'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, June 8th, 2013
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UP with STEVE KORNACKI
June 8, 2013
Guests: Ingrid Reed, Nick Acocella, Robert Costa, Abby Rapoport, Jamelle Bouie, Ira Shapiro, Julia Ioffe
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Back in the fall of 2010, that`s when
Christie single-handedly pulled the plug on a huge transportation project,
the construction of a badly needed rail tunnel to connect New Jersey and
New York City. He did it, he said, because costs were exploding out of
control and the state was going to be on the hook for 70 percent of the
overruns. Supporters of the tunnel, including the Obama administration,
pleaded with him to reconsider.
But Christie stood firm. The economy was weak, money was short, it
was his job to make hard choices like this. Here`s the press release his
office put out when he officially canceled the tunnel. Christie
administration enforces budget discipline and protects New Jersey taxpayer
dollars. This was a crucial moment for Christie, the politician. A
dramatic and a defiant stand against big government spending at the height
of the Tea Party era.
The exact sort of move that turned him a first-term governor into a
rising national star in Republican politics. Now, let`s add some context.
First, there was the report from the government accountability office about
18 months later. It pretty much completely destroyed Christie`s stated
rational. It turned out the costs weren`t exploding like he said they
were, and the New Jersey wasn`t on the hook for 70 percent of overruns.
The actual number was 14 percent. And then, there`s what`s happening
in New Jersey right now. Frank Lautenberg died on Monday. You already
know that. He did some important things in the Senate, the 21-year-old
drinking age, the ban on smoking on airlines, fierce advocacy of gun
control. But that tunnel, that tunnel under the Hudson River was supposed
to be Frank Lautenberg`s most enduring legacy.
He was its number one champion. It was his passion. It was his baby.
And Chris Christie said it was too expensive and canceled it. And you know
this back story, it becomes impossible, impossible, to take face at value
the explanation that Chris Christie offered on Tuesday for how Lautenberg`s
Senate seat will be filled.
Christie gets to appoint a new senator, no one disputes this, but when
it comes to voters getting their say, Christie had three options, and he
went with the one that is, by far, the most expensive. He chose to
schedule a brand-new completely separate standalone election for
Lautenberg`s seat this year, primary`s in August, general election in
October. He did this even though there is already s a statewide election
for governor scheduled for November.
He could have just added the Senate race to the ballot, no extra cost.
But no, now, there are going to be two elections this fall, one for the
Senate and then one three weeks later for governor. The price tag for
this, about $24 million, half of the primary, half for the general. $24
million taxpayer dollars.
And what did Chris Christie say when he was asked to justify hitting
New Jerseyans with the bill for this unnecessary election?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: I don`t know what the cost is
and I quite frankly don`t care. I don`t think you can put a price tag on
what it`s worth to have an elected person in the United States Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Look, Christie`s being hypocritical here. He`s being
disingenuous, but we might as well understand why he`s doing it. What
specific advantage he sees in holding two separate elections this fall?
The answer`s a little bit more complicated than you might think. It has to
do with Christie and his own ambition, of course. But it also has to do
with party politics, state party politics.
We need to understand that this November`s election represents a
historic, as in once every 30 years or so, opportunity for the New Jersey
Republican Party. New Jersey is a deeply blue state and Republicans rarely
win there. When Christie was elected in 2009, it was by 3 1/2 points. And
that margin, 3 1/2 points, was actually the second biggest victory for a
Republican statewide candidate since 1972.
Chris Christie`s popularity`s astronomical right now. He`s running
about 30 points ahead of his Democratic opponent. And here`s the key part,
he`s not the only Republican on this November`s ballot. The entire state
legislature is also up in November, 80 seats in the assembly, 40 in the
New Jersey Republicans have not been in this position in decades.
Their candidate at top of the ticket is on course to win in a landslide.
The kind of a landslide that could sweep a whole bunch of down ballot
Republicans into office. The kind of landslide that could take these
numbers, that balance of power in each legislative chamber right now and
make them a lot prettier for the GOP.
The kind of landslide that could make Christie a more powerful
governor the second term, that could help him pass an agenda that he could
then run off to Iowa, New Hampshire, in South Carolina, and brag to
Republicans about. The last thing that Christie and Republicans in New
Jersey want is to add a Senate race to that November ballot.
As a Senate race where the Democratic candidate will very likely be
Cory Booker, the very, very popular Cory Booker who is announcing his
candidacy later this morning and whose name would be at the top of the
ballot above Christie`s -- presence on the ballot would energize Democrats,
would boost their turnout, would save so many of those down ballot
Democratic candidates from Christie`s coattails.
So, that`s the calculation that Christie`s making, that the grief he
takes for wasting money on a needless election will hurt him and his party
less than the damage they`ll suffer if Cory Booker`s name is on the
November ballot. It may be a smart calculation, it may not. But it`s
clearly not a calculation Christie enjoyed making. His reputation for
blunt honesty took a hit this week. He was being cute and it showed.
All right. I want to bring in my guests, Jamelle Bouie, he`s a staff
reporter at "American Prospect," magazine, Nick Acocella, editor and
publisher of the legendary New Jersey newsletter, "Politifax." He was
nominated by Christie on April to serve on the advisory board of the New
Jersey hall of fame. Robert Costa, Washington editor of "national review
magazine," and Ingrid Reed of Rutgers University`s Eagleton Institute of
Politics, former director of New Jersey project there and now a visiting
And if I am stumbling over my words is because I`m excited to see
everybody here, but I`m particularly excited to see Nick and Ingrid, two of
the first people I met as a journalist, covering New Jersey about a decade
ago. So, welcome to all of you.
You know, I`ll start with you, Ingrid. Election night 2002, I
remember, we were doing news 12 in New Jersey. So, you`re perfect to
answer this, but we talk about Chris Christie`s calculation there. You
know, he will take grief now, but he thinks whatever grief he`s taking now
is better for him and his party than what would happen if there`s a Senate
rate on the ballot in November. Do you agree with that basic calculation
that he`s making. Is that a correct calculation?
INGRID REED, EAGLETON INSTITUTE OF POLITICS: I think you`ve got it
right, Steve. But I also say that that`s pretty much what Chris Christie
is. He looks very quickly at what is strategically in effect important for
him and he makes the decision and he sticks with it. And sometimes, it`s a
little awkward, as in this case.
But, I think that it`s what politicians who have power and can make
decisions like that, particularly, if you can show that it`s a good thing
as well for the citizens from his point of view.
KORNACKI: Speaking of that, Nick, what has the reaction been in New
Jersey? I mean, you know, editorial boards, obviously, have been against
this. Is it --
NICK ACOCELLA, POLITIFAX NEW JERSEY: Not really.
KORNACKI: -- affecting Christie`s image at all?
ACOCELLA: Not really. The editorial boards have been very mixed. I
mean, some of them saying, well, yes, you know, it`s going to cost $24
million, but maybe this was the best idea. The problem was he had some
terrible choices here. If you pick 2014, let`s understand, there are two
statutes and they contradict each other. And when you clear out all the
underbrush, one of them says you have to have it in November 2013, the
other says November 2014.
And both of them say, you can call a special election at any time.
Same language. If he`d chosen 2014, it would have gone to court and he
would have lost, because the New Jersey Supreme Court --
KORNACKI: Republicans have not fared well with New Jersey Supreme
Court in elections. We found this.
ACOCELLA: The national Republicans won in 2014. I mean, Mitch
McConnell, I`m sure, was chewing on a washcloth when Christie decided not
to go with 2014. He wasn`t going to go with 2013 because politicians don`t
shoot themselves in the foot.
ACOCELLA: So, he`s left with nothing else but this -- with this
KORNACKI: So, you know, Robert, Nick mentions Mitch McConnell and
national Republicans, I mean, they looked at this and they said 2014 in a
lot of their minds was an option, right? There was this opinion that was
leaked from the office of legislative services in Trenton that basically
said, hey, yes, you know, our opinion is Christie can appoint through 2014.
I imagine, if you`re a national Republican, you`re saying, wow, we can
get a Republican senator from a blue state well into next year. Did this
guy just kind of screw us over here?
ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL REVIEW: There are likely only two ways for
Republicans to win the seat. You have to have someone on the ballot with
Christie in November or you have someone on the ballot in November of 2014.
To have a random October primary than having an August primary were you
only have a week to file, 1,000 signatures, it`s just very difficult.
That`s why so many top Republicans in New Jersey, Tom Kean Jr., Joe
Kyrillos, they`re all saying no thanks to this race.
KORNACKI: What can we say about this Senate race? You know, we`ll
talk a little bit more about Cory Booker later, but from the Republican
standpoint, the only candidate who stepped forward right now is a guy named
Steve Lonegan. He was the sort of conservative who ran against Chris
Christie in 2009 in the Republican primary.
He also ran for governor a few years before that. You know, he`s sort
of -- he`s a bit out there in New Jersey. Are we basically saying
Republicans have sort of sacrificed their chance at the seat now?
COSTA: Definitely. I mean, I think Steve Lonegan is going to -- I
spoke with Rick Shaftan, his chief strategist last night. They`re on pace
to get a thousand signatures by Monday. It seems like they`re the only
Republican campaign in New Jersey scrambling to get a thousand signatures.
So, if Steve Lonegan`s the nominee, he`s going to be up against Cory
Booker who has millions of dollars or Frank Pallone or Rush Holt and that`s
a very difficult race for Steve Lonegan who lost a gubernatorial race in
2005, and as you said, in 2009.
