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Alabama Special Senate Election Transcript 12/12/17 All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Tom Perez, Josh Moon

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: December 12, 2017 Guest: Tom Perez, Josh Moon



DOUG JONES (D), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: I don't think that Roy Moore's going to win this election.

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: If you don't believe in my character, don't vote for me.

HAYES: Tonight, the massive stakes of the special election in Alabama.

CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER NBA PLAYER: We've got to stop looking like idiots to the nation.

HAYES: Would a Roy Moore win be an even bigger headache for Republicans? Can the Democrat Doug Jones shock the world?


HAYES: And the President pours gasoline on his own #METOO moment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice.

HAYES: The first results from election night in Alabama when ALL IN starts right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of our attorneys is a Jew!


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I'm Chris Hayes and it is a very big night. The polls have just at this moment closed in the Special Senate Election in Alabama. At this hour, NBC News characterizing the race there as too early to call. And with polls closed, we can now begin to monitor the actual returns. We don't really have any of those yet because they have literally polled just -- closed just 41 seconds ago. But there's a lot to keep an eye on as the returns come in and we begin tonight with our first fresh exclusive look at the actual exit polls for the day. Joining me to breakdown the latest batch of exit poll data hot off the presses, of course, MSNBC National Political Correspondent Steve Kornacki. Steve, we got around as this happens at 5:00, I believe, right?


HAYES: Now this is the APM, so this is the full day, what can you tell us?

KORNACKI: Yes, just in, the last five minutes here -- and look, basically the headline from this will load it up here. Let's see what we have. There's something in here that each campaign's going to like. Let me take you through what we have. First of all, this question here of composition of the electorate. What did it look like today? The headline from these numbers is this. 30 percent of the electorate right now in the exit poll is black. Now, we talked in the run-up to this race about how important to Democrats black turnout was and we kept saying, can they get it close to the level that Obama got it out when ran the last time in 2012. Well guess what, when Obama ran the last time in 2012, black vote made up 28 percent of the electorate. That was supposed to be the high watermark for Democrats. Good news for them tonight was supposed to be 26, 27.

Right now we're looking at an exit poll that says 30 percent of this electorate is black tonight. So that is extremely good news for Democrats. I say there's something in here for both parties. I want to go through and see what else. Look at the breakdown now when you look at the white vote versus the black vote. You've got -- this is Obama level again. Obama got 95 percent of the black vote in 2012. That is what Jones is getting. But Jones, we kept saying this as well, Jones needs to pick up some of the white voters in the state who normally vote Republican. In 2012, Obama got 15 percent. He got blown out in the state. I think the threshold was 30, maybe 35, depending on where black turnout was. This is probably a touch lower than the Jones campaign wants to be seeing among white voters 27 percent.

When you break it down too, he's losing double digits with college-educated white voters. That's the group he thought he could make inroads with. So Jones' campaign may be a little short in this exit poll they want to be with white voters but they also are doing a little better with black voters than they thought. So Chris, as I said, there is something here for each campaign right now.

HAYES: You know, we don't -- obviously we don't have any returns yet. And one of the things that's happened in the run-up to this election is it's almost created a new kind of way of pollsters communicating because it is such a black box to everyone. How the heck to model what this electorate looks like. These -- those two data points would seem to be in line with a kind of pollster average and pollster predictions of a close race wherever that closeness ends up.

KORNACKI: Yes, and I mean, that's -- again, if you looked at this right now, if you took each one of these in isolation, you'd be -- if we just looked at the white vote in this race, we'd be saying, OK, you know what this was a good night for Roy Moore right here. But if you look -- if you said to anybody coming into today that 30 percent of the electorate was going to be black tonight, say, oh my God, that's beyond best case here. So I think yes, this is looking close right now. And the cliche, we'll see what happens when the -- when the returns come in. But you talk about those models beforehand. Nobody was talking about 30 percent black vote.

HAYES: Give us a little context here. I mean, it's funny because you talk about 2012. The last time Barack Obama was on the ballot, you get a fairly high black turnout for the State of Alabama. Of course, Obama loses by 23 pints or something in the neighborhood, 23 points back in 2012. I mean, it has been a very long time since there was a very competitive statewide federal race in the State of Alabama.

KORNACKI: Yes, you got to go back 1996, that was the year that Jeff Sessions won his Senate Seat the first time. The margin was seven points in Alabama. The last time you had a single-digit senate race in Alabama. Last time you got within a couple of points. Three -- it was really within one point. It was 1-1986, it's Richard Shelby, the current senior Republican Senator, he won his seat in '86 by a fraction of a point. Otherwise, I mean, you look at races here with 30, 40 points. Even as Sessions was essentially unopposed one year, that's been the norm.

HAYES: One more question. And we should not, those races are really happening before the partisan shorting-out is happening in the south like we've seen it.


HAYES: It's sort of -- obviously it's sort of post-civil war regime crumbles in the '80s and '90s. And now you got a sort of solid block of Republican voters. The final question here. You've been making this point, I think it's an interesting one as we start to look at more exit polling data which we will get, things about abortion, things about who do you -- what party you support, who you want to be running the U.S. Senate. You made this point, I think it's very astute one that if this were a statewide Supreme Court race, you think Moore would basically be toast. That the thing that has kept him going is that voters, particularly die- hard, bleed-red Republican voters, are thinking, I may not like Roy Moore but what is at stake is control of the United States Senate federally.

