'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, August 3rd, 2013
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UP with STEVE KORNACKI
August 3, 2013
Guests: Matt Yglesias, Rick Wilson, Evan McMorris Santoro, Nia-Malika
Henderson, Krystal Ball, Wilson Pipestem
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: For a few hours this week, it looked like
the wall of Republican opposition to President Obama was finally crumbling
apart. When the week began, GOP threats to shut down the government unless
Obamacare is defunded seemed to be fading away.
And on Tuesday, a key Republican senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina,
he`s one of eight Republicans negotiating with the administration on a
potential spending deal suggested he was open to Obama`s call to increase
infrastructure spending to stimulate the economy as part of a broader
agreement on taxes and spending.
The day after that, the House GOP conference seemed to be fracturing and
the leadership was forced to pull from the floor of appropriation`s bill
known as thud (ph) for the Department of Transportation and Housing and
The Tea Party opposed the bill because they said it didn`t cut enough while
more pragmatic and moderate Republicans particularly members of the
appropriations committee opposed it because it cut too much in line with
the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration that were put in place
A committee`s chairman, Republican Hal Rogers of Kentucky complained on a
letter on his website, quote, "sequestration in its unrealistic and ill-
conceived discretionary cuts must be brought to an end."
With House Republicans unable to pass a seemingly simple appropriations
bill on their own suddenly looked like there might be an opening for the
Senate to broker a compromise and to pass its own bipartisan bill and that,
in turn, would put pressure on House Republicans to let that bill come to
the floor for a vote and to pass mostly with Democratic votes.
Such an arrangement would have allowed Congress to avoid a government shut
down and a debt limit showdown and maybe even to shut off the sequester.
And except that all came crashing down on Thursday when Senate Republicans
filibustered their appropriations bill on a 54-43 vote with only one
Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, joining with the Democrats.
The Congressional Republican crackup is on hold now, and the October 1st
government shutdown is still looming. I want to bring in Evan McMorris-
Santoro, White House correspondent at BuzzFeed.com, Nia Malika Henderson,
political reporter for "The Washington Post," Krystal Ball, I think I know
that name. She`s my former co-host on MSNBCs "The Cycle," and Rick Wilson,
Republican media strategist and a contributor to the conservative online
So, thanks, everybody, for joining us. I guess, we`ll start, you know, the
Congress is now -- the recess has begun. They`re out for August. You
know, who wants to be in Washington, D.C. in August anyway? It`s 142
degrees every day there.
KORNACKI: So, the recess has begun and it was a really interesting week
because around Wednesday, I thought I could start to see the basis for you.
We always talk about some kind of big deal on the budget. You know, it
seemed to be -- the basis seemed to be there where there were some
Republicans in the Senate who`ve been showing willingness to compromise
with the administration.
It looked like the House couldn`t get transact (ph) the other. Maybe there
was the opening for the house, and then, like we said, this thing got
filibustered to death in the Senate. So, you know, the compromise caucus
hasn`t fully emerged there, but let`s sort of start on the House side and
let`s take this week one chamber at a time.
And Nia, what happened? We look at this bill falling apart, the
Republicans had to pull it. Moderates weren`t for it. Conservatives
weren`t for it. They didn`t have the 218 votes. What exactly was going
NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. I mean, I think we saw
that the markings of what the problem is with the Republican Party. I
mean, there`s a very conservative side, there`s more moderate side and
Democrats didn`t want anything to do with this bill. And I think we`re
also seeing the fallout of sequestration.
I mean, we saw some of that already in the jobs numbers, but people are
trying to, you know, figure out what to do with sequestration. The White
House, obviously, wants to roll back some of those cuts. But, again, you
saw some Republicans say we weren`t cutting enough and then other moderate
Republicans who are a minatory in the party more generally saying that
there were too many cuts. So, again, I think you just have that sort of
gridlock, the same kind that we saw on the --
KORNACKI: Well, it seems like there`s a disconnect here -- it took
Republicans a while, you know, the sequester was sort of the threat that
was put in place the summer of 2011. It came to pass earlier this year.
And it took a little while and Republicans eventually sort of embraced the
idea of the sequester.
KORNACKI: But what the appropriations bills we`re talking about this week
represent was, OK, you`ve embraced the sequester conceptually. Now, you
need to put some numbers behind that and pass these bills. And you
basically exempted, you know, took old entitlement programs, Social
And if you`re Republicans, you say want to spare defense, it means really,
really deep cuts in areas like transportation and these bills, they`re
coming out now and it seems like there are a fair number of Republicans who
are now saying that is too much.
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, BUZZFEED.COM: Well, yes. I mean, it`s hard to --
it`s nice to talk about things cutting things. It`s a nice idea. It`s
hard to cut things. I mean, if it was easy to cut things, we`d cut things
all the time.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: But it`s hard to do. And so, these Republicans are
faced with trying to figure out a way to cut stuff and then go back to
their districts and talk about cutting stuff and deal with the national
fallout of cutting, you know, deep cuts and things you will like.
I mean, community block (INAUDIBLE) that was talked about right there in
its appropriation process. This is a dilemma for them which is that I
think that rhetorically, talking about cutting is good but doing cutting is
really hard. So, I mean, that`s where they`re stuck.
KORNACKI: Well, Rick, I mean, what do you make of what -- because you`ve
had Hal Rogers, you know, long-time appropriator from Kentucky, you know,
coming out and saying this week basically this sequester has got to stop.
I mean, how much fracturing is there in Republican side about the
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICANS STRATEGIST: i don`t want to think of it as
fracture. I like to think of it as the party -- there`s a big cohort of
people that were elected in 2010 and those people were elected to cut.
Those people were not elected to play the old appropriator game. The old
game where appropriators where the cardinals and this thing was, you know,
run like the Vatican and you moved your way slowly up to the food chain
where you got to take the spoils of the appropriations.
Those guys don`t -- the new guys don`t care about that. They were not
elected to do that. They understand that we`re at a spending crisis in
this country and they`re willing to do some hard stuff.
The leadership division on this, you know, being an appropriator used to be
the Super Bowl of this thing, and now, the rank and file, look at the
appropriators, was a lot more skepticism and a lot more -- they`re a lot
more leery of that whole culture of -- get you taken care of, you`ll get a
highway here, you`ll get a block grant there.
You know, a lot more skeptical of that, I think rightly so, because they
know we`re on an unsustainable path. They know that they were not sent to
Washington to play the old game of you scratch my scratch, I`ll scratch
yours. They weren`t sent to D.C. to be go get along guys. They were sent
to D.C. to get the budget under control, to start addressing the deficit
and spending, and they take it seriously.
And that`s why there`s a cultural difference. And you know, this is not
going to be the same problem four years from now, because four years, there
will be -- you know, the actuarial tables alone will push some of these
people out of the old jobs that they`re in and bring some of this new
And you know, we`re at a transition point where if the Republican Party is
serious about this, where they`re going to become the party of more fiscal
discipline. We went off track in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, you know, that
window, we would severely off track. We lost races because of that. These
guys know what got them there.
KORNACKI: But it seems like -- and I get that there`s that sort of
cultural clash between the Tea Partiers who were elected in the Obama area
and the older guard there, but what that seems to be adding up to right now
for Republicans is they can`t pass anything, because you know, we have all
the chaos with the farm bill.
There was another -- you know, there was sort of drafting the interior
appropriations bill this week and they call that off this week -- because
there basically seems like they`re intent on passing, you know, republicans
only bill. So, they need 218 Republican votes, small margin for error to
start with and then you have moderates who are saying, you know, you`re
like from Pennsylvania who`s basically saying, hey, look, you know, you`re
going to be cutting Amtrak by 35 percent.
You know, I`m in Pennsylvania. I`m in the northeast, the northeast corner,
that`s too much. And then you have conservatives who are saying there`s no
such thing as enough. And you can`t get 218 votes.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC`S "THE CYCLE": Yes, that`s exactly right. I mean, I
disagree with much of what you said, but the one thing that I do agree with
that I would put a little differently is I think a lot of the folks who are
elected in 2010, they weren`t elected to govern. They don`t care that
governance is not working. They were elected to throw bombs. And so, the
real dichotomy for me is not necessarily Tea Party establishment.
It`s people who are actually interested in governance and people who
aren`t. If the Republican Party were two parties right now, and there were
no Democrats and the Republicans were negotiating with themselves, we would
still have gridlock. That`s what we saw in the farm bill. That`s what we
saw this week with thud (ph).
They can`t even with themselves. There is too much difference between the
bomb throwers and the people who are just interested in governance to even
be able to get things done. And Evan, to your point, I think you`re
exactly right. You know, when I was running for Congress, of course, my
Republican opponent, he loved to talk about how much he wanted to cut the
budget and balancing the budget and the deficit, but he could never answer
the question of, OK, what would you cut?
Not even one single thing could he name. And you`ll recall, I don`t know
if this website still exists or not, but the Republican answer to that was
to put up this website youcut.gov where people could suggest their own cuts
to sort of let them off the hook from having to come up with these cuts.
And it`s the same thing with the Paul Ryan budget.
You know, when Paul Ryan came out with this budget, he was loud as this
this serious, smart person. But as the rubber is meeting the road, we`re
seeing that those abstractions only work in the abstract when you actually
have to put numbers to it. It is too much. It is too eye-watering even
for a lot of --
WILSON: This is a long March, though. These guys, they know they`re not
going to be able to come in immediately and get the big kill of entitlement
reform. It is going to take some time to overcome some of the cultural
things that are not partisan. There`s a spending culture in Washington
that allow the people elected -- look, a lot of these people, they`re not
just not there to blow things up. They`re not just there to drop bombs.
They are there because they seriously had -- they had a long-term
commitment to working out a way where we can get the deficit and get the
debt under control.
