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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 11/10/15

Guests: Jess McIntosh, David Sirota, Olivia Nuzzi, Leah Wright Rigueur,Josh Barro, Dorian Warren

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a strange election, isn`t it? Man! HAYES: It`s debate night in America. And all eyes are on Marco Rubio and Ben Carson at the fourth Republican debate. TRUMP: Man, is he sweating? HAYES: Tonight, previewing the economic debate with a look at each candidate`s plan for America. GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We cut taxes. TRUMP: We are reducing taxes. SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we cut taxes, we can bring back -- HAYES: A look at the foreshadowed attack from Bush and Trump. JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You should be showing up to work. HAYES: And full analysis of where each candidate comes down on the dark side. SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hated Darth Vader. Now I kind of feel a little bit sorry for him. HAYES: And the pyramids of Giza. DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joseph built the pyramids in order to store grain. HAYES: Plus, your first look at the highlights from the undercard debate. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton`s coming for your wallet. Don`t worry about Huckabee or Jindal. Worry about her. HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening. From New York, I`m Chris Hayes. An hour from now, eight Republican presidential candidates take the stage for their fourth debate, hosted by Fox Business, coming just two weeks after the CNBC debate widely viewed within the Republican Party as a disaster, this one similarly focus on economic issues is being seen as a kind of do-over even though the campaign declined to impose their specific demands on tonight`s network, a sister to FOX News. Candidates are likely to get more speaking time. However, for the first time the main debate field has been winnowed down from ten candidates to the eight most popular in national polls. Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee having been demoted to the undercard debate just wrapping up now. That second tier also shed a couple of candidates. Lindsey Graham and George Pataki whose support is so low, they don`t get to debate at all. Taking together, it`s a sign that less than three months to the Iowa caucuses, an enormous GOP field that started with at least 16 candidates is finally narrowing down. Here is the state of the race going into tonight. According to the Real Clear Politics polling average, Donald Trump and Ben Carson neck and neck, just shy of a combined 50 percent of all Republican support, trailed by three candidates who hold or have held elective office -- Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush bringing up the rear. None of the other candidates break 5 percent. The same time, new polling today shows every one of the top five would lose to Hillary Clinton if the election were held today, Ben Carson by the smallest margin. Clinton`s poll numbers may have something to do with the Wi-Fi password of the debate venue tonight, stop Hillary. That`s in the press filing center, getting every last report there who chronicle the debate will be forced to type it in. There`s an RNC operative out there is very proud of himself tonight. When the candidates take the stage in less than an hour from now, all eyes will be on co-front-runner Ben Carson who is struggling to adapt to heightened security that comes with the quasi-co-front-runner status, after reporters started questioning certain aspects of his much vaunted biography, Carson seemed to lose his trademark "cool" for the first time while facing the press on Friday. He continued to take questions about some of his past business dealings, among other things. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Why were you involved at all, whatever the relationship was, in a company that was selling a product the Texas attorney general says is a sham product? CARSON: Well, remember, they contacted me to give a speech. I did not, you know, go into great depth when I get a contract to do a speech. I go to do a speech. REPORTER: I talked to a microbiologist who said there is no scientific proof it works at all. CARSON: It may not. And all I say is I take it because I almost never get sick anymore. I used to get sick a lot. So, I like it. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Similarly, Marco Rubio, crowned the winner of the last debate by the pundits, is undergoing a new level scrutiny over his personal finances and now, Donald Trump seems to sense an opening. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Everyone says Marco Rubio is a wonderful speaker. I said, really? Remember when he was doing the message to the president? Remember the thing with the water? Now, the president has just spoken, right? He`s doing the message. And he`s talking. I noticed and I said, man, is he sweating. And then, all of the sudden, and we will fight and we will this -- and it wasn`t out of a glass. It was out of a bottle. I don`t know, maybe he got paid from the company that had the -- I don`t know. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: A super PAC supporting Ted Cruz just put out an ad hitting Marco Rubio over his support for comprehensive immigration reform derided by conservative as, quote, "amnesty". And now, "The New York Times" reports, Jeb Bush`s super PAC is planning up to $20 million worth of attacks on the Florida senator, including a video casting him as unelectable in the long run because of his hard-line stance on abortion. The question for tonight: Will either Cruz or Bush be willing to take Rubio on face to face? Joining me now, Republican strategist and MSNBC contributor, Steve Schmidt. And, Steve, are you anticipating people coming after Rubio from both sides tonight? STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. Marco Rubio is on the rise. And we are moving into the stage of the race where the candidates are conscious of who goes when they go down and vice versa. So, when you look at the race tonight, Donald Trump would make a grievous mistake if here to attack Ben Carson. The person who benefits chiefly by Ben Carson going down in the race is Ted Cruz who doesn`t have much room to grow outside of Carson coming down. HAYES: Right. SCHMIDT: Trump is effective when he`s fighting from his right to his left against these establishment candidates. And fighting that in economic debate through a prism of economic nationalism with a populist tent, and you will see him tonight. Two big departures from Republican orthodoxy will challenge interests and you will hear him challenge the free trade deals. Most of the establishment Republicans on the stage, ardent free traders, Trump is going to decry the trade deals. He`s going to talk about repealing NAFTA. But Marco Rubio tonight is in the middle of the action. These previous debates, he`s been like a supporting actor, really strong performances, got people`s attention. But he comes into this and some degree the star of show. Now, once again, Jeb Bush`s campaign is telegraphed the punches they will throw at Marco Rubio. And in debates, like in boxing, most knock-outs come on the counterpunch. You saw that devastating counterpunch that Marco Rubio delivered in the last debate that did such damage to Jeb Bush. But Jeb Bush coming into this debate, in order for him to come back up, in order for Jeb Bush to have a comeback, Marco Rubio has got to come down. HAYES: I want to talk about it. The telegraphing of the attack which is the second time the Bush camp has seemed to do this. Now, in this case, these are people close to the super PAC. So, one argument he`d say, look, legally, the Bush folks in the campaign can`t control what the super PAC is doing although the degree whether that`s true is up for debate. Can you explain why you would go to a reporter to talk about your nefarious plans to go after your opponent on -- and the way you`re going to do it on the eve of a debate like you did the last time, which resulted in that sort of devastating counter-punch moment? SCHMIDT: Well, look, it`s a quansi (ph) move for sure. One of the thing that`s under appreciated, Chris, by most people in the media, there are felony criminal provisions for coordinating between a campaign and a super PAC. In fact, I think it`s very, very rarely done. The way super PACs communicate to the campaign and vice versa is through the media. HAYES: Exactly. SCHMIDT: And so, you see that playing out. But not something you want to announce, coming into the debate. So you know, looking at the level of preparation that we saw from Marco Rubio in the last debate, he`s going to be ready on a number of different fronts from a predictable line of attacks that are going to come possibly from Trump, from Jeb Bush or others in the field. HAYES: You know, it was interesting to me in the article that the notion of electability. Just watching the undercard debate which should be wrapping up and Chris Christie basically focused the entire time on electability. I can beat Hillary Clinton. This is something you haven`t heard at all. I mean, thus far, no one is trying to make an argument that I`m the most electable. It`s basically been who excites the base most. And I wonder, at some point, someone is going to start making the argument like, really, guys? Donald Trump? You really think he`ll go and win Ohio? Do you really think he can win the swing states? Are we going to see that tonight? SCHMIDT: Well, look, it`s tough to make an electability argument as in I`m the most electable candidate when you are fifth or sixth place. HAYES: Right. SCHMIDT: So, I think Jeb Bush has a hard time making that argument vis-a-vis Marco Rubio right now. And, certainly, as we move deeper when the voting starts, only Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, one of the two will be eliminated after the results at a Florida primary. They both won`t survive that. Whoever loses, I think, is out of the race. I would say tonight, very strong performance by Chris Christie in that under card debate. He should be on the main debate stage. The statistical analysis that got him booted off is deeply flawed. It`s a TV calculation. Not a mathematical, statistical calculation. And when you look at -- HAYES: Perish the thought, Steve. Perish the thought. SCHMIDT: Right. When you look at Chris Christie, the video that`s gone viral talking about drug addiction, this is a huge issue in New Hampshire. And while Jeb Bush has a lot of difficulty in his campaign, we shouldn`t underestimate his capacity to inflict damage on Marco Rubio. And if Marco Rubio starts to bleed in this race and he starts to come down, look for Chris Christie to start to peak up. Chris Christie`s numbers are rising in New Hampshire. He`s on a level of ascent that`s not so dissimilar from where McCain was in 2008. And if Christie can keep those numbers moving up as we get into Thanksgiving, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you could see Chris Christie making a late move in New Hampshire. HAYES: All right. Steve Schmidt, thank you very much. SCHMIDT: You bet. HAYES: I`m joined now by Jess McIntosh, VP of communications from Emily`s List, an organization that`s endorsed Hillary Clinton, and David Sirota, senior editor for investigations at the "International Business Times". I want to talk about Rubio. David, you had a great piece in "International Business Times" basically about the fact that Rubio, his book contains passages that are essentially seemed to be endorsing the tenets of Obamacare, endorsing the energy policies from before when he was a senator, when he was a state senator. That strikes me as a massive opening for Jeb Bush, much more than electability argument over abortion. DAVID SIROTA, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES: I think so. Marco Rubio laid out a book of innovative ideas. In the chapter on health care, he talked about vastly expanding government-run health care programs. He talked about setting up insurance exchanges. This is a kind of reminder of Mitt Romney being one of the originators of RomneyCare which became Obamacare. That term "Obamacare" has become such a hot button term that you may see in the debates people saying you supported Obamacare, you proposed in Florida. HAYES: The key to me about that, Jess, is the way they are going for Marco Rubio and the reason this is so clarifying and you have seen it from Ted Cruz, they are going after him because of comprehensive immigration reform. He was part of the gang of eight, in the words of Ted Cruz`s super PAC, what has ever he done? And it`s true legislatively, that`s the thing he`s most known for. And he`s going to have to defend himself as sort of not being a RINO. And take what David was talking about his book, that strikes me as the way you`re going to go after Marco Rubio, if you`re sort of attacking him from the right. JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY`S LIST: Yes, logically, that makes sense. I think there is enough in Rubio`s record you can go at him from the right as being too aligned with Democrats on healthcare, on government intervention in general, and certainly on the immigration issue. My guess is they are looking at polling that says being against abortion access for rape and incest victims is an absolute makes you unelectable nonstarter. And they have decided to go with the attack they know is going to move the most people. It is not a comfortable rhetorical tactic for them. Obviously -- especially since Jeb Bush`s record is awful. He tried to intervene to force a rape victim who was disabled teen to carry her pregnancy to term as governor. So, this is an odd place for him to come from. But I`ve seen numbers and they are horrible for the position that Marco Rubio holds on abortion. He`s really extreme. So, I think they chose between -- the attack that made a little bit more logical sense as a Republican, and the one they think can work. HAYES: Yes. MCINTOSH: I`m glad they chose that one. I want to see this fight. HAYES: I agree. I think it`s a clarifying fight. SIROTA: And I also think you`re going to see a management argument. I mean, this idea that Jeb Bush has managed an entire state. And Marco Rubio managed a state legislative office or state -- a senator`s office. You`re going to hear -- you may hear an argument where Jeb Bush says, look, we`ve had a president without enough experience coming into office. HAYES: That`s their line. SIROTA: That`s their line. And I think he may try to tie into that Marco Rubio`s trouble with his own finances. The Marco Rubio`s -- the kind of controversies over him going into debt or using credit cards and running up personal bills on political organizations bills. So, you may see a management argument from Jeb Bush. The question is, does that really move anyone forward? HAYES: Yes, it seems like -- first of all, I think the management argument, that horse has left the barn at least for now. I mean, the big question to me going into tonight is, do we see folks looking for someone they plausibly think can beat Hillary Clinton, right? I mean, at a certain point, that has to factor into the minds. And I think, Jess, one of the interesting things is the Republican -- the conservative media bubble has I think convinced themselves that Hillary Clinton is a terrible candidate who will be defeated easily. And so, it is not a priority to imagine someone who will be the most formidable against her. I wonder if the polling today and her solidifying certain kinds of support changes the dynamic. MCINTOSH: I think it could. I think they have always underestimated her at their own peril. I`m thrilled they are continuing to do it. I think this electorate just isn`t interested in the electability argument. This is an electorate that is really passionate. They are moving with their emotions. They don`t want anything that sounds like politics, that sounds like politics as usual or politicians as usual. It`s why they don`t care that they don`t know about Ben Carson and he`s leading. It`s why they don`t care that they don`t know about Ben Carson and he`s leading. They don`t care that Donald Trump is an absolute buffoon who almost certainly can`t be elected. They still want him and they don`t care about those logical arguments. So, I don`t know if -- I mean, the political donor card may shift into who can get it done for Republicans. But I don`t see voters following them. These guys don`t seem swayed by that kind of argument this cycle. SIROTA: The quick thing to add, though, is it`s difficult for Jeb Bush to make a "Marco Rubio is too moderate" argument. HAYES: Right. SIROTA: Jeb Bush is perceived to be moderate. Jeb Bush has endorsed a lot of Marco Rubio`s policies. So, that`s a tough argument for Jeb Bush. HAYES: There`s also -- MCINTOSH: Jeb Bush is terrible at hitting Marco Rubio in general. So, he`s endorsed him as somebody who could be a good president. HAYES: Right. There is also, David, I`m curious to see when people get into the weeds on economic policy. You know, one of the things you will see is there is a lot of talk about cronyism. There`s been a lot of talk about cleaning up Washington. You`ve been doing some sort of great investigative report that shows, you know, how close Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and others have been to the very same crony entities that they sort of talk about. SIROTA: Well, when Jeb Bush says, I want to clean up Washington or I`m a change agent of Washington, before you get to how close he is to the lobbying community in Washington, he`s a Bush. I mean, he`s the brother of a president, the son of a president. I think as these candidates make arguments "I`m a change agent", there is going to be more scrutiny about how much they represent a lot of the same. And I should add both for the Republicans and for the Democrats. I mean, Hillary Clinton has a lot of people around her who were part of the same kind of transpartisan establishment. HAYES: Yes. All right. Jess McIntosh and David Sirota, thank you both. SIROTA: Thank you. HAYES: Still ahead, the vetting of Ben Carson -- why seemingly irrelevant anecdotes from his past are facing such intense scrutiny. Plus, much more debate night coverage, including highlights from what is already being called the deuce box debate. The greatest hits from the Republican undercard are next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTIE: I`m one of the victims of that hack. If the Chinese commit cyber warfare against us, they are going to see cyber warfare like they have never seen before. