwood, his lawyer (ph) should be president.
We went to get a law degree and an MBA. He enrolled in a Harvard Law
and Harvard business school. That was --
COX: Striking out.
HERBERT: What he meant was that his parents were not in the dorm.
HAYES: That`s right.
HAYES: But then -- so, that I think was the kind of -- the relatable
part of it. Then the next part of the speech in terms of talking to Obama
voters, I thought this was the most effective line in the whole speech, and
this is him talking about your -- your, again, like thinking of speaking to
precisely the Obama -- your regrets or your disappointment with the
president. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Hope and change had a powerful appeal, but tonight, I`d ask a
simple question. if you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack
Obama, shouldn`t you feel that way now that he`s President Obama?
ROMNEY: You know there`s something wrong with the kind of job he`s
done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERBERT: Well, I agree with you, Chris. I think that was the most
effective line in the speech, and that`s why I think the Republican Party
is making a mistake. I don`t know how this election will turn out, but I
think that they -- there`s a better path for them to have followed. Obama
is so vulnerable.
There`s a great deal of disappointment even on the left with Barack
Obama. Everybody knows the economy is in trouble. I assumed that Romney
he was going to pivot towards the center of the old cliche after he got the
nomination, but he didn`t. If they had pounded the table on economy and
jobs, he would have made his business background that much more of an
And he will -- we were talking about this in the green room. Just
like the Democrats very often look at labor or look at liberals and say,
well, they have nowhere else to go. Well, the right-wing Republican Party
has nowhere else to go either. And I think that that would have been a
HAYES: I think he did pivot a little bit. I mean --
HERBERT: Basically with Paul Ryan and with the way that he has run
this campaign so far, it`s not that big of a pivot.
HAYES: Let me also say, you know, there`s a lot of people out there
who, you know, people that have health insurance, that didn`t have health
insurance, people that are working for car companies that would have
closed, people that are on -- who are on -- who got a government contract
through the recovery act, who the best day wasn`t the day they voted for
COX: Gays and lesbians in the military.
HAYES: Gays and lesbians in the military. David, I want to get your
thoughts of this after a quick break.
HAYES: David Sirota, your thoughts on it.
SIROTA: Well, my point when we were talking about what kind of
candidate Mitt Romney in the general election is. I guess I didn`t expect
it, but I thought it would have been a good move had he pivoted to I`m
Governor Mitt Romney. That, is look at my record in Massachusetts where he
could have -- I guess he`s already criticized Obama`s healthcare bill.
He can`t take it as his own, but here are some things I did on
healthcare. Here are some things I did on going after corporate tax
loopholes. Here are some things that are actually moderate and appealing
and technocratic about what I can do as president. And, we haven`t really
seen that pivot. And I think that`s a fundamental shift in Republican
politics long term.
That we`re not seeing Republican candidates necessarily turn back to a
middle. And in the case of Romney, he actually has somewhat of a moderate
record to turn back to as opposed to just rhetoric.
COX: I don`t know. This might be the last gasp of the dog whistle if
I can mix metaphors powerfully.
COX: I don`t think that they`re working --
HAYES: But you`re dying there, but then, you have a dog whistle in
COX: Because I think that this is not working. I mean, whatever
they`re doing right now is not actually working. He should be -- like,
with the way things are in the economy and with Obama how he`s looking
(ph), this should not be a difficult, you know, fight for Romney.
He should be doing much better than he is. I think he keeps going
back to the base, keeps going back to the base, keeps going back to the
base. And he keeps on trying to do his thing where he`s hitting Obama yet
trying to be relatable and likeable. He`s not that --
HAYES: I sort of disagree a little bit in that. You know, the polls
are basically deadlock. I think we (INAUDIBLE) favorability, we`ll
probably see some polling. You know, the other thing is beating the
current president is hard. I mean, as bad as the economy is, the things
have gotten better, you know, relative to where they were.
The incumbent is the incumbent, and Barack Obama is an incredibly able
politician. He`s very well liked among the electorate, and that is why the
other two-step they`re doing this two step of you like it -- like he`s a
perfectly good guy.
Here`s the -- here`s the "I wanted him to succeed" line which I
thought was part of this whole theme like I`m not against, you know, I`m
not against him personally. I wanted the best. We all wanted the best for
him. Here he is saying he wished the president had succeeded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I can`t help but note that in 2009, it was a little bit of a
different message about Obama`s success. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I want liberal policies to fail. I want him to fail and try
to put in place a healthcare plan that takes away the private sector from
healthcare. I want him to fail on his cap and trade program as long as
China and Brazil and Indonesia are going to play in it. But I want him to
succeed as a president.
Meaning, I want him to succeed in strengthening our economy, keeping
us free, bringing our troops home, and success from Iraq and Afghanistan,
but I don`t want his liberal policies to succeed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERBERT: But to Ana Marie`s point, it`s not just that the election is
close. And I agree that it`s difficult to oust an incumbent president.
But Romney is so far behind among women. He is so far behind among
Latinos. And even with the Black folk where Obama`s always going to get
the overwhelming majority of the Black vote, I never saw --
HERBERT: I never saw a poll before where -- a national poll where
somebody got zero percentage of the vote, and he got zero percentage of the
African-American vote. There`s no reason for even a Republican candidate
to do that poorly with those three groups.
BARRO: Yes, I think -- I`m going to be interested to see in
Democratic convention coming up this week, because I thought the strongest
part of Romney`s speech was the disappointment -- the expression of
disappointment in Obama`s failure. And I think also in the Paul Ryan
speech, which I thought substantively was basically (INAUDIBLE)
BARRO: There was this one great image, though, of the college
HAYES: The faded poster?
BARRO: This is exactly the right line of attack for them, and I think
that`s exactly because the president`s message is basically, you know, four
more years of the same.
He hasn`t laid out anything clear about what they`re going to do
differently in the second term than they would do in the first term that I
think would respond to those sorts of concerns about, well, we elected you
four years ago and we haven`t gotten what we`re looking for.
I think Ana Marie is right that, you know, on social policy and on
certain other areas, there are constituencies that are satisfied with what
they`ve gotten. But I think the percentage of people who are basically
satisfied with the president`s handling of the economy is small even on the
HAYES: And let me say this. I mean, the core -- David, go ahead.
SIROTA: Here`s an interesting analysis -- like comparison is that
when Democrats are running against the bad economy, they can go to their
base on an economic message, because the base actually matches with the
economic grievances of the whole country. Mitt Romney is trying to
essentially make this into a 1992 bill Clinton or that`s what he should be
doing when it comes to the economy.
