'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, June 22nd, 2013
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UP with STEVE KORNACKI
June 22, 2013
Guests: Maggie Haberman, Matt Yglesias, Maya Wiley, Josh Barro, Alan
Grayson, Basil Smikle
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Rick Perry doesn`t want your gun, but if you
live in Connecticut, he does want your job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Texas governor, Rick Perry, took a five-day swing through the
northeast this week. His official mission was to convince companies to
pack up and move to Texas. But it was his stop in Connecticut that
attracted the most attention and the most controversy. The state is, of
course, the home to Sandy Hook Elementary School, site of gruesome mass
shooting last year. But Connecticut is also home to a robust gun industry
one that (ph) employees 2,000 people.
The wake of Sandy Hook, Connecticut enacted a sweeping new gun control law,
one that upset the firearms industry. Then Monday, Perry visited the
shooting range at Colt`s Manufacturing in West Hartford, one of the oldest
gun makers in America, where he was presented with a custom engraved pistol
and he made his pitch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY, (R) TEXAS: The people at Colt, folks at Mossberg, the
people at Ruger, the financial industries, the pharmaceutical industries,
they will all make a decision whether or not they want to stay. The states
that have tax policy regulatory policy that fits into your scheme, if you
will, are going to be the states that get ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Later, Connecticut governor, Dan Molloy, made a surprise visit
to Perry`s luncheon with businessmen and women in Hartford.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. DAN MALLOY, (D) CONNECTICUT: I came to welcome the governor to the
state of Connecticut. We want him to understand what good Yankee
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right. I want to talk about what`s going on with Rick Perry
in Texas and guns and jobs. I want to bring in Maggie Hagerman, senior
political reporter at "Politico," Basil Smikle, president and founder of
Basil Smikle Associates and a former aide to Hillary Clinton in the Senate,
Josh Barro, politics editor at BusinessInsider.com and Maya Wiley,
president and founder of the Center for Social Inclusion.
So, this Perry story jumped out at me for a couple of reasons, but I guess,
the main one is, you know, you have Connecticut being a blue state and a
state that obviously enacted these gun control regulations recently, but
it`s also a blue state that has a real gun industry.
And it seems, you know, an odd fit for these gun manufacturers
increasingly, especially you know, some of these more like assault weapons
makers in Connecticut (ph) to be in the state, but if you`re the governor
of a state, you also want the jobs, especially in a time like this. Josh,
it seems almost like an impossible balancing act, though.
JOSH BARRO, BUSINESSINSIDER.COM: Well, I don`t think it is. I mean, the
gun industry has been in Connecticut, I think, for north of 200 years. And
so, there`s this long heritage which is why that`s there. And what gun
makers -- you know, they care about firearms laws because they want to be
able to sell gun, but where you manufacture them isn`t really impacted by
where you -- laws about where you can sell them. So, I think this is kind
of a publicity stunt.
That said, you know, there are real reasons that Texas has been growing so
much faster than the rest of the country, adding more jobs than the rest of
the country. I don`t think people go because they get a personal appeal
from the governor of the state, but I think it`s partly the tax and
regulatory stuff that Rick Perry is talking about.
The thing he doesn`t really discuss is that home prices are much more
affordable in Texas than in a lot of the markets where he`s going to
campaign for jobs. So, that`s the big thing. If you`re a person earning a
middle class income, what`s very appealing about Texas is that you can
afford a home of the sort -- you would want in the Houston area when you
probably can`t in the New York area.
KORNACKI: We should say, the kind of the interesting postscript to this is
that there`s a company called PTR Industries, and it makes military-style
rifles, and it actually announced on Thursday after Perry was in the state,
after Perry was making his pitch to governors, that it`s going to move to
South Carolina. South Carolina, you know, another sort of conservative red
state which also made a pitch and gave some sort of deal, you know, with
tax incentives, I think, to the company.
But the president, the founder of the company said that 100 percent of our
product line is illegal in Connecticut. So, seemed to be bothered by sort
of the culture of the state a little bit.
MAYA WILEY, CENTER FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION: That`s more politics than -- I
mean, in other words, gun manufacturers are also putting a lot of money
into politics, and they have been for a long time. They started making
their political alliance with the NRA formally back in 2005 and even
previously in 1999.
So, you know, the fact that gun manufacturers are very specific about their
politics has nothing really to do with where they locate. I think Josh is
absolutely right on this. I think one thing that you should notice is
Texas also is 23rd in terms of gun deaths in this country and Connecticut
KORNACKI: Well, Maggie, you know, Rick Perry has been really aggressive
when it comes to doing this sort of thing with all -- you know, he`s had
ads in California as in Illinois. He`d been really aggressive as governors
go trying to bring business to the state. Is it just a PR thing or is
there something more to it?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, POLITICO.COM: No, I think there`s something more to it.
I think he is actually trying to bring jobs to his state, but the PR
component here is hard to ignore. He was somebody who came off of a
disastrous 2012 presidential campaign. There are few people for whom the
2012 cycle was actually worst (ph). Mitt Romney might be one of them, but
Rick Perry, this was terrible.
Rick Perry was the ultimate (ph) Mitt Romney and he absolutely crumbled out
of the gate. He has to run for governor again. He has made clear to many
people or we assume he`ll run for governor again. He`s made (ph) clear to
many people he wants to run for president again. Whether he does or not is
a different story. But this is very -- it is a very easy and time warrant
tactic, right, to, you know, bone up on your conservative cred by hitting
New York, hitting Connecticut as anti-business.
This works well, I should say, for New York`s governor, Andrew Cuomo, who
gets to look like he is more liberal by comparison. Although, this is
slightly complicated for him, as well, because jobs are a real issue in New
York. But I think it is impossible to pull this apart from the political
implication of it.
KORNACKI: And I can`t -- I`ve seen this in a few places now, this idea of
Rick Perry running again in 2016. And I don`t know if you`ve done any
reporting on this, but I mean, why?
KORNACKI: What possibly happened in the last campaign to make him say, try
this again, Maggie?
HABERMAN: Look, you know, he`s very embarrassed by what happened. I mean,
in all seriousness. That is what the reporting suggests. He knows that he
run of that campaign. He knows that he should not have had back surgery
six weeks before he got into the race. He knows that he should have,
perhaps, prepared before he came on to the national stage and none of this
He prides himself on the pretty good political resume. He thinks he
performed, you know, well under expectations. I think most people would
agree with that. That`s why he also genuinely believes he has something to
offer. Now, whether that will still be true in 2016, I mean, we are
watching the early shaping of the Republican field for 2016.
I suspect it`s going to look very different than what we think it will look
like. Whether there`s room for him, I think, is a very open question, but
I do understand why he wants to vindicate himself.
KORNACKI: Basil, the other governor that we`re talking about, Dan Molloy,
in Connecticut as a first-term Democratic governor. There was a poll out
this week that pitted him against his likely Republican challenger in 2014.
I think he`s actually down a couple of points right now. You know, tough
economy. We`re talking about jobs in the state here.
You`re talking about somebody who -- Malloy has also kind of made clear he
might have his eye on the national stage a little bit. He`s got to get by
in 2014. How does this issue affect him with Perry coming in and maybe
losing gun jobs a little bit.
BASIL SMIKLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know, it`s interesting. I think,
it`s really a choice that he`s going to have to make, I mean, between jobs
and votes, really when it comes down to it. I think he wins on the vote
side, because it`s -- you know, the national attention on this issue and
the fact that at least in the northeast, this is -- you know, Perry is
going to be vilified. I`d love to see him go to New Jersey and meet up
with Chris Christie.
HABERMAN: Nobody is going to say that this year.
SMIKLE: It`s a delicate balance that he`s going to have to walk. I`m sure
that the NRA is going to be going after him should some of these
manufacturers leave. So, it`s clearly an important calculation for Perry
to strengthen his national credential. But ultimately, I think Malloy will
be fine because he`s been great on this issue, quite frankly, and he`ll get
support from around the country.
KORNACKI: I wonder how sort of the voters in Connecticut would feel about
it -- I mean, again, the economy is not in good shape and if the headline
is, you know, 500,000, whatever it ends up being, you know, gun jobs leave
the state and hurt the economy today and look at that and say, oh, no,
that`s bad for the economy and say good riddance, you know, look what
happened to our state?
BARRO: I think what Republicans in Connecticut will say and I think this
line will be bought by the voters because it`s accurate is that they`ll
say, these manufacturers aren`t leaving because of the gun laws. They`re
leaving because it`s extremely expensive to live and do business in
Connecticut. We have some highest property taxes in the country.
Malloy pushed through an income tax increase that probably isn`t a direct
driver of this, but I`m sure it will be tied to the loss of jobs
politically. So, I don`t think -- for Malloy`s opponents, it`s not a
question of running against the gun laws and saying, see, you lost jobs,
because of the still tight (ph) to his broader record and say --
BARRO: -- personal economic policies that create jobs.
WILEY: yes. I mean, at the end of the day, voters are going to base their
decision on who they can just going to leave the state the best. There was
this man, what was his name? He actually won re-election, jobs were really
bad, oh Obama.
WILEY: President Obama. So, first of all, it`s not as if that this is the
only issue upon which voters are going to vote. Voters in Connecticut are
not going to vote just on what gun manufacturers are doing, particularly,
based on who Connecticut is. I mean, Connecticut has some of the
wealthiest zip codes in the country and some of the poorest in Hartford, in
So, you know, it`s dealing with the challenges of the entire country. It`s
dealing with and what people are really going to look at the end of the
day, I think, is right. They`re going to look at the record, but they`re
going to look at how they feel about the direction, not just what the
immediate jobs picture is.
KORNACKI: Sure. Yes. I mean, I`m just curious sort of -- you know, how,
you know, the average resident of the state who just watched six months
ago s this horrible atrocity played out with the six-year-old children and
then, you know, you can make the regulatory argument, you can make the tax
argument and say, well, you know, if gun manufacturers are leaving, it`s
because of that.
