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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 10/19/15

Guests: Jennifer Bendery, Matt Bennett, John Nichols

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Does anybody actually blame my brother for the attacks on 9/11? HAYES: The Republican feud over 9/11 continues. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The World Trade Center came down. So when he said we were safe, that`s not safe. HAYES: And Donald Trump starts hitting harder. TRUMP: Why did we attack Iraq and now we have the mess where the whole Middle East is screwed up? HAYES: Then the wheels continue to fly off the Benghazi committee. REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Shut up talking about things you don`t know anything about. HAYES: Plus, what we now know about Joe Biden`s campaign plan. The Texas teen arrested for clock making shows up at the White House. And as "SNL" does Bernie -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m the only candidate up here who`s not a billionaire. I don`t have a super PAC. I don`t even have a backpack. HAYES: Can a socialist win a presidential election in America? BILL MAHER, COMEDIAN: They hear socialist they think herpes, Bernie. HAYES: Tonight, how Bernie Sanders plans to take on the stigma surrounding the "S" word. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to make the movement, if you like, to correlate what we`re talking about. HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Donald Trump has managed to find the Achilles heel not just of his rival for the presidential nomination, Jeb Bush, but of the entire Republican political establishment. And it is the legacy of George W. Bush. A legacy that was rejected wholesale by voters in 2006 and 2008. But that the Republican Party still has not been able to reconcile. Now, Trump is openly exploiting that vulnerability and forcing the party to relitigate George W. Bush`s record on terrorism and war. It all started with an exchange at the second Republican debate where Jeb Bush defended his older brother against criticism from Trump. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Your brother and your brother`s administration gave us Barack Obama because it was such a disaster, those last three months, that Abraham Lincoln couldn`t have been elected. BUSH: You know what? As it relates to my brother, there`s one thing I know for sure. He kept us safe. I don`t know if you remember -- (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Donald, you remember the rubble? (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: It was a big applause line for Jeb because "he kept us safe" is a very familiar refrain for Republicans defending George W. Bush. But Friday, when Donald Trump quite factually noted that George W. Bush was president on September 11th, 2001, he apparently crossed some sort of line. Jeb fired back on Twitter calling Trump pathetic and insisting his brother, quote, "kept us safe." Then yesterday, they took their battle to the Sunday talk shows. On FOX News Trump maintained that what happened on 9/11 does not qualify as being safe. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Am I trying to blame him? I`m not blaming anybody. But the World Trade Center came down. So when he said we were safe that`s not safe. We lost 3,000 people. It was one of the greatest -- probably the greatest catastrophe ever in this country. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Jeb continued to defend his big brother, but he couldn`t explain away a parallel to the Republican stance on Benghazi. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: It`s what you do after that matters. And that`s the sign of leadership. It`s not -- it`s not the -- does anybody actually blame my brother for the attacks on 9/11? If they do, they`re totally marginalized in our society. JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: But how do you respond to critics who ask if your brother and his administration bear no responsibility at all, how do you then make the jump that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are responsible for what happened at Benghazi? BUSH: Well, I -- the question on Benghazi, which is -- hopefully, we`ll now finally get the truth to, is was that -- was the place secure? They had a responsibility in the Department of State to have proper security. There were calls for security. It looks like they didn`t get it. And how was the response in the aftermath of the attack? Was there a chance that these four American lives could have been saved? (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: And this morning, Trump called in to "Fox & Friends" where his break with Republican orthodoxy was so confounding, it was almost too much for co-host Brian Kilmeade. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: If you really wanted to stop bin Laden would he declare war on us in 1996, you would have taken him serious and killed him. We had multiple chances on him from `96 until 2000. We didn`t take it. And I will say this. They said Bin Laden determined to attack the U.S. at home. Didn`t say where, didn`t say who, didn`t even see this plot. Why would you pick this argument? Because this is a Michael Moore leftist I hate everything Republican argument. Why would you take this? (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Again, to be clear, Trump`s only argument was about who was president on 9/11, 2001, which is not really something open to debate as far as I understand it. But then he was asked about Bush response after 9/11. He brought up what may be an even sorer subject for Republicans, the Iraq war. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Post-9/11 many people, many Americans would say that President George W. Bush did everything in his power and did indeed keep us safe free from another attack. You would not deny that, would you? TRUMP: Well, we attacked a different country which I think was the wrong country. I think attacking Iraq -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it did keep us safe here at home. TRUMP: I think that was a huge mistake. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he keep us safe at home? TRUMP: Well, we haven`t had a major problem at home. I agree with that. I`m not -- I never disagreed with that. But we attacked a country. We spent $2 trillion attacking a country. And you know what we have for it right now? Zero. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could have had a lot more -- KILMEADE: Having said that too. That we won that war. The surge worked. Like in all military escapades with America we get it wrong in the beginning, we get it right at the end. And it was thrown in the street. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Trump hasn`t let up since then, continuing to hammer the Bush legacy on Twitter even tweeting an article about how Jeb himself was criticized in the wake of the attacks when he was governor of Florida the state where the hijackers were able to get driver licenses. This all comes as the new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows Trump getting his best results to date among GOP primary voters, right at that 25 percent mark we`ve been talking about, with Ben Carson nipping at his heels and Jeb Bush coming in a distant fifth. Even more dismal for Bush, 44 percent said they could not see themselves supporting him compared to just 36 percent who said they could not support Trump. Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst and former RNC chair Michael Steele, and MSNBC contributor Sam Seder, host of "Majority Report". Michael, let me start with you. This does seem to expose the fact that at its core, the Republican Party has not figured out how they are reconciled to George W. Bush`s legacy, what they think about it, and how they`re going to talk to voters about it. And even if it weren`t Jeb Bush, it seems like that`s a thing that Republicans are going to have to figure out how to talk about. MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think you`re right to some degree on that. There`s this whole battle right now between relitigating the past and trying to put the country at least conversationally on a better footing in talking about how we deal in, you know, a post-9/11 world with an ISIS and all of that. So, I think you`re seeing some of that tension bear itself out right now with a lot of the GOP. My takeaway, there are a couple of takeaways, but one of them that I have is that one of the beneficiaries of this conversation is Rand Paul because a lot of what Trump is talking about, despite his, you know, trashing Rand Paul at various times, is exactly what Rand Paul was saying about how we prosecute the things, how we look at these wars, and what role we should be playing and what position the party should be take going forward. So, if nothing else, I think there may be a greater stimulation of that debate within the party overall. HAYES: You know, part of what`s been strange about this to me, Sam, is there`s just -- to separate logically, right? There is the contention that I blame George W. Bush for 9/11, right? And then there`s the statement "he kept us safe." and you don`t have to say I blame him. You can say, yes, no president could have figured that out or the bureaucracy was so screwed up or the makes were made at so many different places. But he kept us safe just is not factually true. But it is absolutely dogma among a lot of folks. SAM SEDER, MAJORITY REPORT: It is the last vestige that conservatives have that they can basically hold on to George Bush`s legacy. Right? Because they now say he was a profligate spender. They say that -- HAYES: And many of them say Iraq was wrong. SEDER: But the one thing is that he kept us safe. And the fact is he didn`t. I mean, by any measure whatsoever. Now, maybe he couldn`t have. And that`s a perfectly legitimate arguable point to make despite the memos, despite the fact that they were told early on in the administration that non-state actors were the greatest threat. That is an arguable position. But the idea that he kept us safe is like well, but for the cake I just ate I`m on a great diet. I mean, the bottom line is he didn`t. And so they can`t let go of that because once you let go of that what does the Republican Party offer? HAYES: Michael, do you think that`s a defensible statement he kept us safe? STEELE: Yes, I do. I take a lot of exception with what`s just been said. Because you`re looking at this contextually. Did bill Clinton keep us safe in the first 9/11 attack? What did our intelligence community tell us about that? Did Franklin Roosevelt keep us safe in Pearl Harbor? Because -- HAYES: No, he did not. But that`s -- STEELE: But -- HAYES: That`s a great -- (CROSSTALK) STEELE: I got it. But this is my point. HAYES: That`s a great historical example. Pearl Harbor was massively controversial. People were enraged that America had been constantly (INAUDIBLE). They were hearing and commission. STEELE: But keep in context what Jeb Bush was saying. He was not talking about the period before 9/11. He was talking about since 9/11. And that`s typically how most Republicans have argued that particular point. Well, no, no. HAYES: That`s correct. That is a correct statement. That is how Republicans have argued the point. STEELE: You`re arguing something that most Republicans don`t argue. So what Donald Trump has done is he`s taken it to the very beginning of the 9/11 crisis, not post-9/11, which is how Jeb and a lot of Republicans argue the statement he kept us safe. SEDER: But, Michael, with all due respect, that`s exactly the point, is that for some reason Republicans only count history from 9/12 and everybody else counts history from before 9/12/2001. That`s the bottom line. There is no -- you can`t choose when you start history and have people look at you seriously. (CROSSTALK) STEELE: Yes, but Chris, you can`t -- but you cannot sit there -- Chris, you have no intelligence, you have no evidence that suggested to the State Department, the NSA, the Pentagon, or anyone else that 9/11 was going to happen when 9/11 did. So, you`re presuming -- let me finish my point. (CROSSTALK) STEELE: You`re presuming, gentlemen, you`re presuming that our government deliberately allowed it to happen. HAYES: No. STEELE: And that`s just not the case. HAYES: That`s my point, Michael. I just want to be very clear about there`s these two different contentions, right? Bush is to blame for 9/11 or Bush failed, right? That`s one contention. You can debate that. You can even say no, he`s not to blame. But the contention being made, the affirmative endorsement of George W. Bush`s legacy that`s being made is he kept us safe. That is the same that has been put forward. I just don`t see how that`s defensible unless you count as you said