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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  January 14, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm PST

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>> i do think this is a cheap washington trick, right? to enwrap all of this in a thicket of process. there is a simple question on the table here, which is is congress question on the table, is congress going to help keep congress barely afloat in this economy? and they can do that. it's not about amendments or anything else. they can decide to vote ay as they did under obama and those continues will continue to get help. >> ezra, thank you for getting out of my new jersey state of mind tonight. >> thank you. >> chris hayes is up next. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. mistakes were made. the siren song of scandal-stricken politicians for generations uttered today from the floor of the state assembly chamber in new jersey's capitol building.
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faced with the awkward task of delivering his annual state of the state speech today, amid the spiraling bridge scandal, chris christie opted for one of the oldest cliches in the book. >> mistakes were clearly made, and as a result, we let down the people we're entrusted to serve. >> the governor addressed the scandal only very briefly at the top of his speech, but there was one little tidbit of actual news in his treatment of the bridge scandal. he intends to cooperate with the proliferation of official inquiries into his administration's ballooning traffic scandal. >> without a doubt, we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure that this breach of trust does not happen again.
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>> note the caveat there, appropriate inquiries. who knows. we might find out what exactly chris christie deems appropriate when it comes to being investigated. probably the biggest news today is a revelation from ted mann, the "wall street journal" covering this story since the day his ticked off editors assigned him to fend out why they were stuck in traffic on their way to work. this photo, see on the left, that is none other than governor chris christie. that guy in the back, that's david samson, that's the chairman of the port authority appointed by christie and still on the job. after claiming he knew nothing about the lane closures. this despite the fact documents released last week show he was on the receiving end of a furious sounding e-mail about those lane closures on september 13th. and that guy, that guy on the right there, the one who's in the midst of what looks to be a very friendly conversation with chris christie, that is david wildstein, he's the one who famously wrote that the bus loads of schoolchildren stuck in traffic were children of buono voters, in essence resigned and pled the fifth. guess when this photo was taken? yes, september 11th, 2013. that would be day three of the
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snarling traffic jam which had long since ignited outrage from the people stuck in it. it's an important detail that chris christie was hanging out with david wildstein on september 11th in the midst of this thing because this is what chris christie said last week about his contact with david wildstein. >> i have had no contact with david wildstein in a long time. a long time, well before the election. >> no, no contact. does less than two months count as a long time? well before the election? by the way, the governor was trying today to put all that scandal stuff behind him and focus on his agenda for the state. his record as a popular governor. there's a thing or two about his record, as popular governor, that bear some scrutiny as well. >> the bottom line is this. we're a long way from the finish line. challenges remain. i will not rest until every person hurt by sandy has their life back to normal. that is my mission.
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>> chris christie emerged from superstorm sandy more politically powerful than ever. he was seen as tough talking truth teller who embraced the president and took on his own party on behalf of the suffering people in his state. >> there's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims. the house majority and their speaker, john boehner. >> while christie was coining his image as the one politician who can get things done, he was getting more than just a pr boost. he was working to get $25 billion in federal money to hand out in his state. beginning in an election year. it was no secret that christie wanted to win re-election with a big number. >> i'm happy to admit that i was trying to run up the score. that's what you do in a political campaign. >> well, handing out hundreds of millions of dollars in your state during an election with almost no legislative oversight will help you win re-election in your blue state by 22 points. today jersey democrats announced they would be pushing a bill that would inject transparency
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into just how sandy aid money is being spent. they've tried it before. last february, both the house and the senate passed unanimously a bill that would have increased the transparency of sandy funding. you know what happened? chris christie vetoed it, citing redundancies and a waste of government resources. the governor's office has handed out almost $1 billion of federal money, deciding who gets paid and who gets stiffed. millions are spent on an ad to promote tourism in the jersey shore, but help has been slow to other communities. case in point, hoboken, new jersey. a town of about 50,000 residents just a few miles down the hudson river from ft. lee. >> in hoboken, new jersey, this is a town where thousands of people are still trapped. >> everything was fine until we saw this river of water come in. >> the flooding has just been devastating. >> it is a tough road here in hoboken. >> floodwaters snaked through the city streets with ease. >> outside city hall, mayor don
