tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC January 20, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
his office replied to us, the governor's e-mails will be available wednesday at michigan.gov/snyder. this is an unprecedented move. well, yes, but we would like to see the e-mails from the other year of the crisis. he is 2/3 of the way there. the final third when the decisions were actually made to do this, i think that would probably be the doozie here. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> great reporting on flint. you're the mvp of that story. i don't know where we would be with that story if you hadn't led the way for a year. >> i wouldn't have done it without the activists in flint telling their story e789 themselves. but thank you. >> you got it out there. tonight, another harvard law professor joins us to answer the question, is ted cruz a natural born citizen eligible to be president. and donald trump has found an easy way to look just a tiny bit more statesman-like on stage.
just stand near sarah palin. >> oh, lookie. >> the trump/palin show running through oklahoma. >> i see how they treat those who go rogue like mr. trump does. she agreed to endorse him and he agreed to let her shoot that fuzzy animal off his head. >> what's more fun than a trump rally? >> it's like the ridler and the joker. >> certainly there's a role somewhere in the administration, if she wanted. >> palin's endorsement is the latest prize in an ongoing battle between trump and cruz. >> look, ted cruz has a problem. he's a canadian citizen until just recently. canadian citizen.
>> are you ready to stump for trump? >> is she still talking? >> here's how donald trump's paper hometown welcomed sarah palin to the trump campaign. if you're in new york today, you've had the pleasure of being able to hold it in your hands, stare at it for as long as you want, contemplate where you will hang it once it is framed. it is january 20. only january 20th and we already have a winner for best headline of the year. the i'm with stupid tour continued today in oklahoma. >> everybody wanted her endorsement. she said what you're doing, donald, is amazing. it's a movement. and it is a movement.
>> that's the beauty of trump's candidacy. the way that he goes rogue. we can trust that things are going to be different when he's elected. >> ted cruz is now fighting sarah palin with glenn beck, who will be appearing with ted cruz at campaign events in iowa this weekend. in a facebook post yesterday, glenn beck says when sarah palin and the tea party want a hard fought election and were under attack in 2010, donald j. trump was giving money to pelosi, reid and rom. republicans worried about the fate of their party with donald trump or ted cruz at the top of the ticket now seem to be leaning toward donald trump in the choice they thought they would never have to make. former republican presidential nominee bob dole, also the senate majority leader and has endorsed jeb bush said today that he thinks donald trump would do better in a general election than ted cruz. senator dole said with cruz as the nominee, hillary clinton would, quote, win in a waltz and
that the republican party would suffer cataclysmic and wholesale losses. ted cruz has attacked senator dole along with john mccain and mitt romney for failing to win the presidency when they were republican nominees. and so the race for the republican presidential nomination has become everything you could ask for in a donald trump-driven reality show. political apprentice. two teams who have never done this before trying to get the republican presidential nomination for a. on team trump, we have sarah palin, hulk hogan and lou farigno. and on team cruz we have glenn beck and the duck dynasty guy. joining us now, anne geurin, wendy davis, and michael steele, former rnc chairman and nbc political analyst. inform this reality show we
have. >> got on your side of the campaign, who's your money on. >> i still think trump has a little bit more of an edge here. you know, endorsements aside, this really has been an eight-month, now nine-month odyssey in which trump has redefined the political landscape. he's playing an asymmetrical political game against guys who still fight conventionally. and this move with sarah palin, a lot of folks want to ridicule it. in the south, you're going to make that run for the sec primary, to have sarah palin work in that for you is very,
very strong and very, very helpful. so there's a long and short-tem game going on here, lawrence, and donald trump is playing both of them pretty well right now. >> each side tends to at certain points forget that there's going to be a general election when they're locked in these primary campaigns. the palin moment strike mess as possibly one of those. how are democrats regarding what the entrance of sarah palin to this campaign can mean for democrats in the general election? >> i think it goes to what michael said. the long game and the short game. this might work in the short game for donald trump to have sarah palin by his side. but in the long game, i think it shows how very much out of the mainstream he is. he is aligning himself with people like her, with extremist attitudes about reproductive
