IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 11/12/15

Guests: Matt Welch, Matt Barreto, Matt Taibbi, Greg Lukianoff, BrittneyCooper, Betsy Woodruff

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: Believe me when I tell you, Mr. Trump, that was brutal what they did to those people. HAYES: Donald Trump defending the program formerly known as Operation Wetback, as Republicans go to war with themselves over immigration. SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People have to be deported. There is no doubt about it. SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Talk is cheap, that you know where someone is based on their actions. HAYES: Plus, the latest stunner from Ben Carson`s whoa if true presidential run. Why Hillary Clinton`s ride is beginning to tilt the Republican field. What Republican candidates don`t get about campus politics. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it`s disgusting. HAYES: And fact-checking myself on "The Daily Show" last night. TREVOR NOAH, THE DAILY SHOW: Well, that`s a strange thing to think about. HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. It is the Republican political class` worst nightmare. Immigration, the one issue that could both tear the party apart and doom it in a general election, has exploded back into the center of the Republican political conversation, with Donald Trump holding down the most extreme position and everyone else scrambling to try to get some cover. These are live pictures from a, I have to say, relatively low-energy Donald Trump, addressing supporters at Iowa Central Community College. Republican front-runner once again defending the harsh immigration plan he endorsed at Tuesday`s debate, when he hailed the 1954 program under President Dwight Eisenhower to deport hundreds of thousands of Mexicans living in the U.S. Though Trump didn`t mention that, that program was known as Operation Wetback, named after disparaging term for Mexicans who came to the U.S. via the Rio Grande. Last night on FOX News, Bill O`Reilly tried to get Trump to acknowledge that Operation Wetback was a brutal, inhumane program and not something to aspire to. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`REILLY: Believe me when I tell you, Mr. Trump, that was brutal what they did to those people to kick them back. I mean, the stuff they did -- TRUMP: Well -- O`REILLY: -- was really brutal and it could never happen today. TRUMP: I`ve heard it both ways. I`ve heard good reports. O`REILLY: No, no, you know me. TRUMP: I`ve heard bad reports. We would do it in a very humane way. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Trump`s position is so extreme that it is the rare issue to bring together Bill O`Reilly and President Obama, who today in an interview with ABC News, took Trump very much to task. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Imagine the images on the screen flashed around the world as we were dragging parents away from their children and putting them in what detention centers, and then systemically sending them out. Nobody thinks that that is realistic, but more importantly, that`s not who we are as Americans. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: After their loss in the 2012 election, the GOP released an autopsy report that included a frank assessment of how the party is seen by Latino voters. Only 27 percent of whom supported Mitt Romney. Quote, "If Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies," the document said. Before adding, "We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform." Or as Republican strategist Steve Schmidt puts it -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEVE SCHMIDT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It is impossible for us to put together a coalition to win the presidency with less than about 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Donald Trump is far from the GOP`s only problem in this regard. Today, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were polling in third and fourth place for the race for the GOP nomination, and who many see as currently the two candidates most likely to emerge as the nominee, became engaged in a bitter immigration battle of their own. Rubio was a member of the so- called "gang of eight" that crafted and advocated for the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, that included a path to citizenship. That got 68 votes in the Senate before being blocked in the House. Under fire from immigration hard-liners and the GOP, Rubio has since repudiated that bill. But Cruz isn`t about to let anyone forget Rubio`s involvement. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: Talk is cheap, that you know where someone is based on their actions. As the Scripture says, you shall know them by their fruits. The "Gang of Eight", they fought tooth and nail to try to jam this amnesty down the American people`s throat. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Rubio had an attack of his own ready today, pointing out that Cruz had also once supported a position dangerously close to a conservative to derisively call amnesty. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUBIO: Ted is a supporter of legalizing people that are in this country illegally. In fact, when a Senate bill was proposed, he proposed legalizing people that were here illegally. He proposed giving them work permits. If you look at it, I don`t think our positions are dramatically different. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Rubio`s campaign also circulated a video of Cruz in 2013, pushing an amendment that would have eliminated the path to citizenship but would have allowed a legal status for undocumented immigrants, a position Cruz now insists was designed to expose Democrats for being unwilling to compromise. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: I don`t want immigration reform to fail. I want immigration reform to pass. And so I would urge people of good faith on both sides of the aisle, if the objective is to pass common sense immigration reform that secures the borders, that improves legal immigration, and that allows those who are here illegally to come in and out of the shadows, then we should look for areas of bipartisan agreement and compromise to come together. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Now, the fact that Ted Cruz is now seen by some as insufficiently hard line is a testament to just how far right the immigration debate in the Republican Party has shifted. When Cruz was proposing legal status, his position was the right-wing alternative to the path to citizenship being pushed by Rubio. But now, with Donald Trump advocating mass deportation, modeled on a program called Operation Wetback, Ted Cruz`s past position puts him on the left flank of the GOP conversation. And there is no easy way out of this to the GOP. According to a new poll, Republicans and GOP leaning independents overwhelmingly see Trump as the candidate who would best handle the issue of immigration. Now, joining me now, Matt Welch, editor in chief of "Reason" magazine. Well, that gives you -- that gives you heartburn if you are Karl Rove or a top Republican strategist. That last chart we saw, overwhelmingly, this is what Republican voters want to hear on this issue. MATT WELCH, REASON: Well, that chart is about, what do people who think they`re going to do best on immigration, right? HAYES: Right, yes. WELCH: So the people who are motivated by either being more restrictionist with immigration or really mad at illegal immigrants, or, this is also important, they really think that the elites are full of dookie when they talk about wanting to have immigration reform. HAYES: Right. WELCH: They`re reflected in that number. They want Donald Trump who`s going to deport the 5 million children or 4 million children of illegal immigrants. But Marco Rubio is in second place. HAYES: Right. WELCH: So there is an alternative there for people who think all that kind of stuff is crazy. So, yes, that 49 number is gigantic and it gives those people heartburn. And there`s legitimate worry that the party is going to shoot itself in the foot in the some way. And, by the way, Donald Trump agreed with that Hispanic report after the election. He called Mitt Romney`s self-deportation line -- HAYES: Yes. WELCH: -- maniacal in November of 2012. So, a lot of people have changed their mind on this issue. HAYES: I`m going to give you my read on what I would do if I were Marco Rubio. If I was Marco Rubio`s adviser, and I was totally amoral, I would just say, look, just lie to people. I mean, lie yourself through the primary. Say, yes, we`re not going to -- we`re going to deal with this, we`re going to take path to citizenship off the table. We`re not going to do path to citizenship when I`m president. We can maybe talk about legal status, you know, kick the ball down the field. If you get the nomination, then, you know, those people will vote for you anyway. And pivot -- and I actually think, perversely, you can make an argument, the best chance for comprehensive immigration reform would essentially be a Republican punking his own base on the issue. WELCH: I think that he`s actually doing it correctly right now, which is similar to what John McCain did back in 2007. Remember, his campaign was almost torpedoed by hostility towards his work on a comprehensive immigration campaign. HAYES: Yes, McCain-Kennedy. WELCH: Which he then disavowed and started running and voting against the individual parts of it. What Rubio is saying, and I think there`s some truth to this, is that comprehensive immigration reform is actually at this point actually a bad idea. I agree with him on that. I think you have to de-comprehensivize it. HAYES: I strongly disagree but continue. WELCH: You have to say, I think the problem is we have insufficient number of legal visas, and it`s a two-bureaucratic system. HAYES: Right. WELCH: Make that number bigger, and suddenly treat it as a prohibition problem rather than treating it as a criminality problem, and you can flip it. But I think Rubio has played it pretty well so far. The thing is, he`s now the front-runner in the betting markets, right? So, he`s going to be -- HAYES: Well, that`s the thing. Right, so if he can -- look, he got away with the CNBC debate, because somehow he never was prepped on this particular issue, which is the biggest glaring weakness of Marco Rubio, right? Which is at one level, you can say he`s achieved the perfect level of strategic ambiguity on what he can do. On the other, you can say, the guy got no cover, because the people who want reform don`t trust him and the people who don`t want reform don`t trust him. WELCH: Well, remember that Republicans have wiped out Democrats on the state level and governorships. They had a really good last week, all this kind of stuff. And very little of that had anything to do with immigration -- HAYES: Had nothing to do. WELCH: -- or immigration reform, right? So, this is a presidential year, and let`s remember, this is -- one of the craziest political season we`ve ever seen, ever since Donald Trump escalatored down into our political lives and said, you know, Mexicans were rapists. And then immediately doubled in the polls -- HAYES: Right. WELCH: -- changed everything. HAYES: Speaking of the man running the escalator, Trump just gave an interview and had an interesting characterization of Ben Carson. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: When he says he`s pathological, and he says that in the book. I don`t say that. And again, I`m not saying anything. I`m not saying anything other than pathological is a very serious disease. And he said he`s pathological. That`s a big problem, because you don`t cure that. That`s like, you know, I can say, they say don`t cure, as an example, child molester. You don`t cure these people. You don`t cure a child molester. There`s no cure for it. Pathological, there`s no cure for that. Now, I didn`t say it. He said it in his book. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Just dropped child molester on the table there. WELCH: This election has said that people who usually get penalized for statements like that haven`t been penalized so far, during the low- information season of the Republican primary. But at the same juncture before, Herman Cain was winning, Rudy Giuliani was winning. Eventually, you`ve got to think maybe you will get penalized for that -- HAYES: That is something we take up later in the show. So, thank you. Very effective tease. Matt Welch, always good to have you here. WELCH: Thank you. HAYES: Joining me now, Matt Barreto, co-founder of the polling group, Latino Decisions, a consultant of the Hillary Clinton campaign. Though, I should stress, he`s not speaking on behalf of the campaign tonight. Matt, here`s my question. This seems to be an empirical question. So it could be the case that Latino voters are not paying close attention to the Republican primary or if they are, they`re forming strong opinions of Donald Trump, and as long as he`s not the nominee, it`s not really going to be a big issue in the general. Or it could be the case, Latino voters are paying close attention and this is hurting the overall Republican brand. What I what does the evidence suggest about which of those two is correct? MATT BARRETO, LATINO DECISIONS: I think the latter, for sure. There was an NBC Telemundo poll out about a month, month and a half ago that said that 16 percent of the Trump comments spoke for the party as a whole, that it was hurting the overall brand. When we`ve done polling on that same thing, Chris, at Latino Decisions, during the 2013 immigration reform you were talking about, when folks like Jeff Sessions and Ted Cruz were giving their anti-immigrant statements, it reflected the whole party. HAYES: You know, I think there`s some thinking among some folks in the GOP that Marco Rubio is sort of the perfect emissary for this. His parents are immigrants, he, himself, is Latino, he`s a fluent speaker of Spanish, and that he can kind of overcome this. Even if he`s wrong on the substance with regards to the vast majority of Latinos, who by very large margin favor comprehensive reform. What do you think of that argument? BARRETO: You know, there was some point during 2013, during the immigration reform debate, that Marco Rubio was saying the right thing. But he has completely shifted from those statements, including most recently being caught on video saying that he would repeal the DACA and the DAPA, that he would go against these things that are protecting these DREAMers and the parents of U.S.-born kids. So, he has moved a very long way from where he was in June of 2013 when the U.S. Senate was working together. Now, he is moving farther to the right. That seems to be the Trump effect. That Trump is moving these candidates further to the right. And even someone like Rubio who might have a compelling story is going to have a very, very hard time explaining himself to Latino voters on this issue that he has now abandoned. HAYES: But doesn`t he -- I mean, look, politics is fluid. And I`ve seen in my career as a political reporter, particularly, I`ve seen candidates, you know, the word flip-flop exists for a reason. People change positions. I mean, it seems to me it`s not impossible for someone like him to get the nomination and just say, you know what, it`s back on, let`s talk about it and have a bit of credibility. Say, look, I was a gang of eight guy, I believed in this. It looked like it wasn`t going to happen. Now I`m running for president, I think we can make it happen in the right way. So, trust me to get this done. BARRETO: Well, I think that has all changed now with this sort of age of everything being caught on video. So, how is Rubio going to respond when he`s on camera saying he would repeal and end the DACA or the DAPA, these executive actions that protect millions of families? And so, because that`s on tape, because it`s in his words, it`s he himself saying this, Rubio is going to have a very, very hard time tacking back. Yes, in 2013, he supported the Senate bill and he was a co-author of the Senate bill. But he backed away from it. He didn`t even go to help lobby anyone in the House to get it passed. He almost immediately backed away from it. And because this is all on tape, because this is all on video, his own smiling face saying these things to conservative crowds, he`ll have a lot of explaining to do. I just don`t see right now how he gets back to that center point and convinces Latinos that he actually cares about these important issues. HAYES: You anticipate Ted Cruz to continue to press what I think is probably his advantage on this. BARRETO: Yes, absolutely. I think you`re going to see Cruz really try to lean into him on that issue and really try to expose him and you`ll see Ted Cruz keep using the amnesty word. And I think you`re going to see a lot of divisiveness. That debate the other night really exposed this big gulf in the Republican Party. And these numbers you had on earlier, showing this is really driving the Republican Party right now, and that is terrible for them. If they`re going to look at the Mitt Romney numbers like that was the good old years, 27 percent. HAYES: Right. BARRETO: I mean, they`re going down on this issue and Hispanic voters know where they stand. HAYES: All right. Matt Barreto, thanks very much. BARRETO: Sure thing, Chris. HAYES: Still ahead, why some Ben Carson stories are concerning, they don`t disqualify factors from becoming president. That said, positions on foreign policies as articulated in the last 48 hours should be. We`ll look at that. Later, how Republican candidates are recalibrating their attack strategy, now setting their sights on Hillary Clinton. Plus, as we see ripple effects from the University of Missouri, liberals and conservatives both ringing the alarm about the dangers of so- called PC culture. Are they missing the point? Those stories and more ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Yesterday Ben Carson did something you might have missed. He became, as Vox put it, arguably the most liberal candidate on the GOP race on immigration, specifically on how to address the nation`s 11 million undocumented immigrants. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I propose we give them a six- month period in which to register. If they don`t register within that six- month period, they`re criminals. And I would treat it as such. But if they register within that six-month period and if they have a pristine record and they wish to be guest workers in this country, they would have to pay a back-tax penalty and continue to pay taxes going forward. But they would no longer have to live in the shadows. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Now, that`s not fall short of comprehensive immigration reform. It`s on a far-left position, but it was far too much for Donald Trump who tweeted, quote, "Wow, presidential candidate Ben Carson who is very weak on illegal immigration just said he likes amnesty and a pathway to citizenship." Coming up, the latest revelation about Ben Carson`s past. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Ben Carson, Republican front-runner, acclaimed neurosurgeon, says he has the fix for health care in this country, something he calls the Saudi Arabian solution. Carson wrote in his 2013 book, "America the Beautiful," quote, "Why don`t people steal very much in Saudi Arabia? Obviously, because the punishment is the amputation of one or more fingers. I would not advocate chopping off people`s limbs, but there would be some very stiff penalties for this kind of fraud, such as loss of one`s medical license for life, no less than ten years in prison, and loss of one`s personal possessions." But according a report by the "Associated Press", Carson advocated a very different approach a few years earlier when he testified on behalf of a close friend who would plead guilty to felony health care fraud. Alfonzo Costa, a Pittsburgh-based dentist, was accused in 2007 of billing insurance companies for procedures he never actually performed, a crime that carries up to ten years in prison. But after Carson intervened on his behalf, Costa, who pled guilty, ended up with no more than three years probation. His dental license was revoked in 2009. In a statement today, Ben Carson told NBC News, "Al Costa is my best friend. Al Costa is my very best friend. I know his heart. I am proud to call him my friend. I have always and will continue to stand by him, and that is what real friends do." Now, who among us doesn`t have an old friend that is a bit of scoundrel? Certainly, it never disqualified anyone from the presidency. What should be disqualifying is Carson`s total and complete lack of command over the basics of foreign policy and world affairs, fully on display at Tuesday night`s debates. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARSON: We`re talking about global jihadists and their goal is to destroy us and destroy our way of life. So, we have to be saying, how do we make them look like losers? Because that`s the way we`re able to gather a lot of influence. And I think in order to make them look like losers, we have to destroy their caliphate. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The post-debate analysis many people have zeroed in on one particular thing that Carson said about the Middle East. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARSON: Putin is trying to really spread his influence throughout the Middle East. This is going to be his base. And we have to oppose him there, in an effective way. We also must recognize that it`s a very complex place. You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The Chinese are there. OK, to be clear, if China had a military presence in the Middle East, in Syria, that would be a very, very, very big deal. That would be all over the news. So, big, it`s probably a safe bet that we have never heard about it. But asked about that comment by MSNBC`s Tamron Hall, his business manager Armstrong Williams, said Carson knows something we just don`t know. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, CARSON BUSINESS MANAGER (via telephone): From your perspective, maybe that is inaccurate. But from our intelligence and what Dr. Carson has been told by people on the ground who are involved in that area of the world, it has been told to him many times over and over that the Chinese are there. Now, just because the mainstream media and other experts don`t want to see any credibility to it, does not mean that some way down the line, within the next few days, that that story wouldn`t come out and be reinforced and given credibility by others. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: In a radio interview yesterday, Carson said he wouldn`t hesitate to shoot down Russian aircraft, no matter the consequences. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) CARSON: If they do come into that area, after you have given them adequate warning, after we have talked to Putin, you shoot `em down, absolutely. HOST: All right. There is the whole butterfly effect. If you shoot down a Russian MiG, what happens next? They will respond, no question. CARSON: Whatever happens next, we deal with it. But we can`t continue backing down. (END AUDIO CLIP) HAYES: Now, Carson says he`s ready to start another war in Iraq. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARSON: I think we require boots on the ground. And the advantage of putting boots on the ground is that you provide leadership, because all of the nations of the Arabian Peninsula and in that area, they have an interest in that area, but there`s nobody leading them. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Joining me now, Matt Taibbi, contributing editor for "Rolling Stone." I mean, this is -- I mean, I guess, look, I guess the idea is, everyone else in the race this is he`s going to disappear. I think the GOP, kind of donor class, doesn`t feel threatened by him. So what`s the use in pointing it out? But I don`t -- you`ve been covering -- you`ve been in Iowa. I don`t think he`s going to disappear. MATT TAIBBI, ROLLING STONE: I know, I just got back from New Hampshire, too. I think it`s like Mr. Welch was saying before. This is a totally new paradigm we have with this presidential election. Things that we were disqualifying in previous election cycles aren`t disqualifying anymore. People say crazy things. The media points them out, but for some reason, it doesn`t move voters anymore to abandon those candidates. People who like Carson are sticking with Carson. People who like Trump, are sticking with Trump. It doesn`t matter how crazy they are or how little sense they make anymore. HAYES: Yes, and that his foreign policy -- I mean, I should -- I should s have -- national security adviser, Susan Rice, I should play her responding to this China in Syria idea. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I really can`t speak to what he was referring to, but, you know, unless you`re talking about having a diplomatic presence, I`m not sure what he was referring to. REPORTER: -- military involvement was the implication? RICE: I have not seen any evidence of China`s military involvement in Syria. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: There`s also sort of this amazing echo chamber effect, where Armstrong and Williams say, we have our own private knowledge. TAIBBI: Right, how do you refute that? HAYES: Maybe they do. I guess I can`t say definitely. TAIBBI: If you`re a Carson supporter and Armstrong Williams gets up there and says, we actually think this is true, what is anybody going to say? You know, the Chinese aren`t there? You can`t show every single part of Syria, right? HAYES: Having been on the trail in New Hampshire and Iowa, do you feel like you have a better sort of grasp of Carson`s appeal than you did before you went on the trail? TAIBBI: Well, I think his primary appeal in this race is that he clearly -- he`s the one that evangelical voters identify with the most. And out of all the candidates, he`s the one who`s most up-front about his religion. Trump is clearly not -- he`s clearly not that candidate. And you know, the other candidates are professional politicians, which is also to their detriment. So he`s going to get those voters I think and I think -- HAYES: I think he`s going to win Iowa. TAIBBI: I think he`s going to win Iowa. And he`s going to stick around. I think everybody is expecting Rubio to rise. Las Vegas thinks he`s going to rise. HAYES: Right. You mean the betting market? TAIBBI: Right, exactly. They all think he`s going to be in it. But I still think he`s going to hang around. HAYES: I want to play this. We mentioned this yesterday. I don`t think we played this amazing Ted Cruz moment, where he says that he`s going -- the five agencies -- TAIBBI: Oh, yes. HAYES: -- that he`s going to get rid of. Let`s take a look at Ted Cruz. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: Today, we rolled out a spending plan, $500 billion in specific cuts, five major agencies that I would eliminate. The IRS, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and HUD. (END VIDEO CLIP) TAIBBI: I got nothing. It was so funny. HAYES: Here`s what I love about it. There`s two things I love about it. One is, there`s a moment in that where you can see -- a microsecond where he`s like, he`s forgotten it. And then he makes the absolutely correct choice to just repeat. TAIBBI: Right. HAYES: Yes, it`s an affirmative, you could see it in his eyes. I forgot, I`m going to make an affirmative choice to just repeat this and he totally gets away with it. To me, that was the perfect microcosm of Ted Cruz masterful politician. TAIBBI: Well, I think what happened was, he sees Rick Perry -- HAYES: Yes! TAIBBI: -- flashing before his eyes. And everybody was watching that, saw that happen, but he just punched before instead of just stammering in the way that Perry did. He actually just, you know, it wasn`t that catastrophic. It was bad, but it wasn`t awful. HAYES: It wasn`t catastrophic, because in the moment no one called him on it. It`s a great lesson about politics, people can check the tape later, but that doesn`t matter as much as in the moment. TAIBBI: Right. I still think this would have been really, really bad in another campaign. In this campaign, it`s the ultimate Internet campaign. You have to keep checking every ten seconds to see what crazy or stupid thing the candidates have said. People forgot about that five seconds later, because something else crazy happened. HAYES: That`s right. That would have been a whole 48-hour cycle, at least. Matt Taibbi, great thanks. TAIBBI: Good to see you. HAYES: Coming up, what some very astute, very astute viewers caught during my appearance on "The Daily Show" last night. That`s next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Republican Party and, you know, someone like Donald Trump or Ben Carson could conceivably -- (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Debates are set up with a pro and a con, it`s resolved or we were thinking about Lincoln-Douglas. And there was one Lincoln and one Douglas and they talked to each other. It`s really unclear how you actually engineer a debate with ten or eight people that remotely resembles an actual debate. TREVOR NOAH, HOST, THE DAILY SHOW: Why don`t they have a knockout? Have they ever tried that? HAYES: There was someone -- I think Sam Stein the other say at The Huffington Post wrote an article, saying, this should be a series of one on one... NOAH: And you knock each other out. HAYES: Tournaments. NOAH: That would be entertaining for people. HAYES: I actually think that would be better. I think it should be like march madness with brackets... NOAH: And then we go. HAYES: And you do one on one. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Floated an idea for the next Republican debate, as a guest on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah last night. I also mentioned why electing Ben Carson or Donald Trump, even nominating them, would be unprecedented historically. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The United States has never, with the exception of two generals, has never -- Grant and Eisenhower, as far as I can tell, I think, has never elected anyone with as little political experience as Donald Trump and Ben Carson currently have. And I think there`s a reason for that. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Now, as a few people on the internet pointed out, I did miss one important president. Well, OK, not that important. But I missed a president, Zachary Taylor, he was viewed as the hero of the Mexican- American war and the 12th president of the United States. He had never held elected office and he had never even voted in a presidential election until 1848, when he was elected our nation`s 12th president. Taylor served from 1849 until his death 16 months later from a brief illness that still puzzles historians today. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: There`s a sound bite we played you yesterday of Jeb Bush talking to reporters in Iowa and something about it really caught my ear. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did well, talked about issues that are important to people. We need to start thinking about how -- who`s the person that can beat Hillary Clinton, rather than trying to get into small differences between each campaign. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: You see he name checked there, not any of his opponents, it was Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. For the past week or so, I have noticed her name coming up a lot more often among some of the Republican candidates, especially those like Bush and Chris Christie and John Kasich, who have more appeal to GOP establishment than they do, at least to this point, to the base. At the undercard debate on Tuesday, Christie recently demoted to that debate, seemed to turn every single attack on him as to an excuse to criticize Clinton. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS CHRISTIE, GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That represents a pretty major shift in Republicans thinking about the race, because over the summer, with Hillary Clinton battling an ongoing string of email stories and watching her poll numbers slip while Bernie Sanders drew larger and larger crowds, even pulled ahead in polling in New Hampshire, I think a whole lot of Republicans started to believe their own hype about her weakness as a candidate, convincing themselves that if she even got the nomination, she would be damaged goods. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The fact is, what she has done is criminal. I mean, what she has done is criminal. I don`t see how she can run. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly what are you saying is criminal? TRUMP: Frankly, what she did is far worse than what General Petraeus did, and he`s gone down in disgrace. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Now, those assumptions gave a lift to Trump and Ben Carson, two candidates with zero experience in government, because if you`re a Republican base voter and the Democratic front-runner doesn`t look like much competition, you might as well go with the guy you like the most. But two important things have happened since then. We`ve gotten a lot closer to the first nominating contest, when voters will actually have to pick a candidate. And over the past month, helped by a well-received SNL appearance, a strong performance at the first Democratic debate, and an impressive 11 hours of testimony before the Benghazi committee, Clinton has appeared to turn things around. In recent national polls, she now beats all of the top five GOP contenders in head-to-head matchups. That renewed formidability as a candidate is the best thing establishment candidates like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie could ask for. Joining me now, Betsy Woodruff, political reporter at The Daily Beast. And Betsy, you cover this election, you cover the Republicans, Republican voters. Do you buy my thesis here, basically that the weaker Hillary Clinton is scene, the more appeal to people like Carson and Trump, the stronger she`s seen, the stronger the case of a candidate like Chris Christie or Jeb Bush? BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: Yeah, without a doubt. And Bobby Jindal kind of made that argument in the undercard debate. He said Hillary Clinton was a gift-wrapped present to Republicans and specifically stated that primary voters should pick the candidate they think is the most conservative, because any old guy can beat Hillary Clinton because she`s so damaged and terrible. You know, Bobby Jindal said that. So the fact that now establishment Republicans are shifting and saying, no, we need to take her seriously, right, that indicates that they think presenting her as a formidable candidate will help them. I mean, the flip side of this, too, is that for Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich, Hillary is really, strategically, a good person for them to go after, because they can`t really go after candidates on stage who are all going to be right of the them. It puts them in an awkward place. HAYES: And there also, I remember the psychology of Democrats back in 2004, particularly, in that race against Bush, where there was so much disdain for George W. Bush that, you know, anyone, if they sold themselves as the person that could beat Bush, no matter how far left you were on the spectrum, that`s all people cared about. I don`t think there`s that same feeling among the base right now about Hillary Clinton, but maybe that will change? WOODRUFF: I don`t think that feeling exists yet, right. Because I think Republicans have built up Hillary Clinton as an incredibly formidable, insidious, ominous, powerful, shady figure honestly, over the course of the last 15, 20 years that she`s been in public life, right? She`s seen as many things in the conservative movement, by conservatives, but she`s not seen as a goofball or a buffoon. So this makes sense. It`s understandable that that`s tack that they would be taking. HAYES: That, and I think we`re going to see now more -- I think what you are going to see, my prediction is Jeb Bush, probably even Marco Rubio, frankly, John Kasich, Chris Christie are going to hammer on the fact that the primary decision procedure for a member of the Republican Party who is going into the polling booth is who is best to beat Hillary. And they are going to ride that for the next several months. WOODRUFF: Without a doubt. And that`s really been the central thesis, the central premise of Jeb Bush`s candidacy, right? The understanding is that that`s how he pigeons himself to donors. I`m the only guy who can raise enough money to compete with her. I`m the only guy who won`t say goofy, off, you know, goofball, bizarre-o stuff on the trail, which has been undermined a teeny bit, maybe. And that`s how he`s pitched himself, right. That`s how Kasich would pitch himself as well. And obviously Rubio is presenting himself as the guy that Hillary Clinton`s people are the most frightened of. And, you know, that could potentially make things a little more complicated for conservative candidates if they look slightly less -- I don`t know, slightly less competitive against her. HAYES: So Robert Costa of The Washington Post has a piece out, just got published, in which he says that there are some people around -- I can`t believe I`m saying this -- is this real? I don`t know. I trust Robert Costa, "Romney`s friends are privately discussing whether a late entry is possible." If you ask which Romney is that? Maybe one of Willard "Mitt" Romney`s sons? No, the Willard "Mitt" Romney, the guy who ran and lost. The guy who was going to run and then didn`t run. I don`t know what to make of this. But I can`t tell -- I feel like I need to get the Republican donor class on the couch and just tell them to calm down. But maybe I`m wrong and maybe they`re right that Ben Carson and Donald Trump really have a shot at this thing. WOODRUFF: I mean, the panic is real. If they`re looking back at Mitt Romney, I mean -- and that`s the solution? That`s just amazing. But it`s understandable, right? Because right now, half of the Republican primary electorate wants a guy who said the pyramids were built to hold grain? And the other guy wants a guy who says with a straight face that we can humanely deport 11 million illegal immigrants. That is half of the Republican primary electorate, right. You can`t get past that. These are the guys who are winning. So if you`re an establishment megadonor, if you`re a hedge fund billionaire, you want somebody who is more friendly to your interests, you`re pulling your hair out a little bit. So, I mean, as far as I`m concerned, it passes the smoke test. HAYES: All right, Betsy Woodruff, thank you very much. WOODRUFF: Sure thing. HAYES: Still ahead, the backlash against the Mizzou student protesters and the debate on political correctness on college campuses. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Today, three days after the University of Missouri system president stepped down following protests about how racial incidents on campus were being handled, a new interim president has taken the reins. Michael Middleton, former law professor and University of Missouri`s administrator, was named to the post earlier today. Middleton, who was the third black student ever to graduate from the law school at Missouri accepted the job this afternoon promising a speedy response to threats to members of the community. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHAEL MIDDLETON, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI INTERIM PRESIDNET: Let me make it clear, though, that one thing will not be tolerated and that is harmful or hurtful actions to any members of our university community. Any incidents will be addressed swiftly. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Also today, a second person who was arrested yesterday was charged with two counts of making terrorist threats against students at Mizzou. Connor Stottlemyre (ph) allegedly wrote on Yik Yak, an anonymous smartphone app, quote, "I`m going to shoot any black people tomorrow. So be ready." Meanwhile, Howard University, quote, "out of an abundance of caution," is increasing security after an online threat made to its students. Authorities do not know if the threat is credible, but it comes at a time that protests around race, white supremacy, and inclusivity are roiling college campuses around the country. Today at the dean of students at Clairmont McKenna College (ph) resigned following protests around racial insensitivity. At Ithaca College, hundreds of students gathered to call for the resignation of that college`s president amid similar complaints. And the uprising on campuses around the country have somewhat predictably caused a backlash. We will bring you inside that backlash, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Real quite, Donald, what`s your take on this whole Missouri story, protests are really taking a troubling turn? TRUMP: I think it`s disgusting. I think it`s disgusting. I think the two people who resigned are weak, ineffective people. I think that when they resign, they set something in motion that`s going to be a disaster for the next long period of time. They were weak, ineffective people. How we hire people like this -- Trump should have been the chancellor of that university. Believe me, there would have been no resignations. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: As college students around the country rise up around allegations of racial insensitivity on university campuses, Republican presidential hopefuls for the most part are lining up to condemn them. Donald Trump, perhaps not surprisingly, came out with the strongest opposition to the uprising at Mizzou, calling the demands of students who successfully ousted two top university officials earlier this week, quote, crazy. But others like Ben Carson, Rand Paul, and Carly Fiorina are also rushing to join the backlash against the campus protests. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BEN CARSON, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to recognize that this is a very dangerous trend. When we get to a point where a majority can say, I don`t like what you`re doing, that`s offensive, and therefore, I have a right to be violent toward you or to deprive you of rights because I don`t like what you`re doing, you know, that really goes against the grain of our constitutional rights. SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: So, I think freedom of speech is very, very important. Does freedom of speech mean that there will be boorish people, people who say things that you don`t want to associate with? Yes. CARLY FIORINA, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE; Political correctness is now choking candid conversation in this nation. 9END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Marco Rubio used a similar line, speaking to The Washington Post reporter, quote, "freedom of speech seems to be under assault in some of the finer institutions of this country." Chris Christie, however, went one step further, claiming that protests are a product of lawlessness that Obama allows. To be clear, it`s not just 2016 presidential hopefuls who are knocking the campus protesters. In a very heated debate even among liberals and others about whether the campus protests constitute so-called PC culture run amok and whether or not they do in fact constitute a threat to the freedom of speech. We`ll debate it, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Joining me now, Brittany Cooper, assistant professor of women`s and gender studies, and African studies at Rutgers University, Greg Lukianoff, he`s president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, author of "Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate." Greg, let me start with you. I feel like there`s been a lot of things run together in people`s lines, a lot of lack of analytical clarity here. So, let`s talk about Mizzou. I mean, in Missouri, you have students of color who said there were threatening incidents that happened on campus, including the Swastika. They felt they weren`t sufficiently dealt with. They protest. The president stepped down in response. In the last few days, we`ve seen like actually criminally prosecutable threats. GREG LUKIANOFF, PRESIDENT, FIRE: Yeah. HAYES: And I don`t see why this is -- I really fail to see why this is an example of PC culture run amok. LUKIANOFF: well, it`s actually very positive free speech story, with one exception. There was that regretful incident where a student journalist was trying to take pictures on campus and was met by first a ton of students. The student journalists was trying to be on campus, and then being told by a white media studies professor, hey, I`m going to get