ACOCELLA: I tell you how bad the Republican Party`s backed off on
this. Think about it, every member of Congress gets a whole pass to run in
this. They don`t have to give up their seats. That never happens in the
U.S. Senate seat. Everybody in the Republican delegation, (INAUDIBLE), I
mean all of them, just the names were even mentioned. They just backed off
instantly. So, everybody`s pretty much assuming it`s going to be a
KORNACKI: And that`s -- and Jamelle, that`s what made sort of the
national reaction especially interesting to me is because I heard plenty of
Democrats, you know, criticizing Chris Christie. Certainly, there are
plenty of Democrats in New Jersey criticizing Chris Christie. I also heard
Harry Reid this week basically saying he thought it was the right decision.
KORNACKI: I think his logic is saying, hey, Republicans have no
chance. I`m getting a senator here real soon.
JAMELLE BOUIE, PROSPECT.ORG: I think it`s exactly right. Cory
Booker`s likely to be the nominee. He is likely to win. Keeping him off
the ballot in November does, I think, protect Republican interests in the
state ballots and Christie.
I think part of Christie`s calculation is if he can win a huge
landslide, then if he runs in 2016, he can say, listen, I`m the only person
in this field who not only has won two terms as governor, but won two terms
as governor of my second term with huge amount of support from other
Democrats. I am the crossover success here. Look at 2013.
KORNACKI: I want to pick up that point in a minute on Christie,
because also, there was an interesting back and forth this week between
Christie and Jon Stewart. I want to add a little context to that. We`ll
be back after this.
KORNACKI: So, I just wanted to show you, this was -- you probably saw
this (INAUDIBLE) this was Jon Stewart early this week. This was his take
on Christie calling the second election of the fall in New Jersey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": In 2009, Governor Christie commented
specifically on what he would do when he was asked, and this is true, if
Frank Lautenberg died.
CHRISTIE: I don`t think any responsible governor at this point would
call for a special election that would cost $10 million.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, that looked like he caught in the middle of hypocrisy
there, but this is how the governor responded to it after that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: My friend, Jon Stewart, took one small part out of, which
is great. It was very funny. I saw it. It was hysterical but has no
relationship to the truth in the context of what we were discussing at the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And I just want to establish that he -- no relationship to
the truth. Let`s just establish what the context was of this thing in
2009, because in 2009, what was happening, Chris Christie had just been
What happened in 2009 was Ted Kennedy died in Massachusetts, and the
Massachusetts legislature, the Democrats there had played around a little
bit with the law on succession and they had an interim senator who was put
in place while the special election took place because they wanted to have
a Democrat in the Senate because health care was coming through and all
So, that`s why the topic was in the news. In New Jersey, the
Democrats looked at this and they said, wow we have a Republican governor
coming in and we have an 80-something-year-old Senator Frank Lautenberg,
you know, maybe we should -- the idea was let`s pass a law that says if
Lautenberg goes, the governor has to appoint somebody from the same party.
And also part of this proposal was that that appointment would stick
through the next general election. There would not be an immediate special
election. So, that is the context of what Chris Christie was asked in
2009. And here with that in mind is his full answer of what he said in
CHRISTIE: Governor Corzine did not complain nor did members of the
legislature complain when Governor Corzine used the exact system that is in
place today to appoint his replacement. You know this whole fallacy of,
it`s going to save money, well, Jon Corzine replaced himself and didn`t
feel the need to call for a special election. And I don`t think any
responsible governor at this point would call for a special election that
would cost $10 million in light of everything I just said before. This is
garbage. It`s garbage. It`s political lying is what it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it the lying?
CHRISTIE: Lying, yes. L-Y-I-N-G.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is it lying?
CHRISTIE: How is it lying? You really think that`s John McKeon`s
intent on this? He decided -- he woke up one morning and decided, geez,
you know, I`m worried that a governor might call a special election for a
Senate race and that might cost $10 million, so let me put a stop to that
potential taxpayer waste immediately. I mean, come on, Michael.
KORNACKI: And John McKeon was the assemblyman who was proposing this
rule. Jamelle, so what Christie saying, there`s look -- obviously, the
intent of the Democrats in 2009 was to keep the seat Democratic. It
probably was not so much to save money for the taxpayers, but Christie is
basically saying, you know, hey, look, this is a political thing on their
part and in terms of the cost, you don`t have to worry about it, I would
never do that and he just did it.
I guess, in his defense, it`s not wasting $10 million it`s wasting
$11.9 million. So, I guess, he wasn`t being completely -- beside the point
But again, I wonder, I look at this, I look at, you know -- there`s
sort of Jon Stewart test, I guess, we apply to politics sometimes when
somebody -- with sort of falls out of favor with Jon Stewart you wonder
more broadly, is that politician sort of, you know, pristine national image
(ph)? I do wonder about Christie`s image this week. ? Did it, you know, in
New Jersey or nationally, did it take a hit a little bit?
BOUIE: I`m sure it did. I`m sure it took a little bit of a hit.
But, I mean, the fact of the matter is he`s going to win big in November
and that will wash away any of this -- any of this unpleasantness for him.
I think people tend to way overestimate the effects of events like this or
circumstances like this and a politician`s popularity.
What really matters is things like election results, how the state`s
doing, how the economy`s doing. And so, you know, Christie for a little
bit may not be happy about where -- approval of him is gone and gets in a
broader national sense, but (INAUDIBLE) November -- going to be again the
most -- one of the most popular politicians in the country and that is not
a bad place to be.
KORNACKI: And we, you know, Jamelle, you mentioned too like -- I
think we have a chart, actually that shows this. There is no Republican
governor in the country who is governor of the state that voted more for
Obama than New Jersey did. The margin for Obama last year in New Jersey
was 17 points. That`s the most for any Republican governor, there it is
And Robert, I kind of wondered that, whenever Christie`s in the news,
when we talk about what he`s doing in New Jersey to try to cater to a blue
state electorate and we talk about his 2016 ambitions, how much slack are
national Republicans willing to cut him because he`s a blue state governor?
COSTA: I think they`re losing their confidence in him a little bit.
There`s some frustration in Washington right now with Chris Christie, how
he handled hurricane Sandy, the images coming out of that. They understand
that he had to work with the president during the storm, but the way he did
it still irks Republicans behind the scenes and especially irks
And even now, even if he wins big in a blue state, they look at the
nuances of everything Christie does, and if he starts going to Iowa and New
Hampshire, it is going to have an impact on his 2016 chances.
ACOCELLA: I can`t contradict that. You`re absolutely right, but
there`s something else is going on here. Remember, he`s not -- if he wins
big, he`s going to be -- he`s going to be head of the Republican Governors
Association next year. He`s going to travel around the country, raising
money for every stripe of Republican, from the far right to the middle
right to wherever else they land.
He`s going to become a hero because he`s -- because he commands a
bully pulpit like very, very few politicians we know. He`s going to raise
lots of money for the very people who are mad at him now, and we`ll see.
KORNACKI: And what happens -- I think of the example of like Mitt
Romney. You know, Mitt Romney, you know, sort of a very different
governor, a very different politician in Massachusetts.
KORNACKI: And when he recognized at the end of his first term was I
don`t want to run for re-election because I`m going to have to say things
to win in Massachusetts that are not going to help me nationally so I`m
just going to stop this charade right now. Is that -- are we going to see
sort of that happen with Christie if he gets re-elected this fall? Is New
Jersey going to look at him differently a year or two from now because he
starts doing the sort of things Nick is talking about?
REED: I think New Jerseyans expect him to do that. I mean, it is
just so predictable that he has an eye on more than an eye --
KORNACKI: Utah this week.
REED: And even the Republican running, the one Republican that we
know is running for the Senate seat is a conservative. And he can point to
supporting a person like that for his party. As far as New Jersey being a
blue state, if you really look very closely, it`s a very different
electorate that goes to the polls for the governor`s race. And New
Jersey`s done a pretty good job of electing Republican governors. So,
there`s a little bit of hype. I don`t want to say accurate representation
about the state.
KORNACKI: It`s an issue, too. We`ve talked about it a little bit on
the show that that difference between who shows up when there`s a
presidential election going on --
REED: Electorate, yes.
KORNACKI: It`s more stark than ever, I think, sort of off-year
electorate versus the presidential election which is described in the
ACOCELLA: I`ll give you a statistic there. Joe Kyrillos lost the
Senate race by 19 points in a presidential year.
ACOCELLA: Got as many votes as Christie got when he was elected.
KORNACKI: Right. So, Christie wins a gubernatorial race and it`s a
landslide in a presidential year. I want to talk about Cory Booker,
because he`s a big part of this, and we`re basically seating the Senate
race to a Democrat, the Democrat might very well be Cory Booker. We`re
going to talk about it after this.
KORNACKI: So, Cory Booker is going to be announcing his Senate
candidacy in Newark a few hours from now. I think he`s going to then
travel down to South Jersey and do another announcement there. So, we
talked a little bit about the Republican side. Steve Lonegan, very
conservative Republican, looks like he`s going to be the Republican
candidate. He doesn`t have much of a chance in the general election.
