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'Up w/Chris Hayes' for Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Sunday show

January 20, 2013

Guests: Neera Tanden, Dannel Malloy, Jared Bernstein, Jen Psaki, Patrick Gaspard, Tom Udall, Sherrod Brown, Barbara Lee, Bill Burton

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: A live shot of the White House this Sunday
morning. A little more than 24 hours away from the second inauguration of
President Barack Obama. Good morning from the nation`s capital where we
have taken the program for this historic event. I`m Chris Hayes.

Yesterday was celebrated as gun appreciation day at gun shows around the
country. Five people were accidentally shot in separate incidents at three
of those gun shows. And here in Washington, Vice President Joe Biden is
about to take his official oath of office to begin his second term. We`re
standing by to bring it live to you as it happens.

Right now I`m joined by MSNBC contributor Jared Bernstein, former chief
economist and economic policy adviser for Vice President Biden, now a
senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Neera
Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress and former
domestic policy director for the Obama/Biden presidential campaign. Jen
Psaki, former traveling press secretary for the 2012 Obama campaign, and
former Obama White House deputy communications director, now senior vice
president and managing director at Global Strategy Group, a public affairs
and research firm.

And back at the table, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut.
Great to have you back, Governor.


HAYES: We`re going to go live to the vice president`s residence at the
Naval Observatory here in Washington for his swearing in by Supreme Court
Justice Sonia Sotomayor. But the irony of today`s ceremony is that the
vice presidency is a job that Biden at first said he didn`t want. In 2007,
he told a reporter in Iowa, and this is an amazing quote which somehow
doesn`t get played enough -- "I absolutely can say with certainty I would
not be anybody`s vice president, period, end of story, guaranteed, will not
do it."

In the spring of 2008, according to the Atlantic magazine, campaign
consultant Mike McDonald (ph) reminded Biden of the importance that civil
rights had held for him throughout his career, and said, "you mean to tell
me if an African-American tells you he needs you on the ticket in order to
win, you`ll say no?" Biden did not and has since proven to be a key force
in the Obama administration.

Last month, the vice president used his extensive experience of dealing
with Republicans in Congress to finally secure a fiscal cliff deal. He
also helped close the 2011 deal that lifted the debt ceiling and the 2010
deal that extended the Bush tax cuts in return for fresh stimulus.

Most recently, the vice president has been leading the way in the
president`s push for workable gun safety policies.

On Thursday, Biden spoke for almost an hour at the meeting of the U.S.
Conference of Mayors and acknowledged the White House is likely to come
under criticism for many of its gun proposals.


fight to the hauls of Congress, we`re going to take it beyond that. We`re
going to take it to the American people. We`re going to go around the
country making our case, and we`re going to let their voices, the voice of
the American people be heard. And we`ll be criticized, because people say
if we are spending that much energy, we`re not spending enough energy on
immigration. We`re not spending enough energy on the fiscal problem, we`re
not spending -- look, folks, presidents don`t get to choose what they do.
They deal with what is before them, and then what they`d like to long term.


HAYES: Governor, I`m curious to get your thoughts on the package of
reforms. It was interesting to me that the vice president was tasked with
this, and they put out this package, and I just also wanted to say that I
thought you handled the horror in Newtown with tremendous grace.

MALLOY: Thank you. I appreciate that. And you know, when you`re in
Connecticut, painfully aware of how traumatic that`s been for every
resident of Connecticut, particularly the families and the residents of --
the families of deceased and the residents of Newtown.

But you know, being down here for a few days, it`s remarkable on how it has
affected everyone. And it`s a different perspective. We get in the
foxhole a little bit in Connecticut over this.

I spent about an hour and 20 minutes with the vice president on Friday at
his office. Loquacious he is, we joked about that. We both -- we both
tend to go on a little bit. But you know, he`s done a great job in putting
this package together. He talked to everybody. I mean, for instance, he
talked to every family that lost someone in Newtown in the process of doing
this. And he and I had talked about that before, and I urged him to do it,
and he followed up and did it. But he`s talked to everybody. And they`ve
put forward these kind of common-sense things that the American people
actually get. Not the advocacy organizations that are paid by an industry
to sell weapons, but everybody else does.

I mean, I can`t talk about this package without pointing out and everyone
automatically shakes their head. If I have to have a background check to
get on an airplane, and every person does, and by the way, we don`t have a
small-airport exception. Everybody does. You know, then it makes sense
that somebody wants to buy a weapon that can end someone`s life should do

And the other point, you know, we have spent so much time stigmatizing, de-
stigmatizing violence. If we had spent a fraction of the time and a
fraction of the money destigmatizing mental health, understanding that when
people get treatment, they actually get better, we would be so much further
along than we are right now. But you know, we glorify violence. We have
games that kids can play, disturbed people can play for six, seven, eight
hours a day. On the day that Newtown happened, he had access to games
where he could go into a school and shoot kids in a school in a video game.
It doesn`t make any sense.

HAYES: Jen, one of the things I think that`s interesting about the role
that the vice president has played in this administration and in the
campaign, and is very much true in respect to guns, is, as a kind of
validator, right? The problem that -- if you`re engineering the campaign
for a man named Barack Obama to be the president of the United States, you
have this obvious issue, which is most voters don`t know a guy named Barack
Obama, right? And he doesn`t look like a lot of voters. He`s coming from
a different place. Joe Biden is kind of quintessentially like next-door
neighbor material. And I thought this clip was really interesting, back in
2008, here`s Joe Biden being that kind of validator for voters on
specifically this issue of guns. Take a look.


BIDEN: I guarantee you, Barack Obama ain`t taking my shotguns. So don`t
buy that malarkey. Don`t buy that malarkey. They`re going to start
peddling that to you. I got two. If he tries to fool with my Beretta, he
has got a problem. I like that little over and under. I`m not bad with
it. So, give me a break!


HAYES: I think that`s Joe Biden threatened to shoot his running mate.


HAYES: Not quite clear, the subtext of that quote? But that to me was
sort of quintessentially the kind of role that he`s played from a
communications, from a kind of political -- in terms of the image --
crafting the image of Barack Obama and selling him to voters.

One, I`m thrilled that malarkey has been around that long. It`s such an
important word in our history now. But I think what people don`t realize
about the vice president, they focus so much on how he`s this folksy guy
and he speaks their language, and that`s absolutely true, and he has a
personal touch in a case like guns that`s so sensitive in a state like
Connecticut, but also across the country, that people really feel like he
gets it.

But beyond that, I mean, he`s persistent. He`s going to fight like heck
for this, and he has kind of a combination of those two things. And that`s
why he`s so effective.

And I think people shouldn`t forget, beyond guns, he`s taken on some
really, not just challenging but really, not that glamorous tasks in this
administration. Whether it was the stimulus or the -- you know, the debt
limit, and he`s taken them and run with them, and he`s been a real team
player, and, you know, somebody I think people thought really understood.

HAYES: One of the (INAUDIBLE) which I think is kind of buried in the
resume is after we announced that we weren`t going to do missile defense in
Eastern Europe, he was sent as the emissary to go to Eastern Europe to talk
to the Eastern European leaders.

Jared, I`m curious, you worked with the vice president, you worked in his
office. It`s also been strange to me, Joe Biden has had such a long career
in politics. The guy started when he was 30 years old, one of the--

years in the Senate before he became vice president.

HAYES: And he`s gone through kind of different iterations in his public
image, I think, and one of the things I think that`s interesting is there`s
this kind of cartoonish version of Joe Biden that particularly the right
has pushed. But I think also--


HAYES: The Onion, right, in fact, we have -- here`s an example of -- this
is funny, so the Onion obviously has this whole image of Biden they
crafted. This is Joe Biden`s official Twitter account, referring to the
Onion`s Joe Biden. Who -- the Onion`s Joe Biden has now written an
autobiography. So this is the actual Joe Biden teasing them about Transams
which the Onion says that he likes. And he`s saying, ever look under the
hood of a Corvette? I`m a `Vette guy. But I do wonder, like how much
distance do you think -- what are the things that we get wrong about the
vice president from the perspective of these kind of caricatures?

BERNSTEIN: I actually think we get a lot wrong. There`s a kind of an
inside and an outside Joe Biden. For example, I was his chief economist.
The guy insisted on knowing as much as anybody in the room for any meeting.
And we would have briefings where he would go so far down into the weeds,
that eventually I would be running for help from research assistants.
Every time we went to a state, which you do a lot with the vice president,
he wanted to know about that economy in great detail.

He does massive preparation, and I think when he sits down at a table to
say, do a fiscal deal, one of the reasons he`s able to get -- to close that
deal is because, A, he has decades of experience in compromise, which some
of these kids today up there don`t really know much about -- and he
understands the granularity of these issues. We saw this in the Recovery
Act as well, as well as the big picture. It`s very helpful.

HAYES: Vice President Joe Biden is going to take the oath of office for a
second term right after we return from this break.


