Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: December 16, 2015 Guest: Jason Downs, Michael Tomasky, Jacob Weisberg, Lizz Winstead, David Sirota, Lara Jakes (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC GUEST HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The family`s not angry, no one else should be angry. WAGNER: A hung jury. A trial for first police officer in the death of Freddie Gray results in a mistrial. We`ll go to Baltimore for the latest. Then about last night -- DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Last night, so, I had Jeb come at me, you know, low energy. WAGNER: A day after the debate, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush keep hammering. But will it change anything? JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He`s not a serious candidate. He gets his news from the shows. WAGNER: Plus, will Republican tough talk keep America safe? GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re already in World War III. SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You would carpet bomb where ISIS is, not a city, but the location of the troops. WAGNER: And why bashing so-called PC culture is all the rage. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The patient is in critical condition and will not be cured by political correctness. CRUZ: Political correctness is killing people. WAGNER: ALL IN starts now. (END VIDEOTAPE) WAGNER: Good evening from New York. I`m Alex Wagner, in for Chris Hayes. We are following breaking news from Baltimore, Maryland, where people took to the streets after a mistrial was declared in the first of six prosecutions of the Baltimore police officers charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray. The jury failed to reach a verdict on all four charges faced by Officer William Porter -- manslaughter, misconduct in office, second degree assault and reckless endangerment. Porter pleaded not guilty to all charges. The state argued that Porter showed indifference to Gray`s well being by failing to secure him in a seat belt in the back of a police van as required by department policy and for not calling for a medic for the 25- year-old Gray when he asked for one. Lawyers will be back in judge`s chambers tomorrow to discuss a new date for the trial, according to the court. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in reaction to today`s mistrial, that the community must not repeat the unrest seen earlier this year. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE (D), BALTIMORE, MD: We will not and cannot be defined by the unrest of last spring. As a city, as a community, are stronger and we are united to be better than what some displayed to the world in the spring. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: And Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the department would support peaceful protests. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEVIN DAVIS, BALTIMORE POLICE COMMISSIONER: Folks who choose to commit crimes and hurt people and break things and harm people are no longer protesters. You lose your ability to call yourself a protester when you choose to harm people and destroy property. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: Freddie Gray`s stepfather urged calm and said the family is not upset with the jury. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHARD SHIPLEY, FREDDIE GRAY`S STEPFATHER: They did the best that they could. We are hopeful that Ms. Mosley we`re retry Officer Porter as soon as possible and that a next jury will reach a verdict. Once again, we ask the public to remain calm, patient, because we are confident there will be another trial with a different jury. We are calm. You should be calm, too. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: Authorities say at least two people have been arrested today in connection with the protests. We are looking at live pictures of the streets of Baltimore right now where things appear to be relatively calm. Joining me now is NBC News reporter Ron Allen. Ron, what can you tell me about the police presence on the street? RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, things are very calm, Alex. There is a significant police presence. Certainly earlier today, they were out in force but not interacting or not really confronting the protesters we saw gathered down the street here in front of city hall. They were keeping their distance, while small groups were gathering. People were upset, anger. But obviously, there`s also a long way to go in this process, because there are now going to be, we believe, six more trials because there`s every indication that Officer Porter will be retrialed, retried, at some point in the process, however. But people are frustrated. They are frustrated especially because he wasn`t found guilty on any of the lesser charges, let alone the manslaughter charges, the more serious charge. And, of course, things now get perhaps tougher for the prosecution because the next officer up is Officer Goodson, the driver of the car, who faces the most serious charges, the murder charges in this case. But this community is ready. You heard the mayor. A lot has changed here since last April. The police chief is out, the Department of Justice is here investigating, the mayor said she`s not going to run for a second term. So, opponents of the administration have some victories, if you will, along the way here. But still, this is a very tough period ahead for the city of Baltimore because each of these trials will produce a different result and people are riding this, it`s a drama, and people want to see these officers convicted of something, they want to see them convicted of the serious charges because there is little doubt in this community that these officers are guilty. But, of course, they`ll have their day in