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'Up w/Chris Hayes' for Sunday, November 4th, 2012

November 4, 2012

Guests: Josh Barro, Joy Reid, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Bob Herbert, Kim
Barker, Suman Raghunathan, Evan Wolfson, Mason Tvert

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Over 2 million people are still without power this morning following
Hurricane Sandy. New Jersey election officials have announced that voters
displaced by the storm will be able to vote via e-mail or fax, kind of

Right now, joining me today, we have Josh Barro, columnist for "Bloomberg
View," MSNBC contributor, Joy Reid, also managing editor of our sister web
site, the, my colleague at the "Nation" magazine, actually my
boss, Katrina Vanden Heuvel where she is editor and publisher and Bob
Herbert, former "New York Times" and now senior fellow at the progressive
think tank.

It`s great to have you guys all back at the table. Well, in case you
haven`t noticed, we are two days away from the presidential election and a
batch of new polls released yesterday suggest the president is holding his
small, but significant lead in key swing states.

A "Des Moines Register" poll of likely voters released yesterday has
President Obama up five points in that state and two new NBC News/"Wall
Street Journal"/Marist polls have the president leading by six points in
Ohio and two points in Florida.

But the polls in these key states relatively stable over the last few
weeks. It would seem there is little persuading left to do. In fact, both
sides agree on what is really going to decide this campaign now and that`s

Last week, Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus touted his party`s
get out to vote machine.


of where we were in 2008. We are going to be -- you know, our ground game
is better than their ground game. We are going to do more voter contacts
this year than all of 2008 and all of 2004 combined. We have an army on
the ground.


HAYES: Democrats for their part have invested heavily in a robust, cutting
edge program of targeting likely voters on the ground in swing states.
That strategy Vice President Joe Biden said at a meeting with campaign
workers in Iowa on Thursday is what`s going to put President Obama over the


we`re going to win is because of you all. No, I`m serious. I generally
mean it. You know, the thing is -- the difference in this election, once
again is the ground game.

Because of you and Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, North Carolina, we have
the best ground game because of you all, seriously, of any presidential
campaign in history. It`s going to make the difference. It`s going to
make a difference.


HAYES: So far, at least the numbers would seem to bear Biden out.
Democrats, for example, hold a significant edge among early voters in key
swing states, Florida, Iowa, Nevada while Republicans hold an edge in

So Democrats seemed to be mobilizing their voters rather effectively so
far. The question is, will that trend hold on Election Day and how much of
a difference will it make?

I find something fascinating in the focus now on turnout because turnout
and field operations were for so long the kind of redheaded stepchild of
campaigns. All the money, glamour and glory were in TV ad buzz, were in
persuasion programs.

Things started to change. The Republicans instituted a get out and vote
program that was very effective in 2004, particularly. There was a thing
called 72-hour project, which was Karl Rove`s project.

There was act in 2004. You know, it`s funny. People forget when we`re
talking about independent expenditures. There was a whole different
universe in 2004 particularly on the Democratic side that was under 527 as
opposed to super pacs.

It was done independent of the campaigns and largely field efforts, right,
but what`s amazing is that the status of field has really increased. I
think people are now persuaded in the world of politics of the importance
of this.

I think it`s a kind that represents an interesting see change in just
opinions about how we think of these elections.

JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I mean, it`s amazing because you know,
while ACT was not successful in their goal of trying to help John Kerry get
elected, what survived from that "America Coming Together" model is a
bigger reliance on data.

You know, when "American Coming Together" was doing was simply switching
the whole idea of campaigns from being, you know, sort of grass roots and
we`re just out there talking to folks to be really microtargeting. We are
going to look at this block and we`re going to say this house, this house,
and this house are likely Democratic households.

This person in this house is our target, not that person. We are going to
zero in on that person and we`re contact them over and over again until we
get them out to vote. Using data and all of that sort of thing also was
migrated into the Obama campaign, which made it even more microtarget.

We are going to be in a video game. We are in your video game and there`s
an Obama ad. We are going find where you live like Coca-Cola markets to
you and that has survived that whole ACT model.

BOB HERBERT, DEMOS.ORG: It actually bothers me a little bit. I mean, it`s
obviously really important. Obama, you know, seems to have mastered this
whole thing. But the microtargeting, the sophisticated analysis and that
sort of thing, there`s a little thing called the voters.

And things called issues and how you get voters energized in your candidacy
and in your platform. I think we lose a great deal of that in when we
start talking so much about what is it going to take --

HAYES: Wait. Defend that. Defend that.


HAYES: I`m going to argue both of you.

HEUVEL: I`ll second the motion. I do think -- it`s become like an
algorithm, the science, this microtargeting of voters. You lose sight of
the people. You lose sight of the issues on the ground. However, if you
have field offices in all the communities, counties in Ohio, you are trying
to engage people on the ground, which is far better than the air war, which
Republicans have relied on.

Here is the deal. To me, the Democrats, at best are trying to expand the
electorate, right? We are going to see a lot of fighting over that come
November 6th as voting suppression hits full force. The Republicans talk a
good game on that, but they are not doing that. They are doing the ad war.
They are bringing in the big guns --

HAYES: Or they are trying to shrink the electorate.

HEUVEL: The last three weeks, we have seen 36 independent non-disclosed
super pacs and other groups come in with millions and millions. That`s
about shrinking the electorate. That`s about distancing voters from
participatory politics.

HAYES: Let me argue with this idea for a second. Here is the number of
Obama and Romney field offices in swing states. What you see, the theme
here, the blue bars, there are many more Obama offices around.

Full disclosure, my brother is an organizer of the Obama campaign for five
years. He started back in 2007 and is now a state director in Nevada. So
I`ve seen this through his eyes. But I think there`s a degree to which,
when it function the best, there`s a feedback loop.

I mean, the point is that if you have people going to the doors every day
and you`re doing constant focus grouping and you`re doing these constant
interactions with voters to see what`s moving them, that`s pretty much
democracy at its core, right.

I mean, if you are finding that when you`re going to the doors, women age
20 to 35 really are worried about birth control and access to it. Then,
what you see is that moves the way the president talks.

It`s too cold. It`s too cold. It`s chilling. It`s like the big ad
corporations. Then what you see that moves the way what the president
talks --

HERBERT: It`s like the big ad corporations. What you want to do is get a
feel for the electorate long before it`s election time. Then provide the
kind of leadership to get people pumped up about your program in advance
and then have the field offices and your field operation come in as
profound tools to get those voters to the polls.

HEUVEL: There is something -- I believe -- listen, what we are talking

HAYES: I`m amazed.

HEUVEL: I know. I am retail politicking, right. I think like "Working
America," an affiliated AFL going door-to-door, speaking to the working
people of Pennsylvania or Ohio, trying to find out what`s on their mind.

But here is the deal. That`s somewhat different than someone from the
Democratic Party doing algorithmic microtargeting in order to move you to
the polls because are they going to be with you after Election Day?

HAYES: That`s the question.

REID: I have to defend, since I worked --

HAYES: Back on the anti-data.

REID: We are -- liberals are the data people. We believe in the math.
The bottom line is, it`s been shown person-to-person contacts matter more
and moved people more than a generic sort of a message. So the idea that
you would do sort of blanket targeting and blanket messaging rather than
doing this microtargeting, which is person to person doesn`t make sense.

Look, by the time you get to six weeks out from an election that is not the
time when you need to be going person to person and presenting them with
issues. That is the time when you need to be moving people to the polls.
You have to presume that your policies are already something that they
favor. That`s why you are targeting --

HEUVEL: It`s different.

REID: That`s what is being done by this campaign.

HEUVEL: It`s riding people to the polls.

HERBERT: Why are liberals the data people? I don`t want us to be the data
people. I want us to be the people people. We are turning the voters into
data points instead of people.

HAYES: Josh --

JOSH BARRO, BLOOMBERG.COM: I`m actually very amused by the reaction here.
Because I think it`s very similar to the way a lot of liberals I know react
to corporate marketing. Like the thing where target figures out you are
pregnant before others know.

HAYES: Which is people find creepy.

BARRO: I think it`s great. Companies know what I want and they`re able to
send me ads --

HAYES: When you have the e-mail saying you have been inseminated, that`s a
great e-mail.

HEUVEL: Here is the thing --

HERBERT: Why not do it on the political spectrum. Right wingers think
it`s great, too. What the right wingers are for, I`m against.

HAYES: The Republican campaigns do a lot of less of this.

REID: Exactly.

BARRO: It`s a mistake on their part.

HERBERT: I agree that it helps you win elections. There`s no question
about that. It doesn`t help run the country. It especially does not help
the people. Does it do anything, for example to help poor people in this
country? No.

BARRO: The electorate isn`t one thing. It`s a diverse group of people.
It allows you to get out messages that wouldn`t be broad enough --

HEUVEL: Let me say one thing --

HAYES: This very non-controversial topic has erupted at the table.

HEUVEL: We are the party of science and reason as science as is insulted
by the Republicans. But, let`s say you go to someone`s door and it`s not
just six weeks out. They say the most important thing to me is jobs.

HAYES: Right.

HEUVEL: Where does that factor into what emerges after the election.

REID: It does.

HAYES: Hold that thought. I want to bring in the person who literally
wrote the book on this. He wrote a book about the technology and the
cutting edge of campaign techniques. After we take this break, we are
going to talk to him.


