Skip navigation

'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Saturday show

UP with STEVE KORNACKI
September 28, 2013

Guests: Elahe Izadi, Jonathan Capehart, Ana Marie Cox, Joan Walsh, Ana Marie Cox, Steve Israel, A. Scott Berg


STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: A possible breakthrough with President Obama
with Iran, but not with the House Republicans.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

KORNACKI: Sixty-four hours from right now at the stroke of midnight on
Tuesday, the United States government may shut down or some kind of deal
will be struck between now and then and there won`t be a shutdown. This is
a real time drama playing out this weekend, and we will dive into it all
momentarily.

The whole shutdown drama is the result of a Republican demand at the
president`s health care law be gutted. So, also on today`s show, I took to
the straights of Main Street USA or for proximity stake, midtown Manhattan
to see what people have or haven`t actually heard about the law.

Also, we`ll talk about the ghost of shutdowns past, some Republicans who
were there in 1995 are convinced their party is flirting with electoral
suicide. We will talk to the Democrat in charge of winning back the house
for his party. It`s Congressman Steve Israel.

And it`s back. Yes, "Up Against the Clock," that is America`s fastest
growing favorite, abbreviated game show on a cable news show on a Saturday
morning. It will return this week with three new contestants.

But first, at this hour, there is a lot more that we don`t know than what
we know about what`s going on in Washington. What we know is that the
House will be having a rare weekend session today and tomorrow. That is
because yesterday afternoon, just before adjourning, the Senate voted to
change a bill that was passed by the House earlier in the week.

That bill, the one that was passed by the House, was funded the government.
Meaning, it would have averted the shutdown for three months, but it would
have done so with a serious price tag, the elimination of all funding for
President Obama`s health care law. Dismantle Obamacare. That was the
demand that the Republican-controlled House made in exchange for keeping
the government opened.

But the Senate, Democratic-controlled Senate, had absolutely no interest in
passing that bill. And so, yesterday, on a party line vote, the Senate
took out the part of the bill that defunds Obamacare and left the rest of
it intact.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID, (D-NV) MAJORITY LEADER: To be absolutely clear, we are
going to accept nothing as relates to Obamacare. There`s a time and place
for everything, and this is not that time or place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So, because the Senate changed the bill the House passed, the
bill has now been bounced back to the House. It`s there now. It`s why the
House is in session this weekend. Of course, the proverbial clock is
ticking. Now, what we don`t know, what everyone is guessing about, but
what no one really knows yet is what the Republicans who run the House are
going to do this weekend.

They have options. The simplest is to just take what the Senate has sent
them, put it on the floor, and passed it. And it would go straight to
President Obama`s desk, he`d sign it, and there`d be no shut down and
there`d be no defunding of Obamacare. There is no sign. There is not sign
yet at least the Republicans will do this.

There`s immense pressure on them from conservative activists, from interest
groups, from the Tea Party wing of their party to hold out longer, to use
the threat of a shutdown, to use an actual shutdown if it comes to it to
try to force the president to make some kind of concession on his health
care law. So, they may take the bill the Senate sent them and tack on new
demands.

The repeal of one of the taxes that will fund Obamacare has been mentioned.
So, is a ban on members of Congress and their staffs from receiving
subsidies under Obamacare or maybe a one-year delay of the individual
mandate of the whole law. The law that all Americans, excuse me, must have
health insurance.

If the House goes down this road at all, if it adds any new anti-Obamacare
language this weekend, then the bill will go back to the Senate, and
Democrats there will either be able to say, hey, we`re not happy with this,
but this new stuff is mostly symbolic and we can live with it or they can
say, this goes too far. There`s no way we`re doing it. And if that
happens, then the bill goes back to the House and we`re probably talking
about a shutdown.

If all this isn`t mind numbing and maddening enough, there is also this,
the House could also pass a very short term bill to fund the government,
meaning like a week of funding. Basically, they could pass this and it
would stretch out the back and forth in Obamacare for a few more days
without actually shutting down the government, at least not yet.

Those are the possibilities at this hour. Like we said, no one really
knows yet what`s going to happen this weekend. There are a few other
things we do know, though. We`ll run those by you. We know that House
Republicans are scheduled to meet at noon today. That`s four hours from
now to come up with their plan for this weekend. At least that`s what they
hope will come out of that meeting.

We know that President Obama is maintaining his posture that any
negotiations over Obamacare are an absolute non-starter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The House Republicans are so
concerned with appeasing the Tea Party that they`ve threatened the
government shutdown or worse, unless, I gut or repeal the Affordable Care
Act. I said this yesterday, let me repeat it. That`s not going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: We also know, courtesy of John Bohner`s office, that Obama and
the House speaker have not actually spoken in the last week. We know that
a group of conservatives in the House has apparently been meeting and
plotting strategy with Sen. Ted Cruz who`s advised them to ignore Boehner
in the leadership and to continue threatening a shutdown.

And we know that we haven`t even mentioned the elephant in the room yet and
that is the looming debt ceiling deadline now less than three weeks away,
even if they don`t get their way here, even if there is no shutdown in the
end, Republicans are signaling that will pick the same fight all over
again, the same fight over the Obamacare demand and many, many other
demands that have nothing to do with Obamacare over the issue of whether to
raise the debt ceiling.

The consequences of not doing that would be far, far worse than the
consequences of a government shutdown.

If you needed proof of just how bizarre all of this is, just consider this,
all of this posturing, all of these threats, the looming deadlines and the
catastrophic possibilities, because of all of this, I haven`t even
mentioned until now what otherwise would have been the biggest news from
Washington yesterday, a potential breakthrough in relations between the
United States and Iran, the first phone call in 34 years between the
presidents of both countries, which Obama also announced yesterday
afternoon.

We will talk about that phone call in a bit, but first, we are going to
have to try to sort out what is going to play out in Washington these next
two days. And to do that, we are joined by MSNBC political analyst, Joan
Walsh, he`s also the editor at large for Salon.com. We have MSNBC
contributor and opinion writer for "The Washington Post," Jonathan
Capehart.

Elahe Izadi, she`s a national political reporter for the "National Journal"
magazine, and Ana Marie Cox, she is the senior political columnist at "The
Guardian." So, thanks for joining us. We invited a lot of you before.
All of these latest developments.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: I hope it doesn`t get too granular for, you know, for this hour.
But, I guess, that is the challenge to sort of try to play out what is
going to happen, what could happen, what the consequences of all this could
be over the next few days. And I guess the place to start, and Elahe, you
reporter -- I`ll start with you.

It just seems to me that the story of this weekend is that john Boehner has
a dilemma and I don`t see what the sort of smart political answer for him
is this dilemma, because on the one hand, he can pass something that has
Democratic vote, that has broad support. He can bear republican defections
and all that.

But the problem in doing that is the only thing Democrats are going to pass
is this clean, you know, no defunding bill that came through the Senate
yesterday. There can be no other -- nothing else -- none of that for
Democrats to sign on and there`d be a risk of a coup among Republicans if
he did something with Democrats.

On the other hand, if he relies only on Republicans, his margin for error
is like this thin. And already, we`re hearing from a couple of dozen
Republicans that this probably isn`t enough of what`s already out there.
So, I don`t see what John Bohner can do this weekend.

ELAHE IZADI, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Yes. I mean, many of us don`t know what he
can do.

(LAUGHTER)

IZADI: I mean, one option would be and this has been some liberals are
talking about this as an option that he actually allow, you know, put the
CR on the floor, back on the floor that includes the defund Obamacare
provision. It`s not going -- it`s going to keep going back and forth
between the House and the Senate.

The government will shut down and maybe after that, the conservative wing
of the Republican Party within the House can see the amount of political
capital they have in this fight, which isn`t that much, to force President
Obama`s hand to actually defund his signature health care law, which he has
said repeatedly he`s not going to do.

This isn`t like the fiscal cliff showdown where there was some wiggle room
with the president. OK, do I tax a million, 250,000, 400,000? What kind
of income level? He said repeatedly, he staked out his position, he`s not
going to do that. So, it looks like we`re headed for a shutdown, but we`ll
see.

KORNACKI: And that`s the news. We mentioned this in the intro there.
This to me is sort of the most extraordinary thing that`s been reported in
the last few days and that is a member of the U.S. Senate, Ted Cruz,
actually two members, Mike Lee also, Ted Cruz`s ally from Utah, had been
meeting and strategizing with dozens of members of the House.

