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Buttigieg endorses Biden TRANSCRIPT: 3/2/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes

Guests: Jon Lovett, Sonali Kolhatkar, Rob Reiner, Jeremy Konyndyk, Eric Garcetti, Karen Bass

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Klobuchar and Buttigieg will back Biden.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): We have a clear choice of who`s going to lead this party.

HAYES: Tonight, the earthquake in the Democratic field ahead of Super Tuesday.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every vote matters tomorrow.

HAYES: And what it all means for the all-important delegate math. Plus --


HAYES: New cases and new Coronavirus deaths.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The person who tested positive was only the 32nd test we`ve done in this state. That is a national scandal.

HAYES: Tonight, alarming new reporting about the government response to an ongoing pandemic.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of very exciting things are happening and they`re happening very rapidly.

HAYES: Live from Stage 20 at Universal Studios, Hollywood in Los Angeles, ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Hello, Los Angeles. Hello, everybody. Hey, how are you doing? Good to see you. Well, California, we`re here in Universal Studios in Los Angeles, on the very same stage, I learned this a little bit a while ago, a bunch of episodes of Murder, She Wrote were filmed, which is cool. I like that show. And of course, we`re here because Super Tuesday -- it`s Super Tuesday Eve. The big days tomorrow. This is the biggest state in that.

Before we get to that news, I just want to take a moment to acknowledge my colleague, Chris Matthews. Just about an hour ago, he announced on his program that he`s announcing his retirement effective immediately, after more than two decades. So that took us all by shock because Chris has been such a fixture of American political coverage for so long.

I remember personally watching his coverage of the last presidential impeachment in my dorm room during Clinton. And he`s a legend of a broadcaster, has had a durability and a stamina that almost no one in the industry can match, and it`s quite literally the case that political coverage in this country will not be the same without him.

Political coverage is why we are here in California. Today is, of course, the biggest day -- or tomorrow is the biggest day in the presidential primary. Right now, we`re between acts one and two as some might say, in this town, right? So in the Democratic primary, act one was the first four states and it sort of ended with a cliffhanger, right? Bernie Sanders did very well in the first three, and not so well in the last one, South Carolina. And that is where Joe Biden had this huge, convincing victory that exceeded the polling expectations and seemed to bring his campaign back from the dead.

Act two is tomorrow, the Super Tuesday. There`s going to be 14 states holding primaries tomorrow. After a lot of people had written Joe Biden off and sort of left him for dead politically, all of a sudden, very quickly, we`re now seeing this rapid kind of consolidation effort by the centrist portion of the Democratic Party that is most invested in stopping Bernie Sanders.

So within just 24 hours of the big win, Joe Biden raised $5 million online, which was a lot more than he`d been raising. Then yesterday, Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race. Earlier today, Amy Klobuchar dropped out. And tonight, in fact, in just a few minutes -- well, just a few minutes ago, Pete Buttigieg appeared at a Biden event in Dallas where he endorsed former vice president ahead of Texas is Super Tuesday primary tomorrow.

Klobuchar is expected to the same in a Biden rally in just a few minutes. You can tell who the Biden fans are. Former presidential candidate Beto O`Rourke will be endorsing Biden tonight in Dallas as well, right? So you got a whole bunch of people together. To the extent that we can tell from national polling, there hasn`t been a ton of Biden gotten a bump in that national polling post-South Carolina. He`s got some momentum.

But I think the really important thing to think about as you think about tomorrow, and where this race is, is that momentum is not what wins the contest. Delegates are what win the contest, right? The delegate count is the thing to watch. That`s the score. The candidates are competing for your votes, but what they`re really competing for, are pledged delegates to go to the convention.

Those are the people that are going to go to that convention in Milwaukee, and then they`re going to vote for their choice in the official nominating contest to see who`s going to be the Democratic nominee. So there`s just shy of 4,000 delegates. You`re all looking at me like, oh God, is he going to do the math, and I am going to do the math. Just stay with me, OK.

So, if a candidate gets 1991 delegates, which is just over half, right, over half plus one, they automatically become the Democratic nominee. In order to be guaranteed the nomination, you got to win an outright majority of the available delegates. And the way it works is this, right. Every state has a certain number of delegates based on the population. California, for instance, as you know, the biggest state, it`s got the most delegates. And then within the states themselves, and this gets a little complicated, some of the delegates are awarded at the statewide level, and then some at the congressional district level. Do you know that, right?

All right, then the other complication, and then we`re basically done with the math portion of this, there`s this 15 percent threshold, OK. If you don`t get 15 percent of the vote statewide, you get zero statewide delegates, right? I mean, even if you get 14.89 percent. You got to hit 15. And if you don`t get 15 percent in a congressional district, you get zero delegates from that congressional district.

So the point of this is that getting over 15 percent across a large geographic area in a lot of different states, and a lot of different congressional districts, is really important so you don`t get shut out of delegates. Right here in California, multiple polls sort of earlier in the week, they had Joe Biden at like 13, 14 percent, 15 percent.

And California is the biggest state. It`s got 415 delegates at play tomorrow. And a 14 percent finished for Joe Biden would be pretty disastrous. Because it would mean he basically essentially got zero delegates, maybe he got a few, picked up a few here and there in congressional districts, but basically, that would be really bad.