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zimmer showed me that flood map. more than half her city was under water. >> and everything's gone? >> everything. >> when hurricane sandy hit new jersey in october of 2012, the town of hoboken was utterly devastated. governor christie showed up on november 4th to rally the troops. >> i spoke to the mayor this morning and told her hoboken is in the front of my mind and whenever there's any assistance needed here, we'll be here to help. >> christie received a rock star's welcome in hoboken and promised in person he would do everything he could to help. >> everybody's looking at hoboken. we now we're one of the hardest hit places in the state. >> hoboken has a misfortune of having a democratic mayor, dawn zimmer. zimmer told wmyc when he was asked by christie in person to endorse him, she declined, opting instead to remain neutral
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in the race. dawn zimmer says she asked the state for $100 million in grants to rebuild her city. she says she was awarded $300,000. that might buy you a studio apartment in hoboken. >> there's a lot less, and i was extremely disappointed. and at the time, i was angry because i felt like the focus was on the shore. in 20/20 hindsight, in the context we're in right now, you can always look back and say, like, okay, it was retribution. an always look back and say, so i think probably all mayors are reflecting right now and thinking about it, but, you know, i really hope that that's not the case. >> we don't know why hoboken only received a fraction of 1% of the funds they asked for. but if causing a traffic jam in ft. lee is one way to punish your political enemies, starving a drowned broken city of funds is certainly another. >> i've got a job to do. my state has been damaged miserably by this storm and they expect me to work with everybody to get this job done.
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so i hope we put the silliness aside. it's crazy. >> joining me now, former new jersey state senator barbara buono who ran against christie for governor on the democratic ticket last year. and new jersey state senator raymond lesniak, also a democrat. i want to talk about the sandy distribution of funds. first i want to get your reaction to the state of the state today. >> well, what was notably absent in this state of the state is his bluster we had from last year. >> take a look. >> chris christie. you know, in all fairness, he's in a tough spot. he did the best he could under a difficult circumstance. he tried to change the narrative, but the fact of the matter is new jersey is in crisis. the state of the state is -- we have a crisis of confidence in our governor. and he really needs to rebuild
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and heal that confidence with the people of new jersey and with the legislators as well. >> is the state of new jersey in crisis right now? >> we have serious problems. and what we saw a governor without -- he's lost his swagger. he's a kinder and gentler -- >> you know, the funny thing about this as i watched this is he is an incredibly adept political performer -- >> yes, he is. >> -- at performing sort of this posturing larger than life kind of thing. he's not very good at performing humility. in fact, he's terrible at performing humility. that showed today to me. >> oh, for sure. also, like, he took credit for bills we sponsor. he's not capable of giving anyone else credit. governor romney found that out at the republican convention. >> right. right. when christie stood up there and said "i" about a million times in that street, much to the chagrin we later learned. there is some amazing data out about the sandy reconstruction. so much of what has built chris christie has been about sandy. one of the things we've been following on the show during the election and throughout and after its aftermath is you've got this atmospherics that surround chris christie as the fighter for sandy money and the reality. there's this data that shows racial disparity in sandy aid, money that's been distributed so far. see right there the average percentage of applicants denied if you're black is 36%, latino 19%.
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white is 13%. joining us to talk about that, richard smith, president of the new jersey state conference of the naacp. you guys have been ringing the alarm bell about how this money's been distributed for quiet a while now. >> yes, indeed. it's disturbing. when we look back, this was supposed to be one of governor christie's biggest assets during his re-election bid and that was his handling of this tragic storm. it's turning out to be one of his biggest liabilities bauds because our concern is the fact we have people out there hurting, still displaced. when we look at the numbers, 40% of african-americans being rejected, comparison to 14% of caucasians, that's disturbing. this storm hit everybody. the storm didn't discriminate. i can't say the same what we're seeing in the numbers when it comes to the funding. >> here's the thing about the funding. we've looked into this. there's slated to be about $20 billion to $25 billion depending how it all shakes out. going to come to new jersey as part of this total aid package. $2 billion has come through and $900 million to be spent. it's not like the legislature is voting where that money goes. that is a check that sets up in the governor's office.
