All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 09/23/15

Luis Gutierrez, Michael Wear, Charlie Pierce, Jennifer Nelson, David Weigel, Mark Rivkin

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris

Just moments ago, Pope Francis returned to the Apostolic Nunciature,
the Vatican`s diplomatic residence in Washington, D.C., after a truly
historic day.

Earlier, the pope gave his first speech on U.S. soil, weighing in
quite pointedly on matters of the heart of the American political debates
and the 2016 campaign: immigration and climate change most notably. The
pope not only endorsing the president`s environmental policies
specifically, but urging immediate action.

It all took place in the nation`s capital, the first stop in the
three-city tour of America. Thousands of well-wishers hoping to catch a
glimpse of Pope Francis and his little black hatchback Fiat on his way to
the White House.

He`s greeted by President Obama and the first lady before heading to a
welcome ceremony on the South Lawn. The president and the pope speaking
before a crowd of dignitaries, politicians, ordinary citizens and
emphasized areas of shared agreement. Mr. Obama commending Pope Francis
for his advocacy on behalf of refugees and immigrants.


Lord`s most powerful message is mercy. That means welcoming the stranger
with empathy and a truly open heart.


From the refugee who flees war-torn lands, to the immigrant who leaves
home in search of a better life.



HAYES: The pope drawing high praise for addressing the crowd in
English, describing himself as a son of immigrants, recognizing the U.S. as
a nation of immigrants.

But it was the subject of climate change that Francis devoted more
time to than any other subject, commending the president specifically for
his actions on reducing air pollution and calling for a broader, more
urgent response.


POPE FRANCIS, CATHOLIC CHURCH: Mr. President, I find it encouraging
that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. When it
comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment of


HAYES: Following a crowd-pleasing wave on a White House balcony, the
pope met with the president privately in the Oval Office, 300 American
bishops dressed in traditional garb gathering to hear the pope`s message at
a nearby cathedral where he told them that abuse at the hands of clergy
must not be repeated and encouraged church leaders to welcome immigrants.

Now, late this afternoon, another milestone, the first canonization of
a saint on U.S. soil, very controversial one at that, as Francis celebrated
the mass that drew tens of thousands of worshippers. Perhaps the most
affecting moment of the day was this one, as Francis toward the streets of
D.C. this afternoon, in a white Jeep Wrangler, a little girl managed to get
past the security barrier, you see her right there. She was later
identified as 5-year-old Sophie Cruz, the American-born daughter of
undocumented Mexican immigrants.

Police officers, at first, tried to lead her away. But then Pope
Francis called her over to him recalling the Gospel of Matthew in which
Jesus says, let the children come to me. And a member of the pope`s
security detail, lifting the little girl up to greet the pope, Sophie in
D.C., with her father and a group of immigration activists handed Francis a
t-shirt and a letter, asking the pope to encourage U.S. lawmakers to pass
immigration reform.

She later recited her message to the Holy Father.


SOPHIE CRUZ, MET POPE FRANCIS: Pope Francis, I want to tell you that
my heart is sad and I would like to ask you to speak with the president and
the Congress in legalizing my parents because every day, I am scared that
one day they will take them away from me.


HAYES: Joining me now, Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois.

Well, Congressman, do you expect any “road to Damascus” moments from
your Catholic colleagues after the pope`s pronouncements on these matters?

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Actually, I`m – I`m eternally,
obviously, optimistic and hopeful, especially after today because – Chris,
I have to tell you that I felt I could not answer sufficiently the charge
that has been placed against our immigrant community, and particularly, our
Latino community, because I could not give the kind of solace and
solidarity that was – that our community really needed.

It felt so much under attack, and this man comes because we`re proud
of him, right? We`re so proud of him. And through his example and through
his words, without directly confronting anybody or speaking anybody, but
through his actions and through speaking the gospel, as a leader of our
church and as a leader in the world to set the record straight. So, look,
a lot of people were kind of surprised, right? They said, oh, mostly

The church is 52 percent, 53 percent Latino, the Catholic Church. And
it`s the only part of the Catholic Church that is growing in the Latino
community. And so, nobody should be surprised.

Yes, the White House, today it was a wonderful activity. But when you
walked out, you saw our community, and that little girl is an expression of
the needs of our community, of our families and our needs.

And so, look, you can – you want to argue climate change? I don`t.
It`s happening. We need – global warming is going on. I`m at many times
at so difficult, as I am challenged by my church, as I find it difficult
with the teachings of the church when it comes to women`s reproductive
rights and the rights of the LGBT community.

But can you really argue welcoming the stranger? Can you really argue
challenging society to do better for the poor? Can you challenge someone
who says instead of building walls, we should build bridges and we should
have compassion and be caring and love our neighbor as you love? I don`t
know how you argue that. And so, that gives me hope that I and my
colleagues can see a way forward.