He goes to his base, but in order to go to the Republican base, what
you`re going to them with is not something that necessarily matches with
what the whole country wants. You have to go to them on hard core
immigration policies, hard core social policies, et cetera, et cetera. You
have to go them to try to mobilize them in a way that alienates the larger
swamp (ph) of America.
HAYES: Or you go to them on never cutting Medicare for anything ever.
BARRO: This is why they do that, and this is why they basically make
up the welfare attack. I mean, welfare reform was a very popular policy
and still is. And if the president were still, in fact, trying to gut the
work requirement in welfare, that would be a huge political gift for
Romney, because that`s not -- it`s not like reform (ph) just an issue for
the Republican base.
That was one of Newt Gingrich`s famous 60-40 issues where the
Republican side really was broadly popular in the middle. So, I think
SIROTA: And the whole Medicare thing, Romney going to his base saying
I want to protect Medicare. That`s not exactly a base mobilizing strategy
for Mitt Romney.
COX: And to make an economic argument to his base, that`s why this
nostalgia is so important, because like you -- bootstrap idea so important
because they have, OK, you`re struggling now, but someday you`ll be rich
like me. You`ll benefit from the tax cuts that I`m giving to rich people.
HAYES: The focus of the speech and of the convention was domestic
policy, because of the primacy (ph) of the economy, but I thought the
foreign policy stuff was gobsmacking. I mean, really, the flat form and
everything. And the only moment of remarkable subversion of that came from
Clint Eastwood right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: I think you mentioned something about having a
target date to bringing everybody home and you give the target date and I
think Mr. Romney asked the sensible question. He said why are you giving a
date now, why don`t you just bring them home tomorrow morning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Wherein Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention
audience to cheer bringing the troops home from Afghanistan tomorrow
morning. The Eastwood thing is so --
HAYES: I don`t want to even talk -- it so bizarre and we`ve chewed it
over the last few days. And I thought it was -- I really thought it was
disrespectful. I mean, I`m not like a big "oh, respectful president" but
like talking down to a chair like you`re lecturing a schoolboy and having
him implying with his -- he just was, I thought, a vulgar and disrespectful
and just gross.
COX: And the caricature doesn`t even ring through for anyone that --
COX: Usually, good comedy is based in truth.
HAYES: I just want to -- so, you know, I don`t want to sift through
it. I thought it was bizarre and disrespectful and insulting, insulting,
in kind of a deep core way. That said --
HAYES: The Afghanistan line was fascinating to me, and the reason it
was fascinating to me was the sheer 200-proof neocon bellicosity of the
last part of the Romney speech. I just -- of all the things to end your
speech on, when you`re talking -- I mean to go into this reverie about all
the places that you want to basically start something with, check out how
this -- how this sounded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: America, he said, dictated the other nations. No, Mr.
President. America has freed other nation`s from dictators.
He has failed to slow Iran`s nuclear threat, throwing allies like
Israel under the bus, banning our friends in Poland. We will honor
America`s Democratic ideals because a free world is a more peaceful world.
That America, that united America will preserve a military that so strong
no nation would ever dare to test it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So that`s the message to the Romney people. Clint Eastwood
gets everyone to cheer. Bring the -- we have 87,000 troops in Afghanistan
right now, bringing them home tomorrow morning, and not one mention, not
one mention of Afghanistan in the entire speech.
If a Democratic president had given -- gotten up and given a
nominating speech at a convention and not made one mention of the current
war in which we are engaged, that would be the drudge headline, the fox
headline, that would have dominated the entire coverage. That would have
been everything. I was flabbergasted.
COX: Well, you`re saying like you missed the days where the
Republicans were the non-whining party like (INAUDIBLE) to the troops like
we got nothing, really, in terms of like even like we complain sometimes on
the left about the right using (ph) troops as props (ph). But that shows
some form of acknowledging that they`re out there, risking their lives,
maybe on a full (ph) there.
You know, but they`re out there. They`re doing what they`re doing.
They`re doing their jobs, that protecting our country, that protecting the
ideals of our country, and this was a remarkably free of that, you know,
also I was going to say Condoleezza Rice`s speech was, I think, the big
headline out of the convention for me.
I mean, it was a remarkable speech, but it was a litany of like all
the places we`re going to go war.
SIROTA: It doesn`t fit -- the Afghanistan issue doesn`t fit into
their larger message of we have to go back. We have to go back to --
COX: Whatever it is.
SIROTA: Whatever it is. I think the rest of it, that montage you
played of what we`re going to do going forward. That goes through the
prism of to restore American preeminence. This is what we have to do.
Barack Obama has supposedly destroyed American preeminence, and what we got
a reference so, he went out, and he supposedly apologized to people,
apologized to the world.
SIROTA: Right. Right. But the point is is that if you see
everything through we have to go back to before this time when this
president who is the other is trying to make us the other, then everything
HERBERT: But this convention was completely a reality-free zone, you
know? And that part of Romney speech was just crazy and filled with lies.
I mean, you know, you just mentioned the idea of Obama going around,
apologizing, and that sort of thing, but this idea that the Obama
administration has thrown issue under the buzz is really -- it`s a canard.
It`s absolutely disgusting. Untrue.
BARRO: I just don`t buy Romney as like a bellicose guy who`s going to
get us involved in a lot of wars. I just, you know -- I mean, I had a
little bit of exposure to him when I worked for his running mate when she
was running -- when they were running for governor and lieutenant governor
in 2002. And I think the idea of him as, you know, the management
consultant leader is basically correct.
And I think, you know -- I think he has to view this stuff as a time
and money suck. I can`t imagine that he wants to spend his presidency
dealing with some other war in the Middle East.
COX: I think this is the best way be it also -- if you mention
Afghanistan, you get into how much it all costs and you get that debt clock
and the --
HAYES: But I want to disagree with that strongly because I used to
HAYES: But I nothing --
COX: There`s nothing like a convert.
HAYES: Here`s the thing, I watch -- you know, watching the Democratic
Party in healthcare, for instance, OK? Remember the debate that was the
single policy, the huge policy difference between Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton was the mandate. It was the mandate. And we literally had hour-
long debate about the mandate, ok? What happens?
Barack Obama got into office. They proposed a healthcare plan with
the mandate. The reason for that is that the -- essentially, think-tank
policy circles of the Democratic Party had a plan with the mandate. That
was what mattered. It was already baked into the cake.
Reading the platform and see who runs foreign policy, who are the
people around Mitt Romney, it is the architects of the entire neo-con era
of endless war of the last decade and that`s what matters more than the
preferences, beliefs, technocratic -- whatever -- I really feel that
SIROTA: There`s not a space right now, I guess, perceptually for Mitt
Romney to actually make the argument that he might make which is the
argument that Clint Eastwood makes which would be a different argument on
HAYES: He could make that argument, but he`s not.
