ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
May 13, 2013
Guests: David Cay Johnston, Keith Ellison, Dan Kildee, Nancy Pelosi
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. And
thank you for joining us.
Tonight, President Obama comes out swinging after a weekend of
Benghazi outrage by Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The whole issue of this
-- of talking points, frankly throughout this process has been a sideshow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One of the people who emphatically agrees with that is House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Today, she gave me her reaction to the
latest scandal-mongering from the right, as well as a frank assessment of
House Speaker John Boehner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: If he were a woman, they`d
be calling him the weakest speaker in history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: How about that?
All of that, plus, in #click3, there`s a man in space making awesome
music videos about space you really need to see.
But we begin tonight with two IRS scandals. One that is positively
roiling the Beltway and the country and another that has received so little
attention it might as well be a secret.
The president today responded to the scandal everyone`s heard about,
the one that broke open on Friday, when an IRS official admitted the agency
targeted for extra scrutiny conservative and Tea Party groups seeking
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: This is pretty straightforward. If, in fact, IRS personnel
engaged in the kind of practices that had been reported on and were
intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that`s outrageous. And
there`s no place for it. And, they have to be held fully accountable.
I`ve got no patience with it. I will not tolerate it and we`ll make
sure that we find out exactly what happened on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president taking the position pretty much all reasonable
people are taking on this scandal, which is that it`s outrageous, that a
government agency would be targeting political groups based on ideology.
It`s unacceptable and the sort of thing that cannot be allowed to happen in
But that scandal does not exist in a vacuum. In order to fully
understand the IRS targeting conservative scandal, you really need to know
about the other hidden, untold IRS scandal because that virtually unknown
secondary scandal is actually the fertile soil in which the seed for this
new scandal was planted.
So, here`s what you need to know about the scandal behind the scandal.
It starts with groups applying to the IRS for what`s called 501(c)(4)
status. Now, that`s a classification given to groups dedicated to social
welfare. Because they are dedicated to social welfare, they don`t have to
pay taxes, which makes sense.
But -- and here`s where the scandal part starts, exactly. What
exactly counts as social welfare? How does the IRS decide if your group
applying for the special nontax paying status qualifies?
Well, here`s the IRS`s own documentation on this question, flagged in
recent days by Ezra Klein. The IRS lists as examples of social welfare
organizations a group aimed at helping unemployed people over a certain age
find work, a group working to build a stadium for a school district, a
group dedicated to counseling for people in financial trouble, a group that
subsidizes kids` tickets to sporting events to get them interested, a
neighborhood beautification group, and on and on. You basically get the
idea, I think.
Now, those all sounds like the sorts of groups that should be counted
as tax exempt and most people are probably more or less fine with groups
like that not paying taxes.
Now, there has been a very bright line for a very long time between
organizations like those and organizations that were engaged directly in
political campaigning. On side of that line was regulated by the IRS, the
other side by the FEC and electoral rules.
Anyone, I`m telling you, anyone who has worked in politics on the left
or right or nonprofit knows there has been a genuinely important separation
in tax law based on that distinction. Are you doing campaigning? Are you
on this other side, the social welfare side?
And then something happened. Something happened to destroy that
distinction. The Supreme Court`s decision in Citizens United came along
and blew it out of the water. Citizens United said essentially any
organization of any kind can spend money out of its general treasury to run
political ads. And that decision brought about a pivotal moment for
politics and taxes and campaign spending in this country and we`re still
dealing with the fallout.
Because Karl Rove looked at this ruling and said, wait a second, maybe
I want to make a social welfare organization. A social welfare
organization that also happens to run lots of ads during campaign season,
you know, as part of bettering the community and stuff. Yes, ads like
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
AD NARRATOR: Obama`s $830 billion stimulus failed.
AD NARRATOR: Barack Obama`s got lots of excuses for the bad economy.
AD NARRATOR: Obama personally lobbied to kill a pipeline bringing oil
AD NARRATOR: Claire McCaskill voted for billions in waste and
AD NARRATOR: The $44 trillion budget Tammy Baldwin voted for was too
AD NARRATOR: Jon Tester votes to raise taxes on Montana families and
AD NARRATOR: Elizabeth Warren sides with extreme left protests.
AD NARRATOR: Jerry Brown is dragging Ohio`s economy down.
AD NARRATOR: Tim Kaine loves taxes.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: We are a long way from neighborhood beautification. All of
that, that social welfare.
And here`s why the Karl Rove move was so brilliant. Those 501(c)(4)s,
the social welfare organizations, that ones that are helping the unemployed
or building stadiums, not only do they not have to pay taxes, they also
don`t have to disclose their donors.
So, Karl Rove figured out how he could have his cake and eat it, too.