But I wonder if just the instinct of reaction of voter and state like that
is, I don`t want to think about that. I just don`t want gun manufacturers
in the state any more. Assault weapons manufacturer --
SMIKLE: But I think when they also see Rick Perry spending upwards of the
million dollars in taxpayer money, traveling across the country to try to
lure jobs, they`ll look at their governor and say, OK, well, this guy is
trying to be a little more responsible and he`ll go toe-to-toe with Rick
Perry and sort of challenge him on why he`s coming into his state.
So, if he looks like the defender of Connecticut and sort of inspire some
kind of enthusiasm from his voters, I think he`ll be fine in the end.
KORNACKI: All right. Well, Governor Malloy has been taking political heat
from the gun crowd, at least, for enacting stricter gun control. Another
Democrat took a stiff hit this week for voting against it. That`s next.
KORNACKI: So, a little over a week ago, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of
New York, sent a letter to some of the top donors in the Democratic Party,
and he told them basically that they should withhold financial support for
the four Democrats who had voted against background checks in the Senate
back in April, Mark Begich, Pryor from Arkansas, Heitkamp, and Baucus.
Baucus is retiring. So, it`s still unclear why he wanted -- care about --
KORNACKI: -- he said withhold money from them. And then, Maggie, your
report has been very interesting about Mark Begich in the New York City
fundraiser this week.
HABERMAN: So, he was supposed to have a fundraiser on Monday hosted by
Peter Solomon (ph) who`s an investment banker adviser, and he -- it was
suddenly canceled. No clear explanation why at the time. When I asked
Begich`s aides about it, the answer I got was, essentially, oh, it could be
any number of things.
And you know, I wouldn`t focus on one thing. When I reached to Peter
Solomon (ph), he said, no, no, it had absolutely nothing to do with that.
It was scheduling. One thing that came up after I read the story is that
Diane Coffee (ph) who is a long-time adviser to Mike Bloomberg actually
works for Solomon. So, you can do the math or not do the math.
But, look, I think that I was actually very skeptical about that letter
that Bloomberg sent, especially because it included Baucus who, as you`ve
noted, has plenty of money for the race he`s not running again and won`t
need to come here for it. But, I think this is generally -- these are the
social circles in which Bloomberg travels, right?
So, I think that it would not be a surprise to have some response again to
be clear that the FCC among others pushed back strenuously on the idea that
this had anything to do with why the fundraiser was canceled. I do think
Begich, he is in a funky state, in a funky race. He won, you know, in a
seat that had been Republican held for a very long time.
He is among the tougher races the Democrats are facing next year. I don`t
think this is particularly what he wants to be doing and dealing with. I
think that we don`t really know the effect of the Bloomberg ads yet.
There`s a lot of difference of opinion. Chuck Schumer, among others, has
said he thinks that these are not working and not very effective, as you
would expect him to say.
I mean, Democrats argue they`re actually counterproductive in terms of
getting gun control and there is some logic to that. But I think for the
individual senators, I don`t think having a lot of money spent against you
is ever really --
KORNACKI: And this is how -- when Begich was asked about what Bloomberg is
doing both with withholding -- asking to withhold support and actually
actively spending money on ads in places like Alaska, this is how Begich
responded to it to this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy is a billionaire in New York. And he`s going
to spend money on trying to undercut you in Alaska. Does that sound normal
SEN. MARK BEGICH, (D) ALASKA: No, and I`ll tell you, Alaskans, one thing
we don`t like is outsiders coming in and try to tell us what to do. I
would say to Mayor Bloomberg, when we focus on what we can do, for example,
I`ve argued since the day one on this debate that in this country, there
are over 600,000 mentally -- people who have been deemed by the courts a
mentally incompetent --
BEGICH: Well, even the people over 21, because if they`re under state law,
22 states don`t report. 600,000 people in this country right now should be
in the background check system or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I mean, do you buy that line that idea that, hey, I`m sitting
back in Alaska. I can get these ads running against me. I can say, oh,
no, it`s just the billionaire from New York City. He doesn`t get us. He
doesn`t understand (ph). Nobody is going to listen to him. Do you buy
SMIKLE: No. Listen, if you believe it`s axiomatic that there is a
tremendous amount of money in elections -- to spend money and RA spends
money, then I -- me as a New Yorker who has dealt with gun violence in the
past, don`t mind Mike Bloomberg spending money to target these members of
The political strategist in me says that this actually can backfire,
similar to what Chuck Schumer has said. But it does matter. I mean, he`s
got to challenge from the lieutenant governor right now and this is going
to be a very tough race. So, it actually -- it absolutely matters.
KORNACKI: And Joe Biden was talking yesterday, you know, Joe Biden also
stepping out again and taking the lead on sort of a stepped up effort from
the White House and may be in Congress, maybe the Senate to revisit
background checks, and Biden was suggesting that there`s new momentum there
because of the backlash that some of the people who voted no are facing.
Are you hopeful, Maya, that in this Congress, the next year and a half, the
issue really might be revisited and there might actually be action?
WILEY: Well, I think the issue will be revisited. I mean, you know, our
problem is the House, as you know, on almost every issue, including guns,
which is if you have gridlock in the House, I think there is ability to get
agreement in the Senate. And the question is, what we have in the House?
So, I think the real issue here is Bloomberg has made a decision to target
on three issues, right, because it isn`t just guns, right? He`s also been
doing school elections, school board races (ph), as well as marriage
WILEY: And immigration. And immigration. So, you know, I think what
we`re seeing is efforts from folks who move issues, which I think is a good
thing because these are debates we have to have in this country and our
problem isn`t really with the grid lock in the House.
KORNACKI: And if it does, if it ever gets through the Senate and ever gets
to the House -- and the House actually votes on it, which is a whole
separate measure. But if they do, Josh, suddenly, they are whole bunch of
new targets for Bloomberg besides Mark Begich and Max Baucus` retirement --
BARRO: Right. And I don`t think he`s just thinking about the cycle. I
think Mike Bloomberg is playing a long game on the gun issue where --it`s
asymmetrical issue where a lot of these proposals that he`s backing are
very broadly popular, but all the intensity of support is on the anti-gun
control side. Very few people who support background checks actually go
into the voting booth and say, well, I`m picking the candidate because I
really care about the background check issue.
So, what -- that -- politicians respond to that incentive set and he`s
trying to change the incentive set by telling them there will be
consequences to you electorally if you don`t go along with the majority
view on these issues. I don`t think he can make that change in one cycle,
but I think he`s hoping to change the dynamics over period of several
cycles where politicians actually start to fear the pro-gun control people
and that makes them more inclined to vote.
WILEY: Especially when you look at the flow of the money, because the NRA
has been spending so much money on election.
KORNACKI: Well, in the flow of the money, you know -- whatever they`re
saying, I don`t buy that there was no connection. That`s a little too
fishy to me that --
HABERMAN: There either is or isn`t. And the answer of, oh, who knows? It
could be all sorts of things.
KORNACKI: If they were concerned about appearance and they didn`t want the
appearance, they probably would go out of their way to keep the fundraiser
on, you know, on course.
HABERMAN: There`s the other possibility which is that they were having
trouble selling tickets, which is often how -- why things get cancelled,
and it might not be a direct correlation to the letter, but it might be an
-- I mean, who knows? It`s impossible to rule it out.
KORNACKI: It smells funny to me. I`m not buying the denials.
Anyway, how President Odoma could finish a job started 75 years ago by FDR,
KORNACKI: When you`re an elected official, you answer to all the voters,
Democrats, Republicans, Independents, whatever. We`ve all heard that. We
all know that and it`s kind of true. But, really, when you`re an elected
official, when you`re a politician of any sort, you`re answering to a
political coalition, the people, the activists, the donors, the groups that
worked and it turned out to put you in office in the first place.
It could be a pretty tricky balancing act trying to mix the demands of each
component group of your coalition because they don`t always see eye-to-eye.
Think of the dilemma President Obama faces right now on the Keystone
Pipeline. He`s got labor allies who like it because it means jobs. He`s
got environmentalist allies who hate it because it could mean a disastrous
spill. And he`s going to have to decide. And he`s going to have decide
The key here is that the more ideologically diverse a coalition is, the
harder these choices become, which brings us to a particularly wrenching
and hellish dilemma that came to head for a Democratic president 75 years
ago this coming week. The president was FDR and the issue was the Fair
Labors Standards Act.
It was a landmark legislation that established the federal minimum wage,
overtime pay, and the 40-hour workweek, also banned child labor. The bill
worked its way through Congress and it landed on FDR`s desk on June 25th,
1938. But there was a huge, gaping problem with it. Jobs that were
performed mainly by African-Americans were left out.
These domestic works, these are women, disproportionately Black women who
cleaned houses, who cook meals, and who raised children for other families.
They meant farm workers. Together, those two occupations, domestic workers
and farm workers, they accounted for two-thirds of the African-American
workforce in the 1930s. They were left out of the bill because a major
component of the Democratic coalition of FDR`s era was the south, the White
south, the segregationist south.
Those White southern Democrats were OK with the idea of minimum wage as
long as it didn`t apply to everyone. As Congressman Martin Dies who was a
White Texas democrat put it, quote, "You cannot prescribe the same wages
for the Black man as for the White man." So, in order to bring those
southern Democrats aboard, FDR chose to sign a law that help many workers
badly who needed help even as it left out others who needed that help just
Now, fast forward a few decades. Democratic coalition evolves. The party
takes a firm stand for civil rights, and White southerners begin their
long, steady migration to the Republican Party. This was enough for the
Democrats in the 1960s to extend the minimum wage to many farm workers.
That still left domestic workers out in the cold until the 1970s. By then,
female and African-American Democrats were beginning to make their way into
Still weren`t a lot of them, but they were more than ever before. They
gave voice to those domestic workers, and they made their cause a priority
for the party. Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman in congress and
who was also the daughter of a domestic worker led the fight. And she won
over it unlike the ally, George Wallace, who was the face of the fading,
but still sizable block of conservative White southern Democrats.