HAYES: You know, it`s interesting, you note that those teachings, the
welcoming of the stranger, but this is something – a lot of focus on this
pope and how he has shifted the emphasis on the papacy from his
predecessor. But in this respect, this is something, broad continuity in
the Catholic Church.

And the Catholic Church here in the U.S. – I mean, I remember being
in a church basement in your native Chicago on May 1st, 2006, the day of
the largest mass protest we`d seen since the Iraq war in support of
immigration reform, against criminalizing of immigrants. And those are
organized in church basements, in Catholic church basements across Chicago,
Polish folks, and Irish folks, and Mexican-American folks.

So, the church has been a bedrock of this movement for immigration
reform for a while, hasn`t it?

GUTIERREZ: It has been. And I believe this pope is going to
challenge my church to do even better, to find even more Spanish language
priests and more Spanish language bishops. The church still has to expand
its ability to communicate to our community and to allow Latinos to emerge
so that 52, over half of the church in terms of the population of Latino,
that we`re more reflective in its leadership.

And that`s why this is so critical at this particular moment. Look,
he leads by example. He`s much more – reminds me much more of a parish
priest than he does of a theologian, at the Vatican. As somebody who –
that you go to in times of need.

So, when my mom and dad came in 1952 from Puerto Rico and they weren`t
welcome in New York City. It was said about Puerto Ricans that we came as
criminal element, to get on welfare and bring in tropical diseases. All
these things were sad about my mom and dad.

But even then, Chris, the church was the first one to offer them the

HAYES: Right.

GUTIERREZ: The first place, the only institution that was really
responding to their needs. But now, we have this leader, right, of our
church across the world coming and responding.

HAYES: All right. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, great thank you, very
much. I really appreciate that.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you for having me.

HAYES: A little girl who gave Pope Francis a letter about her
undocumented parents lives in Los Angeles, California. And in her letter,
she described her home as en El Corazon de la agriculture, the heart of
agriculture. An estimated 10 million documented and undocumented live and
work in California, many in the agricultural powerhouse of Central Valley.

Our own Jacob Soboroff traveled there to hear from them firsthand.


JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC: As a native Californian, you get used to
driving up the 5 freeway I`m at right now in the middle of the most
productive agricultural land in the entire world and seeing what I see
here, almost absolutely nothing. No big red barns, no farmhouses, no cute
farm stands on the side of the road. And that is because we are in the
center of industrial agriculture in the whole world.

But if you look closely enough, hidden in plain sight are thousands
and thousands of workers, many of them are undocumented, that live in towns
like the one I`m driving to right now.

So, what is this place?

farm workers come and get their burritos here, beers here. A lot of them
get their checks today.

SOBOROFF: Come in, maybe cash or check.

FERNANDEZ: They do come in cash or check.

A lot of folks are undocumented, so they don`t have access to a bank
so they rely on these local markets that charge them about 10 percent.

SOBOROFF: Who is working today? Everybody is working today on

FERNANDEZ: All week long, they work 12 hours. Sundays, this is the
only entertainment they have.

SOBOROFF: He said if the job was easy, American people would be doing
that job.

Who`s Catholic? Todos? Do you think the pope cares about you guys?



SOBOROFF: And he speaks Spanish? Yes. What do you want to hear him
talk about when he comes to the United States?


FERNANDEZ: To tell Trump to calm down. Not everybody`s a terrorist.

SOBOROFF: So, basically, the workers up here, industrial workers.
They work in the trailers, the factory is this right here, the almond
fields behind me. Essentially, it`s a company town.

Hola, buenas tardes.

She says her room doesn`t fit more icons, otherwise she would put more

The pope is coming to the United States, are you going to be watching
on television? Or listening to see what he says?

FERNANDEZ: Luckily, they`ll let us have radio at work, we`ll be
listening to what he says on the radio and then come back from work and
we`ll be watching him on TV.

SOBOROFF: What do you hope he says? The pope this week?

FERNANDEZ: She hopes the pope brings a message of family unity and
hopes he encourages Congress to act on immigration reform so she cannot
only help herself but her parents in Mexico and to progress in this country
like everybody else.

SOBOROFF: What do you hope for your kids?

FERNANDEZ: One of her biggest dreams is to some day collect enough
money to purchase a house of her own and to legalize herself and her kids.


HAYES: That was MSNBC`s Jacob Soboroff on assignment for us in
Central Valley in California. Great piece.

Michael Wear is the former faith outreach director for President
Obama`s reelection campaign. He was at the festivities today at the White
House South Lawn.

Michael, it was quite a scene there. I was watching the sort of
social media tweets come in, and I was watching it live. And you had
everyone there in this sort of incredible anticipation, everyone from Rick
Warren, to black pastors from the South, to members of Congress. What was
the scene like?

almost eerily reverent. You know, it was a unique time. I`ve been on the
South Lawn before for state arrival ceremonies and other events. But this
is a pope who gets a serious engagement from everyone who encounters him.

