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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 1/26/2016

Guests: Michael Brendan Dougherty, Charlie Pierce, Joel Benenson, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Joan Walsh

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: January 26, 2016 Guest: Michael Brendan Dougherty, Charlie Pierce, Joel Benenson, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Joan Walsh


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

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If Donald wins Iowa, there`s a very good chance he could be unstoppable.

HAYES: Donald Trump`s onslaught in Iowa.

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO (R), MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ: It`s just easy to endorse him.

HAYES: Trotting out a slew of endorsements and pulling evangelicals away from Ted Cruz.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two Corinthians 3:17, that`s the whole ball game.

HAYES: Then Republicans for Bernie?

AD NARRATOR: Does Iowa really want Wall Street in the White House?

HAYES: Are big conservative donors trying to help Bernie Sanders?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They throw all this stuff at me and I`m still standing.

HAYES: Plus, Governor Chris Christie in a fight with New Jersey.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I heard one crazy mayor down in south Jersey said, this is worse flooding than Sandy.

HAYES: And what Sarah Palin doesn`t want you to know about her super PAC.


HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


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

It`s a move guaranteed to bring him wall to wall coverage in the final days leading up to Iowa. Tonight, Donald Trump threatened to follow through on his boycott of Thursday`s FOX News debate, delivering an epic rant against co-host Megyn Kelly, with whom he`s been feuding for months, and FOX CEO Roger Ailes. We will play a part of that for you coming up.

Now, that came at the end of a busy day on the campaign trail which saw Trump pick up a few very meaningful endorsements, including one from Arizona`s notoriously anti-immigrant sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who in 2012 called President Obama`s birth certificate a, quote, "fraudulent, forged document".


SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO (R), MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ: I`m here to endorse a great patriot. It`s just easy to endorse him, because everything I believe in, he`s going to do it when he becomes president.


HAYES: Also, former Major League pitcher John Rocker told "The Daily Caller" he`s absolutely supporting Trump for president, saying, quote, "I think he has really woken America up."

Rocker, who spent most of his career with the Atlanta Braves, famously told "Sports Illustrated" in 1999 he would rather retire than play for a New York team. And I quote, "Imagine having to take the number 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you`re riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It`s depressing."

Tomorrow, Trump held (ph) to South Carolina to pick up another important endorsement from State Senator Jake Knotts, who once referred to both President Obama and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as rag heads.

The biggest news of the day, is a Trump endorsement from Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., son of the late televangelist. And while it might seem odd for such a prominent evangelical to support a twice divorced casino owner who miscited the letters of St. Paul, it wasn`t completely unforeseen. Introducing Trump at Liberty`s convocation last week, Falwell was effusive in his praise, comparing Donald to Martin Luther King and Jesus.

The real impact of Falwell`s endorsement is a huge blow to Ted Cruz, Trump`s main rival in Monday`s Iowa caucuses. Cruz actually launched his campaign at Liberty University with Jerry Falwell, where he introduced his strategy to bring more evangelical voters into the electorate.


CRUZ: Roughly half of born again Christians aren`t voting. They`re staying home. Imagine instead millions of people of faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values.


HAYES: Today of all days, "The New York Times" published a feature on that subject, Ted Cruz`s evangelical gamble. If there`s any state where evangelicals could be decisive, Iowa is it. And in the home stretch, before the caucuses, right now, that`s what Ted Cruz is banking on, trying to seal the deal by invoking the social issues that have motivated them in the past.


CRUZ: If you want a president who will stand for life, if you want a president who will stand for marriage, if you want a president who will stand for religious liberty, the question all of us need to ask is who has a record standing for life, standing for marriage, standing for religious liberty?


HAYES: In particular, both the Cruz campaign and its associated super PAC have been trying to drive a wedge between evangelicals and Donald Trump, hitting him with some pretty effective attack ads on abortion.


TRUMP: I lived in New York City, in Manhattan, all my life, OK? So, you know, my views are a little bit different than if I live in Iowa.

AD NARRATOR: They are different like on abortion.

INTERVIEWER: Would President Trump ban partial birth abortion?

TRUMP: Look, I am pro-choice in every respect.


HAYES: But in this topsy-turvy political year, it is not clear how many evangelicals or any other part of the Republican base apparently actually care about the issues targeted by their elite leaders. Despite Trump`s pro-choice record, for example, he is right now actually beating Cruz by a wide margin among white evangelical Republicans, 37 percent to 20 percent in a new online poll.

Something similar is going on with health care policy where Cruz is trying to paint Trump as a big government liberal, out of step with true conservatism.

At a campaign event in New Hampshire last night, Trump called for the federal government to negotiate prescription prices with the drug companies, something both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders support.


TRUMP: Drugs with Medicare, they don`t get them out. They pay like this wholesale incredible number, hundreds -- they say like $300 billion could be saved if we bid them out. We don`t do it. Why? Because they`re the drug companies.