KORNACKI: I think what I wonder when we`re talking about in the context
right now of these appropriations bill for the next year, you had -- first
of all, we had the whole debt ceiling showdown in the summer of 2011, which
is ultimately the budget control. Actually, there were cuts in that. It
because no grand bargaining. We had the sequester on top of that.
And now, you`re talking about -- Republicans wanting to cut further in the
House below the sequester level to meet the Paul Ryan budget level. And
that means you`re exempting the so-called entitlement programs and
Republicans say we don`t want to cut from defense. We want to restore
money to defense.
And it results in looking at like this clean water rates (ph) 83 percent
cut it proposed in the Republican budget. EPA, you`re talking about, you
know, going from $8 billion to just over $5 billion. You`re talking about
50 percent national dominant for (INAUDIBLE), a third from the Amtrak and I
just wonder if the mindset here when you talk about what these numbers
actually add up to, it seems like the mindset behind this, really, is we
just don`t want government outside of some very basic things.
WILSON: Look, there is a skepticism. First off, there are people that
believe we need to radically shrink the footprint of federal power. And
those people are a rising element in the Republican Party. But there`s
also a lot of skepticism that all this spending, all these wonderful
sounding things, these water grants, everything else are not delivering the
things that they claim to deliver, that they`re not this magical solution
that creates thousands of jobs every time you, you know, switch on a
There`s a lot of skepticism about that, and I think that`s largely the
fault of the Obama administration and that they promised by now, if we
passed that stimulus bill, we were going to have five percent unemployment.
Well, real unemployment is 14 percent. We know that these things are
increasingly met with the public`s skepticism, not with, oh, joy. When you
say a job`s bill, it sounds great, but now, people are like, what the hell
does that mean?
What is it really going to do? Because they don`t see the connection.
They didn`t see the stimulus, you know, dropping unemployment to, like i
said, right now, on their chart that they released, that the Obama
administration released, we`re supposed to have five percent unemployment
right now because of the stimulus bill.
That was their solid promise on it, but we`re not there. We`re percolating
along with this sort of weak, iffy economy. It`s the myth (ph) economy.
We`re not ever -- there`s never been a big breakthrough from the spending
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: People still want the government to do stuff. I mean,
the hard thing -- you can`t go out there and say we`re not going to do
anything. We`re going to cut, cut, cut. We can get rid of all this stuff.
The government is not going to do anything at all. This is something that
worked really well on, you know, like a CPAC podium, right? I mean, that
stuff sells really well.
The government is not going to do anything except for defense. But when
you get out there and you try to campaign on that and really talk about
things like, you know, you`re not going to have money for this project that
you like, it`s very difficult, people don`t like that. And so, the hard
thing they have to deal with is that they have part of their base that
wants to hear that message, but a lot of the voters want to hear, you`re
going to do stuff.
HENDERSON: -- even necessarily want to hear about cutting Medicare and
Medicaid. You know, when you go to these websites about who wants to cut
what or you look at polls, it`s always the same thing. It`s like foreign
aid which is such a small part of the budget. So --
KORNACKI: We`re talking about, you know, that`s what I say, we talk about
the appropriations bill and talk about nondefense discretionary spending,
you know, exemption -- we`re not talking about, you know, Medicare and
Social Security. So, you end up with these draconian cuts and the story
right now is that Republicans are -- some republicans are even finding they
can`t stomach that.
I want to talk about the other side of this because in the Senate, the
story is a little different where we`ve had some signs of maybe Republicans
and Democrats coming together a little bit. And we`re going to talk about
that and how that could affect the House and maybe help us avoid a shutdown
and other calamities. We`ll talk about that after this.
KORNACKI: So, we talked about the sort of chaos in the House this week.
Republicans were unable on their own to get 218 votes to get an
appropriations bill through. The Senate, you know, the same bill in the
Senate, which would be funded at a much higher level in the Senate. Like
$10 billion difference between the two, this trans -- THUD, Transportation,
Housing and Urban Development bill, that went THUD in the Senate this week
and it was kind of a surprise, though, because it actually made its way out
of the committee on the Senate on a bipartisan basis.
There`ve been Republicans who had voted for it in the committee and the
expectation allowed the Democrats we`re talking it up this week was that we
are going to, you know, break the filibuster and so we`re going to get more
than 60 votes. We`re going to get closure on this and bring it to the
floor, we`re going to pass it. We`re going to have, you know, a dozen
Republicans voting for it.
It`s going to be a signal that hey, the House can`t get its act together.
We got a bipartisan majority in the Senate. We got this deadline coming
up, and maybe it`s going to put pressure. So, this was how, you know,
gridlock was going to be broken but then they took the vote on closure. It
was 54-43. They did not get 60. But what was interesting to me, Nia,
about what happened was Susan Collins was the lone Republican from Maine.
She`d helped draft the bill. She voted for it and she basically said that
this was leadership. This was Mitch McConnell, senate leadership, that
made a very unusually aggressive push at the last minute to get Republicans
line to oppose it. What was going on there?
HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, I think Mitch McConnell is, in many ways, eyeing
not what he should be doing in the Senate on the floor, but what is going
on in Kentucky. So, he has a very much been sort of like persona non grata
in terms of getting deals done. He had, I think, earlier -- I mean, there
were some filibuster deals that he made, but I think right now, he isn`t
interested in dealing. I think this is an unfortunately named bill THUD --
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Or very fortunate.
HENDERSON: I mean, but it looks like there is, I mean, what I guess Obama
was calling the common sense caucus in the Senate and there`s been meeting.
You`ve got people like Coburn and all the same people that he had lunch or
dinner with a couple of months ago. So, I do think, again, the Senate
usually has a cooling effect. But the problem that this whole idea that,
somehow, the Senate will have a boomerang effect to the house just have a
happen with anything --
HENDERSON: It hasn`t happened with immigration reform, right? I mean,
that was the whole argument there that, oh, if they got, you know, a
bipartisan bill, but we haven`t seen that yet. So, I think this whole idea
KORNACKI: What we`re up against is, OK, now we have the August recess and
nobody is going to be in D.C. for the next month. They`re going to come
back and say I think there`s like 10 working days in September something
before we hit October 1st, and you know, started a new fiscal year. So,
that`s the deadline to start getting some kind of funding bills through.
And Evan, I guess, the case of why maybe this would happen with immigration
would not happen with immigration but might happen on some kind of budget
thing is that deadline. The deadline is if you don`t get anything passed,
you got to shut down. So, maybe that adds pressure that`s not there on
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Yes. I mean, except for the fact that, you know, we go
to deadline in Washington now. I mean, maybe a couple days after and then
go back and fix it. So, I mean, I think that you just got to wait. These
deadlines are what seem to move Congress and this is way too early be
talking about them doing anything. We`re not --
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: -- you`re sitting there waiting for the, you know, guy
to come out of the Senate door.
KORNACKI: This model, though, this idea, it seems to me it`s still alive
of a compromise caucus emerging the Senate, because there still are
discussions between the White House and some of these Republican senators
going on. We actually did see in the last month. I know not much happened
in the Senate, not much happened in Congress.
Although by recent standards, a lot happened because the five nominations
went through and it was because some of these Republicans, the compromise
caucus rooms actually were kind of starting to work with Democrats.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: But that was seen as kind of a buffing, a rebuking
McConnell, right? There`s the whole talk about, you know, that McConnell
talked about how he had been sort of end run had happened and that`s how
the deal had been made. So, I think he was trying to reassert himself, I
mean, trying to reassert his power with this bill.
And I agree, you know, it`s not necessarily -- it`s hard to rely on the
House to do anything, right? I mean, it makes sense maybe for Republicans
in the Senate to just sort of, you know, maybe help the House out, I mean,
because it`s not -- is probably going to die there anyway.
BALL: Let me take the optimistic perspective here. I mean, Nia-Malika, I
think, is right that Mr. McConnell is really focused on what`s going on in
Kentucky, and he`s nervous about his own election and he has now a Tea
Party challenger from the right. So, he`s concerned at the moment about
getting through his primary. So, he does not want to put a bipartisan bill
He does not want to pass spending above the level of s sequestration. One
thing it`s true that primary, then he`s going to have a different concern,
then he`s going to want to be seen as someone who can get things done, who
is more moderate, who speaks for, you know, a broader coalition in
Kentucky. So, that`s one thing.
And the other thing that I think you`re pointing to, Steve, is we`ve seen
these cracks in the Senate. We`ve seen the McCains and the Grahams saying
-- essentially indicating they want to have some sort of governing
coalition. We are now just starting to see those cracks in the House, too,
for the first time.
And as you pointed out, Chairman Hal Rogers coming out and saying, you
know, this is absurd, essentially. So, we`re, for the first time, seeing
moderate Republicans in the House raising their voices and saying these
cuts are too much even for us. To me, that`s encouraging.
KORNACKI: And the other thing -- set us up nicely for the next segment, we
got some Kentucky stuff coming up.
KORNACKI: But the other news this week, we talked about primary challenges
in 2014 and how that -- Lindsey Graham -- we got a news this week that
Lindsey Graham is going to have a primary challenge in 2014. I believe her
name is Nancy Mace (ph), is that right? She`s the first female graduate of
the -- impressive biography and it looks like on paper you look at what
Lindsey Graham represents, I think, to the average Tea Party Republican, I
was going to say, this could be a serious primary challenge for him.
I also look at him and I say he`s done more in terms of, you know, outreach
to the Obama administration but more receptive to that than the average
Republican senator. I wonder, you know, Rick, do you think we`re going to
see a different Lindsey Graham now that he`s got this -- he`s really got to
worry about a Republican primary challenge now? How is that going to
WILSON: It`s early days still in her campaign. And I think, you know, the
first wave of buzz has been very favorable for her. Lindsey Graham is a
wildly character, however. And I have seen plenty people who post up in
the early going of, oh, this is the perfect primary fit and it doesn`t work
out. We saw a lot of that in 2012.