SIROTA: I think there`s a place in the Republican Party for it, and
somebody needs to make it, but I don`t think he perceives that there`s --
HAYES: We`re going to go around the table and get how many wars Mitt
Romney will start right after this break.
HAYES: Since Mitt Romney mentioned dictators in that speech, I think,
we should just mention that the years of Obama presidency, and I don`t
think this is necessarily due to President Obama, and in some cases,
clearly not due to him, but it hasn`t been a good run of dictators.
I mean, we should just note that in the Obama administration, Tunisia
president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak,
Libyan Moammar Gadhafi, Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh, Ivory Coast,
Laurent Gbagbo, and former Burmese military rulers have also given way to
So, I think the point there is that maybe going around the world
starting bad wars strengthens dictators and actually foreign policy
environment which the U.S. is in mentioned in those might give some space
to the natural constituencies that are laboring under tyranny to rebel in
specific fashion (ph) and not to worry about, say, the demagoguery of those
dictators railing against the American enemy who seems like actually
appraisable, possible foe when they`re occupying the country very closely.
HERBERT: Bad wars are not good for any leaders. Witness LBJ and
Vietnam, witness George W. Bush and Iraq. You know, anybody who is
president or wants to be president of the United States ought to keep that
BARRO: Yes. And I just -- I think exactly the opposite lesson that
you do for the history of the mandate and President Obama, I think he ran
against a mandate because that was politically wise thing for him to do,
and it helped him separate himself from Democratic primary from his two
And I think he implemented it, because that was a wise thing to do
policy-wise. The healthcare framework he had and work without a mandate.
You could have done a single player plan except (ph) you couldn`t
politically do it. So, he took this approach, you had to have the mandate.
So, I think it makes sense for Romney to sound as hawkish as possible
in order to please elements in the Republican base, but then when you
looked at -- he`s planning for presidency, he tapped Robert Zoellick to be
in charge of his transition on foreign policy. Zoellick is within the
Republican Party considered within the realist/dovish contingent.
The neo-conservative are very unhappy about this choice. We don`t
know who is actually going to put in the administration if he gets elected,
but I think that it would be a very Romney thing to do to use rhetoric as a
substitute for actual costly policy actions.
HAYES: Josh is pro flip-flop. You`re on the record --
HAYES: You may change your mind.
BARRO: If your position is bad, then, yes.
HAYES: That`s McCain`s line, right? I changed my mind.
HAYES: I would also note just because since we ran from that list,
the American government under George W. Bush and very much President Obama
was explicitly colluding with Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen. So, I don`t
want to give (INAUDIBLE) had killed civilians. I don`t want to give too
much credit to the president or the American power in bringing down Ali
Abdullah Saleh when he was a key ally that we`ve been sort of propping up.
SIROTA: I do think it`s frightening that we know the least amount
about Mitt Romney`s foreign policy where a president has the most power
over foreign policy on to many things (ph).
HAYES: I agree. Can the political media go from mildly debunking
false assertions to flat out to calling some of the latter? Better yet,
what happens if they do and no one cares? That`s up next.
HAYES: Good morning from New York.
I`m Chris Hayes, here with Bob Herbert, longtime columnist for "The
New York Times." Now, think tank Demos, syndicated columnist David Sirota,
Ana Marie Cox, political columnist for "The Guardian" newspaper, and Josh
Barro, columnist for "Bloomberg View."
The story in the media following vice presidential candidate Paul
Ryan`s speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday wasn`t
about how good or bad the speech was. It was about calling Ryan out for
his lack of honesty.
"USA Today" said Paul Ryan`s acceptance speech at the Republican
convention contained several false claims and misleading statements. "The
Associated Press" said Paul Ryan takes factual shortcuts in speech. That
was said hours after Ryan speech.
Take a listen to what was said just minutes after the speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KING, CNN: The fact-checking is beginning, our team at CNN is at
it, Wolf, already. Other news organizations will do it as well.
DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS: There`s a kind of ideological amnesia here
on the part of Paul Ryan.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Markedly seven or eight points. I`m sure the fact
checkers will have some opportunity to check.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN: I think these factual checks are really important.
They should be held accountable.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN: There will be some issues there with some of the
JOHN BERMAN, CNN: There are moments where people are wondering if
were completely truthful.
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: Do you think it was honest speech? And in
the end, does that really matter?
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: That`s the question. That is really the question because that
-- it matters to us, but the question about does it matter politically is
what I want to kind of tee up.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney himself has gone beyond
the convenient politics as usual lie with his month-long insistence that
President Obama waived the work requirement for welfare when, in fact,
that`s not true. The Obama administration has said if states want to
experiment with new ways to fulfill the welfare work requirement they would
have to prove their plans would move more welfare recipients into jobs than
their existing policies do.
"The L.A. Times" called out Rick Santorum for continuing this false
claim on the first night of the RNC and a headline on Tuesday, Rick
Santorum repeats inaccurate welfare attack on Obama.
On responding to criticism about the welfare attacks being blatantly
inaccurate, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse told Buzzfeed.com`s Ben Smith,
quote, "We`re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers."
So, I think there`s a good thing/bad thing happening here. I do. I
think there`s been -- there was a whole critique developed in the blogs
during the Bush years about the perils of false balance and that -- you
know, I think Brad Delong or Paul Krugman, who came up with this term about
opinions on shape of the word differ as the perfect example of taking
something that`s not disputable and going to he said/she said, the
Democrats say this, the Republicans say this, and not independently
disputing the fact, and saying, no, actually. This is the way it is.
And I think that critique has been very effective. It has been
effective. It has changed the posture and so we now have this fact-
checking industry. There`s fact -- PolitiFact, fact-check page, "The
Washington Post," and everyone`s running their fact checks.
And then the question is, so then what, right? Does it -- where are
we now in this migration? What do you take away from the Paul Ryan speech?
Is it a moment of victory for this line in that we`re all saying there`s
eight places where he said things that are either flat out untrue, deeply
misleading or disingenuous or is it -- does it show the limitations of this
mode that they`re going to keep doing it?
BOB HERBERT, DEMOS: Well, you know, Dick Cheney said --
ANA MARIE COX, THE GUARDIAN: Opinions differ.
HERBERT: Dick Cheney said deficits don`t matter and Republicans now
believe that facts don`t matter. But I think they`re wrong and I think
just because of this fact-checking industry that you`re talking about, the
danger is that you get sort of tarred with this idea that you`re not
truthful, you know, that it`s lyin` Ryan or whatever.
What I think is important now because media -- media don`t determine
elections. What`s important now is for Democrats to make hay out of this.