And so, Karl Rove subsequently went around the country looking all of us
straight in the face telling us he had started up a social welfare
organization. Never mind it was dumping $70 million into partisan campaign
But it`s not just Karl Rove. It`s also Bill Burton on the progressive
end with Priorities USA. They also have a 501(c)(4), which is supposed to
be a social welfare organization. In fact, pretty much every super PAC has
its own nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(4) group fueled by secret donors.
And this, my friends, this is the context for the untold IRS scandal.
Suddenly, this distinction between political campaign groups and social
welfare groups which the IRS is tasked with patrolling and maintaining is
effectively obliterated by the Citizens United decision. People are
running around the country making an obvious mockery of the social welfare
And the folks at the IRS, they are not idiots. They can turn on the
television and see Karl Rove, they know what he is doing is political
campaigning plain and simple. But then it turns out Rove`s great success
is a great inspiration and, suddenly, the IRS starts getting a flood of new
applications from other political groups and strategists and saying, oh,
you know what? It turns out I too want to set up a social welfare
organization that just so happens to be focused on, say, taking the country
back from Barack Hussein Obama.
Now, here`s the thing the IRS appears to have done unequivocally
wrong, that we all agree was absolutely inexcusable. They reacted to all
of this by targeting one part of the ideological spectrum in looking at
whether this flood of new applicants passed the smell test.
Being skeptical about a new wave of wolves in sheep`s clothing
invading the social welfare nonprofit game was entirely appropriate. And
the question today which is something I`ll discuss later in the show with
my interview with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is how is this scandal
going to unfold? Are we going to spend the next few months beating up on
the IRS and the Bush appointed former head of the IRS who is in charge of
this when all of this happened?
Or are we also going to take the opportunity to try to figure out what
exactly we should be doing to sort out this completely intractable mess in
which tax loophole (ph) is now finds itself created by Citizens United?
Joining me tonight: David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning
journalist and columnist for taxanalyst.com. And here at the table,
Congressman Keith Ellison, Democrat from Minnesota.
It`s great to have you both here.
REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: Thank you.
HAYES: David, can I begin with you? Because whenever I`m confused
about a tax issue, whenever there`s the guts of the IRS on the front page,
which doesn`t happen that often, you`re the man that I want to turn to.
What is your reaction to what we have learned about this office in
Cincinnati, the division that did this in dealing with this and the
president`s reaction to it today?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, TAXANALYST.COM: Well, first of all, Chris, your
explanation of this is so much better than anything else I have seen by
anyone. Thank you. Really, really superb. I thought you were going to be
saying something different and I was ready to sort of tussle with you.
HAYES: Throw me under the bus live on national television.
JOHNSTON: The IRS has an absolute duty under the law as passed by
Congress and court rulings since 1913 to investigate anyone who wants this
tax-exempt status to make sure they aren`t partisan, they aren`t primarily
political and that they are not to benefit an individual. Well, they
suddenly get flooded with a doubling of requests and many of them come from
groups who have now put out the letters they were sent asking for more
information and those letters revealed that they said -- well, we want to
influence legislation. We are holding candidate forums.
Those are things that require the IRS to investigate. So, the mistake
was not to investigate. They were required to do this by Congress. The
mistake was to in shorthand say, oh, Tea Party, all the Tea Party groups
saying I want to influence. We`ll just flag those. That`s relatively
minor because they should have investigated every one of those claim, every
one of those.
And they appear to have approved all of them as best as we can tell,
by the way.
HAYES: Yes, that`s an interesting end to this, which is they were
approved. Of course, they had to go through additional scrutiny and
additional scrutiny has a kind of force when it`s the IRS doing the
scrutiny, right? We don`t -- there`s something about that --
JOHNSTON: But they should have gone --
HAYES: -- very careful about.
JOHNSTON: They should have gone through that scrutiny. They are
required. The IRS is required to do this.
Now, Congress should be talking about exactly as you make the point,
what are the rules going to be for what is social welfare organization? Do
we really want political organizations posing as this?
And, you know, one of the organizations that got approved and has
raised the biggest scream about it is Glenn Beck`s 9-12 Project.
JOHNSTON: Well, there`s a requirement that you cannot have a group
that benefits an individual. Now, Chris, if you start tomorrow, the Chris
Hayes 11-12 project --
HAYES: We filed.
JOHNSTON: -- do you think it might benefit you?
HAYES: Yes, I`m hoping. That`s the hustle I`m trying to run. I`ve
got to keep my options open.
Congressman Keith Ellison, what is your reaction to this? What is
your reaction to the president`s approach to talking about this today?
ELLISON: Well, the president`s reaction was appropriate. But I think
the IRS has apologized.
