All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 2/24/2016
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: February 24, 2016
Guest: Jess McIntosh, Nick Confessore, Olivia Nuzzi, Robby Mook, Jeff
Weaver, Sheldon Whitehouse
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN –
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We won with poorly educated. I
love the poorly educated.
HAYES: A political earthquake in Nevada.
TRUMP: I think we`re really doing well. It looks like we`re on a great
HAYES: Donald Trump may now be on the glide path to the nomination.
Tonight, how did it happen? Who`s to blame? And can he be stopped?
Plus, who are the people who keep voting for Donald Trump?
Did you vote for Barack Obama?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I sure did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twice, absolutely.
HAYES: My report from the caucuses.
Then, what`s the Clinton and Sanders plan to beat Trump? I`ll ask both
their campaign managers.
And President Obama vows to ignore the unprecedented Republican Supreme
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let`s see how the public
responds to the nominee we put forward.
HAYES: Is the White House considering a surprise Republican nominee?
When ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York City, I`m Chris Hayes.
All right. Ever since real estate developer/reality TV
personality/prominent proponent of birther nonsense Donald Trump came down
that escalator in June to announce he was running for president, Americans
have grappled with an increasingly intense series of is this really
Last night, with Trump`s third straight victory, an overwhelming 22-point
win in Nevada, we experienced our most jarring such moment yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If you listen to the pundits, we weren`t expected to win too much
and now we`re winning, winning, winning the country.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And soon, the country is going to start winning, winning, winning.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
We won the evangelicals. We won with young. We won with old. We won with
highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Trump`s victory lap today included a trip to the Pat Robertson
found Regent University in Virginia, formerly Christian Broadcasting
Network University, where Trump got cozy with another of America`s greatest
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have tremendous support and we have amazing people in this
country, and one of the most amazing people in the whole country is our
great friend, Pat. Will you come out here, Pat? Look at him. One of the
PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: Yes, sir.
TRUMP: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After Trump`s win last night, the political and media world finally
seemed to come to grips with the fact that this seemingly preposterous
candidate who tosses off calls for war crimes and human rights violations
in the same showman`s tone he assigned challenges on “The Apprentice”,
appears to be pulling off in our midst a hostile takeover of one of
America`s two major political parties, despite, or perhaps, in fact, partly
because of a string of outrageous provocations that prompted pundits to
predict his political demise over and over and over again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: They`re rapists.
I like people that weren`t captured.
I don`t know what I said.
Blood coming out of her wherever.
How stupid are the people of Iowa?
Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.
I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn`t
When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.
I`d bomb the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of them.
I`d like to punch him in the face, I tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That guy, according to the influential conservative website, the
Drudge Report, that guy is, quote, “the nominee” for one of America`s two
parties, the one that elected Abraham Lincoln, that`s been in uninterrupted
existence for over 150 years.
Now, is it a done deal? It is not, and Trump`s increasingly desperate
rivals are making the case it is far too early for the race to be called.
But let`s be clear-eyed about what the facts are. Trump has won three out
of the four states by double digits. He took almost half the votes in
Nevada last night. He is winning among every category of Republicans.
And last night, Trump drove record turnout, garnering more votes himself,
nearly 35,000, than the total of number of votes cast in the entire GOP
caucuses in Nevada four years ago.
Trump has now won 33 percent of the popular votes cast in Republican
contests, and as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio point out, that means two-thirds
of Republicans aren`t voting for Trump, at least not at the moment. And
indeed, if you combine the roughly 20 percent each of those candidates are
getting, they are beating Trump together.
But the notion that all the other votes are anti-Trump, that Republican
voters will rally behind anyone else is belied by a lot of the data. Last
week, NBC News Survey Monkey poll showed among Ben Carson supporters 22
percent chose Trump, higher percentage that chose Cruz and higher
percentage that those Rubio.
On the ground in Nevada last night, I experienced the reality up close in
the face of what is happening to the Republican Party firsthand as I walked
from table to table at a GOP caucus site. Trump was the dominant figure.
His name ringing out over and over, his presence looming over the process
like a skyscraper emblazoned over his last name that looms over the Vegas
All of America`s political actors, from reporter, to voters, to members of
both major political parties need to get very serious about what they want
to do about that.
Joining me now, Jess McIntosh, spokesperson for Emily`s List, which
supports pro-choice female Democratic candidates and which has endorsed
Hillary Clinton for president, MSNBC contributor Sam Seder, he`s host of
“The Majority Report”, and “New York Times” political reporter, Nick
All right. It was a real wake-up moment last night. I don`t know why –
how many wake-up moments you need because I do think there has been this
entire time like it`s not happening, it`s not happening, it`s not
Last night, it was kind of this, I don`t know why it was, was it the margin
of victory, was it the fact that it`s now three out of four, the fact it`s
now three in a row? But it felt like this sort of epochal thing that
Justin Amash, who is a congressman, a sort of libertarian-leaning
Republican congressman, said, “I believe we`re witnessing the beginning of
the end of the current two-party system in the United States.”