So, let`s keep that in advance for now, because I think you don`t want to
underestimate Lindsey Graham, although, you`re right. He is a hot button
with Tea Party and with a lot of conservatives. A lot of folks have
significant (ph) with the way that he has, you know, puts it in their face
how much he likes Barack Obama.
KORNACKI: Well, when the subject turns to Benghazi. But he always
reminded me so much of Arlen Specter, right? Because like Arlen Specter,
you always knew he was like one year up from re-election because then he
would like go after Anita Hill. You know what? He`s up for election the
next year. He`s got, you know --
BALL: Graham seems to know just how to walk that line and actually trying
to govern and work with the other side.
WILSON: -- state politics takes the Washington part out of it and
understands South Carolina and how it plays there`s. And so, like I said,
don`t underestimate him.
KORNACKI: He`s -- I remember he had this quote a few months ago where he
said, in my state where I come from, attacking Obama is always good
KORNACKI: I always keep that in mind.
The first public test of whether the top Senate Republican can survive in
2014 is just hours away. That`s next.
KORNACKI: The most vulnerable Republican in the Senate got more bad news
this week as attacks from his two campaign challengers started to take
their toll. Minority leader, Mitch McConnell, is battling Democratic
Kentucky secretary of state, Alison Lundergan Grimes, on his left and Tea
Party businessman, Matt Bevin, on his right.
The political report is calling a potential 2014 matchup between McConnell
and Grimes a tossup because two new polls actually show Grimes inching into
the lead. It was the primary battle to deal with first. McConnell spent
the week cozying up to the Tea Party and fighting against the
On Wednesday, he voted with fellow Kentucky senator Rand Paul whose support
he is going to need next year to cut off funding for Egypt, the measure
that was soundly defeated 86-13. That vote broke with McConnell`s long
legislative record in Congress as an appropriator. The next day, he
pressured his conference to filibuster the transportation and housing bill
written by Maine Republican senator, Susan Collins.
As we said last segment, Collins told Politico after that, "All I can tell
you is he has never worked harder against a member of his own party than he
did against me today." All three candidates for Kentucky senator are
gathering today at the annual fancy farm picnic in a remote corner of
Western Kentucky. I love this. I want to talk about this in a minute.
The premier event of bluegrass state politics where candidates are subject
to unvarnished reactions from the crowd. This year, it looks like things
can get particularly prickly. The fancy farm picnic, a lot of states have
these quirky traditions. I remember, I used to cover New Jersey politics
in the north ward of Newark, the heavily Italian section of Newark.
There was this group, they were in this thing on St. Patrick`s Day every
year. They call it the (INAUDIBLE) of the Italians who celebrate St.
KORNACKI: And politicians from around the state would come up and, you
know, they would give these funny kind of self-deprecating. It`s almost
like a roast or something. So, everything has a sort of tradition. This
one, it`s in remote, as we said, Western Kentucky. It`s right near the
Mississippi River. It`s in that little part of Kentucky that abuts
Missouri, and it`s in a town of like 400 people and the candidates come and
just the audience heckles them and things get thrown on the stage.
I found a story from 1995, there were two candidates for secretary of state
in Kentucky. One of them, his father had been under federal investigation.
His opponent starts chanting FBI, FBI during a speech. Almost a fight,
they had to hold him back. So, that`s what`s going on in Kentucky today.
And Mitch McConnell is going to be -- you know, this is sort of the first
public event for all three of these candidates. You know, I wonder, Rick,
we talk about Mitch McConnell last segment. What are Kentucky voters going
to be seeing from Mitch McConnell over the next year?
WILSON: Mitch McConnell, people underestimate him because he has this all
shocks (ph), you know, a soft kind of affect. This guy is a nice fighter.
This guy is not going to play around. He`s not going to take any --
there`s not going to be any slack for either Alison Grimes or his
Republican primary opponent. This is a guy who goes for the for the
throat. He is not going to screw around and I think you`re going to see
that he`s got three things going for him.
He`s got resources and he will spend them. He will spend them early and
that works. He`s got a person understand of the state`s politics that is
not distracted or diffuse. It`s not Tom Daschle (ph), you know, wasn`t
home (ph). This is a guy who understands what`s happening in his home
state. And the third thing is, he`s got has the willingness to just
absolutely burn people to the ground and I love that in a candidate.
WILSON: Actually, that`s what you need. That`s what you need. And, so,
look, primaries have a way of clarifying people`s thinking in their party
and about their conservative commitment sort of liberal commitments and
primaries in the other side. And if Mitch McConnell is making these steps,
you know, all parties benefit.
KORNACKI: Here`s the thing, here`s the thing that I kind of wonder about,
because we just talked in the last segment about how, you know, Mitch
McConnell went out of his way this week to kill the idea of compromise on,
you know, on the spending bill in the Senate. So, he seems to be doing all
of the things, you know, as a Senate leader and as a senator that the Tea
Party and that the conservative groups would like.
But I`m still finding all this resistance from national conservatives.
This is Erick Erickson, you know, sort of prominent, you know, national
conservative. He tweeted this week, "Romney won Kentucky by 23 points," I
think it was only 22, but anyway, "Romney won Kentucky by 23 points yet
Kentucky said it is a toss-up. Why shouldn`t McConnell retire like he made
Jim Bunning do?"
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: This is the interesting thing about this, because on the
one hand, he is doing -- this Tea Party that you`re talking about, you
know, he has sided up to Rand Paul who beat the guy that Mitch McConnell
cut ads for in the 2010 Senate race. But at the same time, some of this
early campaign appearances, I read a story about this last month, he`s
going out there and talking about earmarks that he has gotten for Kentucky
He can`t get them now. He can`t do earmarks anymore. When he`s going out
there and, you know, he`s stood in front of, I believe it was a park that
they had built and then they got a help to get $35 million in federal money
to build this. So, that`s been the way he ran before. He`s been on
talking about how much he could bring back to Kentucky and that`s hard now
because the Tea Party wing isn`t that interested in that stuff.
But, he`s still trying to do that. So, I think that, on the one hand, this
is where maybe there`s some difficulty. I agree it`s an uphill climb for
Alison Grimes and probably his primary opponent, but this is where you see
a little bit of him having some difficulty because he wants to run as this
guy, but he also wants to run a guy that`s going to shut down all kind of
HENDERSON: Yes. It will be interesting to see what Rand Paul actually
does. He said some pretty -- you know, a lot of things about the opponent,
but Mitch McConnell certainly needs him in that race. What does Ted Cruz
do in this race? But I think even more interesting is the Clintons. I
mean, no matter if Grimes loses, this is still good for the Clintons
because they`re going to be in that state.
HENDERSON: Bill Clinton is on a video. He won in 1992, in 1996, and you
can imagine if Hillary Clinton is trying to sort of reawaken the Clinton
mystique, especially in those southern states. She would be wise to be
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: This is one of those -- there are few states that voted
for Hillary and they ask Grimes about votes for Obama. Well, I voted for
KORNACKI: Well, you know, that`s the interesting to talk about like --
there are a few states, I think, that basically the 2008 election I think
would have gone the same whether it was Hillary or Obama. I think there
are a few states that Hillary might have won that Obama didn`t.
KORNACKI: -- Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri are the ones -- maybe West
Virginia are the ones that point to where Hillary could have won. Here`s
the thing about where this picnic is taking place today. The county that
it is in Graves County in Western Kentucky was one of the Kentucky counties
in 2012 in the presidential Democratic primary with the sitting Democratic
president on the ballot that voted for uncommitted. Uncommitted care.
KORNACKI: That`s what Alison Grimes is up against is the association of
Obamacare. At the same time, we say Romney won Kentucky by 22 points. Six
of seven statewide elected officials in Kentucky are Democrats.
BALL: I think Kentucky and West Virginia are two of these states that
still have this fascinating, you know, state level Democratic hold affinity
and then national level Republican affinity. And with Mitch McConnell, you
know, I do think the relationship with Rand Paul is fascinating and it is
illustrative of just how smart this guy is.
As you pointed out, he backed Rand Paul`s opponent in 2010, endorsed him,
worked against Rand Paul. As soon as Rand Paul got in office, McConnell
realized that he had touched on something that McConnell needed to
understand and be part of and actively work to cultivate a relationship
with Rand Paul. He has Jesse Benton managing his campaign, long-time Paul
So, that`s how smart Mitch McConnell is. One mistake that I think he has
made thus far, though is Ashley Judd was looking at getting into this race
and McConnell basically drummed her out of the race. She would have been a
much easier opponent than Alison Lundergan Grimes. So, that was one error
that McConnell has made. But I think you`re right --
HENDERSON: Shows how vicious a campaigner he is.
KORNACKI: One fun fact that I want to get in before the segment is the
fancy farm picnic holds the Guinness World Record for the largest picnic in
the world because they consume in one day, 15,000 pounds of mutton, pork
and chicken. That might be delicious. They`re going to try to break that
KORNACKI: The Republicans who try to kill the Reagan revolution and the
Democrat who helped usher it in. That`s coming up next.
KORNACKI: Last month, ten members of Congress wrote to the owner of the
Washington Redskins urging him to change the team`s name. The term is a
racial slur that American-Indians have been trying to change for years, but
Rush Limbaugh took to the air to slam the latest effort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Are you going to start saying you
can`t name teams after animals next? When is it going to stop? These
change advocates are nothing but a bunch of liberals who are in truth
seeking to empower the federal government. More power over everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That wasn`t the last word on the matter. A member of Congress
delivered an impassioned response to Limbaugh on the House floor this week.
We`re going to show you that heated exchange. That`s ahead.
KORNACKI: You probably had this experience once or twice. Skimming
through the obituaries in the newspaper, coming across the name of someone
who`d been prominent a long time ago and saying yourself, geez, I had no
idea he`d still been alive. I actually had that thought twice this week
with the news on Tuesday that both William Scranton and Harry Byrd Jr. had
died. One was 96 years old, the other was 98. They`ve been both absent
from the public stage for decades, political heavyweights from an earlier
era who played no role in the current one.