when Republicans tend to count at 9/12. Which fine, you can say everything changed at 9/11. And after that forget about Iraq - - STEELE: You have to admit that the world changed dramatically after that. SEDER: Well, no. Actually, the world didn`t change dramatically after that. STEELE: Uh, yes. You don`t get to go through the airport the same way you did. You don`t get to do a lot of things the way -- you have a whole lot of structure put in place. SEDER: Our policy changed. (CROSSTALK) STEELE: That probably should have been put in place before -- SEDER: The bottom line, that when the Bush administration came into office on January 20th when they went to that pass the baton program where the NSA chief under the Clinton administration passed the baton to Condi Rice, the Clinton administration said it`s non-state actors that you`ve got to watch out for and Condi Rice came in and said we have to watch out for countries like Iraq. There was a policy decision as to what was going to attract their attention. Now, we can debate whether or not they really screwed up or not. But you cannot make the argument that he kept us safe i.e., he prevented a terrorist attack on his watch. He didn`t. He prevented two or three -- STEELE: Sam, you`re now jumping -- I would bet you before Donald Trump had made that statement today that was not the conclusion that you drew, at least you didn`t write that conclusion when the Jeb Bush made that statement at the last debate. (CROSSTALK) HAYES: Let me also make that point -- STEELE: So it`s a lot of hype. A lot of looking backwards and projecting here. HAYES: I just want to be clear here. We had a national reckoning about this. There`s this thing called the 9/11 Commission, of course. It was massively, you know, publicized. It sold 200,000 copies, the original report. It comes up with all sorts of things, signs that were missed, things that were done. Some of those things are at the highest levels in terms of the security apparatus in the White House and some of them are very low level about an FBI memo in Minneapolis that doesn`t get kicked upstairs about why are these people taking flight lessons. So, we`ve had a national reckoning on this. To me, this question of why it`s rearing its head right now in this campaign has to do with Jeb Bush has not figured out and the Republican Party has not figured out this central question of what is my relationship, in Jeb Bush`s case, to my big brother, what is my relationship to his legacy, what am I willing to say about him and the Republican Party says elect us to the White House, we want to run someone. Yes. STEELE: Chris, I`ll give you that. That`s a very fair point, because it is part of the national conversation simply because of that relationship, because there`s a lot of folks who want to know will you behave, think, perform the way your brother did or do you do something differently? And Jeb has not answered that question clearly. HAYES: And there`s this Ryan Lizza piece in "The New Yorker" this week which interestingly quotes a lot of folks who are in Jeb`s circle who are also foreign policy advisers to this president, this is on Iraq defending the invasion of Iraq, basically saying it was sort of fly papered. But these are the folks -- I mean, the other thing is it`s more than the last name it`s more than the fact they look similar. There`s some substantive overlap here. SEDER: I mean, the bottom line is I don`t think the Republican Party thought they were ever going to have to relitigate this. STEELE: True. SEDER: Because I think the Republican -- people running for president was we`re not going to raise this -- HAYES: We`re just not going to talk about it. SEDER: Only Donald Trump was willing to do that. HAYES: Michael Steele and Sam Seder, that was excellent, spirited and illuminating. Thank you, gentlemen, both. STEELE: All right, guys. HAYES: Still to come, sources say Vice President Joe Biden will announce his decision on a presidential run within the next 48 hours but sources have been making similar claims for months. Plus, registering every drone in the U.S., interesting idea. There are some other machines that are much more dangerous than drones. And later, the newest evidence that Bernie Sanders is a political phenomenon. But could American voters ever actually elect a socialist? We`ll look at those stories and much more, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: As Donald Trump and Jeb Bush relitigate the Bush 43 legacy, the man polling second in the GOP field is also questioning America`s post- 9/11 strategy, particularly the decision to invade Afghanistan. It stems from a claim he made at last month`s debate that if Bush had simply declared the U.S. would become petroleum independent, then oil-rich Arab states fearing less profits would have turned over Osama bin Laden in two weeks. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: How would you have gotten the moderate Arab governments to turn over Osama bin Laden in two weeks? He`d already been expelled by Saudi Arabia. He was already an enemy of those moderate governments. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think they would have been extremely concerned if we had declared and we were serious about it that we were going to become petroleum independent because it would have had a major impact on their finances. And I think that probably would have trumped any loyalty that they had to people like Osama bin Laden. STEPHANOPOULOS: But they didn`t have any loyalty to Osama bin Laden. The Saudis kicked him out. He was their enemy. CARSON: Well, you may not think that they had any loyalty to him. But I believe otherwise. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: OK. Here`s where it gets baffling. Pressed on his own bin Laden strategy versus going after bin Laden in Afghanistan, Carson had this response. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHANOPOULOS: I simply don`t understand how you think this would have worked. CARSON: Well, here`s the point. Here`s my point. My point is, we have -- we had other ways that we could have done things. I personally don`t believe that invading Iraq was an existential threat to us. I don`t think Saddam Hussein was an existential threat to us. STEPHANOPOULOS: I wasn`t asking about invading Iraq. I was asking about invading Afghanistan, which had been harboring Osama bin Laden. CARSON: Well, I was primarily talking about Iraq. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Are you lost? I`m lost. I`m very lost. Charlie Pierce writes in "Esquire" today, "Ben Carson confuses Iraq, Afghanistan, past, future, space, time, whatever." Dr. Ben Carson currently polling in second place. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TV ANCHOR: Ed Henry just put out in his FOX News alert, that he`s got three solid sources who say that Vice President Biden is likely to run. KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: Sources close to the vice president say a decision could come any day now. BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN: A source tells CNN Biden is meeting with his top political advisers this evening and that Biden associates are beginning the staffing process for positions on a potential campaign. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The latest reporting is that Vice President Joe Biden is getting closer to making a decision on whether he will enter the presidential race, a decision that could come as early as Wednesday. There`s even a congressman who appears to have an inside track citing a person close to the vice president. Representative Brendan Boyle sent out this tweet earlier today, "I have a very good source close to Joe that tells me Vice President Biden will run for president. Watch out reporters." No sooner had this news started appearing than people close to Biden started sounding somewhat less definitive about the timeline. "New York Daily News" quoted a former Biden staffer saying he has until Wednesday to decide whether or not to go to Iowa and a short time after to decide whether or not to qualify for all the ballots. There aren`t official deadlines but these are practical deadlines." Yes, practical deadlines. We`ve been hearing about quite a few of those, but it seemed like a while now. In February, CNN reported that Biden would make a decision by the end of summer. In June, "U.S. News and World Report" wrote that Biden would make a decision by August 1st. On August 8th, "The A.P." reported Biden was expected to make a decision 2016 decision after a week-long retreat. Later that month, "The A.P." reported Biden would decide by October 1st. Then on October 5th, "Politico" reported Biden was expected to make a decision a weekend before the first Democratic debate. And if it continues to go on this way, there`s part of me that thinks we`ll be getting stories about Biden`s decision-making process up until Election Day in 2016. Joining me now Joy Reid, MSNBC national correspondent. What do you -- what do you make of all this? JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It`s interesting. I spent the better part of the afternoon talking to Biden people or people who`ve in some capacity been around the vice president, worked with him et cetera, and what you get is exactly what you said. You have some people who say, yes, I think he`s going to do it his heart is in it. You have some so who say, you know what, it feels like it`s too late, like the ship has sailed, the staff are all gone, the fund-raising he`d have to do is going to be really complicated because people are committed to Hillary. It`s sort of a grab bag, and there`s one person who I think put it, the smart one, you could literally have two people in a room have them both talk to Joe Biden, one of them talk about his emotional content and he will convince them he`s running, the second person talk to and he`ll just talk from his head and will be convinced he`s not running. Ergo, nobody knows if he`s running. HAYES: Right. To me -- right. To me the cat inside the Schrodinger`s box that is inside Joe Biden`s mind, he`s both alive and dead. He is both -- he`s both -- he`s both -- he`s probably undecided at this point. All I can conclude. I guess the secondary question becomes, whether -- if you are the head part talking, when are the hard deadlines and is there space for him? REID: Well, here`s the thing. So, I did spend a lot of people talking to people in Florida because, of course, the cash machines of the Democratic Party are Florida and New York. The Florida cash machine really starts kicking in when it gets cold in New York, which is when a lot of fund-raisers do move South. Now, a lot of those fund-raisers are really already committed to Hillary Clinton. It would be really awkward for any of them to walk away from her. So, the Florida money is going to be very difficult for Biden even though honestly people love him, people he who know him as vice president. Some of the other questions people put to me is, why would Joe Biden, any rationality person, jump in before Hillary Clinton does the Benghazi hearings? Because you got to see how she does, right? If she acquits herself well, there`s less and less and less space for Joe Biden. HAYES: Well, and I was looking, and there`s new CNN polling out today. We had NBC/"Wall Street Journal" is polling. CNN polling out today that showed that post-debate, you had both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders going up, and Joe Biden who`s at 18 percent in that poll I think was 22 percent before that poll. So, in some ways, the winner of that debate was both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and the loser was the guy who wasn`t there, Joe Biden, because there`s a sense I think once people saw the debate that oh, this abstract idea we had that we need someone who`s not there maybe isn`t true. REID: That`s right. Because much of the Biden sort of love, and I know people who really, really want him to win, who are Obama people who want to, A, keep the Obama legacy whole and growing and the feeling is that Biden would run on more of a keep the Obama years going sort of outright campaign that Hillary won`t, or have some other deal of dissatisfaction with Hillary. But the problem is that the Biden boomlet only exists when Hillary appears to be a candidate in trouble. HAYES: Right. REID: As soon as Hillary Clinton appears to be not just inevitable but a strong potential candidate who actually can survive the obsession with the e-mails, who can survive the Benghazi stuff, and who would actually emerge into the general election pretty strong, the Biden balloon starts to leak. And even among people who like him. HAYES: So, we also have -- I mean, there are some people who seem to think that he`s definitely in. Gabe Sherman has been reporting on this. And Gabe`s got an interesting