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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 1/13/2016

Guests: Bernie Sanders, Howard Dean, Rand Paul, Hooman Majd

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: January 13, 2016 Guest: Bernie Sanders, Howard Dean, Rand Paul, Hooman Majd


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That`s why we need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion.

HAYES: Striking back at the politics of fear.

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Mr. Trump has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk.

HAYES: Tonight, how Donald Trump is responding to his State of the Union rebuke.

The suspicious origins of Ted Cruz`s new attack.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have no idea what calls are made to whom.

HAYES: And my interview with Senator Rand Paul.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to be careful of letting the voice of the Republican Party be someone who thinks that all immigrants are rapists or drug dealers.

HAYES: Then, 20 days from Iowa, Bernie takes the lead.


HAYES: And there are shades of 2008 in the new Clinton attack on Bernie Sanders.

CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF HILLARY CLINTON: Senator Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare.

HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders joins me to respond when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.

Last night, something almost completely unprecedented in recent American politics took place in Washington. For as long as there`s been an opposition response to the State of the Union, a tradition dating back to the 1960s, it`s functioned as a rebuttal to the president`s message, a competing vision of the future for the country.

But last night, both President Obama and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley delivering the GOP response agreed on one essential theme -- the danger of the politics exploited and you know leashed by GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

In a soaring and expansive speech meant to counter the Republican candidate`s narrative of an America in inexorable decline, the president took a direct shot at Trump`s rhetoric.


OBAMA: And that`s why we need to reject any politics, any politics that targets people because of race or religion.

This is not a matter of political correctness. This is a matter of understanding just what it is that makes us strong.


HAYES: Notably, that was one of only three times when House Speaker Paul Ryan applauded. The others about the lineup of the armed forces and a joke about keeping the speech short. Ryan`s clapping is actually significant. Thanks in large part to Donald Trump, the Republican Party found itself at a crossroads. Can the GOP continue to grow and adapt to a changing America, or will it be a party defined fundamentally and, this is important, explicitly by demographic fear and identity-driven grievance?

Speaker Ryan already picked a side. Recall that after Trump first announced his proposed Muslim ban, Ryan went out of his way to condemn it, declaring it un-American.

Last night, speaking on behalf of her party, South Carolina governor, whose own parents immigrated from India, showed pretty clearly where she stands.


HALEY: During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.


HAYES: In case there`s any confession, Haley confirmed on the "Today" show this morning, Trump was indeed one of those she was talking about.

Her remarks last night, one acclaimed from the establishment ring of the party, including three presidential candidates whom Haley said called to congratulate her, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie. Last night, RNC chair Reince Priebus clearly enthused, tweeted, "Great job, Nikki Haley. Fantastic balance and substance. Our party is the new, young and diverse party."

But the response from conservatives has been substantially less enthusiastic. And before Haley even finished, she was already panned on Twitter.

Talk radio host Laura Ingraham, "The country is lit up with a populist fever and the GOP responds by digging in and criticizing the GOP candidates dominating the polls, not smart."

From right wing troll Ann Coulter, "Trump should deport Nikki Haley".

And from Breitbart reporter Katie McHugh, citing Haley`s birth name, "I for one am shocked Namrata Randhawa Haley has no clue about America`s heritage and dissed it for political points."

Joining me now, Robert Costa, national political reporter for "The Washington Post" and MSNBC political analyst.

And, Robert, for all the bluster, for all the talk about Donald Trump, I saw this Rich Lowry tweet today that sinks up with things I`ve been hearing from some folks I`ve been talking to which was this, "From my conversations, GOP establishment mood on Trump moving from fear loathing to resignation, rationalization, i.e., he`d run better than Cruz and slam Hillary."

Are you hearing the same?

ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST: Many in the Republican establishment had hope Governor Haley`s speech would be a breakthrough moment. But what we saw today from the reaction on the right is that it was a fleeting moment. And it only further revealed the divide within the Republican Party and the fecklessness of the Republican establishment encountering the message of Trump.

HAYES: Yes, that to me seems -- I mean, there`s two things seem to be going on. One is, I don`t -- you know, I`m not a member of the Republican establishment. But if I were, and I was talking regularly, the people in their base that are -- that believe this actually do believe it. And they just don`t seem to get that. That somehow this is false consciousness or this is confusion or people are just riled up, as opposed to genuinely held beliefs about what they want America to look like. Do they get it?

COSTA: They get it. And they`re so hesitant to really make a forceful case for their own argument and diversify the party, to not be the party of Trump. One piece of reporting I picked up today, I asked aides to Leader McConnell in the Senate and Speaker Ryan, did they put a hand on the scale, did they ask Governor Haley to make this kind of pitch against Trump and to do it on one of the biggest platforms of the year.

Aides to McConnell and Ryan said they did not. They did not have any involvement in the speech. That shows how the party is trying to balance here. They don`t want to get the wrath of the GOP base. At the same time, they want to reassure the general election voters this is not their party.

