UP with STEVE KORNACKI
September 14, 2013
Guests: Joe Lhota, Christina Bellantoni, Mark Glaze, Molly Ball, Rep. Jim Moran
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Brink of war to breaking news of the
proposed deal on disarmament (ph).
We come on the air amid breaking news this morning that the Obama
administration has hammered out the outlines of a deal with Russia for
getting Syria to secure its chemical weapons. A deal would include a
timetable of when Syria must comply as well as conditions for how Syria
must comply, not to mention consequences for what happens if Syria does not
comply. But for those consequences, it seems we`ll stop just short of the
threat of military force.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: In the case of the Assad regime, President
Reagan`s old adage of trust but verify, go that I know pro that I (ph), I
think, is the saying. That is a need of an update and we have committed
here to a standard that says verify and verify.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Secretary of state, John Kerry, just over an hour ago. It`s
hard to believe that it was only two weeks ago this morning that the U.S.
military strike against Syria seemed imminent, a foregone conclusion. The
question back then wasn`t if an attack might happen, but when an attack
And then, President Obama stepped into the Rose Garden and did something
that absolutely no one saw coming. He pressed the pause button. Obama
announced that he`d go to Congress to seek approval for military action
against Syria, and this came just over a year after he warned Syrian
president, Bashar Assad, in very specific language not to use or even move
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have been very clear to
the Assad regime but also to other players on the ground that a red line is
for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around
or being utilized. That would change my calculus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Obama`s aides said the red line wasn`t something the president
had claimed to draw in that statement, but it hadn`t been privately
discussed before he made it. But by saying it, the president suddenly made
a major foreign policy commitment on the world stage. Seven months later
in March, these pictures of an alleged chemical attack outside Aleppo
challenged the president to act.
No one was really sure it was a chemical attack. It certainly looked like
one. Then, one year to the day after President Obama made the red line
comment, these horrifying pictures emerged out of Syria, another apparent
chemical attack. More than 1,400 men, women, and children killed. This
time, this attack, these pictures of these children being killed silently
compelled the Obama administration to respond.
On the world stage, the U.S. would be responding alone, without the
international support of even its staunchest allies or it was seemingly --
was increasingly likely without the support of either party in Congress,
which made it really notable this week when secretary of state, John Kerry,
opened the door to at least the possibility of a peaceful solution. The
only thing was, it didn`t seem like he`d done it by design.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there anything at this point that his government
could do or offer that would stop an attack?
KERRY: Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons
to the international community in the next week. Turn it over. All of it.
Without delay. And allow a full and total accounting for that, but he
isn`t about to do it and it can`t be done, obviously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: In the wake of those remarks, the state department scrambled to
issue a clarification that Kerry`s comment was mere rhetoric, not the
official position of the United States of America, but in a matter of
hours, the Russians had embraced Kerry`s unintentional or seemingly
unintentional proposal which meant that soon the White House was embracing
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: This initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical
weapons without the use of force, particularly, because Russia is one of
Assad`s strongest allies. I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress
to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this
Meanwhile, I`ve ordered our military to maintain their current posture to
keep the pressure on Assad and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The Obama administration has been saying for the last three
weeks since that alleged gas attack occurred outside Damascus that his main
goal, its immediate goal is to stop any further use of chemical weapons in
Syria. In the wake of Kerry`s comments this week, Syria has now admitted
for the very first time that it actually has chemical weapons.
And on Thursday, Syria applied to the United Nations to become the latest
nation to sign on to the chemical weapons convention. To sign on to that
is to pledge to clear your stockpile of chemical weapons and to allow those
weapons to be inspected and ultimately destroyed.
This week, the White House has been combating the notion that everything
that`s happened was unplanned, that it was an unexpected reaction by Putin
and Assad to an offhand comment that John Kerry didn`t intend to make. The
White House say the potential diplomatic solution was really a long time
coming. It started to get traction when President Obama and President
Putin met at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg.
No matter how it actually came about, though, it`s been an amazing turn of
events these past few days. As we mentioned, there is breaking news this
morning that President Obama and his administration are taking dramatic
steps to make a chemical weapons agreement with the Syrian`s work but not
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The current discussions produced a serious plan. I`m prepared to
move forward with it. But we are not just going to take Russia and Assad`s
word for it. We need to see concrete actions to demonstrate that Assad is
serious about giving up his chemical weapons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: There are, of course, a lot of moving parts here with no
guarantee that Syria will follow through on any of this. The betting man
would be wise to be skeptical. But at this time last week, we didn`t even
know that getting Syria to hand over its stockpile of chemical weapons was
even a possibility.
We want to turn now to NBC White House correspondent, Kristen Welker. She
is at the White House for the very latest. Good morning, Kristen. Can you
tell me more about what seems to be a concession by the administration when
it comes to that threat of force?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Steve.
Well, I can. We learned about that concession during a closed door
briefing here with senior administration officials at the White House,
which I attended on Friday.
Those officials essentially saying that President Obama will not insist
that a use of force component be a part of a U.N. resolution as a
consequence if Assad fails to comply with the plan that Secretary Kerry and
Lavrov mapped out today.
That is a big deal because, of course, the use of force issue is something
that this administration has been holding over the head of Assad for the
past several weeks. Now, having said that, officials say that President
Obama still retains his right to attack Assad unilaterally if he feels as
though Assad is not following through with the plan.
But again, the United States acknowledging, essentially, that Russia would
veto any U.N. resolution that included a use of force trigger. Instead,
senior administration officials say U.N. resolution would include things
like sanctions and other penalties. Those details are still being worked
It is also important to note that they would like to see that U.N.
resolution passed within the next several weeks -- Steve.
KORNACKI: Yes. I just want to follow up, Kristen, on the question of the
timetable. There`s the issue of when the resolution you`re saying the next
couple of weeks, a U.N. resolution. There`s the issue, I guess, of
basically the accounting of all, the inventory of chemical weapons from
Syria, and then the question sort of ultimately of dismantlement, of
getting rid of all them -- getting them out of the hands of the regime. Do
we have a sense of sort of what the total time table is for compliance on
WELKER: We do. And according to Secretary Kerry who stated earlier today
that under this plan, Assad will have to list his chemical weapons
stockpile within a week, then they would like to see inspectors on the
ground in Syria by November, beginning the process of removing these
chemical weapons. And then, Secretary Kerry said they would like to see
all of Assad`s chemical weapons removed or destroyed by 2014.
That is a very ambitious time line, because if you talk to experts, they
say that the process of removing chemical weapons is one that could go on
for several months, if not years. And remember, this will have to take
place in a war zone. So, it is going to be very difficult. There are also
reports that Assad has been moving his chemical weapons around.
When I asked senior administration officials about those reports, they say
that they have a pretty good sense of where Assad`s chemical weapons are.
They`ve been tracking it over the past several years -- Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. thank you, Kristen Welker at the White House.
Now, I want to bring in molly Balls, she`s a national political reporter
for the "Atlantic" magazine. We have MSNBC contributor, Perry Bacon, Jr.
He`s also the political editor of our sister site, The Grio.com, and
Christina Bellantoni. She`s a political editor at the PBS News Hour.
So, nothing like breaking news on a Saturday morning, but as I said in the
opening there, this is kind of amazing. It was just, I think, two
Saturdays ago on this show, we were basically talking about, you know, is
it 24 hours, is it 48 hours until the missiles start flying.
And now this, you know, not only is the talk of the agreement, not only the
apparent agreement that the United States is struck with Russia, but it`s
the United States really sort of backing off from that demand of a
resolution, you know, backed by force. It seems to me that if all this
reporting sort of is true, that question of the use of force is really off
the table now for if not for good for a very long time.
MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC: Yes. The pace of events has just been
remarkable. And the extent to which these new developments, all of them
very unexpected, you know, as you were just talking about, some of these
things stemming from off the cuff comments, it`s been termed accidental
diplomacy. The intervention of the Russians absolutely unexpected.
They are not a particularly faithful ally in recent years and the fact that
they would intervene as a sort of -- mocking at us to solve this terrible
diplomatic dilemma for the Obama administration is really remarkable.
KORNACKI: Again, it`s sort of preliminary reporting and everything. You
can think right away of a lot of things that could go wrong here, and
Kristen started hint (ph) at them. You know, had the Syrians been sort of
dispersing the chemical weapons so they`re hard to find. You know, this is
in agreement with the Russians. Will the Syrians even go along with this?
She said months or years maybe to get to full sort of dismantling. So,
there`s a lot -- you think of Iraq in 1990s.
I think there was reporting that the Syrians even have the Iraq example on
their minds. But again, it just looks like the timetable here, we`re not
talking about military force now, maybe for potentially years.
CHRISTINA BELLANTONI, PBS NEWSHOUR: And that sound you hear is members of
Congress breathing a giant sigh of relief. This was something no one had
expected to be coming back from recess focusing on. The last week has made
it very difficult for lawmaker, even ones that want to be supportive of the
president or might favor this, because they are getting overwhelming
opposition from back home.
It`s not just about war weariness as the president keeps talking about.
It`s also about economics. It`s also about people just feeling like why
are we getting involved, people not wanting to be that world police. But,
the other interesting thing about what Kristen reported is how often have
sanctions worked? You`ve seen congressmen very supportive of that, but
they don`t actually have a lot of effectiveness.
KORNACKI: Yes. Well, and that`s going to be the question then -- follow
in the coming weeks, months, and then again, maybe even years, but -- I`m
trying to also piece together how we got to this point this week. So,
there`s the question there everybody has been trying to address I think it
still sort of holds up right now is, you know, was this just a series of
sort of accidental developments and sort of, you know, the Obama
administration responding to, well, we didn`t think Harry is going to say
We didn`t think the Russians are going to do that, but now that he did and
they did, let`s go with it or, you know, do we have, you know -- is it part
of a greater design because the administration, Perry, would like us to
say, well, Putin and Obama were actually talking a few weeks ago.