And last night, you had, actually, I think it was 60 Republican members of
the House put a bill together, put an amendment together, that basically
says, you know, we`ll fund the government only if all of Obamacare is
delayed for year. And that is what Ted Cruz basically instructed them to
do, told them to do, and they did it. You have Ted Cruz is functioning as
like one of the whips in the House.

(CROSSTALK)

JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: Boehner has lost control.

KORNACKI: Did he ever have control?

CAPEHART: We`ve been watching this now for basically as long as he`s been
speaker where he`s had this raucous caucus telling him what they want and
what they want to do. And now, you`ve got not just the raucous caucus in
the House telling him what to do, but now he`s got Senators Cruz and Lee
from the other chamber coming over and picking off people and coming up
with their own bill. This is outrageous.

ANA MARIE COX, THE GUARDIAN: Yes. I was going to say as a long-term
strategy, it`s a loser. I mean, I really think so. I mean, Ted Cruz, it`s
easy for him to say (INAUDIBLE) for years and years, right? I mean, if
this is a game of chicken, this is Ted Cruz standing from the sidelines,
telling the people in the House, go ahead, don`t turn, you know?

COX: I mean -- and the thing is I just want to say is also the House has a
very almost like literally living in a different reality than the rest of
us. You know, people in the house that are saying to go ahead and crash
that car come from very safe districts. You know, come from districts
where they`re not going to suffer, you know, for this. So, they think they
have their seatbelt on when they`re driving --

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: They all come from Romney districts, which is true. And they`re
getting this message from Ted Cruz that plays well. And Romney -- they`re
also getting messages. This is Tom Coburn, a very conservative senator
from Oklahoma who`s sending us sort of greater good of the party message
yesterday. This is him yesterday with his advice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VOICE OF SEN. TOM COBURN, (R) OKLAHOMA: Look, I`ve been through one of
these before. The only time you shut down the government is when you shut
it down and refuse to open it until you accomplish what you want. But
we`ll fold like hotcakes. Look, you do not take a hostage you are not
going to for sure shoot, and we will not for sure shoot this hostage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: A lot of metaphors in there. I`m trying to -- folding hot
cakes, I`m still working on --

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Right now, the story is that even somebody like Tom Coburn, his
voice is not prevailing in the Republican Party at this point.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Well, there is a new party, essentially. You know,
there are the Cruzicans. They really -- as we were saying, they come from
very safe districts. Ryan Lizza had this great piece yesterday that broke
down the demographics that showed that 18 -- they represent 18 percent of
the country and they can destroy the global economy when we get to the debt
ceiling.

But there are no repercussions for them. And you know, you see them again
and again on our network and others standing there saying I was elected to
represent my district, and this is what my district wants and there`s no
sense of the greater good of the party let alone the country.

CAPEHART: A statesmanship. I mean, it`s one thing to campaign. You come
from your little district. But at some point, the needs -- the wants of
your district have to give way to the needs of the country and the folks
who come into Congress in 2010 lack that latter part. They don`t care, it
seems, about the greater good of the country.

And when we`re staring at a government shutdown, which is something that
could be, you know, -- you shut down the government five day, you pass a
bill, you pass a law, retroactive pay, the thing comes back up. But if we
crash the debt ceiling, then, you know, you talk to people on the Hill.

You talk to people in the treasury, you talk to people in the White House,
they all say we -- there`s no model for this. We`ve never been here
before. We don`t know what`s going to happen. Who wants to play with --

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: What I`m trying to figure out, though, is -- and there is the
sort of -- there is the greater good argument and your responsibility as
leaders, you know, we can never -- we should never be flirting with an
actual default in this country.

But what I`m looking for is -- and this is what kind of scares me thinking
about this process is, what is the sort of selfish political incentive for
the average, you know, Ana, you got -- where you got to this a little bit
the districts they come from, but where is the selfish political motive
that is going to get Republicans to some kind of a deal here?

COX: They`re going to lose the presidency again. I mean, I think that`s
the thing, because they`re operating and we`ve talked about this again and
again on this show, which is the Republicans who are doing this are
operating in the off year election electorate. They pay no cost for doing
this kind of thing with the whiter, older, more conservative electorate.

I actually also wanted to say, you know, this is all -- not all, but the
Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity did all this work over the
summer pressuring from the right on these Republicans, but I found the poll
that they did to convince Republicans that this wouldn`t be a cost.

And this is the wording about -- they said in these districts, 60 percent
supported a temporary slowdown in non-essential federal government
operations which still left all central government services running. Well,
if you ask it that way.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Because what will be reported if we get to Tuesday and midnight
we got a deal is shutdown. It will be a much more -- but we`ll pick it up,
actually, President Obama, we have news (ph) out from President Obama just
out this morning. We will play that when we come and we`ll pick the
discussion up after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OBAMA: Past government shutdowns have disrupted the economy. This
shutdown would, too. In a moment when our economy have steadily gained
traction and our deficits have been falling faster than any time in 60
years, a shutdown would be a purely self-inflicted wound. And that`s why
many Republican senators and Republican governors have urged Republicans in
the House of Representatives to knock it all. Pass a budget and move on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That is the president just this morning in his weekly radio
address. That`s the best of radio address for peoples whose radios come
with TVs, I guess.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: And this is just to show you where sort of the state of play is
right now. This is the most recent statement we have from Republican
leadership in the House, at least, The Republican with leadership titles in
the House. This is John Boehner the speaker after the president spoke
yesterday. This was his statement.

He said, "The house will take action that reflects the fundamental fact
that Americans don`t want a government shutdown and they don`t want the
train wreck that is Obamacare. Grandstanding from the president who
refuses to even be a part of the process won`t bring Congress any closer to
a resolution."

So, I guess, at this point, I guess the question I ask is, looking at this
statement from Boehner, looking at the statement from what Obama is saying,
who here thinks that when we get to midnight on Tuesday, we are going to
have a government shutdown? Does anybody not think we`re going to end up
with a government shutdown? Does anybody see a resolution coming before
this?

CAPEHART: I don`t.

(CROSSTALK)

COX: I mean, we talked about before, they have no incentive too, right? I
mean, they have no incentive, too, until the cost comes. I do think
there`ll be a cost. I`m not sure what it`s going to be. I think it`s very
disingenuous polling that the Heritage Foundation did is probably going to
crumble.

And also, they`ve done disingenuous polling in their (INAUDIBLE) about
Obamacare. Obamacare is unpopular, but that`s because some people want to
fix it, that because some people want it to change change.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: And some people want it to be more progressive.

COX: Right.

WALSH: There is a large component of the people who say they don`t approve
of it who don`t approve of it, because it didn`t go far enough.

COX: It`s in like the 20s, I think. I mean, when you combine that with
people who approve that you do get a majority.

WALSH: Right. Exactly.

COX: There was polling done also not too long ago that did generic polling
for Congress. A Democrat who wants to fix Obamacare against a Republican
who wants to appeal, and it`s like 50 something to 36 in favor --

KORNACKI: Well, and Elahe, you made a point earlier. So, there`s a
consensus at this table, I guess, we are heading towards a shutdown.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: I guess the one, you know, sort of asterisk I put on that is
there`s the possibility, I guess, that the House passes this week,-long
extension and we could cut -- we could still be talking about this next
Saturday. But Elahe, you made a point of, you know, maybe Boehner needs
the shutdown, maybe the Republican establishment needs the shutdown to
convince their members that, hey, we need to back off.

I guess just talking about these political dynamics as we did in the last
block, I`m wondering, would even a shutdown do that, you think?

IZADI: I mean, we`ll see.

(LAUGHTER)

IZADI: We`re all trying to predict something here that feels very
unpredictable. It`s unprecedented in many ways. But you can see what
happened during the fiscal cliff to date where he -- john Boehner tried to
put forward his own plan B to avert (ph) what President Obama wanted to do,
not do the $250,000 tax level, and he couldn`t even get support for that.

And we headed over the cliff. The Senate passed something. And then after
that, it was kind of like, all right, let`s just take this vote then none
of us really want to take and pass with Democrats as well.

WALSH: Right. Nancy Pelosi becomes the speaker, you know, for day. And,
they pass it with Democrats. But i don`t really see that happening at this
point. I mean, maybe after a shutdown it would happen, but I don`t really
see it happening before that.

