'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, May 25th, 2013
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UP with STEVE KORNACKI
May 25, 2013
Guests: David Wasserman, Eleanor Clift, Julian Zelizer, Ann Lewis, Andrew Rice, Kiron Skinner, Michael Hastings, Perry Bacon, Jr., Omar Farah
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning from New York. I`m Steve
A female suicide bomber in the Russian region of Dagestan blew herself up
earlier today, injuring at least 12 people.
Beaches are re-opening this Memorial Day weekend in New York City and New
Jersey. This is seven months after the devastation of hurricane Sandy.
But first, residents of Moore, Oklahoma, will gather at three high school
graduations today in the wake of the devastating tornado there Monday that
killed 24 people, including nine children. The town will also come
together tomorrow night for a public memorial service. Oklahoma governor,
Mary Fallin, said on Thursday that the service will be, quote, "open to all
Oklahomans or anyone else that would like to join us."
President Obama will also travel to Oklahoma tomorrow to survey the damage
and visit with families and first responders.
I want to bring in Andrew Rice. He`s the former Democratic leader of the
Oklahoma State Senate, and he`s currently the executive director of the
variety care foundation which seeks to make health care available to low-
income families in Oklahoma. Andrew comes to us now from Oklahoma City
just miles from the hard hit town of Moore. And Andrew, you know, thanks
for being with us today.
Yes. I guess, just start -- it`s been a little, you know, less than a week
since the disaster. You have the president coming this weekend. You know,
what is the mood like with people you`re talking to right now? Is it
starting to change a little bit now that it`s been a few days?
FMR. STATE SEN. ANDREW RICE, (D) OKLAHOMA: Yes, I think that, you know,
whole city has been -- it` been a rough week for everybody, obviously,
mostly for people in Moore, but as it`s starting to settle more and you get
in to the second wave of recovery now, people digging through their
belongings and starting to figure out where they can get help. I think the
city is really starting to see the long term and understand it`s going to
be a long time to recover.
KORNACKI: I wonder if you could take us back a little bit. You know,
you`re down there in Oklahoma City and there`s even in parts of Oklahoma
City, itself, that were affected by this. Just what it was like on Monday,
the storm moved through so quickly. I know there were -- there were
warnings ahead of time, but what was it like to be there and to hear the
warning and just to be there as this played out?
RICE: You know, when you live here, I mean you grow accustomed to being
weather aware. We talk about. And, usually, these storms generally form
farther out in the rural areas and there`s a bit more lead time. But for
whatever reason that day, they collided, the different fronts collided
closer to the metro area. And I believe, you know, from the time that
storm was warned tornado to the time that it touched the ground, it`s about
16 minutes, which is not a lot of time to react.
It`s only having 24 fatalities seems remarkable. I think that a lot of
people had plans in place. Neighbors had shelters. I saw one story of a
shelter built for 12 people had 22 people and two dogs in there. So, that
it was much more rapid, and there were several storms forming at one time.
Only that one became catastrophic the other ones there were concerns about.
So, the whole metro was under alert, but it really was, unfortunately,
Moore took the brunt of that terrible storm.
KORNACKI: It`s interesting what you say, I mean, if you look at the
casualties in Joplin, Missouri two years ago, you know, much larger number
than what we`re seeing from Moore despite how severe the storm was. You
talk about the shelters that were there for at least for some people One of
the points of discussion, I think, after this storm is whether rebuilding
Moore and rebuilding any town that hit like Moore is by a disaster like
Should there be some kind of a mandate to have this -- to have like
basically a safe room, you know, a fortified concrete, you know, metal rod,
I mean, that could protect against like 300 mile-per-hour winds. They`re
very expensive. You know, if you try to buy a home, it`s going to raise
the cost, you know, a couple of thousand dollars, but they would save lives
in situation like this.
Do you think -- do you see a movement towards -- towards some kind of, you
know, mandating that, making that part of every, you know, house
RICE: Definitely the conversation is definitely intensified, and I think
that, generally, the legislature here, the political climate is such over
many years that mandates because of the conservative nature of the state
are things that you know when people are hesitant about.
But I think there`s more of an understanding now that there`s ways that
through public private partnerships that costs can be offset, especially
for lower income, households, there`s ways that -- there`s a lot of time
when I was in the legislature, we had laws that we passed so we did not
pass on those costs to consumers, tax credits and other things.
There`s a representative from Rush Springs, Southern Oklahoma, Joe Dorman,
who`s been working for several years with interim studies and bills really
trying to sound the alarms about the inadequacy of our public school system
across the state of having this safe firms. I think it`s something like
less than five percent of all public schools in Oklahoma have safe areas in
the school, even though, you know, we are probably the most tornado prone
state in the whole United States.
I think the APR article yesterday came out that we`ve had third most
federal declarations of disaster to California and Texas over the last 60
years. So, these are things that about smart investment. And, I think
there`s a lot more of a willingness now that this -- for people to really
be opened to these mandates.
KORNACKI: In next -- that`s the other piece of this too is the federal
government`s response and the federal government`s role and I think you
know everybody who`s watching outside of Oklahoma this week, you know, I`m
here in new york watching this and the first thing that I sort of think of
when I see this is you know, well what can I do? What can we do? What can
the country do for Oklahoma?
And I think, is there a sense from you? I know people are trying to figure
out right now, you know, does FEMA have the money in its current budget to
pay for this. Do they -- do you have a sense right now just in general
what you think Oklahoma needs from Washington, you know, at this moment?
RICE: I mean, since that we have here is the response has been pretty
overwhelming both from the federal government side, the state, it`s
appropriated money, of course, the all the charitable money flowing in from
outside and internally, I think that there`s some of the thoughts about
long term investment and whether that the combination of whether that`s
federal money, whether that`s municipal money here that we really start
looking at the long term consequences of these disasters.
You know, we`ve had two catastrophic tornadoes in that same area of Moore
in the last 14 years. We had the bombing, of course, several years before
that. So, you`re dealing with multiple tragedies and the effects that has
on traumas. So, I think there`s a heightened dialogue now here about
mental health services. We have children now who are grown accustomed to
being quite scared when storms come in.
And that`s--I grew up here, and, you know, got nervous. But I think
there`s a different dynamic now here. So, I think the long term needs --
the short term needs are being taken care of, rebuilding disaster relief,
and I think people are feeling a lot of compassion from the country, but I
think for us to look at really how do we better prepare to deal not just
through public shelters but how do we deal with living in a place that can
be difficult from the standpoint of weather and other things like that.
KORNACKI: The other thing I do want to ask is I know you had a brother.
You lost a brother on 9/11, you know, who was living and working in New
York. What strikes me is, you know, we have another moment here where
there`s all these families right now who are grieving, who`ve lost people,
who lost children in Oklahoma, and the whole country is grieving with them.
And I wonder what that experience was like for you, you know, 12 years ago
now when you`re grieving and then your family is dealing with its own loss,
but you have, you know, your whole community and your whole country is also
sort of going through something, you know, at least somewhat similar. Does
that change the experience of grief a little bit?
RICE: I think so. I mean, I don`t have a lot to compare to why there`s,
you know, there were other tragedies that we had been affected by
personally my family, but, I think what`s hard is there`s obviously
tremendous amount of focus on the public nature of these disasters and I
saw someone who actually here locally in Moore lost, I believe, both of his
children in the tornado last week.
And those early days and weeks, there`s tremendous amount of support, and
in some ways, because of the large public component of it, you`re somewhat
numb to those effects, and I think that our experience was over time as
things got back to normal that`s when it actually became more difficult,
and i think those are my concerns and the things that I`m sensitive to work
in the public health sector with the community health organization and our
mental health services is when things get back to normal and there`s not
the interviews and other things that can help sort of take your mind off of
That the day-to-day gets very hard and, of course, New York has been
through that, Boston is probably going through that now and other areas
that Oklahoma has been there before, and I think over the long term, we`re
just going to find new ways to provide that support for the community.
KORNACKI: Yes. You know, we seem (ph) have a very micro level it`s
probably something that every family deals with. You have the funeral, you
have the wake, and everybody comes.
KORNACKI: And then, they go back to their lives and you still -- you still
have the sadness. Anyway, Andrew Rice, former Oklahoma State Senator,
executive director of the Variety Care Foundation, thanks for joining us
RICE: Thank you.
KORNACKI: Your state will be on our thoughts this weekend and in the weeks
Obama`s most candid discussion of counterterrorism policies since taking
office, that`s next.
KORNACKI: Think back, way back to the fall of 2004, October, one month
before the presidential election, 37 months after 3,000 Americans were
murdered on 9/11. Memories of that awful day were still vivid and raw here
lingered in the air. And John Kerry gave an interview to the "New York
Times" magazine. He was asked, what would it take for Americans to feel
He talked about how the country had thought about terrorism before 9/11,
about his past work as a prosecutor, about balancing the aggressive pursuit
of dangerous criminals with our basic values and way of life. "We have to
get back to the place we were," Kerry said, "where terrorists are not the
focus of our lives, but they`re a nuisance." It was a thoughtful response.
It`s also a gift to his Republican opponents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First, Kerry said defeating terrorism was really more
about law enforcement and intelligence than a strong military operation,
more about law enforcement than a strong military. Now, Kerry says we have
to get back to the place where terrorists are a nuisance like gambling and
We`re never going to end them. Terrorism, a nuisance. How can Kerry
protect us when he doesn`t understand the threat?
