MSNBC's Hayes Hypes 'Absolutely Epic' Filibuster by Texas Democrat to Defend Abortion

On Wednesday's All In show, host Chris Hayes celebrated a filibuster by Texas Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis to thwart the passage of a bill restricting abortion, calling her 11-hour filibuster "absolutely-epic" and "one of the most remarkable acts of political leadership that I've ever seen."

Hayes plugged the segment recounting a Twitter response to the speech from President Obama, as the MSNBC host added:

He was referring to the absolutely epic 11-hour filibuster by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis.

Before introducing Senator Davis as a guest, Hayes played a clip from the Texas state senate, and related:

Those were the final dramatic moments of one of the most remarkable acts of political leadership that I've ever seen. Wendy Davis, Democratic state senator from the great state of Texas, took to the floor on the final day of the senate's special session for a planned 13-hour filibuster to stop Senate Bill 5, an anti-abortion bill that would be one of the most restrictive in the entire country if passed.

He added:

And this filibuster was a genuine test of will and physical stamina. Wendy Davis was not allowed to sit down. She was not allowed to lean on anything. No one was allowed to physically help her. She could not eat or drink or use the bathroom.

Hayes compared her activities to running a marathon in his first question to the Democratic state legislator:

Senator, my first question to you is, having watched a good chunk of your filibuster today, what was going through your head at that time, and body? Was it, were you like the runner in the 26th mile of the marathon at the end of that?

After declaring that "That was an amazing, amazing moment to watch," the MSNBC host concluded the interview by asking if she would seek statewide office.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Wednesday, June 26, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

CHRIS HAYES, OPENING THE SHOW: Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes, and it has been an incredible 24 hours of democracy on display in the United States of America. Tonight, the newest and brightest star of the Democratic party, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis will be here to discuss her unbelievable filibuster, a dramatic, 11-hour stand for women and improbably victory that captured the nation's attention last night. That is coming up.

(...)

HAYES: While many people were sleeping last night, one of the most dramatic moments in politics in recent memory played out in the Texas state house -- a one-woman filibuster that lasted 11 hours. The woman who did that will be here coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Late last night, the Twitter account of the President of the United States tweeted the following, "Something special is happening in Austin tonight. #standwithwendy." He was referring to the absolutely epic 11-hour filibuster by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis. Senator Davis joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Last night into early this morning, I was one of 160,000 people watching this on the Internet. (CLIP OF CHEERING FROM THE TEXAS STATE SENATE) Those were the final dramatic moments of one of the most remarkable acts of political leadership that I've ever seen. Wendy Davis, Democratic state senator from the great state of Texas, took to the floor on the final day of the senate's special session for a planned 13-hour filibuster to stop Senate Bill 5, an anti-abortion bill that would be one of the most restrictive in the entire country if passed.

And this filibuster was a genuine test of will and physical stamina. Wendy Davis was not allowed to sit down. She was not allowed to lean on anything. No one was allowed to physically help her. She could not eat or drink or use the bathroom.

She needed to only speak about topics germane to the bill, and she needed to do this from 11:18 in the morning until 12 midnight. Wendy Davis was more than up to the challenge. And after nearly 11 hours of standing and talking, Republicans interrupted Davis's filibuster saying her discussion about ultrasound was off topic on a bill about restricting abortion rights.

And Republicans tried less than two hours before the session was over to use this alleged infraction to push through Senate Bill 5. This is when Davis's Democratic colleagues tried to use parliamentary procedures to run out the clock. They made it, until about 20 minutes before midnight when Senator Leticia Van De Putte's motion was ignored in favor of a male Republican colleague who motioned for a vote on the bill.

SENATOR LETICIA VAN DE PUTTE (D-TX): Did the President hear me state the motion? Or did the President hear me and refuse to recognize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, you are now recognized on the motion to adjourn.

VAN DE PUTTE CLIP #1: I do not wish to make that motion at this time, Senator.

VAN DE PUTTE CLIP #2: At what point m a female senator raise her hand or voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?

HAYES: Those cheers you hear, they opened up a wave of emotion in the senate gallery, and all the people who were there rooting for Wendy Davis to stop this bill realized they could take it over the finish line. With 50 minutes to go, the gallery became the Senate floor. And these cheering people kept a vote from happening before the midnight deadline. They took Wendy Davis's courageous lead and won an inspirational victory if temporary for the moment. (CLIP OF CHEERING FROM TEXAS STATE SENATE) And joining me now is Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat. She represents Fort Worth in district 10. Senator, my first question to you is, having watched a good chunk of your filibuster today. What was going through your head at that time, and body? Was it, were you like the runner in the 26th mile of the marathon at the end of that?

(STATE SENATOR WENDY DAVIS (D-TX))

HAYES: People watching what was going on, a lot of people felt that your colleagues, particularly your male Republican colleagues, were being disrespectful, were condescending to you. Did you feel that way as you stood there in that chamber?

DAVIS: You know, I did, but I wish I could tell you that was atypical here, but, on this particular issue, you know, I think it became even more stark  that we were talking about a group of primarily men who were coming together to make decisions about women's health care, and women`s access to health care in the state of Texas, and literally intruding upon private decision-making by women. And so I think maybe perhaps people viewed it more starkly in that regard.

HAYES: We just got news today, Governor Perry has called another special session for next week to push this bill among a few others. And he said this, I thought this was an interesting sentence in his statement, "We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of the state hired us to do." How do you respond to that?

(DAVIS)

HAYES: That was an amazing, amazing moment to watch. All right, there is a gubernatorial election in 2014. Your state has not elected a statewide Democrat for quite some time. Are you going to run for governor?

DAVIS: You know, I would be lying if I told you that I hadn't had aspirations to run for a statewide office. I love this state, and it's been an incredible opportunity to represent it in the Texas Senate. I think the real story will be, will the sentiment of people hold? Will they demonstrate their desire for new leadership in this state? If yesterday was any indication, I think chances are pretty good that that's going to be the case.

HAYES: Did you know there were 100,000 people watching the live stream last night? And what do you say to state legislators in Mississippi or in Alabama or in North Carolina right now that are fighting fights on exactly this terrain. What do you say to them?

DAVIS: I, you know, keep up the fight. I think that people are hungry for leadership that's going to stand up and take positions on their behalf. Yesterday, that filibuster was about handing that microphone essentially to the people of the state of Texas. And they saw it for that, and they participated in that to the extent that they could. And for me, it was a very encouraging sign that people appreciate when you take a tough stand and you do hard things in order to make sure that their personal liberties are preserved against the tide of big government intrusions that are being pushed upon them like people -- by people like Governor Perry and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst.

HAYES: Spoken like a true citizen of the republic of Texas from Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, thank you so much.