Now I think the thing to do is to take the right lesson, which is that
we need Congress to act to say we`re going to scrutinize all groups that
have -- that are electioneering when they should be doing social welfare.
The thing I fear, Chris, is that what will happen is that the IRS will be
HAYES: Oh, yes. You`re going to -- yes.
ELLISON: And that`s the thing I don`t want. I think the IRS should
get more engaged, not less.
HAYES: We have new reports today. Senator Carl Levin and Senator
John McCain had planned subcommittee hearings in the Senate on precisely
this issue, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. They`re now saying
they`re not -- they`re going to delay those.
And this is -- this is what the fallout`s going to be. Things like
the Disclose Act, a piece of legislation that would`ve regulated these
groups to make sure they disclose their donors. That`s -- don`t you think
that`s not going to be harder to pass on Capitol Hill?
ELLISON: It may be harder to pass, but it would be the wrong
reaction. I think we need to re-double our efforts to bring real campaign
finance reform forward. You know, here`s the reality.
As wealth has been more concentrated in this society, political power
has gone in fewer and fewer hands, and it`s been manifested in some of
these organizations we talked about. There are clearly flagrant misuses of
the term social welfare. This needs to be reined in, Congress should move
forward to do it on a fair basis not back off.
HAYES: So, let me ask you this question, David, why was it that Karl
Rove`s 501(c)(4) was allowed to operate. I think the thing most galling
about this isn`t left to right. It`s big/little. It`s like Bill Burton
and Karl Rove are running around the country obviously flouting the intent
of the social welfare classification in front of all of us sitting at the
table of my show, right?
HAYES: And they`re not the ones getting investigated.
JOHNSTON: Both Democrats and Republicans are doing this because
Congress has now and the Supreme Court changed the rules with Citizens
You know, one little point about Citizens United. You know how many
corporations there were at the time of the revolution in this country?
HAYES: I`m going to get this wrong.
JOHNSTON: Six. Six. And they were basically what we would today
either call charities or public utilities.
Our Congress was very skeptical of corporations and it wasn`t until
the 1800s that corporations took off and even then, William Rehnquist said
don`t give corporations political power. They`re not natural persons.
HAYES: So I want to talk about another breaking -- bit of breaking
news today that looks like at first blush an abuse of power. And I find
"The A.P." has reported that the Department of Justice notified them
on Friday that the DOJ had secretly obtained phone records from more than
20 separate phone lines assigned to "A.P." journalists and offices,
including cell and a home phone lines.
This was pursuant to a story the "A.P." ran in May of last year about
a foiled plot on the part of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen to
blow up a more high-tech version of the underwear bomb that unsuccessfully
sent. After that reporting, there was a leak investigation that was
initiated by the attorney general.
This is really, David, you`re someone who -- I think you`re president
of the investigative reporters organization. This is really --
JOHNSTON: Investigative Reporters and Editors.
HAYES: This is really deeply troubling.
JOHNSTON: This is what police states do. You know, Congress -- we
created the government for the benefit of the people. And this is what
police states do.
These are the same "A.P." reporters, at least some of them, who worked
on the stories about the NYPD spying on Muslims because of their religious
beliefs as best we can tell, certainly engaging in broad spread spying.
And what`s very troubling here is this is not raiding a newsroom after
the fact. This is ahead of time secretly recording and we should be very
concerned about the attitude of the Obama administration about this.
People are not going to talk to journalists.
And government leaks classified information every day of the week.
Every day, whenever they want to leak something, they do. It`s the secrets
they want to keep.
HAYES: Congressman, I want to get your reaction to this.
ELLISON: My reaction is that this is one of those moments as a member
of Congress, do you standby your oath and stand next to the Constitution?
Or do you yield to the moment, the issue of the moment?
And I`m deeply troubled by it because I believe in our First
Amendment, Congress shall make no law bridging the freedom of the press.
And to me, this is deeply disturbing and answers got to come forward.
HAYES: Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota and David Cay Johnston,
president of the Investigative Reporters and Editors, thank you both for
your time tonight.
ELLISON: Thank you, Chris. Good job.
HAYES: You would think there is no way that more than 400 school
students could be tossed aside like yesterday`s trash by an entire state
government. And you would be wrong. More on this mind-boggling story,
HAYES: Still to come, my interview with Democratic House Leader Nancy
Pelosi and her take on the number one most important issue of this country
and why it`s being completely ignored.
Plus, Melissa Harris Perry is with me on the shooting not heard around
And don`t forget to follow us on Twitter @allinwithchris and on
Stay with us.
HAYES: There`s absolutely stunning news out of Michigan today. With
a school year for students and teachers in Saginaw County`s Buena Vista
School District is officially over. Yes, you heard me correctly. Although
the last day of school was supposed to be June 13th, Saginaw`s
superintendent Richard Serick (ph) made the announcement they are just
canceling the rest of the school year.
