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MSNBC's Hayes Frets Over 500th Execution in Texas, But Sees 'Draconian' Bill Against Abortion

Media Research CenterOn Thursday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes suggested that Texas Governor Rick Perry should feel a "burden" because he has presided over the execution of more death row inmates than any other governor in modern history, and then seemed to mock the Texas Republican for being both pro-life and pro-capital punishment as he noted that Perry had addressed the National Right to Life Conference after pushing a "draconian" law against abortion.

Hayes began the show on a cheerful note by playing up the possibility of a resurgence of the Texas Democratic Party. After teasing the show, the MSNBC host began:

But tonight, we start with the uprising in the state of Texas. An uprising that started last week when Democrats and activists there began to mobilize against a restrictive abortion bill making its way through the Texas senate. And that uprising has only gained strength. And if you want to know why right now people in Texas are rising up, and why it's not likely to end any time soon, let me tell you about Texas Governor Rick Perry's last 26 hours.

Hayes then moved on to hand-wringing over the number of executions in Texas:

At 6:37 p.m. last night, the state of Texas executed its 500th inmate, a woman by the name of Kimberly McCarthy, a former cocaine addict who was convicted of killing her 71-year-old neighbor in a 1997 robbery. It is the 261st execution Rick Perry has signed off on as governor, far and away the most executions carried out by any governor in modern history. In fact, Rick Perry has signed off on more executions in his nearly 13 years as governor than any other state has executed total in the last 38 years. And Texas, which last night reached the macabre milestone of 500 executions, has killed more people than the next six states combined.

The MSNBC host then suggested that Governor Perry should feel reservations about convicted murderers being put to death:

What a burden that must be for one man to carry, to have presided over the deaths of so many people.

To make Perry appear heartless, Hayes then followed up with a clip of Governor Perry from a 2011 presidential debate appearance declaring that he was not bothered by the number of executions in his state:

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC ANCHOR, HOSTING A GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN 2011: Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. (AUDIENCE APPLAUSE) Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY, (R-TX): No, sir, I've never struggled with that at all.

Hayes then referred to Perry getting a "good night's sleep" before going to speak at a pro-life gathering, and suggested inconsistency in wanting to ban abortion while supporting the death penalty:

That was in 2011. Since then, 27 more people have been put to death in Texas on Rick Perry's watch. But this morning, after what was likely a good night's sleep, Rick Perry woke up and he headed to Dallas to deliver the keynote address at the National Right to Life conference, where he reaffirmed that he's going to keep pushing Senate Bill 5, the draconian abortion restriction bill that State Senator Wendy Davis, Texas Democrats, and a raucous group of ordinary people managed to stop Tuesday night.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, June 27, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

CHRIS HAYES: But tonight, we start with the uprising in the state of Texas. An uprising that started last week when Democrats and activists there began to mobilize against a restrictive abortion bill making its way through the Texas senate. And that uprising has only gained strength. And if you want to know why right now people in Texas are rising up, and why it's not likely to end any time soon, let me tell you about Texas Governor Rick Perry's last 26 hours.

At 6:37 p.m. last night, the state of Texas executed its 500th inmate, a woman by the name of Kimberly McCarthy, a former cocaine addict who was convicted of killing her 71-year-old neighbor in a 1997 robbery. It is the 261st execution Rick Perry has signed off on as governor, far and away the most executions carried out by any governor in modern history. In fact, Rick Perry has signed off on more executions in his nearly 13 years as governor than any other state has executed total in the last 38 years. And Texas, which last night reached the macabre milestone of 500 executions, has killed more people than the next six states combined. What a burden that must be for one man to carry, to have presided over the deaths of so many people.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC ANCHOR, HOSTING A GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN 2011: Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. (AUDIENCE APPLAUSE) Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY, (R-TX): No, sir, I've never struggled with that at all.

HAYES: That was in 2011. Since then, 27 more people have been put to death in Texas on Rick Perry's watch. But this morning, after what was likely a good night's sleep, Rick Perry woke up and he headed to Dallas to deliver the keynote address at the National Right to Life conference, where he reaffirmed that he's going to keep pushing Senate Bill 5, the draconian abortion restriction bill that State Senator Wendy Davis, Texas Democrats, and a raucous group of ordinary people managed to stop Tuesday night.

PERRY CLIP #1: What we witnessed Tuesday was nothing more than the hijacking of the democratic process. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

PERRY CLIP #2: And this is simply too important a cause to allow unruly actions of a few to stand in its way. And that is the reason that I have announced that I am bringing lawmakers back to Austin, Texas to finish their business.

HAYES: If you watched this show last night, Wendy Davis made it clear that it was Perry and his Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst who'd hijacked the democratic process.

STATE SENATOR WENDY DAVIS (D-TX): Governor Perry and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst led the charge in terms of a breakdown in decorum. They have overridden and made a mockery of all of the rules that we run by in this state.

HAYES: This morning, Rick Perry went out of his way to take an incredible shot at the woman who led the 13-hour filibuster that stopped, temporarily, the anti-abortion bill, Wendy Davis.

PERRY: Who are we to say that children born in the worst of circumstances can't grow to live successful lives? In fact, even the woman that filibustered in the Senate the other day, was born into difficult circumstances. She was the daughter of a single woman. She was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate. It's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example, that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.

HAYES: The biographical details about Wendy Davis there are accurate, but I have now watched that clip, I don't know, half a dozen times, and I still can't figure out what the hell he's trying to say. Is the point that because Wendy Davis herself didn't have an abortion that she should oppose abortion? Wendy Davis today responded to the governor. She said, "His statement is without dignity and tarnishes the high office he holds. They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view." Rick Perry seems to be doing everything in his power to elevate Wendy Davis, to transform the spark that has arisen in Texas into a strong and committed movement. In fact, he seems to be relishing exactly that.

PERRY: And just remember this: The louder they scream, the more we know we are getting something done.

HAYES: Rick Perry is getting something done. Something that no one has been able to do in Texas for the last two decades. And that is bring a Texas Democratic party that has been comatose for years back to life. And if that happens, if we see an insurgent Democratic party re-organized, galvanized, mobilized, and grasp its incredible demographic potential in the Lone Star State, well then, simply put, the Republican party as we know it is dead.

-- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center