HAYES: What I`m hearing from you, the establishment has a fundamentally shrunk from the fight. I mean, for all the Jeb Bush calling Donald Trump the chaos candidate and running ads against him, I was looking at ad figures today. You`ve got huge amounts of money being dropped on anti- Rubio ads in Iowa. As far as I can tell, I don`t think there is a dollar being run against Trump in Iowa.

COSTA: Very little money being spent against Trump. Some of the biggest people in the Republican Party, the conservative movement, the Koch brothers, Americans for Prosperity, they`re on the sidelines. What we`re watching now is not a financial war but a political and messaging war. And it`s one that`s done even indirectly, Chris. They didn`t mention Trump by name in the speech.

HAYES: Yes. So, the question here is, does anyone put their money where their mouth is, right? I mean, if people -- and I`ve been reading tons of stuff from conservatives and Republicans, the center right folks, about this is an existential crisis, we could be looking at a breakup of two parties, this would be the end of the modern Republican Party. If the stakes are actually that high, you would think some of the very wealthy people that are involved in that part of American politics would pony up some money to try to stop that from happening.

COSTA: Based on all might have reporting, I don`t see it happening at all. In fact, to me the Republican establishment is getting ready to weather a Trump or Cruz nomination, to endure it, to perhaps even support them. And to not see the party split apart.

HAYES: That is really amazing. Robert Costa, thank you very much. Very useful.

COSTA: Thank you.

HAYES: With the Iowa caucuses less than three weeks away, new evidence today the race is a complete toss up. Donald Trump just three points behind Ted Cruz, among likely GOP caucus-goers, within the margin of air. A lot tighter than a week ago when Cruz held a more comfortable edge, suggesting Trump`s assault on Cruz`s Canadian birthplace may be having an impact.

Meanwhile, Trump has gone from insisting he`s just raising concerns to declaring Cruz disqualified from the race. Tweeting today, "Sadly, there`s no way that Ted Cruz can continue running in a Republican primary unless he can raise doubt on eligibility. Dems will sue!"

As we discussed at length on the show, Cruz has been sticking to his strategy of drafting off Trump as long as possible. But now, he finally appears to be making his move. According to a report by "Real Clear Politics", some Iowa residents got a phone call Monday, testing the effectiveness of a few different lines of attack on Donald Trump, including one depicting the mogul as, quote, "a New York liberal pretending to have conservative values."

And yesterday, Cruz had this to say in an interview on talk radio.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he may shift in his new rallies to playing "New York, New York", because, you know, Donald comes from New York and embodies New York values. And listen, the Donald seems to be a little bit rattled.


HAYES: What a coincidence. In an interview last night, Cruz dodged a question about who commissioned those message testing calls in Iowa and then he was asked to explain his attack on Trump.


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: As a life-long New Yorker, what do you mean, New York values? What are you getting at there?

CRUZ: You know, I`ll tell you. The rest of the country knows exactly what New York values are, and I`ve got to say --

KELLY: We love the pizza and the bagel. Is that what you`re going for?


HAYES: I`m joined by MSNBC`s own Alex Wagner.

Here`s the best part about this. The day that he`s doing this -- the New York values attack on Donald Trump puts out an ad of himself in a duck blinding camo with "Duck Dynasty" dude.


HAYES: We get this from "The New York Times", that he didn`t disclose a $500,000 loan from Goldman Sachs for his first Senate campaign while his wife is working there.

WAGNER: This is where Ted Cruz is really dancing, for most of this race, I think a lot of people have thought he is secretly the wizard behind the curtain that understands the base in a way that no one else does, whether it`s his calibration on the NSA and surveillance, or his reluctance to outwardly attack Trump. We felt like Ted Cruz is playing the long game.

But this doesn`t seem like a long game strategy, right? To propose that you are camo wearing Duck Dynasty" inheriter to that throne while exploiting Donald Trump for his New York ties and then having the biography he does, which is someone who went to Harvard and someone who went to Princeton and someone whose wife is a managing director at Goldman Sachs, and someone who took a half million dollar loan from Goldman Sachs.

That seems strategically imprudent at the very least.

HAYES: Well, but here`s the thing that`s been remarkable about him, is he has sold this idea of like, aw, shucks, Ted Cruz, man of the people, despite that bio. I mean, this guy has punched every single ticket in the American elite. I mean, everything, you know, Supreme Court clerk, Harvard law school, Princeton, wouldn`t study from people with, quote, "lesser Ivies". I mean, went to a very, very fancy law firm where he made -- like, there`s nothing --.

WAGNER: Yes, $1 million (ph) a year.

HAYES: Right, but he sold the persona incredibly well, partly I think because he does have an ear for the base.

WAGNER: Well, and it`s politically expeditious to sell that persona. But you look at how Donald Trump has managed his persona, which is saying at the very beginning of every speech, I went to Wharton. I`m very successful.