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m George W. Bush,
and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: It is against this backdrop the grief that John Kerry took were
talking about today when there no longer be a global war on terror in a
political price he paid for. It`s against this backdrop that what Barack
Obama said at the national Defense University on Thursday was so
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America is at a crossroads.
We must define the nature and scope of this struggle or else it will define
us. We have to be mindful of James Madison`s warning that no nation could
preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. Neither I nor any
president can promise the total defeat of terror.
We will never erase the evil that lies in the hearts of some human beings
nor stamp out every danger to our open society. Our systematic effort to
dismantle terrorist organizations must continue, but this war, like all
wars, must end. That`s what history advises. It`s what our democracy
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: In his speech, the president grappled with the counterterrorism
actions he has taken since 2009. The innocent lives claimed by drone
attacks and the ill-will generated on the countries where those attacks
have taken place, with the hunger strikes that inmates at Guantanamo are
now staging, with civil liberties that have been compromised in the name of
It was a speech that laid out a vision for how America should think about
in response to the threat of terrorism as 9/11 fades further into the past.
It was not a speech that satisfied many critics of the president`s
counterterrorism policies. We`ll get into that in a minute.
But after more than a decade of open ended war, the speech does represent
an unmistakable turning point toward the kind of future that John Kerry
talked about all those years ago, a future the country wasn`t quite ready
to think about back then but is now.
I want to bring in Kiron Skinner, former foreign policy adviser to Mitt
Romney, director of the Center for International Relations and Politics at
Carnegie Mellon University, fellow at the Hoover Institution, Michael
Hastings author of the e-book "Panic 2012: The Sublime And Terrifying
Inside Story Of Obama`s Final Campaign," the writer for buzzfeed.com and
"Rolling Stone" magazine.
Omar Farah, a staff attorney with the Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative
at the Center for Constitutional Rights, MSNBC contributor, Perry Bacon,
political editor for our sister website, Grio.com.
So, look, obviously, a ton to get into in what Obama said on Thursday, but
it did strike me that, you know, we`ve had basically in open ended war for
more than a decade now on al Qaeda and the perimeters that war have been --
have widened, have been unclear, and you have a president now who is
talking about, you know, a world without war doesn`t exist anymore and
where -- where, you know counterterrorism become as much more
responsibility of law enforcement, of intelligence, where, you know, the
CIA is involved more in, you know, espionage than sort of the drawn attacks
and all this. It does seem like we hit a turning point here this week.
KIRON SKINNER, CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY: I`m not really sure that we
did. you were right to play the clip by Kerry because I think he is kind
of settling that score for the Democrat Party that much of what we`ve seen
from the Republican side global war on terror may, in fact, be law
enforcement from a Democrat point of view. But there was a lot of George
W. Bush in that speech as well.
He`s moved so much more to the center. He was hinting at the idea that
we`re in a long term ideological struggle in a way that he`d not talked
about radical Islam before. He didn`t use those terms, but he was moving
in that direction.
So, I think it was an unbalanced speech in the sense that he was on the one
side saying let`s talk more about the law enforcement side, Congressional
oversight and, you know, closing Guantanamo Bay, but at the same time, this
goes well beyond al Qaeda.
So, he didn`t really lay out a strategy as so much put forth an academic
debate and say -- and he kind of said I`m trying to figure out where I`m
going, but where he`s going to me will take him away from his liberal base
because he was leaning toward the ideological long term.
KORNACKI: Well, that`s what was part what was so interesting about
watching it was he was kind of going through his thought process out loud -
KORNACKI: And you were kind of witnessing that in a way that you-- you
talk about a lot of George W. Bush -- we can talk about parallels or
whatever. I never heard, I never saw George W. Bush give a speech where he
conceded that, you know, he just thought that simple.
MICHAEL HASTINGS, BUZZFEED.COM: -- he had better speech writers at this
time. I don`t know what happened to the first speechwriters, but
certainly, they weren`t working on this speech.
I mean, this speech, in my view, if you compare this speech to his -- the
speech he gave in Cairo in 2009 or his Nobel Prize speech, you see in kind
of almost total rejection of the civil rights tradition that President
Obama supposedly came out of, a total rejection of any kind of these ideas
of kind of peaceful transition of a kind of trying to work with the subtle
people in different nations and just an embracive total militarism.
And the reason that I say this is because that speech to me was essentially
agreeing with President Bush and Vice President Cheney that we`re at in
this sort of neo-conservative paradigm that we`re at war with a jihadist
threat that actually is not a nuisance but the most important threat we`re
facing today. It is completely, in my view, a clear rejection of what John
Kerry said and I said an embracing military`s --
KORNACKI: But he`s talking about --
HASTINGS: He`s saying -- he says that many multiple things.
KORNACKI: Right. You know, I agree, it`s complex, but I mean --
HASTINGS: -- but he enshrines - look, the two key things that I took away
from that speech is that Obama has enshrined the two most radical
principles of the Bush doctrine. The first is, oh, he got rid of -- sort
of got rid of torture and sort of got rid of (INAUDIBLE) but enshrines
At the same time, he doesn`t apologize for -- he won`t apologize for the
scandal in Benghazi, he won`t apologize for the IRS and a few bad apples
and he says, no, the AP is spying (ph) on (INAUDIBLE) so he enshrined
killing people and spying on journalists as the two major tenants of his
national security state. I think this is outrageous.
PERRY BACON, JR., MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I don`t agree with what Michael said,
let me just be blunt about it.
HASTINGS: Well, I read your piece. I read you piece. It was essentially,
you know, talking points from the White House. it was stenography and, you
know, I mean, look, I dig your work and I, you know, read it in the past as
a colleague, but I was not impress with the piece that we were setting
around by the --
KORNACKI: Let`s let Perry explain what he said before we say we`re not
KORNACKI: Let`s hear it first.
BACON: There were two parts of that speech I thought that was one where
the president sort of redefining what his -- where the war on terror is
going, it`s winding down. He`s trying to talk about drones. The part that
I didn`t agree with you in terms of like comparing to it Bush was I thought
the speech had a lot of ambiguity if the president has views about it which
BACON: -- ambiguity about the war on terror. This is the speech very much
about he`s trying to talking out loud and speech that hear my views. He
kept on saying over and over again this is a just war, but it should be
limited and we should look at ways to wind it down, change it.
Basically, he doesn`t like the drone program himself is what I sort of
heard in his speech while the policy, I agree with you, has not changed
that much, but there was certainly (ph) no ambiguity about, there was
certainly a sort of weariness about the policy itself that I think was
important to note here.
HASTINGS: This is also after four years of not only escalating the war in
Afghanistan where he sent 150,000 troops, so you did try the whole
occupation thing, but he also exponentially increased the number of drone
strikes. He`s defending murdering an American two years later. I mean,
so, there`s an absurdity to this whole discussion.
KORNACKI: Look, I keep saying, there`s a lot here, and there`s a lot in
this speech and he definitely has escalated drone attacks. We also have
the drone attacks the numbers are coming down. That doesn`t mean that he
has ruled them out, and we can talk about that, but one thing that I think
is a change, Omar, that he laid down on a speech was a real clear
commitment to shut down Guantanamo.
And I know we`ve heard that before, but he laid out -- you know, he has
talked about actually assigning somebody from the defense department now to
handle transfers. The sort of moratorium the administration put on placed
on transferring people to Yemen has now been lifted. It seems like there
has been real movement on Guantanamo.
OMAR FARAH, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Look, I was at the prison on
April 30th when he made his first (INAUDIBLE) back into Guantanamo. And as
a person represents men there, I`m desperate to see some change. So, I`m
trying to be optimistic.
At the same time, I was concerned that the point of departure for the
president seemed to be initiative to reengage with Congress which since
2011 has been expressing his hostility towards his plan to close Guantanamo
through the national defense authorization. I would have been more
comforted if we keep started by saying I`ve slated prisoners that I`m going
to begin working through the certification process with the secretary of
We know that the National Defense Authorization Act now grants the
latitude, the legislative framework to begin releasing prisoners
immediately. So, I think, the measure of the --
FARAH: The measure of the speech will be what the president begins to do
immediately. I mean, the urgency of the hunger strike is really the only
reason we`re talking about Guantanamo the way we are now. And that same
urgency has to guide his actions. So, I`m hopeful that the step on Yemen
And someone has pushed for lifting that moratorium for so long. It was
remarkable to see how quickly it was lifted. But that has to be matched by
immediately process and some of Yemenis men that I represent. Mohamed
(INAUDIBLE) was probably being force fed (ph) as we speak. Those men need
to start leaving the prison immediately. That would conform for me that
that`s something going to be different --
KORNACKI: Let`s -- look at --I thought it was very -- it was interesting
how the president, you know, addressed specifically the topic of the hunger
strike. I want to play that and I want to talk about why it has taken him
this long to get to it and we`ll get to that after this.
KORNACKI: So, there`s the president talking about Guantanamo in his speech
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: One of the current situation where we are force feeding detainees
who are hold -- being held on a hunger strike. Is this who we are? Is
that something our founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, this is something that, you know, the president talked about
doing way back, talked about closing Guantanamo, ending Guantanamo. We
know that, and here we are -- excuse me -- in year five of his presidency
and we`re sort of we`re at this point we`re still over 100 inmates there.
And I think one of the reasons is a fair or not right or wrong, but you
know politics shapes decisions that everybody makes.