Does that stand to you?
NICK CONFESSORE, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Absolutely, it does actually.
HAYES: It does? It really does?
CONFESSORE: Well, no, I think it`s possible that if Trump wins, that the
Republican Party reconstitutes itself as a genuinely populist conservative
party and not a weak marriage between populists and Wall Street and rich
people, and that would be a fascinating thing in politics. It is possible.
HAYES: Like you could imagine a version of the Republican Party that
embraces this kind of white identity politics, backlash politics, combined
with the – you know, skepticism towards trade, skepticism towards
immigration, a desire for Social Security, expansion for the right
deserving people, that sort of thing?
CONFESSORE: Yes, a protection of entitlements for the right people, for
the deserving middle class as they see it.
HAYES: You`re shaking your head now.
SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think that`s unlikely. Playing this
out if Trump becomes the nominee and loses, I think in a couple years,
we`re back to exactly where we are now. The big money comes back in, fills
the vacuum, and continues to exploit that sentiment that Trump – that goes
toward Trump. Continues to try and ride this sort of bull as it were and
lose more and more control over it over time.
But I don`t know that there`s going to be an infrastructure around that. I
mean other than I think, like, sort of the cottage industries that seem to
grow up around it now.
HAYES: Jess, what`s your take on this?
JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY`S LIST: I think Nick could be right. I think that
might be where the Republican matter is heading. I don`t think that that
and the Republican Party being headed for oblivion are mutually exclusive.
If they decide –
MCINTOSH: – to take the tact where they are double down on being there
for a small white male segment of the American population, that`s not a
sustainable tact for the national party to take. That will be the end of
So, I think we`re seeing the fruit of a lot of labor on the part of
Republicans, like, honestly, I blame Lee Atwater for Donald Trump. This
has been going on forever for Republicans deciding to pander to the
grossest, misogynistic element of their base, and after many decades of
telling them that they matter, guess what they do, and this is what they
HAYES: Let me –
MCINTOSH: What they want is somebody who`s not a part of the Republican
Party and, man, that`s really got us smart for everybody who works really
hard to make that a national party.
HAYES: Yes. Let me interject for a moment, which is to say that you talk
about the sort of most xenophobic. I`ve been talking to a lot of Trump
voters, I`ve been corresponding with some. And I just want to say that
there a broader group of people than you might initially think.
We`re going to talk about that in a little bit, which is not to say the
ideas that are being embraced, quoted by him are not those things. They`re
100 percent those things.
But to me, part of it is a total breakdown in the mechanism of the
Republican Party. I mean, Ezra Klein had this point the other day where he
said a party literally exists to structure information. That`s why a
modern party – it signals people, says, yes, that`s our guy, that`s not
our guy, that`s our gal, that`s not our gal.
This is broken down. They are unable to signal properly to their people to
listen to their stamp of approval.
SEDER: Right. You can also see it in terms of institutions. I mean, the
Koch brothers have a political apparatus that employs three times the
amount of people as the Republican National Committee. I mean, so you have
a situation here where there`s just other institutions that are moving in.
I mean, I`m not convinced that what Jess is saying is the future of the
Republican Party. I think that`s now. I think that we`re just not –
we`re going to realize in hindsight that this is where it`s been heading
and we`re there now where they are not a national party. You cannot have
someone win their primary and then turn toward the American public and be
elected. It doesn`t mean that they can`t control Congress, but I don`t
think that they`re a national party. I don`t think –
CONFESSORE: Wait, I would just point out, right, that they control
statehouses in over three-fifths of the states. They control both houses
of Congress. They sure look like a national party to me.
SEDER: Well, I mean, I don`t think it`s possible, frankly, for a
Republican to win the presidency –
HAYES: Yes, a national party and a party that can win presidential
elections which is the ultimate prize and also which involves 120 million
voters casting their vote on the same day.
SEDER: I think there`s always going to be Republicans who are going to win
in states and win in congressional seats, but I don`t think that
HAYES: This smacks of a certain kind of triumphalism that I think is a
little – that I`m not ready to buy into.
I mean, there has been for a long time, I think, there as been an idea
among liberals, Democrats, people in the center left, political class of
the Democrats, that Donald Trump will be a disaster.
I mean, it was the inverse of what John Kasich said about Bernie Sanders.
Right? John Kasich of the debate says if Bernie Sanders wins, we`re
winning 50 states, I`m not even going to – there is a belief that – I
don`t know if that, Jess – I mean, you`re someone who`s gotten a lot of
electoral experience. You know, you`ve been around races. Like I don`t
know if that confidence is earned at this point.
MCINTOSH: No, I mean, I think it`s terrifying to run against somebody as
unstable as Donald Trump is. And there is no playbook for that.
I think, you know, when Kasich made those comments, we have seen n what
happens with candidates in the mold of Bernie Sanders before. We have
never seen what happens with candidates in the mold of Donald Trump before
because nobody like Donald Trump has ever been a nominee for president.
