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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 10/09/15

Guests: Lawrence Lessig, Seth Meyers, Mo Brooks, Trey Radel, Rick Wilson

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- REP. TOM COLE (R), OKLAHOMA: I think it's tougher if it's not Paul. HAYES: Making Speaker Ryan. REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: I did everything except carry his gym bag this morning, trying to get him to do it. HAYES: The calamity on Capitol Hill, day two. Tonight, will Paul Ryan be forced to try and save Republicans from themselves? Then, how Ted Cruz really feels about Donald Trump? SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't believe Donald is going to be the nominee. HAYES: Democratic presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig on why he's being shut out of the debates. Plus, after two more campus shootings just today, President Obama speaks in Roseburg, Oregon. And Seth Meyers gets political. SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: Also, cigarettes and merlot. Are you a congressman or Joy Behar on vacation? HAYES: My exclusive interview with late night's Seth Meyers. MEYERS: It's always exciting to write comedy during an election year, because it is like a reality show. HAYES: ALL IN starts right now. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes. Tonight, Paul Ryan is the most wanted man in the Republican Party. A completely bizarre and unheard of scene played out on Capitol Hill today, as what looked to be all of Washington fell over themselves to convince, cajole, even beg a man, a politician, to take what's arguably the second most powerful job in the U.S. government. And still, he's saying no, because under current circumstances, it's that bad of a job. After Kevin McCarthy's bombshell decision yesterday to drop out of the running for speaker of the House, leaving a giant leadership vacuum in its place, something like a consensus has emerged that former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is the only man, the only man, who can step in and hold the House GOP together. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: I know a lot of speculation about who should run, and others, Paul is looking at it, but it's his decision. If he decides to do it, he would be an amazing speaker. But he's got to decide on his own. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Ryan insists he does not want the job. And as reports started coming out today that he might be reconsidering, his spokesperson taking to Twitter, shooting each of them down individually, one by one. But the GOP is simply not prepared to take no for an answer. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ISSA: I did everything except carry his gym bag this morning, trying to get him to do it. He has moderate support and he very clearly has conservative support. Members of the Freedom Caucus have come to me, one after another, saying, "Let Paul know we would be with him." (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Mitt Romney, Ryan's 2012 running mate, called him today to make the case and later released a glowing statement. "I wouldn't presume to tell Paul what to do, but I do know that he is a man of ideas who is driven to see them applied for the public good. Every politician tries to convince people that they are that kind of leader, almost none are -- Paul is. Paul has a driving position to get America back on a path of growth and opportunity. With Paul, it's not just words, it's in his heart and soul." Benghazi Committee Chair Trey Gowdy even left a personal note for Ryan on his office door. Congressman Ryan is reportedly now back at home in Wisconsin where he's said to be doing some soul-searching and talking it all over with his family. And that's about where things stand as the House adjourns for a week-long recess. The Republican caucus reemerged this morning from its second meeting in two days with no plan for reschedule leadership elections, no apparent strategy for the must-pass bills coming up on the house docket, and growing sign that the House Freedom Caucus, which provoked the current leadership crisis, has no intention of backing down. Some are expressing doubts about Paul Ryan's potential speakership, signaling they will not cooperate without major changes to House rules, outlined in a document the group has been circulating among leadership candidates. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. DAVE BRATE (R), VIRGINIA: Everyone wants to see someone sign their name to that, right? Before you give the head honcho the big job, you want to have certainty. And that's all that's at stake. Someone signs that in there, I think we're moving on. REPORTER: Do you think -- (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: And if there's anything that shows how divided this Republican conference is, it's how differently each faction regards the current state of affairs. Here's Congressman John Fleming, a member of the Freedom Caucus, on today's meeting. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JOHN FLEMING (R), LOUISIANA: It was actually a very light-hearted mood, people cracking jokes, and giving congratulatory offers to the speaker and also to Kevin McCarthy for doing noble things, stepping down and saving the conference from big battles. And so, really, no, this is more of a time of sharing, just another family get-together. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: A very different interpretation from Congressman Charlie Dent, a relative moderate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: A group therapy session, and as expected, not much productive happened. REPORTER: Usually it takes more than one therapy session for people to get to the root of the problem. DENT: And there's a lot of work for therapists. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Joining me now, Congressman Mo Brooks, a Republican for Alabama and a member of the House Freedom Caucus. Congressman, are you prepared to carry Paul Ryan's gym bag to get him to be the speaker of the House? REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: Well, I believe that there are dozens of people in the House Republican conference that would make excellent speakers of the house if Paul Ryan decides to run, I'll be thankful that he's in the race. I like Jason Chaffetz who's in the race, I like Daniel Webster. All three would have some positive things to offer for that position. HAYES: So you are not in the camp of people that are essentially saying that only Paul Ryan can hold your entire caucus together? BROOKS: Oh, no. We have a tremendous amount of talent in the House Republican conference. We've got Tom Price in Georgia, Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee, I mentioned Jason Chaffetz and Daniel Webster, Jason's from Utah and Daniel is from Florida. We have Jim Gordon from Ohio. We have lots of talent and I look forward to having a good selection to choose from. HAYES: Congressman, if that's the case, explain to us, as we watch this, the absolute desperation, it appears, across the board, to get Paul Ryan to do a job or to run for a job that he has said time and time and time again he does not want. BROOKS: Well, there may be desperation on the part of some congressman, but I would submit that that's not the case with the vast majority of the House Republican conference. And I respect Paul Ryan's hesitancy. Many people think that it's a real plum to be speaker of the House. It is hard work. You're, in effect, divorcing yourself from your wife, from your kids, from your grandkids. You're spending hundreds of days each year away from your home district, either in Washington, D.C. or fund-raising on behalf of candidates around the country. And so, it's a very difficult and challenging job and I respect Paul Ryan's decision to put family first. HAYES: And while it sounds like you have an insight into that decision, it sounds like that's what the decision has been so far. But let me ask you this, I mean, with due respect, historically this is somewhat anomalous, the speaker of the House is a position people have clamored for, they have spent decades trying to get it. Many people want him to take it, he doesn't want to take it, and many people interpret that as him not wanting the job because of the House freedom caucus, because the 40 to 50 members of your party that have made the House fundamentally ungovernable. BROOKS: Well, I would submit that that's not the case. If you remember when Nancy Pelosi was running for speaker, she also had Democrats that were not voting for her, just like John Boehner did not have Republicans voting for him. There are always differences of opinion as to how the House should be run. Personally, I want less dictation from the top and more bottom-up, where individual congressmen have the ability to better represent their districts by going through the committee process and getting their bills on the House floor, because the merits of those bills, as opposed to there being dictation from the top down, telling people what they can and cannot do, and then punishing via removal of committee chairmanships or removal of committees or other things, if you don't abide by the leadership's wishes. HAYES: Are you looking for some kind of signed set of concessions or agreements to rules, reform, or substantive commitments from whoever it is, that becomes the next speaker before you would support them? BROOKS: Well, for clarity, the House Freedom Caucus has not submitted to any candidate a criteria that has to be met before the House Freedom Caucus would support a particular candidate on the House floor. By way of example, I'm baffled that Kevin McCarthy dropped out, in my opinion, and I wasn't a part of the vote count, and in my opinion, if he had continued with the election yesterday, he would have been nominated by the House Republican conference, and ultimately, he had have received the 218 votes needed to be speaker of the House. So, it was a surprise to me as to a lot of other individuals. In the House Freedom Caucus, we had four people who had people who had committed to vote for Kevin McCarthy. Some of us preferred John Chaffetz, some of us preferred Daniel Webster, and that's somewhat representative of the Republican conference as a whole. Now, what would have happened with a nominee, we won't know now, because Kevin McCarthy has dropped out. But I think you're seeing a greater movement within the conference to minimize the retaliation that we're seeing, to minimize the top-down dictation and to allow congressmen from the bottom up to get legislation through to the House of Representatives. HAYES: All right, Congressman Mo Brooks, thank you for your time. I'm joined now by Congressman Trey Radel. He's a Republican from Florida, now runs a PR and crisis management firm. He resigned in 2013 after pleading guilty to misdemeanor cocaine possession. His record has since been expunged. And he knows a thing or two about life both inside this Republican caucus and in the midst of media circuses. Trey, how are you doing? TREY RADEL, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: I'm doing really well. Thank you so much for having me on tonight. HAYES: OK. So, you were in this caucus. You were part of folks who came in there, hadn't been members of the House for a long time, took the place by a storm. What is happening right now? What's your read on why this incredible desperation to get Paul Ryan to come in and save everyone? RADEL: Well, Paul Ryan has the ability to bring people together. It is a little insane to me that some people now are claiming that he's not conservative enough. I mean, if you think about this, when -- as Paul Ryan has worked on budgets for many years, this was the guy that the Democrats at one point put a look-alike Paul Ryan up, and when he talked about changing things like the mandatory spending, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, they had a look alike of Paul Ryan literally throw somebody's grandmother off of a cliff, because he's so far to the right, yet now somehow he's just not conservative enough. There are a few things that are happening here I think for Paul Ryan, that I can say, because I'm no longer in caucus. I'm not a politician. Some things that some politicians cannot say. Number one, undoubtedly, Paul Ryan does have to do some soul searching, and yes, he has to think about his family, his wife, and his young children. But there's also a much, much bigger picture to this that will not be talked about. And that's, what are Paul Ryan's plans for the future? Will he some day go back to Wisconsin to run for governor? Does he want to run for president some day? Because