take, which is he`s already running at a certain level. REID: Oh, yes. HAYES: Like what he is doing right now -- now, he may decide to not continue to run, but this is a savvy person who`s been in public life for most of his adult life. He says, "What`s clear is he`s in the race. When a sitting vice president works the phones after his party`s debate, stressing he is not ruling out running for president, that is the activity a man running for president." I actually think that`s a good way, instead of he`s undecided. He is currently running. The question is, whether he`s going to get out or not, right? REID: Right. And I did have somebody say to me that, right, his decision, if he looks in the mirror and says there`s nobody better for this job than me, he`s already running in his mind. He`s just trying to find a way to keep himself in the conversation. HAYES: Right, but the psychology of that is strange because doesn`t every politician on some level think that? REID: Five hundred thirty-five of them. HAYES: You couldn`t be -- you couldn`t be Joe Biden with Joe Biden`s career and trajectory if you didn`t think that about yourself. The guy`s already run twice for president. REID: Exactly. HAYES: And clearly he thought he was the man for the job. REID: Here`s the other thing. It hasn`t been discussed that much, is who would be the people who are leaking the information that he`s going to run, he`s going to run, he`s just gearing up. A lot of that is coming from people who would be part of a Biden campaign. HAYES: Right. REID: There`s a lot of self-interest too if you`re a potential Biden staffer and you`re not already on a campaign, it`s good for you to start priming the pump for a Biden run because that`s your future job, right? That`s your future campaign. And if you want it even more than he wants it, it`s in your -- it`s to your benefit to get this going and not let him be forgotten. HAYES: And that I think maybe explains a little bit of the strangeness of the press around this. It`s almost become parody at this point, right? The sort of people are talking about Mario Cuomo back in `92 and everyone wondered is he going to run or not. Same in `88. REID: That`s the risk. HAYES: They called him hamlet on the Hudson. REID: Yes. HAYES: That is the risk. At a certain point, people begin to say like there`s got to be a certain decisiveness to run for the president of the United States. REID: To put it nicely, your trip to the loo has to be productive or you need to leave the bathroom. HAYES: Very nicely stated. Think about it. Joy Reid, thank you. REID: All right. Thank you. HAYES: Up next, new regulations -- that was well done -- for a rapidly expanding hobby because of its potential danger. If only the same consideration would be made for another hobby. And the Republican chairman of the Benghazi Committee says he has had some of the worst weeks of his life. Does he expect matters to get better when Hillary Clinton testifies this week? Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANTHONY FOXX, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: The signal we`re sending today is that, when you`re entering national air space it`s a very serious matter. This isn`t riding your ATV on your own property. This is actually going into the space where other users are also occupying that space. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Drone regulation is coming to America. Today, federal officials announced that recreational drones will need to be registered. Now, recreational drones, the kind you see here on your screen, the quadricopter kind of things, although that has more than four. They`ve become wildly popular. Consumer groups estimate that hundreds of thousands of them could be sold this holiday season. And now, federal regulators have asked a task force to come up with a plan for a national drone registry in a month, just in time for your holiday drone shopping. The reason for all this, the number of close calls between drones and passenger planes have increased dramatically over the past year. Pilots say drones are a growing threat to aviation. This year, according to the FAA, nearly 1,000 unmanned drones were spotted in or near restricted air space. Now, by creating this kind of national registry, regulators are hoping to prevent a costly, perhaps terrible disaster. All this of course is happening against the backdrop of a national conversation about another type of wildly popular machine sold in this country. We have no idea who owns these machines, but they are responsible for the deaths of about 30,000 people in this country each year. And yet, talk of a federal gun registry would be fought tooth and nail by the gun lobby, which would no doubt gin up all kinds of fears about your Second Amendment rights being taken away. So, in summation, we have two machines. One kills about 30,000 Americans each year. The other hasn`t, as far as we know, actually caused any deaths. But it is the far less dangerous machine that is going to be regulated by the government. And something tells me the drone lobby right now is hard at work studying how the heck the NRA managed to pull this off. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: House Republicans are returning to Washington after a tumultuous week-long recess in which Representative Paul Ryan weighed whether to run for house speaker in the wake of John Boehner`s planned resignation. It`s a job Ryan has repeatedly said he does not want, but which he is facing enormous pressure to take amid concerns that no one else, no one else could lead the fractious house GOP caucus. Over the weekend, sources close to Ryan told CBS News he is now open to running, but only if he is not forced to horse trade with the deeply conservative house freedom caucus. And that`s a problem because members of the freedom caucus are making clear they won`t back Ryan without concessions. So, that`s headache number one for the Republicans who run the house. Then there`s the fact that they need to vote to raise the debt limit by November 3rd to prevent a possible default, and vote to fund the government by December 11th to avert a government shutdown. Despite a fractured caucus still being led by lame duck John Boehner and staunch opposition to a clean vote from conservative hard-liners desperate to defund Planned Parenthood. Yet all that, amazingly, may for now be on the back burner, because a blockbuster event set to take