Except well, they kind of did, not directly, but their stories loom over
American politics today. They illustrate the roots of the deep and intense
regional, racial, and cultural divisions that define the two parties today,
and that result in the maddening gridlock that no one seems happy about it
all. If you want to know how the American political system came to this,
you can do a lot worse than know the stories of Bill Scranton and Harry
Scranton was an old school Republican, which is to say he was the son of
the northeast (INAUDIBLE), the town in Pennsylvania he came from. Scranton
was named after his ancestors and he embodied a now extinct strain of
Republicanism that mixed cultural liberalism with an embraced of acted
robust government. He ran for Congress in 1960 and he won in a district
that went for John F. Kennedy that same year.
Two years later, he ran for governor and he won again. His first year in
office was considered a smashing success. Scranton reformed the state
civil service program. He poured money into education. He enacted a sales
tax. That flurry of action led to calls for Scranton to seek the 1964
Republican presidential nomination.
But he didn`t show much interest in that. What Scranton didn`t realize at
first, though, and what almost no Republican of the old guard recognized at
that point was how real the threat of Barry Goldwater was. Goldwater was
the face of a growing vehemently anti-government conservative movement. In
the early months of 1964, his force is quietly gobbled up delegates at one
state Republican convention after another.
The Republican establishment, the moderate Republican establishment
struggled to respond. Nelson Rockefeller was supposed to be their front
man but his candidacy was compromised by personal scandal. When
Rockefeller lost the California Republican primary to Goldwater that June,
it made Rockefeller toast. There were frantic in treaties then for
Scranton to reconsider a jump into the race, but he wouldn`t budge.
He wouldn`t budge, at least, until a few days later when Goldwater joined
conservative southern Democrats who were trying to kill Lyndon Johnson`s
civil rights bill with a filibuster. Goldwater was one of only six Senate
Republicans to cross over and join with the south in that filibuster and
he`s also on the cusp of winning the Republican Party`s presidential
nomination. That`s when Scranton changed his mind and entered the race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. WILLIAM SCRANTON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Stand with me and the
cause of freedom. Stand with me for the integrity of our party and the
security of the nation. Stand with me as free men and free women, free
Republicans and free Americans. Stand with me because the cause is right
and because it is right, we shall prevail.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Scranton took that fight to the Republican convention floor in a
desperate last-minute hunt for delegates. And the words his campaign used
to criticize Goldwater`s conservative policies later showed up in one of
President`s Lyndon Johnson`s campaign ads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Scranton, the day before the convention, he
called Goldwaterism a, quote, "crazy quilt collection of absurd and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Scranton`s campaign was a lost cause. Goldwater had the votes
already. He won the nomination and then he lost in the landslide to LBJ in
November. Scranton went back to Pennsylvania, finished up his term and
never ran for office again. Years later, he said of his brief presidential
candidacy, quote, "I ran primarily out of concern for the future of the
Republican Party. Republicans were being portrayed as a White supremacy
party and that really threw me off."
"It was so contrary to the party`s record. I was disturbed about what was
happening to the party." Just as 1964 marked the faithful shift toward the
south and Goldwater-style conservatism for the GOP, it also hastened the
demise of the Democratic party`s alliance with conservative White
southerners, which is where Harry Byrd Jr. comes in.
His father, Harry Byrd Sr., had the most powerful political organization in
Virginia. He was elected to the Senate with FDR in 1932, was a staunched
fiscal conservative, and later received 15 electoral votes in the 1960
election as a protest against JFK`s civil rights policies. When Byrd
resigned from the Senate, Byrd Sr. this is, due to his poor health in 1965,
his son, young Harry, he was called, was appointed to fill his seat.
Byrd Jr. was just as conservative as his father on civil rights and every
other issue and was denied the Democratic Senate nomination in Virginia in
1970 when refused to pledge his support for whoever would be the 1972
Democratic presidential nominee. So, Byrd just decided to run for the
Senate as an independent and he won that election easily.
And he repeated it (ph) in 1976. By 1980, he was routinely voting with
Republicans and he decided to endorse Ronald Reagan for president over
Jimmy Carter. Then with Reagan in power and working conservative
majorities in the House and Senate, Harry Byrd Jr. was content to retire in
But he never actually joined the Republican Party in all those years, you
can say that he still played an enormous role in the mass defection of
White southerners away from the democratic party in the wake of the civil
rights act. These days are going to be hard to believe that there was ever
room for Harry Byrd in the Democratic Party or for a Bill Scranton in the
But their passings a reminder that it really wasn`t that long ago when the
two parties in American politics were very different. Rush Limbaugh stokes
a heated battle over racism against American-Indians. That`s next.
KORNACKI: American Samoa`s delegate to the House of Representatives, Eni
Faleomavaega, took to the House floor this week to call the Washington
Redskin`s team name an offensive ethnic slur that should not be protected
by federal trademark.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEL. ENI FALEOMAVAEGA, (D) AMERICAN SAMOA: The origin of term Redskin, Mr.
Speaker, is commonly attributed to the historical act of not only killing
Native Americans, but also cutting off certain body parts and scalping.
These scalps, Mr. Speaker, were described as Redskins. I submit, Mr.
Speaker, Native Americans are human beings. They are not animals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Faleomavaega`s remarks were prompted by Rush Limbaugh who were
with him and nine other members of Congress for sending a letter to the
football team`s owner last month asking him to change the team`s name.
Limbaugh attacked the Samoan delegate and his colleagues for a second time
after those floor comments on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: I`m telling you, folks, these people are people who do not like
this country as founded. They think it`s unjust and immoral and they are
all part of the Obama coalition to transform this country into something it
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I want to bring in Wilson Pipestem, a member of the auto tribe
of the Osage Nation and an attorney who represents American-Indian tribes.
Wilson, I wonder, what you make of -- what you`ve seen in this back and
forth and the effort to get this nickname changed in Washington. I mean,
it`s something that`s popped, you know, for years. It seems to be getting
a little bit new momentum now. Do you think it`s something that might
actually happen in the near future?
WILSON PIPESTEM, ATTORNEY: I do think it`s going to happen, eventually,
but if you think about what happened this week with regards to the Riley
KORNACKI: Philadelphia Eagles.
PIPESTEM: Philadelphia Eagles. So, Riley Cooper is a wide receiver for
the Philadelphia Eagles. He goes to a Kenny Chesney concert and he gets
drunk and drops the "N" word to an African-American security guard. It`s
been interesting to see how that has played out throughout the country to
the media and he`s made a public apology.
And there`s no excuse for what he did, but, certainly, the reactions have
been, I think, remarkable. First of all, he apologized to his teammates.
Michael Vick has accepted that apology. Another teammate is saying I don`t
accept his apology. He has gone -- again, he`s apologized publicly on
numerous occasions. He`s now even taken a leave from the team to go seek
counseling on why he would do such a thing.
But I think it`s remarkable to see how Roger Goodell, the first -- the NFL
commissioner has responded to this. He said those were insensitive
comments and they were unacceptable. At the same time, he`s also tolerated
and even celebrated the Washington football name and I just wonder what the
first president of the NFL, Jim Thorpe, would think about that today.
KORNACKI: Dan Snyder is the owner of the Washington Redskins. And he`s --
now, they`ve got the trademark on the logo and do they make a ton of money
off of this? I think changing the name just sort of economically cost him
a lot of money which might explain some of his defensives. But his quote
in this was we will never change the name. It`s that simple. Never, you
can use caps. What would you say to somebody like that?
PIPESTEM: You know, this is -- any found -- framed this as a moral issue,
and I think it really is. There are legal implications. There`s this
Amanda Blackhorse case going on, the Susan Hargel (ph) case going on,
regarding the intellectual property protections of the name. But it really
at its heart is a moral issue. And, ultimately, I think the name will
change one day, but it`s hard to shame the shameless.
And I think it won`t be with this ownership of the team and with this
leadership of the team. But I think eventually we`ll get there, but you`re
just seeing a reaction to Rush Limbaugh and it`s not always a bad thing to
have Rush Limbaugh comment on something you care about. As an example, I
don`t think we have seen the reauthorization of the violence against Women
act without Rush Limbaugh saying some of the things he did about Sandra
Fluke (ph). So, on that respect, I say a whole Rush Limbaugh --
KORNACKI: He`s the -- the thing that kind of bothers me little bit about
it is he was framing (INAUDIBLE) this is what the Democrats, this is what
the left is trying to do. One of the people who signed this letter is one
of the top Republicans in the House. It`s Tom Cole, you know, from
Oklahoma. So, it seems like, I`m hesitant to frame this as a left/right
thing because when it gets polarized that way, then an extra level of
defensiveness enters into it that probably shouldn`t be there.
BALL: No. It`s more -- I mean, there`s more of a geographical element
depending on, you know, what constituencies these members of Congress are
representing. But you were making the point, you know, connecting the
comments using the "N"-word to the word Redskin. And I think that`s a
really important connection and it`s one that these members of Congress
made in their letter.
If people were thinking of it in that way, they wouldn`t even come close to
supporting the name. And I say this as I`m long-time Redskins fan. This
is the one team I grew up cheering for and I feel embarrassed to tweet
about the team that I like because I`m embarrassed of the name. Now, Dan
Snyder (ph), he is a member of the green party. The only thing he cares
about, in my opinion, is how much money he makes.
So, I do think the patent and the trademark case that would make the
Redskins name less valuable is really inform (ph). And I do think that`s
probably the most promising place for action. Wilson, I`d be interested if
you agree with that. But the other piece is driving public sentiment and
this shouldn`t be the sort of issue where it`s a popularity contest and
majority opinion drives things.