Cory Booker will walk into this Democratic Senate primary, and there
is going to be a primary. He will walk into it as the overwhelming
favorite, but we should say Rush Holt, who`s a congressman from sort of,
you know, Route I Corridor, my favorite Rush Holt story, he worked at the
Princeton plasma lab. His bumper sticker "my congressman is a rocket
ACOCELLA: -- because he`s not really a rocket scientist.
KORNACKI: But he was a five-time Jeopardy champion as well.
KORNACKI: I think he beat Watson last --
BOUIE: He`s a different kind of physicist, but not a rocket
KORNACKI: Right. Just unloading all my Rush Holt trivia here. But,
Rush Holt -- Frank Pallone from the shore -- he`s a 25-year veteran, looks
like he`s running, and Sheila Oliver (ph) who is the speaker of the state
assembly and shares a political base with Cory Booker as sixth county,
that`s the Newark area, she might be in the race, too. So, there are other
Democratic candidates looking at this.
Look, I open (ph) that and I say, that`s interesting. I`ll enjoy
watching it. I`m a New Jersey politics junkie but Cory Booker is just, in
my mind, in a different league than these other potential candidates and
should have no problem winning this. What do you think of that, Ingrid?
REED: Well, I think that he is well-known. So, around the state, if
you had to name one person, you showed them the list, they would point to
Cory Booker. I don`t know who`s going to come out in this election. But
if you look a little deeper, Newark is not Cory Booker`s place. He`s not -
- it doesn`t seem to be in control in administrative matters, budget,
police, and so on, but also, he`s had a lot of political problems in
So, how do New Jerseyans look at that? Probably not a lot of people
are aware of that. And Cory Booker in a way is a kind of Chris Christie
person in wanting to go out and talk to people and be well-known. I mean,
booker has been all over the state doing graduation speeches and so on.
How does that count in this rather strange election, on August 13th?
KORNACKI: Well, we talk about nationally, Chris Christie and
Republicans. Does Chris Christie have a problem with national Republicans
because of his chumminess with President Obama? OK. In New Jersey, Cory
Booker and Chris Christie have been equally chummy. Is that a problem
potentially in a Democratic primary or is Christie just so popular that
that doesn`t matter?
ACOCELLA: The turnout here is going to be so small. It`s going to be
dominated by the political leaders of the state. And what Booker has going
for him is -- has Joe DiVincenzo (ph) who is the kingpin in Essex County,
county executive and the Democratic leader, that`s going to help him. But
he`s not very popular with a lot of the Democratic leaders of the state.
He`s not a beloved figure at all. The public knows him and likes him --
KORNACKI: Explain that. Why is that? I tried to explain to people,
you know, nationally, people look at New Jersey Democratic politics and say
Cory Booker, you know, great poll numbers, but why is it that the
Democratic establishment in New Jersey doesn`t have that relationship?
ACOCELLA: I`m not saying I agree with this, but he`s perceived as
being much more of a show horse than a work horse, that he hasn`t tackled
the problems of Newark and he would argue with that. He would point to all
the things he`s done there, but that`s a perception that`s there that he
has to deal with.
COSTA: And one of the big things, I think, for Booker, this is the
biggest test of his political career. If he`s in a general election in
October, if he wins, he`s in a general election in 2014, I think he coasts
to election. But in a short August primary, in a crowded field, this is
ACOCELLA: This is the test.
KORNACKI: Cory Booker, I want to put a clip up, you might remember.
This was a little over a year ago. Cory Booker went on "Meet the Press,"
and he got in a little hot water. I want to play this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORY BOOK, NEWARK MAYOR: This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on
both sides. It`s nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough.
Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff
has got to stop, because what it does is it undermines, to me, what this
country should be focused on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So Jamelle, that was Cory Booker basically talking about
the Obama campaign making an issue of Bain Capital and Mitt Romney and he
took a lot of grief from Democrats nationally for that. He was pretty
quiet nationally after that, too. What do national Democrats think of when
they look at Cory Booker right now?
BOUIE: I think there`s a split. I think among your more
establishment types, your moderate Democrats, Cory Booker is like them. He
is what you would expect from a Democrat from New Jersey. There`s nothing
-- I don`t think -- I`m not sure there`s anything to raise alarms. I think
among liberal Democrats, among the left, Cory Booker`s a New Jersey
Democrat. He has close connections to the Wall Street.
That clip is case in point. He`s very sympathetic to Wall Street.
And after -- on the left, there`s a lot of -- people are tired with Obama`s
close ties to Wall Street, with Geithner, with the people in his
administration who they feel kept the president from taking more aggressive
approach to the banks, more aggressive approach in financial reform.
And so, I think while Democrats are vying to see a Democrat, you know,
obviously win the seat are more fine with Booker. I`m not sure there`s a
lot of enthusiasm for him on the left because I think a lot of folks see
him as just another Wall Street Democrat and they`re just tired of Wall
KORNACKI: If Cory Booker does go on to be a senator, it will be a
milestone. He will be the only currently elected African-American in the
U.S. Senate, be the first ever from New Jersey. Cory Booker somebody
people talk about as having a national future, clearly has national
aspirations. I want to get into those issues after this.
KORNACKI: And Jamelle just reminded me in the break that if Cory
Booker does go and win the Senate race, it will be the first time in
history you`ve had two Black senators serving concurrently. You also have
Tim Scott, the appointed senator in South Carolina. He`s still be there.
Mo Cowan from Massachusetts is there right now, but he will be gone at the
end of this month. Massachusetts is having its special election.
But let`s talk a little bit about Cory Booker. I mean, you know, I
started covering him ten years ago when I got to New Jersey. I knew this
was somebody who was sort of marked for a national future. People were
talking about him as a national prospect.
You know, Jamelle, it strikes me that if he gets to the Senate this
year in 2013, I look at the sort of African-American turnout. We talked
about the issue of the Democratic coalition showing up only in presidential
years and nonpresidential years, and he looked last year at -- you know,
we`ve had studies since the election, it looked that`s particularly
African-American turnout, how it was particularly energized in 2012, much
bigger share of the election than people were expecting.
And I think there`s a question in Democratic politics right now, how
important is it for Democrats in 2016 to have a non-White presence on the
ticket? And we look at the pipeline of the Democratic Party, when it comes
to the sort of non-White pipeline, there isn`t much there. Look at Cory
Booker, if this guy gets to the Senate in 2013, VP in 2016, I mean, is that
something that`s on the horizon?
BOUIE: I`m not sure if it`s on the horizon -- strategic sense if
you`re trying to keep Black turnout really high. I`m sort of on the side
of people who think that Black turnout will just kind of stay high
indefinitely. When you look at the trend for Black turnout going back 15
years, it`s on a steady rise. And, I guess, the rise from 2004 to 2008,
and 2008 to 2012 are like similar or from 2000 to 2004 as well.
So, there`s not -- it`s not like we got the 2008. There`s a sharp
increase. It was a gradual incline which suggest that it`s just like --
that Black voters just voted in turnout a lot at least for the last decade.
So, I`m not sure it`s actually critical for Democrats to have a Cory Booker
or a Deval Patrick on the ticket in 2016, but I don`t think it will hurt by
ACOCELLA: There`s one more reason why Booker is to be favorite. He`s
a fundraising machine. And the party leaders don`t like to raise money for
Congressional and Senate races because they don`t get anything for it. You
know, the old joke about how many jobs does a senator have? So, they like
guys who can either sell fund or raise boodles of money. And that`s a
reason they may just decide that Cory`s the guy.
KORNACKI: And he`s getting (ph) a report today that Cory Booker is
going to be having a fundraiser with Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder
REED: You know, he already has Mark Zuckerberg as part of his
credentials. And again, if you look at the turnout, when a Senate race is
at the top of the ticket in New Jersey, it`s not great. And so, 40, 42
percent. So, a Booker establishing himself would, I think, help Democratic
KORNACKI: And I want to get back to the question of the pipeline for
sort of -- for African-American, for non-White politicians in a Democratic
Party, because we have the situation where there are, you know, three or
four dozen African-Americans in the House right now. And often, they
represent districts that are protected by the Voting Rights Act.
These are minority -- majority/minority districts, and there`s this
sort of informal ceiling that`s been imposed across the country by state
Democratic Parties that they view candidates who come from those districts
as not as electable statewide. That`s sort of -- there`s a stigma that`s
attached to that. When you look at Cory Booker story, Jamelle, I`m curious
what you make of it.
Somebody who comes from a majority Black city, Newark, and yet, he has
become easily the most popular Democrat in New Jersey, this national rock
star we`re talking about. What do you sort of take from the Booker story
as sort of a lesson nationally?
BOUIE: I think the Booker story is a confirmation that if you are
Black politician with national ambitions your first order of business is to
get us -- this is going to sound terrible -- is to get us far out of your
majority/minority area as quickly as possible.
BOUIE: I think if you looked at Barack Obama, I think it`s actually a
very good thing in his political career that he lost that first House race
in the south side of Chicago because it forced him to look out of that area
for a political base. And as a result, he found a more diverse political
base, a wealthier political base and it gave him a chance to really go
And likewise, you know, Booker, you know, immediately after winning,
Booker sort of like began doing essentially like a very long media tour.
And while that rankles, I think, for -- certainly for people in New Jersey
who are like, why can`t you just do your job, I think -- if Booker`s always
had national ambitions, I don`t know what else he could have done, right?
He had to establish himself as a New Jersey politician and not a Black
New Jersey politician and that`s unfortunate. I think it`s not good that
ambitious Black politicians can`t be Black politicians and also, you know,
plausibly have their national ambitions. I mean, Obama has self-
consciously defined himself as, you know, an American politician, not
necessarily like a Black one.
