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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 11/09/15

Guests: Katrina Vanden Heuvel, McKay Coppins, Alan Grayson, Dave Zirin,Jelani Cobb

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tell me how there is equivalence there. Tell me somebody, please. HAYES: Carson cracks, and Republicans attack. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDNETIAL CANDIDATE: We`re responsible for the personal stories we tell about our lives. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I never hit my mother with a hammer, and I never stabbed anybody. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You don`t put grain in a pyramid because it`s all solid. HAYES: Tonight, separating the fair from the foul in the Ben Carson feeding frenzy. Plus -- AD NARRATOR: Marco Rubio looks good on TV, but that`s about it. HAYES: How candidates respond when campaigns go ugly early. AD NARRATOR: David Vitter chose prostitutes over patriots. HAYES: Then, Rachel Maddow on what we learned from the MSNBC Democratic Forum. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People are going to say I dodged the question. The fact is I am dodging. HAYES: And amid racial harassment on campus, how a group of students and college football team combined to force change in Missouri. TIM WOLFE, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI FORMER PRESIDENT: My decision to resign comes out of love, not hate. HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. We are looking at live pictures of a Donald Trump campaign event just about to begin in Springfield, Illinois. We will be monitoring that for any news as Trump continues to adapt to a very different dynamic in the presidential race. On the eve of the fourth Republican debate, hosted by Fox Business Tomorrow at 9:00 p.m., Trump`s front-runner status is being challenged on every front by his fellow political novice Ben Carson. In a new poll of likely Republican voters in South Carolina, one of the earliest primary states, Carson and Trump are now tied for first place in a statistical dead heat, but the rest of the field trailing way behind. Compare that to the last time the same poll was conducted back in August when Trump had double Carson`s support. The new polling comes as Carson faces new scrutiny about certain details of his remarkable life story. A story that`s central to the rationale for his candidacy. Over the last week, reporters have raised questions about Carson`s claim of having been offered a scholarship to West Point, about accounts of violence he committed as `young man, and about anecdotes from his time in high school and as an undergrad at Yale. For the first time on Friday night, Ben Carson`s famously calm, quiet demeanor seemed to crack. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARSON: This is all subterfuge -- things that happened 45, 50 years ago. You`re saying that something that happened, the words of scholarship was offered is a big deal. But president of the United States, his academic record being sealed does not -- tell me how there`s equivalency there. It doesn`t matter where it is. Tell me how -- that`s a silly argument. What you`re not going to find with me is somebody who`s just going to sit back and let you be completely unfair without letting the American people know what`s going on. And the American people are waking up to your game. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Over the weekend, Carson told NBC`s Chris Jansing he`s never witnessed such intense scrutiny of a candidate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARSON: I have always said that I expect to be vetted. But being vetted and what is going on with me, you said this 30 years ago, you said this 20 years ago, this didn`t exist -- you know, I just -- I have not seen that with anyone else. If you can show where that`s happened with someone else, I will take that statement back. CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: I think almost every person who has been president -- CARSON: No, not like this. I have never seen this before. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Proving it again, he`s nothing if not consistent. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders defended Carson on his biographical details, faulting the media for taking its eye off the ball. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS: Is this fair game? SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. This man does not believe that climate change is caused by human activity. This man wants to abolish Medicare, impacting tens of millions of seniors, and this man wants to give huge tax breaks to the rich. I think it might be a better idea -- I know it`s a crazy idea. But maybe we focus on the issues impacting the American people and what candidates are saying rather than just spending so much time exploring their lives at 30 or 40 years ago. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: In an interview today with MSNBC`s Andrea Mitchell Carson`s confidant and business manager Armstrong Williams tried to walk back some of the candidate`s earlier reaction, chalking it up to inexperience running for office. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, CARSON BUSINESS MANAGER: Many of the candidates have a legislative record and Dr. Carson has his incredible story and his biographies that he`s written and co-written. He doesn`t have the kind of record to vet that many other candidates may have. So the media must vet what they have. I`ve always said to him, and we go back and forth on this, that you know what, this is just -- this is small stuff. It`s only going to become more harsher and more difficult. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: With his main competitor sweating under the bright campaign spotlight, you might think Donald Trump would be unable to resist piling on. But calling into four out of five Sunday talk shows yesterday, fresh off his gig hosting "Saturday Night Live," Trump appeared to take the high road. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Well, first of all, I hope it works out well for Ben. I am not looking to see anything bad happen to him. I`ve got-tone know him and like him. Well, I feel badly for Ben. I`ve gotten to like Ben. It`s a tough thing. I hope it all works out because I don`t want to see Ben have problems over this stuff. I hope Ben`s going to be OK with it. It`s going to be interesting to see what happens. Time will tell. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: And true form, however, Trump did not stop there. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: He said he has pathological disease in the book. When you have pathological disease, that`s a very serious problem because that`s not something that`s cured. Well, if you have pathological disease, that`s a problem. I mean, he wrote it. I didn`t write it. Stabbing somebody, only to be broken up by a belt buckle, which if you know about belt buckles, they turn and they twist. Belt buckles really pretty much don`t stop stabbings. They turn and twist and things slide off them. The pyramid situation is a little bit different because frankly if you know anything about the pyramids, you know they`re pretty solid structures. The pyramids, you know, pyramids are solid structures, essentially other than a little area for the pharaoh. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Until today Donald Trump has been the only GOP contender to take up this line of attack against Carson. But now, two candidates with little to lose are jumping on the bandwagon. Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee, both demoted to the kids` table tomorrow night. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTIE: A couple of days of being asked about something that you put in your book, I`ve got to tell you, I don`t have a whole lot of sympathy. HUCKABEE: I was kind of taken aback when he said that, you know, people are looking into his personal life and they`re going after him. I`m thinking, pal, you ain`t seen nothing yet. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The question now is what the rest of the candidates will do on that main debate stage tomorrow night. Joining me now: Michael Steele, MSNBC political analyst, former RNC chair; Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of "The Nation"; McKay Coppins, senior political writer for "BuzzFeed News", author of the forthcoming book "The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party`s Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House." Michael, let me begin with you. Everything else aside, let`s agree that the idea of what he what he has gone through in the past few days is unprecedented is a bit much. MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. But keep in mind this is someone who`s never had to go through this. HAYES: Yes. STEELE: When you are the preeminent surgeon in a surgical theater, no one tells you anything other than "yes, sir," "no, sir," "what do you mean, sir". They don`t scrutinize the way you perform the surgery. They don`t second-guess the words that you say during the course of the operation. Politics is not that. And I think Dr. Ben Carson has run into that maturation process now that he`s out under the glare of the lights. He`s got to grow up and realize, hey, this is real, that`s what Armstrong has been trying to tell him. Now this is real. You`re at the top of the ladder. You go any higher, this gets hotter, it doesn`t get better. HAYES: Katrina, OK, I found myself torn as this particular contretemps played out. KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, THE NATION: Yes. HAYES: On one level, I think there`s a lot of reason to be skeptical of Dr. Ben Carson as a possible president of the United States. At the same, I couldn`t help but feeling like a twinge of sympathy to him and his followers` world view that this was essentially a hit job. And I think -- VANDEN HEUVEL: You`re a better person than I am. You can`t make this stuff up. I mean, Michael Steele is right. He`s lived in a different universe. But he had to have studied some of the presidential campaigns or known some of the history. I think there`s something a little dangerous here. This guy wants journalists essentially to be like stenographers to his power. He doesn`t like the journalistic profession. And you know, there are some problems with it. But we`ve lived in a post-truth environment for too long. So I think the main problem I have is I don`t love personality coverage. Unless it really gets you to where you can understand how someone will govern. And I think Senator Sanders was onto something. HAYES: Right, yes, right. VANDEN HEUVEL: I think you want to know that this guy believes scientists don`t know anything. He`s impervious to evidence. How would he govern? That`s what I want to know. HAYES: McKay? MCKAY COPPINS, BUZZFEED NEWS: Well, in defense of the coverage here, I think part of the problem that Carson faces is that he -- and Armstrong Williams -- HAYES: Yes, it`s a good point. COPPINS: He doesn`t have that many policies that he advocates. VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you. COPPINS: If you listen to his stump speech, it`s almost entirely biography and then kind of mixed in with grievance and like some theology and Christian stuff. But like you don`t leave -- if you`re the front- runner in the Republican presidential nomination, like you don`t leave that much for reporters to vet or challenge you on or to research if you don`t give them any policy proposals, you`re going to -- we as reporters are going to have to gravitate toward the stories you tell. HAYES: I think that`s a fair point. But there was something about it moment that seemed a perfect encapsulation of where we are in this campaign and this media challenge moment where it`s like, the guy is going around the country manifestly unbriefed on every major issue of policy. And I`m not saying -- (CROSSTALK) HAYES: Ben Carson -- I`m not saying this is not a smart -- clearly -- COPPINS: Smart guy. HAYES: And incredibly adept. And incredibly capable in the field that he chose. In the field that he`s running for president, he has displayed very little command or interest in the nuts and bolts of policy. He didn`t seem to know what the debt ceiling was, OK? The guy`s going around the country saying this. And then we`re going to nail him on where did he fudge his biography when he got into West Point. It`s like, wow, that seems a mismatch. VANDEN HEUVEL: And it`s even more obscene at this moment, Chris, when we face such grave perils. Now, Trump, who I think is completely odious on the issue of immigration and other things, he`s spoken