It`s been established that this is a genuine problem, not partisan when
you`re looking at it from the media perspective, but now the Democrats have
to come home and hammer this home.
DAVID SIROTA, SALON.COM: And I think that -- we were talking before
the show about, well, if you were campaigning for the president in 1900,
you could say one thing to one audience and another thing to another
audience, There wasn`t necessarily a fact-checking to national media --
it`s almost like we`ve gone back to that a little bit because of the
architecture of the new media, that you can live in your own bubble now and
you can get information from that bubble and the other people in the other
bubble get their information and there`s less and less crossover and
there`s less and less trust in anybody to arbitrate between those two
HAYES: Ad this is great point. I mean, in terms of -- yes, so in
terms of the best of times things, there`s a "Runner`s World" story, right,
where Paul Ryan was on Hugh Hewitt show and said he ran a marathon in less
than three hours, which is a really remarkable -- essentially an elite
runner, you`re kind of racing at that moment, rather than running. And
"Runner`s World", there`s like a thread on the Internet, "Runner`s World"
went back and pulled the record from the Boston marathon record and found
out that he`s run over four hours and now, Ryan said I was wrong about it.
I don`t think it matters that much. But to me, what it highlights is,
exactly that point --
COX: It matters to the person who was behind him.
HAYES: Yes, the person who came in front. But, no, it highlights
this thing. Running for president in 1908, you know, you go around to an
event and someone owns a deli and someone would say, I used to own a deli.
My brother was in the war. My brother was in the war. Who`s going to
But then you have this program, like you say, of the kind of
hermetically sealed world. And let me just play this -- Chuck Todd made
this point, we were talking to him during the live coverage, that that`s
how the Mitt Romney people see it. It doesn`t matter because the authority
of the people who adjudicated has dissipated so much. Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Whether you have this argument that they are
able to sort of attack the fact-checkers, question a fact-checker, get the
base of their party, the activist base of their party to bomb, if you will,
Twitter bomb reporters, Twitter bomb news media, they think they can float
above this. Who knows? They may be right.
But I thought that was the most fascinating part. They think that the
credibility of the overall media is so low right now and the idea that the
media is more partisan in nature or polarized in nature that they think all
of the fact checks have limited political impact on them for the fall
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COX: Two things. If you tell a big enough lie, like even your own
people will have trouble defending it, like Chris Wallace on FOX was
actually like, there were some questions --
HAYES: The Ryan speech stood out. It was really aggressive.
COX: But I totally with David`s point. I think it`s a great point.
We do have these parallel worlds where you each gets to create their own
reality. And let`s face it, MSNBC is part of one world and FOX is another
world, and people tend not to watch both.
But think that "Runner`s World" thread is really interesting because
there are other kinds of world that aren`t political necessary, where
people run into each other and talk about things. And I think that`s kind
of my hope, is that sometimes people who care about a specific kind of
issue will look at it. And it won`t just be filtered through -- you`re
rolling your eyes at me, like, people without --
HAYES: I want to say, you know, the MSNBC thing about -- you know, I
mean, yes, there`s clearly an ideological -- well, I speak for myself,
right? I clearly -- people know I`m a liberal, right? And I have
ideological specter, I commit to certain principles and there are certain
biases that come along with that. And I selected what I cover, sure.
You know, we -- you risk running -- when you say that as a statement
of the way the world is --
COX: I`m not trying to say the shape of the world, opinions differ.
That`s my only point. Audiences are --
SIROTA: A person who exemplifies this, to understand how this works
is to understand Glenn Beck today. Glenn Beck now operates since leaving
FOX News operates completely in his own world.
HAYES: Literally, he owns everything.
SIROTA: He owns GBTV. He`s got -- on his radio show --
HAYES: He`s printing money, by the way. He`s printing money.
SIROTA: He`s citing his own news service as the deliverer. He has
60,000, 70,000 people out at Cowboy Stadium, barely anybody outside that
bubble noticed. But that`s an example of people in the bubble. It doesn`t
matter if somebody else outside the bubble says those facts are wrong. If
you`re inside the bubble, you`re not going to know.
HAYES: And another thing because this is all based on a relationship
of trust, right? Because you trust Glenn Beck. If David Sirota comes to
SIROTA: I don`t trust Glenn Beck.
HAYES: Now but if you trust him when he says the president is a
scheming socialist or whatever, if David Sirota come, you don`t trust David
SIROTA: That`s right.
HAYES: And you`re not -- it`s not crazy to go through the world that
way. In fact, all of our understandings in the world come from these trust
relationships. I mean, you have to have some trust from someone.
JOSH BARRO, BLOOMBERG.COM: I think there`s limits to the lie, of
course. The Romney campaign is up with this ad based on this false claim
of welfare reform.
HAYES: Four ads.
BARRO: Yes. And they have Rick Santorum talking about it. And I
think they clearly viewed it as one of the most effective attacks. It was
not mentioned at all in Paul Ryan`s speech or Mitt Romney`s speech, I think
because they don`t get called out on it. And so, I think they want to use
it, but that lie is too brazen to directly associate with the candidate.
HAYES: I want to read Thomas Jefferson on fact-checking. Thomas
Jefferson pining for a fact-checker and then I want to talk about the
problem with fact checker. I want to hear your thoughts right after this.
HAYES: We`re talking about the era of the fact-checker and how it
deals with lies and distortions and manipulations.
And, Bob, there`s something -- I cut you off.
HERBERT: There`s still a certain number, and I would think a sizable
number, if not a large percentage of intelligent, persuadable voters out
there. And, you know, fact-checking or truth-telling becomes an important
issue with these voters.
And if among the voters they get the idea you just cannot be trusted,
that cannot be good in a close election. So once again I think the
Republicans are making a mistake there.
HAYES: There`s a phrase used. There`s this phrase that David Roberts
at "Grist" has used called post-truth politics. And Jay Rosen, who`s a
press critic, has written a lot about this and the kind of what you do with
The distinction isn`t -- because I want to read this quote from Thomas
Jefferson. It`s not about lying, right? Lying in politics is as old as
politics. It`s about an environment in which you don`t care if you get
called out for the lie.
So here`s Thomas Jefferson who wishes there were fact-checkers in his
days, writing a letter to New York Representative William Smith.
"Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. The British
ministry has so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every
form lies about our being an anarchy, that the world has at length believed
them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have
come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them
This is about the British campaign of propaganda against the new
republic. And then at the same time, I want to sort of not get too
celebratory of the fact-checkers as an authority because they`re just
another set of authority, and this -- this is where you get down to brass
tacks and say, we`re going to have fact checkers.
The thing is fact checkers sometimes get it wrong. I have been fact
checked by "PolitiFact" and they were wrong, and I was right.
