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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  August 9, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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robinson statue should be treated differently say than the arrest of a teen who tags or spray paints his name on a subway. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from washington. i'm ezra klein sitting in for the one and the only christopher l. hayes. tonight on "all in," nuclear states, russia and the u.s., own 94% of the world's nuclear weapons. yes, 94% was that number. which makes this current spat a bit more tense, right? also tonight the fight over obama care takes a recess. the summer of the angry anti-obama care town hall is back. but unlike last time this story played out, it is republicans who are feeling the heat. plus why the federal government needs to rethink the science around medical marijuana.
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all that is ahead. but tonight we begin with the u.s. and russia relations in a downward and dangerous spiral. today white house spokesperson jay carney spent most of his daily briefing fielding questions about russia. the president announced a rare news conference for tomorrow. we expect he will answer a flood of questions about the increasingly chilly relations between the two countries. now, when you hear the u.s. and russia are bickering, when you hear their relationship is deteriorating or on the rocks, i want you to keep in mind, these two countries, our country and russia, still hold 94% of the world's nuclear weapons. 94%. you can see it on this graph. the chart comes from a plough share fund using estimates from hans christianson, the federation of american scientists. if you look over there on the left, you've got russia with 8,500 nuclear weapons, you've got america with 7,700 nuclear weapons. and then you've got this long
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drop to third place which is france with 300 nuclear weapons. i mean, they probably even kill, like, a billion people. one thing to know, by the way, is these aren't your grandfather's nuclear weapons. i mean that very literally. these weapons are typically 10 to 50 times as powerful as the bombs dropped on hiroshima. just keep that in mind. now, the reason i bring this up is not abstract. a couple years ago when it looked like relations between the u.s. and russia were improving, when we were having the great reset, as it was called, nuclear disarmament was on the table. we were potentially going to begin drawing this armory down. we passed the s.t.a.r.t. treaty which limited both countries to having only about 1,550 fully operational and deployed nuclear weapons beginning in 2018. now, look, that's still enough to blow up the world quite a few times, but, you know, baby steps toward not having armageddon.
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and the hope is that we could keep going further than s.t.a.r.t. in particular, there was the idea that maybe both countries could get under 1,000 and if they could get under 1,000 they could start talking to france and china and to others and maybe even if total zero is impossible for nuclear weapons, we can get the numbers down quite a bit lower. but that's not been happening in large part because russian president vladimir putin has not been so open to talking disarmament unless the conversation includes a whole lot of other things he wants in. that's part of why the u.s. canceled summit, there's no reason to have it anymore if they weren't going to discuss disarmament. now, you know, nuclear weapons are not like most issues in politics. right? you get the deficit wrong, you get it right later. you get the tax system wrong, there's always next year. if you're looking back in 10 or 20 or 30 years, and you're really wishing you hadn't gotten that nuclear weapon policy wrong, you're in a pretty dark timeline, my friend.
