tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC September 23, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
yesterday. sandy and lonnie phillips certainly care enough especially because of the tragedy they have been through. i want to thank them for joining us tonight. chris hayes is up next. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. tonight on "all in," republican senator ted cruz is quickly becoming notorious in washington for being hated by everyone except himself. also tonight, the latest on the terrorist attack in kenya. just a few hours ago, kenyan officials said that after three days, the siege was finally over. plus, a blockbuster expose of the clintons, a piece i'm sure the clintons wish had never been written about a guy they'd rather you not know about. the author of that book will be here. those stories are ahead. first, we begin with the great ted cruz backlash of 2013. tonight, minority leader mitch mcconnell announced he will not
support ted cruz's long shot strategy to filibuster the budget resolution in the u.s. senate. that's a rapid change of fortunes for cruz, who just a short week ago was celebrating his improbable victory in which he almost single-handedly pushed house speaker john boehner to do something he manifestly did not want to do, pass a continuing resolution that would defund obama care. but ted cruz's biggest victory in his very short senatorial career could be his biggest defeat, revealing that there was an entire lake of contempt for ted cruz out there just waiting for the dam to burst. and this week -- >> this has been one of the strangest weeks i've ever had in washington, and i say that because as soon as we listed ted cruz as our featured guest this week, i got unsolicited research and questions not from democrats but from top republicans. >> fox's chris wallace may have been shocked by the republican
op-ed research dump on ted cruz, but it's a sign of the time. as of this week, all of washington, d.c., is in open revolt against the junior senator from texas. >> a u.s. senator called me yesterday morning and said, i'm going to be watching senator cruz on "fox news sunday" because i don't know what his next step is. >> those who are pushing to shut down our government include a senator from texas who has a harvard law degree. i assume that in the course of his harvard education, he learned how to count to 60. >> i didn't think it would be smart to send the house bill to the senate and we filibuster our own bill. >> one senator, a republican senator, said it's the dumbest idea he ever heard. >> ted cruz has climbed out on a limb, and now it's getting sawed off. >> tactics and strategies ought to be based on what the real world is, and we do not have the political power to do this. >> reporter: today, greg sergeant of "the washington post" reporting a quote from a house republican aide that compared ted cruz to one of the great bullies in modern pop culture.
"they, cruz and his allies" are reminiscent of the cobra kai group from karate kid," sweep the leg, sweep the leg! just to play that analogy out, johnny, representing the republicans, listening to his sensei, representing ted cruz, swept the leg. kick him in the face and take home the big trophy, in this case, obama care, but that said all of this villainize something what ted cruz wants because for ted cruz being the most hated man in washington is a badge of honor. what is not a badge of honor is being viewed as a snobby, overcredentialed jerk, and that is the picture of ted cruz painted vividly in a new "gq" profile out today, which notes as a law student at harvard, cruz "refused to study with anyone who hadn't been an undergrad at harvard, princeton or yale.
says damon watson, one of cruz's law school roommates, he said he didn't want anybody from minor ivies like penn or brown. while working for george w. bush's campaign, he was also known for dispatching regular updates on his accomplishments that one recipient likened to "the cards people send about their families at christmas, except ted's were only about him and were more frequent." "gq" also retells the story of the oil painting ted cruz has hanging in his senate office. it's a story ted cruz had previously told abc news and one that stephen colbert knocked down handily. >> i have always liked the fact that i sit in my office, and i look at a giant painting of me getting my tail whipped 9-0, and it is very good for instilling humility. >> yes. i've got to tell you, i don't know what part of this painting comes off as more humble. is it the hint of halo surrounding his head, or is it look toward heaven, or is it all the people in this painting of
him who are painting more paintings of him? >> but while ted cruz may have earned the eyre of democrats and republicans alike, he has found one stalwart ally. after defending cruz on fox, sarah palin jumped fully into the bunker with him, tweeting at fox news sunday night, "keep it truly fair and balanced. release the gop names encouraging you to trash senator ted cruz. no more anonymous sources." the backlash against ted cruz, however, has not slowed him down. earlier today on the senate floor, he continued to play the part, laying into harry reid and senate democrats. >> we all know that 3 1/2 years ago, obama care was forced into law on a strict party-line vote, by straight, brute force, but it shouldn't be funded that way. that's not the way a government should proceed. >> joining me now is senator sheldon whitehouse, democrat from rhode island and a member of the senate budget committee,
and i want to talk budget process with you, which, man, will that keep the viewers around. but before we get to that -- no, because i have to confess, i do this for a living, and i am so gd confused. so i want you to explain things to me. but, first of all, i have to get your response to what ted cruz said in the well of the senate, forced into law, straight, brute force. is that your constitutional understanding of how obama care came to be? >> well, i think it went through both the house and the senate, bicameral procedure. and i would note particularly that in the senate, this was actually quite a bipartisan effort at the beginning until the message came down to the republicans to walk away at all costs. and we did hundreds of amendments in committee, many of them republican amendments. so, it's a little bit like the orphan throwing himself on the mercy of the court, having killed his parents. to say that, you know, this was rammed down our throats because we all decided to walk away from it in order to damage the president. >> okay.