if he becomes speaker of the House, he's becoming essentially the spokesperson for Congress, which has an approval rating somewhere between a colonoscopy and a root canal. Lord knows my own shortcomings helped with that. But if he becomes the speaker of the House, this probably will not play too well for him politically down the road, because my contention is that no matter what happens, he's going to have a grace period, and he will be able to bring people together and Paul's a great guy. I think he'll be able to work with Democrats as well. But in the end, this is a pretty tough position for anyone with political aspirations to be in. HAYES: Yes, that's the two downsides of Paul Ryan, one about what you say about this being essentially a dead end for any kind of further aspiration for higher office, whether governor or president, but also just the basic math problem John Boehner encountered, and I think the basic problem that probably chased Kevin McCarthy away, is just that there's 40 or 50 people, members of this caucus, who are just going to ban together and basically say, no, we're not going to do what you tell us until we get our way, whether that's a shutdown over Planned Parenthood, whether that's a defund Obamacare reconciliation fight. And if they're going to do that, then that job becomes really next to impossible. RADEL: Well, it does. And what Speaker Boehner has had to do for certain pieces of legislation that he has wanted passed is basically rely on Democrats to do that, even though Republicans control the House. This is the situation we're in. Look, I'm conservative. And I have no apologies for that. However, I will, again, in sharing a little bit that I can, to give you a little taste of sometimes, the way that people feel. Yes, they'll talk down about no more top-down leadership and we want things like regular order and the wonky areas of that. However, I have worked with some of the members in the Freedom Caucus, that at times, when we had legislation, that we worked together on -- there was one member in particular, in my office, I'm not going to call names, but who actually, when we began to have success with it, and leadership blessed our legislation to go to the floor for approval, once leadership signed off on it, this particular member of Congress said, you know what, I don't think I want to do it anymore, because I don't trust them. HAYES: Yes, that -- RADEL: As ridiculous as this sounds, Chris, I don't want to plug your own book on your own show, but this is exactly like your book reads. "Twilight of the Elites", where the American public is so fed up and members of Congress are so fed up with anything institutional, they reject it. HAYES: Right. RADEL: So, I think that what you have now on the left, you've got Bernie Sanders, who's not even a Democrat, running for the Democratic nomination. You've got Donald Trump on the right, with fiery rhetoric, because people are angry and there's an inherent distrust in the system today. HAYES: Yes, that point about trust, just even between the leadership and the caucus rank and file, it's fascinating. Trey Radel, great pleasure to have you on. Thank you very much. RADEL: Thank you. HAYES: All right. Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst and former DNC chair, Howard Dean. And, Howard, I was thinking about you today. I was thinking about, what's -- we're watching this crisis play out. We're watching this uncertainty, which is pretty historically anomalous. Usually all of this goes relatively smoothly. And I was thinking, what exactly is the Republican Party? What can the Republican Party bring to bear? And I thought the Republican Party right now, as an institution, are the people who are calling Paul Ryan and telling him he has to take a job. That basically is what the Republican Party is. What do you think of that? HOWARD DEAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the Republican Party right now is in real trouble. And we probably need to go back to the old model of what the speaker does, and start passing stuff bipartisanly. I actually think that Paul Ryan doesn't want this job because 40 or 50 people in the Republican House are going to make his life miserable. I thought what the former congressman said was exactly right. If they ever get close to an agreement, they'll back off. But these people are oppositional in nature. They don't care about government, they don't want government, they don't like government, and they don't want government to work. You can't work with people like that, and Paul Ryan knows that. The only way to get anything done in this House is to get 150 Democrats and 150 Republicans to vote together and throw those guys over the side. And until some Republican is willing to do that, no sane person is going to take the job as speaker. HAYES: Well, and that's what Boehner kept having to do. And we should note here, Alan Grayson said something on the show, and it's something not to lose sight of. We could have comprehensive immigration reform. Boehner brought the Hastert rule and brought things to the house three, four, I think five times to pass things essentially with Democrats. He just did it five days ago as one of his final acts as speaker. He could have done that with immigration reform, which would have passed by a huge majority. We would now have millions of people whose lives would be tangibly better if he had done that. And yet, he didn't have the courage to when it mattered. And the question is, will anyone who can emerge from this process have that? DEAN: Well, somebody's going to have to have it. Because leadership is about telling your own people things they done want to hear. But most politicians think leadership is getting up and making big speeches and telling people all about what you want. It's not. It's about listening to other people, and telling them bad news and making them like it. And that's what the really great speakers, Tip O'Neill, Sam Rayburn and people like that have done. HAYES: Do you think we will see any play -- if this extends, right? I mean, I think if Paul Ryan buckles, basically thinks the job essentially almost against his will it would appear at this point, then I think this crisis is resolved in the short-term. If he doesn't, all bets are off. The question becomes, do you imagine, since the entire House votes for the speaker, it's an office of