HAYES: I want to bring in Sasha Issenberg, a columnist for and
author of "The Victory Lab, The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns."
Sasha, I think you have seen our heated argument about the benefits and
perhaps drawbacks of this cutting edge field.

Before you weigh in on that because I think I know where you stand on that,
my first question to you is, is the Obama turnout program hype or are they
actually doing something that hasn`t been done before?

SASHA ISSENBERG, AUTHOR, "THE VICTORY LAB": Yes, I mean, the quality of
data and the sort of alacrity of the analysis that they are doing on the
Obama campaign is way ahead of -- it`s ahead of where they were in `08.

There`s generally a huge advantage that the left has over the right that is
apparent. What Obama is doing and what allies like -- like, the AFL, as
Katrina mentioned, it`s a larger gap between how the left and right
practice politics on the ground than there`s been in any other aspect in
campaigning enterprise in the last generation.

HAYES: And one of the things that you have written about. The book is
really fantastic. I would recommend people take a look.

ISSENBERG: Thank you.

HAYES: That there`s been this impure schism brought. I say this with all
the freight that it carries to the alchemists at the right part of the
table here. You have people that are actually coming out of academia and
doing actual field experiments, controlled experiments and using that to
bring it to bear.

I want to show this one study from 2009. One of the people you talk about.
He actually went through and he said, you know, does having a field office
actually increase turnout? He did this analysis, the Democratic vote chair
in counties without a field office and those with.

He found that there was a significant difference. In fact, he thought that
the presence at field offices, you see that on the right, if you have an
Obama office, that`s the increase in your share of voter turnout in
Colorado and if you didn`t in the county, right.

He found that it was enough to win essentially three states for Barack
Obama and those three states, you know, in that election weren`t the
margin, but they could be here.

ISSENBERG: Right. I mean, so everything we know from the last decade, the
two major innovations are the use of these field experiments, which finally
are able to disentangle cause and effect in individual interaction. So we
could talk romantically about the people talking with their neighbors at
their doors.

But because people have done these randomized trials, we know that there`s
a value to a conversation at the door over the similar conversation on the
phone. We know that a volunteer has more of an impact mobilizing a voter
than a paid call center.

If they don`t introduce themselves at the beginning of the interaction,
voters apparently can hear the difference. We know what campaign called
chatty scripts, which are basically interactions that have some back and
forth between the canvas and the voter, or have an impact that they call
robotic scripts where I read at you for a minute, don`t have.

And so the reason the campaigns are opening these field offices is because
they are able to price those, put a value on those individual interactions
that they weren`t able to 10, 15 years ago. So it`s not just people
putting out field offices because they want to be closer to the people.
They know the value of being closer to the people that they want to move.

HAYES: Some of the pioneers are Donald Green and Allen Gerber. They wrote
a book called "Get Out The Vote," which I remember as a field organizer in
2004 reading because they were the first people to do this kind of real
field tested controlled experiment. What you just mentioned, I want to
throw this up.

The number of people you need to contact per vote, this is a big finding.
If you send out non-partisan mail, you have to send out about 200 people.
If you go to a volunteer phone bank or commercial phone bank, you are down
to 35 people and door-to-door, you are 14 people.

So when you get down to door to door, every 14 people you talk to, you will
get a vote. Those are the kind of metrics we have. What is your problem
with that, Katrina?

HEUVEL: Let`s have a chatty script, interactive, not robotic script. I
respect the idea of going door-to-door. I respect the feedback loop. Here
is a radical idea. Keep those field offices in those towns and communities
after the election. You want a real feedback --

HERBERT: It does not translate into policy.

HEUVEL: There is a difference. I think you said this during the break,
Chris. There`s a difference between marketing and democracy. That line is
getting increasing blurred. I think we need to watch out for that. I
respect the door-to-door, the volunteers.

I want the feedback loops to translate into governance and go beyond an
election because we know that the first step is voting on Election Day and
what follows is building out of politics.

HAYES: Let`s disaggregate the two questions, right. Because there`s a
question about the effectiveness in winning elections and I think there`s
not a whole lot of question about the effectiveness here, I mean, to the
extent you believe in controlled experiments and so forth.

I`m looking at you guys over there. But, then there`s a broader kind of
moral political theoretical question about Democratic theory, which is
about what are the implications for a Democratic mandate that you may or
may not have after winning this.

REID: You know, one of the innovations that Organizing for America, which
was Barack Obama`s field operation in 2008 did was that when the campaign
was over, OFA did not go away. Those offices did continue to exist and the
contacts continued.

People who got the text messages kept getting them and they are getting
them to this day. There was sort of a continual contact model David
Plouffe has really credited for creating, which is the reason he didn`t
become the political director because he stays with OFA. So they sort of
merge that with DNC in the sense that they did leave those in place, which
is why he has such a field advantage over Mitt Romney.

HAYES: Let me read this quote from Jeremy Bird who is one of the
masterminds behind all this and those over seen it. He is the national
field director. He says community organizing is not a turnkey operation.
You can`t throw up phone banks and call that organizing.

These are teams that know their turfs. The barber shops, the beauty
salons, we`ve got congregation captains in churches, these people know
their communities, it`s real, deep, community organizing in a way we didn`t
have time to do in 2008.

I want to come back. I know you -- I think the use of the term community
organizing to describe this work is troublesome for you. Sasha, I want to
get you back in here right after we take this break.


HAYES: All right, Sasha, can you tell me what your expectation is? First,
walk me through, now that all this data is built up, all the IDs has been
done. Most of the persuasion, which is what you have written about, right,
how do you find possible who are possible movable votes?

Most of that`s done. We are now at the point of how do you make sure that
someone gets out to vote? There`s an amazing thing that people on the
internet had mixed feelings, the pledge the Obama campaign had people doing
where they were taking photos of themselves pledging to vote.

And my understanding is that was rooted in some real experimental results
about what is the best way to actually make sure people turn up to vote?

ISSENBERG: Yes, I mean, I think that sort of an aesthetisized version of
something we do know from a lot of experiments that started almost a decade
ago, which are basically if you get somebody to fill out a pledge card and
then you remind them of a commitment that they have made, they are more
likely to follow through on it.

This is out of the behavioral sciences. One of many things that people
translated basically from behavioral psych journals into campaigns saying
can we have this to motivate people to vote?

One of the most successful tools, get them to fill out a card with their
name, address, all their information and then you send them back a card
with their handwriting on it immediately before the election with their
reminder and this increases turn out by several points.

HAYES: And also you write, we know where you live in a kind of menacing
kidnapper scrawl. Josh, you had a question?

BARRO: Yes. I want to ask Sasha, the Democrats have taken this up so much
more enthusiastically than the Republicans. Do you think that`s clearly a
mistake on the Republicans part or could it be just a matter of different
circumstances where the Republican coalition are less diverse, less
ideologically diverse and maybe microtargeting isn`t as essential there?

ISSENBERG: I think that historically Democrats have invested more in field
and in-person voter contact and mobilization generally because they have
underperforming parts of the their coalition, young people minorities, at
least sort of before the Obama experience, more of the places where you
could have the most impact by mobilization.

What happened between 2000 and 2004 was the Bush team took seriously the
need to identify and engage under what they thought were underperforming
parts of their coalition. And so they did have this evanescent interest in
making serious investments in field and geo TV at the RNC and Bush campaign
before 2004.

I think that sort of faded a little bit from the Republican culture.
Democratic voters are in more densely packed areas. There are more 80
percent Democratic precincts in the country than 80 percent Republican
precincts and almost all of the 80 percent Democratic precincts are

Republicans, you know, you can`t do that. So, you go to one of these
precincts in Idaho, you have to drive 20 minutes between houses. There`s
not the same type of volunteer activity.

HAYES: I had high hopes the Segue Way was going to really reinvent
Republican canvassing.

REID: I want to ask Sasha the question about direct mail because one of
the things that we saw in 2004 was that there was an invisible Bush
campaign. That we never saw their organizers anywhere, but they still
manage, for instance, do really well in Florida because they just do
everything with direct mail. Has there been any data or studies about the
effectiveness of direct mail versus door-to-door field operations?

ISSENBERG: Yes. A lot of the get out the vote tools are delivered over
direct mail because that`s one way that for a lot of psychological
interventions you can actually give people information in a highly targeted

So one of the things we`ve seen is use of social pressure, this gang coming
out of behavioral science. But the idea that if you let people know that
whether or not the vote is public, it`s on file, their neighbors can know
and judge them, is really effective.

The way you can deliver that message is send a letter saying here is your
vote history. Here is your neighbor`s vote history.

HAYES: That, I think, in the Gerber and Green stuff, it`s most effective
in terms of driving turnout. Will you sketch out for us what is happening
right now, what is Tuesday going to look like? I mean, if you could sort
of sketch for us for the people who aren`t going to be on the ground in
swing states, what the turnout operation looked like?

ISSENBERG: Yes. I mean, so obviously, early vote changed the rhythm of
this. You have states where ultimately Tuesday is going to be a relatively
small share of the electorate. It does not look a lot different from the
Saturdays and Sundays where the campaigns tried to do a full flush of their

There`s a widowing process. The campaign sort of pushes out, you know, a
year and a half ago trying to figure out people who are going to vote for
them and never going to vote for them. Push them aside.