And in that scenario, Bernie Sanders who is leading in all the polls here, he could get a huge delegate gain just out of this one state. But if Biden got 17 percent and Elizabeth Warren got over 15 percent of Mike Bloomberg got over 15 percent, that`s a totally different universe, right, in terms of how those delegates are getting a portion. So the 15 percent threshold is huge.

Tomorrow, Super Tuesday, is the single most important day of the whole primary calendar bar none. The biggest chunk of delegates are awarded all at once on one day. And we`ve never had one this big, right? California moved up this year, which is a big deal. Texas moved up. So 14 states, plus American Samoa are going to hold their primaries. 1,400 delegates are up for grabs, which is more than a third of the total.

After that, there are still about 2,500 delegates that are still yet to be decided, so there`s still a lot that can happen even after Super Tuesday. But to give you a sense of where we are in the process right now, OK, because we`ve been covering this race for like 60 years, and the only four states have voted and a tiny, tiny proportion of the delegates have been awarded.

So right now, Bernie Sanders has an eight-delegate lead on Joe Biden. So tiny percent of the delegates, tiny percent of people who voted, and the thing to watch out for tomorrow, once all the votes are counted, right, once we know the results, the thing to watch out for is the delegate lead. And it`s going to take a while, tomorrow night, so prepare yourself for that, particularly here in California.

I`m actually unclear why it takes you all so long to count votes. Like there`s a lot of absentee ballots and stuff like that. So I get it, it`ll take a while though. If you can go faster, we`d all appreciate it. But the big open question coming out of tomorrow, once we know all the results, is the delegate lead. Because history has shown, and this is the key thing to take away and think about where the race is going right now. Once a candidate has a delegate lead, even if it`s not an enormous one, it is very hard for other people to come back and take the lead.

That`s because the person in second place, they have to blow out the delegate leader by big margins in a bunch of states over and over again, and that`s a hard thing to do. And we`ve seen this before, right? In 2016, Hillary Clinton basically won that race very early on when she built up a substantial delegate lead pretty early in that race. And even though Bernie Sanders stay in the race, and he had these really surprising wins in Michigan and Wisconsin, it was never enough to claw back and overcome that lead.

Same thing happened in 2008. The day after Super Tuesday, Barack Obama was topping Hillary Clinton by only 13 delegates, tiny little margin. And David Plouffe who`s the campaign manager, shout out this email explaining that they were not going to give up the lead, that the winds were behind them, the math was in their favor with only a 13-delegate lead. And you know what, he was right. Barack Obama never gave up the delegate lead.

The most likely scenario for Super Tuesday, OK, when all is said and done, if the polling right now is accurate, which is a big if, because a lot has happened in the last 24 hours, is that Sanders will emerge with some kind of delegate lead out of the day. And that depends a lot on his importance - - his performance in this one state. Depending on things go tomorrow, he could notch like 100 delegate lead just from this state, right? There`s a huge range of options.

And if he has a delegate lead coming out of him tomorrow, 50 delegates, 60 delegates, 100 delegates, more, that`s going to be hard for anyone else to overcome. But there`s a big catch, right? In order to win the nomination, you have to hit 1991. You got to get a majority plus one of all the delegates. The last two Democratic primaries we had in 2016 and 2008, right, those essentially became one on one races, and in a one on one race, someone`s going to get the majority, right? You just got a pie and you`re cutting it in half, right?

But this time, it`s different. Because this time, you`ve got a lot more candidates in the race, right? You`ve got -- right now you`ve got four people in the race, the number of people. You`ve also got proportional representation, and you`ve got Mike Bloomberg, this X-factor, this billionaire who`s just going to keep playing in state after state and spending hundreds of millions of dollars.

In fact, here`s the crazy thing. Mike Bloomberg is playing a destructive role, incredibly destructive role to the extensible cause that he joined in. Do you remember this? Early on when Biden had flagged, right, and everyone in the establishment was looking for like the Great White Knight that would come save them from Bernie Sanders who they want to defeat, it was like Mike Bloomberg, Mike Bloomberg can get it done. He was going to be the guy to ride in with his billions of dollars and stop Bernie.

Bloomberg right now is playing a role that is going to produce the following situation. He is almost single-handedly going to be responsible for taking delegates from Joe Biden on Super Tuesday and handing a delegate lead to the Democratic socialist that he wants to stop Bernie Sanders, right? Like if Bloomberg really wanted to help Joe Biden, if he really thought Sanders was an existential threat, he would drop out right now. His presence on Super Tuesday will help Bernie Sanders.

The other thing is that he`s going to suck up enough delegates on Super Tuesday that it`s really likely no one`s going to get an outright majority. No one`s going to hit 1991. According to 538, in fact, the odds that no one gets a majority are 68 percent right now, which means a contested convention where they fight for the nomination on the floor.

And a contested convention might be fun for journalists to cover, but it`s hard to think it`s the best thing for the Democratic Party as they prepare to take on Donald Trump. So for more on the dramatically shifting race, I`m joined by former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, host -- Jon Lovett, host of Lovett or Leave It podcast, Sonali Kolhatkar, host of KPFK is Rising Up, and Actor-Director Rob Reiner, who is as of today (INAUDIBLE). I know. I`m sorry.

Hey guys. How are you tonight? So a lot has happened. Like we`re waiting for this endorsement rally. Amy Klobuchar is going to be there. Pete Buttigieg came out and endorsed already. Beto O`Rourke which I think was a little surprising. What do you understand has happening, John, having covered this race?

