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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 02/16/15

Guests: Graeme Wood, Edward Norton, David Sampliner, Dorian Warren

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN. The ISIS Libya branch murders Egyptian Christians. And Egypt counters with airstrikes. Tonight, what is really wants and how to stop it? Then, the trouble with the King Obama argument. KARL ROVE, GOP STRATEGIST: This man has done more to reconstitute the imperial presidency. HAYES: When it comes to waging war -- SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think we should not restrain the president of the United States. HAYES: Plus, ranking the presidents on presidents day. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not going to do it. HAYES: And he was one of the stars of the "SNL" 40 spectacular. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This week`s hottest club in New York is called yank! HAYES: Tonight, my exclusive interview with Edward Norton about his new Netflix project and about last night. (on camera): How was this all brought logistically together? EDWARD NORTON, ACTOR: There`s like everybody else who was involved, and then Eddie Murphy alone. HAYES: ALL IN starts right now. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight, new evidence ISIS is expanding beyond its base in Iraq and Syria. Over the weekend, video appeared online bearing the logo of ISIS` media arm, and the title, "A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross." And while it has all the hallmarks of other brutal videos ISIS has released, slick production values, militants dressed in black, speaking fluent English, by ubiquitous orange jumpsuit. This video appears to take place on the coast of Libya, 1,000 miles from ISIS held territory in Syria and Iraq. It appears to show the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians who came to Libya from Egypt to look for work and had been abducted last month. In a TV appearance last night, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi vowed to retaliate. And early today, the Egyptian military announced it had conducted air strikes on ISIS inside Libya carrying out what it termed, quote, "revenge for the blood of Egyptians and retribution from the killers and criminals." In the wake of the attacks, Libyan media is reporting that at least 35 Egyptians were kidnapped today in what appears to be a roundup in areas controlled by ISIS and other militants. Almost four years after Libya`s Arab spring uprising and the NATO air campaign that helped topple Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, the country has descended into civil war. Libya`s divided into two rival governments, a secular one, recognized by the international community, and Islamist government that rules from the capital of Tripoli. And amid the many gaps in those two camps` authorities, various militias hold sway, and ISIS has managed to gain a foothold. Now, if that sounds familiar, that`s because it`s the trajectory followed by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. With Syria in particular, the parallel are striking. In both Libya and Syria, you had secular strongmen, Moammar Gadhafi and Bashar al Assad, who built their reputations in part on standing up to the West. Both of those dictators were the targets of peaceful uprisings during the Arab spring, which gave way to violent reprisals by the government and ultimately all-out civil war. But there`s one key difference in the way the two conflicts have panned out, in Libya, the U.S. and allies intervening, ultimately resulting in the defeat and Gadhafi`s death. In Syria, however, despite strenuous calls from critics and at times members of his own administration, President Obama has resisted getting the U.S. military directly involved in efforts to overthrow Bashar al Assad. And yet somehow, these two places, Libya and Syria, which have effectively been test cases for different approaches to U.S. foreign policy in the region, somehow they appear to have converged in the same chaotic and brutal end result. It raises some disquieting questions as we have a debate about an authorization of use of military force about the U.S.`s ability to effect outcomes in the region and whether U.S. influence is a lot more circumscribed than anyone in Washington is willing to admit. Joining me now: NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin. Libya is a situation in which there was an intervention, and then, of course, the Benghazi attack, which probably spooked U.S. security officials to sort of pull back. What do we make of what Libya is now when we think about how the Obama administration has managed the Arab spring? AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the short answer to both of those comparisons is they have one thing in common, they are both failed states. The underlying message is that regardless of the approach in the early stages of the engagement, how long and how committed does the international community stay in that process to make sure that the state does not collapse? What we saw in Libya is that, yes, there was a central government that was a dictatorship and certainly controlled the territory and the people underneath it. In the wake of the Arab uprising and the wake of that NATO liberation, if you will, or NATO campaign to help the rebels, there was a disengagement following that and following the Benghazi attack. They did not want to get involved. It was too dangerous perhaps. They wanted to see the central government kind of exert itself. That failed. And what we saw in Libya now is a failed state. HAYES: But do critics of the intervention to begin with, who at the time back in 2011 said that was a bad idea, part of the criticism was you not have, U.S., West, NATO, proven yourself particularly committed or adept at any kind of nation-building or sustained commitment in this region, so don`t go blowing things up if