HAYES: That`s right. The opposite, owning it.

WAGNER: He owns it, and in that way, he becomes Teflon.

HAYES: That`s what`s so fascinating now. The Cruz attack -- the thing people thought would be -- I was never going to vote for Trump. It`s like he`s this loud-mouth New Yorker, has all this money. And I remember early parts of the Trump speech, when you talk about his contract negotiations with NBC, and the eyes would glaze over in a town where the median income is $37,000 a year.

But he owns that as part of the persona. So, the question becomes, does the New York values thing register at all?

WAGNER: Well, I don`t -- I mean, I have a hard time imagining that it will, because it has been sort of the predicate for Donald Trump`s candidacy.

Also just side note, Donald Trump is proving the infallibility of the not saying just saying strategy, right? Every time he`s like I`m not saying I don`t want Ted Cruz to be the nominee. I`m just saying that we need to have a serious constitutional law problem on our hands.

HAYES: I want to play this bite from Nikki Haley because she is getting wide praise. Listen to this for a second.


HALEY: We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration. And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion, just like we have for centuries.


HAYES: Just to be clear about what we have done for centuries. We had the thing called the Chinese Exclusion Act.

WAGNER: Yes, Japanese internment camps, trail of tears. A hard time welcoming people sometimes, dealing with who owns what.

HAYES: So, there is a certain kind of eraser happening in that. But I do think it was a sort of -- it is a fascinating decision by her to sort of make this play in this moment.

WAGNER: Totally.

HAYES: In terms of what she is positioning for herself ahead.

WAGNER: Well, I was watching that. And when she went after Trump and sort of proposed this establishment message that we thought for at least a few months after 2012 was going to be the new --

HAYES: That was it, that was the bible.

WAGNER: A gasp and a cheer went off in the room I was in. Because there is so much trepidation and also hope that someone can break through and just kind of put Trump in the corner, where I think ultimately -- I know you just talked to Robert Costa about this, Chris.

I still think the establishment feels in their heart of hearts that Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will somehow implode. That this can`t actually totally be their reality and so they`re just going to kind of stomach it for as long as they have to, and say they will matrix their way around an eventual Trump candidacy. But in their hearts, they don`t believe that will come to pass.

HAYES: They don`t believe what their base keeps telling them they believe.

WAGNER: And I believe also, Nikki Haley is loathe to put herself in the same party as Donald Trump.

HAYES: Alex Wagner, what a great pleasure to have you here.

WAGNER: What a great pleasure to be here, my friend.

HAYES: All of your New York values.

Coming up, new polling shows Bernie Sanders taking a lead in the early states. My interview with him ahead. I`ll ask him about the new somewhat surprising line of sustained attack in the Clinton campaign.

Later, Rand Paul tells me why he`s skipping the next debate.

Those stories and more, ahead.


HAYES: Tonight, Hillary Clinton is on offense, going after Bernie Sanders on a topic that at first blush can seem fairly odd, health care.

A new attack from the Clinton campaign comes as a wave of polls out this week show the former secretary of state in serious trouble in two key states. New poll out from Monmouth shows Sanders leading Clinton by a whopping 14 points. The average poll of recent polls is a much slimmer lead.

Not only that, but a Quinnipiac poll shows Sanders up against Clinton by five points. Nationally, the latest CBS/"New York Times" shows Clinton ahead of Sanders by just seven points. That`s down from 20-point margin just a month ago.

Yesterday, Chelsea Clinton previewed the campaign`s tough new line on Sanders` health care position, arguing his plan for a single-payer system would hand over too much power to states endangering care for millions.


CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF HILLARY CLINTON: Senator Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare, dismantle private insurance. Now, the Republicans in Congress have voted against the Affordable Care Act 55 times.

So, I worry that if we give Republicans Democratic permission to do that, we`ll go back to an era before we had the Affordable Care Act. That will strip millions and millions and millions of people of their health insurance.


HAYES: That leaves out some pretty important context about Sanders` plan. Most importantly, perhaps, while people would lose their current insurance under a single-payer system, if a single-payer system was passed and signed, everyone would then have government-run insurance to replace it.

This morning, Hillary Clinton didn`t back away from attacking Sanders on the subject, arguing he wanted to rip up Obamacare as we know it.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For example, we have a difference on health care. I want to build on the Affordable Care Act. You`ve got to make some changes, because we have to improve it.

He`s been talking very generally about a single-payer system. He`s introduced legislation nine times that have laid out a very specific plan to take everybody`s health care and roll it into a great big bundle and hand it to the states.

But my view is, we shouldn`t be ripping up Obamacare and starting over. We should be building on it.


HAYES: Hours later, the Clinton campaign hosted their second conference call in less than a week on Sanders, called on him to, quote, "tell voters how he`ll pay for his health care plan." After Sanders released an accounting of many of his major policy proposals, a spokesperson for the Clinton campaign said, quote, "He left out the $15 trillion proposal that requires across the board tax increases on working families." Go figure.

