tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC October 19, 2015 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
american presidency, the buck stops here. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in" -- >> does anybody actually blame my brother for the attacks on 9/11? >> the republican feud over 9/11 continues. >> the world trade center came down. so when he said we were safe, that's not safe. >> and donald trump starts hitting harder. >> why did we attack iraq and now we have the mess where the whole middle east is screwed up? then the wheels continue to fly off the benghazi committee. >> shut up talking about things you don't know anything about. >> plus, what we now know about joe biden's campaign plan. the texas teen arrested for clock making shows up at the white house. and as "snl" does bernie -- >> i'm the only candidate up here who's not a billionaire. i don't have a super pac. i don't even have a backpack. >> can a socialist win a
presidential election in america? >> they hear socialist they think herpes, bernie. >> tonight, how bernie sanders plans to take on the stigma surrounding the s word. >> we have to make the movement, if you like, to correlate what we're talking about. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. donald trump has managed to find the achilles heel not just of his rival for the presidential nomination, jeb bush, butright entire republican political establishment. and it is the legacy of george w. bush. a legacy that was rejected wholesale by voters in 2006 and 2008. but that the republican party still has not been able to reconcile. now trump is openly exploiting that vulnerability and forcing the party to relitigate george w. bush's record on terrorism and war. it all started with an exchange at the second republican debate where jeb bush defended his older brother against criticism from trump.
>> your brother and your brother's administration gave us barack obama because it was such a disaster, those last three months, that abraham lincoln couldn't have been elected. >> you know what? as it relates to my brother, there's one thing i know for sure. he kept us safe. i don't know if you remember -- [ cheers and applause ] donald. you remember the -- >> it was a big applause line for jeb because "he kept us safe" is a very familiar refrain for republicans defending george w. bush. but friday when donald trump quite factually noted that george w. bush was president on september 11th, 2001, he apparently crossed some sort of line. jeb fired back on twitter calling trump pathetic and insisting his brother "september us safe." then yesterday they took their battle to the sunday talk shows. on fox news trump maintained that what happened on 9/11 does not qualify as being safe. >> am i trying to blame him? i'm not blaming anybody. but the world trade center came down.
so when he said we were safe that's not safe. we lost 3,000 people. it was one of the greatest -- probably the greatest catastrophe ever in this country. >> jeb continued to defend his big brother, but he couldn't explain away a parallel to the republican stance on benghazi. >> it's what you do after that matters. and that's the sign of leadership. it's not -- it's not the -- does anybody actually blame my brother for the attacks on 9/11? if they do they're totally marginalized in our society. >> but how do you respond to critics who ask if your brother and his administration bear no responsibility at all, how do you then make the jump that president obama and clinton are responsible for what happened at benghazi? >> well, the question on benghazi, which is -- hopefully we'll now finally get the truth to, is was that -- was the place secure? they had a responsibility in the department of state to have proper security. there were calls for security. it looks like they didn't get it. and how was the response in the aftermath of the attack? was there a chance that these
four american lives could have been saved? >> and this morning trump called in to "fox & friends" where his break with republican orthodoxy was so confounding it was almost too much for co-host brian kilmeade. >> if you really wanted to stop bin laden would he declare war on us in 1996 you would have take ten serious and killed him. we had multiple chances on him from '96 until 2000. we didn't take it. and i will say this. bin laden determined to attack the u.s. at home. didn't say where, didn't say who. didn't even see this plot. why would you pick this argument? because this is a michael moore leftist i hate everything republican argument. why would you take this? >> again, to be clear, trump's only argument was about who was president on 9/11, 2001, which is not really something open to debate as far as i understand it. but then he was asked about bush response after 9/11. he brought up what may be an even sorer subject for republicans, the iraq war. >> post 9/11 many people, many americans would say that president george w. bush did everything in his power and did
indeed keep us safe free from another attack. you would not deny that, would you? >> well, we attacked a different country which i think was the wrong country. i think attacking iraq -- >> but it did keep us safe here at home. >> i think that was a huge mistake. >> did he keep us safe at home? >> well, we haven't had a major problem at home. i agree with that. i never disagreed with that. but we attacked a country. we spent $2 trillion attacking a country. and you know what we have for it right now? zero. >> we could have had a lot more -- >> having said that too. that we won that war. the surge worked. like in all military escapades with america we get it wrong in the beginning, we get it right at the end. and it was thrown in the street. >> trump hasn't let up since then, continuing to hammer the bush legacy on twitter even tweeting an article about how jeb himself was criticized in the wake of the attacks when he was governor of florida the state where the hiernlgsz were able to get driver licenses. a poll showing trump got his best results to date, right at that 25% mark with ben carson
