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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 08/13/15

Guests: Bruce Bartlett, Nick Confessore, Josh Alcorn, Kavitha Davidson,David Boaz, Brian Schatz

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Pork chop on a stick. Trust me, it`s what`s for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. HAYES: The campaign descends on Iowa, and Donald Trump is raising the stakes. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve just raised the stakes. HAYES: Tonight, why the conservative fight for the Hawkeye State will be more brutal than ever before. Then, major Joe Biden news. JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal. HAYES: Is a run for the White House imminent? The man behind Draft Biden joins me live. Plus, disruption politics arrives on the doorstep of the Republican Party. PROTESTERS: Black lives matter! Black lives matter! HAYES: And why conservatives are beginning to turn on a Republican front runner not named Trump. GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re going to help the Milwaukee Bucks pay their own way to a new arena. HAYES: The story of Scott Walker`s stadium con, when ALL IN starts right now. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. This weekend, the most polarizing figure in American politics will meet the most iconic figure in presidential primary campaigning. That`s right. New York City billionaire Donald Trump is heading to Iowa to meet the butter cow. This cow, of course, the star attraction at the Iowa state fair, which kicked off today in Des Moines, it`s where Iowans can view livestock and agricultural presentation rides, amusement park rides, see concerts and perhaps most importantly consume the more than 70 food items available on a stick. It is also crucially a must visit for presidential hopefuls from both parties, many of whom stopped by the "Des Moines Register" soap box to make their case to voters in the first of the nation caucus state. Today, the stage taken by Mike Huckabee, Jim Webb and Martin O`Malley and plenty more candidates are on the way. While Iowa no longer has a straw poll, fair goers can deposit kernels of corn to show support for their candidate of choice. Early indications are that Trump and Hillary Clinton are dominating this extremely unscientific poll. Both Trump and Clinton plan an arriving at the fair on Saturday, although Trump sadly is not being allowed to follow through on his pledge to give helicopter rides to kids. While he promised in a release that, yes, quote, "he will be seeing the butter cow", there was no word on whether Trump plans to repeat his performance of the Green Acres theme song from the 2006 Emmy Awards. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP (singing): Green acres is the place to be, farm living is the life for me, land spreading out so far and wide, keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside -- (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The state fair does have its pitfalls for the candidates who answer questions from fair goers at the soap box, and sometimes attract hecklers. Perhaps the most famous such exchange took place in 2011 when Mitt Romney said something that would dog him throughout the entire presidential campaign. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes -- of course they are. Everything corporations earn also goes to people. (LAUGHTER) ROMNEY: Where do you think it goes? HECKLER: It goes to their pockets! (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The top three Republican candidates in Iowa right now are Trump, Ben Carson and Scott Walker, all of whom will be at the fair in the next few days. And while there are plenty of legitimate criticisms of Iowa`s outsize role in the nominating process, the state does serve as something of an ideological laboratory to figure out what positions fly with the base and what don`t, what orthodoxies can be broken and which cannot. Joining me now, Bruce Bartlett, former deputy assistant secretary for economic policy under President George H.W. Bush and I would say a sort of prominent heterodox Republican, a breaker of orthodoxies himself, a lamentor of ideological drift in the Republican Party. I am curious as we watch this laboratory evolve, because right now, on domestic policy it is a little unclear to me where the lines are for Republican candidates, what the Republican message actually even is, where the kind of ideological centrality is, and I wanted to talk to you a little bit about some of the candidates and some of the orthodoxies they may or may not be upholding. I`ll start with Trump. George Will has a column basically trying to write him out of the conservative movement. You have written about Trump basically bring him on. Why? BRUCE BARTLETT, CONSERVATIVE ECONOMIST: Oh, I love Donald Trump, because he exposes everything about the Republican Party that I have frankly come to hate. It`s just filled with people who are crazy and stupid and have absolutely no idea what they`re talking about, and the candidates, no matter how intelligent they may be, just constantly have to keep pandering to this lowest common denominator in American politics. HAYES: Bruce, that seems a bit -- BARTLETT: Trump exposes that I think. HAYES: Bruce, that seems a bit of a generalization and maybe an elitist one at that. Stupid, crazy? BARTLETT: Well, I think it`s a -- I think it`s pretty obvious to anybody who follows politics this problem is, to use a term that I don`t like, it`s not politically correct to point out the obvious. And that`s, again, I think Trump is point this out. Among other things, to follow up with your comments, one of the things that we`re seeing, I think, very clearly this time more than any other year is that issues don`t matter, policies don`t matter. The only thing that matters is attitude. And Trump has exactly the right chip on your shoulder attitude that many, many people find extraordinarily attractive, that is completely