But that`s -- I mean that`s the lesson that if you are -- unless, you
are a Republican, a Black Republican from a small state like Tim Scott
where you should have already in the political median, then you`re only
other choice is to just like distance yourself from people`s associations
with like Black politics which is a shame but it`s sort of a shame we have.
KORNACKI: Well, I remember interviewing Booker years ago. It was
before he got elected. He ran for mayor twice.
REED: He won council.
KORNACKI: Right. He`s on the council. He ran against Sharp James
(ph) in 2002. You might have seen this documentary, "Street Fight." It
was about that race. So, it was after he lost that race, I interviewed
him, and he was joking about it. You know, I basically said it seems to
me, you know, when I talk to people, more people outside of Newark like you
than inside Newark. And he said, yes, I lost Newark and I won New Jersey.
And that was his reaction to that first race.
ACOCELLA: Remember, he`s not a native Newarker. I mean, he grew up
in a White suburb.
REED: Right. He could have run anywhere.
ACOCELLA: He could have run anywhere, but he chose Newark.
COSTA: I think all of Cory Booker`s strengths really shows why Chris
Christie made the decision he made because Cory Booker`s such a rising
politician. Chris Christie did not want Cory Booker on the ballot with
him. He knew that. Chris Christie`s looking for a 1985-type win. In
1985, Tom Kean wins a resounding re-election after barely winning in 1981.
And Christie`s thinking to himself, I can really establish a legacy.
And I`m on this path. I`m popular in the polls. Booker not only is a
distraction, he`s a threat. And that`s really the strategy and the
politics behind, I think, what Christie did with his maneuver.
KORNACKI: All right. I want to thank Nick Acocella of "Politifax,"
Robert Costa of the "National Review" magazine, and Ingrid Reed of the
Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.
The most amazing twist of fate I have ever seen in politics involve
Frank Lautenberg, and I want to tell you about it after this.
KORNACKI: I think the worst feeling in the world is probably regret.
You know you made a mistake, a big mistake. You hate living with
consequences. You`d do anything, anything to go back and undo it. And
yet, there`s nothing you can do, you`re stuck. It`s sad, it`s helpless,
it`s awful. Regret is what Frank Lautenberg was living with as he
approached his 80th birthday.
He regretted his decision to retire from the U.S. Senate in 2000.
When he made that decision, it did seem to make sense. He was well into
his 70s. He`d been in Washington for 18 years. he dreaded raising money,
and it looked like he was going to have a serious Republican challenger.
So, he held a press conference and he announced that he was hanging it up.
And then, the instant he finished that press conference, it started to
sink in. He confided to a friend, I think, I just made a big mistake.
Lautenberg flirted with canceling his retirement and running again in 2000,
anyway, but he couldn`t. His party had already moved on. So, his term
ended in January 2001 and an unhappy retirement began.
Every day, he missed the Senate, he missed the spotlight, he missed
the game, and there was nothing he could do about it. It was over. That
is what retirement was like for Frank Lautenberg. And then, more than a
year into that retirement, some funny things started to happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Senate Ethics Committee severely admonished
New Jersey senator, Robert Torricelli, for taking gifts from a businessman
he helped. Last night, Torricelli apologized for what he called lapses of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, that created a big problem for Democrats. It was the
summer of 2002, an election year, and control of the Senate was theirs but
only by one vote. And here was a Democrat in a very blue state, Robert
Torricelli of New Jersey, the torch in the middle of an ethical firestorm
and in danger of losing his seat that no Democrat should ever lose. The
torch tried to hang on. He tried to change the subject.
He tried to convince voters that as much as they didn`t like him,
their lives would be worse with a Republican in office, but his poll
numbers were pair less (ph), and then, the end of September, the dagger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, prosecutors unsealed documents Torricelli
had been trying to keep secret which they say found substantial
corroborating evidence to back up allegations Torricelli took illegal cash
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Now, Democrats panicked. In Washington, a Torricelli was
about to cost them their Senate majority. And in New Jersey, they
panicked, too. If Torricelli stayed at the top of their ticket, he`d take
down their entire slate of candidates. He`d wipe out the party. Pressure
was applied. Carrots were dangled and the torch agreed to play ball and
get out of the race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`ll be those who concluded that those
mistakes bring justice to this moment because there`s a price to be paid.
When did we become such an unforgiving people?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And so now, only five weeks before the 2002 election,
Democrats suddenly needed a new candidate. Torricelli went on the "Today"
show the morning after his announcement and he named three people he
thought should replace him on the ballot. Frank Lautenberg was not one of
them, and this was no accident. Torricelli didn`t like Lautenberg and
Lautenberg didn`t like Torricelli. And that was probably putting it
Lautenberg thought that torch was too slick, was to me first, was too
eager to cut corners. They had a legendary confrontation in Washington
once. With their fellow Democratic senators listening in, Torricelli had
threatened to not sure how to put this, excise (ph) a portion of
Lautenberg`s reproductive anatomy.
So, the last thing in the world Torricelli wanted when he dropped out
of that race was for Frank Lautenberg to replace him. And it didn`t look
like he had much to worry about because Lautenberg wasn`t his party`s first
choice or its second choice or its third choice or its fourth choice. But
everyone kept saying no. There`s a weird situation, switching candidates a
month before the election like that.
The public might get angry, they worried. There were some legal
questions, too. It was a risk that no one with anything to lose wanted to
take, which is how it came to be that on the night of October 1st, 2002,
Frank Lautenberg walked into the governor`s official residence in
Princeton, Drumthwacket it`s called, and was formally asked by party
leaders to take Torricelli`s place.
So, imagine that moment for Lautenberg. He was 78 years old. He`d
been bored. He`d been miserable. He was a forgotten man. He`d forced to
watch from the sidelines as his biggest enemy in politics occupied the
spotlight. And now, all of a sudden, in an unimaginable twist of fate, he
had a chance to undo the biggest mistake of his life, to achieve in one
fell swoop, both revenge and redemption.
The election wasn`t even close. A lot of people in New Jersey, it
turned out, they never even knew that Lautenberg had left the Senate. On
election night, the race was called early.
SEN. ELECT FRANK LAUTENBERG, (D) NEW JERSEY: Tonight, we stand here
with a mandate to go ahead to Washington, stand up there for all the people
in New Jersey and people of this country and do the right thing.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LAUTENBERG: I just want to let you in on a secret. It`s past my
bedtime. I had --
LAUTENBERG: I had a glass of warm milk. And I`m feeling very spry.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LAUTENBERG: Let them -- let them pull that one again, huh?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KORNACKI: Frank Lautenberg died a happy man this past Monday. He
died a United States senator. Frank Lautenberg was also the last of the
World War II veterans who were left in the Senate. We will talk about the
meaning of that milestone next.
KORNACKI: We`ve been discussing Senator Frank Lautenberg of New
Jersey died Monday at the age of 89. Lautenberg was the last remaining
member of the Senate to have served in World War II. There are now just
two World War II veterans left in the House, Democratic congressman John
Dingell of Michigan who this week because the longest serving member of
Congress in history, and Republican, Ralph Hall, of Texas.
Lautenberg`s death marks a significant decline in the number of
military veterans serving in Congress overall. In 1977, 81 of members of
the Senate, 81 percent of the Senate had served in the military. But now
that number, despite more than a decade of war has fallen to just 16. The
House of Representatives has experienced a similar decline.
I want to bring in Ira Shapiro, author of "The Last Great Senate:
Courage and Statesmanship in Times of Crisis," former general council and
ambassador in the office of the U.S. trade representative during the
Clinton representation, MSBC military analyst, Col. Jack Jacobs, and Abby
Rapoport, staff writer at the "American Prospect."
So, it`s an amazing drop when you look at it basically over the last
generation, generation and a half from the Carter days, basically, the late
1970s. Eight in 10 members of the Senate had served in the military. And
today, it`s 16, we say now. I think if you look at the candidates running
next year, it looks like it`s going to be down like 12 or something, maybe
even less than that.
I guess, the basic question I have is, you know, military policy is
such a huge part, defense policy is a huge part of what senators are
engaged in. What kind of difference does that make when the senators are
overwhelmingly do not have a military background?
COL. JACK JACOBS, U.S. ARMY, RET: Well, the first thing to remember
is that just because you`re in the military doesn`t mean that you know
anything about the military. We make a big deal up, for example, of the
secretary of defense, current secretary of defense, having been an enlisted
man in Vietnam. It doesn`t really count so much if you don`t anything.
And there are plenty of people who have been served who know a great deal
about the military. So, that`s the first thing.
The second thing is that if you look at it from a different
perspective, that is, that service in defense of the country is something
that is -- that`s an honor and a privilege and ought to be mandatory. You
get a completely different view of what service in the military actually
means. I happen to be extremely fond of universal service, not selective
service, well, you`re going, you don`t have to go, you`re definitely going.
I don`t like that idea.
I`m fond of universal service. I think that anybody who`s lucky
enough to live in the free country owes it something in the form of
service. And not having people who have served the country. I think it`s
very bad news because it opens up a wide gulf in a wide variety of ways,
first between the military establishment which is manned by a very small
number of brave young men and women who is serving 310, 320 million of us
by themselves on the one hand.