CAPEHART: You got -- but the thing is, you got true believers here who
believe that the only way that they can vote for something is it has to
include delaying, defunding, repealing, scrapping altogether Obamacare.
That`s the thing that sort of mystifies me that they`re staring at a brick
wall.

They`re yelling at a brick wall to fall down, but the president and the
Democrats on the Hill have been united in the fact that they are not going
to vote for anything that delays the funds or repeals and the president has
been pretty clea,r as you said, it`s like through yesterday, I`m not doing
that.

KORNACKI: And, yes, and on that point, here`s Harry Reid, this is
yesterday, too. This is Harry Reid basically saying the senate`s message,
the Senate Democrats message to the Republicans on exactly that point.
Here`s Harry Reid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Here`s a president, who less than a year ago, won an election by
five million votes. Five million votes. Obamacare has been the law for
four years. Why don`t they get out of life and talk about something else?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: But here`s the thing. OK. So, the House leadership actually
did try to talk about something else. And the strategy that came out late
in the week from Boehner and from Republican leaders was, we are going to
try to defer this fight, take it off, you know, government shutdown. We`re
going to try to get it off the table, get the Republicans to pass this
clean bill, and we`re going to tell them that we`re going to have this real
fight over the debt ceiling.

But their fight over the debt ceiling was to try to get Republicans on
board with that. It was like, it`s not just Obamacare. It`s reform (ph).
It`s the Keystone Pipeline and even on top of pointing out at the table,
the Republicans still said no to them. They were not able to put that on
the floor this week.

COX: It`s like a Christmas tree, but it`s also like a much more dangerous
Christmas tree. I love all the metaphors we`re using here.

(LAUGHTER)

COX: You know, the debt ceiling fight if it does happen is actually much
worse.

(CROSSTALK)

COX: You were right a while ago. You said this has never happened before
we have no models for this, and that`s because there`s only one other
country in the world that even operates this way. You know, this is an
actually a crazy way to run the government to pass a bill that says this is
what we`re going to spend and then to have a separate process where we give
the money to do it.

I think Denmark has the same system, but they`ve never even come close to
doing something like this.

KORNACKI: So, Denmark -- that`s a great trivia question for "Up Against
the Clock."

But, we`re going to be joined in a minute from now from somebody who`s in
the middle of this down in Washington, D.C., U.S. Senator Angus King. He
will join us to talk about this. Also, the historic phone call between the
president of the United States and the president of Iran. We`re going to
talk about that with him as well. Senator Angus King joining us when we
come back next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Just now, I spoke on the phone with President Rouhani of the
Islamic Republic of Iran. The two of us discussed out ongoing efforts to
reach an agreement over Iran`s nuclear program. I reiterated to President
Rouhani what I said in New York. While there will surely be important
obstacles to moving forward and successes by no means guaranteed, I believe
we can reach a comprehensive solution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So, President Obama describing the ten-minute phone call he made
to President Hassan Rouhani of Iran yesterday. That was the first time the
leaders of these two countries have had direct contact since 1979. We are
going to talk about this more in a minute. We are going to talk a bit more
about the shutdown.

And joining us to do that right now is independent senator, Angus King.
He`s a member of the Intelligence and Armed Services Committee. He is live
in Brunswick, Maine, Senator, thank you for joining us this morning. I
want to get to Iran in a minute, but I get to start by picking up on this
discussion we`ve been having about this drama playing out in Washington
this weekend. I see you`re back in Maine.

Before your flight yesterday, you put a hot potato in John Boehner`s lap in
the House. He`s got this -- he`s got this clean government funding bill,
they`re calling it. There`s defunding for Obamacare. They have to decide,
the House Republicans have to decide this weekend what they`re going to do
with it.

I just wonder, what is your expectation of what is going to happen in the
House and do you think we are, as everybody on this panel said, headed for
a shutdown?

SEN. ANGUS KING, (I) ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, first, Steve, let me
say, let the record show that the Senate did the right thing, passed a
clean continuing resolution Senate over to the House yesterday afternoon.
I think there are two really important points. One of them sort of wonky,
I don`t want to get too wonky on you, but one is the so-called Hastert
rule that the speaker won`t bring a bill to the floor of the House, unless,
it has the support of a majority of the Republican caucus.

So, what that means is the Republican caucus, I think, is 234 votes. That
means like a 120 people are holding the entire United States hostage. If
he brought this continuing to the floor that we sent them yesterday just as
is and let everybody vote, chances are it would pass. It would get most of
the Democratic votes and enough Republican votes to achieve a majority, but
they`ve got this rule that if they can`t have a unified caucus, then
nothing comes to the floor.

So, that`s one of the things that I think people should realize that, you
know, out of 535 people in Congress, this is like 120 or so that are, you
know, it`s the tail wagging the dog. The other thing that I think that`s
important and it didn`t come up in your earlier discussion is there is a
pernicious inner logic to what these characters are doing. They hate
government. They don`t want government to work.

They don`t believe government can or should work. So to them, crashing the
economy and crashing the government is a kind of weird success and it`s
very hard to reach agreement with people who don`t share a kind of basis
appreciation of the institution. This is dangerous. We`ve never been here
before.

KORNACKI: On that point, let me just ask you about a situation that could
be coming up and you may be confronted with as soon as you come back to
Washington. That is if the House Republicans this weekend pass some sort
of additional provision dealing with Obamacare, there`s been a whole range
of possibilities discussed here.

You know, what would be the far -- delaying all of Obamacare by a year, but
there`s also talk of, you know, simply banning members of Congress and
their staff from receiving, you know, government subsidies under Obamacare,
which would probably be more of a symbolic thing. Are there any potential
changes, even like a symbolic one, are there any potential changes you
might be willing to live with and pass a funding bill with the government

KING: Well, i mean, if it`s a provision that says we`re going to honor our
mothers every May, you know, that would be OK.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: But if it`s substantive, no, I don`t think so. And, there is a
principal at stake here and that is, you know, we run the government. We
do the right thing. We pass budgets, and then we argue about policy in the
in the context of the legislation. This is a bad way, a precedent to
establish that you can take hostages and then negotiate.

I mean, have you seen the list of things that they`re going to attach to
the debt ceiling? I mean, it`s everything but -- you know, I think I
haven`t yet seen that it has a statue of Anne Rand on the mall.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: But other than that, it`s everything that they want.

KORNACKI: If Rand Paul is watching --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: I ran into an old history professor of mine the other day, and this
is a serious point. I don`t want to make light of it. And I asked him if
has anything like this happened in American history before? And he said,
"of course." And I was a little surprised. He said, "the articles of
confederation."

(LAUGHTER)

KING: And he was serious. I mean, the chaos because of the articles of
confederation did not establish an effective government, led to the writing
of the constitution. And these people are willing to risk the economy,
everything else on the altar of ideology and it`s -- this is a dangerous
moment. It really is.

KORNACKI: Transitioning it, I want to make sure to ask you about -- you
said on the intelligence committee, you said on the Armed Services
Committee, I want to ask you about Iran and about this other huge news any
other weekend. This would be a huge thing we`re talking about right now.

But this phone call between the president of the United States and the
president of Iran, we know that the position of the president of Iran is
not the same -- same politically in Iran as the president of the United
States does.

It`s not necessarily the man who`s calling the shots over there. I wonder,
though, what you make of this in the context of sort of the nuclear issue
with Iran and do you see real possibilities here of a breakthrough and an
agreement sometime in the near future?

KING: Well, all I know is, you know, the press conference that we saw the
president have yesterday, but it is potentially huge. I mean, this has
been a really dangerous destabilizing issue in the Middle East for at least
10 or 12 years and a nuclear Iran is a dangerous thing for the entire
world. So, this could be a big breakthrough.

Now, I remember hearing several years ago that the supreme leader who`s not
the president, but the top guy, that`s a great title by the way, supreme
leader, he has not -- he has not been strongly in favor of the development
of a nuclear weapon. I mean, that`s sort of supposition, but I`m hoping
that this really is a breakthrough.

I know that the sanctions that have been applied to Iran by the united
states and most of the rest of the world have really bitten, it`s really
have affected their economy in a significant way and it sounds to me like
some people are saying, you know, is this really worth it? So, there`s a
lot of steps between now and then, a lot of verification, a lot of those
kind of things.

But, you know, the president`s had two pretty strong breakthroughs in
international relations in the last week, which as you say, if it weren`t
for this drama that we were involved in would be at the top of the front
page.