nipping at his heels and jeb bush coming in a distant fifth. even more dismal for bush, 44% said they could not see themselves supporting him compared to just 36% who said they could not support trump. >> rnc former and msnbc analyst michael steele. michael let me start with you. this does seem to expose the fact that at its core the republican party has not figured out how they are reconciled to george w. bush's legacy, what they think about it, and how they're going to talk to voters about it. and even if it weren't jeb bush it seems like that's a thing that republicans are going to have to figure out how to talk about. >> i think you're right to some degree on that. there's this whole battle right now between relitigating the past and trying to put the country at least conversationally on a better footing in talking about how we deal in, you know, a post-9/11 world with an isis and all of that. so i think you're seeing some of that tension bear itself out
right now with a lot of the gop. my takeaway, there are a couple of takeaways, but one of them that i have is that one of the beneficiaries of this conversation is rand paul because a lot of what trump is talking about, despite his, you know, trashing rand paul at various times, is exactly what rand paul was saying about how we prosecute the things, how we look at these wars, and what role we should be playing and what position the party should be take going forward. so if nothing else i think there may be a greater stimulation of that debate within the party overall. >> you know, part of what's been strange about this to me, sam, is there's just -- to separate logically, right? there is the contention that i blame george w. bush for 9/11, right? and then there's the statement "he kept us safe." and you don't have to say i blame him. you can say yeah, no president could have figured that out or the bureaucracy was so screwed up or the makes were made at so many different places. but he kept us safe just is not
factually true. but it is absolutely dogma among a lot of folks. >> it is the last vestige that conservatives have that they can basically hold on to george bush's legacy. right? because they now say he was a profligate spender. they say that -- >> sand many of them say iraq ws wrong. >> but the one thing is that he kept us safe. and the fact is he didn't. i mean, by any measure whatsoever. now, maybe he couldn't have. and that's a perfectly legitimate arguable point to make despite the memos, despite the fact that they were told early on in the administration that non-state actors were the greatest threat. that is an arguable position. but the idea that he kept us safe is like well, but for the cake i just ate i'm on a great diet. the bottom line is he didn't. and so they can't let go of that because once you let go of that what does the republican party
offer? >> michael, do you think that's a defensible statement he kept us safe? >> yeah, i do. i take a lot of exception with what's just been said. because you're looking at this contextually. did bill clinton keep us safe in the first 9/11 attack? what did our intelligence community tell us about that? did franklin roosevelt keep us safe in pearl harbor? because -- >> no, he did not. but that's -- >> but -- >> that's a great -- >> i got it. but this is my point. >> pearl harbor was massively controversial. people were enraged that america had been -- >> but keep in context what jeb bush was saying. he was not talking about the period before 9/11. he was talking about since 9/11. and that's typically how most republicans have argued that particular point. well, no, no. >> that's correct. that is a correct statement. that is how republicans have argued the point. >> you're arguing something that most republicans don't argue. so what donald trump has done is he's taken it to the very
beginning of the 9/11 crisis, not post-9/11 which is how jeb and a lot of republicans argue the statement he kept us safe. >> but michael, with all due respect, that's exactly the point, is that for some reason republicans only count history from 9/12 and everybody else counts history from before 9/12/2001. that's the bottom line. there is no -- you can't choose when you start history and have people look at you seriously. >> yeah, but chris, you can't -- but you cannot sit there -- chris, you have no intelligence, you have no evidence that suggested to the state department, the nsa, the pentagon, or anyone else that 9/11 was going to happen when 9/11 did. so you're presuming -- let me finish my point. you're presuming, gentlemen, you're presuming that our government deliberately allowed it to happen. >> no. >> and that's just not the case >> that's my point, michael. i just want to be very clear about there's these two
different contentions. bush is to blame for 9/11 or bush failed, right? that's one contention. you can debate that. you can even say no, he's not to blame. but the contention being made, the affirmative endorsement of george w. bush's legacy that's being made is he kept us safe. that is the same that has been put forward. i just don't see how that's defensible unless you count as you said when republicans tend to count at 9/12. which fine, you can say everything changed at 9/11. and after that forget about iraq -- >> you have to admit that the world changed dramatically after that. >> well, no. actually, the world didn't change dramatically after that. >> uh, yeah. you don't get to go through the airport the same way you did. you don't get to do a lot of things the way -- you have a whole lot of structure put in place. >> our policy changed. >> that probably should have been put in place before -- >> when the bush administration came into office on january 20th when they went to that pass the baton program where the nsa chief under the clinton administration passed the baton