HAYES: The Cruz campaign pounced almost immediately, saying in a statement, "It is not surprising that he thinks the government can set pricing for drugs. The problem is that when government interferes in the market, especially the health care market, the result is always the same: high price, lower quality, less choice and fewer innovations that will cost lives."

The trouble is, most members of Cruz`s party don`t agree with him. In an August survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 74 percent of Republicans said the government should be able to negotiate with drug companies to keep prices down.

Joining me now, Charlie Pierce, writer at large for "Esquire" magazine, and Michael Brendan Dougherty at

And, Michael, let me start with you.

That last thing is a perfect window into the what Trump has been exploiting from the get-go, which is the distance between the Republican elites and what they believe and what they think the base believes and what the base really does believe.

And you have a great piece called Trumpism without Trump, "For Trumpism against Trump. And I`ve been waiting for candidate to deliver a shock to the conservative movement in the Republican Party, something that will force them to reconnect to the actual material interest of their voters, to make them realize the market was made for men, and not men for the market. Unfortunately, the candidate espousing those views is Donald Trump."

MICHAEL BRENDAN DOUGHERTY, THEWEEK.COM: Yes. It`s happening again. I mean, there was a reporter in Buchanan campaign in `96 who said, I`ve been waiting for someone to say the Fortune 500 is enemy, it`s the enemy and it`s you. And it`s the same thing here.

The Republicans have this huge base of Midwestern voters, voters throughout the Appalachian, kind of ghetto that runs into the Ozarks up into Upstate New York that have move over from the Democratic side. These people have never been on the side of absolute laissez faire free market capitalism. They feel that this actually endangers the interest.

I mean, the famous apocryphal quote from the Tea Party rallies of "keep your government hands off my Medicare" --

HAYES: Right.

DOUGHERTY: -- these are people that benefit from specific programs and sometimes rely on them month to month to make the bills or feed their family. And economic conservatism is a threat to them.

HAYES: And give them nothing. As they have become fairly reliable Republicans for cultural Republicans reasons.

And, Charlie Pierce, here comes Donald Trump who is basically giving them the full panoply. We`re going to build a wall, we`re going to keep immigrants out, we`re going to negotiate tougher trade deals. We`re going to negotiate drug prices.

You know, all of this stuff, whatever you want you, you sort of disaffected white Republican voter who hates the establishment, and here he is to deliver it, and they still can`t make sense of the gap that he is exploiting.

CHARLIE PIERCE, ESQUIRE MAGAZINE: Yes. I`m a little bit alarmed. There seems to be a creeping element of coherence to the Trump message all of a sudden. It used to be it was throwing out any idea that came to his head. But I think his -- the mental radio of Donald Trump has been on scan for a while and it`s finally found station. And it certainly has wrong-footed everyone he`s running against.

Now, I mean, I`m old enough to remember when there was a Republican consensus on things like Medicare and Social Security. It was called the 1950s and `60s before the Republican Party moved South and West in its orientation, and the conservative movement took over and blew up those consensus.

Now, it`s possible that one might come back that the consensus might be reestablished. But I agree with Michael in the sense that, I don`t think Donald Trump is in it for that particular reason. If it happens with him at the head, it happens largely accidentally, because, Chris, he`s not saying we`re going to do this. His entire message is: I`m Donald Trump.

HAYES: Right.

PIERCE: You`re not and neither are those losers. I`m going to do this.

HAYES: It is -- basically, it is a kind of cultural naturalism. I think an ethic and racial naturalism. It`s a kind of white nationalism, combined with a cult of personality. And here he is taking on in succession every pillar institution of Republican Party, including FOX News. So, now, he`s saying, I am not going -- I`m not going to go on a FOX News debate on Thursday, escalating the feud.

Here he is a few moments ago talking about FOX. Take a listen.


TRUMP: I`m not a fan of Megyn Kelly. I think she`s a third rate reporter. I think she frankly is not good at what she does. And I think they can do a lot better than Megyn Kelly.

They can`t toy with me like they toy with everybody else. So, let them have their debate. Let`s see how they do with the ratings. When they sent out the wise guy press releases a little while ago done by some PR person along with Roger Ailes, I said, bye-bye.


HAYES: To me, it`s the same play here as it was with Jeb Bush, as it was with the Republican establishment. It`s "I know your base better than you do", A, and you`ve been building politics up around this alpha personality so much, I can out-alpha and out-bully everyone.

DOUGHERTY: Right. I mean, there`s just a level where Donald Trump`s reach is just so much deeper, right? He`s known as this personality from the tabloids from the `80s and `90s. He`s known from the television show. His television show had millions more viewers than "National Review" had subscribers.

HAYES: Right.

DOUGHERTY: Whatever you want to say about America, like, that is just the case.

And the conservative movement has, in a sense, like reached out to the heart land and said, give us your money through direct mail and we`ll take care of the country for you. And I think the result of all that effort has been so unsatisfying.