And here`s Rachel has had a bad a legendary, you know, bad experience
with "PolitiFact." I think she has the better of almost every argument
going forward, every argument to had.
Here`s her talking about "PolitiFact."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL, MSNBC HOST: The president says thing A and thing B.
"PolitiFact" looks into it and decides thing A and thing B as stated by the
president are both true. So on their truthometer, they rate the statement
half true. How did two trues add up to a half true.
PolitiFact, you are fired. You are a mess. You are fired. You are
undermining the definition of the word "fact" in the English language by
pretending to it in your name. The English language wants its word back.
You are an embarrassing. You sullied the reputation of anyone who
cites you as an authority on factishness, let alone fact. You are fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I love that clip.
HAYES: No, she was and she was totally right. And so, here`s the
thing. Getting to this bubble thing, I will see -- you know, I was once
guest hosting for Rachel and we had Sherrod Brown on, Senator Brown on.
He said my opponent is running this ad and even PolitiFact,
independent fact checker, has laid it on the lie. It`s like, well, no, no,
no, I don`t trust PolitiFact. This show doesn`t trust PolitiFact because
it hasn`t showed itself to be trustworthy and we can`t have the situation
which we conveniently invoke the independent fact-checkers when they
support our side, because that undermines the entire idea.
SIROTA: What`s the expectation? That`s what we really have to ask.
What are we wishing for? What`s Thomas Jefferson wishing for?
He`s wishing, I think, for people to care if the facts are wrong.
SIROTA: There were some scientific studies I think it was out a year
ago where it said that a large swath of voters, especially conservative
voters, when they`re presented with facts that contradict their ideology,
they actually dig in more on their own belief system. And I don`t think
it`s just limited to conservatives.
HAYES: Liberals do this, too.
SIROTA: Absolutely. I learn it every day on talk radio. You put a
fact out there and people say, I`m not going to believe it. And you start
getting into more debating whether the water is wet and the sky is blue.
I think we are living in such a time where ideology has become so
important in the public`s mind, I`m on this side or I`m on that side, red
versus blue, that sadly what we`re really lamenting is when we put the
facts out there, one side, if those facts are inconvenient to you is simply
not accepting of the idea that it`s a fact.
HERBERT: I`m not going to go -- I`m not going to go that far.
HAYES: You seem to thing -- you`re the optimist at the table.
HERBERT: Not only does it matter. I mean PolitiFact matter -- Rachel
just destroyed it. But the fact-checking world in general, while it`s
significant, it`s not the -- it`s not the most important thing.
The most important thing are -- is the stuff that we do. We`re
journalists, and we get our facts from reporting. And you have to have,
you know, certain standards for yourself and you can understand that
there`s a lot of, you know, madness going on out there, but as long as you
keep focused yourself on getting the message across, the totality will
ultimately win out. I believe that.
COX: But I think it`s sad commentary on journalism that fact-check
has been outsourced --
HERBERT: We`re the fact checkers ourselves.
HAYES: It`s really interesting to watch, say, Wolf Blitzer talk about
-- it`s this amazing euphemism. He doesn`t want to say there were seven
misleading statements or lies or distortions. So fact-checker becomes a
euphemism, so he says there are places that the fact checkers will go into
HAYES: And part of that, I think, is that actually gets to the
limited effect then to the extent they have limited effect. There`s some
other little ghettoized world called fact-checking, the headline.
That`s why I thought the Santorum head line and the headlines, you
know, "A.P." headline that said Paul Ryan takes factual short cuts is worth
more than a thousand fact checks. That`s the news article. That`s the
thing that you scan when you see it, it takes actual short cuts. That`s
the news. It`s not the independent fact checker.
BARRO: And I think the proliferation of fact-checkers may have pushed
reporters on this. I think the reaction of the Paul Ryan speech, I
thought, was handled very well and I think the press account of it
generally focused on the substantive facts and how they were not factual.
HAYES: Currently, we need to get ahead of the fact checkers.
BARRO: Yes, that`s the story, because I was really struck. I was
down there in Tampa and I watched the speech in the hall and I went to a
party afterward, and I`m talking to the other reporters and I said, I
thought that speech was terrible.
And repeatedly they said, really? I thought he was relatable and an
effective speech. And I`m like, no, I thought they were full of lies, and
they go, well, yes.
BARRO: I think there`s this tendency that I think is important for
the press to get past where you watch something like this and you sort of
report on it like it`s a sports game.
HAYES: Or criticism.
SIROTA: Andrea Seabrook of NPR said that, I think, last week about
reporting on Congress that the lying has become so accepted among
journalists that it`s almost not even a story anymore.
And to your point, you`re exactly right. When you outsource fact-
checking outside journalism, where people I think really frame their
opinions on things is what is baked into the coverage, what you can -- when
there`s a fact-check situation, it`s like, well, it could be this set of
facts or that set of facts and is this outlet credible or that outlet
credible when it`s baked into places where you don`t even recognize, that`s
why it`s important. That`s why when you take it out of journalism and put
it over here, then what are you actually saying about what you`re reading.
What is actually in what you`re reading and not knowing?
HAYES: Right. If the next-day article about Paul Ryan speech is
distinct from the fact-check story it runs, then what is the news content
or value of the next-day story about the Paul Ryan speech?
HAYES: Mega-rich newspaper publisher are shaping politics and maybe
even election outcomes. We`re going to zoom into what`s going on at the
local level, how swing state voters are getting their news. The answers
may surprise you, after this.
HAYES: Paying attention to the presidential election, you tend to
overlook what`s going on at the state level. Campaigns are won and lost in
swing states where people still heavily rely on local news outlets for
their political coverage, and that can be a problem when more and more
local newspapers are being purchased by super rich businessmen for the
personal and political agenda.
David Sirota has a piece in this month`s "Harper`s" which speaks to
this issue. He says, the irony is that as the newspaper`s industry is
collapsing, leaving many towns with a single newspapers, a monopoly, the
new crop of Citizen Kane-like publishers who own these lonely gazettes have
acquired massive amounts of power.
Sirota writes, quote, "If newspapers are indeed dying stars in the
media firmament, many of them have reached the red-giant stage -- that is,
a brief phase just prior to expiration when their reach becomes
exponentially larger. Even in their current, more abundant condition,
newspapers and their print and digital formats are still read by about 75
percent of the adult population.
David, I thought the article was fantastic. I -- people should go to
newsstands and pick up "Harper`s". I don`t think it`s online yet, if I`m
SIROTA: It`s not.
HAYES: There`s an abstract. So you`re going to have to do the old-
fashioned thing and pay for the content.