>> it takes a bit of nerve. >> okay, so, here's my question. the house has sent you over a continuing resolution. the senate is now scheduled to vote on a continuing resolution that's going to keep the government open. and it's looking like it's not going to be voted on probably properly until friday, i'm understanding, or maybe over the weekend? am i wrong that there is -- the clock is running out to avoid a shutdown? >> there are one or potentially two cloture votes that may be required, and each one of those cloture votes locks in a 30-hour period for debate. unless the republicans yield back that time, you could have to burn all of those hours, and that could run it into friday, conceivably, depending on the delaying tactics that they use. you could even run it into the weekend, but we're hoping that they'll make their points and be reasonable and move on so that you don't get to a real
hair's breadth cliffhanger in something as important as an american government shutdown at stake. >> senator, you just said we hope they're going to make their points and be reasonable and move on. >> i know. >> that strikes terror in my heart if that is the game plan. >> it hasn't been the recent record, but you know, this is a fight that sooner or later had to come. the sensible and moderate republicans are fed up and furious with having been bullied and heckled and lectured by the tea party fanatics. i think what you're seeing coming back at ted cruz is general blow maback against the tea party fanaticism and how bullied they've been of their colleagues. if you look around the republican caucus rooms, most of the bodies hanging in the corner of lost colleagues were taken out by tea party attacks, not by democrats. and so, i think a lot of the moderate republicans have just plain had it, and they're pushing back, and it will be really good for our country if they successfully push back. a lot of them have been afraid of these tea party guys for too long because they've looked at their colleagues who lost primaries and think, oh, gosh, better keep my head down and not
cross these guys. but i think this is getting to be that tipping point where they're really fed up and want to go back to being a rational party again. >> is there some part of me that shouldn't be won over by someone who destroys the kind of clubby collegiality of the senate? because there's part of me that thinks, like, obviously, ted cruz stands for everything i don't stand for substantively, but i also kind of like someone who is making his colleagues angry, because that body seems so fricking dysfunctional to me, and i've got to think there's something to it. if everyone is mad at you in the senate, then maybe you're doing something right. >> yeah, well, the problem is that it's dysfunctional because of this constant extremism that comes up. >> right. >> and i don't think the cure for that poison is a worse dose of that poison. >> that's a very, very good point. senator sheldon whitehouse, thank you so much. enjoyed it. >> thank you. >> joining me now is michael steele, msnbc contributor, former chairman of the rnc. all right, i am, like i was just telling you before we went on camera, i am fascinated by the ted cruz, ted cruz as a
polarizing figure. >> right, right. >> why are people so -- why is he so polarizing right now among conservatives and republicans? >> well, but look who you're talking about. you're not talking about rank and file republicans out there. you don't see the uproar and consternation coming from grassroots activists around the country, the sarah palin wing of the party. you don't see that. this is the establishment. >> right. >> this is what you just -- the point you just made. well, you know, if he's getting the old folks all fired up, there must be something to it, and that's his mindset. his mind-set is to go and to change the system to force it to look at itself and deal with new realities. >> all right, you sound sympathetic to him, but this has also been -- every single person -- >> i'm always with the outlier, you know. >> well, you're with the outlier, but i also feel like you have run head long into what the demands the base make, which can sometimes be difficult to heed -- >> and they can be. >> -- and run a successful party, and this is a breaking point moment. i mean, you have have tom coburn. and tom coburn is no squish. >> strict conservative. >> this is strategic suicide.