JON LOVETT, FORMER OBAMA SPEECHWRITER: What is happening? I just want to point out that when you said contested convention, this audience got to look on their face like someone just walked in with coronavirus.


LOVETT: It was a pretty brutal expression. You know, one thing that -- one thing that seems to have been happening in this race is things that should have happened a month ago keep happening later. The first debate -- you know, the debate where Bloomberg first appeared and everybody mixed it up. And for the first time, Elizabeth Warren made a case against Bernie Sanders and others began to treat Bernie Sanders like he might be the nominee. That happened late in the game.

And now we have this late stage rally around Joe Biden right before Super Tuesday when, by the way, 30 to 40 percent of Californians may have already cast their ballots.

HAYES: Who voted earlier? Who`s voter earlier?

LOVETT: How many of you voted for someone who is no longer running for president? That`s a lot -- that`s a lot of hands when there`s a bunch of candidates on the verge of hitting 15 percent.

HAYES: As we said.

LOVETT: So, what`s really happening is I think everybody is afraid and acting from a place of fear. There was -- sorry -- I mean, there was a moment where everyone thought, oh, Joe Biden is going to be the savior. And they looked at him and he had some really rough debates and some really rough performances, and they went looking to Pete Buttigieg, and they went looking to Amy Klobuchar, and they went looking to Kamala, and they went look into Cory Booker.

And now here we are in the final stretch. We`re on the verge of Bernie Sanders, I mean, insurmountable delegate lead. And all of a sudden, Bernie is getting that white hot light of scrutiny because every candidate has an electability case with a deep weakness, every single one. Suddenly that weakness becomes what we`re banking on and people look elsewhere.

SONALI KOLHATKAR, HOST, RISING UP: So I think what`s really happening is that the billionaire class is panicking and consolidating the support behind the only candidate that they think could beat not Donald Trump, but Bernie Sanders.

HAYES: Yes, clearly.

KOLHATKAR: And by the billionaire class being in a panic and putting their weight behind a figure like Biden, they`re putting all their eggs in the basket of a person who can barely remember he`s running for president. A week ago, he stood in front of the South Carolina -- in front of a bunch of South Carolinians and said, thank you for your support, I`m running for the United States Senate. And if you don`t like it, you can vote for the other Biden. Donald Trump is going to make mincemeat of and this is quite terrifying.

HAYES: Let me -- let me respond two ways. One is that I think there are interest in the Republican -- in the Democratic Party who don`t like Sanders, who are -- but he`s not just them, right. Like, there`s literally hundreds of thousands of voters in South Carolina who are not billionaires who are like, we like Joe Biden, we don`t like Bernie Sanders. Like there are -- there`s genuine voter choice that`s happening here and that can`t be reduced to you know, the billionaire class.

LOVETT: Because the billionaire class still running and he`s running for Joe Biden`s votes. So --

HAYES: Right.

KOLHATKAR: What`s happened is, of course, that also a centrist, so call centrist have run out of money, right? Right now, the only people who seem to be able to run in these elections is someone like Tom Steyer or Bloomberg who have unlimited numbers of dollars at their disposal, and someone like Sanders who can actually draw small donations from huge numbers of people. So the traditional model of Democratic Party fundraising is almost --

HAYES: It`s almost dead.


HAYES: You`re supporting Joe Biden.


HAYES:: Do you have -- a lot of people -- a lot of the reason -- a lot of the reason that this consolidation happened late is exactly what John said, which is that in the beginning it was like, oh, Biden is the sort of presumption on me, he`s the front runner, he`s the one with the best claim the Obama legacy. And then he was not great on the campaign trail, and he was not great in debates and tons of Democratic voters and professionals and Obama world people were like, I`m nervous about his ability to campaign. Just nothing ideological, nothing -- just like I`m nervous about that.

REINER: Right, nervous and then that`s why Bloomberg, as you stated in the opening, came into the race. And then we had South Carolina with the biggest concentration of African-American voters voting overwhelmingly for Joe Biden. You have -- I think this as --

HAYES: Wait, but why did that allay your concerns if you had them about his campaigning ability? Was that the thing that turned it for you?

REINER: Well, no. It didn`t turn it for me. I was a Joe Biden supporter for a year.


REINER: And my position always was, if Joe Biden -- I knew there was going to be a lot of candidates, and they were -- I knew all of -- you know, Elizabeth Warren, I knew Bernie was coming back, and Cory Booker, and all that. I said, if he can somehow make it through the Democratic primary process, he is by far the best candidate to beat Donald Trump. First of all, to unite the party, to beat Donald Trump, to hold on to the Congress, to get the Senate, and to be able to govern, and to be able to bring back the world to America side.

HAYES: But that --

REINER: Now, I don`t say that -- wait, and this is important.

KOLHATKAR: (INAUDIBLE) win one primary race and multiple presidential candidacies. I mean, it has -- he is, if he is the one to unite the party, the party will alienate the incredible youth surge that we`ve seen behind the Sanders campaign, new voters, majorities of people of color in various demographics nationwide supporting Sanders.

Biden may have won one primary, but it`s one result of four. And we`ll have to see what happens moving forward.

REINER: Right. We`ll see what happens tomorrow. We`ll see what happens tomorrow.