And then you have the people who are likely to vote and who want to
persuade and they`ve worked for most of those universes now. The people
who are left tend to be, you know, low to mid propensity voters. People
who have the campaign is assessing as having a 35 percent or 55 percent
chance of voting in these individual microtargeting scores.

What`s really changed is that a lot of the -- it used to be the campaigns
went out to mobilize people often by trying to give them more political
information. If you are the Obama campaign or you`re the Dukakis campaign,
you got to mobilize people by saying I`m going to talk to you about issues
you care about and why you should like Mike Dukakis.

The campaigns through these experiments have a much clearer idea that the
goal is not to change somebody`s opinion or intensify it but to modify
their behavior. So that`s what all these psychological interventions that
we`ll see on Tuesday are about.

HAYES: All right, I want to thank Sasha Issenberg, author of "The Victory
Lab, The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns" for joining us this morning.
I really appreciate it.

ISSENBERG: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: Thanks to Citizens United outside groups have spent massive amounts
of money in this campaign. Where did it go? We`ll tell you after this.


HAYES: All right, on Tuesday night, we will likely have the results of the
first presidential campaign to take place in the post Citizens United era.
The Supreme Court handed down its ruling in 2010. They were mirrored
predictions about how the decision would work our politics mostly visions
of how the massive influx of spending by corporations and other special
interest would corrode our politics and hold politicians hostage.

Some of those predictions have certainly come true and others have not.
For example, we have not yet seen as far as we can tell the kind of direct
spending from corporate treasuries that many observers predicted when the
ruling first came down.

What Citizens United has done, however, is unleash a new elite class of
megadonors who are fueling an unprecedented growth in spending by outside
groups at the national and local levels. For example, 67 percent of all
super PAC donations have come from just 209 donors giving $500,000 or more.

Those kinds of unregulated super PAC donations are one of the reason this
will be the most expensive campaign in history at $6 billion, another grim
prediction come true. There`s also the growth in so-called dark money,
which I think is really one of the most important story this cycle.

Funnel through what are known as issue advocacy groups, which do not have
to disclose the names of their donors. It`s also true that outside
spending is lopsided in support for Republicans. This week, for example,
just this week, the Romney campaign and allies spent $96.4 million on ads,
more than double what the Obama campaign and groups supporting him have

However, one major prediction that has largely not come true is the
prediction by the Obama campaign itself that once the final numbers are
tallied, it would be vastly outspent by its Republican opponents. Here`s
what Obama campaign senior adviser, David Axelrod said in June.


outspent, not because of what Romney is raising, but because of the super
PACs. When you have people like the Koch Brother who just were so active
in Wisconsin saying they are going to spend $400 million to impact on this
race. That`s more than John McCain and the Republican Party spent in total
last time. It`s a source of concern. It should be a source of concern to


HAYES: So while it`s certainly the Republican allies like the Koch
brothers have outspent outside groups affiliated with Democrats. The Obama
campaign has largely made up the gap at least when it comes to costly
television advertisings by embracing a smart and more targeted ad strategy
and because of a regulation through the FEC that gives them a discount on
ad rates.

To sort through all these, I have Kim Barker, a reporter of
who writes about campaign finance joining us in the table. Great to have
you back.

KIM BARKER, PROPUBLICA.ORG: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: You have been doing fantastic reporting this cycle so thank you for
your work. It`s been really great. So what is your sense of what the
surprises are in this campaign and the post Citizens United world and what
are the predictions come true?

BARKER: I mean, I think a couple points. Number one, you thought
corporations were going to be spending a lot of money and giving money to
the super PACs as you mentioned earlier. You are not seeing that and
seeing the donors come forward. One reason could be that you are seeing
the spending by dark money groups.

HAYES: Right. So we don`t know --

BARKER: Right. I mean, you have some sort of sense, for instance, that
Aetna has given millions of dollars to the Chamber of Commerce and to a
group called "American Action Network" because that was accidentally
leaked. And you can see why a corporation doesn`t want these sort of
donations to come out. I mean, with target for instance.

HAYES: Tell them the target story because the target story happened before
this campaign got revved up.

BARKER: Right.

HAYES: I think what it did was it kind of -- it was like in baseball when
you throw a fastball right by a batters head, right. It was a brushback
pitch. Corporations are thinking about doing this.

BARKER: Right, the target of given money to a candidate, I believe it was
in Minnesota for the governor who was seen as being anti-gay marriage. As
soon as this came out, there were a lot of boycotts, target had to come out
and apologize for giving this donation.

It was like, why would I want to put this out publicly what I think. There
is a sense that, you know, if I want to give money to a particular cause or
a particular candidate, I can do it through social welfare, non-profits or
trade associations and nobody ever has to know.

HAYES: And the big ones there are Crossroads, which is being run by Karl

BARKER: Crossroads GPS, yes.

HAYES: And the Chamber of Commerce. I didn`t realize until I started
digging into this just how much big of a player the commerce is.

BARKER: Yes. And then "Americans For Prosperity," which is the Koch
brothers group has been spending I think it`s more than $40 million at this
point on ads specifically against Barack Obama.

You have this sense that there`s hundreds of millions of dollars, probably
one in four dollars spent by outside groups after this election are going
to be from, who knows, anonymous money. I think it`s interesting. I don`t
think people are talking about it near as much as the super PAC.

HAYES: They have all the headlines.

HEUVEL: The dark money, the groups that are counted as 501 c4s. Justice
Kennedy in the Citizens United decision made a point about the importance
of disclosure. If there was any silver lining in that decision it was the
importance of that. We are now seeing that violated to the nth degree.

HAYES: There are number of hilarious, unintentionally hilarious lines by
Kennedy, the majority independent of the Citizen United, but the most
hilarious is, look, we always have disclosure. Everyone will know who is
giving money. It will act as the check.

BARKER: They can figure it out and see who is paying for these ads.

HEUVEL: I think one of the scariest things we are looking at the
presidential, mostly. You know, the Koch brothers are going flip the state
legislature in Arkansas. You have a guy named Rex Sinkerfeld in Missouri
who may flip the state legislature there. You see the possibility of these
mega-billionaires and millionaires flipping the control of state

HAYES: Let me make one point though. Federal election regulations don`t
extend to state races. In fact, in many states, there`s already been
really lax regulation. So we are clear, the big money --

HEUVEL: The only thing I would say, the only hope out of this election is
the revulsion among people is so enormous. You have 84 percent of
Americans, if you can build that into a real movement across the board
saying this corporate money, whether it`s super PAC or dark money is
drowning out the voice of the ordinary people. I think that is something
we need to build on. Not just Republicans and Democrats, but citizens of
all -- about this country.

REID: I think the same target example that you give also does applies to
some of these private foundations they are trying to fund. I mean, you
know, just digging around trying to find out about the voter fraud
billboards in Wisconsin and in Cleveland was almost impossible to find out
who it was. They did it privately. They didn`t want their name disclosed.
Digging around, one of the things that I found with this group -- that was
also trying to find it is that you have this Bradley Foundation.

The Koch Brothers get all the attention. They are leading and taking all
of the incoming. While all of these other foundations, some of them are
bigger and spend more money. The Bradley Foundation has spent only $300
million in the last 10 years under the radar completely. They are, in
turn, funding smaller foundations. They do the actual work. They want to
be anonymous, too.

HAYES: There`s a great story in the "Times" the other day where now that
the disclosure window has passed for this election, a bunch of super PACs
had popped up.

There`s a new one that took out a million dollar ad buy in North Dakota
against Heide Hidecamp who is the Democratic Senate candidate who is
actually running in expectations there. We won`t know who is funding it
until after Election Day. Josh, you are going to make a case for while
this money is good right after the break.


HAYES: Just to get a sense of the numbers we know, again, we don`t have a
complete picture yet partly because some of the dark money doesn`t get
disclosed until 60 days afterwards and then the last a little bit of
spending is also going to be -- even the stuff that is disclosed in terms
of who is giving it won`t be disclosed until after the election.

But as of now, outside ad spending, $577 million spent by conservative
groups, $237 million spent by liberal groups and the dark money, this is
the smaller pool of money that is outside money, but not disclosed through
what are called social welfare organizations who, under the law the primary
person has to be social welfare, helping the community.

Dark money spending 81 percent of that is supporting Republican candidates
and 19 percent supporting Democratic candidates. And our second producer
made a great point. I want to show this press release.

To give you a sense of how saturated the ad markets are, this is a great
press release. This is Romney campaign press release announcing gas
station ad. I don`t mean an ad about a gas station. I mean, ads at gas

They have so saturated the air waves, they have having a change the pump
ad. When go to the local gas station and pump gas on the little LCD
screen, it`s playing a Romney ad about the cost of gas. There`s no more ad
space to buy. Josh, I think you have a different perspective than I do.

BARRO: Well, I think a lot of this is more or less inevitable. I think
the parts you find the most problematic are the most unconstitutional. I
can take out an ad urging you not to eat meat or I can take out an ad
urging you to vote for some candidate.

The stuff that I think you can more plausibly regulate is things like
donations to campaign committees, which we do regulate. But, the parts of
this that are basically, you know, wealthy individuals spending their money
in order to encourage people to vote, I don`t think there`s a way to
prevent people from spending their money like that.

HAYES: If there was a way --

HEUVEL: We have limits.

