ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
May 3, 2013
Guest: Eryn Sepp, Kelly Posner, Avik Roy, Richard Kim, Dr. Valerie
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Tonight on ALL IN, if you thought the Tea Party went away, think again
friends. They are still here and they`re still to kill Obamacare.
And while the cable world was hyperventilating about Reese
Witherspoon`s arrest, I`ll tell you about the big stories that got shafted
And, of course, #click3.
But, we begin tonight with a premature and probably politically ill-
advised victory lap going on right now in Houston, Texas. The National
Rifle Association`s annual meeting and exhibition is in full swing tonight,
and one of the clear themes to emerge among today`s star-studded cast among
convention speakers was victory.
Victory over the expansion background checks for gun buyers which went
down last month under a filibuster -- a proposal the NRA was itself, let`s
remember, invited to help negotiate. The NRA, of course, politely accepted
the offer, helped water down the proposal, and then swiftly put everything
it had into defeating it.
That was admittedly a semi-impressive, if kind of gross and unseemly
party trick on the part of the NRA. But it`s a trick they are incredibly
proud of today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: You fought and you beat President
Obama`s misguided gun control proposals.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: His package of legislation that would have
undermined in the Second Amendment in Washington looked like an unstoppable
FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: You can point to what
you just accomplished over these last few months, when the entire tide of
the national media and population culture was trying to erode a fundamental
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, the NRA helped kill the expansion of background checks
proposed in the Senate last month and, yes, that proposal small and popular
and seemed at first likely to pass.
This is not the big victory of tonight`s NRA speakers seem to think it
is. Quite the opposite, in fact, because celebrating the victory of
killing background checks last month is a narrative in which the story ends
But story did not end last month. Since then, we`ve learned from
research done by Public Policy Polling that more than half a dozen senators
from both parties who voted with the NRA to kill background checks are
suffering in the polls a as a result. And the president, vice president
and top Senate Democrat behind the background check bill have all vowed to
And here is the strategic problem for the NRA as this political fight
continues: the NRA purports to be a nonpartisan group. And that`s where
their power lies, in being non-partisan, in keeping Democrats in parts of
the country with high gun ownership afraid to cost them. That is something
the NRA in past has been successful.
Until recently, Senator Harry Reid himself was one of those Democrats.
He is after all from a gun friendly state, was endorsed for reelection and
endorsed in 2004, and the same year, probably not coincidentally, he did
not support extending the assault weapons ban and even when the NRA didn`t
enforce him in 2010, he was still maintaining a B-rating from them.
The NRA has been such a major political power because they`ve been
able to hold sway over moderate red and purple state Democrats like Harry
Reid. But as NRA becomes more and more clearly a partisan right wing
organization, it loses sway over not only to Harry Reids of the world, but
moderate Republicans who are taking hits for towing the increasingly
unpopular NRA line.
People are starting to recognize that the NRA is not a nonpartisan
organization. It`s a creature of the American political right. It is
interested in victories by the American political right. It grows out of
the culture of the American political right. It has increasingly come to
embrace the fringe margins of the American political right.
And if you want tangible evidence of that, just look at who is
speaking at tonight`s conference -- Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, John Bolton --
John Bolton, seriously, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, Sarah
Palin, Scott Walker. This could be the lineup for the closing night of
In fact, Sarah Palin showed up with pretty much the same material she
used in her CPAC speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKAGOVERNOR: I`ll tell you, the mayor
trying to ban the big gulp? Last time I saw some of my friends who are at
the NRA convention, last time I was, I was on stage doing a speech using a
visual image to make a point about the big gulp ban. I took a sip of a big
gulp -- you know, a visual that works.
Well, now I see that the mayor of New York now wants to ban public
displays of legal tobacco product. Can you -- I tell ya. Don`t make me do
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And that is a pretty hilarious performance trick.
Of course, the last time she saw her friends at NRA conference was
CPAC earlier this year. It`s just another stop on the right wing road
Listening to any of the NRA speeches tonight, it`s clear that this is
not some broad nonpartisan Second Amendment movement. This is a far right
fringe movement full of exactly the kind of non-gun-related pet causes
you`d expect to hear from any other far right fringe movement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Most of all, thank you to so many
people o there who helped us out in the recall election last June.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: I want to thank the men and women of
the NRA for standing with Governor Romney and me during the campaign last
SANTORUM: President Obama in this last campaign said he wanted to
JINDAL: This president promised Americans hope and change when he
first ran for office. Instead, he is giving us borrow and spend.
FORMER AMB. JOHN BOLTON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: The war on terrorism
is far from over. First, in Benghazi on September 11th.
CRUZ: For some reason, the Obama liberals want to disregard the Tenth
Amendment and are trying to implement Obamacare and take away our
SAMBOLIN: Forcing people against their will to purchase healthcare
policies that are against their religious beliefs.
JINDAL: He doesn`t believe we can trust Americans to make smart
PALIN: When the mainstream media stays silent, what a monstrous mass
murderer of innocent babies finally goes to trial, they stay silent? They
are helping freedom destroy itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You`ll notice, there was nothing in that montage about guns at
all. Nothing about guns.
The NRA`s power absolutely depends on being able to channel the
mainstream of gun ownership in America. But don`t confuse the 10 million
gun owners in this country with the gang on stage.
While they did win the short term victory with the background check
bill, that vote could ultimately prove to be the NRA`s undoing, because in
a lot of ways, it`s a classic wedge issue vote, in that it separated the
NRA from mainstream gun owners.
And if they lean into that vote as they appear to be doing, and
mistake it for victory, they might be spelling their own demise, because
Americans will come more and more to see them for what they are, which is a
right wing fringe organization.
And as soon as they become known primarily as a fringe organization,
rather than the mainstream representative of governors everywhere, they
become less powerful. Nothing better exemplified that shift than the man
who`s about to take over as NRA`s next president. His name is Jim Porter.
Here`s just a taste of his politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM PORTER, INCOMING NRA PRESIDENT: It was started by some Yankee
generals, who didn`t like the way my Southern boys had the ability to
shoot, and in what we call the "War of Northern Aggression." Now, y`all
might call it the Civil War, but we call it the "War of Northern
Aggression" down South.
Our most greatest charges that we can have today is to train the
civilian in the use of the standard military firearm, so when they have to
fight for their country, they are toward do it. Also, when they are ready
to fight tyranny, they are toward do it. Also, when they are ready to
fight tyranny, they have the wherewithal and weapons to do it.
I charge you ladies and gentlemen, that that is a very important
charge for all of us to take up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is a new president of the NRA.
Last night, I stood here and talked about a gun culture that
manufacturers and designs and markets guns for kids. I got a lot of
responses from people rightly pointing out there are many different kinds
of gun culture. Gun culture is not a unified thing.