PERRY BACON, JR., MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: If you saw Monday where John Kerry
makes the statement about, well, here`s the idea that might be great and
like two hours later, his advisers are making sure every reporter knows
that there was an offhand remark and not meant to be a public policy. You
know, as they were talking about the U.N. process and John Kerry`s aids are
sort of walking us back.
Susan Rice gives a speech at the same time with the New America Foundation
talking about how we`ve done the U.N. process. I was there. I was the
U.N. ambassador. The U.N. process can`t work with Syria. So, clearly,
it`s hard to imagine this is a great design that the national security
adviser was uninformed. So, to say this was great design, this was meant
to do seem to be an exaggerative of the administration.
That said, go back to the original red line comment, the idea was the
president wants to make sure Syria does not use chemical weapons. That may
end up happening. If you look at where we are right now. We`re having an
inspection process. Surely, the discussion about this over the last few
weeks has the world has now said we do not accept Syria using nuclear
There`s no desire of a strike or military action to enforce that. But it`s
ultimately possible this policy, if the goal is for Syria not to have any
more chemical weapons attack, that made up be the result. So, the act of
little diplomacy may actually work.
KORNACKI: If this ends up with Syria declaring its chemical stockpile and
handing it over and no actual military force being used by United States,
no extra civilian, you know, casualties in Syria caused by the United
States, no loss of American life, ultimately, does any of this maneuvering?
We`ve heard so much about, oh, the president`s credibility is at stake.
It`s been lost. But if this is the end result and this works, does any of
BALL: Yes. I think you have, you know, critics of the administration
saying, well, they sure don`t look like they know what they`re doing here.
And the administration`s reply is sort of exactly what you just said, that
they got the result that they wanted. I think the one sort of common theme
in all the president`s remarks about this has been the sort of agonized
quality to it.
You could not accuse him of being eager to go to war. He sort of -- was at
pain to explain how he was being forced, how his hand was being forced and
why the United States was compelled to take this action in his view. But
you could not accuse him of rushing into the fray as this sort of
caricature of a warmonger, you know?
So, the fact that, you know, they got the result they wanted, which was not
to go to war and to also have a diplomatic solution, I think those things
can both be true, right? It can be the case that they stumbled into this,
didn`t really know what they were doing and I think have lost some
And if you look at the polling, the trust of Obama`s handling of foreign
affairs, it`s at all-time lows. At the same time, I think people on the
whole, not just members of Congress are very relieved not to be --
KORNACKI: It will be interesting to see if those poll numbers change now
if the news has suddenly -- we`ve got this agreement, we`ve got this war
(ph), and we`ve got Syria to hand over its chemical weapons. Maybe those -
- the handling with foreign policy numbers will go up.
We`re going to do much more about this in a minute, because we have a
member of Congress, one of the members of Congress, who was adamantly
pushing for military strike and that`s Congressman Jim Moran, a Democrat of
Virginia. He`s going to join us next and respond to this breaking news.
That will be right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: We said at the outset that to accomplish our goal, this plan had to
produce transparency, accountability, timeliness, and enforceability. It
must be credible and verifiable. If fully implemented, we believe it can
meet these standards.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Secretary of state, John Kerry, this morning in Geneva. And
joining us now is Congressman Jim Moran. He`s a Democrat for Virginia
who`s been an eager proponent (ph) of a military strike against Syria and
who also has said he`s been happy that the president is pursuing the
diplomatic course of the past week.
And Congressman, thank you for joining us. So, you heard the news. We`re
all sort of processing it right now, but a deal struck with United States
and Russia, the outlines of a deal at least. And I just want to, first of
all, what is your reaction to the news you`re hearing this morning?
REP. JIM MORAN, (D) VIRGINIA: Steve, this is an extraordinary achievement
on the part of President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. And they did
this on their own with virtually no help from their political party. Nancy
Pelosi, Steny Hoyer spoke up and, you know, a couple of columnists, Nick
Kristof, Richard Cohen come to mind. But for the most part, they were out
there by themselves.
And they achieved something that`s just remarkable. They deserved
extraordinary credit. And of course, the irony is they`re getting no
credit for what they brought about. Our objective was to stop the use and
proliferation of this massive chemical stockpile that President Assad has
in Syria. And it looks like we may be able to do that.
It`s going to be a road full of bumps and detours, but we`re going in the
right direction and I think that this could be one of those -- the most
extraordinary achievements of any president given the fact that they have
so little of public support for what they know they needed to do. So, I`m
very much encouraged.
I`m very much impressed by the leadership of John Kerry and Barack Obama
and Susan Rice and Samantha Power. They really did this. And if this
works, it should go in the history books of one of the finest foreign
KORNACKI: OK. And so, again, we`ll sort of, you know, preface this by
saying, you know, if this works, but accepting that it does, then yes, as
you`re saying, we`ve achieved, you know -- Syria to sort of surrender its
chemical stockpiles, to admit that it has it. And it`s been done
critically without the U.S. actually taking the military action.
And you were one of the members of Congress, one of the few members of
Congress, you know, who for the last -- you know, better part of the last
few months has been saying we should launch a military strike against
Syria. Do you take a lesson from the fact that this was achieved without,
you know, going that route, without taking a military strike. Do you say,
hey, I`m glad they didn`t listen to me on that?
MORAN: No, Steve, they wouldn`t listen, unless, there was a credible
threat of military force. That`s what brought them to the table. We had
to be genuine about this. We weren`t going to hurt civilians, but we knew
how we could blow up some of his airfields, some of his planes, some of his
infrastructure without hurting civilians, but substantially degrading his
ability to kill Syrian civilians. That`s what we would have accomplished.
But, it`s far better to go this route. We could never have been going in
this direction had not there been the credible use of military force. We
told him now for three years, stop this. He didn`t pay any attention.
When he used chemical weapons, we said, "stop this." We`ve got the Syria
accountability active. So, he knew those were mere words.
And so, they didn`t make any influence. When the president said, OK,
you`ve crossed the red line. I`m ready to use military force, then he and
Russia understood it was time to make a deal. That`s why it`s a
KORNACKI: Let me ask you about this, because the part of that, is
interesting to me is, we can talk about, you know, whether, you know, John
Kerry made a misstatement this week, whether that was intentional or
unintentional, but the other aspect of the timing of it that`s interesting
to me of sort of Putin stepping in, Russia stepping in, and offering this
diplomatic track is that it looked at that moment that this thing, this
idea of authorizing military force was going down to defeat in Congress.
That you had, you know, widespread Republican opposition. You`ve had very
few Democrats like you stepping up and saying, you know, let`s launch a
military attack. We should give the president the authority of that. The
fact that it was going down when Putin made the decision, what do you make
MORAN: Well, I think that they believe that the president still reserved
the option to use military force and that had the Senate passed
authorization, I think, they would have ignored it in the House and
considered that to be sufficient support of moving forward. But, Steve, I
have a suspicion that this scenario was worked out between President Obama
and President Putin when they were together in St. Petersburg.
They`re never going to tell us that. They don`t want either of their
constituencies to know that. But I do think that there`s more behind the
scenes that we may never know but would be very impressed to find out about
because it seems as though things fell into place much more naturally than
they normally would have and I don`t think this was an offhand remark by
Secretary Kerry that got this going.
I really think it was our president and President Putin figuring out, this
is the right path to go. And I think President Putin also understands that
some of these folks in Syria could represent a direct threat to him if they
were to get the hands on any of that chemical stockpile.
BELLANTONI: Congressman Moran, Christina Bellantoni from the PBS Newshour.
Is it your understanding based on what we`re hearing this morning that
Congress probably won`t consider any resolution that authorizes any force?
I mean, this has just gone away completely for a voting issue?
MORAN: I don`t want the Congress to take this up on the House floor. This
is the most dysfunctional Congress in modern history. The last thing we
need is to bring it up on the House floor. Some of our new members, I
question whether they could find Syria on a map. And I hate to be so
pejorative, but they don`t want to be involved in foreign policy. They
know their constituencies are adamantly opposed to it.
It would go down very badly in the House and would be seen as a repudiation
of a policy that, frankly, is far more consistent with America`s history
and its values and principals that many people in the Congress understand
it to be. So, it shouldn`t go before the House floor and I`m not sure -- I
doubt that it will ever come up before the Senate. I think we`re far
better off leaving it to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry.
They know what they`re doing. And, I think what far better served than
sending it over to the legislative branch at any point in time.
KORNACKI: And congressman, we`re little short on time here, but I want to
get Molly Ball, and she has one question as well.
BALL: Congressman, Molly Ball from the "Atlantic," are you dismayed that
more of your Democratic colleagues didn`t have the administration`s back on
this issue? And what -- how deep is the divide on foreign policy within
the Democratic Party?
MORAN: Oh, boy, you bet I am, but it`s not just my colleagues. They`re
reflecting their constituencies. I mean, my constituency, it`s 93 percent
to seven percent against the president`s proposal. I`m going to speak to a
liberal community tomorrow, and for several days, I`m going to try to hold
back my disappointment, frankly, because I think we`ve lost the sense that,
you know, human lives are of value, wherever they may be.
And the fact that they are not American lives doesn`t mean that they`re of
less value. But there seems to be this isolation, this trend, it`s not my
problem, keep me out of that. And I don`t like to see that and except that
I mentioned Nick Kristof, Richert Cohen, a few people who have spoken up.