place Thursday. Hillary Clinton`s much anticipated appearance before the long, long- running house Benghazi committee, a committee which has very much been on the defensive after two congressional Republicans and a notable GOP staffer, who worked on the committee, admitted it is a partisan political exercise intended to undermine Hillary Clinton. Democrats on the Benghazi committee, led by Elijah Cummings, pounced onto those GOP comments. Today, they released a report that, according to Cummings, found that "no witnesses we interviewed substantiated these wild Republican conspiracy theories about Secretary Clinton and Benghazi." Meanwhile, the Republican in charge of the Benghazi committee, Representative Trey Gowdy, is casting himself as a victim whose reputation has been unfairly besmirched, telling Politico, "these have been among the worst weeks of my life." And stating that, quote, "attacks on your character, attacks on your motives, are a thousand times worse than anything you can do to anybody physically. At least it is for me. Gowdy also charged that the recent outpouring of criticism of the committee was designed to marginalize him ahead of Clinton`s testimony, a claim that would be easier to swallow were it not for the fact that three different Republicans have called the committee partisan in just the last month. Yesterday, facing more questions about the committee`s motives, Gowdy offered a message to members of his own party. Shut up. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TREY GOWDY, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: I have told my own Republican colleagues and friends, shut up talking about things that you don`t know anything about. And unless you`re on the committee, you have no idea what we`ve done, why we`ve done it and what new facts we have found. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Joining me now, Jennifer Bendery, she`s a political reporter for The Huffington Post who`s been covering the committee. Jennifer, what do you make of Gowdy kind of both going on the offensive and lamenting how unfairly besmirched he`s been? JENNIFER BENDERY, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, I didn`t think that the process of leading up to Hillary Clinton coming could get much more absurd. But the last few days alone have just become almost hilarious. I mean, we`ve got Trey Gowdy defending himself left and right from his own party, telling people that the whole committee is a sham. But then, just in the last couple of days he tried to embarrass Hillary Clinton by talking about e-mails that she sent from her private server that has sensitive information on them. But it turned out the CIA said oh, no, that wasn`t classified information. And Trey Gowdy said, yeah, well, we need to protect it. And then he put it up on the committee website and outed the name of a CIA source. So it`s just like, it`s getting to the point where I`m -- people are really wondering what is the whole point of this anyway. HAYES: Yeah. What you`re referring to, there are these e-mails that the committee had chosen to redact, right? The committee redacted them and said oh, this is sensitive stuff. The CIA came back and said no, it`s not sensitive, it`s fine, it was actually fine that she e-mailed about that. And then the committee ended up posting some unredacted stuff that might have actually exposed someone in the CIA? Am I tracking that correctly. BENDERY: They posted the e-mails on the committee site in an effort to show that they`re transparent about, you know, Hillary Clinton`s private e-mail server and stuff. But, they ended up leaving the name of a CIA source in the subject line. So they redacted her name in the e-mails, put it up on the committee site, but left her name on the subject line, so anybody who went to the website could see the name of this CIA source that was supposed to be kept private. Now, it was all in the context of Trey Gowdy trying to embarrass Hillary Clinton for using her private e-mail server for e-mails with sensitive information. And he ended up putting it on the committee website. HAYES: You also ended up in a situation where it just -- it looks -- I think that there`s been a kind of perfect storm for Gowdy because of these Republican comments of Kevin McCarthy, and then the staffer who came forward. But, it also just looks to all the world watching this like they`ve lost the plot. Like what is the thread here, other than an e-mail server? You could hardly even imagine them doing the kind of investigation they say when even when you look on the witness list were Huma Abedin, who had nothing to do with anything with Benghazi there, and Leon Panetta, who`s working in the heart of the national security apparatus at the time is not being interviewed by them. BENDERY: I mean, they continue to insist this is a serious investigation into a serious issue and it all does go back to the horrible events in Benghazi from three years ago. But, if you look at the last couple of weeks leading up to the biggie, which is Thursday`s hearing with Hillary Clinton, it just seems like more and more things are come coming out that make the whole committee look like a circus. And that there`s not a whole lot of substance to work with. HAYES: Do you -- what do you buy -- you`ve been covering the committee for a while. Gowdy`s idea that this has been done in the run-up to Hillary Clinton`s testimony, that essentially, this is an attempt to marginalize or call into question the credibility of the committee before she testifies. What do you make of that? Is that what`s going on? Was it more self- inflicted wounds, some combination of both? BENDERY: I mean, it might hold some more water in that argument if it wasn`t Republicans themselves who were saying that the committee was set up to go after Hillary Clinton. That`s a pretty big faux pas if the Republican-led committee is arguing this is a serious investigation and it`s not about Hillary Clinton. You`ve got Republicans coming out of the woodwork saying that this is about Hillary Clinton, and then you`ve got him making allegations about her use of her private e-mail account, and her misusing it with sensitive information, and in the end she wasn`t misusing it and Trey Gowdy`s the one putting sensitive information on the internet. HAYES: You know, it strikes me as I think about how they`re going to play this on Thursday, that in some ways Gowdy and his fellow