But, unfortunately, I think that does need to move a bit before we`ll see
action and making that connection between the "N" word and the word
Redskins, I think, is an important fact.
KORNACKI: The "Washington City" paper, the independent in the Washington,
is already stopped referring the team as the Redskins. They call them the
pigskins. I don`t know. I`d be fine (ph) with that. Maybe -- anyway,
thanks to Wilson Pipestem of the Auto Tribe and the Osage Nation.
Progressives are now applying real pressure to President Obama on a major
economic appointment. That`s next.
KORNACKI: President has a big choice to make on a major economic
appointment very soon.
I want to talk about that, but, first, I want to bring in Matt Yglesias,
business and economic correspondent at Slate.com. And also with us we have
republican strategist Rick Wilson, Evan McMorris Santoro of BuzzFeed.com
and Nia-Malika Henderson of "The Washington Post."
President Obama is accustomed to dealing with opposition from the right his
economic agenda but now he`s getting unusual pushback from the Left on a
major economic appointment as for the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve.
Progressives in Congress have been publicly urging Obama to pick the Fed`s
current Vice Chair Janet Yellen. The other top contender is Obama`s former
top economic advisor Larry Summers. Progressives argue that summers won`t
be aggressive enough in using the powers of the Federal Reserve to
stimulate economic growth.
Now, Obama met with Congressional Democrats this week, the Fed appointment
came up and the President mounted an uncharacteristically emotional defense
of Summers. According to Congressman Gerry Connolly, a democratic
congressman from Virginia who was at the meeting, Obama said of Summers,
quote, "He was the rock of Gibraltar and trying to work through policies to
turn the economy around. I`m not going to stand idly by and let his name
be disparaged and his reputation trashed because people have a political
agenda about who should or should not be the chairman of the Federal
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that Obama downplayed any
tensions over the Fed appointment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D). NEVADA: He has a long list of people he is talking
to. He indicated that there`s not, his words, not a piece of paper
difference in all of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Ahead of the Senate, Democrats will support whoever Obama
nominates for the position. Last week, though, a group of 20 democratic
senators spearheaded by Sherrod Brown of Ohio wrote a letter urging Obama
to appoint Yellen. They wrote, quote, "Our nation badly needs a chairman
with a solid record as a bank regulator. The board will be well served by
a chairman with significant monetary policy experience which Governor
Yellen has as a result with more than a decade of service in the Federal
So, Matt, you have written about this a little bit and I think you`ve
written it probably should not be in your mind Larry Summers to get this
job or are you part of this crowd that is trashing him like the President
said this week?
MATT YGLESIAS, SLATE.COM: Well, you know, I don`t consider myself someone
who is out there trashing Larry Summers. What is strange is the seeming
impulse to look beyond Yellen. I mean, I think when the President
appointed her to be vice chair of the system, the sense was that she was
going to be elevated to the chairmanship if Bernanke wasn`t reappointed.
She`s the most qualified candidate out there. She`s very widely respected.
She`s a lot of experience about the monetary side and bank regulatory side.
People generally seem to like her and, you know, Summers has this
relatively small but extremely intense fan club that luckily for him
includes the President`s top economic advisors and seemingly the President
But, you know, I mean, a lot of people do have questions about his
commitment to the regulatory mission of the Fed and I just think a lot of
us are sort of wondering, you know, why? I mean, what is the sort of
crucial centrality of Larry Summers here? Why do you want to pass up this
sort of veteran loyalist who has done her time, who has sort of, her
judgment has been proven right on a number of issues over the years and
then you have Summers, his views on a lot of the key issues here are not
really known to the public and it`s just not really clear, you know, what
this kind of impulse to elevate this.
KORNACKI: I want to pick up in a minute this idea that Larry Summers fan
club and also the backlash against the idea of Larry Summers fan club. But
you also you just mentioned the idea of continuity with Yellen if she were
to replace Bernanke. It just occurs to me, maybe there`s an answer that is
obvious by haven`t been seen it. Why is Ben Bernanke going away? Because
if you remember Alan Greenspan served as Fed Chairman, he was like 97 years
old or something. So, Bernanke is a relatively young guy. Is he done with
this? Is the administration unhappy with him for some reason? Why is it
on the table to reappointment him?
YGLESIAS: It seems like he`s unhappy with the job. You know, he`s not
sort of a political operator, he`s not a life-long government official.
He`s a real sort of academic and had a long career at Princeton University
and seems to have, sort of gotten tired of being in the public eye sort of,
you know, you get criticized by everyone from all sides. When Greenspan
was chairman, you know, the economy was doing great. And generally, people
just applauded him nonstop. I mean, there`s been a substantial re-
evaluation of that record. But Bernanke kind of, he takes a lot of
criticism from a lot of people and I think he wants to go back to his
office and, you know, write his papers and not be in the hot spot all the
KORNACKI: You know, Matt talks about the Larry Summers fan club.
President Obama seems to be part of it. I`m wondering what that stems
from. He`s just working with him, you know, a couple years ago and also
seems to me based on this letter from the Senate, not a lot of democratic
senators are a part of that club.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. In some ways, a flashback
to when Obama first got in and he was appointing all of these Clinton,
Clinton folks and progressives were not happy. They weren`t happy with
Summers. They very much like Volker, Volker in the White House very much
boxed out of the sort of main monetary approach. But people also upset
with Summers from some of the things that went on at Harvard, as well.
So, it`s very much a flash back to that. I think you flash Ford now to
Yellen. I think you`ll going to hear a lot from women`s groups. I just
got an e-mail from the National Organization for Women. They are very much
pushing for her. You saw the President and these big appointments so far
in his second administration, not a lot of women, not a lot of minorities
in those key positions. So, I think you`ll going to hear a lot.
KORNACKI: Yes. That Harvard thing, people if they have forgotten or
whatever, Larry Summer was president of Harvard. He seemed to suggest, you
know, women were inferior when it came to like Math and Science and they
have the authority to make Janet Yellin the first, you know, female chair
of the Fed.
EVAN MCMORRIS SANTORO, BUZZFEED.COM: Progressives and women`s groups tried
to use against him the first time as you`re saying.
SANTORO: This can be a fascinating dynamic to see what power women`s
groups have built up into Obama`s second term and progressive groups, too.
Because this is a lot of the same debate, it`s and a lot of the same stuff
SANTORO: But this time I think it feels like there`s a bit more momentum
behind these people than there was the last time in 2009 when Summers got
the treasury gig.
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don`t think the constituency here is
women`s groups. I think the constituency here is Wall Street. As a
political driver underneath is, is Barack Obama is now in the legacy
cementing phase of his administration. OK? He does not want to select a
fed chair who is going to make those guys a few blocks south of here
nervous. He`s not going to want to select somebody that as the taper that
everyone is talking about inevitably has to start happening of the $85
billion a month in bond buying and all this that`s kept all this liquidity
gushing into the market.
As that threads down, he`s not going to want to have somebody that`s going
to scare Wall Street with the hope, possibility of greater regulatory
issues and a greater regulatory hurdles and at the same time when you`re
drawing down some of the stimulus that has kept Wall Street, you know,
riding on this bubble, this cloud of Fed spending. So, I think the
political driver there is Obama is not going to want somebody that is going
to blow up the market. Well, the few bright spots that they have.
KORNACKI: I wonder about that, Matt, in terms of the relationship between
the administration and Wall Street. Because Larry Summers, I think to a
lot of people on the Left symbolizes that era in the 1990s when Bill
Clinton kind of married the Democratic Party to Wall Street. You know,
Reuben coming in to run treasury. Larry Summers was there, and you know,
the deregulation in all of that and I wonder if that`s what a lot of the
objection is to Summers right now is, hey, we`re implementing Dodd/Frank,
reform for Wall Street, do you want to put in, you know, Clinton`s
deregulator, do you want to put him in opposition.
YGLESIAS: Yes. I mean, there are two sides to this. It`s interesting. I
mean, Summers has made a lot of money and sort of part-time consulting
gags, mostly for the Hedge Fund, DE Shaw (ph) but also some speaking things
for Citigroup and other financial institutions. So, people on the left
say, you know, we`re suspicious of this guy and his ties to finance. On
the other hand, I think there`s this notion that Summers would somehow be
more reassuring to financial markets broadly.
But I feel like that is actually a very D.C. mentality. Right. That
summers is a real sort of policy guy, he`s been in Washington for a lot of
capacity for a lot of years. Janet Yellen is not some unknown figure to
the banking industry, but she`s been the president of San Francisco Fed, a
member of the board of governors, the vice chair of the system. You know,
the idea that elevating her would be some kind if destabilizing influence
in the markets, I don`t really think there`s any support for.
I mean, she`s actually been a player in this world for a long time.
Summers sometimes is a bit of a loose cannon with things he says. I mean,
he has gotten himself in trouble numerous times over the years. And I do
think that they`ll have to worry about him. I mean, the chairman has to be
very careful and not engage in sort of provocations or, you know, trying to
show off and be the smartest guy in the room all the time. Summers is, you
know, he in some ways is too tied in to Wall Street, and another one is I
think not too tied in enough to the actual job in Federal Reserve System.
KORNACKI: Also, what, this is a decision that apparently is going to be
made, we`re still a couple months away, maybe from the appointment actually
to be made. So, the idea that the President is high on Summers has come
out. It seems to me relatively early in that process given how
controversial Summers is. And it seems the weight of what sort of come
out, especially from the President`s own party has been negative. I
wonder, is this having an effect on, you know, in terms of the idea of,
hey, maybe we should, you know, not go with this guy. Do you think it`s
starting to have that effect?
SANTORO: Well, I think the effect had it already sort of the more fired up
Obama, the angry Obama that you get whenever the left pushes him. I mean,
you know, professional Left all the way on, when the Left gets mad at him
is when he gets really upset. Right? And you`re seeing him out there in
Congress, really the kind of hey, Larry Summers is the -- you have to stop
this. Larry Summers is the guy. And I`m not sure if that actually
translates to him being picked but it is a really fascinating battle that
when this happens, when the Left pushes Obama on something, he really gets
fired up. And that`s what`s happening now.