HAYES: That`s right. This is it. It`s this moment where it`s like what have you gotten is basically the pitch. I mean, it`s a story about decline and how terrible Barack Obama is, obviously, but it`s also a story about, what have you got? You, the person who`s listening to me? Were any of these things delivered to you?

PIERCE: I think that`s exactly right. You`ve been hearing this for the last couple of election cycles from the very conservative parts of the Republican Party. Now, it`s becoming a little more general. In a certain mad way, I was thinking about this the other day. In a certain mad way, Donald Trump is the only Republican candidate, right now, pitching an optimistic view of the United States.


PIERCE: Right, exactly right. We have all these problems but I will fix them all. The rest of them are all saying, you know, we`re sliding into this dystopia, and unless you elect me, you know, the slide will accelerate.

Donald Trump is saying, I have the answers. And I do think there`s an element of kind of mad optimism to what he`s pitching that`s resonating with people.

HAYES: Quickly, Charlie, the campaign manager for Trump says, Mr. Trump will not be participating in the FOX debate. It is not under negotiations. Very quickly, does he show up on Thursday or not?

PIERCE: I`m going to believe it when I look at the dais and he`s not up there.

HAYES: Michael?

DOUGHERTY: He`ll be there.

HAYES: He`ll be there. Interesting.

So, we think this is WWE style hype.

All right. It will be interesting to see. Charlie Pierce, Michael Brendan Dougherty, thanks to you both.

Still to come: who would establishment Republican rather face in the general election? Well, they`re kind of showing their hand a bit.

Plus, what would it take to get Donald Trump on the Republican convention stage come July as the 2016 nominee. It`s the topic of tonight`s path to victory.

And later, Chris Christie decides to apologize but just to one person.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s not the first time that I`ve gotten carried away and said something that I later apologized for. It doesn`t happen often, but it happens.



HAYES: One of the things we`ve tried to show time and time again on ALL IN is that a big portion of movement conservatism is frankly a con, and the true believers are the marks. For example, earlier this month, we questioned Ben Carson`s finance director on whether expenditures in that campaign, though legal, basically amounted to a grift, considering how much of campaign money goes into the pockets of campaign consultants hired to raise more money. That finance director resigned just a week after we pressed him on the details.

And today, there are new revolutions about this politico.


PALIN: As long as the politicos, they get to keep their titles and their perks and media ratings, they don`t really care who wins elections. How about the rest of us? Right winging bitter clinging proud clingers of our guns, our God and our religions.


HAYES: "The Daily Beast" just published a great piece exposing how much Sarah Palin`s political action committee is spending on consultants and travel.

If you go to the FEC website on which their reporting is based, you can see that so far, in 2016 cycle, in the FEC filing from January through June of last year, only $25,000 of total expenditures or just 3.3 percent went to committees of individual candidates that Sarah PAC was supporting. But more than 95 percent went to other federal operating expenditures, things like travel, speechwriting, fees, lots of consulting fees and fundraisings.

Same story in the 2014 cycle, Sarah PAC spent $206,000 on the committees of individual campaigns, but that was still only 6.6 percent. Ninety-two- point-five percent or $2.8 million went into that category of other federal operating expenditures.

So, if you`re writing a check to the Sarah PAC, you`re writing a check for Sarah Palin`s travel, or consultants, or lifestyle. Sure, it is all perfectly legal but just know what you`re paying for.



MARIA BARTIROMO, MODERATOR: What does it say about our country that candidate who is a sell avowed socialist and who doesn`t think a 90 percent tax rate is too high could be the Democratic nominee?

JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If that`s the case, we`re going to win every state if Bernie Sanders is the nominee. That`s not even an issue.


HAYES: Republicans have been pretty clear about their views of the relative electoral strength of Bernie Sanders, the Democratic nominee, and Hillary Clinton, and they have apparently been up to some mischief to try to get him there.

For instance, this is an ad running in Iowa from American Crossroads, if that rings a bell. It`s the group co-founded by Republican operative Karl Rove.


AD NARRATOR: Ever wonder how Hillary Clinton can afford so many ads? Chances are they were paid for with Wall Street cash. Hillary Clinton`s gotten 54 times more money from Wall Street interest than from all of Iowa.


HAYES: This week, a new ad that is extensively against Bernie Sanders from a super PAC funded by big time Republican donor Joe Ricketts.


AD NARRATOR: Senator Bernie Sanders has some very big plans. Bernie wants to provide free college for our young people, no tuition, completely free. Now, Bernie is doubling down with Medicare for all, which is basically single payer government-sponsored healthcare. No big insurance companies, just more government spending, paid for my raising taxes on Wall Street, big business and the super rich.

Senator Bernie Sanders, too liberal for Iowa.


HAYES: Now, while the ad accuses Sanders of being too liberal, it`s precisely those liberal bona fides that his campaign is counting on to turn out Iowa Democrats. And that, of course, seems to be the Republican strategy here in this ad -- raise the profile of Bernie Sanders because Hillary Clinton may be harder to beat in November.