There were no eye rolls on the South Lawn today. The pope brought a
spiritual message that had profound moral and political implications.

And folks were attentive, wanted to hear what he had to say. Not just
about sort of, the state of – the state of play or the state of various
aspects of policy, but really, the state of our souls. How is our nation
doing? And that openness, that sense of reverence was evident.

HAYES: You know, it`s funny you say that, because I`ve been noting
that both in the – people`s response in the coverage, the sort of
reverence. And at one level, it doesn`t make a lot of sense, in the sense
of – if you`re not Catholic, I mean, this is just – you know, there`s
lots of religious figures, and if they – a very holy imam came and told me
what he thought about climate change, if I agree with it, I would say
that`s great, and if I didn`t, I would say, eh.

So, I guess at one level, does it matter? What does it matter what
the pope says? Why does it matter for folks that are not in the church?

WEAR: Well, I`ll tell you. One more direct, I think, political and
social statements that the pope has really been making throughout his time,
but it was evident on the South Lawn today, was sort of the abrasive
inclusion and rejection of the political paradigms and paradoxes that we
have here in America.

So, the paradox that we would have millions of people living under a
system, in and under a system that ignores them, the paradox that the same
God who gave us stewardship over the environment would for some reason
leave us helpless to face one of the biggest challenges it`s facing, the
paradox that or the false choice between fighting discrimination and
protecting religious liberty, the pope said, no. This project of improving
our society, of loving our neighbor, it`s a project for all of humanity.
It`s a call on our common humanity.

And I think people respond to that. People respond to someone who is
coming – the pope didn`t pretend that he wasn`t the head of the Catholic
Church or that, you know, his beliefs didn`t come from Scripture and
Catholic social teaching, obviously, and because he`s so honest about the
core of his convictions but then, open in the expression of those people,
people don`t feel manipulated.


WEAR: They feel welcomed in and engaged as they are.

HAYES: You know, I think part of that. That`s well said. I think
part of it is, politics sometimes has a way of making big issues seem very
small. And the parry and thrust of day of day politics can kind of
microscopically zoom us into things that feel very removed from the big

And there`s something about the occasion of the pope`s arrival,
whatever your faith or faith tradition or lack of faith, your committed
atheism, just to think about some of the big issues, I think it`s been
pretty wonderful in that respect.

Michael Wear, great thanks.

WEAR: Thanks.

HAYES: Still to come, Donald Trump`s main selling point has been that
he will win for America. But what happens if he starts to stop winning?

Plus, why are conservatives pointing to Hillary Clinton? Hillary
Clinton has the original birther. We will trace the birther movement to
the fiery email forwards it was forged in.

And later, happy birthday is free from its copyright. And I`ll be
joined by the woman that won that lawsuit to talk what this could mean for
copyright laws and sitcoms everywhere.

Those stories and more ahead.


HAYES: When the Republican candidates for president gathered on stage
for the first two debates, they spent very little time talking about
Obamacare. Think about that. That is absolutely utterly imaginable just 2
or 3 years ago, when shredding the president`s health care law was one of
the defining features, if not the defining feature of the Republican Party.

And one big reason, I suspect, the GOP has stopped messaging entire
campaigns around taking down Obamacare is that the great jobs-killing
behemoth that we were told would be the end of this great nation as we know
it is – well, just quietly chugging along, doing more or less exactly what
it was promised to do with little fanfare. That is massively increasing
Americans` access to health care.

This week, the Obama administration announced that almost 18 million
people have gotten health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. And
surprisingly, Republicans don`t seem to have a whole lot to say about that.



You know, you look at this. You look at this – here we are in the Pacific
Ocean. How did I own this? I bought it 15 years ago, I made one of the
greatest deals ever they say with this piece of land. I have no mortgage
on it. I`ll certify and represent to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll see that.

TRUMP: And I was able to, you know, buy this and make a great deal.
That`s what I want to do for the country. Make great deals. We have to
bring it back.

But God is the ultimate. I mean, God created this. And, you know,
here`s the Pacific Ocean right behind us. So, nobody, no thing, there`s
nothing like God.


HAYES: Just in time for the visit of Pope Francis, a profound
spiritual meditation from Republican front-runner, Donald J. Trump, who has
been working on outreach to evangelical voters, trumpeting his love for the
Bible, and even bringing a copy to show off to the coalition last weekend.


TRUMP: I brought my Bible. See? I`m better than you thought. You

I also brought my confirmation picture, because nobody can believe it.
Nobody believes this.


HAYES: Yesterday, we showed you this chart of Republican candidate
polling averages which suggests Trump that top line in red may have already
hit a ceiling and started to decline. We should note, a new FOX News poll
has him holding steady at 26 percent, about where he`s been for the last
month and a half.