>> now, keep in mind, there is a general strategy that is a political strategy by the party officials to move this legislation or to block legislation, and then there is the personal strategy, which tends to fall a little bit more into the ted cruz camp, which puts him in the position, he's the driver, he's the main focus of the debate. it's not the issue, it's not the substance of the argument. it is what the man himself is all about. and so i think what ted needs to do at this point, you got our attention. now back off. and begin to bring the leadership around to a different kind of solution -- >> but there's no -- that's the thing is it's very clear -- >> there's nobody doing that, right. >> i don't think he understands. obviously, everyone says what a smart guy he's been, and i actually have seen him argue in the supreme court. i was blown away by how good he was, but he doesn't seem to understand the procedure at play here. like the things he was telling chris wallace in the interview this sunday didn't make a ton of sense. he's backed himself into a procedural corner. there is no game plan. >> again, when you are taking yourself outside of the process
so far that you can't wrap back around into it, you have this problem where you're standing there alone, which is where he is right now, and where even the base that you have inside the membership, inside the club, is not feeling it. >> so, here's my question. obviously, this helps him with the conservative grass roots. >> oh, yeah. >> if he is hated, if john mccain hates him and we're beating up on him on msnbc, this is all -- >> oh, he's loving it. >> the thing is -- here's my question to you. the "gq" profile, the fascinating thing about ted cruz is he is a creature of the grass roots, but he is as much a creature of the american elite as any single politician in american today. the guy is credentialed up the wazoo. and when you read those quotes in "gq" about i won't study with anyone who didn't go to harvard, yale or princeton, that doesn't play very well with the conservative grass root, does it? >> how about the brother from the community college? he'd like to get a little bit of the harvard glow flowing his way. and you're right, that's the sort of elitism that doesn't get exposed too readily, that you do have this bifurcation of personality. i have my grass roots. >> that's exactly right. >> i'm down with the people, but
only after i have my latte. >> right. >> you so, so that's the problem. >> do you think he's vulnerable there? >> oh, i think so. i think ultimately it becomes like swiss cheese, holes that you can go in through and have a problem with. he'll have a problem with down the road. but that's if he does a presidential race, because as you saw, they get into the oppo research out on the guy already. >> i know. >> so, there clearly is a button that's been pushed within the party by him. the question for him now is, does he back it down? he got everybody's attention. does he back it down and begin to play so we don't walk into this trap on monday? >> so here's -- that's the trap on monday. there's two options for him, quickly, which is that if this thing resolves, and they pass and continue a resolution that funds obama care, he gets to be the great hero in defeat, right? >> right. >> but if there's a shutdown and there's a huge backlash against the republican party and the bluff is called, then he is in trouble. msnbc -- >> it's called sol, my friend. >> msnbc contributor michael steele. >> good to be with you. >> always a pleasure. at least, some huge, good news out of kenya, where there's
been a major development in the hostage situation in the mall in nairobi that has been site to one of the most horrific attacks on civilians we've seen. we'll bring you the latest and talk to a journalist who has been shot at by the alleged masterminds of the attack, next. [ male announcer ] don't miss red lobster's endless shrimp. it's as much as you like, any way you like. try classic garlic shrimp scampi and more. only $15.99, offer ends soon. so come in and sea food differently. now, try seven lunch choices for $7.99. sandwiches, salads and more. now, try seven lunch choices for $7.99. forty ti mes. that's how often a group of house republicans have voted against obamacare, just to prove their allegiance to their party's right wing. okay - they've said their piece. but now they've gone even further... threatening to shut down the government if obamacare isn't dismantled. it could disrupt social security and veterans benefits, hurt job growth and undermine our economic recovery - tell these house republicans - enough already!
we always love hearing from you on facebook and twitter. for tonight's question, i want to ask you about our good, good friend, senator ted cruz. we just keep learning new things about the guy. here it is. what is the next great biographical nugget we will find out about the junior senator from texas? take your best guess, be creative. this is a fun one. tweet your answers to allinwithchris. or post on facebook. i'll share a couple at the end of the show and we'll be right back. re awkward conversations than i'm equipped for, because i'm raising two girls on my own. i'll worry about the economy more than a few times before they're grown. but it's for them, so i've found a way.
