tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC August 16, 2016 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
standing in that old cathedral, as he stood on martin luther's tomb, a question only he had mind, not so much whether luther was right on the theology, but how he knew he could get away with saying what he did. how did he know, he asked. how did he know. theatrical, pyro technical, a fire cracker of a man, john mclaughlin, you were damn good company. tonight on "all in" -- >> i am who i am. it's me. i don't want to change. everyone talks about, you're going to pivot. i don't want to pivot. >> donald trump digs in. >> i am who i am. i've gotten here in a landslide and we'll see what happens. >> tonight, a formal request for the rnc to cut ties with its nominee, as the grim polling keeps on coming and trump tries to explain his new policy. >> i call it extreme, extreme vetting. >> plus, new details on clinton
debate preps. >> don't be complacent, my friends. >> while there are multiple reports that trump is turning to roger ailes for help. >> and the trump track. >> i've said i'm going to be voting for him, but i do have significant disagreements with him, which i've been very clear on. so i won't be endorsing him. >> new data showing the depths of the down ballot drag, when "all in" starts now. >> good evening from new york, i'm ari melber in for chris hayes. donald trump has many problems, but he is convinced that he is not one of them. today he pushed back on calls from republicans to retool his flagging campaign. >> do you need to change up your tactics to adhere or appeal to the general election public crowd or -- >> well, possibly i do. but i am who i am. it's me. i don't want to change. everyone talks about you're going to pivot, you're gonna -- i don't want to pivot. you have to be you. if you start pivoting, you're
not being honest with people. and because i've heard this over the years and, you know, with politics. with general politics, also having to do with me. no, i am who i am. i've gotten here in a landslide and we'll see what happens. >> we will see what happens. but trump's unwillingness to change does have some republicans today saying it's time to cut their losses. more than a hundred, in fact, including two current members of congress signing what is a final draft of a pretty scathing open letter out today, urging reince priebus to start shifting resources away from trump now. quote, we believe donald trump's divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence, and record-breaking unpopularity risks turning this election into a democratic landslide. only the immediate shift of available rnc resources to house races will prevent the gop from drowning with a trump emblazoned anchor around its neck. trump trails clinton by nine points in the new poll.
and the presidential race is closer in texas, which hasn't voted democratic in 40 years. and that is compared to key battleground states of virginia and florida. texas actually closer. clinton leads trump by eight in virginia, nine in florida. meanwhile, a new poll showing trump's lead over clinton, six points in texas. over in pennsylvania, there are recent polls show iing a double-digit lead for clinton and she urged her supporters not to be over-confident. >> so don't be complacent, my friends, because even though we're doing fine right now, i'm not taking anybody anywhere for granted. we're going to work hard these next 85 days. >> the other thing that is different now, in many states, trump is running out of time to turn things around. i don't mean until november. early voting actually starts in less than six weeks in some states. it can play a huge role here as the "new york times" notes, 32% of voters cast their ballots before the november election.
way back in 2012, a number that's been rising. despite all that, trump's campaign astoundingly has not spent a single dollar on campaign ads. he's reportedly set to air his first one of the general election campaign, that would start friday in florida, ohio, north carolina, and pennsylvania. clinton and her allies meanwhile have spent $104 million on ads, the pro-trump super pacs on their own, have spent $12 million. and then there's the matter of where trump is campaigning. we looked at the states where trump has been holding rallies and events since the conventions. now here they are. you can see, just three of the states, ohio, florida, and iowa. the others are all democratic or leaning democratic. history not very kind. five of the 12, they have not gone republican in a presidential race since at least
1998 -- 1988. so what does that mean? it means he's embarking on an unusual strategy right now. maybe it's unusually bold, if trump can win some of the blue-leaning areasi, or maybe i reflects a hole in trump's voter outreach strategy, a lack of a vision of which states he needs to win to get to 270 electoral votes. trump is back now in wisconsin. we are waiting here for an address this hour that the campaign is billing as a prepared statement and policy address on law and order. aides telling nbc news, trump will use a teleprompter and that would avoid potentially any off-the-cuff remarks. a recent poll in that state shows trump trailing there by 15 points. in light of those numbers, he was asked today about this unusual strategy, why he's campaigning in states like this. >> i have many friends in wisconsin. they're the ones that asked me to come here.