divorced from whatever he`s saying about the issues, which is precious little, as you know. HAYES: That is an interesting point, right. So, the question here is, is it just a tonal test or ideological one? Someone else who I think has a very different tone from Trump but a kind of ideological approach people like is Ben Carson, who actually -- BARTLETT: Yes. HAYES: -- has been -- his star is on the rise. It`s certainly on the rise in the wake of the debate. He`s at number two right now. He`s gotten less attention than Trump because he`s quite soft spoken, in fact. I thought this was fascinating. After -- in the wake of this sort of dispute about Planned Parenthood and these videos, an OB/GYN went back through the medical research record of Dr. Ben Carson and found that he himself had published research that had used fetal tissue samples. He was then confronted with this today and his response is to me somewhat nonsensical. "If you`re killing babies and taking the tissue that`s very different, than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it," as the OB-GYN who sort of blew this up noted this is almost certainly fetal tissue from an abortion. Do you think, to your question about sort of ideology versus tone, will this hurt Ben Carson or is he tonally correct or ideologically correct so this actual violation doesn`t matter? BARTLETT: Oh, I think Ben Carson`s fans, supporters, will absolutely forgive him in a second. I can`t really explain why, but certain positions you`re allowed to change your mind on and others you`re not. But the thing I find fascinating about this differentiation between Carson and Trump is that one of the key charges that Republicans are using against Trump is that he admittedly used to be a Democrat, gave money to Democratic candidates. And, therefore, he is out of bounds. He`s not allowed to be even seriously considered as a Republican, even though, as Trump himself points out, Ronald Reagan was a Democrat for most of his life. But, Ben Carson, I think people are attracted to him in some ways for the reasons they`re attracted to Trump, which is it has nothing whatsoever to do with the issues, it has to do with something that they see in him that they`re simply attracted to. His temperament, his manner, as you say. And, frankly, I think his race is a big plus for him. HAYES: Do you think that Jeb Bush will suffer for this? This is something I thought was fascinating. Jeb Bush did a whole argument about sort of crony capitalism. And he says, you know, basically that we don`t want people -- we don`t want to end the revolving door with lobbyists. A bunch of new e-mails obtained by IBT basically shows Jeb Bush, when he`s going in a private corporation, lobbying people that he`d appointed or, you know, subordinates of people that he appointed for business. There`s this idea that there`s a growing rebellion against crony capitalism as one of the ideological strains in the Republican Party. Do you see that actually cashing out? BARTLETT: Oh, yes. I think it gets back to part of Trump`s appeal. I think one of the best things he said on the August 6th debate was, yes, yes, I gave money to politicians so that I could get favors in return. That`s the way the system works. And I think people admired his honesty about that. I thought it was kind of silly that the one favor he asked from Hillary Clinton was to come to his wedding, but be that as it may. HAYES: Well, there was something deeply sad of giving someone money so they`d come to your wedding. That was my reaction to it. Bruce Bartlett, thank you very much. BARTLETT: Thank you. HAYES: As we`ve been discussing here on ALL IN, the Republican presidential field absolutely huge, huge. Seventeen major candidates fighting for media attention, most of them losing badly to Trump. There`s still 452 days until the general election, 171 days until the Iowa caucuses, which is a pretty long time. But it appears the winnowing process among Republicans may have already begun. Consider Rick Perry. Perry has unable to get traction in the race, despite spending 14 years as Texas governor at a time when the state experienced rapid economic growth. Last week, despite some incredibly harsh attacks on Trump seemingly designed to raise his profile, Perry failed to make it into the primetime GOP debate due to his low poll numbers. Now, Perry has stopped paying his staff because his fund-raising has dried up, though many staff work on a volunteer basis. The cash-rich super PACs backing Perry say they`re stepping in to save his campaign. Perry is facing the cash crisis that could sink a candidate. The situation raises real questions about how long the GOP field can stay this big in the super PAC era. Joining me now, Nick Confessore, national political reporter at "The New York Times." So, the old rules were particularly early on, this kind of sense of momentum was very important for the reason of money and raising money from donors, right? People don`t want to waste money on a losing candidate. There was a very finite amount of these sort of bundlers and who had them early and whether they switched. In the era in which maybe one or two donors who really believe in you -- NICK CONFESSORE, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right. HAYES: -- and want to see you gut it out, does that same logic apply? CONFESSORE: Well, yes, in two ways. First of all, if you can convince just a few people and tell them a story that works, you can stay in the campaign forever. You can use your super PAC and do things that outsource certain things to your PAC and have a campaign for longer. At the same time, the super PAC controls the money and we`re seeing more and more that donors are setting up accounts so that they control the super PAC. So, you can see that money -- HAYES: It`s literally their account. CONFESSORE: Basically. So you can see that money in the super PAC, but it`s not necessarily available to be spent by the strategists running the super PAC unless the candidate can