HAYES: We did for Citizens United.

HEUVEL: In 1974, the unravelling of a campaign finance structure,
infrastructure that led to Buckley versus Vallejo, which in many ways is
the original sin. I think it was in 1975 or `76, the Supreme Court
decision equating money with speech.

There are many ways to carve out first amendment and maintain a democracy
because I don`t think you can have a democracy with Citizens United
decision with dark money and what we are witnessing in terms of the
pollution of our already polluted political system. Why is anything
inevitable in this regard?

BARKER: I think money may be anonymous to us, to voters, the dark money
coming in. We don`t know who is putting that money in. But, I would
imagine the candidates know who is putting in $10 million or $100 million.

HAYES: Wait. Let`s ask for a response.

BARRO: You can change the disclosure rules. I think it`s a good thing to
change so we know where the money is coming from. But I think people
overstate how much Citizens United changed the landscape. We have the 527
groups for Citizens United. If you change the law to prohibit super PACs,
you will be able to have a new structure that will look kind of like 527s.
I don`t think there`s a constitutional way to prohibit something that looks
like that where people make --

HAYES: Let me make this technical point. The coordination was really
different, right. So in 2004, it really was the case, there was very
strict enforcement. I know internally, the norms from reporting on this
were extremely strict. You do not coordinate.

George Soros could go spend millions of dollars. You are right, there`s a
certain amount of spending by wealthy individuals in a capitalist democracy
with the first amendment that is not regulated.

You know, you can go buy a newspaper. You can go give leaflets. You can
print out 15 million leaflets and distribute them in every house, right.
But the coordination between campaigns and these outside groups,
independent expenditures, there was more of a church state separation in
2004 than there is -- this is a technical point of what on the ground looks
different between those eras.

BARKER: Slightly defend --

BARKER: It`s actually because the FEC is deadlocked.

HAYES: Will you -- I think this is an underappreciated aspect of this
story. People talk about Citizens United, but there`s a regulatory body
called the FEC that makes rules that says here is how we will interpret the
court`s decision and how we make that into on the ground ruling. They have
a fair amount of --

BARKER: They haven`t even interpreted Citizens United yet.

HAYES: Right, why is it? Explain this to people.

BARKER: Well, basically, they can`t even agree on how to set rules on
deciding how to interpret Citizens United. It`s made up of six people as
commissioners. And it has to be three of them have to be Democrats. Three
of them have to be Republicans.

HEUVEL: If the Republicans obstructed?

BARKER: There hasn`t been an attempt for new appointments. Five of the
six commissioners have their terms that are expired. They are continuing
to serve. You have three Republicans that have a certain viewpoint led by
one particular commissioner who believes that there should not be
regulations on campaign finance.

HAYES: This is the guy that is the head of regulatory commission that does
campaign finance regulations.

BARKER: Doesn`t believe there should be campaign finance restrictions.

REID: Can I slightly defend Josh a little bit?

BARRO: Slightly.

REID: In the sense that I think that the surprise about Citizens United
has been little affect all of this money has had on the result. I mean,
there`s a certain point where you reach a point of media saturation where
you just cannot watch one more ad.

They are on so much they are not effective for one thing. Number two, I
think it was more -- had more of an impact on the Republican primary than
it did in the general election. Number three, I think the more insidious
thing that happened since Citizens United is you have actually opened the
doors to employers, smaller employers who have more influence and a lot
more possibility of intimidating their own employees. The coercion to vote
for the candidate of the boss` choice I think is worse than the money.

HAYES: Katrina, I suspect you disagree with that. I want to hear why you
do right after we take a break.


HAYES: Talking about what we have learned from running the first
presidential campaign in the post Citizens United era. What`s been
surprising, what hasn`t happened we thought would happen. What our worst
fears have been confirmed. Josh is making the case, some of it is

HEUVEL: I think it`s wrong to say that we -- we still don`t know. We
still don`t know. There`s so much to report. What I think we know is that
there`s going to be a chill in our political system. You see down ballot
more than the presidential, the money that`s pouring into the Senate and
congressional races.

So let`s say this won`t happen, but a good person wants to run in Ohio,
representing the 99 percent, ordinary people. First of all, will that
person enter the race because the money is such a high barrier? Two, will
he or she, when they get into the Senate or the House or the state
legislature vote in a certain way because of the money fear?

The other thing I would say is the coercion. I just came back from Moscow
where we lectured the Russians and the world about how they should vote. I
think we should get our own house in order. There`s anger at the Russians
because they used their, quote, "administrative resources," to tell workers
how to vote in certain provinces of Russia.

You would lose your job if you don`t vote for this boss. What are the Koch
brothers doing when they demand they go to a Romney fundraiser? So that
piece of it is something that I think we are going to see more of.

In any case, the most important thing is we come out of the election and
take a measure of all the work, getting the numbers of the IRS giving us
more information about what we don`t know from the secret, dark money
operations and try to find ways to reform the system.

HAYES: Let me make one distinction that is important here. I think one of
the things that is surprising about Citizens United, it doesn`t seem to
have tipped the scales from a partisan perspective as much as we thought,
which is to say Democrats are still -- here is outside money for the top
ten --

HEUVEL: Three to one, isn`t it?

HAYES: Yes. As we looked at the top ten Senate races and Democrats looks
like they were going to lose the Senate, now looks like they are going keep
it in spite of all these money. Now you could say counter factually they
have even more gains. The point I want to make is we have to distinguish
between the partisan results of this and the ideological and governing

HEUVEL: The only way change sometimes comes about in our system one way is
through fear. There`s a reason that a lot of Democrats are the ones
sponsoring clean money. The platform, as I recall, the Democratic Party
platform has a point to overturn Citizens United. There`s a fear they
cannot win this arms race.

HAYES: They joined it, A. B, my problem is less that Democrats as a party
are going to be imperilled but the things I stand for. Making sure that
poor people have access to amazing bountiful wealth and flourishing that is
American society.

HEUVEL: That is not on the mind of Shelly Adelson.

HAYES: The point is, that gets written out. You can have a situation
where you receive partisan equilibrium between Democrats and Republicans
who both get very good at playing the game, but they are still playing the
game within a certain sector of the electorate, which is the top 10th of 1

The people they have to get money from who set the agenda. It`s that part
of it. Let`s look at Ohio, this race where Sheriff Brown has been buried
under all this money. It doesn`t seem to matter. He`s still going to win
easily. He strikes me as one of the more populous members of the
Democratic caucus.

They have come out hard at him and it still looks like he`s going to win.
There`s a bunch of different things I could even take away from that, but
more on this right after this break.


HAYES: Hello from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Surprised to see you. Here
with Josh Barro from Bloomberg View, MSNBC contributor Joy Reid, my
colleague at "The Nation" magazine, Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Kim Barker of We are talking about money and politics.

I`m sorry, the camera surprised me. I didn`t realize we were coming back
from break. We are talking about money and politics and what it looks
like, the first Citizens United election that we`ve had. And one of the
things I think that`s been interesting and a little surprising about post-
Citizens United, is that there`s a certain way, in which you have this
class of megadonors, and you have created the perfect conditions for a huge
con job, in which savvy consultants can separate cranky right-wing
billionaires from their money. By saying, oh, yes, Mr. Friess. Yes, yes,
yes, I will win you as many states as you want. Just write me a big check
for my super PAC. And it`s unclear how much of that money is being spent

BARKER: Right. I mean, you don`t know how much of that money is being
spent effectively. These groups have to pay more money for TV ads than ...

HAYES: Good point.

BARKER: ... then a candidate does. So the money doesn`t go as far, and
you are not really sure about the messaging, and again, how many ads can
somebody watch on TV. And I`ll finally get to the one, where they`re like
oh, that`s the one that maybe picked us a particular candidate. It doesn`t
make a lot of sense, I think, to a lot of people, that one more ad is going
to tip you voting a certain way. Although I think it can make a difference
in the last days in, say, a House race. But in the presidential campaign,
you are like 10 more million dollars, 10 more million dollars, is this
going to make much of a difference?

VANDEN HEUVEL: But I think you are being a little cynical about the con
job. Because I think that there`s a very clear -- there`s a very clear
strategy, I think among these megadonors that they want to invest. And
what they are investing in our political vehicles, which will lower their
taxes, repeal and already gut the Dodd-Frank bill. Deregulate so they can
make billions more. So they invest in private equity. They invest in
hedge funds. Why not invest in political--

HAYES: Josh?

JOSH BARRO, BLOOMBERG.COM I somewhat disagree with that. I think in some
cases that`s true. I think, you know, with ...

HAYES: Particularly on taxes, I think, that is true.

BARRO: The more -- the more targeted the issue when you are spending money
on, you know, referendum campaigns and that sort of thing, I think there`s
a lot of that. But I think a big part of it is that if you are a rich guy
giving a lot of money to put TV ads up, it`s a vanity project in very much
the same way that owning a money losing publication is the vanity project.

REID: Sure.

BARRO: You just -- you have a message that you want to get out there and
you want not just ads for your candidate, but ads putting out the message
you find interesting.

REID: And ...

BARRO: And I don`t think that`s necessarily translates into electoral
outcomes. Yes, Sheldon Adelson, giving money in this hopeless House race
in New Jersey for Rabbi Shmuley. It`s not a rational strategy to invest
and getting policy he wants. It`s, you know, making Sheldon Adelson feel
good about ...