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joining me now is joe, president of the plough share, global security foundation and a man trying to keep us out of a very dark timeline. joe, it's good to see you. >> my pleasure, ezra. thank you. >> what broke down in these talks? tell me where we were a few years ago that had people optimistic and what happened now that has people pessimistic. >> president obama made a dramatic speech in prague in 2009 calling for a world with the safety and security of its people can be envisioned without nuclear weapons at all and russia responded. president obama and then-president medvedev quickly agreed on a first step, a modest treaty with verification measures that would draw down some of the nuclear arsenal. domestic politics intruded in the u.s. it took a while to get the treaty ratified. they finally did. >> that was late 2010. >> that was 2010. that's right. then domestic politics blocked any further progress on this. but now president obama's re-elected. he announces in june in berlin
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that he's ready to take the next step, go down another third. so cut the u.s. strategic arsenal by another third, but here's the problem. putin won't agree. he's dragging his cold war heels. >> now, and why won't putin agree, right? if there was this between obama and medvedev, obviously medvedev acted, most people believe, with a fair amount of agreement from putin. medvedev is still involved in the government, as i understand it. >> yes. >> so what has happened that has changed the relationship there on this particular -- >> so basically putin, as the president said just the other day on the "tonight show" is still trapped in this cold war logic. he sees these weapons as bargaining chips and has a whole lot of other issues. he wants to bargain with the united states on. conventional sources in europe. provision strike weapons. other issues he's sort of hanging on this nuclear complex and he refuses to take that next step. and he's got his own missile bureaucracy. the military industrial complex
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in russia that wants to keep building these systems. money's there to be made. they don't want the president to cut. >> as i understand it, russia actually has gone much further down on sort of having these strategic operational, fully operational deployed nuclear weapons out there. we're around i think it's 1,800 or 1,600 now. they're down at 1,400 or 1,500. >> right. >> they're expected to fall down much lower over the next decade. we don't actually need russia to begin to disarm our nuclear arsenal. >> here's the trap the president, himself, is in. he's trapped by his own cold war bureaucracy, the people who build and maintain these weapons and see them as bargaining chips just as putin does. so the u.s. has about 1,6600 strategic nuclear weapons. we're going to two down to about 1,550. their weapons are aging faster
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than they can replace them. we can follow them down. the joint chiefs agreed two years ago we can carry out our military missions with about the number the president is suggesting, about 1,000. the president is hesitant to take that step independently. he wants to still see if he can bring russia along. in effect he's giving russia a veto over our posture. what kind of weapons we deploy, how much money we spend on these. and that money is quite a bit. we're spending about $55 billion every year on nuclear weapons and related programs. so these things aren't cheap. >> they've been exempted from sequestration as well. now, when we say, when you say that the joint chief has said to the president, they can do the missions they need to do with 1,000 fully operational deployed nuclear weapons, i don't understand exactly what that means. what do we need? what is the argument being made that we need 1,000 versus 700, versus 100, versus 10, or versus for that matter, 1,500 or 2,000? >> let's start the other way around. let's think what would you do with one nuclear weapon?
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68 years ago we dropped two on japan. we haven't used one since. all the wars, all the conflicts, all the crises. neither we nor anyone else has ever felt the need to use even one nuclear weapon again. why is that? they're militarily useless. they don't actually accomplish much. we, the united states, have a conventional military that con accomplish any mission. maybe i'm wrong. maybe you need 10 or 50 or 500. we have 5,000 in our arsenal. so the joint chiefs understand you don't need this to combat terrorism. you don't need this to stare down iran or north korea. you could drop down to 1,000 and still carry out the military missions, but even that number is still based on a cold war strategic doctrine that requires us to target hundreds of targets in russia with one, maybe two nuclear weapons. get rid of that targeting plan, you get rid of the military
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missions, you could go down to a few hundred easily. >> given the political boundaries on this discussion, why should people at home care if we have 1,200 versus 800? what's the difference between these huge numbers of nuclear weapons? >> people don't wake up thinking about nuclear weapons. why would you? you think this is left in the cold war, there are plans in place to keep them secure. here's the reality. right now the united states has 1,000 hydrogen bombs on missiles ready to launch in 15 minutes. 1,000 hydrogen bombs. really bad news, so does russia and you do not want, the united states or russia, making a mistake. as safe and as secure as these things appear, accidents happen. planes crash. space shuttles explode. fingers slip. leaders miscalculate. and one mistake, with one of these nuclear weapons could be a disaster beyond history. you do not want to leave these things lying around in the state they're in. you want to get them down to as few as possible in as dealerted posture as possible. that's why the u.s./russia relationship still matters. >> joseph cirincione from plough share fund. >> thank you, ezra. summertime -- after the nuclear weapons -- summertime
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in 2009, it was democrats who were subject to the ire of tea partyers who disrupted their town hall-style meetings over their objections to obama care, but now, now republicans are getting a bit of that treatment. and rnc chair reince priebus is on a one-man mission to ban cnn and nbc from sponsoring any 2016 primary debates. surprising new details on what is behind the boycott threat are coming up. you wait all year fo. ♪ this summer was definitely worth the wait. ♪ summer's best event from cadillac. let summer try and pass you by. lease this cadillac srx
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it is summer recess time here in washington, which means the capitol has emptied out. and members of congress have headed home to fight their constituents about health reform. if that's a story, it sounds eerily familiar, it should. four years ago this month, at the very height of the battle over health reform, members of congress went home to their districts and found the normally routine, generally civil town hall meeting tradition had taken on something of an angry, scary circus-like atmosphere. >> it's recess time. as of friday, the u.s. house of representatives is officially on recess. and they are on recess for the rest of august. and while that sounds like an awesome summer vacation, what it means for house members is, as tradition dictates, they go home to their districts and they meet with their constituents about all the hot issues on the political stove right now. hottest among them, of course, is health care reform.