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the governor sets up a process, turns around says, you get this, you get this. >> that's his achilles hill. there's a real, real need there. she didn't endorse him and all of a sudden that money dries up. there's something very, very wrong with that. >> my first thought, too, about this racial disparity question is, if you end up in a place in which punishment and rewards are doled out on political favor, that map is going to have a very racially disparate look, right? because of the nature of the way party politics works in this country. >> right. that's correct. and, i mean, it's alarming. we do need to have more oversight. there is a real, real need there. she didn't endorse him and then finally the money dries up. there's something wrong with that. >> and my question about the disspare tea question is if you end up where punishment has been doled out with favors, that map is going to have a desparate look.
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we had an opportunity last week to testify before assemblyman jerry green about this, and it was unfortunate that we even had to sue our partners, latino action network, fair share housing network, had to sue to get the documents to even tell us whether or not there was a disparity in the numbers. >> here's $900 million being given out. federal taxpayer money come through. everyone in the country agrees as taxpayers, we're happy to give that money to new jersey because of the devastation of sandy. i don't think anyone in the right mind begrudges that money. >> or else some republicans. >> i said in their right mind. with the -- you have this money and have to sue to get the data. first they don't want to tell you -- >> they won't even tell you the criteria. >> then you have transparency bill that passed. do you think we're going to see better results with this than last time if, in fact, he has been brought low and humbled -- >> i think so. >> i do. >> don't forget the words. no public discourse. >> what do you mean by that?
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of course, in the e-mail, right. we can't have public discourse about this. that's right. >> same thing's going on mere. >> as soon as it threatened in the e-mail chain threatened to go public, right, there was an e-mail warning. i don't know whether it was baroni or wildstein. >> baroni. >> don't talk out of school about this. we are going to settle this in house. you found, your organization, you tried to just get the data. you're not trying to get e-mails. you're not trying to unravel a scandal. you're trying to find out how federal taxpayer dollars for people in a storm-stricken area are being spent and whether they're being spent disparate and you had to sue to get that information. >> and chris, these are not our arms. these are his numbers. >> right. >> we sued, we got the documentation. we reviewed the documentation. this is what it shows.
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40% rejection rate of african-americans. 14% of whites. these are his numbers. so when he passes it off as an anomaly -- >> right. >> -- and then wants to, you know, interject all of the negative jargon in regards to calling us hack groups, which is just terribly insulting, especially to the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization in the country. we are not hardly a hack group. neither is the latino action network or the fair share housing center. >> here's the one thing you might see. i think you might see a little less calling people idiot and calling people hack groups as subpoenas start to roll out. barbara buono, raymond lesniak, and richard smith of the naacp. thank you very much. coming up, bridget anne kelly of "time for traffic problems in ft. lee" e-mail fame is at the center of the bridge scandal. chris christie fired her. she fled the spotlight. if she's not talking, her friends are. we'll have the reporter that talked to them, just ahead. with 0-calorie monk fruit in the raw. ♪ welcome back [ male announcer ] it's made with the vine-ripened sweetness of fruit, so you can serve up deliciously sweet treats
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i terminated her employment because she lied to me. i am heartbroken that someone who i permitted to be in that circle of trust for the last five years betrayed my trust. she was not given the opportunity to explain to me why she lied. because it was so obvious that she had. i was lied to. >> the woman that governor chris christie is talking about there, who he stood before the country last week and called a liar, and that woman is bridget anne kelly who is now at the center of the bridge scandal. thanks to the uncovering her infamous eight-word e-mail reading "time for some traffic problems in ft. lee." more than likely, chris christie's fate is going to have a lot to do with what bridget anne kelly does next. and this headline from today's print edition of "the new york times," "aide fired by christie is loyal team player, not rogue operative" contains good news and bad news for the governor. let me explain. the current story christie would have you believe the traffic jam