KORNACKI: Yes, and take a look, I think we can actually call this up for you right here. This was Roy Moore's last election in Alabama. Why I said he lose it was Chief Justice. Five years ago, he's on the ballot. Mitt Romney's winning the state on this same day with 62 percent of the vote. You see, look, Roy Moore barely wins this election. So Roy Moore, before any of the baggage we've talked about for the last few weeks, he had enough baggage to nearly lose a statewide race where there's no issues of who are you going to appoint a Supreme Court Justice to decide Roe versus Wade? Any of those issue, it's not attached to any of that. So Moore as a person was a huge liability for the Republicans in2012 before all of this. So again, and we have in an exit poll finding that you ask people which party you want controlling the Senate? They say Republicans. So Moore's hoping people vote for the party, not the person.

HAYES: One more follow-up on that because I think it's worth noting as well. When you talk about Roy Moore and part of what makes this the race so hard to poll, so hard to model, so hard to figure out. Roy Moore is a real singular figure, he wins that race, he goes back to the State Supreme Court, he's already been removed once for disobeying federal law, right? He will then end up removed again, right? So even when he jumps into this primary and before the Washington Post story in which a 14-year-old says that he picked her up outside a custody hearing and molested her, right? Before that, after that election, which he ekes out by 4points, he then gets removed again from the State Supreme Court in Alabama.

KORNACKI: And that was over the issue of gay marriage. It was the ten commandments a decade ago, then it was gay marriage. Look, if Roy Moore is a figure now basically two decades in Alabama, this is a very well-known guy. This is an intensely polarizing figure in Alabama. Then you throw all of this in. It's the ultimate test between person and party.

HAYES: One more point I would make on this though also is that Doug Jones was from the beginning a credible candidate. Whether people are going to vote for him or not, this was not someone who they found at the last second and wrote his name in. This was someone who had a bit of a profile, had a resume, had a story to tell, and his run I think as a campaign, a very respectable campaign.

KORNACKI: And I think the one question, if he comes up short, who knows, but if he comes up short, and I think the one thing people will look at, not so much a question of strategy, but just sort of a what-if with him is that question of abortion because it's in the exit poll tonight. 54 percent of Alabamians say they believe abortion should be illegal. He took a pro-choice position in this race. That's something the Moore people were talking about. That's something they wanted to bring up. Can you win with the pro-choice label in one of the most anti-abortion states in the country?

HAYES: And you couldn't get seven seconds into conversation with any Moore surrogate anywhere in the state of Alabama without abortion coming up. They clearly thought that and control of the Senate were basically --

KORNACKI: That's what they have, exactly.

HAYES: -- is their ace in the hole. Right. Steve Kornacki, that was great. We're going to come -- check back with you throughout the night. All right, let's go to Montgomery, Alabama. The Roy Moore election night headquarters. We've got NBC News Correspondent Vaughn Hillyard standing by for us. And Vaughn, I want to say you have been doing phenomenal reporting on this race from Alabama throughout. I've been following everything you've been posting. You've done some great interviews, you've been talking to lots of voters. How would you characterize how folks have been talking about this race in the last final stretch?

VAUGHN HILLYARD, NBC NEWS JOURNALIST: I appreciate that Chris. I should note that when we were looking at -- when talking to these voters, there's two types of voters. There's hesitant voters that are hesitant about voting for Roy Moore, understanding the allegations against him, but there's also hesitant voters who are not so open about their willingness to vote for Democrat Doug Jones. Today going around polling place here in Montgomery, there were several people, right, they'll tell you, I don't want to tell you who I voted for.

And finally, I was able to convince them to tell me up to the side, without their name, not on camera. And they were Republicans who were opening and up saying, we voted for Doug Jones, many of them saying, for the first time in their lives. I talked with a schoolteacher, Amanda Adams, who said she hasn't voted for a Democrat in 20 years but it got to a point she said that she was willing to make that sacrifice despite knowing what it may mean to the U.S. Senate and vote for Doug Jones, Democrat in this race. I want to bring up Chris, what I think is interesting. I just finished talking with a campaign official here at Roy Moore headquarters watch party.

And usually at this point, you know, we're just five minutes after the polls closing, usually, the campaigns have a little better sense of tracking of where this race is. Yesterday a campaign official for Moore told me they were confident. They put themselves up 8.5 percent, suggesting that they had Republicans baked in, in this stage just in the rural counties alone that they're going to be able to win this, while maintaining some support in the more traditionally conservative places like Baldwin and Shelby County. But the official just now, I said, where do you guys feel that you're at? And they said, well, we're seeing high voter turnout everywhere, couldn't offer too much more in the form of specifics. I've talked with the Doug Jones campaign official here this afternoon, they also said, we're seeing a high voter turnout. It's very much up in the air what that means. And we're looking -- you just went through all those exit polls there with Steve and it's and it's tough.

You know, we've been here for more than a month. And to try to track down particularly where those Republican crossover voters, it's very difficult because they -- I think they were questioning up to this very end. And the one last number I want to throw out from those exit polls there is though that 31 percent of Roy Moore voters here today said that they voted for him despite hesitancy which was in stark contrast to those about 80 percent that said for Doug Jones that they voted for him with full confidence without hesitancy. So it's a question of how many Republicans voted him knowing that.

