Skip to main content

tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  May 1, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

11:00 pm
you get tonight's last word. thank you. >> thank you very much. we're back to benghazi. let's play "hardball." good evening i'm chris matthews in philadelphia. let me start tonight with this -- a newly disclosed e-mail from deputy national security adviser ben rhodes has reignited the benghazi firestorm on the hard right. senator lindsay graham has coined the white house scum bags. darrell issa is comparing president obama with president nixon. but the freakout once again doesn't square with reality. here's what got things going. rhodes refers to a prep call with susan rice ahead of her appearances on those five sunday talk shows the weekend after the tragedy.
11:01 pm
rhodes calls one of the goals for the interview should be, quote, underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video and not a broader failure of policy. how is that different from what we now know actually happened? according to the bipartisan senate intelligence committee report from earlier this year, in fact, from january, some intelligence shows the attacks were likely put together in short order. following that day's violent protests in cairo against an inflammatory video. what's more, the first draft of the cia's talking points for susan rice participants an even clearer picture. we believe based on clearly available information that the attacks in benghazi were inspired by the protests at the u.s. embassy in cairo. michael steele and david corn join us. michael, i've been watching this thing atrying to keep my cabinet
11:02 pm
file in my head filled with facts coming out of the bipartisan intelligence committee report which said yes, this was a copycat operation against the facility in benghazi, spurred or triggered by what's going on around the middle east but especially in cairo. and the issue in cairo was triggered, they believe, by this inflammatory video coming out of california making fun of islam. that seems to be what this memo points to by ben rhodes. saying that, saying in other words what we now believe to have been the case. what's the problem, what's the smoking gun. >> there's a lot that needs to be answered for benghazi. i think that the initial handling of this by the party, overpoliticizing it, in fact, diminishing in i really real invetigatory effort to find out what the facts are.
11:03 pm
oh, we still want to bring whoever did this to justice is almost ludicrous at this point. you have something at this e-mail come and be revealed foia, again, contextualizes concerns that a lot of people, not just republicans had about the handling of benghazi and what led up to some of the decision make on the ground. i think it's a legitimate tool and point of interest to discuss. >> what this new memo shows, normally say, calling people scum bags, is it any different in substance than what we got in the bipartisan support on the senate intelligence committee way back in january? >> short answer, no. here are all the new documents that just came out. i encourage the smoking gun memo --
11:04 pm
>> i read it. >> there's nothing in that memo that changes anything that we know. and it's quite clear that the one line they pull out of it, that ben rhodes is clearly referring to all it in cairo and yemen. that's what he's talking about, the big picture. i still think there are questions unanswered about benghazi and about, what aur capables were beforehand and the state department review board looked into this and said there are reasons why more should have been done before the fact. and, you know, all the great things that should be looked at so that we never lose another public servant like ambassador christopher stevens and the three other americans who perished with him.
11:05 pm
but for the republicans again and again today to get out there and make this stuff up is really sacrilegious to the memory of christopher stevens. >> with all due respect, that's just a load of crap. >> a load of crap? >> we're not making anything up.. >> yes, you are! >> no, we're not. we're looking at the same stuff you're looking at. it may be a matter of interpretation or opinion, but the white house in handling this thing from the very beginning has botched it. and this memo, this particular paragraph that he started the segment off with, we've got to put this story, this is just about the video, and susan, just make sure you tell everybody that we're not failing on our policy, that we're doing this the right way, or it could be as nice and easy packaged at david put it. >> there's no doubt, gentlemen, that the white house has botched this up. why didn't they put out this
11:06 pm
memo with all the earlier stuff they put out? why do they let a rolling disclosure occur? which is what i said for years in politics. the one way to lose your credibility is have information leak out point and point. this was a foia thing, but it makes the white house once again play defense. this past january, some intelligence suggested the attacks were put together in short order. relatively spontaneous, following that day's violent protest in cairo against an inflammatory video. this is just what susan rice said from cairo. in that case probably caused by the anger over the video. we don't know what we don't know over benghazi.