at this hour, kenyan security forces claim to be in control of the westgate premiere shopping mall in nairobi, kenya, the site of one of the most horrifying terror attacks in recent memory. the kenyan interior ministry saying "our forces are combing the mall floor by floor looking for anyone left behind. we believe all hostages have been released." this hour, the kenyan government hasn't yet made a full accounting. midday saturday, nairobi, kenya, a mall that could easily be mistaken for any major mall in the u.s. or anywhere in the world, fell under attack by 10 to 15 gunmen, reportedly from the islamist al shabaab militia. one eyewitness was an american who had recently moved to nairobi from north carolina. >> you could hear while we were back there them methodically kind of going from store to store, talking to people, asking questions, shooting, screams, and then it would stop for a while.
and then they would go to another store. >> another eyewitness, a software engineer, who was in the parking lot with his two daughters said they were throwing grenades like maize to chickens. he and his daughter survived. at last count, at least 62 people have died in the attack, mostly kenyans along with foreigners from britain, france, australia, canada and india. at one point, terrorists started a fire in the mall, which according to security forces, was meant as a diversion. a reported 175 people were wounded in a siege that entered its third day today. at least three assailants have been killed by security forces with at least ten suspects arrested. the attackers also took hostages as the standoff proceeded. >> we have done a search of the building, and we can confirm that the hostages, almost all of them have been evacuated. >> the kenyan foreign minister has since told al jazeera the mall attack was the work of al qaeda, not al shabaab. more on that in just a second.
president kenyatta said one of his nephews was in the mall and killed in the attack. general julius karangi of the kenyan defense forces said the terrorists are clearly a multinational collection from all over the world. the fbi is looking into reports that americans were among the attackers. "new york times" photographer tyler hicks happened to be nearby the mall when the siege began. he entered the mall along with police officers and captured these stunning images. >> once i got inside the mall, i could see how tense everyone was, the army and police, how carefully they were moving. they were dashing across open areas, taking extreme care with their cover. it seemed kind of like anywhere you looked, there would be another body. people were still hiding in shops. and as the police and the army were moving through, they would either discover people or they would sense that help had arrived, and then they would flood out. so, you get kind of moments of silence and then other moments of big streams of people who they were trying to get out as quickly as possible. it really seemed like everywhere we went, more people came out of the woodwork.
and at one sense it seemed very abandoned. for example, the music that plays in the shopping mall, the typical kind of music, was still playing on the intercom. so, it was kind of this eerie silence with this music interrupted occasionally by gunfire. terrified people were crying, screaming, just running for their lives, really. i never thought that i would encounter this kind of tragedy in a public place like this, where completely innocent civilians were just gunned down and murdered. it's not like a conventional war where you expect combatants to get hurt or expect there to be collateral damage in those kinds of situations. this is just a suicide mission and murder. had -- >> joining me now is jeremy scahill, my colleague at "the nation" magazine where he's national security correspondent. he is also author of "dirty
wars," producer and writer of the film by the same name. jerry, you were in somalia. there's footage of you being on a rooftop with incoming fire from al shabaab fighters, basically. what do you make of the conflicting reports about whether al shabaab or al qaeda did it, and who is al shabaab and how are they different from al qaeda? >> right, well, first of all, al shabaab was a group of relative nobodies in 2006 during the bush administration. they were a sort of outlier in a group called the islamic courts union, which was largely made up of almost exclusively made up of somali actors. and these actors meaning players on the scene in somalia. and al shabaab was the sort of group among those that sort of had the most allegiance to al qaeda or affinity for osama bin laden's message, but they had no political sway whatsoever domestically within somalia. the u.s. partnered with the ethiopian military in 2006/2007 and staged an invasion of somalia, and they dismantled this government of the islamic courts union, which was the only government that brought stability in somalia since the blackhawk down episode during that regime. so, what happened as a result of
that is that the shabaab became the vanguard of what was viewed as a movement to fight off a crusading force backed by the united states. so shabaab started to get street credibility within somalia because they were the only ones fighting. the rest of the networks had been disrupted, co-opted, killed or imprisoned by the americans or ethiopians. so, what happened at the end of the day is that al qaeda was able to get a foothold in somalia, and it had never been able to before. bin laden desperately wanted to get into somalia and somalis rejected him. the u.s. invasion with ethiopia opened the door and shabaab has gotten increasing ly militant as the years have gone on. >> and they clearly seem to have an agenda if, in fact, this is somali al shabaab fighters behind this. why would they attack a kenyan mall? >> well, there's a long history of al qaeda in east africa and then eventually al shabaab staging attacks in kenya and elsewhere in africa. >> of course, the embassy bombings. >> yes, in '98 in tanzania and kenya, but there was also a 2002 attempt to shoot down israeli aircraft in mombasa. then you had the bombing at the world cup in 2010 in uganda, an american citizen was killed in that, as well as a number of ugandans.