HAYES: But the --

REINER: By the way, I`m not suggesting that Bernie Sanders can`t win the presidency.

HAYES: Right.

REINER: I`m not saying that. What I am saying is, there`s a bigger picture here. And I spent a lot of time at the convention last time in 2016, where you have a lot of young voters who won`t vote for Biden, who won`t vote for Hillary, who didn`t. And what you say to them is OK, you have a choice. You can either have Donald Trump, and we know what he is now, we might not have known then, we know what he is now. He`s a liar. He`s self-involved. He is -- he doesn`t understand how public policy works. Or you can have Joe Biden, or you can have Bernie Sanders.

For the Biden people to say, I`m not voting, and I`m going to allow Donald Trump to become president is moronic for the same reason that Bernie -- Biden people to say I`m not going to vote for Bernie. You cannot do that and it`s up to Bernie Sanders and up to his supporters --

HAYES: Well, and Biden too, right?

REINDER: Biden too. Biden too.

KOLHATKAR: Exactly. What holds for Sanders holds for Biden.

REINER: 100 percent. 100 percent. But give me this. If for some reason Biden gets the nomination, we have to go all in. We can`t let this man -- we are --

KOLHATKAR: If he wins the nomination.

REINER: This is important. This is very, very important. We`re looking at to existential crises, democracy and the world, the earth. If we don`t take this presidency away, we`re going to lose democracy, and we`re going to lose our ability to live on the earth. And I want to just remind people, Bush, Gore, and people who are friends of mine said, I`m going to vote for, you know, Ralph Nader, and there`s no difference between the candidates.

Please, 20 years start on climate change, and we don`t go Iraq. I`m just saying, you have to unify behind whoever.

HAYES: Yes. But here`s -- but the unifying point to me, like my big electability take is that like unity matters more than the candidate actually, which is why the scenario to me -- my feeling is for the people - - the faction of the party that wants to defeat Bernie Sanders, like do it out in the open, right? Like, don`t -- like all these things about -- like, we`re going to -- we`re going to have -- we have a secret convention strategy with this. It`s like, if you like Joe Biden, get up on stage, put your money where your mouth is. Say, I want this guy, and have the fight in the open. And the person who`s got the most delegates in the end is going to be nominee.

KOLHATKAR: But are you talking about Democratic Party unity or national unity? Because if you`re talking about Democratic Party unity, it`s true that a large number of new voters are coming in energized by the Sanders campaign that were part of the Democratic Party. That`s a huge thing.

HAYES: Yes. And the challenge is unifying.

KOLHATKAR: And he`s likely to be able to draw voters from Trump. Exactly. And so -- go ahead.

LOVETT: No, no, I would just say like we`re here arguing about Biden versus Bernie. And maybe that`s what we`re going to do for the next wonderful six months of our lives, and it`s really, really important. But the truth is, Bernie Sanders has incredible strengths as a candidate. He has built an organization and raised money from millions of young people who may very well be brought into the process for the first time and to help deliver us the White House while possibly also facing a perhaps existential challenge, appealing to some moderate suburban people we also need.


LOVETT: Joe Biden deliver the best speech of his campaign on Saturday night after he won. A speech rooted in dignity and the losses he`s experienced and what he has learned about life and how that relates to not just the policies of Donald Trump, but that the harm he does through his cruelty and bullying. But Joe Biden has trouble appealing to the millions of young people looking for something more than what they`ve gotten from traditional Democratic politics.

Both of these candidates are going to have a incredibly hard job of bringing this party together. And I just, I think people should vote for who they want to vote for and fight for who they want to vote for. But everyone should go into this knowing that the person on -- the person voting for the candidate they don`t want is voting with electability in mind with the same exact fears that every other person is voting with. And we just have to remember that because coming together is the absolute most important thing we will have to do when this is done.

HAYES: And let me make one more -- one more point (INAUDIBLE). Elizabeth Warren is polling -- well, she was polling number two here in California. She raised $30 million last month. And as I said, they`ve given away 1.5 percent of delegates. So like again, like no one is out and people should keep that in mind.

Now Jon Lovett, Sonali Kolhatkar, and Rob Reiner, we`re going to be talking more. We`re going to do this again. So don`t go anywhere

REINER: Really?

HAYES: Yes. Stay right here. Stick around. Much more tonight. We`re watching the stage in Dallas for when Amy Klobuchar and Beto O`Rourke comes out. And next, the latest on the spreader coronavirus and why is it that we know so little about the scope of the problem. That`s coming up right after this.


HAYES: The latest data on the coronavirus in the United States is that it appears we`ve have around two dozen cases of what`s called community transmission. That`s person to person spread in the country with people that have no connections to travel to effective areas. We`re also now up to six deaths just in Washington state which seems to have a genuine and very serious outbreak on its hands.

And what`s frustrating is we don`t actually have a testing regime in place in this country that can tell us what the full scope of the problem is. The one lesson we`ve learned from other countries that have gone before us in this pandemic is that accurate information transparently communicated by governments with clear goals is the key to minimizing disruption and the destruction of this virus.

And I have to say right now it is hard to say that we are passing that test. Here`s how one doctor from New York on the front lines put it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before I came here this morning, I was in the emergency room seeing patients. I still do not have a rapid diagnostic test available to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that`s easy to do, is it not? Is it hard to manufacture?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is easy to do for some countries. What happened in the United States is that the CDC created a test, sent out to 50 states, and then said, oh, hold up, don`t use it. Let us fix it. It`s now March.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, how quickly can it get on track now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hear that it`s coming very soon. But I`m here to tell you, right now, at one of the busiest hospitals in the country, I don`t have it at my fingertips. I still have to call the Department of Health. I still have to make my case, plead to test people. This is not good.