The organization we are talking about tonight is an organization that
is wedded to the darkest part of gun culture, the most paranoid, the part
that`s into armor-piercing bullets, the part that won`t even tolerate the
idea that anyone would object to a 5-year-old being given a gun. That`s
the part of gun culture the NRA represents, and that`s the part of gun
culture the NRA is committed to promoting and advancing.
Joining me tonight is Eryn Sepp with the Center for American Progress
Action Fund. She is a gun owner, a veteran and an NRA member.
And, Eryn, it`s pleasure for to you join me.
I want to begin with the question, why are you an NRA member?
ERYN SEPP, NRA MEMBER & GUN OWNER: Chris, that`s a great question. I
work at a very progressive think tank in Washington. People ask me that
all the time -- mainly people who have never touched a firearm before.
I`m a veteran. I`m a gun owner. I had the pleasure of working at a
civilian firearm range when I came home from Iraq and didn`t know what to
do with myself. And so, I got to see both sides of it. I got to see the
military side of the culture where the purpose is to do violence on behalf
of other Americans who maybe aren`t willing to pick up a firearm themselves
and that`s fine.
And then I got see the civilian side where it was more for training
and the precision of skill and marksmanship. And I don`t see any of that
reflected in the tweets and reports coming out of the NRA conference
tonight. It`s truly disheartening.
HAYES: What is disheartening about it? Because, you know, the
question here is, there`s an emotional and visceral appeal to guns, to gun
ownership, to gun culture, to shooting as an activity. And then there`s
membership of the NRA, which you have chosen to do. And you didn`t answer
the question of why you are a member, right? I mean, that is the question.
And then there`s a question of what the NRA is doing politically on
behalf of its members.
SEPP: You may know that Adolphus Busch resigned and made a big
statement saying that. Saying, `I`m withdrawing my lifetime membership,
saying, I don`t want to be a part of this any more."
Well, Chris, you said it, the NRA is very powerful. I would hate to
think that someone with my values about the Second Amendment, that it is my
right to bear arms, just as it is your right or anyone else`s right to not
bear arms or to not be affected by gun violence.
I think that`s the other side of it.
I don`t think that people like me, people who believed that there
should be background checks. That is common sense as firearm sales that we
should flee from the NRA. If anything, we need to be more represented.
And I think we are.
Even before Sandy Hook, reports came out that three out of four NRA
members support common sense background checks. So I don`t really think
that I`m in the minority.
HAYES: So, then, how --
SEPP: in wanting to be represented.
HAYES: Right. So, then how is it the case? And I should say there`s
a hundred million gun owners. And I think I said 10 and was off by a
factor of ten. And 100 million gun owners in the country is part of the
reason for the power here, right?
How is it the case that NRA has -- you know, you worked for Center of
American Progress. You`re on my little liberal television show. You`re
sitting here and that`s not the folks who are in the room in Houston,
Texas, who are driving the agenda for this organization. So, how do you
close that gap?
SEPP: I got to tell you, I`m a little concerned about the stand and
fight rally that`s going on tomorrow. I got to tell you, I put on the
uniform, I stood, I fought, and what I want to see tomorrow isn`t a rally
of people saying, let`s all get together and hate the other side.
What I would like to see is everyone -- the kind of rally I would like
to see is hey, let`s sit down. Let`s chill. Let`s breath and talk to the
other side, because the so-called gun culture isn`t necessarily a culture
that`s reflective of me or the other gun owners that I know. It has turned
into this culture of fear that they`re going to take away our guns. And
that`s simply not true, Chris.
And the other side is guilty of it too. I see Web sites like
stopthenra.com coming out. And I think to myself, hey, wait a minute, I`m
the NRA. I want common sense background checks. I want my well-regulated
militia as written in the Second Amendment. Don`t try to stop me.
HAYES: When you were working at the gun range, how much of the
culture there was informed by precisely this kind of fear about the
government overreach and how much of the emphasis of the culture is on the
aspect of gun ownership that is about as Jim Porter said, being able to
strike when tier any happens? The idea that guns need to be stockpiled for
the eventuality and we just saw polling out which showed very high
percentage of Republicans believing in armed rebellion might be necessary,
How much driving the culture in the range that you worked in was a
culture that was driven by the fear of the moment when tyranny became so
intense that Americans had to take up arms against it?
SEPP: Well, Chris, I was in Los Angeles. And if you know anything
about Los Angeles and Los Angeles firearm regulations, it is some of the
strictest in the country. Maybe New Jersey and New York can rival us.
But we rented guns. We sold ammunition. We gave fire instruction
every Saturday and Sunday. It didn`t affect our sales. The people there
seemed happy that -- I mean, they weren`t necessarily pleased with the 10-
day waiting period that is in California.
But I got to tell you, it probably prevented a lot of people from
coming in even making a hot-headed decision about a firearm purchase. It
didn`t hurt our sales any. We felt very safe. Then the emphasis there was
more on training and marksmanship and the art of marksmanship that I`ve
come to love. And not on these political ideologies that are clearly
polarizing. Who wants to come to the table with rhetoric like that?
HAYES: Eryn, if Wayne LaPierre is watching the show right now and
watches this interview and said, you know what, we should put her on stage
on Saturday and you got a chance to go down to Houston and talk to the
folks in that -- what would you tell them?
SEPP: Well, I think that`s two different audiences for me. If I`m
talking about Jim Porter and I`m talking about Wayne LaPierre and then I`m
talking about the other gun members. To Jim Porter and to Wayne LaPierre,
I`d say, you make this as transparent as possible. We are supposed to be a
nonprofit nonpartisan organization, what happened.
There are people, good people, who have been affected by gun violence.
There are people that haven`t been affected by gun violence and they don`t
want to be. And they have every right not to be affected by gun violence.
They want to come to the table with us right now and we need to do it.
To the membership, I say, speak your mind in whatever forum that you
can. Take to the internet. Take to the stage. And speak your mind. Say
like I am saying, that we support common sense background checks. If it
saves one life, it`s worth it.
HAYES: Eryn Sepp of the Center for American Progress Fund, NRA
member, Iraq war vet, thank you so much for joining us tonight. I really
SEPP: Thank you so much, Chris.
HAYES: More than 32,000 gun-related fatalities per year. It may
surprise you how two thirds of the deaths occur and why that number is
getting larger. That`s next.
HAYES: Update on a story recovered earlier this week. We told you
about Kiera Wilmot, a Florida teenager who was expelled from school and
faces felony charges as an adult for experimenting with chemicals and water
bottles on school grounds. Coming to her defense, scientist like Dr.
Andrew Taylor (ph), a deep sea biologist, encouraged fellow scientists to
share their own experiments on Twitter with the #kierawilmot.