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what's different about this year? well, i'll let you judge for yourself. turns out this was not at all a one-off bad meeting. turns out this is happening around the country. >> this bill is not the end all. it's got a good start and it's got a -- >> members of congress, every last rule they make for the american people. >> vote no! vote no! >> that is what august of 2009 looked and felt like for lots of democratic members of congress. as their town halls were
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overtaken by an organized and motivated tea party based anti-health reform movement. back then there was a real sense of unity between the republican party and the republican base. this was before a viable health reform bill had actually made it through either the house or the senate and conservatives really thought they could stop it. now here we are four years later. health reform is, again, taking over congressional town halls during the august recess, but, but, but, but, the anti-obama care town hall movement this time around is a whole new ball game. for one thing, it is republican members of congress who are finding themselves in the cross-hairs this summer. >> will you vote with mike lee to end, and meadows here, to defund obama care? yes or no? >> you want the thoughtful answer? >> i want yes or no. >> no. >> no. not the thoughtful answer. i don't want the thoughtful
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answer. that was republican congressman robert pittenger of north carolina facing off with some constituents this week over his unwillingness to join the small but vocal republican caucus that thinks it can kill obama care by threatening to shut down the government. it is the kind of scene that is playing out at lots of republican town halls this week. and when the member of congress in question is allowed to give the thoughtful answer, this interparty conservative between members and constituents plays out in a really interesting way. just watch what happens when republican congressman tom cole of oklahoma and aaron schock of illinois have to explain to fairly unhappy conservatives in their home districts why they're not about to shut down the government over obama care. >> you need to represent us and we're tired of having this come down on us again an again. >> first of all, do you want to defund obama care? absolutely. i voted against it. i voted 40 times to repeal it.
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>> now, the question is do you want to shut down the government if you think that will achieve it? >> if the budget went away tomorrow, if the government shut down tomorrow, it would not necessarily stop the affordable care act from being implemented. >> let me talk to you about the consequences of what a complete government shutdown is. number one, that means your troops in the field don't get paid. military is not -- i'm sorry. >> how many weeks would you go without paying social security, and how many weeks would you go without paying the troops? and having a young lady walk into. my office whose husband is over in afghanistan who can't pay her mortgage because i'm shutting the government down, because i don't like the health care law? >> just because you shut down the government doesn't mean the other side has to give in. doesn't mean that the senate has to pass the legislation. >> i've got to be betting on the fact the president is going to cry uncle and capitulate and repeal his own bill. >> i don't want to be, you know, disingenuous and tell you i
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think shutting down the government is a good idea, because i don't. i'd be being dishonest with you if i told you i thought, you know, again, it would work. >> you have to make sure you're willing to kill the hostage you've got, and i'm not convinced yet that that's a hostage we should take headed into this fight. >> aaron schock and tom cole are not closet liberals. they're conservative republicans making conservative republican arguments against a tragedy being pushed loudly and publicly by other conservative republicans. this is the reality of the recess of 2013. obama care is law, it's done. republicans who want to show they oppose it do not have options left but the internal struggle over which of these dwindling options they choose which will become party-wide strategy is both fascinating and important and it's very, very consequential. if you want to know what kind of party republicans are going to be in the next election cycle, watch this debate closely. coming up, the science on
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medical marijuana isn't changing that fast, but the way people in power interpret it is. i will explain next.