deliver. So, those big totals you`re seeing in some of these PACs. HAYES: So, how does that work? OK. So, I set up -- so Nick Confessore is running for president. I like Nick Confessore, we went to high school together, right? From New York City, fellow New York dude. I set up a super PAC, Confessore for president, right? CONFESSORE: Right. HAYES: What does that mean I can stop the strategist from spending that money? CONFESSORE: You can as the candidate. The donor -- if the treasurer of the super PAC is, let`s say, your accountant. HAYES: Yes, of course. CONFESSORE: Then, you basically control how that money is spent. HAYES: So instead of saying we`ve got to go up on the air in Iowa and the treasurer of the super PAC is my accountant. CONFESSORE: No, I don`t think so. Now, this is why you`re seeing the super PACs that are numbered by private equity funds, like Keep the Promise 1, 2 and 3 because they`re each designated by a certain donor or family or couple of donors that basically control how the money is spent. This is an evolution away from the first super PACs -- HAYES: Of course. CONFESSORE: -- which raised a ton of money but were controlled by little cabals of strategists and ad guys. After 2012 -- HAYES: Right. CONFESSORE: When people got there, no more. HAYES: When people got their -- to use a wall street term that I love, their faces ripped off -- CONFESSORE: That`s right. HAYES: -- by the donor class because it was a massive redistribution of wealth from basically slightly politically naive rich individuals into shark consultants, right? CONFESSORE: It was amazing. And in fact, this is one reason why the Koch network is so popular on the right. It is a political organization run by donors for donors. It`s for us, by us. (LAUGHTER) CONFESSORE: Right? They control it. And their staff all work on salary and no one is getting rich out of it. It`s very professional that way. Donors love that. HAYES: Right. So what I`m hearing from you then, to bring it back around to Perry, is that actually -- you can`t keep the con going. I mean, the spigots, like the money can be there but the tap isn`t on if it looks like you`re running into these momentum issues. CONFESSORE: If the four or five people that put $17 million into those super PACs for Perry are behind him still, then they can do it and it will work. And what we`re seeing right now is they`re trying to figure out what they can do within the law to hand over the campaign to the super PAC without getting nailed in court on something. HAYES: You also wonder, there`s this thing solid the sunk cost fallacy, which is we spent 17, maybe we give him a few more million to get him. What is in your experience doing all this reporting in this world, what is the psychology of a donor that`s giving $1 million, $2 million, $3 million to a specific candidate through a super PAC? CONFESSORE: I think it`s often friendship. Sometimes it`s access and a policy priority on some issue. But also it depends how rich the donor is, you know? HAYES: Right. CONFESSORE: With Adelson, Sheldon Adelson, people also talk, oh, my God, he put $100 million in the campaigns. He says himself that`s nothing. He makes that in two weeks on his dividends. HAYES: Right. CONFESSORE: So, I think people don`t understand the scale of the wealth that is accessible to these groups through super PACs. HAYES: It is very hard to get your head around what it would mean to have a billion dollars at your disposal, right? So, it`s very hard to understand that, like, I remember going back and running the numbers on Newt Gingrich when he wrote them a check for I think $10 million back in 2012. That`s like him going to see a movie. CONFESSORE: Yes. HAYES: That`s 10 bucks. That`s literally 10 bucks. CONFESSORE: It sounds like a lot. But the people who can make a million dollar contribution of cash, liquid -- HAYES: Right. CONFESSORE: -- have tens of millions or hundreds of millions or billions. HAYES: Right. Nick Confessore, I always -- your reporting has been fantastic on this. I love having you here. CONFESSORE: Good to be here. HAYES: All right. Up next, is Joe Biden about to jump into the presidential race? There`s no reporting suggesting the vice president is getting serious. Josh Alcorn of the Draft Biden super PAC will join me next right here. Plus, two major blows for the forces trying to kill the peace deal with Iran. Details ahead. And later, why NASA scientists are warning about a once in a generation storm they are calling Godzilla El Nino. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: All right. Despite the tenor of the coverage recently, despite what you`ve heard, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton is a massively formidable candidate. However, here`s a puzzle for you. If presidential candidate Hillary Clinton were to gradually but steadily be perceived by Democrats as a problematic choice to be the party standard bearer, to whom would they turn? Bernie "Feel the Bern" Sanders has already drawn the largest crowds of any presidential candidate this campaign cycle. Vice President Joe Biden who might feel more passionate than ever to go for it and who is reportedly seriously looking into it or -- drum roll, please -- Al Gore. Yes, former nominee for president, winner of the popular vote, let us recall, in 2000, Al Gore. "BuzzFeed News" claims Gore supporters are kicking it around. Quote, "In recent days they`re getting the whole gang together, a senior Democrat told BuzzFeed News. They are figuring out if there`s a path financially and politically. It feels more real than it has in the past months." A member of Gore`s inner circle asked to be quoted "pouring lukewarm water", not, note, cold water on the chatter. "This is people talking to people, some of whom may or may not have talked to him, the Gore advisor said." That`s about all we know, although we have late-breaking news from the Tennessee newspaper saying Gore not exploring 2016 presidential bid. You can add all that up and figure out what the number