That`s the same tactic used by Missouri`s Democratic senator, Claire McCaskill, in 2012, who put together a $1.7 million ad buy to boost the profile of Missouri Republican Congressman Todd Akin in his primary who she saw as weaker challenger.

And it apparently worked. Akin won and McCaskill beat him in the general election, which is perhaps why it was McCaskill, a Clinton supporter, who took to Twitter to call Ricketts out. She wrote, quote, "I see you Joe Ricketts and I know exactly what you`re up to. #toddakin. Don`t fall for it, Iowa Democrats."

In an interview today with an Iowa newspaper, Clinton said she thought the ad was, quote, "perversely flattering because they know if they are up against me in the general election, I have a much better chance to win."

Here`s the question, in an election season where nothing has been more consistently wrong than the Republican establishment, should Democratic voters trust their judgment on which candidate is more electable?

Joining me now Joel Benenson, Democratic pollster and senior strategist to Hillary Clinton campaign.

I mean, this is -- I understand why people, you know, make this judgment that Hillary Clinton is a better general election candidate. But if you`re going to trust anyone, it`s like from brilliant minds that have brought you like the Right to Rise super PAC and the Jeb Bush campaign comes our judgment of the temperature of the American people, like why should I listen to them?

JOEL BENENSON, SR. STRATEGIST, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Well, they`ve got an audience out there. They are trying to put their thumbs on the scale for Senator Sanders there.

HAYES: Right. But maybe they`re wrong.

BENENSON: They may be wrong, but I`ll tell you what, there are some of the billionaires he`s running against and Rove is funded by Wall Street money. Ricketts is hedge fund manager, Wall Street money. You know, they`re more worried about Hillary Clinton being in the White House, being a president who will rein Wall Street in.

HAYES: They are worried about her being in the nominee.

BENENSON: If they were worried about Bernie Sanders standing up to Wall Street and doing that, they would be running ads against him. But they`re not. They are putting their money where they think it will do the most good for their cause, which is to keep somebody away from reining in Wall Street, which she will do as president.

HAYES: So, here`s my question. Two things, one is, you know, John Kasich has the line we`re going to win 50 states, right? You see people saying, oh, Ted Cruz, if he`s the nominee, Democrats, you know, Goldwater-esque. It strikes me the way the demographic politics of America works, no one is winning 50 states. I mean, we`re talking about you start -- I`m serious. You start, you got the nomination, if anyone in this room got a nomination as a Democrat, they start with, what, 20 states?

BENENSON: Well, it`s probably more than that. If you look at what Democrats have done in the last four elections we have won, set aside Al Gore, where he won the popular vote.


BENENSON: If you look at the last six elections, two Clinton elections, two Obama elections, the fewest number of electoral votes was 232 which was President Obama`s reelection. He was only the third Democrat in history to be reelected with 50 percent of the vote or more both times.

HAYES: Right.

BENENSON: George Bush and Bill Clinton had over 300 electoral votes both times. George Bush won with 271 and 283. I mean, there is a structural advantage.

Fifty states, first of all, no one has ever won 50. We`ve had 49. We`ve had a blow out.

HAYES: Yes. Go Minnesota.

BENENSON: Go Minnesota, right. Ronald Reagan, obviously.

But, no, I don`t think anybody is going to win 50 states. You look at America right now, I mean, it is largely a 50/50 country to start with. People divided. I don`t mean 50/50 but 45/45. There`s swing vote, there`s a narrow poll of people out there.

HAYES: To the person who`s watching this race unfold between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, right, they`re saying I`ve got two planes I`m calculating on, right? One is, who do I like the most? Who I think is going to be best? Who speaks to me? The other is, who`s going to be the best nominee, electoral strengths, right?

What do you say to the person who says ultimately whoever is the nominee inherits that structural advantage, right? That actually, these differences between who these people are as candidates aren`t going to make that big of a difference. What do you say to that?

BENENSON: No, I think candidates matter. Look, I -- as much as there are structural advantages, even after we won in 2012, I wrote a piece that said, you know, demographics aren`t destiny. Candidates and campaigns matter.

And what this will come down to based on where people are, after -- it will be seven and a half, almost eight years of President Obama`s term, I think what they`re going to focus on is which one of these people, whichever party they`re from, can get stuff done that`s going to make a real difference in my life, real difference. Who`s going to be able to create the jobs?

HAYES: Right.

BENENSON: Who`s going to keep fighting to get equal pay and deliver it for women who do the same work as men? Who will raise the minimum wage that will lift 30 million people out of poverty? But it`s who`s going to be able to deliver those results and make a difference?

HAYES: And the answer to that --

BENENSON: And that`s going to be, it`s Hillary Clinton. She`s got a track record.


HAYES: It would be no one.