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at the george washington bridge was more or less a rogue operation taken on by appointees and staff members christie knew nothing about. the picture we're getting of bridget "time for some traffic problems" kelly indicates that she was not a rogue operator. it makes it seem rather unlikely she woke up one morning and decided on her own to go ahead and screw the people of ft. lee. the good news for chris christie is that if he was going to survive this mess, it is crucial that bridget kelly has to be a loyal soldier. that she can't roll over and start talking out of school about what she knows and the picture that emerges from the "times" article is she's quite loyal. she, "had always been a royal soldier, never a rule breaker. followed the chain of command. she's not a cowboy." steve kornacki told us he has a hard time seeing kelly as a wayward staff member. >> when i knew bridget kelly,
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she was the chief of staff to a relatively mild-mannered assemblyman to bergen county. i cannot reconcile the bridget kelly i knew from those days with the bridget kelly of -- >> of time for traffic in ft. lee. >> joining me, david chen, investigative political reporter and former trenton bureau chief for "the new york times," the author of the piece on bridget anne kelly that ran in the "times" today. i want to read this tweet from a conservative reporter. he says "with subpoena on the way, bridget kelly uses "new york times" to send indirect message of loyalty to christie." bridget anne kelly's people were telling chris christie, i'm still with you? >> to a degree, we're always used in some way. >> that's refreshingly honest. >> what we tried to do in this piece was really peel back some of the layers behind this very mysterious woman, if you will, someone who wasn't very well known to most people outside of a very small circle.
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steve kornacki, of course, knew her. he knows everybody. other people in trenton who worked there, myself included, did not really know her or really cross paths with her. so, you know, she remains a person of great intrigue. >> so you talked to some of her friends for this story. >> yes. >> and the picture that emerges is that this is not the kind of person who would be running some kind of off-book rogue operation. >> that has not been her reputation. certainly. she's someone who generally has been known to follow the rules. who likes to sort of envelop herself in a lot of traditions, a lot of values in terms of family, in terms of mentors. she likes to go along the true path, if you will. there was a race she was involved in in which he felt shortchanged in which he felt the politics was played in a different way. that might have been a transformative experience for her.
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>> there's a quote about her. she's a 4'9" soccer mom but she could play a 6'10" linebacker if you she needed to. if you crossed her, she could be vindictive. goes on to sort of speculate about the origin of this. political operatives sort of learn a certain kind of full-contact toughness as they come through and they also, it seems to any, adopt the culture of the office that they're in. >> oh, without a doubt. i mean, the person she worked for before, david russo, generally known to be quite mild mannered, low key. governor christie, as we know, quite the opposite. you can ask this about anyone who works for, say, an andrew cuomo or chuck schumer or mike bloomberg in terms of trying to channel their personalities. >> schumer staff members start to talk like chuck schumer. i've seen it happen to people i know. >> they marry each other. >> there's a very strong, particularly strong personalities like chris christie or chuck schumer, you see in their staff, that personality trickles down as
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people try in an organization to emulate the boss because that's the thing that kind of reflects most kindly on them. you see that. >> what's interesting in a lot of e-mails we've seen, by the way, a lot of them have been redacted which adds to the mystery. you don't exactly know who is communicating with david wildstein or bill baroni. what's very interesting about some of them is the sense she clearly is reporting to someone, and the assumption so far is it could be bill stepien, christie's longtime campaign manager who was let go, if you will, by the governor. and, you know, they had a very close working relationship, bridget anne kelly and bill stepien. the question remains whether she listened to bill and whether bill listened to governor christie or bill stepien or other people may have come up with this idea themselves. who knows. >> my first thought was the job title. it's deputy chief of staff. there's a word there, "deputy." that usually in the word chart
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comes below the chief of staff. that was kevin o'dowd, now dominated to be the attorney general of the state of new jersey. >> right. >> but generally, in the way these things work, when you're the deputy chief of staff you run things up the chain to the chief of staff. i'm not saying that necessarily happened in this case but that's generally the way the organizational chart like that works. >> she was appointed back in april. she was basically there for the campaign run, i guess. >> there was such a cross-pollination. >> has some degree of politicization to it. especially in a year where you have a presidential prospect, i mean, you know, their office was turbo charged in tems of the politics, i think. >> that's a good point. david chen from "the new york times." thank you so much. >> thank you. the latest on the massive chemical spill in west virginia and the mysterious company behind it. next. capital to make it happen?