rights, being anti-environment reforms, being anti-smart reforms on guns. they are showing just how out of step they are with the mainstream america, and i think when we get to that gin election, we're going to see, not only democrats who are going to line up behind hillary clinton when he gets the nomination, but we're also going to see more moderate republicans who say they have a distaste for the direction that they see a donald trump and a sarah palin taking the party. >> let's listen to some of the things donald trump has said about glenn beck before today. >> i think donald trump is an extremist. i do. this guy is dangerous. i believe he's dangerous. >> if they try to put donald trump in office, if that's what the people want, you're going to see an end to the republican party. it will just be over. there will just be nothing left. >> enough of the third great
politics. grow up, donald trump. grow up. >> glenn beck has been ready for this for weeks. he's been handling donald trump consistently. there's been a lot of stuff he doesn't like that donald trump says. when he gets on the campaign trail, there will be a lot to watch. >> absolutely. he really feels like donald trump has hijacked the conservative movement and the political party and the primary process. and he sees cruz as a more pure it's clear the timing of this is meant to answer the palin endorsement. she's a conservative voice who plays well with the tea party in iowa. she's been ahead of trump in
iowa. trump was trying to play the palin card to puncture cruz a little bit, particularly in iowa. cruz comes back and says i'll raise you one with glenn beck. >> let's listen to what ted cruz said about being the so-called outsider and how cozy he has been with wall street banks and how they have helped him. let's listen to this. >> this guy with two bank loans that we know of. the problem is he didn't do it purposefully. what he wanted to do was say i will protect you from goldman sachs. i will protect you from citibank. and i will protect you from the base because i'm robin hood and i'm this wonderful senator. he's borrowing from the banks.
that's a problem. that's a problem. and i think when you go to caucus, you should think about that problem. you should think about it. michael steele, we've entered that zone in the campaign where each of the republican front-runners every day is supplying very useful video for the democrats in the general election. if one of them becomes the nominee. >> yeah. i mean, that's always the danger. the primary is nothing more than a seeding ground for outtakes and video snafus and all the replay during a general election. as was said earlier, the focus is really now getting your base organized, getting it galvanized and moving it out to vote. and that's particularly, as you know, lawrence, in these caucus states where you've got to work the ground. you could v a ground game in a primary. you need to have an underground game in a caucus state because that really is pulling out the roots of the party to get them
out to vote. and the real question as you hear these sound bites going back and forth, is this a reflection of what's happening on the ground? is this a reflection of just the typical back and forth in a campaign? all of that is going to get played out in the next couple of weeks. we'll see just how strong donald trump is able to get that base out. as he says, when you go to caucus. well, you've got to get them to caucus. if you're not able to do that, cruz will have the day. >> let's listen how cruz today tried to portray donald trump as the tool of the washington establishment where i believe donald trump does not have a single endorsement. not from one senator or one member of congress. let's listen to this. >> the washington establishment is rushing over to support donald trump. we're seeing that happen every day and mr. trump is welcoming the support of the washington establishment and indeed mr. trump said they should support him because he said ted won't go
along to get along. we won't make deals with the democrats. well, i don't think there are a whole lot of republicans who think the problem with republican leadership is that they're unwilling to make deals with the democrats. the problem with republican leader is that they make deals on everything. they surrender at the outset. they stand for nothing. >> are you bumping into members on the washington establishment as they rush past you to try to find donald trump to sign up? >> i got knocked over on the way here by a whole carload full of them. no. it's really funny. i just found that statement to be odd today. by and large, a lot of washington establishment doesn't like ted cruz. he famously got in a gigantic fight with the speaker of the -- the leader of the senate last year. you know, there is no more establishment than that. so for him to sort of be saying, you know, aww shucks, they
really ought to like me better just seemed a little odd to me. >> thank you all for joining me tonight. appreciate it. >> take care. another harvard law school professor has taken a look at ted cruz's eligibility to be president and what he found was surprising even to him. even the new clinton campaign attack on bernie sanders is that he can't win because he's a socialist. never mind that all of our presidents since franklin roosevelt have been socialists with only slightly varying degrees of enthusiasm. and later, representatives of the clinton campaign and the sanders campaign will face off on a debate right here on "the last word." [ music ] defiance is in our bones. citracal pearls. delicious berries and cream. soft, chewable, calcium plus vitamin d.