HAYES: Yeah, I think -- I think there`s a distinction here between
interest and ideologues. And I think one of the things in the first round
of post-Citizens United campaigning we are seeing is that balance tip
towards ideologues, right ...


HAYES: I mean Sheldon Adelson is -- now, clearly, the agenda of the
Republican Party is going to help their pockets just in the most crass ...


HAYES: ... vision of taxation.


HAYES: Right, like, that is clear. So, there`s a certain amount of self-


HAYES: But these are also people. I mean, the Koch brothers, they really
just do believe in what they believe in. And so does Sheldon Adelson,
whereas Chevron, they don`t -- Chevron doesn`t have fixed beliefs. Chevron
just wants what`s good for Chevron. And I think what we have seen in the
first iteration of Citizens United, the ideologues dominate over interest,
but we should also be very clear, that this is just the first iteration of

VANDEN HEUVEL: Iteration, right.

HAYES: The norms are going to change over numerous iterations. And it`s
not just going to end where it is right now.

VANDEN HEUVEL: But I have a question -- just -- if I could just say, we
are sitting here now on NBC, the media companies ...

HAYES: Right.

VANDEN HEUVEL: ... have a big stake in this, too, because they are making
a lot of money on the ads.

HAYES: Oh, huge. Huge.


VANDEN HEUVEL: How will media -- I know Chris will, but how will media
cover Citizens United, what we have learned from the first Citizens United
presidential election and what will they do about trying to, you know, re-
regulate what happens. Because it`s a stimulus plan for the networks on
the -- and the local channels.

HAYES: Particularly the local networks, the Cleveland affiliates --


REID: Local TV stations have made a huge boom from I should say the vanity
projects of these multimillionaires. They love it, they are like bring it
on. This is like a stimulus program, charging them what they want. Not
just them, but also direct mail firms, printing houses. I mean, it
actually has circulated money into the economy. You could argue it`s a
good thing.


REID: But at the same time, I think that because the right has become such
a closed circle ...


REID: And they are only talking to themselves, they actually think putting
up an ad saying Barack Obama is a socialist, if Hugo Chavez could vote in
America`s elections, he`d vote for Barack Obama -- they think that`s
persuasive because they only talk to each other. So, in a lot of ways, I
agree with you, Chris, I think that this has separated a lot of rich people
from their money. Because they really think they can persuade, I don`t
know who with the super ideological message. And all they are doing is
stimulating the economy.

HAYES: Josh?

BARRO: But I wonder if they really are getting what they want out of this.
Because again, I don`t think this is just about influencing electoral
outcomes. I think it`s about changing the discussion ...


BARRO: ... the way that`s basically for lack of a better word,
entertainment for Sheldon Adelson. Now, Sheldon Adelson obviously wants the
electoral outcome that he prefers. But I think these people see value in
changing the discussion ...

HAYES: Totally.

BARRO: ... and getting people to talk about Barack Obama as a socialist.

HAYES: Totally.

Talk about the debt and deficit. That`s a crucial issue that is -- I mean
when Democracy Now sent a reporter around to talk to folks at the RNC, and
they got -- I think it was David Koch, you know, in the camera, they said,
you know, why are you spending all this money? And he said, the debt and
the deficit. The debt and the deficit.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Right. Right.


HAYES: And there`s a lot of plutocrats, frankly, that`s what they want to
talk about, that`s what they care about, and there is a connection between
the fact that if you poll plutocrats, what`s your number one issue, is debt
and deficit. And when you look at what the national conversation inside
the Beltway is, it`s debt and deficit.


HAYES: The correlation between those two are not an accident.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Which is a reason why we haven`t heard about climate
change, about poverty, about housing foreclosure and crisis.

HAYES: Right.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Those are not issues that the plutocrats really want to be
part of the national agenda. Now, there is a role that the Democratic
Party could play in pushing those forward. But this is where with the few
exceptions, I do think many Democrats will be -- feel a sense of chill
after this -- after this ...

REID: But that`s not a media critique. I mean ...


REID: I mean, I think it`s unfortunately the political media has bought
into this idea that getting deficit is the most important issue ever. And
I think that that actually is the job of the media to separate what is
truly important.


REID: From what plutocrats want to talk about.

HAYES: Kim, will you talk about how the Obama folks and I say Obama folks
because of the Obama campaign and then Priorities USA, which is the
associate, the super PAC, how they dealt with the post Citizens United
world, and then what are the next fights that are being set up once this
election is over?

BARKER: Sure. I mean, the Obama folks tried to set up super PACs and
these social welfare non-profits, just like the Republicans did before the
2010 midterms. You had Priorities USA Action is the big super PAC. And
they have an affiliate called Priorities USA, which is the social welfare
nonprofit. Interestingly, you are not hearing anything about that
particular non-profit this election. You are not really hearing ads being
bought by a lot of these liberal social welfare nonprofits. You do have
Priorities USA Action has been doing a lot of buys. But they are not
raising near as much money.

HAYES: They are not raising near as much money, there`s an interesting
kind of ideological conflict here also ...

BARKER: Exactly.

HAYES: ... because the liberal billionaires are ideologically opposed to
Citizens United on the whole ...


HAYES: Ideologically opposed to burn money on the whole. And it`s much
harder to raise money from them ...

BARKER: Right. And so, they are going out and they are trying to raise
money and they are having a hard time. And, you know, I have heard from
donors that are saying, you know, God, they just keep calling and asking
for this. I don`t want to give this money. There`s a better way to spend
money in terms of getting out the vote. And so, you`ve really have this
sort of idea that the Democrats want to play, they want to be in the
sphere. But they can`t really get people to step out on to the field.

BARRO: Well, that`s interesting. I wonder how much -- I mean, obviously,
there`s a wealth disadvantage on the left, but I think also I suspect you
are seeing a difference in opinion about whether this is really a good way
to spend ...

HAYES: They might just be harder to separate from their money.


HAYES: Yes, I want to thank Kim Barker, a reporter for for
joining us this morning and for all your great work this cycle.

BARKER: Thanks a lot.

HAYES: Ballot initiatives that could make history, seriously, right after


HAYES: All right. This Tuesday, voters across the country will not only
elect the president, but will also cast votes that have as much potential
to shape this country`s future. Look how Congress alone could change. In
Massachusetts, recent polls show Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth
Warren leading incumbent Republican, Scott Brown. Indiana poll show
Democrat Joe Donnelly with a sizable lead over former favorite Republican
candidate Richard Mourdock. And in Wisconsin, poll shows Democrat Tammy
Baldwin, who was on the program recently, with a small lead over former
Republican governor Tommy Thompson.

But it is not just politicians on the ballot. Voters will also be changing
laws themselves directly through hundreds of ballot initiatives with
potentially profound and far reaching consequences. For example, in 1994,
Californians passed Proposition 184, also known as the three strikes law
with over 70 percent of the vote. It says anyone convicted of two serious
or violent felonies who is convicted of a third felony regardless of how
serious, gets a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life. It became a model
for dozens of states throughout the country with massive human
consequences. Over 40 percent of California prisoners serving life
sentences under the three strikes law were sentenced for non-violent
offenses, and 45 percent of three strikes lifers are African-American,
despite California being only 6.6 percent African-American.

Three strikes stands as a stark reminder of the unintended consequences of
direct democracy. And this election day, the stakes are just as high in
states around the country as history is poised to be made. Voters in
Colorado have the chance to pass the first state law to legalize, regulate
and tax small amounts of marijuana for use by adults. Voters in Maryland
could be the first in the country to endorse gay marriage by popular vote.
And voters in California in an amazing twist seem poised to pass a
proposition that would reform that same three strikes law. Using direct
democracy to help correct the horrendous policy produced by direct

Joining us at the cable now, is Suman Raghunathan, the director of policy
and strategic partnerships at the Progressive States Network. Evan
Wolfson, the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, and Bob Herbert
back at the table of progressive thinktank Demos.

Suman, I want to start with you, because I think there was this iconic
moment, I think in 2004, particularly with the anti-gay marriage ballot


HAYES: Where it seemed like the right had seized this particular electoral
tactic as their own and were using it as the wedge issue. The other thing
that strikes me is these TABOR initiatives that were passed in a bunch of
states, taxpayer bill of rights, essentially, that was passed in Colorado.
And surveying as I was last night the ballot initiatives last night, it
does seem to me, and maybe this is wrong, but I want you to tell me. That
the left and progressives have reclaimed the tool and are kind of on the
offensive in this election.

RAGHUNATHAN: Absolutely. I think it took progressives awhile, quite
frankly, to realize just how powerful of a tool ballot initiatives are, can
and should be. I think similar to, you know, when it comes to legislation
as well as policies, and generally, I think progressives are now moving to
this place where they actually wanted to be much more proactive, not only
with legislation, but also ballot initiatives. And so, you know, in a
place like California with, you know, no less than 11 ballot initiatives as
a whole, we not only see, you know, efforts to significantly amend the
three strikes law. But we also see, you know, unions coming out in support
of raising sales tax ...

HAYES: Right.

RAGHUNATHAN: ... and taxing the wealthy and out in opposition to
essentially creating even more unregulated spending.

HAYES: There`s also a death penalty repeal ...