but i have many friends in wisconsin, and i think we'll do well here. again, it's been a long time since anybody won wisconsin. i believe it was ronald reagan, in terms of a republican. so i understand what i'm up against, but i thought i'd make the trip for friends and we'll see what happens. >> joining us now from that rally in west bend, out there is hallie jackson. let me start by asking you right out the gate, does this look, according to your reporting, like something bold and aggressive, because he can win in these blue states, or does it look delusional? >> are those my only options? >> yes, you have to choose. >> when you talk about strategy, here's the deal. it is by far an uphill climb for donald trump right now in wisconsin. the latest polls show he trails hillary clinton by 15 points. when you look at the primaries, he didn't even win here back in the spring. it was ted cruz country, and it was a place where the never
trump movement got a big gasp of fresh air to continue limping on through the primaries. after that, it seemed like could trump be finally failing. he obviously went on to win indiana. but this is not a place that is particularly favorable to him. that said, it is a place that his complain is looking at along with places like michigan and pennsylvania. these three states, wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania, i think you will see trump spend some time in over this next period here in august and potentially again, if the map starts to shift in october. i do think, based on my reporting, that you will see trump pivot -- i don't want to say the word "pivot" -- that's a tough word to say, considering the sound bite you just playing from donald trump talking about how he won't pivot. but i think you will see them shift to more traditional battleground states. florida, north carolina, ohio, the places where the trump
campaign believes he needs to focus. >> on the screen, we have the giant red banner of jump saying, i don't want to pivot. so you're right, that has emotional resonance for him. but how much of this is personal or emotional to donald trump in terms of which states he goes to? the quote of him saying, i'm here because of my friends is interesting, but different than many candidates who use data to decide where their limited resources should be spent. >> but trump believes that he has an appeal to these people, like disaffected democrats, for example, and from the very beginning, he's talked about places like new york and california. places that republican operatives go, come on. but for trump, it is personal to him, to a degree for some of these places. a place like connecticut, where he was over the weekend, and what you'll hear from folks around the campaign, listen, he's there for fundraising anyway, there to talk to donors. why not throw a rally on top of it. you showed the list of where he's been since the republican
national convention. he is hitting some of the places he needs to go to. the ohios, the floridas, even the iowas, for example. >> hallie jackson at the rally, we'll check back with you as warranted depending on what happens. thanks so much. >> sure. >> now we turn to mickey edwards, who signed the letter out today, urging the rnc to change course. why did you do this aleletter? >> this feels a little bit surreal, because the conversation that i'm hearing and that so many people are talking about here, what does he need to do to win? we don't want him to win. this is a guy who is unhinged. it's a guy who doesn't have the temperament, the judgment, the intelligence, you know, to be in charge of the nuclear weapons, to be the only guy who can nominate supreme court justices. you don't want this man to be president of the united states. so if you read the copy in the letter we put out, it was not about what does he need to do to
win. it was, let's support the rest of the party. let's support republican candidates for governor, for senator, for house, for legislatures, and let's forget this guy. >> then are you sort of assuming a development that hasn't yet occurred? in other words, there may come a time where people like reince priebus and others do write off donald trump if he's really losing. remember when bob dole was behind far enough they shifted the resources. you're saying, you're making a moral argument here. that may be, sir, but you sent a alert to the he letter to the head of the party making a political argument. >> we did. reince priebus is probably not going to change based on the stuff he's said so far. but the argument is, he's the chairman of the republican party at the moment, and they have so much in resources. they have to use it somewhere. we're saying, don't use it for donald trump. use it for the rest of the party. not only because we need those people to win.
and trump is not going to win. but make sure he doesn't win. so do not put the resources of the party behind this nut case. and that's what we're saying. are they going to listen to us? i don't know. and i know i'm not being politically correct, so i'll be in trouble. right? but the fact of the matter is, that the republican party needs to put its resources behind serious people. serious republicans, who can do a good job in congress, can do a good job in the states. and that's what we're asking the party to do. >> and do you think reince priebus then should not get another term? do you think there needs to be a wider reckoning in a republican party that allowed donald trump to be the nominee? >> well, that's not part of our ale letter, but, yeah, priebus had a lot to do with letting this happen. remember at the convention, and under the convention rules, people were free to vote for whoever they wanted, to vote for their conscience.