HAYES: Well, a great point by Vaughn thereabout shy voters essentially in both -- in both camps not wanting to publicize their vote for different kind of sets of reasons. And Vaughn, that point you made about cross-over Republicans. I mean, between high turnout among young voters and African- American voters, some segment of crossover voters is necessary to win in a state that Donald Trump won by nearly 30 points. Vaughn Hillyard is at the Moore campaign headquarters in Montgomery and he will be there all night. So we will come back to you. Let's go now to Birmingham, Alabama, to the Doug Jones election night party. In that NBC News' Correspondent Catie Beck, and Catie, what's happening there?

CATIE BECK, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening. People have just started to stream in here in Birmingham. We spent today at a diner also speaking to voters, also encountering a lot of that consternation that Vaughn was just talking about. Voters who are saying I have voted Republican my entire life and I'm finally at a crossroads where I simply don't know who to vote for. A lot of the folks we spoke to said they were actually going to write-in candidates. We've heard from one gentleman who said he was writing in Nick Saban instead of writing -- instead of voting for Roy Moore.

He said he was a longtime Alabama fan. He simply didn't know what to do and he had a crisis when he headed into the polls and that's how he came out. But these voters, obviously this is something they've been wrestling with. They've been seeing the national attention. And they expressed to me how hard this has been on Alabama as a state. A lot of them feel that they've been misportrayed in the media, feel they've been center stage for something they don't want to be in center stage for. They're kind (INAUDIBLE) relief tonight that this is going to be over and they're finally going to have some answer to this question that's been plaguing them over the past few months.

HAYES: Although it should be noted that if Roy Moore is United States Senator, the national coverage and national spotlight on him individually and the State of Alabama will probably continue. Katie Beck, thank you for that update. I appreciate it.

BECK: Thank you.

HAYES: With me now, Democratic National Committee Tom Perez, who was in Alabama this weekend working to get out the vote for Doug Jones. And Tom, there was -- there was some back and forth about the -- whether the DNC was going to commit to this race. Am I right that you were there this weekend?

TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: No, I actualy wasn't there. We had our team there, Chris. We have had a team there throughout, from -- frankly from before the Republican Primary, because we've been all- in for a long time because Doug Jones is a spectacular candidate. And this case wasn't about you know, right versus left, it's about right versus wrong. And Doug stands for everything that we should be fighting for.

HAYES: Well, here's the problem that strikes me if you're running the DNC, as you are, right? I mean, the Democratic brand is not great in Alabama. That's not a knock on the Democratic Party, just is the fact of the matter of how race is going in that state. What do you do when the Democratic Party brand is not great, but there's a huge amount of grassroots energy, a huge amount of grassroots fund-raising. You obviously want Doug Jones to win a race that as of the last six -- last six weeks looks possible. What do you do to help him win without tying up the national party in a way that hurts him?

PEREZ: Well, I say in Washington D.C. for one thing Chris.

HAYES: So that's why you didn't go down there. You know, what, there's so much we can do to help candidates and that's what we did for Doug. Doug has a 67-county strategy because not only does he have to win in Birmingham and Huntsville and Mobile and Montgomery and the black belt, he has to hold his own in other counties. He can't get shellacked like prior Democratic candidates have gotten. And so we invested in organizing, we invested in digital work. We were out there running -- you know, helping to run programs that turn out voters, knocking on doors, calling people, you know, texting people. That's what campaigns are about. That's what the new Democratic Party is about. Organizing, organizing everywhere and helping Democrats win.

HAYES: So -- and I understand that you're responsible for organizing and not messages but let me ask you this. I mean, given that it's a conservative state and people have the politics they have, and Doug Jones is Democrat, what do you talk about to Republican voters in those sorts of places where you can't get crushed as you say that is both true to the core values of the Democratic Party and is also you're going to find some sort of receptive audience among folks that have been voting Republican in Alabama?

PEREZ: Well, you talk about the issues they care about. Now, Doug Jones is all about #kitchentable. He was talking about good jobs. He was talking about the fact that you know, his dad was a steelworker and he understands blue collar work. He's talking about the fact that if ObamaCare gets repealed, I'm sure he doesn't call it ObamaCare, but if it gets repealed, you know, that the access to that rural clinic is at issue and at risk. And you know, as you know, because we talked a lot in Virginia, the number one issue for voters in Virginia was health care and they went overwhelmingly for the Democrat.

So the beauty of this situation is the message of economic opportunity is a message I think that resonates everywhere. And the voters of Alabama, and I have spent a lot of time out there because you know, I've done civil rights work down in Alabama. That's how I met Doug. I've known him almost 20 years. And the voters of Alabama don't want someone in Washington who's fighting culture wars. That's what Roy Moore wants to do. They want someone who's fighting for good jobs, for fair wages, for access to health care.

HAYES: Well, let me -- let me ask you about that. I mean, because you know, one of the things a lot of people have pointed to in reporting on this race down there, and we looked at the crosstabs about abortion. I mean, this is a very, very anti-abortion state. It's just -- that is the way -- that's the place the electorate is. It's very anti-abortion state among black voters as well. Although there's a majority that supports it, it's a higher number that are opposed to abortion in that state than other plates in other states. I mean, is there a problem for Doug Jones in taking essentially the National Democratic Party's line on this issue in Alabama?