HAYES: On the ballot in California, which looks like it`s right around


HAYES: I mean, it really -- it could win. And Evan, you are a, I think a
brilliant strategic mind ...


HAYES: If you don`t mind my saying. Really, no, and I think -- I think --
I think the strategy that has been, the strategy to freedom to marry folks
and marriage equality folks, a pursuit has been really a remarkable thing
to behold in terms of legislatively. And in terms of litigation. But we
haven`t seen it win at the ballot box popularly. And I want to wonder what
your feelings are about it. I want to play this Chris Christie sound.
Because this gets at something profound, right? When you are talking about
a civil rights issue, civil rights are not necessarily always best pursued
through popular ballot initiatives.


HAYES: Because they by definition ...


HAYES: Are there to protect some minority of the population. Chris
Christie had this to say on the same sex -- on this idea of the same sex
marriage referendum in New Jersey. Take a look.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R ) NEW JERSEY: Rather than having stalemate and
deadlock on this issue, which is inevitably where it will lead if they pass
the legislation and send it to me, because I will not sign it. It will be
vetoed. But let the people of New Jersey decide what`s right for the
state. Let`s put the question of same sex marriage on the ballot this
fall, in the hands of the people. People would have been happy to have a
referendum, you know, on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the
streets in the south.



HAYES: I mean maybe I have just been reading too much (INAUDIBLE), but my
sense of the history of the civil rights movement is that was not the case.


WOLFSON: Right, well, we should have said he`s right. Look, the last time
New Jersey put a civil rights question on -- up to the people for a ballot
vote was in 1915, when people were asked to vote on whether women should
have the right to vote. And guess what, the men voted it down.


HAYES: That`s right. It`s a pretty rigged ...

WOLFSON: So, it is wrong to be voting on fundamental freedoms. Your
freedom of speech, your freedom of religion, my freedom to marry. And
that`s -- it`s a terrible system, and it`s absolutely not the way it should

HAYES: So, why are you doing it?

WOLFSON: Well, because that is the system we have. And we want to end
this discrimination. So where we are under attack, we have to engage and
move forward. So, the good thing is as we`ve engaged the public and talked
about real families, and why marriage matters, we have seen the American
people move. And many of the anti-gay strikes on these ballots were done
at a time when people haven`t had a chance to really talk and think it
through. But, you know, the opponents keep moving the goalpost. They said
we couldn`t get people to put the words gay and marriage in the same
sentence. And we overcame that barrier. And then they said we couldn`t
win in court. And we overcame that barrier and they said we couldn`t get
elected officials who have the courage to vote for the freedom to marry.
And we began winning in legislatures, we overcame that barrier, and they
said, we can only get Democrats, not Republicans. And in New York we
passed the freedom to marry with Republicans as well as Democrats. We
overcame that barrier. Now, we have to overcome this final barrier as a
small minority of winning a majority vote. We shouldn`t have to do it.
It`s a bad way to operate in the United States. But we have the terrain we
have. And we are hopeful that on November 6, we will see at least one,
hopefully more of these four marriage ballot measures go to victory.

HAYES: I want to bring in one of the master mind behind -- really, again,
a very strategically smart campaign in Colorado to legalize marijuana right
after we take this break.


HAYES: I want to bring in Mason Tvert, one of the architects of Colorado`s
Amendment 64 to legalize marijuana and the executive director of, which advocates for legalizing marijuana as a safer
recreational alternative to alcohol. Mason, we have seen an initiative
like this in the past. There was one in California that failed to go
beyond just medical marijuana. And I`m curious what lessons you learned in
the campaign you are running in Colorado that has you poised it appears
according the polling to be on the precipice of actually getting this

MASON TVERT, SAFERCHOICE.ORG: Well, thanks for having me. Ultimately,
what we have seen here in Colorado is an ongoing discussion about
marijuana, about the fact that it`s less harmful than alcohol and about the
failed policy of marijuana provision. And that`s occurred over the last
eight years or so here, thanks to ballot initiatives. And we are now at a
point where people are ready to take that step. They are ready to move
forward and take on a more sensible approach.

HAYES: This is the capstone on what has been along a trajectory of public
opinion. I want to show national numbers here. In 1969, which was a time
when there were some people smoking pot, 12 percent were -- favored
legalization and 84 percent opposed it. Look at that. That the only other
graph that looks like that actually is marriage equality.


HAYES: I mean that`s the only other issue where you see those kinds of
numbers. We are now at for the first time 50 percent for legalization, 46
percent opposed. One of the things, I think, it`s interesting about what
you -- the conversation you are having in Colorado is explicitly about
alcohol. You guys seem really to be focused about making the comparison
between the two and tying marijuana prohibition to alcohol prohibition.
Why is that what you decided to go with?

TVERT: Well, yeah, I think everyone in this country really recognized the
failure of alcohol prohibition. They know that it was ineffective, it led
to organized crime, it caused more problems than it solved. And the same
problems are associated with marijuana prohibition. So, we are really just
trying to get people to understand that marijuana is an intoxicating
substance just like alcohol that millions of Americans choose to use and do
so responsibly. And laws against it are far more problematic than the
product itself. So, by getting people to understand that marijuana is, you
know, a less harmful substance than alcohol, getting them to understand
that we could be treating it more sensibly and taking it out of the
underground market, taking the money away from drug cartels in putting it
toward legitimate businesses, Coloradans and people around the nation are
starting to recognize that this is a change that is very needed.

HAYES: And you also have a great foil in Governor Hickenlooper who in a
former life was -- ran a brew pub, if I`m not mistaken.


HAYES: And so, I think at one point you referred to him or Pete Coors as a
drug dealer?

TVERT: It was both of them.


TVERT: I call them like I see them. I mean, you know, these are guys who
are very prominent political figures, who have made a living selling a
product ...

HAYES: An intoxicant.

TVERT: ... that is objectively more harmful than marijuana. So, it`s
really hypocritical. But it`s also just -- it`s bad public policy. And
it`s time for a change.

HAYES: You guys have also put together a really interesting strange
bedfellows coalition of supporters. I want to play a radio ad that is
running in Colorado. Former Congressman Tom Tancredo, who is probably
known best on this program for some of the really awful and obscene things
he said about immigration, and very conservative, very right wing former
member of Congress. He`s supporting your ballot initiative. Here is the
ad that they are running at local radio.


TOM TANCREDO: This is former Congressman Tom Tancredo, and I want to talk
to you about a failed government program. It wastes tens of millions of
our taxpayer dollars annually. It steers Colorado money to criminals in
Mexico, allows the government to dictate how adult should live their lives.
It sounds pretty bad, doesn`t it? Well, I have just described marijuana
prohibition, which is why I`ll be voting "Yes" on amendment 64. We all
know this nation`s experiment with alcohol prohibition was a disaster. It
didn`t stop alcohol use in the country, it merely ensured that criminals
profited from the sale of alcohol. Proponents of big government have duped
us into supporting a similar prohibition of marijuana. Even though it can
be used safely and responsibly by adults. It is time to decide whether you
want limited law enforcement resources going toward arresting adult
marijuana users or toward preventing crime that actually cause harm to

It`s an easy choice. It`s why I`m voting yes on amendment 64. This is
paid for by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.


HAYES: You guys call it the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.
That messaging is embedded in the name, and that is by far the most
sensible I have ever heard Tom Tancredo sound.

I want to talk about the strategy specifically of pursuing this as a ballot
initiative. And Bob, I want to talk a bit about criminal justice reform
more broadly in that context. What are things we want in direct democracy
sphere and what are things that we don`t want in the direct democracy
sphere, right after we take this break.


HAYES: Talking about direct democracy in the states and progressive ballot
initiatives that are also going to be on the ballot on Tuesday, and
couldn`t -- could have huge consequence. I think people have
compartmentalized marijuana legalization in their head as this boutique
issue. But if the state of Colorado legalizes marijuana, that`s a huge
deal. Huge deal. And people forget that prohibition recall actually
happened at the states level first. So that, you know, we could see the
beginning of the end I think, for it. The other issue, and this ties to
marijuana because it`s also a criminal justice issue.


HAYES: The three strikes law in California.


HAYES: Bob, you have written about this really cogently for a long time,
and the death penalty. And my question to you is, why -- I think when you
think about criminal justice issues, in the 1994 three strikes campaign,
you saw that danger ...


HAYES: Of putting these issues in front of a populace for direct
democracy, because it`s very easy to demagogue. And in fact, the
spokesperson for that was a guy named Mike Reynolds. This was the 1994
law. Who had a horrible, horrible thing happen, which his daughter was
murdered. And anyone who went through that would want revenge, I think,
would be outraged. And he was the large campaigner, he was the voice of
the yes on Proposition 184, three strikes. And here he is giving his


MIKE REYNOLDS: Unfortunately, these people had given up their dues card in
the human race. They are little more than animals. They look like people,
but they are not. And the unfortunate thing is they are preying on us.
And we have to get them out so the rest of us can go about living our


HAYES: And that`s a really intense, emotional appeal. Do you think the
politics of the nation have changed from criminal justice? The fact that
now, you know, almost 20 years later, that we are close to maybe seeing
California undo that law?