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senate seat from kentucky? how many? exactly zero so far. the filing deadline in kentucky is january 26 and not one democrat has declared a candidacy for senate in kentucky. rand paul will still have the win the republican caucus on march 5 in kentucky if he wants to be the republican candidate for senate. up next, another harvard law school professor has taken a very close look at ted cruz's eligibility to be president, and he didn't find what he expected to find.
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and his father's lives, beginning when his father left cuba in 1957. >> fled to america. he came here in 1957. he was 18 years old. anyone 18? all right, 18. imagine coming to a brand-new country. you don't know anybody. you can't speak english. and my dad had $100 sewn in his underwear. i don't advise carrying money in your underwear. and he got a job washing dishes, making 50 cents a an hour. and he worked seven days a week, paid his way through school. then he and my mom ended upstarting a small business together. so i grew up in texas as the son of two small business owners. >> unfortunately for ted cruz, the story has a few more layers than that. his father got married in texas,
had two small children and got divorced before he met the woman who then would become ted cruz's mother. he met that woman and they moved to canada where rafael gave up his cuban citizenship for the first time and became a canadian citizen. and a registered voter. ted cruz's mother name also appears on the list of eligible voters in 1974 in canada. but ted cruz insists his mother never gave up her u.s. citizenship and never obtained canadian citizenship. ted cruz was born in canada in 1970, whereupon he became a natural born canadian citizen. and he insists at the same time, he became a natural born citizen of the united states as described in the constitution as a requirement for the office of the presidency. at the time cruz insists that the definition of natural born citizen as it appears in the constitution includes anyone
born anywhere in the world to at least one american parent. in the last two weeks or so of controversy over this issue, as more legal scholars take a closer look at what the constitution really means by the words natural-born citizen, most of them now strongly disagree with ted cruz's claim that it is absolutely certain that he is eligible for the presidency. here is professor -- the professor who taught ted cruz constitutional law at harvard law school, laurence tribe. >> without amending the constitution or getting a definitive ruling from the u.s. supreme court, it's just wrong to say, as senator cruz has tried to say, that it's a settled matter. it isn't settled. >> joining us now, a professor at harvard law school. he wrote a piece entitled ted cruz is not eligible to run for president.
it felt to me like you traveled the same road i did. if you're born abroad with one american parent, you're a natural-born citizen for these purposes. but in the law review articles i read, it suddenly got way more complicated than that. you now have come to the conclusion that ted cruz does not qualify. is that your reading of it? >> yeah. that is my reading. and i did go down the same journey you did. i started there, but the closer i looked, the more it seemed like not only is it unsettled, but actually the argument that he is eligible is surprisingly
weak. >> yeah. i thought, if you asked me two weeks ago, i would have said it's the stronger of the two arguments. but as you stick with it, it just gets harder and harder. explain what we're dealing with. when we talk about a phrase in the constitution that has never been tested by the supreme court. if it were to be tested by the supreme court now, what are some of the things that they would actually be likely to ignore? some of the things written by congress since the constitution that they would probably ignore and what would they concentrate on to try to find that definition? >> if you look at that phrase, it can't just mean somebody born a citizen, which is what ted cruz wants to say. that would leave the word natural out. and if you look at the time of the constitution, the natural meant natural law, natural rights, that is common law. meaning not statutory meanings. the only way in natural law is
to be born in the territory or born abroad to somebody serving your country, being born to an ambassador or a soldier. so john mccain was often compared to ted cruz. totally different. john mccain was both born in the panama canal zone, a u.s. territory, and he was born to parents who are both u.s. citizens who were woking for the u.s. military. so he actually doubly qualified as naturally born. but ted cruz was born in canada and his mother, while a u.s. citizen, was not working for the united states. so he just doesn't qualify under the meaning of naturally born citizen. >> now, you did examine the best argument for ted cruz in your piece, and it seems to lean on the very first naturalization law written by the first congress. many of the people involved in that were involved in the
writing of the constitution. so tell us about what we see in that first law. >> sure. after the constitution -- you can't amend the constitution afterwards. that congress passed the statute that said if you're born abroad to a u.s. citizen, you shall be considered as a natural born citizen. being considered as something is not the same thing as being something. i mean, i may say i consider you as my brother. that doesn't mean i had a dna test and it turns out we share the same parents. it meanings i treat you like i treat my brother. >> wouldn't it mean to that congress you get all the privileges of the natural born citizen? >> well, as madison made clear, congress does not have the power to define constitutional terms. the only power congress has was to naturalize citizens. that is naturalize somebody who's an alien into a citizen. so madison actually said when they reconsidered that said, well, you know, that phrasing isn't actually quite right and