Gunman had nearly killed Wallace in 1972 and Chisholm had visited him in
the hospital. He couldn`t figure out why, but he was definitely grateful.
And when she asked for his help two years later, he came through. Chisholm
wanted domestic workers included in the minimum wage. Wallace asked his
fellow southern Democrats to support it. They did, and voila, Democrats
suddenly had a veto-proof majority, and Richard Nixon had no choice but to
sign the bill.
And that should have been the happy ending. But there was actually a
catch. Most domestic workers were covered by the new law, but one group
was still left out. It`s a small group back then, home care workers, the
women who bathed, fed, cleaned, and cared for the elderly and the disabled.
Their work was grueling. It was thankless. It was vital.
But when Nixon`s labor department implemented the new law, they lumped home
care workers in the same category as teenage baby sitters. Meaning, they
didn`t get minimum wage and overtime protections. And those workers are
still left out today, except they`re no longer a small group. Home care
workers now number two million, 2.5 million, actually.
Theirs is the second fastest growing occupation in America, and they`re
part of what has become an $84 billion industry. And they still aren`t
protected by the minimum wage and by overtime rules. They also represent
the heart of the new modern Democratic base, which is why Barack Obama made
a show of solidarity with them when he said out to run for president six
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m ready to work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re ready to work.
OBAMA: I can work while I`m talking.
OBAMA: At his home, I prepared breakfast for him. I helped to make the
bed. I cleaned the house, did some laundry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the senator`s doing a good job. He act like he
knows what he`s doing anyway.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He end up doing the mopping, the sweeping, and he did
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She worked in the (INAUDIBLE).
KORNACKI: In his president more than a year ago, Obama called on his labor
department to propose a new rule to extend wage and hour protections to
home care workers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Even though workers like Pauline do everything from bathing to
cooking, they`re still lumped in the same category as teenage babysitters
when it comes to how much they make. That means employers are allowed to
pay these workers less than minimum wage with no overtime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The labor department finished its work months ago, but the rule
stalled at OMB, a political agency inside the White House. The ball is in
Obama`s court and most people assume he will act on this, but the clock is
still ticking. But when Obama does follow through, if he does follow
through, it won`t just be a victory for home care workers.
It will mark the final repudiation of the old coalition that Democrats once
had to rely on in an emphatic embrace of the new coalition they now depend
on. Jan Brewer from Tea Party hero to bipartisan champion of Obamacare.
KORNACKI: Republican governor, Jan Brewer of Arizona, signed a law this
week expanding her state`s Medicare -- Medicaid program, excuse me, a key
part of President Obama`s health care overhaul. It was a jaw dropping step
for a Tea Party favorite. Brewer`s move capped a long battle to expand
Medicaid in a state where many conservatives, including Brewer, herself,
opposed the president`s health care reform.
Brewer fought over the course of months against conservative leadership of
her own party in the state legislature and ultimately formed an alliance of
moderate Republicans and Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAN BREWER, (R) ARIZONA: Standing with me is a coalition of
legislators from both chambers of both political parties. You`ve
accomplished in Arizona what the political commentators and experts just
months ago said it was impossible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Brewer held rallies with activists. She called a special
session of the legislature and she even made good (ph) on a threat to veto
all bills until lawmakers passed the Medicaid package. Remember, this is
the same Jan Brewer who went all the way to the Supreme Court, which she
fought with the Obama administration on Arizona`s draconian immigration
Brewer has been so anti-Obama that when the president visited Arizona in
January of 2012, she greeted him on the airport tarmac in Phoenix and
immediately got into a finger-pointing, verbal scuffle with the president.
But within a year, things changed dramatically.
Obamacare was upheld by the Supreme Court. Obama, himself, was re-elected.
And in January, Brewer announced her proposal to expand Arizona`s Medicaid
program in her annual state of the state address before the Republican
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BREWER: It`s a decision some would prefer not to face. They`d like to
wish it away. We cannot nor can we simply wag our finger at the federal
government. Trust me, I tried that once.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Few other Republican governors have also broken from the pack
and tried to expand Medicaid in their states, but they haven`t had the same
success. Michigan`s Rick Snyder, for instance, watched on Thursday as the
Republicans who control Michigan`s state Senate adjourned for the summer
without acting on a Medicaid expansion bill that had already passed the
We are joined now by Matt Yglesias, business and economics correspondent
for Slate.com. Matt, I`ll start with you. I mean, when you look at Jan
Brewer, I mean, we all know her as sort of the immigration governor, the
paper please governor. Were you surprised by her move and what do you make
MATTHEW YGLESIAS, SLATE.COM: Well, you know, in a lot of ways, the
surprising thing about this is the fact that it`s become surprising to see
Republicans embrace this. When the Democrats were writing the Obamacare
bill, I mean, they knew that some states were more conservative than
others. They knew that Republicans wouldn`t be enthusiastic about this.
So, they made the terms of Medicaid expansion extremely generous. I mean,
it`s all federal money and your state, you know, the people who live in
Arizona or Michigan or wherever, I mean, they`re paying taxes to the
federal government one way or the other. Not expanding Medicaid doesn`t
save anyone any money. It just costs to a local health care providers and
the local citizens a bundle.
And so, you know, when the bill was first passed, I think no one thought
this would be so controversial. And now, Jan Brewer is doing what I think
is simply the common sense solution and saying, you know, if the federal
government is here, take my money. You know, you take it. What`s weird is
that so many Republicans don`t see it that way.
KORNACKI: This wasn`t, you know, she didn`t just pass this over objections
from Republicans. She took extreme -- I mean, calling a special session to
the legislature, and I noticed now in Michigan, we just talked about Rick
Snyder. There are Democrats in Michigan now calling on him to do the same,
because the Republicans control. The state set it out there.
They`re saying bring him back into session this summer and try to pass it.
He`s saying, I`m not sure if I have the power to do that, but that`s what
it seems to take to get it pass Republican legislators.
WILEY: Well, that`s right, because i think it`s asking -- we`re looking at
states that have serious budget problems and we`re looking at states where
we`re talking about 200, 400, 600,000 people in Pennsylvania who do not
have health insurance, who would benefit from Medicaid expansion. So, it`s
both about, are the people of your state going to be able to see a doctor
when they`re sick?
And are you going to do that at no costs to the taxpayers in your state?
Some of these states, they`re actually getting more in federal subsidies
than they pay back to the federal government and federal taxes. So,
there`s no question that it`s the right thing to do. And a governor like,
you know, Snyder an interesting governor because he has been very non-
I mean, he really has approached decision-making in his state from the
perspective, what do I think is best and what are the solutions for our
state? So, I think we will see people like that push forward, and I think
Snyder should absolutely do that.
KORNACKI: So, what happens -- with Arizona having the Medicaid expansion
and basically be like 300,000 additional people are going to be eligible
now. I think if Michigan had it, it will be something like 450,000 there.
So, what happens to these states if Michigan doesn`t end up expanding it?
What is going to happen in terms of their Medicaid program and in terms of
implementation of the Affordable Care Act?
BARRO: Well, this issue isn`t going to go away. I think governors like
Brewer are making the difficult political decision this year where they`re
saying, I`m going to take on my base and fight for this. But next year,
the difficult political position to be in is going to be having not
You`re going to have hospital systems coming back to you and saying, we`re
going to close this hospital because we can`t afford to operate it because
we`re not getting the money that we were supposed to get from all these new
One of the other things the Affordable Care Act does is reduce payments to
hospitals that have a lot of -- that provide a lot of uncompensated care
with the theory being all these new people are covered so you should be
providing less than compensated care. That won`t be true in states that
don`t expand Medicaid. So, those Republican governors are going to be
under cross pressures.
They`re going to have business interests and health care interests saying
you really need to expand Medicaid. It will also be pressure from people
who are expecting to be on expanded Medicaid once people start
understanding the implementation of the health care law and that there is
available health insurance that they can`t get because of this political
But then, they`ll also still have pressure from the conservative base that
really just wants to resist Obamacare. And so, even though it`s
essentially free money at the margin to the state, the overall objective of
conservatives is not to improve the state`s finances as much as possible,
it`s to resist the health care law as much as possible.
WILEY: And we talked about Texas earlier, right? 1.3 million Texans would
benefit from Medicaid expansion and that governor has said no. And has not
only said no, he`s actually said I will also roll back eligibility so that
fewer people will actually be eligible for the Medicaid we have. So, you
know, I think we`re seeing very different decisions.
KORNACKI: And we talked about, you know, earlier Rick Perry probably
likely running for re-election in Texas in 2014. So, if you look at the
politics of it, that`s somebody who`s catering to sort of an Obama-phobic
GOP base at this point. What I want to find out about is what this is
going to mean for Jan Brewer, because she`s sort of at an (ph) interesting
moment in her political career.
I want to find out what this means for her, her future, if she has one and
the Republican party. We`ll talk about that after this.
KORNACKI: I just want to play a clip here. This was Jan Brewer. We
played a little from her state of the state address from January earlier.
I want to play another clip. This was her sort of explaining her evolution
on embracing the Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care act. This was
her back in January.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BREWER: Try as we might, the law was upheld by the United States Supreme
Court. The president was re-elected and his party controls the United
States Senate. In short, the Affordable Care Act isn`t going anywhere, at
least, not for the time being.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: At least not for the time being. Look, it`s upheld by the
Supreme Court. The president has been re-elected. I mean, it is here. I
guess, what I`m trying to figure out, Maggie, is at what point do other
Republican politicians feel safe to do something like, you know, what Jan
Brewer, just to make the statement that Jan Brewer said, because we`re
talking about it today because it`s so rare to hear a Republican talking in
those terms and doing those things. Does it take Obama not being in office
for that to happen?