And the politics of this have been if you poll the question about
Guantanamo, it is not as --on -- is actually -- the concept is actually
popular. The concept of drones actually polls well. We have drones is a
little off topic, but I have them right in front of me. Do you favor or
oppose, you know, drones to kill suspected terrorists? Sixty-four percent
favor, 12 percent oppose.
So, that sort of the politics that I think the ministry has been wait
heavily on the administration`s mind. They are not right or wrong, but I
guess, Omar, you know, when I look at this, so what is-- if we`re talking
about moving the detainees out of Guantanamo right now, we`re talking about
moving low level detainees back to their original country that leaves
detainees who have been deemed too much of a risk to ever release.
We`re closing Guantanamo, where do they go? I guess, that`s one thing I`m
FARAH: I mean, I think one of the things that the president -- the framing
of the speech was shifting is sort of paradigm that we`ve been operating.
I think one of the places where that has to be -- to remain true is on this
notion that there`s a category of men at Guantanamo who simply cannot be
tried, and therefore, had to be hold indefinitely. That simply doesn`t
If after more than 11 years the government can`t make a case against these
men, then they can`t make a case against these men. If you know, there`s,
you know, if all the evidence you have against an individual is based on
torture or coarse evidence, it`s not just for a high minded moral reason
that we excluded because it`s inherently unreliable.
And if all you have is unreliable evidence, then you don`t have a case.
And, you know, one of things I was missing from the president`s speech I
think was a faltering defense of the work that his task force did the first
time around. This is a unanimous consensus from every national security
agency in the U.S. government that as American citizens we rely on to keep
us safe that`s it more than half of the (INAUDIBLE) should not be there.
And I think once those men start to release, there`ll be internal pressure
and momentum to actually deliver on this long overdue promise. That was
missing from the speech I would have like to heard on.
SKINNER: I understand and agree with much of Omar`s sentiment, but I think
the fact that Congress, when you look at Congress, there has been a
bipartisan consensus to keep Guantanamo the way it is. And that has been a
formidable stumbling block for the administration. For example, if any of
those men are to end up in U.S. prisons, Congress has, you know, through
its constituency just, you know, a huge array of support to not let that
And so, I think that`s been part of what the president has done in his
calculus on Guantanamo.
KORNACKI: And we saw that, you know, way back in 2009. You had
Republicans and Democrats. You had Harry Reid, the top Democrat in the
Senate, basically saying we will not be transferring prisoners to the
United States --
FARAH: Ninety to six votes.
KORNACKI: Right. And you look at the poll -- again, the polls and I keep
coming back to the politics does inform us. And if you look at broad
public opinion on Guantanamo, the idea of Guantanamo versus, you know,
bringing it this to United States Guantanamo polls well. And I think the
fear that exists for all these politicians again right or wrong but the
political fear that sort of animates them is if we transfer one of these
prisoners to Yemen or anywhere and it commits an act of terrorism, the
political price for that especially --
HASTINGS: When you put tracking things and then -- so blow them up
immediately when we get out of their custody so they go out for the Yemen
influence (ph) so we can kill them without regard and even kill Americans
while we`re doing it. The fear is the right word, though. This was a
speech that Obama embraced fear. He embraced the kind of fear talking
rhetoric that we came so familiar within the previous administration.
And rather -- and he was a president who was supposed to, in fact, say, no
guys, be reasonable and don`t be afraid, but he made sure to say, hey,
we`re going to look at your e-mails. We`re going to continue to down (ph)
strikes. We`re going to be as aggressive as we ever have been against the
media. And, they were going to put Attorney General Holder who`s the one
who wanted (ph) to spy the journalists in charge of the investigation.
If this is not levels of corruption that, you know -- like this is not
Chicago, this is Washington, D.C. And if he wants to make us afraid, I
would like to say to President Obama --
KORNACKI: But you heard the entire speech --
HASTINGS: I read the entire speech, and I`ve also spent the last year on
the campaign trail of President Obama and I`ve listened to man give over
probably a hundred speeches and analyzed each one there very closely and
that was a radical departure of his usual foreign policy ideas, and it was
based on the fact that he is in totally captured -- mind captured by the
national security state and the President Obama who gave the speech to the
Moore house men last Sunday which I watched him was a beautiful speech.
And he told each one of those men, live up to your ethical responsibilities
and he went -- and he told the Annapolis cadet, men, live up your ethical
moral responsibilities and that what I would say as a citizen and as a
journalist who`s engaged on this who his administration (ph) is essentially
declared war on my profession is that President Obama, I love you, brother.
Extend my hand, but you got to get this stuff in check. You -- you cannot
let these people in the national security state bully you.
KORNACKI: There are issues with -- the war on journalists, so to speak,
and we`re going to talk about that. I want to sort of taking this one at a
HASTINGS: Guantanamo to me is one of this weird relic where if you look
compared to killing, you know, Pakistani children versus Guantanamo,
Guantanamo is horrible, but this is also -- on any moral calculus, killing
14-year-olds which you don`t even know their names is worse than holding
these guys in jail or at least we`re trying to give them legal rights and
the great work that you`re doing. Now, I`m not trying to get you to
associate with anything I`m saying.
KORNACKI: Hang on. We`re going to talk about drones. That`s after this.
KORNACKI: And this is what the president had to say about drones on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: For me and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us
as long as we live. But as commander-in-chief, I must weigh these
heartbreaking tragedies against the alternatives. To do nothing in the
face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties. Not
just in our cities at home and our facilities abroad, but also in the very
places like Sanaa, and Kabul, and Mogadishu where terrorists seek a foot
Remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians. And the death
toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of
civilian casualties from drone strikes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASTINGS: That`s a lie. That`s a flat out lie. That last sentence is
flat out lie. It`s a total reframing of the actual deaths and destruction
that has been -- that the U.S. and department responds for the last years
in or foreign policy.
KORNACKI: Well, look, as I said earlier, I thought what was striking to me
was that he laid out his thought process there. And I have a tough -- the
drones issue is one that I have a tough time sort of thinking about,
because I am horrified every time I read about the, you know, the
collateral damage, the civilians were killed from this.
And I also -- I had the thought of, you know, what does that do to our
image in Pakistan or any country -- I think we have the data. If you look
at Pakistan, you know, polls about the U.S. image in Pakistan at the start
of the Obama presidency, you know, the favorable image was like 16 percent.
Here it is. Here, it was like 16 percent. Look, it`s actually down to 11
percent. And you know, one of the great hopes of the Obama presidency was
that our image around the world in countries like Pakistan toimprove.
So, you know, I struggle, you know, in terms of how to think about the
issue of drones, but I do think the president sort of articulated why it
can be a challenging issue to think about.
BACON: This is a speech intended to talk to people like Michael who are
really concern about the (INAUDIBLE) really concern about the casualties.
The president kept saying this is a just war. This is the right thing to
do. This is like in -- but half the speech was pretty much a rebuttal of
liberal critics. I don`t think --
BACON: I`m glad he responded. No, it really worked (ph), but that was the
-- that`s why I wrote about this week was this was a -- our constitutional
law professor feels like he`s been accused of violating the constitution,
and that`s what he was trying to say was, I believe in the rule of law. I
believe in international law. I don`t think he convinced many people that
didn`t already believe him, but that`s what he was trying to do.
HASTINGS: Like having spoken to people at the White House, the view that
Perry put forward and it was a good piece and I was being, you know, my
usual -- I haven`t had enough coffee, but what the Obama people have said
is look, we`re going to put in a legal framework around these policies and
we have to do that. It wasn`t around drones. So, that`s what they`re
But listen, with drones, look, when I first started seeing drones, I was in
Baghdad years ago and you`d wake up in the morning and hear something like
a lawn mower. So, is someone mowing the lawn? No, no one`s mowing with
lawn because it`s Baghdad and the lawns are already sucked because there`s
been a war going on for years. So, you say, what is that? Oh, it`s a U.S.
drone that`s flying around our heads and watching us, right?
Now, being a journalist in Baghdad, I`m not too worried about being blown
up. However, in Pakistan, you want to know why those numbers are so low.
There are towns in Pakistan where drones are flying around constantly and
really driving the people in those towns crazy, totally the civilians who
are living their lives in fear and they have no legal recourse and the only
recourse they have is to strap on a freaking suicide vest and go over in
Afghanistan and blow up our poor boys who are still there --
KORNACKI: No. That is exactly why the drones issue, you know, beyond just
the horror of reading about innocent civilians, you know, who are killed by
this, it is, you know, what is this actually doing to the U.S.` image and
is there blow back from this that is -- but that`s -- you know the idea too
that the president is laying out there is, you know, it is -- you can`t
just send troops in to every situation, right? I mean, there are also
consequences to doing that. And he`s laying out that dilemma there. And I
just thought it was very striking --
KORNACKI: To see a president actually putting out there. I can`t remember
a president who sort of -- was sort of publicly agonizing over the
decisions involved in national security and counterterrorism on a national
stage like that. It doesn`t mean you agree with everything he says. It
doesn`t mean oh, wow, I`m an Obama convert now. I don`t --
KORNACKI: I don`t listen to that and say I agree with everything he said,
but I appreciate that there`s an awful lot of gray here. I think more --
HASTINGS: But that`s a soft to liberal is like yourself who like, oh, he`s
being thoughtful, so it`s OK.
KORNACKI: I didn`t say it`s OK. I said --
KORNACKI: When I say thoughtful, it gives me something to think about.