court, and the community will be watching very closely to see exactly what happens and see if justice prevails -- Alex. WAGNER: Many chapters in this unfolding tragedy. Ron Allen, thanks for joining me. I want to bring in now, Jason Downs, co-counsel for the family of Freddie Gray. Jason, is the family`s expectation that there`s going to be a retrial here? JASON DOWNS, CO-COUNSEL FOR FAMILY OF FREDDIE GRAY: There`s every indication that there will be a retrial. The fact that there is a hearing tomorrow set for the purpose of setting a trial date is -- gives the family every indication that there will be a retrial in this case. WAGNER: Were you surprised that this was a hung jury? DOWNS: Well, it`s clear, if you look at the statistics across the country, that hung juries occur. So the family was prepared for the possibility that there would be a hung jury. Six percent of criminal trials across the country result in hung juries. So, while it doesn`t happen all the time, it`s certainly a possibility. So we were prepared for this possibility. WAGNER: But based on the proceedings of the trial, was it your expectation at all that this would be so difficult a decision that the jury was deadlocked effectively? DOWNS: Well, if you -- it`s always up to any independent jury. Every jury is different. I`ve seen juries come back with guilty verdicts. I`ve seen juries come back with not guilty verdicts in a matter of minutes, in a matter of days, in a matter of weeks. So every particularly jury is different. Despite how simple or how complicated the evidence may seem, it`s always up to a particular jury. And in this case, we have every indication that the jury took its time, they looked through the evidence, they analyzed the testimony and the exhibits, and they were unable to reach a verdict. WAGNER: Jason, the prosecution indicated that they wanted to use Officer Porter as a witness in Officer Goodson`s trial further down the road. How do you think what happened today complicates that or doesn`t? DOWNS: Well, at this point, Officer Porter doesn`t -- he can`t be compelled to testify in anyone`s trial at this point. He does have a Fifth. So, he`s not -- at this point, he can`t be compelled to testify in the next trial. So, the state can`t force him to be a witness against any of the other officers at this point right now. So, it`s up to him. It`s up to the particular officer. WAGNER: I guess, my question would be what was your advice to the family, who I`m sure is looking for resolution? This is a marathon, given that there are going to be six trials and if you count the hung, seven. What was your advice to the family at this moment when the news came down the pike that this would be a hung jury, in this trial? DOWNS: Well, you hit the nail on the head. This is a marathon, it`s not a sprint. The fact that the motion to sever was granted and that there are six separate trials in and itself means this is a marathon and that this particular trial ends in a hung jury means that we have taken one step in the marathon, but we`ve got a long way to go. We`ve got at least five more trials, most likely six more trials left. WAGNER: Co-counsel for the family of Freddie Gray, Jason Downs, thanks for taking the time. DOWNS: Thank you for having me. WAGNER: Joining me now is MSNBC`s national correspondent Joy Reid. Joy, it was I think -- I don`t know if it was a letdown. It was a lack of resolution can be incredibly frustrating in a moment like this. Were you surprised this is what happened here? JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In a sense no, because a lot of the time these trials really do hang on jury selection. You had a lot of really interesting intersectional factors here. You had a jury of 12 people, eight of whom were African-American, two white, two white women, two men. It took place in the city of Baltimore rather than the county, where you would have probably had a jury with fewer African-American members. And if you look at sort of the jury science side of it, when you have African-American victim and African-American jurors or an African-American defendant and African-American jurors, it actually increases the possibility of a hung jury because you can have all of the factors that jurors have in their own experiences going in, weighing on whether they trust the police or doesn`t trust the police. And if you look at the questions these jurors were asking to have read back to them, they were asking things that indicated the argument between whatever two camps, it could have been one versus 11, it could have been two versus 10, was whether or not officer porter did something deliberately or out of some sort of malice. They seemed to be focusing on his mindset toward Freddie Gray, whether or not there was malicious intent. And that seems to be where it broke down. And that really goes to whether you trust the police had positive motives. And I think that might have been, if we have a clue as to what the breakdown was. WAGNER: Well, I mean, it`s interesting because -- I mean, obviously, it raises a factor here, but raises a factor at every level, from the city leadership to Baltimore, which is a majority, minority city, to the defendant, who`s African-American, and a jury that has many African- Americans on it. And I guess I wonder when you sort of read that scene and that racial breakdown, is there something to glean from that? REID: Yes, it`s really so complicated. So, first of all, William Porter is from the same part of town that Freddie Gray is from, though they did not know each other. His defense was smart playing up his biography, the similarities in his background to Freddie Gray. And so, might that have been sympathetic to some of the African- American jurors. You have in the case, as you said, not a white police officer and a black person who has been killed. You have both of