So, we`ll see if that translates to him. Push him back in the face. I
think this woman thing actually is going to be a big part of this.
SANTORO: I really think it`s a big part of it. You`re seeing in the
Senate, you know, with what`s going on with the sexual assault stuff. I
mean, this is a fired up base of the Democratic Party. Not like they had
done a lot for Obama to get re-elected and I think that a lot of them, the
leaders of the women`s groups really don`t want to see Summers in that job.
SANTORO: And when I saw that we don`t have video because of a closed door
meeting. When I saw the transcript that was offered at least by people who
were there of how Obama defended Summers this week. I thought of, you
know, remember his impassioned defense of Susan Rice?
SANTORO: When the Republicans were all saying Susan Rice and I said, wow,
you know, he really wants to pick a fight over this. But then the next bit
of news on that was, he made his defense and then they moved on to another
candidate. I`m wondering if maybe that --
HENDERSON: I mean, for this, it seems like he`s defending Summers as much
as he is defending his decisions and his legacy. I mean, what else was he
going to do? Get in there and say, oh, yes, you`re right. This guy is
terrible. It`s not really surprising but I don`t think we can --
SANTORO: I also add, he`s trying to make the economy --
HENDERSON: Exactly. Exactly. Yes, yes. So, I mean, I don`t think it
translate his defense as in the case of Susan Rice. It doesn`t necessarily
translate to the fact that he`s going to pick this guy.
KORNACKI: Matt, I mean, you follow this word closer than anybody here.
What do you think is the shake out of this? Who do you think it is going to
YGLESIAS: Well, you know, I thought it was going to be Yellen all along.
I went back to the fact that I thought they would have a good sense to
recognize that picking Summers would cause a huge political blowback. I
mean, apparently the Summers fan club is more powerful and more intense
than I had realized. But, you know, this came out and I think it`s not a
coincidence that we kind of got this preview in the press that, well, the
President is leaning heavily towards Summers, it`s either, it`s a trial
balloon or it`s an effort to sink him. But I mean they`re trying to test
the waters and see.
And what they`re seeing is that, you know, there are a lot of critics of
Summers out there. He has fans, but not there`s not a ton of them out here
in the world, there`s not a big, you know, Larry Summers movement outside
of the White House. And they`re going to have to ask themselves. I mean,
how much do they feel like they owe it to him. Because you know, he wanted
the job the last time around, but the decision was made to stick with
Bernanke for the sake of -- so, I think there`s a sense, you know, among
Summers` core allies that he sort of deserves this. But nobody deserves a
KORNACKI: When you, if it`s a trial balloon and you were at the trial
balloon and the first response is that more than half of members of your
own party saying, oh, this other candidate, that`s who we`re for. That`s a
pretty good sign that trouble is not up --
An issue this esoteric, gets elevated into the political sphere, you know.
I think Obama`s preferences will have a very strong impact at the end of
the day. This is not going to become, Fed chair, gender politics of the
Fed chair is not going to become --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
KORNACKI: I think there`s a bestselling book in there somewhere. The
Obama administration is also facing more pushback from the left on
surveillance, an issue that is also pitting republican against republican.
KORNACKI: The Russian government this week granted a one year asylum to
Edward Snowden. The former technical contractor who is taking credit for
leaking information on the government`s secret surveillance programs.
Snowden is wanted in the United States on three felony counts related to
the disclosure of classified information and at Thursday`s White House
Press briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney said the administration was
quote, "Extremely disappointed with Russia."
Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald of "The Guardian" reported this week new piece
on a major new piece of information from Snowden. The government`s
surveillance program called XT Score which gathers so much comprehensive
information from the internet, including communications between Americans
and foreign sources that it can only be stored for days at a time.
Greenwald writes quote, "One presentation claims the program covers nearly
everything a typical user does on the internet including the content of e-
mails, Web sites visited and searches, as well as their metadata.
The NSA told "The Guardian" in a statement quote, NSA`s activities are
focused and specifically deployed against and only against legitimate
foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders
need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interests."
So, you know, it`s you know, more revelations in this. We had the vote
now, you know, a week ago in Congress on NSA reform that was, that came
surprisingly close to happening and I think the most interesting thing to
me to come out of that was, how sort of funky these two coalitions were.
It was basically half the Democrats were for it, and half the Republicans
were for it and half were against it. I mean, we have the new revelations
this week. Do you think this moves the ball on the issue at all?
HENDERSON: Well, I think one of the things that I have always been
fascinated by is Americans. Like they seem not to really care about this
story. Care about the idea that the government can sift through everything
we sin. I think that`s sort of the sleeping giant perhaps in this, but
there is a strange coalition. I think if this, obviously, were a
republican administration, you`d have much more vocal Democrats. You had,
I think, 100 of them vote with Republicans on this. But it`s an evolving
story. I think we`ll see more revelations out of Snowden, Glenn Greenwald
has been doing some amazing reporting, but I think what is continuously
surprising to me is kind of the American people sort of shrugging at it.
KORNACKI: Although it does feel like the Congressional vote to me
indicates that there has been movement on this, in terms of Congress
reflecting public opinion. I can`t imagine a vote, you know, 217 to 205.
I forgot the exact number. But I`m imagining, you know, five or six years
ago, I can`t imagine 217-205 on --
WILSON: This is a, the difficulty of these revelations coming from Snowden
is that now he is a traitor. He has accepted asylum in a foreign country
and he has taken himself out of the legitimate discourse here. What he`s
got now is poison. There should be a public debate about the scope and
scale of these programs, but, unfortunately, he`s become a poisoned actor
in the whole thing. And the NSA has to take a lot of the blame for this
because they have not articulated what they are doing appropriately.
It`s all very lawyered, it`s all very couched. Look, I want the NSA to
Hoover down every single electron from foreign sources. I want to be able
for them to know what Putin had for breakfast every day. I want to know
intention. I want them to focus on that. And I want them to articulate
more clearly the safe guards that they say are in place. And I know from -
- I worked in the Defense Department years ago. I understand the
classified world has a lot of safe guards built into it.
They, apparently, have extraordinary safe guards built into it but they
haven`t fully articulated that correctly to the public. They`re causing
part of the political problem here by not having a level of transparency
that goes beyond -- we`re going to brief the leadership in Congress, that`s
what we`re going to do. We`ll issue these very carefully worded
statements. They need to walk people through it. This is like the old
debate about satellites and overhead coverage.
We used to say we can`t talk about its existence at all. We can`t even
look at the, we can`t even talk about the existence of these programs.
Well, there was actually a political and diplomatic utility for us to
reveal the ability and the revolution we had of these programs. So, there
may be some utility here and it would go a long way for the NSA to say
these are the rules, these are the structures, this are the way that we`re
going to handle the data that we collect about Americans because, look,
there`s always temptation, there are always bad actors and systems, no huge
bureaucracy that spent billions of dollars and cuts trillions of records,
is going to be dramatically sealed against a Snowden.
So, what if the Snowden was a Chinese agent? What if the Snowden is a guy
who said, oh, I`m going to pull the porn searches of every member of
Congress, you know, these are things that the NSA has to do a much better
job of publicly articulating what they do. They do good and honorable
work, they also collect a risky set of data that unless those safe guards
are rock solid and people understand them that they`ll going to continue to
have this resistance.
KORNACKI: Someone pulling the x-rated searches of members of Congress,
they`ll going to have a story worth a lot of money and tell you that --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
YGLESIAS: But I think it`s true, I mean, this is not totally hypothetical
concerns. I mean we saw with the FBI surveillance in the 1960`s and `70s.
It`s not the FBI wasn`t doing, you know, legitimate crime control counter
intelligence, counterterrorism stuff then, but they were also seemingly
blackmailing public figures and doing a lot of sort of power plays. I
mean, it`s a lot of information. And another factor that I think has not
really gotten play in the debate yet is the international element of this.
I mean, it`s great for us to sit in America and say, yes, well, of course
we want to spy on foreigners.
But it`s a very important to American commerce, you know, that we have this
large technology companies that are based here. The Googles, the
Microsofts, the Yahoos, Facebook, Twitter. These all are big American
companies and a global companies and people who are sitting in their living
room, you know, in Paris, in Berlin, in Tokyo, they`re not going to blaza
about this idea that well, it`s only foreigners who we`re spying on. You
know, I mean, they are the foreigners.
WILSON: Everybody plays this game. Every great power, every nation plays
this game. Believe me, the Chinese are vastly more aggressive about spying
on us, you know, on the digital side than I think even our most ambitious
YGLESIAS: Yes. But what I`m saying is there`s going to be commercial
consequences for American technology companies as it becomes more and more
-- I mean, they are absolutely are. I mean, there is a reason that we are
not using Bedow (ph) web search, you know, in our houses, I mean, people
use it in China. Right? But China is not a global technology player in
the same kind of way in part because of these concerns.
KORNACKI: Well, I just, I want to just make a transition here because this
also formed the backdrop for what could be the first sort of squirmish
within the Republican Party for the next republican presidential nomination
and it`s illustrating kind of a split that`s occurred in the Republican
Party where you had Chris Christie and Rand Paul getting to this extended
back and forth where Christie first, where was he? Out in Colorado or
HENDERSON: Yes. Aspen. Yes.