But if things are starting to turn, it poses a unique problem for
Donald Trump, because his entire campaign has basically become about how
his campaign is winning. And there`s a fine line between the swaggering
bluster of a front-runner, which in Trump`s case has been pretty
entertaining and the desperate flailing of a candidate in tail spin.

Last night, Trump was on Twitter again, hurling insults at Marco Rubio
and Hillary Clinton and restarting his war on FOX News host Megyn Kelly.
“Did you ever notice that lightweight Megyn Kelly constantly goes after me,
but when I hit back, it`s totally sexist? She is highly overrated! I
think Megyn Kelly should take another 11-day unscheduled vacation.”

This morning, things escalated even further with Trump tweeting around
noon, “FOX News has been treating me very unfairly and I therefore decided
I won`t be doing any more FOX shows for the foreseeable future.”

The network fired back a statement at 11:45 a.m. today. “We canceled
Donald Trump`s scheduled appearance on The O`Reilly Factor on Thursday
which resulted in Mr. Trump`s subsequent tweet about his boycott of FOX
News. When coverage doesn`t go his way, he engages in personal attacks on
our anchors and hosts, which has grown stale and tiresome. He doesn`t seem
to grasp that candidates telling journalists what to ask is not how the
media works in this country.”

Trump was back on the campaign trail today, making a couple stops in
South Carolina where he touted the benefits of his own popularity.


TRUMP: The good thing is you lose a lot of weight doing this, you
know? Because every room I have, they`re so full, and the rooms aren`t
meant for that many people. So it becomes hotter and hotter, it`s like a
steam bath. And you lose weight. It`s a hell of a way to lose weight.
I`ll tell you that.

While the other candidates don`t lose any weight. You know why?
Because nobody goes to watch them.


HAYES: You probably didn`t lose too many pounds at that particular
event where the whole back of the room was close to empty.

Joining me now, “Esquire” political columnist Charlie Pierce, and NBC
News correspondent Katy Tur, who joins live from South Carolina, where
Donald Trump just wrapped another event.

Katy, let me start with you. You had an interesting exchange with
Donald Trump about precisely this. You asked him about what it would mean,
what it might mean if his poll numbers start to go down.

Take a listen. I want folks to take a listen.


TRUMP: They don`t have me down. Excuse me, excuse me, who is in
first place? Who`s in the first place?

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS: It`s the first time you`ve been down.

TRUMP: Except the NBC poll. You know the amazing thing is?

So, NBC, for which you work, does the poll. It`s a very good poll,
I`m at 29. CNN does a poll, I`m at 24. Both in first place by a lot.

TUR: This entire time, it`s the first time you`ve been down. So, are
you concerned? Or –

TRUMP: No, I`m not concerned.


HAYES: Let me ask you this, Katy, you have been covering him now for
a long time. Does it feel on the ground like the kind of frenetic energy
of the Trump bubble, the air is starting to come out of that?

TUR: It has moments of feeling that way. I would say today is not
necessarily one of those moments here in Columbia, South Carolina. He came
in with quite a substantial entourage. His entourage just seems to be
getting bigger every time that he goes out on the trail.

But I will say this, he canceled two press avails last week and he
canceled – or right after the debate. And he cancelled an event right
after the Muslim comment controversy. And that is very unusual for him.
He`d been like a moth to a flame for every time he would see a camera. He
wants to talk to reporters and the press availabilities would go on and on
and on.

Now, not only canceling them, they come off as very short, he answers
a few questions and he stops, he controls himself and then leaves. I think
that is two things. One is that maybe the campaign does seem to be getting
a little bit more nervous. And you can tell there was something going on
with this last CNN poll. It is the first one that`s shown him go down.

I also talked to GOP leaders and insiders who said they thought the
campaign was suddenly nervous for the first time before the debate. But
you can also look at it this way, that they`re finally clamping down and
treating him like a front-runner and making himself treat himself like a
front runner. They`re saying that you need to be more controlled and
they`re trying to keep him from as much controversy as they can.

It`s Donald Trump, though, he`s going to say whatever he wants, he`s
going to make headlines, and part of the campaign is to create controversy
and to make news and to say outrageous things. But certainly, with the
questioner in that town hall, that did seem to take the campaign by
surprise. They said that, ultimately, it was a business deal that had been
delayed and that`s why he canceled his South Carolina event.

But there were a lot of people out there, a lot of critics, and even
sources who told some reporters this was not true. That they were trying
to keep him out of the spotlight to potentially make the impact of that
gaffe a little bit less.

Then, again, he`s come out and talked about the birtherism much more
since that. He told Colbert last night that you I`m sure heard that he
doesn`t want to talk about it. But hours after the taping, he was tweeting
about Hillary Clinton and brought that up again today saying she was the
original birther.

HAYES: Right.