A sample, "We set a dummy on fire and threw it off the roof of
(INAUDIBLE) on VHS for our physics class video." And, "I`ve blown up way
too much for 140 characters."
It`s good to see support but Kiera is no way out of the woods. We
will continue to follow this story.
And you can follow us on Twitter @allinwithchris.
We`ll be right back.
HAYES: When talking about guns, I think sometimes there`s a tendency
for the pro-gun side to focus on rights and for the gun safety side it talk
about murders. But then there is the issue that seems least talked about.
And that`s that the more than 322,000 firearm-related deaths in 2011,
almost 20,000, 62 percent were suicides. Suicide just might be the only
form of gun violence that an ordinary law abiding person is most likely to
consider and carry out.
There are plenty of other people in this country who do not have
access to a gun, who according to a new report from the Centers for Disease
Control published today, are killing themselves in an alarming rate,
especially middle aged Americans.
The study shines a light on the face of suicide in America and the
tremendously desperate statistics. From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate
among middle-age Americans jumped almost 30 percent. That increase is more
pronounced among men in their 50s, a group in which suicide rates jump
nearly 50 percent in over a decade.
And the numbers are even more striking if you break them down by race.
The suicide rate jumped 40 percent between 1999 and 2010 for white men and
women. Compare that to a 6 percent increase in black suicide rate over the
same period, and 3.5 percent increase in Hispanic suicide rate.
In fact, in 2010, black women had the lowest rate of suicide in the
country with less than three suicides per hundred thousand, although it`s
not completely understood why. "The National Journal" took notice last
spring with the headline, "Black women easing military suicides?"
The new statistic published today have created a mystery for
researchers as to what the heck is going on, and why when crime and other
violence are on the decline, suicide is on the rise and what we can do to
Joining me tonight, Dr. Kelly Posner, director for the Center for
Suicide Risks Assessment. It`s great to have you here.
DR. KELLY POSNER, CENTER FOR SUICIDE RISKS ASSESSMENT: Thanks.
HAYES: OK. Let`s begin with these new numbers. It was interesting
to me, one of the most e-mailed stories on "The New York Times." There`s a
kind of grim fascination with the topic. And also, this kind of mystery --
what is going on over the last 10 years that we are seeing this increase,
particularly among the baby boomers? What are the theories? What do we
think has happened?
POSNER: Well, there is never one reason, but there could be multiple
reasons for this increase. Economic downturns we`ve had. The baby boomers
with higher rates in adolescence and that could be for various reasons,
different outlook on life. More access to drugs.
The National Guard is an old are population. And the National Guards
statistics have been going up. They literally doubled in 2010.
POSNER: There are other stressors that people are having face, like
caring for elderly parents, caring for unemployment kids. You know, so
there are a number of factors that could be contribute together increase.
But the fact is, suicide happens to be one of our world`s greatest
public health epidemics. It`s a leading cause of death, across the world,
across ages. And we are seeing this increase across the board.
So, now, in under 25, it`s become the second leading cause of death,
surpassing homicide for the first time ever. So --
HAYES: Wow. How much -- I want to talk about guns and the way they
intersect with suicide. There is this amazing -- so, guns are very lethal.
As an implement, there is an effectiveness.
And there`s this amazing quote, I`ll always remember from this
incredible "New Yorker" piece a while back. And it is about the regret,
about the fact that people who do survive suicide attempts, there`s an huge
rate of recidivism. You can intervene and make sure they don`t do it
again, as this one time sort of impulsive choice.
And this is Ken Baldwin. He is talking to reporter about jumping off
the Golden Gate Bridge and he survived. And he says, on the bridge,
counted to ten and stayed frozen, he counted to ten and vaulted over. I
still see my hands coming off the railing and as you cross the court in
flight, Baldwin recalls that I instantly realized that everything I thought
was unfixable was totally fixable except for having just jumped.
How -- what role does the presence of guns in households play in terms
of what our overall suicide rate is?
POSNER: Well, access to lethal weapon says one of the biggest we
have. So, very often, when there is this impulsive moment that someone
decides to end their life when they can`t get to something to do that, they
won`t actually do it. It`s a huge crisis and problem when they do have
access to weapons.
HAYES: And how much more lethal are guns than other weapons.
POSNER: They`re the most lethal that you can have -- you know,
hanging is right up there. That`s why actually men die by suicide more
than women, because women choose what people say are more painless methods.
HAYES: So, you said to me, as you sat down, you said this is actually
a hopeful story. Because we do actually know how to prevent it and what it
do. What is the hopeful aspect here? How can we reverse the trend?
POSNER: Right. Well, we actually think this is our one preventable
cause of death. We know that 90 percent of people who died by suicide have
an underlying mental illness, most of often of which is depression. So, we
know that with anti-depressants, for example, the suicide rate has dropped
dramatically across the world, across ages -- reversing a trend prior to
We know if we can get people treatment, it will make a big difference.
The fact is though that most people who need treatment do not get it. We
have to work hard there. But also we need to identify the people who are
suffering in silence.
You know that 50 percent of suicides see their primary care doctor the
month before they die, 70 percent of elderly suicide the month before they
die. We should be asking these questions the way we monitor for blood
And we know if we start to identify more and then subsequently treat,
we can do away with this terrible cause of death.
HAYES: So we know there are interventions that we know, have worked,
and can apply and bring the rate down.
POSNER: Yes, absolutely.
HAYES: Dr. Kelly Posner, director of the Center for Suicide Risk
Assessment, really fascinating -- thank you very much.
POSNER: Thank you.
HAYES: Up next, I`ll roast the stories that got way too much coverage
this week and shine a spotlight on stuff that got the shaft. That`s coming
HAYES: When unworthy stories get uncovered in the news, some really
great stuff gets left in the dark. Let`s figure out which stories deserve
our scorn and which deserve our attention. This is "Over Under".
Over cover this week, the saga of Reese Witherspoon. The actress was
arrested last month in Georgia for disorderly conduct. You probably heard
about it. First, there was the mug shop. Then, there was the apology
tour. Now, we have the dash cam arrest video. TMZ posted this footage of
an irate Ms. Witherspoon questioned authorities as he gave her husband a
field sobriety test.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REESE WITHERSPOON, ACTRESS: You better not arrest me. I`m an
WITHERSPOON: This is beyond. This is beyond.
This is harassment. You are harassing me as an American citizen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This coverage is beyond. Reese Witherspoon is going to be
fined because she is a famous person with a job. But many of Ms.
Witherspoon`s generational cohorts aren`t so lucky.
Under covered this week, the impact of weak job numbers and recovery
efforts on a once vital part of the American workforce. As David Leonhart
in "The New York Times" puts it, over the last 12 years, the United States
had gone from having the highest share of employed 25 to 34-year-olds among
the large, wealthy economies, to having among the lowest.