11:07 pm
in the light that's been shown, you just admitted that this rolling effect. >> calling the white house scum bags, theying they lies. >> look, look. let me finish my point. look, i'm not into the name calling crazy. we don't need to name call here. >> but they're name calling. they're saying it's a cover-up. >> michael, he's what some of yours are saying opinion the rhodes e-mail has set up a freakout. as i mentioned lindsey graham coined a phrase you don't normally hear from a senator. >> some guy said on the left the only reason i cared about this was because i've got six tea party opponents.
11:08 pm
well, if that's true, i'm the biggest scum bag in america. the scumbags are the people in the white house who lied about this. >> and republican congressman darrell issa held another round of oversight hearings on this where he compared president obama to richard nixon. here's congressman issa. >> the american people have learned you can not believe what the white house says, what the spokesperson say and what the president says. the facts are coming out that, in fact, this administration has knowingly withheld documents pursuant to congressional subpoenas in violation of any reasonable transparency or historic precedent, at least since richard millhouse nixon. >> the language couldn't be more horrendous, given the fact that
11:09 pm
there's hardly a nuance of difference between what we learned now and what we learned a long time ago about the tragedy in benghazi. by the way, will we please remember that ambassador chris stevens was a grown-up, a sincere professional of sound mind. he decided to go out to that risky facility that night. he made that decision, which ambassadors have to make. it turned out to be a horrific situation me walked into. but the idea that someone should have been covering for him. but that someone else should have the army there defenning him, i think it's a little ridiculous. >> i think it's the responsibility of the president of the united states in this administration to protect those ambassadors who go go into harm's way willingly. >> how would president obama know that chris stevens was going out to a facility alongside a cia facility in the middle of the night some weekend. how would he know that? >> how would he know what? i didn't hear the question. >> how would the president even know he was going on that trip
11:10 pm
out there to benghazi. >> highway would the president know that specific event? we do have e-mails and correspondent between the ambassador and the state department. if the president doesn't know it, at least his secretary of state and her department should know who is on the ground and what is required to protect the united states ambassador in a place like benghazi. this isn't rocket science and you know if the shoe were on the other foot, you would be screaming holy hel about how a bush administration failed to protect one of its ambassadors. >> you're acting as if there's been no investigations. there have been several, including some led by republicans in the house other than darrell issa. a lot of this stuff has been looked at. >> did we just not get an e-mail released in the last 24 hours or week that wasn't a part of the initial discussion that we're all talking about. how do we know what's going to be released tomorrow or next week? >> you can keep saying we don't know what's really out there -- >> i guess i'm trying to look at
11:11 pm
this reasonably. i understand the politics of this completely on both sides. but this argument, it seems to me, trying to apply this to what happens in any war zone -- this was a war zone. this country was not being governed at the time. you go into afghanistan, syria today, iraq, there are places in the world where it's dangerous to go to. people get killed all the time in surprise ambushes. it happens all the time. roadside bombings. we live in a world of unpredictability and horror. and the idea that one of these incidents would be blown up as the most important issue of the upcoming elections for kingdom come to me is out of proportion. thank you, michael steele. i wish i got to meet chris stevens. everybody thought he was a great guy. coming up, bill clinton was doing more yesterday than just burnishing his own image with his speech about income inequality. he was also protecting hillary's left.
11:12 pm
plus the big muddle that's become the republican race for the white house. three guys, jeb bush, rand paul and mike huckabee are all bunched together, each representing different action factions of the party. and the botched execution is not about sympathizing with convicted murders, i think it's more about the rare cases that an innocent person is on death row. and finally, let me finish with the praising new struggle between the clintons and the democratic left over the 2016 primary fight. this is "hardball" a place for politics. some things you have to squeeze to make sure they're soft. other things, you don't. [ female announcer ] charmin ultra soft is so soft you can actually see the softness with our comfort cushions. plus you can use up to four times less. enjoy the go with charmin ultra soft.