But very few, Samantha Power speaks before the Senate for American
Progress. It was one of the best speeches given in a long time about --
with regard to who is America. What do we represent to the rest of the
I think it was largely ignored, but it shouldn`t have been. So, yes, I`m
disappointed with some of my colleagues. I`m very -- you know, if Nancy
Pelosi and Steny Hoyer stood up tall, they deserve a lot of credit because
they know they didn`t have the support of their constituency in the
Congress or even let alone back in San Francisco. Poor Nancy had her 50th
wedding anniversary and they were protesting on her front lawn at the same
But, you know, they knew what the right thing to do was. But, in both the
body of the Republicans and the Democrats, they didn`t want to get involved
and I`m afraid that this does not speak well for the position that the
Congress is likely to take subsequent challenges. So, yes, I`m
disappointed. But it is what it is. And we`re supposed to represent our
KORNACKI: That is a key question going forward, what happens the next time
a situation like this comes up and will re-visit it then, I`m sure. But my
thanks to Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia, but I hear a little
Massachusetts in the voice there, I think. Thanks for joining us this
I`ve been looking forward to this all week. What`s coming up next, we are
testing our buzzers. We are quieting up the music, and we are warming the
contestants of the most exciting seven minutes in television, the first up
with Steve game show. It`s called quiz masters 2,000. It`s coming up.
KORNACKI: The 1980s was the modern golden age of the television game show.
And this was ear signature moment. The show was "Sale of the Century," the
host, the great Jim Perry, and has stake, but turning champion Mark De
Carlo playing for a record shattering 11th consecutive victory. In the
final seconds, Mark stumbles on an answer. He loses five points. He falls
into a tie, and he forces a one question playoff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a tie. We have a tie. Howard, you out of it.
You cannot answer. It`s between Deborah and Mark. Remember, if you answer
incorrectly, you lose five. You would lose. You answer correctly, you add
five, and you would win. An Indian woman named Sacajawea --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deborah.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pocahontas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I still get chills. We are going to try to recapture the magic
of that moment in our own version of game show glory next.
KORNACKI: So, my mom, she`s within of those moms who like to save
everything that I brought home from school as a kid. I get a note from my
1st grade teacher, Steve keeps forgetting to zip his fly. It`s kind of
embarrassing, please do something about it. And mom would take the note
and she`d put it in the big bin of stuff and she`d save it forever.
So, anyway, a couple of years ago, my mom decided to give me the big bin of
stuff. The other night, I got bored and I started looking through it and I
found my old journal from 2nd grade. It`s kind of embarrassing, so I
figured I`d share it on national television. Let me give you a taste.
Here`s the entry from October 29, 1986, when apparently, I was feeling
philosophical and decided to imagine what my life might be like if I was
alive in the year 2986.
It`s a thousand years in the future. My seven-year-old self wrote, "I
would be very wrinkly and old. I would stay in bed all day and never get
up except for drink and food. I would die soon. I would be sick and die
soon." My nickname as a kid, by the way, was Mr. Sunshine. Here is my
Thanksgiving entry. This was when I watched an NFL game between the Lions
and the Packers. I got so excited I drew a picture of it.
And apparently, I was a little confused about how many players there were
on a team. It looks like I thought it was seven on five, but there, you
got the final score. The Packers beat the Lions that day. Big event.
Thank God I commemorate it in my journal. Anyway, there`s some other
embarrassing stuff I won`t show you, but there is one other entry that did
catch my eye. It is from September 19th, 1986.
And it says, "When I grow up, I want to go on game shows." Actually, I
spelled it s-O-W-E-S, but I`m pretty sure I meant a game shows. So, I said
I want to on game shows like Joker`s Wild and Fandango and "Sale the
Century" and Jeopardy and "Million Dollar Chance of a Lifetime and on and
on and on. I spent a page-and-a-half listing every game show I`d ever seen
and wanted to be on.
So, yes, I was a little obsessed with game shows as a kid. It was the fast
pace, the competition, the excitable host, the dramatic music. I`m not
sure exactly, but whatever it was, it was all intoxicating. And the thing
is that obsession never really went away. My first job after college
wasn`t actually in journalism.
It was as a professional game show contestant. Well, that`s what I aspired
to be, at least, in trip to L.A. with a few friends ended up being a
complete disaster. I never actually got on the air. More recently,
though, I unleashed my inner game show enthusiast in a segment for this
show thyat we called "Is this a New Jersey Senate candidate?"
KORNACKI: Is this a New Jersey Senate candidate?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, final answer.
KORNACKI: I`m so sorry. He is not a New Jersey Senate candidate. He`s
the star of the 1992 movie "Beethoven," Charles Grogan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. Come on now.
KORNACKI: Never seen "Beethoven?"
KORNACKI: It had some kind of special skill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you thinking of like that air --
KORNACKI: Airbud played basketball.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And soccer and football.
KORNACKI: And Airbud 2, golden receiver.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. You know this.
KORNACKI: So, why am i Telling you all of this? Because we were all
sitting around here the other day at up world headquarters, and we realized
that we had to do something on this weekend show about the latest
Republican posturing on Obamacare and the debt ceiling and all the other
stuff you`ve heard about 28,000 times by now.
Look, none of it is unimportant on what Congress does or what it doesn`t do
and all these issues this fall does matter. But it`s also kind of
repetitive, and it can get a little boring. And so, we decided that at
least for this week, we`re going to take a break and we`re going to turn
this week`s show into a game show.
Our panelists are going to play. We`ve got a grand prize and exciting
bonus round, cheesy music, and, an authentic microphone from the golden age
of TV game show. So, stay right there. When we come back, we will play
what we are calling Quiz Masters 2000.
ANNOUNCER: Live on Studio 3A in Rockefeller Center New York City, USA.
This is the old and yet totally familiar Quiz Masters 2,000.
Right now, today`s contestants, a political journalist originally from
Louisville, Kentucky, Perrry Bacon, Jr. Another political journalist,
original from Denver, Colorado, Molly Ball, our returning champion whose
scored a winning totaled $46,000 in cash and prizes, would you believe,
she, too, a political journalist, from San Jose, California, Christina
And now, here is the host of Quiz Masters 2,000, Steve Kornacki.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KORNACKI: Thank you. Thank you, Bill Wolf (ph). I`ve always said that
man`s voice puts Johnny Gilbert`s to shame. Welcome to all of you playing
along at home to another exciting edition of Quiz Masters 2,000. You have
met our contestants. We have two new challengers here today. Perry and
Molly, welcome to both of you. And of course, she needs no introduction,
our returning champion, Christina Bellantoni. There`s been some impressive
play from you. Welcome back.
BELLANTONI: My pleasure.
KORNACKI: All right. Let`s get right to the rules. I have in my hands
here a series of questions. There are different values on these questions.
We will start with the easier ones. As we go along, they will become
harder, and the point value will increase. The subject of today`s game, it
changes every week, but the subject of today`s game is debt ceiling, health
care, politics in Washington, D.C.
That is going to be the subject of all of the questions in this quiz. I
will caution you as i always do, please allow me to read the full question
before you ring in. If you ring in early, you will be locked out. You
will also be penalized the value of the question if you do not answer it
correctly. Contestants, are you ready?
KORNACKI: All right. Let`s play, Quiz Master`s 2,000, five minutes on the
clock, please, hands on buzzers. And we begin with the multiple choice
Question number one, since 1940, Congress has effectively proved 79
increases to the debt ceiling. That is an average of more than one a year.
It is something they have to do if they want to avoid a U.S. government
default. But with the debt ceiling once again due to hit its deadline by
the middle of next month, some lawmakers are threatening a default.
The question for 100 points is, what is the current debt ceiling`s limit?
Is it A. $46, B. $16.699 million, C. $16.699 billion or D. $16.699
BACON: D. $16 trillion.
KORNACKI: He says D. D is the answer, and Perry Bacon has drawn first
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KORNACKI: That`s 100 points for the challenger. Moving on now to question
two, this is still the multiple choice round, 100 points. Conservatives in
the House of Representative staged a revolt this week over funding of the
government, tying any effort to keep the government running to defunding
The question for 100 points, how many scheduled legislative days remain
between now and a shutdown? Is it A. five days, B. 30 days, C. 365 days,
or D. it`s a trick question, it won`t happen?
BELLANTONI: I can`t take two answers, right? It is A is the correct
answer, but my prediction is that it won`t happen.
KORNACKI: Christina, we`re going to need a final answer.
KORNACKI: She says. The champion is correct. And the battle is joined.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KORNACKI: 100 to 100. We move onto the final question of the multiple
choice round. At the end of the month, states will begin running their own
insurance programs as part of Obamacare. What sports team announced this
week, what professional sports team, announced that it will be helping to
promote the launch of the Obamacare exchanges? Is it A. The Tulsa 66ers,
B. The Savannah Sand Gnats, C. D.C. United, or D. The Columbus Blue
BALL: I`m going to D.C. United, Steve.
KORNACKI: She says D.C. United, and D.C. United is the answer. We have a
three-way tie, an unprecedented three-way tie at the end of our multiple
choice round. Contestants, we will now move into phase two of Quiz Masters
2000. These are no longer multiple choice questions. And as such, we have
doubled their value.
These questions will be worth 200 points. Hands on buzzers, please. The
next question, after House conservatives staged the revolt this week over
funding with the government, Senator Harry Reid said that he feels sorry
for which member of the House?
BELLANTONI: Speaker John Boehner from Ohio.
KORNACKI: Speaker John Boehner from Ohio it is. And Christina pulls into
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KORNACKI: Moving right along, Republican senator, Mike Enzi, of Wyoming
announced a new bill this week that would require which one person to
enroll in the health insurance exchange.