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARSON: Well, the pyramids were made in a way that they have hermetically sealed compartments. You don`t need hermetically sealed compartments for a sepulcher. You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain over long period of time. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That`s Ben Carson last week continuing to stand by his idiosyncratic position that the pyramids in Egypt were built not as tombs for the pharaohs, as is widely believed, but instead by the biblical figure Joseph in order to store grain. That particular theory has been widely criticized and teased, including by Carson`s GOP presidential rival Donald Trump, a man who likes to think of himself of something of an expert on how to build things. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Hey, look, I hope everything is OK with Ben. I`ve gotten along great with Ben. But, you know, he`s having a hard time. The pyramids are solid structures. You can`t put grain in the pyramids because they are solid structures, other than a little thing for the pharaohs in the bottom as you understand, OK? They don`t have beams going across connecting and big hollow spaces underneath. They are solid. So, I don`t quite get that one. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Perhaps the most credible fact checkers are the Egyptian antiquity officials who yesterday gathered to discuss thermal scans of the pyramids that could lead to new discoveries about their construction. An "Associated Press" reporter took the opportunity to ask the Egyptian antiquities minister for a response to Carson`s theory. The reporter got one, sort of. Quote, "Does he even deserve a response? He doesn`t", the antiquities minister the "AP". We don`t have video of that particular exchange, so you`ll just have to imagine the look on the pyramid expert`s face. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTIE: Wait until you see what Hillary Clinton will do to this country and how she will drown us in debt. She is the real adversary tonight and we better stay focused as Republicans on her. But the bottom line is, believe me, Hillary Clinton is coming for your wallet, everybody. Don`t worry about Huckabee or Jindal, worry about her. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The undercard debate of this evening is over and it was notable even before it begun for its somewhat changed cast of characters. Governor Christie having demoted from the main event of past debates because his polling average wasn`t high enough, joined former Senator Rick Santorum, Governor Bobby Jindal, former Governor Mike Huckabee also dropped down to undercard debate, fondly referred to probably not by any of these men as the kids` table. Senator Lindsey Graham and former Governor George Pataki couldn`t even qualify for the undercard debate this time, joining former Governor Jim Gilmore in Siberia. Tonight, even when Governor Jindal repeatedly tried to bait Governor Christie, the New Jersey governor kept his sights on Hillary Clinton. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R-LA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Under your leadership in New Jersey, your budget has gone up 15 percent, it`s gone down 26 percent in Louisiana. It has gone up $5 billion in New Jersey. It`s going down $9 billion in Louisiana. CHRISTIE: You know, the differences between me and Bobby. We can talk about those and obviously Bobby wants to spend a lot of time tonight talking about that. I tell you want I want to talk about. I want to talk about what`s going to happen to this country if we have another four years of Barack Obama`s policies. By the way, it will be even worse, because Hillary Clinton is running so far to the left to try to keep up to her socialist opponent Bernie Sanders, it`s hard to even see her anymore. JINDAL: You expanded food stamps at a time we`ve got record numbers of Americans on food stamps. It`s also true, you caved in to Obamacare. You`ve expanded Medicaid. CHRISTIE: I complimented Bobby. Imagine how much time he`d want if I actually criticized him. JINDAL: Chris, look, I`ll give you a ribbon for participation in a deuce box. But in the real world, it`s about results. It`s about actually cutting government spending. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: By the end, candidates were sometimes simply ignoring the moderator`s questions. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MODERATOR: Who in Congress do you most admire on the Democratic side? I need one name from each of you. Let`s start with Governor Jindal. JINDAL: Look, we can waste our time. And I think this is why people are frustrated with the last debate with these silly questions. (APPLAUSE) We`ve only got a certain amount of time to talk about the economy. Let me use my time to say that I want to fire everybody in D.C. in both parties. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Since we are not answering the question, tomorrow is veterans` day. RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you know who I respect and why I respect them? Because they fight. They are not willing to back down. They are willing to stand up, fight and win. I respect them because they are willing to take it to us. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Joining me now, Olivia Nuzzi. She`s political correspondent for "The Daily Beast". Olivia, I thought that was such a fascinating moment because, of course, the shadow of the CNBC debate hung over the whole thing. You had the FOX folks saying CNBC mismanaged the debate. Here you have the candidates quite straightforwardly steam rolling the moderators, getting the crowd on their side and completely ignoring the questions. OLIVIA NUZZI, THE DAILY BEAST: It was amazing. I will say that. Jindal started it, right? Jindal was on fire tonight. He was trying to fight with everybody. And after Jindal said he wouldn`t answer their ridiculous question, what could the other candidates do? They couldn`t say, well, I`ll answer that ridiculous question. They had to follow his lead or else look like weak liberals, I don`t know. But it was amazing. HAYES: It`s also telling that none of them wanted to have a moment in which they expressed admiration or respect for a Democrat in Congress. NUZZI: No, I mean, interesting. It happened during the Democratic Forum on this network when Rachel Maddow asked Hillary Clinton which of the Republican candidates would you choose as your running mate? She also wouldn`t answer the question. Any candidate is concerned they will accidentally endorse someone from the opposite party. I don`t think any of them are particularly eager to do it. HAYES: So, as you said, Jindal was just up there basically strafing the entire field. He had clearly read his oppo book on everyone. He was - - and this dynamic between him and Christie was fascination. He was going hard at Christie`s record. Chris Christie completely declined to defend his record. I mean, Jindal would come out at him and saying, you did this as governor. He says, I want to talk about Hillary Clinton, again and again. It was interesting, A, because I think it was hard for Chris Christie to defend his record in New Jersey to a Republican primary audience and, B, Chris Christie sees his best chance about making this about his possibility of beating Hillary Clinton. NUZZI: Certainly, and it reminded me about when Jindal trying to attack Donald Trump and Donald Trump said on Twitter saying, "I only speak to people polling in a certain number in the polls. I won`t speak to Bobby Jindal because he`s not popular enough." I think he`s sort of taking a page from that Trump playbook, to say, you know, I`m too big for this, I`m too presidential to be here on this very sad stage with all these sad people. And I`m just going to act like I`m already in the general election. And I think it was a good strategy in that he looked for presidential than any of the other candidates on stage. He certainly seemed more presidential than Bobby Jindal who seemed like someone who just was going to tear the party apart from the inside. But whether or not that`s going to -- whether or not that message Christine is putting forth is really going to appeal to a Republican primary audience, I`m not so sure. HAYES: There was an odd "take my wife, please" moment with Mike Huckabee. I want to play this and get your reaction. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MODERATOR: If elected president, would you keep Janet Yellen? HUCKABEE: Well, my wife`s name is Janet. When you say Janet yelling, I`m very familiar with what you mean. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Nailed it. That`s a question about whether or not he would retain the current Fed Chair Janet Yellen. But I think it played well, but I don`t think that`s the joke Republicans want to be making a lot down the stretch. NUZZI: It played well in the room. But I think it`s very -- it`s just typical of Mike Huckabee to say something awkward. I wrote a story last week. He just said very awkward things about his personal life, about sex in general, when it really isn`t called for and it`s not part of the topic. He does it all the time. And it keeps happening in such a way -- he was talking about, you know, the private sector being more successful than the public sector. And he brought up Viagra, for some reason, as an example of this. He says strange things I don`t think will play well beyond a room like tonight in Milwaukee. HAYES: You know, it was striking. They started off the debate, I think admirably, they were going on economic policy and substance. It became very clear quickly why television why television producers producing these debates haven`t spent a lot of time on the substantive questions, because there was no daylight, because if you asked them about taxes, you get the same answer from everyone, nearly identical, essentially carbon copy, I`m going to reduce regulation, I`m going to cut taxes and Barack Obama is terrible for this economy because he`s socialist and Hillary Clinton will be even more socialist. That`s it. I mean, I didn`t hear disagreement out there about economic policy. NUZZI: I think the big secret here is all of the candidates pretty much believed the same thing when it comes to economic policy and when it comes to other issues as well. When it comes to social issues, most of them believe the same thing. And I think that`s why they can`t answer these questions directly. They can`t have the substantive debate that Bobby Jindal was trying to have about the budget, because they don`t want to admit that, you know, they all pretty much think the same thing. Some of them have been less successful than others in implementing their ideology. Chris Christie being the prime example. His budgets have been bigger than Bobby Jindal`s. His budgets were bigger than some of Jon Corzine`s budget, his Democratic predecessor. I think it`s just very difficult for them to talk about issues of substance. It doesn`t play well. I mean, Donald Trump is who they are running against now. He`s not someone who will go out and talk about substance. He`s going to talk about who`s a loser, who`s ugly, who`s sweating too much, who`s going to rap, he`s going to do all sorts of different things. I think it`s just -- you know, it`s just -- this is what the primary is about. It`s about trying to one-up Donald Trump and not talk about anything of substance at all. HAYES: Alright, Olivia Nuzzi, thank you very much. NUZZI: Thank you. HAYES: Still coming up, after the revolt on the last Republican debate stage, how are tonight`s moderators preparing to reign in all eight candidates? A look at that next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Ahead of tonight`s debate, Neil Cavuto, the extremely conservative FOX News and FOX Business host, and one of three debate moderators in the event tonight, characterized the dynamic of the debate this way. "I understand candidates getting annoyed," he told the Washington Post, "but they better be careful about looking like whiners and babies." Looks like Cavuto is taking a preemptive shot to avoid the histrionics in the CNBC debate, but, it appears the whining has already begun. According to The Daily Mail, an aide to one GOP White House hopeful, who will stand before him on Tuesday, spelled out some worries while asking to remain anonymous. "It`s not lost on my boss that Neil interned in the Jimmy Carter White House." Neil Cavuto, FOX News, is suspect because three decades ago he interned for Carter. And there is a debate moderator Maria Bartiromo who four years ago was one of the moderators for a debate hosted by her former employer, CNBC, angered the crowd with this question to candidate Herman Cain. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: In recent days we have learned that four different women have accused you of inappropriate behavior. Here we`re focusing on character and on judgment. You have been a CEO -- [ booing ] HERMAN CAIN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. BARTIROMO: You know the shareholders are reluctant to hire a CEO where there are character issues. Why should the American people hire a president if they feel there are character issues? CAIN: The American people deserve better than someone being tried in the court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations. [ cheers and applause ] (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Gerard Baker, editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal will be the third moderator tonight. In the wake of the collective CNBC debate tantrum thrown by the candidates in the last debate, all eyes will be on how the moderators comport themselves, but the candidates new demands, you may recall, do not apply to tonight`s debate on FOX Business. According to The Washington Post, among the reasons, according to one operative in the room, is that people are afraid to make Roger Ailes mad, a reference to the network chief. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me ask you flat out whether you stand by the claim that you -- as a young man, as a 14-year-old boy, attempted to stab another boy and attacked your mother with a hammer. BEN CARSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Those claims are absolutely true. I am 100% sure they are true. This is simply an attempt to smear and to deflect the argument to something else. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: To many Ben Carson supporters, questions about whether or not past stories are true are nothing more than a smear campaign by the so- called liberal media. We just blow off the media, said a retired piano teacher in Ames, Iowa that supports Mr. Carson. We stop getting the newspaper. We watch FOX News and listen to the radio. If you are predicting how the flurry surrounding his memoir would play out, so far it`s done essentially nothing to damage his popularity among Republicans. A news Washington Post, ABC News poll out today, conducting amid much of the controversy about some of his past recollections, has Carson leading the pack with a 71% favorable rating. Another survey out today has Carson pulling the highest in the theoretical match up against Hillary Clinton. Due to his popularity and his mild mannered, if slightly odd disposition, candidates other than Donald Trump have been reticent to attack Dr. Carson. One of the big questions going into tonight`s debate is if one of the other candidates in a two hour discussion about views and economic policy, will actually try to go after Carson on that area. Joining me now, Leah Wright Rigueur, she`s an assistant professor of public policy at The Harvard Kennedy School, author of The Loneliness of the Black Republican, which is a wonderfully evocative title. Given that you wrote a book about the experience of being a black Republican, a black conservative in more recent terms, as you watched the Carson campaign unfold, particularly over the last week, can you account for the strangeness? It`s unfolded in such a strange fashion, this back and forth about change in the biography, and I can`t quite figure out what`s going on. LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, THE HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Well, you know Chris, that`s a great point. It is a little bit strange, and part of that is because it`s sitting on an American redemption story. It`s an American dream story. It`s about really pulling yourself up by your boot straps, about overcoming the odds, and about succeeding against everything being against you. That`s why there is a lot of popularity, or that`s why there`s a lot of support around Carson, and why people are really rallying around him. Despite all of the odd and a little weird particulars here and there. HAYES: That explains why you have this weird, sort of bizarro world situation for about 48 hours, in which the knock on the candidate was that he was not a violent young man. That he had not hit his mother with a hammer, and that he had not stabbed someone with a knife. And the campaign was hitting back by being like, no, he absolutely hit his mother with a hammer, and absolutely stabbed someone. Because it`s important for that biography to be there to get that story. RIGUEUR: In fact, going out and saying we have people to counteract the liberal media`s claims that he didn`t stab someone. Here, we have verification. Because this is not a normal story. This is not a normal part of presidential politics. This is part of his uplift story. And this is part of what makes him so appealing to so many different audiences. Among them, white Republicans. HAYES: There is a sense -- Rupert Murdoch got in trouble for tweeting about basically Ben Carson being authentically black in a way that Barack Obama is not. He later retracted and apologized for that. But there is something happening with the conception of him and his blackness that seems to be at the heart of his appeal. RIGUEUR: Right. And I think a lot of this goes into his likability. So white Republican voters, likely voters, love him. They think he`s honest. They think he