Sanders responded in part today with a picture of him and Hillary Clinton in 1993 with a message from then-first lady, quote, "To Bernie Sanders with thanks, your commitment to real health care access for all Americans."

Now, Sanders responds directly to Clinton`s attack with me, next. So, stay with us.


HAYES: Joining me now, Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont, Democratic candidate for president.

All right. Senator, let`s get into it here. The attacks on your health care proposal and your long and stalwart advocacy for single-payer, various bills you`ve introduced. It seems to me there are three parts to this.

I want to take them in order so you can respond. The first is just the disruption, right? The idea is that we would be moving -- we`ve had a big disruption in the health care system, the Affordable Care Act, one of the biggest changes in decades, and we would take a bunch of different programs, Medicare, Medicaid, ACA, CHIP, roll them into a single Medicare for all and that would be disruptive to the system. That seems one prong of this critique.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All right. Let me -- can I start with that one, Chris?

HAYES: Yes, definitely.

SANDERS: All right. Look, here`s the bottom line: In the United States today, we remain the only nation in the industrialized world that doesn`t guarantee health care to all people. We have 29 million people who are uninsured, even -- we have 29 million people who have no insurance, and even more who are underinsured. We pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs that our health care outcomes are not particularly good. And yet, we are spending far, far more per capita on health care than do the people of any other country.

So, it seems to me that we should be able to do what every other major country on earth does, guarantee health care to all people in a cost- effective way.

Now, if I`m elected president, will we pass a Medicare for all, single- payer program on the first day that I am in office? The answer is, I think safe to say, no, we won`t. But that is the vision that we must strive to.

HAYES: Right.

SANDERS: Universal health care at a cost-effective way, which our system today certainly is not.

HAYES: So, if for people that believe in that vision, right? And I think the polling shows a great many Democratic primary voters agree with you about that vision, but have also experienced the incredibly vicious fight over a much less ambitious version of healthcare reform, the ACA, right?


HAYES: It doesn`t seem unfair to say we would like to see some details about basically how do you get us from here to there, having just gone through this bruising fright. What does that look like?

SANDERS: Well, you know, first of all, we have presented to the Senate -- we have introduced legislation in 2013 a very long and detailed bill, which is a Medicare for all single-payer program. And it is applicable at all 50 states that I`ve been a little bit disturbed that Secretary Clinton and her team there keep suggesting it would not apply in Republican states. That`s just not accurate.

If the states don`t go forward, the federal government will. So it`s a 50- state program, which, of course, has to be.

Now, what you`re really talking about is not a health care issue but a political issue. And what you`re asking, which is a very legitimate question, Chris, is in the United States of America, can we take on the private insurance companies who make billions and billions of dollars out of human illness? Can we take on the drug companies? The three top drug companies made $45 billion in profit last year. That`s a fair question.

I think we can, because what our campaign is about is a political revolution bringing millions of people together to take on not just Wall Street, but the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance companies and create a government that works for us all.

So, this is not going to be an easy pass. No one -- you know, no one has ever heard me say, oh, yes, first day in office we got single-payer. That has got to be the vision that we fight for, because that is the most effective way to provide quality -- quality health care to all of our people in a much more cost effective way than the dysfunctional system that we have now.

HAYES: So then I think the question becomes, the vision of universal health care and something that, again, you have put out legislation, right? So this isn`t just completely an abstraction, but there is this question of how that gets paid for. And in comparable countries, right, the fact is, in other countries that have universal health care, there are generally higher taxes, not just on the wealthy, but higher taxes across the board.

I mean, the social democracy of Europe pay for benefits with higher rates of taxation across the board and it seems a fair question to say, is that your vision if you were to become president as well?

SANDERS: Well, the answer is that -- and this is an important point, that very often gets left out when we talk about Medicare for all single-payer, is we are eliminating private health insurance premiums. You`re not going to pay them.

So, of course, health care in general is expensive. We`re spending about 17 percent of our GDP now on health care. Under our Medicare for all proposal, the total cost of health care in this country per person will go down significantly. We estimate that an average middle class family will spend about $5,000 less.

But you`re right. Instead of paying private health insurance premium in one form or another, people will be paying more in taxes. The bill that I introduced several years ago had a -- I think about a 6.5 percent increase in the payroll tax or the employer, roughly a 2.5 percent increase for the employee. But the employer would no longer have to pay private health insurance.

HAYES: Right.

SANDERS: The employee would no longer have to pay private health insurance. Middle class family saves thousands of dollars a year on health care costs.

HAYES: Right. So to be clear, the projection that -- what you`re saying is, yes, some taxes will go up. At the same time that health premiums are essentially extinguished, which means the ultimate out-of-pocket cost for an average middle class family under this system would be considerably less than the status quo.