HAYES: Welcome back. We`re awaiting the official ceremony in which Vice
President Joe Biden will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia
Sotomayor at the vice president`s residence in the Naval Observatory.
That`s the shot you see there on the screen, and we`re talking about the
role that Joe Biden has played and will continue to play in the Obama
administration. In some ways, it`s an odd pairing, obviously. The vice
president was running against Barack Obama. And Neera, what do you think
we`re going to see in this next term? I don`t want to get into gaming out
of 2016. Because we`re --



HAYES: We can take a deep breath, we can take a deep breath, but I do
think there`s a degree to which like it`s been notable to me from a
political perspective that the first two big initiatives of this year, of
2013, the president has had Vice President Joe Biden help. It was the
president presumably who directed Joe Biden to open up a line of
negotiations with Mitch McConnell, that was widely reported. When the deal
was struck, that redounded to the benefit in terms of reputational capital
of Joe Biden, and then with the gun task force as well. What does that --
what does that indicate to you?

TANDEN: It indicates to me just what we`ve been talking about, which is
the vice president has 30 years of experience. He actually has a wide
variety of experiences, both in foreign policy and on the crime bill, the
`94 crime bill is something that he shepherded. So -- and he has an
extraordinary ability to deal with Senate Republicans in a way that a lot
of people can`t. Senator Reid and Mitch McConnell don`t get along that
great now, so I don`t, like, read anything into it, other than the
president has an asset in the vice president and he`s using that asset and
he`s deploying him well. And I think the thing that we should be mindful
of is just that, you know, there`s -- over the next four years, there`s
going to be a lot of tea leaf reading and things like that, but really, at
the end of the day, you know, the president is using the person that can
get a job done, and he`s done an extraordinary job so far.

But let me say, passing this legislation will be tough. It`s important to
put your best feet on the ground there, because it`s really not -- it`s
going to be tough to get these bills passed.

BERNSTEIN: And it`s not just ability. The vice president -- and again, I
worked closely with him for a few years -- he actually really likes this
kind of political dealmaking in a way that I don`t think the president
likes that much. I mean, I think if he`s pushed to it, he can do it. But
the vice president looks at politics like a chess game and he`s always
figuring out how do we get from here to there.

Some of the best political analysis I ever heard would be sitting in his
office and saying, what do you think politician X`s chances are in the next
election? And you`d hear this spontaneous analysis that was always very
deep and comprehensive, so he has a kind of a feel for what it`s going to
take to close the deal.

I think one of the things that`s been tough for him is that, as he likes to
say, this isn`t your grandfather`s Congress, so he`s still getting used to
the Tea Party out there.

MALLOY: But he`s good at it. He`s got this Joe Everybody persona. People
like him. And you know, you see it in a room. There are a lot of
politicians that the public meets and they`re in awe, they honor the

HAYES: Like the governor of Connecticut.


MALLOY: No, no, not the case. But people come away and genuinely like
him, and that`s a skill set, that`s a talent, that`s a communications
ability that`s very important to this administration. And I -- and by the
way, there`s this other thing about him. You can`t keep him down. You
really can`t put him in a room and not hear him. So he`s a force, and why
not use him?

PSAKI: I also think that, you know, I know we`re not going to read into
tea leaves here about 2016, but the vice president has never been someone
who shied away from a fight. I agree with what Neera and Jared have said
about gun control and how challenging that`s going to be, and there are a
variety of reasons why, but he`s OK to take on a challenge. You may lose,
you may win, you may win some pieces, and I don`t think that`s going to
change over the next four years.

HAYES: And I actually think, and again, I don`t want to do too much
speculating on 2016, but it matters -- it matters in this respect. Because
you conduct yourself differently as a politician if you`re preparing a run
for national office for president, than you do if this is the last job
you`re going to hold in public life.

TANDEN: Absolutely, so that`s why, OK, so this is a good and brave thing
he`s doing. Because this will be a difficult issue, and it`s important.
It`s the politics of taking on, preventing gun crimes is not an easy issue.
It`s not clear to me that (INAUDIBLE), really well. So that`s going to be
an issue which is polarizing down the road, and he`s taking it on, and
that`s good for him. That`s showing leadership, we should applaud it.

HAYES: I was always under the impression that he wouldn`t run for office
afterwards. That this would be kind of--

PSAKI: So I am always asked about Hillary running, so Jared?


HAYES: The vice president entering the room there, they will administer a
prayer shortly before the oath, obviously. We`ll bring you that oath live
in just a second, but this is--

BERNSTEIN: Thank you for saving me from that.


HAYES: This is -- NBC News reported this quote, this is Biden telling a
Republican voter to vote for him in 2016. He says, "well, look, I`m not
trying to talk you into voting for me. I just want to say hi to you, OK?
And after it`s all over, if your insurance rate will go down and you`ll
vote for me in 2016, so I`ll talk to you later."


BERNSTEIN: Are you going to announce?


MALLOY: He`s going to be successful. We`re going to make changes to gun
laws. I think we`re going to do some on the national basis. We`re clearly
already starting it on a state by state basis. So there is going to be a
level of success. It`s locked in, and I think you have to put that into --
I know it`s hard for what people in Washington to think that something
might actually be gotten done, but it`s going to happen. This Newtown
changed the discussion, and whatever is not gotten in the first round,
eventually will be gotten because there`s going to be more Newtowns. We`re
so far out on this, we`re so far extended on access to weapons of mass
destruction, that there are going to be other incidents.

BERNSTEIN: We were looking in the wrong place, right?

MALLOY: Right. You`re right. They are here. You know? And when a
disturbed individual can take two magazines, 30-round magazines, tape them
together so he literally didn`t -- all he had to do was turn it around and
get another 30 shots off and have multiples of those as you walk into a
school, that`s who we are right now, and America`s growing sick of it. And
if we start to forget what happened in Newtown, there`s going to be
another. During the time that the vice president was working on this,
three more shootings in schools.

HAYES: And 1,000, 1,000 gun deaths.

TANDEN: Right. And I think that`s what is really important about Newtown
is that we`ve actually changed the frame, so now we hear more about the
five accidents yesterday at gun shows, and you hear about the crimes
committed with guns every day. The media is covering it. Reporters are
dealing with it, but also, it`s just put a new framework on the whole
discussion, and that`s why I think this is different than the past.

MALLOY: The loophole is going to go away. I think we`re going to close

HAYES: I think we`re about to hear from the Supreme Court Justice Sonia
Sotomayor. Of course, the first Latina justice in the history of the
Supreme Court. She has been selected to give the oath to Vice President
Biden. The reason they`re swearing in today, in case you didn`t know this,
this is the 20th. It`s constitutionally mandated that the president and
the vice president are sworn in on January 20th. But the tradition has
been, going back all the way, well back to the 19th century and certainly
since Eisenhower, that when the 20th falls on a Sunday, the president and
vice president take their official oath of office in a private ceremony.

This is that ceremony right now.


SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Please place your hand on the Bible
and raise your right hand and repeat after me.

I, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., do solemnly swear --

BIDEN: I, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., do solemnly swear --

SOTOMAYOR: -- that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United
States --

BIDEN: -- that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United
States --

SOTOMAYOR: -- against all enemies, foreign and domestic --

BIDEN: -- against all enemies, foreign and domestic --

SOTOMAYOR: -- that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same --

BIDEN: -- that I will bare true faith and allegiance to the same --

SOTOMAYOR: -- that I take this obligation freely --

BIDEN: -- that I take this obligation freely --

SOTOMAYOR: -- without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion --

BIDEN: -- without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion --

SOTOMAYOR: -- and that I will well and faithfully discharge --

BIDEN: -- and I will well and faithfully discharge --

SOTOMAYOR: -- the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

BIDEN: -- the duties of the office of which I`m about to enter.

SOTOMAYOR: So help me God.

BIDEN: So help me God.

SOTOMAYOR: Congratulations.

BIDEN: Thank you, Your Honor.


BIDEN: Madam Justice, these are some my friends.


BIDEN: And my family.

And I want to explain to you what a wonderful honor it was and how much out
of her way the justice had to go. She is due in New York. She has to leave
right now, so I apologize, we are going to walk out. Her car is waiting so
she can catch a train. I hope I haven`t caused her to miss.

And I am leaving with the -- going and going to meet the president to do
the traditional laying the wreath at the tomb over in Arlington and I -- we
are having breakfast. I will be back, they tell me in 40 minutes. I hope
some of you will still be here. But I thank you very, very, very much for
sharing this morning with Jill and me.

And, Madam Justice, it`s been an honor, a great honor. Thank you.

Enjoy breakfast. Be back in a minute.



HAYES: Vice President Joe Biden, officially now vice president again for
his second term, having taken the oath of office administered by Supreme
Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. There`s a little joke there about Justice
Sonia Sotomayor is on a book tour right now, so they had to change the
scheduling around today so she can make a book appearance.

I want to get back to you on the issue of guns here. Because the
president, the vice president, obviously, was spearheaded the 1994 crime
bill. And it was the 1994 crime bill that included the assault weapon ban,
and there`s a lot of looking back now at that legislation about what it did
and didn`t do -- and Governor, I`m curious what your sense of what that
bill did.

MALLOY: This is the problem. You can buy a weapon that shoots a single
bullet when you buy it. And you can take it home and you can put a
magazine on it and suddenly, it`s -- it can do the things that we`ve now
seen happen place after place after place.