And it makes me say this is a complicated issue. And I`m torn when I think
about drones. That`s what I`m trying --
HASTINGS: -- forced to give this speech after years of work from
activists, both human rights activists and investigative journalists who
are keeping their feet to the fire saying we want to know about this stuff.
BACON: It`s good in some ways. He was to give this speech. The speech
was -- formalized what they`re doing or he wasn`t trying to change their
policy. Their policy is pretty much the same. They are for drones. They
are for indefinite detention. They are opposed (ph) at Guantanamo. The
policy did not change here very much.
They`re limiting the drones, but the president will still be the president
who led all these drone strikes. No change in that. But it was to say I`m
going to codify this and give some more accountability to it which is a
KORNACKI: We`re going to hear from Omar and we`re going to right after
KORNACKI: And Omar, you want to say?
FARAH: No. I just wanted to offer before the break, you know, I
understand why you`re commending the president for grappling with the scope
of a drone problem. I just think it`s important to recognize that to the
extent any limiting principles were sort of offered for the program, they
And so, we are exactly where we were, you know, before the speech with a
strong reaffirmation of the rationale behind the drone program, and I think
that also relates to the Guantanamo problem. In some respects, the measure
of that speech will be what starts to happen as of now.
And until we see some commitment from the president to actually implement
or work through in practical terms, there`s a thought process that he was
articulating from the speech, I think. There`s a lot of reason to be
critical. The president has come down on the right side of a lot of these
issues rhetorically in the past. I can`t say this source (ph)
administration lived up to a lot of this.
KORNACKI: No. And I just to -- you know, to clarify if I get sort of
bogged down there and say, oh, it`s amazing that he gave this speech. It`s
not me saying, everything in this speech is great. I want to make clear
and, you know, my hope with this discussion is, I think there is a lot of
complexity and there are a lot of areas where -- like you said, with
drones, you know, essentially, he redefined the perimeters, but he also
left it open to, hey, if we decide these perimeters don`t work, we can
always, you know?
And I think that`s very troubling. I think also, you know, Michael`s
alluded to it here. We talk about, you know, leaks. We talk about, you
know, government leakers, sort of this week it was the irony was stark.
You had president giving a speech on Thursday talking about how he is
concerned about the chilling effect of government overreach, you know,
affecting like whistleblowers and affecting journalists who are, you know,
who have sources inside government.
The same week that it turns out the attorney general had signed off and
knew about an affidavit that listed a reporter, James Rosen, from Fox News
saying and he was a possible co-conspirator, and you know, trying to
basically cite the espionage act (ph). That`s -- I have a lot of trouble
So, it`s not -- certainly, my perspective on this is not, oh, wow, great
speech. Obama answered everything. No, I think, there are tons of
questions, and this is one of them, absolutely. I mean, the effect of what
the justice department`s been doing, you know, Eric Holder`s knowledge in
the full support of the president, apparently, what they --
HASTINGS: But do you think he should be in charge of this investigation?
Do you think Eric Holder should be in charge of the investigation into how
the DOJ treated the media? The guy who himself signed off (ph) on things.
Is that ethical for him to be in charge --
HASTINGS: Do you agree? I was just asking it. Do you think he should be
in charge --
KORNACKI: No, the whole idea that the justice department is now going to
look at -- No. That`s what I`m saying. This is an area --
HASTINGS: Holder should not be in charge. Do you think Holder should step
KORNACKI: I don`t -- I have a hard time seeing -- you know, I don`t know.
I don`t know.
SKINNER: I would like to make a point --
HASTINGS: We should go and enjoy this Memorial Day weekend and not come
KORNACKI: I don`t think -- yes. No, I don`t think he`s --
SKINNER: Steve, I want to say something about the speech, I think, that`s
important and I don`t think that you are trying to paint the speech as, you
know, here, you know, the president has given this wonderful lovely speech
that shows that he`s thinking aloud about problems. I think what he was
attempting to do was to outline a theory of just war and it`s very, very
And you`re right, he wasn`t doing something particularly new, but he was
bringing together a set of ideas that he has presented at various points in
time on some really hard problems on the issues of drones. Omar you`re
right that it is prospective. But we haven`t been able to see the
classified presidential finding. I mean, the speech doesn`t really tell us
all that`s there.
The administration needs to give a public version of the finding that it
puts forth last week so that we can better understand how it`s now
attempting to limit its drone program. And that did come out the kind of
White House fact sheet and the speech as well. So, I think we need to kind
of, if we`re going to do anything instructive and constructive, it is to
understand what the classified finding --
KORNACKI: I want to thanks-- we`re out of time -- Kiron Skinner of
Carnegie Mellon University and Michael Hastings of Buzzfeed.com putting me
on the spot there and Omar Farah, the Center of Constitutional rights.
I want to tell you about the time a crook became a political hero and what
it means for the most important election of 2013. That`s next.
KORNACKI: Just over 20 years ago, the state of Louisiana held one of its
jungle primaries. That`s where all of the candidates Democrat, Republican,
every other party, they run on the same ballot and the top two advance to a
runoff no matter what party they`re from. This particular jungle primary
took place in 1991 and it was for governor, one of the top two finishers
was a Democrat, a very colorful Democrat. By very colorful, I mean,
probably corrupt. Edwin Edwards was his name.
And he`d already been governor a few times before in his first term in the
1970s. He admitted that his wife had taken $10,000 from a South Korean
rice magnate who is trying to bribe American politicians. In his second
stint in the mid-1980s, he was indicted on charges of mail fraud,
obstruction of justice, and bribery.
The first trial ended in a mistrial, the second in an acquittal. This is
around the time that Edwards uttered one of his most famous lines that the
only way he`d ever be taken down was if he was caught in bed with, quote,
"either a dead girl or a live boy." But the trial did bring him down. He
run (ph) from re-election in 1987, he lost.
He was trying for a comeback in 1991, but it was supposed to be a doomed
mission. I mean, you know, maybe he could get out of the jungle primary,
but his negatives were sky-high. There was all that legal baggage, so
there was just no way he was ever going to crack 50 percent in the runoff.
Except actually there was one way for him to do it because the other
candidate who made it out of the jungle primary was a Republican who had
most recently been a state representative but who before that had been the
grand wizard of the knights of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke. You remember
So, suddenly, just like that, Edwin Edwards, the guy who was governor would
take briefcases full of cash to gamble under assumed (ph) names in Las
Vegas, he became the good guy in the race, something that was perfectly
expressed in what is my all-time favorite political bumper sticker, said,
"vote for the crook." It`s important.
And really, that was basically Edwin Edwards entire message in that runoff
campaign. My opponent was a Klan (ph) grand wizard a few years ago and I
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. DAVE DUKE, (R) LOUISIANA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Edwin for
business to vote for you they have to hold their nose, close their eyes,
and cover their ears. A business --
DUKE: That`s a cheap shot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: But it was totally needed. Edwards won the election by 22
points, probably should have won it by more given Duke`s baggage, and he
served four years as governor. And then, after that, Edwin Edwards also
served nine years in federal prison, but that`s another story. The point
of this story is that when it comes to political candidates, the term
palatable is relative.
Against any other candidate in 1991, Edwin Edwards might not have been a
palatable option for most Louisianans. But against David Duke, suddenly,
he became very palatable, which brings me to what`s now playing out in the
commonwealth of Virginia. The particulars are different, very different.
There`s no Klansmen in sight, thank God. But once again, the basic
definition of palatable is being tested.
Virginia is holding a gubernatorial race this year. The democratic
candidate will be Terry McAuliffe who technically resides in Virginia but
who`s lived the life of a consummate beltway power player. His calling
card is his ability to raise cash, gobs and gobs of cash, for powerful
Democrats. He`s not identified with any great cause. There`s no apparent
He is as New York magazine`s Jonathan Chait reported (ph) recently, "The
Democrat Democrats have been dying to vote against." And actually,
Democrats did vote against him when he ran for governor four years ago. He
got whacked in the Democratic primary.
This time, somehow, McAuliffe got a free pass to the Democratic nomination
which means if Democrats don`t rally around him and vote for him and turn
out for him this fall, then Virginia will be governed by Ken Cuccinelli
who`s the state attorney general and be running against McAuliffe in
And now, I thought Cuccinelli was the most far right Republican politician
in Virginia. Among other things, he`s used the AG`s office to attack
climate signs and to fight anti-sodomy laws. So, I thought he was as about
as far-right as he could in that state, and then I saw this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Ku Klux Klan did not do nearly as much to destroy
Black life as Planned Parenthood has done.
Barack Obama is at best a confused man is at worst has the sensibilities
and I don`t know how this combination works of an atheist and a Muslim.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have never had a president who systematically
disregards our constitution, ignores our laws and sets himself up as some
sort of king or dictator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Meet E.W. Jackson who won an upset victory at the state
Republican convention last weekend and who is now Ken Cuccinelli`s running
mate. Jackson has called gays perverted and very sick people, said that
Democratic policies are, quote, "worthy of the anti-Christ," and he`s now
the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, the large
growing swing state of Virginia.
And to stop him and to stop Ken Cuccinelli, that means the Democrats have
no choice but to place their hopes in Terry McAuliffe whose palatability,
at least to them, probably increases with every new utterance by Cuccinelli
and E.W. Jackson. I can see the bumper sticker now. "Vote for the
conviction less (ph) mega bundler."