So, it`s a little like running against a monkey with a gun, like, yes,
you`re a person, so you`re probably going to beat the monkey, but the
monkey`s got a gun and you have no idea what it`s going to do with it. So,
I think any confidence that this is going to be easy by any stretch is
That said, I think there could not possibly be a clearer and more
compelling contrast between what Democrats are saying for America and what
Hillary Clinton is saying about breaking down barriers and Donald Trump
wanting to build walls. Like, that is a contrast that I am OK with
entering into the general election.
CONFESSORE: OK. I would just say that I see it the opposite, right? I
see the Republicans as a strong party and the Democrats as a party that can
only win the White House.
CONFESSORE: If they don`t win it one year, that`s it.
HAYES: That`s right.
CONFESSORE: Now, if you look at Trump, you think about what states can
Trump win that Mitt Romney could not win? Think about the appeal that
Trump has to union workers, in the industrial Midwest, in places like
Indiana and Ohio, other places like that.
I think Democrats would be foolish to underestimate the appeal he could
have in national election.
HAYES: Zach Carter and Ryan Grim wrote a great piece in “The Huffington
Post” about that sort of Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania belt essentially,
and what that could mean for a national election.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let`s just also consider the fact that
mega donors have shied away from – you talked about the Koch organization.
No one is going to drop – you know, this is the empire, it`s like a –
this dude showed up outside the empire`s walls and people just resigned
without firing a shot. They just decided, like, we`re going to get out of
– OK, I`ll get down from my throne, whine about it a little bit, OK, guess
it`s all yours, that guy said some mean things.
It`s like, hey, how feckless are you? If you actually care what you say
you care about and if you believe this guy stands for all the things you
say you don`t stand for, then put some money and some effort in trying to
stop him, but there has not been that in any concerted way.
MCINTOSH: There has to be an alternative to him. There has to be a person
that people are excited about supporting. And there isn`t. And that field
is totally a disappointment.
SEDER: Yes, Jeb Bush had $130 million, $150 million. I think the problem
was, if I`m a millionaire or billionaire, maybe a billionaire, I`m a little
looser with it, but I`m looking, saying, he`s got $120 million.
SEDER: If that`s not going to work, why is mine going to work?
HAYES: That`s right. Why throw good money after bad?
All right. Jess McIntosh, Sam Seder, Nick Confessore, thank you all. That
All right. Still to come, who, who are the people voting for Donald Trump?
I talked to some of his supporters at the Nevada caucuses. A breakdown of
the Trump coalition next.
Plus, the pressing question bearing down the Democratic candidate, can you
beat Donald Trump in the general election?
I will ask the campaign managers for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to
make their case.
And later, as Senate Republican vow to block any Supreme Court nominee, did
President Obama just call their bluff? His remarks and more, ahead.
HAYES: Last night was rough for team Ted Cruz. Donald Trump took more
than twice as many votes as Cruz in the Nevada caucus, but his dominance
was apparent long before any of the results were actually tallied. Take,
for example, the video of Cruz supporter and right wing icon Glenn Beck
speaking at a Las Vegas caucus site.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, RADIO HOST: America is great because of two reasons
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. If you pause it there, you hear the whoops and the
cheers and sounds like Beck is really getting ahold of the crowd, really
getting them geared up. Maybe, just maybe his stump speech for Cruz is
resonating, perhaps it`s swaying caucus goers. Or maybe not.
At that moment, turns out, Donald J. Trump was walking into the caucus
site. Backs started turning on Glenn Beck. Louder yelps and cheers and
eventually all-out pandemonium.
Here`s the bird`s-eye view when Trump arrived which we sped up. See the
mob scene rushed to catch a glimpse of the Donald. As Glenn Beck stepped
down from the stage, the message from the room was clear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Up next, what the heck are these people thinking? My interviews
with caucus-goers who chose Trump, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So, we had a very exciting evening last night, and I went all
around. The word, caucus, it`s a little complicated because you don`t know
how it`s going to work out and they say it`s hard to poll, but we polled
fine and really won big last night. So, we ended up getting 46 percent of
the vote and, you know, during the day I was walking, I saw all these
people and they`re all saying, “Donald, we love you, Donald, we love you”,
but you never know what`s going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The defining feature of Trump`s decisive victory last night is how
well he performed more or less across the board with the various groups
that make up the Republican coalition. Thanks in part to record-setting
turnout in Nevada, Trump nabbed 46 percent of the vote, the highest share
won by any Republican in any state thus far in 2016.
But since he`s right now managing to win pluralities of so many different
kinds of voters, the question is, what exactly do people who are voting for
Donald Trump have in common?
There are a few theories out there. A political scientist Lynn Vavreck
examined recent polling data to better understand the Trump voter and found
that, quote, “a significant part of this coalition of his voters are people
who are responsive to religious, social, and racial intolerance.”