KORNACKI: Aspen. There it is. OK. So, Christie went after Rand Paul.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
.debates and Rand Paul fired back by talking about Christie and Peter King
from New York who are both sort of hawkish on this sort of National
Security questions. He`s talking about how they were talking this give me,
give me, give me attitude that they have towards government spending,
towards Sandy money. So, when Rand Paul said that, this is how Chris
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: If Senator Paul wants to start
looking at where he`s going to cut spending to afford defense, maybe he
should start looking at cutting the pork barrel spending that he brings
home to Kentucky at $1.51 for every dollar and not look at New Jersey where
we get 61 cents for every dollar. So, maybe Senator Paul could, you know,
deal with that when he`s trying to deal with the reduction of spending on
the federal side. But I doubt he would. Because most Washington
politicians only care about bringing home the bacon so that they can get
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And speaking of Bacon, this was Rand Paul`s response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: This is the king of bacon talking about
bacon. You know, we have two military bases in Kentucky and as Governor
Christie recommending that we shut down our military bases? He wants to be
this great champion of national defense. What does he want to do? Shut
down military bases in Kentucky?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: What was interesting to me about this back and forth, Evan, was
five years ago, ten years ago, this wouldn`t even have been a question with
the Republican Party of how something like this goes over. The poll
position was marginalized. Christie was the absolute sort of consensus of
the Republican Party. Pew had some numbers that came out this week. And
they found it just in the last three years, since 2010, there has been a
21-point jump in the percentage of Republicans who say, they`re more
concerned about the impact of anti-terrorism policies than they are about,
you know, terrorism itself. In terms of their priorities and I think a lot
of the consensus, people who found the success that Rand Paul in today`s
republican universe maybe came out of this better than Chris Christie did.
SANTORO: Yes. I mean, can I first say the king of bacon is a job I would
take or --
KORNACKI: Next time you`re here, there`s going to be bacon --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
SANTORO: I`ll take it. I`ll take it. But, yes, I mean, go back to the
point from before, we`ve seen several polls that have shifted and shown
that Americans have been a little more concerned about these programs as
they`ve come out. Right? So, I think that Rand Paul`s ascension in that
pew poll you`re talking about is pretty surprising, I mean, especially when
you`re in Washington where the talk in Washington really among party
leaders is about moderating the party and about their making the party more
open to, you know, fundamental changes on their views on social issues and
stuff like that. And this poll suggested that the party wants to go pretty
But at the same time, my other thought was, you know, we`re talking about
Chris Christie and is he remarkable as a republican president located
within the republican universe because he praised Obama last year, blue
state, all these things. I also saw here, this is what Chris Christie I
think is going to be doing a lot more of, if he wins re-election and it
looks like he`s going to.
KORNACKI: He`s going to make that transition to being not a New Jersey
politician but a national republican politician. This is a sort of preview
of what he`s going to be doing in the last few years.
HENDERSON: Yes. And clearly his people had done the research on Kentucky
and Rand Paul and interesting that he pivoted directly back to Rudy
Giuliani and talking about National Security issues and terrorism issues.
He basically said to Rand Paul, you should go and talk to those widows from
9/11, if you want to talk about, you know, defense and National Security
and things like that. I didn`t think -- it was sort of a knee jerk sort of
pre-9/11 or 9/11 moment for him and I think he`s going to have to be in a
different place because his party is in a different place. We`re in a
post-9/11. We`re in a place where people are skeptical of these, you know,
KORNACKI: And I think that might be an issue -- that might be where the
New Jersey focus is a little different than national focus.
KORNACKI: I think just in New Jersey, there`s a little bit a lag there in
terms of how the proximity to ground zero 9/11 and the widows and -- I
think there`s a little more residence there than it does nationally and
there`s that as well.
KORNACKI: But we`re out of time this segment, unfortunately. Sorry.
We want to thank Matt Yglesias of Slate.com for joining us today. Anthony
Weiner`s advice for the media. That`s coming up, next.
KORNACKI: Down in the polls Anthony Weiner says, he is done being sorry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I`m not going to go
into the corner and crawl up because someone found out something
embarrassing of me. You see what`s going on here today? If you become
mayor of the city of New York, you have to put up with this every single
day. People saying to you, you know what? You did something we don`t
like. Cameras in your face. Change your mind, back down, quit.
That`s not the kind of mayor I`m going to be. Sir, I say to you with all
due respect, if you don`t like me, do not vote for me. But don`t deny
these people the right to vote for me if they want to.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
You know who I decided to vote for, Anthony Weiner. I decided I have good
ideas. I decide I`m not beholden to the political class. I`ve decided
that I have shown a level of independence in standing in front of you
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: You heard him un-bossed and un-backed but he does have a
surprising number of supporters left. And I`ll tell you who they are after
KORNACKI: You know Anthony Weiner said at least one thing these past few
weeks that I totally and completely believe. He is in the race for mayor
of New York to stay. Which means at least five more weeks until the
democratic primary on September 10th. There are plenty of people who say
we spent way too much time talking about this race and I get it. And we`re
talking about one city that geographically accounts for a microscopic
sliver of the United States but I think that short changing what`s at stake
More than eight million people live in New York, makes it bigger than 39
states as a $1.3 trillion economy, that`s larger than Mexico. We have got
Wall Street, Broadway, and the Statue of Liberty. It`s the first thing
people all over the world think of when they think of America. And right
now for the first time in 12 years, it`s electing a new leader. And on top
of that campaign has become the most wild, unpredictable and just plain fun
race taking place in the country anywhere this year.
So, let`s try to understand exactly what is going on how the race is taking
shape. Right now, there are two questions hovering over it. The first is,
does Weiner have a chance, any chance of coming back and winning? The
second is, if he doesn`t, then who will be the next mayor of New York?
Well, this is why God invented numbers because we do have some clues, that
stir up most recent poll for the democratic primaries from Quinnipiac.
OK. So, our first question is about Weiner. There he is at fourth place
at 16 percent. There are two ways of looking at this. The first is that
it is a steep drop. He`s in first place before his latest troubles and now
he sunk to fourth and maybe it`s just a start. Maybe Weiner is going to
drop even farther in the next poll and just fade out of this race. Another
way of looking at it though, from all he has been through, 16 percent
really isn`t that bad.
Remember, New York has runoffs. That means that if no one gets 40 percent
in the September 10th primary, the top two candidates will face each other
three weeks later. Right now, in this poll, Weiner is only five points out
of second place. So, where is Weiner`s support coming from? Who are the
16 percent who are still with them after all this? We have some more
numbers. More of them are women than men. It`s kind of surprising and so
is this. Weiner is actually leading among black voters and barely
registering with whites.
News polls it looks specifically at Latinos but they make up a big share of
the electorate too and given his overall support Weiner is probably doing
pretty well with them right now, too. What is amazing about this is that
African-Americans have not traditionally been part of Anthony Weiner`s
base. His old Congressional district was filled with blue cotter and
middle class whites, white ethnics we used to call them. He catered to
them. It was like he was trying to channel Ed Koch when he ran for mayor
in 2005, the support in the democratic primary came overwhelmingly from
white voters. So, Weiner`s big problem right now is he is losing his old
political base. He`s going to have some of it back because his new base
right now at least is not big enough by itself to make up for the
Here`s where Weiner`s problems really come in though. It really comes
into focus. Because if he actually does make it to the runoff, that`s when
the floor just falls out from under him. That`s what the last two weeks
have done to Weiner. He still got a decent base of support but new there
are hordes of new voters who will vote for anyone but him. That`s going to
be a lot to overcome. So, if it`s not going to be Weiner, who is going to
be the next mayor of New York.
Well, let`s go back to that new poll. Quinn, she is the speaker of the
City Council, she has been the nominal front-runner all year and she`s also
been a weak frontrunner. And the big reason for this, is because she
teamed up with Michael Bloomberg four years ago to junk term limits and to
let him run for a third time. This Bloomberg fatigue in New York right
now. And so being so intimately attached to him is not exactly helpful
when it comes to a democratic primary. A lot of skepticism and a lot of
hostility towards Quinn among the 45 percent of Democrats who are not happy
with Bloomberg and it`s created a huge opening for her opponents.
That`s why Weiner was able to get so much traction at least before the last
two weeks. That`s why Bill de Blasio, he`s positioning himself as appear
progressive alternative to Quinn. That`s why he suddenly in second place,
he`s picking up Weiner`s slot. That`s why a lot of smart politics watchers
in New York are now putting their money on Bill Thompson. He ran against
Bloomberg four years ago, we got no support from his party back then, no
attention from the media and still he nearly pulled off the shocker of the
Thompson would be New York`s second African-American mayor ever and just
this week he spoke out in jarringly personal terms against the Police
Department`s controversial stop and frisk program. The theory is, that he
will end up peeling off a lot of the African-Americans support that Weiner
now enjoys in the black turn-out tends to be under representative in New
York polling. If Thompson could then get into a one-on-one race with Quinn
in the run-off, the combination of Bloomberg fatigued deep African-American
support would be tough to beat.
You can see, he`s up ten points on her right now in that hypothetical race.
But really that is just one theory. That`s why I love elections in big,
diverse cities. Because there is a limitless number of coalitions that
candidates can assemble. Watching those coalitions take shape, we get to
learn something about politics, something about the candidates and
something about ourselves. Being somewhere out there, there is still
probably a coalition that could make Anthony Weiner the mayor of American`s
biggest city. We`re going to ask our panel about that possibility and a
bunch of others, after this.
KORNACKI: We`ve talked the last few weeks, it`s just been about Anthony
Weiner, should he stay in, should he stay out. But there is, listen, there
is a race going on here for, you know, one of the premier jobs in the
United States. I mean, Beano Cook, the old college football analyst said
the three best jobs in the country, president of the United States,
coaching Notre Dame, mayor of New York.
So, this is one of those three. Beano said it, it has to be true. But you
know, I`m trying to figure out what to make of the 16 percent. The one
poll basically, we have one comprehensive poll since this latest scandal
broke. I`m hoping there are more numbers than numbers next week or so.