It`s important. Virginia is a big story this year. This is a big race.
It`s already told us something important about the Republican base`s
reaction to Obama`s re-election. The president talked last year of
breaking the fever of GOP resistance with a victory, but the party that
embraces the Cuccinelli/E.W. Jackson ticket as a party as gripped as ever
by that fever.
But the great unanswered question in politics today, one that will have
implications for years to come, has to do with the Democratic base, the new
emerging majority of voters who elected Obama in 2008 and who re-elected
him last year. So far, that coalition has proven only that it will show up
when Obama`s name is on the ballot. But when it`s not, just look at
Obama carried it in 2008 and carried it again in 2012. But in 2009, the
last time there was a governor`s race in the state, the Obama coalition
vanished and the state swung hard to the right, which means that if
Democrats are going to keep Virginia from swinging even farther, much
farther to the right this year, then they`re going to have to get excited
about a candidate they`ve never seen even remotely excited about.
We`ll check what the odds are on that after this.
KORNACKI: Hello from New York. I`m Steve Kornacki.
Virginia`s gubernatorial race, one of the most closely watched political
races of the year, got even more interesting this week with Republicans
nominating a right-wing preacher with no shortage of controversial
statements attacking gays, abortion, President Obama. He`s going to be
Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli`s running mate.
To talk about it, I want to bring in David Wasserman, political analyst for
"The Cook Political Report." This guy knows the numbers of every state,
unlike anybody I know. So, I couldn`t take anybody better to dissect
Virginia for us.
Dave, thanks for joining us.
I alluded to it in that read I did in the last segment, but Virginia is so
striking to me when you look at how the state voted in 2008, in the
Obama/McCain race. And Obama became the first Democrat since LBJ to carry
it. He won there in 2012. Obama carried it again over Romney.
But in 2009, when the state had a gubernatorial election, it`s basically a
sea of red. Those Obama voters didn`t show up.
Is that really the key question to this election this year can the Obama
voters turn out for Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate?
DAVID WASSERMAN, THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Well, it absolutely is, Steve.
And the great fallacy is that in 2009 and 2010, voters somehow revolted
against Barack Obama. I think the majority of what we saw on those years
with the Republican gains is actually the vanishing of Obama`s coalition,
which is more dependent than any other coalition in history on 18 to 29-
year-olds voters and minority voters. And when you`ve got a coalition
that`s so highly concentrated in urban areas and so dependent on those
groups, you`re going to see an electorate in off-years that`s tailor made
for Republicans to win.
So, that`s the danger for Democrats. And that`s why Cuccinelli is probably
still the favorite for governor.
KORNACKI: Yes, it`s amazing. I mean, I`ve looked at the polls. And you
see all of this sort of baggage that Cuccinelli brings to this, and I see,
you know, dead-even. I`ve even seen polls with him ahead.
But I was down in Virginia on Election Day last year, I was in northern
Virginia, Prince William County, and I remember talking to Republicans in
the state on Election Day and they were basically saying they were
confident that Romney was going to carry the state because the Obama voters
from 2008 hadn`t turn up in 2009 and they thought it was a one time only
But can you talk a little bit how it is centered, that Obama coalition in
Virginia has turned that state blue. It was so amazing to me how
concentrated that is in basically four or five counties in northern
Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C.
WASSERMAN: Yes. You`re absolutely right. Look, Obama carried the state
twice. And yet Democrats win just three out of 11 congressional districts
in the state because Obama`s vote is so concentrated in that urban
crescent. And what Democrats absolutely have to do this fall is to turn
Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson into boogiemen in order to scare up the
Democratic base to show up unlike their numbers in 2009 when they were
In my totally nonpartisan assessment, is that E.W. Jackson is cuckoo for
cocoa puffs with all apologies to cocoa puffs. I mean, this guy who will
make this election is most distasteful and unsavory election we`ve seen in
Virginia since the `94 race between Ollie North and Chuck Robb, which was a
rollercoaster in its right.
And if you look at the Republican convention that nominated E.W. Jackson,
you know, E.W. Jackson in 2012 ran against George Allen for the Republican
nomination for Senate, got 4.72 percent of the vote. He won fewer raw
votes at this convention in Richmond and won the nomination with 58
So you`re talking about a very small group that nominated him. And they
didn`t even really have the chance to vet him. They heard his speech.
They loved the red meat, nominated him and from what I hear from people who
were on the convention floor, even some moderates end up throwing their
support to him to send a message to the party, hey, if you want to go in
this direction we`re happy to show you where it leads as kind of a future
KORNACKI: Well, yes. The sort of back story on how this happened too is
that the state central committee, the State Republican Central Committee
which had a lot of Ken Cuccinelli allies on it last year voted, decided
that they were going to handout the nomination at convention for 2013 and
not in a primary -- the idea being you get the most conservative.
But effect of that, you know, Ari Fleischer, Republican, former Bush
spokesman, he tweeted about this the other day. It jumped out of me,
Virginia lieutenant governor nominee shows why primaries are greater than
caucuses which are greater than conventions. Jackson is anti-gay slurs are
But, again, we`re talking about basically the nation`s premier swing state
here, Virginia and we now have the convention has nominated this ticket
this year. Are there implications for future years with other nominations
for Senate or for other major offices being handed out at conventions like
this where people like E.W. Jackson can win?
WASSERMAN: Well, you`re absolutely right, Steve. This is a rare
situation, and if this turns out to be kind of a 1993 situation where the
Republican gubernatorial nominee wins and the lieutenant governor nominee
wins, maybe it will have a small impact. If Cuccinelli doesn`t distance
himself enough from E.W. Jackson and ends up dragging him down then I think
it will be a serious, serious alarm bell for Republicans elsewhere that
they need to open up the process a little bit more.
Of course, who controls the decision-making for how to nominate candidates,
it tends to be the most, you know, the party base most extreme on each
side. And so, that`s the danger here, especially for Republicans who are
by far seen as the more extreme party by independent voters.
KORNACKI: The other sort of wild card in all of this I guess there`s a
Republican lieutenant governor in the state right now, his name is Bill
Bolling and he wanted to run for governor this year, and he wanted to run
for Republican nomination against Ken Cuccinelli. And when they changed
this convention system, it looks like Bolling kind of it and said, there`s
no way I can win in that convention. I`m not nearly conservative enough to
bet Ken Cuccinelli.
But he`s been speaking up more and more against this Republican ticket
particularly after E.W. Jackson`s nomination last week. I wonder, you
know, we talk about the key for Democrats of getting that Obama vote out,
getting excited for Terry McAuliffe. But if you have Republicans maybe
turning on this ticket, if somebody like Bill Bolling is turning on this
ticket, does that change the math? Are there swing voters who might listen
to Bill Bolling and turn on the Republican ticket?
WASSERMAN: Well, yes. You know, even Democrats, even a lot of Democrats I
know think Terry McAuliffe is a huckster and will do anything for a buck
that they`d vote for an independent. And if Bill Bolling had run as an
independent candidate, I think he`d be very viable against the two
candidates the parties have nominated. But he`s not running.
So this is going to be an election where, you know, Terry McAuliffe is
probably in a situation where Ken Cuccinelli is the only candidate he`s
capable of beating for governor and Terry McAuliffe is the only Democrat
who Ken Cuccinelli is capable of beating for governor.
And so, you know, in favor years, if you`re a Democrat, do you think your
party is going to be better off if Terry McAuliffe or Ken Cuccinelli ends
up winning. And that maybe the only silver lining here for Democrats if
Ken Cuccinelli is still the favorite for governor based on who is likely to
show up in this kind of off-year election.
KORNACKI: All right. David Wasserman of "The Cook Political Report",
thanks for your time this morning.
Republicans are itching to bring down a Democratic president, kind of feel
like I`ve seen this movie before.
Details coming up.
KORNACKI: Charlie Cook, a scrupulously nonpartisan observer of Washington
politics, offered some jarringly blunt commentary this week that when it
comes to the supposed scandals of the past two weeks, it`s the Republicans
and not President Obama who are risking serious political fallout.
Cook wrote, quote, "One wonders how long Republicans will bark up this
tree, perhaps the wrong tree, while ignoring their own party`s problems
which were shown to be profound in the most recent elections. Clearly,
none much these recent issues has had a real impact on voters.
In fact, President Obama`s approval rating has remained around 50 percent,
or even higher in the Gallup poll this year, even seeming to go up slightly
in the past two weeks, Republicans have been pushing against him on
Benghazi and the IRS. Not only that, last week`s ABC/"The Washington Post"
poll found Americans Obama is concentrating on things important to them.
But a nearly two-to-one margin, they say the opposite about Republicans.
This Thursday, on "MORNING JOE", RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was kind of
cautious about actually impeaching Obama over the IRS scandal, maybe --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS: You have to allow the evidence to come in to play. You
have to connect the dots. I`ve said a week ago, look, you don`t calm for
impeachment until you have the evidence. Now, I`m entitled to have an
opinion that I think it`s evidence of political warfare gone amuck on
behalf of the administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: This is all part of bigger story, a much bigger story, a pattern
that goes back decades, through Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson, John F.
Kennedy, all way back to Franklin Roosevelt, of the right refusing to
recognize the basic legitimacy of any Democratic president and resisting
those presidents relentless.