At the very least, under the `94 law, those larger magazines were not
legal, and in large part didn`t exist. It doesn`t mean that, you know,
some of them didn`t somehow get somewhere, but they didn`t exist by and

And just as in the `30s, machine guns came about, and criminals got machine
guns, and we decided people shouldn`t have machine guns. Guess what? We
don`t see that type of weapon. People shouldn`t have grenades. We decided
that it was illegal for a citizen to have a grenade. We don`t see a lot of
crimes committed that way, and that`s what the `94 bill did.

Now, it was too broad with respect to the definition of an assault weapon,
and that was a weakness, but other than that, it did some really good

HAYES: But the devil is in the details here. I want to play the vice
president talking about the specific issue of magazines and their capacity.
And then, talk about the ways in which the definition of what an assault
weapons are and would actually mattered in the details. We can`t just say
assault weapon ban in the abstract, because when that legislation gets
written, it is going to make a difference. Take a look at the vice


BIDEN: Some of you are deer hunters, bear hunters, big game hunters. I`m
not being facetious, I`m being literal. And you know most of the weapons
used, rifles used in that endeavor, can take clips that can accommodate 30,
40, 50. You don`t, but they can accommodate it.

High-capacity magazines don`t have a practical sporting purpose or hunting
purpose. As one hunter told me, if you have got 12 rounds, you got 12
rounds, it means you`ve already missed the deer 11 times. You should pack
the sucker in at that point. You don`t deserve to have a gun, period, if
you`re that bad.


HAYES: The vice president talking about these extended high-capacity
magazines. But in 1994, there was a question about what got written into
the legislation and how you define assault weapon. And I think in
retrospect, there`s a lot about that that was quite porous, right?

MALLOY: It was. I mean, listen, there`s better ways to define it. If it
has got a handle, it`s an assault weapon. If it has the -- if you can
change it relatively easily into something that can do that sort of thing,
it`s an assault weapon.

But you know, let`s -- you know it when you see it. That`s what it is.
You know it when you see it, but people, interests, have worked on a
definition that`s wide enough to drive a truck through, and so, you know,
it has to look like this and have one or two or three or four similarities
with a military instrument. It`s really what most states have gone to that
have even tried to do it on their own. And it`s just too wide, it`s too

HAYES: Essentially what it was is a menu of features. Right? If you had
a certain amount of those individual features, you were over the line of
assault weapon, and if you didn`t, you could keep underneath the ban.

MALLOY: So the definition was lobbied do death.

HAYES: Exactly. And in fact, the AR-15, which is obviously famously and
infamously the weapon what was used in Newtown, versions of that did exist
on the assault weapon ban. And other versions didn`t. It was sort of
modified to fit in under.

MALLOY: Even in our state, that definition didn`t work.

HAYES: Right. Your state has it--

MALLOY: Right. So, we`re pretty controlled, and even there, it didn`t

TANDEN: Yes, I think the issue here is, we recognize that that didn`t work
in the past, but that doesn`t mean it won`t work in the future, and one of
the big challenges is you have the NRA talking about how the assault
weapons ban and high-capacity clips didn`t work, and actually we`ve had
studies now that show that when we have the assault weapons ban, the number
of guns that are recovered from criminals -- that have assault weapon
features were declining. It took a little while because they grandfathered
a lot of munitions in. But it actually was effective. And so I think the
challenge here is there`s a lot of misinformation in this debate, and
that`s why the NRA is a strong lobby, but that does not mean it won`t be
effective in the future. And as the president says, if we can save one
child from something happening here, we should take it.

MALLOY: I had -- I`m sorry, let me just share this, because I spoke to the
U.S. Conference of Mayors about this issue yesterday. And one of the older
mayors from a town in Texas came up to me and said, you know, our family
had a Browning. And that Browning could actually hold three -- five shots.
And under the Texas law that existed when I was growing up, two of those
had to be sealed, so it could only carry three. That`s how far we`ve come.
From that --


MALLOY: -- to magazines with 150.

BERNSTEIN: But I think one of the problems here is that we can`t do
politically or legislatively what we`ve done before. You visit this in `94
and then you visit it again in 2013. There are going to be loopholes in
this new law. They`ll creep in somehow, no matter how flexible we write
it. Are we saying somehow we can`t come back to this for another ten
years? No. We`re going to have to adjust it as we go, because the
technology changes as we go. And of course, the NRA will try to block that
every step of the way. And frankly, I think a smart, humane politics is
just not going to let that happen. That`s where we need to be.

MALLOY: And that`s why I remind folks that we`re going to see more of it.
This is going to go on for a period of time. We -- you know, the cat`s out
of the bag. Until we put the cat back in the bag, and that`s going to take
some time, some effort, and some serious discussion, and I think states
will lead the way. New York has obviously acted very quickly. But other
states will act. We`re certainly going to change things--

HAYES: Maryland.

MALLOY: -- significantly. Martin is going to do that in Maryland. So
this is going to play itself out.

On the other hand, on the national level, let`s get what we can get. Let`s
get as much of this, and it`s great to see how resentful they are that the
president is taking executive action as if no Republican president has ever
taken any executive or made any executive orders--


PSAKI: I think one really important point for people who are advocates for
this, or even kind of new advocates of it, which is a really important
population, is, one of the NRA and one of the right-wing talking points is
it`s too hard to define an assault weapon. It`s too hard, we shouldn`t do
it. They have the same approach on video games. There`s no research,
there is no study. We don`t know that mental health is actually -- so, you
know, this is a -- it`s too challenging. It`s too hard. Let`s just not do
it, which sounds ridiculous, but it`s something that people fall prey to,
and I think people who are out there, who want this to happen, need to
watch out for that.


I want to talk about what this means for the second term. Both in the
political calculation and what the politics are. The role of Vice
President Joe Biden, who is now officially resworn in for his second term
as vice president, and also what it means for prioritizing the agenda in
the second term. Because I thought what Joe Biden said in that clip we
played at the top, which is presidents don`t get to choose, they deal with
what`s in front of them, there`s a lot of weight in that. So I want to
talk about that right after we take this break.


HAYES: All right. As the president and vice president prepare to do the
public ceremony tomorrow, and the vice president has already been sworn in,
the president will be sworn in later today. Neera Tanden, I think no one
thought four months ago that this, now is the time the president`s plan to
protect our children from gun violence would be the first thing that
happened in 2013. I think that`s fair to say. It didn`t come up on the
campaign. It only came up on the campaign to assure people we`re not going
to do anything on this issue.

How do you think this changes the political calculation of how much space
there is on other things? Are other priorities getting pushed down the
queue because of this?

TANDEN: So, I think, you know, I think in the first two years when we had
very strong Democratic majorities, there was this theory of the case which
is, we have to pass health care reform. Nothing else can pass. We have to
focus on that, because there`s a real issue.


HAYES: -- Rahm Emanuel would call you up and yell at you and curse at you
and say back the F up. I know this from reporting. Back the F up.

BERNSTEIN: I know this from phone calls.

HAYES: Don`t go talk to that congressman or that senator about XYZ pet
issue because we have to keep pristine, everything on.

TANDEN: No idea what you`re talking about.

HAYES: You guys are all looking at me like --

TANDEN: So maybe that happened. And -- but I think that, you know, it was
hard to pass health care reform, and you needed -- every vote did count in
the end. But now I think the president recognizes that we have this
Republican minority -- majority in the House, minority in the Senate. That
he really has -- there`s a different strategy. You need to organize public
will. And I think there is a sort of flood the zone strategy, which is you
can disrupt the opposition, because they can`t really gain speed on any
particular issue. The opposition really gained speed on health care. So
if you`re pushing all these issues, it`s not like the Congress does too
much on a regular basis. So you can actually take on these issues and make
the forceful case.

The question is, will the president be making the argument? There`s a
limit on the president`s time, so can he make the argument, fiscal cliff,
immigration, immigration reform is a huge, important task that needs to get
done, it`s an important task for him to get done for the Democratic
coalition to hold together in the future. And so, you know, it shouldn`t
come at the expense of things, but he needs to -- he has to pay attention
to all of these issues.

PSAKI: This is, I`ll say this, this is a moment in time on gun control,
and you couldn`t have predicted that six months ago. And even with Aurora,
as terrible as that strategy does, but this has, as we`ve seen in polling,
kind of created more of an openness to it in this country than existed
before. It is something, obviously, the president has supported, it`s just
whether it`s possible. But I don`t think, you know, I think there are many
things he wants to get done, right, to your larger question. Immigration,
obviously they have laid out kind of a little bit of what they want to do.
They know they need to do the fiscal cliff and deal with the fiscal issues.
But all the fiscal issues are not the definition of what he wants to get in
the second term. They`re what he needs to kind of get through and get
through in a survivable way. He wants to get immigration, he wants to get
energy, he wants to do everything he can on gun control.

MALLOY: And we know that the Republicans will do nothing for two years,
and so we`re also testing whether they`re willing to do nothing for four
years, and with the belief that that`s not the case, that you cannot be a
national party on -- on the basis of you`re doing nothing for a four-year
period of time. And so let`s flood. Let`s pour it on. Let`s people
understand who we are and what we are.

BERNSTEIN: I`ll only add that there are a lot of Republicans that are
interested in immigration reform.


