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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 9/13/2016

Guests: Michelle Goldberg, Nick Confessore, Betsey Stevenson, David Fahrenthold, Sam Seder, McKay Coppins, Ben Howe, Sarah Isgur Flores

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: September 13, 2016 Guest: Michelle Goldberg, Nick Confessore, Betsey Stevenson, David Fahrenthold, Sam Seder, McKay Coppins, Ben Howe, Sarah Isgur Flores

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


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do you mind if I just vent for a second?

(END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES (voice-over): Hillary Clinton calls in backup.


OBAMA: I really, really, really want to elect Hillary Clinton.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES (voice-over): The president lets it fly in Philly, dressing down Donald Trump.


OBAMA: He wasn`t going to let you on his golf course. He wasn`t going to let you by in his condo. And now suddenly this guy`s going to be your champion?


HAYES (voice-over): Tonight, Barack Obama`s impassioned rallying cry, and why he was touting the single biggest election headline of the week.


OBAMA: The Republicans don`t like to hear good news right now.


HAYES (voice-over): Plus, the Washington Post David Fahrenthold on his latest explosive reporting on the Trump Foundation. Did Democrats successfully flip the deplorables script?


PENCE: Frankly, you all know. Hillary Clinton wasn`t talking about that bad man.


HAYES (voice-over): And new questions about Donald Trump`s health to be answered by...Dr. Oz?


DR. OZ: I`m not going to answer questions he doesn`t want to have answered.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES (voice-over): When ALL IN starts right now.

HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. We`re keeping an eye on Donald Trump who`s giving a speech on maternity leave, of all things, which if you`re surprised, this campaign continues to surprise every day. But we start tonight with some breaking news. Hillary Clinton`s campaign announcing she will return to the campaign trail on Thursday after taking three days off to recover from her well-publicized bout with pneumonia. Also tonight, the police have reportedly arrested a man accused of hitting several anti-Trump protesters during a Donald Trump rally in North Carolina last night. They also issued a warrant for a different man who is accused of punching what local news reports identified as a 69-year-old woman outside the rally. She told reporters she was there protesting Trump as well, and appears in the photo to be wearing an oxygen mask. Meanwhile, after a whirlwind few days focused on Hillary Clinton`s health and Donald Trump`s deplorables, today brought the single most important piece of election news this week, probably the past few months, possibly the entire campaign, and for once it had nothing to do with either candidate. U.S. Census Bureau announcing that real median household income increased 5.2 percent in 2015, up to $56,516. It is the first increase in household income since 2007 before the Great Recession, the fastest growth on record since the Census Bureau started keeping track more than 40 years ago. These aren`t just numbers; they make a real difference. The average household earned nearly $2,800 more last year than it did the year before. And if you could distill the Trump campaign`s message down to a single idea, it`s this, America`s a disaster, everything is terrible, Hillary Clinton will only make it worse, and you must vote for Trump because -- and I`m quoting -- I alone can fix it. Here he is making his economic case.


TRUMP: I mean, think of this, median household income has fallen by more than $4,000. $4,000. We have people standing in this room who made more money in real wages 18 years ago than they`re making today. They didn`t work as hard. They were a hell of a lot younger. It should be the other way around. And we lost our jobs, we lost our companies, and we`re not going to let it happen anymore. We`re going to get our jobs back, we`re going to bring our companies back.


HAYES: Today`s news, and more specifically and importantly the reality it reflects, undercuts Trump`s doom and gloom message. And while Clinton wasn`t on the campaign trail today to point that out, she happened to have the perfect surrogate out there making the case the economy is thriving, and the time had come for him to pass her the baton.


OBAMA: The Republicans don`t like to hear good news right now.


OBAMA: But it`s important just to understand this is a big deal. More Americans are working. More have health insurance. Incomes are rising. Poverty is falling.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Gas is $2.00! OBAMA: And gas is $2.00 a gallon. I didn`t even -- thank you for reminding me.


OBAMA: Thanks, Obama.



HAYES: Crucially, the economic gains we are seeing aren`t just going to people at the top of the economic spectrum, which has been the case for much of the recovery. Look at this chart. It is the lowest-earning Americans, the ones in the 10th and 20th percentile there on the left who are seeing the biggest growth in percentage terms in their real household income. In his speech today, the president didn`t just make a case for Clinton and continued Democratic Party policies, he also mocked Trump for casting himself as a champion of the working class.


OBAMA: Let`s talk about Mr. Trump. He`s not really a plans guy, a fact guy. He calls himself a business guy. But America`s got a lot of businessmen and women who succeeded without hiding their tax returns or leaving a trail of lawsuits, or workers who didn`t get paid, people feeling like they got cheated. I mean, look, you know, I keep on reading this analysis that, well, you know, Trump`s got support from, like, working folks. Really? Like, this is the guy you want to be championing working people? This guy who spent 70 years on this earth showing no concern for working people. This guy`s suddenly going to be your champion?


OBAMA: I mean, he spent most of his life trying to stay as far away from working people as he could, and now this guy`s going to be the champion of working people? Huh? I mean, he wasn`t going to let you on his golf course.


OBAMA: He wasn`t going to let you by in his condo. And now suddenly this guy`s going to be your champion?


HAYES: All right. Here with me now, Michelle Goldberg, columnist for Slate, and Nick Confessore who`s a political reporter for the New York Times. And we`ve got Donald Trump making a speech tonight on policy. There`s been a real policy turn from Donald Trump --


HAYES: -- which has been interesting. You know, he was quoted a while ago saying it`s just bureaucrats putting together paper, it doesn`t matter. Now Kellyanne Conway`s saying she`s proud at how policy-focused the Trump campaign is.