and i think that, you know, if you look at the past two years, kenya has been deeply involved with somali politics, funding warlords. i traveled with a kenyan-backed warlord who had brand-new military equipment given to him in the summer of 2011, and then kenya actually staged an invasion of parts of southern somalia. and i think shabaab has seized on this idea that kenya is a puppet or a proxy for the u.s., and that's really the message that they've propagandized. >> what does it say about the state of al qaeda or global jihadis in 2013 that this attack happened, that it's coming from possibly somalia? it seems to me like it's the situation which we smash one or disrupt one network and they seem to pop up somewhere else. >> right. you know, something interesting is that when i was last in somalia in the summer of 2011, the head of al qaeda in east africa was killed in mogadishu, fazul mohammed. and among the documents seized, and i reported on this in my book, were letters from fazul to ayman al zawahiri, the number two in al qaeda. and what fazul said is shabaab
is making a mistake by trying to hold territory in somalia and what you need to do is go back to managing savagery. there is a famous al qaeda paper called "the management of savagery," and the idea is make it impossible for anyone else to govern. make people feel fear and that the government cannot protect them. >> chaos. >> and i think that's part of what we're seeing. but there's no one al shabaab right now, which is why you see the kenyans -- >> they have splintered and it's not clear who is exactly controlling the organization. journalist jerry scahill, thank you very much. that works best for you. mi familia. ♪ [ male announcer ] we want to help you achieve your best health, so you can keep doing the things that are important to you. taking care of our customers. taking care of her. and the next thing on our list is bungee jumping. [ male announcer ] helping you -- now that's what's important to us.
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on friday, i was on "realtime with bill maher." i want to go back and do a reality check on something someone said about obama care, because it was just totally wrong. and this is the biggest day of the calendar year for bill and hillary clinton, but there's a new whiff of scandal at the clinton foundation while the author of a blockbuster new piece coming up. first, i want to share the three awesomest things on the internet today, beginning with a truly awesome vehicle, the lamborghini aventadore, a triumph of innovation. this 700-horsepower mean machine is capable of speeds over 200 miles per hour and comes at the low, low price of just $400,000. which is why if i ever bought one of these things, i'd try really, really hard not to crash it. unfortunately, that's what happened in brooklyn, new york, over the weekend, captured on security camera video. the driver of a white lamborghini aventadore is cut off by the driver of a dark blue mazda and good-bye $400,000 car. the good news is that both
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so, with health care exchanges set to open for enrollment on october 1st, we are just eight days away from the effective launch of obama care. and while ted cruz and his threats are soaking up a lot of attention, it's easy to lose sight of the fact we are very close to a pretty incredible day in the history of american health care. and so, it is no surprise, the right wing has gone into overdrive in trying to shape the narrative of that day before it happens. not least by once again sewing the seeds of misinformation oew the seeds of misinformation about the impact of law. i was on hbo's "realtime with bill maher" on friday night when i got to encounter a real-life example of this from the mouth of republican speech writer and
journalist david frum, who said the following -- >> it is about to have a very likely devastating impact on american employment. we can already see the rise of part-time labor and the fallaway of -- >> well, we don't know that. >> we do see that, because if your workers work less than 30 hours, you're exempted, and we have seen that's where the growth in the labor market is. >> now, i should be clear, this is not just a david frum thing. this is a huge, consistent, anti-obama care talking point. >> companies are increasingly blaming the health reform law for the rise in part-time work. >> they're moving towards far more part-time work, that is, less than 30 hours a week. >> president obama never sold the affordable care act to the american people by saying, look, this is going to create more part-time jobs in the place of full-time jobs, and yet, that's one of the big consequences of the bill. >> and i should be clear, this is also not just coming from the right. this notion that obama care is killing full-time jobs has seeped into the mainstream media as well. >> we have confirmed more than
100 emory health care employees are going to lose their jobs in part because of the affordable health care act. >> turns out, that wasn't so much confirmed as, well, untrue. as "the atlantic" pointed out, top officials said the layoffs have nothing to do with obama care. that's a quote. and frum and his allies don't have it right heart either. here's what i told them on "realtime." the trend an increase towards part-time work precedes the passage of obama care. we should be very clear on this. this is probably a larger structural labor market trend. i wanted to circle back to that point to emphasize the point with actual data which i didn't have access to while at bill maher's table. so look at this chart. i wish i had that chart. i wish i could have drawn this chart in that moment. there was indeed a huge spike in part-time work, but it came with the great recession in 2008 and the financial crisis. since then, involuntary part-time employment, that is, workers who would like to work full-time jobs but are stuck in part-time jobs has trended actually downward.