some muscle to stop you from doing your job here. So that was the only real sort of like free speech element. Oh, and also, they were telling police that they need to be on the lookout for hurtful speech, which is a little bit broader than what police are allowed to look out for. HAYES: Brittany, that incident that went very viral, it was a student photographer, he was working, I believe, for ESPN, and he was trying to take pictures, and he was blocked. And basically, the student protesters said, we`ve created a space free of media here on the public quad. A lot of people took issue with that. I thought it was wrong. What was your sense of it? BRITTNEY COOPER, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: So, one of the things we`ve got to be thinking about is that these young black students are saying to us that surveillance is a threat to them. And so they`re not talking about trying to limit the press or trying to limit freedom of expression, they are trying to figure out how you have social movements in which black students are hypersurveilled on these campuses and are hypervisible. And also where media coverage of these stories is usually quite hostile to these students. It is not particularly sympathetic, especially when we`re having ridiculous conversations as though -- for instance, about freedom of speech, when these students are really asking us to think about what it means to for them be physically and emotionally unsafe on these campuses. That`s the real issue. This is not an issue of black students who are advocating for the right to be in safe places, trying to limit other folks` constitutional rights, and it`s extremely intellectually dishonest to assume or act thought that is the conversation we`re trying to have. HAYES: Greg, your response to that? LUKIANNOFF: Well, it`s one of those things that I think it`s funny. There was an article that ran today called The Free Speech Diversion, and it ran maybe yesterday in The New Yorker. And to me, I`ve been fighting online for campus free speech for my entire career, going back to 2001. And we`ve been defeating the kind of things that would have made the protests at Missouri and the protests at Yale impossible, including free speech zones. These ridiculous pins that administrators have set up at colleges across the country that tell students that they can only protest, literally, sometimes in 20-foot- wide gazebos that they need advance permission to use. So I think if we just say, oh, free speech is just a diversion, I`m like, no, no, you`ve been missing this fight that`s been going on for decades now. HAYES: You know, Brittany, do you want to respond that? COOPER: sure. The problem is that you`re making an argument, sir, that free speech is the most fundamental concern here. Look, African-American folks have always had to fight for our rights to enjoy all of these freedoms. And so we value them just like you do, but there is something that is as fundamental to the right to free speech, and that`s the right to move through the world unharassed. And so what we have here is a complicated situation in which this sort of -- there`s a white privilege in the ability to make this conversation about the threat to freedom of speech and it supplants our ability to have a more robust conversation about the threat to move through the world in an African-American or black body without being harassed. And so, that is the conversation I want folks to be having. It`s not -- yes? HAYES: Let me ask a question here. You use this term, "emotional harm," which I think to me really gets to the bedrock here. From the subjective experience of these students, right, whether it`s the cameras or it`s the way that they are being looked at or talked about, there`s like some really genuine emotional harm happening there. And you use the word "harassment," those are real things, and I don`t want to discount them. But there`s also, it seems to me, they can be the by-product of speech. I mean, people can say things that really, genuinely, you do emotionally harm. They may even make you in some sense feel unsafe, they may make you feel harassed. Figuring out what that line is seems to be a pretty tricky thing, because if that category expands big enough, you do start to encroach on debate. COOPER: Sure. But let`s be clear that black students aren`t going and complaining to the administration every time someone says something that is remotely offensive to them. These were a series of escalating incidents in which students were moving around and being yelled at, so that they felt physically unsafe. And so that`s very different than a student in your class said something that was racially insensitive and now you`re calling on the administration to censor them. And I`ve spoken very robustly about the fact that I think there should be limits on trigger warnings, largely because those are often attempts by privileged white students to place their emotional harm at the center of the conversation. So I think that we keep on mischaracterizing what black students are asking for here, they are saying to us that these discursive threats, these rhetorical threats, make them feel physically unsafe and not just emotionally unsafe. And that has to matter to administrators, who do have some power over creating inclusive and respectful campus culture. HAYES: Greg? LUKIANOFF: But I want to get back to the idea that we can just dismiss the free speech elements of this case. So, let`s take the case at Yale. That involved a lecturer who sent out an email saying, an email that if you read it I think you probably would agree it was very reasonable. But saying, should campuses really be telling people how to dress for Halloween? And the protest in response for that and the demand for her to be fired, that still hasn`t been amply addressed. And my bottom line on this entire discussion is Yale is not is no longer about free speech, as long as the case there, as long as the administrations say, Nicholas and Erika Christakis will not be punished for what they said. HAYES: All right. Brittney Cooper -- sorry, Brittney, I`m sorry to cut you off. Obviously, this is a topic that could go way, way longer then just this. But that was clarifying in a lot of ways. Brittney Cooper and Greg Lukianoff, thank you for joining me. All right, that is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts now. Good evening, Rachel. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END