As reported last week, the students have not been in school since
Friday, May 3rd because the Buena Vista School District is out of money.
The state has cut off their funds because state officials said Buena Vista
took money to educate students who no longer go to school in the district.
And Republican Governor Rick Snyder has refused to give them any more.
So, what we have is a district that has laid off all 27 of the
teachers, all but three of its employees and has essentially cast aside the
constitutional right to an education of some 400 students for the next six
weeks. It doesn`t have to be that way.
The state of Michigan -- get this -- is sitting on a $500 million
rainy day fund, and state lawmakers like Democratic Representative Stacy
Irwin Oaks and State Senate Democratic leader Gretchen Whitmer are asking
to tap Michigan`s rainy day fund to provide emergency money to the Buena
Vista schools. They`re asking for $500,000, just 1/1,000 of the total in
the account to fund the last four weeks of school for these kids.
But so far, Governor Snyder is refusing to make any of that money
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SNYDER: That`s not what the rainy day`s fund really
intended for. I think people are trying to look through good constructive
solutions that wouldn`t require that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good constructive solutions.
Well, let me tell you something -- right now, the only solution they
could come up with is that the Buena Vista district will try to use a
federal funding stream -- I can`t believe I`m about to say this -- to set
up and run four to six weeks camps over summer break to help students make
up what they missed. They`re calling it a skills enhancement camp which
the district hopes will focus on math, writing and reading and will be held
in the district`s building.
So to recap here, Republican Governor Rick Snyder refuses to release
0.1 percent of the state`s rainy funds so Buena Vista schools can reopen,
but he`s OK with replacing the rest of the school year with a voluntary
camp to be funded by the federal government will take place in the same
buildings where these kids should be going to school and getting educated.
Joining me tonight, Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee who represents
the fifth district of Michigan, where this horror show is playing out.
Congressman, how is this happening? I cannot believe that it is legal
to just throw kids out of school, fire all the teachers and -- I mean,
there are requirements attached to federal funding. There are requirements
to educate kids. It`s the basic duty of a local government.
How is this happening?
REP. DAN KILDEE (D), MICHIGAN: Well, I can`t believe it. This is ca
where it came down to a question of the money or the kids and the state
government chose the money. And this is a very simple situation. The
state of Michigan is constitutionally required to provide a free public
education to these kids. They can`t just simply wave a magic wand and say,
well, school year`s over now.
Everybody else in Michigan goes to school. These kids get a full
public education, but because these kids have the misfortune of being born
in the wrong zip code, their school year ends six weeks early.
Here`s the thing, they can`t make up those six weeks. You know, this
voluntary camp, I understand the local folks --
HAYES: That`s not school. We have school for a reason. There`s a
word school and word camp and those are two different words for a very good
KILDEE: It`s completely unacceptable. You know, the teachers were
willing to work without guarantee of pay until a solution could be found.
They said no. The state of Michigan has a legal responsibility to provide
this education, they said no.
And so, now, we came up with this concept of which is a day camp,
which is not mandatory. The teachers they`ve been learning from all
HAYES: Have to reapply for their jobs.
KILDEE: Have to reapply -- may or may not be selected. And a good
number of the kids probably won`t attend.
HAYES: You have expressed concern about the -- a need even more basic
than education, which is kids getting food.
HAYES: Ninety-one percent, if I`m correct, 91 percent of the kids in
this district qualify for free or reduced meals at school. And you`re
asking that they be provided those meals somehow, some way for this last
KILDEE: Minimally. And they should be in school. There`s no
question about it. These kids should be in school.
Getting a decent meal is what we also provide as a part of that school
experience to make sure that they`re learning and that they have a
But the fact of the matter is, this wouldn`t happen in other places.
Other areas of the state of Michigan, these kids are going to school,
they`re going to finish the school year, they`re going to go through June.
It shouldn`t be a case that because you live in a community that clearly
has been mismanaged, that local school district was a failure. But the
kids should not pay the price.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, there seems like there is real problems of the
local school district and I don`t want to take them off the hook for their
role in this.
KILDEE: But it`s the state`s responsibility.
HAYES: The state is responsible for educating the kids. I have to
ask you this question -- yes?
KILDEE: It`s interesting they would be willing to take federal money
to come up with a camp when the state government is the only level of
government that`s mandated to provide this public education.
HAYES: Quickly, it`s not an accident that this is happening in the
district where 91 percent of the kids qualify for free or reduced meals. I
mean, to me, what this says is the state is saying this is a bunch of poor
kids, I wash my hands.