HAYES: But even deeper than policy, I mean, what I thought about, Nick, today just seeing this news is ultimately this question is how much do the fundamentals matter? And this is -- if you`re looking for fundamentals, this is as important as fundamentals new gets.

NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes. Look, this is very good news for working families. It does undercut Trump. I will point out, though, that the gains in these gains are not widely shared -- or I`m sorry -- are somewhat narrow.

HAYES: There are missing parts.



CONFESSORE: Missing parts, the rural parts of the country, which are Trump parts of the country --


CONFESSORE: -- which are not feeling it.


CONFESSORE: And also, you know, things have not gotten as good as they were at the peak in the 1990s. So the question is, like, who is feeling which part of this?

HAYES: Right.

CONFESSORE: Who is feeling the good news, who`s feeling the bad news, and how do they vote?

GOLDBERG: Yes. I mean, I don`t think anybody kind of changes their vote on the basis of these census figures, right. I mean, right --

HAYES: No, no, it`s the reality it`s reflecting --

GOLDBERG: Right, right. It`s the reality --

HAYES: Right.

GOLDBERG: And so if your own situation feels very precarious, you know, and you have a lot of anxiety, maybe it could ease your anxiety a little bit. But people are basing these things much more about their own situation and their neighbor`s situation. And so, you know, the kind of unofficial slogan of a lot of this campaign has been nothing matters, right. I mean, people say that every time --

HAYES: Right.

GOLDBERG: -- Trump does something disqualifying and it doesn`t disqualify him, people say nothing matters. And I guess to me this is the test. Will this puncture Trump`s message of kind of America in freefall, or does truly no imperial fact kind of puncture, you know, the bubble that he and his supporters are living in.


GOLDBERG: And that I think he`s trying to extend into as many swing voters as possible. But I guess that`s what matters.

HAYES: I mean, the question here, right -- so you`ve got -- I mean, you`ve got the president coming out being able to -- first of all, you`ve also got Hillary Clinton sort of on the bench because of the pneumonia diagnosis, and then you`ve got, you know, I think the president was pretty happy to be out on this day when this news came out. It was sort of, like, suffused through his entire bearing.

CONFESSORE: You`re welcome.



GOLDBERG: (INAUDIBLE) Obama, I was like --

CONFESSORE: That`s pretty good, you`re welcome, America.

HAYES: And someone yelled $2.00 in gas. Although, it reminded me of the fact -- I was going back through, like, dumb little campaign micro controversies, and someone reminded me in 2008 when he said you should -- when gas was high that you should, like, check that your tires are fully inflated because it actually reduces gas mileage. And there`s a period where, like, John McCain was, like, handing out tire gages --


HAYES: -- to, like, poke fun at the preposterous idea. Of course, gas was $4.00 a gallon then, right? But to me, Nick, this question about who`s in and who`s out, right, is ultimately looks like this defining kind of fundamental structural part of this campaign, right? We got polling out of Maine, which is not doing very well --


HAYES: -- saying that the race is tight, right? We`ve got Virginia and Colorado, which as states are doing quite well that should have been swing states that are looking like they`re going to be runaways for Hillary Clinton.

CONFESSORE: That`s right. There are, you know, kind of right-leaning swing states that are in doubt for Trump and left-leaning swing states that are in doubt for Hillary Clinton. Which I think just shows you how volatile it is. And, you know, as everyone says, you know, the sense of security of the next paycheck, the last, is the future going to be better than the past, are the real, I think, the big sensations on which people base a vote on, and it`s not the GDP or the average household income.

GOLDBERG: And not just is the next paycheck, because I think -- you know, Trump voters are actually doing pretty well --

HAYES: Right.

GOLDBERG: -- and they`re certainly doing pretty well relative to -- you know, relative to Clinton voters --

HAYES: The bottom -- yes, right.

GOLDBERG: -- relative to Sanders voters --

HAYES: Yes, right.

GOLDBERG: -- you know. But when in kind of public opinion surveys what they`re concerned about is the fact that their kids aren`t doing well --

HAYES: Right.

GOLDBERG: -- their communities are in disrepair. And so, you know, that kind of doesn`t change because the fundamentals are --

HAYES: Right.

GOLDBERG: -- improving.

HAYES: I want to play this bit of sound. Because they`re talking about childcare tonight, maternity leave. And there`s this amazing sound of Trump talking about how he views men and women`s roles in caring for a baby, and I wanted to get -- Michelle, particularly, to get your response. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): You`re going to be a new father again in the near future?

TRUMP (voice-over): I am. I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Do you actually change diapers?

TRUMP (voice-over): No, I don`t do that.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Not one, right?

TRUMP (voice-over): No, I don`t do it. It`s not my thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): No.

TRUMP (voice-over): You know what, I`m a good father, but that`s not my thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): It`s nobody`s thing.

TRUMP (voice-over): And Melania`s going to be a great mother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yes, but it`s no one`s thing.

TRUMP (voice-over): No, but some women -- well, to a large extent it`s up to the women. There are a lot of women out there that, you know, demand that the husband act like the wife --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I don`t like this.

TRUMP (voice-over): -- and, you know, there are a lot of husbands that listen to that. So, you know, they go for it. But --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Do you hire one person to be the diaper changer or...

TRUMP (voice-over): No. Melania really is going to be --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): All right.