HERBERT: Well, I think the politics have changed in California. I don`t
know how much they`ve changed across the country. But when you start
talking about these ballot initiatives, I`m generally not a fan of them.
And I think that -- but we are in a position now where it`s the same as
with big money in politics. You have to fight fire with fire. What are
you going to do otherwise, you are just -- just going to be overwhelmed.
But especially, you made the connection between sort of these criminal
justice issues and civil rights issues, and that`s an important connection,
because these are issues that are driven by passion, often driven by
prejudice, you know, and ballot initiatives, almost by definition, you have
voters voting who don`t understand well the implications ...


HERBERT: Certainly not the long term potential consequences and stuff, so.
In general, they are very dangerous. But when you have a situation that is
intolerable, you sometimes have no alternative but to take that route.

RAGHUNATHAN: Well, I think also when you look at Prop 36, right, if you
look at the amount of money that, you know, the NAACP, the AFL and ACLU has
put into making sure that that campaign is well messaged and it`s actually
communicating effectively to voters, right? Supporters have raised $2.6
million in California on Prop 36 alone. And the opposition has raised
about $100,000. Right?

HAYES: Right.

RAGHUNATHAN: So that actually creates -- I mean that`s literally using the
big money system if you will ...

HAYES: Right.

RAGHUNATHAN: To actually communicate effectively with the public that is
feeling the pinch when it comes from the state budget deficit, and when
someone like Grover Norquist, again, talking about strange bedfellows, he`s
come out in support of amending the state`s three strikes law, right?
Because his whole argument is, it`s way too expensive.

HAYES: The polling on this, Prop 36, just so folks know, it`s over 60


HAYES: 63 percent say yes, no is 22 percent. It really looks like it`s
poised to pass. Josh.

BARRO: I think one of the things that`s driven the political shift on
this, and the number that really strikes me there, is that the opponents
have only raised $100,000.


BARRO: A lot of institutional forces that have previously favored or --
that have previously opposed reforms to three strikes, and there have been
things on the ballot before that have lost to reform the three strikes law.
There`s a court order in California that`s forcing the state to shrink its
prison population. The prisons are overcrowded, the state is in a
perpetual budget crisis. They can`t afford to build more prisons. And so,
they have to figure out a way to shrink the prison population and so groups
like district attorneys and the prison guards union that ordinarily might
just oppose a change of three strikes law have had to settle on this as a
way to do that. And I think that`s why you see Grover Norquist, I think
that`s why you`ve seen a lot of Republican governors in Southern states
getting behind prison reform. Their hand has been forced by budget


HAYES: Mason, my question to you is, Bob just said something interesting
which is this. The tactic itself or the tool itself is problematic, but
basically you have to use it. In your specific case, could you imagine
what you are proposing ever getting to the state legislature, or is this a
case in which direct democracy is an end-around kind of interest that would
block this if you tried to go through the legislature?

TVERT: Well, you know, it`s a little bit of both. First, I`d say, anyone
who suggests that the legislative process and the legislature is
unproblematic is fooling themselves. You know, I mean, the fact is that,
you know, a lot of times there are issues that the legislature should take
up that they will not take up. That we need to get in front of them. For
example, this initiative simply forces our legislature to regulate
marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. So, we are not creating these
very detailed regulations and rules in our laws by a ballot initiative. We
are simply saying the legislature must do this. And I think that that`s
what a responsible ballot initiative entails is, is crafting it in a way
where it is not tying the hands of our state, but it is actually just
forcing our state representatives to actually take this issue on and
represent the people on it.

RAGHUNATHAN: I think there`s a piece there, too, when it comes to ballot
initiatives. There`s two different opportunities here, right? There`s one
piece about being -- really being proactive, right, and trying to undo some
of the damage that we have seen for example in the state like California.
Oregon, for example, you know, is actually poised to increase revenue by,
you know, repealing some corporate tax loopholes. California has another
ballot initiative to actually tax the rich, which is huge, because it`s
going to fund the state`s education system. I mean you have other
initiatives like in Maryland, for example, there`s not only gay marriage
ballot initiative, but there is also a ballot initiative that is on deck to
repeal a law that the state legislature passed last year to allow
undocumented students to attend state universities and colleges at the same
rate as their classmates, right? So ...

HAYES: The Dream Act for the state .

RAGHUNATHAN: Exactly. The Maryland Dream Act. And so, what we are seeing
in Maryland is, you know, the conservatives sort of have done their best
actually trying to repeal something that the legislature already passed,
that the governor signed. Right? And conservatives were sort of like oh
no, wait, this is happening, we have to do something about it.

HAYES: Mason Tvert of, thanks for joining us. I think the
campaign you guys are running is really fascinating. Thanks for coming

TVERT: Thank you for having me.

HAYES: We`ll be right back.


HAYES: We are talking about state ballot initiatives. And there`s a
number of really important ones on the ballot on Tuesday. And what`s
interesting to me about state ballot initiatives is that this was
originally part of the progressive movement. And it was a structural
reform to democracy ...


HAYES: By progressives to essentially do an end run-around of interest,
right? The idea of being the state legislatures are captured by the big
interest. We are going to bring it directly to the people, and the
unintended consequence over a long period of time is that, of course, big
money like squeezing a balloon just flowed to these propositions.


HAYES: And Evan, I mean your group is involved with -- there`s four on the

WOLFSON: That`s right.

HAYES: Maine, Minnesota, Maryland ...

WOLFSON: ... and Washington.

HAYES: .. And Washington ...


HAYES: State. Right. And you have to raise a lot of money for these,


HAYES: This is not -- this is not a grassroots -- I mean it`s grassroots
at a certain level, but it`s also just running a big campaign.


Well, I mean it is grassroots. I mean, the reason we may succeed in one or
more of these ballot measures, which is Freedom to Marry`s top goal for
this year is because we have been knocking on doors, having conversations
with neighbors. And not just in the political moment, but over years.
It`s persuasion over time that`s helped people change their hearts and
minds on the freedom to marry. But to run a real political campaign and
particularly with the airwave war you have to wage to push back against the
opponents distortion and scare tactics of the last minute, it does cost
millions and millions of dollars. Freedom to Marry has had to raise
millions of dollars to channel strategically into the states just to enable
them to continue making the case to voters.

HERBERT: Well, I think Evan makes a really important point. I mean
whether you are talking about ballot initiatives or not, what`s going on
here is sustained citizen action. Mobilization and that sort of thing.
And I think that there`s not enough of that. That is how you fight back.
This is taking the form of ballot initiatives referendums and that sort of
thing. But you can make real headway no matter what your ultimate
strategic tactics are. But it`s the mobilization that is really important.

WOLFSON: That is true, but let me just qualify that, which is the
opposition can still do their stuff with huge amounts of money ...


WOLFSON: ... and scare tactic ads where there`s no grassroots, there is no
engagement. But they are able to scare that small slice of voters who may
be uncertain or struggling. So, while the success can depend and needs to
depend overtime on citizen engagement, and overtime engagement, the problem
with this kind of system is, it allows for huge amounts of money to be
channeled in ...

HAYES: Sometimes one eccentric wealthy person will get this idea that they
want to -- I mean there`s this crazy, and I`m going to maybe get this
wrong. So I probably shouldn`t say it on here but what the heck. In
Missouri, the very wealthy Missouri multimillionaire, possibly billionaire,
Rex Singerman (ph) I want to say is his last name, he`s profiled in "The
New York Times." And, you know, he`s been putting things on the ballot in
Missouri a ton, including all sorts of restrictions on whether St. Louis
can raise its own city taxes that the state voters are voting on. And
this, you know, you can give (INAUDIBLE) Darrell Issa, the very wealthy
congressman in California was the mastermind behind the recall effort. And
he funded that. And right, you have to get a lot of petitions.

So, I guess my question to you, is I was in a room, Suman, with a bunch of
community groups from 30 different states, and we were talking about ballot
initiatives, because they were working on a bunch of them. And they
complained about how big money was killing a number of ballot initiatives,
and how they have to fight every election cycle, and then I said, if you
could wave a magic wand and get rid of the ballot initiative process in
your state, would you do it? And not a hand in the room went up. Which I
thought was really interesting, because it does it seem like it`s this tool
that`s been used by certain interests very effectively. And yet people
still -- these were kind of community based progressive groups. Still
liked it, still wanted to make sure they had it as an option.

RAGHUNATHAN: Well, I think what you particularly would you see with sort
of social issues, right? Marijuana legalization, gay marriage and civil
unions. Immigration is you are seeing the opportunity to actually move in
the same direction as the electorate, right? As you see younger voters who
are much more comfortable with, you know, civil unions, gay marriage,
immigration, marijuana legalization, even some form of, you know, criminal
justice reform. You are actually seeing on opportunity again, to lean into
where the electorate increasingly is, right, which is why I think you are
seeing group that are not quite sure about whether or not they want to give
up that opportunity.

HAYES: Well, Rex Sinquefield let me just say, Rex Sinquefield is the name
of the man in Missouri. I was thinking of the Greg Singerman`s (ph) Deli
in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


WOLFSON: Yeah, I don`t fully agree with that. Because I don`t actually
think it`s right to qualify gay people`s freedom to marry as a social

HAYES: Correct.

WOLFSON: This is withholding a fundamental freedom that ought to be
guaranteed to everyone from one group of people. And forcing that group of
people not just to be able to go to court like anyone else ...

HAYES: Right.

WOLFSON: Not just to be able to go to the legislature like everyone else.
But they have to raise millions of dollars to amend or defend on the
Constitution. That`s not -- that`s not America. That`s not the way it
should work.