they amended the statute to drop naturally born to just say people who are born abroad to a u.s. citizen are automatically citizens. but not that they're naturally-born citizen. >> and it's worth noting the constitution also provides qualifications for the senate and the house and it says citizen. it does not say natural-born citizen in those offices. >> yeah. the president is the only one. >> they thought there was a very serious distinction to be made here. >> yeah. they seem to think the they didn't want somebody whose loyalty could be questioned. if ted cruz would be on his way to this nomination, or might something happen before just in terms of, say, qualifying for a ballot. >> a state election official, if one of those 50 states says, well, actually, we looked at this argument and ted cruz is not eligible to be on the ballot, i'm sure at that point, ted cruz would file a lawsuit and it would then get into the judicial system. >> just to clarify, the
difference between everything we've seen written by congress in statute is that you have to always go back to the constitution. for example, if congress had written a law saying, well, you don't have to be 35, you can be 29, you can be 32, that would have answer luteally no meaning. and it wouldn't mean you wouldn't be able to run for president if you were 32. for example, if congress had written a law saying, well, you don't have to be 35, you can be 29, you can be 32, that would have answer luteally no meaning. and it wouldn't mean you wouldn't be able to run for president if you were 32. that would be thrown out. >> that's right. we would have to pass a constitutional amendment, which is much more difficult. >> professor, thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate your contributions to this issue. >> thank you so much.
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bernie sanders surge and their strategy to stop senator sanders is to raise doubt about the electability of a self-declared socialist. now, you can imagine just how that went over with a self-declared socialist. senator claire mccaskill said the republicans won't touch him because they can't wait to run an ad with a hammer and sickle. here is senator mccaskill with casey hunt today. >> i think it would be absolute limb possible for a self-declared socialist to win in a state like missouri. and you've got to win states like missouri if you're going to win the presidency. states like indiana, states like ohio, states like pennsylvania. it's hard for most americans to see how socialism would face the problems they're facing right now. >> jay nixon said, as far as
having bernie sanders at the top of the ticket, it would be a meltdown all the way down the ballot. the socialist attacks on bernie sanders come almost seven years after "newsweek" ran this cover story entitled, we're all socialists now. every attacker of bern neef sanders socialism including republicans believe in some socialism themselves. they all support the continuation of massive socialist programs like social security and medicare. and most of the presidential candidates including hillary clinton and ted cruz support the government's socialist intervention in the ethanol market in iowa. and agricultural socialism generally as well as, of course, sports socialism for taxpayer-funded stadiums where the richest athletes in the world play their games. joining us now for the socialists calling the other socialists too much of a socialist debate our ben wickler from moveon.org.
and michael cohen. his latest article is entitled bernie sanders doesn't get how politics works. it's fascinating for me to watch this. i think peel have two kinds of socialist, the self-declared, which there are few, and the self-deluded who don't understand this became a much more socialistic country and that eisenhower and republican presidents like reagan, all of them, supported these socialist programs. but, of course, they dared never use the word. that's the big difference between them and bernie sanders. >> absolutely. it's also clear that sanders supports socialist programs. i think isle payer health care is an example of that. if he were to become the nominee of the party, it would be ripe
for republican attacks. in the case of sanders, he has to be assessed by what he believes he would do as president. he can judge whether they're good or bad, but they are what they are and they should be discussed on the merits of the proposals, not just on the ideas of them. >> ben, what's your reaction to let's attack bernie as a associatist campaign. >> the problem with the attack on bernie sanders is the actual policies that he's advocating are both popular in the democratic base and also popular across the country. and to give you one example with the word social in it, he's a proponent for expanding sos ss which polls incredibly well in states like missouri. they're policies frankly that you don't hear about for most other candidates, which is one reason why i think sanders' support is so passionate and so ready to turn out and mobilize and do the things that actually
get people elected. >> i have to say, i have a feeling that we've all turned french here and no one has told politicians. we experienced that with bill clinton's sex scandals in the 1990s. they happened before he was elected president. i'll never forget here in new york, gennifer flowers was playing her tapes of her conversations with bill clinton during their affair in arkansas. and it turned out the voters didn't care. they had grown up faster than the political media did and politicians lid. this has that same feeling to it. and by the way, count me among those prized by this. the self-proclaimed socialist is soaring in the polls and never once flinching from the use of the world social is when people throw it in his face. >> but that's in the democratic primary. i think that's not the same thing as saying he's soaring in
the polls of a general election. single payer may poll well among democrats, but there may not be as much strong support for it. i think it's well and good to see we're moving in direction, but once he gets defined by republicans, the support that we're seeing now, it will ecap rate. sanders has gotten a free ride. i would suspect his pole numbers would not be doing as well as they are right now. >> one place where sanders is better known is new hampshire.