But I`m hoping that the Iran thing, as everybody is, will continue to move
forward, because, boy, that would just be a huge relief to everybody, and
really, I don`t think we can say it would stabilize the Middle East, but it
would certainly go a long way toward easing the tensions over there.

COX: Hi, senator. This is Ana Marie Cox from "The Guardian." I kind of
want to return to the less optimistic negotiations with the Republicans and
not Iran. And I`m just wondering what you think the impact of the
discussion that Ted Cruz had with the House Republicans is, like, have you
heard anything among the senators that you`ve talked to about that?

I mean, it`s a pretty unprecedented action, and I wonder what you think of
it and I wonder what impact you think it will have, that there`s this
Republican senator within House votes.

KING: Well, it`s a little unusual to say the least, but, I think the
problem they`ve gotten themselves into is that they`ve got their troops and
their base sort of whipped up to the point where anything short of
something dramatic, the repeal of the law or delaying a year or something
like that is not going to satisfy. They`re in a corner, in other words.

And that`s a dangerous place to put people and, you know, I don`t know how
they`re going to get out of it. And the speaker, at some point, you know,
he really has a choice. Does he want to lead the country or is he going to
be a captive? I mean, he keeps getting hammered by these people. That`s
got to be the worst job in America right now is to be the Republican
speaker of the House.

But, you know, at some point, we got to start thinking about the country.
And as I say, the real hard part here is that some of these people don`t
care. I mean, they care about the country. I`m not accusing them of being
unpatriotic, but they don`t care if the government shuts down. And I don`t
think they care if we default on our debt.

And by the way, we should stop saying debt limit. We should say the bill
that allows the government to pay bills that`s already occurred. That`s
what this is all about. Most people think this allows the government to
spend more money. This allows the government to pay for money that`s
already spent.

It`s like at the end of the month, you run up your credit card and you
spend all this money, at the end of the month, you say, well, I don`t think
I`ll pay off my credit card this month. That will ruin your credit as it
would the credit of the United States.

KORNACKI: That`s the important point is you got to have fewer syllables
there to put on a bumper sticker.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: We`re short on time, but I want to make sure we have Jonathan
Capehart who wants to get it. We want to make sure he gets in.

CAPEHART: Senator, nice to see you that you`re at Bowden (ph) whereas I
like to call it the Carlton of Maine.

(LAUGHTER)

CAPEHART: My question for you is let`s say we get to the point where we`re
looking at a breaching of the debt ceiling or not paying our bills, do you
think the president should invoke the 14th Amendment?

KING: Well, I think they have to think about that and look at the
provisions of the 14th amendment that talk about paying the debt, and I
think they just have to consider that if it comes to that. I can`t
believe. It`s odd to me that they`re adding this Christmas tree, as you
characterized it, to the debt ceiling increase, which, by the way, Ronald
Reagan increased the debt ceiling I think 18 times.

I mean, it`s been increased 70 or 80 times in the last 40 years. I mean,
this is routine. Somebody suggested a great idea the other day and that is
when we pass spending bills, it ought to have an automatic increase in the
debt ceiling to go along with it, because now, these people can get the
credit of voting for the spending, and then they beat their chest about how
fiscally conservative they are to vote against the debt ceiling that allows
the spending they`ve already supported.

I mean, I think the president`s got to look at all options. We can`t
afford to have a small group, relatively small group of people take down
the U.S., and perhaps, even the world economy.

KORNACKI: OK. Senator Angus King, taking a break in Maine, a brief break
before returning to this mess in Washington. Thank you for taking some
time to joining us this morning. Appreciate it.

How is the diplomatic outreach being received back in Iran? We are going
to go live to Tehran for reaction. That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani is back home today after a
very busy week in New York. But before he left, he took a phone call and
it was from the president of the United States. And then, he did what we
do these days. He tweeted about it, writing in a phone combo, President
Rouhani and President Barack Obama expressed their mutual political will to
rapidly solve the nuclear issue. I didn`t spell out the hashtags there.

For more on what the people of Iran are making of this historic outreach, I
am joined now by NBC News Tehran bureau chief, Ali Arouzi. And Ali, just
really curious to hear the reaction right now. I guess, there was a report
in the "New York Times" overnight that some of the media in Iran had not
even reported this yet, others had.

I just wonder how many people in Iran know about this now and those that
do, what are you hearing from them? What`s the reaction like?

ALI AROUZI, NBC NEWS, TEHRAN, IRAN: Well, good morning, Steve. I mean,
it`s a mixed bag of reactions here. I would say for the most part,
Iranians are pretty happy that relations seem to be slight warming up
between the United States and Iran.

By and large, Iranian people want a good relationship with the United
States, and they know that a good relationship with the United States would
translate into economic welfare for the country because it would lift
sanctions, goods could be traded, and life would become better.

But there is a hard line core in this country that doesn`t want good
relations with the United States and that was very evident at the airport
this morning when Mr. Rouhani arrived back from the United States. There
was a group of two or 300 people there at the airport. Maybe two-thirds of
them there were in favor of Mr. Rouhani coming back. They were cheering
him.

They`d even sacrificed a lamb for him at the airport. But there was also a
very hard line core there that started (ph) throwing rotten tomatoes at
him, eggs at him, and shoes at him and chanting death to America. Now,
maybe this phone call may have heralded in a new chapter of relations
between America and Iran, but it`s also opened up new divisions in Iran.

It shows that this country isn`t 100 percent on board with relations with
America. And this hard line core was very evident there, throwing shoes at
the president. But like I said to you, there`s also a large, large
majority of people here that really do favor good relations -- Steve.

KORNACKI: All right. And then those divisions will be critical to how
this story progresses going forward. So, NBC`s Ali Arouzi from Tehran.
Thank you for that report. Thank you for joining us this morning.

Ahead, we took a field trip this week. The plan was to go to the heartland
and talk to real Americans about the health care law, but we didn`t make it
past West 49th Street here in New York. We took some video, anyway. We`re
going to show it to you next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Want to make your head explode? Who doesn`t? And here`s one
way to do it. Try to explain what exactly the American public thinks about
President Obama`s health care law. There is evidence for every possible
conclusion out there. Ask people what they think of Obamacare. It doesn`t
poll well, and it`s never polled well since it was enacted three and a half
years ago.

It`s the major reason Republicans won so big in the 2010 midterms. Then
ask people about each individual part of Obamacare, and suddenly, the
polling gets a lot better or don`t ask them about Obamacare. Ask them what
they think of the Affordable Care Act. It`s the exact same thing, but when
you take Obama`s name out of it, opposition falls.

And for all of this, the vast majority of people say they just don`t
understand most of the law. So, we looked at all the polling this week,
and we decided we wanted to hear what it sounds like when you put all of
these contradictory attitudes together. So, we went to the heartland to
take the temperature of everyday Americans.

OK. That`s a lie. We were actually really lazy, so we just went outside
the West 49th Street in midtown, Manhattan, but there were a lot of
tourists there from out of town, so maybe that counts.

(LAUGHTER)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KORNACKI: Your friend comes up to you and says, hey, you know, I keep
hearing about this Obamacare thing. I don`t know how it works. How would
you explain it to your friend?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would probably be a little bit (INAUDIBLE) too. I
wouldn`t be sure how to explain it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, I have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not sure really how it works.

KORNACKI: Do you have a sense on your own like what it means for you as a
consumer or anything like that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don`t.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not everything is so clear defined. A lot of people
are confused.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone gets free health care, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say small business people and doctors have
talked to me and been scared to death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Things that the government ends up taking over are
not as efficient as private.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it doesn`t sounds good to me. I`d rather be able
to choose my own doctor, my own hospital, my own care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are four levels of health insurance and you can
choose which insurance company or which level of coverage you want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least for me, i want it, because my wife is a cancer
survivor and also has diabetes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that you can stay on your parents plan until
you`re 26. And that`s what I`m milking until then.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KORNACKI: Milking it until then. This is a big moment for health care
reform. The centerpiece of the law goes into effect this coming Tuesday
when the state insurance exchanges open. And the success of these, the
success or the lack of success of these state insurance exchanges is
basically going to decide, you know, is Obamacare, is the Affordable Care,
will it be remembered as and will it continue to be a successful law on
this country or not?

Will these young healthy people sign up for it? And I got to say, you
know, we did talk to a number of people out there who were able to explain
this thing really impressively. So, it`s not -- you know we didn`t just go
out and find a bunch of people like I haven`t heard of this, but at the
same time, I think you can hear it there.