this is part and parcel of the broader republican case against president obama, which is to basically blame everything that has happened because of the worst financial crisis in seven years on the president himself. and it isn't to say there aren't employers who say obama care is forcing them to cut hours, but as economist mark zandi has pointed out, the claim that obama care is causing some large-scale shift to part-time work is simply not borne out by the data. if obama care is going to be the disaster conservatives say it will, we will all know that very shortly. there is no reason to lie about it ahead of time. if anything, republicans should be excited for the experiment to start so they can be proven right. the fact that they're so intent on spinning ahead of time shows that they're actually nervous the thing's going to work. my mother made the best toffee in the world.
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♪ that's what makes the world's leading airline... flyer friendly. ♪ you may not know it, but today is clinton day. it's the first monday of the last week of september, which means it's the kickoff to the clinton global initiative, a gathering of global bold-faced names in new york, so headline-grabbing, it overshadows the meeting of the world leaders over at the u.n. you can look at it as a week-long apple product rollout, and this year it's as hotly anticipated as any in recent memory, and that's because hillary clinton is now working for what has been called the family business, the nonprofit that once used only her
husband's name but now has been renamed the bill, hillary and chelsea clinton foundation. to complement her new role, mrs. clinton also gave her first interview since leaving her post as secretary of state. "new york" magazine tried to convince the public that she and bill are just kicking back and taking it easy. "we laugh at our dogs, we watch stupid movies, we take long walks." and, yes, she is also considering running for president, adding "i will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other." complicating matters, a new blockbuster expose from "the new republic" on some pretty suspect dealings within the clinton foundation. at the center of it, a guy named doug band, bill clinton's former bodyman, longtime confidante. bant oversaw the clinton global initiative and founded his own consulting firm dependent on his relationship with clinton. as reporter alec mcgillis who will join me in a moment writes, "for corporations attaching clinton's band, the social incentives helped the helped the move. for further incentive,
they could hope for a kind word from clinton next time they landed in a sticky spot." they would come to the president and say, we need your help on this. "negotiating these relationships and the trade-offs they required can involve some gray areas, but for that, clinton had band." as a former clinton white house colleague put it, band was a gatekeeper who charged tolls. but now he and clinton only see each every few months and band's position in the foundation is being taken over by chelsea clinton. both the former first daughter and her mother are reportedly wary of band. band's former boss publicly defended him earlier. >> there's nothing wrong with him starting a business for people he met working for me. that's the only way he could have met people he could do business with. i'm grateful for the role he played when we started out, and i wish him well. i think it was necessary, and i believe he came to see it was necessary to make a clean break because his business grew more quickly than i think even he thought it was.
>> alec mcgillis wrote that piece on the clintons for "the new republic." how did the piece come about? >> it came about a long time ago back in, gosh, i think before the electric, before the 2012 election. one of my editors approached me and said we think it's time to do a good profile of doug band. he's been in the background in a lot of stories in the last decade or so. his profile's been growing, but he's never been focused on. so, i started making calls. basically, the day after the election. it's been a very long slog. clinton land is locked down more than ever before, so it's been on and off for ten months now. >> so, explain who this guy is and the role he plays. >> he's a fascinating figure. he's just a very complicated and fascinating figure. he was the guy who carried -- he was the body man for bill clinton, the character we know from "west wing" as charlie young, who he helped tutor to play that role. so, he comes in as the last body man for bill clinton in 1999-2000, carries the bags, carries the cigar case, carries the cokes, diet cokes, and then after president clinton leaves
the white house, he stays with clinton. he headed off for goldman sachs, he could have just taken a regular, successful business route. he stays with president clinton, stays in that role of assistant, travels all around the world with him, just hundreds of cities, dozens of countries, on the private jets for all these years and becomes basically the main guy. >> yeah. if you want to get bill clinton to come to your event or get to him, you go through doug band, basically. >> exactly. >> so, what's the problem here? what is the -- the scandal is in the headline of your piece. like to justify the use of that word to me. >> well, the use of scandal was a bit of a headline writer's irony, but, no, but there is a problem, and the problem is that there's been increasing overlap, really between both for doug band and for sort of bill clinton and clinton land as a whole, overlap between the great public good that they've been doing, including doug band. doug band helped come up with the clinton global initiative, which has distributed billions of dollars around the world. >> done amazing stuff.