Meanwhile, researcher Matthew McWilliams found that “a voter`s gender,
education, age, ideology, party identification, income and race simply had
no statistically bearing on whether someone supported Trump. Rather it is
one`s inclination toward authoritarian behavior. People who value and I`m
quoting, “conformity and order, protect social norms and are wary of
outsiders. And when authoritarians feel threatened, they support
aggressive leaders and policies.”
Enter Donald J. Trump and his pledge to make America great again, or so the
So, what do the voters, themselves, have to say about why they are
supporting a Trump presidential bid? Last night, I went to a caucus site
at Durango High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, and heard what some caucus-
goers had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What brought you to Trump?
STEVE SOARD, NV GOP CAUCUS-GOER: : Business, actually. The – I like him
as a leader. I like him as a, you know, I know he`s not a politician,
that`s actually what I prefer is a non-politician, point of view I feel
like America is a business. We got a huge debt in this country and I feel
like if anything, he knows how to handle the budget better than anyone
MICHAEL TURLEY, NV GOP CAUCUS-GOER: I`m here supporting Donald Trump.
HAYES: You are?
TURLEY: I make no bones about it because we have tried every way in the
world to get a foothold in D.C. and stop some of the crap and, well, let`s
see, I was a Cruz supporter. Cruz cheated and lied. Rubio, he`s an
establishment shill. That`s all he is.
HAYES: What is it about Trump? You said you`ve basically been supporting
him since the beginning.
KAREN HOVSEPIAN, NV GOP CAUCUS-GOER: Right, right, right. Because he`s
aggressive and he`s strong and he`s bold.
HAYES: So you – the thing that really pulls you to him are his
personality qualities more than his, like, positions?
HOVSEPIAN: Right. His position is a businessman.
HOVSEPIAN: I like businesspeople. I like businessmen. I like, you know,
people that can negotiate.
HAYES: Do you understand why there are people who are scared of Donald
HOVSEPIAN: I can totally understand it. You know, and I question myself
also. I think, well, you know, is my judgment right? And then when I
listen to everybody else and I listen to him, I think that I`m OK with it.
I feel comfortable.
HAYES: One of the things I hear from a bunch on people who are supporting
him, they feel like some of the things he says that some people might find
offensive or –
HOVSEPIAN: Oh, definitely, but everybody says everything.
HAYES: But you just don`t –
HOVSEPIAN: I go past it.
HAYES: Right. So you think he says stuff, he gets attention but you`re
not going to expect he`s going to do that stuff.
HOVSEPIAN: Right. Right. Yes. I`m past it. That`s his personality.
HAYES: Did you vote for Barack Obama?
HOVSEPIAN: Oh, yes, sure did.
HOVSEPIAN: Twice, absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I want to thank those caucus-goers last night at Durango High
School who are incredible patient and gracious to talk to me. It takes
Joining me now, Olivia Nuzzi, she`s political correspondent for “The Daily
All right, Olivia, this is the big question, right, because people look at
these entrance polling and you think, oh, well so-and-so has the lock on
evangelicals, or so-and-so has the lock on very conservative, or so-and-so
has the lock on moderates. And the Trump voter essentially cuts through
all of those categories.
What`s your experience been in reporting on the Trump voter?
OLIVIA NUZZI, THE DAILY BEAST: My theory is this is sort of a middle-
finger vote. I think what defines these people, because there`s nothing,
no race, no gender, no age that defines all of them. But I think what does
define them is this is more about an emotion than it is about the way that
they`re thinking. This is not an intellectual thing. This is an emotional
I think they really love Trump personally. I mean, you were talking about
with his voters last night, this is something that – they really support
him because of how they feel about him. They like his personality. They
like the things that he says.
They don`t necessarily think that he believes all of it, but they like he
has the chutzpah to say it, and I think that`s really what it`s about.
And I think it`s also – you know, they say they don`t like politicians and
I think a lot of it has to do with how politicians speak. Don`t speak in a
way that really means anything to them.
Trump talks sort of a lower level. He talks in a way that a lot of people
can understand. And when, you know, we listen to his speech, we might say,
well, that doesn`t mean anything, you know, that`s not a policy position.
And I think that`s actually what these people like about it.
HAYES: Yes. I want to say, you said something important there. First of
all, the personality qualities – people mention his personal qualities
more than anything else. They just personally feel attached to the man,
I would also say that for people watching this unfold who finds is somewhat
terrifying, someone is calling casually while he calls into “Fox & Friends”
to murder the families of terrorists and calling Mexican rapists, the Trump
voters that I`ve spoken to and I`ve now spoken to quite a few are much more
reasonable about that stuff than Donald Trump actually is.
The point you make there about them discounting it, it`s like this certain
idea that this is all shtick, this is just part of this great showman`s
show, and I don`t really care about that either way, I don`t want – I
don`t think Mexicans are rapists, but it`s – but I`m sort of enjoying the
show while it happens.