Charlie, what do you think this looks like in decline? I mean, it
strikes me that any campaign is going to have up and down moments, even
successful ones. And this seems a campaign uniquely unprepared to deal
with down moments.

CHARLIE PIERCE, ESQUIRE: Well, first of all, Chris, let`s all agree
there`s nothing like God. There just is nothing like God. If he`s going
to keep quoting from Thomas Aquinas, I`m really going to be impressed by

No, look, right now, Donald trump is the dog that caught the car.

HAYES: Right.

PIERCE: Now, he`s in first place, now he`s being treated like a
serious politician. And he doesn`t know how to handle it. As long as he`s
above 20 percent, though, in a 13 or 14-person field, he`s doing just fine.

HAYES: Well, that`s the point, right? Even if he sort of
consolidates around 25 percent and this goes to the Scott Walker, the
somewhat grandiloquent pronouncement of Scott Walker upon his exit, stage
right, that, you know, as long as the field is as big as it is, 25 percent
is going to look like the front-runner for a long time to come, right,

PIERCE: Well, he will be the front-runner for a long time to come, 20
percent to 25 percent in a 14-person field with four of them, you know,
essentially owing the pollsters points because they`re in negative numbers
somehow. That`s a landslide in a crowded field, especially in a caucus

HAYES: Katy, last night on Colbert, we`ll play a clip of that ahead,
you know, Trump – the phrase that came to mind as I watch Trump on Colbert
was a phrase he`s used before to describe Jeb Bush, low energy. And I
wonder if the rigors and demands of running for president, which seems
positively grueling. I don`t know, is the guy prepared for it? If he`s
going to have to keep doing this, can he do it?

TUR: I don`t know. I mean, he does have a unique advantage out
there. He has his own jet. So, when he comes in to do these campaign
stops, he`s not driving in a bus from place to place, he`s either taking a
helicopter or a limousine. And then he`s getting on his jet, and he`s
flying home every night and sleeping in his bed every night. And that does
add to his ability to stay out in the field.

The other candidates are taking commercial flights. They`re slogging
through airports. I`m slogging through airports to keep up with them. And
I can tell you, it is an exhausting endeavor, and I`m a good more than 30
years younger than he is.

So, will he be able to maintain this? I think, yes, he will
ultimately. I mean, there`s been older and frailer candidates than Donald
Trump who don`t have his resources. The question is: is he going to get
bored by it?

HAYES: Right. That`s what I mean.

TUR: I`m not sure that he`s going to. He is, his ego at this moment,
he is winning. I don`t see him getting bored unless he starts to plummet
in the polls and come up with 1 percent like Rand Paul.

But as the last gentleman was saying, 25 percent in a crowded field is
a lot. And that can get him over the hump. And if we keep maintaining the
number of people that are in this field, other than the fact that Walker
dropped out instead of Perry, that`s a lot of people. So, he could easily
get to New Hampshire and potentially go past New York, on in to March, and
still be, you know, still have wind in his sails to move forward.

HAYES: Charlie, your prediction, does he make it to Iowa? That`s my
big question. Like, does this whole thing, basically, flame out as
spectacularly as it started? Or is he actually on the ballot in Florida,
in Iowa and New Hampshire?

PIERCE: Oh, I think he certainly makes it to Iowa. And I can
guarantee you what he`s going to say if the results go bad in Iowa. He`s
going to say it`s a stupid system, I guarantee. Then he`s going to go to
New Hampshire. Then the rubber will meet the road.

HAYES: And he`ll have a little bit of truth on his side in that.

Thank you, Charlie Pierce and Katy Tur.

Up next, huge new polling numbers in the Democratic presidential race
for the man that is not as of yet even running. Stay with us.


HAYES: As the first Catholic Vice President, Joe Biden had a special
role to play in the Pope`s visit. Biden, along with the President and his
family, greeted the Pope when he landed yesterday. Today, he was front and
center when the Pope spoke, and has plans to attend several of the Holy
Father`s events in the coming days.

And as the Vice President basks in his role as government`s highest-
ranking Catholic, he continues to be at the center of endless speculation,
much of it, I would have to say, stoked by his camp about whether or not he
will get into the presidential race.

That speculation is growing as he continues to show strength in the
polls with a chunk of support from Democratic voters. It shows the Vice
President with a
support of 1 in 4 Democrats, just slightly ahead of Bernie Sanders, though,
still behind Hillary Clinton.

So, for those of you reading the Biden tea leaves wondering will he or
won`t he, one detail about the Pope`s visit caught our eye. According to an
exclusive report from W.H.O.-13, an NBC affiliate, Vice President brought
some very special guests to meet the Pope.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE CORRESPONDENT: A source confirms to me that these
two Iowans, Kevin McCarthy and Terri Goodman, are in Washington, D.C. at
this hour.