BALL: Is it President Obama?
KORNACKI: It is President Obama.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KORNACKI: And Molly is tied on the score. That`s the confidence we look
for in a quiz master contestant. And oh, we have reached the wild card
moment, the video wild card. Contestants, if you`ve been watching, you
know how this works. This is actually worth 300 points. We are going to
play a clip then we are going to ask you a question about it.
This is how Congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina got the crowd fired
up at anti-Obamacare rally outside the Capitol this week. Here`s the
video. I`ll ask you a question after it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JEFF DUNCAN, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Guess who`s in the building right
DUNCAN: All news, but the president of the United States is right there
talking to Senate Democrats or Republicans. Let`s let him hear how you
feel about Obamacare. Let him hear it. No, no, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The question, contestants. The congressman talks about
Obamacare, but what was the president actually in the Capitol to talk
KORNACKI: Syria is correct for 300 points.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KORNACKI: Christina takes the lead. We move back now. These are no
longer video questions. These are worth 200 points again. Republican
senator, Ted Cruz, of Texas said this week that he would like to see the
Senate filled with 100 people, all of them just like a certain person. For
200 points, who was that person?
KORNACKI: Time. The correct answer is Jesse Helms.
KORNACKI: The current score is Christina 400, Molly 300, Perry 100. We
are down to 30 seconds. See if we can squeeze another question here.
Republican senator, Tom Coburn, has said he does not want Republicans to
stage a shutdown fight over Obamacare, but he still says he`s against the
spending plan that House GOP leaders have put together, because it exempts
some defense spending from what? For 200 points, what does it exempt some
defense spending from?
KORNACKI: Sequestration is correct. Molly takes the lead.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KORNACKI: We have time for one final question. Yes. This is like the
NBA. The shots in the air. So, if the buzzer goes off here, ignore it.
We have one fine question. We`ll reset the stage. Molly has 500 points.
Christina, the defending champion, fighting for her life has 400. Perry
you have 100. But I have good news for you, Perry. The final question is
worth 400 points. It`s a chance for you to force a time. There`s a chance
for either of you to win the game.
And the question is this. Since they took over the House of
Representatives in January 2011, Republicans have held numerous votes to
repeal, delay, or defund all or parts of President Obama`s health care law.
The question for 400 points, tell me, within two, the exact number of those
votes that Republicans have held?
BALL: I believe it is 41.
KORNACKI: Forty-one she says. Judges can we accept that? We can accept
that. And Molly Ball has dethroned the champion and is the new Quiz
KORNACKI: With the record shattering 900 points. Congratulations to you.
Christina, it has been, I dare say, it has been an epic run these past four
days. You leave us with $46 in cash and prizes. And I have to say, with
the performance like that, you may be returning for our tournament of
champions in a few months. Hopefully, we`ll see you back here.
Perry, we do not want you to leave empty handed. You will be bringing the
home edition back with you to Louisville, fun for --
KORNACKI: Fun for the family, fun for kids of all ages. Actually, kids 12
and older. I`m told there are small parts. We don`t want them choking.
So, be careful with the game. And now, Molly Ball, our new champion. You
have defeated the four-time champion, and we tell you it is time to take a
trip to the winner`s circle. We don`t actually have a winner`s circle.
So, you`re going to stay at your podium, but you are now effectively in the
And you will play in our jackpot bonus round for $1,000. Let me explain to
you how this works. Most game shows have an actual prize budget. Our show
can barely afford pastries, so I have been forced to put the $1,000 up for
this. I was also in massive debt until recently, so I don`t want to lose
Therefore, the questions are ridiculously, almost comically designed to be
unanswerable by anybody but me. But, you never know, if you happen to get
it right, I will give you $1,000 on the spot. It will be yours to keep.
So, Molly, are you ready to play for the $1,000 Quiz Master`s jackpot?
BALL: Sure. Why not?
KORNACKI: Excellent. The question -- category, actually, we`ll give you
the category first. The category is modern Oklahoma Congressional race
KORNACKI: And your question, are you ready for your question, Molly?
KORNACKI: Ready or not, here it comes for $1,000. In 1994, in one of the
most historic upsets of the modern era, a veteran Democratic congressman
from Oklahoma was defeated in a Democratic primary by a 71-year-old retired
middle school principal.
For $1,000, Molly Ball, I need you to tell me the name of the congressman
who was defeated, the name of the retired middle school principal who
defeated him, and the Republican who went on to win the seat that fall.
Take your time. You have five seconds.
BALL: Sure, Tom Coburn.
KORNACKI: Tom Coburn is correct. I need the other two.
KORNACKI: I need the other two.
BALL: The other two?
KORNACKI: Who was the congressman who was defeated?
BALL: Yes. I don`t know, I guess.
KORNACKI: Not going to guess?
BALL: I`m not going to guess.
KORNACKI: Two one time. I`m so sorry, Molly. You got one-third. It`s
not worth one-third of $1,000, but the correct answer, the congressman was
Mike Synar. The defeat -- the man who defeated him, the principal was
named Virgil Cooper, and he lost to Tom Coburn in the general election.
Molly, we have your grand prize, anyway, though, you win a hat from the
winner`s OTB Pub. This was in my closet.
KORNACKI: It`s been deliced. It is yours to keep. And you are our new
defending champion, Molly Ball, our new Quiz Master. Thank you for
playing. Thank you to all of you. Thank you for playing at home. We will
see you next time on Quiz Masters 2,000.
KORNACKI: All right. We`re back. We`re just going to -- I figure we
should just sort of debrief and decompress a little bit after that
thrilling game show. There was some tension back stage, I know. You know,
Christina does not give up the throne easily.
BELLANTONI: I`m very competitive. It`s true.
KORNACKI: You are a very classy in defeat, though, I have to say. And
Molly, the hat, it fits, I hope.
BALL: Oh, absolutely. You know, it`s really a stellar addition to my
KORNACKI: Molly, it turns out -- we found out Molly actually was on a real
game show. You were on --
BALL: I was on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." And I did pretty well. I
won $100,000 back in 2007.
KORNACKI: 100,00 and that`s the Meredith Vieira (ph) edition, not the
BALL: Correct. That`s right. I used all my lifelines. They all worked
out quite well for me. And I declined to answer the $250,000 question.
KORNACKI: And now, here`s the question, though, did you -- if you had
guessed the $250,000 question, would you have been right?
BALL: Well, in hindsight, I think so -- I think i had the right guess, but
I was going back and forth between a couple of them and I realized I`d be
crazy to do that when I think I would have gone back down to 50 if I got it
KORNACKI: So, take the money and run. Yes.
KORNACKI: That`s why I would end up zero on that show. I`d keep going
until I get it wrong, but I`d regret it the rest of my life.
Anyway, 1989, it was a big year, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the
earthquake in San Francisco that brought the World Series to a screeching
halt. There were also great movies that year like "Fields of Dreams,"
"Bill and Ted`s Excellent Adventure," and of course "She`s Out of Control"
starring Tony Danza and Wallace Shawn, and if you (ph) forgot that last
one, I don`t blame you, but I wanted to put in there.
Anyway, 1989 was also the last time that a Democrat won the mayoral race in
New York City. And this year, the party appears poised to take back city
hall, but they have to get past one man, his name is Republican Joe Lhota,
and he is going to join us next.
KORNACKI: This debate over what, if anything, to do about Syria came to a
head just as America paused for the 12th time to remember the anniversary,
excuse me, of the September 11th attacks. The cliche is that 9/11 changed
everything, but when you look at politics in this country over the last 12
years, well, 9/11 really did change a lot.
The politics we are living with today, the politics that define the Obama
years, the politics that gave rise to Obama, the politics they are shaping
the debate over Syria, it`s all a product of the 9/11 ripple effect. Look
at this way -- this is from a site called Smart Politics, which is run by a
political scientist at the University of Minnesota.
On the day of the attacks, September 11th, 2001, there were a total of 260
Democrats in Congress. It`s the House and Senate combined. Today, only
112 of them are still there. It means that 57 percent of the Democrats
were in Congress on the day America was attacked are now gone.
Now, the Republican side is even more dramatic. There were 268 Republicans
in Congress on 9/11, and just 81 of them are still there today. That`s a
turnover of 70 percent.
Obviously, 9/11 ripple effect isn`t the reason why every single one of
these members of Congress aren`t there anymore. But let`s take a quick
tour of the last 12 years and see what happened. The direct impact was
obvious right away.
Just months earlier, a Supreme Court ruling had handed George W. Bush the
presidency in an election in which he lost the popular vote. But all the
controversy about his basic claim to the presidency melted away in one
unscripted moment three days after the attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I can hear you.
(LAUGHTER AND CHEERS)
I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And the people who knock these buildings down will hear all of us soon.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Bush says those words and his poll numbers surged to levels
never before recorded.
In New York, Rudy Giuliani`s eight years as mayor are coming to an end in
the fall of 2001. The city is happy to see him go, and Democrats are
poised to win back city hall. There`s a billionaire running on the
But even though he`s already spent a ton of money, Michael Bloomberg looks
like he`s going to be going nowhere. He`s getting blown out in the polls.
He doesn`t have a chance.
9/11 makes Rudy America`s mayor and when he cuts a dramatic last minute ad
that fall, it makes Bloomberg mayor of the country`s largest city. We move
Before 9/11, this was supposed to be a big year for Democrats. They lost
the House to Republicans in 1994, the Gingrich revolution, you probably
remember that. And they chipped away at the GOP`s majority ever since
And 2002 was the year that pushed them over the top. There was a
Republican in the White House. They were the opposition party. This means
usually big gains.