And it just made -- it struck me that we do spend, (a), how much we
think about national media, and, (b), how overpopulated the national media
is compared to the local media, and, (c), how much the voters are going to
decide an election in the Denver suburbs, for instance, or the Virginia
suburbs, although they have "The Washington Post" there, how much they`re
going to be reading newspapers and the amount of power the owners have.
Why does someone like, say, Dean Singleton, who now runs "The Denver
Post," why does he have so much power?
SIROTA: There`s a couple of reasons. One, there`s a lack of
competition. We`re live hello in a team where most media markets are one
media newspaper market so the owner of the paper that`s left standing has a
disproportionate amount of power.
It`s not that they have a disproportionate amount of power because
they don`t have competition. It`s that they can actually shape the news,
not having to worry that a competitor will have an alternate set of facts,
that a newspaper owner can feel more, I guess, more latitude to bake into
the coverage what they want to bake into without fear that the competitor
will call them out.
There`s also the issue where we think we`re living in a time where
there`s a proliferation of news outlets. There are certainly is.
But as the FEC reports, more and more news outlet that remain,
electronic news outlets -- television, radio, Internet Web sites are basing
their coverage on what`s originally reported in a newspaper. The
newspapers still have the most amount of journalists on the ground.
HAYES: They`re the first impression. I mean when you hear a story
that comes out of some place, particularly if it`s something that goes
viral, you know, some, for instance, the zombie face-eating story, right,
that becomes a national story. It`s reported first by a local media
SIROTA: That`s right.
HAYES: And that`s the case for a lot of stories.
SIROTA: That`s right. You can trace so many stories back to an
original newspaper hit and so then it becomes a question of what does the
news owner want to put in that coverage and what -- I would argue the most
important point, what are they saying is and is not news.
When a newspaper owner says or is known to be connected to a certain
political ideology, certain political allies in a given media market, the
reporters in the newsroom tend to know -- I know what my owner`s politics
are. I don`t want to get cross-eyed with the owner, knowing there are also
already layoffs --
HAYES: Yes, it`s not like if I got fired, I`m going to work at
SIROTA: Exactly. So I`m going to avoid certain stories that may tick
off the owner and I`m going to do stories that may ingratiate the owner.
HAYES: Your point in the article about sins of omission, rather than
commission and how, I thought that was fascinating. I mean, there`s a few
examples you give. But the idea being, let`s say there`s some politician
who the owner is friends with and there`s some scandal brewing about that
politician, in the old days of it, if the "Denver Post" didn`t report about
it because they were too cozy, then "The Rocky Mountain News," which was
the rival, right, would come in and do a front page story and the "Denver
Post" would be embarrassed into covering it.
Now without that competitor, "Denver Post" can just say nothing to see
here, they don`t report on it, never appears in the paper, and people don`t
SIROTA: You rarely get a smoking gun, like you got in 2010. "The New
York Times" (ph) wrote a front page story about the school district in
Denver getting basically into the hands, its finances with Wall Street.
And the person at the center of that was Michael Bennet, who is now
Colorado`s U.S. senator. This story came out four days in "The New York
Times" about the deal he cut when he was superintendent of schools. It
came out in "The New York Times" four days before a very closely contested
Democratic primary where this senator who was appointed was running for
Democratic primary. Eighty-seven percent of Colorado voters had already
voted. That story was essentially unreported in the "Denver Post".
And not surprisingly, Michael Bennet is a close ideological with Dean
Singleton and his politics and his positions on labor, et cetera, et
cetera. So, you look an election that was decided by less than 15,000
votes that essentially created -- made a U.S. senator a story that arguably
if it with us in the "Denver Post" and covered if the real way might have
changed 15,000 votes. There you have an example, I think, of an owner
whose politics in a monopoly situation are able to sway an entire U.S.
HAYES: This isn`t just Denver. I mean, there are lots of towns. In
fact, Philadelphia, which is a great newspaper town that`s gone through a
lot of consolidation is about to have a new ownership crew running the
We`re going to talk to one of the new owners of the "Philadelphia
Inquirer` right after we take this break.
HAYES: I want to read a quote because we`re talking about the "Denver
Post." And I should say that you reached out numerous times to get Dean
Singleton, who is the owner of "Post" to talk to you for the article. He
This is a former "Denver Post" reporter Susan Green who talked about
working for the publisher, Dean Singleton. "In my own experience, staying
true to the `Denver Post` brand required a certain type of Stockholm
syndrome. It meant internalizing what you figure boss and your boss`s boss
might deem inconvenient to print, say, before they hop on the train to
Frontier Days with a posse of politicians and advertisers." Frontier Days
is a local festival and endeavor.
This isn`t limited to Denver. It`s in San Diego, and allow me a
correction about the guest we`re about to bring in, who`s an MSNBC
contributor, Ed Rendell, NBC News political analyst, former governor of
Pennsylvania. Ed Rendell, who`s part of a consortium and helped a
consortium that purchased Philadelphia network, including the Philadelphia
Daily News and Philly.com -- but not an actual owner if I`m right about
that, Governor Rendell.
Thanks for joining us this morning.
ED RENDELL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: That`s correct. Chris, before I get
into that, I just wanted to say. I`ve been listening the last half hour
but it`s fascinating. But there are essentially quick points I want to
RENDELL: Number one, truth still matters to those independent voters
in the middle who often decide elections and I think will decide this
presidential election. It may not matter to the 40 percent on either side
of the base but at 20 percent or even maybe smaller in the middle, it does
Second, in ours business, we have something called third-party
validation. And newspaper can be still great third-party validators. And
newspapers, generally, I know what you`re saying about ideological
takeovers, but "The Wall Street Journal" has called out Republicans on
And when you say the "Wall Street Journal" -- I was at a debate
yesterday, and I said the effective corporate tax rate is not 35 percent,
it`s 17 percent. Someone said, yes, that`s wrong. I said it was published
by "Fortune," study off the 2,000 biggest corporations. Do you think
"Fortune" is liberal apologist?
So, third party validation still matters and it matters a lot.
HAYES: I think -- that`s great point because it cues up exactly the
issue here, which is, I think, you`re right, that third party validation
matters. I do think that newspapers were retain tremendous authority in
adjudicating the debate, which is why if you were an evil genius who wanted
to control the minds of the American public, the thing you would do is go
and buy a newspaper like has happened in Philadelphia.
So, I want to hear you talk about it from your side, right, which is
if I`m a conservative in Philadelphia and I hear that Ed Rendell is getting
people together to buy the local paper, I`m thinking we`re screwed. The
conservatives are never going to get a fair shot in the local paper or Ed
Rendell`s buddies aren`t going to be investigated if they`re doing
something corrupt or wrong. That this is going to potentially be no a
RENDELL: Well, the first thing I did I was approached by the
publisher, who`s working for the hedge owners, and he said hedge fund is
going to sell. Can you put together a local consortium to keep the paper
And that`s what I did. And I went out and I picked people -- people
by the way not caring about their specific ideology and some of the people
are very conservative, as well as some people are very liberal put it
together, local ownership. I turned down a finder`s fee which was, I
think, $1.8 million. My son has never forgiven me for doing that.