I want to bring in Eleanor Clift, contributor at "Newsweek" and "The Daily
Beast"; Julian Zelizer, author of "Governing America: The Revival of
Political History" and political historian at Princeton University; Ann
Lewis, former communications director for President Bill Clinton, and MSNBC
contributor Perry Bacon, Jr. is back with us as well.
And that has been what I`ve been most struck by when the I-word,
impeachment, has been invoked by Reince Priebus and by others the last few
weeks, is, you know, I grew up in the `90s and I remember this. I remember
not only the impeachment in 1998 of Bill Clinton over the whole Monica
Lewinsky thing, and the public backlash against that. I also remember
driving around my town in Massachusetts, liberal Massachusetts, I guess
we`re in Republican part, but there`s a car in front of us like a month
after Bill Clinton was inaugurated in 1993 that said impeach Clinton. I
That backlash against him began from the moment he took office, there was
going to be this fight against him and it culminated six years later,
impeachment. But I remember -- I feel I`m watching the same thing play. I
watch the same thing with five years of Obama that I saw under Clinton.
ANN LEWIS, FORMER W.H. COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I agree with you. But I
had a similar experience if not driving around counting bumper stickers.
But here`s what you get -- you get people who oppose a Democratic
president. He wins anyway. They are disgruntled. They spend the first
term complaining about it. Sure they can knock him out in the second term.
When he gets re-elected, it leads to something -- I now think we have a
diagnosis of what I call second term frenzy. And the symptoms are that you
get angrier and louder and angrier and louder. If you didn`t convince
people in the first term, you can yell at them in the second term and you
do not notice that they have tuned you out.
And the symptom, I would guess that you`re really into second term frenzy
is when people start flinging the word "impeachment" around.
ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK: It was a huge shock when Clinton`s approval
rating actually went up in the mid-of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
CLIFT: I remember reporters used to joke bring on a second intern and
maybe his approval would hit 80 percent.
Yes, and Republicans couldn`t believe it and lost seats in that `98 midterm
election and that`s Charlie Cook`s thesis they could be bringing another
repeat and I think that`s what the White House is hoping that the 2014
elections could be a referendum on this kind of behavior and Republicans
would be repudiated once again.
JULIAN ZELIZER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: I think you have two kinds of
Second terms like Bill Clinton where many Republicans or some Republicans
feel it should have gone a different way. The story was meant to be a one
term presidency like Jimmy Carter. And when it doesn`t play out they look
for other means.
The second is what we saw with JFK. From the very beginning, there are
elements of the right who dispute the ideas of the administration and
believe in America as a fundamentally conservative country. And he can`t
live with the idea of a president who believes otherwise. When Kennedy
goes to Dallas, Texas, he sees signs accusing him of treason.
KORNACKI: Right. We have that actually. We can maybe put that up on the
screen. But, yes.
ZELIZER: Even dramatic by today`s standards. And so, I think those are
the two kinds of frustrations you see among conservatives.
KORNACKI: Well, I guess what I`m kind -- I have thought a lot about the
comparison between how the right has reacted to Obama and reacted to Bill
Clinton in the 1990s. And I have this discussion, I know there are -- the
obvious difference with Obama is I`ve heard so much overtly, you know,
racial animosity that`s come out, that obviously you didn`t hear with
But I wonder, Perry, is it coming from the same basic place or different
backlash that Obama has been dealt with?
PERRY BACON, JR., MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think it`s different in one
respect. The Pew poll in `98, 41 percent Republicans approved of Bill
Clinton. So that means that Newt Gingrich was acting outside of his own
party`s views as well. That was -- the impeachment thing was driven by the
Republicans in Washington. The base not feeling this great outrage.
Today, President Obama`s approval rating among (INAUDIBLE) is 12 percent.
Think about him. Think what Clinton did versus Obama has been involved
with no scandal as far as I can tell, there is something of the fact that
there`s something new here in terms of the opposition among the base. I
think Reince Priebus is appealing in some ways the base is leading the
Republican Party this time in terms of the hatred of Obama.
I think the hatred of Obama starts with the base, and then comes up to John
Boehner, who I don`t think care about all these things. He`s not driving
the impeachment talk, but he`s not going to disagree with it, because he
knows that`s what the party --
KORNACKI: He might be driven by it.
BACON: John Boehner is being driven by it.
CLIFT: But the backlash to President Clinton started the minute he came to
Washington and it was really a cultural backlash. These were baby boomers.
This was a woman who had taken -- took for a long time for her to take her
husband`s last name. She was a lawyer, pictures of her carrying a brief
I think there was a whole cultural backlash against baby boomers and a way
of life that had transformed a lot of homes in America and not everybody
With Obama, there`s a backlash against the changing face of America, more
cultural diverse America. So, you know, I think people who are resisting
never would have voted for Obama in the first place.
So, they are just more vocal and amplified by the media culture.
KORNACKI: You mentioned how it began with Bill Clinton, when Bill Clinton
took office. I want to play this clip.
Again, Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998, in December of 1998. This is
from before -- years before that, when there was this whole thing about
Vince Foster, and the right -- did the Clintons kill Vince Foster.
And here`s Dan Burton. This was the Republican running the Oversight
Committee. Just watch this. This is responding to Vince Foster. Let`s
take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN BURTON (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: We in my house with a homicide
detective tried to recreate a head and fired a .38 four inch barrel into
that to see if the sound could be heard from a hundred yards away even
though there was an earth-mover moving in the background and making all
kinds of racket, and you could hear the bullet clearly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Re-enacting Vince Foster`s death, talking about it on the House
floor four years before impeachment.
ZELIKER: Look, I see two secular trends. The move under the Republican
Party to the right and the increasing prominence of right-wing Republicans
has been going on for several decades now.
It was taking place during Clinton, it`s gotten worse. Part of it is
Obama. I think part of it is the change in the party.
The second factor is the media. Changes in the media first with cable and
24 hour news and then with the Internet make that kind of statement more
appealing to Republicans. It gets press, it gets attention.
So, we have two changes that are overlaying the president`s in addition to
the animosity racial or otherwise towards President Obama which makes this
very difficult to reverse.
LEWIS: Thank you for reminding us that Dan Burton was a worthy predecessor
to Congressman Issa. Apparently, there`s something about the role that
chairman of that committee that drives people to the edge if they weren`t
Notice what we`re not talking about. We`re not talking here about
differences in policy. We`re not talking about "oh, we strongly disagree
on this or that issue."
It is personal. It is vehement. And so, if you look back to what happened
in 1998 and what you could well see in 2014.
The American people are worried about things like college rates are going
to go up for student lending. What`s the Republican answer on this?
Apparently let them keep going up.
They are worried about what`s happening with their families and children
and every time you hear a Republican elected member or leader as in Reince
Priebus, they want to yell about President Obama.
KORNACKI: I want to take this one step further back because I want to get
to hopefully the root of this because again I think it is a pattern how the
right responds when Democrats get elected and we`ve had sort of the
ideological sinking up of the parties over the last few decades. So, I
think you could find the roots of this at a time when government overall
was more functional.
But I want to try to identify those roots and we`ll do that after this.
KORNACKI: (AUDIO GAP) there`s a Democratic president. We can go back to
FDR, elected in 1932. I don`t think you had the immediate backlash you had
against Clinton or Obama. But look at this -- this is a publication from
1936, you know, the Roosevelt red record and it`s background, and it`s from
the American Liberty League.
A lot of the same language you hear directed over the top sort of
hysterical language about Obama and socialism and that sort of thing, you
heard it directed at Roosevelt in the 1930s from the right.
ZELIZER: There`s two parts of the backlash. By 1934, business is
mobilizing against Roosevelt already. The American Liberty League is
formed. Its business leaders were not on board with the New Deal and they
go after the president, often equating him with socialism and far left
The second is in 1938, after the mid-terms, southern Democrats and
Republicans in Congress form a coalition and their main concerns are any
issue related to race, any effort of the federal government to end
lynching, for example. And the second is a battle against unionization.
And they are dead set against fighting against the CIO, the Wagner Act,
everything that FDR put together to strengthen the working class.
So, there`s two stages of the backlash, but it`s quite intense.
KORNACKI: But the interesting thing too about how that backlash against
Roosevelt took shape is you mentioned the South. And we think of the South
now, that`s the capital of American conservatism, all the red states are in
the South. But, of course, in the 1930s, those were Democratic states.
Republicans barely existed.
And part of what Roosevelt did with the New Deal that didn`t make the
backlash initially as potent as we see now is African-Americans were
largely excluded from the New Deal, sort of as a sop to the South and the
South was getting all this federal money and sort of the white leaders in
the South didn`t have to did you say disperse it to African-Americans and
happy to take the money and sort of spare Roosevelt the backlash.
ZELIKER: It`s a political scientist Ira Katznelson who says it was a
Faustian deal that made that FDR left the South to keep its racial ways,
and in exchange, he got support for programs that didn`t touch that.
CLIFT: Regular Americans loved him. I mean, his picture was in
everybody`s living room. And, you know, it seems to me that he moved as
far as the times would let him and maybe a little bit faster and then it
came to Truman to integrate the military. And so, what FDR did though was
embrace his critics. He wore the criticism as a badge of honor.
It seems to me Obama tries too much more positive reinforcement every time
they do something halfway nice he praises them and reluctant to call them
out. And the way President Clinton handled it, he just kept distancing
himself saying, I`m doing the work of the American people, and the American
people looked at it and decided that`s what he was doing. That`s what the
president now is trying to do -- focusing on the work of photo ops that
show he cares about his program and that sort of thing.