has integrity. They think he represents their values. But he also emerges as a kind of blackness that they can understand, and that they can like. That he`s a good black person who`s overcome all of the odds, without relying on certain things. I think it`s no accident that Carson is emerging in popularity amongst white Republican voters at the same time that campus unrest, that Black Lives Matter, that things like that are actually taking off in steam and success. HAYES: It`s been a hallmark of Barack Obama`s political career, this desire on the part of his political opponents to find a black adversary that could defeat him. Alan Keyes was recruited to run against him in Illinois, there was that moment when Herman Cain, people rallied around him in 2012. Obviously, Barack Obama`s not on the ballot this time, but the sense by white Republicans that they have been smeared as racists, and that this is proof positive of how liveless the claim is. RIGUEUR: Well, right. He offers them a little bit of protection. He validates concerns, and he says, you know, look, I have a black friend, I can`t be racist. But I also want to push back a little bit, or at least flip it a little bit. Think a little bit about how Carson actually has support amongst some black circles. HAYES: Yep. RIGUEUR: So that goes in a different direction than what we would traditionally understand. A new poll just came out that said actually that if Carson were to match up with Hillary Clinton tomorrow, 20% of African Americans would support him. That kind of support is unheard of amongst Republican candidates. That`s amazing. HAYES: That`s a massive margin. In fact, that is one of the most fascinating sort of counter factual questions. Were he the nominee, what his share of African American votes would be. You know, Barack Obama won upwards of I think 98%, somewhere in that ballpark. You could see something more like margins of 80%. We may never know, but it will be fascinating to track as we go along. Leah Wright Rigueur, thanks for joining us. RIGUEUR: Well thanks for having me Chris. HAYES: Still ahead, a preview of tonight`s main debate and what this crop of candidates doesn`t want you to know about GOP economics. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Marco Rubio may have officially lost the Star Wars vote. A week after he tweeted his support for Star Wars over Star Trek, he was asked in New Hampshire whether he had a favorite character and owned any Star Wars action figures growing up. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARCO RUBIO, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not sure if I had the action figures. I think I had the Death Star. But it kept breaking, just like it did in part two, and in Empire Strikes Back because it blew up, and that guy got the rocket to go in the hole. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That guy got the rocket to go in the hole? Star Wars fans know there are many things wrong with the statement, and the ComicCon crowd on my staff, who are formidable, want me to explain in great, extensive detail how Rubio mixed up the movies and called Luke Skywalker that guy, which I won`t do, but at least we now know when Marco Rubio is missing some senate votes, it is not to watch Star Wars movies. We`ll talk about Rubio`s tax plan next, which does belong in the fantasy genre. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: In just a few minutes, the fourth Republican presidential debate of the 2016 cycle will begin. The moderators say they will focus on business and economic issues. And the central tenant of the economic policy in the Republican party today, just as it was in 2000 when George W. Bush was running for president, is huge tax cuts that will require either historically unprecedented cuts to services, or blow a massive hole in the deficit, with the benefits going disproportionately to the rich. Ted Cruz wants a 10 percent flat tax, which would be a massive tax cut for the top 1 percent of households, which are currently paying roughly 26.5 percent on average. Both right and left leaning groups found that Donald Trump`s tax plan could lead to at least a $10 trillion revenue loss over a decade. More than half of Jeb Bush`s tax cuts will go to the top 1 percent, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, with the top 1 percent getting an average tax cut of nearly $180,000. Ben Carson`s plan, a 15% flat tax based on the biblical idea of tithing, would by his own math create a $1 trillion hole, according to PolitiFact. Marco Rubio`s plan would reduce federal revenue by 11.8 trillion over the next decade, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, with more than a third of the benefits going directly to the top 1%. Since Marco Rubio has promised not to cut defense budget or benefits for current or near retirees, Jonathan Chait notes that, to pay for Rubio`s cuts, Medicaid, veterans health insurance, transportation, border security and education, not to mention the entire federal anti-poverty budget other than Medicare and Social Security, would have to go. This bidding war over who can cut taxes the most, particularly to the most rich, has, in the words of Paul Krugman on this show, makes George W. Bush look cautious and statesmen like in comparison. Up ahead, the first question I would ask the GOP candidates in tonight`s debate. It`s one, I suspect, might make them squirm. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Joining me now to preview tonight`s GOP debate, MSNBC contributor, Josh Barro, correspondent for The Upshot. New York Times and MSNBC contributor, Dorian Warren, he`s a fellow at The Roosevelt Institute. Alright gentlemen, so I thought there was a lot of economic policy that I`m curious about. One of the problems is illustrated in the first debate earlier today. If you ask questions about certain economic policy you get a lot of similar answers. The first question I would ask, the one I`m really interested in is, should there be a federal minimum wage? I think you would actually get some different answers among the folks there. JOSH BARRO, THE UPSHOT: Yeah, I don`t think you will get anybody saying it should be higher. You get a lot of Republican candidates saying basically, I don`t think we should change it. I think the system is fine the way it is. HAYES: And then you get others who would basically say to abolish it. I mean, Carly Fiorina says it`s basically unconstitutional. Rand Paul would probably get rid of it. BARRO: I don`t know. I e-mailed her campaign after she said there is no constitutional basis for it. I didn`t get a response as to whether she really meant that it was unconstitutional. The thing to keep in mind is so many states have higher minimum wage than the federal minimum wage. The federal minimum wage, where it is now, has almost no effect on the labor market. So, abolishing it would have almost no effect on the economy, would obviously be massively unpopular. So I think a lot of these candidates realize that`s not a fight to fight even if you think the minimum wage is bad policy. HAYES: Dorian, I thought there was a moment in the first debate in which they asked the candidates basically, look, the jobs record is 8.6 million private sector jobs created in the Obama presidency, unemployment nudging down around 5%. How can you criticize the Obama jobs record? And Rick Santorum had a really interesting response to it. He said, well, just listen to the Democrats. The hollowing out of the middle class. He basically said you know, listen to the Democratic debate. And the trick for me is how do you make the critique of the Obama economy from the right when so much is about these issues that are kind of bread and butter to Democrats and progressives? DORIAN WARREN, THE ROOSEVELT INSTITUTE: Well, it`s interesting because Rick Santorum is definitely going for the working class position of the Republican party. So he`s actually on this issue closer to Democrats than he is to all of his comrades in the Republican party. But, the thing is, Republicans are at a disadvantage whenever wages comes up, because this is an issue that turns out Democratic voters. In a recently released poll that`s innovative because it polls workers who make $15 an hour or less, 69% of those polled who are unregistered said that they would turn out to vote -- they would register and turn out to vote, if there was a candidate who came out in favor of $15 and a union. So, this is at a disadvantage for Republicans in terms of the turn out game next fall, a year from now. HAYES: Josh is shaking his head in skepticism of that. BARRO: I mean we saw a bunch of states in 2014 that had ballot measures about minimum wage increases and they passed massively and they did Democrats no good down ballot. WARREN: Tom Cotton, who ran for the senate in Arkansas, actually came out not against the minimum wage because he understood the politics wasn`t on his side. BARRO: No, and I understand that, but it wasn`t just that there was four states around the country where they put them on the ballot and they passed. Minimum wage increases are popular, but I mean when you poll voters in general and ask them will you vote, they tend to say yes, whether or not they are actually going to register and vote. I don`t think we have seen an example where Democrats have successfully used the minimum wage issue in order to get broad electoral gains. Now, the minimum wage matters in itself, and you know, arguing for higher minimum wage because it is good policy is a perfectly fine thing, but I don`t think we have seen really directly affect voter behavior. HAYES: Part of the issue it strikes me, Dorian, that Republicans have, I have seen this critique actually made by conservatives, is that the kind of core domestic policy plank, which is tax cuts, right, is -- WARREN: In good times and bad. HAYES: In good times and bad. No matter what the malady is, the prescription is tax cuts. So, you have slow growth, tax cuts. High growth, tax cuts. Small deficits, tax cuts. Big deficits, tax cuts. That`s taken in some ways from the Reagan playbook, and I think the GOP has really failed to reckon that the economy right now is just very different than the economy Reagan had. Taxes are lower across the board. So, even when you poll people their tax burden isn`t ranking up there in front of that and yet, that`s what the GOP field has to offer. WARREN: The isn`t the context of Reagan. This isn`t the context of George W. Bush, who you start off with in terms of the early 2000s tax cuts. We`re at a different moment now of 30 years of wage stagnation, and we are in a political moment where there is movement energy. Today there was this massive wave of protest on the three year anniversary on the Fight for 15. Thousands of workers went on strike. People around the country are actually waking up. When you poll them, they know that this is something that`s happening in their cities and their communities around the country. They are very aware. So, this is actually an issue residence for more and more people today than it was in Reagan`s time. So, to Josh`s point, I think actually because the issue is more salient now, because we are in a movement moment, I actually think we are likely to see people willing to register and vote and turn out around this issue if a politician is guaranteeing to raise wages. HAYES: So here`s the question I have right. I mean, a complaint of I`m overtaxed, which Dorian is speaking to, is similar to a complaint which is my wage hasn`t gone up. You have to tell a story about how you are going to do that. BARRO: Right. And at the bottom of the wage scale you can do it with minimum wage policy. But at the middle of the wage scale where people are making $20 or $30 an hour, a lot of them hear a minimum wage increase. That is a good idea. That will help people who need help, but it`s not going to affect my family`s economic circumstances in the way that you can sell them a tax cut. Now, that said, another difference between now and when George Bush was running for president is there was a budget surplus when George Bush was running. So, what are we going to do with the surplus? Obviously not there now. HAYES: Alright. Josh Barro and Dorian Warren, thank you 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