But suddenly after 9/11, opposing Bush on anything turns into a huge
political risk, a career killing risk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: As America faces terrorists and extremist dictators, Max Cleland
runs television ads claiming he has the courage to lead. He says he
supports President Obama at every opportunity, but that`s not the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And that may be the most notorious campaign ad of the last
generation. Max Cleland, a Democrat senator and a decorated Vietnam
veteran who left three limbs on the battlefield, equated with Osama bin
Laden. Cleveland loses in 2002, so do a lot of other Democrats. Bush and
Republicans defy history for the first time since FDR and the depression,
the White House party gained seats in its first midterm.
It takes us to 2004, the Democratic base grows restive. A former Vermont
governor named Howard Dean changed the party for giving into Bush for
helping to authorize the war in Iraq. He briefly rockets to the top of the
polls. The Democratic base is also practical. They really just want to
win to beat Bush, to beat Republicans.
So, they turn to a war veteran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m John Kerry and I`m reporting
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The politics of 9/11 and Iraq are confusing. The war is
starting to go bad. But fear is still real, it`s still rampant.
Kerry criticizes the war, but he won`t apologize for voting for it. And he
loses. Bush`s reelected and the Republicans increase their strength in
But a seed is also planted for the future. In one of his first acts as the
official Democratic nominee, Kerry has to choose a keynote speaker for the
convention. He opts for his party`s candidate for U.S. Senate in Illinois.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), THEN-SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: There is not a liberal
America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And by 2006, there is chaos in Iraq. Casualties are mounting.
Confidence back home is fading. Bush`s numbers are collapsing.
The president refuses to adjust. Stay the course, he tells Americans.
Change the course, comes the reply from Democrats. The election that year
was a wipeout for the GOP. Democrats gained 31 seats in the House. They
take six in the Senate.
And, finally, for the first time in a dozen years, they have a majority
back on Capitol Hill. And that wave carries on to 2008. Bush fatigue,
Iraq fatigue. It`s stratospheric.
Hillary Clinton enters the Democratic race as the overwhelming favorite,
but her vote for the war in 2002, a vote that was cast when the politics of
9/11 were very different, it haunts her. Iraq breaks her candidacy. And
it makes Barack Obama`s.
And in the fall, it`s another landslide. The biggest share of the popular
vote for the Democratic candidate since LBJ, another massive wave in the
House and Senate.
It`s a massive wave that sets up a backlash. In January of 2009, a new
Democratic president takes office with massive majorities in the House and
the Senate. And with an economy in freefall, economic anxiety puts it in a
fiery mood and there`s a ton of low-hanging fruit there for the GOP. That
means in the 2010 midterms, Republicans gained 63 seats in the House and
six in Senate. A landslide not seen since the Truman days.
In that election 2010 also marks the end of the 9/11 ripple effect. The
point at which our politics actually start to stabilize. They stabilize
with the Republicans owns the House, with Democrats clinging to the Senate
and the Democrats in the White House.
There are no seismic changes in the 2012 election. That order is upheld.
It`s a recipe for gridlock, for paralysis, for incredible frustration.
But it`s also an arrangement that`s convenient for individual members of
Congress. Stability means they get to keep their seats.
That`s the backdrop for the Syrian debate that`s been playing out for the
last few weeks. We know the incredible human and financial cost of Iraq,
of Afghanistan, and of how our leaders responded after 9-11.
But our elected officials also remember electoral chaos, the decade of
electoral chaos that all of that unleashed. Maybe that has something to do
with why so many of them have been looking at Syria and using a word we did
not hear much after 9/11. No.
Anyways, shifting gears here. Bill de Blasio was all over the news this
week with his big win. But you not have heard is he still has to win the
general election in November. And no Democrat has done that in 24 hour
The Republican running against Bill de Blasio is Joe Lhota and he will join
us live next at the table.
KORNACKI: Joe Lhota captured the Republican nomination for mayor of New
York City this week. Yes, there are enough Republicans to hold a primary.
It may have a lot of you asking at home, Joe who? Well, there were some
lively primary in the Democratic side with some very lively characters this
year, which made it that much easier to overlook on the Republican side.
But Republicans believe that Lhota is the right candidate to extend the
Democrats` losing streak in New York mayor`s races, a losing streak that
that now stands at five elections. Lhota has been linked to some of the
biggest names in New York politics. He started as an investment banker and
went to work for Rudy Giuliani`s in the 1990s, and rose through that
administration`s ranks, and then went on to serve governor, Democratic
Governor Andrew Cuomo as the head of the Metropolitan Transportation
Authority. His leadership was credited with the quick restoration of the
city`s mass transit after Superstorm Sandy last year.
Lhota resigned that post in December to launch a bid for mayor and became
the Republican nominee on Tuesday. It looks like he will be facing Bill de
Blasio in November.
And he joins us now on the set.
And, Joe, thanks for stopping by and being part of the show today.
JOE LHOTA (R), NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Steve, great to be here.
KORNACKI: Let me ask you about the general election. We set it up. There
is this amazing Democratic losing streak in New York. We have this stat
that`s always put out there. This 6-to-1 Democratic City and it hasn`t
elected a Democrat since 1989.
But I got to tell you, I look at what`s happening right now where Bill de
Blasio, it really looks like he`s going to be the Democratic nominee.
Looks like there`s not going to be a runoff. It was a pretty lopsided
victory. He seems really popular with the Democratic base, which is the 6-
to-1 Democratic base in the city.
And I just -- I just look at it and I say, this has got to be the year
Democrats finally break through and end that streak. Tell me what you`re
going to do to make that assumption wrong.
LHOTA: Well, Steve, New Yorkers are very independent when they vote. It`s
not just the last 20 years they had Republican or independent mayors. It
even goes back to `77 when Koch won. When Koch ran, he went against Bella
Abzug and had the "New York Times" endorsement and was clearly in first
place according to the polls and conventional wisdom. Mario Cuomo was in
that race. Mayor Bean was an incumbent mayor at the time.
Ed Koch was either fourth or fifth in the polling in the weekend. He
zoomed ahead. Here`s why he zoomed ahead. He went out to the borough.
The Ed Koch we all came to know as mayor rolled up his sleeves, took off
his tie and said, I`m going to be able to fix the fiscal problems in the
city, I`m going to be able to educate your children, I`m going to be able
make sure the garbage gets picked up every day. I will make sure your
children get educated. And most importantly, for those people in Queens,
I`m never going to forgive when it snows and make sure it gets picked up.
That`s what resonates with New Yorkers. You know, being mayor is different
than almost any other type of political job. You impact your constituents`
life every single day. If we walk out of our gar apartment and see garbage
on the street, the first thing we think about is, what is our mayor doing
about it? And that`s how you relate to the people --
KORNACKI: But what is -- I guess, what is the message going -- because,
again, in a city like this that`s so heavily Democratic, it seems like all
things being equal, the Democratic nominee is going to get the benefit of
the doubt from a lot of voters. And when you look at the message Bill de
Blasio has been running on, what seems to have resonated, a couple of
things that resonated.
But I think the basic thing that`s resonated is this same of it is really a
time for a break from Michael Bloomberg. It`s been 12 years. He`s running
the idea of a clean break, if you look in the Democratic primary, even
among voters who have a favorable view of Bloomberg, they said we want a
clean break from it.
And your message seems to be one more of continuity, the progress is going
to be jeopardize if we go with Bill de Blasio.
LHOTA: No, I have not been saying that at all. I have been talking about
change as much as Bill de Blasio. I do agree we need to have change going
People try, you know, saying, well, you`re just going to be the fourth term
of Mike Bloomberg or the third term of Rudy Giuliani, and I`ve been saying,
no, that`s not the case. We need to have a more open government in
comparison to what we have now.
We really don`t have a participatory government. Information and decisions
are being made at city hall and pushed out through the five boroughs. We
need to hold town hall meetings. We need to listen. We need to go into
the communities, the way stop and frisk -- stop, question and frisk was
handled. It was handled by centralizing the information and not going into
the communities and explaining to them what the Supreme Court allows police
officers to do.
We`ve got to go back to a government in the city of New York where the
mayor listens and makes decisions.
KORNACKI: I want to pick up the point on stop and frisk in a minute. But
this week, after this week, you sort of had your back and forth with de
Blasio, sort of as the two nominees. You were talking how he would
jeopardize the progress, you`re saying of the last 12 years, which means
Rudy Giuliani`s eight years and 12 years of Michael Bloomberg.
What do you mean by that when you say that?
LHOTA: We had a resurgence in the city, and the real radical difference
between where I stand and where Bill de Blasio stands on all kinds of
issues. Bill wants to have universal pre-K. Joe Lhota wants to have
universal pre-K, but the knee jerk reaction of Bill de Blasio was to
automatically say, we need to tax more to get it.
Look, we`re talking about each tax would raise $500 million. $500 million
seemed -- it is a lot of money, but it`s less than 1 percent, less than 1
percent of the entire city budget. When I was city budget director in the
early `90s, I used to find 4 percent and 5 percent savings every year, so
the mayor and the speaker at the time were able to fund new programs.
I will do that again. I will hire a budget director who will do what I did
and my successors did in Giuliani administration and find better ways to do
it without cutting programs, but more -- making the government more
KORNACKI: And in Michael Bloomberg, the current mayor yesterday said, in a
radio interview, he said he`s not intending to endorse anybody. He will
not endorse anybody in the general election. You said, you are fine with
But I wonder, wouldn`t it be helpful to you to have the endorsement of
Michael Bloomberg? Because he is out there sort of attacking, you know,
Bill de Blasio. Wouldn`t it be helpful if Michael Bloomberg were out there
Joe Lhota should succeed me as mayor?