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some rare good news out of west virginia today. some folks are allowed to once again drink the water. not a headline i thought i would ever be reading. but as that happens, there is still so, so much we don't know about the chemical leak that started this all. and the company responsible. >> first thing to say, we're sorry. we're sorry for the massive disruption it's caused their lives.
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there's no one who wants this thing over more than i do. i'd like my life back. >> there was no shortage of well-deserved outrage directed at bp and its partners after they spilled millions of barrels of oil into the gulf of mexico. but at the very least, we know who bp is. the same cannot cannot be said for the chemical company responsible for the massive toxic spill in west virginia, the one that took out the water supply of 300,000 people, about 1/6 of the state. it has a name and logo that seems to have sprung fully formed from an "onion" article. freedom industries. we know that the company produces specialty chemicals for the mining, steel and cement industries, including the coal cleaning agent named 4 methylcyclohexane methanol that spilled into the river that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other health problems. after gallons of the stuff leaked from a breached tank into a river, residents began noticing a distinctive smell. >> one indicator of the contaminated water is the licorice odor of the water.
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>> so just who is freedom industries? they say they were formed in 1986, though filings indicate it was founded in 1992. it has only existed in its current form for two weeks after a complex merger with three other companies. >> thank you very much. >> this is the guy who has been speaking for the company. gary southern, identified as freedom industries' president. >> look, guys, it has been an extremely long day. i'm having a hard trouble talking at the moment. i would appreciate it if we could wrap this thing up. >> but freedom industries' website lists a different man, dennis farrell, as the company's president. we haven't heard from farrell but the woman who is his girlfriend offered a defense of the company on her facebook page the day after the spill. "i'm not asking for anyone's sympathy, but a little empathy wouldn't hurt," she wrote.
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"just so you know, the boys in the plant made and drank coffee this morning. i showered and brushed my teeth this morning and i am just fine." as of monday, more than 150 people had been treated in emergency rooms for exposure to the chemical. the lack of concern expressed appears to reflect the posture of freedom industries as a whole at the outset of the spill. according to the "charleston gazette" the state's department of environmental protection only discovered the leak after complaints about the smell from area residents. and how was the company trying to stop it? with a cinderblock and 50-pound bag of absorbent powder. we had a lot of questions about freedom industries. we called to try to get some clarifications. the company declined to respond to any of our questions including the one asking who, exactly, is the president of freedom industries? joining me now, bob kincaid, radio broadcaster, co-founder of the appalachian community health energy campaign. i know when the upper branch
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mine disaster happened, people knew that company, knew don blankenship, sort of a legendary figure in west virginia. do people in west virginia, charleston area, do they know freedom industries? had they thought of this company? what are folks saying down there about the people that appear to be the perpetrators in this? >> chris, i don't think anybody had any idea that freedom industries even existed. it looks like the west virginia department of environmental for example barely knew that freedom industries existed. there are far more questions about this company than there are answers. for instance, how is it that a company gets incorporated by a convicted cocaine dealer, which is the case here, and then goes on to be able to cite a toxic chemical plant a mile and a half away from the public water supply? >> just so we're clear here, that people don't think this is a wild accusation, i'm reading from the "charleston gazette" about one of the co-founders to the company, according to documents filed in the state in
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2005, federal prosecutors charged kennedy, a co-founder, failing to pay $200,000 income taxes. in 1987 he pleaded guilty to selling between 10 and 12 ounces of cocaine. this is the thing that's so remarkable about this. you have this chemical company that has tons of chemicals sitting in big, big industrial-sized tanks and they are on a river that is being used to suck intake into for a water supply. how did this ever pass any kind of regulatory muster? >> chris, it didn't. it didn't pass muster because muster is not something the state of west virginia does. if you are even remotely tied to the coal industry in this state, which this company is by providing this chemical to the coal industry, for prepping the coal in the hills and hollers where it's mined around here,