out about trade. He`s ready to rewrite the rules of trade with China. He says he`s not going to touch Social Security and Medicare. He`s the least bellicose of some of these Republican candidates. He`s not like Rambo Rubio. HAYES: Speaking of which, Donald Trump started his event. He started out with a riff about how his ratings for "SNL" were higher than Hillary Clinton`s ratings, which basically what Michael Steele is laughing. Half in sadness and half in -- (CROSSTALK) HAYES: But, Michael, this gets to the point, we`ve had a bunch of GOP strategists on the show over the course of the last few months, who keep saying with Trump and also with Carson, look, eventually there`s going some kind of come to Jesus moment where you`re going to have to sort of say this is what I want to do with the country, these are the policies and defend them and show some sort of command. You know, it doesn`t seem like we`re there yet. Are you comfortable when that moment arrives? STEELE: No, we`re not there. Those consultants and political analyst types that you have saying they`re on their hands and knees off camera praying to their gods that moment comes. Yes, but the reality of this is, it really kind of goes to this whole phenomenon with Carson right now is that yeah, he doesn`t have all that experience. That`s a good thing in the eyes of a lot of voters. He`s not propounding all these policy positions. That`s a good thing, too. There`s an innate trust that they have in him that he is going to be different somehow. Now, what that ultimately is we don`t know, and we certainly don`t know how it gets defined, which is the scary part. But that`s where a lot of the voters are right now. They look at the media, they look at the political class, the professional political class, and they shake their head in disgust. So, a Trump and a Carson is a safe harbor for them right now. HAYES: Well, and, McKay, I mean, the one thought I had watching this news cycle play out, and starting with the pyramids news cycle, which I didn`t think we`d have a pyramids news cycle -- I don`t frankly care one way or the other again. I mean, it does seem ridiculous to say they were built to store grain. (CROSSTALK) COPPINS: -- have Trump explain pyramids. HAYES: I`m a builder. OK? That`s not what you -- so, my question to you is, but I couldn`t watch that news cycle and think anything than if I`m a Carson fan this makes me like him all the more. Like, he`s got all the right enemies, right? COPPINS: No, exactly, and the thing that illustrates that is that up until that story broke that day, Donald Trump was actually going after Carson very aggressively on Twitter. He`d been tweeting nonstop about oh, well, he says this about how he stabbed his friend but that story`s falling apart. He tweeted like several tweets and was going after Carson. And then as soon as it turned and it was fascinating to watch the evolution because it happened fast, when the West Point story first broke, a lot of Carson fans I saw online were like oh, this is bad. And then it very quickly turned into another hit piece by the mainstream media. And once Trump saw that, he backs off. HAYES: Let me briefly interject that in his book he said he was offered a scholarship to West Point which he declined. It now appears the case he was never actually offered admission. He had a meeting perhaps with a military official who said he could get it. VANDEN HEUVEL: Here`s what I worry about, Chris. Forgive me. So Donald Trump essentially embodies the complete obliteration of the line between news and entertainment. And I think our conversation is fun tonight. And I know we`ve got to do it. But I do think out there, there are a lot of people who really do believe that government can improve the condition of their lives, that there are people who are seeking some solutions. You know, that there are policy ideas they want to hear. And they`re hearing it from -- the debates have been so badly handled. And I think the debates are showing also the failure to have a kind of public interest discussion, serious questions -- HAYES: But this is a question, a supply-demand question. The question is on the supply side or the demand side. Meaning, you know, if you`re saying there`s a thirst for real policy that is unmet, that`s a hypothesis that may or may not be true. VANDEN HEUVEL: But there`s also a disconnect. You know this expression that you can -- conservareformicons, right? There was a Pew Research poll which showed Republicans want Social Security and Medicare, they want a different way of governing. And the whole system right now is set up for entertainment because Trump and Carson are essentially for the most part entertainment. COPPINS: Let`s also make the point, though, that those pollsters are calling these voters and giving them options about policy. They`re being asked about policy. And then they`re saying, yes, I would like XYZ when we`re talking about policy. I mean, there is a reason that the candidates who are the most entertaining and loud and provocative are getting the most votes. I don`t think it`s just the media. VANDEN HEUVEL: I agree with you. We`re not even talking about the real power. I mean it, the money piece. The invisible primary -- so much but not all. COPPINS: But that`s true, although in this case, right, you`ve got two people at the front who are not the people who were backed by the money. Donald Trump and even Ben Carson who say whatever you want, you can say he`s running a direct mail company. He`s not owned by big donors. VANDEN HEUVEL: I agree with you. I think Michael Steele, you would agree. The rules have been rewritten. The rules are being rewritten, and we don`t know where it`s going to move. The voters haven`t voted yet. HAYES: Right, that`s a big question. That ends up always being the big question. As I followed this campaign so far, there are two things battling on my mind. One says it`s early, and lots of crazy stuff happens early. STEELE: True. HAYES: And the other says done count on the future being like the past. STEELE: Absolutely true. HAYES: And I don`t know which it is. We watch it as it plays out. And I think if you had bets going that Donald Trump was going to be a flash in the pan, you lost that bet. STEELE: It`s both of those things. I think you really put your finger on the new reality, the new normal that`s emerging in front of us. And I think