UP with STEVE KORNACKI
July 6, 2013
Guests: Ann Lewis, Sahil Kapur, Evan McMorris-Santoro, L. Joy Williams,
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, "UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI": The sweeping anti-
abortion bill was filibustered last week by Texas democratic state Senator
Wendy Davis took a major step towards passage this week. Davis and her
allies succeeded in using the filibuster to run out the clock on a special
legislative session but Texas Governor Rick Perry simply turned around and
called a brand-new special session.
Began this week, it will last for 30 days and on Wednesday a committee
passed the bill on a party line vote. Now, it`s on its way to the House
floor for a vote next week. But this week`s committee hearing was no
ordinary hearing. Roughly 3,500 people showed up at the capital and 1,100
registered to testify. Wendy Davis addressed those thousands of supporters
at a rally Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. WENDY DAVIS (D), TEXAS: Let`s remind Governor Perry that
fairness is and always will be a fundamental Texas value.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
It shouldn`t be unusual for a public official to stand and fight for the
men and women who elected them. It should be a job requirement.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Davis, who shot to national prominence after her 11 hour
filibuster is considering a run for governor next year. The odds are long
in Texas where Democrats haven`t won statewide office in nearly two
decades. Meanwhile, Perry, who is already Texas` longest serving governor
is promising to announce on Monday whether he will seek an unprecedented
fourth term next year. New poll this week from public policy polling has
Perry up 14 points over Davis in a hypothetical matchup, he`s also up 12
points over republican Attorney General Greg Abbott who`s been flirting
with challenging Perry in a republican primary.
I want to bring in Sahil Kapur, Congressional reporter with
talkingpointsmemo.com. Ann Lewis, former White House Communications
Director for President Bill Clinton and senior adviser to the 2008 Hillary
Clinton presidential campaign. L. Joy Williams, a political strategist,
and founder of the public affairs firm LJW community strategist. And MSNBC
contributor Perry Bacon, Jr., political editor at our sister site
So, I guess, you know, start with the question of Rick Perry. He is been
the governor of Texas really since it was the Supreme Court ruling in the
Bush/Gore case in 2000 and it made Bush president and it made Rick Perry
governor of Texas, he is then governor of Texas ever since. He`s promising
a quote, "exciting announcement" about his future on Monday. Perry, do you
think he`s going to run again or is this the end of Rick Perry`s governor?
PERRY BACON, JR., MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think it`s the end of Rick Perry as
governor. This is going to be an exciting announcement. I`m not sure, if
he runs again, that is not exciting. He thinks he runs for president will
be exciting, but I think most voters, they saw enough last time. Even
Republicans to not be that excited about him running for president. I
think the worst thing parts is that Wendy Davis how exciting she is right
now if she run for governor I think. I don`t think she`d win, but I think
if you a worthwhile campaign would certainly be a campaign that drew
KORNACKI: Yes. You know, what`s interesting when you look at it. We
talked about that PPP poll that came out this week. What is interesting to
me about it is, this whole showdown over abortion over the filibuster, the
special session, it seems to have helped both Wendy Davis and Rick Perry.
Rick Perry is now up 14 points over Wendy Davis, she was actually polled
head-to-head with her a couple months ago and he was only up six.
And what`s happened is, this has caused Republicans to rally around Rick
Perry in Texas. His approval rating among Republicans I think is now 81 to
16 percent in Texas. At the same time, Wendy Davis is now the single most
popular political figure in Texas. She has the best favorable, unfavorable
score. So, overall, it`s helped Wendy Davis even as you know, in a
republican state, it showed up Rick Perry with the republican base.
ANN LEWIS, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO HILLARY CLINTON: Absolutely. Well,
look, we`ve got two very different styles of political leadership here.
Here is Rick Perry whose reputation now rests on two things. He could not
remember his own three-point plan when he was running for president. He
got two out of three, that`s probably not enough. And he`s willing to shut
off health care. To show how tough he is, he is going recover by shutting
off health care for the most vulnerable women in Texas and people who need
those clinics. So, that`s Rick Perry.
And then you have Wendy Davis who stands up alone against the forces of the
state who speaks for 13 hours. They try to take her down because she had
to put on a back brace. So, here`s the irony that we`re the ones who care
about women`s health the Republican say and then they want to penalize her
for using a brace. She is the new face of Texas politics. She doesn`t get
elected next year, she will get elected. This is the new American
KORNACKI: Do you think she`ll even run next year for governor?
LEWIS: As I understand it, they`re going to try to take her seat away.
KORNACKI: Her legislative seat.
LEWIS: So, she may not have a legislative seat. If she were to ask me and
I see no reason why she would. But my guess is she would run, she would do
well and may not be enough this time, but it is coming. She is coming.
And as I say, she`s the new face of politics.
KORNACKI: You know, another thing that is interesting to me in this poll
Joy when I was looking closely. When we look at Texas as, you know,
conservative state, republican state. We`re talking about the demographics
changing at long term. But right now, still a republican state. When you
poll the question of abortion sort of broadly speaking in Texas, there`s
probably more pro-life sentiment than pro-choice sentiment.
But then, after, when you filter it through this debate they just had the
special session when you ask specifically about SB5, what Wendy Davis is
trying to filibuster. That`s actually more unpopular now in this poll than
it is popular. So, sort of the theater and the attention that Wendy Davis
drew to the issue, the way she drew attention to it seems to have change
the way people think about the issue of it in Texas.
L. JOY WILLIAMS, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Her method and her politics, I
think that is what is more effective, right? Because it is taking away
what messaging maybe from either side and sort of getting to the real meat
of the question. Even in the polls, if you ask the question differently,
then people have a different response. They have a different answer. If
you ask them about choice, then they`re for that. If you ask them about
restricting abortion or striking down Roe v. Wade, they`re wait, no, wait,
that`s not what I meant.
Yes, abortion seems like the toughest issues, of all issues, abortion is
the toughest one, reduced to I am this or I am that.
WILLIAMS: Right. And that`s the thing. And that`s why as many people
believe that it should be this individual choice. People don`t believe in
restricting people`s choice when you get down to it. You can manipulate
polls based upon how you ask the question, but fundamentally people believe
that particularly this legislation and legislation across the country and
other states, rather.
The way they are framing the conversation is if you are anti-baby. You
know, and that`s not it. And I think what Wendy Davis does is sort of
separate that out and say, I`m not talking about talking points, I`m
talking about how this will fundamentally affect your lives, women`s lives.
And then that`s what makes the difference and that`s the new face of
politics that we`re talking about.
KORNACKI: The expectation now in this special session, this will, this
bill will become a law. It will pass and it will be signed. What is the
effect of that sign sort of nationally? Because it`s been interesting, you
know, how national Democrats have rallied around Wendy Davis and sort of
made her, you know, one of their sort of featured causes for the last few
weeks. National Republicans have not been as eager to rally around Rick
Perry in the Republicans in Texas over this. Does that tell us anything?
SAHIL KAPUR, TALKINGPOINTSMEMO.COM: Well, Rick Perry seems to have cracked
the code in Texas. He`s figured out the politics how to stay governor for
longer than anyone else. And it seems like if he really wants it the next
time, he probably has it. But on a national level, it`s very different.
So, I mean, he might run for president, again. It`s not clear if he does.
Who knows what will happen. He did not impress and come close to
impressing last time.
I think the really interesting thing about this filibuster and the Wendy
Davis phenomenon is that people in Texas are more than ready for a strong
progressive voice and they have that in Wendy Davis. As you mentioned
though, it helped Rick Perry, as well, because I think the filibuster has
helped him grandstand all this talk about the life of the unborn, we`re not
done fighting and all this stuff, so.
KORNACKI: There seems to be a difference to me. Maybe, where he`s doing
what the republican base clearly wants, but there seems to be, I`m reading
at least the hesitancy of sort of national public leaders to get involved
with this. They sense that that`s a little problem then.
KAPUR: On the House level, they passed the 20-week abortion bill.
KORNACKI: Right. Right. That`s true. Right.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
KAPUR: And it`s absolutely true that I think Republicans at our national
level are aware that this is not the kind of battle that they want to be
picking. There was one House republican that said, this is a stupid idea,
I`m not sure what my leadership is doing.
KORNACKI: And they are proliferating at the state level.
LEWIS: Yes. But the Republican National Committee earlier this year spent
several million dollars on a report, on a study, what do we do to recover
from this loss in 2012, how do we go forward? And they said, well, gee, we
have young people, we got women, we got people of color, we really need to
reach out to these new voters. Now, you just look at what Perry single-
handedly is doing to destroy. It seems to me that they spent a lot of
money to get advice that the Republicans state by state do not want to
accept and they`re going their own way.
WILLIAMS: And to their point, Steve, just going back to 2012. Look, we
were 53 percent of the electorate, this is women, right? And Obama won by
11 points, they won single women, I think it was 36 percent that Obama won.
But this is from the growth and opportunity to report that was brought up.
This is the --
KORNACKI: The autopsy --
WILLIAMS: Right. And this is their quote regarding women. Republicans
need to make a better effort at listening to female voters, directing their
policy proposals at what they learn from women and Communicating they
understand. Clearly, they did not read that part of the report.
KORNACKI: Right. They were listening to Wendy Davis, I can tell you that.
Gun makers firing back at pro-gun control politicians. That`s after this.
KORNACKI: Two weeks ago on the show we discussed Texas Governor Rick
Perry`s effort to convince Connecticut gun manufacturers to pack up and
move to Texas in the wake of sweeping new legislation regulating gun sales.
So far no Connecticut gun makers have taken Governor Perry up on his offer,
although one Connecticut Company PTR industries which makes military style
assault weapons did strike a deal with South Carolina to move there.
And now Beretta, USA says, it`s looking to expand its operations outside of
Maryland after that state inactive strict new gun laws. Beretta is being
wooed by leaders from several states but flatly ruled out two of them this
week. Company executive said, Beretta would not expand in West Virginia,
because of Senator Joe Manchin`s push to expand background checks on gun
purchases and in turning down Rhode Island, a Beretta executive wrote that
the company considers, quote, "the consistency with which a given state has
supported second amendment rights."