BENENSON: No, I don`t think so. If you look at -- if you look at what got done in the last eight years, last seven years of President Obama`s presidency during a time of enormous gridlock, it is tough. It takes hard work. There`s no question about it.

I think the American people appreciate that about the job. They`re going to want a president who can roll up her sleeves, who can get dig in, and get the hard work done. They know there are no miracles in Washington. They know there`s gridlock, and what they don`t want is somebody like Bernie Sanders who`s got a host of policies, including $18 trillion in spending and the rest of --


BENENSON: There`s a risk of gridlock and he`s not telling anybody what it`s going to cost them, what they`re going to get. We`re all going to lose for that.

HAYES: Thank you very much.

All right. Joining me now, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of "The Nation" magazine.

Let me start where Joel Benenson leaves off, talking about electability, right? So, again, there`s the two lanes that people are thinking of --


HAYES: -- when they`re thinking about the primary, right, because you`re nominating someone. You`re not giving them the job. You`re nominating them to compete.


HAYES: Nate Silver this week has Bernie Sanders has the highest approval rating of any candidate right now.


HAYES: Most positive. But the answer to that is Bernie Sanders has never faced hundreds of millions of dollars of negative ads to basically be like, this guy wants to raise your taxes 50 percent, $18 trillion worth of spending, and he`s a socialist.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Can we first of all go back to that Republican ads running against Bernie Sanders. I mean, the Republicans haven`t been too bright in how they are spending this money, their money this season. I mean, In Iowa, talk -- is he saying that people are against affordable --

HAYES: No, he`s not. He`s saying he knows. He says he wants them.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Expanding Social Security. I mean, this is lunacy.

Listen, Bernie Sanders has been a fighter for working people. Republicans better watch out for what they are looking for. I mean, if you go into white, poor regions of Vermont, there are thousands of people who know Bernie Sanders has been fighting for them, caring about their lives, about their jobs, and fighting for programs, Medicare for all, expanded Social Security, $15 minimum wage, that will improve the conditions of their people`s lives.

He is up against at the moment what Nate Silver may not -- in polls, and I hate the polls, Chris, because they`re so volatile. I mean, I hate the horse race stuff. But in polls, Bernie Sanders is doing better in match ups against the Republicans. He`s winning the independents. Forget the fact he`s winning 74 percent, 18 to 29-year-olds.


HAYES: This is a genuine question. This is a real question. There will be -- if Bernie Sanders is the nominee, there will be hundreds of millions of dollars spent to say every vote he`s taken and to say he wants to raise your taxes. He just said, the other night on a forum honestly, I will raise your taxes.

VANDEN HEUVEL: There will be hundreds of millions of dollars spent against Hillary Clinton and they will say the same thing about her. What Bernie Sanders can do, speaking with integrity and credibility and an authenticity that Secretary of State Clinton can`t is marshal that political revolution even before he`s elected which is to mobilize -- and this will be an election of mobilization, not persuasion -- mobilize millions of people to ramp up they`re giving to him and be unbought and liberated to advance bold ideas.

But I think he can compete and it`s a test he can compete with the big money by going to people and saying, enough with the downsize politics of excluding an alternative.

HAYES: Wait a second.

VANDEN HEUVEL: We are going to find a way to take on Wall Street, which is at the heart of his campaign. Take them on, don`t let them buy our system.

HAYES: That`s fine. That`s great.

If you look at polling, when you say to the American people, would you vote for a person who is an ex, OK, Muslim, atheist, gay, go down the line, Jewish, whatever, you get to the bottom, you get socialist, OK?


HAYES: I know, I read John Nichols` great book about --

VANDEN HEUVEL: No, no, no.

HAYES: -- the history of Americans socialism. It will be a problem in the general election.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Bernie Sanders is an unreconstructed 21st century new dealer. He has to invoke Roosevelt at every step. He has to talk about what is American --

HAYES: That is true.

VANDEN HEUVEL: What is American socialism? It`s the post office, it`s Social Security. And -- you know, what`s stunning is 43 percent of Democratic caucus-goers who say they will participate in "The Des Moines Register" poll three weeks ago --

HAYES: I saw it, yes.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Did you see that?


VANDEN HEUVEL: Say they are socialists. Now, do I -- you know, people -- young people --


HAYES: The point because that`s the thing that makes people terrified, is that Democratic Iowa caucus-goers are not representative of the electorate, and they may choose someone --

VANDEN HEUVEL: Let me pivot for a second. He is taking about taking back this country democracy of, by, for the people. He takes on -- democracy. Democracy, OK?

Senator Clinton, I`m speaking after Joel Benenson, but Secretary Clinton has a lot of baggage herself.

HAYES: That`s true. Right, that is true.

VANDEN HEUVEL: One of the pieces of baggage is she`s running as a candidate of continuity in a time of extraordinary change. I think she`s also burdened by taking on a lot of Wall Street money. I think she can -- that will be a baggage. The reason that he can run better, I would argue, in Iowa, in places like that against a Donald Trump appealing to a working class.