to condi rice, the clinton administration said it's non-state actors that you've got to watch out for and condi rice came in and said we have to watch out for countries like iraq. there was a policy decision as to what was going to attract their attention. now, we can debate whether or not they really screwed up or not. but you cannot make the argument that he kept us safe i.e. he prevented a terrorist attack on his watch. he didn't. he prevented two or three -- >> you're now jumping -- i would bet you before donald trump had made that statement today that was not the conclusion that you drew, at least you didn't write that conclusion when the jeb bush made that statement at the last debate. >> let me also make that point -- >> so it's a lot of hype. a lot of looking backwards and projecting here. >> i just want to be clear here. we had a national reckoning about this. there's this thing called the 9/11 commission of course. it was massively, you know, publicized. it sold 200,000 copies, the original report. it comes up with all sorts of things, signs that were missed,
things that were done. some of those things are at the highest levels in terms of the security apparatus in the white house and some of them are very low level about an fbi memo in minneapolis that doesn't get kicked upstairs about why are these people taking flight lessons. so we've had a national reckoning on this. to me this question of why it's rearing its head right now in this campaign has to do with jeb bush has not figured out and the republican party has not figured out this central question of what is my relationship in jeb bush's case to my big brother, what is my relationship to his legacy, what aim willing to say about him and the republican party says elect us to the white house, we want to run someone. >> chris, i'll give you that. that's a very fair point. because it is part of the national conversation simply because of that relationship, because there's a lot of folks who want to know will you behave, think, perform the way your brother did or do you do something differently. and jeb has not answered that question clearly. >> and there's this brian lizza piece in the new yorker this week which interestingly quotes a lot of folks who are in jeb's
circle who are also foreign policy advisers. defending the invasion of iraq, basically saying it was sort of fly papered. but these are the folks -- the other thing is it's more than the last name it's more than the fact they look similar. there's some substantive overlap here. >> the bottom line is i don't think the republican party thought they were ever going to have to relitigate this. >> true. >> because i think the republican -- people running for president was we're not going to raise this -- >> we're just not going to talk about it. >> only donald trump was willing to do that. >> michael steele and sam seder. that was spirited and illuminating. >> still to come sources say vice president joe bide lenn announce his decision on a presidential run within the next 48 hours but sources have been making similar claims for months. plus registering every drone in the u.s. interesting idea. there are some other machines that are much more dangerous than drones. and later the newest evidence that bernie sanders is a political phenomenon. but could american voters ever actually elect a socialist? we'll look at those stories and much more ahead.
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as donald trump and jeb bush relitigate the bush 43 legacy the man polling second in the gop field is also questioning america's post-9/11 strategy, particularly the decision to invade afghanistan. it stems from a claim he made at last month's debate that if bush had simply declared the u.s. would become petroleum 23479 then oil-rich arab states fearing less profits would have turned over osama bin laden in two weeks. >> how would you have gotten the moderate arab governments to turn over osama bin laden in two weeks? he'd already been expelled by saudi arabia. he was already an enemy of those moderate governments. >> well, i think they would have been extremely concerned if we had declared and we were serious about it that we were going to become petroleum independent because it would have had a major impact on their finances. and i think that probably would have trumped any loyalty that they had to to people like osama
bin laden. >> but they didn't have any loyalty to osama bin laden. the saudis kicked him out. he was their enemy. >> well, you may not think that they had any loyalty to him. but i believe otherwise. >> okay. here's where it gets baffling. pressed on his own bin laden strategy versus going after bin laden in afghanistan, carson had this response. >> i simply don't understand how you think this would have worked. >> well, here's the point. here's my point. my point is we have -- we had other ways that we could have done things. i personally don't believe that invading iraq was an existential threat to us. i don't think saddam hussein was an existential threat to us. >> i wasn't asking about invading iraq. i was asking about invading afghanistan, which had been harboring osama bin laden. >> well, i was primarily talking about iraq. >> are you lost? i'm lost. i'm very lost.