you`re not going have follow-through, and then we saw what happened. MOHYELDIN: Yes. I mean, the question that we have struggled to answer in this country is what about the day after, what about the next day. Who`s in charge? Who`s going to build this up? Who`s going to create the capacity of a central government to address all of these issues? There was no answer back in 2011. There was certainly no clear answer back at the time of the NATO intervention. And this is something that a lot of the strong men in the region constantly point at. They constantly criticize the West for saying, great, you have an answer for the short-term, but what do you do about the day after? And it`s something that has scared the international community into action in Syria. There was no clear answer. The alternatives that started to appear in Syria really scared the international community, and some of them were hard core al Qaeda affiliates, some of them were Islamists, some of them were ISIS, and as a result of that, there was this kind of paralysis that gripped the international community about what to do. HAYES: You have covered Tahrir Square, you`ve covered the Arab spring. We are seeing this phase in which it`s retrenchment in Egypt with a military strongman in the figure of Sisi, chaos in other places, very little tangible democratic flowers. Tunisia is probably the closest to a success. MOHYELDIN: The only one. HAYES: The only one. OK. What about the theory that whatever we do, it`s not our story to tell, and we are fundamentally unable to impose any kind of shape on the outcome? MOHYELDIN: Well, I would say the words of the outgoing Chuck Hagel, who said that America`s influence in the Middle East is certainly waning. It certainly does not have the same kind of clout it used to have with its ability to shape political outcomes or realities on the ground. That doesn`t mean that the U.S. doesn`t have tremendous influence, but it`s not with the same ease as it used to be. We`re seeing these governments collapse, decentralize, and as a result the traditional mode of communication that the U.S. had to rely on influence is no longer concentrated in the hand of one individual. But the Arab spring has not panned out the way people had hoped for. It has not. Every country has had a different trajectory. Yemen is very different than Libya, different than Syria, certainly different in Egypt and Tunisia. Don`t forget about Bahrain. They struggled as well with efforts to reform that country. But at the end of the day, the underlying current has proven to be the biggest challenge for the United States. How do you deal with all of these things that have now started to emerge to the surface? HAYES: And I guess in summation, the way this debate gets phrased is critics saying, we should have pushed this button, and my feeling is maybe there`s no button to push. MOHYELDIN: Yes. There is no single -- there is no formula cookie cutter approach to every one of these countries. So, you have to have kind of a tailor-made to each country based on values, I guess. HAYES: Thank you, Ayman. Always a pleasure. MOHYELDIN: My pleasure. HAYES: All right. With the appearance of the video purported to show ISIS in Libya, there is evidence they are setting up outside of what has been the bounds of their so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria. As "New York Times" reported this week, U.S. intelligence officials say the group is expanding beyond its base to establish militant affiliates in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya, and there are less formal pledges of support from, quote, "probably at least a couple hundred extremists in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Yemen." It`s not clear how much they are in the style of al Qaeda, and to what extent they are seeking to capitalize on the vicious branding of ISIS. A new feature in the March issue of "The Atlantic" entitled "What ISIS Really Wants" argues that ISIS and its adherents around the world subscribe for a most part to a remarkably coherent ideology, an ideology rooted in a literal reading of Islam harkening back to the middle ages, and here in U.S., we`d do well to pay attention. Joining me now the author of that, Graeme Wood, contributing editor of "The Atlantic". Good to have you here, Graeme. GRAEME WOOD, THE ATLANTIC: Thank you. HAYES: You talk about it basically being a kind of apocalyptic millenarian fundamentalist vision of Islam returning to its eighth century roots. WOOD: Yes, that`s well put. And you can see that really in all of the rhetoric that the Islamic State puts out, including the video of the 21 Christians who were killed over the weekend. It`s not just one of the rhetorical modes that ISIS uses. It really is the only one. And the message was laced with apocalyptic rhetoric, quotations from Hadith. It is the way it justifies itself. HAYES: One of these things actually from the article, there`s a part of the message where they talk about Rome, right, sort of warning to Rome, that actually in this kind of apocalyptic ideology, that actually, this final confrontation, this kind of end of days battle with Rome happens actually in a city in Syria. WOOD: Yes, it`s a particular city which is strategically completely unimportant, except it is mentioned Hadith as the site of a major showdown battle that will happen. The crusaders will be defeated and Rome itself falls to the Islamic State. HAYES: So, there`s seem to me -- again, I`m not there. I`m not reporting from the ground there. But from all of that I`ve reading and sort of talking to people that have been there, reporting on it, there`s sort of two things happening in terms of ISIS, right? There`s the kind of propaganda wing and the ideology, and then there`s just a lot of Sunni militants, right? Folks who are providing a lot of the military strategy and troops who are sort of alienated from the Iraqi government. How much is that fused together or how much we know about how it`s