SANDERS: That is exactly right, Chris. And what I get -- you know, upset about when I hear -- and the Republicans do this all of the time. They say, oh, your taxes are going to go up. Yes, but you`re not going to pay private health insurance premiums. And there will be significant savings, because we now have the most costly and inefficient system in the world.

HAYES: Can -- I mean, what you`re saying is something that Democrats have -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton have all created this wall that says we`re only going to raise the taxes of people over a certain amount. Under that, nothing. And it sounds to me like you`re saying that wall has to be broken down.

SANDERS: Well, only in this sense. Look, you know, this -- you can argue that this is a tax. But Chris, if I say to you -- let`s just say you`re self-employed. And I say to you, well, instead of paying $14,000 a year premiums for private health insurance, you`re going to pay $7,000, hypothetically, in public health insurance. Does that sound like a new tax? You`re saving in this case $7,000.

HAYES: Right.

SANDERS: So if you want to demagogue the issue, say, oh, he`s raising taxes, then you`ve got to make it clear we`re saving people substantial sums of money on their total health care bills.

HAYES: Is Hillary Clinton demagoguing this issue?

SANDERS: Well, I think when she simply -- when she adopts "The Wall Street Journal" line that Sanders wants to spend $15 trillion more on health insurance, what she is forgetting to talk about is the substantial sum of money we save when people do not pay private health insurance.

And once again, let me -- I know I`m beating a dead horse here. We are spending almost three times as much per capita as they spend in the U.K., which guarantees health care to all people. I am 50 miles away from the Canadian border. They guarantee health care to all people, spending substantially less. We pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, because we do not negotiate prices.

So, I think ultimately, we`re going to have to move toward a Medicare for all single-payer program and I will fight for that.

HAYES: All right. Senator Bernie Sanders, thank you for joining me. Appreciate it.

Up next, Howard Dean, a man who has advocated for single-payer health care and endorsed Hillary Clinton, joins me to respond. Stick around.



HAYES: Is Hillary Clinton demagoguing this issue?

BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think when she simply -- when she adopts the Wall Street Journal line that Sanders wants to spend $15 trillion more on health insurance, what she is forgetting to talk about is the substantial sum of money we save when people do not pay private health insurance.


HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders, a few moments ago, referencing Hillary Clinton`s recent attack on the single-payer bill he introduced in 2013.

Joining me now, Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont, chair of the DNC, MSNBC political analyst, a man who has endorsed Hillary Clinton, calling her the most qualified person the U.S. has as president, and also someone who has advocated for Medicare for all in the past.

So, I`m curious your response to what you heard.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIR: Well, this is so interesting, this race, because you have on the one hand, a visionary with a coherent vision for how health care should be done, which I largely agree with. But on the other hand, you have a pragmatic person who knows how to get stuff done.

This is the big problem. We tried to do a single-payer in Vermont this year. We couldn`t do it.

It`s one thing to say you`re going to raise people`s taxes but lower people`s premiums. It`s another thing to figure out how to do that. It`s really hard. You`ve got to have bridge money, you`ve got to have numbers that work.

You know, Jeff Weaver -- or somebody from his campaign, tweeted out their tax program. There`s a lot of money that`s being spent twice in that tax program. And it`s for good stuff. I`m for expanding Social Security benefits.

HAYES: So what you`re saying is, there has to be something more detailed. Obviously, the 2013 bill is detailed. It`s not numbers, right?

DEAN: Right.

HAYES: You`re saying that you have -- you want to see numbers about how this actually works.

DEAN: Well, not only do I want to see numbers about how it actually works.

We`re going to get the bridge money to do this, to move from this supposed tax increase to this supposed premium reduction.

One thing neither side has talked about is fee for service medicine. This will not work without cost control and there will be no cost control as long as we have fee for service medicine.

That`s the problem with the Canadian system which Bernie talked about, their prices are going up just as fast as ours are, although they start from a lower base.

So there`s a lot of problems with this stuff.

I think Hillary is much more pragmatic and likely to make the kind of incremental changes in Obamacare that we have to make.

Although Bernie has a great vision, but the trouble is, who can implement that vision? I don`t think he can.

HAYES: So that becomes -- there is a question about implementation, there is a question about details. Do the numbers -- do they pencil out.

DEAN: Right.

HAYES: And then there is a question about whether this is a legitimate thing to be attacking a fellow Democrat in the democratic primary. This is Hillary Clinton attacking Barack Obama for going after her from the right on universal health care in 2008.

Take a listen.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Since when do Democrats attack one another on universal health care? I thought we were trying to realize Harry Truman`s dream. I thought this campaign finally gave us an opportunity to put together a coalition to achieve universal health care.

Just because Senator Obama chose not to present a universal health care plan does not give him the right to attack me because I did.


HAYES: I mean, is it out of balance to say, adopt the Wall Street Journal`s line -- and since when do Democrats attack each other on universal health care?