The company says, it is still considering seven other states for its
planned expansion. A big delay. Excuse me. I`m already reading the tease
and I shouldn`t be. That`s what happens when you try to do the show with
the flu. The Manchin issue here, the Manchin in West Virginia issue here
is a little interesting maybe because the back stream in this apparently is
Maryland and Martin O`Malley, democratic governor passed the, you know,
sort of restriction assault weapons, restrictions on magazines and Berretta
started making noise that hey, maybe we don`t want to be in Maryland any
more. They have -- employers, I guess, they are big government contractor.
So, Manchin who is doing the background checks bill in the Senate actually
put in a call to Beretta which said, hey, if you`re not happy in Maryland
maybe consider going to West Virginia. And then, you know, Beretta sort of
took the opportunity to try to, you know, throw it back in Manchin`s space.
So, Manchin is interesting to me here because it seems like he is almost
trying to have it both ways. Right? Where he is taking this genuinely, I
think courageously I think West Virginia politicians stand on gun control
but at the same time he`s going to try to, you know, steal gun jobs from
Maryland, if the governor tries to act too boldly there.
BACON: I mean, he would argue in both ways. He is taking a pretty modest
gun control position. He is not exactly Mr. grab all your weapons.
BACON: He`s taking a very --
KORNACKI: Went from a-plus to b-minus. Right. Right. Right.
BACON: A plus to like, you know, b-minus probably now. But now, he took a
radical views. So, I`m sure if you ask Joe Manchin, used to be the
governor of West Virginia, of course. He is trying to bring jobs into
state, I think he -- national figure in the future. He wants to bring in
jobs in the state but also raise money through a fundraiser, he also wants
to like appeal to this modest gun control because he has now, as well. So,
I think he`s not really, I`m sure the gun manufacturers see it differently,
but I don`t think he thinks that there`s contradiction between what he`s
doing on these issues at all.
KAPUR: He`s just trying to be the voice of sanity on the program. So, the
vast majority of gun owners support what he`s doing. There`s nothing he`s
doing that would materially harm a manufacturer like Beretta. Because the
Supreme Court has said, you can`t man-handguns and all he`s asking for is
background checks. Not even your initial background checks. He`s just
expanding them to gun shows and internet sales. Extremely popular even
among NRA members, polls (INAUDIBLE). So, what Beretta is doing now I
think is just sort of being a little melodramatic and being, you know,
aggressive and kind of there`s no defense quite like a good offense.
KORNACKI: Well, but part of it, too, I guess there`s one of the reports I
read said that back in 2000 when President Clinton administration, they
were able to get an agreement, it wasn`t through legislation, they were
able to get an agreement like Smith and West (ph) on gun safety measure and
there was sort of blow back against the gun manufacturer from the market of
gun buyers who basically said, you`re selling out, you know, this whole
idea, sort of second amendment, purely means a lot to them. So, maybe
there`s a little bit of posturing from market position here.
LEWIS: Well, there`s a lot of posturing yes, the NRA and with a few people
from within on the manufacturing side who saw a chance to score points.
So, here`s Joe Manchin who is being a straight, stand-up guy. And as you
say, was a-plus to NRA tried to make a modest change and what does he do?
He is now getting attack. I think this is very interesting in two ways.
One, the NRA is trying to send the message, you can`t disagree with them in
the slightest. You`re going to be a thousand precincts down the line.
On the other hand, I think a lot of his colleagues in the Senate are going
to look at this and say, here`s a guy really trying to do the right thing,
he`s doing something that is basically popular, that may cost the NRA
eventually. You can`t keep insisting of elected officials that they do at
1,000 percent obedient school every time.
WILLIAMS: Particularly since this is something the NRA supported in the
past, as well.
WILLIAMS: So, they`ve changed, but you`re not allowed to change. It is
just really hard to be an adult and a legislative adult and sort of --
KORNACKI: But I wonder, the thing with Manchin and I generally agree.
Like, there should be room in this for this sort of the sensible pro-gun
position that believes, that can say, I`m pro-gun and believe in, you know,
some restrictions. That`s what Manchin is trying to do. But at a certain
point here, you know, you look at what Martin O`Malley did in Maryland, you
look at what Dan Malloy, the democratic governor in Connecticut did.
When they did Andrew Cuomo in New York for that matter where they did this
sort of sweeping gun control measures in the wake of Newtown in the last
few months and then you have, you know, whether it`s Rick Perry in Texas or
whether it`s Nikki Haley in South Carolina or whether it`s Joe Manchin
making a phone call to these gun manufacturers, he is sort of undercutting
the work of other courageous Democrats on the gun control issue by trying
to lure jobs from his state, isn`t he?
BACON: My suspicion suspension is that Connecticut, Maryland, New York
have higher Texas on businesses than Texas does for example. I`m almost
certain of that. So, my guess is that we`re only talking about his
economics. Companies don`t just move for protest reasons. They don`t move
because I don`t like the governor, he didn`t smile at me correctly. They
usually move because of economics. So, I suspect the gun manufacturers in
Texas will come for tax reasons. They`ll say it`s because gun control laws
in Maryland, but Maryland, I know Maryland has fairly high tax rates and
that`s why because it`s really driving us from the beginning.
So, is Manchin playing both sides of this? Yes, he is. Is Martin O`Malley
in a better place? Because ultimately if you are opposed to these kinds of
guns being used, and you should probably not want them in your state, I
agree with you in that sense. That said I think this is more about
economics than it is about policy ultimately.
KAPUR: From an economic standpoint, I have today, it doesn`t make a whole
lot of sense from Beretta to try to -- West Virginia because nothing
Manchin is doing that would apply only to West Virginia. And what he`s
doing would not really apply to handguns.
LEWIS: Yes, I just want to put in the word for it. Yes, you`re right
about the Martin O`Malley who is my governor and I think he`s been doing a
terrific job. And I think Dan Malloy -- we have had governors step up to
the plate and we`re all the better for it.
KORNACKI: Yes. And it is interesting to see we have the warnings example
from Connecticut. But even Beretta at this point, they`re not talking
about moving from Maryland. Well, if we expand in the future, maybe it
will be somewhere else and it won`t be rely into West Virginia to -- state.
Anyway, a big delay for an important part of Obamacare draws fire from the
Republicans, after this.
KORNACKI: The Obama administration announced this week that it will delay
implementation of an important part of the affordable care act. The
employer mandate, it requires businesses with 50 or more full time
employees to provide their workers with coverage or pay a penalty will now
go into effect in 2015, instead of 2014. The administration says the delay
is due to the complexity of the rules reporting requirements and the need
for more time to implement them.
The post in the Treasury Department`s website said that, quote, "We
recognize the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this
reporting already provide health insurance with their workers and want to
make sure it is easy for others to do so."
Jared Bernstein, a liberal economist who used to work in the administration
warns that the delay could come at a great public cost. The employer
mandate Bernstein wrote on Tuesday, "Employers who currently provide
coverage to their workers could drop the coverage and send their workers
over to the state health care exchanges and send some of those employees
will be subsidies to help defray the cost. Employer would be shifting what
is now a private cost over to the government."
House republican leadership called the employer mandate delay another
reason Obamacare should be repealed. Senator John Barrasso, a republican
senator from Wyoming issued a statement saying, quote, "It is a clear
admission by the administration that the health care law is unaffordable,
unworkable and unpopular. It`s also a cynical political ploy to delay the
coming train wreck associated with Obamacare until after the 2014
I want to bring in Representative Frank Pallone, he`s a former chairman,
and now the ranking member of the health subcommittee of the Energy in
Commerce Committee in the House, democratic candidate for the Senate in New
Jersey special election this summer. Congressman, thanks for joining us.
REP. FRANK PALLONE, JR. (D), NEW JERSEY: Thanks.
KORNACKI: You were part of crafting this law and one of the biggest things
I have been hearing this week is the employer mandate was probably the
worst individual component of this law in terms of how it was constructed.
Do you agree with that?
PALLONE: No, I think it was, obviously a good thing and I think the
Republicans are making much of it, because, basically, as you know, they
just want to repeal the whole thing. But I mean, the fact of the matter is
that most employers, you`re talking larger employers now do provide health
insurance and it really was just done. This delay is just being done
because of the reporting requirements. I don`t think it really has much of
an impact other than that.
But the Republicans will use it to say, oh, we should reverse the whole
thing, we should repeal the whole thing. I keep saying that, you know, the
Republicans have to work with us on this health care law. I mean, it is
the law of the land, it`s not going to be repealed. There may have to be
some changes or delays or whatever, but that`s what happens when you have
such major legislation that has such a major, positive impact on the
KORNACKI: Just to understand the employment issue a little bit. There was
a difference when the law, when there was the House bill that was
originally passed and the Senate bill, there was a key difference on how
the employer mandate was treated and the Senate bill, which was ultimately
adopted which is now sort of the law, it has some sort of disincentives for
hiring, for businesses that the employer mandate continues, that the House
bill didn`t originally.
PALLONE: Well, I think we always were concerned between the House and the
Senate about, you know, once there was an employer mandate what the penalty
would be and how much that penalty would be. But I mean, the fact of the
matter is that most large employers do provide health insurance. And if
someone isn`t getting it through their employer, they go on the exchange,
they get a subsidy and it will be affordable and it really hasn`t changed
that much in terms of what actually happens practically because of this
KORNACKI: So, Congressman Pallone mentions that there is this interesting
dynamic now when the law was passed, we were all sort of told, well, you
know, it is imperfect to deframe (ph) work, it`s going to require tweaking,
it`s going to require adjustment over the years. The Republicans have now
had I think 38, 39, 40, whatever, repeal votes in the House. That is still
where they are. It is repeal or nothing. There is no tweaking, there is
no working around it.