11:13 pm
on buying a car for... when i was introduced to truecar,cess.. i didn't have to second guess myself. i felt more confident... in what i was doing. truecar made it very easy for me... to negotiate what i wanted, because i didn't really need to do any negotiating at all. i just knew from the get-go that i was... flat out getting a good deal. when you're ready to buy a car, save time, save money, and never overpay. visit >> florida, florida, florida. we've got new poll on the 2016 presidential race from what has been the biggest battleground state in presidential politics. but if hillary clinton run, it's not even close. let's check the "hardball" scoreboard.
11:14 pm
hillary clinton leads the top republican in the state, former governor jeb bush by eight points. clinton 49, bush 41. and that's as close as the republicans come. against florida senator marco rubio, clinton leads by 12, she leads chris christie by 18. clinton 52, christie down at 34. hillary leads former arkansas governor mike huckabee by that same 18-point margin. and it's an 18 point against rand paul. clinton 55, paul down at 37. wisconsin congressman paul ryan trails hillary by a big 20. ted cruz does the worst against clinton in the poll. he's running 26 points behind the former secretary of state. look at these number, 57 to 31. for cruz. and we'll be right back. ay be tn with the plan but with less energy, moodiness, and a low sex drive, i had to do something. i saw my doctor. a blood test showed it was low testosterone, not age. we talked about axiron the only underarm low t treatment
11:15 pm
that can restore t levels to normal in about two weeks in most men. axiron is not for use in women or anyone younger than 18 or men with prostate or breast cancer. women, especially those who are or who may become pregnant, and children should avoid contact where axiron is applied as unexpected signs of puberty in children or changes in body hair or increased acne in women may occur. report these symptoms to your doctor. tell your doctor about all medical conditions and medications. serious side effects could include increased risk of prostate cancer, worsening prostate symptoms, decreased sperm count, ankle, feet or body swelling, enlarged or painful breasts, problems breathing while sleeping and blood clots in the legs. common side effects include skin redness or irritation where applied, increased red blood cell count, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, and increase in psa. ask your doctor about axiron. man: we know when parents and teachers work together... woman: our schools get stronger. man: as superintendent of public education, that's been tom torlakson's approach. woman: torlakson has supported legislation to guarantee spending decisions
11:16 pm
about our education tax dollars are made by parents, teachers and the local community... and not by sacramento politicians. and we need to keep that legislation on track. man: so tell tom torlakson to keep fighting for local control of school funding decisions.
11:17 pm
>> it's going to be a real battle center left, hillary clinton and the left, inspired by elizabeth warren of massachusetts. yesterday, bill clinton came out of his corner in round one. he served notice that he is prepared to celebrate his own economic record. at georgetown yesterday, he argued that he brought 8 million people out of poverty and into the american middle class. he also has been making a pitch for preschool education. a page right from the book of new york's populist new mayor bill deblasio. could the clintons be making it clear, do not get cut off from the democratic party base, not let elizabeth warren, who says she's not running, or someone else with her leaning, that she's not tied to wall street. for the clintons there's a problem. at some point, they have to choose, do they join with the hard left and blast away with
11:18 pm
people at wealth, especially those in big finance. do they? even though they have many friends and sup the poerts in those ranks? and at what point will they face the need to say the populists have gone too far. ryan grimm and anna palmer, ryan let's get to the picture here. bill clinton coming out of the georgetown with former secretary of state hillary clinton, a's wife, and former first lady, sitting in the first row. this seems a brazen statement of preventive war that he's ready to go to war with anybody that he says he wasn't, if you will, populist enough as president. >> right. i think that speech actually had more to do with bill clinton that hillary clinton. bitter isn't necessarily the right word. but he feels he's not getting enough credit for what he did on inequality in the 1990s. the idea that nobody was talking about this in the early to late 90s is crazy.