PEREZ: Well, listen, and as Vaughn's reporting a few minutes ago highlighted. You know, for a lot of voters in Alabama, this came down to not an issue of right versus left, but right versus wrong. The family values party can't possibly be the party of Roy Moore. This is more than about party. And I admire the Republicans and the Democrats and Independents in Alabama that have understood that you know, there are times when you go to the voting booth that it's about more than one issue. It's about your identity as a state and as a nation.

And as Doug correctly said, you know, folks involved in abusing children should be prosecuted, not put in the U.S. Senate. And I think a lot of folks understood that. And I've talked to a lot of businesspeople in Alabama over the course of the work I have done, and they're for Doug Jones because they know he's going to fight for a good business climate in Alabama. How do you go recruit businesses to come into Alabama when your number one surrogate is Roy Moore? How do you make that sell to that company? It's hard to do.

HAYES: Yes. That was -- that was a team that -- team that Doug Jones was hitting particularly down the stretch of this campaign. Tom Perez, thanks for making time for me this evening.

PEREZ: A pleasure to be with you.

HAYES: All right. Well, much more on the high-stakes Senate Race in Alabama, how it got to this point, the reverberations on Capitol Hill at the mere idea of Roy Moore could be elected and the lose-lose situation the Republican Party as a whole finds itself in at this hour. Our coverage continues after this two-minute break.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I consider myself to be a Republican but today I voted Democrat. I voted for Doug Jones.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do believe that Roy Moore is asexual predator. He's been removed from office twice. So, in my opinion, he thinks he's above the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I voted for Roy Moore. And I just -- I believe you know, a man, until he's actually convicted of something, you can't go by hearsay or what other Democrat -- what other parties are trying to say he has done.


HAYES: Alabama Senate Race is one of the strangest elections in years, if not decades. Republican Roy Moore was already disliked by a wide swath of his party because of his homophobia, his religious bigotry, and his in your face lawlessness that got him removed from the Supreme Court twice. And then came the sexual misconduct accusations. The Washington Post reporting an allegation that Roy Moore had molested a 14-year-old girl. Allegations of sexual assault of other teens followed bringing us to tonight, a deep, deep conservative bone-red state where a Democrat has a chance to win a Senate Seat. Josh Moon is a Reporter and Columnist from the Alabama Political Reporter. He joins me live from Montgomery. Josh, start on the dynamics of the last six week in the wake of the Washington Post revelations and how that shaped the terrain of this race?

JOSH MOON, COLUMNIST, ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, it's funny to me that it seems like we had -- we had this whole setup here with kind of the cult of Roy Moore. You know, and these people who have been around for a long time in this State. These guys who he could rely on forever here that were going to show up and vote at any election that he was in. He was going to get this small percentage of people out there to vote for him. And then slowly over time, after that Washington Post story hit, you kind of saw an erosion of the people who were going to hold their nose and vote for him among the Republicans here in this state because that's what a whole lot of Rep0ublicans were doing here where they were going to hold their nose, vote for the Republican, toe the party line. I think you lost a lot of those people as those -- as the story went further and further without any real answer from Roy Moore.

HAYES: Now, there's a real question about the -- also the backlash effect there that if the Moore campaign and Trump coming back around to Moore and endorsing him explicitly, it could basically turn this into a story about the liberal media and the carpet baggers and George Soros involved in some conspiracy, if they could rally folks. I guess -- I wonder how much traction do you had -- do you think that kind of backlash-stoking had?

MOON: You know -- it's unclear to me, really because I think a lot of the people that you heard that from were already those hardcore Roy Moore supporters.

HAYES; Right.

MOON: You know, they wanted to vote for Roy Moore and they were out looking for reasons to do so. So they bought into the conspiracies of George Soros, which, I mean, come on, man. You know? I mean, what are we talking about here? I mean, you know, it's just so foolish. These people, these women here that they're talking about, you hear their friends and family talk about them and it's obvious they've lived in these towns their entire lives. You know, everybody knew them. Most people knew these stories who were close to these women. So the idea that all of a sudden George Soros has come in and, you know, concocted this conspiracy to get rid of Roy Moore, it's just so absurd, you know. But people bought it because this was who they wanted to vote for and they wanted to believe this nonsense.

HAYES: Final question. How much -- Charles Barkley had a line last night about you know, we've got to stop looking like idiots to the world. And of course, Barkley is an Alabama native. He was there for Doug Jones. How much do you think that's in the mind of voters about how Alabama looks to non-Alabamians?

MOON: I believe that's a big thing right now. I really, really do. I think there are a lot of good people in this state who have -- who have now seen us through the eyes of the national media. And they've taken a look at some of the goobers that we put on T.V. the last month here to say just ridiculously absurd things. And they are -- they are embarrassed by it. They want to get rid of some of these people. And I mean, who could blame them if you've watched some of these interviews? And you know, I think that this is -- it's a real turning point, or it could be.

HAYES: All right, Josh Moon, thanks for joining me tonight. I've appreciated you analysis throughout this race.

MOON: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: All right. As we look at the very early returns in the Alabama Senate Race, the race is still at this hour too early to call. There's only one percent of precincts in. Our coverage of tonight's election including one Democratic Congresswoman's calls to take precautionary measures to protect teenagers working on Capitol Hill in the event that Roy Moore wins tonight. That story next.