TRUMP (voice-over): -- fantastic. She is going to be a fantastic mother. And, by the way, if I had a different type of wife --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Mm-hmm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yes.

TRUMP (voice-over): -- I probably wouldn`t have the baby. You know, because that`s just not my thing. I`m really, like, a great father, but certain things you do and certain things you don`t, and it`s just not for me.


HAYES: I think we see the fact that it`s interesting, this is not family leave, this is specifically maternity leave -- GOLDBERG: Right. I mean, the problem with the economy right now is that it`s actually set up for families who kind of arranged their duties the way that Trump does -- HAYES: In that division of labor. GOLDBERG: -- and yet we look at that and it seems, like, so incredibly retro, right? I mean, you know, it`s almost kind of kitsch what a chauvinist he is. I just want to say that, you know, what people want to do with their private lives, even if it`s Trump, is fine. HAYES: Yes. GOLDBERG: I mean, Trump has incredibly retrograde ideas about women in his personal life. To me, more important is that he has incredibly retrograde ideas about working women in his public life. I mean, I think - - HAYES: Right. GOLDBERG: -- that none of us will remember how disgusting he found it when somebody was pumping breast milk during a deposition, right. I mean, this is someone who is really hostile to working women when he actually has to work with them -- or working mothers. HAYES: Michelle Goldberg and Nick Confessore, thanks for joining me here tonight. We`ll take a listen as Donald Trump continues to lay out his policy agenda on this area. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: -- paid maternity leave. This solution will receive strong bipartisan support. Do you agree with that? Do you think when you go to the other side, they`ll be OK? (LAUGHTER) TRUMP: I`m hearing they will be. We`ll get them to be OK, right? And we`ll be completely self-financing. I think you will, you`ll have bipartisan support. By recapturing fraud and improper payments in the unemployment insurance program, we can provide six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit.


HAYES: All right. Joining me now, Betsey Stevenson, former member of President Obama`s Council of Economic Advisors. And, Betsey, we were lucky enough to get the sound bite, right, live, when we went to it. That`s the sort of tweet-length version of this policy. You know, my first thought when I woke up this morning and saw they were rolling this out, I thought, all right, we got some bipartisan consensus on maternity leave. What are your thoughts?

BETSEY STEVENSON, FORMER MEMBER, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: You know, I do think we`re moving in the right direction, right. This is a Republican candidate standing up and saying we are going to need to provide some form of paid family leave. Unfortunately, I think he`s proposing the policy that maybe we should have been talking about 30 or 40 years ago. But today we actually in many families, if not most families, have both men and women who are active caretakers. And so providing a policy for paid maternity leave without any plan for fathers to take an active role and to be able to take time off to do that is really absurd in 2016. And he`s not going to get bipartisan support on that. And I also think that, you know, his --

HAYES: I want to stop you there because there`s a distinction here, obviously. Hillary Clinton has a paid leave portion of her website, which I was re-acquainting myself with, also childcare. But the way this is talked about in Hillary Clinton`s campaign and just sort of Democratic policy circles is paid family leave. And one of the things I read that I thought was interesting is there`s evidence that if you make it just maternity leave, you end up hurting women in the workplace because employers think to themselves, oh, man, I`m going to have to deal with this problem of them taking leave, whereas paid family leave actually does a better job of sort of leveling the playing field in that respect.

STEVENSON: So that`s absolutely true. So one of the great things about being the last developed country to implement any kind of paid maternity/paternity/family leave is that we`ve learned a lot from other countries. And what we know is that when you only offer maternity leave, two things happen. One, employers become more skeptical and more likely to discriminate against women because they think that they`re going to disappear for maternity leave, and they don`t have that fear for men. But the second thing is, is that families make that decision that women are more likely to take time off because they`re the ones whose time off --

HAYES: Right.

STEVENSON: -- is funded. And then that perpetuates inequality within the household, which makes it harder for women to play an equal role in the workforce. So that problem reinforces itself over the next 18 years.

HAYES: Can you imagine a universe in which there is actual -- I mean, I joked today that now that we have some bipartisan buy in at least for the general principle -- even if Hillary Clinton wins, you know, obviously, Republicans will help her get this policy done. (INAUDIBLE). But do you think that`s a plausible scenario?

STEVENSON: The country has moved very sharply and very quickly toward the vast majority of people supporting a plan for paid family leave. And I think it is the smart thing and the right thing for Republicans to get on board. And I do think we`re going to need to come up --


STEVENSON: -- with a truly bipartisan way to actually get the --


STEVENSON: -- legislation done. But I do not think that Trump has proposed anything that`s close to bipartisan. We haven`t even talked about his absurd plan to pay for it. But I do think that we`re going to move to a world where there`s going to have to be bipartisan support. Because the public, both Republican and Democratic voters want --


STEVENSON: -- paid family leave.

HAYES: All right, Betsey Stevenson, thanks for your time. I should note that President -- that Donald Trump mentioned in his speech that Hillary Clinton does not have a policy on this. She very much does, it`s right there. This is on early childhood education, which he talked about. There`s also paid leave. There`s also childcare, all of which are some themes tonight. Those have been laid out by Hillary Clinton, I think, back in June 2015, if I`m not mistaken. Still to come, some professional Republicans are starting to think Donald Trump just might win this thing, and they`re panicking, they`re freaking out. The details ahead. Plus, breaking news, the New York attorney general opens an inquiry into the Trump Foundation. This after explosive new reporting on Trump`s charitable giving. And I`m going to talk to the reporter who`s been tracking this since the beginning in just two minutes, so do not go anywhere.