KILDEE: Well, that`s certainly the impression. You know, if we can`t
realize that these kids, first of all, they`re -- they have one hand tied
behind their back as it is, they live in a community that`s impoverished.
They`re struggling to get through the school year as it is. If we can`t
realize that these kids need to be in school more than any other group of
kids you can imagine, they need to finish their school year so that in
September they can start where they left off.
This way, they may never get this six-week period back.
HAYES: There`s 25 seniors who look like in a deal are going to
graduate. But it`s still unclear where the funding of the graduation
ceremony is going to come from. They`re fundraising right now.
Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan, we`re going to stay on this story.
KILDEE: Thank you very much.
HAYES: This weekend, there was a shooting at a Mother`s Day parade
with 19 casualties, two of them children. The natural response can
generally be described as a collective shrug. Melissa Harris-Perry who
lives right near there joins me next.
HAYES: Yesterday, as Americans across the country were celebrating
their mothers, I was celebrating my mom and my wife who is an amazing mom
and we went on our first family bike ride -- while all of that was
happening, a horrific scene was unfolding in New Orleans where gunmen
opened fire on a Mother`s Day parade in the Seventh Ward. Nineteen people
were shot, including two 10-year-old children.
The one piece of good news out of this terrifying story is that all 19
victims are OK and in stable condition.
Video released today by police shows a crowd of around 400 people
marching down the street as part of a second line procession, near the
Treme neighborhood. A gunman approaches and fires directly into the crowd.
Do you see that? Sending people to the ground and fleeing in all
Police are looking for three suspects in the case. Today, FBI
spokesperson Mary Beth Romig said that federal authorities have no
indication a shooting was an act of terrorism but it was, quote, "strictly
an act of street violence in New Orleans".
Joining me tonight from New Orleans is MSNBC host Melissa Harris-
Perry. And Melissa, that is in your hood. That is very, very close to
where you live. What is -- what are people saying there right now after
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: Well, yeah. So I live in the
Seventh Ward. And you know, on a normal weekend, back before I had the
show, I would have been in my house because the second lines are a pretty
regular occurrence on Sundays, especially in this weather. And the
Mother`s Day one we certainly knew was coming by.
We`ve got a front porch. So typically when the second lines come by
our house, people come up on the front porch. There`s dancing in front of
our street. So the idea that 19 people were shot, even if no one was
killed -- the idea that those bullets were flying into that crowd feels
extremely personal. And I think, you know, this is part of what those of
us who live in cities like New Orleans or Chicago or Detroit, where the gun
violence is rampant and where it rarely gets any attention, we have for so
long been saying, we need people to pay attention to this.
HAYES: You know, I thought that line -- I want to ask you what you
make of that line, "this was street violence." I saw this on social media.
It flared up, shooting in New Orleans. And then it was like, oh, oh, oh,
that`s just, you know, gang bangers in New Orleans, probably a black
neighborhood, just -- you know, that`s just life in the big city. And we
all turned our attention, like street violence isn`t terrorism. It`s not
terrifying. It`s not terror that is being visited on people every day.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, I mean, it`s not terrorism in that I don`t think
those shooters were --
HAYES: -- have a ideological motivation.
HARRIS-PERRY: Right. They didn`t have an ideological motivation.
They weren`t shooting because of identity or something like that. But it
HARRIS-PERRY: And the whole point of why we need gun control
legislation -- this is part of sort of why the background checks are
insufficient, although they are the first step that we need -- is that it
is the accessibility of these handguns, the ability of these people who
clearly have no respect for human life to stand there and fire into that
HAYES: That image is crazy. I mean, that image is really maniacal,
to be standing there pointing that gun. You can see it there. It also --
it strikes me -- here`s some polling numbers. Because I thought -- I
really wanted to talk to you. I wanted to make sure things were cool in
your neighborhood, first of all. But I wanted to talk to you about this
story, because there is this kind of two Americas thing happening on guns
and the gun conversation.
And in one America, guns are my dad took me to the shooting range, I
went hunting. And in another America, this is -- it`s like I went to a
Mother`s Day concert -- a Mother`s Day second line procession and I got
shot up. And this -- look at this polling here, this is support for gun
control by race and location. Among African-Americans, 78 percent; among
white people, 48 percent. In urban areas, 65 percent support, and it goes
all the way down to 34 percent in rural.
This kind of thing, which the national media pays no attention to, is
what is driving those numbers. It`s why there`s a totally different
conversation that happens in that part of America on this issue.
HARRIS-PERRY: But let me be clear, New Orleans is both of those
Americas at the exact same time. So we live here in the Seventh Ward. We
live in the city. We also live in Louisiana, in the Sportsman Paradise, in
a place where, you know, going to the gun show is actually a pretty regular
occurrence on Saturday before the Sunday second line.