ROY MOORE, GOP SENATE CANDIDATE, ALABAMA: And actions are going to speak louder than words. All this mess is going to be over tomorrow with the vote. The verdict rests on the people of Alabama.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four, three, two --

HAYES: We're back with live coverage of the Special Senate Election in Alabama where the votes are still being counted. And right now NBC News is characterizing the race as too early to call. We've got one percent in if you look in the upper right-hand corner there. So those results essentially meaningless at that -- at this hour, the 70 percent and the 30 percent.

Now Republican Roy Moore is hoping voters will essentially absolve him tonight of multiple credible allegations of sexual misconduct, some involving teenaged girls as young as 14. He's trying to follow the same path laid out by the President last year. Win the election, case closed. But even if Moore wins tonight, it will not be the end of the story, because if Moore wins, he will be walking into the capitol just as other male lawmakers are being kicked out for allegations of their own. In that climate, some of his fellow Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are already calling for Moore to undergo an ethics investigation if and when he gets to Washington.

Across the aisle, Democrats aren't waiting for the final results tonight to prepare for Moore's arrival. In a recent letter to the Senate Sargent at Arms, Congresswoman Gwen Moore called for new protections for Senate Pages writing, "It would be unconscionable for Congress to not be vigilant and proactive in taking precautions to safeguard these children, given the well-sourced allegations against Roy Moore." And if the President is the model for moving beyond sexual misconduct allegations, the past few days don't offer Roy Moore a ton of hope.

Some of the President's own accusers are back in the spotlight demanding a #METOO moment of their own. Dozens of Democrats in Congress are calling for an investigation into the President's behavior and a growing number of Senate Democrats are calling on the president to resign immediately from office. Now Trump being Trump, he could not resist dumping gasoline on that particular fire. His choice words for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand next.


HAYES: Let's start with the results. The Alabama senate race, of course polls closed about 32 minutes ago. We have just 1 percent in. Doug Jones there on the left, Roy Moore on the right. Of course it's going to be a long night if precedent is anything in Alabama, where it takes quite a while. And we do not know what this race will do tonight. It is characterized as too early to call at this moment, although we have our very own Steve Kornacki who's working on some precinct by precinct data that might give us a little bit of a clue. We're going to go to him in a little bit.

Now, after a number of women came forward yet again to describe being groped or harassed by the man who is now president of the United States, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand became the latest Senate Democrat to call on the president to resign yesterday. She's been a leader on the issue of sexual assault in the military, and was the first colleague to publicly call on Senator Al Franken to resign over his own sexual misconduct allegations.

And her comments yesterday appear to have gotten under the president's notoriously thin skin. He tweeted this morning at 8:00 a.m., "lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer, and someone who would come to my office begging for campaign contributions not so long ago and would do anything for them is now in the ring fighting against Trump, very disloyal to bill and crooked, used."

OK. The president's apparent innuendo drew swift and forceful condemnation from Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Senator Gillibrand herself.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, (D) NEW YORK: It was a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice. And I will not be silenced on this issue, neither will the women who stood up to the president yesterday, and neither will the millions of women who have been marching since the Women's March to stand up against policies they do not agree with.


HAYES: But according to White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, there was nothing remotely suggestive about the president's tweet.


SANDERS: There's no way that this is sexist at all. This is simply talking about a system that we have that is broken in which special interests control our government, and I don't think that there's probably many people that are more controlled by political contributions than the senator that the president referenced.


HAYES: Congresswoman Jackie Speier is Democrat from California, who has been leading calls for congressional investigation into the allegations against the president. Let me start with what the president had to say about your colleague in the senate Kirsten Gillibrand, What's your reaction?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, my reaction is actually one of disbelief. When I first heard it, I kind of lost my breath. I thought, this grotesque statement by the president of the United States, which suggests that virtually any woman in this country, how dare you. How dare you demean another woman in that manner. How dare you be the president of the United States and conduct yourself in that manner. He is so ill-equipped to be the president. And every day there's yet another tweet to substantiate that.

HAYES: You know, the idea of investigating him in congress over the allegations that are already public and already on the record and have been in most cases for over a year has really picked up steam recently. You've been calling for that. What would that even look like?

SPEIER: Well, we have requested that the government affairs and oversight committee take on that responsibility. Trey Gowdy this evening sent a letter saying, this is criminal conduct and should be looked at by the Department of Justice and so we're referring it there.

Interesting approach to take. I think what's most important is that these 19 women who have called out the president for what was sexually harassing conduct at different times in their lives should be aired. We should hear from them. Nikki Haley, the ambassador to the UN by the president and fellow Republican has said these women should be heard. And we've got to create a forum so they can be.

HAYES: Do you think all this -- do you think the president thought that he would never have to hear about this again after he won, and how do you think he feels about having to hear about it again?

SPEIER: Well, I think it does get under his skin. I think what is most disturbing about it is how he so swiftly says, they lied, they lied. Women don't lie about this. Women are very loath to come forward. 70 percent of those who are sexually harassed never, ever report it because they are fearful of what will happen: retaliation, having them looked upon as being liars. And all of that I think bodes for not coming forward.

So if they're willing to come forward, there is truth to what they're saying.