So, you take an issue like the employer mandate and I wonder, practically
speaking, if you still have Republicans controlling the House, you`re going
to have to implement this thing, if you consider it flawed, you`re going to
have to implement it at some point. Is there any way here it could be
adjusted at all, it can be tweaked at all legislatively?
KAPUR: I think that`s what we`re seeing now that the administration
realizes that the Republicans are not going to help and not going to do
anything to make this law better. Their attitude is, we want this law to
fail, we want it to collapse like a house of card so we can be standing
there saying, I told you so the whole time. Now, if the administration can
end on Congress and find ways to, you know, fix or tighten up some of these
screws and plug some of the holes on their own, that would make the laws go
a lot more smoothly and that will make the law more likely to succeed in
the long run.
And that`s why Republicans don`t like this move. They hate this provision
but they also hate that the Obama administration is delaying this because
it makes it harder for them to sabotage the law if the Obama administration
can sort of administratively fix some of the problems with it.
KORNACKI: Well, how much can Republicans sort of with this posture, how
much can they undermine the implications?
LEWIS: Well, they are really trying. And that`s really been striking.
The message from the Republicans is, no. Right? It`s not we can do it
better, it`s not we can have better ideas, it`s just, no, we want to repeal
the whole thing. Now, you`re looking at a law where right now we have tens
of thousands of young people on their parent`s health care, we have young
people with health conditions who are now getting insurance who couldn`t
get conditions before.
LEWIS: Women are now getting preventive care, like mammograms, like
cervical cancer tests. All of that has gone into effect and by this fall,
more and more will be in effect and the republican position does not
change. It is repeal the whole thing. Take it back. You know, try to
take away better health care for Americans, ultimately, is not going to be
a winning political position.
KORNACKI: Right now what we are hear from Republicans is, you know, this
is as we heard from Barrasso, right, this is the first sign of many that
this is just a failure. How do you think? How does the average American,
you look at the polling on this, you know, sort of all over the place. And
people are still trying to figure out what this law actually is and what it
isn`t. How is this going to interpret law as you think?
BACON: Badly. I mean, badly for the law itself. I think it`s hard to
implement the law if people are confused by it and they think it might have
negative impacts, too. Because most Americans already get health care
through their employer. So, most Americans, it`s not this law, it`s not a
big deal, they don`t know that it`s helping them, even though in some ways
it already has been helping them. So, that`s the problem, politically.
And the challenge is the White House wants to get more and more Americans
who sign up for insurance.
They win a seven million people in the next year who sign up and it changes
in that kind of thing. And the challenge of that becomes more people hear
bad news about the law, will they sign up. And that`s where this politics,
like Congressman said, this actual issue doesn`t affect many people at all,
but the perception problem is becoming, is really at some point becoming
more of a reality if they can`t message better on this issue.
KORNACKI: I can remember in Massachusetts when they implemented Romney-
care. I remember one component of that I think was the Red Sox. Yes. So,
the Red Sox, right, they were involved in the community outrage. Hey,
here`s the -- sign up for it. And I know it last week the republican
leadership in Congress sent a memo to the commissioners of the professional
sports league saying, no, don`t do that. You know, basically trying to
warn them off cooperating with the Obama administration on that kind of
implementation. Anyway, Congress let student loan rates double this week.
Now what? That`s next.
KORNACKI: Congress on Monday allowed interest rates on new subsidized
Stafford student loans to double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. Lawmakers in
both parties have promised to lower the rate for students with financial
need before they borrow for the coming school year. Twenty seven million
students are expected to take out these loans in the fall, but so far
competing plans from Congressional Republicans and Democrats, even
President Obama have led to a legislative stalemate.
Senate is expected to vote on Wednesday to take up a democratic plan that
would retroactively extend the 3.4 percent interest rate for another year,
but it`s likely to face a republican filibuster. That will compromise the
average student taking out a subsidized Stafford loan will see total
interest payments on these loans rise from $2,400 to $5,000. According to
Congress` joint economic committee.
That averages out to additional $21 and 66 cents per month which may not
sound like much but it adds up to 2,600 over the life of being normal ten-
year loan. The average recent college grad is already $27,000 in debt. I
know, little something from personal experience how that feels.
Sahil, I mean, you cover this stuff. So, you know, we`ve been down this
road before. Last year they came up with a one-year extension and here we
are sort of been overtime unless we have the Senate vote coming up on
Wednesday. Is there any optimism that before the start of the school year,
there is going to be some kind of agreement?
KAPUR: I think there`s optimism that it will get fixed eventually because
it is an issue that both sides strongly believes needs to be fixed and no
one wants to anger young voters at least of all Republicans at this point.
The question is how it gets done and it`s far from clear right now how it
will happen. Senate Democrats will vote on a bill Wednesday to extend the
current rate for a year and Republicans will probably filibuster it. The
underline politics of this are unique and they`re complicated because at
the heart of this, there is a rare and real policy split between
Congressional Democrats I think and the White House especially and the way
the president introduced his student loan fix in his 2014 budget.
Last year was campaign season, so, Democrats were way out ahead on this.
They Obama campaign had their machines running. They have Mitt Romney over
a barrel and Mitt Romney sided with the president over Congressional
Republicans. So, the issue was settled very comfortably, very easily.
This time is different. Because the Congressional Republicans keep
pointing to President Obama`s plan to tie the loan rate to the market to
the ten year Treasury note. And Congressional Democrats, I believe, are
not so fond of that idea.
KORNACKI: What do you make of that dynamic then where you got the White
House philosophically in line with the House Republicans on that issue?
PALLONE: Well, I think the White House is looking at a long-term plan and
I don`t like the president`s plan, but I think what we really have to do
now, Steve, is just roll this back to the 3.4. And I`d like to see it for
two years, but if it is only one year, whatever. I mean, the fact of the
matter is, this is a lot more money for these kids and they just can`t
afford it. And you know, you obviously and I both had student loans when
we went to college. Getting increasingly difficult. You know, you need a
combination of work study, students` loans and also, you know, grants and
scholarship and the Congressional Republicans have pushed back on all of
Their budgets cut back on work study, on Pell Grants, on, you know, student
loan interest rates, they want to raise it. And it`s just going to be more
and more difficult for kids to go to college. So, you know, I think let`s
at least roll this back to the 3.4 percent for a year or two and then we
can figure out long-term what the formula will be. But right now, I don`t
want to see it double and we have to do this retroactively before the
beginning of the school year.
KORNACKI: I saw there`s an interesting -- there`d been some studies I
think that shown that the idea that the student loan programs they provide
assistance to people and at the same time, they also encourage tuition
hikes. There are some issues with the sort of the idea of the student loan
program which isn`t to say it hasn`t done wonderful things and right now,
it`s not the best thing going but what caught my eye this week is what is
happening in Oregon.
KORNACKI: In Oregon, there`s a pilot program being launched that basically
the idea is maybe ultimately to get to a place for public universities in
Oregon, there`s no tuition and there`s no loans. But if you go, you are
basically agreeing to pay back a fixed portion of what you earn over 10,
15, 20 years over a certain portion of your career. They`re basically
investing in you and you`ll going to pay them back based on what you earn
coming out of it.
WILLIAMS: Right. They`re calling it pay it forward. And so, basically,
you would go tuition free and with the promise that post-graduation three
percent of your pay check would contribute for other students to do the
same thing. The problem that they`re having, they have to come up with is
about $9 billion for start-up costs for the program. And so, how do they
get the funding from that? And I think with a combination sort of using
some young people and some ingenuity and hacking and sort of coming up and
fund-raising for some of it and sort of dealing their funding from
It`s a real innovative way to address the problem and I think, you know,
that`s the issue. I that as a country, we have to decide, you know, how
are we going to be able to fund students to be able to go to college? It`s
becoming increasingly difficult to get a job without a college degree and
so, this is a big part of our economy going forward. And so, whether it`s
putting the rate back for two years so that we can really come to the table
and come up with a comprehensive solution on how we are able to provide
students the money necessary to go to college.
And I think you`re right. Those providing the money necessary for kids to
get loans, your tuition shoots up. I mean, I look at Hofstra where I went
and the amount of tuition at Hofstra now, I wouldn`t be able to afford
that. You know, so I think as a country we have to decide and change our
model on how we`re going to fund college and how we`re going to be able to
fund that. There is both the private responsibility that the student and
their family has, but I don`t think we have done a great job as a country
looking at what the country has to contribute. Because in reality, having
a college graduate, it contribute to our economy largely.
PALLONE: If I could just interject. Part of it is that the federal
government is not making the investment in higher education. So, you know,
tuition goes up because the federal government is not providing money, you
know, for repairing schools, you know, for research at universities. So,
you know, we need to make an investment in education otherwise the college
tuition will continue to go up and then the student loan crisis becomes
even more of a crisis. And we`re not doing that.
WILLIAMS: Right. And we`re not, even in the student loan conversation,
we`re not even talking about if you`ve seen in the past couple of weeks
HBCUs and sort of how the changes in the loan program has affected the
students going to historically black colleges. And they`re typically have
been able to afford and even qualify for those loans and now they`re not
even qualifying for that. And so, that is putting undue harm on the
colleges and universities that have been able to accept these students in
the past. So, we need a fundamental change overall.
KORNACKI: Yes. There are bigger issues than just the 6.8 versus 3.4. But
that`s we`re stuck on the 6.8 versus the 3.4. right now.
Anyway, the courts have weighed in on gay marriage and now it`s Congress`
turn, maybe. That`s next.
KORNACKI: After last week`s historic Supreme Court ruling overturning the
main section of the defense of Marriage Act. Both sides of the gay rights
battle have mobilized in response. Senate committee is set to vote
Wednesday on the Employment Non Discrimination Act or ENDA which would
prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sex orientation and
general identity. And democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York is
pushing ahead with his respect for Marriage Act. The bill would repeal all
the remaining parts of DOMA.