HAYES: Breaking news tonight, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has opened an inquiry into Donald Trump`s Foundation.


ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW YORK: My interest in this issue really is in my capacity as regulator of non-profits in New York State. And we have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety from that point of view. And we`ve inquired into it, and we`ve had correspondence with them. I didn`t make a big deal out of it or hold a press conference, but we have been looking into the Trump Foundation to make sure it`s complying with the laws that govern charities in New York.


HAYES: The inquiry is based on transactions that have recently come to light. We should note the attorney general and Trump are at odds politically and the attorney general`s already suing Trump over Trump University. Now one of the great subplots of this presidential campaign is Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold`s Ahab-like pursuit of Trump`s charitable giving, something that President Obama referenced today.


OBAMA: One candidate`s family foundation has saved countless lives around the world. The other candidate`s foundation took money other people gave to as charity and then bought a 6-foot-tall painting of himself. I mean, you know, he had the taste not to go for the 10-foot version.


HAYES: Now that anecdote comes from the Washington Post investigation of David Fahrenthold, which began with a simple question, what are the charities that Donald Trump has given money to? Fahrenthold has been stonewalled. So his methodical investigation included calling charity after charity after charity trying to find a Donald Trump donation. The Post has called 326 charities with connections to Trump asking if they had received a gift of the nominee`s own money. Between 2008 and this May, that search turned up just one gift in 2009, worth less than $10,000. It was to the Police Athletic League, a children`s charity in New York. Yesterday it looked like there might be a big break in the case when Trump`s running mate, Mike Pence, went on national television and said this.


MIKE PENCE, REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anyone who knows about Donald Trump and his career knows that this is a man that has given away tens of millions of dollars to charitable causes throughout the course of his business life.


HAYES: As of now, there`s still no proof of tens of millions of dollars in charitable giving personally by Donald Trump. That became very apparent again today when Trump`s campaign manager was asked about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you stand by the tens of millions number?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Donald Trump has been incredibly generous over the course of his life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With his own money?

CONWAY: With his own money and his foundation`s money, which is his money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, the foundation`s money are other people giving to his foundation.

CONWAY: OK. And he`s been incredibly generous.


HAYES: Just to be clear, according to the Washington Post, Donald Trump has not given his own money to his own foundation since 2008. And we should note NBC Universal made a $500,000 donation to the Trump Foundation in 2012. Joining me now, Washington Post national political reporter, David Fahrenthold. All right, David, let`s start with -- forget the foundation for a second. The beginning of this was a simple question. Donald Trump`s a billionaire, he`s a rich guy, rich people tend to give a lot of money to charity. Whether they`re generous or not, it`s just a thing that rich people do. What charities has Donald Trump given to? And basically you`ve been stonewalled and so you`ve resorted to kind of reverse-engineering it by just calling charities. And you`ve got basically bupkis so far.

DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, NATIONAL REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: That`s right. So we`ve asked the Trump campaign, OK, tell us the charities Trump has given money to. He said over the years, I give millions, I give millions. OK, where did it go? And they don`t give us an answer. And so then we started looking. Let`s try to prove Donald Trump right. Let`s try to find the evidence Donald Trump is right. So we started looking at charities that he seemed close to, people he`d given Trump Foundation money to, he`d gone to their galas, he praised them on Twitter, and calling those groups to say, hey, have you ever gotten a donation out of Donald Trump`s own pocket? That`s how we started.

HAYES: All right. So now you`re one for 326 on that, am I right about that, I think?

FAHRENTHOLD: That`s right, yes.

HAYES: Can you show us the notepad? You`ve been tracking this on this now sort of weirdly iconic notepad --


HAYES: -- that shows your -- and that`s just the no, never, never found -- OK. Then there`s the foundation -- which I think people were a little surprised to learn is other people`s money, and also right now is in a little bit of hot water over Pam Bondi and maybe some of the other stuff you reported. So let`s talk about the painting first. I know you`ve talked about this a bit. But how did foundation money from other people end up in a painting of Donald Trump?

FAHRENTHOLD: Well, in 2007, Donald Trump goes to a party in Mar-a-Lago, his club in Florida. And the entertainment for the night -- so it`s a charity gala, it`s a gala put on by a charity. And the entertainment for the night is a speed painter, a guy who paints paintings, he paints one painting every five minutes. It`s a very sort of frenetic show. In the end, he flips the painting over and you find out who he`s been painting this whole time. So he does that. Boom, it`s Donald Trump. And so then they auction off the painting. Well, nobody but Melania bids. Melania Trump bids $10,000. Nobody else is challenging her for this painting. And so the auctioneer says, hey, you should really bid $20,000, I think, thinking, you`re Melania Trump, you could afford it. So she bids $20,000. She gets the 6-foot-tall painting of Donald Trump. And later on when the time comes to pay, Donald Trump pays using the Trump Foundation`s money. So he used money meant for charity in 2007, almost all of the money in that foundation was from other people. But anyway, once it goes in, it`s supposed to be used for charity, no matter whose money it is. He uses it to buy a painting for himself, which is against the law. You can`t do that. You can`t use your charity`s money to buy items for yourself.

HAYES: Now in terms of clearing al this up -- right, I mean, this is someone whose financial dealings are complicated -- are there documents you could see that would just sort of make all this crystal clear just to clear up this sort of weird inquiry you`ve now found yourself in?