charlie pierce writes in "esquire" today ben carson confuses iraq, afghanistan, past, future, space, time, whatever. dr. ben carson. currently polling in second place. you do all this research on the perfect car. gas mileage, horsepower torque ratios. three spreadsheets later you finally bring home the one. then smash it into a tree. your insurance company's all too happy to raise your rates. maybe you should've done a little more research on them. for drivers with accident forgiveness,
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decision on whether he will enter the presidential race, a decision that could come as early as wednesday. there's even a congressman who appears to have an inside track citing a person close to the vice president representative brendan boyle sent out this tweet earlier today. "i have a very good source close to joe that tells me vice president biden will run for president. watch out reporters." no sooner had this news started appearing than people close to biden started sounding somewhat less definitive about the timeline. "new york daily news" quoted a former biden staffer saying he has until wednesday to decide whether or not to go to iowa and a short time after to decide whether or not to qualify for all the ballots. there aren't official daeltds b deadlines but these are practical deadlines. we've been hearing about quite a few of those. it seemed like bidewomen make a decision by the end of summer. in june u.s. news and world report reported he'd make a decision by august 1st. august 8th the a.p. reported he was expected to make a decision after a week-long retreat. later that month they reported he would zi by october 1st.
by october 5th politico reported biden was expected to make a decision a week before the first democratic debate. and if it continues to go on this way there's part of me that thinks we'll be getting stories about biden's decision-making process up until election day in 2016. joining me now joy reid, msnbc national correspondent. what do you make of all this? >> it's interesting. i spent the better part of the afternoon talking to biden people or people who've in some capacity been around the vice president, worked with him et cetera and what you get is exactly what you said. you have some people who say yeah i think he's going to do it his heart is in it. you have some so who say it feels like it's too late, like the ship has sailed, the staff are all gone, the fund-raising he'd have to do is really complicated because people are committed to hillary. it's really a grab bag. there's one person who said you could have two people in a room have them both talk to joe biden one of them talk about his emotional content and he will convince them he's running the second person talk to and he'll just talk from his head and will be convinced he's not running. ergo nobody knows if he's running. >> right. to me -- right.
to me the cat inside the scloedinger's box that is inside joe biden's mind is alive and dead. he is both -- he's probably undecided at this point. all i can conclude. i guess the secondary question becomes if you are the head part talking when are the hard deadlines and is there space for him? >> well, here's the thing. i did spend a lot of people talking to people in florida because of course the cash machines of the democratic party are florida and new york. the florida cash machine really starts kicking in when it gets cold in new york. which is when a lot of fund-raisers do move south. a lot of those fund-raisers are really already committed to hillary clinton. it would be really awkward to walk away from her. the florida money is going to be difficult for biden even though honestly people love him, people he who know him as vice president. some of the other questions people put to me is why would wo joe biden, any rationality person, jump in before hillary clinton does the benghazi
hearings? if she acquits herself well there's less space for joe biden p p. >> there's new cnn polling out. nbc/"wall street journal" is polling. cnn polling out today that showed that post-debate you had both hillary clinton and bernie sanders going sxwup joe biden who's at 18% in that poll i think was 22% before that poll. in some ways the winner of that debate was both hillary clinton and bernie sanders and the loser was the guy who wasn't there, joe biden because there's a sense once people saw the debate that oh, this abstract idea we had that we need someone who's not there maybe isn't true. >> that's right. because much of the biden sort of love, and i know people who really, really want him to win who are obama people who want to, a, keep the obama legacy whole and growing and the feeling is that biden would run on more of a keep the obama years going sort of outright campaign that hillary won't or have some other deal of dissatisfaction with hillary, but the problem is that the biden boomlet only exists when hillary appears to be a candidate in trouble. as soon as hillary clinton appears to be not just
inevitable but a strong potential candidate who actually can survive the obsession with the e-mails, who can survive the benghazi stuff, and who would actually emerge into the general election pretty strong, the biden balloon starts to leak. and even among people who like him. >> so we also have -- there are some people who seem to my that he's definitely in. gabe sherman has been reporting on this. and gabe's got an interesting take, which is he's already running at a certain level. what he is doing right now -- now, he may decide to not continue to run, but this is a savvy person who's been in public life for most of his adult life. he says what's clear is he's in the race. "when a sitting vice president works the phones after his part yis debate stressing he is not ruling out running for president, that is the activity a man running for president." i think that's a good way, instead of he's undecided. he is currently running. the question is is he going to get out or not? >> if he looks in the mirror and says there's nobody better for this job than me he's already running niz mind. he's just trying to find a way to keep himself in the conversation. >> but the psychology of that is