Don`t let this job report fool you as Leonhart writes, "Companies are
doing more with less and employees are reluctant to hire new workers, which
is bad for young people and problematic for everyone. There is some great
analysis today`s job numbers on our website that you should check it out.
Over covered this week, the freak out over DNA found on a fragment of
one of the bombs detonated at the Boston marathon. Earlier to this week,
federal investigators disclosed the found traces of female DNA on one of
the pressure cookers. That doesn`t necessarily mean there was a female
accomplice involved. The DNA could have come from a spectator or a store
clerk. No matter what the evidence, the information sure did help fill air
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, AMERICAN JOURNALIST/TELEVISION PERSONALITY: DNA
found on one of the pressure cookers. What more can you tell us? What
might it mean?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: What could it mean?
We don`t know.
MALE REPORTER (1): They cautioned this doesn`t necessarily mean
FEMALE REPORTER (1): This could be a significant development. It is
not clear whose DNA it is.
JOHNS: All we know is they have DNA. They are not sure what it
MALE REPORTER (2): They do know though that it is female DNA, so that
potentially it could be significant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, we got that one locked down. Now we may not know whose
DNA is on the bomb fragment, but we do know that another female`s DNA is
all over the subprime mortgage crisis.
Under cover this week, President Obama`s nominee for Commerce
Secretary Penny Pritzker and her role in the mortgage meltdown. Mr.
Pritzker is a billionaire heiress to the Hyatt hotel fortune and the long-
time top political fund raiser for the president.
In the 80s, the Pritzker family bought a failed bank and received over
half a billion dollars and tax credits for it. They renamed it Superior
Bank and under Penny Pritzker. Superior Bank bought alliance funding,
which moved aggressively into subprime lending.
Superior collapsed in 2001, leaving many casualties behind. Bert Ely,
an independent banking analyst who testified on Superior`s failure tells
CBS news the kinds of lending they were doing were outrageous. When
Superior failed, there were a lot of unsure depositors, who took losses.
Tim Anderson, who also testified on Superior`s failure says, Penny
Pritzker, herself, played a direct role in persuading people to park their
money in a bank that was taking wild-eyed risks. Now, let`s see if the
senate will grill Ms. Pritzker on the role in the subprime mess or just
sweep in under the rug. The White House sure did.
Over cover this week, a Pennsylvania woman, who mysteriously
disappeared 11 years ago resurfaced this week. Brenda Heist said, she was
trying to escape her problems, so she walked out in her family and
Last Friday, she turned herself into authorities in Key Largo and the
national media turned Brenda like molds to a flame. While the media
focuses on this one woman being found in Florida, the ability of local
governments to actually govern in the state is said to all but disappear.
Under cover this week, the big government swagger of Florida house
republicans. State GOP lawmakers are looking to limit the power of local
government. A series of bills circulating from the Florida state
legislature would preempt local ordinances and leave it up to the state to
Those preemptive measures undercut city and county governance on a
number of issues from gun ordinances to environmental protections. It will
also forbid localities from establishing a local living wage or paid sick
leave. This is hypocritical by the GOP`s own principles, telling
localities they can`t set their own standards. So, hey, Miami, you can`t
establish a local minimum wage.
HAYES: Urgency of the Tea Party in 2009 completely altered a debate
on healthcare reform in America. Now that Obamacare is a law of the land
and full implementation is set to begin. Is this the Tea Party`s last best
chance at relevance? That`s coming up.
But, first, I want to share the three awesomest things on the internet
today. Beginning with the citizen hearing in Washington, D.C. on why the
government is concealing the truth about UFO`s. Six former lawmakers
holding the faux hearing, each paid $20,000 for five days work. But,
former senator from Alaska, 2008 presidential contender, Mike Gravel among
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE GRAVEL, (D) ALASKA FORMER SENATOR: All I know is that there`s
been thousands and thousands of sightings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Hearing organizers do not consider this a faux issue. As we
see this fleet of UFO`s reportedly flying over Mexico. Ask what we should
do about aliens if they land?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAVEL: Well, I would hope that we would welcome them. But, I think
we would follow the pattern of Columbus and Cook and that is, we`ll kill a
few of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A grim-known prediction from the presidential candidate, who
brought us the infamous rock ad. Takes the rock and it puts it in the
The second awesomest thing on the internet today comes from our
Russian friends, whose insurance mandated dash cams capture helicopters
flying too low. Plenty of car crashes. Wait for it, hay on a road trip
and of course meteors streaking across the sky.
Now, someone thought it was time to show some Russian act of kindness,
particularly since we still do tend to associate Russians with all manner
covert evil. Thus, tender moments caught on Russian dash cam, complete
with heart-tugging music. Here is a few.
(RUNNING VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I found that genuinely affecting. Remember that next time you
see a Russian dash cam enormous and really angry pedestrian. And the third
awesomest thing on the internet today, the video that launch yet another
school suspension and it is this working. It is called a gyrating booty
centric dance you`ve perhaps heard of. And, it has gotten 33 students from
a San Diego high school track team suspended.
The kids used the school property, which is -- OK, not a great idea.
But, there are also banned from prom, walking in graduation, or
participating in any sports events. I demand, we`re all supposed to what?
Ballroom dance, come on!
It reminds me the reports of new school who is being tracked across
the country to cut down in discourage about student dancing. Rule number
one, you must not grab your hand coats. Rule number two, you must not bend
over more than 90 degrees. I suspect those students will allow rules to
Twerkers of the world unite. You can find all the links for tonight`s
click 3 on our website, allinwithchris.com. We`ll be right back.
HAYES: Today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor promised a house vote
to fully repeal Obamacare Act in the near future. It would be the house`s
37 vote to repeal the law since 2011.
The right has been obsessed from the beginning with killing Obamacare,
but are announcing a new opportunity to try and kill the law that appears
to have nine lives at least. An article on the hill today, details Tea
Party efforts to get their groove back as they gear up for 2014.
This time planning to campaign not against Obamacare in the abstract
but to use Obamacare as roll-out to catapult itself back to political
power. Other than harping on that panels that don`t exist, republicans are
zeroing in on the anticipated logistical problems of implementing what is
fairly complimented and ambitious piece of legislation.
They have been fear mongering to increasingly good effect even
managing too spook a number of democrats including senator Max Baucus,
whose comment that he has a train wreck coming down if the healthcare law
has not implemented correctly, has been seamlessly integrated into the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: With the economy stagnant, if we implement
Obamacare now, it will kill jobs.
RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Still trying to figure out how
to implement it.
CHARLIE HURT, WASHINGTON TIMES COLUMNIST: Definitely a problem on
your hands when the chief author of Obamacare, himself, has come out and
said it`s going to be a quote, "train wreck" to implement.
MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I urge my
friends on the other side to join with republicans and stop the train
wreck. Stop this train wreck before things get even worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I love it when Mitch McConnell gets passionate. Republicans
have tried to kill the healthcare law at every possible step along the way
in the house, in senate committee, on the senate floor with 36 repeal votes
by underfunding it and by challenging in the courts. But none of that has
So, here is what they are trying to do now. Hence, perhaps their most
cynical move yet. Republicans in the country are engaged in a coordinate
effort to make the implementation of Obamacare as much as a disaster as
possible so that in 2014 they can run against what a disaster it is.
There are already 15 states of republican governors who said they will
not participate in the Medicaid expansion, and even more they are refusing
to set up the exchanges. That doesn`t even include the legislators from
state houses who are balking at appropriating the money it would take to
make the law actually work.
What is so absolutely craven about this that while it may very well
prove to be politically being strategy what it means is intentionally
wrecking the lives of millions of people. Over 5 million people will not
get Medicaid coverage because states opted out of the Medicaid expansion.
There are millions more who are quite possibly going to be caught in a
poorly or half implemented healthcare system by design, by the design of
republicans were so maniacally focused on killing Obamacare, they don`t
care who gets killed or hurt as a result.
Joining me tonight in the table tonight, Avik Roy, senior fellow at
the Manhattan Institute and former member of Mitt Romney health care policy
advisory group; Dr. Valarie Arkoosh, senior policy advisor of the National
Physicians Alliance, and Richard Kim, executive editor for thenation.com.
All right, let`s talk about politics first. Avik, I will start with you.
Do you think, there is a political -- are there any political costs to
continue resistance to Obamacare as to the single plank of the republican
health care agenda.
AVIK ROY, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE SENIOR FELLOW: If it is only a single
plank, yes. I think there needs to be a constructive alternative. But,
I`m not convinced that some concerns are that repeal is going to be likely
I think that if you`re going invest all of your political capitol only
on repeal and not on the possibility that well be stuck with this law that
we don`t like, and what do we do to reform it or build on it, I think
that`s challenging. Having said so by midterm elections, there are going
to be problems with the law. And, so there will be issues of rising
premiums, things like that -- that people hope that they can run on it and
get elected to congress on that basis.
HAYES: There was this fascinating moment in the house. It was last
week, I believe in which the house was going to put forward to bill. That
was there first kind of incremental look at what republican version of
health reform would be. It had to do with catastrophic insurance, which is
often what republicans talk about is the first place to deal with this
issue of the uninsured, right? And, the guy has pulled it in the last
minute. Because, republicans basically didn`t want to be voting for
anything but repeal of Obamacare. What would your take away from that?
ROY: Well, just first to correct you, it was high-risk pool --
HAYES: High-risk poll, sorry. Right, right.
ROY: -- Which is was meant to be a subsidized set of money for people
who are unable or can`t otherwise get insurance based on preexisting
conditions. And, there was a debate. There was a minority in the
republican that said, "Well, we don`t want to fund anything that has to do
with Obamacare. So, we don`t want to have anything to do with this."
Shuffling money from one pot to another of the law that we oppose. But the
people who are in favor of it, said, "Look, we support high-risk pool, so -
- you know, why shouldn`t we support this particular element of the law.
HAYES: But, they couldn`t bring it to the floor because anything that
associated Obamacare, right? -- Has become so toxic. This is like polarity
affect of it. It is like the two north pole magnets pushing this, right?
RICHARD KIM, EXECUTIVE EDITOR FOR THENATION.COM: You know, I also
think that it is small and petty, concerns about the implementation are.
It really does boils down to a kind of which is tics question, and the
whining is about the forms are too long or the bill is 2,000 pages or rules
are too complicated to understand. You know, those are easily addressed
concerns. In fact the form that the Obama Administration put out is a
draft form is now only three pages.
HAYES: They started with 21 pages. They went down to 4 pages --
KIM: Right. It takes seven minutes to fill it out. I looked at it
today. It is pretty easy to do. But, the thing that really, really
strikes me about that is that how different that is from the death panels
KIM: This is sort of -- I think this just lacks the necessary
paranoia to actually have a populous right wing strategy. And, so
eclectically I wonder in 2014, you know, it will sort of carping about
logistics really gone to drive the midterm elections the way that it did in
HAYES: Valarie, do you think that the politics of this -- there was
always this sense, I think what is interesting here is. There was always a
sense and Bill Clinton said this before that Obamacare is going to actually
would be easier to attack in the abstract politically than really. And,
Bill Clinton said, you know, "Once you pass it then people are going to
love it and it is going to be there forever."
And, it seems to me that some democrats are now getting spooked that`s
not going to be the case, right? I mean that`s the Max Baucus line. Chuck
Schumer made this sort of gaff in an interview about premiums going up and
that is partly because of Obamacare. He had to walk it back. Which of
those two theories do you think is the right one politically? That when we
get through the -- Once the plane gets through the turbulence, it is in the
air and flying and people think that it is going to be a smooth ride, or
the fact that actually be a concrete implementation? This existing program
is going to be politically dangerous?
DR. VALERIE ARKOOSH, SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR OF THE NATIONAL PHYSICIANS
ALLIANCE: I don`t think it`s going to be politically dangerous at all. I
think we are already seeing so many people that have been helped in some
many ways. And, once that broadens out to the rest of the country, I think
people will really come to love it.
There are 3 million young adults that have had health insurance now
that they couldn`t before because they could stand their parents clans.
That actually resulted in a reduction of 1 million people uninsured in this
country for the first time last year. And, as a mom, I have three kids.
And, I now can take them for their preventive cares with no co-pays.
HAYES: So, here is what is fascinating. You are talking about the
concrete results, right? For three million kids were on. But, it is
genuinely unclear to me that the country knows this. I mean here is this
latest fascinating Pfizer foundation polling, 42% of Americans, listen to
me, 42% of Americans are unaware that ACA is still law of the land.
That`s a shockingly high number. That`s like, where did we end up on
that whole Supreme Court thing? 58% of uninsured, which is pretty striking
at the people that law is most. Well probably most -- whose lives the law
will most change and who it is most designed to benefit in many ways. A
majority of the folks who are the beneficiaries of this law that was passed
with tremendous political risk at great political cost, don`t know the law
ROY: Here`s the thing though, I think both theories are true. There
are going to be people who benefit from the law and I think that
constituency will be very active in opposing an effort to repeal the law.
There will be people who are adversely affected. So, the society of
actuaries and non-partisan group estimated that absent subsidies, leaving
the subsidies aside, but the average cost of insurance in the individual
market will go up 32%.