NUZZI: Totally. You know, I think it was someone I talked to a few months
ago when I called up Trump donors told me this is just show business. And
they were able to compartmentalize and say this campaign is show business,
I believe that he feels differently as a person, that he has principles as
a person, and I trust him.
I think it really does boil down to trust. They see in Trump someone who`s
never been screwed over in his life. He`s been able to become a successful
He`s wealthy. He has a beautiful wife. He has a beautiful family. He has
all of these, you know, beautiful classy things to put it in words he might
And they trust he will do for them what he`s done for himself. That he
will protect them from the establishment. That they will protect them from
the politicians and people who seek to screw them over. I really think
that`s what it`s about at its core.
HAYES: Another big part of this, people talk about the fact he`s a
businessperson. You say this, you know, you mentioned that. You know, in
a country that constantly talks about government is bad and business is
good, the free market is good, government is bad, and politics is corrupt
and market, you know, there`s a certain force to that.
And I`m reminded of the fact that, you know, Ross Perot, who`s a man with
1/100th of the charisma and media savvy as Donald Trump, I think that`s
fair to say, won 20 percent of the vote, right, in 1992. Just this dude
that no one had heard of who came out of nowhere. Here you have someone
who`s on television for almost a decade. In some ways, when you just think
about it in the context of celebrity sort of attention and business, you
get to – you get to 35 percent pretty quickly.
NUZZI: I think so, and I also – I just have sort of a sympathetic view of
a lot of these people. I talked to, I would estimate, a few hundred of
them at this point and I`m sure you`ve talked to a lot of them, too. And I
think they`re not personally hateful people. They`re very quick to point
that out. I think they`re afraid of being tagged as such.
HAYES: Oh, yes.
NUZZI: But they feel like they`ve been left behind. They feel like the
country has just completely forgotten about them. I think that`s really
what it is about at the end of the day.
HAYES: Yes. I want to reiterate, again, how sort of just impressive and
kind and gracious and patient all the Trump voters I talked to last night.
I appreciate them talking to me.
Olivia Nuzzi, thank you for joining me.
NUZZI: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, with the South Carolina Democratic primary this
Saturday, why is Bernie Sanders in Oklahoma? I`ll explain, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We started
this campaign nine and a half months ago. We were at 3% in the polls. 3%.
Today, in the last week, there have been three separate polls which
nationally has us in the lead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: With three days until the Democratic primary in South Carolina,
Bernie Sanders is in Oklahoma at this very moment.
The senator was in South Carolina last night for a town hall and hung
around for a press conference this morning, he spent the rest of the day in
Missouri and Oklahoma, and tomorrow Sanders is scheduled to make a stop in
The campaign seems to be making a strategic decision here, after South
There are 11 states up for grabs on March 1st, Super Tuesday, and a
whopping 880 delegates.
The Sanders campaign, based on a reflection of where their candidate is
spending much of his time and money, is betting they have a better chance
winning a number of those states than they do South Carolina.
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll has Hillary Clinton up
by nearly 30 points in South Carolina, where she is making her final push
with several events planned for this week including a rally yesterday with
the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Eric Garner.
The Democratic primary so far has been characterized by a number of things,
dueling domestic policy proposals, questions of who can speak better to the
century civil rights struggle, black voters. The influence of big money and
the foreign policy experience.
Now we have two more defining features heading into South Carolina and
Super Tuesday. One, the possibility of a deadlocked Supreme Court being
handed to the next president. And relatedly, who can beat Donald Trump?
Next, I`m going to have a representative from both campaigns. I`m going to
ask them to make their case for their candidate on those terms.
HAYES: All right. Joining me now, Robby Mook, he`s the campaign manager
for Hillary Clinton.
All right. Your case.
I think – I talked to a bunch of Democrats in my friends circle over the
last, you know, 24 hours and they`re all like, okay, who`s going to beat
Trump? This sort of idea he`s going to be the nominee. What is the case
ROBBY MOOK, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, HILLARY CLINTON: Well, look, this is still a
very competitive primary. We are very focused right now on winning South
Carolina, as you know. Very focused on Super Tuesday.
Sanders is going to win some states there.
MOOK: We`re going to win some states. But, we`re focused on those
HAYES: Okay, I`m going to hand this to you on a silver platter. I`m going
to talk to Jeff Weaver after you.
Neither of you are looking past the other, okay? I am telling you to make
this case to a democratic voter who`s going into the voting booth in South
Carolina and what is on the top of their mind, and I don`t think this is
unrealistic, what is on the top of their mind is who is going to win?
MOOK: Yeah. Well, you mean in the general election?
HAYES: Yes. I`m not saying, oh, you have the nomination. What I am saying
is, if you`re talking to that voter who`s going to go in there and say, I
think both these people have great policy positions, I want to choose one
that will win.
MOOK: Look, the middle class is hurting right now. Corporate profits are
at a record level. Families are are not seeing their incomes rise. They
need someone who`s going to go in and break down those barriers so families
can start to get ahead again after this –
HAYES: Okay, but if that`s the argument you`re going to make in the
general, why isn`t Bernie Sanders, Mr. populist insurrection himself, Mr.
low dollar, $27
donor, why is he not the person to provide the biggest contrast with
billionaire Donald Trump?