But it really seems like, are we looking at Weiner just fading out of this
thing and will be at seven percent before we know and forget about him or
is this sort of personality we saw on display this week. Is that going to
kind of stop the slide? And maybe even, you know, you have debates, you
know, coming up, people start paying more attention, he has got money for
ads. Is there a chance still he makes himself back into, you know,
contention just to make a runoff, you know?
HENDERSON: I don`t see him making the runoff, but I do take your point. I
think he is at sort of the low water mark. Because now he is at the place
where he can paint himself sort of the victim of the media. Why is the
media focusing on this issue when people really want to talk about is
housing and education, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I still think he
has done too much damage. Nobody really cares about the sex so much as the
broken public thrust, the fact that people feel like they were lied to.
I think it`s far more important and there`s a sense we can`t trust this
guy. But I kind of think he`s at his low water mark and assuming no more
revelations, which is a big if, right? A big if. But assuming there`s no
more. I would say, he kind of hangs out where he is right now.
KORNACKI: But which is still to me kind of impressing. It says also, you
know, the main Anthony Weiner, I think everybody around the country knows
the name Anthony Weiner. They don`t know Bill de Blasio. People probably
don`t know Bill Thompson and Christine Quinn they probably don`t know. But
it also speaks to, I`ve always thought, if you put the scandals aside and I
don`t think Anthony Weiner accomplished much in Congress. We`re talking
But he is purely in terms of like seeing the angles on everything and being
able to exploit those angles and know exactly the right words to say, the
right way to say those words, the sort of exploit it politically. I have
rarely seen a politician as natural as him and I think that combination
compared to just sort of low-key his rivals are, it speaks to the weakness
of the rest of this field and Anthony Weiner strengths it as a communicator
that he`s sitting here at 16 percent after all this.
SANTORO: But I think he`s running low in message. I mean, if any voter
out there believes that the media did this to Anthony Weiner, I will -- to
sell that voter. I mean, he`s running out of message. He`s got nowhere to
go when there`s so many people now just talking about all these problems
and mistakes that he keeps making, right? I mean --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
KORNACKI: But Rick, I want to ask Rick about this one. Because when I saw
that performance that we showed within this week, you know what I thought?
I thought of Newt Gingrich and I thought the open marriage breaks on the
eve of the most Christian state in the republican primaries and he turns
the question on it who attack on the media and he gets 41 percent off.
WILSON: Right but look, here`s the thing. All Anthony Weiner is now is
proof that Morris (ph) law applies to people sending junk shots.
Technology has enabled him to engage in sexual misbehavior that is
repetitive. He won`t even deny he`s still doing it.
HENDERSON: Yes. He actually just denied it -- not doing it.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
Yesterday, as of yesterday.
KORNACKI: This will be the end of this sentence.
KORNACKI: -- If, when and how. But the guy has become a punch line. And
if you look at the two candidates that are running for citywide offices
right now, you look at Anthony Weiner and he has done nothing but confirm
people`s, you know, negative impressions of him. He is not in this, at
this point, with any sort of vision for the city. He doesn`t have any
selling proposition. You know, and believe me, in New York, being pissed
off at the media is not going to drag him over the finish line. I worked
for Rudy Giuliani in the 1997 re-election. And people in New York want a
mayor who is a character.
WILSON: They don`t necessarily demand, you know, every single moral
majority check box that might apply in South Carolina. But they also want
somebody who they think he may be a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a
bitch, he maybe a guy with rough edges, but he`s going to put that to work
for us. They don`t see that with Weiner. This is a whole body Anthony
Weiner. It is all about Anthony Weiner`s, you know, personal problem.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, "THE CYCLE": But see, I think that there is a
danger in, the media is going to continue to focus on his sexting thing
because it`s a great story.
SANTORO: Because it`s sexting.
HENDERSON: Yes. Because it`s out there.
BALL: And I do think that -- why would you go away? It`s a great story.
But if you, if it continues in that direction, I do think he`s able to make
the case. You know, they want to focus on this. What the people of New
York want to say. I`m not saying he`s going to win.
BALL: Right. But I don`t think that he goes much lower than the 16
percent. Also just because you said, Steve, people know who he is. So,
they see him on the polling, they see him on the ballot.
HENDERSON: I mean, if you look at the ad he -- I don`t think it was a
television ad, I think it`s just a video. Which sort of speaks to maybe he
hasn`t have as much money as we think he does. But he does have a great
tactile sense in terms of just feel and emoting to the camera.
HENDERSON: I thought it was a fantastic ad except for the fact that don`t
look at this shiny text over here where you can see my junk. I mean,
that`s the problem. Right? And it goes back to, he has no record to run
KORNACKI: Right. That`s the thing. Like he reminds me, like his style,
his sort of performers instinct really do remind me of Ed Koch and I think
he once told, he once told Ed Koch, like you`re my role model, take it to a
-- but that`s why I think I bet you`re right, the issue of the record on
top of that.
Anyway, what do we know now that we didn`t know last week? My answer is
KORNACKI: So what do we know now that we didn`t know last week? Well, we
know that Cory Booker is backing out of a trip to the first in the nation
presidential caucus state. The Daily Beast reports that shortly after the
New York mayor announced a few months ago that he would participate in a
special election to fill Frank Lautenberg`s Senate seat, Booker`s speaking
agency signed a contract on his behalf to speak at the University of Iowa
at the end of August.
That is the kind of trip that automatically fuels speculation about a
politician`s interest in national office. Spokesman for the university
said, they were expecting Booker to come, but according to his campaign
manager this week, the event was, quote, "Never at any point on the
campaign`s calendar." We also know that Booker vowed to Politico on
Thursday that he would not be running for president or vice president in
2016. And we know that this is the same Booker who said just eight months
ago, quote, "let there be no doubt, I will complete my full second term as
The second term that he is now interrupting to run for the Senate. We now
know that just -- we now know just how tense things really got between
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan during the American invasion of Grenada
30 years ago. Documents released this week by the British government
showed up until the day before the 1983 invasion, Thatcher tried to get
Reagan to reconsider, writing, quote, "I cannot conceal that I am deeply
disturbed by your latest communication. That even at this late stage, you
will take it into account before events are irrevocable."
We know that Reagan went ahead with the invasion anyway and apologized in a
phone call the next day, according to a British diplomat saying that quote,
"If he was in London, he would throw his hat in the door, first," checking
to see if he would be welcomed again by Margaret Thatcher. We know that in
fact he was, because upon Thatcher`s death in April this year, Nancy Reagan
said in the statement, quote, "Ronnie and Margaret were political soul
We now know that Republicans are reminiscing about the days of Bush-Cheney.
On Thursday, the National Republican Congressional Committee began selling
vintage Bush/Cheney 2000 campaign shirts. Remember those? The NRCC`s
Facebook page read, after five years of Obama, we really miss President
George W. Bush. Of course we know that this is a very familiar device in
politics. For instance, when Bill Clinton came to office in 1993, don`t
blame me, I voted for Bush bumper stickers suddenly became fashionable on
republican vehicles. And then there was my all time favorite which is this
one, "Don`t blame me, I`m from Massachusetts."
There was during Watergate. When the rest of the country regretted voting
for Nixon, while base states residents proudly pointed out that they had
been alone the only state to vote for George McGovern instead of Nixon in
1972. And finally, we now know that Louisiana`s colorful 85-year-old
former Governor Edwin Edwards and his 34-year-old wife had a baby boy on
Thursday. Edwards recently finished serving eight years in federal prison
for racketeering and extortion.
Allegations of corruption marked his four terms as governor. He once
famously said that the only way he`d ever be taken down was if he was
caught in bed with, quote, "either a dead girl or a live boy." And now at
85, he is a new father. I want to find out what my guests know now that
they didn`t know when the week began. Speaking of new parents, Krystal?
BALL: Well, I haven`t seen any, don`t blame me, I voted for Romney
stickers yet, but I`m waiting on that. So, one thing we know is that
changes made to the 2010 and 2010 to racist crack sentencing has already
had a huge impact, saving 16,000 prison years and a-half-billion dollars.
Think Progress had that this week.
KORNACKI: All right. Rick?
WILSON: One thing we know is that the CBO is goosing the numbers with a
look back on changing the employment numbers for the last three or four
years. It`s one more quiver in the arrow, to try to make a very iffy and
sort of stagnant economy look like we`re slowly increasing jobs.
SANTORO: I think we know that the pressure on Russia over LGBT rights and
the Olympics is not going away, it`s coming to Washington. My colleague
Chris Geidner has been doing a lot of great reporting on how this is
actually building and getting a constituency in Washington to pressure
Russia. And the Snowden thing doesn`t help Russia out at all. I think
you`ll going to see this become an issue that continues louder and louder
and louder up until those Olympics start in Sochi.
HENDERSON: I now know that Krystal Ball looks fantastic.
BALL: Thank you.
HENDERSON: Mere weeks after having a baby. I think we thought it was
Princess Kate who was going to set the bar for what women should look like
after their babies --
BALL: Women should look however --
HENDERSON: But you look fantastic.
KORNACKI: I knew that Krystal looked fantastic even before you --
KORNACKI: Anyway, my thanks to Krystal Ball of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE,"
republican strategist Rick Wilson, Evan McMorris Santoro of Buzzfeed.com.
The Nia-Malika Henderson of "The Washington Post," thank you all for
getting up and thank you for joining us today for UP.
Join us tomorrow, Sunday morning at 8:00 when we`ll take a close look at
some of the political price some Colorado politicians are paying for their
votes for gun control with Mark Glaze from Mike Bloomberg`s gun control
group and State Senator John Morse, who`s now a target of a recall attempt
for his vote.
Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" on today`s "MHP," Congressman Paul
Ryan held a hearing on poverty and what he didn`t include may tell us the
most about the republican agenda when it comes to the social safety net.
Plus, White House whispering campaign to build the case for Larry Summers.
It`s Melissa Harris-Perry and she`s coming up next and we`ll see you right
here tomorrow morning at 8:00. Thanks for getting up.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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