FAHRENTHOLD: Yes. Tax returns. Donald Trump`s tax returns, presumably, would list whatever his charitable donations have been. There`s other ways we could do it, too. If the Trump Foundation wants to just put out a list of its charitable donations out of its own pocket. I mean, the tax returns would tell us more, but that would tell us something. So there`s a lot of way to clear this up, and we haven`t gotten any of it yet.

HAYES: I mean, I just want to reiterate this. This is someone who says he`s worth 10 billion dollars. You`ve been trying to find -- you`ve found so far a $10,000 donation out of his own pocket over the last several years. They could just tell you who he`s given money to, right?

FAHRENTHOLD: They could. And we`ve asked a number of times, including a couple of times in the last few days, and we haven`t heard it. HAYES: All right, David Fahrenthold. Follow him on Twitter, follow his reporting. It`s sort of a fascinating journalistic enterprise that he is currently engaged in. Appreciate your time. Coming up, last night we played you the Republican vice presidential nominee refusing to call former KKK leader David Duke deplorable. Well, he had a second shot at it today and we`ll play you his response ahead.


PENCE: -- know we can be stronger --




OBAMA: This shouldn`t even be close. If you want higher wages, better benefits, a fairer tax code, a bigger voice for workers, stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should be voting for Hillary Clinton. Look, I just came from overseas. Talk to the other leaders around the world. They don`t even understand how this is close.


HAYES: Those world leaders the president talked to are not alone in their confusion over the state of the U.S. presidential race. The polls have tightened considerably. Hillary Clinton`s lead now just 2.4 points on average down from a peak of 7.9 points on average after the Democratic convention. And it has many liberals, Clinton supporters, agonizing that Clinton is leading by a normal margin over a historically abnormal candidate running an abnormal campaign. According to a new NBC News SurveyMonkey online tracking poll, Clinton holds a 4-point lead over Donald Trump, but that`s barely larger than President Obama`s margin over Mitt Romney in 2012. While Clinton`s flaws as a candidate surely play a role, the close polls have much to do with the fact that though Trump is a very different candidate than Mitt Romney, the fundamentals of this race are largely the same. As Stu Rothenberg points out in the Washington Post, there just aren`t that many swing voters out there. Quote, if you look at actual presidential election results, you may be surprised to see how little swing there is when all the votes are counted. In the American electorate, demographics increasingly are destiny. Show me someone`s educational attainment, race, gender and class, and there`s a good chance I can tell you who they`re voting for. It helps explain why according to a recent poll, the race is statistically tied in Georgia and Arizona, two normally safe red states where populations have gotten younger and considerably more diverse since 2012. At this point, the fundamentals still favor Hillary Clinton, who is not only winning the national polling average, she`s tied or ahead in every single one of the key battleground states. Now, it would take something very big to turn that dynamic around. The Trump campaign seems to think it`s found that thing in Clinton`s basket of deplorables comment. Why it may already be backfiring, next.


HAYES: Republican VP candidate Mike Pence landed himself in a little bit of hot water yesterday for refusing to use the word "deplorable," infamously employed by Hillary Clinton, to describe David Duke, the former KKK leader, current white supremacist and GOP Senate candidate in Louisiana seen here at what appears to be a cross burning.

Pence stipulated that he and Donald Trump had denounced Duke and don`t want his support. The running mate of a guy who refers to his opponent as "Crooked Hillary" said he`s, quote, "not in the name-calling business."

For his part, David Duke appreciated the (INAUDIBLE). Taking a victory lap for the movement on his radio show today.


DAVID DUKE, HOST, "DAVID DUKE SHOW": The whole idea that they were trying to make Pence, you know, call me names basically and he didn`t bite on that was a real positive thing for all of us.


HAYES: Duke also took to Twitter to expand on his media criticism. Quote, "Fight for the black and Mexican interests and you are never deplorable but dare defend the heritage of white people you are so, so, so deplorable."

The specter of David Duke followed Pence all the way to Capitol Hill today where he attended meetings with Republican lawmakers including Utah Senator Mike Lee, close ally to Ted Cruz, who privately urged Pence to call Duke`s racism deplorable, according to Lee`s spokesperson. Later Pence faced questions from the press while standing in front of House GOP leadership and was pretty open about his reasons to avoid that specific word.


GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For all the world, I have no idea why this man keeps coming up. My colleagues in the House of Representatives know that I believe that civility is essential in a vibrant democracy, but I`m also not going to validate the language that Hillary Clinton used to describe the American people.

I mean, look, millions of Americans know and frankly you all know Hillary Clinton wasn`t talking about that bad man. She was talking about people all across this country.


HAYES: Among the GOP lawmakers sharing that podium with Pence was Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise who almost lost his post as third ranking House Republican when it was revealed he had given a speech to white supremacists in 2002. Scalise was also quoted as telling a New Orleans columnist he was like David Duke without the baggage.

Joining me now MSNBC contributor Sam Seder, host of the "Majority Report with Sam Seder."

I found -- I found this sort of deplorable statement. But I like the fact that Pence says no, I won`t use that word because it validates what she said, which is, of course, the point.

SAM SEDER, HOST, MAJORITY REPORT WITH SAM SEDER: Yes. Well, that`s not the only word in the English language that you can use to describe an avowed racist, right?

HAYES: Right.

SEDER: I mean, he could say all sorts of other words. Reprehensible, despicable.

HAYES: Right.

SEDER: I mean he -- look, it`s very hard to buy Mike Pence`s argument that he thinks name-calling is so destructive to the democratic process in this country based upon whose ticket he`s on.