Katrina really segued into it very nicely to explain what`s happening with Trump. The downside for not necessarily Trump but Carson right now, think about it this way: Carson -- why this is important that he gets this story behind him is that right now he has that support locked in with a significant part of the GOP base. There`s a lot of folks that support him obviously. But then you also have a widening of that circle. The rest of the voters. And they`re now tuning in. And that`s where this becomes a dangerous slope for a lot of these candidates as they go forward on some of these issues, because the substance will have to come into play at some point. HAYES: We shall see. Michael Steele, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, McKay Coppins -- STEELE: It must, it just must. HAYES: -- thank you very much. All right. Still ahead, the season of attack ads is getting ugly. We`ll show you who`s taking aim at Marco Rubio. Plus, Rachel Maddow joins me here live to give the inside scoop on hosting the Democrat Candidate Forum. You want to know about that. And later, a college football team boycott influences the resignation of a University of Missouri systems president. Those stories and more, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AD NARRATOR: The choice for governor couldn`t be more clear. John Bel Edwards, he answered our country`s call and served as a ranger in the 82nd Airborne Division. Or David Vitter, who answered a prostitute`s call minutes after he skipped a vote honoring 28 soldiers who gave their lives in defense of our freedom. David Vitter chose prostitutes over patriots. Now the choice is yours. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That is a TV ad currently playing in living rooms across Louisiana. Less than two weeks to go to the state`s gubernatorial runoff Democratic State Representative John Bel Edwards is going after his opponent Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter for his role in a prostitution scandal. In 2007, Vitter apologized for what he called a very serious sin after he was linked through phone records to a D.C. madam. Today, Vitter offered a rebuttal to his opponent`s attack ad with a political ad of his own of course. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. DAVID VITTER (R), LOUISIANA: Fifteen years ago, I failed my family but found forgiveness and love. I learned that our falls aren`t what define us but rather how we get up, accept responsibility, and earn redemption. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Next, political ads in the GOP presidential primary also getting harsh. Alan Grayson weighs in on the battle brewing between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Ahead of tomorrow night`s Republican debate, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are gaining ground. The latest NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows the two senators polling in third and fourth place among Republican primary voters with a slight edge going to Rubio. Not only are the two in a statistical dead heat, they are in a statistical dead heat in a contest where the two candidates polling ahead of them are named Ben Carson and Donald Trump, which means in the minds of many in the GOP donor class, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are essentially tied for first. And team Cruz sees an opening. A super PAC allied with Cruz has thrown the first punch, highlighting Rubio`s support of a failed immigration reform bill in a new ad. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AD NARRATOR: We all loved how Marco Rubio took apart Jeb Bush in the debate. Wasn`t it great? But what`s Rubio ever done? Anything? Other than his "Gang of Eight" amnesty bill, can anyone think of anything Marco Rubio`s ever done? Anything at all besides amnesty. Marco Rubio looks good on TV, but that`s about it. Ted Cruz for president. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Joining me now, a man running for Senator Marco Rubio`s seat in the Senate, Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida. Congressman, obviously, you want to occupy the seat that Marco Rubio currently does. What is your judgment on whether that`s a fair or unfair characterization of his time in the Senate? REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: It`s fair. Look at his record. All he did is basically rename September as -- what was it? Spinal injury month. Something like that. He`s done nothing of any real value. And it`s a shame. I mean, one of the things I`m proud of, running for his seat, is the fact that "Slate" magazine said I`m the most effective member of Congress. In the past few years in the Republican-controlled House, me, a Democrat, I passed 31 amendments and 15 Grayson bills are now the law of the land. I did more in a single day a few months ago in terms of passing amendments than Rubio`s been able to do in five years. And I think that matters. HAYES: You were spending a lot of time with the constituents of Florida and I find myself wondering how all of this has played to Floridians. Obviously, Rubio has chosen not to seek re-election. So, his abandonment of what was his signature legislative accomplishment doesn`t really matter in terms of how it plays with Floridians. But I would imagine that there is significant support in Florida for something like the comprehensive immigration bill. GRAYSON: Well, I think Rubio obviously has run away from that. And it`s interesting that he`s being attacked by Cruz -- being attacked for that by Cruz in an interesting way. You listen to the rest of the ad and you`ll see that what Cruz is saying is Rubio`s done nothing but what Cruz has done is he stopped the president from stopping things. It`s this weird negative vibe that just suffuses the whole ad. He`s taking the credit for the president stopping flights to Tel Aviv. Something I don`t remember it but maybe I missed it. He said he`s taken credit for stopping the president from stopping your right to get guns. Again, I don`t remember that happening but somehow I missed it. The thing he leaves unsaid is the fact he shut down the government for 16 days, which was a disgrace to everyone involved, Democrat, independent or Republican. It seems to me an odd approach here. What he really needs to do is grab a hold of one of those basic elements of the Republican electorate. Right now the