There are a lot of different emotions, a lot of different feelings.
There`s a lot of different information out there about this. And now, we`re
at the point where from the administration`s standpoint, you have to
somehow put that all aside and just get people to start signing up.

COX: And one thing that`s happening is these individual states are
beginning to serve branded on their own. They realized that that`s a
better way to go with it. In Minnesota, their ads starring Paul Bunyan
(ph) invades the --

(LAUGHTER)

COX: -- getting any health insurance. Minnesota has sort of a version of
this where you get insurance. They allow everyone pretty much with pre-
existing to get health care in Minnesota. But I do think it`s interesting
that you have to get away from the Obamacare in order to make it work. And
even the interesting and terrible is that Republicans are actually advising
young people not to sign up for this.

I mean, this whole plan hinges upon getting people who are relatively
healthy to become part of the pool of the people who are insured. And
Republicans are telling young people not to do it. I mean, this is more
than just sabotage. This is like risking people`s lives.

WALSH: Right. I mean, another thing that this does, you get healthy
people into the pool, that`s one thing. But you also get Americans getting
preventative care in their 20s, thinking about their health and, you know,
looking for problems, getting treatment for problems that exist early
before they turn into something horrible later that costs a lot more.

That is part of, you know, bending the cost curve. When we have healthier
young people, becoming healthier parents, raising healthier children, we
will have a lot fewer social problems, health problems, government
problems. That`s what so insane.

IZADI: Yes. And I mean, part of the problems with the opinions on
Obamacare and this gap between you noted the number of people who favor and
oppose, but also about equal percentages of Americans oppose defunding the
law, too. And so, you have this law enacted for four years where it hasn`t
been fully implemented.

So, people aren`t able to see what the potential benefits of it could be.
Now, the flipside of that as you start to implement it, I mean, even
President Obama is acknowledging there are going to be glitches. Like --

KORNACKI: Everyone`s glitches is going to be played up as --

(CROSSTALK)

IZADI: But the point is that you have this law and you`ve been messaging
on it for a number of years and the people who stand to benefit from it,
the uninsured potentially, the ones who are making less than $50,000, I
mean, those constituencies actually oppose, don`t view Obamacare favorably.
You can reason that if you were to roll it out and implement it and it goes
well, then opinions could change, but it`s not going to change until it`s
implemented.

CAPEHART: Right. And Steve, you know, you went to 49th Street, but I have
to say you found a good --

(CROSSTALK)

CAPEHART: Our MSNBC colleague, Stefanie Cargill and I went down to North
Carolina. We went to this little town Belmont, North Carolina outside of
Charlotte just to ask people what they thought about Obamacare and we
intentionally used the phrase Obamacare. And what was interesting, there
were people who were dead set against it.

There were people who were for it, there were people who knew some things
about it. But the vast -- all of them, the thing that ran through all of
their comments, they didn`t exactly know what Obamacare did. They were
confused by it. They didn`t know what exactly the components were and
that`s what I think has been the problem all along.

Here`s this great law that we all sort of know is going to help people will
be very beneficial to people, but no one can exactly explain why it`s so
important and what they get and what they get from it.

KORNACKI: There is Jonathan Capehart showing me up where his real
reporting.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Going down in the field. We blew our travel budget on pastries.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: They`re really good.

CAPEHART: they are.

KORNACKI: New stuff from Starbucks. I want to thank Elahe Azadi,
"national journal" for joining us today.

We may not be sure for a while what`s next for Hillary Clinton, but I
noticed something that really stood out to me at the Clinton Global
Initiative this week. Hillary Clinton, a potential "Up Against the Clock"
contestant. We`ll explain next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: If you`ve been watching UP the last few weeks, you`d know we
have been doing a weekly game show, "Up Against the Clock." When we heard
Hillary Clinton introducing her husband and Barack Obama at the Clinton
Global Initiative this week, well, she said something that made us all perk
up and think, now, there`s a good game show question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The more I thought about it,
the more I realized how much they have in common. They`re both left-
handed. They both love golf. They both are master politicians. Each of
them has only lost one election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So, that sounded like a great trivia question. Bill Clinton and
Barack Obama each have lost one election. Name the person who beat each of
them? Except, it turns out Hillary was wrong. Yes. Obama has only lost
once. That was back in 2000 when he challenged Chicago congressman, Bobby
Rush, in a Democratic primary, and he lost by 40 points. But Bill Clinton
has actually lost twice.

First time came in 1974 in a race for Congress against republican, John
Paul Hammerschmidt. The second time was in 1980 when he lost the re-
election as governor of Arkansas, defeated by Republican, Frank White.
This is exactly the kind of detailed political knowledge that is demanded
of contestants on "Up Against the Clock."

We have three new ones standing just off the set here, carboloading on
pastries and getting ready to play for the grand prize. We will bring them
out and we will play "Up Against the Clock." That is right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Live from Studio 3A in Rockefeller Center, USA. It`s time for
up against the clock!

Today`s contestants originally from Austin, Texas, by way of Lincoln,
Nebraska, it`s Ana Marie Cox. From Newark, New Jersey, home of the Newark
Bears, it`s Jonathan Capehart. And the returning champion from Brooklyn,
New York, whose four-day winnings total $22 in cash and prizes and IOU, say
hello to Joan Walsh.

And now, the host of "Up Against the Clock", Steve Kornacki.

KORNACKI: Thank you at home for tuning in. We have two new contestants
joining us today. Welcome to you, Ana Marie and Jonathan.

They will be challenging our returning champion, who will be going for her
fifth straight victory today.

She needs little introduction Joan Walsh, welcome back to up against the
clock. We will give you a quick refresher. This is a rapid fire quiz
about the week that was in politics.

There are three rounds. And the first questions are worth 100 points, in
the second, they were worth 200. And in the third round, we call this the
PhD round. They`re worth 300 points east.

Each round will be 100 seconds long, do the math. That means we will be
playing for a total of five minutes. Don`t forget, we also have several
instant bonuses scattered around. These are follow-up questions, a no risk
chance for to you double your winnings on a question you answer correctly.

Contestants, remember, you`ll be penalized for incorrect answers. If you
happen to ring in before I complete the question, you will be frozen out
for three seconds.

And as always, I will remind our live studio audience here -- please no,
outbursts, contestants require absolute concentration when they`re up
against the clock.

Contestants, are you ready?

CONTESTANTS: Yes.

KORNACKI: Sounds like it to me. We will put five minutes on the clock and
we go.

This is 100 point round. It was reported this week that this former
president attended a same sex wedding on --

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: I`m sorry. You`re a little early, Jonathan.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: Oh, no.

KORNACKI: And signed his name as the official witness.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Joan?

WALSH: George H.W. Bush.

KORNACKI: George W. Bush is correct. Same sex wedding in Kennebunkport,
Maine.

The second question -- a poll this week found one in five Republican voters
in South Carolina said they will definitely not vote for whom in 2014?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Jonathan?

CAPEHART: Boy, Lindsey Graham.

KORNACKI: That is correct.

CAPEHART: All right.

KORNACKI: That ties the score at 100 points. At a fundraiser for the
Democratic National Committee on Tuesday night, President Obama said that
who has, quote, "The same hairdo I had in 1978"?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Jonathan?

CAPEHART: Toure.

KORNACKI: It is not Toure. But he`d be flattered to know you thought of
him.

The question is on the floor, 3, 2, 1. Time.

The correct answer is Dante de Blasio. Obama added, "Although, I had to
confess, my afro was never that good. It was a little imbalanced."

Moving on, next 100 point question. His role as a chemistry teacher net
kingpin is coming to an end, but this actor has found work playing Lyndon
Johnson in a new play.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Ana Marie?

COX: Brian Cranston.

KORNACKI: Brian Cranston is correct. We have a three-way tie at 100
points.

This is the final question of the 100-point round -- two hundred sixteen
years after he left office, which commander-in-chief -- for which
commander-in-chief did a presidential library finally open this week?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Jonathan, it`s a little early I`m sorry. We have to enforce
its. It`s a secret rule. It`s on the floor.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Ana Marie?

COX: George Washington?

KORNACKI: George Washington is correct.

That brings us to the end of the 100 point round. Ana Marie with 200,
Jonathan and Joan right in the race with 100 points each.

We move to the 200-point round.

It was reported this week that Wendy Davis will formally enter the race of
the Texas governor this Thursday, assuming she wins the Democratic
nomination. What is the name of the Republican attorney general she will
face in the general election?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Joan?