Nadler said in a statement after the court ruling, quote, "A majority of
Americans now favor marriage equality. Their elected representatives
should do the same." But opponents are not giving up either. Republican
Congressman Tim Huelskamp of Kansas is reintroducing a constitutional
amendment to ban gay marriage nationwide. He admitted on "Meet the Press"
last week, the odds are against him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TIM HUELSKAMP (R), KANSAS: Our founders made it extraordinarily
difficult to amend the constitution and that`s what we`re going to try to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And actually, maybe the best way to start here, it`s a poll from
"USA Today" about a week ago and it`s record support nationwide for gay
marriage right, you know, as these rulings are coming down. Fifty five
support, 40 oppose. Not sure you had if you go back a decade, I don`t know
if you would even have 30 supporting it. But still legislatively right
now, if you take the ban gay marriage amendment out of the picture, you
have two main issues and that is the Employment Non Discrimination Act
This has been around for a while, it got within one vote of the Senate
passage in 1996 and then you have the full repeal DOMA and with that is the
section of DOMA that was left untouched by the court was, you know, if
state X has gay marriage than does state Y have to acknowledge that gay
marriage. And right now, it doesn`t, the question is, if you repeal DOMA
completely, then it would. Then it would be sort of, you know, Florida
would have to recognize New York`s gay marriage. Perry, when you look at
those two. My read is ENDA has a much better chance of getting through
this Congress right now.
BACON: ENDA will get to the Senate, for sure. My understanding and my
view of it. If you look at the polls, though, still only about 25 percent,
30 percent of Republicans support gay marriage. The thing if you can get
to, I know ENDA is like gay marriage right. I think if you see the House
of Representatives moving through a bill that looks like gay rights right
now, it looks supports of anything like that. This is not where the House
of Republicans are right now.
They`re trying to either, they`re trying to issue careful statements saying
they condemn the Supreme Court ruling and then talk about the economy.
They really don`t want to deal with this issue and, I think therefore, it`s
hard for me to see a bill on the floor of the House of Representatives in
the next two years.
KORNACKI: So, Congressman, we`ve got the issue of republican-controlled
house. So, you look like the respect for marriage act, that completely
repealed DOMA, we mentioned. Three Republicans have signed on to this.
Charlie Bass in New Hampshire, Richard Hanna of New York, Ileana Ros-
Lehtinen from Florida. So, there are three Republicans out of 235,
whatever it is. Do you, do you pick up a sense from Republicans down there
at all that there would be any openness in the House to something like the
respect from Marriage Act, to like you know, ENDA?
PALLONE: I think it`s tough. I mean, I was one of the 67 members of the
House who voted against DOMA from the beginning. But I think you have this
notion that is really the Tea Party and the right wing of the Republicans
in the House that just totally reposed to, you know, to marriage equality,
to gay marriage. They just, you know, for moral or ideological reasons are
opposed to it. And so, I just think he just have to make a practical
argument, try to reach out to some more main stream Republicans and say,
look, certain states recognize this. The Supreme Court now says that, you
know, the federal government can`t discriminate and they do have to
And, so, you know, we should get rid of at least all the vestiges of DOMA
and I support the respect of Marriage Act because it`s a state does
recognize it and someone gets married and they move to another state, they
should be able to get their federal benefits, they shouldn`t be treated any
differently. And that was the heart of the Supreme Court case. And the
court basically said that the federal government has no business dictating
to states who gets married.
PALLONE: And I think that if we can, if we can get some main stream
Republicans and make that point, then perhaps we can get the respect for
Marriage Act passed and get rid of all vestiges of it.
KORNACKI: I see that one personally as being a tougher sale to Republicans
only because, you know, the Republicans from, you know, the staunchly anti-
gay marriage states, you know, well, you have to take New York`s gay
marriage, you have to take, you know, Illinois, they don`t have it yet, but
if and when they have it. But take us through ENDA.
So, on Wednesday, we`re going to have this -- it`s going to get a vote in
the committee, Mark Kirk who supports gay marriage, republican from
Illinois is on this committee. Lisa Murkowski who is like the third
republican senator for gay marriages, also on this committee. So, if this
thing gets through the committee with two Republicans voting on it, what
KAPUR: I think what happens next is democratic leaders try to push it to
the floor. They probably negotiate a deal with republican leadership to at
least get a vote, you know, tried it over at the filibuster which would be
expected otherwise. I think there`s a decent chance to gets out of the
Senate. What happens then is it will probably die in the House because
republican leaders have a leave us alone attitude on gay rights right now.
After DOMA, they issued all the necessary combinations, they said, thought,
we like DOMA, we wish, you know, the Supreme Court would uphold it, but the
very clear subtext to their message there was, leave us alone. It`s up on
the states now. Don`t look at us on DOMA and definitely don`t look at us
to pass a program.
WILLIAMS: Remember, there`s an election coming up. So, what Republicans,
particularly on that side in the House want to have on their record, you
know, that they have this vote and that`s something that can be used
against them in a primary or any other situation. So, I think, like you
said, they has a good chance of passing the Senate and it gets to the
KORNACKI: It is the thing we keep coming back to on every major piece of
legislation, almost fear of the republican primary challenge. OK, nothing
is going to happen.
KORNACKI: We`ve been talking about it for so long.
KAPUR: All three of these items face long odds.
KORNACKI: Right. What big money is doing right now to win the Senate in
2014? After this.
KORNACKI: Federal Super PAC spending on the 2014 election is already on
track to shatter records. At this point in the 2012 cycle, six months in,
independent groups have reported $100 thousand in general election spending
in all 33 U.S. races. This time around Arkansas and Kentucky alone have
already seen $1.1 million in independent group spending for the 2014 cycle,
that`s according to "Huffington Post." It is 11 times the number at this
same point two years ago. Nationally independent expenditures have been
dramatically increasing for the last three mid-term cycles.
According to Center for Responsive Politics, the sum has grown from about
$694,000 in 2006 to 4.6 million in 2010 and 11.5 million so far this cycle.
Since the new reality of American politics and political leaders across the
ideological spectrum, many of them at least are concluding that they can
only fight fire with fire.
So far this year, six governors, three of them Republicans, three of them
Democrats have signed bills raising campaign contribution limits. Senate
republican -- reports, Florida republican Rick Scott bumped contribution
limits for state wide candidates up from 500 to 3,000. In Maryland,
democrat Martin O`Malley approved an increase from 4,000 to 6,000.
Wyoming, Connecticut, Minnesota and Arizona have also all raised their
contribution limits this year.
And Ann, I wonder, is that sort of absent. If we`re going to live in this
era of, you know, unlimited outside money, should we also be raising the
individual limits like this?
LEWIS: Steve, I never thought I would say this, but I`m going to point out
where I cheer when I hear about the state limits going up. Because at
least money raised according to those rules is limited in some extent.
It`s open, it`s public. We know what`s going on. As compared to what the
Supreme Court did in opening the door to basically invisible money, which
is raised in huge chunks. So, I`m glad to see those governors doing it. I
don`t think we`re going backward. We`re not going to see less money being
spent, we`re going to see more. Which means, again, our best hopes I think
is to have as much of it as possible out in the public.
KORNACKI: L. Joy, I wonder, what do campaigns make, because I mean, the
Super PAC thing interest me last election because on the one hand, if you
are a campaign and there`s a super PAC helping you, you`re getting all this
big money that`s helping you, but there isn`t supposed to be coordination,
a lot of cases there, a lot of cases that`s cute, but in a lot of cases,
there really isn`t coordination, I wonder, what do campaigns make of the
Super PAC phenomenon? Would part of them just rather had unlimited
individual contributions directly to the campaigns and not have to worry
about or they`re like having sort of these outside groups?
WILLIAMS: Well, it depends on the values of the campaign and the
candidate. You know, for some, you know, getting the unlimited money and
people spending money in your race and if you are the good guy and you`re
trying to push your message, then it`s great for you. You know, whether
it`s outside people or whatever. And then for other people, their values
say that I want to raise money honestly, that I wanted to be focused on
people that are in the district and I don`t want this.
Remember back in the Obama`s first race when Super PACs were sort of the
first thing, he rejected and actually went to court on some of the Super
PACs even one that I`m on the board of now. And said, I didn`t want this
in this, you know, in this non-coordination. So, it really depends on the
values of the candidates and the campaign. It can be helpful, particularly
if you`re a low candidate and the district you`re running in doesn`t have a
lot of money to begin with. Maybe your district, your constituents don`t
have a lot of money. So, the outside money would help to get your message
And for others, it just can be used in different ways. And to get around
the non-coordination thing, you just hire somebody who knows somebody and,
you know, in the history and they kind to know how the candidate and the
campaign thinks. So, there`s a lot of loopholes that both the Super PACs
and other people can sort of go around. I think what we have to do is sort
of have a larger conversation about money in politics and I think that`s on
both sides, whether it`s republican or democrat and we have to have a
conversation on this outside money and being owned by corporations or being
owned by the single individuals with millions of dollars being able to
proceed with an agenda. Whether it`s republican or democrat.
KORNACKI: So, we have a Senate candidate right here and you`ve got your
special, you have the democratic primary special election for that. Like
five weeks away, middle of August in New Jersey, seem turns out for that.
But have Super PACs been playing a role at all of this? Do you see them
playing a role in your campaign?
PALLONE: Well, what I asked on my opponents is that we eliminate Super
PACs by asking them to take a pledge that they would not participate or
condone or allow the independent expenditures of Super PACs to come in and
have a process. This was done in Massachusetts with Elizabeth Warren
against Scott Brown and they both agree to the pledge. But Mayor Booker
has not agreed to the pledge and my fear is that, you know, again, it`s big
money, corporate interest. It`s not disclosed and if it does happen in our
race, then it`s going to just basically corrupt the political system.
KORNACKI: You mentioned Mayor Booker. You`re running against Cory Booker,
four candidates in democratic primary, you, Congressman Rush Holt, Sheila
Oliver who`s the speaker of the State Assembly. And Cory Booker who is the
mayor of Newark. Cory Booker in many things, he is a money machine.