Now it depends -- it depends on your state. It depends on your income
level because of the subsidies will kick in. But, if you are like a single
person, who is say 30 years old and you are making $40,000 a year, so you
are not illegible for the subsidies, your premiums are going to go up. So,
that`s not everybody. That`s a slice of people. But, there is going to be
constituents of people who benefit like you said, Valerie. And, there is
going to be constituents of people who are going to be upset and people who
say my premiums went up, I think it is Obamacare`s fault.
HAYES: And I blame Obamacare. Exactly! And, that`s I think the thing
that they are worried about most politically is that if the idea that
people don`t like the healthcare system in this country. Although, they
intend to like their individual insurance and that once you pass the bill
changing healthcare, you own politically everything that happens with
health care in America, right?
KIM: You know, I also think that number is going to go down as the
campaign to educate people about opting in to the exchanges takes place.
You can`t actually opt in until October is when you can first sign up for
them. They go into effect in January. And, so, you know, it is really
going to be this summer where the administration is going to put out
information on how to get into the exchanges. That is for like the 15% of
people that are covered by them. For the vast majority of Americans, their
own private health insurance wasn`t touched really by this -- by this bill
in a way that they can perceive.
HAYES: OK. I want to play this sound. You know, the president kind
of trying, I think, to lower expectations or at least say look, there are
some bumps along the road. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARAK OBAMA, UNITED STATES: When you`re doing it nationwide,
relatively fast and you got of half of congress who is determined to try to
block implementation and not adequately funding implementation and then
you got a number of members of or governors -- republican governors, who
know that it is bad politics for them to try to implement this effectively
and some have decided to implement and then their republican who control
state legislators, say, don`t implement and won`t pass an enabling
legislation when have you that situation. That makes it harder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: How hard is this going to be? I mean how much of a problem is
this really? I mean I know folks that work in the bureaucracy. I know
civil servants who have been -- I got to say there are thousands of smart
dedicated hard-working people in the federal government who are working
like crazy to make this thing happen. And, it isn`t a trivial task that
they are tasked with.
DR. ARKOOSH: No, it is not trivial. But, I think the important point
is that, so much of the law is actually implemented in the ways that is
seamless for folks. So, all of the people that are now getting preexisting
conditions cover and their children, that just happened. People getting
preventative care with no co-pays, that just happened seamlessly.
And, for the vast majority of the people in the country, who have
health insurance, that insurance is now more secure and has better
benefits. But, for people who don`t have health insurance, they are going
into this new marketplace that is going to open in October, and I think
that they are going to have by and large a good experience. The People
that are making it hard are these governors and others working desperately
to make that --
HAYES: Very quickly -- very quickly, Avik. Do you want to see the
exchanges succeed or do you want to see them fail?
ROY: I want to see the exchanges succeed. I don`t think what the
state governors do or the state implemented that has anything to do with it
because the federal exchange is a back stab. It basically does exactly the
This whole thing about whether governors implement the state base
exchanges or not is not an issue. And, if you ask a lot of the states that
have done. They are regretting it. A lot of state exchange records I have
talked I wish we had another year because the deadlines are too quick right
now. We need another year to get this going.
HAYES: Avik Roy from Manhattan Institute, Dr. Valerie Arkoosh of the
National Institution Alliance, and Richard Kim of the Nation. I want to
wrap you now because we have some breaking news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: This week, the George W. Bush
Presidential Library and Museum opened up in Dallas. Included among the
exhibit is something --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS (via telephone): Israel as a proxy, of
course, will be viewed as proxy for the United States by much of the anti-
American sentiment in the region. But this is a clear shot across the bow
and it is saying to the Assad regime, that you have crossed a line that
rest of the world is not willing to tolerate except, of course, for Iran
and Russia who are the strongest backers right now of the Assad Regime.
HAYES: Andrea, I wonder here what this, what this now puts on the
table of the president. I think Barack Obama has been remarkably careful
and judicious in the way he has discussed things.
The red line that you just mentioned, which Israel has been, I think,
it is fair to say diplomatically pushing the U.S. to acknowledge as a clear
bright thing that has been crossed. The president has been a bit more
textured and nuanced about, is this a way of provoking the Americans to do
something? I mean, what does Barack Obama now have before him as the
decision points when he comes a addresses the nation tomorrow or when he`s
in a meeting in the Sit Room as we speak?
MITCHELL: It`s really a complex relationship because Israeli
officials, Michael Oren, the U.S. ambassador of Israel, was on MSNBC with
me last week, very eager to say Israel was not pushing the U.S. into
And at the same time, the Arab world is divided. Turkey and Qatar has
both been supporting the more radical elements, according to U.S.
officials, in rebel forces. At the same time, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the
Emirates, and Jordan has been arguing very forcefully, King Abdullah of
Jordan here in the U.S. last week, arguing very forcefully that that have
to support the more moderate elements.
Only today, Richard Engel, on the Turkish border, interviewed General
Idris, who he is the head -- the military leader of the Syrian forces who
the U.S. now believes, according to the CIA and other intelligence experts,
are more moderate, are less Islamist, are more secular. That`s been the
hope of the administration. They were hoping to either arm them or get
weapons to them, or better training to them and not put Americans on the
Also, we should point out, John Kerry, the secretary of state, is
going to Moscow on Monday. And that is a very important play, but all of
the international experts have spoken to ambassadors from other countries,
are saying there is no way that Vladimir Putin is going to back away from
the Assad regime.
So with the support of Iran, with the support of the really tough
front supported by al Qaeda factions and the support of Russia, it is right
now, the balance of power, is more or less with the regime. What Israel
has done today, though, may change the balance of power today. This is a
very strong warning to Assad.
HAYES: Our understanding from U.S. officials and again, this is
preliminary reports, so we are taking this from unnamed officials, which
are reports that I think is a little of a grain of salt we should approach
this with. But U.S. officials told NBC News that it was believed that the
weapons that were strike were actually out, right, from Syria to Lebanon to
And there`s been concern growing, particularly among, not just among
Israel, but other players in the U.S., about Hezbollah increasing
involvement in the war that`s happening in Syria.
MITCHELL: Exactly. And one of the big concerns has been Scud
missiles. We know that Scuds can reach not only Israel but also American
forces, NATO forces, in Turkey. The Scuds have quite a range. And Syria
has a huge arsenal of weaponry and chemical weapons.
So if there is concern that Scuds could deliver chemical weapons to
Israel via Lebanon, that would be a play that Israel would take. Israel
has made it clear that they are not going to take what they say is a
defensive action against any use of chemical weapons.
HAYES: There is a really interesting bit of reporting from Eli Lake
from "The Daily Beast" about chemical weapons and our knowledge of it in
Syria. And it suggested that we actually -- U.S. intelligence and even
Israeli intelligence, doesn`t have a great sense of where the chemical
You got to wonder about what the next step is here, like how keyed in
are U.S. intelligence officials to what targets there are to strike if
strikes are going to happen or is everyone flying blind here?