But, you know, this is never going to go away. You`re proving that by the
history, the long history.
BACON: Also my comment is they were extremely successful. If you look how
much FDR accomplished, how much Johnson did, how much Clinton did, how much
-- in terms of being broad legislation, the New Deal, Civil Rights Act, the
health care. The Republicans are reacting to Democratic presidents taking
the country to the left. There`s much evidence of (INAUDIBLE) Jimmy
Carter, but Jimmy Carter wasn`t being very effective.
BACON: We don`t talk about him in the same context.
LEWIS: No, the basic point, because -- American people again, look at the
decisions they are making. They are looking at programs that can work,
that make a difference in their lives. You are using great example from
Thank you, Steve, for reminding that when Social Security first passed they
omitted categories of labor that were largely African-American. That was
part of the deal to get the vote to Congress, but then little by little, it
expanded. More and more groups were brought in.
So, yes, we may look at it now and say -- but African-Americans were
excluded. African-Americans in the `30s is my sense looked at it and said,
we`re finally going to get the doors opening, the door is opening a little
we`re going to get in there.
You look at WPA. You look at what Lyndon Johnson was able to do in Texas.
And, little by little, they were bringing excluded groups in. So, I
wouldn`t totally write it off.
KORNACKI: Right. And you can also see the -- as African-Americans are
integrated into American politics and really the Democratic Party, we put
that Kennedy back thing up on the screen.
You know, by 1960, you know, you had JFK who on the eve of the 1960
election placed a call to Coretta Scott King, and then as president was
beginning to push for civil rights. And the treason poster, this is part
of right wing backlash against him. They get explicitly racial here.
One of the articles of treason or whatever that they are using he is giving
support and encouragement to communist-inspired racial riots. He has
illegally invaded a sovereignty state with federal troops, that civil
rights enforcement. So, you`re starting to see, as African-Americans are
integrated into the coalition, that becomes part of the backlash.
ZELIZER: Yes. I mean, when Kennedy is elected, this is the kind of
material you`ve seen in a lot of southern states which are traditionally
Democratic. He conducts the secret study of right with a guy named Myer
Feldman, one of his advisors, and they find all these groups are sprouting
up and they are seeing how powerful they are becoming in the early 1960s
and scaring Kennedy. It`s an issue of big concern.
Ultimately, it leads to `64 with Barry Goldwater getting the nomination.
There`s a story line of this party shifting to the right in part when
Kennedy was president, when civil rights was heating of the up when again
there was a perception the country was moving left but for some
conservatives that`s not where it should go.
CLIFT: And we get the Southern strategy and we get massive resistance to
You know, Obamacare is going to be implemented and you`re going to see, I
think, massive resistance.
CLIFT: Exactly. I mean, Republicans have not given up on the idea of
KORNACKI: And talk about, I think the parallels between the Affordable
Care Act right now and Medicare passed under Johnson.
We should talk about it, but again, you could see the same -- in fact,
there was Ronald Reagan, I wish we had it. (INAUDIBLE).
But Ronald Reagan, you know, as an actor, aspiring politician in the `60s
made this video warning against Medicare. It was recycled in 2009 by the
right to argue against Obamacare.
ZELIZER: But the difference there is a lot of Republicans were actually
instrumental in the creation of Medicare. They had a different version.
It was a Southern Democrat Wilbur Mills who puts this thing together. So,
the parties are much more divided then.
Senator Dirksen who is a real conservative from the Midwest, allies with
LBJ on a lot of programs including civil right. Now, you have more of an
alliance between the right and leadership like Boehner regardless of
whether he believes in what they are saying. I think that`s a big change
in American politics.
KORNACKI: That`s what I want to get into next, how that affected governing
this country, because when the backlash isn`t a side show, when it`s the
sort of defining feature of a major political party, I think that changes
governing and that changes politics.
We`ll talk about that after this.
KORNACKI: So, Julian, you just made I think a really good point there
about how the sort of resistance on the right, just the right itself is
sort of now is the Republican Party, you know, post-1964 where the
Republican Party nominated Barry Goldwater and you saw this evolution that
played out over a generation or two where the Republican Party became a
conservative party. A conservative party primarily based in the South and
West but fundamentally a conservative party, as oppose to one that has
liberals, Northerners, people like Dirksen who cut deals.
And I`m looking at the implications of that for government. And I think
we`ve seen it in the Clinton years and again in the Obama years, where a
Democratic president comes to power now, you don`t just have sort of this
side show of resistance on the right that becomes a defining feature of the
opposition party. And the result of that is we`re going to vote against
everything, we`re going to fight against everything.
And I think something that I`d love to talk about here is the parallels
between Medicare and Affordable Care Act, because in the 1960s, you had
this right wing backlash against the Medicare. But that didn`t define the
Republican. Medicare got implemented.
I think it`s more of an open question right now. The right is still
fighting the ACA, and implementation, which means expanding Medicaid at the
state level. They have the power to continue fighting this thing for a
long time, and these Republican politicians have an incentive to because
that`s where the base is.
LEWIS: I think that`s right. Opposition to health care, extending health
care has become a litmus test for ambitious Republican politicians, which
is too bad.
But let`s be clear: this is not again an argument about policy because some
of the very issues that identified with Obamacare were Republican or
conservative ideas. The Heritage Foundation was talking about a mandate
for purchasing health care. It was part of the, if I may say so, the
Romney health plan.
But once Obama recommended it, once it becomes the Democratic president, as
you say, then you`re watching Republican Party unite against it, even when
they got constituents that could really benefit from it.
CLIFT: Right. They are opposed to things that they are for simply because
the other guy proposed it.
Ronald Reagan was the last Republican president really who had veto power
over the right. He was able to -- he would often say they want me to jump
off the cliff with the flag flying and he would happily take half a loaf,
to mix metaphors.
Pat Buchanan, who worked in that White House, said he would go to the
president and the president would say, tell your friends, you know, I`m
going to give them half, but he would say, tell those nuts on the right.
Pat would walk out. Does he think I`m one of them? The answer to that is
But he could keep that element of the party at the table, but not dictating
everybody else. The right did in George H.W. Bush because he broke his no
new taxes promise, and I think they`ve been moving more towards giving the
right veto power but control of the party, to their own detriment because
it`s not a long term strategy for survival.
KORNACKI: That`s the issue -- that`s issue with -- Perry, you were sort of
making this point, the implications on Medicaid expansion that aspect of
the Affordable Care Act in 2016.
BACON: The governing challenges we didn`t call Medicare Johnson care for
seniors or something. Obamacare became define as that because
conservatives hated when he passed it into Congress. Now, you`re to the
point where in most of the states in the South, which have the highest
rates of obesity, highest rates of diabetes, et cetera, governors in those
states, only the governor of Kentucky and Arkansas who are both Democrats
have approved the expansion of Medicaid in those states, which means about
10 million people couldn`t get health insurance, and that`s because if
you`re a governor in the South, and you`re not (ph) the president, which
means you`re a governor in the South, then you might, you feel politically
challenged to oppose this Medicaid expansion because your whole party has
defined this as the seminal issue and that`s where the hatred of the
president means people won`t get health insurance in key states.
ZELIZER: I think -- I mean, Medicare had a few things in Medicaid in `65
that President Obama`s program didn`t. It had bipartisan support right
from the start and had a bipartisan vote.
So, legislators in both parties were invested. It took one year to get the
whole program up and running. One year after it passed, Medicare was
working. This is a much larger roll out. And I think it`s given some
opportunity for the right to drag this out.
And, finally, there`s a clarity of Medicare that is different from this
program. Social Security added medical benefits, hospital insurance. This
program is more complex. It`s about regulation. It`s about different
kinds of expansions and I think all of this in a polarized era creates more
BACON: We talk earlier, that people benefiting from Obamacare are highly
likely to be minorities, highly likely to be poor. And these are the
groups that don`t -- versus Medicare is a program for seniors and that`s
more bipartisan coalition.
CLIFT: But there are other stakeholders that will be applying pressure in
these states. The hospitals providers who still have to provide care, and
they are going resist paying for this and they are going want that check
from the federal government. So I think some of these legislatures will
KORNACKI: And that becomes tension on the Republican candidate for
governor, the hospital and insurance industry versus the Republican base.
LEWIS: And if you want to talk about like real people getting health care,
we now have the example in California where they come out with their
numbers, and guess what? The Affordable Care Act is going to mean that
people in California will be able to get health insurance at lower rates
than had been thought.
So you`re now in another year have a case in which people in those states
they are making it work, that are going with the exchanges, are going to be
offering better health care for many more people and those states where
there are Republican governors made them stay out are going to be on the
sidelines looking and I think people can tell when government is working in
their interest or not. That`s going to produce some political pressure.
KORNACKI: And we talked about this on this show and other issues. Gay
marriage comes to mind, where the politics of the -- the red state/blue
state divide defines the issue. And we might be seeing that with the
implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Whereas the blue states, like
California, that really participate in creating these exchanges and
building it and it`s functional and not so much in the red states.
But you know, look, the term Obama used in the campaign last year a bunch
of times was break the fever. Win the election and break the fever of
Republican opposition. I haven`t seen I want yet.
I just want to ask if we`re ever going to see it. We`ll talk about that
KORNACKI: I was talking about, you know, President Obama`s term last year
was -- I will win and break the fever of Republican opposition. Obviously,
we haven`t seen it yet.