HAYES: Here with me now, Jeremy Konyndyk Senior Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Development. He is the former Director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and help manage the 2014 Ebola response. You Jeremy, I`ve been checking in with you throughout this. You know this stuff very well. From a layperson, it seems like the testing bottleneck, which is clear and has been reported on and complained about by frontline doctors is a huge problem. Is it a huge problem?

JEREMY KONYNDYK, SENIOR POLICY FELLOW, CENTER FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: It`s an absolute huge problem. We`ve been flying blind. You know you need to be able to see the disease in order to fight it. And you can`t fight what you can`t see.

HAYES: What is your sense right now of what the accuracy is of the confirmed cases we have compared to what the evidence suggests about how much spread there has been throughout the U.S.?

KONYNDYK: I think we can`t really draw any conclusions from that number, because that reflects the amount of testing not the amount of cases. And until testing becomes much more widely available and widespread, we really won`t have an accurate picture. You know, what`s notable is as soon as they change the case definition, at the end of last week, we began seeing cases almost immediately in various parts of the country.

And that suggests the reason we weren`t seeing cases before was because of that case definition in the testing, not because of the actual behavior of the outbreak.

HAYES: What is your understanding of what the bottleneck is? I know South Korea is doing thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of tests a day. They have drive-through test setup. They are doing probably the most aggressive testing regime anywhere. We are so far from that. Our response so far looks considerably more like a country like Italy that lag a little bit and allowed it to get quite out of hand. What is the bottleneck? What is the holdup?

KONYNDYK: Well, what seems to have happened is that the administration put all their eggs in one basket when it came to testing. They put all their emphasis on this test developed by CDC, which turned out not to work. And look that can happen. Mistakes happen in a crisis response. I don`t necessarily see that as a huge problem. What I see as a huge problem is that they then didn`t have a Plan B to turn to when that test failed.

HAYES: And so now, what is your understanding of the access that physicians have to the test in places like Washington State, which now has several deaths, or California and others?

KONYNDYK: Well, I think we heard it very well from the doctor who spoke just before I came on. They still do not have access to the volume of testing that they need. The FDA took a very important step at the end of last week and authorizing private labs at universities and private companies to begin developing their own tests. That will help a great deal but it`s going to take a few more days, perhaps a bit longer.

If they`d made that decision a month ago we`d be in a very different place right now.

HAYES:  What is your expectation or understanding of where we are in the arc of this in the United States?

KONYNDYK:  I really don`t think there`s anyway we can know. There was a study that came out, some research that`s being done, looking at the cases in Washington that looks at the genome sequence and the evolution in the genome of the virus between the first case in Washington in mid-January and the cases that we`re seeing now, and based on that they speculate there could be as many as a few hundred in that cluster, but that`s a math exercise. We won`t really know until we get the testing out there.

HAYES:  What is most important at the federal level right now for federal response to be doing that it is not right now doing?

KONYNDYK:  Oh, there`s so much. Right now we do not -- we have not had a disciplined well organized federal response. And I think the testing case is a perfect example of that.

You know, this was a solvable problem. It did not need to be an insurmountable problem and yet it became this critical -- mission critical bottleneck on the entire response and on our whole ability to understand what was going on.

The fact that they didn`t solve this much earlier says to me they don`t have the kind of organization and focus that they yet need. I hope that now with some of the reshuffling we`ve seen over the past week they`ll start to move in that direction.

HAYES:  What do you think the information that people should be getting that`s most important? Obviously we`ve all heard about the ways in which you reduce the transmission of the virus through washing your hands. And other places like Japan have taken fairly dramatic steps like closing schools for a month. Dr. Masonier (ph) of course talked about preparing for disruption on that kind of scale. Are you still thinking about it in those terms?

KONYNDYK:  I think we need to be prepared for a wide range of scenarios, because right now we still don`t have good visibility on where this is, how far and how fast it`s spreading. And you can`t really begin to calibrate how aggressive your measures need to be until you understand that. So, until we have a much better picture over the one to two weeks of what this disease is doing, we won`t really know.

I`m hopeful we can have an approach that looks more like that of Malaysia or Hong Kong, which has been a more fine-grained, more targeted approach to containing this and less like that of China, which obviously was a very blunt instrument, and frankly, due to a lot of reasons couldn`t really be replicated here.

But again, we have to get a picture of what we`re fighting before we can know how to fight it.

HAYES:  Jeremy Konyndyk, who of course worked on the Ebola response before and has been a go-to expert throughout all this, thank you so much much. I really appreciate it.

KONYNDYK:  Thank you. My pleasure.

HAYES:  When we come back, how the fight against the coronavirus is unfolding on the ground. congresswoman Karen Bass and L.A. mayor Erik Garcetti, join me next.


HAYES:  The federal government is tasked with coordinating the response to coronavirus. I think it`s fair to say they have been behind the curve a bit. But, of course, it is local governments that are going to have to make a ton of extremely important decisions in the days and weeks to come about how to balance taking steps to reduce transmission with the potential for big economic disruption. I`m joined now by California Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass who is a former physician`s assistant and clinical instructor at the University of Southern California, and Democrat Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles. Great to have you both.