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then just about all things are possible for you. this is the tip of an iceberg that reaches down into our mountaintop removal communities and leads to a much, much larger overarching potential disaster that has been emerging in this area for a decade and a half. >> explain to me what the relationship is in the state of west virginia between the industry and the regulators. it does seem to me like a classic case of capture, in terms of the politics. i thought it was very notable that you had the governor and the senator speaking to me, joe manchin, immediately rushing to just tell people, don't -- this was not the coal companies, this was a separate company, it was a chemical company. that's pretty revealing to me that the priority number one seemed to be to make sure people don't blame the coal industry. >> for west virginia politicians, be they democrat or republican, chris, it is a matter of coal yesterday, coal today, and coal forever. the fact of the matter is, earl ray tomlin, the governor of this state, rejected a plan three years ago that very well would
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have prevented this disaster from even happening. >> what was that plan? >> it was prepared by the united states chemical board. it was similar to a plan that was put forward and put into place in i believe contra costa county, california, and in june of 2011 -- they were presented with the plan in january 2011, and by june 2011, the tomlin administration had said, no thank you. >> and this would have been some kind of heightened incentive of regulatory rules for inspections of the myriad chemical companies dispersed throughout the state that are providing chemicals to the coal industry or getting coal from the mountaintop removal process. >> that's my understanding, yes. >> radio broadcaster bob kincaid, thank you so much. appreciate it. >> thank you, chris. the war to preserve the sacred incandescent light bulb, and other conservative folies, ahead. because this hotel has some amazing....
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okay. let's say you are a super rich guy living in wisconsin, divorced and paying child support. now, you'd like to pay a lot less in child support because you're worth about $30 million with an income of $1.2 million which means you have to pay, like, $216,000 a year in child support. what can be done to ease you of this unwieldy burden? well, here's some steps you might take if you just happen to be a big republican donor. first, find the member of your state legislature like this guy, wisconsin state rep republican kleefisch and have him introduce a bill that would, i don't know, let's say, cap child support payments at a much lower level than what you're paying now, get rid of the asset evaluations so they don't look at that $30 million in the bank and just base the number on annual income. and then, here's the trick, allow judges to revise past settlements and implement the law retroactively to reduce payments for people like you, rich guy republican donor. the wisconsin state general
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reports that is exactly what multimillionaire businessowner michael zenga did. they obtained e-mails instructing the lawmakers on how to write the bill. "please have the drafter make these specific changes." after the "journal" blew up his spot, kleefisch announced he would withdraw the bill which makes this a good day for journalism and the people of wisconsin, a bad day for rich divorced right wing dads everywhere. you make a great team. it's been that way since the day you met.
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there's one thing we've learned about the tea party congress is it's not very good at governing. it's not even very good at delivering on its main promises to its supporters. >> and you're here because now is the single best time we have to defund obamacare. >> what it is good at is screwing with people's lives and delivering victories to the tiny subset of ideological -- case in point, the war to preserve the incandescent light bulb. oh, you haven't heard of this? you're missing out. >> are you capable of picking out your own light bulb? >> but the bill does one thing. it controls the type of light bulbs that all americans must use throughout our fruited plains. >> but you don't favor a woman or a man's right to choose what kind of light bulb, what kind of
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dishwasher, what kind of washing machine. i really find it troubling this busy body nature. >> what light bulbs you're supposed to use. that's why i introduced the light bulb freedom of choice act. president bachmann will allow you to buy any light bulb you want in the united states of america. >> the phasing out began during the bush administration. as technologies developed allowing us to get exactly the same amount of light with anywhere between 1/30th and 1/3 of the power while also saving is customers lots of money an reducing carbon emissions. a win/win/win. somewhere along the way the right wing decided they were going to go to the mat to defend the honor of old light bulls. like a political party placing its platform on the beta mac standard. today they got a victory. the house and senate unveiling they huge $1 trillion omnibus