them being African-Americans. And, you know, there`s the question of whether this officer was uniquely culpable in Freddie Gray`s death when remember, there are two sets of defendants. There are the three white officers, the bike patrol officers, who actually put a seemingly injured Freddie Gray into the car. Is that where the injuries took place? Then, you have the three African- American officers who transported Freddie Gray, are they more culpable because he was actually in Goodson`s van, because the two African-American officers, Alicia White and Porter, saw him at some point along the journey when they made stops? So, the question of who is more culpable is so difficult to determine because just that videotape doesn`t show Porter. It shows you the three bike police officers putting him in the van. WAGNER: Well, and also, keep in mind that the judge -- the judge in this case is also African-American and has a history of dealing with civil rights and police issues as they intersect with civil rights cases. He in various pieces of reporting I`ve read has been fairly hard line with the jury, giving them a very kind of specific and I think rigorous standard by which they should judge the officers` guilt on these charges, but has declined to elaborate further when the jury asked for clarification on some of these. REID: And asked for some transcripts, right? So, there were instances when the jury was asking define these specific terms that are in the charging documents and he sent back a note saying, no, they`re in the charging documents, you just need to read them. But the other things that the jurors were asking, they asked for the four-hour or so testimony from Officer Porter and they wanted to compare that with his initial statements that were made about five hours after Freddie Gray`s death. So, there was definitely questions about his specific credibility and frame of mind, that the judge was not willing to go over and above to help explain to them. He was simply asking them, deliberate that between themselves. And remember, they declared themselves to be at an impasse yesterday. WAGNER: Right, and that was not broken. REID: Was not broken. WAGNER: And then, just really quickly, there`s the question of how this affects the trials down the lines, because this is sort of a domino effect. One gets slowed and it slows the other. REID: Exactly, and there`s some argument you could make that actually the strongest case would be the case of the driver, because there is this notorious history of a rough driver, of having unbelted passenger driving them around in a really rough manner in order to somehow punish them extrajudicially. That is going to weigh on this case. That`s why he`s got the depraved attempted murder charge. So, if you can`t get one of these officers to essentially flip because they now are facing jail time, and you can say, now, we`re going to make you testify, it makes it just a little harder, because already, as you and I both know, Alex, it is really hard to convict a police officer in the case of someone dying in their custody. WAGNER: Let alone six of them. REID: Exactly. WAGNER: Joy Reid, thanks for being here as always. Good to see you. REID: Thank you. WAGNER: Still ahead, Jeb Bush on the offensive, going further than he ever has but is it too late? Plus, the biggest question from last night`s debate. Do Republicans want to finish what George W. Bush started? I will explain just ahead. And later, how 9/11 responders are one step closer to winning a major health care battle. Those stories and more are ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ: If you recall five months ago, I introduced Donald Trump. At that time, I said a few things. We have something in common, the birth certificate investigation, which is still going on. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: That was Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, introducing Donald Trump today and claiming that the birther investigation, the debunked conspiracy theory that President Obama was a born in Kenya, despite he`s having produced a Hawaiian birth certificate, that that controversy is somehow still going on. Remember when Trump was one of the most vocal birthers? Last night, our own Chris Matthews asked Trump about that past birtherism. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I knew you were going to ask that question. You know what I`ll say? I don`t talk about that anymore. Here`s the story -- I don`t answer because you know what, if I do answer, that`s all people want to talk about. So, I never answer -- CHRIS MATTHEWS, HARDBALL: It`s over. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re going to have to answer in a general election. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You`re going to take the oath of office, the president leaving the office is illegitimate? (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: Coming up, what Jeb Bush might be willing to do it Donald Trump makes it to the general election. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WAGNER: Donald Trump may have pledged at last night`s debate to stick with the Republican Party no matter what, but now, one of his rivals may decline to return the favor if Trump ultimately wins the party`s presidential nomination. Last night, Jeb Bush stepped up his attacks on the Republican front- runner, managing to land a few punches for the very first time. Trump, true to form, hit back hard. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: Donald is great at the one-liners. But he`s a chaos candidate and he`d be a chaos president. TRUMP: Jeb doesn`t really believe I`m unhinged. He said that very simply because he has failed in this campaign. It`s been a total disaster. Nobody cares. BUSH: Donald, you`re not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency. That`s not going to happen. And I do have the strength. (APPLAUSE) TRUMP: Jeb`s attitude, we will never be great again, that I can tell you. We will never be great again. BUSH: I will seek out as I have the best advice that exists. I won`t get my information from the show. I don`t know if that`s Saturday morning or Sunday morning. BUSH: This is a tough business to run for president. TRUMP: Oh, I know. You`re a tough guy, Jeb. I know. BUSH: And it`s -- and we need -- (LAUGHTER) -- to have a leader that is -- (CROSSTALK) TRUMP: You`re tough. BUSH: You`re never going to be president of the United States by insulting your way to the presidency. TRUMP: Well, let`s see. I`m at 42, and you`re at 3. So, so far, I`m doing better. BUSH: Doesn`t matter. Doesn`t matter. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: This morning, Bush took something of a victory lap, appearing on three cable news channels to expand his criticism of Trump. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: I think I got a chance to express my views and compare them to someone who talks a big game but really hasn`t thought it through. If his proposal of banning all Muslims actually was implemented, it would be damaging to the national security of our country. He`s made it clear that he thinks Hillary Clinton was a great negotiator, could be a negotiator in Iran. He just -- he thinks ISIS wasn`t a threat just two months ago. He`s not a serious candidate. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: According to "Politico", Bush may be willing to go even further than he did at the debate last night, reportedly considering making a statement that if Trump were the nominee, Bush would go so far as to not support Trump. Trump responded in an email to "The Washington Post", quote, "I really don`t want Jeb`s endorsement because he is a low energy person and he does not represent strength, power and stamina, which are qualities our country desperately needs. While everyone said I beat him last night, I was only responding to his desperate attempt to stay relevant by attacking me. Jeb is only doing this because I committed to run as a Republican last night -- so dishonorable." Joining me now, Michael Tomasky, special correspondent for "The Daily Beast", and Jacob Weisberg, chairman of the Slate Group, and author of the forthcoming book, "Ronald Reagan". OK, Jake, let`s talk about Ronald Reagan`s vice president son Jeb Bush. With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats? I mean, as much as Jeb landed a few punches, I feel like in the hours and perhaps days since, Trump continues to cut him to ribbons. JACOB WEISBERG, THE SLATE GROUP: Well, look, Alex, Bush was hoping to run as the goliath in the campaign. Instead he finds himself running as David. And, you know, in the debate -- a couple debates ago he -- his slingshot mainly hit himself. WAGNER: His face. WEISBERG: Yes, when he went after Rubio. But this time he got a couple pebbles off. I don`t think he`s such an effective David, but he`s got to figure out how you get this giant, bully ogre down from the podium. And, you know, you got to use humor. It`s not going to be a frontal attack, it`s going to be a sideways attack. WAGNER: Michael, I was surprised, there was a real one-on-one unfolding between Cruz and Rubio that was a fairly substantive debate last night as far as foreign policy, national security and surveillance, but Jeb`s sights were trained on Trump and I felt like that was a missed opportunity for him to get in there and be part of what was becoming part of the main event. MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes. Well, it was a missed opportunity in the sense that his main competitor is Marco Rubio, right, because those two along with Chris Christie represent the plausible, quote/unquote, "establishment choices". So, Rubio is the frontrunner in that sweepstakes now. So, Bush has to find a way to take down Rubio. So, maybe he wasted all that time. On the other hand, he at least showed some gumption. He at least showed some fight. He at least showed he could deliver a few punches and he made himself more of the conversation. So, you know, he did accomplish something last night. It`s probably a little late because he does have less -- well, to use a certain person`s word, energy around him than Rubio and now Christie who was credited at having a better performance I think than Bush overall. WAGNER: The Cruz/Rubio thing had a moment that was telling, which was when Rubio pressed Cruz on whether or not at the end of all these punitive immigration reform measures, there would be citizenship on the line. I want to play that exchange again because we learned something about Ted Cruz in that moment. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Does Ted Cruz rule out ever legalese -- legalizing people in this country now? DANA BASH, CNN MODERATOR: Senator Cruz? SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have never supported legalization. RUBIO: Do you rule it out? CRUZ: I`ve never supported legalization and I do not intend to support legalization. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: I do not intend to support legalization. That to me leaves - - the door open to legalization, which for Ted Cruz seems like a big moment. WEISBERG: Yes, he definitely left himself out there. But, I mean, this is -- stop for a moment and think how crazy this is. This two sons of Cuban immigrant fighting about who is going to slam the door harder to make sure nobody ever gets in after them. I mean, this is the life boat principle on steroids. And the truth is that Rubio is prepared to be reasonable on immigration, but in this Republican primary, you only win by being most extreme. And this charge he brought against Cruz that he supported the H1- B visas, that was B.S., but to get to the right of Cruz on immigration -- WAGNER: Right, for Marco Rubio to get to the right of Ted Cruz on immigration. WEISBERG: There`s not any room further on the right. I mean, there`s nowhere else you can go other than lining up the immigrants and marching them out of the country single file. WAGNER: Like a trail of tears. Michael, that has not stopped Marco Rubio from tying both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio from today to spin this as if both are in support of amnesty. I want to play -- this is Ted Cruz trolling Marco Rubio at a press conference today in Los Angeles. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: For the first time in five debates senator Rubio publicly admitted not only that he had supported President Obama and Chuck Schumer`s amnesty but that he still supports amnesty. To this day, he supports granting citizenship to 12 million people here illegally. Last night was the first time he admitted it, and admitted it not just on Spanish television, but on English language television. That`s an important moment of candor. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: Right, because bipartisan immigration reform was not written in English. Michael, how vulnerable is Rubio on this in the long term? TOMASKY: I think he`s vulnerable from both ends. I think in the short term he`s vulnerable in the Republican primaries because he originally supported immigration reform and I can see any number of real effective 30-second attack ads being made out of his original position with some of the things he said back in the day. And then, if he does happen to be the candidate, he`s vulnerable I think in the general election from the other end, because he now says, his position last I was able to keep track of it, Alex, was, that, yes, maybe someday there`s a path to citizenship, but it shouldn`t be until after ten years. In other words, beyond the time, the amount of time that a President Rubio could conceivably theoretically be in office. So, in other words, he would do nothing about it. So he can be attacked for that from the left and center. So, I think he`s tried to have this both ways and he ends up having it neither way. WAGNER: Well -- and here is Marco Rubio slamming Ted Cruz for supporting amnesty, also this morning, sorry -- yes, after a New Hampshire rally this morning, this is Marco Rubio on Ted Cruz. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUBIO: Senator Cruz has consistently supported a path to legalization. He did it in the Senate at a committee meeting. He did it to "The New York Times." I know he leaves it out of his stump speech -- REPORTER: But last night he said he would not -- RUBIO: Well, that`s interestingly lawyerly language. He has been a supporter of legalization consistently. He has consistently refused to rule it out. If he`s changed his position on that issue, then he needs to answer the question of what he would do with the people who are here now. (END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: I just feel like this is, Alice, this is like look through the looking glass. Here`s Marco Rubio slamming Ted Cruz about supporting a path to citizenship. WEISBERG: Well, you know, I hate to say it, but who supported a path to citizenship? Who supported amnesty? The patron saint -- WAGNER: Ronald Reagan. WEISBERG: -- of these guys, Ronald Reagan. WAGNER: This book right here. WEISBERG: Who was quite a reasonable human being and reasonable president about immigration. And it`s funny, you have all of these guys invoking him, but completely denying his pragmatic, reasonable and effective position on this issue. You know, I just think what`s going on is so tragic because this kind of ethnic nationalism, a kind of white nationalism that`s been unlashed in the Republican Party is something that didn`t really exist in Reagan`s party. It`s something we haven`t really seen in previous elections. And even if it is ultimately defeated, if Trump doesn`t get the nomination, I think it going to be back because we`ve seen it works and there`s support for it and that demon is out of the bottle. WAGNER: If Trump gets the nomination or does not, we are now in the business of having to preface statements with that. Michael Tomasky and Jacob Weisberg, thank you both for your time. Still to come, the catch-all phrase Republicans are using for things they disagree with --, political correctness. A look at that just ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: In a divided government, you don`t get everything you want. Republicans didn`t get all that we wanted, Democrats didn`t get that we wanted. This is a bipartisan compromise, it`s a bicameral compromise. And I understand that some people don`t like some of the aspects of this, but that is the compromise that we have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: That was House Speaker Paul Ryan this morning acknowledging what can happen when lawmakers on each side of the aisle give a little to get a little.
In this case he is talking about the first major piece of legislation of his speakership, a $1.1 trillion spending package that will avert a government shutdown and keep the lights on until October. The deal also includes about $750 billion in tax breaks, including some that will be permanent.
Some of the big takeaways from the bill are the Republican provisions that did not make it in. The spending bill, for example, won`t cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood, nor will it include any restrictions on the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S.
But perhaps the biggest news from the current bill is the agreement to lift the 40-year ban on oil exports, largely seen as a victory for Republicans.
The spending bill also includes legislation to extend federal health monitoring and treatment for 9/11 responders until the year 2090, making it essentially permanent.