HAYES:  Let me start with you, mayor. Obviously we saw this in the Ebola crisis years ago in which New York City had a confirmed case because a doctor who came back and the mayor in that city`s public health system was immediately had perform at a very high level. What are your preparations like? How are you and the folks in this city thinking about this?

ERIC GARCETTI, MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES:  Well, it`s more than preparations now. I mean, we have the fourth busiest airport in the world, the busiest seaport in all of the Americas. And so that monitoring and that work is already ongoing as we prepare for what we know will be landfall here. We`ve had a couple cases in southern California as folks are home and they`re well.

But when we look at this right now, we`re trying to underscore this is everybody`s responsibility. It`s not just the public health department. And we have a great county public health department here. We have the plans in place. But the chaos that breaks out when people suddenly don`t go to work, don`t go to school, when we see a cluster or vector, we have to be really smart about this.

For instance, one area that I`m concerned about is senior health facilities, senior care facilities as we`ve seen in Washington State don`t have the vents that you have in a hospital, have essentially medical personnel, but they don`t have the protective equipment. Whatever we can get from the federal government and assistance of that, I think we`re very close here to declaring states of emergency as well...

HAYES:  Do you think so?

GARCETTI:  ...not because we want people to panic on the cases, but because we have to prepare for the federal assistance that comes with that. And we`ve already seen five counties do that in the state of California. And it`s going to be very important for us to know that this is something in our own workplaces, in our own homes that we have to take personal responsibility for.

HAYES:  There is a question about training for health care workers. One of the things we saw in Wuhan in China was that hospitals and health care workers became essentially vectors for infection, particularly early on before they were getting trained. How do you deal with that? How do you think about it as someone who was a health care worker yourself?

REP. KAREN BASS, (D) CALIFORNIA:  Well, that you absolutely have to move into education immediately. And I remember the Ebola crisis. I was in Washington, D.C. there. And I think one of the big things that`s missing on the federal level is that this is an international issue, and so what President Obama did was he went out and rallied the world. And he viewed it from the point of view that if it`s not contained in the world, then certainly it`s going to come to the United States.

But first and foremost, it`s the education that has to take place with the health care workers. And if you remember when Ebola hit Texas, remember the nurses that were infected were infected, because the education didn`t happen fast enough.

So internationalizing it and then education for the health care workers.

HAYES:  At the level of sort of oversight and funding, which are the two things congress is talking about now, I know, the administration request had been several billion dollars. I think Democrats had said they`re looking at $15 billion, something on that order of magnitude?

BASS:  That`s right.

HAYES:  What is your sense of the back and forth between Democrats and congress and the administration on this?

BASS:  Well, you know, we have an an administration that views unfortunately everything from the lens of himself personally. And so he`s viewing this politically. He didn`t want to really admit that all of that was needed. Remember, he said as soon as it gets warmer we don`t have to worry about it, it`s going to go away.

But with an administration who has lied to us on a daily basis for three- and-a-half years, this is when you need to trust the government the most. One of the problems that happened in Ebola, and actually continues to happen today, is that some of the countries where people are infected, they don`t have the confidence in the government, so then they don`t pay attention to the instruction.

HAYES:  In fact, the one big lesson of this is that governments that repress information and try to tamp it down end up with the worst outbreaks. That`s what happened with China early on and Iran. Iran right now is in really bad straits. We don`t have the actual numbers, because we can`t trust their data, but that is precisely what happened there. I mean, that is the lesson, right. If you`re not clear and transparent with people, if people can`t trust the government, and if they try to sort of get away with happy talk as a lot of oppressive regimes want to do, then you end up with a problem.

BASS:  Can I give you an example? I mean, one of the things that`s happening is everybody is running out and buying masks. And that`s not what`s needed. And they`re buying so many masks that the places that actually need the masks, which are in the hospitals, you know, there is an absence.

GARCETTI:  And yet you have health care workers right now. I think the main hospitals are well prepared for this. Remember, we have a whole network of smaller hospitals, community clinics, places where immigrant communities, communities of color go, lower income folks go and that`s not getting down to that level. That`s where the federal government could make a huge difference with helping us.

HAYES:  There is also a question about testing. I mean, there`s fears people have, there`s a sort of viral case of a guy that came back from China, had a fever, went and got a test in Miami, got a bill for several thousand dollars.

There`s other people who were evacuated out of China by the U.S. government who now have bills -- getting billed. There`s a real -- I mean, what do you say to people, to Angelenos, about -- who are like I don`t want to get tested it`s going to cost me money, or I don`t want to take days off work because -- I don`t have sick days.

GARCETTI:  First off, I`m old fashioned, I think the federal government should foot the bill for this. This is about protecting Americans first and foremost.


GARCETTI:  Secondly, like some many things we have to do where the federal government is not there, we will step up at the local level and do that, but hopefully we`ll get those reimbursements.

And we want to encourage people also to look -- I mean, in Japan, in Korea, you`re having people who have drive-thru testing. You have mobile testing. This is the kind of thing we can do so everybody doesn`t rush to these hospitals and further spread the disease when it comes.

BASS:  But one of the problems is that there are not enough tests. I mean, I heard they were sending a couple thousand tests out. There need to be hundreds of thousands of tests.