HAYES: I think Neera`s point is a really central one about this change in
the theory of the case from the single priority that that must be preserved
and put forward, and the cost of that is everyone can target their fire,
right? Everyone was against the Affordable Care Act, to the idea of throw
a lot of things out there and kind of confuse the opposition, because they
have too many things to handle, and I want to talk about that a little
later in the program when we talk about what the lessons of the first term
are, going forward. MSNBC contributor Jared Bernstein, former chief
economist to Vice President Biden and Democratic Governor Dan Mallory of
Connecticut, thank you both for joining us this morning.

MALLOY: Thank you.

HAYES: One of the most consequential decisions of President Obama`s second
term may happen this week. That`s next.


HAYES: In his inauguration speech tomorrow, President Obama will lay out
his agenda for a second term. We already know some of the major
components. Sweeping reforms to our gun laws, a massive overhaul of our
immigration system, and a renewed effort of some kind to stimulate the
economy. All those measures, according to polls, are broadly popular.

There is one major obstacle. The filibuster. Republicans have exploited
the Senate`s many procedural quirks to turn the filibuster into an
unprecedented impediment to legislation, stopping the body from even
debating, let alone voting on bills proposed by the president. As a
result, the Senate has passed just 2.8 percent of all the bills introduced
in the body, the lowest productivity level since at least 1947.

So it is no wonder that before the election, Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid said one of his biggest regrets of the past four years was that he did
not try to reform the filibuster. When the president won reelection, one
of the first things Reid did was announce he was considering major changes
to the rules.

Reid wanted to change the rules by, among other things, requiring
filibustering senators to actually occupy the floor and speak if they want
to delay legislation. Now, however, as we approach the deadline for making
the decision, it seems like Senator Reid may be backing away from the most
far-reaching reforms. The Senate is currently in recess until Tuesday, and
when they return, they`ll have to make a decision whether to make good on
genuine reform of the filibuster or embrace a watered-down compromise that
many reformers say doesn`t go far enough.

Joining me now is one of those reformers Senator Tom Udall, Democrat of New
Mexico, a vocal advocate of filibuster reform. Also joining us is Patrick
Gaspard, the executive director of the Democratic National Committee,
former director of the Office of Political Affairs in the Obama
administration from 2009 to 2011. Gentlemen, great to have you both here.

SEN. TOM UDALL, D-NEW MEXICO: Thank you, great to be here with you, Chris.
And you started covering this very early.

HAYES: Senator, I was -- you just sat down, and I said this morning before
this interview, I went back and I looked at the notes that I transcribed
from the interview I did in your office in 2011 on precisely this issue,
which was the last time it was with you and Senator Merkley, proposing
changes to the filibuster, and you got a little bit of attention. And it
ultimately, nothing happened. Two years later, you`re in a much better
position, so I guess my first question is, where are we on this right now?
It`s been very difficult as a reporter to kind of game out where this is,
because this is very inside baseball. So where are things from your

UDALL: Well, the first thing that`s tremendously important is we need to
change the way we do business in the Senate. Everybody knows that the
Senate is broken. That it`s not operating the way it should, and you just
laid out all of the figures and statistics. I mean, this has been -- the
112th Congress we just came out of has been the least productive in the
history of the country.

And so we`re going to change that. And here`s what we need to do. We need
to take the filibuster and make sure that if you`re going to perform a
filibuster, you do it out in the open, you do it transparently, and you do
it in such a way that the American public knows what`s going on.

I don`t have any problem coming to the floor, whoever it is, and they want
to read a phone book, they want to talk, whatever they want to do, but it`s
out in the public. And so whatever bill we`re pursuing, we want to make
sure that the public knows what`s going on.

Right now, we have secret, stealth, silent filibusters, and they are very,
very damaging to the Senate.

And just the final point here is what people need to realize, this is about
doing what the American people sent us here to do.

HAYES: OK. So let`s get into the weeds a little bit here. The reform
you`re proposing and that you and Senator Merkley have been working in
tandem on this for years now, is to reinstate what you call the talking
filibuster. If you want to delay, you actually have to talk, right? Right
now that`s not the case.

But there`s a lot of other aspects to the way the filibuster has developed,
and it sounds to me from what I`ve heard from Senator Harry Reid, that he`s
looking at not fully reinstating the talking filibuster but a package of
reforms that would get rid of some of the worst abuses. And that is coming
-- this is sort of tea leaf reading off an interview he granted to a local
Nevada media outlet, the PBS station in Las Vegas. Let`s take a listen.


REID: What we need to do is change the filibuster. We have things that
are so stupid. If I want to get on a bill, I have to file cloture on it.
Lyndon Johnson filed cloture once in his six years. I filed cloture 390
some odd times. So we`ve got to change. If you invoke cloture on a piece
of legislation, people get 30 hours to sit around and do nothing. I want
to get rid of that. I think we should not have the 30-hours post cloture.
I think that we have to make sure that on a regular piece of legislation,
if somebody wants to continue objecting to it after the cloture has been
invoked, they should have to stand and talk. There should be a talking


HAYES: OK. So there`s -- can you explain this 30-hour thing? I think
that -- in the grand scheme of things is the most egregious, which is, you
know, filibustering the motion to proceed, and then there`s this weird kind
of fallow period after you filibuster the motion to proceed in which it`s
mandated that no one can do anything?

UDALL: Well, there are two fallow periods. First is when you file -- the
16 senators file a motion that moves towards cloture, and then you have to
have cloture ripen, and that`s two full working days. Then you have the
cloture vote, and if you achieve cloture, so you`re cutting off debate,
then there`s a 30-hour period that follows after that. And that 30-hour
period is supposed to be used to dispose of amendments and to debate. But
frequently what happens is we just burn the -- we burn the time. And so
that 30 hours runs, it delays what we`re doing.

HAYES: And no business, no other business can happen on the floor during
those 30 hours?

UDALL: That`s correct. In those 30 hours. And what should be happening
is there should be debate. We should be disposing of amendments. Both
sides should be participating. And we want the minority to be a part of
this. One of the big accusations out here is that somehow we`re taking
away minority rights. No, we want to craft this in a way where the
minority can participate, they can amend, they can debate. They can be a
part of the process.

HAYES: The word ripen which is the term of art used. That word, that
metaphor does so much work, right? Because a fruit ripens and it`s a
natural process you can`t control. But this is just some rule we can
change, right? Ripening is not like granted by biology or God that you
have to wait 30 hours. You can just get rid of it.

TANDEN: There`s nothing in the Senate that`s natural.


HAYES: It`s an artifice, right?

PATRICK GASPARD, DNC: The Senate is ripening to the point of compost.

HAYES: Right, exactly, it`s rotting, right. It`s a fine line between the

I want to talk about where the White House is on this and why the White
House has not made this more of a priority. Because I think in some ways
the president`s agenda has been the most damaged by the dysfunction of the
filibuster, and also whether Senator Reid is going wobbly on you right
after we take this break.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As climate change threatens the world we leave to our
children and good U.S. jobs move overseas, time in the Senate ticks by. As
women earn less than men for the same jobs, time in the Senate ticks by.
It keeps ticking by with no results, because the system is broken. But we
can fix it and make the Senate work for us again. If our senators work to
end the silent filibuster and for common-sense reforms.


HAYES: That`s a new ad from the Communications Workers of America. It`s
airing this weekend trying to mobilize some public opinion around what can
be a kind of abstract issue.

And just to set the table empirically on what these trends have been, take
a look at this. This is a line graph that shows bills passed as opposed to
closure invoked. Right? So you have how many bills is the Senate passing,
and how often is cloture being invoked. The top blue line is the bills
passed, and you see that go down, and the invocations of cloture is the
bottom line in red, and you see that shoot up. And obviously, those two
things have a lot to do with each other. And given that, and given the
fact that the president has had such an ambitious legislative agenda, why
has the White House not been more outspoken on this? Why has there not
been more pressure from the Oval Office to fix this? Because it seems like
it`s the president`s agenda and in some ways his political capital that`s
been the most hurt by this institution?

GASPARD: Chris, I`m assuming you`re making reference to perhaps the first
two years that the president was in Washington and in the White House where
the filibuster conversation was not central to his agenda and to the
debate. But I point you toward the statements that have been made in the
last few weeks and months by White House spokespeople, by the president
himself, about how the American people rendered a verdict on this kind of
inaction back on November 6th. And it`s pretty clear that we need action
and we need movement in the United States Senate on the DREAM Act, on jobs,
on all of the important reforms.

HAYES: Nominations.

GASPARD: Nominations. I mean, right now, there are 19 judicial
nominations that are sitting in front of the Senate, many with bipartisan
support, that just aren`t moving because of this kind of paralysis, and the
White House is firmly behind the actions of Senator Reid and the leadership
of Senator Udall.

HAYES: Have you talked to the White House?

UDALL: Yes. And every time the president has come before us in terms of a
retreat or anything else, he`s been very strong about -- we`ve got to have
filibuster reform. We`ve got to change the way we do business, and we`ve
got to move in such a way so that we can deal with the agenda, which he`s
laying out there and which we may modify some, but it`s important that we
get to that agenda. Not sit around in a bunch of filibusters.