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spending bill with lots of important details we'll be covering as it works its way through the legislative process. what is not in the omnibus spending bill is a defunding of obamacare. what is in there is this. the sorry old light bulb. lest you think preserving the incandescent bulb is the only big victory in this bill, don't worry, the vatican embassy has also been saved. oh, wait, you didn't hear about the plot to kill the vatican embassy? well, remember this? this was literally a one-day story ginned up by the right wing that the obama administration was going to kill the vatican embassy. does that sound implausible? that's because it was implausible. again, it was a bush administration initiative to save costs by consolidating the separate building that now houses the vatican chancery into the embassy complex that's rather large in rome out of which would operate the italian embassy and separate building for the vatican embassy. guess what is buried in this
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language barring the obama administration from closing down the chancery and saving taxpayers' money by consolidating two buildings. congratulations, "drudge report" this budget delivered for you. joining me, republican congressman tim huelskamp. explain to me the light bulb obsession. >> well, chris, that is not a major issue in the bill. actually, i'm still going through that. that is one of the things that i think conservatives can agree with with folks like yourself. we can agree with what is in a bill. 1582 pages and a little something about light bulbs and something about the embassy. what is in the bill is there's a $600 billion deficit when we pass that bill, and that's what i think most sides agree on is going to be a major problem if we continue to run these massive deficits. >> are the deficits falling at the fastest rate since the 1950s? >> repeat that question? >> the deficit is falling at the fastest rate since the 1950s? >> because it went up at the fastest rate in history. we've had four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits. we're at $600 billion, chris,
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which is bigger than any republican deficit beforehand. at the end of the day, it's not a republican or democrat debt. we just cannot continue to spend at record amounts and we're still taking in record amounts. that's my concern. we're spending too much money. >> understood. just so we're clear on the benchmarks here, the record amount is in dollars, right? percentage of gdp, it's not a record? >> that's true. during world war ii, i think it was even higher. at the end of the day we have $17.3 trillion deficit. i don't think we can go on and continue to borrow. the president thinks he can. he presented budgets for five years that never balanced. we continue to do that. >> wait a second. congressman, you don't think we can continue to borrow. do you think we should cut -- we should have a budget that is $600 billion lower than the current proposed budget so there is a zero deficit? >> i think we can get there. that's the difference.
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there are folks in this town on both parties, chris, that never want to balance the budget. they firmly believe, actually there's economists who think it's okay to run a deficit in perpetuity. the president thinks that as well. no, we passed budgets on the house floor that would get us to balance in four, five, six years. getting the balance tomorrow is not going to happen. >> do you know how many years since world war ii ended we've had budgets in balance or surplus? >> about two. we actually cut the budget year to year so it's been a long time. >> that is a wonderful piece of home-state pride there. but how -- i mean, when you look at this, talk about the deficits, talk about how terrible spending is and turn back and look at the history of the american republic since world war ii and say only two times have we had budgets balanced or in surplus, do you think the other 48, 58 years were some horrible gamora of absolute moral degradation and american weakness, or do you think actually it turns out we could run deficits every year and still be a groovy, powerful country?
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>> i don't think we can run deficits forever. that's where we disagree. where the president and i disagree. they think they can run deficits forever. tlafrs there's a component expe and grandchildren to pay back? if you want to raise that money, why should god, the democrats won't raise money for spending. republicans won't do that either. so this is a multi-party problem. >> in terms of where i come from i'm happy to see taxes go up. is it immoral or bad policy to borrow.? we have a $600 deficit with this? you got to come up with $600 billion in cuts. what do you want to cut that will come up to $600 billion? >> actually, if we cut 1% a year for the next six years we'd actually be in balance. it's a pity plan. the budgets we're talking about now are what they call this
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discretionary spending. but the entitlement spending are the reforms we need to talk about. because medicare and medicaid, social security and obamacare, if nothing is done about them, we can talk all day long on the spending of discretionary that's been flat. but it's those entitlements we have to talk about. there is a serious desire to find a way to ereform entitlements, there is a huge disagreement about obamacare. obviously, the president loves it. obviously, will is no way to pay for it. we have to borrow to pay for it. those are the issues washington is not looking at on this discussion of appropriations. >> there is a way to pay for i. in fact i see it in the taxes. congressman huelskamp, thank you for coming out tonight. i appreciate it. >> you bet. >> we will talk about how modern conservatism functions as a con with the remarks conservative themself, after this.