Republicans are caught between two conflicting imperatives. One is, if you really go after her and you give your sort of base what it wants, you confirm people`s worst fears about this essentially being a partisan witch hunt, taxpayer-funded operation, research organization. If you don`t, if you try to sort of go out of your way to show how decorous and serious you are, then what do you end up with? You`ve essentially allowed yourself to be defeated. It`s unclear there`s either path forward that can work for them. BENDERY: I mean, at this point, we`ve got three days until Hillary Clinton is coming to the Hill. I mean, if it`s this late in the game, I mean, what are they supposed to do? They`ve got to stick by their word. No, this is serious, we are following this through. They`re going to do their best -- do the best they can to treat it like a serious matter. Because if they bail two or three days before the hearing, I mean, this is like the big one. This is like the big climax with Hillary Clinton. So they can`t go back now. HAYES: Yeah. All right. Everyone`s going to be watching that. Fascinating to see how that plays out. Jennifer Bendery, thank you very much. Coming up, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will address what it means to be a Democratic socialist, especially now that he has this thorny question out of the way. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, last week I bought my second pair of underwear. That`s a joke. Please don`t write it down. That was a joke. I have an ample supply of underwear. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) AHMED MOHAMED, STUDENT: I didn`t think I was going to get any support because I`m a Muslim boy. So, I thought I was just going to be another victim of injustice. But thanks to all my supporters on social media, I got this far thanks to you guys. I see it as a way of people sending a message to the rest of the world that just because something happens to you because of who you are, no matter what you do, people will always have your back. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed saw a massive outpouring of support last month after he was pulled out of class in Irving, Texas, interrogated by police and put in handcuffs because of a homemade clock he took to school to impress his teachers. And among the hundreds of thousands of messages Ahmed got on social media, was one from President Obama, who tweeted "cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It`s what makes America great." The clock is still in Texas. Irving police tell All In no one has picked it up yet. But Ahmed himself did make it to the White House tonight, stargazing with scientists and astronauts on the south lawn as part of astronomy night. The president and Ahmed did chat briefly in the crowd, and Ahmed could advance the cause of science by creating a singularity in cable news. All he has to do now is whip up a Joe Biden decision countdown clock while he`s in town. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LARRY DAVID, ACTOR: I`m the only candidate up here who`s not a billionaire. I don`t have a super Pac. I don`t even have a backpack. I carried my stuff around loose in my arms like a professor, you know, between classes. I own one pair of underwear. That`s it. Some of these billionaires, they take out three, four pairs. And I don`t have a dryer. I have to put my clothes on the radiator. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Bernie Sanders had yet another big pop culture moment over the weekend on Saturday Night Live. Much like his dancing walkout on Ellen last week, it was a moment that would have been inconceivable just a couple months ago. Now that Bernie Sanders is the man of the moment and unquestionably a serious player in the 2016 presidential race, and a very competitive one at that, we`re starting to see the s word being thrown around a lot more. As in, Bernie Sanders is a self-described Democratic socialist. And as the Vermont senator gets asked more and more about his affiliation, conservatives, well, they are having a field day. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This socialist slash communist, okay? BOBBY JINDAL, GOVERNOR OF LUISIANNA: They`ve got a socialist that is gaining on Hillary Clinton. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a 74-year-old socialist. SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Then you`ve got the 73-year-old, angry, curmudgeon socialist. BILL O`REILLY: Americans aren`t going to vote for a socialist. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He loves all the socialist and communist regimes out there. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the name of socialism 80 million people were murdered last century. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How close is socialism really to communism? TRUMP: I call him a socialist slash communist. Okay? Because that`s what he is. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Over the weekend, Sanders promised he will be giving a series of upcoming policy speeches, including one on what being a Democratic socialist means to him. The real question, however, is what does it mean to voters, and are the American people, even Democrats, really ready to vote for a self- described Democratic socialist for president? We`ll debate that next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL MAHER, HOST OF REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER: They hear socialist, they think herpes, Bernie. We have to get -- SANDERS: Then what we do, is we have to make the movement, if you like, to correlate what we`re talking about. Because on every one of the major issues I am talking about, the American people agree. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Joining me now John Nichols, Washington correspondent at The Nation, author of The "S" Word: A Short History of a American Tradition Socialism. And Matt Bennett, from Third Way, a think tank position towards the right of the Democratic party. He also worked on both of Bill Clinton`s presidential campaigns. Matt, let me start with you. What do you think the odds are that America would elect someone who calls him a Democratic socialist? MATT BENNETT, THIRD WAY: Zero. I think there`s absolutely no chance that America`s going to elect a Democratic socialist because, look, the bottom line is we are a centrist country. On our good days we`re center left, and on our bad days we`re center right. But, we`re centrist. And we`re not going to elect anyone who appears through their rhetoric or their narrative to be too far off center and to be a little bit too radical. And calling yourself a socialist, even with the qualifier of Democrat in front of it, just isn`t going to work in America. It might work in a small homogeneous place like Vermont or Sweden, but it`s not going to work nationwide here. HAYES: John, what do you think? JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Well, I`m always confident in America`s ability to evolve and to embrace new ideas. And, the thing I`m struck by is, if we were sitting here 40, 45 years ago, we might well have had a number of people sitting around saying you know, Ronald Reagan`s modern conservatism, it`s just too extreme, it breaks with the old right ideals, the older conservative ideals, and it`s going to turn too many people off. It can`t possibly work. Well, what Ronald Reagan did was to go out and explain how his ideas, which people often dismissed as extreme, were really in sync with a lot of American traditions, with a lot of American ideals, and he was successful. He was elected president. I think that there will come a time, and it could well be sooner rather than later, when a Democratic socialist will explain that he or she is a part of a distinct and distinguished American tradition that includes Helen Keller and Albert Einstein and A. Phillip Randolph, the fellow who called the march on Washington in 1963, and that frankly, you know, was informed by folks like Norman Thomas, who counseled FDR on issues like social security -- HAYES: But -- John, let me -- Matt, please go ahead. BENNETT: I mean, Chris, we`re talking about things that happened 50 or more years ago. I will grant that all of those were great Americans. But, the bottom line here, is that we are living in a moment regrettably for all of us Democrats, where people are highly skeptical of government, and what they hear when they hear the word socialist is somebody that wants -- that believes that every problem can be solved with more government. That is not what mainstream Democrats like Clinton are offering, but it is what Sanders is selling. And it`s just not going to resonate at this moment in American politics. HAYES: So, let me just sort of intervene here, because that`s an empirical claim. Right? So, about how this will resonate. We should distinguish between some sort of set of substantive policies that Bernie Sanders is advocating, and the term that he`s using in the label. It might be the case that the substantive policies that he`s advocating are quite popular and people are turned off by the label, vice versa, right? There`s some data on this, and John I want to talk to you about this. There`s been polling about would you vote for an ex president, Catholic, woman, black, Hispanic, Jewish, Mormon, gay or lesbian, evangelical Christian, Muslim, Atheist, socialist. Socialist comes in last. I mean, that is not particularly promising, right? Below Atheist. So, that seems to me like there is an actual branding issue here, despite the fact that we`ve seen the favorabilities for socialism increase in the wake of the Great Recession. It does better among younger voters than older voters. But there is a labeling issue here. NICHOLS: Oh, sure. There always is with all sorts of ideologies. libertarianism had a problem a while back. The fact of the matter is that when we open up -- HAYES: Matt, I think we -- we lost John Nichols. Matt Bennett, your arguing skills apparently destroyed his satellite feed. So, I guess that`s kudos to you. Let me push back on you, because I think the point John made about libertarianism is important, right? These boundaries of who gets to decide what`s center and what`s not center are not fixed, right? The way that they get established, actually, is through this dynamic process of people campaigning on ideas. Ideas that may seem totally far out when introduced and then work their way to the center. So what`s -- what`s to -- why give up before you even start? BENNETT: Well, look, that`s undoubtedly true. But the other fact of American politics is you do have to kind of catch a wave. You have to be part of a moment that Americans are feeling. One of the things you have to do to get elected president is to find the moment you`re living in and show Americans how their lives are going to be better as a result of your policies. And again, because people are so deeply skeptical of government, because they`re so jaded, in part because of what the Republicans have done to government in the last few years, it`s a very tough sell to argue that, for example, we should have an entirely government-run health care at a time when even Obamacare is unpopular. HAYES: John, like Democratic socialism in the U.S., John Nichols is back. He endures. He cannot be kept away. I want to ask you this question, John. And I want an honest answer from you. You and I have known each other a very long time. We were colleagues at The Nation. You walk into the voting booth tomorrow in my make believe world. John, your vote will determine the nominee, whether it`s Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. Would you honestly vote for Bernie Sanders? Do you honestly think that were he the Democratic nominee that he would have appreciably the same chance of becoming the next president as, say, Hillary Clinton or one of the other candidates? NICHOLS: Well, I`ll counsel but I`m not here to endorse a candidate. HAYES: Right. NICHOLS: But if you`re asking me if I`m comfortable voting for a Democratic socialist for the Democratic or the Republican nomination for President of the United States, I would say yes. And I`ll tell you why. The fact of the matter is that we have just been through a scorching economic crisis with the collapse of Wall Street and all the challenges that came from that. We`re in the midst of something very equivalent to the industrial revolution, only now it`s a digital revolution with automation and so much else. To assume that this country can`t take on new ideas and embrace them, I think is silly. I think the fact of the matter is, it might well be that those with the bolder ideas are the ones that will attract people to the polls. HAYES: All right. John Nichols and Matt Bennett, thank you gentlemen both. That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END