So actually New Orleans is a perfect example of both of these Americas
at the same time. So when you have people talking about common sense gun
control procedures in a place like New Orleans, it`s not because they don`t
understand gun culture. It`s not because they haven`t grown up around
guns. It`s not because they`ve never gone hunting with their granddaddy.
They actually have done all of those things. And they recognize that those
things have nothing to do with the madness that occurred on Sunday.
And we recognize that we can pass laws that should protect us. The
problem is our state legislature is, of course, dominated by the red parts
of the state who are thinking of Louisiana as a sportsman`s paradise, and
not thinking about or caring about the 10 year old children in my
neighborhood who are shot while walking down the street.
HAYES: Melissa Harris-Perry, coming to us from New Orleans -- and
everyone can watch my good friend Melissa Saturday and Sunday mornings on
her awesome show at 10:00 here on MSNBC. Amazing show this weekend on
poverty, by the way.
Melissa Harris-Perry, thank you for being with us tonight.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you.
HAYES: We`ll be right back with Click Three.
HAYES: President Obama addressed the latest uproar over Benghazi at a
news conference today. But House Democratic leader says the Republican
Benghazi obsession is an intentional subterfuge to avoid action on jobs.
My interview with the congresswoman coming up.
But first, I want to share the three awesomest things on the Internet
today, beginning with a fascinating new web tool brought to our attention
by a number of our Twitter fans. Twi-Q calculates the proportion of male
and female comments re-Tweeted by Twitter users. The app, created in
Sweden, will make a -- take a user`s most recent 100 re-Tweets and figure
out which gender you re-Tweet most.
As "Wired U.K." reports, the system works by identifying names and
gender from lists of given names in the U.S. and Swedish censuses. So
companies and novelty Twitter handles will be excluded. The results are
surprising. An ideal Twi-Q number is ten, which means you re-Tweet men and
women equally. But the average score is just 4.9. President Obama got
just a 1.4, re-Tweeting 87 percent men and 13 percent women. Democratic
leader Nancy Pelosi faired slightly better with a 2.6, re-Tweeting 80
percent men, 20 percent women.
And as for me, I got a Twi score of 4.6, re-tweeting 69 percent men,
31 percent women. Take a look and see where you fall on the equality
The second awesomest thing on the Internet today comes from Twitter
fan Laura, who says California Highway Patrol Sergeant Kevin Briggs is a
hero. "Buzzfeed" tells The tale of Sergeant Briggs who patrols the Golden
Gate Bridge. And over the years, he has prevented hundreds of suicidal men
and women from jumping off the landmark. His amazing work was even
featured in a recent Yahoo! documentary.
In 2005, Briggs spent nearly an hour encouraging 22-year-old Kevin
Burpia (ph) to come back over the railing. But Burpia wasn`t listening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN BRIGGS, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL SERGEANT: He didn`t want
anything to do with me. So I just started talking to him. He was just
having some very difficult times at home. As we progressed, he started to
trust me more. He decided on his own, asked for help and he did come back
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Eight years later, the two men have reunited. Burpia now a
husband and a father of two, presented Briggs with a public service award
from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Burpia tells Yahoo
News the meeting was like seeing an old friend, and reportedly told Briggs,
"my mom is your number one fan." It`s an amazing and inspiring story of
one man`s ability to save lives. Check it out.
And the third awesomest thing on the Internet today, we got an
unprecedented number of Tweets pitching this one: "Space Oddity" in space.
Commander Chris Hatfield has spent five months aboard the International
Space Station. During his tenure, Hatfield posted a number of highly
educational and entertaining videos, and developed quite a following.
He`s also a Click Three veteran. We`ve featured this really cool
experiment where Hatfield explains what happens when you wring out a wet
towel in space. Now Hatfield is returning to Earth, but not before posting
this epic performance of David Bowie`s "Space Oddity." The video has gone
viral, grabbing nearly three million views in just 24 hours.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Hats off to you Commander Hatfield -- you nailed that high
note -- for showing us how cool space exploration is.
You can find all the links for tonight`s Click Three on our website,
AllInWithChris.com. We`ll be right back.
HAYES: For months, and with increased intensity for the last several
days, we`ve been told how politically damaging the Benghazi talking points
are for President Obama. If anyone thinks such pressure will break the
president, you might want to check out his reaction to the latest hysteria
during a news conference today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The whole issue of this
-- of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a side
show. Suddenly, three days ago, this gets spun up as if there`s something
new to the story. There`s no there there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Obama went on to explicitly call out Republicans for
using the issue as a subject for fund raising. While the president was
speaking, I was conducting an interview with House Democratic Leader Nancy
Pelosi, addressing, among other things, the dangers of dark money, which we
talked about before, and the never ending political fund raising cycle.