We were told they were special guests of Vice President Joe Biden to
see Pope Francis today. Here`s where it gets interesting. Both of these
people are also the co-chairs of the Draft Biden Iowa Superpac movement.


HAYES: Hmm, Iowa, you say. The two have not commented on the trip.
But if Biden is trying to quiet rumors about a pending run for president,
inviting two of his backers from the first caucus state is not going to do



STEPHEN COLBERT, THE LATE SHOW: I`m going to throw you up a big fat
meatball for you to hit out of the park right now. Barack Obama, born in
the United States?

what? I don`t talk about it anymore.

COLBERT: You don`t talk about it?

TRUMP: I talk about jobs, I talk about our veterans being horribly
treated. I just don`t discuss it.


HAYES: America`s most famous birther, Donald Trump, says he doesn`t
want to talk about it anymore.

Back in 2011, Trump claimed to have dispatched investigators to Hawaii
investigate the president`s birthplace, going so far as to claim they
cannot believe what they`re finding.

After a fed up President Obama released his long form birth
certificate in 2011 saying, quote, we do not have time for this kind of
silliness, Trump held a self congratulatory news conference saying he was
honored for his role in, quote, hopefully getting rid of this issue.

Yet, to this day, Trump refuses to acknowledge the reality that the
president was, indeed, born in the United States.

Something has changed, however, whereas Trump used to want credit for
the birther movement, now he`s pawning it off on Hillary Clinton.


TRUMP: In 2008, she was the original birther. She`s the one that
started that whole thing. Hillary is a birther. Hillary is the one that
started it. Check it out. 2008.


HAYES: Trump isn`t the only Republican presidential candidate or
conservative making that claim. In July, Ted Cruz asserted the same thing
when asked about being born in Canada.


KATIE COURIC, JOURALIST: People seem to have a problem with that.

interesting. The whole birther thing was started by the Hillary Clinton
campaign in 2008 against Barack Obama. And, I recognize that there are
folks online that like to push that issue.


HAYES: In a radio interview this morning, Clinton was asked about her
alleged birtherism as well as a claim that in 2007 she and Obama had a
heated confrontation over Clinton allegedly circulating e-mails claiming
Obama was Muslim.


UNIDENTIFIED MAEL: Did you or your campaign start the whole birther
And did you have –

That is so ludicrous, Don. You know honestly, I just believe that – first
of all, it`s totally untrue. And secondly, you know, the president and I
have never had any kind of confrontation like that.


HAYES: Now when I was a reporter over at The Nation in 2007, I
reported this out. I took a long look at all the smear rumors that were
circulating around Barack Obama, including one much forwarded e-mail
accusing him of being a secret Muslim. And I traced the claim to a 2004
press release by a prodigious lawsuit filer named Andy Martin, who had gone
to claim on Fox News channel without evidence that Obama had once trained
to overthrow the government.

The claim that the president was a crypto Muslim eventually morphed
into full out birtherism, and that he wasn`t born in the U.S., and to help
us understand exactly how that happened and whether there`s any connection
to Hillary Clinton, I`m joined by David Weigel, a national political
reporter for Washington Post and America`s foremost birtherologist.

Okay. The Ted Cruz claim, the Trump claim, Hillary`s the original
birther, she started it, that`s not true, is it?

DAVID WEIGEL, THE WASHINGTON POST: It`s not true, although it has
taken up a lot of coinage on the right recently. I don`t know when to date
the shift. I think you can really look to 2011 when birtherism started to
be an irritating problem for Republican candidates led by Trump, actually,
that they started to say, well, Hillary Clinton is the one who started all
the rumors about Barack Obama. She was a dirty politician. It`s their
fault, not ours.

It`s not how it worked. I would recommend people go back and read the

And also, differentiate between the types of arguments here. The
argument that Barack Obama might have been a Muslim, conspiracy theory, not
true, was different than the argument that he might not be born in America,
conspiracy theory that had the possibility of disqualifying him from the
presidential ballot.

And I wrote for The Post today, drawing on these notebooks, that grew
up from super hard core unendorsed by Hillary Clinton, Hillary supporters
who in the summer of 2008 wanted her to be the nominee. They kind of
floating this. They researched it. They decided it wasn`t real, and that
had a long life after those guys moved on.

But those are two different theories. One that Barack Obama was the
kind of other, one that he literally was not born here and can`t be

HAYES: And that later – I mean, just to be clear, first of all, it
doesn`t matter. Let`s say that Hillary Clinton was responsible, it doesn`t
make it right. It doesn`t forgive other people for foisting this nonsense.
So, it`s bizarrely, it`s – it`s a bizarre defense to use to say, well, so
and so started it.

But second of all, let`s be clear about the birther movement as a
movement. I mean, you had, you know, you had official resolutions
introduced in state houses,
you had lawsuits, all of this was coming from the institutional grass roots
of the Republican Party conservative movement. Just to be very clear
factually about where this was coming from.