PSAKI: I think what the senator said is really important here, because
it`s also about reading between the lines of what he says. Now, is he out
giving a speech on filibuster reform every day? No. But I will tell you,
I don`t have any data, but I don`t think 99 percent of the people in this
country know what filibuster reform, cloture, motion to proceed, any of
that is. The question here, if this keeps moving and hopefully it does,
you know, can the president get out there and talk about what this means
for immigration, what it means for guns? And translate it so people
understand it? And that`s one of the reasons that commercial I think was
very effective, and that should be the messaging around this.

HAYES: From where I sit, and I`m sort of in the minority on this, I`m of
the belief 50 years from now people are going to look back and the thing
they are going to care about is whether we stopped the planet from melting
or not.


HAYES: And there`s no way of conceiving of 60 Senate votes in any
iteration, in any configuration of American politics or interest, 60 Senate
of votes for something that prices carbon. I can imagine a universe of the
United States politics that gets 51 votes, but I just can`t ever see 60,
and that to me just seems like that`s -- there`s no way of getting over

UDALL: Chris, it was the filibuster on the health care bill that ran out
the clock that made it so we were unable to deal with the climate change
legislation that had come over from the House.

So it`s clear to me that at every step, if you look, it`s been this silent,
secret, stealth filibuster that`s slowed down progress on the things the
American people really want to see.

TANDEN: I do think, though, there`s been a lot of movement. I mean, a lot
of people were opposed to any reforms two years ago. Because of your
leadership, Senator Merkley`s leadership, there`s been a lot of activity on
this. I think, you know, it`s good that this program is working on it and
we`re talking about it now, but it`s also important to get a lot of
(INAUDIBLE) in the next 24 hours.

HAYES: This conversation has moved, but I want to talk about where the
resistance lies. Because I think there`s kind of institutional
prerogatives. Senator Carl Levin embodying a part of that. Let`s talk
about that after this break.


HAYES: Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, where President Obama
and Vice President Biden are expected momentarily to participate in a
wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

That`s President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden laying wreaths at the
Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, a solemn ceremony in-

The two other events of the day. This morning, Vice President Joe Biden
was sworn in for his second term as vice president in a relatively small
ceremony in his residence at the Naval Observatory. Later in the White
House, President Obama will be sworn in as well. We`ll carry that live
here on MSNBC. All of that is mandated by the Constitution to happen on
this day, January 20th, but tradition has it that if it falls on a Sunday,
the public ceremonies are the following day, so we`ll, of course, be
bringing all of that to you live tomorrow. Hello from Washington!

I`m Chris Hayes and I`m here this morning with Senator Tom Udall, Democrat
from New Mexico. Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress. Jen
Psaki, former Obama 2012 traveling press secretary, and Patrick Gaspard of
the Democratic National Committee.

We were talking about filibuster reform, and Senator Udall has been one of
the most outspoken voices about that. And I think there`s agreement that
the conversation really has moved. There`s an awareness of just how
dysfunctional things have grown, but there`s still resistance. And I want
you to talk about where that resistance comes from both from Republicans,
from Democrats, and from people in Washington more broadly.

UDALL: Sure. And you asked about the issue in terms of Senator Reid and
where`s he at. And I think one of the things we need to remember is five
months ago, he came to the floor and he said, the reformers, Tom Udall and
Jeff Merkley and others, were right. I was wrong. We should have changed
the rules. And so there`s nobody more determined, I think, than Harry Reid
to do this.

And the thing that is important to me is that he`s chosen the
constitutional option to do it. At the beginning of a Congress in the
first legislative day, you can take 51 votes, cut off debate and adopt the
rules. And so really what we`re talking about here is 51 votes. We`d love
to have Republicans, but we have 55 now. And if we pull together, we can
do it.

HAYES: Do you have --

UDALL: And he`s determined to do that. I believe -- I believe we haven`t
gotten to the point -- this is the crucial thing, Chris. What is the plan
going to be? When Harry finally is able to pull it all together, I think
on that day and he walks into the caucus and says -- this is the plan.
This is what we`re going to do. There`s going to be 51 votes for it.

HAYES: You think there will be 51 votes for it?

UDALL: Yes. Yes.

HAYES: And do you think, John Cornyn, who ironically was one of the most
outspoken proponents of changing the filibuster back when the Republicans
had the majority -- which, I should say, the hypocrisy here goes absolutely
in both directions, right? There were tons of liberals saying, oh, my God,
the filibuster, what -- it`s a jewel of democracy, it stops the tyranny.
They were wrong then, I should say.

TANDEN: They never said it ripened.

HAYES: They were wrong, they were wrong, they were wrong. So the
hypocrisy goes on this both ways. But Senator Cornyn has said something I
think that is interesting, which I think accounts for some of the tea leaf
reading we`ve all been doing in the press about where this is at.

He said, "The history of this has been the people get up to the edge of the
abyss, they look into the abyss, they pull back, because what the
majorities realize is that majorities are transient and that today`s
minority can become the majority. What they do to the minority is what
they will have to live with in the future. Usually what that does is
prompts some sort of negotiation, some sort of agreed outcome." The idea
being, sure, you can take this 51-vote majority to change the rules at the
beginning of the session, but do you really want to do that because you`re
going to be setting some dangerous precedents?

Do you think it sets a dangerous precedent?

UDALL: I don`t think it does. I think it brings accountability to the
process. I think if the Senate at the beginning of the Congress, knowing
that there`s been abuse of the rules and the place is dysfunctional and it
isn`t not working, if you step forward and say as a majority, these are the
rules we`re going to function under, this is how it`s going to operate, and
we`re going to get things done, and we`re going to exercise our majority
power, I think that`s a good thing.

But you know, let`s remind people. You say jewels of the democracy, jewels
of democracy.

HAYES: Tongue-in-cheek.

UDALL: I know tongue-in-cheek. The two big accomplishments of the
filibuster, they -- it prevented for 25 years civil rights legislation,
anti-lynching legislation. So if you talk about what the filibuster has
been about, it`s been about preventing progress. That`s why we need to
reform that.

HAYES: As people who are going to be working in politics for a while, do
you worry about --


HAYES: Do you worry about -- I mean, is this precedent-setting thing
something to be concerned about? I`m not concerned about it because I,
basically I believe in democracy, so like that`s --

TANDEN: So anyone on the other side is a totalitarian, is that right?

HAYES: No. They just don`t believe in democracy.



GASPARD: We believe in transparency, we believe in the great conversation.
Tomorrow when the president is being sworn in, all of America is being
invited into this great debate about where we are and where we`re headed
towards, and that should open up and liberalize the conversation and should
not be stymied by these rules.

And listen to us up here. We`re not even speaking common English this
morning. We`re talking about the ripening of cloture. What on earth is
that? People want to know what the Senate is going to do on jobs, on
immigration reform, on all the things that we need to do to continue to
make ourselves competitive, and, yet, here we are talking about --

HAYES: That`s precisely the problem with this, right, is it attenuates the
bonds of democratic accountability, right, precisely because -- you even
see this sometimes, activists will say, so and so is -- supports the bill.
But then is using procedural mechanisms that no one can track to kill it.
So you don`t even know who actually is on your side if you`re trying to
advocate for something.

TANDEN: I think the big challenge with what`s happened in the last couple
of years is really a product of a process that`s gone on for a while, which
is really that the process is so difficult to discern that it makes it --
it makes people much more cynical about what`s happening in their
government, which actually also, in the end, feeds conservatives` views
that government can`t do anything and everything -- anything else.

And so that`s why I think that it`s critical that we do take steps.

Now, the truth is, things are so bad at this point, this Congress -- the
Senate is so unproductive that if you just had people enforce the rules, as
they were meant to be, which is meaning people just be there on the floor,
that would be a huge difference. So, I do think there`s some question
about what steps they have -- what rules they`ll really have to adopt to
make the changes, because the truth is, it`s become so perverted. It lacks
transparency. People have no idea what`s going on. You have to become
totally expert in Senate procedure to even understand what`s going to
happen. Which also feeds armies of lobbyists as well.

UDALL: And, Neera, that`s why if you have senators go to the floor and
lodge that filibuster.

TANDEN: Absolutely.

UDALL: And be there talking, then all of you on the outside, the media,
the public, they say -- what`s going on in the Senate today? Well, senator
so and so is trying to block this thing with a filibuster, and then you can
have the interaction, which is what democracy is all about.

HAYES: And quickly, Senator, we`re talking -- Patrick made this point, I
think, which is true, that all this seems very abstract, there`s a small
percentage of Americans that are tuned into filibuster reform, you know, a
significant majority of whom probably watch this program.


HAYES: But that said, you actually have to stand -- you have to get
elected in the state of New Mexico, right? You have to go talk to voters -
- do you talk to voters about this? And if so, what are those
conversations like?

UDALL: The amazing thing, starting this a little over three years ago, is
that in town hall meetings and discussions and in a variety of settings,
this is a big issue now. People understand it. More than anything, I
think they understand the talking filibuster. The idea that "Mr. Smith
Goes to Washington." And people remember that principled Mr. Smith going
to the Senate floor and trying to fight off the action that was going on.
They think, well, why isn`t that going on now? Well, the Senate is broken.
And we`ve got to restore that, we`ve got to bring that back to the Senate

HAYES: Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico, Neera Tanden of the Center for
American Progress and Jen Psaki, former Obama 2012 traveling press
secretary, thank you all for joining us. That was great.