MOOK: Well, the problem that Sanders is facing right now is his plans
don`t add up. It sounds great. Free college. Free health care. But, when
you look on paper it doesn`t add up.
And he`s proposing raising taxes on the middle class, and I don`t think
this is –
HAYES: Wait a second. If you think plans not adding up is a problem, I
want to introduce you to the person that they are going to nominate on the
Do you honestly think there`s political gravity in plans not adding up in a
MOOK: The issue on Sanders`s case is that he`s going to raise taxes on the
middle class. I think the problem in the case of Trump or any of the
Republicans is that they all want to cut taxes for the ultra wealthy at the
exclusion of the middle class.
They all want to overturn the president`s executive orders on immigration,
they all have extreme social policies that are going to take us back.
So, the contrast with the republicans could not be clearer.
HAYES: You`re saying this now but here`s the problem, Donald Trump is
going to, if he comes out of this is going to come – I don`t what he`s
going to be,
maybe he`ll be pro-choice by June, maybe he`ll be anti-trade deals, maybe
more middle class tax cuts and tax raises. I mean, who knows – he can get
to your left if he wants to.
MOOK: Well, I mean, sure. He`ll try to whitewash his record. He`s on the
record as clear as can be right now that he`s out to help the ultra wealthy
We`ve seen this throughout his entire career. This is someone who`s been
bailed out a million times and keeps trying to make himself richer and
richer, and he wants to take us back. He`s totally out of touch with
Americans right now. A woman`s right to choose is at stake right now. The
executive actions President
Obama took on immigration is at stake.
He`s more focused on building a wall than helping the American middle class
HAYES: Here`s the last thing I want to ask you. The negatives, the
favorable/unfavorable view for Hillary Clinton are are lower than Donald
Trump, but they are the worst negatives of anyone in this race nationally
after Donald Trump.
Why should that not worry Democratic primary voters?
MOOK: Well look, the right wing has made it literally their business for
the last few decades, particularly the last year to take Hillary Clinton
down. We know that that`s coming.
But as we discussed earlier, the choice could not be clearer in this
The question is who do you trust to stand up for the middle class, help
break down barriers that are holding people back, help get wages rising,
help you afford college, help you bring down your health care premiums?
You can trust Hillary Clinton to do this.
She`s the one who took on the health insurance companies. They knocked her
down, she kept on fighting until we got health insurance for 6 million
kids. She`s the one who stood up to dictators around the world, stood up to
This is someone who people can trust to get results for them.
HAYES: Alright. Robby Mook, thank you very much.
MOOK: Thank you so much.
HAYES: Joining me now, Jeff Weaver, campaign manager for Bernie Sanders.
JEFF WEAVER, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, BERNIE SANDERS: Hey, Chris.
HAYES: I think that this idea that you want to raise taxes on the middle
class. I remember that moment when Senator Sanders, to his great credit,
let me say, in a moment of un-politician-like honesty, said, yeah, yeah, if
we pass this, if we do Medicare for all, taxes will go up.
That clip playing with half a billion dollars of ads supporting behind it,
you don`t think that dooms Bernie Sanders in a general election?
WEAVER: No, let`s talk about it, Chris.
Let`s talk about what that is for the typical American family making
$50,000 a year, that`s a $45 a month increase in, for health care premiums,
but they`re going to save $5,000 a year in health care costs because we`re
not going to have
any co-payments, no deductibles, no private health insurance premiums and
they`re going to have 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.
I think for $45, people will pay $45 a month to get a $5,000 a
year savings. Come on.
HAYES: Here`s the problem you face with that, particularly in the general
Someone says, I don`t believe you, I don`t believe you can make this
I can believe that you`re going to raise my taxes but I do not believe you
can conjure this.
WEAVER: Well, it`s not about conjuring it. You know, you raise taxes on
rich to pay for most of it, frankly.
You know, the thing has been vetted by economists. You know, there are tons
of economists who are supporting this. Others have looked at this who say
it`s a great idea. We`re going to save lots of money.
Every other country does this. Somehow the Clinton people and the
Republicans are both in the same camp in saying the United States uniquely
cannot accomplish what every other major industrialized country has done.
It`s a ridiculous argument.
Let me say something about trust in terms of this general election, because
I want to answer the question that my good friend, Robby Mook, sort of
tried to dodge, which is, who would be the best candidate in the general
Let`s be clear about that. It`s Bernie Sanders. No doubt about it.
If you look at the polling that`s gone on, head-to-head matchups are being
conducted in polling across the country. In every case, Bernie Sanders does
better against not only Donald Trump but every other Republican than does
Secretary Clinton has some serious problems as a general election
Rightly or wrongly.
You know, Robby can say it`s the right wing that did it, or what have you.