That`s, you know, you have lot of money in your Congressional campaign, I
think you`ve said publicly, you expect Cory Booker to zoom past you. He`s
got Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook raising money for him. How realistic is it
for you or for anybody else in this race to compete with somebody like that
especially in this environment, we`re talking about middle of the summer
PALLONE: Well, I think that this is an election that`s grassroots. In
other words, direct contact with the voters is going to be the most
important thing. Because as you said, it`s in the middle of August, a lot
of people won`t vote. And I think the people that do vote again, people
that care and know the issues and we`ll find out about the candidates. But
I don`t want -- so, therefore, you know, I think we should have debates
which Mayor Booker`s only agreed to one unfortunately. And I have been,
you know, knocking on doors and making direct voter contacts with phones
and my field operation, you know, volunteers going out.
What I don`t want is this to be an election and this is the danger with the
Super PACs where it`s just, you know, all TV, 30-seconds spots, attack ads,
whatever. And that`s the danger with the Super PACs. A lot of it is used
for negative campaigning, it`s mostly TV. You know, 30-second, one-minute
spots and it doesn`t allow for the direct contact with the voters. And I
think candidates have to take the responsibility and say, I`m not going to
be part of that. I am going to acknowledge who`s helping me, I`m going to
show who is contributing to me and I want to do this directly with debates
and public forums.
KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to Congressman Frank Pallone, we`re out of
time for this hour. But if Mayor Booker is listening and he wants to have
that debate, we will happily host it here. The most powerful republican in
the Senate, just got a challenger. Who she is, after this?
STEVE KORNACKI, HOST: I want to talk about the future of the Senate
Democrats greatest nemesis, that`s Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
And I`m here with Ann Lewis, former senior advisor to Hillary Clinton;
MSNBC contributor Perry Bacon Jr.; Evan McMorris-Santoro, White House
correspondent buzzfeed.com; and Sahil Kapur of talkingpointsmemo.com.
Democrats finally have a Senate candidate in Kentucky to run against
Republican leader Mitch McConnell. After months of courting by state and
national party leaders, Kentucky secretary of state Alison Lundergan-Grimes
launched her campaign Monday in a hastily organized five-minute press
conference in Frankfort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALISON LUNDERGRAN GRIMES (D), KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: I agree with
thousands of Kentuckians that Kentucky is tired of 28 years of obstruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Next day, the McConnell campaign responded in an interesting
way, posting a rather unconventional web video targeting Grimes.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
KORNACKI: As I said, interesting.
That video actually goes on for over a minute and a half.
Senate Democrats are playing defense in 2014 mainly because they picked up
so many seats back in 2008 when Obama won in a veritable landslide. Out of
the over one-third of the Senate that will up next year, Democrats will be
defending 21 seats, compared to only 14 seats for the Republicans. And
most of those Republican seats are in deep red GOP territory.
But as Senate seats go, McConnell himself is probably the most vulnerable
incumbent Republican up and Grimes is the Democrats` top recruit.
In May, a poll of Kentucky showed McConnell and Grimes tied in a
hypothetical matchup at 45 percent each. So, you know, there`s sort of a
legend of Mitch McConnell, I think, when it comes to Kentucky politics.
You know, I went back and look. He got elected with 49.9 percent of the
vote. He got 52 percent in 1990. He got 55 percent in `96, won a big one
in `02 with 65 percent. He almost lost in `08. His poll numbers in that
state are not very good. This is a genuinely vulnerable guy in a
ANN LEWIS, FORMER HILARY CLINTON ADVISOR: This is an unlikable guy. All
the numbers show. In fact, the beginning of this year he was something
like 55 percent in Kentucky disapproved compared to 37 percent approved.
There is irony here. This is a guy who first got elected in a very
negative campaign against an incumbent senator. He has been a very
negative minority leader in the Senate.
This is a guy who said his first goal was to make sure at Barack Obama was
a one-term president. Well, that has failed. But perhaps we can now cap
Mitch McConnell`s term.
So, he`s always been Mr. No, Dr. No, if you will. And it may catch up with
him. If this race becomes a referendum on how do you feel about Mitch
McConnell, he`s in deep trouble.
KORNACKI: Now, that`s interesting. It`s that famous McConnell line of,
you know, our first goal, our main goal, to make Obama one-term president.
KORNACKI: But if it were up to the voters of Kentucky, Obama would have
been one -- actually, were up to the voters of Kentucky, a zero term
So, at a certain point, being the Republican at the face of Republican
opposition to Obama has got to help you in some way in Kentucky, but it
doesn`t seem like McConnell is getting much bang for his buck on that
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANFORD, BUZZFEED.COM: Well, yes, for all the
vulnerabilities he does have. I mean, he has bad poll numbers in his home
state. You know, it took a long time for a Democrat to get into this race.
I mean, there`s a lot of sort of excitement before Alison Lundergan Grimes
got in, right? We had the Ashley Judd thing. We had several Democrats
bowing out, the sitting governor, and some Congress people there.
So, I mean, it is a state where he is well known and he`s been the senator
for a long time and it is a state where running against Obama, .which is
what he`s going to try to do with Alison Lundergan-Grimes, the early
indications are he`s going to tie her to Obama.
KORNACKI: I think that`s a pretty safe bet.
KORNACKI: But, Perry, what do we need to know about Alison Lundergan
PERRY BACON, JR., MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: So, she`s 34 years old, secretary of
state. She`s pretty new to politics. She was first elected in 2011 and
she`s only served in office since then. She was not a state rep before
The first race she won was actually secretary of state, statewide office,
as the person who runs the elections there. Her father was very involved
with the Clintons, very big supporter for a long time. Her father was
actually the caterer of Chelsea Clinton`s wedding, to get to, you know, the
closeness of her and the Clintons.
The big thing about her and Evan talked with the press for a little bit was
Kentucky Democrats forced Ashley Judd and forced Ashley to get out of the
race because they wanted Grimes. The key thing about grimes is what she`s
not. She`s not a liberal Democrat.
As far as I know, I looked this up through the week, I can`t tell what her
views on Obamacare are. To the point in 2012 where someone asked her
publicly who are you for and she said, "I`m for our nominee." She wouldn`t
use Barack Obama`s name because she knows how unpopular he is.
You know that video, that recording "Mother Jones" got of McConnell aides
privately. One thing that is, the McConnell aides are talking about, oh,
great, Ashley Judd so much to run against. With Grimes, she was so smart.
She never talks about Obama in public.
And they sort of conceded her being a good politician in a way. She`s
avoided taking stands on any of the major national issues and that`s why
she`s a great candidate for Kentucky, because it will be hard to tag her to
the national party versus Ashley Judd with the DNC convention, talks about
how much she likes Barack Obama all the time. So, that`s the key --
KORNACKI: Right. I think of -- I think of the extent maybe that model
could work. I think of Heidi Heitkamp last year in North Dakota, running
for a state that went big for Romney but in the Senate race, a Democrat was
able to win it in sort of an upset. I mean, how long can realistically,
how long can you run that way? I mean, biggest asset is not saying
anything, can she do that for a year and a half?
SAHIL KAPUR, TALKINGPOINTSMEMO.COM: I understand why Democrats want to p
out Ashley Judd, I don`t understand why McConnell and Republicans wanted to
push out Ashley Judd. As far as Alison Lundergan Grimes go, she was easily
Democrats` top recruit, as you mentioned. She is the candidate who has, by
far, the best at that seat.
But it`s going to be a gruesome, uphill battle for her I think because
McConnell maybe unpopular, he may not be likable but very he well-funded.
He`s a shrewd, ruthless politician. He`s a Republican in a red state
getting redder and redder running in an off-year midterm election where
Democrats tend not to vote.
So, I would not underestimate him.
MCMORRIS-SATORO: Also, a lot of local politics at play. I mean,
McConnell`s argument out there. A guy who signed on to the ban on earmarks
in 2010 is now out there touting his earmarks, again, out there on the
So, he`s going to go out there and talk about I`m this front venture. I`m
really in charge, (INAUDIBLE) the Senate for you, I can bring you a lot of
You know, it`s going to be a classic race in this way.
KORNACKI: The other thing about McConnell. So, the Senate conservatives
fund. This was the pact that was started by Jim DeMint, the former South
Carolina now, the Heritage Fund. This is what encourages a lot of those
conservative challenges in 2010. It got behind Rand Paul in Kentucky
against Mitch McConnell`s protege.
So, the Senate Conservative Fund, its executive director this week said
this about Mitch McConnell. "Mitch McConnell is now the least electable
Republican senator running for reelection in 2014. He could lose this race
and cost Republicans the majority. He needs to consider whether it is time
to hang it up."
I mean, hanging overall as we talk about Grimes. But the question for a
long time has been, is Mitch McConnell available to a Republican primary
challenge that groups like the Conservatives Fund will get behind?
LEWIS: That is such an important point because remember Mitch McConnell
was not -- to put it mildly, was not for Rand Paul. He had a different
candidate and he lost. Republican primary voters in Kentucky didn`t want
to follow Mitch McConnell`s advice.
So, he is back up, again. He is trying hard. I think he hired Rand Paul`s
campaign manager. He has done literally everything, I think, except room
with Rand Paul this year.
KORNACKI: Has it worked, Perry? Is he safe from a primary challenge?
BACON: He is not. There is definitely room of a primary challenge that
happened there. There are a couple of businessman are talking about here.
He`s not safe from that. He`s tried to court Paul very aggressively, hired
Paul`s, Jesse Benton, Paul`s old campaign manager, now running McConnell`s
But even among conservatives, there`s some angst about Mitch McConnell of
Kentucky. Even among Republicans I talk to there. He`s been there so
long. They`re just tired of him. He`s also known in the state for picking
winners and losers even among the Republicans and using a lot of threats
and sort of I`m in charge here and you`re not.
He`s not beloved, but he`s feared, but not beloved.
KORNACKI: As he tried to pick the winner --
BACON: From Rand Paul.