WEIGEL: Right. There were Republican members of congress who signed
on to a bill to require more information, hint, hint, from future
presidential candidates about their citizenship. There were no Democrats
signed on to such things.

That, honestly, surprised me. I always looked at birtherism in 2008
as a long, but not that long, tail of the Hillary Clinton dead-enders who
wanted her to be the nominee.

But I should say, I think you said something along the lines of
whether or not this happened, whatever happened, it`s important that
Hillary Clinton`s campaign did not actually try to feed this. There is a
staffer in Iowa in December 2007 who forwarded a Obama is a Muslim email
and was fired. Mark Penn (ph) wrote an infamous memo that we only learned
about a year later saying that Barack Obama was a bit too other, he was –
his Indonesian past, he was unelectable until maybe 2050, which was not

But he wrote that as a way of saying this is why he`s unelectable, not
that we`re going to go after him for this. And you could also say, well,
that`s a bit cynical. But it was basically true. The campaign played a
very occasionally, just a little bit around the edges with this. Every
time it was badly burnt because it was just Occam`s Razor here, it was not
politically advantageous for her to look like she was demonizing personally
and racially the first black president.

For Republicans in a very different party with a very different
opinions of the president, it was not a downside to go into this.

HAYES: yeah. that`s the key point here, right? I mean, you had – I
mean, Donald Trump, of all the people for Donald Trump to sort of point the
finger, I mean, Donald Trump was standing up there himself making these
claims, claiming to have hired private investigators. It wasn`t people
loosely affiliated with Donald Trump running around the margins forwarding

And let`s be clear, the Clinton campaign in 2008, there was some dirty
stuff that happened. There were some oppo research that I remember hearing
about where I thought these people have lost their minds.

So it`s, you know, there was stuff around the edges, but that`s very
different than that being a central plank being pushed by the campaign of
which there`s no evidence.

WEIGEL: There – you know, completely. And the Clinton campaign had
a lot more material – I mean, Jeremiah Wright story, they had to be ginger
about it. When she was asked once what his religion was and she played a
little bit coy. There was a backlash.

So, the Clinton campaign dealt with this differently.

I think it`s just – the fact that it`s being taken seriously at all
says something larger about the political narrative about Hillary Clinton,
because that – you can blame her for anything. People will believe that
her – Blumenthal, et cetera are so dirty they can be blamed for anything.

And I think let`s go story to story. In this case, it`s not really
her and her circle who made this a meme, it was conservatives.

HAYES: All right. Dave Weigel, thanks very much.

Coming up, there`s something very special I would like to say to Bruce
Springsteen, and believe me, you don`t want to miss it.


HAYES: I just want to take a moment and do something I`ve never been
able to do before on television. Ready? Happy birthday to you. Happy
birthday to you. Happy birthday Bruce Springsteen, Typhoid Mary and Marty
Schottenheimer. Happy birthday to you.

The historic reason why I`m now able to publicly sing that next.


HAYES: It`s arguably the most famous song in the English language,
but you hardly ever hear it on TV or in a movie. Instead, what you usually
get is something like this.


FRED ROGERS, MR. ROGERS: And we`ll sing a new birthday song. Happy
birthday, happy birthday, dear friend


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was weird. How come we only sang the last
two words? What happened to the happy birthday part?


HAYES: But yesterday, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled the age
old copyright on “Happy Birthday to You” is invalid. It is now considered
a public
work and is free for use to use in a commercial setting without fear of
having to pay for it, hence my singing of it.

The ownership of happy birthday has long been controversial. For
decades, the publisher Warner Chapel, a subsidiary of Warner Music, has
owned the copyright to “Happy Birthday to You.” So every time anyone
wanted to use a song on a commercial setting like in a movie or on TV or
even in a restaurant, they had to fork over a licensing fee, usually
$1,500. Those licensing fees earn Warner
Chapel an estimated $2 million a year.

Warner had been enforcing a copyright on “Happy Birthday to You” just
since 1988 when it bought the original copyright on the song filed by a
publishing company called Clayton F. Summy Company (ph) way back in 1935.
Yesterday, a federal court determined that the original copyright, the one
from 80 years ago, only covered specific piano arrangements, not the actual
song itself.

The ruling comes by way of a lawsuit filed in 2013 by filmmaker
Nelson who paid for the rights to use the song in a documentary she making
about the song`s history and sued to get her money back.

To help explain how “Happy Birthday to You” was able to withstand
several decades of copyright law, filmmaker Jennifer Nelson and her
attorney will join me



STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, LATE NIGHT: Warner music contentiously owns
the copyright to the song and has been earning millions from people
celebrating their birthdays for a quarter of a century.