HABERMAN: I was actually struck by a couple of things she said. She said
three very different things. One is, this is the law of the land. The
other is, the president was re-elected, which is not the same thing as
saying this was the law of the land, and then, it was a caveat of at least
for the time being. So, the couple of things that you take from that is
that the National Republican Party is still looking very much at repealing
This is still something that riles up the base, as you said before. So, I
think you`re seeing Republicans like Chris Christie take a switch position
on expansion, but you`re not seeing Republicans who are facing an uncertain
climate next year. They`re not certain what the economy looks like either
in their state or nationally or soon they were going to be rolling along
sort of where we are.
There`s not going to be a massive dip in the unemployment rate nationally.
So, I think that`s where a lot of this concern comes from. You have this
very hard right, cut, cut, cut moment. That`s what you just saw with the
farm bill last week and why it went down. That was a major club for growth
victory. That is where the concern comes from.
I think that with someone like what Jan Brewer did, that`s someone who is -
- I don`t know what she`s positioning herself for, but she`s positioning
herself for something beyond just being governor.
KORNACKI: Well, yes -- so -- her situation is technically -- she took over
for Janet Napolitano, and Janet Napolitano left this Arizona governor to
join the Obama cabinet. The dispute in Arizona now, I guess, is over
whether that counts as a term and she`ll be term limited in 2014 or if she
can run again. And Josh, it sounds like she`s leaving that possibility
BARRO: It sounds like it. My impression is that, basically, everybody
except Jan Brewer and people who work for Jan Brewer think that she is
ineligible to run for re-election.
BARRO: One of her staffers had an op-ed in the major Phoenix paper a few
months ago, insisting that, no, she is eligible to run. She`s been saying
she`s leaving the options open. I think, partly, that`s just to not be
seen as a lame duck. But I think her whole governorship has been sort of
like this where she`s been like, you know, I live on this plane. I
understand what`s going on, and she stands up to her party when it`s
necessary because of that.
For example, they passed a birther bill through the Arizona legislature
with unanimous supporter of Republicans. It got through her desk and she
vetoed it, and she sent this kind of tartly worded message about how, you
know, I never thought I`d be faced with a bill that might require
candidates to the highest office in the world to present their circumcision
certificates to the secretary of state of Arizona.
And so, she vetoed this bill that had passed with the support of literally
every Republican in the state legislature there. Also one of the first
thing she did as governor was push through a sales tax increase. Grover
Norquist was out there saying she was a lousy governor, who is getting
tough on immigration to distract people from her billion dollar tax
increase and if she got re-nominated and re-elected after doing that.
So, I think she`s been fairly independent of her party all along. And
she`s been saying, you know, these things, you know, conservatives might
not like them. They might not match Republican orthodoxy, but I have a
budget to balance. I have a state to govern and I`m going to live in the
real world and do that.
And I think it presents a model for other Republican governors to have a
way to be popular enough with the conservative base and win re-nomination
without being captive to every whim of the Tea Party.
KORNACKI: And when -- I guess, Matt, when you look at this, you were
talking earlier, it`s sort of surprising from a policy standpoint that the
states would be this resistant, but they are because the politics within
the Republican Party are that strong. When do you see that changing and
when do you think that will change?
YGLESIAS: Well, you know, I mean, it would be interesting to see what
happens when the law is actually coming into effect. I mean, in my
experience right now, a lot of health care providers at a sort of front
line level still don`t have a ton of awareness about what its stake and
where the money is going to flow.
I do think that when hospitals and states like Texas start actually losing
some of that federal money for unreimbursed care, you know, they`re going
to start calling up their state legislators and start saying, you know,
hey, what`s going on here? Can we think about this in slightly more
You do see that governors as a whole have tended to be a little more
moderate than Republican state legislators in part because there`s sort of
better staff. They`re more in touch with what`s really happening in a lot
of these states, particularly, Arizona. You know, there`s a very little
staff. It`s not a full-time job to be in the state legislature. So,
people kind of going with their gut.
When people have a chance to look at it more closely and to hear from more
stakeholders, i do think positions are going to evolve over the next couple
WILEY: There`s also a difference between statewide office versus a local
district, right? Because of redistricting, what we`ve seen is much, much
more political and ideological polarization.
So, if you`re serving a statewide audience, I mean, and particularly if you
think about the Republican Party finally paying attention to Latinos and
immigrants, I mean, someone like Jose Gallegos (ph) in Texas who died at 41
because his employer stopped providing health care and he didn`t earn
enough money to pay for private insurance but also wasn`t eligible for
Medicaid, right, before expansion rules.
He would have been eligible under expansion rules. Died of stomach cancer
because he delayed going to get care because he`d have to pay out of his
pocket. Now, he`s got a wife who has breast cancer who doesn`t have any
health care and he`s got a -- I mean, at some point, we have to actually
ensure that our politicians are actually thinking about the impact on real
And that`s one of the things that is more able to happen right now at state
level or in the Senate than in local -- and that`s why you`re also seeing
some of the differences between a state level representative who`s
Republican in some of these states versus what`s happening in there, in the
KORNACKI: Well, and the other thing, the interesting thing about like
Michigan which we think of as a blue state in which -- and it is a blue
state, but it`s also where the Democratic vote is packed into such a
geographically compact area. So, you look at the state Senate there. The
Republicans control the state Senate in Michigan 26-12, because, you know,
Republicans have land mass in Michigan and Democrats have voters in sort of
the metro areas.
And that produces the situation where the Republican Senate can basically
look at the governor of their own party and say, hey, we`re not going to do
anything on this. We`re taking a vacation for the summer.
Anyway, President Obama also having trouble with the legislature. He can`t
get legislation passed the Republicans in the house and neither can John
Boehner. That`s next.
KORNACKI: The farm bill, the primary legislative tool through which food
and agriculture policy is made in America was rejected by the House of
Representatives in surprising and dramatic fashion on Thursday after months
of negotiations. House speaker, John Boehner, first announced nine months
ago in September of last year that he couldn`t call a vote on the farm bill
at that time because of disagreements among House Republicans over the
extent of the cuts.
But then, last month, a bill emerged from the House Agriculture Committee
that would slash $40 billion from food and nutrition programs, including
more than $20 billion in cuts to SNAP, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance
Program, otherwise known as food stamps. Democratic leaders say they
oppose the food stamp cuts and the White House issued a veto threat. But
even then, there were still some Democrats in the House willing to join
Republicans in vote for the farm bill.
But those cuts were still not enough for many conservatives. The Heritage
Foundation`s advocacy group even cut a radio ad, attacking Republican
Agriculture Committee chair, Frank Lucas, of Oklahoma.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can put a tuxedo on a pig and call it Steve, but
it`s still a pig. And Congressman Frank Lucas can call a food stamp bill a
farm bill, but it`s still a food stamp bill. Lucas is working hard to pass
a trillion dollar piece of legislation that he`s calling a farm bill. But
only 20 percent of the funds would go to support farmers. The rest would
go to bank roll President Obama`s food stamp agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, when the bill finally reached the floor on Thursday, Boehner
made a forceful, personal appeal to Republicans to vote for it. But 62 of
them, that`s more than a quarter of the Republican conference defied him.
They did this after adding an additional amendment for recipients to meet
federal work requirements and also letting states impose drug testing.
That amendment and another amendment also scared off even more Democrats as
minority whip, Steny Hoyer, told Republican majority leader, Eric Cantor,
on the floor Thursday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STENY HOYER, (D) MARYLAND: What happened today is you turned a
bipartisan bill necessary for our farmers, necessary for our consumers,
necessary for the people of America that many of us would have supported
and you turn it into a partisan bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, my favorite feature of this. The final vote, by the way,
was 234-195. The reporting suggested that Collin Peterson who is the top
Democrat sort of for this bill say that he would deliver or they could
deliver 40 Democratic votes at one point. They ended up delivering 24. If
you added the 16 extra (ph), if you`ve gotten 40, it still would not have
been enough for this bill to pass, but my favorite quote from this is that
the spokesman for Eric Cantor said that this proved the Democrats can`t
WILEY: I think it was actually -- yes, I mean, look, the thing that
happened here was if you look at the bipartisanship that happened on the
Senate side on the farm bill, right, which was, they actually really did
come together and forge a bipartisan bill and they got it out. Stabenow
(ph) got it out of her committee, and they got the vote.
And what happened here was, you really had the radical right of the party
holding the rest of the process hostage. And, so, it really a was about
this kind of ideological polarization we`ve been talking about around
something like whether people who are low-income, struggling to feed their
families get some help and eating at the end of the month.
KORNACKI: So, we`re talking about it, the Senate bill, the cuts, the food
stamps were much smaller in the Senate bill, and if this isn`t passed the
House, there would have been a conference and they could have maybe ironed
out something. But I look at this and I see $20 billion in cuts to food
stamps. What is it that would satisfy those 62 Republicans in the House?
BARRO: Well, $20 billion over ten years is about a three or four percent
cut to the program. So, it`s -- not that that`s good policy, but I think
many Republicans in the House would like a much more substantial reduction
in food stamps than that. But this is just a repeat of a situation Boehner
is in over and over again where he needs to pass legislation through the
House and there are two ways to do that.
One is to build a bill that`s conservative enough to get nearly all of the
Republican caucus to vote for it. That would have required much more than
a three percent cut in food stamps over ten years.
But when you build bills like that, you often end up getting so far out on
a limb that you`re doing something that looks unreasonable to the broad
center of the public and where -- when
the house is trying to say, well, we have an alternative that we`re sending
up to the Senate, the Democrats incredibly say, no, this is not an
alternative. This is a highly ideological bill driven by the right of the
party and it`s not serious.
Or, he can build a bill that will get lots of Democratic votes and then
provide enough of a ramp (ph) of his caucus to pass the bill.
That`s what we saw with the fiscal cliff. That`s what we saw with raising
the debt ceiling and that`s why people have started calling Nancy Pelosi
Speaker Pelosi again because these really major pieces of legislation keep
getting passed in this way where it`s really mostly the Democratic
conference that`s providing the votes and the legislation looks very
similar to what`s coming out of the Democratic Senate. So, maybe that`s
how the farm bill is going to have to pass, too.