KORNACKI: Rand Paul got in there. So, I wonder if there`s any ill will at
The other issue here that we want to talk about which ties into what
President Obama said on climate change recently and, you know, coal -- you
know, Kentucky, a coal state. We want to talk about coal and climate and
the 2014 Senate race after this.
KORNACKI: So, the Kentucky Senate race next year may be the best political
test with the president`s recent announcement on EPA and regulating carbon
emissions. Let`s first listen to what the president said to set this up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Convince those in power to
reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter
practices. Invest, divest, remind folks there`s no contradiction between a
sound environment and strong economic growth, and remind everyone who
represents you at every level of government that sheltering future
generations against the ravages of climate change is a prerequisite for
your vote. Make yourself heard on this issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That`s how President Obama frames with what he`s doing regulate
carbon from new and from existing plants. This is how it`s filtered
through Mitch McConnell. This is what you`ll be hearing from him and other
Republicans for the next year and a half.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: The war on coal impacts my
state in two ways. It creates a depression in central Appalachia, that is
West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. And also since we have a number of
automobile plants and a lot of auto supply plants in our state, it drives
the costs of production of parts and vehicles up. So, this is a huge step
in the wrong direction, particularly in the middle of the most tepid
recovery after a deep recession in any one`s memory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, I`ve been saying the Democrats aren`t going to pay much of a
political price in 2014, only because the places you might pay a political
price have already largely abandoned them.
But here`s one where, you know, Perry, you talk about the best thing Grimes
can do is sort of separate herself from what Obama is doing. Do you think
she`s going to forcefully separate herself on this, or do you think she`ll
support this or find a way to support this?
BACON: This is a really hard issue. I talked to Jesse Benton, McConnell`s
campaign manager, yesterday, he must have used the phrase "war on coal"
four times in a 10-minute conversation. That is the issue they`re going to
run on aggressively.
Grimes, the candidate running against McConnell, has in the past been
supported, had support from coal industry executives. She`s almost certain
going to criticize Obama`s climate change plan if she`s trying to win that
race. So, I think she`ll be distancing -- she will try to hug McConnell as
much as possible because in Kentucky and West Virginia, coal is kind of a
threshold issue and not going to elect a Democrat in a state from there
unless you have the right views on coal first.
It`s kind of like Marco Rubio talk to immigration as, you know, people are
not -- he`s not going to vote for Republicans if they`re thinking about
deporting their grandmother. In the same way, no, you`re not going to win
a race in Kentucky without having the right views on coal.
Remember a couple years ago, Joe Manchin had the ad where he fired a gun
through the cap and trade bill and Grimes -- I don`t know what her shooting
skills are -- I suspect she will do something fairly similar. And this is
the one where she -- that speech could make a big difference and could
cause her to lose.
KORNACKI: Well, she needs -- you know, one thing she needs to beat
McConnell is money. I wonder how national Democrats. Will they think
pragmatically? Hey, we want to take out Mitch McConnell as our vehicle, or
if she`s out there doing the Joe Manchin thing or something like that,
they`re going to say, no, we`re not going to give money to somebody like
LEWIS: Let me say, think, a number of national Democrats who did invest in
Joe Manchin think they really have got a good senator there. So, I`m not
sure that`s a bad example.
But, first, Perry is absolutely right. There`s a threshold issue here.
You don`t get elected to the Senate from any state saying I`m going to make
a war on or I`m going to attack your industry. Something you really care
The key, however, I think for again the Alison Grimes or anti-Mitch
McConnell campaign which is really what we`re talking about here is, OK,
she`s got to be good enough on the existing industry and then what is it
Mitch McConnell has done for Appalachia and those folks living in central
Kentucky who are having so much economic trouble?
He wants to brag about being in the leadership. He wants to boast that
he`s at the front seat, he really makes things happen. What has he made
happen for them?
KORNACKI: Well, I`ll predict McConnell`s response. That will be, well, I
stood up against on the war on coal.
KORNACKI: What do you think of the resonance of that?
KAPUR: I think it`s a bright, shiny object. It`s exactly what Mitch
McConnell wants to run against. He wants to run against President Obama.
He wants to run against climate change. And he wants to be the champion of
the industry in his state.
So, President Obama is giving him that. We talked about the one thing that
people think about when they hear Mitch McConnell obstruction and that
plays well in Kentucky. A red state getting redder and they don`t like
President Obama over there.
So, this is exactly -- and just, you know, to your point earlier, I think
Alison Lundergan Grimes is going to have a lot of flexibility to take some
positions that national Democrats and the White House don`t hold.
Democrats tend to be, on the Senate level, they tend very lenient with
supporting candidates and red states, you know, who aren`t totally towing
the line because they know they have to.
KORNACKI: So, could this, Evan, so if the Republicans make war on coal on
the issue in this race and McConnell still loses or he does lose, do you
see how it affects how Democrats think about issues like climate change
going forward in 2014? Does this election have broader implications in
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Important to start out by saying the White House will
not declare war on coal. This is a Republican --
KORNACKI: The Republicans declared the White House war on coal.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: You know, I think that it depends on how focused the
Democrats want to be on this. We saw with other issues when the cap and
trade bill came up and still Democrats were in control of the Senate, it`s
a tough issue because it`s expensive and it`s hard to get people onboard
with paying more for energy and things like that.
So, I think that having a victory, Democratic victory in Kentucky would be
easier for people who want to see climate change stuff happen. But there
are broader questions about how to get that focus and people really fired
up on it.
KORNACKI: All right. I want to thank Sahil Kapur of
We will get an update on the latest in Egypt, after this.
KORNACKI: New round of violence erupted in Cairo yesterday between
soldiers and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
Reports early this morning say at least 30 were killed, many of them pro-
Morsi demonstrators. The fighting capped off a momentous week on Sunday
began one year from the day Morsi was sworn in. Millions of Egyptians took
to the streets in cities across the country calling for his removal from
Morsi resisted on Wednesday night the military moved in and took the
democratically elected leader and many of the senior aides into custody.
In a press conference, the country`s top general stood on a stage flanked
by the country`s top political leaders, liberals and conservatives alike
and announced yet another interim government.
It`s a fast-changing situation in both Cairo and Washington.
So, for more on the latest developments, I want to bring in Ayman
Mohyeldin, reporting from Cairo, and NBC News White House correspondent
Kristen Welker in Washington.
And, Ayman, let`s start with you. Just -- if you can let us know, what is
the latest? What is going on right now in Cairo?
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, today, life is
getting slightly back to normal as people assess what happened yesterday in
terms of the violence. Still, there`s a lot of tension in the atmosphere
as supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi continue sit-in
demonstrations outside the republican guard headquarters and also in
another Cairo neighborhood. They say they will continue their sit-in until
their president is reinstated.
Now, they -- in addition to their other Islamist supporters are planning to
continue their marches and protests for the next several days to try and
force the military to reverse course in ousting the former president.
Meanwhile, the country`s new interim president, Adly Mansour, is trying to
form an interim cabinet that will run the day-to-day affairs of the country
and tried to pave the path to a transitional period for the next year or
So, a lot of developments happening, but the biggest news came overnight
with the assessment that there was more violence in other parts of the
country. As you mentioned, more than 30 people killed in various
confrontations between pro-Morsi supporters and those that supported his
ouster. So, it remains a very volatile situation across the country on
KORNACKI: And, Kristen, in Washington, we say a fast-changing situation.
Although in Washington or not, I`m not sure that is the case. There`s a
story from Peter Baker in "New York Times" that says most of the top
leaders in Washington who have been sort of conspicuously quiet and
reserved in publicly talking about this. If they`re not happy about what`s
happening in Egypt they`re not necessarily about it.
Is that an accurate assessment?
WELKER: I think that`s a very accurate assessment, and one senior
administration official tells me that Washington is purposefully trying to
create a little space right now between Washington and what`s happening in
Egypt. Even saying that, look, this might be for the best. The Obama
administration has at times been quite skeptical of Mohamed Morsi`s
leadership. At times, they believe, he has shown competence, overreach of
So, they don`t necessarily think this is a bad thing, what they`re calling
for is a return to a democratically elected government as quickly as
possible and, of course, an end to the violence. Administration officials
tell me that he will continue to get regular updates. I don`t expect that
we will hear from him.
What we are hearing publicly is from the State Department. Jen Psaki, and
I think we have a graphic of a quote she released last night, I`ll read you
She said, quote, "We condemn the violence that has taken place today in
Egypt. As President Obama said, we expect the military to ensure that the
right of all Egyptians are protected, including the right to peaceful
assembly and we call on all who are protesting to do so peacefully."
So, right now, that is really the chief concern that the violence in Egypt
comes to an end. The wording there is important because you hear that sort
of focus on the military. Right now, the Obama administration believes it
is up to the military to make sure what we`re seeing in the streets of
Egypt comes to peaceful conclusion.
I also want to make the point that the administration is walking a fine
line when it comes to the issue of whether or not a coup has occurred in
Egypt. That is because if it is, in fact, determined that a coup has
occurred, the administration would have to withdraw its aid that it
currently gives to Egypt, about $1.5 billion. Right now, they`re sort of
holding that aid over the heads of Egyptians to force them to sort of end
And we have a sound bite from John McCain who says that he believes a coup
has occurred and aid should be withdrawn. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I believe that we have to suspend aid to
the Egyptian military because the Egyptian military is overturned the vote
of the people of Egypt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WELKER: So, Steve, the White House watching what is happening quite
closely, but, also, sort of creating some distance as they monitor
developments -- Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. I just want to bring you back in here for a second,
because obviously, the immediate issue in Egypt is the violence. The
longer term issue is the future of democracy and it seems -- I wonder what
you`re hearing because you have the Muslim Brotherhood that sort of maybe
reluctantly came into the democratic system as it was created you know a
little over a year ago and now the Muslim Brotherhood, you have lots of
voices saying, hey, we tried, it failed.