HAYES: That`s a lot of money.
RENDELL: My son has never forgiven me for doing that. But then the
reporters objected to me being part of it, I saw their point because I
still intend to be active in politics, so I withdrew. The new owners
signed a "hands-off" agreement where they pledged to not have any
interference on the editorial page, nor any interference on stories.
And they signed a hands-on agreement and I think they mean it.
Interestingly, since they`ve taken over, there have been stories that have
been critical of the new owners or entities that the new owners own
themselves. So I think you can do it right.
HAYES: There was the idiot Ed Rendell turns down $1.8 million
finder`s fee in the front page of the paper.
HAYES: Ana Marie Cox?
COX: Well, I was going to say -- I think, obviously, the third-party,
you know, validation is very important and that`s the purpose that we
But, you know, to say you picked people from both sides of the
ideological spectrum, that doesn`t really get to what the problem is, which
is actually like business interests transcend to party lines. Local
business interests especially transcend party lines. Local connections are
more important than any kind of party intervention. And that`s where
reporters (ph) for the newspaper gets into trouble.
And another, I have to say, if you swear up and down not to interfere
with the newsroom, that`s well and good. But the kind of problem that,
again, David Sirota points out, isn`t that you`re interfering actively with
the science stories, it`s that --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People know.
COX: People know.
RENDELL: That depends on the good faith of the reporters and the
ability of the reporters to test the stand alone agreement.
SIROTA: My question to you, Governor, would be how can you -- how can
the owners of "The Inquirer", how can they actually reassure those
reporters at a time when there are going to be future layoffs, as a time
when a reporter may say, well, I glad I`ve got these reassurances. But I
know there maybe another round of layoffs. But if I`ve stuck my head up
and published something I know the owner doesn`t want to own, how does the
owner reassure that reporter?
RENDELL: I think this ownership did it by hiring Bill Marimow as the
editor of the papers. And all those reporters know Bill Marimow and know
Bill Marimow would not be influenced or get his backup, even a hand of
influence by the new ownership group.
So I think that matters, who your editor is, if your editor is an
independent newspaper person, that matters.
But, look, think about the alternative. What`s the alternative here?
How are newspapers going to survive?
My belief is the only way they`re going to survive is the way sports
teams used to be owned by rich, well-meaning people who were willing to
lose money on the enterprise because they thought it was important or fun
or entertaining or whatever. What`s the alternative?
COX: Well, "The Guardian" is a pretty interesting alternative.
RENDELL: Well, who owns "The Guardian"?
COX: It`s a trust. It`s a foundation. It`s not for profit.
RENDELL: How many of those are going to be around?
COX: Well, "The Guardian" has been around for a while and does some
of the best --
RENDELL: Do you how many of those are going to be around in a country
HAYES: I think that`s the question.
COX: What about these guys who want to buy papers? Why don`t they
set up foundations to run papers?
SIROTA: I also think one of the solutions might be smaller
newspapers, smaller publications where we don`t have one dominant news
organization in a given city where we actually go back to the time of the
penny press. I think that`s possible.
RENDELL: Do you know how long it`s been since we had that in
SIROTA: I would ask you.
Let me -- if you were running again for an office in Pennsylvania and
your political opponents owned the biggest newspaper in the state, what
would you be saying on this program?
RENDELL: Well, look, we have that situation in Pennsylvania. Mr.
Scaife owns "The Pittsburgh Tribune Review." And if I was ever to solve or
eliminate cancer for Pennsylvanians, "The Tribune" would be without the
headline saying "Rendell fails to cure heart disease." You know, that`s a
fact of life and you live with it. By the way, most people understand that
about "The Tribune."
SIROTA: But that`s a competitive situation. There`s two papers in
Pittsburgh. So I mean --
HAYES: That I think is a key point here, is that the -- because we
should make clear, newspaper owners have always used their -- particularly
on the editorial page. There`s --
RENDELL: Forever, forever.
HAYES: Chicago columnist for John Kass, who`s actually doesn`t share
my politics. But I was at an event in Chicago once and he said of
newspaper owners, no one ever bought a bicycle they didn`t want to ride.
That is very true.
More on this issue and the future newspapers right after we take a
HAYES: We`re talking about newspapers and newspapers of the tenth
hole of local communities in a lot of was, but particularly news gathering.
I mean, local news stations tend to use the local newspaper and Web sites
use local newspaper. So, if you control the local newspaper and there`s
only one, you have a lot of power over what happens.
David Sirota has an article on "Harper`s." It`s about what that means
for our politics.
Ed Rendell has been able in putting together a consortium to purchase
the "Philadelphia Inquirer" and associated local properties.
We should note the previous owner of the "Philadelphia Inquirer" was
extremely conservative and people felt used the paper essentially as
SIROTA: Not just conservative, Brian Tierney was one of the top PR
executives, public relations executives in the media market. That is he
went from a job of pressuring reporters and spinning reporters to cover
certain stories, to essentially running and owning the newspaper.
RENDELL: Guys, you`ve got go back to the fact that there was a hands-
off. When Brian Tierney owned the "Inquirer," I was running for reelection
as governor. And "The Inquirer" not only endorsed my re-election, but
almost qualified me for sainthood.
Now, you know, the first time the new ownership group had to endorse
politically, I was supporting a Democrat by a name of Patrick Murphy, a
good congressman for state attorney general and "The Inquirer" editorial
board endorsed a woman Kathleen Kane. She won the state, although I won
the media market.
But the point is there`s still integrity. Chris, I have heard you
call out our side, how many Democrats, myself included, get in trouble when
we criticize something that the Obama administration has done, like the
There are still people in this country who are going to call like they
see it. And I`m not a fan of "The Wall Street Journal", but I give them
tremendous credit --
SIROTA: Let me ask you then --
RENDELL: -- for holding people`s feet to the fire.
SIROTA: -- then a follow-up question on that because you`re right. I
mean, there can still be integrity depending on ownership structure, but
what about the other side of the coin, the public`s perception? When a
reader finds out that the person who owns the newspaper was a P.R.
executive, or a big Republican activist, doesn`t that hurt the credibility
of the paper?
RENDELL: Sure. It creates the presumption, but that presumption can
be overcome --
HAYES: A rebuttable presumption.
RENDELL: A rebuttable presumption, absolutely.
HAYES: Ed Rendell, thank you for joining us so much this morning.