And the other thing that I worry about coming from the White House is talking about a vaccine. Vaccines take years to happen. So, misleading people to think that that`s going to come soon is a real problem.

HAYES:  Quickly, you`re both voters here, so (inaudible) tomorrow. You have your candidate?


HAYES:  You do?

GARCETTI:  I three national co-chairs for Joe Biden.

HAYES:  And that was early on.

GARCETTI:  Yes, absolutely.

And, look, I love all the candidates who are here. He helped us raise the minimum wage, make community college free, was out there on the climate before anybody I knew, and so I think that this city is grateful for what he has done, and even with an extraordinary number of folks that are talented, he is the guy who can unify us and he is the guy who can win.

HAYES:  Congresswoman, I don`t think you have endorsed? Do you want to make news right now?

BASS:  I have not endorsed, and I will just say that whoever is the nominee, I am going to be there with bells and whistles, absolutely.

HAYES:  All right, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Mayor Eric Garcetti, it`s great to have you both here.

All right, still ahead, how today`s massive shake up in the Democratic primary could change the landscape of tomorrow`s Super Tuesday voting in this very state. That`s coming up.



HAYES:  So, we are here live on Stage 20 on the Universal Studio lot in Los Angeles tonight. We are also keeping an eye on Dallas where Joe Biden is picking up endorsements from his former rivals Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O`Rourke. We`ll be talking more about that in a moment, and what effect it will have on the big contest in Texas, and here in California elsewhere tomorrow.

Then, this coming Friday, we`ll be back at 30 Rock with another live studio audience. And then next Monday, just one week today, we will be in Dearborn, Michigan ahead of voters in that state and five other states going to the polls. And we will be broadcasting from the Henry Ford Museum with a live audience. Tickets are available now. Head to to grab yours and be part of a live audience experience. Hope to see you there.

We are back with one last look at tomorrow`s big Super Tuesday showdown next.


HAYES:  The big news from the Biden campaign tonight includes multiple former opponents coming to his side on the eve of Super Tuesday. Pete Buttigieg endorsed the former vice president before the start of Biden`s Dallas rally, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and former Texas Congressman Beto O`Rourke are set to join Biden on-stage tonight.

And now it`s down to four serious competitors left with 46 states yet to vote. A full third of convention delegates are up for grabs tomorrow, a huge number of them, the biggest individual state in California, a state with fascinating and contentious politics.

To talk about the state of the race here, please welcome back Jon Lovett, Sonali Kolhatkar, and Rob Reiner. Good to have you.

So tomorrow is going to be a key. This state is really key tomorrow, because depending on how things go you could have a break-even if Biden shoots up in the polls. You could have Sanders having an enormous day. And it`s interesting to me because this state really is kind of the heart of the modern Democratic coalition in many ways. It`s very immigrant heavy. It is incredibly diverse. And it`s also a place that has its own struggles with inequality despite the fact that it as Democratic-ruled state, right.

I mean, the homelessness crisis, and housing costs. I`m curious how that all plays here.

JON LOVETT, FORMER OBAMA SPEECHWRITER:  Yeah, I think one thing we just don`t know, right, is what happens with a bunch of people who just saw Joe Biden win in South Carolina. Will Joe Biden hit the 15 percent threshold? Will Elizabeth Warren hit the 15 percent threshold? Will Mike Bloomberg hit the 15 percent threshold?

You know, beyond that how Democrats vote in California I think looks a lot like how Democrats who look like Californians are voting across the country.

HAYES:  It`s like a demographic mix is the big sort of determinate, right.

LOVETT:  Right, right, right.

SONALI KOLHATKAR, HOST, RISING UP:  What`s really exciting is that for the first time California gets a say in the primary election. This is huge. I mean, this has been the -- the most populous state in the nation has always been an afterthought, because our primary comes so late, we rarely even have visits from candidates. This time we`ve had, you know, center stage.

It helps, and it`s really important that this is a state Trump loves to state, an immigrant-heavy state, a very racially diverse state. And I just want to add that over the weekend, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders drew 25,000 people in two separate rallies, San Jose and Los Angeles, and there is no other candidate, at least on the Democratic field, that has been able to draw that kind of excitement and energy, and it`s happening in California.

HAYES:  He is having his own rally tonight in Minnesota where they have a bunch of people.

There`s also the Texas primary, which I think is interesting, because those two states are different looks at the kind of future of the Democratic Party in some ways. I mean, California is 10 years ahead of the direction that Texas has been going. But, you know, Texas, Rob, is one of these make or break situations where a universe in which Democrats become genuinely competitive statewide in Texas is a totally different political world in terms of the electoral college.

ROB REINER, FILMMAKER:  It`s a complete game changer. And when we saw how close Beto O`Rourke came to beating Ted Cruz, this state -- we say it every year, Democrats. Oh, it`s in play this year. This year it might actually be in play.

And so, you know, you can understand why Joe Biden is down there in Texas prior to that.

Now, here in California, white people, we`re a minority. The biggest minority. We`re a plurality, but we`re a minority. But a lot of people have already voted.

HAYES:  Right.

REINER:  There`s a big chunk of people that have already voted that don`t count for the big boost.

HAYES:  Yes, no, but there`s a crazy time-line that`s happening.

You know, that point about -- I think about this in California politics terms all the time, right, because California was the bastion of conservatism for a long time, particularly the birthplace -- it was Nixon, it was Reagan, it was...