Back in October, the Republican-led congress allowed that health care program to expire and then they recessed without reauthorizing the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, which is named for New York police officer James Zadroga who in 2006 became the first to die of respiratory disease linked to Ground Zero
This prompted former Daily Show host Jon Stewart to shame lawmakers who were worried about the cost. The hammer home his point, Stewart returned to the Daily Show last week to gather with the same four 9/11 responders who had visited the show in 2010.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five and a half years ago we did a show. 75 percent of the panel is no longer here, two of the people have illnesses and obviously by law I can`t comment on how sick they are. And John Devellyn, who sat at the last year, an operating engineer, passed away since our show.
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: And this is the reality of people`s lives that are affected by this.
And even the idea that you had to come here five and a half years ago to plead your case on national television to get this done was insulting and embarrassing for us as a nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism will face no more determined foe than I will be.
GOV. JOHN KASICH, (R) OHIO: Frankly, it`s time that we punched the Russians in the nose.
DONALD TRUMP, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need tough people. We need toughness.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: When we get back in the White House, we will fight terrorists and win again and America will be safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: There was a lot of tough talk at last night`s GOP presidential debate. Donald Trump called for the killing of family members of suspected terrorists and Ted Cruz said he would, quote, carpet bomb the cities where ISIS operates.
But beyond the bluster, there was very important and very real divide on that debate stage, one that goes back to this guy, George W. Bush, who as president declared that spreading democracy around the world was, quote, "the calling of our time."
Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush largely embraced George W. Bush`s interventionist foreign policy legacy, while Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Rand Paul argued that aggressive U.S. action abroad usually only makes things worse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: Anti-American dictators like Assad who help Hezbollah, who helped get those IEDs into Iraq, if they go I will not shed a tear.
CRUZ: If we topple Assad, the result will be ISIS will take over Syria and it will worsen U.S. national security interests.
CHRISTIE: I would talk to Vladimir Putin a lot. And I would say to him, listen, Mr. President, there`s a no-fly zone in Syria. You fly, it applies to you. And yes we should shoot down the planes of Russian pilots.
SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: Well, I think if you`re in favor or World War III you have your candidate.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WAGNER: Even Donald Trump made the case against U.S. intervention in the Middle East making an argument that sounded a lot more like President Obama then former President Bush.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly if they were there and if we could have spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges and all of the other problems, our airports and all of the other problems we have, we would have been a lot better off, I can tell that you right now.
We have done a tremendous disservice not only to the Middle East, we`ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity, the people that have been killed. The people that have been wiped away and for what? It`s not like we had victory. It`s a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized, a total and complete mess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: joining me now is Lara Jakes, deputy managing editor of news for foreign policy magazine.
Laura, thanks for joining me. Watching the debate last night I was stunned at how much the legacy of George W. Bush remains unresolved inside the Republican Party and on that debate stage.
LARA JAKES, FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE: Well, right. Because the struggle is about how best to fight terrorism and how best to keep America safe. And there are all sorts of conflicting values that are at stake here: do we take the fight to the root of terrorism at its base in the Mideast, parts of southwest Asia, or do we try to protect the American people here at home by putting money into programs that will fulfill the national promise.
That question really wasn`t resolved yesterday. And we really saw the gamut from Carly Fiorina saying I`m not going to deal with Putin until I have a bolstered sixth fleet, the naval fleet in Naples in Italy standing behind me to back me up.
You had Governor Kasich saying I`m going to punch Putin in the nose. You had Chris Christie saying, I`m prepared to shoot down a Russian jet if it violates a no-fly zone.
So it was really all over the spectrum as to how far we are willing to deal with the terrorist threat here or abroad.
WAGNER: Well, I was also surprised that you had folks like Ted Cruz suggesting that Bashar al Assad of Syria may be the best deal the U.S. is going to get. That would have been heretofore unthinkable just three or four -- two years ago.
JAKES: Right. And he wasn`t alone. He was one of three people up on that stage last night who said the same, Donald Trump agreed, Rand Paul agreed. Their argument of course was that if you topple Assad, there is -- or if you force Assad out, there`s going to create a vacuum where the Islamic State or other extremist groups can come in and they will create more chaos than what Assad has done.
That, of course, ignores the estimates of 200,000 to 300,000 people who have been killed in Syria over the last five years almost, and it hews very closely -- you know we`re seeing the Obama administration start to say we`re prepared to live with Assad a little more longer than we had in the past.
At first the United States, the Obama administration said Assad must go, now they are saying, well, we will decide at what point ion the negotiations in order to try and form a ceasefire he has to go. And the Republicans are at the far extreme of that saying maybe he doesn`t have to go at all.
WAGNER: Well, and given the rapidly changing nature of ISIS and its growth, it`s kind of understandable that there has been some sort of I guess recalculation on that front.