And Warner is so protective of the song that even to sing “Happy
Birthday” in a restaurant, at a concert, or public place, you must pay
royalties. Don`t believe these people are serious about protecting their
intellectual property? Marilyn Monroe sang it to President Kennedy, and
one year later, they were both dead.


HAYES: Joining me now Jennifer Nelson, documentary filmmaker and a
plaintiff in the “Happy Birthday to You” copyright suit. Her attorney Mark

All right, Jennifer. First of all, I never think of this song as being
written by someone. It seems like it just must have fallen out of the
ether at some point. Who actually created “Happy Birthday to You?”

from 1893. And it was called “Good Morning to All” with the same melody
that you know from “Happy Birthday to You.” And then later on in the
1900s, the lyrics to “Happy Birthday” were added to the original melody.

HAYES: So, the people that wrote the song “Happy Birthday to You”
didn`t actually write the melody, they just put the lyrics on a preexisting

NELSON: No, no the Hill sisters, the Patty and Mildred Hill were
kindergarten teachers in Louisiana, and they composed and wrote the “Good
Morning to All” lyrics and melody, and then later on, they added the “Happy
Birthday” lyrics to the same melody. But there was “Happy Thanksgiving to
You,” “Happy Holiday to You,” there was a litany of other lyrics.

HAYES: So, these school teachers wrote the song. They filed for a

NELSON: They copyrighted “Good Morning to All,” the original song.
That is correct.

HAYES: And that is the copyright that somehow Warner bought? How
does that work? How do you buy someone else`s license?

MARK RIVKIN, ATTORNEY: The copyright that the Hill sisters had was
filed in 1893 and it covered the original composition, “Good Morning to
All,” when Patty made the derivative work, “Happy Birthday to You,” she did
it for her kids in her kindergarten class, not to exploit commercially, not
to copyright, not to protect. No copyright ever filed for that.


RIVKIN: 35 years later, 1935, the Hill sisters give to Summy
Publishing Company (ph) the right to a couple of specific piano
arrangements that were written
by two employees from Summy (ph), not by the Hill sisters, but by two
different people, who never wrote the lyrics to “Happy Birthday” and never
claimed to write the lyrics to Happy Birthday.

HAYES: And they end up with the copyright.

RIVKIN: That`s the source of the copyright that Warner until
yesterday said covered the song that the Hill sisters wrote.

HAYES: So, first of all, the copyright isn`t actually for the song,
it`s for these piano arrangements. Second of all, Warner purchases this
and starts going around. Like it had not been enforced this way, right,
until Warner gets its hands on it?

RIVKIN: It hadn`t been except by anybody ever, except by threats of

But that`s right, Warner has taken what was two limited copyrights to
arrangements and they blew it up into a copyright to the world`s most
famous song. And they made everybody…

HAYES: And got away with it for 37 years – or 27 years!

RIVKIN: For a long time. This case has been a long time in the
making, but we are delighted to be able to free the song forever.

HAYES: Well, why are you making this movie? What about this seized
your imagination?

RIVKIN: Well, it started out just as a movie about the “Happy
Birthday” song
because it`s the world`s most famous song and nobody knows anything about
it or where it comes from or why it`s so important to us in our culture.
And then it sort of evolved into this other story.

HAYES: About intellectual property, right? About copyright and the
ways that – I mean, the copyright term in this country has been extended
time and time again by congress, often when Mickey Mouse`s copyright is
about to run out.

RIVKIN: Just before.

HAYES: Just before, Congress runs in and they say retroactively,
we`re going to extend another – it`s now 98 years the term of a copyright?

RIVKIN: 98 years.

HAYES: And that goes against – I mean, the whole reason you have a
copyright, it`s in the constitution the promotion of useful arts and the
sciences, that you have copyright, so that people will create, right?

NELSON: Exactly.

HAYES: But at a certain point, you start to hem in creation if you
don`t let things in the public domain.

NELSON: Right. And how many times has a documentary filmmaker said,
we can`t use the “Happy Birthday” scene because you don`t want to pay for
that song.

HAYES: Right. We captured this amazing footage, but we can`t put it
in because it has this song in it.

NELSON: Absolutely.

And sometimes it`s an important story point. And you can`t use it,
so, yes, it`s definitely been inhibiting.

HAYES: Are they going to appeal this? I imagine they will.

RIVKIN: Well, they can try. They don`t have a right to…

HAYES: This is a district court decision, right?

RIVKIN: This was a district court decision by the chief judge in Los
Angeles. They don`t have the right to appeal now, but they do have an
opportunity to ask Judge King for permission to appeal.

I think given the voluminous record we have, the care with which he
went through the record, he`s not going to see an immediate appeal. And so
I think we`re going to move forward on the damages part of the case.

HAYES: Happy birthday liberated. It`s really an amazing moment.

Jennifer Nelson, Mark Rivkin, thank you very much for joining us.

That is “All In” for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts
right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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