he's trouncing ault of the republicans in head to head matchups by, you know, more than any other democratic candidate. my sense is actually kind of the opposite, which is that once people get to know sanders, his support goes up. >> that's one state. >> but when you have supporters, you can keep raising money. >> you're talking about one state, a particularly affluent state and white state that's neighboring to vermont. with all do respect, to argue as new hampshire goes the rest of the country goes is not a coherent argument. frankly, i think that the more people that actually get to see what sanders believes, you know, especially outside of iowa and new hampshire where people have seen a lot of him, you may not have the same kind of support. and certainly up to this point, you haven't seen sanders' ability to appeal to minority
voters the way hillary clinton. the republicans have made an art form out of defining democratic candidates. what they would do to a 74-year-old socialist candidate from vermont, i can only imagine. but i think it would not be pretty. it doesn't mean that he wnt win. doesn't mean he can't be successful, but you have to be honest about what kind of candidate he can be in a general election. >> ben, a quick last word. >> sure. republicans are going to attack any democratic nominee, tooth anticipate claw. there's no question about that. the question is whether i noo they're going to have someone with him. in every state he visits thousands of people will turn out. those people will be talking to their friends, their family and donating every time he's punched. you've got to punch back. >> thank you both for joining is us tonight. thank you very much. >> thank you. coming up, president obama talks about the water crisis in flint, michigan and he talked about it in very personal terms.
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during his state of the state address, the governor's office released a 274-page document containing what it says are all the relevant e-mails the governor sent and received on that crisis. nbc news reports that governor snyder's staff was at least partially relying on information from other state officials that later proved to be incorrect. while speaking about the auto industry event in detroit, president obama said this about the crisis. >> i am very proud of what i've done as president. but the only job that's more important to me is the job of father. and i know if i was a parent up there, i would be beside myself that my kids' health could be at risk. that's why over the
weekend, i declared a federal emergency in flint. to send more resources on top of the assistance we've already put on the ground. yesterday, i met with mayor wheeler in the white house, in the oval office. and i told her that we're going to have her back and all the people of flint's back as they work their way through this terrible tragedy. you can't shortchange basic services that we provide to our people and that we together provide as a government to make sure that the public health and safety is preserved. coming up, another clinton versus sanders issues debate. representatives from each campaign will join us. on the way and a cold with sinus pressure, you need fast relief. alka-seltzer plus severe sinus congestion and cough liquid gels rush relief to your tough symptoms. to put you back in control. [doorbell]
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>> in switzerland, joe biden made an impassioned statement about global gay rights. >> i've had it up to here with culture. i mean it. culture never justifies is discrimination or human rights violations. there's no cultural justification. none. none. none. think of the countries still hiding behind, this is our culture. but people used to be cannibals. that was part of their culture. people used to do terrible things, it was part of the culture. the progress of human kind has been a steady progress toward acknowledgic fundamental rights of other people. >> at least 75 countries participating in that congress in switzerland have law against homosexuality. coming up, another issue debate
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supporter. dean baker is a hillary clinton support pep i'll let you gok and forth. why would bernie sanders approach to wall street be better than hillary clinton's? >> it really ends up being a matter of political will. if you go back to the housing bubble years, alan greenspan could have stopped the public. he had the authority and simply through the fed's bully pulpit, his ability to call attention to the fact that house prices are hugely out of line. he didn't do that because he had no interest in doing that. his friends were making lots of money. you have on the one hand secretary clinton who received millions of dollars in speaker fees and campaign do nations.