and priebus intervened and said, no, you can't do that. so i think getting rid of reince priebus after this is all over is probably a very good idea. >> mickey edwards, thank you. still ahead tonight, why donald trump's refusal to pivot is potential bad news for down-ballot republicans as they continue to fall behind in some polls. we'll look at the trump effect. also next, on the eve of donald trump's first classified intelligence briefings, some new questions about this candidate's proposal, the so-called extreme vetting immigration plan. we have a senior trump official here to talk to me about it, that is right after the break. isaac hou has mastered gravity defying moves to amaze his audience. great show. here you go. now he's added a new routine. making depositing a check seem so effortless. easy to use chase technology, for whatever you're trying to master. isaac, are you ready? yeah.
tomorrow, donald trump will get his very first intelligence briefing at an fbi facility right here in new york. a traditional prep session for nominees dating back to the 1950s. according to one report, trump is planning to bring along one of his key allies, chris christie, governor of new jersey, who isn't exactly known for foreign policy or national security experience abroad.
some have questioned whether trump has the discretion for the briefings, given his penchant for airing conspiracy theories, or his recent claim that he saw cash shipments to iran that didn't exist. president obama spoke about that very issue. >> they have been told, these are classified briefings. and if they want to be prese president, they gotta start acting like president, and that means being able to receive these briefings and not spread them around. >> trump has been working, though, to craft a national security measure for the general election of the seven policies that are listed on his website now, only one involves foreign policy, discussing u.s.-china trade. but he gave a formal foreign policy speech yesterday using a prompter. he proposed tighter immigration screening for certain countries. asked about that today, he named two. >> certainly one, iraq is
another one. we'll be naming a number of countries. and those countries are subject to change, but we're going to have extremely vetting. we'll be looking at facebook. as an example, they don't look at what they should be looking at. >> i'm joined by boris epstein, former aide to the mccain-palin campaign. he gave that address justice s address yesterday and today he named two countries. how many countries are going to be on the list? >> he was specific the list will be put together by the department of state and the department of defense once he's president. syria and iraq are obvious, because they're exporters of terrorism. so he's making an obvious statement there. you wouldn't want to list all the countries because that list is not going to be exhaustive. but as he said, the department of state and the department of defense will put together the list and it will be
ever-changing of course, because situations change. >> part of the problem is, he sometimes announces these so-called policies as if there is no policy framework. the state department currently keeps a list of state sponsors of terror. so is he asking them to remake that list or make it differently. if it is going to be the statement department and department of defense making this list, then why is he listing off country names? if they're making the list, he shouldn't be listing countries. >> he's running for president. he's saying when he's president, when he's the boss of the department of state, department of defense and all the departments, that's what will happen. he said there will be a commission on radical islam to make sure this country is safe and is protected. so there's no issue with naming two obvious countries. but he's saying that the paths will be followed -- there's a list of countries refugees and immigrants from which are very closely vetted. >> as you know, there is an issue, any time you have a
government process that's supposed to be fair or work on criteria and then someone says, they'll supercede it. that's why it has an inconsistency. either it's a process which he shouldn't prejudge, or he's picking the countries. i want to move on to nato. >> he's running for president. so it will be his job to work with the department of state, department of defense to make sure the list is comprehensive to begin with and evolves from there. >> he also spoke about nato in the speech. >> we will also work very closely with nato on this mission i had previously said that nato was obsolete. since my comments, they have changed their policy and now have a new division focused on terror threats. >> how has nato changed their policies in response to donald trump? >> his statement is that nato has evolved on terrorist threat
and they've promised to be more helpful in the future. >> how have they evolved? >> he just gave a specific example. creating a task force to combat terror. >> but that's not true. politico reported on this nato basically responded directly, saying trump had nothing to do with the establishment of the intelligence post. >> specifically didn't say it was in response to him. >> but it does matter. if i had the time, i would replay it. he said since then -- he said, i previously said nato was obsolete because it failed to deal with terrorism. since my comments, they've changed their policy and have a new division. so you don't feel he's taking credit for that. >> no, i do not. >> what does about nato that he thinks would be positive about terrorism now, just so we understand. >> nato is a necessary ally in fighting terrorism. you're seeing that a lot of the
terror attacks are happening in nato countries. he's saying it's a positive step toward nato being a partner in fighting terrorism. >> on iraq, he talked about the oil. let's play that. >> i've long said that we should have kept the oil in iraq. i said it over and over and over again. another area where my judgment has been proven correct. if we had controlled the oil, like i said we should, we could have prevented the rise of isis in iraq. i was saying this constantly and consistently, to whoever would listen. i said, keep the oil, keep the oil, keep the oil, don't let somebody else get it! >> honestly, that was a bizarre part of the speech. but at a policy level, how many troops would it take to have, in
his words, to have kept the oil? >> he was saying the united states shouldn't have pulled out of iraq as it did under barack obama. and now ceded control of not just iraq, syria, libya, but a lot of oil fields that could have been controlled by a coalition. >> how many troops would that have taken? >> i'm not a military expert. his point is that it would have taken enough power to do that, which would have been worth it, instead of ceding those oil fields to isis, which is using it as a life line. >> the agreement was to have the withdrawal by 2011. at its peak, you had 170,000. now you have something around 5,000. certainly if one of the arguments of this campaign is that you should have force projection to get or keep the oil, then you have to figure out how many troops and how much does it cost. >> in no way is he saying we should go back in now.