[20:35:14] I mean, honestly, like a child could figure this out. But certainly David Duke is getting the message, and certainly if you go into like the sewer, the swampy pit, you`ll see that when they have to distance themselves from a David Duke or whatnot --

HAYES: Right.

SEDER: Those people rationalize, like, they need to do this because they`re getting pressure but we know the real deal.

HAYES: Right.

SEDER: And when you refuse, so adamantly refuse to attack the individual in that way, you`re sending a message. And frankly, look, this is not too dissimilar from what we`ve seen from Paul Ryan. All right? Paul Ryan --

HAYES: And vis-a-vis Donald Trump.

SEDER: Vis-a-vis Donald Trump.

HAYES: Exactly.

SEDER: He will critique the comments.

HAYES: Right.

SEDER: Then he`ll say, like, I`m not going to be a pundit, and then he comes and he tells Hillary Clinton that she should be ashamed of herself.


SEDER: He has not ever, not once ever said anything directly about Donald Trump or his character. He said -- things he said are prototype racist.

HAYES: Are racist. Yes.

SEDER: But that doesn`t -- he`s not drawing that connection to it and there`s a reason why he does that.

HAYES: Right.

SEDER: And that is because Donald Trump`s voters are Paul Ryan`s voters.


SEDER: And there`s a reason why Mike Pence won`t say that about David Duke because David Duke`s people are Mike Pence voters.

HAYES: And this is what`s so fascinating to me is there`s two things happening here. At one level you`re seeing real partisan sorting happening. The polls are showing it, right? So Clinton`s and Trump`s numbers are going up to sort of normal levels with their own party. Republicans and Democrats. And at the same time you`ve got this -- you`ve activated this sort of ugly core of we don`t know how big they are but, you know, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, et cetera.

Now it`s -- everyone`s in the same boat. I mean, they always were, right? But like, all of the distancing from Trump has essentially gone away. And so the question of like where -- how this ends up affecting the Republican Party as a brand becomes pretty interesting because it used to be, oh, there`s Trump and then there`s the OK, Republicans.

SEDER: Right.

HAYES: Increasingly those distinctions are getting collapsed.

SEDER: Well, they should. I mean, it`s not like Donald Trump --


HAYES: This is your argument from the beginning. Right?

SEDER: Yes. Yes. It`s not like he appeared miraculously from the sky and became the nominee.

HAYES: Right.

SEDER: He was elected the Republican nominee. He has been -- his ring has been kissed for years. John Boehner seven years ago said it`s not my job - - he said on this network. It`s not my job to tell members of my caucus not to push a bill suggesting that Barack Obama is not an American. I mean, the Republican Party has sown these seeds.

HAYES: Right.

SEDER: And frankly, I think if anything Mike Pence should be up there thanking Hillary Clinton for pursuing a tactic of not putting -- of lumping these people together. You know, Rick Perlstein had talked about giving Paul Ryan an off ramp.

HAYES: Right.

SEDER: No. These people --

HAYES: No. They`ve all been given an off-ramp.

SEDER: They`ve all been given an off-ramp.


SEDER: They haven`t taken it. At one point, you know, I think it`s time to draw the -- you know, the connection here.

HAYES: That is a sort of interesting question, as we head into these last 56 days.

Sam Seder, thanks so much.

SEDER: Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come, Republicans hoping to lose the White House this November, now worried their candidate might actually win, to Sam`s point. I`ll talk to McKay Coppins about his latest reporting, but first tonight, "Thing 1 and Thing 2," right after this break.


[20:41:31] HAYES: "Thing 1" tonight as Hillary Clinton prepares to return to the campaign trail on Thursday after being diagnosed with pneumonia last week. Her campaign is vowing to release more of the candidate`s medical records. Now she had already released a doctor`s letter last year citing specific health history which was a notable contrast to her opponent`s letter proclaiming a, quote, "astonishingly excellent bill of health," written by this man, Dr. Harold Bornstein who told NBC News he spent five minutes on the four-paragraph medical report while a limo driver waited for Trump -- where Trump waited outside.

And the Trump camp says it is preparing to release more details about the candidate`s medical history including information from a recent physical.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: So he had that physical late last week because he believes that it`s important for the public to know what his basic health condition is. And he has said that the doctor is preparing his report and that it will be made available this week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And was it with Dr. Bornstein?

CONWAY: That I don`t know. I was not present for his physical.


HAYES: You may not know whether Dr. Bornstein performed Trump`s physical but we do know who Trump has enlisted to analyze his medical records. On daytime television. And that "Thing 2" in 60 seconds.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This last week I took a physical. And I`ll be releasing -- when the numbers come in, hopefully they`re going to be good. I think they`re going to be good. I feel great. But when the numbers come in, I`ll be releasing very, very specific numbers.


HAYES: That was Donald Trump vowing to get specific with new medical details. Now we`re learning exactly where he`ll be revealing those details. The "Dr. Oz Show," popular syndicated talk show in which the star, Dr. Mehmet Oz, discusses all kinds of revolutionary breakthroughs and modern medical miracles, such as weight loss aides which Oz has compelled to admit before Congress didn`t pass scientific muster.

One "Medical Journal" study found that half of the advice Oz gave on his program was baseless or wrong. But Oz, a disciple of Oprah Winfrey, has a loyal following and knows what his audience wants. As he told the "New Yorker" a few years ago, the subject of cancer, quote, "is our Angelina Jolie. We could sell that show every day."