11:19 pm
i ran on a populist theme. i was a populist president, you know, an i did x, y and z in order to reduce income inequality. and he wants that credit. i think that has a lot more to do with why he gave the speech than actually anything related to 2016. >> but isn't this really about tenor and attitude that elizabeth warren is seen as kind of a trust buster, an old progressive who is willing to go in and make enemies. and really be known as someone wall street doesn't like. i'm your nemesis, your worst nightmare. his friends, all the people i know in wall street are friends of the clintons. social friends, financial friends. they help them in their campaigns. isn't there a wall they will not cross or jump over. they're not willing to say i'm standing outside of wall street calling for its down fall? >> they're not going to go as far as, you know, elizabeth warren does, but there's always been, you know, some of that
11:20 pm
kind of southern populism in clinton. and he wants to remember that part of his campaign. >> i can just see this flipping in the next two weeks and back again. former senator clinton who's running probably, she wants to be seen as somebody who can get alone with business and inspiring them to start spending the $2 trillion they're sitting on and not be seen as the enemy. how can they be populist and seen as helpful partners of big business and big money? >> i think that they understand or they want wall street to be in on the joke, right? the clintons are saying, listen, we have a history. we can be populist. when i was, you know, when bill clinton was in office, he did things for the left, but
11:21 pm
payment, i think when you look at all of the friends on wall street, they understand exactly who the clintons are, exactly how they would be business friendly to them. and the fact that, you know, just as ryan said, if there sunt a jeb bush in there, certainly wall street is very comfortable with hillary clinton on the ticket and in the white house. >> so if they're throwing spears and arrows on wall street, those who are their friends will discount it and say we know this is part of the political business? >> absolutely. they see her nowhere near as bad for them as president obama has been. they also aren't going on the attack in terms of any kind of aggressive nature. they're really only trying to say listen, we do have this left message and we can communicate with them, but at the same time, wall street is known that they're friends and they know they're going to be friends with them flougt the campaign. >> one way to watch them is see how close they get to deblasio in new york who is not making any friends on wall street. let's take a look at yesterday's
11:22 pm
speech. president clinton want back to his alma mater. his slogan was putting people first. he went back to georgetown university yesterday and went to college and defended his economic policy ens white house years. in fact, some people believe, as you said, to bolster his own legacy. but also to neutralize criticism from the hard left ahead of hillary's expected presidential campaign. >> you're free to decide to think i made a mistake, but all the people that say, you know, what was bill clinton doing getting in bed with wall street and lowering the capital gains tax, he was getting 6 million poor children health insurance coverage. oh, clinton was lucky. he caught the tech boom. clinton was lucky, he came out of the recession. and all of the so-called prosperity in the 1980s, only 77,000 of our fellow americans move from poverty into the middle class. in the '90s, 100 times as many.
11:23 pm
7.7 million people did. that was policy. >> well, that was a lot of number there. almost 8 million people did move in to the middle class from poverty. he's pushing back from complaints from progressives like warren that the clintons is too close to business. "the new york times" writes, quote, his language as president was more focused on lifting the middle class than castigating the wealthy. that should not be confused with a lack of concern for the poor. mr. clinton says now. let me go back on this. it seems to me that this is the fight. i don't know what other argument you make against willy clinton except that she's been there before, she is the establishment the same way john kerry was and al gore and mike dukakis was. they are the standard bearers of the center. being a centrist democrat is somehow bad.