situation is pretty simple. Right now, Trump has the Tea Party vote. He`s the biggest ticket, if you will. Carson has the religious vote. He talks about God all the time. And I think what Rubio`s trying to do maybe is try to get a hold of neoconservative foreign policy vote. But what`s happening right now is that they`re arguing over the scraps on the table. Neither one of them seems to be able to get into double digits because neither one of them has latched on to any specific part of the Republican electorate. HAYES: Your point about Ted Cruz there, it`s a great point that he did not boast about the shutdown, which if you were to say what`s the thing that Ted Cruz has done since he got to the shut -- to the Senate, it was unambiguously an accomplishment insofar as a junior senator managing to convince his colleagues in the House to pass something they knew would shut down the government is something of an accomplishment if you`re in favor of that. It is striking he doesn`t brag about it. GRAYSON: It`s destructive. That`s just his nature. He`s incredibly destructive. If you listen to his speeches, he`s really the Miley Cyrus of the Republican Party. You listen to his speech and you feel like you see him twerking every right-winger in sight. HAYES: Do you think Rubio should resign from his seat before next year, as some have called for him to do, because of his record of attendance in the Senate? GRAYSON: Absolutely. Listen, the only way that I can get done what I get done, those 31 amendments in two years, those 15 bills in two years, is by working hard. And it is possible to get good things done for people. When I moved $40 million from the defense weapons budget into the biomedical research budget, I feel good about that. But the only way to make that happen is to make it happen. And he simply hasn`t done that. He has been AWOL on this job. He has no-show Rubio. He`s been that way for five years straight. It`s time to get someone else a chance to get good things done for people. HAYES: Do you find as a legislator that there are some legislators who evidently love the process of it and some who don`t? GRAYSON: Well, love is the wrong word. I think there are some of us who understand the power of it and some of us don`t. I mean, a lot of us wake up every day. I`m not one of those. But a lot of us wake up every day simply scratching our heads and wondering, how do I win the next election and keep this job that pays me $174,000 a year? HAYES: Right. GRAYSON: And others of us wake up every day and say, there are 700,000 people who are counting on me to do something good for them in their lives, how can I do that? And it`s a big divide. HAYES: Congressman Alan Grayson, thanks for your time. GRAYSON: Thank you. HAYES: Up next, the conservative Republican governor-elect of Kentucky proposes a solution to the same-sex marriage license dispute raised by county clerk Kim Davis. Why I agree with his solution, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: The governor-elect of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, the extremely conservative tea party Republican businessman who polls showed trailing on election day against Democrat Jack Conway, pulled off a pretty resounding victory that day. Part of that was fueled by throwing his lot in with social conservatives. For instance, rallying around county clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for contempt of court when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Which you recall, turned into quite the national spectacle before, during, and after her stint in jail, but particularly upon her release. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KIM DAVIS, COUNTY CLERK: Thank you all so much. I just want to give God the glory. His people have rallied, and you are a strong people! [ cheers and applause ] (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Now that Bevin has been elected, he says that one of his first acts as governor will be to follow through on his support of Kim Davis. Quote, "one thing I will take care of right away is we will remove the names of the county clerks on the marriage form." As a strong supporter of marriage equality myself, I think this is a perfectly fine solution. If this is what that accommodation comes to, fine. No one cares if some county clerk`s name is on their marriage license anyway. People get married, want to see their own name on the marriage license, along with the name of the one they love. If everyone can now go back to work and we can all move on, then way to go, Matt Bevin. Hopefully he will pick a path on the health care of 400,000 Kentuckians who are currently part of the Medicaid expansion that is equally non-destructive. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good evening. I`m Rachel Maddow, and welcome to the MSNBC First in the South Democratic Forum. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to rebuild our nation`s infrastructure. It`s crumbling. That`s why I no longer drive on bridges or through tunnels. Instead, I keep a kayak strapped to the top of my car. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The open of Saturday Night Live had some fun with MSNBC`s First in the South Democrat Candidates Forum. The forum, moderated by our own Rachel Maddow, offered a unique format that to be entirely honest, I was not quite sure would work, but ended up being a real breath of fresh air, particularly given all the complaints that have been lodged against various televised debates over the past couple of months. I found it to be two of the most edifying hours of the campaign thus far. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It has never occurred to me as a candidate to figure out a way that I could deny the vote to people because they might vote against me. And the people who do that are political cowards. They`re afraid of a fair election. We have a real crisis in this country. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just think we all need to take a very big collective breath and ask ourselves, what is happening, and what is motivating the kind of violence we`re seeing? And it`s particularly troubling when it`s from a position of authority, whether it`s in a school or a police officer on the street. But -- [ applause ] That is not the only place this is happening. MARTIN O`MALLEY: And now I hear all of these Republicans squawking about the debt, the debt, the debt. Well, you know what? The reason we have the debt is because George Bush falsely led us into war and didn`t even ask us to pay for it along the way. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Today, in response to the news that governor Chris Christie vetoed an automatic voter registration bill for the third time, Hillary Clinton tweeted, "Yet another Republican refuses to make it easier to vote. What part of democracy are they so afraid of?" She also filed her official paperwork for the New Hampshire primary, held a rally, and was beset with questions of eager reporters. Today Bernie Sanders appeared at the Fair Immigration Reform Movement in Las Vegas and said that as president he would stop deporting undocumented immigrants if they have lived in the country for at least five years. Joining me now, the host of The Rachel Maddow Show, my colleague and friend, Rachel Maddow. I thought it was great. I really mean that. I really did think it was two of the most edifying hours of the campaign. No long debates about what were the pyramids for. RACHEL MADDOW, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW: You know, it was interesting. I had a bunch of questions written for each of the candidates about the Republicans, about you know, like why is the Republican field so big when the Democratic field is so small, and what do you think it says about the Republican party that their front-runners are Ben Carson and Donald Trump who`ve never held office before, and how will you beat Donald Trump since none of the other Republicans can? You know, I had a whole bunch of Republican questions, and then I realized once I was there, sort of eyeball to eyeball with them, and I was like, oh no, I can go way deeper on stuff that`s not about stuff that`s outside this room. HAYES: You know, one of the things that struck me was that part of the spectacle of the Republican field and part of, I think, the complaints of the candidates about the debate just really has to do with the zero sum problem of too many people and not enough air time. Part of what made that really edifying was how sustained it was. I mean, you can sit and listen to someone actually think through something, say -- you know, speak in paragraphs for a long period of time. MADDOW: You don`t get that opportunity, even with a little push. Like no, no, no, that`s away from the question. You come back to the question here. You get a chance to do that without seeming like you`re just watching the clock. I mean, you do have to watch the clock. I tried to approximate 15 minutes and then a break and 10 minutes with each of them. I had a little stump thing I wanted to do with each of them to break it up. HAYES: I like the stump thing. MADDOW: It`s something, and I think it ended up -- I don`t have any regrets about it. I know people can make fun of it, but I actually think it was a helpful thing, and it made it a much easier thing to watch. But you do have -- time is always finite. How you divide it is up to you, though. And how the Republicans choose to pick their candidate this year, is to a certain extent up to them. And they have not given us a format in which we can hear from any of them at length. HAYES: And that was the thing I kept imaging myself, because you know you have these three people, Hillary Clinton and Martin O`Malley and Bernie Sanders, and I think there are people like this on the Republican side, who whatever you think about their politics are just able to have a level of command. MADDOW: Yeah. HAYES: That shows like oh, these are not doofuses. You may think like well, I don`t think she`d be a good president, I hate her politics, or Bernie Sanders is too far left for me. But the guy knows what he`s talking about fundamentally. And U felt like the format showed that in a way that I would even love to see it for everyone. Because who knows what`s there is sort of my weird feeling about the vetting process we`re seeing on the Republican side. MADDOW: Yes. And you couldn`t hold people`s attention to do what I did with 14 candidates in a row on the Republican side. But, let`s say hypothetically we had a less partisan universe and a less hypercritical media politics nexus, and you could do, you know what, foreign policy. Let`s do four candidates, let`s do Democrats and Republicans. Marco Rubio has zero foreign policy experience. He`s decided to make foreign policy the touchstone of his campaign. Well, that`s great as long as he can just give slogans at the debates. HAYES: Which he does effectively. MADDOW: Which he does very effectively, but I`d love to go in depth with him, alongside the person with the most foreign policy experience on the Republican side, who`s Lindsey Graham, who`s not even allowed to debate. Martin O`Malley, zero experience on foreign policy. I`d love to hear from him in some depth, because he`s figured out a couple of bumper stickers on it but has zero experience on the issue. And then Hillary Clinton, who`s got the most extensive foreign policy experience of anybody who`s run for president in a long time. Like, putting those four just randomly off the top of my head together just on foreign policy for an hour and a half -- HAYES: Would be fascinating. MADDOW: I mean, you wouldn`t even need popcorn. It`d be good. HAYES: Do you feel like there were moments of surprise? Do you feel like you learned things over that period of time? MADDOW: Yes, I do. When I asked Secretary Clinton about a concern that I hear from a lot of people just an anecdotally in my life about the sense that she would be more hawkish than President Obama and she flat out said no, I would not be a more aggressive commander in chief. I didn`t expect that from her. I never heard her articulate that before. HAYES: I agree. It was surprisingly unhedged as an answer. MADDOW: Yeah. And she hasn`t -- people say that about her. I`m not sure anybody has ever said it to her and given her a chance to directly respond. And it totally surprised me when she came back with that, and I`d love to talk to her more about it. I was surprised that Martin O`Malley went after her for having been a Republican in high school, which I think is what he was doing when he was talking about former Republicans, because Bernie Sanders isn`t a former Republican. She really was a Republican in high school I think. And then he went so hard on the socialist issue. HAYES: Yeah, let me play that little bit of tape, because I thought it was interesting. Here`s Rachel asking O`Malley about the sort of -- whether socialist is disqualifying. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Do you think that him being a Democratic socialist is disqualifying, he shouldn`t be running for president, that`s too big a distraction, him in the race means that`s what people talk about and that`s unhelpful? It seems like that`s the case you`re making. MARTIN O`MALLEY, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that -- I think that when President Obama was running for re-election, I was glad to step up and work very hard for him, while Senator Sanders was trying to find someone to primary him. I am a Democrat. I`m a lifelong Democrat. I`m not a former Independent. I`m not a former Republican. I believe in the party of Franklin Roosevelt, the party of John F. Kennedy. I believe that we`re all in this together. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Interesting. I didn`t expect him to go there. I had heard from the chair of the South Carolina Democratic party ahead of the forum when I did an interview with him that one of the things he was hearing as a knock on Bernie Sanders from South Carolina Democrats was that he isn`t a real Democrat. He said, the chairman of the party said he`d even be pressured by some Hillary supporters that Bernie shouldn`t be allowed into the forum because he`s not a real Democrat and he shouldn`t be there. But for Martin O`Malley to embody that criticism and really go for it there, who knew? I didn`t know that was the fight we were going to have. HAYES: This sort of left me wanting to see more of this basically. I mean, I really do think that you get to a lot with time with people and sort of the -- and preparation and that ability to kind of push back but also let them speak. That has been the problem I think so far. MADDOW: It also really helps to have people there. You push these candidates when you interview them. I`ve seen you do incredibly intense interviews with both O`Malley and Sanders, and I`m sure you will with Clinton when you get her. But having voters there and having the context of a primary in South Carolina, it was a good moment. I`m proud of how we did it. HAYES: All right. Republican candidates, let`s do more of these. MADDOW: Yeah. HAYES: I`m sure, Rachel, any state -- MADDOW: Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow would love to do a Republican candidates debate. That`s all we have to do is ask. Done. HAYES: Rachel Maddow, thanks. All right. Still to come, why two major resignations at the University of Missouri today spotlights the massive power college athletes can wield. We`ll talk about that ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: More than half the world believes climate change is a big deal, that`s the good news from a new peer researched centered survey of climate change attitudes. In 22 of the 40 nations studied, half or more believe that global warming is a very serious problem. Those nations, with the majority of people saying climate change is a very serious problem include many nations in Africa, such a Uganda, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria. South African countries like Brazil, Chile, Venezuela. Some South East Asian nations, including the Philippians and Vietnam, which are particularly exposed to the effects. And while lower levels of support are still crossing the 50 percent threshold, European nations like France, Italy and Germany. Two nations that don`t make the cut, China and the U.S., we`re just 18% and 45% respectively believe climate change is a very serious problem. Those two nations, China and the U.S., also happen to be the world`s greatest carbon contributors. Which reminds me of the great Upton Sinclair Theory, it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it. It appears that can apply to entire populaces as well. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TIM WOLFE, THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI PRESIDENT: I`ve asked everybody, from students to faculty and staff, to my friends, everybody. Use my resignation to heal and start talking again, to make the changes necessary. And let`s focus on changing what we can change today and in the future, not what we can`t change, which is what happened in the past. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Stunning turn of events at The University of Missouri today, where University President Tim Wolfe has resigned. The chancellor of the Columbia campus, R. Bowen Lofton, announced he will resign at the end of the year. Both men stepped aside today under pressure from students, particularly a very powerful group of students, the University of Missouri football team, who agreed not to participate in any football-related activities until Tim Wolfe was gone. For months now students at The University of Missouri have been arguing the school`s top officials have not done enough to address incidents of racist harassment and other issues on campus. In September, the Missouri student association president, an African American, talked about the time a group of men in the back of a pickup truck yelled racial slurs at him. The university`s black student government detailed a similar incident of the racism last month, when an inebriated white male called them n words. Just a couple weeks ago the racial tension culminated when someone used their own feces to smear a swastika on a communal bathroom wall in a brand new residence hall. In an effort to put pressure on Wolfe to resign, Missouri grad student Jonathan Butler went on a hunger strike last Monday. In a letter he wrote, "I will not consume any food or nutritional substance at the expense of my health until either Tim Wolfe is removed from office or my internal organs fail and my life is lost." Butler`s act of protest was followed up by a display of solidarity by some of the school`s most prized athletes. On Saturday night a statement went out that read, "The athletes of color on The University of Missouri football team will no longer participate in any football-related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students` experiences. We are united." And yesterday, the entire football team got involved. Head Coach Gary Pinkel tweeted out this picture of the team with