the point is, the pull-out of iraq, and i think you agree with that, the pull-out of iraq was mismanaged. whether we should have been in there in the first place is a different discussion. but the withdrawal from iraq was completely mismanaged. >> to be clear, what you're saying, and in fairness, you're saying that's a historical argument he wants to make, he's not proposing more troops. >> yes. we should have kept the oil, we should have kept the oil. >> always appreciate you coming in for your appreciate. >> thank you. >> new reports. who is donald trump getting advice from? we'll look at that right after this break. [rickie] a romantic what? [squeaking noises] i'm a suck for proposals. and we covered it, april twenty-sixth, 2014. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two
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>> i will tell you one thing that both sides do agree on in this big election. the debates are crucial. record-breaking audience is expected. there's never been a debater like trump in the modern era. i think anyone can agree on that. but like many candidates, he could still use help, and help is on the way from none other than former fox news ceo roger ails who is advising donald trump as he begins to prepare. that's according to four people briefed on the move. all of that quoting directly from a report in the "new york times" today. many republicans say ailes is the most effective messenger of his generation. as a businessman, he wrote the blueprint for fox news. a trump spokesman has denied this report saying ailes is not advising mr. trump or debate prep, they are friends, but he
has no formal or informal role in the campaign. cnn and abc reports that same story, ailes is currently out of a job for the first time in decades. 21st century fox has said he will retain an advisory role there. but he resigned as ceo of fox news on july 21st in the wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by gretchen carlson, which has brought an investigation which uncovered multiple other allegations of harassment against ailes by employees. according to new york magazine. those reports have not been confirmed by nbc news. ailes has denied these charges and said carlson's allegations are false and the product of a retaliatory move after fox didn't renew her contract. asked about the lawsuit last month, trump said the allegations were unfounded based on what he had read. fox may be done with ailes, but
>> every four years in politics, we usually get word about who will play a presidential candidate's opponent in those big debate prepare sessions. an intriguing question this time around, who will play donald trump in hillary clinton's practice rounds? politico looking at what a tall order that is. noting, the person picked to be hillary clinton's sparring
partner, is expected to con front her about the death of vincent fofter and label her as a rapist enabler and ovoke memories of monica lewinsky and gennifer flowers. joining us now, anita dunn, former white house communications director and a senior adviser for obama for 2008. and a member at georgetown university and a former senior staffer for george bush who was involved in debate prep. so you're perfect to be here. anita, what do you see coming down the pike on the clinton side and who might play the donald? >> you know, i have no idea who's going to end up playing donald trump. on the clinton side, what you have is, first of all, a candidate who debates very well, debated in 2008 during the primary, debated in 2016 in the
primaries. debated in her senate race. so she has a great deal of debate experience. and a group of people around her, who have done debate prep on the presidential level for four or five campaigns now. i don't think preparation is going to be an issue for her. the challenge of figuring out who plays the donald, i suspect, is done already. i don't know the answer. but whoever it is, has a challenge because of his unpredictability and because he doesn't have a set debate style. during the joint appearances in the republican primary process, you know, sometimes he was quiet. sometimes he was bombastic. sometimes he was all over the map. so it will be a challenge figuring out what that style will be. >> donald trump, as a matter of political theater and efficacy, right, he was on point in the primary debates. i think, in terms of a martial arts style, it was sort of the drunken master. where at times you might think he was off-base, you didn't know