fused together? WOOD: Yes, they are closely connected. You certainly have a lot of ideological sophistication and doctrinal enforcement within the Islamic State. But you also have a lot of political current of disaffected Sunnis in a region where Sunnis really in the last few years got the short end of the stick. And so, you find a lot of people who are politically disaffected and turn to the ideology as a result of that. HAYES: In terms of the questions that`s posed: what does ISIS want? I mean, I came away thinking they want war, and they want to fight everyone, because fighting everyone is what they see themselves as destined to do. It makes them bigger. It is fulfilling their legacy. So, when you see the videos, you think what are they doing here? Do they want a war with Egypt and the war with U.S., and the war of -- and the answer I got from the article is yes. WOOD: Yes, they do, absolutely. And really all of the videos that we see of them consist of goading the United States, goading NATO into attacking them. They really want to have their rhetoric and their propaganda confirmed in its message that there`s a war happening between Muslims and the rest of the world. And if they have boots on the ground in Syria, then they`ll have exactly what they say they are going to get. HAYES: Part of the major destination in terms of their rivalry with al Qaeda, a rivalry that at the times has been very bloody and at other times sort of letter disputes is the fact that they have actually territory there controlling which is part of their kind of branding advantage to international jihadists, right? Come home to the caliphate. Al Qaeda has the ideology we actually are doing it. We are cutting off these hands. We`re bringing it back. WOOD: Yes, al Qaeda was an underground terrorist network. It never controlled territory really. And so, what is the caliphate is saying is we have space that we can implement Sharia law in. And that is one of the criteria for having a caliphate. Caliphate is something that al Qaeda never thought it would achieve in the lifetime of, say, Osama bin Laden. And sure enough, just a few years later, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has it. HAYES: Graeme Wood of "The Atlantic" -- thank you very much. I really appreciate it. WOOD: Thanks. HAYES: For years, Republicans have complained that President Obama acts on his own too much. They are now complaining that the legislation the president has proposed doesn`t allow him to act on his own enough. I`ll explain, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Authorities in Denmark say a gunman who killed people in two separate attacks in Copenhagen over the weekend might have been inspired by the terror attacks in Paris last month. On Saturday, the gunman opened fire at a forum on freedom of speech, which featured a Swedish cartoonist who`s famously caricatured the Prophet Muhammad. The cartoonist was unharmed in the attack, but a documentary filmmaker who was in attendance was killed. NBC News has obtained an audio recording from the forum which captured the moments that gunfire erupted. A warning, it is disturbing to hear. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It is freedom of speech, but -- and the turning point is, but -- why do we still say "but" when we -- (GUNFIRE) (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Hours later, police say the same gunman killed a Jewish security guard outside a synagogue. The suspected gunman was later killed in a shootout with authorities on Sunday. Police say he had a history of violence and weapons charges and gang ties. Police have not named the suspected shooter but he is identified by Danish media and in court proceedings as 22-year-old Omar Abdel El-Hussein. "The Associated Press" reports El-Hussein had been released from jail just weeks ago. The director of the Danish security services confirmed the suspect was known to the agency before this weekend`s attacks. The Danish prime minister said today there is no indication that the suspect was part of an organized terror cell. He has vowed to protect Denmark`s Jewish community and has urged Danish Jews not to follow calls from Israel to immigrate there. Meanwhile, the prime minister was among tens of thousands of Danes who gathered in Central Copenhagen for a memorial service to honor the victims of this weekend`s attacks. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Republicans hit the Sunday shows yesterday to discuss the president`s proposed authorization to use military force against ISIS. And the essence of their criticism is that the AUMF excessively restricts the executive branch in waging war. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The president is asking for less authority than he has today under previous authorizations. I don`t think that`s smart. We need a robust strategy to take on ISIL. In addition to our robust strategy, I think we need to have a robust authorization. SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I think there`s a lot of skepticism about the administration`s commitment to dealing with ISIS or Daesh or ISIL or whatever you want to call them. FORMER REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: He keeps talking about the things he won`t do. He is drawing it into this year. MCCAIN: I think we should not restrain the president of the United States. The Congress has the power of the purse. If we don`t like what the commander in chief is doing, we can cut off his funds for doing so. But to restrain him in our authorization of him taking military action, I think frankly is unconstitutional and eventually leads to 535 commanders- in-chief. (END VIDEO CLIPS) HAYES: Now, some of that criticism may or may not be true on the merits of war-making. We`ll get to that in a moment. But it is a little hard to square with the Republican Party and conservative movement that have spent much of the last six years talking about Barack Obama as an imperial president most notably with regard to his executive actions. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: One of the most disturbing patterns we`ve seen over the last five years is a consistent pattern of lawlessness from President Obama. REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: He may have a pen and a phone, but we have a Constitution. REP. MIKE KELLY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: The executive cannot make exceptions and just enforce the laws he or she wants. That`s not who we are as a people. We left monarchs. We left tyrants to come here. This is a government by the people, for the people, and of the people. SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: He is not an imperial president. And lawlessness will not be accepted by the American people. REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This is not a fight with the Republicans. It`s a fight with the people who founded this republic. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That the king couldn`t on his own do that, he couldn`t just simply say, I`m going to dispense with the laws or suspend their operations for a period of time. Our Founding Fathers knew this history well. And the more the president acts outside the bounds of his powers, the harder it becomes to actually achieve a solution. (END VIDEO CLIPS) HAYES: Now, this is part of a larger tension at the heart of conservatism and the Republican Party. On one hand, a deep distrust of government authority and excessive government, and yet at the same time, an embrace of government at its most powerful and most invasive in the war- making powers of the executive branch. Joining me now to square this circle, MSNBC contributor Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee. So, is there a contradiction here, Michael? It seems to me there is one. MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. No, there is. I think it`s a bit of an apple and orange. There`s a difference between the president taking executive action in the place of Congress, and the Congress giving or wanting to give the president as much as authority as he possibly can have to act, and I think that`s really where the fine line in the two debates rest. One -- HAYES: But here`s the wrinkle, though, just to get here. STEELE: Sure. HAYES: Let`s keep in mind: the president is using this interpretation of the 2001 AUMF to do what he`s doing now, and I heard nary a peep from the constitutionalists in the Republican Party who want to rein them in. STEELE: Well, but -- well, that`s because that is a very broad AUMF. And, in fact, what you`ve heard the constitutionalists and some like-minded Democrats, I might add, say the president already has the authority from 2002. He doesn`t need to come to this Congress to ask specifically for an AUMF. What this president wants to do is narrow the scope of the prior AUMF and basically eliminate it to come back on the field with a different AUMF that have -- use of military force that is more narrowly tailored, that has limits -- that even the ranking member of the House, the Democrat ranking member of the Senate Armed Services says he doesn`t accept the limitation of just three years. Everyone acknowledges this is not going to get done in three years. The president is looking for a window to close this just as he`s walking out the door -- HAYES: Wait a second, this is crazy -- STEELE: -- and that`s not the way that Congress is looking at this. HAYES: This is crazy to me. The debate right now is we need to declare endless war in perpetuity. How dare you as a matter of constitution and Democratic accountability put a time limit on a military engagement? I mean, think about what the opposite of that is. What if it takes 30 years to defeat ISIS? Are we saying now in the year 2015 -- well, sorry, kids, we`re going to be fighting ISIS for another 30 years? STEELE: Yes. We likely could be. HAYES: But that`s insane. STEELE: Yes, it`s insane. But, look, the government has to deal with the reality in front of it, Chris. You can`t just walk away from the battlefield because you don`t like the timeline. HAYES: No. STEELE: The reality of it is you have an enemy that is prepared to engage. You just had -- you just spent 15 minutes, two segments, talking about the treacherousness and the dangers of the enemy we face. You think you`re going to resolve that in three years? HAYES: I think an important, strategic -- STEELE: Do you think ISIS is going to roll over and play dead in three years? HAYES: I think it`s important that just because your enemy wants to get in a fight doesn`t mean you have to get in one too. STEELE: That`s true. But you don`t think the enemy is going to bring the fight to you? So, the question you have to ask yourself, and the question that Congress is legitimately asking, Mr. President, where are you going to draw the line for this fight? Are we going to have it here? Are we going to have it there? And what does that mean? HAYES: So, here`s what I would say to you in return. If this is idea, the idea is we need to be prepared to engage in a generational struggle against these murderers country ruling a relatively small sliver of territory in Iraq and Syria, if that`s the idea, then fine. Everyone who wants that and says it may be generational, this is a formidable enemy, we`re not going to be done in three years, then tell the American people that`s what`s on the table, right? I mean, be honest in that way. Prepare for yourselves for, we`ve had 13 years, 14 years of war. Prepare yourself for another 30 if that`s what it takes. STEELE: Have you looked at the map? A relatively small sliver? I think ISIS controls a little bit more of a small sliver of the territory they have taken. So, this is the reality that you have watched. You`ve watched Syria fall. You`ve watched Lebanon now get engaged. You have this expansive approach taken by this enemy. Now, I think there is great cause and effect for the U.S. to actually lead with others. Not by itself. And I think that`s a big -- well, should be a big part of this AUMF as well. But the reality of it is, the president is looking to narrow the scope, the Congress wants to give him the same or more broad authority that the 2002 had. HAYES: Look, we`re going to have an open-ended military commitment to defeat ISIS, then people should be clear about that. MSNBC Michael Steele who is being honest about that, and I appreciate it. Thank you. It`s Presidents Day, and that means it`s time to rank the best and worst presidents this country has had since its founding, also an opportunity to show you some great "Saturday Night Live" clips. So stay tuned for that too. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) IRIN CARMON, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: What would you like to be remembered for? RUTH BADER GINSBURG, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Someone who used whatever talent, Irin, she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she had. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is having a bit of a cultural moment. Last year, she`s emerged as the true leader of liberal wing of the Supreme Court and its ambassador to the world outside the court, achieving meme-dom along the way. There`s the Notorious R.B.G. Tumblr, which got it all started. Plus, there had been t-shirts and Halloween costumes. Who can forget Ruth Baby Ginsburg? Someone even got a pretty intricate tattoo, a permanent one of the justice there. Justice Ginsberg has also been speaking out more in public, something that Supreme Court justices should do more often, in my opinion. And our own Irin Carmon got to talk with her in a wide-ranging interview in which Justice Ginsberg let`s us know how she feels about people who think racism is a thing of the past. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUTH BADER GINSBERG, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: People who think you could wave a magic wand and the legacy of the past will be over are blind. Even though the days of state enforced segregation are gone, segregation because of geographical boundaries remains. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: You can watch more of that interview tonight on the Rachel Maddow Show. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILL FERRELL, COMEDIAN: Those smarty pants types are never going to understand speak first guys like us. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, they`re all brains. You and me, we`re all gut and balls. FERRELL: Yeah. Yeah. FERRELL: Every decision I ever made happened between my belly button and the middle of my thighs. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Saturday Night Live`s 40th anniversary last night have given us a chance to litigate probably one of the most important debates of our time on this President`s Day, who was the best fake president? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before we reached the dining room, the president reached out and tried to kiss me. He lifted his hand and put it on my breast. And then my hand to his penis. That is hot. FERRELL: I would like to address my remarks tonight to Mr. Osama bin Laden. Buddy, you crewed up big time. You see, you made a big mistake. If you`d had any brains you would have challenged me to a game of Scrabble, or maybe a beard off. You might have won that because I don`t have a beard. And when I do, it comes in patchy. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Governor Romney keeps mentioning this five-point plan. But where is it, what are these five points. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, you want to see them, OK. Here you go. This is one, two, three, four, five. Right here, bam, that`s my plan. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I have a one point plan for you. Want to see it? Here it is. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, President Obama, put your finger down. UNIDENTIFEID MALE: and the best thing about my plan is you can sit on it and spin. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: There are so many great fake presidents in SNL`s 40 year history. Of course, the best one clearly Will Ferrell as George W. Bush. So, I suppose we might as well talk about the other less important debate that`s raging online today, the rankings of the actual presidents. New rankings are out from American Political Science Association had Lincoln, Washington, FDR ranked one, two, three, sounds about right to me. Rounding out the top ten are Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Clinton making the top ten, Andrew Jackson, questionable, and Woodrow Wilson. Scholars have President Obama ranked 18th sandwiched in between George H.W. Bush and James Polk, the first thing ever to be sandwiched between George H.W. Bush and James Polk. has their own, quote, ultimate semi-arbitrary ranking of American presidents. In which Matt Yglesias breaks the presidents down into categories like the all-time great, the good ones, which puts Obama in the top 10, and then there are categories like, quote, laid the groundwork for civil war, and the worst where we find Andrew Johnson, because as Yglesias writes, quote, "Johnson`s deep-seated commitment to white supremacy ended up giving back a huge share of what had been accomplished during the Civil War. When dealing with Presidential rankings there`s a qualitative difference in how presidents are assessed. In 1996, The New York Times magazine`s Arthur Schesslinger Jr. (ph), a long time historian who, according to George Mason`s history news network, quote, "asked 32 historians, only one of whom was black, and two politicians, to rate the presidents deciding whether they belonged in the categories of great, near great, high average, average, below average or failure. At the same time, a different team of researchers, Professors Hanes Walton and Robert Smith asked 44 black political scientists and historians