TANDEN: Thank you.

PSAKI: Thank you.

UDALL: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: All right. The lessons from four years in the White House. That`s


HAYES: Four years ago, President Barack Obama stood on the National Mall
and proclaimed a new era in American politics.


because we`ve chosen hope over fear. Unity of purpose over conflict and
discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances
and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too
long have strangled our politics.


HAYES: Any notion that an Obama administration would bring about an end to
dogma or discord quickly evaporated during early fights of the Obama
presidency, and seemed positively quaint after Republicans assumed control
of the House.

The lessons learned by the administration in the first four years have made
the president today a very different leader, far less conciliatory in tone
and arguably in substance. And the central message of his 2008 campaign,
to change the way Washington functions, has given way to tacit acceptance.
On election night 2012, the president characterized the messy political
process as something not to overcome, but rather to embrace.


OBAMA: Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and
complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply-held
beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as
a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won`t
change after tonight, and it shouldn`t.


HAYES: Joining us now are Bill Burton, executive vice president and
managing director of Global Strategy Group, co-founder of Priorities USA
and former deputy press secretary at the Obama White House. Democratic
Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California, and Senator Sherrod Brown,
Democrat from Ohio. Patrick Gaspard is still here. It`s wonderful to have
you here at the table, really, a pleasure.

Our second producer, Allison Koch (ph), chose those two sound bites. And I
think you don`t want to make too much out of it, it`s just two speeches,
but there`s something I think really interesting about the difference
between the vision in that first bite and the vision in the second. Right?
The vision in the first bite is that discord, conflict are kind of problems
about politics. They`re symptoms of something dysfunctional. And in the
second speech, he, after four years that he gave on that election night, is
conflict is just endemic. Conflict is what politics is about, and there`s
no getting around conflict.

And I think -- do you think that`s one of the main lessons that the
president and the people around the president have taken away, or you in
Congress have taken away?

BILL BURTON, CO-FOUNDER, PRIORITIES USA: I don`t think that anybody could
have guessed just how intransigent Republicans were going to be when
President Obama came into office. The fact that they all were against the
stimulus, they all were against things that even they supported themselves.

HAYES: Two votes for the stimulus.

BURTON: Right.

HAYES: Just a slight correction.

BURTON: No, no, but even the nominees that they support that they would
block, on and on and on. And the fact that the president has to fight on
things like the debt ceiling, that no president has had to fight like he`s
had to fight on. I think sets the tone for what is going to be, you know,
a very, very tough second term.

HAYES: Was the level of Republican intransigence that Bill just talked
about, was a colleague of same Republicans, was it surprising to you? Was
it as surprising to you as it appeared to be surprising to the White House?

REP. BARBARA LEE, D-CALIFORNIA: No. It wasn`t surprising to me, because
that night, they were planning their agenda. And remember, Senator Mitch
McConnell told us very early that their goal and the first priority was to
make sure that President Obama was going to be a one-term president.
Following that, we saw the obstructionist Tea Party Congress willing to
throw the economy and the country under the bus. And so we knew this from
day one, and we just saw how they just said, no, no, no, even to the
president`s jobs agenda.

HAYES: So if you knew it from day one, do you think the White House, do
you think the White House approached it wisely, foolishly, somewhere in
between in terms of the way that they dealt with this kind of opposition?

LEE: Well, of course, the president wanted bipartisan cooperation. He`s
an optimist. He knows the country still wants to come together to do the
job for the American people, and that`s to create jobs and turn the economy
around. And so, I have to give the president a lot of credit because he`s
started from day one. And when I listen now to the Republicans, you would
think that the president never, ever tried. Here I`m there saying, oh, my
God, he`s going too far. He`s doing this, he`s doing that from day one.
We wanted --


LEE: So -- but he was willing to try and I give him a lot of credit.

HAYES: Have you seen, Senator, have you seen an arc in the -- and you`re
someone who is relatively new. I mean, you came in, in 2006, right?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN, D-OHIO: I was in the House.


HAYES: Right, right. But you haven`t been in the Senate for decades,
right? And so you`ve seen this latest crop of Republican kind of
procedural obstruction and so forth. Do you think the White House has
evolved, the president has evolved in the way he approaches this?

BROWN: I think he has. I think Barbara`s comment about Mitch McConnell
saying that his number-one goal was to defeat President Obama in so many
words, almost precisely, that I think that really showed how far they had
come. Because a leader of a party would not have said that a decade ago,
of either party, just like as Bill said, they wouldn`t have fought on
raising the debt ceiling.

So I think the president wanted, as Barbara said, the president wanted to
cooperate, wanted to see bipartisanship, wanted to see some way of moving
forward together and pulling people together in this country, but I think
he`s realized -- and there are hundreds of examples now, and a half dozen
really prominent examples -- where they simply won`t work together and
won`t compromise. And I think the president, who tried so hard, and
through his whole life was a pretty good convener and pretty good, good
consensus-builder in his previous jobs leading up to this, realized this is
a whole different league and a whole different crowd of people he`s dealing

HAYES: Yes, and I want to talk about if that is now the dawning
realization that is more broadly shared. Right? I mean, I think it took a
while where people now have come to, particularly in the center left, among
Democrats and activists and progressive groups and people on Capitol Hill,
that this is the way things are going to be, what that means for the second
term. Let`s talk about that right after this break.


HAYES: Quick real-time correction. I said that two Republicans have voted
for the Recovery Act. Senator Sherrod Brown pointed out it was three, one
of them was Arlen Specter, who subsequently switched parties.

BROWN: One of the other two has left. So--

HAYES: So there`s only one left.


GASPARD: -- occasion to switching parties.

HAYES: Yes, and that story has not been finished yet.

I want to play two other bites from the president that show I think some of
this trajectory in terms of thinking about compromise. The first one is
him talking about the debt ceiling, the impending debt ceiling fight in
2011, in which he essentially urges a compromise. Right? He`s talking
about a grand bargain, and the second is him talking about the debt ceiling
more recently, in which he basically says, I`m not going to compromise.
Take a look.


OBAMA: I`m asking you all to make your voice heard. If you want a
balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your member of Congress
know. If you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send
that message. America, after all, has always been a grand experiment in

One thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay
the tab for a bill they`ve already racked up. If Congress refuses to give
the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences
for the entire global economy could be catastrophic. The last time
Congress threatened this course of action, our entire economy suffered for


HAYES: All right. The trajectory of the perspective on compromise.

GASPARD: You know, Chris, that`s an entertaining contrast, but I think I
have a little bit of a minority opinion here. I think that some of this is
just a bit overstated.

HAYES: Please, yes.

GASPARD: -- first in your preamble setting up this section, to assume that
when the president was delivering that speech in 2009, that he did not
understand just how difficult the road ahead would be and just how much
resistance he would get from the other party I think understates the
sophistication that this man has about politics, and he knew what the
moment was in 2009.

I think that right now what you`re seeing from this president is a clarity
in his sense of what the opportunity is of the moment. He understands what
we`ve come to -- and let`s be clear. When he was talking about an end to
that kind of resistance, he meant paralyzing resistance. We did get health
care done. We have moved the economy forward, did some important things,
enhanced important civil rights reforms in this country as well. So the
president was saying, we`re not going to be paralyzed by this level of
opposition, we`re going to move forward as a people and make meaningful

And I think right now, your -- the clips that you are putting up show a
more muscular president. Coming off of what happened in Connecticut
recently, I think the president is very clear about what needs to be done
to make sure we protect all of America, and continue to move forward on
important things.

HAYES: But I think the president`s posture has unquestionably been more
aggressive and forward-leaning towards Republican obstruction, it just
didn`t last several months.

BROWN: And I think the deal that was struck on the 31st, 1st, end of the
year, beginning of the year, in some ways was an affirmation that trickle-
down economics does not work. Tax cuts for the rich don`t trickle down and
create the middle class and provide opportunity for people to join the
middle class. You build the middle class -- you build the economy from the
middle class out, and I think the president -- I think that agreement spoke
to that, and I think the president has always understood that, and is going
to govern with that in mind much more in the years ahead.

HAYES: You know, you say that, but then -- but one of the things I think
that`s interesting is in the history of the post 2010 elections in which
he`s had this Republican House to work with, right, all the reporting
behind the scenes about the many different interactions and negotiations
they`ve had have been about working towards, quote, entitlement reform, my
least favorite phrase. Gutting social insurance, basically, betraying
promises they made to people.

That -- and that the Republicans have been their worst enemy in that the
president has been willing to make a deal, and the Republicans have
squashed the deal again and again. And the question is, given that, are
you confident the White House is not going to offer some kind of deal like
raising the eligibility age or cuts to Social Security benefits in this
next iteration of negotiations?

LEE: I`m very confident of that. And I`ll tell you why, Chris. We had an
election. And elections have consequences, and the American people said
very clearly, no cuts to Social Security, no cuts to Medicare. And no cuts
to Medicaid.

Now, of course, there are ways to address efficiencies. We could allow for
the bulk purchase of prescription drugs. You know, there are ways you can
save money. But I think the public is very clear, and, you know, I`m
confident that the president is not going to go there.