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marijuana, the dried leaves and flowers of the indian hemp
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weed is used in the form of a cigarette. marijuana smoking, experts point out, can make a helpless addict of its victim within weeks causing physical and moral ruin, and death. >> marijuana, threat or menace? killer or murderer? that was a decade's old educational film. educational. on marijuana. do you feel very educated now? but if you take away the villainous music and high perbl, the message we hear is the same. marijuana, bad. legalizing the use of marijuana, the future of lawful marijuana use, even medical marijuana use is unclear. >> the push here in america and across america to legalize marijuana, medical marijuana -- >> yeah, medical -- >> that's exactly the point. >> there's no medical. this is one of the great hoaxes of all time. >> the fact that more than half
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the country thinks marijuana should be legal, the fact that a recent poll from the "new england journal of medicine" found nearly 80% of doctors approve use of medical marijuana to treat advanced cancer pain and nearly 50% of people have admitted to smoking marijuana at least once in their lifetime, that includes, by the way, this guy who ended up doing okay for himself. it's kind of amazing that the obama administration still discourages even just research into the uses of medical marijuana. and when there are studies, the research is focused on studying abuse as opposed to benefits. something that the national institute on drug abuse, an agency that must approve marijuana studies in this country, ready admits. "as a national institute on drug abuse, our focus is primarily on the negative consequences of marijuana use. we generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects on marijuana." for all its many virtues, science is not an objective thing. the results you get are shaped
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by the inquiries you choose to mount. and people tend to choose inquiries that are likely to give them the answers they'd like. answers that accord with the powerful status quo. answers that won't make them lose their grant money or keep them from being published in reputable journals. in an extraordinary article for cnn, dr. sanjay gupta, who has been skeptical about medical marijuana, says he's been mess led by that approach to science and apologized for his previous opposition to the legalization of medical marijuana. >> i think, you know, we've been terribly and systemically misled in this country for some time and i did part of that misleading. i took d.e.a. at their word. there was no scientific basis for them to say that. >> no scientific basis for them to say that. joining me, ryan grim, washington bureau chief for the "huffington post" and author of the book "this is your country on drugs." ryan, good to be here. >> show is the science here actually changed?
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when somebody like dr. gupta comes on, is this in reference to new findings or reassessing old findings? >> no, this is politics, and he admits that this is not the result of new science having been created. it's the result of him, he says, looking at some of the science that had been done. he said he had taken the word of the d.e.a. in the past and, you know, you can kind of laugh at that, but, you know, there are people who do consider, you know, government agencies like this to be authoritative on a subject like this. and gupta was one of them. once he started looking into it, himself, he has a documentary coming out, he found that it just wasn't true. >> and this is, i think, an interesting and old story and it's one i think people should be more careful about. that we in the media should be a bit more careful about, which is that you say something is science, right? i mean, you guys, we do it at wonk blog. you do it at "huffington post." it's the first word of the headline, study and then a colon.
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that's truth, right? the way science is directed, the way the sort of -- the way the institution around it decides to direct the inquiry can end up having enormous results. you've had over and over and over again through history these dominant social paradigms that get up-ended not because of science change, but because of social mores change and people look back and say, you know what, that was junk science. >> exactly. it's kind of like the superstructure. you know, the culture and the politics, you know, create the base for the science that it's created. and in this particular case, not only will nida obviously not fund surveys that are beneficial, you know, are drugs beneficial in any way, but they won't let other scientists do it. you have to apply to the d.e.a. to get permission and the d.e.a. historically will not allow you to do this research. if they do, they make you use this schwag they use in mississippi and make you jump through hoops.