WALSH: David Dewhurst.

KORNACKI: Is incorrect.

Question is on the floor, 3, 2, 1. Time.

WALSH: Can I answer again?

KORNACKI: You can.

WALSH: Greg Abbott.

KORNACKI: Is correct for zero points.

The next 200-point question, between Monday afternoon and Tuesday, Ted Cruz
held the Senate floor for 21 hours and 19 minutes consecutively. How many
senators in history have spoken non-stop for longer than that?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Joan.

WALSH: Zero.

KORNACKI: Incorrect. Question is on the floor.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Jonathan?

CAPEHART: One.

KORNACKI: Incorrect.

Ana Marie, you want to take a shot?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Ana Marie?

COX: Two.

KORNACKI: Incorrect.

The correct answer is three.

And that was an instant bonus question.

Move on here. Martin Walsh and John Conley finished in the top two slots
in Tuesday`s preliminary election and will compete in a runoff to determine
the next mayor of what major East Coast City.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Joan?

WALSH: Boston.

KORNACKI: Boston is correct for 200 points.

Final question here of the 200-point round.

This former NBA big man where an inability, famous inability to make free-
throws became a part owner of the San Francisco Kings, in a celebratory
that went viral, hoisted the wife of California Governor Jerry Brown in the
air.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Ana Marie?

COX: Shaquille O`Neal.

KORNACKI: Shaquille O`Neal is correct. A new part owner of the Sacramento
Kings.

And now, we move on to our 300 point round, the PhD round. Quick scoring
update here. Jonathan, negative 100. Ana Marie 100. Joan, zero.
Anybody`s game for 300 points.

This former labor secretary confirmed this week that as a graduate student
in the late 1960s, he went on a date with Hillary Clinton.

CAPEHART: Labor secretary?

KORNACKI: Hint, he`s short.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Jonathan.

CAPEHART: Robert rice.

KORNACKI: Robert Reich, the hint gave it away. That`s correct.

Next, we`ll him 300. I probably shouldn`t give a hint there. In his
marathon Senate speech on Monday and Tuesday, Ted Cruz quoted from an
acceptance speech delivered at this summer`s Teen Choice Awards by what
television movie star.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: A little early, Joan.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: A little early, Jonathan.

By what television movie star.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Ana Marie?

COX: Ashton Kutcher.

KORNACKI: Ashton Kutcher is correct.

We have to enforce this draconian rule. We give you the hint earlier,
Jonathan.

For 300 points -- this unsuccessful 2012 Democratic Senate candidate bashed
her campaign staff in a remarkably candid interview within a Nevada
television station this week, saying, quote, "If I had to do it over again,
I wouldn`t let these people run my bath water."

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Joan?

WALSH: Sharron Angle?

KORNACKI: Incorrect.

On the floor, 3, 2, 1. The correct answer is Shelly Berkley.

Final question 300 point round. We have 10 seconds. We will reset this
up. Ana Marie, you have 400. Jonathan, you have 200. Joe, you have
negative 200. But this is a 300-point question.

Members of Congress of both parties expressed concern this week --
continuation here, members of Congress from both parties expressed concern
this week when the U.S. Postal Service announced plans to raise the cost of
a first class stamp from 46 cents to what?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Jonathan for the win?

CAPEHART: Forty-nine cents.

KORNACKI: Is correct. Jonathan Capehart of the last question of the game
has stormed from behind to defeat Ana Marie Cox 500-400 and has defeated
our returning champion, Joan Walsh.

Joan, it was a wonderful run. Thank you for joining us.

And, Jonathan, as our winner, that means you when our prize package, which
I will not tell you about. It includes the coveted UP mug, the gold UP
mug. We will have your name engraved on it. Actually, it will be a
sharpie. But close enough.

You also win an appearance on MSNBC 3:00 p.m. show, "THE CYCLE." That will
be sometime next week. They will be in touch with you to schedule that.

And now, the most exciting part, Jonathan, it means right now you get to
play for the "Up Against the Clock" bonus jackpot, which today is a brand-
new, never-before-used $50 gift certificate to Little Poland, the most
authentic Eastern European eating and drinking experience in New York`s
historic East Village. There I am after a pierogi or two.

All you need to do to win that is to answer the one question, Jonathan, the
UP jackpot question and it is this. Read from the screen actually. An
earlier question mentioned all the way the new play about LBJ starring
Brian Cranston. In that same production, what former Spinal Tap member
will play J. Edgar Hoover?

You have five seconds. We need an answer, please.

CAPEHART: Ah, ah.

KORNACKI: I`m sorry, incorrect. The correct answer, Michael McKeon, also
from "Laverne and Shirley."

The jackpot survives for another show. But congratulations, Jonathan. You
are still our champion. We will still see you on "THE CYCLE" next week.

And, Joan and Ana Marie, you will not leave as empty-handed. Joan, you
have your $22 in winnings. Ana Marie, you will get the home edition, fun
for a family of all ages. We say thanks for playing, and we say thanks to
all of you out there in TV land for playing along. We will see you next
time on "Up Against the Clock."

And now, the tease for the real show: can House Democrats be the big winner
next year? We`re going to talk about it next with DCCC chairman,
Congressman Steve Israel.

Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KONACKI: We`re in the middle of roughly 3,700th government funding, debt
ceiling fiscal cliff showdown since Republicans took control of the House
in 2011. And one thing seems certain. Even when this one ends, we`ll just
turn around and have another one and go through this all over again.

This has become the reality of divided government in the Tea Party era.
And for Democrats, it seems increasingly clear, the only way to put a stop
to this government brinksmanship is to take control of the House away from
the GOP. But for Democrats to do that, they will have to wait until
November of next year to have even a chance. And even then, history says
it is a long shot, and that`s putting it mildly.

Only three presidents since the Civil War have seen their parties pick up
House seats in the mid-term election. Franklin Roosevelt in 1934, Bill
Clinton in 1998, and George W. Bush in 2002. All of those exceptions came
with asterisks of their own -- the Great Depression of 1934, impeachment in
1998, and, of course, 9/11.

The most seats in the White House party has ever gained in those elections
-- well, it was nine, which is about half of the 17 the Democrats will need
to pick up to make Nancy Pelosi speaker again. So, history is not on their
side.

But maybe there is hope for Democrats, as Hillary Clinton said about
congressional Republicans on Tuesday, quote, "It wouldn`t be the worst
thing for Democrats if they shut the government down. We`ve seen that
movie before and it didn`t work out so well for those so-called
obstructionists."

Well, joining us now is someone who would like to direct the sequel to that
movie. This is Congressman Steve Israel. He`s the chairman of the
Democratic congressional campaign committee. This is the committee that
recruits and funds and supports Democratic congressional candidates in
2014. It`s his job to win back the House for his party and he joins us now
from Garden City in New York.

And, Congressman, thank you for the time this morning. I want to talk to
you a little bit about 2014 and how all of this, you know, shutdown talk,
you know, plays into it.

But, first, I just want to ask you -- you know, we are sort of at this very
weird weekend where the House is actually going to be in session. We have
the Republicans are going to be meeting at noon today. They have to decide
what they`re going to do with this so-called clean government funding bill
that was sent back from the Senate.

And I just wonder, what do you think is going to happen this weekend? The
Republican leadership says they`re going to be something. What do you
think you`re going to be voting on this weekend in the House?

REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: Well, thank you for having me on.

The fundamental problem is, nobody knows what we`re going to be voting on.
John Boehner doesn`t know what we`re going to be voting on because the
Republicans are fighting a civil war. They haven`t figured out an exit
strategy and every time they meet, they fight and every time they fight,
they inflict further damage on the economy and on the country.

Look, I think we have a path to win 17 seats in 2014. What concerns me is
what these House Republicans are going to do to the country between now and
then.

KORNACKI: Well, let me ask you, I`m thinking back to the last -- we`ve had
a lot of these dramas. The one that comes to mind, obviously, is the debt
ceiling drama in 2011. We really -- you know, went up to the wire. We
didn`t know what was going to happen. And, obviously, that clearly hurt
the Republican Party`s brand, if you can call it that.

But I also remember the summer of 2011, when that happens, is the lowest
point at least from a polling standpoint from Barack Obama. And we have
some polling data that`s come out this week. I think this is from
"Huffington Post" pollster. They`re just looking at the trend line of
Obama`s approval rating, really the last six months.