But when it comes down to the plan`s outline last night, there was a lot -- nobody seemed to have a particularly good plan. And in particular, I want to talk about Ted Cruz who talked about carpet bombing with precision. That seems to be an oxymoron, precision carpet bombing, an impossibility as it were, is that not the case?
JAKES: No, that`s absolutely the case. It`s a total contradiction in terms. Carpet bombing is the total obliteration, it`s -- it just completely wipes out the entire field beneath you. We saw that last in Vietnam. Of course, that was called a quagmire that went on for years and years and years.
Cruz was trying to make the argument that if we are patrolling the skies as we did during the first Gulf war in Iraq, that we could, you know, try to control what`s happening and we could do this -- we could hit the terrorists or extremists without hitting the civilian population. And that`s impossible to do.
Once you drop a bomb, you drop a bomb, once you try to rain fire across a war zone, those people are dead. You cannot try to pick.
WAGNER: That`s the term rain of fire, right. It`s not an exact science.
Just to wrap this up, in terms of the general knowledge, in terms of foreign policy and national security that on display last night, Ted Cruz maybe was speaking from political expedience, or maybe he just didn`t understand the nature of carpet bombing. But certainly Carly Fiorina had to know that Vladimir Putin, she may want to snub until there are certain protections in place, but he is an important ally unfortunately in dealing with the problem in Syria, in the same way Donald Trump suggested closing down the Internet where ISIS operates, that would also seem like an impossibility. And I guess were you dismayed by the level of perhaps naivete that was espoused in certain corners?
JAKES: Well, it was interesting. I mean, when we talk about not really knowing a whole heck of a lot about the Mideast, the comment by Governor Christie comes to mind that he plans on talking to King Hussein of Jordan, who of course died in 1999. It would be King Abdullah II, who is now the king of Jordan. So, that was maybe a misspoke, maybe that was just ignorance but I think it was Jeb Bush`s argument who was really trying to drive home the point that you can`t shut America off from the rest of the world if America wants to remain a super power. You have to go in and do the hard work of diplomacy and talk to people you might not want to in order to have a successful country.
WAGNER: Lara Jakes from foreign policy magazine. Thanks for your time.
JAKES: Thanks very much.
WAGNER: Still to come, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai condemns one of the Republican candidates. Who it was and what she said is next.
WAGNER: Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 criticized Donald Trump today for his call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. saying, quote, "the more you speak about Islam and against all Muslims, the more terrorists we create."
In another interview, Yousafzai said, quote, that is really tragic when you hear these comments which are full of hatred, full of this ideology of being discriminative towards others. How Trumps Comments play into the Republican war on political correctness next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, 41ST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ironically on the 200th anniversary of our bill of rights, we find free speech under assault throughout the United States, including on some college campuses.
The notion of political correctness has ignited controversy across the land.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: It was born in the 90s and now it`s back, an obsession with political correctness, and its supposed ills.
Last night alone in the GOP debate, political correctness was assailed again and again and again, but this time for more nefarious reasons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve defunded and tied the hands behind the backs of our intelligence agencies because of political correctness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This administration is so politically correct...
CRUZ: We will stop the terrorist attacks before they occur because we will not be prisoners to political correctness, rather we will speak the truth.
DR. BEN CARSON, RETIRED NEUROSUGEON: And the patient is in critical condition and will not be cured by political correctness.
CRUZ: It is political correctness and political correctness is killing people.
CARSON: We have to get rid of all this PC stuff. They will take advantage of our PC attitude to get us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: But railing against political correctness isn`t limited to criticism of President Obama`s counterterror policies or last night`s debate. Front-runner Donald Trump has already used his aversion of his so- called PC culture to defense himself against charges of sexism and racism, and a whole lot more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton who is likely to be the Democratic nominee that you are part of the war on women?
TRUMP: I think a big problem this country has is being politically correct. I`ve been challenged by so many people, and I don`t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn`t have time either.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The term anger bait (ph), that`s an offensive term, people find that...
TRUMP: You mean it`s not politically correct and yet everybody uses it?
I am so tired of this politically correct crap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: When we come back, is criticizing political correctness just a cover for justifying policies that are way out of bounds and possibly even illegal? That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If they thought there was something wrong with that group and they saw what was happening and they didn`t want to call the police because they didn`t want to be profiling, I think that`s pretty bad. People are dead, a lot of people are dead right now.
So everybody wants to be politically correct and that`s part of the problem that we have with our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: Donald Trump suggesting earlier this month that political correctness kept people from calling attention to the San Bernardino killers.