strange because doesn't every politician on some level think that? >> 535 of them. >> you couldn't be -- you couldn't be joe biden with joe biden's career and trajectory if you didn't think that about yourself. the guy's already run twice for president. >> exactly. >> and clearly he thought he was the man for the job. >> here's the other thing. it hasn't been discussed that much. is who would be the people who are leaking the information that he's going to run, he's going to run, he's just gearing up. a lot of that is coming from people who would be part of a bide encampaign. there's a lot of self-interest too if you're a potential biden staffer and you're not already on a campaign, it's good for you to start priming the pump for a biden run because that's your future job, right? that's your future campaign. and if you want it even more than he wants it, it's in your -- it's to your benefit to get this going and not let him be forgotten. >> and that i think maybe explains a little bit of the strangeness of the press around this. it's almost become parody at this point. the sort of people are talking about mario cuomo back in '92 and everyone wondered is he going to run or not. same in '88. >> that's the risk. >> they called him hamlet on the
hudson. that is the risk. at a certain point people begin to say like there's got to be a certain decisiveness. >> to put it nicely your trip to the loo has to be productive or you need to leave the bathroom. >> very nicely stated. think about it. joy reid, thank you. >> thank you. up next, new regulations -- that was well done. for a rapidly expanding hobby because of its potential danger. if only the same consideration would be made for another hobby. and the republican chairman of the benghazi committee says he has had some of the worst weeks of his life. does he expect matters to get better when hillary clinton testifies this week? stay with us. it's your grandpappy's hammer and he would have wanted you to have it. it meant a lot to him... yes, ge makes powerful machines. but i'll be writing the code that will allow those machines to share information with each other. i'll be changing the way the world works. (interrupting) you can't pick it up, can you? go ahead. he can't lift the hammer. it's okay though! you're going to change the world.
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the signal we're sending today is that when you're entering national air space it's a very serious matter. this isn't riding your atv on your own property. this is actually going into the space where other users are also occupying that space. >> drone regulation is coming to america. today federal officials announced that recreational drones will need to be registered. recreational drones, the kind you see here on your screen, the quadricopter kind of things, although that has more than four. they've become wildly popular. consumer groups estimate that hundreds of thousands of them could be sold this holiday season. and now federal regulators have asked a task force to come up with a plan for a national drone registry in a month, just in time for your holiday drone shopping. the reason for all this, the number of close calls between drones and passenger planes have increased dramatically over the past year. pilots say drones are a growing threat to aviation. this year according to the faa
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which representative paul ryan weighed whether to run for house speaker in the wake of john boehner's planned resignation. it is a job ryan has said repeatedly he does not want but is facing pressure to take amid concerns no one else could lead the fractious house gop caucus. over the weekend sources close to ryan told cbs news he is now open to running but only if he is not forced to horse trade with the deeply conservative house freedom caucus. and that's a problem because mekds of the freedom caucus are making clear they won't back ryan without concessions. so that's headache number one for the republicans who run the house. then there's the fact that they need to vote to raise the debt limit by november 3rd to prevent a possible default and vote to fund the government by december 11th to avert a government shutdown. despite a fractured caucus still being led by lame duck john boehner and staunch opposition to a clean vote from
conservative hard-liners desperate to defund planned parenthood. all that amazingly made for now to be on the back burner because a blockbuster event set to take place thursday. hillary clinton's much anticipated appearance before the long, long-running house benghazi committee, a committee which has very much been on the defensive after two congressional republicans and a notable gop staffer who worked on the committee admitted it is a partisan political exercise intended to undermine hillary clinton. democrats on the benghazi committee led by elijah cummings pounced on that. they release aid report that found "no witnesses we interviewed substantiated these wild republican conspiracy theories about secretary clinton and benghazi." meanwhile, the republican in charge of the benghazi committee representative trey gowdy is kags himself as a victim whose reputation has been unfairly besmirch besmirched, telling politico "these have been among the orts weeks of my life." stating that "attacks on your character, attacks on your motives are a thousand times worse than anything you can do to anybody physically.