The congresswoman also gave me a very pointed characterization of the
Republican opposition, particularly the job performance of House Speaker
John Boehner. But first, I asked Leader Pelosi her reaction to the
president`s comments on Benghazi.
HAYES: This weekend, you can already hear the drums beating, the word
impeachment mentioned by some of your Republican colleagues in Congress.
What was your reaction to the president`s words on this? And what goes
through your mind when you hear a Republican member of Congress talking
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: Well, I guess poverty of
ideas on their part. I didn`t hear any of them talking about when we went
into the Iraq War on the basis of a misrepresentation about what the
motivation was for that war, and the thousands of Americans who died and
hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died.
But putting that aside, because that`s, again, a side show, let`s be
serious about this. The fact is the talking points are what is the
consensus is that the intelligence community state. All of them come
together and agree on consensus talking points based on the information
that each of them has at any given time. But we should even be talking
about talking points when four people died and the point is our
intelligence community, our diplomats, they promote our values. They also
protect our people by gaining intelligence to prevent other conflict.
They go out there in dangerous situations. We owe them a lot. And we
need to help prevent something like this from happening again. Talking
about talking points is not the point. Let`s get to the point of saying
how can we protect our embassies further? I used to be an appropriator.
We were always talking about how we can protect our consulates, our
embassies. Talking about the talking points gets us nowhere.
HAYES: And another day goes by and there`s no question about jobs and
PELOSI: well, again, as this is -- you know, they wanted to focus on
Secretary Clinton, who did such a magnificent job as secretary of state.
They don`t want to focus on jobs, which they have done nothing. They
passed no bill to promote any good economic growth.
HAYES: Let me ask you -- I want to get back to this jobs question in
regular order. But let me ask you about the revelations of the IRS and the
fact that the IRS apologized for improperly flagging new applicants for
501-C4 political groups, nonprofits that were going to do politics by
certain key words. There is now calls for investigations. There`s a House
bill that is going to be introduced to criminalize this behavior. What`s
your reaction to this?
PELOSI: Well, I think it`s an opportunity. Let me say it this way,
if, in fact, the IRS was targeting people because of their title, that
would be wrong. It should be condemned. The whole idea of 501-C4 as being
engaged in politics is something we`ve got to put in a spotlight. And
maybe this is that opportunity. The fact is that the law says that as long
as the funds, the 501-C4s, do not use as the primary purpose politics but
instead promoting social well being, welfare -- well, that`s -- what
primary purpose means, it could be the secondary purpose.
And so here`s what I`m calling for: as we look at this and we should -
- and I think it`s very wrong that they would have targeted them. We
should be saying what are these groups -- let`s have transparency,
disclosure. Who are these contributors, A? B, let`s have accountability
for what this is. This is a very vague law. We need a clear definition of
what a 501-C4 is, that someone could give them money and they don`t have to
pay taxes on it.
We need accountability at the IRS, of course, as to how this happened.
We`ve really got to overturn Citizens United, which just has exacerbated
the situation. I`ve called for disclose. That`s DARE -- disclose, I`ve
been calling for it for over a year, disclose, who are these people?
Transparency, amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United, reform
the political system. Let`s take money down as far as possible, public
financing of campaigns, so clean campaigns, and empowerment of people,
because people feel very left out of the loop.
But I do think that some scrutiny has to be placed on what these 501-
HAYES: You just mentioned money and politics.
PELOSI: On both sides, on all sides.
HAYES: I want to read you this quote by Chris Murphy, new senator
PELOSI: We`re very proud of him.
HAYES: He says "today more than ever before, the one question you
have to ask when you are deciding whether to run for the United States
House, the United States Senate, is are you willing to become a
telemarketer for 24 months, and willing to sit on the phone and ask your
friends, and just slightly worse than that, absolute strangers to give you
thousands of dollars to run for office? The skill of telemarketing does
not translate very often to the skill of governing."
He called the enterprise "soul crushing." What do you make of that?
PELOSI: Well, it`s his experience. I think it`s easier to ask a
total stranger than your friend, myself. I try to avoid that. I still
have some friends. But the fact is that there are people who care about a
progressive agenda in our country who are willing to help. And as I say to
all of my candidates, if you have a vision about our country, if you have
knowledge about a subject that gives you good judgment to make a plan, to
get the job done, and you can articulate that --
HAYES: Don`t worry about the telemarketing? We`ll hold your hand on
PELOSI: No, you will attract support. Nobody likes to have to raise
money. That`s why I say in my DARE reform, just take it down so that we
have -- we empower small donors, and you have many more of them, which is
how we have been successful in the House side, actually.