That is the platform the Republican nominee will be revealing his medical records later to air this Thursday. As to what might be revealed, it may not be much.


DR. MEHMET OZ, HOST, "THE DR. OZ SHOW": It`s really his decision. His personal records. I want to ask him pointed questions about his health.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if there`s some embarrassing things on them?

OZ: I bet you he won`t release them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it`s still going to be his decision?

OZ: His decision. You know, the metaphor for me is this a doctor`s office, the studio.

[20:45:04] So I`m not going to ask him questions he doesn`t want to have answered.


HAYES: BuzzFeed`s McKay Coppins who has covered Trump in the campaign trail is out with a new piece that details the rash of behind the scenes handwringing among professional Republicans as they confront an unnerving new possibility. What if their nominee actually wins the White House?

And McKay joins me now. I love this quote. So you`ve got people that are -- that are donors, talking donors who are giving money to Trump or going to give money, who also think he might inaugurate the end of human life on the planet.


HAYES: Not an overstatement. If he wins, one of these people said, they aren`t going to love it, meaning Republican donors, but they`re not going to be facing the apocalypse either, and by apocalypse, I mean actual nuclear warfare.

I mean, so what is the mindset of these folks?

COPPINS: Well, this extends beyond donors. It`s political class, operative, strategists.

HAYES: Yes. Professional Republicans.

COPPINS: Everyone in the GOP political class. Basically it`s all about self-interest at this point. They believe that they don`t have the responsibility themselves to stop Trump. They thought up until recently that Hillary would have him in the bag. That Trump would be defeated and that they wouldn`t have to go out and public oppose Trump because it would hurt their business and hurt their reputations in conservative circles.

They`re looking at the landscape, getting a little bit more nervous about the state of the race, they think that maybe Trump could win. But they`re still -- at least the ones I talk to are still not quite ready to go on the record for the most part.

HAYES: Well, as you can tell, I mean, should -- I guess one question is, why won`t -- I mean, this is really profiles in cowardice. Like, they`re giving you these quotes off the record.

COPPINS: Sure. Yes. No, and I --

HAYES: There`s no accountability to that. Right? Like --

COPPINS: Yes. Yes. And I pressed all of them to go on the record and I asked them why and no one had a good answer. I mean, some of them said, look, it`s not going to make a difference if I go on the record, what am I going to say, which is obviously just letting themselves off the hook. But, I mean, look, at the end of the day these people are looking out for themselves and they`re putting -- what I think is so interesting is they`re putting the onus entirely on the Democrats.

I have a couple of quotes from people who are saying Hillary, this shouldn`t be that hard. This should be such an easy election, why can`t you stop him?

HAYES: Right.

COPPINS: Which is kind of funny given that Donald Trump just steamrolled 16 Republicans at the primary.

HAYES: Right. And also sitting behind the curtain of anonymity, as Republicans, basically hectoring Hillary Clinton for not doing a better job.


HAYES: But, you know, we also get -- what`s up with this BuzzFeed story about Colin Powell today? I am so confused by this story. BuzzFeed has obtained e-mails of Colin Powell basically calling Trump a racist, a threat to the nation, all these things.


HAYES: They came -- there were e-mails to someone, Emily Miller who used to work for him but BuzzFeed has them somehow?

COPPINS: Yes. My colleague obtained them. I mean, look, but this is another example of the same thing. Right? Although Colin Powell has publicly criticized Trump.

HAYES: Right.

COPPINS: Though not in those terms.

HAYES: Right.

COPPINS: And I think that look, this is the -- this is one of the big problems with how our partisan system is not well suited to handle somebody like Donald Trump.


COPPINS: Because people just --

HAYES: They`re on the team.

COPPINS: Yes. People have to play for the team.

HAYES: I -- I have said this for a while that the Republican Party can absolutely survive and thrive under Hillary Clinton.


HAYES: And it will be destroyed by a Donald Trump win.

[20:50:03] COPPINS: And that is absolutely believed by everyone I talk to.

HAYES: And we`re going to be joined by two, quote, "professional Republicans" to discuss exactly that next. Don`t go anywhere.



RUSH LIMBAUGH, CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOST: This is from BuzzFeed today. Republicans privately panic at terrifying prospect of Trump win. So the consultant class is panicked over a Trump win. And you know who these people are. They are the people who haven`t gotten one thing correct this entire election. Everything they wanted, everything they thought would happen, everything they invested in, bombed out.


HAYES: Joining me now, Ben Howe, director of an upcoming film about Donald Trump called "The Sociopath." I wonder what take is, and contributing editor of conservative Web site, RedState. Sarah Isgur Flores is a Republican strategist, and still with me at the table is McKay Coppins.

Ben, what do you think of this? What do you think about this theory that - - so my belief is if Hillary Clinton wins Election Day the GOP will essentially snap back to fighting shape basically the next day and will go into full oppose Hillary Clinton mode, oppose, oppose, oppose, and be fine and be more or less the kind of the same party we`ve seen. If Donald Trump wins, the GOP as we know it is over.

BEN HOWE, CONTRIBUTOR EDITOR, REDSTATE: Yes. I mean, I think that it`s the difference between being pushed out into the wilderness and being stranded on mars. You know, you`ve got two situations, one where we could have -- our agenda isn`t getting pushed for the next four years, but we have a shot at getting it pushed in the next eight, 10, 12 years.