is. But there is much more to tell about the likelihood of a Joe Biden candidacy, which is looking more and more likely by the day. And that`s ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Well, tonight is looking like the very crowded 2016 presidential field could get yet another candidate, very soon at that. NBC News reporting today that Vice President Joe Biden is spending part of his South Carolina vacation calling allies about a 2016 run. His aides are also calling around to Democratic operatives to feel out a potential run, according to "The Wall Street Journal." Earlier this month, it was reported that Joe Biden`s late son, Beau, who died in June after a long battle with brain cancer wanted his father to run for president. Days later Josh Alcorn, whose Beau`s former political director, joined the Draft Biden super PAC. While Draft Biden is working to lay the financial groundwork for an eventual run, the vice president is apparently doing some work of his own. He`s reportedly not calling people asking if he should run but saying I am thinking about it but I`m also thinking about Beau. And there is some evidence of an opening against front runner Hillary Clinton. The same poll that found Bernie Sanders leading Hillary in New Hampshire, 44 percent to Clinton`s 37 percent, also found that 46 percent of likely Democratic voters in the state, plurality, think Biden should run for the nomination of the Democratic Party. Earlier this week, Hillary Clinton herself was asked about Biden jumping into the race. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I consider him a friend. We were colleagues in the Senate. I have the highest regard and affection for him. I spoke to him at his son`s funeral. And I think we should all just let the vice president be with his family and make whatever decision he believes is right for him and I will respect whatever that decision is. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Sources close to the vice president told NBC News he is on track to make his decision this month or next. Joining me now is Josh Alcorn. He`s the senior advisor for the Draft Biden super PAC, previously served political director for Beau Biden, the vice president`s late son. Josh, first let me offer my condolences. The entire country I think was devastated by Beau`s loss and obviously people close to him. JOSH ALCORN, DRAFT BIDEN SUPER PAC: Thank you. HAYES: So -- what is going on here? ALCORN: You know, great question. We know that the vice president is seriously considering running for president, and I`m glad he`s doing that. I think it`s -- HAYES: Let me stop you that. Why do you know that and how do you know that? ALCORN: It`s been reported in "The Wall Street Journal". It`s reported by you on this program just a couple of minutes ago. HAYES: The order of this is that you went to Draft Biden and then we started hearing that. ALCORN: No, I mean, he had been -- obviously he had been considering this for -- he ran in 1987, he ran in 2007. He`s been thinking about this for a while. But think back to the last six and a half years. He`s been, you know, the president`s closest advisor. He`s been the last guy, as he said, in the room for many, many decisions. And so, for the last six and a half years, he`s been thinking about his day job, and I think what Draft Biden is doing is preparing the way for him should he decide to run. HAYES: Draft Biden is an organization that was, I think fair to say, moribund in this sense. That it just -- without any kind of indications from the man at the center of it that this was a real thing. It`s kind of hard to raise money, right? Who`s going to write you a check for, like it`s the guy who can run or not. ALCORN: The money was one thing but what they were able to do with limited resources is build an actual grassroots e-mail list. When I started last week, we had 150,000 names. It`s over 200,000 names now. So, the work that they did early on is incredibly important. HAYES: People are going to perceive this. They`re either going to perceive this or they were going to spin this as the following. Hillary Clinton`s approval rating is declining, just turned her server over to the FBI, and there`s a sense that there`s an opportunity here. ALCORN: Yes. This isn`t about Secretary Clinton, this isn`t about Senator Sanders, Governor O`Malley, or Senator Webb or Governor Chafee. This is really about Joe Biden. And what we`ve seen -- and we`ve all seen in the last week, but you have to talk about this is the Republican debate. This is the best that we have, right? I mean, the Republicans are out there offering a vision for America that`s not even close to what I would like to see and I`m sure what the vice president would like to see. And so, this is about his voice in a debate. HAYES: It`s interesting you talk about the last man in the room, advisor to President Obama, because it strikes me that should the economy continue its current trajectory, which is generally up, even though there are all sorts of structural distributional problems within that economy, right? Both the primary in the Democratic Party and in some ways the general is going to be a referendum on Barack Obama`s legacy and who can carry it out most loyally. ALCORN: Of course, absolutely. And what you`re seeing the vice president talk about the economy, I mean, he was the man who championed the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He was out there at bridge constructions. He was out there in front of buildings that were being built and talking about the importance of reinvesting back in America and putting people back to work. HAYES: How close are you to the world of Biden donors? I know you not only were political advisor to Beau but had worked for actually the vice president in earlier sort of political jobs, right? ALCORN: I was an assistant to the finance director on that first presidential campaign, so as low as you can go. HAYES: Not assistant finance director, assistant to the finance director. ALCORN: Right. HAYES: How much are you in conversation with his people, I guess is what I would say, and how enthusiastic are they? ALCORN: Well, that was part of the reason I think I joined Draft Biden was I was hearing from the donors that Beau and I had met over the course of our time together, I was hearing from people in Iowa who I had worked with after I was assistant to the finance director, I was a field organizer in Waterloo. And so, I was hearing from a lot of people who were close to Beau who I knew in Iowa saying is he going to do it, is he going to do it, is he going to do it. At that point, it became clear to me that Draft Biden needed to have a lot more -- a much larger grassroots network, and I could go there and help them kind of build that. HAYES: The first -- ALCORN: By lending it some -- you know, some credibility and some seal of approval almost. HAYES: The first Democratic debate, I believe, is the second week of October. ALCORN: Yes, Las Vegas. HAYES: One would think that -- I mean the decision seems like it should be -- it`s got to be pretty soon, right? ALCORN: I`ll leave the decision-making up to the people who make those decisions. What I know is that over the next four to six weeks with an eye towards this debate, there`s some really good work that Draft Biden could do that we will do. HAYES: Are you not -- can you look me in the eye here and say you`re not talking to the vice president and the vice president`s people? ALCORN: I can definitely tell you that. HAYES: I guess legally you can`t so you have to say that. ALCORN: The last time I talked to the vice president was at Beau`s funeral. HAYES: Josh Alcorn, thanks for being here. This is interesting to watch unfold. Up next, the Black Lives Matter movement stages its first protest at a Republican presidential candidate on the campaign trail. How Jeb Bush handled the pressure, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GARZA: We should really be thinking activists who have taken the risk to make sure that our lives are represented in every candidate`s platform, and that is our plan from now leading up to 2016. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Well, the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement vowed on this program earlier this week that the group would not just disrupt Democratic candidates, like it has previously, but all presidential candidates. They seem to be making good on that promise. Yesterday in north Las Vegas, Nevada, a Jeb Bush town hall ended abruptly after the former governor answered a series of questions from activists. Bush`s campaign said the candidate met with members of the Black Lives Matter movement before the event. He`s later asked publicly about racial disparities in the criminal justice system. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH, 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have serious problems, and these problems have gotten worse in the last few years. Communities, people no longer trust the basic institutions in our society that they need to trust to create -- just to make things work. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Then came pushback. One activist asking how the former governor could relate to the issue. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: I relate to that by saying -- I relate to it by -- as a president to try to create a climate where there is civility and understanding and to encourage mayors, leaders at the local level, to engage so that there`s not despair and isolation in communities. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Shortly thereafter Bush wrapped up foregoing his usual final statement. Instead of shaking hands with those in attendance as the activists gathered began chanting. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CROWD: Black lives matter, black lives matter! Black lives matter! Black lives matter! Black lives matter! (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The Black Lives Matter movement has previously disrupted Democrats, including two Bernie Sanders speeches and Martin O`Malley`s speech and reportedly had plans to disrupt a Hillary Clinton event. Now the effort has gone bipartisan. Now, the uncomfortable truth at the heart of all of this as we watch this play out throughout this entire campaign season, and it is only going to intensify, is that Republicans and Democrats together worked hand in hand at every level of government over four decades to build the largest prison and policing apparatus in the history of democratic nations on this earth. And since this system was built by both parties, both parties are going to have to give answers about how they are going to unbuild it. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: This morning, Minnesota Senator Al Franken became the 19th senator Democrat to come out in favor of the nuclear deal with Iran, writing in an op-ed for CNN, for a long time it looked like our only options when it came to Iran would be allowing it to have a nuclear bomb or having to bomb the country ourselves. This agreement represents a chance to break out of that no-win scenario. He was followed not long after by Senator John Tester from the somewhat more conservative state of Montana, and with that the Obama administration comes another step closer to the 34 senate votes it needs to defeat an override of the president`s veto, if as expected the Republican majority in congress votes to reject the international agreement. As it stands, 20 senate Democrats, 20 now publicly support the deal. And just one publicly opposes it. And that one, of course, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, due to become the new senate democratic leader when Harry Reid retires next year. And Schumer maintains that while he`s made calls to a couple dozen colleagues to explain his decision, he`s not trying to influence their votes. That role is being played by numerous groups spending millions of dollars on TV ads and congressional lobbying by big money donors who according to the New York Times have been reaching out to lawmakers to try and shape the debate and by people like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who met with Republican and Democratic House delegations in Israel this week. Both groups taking the traditional trip for House freshmen sponsored educational wing of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby now spending upwards of $20 million to campaign against the deal. And while liberal House Democrats are increasingly seen as likely to give the president a win on Iran, the senate is still an open question. And at least one influential senate Democrat has yet to make up his mind. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. HARRY REID, (D) NEVADA: The missing piece for me at this stage is I have friends that I want to talk to, because I owe that to them one way or the other. I don`t want them saying why didn`t you talk to me. So IO`m going to try to talk to everyone I can. Because when it all boils down to it, it`s a question of conviction, it`s not a political calculus for me anymore. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Joining me now, someone who made news earlier in the week as the 17th Democrat to come out in support of the deal, Hawaii senator Brian Schatz. Senator, take me through your decision-making process to getting to yes and to stating it publicly. SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ, (D) HAWAII: Well, I think the first thing that you had to do was read the deal. And it was posted publicly, but it was noteworthy, I think, that there were so many Republicans and others who immediately upon the announcement of the deal but before the posting of the deal and before they possibly could have read the deal or received any briefings, classified or otherwise, were already in opposition. So I read the deal a couple of times. I got briefed by my own staff and then I tried to kind of pursue a process of taking as much time as I needed both in the classified and unclassified setting, and here`s what it came down to for me. First of all, I think that it`s a good deal in and of itself. It exceeds, I think, most of the reasonable expectations of people in the nonproliferation space in terms of what they thought was possible with a deal. But even if you kind of don`t agree with that analysis of the deal, we have to remember that there is really no alternative, that the alternative is to allow Iran to move apace with their nuclear weapons program and they get the money. I mean, they`re going to get this $56 billion because if we reject the deal, the P5+1 has already articulated to us directly that they`re not going to participate in multi-lateral sanctions. So the question at this point becomes do you want to pursue this deal, eliminate 98 percent of their fissile material, knowing they may want to cheat later on but that still seems to me a far superior option than to go ahead and give them their money and their nuclear program. HAYES: I`m going to ask you a question that politicians almost never answer honesty but I`m going to ask it anyway and maybe you will. How hard did people come for you behind the scenes on this? How hard were you getting lobbied? How much pressure was there? Are there long-time supporters and donors of yours who thought this was the opportunity to punch your number into the cell phone and work you on this? SCHATZ: Well, I certainly got lots of very enthusiastic phone calls on both sides of this issue. But I think there is a little bit of a respect factor in terms of this being an issue of conscience. I think Harry Reid in the earlier segment said it exactly right, you know, this is not a political calculus for most of us, this is a question of conviction. And Chuck Schumer is my very good friend and he`s going to be our Democratic leader, our majority leader in the Senate, but I think that he came down on this in terms of his own convictions. The lobbying is furious. But I think it`s kind of heated up over the last couple of weeks. The first week or so because we were in the senate, because they were briefings, because we were trying to at least preserve some semblance of dignity within the institution, the lobbying from outside groups -- you laugh when I say that, but the lobbying from outside groups hadn`t heated up until I think both pro and con people had the sense they were going to try to get to us when we came home for our summer recess. HAYES: The coverage of this, particularly in the way that this has proceed, particularly the kind of vote counting, it`s been notable to me obviously because Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, has worked so hard, pro-Israel groups are against this deal. There`s obviously a strong affinity and connection to the American Jewish community on that. There has been a real focus on high profile Jewish politicians: Chuck Schumer, yourself, Rahm Emanuel who is the mayor of Chicago who came out for the deal, which, you know, I don`t know what the mayor of Cleveland thinks and the mayor of Philadelphia. What do you make of that? What do you make of the sort of intense focus on particularly Jewish politicians and where they stand on this? SCHATZ: Well, I think it`s not unreasonable at all. I mean, if you had an issue of major importance for the U.S./Japan relationship, you would be interested in what Americans of Japanese ancestry and AJA politicians thought. If likewise there were an issue having to do with the Hispanic community -- I don`t think it`s at all unreasonable to pay particular attention to Jewish American leaders. But I think what we`re seeing is that Jewish American leaders are split, as the American public is split. Everybody is trying to sort this out. And from my standpoint, the opponents have been able to kick up enough dust in the first sort of 10 to 20 days of this to create confusion, create concern. And look, nobody really wants to make a deal with Iran as a matter of instinct because they are not our allies. And