the House, can you see a situation in which Democrats vote for Republican speaker, so they have leverage in choosing who it is? DEAN: That has actually happened in several states. And in Texas, a more moderate Republican was elected speaker with Democrat votes. He had about 30 percent of his own caucus, and all of the Democratic caucus, and he got elected speaker. So that could happen. And I think, that's probably what needs to happen, because you've got 40 or 50 incredibly intransigent people who have got their own views ahead of the views of the country. HAYES: And you also have these folks, and it occurs to me, as we talk to Congressman Mo Brooks in that Freedom Caucus, they don't seem particularly concerned. There doesn't seem any kind of gravitational force that is bearing on them that they feel like they have to buckle to any of this. I mean, they're all going to go get re-elected. The only thing they have to worry about is a primary challenge, anyway. They kind of feel like they've been elected to go change the place. What really can you threaten these guys with? DEAN: You can't threaten them. They're basically nihilists. They came to do nothing and they came to stop everything. And they've actually done a pretty good job doing that. HAYES: All right. Howard Dean, always a pleasure. Thank you. DEAN: Thanks, Chris. HAYES: Still to come, the Republican candidate who's been patiently waiting on the sidelines and why that might be enough to win the nomination. Plus, while Joe Biden is welcomed to join the upcoming Democratic debate, should he announce, actual declared candidate Lawrence Lessig has not been invited to the stage. He joins me live. And later, my interview with late-night host Seth Meyers. Those stories and more, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: OK, I'm going to read you verbatim a few sentences about the Jim Webb for president campaign for Max Rosenthal of "Mother Jones. It begins this way, "Is Jim Webb actually running for president? I don't know and it's my job to. I mean that literally. I'm covering the Webb campaign for `Mother Jones'. And on Monday, my editor wanted to know what was up with the former Virginia senator who's vying, however quietly, for the Democratic nomination." That's basically been my feeling about Jim Webb's campaign, which was announced not with a speech, but in July via a blog post. His communications director informed us that his next event will be an appearance with a Council on Foreign Relations next Thursday. You can see that verified here on the CFR Web site. Webb reportedly has paid staff and has submitted a financial disclosure form. He's appeared at some large events in Iowa, according to that "Mother Jones" piece, and gave an interview to Alan Colmes last week in which he was his brutally honest self. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) JIM WEBB (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm looking for a fresh approach, and also people who understand how to lead. ALAN COLMES: Are you the anti-establishment candidate for the Democratic Party? WEBB: Bernie probably is. And I've known him a long time. And I like him a lot. (END AUDIO CLIP) HAYES: Webb wanted to say, he is the common sense candidate. And I for one, I have to say, just to be clear here. I am really glad that Jim Webb is in the race and will be on the debate stage next week, because I think he is a fascinating guy, an incredible writer, by the way, if you've never read his work, and he has a different approach than some other people in the race. But it is hard for me to see how he can make the cut, while someone else who is here with us a little later in the show does not. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: The Republican presidential race is currently experiencing what we call a Marco Rubio boomlet. Rubio has gotten high marks the for his the two debate performances and made no missteps. And more importantly, he has benefited from the other establishment-friendly candidates in the crowded GOP field. Rick Perry and Scott Walker, of course, already out of the race, while Chris Christie are struggling to connect with voters and are polling at just 3 percent. After Jeb Bush who has expected to be the donor-class standard-bearer, his candidacy has thus far been, I think it's fair to say, pretty underwhelming. Rubio is leading Bush in national polls and trails only the three candidates who have never held office -- Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina. If those non-elected official candidates fade in the long run, as many expect, Rubio is well-positioned to emerge as a consensus candidate, which is why he's become the kind of trendy choice to win the nomination. But there's another candidate that's been largely overlooked and could very well emerge as a legitimate contender. A full 50 percent of GOP voters support either Trump, Carson, or Fiorina. And if they leave the race, the most logical one to pick up their support is not Marco Rubio, it's this guy -- Ted Cruz. He's polling at a relatively robust 6 percent, who just announced he's raised a very impressive $12 million in the third quarter, and who, despite being a senator, can plausibly claim the anti- establishment mantle and is uniquely poised to exploit the current chaos in the GOP in the coming debt limit fight. You probably notice that unlike most of his rivals, Cruz has declined to attack Trump. Instead, he acknowledged in a new radio interview, Cruz is trying to wait Trump out, and then secure his supporters. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) CRUZ: In time, I don't believe Donald is going to be the nominee and I think in time, the lion's share of his supporters end up with us. And I think the reason is what I was just saying. That if you look to the records of all the Republican candidates. There's a big difference between my record and that of everyone else, if you ask, who has stood up to Washington, who's sustain on not just Democrats, but taken on leaderships in their own party, Republican leadership. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: All right. Joining me now, Republican media consultant, Rick Wilson, who's founder of Intrepid Media. Rick, here's my theory of the Ted Cruz strategy. And I think it's actually pretty smart. When you watch speed skating in like the Winter Olympics and they have the races that are long, right? Say, 10 laps. And basically for the first eight laps, everyone's trying to not wipe out and stay in the pack, and then someone either makes a move or you hope someone in the front gets their skate tangled and completely wipes out and you end up in first. That is basically, explicitly, the Ted Cruz strategy at this point, and I think it's a pretty smart one. RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN MEDIA CONSULTANT: Well, look, I think that Ted Cruz has a couple of really strong assets about his personal conservatism and his record as being a guy who is a very iconoclastic person in the Senate, which is translated to English is he's hated in the Senate, you know, and largely for reasons having to do with launching these shutdown fights without a real plan to win them. Just to do them. But right now, he's trying to leverage his position as a very hard conservative, by being Donald Trump's pilot fish to the great white shark that is Donald Trump and hopes to catch the scraps when Donald Trump gets harpooned. So, look, it's not the worst strategy in the world. HAYES: You don't think -- for me, here's what I would say, just as a sort of counter. I mean, look, you've already seen two candidates go out. I mean, what Cruz has done is he doesn't have a very high burn rate. He's got a fairly large small donor network that he can go to again and again and again, because he's been essentially a conservative list-building machine for all of these various fights he's engaged in. He can stick in it a while because he can go back to those $100 donors who are getting their direct mail and their e-mail blasts, like, Ted Cruz is fighting for us, and he can wait things out more than, say, Perry or Walker were ever designed to. WILSON: Well, I think that's right. He can live off the land for an awful long time, which is kind of the position in the past where a Ron Paul-type will be in, which is a very dedicated base of supporters, who are going to click those links, when it says donate here, to keep up Ted Cruz's fight. They're going to click those. So, I think there's an ability to sustain himself. The question will be, if Ted Cruz, you know, can really post up a fantastic debate performance the next time up, and to start connecting in a way that's a little broader than just, you know, the hard-core of the base, because people will start -- (CROSSTALK) WILSON: Yes. People will start -- people will start to look at the candidates, not only for their conservative bona fides, but they're also looking at them as, is this person who we want to see on a national ticket who can post up against Hillary Clinton? And that's one of the reasons that Marco Rubio has had such a great few weeks now, is that he is perceived as the person who's the strongest, the old versus new contrast, the past versus future contrast is very strong with Marco. And he's got a certain fluency with that. And the question will be, if Ted Cruz can broaden his appeal, can come out with something that feels a little more prospective, a little more optimistic, a little less sort of, you know, we're doomed. And only my stern discipline will save us. HAYES: And there's also Jamelle Bouie and "Slate" I thought were a pretty smart piece about this, comparing him to the way the Santorum emerged, by sort of enduring and ultimately, as people dropped out or people became nonviable, someone was -- you know, who inherited the kind of anti-Romney mantle. It became Santorum. Now, that wasn't the path to the election. But in some ways, Cruz has a stronger operation, a more credible way of being a challenger, if it comes down to essentially a candidate who is coded or thought of as the donor class as essentially a establishment or a plausible nominee and someone who is considered more of a kind of troublemaker or bomb thrower as Cruz is. He -- I think it's plausible for him to get to that point in the race. WILSON: Well, I think that one of the things everyone remembers about Santorum is it dragged on for Mitt Romney for a couple more weeks, while Priorities USA on the Obama side super PAC was hammering the hell out of him. HAYES: Right. WILSON: So there are a lot of folks who will want to start to bring this thing to a close sooner than later. HAYES: Yes. WILSON: So that we're not in the same position Romney was in, when he was getting his head pounded in every day with a hammer, while we're still grinding it out with somebody who can't win. It's the old Charles de Gaulle thing, when he said to the Russians, you know, I can't necessarily defeat you, but I can tear off an arm or a leg. So, it's -- it's the same sort of analogy. HAYES: All right. Rick Wilson, thank you very much. Coming up, guns rights activist protest Obama's arrival as he travels to Oregon to visit with victims of last week's deadly shooting in Oregon. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Tonight, Northern Arizona University's campus is secure after a deadly shooting very early this morning that left one student dead and three others wounded. A suspect in that deadly confrontation, also a student at the university, has been arrested and arraigned. Meanwhile, campuswide lockdown at Texas Southern University has been lifted after a different shooting this morning that left one dead and one in serious but stable condition. Police have two persons of interest in custody, while the main suspect remains at large, according to authorities. These two deadly campus shootings on the same day came the day that President Obama traveled to Roseberg, Oregon, to meet with the families of the nine victims of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College last week. In preparation, the president's arrival, protesters gathered along the street along with some supporters, some of the group, many organized with a pro-gun message, carried firearms. Others held signs, saying that gun-free zones are not safe zones. Gun-free zones equal kill zones. Others simply gathered to tell the president they didn't want him in their town. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE: You know, he just needs to know that he's not welcome in this town, you know? The townspeople don't want him. You know, he's here for a gun-grabbing agenda and you know, our town is in mourning. They need to heal before he comes here with his agenda. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: You'll note the confederate flag, the universal sign of healing, in the background. The president who met with the families for an hour at Roseberg high school met briefly afterwards and promised the federal government would do anything it could to help. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are going to be, I think, moments, as we go forward, where we're going to have to come together and figure out how do we stop things like this from happening. And, you know, I've got some very strong feelings about this because when you talk to these families, you're reminded that this could be happening to your child, or your mom or your dad or your relative or your friend. But today, it's about the families. Their grief and the love we feel for them. And they surely do appreciate all the support that they've received. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig is running for president. He's one of six candidates on the Democratic side vying for the White House and the only non-politician. And the fact that he's raised $1 million in less than a month should give the impression he's running an actual campaign, especially when you consider that Martin O'Malley, former two- term governor and two-term mayor raised $2 million during the first month of his presidential campaign, and former Rhode Island Governor and former Senator Lincoln Chafee has raised less than $400,000 in the first six months of his campaign, with most of that coming from a loan from the candidate himself. And then there's Senator Jim Webb, a candidate so under the radar that Mother Jones has looked into whether he is actually running for president. Lessig is running at least as serious a campaign as Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee, but unlike those candidates he's been left off a number of national polls. Here's to catch 22, to qualify for CNN Democratic presidential debate, a candidate must average at least 1 percent in a combination of three national polls released between August 1st and October 10th. And based on those rules, Lessig's campaign could be over just as it's getting started. Joining me now, Democratic presidential candidate, Lawrence Lessig. OK, so the argument about the debate, right, is like their network and they come up with the rules, and, you know, 1 percent in three polls isn't such a super high bar. Why should we put you on our stage? LAWRENCE LESSIG, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: Yeah, well, I think the question should be, what are the viable campaigns out there? And I think we demonstrated we have a viable campaign. we have not just $1 million in less than a month, we have a real staff, we've got ads going up in the states... HAYES: You just had $150,000 ad buy. LESSIG: Yeah, in Iowa and New Hampshire. So we've got a real campaign with a real issue. That's the important thing here, right? I mean, this is a fundamental issue and my perspective on this issue, on that stage, would be fundamentally different from everybody else that's out there. But the real challenge, Chris, I think is to get this issue discussed in the media. The reason it's difficult to get 1 percent is I don't have a thousand shows talking about this issue over and over. HAYES: Right, so the issue is this sort of massively distorting influence of money in politics, particularly the sort of concentration of wealth and the way the concentration of wealth essentially subverts our basic, most fundamental commitment to one person, one vote. LESSIG: So that is one issue. And that's certainly one issue that I'm talking about. But the other issue, you know, we see in this House Republican disaster right now, because of the stupid way we gerrymander districts, we construct a congress that is more polarized than it would be if we adopted a proportional representation system. And the second part of the reform I'm talking about would fundamentally change the way districts are drawn so that you could begin to have a congress that was more representative of America. This is all the same point. We don't have a representative democracy. We've got to get one if you're going to have a government that can work. HAYES: So what's happening here, is all these people are running to say, elect me to run this machine. And you're saying, this machine that everyone is running to elect is just a fundamentally broken machine. It is an unusable machine, that you could get the best person in the world to crank the machine and it will keep giving you terrible outcomes. LESSIG: Right. And how do we get people to talk about this point? You know, people... HAYES: Here's the thing. Look, people do talk -- so when you talk about money in politics, right, people talk about it all the time, right? I just used it in my intro as a benchmark that you're serious because you raised money, right. We talk about super PACs, we talk about big money donors. We talk about oh, so-and-so can stay in the race, because some billionaire car dealer really likes him, right? Well, we all talk about those. It's just like, OK, what do we do about that, right? LESSIG: But that's the point. We can do a lot about it. We can change the way campaigns are funded, not just super PAC issue. That the Supreme Court has got to clean up. But we could change the way campaigns are funded tomorrow. And if we did, and made it so candidates for congress were not spending 30 to 70 percent of their time talking to the tiniest fraction of the 1 percent, but instead raising money from everyone in their district or across the country, that would radically the concentrated interest in congress that's producing what Francis Fukuyama calls the vetocracy of our government. HAYES: Vetocracy meaning too many veto point, too many choke points, too many places where, in this case 40 members of the House of Representatives can say the whole thing is done. LESSIG: We've got to focus on the fact that we've allowed this representative democracy to fall apart. It is a broken machine, to use your metaphor. And there are ways we could fix it and we could fix it if we just focused on how to do it. HAYES: But here's -- I guess there's part of me that feels like, there's something about this that feels a little, you know, the term they used to do in Chicago was, goo goo, like, good government types, the machine would crank on with the daily machine and there are these folks who would