HAYES: Well, let me say this final point about continuity and change. It`s going to be interesting -- my feeling is, if it really is a change election, whoever has the d next to their name is going to have a hard time.

HEUVEL: It`s going to be a mobilization election.

HAYES: That`s true.

HEUVEL: Get out the vote. The enthusiasm is going to be vital, down ballet too for senate and other factors.

HAYES: Can Democrats recreate that kind of thing they`ve had twice for Barack Obama is the question.

Thank you very much.

HEUVEL: Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come, it`s safe to say Donald Trump came farther than most people expected, but what would it take for him to actually get the nomination? We`ll break down the path to his victory just ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: The footage was met with great outreach. A series of undercover and heavily edited videos released by the anti-abortion group, The Center for Medical Progress, purported to show officials at Planned Parenthood selling body parts for profit, which would be illegal.

Planned Parenthood denied any wrong doing, but that didn`t stop the political fire storm. Providing plenty of fodder for the campaign trail and even giving a gruesome applause line to Carly Fiorina, in which she described a fully formed footage kicking on a table.

Confronted on the fact that such footage wasn`t in the video at all, her campaign later claimed she was speaking of a different video.

Meanwhile, on Capital Hill, the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecil Richards was called to testify before congress. The House voting to defund the organization for an eighth time earlier this month.While late last year, a man shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, killing three people, including a police officer, reportedly uttering "no more baby parts" to authorities upon his arrest.

Even in face of such terrible tragedy, conservatives continued with their message.


TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This man is a despicable murderer and he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, but none of that changes the reality that Planned Parenthood is in the business of buying and selling body parts of unborn children.

None of that changes the reality that Planned Parenthood was caught on video apparently committing a pattern of felonies.


HAYES: Apparently committing a pattern of felonies. Selling body parts. The outrage expressed by Cruz and others were all because of these heavily edited tapes and the belief that these tapes proved that Planned Parenthood was doing something not just in their eyes horrific and immoral, because these are people who don`t like abortion, but also clearly -- and this is key -- flatly illegal. Harvesting and selling body parts.

A message repeatedly, repeatedly touted out by Cruz and his fellow presidential candidates.


MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Planned Parenthood is in the business of providing abortion, and what we now know, they`re in the business of selling baby`s body parts like the parts of a Buick.

CARLY FIORINA, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Planned Parenthood cannot and will not deny that they are conducting late term abortions for the purposes of harvesting body parts because it is true.

JOHN KASICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a situation going on right now where Planned Parenthood has dumped fetal parts into land fills.

CRUZ: These tapings of Planned Parenthood selling body parts are grotesque. It highlights the evil of what they are doing.

In light of these horrific videos in which they are caught on tape is saying, essentially admitting to pattern of felonies, illegally selling the body parts of unborn children.

These videos show senior officials from Planned Parenthood laughing, sipping Chardonnay, and callously, heartlessly selling the body parts of unborn children.

MARCO RUBIO, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just think you`ve created an industry now where you create the situation, where very much you created the incentive for people not just to look forward to having more abortions, but being able to sell the fetal tissue for purposes of centers, for purposes of making a profit off of it. As you`ve seen in some of these Planned Parenthood affiliates.


HAYES: Again and again, over and over like a drum beat, day after day after day, selling body parts, selling body parts.

Now, if Planned Parenthood officials were selling body parts for profits as those individuals running for president said on national television day after day, that would be a criminal act, which is why the Republican district attorney in Harris County Texas at the urging of Republican lawmakers in her state launched an investigation into the Houston based branch of Planned Parenthood, late last year, which was a victim of one of those videos, and presented the evidence to a grand jury.

And, as we reported yesterday, Planned Parenthood was cleared of any wrong doing by that grand jury in Texas. But, there`s a twist.

Instead, the two anti-abortion activists behind those videos were indicted on criminal charges, including one count related to, ironically enough, the purchase or sale of human organs. The very same crime the activists claimed Planned Parenthood committed.

Of course, we know, this will change absolutely nothing in how Republicans talk about it, as this response demonstrates.


FIORINA: Here`s what I know. Planned Parenthood has been trafficking in body parts. Planned Parenthood have been altering late term abortion techniques for this specific purpose of harvesting body parts.

In a President Fiorina budget, there will not be a single dime for Planned Parenthood.


HAYES: That`s just yesterday. Okay?

Because the whole political fire storm was never about those videos to begin with. The videos were an excuse for the anti-abortion movement`s continued attack on an organization that the loathe, that they believe does evil. An organization, also, that the majority of Americans approve of federal funding for even, get this, at the very height of the video news cycle.

Because it turns out the American people, and a Texas grand jury are not so easily duped.


HAYES: With the first votes being cast in the 2016 presidential race on Monday, we`re spending this week looking at the path to victory for five of the candidates.