>> does amazing stuff, b there's been increasing overlap between that public good and private benefit. >> there's two stories i want to get out of you from the piece. one is about the post-office, which it was a jaw-dropping story to me. what happened with the post office? >> so, in 2009, doug band's family owns the post office in sarasota. his dad's a very successful real estate -- >> they own the building the post office leases from. >> exactly, the main post office in sarasota where doug is from. the postal service, desperate to get its finances in better shape, wants to buy this building back from the family. they have sort of a lease-to-buy arrangement. the family objects to the terms that the postal service -- >> the price. >> the price. the postal service offers 800 grand for this building. the family wants a lot more. so doug places a call in the summer of 2009 to a longtime clinton fund-raiser who happens to sit on the postal service board of governors, this is the board that's supposed to be looking out for the interests of the postal service and the taxpayer and all that. and places the call and this guy, this man, a philadelphia
lawyer by the name of allen kessler, jumps into action, just makes calls, e-mails all around the postal service saying, please fix this. doug band could go to capitol hill and cause problems for us. doug band is so-and-so and -- >> we need to buy -- we have to pay more money for this post office in sarasota because the right-hand man of the ex-president of the united states called me on the phone and said so. >> exactly, and there's a wonderful exchange of e-mails that i got in a freedom of information request through chatter about chelsea's wedding and a lot of sort of clinton land -- >> isn't this just the way that all of the 1% roll? like couldn't you just do the same thing on the bushies, on any prominent -- like this moving back and forth between public and private, like that's just how everyone works, right? >> it is how washington works these days, and that's a real had problem. what i think sets this apart is the scale of it. the amounts of money involved that are sort of swirling around
doug and clinton land are just enormous. >> i want to talk about that. we should also say we reached out to the clinton global initiative and doug band for comment. neither got back to us. we will be back with someone who wrote a piece on the clintons only to have it spiked from the magazine. [ tires screech ] ♪ [ male announcer ] 1.21 gigawatts. today, that's easy. ge is revolutionizing power. supercharging turbines with advanced hardware and innovative software. using data predictively to help power entire cities. so the turbines of today...
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still with me is alec macgillis and joining me is rebecca tracer, journalist and author of the fantastic book "big girls don't cry: the election that changed everything for american women." and joshua green, national correspondent for bloomberg businessweek. in 2007, he wrote a piece about hillary clinton for "gq" that ended up being spiked from the
magazine as it was printing a cover story about bill clinton. alec, i want to come back to you quickly, because it's interesting to me, and this is what i really want to discuss here. people on the internet are saying, people on twitter are like, this is whitewater 2.0, this is scandal mongering. what's the actual scandal here? like, i guess the question is, there seem to be two plausible stories about the clintons. one is that they involve themselves in shady dealings, they have these hangers-ons who sort of trade on their name for all kinds of unseemingly transactional stuff, doug band is an example. that's one possible story. the other story is they're basically like any other prominent, wealthy, powerful family or figures in america, and our level of scrutiny 100 times higher because they're the clintons. persuade me we're talking about the former and not the latter. >> i think it's the scale. the amount of money we're talking about here is just on a whole different order of magnitude, because i mean, a lot of people sort of, you know, do the transactional thing, but few do it with some of the richest people in the world.