LHOTA: You know, I am very happy he is staying out of the race and we`re
going to be independent. And as I said, he wants to continue governing the
government. There are things I agree with the mayor on -- current mayor
on. There are going to be things that I don`t agree with the mayor on.
But you get an endorsement from somebody, you feel awkward in saying
something against that person. I now have the liberty to run as free and
clearly as possible.
By the way, I`m different. I`m not a politician. I`ve never run for
I find the idea of endorsements a diversion away from the issues we need to
talk about. Who stands next to you is nowhere near as important as what
you`re going to do as mayor.
PERRY BACON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Speaking of an issue, 80 percent of the
people stopped in the stop and frisk are black or Hispanic. Fifty percent
of the New York residents are. Is that an appropriate policy, is that an
appropriate number, those numbers make sense to you? Are those OK with
LHOTA: Look, this is what I said before, the communication was not there,
whether on the city hall or NYPD side. Ray Kelly tried to explain in
various speeches and he did one at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem,
where he basically said you don`t look at the general population
statistics. You look at where the crime is and those areas where there is
crime. And then you look at the description of the assailants -- given by
the assailants of who is there. Then you go about it that way. That`s the
way to look at it.
And I am absolutely opposed to --
BACON: Is that no? Those numbers right now are OK with you then?
LHOTA: It`s not the numbers that are OK. Here, the numbers that were put
forward in the court case, not by the city, by the other side who is
opposed to stop, question and frisk, said that 90 percent of them were in
compliance with the Supreme Court, 5 percent of them had forms weren`t
properly filled out and 5 percent were deemed wrong. They looked at it as
There is no place in the city of New York for racial profiling. We should
have a situation where anybody who is stopped, questioned and frisked,
there has to be a legitimate reason for the suspicion that caused that.
Just because you are walking down the street and you are a person of color,
just because you are walking down the streets, and your pants may be a
little askew or anything, that is not a reason, a suspicious reason.
KORNACKI: You know, we talk about the issues of stop and frisk and we talk
about the relationship of communities where stop and frisk is prevalent.
Their relationship with the current administration, the Bloomberg
administration with the New York police, it seems very sort of strained
right now. And it reminds me of what the dynamic was when Rudy Giuliani
was mayor, you were part of the Giuliani administration in a number of
I think New Yorkers generally look back at the Giuliani years, next from
the mix (ph) that you`re on it, there was a lot of progress in terms of
reducing crime, in terms of increasing the quality of life. There is no
doubt. At the same time, they look at them as a sort of needlessly
polarizing figure in a lot of ways.
When you look back at Rudy Giuliani and you look at the lessons you can
draw to be mayor, what do you see as the biggest shortcomings of Rudy
Giuliani as mayor?
LHOTA: You know, looking back -- what`s the biggest shortcoming overall?
I think, you know, the fact that he left office and people didn`t recognize
the fact that how many lives he saved.
KORNACKI: Certainly on the voter`s side.
LHOTA: No, no, no, it`s just to understand, you know, I`m not going to get
into this situation because I don`t want to be tagged with saying I`m a
continuation of Giuliani or A continuation of Bloomberg.
What I want to talk about is what I will do different from both of those
guys. That`s the most important part. I am not Rudy Giuliani. I am not
Michael Bloomberg. I`m Joe Lhota. This will be the first term of Joe
And what`s really important to get across in all this, is, look, probably
without a doubt my greatest strength and some people say my greatest
weakness, is that I talk to everybody. I make it a point to do it, and I
will do that as mayor. There won`t be anybody I won`t talk to. There
won`t be anybody that I will exclude.
I`m not going to necessarily always listen to them, but I`ll make up my own
mind once I listen to everybody who wants input into any decision
CHRISTINA BELLANTONI, PBS NEWSHOUR: Mr. Lhota, New York mayors tend to
take on a larger-than-life personality, but also a giant role both in this
country and really globally. Do you think that`s appropriate for a New
York City mayor to have such high stature, I mean, especially given Mike
Bloomberg`s role in the gun control debate, for example?
LHOTA: You know, I grew up in New York City, and I`ve always been
fascinated by the fact that New York City mayors have a foreign policy.
The United Nations has headquarters here, every ethnicity, as well as every
nation in the world is represented here. We have something -0- people
speak 123 different languages in the city.
I think it becomes almost natural. It becomes a very, very big issue. You
know, we have parades all summer long into the fall, you know, upcoming is
the Columbus Day parade, which will be for Italians, the Pulaski Day parade
for those who are Polish and Slovak. We have the Puerto Rican Day parade,
the Ecuadorian parade, all countries of the world are celebrated here.
I think that forces the mayor to have a public policy position. Mike
Bloomberg`s position on guns, which he has funded is the right one. The
reason why people are being killed in the city of New York is because of
illegal guns coming into the city of New York. You and I could go to
Virginia right now, jump on a train, buy seven hand guns, jump back on the
train, come up to New York, sell them for four to five times the price.
We have to find a way to deal with how guns are coming into the city.
KORNACKI: So, this is an area, too, where you are different from a lot of
the national Republicans. And I think that`s -- voters in New York city, I
think there are a lot of voters in the city who just look at anybody with
an R next to their name and they think of Ted Cruz, they think of Rand
Paul, and they say, I don`t want to, you know, just give us a sense of what
kind of Republican you are.
First, did you vote for Mitt Romney last year?
LHOTA: I did.
KORNACKI: You did. When is the last Democrat -- who is the last Democrat
that you voted? Have you voted for a Democrat.
LHOTA: I think Mike Bloomberg when I voted for him. Was he a Democrat at
KORNACKI: Before he ran for office.
LHOTA: You are probably right.
KORNACKI: But, you have like -- another thing we talk about like this sort
of aversion to this city to national Republicans is the Koch brothers.
David Koch this week, we have news this week that one of the Koch brothers
is going to be funding a PAC that`s going to be, you know, running ads on
your behalf. Are you comfortable with having that association?
LHOTA: A couple of things, I am very different from the national
Republicans. I am very progressive, whether on the issue of choice for
women, whether it`s the issue of same-sex marriage or marriage equality. I
have been for that.
I have a very libertarian streak that goes through me, and I actually
believe that the role of government is not to tell us what to do and what
not to do. We as individuals have to make up our mind as to what we want
to do. So, I`m really at odds.
There are probably, you know -- there are rooms within the Republican Party
that I would not be allowed in. In fact, I will probably be excluded
because of my social views. Those are my views. I`m not going to change
one way or the other.
David Koch, I have no idea that he was starting this incident expenditure
organization that one of the newspapers started talking about. I will tell
you that what`s interesting is that he is also pro-choice. He is also
opposed to -- he`s also in favor of same-sex marriage or marriage equality.
He`s a fiscal conservative.
KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, he`s trying to get rid of Obama. I mean, he`s
fighting the accomplishment -- this city voted for Obama with like 82
percent last year. And this is one of the guys taking the lead in
bankrolling, let`s get rid of Obamacare, let`s derail the Obama domestic
agenda. He is putting money behind you getting elected as mayor.
LHOTA: Right, he doesn`t want a Democrat. I met David Koch one. I have
nothing to do with the independent expenditures.
As long as the Supreme Court says it`s a freedom of speech issue, nobody
should get in the way of independent expenditures. Whether it`s Democratic
or independent expenditures, which there were multi-millions of dollars
spent in the primary with the anti-queen campaign, the various different
organizations that were put together to poke, you know, the other
candidates. It`s a freedom of speech issue.
KORNACKI: The final thing I want to make sure you we get this in before we
leave you. You got some notoriety before the primary because there was an
incident here in the subway in New York City a few weeks ago. There were a
couple kittens that were found on the tracks. They ordered the train
stopped. This was like a two-hour delay. There is the kittens.
And the candidates were asked, you know, would you have stopped the trains?
And you actually -- you were at the MTAs. You were running the train. You
were the one who said, no, I wouldn`t stop the trains.
LHOTA: Yes, I probably know about the subway system having run it. There
are thousands, literally thousands of cats on the New York subway system.
And they don`t get killed.
Why? Because when they hear the rumbling of the train, they jump as far
away as possible.
KORNACKI: So, you`re saying those cats would have been safe if --
LHOTA: I would never in a million years ago, I love cats, I love animals,
I have dogs, I grew up with cats, that I would want to see them die. But
at the same point, we held up the trains on both sides for two full hours
where commuters -- people getting to work. The power was shut off. Air-
conditioning was shut off in the subways.
The inconvenience is beyond me, especially knowing that I didn`t for one
second believe those kittens would be harmed.
LHOTA: You saw how they were running around on the tracks. Let me tell
you, when they hear that rumble, they don`t only run, they go the opposite,
you know, they get out of the way.
KORNACKI: OK. This issue has attracted an incredible amount of attention.
I wanted to make sure to ask about it.
We want to thank you. Joe Lhota, the Republican candidate from New York.
We`ve got about two months in this campaign, less. But thank you for
There was a recall election in Colorado this week that I think dealt a
serious blow to the prospects of Congress doing anything on gun safety.
Maybe the head of America`s leading gun control group can convince I`m
being pessimistic. We`re going to talk to him. That`s next.
KORNACKI: House Speaker John Boehner is one of the more overtly emotional
members of Congress. He`s displayed the waterworks at many events over his
tenure. So, what story this week might have brought the speaker to the
brink of tears? It`s spectacular speculation, spectacular legislative
consequences, and we`re going to talk about it ahead.
KORNACKI: A national push for stricter gun laws took a huge step back this
week as gun control advocates failed to protect two Colorado state senators
targeted by the gun lobby.