KORNACKI: I`ve heard that, but of course, that`s also what we`re talking
about if immigration is going to get through the House, we`re saying that`s
the same model. Pass the big (ph) numbers in the Senate, put the pressure
on the House, put (ph) on the floor, 20 Republicans and every Democrat
votes for it. How many cracks at this does Boehner have?
YGLESIAS: Well, you know, I mean, this does work as a governing method.
If the people on the far right of his caucus really don`t want to sort of
govern constructively with the people who are there in the center of the
House, this is what`s going to happen to them. I do think that it`s
striking in this bill, though. I mean, you look at what was cut as food
stamps, but you also look at what wasn`t cut and it`s the farm subsidies.
And you heard that critique from the Heritage Foundation where, you know,
they weren`t saying, well, this spends too much money overall. They were
saying, well, this pretends to spend money on farm subsidies but, really,
it gives money to poor people. And you know, if you look at it, I mean,
farm incomes in the United States are about 10 to 15 percent higher than
the average income in this country.
Farm owners are wealthier than the average American. Farms have benefitted
enormously from all the economic growth in Asia, the growth in China,
India, Brazil, and places like that. And so, it`s really sort of telling
and perverse that if you say, you know, we`re going to cut spending, but we
have to concentrate on poor people who are trying to eat food rather than
I`m relatively prosperous (ph) people who grow it.
KORNACKI: I want to find out what a member of Congress thinks about this.
We`re going to talk to Florida representative, Alan Grayson. That`s next.
KORNACKI: All right. We are talking about the totally, completely
surprising failure of the farm bill on the House floor this week.
We`re here with Maggie Hagerman of Politico.com, Matt Yglesias of
Slate.com, Josh Barro with businessinsider.com, and Maya Wiley for the
Center of Social Inclusion dot -- no, it`s not dotcom. I have to try to
work that in.
MAYA WILEY, CENTER FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION: I`m working on that.
KORNACKI: Next time, we`ll get that one in there.
Maggie, I wanted to ask you about John Boehner for a second. I mean this
seriously. I`m not sure that there`s any Republican in the House or any
Republican in the country who could really be a strong speaker of the House
and of the Republican Party right now.
You know whatever that means. When I look at John Boehner and the farm
bill this week, remember the whole Plan B debacle before the fiscal cliff
at the end of the year. He had to promise Republicans that he wouldn`t
negotiate with the president.
I just look at that and I say, I don`t know if I ask this, but why does
John Boehner want to keep doing this? He`s been doing this for three years
MAGGIE HABERMAN, POLITICO: Right. It`s a very good question. I think
that the answer is he has the job and no one else wants it. And I think
the reason he still has the job is because no one else wants it.
And I think what was striking about the way that the farm bill broke down
aside from the policy reasons which we were talking about during the break
and before the break, this was a last-minute amendment. This was a failure
in whip count. This was a huge embarrassment to GOP House membership.
It speaks, again, to why there is nobody waiting in the wings to take over.
The Plan B thing was a debacle because that was a PR stunt essentially in
terms of the way that vote was initially broadcast, as opposed to something
that was a negotiating tactic. What was similar there, that you have
outside groups that spend, like the Club for Growth do really well in that
fight. They did really well in this fight. It`s really important to
remember that there are not very many right wing groups that actually
enforce this kind of thing in terms of primaries, in terms of the House far
right GOP caucus.
So, I think why does Boehner still want the job? I mean, I couldn`t begin
to get into his head as to why. He doesn`t seem to be enjoying it most of
the time. It`s still power.
But there is no other strong candidate waiting in the wings, which is why
no one has taken him out candidly. We hear this every few weeks. Somebody
is going to come for the speakership. Well, no one --
KORNACKI: They`re smart enough not to want it. But it just strikes me,
every time that Boehner makes one of the personal appeals and essentially
telling Republicans, guys, trust me on this, you know? Plan B was a
perfect example. It was a total negotiating tactic and they said, no,
we`re not going to.
WILEY: Boehner must want to keep his job. At the same time, he could
have, he could have done, you know, as Josh indicated, he could have said,
no, I`m going to cobble together the right bill that is a bipartisan bill
but that`s not actually going to really blow up the Democratic votes that
we can get for this bill and he chose not to. That was a decision.
There is one other thing we should note here because I think this isn`t
just about poor people who need food, it`s also about family farmers
because they lost big when that vote went down. Some of these programs
that were in that Senate bill that folks were striking out of the house for
ideological reasons were actually gutting subsidies that was helping black
and Latino farmers who were growing vegetables and fruit and farm, food to
school programs and we`re getting healthy food into schools, programs like
farmers markets and Native American reservations where native growers could
get the fresh foods into the schools on the reservations.
This is also about farmers. It`s not who got hurt and who got hurt big.
KORNACKI: Well, I want to bring in Florida Democratic Congressman Alan
Grayson, who is joining us from Orlando. And, Congressman, you voted no on
this on Thursday and we`ve been talking about the last-minute amendments,
we`ve been talking about the negotiations, you know, really for the last
few months. What was the breaking point for you when you said, no way, I`m
not supporting this bill?
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: The $20 billion that they took away from
hungry people, from hungry children, from the unemployed, from the working
poor. Why are we doing that? What kind of bill would it take for the
Republicans to support feeding the hungry? Would we have to limit farm aid
to lubes (ph) and fishes? Is that what it would take? It`s a travesty.
We have known for 3,000 years that a just society is one that shelters the
homeless. That feeds the hungry. That heals the sick. Why are they
always against that?
KORNACKI: Well, were you -- it looked like there were, first of all, 24
Democrats who did end up voting for this and Colin Peterson, again, as I
said, the Democrat who was kind of managing it to get those 40 votes would
say he could get 40 votes for it.
I mean, what do you make of the fact that there were a couple dozen people
on your own party who are willing to sign off on $20 billion in food stamp
GRAYSON: It`s meaningless. It was the GOP bill. The GOP struck down a
GOP bill. That`s what it comes down to. They`re the gang that couldn`t
vote straight. They can`t even get their own stuff right.
JOSH BARRO, BUSINESS INSIDER: Congressman, I want to ask you about one of
the other amendments that was voted on this week. I`m Josh Barro with
The -- sugar is one of the most heavily regulated agriculture commodities
in the U.S. and there`s a program where you put tariffs on foreign sugar in
order to drive up the price, which raises consumer prices and also
encourages people to use corn syrup instead of sugar in consumer foods.
It`s basically a stop to Florida sugar farms who are also harming the
Everglades by growing sugar in a place that`s not really suitable climate-
Why did you vote to maintain that program? And one of the things at issue
was whether we deregulate the sugar market and lower food prices?
GRAYSON: Well, I didn`t. You`re misinformed. We didn`t vote on the
tariff at all. That`s something that comes out of the Ways and Means
Committee, not of the Agricultural Committee.
BARRO: There was a vote on a reform of the sugar subsidy program, though,
in the bill.
GRAYSON: Well, no, the bill reforms the sugar subsidy program and it
eliminates the subsidy and places it with a minimum price. You`re really
off base here.
KORNACKI: The other thing I wanted to get in there, though, where is, what
will happen next now? OK. We do not have a new farm bill that`s been
agreed on. Right now, we`re kind of existing on this temporary
reauthorization that went through last year. Is that the last step or
there are going to be another sort of temporary, you know, patch-up job?
Is there still hope in your mind for a real, you know, long term
reauthorization to farm bill? What is actually going to happen now?
GRAYSON: I think that what will happen is take up the Senate bill. The
Democrats passed a bipartisan bill with overwhelming support. They know
how to get the job done. It`s the only a way forward now. That bill only
cuts food stamps a little bit. Something I`m still sad to see, but
something many Democrats will be willing to live with, given the
alternative, which is to end the program entirely.
WILEY: Representative Grayson, this is Maya Wiley from the Center for
Social Inclusion. And I wanted to ask whether you thought there was any
possibility of just doing what happened in December, which was an extension
for many groups, just having this extension was problematic because so many
of the programs that were not included hurt so many low-income people,
particularly farmers and in communities. Is that something you see
possibly happening again?
GRAYSON: It may. But at this point, it`s not what the industry wants
either. The industry wants to shift away from direct subsidies to floor
prices. And that`s what this bill would have accomplished. If we keep
extending the status quo, that`s not what the special interests want. So,
I think you`ll see a movement towards the Senate bill.
KORNACKI: And there`s been a lot of talk, also, Congressman, about what
this could mean for the other big legislative item right now on the agenda
in Washington, and that`s immigration reform and, you know, we were talking
about it here a second ago. This idea that the senate bill and
immigration, if one does get through and it`s looking like one will, that
the best hope would be for that bill to be taken up by the House with, you
know, conservatives screaming that Boehner is violating the so-called
Hastert Rule and is there a lesson for immigration reform that you see
coming out of what happened with the farm bill this week?
GRAYSON: I very much want to see immigration reform pass. We have about
80,000 undocumented in my district alone and it`s just a shame to see how
these people have to live. When there`s a crime committed against, and
they can`t go to the police, they`re afraid to. When they don`t get paid
their wages, they can`t sue or even tell the government about to. They`re
They live in horrendous conditions. So, I very much want to see this
happen. But the fact is the Republicans don`t want to see it happen
because they`re concerned that they`ll create at least 14 years down the
road more Democratic voters. That`s what they`re concerned about.
To them, it`s all about politics and not 11 million people living in the
shadows. And, frankly, there`s a certain undercurrent of racism on the
side, as well. They don`t want to let these people become because they`re
Hispanic, they speak Spanish.
I ran against someone who insisted in the last election that English has to
be the official language of the United States. There is that strong
current on the other side. They don`t want to do anything that would help
KORNACKI: OK. And the question then, how do you get something through the
House? What we just this week, nobody saw this coming, nobody saw this
farm bill failing and it failed. If something gets through the Senate on
immigration, how do you get it through the House on these circumstances?