11:24 pm
>> i think what you've really seen since bill clinton was in the white house, both parties, republican and democrat have moved to their wing. while bill clinton might have been a populist in '992, what those policies are for now for a lot of the far left, the moveon.orgs of the world aren't far enough left. they're going to try to push the clintons as far left as they can because those are the policies they're going to be to be enacted. >> they want to see people heading towards the center, at least in terms of bottom line. maybe not in attitude, but getting things done. they don't want a bunch of people shooting arrows at wall street. at least according to our poll. >> maybe when you're looking at the general, but in terms of
11:25 pm
looking at the base, people who are going to come out and vote, you're going to be talking about a lot of the people that do want to move the party to the left and have had that kind of obama kind of populist movement-moving messages. that's what they're going to want to hear. >> can you make the same kind of fight against the clintons that obama effectively made on the issue of the war in iraq where hillary clinton voted for the war -- didn't vote for the war, but voted to authorize it. and that's the issue they beat her on, i believe. can they find the same sharp division on issues involving economics that you can find in a war in. >> no, and actually people 234 clinton's circle are bringing that moment up. there is no stink bomb like the iraq vote when it comes to economic policy. there's certainly a sense that the clintons are closer to wall street certainly than somebody like elizabeth warren and closer
11:26 pm
than i i think, a lot of the democratic base would like people to be, especially after the 2008 financial crisis. i think before the crisis, wall street was looked at as kind of an enlightened element of capitalism and if we can merge kind of progressive values with the free market then that's a great way to build a majority, but after the crisis, i think that changed. but there is no -- you're exactly right. tlp is no single war vote. >> thank you. up next, our own chuck todd goes hollywood. this is "hardball."
11:27 pm
oh! the name your price tool! you tell them how much you want to pay, and they help you find a policy that fits your budget. i told you to wear something comfortable! this is a polyester blend! whoa! uh...little help? i got you! unh! it's so beautiful! man: should we call security? no, this is just getting good. the name your price tool, still only from progressive.
11:28 pm
11:29 pm
>> welcome back to "hardball." time for "the side show." david letterman said you can actually turn the human brain on and off.
11:30 pm
>> in fact, they said along with this most recent issue of scientific monthly they sent along some video. of an early test of the brain's on/off switch. >> i also wanted to tell a story, and here's the story. my dad like many of your -- you -- your -- many of you who have relatives here. many of you have relatives who did the same thing yop uh ear here, your relatives probably aren't. >> next, joe mchale of the e network's the soup is hosting the white house correspondent dinner. >> let's check the latest polling. 96% of americans own a television. only 51% have cable. of those who have table, only
11:31 pm
28% receive the e network. only 14% are aware that e is a network. and only 8% of those who have heard of e! watch e. and only 0.2% tune into the soup. so what does that mean? i'm talking one person right now. buddy, how you doing? the soup is in d.c. >> that was my colleague chuck todd. finally, anyone with small kids at home has probably seen the academy award winning film "frozen." these u.s. marines are no exception. take a look at this video. ♪ see don't feel ♪ don't let them know ♪ now they know
11:32 pm
>> these guys obviously know the words. but watch what happens when the song reaches a climax and the young queen lets down her hair. ♪ never going back ♪ the past is in the past let it go ♪ ♪ let it go [ cheering ] hoo-rah!
11:33 pm
11:34 pm
the performance review. that corporate trial by fire when every slacker gets his due. and yet, there's someone around the office who hasn't had a performance review in a while. someone whose poor performance is slowing down the entire organization. i'm looking at you phone company dsl. check your speed. see how fast your internet can be. switch now and add voice and tv for $34.90. comcast business built for business.
11:35 pm
president obama welcomed teacher of the year finalists to the white house. he also recognized a teacher from baltimore as national teacher of the year.
11:36 pm
back to "hardball." >> welcome back to "hardball." the republicans i identity crisis is clearly exposed in a poll. the leard bunched at the top come from three distinct factions and shows that republicans can face a real battle for identity itself in 2016. among republicans, jeb bush, representing the establishment faction and rand paul representing the libertarians are tied at the lead at just 14 a piece. that's just 14 a piece. just a hair behind them at 13% is mike huckabee, representing the religious and evangelical part of the party.