And second, it opens up a gulf between institutions generally and the
people. And you can see it in the polls. I mean, the Congress has a lower
approval rating than Osama Bin Laden. And I think at least part of it is
because there`s a huge disconnect between the people who are served and the
people who are being served and the people who are serving.
KORNACKI: That`s sort of a broader issue, too. I mean, we`ve had,
you know, more than a decade now of war, right? And how sort of insulated
from the cost of war, the real sort of human cost of war, so many Americans
are, and probably, so many people in power are.
First, how many people in Congress just haven`t had the experience of
going off to war and being that they don`t even think of it in those terms.
But there are other issues, too, because how separated we`ve become from
the military, the rest of the country.
BOUIE: Right, right. There`s -- I think it`s helpful to have people
in Congress who had - who`ve served in the military in some capacity just
because it makes it less of an obstruction. I think -- I remember this
from 2003 and 2002 that when we talk about going to war, fighting war, to
me, it`s like broad attraction to (ph) we`ll bring freedom, we`ll do this,
we`ll do this, but, you know, war`s an ugly thing.
And I think, you know, having served doesn`t guarantee that you`re
keeping that in the front of your mind when you`re making policy decisions,
but it`s -- you`re more likely to be keeping them in front of your mind if
you have some experience with the military while serving in Congress.
And I think there`s like to also be said about the fact that national
service or some sort of service kind of helps build, I guess, the civil
institutions that are important for politics and policy making, that people
begin to see lots of different kinds of people as Americans, not just like
people from their particular communities as Americans.
JACOBS: Yes. I`m going to add something to that with respect. I
apologize. It was, Franklin, I think, and I`m probably misquoting, but it
doesn`t really matter.
JACOBS: It`s out of context, but it was he who said we either hang
together or we hang separately. And he brought up a significant point that
large majority of the American people not only don`t have any skin in the
game, but more significantly, because it is attitudinal and it is a
question -- it is an abstraction, don`t feel that they have any skin in the
game. I think that`s very, very dangerous.
KORNACKI: Well, that`s -- we look at this decline, we can point to a
couple of things. You look at -- in Congress, for instance, in the 1970s,
when the numbers were, you know, 75, 80 percent. Well, also, a lot of that
was the World War II generation was there where I think during World War
II, something like 12 percent of the overall U.S. population had served in
the military at some point. It`s something like one percent of the
population I think has served in the last 12 years.
ABBY RAPOPORT, PROSPECT.ORG: Well, and I think there`s another
implication for that, which is military isn`t the only place where we`re
just seeing increasing polarization. You know, you go to school with
people who look like you, who are the same income as you, et cetera, et
cetera. Military is increasingly drawing from people from the same types
of neighborhoods, the same geographic regions, et cetera.
And so, increasingly, policymakers and people who are running for
office, et cetera, haven`t really interacted with that many people
different than they are. And I think the military used to be this great
place where people would kind of come into contact with people really
different than them and sort of, you know, like I think both of you are
saying kind of see the broad range of people who are American citizens.
And now, there`s almost nowhere short of like the DMV where you get to see
KORNACKI: Well, I want to pick that point up, because there`s an
interesting proposal that`s put out by a former military man about how
maybe to address that. I want to get into that after this.
KORNACKI: Hello from New York. I`m Steve Kornacki.
Here with Jamelle Bouie of "The American Prospect" magazine; Ira
Shapiro, author of "The Last Great Senate: Courage and Statesmanship in
Times of Crisis"; MSNBC military analyst, Colonel Jack Jacobs, and Abby
Rapoport also from "The American Prospect."
So, we`ve been talking about Frank Lautenberg`s death marking the end
of the World War II generation in the Senate, the declining presence of
military veterans in Congress and politics and in general, and, really, I
think more broadly sort of how -- and Abby was sort of making this point at
the end of the last segment -- how the military`s sort of, you know,
becoming more of sort of this very separate institution that doesn`t draw
this broad cross section of people maybe the way it did in the past. We
don`t have a draft. We don`t have World War II, 12 percent of the
population was serving.
Mike Mullen, actually, in testimony a few years ago, talked about
this. I think in early 2011. I just want to play this clip.
I thought it was very interesting the way -- the way he expressed
this. Let`s play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADM. MIKE MULLEN (RET), FORMER CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEF OF STAFF:
America doesn`t know its military and the United States military doesn`t
know America. We cannot afford to be out of touch with them and to the
degree, we are out of touch. I think it`s a very dangerous course and that
it will generate an outcome someday, we`ll wake up one morning, it will be
an event that will cause us to examine this, and in that we will find out
that, yes, we are less than 1 percent and, yes, we`re living in fewer and
fewer places and we don`t know the American people and the American people
don`t know us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, Ira, that`s really interesting to me how he phrased
that. He`s not saying this is a problem of the American people doesn`t
know the military, this is a problem the military doesn`t know the America
And I wonder when you look at sort of when you look at Congress, when
you look at the Senate, when you look the sort of lack of military people
who are serving, when that moment he`s describing comes, how do you think
Congress thinks of the military now?
IRA SHAPIRO, "THE LAST GREAT SENATE": I think I agree with Colonel
Jacobs in the sense that while a lot has changed, you don`t have to be a
military person to appreciate the military or have the knowledge of the
If you look at Congress, you`ve got Carl Levin, who didn`t serve,
working as an Armed Services chairman with John McCain, who did. You used
to have Sam Nunn who didn`t with John Warner who did. But they steeped
themselves in the armed services issues and military, they became respected
What I think we owe to our military men and women, above all else, is
good political decision making by the president and by the legislature.
That`s what I worry, not only dysfunction that we have now, but the general
decline of our ability to make good decisions. If you looked at the Gulf
War and the debate leading into 1991 Gulf War, I think it was a far more
informed and thoughtful debate than the one that preceded the Iraq war.
And so, that has consequences.
COL. JACK JACOBS (RET.), MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST: When you have a very
small number of people in the military and the large majority of the
American population and particularly legislators and other leaders don`t
have any military experience, you get what we have today, and that is this,
we use the military as the default instrument of power.
What we -- we`re lousy at using statecraft, flat terrible at it.
We`re lousy at using the economic instrument of power and we absolutely,
positively do not integrate all three instruments of power. Instead, what
we do is rely on these guys. We use the military instrument of power as
default instrument and that`s partially a function of the fact that leaders
and legislators, businessmen, everybody around the country, very few people
have military experience.
And as a result, they have no idea what it can do and what it can`t.
KORNACKI: And yet, there`s an interesting poll here. This is testing
sort of public confidence in various institutions. The military
continually tests infinitely better --
JACOBS: Yes, because we know what we`re doing.
KORNACKI: Yes, look at that: 67 percent for the military. And, you
know, religious institutions, 21 percent; federal government, 17; news
media, 16. I`m surprised news media`s that high.
But there`s sort of instinctive reverence for the military and it`s
feeding what Jack is saying.
JACOBS: Military guys know exactly what -- they train all the time to
do whatever it is they do. You want people killed and stuff blown up, I`m
the guy to call on.
You want nations built and economic instruments brought to bear on
foreign powers, we`re not the guys. We don`t do that very well.
We do do this stuff we do well. And everybody knows it. They say,
you, get out there, load up and get out there.
KORNACKI: If more people served, you talked about the idea of
mandatory service, universal service, if more people served in general if
they had the experience, if families had experience of loved ones serving,
if that was sort of a broader experience -- do you think there would be
less reflects of reverence for the military if people understood it better
and they wouldn`t just sort of yell and defer to it like that?
JAMELLE BOUIE, PROSPECT.ORG: I sort of think the popularity of the
reverence for the military is less a function of you know unfamiliarity
with it, and just the fact that I guess the last 10 years of institutional
scandals, you know the news media`s had its she, politicians certainly have
had their share, religious institutions have had their share.
But the military, you know, there`s Iraq and Afghanistan, but you
could possibly say that it`s not the military`s fault.
KORNACKI: It`s the political system`s fault. Right, right.
BOUIE: So, the military isolated from I think the fallout from
various institutional scandals or institutional concerns. While the
military had its own -- they`re kind of esoteric, like your average person
on the street isn`t going to be able to tell you if there`s sort of
problems in the military establishment. All they see is young men, young
women serving their country.
It`s hard to -- it`s very difficult for someone to say, I don`t
approve of that. That`s not good. Like, of course you do.
ABBY RAPOPORT, PROSPECT.ORG: Oh, go ahead.
SHAPIRO: I mean , the question really is, as Jack was getting to, is
what`s the mission that we`re asking our military men and women to perform?
Everyone felt really wonderful about the Gulf War and the performance in
the Gulf War. And everyone pointed out what a remarkable change in the
military in this post-Vietnam period. We had this volunteer army. It was
superb at what it did.
If you then asked them to get involved in what proves to be a 10-year
war and a war that has more than a little component of nation building,
then it becomes harder. So, no one`s questioning the ability of our
military people and what they`ve done for the country. We have to question
what kind of wars we`re going to be involved in and whether it does become
a default instrument as the colonel has discussed.
RAPOPORT: Yes. I mean, I totally agree. I think it becomes harder
to be skeptical when people ask military to do things they don`t -- they
are not trained to do, that aren`t their area of expertise, like nation-
building. It`s harder if you haven`t served for politicians to say, wait,
is the military going to be good at this? This isn`t their thing.