even if we proceed with this deal as we should, they`re not going to become our allies. And so they kicked up enough dust. But what has happened as people actually study the particulars is that this is a very good deal for the United States, for peace in the region, for Israel, and the most important thing here is there really is no viable alternative. And the idea that we would pursue any kind of military action, it`s just really important to point out that any military plan, and the three-star and four-star generals and admirals that wrote a letter to the congress and others saying this I think was a really important moment this last week. They basically said, look, there`s no war fighting plan that will make as much progress with respect to pushing back on Iran`s nuclear intentions as his deal. And so the professional war fighters are the ones that are saying that diplomacy is the best approach here. HAYES: Brian Schatz, senator from Hawaii. First time on the program, I believe, thank you very much. Definitely come back. Good to have you. SCHATZ: thank you. HAYES: All right, coming up, big government for me but not for thee. The growing conservative backlash against Scott Walker`s basketball arena boondoggle. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: As if California hasn`t suffered enough from climate extremes, climatologists at NASA`s jet propulsion laboratory are saying that El Nino 2015 may be the worst since recordkeeping began in 1950. El Nino circa 1997 devastated parts of Southern California with floods and mudslides. And looking at this year, NASA`s Bill Patser (ph) telling the L.A. Times, quote, this definitely has the potential of being the Godzilla El Nino. Here`s why, so far this year`s El Nino is already stronger than the same time of the year in 1997, which is shown on the left. 2015 is shown on the right. You can see that band of heat there. Those areas in red and white are the warmest sea surface temperatures. So the trend this year is bad. It is those warm temperatures which stir up the strongest storms of El Nino, carrying all that energy. And this graph underscores the problem. Ocean temperatures west of Peru are higher than in 1997, which is a key factor scientists look for. A sliver of good news, perhaps, this year`s El Nino has already contributed to heavy rain that has lessened drought conditions in Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma. Here`s the problem, massive rain and storms after sustained drought tend to produce floods and mudslides and general destruction. And by the way, since that climatologist has now dared to call this year`s El Nino Godzilla, which may or may not pan out, did he have in mind the goofy unintentionally funny old Godzilla, the one that anyone in their right mind would of course welcome and embrace, or is he thinking of the newer, gloomier, CGI Godzilla, the one that no one in their right mind likes very much at all. And one more thing, what happens to all those shade balls we talked about yesterday that are now floating in the reservoirs of Los Angeles when Godzilla El Nino comes to town? All this will be continued. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is, by his own protestations, the champion of the taxpayer, a fiscal conservative who just last month, a day before he jumped into the 2016 race, decided to take on his state`s higher education system and slashed $250 million from the university of Wisconsin system. Yesterday, however, Walker`s fiscal probity ran up against the threat of moving the NBA`s Milwaukee Bucks to another city and he signed a bill that will approve $250 million, dollar for dollar the same as the cuts, in public financing for a new arena for the team. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, residents would ultimately pay $400 million when you account for interest over 20 years. The team`s new owners on the other hand, who run hedge funds in New York, they`ll just put up $150 million. Handing taxpayer money to billionaires seems like the most obvious violation of sacrosanct principles of modern free market conservatism, which is perhaps why the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the political advocacy group founded by the Koch Brothers who have given million dollars of support to Walker`s policies have come out against the deal. They told the Huffington Post, quote, "from our perspective, this just isn`t the role of government and we should be using our resources elsewhere." You might wonder what would persuade Scott Walker to put his state`s taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars? Here are a few facts that might help answer the question, thought they`re not necessarily dispositive. The national finance co-chairman of Walker`s campaign is a man by the name of John Hames who through a limited liability corporation registered under his son`s name donated $150,000 to a super PAC committee backing Walker in May. Well, he`s also co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. Walker is hardly the first public official, Democrat or Republican, to sign a deal for a sports stadium that is financed by taxpayers. But you have to ask yourself, will there ever be a rebellion against this practice? We`ll tell you about one place where the revolt may have already started next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN OLIVER, COMEDIAN: The Milwaukee Bucks, who are also currently threatening to leave if they don`t get a new arena, are running this ad now. ANNOUNCER: The ripple effect starts here. This is Wisconsin`s home. OLIVER: Settle down, Milwaukee Bucks. For a start, I don`t think Wisconsin will be transformed by one new arena. And also, if you really are looking to make a tangible change, how about coming up with a better slogan than fear the deer. Deers aren`t scary, they`re timid forest ponies with sticks on their heads. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: John Oliver with a massively awesome monologue on precisely this issue. Joining me now, David Boaz. He is executive vice president of the Cato Institute. Kavitha Davidson, sports columnist at Bloomberg View David, Cato has been very consistent on this. This is I think an area of real left-right synergy and agreement. What do you make of this deal? And the argument Scott Walker says which is this is a great return on investment, revitalize the Milwaukee Center. We need this. We`re going to get back $3 for every $1 we put in. DAVID BOAZ, CATO INSTITUE: You can pretty well assume anything politicians say about economics is wrong. All economists know, they have studied this, it doesn`t work, it`s not a good way to increase jobs, increase income or increase growth. And you`ve got Democrats who say they want to stop helping the rich and you`ve got Republicans who say they want to stop intervening in the economy, and yet when you put an actual chance to stop on the table, you find both Democrats and Republicans are right there to subsidize millionaire players and billionaire owners. HAYES: Yeah, I`ve got to say that the politics of this always strike me as crazy, because what David said, there is a really robust literature on this. I mean, this has been studied time and time again. There have been dozens of examples of this. Most of the time there is no return of investment. Most of the time taxpayers end up holdings the bag. And yet there seems to be continued political support for it. KAVITHA DAVIDSON, BLOOMBERG VIEW: Right. Well, first of all, sweetheart deals cross party lines, so you have Democrats and you have Republicans on both sides who always approve these kinds of deals. HAYES: And in fact it was a bipartisan vote in the legislature. DAVIDSON; Exactly. But you also have criticism from both sides. And incredibly, you know, I don`t think there`s anything David and I really ideologically agree on except for this one issue, which is that this is corporate welfare essentially. But it really comes down to, you can state all of the facts and all of the data that there is no economic growth that`s actually generated from public funding of stadiums and it comes down to this emotional connection, the fact that a local populous feels like their civic identity is wrapped up in their sports teams and the threat to leave really supersedes any kind of economic argument there. HAYES: I should say Hames, the man I mentioned in that intro, is a minority owner and there are also Hillary Clinton donors, right at play here? DAVIDSON: Yeah, the co-owner of the Bucks is Mark Lasry, one of the hedge fund managers. He was also one of Hillary`s biggest fund-raisers, which raised some eyebrows on the right as well. HAYES: David, do you think -- I saw this and I thought to myself, man, if I am trying to take down Scott Walker in Iowa or I`m trying to take him down in New Hampshire, like this seems like a pretty good issue for a rival Republican to go after him on. BOAZ: You`d hope so. I haven`t seen anybody do it yet, but I have to say at this point it might just be that Scott Walker is not a big enough guy, he`s not the front runner, people aren`t shooting at him right now. But you`re right. A Ted Cruz, a Rand Paul, a Bobby Jindal, any of those people ought to be saying I`m not going to pull boondoggles like this. HAYES: Boston was -- Boston had a set of city leaders who wanted to bring the Olympics to Boston. And it`s a little different with the Olympics. It`s a little different than the team, but we have seen similar kinds of public taxpayer investment that ends up grossly benefiting private hands and not really producing a huge amount of public benefit. And there was this rebellion in Boston that made me think maybe we`ve turned a corner here. DAVIDSON; Well, that was really the incredible thing is that the local populous never usually gets to vote on anything when it comes to subsidizing their own stadiums. You usually bypass that. And the people of Boston really spoke out against this. Now what they were trying to do in Boston, which is actually kind of similar to the whole playing on the emotions of people when the teams threaten to leave is they were saying it was easier to sell raising infrastructure money and getting funding for infrastructure improvements if it were based on a sporting event, which is a very sad state of affairs and it might be true, but that`s not how we should be accepting the current political landscape. HAYES: Well, it also strikes me, David -- and this is something I think that people of different sort of ideological stripes can agree on, is that the integrity of a project should stand on its own independent of -- whether you should build the thing or you should not build the thing, you should spend taxpayer dollars on it or you should not. Its connection to sports seems a bizarre way to go about making spending decisions. DAVIDSON: Well, that`s certainly right in the case of saying we`re going to build infrastructure because it will be the Olympics. The difference, unfortunately, for people who like to stop stadium deals is stadiums cost half a billion, Olympics cost $5 or $10 billion and also Olympics bring huge disruption to the city so it was easier to organize. But right now in St. Louis, they`re trying to subsidize another stadium and they had a law on the books that said you have to have a popular vote and they got a judge to overrule that and now they say no popular vote. So it would be fun to actually take a popular vote on one of these things. HAYES: Well, that I think is going to be something that is in the Missouri situation, which is really heating up, we`ll see. There was a fight over in Cobb County that the stadium builders won, so we`ll keep our eye on that one. At some point this is going to turn around. David Boaz, Kavitha Davidson, thank you both. All right, that is All In for this evening. A special edition, very exciting, special edition of The Rachel Maddow Show, it`s called Tale of the Tape, really excellent. That`s up next. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END