HAYES: But Congresswoman, I remember there was a week or two there where
raising the --


HAYES: Raising the eligibility age on Medicare, which is a terrible policy

LEE: But again, members of Congress, Progressive Caucus, the Black Caucus,
Hispanic Caucus, Asian Pacific American Caucus, Democratic Caucus, all of
us said, no way that that could happen, because we know what the impacts of
this could be. It was terrible.

BROWN: And building on what she said, I think that`s where the public
weighs in, and that`s why people that care about protecting Pell grants and
preserving Social Security and Medicare, not playing games with the cost of
living adjustment, not raising the retirement age on Medicare, the kinds of
things that really matter to people`s lives, that people have to weigh in.
And it`s great that members of Congress have spoken up, and Barbara has
been a leader in that. Tom Udall, just on this show, has been a leader on
that, but we need the public really engaged to make sure the president --
the old FDR story, the president met with a group of progressives and he
said, I agree with you, now make me do it. And President Obama is strong
and he is focused, but the public needs to keep him on this course and make
sure that the compromises don`t break these promises you`re talking about.

BURTON: I think that`s exactly right. The issue is that if you look at
Washington and how broken it is, I think that there`s a crisis in
governance that`s been -- that we`ve gotten to because of the crisis in
politics. The American people themselves are divided. And there`s been no
price the Republicans have paid for their intransigence in Washington. And
so the Republican House was reelected. If you look at even the

HAYES: With a million less votes than the Democratic members of Congress

BURTON: Right, but still reelected.

HAYES: No, right, no, I`m saying because of redistricting.

BURTON: Exactly, exactly, but even if you look at the president`s approval
rating at 52 percent right now, a historic low for where presidents
generally are when they get reelected, there isn`t the same kind of
political pressure on Republicans to work with the president and actually
get the kind of deals that would be good for the American people that you
would hope in order to get those changes.

HAYES: You just made this point about how Washington works. And I want to
talk about that, because one of the themes of that `08 election was not
just substantive legislative accomplishments, substantive governing agenda,
including things around on climate and the economy and health care, right,
it was also structural changes to how Washington works. And I want to talk
whether that`s been abandoned or whether that`s been made good on right
after this break.


HAYES: So in April of 2008, the president was campaigning, and he talked
about -- and this was one of the themes, I think one of the rallying cries
of the first Obama campaign was about not just delivering substantive
policy, but also changing the way Washington works. Right? That was a
part of the 2008 theme. Here he is in April of 2008 making the case.


OBAMA: We`ve got to change how business is done in Washington. The
problem we`ve got in Washington has to be fixed. The problem of lobbyists
and special interests and big money dominating the agenda and the American
people not being heard.


HAYES: And then, this is the president four years later, in September of
2012, in an interview basically saying I learned you can`t really change
Washington from the inside. Take a look.


OBAMA: One of the things I learned after four years is it reminded me that
the change doesn`t come from the inside. You got to change Washington from
the outside. You change it with the help of ordinary Americans, who are
willing to have their voices heard.


HAYES: Bill, I want to talk to you about this, because that big money
special interest quote in the beginning, right, the idea that big money and
special interest dominate. The White House explicitly -- we know they
negotiated with pharma, they negotiated with a lot of interests over
getting the Affordable Care Act passed. You headed up an allied super PAC,
a product of the Citizens United decision, that the president condemned in
the State of the Union, that a lot of Democrats, you know, a decision a lot
of people don`t like. There`s now going to be a 501(c)4 headed up by Jim
Messina, right, this is the latest iteration of Obama for America that is
going to use essentially the same structure as Karl Rove`s group, right?
So the question is, has the president kind of acclimated himself to
essentially playing by those same rules?

GASPARD: I love that you`re about to make our friend Bill the spokesperson
for big money and special interests.

HAYES: I didn`t (INAUDIBLE) the super PAC. He had a super PAC. Don`t
look at me.

BURTON: No, it`s true. You know what, it`s a big problem. There`s too
much money in politics, and super PACs shouldn`t exist. And the way
501(c)4`s are allowed to be run is a disaster for democracy, because it
does drown out regular folks. And the fact that somebody like Sheldon
Adelson can spend $100 million trying to influence a presidential election,
while regular folks who are supposed to have the same rights and privileges
under our Constitution to impact the political system, don`t.

And I think what you see from the president is a realization that, to
paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you`re dealing with the rules that you have,
not the rules you wish you had. And so in this environment where
Republicans are spending hundreds of millions of dollars, they spent $100
million to try to defeat health care reform, you have to ask the question -
- well, what are Democrats going to do? What are progressives going to do
to stand up and make sure that our voices and our values aren`t drowned out
because of the system that we`re in right now?

LEE: Yes. And you know what? We have got to overturn Citizens United.
We need a constitutional amendment to do that, and we need public financing
of campaigns, but I agree with Bill. Until we get there, and the public
has got to push to get us there, we have to defeat some of this very --
this agenda that is really destroying the country, and also, our democracy.
It`s making the voices of ordinary people, what is happening now, this
undisclosed corporate money in politics is shrinking our democratic
process. It`s allowing corporations to dominate the political agenda, and
the voices of the American people are being diminished.

HAYES: But then what are we going to do about it? Senator, you`ve been
talking, you have been very outspoken about this. You saw a ton of outside
money come into your race, a ton of outside money. What, you know, I feel
like what ends up happening on this issue is we talk about it and then we
move on. I understand why we do it, but we talk about it and then we move
on to fighting over guns or immigration or whatever, and these kind of
structural, procedural questions get sidelined.

BROWN: Well, I think there`s a couple of things we should do. We -- the
NRA, we think -- we know spent at least $700,000 in my race in outside
money. That`s some of the only money we can actually identify where it
came from. They spent $40 million total.

We, in part, made it an issue that it`s the oil companies that are coming
in, it`s Wall Street coming in against me. But that`s not necessarily
heard by the voters you want to reach, the low-information voters are
likely not going to vote on that issue, but I think that`s tactically what
you do in a campaign. But when a number of Democrats I hear say, well, we
beat this big money this year, it`s not that big a deal.

HAYES: Thank God for Bill Burton.

BROWN: Yes, well, thank God for Bill Burton, but thank God, too, that we
had better candidates around the country. Look at North Dakota, look at
Montana, look at Missouri, a lot of these states, Indiana, we had better
candidates. That`s one of the reasons we won. We had a better
presidential candidate, to be sure. That`s one of the reasons we won, and
it was just sort of the times. We had the auto rescue in the industrial
Midwest, we had what we had done with Lilly Ledbetter, all of those issues.

So I think, though, that--

HAYES: So you think there`s a little complacency about it?

BROWN: Yes, I think -- well, there`s already some complacency, and we sort
of moved on. But you know, whether -- how we get a constitutional
amendment is arduous, to put it mildly. It`s -- we need a change in the
Supreme Court. We need to pursue a constitutional amendment, as Barbara
said, we need to always -- this is always a major issue and organize. We
have got to continue to organize around this, and using this and talking
about this, because our democracy can`t sustain this kind of money.

GASPARD: And we`re continuing to organize, Senator. I think one of the
most important developments certainly for progressives and I think for all
Americans is the fact that the president and his team have decided that
they`re going to go to into Obama 3.0, right? They`re launching organizing
for action to make it clear that 20 million Americans who gave some measure
of themselves during the campaign are going to continue to have their
voices heard and their aspirations expressed in Washington. D.C.

In your clips, in showing these contrasts with the president, I think the
real contrast is when Barack Obama walked into the White House in January
of 2009, he was looking inward and thinking about how he was going to do
this, and now he appreciates that those 20 million Americans and all
Americans have to walk through that door with him and have to continue to
agitate and agitate and agitate.

HAYES: I think Barack Obama is president of the United States for a lot of
reasons, one of which is he got up at a small rally in Chicago when he was
a state senator and said, this war in Iraq is unwise. And I think that
that -- the president`s arc in terms of national security policy and civil
liberties is very interesting over the first term. I want to talk about
that, especially with the only member of Congress, the only member of
Congress to vote against the authorization for the use of military force
just a few weeks after September 11th. Barbara Lee, right here, we`ll talk
about that after this break.


HAYES: As I said before the break, Barbara Lee, you voted against the
authorization of the use of military force. That was a resolution voted on
by both Houses of Congress in the wake of September 11. And the lone
member of Congress to do so, you`ve been a very outspoken critic of
American foreign policy and of the war in Iraq, called for the war in
Afghanistan to be drawn down.

And I`m curious, when you think about the president`s trajectory on
national security issues, what your sense is of where he is, taking the
oath of office as he will be in just a little bit now, as opposed to four
years ago?

LEE: Sure. Certainly, the president has changed direction from the
previous Bush administration as it relates to global peace and security.
And, yes, I had to vote against that resolution, which was the
authorization to use force. It was a blank check for us. It just said,
the president, any president, is authorized to use force, any time, any
place, anywhere, against any nation, any individual, any organization he or
she deems connected to 9/11.

HAYES: Right.

LEE: That was a blank check.