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the schwag the federal government is growing isn't that good anyway and doesn't let you study a lot of different strains. it could be so simple and easy to do actual scientific research on marijuana but the government stands in the way. >> where is the obama administration on this part of the question? where has the obama administration been on the scientific question here? >> scientifically they've been great. they've said, look, we're not going to get in the way of the states. this is what they've said. the states that have passed medical marijuana laws. in practice, the d.e.a. has been kicking in doors in california, washington, montana, colorado. wherever there's a medical marijuana law, there are u.s. attorneys there spending a lot of time and resources to try to tackle what they see as a problem. it takes six to nine months, a former administration official told me, to run one of these investigations on a pot shop. these pot shops are advertising in the yellowbook and in the alt
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weeklies and have store fronts with pot leaves on them. it still takes them six to nine months to run an investigation, interview all these people, then they kick the doors in, spend all this money. so the obama administration has not quite figured out where it wants to be on this. >> and is this a situation where because of the change in the laws in california -- i'm sorry, not in california, in colorado and in washington, you will see changes in science? because presumably it won't be that difficult for folks to get their hands on less schwag to use your term. you have the scientists getting federal grants and you don't want to touch anything like that because there will be a stigma around it. >> i think your first point is right, and you're already seeing companies now that will analyze a pot shop's weed to make sure that it doesn't have mold on it. they'll tell you exactly what percentage of thc it has in it, what percentage of other cannabinoids it has in it so you have actual labeling going on. once you have labeling, you can start comparing what strain of marijuana you have to what
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ailment it works particularly for, and, you know, there are a lot of scientists who are interested in this and once they see that there are these pathways to advancement, i think you're right, you're going to see a lot more progress. >> and are you seeing other states looking likely in the near future to follow the lead of colorado and washington? is there more of a wait-and-see approach? >> definitely. i think probably in california in 2016. midterms are no good, haven't been in the past for pot referendums because you have a lot of old people come out to vote, and that is the only demographic left that doesn't support legalization, in a majority fashion. so 2016 i think you'll have at least california and probably several other states that will put this on ballot and will pass it. >> ryan grim of the "huffington post" and author of "this is your country on drugs." thank you for being here tonight. >> it's a pleasure. we'll be right back with #click3. when i got the call from adt, my heart starting racing. i honestly never thought that someone would try to enter into my home without my permission.
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bully cnn and nbc into yanking upcoming programming featuring hillary clinton. that story is ahead. but first, i want to share with you the three awesomest things on the internet today. we begin with honor among thieves. this is actually a touching story. the workers at the non-profit san bernardino county sexual assault services office arrived at work to find they had been robbed. burglars snuck through a crawl space. they entered through an office ceiling tile and stole several computers, a laptop and other valuables. but by the next morning the items were all returned, and the robbers left a little something extra. in the laptop, a police officer found a handwritten note that said, "we had no idea what we were taking. here's your stuff back. we hope that you guys can continue to make a difference in people's lives. god bless." seems like the burglars found out they had pilfered a charity that helps victims of sexual assault. >> in many years and decades of being in law enforcement, i've
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never seen someone return an item out of guilt. >> the sign now hanging outside the office sums up the feelings of everyone involved in the story. proof that a change of heart can happen at any time. the second awesomest thing on the internet today, a piece of kitchen ware. star trek franchise, most marketable in history. no corner has not been mined for some trinket. a product based on this strange scene from star trek 5. the official star trek marshmallow dispenser. if you want a product that has star trek on it, there's something in the universe to suit your liking. >> greetings. and welcome once again to the star trek kitchen. if you're just tuning in, we just went over the star trek cookie cutters and the oven mitt. >> i want to see star trek kitchen. of all the great star trek icons, star trek enterprise has
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never found a perfect place in everyday life. with unique shape and flat top saucer, it seems like a big missed opportunity. enter the no brainer of the millennium. a uss enterprise spatula. perfect shape. perfect grip. no stick deflector shields. the online retailer techgeek is bringing the prime directive into their kitchens. >> get ready to beam up that food from a hot pan to a hungry tummy. >> that is just an amazing dead pan delivery. perfect for scraping off cling-ons. see how he did that? and the third awesomest thing on the internet today, a modern classic, shrink wrapped by a fan. fans of the lindsay lohan comedy "mean girls" and "i am one" legion, many forms in the nine years since the film premiered. a new intern appears to have closed the burn book for good on "mean girls" fandom. >> i will be resetting "mean girls" in less than 30 minutes. don't believe me? just watch. >> then he does it.