[20:55:07] Whereas if Trump wins, my feeling is just based on how he`s been, what he said, everything that he`s shown, how uncontrollable he is, and the fact that yes, I do think he`s a bit of a sociopath, I think that we will push ourselves so far out of the American mainstream that we won`t be able to win future elections and that hurts conservatism. It really upsets people when I say it that way. People on the right. They say, oh, so the most conservative thing is to vote for Hillary Clinton? Yes, it is.

And that`s because there`s more than a four-year cycle when it comes to advancing your agenda. You can`t just look at the next four years.

HAYES: Sarah, what do you think about this thesis?

SARAH ISGUR FLORES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think that it`s -- maybe we`re defining the terms wrong. If Donald Trump wins, he will have redefined the Republican Party. So it`s a little unfair to say the conservatives couldn`t win again.


ISGUR FLORES: He will have made it entirely new, you know, coalition of voters if he wins. That being said, you look at the Senate candidates for the Republicans running far ahead of him. If he won, there would then almost be a Republican Party made up of these winning Senate candidates that won in this cycle.


ISGUR FLORES: And then Donald Trump who defines a new coalition. So we`re sort of in a no man`s land of basically having three parties at that point.

HAYES: Right. Yes. See, this is the thing I keep thinking of is, if you want to look into what the future of a Donald Trump presidency would look like, take away all of his personality traits that Ben I guess is making a movie about, and just look at the House. OK. So that`s like a little microcosm of what Republican governance looks like. And the fact is it`s been a disaster. I mean, John Boehner was like, peace, mike drop, I`m going to go like smoke cigarettes and drink red wine.

Paul Ryan had to be basically dragged into doing it because there actually isn`t the necessary kind of deep consensus about what the party stands for.


HAYES: Or what its agenda should be, even in the House forgetting Donald Trump.

COPPINS: No, I wrote a whole book about this over the last four years. Pre-Trump, there was incredibly angry and divisive debate within the Republican Party about what the national coalition should be, what they stand for. That was never resolved and the power vacuum that was created was filled by Donald Trump.

HAYES: Right.

COPPINS: Going forward if Donald Trump wins -- and look, if Trump loses I think we go through another cycle of those debates and maybe somebody does emerge with a vision that kind of coalesces a new coalition. If Trump wins then I think that that debate doesn`t even -- I mean, that debate is over, right?

HAYES: Well, the --

COPPINS: The party is basically over. It`s fractured so permanently that it could become a regional party, there could be different coalitions, but it`s not going to be -- you know, this debate is going to be completely obsolete.

HAYES: Although -- yes.

HOWE: But let`s not forget that the GOP is not going to stand up to Donald Trump.

COPPINS: Yes. Right.

HOWE: I mean, if Donald Trump does the wrong things, if he embraces the farthest left agenda you can imagine, they`re all going to pretend it is the new conservative reverse. I mean, that`s how they -- that`s how they operate.

HAYES: Someone the other day was joking on Twitter, I think it might have been after the maternity leave, you know, this sort of maternity leave started to roll out and there was a little grumbling on some conservatives. And someone said, like, can he -- is this a long con? Can we get him to convince, like, conservatives to like, like, anything? Like climate change is real, like organic food? Like -- can Donald Trump just lead anyone to any belief?

ISGUR FLORES: Hey now, I like organic food.

HOWE: Yes.


ISGUR FLORES: Let`s not -- you know.

HAYES: Sarah, so this is -- this is the thing I keep coming back to and I think it`s like I just don`t have -- what I really try to imagine it. When I just say Donald Trump`s inaugurated president on January 20th, what`s the 100 days` agenda? What`s the first 100 days agenda?

Now Hillary Clinton I`ve got a pretty good sense. I think immigration would probably go near the top, partly because of the way that certain promises have been made, you know, in a sort of coalition sense that`s been teed up. I think there`ll probably be something on climate. You`d have probably a new Supreme Court justice nominee.

I do not know what the first hundred days for Donald Trump would look like.

HOWE: The first hundred days would basically be him on Twitter complaining about how Democrats aren`t doing what they need to do and trying to get Mike Pence to do his job for him. I mean, I think that would be his first hundred days.

HAYES: But like agenda wise, Sarah, like I guess my feeling is that the two things that I most identify the clearest in this -- or the three things are, you know, trade deals, renegotiate NAFTA, build the wall, ban Muslims. But, like, is Paul Ryan going to shepherd that through a House?


ISGUR FLORES: Well, I think to McKay`s point, that wilderness argument that he made in his book might actually be the first hundred days where the different factions within the Republican Party need to fight it out for that Donald Trump.

HAYES: Right.

ISGUR FLORES: You know, legacy, what will that presidency be about. And I don`t think we know the answer to that because I don`t think it was resolved in this cycle. So who knows?

HAYES: Yes. That`s also McKay saying there`s no, like, constitutional crisis in first hundred days. There`s no doubt --

COPPINS: No impeachment trial.

HAYES: Right. Or impeachment trial. I mean, honestly, like, you know, he`s got people with the knives out for him from day one.

COPPINS: Yes. Yes.

HAYES: Ben, you talk about no one standing up to him. But people would put -- no one standing up to him, but there are lots of people who would be happy to sink the knife in from the back. And that --

HOWE: Well, sure. They -- they talk anonymously right now.

HAYES: Right.

HOWE: They`ll keep doing it.

HAYES: Right. Exactly. Ben Howe, Sarah Isgur Flores, McKay Coppins, thanks for joining us tonight.

That`s ALL IN for this evening. The "RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.

HAYES: You bet.