GRAYSON: I don`t know, I`m skeptical that it`s even possible, as
unfortunate as that may be. And I think that Hispanic voters are going to
remember that it was a Republican majority in the House that ended up
torpedoing a fair immigration bill that actually strengthened borders and
delivered fairness to people who are living under horrendous conditions.
Don`t even get the minimum wage in some cases.
People are going to remember that. And I don`t take any pleasure in saying
that, but I think that the Republicans in the House will be unable to pass
this bill. And Boehner doesn`t care one way or the other. The one thing
Boehner cares about is keeping his job.
And that`s why he`s so incredibly ineffective as speaker because all he
cares about is his being speaker. He doesn`t want to do anything. He just
wants to be something. That`s the worst kind of person to have in a
position of power.
KORNACKI: Like I said, I can`t figure out why he wants the job. Anyway,
my thanks to Congressman --
GRAYSON: Well, I`ll tell you this -- I`ll tell you this, when the time
comes that he is stabbed by all the members of his party, it`s not going to
be at (INAUDIBLE), it`s going to be at everyone. They were all going to be
KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to Congressman Alan Grayson.
President Obama is done waiting for Congress on climate change. That`s
KORNACKI: Legislative action to combat climate change was hard enough to
come by early in President Obama`s term when his party controlled Congress.
Since 2010, Republicans took over the House, it`s been pretty much
impossible. No surprise there. We saw how the concept of reducing carbon
emissions and stemming rising sea levels was treated at last summer`s
Republican National Convention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama promised
to begin to slow the rise of the oceans. And to heal the planet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, now, President Obama has apparently decided to go around
Congress and to tackle climate change with direct executive action. Little
more than a week ago, Obama began telling closed door Democratic fund-
raisers to expect new proposals to reduce emissions in July.
On Wednesday, before the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, he called for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Peace with justice means
refusing to condemn our children to a harsher, less hospitable planet. The
effort to slow climate change requires bold action. This is the global
threat of our time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Senior White House aides now say the president will set new
limits from carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. These electric
power plants account for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. They have
the largest source of global warming coalition in the United States. The
2007 Supreme Court ruling gave the executive branch the authority to
regulate power plants, meaning the Obama administration has the ability to
bypass Congress on this issue. Such a decision could have political
For one, Jean McCarthy has yet to be confirmed by the Senate as
Environmental Protection Agency administrator.
So, there are a couple different issues here, but the reporting suggests
that the regulations that are going to be proposed are going to apply to
existing power plants. That`s the key. It`s not future power plants. We
were already sort of on track with that. But existing power plants. What
is the significance of that, Matt?
MATT YGLESIAS, SLATE.COM: Well, the significance for the climate is
enormous. That`s the largest single source of carbon emissions we have.
And it`s also to be clear, the EPA is, in fact, legally required to do.
There was litigation about this under the Bush administration, you know,
environmentalists won the case and said Clean Air Act requires, and the
process rolling out very slowly because it`s very politically very
difficult to do this.
It seems like any kind of tough standards on existing plants will raise
electricity prices and the problem is if you do regulation through a new
bill, you can put in some kind of tax or fee, raise money and you can use
that money to offset some of the economic harm to low-income families or to
sort of particularly affected groups. It`s not harder to do that with a
regulatory tool. It`s a much blunter instrument. You can achieve the
climate goals, but it becomes, you know, sort of much more difficult for
families and households to adjust. So, it could be, you know, the
president is not eligible for re-election, but it could be real sort of
real political fireworks.
KORNACKI: Yes, that`s the issue. If there are higher rates, higher
utility rates, that would seem, what, like the coal plants and talking
industrial Midwest, is that -- is that where this could have the most
political impact in terms of voters feeling it?
HABERMAN: I think so. I mean, in terms of what the president is doing
himself in his own agenda and I think everything Matt said is absolutely
right. It is hard to fault the president for doing it this way, given as
you said what has happened in the past and what we have seen time and again
with almost every single piece of legislation. It`s very hard to see
something that is big that is going to really impact climate change and
moving through Congress right now.
I think that he does actually -- this is a piece of his agenda he has
talked about a lot. I think this is something that he wants to accomplish.
The political implications over what it will mean over the next four years
and as his party maintains power in 2016, it`s very hard to say right now.
It`s probably not going to be positive. So, not the first time he upset
his party and he is doing what he thinks he has a responsibility to do.
WILEY: Yes, this is Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964, right? This is where
you say, I have to make a stand here because as a leader, it`s the right
leadership thing to do.
Anyone who saw the Mitt Romney clip who agreed with Mitt Romney should put
an ice cube on top of their hot stove and see what happens, because that`s
essentially what`s happening to the polarized caps. If this continues and
literally the projections are that in roughly 50 years, south Florida will
So, this was not some -- there`s nothing abstract here. There`s hard
science, 97 percent of scientists agree. This is -- we`re going to see
more hurricane Katrinas. We`re going to see more hurricane Sandys. We`re
going to see people dying. We`re going to see cholera, we`re going to see
So, this is about a leadership play. I mean, I absolutely agree with the
politics. He`s doing something he has to do to get something done. I also
agree, it would be much better to have leadership that was willing to
legislate on this, to actually realize that green jobs produce more -- has
been a faster growth economy, actually, than dirty jobs.
And that if we think about programs that actually invest in community`s
ability to actually generate different kinds of economic opportunities that
aren`t relying on this, actually, we`d be solving two problems at once.
So, it`s not that there aren`t solutions because we should care about folks
that are working in the coal industry in the Midwest. I certainly think
they should work. I think they should work at jobs that don`t endanger
their children and their families.
KORNACKI: The other piece of this, too, that`s out there is the other
major environmental decision that the administration faces, I mentioned it
earlier, is the Keystone pipeline, approval of the Keystone pipeline. A
lot of the reporting has suggested that maybe the White House sees sort of
a compromise where they take action on climate change, and it`s sort of
political calculation, at least, is their base wants action on climate
change. So, the executive actions will help in that regard.
But it will also, by doing that, soften the blow, maybe, of approving the
Keystone pipeline. Do you see that at work at all?
BARRO: That plausible to me. The opposition to the Keystone pipeline is
fundamentally about carbon emissions. It`s just one way to discourage the
use of petroleum products and discourage emissions of carbon. And if you
had a sensible broad carbon policy, such as a carbon tax, it might be that
the Keystone pipeline would become un-economical, because people were being
encouraged to use more other energy sources.
There was an interesting op-ed this week from Representative Bob Inglis,
who is a conservative Republican from South Carolina, saying basically
Republicans need to get behind a carbon tax because there`s going to be
carbon regulation one way or the other, and we want to make sure it`s a
done in a way that raises revenue that is relatively economically
efficient, and where as, Matt said, revenue can be used to compensate
people in the economy who are harmed by those regulations.
That said, Bob Inglis is former Representative Bob Inglis because he lost
Republican primary because of his views on climate change. So, maybe by
taking this regulatory action. I`m sure the president will get political
heat for it but also creates pressure for compromise where you can say to
Republicans, look, this regulation is here to stay. If you want to replace
it with something else that is more economic efficient, I`m open to doing
KORNACKI: That Inglis story is so fascinating to me because I saw an
interview where he talked about how early in his political career, when he
was a successful Republican politician, he was basically a climate change
skeptic because he had the theory if Al Gore is for it, I`m against it.
That`s what he said.
And then he joined the science committee in the House which meant he took
these sort of expeditions like the Arctic to actually see the effects of
global warming. It changed his mind. He acknowledged it and he lost by 42
points in the 2010 primary in Republican primary.
Anyway, my thanks to Matt Yglesias of "Slate".
A red state Democrat gave her early endorsement, a very early endorsement,
to Hillary Clinton. That`s next.
KORNACKI: The first official endorsement by a member of Congress for a
2016 presidential prospect is in. Claire McCaskill, Missouri second term
Democratic senator, teamed up this week with Ready for Hillary as the super
PAC that`s trying to line-up early support for former secretary of state
and former first lady and former New York senator and all that.
Obviously, McCaskill`s announcement doesn`t by itself tell us much what`s
going to happen three years from now. It probably doesn`t tell us anything
about what will happen three years from now. But it is a good illustration
of what the last few years have done to American politics. Can be hard to
remember now, but it really wasn`t that long ago that Democrats like
McCaskill had very conflicted views, very different views about the
Let`s go back to McCaskill`s first campaign for the Senate back in 2006.
She was running against a Republican incumbent in a state that had voted
for George W. Bush twice. One thing that McCaskill needed was money and
she was happy to turn to Bill and Hillary Clinton on that front. Clintons
back then was the de facto faces of the national Democratic Party. They
have a lot of faces in the party. They could bring in a ton of cash. So,
McCaskill raised the money with both of them in 2006.
But the Clintons were also symbols of polarization, intense political
polarization. The White House years have been defined by relentless
Republican opposition, by an endless parade of Republican initiated
investigations. There was the midterm debacle of 1994 when Democrats lost
the House for the first time since the Eisenhower years.
There was impeachment. There was a 2000 election when Bill Clinton`s vice
president couldn`t carry a single Southern state when winning his home
state of Tennessee would have been enough to win the election.
Clintons knew how to survive. They have proven that much in the 1990s.
But Democrats were wondering, do you really have to be so divisive? That
was particularly true for Democrats in Republican friendly states like
Missouri. Bill Clinton have actually carried Missouri twice but its
overall trend was towards the GOP. McCaskill running for the Senate in
2006 to be tied to the Clintons would be tied to the name that would unify
the other party in fierce opposition.
So, in public, McCaskill tried hard to create space, maybe too hard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re having Bill Clinton come in to raise money for
you. Do you think Bill Clinton was a great president?
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I do. I think -- I had a lot of
problems with some of his personal issues.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you --
MCCASKILL: I said at the time I think he`s been a great leader, but I
don`t want my daughter near him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: She later apologized for that, but I think her point was clear.