come and be like, no this whole thing is corrupt. Well, that's actually just human power. You could come in with your reforms. LESSIG: But no, Chris, in Chicago, government worked. It actually did stuff. The point about our government is we've got really important problems that we can't address. And we won't address them. All the things Bernie is talking about, all the things Hillary is talking about... HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders. LESSIG: Senator Sanders is talking about are the most important things we need to address but we cannot address them until we deal with this problem. So, this not just goo goo, this is fundamental reality. It's the practical reality of how our government can't work. HAYES: OK, so then here's question. Let's say you don't get on the debate stage, right. I mean, then the question becomes, OK, you're going to do it, you're going to run for president. Can you build something here? You raised a million dollars in a month, right. Like that's the test. The proof is in the pudding. If this is really politics, right, then can you go out and do the stuff of real politics to build something? LESSIG: The challenge is to get media to be willing to talk about something more than the horse race or the e-mail problem of Hillary Clinton, to actually talk about what would solve the problem we have in government right now. And if we can get in the media to be able to do that, and get to the level necessary to be in the next debate, I think our polls show us, this would radically change the way this debate, this election develops. HAYES: You know, it has been funny, just that one of the core messages of Donald Trump has basically been that the whole system is rigged and corrupt, and I know because I used to be the one paying to rig and corrupt it. LESSIG: So, it's bipartisan now. We've got... HAYES: That, I think, that -- if there's one thing that's clear to me, it's that it's not, like, Republicans will tell you, yes, big money has too much influence. I mean, that shows up reliably in the polling, but also anecdotally. When you're out reporting and talking to people that is conventional wisdom. LESSIG: So why aren't we doing something about it? Why aren't we talking about it? Why isn't this at least 10 percent of what is being discussed? But instead, we spend eight weeks trying to line the depths of Donald Trump's brain, instead of talking about a real issue that if we'd solve, would make it really possible to govern. HAYES: All right, Lawrence Lessig, always a pleasure. Thank you. LESSIG: Great to see you. HAYES: All right, still ahead, my interview with Seth Myers. Don't go anywhere. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: The Ben Carson for president campaign has informed the media their candidate will entertain no further questions about now-infamous incident at a Popeye's organization, in which Carson says he directed a gun-toting robber towards another person. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BEN CARSON, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have had a gun held on me when I was in a Popeye's organization. The guy comes in, puts the gun in my ribs, and I just said, I believe that you want the guy behind the counter. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what you said? In that calm way? CARSON: In a calm way. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In that calm way. OK. CARSON: He said, oh, OK. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Yesterday, Baltimore police tweeted out, based on the information that Ben Carson mentioned, there was not enough info to identify a police report in reference to the incident. Today, a police spokesman said they would start a new inquiry based on further details provided Carson's campaign business manager. Meanwhile, Carson's deputy communications director said the incident at Popeye's occurred over 30 years ago. Suggestions that Dr. Carson is lying are outrageous. We will not entertain any further discussion on this issue. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: He's a writer behind most of your favorite Saturday Night Live sketches, and now as the host of Late Night, Seth Myers is making his mark in the crowded field of late-night comedy, by taking on the 2016 campaign. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SETH MEYERS, LATE NIGHT HOST: despite claiming last week that he would have rushed the Oregon shooter to save lives, Dr. Ben Carson yesterday recounted how he was once held up at gunpoint in a Popeye's chicken and told the gunman, I believe you want the guy behind the counter. So we know at least one guy who's definitely not voting for Ben Carson. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Joining me now is Seth Myers, Host of Late Night with Seth Myers. It's great to have you here. MEYERS: Thank you very much. HAYES: I had a great time when I was on your show. MEYERS: It was reciprocal. I always said I'd reciprocate. HAYES: In the other chair. So there was this headline in Vanity Fair that crystallized something for me. It was "Why Seth Myers might be the real heir to Jon Stewart." And it's funny, I saw that headline and I had been realizing that I had become addicted to the political bits you guys have been doing. MEYERS: Oh, thanks. HAYES: I want to play a clip of one just to give folks -- if they haven't seen a sort of flavor of what I'm talking about. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MEYERS: McCarthy's announcement wasn't helped by the fact that the acoustics in the room where the Republicans met were terrible. Here's congressman Peter King describing the big moment. UNIDENITFIED FEMALE: Were you stunned? REP. PETER KING, (R) NEW YORK: Yeah, most people weren't even sure what he said. The sound system was not good. MEYERS: so to clarify, the Republicans not only can't find a House speaker, they can't even find actual speakers. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: You guys have been doing a lot of this, almost nightly now, stuff on not just the campaign, but also just stuff in the news. Was that -- I mean, obviously, you did Weekend Update, but are you more focused more on this now? MEYERS: I should start by clarifying, I don't think anyone will be an heir to Jon Stewart. I do think that Jon and Stephen did in a way present this idea that audiences will consume this kind of sort of political news as comedy, to which I think a lot of people picked up on and it's really fun to do. But you know I think when we started the show, we had this idea, we'll do a lot of politics. And the reality was we were just a new show and we didn't quite know the best way to pull it together, so we were doing one a month and then we got it to one every two weeks, and now we're at a place where thanks to the staff we have, that's gotten very adept at pulling these things off, especially the clip you've just showed, that's a real day of, a story that breaks at noon, that you kind of have to pull together that day, and we're getting kind of adept at doing that. So hopefully three to four days a week, we can pull it off. HAYES: Do you have plans for the 2016 campaign? It has already provided, obviously, a tremendous amount of material. MEYERS: Yeah, I mean, you don't plan, you're more happy. Because I will say, and this is something I went through at SNL, it's always exciting to write comedy during an election year, because it is like a reality show. There are a certain number of contestants, there are fewer at each turn, people say outrageous things. Nothing's worse than having to write about the passage of a health care bill or the debt ceiling. HAYES: I get that. MEYERS: Especially -- yes, it is. It might have been interesting the first time when you are explain it to people, but now -- I mean, again, I that is probably why people are all so frustrated with politics, in a way that campaigns make them less frustrated, because it's the promise of something different, when you go back to, hey, you know that thing that keeps happening and we keep saying it's a disaster, it happening again. HAYES: Well, and that -- you know, the sort of dramatic, the core essence of drama is some sense of uncertainty. We don't know what will happen. It's why people watch sports, right? And so when politics gets more repetitive, it becomes less dramatic, and the campaign is the ultimate drama, because it is ultimately uncertain. MEYERS: Right, there will be a different person in charge. And I think that will just constantly draw people to it. And it will be a good year for all of us that are doing shows like this. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Up next, what Seth Meyers thinks about the modern era of late-night comedy. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: How do you stand out in a crowded field? Earlier today, I spoke with Seth Meyers about the challenges of doing late-night comedy in 2015. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MEYERS: You can always point out, there's too many of these shows, why are there so many of what seem to be the same thing? But, of course, I think of that hour, you want to tune in to a voice you trust, a voice that has some consistency to it. And I do think, because in that way that people keep trying to do live television and realizing, you know, it's important to watch it tonight, you know, our shows don't age particularly well. You know, if you know -- I don't think anybody on Saturday binge watches the week of late-night with Seth Meyers. It's important to give them... HAYES: What happens on Tuesday? MEYERS: Right, right. So, again, you're just are trying to -- and again, I do think there's a wealth of talented people doing shows right now and I'm really lucky to be one of them that is getting a chance. HAYES: I think the thing you're saying, too, about the ritual is a huge part of it. As time shifting becomes more normal, as people select what they want, the things you feel there's a little bit of ritual around kind of pop that much more. And I think, early in the morning and late at night, those parts of the day sort of continue to be those kind of ritualistic... MEYERS: There's also the sense that, you know, it's nice to start watching a show like this, but you don't have to finish. Like, if you sit down to watch an episode of Game of Thrones, you don't say, I only like the first part of Game of Thrones, I don't like the -- and there is a sense with any late night show where you say, oh, I know the first ten minutes I really like, then maybe I don't enjoy interviews as much, but some people will stay for the interviews. So you're constantly aware that you want each sort of piece that you're giving people to sort of stand on its own and be something, you know, and again, we're competing with two things. One, people going to bed. And two, to some degree, with I think all late-night shows now are competing with, if we're going to watch TV, why don't we check up on Tuesday's sitcom we missed. HAYES: Yeah, or if you feel like -- right, you're in modern television now against everything else that one could select to view. I like our show, I think we do a really good job, but an awesome episode of Game of Thrones, that's really good. There's millions and millions and millions of dollars that went into that one hour. MEYERS: Yeah. And now, you know, or just a movie. HAYES: right. MEYERS: Should we watch this or now -- it used to be, we have to go to the movies to see a movie or go to Blockbuster. So, you're competing against all these different things. But that is why, certainly, a year and a half into it I've been pretty -- I'm pretty optimistic about how much people still enjoy watching shows like ours. HAYES: Yeah, and it also strikes me, and this has been true of some of the political bits you've been doing with the over the shoulders is that -- there's also something about the kind of next-morning clip phenomenon, which can really push past whatever audience is watching it then -- you know, I went through long periods where I sort of got out of the habit of watching say, Daily Show or Colbert, but I would see the next morning, and that becomes part of your audience as well. MEYERS: Well, again, I -- that's how I consume other late-night shows and have been for a while. You know, so, I'm happy -- the important thing is you want to have something that people are going to want to watch the next day. It's great if that's something that is really in step with what you try to do on the show every night. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: My great thanks to Seth Meyers. You can see all of my interview with him unedited on our website at And that is All In for this evening. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END