DEAN: Look, the answer is you would prefer not to see Democrats doing this to each other.

But this is a -- these two states are within four points on each side. This is a much closer race than it was. This is the kind of stuff that happens when it`s a close race. This is a competition for the most powerful office in the world.

If I were the referee, I would kind of go like that a little bit. But, you know, what are you going to do? People -- this is the stakes are pretty high, so people are going to say things that are a little sharp.

That was an example of one.

HAYES: If I could interject as referee for a moment, it strikes me the legitimate good faith the attack is to say, look, it was really hard to pass the ACA, opening up a fight on health care politically could backfire, which is the most charitable version of what Chelsea Clinton was saying. As opposed to the idea Bernie Sanders is going to try to take away your health care, which seems implausible.

DEAN: Well, yes. I`m pretty certain Sanders certainly had no intention of taking away anybody`s health care.

The question is, would his plan result in the kind of chaos trying to implement it that would in fact undo people`s health care. That people should be concerned about.

We`re never going to have a sensible debate about this between now and the convention. It isn`t going to happen. There is too much politics in it.

The fact is, this is the classic race of the visionary and the pragmatist. And I`ve chosen the pragmatist.

HAYES: Howard Dean, thank you very much.

DEAN: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, as candidates prepare for the sixth GOP debate tomorrow night, Rand Paul has decided he`s taking a pass on this one.

He`s going to explain himself, ahead.


HAYES: Tomorrow night, the second to last Republican presidential debate before voting begins is set to take place in South Carolina.

The Kentucky senator and Republican presidential candidate, Rand Paul, does not plan to be there. Paul is vowing to boycott the debate, because Fox Business Network has announced plans to relegate him to the so-called kiddy table, the Undercard debate earlier in the evening, due to Paul`s low poll numbers.

Paul is polling around just 2% nationally, putting him in a three-way tie for eighth place, and more than 30 points behind Donald Trump.

But Paul is appealing to Fox Business to reinstate him into the main debates, citing a new poll showing him in fifth place in Iowa with 5% support.

Fox Business says it plans to stand by its decision.

I sat down with Paul today and I started my interview by asking why he thinks he should be on the main stage.


RAND PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We think the actual polls, if you look at them, show that we should be in the debate.

The one thing about polling that I think we confuse is that, if you get five in a poll and I get six in a poll, that I`m somehow much more likely to win the election.

But if the margin of error is three, five and six -- see, we`re talking about differentiating people on, oh, you got 5.8, I got 6.3.

HAYES: But let me say, it seems to me that that argument should have been made by some of the people in the main debate when they were on the main debate, right? Because it cuts both ways.

PAUL: Well, it has been. And I`ve been making it since the beginning. But it`s been less important, obviously, when you`re in the main debate.

You know, the perceptions are very important.

So, is it fair to the voters who support me to say, oh, well, he`s a second tier candidate with three weeks to go. We don`t accept that.

I was just in Iowa last week. We announced 1,000 precinct chairmen, that`s no small feat. I mean, 1,000 chairmen is more than any other candidate has announced. It`s a time-worn tradition to presidential candidates to see how many precinct chairmen they can get. The last time the winner had 1,100. We have 1,000 with three weeks to go.

We think we`re in the mix of a viable campaign. We have raised $25 million. We have -- we`re on the ballast in 50 states. We see no reason why the media should get to prejudge us.

HAYES: Let me ask you about last night and Nikki Haley`s response to the State of the Union, has proven to be somewhat divisive among people on the right.

I`ve seen a lot of people with some enthusiasm, a lot of people criticizing her. Which camp do you fall in?

PAUL: You know, I think it`s important that the Republican party not be seen as a party that`s not welcoming and that wants new people.

I`ve said that we need to be a party that has -- with earrings, without earrings, with tattoos, without tattoos, black, white, brown, rich, poor. We need to be a more diverse party.

If anything, that`s one of the faults of the Republican party, we`re not diverse enough. When we become the old white man`s party, which we`ve been kind of headed towards for a while, we`re never going to win another election.

So I`m in the camp of saying, yes, we need to be careful of letting the voice of the Republican party be someone who thinks that all immigrants are rapists or drug dealers.

HAYES: So this is -- this is an endorsement of her approach last night, which was at least rhetorically, sort of big tentish, not the loudest voice.

PAUL: See, I would go even further, because I think that Trump is a disaster for the Republican party, and a disaster for the image that would cultivate and bring new people in. But also for those who have a serious approach as to how we would defend the country.

One of the scariest things of the campaign that has been under reported, not only did Trump not know what the nuclear triad was, that we have missiles by air, land and sea, but a week later his spokesman said our biggest problem is that we have not been willing enough to use our nuclear arsenal. That should scare people to death.