In that same campaign, McCaskill was unconflicted when it came to
soliciting help both public and private from another big name Democrat,
Barack Obama. And she wasn`t alone. Obama, who was then only in his
second year in the Senate, was actually the most requested campaigner by
Democratic Senate candidates in 2006.
Blue states, red states, he was in purple states, they wanted him
everywhere. This was a big reason why there was so much clamoring by
Democrats for Obama to run for the presidency in 2008. They figured with
Hillary, they could win, probably. But with Obama they dreamed of winning
in a much bigger way, of blowing past the cultural, geographic and
ideological lines of division that defined the Clinton years.
Polls like this one show that independents were much more receptive to the
idea of voting for Obama than Clinton. It fed this thinking. Obama
himself fed the thinking, too, when he played up his marketability in red
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: What I`m confident about, though, is that I`ve got the capacity to
get independent Republican votes. I`ve done it before. If you look at,
you know, my approval ratings in Illinois right now, there -- you know,
I`ve got a 20 percent margin of approval versus disapproval, even among
Republicans. And part of that is the new tone, change in tone in our
politics that I think people are hungry for right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: This is why Democrats like Claire McCaskill ended up siding with
Barack Obama and not Hillary Clinton in 2008. He could win and he could
govern in a way that some would name Clinton just couldn`t.
But look where we are now. Obama`s current approval rating with
Republicans is 13 percent and that`s basically where it`s been since the
early days of his presidency and he won a second term, that`s true. But he
also won it by building and mobilizing his own base, not by winning over
the other side.
Now, I want to stop here for a second because I need to make it clear. I
am not blaming Obama for any of this. This is not about the president
failing to reach out. This is not about him failing to visit red states or
take Republican senators to dinner.
The polarization that has defined the Obama presidency is asymmetric. It`s
a product of reflexive and unyielding Republican opposition and
obstruction. And that opposition and obstruction has made it impossible
for Obama to build the kind of electoral coalition that his supporters
dreamed of back in 2008.
Also changed the way the Clintons are seen. It was when Republicans
stopped attacking them and, instead, devoted themselves to taking on Obama,
that Bill and Hillary saw their poll numbers soar, even among Republicans.
It turned Hillary into the kind of White House prospect that a red state
Democrat like Claire McCaskill will now go out of her way to endorse.
Republicans are figuring all this out. They`ve seen the polls, they`re
starting to attack Hillary, again, and her numbers are starting to return
to earth, which is probably just as well, because one of the lessons of the
last five years is that any Democrat who becomes president or who looks
like he or she may become president will face the exact same partisan
opposition that Obama has faced for his entire presidency.
We`ll talk about whether Hillary Clinton really could unite Democrats,
that`s after this.
KORNACKI: So, we talk about this Claire McCaskill early, early, early
endorsement of Hillary Clinton for 2016, for a non-candidate.
Well, that`s interesting. There`s a new story in "The Washington Post" we
have that group out there. This is the group that Claire McCaskill teamed
up with. It`s called Ready for Hillary. It`s a super PAC encouraging
James Carville has done fund-raising solicitation for them. Ann Lewis, who
was part of the Clinton White House, is onboard with it.
There are some Clinton people onboard with it, but it`s new story in
"Washington Post" say that people around Clinton, I`m not exactly who, but
people around Clinton are getting nervous about this group and the
attention that Hillary is getting for 2016 because they`re afraid of what
happened in 2008 where she got set up as the inevitable, unbeatable
Democratic candidate. They`re afraid that`s happening, again.
HABERMAN: Right. So, she didn`t get set up that way in 2008. I want to
take slight issue with that. She set herself up that way. I think it`s
very different than what is happening now. Right now, I think the train is
leaving the station a bit ahead of her. I don`t think she`s unhappy about
I understand some people around her might be worried about stock market,
you know, the bubble grows too big and then bursts ahead of time. There`s
a lot of unknowns about Hillary Clinton`s candidacy right now. It
The generational argument is the big one against her. That is going to be
the case regardless. I could certainly understand people around her being
concerned about having seen this movie before, right, where she was
inevitable. And now, we`re looking at it, again.
The difference in 2007, even though people did not think Barack Obama was
running that time, you knew he existed. You know he existed as a massive
talent within the party. There isn`t anyone who you can really see on the
horizon right now, anyway.
What`s interesting about this in terms of McCaskill and what`s clearly
supposed to be symbolic is: A, it`s a woman; B, she`s a woman in the
Senate; C, she was an early Obama supporter. So, these are all supposed to
be I think signs of look how the party is coalescing around Clinton.
KORNACKI: Yes, it`s interesting. When I think back the vulnerabilities
that Hillary Clinton had in 2008, the reasons in my mind it didn`t work
out. One, the war, the vote for the Iraq war in 2002, which is more than a
decade old heading into 2016.
And the second, what I was talking about there, this perception at that
time if you were talking about polarizing forces in politics, you were
talking about the Clintons. And I just look, you know, I think a lot of
this stuff is kind of arbitrary, it`s whoever the leader of the Democratic
Party is, is going to be treated by the Republicans as a polarizing figure.
So, it`s just worked out for the last five years that Obama in -- sort of,
according to all the Republican noise that we hear is the polarizing one
and the Clintons aren`t any more and that`s probably helped her, too,
BASIL SMIKLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It has. But one wonders how much
time will pass before people start talking about her as a polarizing
figure, again. And going back to your point, we have heard this story
before and, in my mind, you know, I worked for her and I`d be the first to
In my mind, how much of this is penance for people that, you know, like
McCaskill, who didn`t support her early on, but, you know, want to get on
this train right now. And I also think, if there`s not a particular person
that we`re looking at like Obama, is there ideologically a person? Is
there somebody to her left or several people to her left?
HABERMAN: Or a space that`s created on the left.
KORNACKI: Howard Dean sort of put his name out this week, I thought that
was interesting. He gave an interview to CNN and I`m watching it and
reading it and it really seemed like he kind of went out of his way to put
his name, you know, to get his name introduced into the mix.
BARRO: That`s interesting, especially because as governor of Vermont, he
had a fairly pro-gun record -- maybe it was long enough ago that he could
evolve on that issue.
KORNACKI: Although, that was part of his pitch. I remember, also, because
in 2004 when he was running, part of his pitch was, hey, Al Gore lost in
2000. He lost those Southern states. He lost Tennessee. He lost
Missouri. He lost West Virginia, in part because of guns. We need as a
party to basically have a states rights position on guns.
And remember, the line that got Howard Dean in trouble is he said, I want
to be the Democratic how goes and gets the vote to the guys with
WILEY: I think Dean`s learned to talk a little better than he did back
then. Dean is also smart campaigner. This is a guy who created a 50-state
strategy for the Democratic Party, which I think was a pretty smart thing
to do, particularly if you want to make sure you`re building a broader
coalition. Pay attention to all the states.
I do think it was pretty obvious that people were going to be pushing
Hillary Clinton out there. She was the candidate to beat and no surprise
there. It`s only the endorsing.
She also, I think the whole Clinton brand. Two things I would say, one
about the 2008 issue. Her main problem was not just inevitability and not
just the Iraq war. She was running on Bill Clinton`s terms, right? She
was running as the third term of Bill Clinton. And voters didn`t want the
third term of Bill Clinton.
So, now, it`s not really clear to me she`s running as Barack Obama`s third
term. Is she running as her own entity? This is the first time coming out
of the Obama administration where she is completely separate in a lot of
ways from her husband. We hadn`t seen that before. That`s what`s
different this time.
KORNACKI: Are there specific policy areas? Again, you know, she`s
secretary of state and elevated herself away from day-to-day politics we
haven`t heard her on the great legislative battles of the last five years.
But are there specific areas -- we talk about the war vote, that`s a decade
old, specific policy where the left has questions for Hillary Clinton that
haven`t been answered.
SMIKLE: Well, I think it`s partly what questions they have for Barack
right now because you`re seeing the softness of his numbers come from a lot
of these younger voters when you talk about the generation issue. A lot of
these younger voters that, you know, got up into this movement with Barack,
but feel that perhaps some of the promise has not been fulfilled. That he
may have journeyed a little bit more to the right or to the center.
So, if they`re upset with Barack right now, they`re probably going to be a
little concerned about Hillary. The question that I always have is: does
the Barack coalition translate directly to her? I`m not so convince that
KORNACKI: Also, Maggie mentioned the generational issue, too. I love this
one. I think she`ll be 69 in 2016. To look at the polls, though, her top
rival will be 74, Joe Biden.
KORNACKI: Maybe she`s the young candidate in that mix.
Anyway, the polls close in Massachusetts in 83 hours, but who`s counting?
Wrapping up the special Senate election, that`s next.
KORNACKI: Massachusetts will elect a new U.S. senator this Tuesday. It
would be the Bay State second special election in three years. But unlike
the upset that Republican Scott Brown scored in 2010, long-time Democratic
Congressman Ed Markey seemed set for victory over his GOP opponent, former
Navy SEAL and private equity fund manager Gabriel Gomez.
The latest UMass-Lowell/Boston Herald polled likely voters has Markey
leading Gomez by 20 points. That was on Thursday. Markey has more than a
2-1 fund-raising advantage, has enjoyed greater support from outside groups
and surrogates. Vice President Joe Biden will actually be campaigning for
him this afternoon.
Gomez had his last major chance to gain traction in this week`s debate and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABRIEL GOMEZ (R-MA), SENATE CANDIDATE: Also, the only person here who is
creative enough, the only political candidate to actually use the Newtown
massacre for political gain. That says it right there. You`ll do anything
and say anything to get elected, Congressman. That`s what you`ve been
doing for 37 years, sir.
REP. ED MARKEY (D-MA), SENATE CANDIDATE: Mr. Gomez, you haven`t answered
the question. Where will a civilian need a weapon where you can shoot 100
bullets in just two minutes?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, it`s a Massachusetts election. I got to get it somewhere.
So, we`ll talk about it towards the end of the show here.