where he was going, but boy, by the end, everyone else on that stage was bloody. >> no doubt about it. but it's a much different situation when you have a one-on-one opponent. and especially somebody who is not of your party. and i think trying to keep it real is probably the most beneficial for a candidate. not only the person who you're going against in debate prep, but also in the actuality of the debate itself. remember, there's going to be three debates. the first debate is six segments of 15 minutes each with one moderator. the second debate is a town hall. and the third debate is back to the first, six segments of 15 minutes each. trying to keep it real, within the time constraints, also pairing up with somebody who is very much like the person you're going to debate is key. and also, a mortar board type of debate where you're going at the person as if it were the real debate. >> and the prep you've done, how much does the style differential
matter? hillary and obama in their 2008 debates, which anita knows all about, had, i would say, roughly similar style. very evidence-based, both trained lawyers, both have been in office. here you have such a style contrast of hillary's type preparation and donald trump being a unique political sort of explosion. >> that's why it's going to be must-see tv. it's going to be so unpredictable. and you have 90 minutes without a break. so i think the styles are going to be like night and day. the key for donald trump is to make sure he stays on message and the points that he's practiced within the debate prep. but also, to be nimble enough to react in realtime to things as they occur. >> anita, go ahead. >> you know, i couldn't agree with brad more, but it's a huge challenge. he has never done a one-on-one debate. he hasn't shown any kind of discipline in message when he's not on the teleprompter.
and he won't have one up there for those debates against hillary clinton. and it's really extraordinary. because he keeps saying, he doesn't think he needs to prepare. so given the challenges, you have to wonder -- >> i gotta push back a little on you there. donald trump, if nothing else, has proven himself willing to talk to people, to do interviews, to deal with the press, to take questions. his answers sometimes do come up factually short and we cover that. but he's certainly, i think, without question, a more transparent candidate than hillary clinton, who won't hold a press conference, who carefully carefully curates what little media availability she does, who does very narrow hand-picked interviews, who is an aggressive user of the rope line as a means to control interactions with the press. so when you come into what brad just outlined, 90 minutes unvarnished with a moderator, i would challenge you and say, when does she ever do that? >> i would push back on that because she did it against bernie sanders, she did it
against barack obama. she did it against de blasio. and hillary clinton has been doing this for a long time. i would also push back on the idea that somehow a campaign run by donald trump that routinely bars access to news organizations, or threatens to bar access to news organizations, based on their coverage is somehow more transparent than the clinton campaign. but going back to the debate issues here, i do think that one of the great challenges that both hillary clinton will have and the moderator will have is the fact that donald trump often says things that just aren't true. that's a difficult thing to deal with in a one-on-one debate. do you spend the entire debate trying to correct the record. do you go on with your things? so that's a huge thing and a huge challenge for the modera r moderator. >> and anita, you make a fair point. i'm referring to donald trump's candidacy and the access he provides. certainly fair criticism that it's a been a hostile first
mea amendment attitude on press credentials. final word, brad. >> i think donald trump is as unpredictable as hillary is predictable. hillary clinton stays so much on script. and donald trump who throws the script away sometimes. but the most important thing, i think, that voters are going to be watching is the honesty and integrity that these candidates are able to evote to the press and to the public. >> brad and anita, two pros, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >>no the story on the dow down-ballot blues for the republican, that's ahead. and vice presidential candidate tim kaine on what makes him most nervous. we'll explain after this break.
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that's why we're here. >> we're not in north carolina by accident. we're here because we are going to win north carolina. that's why we're here. >> thing 1 tonight, hillary clinton currently nine points ahead of trump in north carolina, a state that did go for obama in 2008 after voting reliably republican for decades. that's why vice presidential running mate tim kaine spent his last two days holding rallies in the tar heel state. making speeches was not all he did. something else he did late last night. something that he says takes him way out of his comfort zone. what that thing was, that's thing 2, which we have for you in 60 seconds. clean food.