It`s great to have you.
RENDELL: Near and dear to my heart.
HAYES: I think the new -- I think the new editor of "The Philadelphia
Inquirer" should signal his seriousness by a big Ed Rendell takedown.
HAYES: I hope he`s working on that as we speak.
What do we now we didn`t know last week? My answer`s after this.
HAYES: So what do we know now we didn`t know last week?
We now know that while hurricane Isaac was hammering the Gulf Coast,
Mitt Romney was a 150-yacht for an event with his $1 million plus bundlers.
ABC News reports that the yacht owned by Gary Morris, a developer behind
the retirement community The Villages, was flying the Cayman Islands flag.
So, now, we know that yacht is registered in the Cayman Islands, the
notorious tax haven. And we know that Morris who was previously for George
W. Bush and John McCain has given $450,000 to the pro-Romney super PAC
Restore Our Future.
When a candidate is not transparent about the wealth he keeps in the
Cayman Islands, we know we shouldn`t expect him to be transparent about the
wealthy he meets with on Cayman yachts.
We now know that Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican from South
Carolina, actually told "The Washington Post" this about the Republican
Party this week. Quote, "The demographics race we`re losing badly. We`re
not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long
We know that exit polls from 2008 showed that 90 percent of GOP voters
are white. But this country is getting less white according to projected
We also know that in a recent NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll, Romney
got zero percent support from black supporters. In case you`ve been
thinking that the people in the seats on the floor of this convention
looked pretty homogenous, now we know that only 2 percent delegates were
And, finally, we now know that even federal judges think Republican
officials are discriminating against minorities and the disenfranchised
when it comes to the right to vote. Texas will appeal two rulings that
came down this week. On Tuesday, a federal district court said when the
state of Texas drew up proposed new electoral maps, that redistricting had
been, quote, "enacted with discriminatory purpose."
On Thursday, another panel of federal district court judges struck
down Texas`s new voter ID law and said requiring voters who don`t have one
of the five specified types of ID to get an election identification
certificate would involve financial costs that would, quote, "impose
strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor."
On Tuesday, a federal judge struck down new restrictions on voter
registration in Florida clearing the way for voter registration efforts by
the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote, a group that focuses on
signing up young voters.
And yesterday in Ohio, a federal judge blocked a new Republican law
that would allow early voting for only some Ohio citizens, those in the
military and those living abroad. The judge found the law
unconstitutionally valued some votes above others. We know political
incentives for voter disenfranchisement have proven irresistible for
elected Republicans. So now we know the only hope of justice and axis
between now and Election Day lies with the courts.
I want to find out what my guests now know that they didn`t know when
the week begun. And I will begin with you, Mr. Bob Herbert.
HERBERT: Well, if you`re giving the speech of your life, don`t invite
a mega Hollywood star like Clint Eastwood to come in who will just stomp
all over your appearance.
HAYES: I -- we didn`t talk much about the Clint Eastwood thing. I --
here`s the person --
CORX: You keep saying that and yet talk about it.
HAYES: I know.
Here`s the story I want, the person who went and bought the chair.
Like that`s the Deep Throat of this operation.
COX: There`s a bit in "The New York Times."
BARRO: Yes, basically right before he went on stage, he went to some,
like, backstage low-level staffer. I`d like a stool. The guy was, like, I
thought he wanted to sit. So he brought it out.
HAYES: There you go. Mystery solved. That`s not that interesting.
I thought it would be an amazing story.
David Sirota, what do you know now?
SIROTA: We`ve been talking about the media and lack of resources for
reporting on real news. We know roughly 15,000 journalists went to the
Republican convention, are going to go to the Democratic convention. Jeff
Jarvis, the professor from City University in New York has estimated
somewhere between $50 million and $60 million of journalism resources went
into covering what is essentially a scripted infomercial at a time --
HAYES: Except for Clint Eastwood.
SIROTA: -- except for Clint Eastwood at a time when those news
organizations plead poverty in justifying not covering real news actually
happening in communities throughout the country.
HAYES: This is, I think, the biggest problem right now with the media
is the overpopulation of the national beat, particularly the national
political beat. And that`s partly a demand-side issue, right, because
that`s where there`s a lot of readers in that. And that`s partly what
readership wants and pays for.
SIROTA: It requires less expertise.
So there`s this real imbalance between the beat -- you know, you see
national political outlets expanding all the time. Layoffs are happening
about people covering Baltimore City politics.
Ana Marie Cox?
COX: Well, I`m going to miss Ron Paul missing from the national stage
for a lot of reasons. One of them is we`re not going to talk about the
drug war anymore, probably. It`s one of the policies Mitt Romney has
failed to give us any information about.
And so, we can look at who is advising him on this and who in his
close circle talks about it. And one of his biggest donors and one would
presume kitchen cabinet advisers is a man named Mel Sembler who founded a
string of teen -- hard, you know, tough-love rehabs which were closed down
after there were allegations of torture, abuse and rape.
He and his wife still are active in the anti-medical marijuana
programs and just trying to basically any kind of decriminalization of any
drug. And so, that`s the kind of policy that we would kind of get.
HAYES: That`s a good bit of information I did not know. Thank you
BARRO: Well, now I know because I was one of those 15,000 reporters
in Tampa for the Republican convention. I now know what a gay bar at the
Republican convention looks like, GOProud, the gay Republican group, had
Yes, actually. I`ve never seen so many straight men in a gay bar, and
they`re all dressed like Alex P. Keaton. It`s very difficult to tell who`s
actually gay in this setting.
But -- so, it was in many ways like any gay bar. There was a lot of
Rihanna on the soundtrack and they were go-go boys.
BARRO: What identified it as a Republican gay bar was the go-go
dancers were wearing T-shirts and long pants.
BARRO: It`s like --
HAYES: That is a great bit of color. That would be the opening in
the Josh Barro magazine piece about the RNC, the opening scene is the go-go
dancers in t-shirts and long pants.
All right. That`s awesome.
My thanks to Bob Herbert from the Demos think tank, David Sirota from
Salon.com, Ana Marie Cox from "The Guardian" newspaper, and Josh Barro
from "Bloomberg View." Thanks for getting up. It`s great conversation.
Thank you for joining us today for UP. Join us tomorrow Sunday
morning at 8:00 when I`ll have a special panel of Democratic congressional
candidates in close House and Senate races including the man running
against Paul Ryan in Wisconsin.
up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP," Melissa`s retort
to the RNC, all the highlights of the bold, the brazen, and the simply
bizarre. Did the GOP make any headway closing the gender gap? And a one-
on-one on how a dog whistle really works.
That`s "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" coming up next. I want to check that
We`ll see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
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