11:37 pm
bunched in the middle of the pole are two establishment candidates, paul ryan at 11%, chris christie hanging out at 10 with a lot of prosecution possibly. and marco rubio down at 7. ted cruz and rick perry. 6%. scott walker, who could be a sleeper at 5. with the republican field split like this, the 2016 primary and the jockeying for alliances will make this a dramatic election cycle i think for the party. kathleen parker is a syndicated column ix, a very successful one. and a political analyst as well. and clarence page is a columnist for "the "chicago tribune."" is jeb bush running? >> yes. i think -- i've been told definitively that he is running. i haven't been told that by him. so he may call me right after
11:38 pm
the show and say who do you think you are? but i got this from very reliable people. he is definitely running. that changes a lot of the plans for a lot of people. marco rubio will not run. people in the know say he definitely will not run and that may as well effect other people's decision making. it changes the dynamics a little bit. >> i guess that's a great way to put it. you've got the secular libertarians, they don't talk about god much. the establishment types who sort of, you know, they're establishment types. they don't talk about religion at all. and then you've got to huckabee people out there waiting.
11:39 pm
who's -- what's the most natural alliance. is it the establishment types going into bed saying we're both hawks because you can't really have rand paul as the hawks. what's the natural alliance that ends up being the winning ticket down at south carolina. i give that back to kathleen because she knows that pretty well, too. what goes into south carolina and beats the other faction now 2-1. >> i think what we've seen in the past is that the tea party libertarians and the evangelical republicans tend to be closely aligned in most ways with the exception perhaps of the separation of church and state issues. however, they've all got to work together ultimately. and republicans tend to have remarkable talents for healing and forming their coalitions after they get their initial fightings done. so those are your most natural alliances. >> let me ask you about that in south carolina.
11:40 pm
what happens on the hawkish front, the christian conservatives are very pro on foreign policies. they'll just join up with whoever is the gun toting hawkish person from the establishment. can you see jeb bush joining up with the religious right? >> jeb is actually far more conservative than george w. bush was. anticipate he is pro life and he is, you know, he's the one who talks with compassion about immigration, for example. that doesn't really help him much in south carolina and some of the other southern states, but he, you know, he has an ability to, i think reach people in ways that some of these others may not. he may surprise you. even though he may not be quite as well known as some of the other likely candidates in certain ways, but he has the ability to speak, he's very conversational.
11:41 pm
if you've heard him speak, you know this. i think he can appeal to a broad cross section of people, even in south carolina. i don't think you have to necessarily tote a gun, but you do have to be respectful of people and recognize that it's not -- you know, that the southerners and christians are not people to be sidelines. i would add to that, of course they're going to prefer someone like mike huckabee, but he's not running for president. >> how much do they want to beat hillary clinton? 16 years of what they despise. are they willing to run someone they don't really like like jeb bush in order to beat hillary? >> that's the big question. i remember bag in '08 hearing a
11:42 pm
number of republicans say it takes at least two election cycles for the more factional folks to fall in line. and that's true of democrats, too, actually. right now, the republicans are looking at the possibility of getting the tea party folks get the evangelicals together. will they settle for jeb bush. they didn't settle for john mccain. they didn't settle for mitt romney. but now they may be desperate enough whatever, or angry enough to pull together. if they can't, then hillary clinton is going to have a much easier path, i think. >> thank you,ser kathleen parker and clarence page. life's an adventure when you're with her. and it always has been. but your erectile dysfunction - it could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph,
11:43 pm
like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or if you have any allergic reactions such as rash, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial.
11:44 pm
>> we've got new poll numbers down in florida. according to a new quinnipiac poll, it's charlie crist now running as a democrat. look at this, a 10-point lead over crick scott. it's crist, 48, scott 38. we'll be right back.
11:45 pm
11:46 pm
11:47 pm
>> oklahoma's botched execution haez reopened the date over the death penalty. in this case, claude lockett was accused of a murder of a 19-year-old twhom he kidnapped, sexually daukted and murdered after a home invasion. and then his accomplices buried her alive. most would expect a perpetrator of a crime so heinous would receive the death penalty and he did. during a botched execution he remained alive for 43 minutes after being given a supposed lethal injection. >> we have a fundamental standard in this country that even when the death penalty is justified it must be carried out humanely. and i think would recognize that this case fell short of that have standard. >> carney also reiterated obama's support for the death penalty.