And I think that`s where the rub comes in. It`s not that the military
can`t do the job it`s set out to do well, and it`s not that people can`t be
skeptical, it`s that those don`t match, I think, certainly haven`t matched
over the last 10 years to the extent --
JACOBS: Let me add one thing very, very quickly along these lines
that and that is this. We drew a line after Vietnam and said we weren`t go
doing it anymore but did it anyway. Why is it during Vietnam, there were
riots in the streets, an unpopular war that went for a decade, now an
unpopular war that went on for a decade and no riots in the street?
I`ll tell you why I think it is.
SHAPIRO: The draft.
JACOBS: The draft. If we had a draft in the last decade, trust me,
there would be riots in the street. People today, when you ask them, one
of the reasons the military is in such higher repute is not only because it
does a great and we have brave men and women out there defending us, but
it`s at least partially a financial of the fact that people love the troops
because they don`t have to be the troops.
And I believe very strongly, had we had a draft, an arbitrary draft of
the type we`re talking about that existed back in Vietnam in the last
decade, we would have riots in the streets over Iraq and Afghanistan.
KORNACKI: And we have, you know, Karl Eikenberry is actually
proposing, of "The New York Times", where he called for basically a limited
form of conscription, a limited draft that would be designed in the way
that would cut into privileged areas. So, the big gripe I think in
Vietnam, there was this elite that was shielded, found ways to shield
itself from the draft. He`s saying let`s design something, it`s not
universal but let`s have some form of conscription, bring back the idea of
the citizen soldier, and it would change the way these decisions are made.
We wouldn`t be casual by war.
JACOBS: Good luck making it arbitrary and selective and still make it
SHAPIRO: Yes. I mean, that`s the problem. I mean we have -- we have
gone 40 years without a draft. We have built an excellent all-volunteer
The difficulty of creating a draft which goes against the grain for a
lot of people, and the difficulty of creating one without a lot of
exceptions, is the problem we ran into with Vietnam. It was a very short
period when you had the draft and all kinds of exemptions for people in
college, and then you decided you couldn`t sustain that. So, basically we
abolished the draft.
I think that we need not only to support and admire the soldiers and
the military that we have, but I think we have to have political decision-
making that`s better in terms of what we`re getting people into.
KORNACKI: What -- I mean, what are possible solutions here? We talk
about the draft, OK, politically we`re not bringing back the draft. So
what can be done sort of a practical stand point to reconnect the
experience of being in the military of people who are not --
JACOBS: I`ve got one for you. I`ll try to be as quick as possible.
College started in January. It doesn`t start in September.
When you`re 18 or graduated from high school, you go to basic
training. Now, part of the problem of thinking about how we are supposed
to do this is a logistical one. What the heck we`re going to do with a
covert of 18-year-olds for two years? You come in for two years.
If you assume that the whole idea of military service is to -- so we
all have some common experience -- we don`t even have voting in common. A
greater percentage of people in Iraq votes than votes in the United States.
We get killed if you vote.
You come into the military establishment, you go through basic
training. After eight weeks, we give you as a receive near of your
national service a pair of boots and a uniform and say, thank you very
much, I never between see you again. Take these as our contribution to you
so you can remember your eight weeks of military service.
And trust me, after that time, in the last couple of weeks of basic
training, we would have to convene boards to determine whom among the
people who want to stay in the military and go on active duty after that,
we want to keep. We wouldn`t have to spend billions of billions of dollars
advertising enlisting in the military establishment because there would be
lots of people who want to stay.
And at the end, when people get to be my age and maybe your age, too,
say think about -- what do you remember back when you were young? The
thing I most remember is my eight weeks in basic training.
KORNACKI: That`s interesting because in talking to people around from
the World War II generation or even the Korea generation, when you get a
few of them in a room, even they don`t know each other that well, it
doesn`t take them long to start sharing their experiences and their stories
from the service. And it`s something that I find many of them if not all
of them, in these settings, they can all relate to it. They all went
JACOBS: You might have hated it, you might have hated it, but it was
-- it came at a seminal point in your life and it was a seminal event, and
it`s something that you shared with absolutely everybody else in the
BOUIE: I don`t see why it`s necessarily the military. Because the
military`s a tool, you want to have something that actually fit what we
need the military for. I`m not sure that we need in the 21st century a
military comprised of hundreds and hundreds or million of young people. I
mean, even if a fraction of those coming in, there might be more capability
than we need.
JACOBS: No, my objective is not to get the capable to defend the
republic against the Chinese --
BOUIE: But a shared experience doesn`t have to be necessarily
martial. A shared experience can be sort of like shared community service.
Everyone is required after --
JACOBS: It could be. First of all, you`re talking to somebody who
likes the martial experience and that`s how I grew up. But, second, from a
practical standpoint, how do you choose? I mean, I don`t want -- I think I
would prefer to empty bowls in the hospital and I don`t want to shoot guns.
You`re liable -- very soon, you wind up having this bifurcated and
trifurcated experience that wasn`t quite the same.
KORNACKI: Well, there is actually as I think of it, a shared
experience from my generation. It`s called student loan debt.
But, anyway, I want to say thanks to Jamelle Bouie of "The American
Prospect" magazine, Ira Shapiro, author of "The Last Great Senate: Courage
and Statesmanship in Times of Crisis", and MSNBC military analyst, Colonel
Jack Jacobs will appear later today the premier of Karen Finney`s new show,
"Disrupt", that is airing this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. Eastern right here on
MSNBC. You know it now.
There`s actually a number we can put on Republican obstruction. I`ll
tell you what it is, next.
KORNACKI: Maybe you saw on Tuesday when President Obama held a Rose
Garden press conference to announce he`s nominating three people on the
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. This isn`t customary, three nominations at
So, why is the president breaking with tradition?
Well, let`s let him and his Democratic allies explain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The other side, a small number on
the other side, have gotten away with so much obstruction.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Unprecedented obstruction.
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: Unprecedented obstruction.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not principled
opposition. This is about political obstruction.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KORNACKI: So there it is, obstruction, Republican obstruction. The
GOP has stalled, filibustered and otherwise delayed and derailed a
ridiculous number -- an unprecedented number, of Obama`s nominees. Picking
three nominees at once is Obama`s way of playing for attention. He`s
daring Republicans to keep on obstructing him this time in the full light
Except -- well, when you listen to Republicans, they won`t exactly see
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: We`re not going to let
the majority leader manufacture obstruction, obstruction crisis, where none
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: The fact of matter is there is no
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE: And the majority leader
suggested that there was delay and obstruction. That word just comes out
automatically when sometimes some people wake up in the morning on that
side of the aisle.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KORNACKI: So, that leaves us with another he said/she said Washington
story, right? Democrats say the GOP`s obstruction is unprecedented,
Republicans say it isn`t. I don`t know who to believe.
Actually, this is why God invented math. Thanks to a post this week
at Greg Sargent`s "Washington Post" blog, "The Plum Line," we learned abut
something called the index of obstruction and delay. It`s a formula
created by Sheldon Goldman, a political science professor at the University
of Massachusetts at Amherst. It`s called minuteman.
It puts a numerical value on obstruction. Goldman compiled data for
each two-year session of Congress, going all the way back to the Carter
days, when you looked at nomination for the federal court of appeals. The
formula is pretty simple, let`s see how to works.
First, you take the number of nominations that haven`t been confirmed.
So, for example, just to show how it works, say that number is 10. And you
add in the number of nominations that have been confirmed, but that took at
least 180 days to do so. So, let`s say also that that number is 10, and
that gives us a total of 20.
So, now, what do we do? We divide that 20 by the total number of
nominations that a president has made. Let`s say that`s 40. So, in this
case, we would have 20 divided by 40 for obstruction score of .500.
The basic rule here is that the bigger the number is, the closer to
1.00, the more obstruction there is going on.
So, now, let`s take a look at obstruction of the federal appeals court
picks over the years. There`s the overall, right behind me is the overall
trend of the last three-plus decades. If you look a little closer, you can
see what`s going on.
For a long time, in the late `70s through the `80s, and even into
`90s, there was a simple pattern. In the first two years of any
presidential term, obstruction would be relatively low. Here, for example,
this is 1981 and 1982, first two years of Ronald Reagan`s presidency. The
score is zero.
You can look at `85, `86, that`s the start of Reagan`s second term.
The score is .069. George Bush Sr.`s first two years .0625.
In the second two years of the president`s terms, obstruction rose.
From 0.1429 in Reagan`s first term up to .762 in his second term, and up to
.500 for Bush, Sr.
So, there`s a logic to this. In the first two years of a presidency,
the opposition party was more willing to let the president put his team in
place. But after that, the opposition party would be thinking ahead to the
next election and it suddenly gets picky. Why let all of the other party`s
nominees go through if your party might soon win the White House?
So, then came the Clinton years, though. His first term was normal.
You have light obstruction in the first two years, heavier in the next two.
Then Clinton wins re-election in 1996 and the obstruction intensifies to a
new level, .6932 in the first half of his second term. You see it peaking
And this is key, because you had before this an established norm for
opposition party behavior. And Republicans in Clinton`s term changed it.
When Bush 43 came in, Democrats accepted that new norm. Their obstruction
scores were pretty high throughout the last decade.
And then we get to Obama, and look, the norm changes again. High
level of obstruction his first two years, followed by a near total blockade
the next two. Look at that score, .9524. That`s close to 1.00 as we`ve
ever been. That was for the Congress that ended after last year`s
election. It is the highest score record and it`s even more jarring when
you consider Republicans have been the minority party in the Senate since
Obama became president.