RAGHUNATHAN: I totally hear you. And I think that`s the place that we
have to be. I think that unfortunately, some of these issues continue to
be perceived by some folks whether their special interest of the parties in
particular, and the party establishment as social issues that are toxic,

HAYES: Suman Raghunathan of the Progressive States Network and Evan
Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, great to have you. Thanks for joining us.


HAYES: What you should know for the news week ahead, coming up next.


HAYES: In just a moment, what you should know for the week ahead. But
first, a quick update on a story we have been following. We told you about
emails we obtained from Arthur Allen, the CEO of ASG Software Solutions
pressuring his employees to support Mitt Romney. As it turns out, CEOs
across the country from Koch brothers to owners of small and medium sized
businesses have engaged in similar activities.

This week we obtained another such email. This one from the president of
the Saddle Creek Corporation, the logistics and warehousing company based
in Florida. It employs more than 3,000 people across the country. Saddle
Creek`s president, Cliff Otto, sent an email to employees on Tuesday
writing, quote, "In the past Saddle Creek has not felt it imperative that
we communicate with our associates regarding the political issues that
effect our business. This year, the positions taken by the two
presidential candidates with regard to these issues are starkly different.
As such, we feel it would be wrong for us not to share with you the
company`s position on just a few of the critical issues and at the same
time, how each of the two candidates compare to our position. We do not
support candidates based on their political affiliation. We do support
candidates that share our positions with regard to the key issues facing
our company and our country.

Thank you for considering what Saddle Creek believes in is in the best
interest of our company and therefore our jobs and our future."

Attached to the email is a flyer which reads, "We are getting close to a
very important election. And every vote counts. Never before has a
presidential election posted such a contrasting view on how to achieve
success for the most Americans. Saddle Creek has a clear position on very
important issues that have a profound effect on our company and the future
opportunities for all who work at Saddle Creek." A flier than lists the
company`s positions on two key issues, energy and taxes and highlights
which of the candidate`s position the company supports. As you can see,
all of Mitt Romney`s positions are highlighted.

In a statement to "UP with Chris Hayes", Saddle Creek president Cliff Otto
said "Saddle Creek`s communication was respectfully directed to its
employees for whom it has the greatest appreciation. It was provided in
the spirit of ensuring that they are fully informed on the subject. We
feel the document speaks for itself. And we have no further comments.
We`ll post the document in entirety on our Web site,

So, what should you know for the week coming up? If you are a voter in
Ohio`s 16th congressional district, you should know you may be about to get
a cosmically offensive campaign mailer any day now. You should now that
GOP Congressman Jim Renacci is allegedly distributing this flyer to attack
his opponent, Democratic Congresswoman Betty Sutton. The flier reads,
"Betty Sutton is taking our jobs to go." With a picture of a Chinese food
takeout container and on the inside, a graphic of chopsticks pulling out
$100 bills, accusing Sutton of using, quote, "our tax dollars to create
jobs in China" because she voted for the Recovery Act, a piece of
legislation that economists estimate increased the number of people
employed by up to 1.5 million.

You should know the copy says that what`s on Betty`s menu is, quote,
"something not so sweet but very sour." You should know that as we
documented on this show, offensive, ugly, racist anti-China campaign themes
are not limited to this particular campaign, and in fact are not limited to
one party. You should know that whatever problems we on both the right and
left have with the current model of Chinese governance and economic
development, we should be clear that our problems are not with the Chinese
people, who have as much of a right to livelihood as Americans do. You
should know it`s possible to create the economic relationship with China
that lifts up standards in both countries and benefits both Chinese and
American workers.

You should know that Red Hook, Brooklyn is one of the areas in New York
City most devastated by Hurricane Sandy. In response, a great community-
based organization there called the Red Hook Initiative is providing
emergency supplies, hot meals, access to power and communications among
other things. They`re putting out a call for donations and supplies to
support their efforts. If you`d like to donate, you should go to RHI You should also know that Tuesday is election day and if you
live in one of the part of the country ravaged by Sandy, local officials
are making contingency plans to make sure people can vote. You should know
we`ve posted a detail list at UP with Chris -- at the UP with Chris Tumblr.

And finally, you should know I`ll be making an appearance at the MSNBC
experience store at 30 Rockefeller Plaza here in New York on election day,
November 6. From 2:30 to 3:30 eastern time. I`ll be signing copies of my
book, "Twilight of the Elites." For more information go to our Facebook
page at You want to find out what my guests
think we should know as we head into election week. Josh Barro?

BARRO: Well, if you`re a voter in California, you probably already know
that the state`s voter guide this cycle is 144 pages long, because there
are 11 ballot measures for Californians to vote on. As usual, most of the
questions being put to them are stupid. The three strikes reform
notwithstanding. And that`s just your statewide vote. If you live, for
example, in San Francisco, you have an additional seven local questions to
vote on, on top of the 11 statewide ones. So, I think if we`re thinking
about whether ballot initiative is a good idea, whether we are putting too
much pressure on voters to make too many minute decisions, I think that
helps us figure out that the answer is yes.

HAYES: Yes, I think in California it has metastasized to a point where I
think there`s broad consensus, I think now, that the initiative process in
California specifically is pretty broken.



REID: You should know that the final drama of this presidential election
cycle could play out in the courts. Just with -- an update on TheGrio,
because the Florida Democratic Party has gone to federal court to sue
Governor Rick Scott for refusing to issue an executive order that would
extend early voting hours beyond Saturday. There -- the cutoff is Sunday,
obviously with that law that cut early voting from 14 to 8 days. But the
lines are literally wrapped around the block, and Democrats have now gone
to court demanding more time for voters to vote, and it`s particularly long
lines in the Democratic part of the state, in the south.

And in Ohio, Democrats there have gone to court because the Secretary of
State, Jon Husted, changed the provisional ballot that mostly poor people
have to vote on. And they changed it in a way that the voter is
responsible for inputting the I.D. information, what kind of I.D. they
have, which is actually in contravention to Ohio state law that says it`s a
poll worker`s job to put that information in. That could disenfranchise a
lot of people. Almost all poor people have to vote with their Social
Security number in Ohio, which means that they are going to be voting on
provisional ballots. Big disenfranchisement issue also in federal court.

HAYES: That is great for alerting us. Thank you, Joy. Katrina Vanden

VANDEN HEUVEL: So, if you`re a voter in Ohio, you may already know what
"The Nation`s" cover story last week revealed. It was called Romney`s
bailout bonanza that Mitt Romney and his wife made at least $15 million on
the very auto industry rescue program that he condemned. And a group of
labor unions, the UAW, SEIU and good government groups brought an action
this past week asking the federal Government and Ethics Office to look into
Romney`s disclosures. I think Americans have a full right to know the
conflict of interests Mitt Romney and his wife had, as well as the $4
million that Mitt Romney`s Wall Street donors, people like Paul Singer,
best known as the vulture capitalist of America, made from the auto
industry rescue.

HAYES: Yeah, I mean, there`s a funny conflict of interest there insofar as
he`s opposing it and profiting off it.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I mean, maybe that`s a measure of his entire candidacy, he
opposes ...


HAYES: But Mitt Romney, of course, will say about this, that it`s in a
blind trust. That blind trust, as I always point out, or never fail to
point out, is run by essentially ...

VANDEN HEUVEL: His family ...

HAYES: ... his family attorney, which does not meet the threshold for
actual blind trust in any place where they`re actually stipulated by law.
Bob Herbert.

HERBERT: This past week, we found out that the Congressional Research
Service, a non-partisan, highly respected operation, has withdrawn a report
that it did that shows that there was no correlation between top tax rates
and economic growth. Why did they withdraw it? Because of pressure from
Senate Republicans. That`s the raison d`etre of the Senate -- the
Republican party, get rid of -- lower top tax rates and you`ll see jobs
created, job growth. This report said no. But now that report has been

HAYES: It`s amazing, I`ve talked about this issue with people, even like
conservative economists. And it just -- the data doesn`t back it up.

HERBERT: Doesn`t back it up.

HAYES: At a certain point it does. Right, if you have a really high top
marginal tax rate and you cut it a ton ...


HAYES: You`ll see some growth happen. But as a general correlation across
industries, across places in the world, across states, you just don`t see
it bear out. And I was joking that the Congressional Research Service,
climate scientists and Nate Silver ...


HAYES ... are the evil triad of enemies of the people bringing their book
learning. I want to thank my guests today, Josh Barro from Bloomberg View,
MSNBC contributor Joy Reid, Katrina Vanden Heuvel from "The Nation"
magazine and Bob Herbert of the Demos think tank. Thank you all.


HAYES: Thank you for joining us. We`ll be back next weekend, Saturday and
Sunday at 8:00 Eastern time with our full coverage of the election results
and a look at the battles ahead. We`ll find out what 538 polling guru Nate
Silver has to say to his Republican critics about his now famous election
forecast. He`ll be here.

Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s MHP, if you thought
it was over, think again. Melissa back with this weekend voter
suppression. The man behind the billboards is unmasked. The foul play in
Ohio continues, and groundwork is being set for legal challenges. That`s
"MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" coming up next.

Tonight, Vice President Joe Biden will be on a special edition of
"HARDBALL" airing at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. And we`ll see you next week here
on UP. Go vote.



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