REINER:  Wilson...

HAYES:  It was Orange County.

REINER:  Schwarzenegger.

HAYES:  It was the sort of -- this certain kind of right-wing American politics came out of this state. There was a period in which the state started to change and there was this like crazy battle over its changing, about immigration, a big ballot initiative.

REINER:  Prop 187 really changed California. And that was, to keep -- it was basically the kind of thing that Trump has been running on for three years. And you know we are -- here we are in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is 60 percent Latino. And the state is going to become that ultimately. And so prop 187, it just doesn`t cut it.

HAYES:  So Prop 187...

KOLHATKAR:  Orange County is now blue.

HAYES:  Right, and Orange County is blue. And what you`ve seen is all these trends are happening in the national level, happening in California. And I always find it in some ways kind of a hopeful story from the perspective of American political dysfunction. Because California had notorious dysfunction, right, like every budget was late, they had these like very intense sort of populist right wing politics. And then it just kind of broke down. The Democrats just won, and it didn`t solve every problem in the state -- lord knows that. It didn`t get rid of politics, it just made the state a place that you could actually have governance.

LOVETT:  Yeah, I mean, look. California`s role in this primary more than anything else may just come down to how big it is. And we have a giant basically national primary. And who does that reward? It rewards candidates like Bloomberg with money, that rewards candidates with giant organizations like Bernie Sanders. It is more difficult for candidates like Biden and others that have had sort of fewer resources and smaller operations.

Also, you know -- Texas I think is a good cautionary tale, right. Oh, Texas is changing. Texas is changing. Look how well Beto did.

Beto didn`t lose because Beto didn`t get his votes, he got the votes he thought he was going to get.

HAYES:  The other side, yes.

LOVETT:  Republican turnout operation in Texas is extraordinary. It will be extraordinary all across the country.

REINER:  He did well against a candidate that a lot of people didn`t like, Ted Cruz. I mean, it would be different if he was running against somebody that was loved in that way.

HAYES:  Although it is striking to me, when you look at the polling, like in the case of Texas, you know, there has been this crazy shift of the conventional wisdom about Trump`s strength that happened post-impeachment, which his polling average went up like 1.5 points and everyone was like, oh, he`s an indomitable colossus. Why even run against him? I mean, it`s just over. And it`s like he`s -- there was a poll this week that had Elizabeth Warren beating Donald Trump in Texas.


HAYES:  Like this week.


HAYES:  If the shoe were on the other foot, if Sarah Palin were beating Barack Obama in 2012 in Massachusetts, people -- Democrats would have freaked out.

REINER:  You make a great point, because you see these polls where every candidate is beating Trump in Texas and all the swing states. That says that anyone can win. And it means...

KOLHATKAR:  Not necessarily.

REINER:  ...we all have to start coalescing around whoever gets the nomination.

KOLHATKAR:  I do agree we have to coalesce around we all, as in people who are against the Trump machine no matter what political party you`re from.

HAYES:  The broad coalition.

KOLHATKAR:  Yes. If you want to end white supremacy, vote against Trump, and I don`t speak with my journalist hat on here obviously.

But I think it`s so important for us to also realize that Joe Biden, if he`s the nominee, he has not been tested in a general election debate with Trump and this is something we should all be very worried about.

HAYES:  But no one has except for Hillary Clinton.

KOLHATKAR:  Absolutely. But what`s the worst thing that Trump could say about Bernie? Oh, he`s a socialist. Majorities of California Democrats think socialism is quite all right, Texas too. That`s among the Democrats.

HAYES:  Among the Democrats...

REINER:  Yeah, not the country.

KOLHATKAR:  If he starts talking about issues and not just a folksiness, I`m pro-Obama, I`m not Trump, you`re going to see a lot more traction among Trump supporters.

HAYES:  I think the case for Sanders is that the downsides are well known, right, like the way that socialism polls, it doesn`t poll well.

KOLHATKAR:  They raked him over the coals in 2016.

HAYES:  But I think the argument in his favor is that he is very good at staying on message and talking about issues. But the risks are still there. Like we haven`t had a socialist president...

KOLHATKAR:  Medicare for all, college debt -- ending college debt, these are bread and butter inequality issues...

HAYES:  Yes, but people -- but, yes, but a lot of people don`t like them.

KOLHATKAR:  That Trump supporters care about as well.

REINER:  And people who really want to study and understand how policy gets made, I`ve been in those trenches, I served in this state for seven years running a big, big foundation, big organization. It`s very hard.

HAYES:  Yes.

REINER:  It`s very hard. There`s not one thing that Bernie talks about that can be accomplished in that way.

No, let me finish. Let me finish, it`s important to understand that. Democrats -- I am actually for Medicare -- I like Medicare for all. Democrats didn`t vote for Medicare for all. They`re not going to -- you have to pull the senate. You have to get rid of the filibuster, and then you have to move it. It`s not going to happen.

HAYES:  Right now -- I will say that right now there are not the votes for it, but things can change.

Jon Lovett, Sonali Kolhatkar -- I`m sorry, I`m cutting you off -- Jon Lovett, Sonali Kolhatkar, and Rob Reiner, thanks so much for making time tonight. Appreciate it.

LOVETT:  That`s such a good point.

HAYES:  That does it for us live from Los Angeles. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.