at least it is for me. gowdy also charged that the recent outpouring of criticism of the committee was designed to marginalize him ahead of clinton's testimony, a claim that would be easier to swallow were it not for the fact that three different republicans vl called the committee partisan in just the last month. yesterday facing more questions about the committee's motives gowdy offered a message to members of his own party. shut up. >> i have told my own republican colleagues and friends shut up talking about things that you don't know anything about. and unless you're on the committee you have no idea what we've done, why we've done it and what new facts we have found. >> joining me now, jennifer bendery, political reporter for the huffington post who's been covering the committee. jennifer, what do you make of gowdy both going on the offensive and lamenting how unfairly besmirched he's been? >> i didn't think that the process of leading up to hillary clinton coming to get much more absurd. but the last few days alone have just become almost hilarious. i mean, we've got trey gowdy defending himself left and right
from his own party, telling people that the whole committee is a sham. but then just in the last couple of days he tried to embarrass hillary clinton by talking about e-mails that she sent from her private server that has sensitive information on them. but it turned out the cia said oh, no, that wasn't classified information. and trey gowdy said, yeah, well, we need to protect it. and then he put it up on the committee website and outed the name of a cia source. so it's just like it's getting to the point where i'm -- people are really wondering what is the whole point of this anyway. >> yeah. what you're referring to, there are these e-mails that the committee had chosen to redact, right? the committee redacted them and said oh, this is sensitive stuff. the cia came back and said no, it's not sensitive, it's fine that she e-mailed about that. and then the committee ended up posting some unredacted stuff that might have actually exposed someone in the cia if i'm tracking that correctly. >> they posted the e-mails on the committee site in an effort to show that they're transparent about, you know, hillary clinton's private e-mail server and stuff.
but they ended up leaving the name of a cia source in the subject line. so they redacted her name in the e-mails, put it up on the committee site but left her name on the subject line so anybody who went to the website could see the name of this cia source that was supposed to be kept private. now, it was all in the context of trey gowdy trying to embarrass hillary clinton for using her private e-mail server for e-mails with sensitive information. and he ended up putting it on the committee website. >> you also end up in a situation where it just -- it looks -- i think that there's been a kind of perfect storm for gowdy because of these republican comments of kevin mccarthy and then the staffer who came forward. but it also just looks to all the world watching this like they've lost the plot. like what is the thread here other than an e-mail server? you could hardly even imagine them doing the kind of investigation they say when on the witness list were huma abedin who had nothing to do with anything in benghazi and leon panetta who's working in the heart of the national
security apparatus at the time is not being interviewed by them. >> they continue to insist this is a serious investigation into a serious issue and it all does go back to the horrible events in benghazi from three years ago. but if you look at the last couple of weeks leading to the biggie which is thursday's hearing with hillary clinton it just seems more and more things are come coming out making the whole committee look like a circus. and there's not a lot of substance. >> you've been covering the committee for a while. gowdy's idea that has been done in the run-up to hillary clinton's testimony, that essentially this is an attempt to marginalize or call into question the credibility of the committee before she testifies. what do you make of that? is that what's going on? or more self-inflicted wounds, a combination of both? >> it might hold some water, that argument if it wasn't republicans themselves saying the committee was set up to go after hillary clinton. that's a pretty big faux papas
the republican-led committee is arguing this is a serious investigation and it's not about hillary clinton. you've got republicans coming out of the woodwork saying this is about hillary clinton and then you've got him making allegations about hef use of her private e-mail account and misusing it with sensitive information and in the end she wasn't misusing it and trey gowdy's the one putting sensitive information on the internet. >> it strikes me as i think about how they're going to play this on thursday, that in some ways gowdy and his fellow republicans are caught between two conflicting imperatives. one is if you really go after her and you give your sort of base what it wants you confirm people's worst fears about this essentially being a partisan witch hunt, taxpayer-funded operation, research organization. if you don't, if you try to sort of go out of your way to show how deckerous and serious you are what do you end up with? you've essentially allowed yourself to be defeated. it's unclear there's either path forward that can work for them. >> i mean, at this point we've got three days until hillary
clinton is coming to the hill. i mean, if it's this late in the game what are they supposed to do in they've got to stick by their word. no, this is serious, we are following this through. they're going to do their best -- do the best they can to treat it like a serious matter because if they bail two or three days before the hearing, i mean, this is like the big one. this is like the big climax with hillary clinton. so they can't go back now. >> yeah. all right. everyone's going to be watching that. fascinating to see how that plays out. jennifer bendery, thank you very much. coming up, presidential candidate bernie sanders will address what it means to be a democratic socialist, especially now that he has this thorny question out of the way. >> yes, last week i bought my second pair of underwear. that's a joke. please don't write it down. that was a joke. i have an ample supply of underwear.