MITCHELL: I would not say that they are flying blind. But the
problem with chemical weapons obviously, if you can`t get the weapons
depots themselves without risking worse contamination. So you have to --
if you are going to have a military plan and we have military plans on the
shelf, the U.S. does, and certainly the Israelis do, you have to hit the
delivery systems or troops that are going to arm the weapons and actually
launch them. You have to hit targets that are associated with chemical
weapons but not the chemicals themselves.
One of the problems, Chris, has also been the mobility of this. And
the president said back in August that he would not permit the Assad regime
to cross that red line. There has been a lot of concern though that the
actual evidence now hard and the president said himself that evidence has
to be absolutely air tight before they would go to the world with this.
They are very, very conscious from the mistakes that were made with weapons
of mass destruction by the Bush regime.
HAYES: And the president has been very cautious and not just in
verifying this intelligence, which as you`ve been discussing on your
program, press secretary Carney and the president himself when he took to
the podium earlier, saying basically, the red line is not just necessarily
confirmation after one-time use or the appearance of weapons, but actually
something like their systematic deployment. They`ve been very clear about
where that red line is.
It appears that Israel`s conception of that red line is quite
different from the U.S. And we`ve seen this before in other regional
conflicts. We`ve seen it on Iran in which U.S. and Israel have made
independent judgments about what the thresholds for action are.
What you`re seeing tonight apparently, and again, if you are just
joining us, senior U.S. official confirms to NBC News, Israel did indeed
strike targets inside Syria tonight. Officials declined comments whether
it was chemical weapons-related.
What we are seeing this evening is Israel going ahead and acting on
their threshold before the U.S. or we don`t know whether with the tacit
approval of the U.S. or not, but certainly before the U.S. has acted.
MITCHELL: Well, what we are hearing in this very carefully worded
statement from Israel, is a non-denial denial, and confirmation that they
would stop any weapons that they thought were heading to Lebanon and
Hezbollah. That can be taken as confirmation from the Israelis as
something has happened and it involved that weapons that were intended for
hostile forces inside Lebanon.
HAYES: Hezbollah, of course, is Shiite militia and political force
inside Lebanon, that has been allied quite strongly with the Assad regime,
has been increasingly fighting in the conflict in Syria, which let`s
remember, began as a small nonviolent resistance in the Arab spring, has
become -- because of the violence by the state and suppression on rebels
has become, an armed resistance. That armed resistance has now grown into
a regional conflict increasingly. There has been tremendous concern about
where this is all headed.
And tonight right now, we have news that we may see a very significant
Once again, Israel has, we are confirming, NBC News, that Israel has
struck inside Syria against some weapons target. It is unclear at this
point whether it is chemical weapons related. There is some reporting
indicated that it was believed, a U.S. official saying it was believed it
was a shipment of weapons headed for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Andrea Mitchell, are we -- are you expecting -- the president right
now is in Costa Rica. He`s been on this trip. In fact, I believe we do
have a little bit sound from the president earlier before this news broke
talking about his approach to Syria.
Do we have that? Can we play that?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a general rule, I
don`t rule things out as commander-in-chief. Because circumstances change
and you want to make sure that I always have the full power of the United
States at our disposal to meet American national security interests.
Having said that, I do not foresee a scenario in which boots on the ground
in Syria, American boots on the ground in Syria would not only be good for
America, but also would be good for Syria.
And, by the way, when I consult with leaders in the region, who are
very much interested in seeing President Assad leave office and stabilizing
the situation in Syria, they agree with that assessment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Andrea Mitchell in Washington, thank you for bringing us this
I want to bring in Jim Miklaszewski who we have on the phone right
Jim, can you tell us what we are hearing from U.S. officials?
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI, NBC NEWS (via telephone): U.S. officials tell NBC
News that this appears to be an attack very similar to the one the Israelis
conducted in January when they launched an airstrike against a convoy of
anti-aircraft missiles that they believe were destined for Hezbollah in
And according to the officials, this was something very similar. It
was a weapon`s shipment of some kind, not clear exactly what the weapons
were. But it`s believed that -- at least it`s clear that the Israelis
believe that this was a shipment of weapons that would have been headed
into the hands of Hezbollah.
Now interestingly enough, the Israelis, quite frankly, openly
acknowledge that they conducted this attack and just last week, in a joint
news conference with the Defense Secretary Hagel in Tel Aviv, Moshe
Ya`alon, the Israeli defense minister said, you know, the Israelis also
have a set of red lines, just like the U.S. does, in terms of how far Syria
can go inside of Syria before action will be taken. But the number one red
line for the Israelis is that sophisticated weapons do not find their way
from Syria into the hand of Hezbollah in Lebanon for obvious reasons.
And the defense minister acknowledged that Syria in fact had crossed
the red line in January and that the Israelis took action. They have the
same kind of concerns in the U.S. that the U.S. has about chemical weapons
and the like. And, quite frankly, you get a sense that as long -- as long
as the battle stays in Syria, Israel -- you know, they don`t like the
conflict on their border, but they`re not going to intervene. But it`s
when you talk Hezbollah that they will take action. And they did again
HAYES: Just to be clear. Both airstrikes, the one on -- the January
airstrike and new airstrike which we are just confirmed tonight, the
breaking news we have for you at this moment, which is confirmation of an
Israeli airstrike in Syria, both of those are in Syria. So, my question to
you is, what does it mean from the perspective of the region, from the
perspective of the U.S., is this an escalation that there is no climb down
from, or will this be the new status quo? Is that -- is that Israel
asserting its right to strike inside Syria when and if it chooses to?
MIKLASZEWSKI: It`s definitely the latter. You know, there was some
initial concern and jitters after that first strike by the Israelis in
January. But everything immediately settled down. This part of that
battle is between Hezbollah, Israel, and Syria.
And as long as it stays in that realm, it`s likely not to go any
further. After all, you know, several years ago, and I`m sorry I can`t
remember the year offhand, but the Israelis launch airstrikes that took out
a Syrian nuclear facility that was in the making, and Syria did not issue a
single protest because of course they didn`t want to acknowledge they were
making a nuclear facility.
But that went away in very short order. So there`s nobody within the
U.S. government that thinks these kinds of strikes, by Israel, against
weapons shipments destined for Hezbollah, is going to have any collateral
affect and expand the war that`s now inside Syria.
HAYES: Yes, though of course Hezbollah does pose -- it is not
Israel`s northern border and has been involved in military action with
Israel in the past.
Jim, stay with us.
Joining me from San Jose, Costa Rica, NBC News White House
correspondent, Kristen Welker.