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speaking at blinding speed for half an hour, this young intern performs a feat of dexterity and endurance, as he comes across as a bizarre mix of ross from the "tonight show," ray man, and the guy from the micromachines commercial. >> he does the whole thing in a cool 28 minutes and 18 seconds. very entertaining. i'm not sure if i'm ready to sit through his 30 minute version of "herby fully loaded." find the links for tonight's #click3 on our website, allinwithchris.com. we will be right back. my mantra?
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i have to set a debate calendar that has the best interests on our party and our nominees in mind, and if i've got nbc doing a miniseries with diane layne portraying hillary clinton on a a four-day mini series, it makes my choice of moderators much easier. that's the only point i'm making now. >> yeah. that was rnc chair reince priebus this morning continuing his one man media blitz. unless both networks agree to
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pull the plug on upcoming programming. not just any programming, of course. he's not upset about "parks and rec." two productions featuring hillary rodham clinton. at issue, two scheduled television events about the former and perhaps future presidential candidate. one, a cnn documentary that will be released in theaters and air on the cable news channel, the other an nbc miniseries starring diane lane. priebus sent letters to cnn and nbc and informed the two organizations they would not be allowed to host any 2016 primary debates if they go through with their plans. priebus argues that the film show political favoritism instead of objective story telling. he's not seen them, of course. he spent the better part of this week making his case. >> unless you're an idiot like anthony weiner, generally i will tell you, generally, erin, these
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are positive developments for candidates. it builds up that personality, and cnn is going to play a role in it. my point is this, you know, we have to control the referees that we're bringing into our playground. and right now, i don't -- i can't trust two organizations that are willing to spend millions of their own dollars in promoting a candidate that they know is gearing up to run for president. >> isn't that a great line, we have to control the referees? it is important to note that the clintons are not involved in either project. cnn says its film unit operates independently and has no editorial input from cnn, itself. some nbc news journalists expressed concern over the clinton miniseries. the organization issuing this statement. "nbc news is completely independent of nbc entertainment and has no involvement in this project." nbc entertainment, a separate entity issued a statement of its own. "nbc entertainment has many projects in development, this
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particular miniseries which has nothing to do with the nbc news division, is in very early stages. it would be premature to draw conclusions or make any assumptions about it at this time." joining me, nia malika henderson, my colleague at the "washington post." james poniewozik, for "time" magazine. his piece on the hillary clinton project is up on time.com. and her piece on hollywood's hillary war can be found. the first thing i think of when i see people are going to do hillary documentaries is that is actually kind of a tough story to tell. the ark is a little peculiar. it has this terrible lewinsky incident, then the senate, then she loses the presidential campaign and comes back as doing a good job as secretary of
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state. it's weird for everybody to be salivating over. >> i think it's kind of irrational to presume this would necessarily be a positive treatment. i mean, this documentarian, his last film won the oscar about the financial meltdown. it was not some kind of upbeat, cheerful, of somebody on wall street. so as i understand it, from friends of hillary clinton, this documentary is actually of more concern to the clintons than the four hour nbc miniseries that's contemplated because that would be fictional. >> nia malika, i think that's actually an important point here. i don't know that many politicians who love the idea of some television network taking their idea and try to play it for ratings.