That is the backdrop -- unprecedented Republican obstruction for the
three nominations that Obama made this week. For a couple of other bold
step he also took. We`ll talk about them, next.
KORNACKI: I want to bring in MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter,
author of the new book, "The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies", and a
columnist for "Bloomberg View"`; MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele,
co-author of "The Recovering Politicians 12-Step Program to Crisis", and a
former chairman of the Republican National Committee; and Julia Ioffe,
senior editor of "The New Republic" magazine.
So, set that up last segment, talking about the appeals court
specifically, the D.C. Court of Appeals, and the president this week made
three simultaneous nominations. There was talk last week this was going to
happen. He went through and he did it this week.
And, Michael, maybe I`ll start with you. We have Republican voice
here. Do you think Republicans are going to continue to fight these or let
some of the nominations through or all nominations through?
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, they`ll slow down the
process as much as they can. I mean, this is all about the politics of it
I think the president, you know, showcasing this week was political.
I mean, but it was important. He had to do it, because up until now, this
president has not been behind his nominees, not pushed from inside the
Beltway to get even the Senate Democrats to be vocal about these
appointments and to really bring that kind of political pressure. So,
The Republicans right now are going, well, you know, we look at not
producing a lot of nominees to begin with. He`s behind where his
predecessors have been in judicial nominations or nominations, period. So
they`re just taking a very, you know, we`ll take it as it comes approach.
KORNACKI: Well, let me play -- we actually -- Mitch McConnell on the
floor of the Senate responded to it this week. This is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: I think the issue, if there is one, with regard to the
D.C. circuit is the question of whether this circuit court, which is
apparently less busy than all but one circuit courts in the nation, needs
to have a full complement of judges. As Senator Grassley has statistics
and it`s a good one to ask about the appropriateness of confirming these
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That`s kind of amazing to me, Jonathan. First of all, we
went -- we tried to do a little bit of math with this as well. It`s not
the least busy of all circuits and the cases that the D.C. circuit deals
with tend to be more complex than cases that are dealt with elsewhere.
Republicans are saying we like the balance of the court now without three
Obama nominees confirmed. So, we`re looking for a way not to confirm them.
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: So, this to me just
symbolizes the different skill sets between Republicans and Democrats in a
non-campaign situation, and why Republicans, even though they don`t have
support of the country now, make so much headway. So, when Grassley made
his announcement, he said that the president was trying to pack the court,
a court-packing scheme -- bringing up memories of everybody who studied in
school, you know, Roosevelt`s 1937 attempt to pack the Supreme Court by
expanding the number of justices from nine, which was slam dunked in the
The chutzpah of that, to say that because he wants to fill vacancies,
he`s packing the court, what this is is a shameless court-shrinking scheme,
but nobody says that.
KORNACKI: It`s let`s change the ideological balance by cutting the
number of people on the court.
ALTER: Right, cutting the number of people on the D.C. circuit in a
just breathtaking effort -- political effort to try to prevent Democrat --
a more liberal justice -- judges from being on the court.
KORNACKI: Can you just explain for one second, take a step back, we
talk about the D.C. court all the time. Why specifically is the D.C. court
so important and so contested by both parties?
ALTER: Well, it is -- first of all, there are several, I should know
the exact number, several members of the U.S. Supreme Court who started on
the D.C. circuit, including the chief justice, John Roberts, and his
vacancy from 2005 is one of those that still hasn`t been filled.
It is the court just below the Supreme Court. And the reason why,
even though the other circuits are technically equal, the reason why it`s
seen as just below the Supreme Court in importance is all of the big issues
that involve the government, most of them, come up through the D.C. circuit
and so, their rulings are extraordinarily important when it comes to how
this country is governed.
So, this is a power grab by the Republicans, the president was very
upfront, very strong in explaining that it was political. But they didn`t
frame the argument as sharply as they still need to. They need to come at
it. You can`t just hold one press availability in the Rose Garden to come
at it over and over again. This court shrinking scheme by these
obstructionists, highly political Republicans must end and rally public
It`s harder to do when it involves judges because most people don`t
pay a lot of attention to this kind of thing, unfortunately.
KORNACKI: Yes, this was -- this was the -- got portrayed this week
ace more aggressive approach than the president`s previously taken on
judges and nominations in general.
Do you see it making a difference?
RAPOPORT: I mean, I think the problem is that it`s sort of a win/win
for the Republicans, right? Because every week that they go on, there`s
more cases that are going to be decided by the eight that are on the court
right now. And so, you know, even if they overplay their hand and I think
the big question is, you know, will the Democrats actually call the bluff
and change the filibuster rules. But even if that happens, they`ll still
have effectively won more weeks than they would otherwise.
I think a lot of the Republicans think they`re going to get the Senate
back in 2014 and then they can do it by 2016, they`ll be getting their
ALTER: I think we are headed for what they call the nuclear option.
I don`t know for sure but that`s what my gut is telling me now, because at
a certain point, even Harry Reid, who doesn`t want to do this, really isn`t
going to see any option but -- so we might get what we should have had a
long time ago.
KORNACKI: And Harry Reid made one of his -- he kind of teased it
again this week, this has been happening for a while. We`re going to play
it and talk about that after this.
KORNACKI: So, this was Harry Reid this week on the Senate floor,
again, sort of introducing the specter of the nuclear option.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I have given numerous statements on my position about
nominations and legislation. The ball is in their court, I`m not talking
about it. You can come to the floor, he can come to the floor and talk 15
times a day. I`ve made -- actions speak louder than words. It`s up to
them, not up to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That doesn`t look like the Senate floor. I guess that was
a press conference on the Senate floor.
But, Julia, this is -- this is, you know, we sort of got into it at
the end of last segment, but this is the big question in Washington right
now. Obama is putting three nominees up at once for the court. We also
executive branch nominations that are the same issue applies will
Republicans let nominations go through.
As you look to the summer, do you think the nuclear option that we
talked about, passing a change to the filibuster rule, getting rid of the
filibuster of a simple vote of the Senate, do you see that as a viable
thing that could happen?
JULIA IOFFE, THE NEW REPUBLIC: I mean, it could. I don`t think it
necessarily would be a great idea. I mean, eventually, Democrats will find
themselves in the minority, and maybe they might regret doing that if the
went ahead with the nuclear option.
KORNACKI: But, Michael, from a Republican standpoint, what -- you
know, the dance that`s been going on here between Reid and McConnell is
always interesting to watch, where Reid will kind of dangle this
possibility and McConnell, we`ve seen he`s backed off here and there, do
you think it has the effect?
STEELE: Yes, a little bit. I think at the end of the day, to your
point, they don`t want -- the Democrats don`t want to play the nuclear
option because they`re looking to 2016 -- 2014, 2016 beyond, seeing the
possibility of losing the Senate. Last thing they want is payback.
So that`s just a lot of noise right now. At the end of the day, I
think it really matters about the president pushing this thing and driving
this discussion to the point, very much like you said before, that`s more
public, it`s more open, but it`s not -- the president (INAUDIBLE) to do
So, Reid is stuck. He has nowhere to go. McConnell`s going you play
your hand, I`ll play mine, and therefore, they keep banging the drum on
nominations and there aren`t any movements in the direction of getting it
KORNACKI: And what I wonder, talking about the D.C. circuit here, you
talk about how it`s a feeder for the Supreme Court traditionally, we
haven`t had in Obama`s second term but we might a Supreme Court nomination,
if there`s a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Look at all of the sort of
delay tactics, the obstruction, Republicans as you get farther into the
term will be thinking to the next election saying, do we need -- I mean,
what happens if there`s a vacancy on the Supreme Court in the next year or
two? How much of what`s going now is a warm-up for that?
ALTER: I think it is a dress rehearsal and this is why the president
is changing his tone and why I do think, if not a full nuclear option, that
they might craft something that applies just to judicial nominations, it
doesn`t break the filibusters altogether, because the president doesn`t
want to have a nomination where he nominate somebody for the Supreme Court
and then, one of the most important functions of the president can`t get it
done, even with three, 3 1/2 years to go in his term. So, he`s going to
have to do something in order to get very possibly a replacement for
Justice Ginsburg or one of others, should they decide to step down.
And, you know, just in terms of the actuarial odds, there`s a good
chance that will happen. I doubt that Justice Ginsburg, who had a bout
with cancer, she`s doing better now, but I doubt she`s going to want to
wait and see what happens in the 2016 election.
So, she`s more likely to step down at some point. And if he hasn`t
broken this obstruction by then, he won`t be able to get a replacement
So, in one of the things that I tried to do in my book is give the
history of this obstruction. Where does this all come from? Where does
Grover Norquist come from? How did we get to this place?
It`s a contextual story that I try to tell because we haven`t had this
level of partisan gridlock in Washington in modern memory.
So, yes, there`s always been a lot of this going back 200 years but
we`re in a different place. Some of it has to do with reaction to Barack
Obama for a variety of different reasons that create what I call, you know,
and others have called, Obama derangement syndrome where they really can`t
be caught cooperating with him in any fashion, even on judges, even on
judges they like, where they have trouble with their constituents. And
that really started in 2010 with Senator Bennett of Utah, who was very,
very conservative, one of the most conservative members of the entire U.S.