Anybody that`s gotten beyond the third grade would say oh, my goodness, we don`t want a president that is eager to use our nuclear arsenal, we want one, Republican or Democrat, that reasonable and restrained and knows that it`s a deterrent but we`re not eager to to use it by any means.

HAYES: Well, that sets up nicely what happened last night with the Iranian situation. Which is -- it was a hairy situation. It does appear the American ship actually went into Iranian waters. It`s still unclear if that`s definitive. But it appears that way.

They were returned today, although videos released of them in violation of some international law, in fact.

I saw a Republican party that was geared up, essentially, last night to go to war with Iran. I mean -- is that what you saw?

PAUL: It does scare me, because when I see a situation like this, my hope is for peaceful resolving the situation.

But also looking for a silver lining. Do I trust Iran? Do I think it`s right to parade our soldiers? No.

But do I think it`s a step forward that a country that we have such an adversarial relationship with returned our soldiers and we didn`t begin a war? Absolutely.

HAYES: This is why you`re having a hard time in the Republican primary. I`m serious.

That just -- just saying that, no one wants to hear that.

PAUL: Well, it depends. There was an interesting poll in Iowa about a year ago. They said, do you want to be more involved in foreign war like John McCain or less involved like Rand Paul.

And I think that`s a good way to put it. I`m not saying never. I`m not saying we don`t defend ourselves. I`m just saying, I want to be less than involved in every damn Civil War in the whole world.

HAYES: Well, and here`s what I think is so interesting. Ted Cruz has managed to marry the rhetorical flourishes of neo conservatism with essentially a substantive argument about not getting involved with a lot of things.

PAUL: He has been listening to me on the regime change idea, that it`s a bad idea, but he needs to understand that most libertarian leaning people like myself, we`re not excited about making the sand glow or carpet bombing either, because the problem with carpet bombing, it implies indiscriminate bombing and the problem for indiscriminate bombing is for every one you kill, the ones that are maimed and left may well be the next generation of terrorists.

HAYES: Let me ask about something in your home state.

Governor Matt Bevin, an ally of yours I think it`s fair to say, Tea Party activist, now the governor, just announced he`s going to poll the state and he`s going to shutter the state`s Obamacare connect.

My understanding of your theory of governance, you know, which I think their is a lot to, is the government that`s closest to the people is best, you want to devolve back to the states as much as possible.

Here`s an opportunity where you`ve got this thing, it could be run by Kentuckians or it could be run by the so-called bureaucrats in Washington, and the Tea Party governor has decided to hand it over from Kentuckians and give it to Washington.

That makes no sense to me.

PAUL: Well, I guess we would see a third option. We would say the federal government could control health care, the state government could control health care or actually the marketplace to control health care.

HAYES: Right. But that`s not the choice right now. Obamacare is the law of the land. You get two options. You`re the governor, you get to decide whether the state runs it or federal government runs it.

PAUL: But that`s part of our objection to Obamacare and in fact, if I could put all of my objections into one sentence, my objection to Obamacare is that it made it illegal to purchase inexpensive insurance.

And I think it`s important for people to know that, because what happens under Obamacare is, if I want a high deductible plan that covers nothing but I want an inexpensive plan, President Obama decided in advance I`m not smart enough to make that decision.

HAYES: The Kentuckians though are still going to be dealing with bureaucrats in Washington and not their fellow Kentuckians when they sign up for Obamacare.

Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky, candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. Thank you very much.

PAUL: Thank you.

HAYES: Come back again.


HAYES: Coming up, the right way to overdrive (inaudible) President Obama and offer a dangerously bellicose rhetoric over that incident with Iran yesterday.

The ugly details, next.


HAYES: Kentucky clerk Kim Davis attended last night`s State of the Union address, but up until late yesterday, exactly who had invited her remained a mystery. Turns out Davis, who was famously jailed after refusing to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses was a guest of Ohio congressman Jim Jordan. But as of Tuesday afternoon, Jordan himself had no idea he had invited her.

"I didn`t invite anyone", he initially told the Huffington Post.

Later in the day, the Republican lawmaker amended those comments, noting that Davis pretty much invited herself through the Family Research Council.

"I found out today," Jordan said, "And I`m being totally honest with you, the Family Research Council asked us, her family wanted a ticket and we said okay."


HAYES: Early this morning, Iran released ten U.S. navy sailors within 24 hours of those sailors being detained after their two patrol boats drifted in Iranian territorial waters.

Last night, soon after the detention of the sailors made news, and before the details of the situation were frankly at all clear, the blame Obama chorus on the right was in full song.


MARCO RUBIO, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As far as provocative beyond it, absolutely. Look, Iran is testing the boundaries of this administration`s resolve. And they know that the boundaries are pretty wide.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, THE WASHINGTON POST: The story is is that the United States, in responding to bad actions, is doing nothing. The appeasement of the highest order.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he will not confront them. You have to confront people like this, you`ve got to punch them in the face and say, we`re the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the fact that he feels that he is able to seize our ships and sailors indicates the incredible weakness of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy, and the fact that bullies and tyrants across the world are not afraid of this president.