the caption, "The MIZZOU family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players." Now, the football team on strike would have meant the school would forfeit next weekend`s game against BYU. That would reportedly cost Missouri a million dollars, which appears to be the thing that finally got the administration`s attention. We`ll talk about the ramifications of this game-changing moment, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Joining me now, Jelani Cobb, staff writer of The New Yorker, history writer at University of Connecticut, and Dave Zirin, sports editor of The Nation, host of The Edge of Sports podcast. Dave, you`ve been doing a lot of reporting on this story before it kind of exploded onto national consciousness. Give us a little bit of context of how this got to this point. DAVE ZIRIN, THE EDGE OF SPORTS: Well, how it got to the point at Missouri, I mean, it goes back years. Years of racial tension, years of students and faculty members of color feeling marginalized, feeling like they weren`t being heard. And it really came to a head with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, just two hours away from campus. It was a pretty generalized outrage that the Columbia campus, the St. Louis campus, and the campus in Kansas city all felt like it wasn`t being taken seriously, that it wasn`t being taken as a moment to speak about systematic oppression on campus. And I really think the beginning of the end for Tim Wolfe was even less the football players stepping back than that moment where Tim Wolfe was asked on a personal camera, what do you say about systematic oppression on campus, and basically said, well, it`s in your head. And I think that`s what really brought it to the point where people said this is just unendurable, we have to do something. HAYES: You know, I`ve seen some of the response today. And these become these sort of Rorschach tests, particularly anything on campus politics become real Rorschach tests. People were not there all of a sudden get very intense opinions about what`s going on on the campus. But people said look, it sounds like many of the complaints that students had, students of color, sound like horrible experiences, but weren`t being done by actual members of the faculty or members of the university family as it were. I mean, what`s your feeling about that? JELANI COBB, THE NEW YORKER: Well, I think that`s partly true. But the other part of it is that you`re in charge of setting the climate, you know, in the institution. And certainly, it`s the perception of you as a person that does it, or as a leader that doesn`t really care about these things, is as detrimental as being a leader that doesn`t really care about these things. And so, if you`re looking at the students trying to talk to or confront the president at homecoming, he stays in the car and doesn`t talk to them. Or the other instances that are going on on campus of racism and it doesn`t appear as if the institution recognizes the importance, then it does become something that is in the president`s purview. HAYES: Dave, I never heard of a big-time college football team essentially threatening a strike. I was looking around today to try to find some examples. I couldn`t really come up with a proper precedent. How big a deal was this? ZIRIN: This is huge. I mean, this is the chickens coming home to roost. And not just chickens but billion-dollar golden geese coming home to roost because the modern campus has been set up in such a way that -- and at most state colleges, the head coach is the highest-paid person, not just on campus but in the state. And also, the football team is the center of economic, social, and even psychological and, hey, in some states religious life in the town. And because of that though, what they`ve done is set up college athletes, disproportionately African American, have set them up to have a remarkable social power if they choose to exercise it. All the gears go to a halt. And that`s what we saw at Missouri. HAYES: Well, and that`s what was so striking, right? 48 hours earlier, the president says I`m not going anywhere. And obviously, I don`t want to take away from the fact there was obviously a huge amount of organizing happening before the football students got involved, and it wouldn`t have got to this point without that, but it did seem like now -- and I wonder if in a weird way this ends up reinforcing the sort of centrality of football in kind of a perverse fashion? COBB: It possibly does. But the currency people are worried about here is not moral. It`s monetary. But I do think that there are these instances like across the country. You look at what`s happening here, what`s happening in Yale, on my own campus, University of Connecticut we dealt with this mac and cheese situation not very long ago. And I think what`s happening -- HAYES: Is that the dude who wanted to (inaudible) mac and cheese -- COBB: The slurs and the things that were spoken about there. But I think that what happens, and we`re seeing that people are able to organize through social media, that there`s a greater awareness of this. And, Dave is exactly right. A lot of this comes directly out of Ferguson, or at least is inspired in conjunction with -- HAYES: And I`ve got to say, Dave, my thought today was every campus activist in America, particularly at a big time state school, just got a blueprint for how to escalate your campaign to the highest possible level. ZIRIN: And you know what? That`s been known by administrators for some time. That`s why the scholarship athletes are at the revenue-producing sports are so segregated from the campus, their own dorms, their own cafeterias. At some state schools there`s even a tunnel that goes directly from the dorms to the weight room so they don`t have to interact with the students themselves. I hope student activists see this as an opportunity to actually approach student athletes, talk to them but more importantly, hear their grievances and try to link in common cause. HAYES: All right. Jelani Cobb and Dave Zirin, thank you both for your time. That`s All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now, and Rachel has some new polling data on how South Carolina Democrats interpreted that Democratic forum on Friday night. I can`t wait to see that. MADDOW: Thank you very much, Chris. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END