You can -- the last nine months there, and you can see, this average
favorable approval rating has fallen from 51 percent to 43 percent. I
guess wonder, from your standpoint as the Democrats trying to win back the
House, do you have a fear here that all of this is just causing voters to
kind of throw their hands up in the air? Yes, the Republican, but it`s
also the Democrats, it`s everybody.

ISRAEL: No, in fact, I have empirical data that refutes that. Look, the
referendum of President Obama and Mitt Romney`s policy was in 2012. 2014
is going to be a referendum on the chaos, the crisis, the shutdowns, the
slowdowns and the cliffs that Republicans are giving us. And that`s
playing out all across the country. We just did a research project and the
68 most competitive congressional districts in the country, over 60 percent
of independent swing voters in those districts hold Republicans accountable
for the gridlock and want them to move the country forward.

Nearly 40 percent of Republicans in those districts believe that House
Republicans are too extreme, not doing enough to cooperate and move the
country forward.

So, there used to be a pox on both your houses. Now, it`s clear that the
American people are holding the Republicans accountable for their actions
and looking for national leaders with reasonable common sense solutions to
address the nation`s problems and that`s what`s going to happen in
November, 2014.

KORNACKI: But let me put it this way. Even if the American people do
decide sort of they want to hold the Americans accountable for this. I`m
thinking of what happened in the congressional elections last year. You
mentioned the 2012 election.

Of course, your party, you know, Democrats candidates for House last year,
you got a million more votes nationally than Republicans did. As I wonder,
we talk about whether that`s gerrymandering or whether that`s just sort of
the way the population is distributed in this country now, Democrats tend
to live in more concentrated areas, Republicans are more spread out, even
if up win that argument, did you learn in 2012 that maybe you still can`t
win back the House because of those structural factors?

ISRAEL: No, not at all. Look, two things -- first of all, even after
redistricting, there were about 52 House Republican incumbent was are in
competitive districts. Even pundits say there are 51, 52, House
Republicans, who can be beaten. So that gives us a pretty good battle
space.

And here`s the other thing, Steve -- I don`t care whether you wake up in a
red district or a blue district or something in between. You want to make
wake up with a member of Congress who wakes up like you. Not thinking
about left or right, but thinking about moving the country forward.

Last week, federal employees had to evaluate the Navy Yard because of a
shooter. Next week, federal employees may have to evacuate that building
because of a shutdown of the government and furloughs. Is that t kind of
government that you want if you are in a red district or a blue district?

No, you want a district -- you want a government that`s going to respond to
you to the challenges, find some compromise and pursue common sense
solutions and 2014 will be a referendum. A common sense reasonable
solution or the chaos and the crisis and the gridlock and the ideology and
the extremism that these House Republicans have brought to us. In an
almost historic way, no Republican Congress in history has inflicted more
damage and has been more ideological and extreme than this Republican
Congress.

CAPEHART: Congressman Israel, it will be a referendum -- 2014 will be a
referendum on the chaos and the obstruction. But it also depends on
whether the Obama coalition that showed up in 2012 and who gave a million
more votes to House members depends on whether they show up in 2014 and as
we all know around this table, mid-term, mid-year, mid-term elections the
turnout is down.

The -- as Ana Marie, we were talking earlier, the electorate is older and
whiter, what are you going to do to insure that the Obama coalition comes
out and votes for Democrats on the ballot when the president, the person
they come out for, isn`t on the ballot?

ISRAEL: We`re going to do two things. It`s very good question. Number
one, we`re going to use all the tools in our toolbox, and all the
technologies we have, including some exquisite and cutting edge
technologies, to communicate with those voters, to persuade them to vote
and to turn them out.

And secondly, we`re going to make a case, all we have to do is remind them,
what has happened over the past several months if they don`t go and vote in
the 2014 election, they are effectively re-electing House Republicans who
has spend all their time trying to bring down the president and who have
been willing to bring down the economy in the pursuit of bringing down the
president.

That`s the case we`re going to make. I`m very confident that -- those
voters will respond.

COX: Good morning, Congressman. This is Ana Marie Cox, from "The
Guardian".

A sort of a touchy, feely question, which is -- do you have any sympathy
for Boehner? Do you feel like you know what he is going through? And do
you have any idea what would you do if you were in his position? I mean,
it`s an unenviable one for sure, and I`m just wondering if your heart goes
out to him at all. Do you feel like you know what he is going through?

ISRAEL: I -- look, I understand what he is going through. I would have
more sympathy for him. But I have more sympathy for the American economy.
I have more sympathy for families who are feeling the impacts of what these
Republicans are doing.

The S&P index declined last week for the first time since the summer
because of John Boehner`s inability to compromise, because of his inability
to bring Republicans and Democrats together.

This is a guy who lives to keep his hands around the gavel rather than keep
the economy moving. So, no, I don`t have a lot of sympathy for somebody
who feels it`s more important to keep his gavel than to keep the economy
moving

WALSH: Hi, Congressman Israel. It`s Joan Walsh from Salon.

ISRAEL: Hi, Joan.

WALSH: How are you?

There have been reports that you are having a hard time recruiting in
certain districts because people want to wait until 2016 where they believe
Hillary Clinton will run and her coattails or pantsuit tails will carry
them to Washington.

What do you say to these people?

ISRAEL: Well, actually, those reports are not playing out good as they
have been reported. In fact, of the 52 most competitive districts that we
have in the country, virtually every single one of them has a recruit, has
a top tier candidate who is pursuing solutions. And we are recruiting deep
into red territory.

We`ve got a wonderful candidate, somebody who is about solutions and common
sense in Montana. We`ve got candidates who are running in Republican
districts that have been just fed up with the extremism and gridlock in
California. Great candidates in the panhandle of Florida, all across the
country, Ohio, right of center districts, center districts -- we have
recruit was are standing up.

And, by the way, they`re not politicians. These are people who are small
business people, they are entrepreneurs, they`re innovators. They wake up
in the morning thinking about how you move the economy and the country
forward? And they are stepped up, and decided to run that. They are the
backbone of our campaign to take back the House based on solutions that
makes sense for middle class families.

KORNACKI: All right. And, Congressman Israel, we did not get a chance to
talk about this. But I want to point out to the audience that you now have
something in common with Steve Martin and Woody Allen to name a few people.
You have been published in the "Shouts and Murmurs" column of the "New
Yorker" for the humor column in New York. You have a piece that`s new in
there, sort of making fun of the dear American Express, I have reached my
personal debt ceiling, it`s called.

To encourage people to check this out, we`ll try to tweet it out. Maybe
you`ve got a future in comedy writing there or something.

ISRAEL: If it weren`t so sad, it would be funny.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: All right. Well, I want to thank you, Congressman Israel for
joining us this morning. We appreciate the time.

What is the fastest way to get to Texas? I think through Wyoming and
Virginia.

That`s a campaign round-up. That`s coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Let`s take a trip to a happier time the. Year 1996, the economy
was strong, Seinfeld was still on the air, Michael Jordan was still winning
championships. And in Wyoming, Alan Simpson and Dick Cheney were still the
best of friends. This is from a roast in honor of Simpson retiring from
the Senate that year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: You know, one of the personal memories
I have, of course, is the fact that we went to Congress together. I got
elected to the House the same year Al got elected to the United States
Senate in 1978. We came back as freshmen. And, of course, you develop a
very unique relationship when there is one congressman from the state and
two senators, and the senators take you to lunch once a month to make sure
you don`t aspire to higher office.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Higher office, Dick Cheney. Why are we showing you this now?
Because something happened this week that drove a wedge between Alan
Simpson and Dick Cheney`s family. We will explain that in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: It`s been a busy political week in Washington, but there is also
a lot of weird, wild political stuff going on far from the Beltway. We
wanted to give you a little of a tour.

So, we will start in Wyoming, where politics may be destroying a famous
political friendship between the Cheney family and Alan Simpson. This is
kind of amazing, former Senator Alan Simpson and his wife had issues to the
local paper in Cody, Wyoming, it`s "The Cody Enterprise", an exhaustive
2,166-word statement detailing hostile interactions he had lately with
Lynne Cheney and Liz Cheney, and that he accuses Lynne Cheney, she`s, of
course, the wife of Dick Cheney, he accuses her of telling her, quote, "one
damn bald-faced lie." And he adds, "I have had a belly full of it."