11:48 pm
>> what i can tell you is that he's long said while the evidence suggests that the death penalty does little to deter crime, he believes there are some crimes so heinous that the death penalty is merited. in this case, or these cases, the crimes are indisputably horrific and heinous. >> majority of americans also favor capitol hill punishment although that has declined over the last 1 years. support for the death pem fi reached an all-time high back in '96. support had dropped by 23 points down to 55%. but still obviously a majority. opponents of the death penalty cite wrongful conviction to make their case. the nonpartisan death penalty center come pipe pyled what it called nant individual showing 144 individuals sentenced to death have been legally exonerated since 1973.
11:49 pm
with us now is diane russ tierney with the national coalition to abolish the death penalty. and robert bleker, a death penalty advocate and author of the book "the death of punishment. why do we need capital punishment? why is it appropriately morally and civilly to have that option in the courts? >> because some people deserve to die, and thus we have an obligation to execute them. i'm in full accord with president obama's position here. although it slightly overstates it to say that the evidence doesn't show that the death penalty deters. of course that's not the question. the question is does it deter more effectively than its alternative life without parole? they both deter. but the issue to answer your question again directly is there are some people who commit such heinous crimes with such cruelty and callousness that they simply deserve to die, that if we are committed to letting the punishment fit the crime that is the only punishment that we have that does fit some of those crimes.
11:50 pm
>> yeah, let me go to diane on that. your reaction to that. >> well, professor blecker has sort of stated the classic sort of academic answer. yes, we should have a death penalty. but the question that really is raised today particularly after the execution in oklahoma is can we or should we have this death penalty? what happened in oklahoma was a graphic example of why we should not have the death penalty. we can't get it right. you know, we can't find a way to kill people in a way that doesn't cause horrific kinds of consequences that we saw, as you pointed out, we can't find a way of making sure we're getting the right people. and we simply can't find a way of having a death penalty that works, that is consistent with the other values of fairness and equality under the law. so it's one thing to support the death penalty in the abstract and say there might be some people for whom it would be appropriate. but the problem we're addressing right now here today is that the death penalty right now that we have doesn't work and it's not sustainable and can't continue.
11:51 pm
>> well, let me ask you this. if it were such a thing, if you had the guillotine, for example, which is i would say about 100% effective by definition, would you be for that? >> no. and there's a reason why we don't have the guillotine. >> why not? >> because the issue -- >> why not? >> -- is whether a country -- >> no, i'm just asking you a question. if you just said effectiveness and humaneness, why not for something that's instant and it's over with? >> well, first of all, we're not just focusing on what happens at the end. whether you can kill somebody efficiently. it's the entire process from beginning to end. and as you pointed out at the beginning, we're not even sure that we're getting the right people. there are 144 people -- >> you're changing the subject. i thought you had a particular point you were making. you said it was about humanity in the way we execute people. and i'm just asking you if we found a way to do it, and i think throughout history there have been ways, not that i necessarily support them, but if the issue is efficiency and effectiveness of the punishment, well, then we'll find a way. most of the time these things do work. isn't that the case?