about presidential leadership, asking them to sort the presidents into some very different categories: White Supremacist, Racist, Racially Neutral, Racially Ambivalent and Antiracist. Joining me now to discuss the various ways we value president. Dorian Warren, professor at Columbia University and an MSNBC contributor. Thank you for doing double duty today. Great job at 4:00 p.m. today. OK, so part of it is the evaluative framework, right. Like, how do we come to it. And one of things I think we find is that Lincoln is the greatest president because he passed the ultimate test on the moral issue both as a sort of moral matter and also he won the Civil War and kept the union together. But it seems to me that when we talk about presidents and where they stand, it is impossible to leave race for very long. DORIAN WARREN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: You can`t -- I mean, I think the set up was great here, because when you ask black political scientists versus white political scientists, there`s a very -- race colors, so to speak, how we view presidential leadership. And, frankly, it is useful to have a different kind of framework that looks at presidents in terms of did they expand the democracy for excluded groups, or did they retract the democracy. HAYES: Right. There is like, there are these two different ways of looking at presidents, right, did big stuff, right? Which I think is the stuff that gets Woodrow Wilson and say Andrew Jackson in the top 10. Even if big stuff is, in the case of Andrew Jackson... WARREN: Genocide? HAYES: A campaign of ethnic cleansing. And in the case of Woodrow Wilson, World War I. And then there is this question of sort of expanding democracy -- I think that is a really interesting metric, right. How do we think about greatness being related to expanding the sort of circumference of democracy in the U.S. WARREN: And making America hold up to its true ideals in those founding documents that of course were written by slave owners, right, that`s the central contradiction of American democracy. And the question is, for presidents, are you going to go the one route that expands, again, democracy, and create an inclusive democracy, or are we going to retrench our democracy and kick people out? HAYES: Do you have a favorite or like a sleeper? WARREN: I do have a favorite. You know, I am a fellow at the Roosevelt institute, so obviously I`m a big fan of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but I would say in light of all the controversy, LBJ is my favorite for sure. HAYES: Oh, that`s fascinating. Why? WARREN: He expanded the democracy -- he passes that test. He expanded -- in fact, one could argue LBJ made America a true democracy for the first time in terms of allowing people the right to vote, people that were declined, that were supposed to be citizens, black people who were supposed to be citizens, he actually through the voting rights act, of course there was a movement behind him, but he in presidential power, he expanded the democracy for African-Americans and for other group. And frankly he built on the Roosevelt legacy of a social welfare state in this country. HAYES: It`s interesting to think about Johnson -- how Johnson is evaluated. Because I think what ends up happening to Johnson is the further we get from the Vietnam War, the more his stock rises. Because the Vietnam War, the things he accomplished are still with us, and the war is further in the past. WARREN: That`s true. That is a mark. That is a mark on his presidency. HAYES: At the time it would have been inconceivable for two liberals to say LBJ -- was hated, hated. WARREN: Yeah, but you know from the war on poverty, the `64 civil rights act, the `65 civil rights act, housing legislation in 1968, the Fair Housing Act, all of these things expanded opportunity and democracy for formerly excluded citizens in this country. HAYES: Barack Obama, 18 in that. I mean, it is sort of hard to tell someone before they have finished. I think with Barack Obama so much of it has to do with grading on the curve of what he inherited. WARREN: There is that -- right, exactly. So we should grade him on a curve for sure. But then you also have to consider what -- we`re in war. You know, essentially, and we`re -- he is about to get authorization, even though he says he has it. So that will be part of his legacy. But then when you look at the other side, the question again did he expand democracy for excluded groups? The answer is yes. And then when you add in the ACA in terms of building on Johnson`s legacy and Roosevelt`s legacy of providing health insurance for millions of Americans... HAYES: Yeah, I think his domestic legislative agenda is going to be in the top five. WARREN: His ranking is going shoot up, I think, by the end. HAYES: Dorian Warren, host of Nerding Out on Shift by MSNBC live on Thursday at 11:00 eastern. Thank you very much. WARREN: Thank you, Chris. HAYES: Edward Norton will talk about being part of last night`s incredible Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary show. Plus, a new documentary he`s involved in ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: If you haven`t been able to get enough of me tonight, I will be on Last Call with Carson Daly on NBC at 1:35 a.m. Eastern. And if you`re missing me between 9:00 p.m. and then, there`s always our Facebook page,, where you can check out the chat I did today. Be sure to like us while you`re there. We had a lively conversation about all of the other Chris Hayeses out there, including the guitarist for Huey Lewis and the News. And if you`re tired of me, which case here`s a commercial break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANNOUNCER: It is the Midnight Couterie of Midnight Intruders starring Owen Wilson as a man in danger. EDWARD NORTON, ACTOR: Wow, what the heck. There`s a bunch of crazy people standing in our yard. Hey, huh, I think we`re about to get murdered. ANNOUNCER: And his terrified wife, Gwyneth Paltrow. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t say. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Last night, he hosted SNL, Edward Norton showed off his incredible Owen Wilson impersonation in one of the great all-time Saturday Night Live digital shorts, a home invasion horror movie in the distinctive style of director Wes Anderson. Last night, Norton turned up on the ridiculously star-studded SNL 40th anniversary show shot here in 30 Rock, which we learned today was NBC`s top rated prime time entertainment telecast, excluding post-Super Bowl shows in more than eight years. For the show, Norton took on signature SNL character, New York City nightlife expert Stefan. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NORTON: Well ladies, when you want to hit the clubs this week`s hottest club in New York is called Yank. Renovated by the third never spoken of property brother Poppy, this club keeps thumping until you hear sit Booboo sit, good dog. Ruff. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Norton is up for an Academy Award for best supporting actor for Birdman, also played an inspector in Grand Budapest Hotel, which is nominated. I talked to him a bout what it was like to be part of SNL`s 40th anniversary show. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: All right, so it`s the day after the 40th anniversary Saturday Night Live show. NORTON: Yeah, I`m actually a much younger man than I look right now. It`s just when you party with the Lorn Michaels crowd until the wee hours. HAYES: I saw some social media posts of what looked like a pretty amazing epic jam session that happened at some point at the after party. So, all right, you were in -- you did Stefan. NORTON: I did. Yeah, I dared to step into the large comic shoes of Bill Hader. HAYES: Can you talk a little about the logistics, because as someone who puts on a television show every day, I spent the entire time nerdily thinking in my head like how was this all brought logistically together, to get these people whose schedules are insane like to all -- did you rehearse? NORTON: Well, there is like everybody else who was involved, and then Eddie Murphy alone, you know what I mean, like wrangling that alone. HAYES: Did you understand that moment, the Eddie Murphy moment? Because a lot of people -- I didn`t understand it. NORTON; I thought he was great. I thought he was very gracious. And I think you know I kind of think you couldn`t say it better than Chris Rock said it. I think that some people said something later like why did they put such focus on that, but anybody that grew up on SNL, everything that Chris said was really true, it was -- even within the enormous kind of edifice and institution that SNL is, Eddie Murphy was for a lot of people, he was a seismic shift and reinjection of excitement into that. HAYES: It is funny because I didn`t know the story of basically how he saved SNL until Chris Rock`s monologue. I was sitting there on my laptop and I was like -- I like went to the Wikipedia page. I was like, oh wow, I didn`t realize that the show was almost canned. NORTON: I thought Chris was, as he often is, eloquent and incisive and pointed and I liked in a lot of ways -- I think when someone like Eddie Murphy just comes out and just simply says like I`m proud of this and really happy to be here, sometimes it`s so nice when people are not always on, they just -- I love that sincerity, too. HAYES: It was an extremely human moment. NORTON: It was, yeah, it was great. I mean, it was -- to even have participated around the fringes of the institution of SNL in a way is a privilege. I mean, you feel like you have been let into that -- a company that is really special in some ways. And they always, for people who are not the core of that, they -- Lorn Michaels has created an incredibly generous -- I think there has always been, I think, this real -- like people on that show say thank you to each other. They -- I can`t explain it. They really lift each other up and they lift you up and they make you feel like you can do it. HAYES: In some ways it is sort of -- there is no way it could survive otherwise, because they`re asking people to come -- like such as yourself, you`ve hosted before -- to come and take a huge risk, right? NORTON: Yeah -- yes, yes... HAYES: I mean, at like performative level, right? NORTON; Well, they ask you to do something that is different in the modern age -- live TV. In many ways, it is a real throwback and it has its special magic and it still comes through in an age where everything can be rewound and DRD`d and rewound and all of it. But yeah there`s something -- you know, it`s -- when I did it I thought about the great movie My Favorite Year where Peter O`Toole, you know, there`s that great scene where Peter O`Toole says like, you know, I feel good, I think we`re going to get it in the first take and the guy goes like you better it`s live. And you know he has his meltdown. And you have this moment right before you do something like that where you start -- you go, wait a minute like what am I about to do? But someone really smart told me like look at the -- you know, take a pause to look up past the hastily built sets and look at the audience and look at how exciting it all is. And it is. You feel like you`re back in the days of Sid Caesar, or that great old days of live television. And it is really unlike anything else. HAYES: I used to have my offices on that floor so I would be around them all of the time -- on the eighth floor where the studio is. And it always struck me that it had this like -- it almost felt like college theater in the best way. Like here are the most -- these are the most accomplished, this is the biggest deal franchise and the atmosphere of everyone was like, we`re making a show together. It was very cool. NORTON: Yeah, it shouldn`t work as well as it does, but it does. And it`s an amazing group of people. They`re all so -- I actually thought the joke, I can`t remember who told the joke about like all of the shots of the cast out in the city having fun was the biggest lie because they never leave, they never get to go out. When you do it, you realize this is like the hardest working bunch of people in show business. They work really, really hard. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Stick around, because when we come back we`re going to talk about a new documentary narrated by Edward Norton about what it is to be a man and a father in the 21st Century. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are having a little boy. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you kneel? DAVID SAMPLINER, FILMMAKER: Well, I`m thrilled. I`m terrified, actually. I feel ready to be a parent, but being a father to a son is not just being a parent, it means bringing a boy into manhood, a place that I feel so far from myself. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Earlier today, I spoke with David Sampliner who wrote, produced and directed a documentary called My Own Man. It debuts on Netflix on March 6, which explores what it means to be a father and a man. Also with us was Edward Norton, executive producer on that film and also its narrator. I opened the interview by asking David what prompted him to make the film. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SAMPLINER: I was at a point in my life where I suddenly felt like I wasn`t where I wanted to be in my life. And I felt like I needed to make a big change. And I -- it -- and someone actually said to me I think you might be afraid of your own masculinity. And unfortunately it rang true. HAYES: It`s funny. My wife and I talk about this all of the time that there are -- the old models have been taken away, and new models are sort of still forming in this -- you know, and even the easy -- easy -- difficult logistical things, like, which person in this relationship is going to do this thing -- move for someone else`s job, which used to be answered in the bad old days of patriarchy without a question. Now, like is a question, right? SAMPLINER: Right. We are not in charge anymore. Men share everything now with women in the workplace and at home. And it`s amazing that it`s just a generation -- my mother went to a fantastic university and when she and everybody she knew graduated they were expected to stay home and they all did. And her daughter grew up in an entirely different world and her sons grew up in an entirely different world and now we`re sharing it with women in ways that was totally inconceivable for my parents. HAYES: What drew you to the film? NORTON: It struck me just that it was that rare thing that I like the most in almost kinds of work, which is was very personal to him. It was like he taken the impulses he has as a filmmaker and applied them to something that I could tell was a really deep personal exploration. And I always think those kinds of films are the riskiest, but when they work the best. HAYES: Yeah, you end up -- this is like intensely personal film about, a lot of it is about your relationship with your father. Like you end up really exposing yourself emotionally in this movie. SAMPLINER: I think -- I can say we`re trained not to be vulnerable. NORTON: You know, it`s interesting, too, is as an actor, actors talk about, I think really great actors even in the course of a career you`ll see actors who get more and more comfortable with stripping away more and more artifice, and being more naked in some sense, more -- and I think that in this era of reality television, which is the furthest thing from reality. It`s a highly managed, highly image projected, you know -- these people who on reality television and are obviously like playing to camera, enormously, it only highlights how difficult it is in real documentary film to explore personal narrative and have it come across with sincerity, have it come across as something that is an authentic, like an authentic conversation with self. And that`s, I think, one of the things that is really masterful about the film. HAYES: And one of the things that forces you to do that I found in my own life, is caring for a small human in which -- that strips a lot out of performance out of you when you`re dealing with like vomit at three in the morning. Because you`re -- it has this forcing mechanism on you to honest and to be present in a way that nothing else I`ve encountered in my life does. SAMPLINER: Yeah, becoming a father changed -- it happened during the course of making the film and that of course entirely changed the film in ways that I could never have imagined. NORTON: The thing that is interesting, though, is that David was asking prior to even the question of fatherhood, and what that drove -- the urgency that drove in his own -- he was already asking, I think, a lot of questions that are very -- as you pointed out -- very topical to our generation. And even you know people talk about a film like Fight Club, or look at a film now like Boyhood that is out, these questions about like what does modern adulthood look like? And for our generation relative, which relative to our parents has in some ways embraced some of the moments of, quote, unquote adulthood later or in more attenuated way, that I think a lot of people of our generation relate to this idea of reluctantly moving into adulthood and having to confront a version of it that is very different. So I think even before the question of parenthood came in, the thing that I thought was very universal about this was that he was asking questions about how we define ourselves as men that are very, very -- that are very tangible I think to a lot of people our age. HAYES: Edward and David, thank you very much. My Own Man on Netflix. Really appreciate it. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: That is All In for this evening. END THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. 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