HAYES: This is a question, personal question I'd like you to answer honestly if you can. Roy Moore might be elected to the United States Senate tonight, and I imagine there's some professional context in which even you serve in different houses you would meet Roy Moore, stand across from him. What would you do?

SPEIER: Well I wouldn't shake his hand. I probably wouldn't even recognize his existence. He shouldn't be in the Senate , but that's something the Senate's going to have to decide for itself. They have talked about referring it to the ethics committee, and that is the appropriate place to which it should be sent.

HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thanks for your time tonight.

SPEIER: Thank you.

HAYES: Rebecca Traister is writer at-large for New York magazine where she profiled Senator Gillibrand just a few months ago. I want to get to Gillibrand, but since we have Alabama sort of rolling in the background here, this does seem to me tonight whatever happens, but particularly were Roy Moore to win, another moment when it's like, you're loading the spring of the backlash. You know? That of the anger that folks feel about people getting away with this.

REBECCA TRAISTER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Right. It depends on which version of the backlash you're talking about.

HAYES: Right.

I mean the backlash against...

TRAISTER: The normalization of harassment, assault, and accepted gender discrimination in our public sphere and other places, yeah.

No, I'd say that there's backlash to that. And yeah, I think you are loading but on the other hand, if he loses, it's going to tell us how rampant the anger already is and the kind of electoral power it's having. And we have evidence of that even in the fact that the election is as -- looks to be that it might be as close as it's going to be.

I mean, this is unheard of in Alabama, for a crucial senate seat, for a seat that the Republicans need, the fact that it's going to be close at all, if it indeed is going to be, it looks like it may be. That is telling us a lot about how much this issue and the broader issue of sexism is beginning to have electoral impact. And you can see that from the Virginia elections, the special elections that took place last week in Georgia's Sixth local elections where Democratic women won.

I think we're beginning to see electoral reverberations here that are real.

HAYES: It's an interesting point, because so much of the commentary tends to be like well, it's Alabama, and he's still Roy Moore. And how is this even close? But that point I think is an important one. Like -- and this is something that people have been saying which is that the allegations have had a big impact. This is a close race right now, because a significant portion of people do believe these women.

TRAISTER: Donald Trump won Alabama by 30 points. Is that right?

HAYES: Yes, yes.

TRAISTER: I think that's right. I mean, we also just elected Donald Trump president.

I mean, the speed at which these things...

HAYES: It's a good point, yes. It was just a year ago.

TRAISTER: It was just a year ago we elected Donald Trump president. The speed at which these things change, and there's fascinating polling that was released last week by a pollster named Trace Undam (ph) about the speed with which the interest in looking at sexual harassment as related to the kind of power that men have, that interest is spreading to Republicans, to Trump supporters.

HAYES: That's interesting.

TRAISTER: There are huge numbers across partisan divides that are now saying, a, Trump himself should be investigated, that sitting lawmakers should be investigated, those numbers are now at 75 percent and often higher.

HAYES: 70 percent say congress should investigate allegations against Trump. And the reason that's so striking to me is you never see a poll with 70 percent. Basically every poll is the same poll. It's a 66/33, because it's really a question about like are you on Trump's team or not.

TRAISTER: And that polling data was done by a pollster who did similar polling after last year's election in 2016. And I really recommend that you go and look at this polling, because the jumps have been tremendous in a year's time.

HAYES: Quickly on Gillibrand, what the heck?

TRAISTER: Well, when I saw the tweet I actually thought to myself, am I being an oversensitive feminist here? And do I think that maybe the president is calling a sitting senator a prostitute?

HAYES: You texted me that.

TRAISTER: I did. I did. I was like am I just being thin-skinned?

You know, it's the kind of thing that is unbelievable, but also in the category of things that are unbelievable this year, it sort of is right on the nose.

HAYES: And sort of central to who he is.

TRAISTER: Central to who he is, and also central to the kinds of power abuses that are at stake in the conversations about harassment to begin with: the sexualizing, demeaning, and degrading women even without touching them.

HAYES: He sexually harassed her in front of the country amidst a conversation -- national conversation on sexual harassment. Rebecca Traister, great to have you here.

TRAISTER: Thank you.

HAYES: Our coverage continues in that Alabama Senate race. Steve Kornacki's got some new information about which way this election is headed right after this short commercial break. Do not go away.


HAYES: Joining me now to breakdown the latest batch of exit poll data and precincts reporting, hot off the presses, MSNBC national political correspondent Steve Kornacki. Steve, what have you got?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: Yeah, it's skeletal, it's sketchy, it's early, you see only about 25,000 votes. Jones out to the early lead. I mean it just all depends where it's coming from. You can't read much into that. We kind of want to look at the particular areas of the state. Let me just dive into one county here in a second, but just very quickly again the bottom line strategy here if you're Jones is, you're looking for a huge number out of Birmingham. We only have one precinct in in Jefferson County here. You're looking to win up here in the Huntsville metro area. You're looking to win in Mobile, you're looking to eat into the Republican suburban base around here. That's sort of the path that Jones is cutting.

Now, from Moore's standpoint, what you want is you want giant numbers out of the rural areas. And here's where it gets a little interesting. We have one county where we've got about half the vote in right now, otherwise we're looking at scattered precincts. I want to show you, it's up in the northern part of the state here, it's Limestone County, right here on the border.