And it seems to me a broader sort of almost regional wide concern here
about the future of getting the groups like the Muslim Brotherhood to
participate in Democratic process whether it`s in Egypt or elsewhere.
MOHYELDIN: Right. Definitely a few things at stake here: one, if you
speak to the opposition in this country, they will tell you that the
process that began with the ouster of the former president, Hosni Mubarak,
back in 2011 where the military led that transitional process, that was a
complete nightmare. That was a complete debacle. That`s what paved the
way to allowing for the Muslim Brotherhood to come into power in an almost
authoritarian way, without any clear checks and balances on their power.
So, because the military botched it the first time around, it was not free
and fair democratic process that led to the election of the Muslim
The Muslim Brotherhood on the other hand are making the argument that --
well, you guys brought us on to this mix or brought us on to this board.
We were part of the mix of politicians that participated in the elections
and now that we won and had the chance to run our platform, you now have
negated these elections. Why would we participate in another one in case
we were to win? What`s the guarantee that we won`t be ousted, once again?
So, there is this now growing concern among Islamists in general that
because this election was negated, the military will always be a check on
who comes into power and always undermine the credibility of any democratic
process that unfolds comes here in Egypt in the years to come.
KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to NBC`s Ayman Mohyeldin in Cairo and
NBC`s Kristen Welker from the White House.
GOP goes after Hillary Clinton for being too old. That`s next.
KORNACKI: Republicans are already talking up a line of attack for 2016
when they expect to be running against Hillary Clinton, that 69 years of
age on Election Day, she will be too old. Most of the GOP`s frequently
mentioned hopefuls are much younger like Marco Rubio, Rand Paul or Chris
Christie, all in their 40s or early 50s.
In the article by Jonathan Martin and "The New York Times", Karl Rove said
about Clinton, quote, "The idea that we`re at the end of her generation and
it`s time for another to step forward is certainly going to be compelling."
An early preview of this strategy was seen at Conservative Political Action
Conference, CPAC, this past March when Senate Minority Leader Mitch
McConnell, there he is, again, poked fun at the ages of both Clinton and
Vice President Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: Don`t tell me Democrats are the party of the future when their
presidential ticket for 2016 is shaping up to look like a rerun of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That, by the way, is 70-year-old Senate Minority Leader Mitch
McConnell. Just to be clear on that.
And my first response myself is Hillary Clinton will be 69 years old in
2016, which is the same age that Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the
modern Republican Party was when he won in 1980. So, my instinct to say --
well, you know, Reagan, Hillary Clinton, that takes the issue off the
table. I do remember Dole and McCain certainly took grief for their ages.
It does make you wonder a little bit how we think about age and politics.
BACON: John McCain was 72 when he ran. Biden will be 73 and Hillary, 69,
and Reagan, the second term when he ran, was 73 when he was running for re-
So, I think we -- it will be an issue, though. I do think it will be an
issue. Remember in `08, Obama drew some contrast, suggested I`m the new --
he said something similar to what Karl Rove said about generation and I`m a
part of a new generation of politics.
That said, the idea of a woman president would be fairly unusually and
fairly noble, and therefore, I think it cuts away from the, she`s too much
of an old face. It will be very new presidential face still.
And also, look at the Senate, look at the Supreme Court. Being 69, make
her look young in Washington politics.
LEWIS: I just -- look, if we`ve seen that second term as I recall with
Ronald Reagan and the debate said I won`t make my opponent`s age an issue.
Look, this is just one more proof that Republicans don`t want to talk about
policy. They don`t want to talk about what they could do or would do.
They only want to attack for example on issues like jobs, the economy,
education, the kind of things on people`s minds.
Hillary Clinton as secretary of state put a real focus on helping United
States business. She hired a chief economist in the State Department,
hadn`t happened before. It`s a story recently this month. Everywhere she
went on a trip, she would try to squeeze in ways to help U.S. businesses
and suggest she did more to help the U.S. economy in four years as
secretary of state, than the Republican Senate has managed to do.
So, yes, she`s got a record. People pretty much know how active and
energetic, I would say, and forward-looking she has been and we will see
what happens next.
L. JOY WILLIAMS, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: I have this view, Steve, that they
have a big dry erase board and all these various options that they`re going
to try to throw out Hillary, if she decides, you know, if she is, indeed,
going to run. And I think just month by month, they`re just trying
whatever different strategy. You know, we try -- when we try -- now with
age and they`re just going down the list. Let`s see what sticks.
Because they don`t really have, they don`t really have a forward thinking
proposal for the next term. And to put up and say, you know, against Rand
Paul and the Marco Rubios and if they`re trying to produce this sort of
younger generation and this new generation, you know, the country is not a
Chip and Dale`s catalog, like we`re not looking --
KORNACKI: Generations of things, though, like they to that whole idea of
Pepsi, what is Pepsi? The choice of the new generation -- that has sold in
KORNACKI: Gore came to office was generational.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: I think that new generation argument, age will be a
factor but it will be about -- can anybody under the age of 45 vote for a
Republican? I mean, you have to look at their own politics that they`re
having. I mean, this is not coming from me. The college Republicans did a
scathing report about how their own party is able to attract young voters.
I mean, if these guys are going to go out there, some guys like Rubio who
we`re going to talk about later and he`s talking about getting on the
abortion bandwagon, Rand Paul has done social conservative stuff, you know,
made it kind of an off-color joke on the stump already.
This is stuff that`s not -- doesn`t sell to young voters that well. That`s
the issue they`re going to have to deal with. I mean, I think whether you
can characterize Hillary as old or, you know, somebody else as somebody
else, that`s one thing. But the Republican Party really has a hard time
reaching out to youth, minorities and simply saying my candidate is younger
than your candidate.
WILLIAMS: And I think, you know, as a strategist, I think also, in terms
of focusing in on women, this would be a gold mine for me. You know, sort
of other people you want to focus on age and how to connect that with other
women who are going to go vote and say, don`t you experience the same thing
at your job? Don`t people ask you about your age if you`re too old in
terms of leading this company and in terms of moving things forward, you
know, being able to talk to women about the discrimination or sort of bias
we face on this.
I love it, bring it on. Let`s talk about age.
KORNACKI: You mention that the Republican issue, we talked about their
autopsy and that was one of the issues. Gay marriage as a gateway issue
for young voters and none of those names I mentioned support gay marriage
and Hillary Clinton, does, although it took her a while to get there.
Anyway, we`re going to talk about Marco Rubio, who is guarding his right
plank, and the question on immigration. That`s after this.
KORNACKI: Senator Marco Rubio has staked his political future on
immigration comprehensive reform. The Florida Republican is a driving
force behind the bill that cleared the Senate a week ago. A recent media
study shows Rubio`s name appears in immigration before news articles almost
twice as often as the leading Democrat on that bill, New York`s Chuck
But that has produced some blowback on the right for Rubio, from Rush
Limbaugh, from Ann Coulter, from Glenn Beck, among others.
Here`s a look where Rubio`s recent performance stands with the rank-and-
pile in his party. A June Quinnipiac poll of Florida Republicans finds
that 52 percent approve of Rubio`s handling of immigration reform, while 24
percent disapprove. Another poll of national Republicans shows Rubio`s
favorability rating dipping by double digits since last summer, down from
54 percent to 43 percent last month.
But the Republican establishment which generally wants reform to pass is
now scrambling to give Rubio some cover. "New York Times" reported on
Monday that major Republican donors are coming to Rubio`s aid, launching
ads focusing on sections of the bill that Republicans like. A group called
the American Action Network is spending $50,000 to air this ad exclusively
on FOX News in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: It`s called the border surge, the toughest border security
plan ever passed by Congress: 700 miles of new fencing, 20,000 new border
patrol agents, radar, night vision, even drones, written with border patrol
agents and supported by conservative leaders like Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan
and Jeb Bush.
This is the tough border security America needs. Call Senator Rubio.
Thank him for keeping his promise and fighting to secure the border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, Evan, Rubio has been so interesting to watch on the
immigration thing because of all the members of the gang of eight. He sent
the most sort of wobbly signals. A bunch of times he threatened to walk
away and I think behind the scenes when you talk to people, I think there
was more consternation with Rubio among the other members of that -- who
crafted that compromise than there was with anybody else.
He stayed on board. They got this from the Senate. But it`s reached this
critical point right now where Republicans in the House are going to sort
of decide the future of immigration reform, which to me when you say the
Republicans in the House, you mean the national conservative movement will
decide it and sort of what they think of Rubio is going to have a lot to
say about this. And what they think of this is going to have a lot to say
about what they think of Rubio.
What do you think they think of when they see Rubio at this point?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, his path to where it is now is real fascinating.
They had a Tea Party rally on the national, the capital recently, and all
these people who came and had supported Rubio as the Tea Party candidate
against Charlie Crist in 2010 are now upset with him was of the immigration
thing. I mean, he`s ingratiating himself to the establishment of the party
that wants to see this pass and move off this issue, but he has a real hard
time. There are a lot of conservatives that are really upset.
So, I think how it comes out. He is trying to play it very carefully, as
you say. Like he didn`t go to the press conference after the bill passed.
He didn`t take the call from Obama when Obama called to thank everybody for
getting it done.
He is trying to sort of be on it and then also away from it. So, he`s kind
of trying to balance.
KORNACKI: That ad is so interesting to me because the border surge.
First, how that term emerged using George W. Bush`s big Iraq war thing.
You know, that compromise thrown into it on the last minute to spend like
an extra $30 billion on extra border security because nothing Republicans
seem to like more now than border security, border security, border
LEWIS: Yes. And, by the way, that`s the money that the CBO told us the
immigration bill would actually increase national revenue by. So,
Republican -- the people working on the bill, the gang of eight very wisely
said, OK, we`re going to devote some of that to border security.
I`m fascinated watching this -- watching the class struggle within the
Republican Party. You`re right. It`s the upper class, it`s the donors who
are very big on immigration reform for writing that ad. I assume it means
Paul Ryan is going to step forward and be a real leader in the House. I`m
not so sure.