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how they function as a con game. >> that has nothing on the senate conservatives fund, which is funding senate minority leader mitch mcconnell's primary position. they have mcconnell up 20 points backed by the senate conservatives fund. so fs is not doing great in that respect. but it is doing great in this respect. with no directors to steer it, it is paid the consulting firm of the guy who started it about half a million dollars. it has paid $143,000 over three years to a luxury design firm to renovate washington townhouses as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of conservative
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comment ator's conservative book. do you wonder why the right wing list is a random denguer. joining us, i am well acquainted with the lamd of the conservative con job. even by those standards, this is pretty breath taking. >> this is a breath taking one. usually when there is a group raising millions of dollars, which senate conservatives fund did in the last shutdown, they're devoting it to things that seem like a political organization should be devoting it to this is basically a guy and his friend saying this is what we will do with the money. one guy is like, well, we will throw it at these guys who have no chance to win it. >> he paid a consultant and spent money renovating townhouses. >> yeah. >> okay make the case that all
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political consulting isn't a giant -- >> i can't. in all seriousness, these super packs, i would partially disagree with you. i think they're a lot more functioning. they have become revolving parachute, for people, exstaffers, disgruntled people of the party going after the establishment. what is so fascinating about this is that you are right, people don't know that this money is going primarily to hook up varies people. >> that's right. this is what is fascinating to me. when citizens united happened, oh, the biggest beneficiaries are like the coke brothers. no, the biggest fen fisheries is the consultant class, particularly on the right. right, where there is this entire universe of people that will be able to feed off this trough. there is no transparency and your right wing uncle who you love dearly but gives you rush limbaugh talking points, it's going into the pock of some design firm in washington being paid to renovate a townhouse.
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this is a bonanza for them. >> the.goes there is sort of a cycle when the uncle send the money to a group, he hears from the favorite talk radio host this is the best group that will destroy liberalism forever or rhinos for ever. he sends the money in. >> let's say that host is mark levin. >> for instance. it might be mark levin. mark levin goes on a show and senate conservative funds, they're the best ever. a couple years ago, americans for prosperity and they had a promotional deal with mark levin. >> but here's -- >> what's the promotional deal? >> we are paying him to say we're the best organization. >> here's the issue, though, the lot of the people the sad irony is people don't care because as long as these groups are doing what they want them to do you know i call it the business of hating on president obama. that's become big business, if you go after the democrats, over the left, they don't care. >> about the result, the performance.
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>> but when they start to lose and that starts to happen, then you are going to see a demand for transparency from those groups. you saw it with the romney campaign. he paid consultants three times as much as president obama. >> and there was -- >> and lost. >> and there was a lot of finger pointing and recriminations afterwards. there was a moment of accountability, particularly after 2004 with john kerrych this was a big issue with the networks, who are these big consultants and why are they paid so much money? but the people that bring that accountability have the hucksters who are now pushing for senate conservatives. >> that's the people fighting against the party establishments have ensconced themselves into groups to raise money to fight the party establishment. like the results aren't really there. >> okay. i want to keep our eyes on this as the election year rools out. i think there will be more and more groups pulling out, more
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and more people are going to start signing up, political strategists from salon, thank you both. >> that is all in for this evening. the "rachel maddow" show starts now. >> prepare for the ceiling to fall in. thank you for joining us at this hour. this is awkward this is a photo taken on 46911, this past september 11th, 2013 and it's at the world trade center heighth in lower manhattan. it was published today. one of the ambient things about the new jersey bridge scandal that has been particularly disgusting about this scandal is the fact that the bridge shutdown happened on the week of september 11th. if there are dirty tricks in politics somewhere, it's not like everybody expects september 11th to


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