Now, this is interesting, because when Donald Trump ran last year in 2016, Donald Trump got 72 percent of the vote in this county. When Roy Moore ran for chief justice and nearly lost five years ago, in 2012, he got 62 percent in this county. What is it looking like right now? Roy Moore running basically at the level even now. We'll see. It's half the vote in, about 40 percent.

But again the question in these rural counties, especially for Moore was, can he improve on what he did in 2012 when he nearly lost? Because Trump, this is the part of the state, when you're basically looking north of Birmingham and take out Huntsville, every other county here, Trump basically improved significantly. It was his best improvement over Mitt Romney in 2012.

So if you think the Trumpification of politics, the polarization that comes with that, might boost Moore, you would want Moore if you're his campaign to be running better than he did in '12 in these counties.

Again, we'll see when the rest of the precincts come in there, but that's the level you want to see in that county if you're Jones.

HAYES: We should note he did win that, he won that race, that state supreme court race. He eked it out by I think about 3 points, right.

But also interesting data there, one of the questions I think a lot of people have been asking is, what about write-ins? There was talk of a write-in. Richard Shelby went -- goes on the Sunday shows to say he wrote in the name of a prominent Republican. So, you've got this sort of idea, well, I'm going to write someone in. But at the same time it's such a bizarre time to have an election, it's hard to imagine people getting in the car, driving to a polling location, and then writing in someone. That indicates around 2 percent, not an enormous effect at this point.

KORNACKI: Yeah, and look, you had one candidate who kind of emerged bout two weeks ago named Lee Buzby (ph). From what I can tell that boom that lasted about six hours, he didn't seem to make much of a splash. I think a lot of people kind of felt, if you're going to go to the trouble of coming out and voting in this election, everybody knows the stakes, everybody knows what's on the line, what the story is, that means you have a preference here for wins or maybe who loses, but to go and put the write-in vote, doesn't seem like many people were interested in that.

HAYES: My take away here from this Limestone County, from what you've said, is that if you're the Jones folks you look at that number, you say, they haven't put us out yet. Roy Moore is not running away with this race at 8:47 and the dominoes are going to start to fall. Is that fair?

KORNACKI: Yeah, no. And again, it's basically two games here for Jones. It's hold your own in these rural areas.

HAYES: Right.

KORNACKI: Relative to how Clinton did against Trump last year. And right now, again, it's limited in scattered evidence. And we've got to see when these big counties come in, but again, you look at the one county where we have the most vote if you're Jones, that's what you want to see coming out of that county.

HAYES: That's very useful. Steve Kornacki, thank you.

With me now from a Doug Jones event in Gadsden, Alabama is Dave Weigel, national political correspondent for The Washington Post.

Gadsden is the hometown of Roy Moore, the place where he somewhat infamously, according to reports, was banned from the mall. What are you hearing there?

DAVE WEIGEL, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, the first precinct in the county, which we need to find where it was, was a landslide for Jones. And this is an area where Democrats, for a lot of reasons, knew -- organized very well. They knew some of the victims personally, where some of the accusers, I should say, in the Moore situation. And they -- at this party were telling me, they really had not had a race that did not see their party in decline, losing members, seeing people switch, in decades.

So this was a galvanizing event. When people were turning out at the polls they were the 50th person on election day for a presidential race they were at the 30th.

HAYES: You put in so many miles covering races and politics in this country from all over the place, what has struck you being on the ground in Alabama?

WEIGEL: You know, lawn signs don't vote. I've learned that lesson the hard way. Lots of political reporters have. But I don't think I've ever seen as many lawn signs for a candidate since the 2011-12 recall attempt against Scott Walker. There, every single Scott Walker supporter wanted you to know he was a Scott Walker supporter.

And in this race everyone wanted that totem on their lawn saying they were backing Doug Jones. They were not backingRoy Moore.

I was at counties you're seeing (inaudible) tonight, counties where Donald Trump won by 50 points and I drive for a block, I'd look up economic data, because that's how my brain is, and I'd see five Doug Jones signs in a place that went very strongly for Trump that was very well educated, fairly wealthy.

It was hard to miss that. You could spend any time in this state. People who are voting for Roy Moore and even if you went to a deep rural area, you did not see the kind of grassroots support certainly that you saw for Donald Trump, but even for state senate candidates.

HAYES: All right, Dave Weigel, the great Dave Weigel, who has got more frequent fliers than almost anyone in the business. Thanks for joining us.

WEIGEL: Still tocome, tonight's no-win situation for the Republican Party. They eitherlose a senate seat to a Democrat or a man accused of child molestation is a Republican in the U.S. senate. Rick Wilson, Jason Johnson join me next.



KAYLA MOORE, WIFE OF ROY MOORE: Fake news will tell you we don't care for Jews. One of our attorneys is a Jew.

We have had very close friends that are Jewish and rabbis and we also fellowship with them.


HAYES: That was Kayla Moore, wife of Roy Moore on stage last night reading prepared remarks to prove that her husband does not hate Jews, and that man, the man that was standing behind her, the man you see there, that's the man Republicans will have to deal with in 2018, a Senator from Alabama who stands accused of child molestation with a history of bigoted statements and defines the rule of law if he is able to win tonight.

Even though it remains to be seen how establishment Republicans will deal with Senator Roy Moore, 61 percent of Americans want the Senate to expel Roy Moore if he wins, even 45 percent of Republicans agree.