HAYES: Presidential candidate Jeb Bush tweeted at 6 pm last night, "if our sailors aren`t coming home yet, they need to be now. No more bargaining. Obama`s humiliatingly weak Iran policy is exposed again".

Now that`s just a sampling of right wing rhetoric. Certainly, there are some concerning aspects of this incident.

The Iranian video of U.S. sailors may display a violation of the Geneva Convention, according to a state department spokesman.

NBC News does not know the circumstances under which it was shot. We do not know if the sailors were asked to participate in the video under duress, including an apology by one of the American sailors and/or if it was released by the Iranians for propaganda reasons.

However, the open channels of communication between our secretary of state and the Iranian foreign minister is being widely credited with the quick resolution of the incident.

Left anyone forget, there are incidents that may be used as points of comparison. In 2007, there was an arrest of 15 British marines by Iran`s revolutionary guard navy, which led to 13-day standoff.

British marines ultimately released, interviewed on state television there.

In April, 2001, a mid air collision between the U.S. naval plane and Chinese fight, at the start of President George W. term, led to 24 American crew members being detained for 11 full days.

The Chinese dismantled the U.S. spy plane before shipping it back and charged the U.S. $34,000 for costs, including room and board. The American government even apologized.

When we return, heated rhetoric versus reality.


HAYES: Joining me now, NBC News contributor and Iranian American writer, Hooman Majd, author of The Ministry of Guidance Invites You Not to Stay. And American Family in Iran", which is, by the way, a fantastic book. Hooman, great to have you here.

Let me start with a video, which I got to say, for all the people in the American political spectrum saying Iran is humiliating us, you look at the video and it`s tough to watch that.

They were videotaping people under duress, hands up, this apology that is clearly not -- given under duress, they have been captured.

HOOMAN MAJD, AUTHER: No question. Iran sort of had the upper hand here from -- they`re right to detain these sailors.

HAYES: In terms of the territorial --

MAJD: And we would do the same to any hostile or foreign military ship that came within our 12 mile.

But for them to do the video, there is no question they actually lost much of the moral high ground that they may have had to begin with, yeah.

HAYES: What happened last night to me was just -- it just shows how sort of on tinder hooks this whole thing is. I mean, one of the arguments -- so there`s an argument that people made, which is that the only reason we got the sailors back is because of this big money is going to come through as the first part of the deal happens I think on Friday, if I`m not mistaken, right? Which seems to cut both ways.

I`ve seen conservatives marshaling that to say, the deal is bad, but then others saying that`s why we got them back, because the deal exists.

MAJD: Yes, it`s ironic in that sense, yes. I think that plays a part, there`s no question. Neither Iran nor the United States want this deal to fall apart. This nuclear deal.

And the nuclear deal is a good deal. For America. It`s a very good deal for America. You can argue it`s a very good deal for Iran, as well. But it is certainly a very good deal for America.

Donald Trump talks about how we`re not getting anything. They`re getting all this money. Well, the money is there`s. It`s been there`s, it`s just been frozen.

What we`re getting is them shipping out a tremendous amount of nuclear material. What we`re getting is them eliminating a heavy water nuclear plant. That`s a lot. We`re getting a long lead time from a nuclear weapon.

So we are actually getting a lot.

What they`re getting is what they already had to begin with.

HAYES: Well, it`s funny you mention that, because I was at this Donald Trump event and talking to people, and I think people are under the impression that the U.S. is writing a check for -- really think we are writing a check for $150 billion to the Iranian regime, which if we were doing, I would find pretty outrageous.

MAJD: That would be extortion. Then the Iranian regime would have extorted for the United States.

The main thing with this is, it seems to me -- the reaction yesterday from the right wing and from the GOP, some of the GOP crazies was basically, let`s go to war. I mean, as if Iran has no right to a territorial waters, has no right to detain anyone who occupies --

HAYES: Or even to me, it`s like think through what that means. What does all that rhetoric add up to, punch them in the face, confront them, stand up to them.

MAJD: Iran is a bogeyman and Obama is for a lot of people. You put the two together, Obama and Iran, it`s like attack. Let`s go on the attack.

HAYES: Would this have been resolved this quickly if Kerry and Zarif didn`t have a relationship?

MAJD: No. No question about it. But I think the confidence that Kerry showed yesterday, and that was very clear. The confidence that President Obama showed -- by the way, for people who are more hard lined and on the American side, the confidence that the Pentagon showed, should have indicated to everyone, that I think it`s under control.

I think they trusted the Iranians are going to do what they said.

HAYES: And the test was this morning, if they did, and they did.

MAJD: And also, the Iranians have come through with every promise they`ve made on the nuclear deal, too. So that was another indication that we should trust them on this.

HAYES: Hooman Majd, thank you very much.

That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts now.