State Senate President John Morse who appeared in our show last weekend was
recalled from office in a campaign led by gun activists angry over a new
gun restrictions that were enacted by Colorado Democrats. But most
shocking of all was the defeat of a second state senator, Angela Giron, who
appeared to be in much less danger near heavily Democratic district around
Pueblo. She was recalled by a 12-point margin.
The vote in Colorado Springs to recall Morse was a bit closer. It was 51
percent to 49 percent. Small donations from pro-gun control advocates
poured in from around the country as did very large checks from the likes
of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who`s the head of advocacy group
Mayors Against Illegal Guns. In fact, pro-gun control advocates ended up
out-donating the NRA and local gun groups by a 6-1 margin.
We heard an awful lot about the 90 percent support that support that
supposedly exists for bankrupt checks. In the wake of the Sandy Hook
massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, a huge majority of Americans now want at
least some small measure of new gun reform.
So, a support like that and a whole lot of money to fight this week`s
recall election, how on earth did Morse and Giron end up being kicked out
Joining us now from Washington to discuss this, we have Mark Glaze, the
executive director of Mike Bloomberg`s group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Mark, thanks for joining us.
And maybe you could just pick up that question, that very basic question.
We always have that 90 percent statistic when it comes to background
checks. We look at money that poured in there. And both of this -- I
mean, nobody thought both were going to lose. And they both lost.
What happened out there this week?
MARK GLAZE, MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS: Well, I can correct you about. I
think a lot of people thought that they were very much at risk of losing
and there are a lot of reasons for that. But, you know, when you look at
what happened in election, very often, the best judges and analysts are
those who are involved. If you talk to Senators Morse and Giron, they will
tell you, of course, this had something to do with guns. You can`t ban
high ammunition magazines with a major manufacturer down the road without
having people being a little angry about that.
But the background bill had overwhelming support.
I think the problem here and the reason you saw the Koch brothers, who I
don`t think recognized why they stumbled over one, being so active in
Colorado, is that if you happen to be a Democrat, this was basically your
dream session. These same senators also passed the civil marriage bill,
confer driver`s license and in state tuition on undocumented folks in
Colorado. They raised taxes to pay for a recreational marijuana law and
they passed clean energy legislation, which is frankly why the Koch
brothers were there.
So, this was a complicated election, low turnout, where the people who are
most angry and want to throw the bums out, they have interminable
advantages, and I think more importantly, the senators think that`s what
KORNACKI: Well, I give you that. It is complicated and there were other
issues that were being, you know, put out there. But I think the bottom
line, to me, I`m looking at this and I think this is that`s going to have
And I`m thinking ahead to later this year, because the talk now, the talk
has been the idea of re-introducing Manchin-Toomey, reintroducing the
background checks bill that didn`t get the 60 votes in the Senate, bring it
back -- late this year, around the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook
massacre, and basically trying to shame the Senate into coughing up those
extra few votes.
And I`m thinking of the votes who were holdouts this spring when this thing
went down, votes like Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota, a Democrat from a
very, very rural pro-gun state. And I`m thinking Heidi Heitkamp, when you
come to her, when anybody comes to her at the end of the year and makes
that case and says it`s the one-year anniversary, we really need to do
something, it`s just background checks, she`s going to look at Angela
Giron, she`s going to look at John Morse and she`s going to say, my God
they did something that really -- that polls very well and we actually went
to the voters with it. It came out a lot differently.
GLAZE: Well, I have a couple responses to that. The first thing is, let
me bring it back to policy for a minute. The background check law has been
in place for exactly slightly over two months in Colorado. In that period,
28 people who are so dangerous, they are legally prohibited from owning
guns were stopped from having them. And as people in Colorado know, it
only takes one.
The second thing I would point out is that there were a fair number of
senators in the United States Senate who took a vote many thought would be
tough and voted for common sense background check reform bill. And if you
look at their polling from Mary Landrieu, to Kay Hagan, to Jon Tester in
Wyoming, they are doing just fine or better than they were before. People
who voted against that bill like Flake and Ayotte from Arizona and New
Hampshire, also are very pro-gun states, saw their numbers tanked.
So, I think people ought to have the courage of their convictions, but
also, let`s hang out and wait and wait a little bit in Colorado, because
this bill is going to save lives. People who are not felons or domestic
abusers are going to keep getting guns just as they are today. But it`s
going to save a lot of lives, and everybody is going to be fine.
KORNACKI: Well, let me ask you this, because we are talking in the wake of
the Colorado thing about, you know, people on your side, gun controlling
advocates being on the defense, having to explain why you weren`t able to
protect, why you failed these two state senators out there.
I wonder, do you have -- is there a particular lawmaker, is there a
particular politician, is there a particular race that`s on your radar
right now where you think you can turn the tables, where you can make
somebody who voted against, who wouldn`t support, who refused to support
background checks or something like that. Where you can make them pay at
the polls, and you can turnaround in the other side and say, hey, you could
(INAUDIBLE). Do have you somebody on your radar right now that can you
tell us about?
GLAZE: Oh, in a word, yes. Dozens.
But the slightly longer answer to that, I won`t make it much longer,
because I don`t think we want to telegraph our strategy is anyone who has
run a campaign will tell you that every election is about itself. You
can`t extrapolate too much. Would we rather have won five out of five of
these recalls instead of three out of five? Sure.
But the big difference between today and one or two years ago is that two
years ago, nobody would have taken this on in a very pro-gun state and over
the past six, nine months, six or seven states have strengthened their gun
laws and required comprehensive background checks. They`re saving lives,
not damaging the Second Amendment at all. More will do so over time.
But the NRA has owned these contests for a generation. We`ve only been
involved relatively recently. And already, the victories are accelerating.
We`re still having some defeats, but we`re big girls and we can deal with
it. We move on to the next thing.
MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC: Mark, it`s Molly Ball from "The Atlantic."
Your group spent a lot of money on these recalls, your side spent a lot of
money on these recalls. Are there lessons learned, are there strategic
lessons that you`ll carry forward to the next time this happens?
GLAZE: Well, sure, we learn from every contest that we are in, but if you
asked me would we do anything differently? I don`t know whether we would.
I mean, the mayor contributed some money and folks in Colorado spent it the
way they thought best.
But, you know, the lesson here is that recall elections are tough and they
present, you know, obstacles to incumbents that are nigh in Super Bowl
because the only people who get involved in elections generally, but
especially in recalls that are off cycle, that are low turnout by
definition, are the people so mad they want to throw some bums out.
And, you know, the Koch brothers were really mad. People who don`t like
civil unions for gay people were really mad. And the gun people are really
mad, too. It`s hard to overcome that, especially in districts like these,
Morse`s is one of the more conservative congressional districts in the
country. And Giron`s is very blue collar and rural.
How do I know that? Because I was born and grew up in part, in both of
BELLANTONI: Mr. Glaze, it`s Christina Bellantoni of the "PBS NewsHour."
You`ve also actually had some legislative successes, big gun control bills
passed in California, Maryland, some other states. Are there areas where
your group is looking to affect change legislatively, forget the elections
for a moment?
GLAZE: Oh, sure. First of all, we will continue to be focused on the
United States Senate. We came a couple votes short in the Senate and
Congress, by the way, also can barely reauthorize the Violence Against
Women Act and can`t pass a farm bill. I mean, people who thought we would
do this in a couple of months after the NRA, has sort of owned the field
for generation, we are kidding ourselves quickly.
BELLANTONI: At the state level?
GLAZE: At the state level, we also have our sights set on a number of
other states, where there are clear majorities who think that a background
check, which takes about two minutes, it doesn`t stop anybody who`s law
abiding from getting their gun, is the most effective thing you can do to
stop crime, and also the politics that are pretty good.
KORNACKI: And I`m just -- I`m talking about here. I`m thinking there is
another test coming up that I can think of, at least, for the gun control
side in the same state, in Colorado, because it`s the governor, the
governor who pushed for and signed these bills, the Democratic Governor
John Hickenlooper, who`s going to be up for reelection in 2014.
So, we will see how this issue shakes out there.
Mark, I`m sure -- hope we can have you back to talk about that and talk
about what`s going on in the Senate as the year goes along. Thanks for
joining us this morning.
KORNACKI: Mark Glaze from Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Speaker John Boehner struggles to maintain control of the House. Maybe.
Just maybe, he`s on his way out. That`s next.
KORNACKI: I think the sub theme of today`s show is stuff I found rummaging
in my closet and turned into segments for the show. So, I`m going to
continue that theme right now.
This is something I ordered on eBay a couple weeks ago. It has quickly
become one of my better possessions. This is Tip O`Neill hoisting a pint
with George Wendt. George Wendt, of course, is the actor who played on the
long-running sitcom "Cheers".
It`s from way back when O`Neill was the speaker of the House, when he made
a guest appearance on the show. It`s about that fictional in O`Neill`s
real hometown of Boston. Tip O`Neill was actually from Cambridge. But
Cambridge is close to Boston. So, close enough, it`s Tip O`Neill`s sort of
hometown of Boston.
Anyway, Tip O`Neill is one of my all time favorite political characters.
And "Cheers" is my all time favorite show. So, I love the photo. The
episode, by the way, aired in February of 1983. It was a year later that
Tip O`Neill kind of screwed up in a big way.
It was early 1984 and he let it slip to a "New York Times" reporter that he
was thinking of retirement. "If Walter Mondale, the Democratic candidate
for president that year, managed to win the White House," O`Neill said,
he`d like to be named ambassador to Ireland. And if Mondale lost, he would
serve one more term as speaker and retire.