But it`s the upper class, versus the base. It`s a little bit like the old
upstairs/downstairs. And maybe the new version is "Downton Abbey." But
the drama here is within the Republican Party.
KORNACKI: And that Tea Party issue, too, that Evan mentions. So, Marco
Rubio was the Tea Party candidate when he ran for the Senate in Florida in
2010 and the Tea Party sort of defines itself in opposition to the
Republican establishment. We have all these establishment groups pushing
to prop up Rubio.
There`s also apparently this week, George W. Bush is going to emerge this
coming week to speak out, he is -- the Tea Party was sort of a rebellion
against what Bush did to the Republican Party, right? So, I wonder if this
reignites what key felt in 2010 among Republicans.
BACON: The tension is there. If you`re Marco Rubio, one, you just talk
that he`s going to sponsor the House version of the 20 weeks abortion. So,
he`s already -- that`s a kin to an apology. OK, I was on the left on this
issue, and now, I`m going to come to the right on something you care about
a lot, as well. That`s one thing they talk about him.
The second thing is, the establishment runs the Republican Party, despite
what we talk about all the time. If you look at Mitt Romney and John
McCain the last two presidential nominees, not Rick Santorum, not someone,
not the more conservative -- Marco Rubio has used, (INAUDIBLE) Marco Rubio
used the Tea Party to help him get to where he is now. But if he wants to
be the nominee, it is smart to be comfortable and have the establishment
really like you. That`s what he`s doing, as well.
The establishment wants immigration reform. He`s the right face for it and
smart politics for him, even if the bill fails ultimately in the House, I
don`t think it`s bad politics for him in terms of running for president.
But he so, here`s what I wonder. So, you mention the 20-week abortion ban
that he`s now going to introduce in the Senate. He`s going to be the face
of this in the Senate, if that is sort of the price for him. I sort of
abandoned the Republican base on immigration to get back in their favor.
This is the sort of thing I had to do.
I wonder -- we talk about his, all of this is sort of rooted in his long
term political ambition. Maybe he helps himself on immigration but then
any good he does with himself, the price he has to pay to the right with
that, he undoes it.
WILLIAMS: I think the price that he has to pay for this might be a little
higher, particularly as it talks to the larger percentage of voters, which
is women. You know, as we get to a presidential election, I think to have
this record that you were the one who brought this bill to the House,
whether or not it`s going to pass or not, I think it`s going to hurt him in
the long run.
I mean, it may sort of be something he can point to and say, look, I held
this up. You know, I held the banner up, but I think at the long run, it
will end up hurting him more.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: It`s also a real litmus test for how he can communicate
this issue, because this is an important issue to the Republican base.
They do want to talk about this.
But one thing they`ve seen often and we just saw this in the House, and
House had made this abortion ban is when these Republican men start talking
about this topic and they end up veering off into places that make them
very unpopular and make their party look bad. We had the guy talking about
the fetal -- with the fetal masturbation. This sort of, obviously, Todd
KORNACKI: First time that term has been used on this show. Thank you.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: You know, 9:00 in the morning, but check it off.
But so, if Rubio can steer this ban and steer the discussion of this ban in
a way that doesn`t veer off into politically damaging rhetoric for the
Republican Party, I think it could be a big plus for him in terms of --
with the base and how the establishment views him. This is a best test
that these guys want to see if they can talk about this issue and they want
to talk about, but not have it blow up in their face.
BACON: He is a good politician. Rush Limbaugh is criticizing him. He has
not voted him off the island yet. And that tells you how good -- I mean,
Rubio is playing all sides really well and I think that tells me on the
abortion issue, as well. He probably has, he has a really good team behind
it and got all these advisors that want to work for a presidential
candidate and I think he`s been really good at this so far. So, he fumbles
really badly, I`d be surprise.
KORNACKI: Here`s what I want to know, if immigration forum does get
through the House in some meaningful way, is Rubio going to sign up at the
signing ceremony at the White House with the president?
KORNACKI: Then it becomes the Obama/Rubio law. We`ll see.
So, what do we know now that we didn`t know last week? My answers are
KORNACKI: So what do we know now that we didn`t know last week?
We now know that one way to avoid a speeding ticket is to be driving your
state`s governor. That`s what helped Iowa state trooper Steve Lawrence
avoid a ticket when he was driving Iowa Governor Terry Branstad back in
April. According to audio recordings given to "The Associated Press" on
Tuesday, the vehicle was called in going, quote, "a hard 90" by special
agent in charge, Larry Hedlund. But when the troopers realized the car in
question was the governor`s, it was never pulled over.
According to his lawyer, days after the incident, Hedlund filed internal
complaints against his department for the special treatment given to the
governor and two days later, he was placed on Hedlund administrative leave.
The governor who has made highway safety a top priority says the decision
to place Hedlund on leave is unrelated to the speeding and that he was not
aware of any chase or non-chase at the time.
We know the Iowa Department of Public Safety is investigating the event and
We know that Republican New York City mayoral candidate Joe Lhota wants
anyone who`s dated Anthony Weiner to come forward and tell the public
what`s it like to date the man who could quite possibly be the city`s next
mayor. On Monday, Lhota made his pitch to women voters and Weiner`s ex on
-- where else -- conservative talk radio.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOE LHOTA (R), NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Women will have to decide for
themselves. And I think they will come to right conclusion --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope they wise up.
LHOTA: -- after enough women come out and talk about what it was like to
be with him and to date him and things like that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KORNACKI: We know that Weiner`s very public past hasn`t kept him from
running at or near the top in recent polls. And if anything does derail
him, it probably won`t be this.
Thanks to John Campbell at Gannet`s Albany bureau, we now know that Andrew
Cuomo has shown an unusual communication for nonessential punctuation.
Whether he`s signing publication or a large check, Cuomo likes to add a
rather noticeable exclamation point to his official signature. We don`t
know if Cuomo is planning to run for president in 2016, but we do know that
past presidential candidates have used similar punctuation.
Lamar Alexander used an exclamation point on his campaign signs, and
buttons, and pins in 1996 and 2000. One popped up on some of Hillary
Clinton`s signs during her 2008 run. Also in her Senate run in 2000.
So given the track record of this specific tactic, it`s uncertain whether
enthusiastic punctuation translates into enthusiastic votes. Maybe it will
work for Cuomo. Question mark?
And, finally, despite all the recent coverage surrounding comfort food guru
Paula Deen`s use of racial slur, her public standing hasn`t completely
collapsed, at least in Texas. On Wednesday, Public Policy Polling found
that Deen had a favorability ratings, excuse me, of 46 percent in the
state. That is higher than the job approval rating for both of the state
senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.
The poll also found that 42 percent of Texans don`t think that Governor
Rick Perry should run for president in 2016. We don`t know if they prepare
to see Perry write a cookbook.
I want to find out what my guests know now that they didn`t know when the
We`ll begin with you, Ann.
LEWIS: Well, we know that sometimes government can work, although the news
gets buried sometimes with the many, many examples where it doesn`t. But
this week, Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland announced she`s got a
bipartisan deal to improve and upgrade the Weather Service computers. We
found out in hurricane Sandy that we were running behind. In fact, Europe
has computers that told us more information than we have.
So, Senator Mikulski puts some more money in the budget. As of this
summer, our computers are going to be three times as fast. They`ll be even
more in the next year, and she says that`s going to save jobs, save lives.
That`s what government should be about.
KORNACKI: Did not know that. That`s what this segment is supposed to be
BACON: We now know that demographics are not actually destiny. Last year,
everyone thought after Obama won, immigration reform would certainly pass.
Republicans, they`ll pressure (ph) the Latino vote, in part.
But a group of Republicans have emerged this week who argued that no, in
fact, the party can win if they increase the number of white voters up to
70 percent instead of 60 percent. So, we now know that demographics are
not shaping this debate and the House Republicans may vote down immigration
reform and feel very comfortable with it.
KORNACKI: We are going to be having a discussion about that tomorrow. But
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, on this Independence Week, I think we have learned
something interesting from the polls, that Americans are really happy with
their country, was aren`t sure the guys who started the country would be
happy with it. There`s a poll going around the conservative blogosphere
that shows 85 percent of Americans are proud to be Americans, but 70
percent think Founding Fathers are going to be disappointed on how the
country turned out.
There`s an interesting sort of discussion about our history and where we
are now and, you know, what it means politically. It`s a big discussion in
the conservative media sphere right now.
KORNACKI: And L. Joy?
WILLIAMS: And as my other hat, as president of Brooklyn NAACP, I was
outraged this week that the New York City Board of Elections randomly found
1,600 votes that were not counted in Brooklyn for the presidential
election, which they found and counted and added to the overall tally.
I mean, we have a real problem. We have this big mayoral election. We`re
going back to lever machines, which I don`t think a lot of people in the
city know. And then we`ll go back to optical machines, because they can`t
have -- they don`t have the money, they don`t have the amount of time to be
able to count the votes in between that time. We haven`t figured out how
to count votes and how to make sure that people can actually cast them.
KORNACKI: Sixteen hundred uncounted votes. I think I hear Karl Rove say,
hey, it`s still not over!
KORNACKI: My thanks to Ann Lewis, former senior adviser to Hillary
Clinton, MSNBC contributor Perry Bacon Jr., Evan McMorris-Santoro of
BuzzFeed, and L. Joy Williams of LJW Community Strategies.
Thanks for getting UP and thank you for joining us today for UP. Join us
tomorrow on Sunday morning at 8:00, when I`ll have Dave Weigel form "Slate"
and the Democratic nominee running against Chris Christie for New Jersey
governor. That`s State Senator Barbara Buono.
And coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY." Today, "MHP" comes to you
live from the Essence Festival in New Orleans, with a closer look at
conservative`s new war on women and why women of color could help turn the
tide. Plus, the George Zimmerman trial and civil rights legend Myrlie
That`s "MHP." She`s coming up next live from the Essence Festival in New
We will see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
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