on the other hand, you have senator sanders who's been a life-long opponent of wall street. if you ask which one will be prepared to crackdown on the financial industry, i think you're hard pressed to say that would be secondary clinton. >> michael, your response? >> i think the secretary clinton's plan is strong, detailed, comprehensive, credible. she's issued a series of proposals to raen in risky shadow banking practice ps . to deal with the problem of trading in the shadows, to impose a tax on the riskiest forms of borrowing by the largest financial institutions. she has detailed enforcement mechanisms to ensure accountability from managers of the largest financial institutions to make sure they take a hit when their firm's capital drops, when their firm is suffering from fines and penalties. the managers are held accountable.
these are detailed and credible plans. i have to say, i've been working in the trenches on financial reform for many, many years and my view, this is the toughest, the most credible plan that i have seen. and i think that if you compare that to the proposal that senator sanders has put out, you'll see that clinton really takes it to the important issues and has the strongest and most credible and most detailed plan to take that on. and i think fundamentally, when you ask voters at the end of the day, do they want somebody who's going to propose a set of detailed and credible and strong measures, to take on the system, or do they want a more symbolic proposal, i think they're going to want something that actually changes the financial system that actually makes i it fairer
and better harness the needs of everyday americans. i think that's hillary's plan. >> i don't see senator sanders' proposals as being symbolic. they're concrete. if we look at where we are today compared to where we were before the crisis, the sixth largest banks are considerably larger relative to the size of the economy than they were before the crisis. the financial sector has grown. senator sanders is very kron crete. he wants a financial actions tax which will i ideally divert this to sectors where it will be productive. >> i think this is a fundamental mistake. if you look at the basic fact, the largest financial institutions merged or were acquired by other institutions
in the financial crisis as a way to try to stem off the collapse of the financial sector. but if you look at what's happened with dodd frank, the financial system is significantly better capitalized, derivatives training has moved out of the shadows and is now heavily regulated. you've got a serious set of steps to improve consumer protection. most prominently with the new consumer financial protection bureau. and hillary clinton made it clear that she's standing firm for these measures. she's going to fight off republican attacks. because frankly all the republicans want to do is tear down the consumer financial protection. >> there's certainly positives, but to see this as fixed -- >> to make the system safer and fairer in the future. >> jpmorgan totally unaccounted for. goldman sachs make assetlement. they're paying bofls fines. no admission of guilt. >> that's why if you look at
hillary's plan, she says exactly what she would do in those circumstances. those managers would be held accountable -- >> let's let dean finish his point in response to you, michael. go ahead, dean. >> i'm just saying this is post dodd frank and there's a lot of good reform ps michael worked on that and i appreciate that. but the point is, we still see much of the same corruption that we had before the crisis. and again, you know, maybe secretary clinton will change that. but i think it's hard for people to be confident of that given her closeness to the top people in the industry. >> what would you say to sanders' supporters who worry about hillary clinton's financial relationship with wall street both in campaign contributions and lecture fees. >> if you look at where she stood on these issues, i started working with her 20 years ago on microfinance for low income families. she worked for a long time for making the system fairer for households and for families.
and if you look at what she's actually proposed and what she has set out to do. i think the evidence, the proof is in the pudding. if you look exactly at what she said about accountability for top executives, about taxes for the very wealthiest, about going after the carried interest loophole, these are tough reforms. these go right after the key questions that dean and i think both agree need to take on. we need to make the financial system safer. we need to make it fairer and better harness the real economy. and these measures do just that. >> i've got ten seconds for a last word. >> again, i think sanders has very concrete proposals. he wants to down load the banks. that's what we need to see. and these are concrete as you need to get. dean baker and michael barr. thank you for this debate. really appreciate it. chris hayes is up next.
politics gone wild. let's play "hardball." i have been watching politics since i was a 6 year old asking my dad about generalizen hower. that was 1952, the year the political power was thrown out the window. it's when a small group led by another war hero decided they were not going down to defeat the same old losing candidates. we saw another shakeup in american politics eight years later when a young war hero from massachusetts broke the old rules and got elected even though he was young, catholic. i wish i could say we were in for the same kind of excitement in 2016, the kind of excitement