But this is the reality of it. The secretary is popular with Democrats,
there`s no doubt about that. But she is not trusted by independent voters.
Independent voters do not have a high level of trust in her.
HAYES: Here`s the problem, Jeff, here`s the problem with that analysis.
HAYES: In terms of the head-to-head polling, in terms of the trust
numbers, I`m not disagreeing with what the numbers say right now, but it is
not a static
process. As they say in the army, the enemy gets a vote. Which is to say,
were Bernie Sanders to be the nominee, for the first time in his life, a
man who has
represented a very small state of Vermont, has never faced half a billion
dollars of negative ads, which is probably what he would be staring down.
To the Democratic voters, I don`t know what`s in the guy`s record, I don`t
know how vulnerable he is. I do know that Hillary Clinton has been through
three decades of this and survived it. Assure me that Bernie Sanders can
survive half a billion dollars in negative ads.
WEAVER: Well, I think if you look at the polling, Chris, what it shows you
is that she has not survived it as a viable general election candidate.
That`s the problem. The problem is that Democrats like her, but other
people, Independents and Republicans do not.
What the polling is telling us is that three decades of problems have
created so much baggage it`s going to be very, very difficult for her to
win in a general
election matchup. That`s the reality, what the polling is showing.
When you look at the internals of these polls, you say ask Independent
voters about Secretary Clinton, rightly or wrongly, I`m not saying it`s
necessarily all justified, but it is the reality that they do not have a
high degree of confidence in her.
And so, when you`re going to have a contest against somebody like Donald
WEAVER: You understand the problem obviously.
HAYES: I do. I just think there`s a case to be made that things are priced
in in Hillary Clinton and a floating price on Senator Sanders.
WEAVER: Well, here`s the thing. No one is going to like her more. She`s a
well-known commodity. Nobody is going like her more than they like her
HAYES: Alright, Jeff Weaver. Thank you so much for joining us. I
WEAVER: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, the latest move by Senate Republicans to halt any step
toward a Supreme Court nomination.
I`ll talk to a member of the judiciary committee, ahead.
HAYES: Not only does President Obama have to get a Supreme Court nominee
for the Senate, he also has to get the next Librarian of Congress through.
And today he announced his pick for the job.
Let`s meet her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARLA HAYDEN, LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS: I`m Karla Hayden, a nominee to be the
14th Librarian of Congress.
People might not realize that the Library of Congress is America`s library.
It`s the national library and it holds all of the books that have ever been
printed in the United States.
The library in the Congress is responsible for not only making sure that
all of the resources are available and taken care of, but also that people
realize that they have this treasure right there in Washington, D.C.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. Now, running the Library of Congress, the nation`s
librarian, seems like a pretty noncontroversial position, right? Wrong.
Librarian of Congress oversees the U.S. Copyright Office and Hayden you see
is a big proponent of information being free and equally available to
Not surprisingly, then, here`s how the recording industry association of
America responded to the news of her nomination.
“It is worth noting that the Library of Congress and the U.S. Copyright
Office have been mutually respectful of each other`s area of expertise. We
would hope new librarian would continue that respect for the Copyright`s
Office expertise in copyright policy and recommendations to Congress.”
In other words, stay in your own lane.
Hayden will also have to bring the Library of Congress into the 21st
century. Her predecessor has been described as a technophobe who refused
all gadgets more advanced than a fax machine.
Along with being pro open access, Hayden was an outspoken opponent of the
Patriot Act. So, presumably much like President Obama`s eventual pick for
Supreme Court, her confirmation will only be the first in a series of
We`ll talk about that other battle, the one to fill the open position of
the Supreme Court, ahead.
HAYES: In their latest bit of obstruction, Senate Republicans say they`ll
meet with President Obama about the vacancy on the Supreme Court, but only
to tell him in person they plan to refuse to consider any of his nominees.
A spokesman for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Chuck Grassley
releasing a statement which reads in part, “Senator Grassley has reiterated
that he will talk to the President anytime and welcomes the opportunity to
explain the position of the majority to allow the American people to
This evening the White House confirmed to NBC News that the meeting will
take place next week.
The President spoke earlier today about how unprecedented the Republican
obstruction is. He even sympathized with the GOP`s need to play to their
face, and indicated that their posturing may very well collapse under
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARRACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it will be very
difficult for Mr. McConnell to explain how if the public concludes that
this person`s very well qualified, that the Senate should stand in the way
simply for political reasons.
We`ll see what happens, and I think the situation may evolve over time.
And by the way, there`s not a lot of vigor when they defend the position
that they`re taking. That they wouldn`t even meet, for example, with a
Supreme Court nominee.
They`re pretty sheepish about it when they make those comments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Insufficient vigor.
Now, there`s good reason to think that the united front by Republicans on
the judiciary committee is an attempt to make sure no nominee is ever named
because, as the President indicated, once an actual candidate is named,
things could get dicier for the obstructionists.