11:52 pm
>> no, because we -- >> lethal injection generally works. >> chris. chris, we wouldn't be in this constant search for new methods. at one point the electric chair was supposed to be the new and improved way of executing people. and then lethal injection. what we're seeing over and over again is there's no good way to do it. and again, that's only -- >> that's not what we're saying. >> the very beginning of the process. >> you raised a number of questions. i think the other point you made, diann, which you alluded to, is the long appellate process. what about, robert blecker, about the fact it takes so long to get all at peals, the habeas corpus and all the other appeals you're allowed under our court system, that you're really going after a person, executing them in this case 15 years after the crime. >> it's all part of the deeper irony that the very people who are decrying it are the people who are causing it. i mean, for diann to dismiss my position as academic is absurd. i've spent thousands of hours on death rows and inside maximum security prisons interviewing these convicted killers and the people who guard them. it's not at all academic. and the problem with the method, as you point out, is not that it
11:53 pm
doesn't work. in my view the problem with the method is not that it possibly causes pain but that it certainly causes confusion because what it does is obscure what we're doing. we are punishing. and yet what we've done is we've medicalized it. i witnessed an execution. he was wheeled in as he standardly would be, in a gurney wrapped in white sheets with an i.v. coming out of his arm, and it was bizarrely similar to a hospice, where my father-in-law was dying from an incurable cancer. how we punish those whom we detest should in no way resemble how we sadly sometimes have to kill those whom we love. we should acknowledge what we're doing, which is we are punishing. you point out the guillotine. that's a possibility. the firing squad is another. it's not that it's unworkable. it's that it's conflating. it's that it's bureaucratized what we're doing, what we're punishing -- >> if i could speak to -- >> i guess, diann to go back to your point i want to hear you out here. cruel and unusual. hanging wasn't considered cruel
11:54 pm
and unusual at the time of our constitution. certainly firing squads have been part of our military history forever, ever since we've had rifles. >> we've abandoned those methods. >> what is the definition, and why does it keep changing? >> we've abandoned those methods for good reason. the public cannot support -- >> why? >> the public doesn't want to see people hanged and guillotined. let's be real. if those things were -- >> that's not true. >> if those things were working we'd still be doing them. but let's speak to the courts for just a minute. >> what do you mean by working? what do you mean by working? that's the key question here. what do you mean by working in you say it doesn't work. >> that we get the right people. we've got 144 people who were exonerated. we're not even getting the right people. >> that doesn't mean they're innocent, as you well know. and that count is controversial -- >> let me finish my point about the courts. >> this is very interesting. it's an american debate and it's ongoing. thank you, diann ross-tierney and thank you, robert blecker. i heard both sides. we'll be back after this. if i told you that a free ten-second test
11:55 pm
11:56 pm
11:57 pm
could mean less waiting for things like security backups and file downloads you'd take that test, right? well, what are you waiting for? you could literally be done with the test by now. now you could have done it twice.
11:58 pm
this is awkward. check your speed. see how fast your internet can be. switch now and add voice and tv for $34.90. comcast business built for business. let me finish tonight with this fascinating battle for 2016. i'm talking about the democratic battle. while the republican battle appears to be a three-ring circus suggesting something from barnum & bailey with secular establishment types battling secular libertarians, both trying to ignore that other faction in the tent, conservative religious people. compared to this, the democratic fight between the forces of hillary clinton, the chief of which is being her husband right now at this point, against the allure of an all-out populist war against wall street personified by elizabeth warren of massachusetts whose book
11:59 pm
title "a fighting chance" is nothing less than intoxicating, at least to those sympathetic to the economic little guy. no, i didn't think the koch brothers cared about the little guy or woman having a fighting chance. their concern is centered on ensuring that big wealth continues to grow without obstruction by government regulators without what they see as an untoward shift in the tax burden to the upper or in this case the uber brackets. so the fight is on. if it only serves to sharpen hillary clinton for battle it will be a good thing for the country. we need a tough sound up-to-date case for the democratic party's center left, the smart and selling sequel to eight years with president obama. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. and happy may day. on this may day two big stories
12:00 am
about the minimum wage in america. in seattle a victory. political and business leaders today announce they have reached a deal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. the highest in the united states to be phased in over the next few years. meanwhile, back in washington, d.c. a vote on a national minimum wage hike to $10.10 though garnering a majority vote of 54-42 fell short of overcoming a republican filibuster. so what explains the difference aside from the obvious politics that seattle's a pretty liberal town and that the u.s. senate can't get a single piece of legislation through without a super majority thanks to republicans' routine abuse of the filibuster? but another part of the difference is that in seattle there is sufficient pressure from the left. in november of last year kshama sawant, a socialist, an avowed socialist, was elected to seattle city council. she backed efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and she leaves a grassroots group called 15 now.