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>> i can't imagine anyone, i don't care what it is, you don't want a room of television writers in a room writing about you and picking over the bones of your life. i mean, hillary clinton wants to control the narrative of her public image, and if she's actually going to run for president, she certainly doesn't want four hours of tv and then a documentary and then her people are going to have to answer to the charges in those documentaries and in those miniseries. she's going to have to spin whatever happens. she's always going to be questioned about it. i think reince is doing her a favor by trying to kill these documentaries. it won't end good. television miniseries about people are usually full of melodrama, and i think it's a bad look for hillary clinton and she'd be lucky if reince wins this war. >> james, isn't the other part of this, i mean, or i would assume reince trying to change documentaries, themselves. assuming he doesn't think he'll
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actually cut them off, you'll have the folks behind them making sure when they come out they can't be accused of political favoritism which will tilt them toward clinton. >> in theory, there's an element of trying to work the refs here. >> control them. >> yeah, i think that was a pretty telling phrase. i mean, if the pieces end up getting made, then by applying pressure, you can try to make sure that you're kind of nudging them in a direction you like better then you can still call them biased and complain about them when they air, or if you want to say, the rnc reported to want, cut back on your debates anyway, now you have an excuse to do it without the base of your party saying you're trying to shut them down. no, you're striking back against the biased liberal opinion media. >> kim, do you think there's much chance these will actually be canceled? or at least the nbc one, is
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there much chance there will be a fold to the pressure? >> i do, actually. it's not nbc news. it's nbc, the broadcast network. i was in the room when it was announced last month at a gathering of tv critics. the first thing i tweeted is, what could go wrong? we have already seen -- we've already seen "the reagans." that was supposed to air on cbs. it was dropped. history dropped a $30 million miniseries about the kennedys. so clearly, certainly nbc, it could just decide, you know, it's not working out, quietly bury it. think about the star, diane lane of that proposed miniseries. they're both represented, headed by manuel, as you might know, rahm emanuel's brother, himself, a huge democratic supporter. the kennedys could derail a $30 million miniseries on the history channel, think about the
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numerous entry points between nbc and various other places that could be used by maybe not the clintons, themselves, but friends and surrogates and liberal groups which are already coming out against this. i just wouldn't be surprised if this happens. >> also i think the point james makes about reince not being upset to have a reason to cancel a couple debates is important. i want to ask you about it, nia malika, when we come back. ♪
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i'm not going to have you moderate the republican debates in our primary. >> why not? >> there's a difference. >> why not? >> because you're not interested -- because you're not actually interested in the future of the republican party and our nominees. that's not a slam on you, mika,
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but i have to choose moderators that are actually interested in the republican party, in our nominees. >> i'm not sure that word interested means precisely what reince priebus thinks it means. that was rnc chair reince priebus earlier on "morning joe," demanding nbc and cnn pull upcoming programming featuring hillary clinton. if they don't, he says the networks could lose the opportunity to host republican debates. as you just heard, priebus argues the debate moderator selected shouldn't be objective, but rather, quote, interested in the republican party and our nominees. i don't just think he means curiosity there. kind of an odd point, considering one of the toughest questions lobbed at the last batch of republican candidates was from fox news. >> i'm going to ask a question to everyone here on the stage. say you had a deal, a real spending cuts deal. 10-1, as byron said. spending cuts to tax increases. speaker, you're already shaking your head. but who on this stage would walk away from that deal? can you raise your hand if you
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feel so strongly about not raising taxes, you'd walk away on the 10-1 deal? >> i'm back with nia malika henderson from the "washington post," james poniewozik. to me, nia malika, that was a signature from all of the debates. that was the most important moment. if you compare that debate, a tough debate, where newt gingrich dressed john king down. >> down in south carolina. >> this idea, just having people who are sort of in your camp a little bit more means an easy debate, it's not always true. >> that's right. let's remember, rick perry's awful moment where he couldn't remember the three agencies he wanted to cut. that wasn't the moderator forcing him to do that. that was him. same thing with mitt romney and some of his positions on immigration, which he explained in the debate. that wasn't the moderator who was forcing him to take those positions.