But, you know, I thought at the start of this, I believe that Ed Markey
would probably win, hey, it`s a blue state. It`s a federal office and all
I thought there was a little potential vulnerability for him though because
of his longevity in office. It`s 37 years in the house. He was elected in
1976. And I`ve seen these, I grew up in Massachusetts and once every
decade or so a revolt against the idea of insider and the idea of
entrenchment. I thought there was a risk in nominating Ed Markey.
But I think the main conclusion in this campaign is that Gabriel Gomez just
is not Scott Brown.
HABERMAN: Right. I think we actually after this campaign we need to
retire the phrase the next Scott Brown, because I think Scott Brown was
Scott Brown and I think that was a unique set of circumstances. And I
think every election is a unique set of circumstances to your point. A lot
of people, a lot of Democrats had concerns about Markey. They thought he
was vulnerable. They were also obviously skittish because of Scott Brown,
because of what happened in 2010. They didn`t want to see a repeat of
But Markey, as you said, there is a generational thing, to go back to my
other point, and he had not had a competitive race in a very, very long
time and had limitations. Gomez had had limitations, not the least of it,
by the way, is that he is pro-life running in Massachusetts. He really
can`t get pass that. That was not the same as Scott Brown.
National Republican money is not flowing in like water the way that it used
to from outside groups. The expectation that outside groups, you know,
Crossroads GPS and the Chamber of Commerce and so forth are just going to
come in and support you. There is a breathtaking story in "Wall Street
Journal" with a shootout between Gomez`s campaign and these national
And donors are very skittish after 2012, on both sides, candidly, but much
more so on the Republican side. You cannot automatically assume that the
cavalry is coming in. Most Republicans did not think this was a winnable
race, at least the further it got along and there`s little on that poll to
suggest that they were wrong.
KORNACKI: I should point out, there is a new Emerson College poll,
Emerson, the fans (ph) with Emerson, they came out I think just today. You
can expect that the Gomez campaign will be flooding inboxes, hey, we`re
surging at the end.
BARRO: If what you`re bragging about is a poll that has you down 10
points, the race is over. This is a Senate race in Massachusetts.
Democrats win Senate races in Massachusetts. The Scott Brown race was
bizarre for a number of reasons, including him being extremely strong
candidate and Martha Coakley being a weak, incompetent candidate.
HABERMAN: She went on vacation.
BARRO: And still almost won. That`s a set of circumstances you need.
And then the other thing, Republicans know this seat is going to be up
again in a year. So, even if you threw a ton of money at this race and
found a way to eke it out, there is no way to, Gomez would be a senator for
18 months and then he would lose the general election next time around.
HABERMAN: As Scott Brown did last time. I mean --
BARRO: And I think we`re seeing this in New Jersey, too. Republicans have
been burned over and over again spending a ton of money on senate races in
KORNACKI: They`re not even trying.
SMIKLE: They should try. Chris Christie is there and he`s the face of the
Republican Party in New Jersey. So, why even try.
HABERMAN: This is a complaint the Republicans are making, they`re deprived
of this great chance for 2014. That is absurd if you actually think about
it. I mean, it`s not absurd in the sense that, yes, in theory, you could
find somebody who could be a good recruit and realistically, it`s still New
When was the last time Republicans --
KORNACKI: Massachusetts, New Jersey, the same year, 1972.
WILEY: I do think what`s interesting here is the fact that, in both
parties, because this is true both of Massachusetts with Gomez and New
Jersey now with the mayor of Newark, the African-American, young. Really
this effort to find the folks who are going to be more mirroring the way
the country looks.
So, I think it was smart for Gomez to run because nobody really knew him.
This was his first time out of the gate. It is a special election. No,
they`re not spending a lot of money compared to what folks are spending on
Markey. Markey is elderly, let`s be honest.
And, you know, they`re building -- I think what they`re doing is building a
pipeline. And I think that`s something that both parties have to look very
KORNACKI: I want to give Ed Markey, he`ll have a place in history if he
wins this election. I do want to get this out there, I went back and
researched as best as I can tell if and when Ed Markey wins this race on
Tuesday, he will become the longest serving House member to go on and be
elected to the Senate after 36-plus years. He will break the record by 32
years by a man named Frederick Gillett, who was also from Massachusetts,
who was the speaker of the U.S. House in the early 1920s or the late 19-
teens, whatever you would call that. And then went on to serve a term in
So, congratulations, a preemptive preliminary congratulations to Ed Markey
for breaking the Fred Gillett record of House longevity and Senate
What do we know now that we didn`t know last week? My answer after this.
KORNACKI: In just a moment, what we know now that we didn`t know last
week. But first, a quick update on our discussion last week on Edward
Snowden, former NSA contractor who`s taking credit for leaking information
about the agency`s secret surveillance programs.
Federal officials said last night that they have charged Snowden with three
felony counts. Theft of government property, passing on national defense
information, and revealing classified information about communications
intelligence. The U.S. is asking the government of Hong Kong, where
Snowden is believed to have fled, to arrest him and to begin the
Now, what do we know now that we didn`t know last weak?
We know that we`ve lost one of this generation`s most dynamic and talented
actors with the passing of James Gandolfini. The 51-year-old actor who won
three Emmys for his portrayal of Tony Soprano died on Wednesday while
vacationing with his family in Italy.
We know that when Gandolfini was accepting one of those Emmys back in 2003,
he wore a homemade badge on his tuxedo lapel that baffled the Hollywood
crowd in the room and anyone who happened to catch it on television at
home. It was a campaign button for his old buddy, Joe Renna, who was
running for local office in New Jersey.
It was even a surprise for Renna himself, who had no idea that Gandolfini
was going to wear the thing on national television. The badge read, "Vote
Joe Renna, three holder, Union County."
And despite Gandolfini`s national if somewhat subtle endorsement, we know
that Renna didn`t win that race, but got a great story. We know now that
in extremely specific language, how Maine`s Republican governor, Paul
LePage, feels about Democratic state senator, Troy Jackson.
On Thursday, Jackson criticized the governor for saying he would veto the
state`s latest budget. When local reporters asked the governor about
Jackson`s comments, the governor spoke his mind and then some. He said,
quote, "Senator Jackson, to be for the people, he`s -- he claims to be for
the people," excuse me. I`m already laughing at this one. "But he`s the
first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline."
He continued, this man is a bad person. He doesn`t only have no brains, he
has a black heart. LePage was told by a local reporter that his Vaseline
comment could offend people. He said, quote, "Good, it ought the to. I`ve
been taking it for two years."
We know that these two men may not have to work together much longer,
because on Friday, LePage said he`s considering running for Congress,
despite the fact that his political adviser has said that he is, quote,
1,000 percent unaware of such a plan.
We know that while Christine Quinn maintains a small race in the lead for
race for mayor of New York, her book sales are hovering around nonexistent.
According to Nielsen BookScan, Quinn`s memoir, "With Patience and
Fortitude," has only sold about 100 copies in its first weeks on the
But regardless of the book`s poor sales, writing a memoir is almost a
prerequisite when running for office, just like collecting signatures or
printing bumper stickers. We know how it works. You tell readers why you
were driven to a life of service, with a title like "courage to stand," or
"core of conviction," or a title that show that you are, quote, "fed up,"
or that under no circumstance will you ever say you are sorry.
For the cover, you find somewhere generically outdoorsy, you fold your
arms, and stare off into the distance. You know how it goes.
So, this really isn`t about Quinn`s lackluster book sales. But the
unrelenting tradition of politicians writing their memoirs and the people
that keep reading them, or not reading them.
I want to find out what my guests know now that they didn`t know last week.
I`ll start with you, Maggie.
HABERMAN: I didn`t know that James Gandolfini wore that button on national
television. So, I was happy to know that. I mean, I think we know
decisively just in Massachusetts the way that race is going to after a lot
of posturing that was very Romney-esque in terms of, don`t believe the
polls you`re looking at.
KORNACKI: So you`re predicting that Gabriel Gomez wins?
HABERMAN: Exactly. I like that you got that from what I just said.
SMIKLE: I did not know that Paula Deen fondly remembers the Civil War and
I`m so glad she is not on Food Network right now or won`t be in a month.
BARRO: Well, now I know that all of Canada is a real mess. A lot of
Americans have been following Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, who two media
outlets say they`ve seen video of him smoking crack cocaine. This week,
the mayor of Montreal was arrested in a corruption scandal. There`s
another big city outside of Montreal where the former mayor is accused with
gangsterism, which apparently is the actual fame of a crime in Canada.
They also have a massive housing bubble that`s about to burst. And I think
we may no longer have to deal with smog Canadians talking to us about how
everything is going better than in the U.S.
KORNACKI: Well, the mayor of Saskatoon is still clean.
BARRO: For now.
WILEY: Well, we know we`re going to be biting our nails for another week,
waiting for Supreme Court decisions on whether adults who love each other
can married, no matter their gender, and about whether we`re going to allow
universities to ensure that our student bodies look the way our population
KORNACKI: We`ll be talking about all that tomorrow. Actually, thank you
for setting that up.
My many thanks to Maggie Haberman of Politico.com, Basil Smikle of Basil
Smikle Associates, Josh Barro of BusinessInsider.com and Maya Wiley of the
Center for Social Inclusion.
Thanks for getting UP. And thank you for joining us today for UP.
Join us tomorrow, Sunday morning at 8:00. We`ll have Congressman Hakim
Jeffries and Ana Marie Cox of "The Guardian."
And coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY." On today`s "MHP", Superman,
Zod, and the minions from "Despicable Me". It`s summer of blockbuster time
and Melissa is casting her own heroes and villains straight from auditions
seen all week in Washington, D.C. Also, one nation under debt.
Time is running out and an entire generation is at risk. It`s "MELISSA
HARRIS-PERRY." She`s coming up next.
And we`ll see you right here tomorrow morning at 8:00. Thanks for getting
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: This morning, my question, what was
Plus, it`s time for a bigger tent under the rainbow.
And we are one nation under a mountain of debt.
But, first, John Boehner is proving to be the most disappointing super
villain of the summer season.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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