we're talking about private jets flying all around to meetings with a lot of petrocrats and sort of top-level, davos-level consorting. >> and you guys are basically saying there's essentially this kind of tacit favor trading, even if it knocks the quid pro quo, which is i give to the global initiative as a philanthropic gesture, bill clinton endorses me to some easy on beck ruler and i then get a mental resources deal with the ozbek government because bill clinton did -- >> that actually happened. the other part of it is just the amount of money coming into the clinton circle is just on a magnitude different. $100 million in speaking fees. doug band is already up to a 200-person company, living in a palatial apartment overlooking central park south. this is success on a different level than i think we're even used to. >> what do you think when you hear this? >> part of what i think is that
if this conversation had been taking place ten months ago when you started writing the piece, i would have been pushing back at both of you over the use of the clintons as a thing because one of the things -- >> that's a really good point. >> -- that we have to point out is that the post white house years for bill clinton, which is when he forms the cgi, when this relationship with doug band becomes so complicated, these are the same years which hillary clinton is embarking on her entirely politically independent career, she's a senator, running a historic race for president and is running the department -- >> and they're basically talking on the phone. >> exactly. and as alec's great piece and the piece in "new york" magazine make clear is there has been a ravine between clintonland, which is bill's world and hillaryland. these are two separate worlds, and if anything, hillary is suspicious of this kind of fratty cabal that alec's writing about right now. but i am interested and troubled by the choice that hillary has
made strategically to join the family foundation, because that brings her in, and now it's clinton -- >> they're all there, and in some ways, the narrative is things got out of hand, bill sort of let doug band run wild. now hillary clinton, who did a great job managing the state department, is back in town. chelsea clinton's going to whip things in shape. josh, is that your sense of the way the story's being presented or understood? >> no, not at all. what was so striking to me about alec's piece was it showed that this idea of an advisor run amuck is really endemic to both clintons. we look back at the '08 campaign now and remember it as this glorious obama triumph, but what really happened was that hillary's senior advisers were so busy trying to amass their own power and personal fortunes that they stopped paying attention to what was best for the campaign and ultimately got out-maneuvered. and it seems to me reading alec's piece that both clintons as really have a blind spot for this sort of thing, and if they
fall prey to an extent or at least don't think to disassociate themselves or recognize when this becomes a problem. >> i think that's an absolutely fair observation about '08, though i would also say that as many people have looked back and said what was hillary's strategic mistake then, it was that she was relying on bill's team, on this sort of same group of guys who came in, and i would say and have said drastically mismanaged her campaign, and that one of the lessons after that and after the state department should have perhaps been steering very clear. >> well, and one of the things i think that's clear here is this article portends 100 articles like it, because the clinton global initiative is something that i don't think has gotten a ton of very skeptical scrutinizing press, partly because they're ostensibly doing very work and demonstrably are doing excellent work. but now in the context of the possibility of the hillary clinton run, all of a sudden, what the initiative does is the way it bestrides the different worlds of ngos, world leaders and billionaires and the kind of transactional circulation that happens amongst them, which i've
written about as a reporter myself, i've witnessed up close, there's going to be a lot more stories like this. >> there are, and i think the other reason this is a problem for hillary, if she were to run, is that we seem to be in kind of a populist moment right now. it's pretty remarkable what you've seen in the last few weeks, larry summers going down, phil de blasio winning in new york. there's just a moment where it seems as if the democratic party's going through some kind of churn about just where it wants to be in terms of banking and money and all that. >> right. it's the 1 percentness. >> exactly. so, to the extent you have the clintons, all of them, but especially bill, out there with -- i mean, more 1% than you could even imagine. that may not help matters and it may open up to a left challenge. >> although, josh, it is also the case that these are two people who are as defined in the public mind as any politicians of our time, right? i mean, the question is how much mallability is there around perceptions of these two individuals? >> i actually think there is a
decent bit. i think that's right in the sense that, you know, if someone tries to drudge up whitewater, our image of both clintons on old scandals like that is baked in. but all the stuff in alec's piece is new information. and a lot has transpired in the eight years or however long it's been since clinton left the white house. and with all the attention on clinton and his business cronies and all the kind of chaos that just naturally seems to kind of show up in hillaryland, i think it really could be a problem for her if she decides to run. >> i couldn't think of something more ironic than for this to blow up and sabotage a hillary clinton campaign. that would give you another book. >> well, this is why i really raised my eyebrows when i heard she was going to the foundation. there were 46 other things she could have done with the intervening two years, if she wants to run for president. >> alec, rebecca tracer and josh green from bloomberg business