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♪ ♪ >> to paraphrase "seinfeld," all that singing made him thirsty, so he headed off to the bar to get a beer. >> how did that feel? >> that felt great. nothing makes me more nervous than doing that, but it's good to get out of your comfort zone. >> kaine is actually really big into that little instrument. he's been playing since seventh grade and carries multiple harmonicas in his brief case, like so many pocket constitutions. for years, he's jammed with bands all over his home state of virginia and he offers a unique connection with many blue-grass loving, rural voters across the appalachian. this was the first time he's broken out the harmonica in public since taking on the role as hillary clinton's running
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donald trump has always believed in the power of attention, and he's never wanted to pay for it. all the way back in his 1987 bestseller, the art of the deal, trump wrote it's always better to get free press than an ad. writing, if the "new york times" writes even a moderately positive one-column story about one of my deals, it doesn't cost me anythin and it's worth a lot more than the $40,000 it would cost me to buy that ad. clinton has poured $61 million into tv ads. trump, zero. that number jumps to $100 million versus $12 million when you talk about super pacs. for all the talks of trump's blunders, those have helped clinton surge. clinton allies are so confident one of her big super pacs, just announced it's going to stop spending in virginia and pennsylvania until september. trump has clearly noticed.
tonight, just tonight, it appears he's amended his strategy. this is a new report here from the "wall street journal" saying he will air his first general election tv ads, buying in ohio and florida, naturally. but also in pennsylvania. that's the very state where priorities usa feels it's already banked a big lead. joining me now is priorities usa co-chair guy cecil. good evening. >> thanks for having me. >> your reaction to the news is going to spend and it it's in a state where you're pulling money out. >> i'm not surprised about florida or ohio. i am surprised in north carolina. and there's no question he's got to play in more places. and pennsylvania is as good as any. i also think it's notable. he's not in colorado, virginia, nevada, iowa, new hampshire. all places that are critical if he's to have any chance to be successful in november.
the other thing to note, about 85 to 90% of our buy in pennsylvania is still in place, and we'll continue to monitor how the election goes once we get past labor day. >> so you're open to spending more if trump tightens? >> sure, we have reservations starting on september 20th in 12, in pittsburgh, and we'll continue to take a look at whether or not he keep those reservations. it's certainly not a matter of taking the election for granted, but rather acknowledging that trump has a particular problem in colorado, in virginia, certainly in pennsylvania. >> what else is striking, you talk about taking things for granted. we have the numbers in texas and georgia. pretty red states. trump only up six points. that state elected ted cruz. georgia, four points. as they say on "saturday night live," what's up with that? >> well, and you also have the omaha congressional district in nebraska that provides its own electoral college vote, where we think we can be competitive.
there's no question, when you take a look at georgia, arizona, or maybe even an indiana, the map is definitely moving in hillary's direction. >> why? >> it's august -- well, look, i think you pretty much hit the nail on the head. donald trump has relied on free press over the course of his campaign. no one that i can think of in modern times has had worse press for the things he's said, his points of view, the coverage he's received, than donald trump since the republican national convention. and i think, you know, what people misunderstand about trump's success in the republican primary versus the general election, he's dealing with a fundamentally different electorate. we're not talking about republican, high interest voters. it's a more diverse, younger electorate in battleground states that weren't in the republican primary. >> and that's been his emphasis, getting attention. as the old saying no, no press is bad press, unless it's really
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pivot everybody wants isn't for him, which illustrates the vice grip some senate republicans are caught in. they need to distance themselves on one hand. on the other, they want to cling to party loyalty which they need for getting out the vote. since the gop convention, the fortunes of several senate republicans have taken a trumpian turn for the worse. six of the eight republicans candidates for senate polling worse than they were before that big old convention. the senator most affected, kelly ayotte, who can't seem to run away from the trump problem. in the latest new hampshire poll, she's down a point to her democratic challenger, maggie hassan. following another poll when he was down ten points. trump down nine in that state to clinton. it appears that trump could be endangering her chances of re-election, she says she plans to vote for him. >> i'm said that i'm going to be voting for him. but i do have significant disagreements with him, which i've been very clear on. so i won't be endorsing him.