Senate, but he made the mistake of working with the Democrat, Ron Wyden, on
health care policy and he got dumped at a state party convention in Utah.
He basically -- his political career was ended. When he went back to
serve the rest of his term for several months, he was a walking
advertisement for never, never cooperate, never work with Democrats, or you
will see your career ended.
So they only work with Democrats on small things. Now, maybe on
immigration, because they got the message from the 71 percent of Latinos
that Obama got, which to my mind this again is something I really focused
on in the book because it was getting 71 percent of Latinos that has made
immigration possible. Otherwise, it wouldn`t be.
But everything else, obstruction, obstruction, obstruction, even
infrastructure, things that the Republican Party was founded on, no grounds
KORNACKI: The -- we talk about obstruction nominations, not
everything that the president does, not everybody he wants to appoint is
subject to nomination and confirmation. We had this week Susan Rice, soon
to be national security adviser.
I want to a little bit about that decision and what that means after
KORNACKI: So when Susan Rice was last in the news, it was because
Republicans were making it clear they were going obstruct nomination to be
secretary of state. So, that didn`t happen, and the she made back into the
news, because the president`s going to name her as national security
adviser, that`s not subject to Senate confirmation, so Republicans have
nothing-to-say about that in terms of getting the job.
Julia, when you look at where Susan Rice is philosophically, her
reputation is more sort of interventionist and friendly, maybe a little bit
more align in some ways with the Republicans who were so opposed to her
being secretary of state. In a backwards way, you know, somebody like
McCain is in a position who agrees a little more with the interventionist
forces on the Republican side.
IOFFE: You know, I think her interventionism has been overstated a
little bit. She`s a lot more like Obama than people realize. She is --
you know, she`s guys by certain fundamental principles, democracy, human
rights, et cetera.
But all of that is constrained by pragmatic things on the ground. You
know, can you go in, what would an intervention, for example in Syria look
like? Would it achieve anything?
I think she`s been schooled a little bit what happened in Libya. That
was a pretty easy intervention. They stopped a massacre but what`s
happening on the ground there now is, you know, also a bit of a lesson that
she`s had to learn.
So I -- she`s both an interventionist and not an interventionist, much
in the same way that Obama`s hard to pin down on foreign policy, she is.
But she was one of the people who helped craft -- she was like a
fundamental architect of his foreign policy views. When he was in the
Senate, she was advising him on foreign policy even back then.
KORNACKI: I wonder how she`s going -- now in this position, you look
at the Republicans basically trying to scapegoat her for Benghazi. I
wonder how she`ll -- you know, sort of day to day, being in this position,
having to deal with Republicans here and there, how they will -- how those
-- how will John McCain and Lindsey Graham deal with her in the position.
STEELE: Oh, they`ll deal with her because they have to. She`s the
president`s national security adviser. She`s going to be the person who`s
going to go back into the president`s ear on things important to the
McCains of the world. So, they`ll deal with her the way they`ve dealt with
every national security adviser.
And to your setup point, there is more, I think, agreement with the
John McCain`s idea of interventionist type of approach that lines up with
what she may be advising or has advised the president, that they`re not
going to buck her too much or really rag her down.
The base may want to hear bells clanging about Susan Rice. But she`s
off the radar now. She`s in the West Wing, right next to the president on
foreign policy. She`s not down in foggy bottom.
And so, all of the changing of the bell really doesn`t mean anything
because nothing they can say or do to stop her.
ALTER: I`m not sure I fully agree with that for this reason. Lindsey
Graham and some others have been using Benghazi as cover for compromising
with Democrats on immigration. So, he`s up for re-election. And he needs
to keep banging that drum on Benghazi for his base so he doesn`t have
trouble in the Republican primary in South Carolina and you know, you`ve
seen him do it in some pretty loud ways.
ALTER: And very personal ways as it relates to Susan Rice.
IOFFE: In quiet ways. I heard when she was going through the non-
nomination-nomination bizarro act the White House was having her go
through, that apparently, you know, people close to Susan Rice would go in
and talk to McCain, and calm him down, he`d start to calm down and say, OK,
maybe I`ll stop getting in the way so much, and Lindsey Graham would come
in, get him riled up.
ALTER: I heard that also. It`s political on Graham`s part.
KORNACKI: What do we know now that we didn`t last week? My answers
are after this.
KORNACKI: So what do we know now that we didn`t know last week?
Well, we now know that the college student who asked about his job
prospects in the 2012 presidential town hall debate is having trouble
landing a summer job. It was Hofstra student Jeremy Epstein who asked the
first question in the debate last fall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY EPSTEIN, TOWN HALL PARTICIPANT: Mr. President, Governor
Romney, as a 20-year-old college student all I hear from professors,
neighbors and others is that when I graduate, I will have little chance to
get employment. What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my
parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Epstein recently told "BuzzFeed" that he said while he
hasn`t found a summer job, he will be hosting a show on his college`s radio
station. He`s fairly optimistic about the job market and hopes to have a
career in journalism.
We now know that Heather McGill, the wife of Alabama State Senator
Shadrack McGill, really, really does not want women making advances towards
her husband. Since her husband was elected, she says women have repeatedly
sent him racy pictures on Facebook. On Monday, she took to her husband`s
Facebook page to let her know she had enough.
"Attention Facebook," she writes, "this is Heather McGill, Senator
McGill`s wife, for anyone that does not know that. I have been silent long
enough. No more. Multiple times since being in office, he has gotten e-
mails from women who may not be even real, inviting him to explore, also
sending pictures of themselves."
McGill continues, quote, "You know who you are. Next time everyone
will know who you are, for I will publicly share your name before we
The senator has praised his wife`s actions but says because of so
much, quote, "Moral decline in the country, he might have to ditch Facebook
We now know that the two men who appeared on the cover of "The New
York Post" next to the headline "Bag Men" after the Boston marathon
bombing, have filed a defamation suit against the paper. The suit was
filed on Wednesday by Salaheddine Barhoum, a high school student, and his
friend, Yassine Zamia, a part-time college student.
The suit claims that "The Post", quote, "unambiguously asserted that
plaintiffs were persons suspected by law enforcement of having committed
these horrific crimes. When investigators released the real suspects only
hours after "The Post" published their story, the paper`s editor Col Allan
stood by it.
At the time, he wrote, quote, "The image was e-mailed to law
enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon, seeking information about these
men, as our story reported. We did not identify them as suspects." Allan
has not commented on the lawsuit.
And, finally, we know after the search for the real Boston bombing
suspects ended, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick relaxed with a drink,
or actually a few drinks. On Wednesday, he told a group in Cambridge that
the night Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured, he got a table by himself in the
corner of a restaurant in the Berkshires and proceeded to get, quote,
I want to find out what my guests know that they didn`t know when the
Let`s start with you, Abby.
RAPOPORT: This is a "what we will know." In the next two weeks,
Andrew Cuomo`s last chance on public financing for this year. The New York
legislature kind of made this a priority. And with two weeks to go, I
think this will be the time to see if one of the biggest states will pass a
real public financing law for elections.
KORNACKI: And, Jonathan?
ALTER: So I`m going to go and do self promotional -- my book was
published this week. Father`s Day book.
I did learn -- you know, I did learn a couple of things in the
reaction to my book. The first is if you talk about Roger Ailes` paranoia,
as I do in the book, he comes back and hits you with a two by four and hits
you again and again in a personal way. Ailes went after me for reporting
the truth in my book.
And the other thing I learned is I have a lot in the book about the
way the cave in Chicago during the campaign worked. These analytics
geniuses who revolutionized politics, very young and got the president
What`s happening now is fascinating. Businesses are descending on
them and offering them huge amounts of money to ruse the lessons of the
campaign to help their businesses. Usually, it`s the other way around,
like the tactics of Madison Avenue and then going to politics.
Now, you have the move of technology from politics into business,
which is fascinating.
KORNACKI: All right. And, Michael?
STEELE: Well, this one is going to surprise a lot of people. About a
week and a half ago Donald Trump made very interesting noises at an event
in Michigan. And it was a sellout crowd, almost 3,000 people. He started
to lay down a very interesting economic argument.
It will be very interesting to see how he begins to stair-steps this
into the conversation, you know, about China and a lot of other things.
So, keep an eye on Donald.
IOFFE: I was going to say that Vladimir Putin got divorced.
IOFFE: I think it`s great news for the ladies.
Then, I was flipping through this and I saw `80s night stalker serial
slayer is dead, having turned bright green right before he died. That
takes the cake.
KORNACKI: Story week, thanks to "The New York Post". "New York Post"
starring in the segment of the show today.
My thanks to Abby Rapoport of "The American Prospect" magazine,
Jonathan Alter, author of the new book, "The Center Holds: Obama and His
Enemies", MSNBC analyst Michael Steele, and, Julia Ioffe of "The New
Republic" magazine -- thanks for getting up and thank you for joining us
today for UP.
Join us tomorrow, Sunday morning at 8:00, when I`ll have my other boss
at my other gigs, "Salon" editor Joan Walsh, and National Urban League
President Marc Morial.
Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP", second-
term swagger. The president put it all on the line this week and called
outside his political opponents not once, not twice, but three times.
Everything is on the line as President Obama essentially says, "Bring it
on". That and Melissa`s report from the ground in North Carolina at this
week`s "Moral Monday" protest.
That`s "MELISSA HARRS-PERRY". She`s coming up next.
And we`ll see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
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