Today, Donald Trump, the man`s who candidacy has prompted the question I`m asked far more than any other, a question I get pretty much everywhere I go. Wait, can Donald Trump win the nomination?

Alright, I`m here with Steve Kornacki, we`re going to talk about the path to victory for Donald Trump, which is a phrase that would have seemed preposterous six months ago.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: It`s not just the path to victory, there`s multiple paths to victory for Donald Trump.

HAYES: This is like when you`re evaluating a team in the last week of the football season where they can get into the playoffs any number of ways, right?

KORNACKI: We`ll start with the easiest win and that is simply, win Iowa. He leads right now in just about every state except Iowa. He`s basically neck and neck with Ted Cruz in Iowa.

So, if you`re Donald Trump and you win Iowa, you`re already ahead in New Hampshire, it`s tough to see how you would lose momentum coming off a win in Iowa. So, if you then win New Hampshire, you have done something that no one in the modern era of presidential politics has done on the Republican side.

That is to put together that one-two punch of Iowa and New Hampshire.

HAYES: Is that true?

KORNACKI: Yeah. Since these two have become major events, which has basically been with the 1980 election, no one has gone 2-0 in the first two.

HAYES: Wow. So, that`s one path.

But, let`s say he doesn`t win Iowa. Let`s say Ted Cruz, and again, we have no idea what`s going to happen there because the polling is all over the place, let`s say he comes in second or behind that.

KORNACKI: Right. So, Cruz, let`s say Cruz wins Iowa and Trump comes in second. Then you go to New Hampshire, he`d need to hold on in New Hampshire so it goes one and one. Cruz wins one with Iowa. Trump wins one with New Hampshire. And that sets up South Carolina. And there`s a chance there to undo Cruz`s victory in Iowa by winning South Carolina. Very similar heavy with evangelical voters.

So, if Cruz can`t take the Iowa win and parlay it to a win in South Carolina, if Trump could win New Hampshire and stop them in South Carolina, that would also derail Cruz.

HAYES: And, the key thing here is that, if Cruz does get that win in Iowa, that`s going to give him some momentum, you could imagine some good fundraising, some positive press coverage. You could see him coming off of that -- it would be hard for him to close a gap in New Hampshire, but say he finished second in New Hampshire, that really would set up a battle royal in South Carolina between those two.

KORNACKI: Exactly. And that also brings us to the third step here, which is basically look, if the establishment, the so-called Republican party establishment, this is something we have started to see in the last few days. If they are forced into situation where they have to choose, it`s Trump or it is Cruz.

It`s no one else. Forget your Rubio pipe dream, forget Bush, forget Christie. You`ve got to chose.

Does Trump then have an opportunity even if he lost Iowa, even if he lost South Carolina to Cruz? Do the party elites look at it and say, ultimately, we got to go with Trump? They all flock to him.

HAYES: And the key thing to remember there is even if he comes out of those contests, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina with one win, he then goes to the SEC primary, the South, where he is polling there are some states -- Georgia he is polling up to 45 points. He`s killing people there.

So, it`s even plausible he goes one for three and then moves into that South SEC primary --

KORNACKI: And that`s the thing. If it became Cruz versus Trump, clearly the only two candidates that are viable in that party establishment, one reason for them to go with Trump, he`s the guy who set up to stop Cruz in the southern states.

HAYES: Alright. Kornacki, thanks so much.


HAYES: The Cruz campaign billed it as breaking news tonight, the senator challenging Donald Trump to a one-on-one debate after Trump`s campaign said that he would not be participating in the Fox News debate moderated by Megyn Kelly this Thursday.


CRUZ: And I know that Donald finds Megyn frightening. So, we can arrange for different moderators, we can arrange for Mark Levin to moderate, or Sean Hannity to moderate, or Rush Limbaugh to moderate, or Glenn Beck to moderate.

If all of them are too scary, then we can do it with no moderators what so ever. We`ll do 90 minutes Lincoln-Douglas, mono e mono, Donald and me. He can lay out his vision and I can lay out my vision for this country in front of the men and women in Iowa.


HAYES: No response yet from the Trump camp..



CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to make sure that the people of my state feel safe and secure and know that despite the fact that I`ve been on phone seven or eight times in the past two days, they`ll feel better if I`m there.

I`m going to go back this afternoon, if conditions are worse than what I expect, then I may not see you Sunday, I may not see you till Monday, but I will be back. I`ll be able to do both things.


HAYES: Today, Governor Chris Christie is feeling the wrath of many of his constituents in the state of New Jersey after a historic blizzard hit the state this past weekend.

Christie originally planned to stay on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, but after facing a barrage of criticism, he changed his plans as he was telling that town hall audience, and headed home to New Jersey in anticipation of the massive snowstorm.

He then left less than 24 hours after the storm ended and almost was almost immediately confronted by a young woman who asked why he was on the trail in New Hampshire and not dealing with the wreckage in New Jersey.

Here was his answer.


CHRISTIE: Because it`s already done. It`s already done.