For instance, what if the nominee were a popular Republican governor
Brian Sandoval? Senate minority leader Harry Reid met with Sandoval on
Monday. A source close to the process told NBC News the White House is
considering the Nevada governor for the post.
Now, is this just advanced-level trolling or a real proposal? And what kind
of leverage do Senate Democrats have in this process?
I`m going to ask a Democratic senator who is in the trenches of this fight
about that, next.
HAYES: Joining me now, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island who is a
member of that senate judiciary committee.
Senator, let me start with this. This Sandoval news today, I can`t decide
if this is a thing I should take seriously, this is actually something, or
just a pretty ingenious bit of countertrolling by the White House saying,
well, you won`t consider anyone, how about a very popular Republican
SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, SENATE JUDICIARY COMITTEE: You know, it`s a sort of
tempting thought. Lindsay Graham might be another person who`d put the
Republicans in a real predicament.
But none of this gets around the bizarreness of the underlying situation.
HAYES: Have you ever encountered anything like this? And if when you talk
to your colleagues, are you in communication with them? I mean, are they
how unprecedented this is?
WHITEHOUSE: Yeah, I think everybody knows. This is unheard of, and I
suspect they`re a little bit worried because, you know, Americans would be
reassured by a sense of regular order again and the Republicans took us
through the explosion of the filibuster and basically rebooted the entire
They shut down the government to make their point and now they`re trying to
reboot a whole new way of outside the constitution handling Supreme Court
So, I think it contributes to a real sense of unease.
HAYES: Well, they – I mean, you cite the Constitution there and it
strikes me that`s part of the problem.
The constitution does allow for this. It`s advise and consent. And in the
letter sent by the committee, it was they intend to withhold their consent.
This is constitutional even if it`s highly abnormal.
WHITEHOUSE: Well, barely. For one thing, they`re telling the president not
to appoint somebody, and the president is clearly instructed by the
Constitution to appoint somebody.
Once that somebody is appointed, then their advice and consent kicks in as
to a named nominee.
Nobody has ever read the Constitution to say that the Senate majority
leader, Senate Republicans have to consent to the president having the
power to appoint somebody in the first place.
They get to review the appointee. And, you know, I think Americans have a
pretty basic sense of fair play when you`re saying, you`re a lousy
appointee, we`re going to vote against you before we even know who you are,
that`s not a very convincing argument.
HAYES: So, if I have to place a bet right now on whether the president`s
nominee will be confirmed to the Supreme Court before he exits his term in
January 2017, convince me that you, Senate Democrats and the minority in
the White House have leverage on this and they`re just not going to
What is your leverage?
WHITEHOUSE: Well, it will be up to the public, Mitch McConnell more than
anything else wants to stay as majority leader which means more than
anything else, he wants to keep a majority of Republicans in the Senate and
if this aberrational approach to the Supreme Court starts to hurt all of
his senators who are up in close, close races in this cycle, he`ll back
away from it like away from a hot potato.
HAYES: Let me ask you a personal question.
I do this every day. I cover the news and politics. I have my own biases
and beliefs and some stories get me worked up and some we cover a little
This one to me seems so black and white, it`s such a sort of hobsy in bit
of pure power politics.
Are you angry? Does this personally frustrate and anger you when you have
talk to your colleagues on the committee that they are doing this?
WHITEHOUSE: If you really believe in the American system of government
and the Constitution, when you start departing from it, that creates a
sense of unease in me as well as in the public.
This is – we`re in weird territory that we shouldn`t be in. We should be
following the Constitution. And by the way, imagine if this president had
constitutional duty that he was not doing.
The entire Republican Senate would be on Fox News jumping up and down,
hollering and screaming about this president not doing his constitutional
So there`s something also very backwards and ironic about their desire to
have the president fail to perform a clear directed constitutional duty.
HAYES: You know, the final thing here is I don`t see a limiting principle
You have a 4-4 court, they say let`s wait for the next president. If that
next president were to be a Democrat, I don`t understand why they wouldn`t
do everything in their power to fillibuster that president`s nominee. The
struggle is for control of the court, any reference to high-mighted
principle here seems a little beside the point.
WHITEHOUSE: Once you`re in for a dime, you might as well be in for a
dollar if you`re trying to protect the court. If you look at the record of
what that five-man block delivered for the Republicans, it`s an astounding
record of helping them win elections, helping their cooperate backers,
helping the conservative agenda.
Those five people have done more for the Republican base than all the
Republicans in Congress combined.
And so they watch the court turning into something they don`t control any
longer with a real sense of panic.
HAYES: All right. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. Thanks for your time
I appreciate it.
WHITEHOUSE: Yep. Thank you.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening.
Now, important news. Tomorrow night we`re on a little earlier, catch us
here at 7:00 p.m. eastern instead of 8:00, because at t 8:00, Chris
colleague, will host a special Hardball college tour with the one and only
So remember, tomorrow night, All In, one hour earlier. Set that alarm on
your iPhone right now.
The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now in its regular hour.
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