HAYES: When we come back, the congresswoman tells me what she really
thinks about the Republicans and House Speaker John Boehner. Stay with us.
HAYES: Back to my interview with House Democratic Leader Nancy
Pelosi, who spoke about her frustration with Congressional Republicans, the
media and the constant distractions from the issue of jobs.
HAYES: Why can we not keep the national focus on jobs? Why not? Why
can`t we? Even though we have record unemployment, why can we not --
PELOSI: I think we`re probably all complicit in that, because it
always interests me that when you go to a show, everybody wants to talk
HAYES: No, fair. That`s a fair -- yeah.
PELOSI: But the fact is, that`s what the public is concerned about.
They`re concerned about job creation, economic security, strengthening the
middle class, reigniting the American dream, doing so in a way that`s
fiscally sound, but not with measures that undermine the economy instead of
growing it with jobs.
HAYES: Is John Boehner a weak speaker?
PELOSI: I will say this about John Boehner, and I have a good
relationship. If he were a woman, they`d be calling him the weakest
speaker in history.
HAYES: Why do you say that?
PELOSI: Well, because they don`t get anything done. Where are the
results? Whatever it is, what are the results? They`ve never been able to
pass anything without our coming to the rescue, A, except their very nasty,
in my view, unprincipled budgets.
HAYES: They`ve also been able to appeal Obamacare quite a few times.
PELOSI: They haven`t done that.
HAYES: They`ve gotten the votes in.
PELOSI: But that`s not what I`m saying. They have not -- that`s --
HAYES: Accomplished anything.
PELOSI: They haven`t accomplished anything. Yeah. So always when
people ask me, I think, you know what, if a woman were speaker and nothing
was happening in this way, they`d say, oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. I`m just
getting a little, shall we say, tired of some of the way they take a pass
on some and not on others. We get criticized for accomplishing things.
They don`t get criticized for not accomplishing things.
HAYES: How do you understand the essence of the House Republican
caucus? When you are analyzing their behavior, what is the thing that
drives the House Republican caucus?
PELOSI: The House Republican caucus is greatly influenced, if not
dominated by anti-government ideologues. They do not believe in
public/private initiatives, take out the public. And if you don`t believe
in government, as President Washington, a couple centuries ago -- as he
left office warned against parties -- political parties that are at war
with their own government.
So when you say how could they stand in the way of President Obama`s
Jobs Act, the American Jobs Act, how could they stand in the way of jobs?
Well, they don`t believe in a public role. How could they go to the floor
all the time proposing a budget that they do and on an almost regular basis
voting against clean air, clean water, food safety, public safety, public
education, public housing, public transportation, public health, Medicare,
Medicaid, Social Security? They don`t believe in a public role.
So once you understand that, bless their hearts, they act upon their
beliefs. And they don`t believe in a public role. And if you don`t, then
it`s very easy for them in conscience to walk away from any initiatives
that do create jobs, do clean air and food and all the rest for our
HAYES: The thing that they did -- the thing that the Tea Party wave
of midterm elections brought to power and the thing they were focused on
was imposing austerity, right, bringing the budget deficit down. That`s
the thing they keep talking about.
HAYES: And they have -- it strikes me that they have been remarkably
successful in doing that. When you look at the debt ceiling debacle that
led to the Budget Control Act, which has now led to the sequester, that
PELOSI: Oh, please, thank you for this question. This is so far off
the course. First of all, the actions taken by President Obama and the
House Democratic Congress, House and Senate, when he became president was
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Many of the initiatives that
he passed are what are coming to bear now, including the Affordable Care
Act. The Affordable Care Act is bringing the cost of health care in our
country down in both the public and private sector. And that is what is
largely responsible for the deficit coming down.
We all care about frugality. We don`t want to spend any money we
don`t have to. But we do want to invest in the education of our children,
the safety of our neighborhoods and the rest. And even if you don`t, you
have to remember that teachers and firefighters and police officers are
PELOSI: So those investments are important. So when we turned away -
- if you want to call frugality, we`re wise about how we spend, OK. If you
want to austerity cut the public role, that does nothing except hurt the
deficit. If you want to reduce the deficit, the best thing you can do is
invest in education. The education of American people brings more money to
the Treasury than anything you name, whether it`s early childhood, k
through 12, higher ed, post-grad, lifetime learning.
And to cut education is to increase the deficit. So thank you for
posing that question.
HAYES: Congresswoman, it`s really a great pleasure to have you here.
Thank you so much.
PELOSI: Thank you very much. My pleasure. Good luck to you and
HAYES: Thank you.
HAYES: Thanks again to Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi for
joining me earlier today. That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL
MADDOW SHOW" starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Chris. Congratulations on
that interview. That was riveting.
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