Joining me now, David Sirota, senior editor for investigation of the International Business Times. And comedian Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show.
OK, so Liz, political correctness I don`t think I`ve heard it so many times as I did in last night`s debate. And I feel like political correctness is a cover for suggestions and ideas that are maybe unconstitutional? I don`t know or just maybe really creepy.
LIZZ WINSTEAD, CO-CREATOR, THE DAILY SHOW: It`s like, you know, if you would just let me say racist stuff before I used to before people knew how bad it was, it was so much easier back then. It`s like all of our rights are rolling back and we`re rolling back so far that we`re not back in 1992 talking about...
WAGNER: Political correctness.
But David, I feel like there`s kind of like -- there`s a dog whistle embedded in this, right. Political correctness isn`t just about President Obama`s counterterrorism policy and the way we refer or don`t refer to Islamic extremism. Political correctness is kind of a blanket term for this encroaching liberal culture that may or may not include reproductive rights for women, gay marriage equality and a host of other social progress that is repugnant in certain corners of the Republican Party.
DAVID SIROTA, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES: That`s right. I mean, I think it`s been used as a euphemism for the idea that liberals who want stuff like respect for the law, want stuff like respect for civil rights, for reproductive rights, that liberals are taking over. And so instead of actually debating the merits of whether people`s civil rights should be respected, whether the constitution should be respected when it comes to civil liberties and surveillance and the like, instead of having a debate on the merits of those things, it`s just let`s use a blanket euphemism to fire up the base.
Because the fact is, is that having a debate on the merits of those things is not a winning proposition for Republicans when it comes to -- when you look at the polls across a general election electorate.
WAGNER: I think that one of the frustrating things about tossing around the phrase "political correctness," Lizz, is every time you try and push back and say, well, no it`s not political correctness, it is like thrown back in one`s face. It`s almost an argument that ends in a dead end.
WINSTEAD: Yeah. And the thing that`s so interesting is that for years those of us on the left who were fighting for these issues, we had to first prove that they existed. So it was always that thing. And now that these horrible assaults on reproductive rights and justice, on racial equality, on Syrian refugees for god`s sakes, whatever you`re talking about, it`s revealing itself and now we`re forcing it to be a conversation. And so when we force it to be a conversation, it all of a sudden political correctness when it`s like, no, we`re no longer on the defensive. We`re now being like hey you need to be on the defensive.
SIROTA: And can I add to that? I mean, because I think there was an important other point here that wasn`t mentioned in the Republican debate is that if you`re going to take the term political correctness and use it in the way they`re using it, look, that debate was filled with political correctness.
The Republicans, they weren`t talking a lot about gun violence, they weren`t talking a lot about the national security threat of climate change, they weren`t talking a lot about how mass shooters and various form of terrorism have happened from right-wing extremists. That was a form, if you use their definition of political correctness, that muting of that, that omission of that was a form of political correctness playing to the Republican base.
WAGNER: Well, David, I can`t also get away from the fact that at the sort of foundation of this, this schism is culture, right? I mean, that`s the whole thing around political correctness is my version of the world versus yours.
And that -- as much as the Republicans would like to say it`s the Democrats that are starting the culture wars, that`s what they`re doing by talking about political correctness is reigniting that cultural spark.
SIROTA: That`s a really, really good point. They`re saying our way of doing things is the way that it going to be and we`re going to be and we`re going to force that way down your throat, those views down your throat by saying that any opposition to it represents this big boogie man called political correctness.
And again, I go back to the idea that they don`t want to have a debate on the merits of these policies. They want to basically say my way or the highway and use that euphemism as a way to get their way.
WAGNER: Lizz, in fairness, the subject of political correctness is also debated in progressive circles, in comedy circles. I know that Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock have both recently said we don`t want to play college campuses anymore because the PC has run amuck. What is your thinking on that.
WINSTEAD: I think any time you say something has run amok, you need to just look at -- I always say, if you`re pushing boundaries and that`s what you do in your life, you need to push boundaries and you need to understand that no matter -- there`s always going to be people who criticize what you say. But that`s part of the deal, part of talking about things is pushing the boundaries to see where people feel and discomfort is part of making change.
WAGNER: And part of comedy, right.
WINSTEAD: ...making people feel uncomfortable, yes, and taking the hit totally.
WAGNER: I feel very uncomfortable when I`m really hilarious because I`m never actually really hilarious.
We have to leave it there. David Sirota and Lizz Winstead, thank you for this illuminating conversation about PC culture.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END