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it was him. so this idea that they can sort of craft this sort of hot house environment, this perfect environment for their candidates, and referee the moderators, or that they can pick them. i'm not sure that reince priebus is picking bret baier to moderate. >> it's not clear to me that it's a great thing for republicans to have further right moderators in the debates. one of the things that happened last time that was of great detriment to mitt romney, he got trapped on the right. the republican primaries got taken over by the conservative base there that it ended up being a real liability in the general election. there's a case to be made, opening up this thing a little bit -- candidates running in the more controlled general. >> sure. another reason that the republicans may regret the way the primary debates went last time, it was also that there
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were so many debates, and many of them were really, they sort of tilted the debate of the primary toward some of the farther right candidates who took -- it sort of turned serially beating up on mitt romney. there's an argument that didn't help him in the election which again goes back to this theory that maybe the republicans would just prefer, the national republican committee, rather, as opposed to their voters, would prefer to just have fewer debates that could potentially get the establishment candidate into trouble. >> kim, i think one of the interesting questions going forward, the 2012 primary, particularly, was a campaign played out on tv so much more forthrightly than most of the others were. the amount of actual door knocking and ground organizing was much less in part the challenges to romney were completely underfunded. do you think the 2016 campaign is going to be as aggressively television focused? >> well, i agree with a previous statement. i think, perhaps, the lesson was learned from the sort of
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internesian struggles last time and there was a degree of overexposure. i imagine both sides will want to control how much time they have to tear each other apart. >> and nia malika, do you actually think reince priebus has a long-term strategy? do you think in the back of his mind he knows who he wants to debate and trying to create the politics? do you think this is something where he took a couple shots, became a big media thing and nobody is sure what the end game is? >> i think that's right. i don't think they know. it's the summer. congress is on vacation. obama is going on vacation on saturday. it's a slow news cycle. i think i'm a little surprised at how much traction this has gotten and it's gotten traction, right? chuck todd has weighed in on it. andrea mitchell weighed in on it. some of the folks on "morning joe."
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>> we're covering the controversy. >> you guys aren't fueling anything. it's hard to know what this long-term strategy is other than trying to kneecap hillary clinton as early and often as he can and also ginning up primary supporters enemies. >> it is one piece of the long-term strategy, that he's got his own constituency, he's got his own, to be sort of seen as fighting on behalf of the republican party. >> he's fighting the good fight against the lamestream media and you always come out ahead with the republican, you know, party base when you're doing that. >> james, do you think if the actual documentary goes forward it will in the end make a difference? do you think this will just be, we're years out, by that point it will be forgive and forget? >> it's not going to make squat of difference. and i can't imagine that anybody involved in this believes it. you know, i think maybe the clinton camp is nervous about it because they're leading by 5,000 points in the early polls and why should they want to do anything that rocks the boat? i mean, hillary clinton has been a public figure for two decades. it's not like there are that many people out there who don't already have established
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opinions of her or know something about her. two years from now in the primary, three years from now if she's in the general election, it's going to be nothing. >> james, thank you very much. nia malika henderson. james poniewozik. that's "all in." the "rachel maddow show" starts now. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. this the part where america turns its lonely eyes to reese witherspoon, if we're going to take the next big leap forward in american politics. america must turn our lonely eyes to reese witherspoon's character elle woods in the movie "legally blond 2." we join our "legally blond" explainer, she's talked out of being distraught by friends who see a way to make something happen in congress though the leadership in congress does not want it to happen. take it away. >> i just don't think i'm cut out for this. >> oh, we have a plan. two words for you. discharge petition. >> with a couple hundred

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