With me now is Rick Wilson, Republican strategist and Jason Johnson, MSNBC political analyst, professor at Morgan State University.

And Rick, let me start with right now it appears to be from very early, but basically in the dead heatish range. Too early to call is the official characterization. You've got some benchmarks being hit by each side.

Let's say -- let's start with the if Moore wins scenario. One thing that occurred to me when I saw that 61 percent number in polling is that Donald Trump is a certain kind of charisma that Roy Moore doesn't have, and Roy Moore strikes me as a pretty toxic figure and a pretty regionally intense figure for national Republicans to have to carry around. What do you think about that?

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I completely agree with that, Chris. And the problem with Roy Moore is, you know, he is a guy who has been an edge case even in Alabama, the reddest state in the country. You know, Roy Moore has always under performed even people like Mitt Romney in state-wide races in Alabama.

So the specificity of Roy Moore's particular political flavor is not something that you can scale beyond non-metro regions of Alabama. That may still be enough to pull him over the finish line tonight, but the toxicity of Roy Moore's overall brand, the fact that -- and let's not forget Roy Moore likes -- is sexually attracted to teenage girls, that is going to stick with him, that is going to be a problem, and if the Democrats are disciplined and smart about it, they will turn that, the fact that he's going to get seated in the U.S. senate and that for all the brave talk I honestly believe that the caucus will do nothing. They will launch an ethics investigation and nothing will happen.

You know, that's going to be something if the Democrats were smart, they would hang Moore around our necks and if Roy Moore is smart, he will, he will play his little game with Steve Bannon and make himself into a star of the new right and then further poison or destroy the Republican brand.

HAYES: Yeah, he's got every incentive to perform quite a bit.

You know, one of the things that happens in a race like this is a reminder of what the racial politics of the south look like and how intense they are and how hard -- how sort of racial and partisan lines have sort of lined up, and what it brings you to, it seems to me, is that if, you know, if Roy Moore is your nominee, you can actually send him to the U.S. senate because of how that structure works.

JASON JOHNSON, MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: Right, we just saw this in Atlanta, right. You know, people will cross party for race all the time, and so Roy Moore is somebody who is going to benefit from the fact that not only have Democrats not broken over 40 percent in the state, you know, running statewide in 20 years, but also the fact that you have a tremendous amount of voter ID, voter suppression, the places -- you know, I've been seeing reports on Twitter and talking to people who were reporting from The Root that areas that are primarily black voter areas have fewer voting machines. I mean, all these different structural and cultural dynamics come into play.

HAYES: We should say, it is statistically the case that there are about 300 more voters per precincts in predominately black precincts in Alabama than in white precincts.

JOHNSON: Yes, yes. And, you know, with fewer and fewer machines. All that being said, though, what has been interesting is what I've been reading is that there is a lot more effort in this race because people actually believe there is a chance here. The NAACP is making more phone calls this year than they did in 2016. They figured they were a lost cause in 2016. The NAACP has spent more money in putting people on the ground this year.

So, you could see a change. I don't necessarily think it will lead to him not winning.

HAYES: Well, there is also that question about that 30 percent number. I mean, 30 percent black electorate is a number that not a lot of people were bandying about before tonight. We don't know if that's definitive.

So, Rick, let's go the flip side. I mean, I remember -- I was in Washington, D.C. covering the White House for The Nation magazine the morning after Scott Brown won. And I remember walking into this desultory -- running into a Democratic member of congress who just looked like he'd been hit over the head -- he'd just get this glassy-eyed look of complete despair.

What would it mean for the Republicans if they woke up tomorrow to a Doug Jones win?

WILSON: Well, what it would mean is that they would have to furrow their brows and express deep concern or perhaps even worry significantly that Donald Trump was doing something to the Republican Party that wasn't as positive as they had hoped. They won't understand that the cancer that's eating them is Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. It's not something external. It's caused by those two people inside, you know, who are chewing their way through the carcass of the GOP and they don't care about the damage.

Trump and Bannon don't care about the damage that guys like Mitch McConnell are going to have to patch up if Doug Jones wins tomorrow.

I mean, it should be a shock. It won't be a shock. There's a delusional bubble around Trumpism that has poisoned their ability to really think their way out of the problem.

JOHNSON: Here is the other problem, you know, if Roy Moore wins, then you have to deal with Roy Moore and if you look at everything in his personality, the way he's talked to people, the way he deals with Republicans in the state.

HAYES: The way he dealt with his Supreme Court judicial colleagues who hated him.

JOHNSON: Kicked off twice.

Look, everybody dislikes Ted Cruz because he's a know it all, he's obnoxious. Roy Moore is like Ted Cruz with a bible, right. He's going to be worse. He's going to be lecturing people. He's not going to be a reliable vote. I don't see how this is a win for Republicans on any level.

HAYES: Yeah, there is really this question to Rick to your point about we're seeing the same dynamics that made Donald Trump the president of the United States by first making him the Republican Party nominee at play in this race in Alabama. And the open question tonight is whether this is the bridge too far, that even the Republican voters of Alabama, a state Donald Trump won by 30 points, cannot bring themselves to send oy Moore to the United States Senate.

Rick Wilson and Jason Johnson, thank you for joining us.

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


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