so that's my position. >> what's the distinction? >> there's a big distinction. because everyone gets a vote, i do too. but an endorsement is one where i'm out campaigning with someone. and so while he has my vote, he doesn't have my endorsement. >> joining me now, katie packer, former campaign manager for mitt romney, and mckay hopkins, senior political writer for buzzfeed news. just at the top, katie, you have my vote, but only mckay has my endorsement for being on the show. as everyone knows, huge difference there. [ laughter ] go ahead. >> i'm hurt that you're not going to go out and work for me to be on your show. i do think that there's a difference between an endorsement and a vote. like senator ayotte said, everybody gets a vote. endorsement is urging other
people to vote for a candidate. a think all the candidates in tough races are smart to be running their own race, keep the blinders on, focus on very specific issues, something senator ayotte has done. portman, rubio, toomey. all of these candidates are deliberately trying to run very specific races to their states and just sort of avoiding the presidential campaign which is a very smart strategy this year. >> i hear that, i hear that on the strategy. as for the endorsement thing, political language is special, but mckay, we looked into this, the "all in" staff and i, consulted a dictionary today. we can put it up on the screen. the definition of endorsement is public approval or support. public approval or support. so if you kept the private vote, maybe. but as soon as you start going on television or anywhere in a rally and saying, i am voting for him, that is tying yourself to donald trump. >> if you're an elected official and you say, i'm voting for my party's nominee, that is pretty
close to an endorsement. i would also point out -- >> there it is. dictionary. we have them around the office. >> when paul ryan wrote his article in the local paper, saying he would vote for donald trump, he used that language, said i'm going to vote for him. people say, is there a distinction? is he going to endorse him? his own spokesman, paul ryan's spokesman said, we're not going to play word games and semantics, it's the same thing. so you have the leader of the house gop saying, you're going to vote or endorse, it's the same thing. i think that kind of eliminates the wiggle room that a lot of these politicians would like to have. >> and katie, it also goes to the substance of the matters. because we're not just talking about, do you endorse neopoll tan ice cream, or is it something you like, about you don't care where other people eat it. we're talking about running the country. john mccain was struggling on this recently on the substantive point, whether someone should be commander in chief. take a listen.
>> are you comfortable with donald trump possibly having control of the nuclear arsenal? >> i -- anyone that the people of this country choose to be the commander in chief, and the president of the united states, therefore, can lead this country and will lead in a responsible fashion. >> katie, if it weren't so serious, it would be funny, but that's the circular answer. what the president does, if it's not a crime. the question is whether john mccain is comfortable with this, is distinct from the political question of whether donald trump can win 51% of the votes, no? >> well, what liberals don't seem to understand, people that are conservatives that are republicans, have very serious reservations about hillary clinton too. so this is kind of like, somebody's dying of thirst, and you're saying, do you endorse coke, or do you endorse pepsi. just because they grab one to have a drink, doesn't mean
they're excited about that choice. and i do think that we can argue semantics, but i think there's a difference between saying, okay, with a gun to my head, i'm gonna have to pick somebody to vote for. both of these candidates are really terrible options for me. and i think that's where a lot of republicans find themselves right now. and particularly these senators, they're not out there excitedly saying they're going to vote for somebody. they're under pressure from reporters like y'all, who are forcing them to answer the question, who are you going to vote for, and then turning it into an endorsement. i think they're really trying to focus on their races and that's the thing they should be doing. >> i'll come to journalists' defense here. this is worthwhile. it's a worthy question. we act as though it's some unfair question to trap republicans and it's a gotcha game to say, do you support this candidate -- >> no, but mccain made the point that when you're out there and you're publicly talking about it, then that crosses the line
from a vote to an endorsement. and i'm making the point, they're not volunteering it, they're in the public eye and they have to answer the question. >> and that's fair. obviously, i think most of these people, the clips you just showed, john mccain, he would have rather not have answered that question. i think a lot of these republicans are really tortured. but that doesn't change the fact that you still have a choice. ted cruz has made the choice not to endorse. ben sasse, the senator from nebraska. there's an option to say, i'm not going to support the nominee, who i clearly know is unfit to be president, which i think a lot of the republicans in private would admit. >> katie, 15 seconds. >> you'll notice that most of these people that are abstaining aren't on the ballot this year. they're in a little different category. >> and voter registration is done by the cardboard piece of paper in your pocket. it's not in cement. the reason why there were so many reagan democrats, jimmy carter. so it's perfectly feasible for
folks to make up their minds. that's "all in" for this evening. i'll be back at 11:00 p.m. eastern if you want to wait for that. but more importantly, keep the tv on, the rachel maddow show starts now. >> this is one of those nights when the politics will continue into the midnight hour. >> thank you. >> thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. happy tuesday. i'm excited, as you can probably tell. i'm not a very good actor. when i get excited about something, you can see it. i'm excited because i got you something. we were looking in the nbc archives today, for something totally unrelated to what we found. that's a long story. but what we came across was some footage from the presidential election in 1988. now, you may have seen little pieces of this, little snippets of this have been sort of dug up and posted elsewhere this year, because of i