sending a message to the rest of the world that just because something happens to you because of who you are, no matter what you do, people will always have your back. >> 14-year-old ahmed mohamed saw a massive yut pouring of support last month after he was pulled out of class in irving, texas interrogated by police and put in handcuffs because of a homemade clock he took to school to impress his teachers. and among the hundreds of thousands of messages ahmed got on social media was one from president obama who tweeted "cool clock, ahmed. want to bring it to the white house? we should inspire more kids like you to like science. it's what makes america great." the clock is still in texas. irving police tell "all in" no one has picked it up yet. but ahmed himself did make it to the white house tonight, stargazing with nasa scientists and astronauts on the south lawn as part avenue stron mi night. the president and ahmed did chat briefly in the crowd and ahmed could advance the cause of science by cathy a singularity in cable news. all he has to do now is whip up a joe biden decision countdown clock while he's in town. plaque psoriasis... ...isn't it time to let the...
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i'm the only candidate up here who's not a billionaire. i don't have a super pac. he don't even have a backpack. i carried my stuff around loose in my arms like a professor, you know, between classes. i own one pair of underwear. that's it. some of these billionaires, they got three, four pairs. and i don't have a dryer. i have to put my clothes on the radiator. >> bernie sanders had yet another big pop culture moment over the weekend on "saturday night live." much like his dancing walkout on ellen last week, it was a moment that would have been inconceivable just a couple months ago. now that bernie sanders is the man of the moment and unquestionably a serious player in the 2016 presidential race and a very competitive one at that, we're starting to see the s word being thrown around a lot more. as in bernie sanders is a self-described democratic socialist. as the vermont senator gets asked more and more about his affiliation, conservatives, well, they are having a field day. >> this socialist slash communist, okay?
>> they've got a socialist that is gaining on hillary clinton. >> it's a 74-year-old socialist. >> then you've got the 73-year-old angry curmudgeon socialist. >> americans aren't going to vote for a socialist. >> he loves all the socialist and communist regimes out there. >> in the name of socialism 80 million people were murdered last century. >> how close is socialism really to communism? >> i call him a socialist slash communist. okay? because that's what he is. >> over the weekend sanders promised he would be giving a series of upcoming policy speeches including one on what being a democratic socialist means to him. the real question, however, is what does it mean to voters and are the american people even democrats really ready to vote for a self-described democratic socialist for president? we'll debate that next.
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or any symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. why pause the moment? ask your doctor about cialis for daily use. for a free 30-tablet trial go to cialis.com they hear socialist they think herpes, bernie. we have to get -- >> then what we do is we have to make the movement, if you like, to correlate what we're talking about. because on every one of the major issues i am talking about the american people agree. >> joining me now john nichols, washington correspondent at "the nation," author of "the s word: a short history of a american tradition socialism." and matt bennett. he also worked on both of bill clinton's presidential campaigns. let me start with you. what do you think the odds are that america would elect someone who calls him a democratic socialist? >> zero. i think there's absolutely no
chance that america's going to elect a democratic socialist because look, the bottom line is we are a centrist country. on our good days we're center left. on our bad days we're center right. but we're centrist. and we're not going to elect anyone who appears through their rhetoric or their narrative to be too far off center and to be a little bit too radical. and calling yourself a socialist, even with the qualifier of democrat in front of it, just isn't going to work in america. it might work in a small homogenous place like vermont or sweden but it's not going to work nationwide here. >> john, what do you think? >> well, i'm always confident in america's ability to evolve and to embrace new ideas. and the thing i'm struck by is if we were sitting here 40, 45 years ago we might well have had a number of people sitting around saying you know, ronald reagan's modern conservatism it's just too extreme, it breaks
with the old right ideals, the older conservative ideals, and it's going to turn too many people off. it can't possibly work. well, what ronald reagan did was to go out and explain how his ideas, which people often dismissed as extreme, were really in sync with a lot of american traditions, with a lot of american ideals, and he was successful. he was elected president. i think that there will come a time, and it could well be sooner rather than later, when a democratic socialist will explain that he or she is a part of a distinct and distinguished american tradition that includes helen keller and albert einstein and a. phillip randolph, the fellow who called the march on washington in 1963, and that frankly you know, was informed by folks like norman thomas, who counseled fdr on issues like social security -- >> but -- >> john -- matt, please go ahead. >> chris, we're talking about things that happened 50 or more