LEE: Yeah. And so we have to repeal that. I want to repeal it and I`m
working toward that. I think this president, he ended the war in Iraq. He
made that commitment. With regard to Afghanistan, he`s drawn down. Of
course, there`s some of us in a bipartisan way, hundreds (ph) of members of
Congress. We wrote to the president and said, look, you need to expedite
this. There`s no military solution. We need to bring our young men and
women home right away in a safe and orderly fashion. Don`t wait until
2014. Let`s begin this now, and end it. And nation building you know,
with the resources, the billions, trillions of dollars that are being

BROWN: I think the American public more and more would emphasize what
Barbara just said about investing in this country. We now how woefully
inadequate our infrastructure is as a nation. You know, water, sewer,
highways, broadband, community colleges, all the things that we need to do

I would give the president credit. I wanted him to wind down faster, both
in Iraq and Afghanistan than he did. There were number (INAUDIBLE), but he
did it responsibly and he did it generally in the right way. I think
another point of what the president`s done is he really took foreign policy
off the table politically in this country for Democrats, which no
Democratic candidate or incumbent has done.

HAYES: Off the table because of the broad popularity?

BROWN: Yeah, in terms of he had enough consensus in his policy that he
could -- the Democrats couldn`t be attacked as being weak on defense, which
has been a problem for more than a generation.

HAYES: Yeah.

BROWN: And that allowed all of us to focus more on domestic issues.
That`s a good thing.

HAYES: Right.

BROWN: Some of the ways he did it so sometimes I don`t always agree with,
but I think the success measured that way is pretty significant.

HAYES: Well, I mean, I`ve been someone on this program, quite critical of
the national security policy of this administration. We -- I should note
sometimes it gets a little glossed over. You know, Iraq was the defining
political battle of, you know, the formative years of a lot of people in
this country. And the president did end the war in Iraq, it was a promise
he made, he did get it done. And I think once the war in Iraq was
finished, it was all kind of looked at as like kind of a fait accompli,
like obviously, we were going to end the war, but it wasn`t necessarily
obvious back in 2008 that the war would end. And I think if John McCain
had been elected, it very well might ...

BROWN: And we might be somewhere else.

BURTON: Right. Well, it`s a big difference -- the big difference between
2008 and 2012 is that in `08 we had this big national debate about the war
in Iraq. And it`s one that the things the president wanted, it`s in large
part why he is president now. But in 2012, because Mitt Romney basically
ceded most of foreign policy to President Obama and the Republicans have
come off as, if not weak, at least with the president on a lot of the
things that he`s for, the American people I think, actually lost out on
what`s usually a very important part of a presidential election, which is a
debate about some of these big things that America is doing on their
behalf. You know, whether it`s the drone program or Afghanistan or
whatever it is, we just didn`t really talk about it that much because there
is mostly agreement.

GASPARD: Yeah, Republicans reduced the foreign policy conversation to
whether or not the president was on an apology tour.

HAYES: Right. And Mitt Romney, I mean I said this sitting at the anchor
desk on the night of the third debate about foreign policy, in which Mitt
Romney basically agreed that -- more than he disagreed and said, you know,
yeah, we should debate these things. Right? I mean disagreement is
important. And I think ...

LEE: Can I just say, we need to -- in this context, look at the Pentagon`s
budget now and really understand that we can save quite a bit of money.


LEE: The cost savings at the Pentagon are enormous. And when we talk
about sequester and when we talk about investment in jobs, we need to go to
the Pentagon. We can keep a strong national security without -- you know,
we can have these savings ...

HAYES: Right.

LEE: ... and maintain a strong national ...


HAYES: And the president made the case (INAUDIBLE) during the campaign,
and one -- and the final point I would make here and I think just to return
to what you were saying. You know, we have seen something, I think,
similar to what happened when Truman gave way to Eisenhower, which was the
kind of passing of baton of the Cold War from one party to the next, and
that, you know, the National Security Act that was passed under Truman that
created this architecture that`s persisted since. We still have the
National Security Council, we still live with the National Security Act
that that created. We have now seen a war on terror, even though it`s not
called that, pass from a Republican president to a Democrat, and I think
repealing the authorization to use the military force is a key step for
Congress to assert its -- for Congress to assert its prerogative, and also
to declare that that era is over even if al-Qaeda is not totally
vanquished, that we`re moving into a new place, and I think that`s a really
important thing for viewers to keep their eyes on and follow.

All right, what you should know for the news week ahead. Coming up next.


HAYES: In just a moment, what we should know for the news week ahead. But
first, a quick personal update. I will be moderating a panel discussion on
human rights and the national security policies of the Obama administration
at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University
this Wednesday, January 23rd. Event starts at 4:30 p.m. For more
information, go to our Facebook page, And while
you are there, like us, so you can get updates throughout the week on
everything we`re doing here at UP. It`s weird to say like us, but that`s
how it goes.

All right, so what you should know for the week coming up. Well, you
should know that if you want an official response from the White House to
your petition on its "We, the People" website, you`re now going to have to
get a lot more signatures. When "We the People" was launched in 2011,
petitions were required to get 5,000 signatures before they garnered a
White House response. But the site grew very quickly in popularity, and
then the threshold was pushed up to 25,000.

Now, with continued viral growth, the White House has announced it will
from this point forward require 100,000 signatures before guaranteeing a
response. You should know the new requirement won`t apply to those
petitions that have already been posted to the site, like, for instance,
the petition to remove U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz in response to her
prosecution of Aaron Swartz for downloading too many free scholarly
articles, which his family says led to his suicide.

You should know that this Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of the Supreme
Court`s Roe v. Wade decision finding women have a constitutional right to
choose to terminate their own pregnancies.

You should know the latest polling from Pew on public opinion about
abortion finds 63 percent of Americans opposed to overturning Row v. Wade,
with just 29 percent favoring scrapping the decision. That`s fairly
consistent with polling from 20 years ago, when 60 percent favored
upholding Roe and 34 percent wanted to see it reversed. Somewhat
remarkably, 48 percent of Republicans -- 48 percent of Republicans don`t
want Roe overturned, more than the 46 percent who do.

You should also know that in March, 2006, only about a third of poll
respondents said abortion was an issue that was, quote, "not that
important." While in this last poll, a slim majority of respondents said
that. And you should also know that a majority of those aged 18 to 29
either didn`t know or could not correctly identify the Roe v. Wade
decision. You should know that complacency over basic rights is a
dangerous thing, indeed.

Finally, you should know the president will actually be sworn into office
later today because the Constitution requires it to happen on January 20th,
but you should know that at least as far back as President Eisenhower, when
an inauguration day falls on a Sunday, the president is sworn in in a quiet
short ceremony with the big ceremony held the following day. You should
know we will have live coverage of President Obama`s official swearing in
later this morning on the "MHP" program, and we will be covering tomorrow`s
big ceremony, the inauguration speech the parade and more right here on
MSNBC tomorrow beginning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time and continuing with
special coverage throughout the day. And magically, I am now back in my

I want to find out what my guests think we (INAUDIBLE) -- what we should
know for the week coming up. And we`ll begin with you, Patrick?

GASPARD: You should know about Richard Blanco, who is the inaugural poet.
Since the American journey is always about a search for a unified national
identity, I think it`s impressive that a young Cuban American is going to
give expression to exactly who we are and where we are going. And in the
words of one of his poems, let nothing that happened here be forgotten by
us. And let`s all lean in and see if we can find a part of the American
identity in his language.

HAYES: Richard Blanco also an engineer, which I find fascinating. Sherrod

BROWN: You should know more about the $8 billion bank settlement. I did a
series of roundtables in Ohio this week, talked to a lot of people who have
wrongfully, through malfeasance of misfeasance have been foreclosed on by
banks. There`s some thought that that $8 billion fees that the $8 billion
the banks are paying could be deductible against their federal taxes as
were the dollars that BP paid for the clean-up. That`s absolutely -- that
is something Congress needs to stop if it comes to that. And at the same
time, the largest six banks and the power they have, we need to break up
the banks and move bipartisanly, which we`ve began to do on that issue.

HAYES: I agree. Congresswoman Barbara Lee?

LEE: You should know that in 2005, I pulled together several members of
Congress to form the Out of Poverty Caucus. We realized then that the
bankrupt policies, the economic policies and the foreign policies of the
Bush administration would lead to a spike in poverty. Unfortunately, now
50 million people are living in poverty, 16 million are children. We
passed a bipartisan resolution to cut poverty in half several years ago.
Now we need a national strategy, a national plan to end poverty. It`s a
shame and disgrace that we have 50 million people in America living in

HAYES: Quickly, Bill Burton.

BURTON: Well, then just real fast, you should know that when the Roe v.
Wade decision came down, I just looked at the New York Times coverage of
this, the lead sentence of the story was, "finally settling a long
contentious policy debate in America." Not so much.

HAYES: Nothing is ever settled in politics. The first rule of politics is
nothing is ever settled in politics.

I want to thank my guests today, former Obama Deputy Press Secretary Bill
Burton, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Senator Sherrod Brown and Patrick
Gaspard of the Democratic National Committee, thank you all.

Our thanks to everyone here at the Washington bureau who are amazing for
their hospitality and excellence during our visit this weekend. Thank you
at home for joining us. We`ll be back in New York next weekend, Saturday
and Sunday 8:00 Eastern time.

Coming up next is the one and only Melissa Harris-Perry. Remember to join
me, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews and just about the entire rest of the
network for MSNBC`s inauguration day coverage tomorrow. We`ll see you next
week here on UP.


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