Well, it was a huge story, it kind of made O`Neill a lame duck. Mondale
did not go on to win the presidential election that year. He lost to
Reagan in a 49-state landslide, which meant that O`Neill stayed on as
speaker for the more years, with everyone knowing he was on his way out
after the 1986 election. It wasn`t the worst thing in the world. It
wasn`t ideal for tip O`Neill either.
I thought of this past week, because we are now seeing reports with another
House speaker, John Boehner, might be eyeing the door long before the end
of his term. "The Huffington Post" cited a number of anonymous sources
close to Boehner last week who suggested that the speaker is ready to hang
it up after the midterm elections next year. One of the chief reasons,
there is so much disgruntlement with him on the right that he doesn`t want
to risk being deposed by his own party.
Boehner`s office insists this is all idle speculation. And maybe it is,
hey, isn`t that what they always say.
So, let`s just talk about Boehner right now because we threw in the form of
a game show where we talk about the latest crisis that he`s going to have
to try to sort of manage the House Republicans through. There is two
outstanding issues. We`ve got the government shutdown, the potential for
government shutdown, the need to pass a bill to fund the government.
You`ve also have got the debt ceiling and you`ve got, you know, House
Republicans who are basically screaming at him and saying if you don`t use
this to defund Obamacare, the White House and Democrats will never go along
with, then you are a traitor, then you`re disloyal, and all these things.
And I`m asking myself the same question I have been asking myself since
2011, when Republicans got back the majority -- why does John Boehner want
to be speaker?
BACON: I think he always wanted to be speaker. My understanding is he
liked the job. He`s not particularly an ideological person. John Boehner
is the author of the No Child Left Behind Act, which is biggest
intervention in the schools ever.
BELLANTONI: Working with Teddy Kennedy, yes.
BACON: He is not a Tea Party conservative. He is a pretty moderate guy.
I think he likes being speaker for that.
I don`t think -- his goals are not the Tea Party`s goals. On some level,
it would make sense if he is not being a speaker. It might actually help
govern more. The Tea Party members are wary of Boehner, it`s like Paul
Ryan or Jeb Hensarling, or someone they think is a true conservative was a
speaker. The president could talk to that person and think they represent
the congressional Republicans, versus when you talk to the Boehner, you
know that Boehner has to check. You saw this deal this week where he and
Cantor worked on something to defund Obamacare and the House Republicans
said, no, not good enough for us.
Boehner sort of -- (INAUDIBLE) Boehner and Tip O`Neill was leading the
Democrats. Boehner does not lead the Republicans. He is led by them.
BELLANTONI: What`s wrong with telegraphing that you`re going to go,
though? I mean, that`s one thing. I think being honest, whether you`re
saying you`re going to run for president, or you`re going to retire, just
allows people to understand where you are coming from. And from the
president`s perspective, he`d much rather deal with John Boehner than one
of those conservatives for that reason, because it fells like they can have
a discussion even though everything blew up last year when they were trying
to come to this grand bargain.
But he is never going to act knowledge what his future plans are. And part
of it is if he would have wanted to get some sort of big deal done on
immigration reform, he could have done it a long time ago. I know we`re
talking about fiscal issues. This is sort of the other part of that.
Right? He can get through something the Democrats would support in the
KORNACKI: Put on the floor. Democrat -- but isn`t it -- that`s something
we have been waiting for.
KORNACKI: It`s like -- it`s sort of the suicide option for him. Like you
put it on the floor, get a big achievement and then you`re thrown out the
next day by your own party.
BELLANTONI: Or your popularity ratings go up and your own party lost.
KORNACKI: From 12 to 82 percent (ph).
BALL: Well, it was an amazing moment in one of John Boehner`s press
conferences, he announced he was pulling this plan that he`d concocted with
Cantor that was supposed to cleverly allow them to pretend to defund
Obamacare while at the same time giving the Senate an out so as Obamacare
could continue and the government would not shut down, and the Tea Party
revolted. And he had to take it off the table.
And so, a reporter said, do y have an idea what you will do next? He said,
"No, do you have an idea? They`ll shoot it down anyway."
It was an amazing moment. And then, the next day, a report in "The New
York Times" said he is talking to Democrats, because he is so fed up with
his own caucus, that he`s gone to the people that he can still talk to and
potentially reason with. So that may be the next step here, that maybe the
next step is Boehner trying to make something happen.
KORNACKI: So, we ask the question like what`s wrong with telegraphing your
term -- I agree, like I don`t think it`s the worse thing in the world. But
I would say, I guess what it does is it puts everybody on notice on the
House and within your party that, hey, it`s time to get behind your
successor. It`s time for the successor should be lined up.
Is -- the assumption though is Eric Cantor would be the next speaker. Is
that valid assumption to make?
BELLANTONI: You`ve seen those power plays going on behind the scenes,
really since the Tea Party came to Washington. That`s what a lot of this
dynamic is all about. And, really, Boehner has shown, every time he`s
punished some of these Tea Party conservatives for going against him,
there`s been on repercussion. These guys got thrown off committees that
were prominent and they actually fund raised off that and made that a badge
of honor. They have been really sticking their thumb in his eye for more
than a year.
BACON: That assumption is not valid. Eric Cantor will succeed John
Boehner. I think if Paul Ryan --
KORNACKI: These others are more --
BACON: Cantor has become part of the establishment, part of the
leadership, part of the group that the Tea Party folks don`t necessarily
trust. If Paul Ryan wanted to be speaker, he could be speaker tomorrow.
They could his trust -- maybe he doesn`t want it because he doesn`t like
that kind of fund raising and that kind of thing, but one of the sort of
true conservatives wants to become the speaker, they can become the
KORNACKI: With Cantor, it raises the same question I have with Boehner.
Besides fulfilling maybe a lifelong dream to be speaker, to have the gavel,
to have the title, whatever other perks, maybe it`s a car, I don`t know
what other perks come along with it, he would have the same exact issues
that John Boehner`s had, right? Because you have a Tea Party ranks in the
Republican side that defines themselves in opposition to the leadership and
BACON: He`s better at politics, I would say, but --
BALL: Yes. Well, you know, this debate sort of rages in Washington of
does John Boehner have an impossible job or is he just bad at it. And sort
of fundamentally unanswerable, but I think part of why he`s there right now
is because of this sort of attempted insurrection against him was so
disorganized. There were a record number of votes against him, and yet
they didn`t all vote for the same opponent. So -- and there wasn`t anyone
stepping up and making an actual overt power play even though we heard
about this stuff behind the scenes.
Cantor has poisoned the well of a lot of conservatives, not only what he
did this week, and working with Boehner to come up with this plan that the
Tea Party saw as an attempt to pull the wool over their eyes. But back in
2011 on the debt ceiling he saw himself representing the conservative wing.
He doesn`t have the trust of a lot of those people anymore since he`s been
more loyal lieutenant to Boehner. So, I think it`s a really open question
whether anybody wants this job.
KORNACKI: Well, the one thing I`m going to wait for, I guess, this year,
it`s the 30th anniversary of Tip O`Neill and "Cheers." Let`s get the
"Cheers" reunion and let`s bring John Boehner and we`ll put it on TV land
KORNACKI: I look forward to that.
What do we know now that we didn`t know last week? Well, I know I didn`t
lose a bet. More on that after this.
KORNACKI: All right. It`s time to find out what our guests know now that
they didn`t know when the week began.
And, Molly, let`s start with you.
BALL: We know that, (a), hybrid driving, organic milk driving, hipster
Brooklynite is the probable next mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio.
But there`s still a lot we still don`t know about Bill de Blasio, who`s
relatively unknown citywide. And that we`re going to learn as he probably
becomes the Democratic nominee for mayor.
KORNACKI: All right. And, Perry?
BACON: You know about the 25 million Americans who will get health
insurance under Obamacare, but Washington had a great story this week, 31
million Americans will still be uninsured after the law is passed. Most of
them are undocumented workers but a lot live in the 21 states that are not
expanding Medicaid and 31 million is a very big number of people that are
KORNACKI: All right. Christina?
BELLANTONI: Ryan Lizza has a great piece in "The New Yorker" this week
called "The President and Pipeline." It`s got a lot of interesting detail
at the politics behind Keystone. But what`s great in it is like these five
sentences that explain exactly how the tar sands work and how this pipeline
would actually happen. I learned more about this issue than I`d ever
learned just reading that one paragraph.
KORNACKI: Actually, I read it, too. It`s a really good piece.
I want to get a quick one in here. If you follow me on Twitter, if you
follow -- there`s something called the UP Pastry Plate on Twitter. And I
just want to say, I had a little bet with the UP Pastry Plate the last few
weeks. It was about whether Eliot Spitzer was going to be successful in
his comeback attempt. I bet no. I forgot what the stakes were in this
thing, so I`ve decided I`m just going to brag on nation that will
television that I was right but the UP Pastry Plate was wrong, but still
delicious. So, thank you for that.
Molly Ball, congratulations on winning Quizmasters 2000. I want to thank
you for joining us.
Perry Bacon, Jr., thanks for playing.
Christine Bellantoni, you were a great champion, "PBS NewsHour".
Thank you all for getting up today. And thank you for joining us at home.
Tomorrow, the Iowa steak fry, book deals and more. We`ve got your how-to
run for president guy. That`s coming up tomorrow. We`ll also be taking a
look at the legend of Billie Jean King, how everything has changed for
women in sports since she took the court in the battle of the sexes 40
years ago this month.
And don`t go anywhere because "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" is coming up next. In
today`s "MHP", the deliberate president. What the moves President Obama is
making so openly about Syria are telling us about the leader he really is.
Stick around. Melissa will be here in just a minute.
And we will see you again right here tomorrow morning at 8:00. Thanks for
getting UP and have a great day.
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