CHRISTIE: Tell me why you think it isn`t.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, I have friends, family calling, sending me videos, pictures.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All over the state.

CHRISTIE: All over the state? All over the state? Really?

There`s been one county that`s flooded in the state. One county. That was Cape May County. It`s the one county that flooded.

I don`t know where from all over the state, since we have 21 counties, where that`s happened.

Second, I don`t know what you expect me to do. You want me to go down there with a mop?


HAYES: Perhaps not surprisingly, many people in New Jersey didn`t take kindly to the governor`s remarks.

One bike shop in New Jersey put a mop in front with a sign that it was reserved for Chris Christie.

Meanwhile, residents in South Jersey, parts of which experienced high flooding, assessed the damage.


COLLEEN REICHARDT, RESIDENT OF NEW JERSEY: I think it takes a little bit more than a mop for this. The home is not livable anymore. The bulkhead is gone.

Whether he sees it on camera or himself in person, the devastation is what it is. That`s not going to change.

It`s going to take more than a mop.


HAYES: Today Chris Christie offered this explanation for his mop comment.


CHRISTIE: It`s a joke. You don`t like the joke, you don`t like it. That`s all. It was a joke. If you don`t like the joke, you can tell me you don`t like the joke.


HAYES: While Christie stopped short of apologizing to his constituents, he did end up apologizing to the mayor of North Wild Wood, New Jersy, after he called him crazy for saying the blizzard caused worse flooding in his town than Hurricane Sandy.


CHRISTIE: I heard some people compare it to Sandy. I heard one crazy mayor down in South Jersey say this is worst flooding than Sandy. Here`s the one thing you need to know about that mayor, his town didn`t get hit by Sandy.

So, of course it`s worse than Sandy for him.


HAYES: North Wild Wood did did get hit by Sandy, and the blizzard was worse for them.

Christie called the mayor personally to apologize.

Up next, the reason Chris Christie fled his home state for New Hampshire so quickly, as he makes a last ditch effort to get some kind of traction in the race for president.

We`ll tell you how it`s going, and whether the Christie loving pundits were right about his irresistible appeal, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Joining me now, Joan Walsh, MSNBC political analyst and international affairs correspondent for The Nation magazine.

We heard it was always going to happen. The Christie bump, it`s happening.

JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: There was a little bit of a bump. But, it`s gone, and it`s going to be really gone after this.

Sometimes when you`re sitting here and getting ready to think about what you`re going to say and you hear that thing in your ear, you hear the voice in that case. I`ve seen him say that. I`ve seen those words.

But, listening to it again, he takes such glee in humiliating that young woman. He can`t help himself. That id, that cruelty just runs away with itself and he lands the joke with the mop because he thinks it`s a good joke.

HAYES: And you can tell his eyes light up. His campaign later alleged that she was a plant, but I have no evidence of that.

You can see this sort of, he lights up because he thinks he`s got her, right? It`s like, I`m going to check mate her here.

WALSH: He`s got her, and then he`s got this poor mayor and he is slamming this poor mayor.

Karma is real. It looked like for a time he`s kind of escaped Bridgegate, with the investigation went silent. He goes to New Hampshire.

But once again, he falls victim to his desire to humiliate a small town mayor and show how tough he is and call the guy crazy when he`s had to evacuate 150 residents, people have died in this storm, and he`s mocking him.

HAYES: And the thing about Christie, and Rubio is in a similar category, there`s been this sort of class of pundits who just want -- it`s like wish fulfillment -- so badly that Christie or Rubio will take off.

It`s like the way an adult watches a toddler doing a difficult task. It`s like leaning in, trying to will them to get it done.

You`ve seen this. A million predictions. It`s like an organ being rejected. It`s like they don`t want it.

WALSH: Every debate Marco Rubio is going to surge.

HAYES: Or Chris Christie, who does well in them.

WALSH: He does well enough. And, he is a creation of our people, of the liberal east coast media, who really want to believe that there`s still a constituency for the Republican party on the east coast, and that a tough talking guy who puts people down is going to be popular.

HAYES: Of course, because there is a time part of him.

WALSH: Right from the northeast.

HAYES: And that is actually one of the things that`s been, if you`re a Christie head scratching about this whole thing --

WALSH: Right. I was supposed to be the bully.

HAYES: Someone has out-Christied by someone who is a hundred times more of a bully in some ways than Christie is.

WALSH: Right. It`s got to be really hard for him, and so he thought he had his moment but he didn`t. And, I think it`s over.

HAYES: Yea. I mean, there`s a real clear politics average. He was at 5.3% in Iowa in December. Up 11.5%, now down to 7.2%.

He`s hovering around Jeb Bush level in New Hampshire. He has a tough road ahead of him, although, not a single vote has been cast.

WALSH: The path to victory is still there.

HAYES: That`s right, and we don`t write people off, because we believe here on All In in democracy.

Joan Walsh, thanks for being here.

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