Kristen, what are you hearing?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, White House
officials right now are referring all reporters to the Israelis. And
Israelis reiterating what we have heard which is that they are not
commenting specifically on this strike that Mick was just reporting on,
except to say they will do whatever is necessary to prevent Hezbollah from
getting chemical weapons.
So that is what we are hearing right now from officials. I can tell
you that President Obama did make some of his most definitive comments to
date about Syria this evening, Chris. He made the point during a news
conference earlier this evening, that he has all but ruled outputting boots
on the ground in Syria. He said that he does not foresee a scenario at
this point in time in which he would put boots on the ground.
This is, of course, significant, because Americans did not look
favorably on options in terms of dealing with Syria. There are a number of
other options that the White House has been considering. President Obama
has been very careful in terms of not really talking about those options
that are under consideration.
Tonight, that changed and he said he is not at this point considering
putting boots on the ground. Using the term, he does not foresee putting
boots on the ground in Syria.
The president has to some extent boxed him in. He said, of course,
that if Syria uses chemical weapons, that would be a red line. The White
House originally said they believe the chemical weapons were used but there
are still too many questions about the origin of those chemical weapons.
Tonight, President Obama sort of reiterated that he`s not going to
proceed when it comes to Syria. So again we are still trying to get
reaction, though, to that Israeli airstrike.
HAYES: Andrea, you mentioned before, John Kerry is in Moscow. He`s
on a trip specifically with the intent of trying to move forward
diplomatically on presenting a united front in the international community
against the Assad regime, trying to come to a political solution to avoid
further military escalation, to avoid a further regional conflict. One of
the obstacles, the chief obstacle has been Russia which has, of course,
been close with the Assad regime, as well as Iran.
How does it change the news we get about Israeli airstrikes in Syria
which have been confirmed now -- how does that change the diplomatic
calculus for John Kerry in trying to essentially persuade the Russians to
come on board?
MITCHELL: It might make it more difficult in fact. Kerry, what I was
saying, is heading to Moscow. He`s going to be going there on Monday.
He`ll be there Monday and Tuesday. And he will be meeting on Tuesday,
we`re told, with Vladimir Putin, as well as, of course, with Sergei Lavrov,
the foreign minister.
The Russians have been blocking action by the United Nations. They
have been a serious chief ally other than Iran. Russians have said
repeatedly, as of the last couple days, they do not believe the allegations
about chemical weapons and they don`t believe the evidence.
So as long as Russia is going to prop up Assad and as long as the
Iranians are in there as well, it is very difficult to change the balance
of power. It is difficult to find and make sure you secure the chemical
weapons, make sure they don`t get into the hands of terrorist.
Israel has said they would permit Hezbollah to get their hands on
delivery systems or the aerial bombs or other methods of delivering
chemical weapons. So they are making it very clear they`re not hiding at
all the fact they have taken in action. And as Jim Miklaszewski was just
saying, they can prove they go into Syria and take out the construction of
a nuclear plant that North Korea was helping to construct. And that was
back, I believe, in 2007, in June of 2007.
So they did that without any protest and they have the range to do
that. There is some question as to whether they went into Syrian airspace
for what we believe was the strike that took place sometime on Friday. But
this does make it more complicated in getting the Russians on board but I
don`t think there was ever any prospect of getting Putin on board, frankly.
Everyone that I`ve spoken to from Europe as well as the Arab countries have
said to me that Putin duck in that Russia believed that what would follow
Assad could be more destabilizing than having the Assad regime.
HAYES: Jim, given the fact -- given the, obviously, closeness of
Israel and the United States in their both diplomatic and military
relationships and the way that is viewed in the region, my sense is that
many in the region will view this strike as having had the tacit approval
of American officials. And I`m curious if you know anything about that,
whether this is kind of thing that would have been cleared, a heads-up
given. The U.S. would have given a green light. Or is this something that
Israel might have just decided to do on their own and told the U.S. ex
MIKLASZEWSKI: To be clear, when it comes to self-defense in the
region, they don`t need the approval, confirmation, go ahead from anyone.
And I don`t think that -- and can you sense it in the discussions that
Secretary Hagel had with the Israeli minister of defense, when essentially
he said, look, we know what your red lines are, the United States. But
here are our red lines for taking action.
And the number one red line as I mentioned earlier was the transfer of
sophisticated weaponry to rogue elements is how they described it,
including Hezbollah. So I doubt very much that they would have informed
the U.S. in advance, particularly because the U.S. has nothing operating in
the area. If they needed to clear airspace and tell the United States,
look, we`re going it launch aircraft here, but this is what we`re going to
do, don`t worry about it.
But in this case, they have -- they have the freedom of the airspace
because not even the Syrians have been flying lately after one of their
jets was shot down about a month ago.
HAYES: Kristen Welker, you`re traveling with the president. He is
current in Central America. And it seems to me the political pressure has
been ratcheting up, absolutely domestically, over the past week. We have
seen increasing calls, largely from Republicans. Some Democrat too but
John McCain and Lindsey Graham most notably for further intervention, a
push on the White House.
Is the White House feeling that political pressure and how do you
think the news tonight about an Israeli airstrike inside Syria will alter
their calculations about how to navigate the situation when they are
getting a tremendous amount of pressure to be go further and be more
aggressive and get the U.S. more bound up in this conflict?
WELKER: I think you`re right. I think it will add to the political
pressure, will add to the calls for those who say the United States needs
to do something, needs to intervene in some way, shape or form. I think
you`re absolutely right on that front.
And I can tell you that the president behind the scenes is considering
a number of different options which include establishing an airspace and
then, of course, we`ve been -- or no-fly zone, I should say. Of course, we
have been talking about this week, Chris, arming the opposition forces.
Administration has been hesitant to do that because it is not clear
exactly who the opposition forces are. And it`s believed that some of them
do have ties to al Qaeda.
So, the administration is very hesitant to do that. But in recent
days, they have changed their tune on that front as well, saying that in
recent weeks they have come to identify who these opposition forces are.
So, suggesting that certainly that option is under consideration.
But I think you`re right. I think this will add to the calls. People
like Senator John McCain, saying that the United States needs to get more
But, interestingly, you will remember, Chris, that just this past
Sunday, Senator McCain said he also did not think the U.S. should put boots
on the ground -- the reflection of the fact that country is war weary after
the war in Iraq and now with the drawdown of Afghanistan.
So, I think you`re right. It will add to the pressure mounting on
this White House to take action on Syria -- Chris.
HAYES: That pressured is going to be affected by the news tonight of
Israel striking at a targets inside Israel.
NBC`s Andrea Mitchell, Jim Miklaszewski and Kristen Welker, thank you.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
We will join a special airing of "Hubris: Selling the Iraq War" in
progress, right after this.
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