Although I wonder and Ann maybe you can speak to this -- I think back to
Bill Clinton winning re-election in 1996. Now, yes, he was impeached in
the second term. So, let`s put that giant matter aside for a second.
But there were also some real accomplishments with a Republican Congress
after the `96 election, the children`s health plan got through in 1997. So
does that offer any guidance or hope that maybe there`s room for Obama to
maneuver a little bit?
LEWIS: I believe ultimately it will work. You have to if you believe in
democracy. I think right now, a few people -- only the Republican side are
saying, you know guys, this isn`t going to work, but it hasn`t yet hit
So what happened in `98 was the people, the American people sort of turned
away from a Republican Party that they saw as interested only in destroying
the president and, by the way, when they looked at their president, he was
working hard for them.
The American people right now look at President Obama and they see a guy
who is working hard for them. They look at the Republican Party and it`s
not so much.
The difference and I think we`ve talked about this before is because of
gerrymandering and congressional districts, the effect hasn`t been felt on
Republican House members. It`s happening in the senate. It hasn`t yet
been felt in the House. That`s what it`s going to take.
CLIFT: The fever would have broken if the Democrats had taken back the
House in 2012. And I think there`s some hope that that could happen in
2014, but because the districts are so ridged, it`s probably a long shot.
But the 2014 is going to be a repeat in Republicans minds about Obamacare
and big government and, of course, the IRS scandal feeds into that. And I
think now, it`s incumbent on both sides to gear up all their best PR on
Obamacare -- the hatred on the part of the Republicans and, boy, the White
House has to get out there and sell it in a way it never has before. It`s
still unpopular. People have no idea what it`s about and they`re going to
be voting on it in a year and a half.
ZELIZER: There`s structural factors why America and Washington is
polarize. Leadership can only do so much. But in the end, you have the
same structures of politics, like a gerrymandered district where everyone
voted for Romney, and doesn`t really care what President Obama is saying.
The key is, if the president can find areas where the self-interest of the
Republican Party is so overwhelming, compromise is in their interest. And
you`re seeing a little of that with immigration reform and there`s even
signs that some House Republicans might bend on that, especially as they
are focused on a new set of issues that`s almost --
KORNACKI: That`s one place where the 2012 election did break the fever
because they said, we cannot continue -- we cannot sustain ourselves as a
ZELIZER: That would be a big legislative achievement.
KORNACKI: I guess the question is like, we look at the Affordable Care
Act. Where is the incentive on that, the electoral incentive to get behind
LEWIS: Eleanor made a good point. And maybe the president has got to look
at allies beyond the House for a moment who can in turn move the House.
You got to look at the insurance companies, you got to look at health care
Health care, yes, it`s a huge part of our economy. So, you`ve got to look
at the people who are directly engaged with this, who understand the bottom
line and tuned numbers and they, in turn are going to have to talk to some
of these Republican House members and governors -- this is not smart for
anybody. Let`s see if they can have an effect.
BACON: This is one point where the Clinton/Obama parallel doesn`t work.
The Republicans are just more conservative than they were in the 1990s.
Gallup looked at the 10 most polarized years in terms of politics, nine of
those ten years are either when Bush was president or Obama was president.
I don`t -- Bush was maybe very divisive, Obama is divisive at times. The
electorate is changing fundamentally. The notion the fever is going to
break on any issue beyond immigration is hard to imagine. It`s just hard
to imagine if you`re a Republican senator.
Even Lindsey Graham wasn`t (ph) for immigration. He was down in South
Carolina and he said, people think I can vote for immigration -- he told
Jonathan Martin this -- in part because I`m the Benghazi guy. I`m the
impeachment guy. So, if I`m those two places I can vote for immigration.
That tells you how far to the right he has to go in toward be in the middle
on one issue.
KORNACKI: His line -- in the "New York Times" a few months ago,
(INAUDIBLE) South Carolina, he basically said look attacking Obama is
always good politics. That`s a guy from a very conservative state -- not
only a very conservative state but is constantly in danger of a primary
challenge. The challenge is to get even more conservative.
KORNACKI: I wish we can go on. I love talking about this.
But what do we know now that we didn`t know last week? My answer is after
KORNACKI: So what do we know now that we didn`t know last week? We know
that Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray is resigning to lead the
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.
On Wednesday, Murray announced that he accepted the more lucrative position
and denied his abrupt exit from politics has anything to do with an ongoing
ethics investigation in his campaign contributions.
Because of Massachusetts state law, when a lieutenant governor resigns, the
position is not filled, so Massachusetts will be without a lieutenant
governor until 2015 when Duval Patrick leaves office. This is old hate for
Bay Staters, though. With Murray`s resignation, the state will have
effectively been without a lieutenant governor for five years out of the
We know that Tom Tancredo is running for Colorado governor, again, this
time as a Republican. The former congressman and staunch critic of
immigration, both illegal and legal, ran in 2010 on the American
Constitution Party`s ticket and lost to the current Democratic Governor
John Hickenlooper by 14 points. That was two years after Tancredo ran for
president in 2008 as a Republican.
On Thursday, Tancredo announced that he`s running, saying that
Hickenlooper`s decision to grant a temporary reprieve to Nathan Dunlap
who`s on death row for killing four people in 1993 was, quote, "the last
As it was three years ago, Tancredo`s path to the governor`s mansion will
not be easy. He`s running against the popular incumbent and as staunchly
conservative views on immigration and guns in states terms that are
trending Democratic. Despite the odds, Tancredo is up for the fight
writing on Facebook on Thursday, "Game on."
And, finally, we now know that the newly minted mayoral candidate Anthony
Weiner might be taking the old Ed Koch outer borough strategy a bit too
far. To that very distant six borough of New York, Pittsburg,
Pennsylvania. On Thursday, bloggers and reporters in both Pittsburgh and
New York City noticed the skyline in the background of Weiner`s campaign
Web site was not the Empire City, but the Steel City.
The tech firm NGP VAN, if that`s how you say it, has taken the blame for
the error and the logo has been changed to show New York landmarks.
The stock photo error was just one of the challenges for Weiner`s campaign
this week. When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was asked about his
thoughts on Weiner`s run on Wednesday, he said, "None. No reaction. None.
Look. My face didn`t move. No reaction."
Later in the day when he was asked what it would mean if New York City
actually elected Weiner, Cuomo said, quote, "Shame on us."
We`re waiting to hear what Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett thinks it
would mean for Pittsburgh.
I want to find out what my guests know that they didn`t know when the week
Let`s start with Eleanor.
CLIFT: Well, on the IRS scandal that everyone is obsessively has been
watching in Washington, I learned two things. One, to apply for c4 tax
status, you don`t have to file an application. You can just assert it.
And you got the big fish out there like Crossroads GPS and, in fairness,
Priorities USA on the Obama side, they are behaving like they have the
status, and nobody has challenged it.
So, all those groups that have been challenged are saps. They didn`t have
And, secondly, the planted question that Lois Lerner has been -- that she
did, the acting Commissioner Steve Miller said it was his idea to have her
ask someone in an audience of tax lawyers, to ask her the question. He
thought it was a good way to get ahead of the story.
Now, if that`s what they know about public relations and media, it tells
you a lot about how they perform in a lot of areas. Pretty sad.
KORNACKI: Stupid (ph).
ZELIZER: Yes. I do think, first, I`ve been a little surprised at the
handling of the IRS issue by the administration. I think there would be a
more polished and more effective strategy, given they know this is coming.
And I`ve been surprised that something of a lackluster performance.
And "The A.P.`s" story I think is still interesting. It doesn`t capture as
much attention as the IRS or even Benghazi. But the extent of this policy,
and extension of some of the stuff we saw during Bush I think is an
important story that deserves more investigation and thinking through the
consequences of this kind of policy.
LEWIS: We know this week the Boy Scouts took a big step. They got one
more step go.
But, you know, we didn`t hear about the Girl Scouts. They don`t have to
change their policy. The Girl Scouts have been inclusive and
nondiscriminatory for years. And the result is they don`t just talk about
leadership. They practice it in bring in tens of thousands of girls every
year who get a great lesson from being a part of Girl Scouts.
So, here`s two cheers for the Boy Scout. And let`s hope they continue to
follow the Girl Scouts lead.
BACON: We know that gender diversity in the Senate makes a big difference.
There`s a record 20 women in the Senate. They are driving the pursuit of
the Pentagon changing their policy on sexual assaults. And I think it
would not change the way it is without the women senators, from Amy
Klobuchar to Kristen Gillibrand to Kelly Ayotte, really pushing that issue
very strongly and showing in a way that men probably wouldn`t, why this is
such an important issue.
KORNACKI: I`ll give a shout-out to the Girl Scouts for the tag-along
cookies I get every year, which I devour about 20 minutes.
Anyway, my thanks to Eleanor Clift with "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast,"
Julian Zelizer of Princeton University, Ann Lewis, former communications
director for President Bill Clinton, and MSNBC contributor Perry Bacon, Jr.
-- thanks for getting UP.
And thank you for joining us today for UP. Join us tomorrow, Sunday
morning at 8:00, when we look at what happened with the immigration bill
And coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP," a
different take on the president`s speech, the latest on the recovery
efforts in Oklahoma, and the funny thing that happened when Apple CEO Tim
Cook went to Washington for what was billed to be a grilling.
It`s a jam-packed "MHP". So, stick around. Melissa is next.
And we`ll see you here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
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