years ago. i will grant that all of those were great americans. but the bottom line here is that we are living in a moment regrettably for all of us democrats where people are highly skeptical of government and what they hear when they hear the word socialisti is somebody that wants -- that believes that every problem can be solved with more government. that is whatnot mainstream democrats like clinton are offering, but it is what sanders is selling. and it's just not going to resonate at this moment in american politics. >> let me just sort of intervene here because that's an empirical claim. right? about how this will resonate. we should distinguish between some sort of set of substantive policies that bernie sanders is advocating and the term he's using and the label. it might be the case that the substantive policies he's advocating are quite popular and people are turned off by the label, vice versa, right? there's some data on this, and john i want to talk to you about this. there's been polling about would you vote for an x president? catholic, woman, black, hiss payne, jewish, mormon, gay or
lesbian, evangelical christian, muslim, atheist, socialist. socialist comes in last. i mean, that is not particularly promising, right? below atheist. so that seems to me like there is an actual branding issue here despite the fact that we've seen the favorabilities for socialism increase in the wake of the great recession, it does better among younger voters than older voters. but there is a labeling issue here. >> oh, sure. there always is with all sorts of ideologies. libertarianism had a problem a while back. the fact of the matter is that when we open up -- >> matt, i think we -- we lost john nichols. matt bennett, your arguing skills apparently destroyed his satellite feed. so i guess that's kudos to you. let me push back on you because i think the point john made about libertarianism is important, right? these boundaries of who gets to decide what's center and what's not center are not fixed, right? the way that they get established, actually, is through this dynamic process of
people campaigning on ideas. ideas that may seem totally far out when introduced and then work their way to the center. so what's -- what's to -- why give up before you even start? >> well, look, that's undoubtedly true. but the other fact of american politics is you do have to kind of catch a wave. you have to be part of a moment that americans are feeling. one of the things you have to do to get elected president is to find the moment you're living in and show americans how their lives are going to be better as a result of your policies. and again, because people are so deeply skeptical of government, because they're so jaded, in part because of what the republicans have done to government in the last few years, it's a very tough sell to argue that for example, we should have an entirely government-run health care at a time when even obamacare is unpopular. >> john, like democratic socialism in the u.s., john nichols is back. he endures. he cannot be kept away.
i want to ask you this question, john. and i want an honest answer from you. you and i have known each other a very long time. we were colleagues at "the nation." you walk into the voting booth tomorrow in my make believe world. john, your vote will determine the nominee, whether it's bernie sanders or hillary clinton. would you honestly vote for bernie sanders? do you honestly think that were he the democratic nominee that he would have appreciably the same chance of becoming the next president as, say, hillary clinton or one of the other candidates? >> well, i counsel but i'm not here to endorse a candidate. >> right. >> but if you're asking me if i'm comfortable voting for a democratic socialist for the democratic or the republican nomination for president of the united states, i would say yes. and i'll tell you why. the fact of the matter is that we have just been through a scorching economic crisis with the collapse of wall street and all the challenges that came from that. we're in the midst of something very equivalent to the industrial revolution, only now
it's a digital revolution with automation and so much else. to assume that this country can't take on new ideas and embrace them, i think is silly. i think the fact of the matter is it might well be that those with the bolder ideas are the ones that will attract people to the polls. >> john nichols and matt bennett, thank you gentlemen both. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris. thanks, my friend. >> you bet. >> and thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. happy monday. had a great weekend. thanks for asking. it snowed all day long yesterday when i was home in western massachusetts. it never snows this early. my six-month-old puppy has never seen snow before. it terrified him. which was sad for him for a second but mostly it was just adorable. it was really cute. so i'm in a great mood. i'm also in a great mood because i just found out that i'm getting my first ever hillary clinton interview. never, ever, ever have i had a chance to interview hillary clinton. i'm about to. we'll have more on that in just a second. i'm also in a gat