You`ve got to go read this whole thing. It is amazing, it`s a rather
dramatic escalation of a bitter conflict that spilled into public view
earlier this week when reports surfaced that Dick Cheney`s wife, Lynne
Cheney, told Simpson to, quote, "shut up".

The context, Dick and Lynne Cheney`s daughter Liz is challenging Republican
Senator Mike Enzi in next year`s primary that put Simpson in hot spot
because Mike Enzi just so happens to be his political protege.

Lynne Cheney in a statement this week said she loves Simpson and his wife.
And as for the blowup, she wrote, "Al was rude to my granddaughter. I told
him he was out of line. The topic was not Mike Enzi."

So, yesterday, Simpson turned up the heat with that lengthy, detailed
colorful statement to "The Cody Enterprise". Here`s another quote from it.

She said, "How could you forget the little 8-year-old, Liz, who campaigned
with us for you in 1978? How could you not support her?" I said, "You
don`t understand, I`ve known Mike Enzi for over 35 years." And then, Lynne
Cheney said, "Oh, I`ve heard enough of that and I don`t want to hear
anymore. I just want to tell you something, shut up, just shut up, shut
up." Three times, I wandered off, stunned.

Go read the whole thing. This is not a normal statement. This is a very
colorful --

COX: This is a Facebook post. That`s what it is.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: This thing started, because I think it was the niece of Alan
Simpson posted this on Facebook. And the media found out. And now --

WALSH: Lynne Cheney denied it, he`s like oh, are you not going to deny
this, this really happened.

KORNACKI: You own this.

WALSH: You own this and I`m going to tell you everything that happened.
And for her to say he was rude to her granddaughter, I mean, she`s just to
brazen. It`s just the two -- and Liz Cheney`s entitlement here, can we
talk about that?

We got a lot of crazy Tea Party people doing things because they really
believe in them. But this is pure opportunism. And this is a person who
has had everything in life handed to her. She`s never had to work a day in
her life for anything. And she thinks she is going to take this Senate
seat away from a friend of the father`s?

KORNACKI: It is not playing out. I mean, this seems like this is not a
campaign that`s going well. There was a poll a month or two ago that had
her down like 34 points. I can`t imagine how this is playing in Wyoming.

CAPEHART: I mean, I think a lot of people in Wyoming think -- wait a
minute, you were just in Virginia.

WALSH: Right.

CAPEHART: That you`re a creature of Washington and you are going to fly
back here and tell us that we should vote for you? I mean, good luck with.
That -- I mean, that works in places like New York, where someone who comes
if from the outside runs away.

WALSH: And there is a tradition there.

CAPEHART: There is a tradition there. New Yorkers love the Kennedys and
they love the Clintons.

But as we are seeing right now, Wyoming is sort of too through with the
Cheneys.

COX: There are not a lot of people there. I mean, they know they are
representatives pretty well in a way that I`m not sure other people can
understand. I mean, there is one representative in Congress.

The -- I think this is also a reminder the Cheneys are some of the most
craven people in politics. I mean, I think to do what? Cheney doing
something out of political convenience? I am shocked. A Cheney line.
What could happen? Ha! You know?

KORNACKI: Fun Wyoming facts. It`s a small state. There are only two
escalators in the whole state in the population, Milwaukee, Memphis and
Louisville all bigger than the state of Wisconsin.

We are going to take this tour of the country and we are now going to turn
to Virginia where Democratic gubernatorial candidate -- losing my train of
thought here -- Terry McAuliffe, and Republican Attorney General Ken
Cuccinelli held their first televised debate on Wednesday. They wasted no
time calming each other out by name. Here`s a taste of what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VA GOV. CANDIDATE: He`s referred to gay Virginians as
self-destructive and soulless human beings.

KEN CUCCINELLI (R), VA GOV. CANDIDATE: If Terry is elected, we`re going to
have change the state motto from "Sic Semper Tyrannis" to "Quid Pro Quo".

MCAULIFFE: Frankly, I think California women have had just about enough of
Ken Cuccinelli`s experience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Thank good I took Latin. I know exactly what Cuccinelli was
trying to say.

But this race is interesting because, you know, we`ve talked about a lot in
the show, the basic dynamic that neither one of each candidate is
particularly well-liked by Virginia voters. But it certainly seems if you
look at the polling now, Ken Cuccinelli is more disliked than Terry
McAuliffe, and there`s a little bit more ammunition on McAuliffe`s side to
go after Cuccinelli is in reverse.

WALSH: And the gender gap was enormous. I mean, Cuccinelli has really
hurt himself with women. And it`s also great to see people campaigning on
women`s reproductive rights in Virginia. But it`s a winning issue there.

KORNACKI: That is an interesting thing, too. I think Chuck Todd is making
this point this week that, you know, Virginia, a generation ago, solid
Republican, you know, deep south conservative state and voted like a deep
south state.

And now, you have, right the issue Terry McAuliffe, was singling out to go
after Ken Cuccinelli. If Ken Cuccinelli wins this, loses this thing, maybe
it`s because his ties to this business. But also, I think, because he`s
too conservative for Virginia.

COX: This would be nice segue to your Texas segment, because I do think
the reproductive rights issue some are overlooking as a national issue.
It`s an issue that`s actually also going to be played out in states and in
districts which is that if you look at the swing states in the last
election, where the Republicans have pushed beyond the pale, when it comes
to reproductive rights, when they`re really gone out of their way to do
things to women that are invasive, that are insulting, they have paid the
cost with single and married single with children and with young single
women.

I think that Virginia has a case of. That I mean, they don`t have that
much of a chance, but there is.

KORNACKI: You teed it t up as the third one, another governor`s race,
Texas, 2014 Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis. You know her from her
marathon filibuster a few months ago. She will likely be running for
governor. She confirmed this week that she had some kind of announcement
in the next week, presumably that means she`s going to be running for
governor against Greg Abbott.

And, Jonathan, this is -- you know, the Democrats finally have a chance to
win the governorship of Texas, to win statewide in Texas. It`s a story I
have been hearing election after election after election. It keeps leading
to lopsided Republican wins.

But when you look at Wendy Davis, when you look at Texas in 2014, do you
see any hope of that changing for Democrats?

CAPEHART: Look the luck has to change sometime somewhere. And if it
starts to change with Wendy Davis -- I mean, I`ve asked people, so, will
Texas go blue or go purple in time for 2016? 2020? And folks say, no,
it`s going to be a very long time before that happens. As I said before,
it has to start somewhere and given the reaction to Wendy Davis`
filibuster, her real filibuster, over something real, this is her shot, her
personal shot. But this is also the Democrat`s shot to start the real
process of turning Texas purple.

WALSH: Well, I think one thing it`s going to rely on is women. And women
are outraged. The other thing is Latinos and Latino women. And if she can
do something, you know, the Latino population is lagging behind the rest of
the country in its voter participation and there are a lot of complicated
reasons for that. But Democrats have known for a long time that that is
going to be the secret.

So, if she can marry her popularity with women, if she can marry this
issues of reproductive rights, reproductive health and do something real,
turning out Latino women and voter education, I think it`s exciting. Can
she win? It`s going to be very hard? But does she set it up for a quicker
turn purple? Absolutely.

KORNACKI: And it`s the last Democrat who won a governor`s race in Texas, it
was Ann Richards in 1990. She obviously was historic to be winning the
race as a woman. She also had this very, you know, populist appeal. She
had that speech at the 1998 Democratic convention where she ridiculed
George Bush Sr. He`s born with a silver foot in his mouth, she said.

I wonder when I looked at Wendy Davis, and what she sort of tapped into the
populist feeling she tapped into with that filibuster, there`s a little bit
of that Ann Richards thing here.

COX: I think so. It`s also may be interesting to note that, you know, Ann
Richards` daughter, Cecile Richards, now runs Planned Parenthood. I mean,
this is an issue that Texas women really cared about. I mean, we`re going
to see this turn no a national race. I think you`re going to see a lot of
money pouring in.

I gave money to Wendy Davis, I`ll say right here, rather than buying the
shoes, I gave money to her.

You know, I think it might take us a step towards turning Texas purple.
It`s certainly going to be interesting to watch. Wendy Davis is an
amazing, magnetic personality and I look forward to seeing it.

WALSH: Let`s also remember, she did another filibuster. It was on behalf
of education.

And so, she really does come with a populist record and a record that`s not
to diminish women`s rights, but it`s not merely women`s rights. It really
is.

CAPEHART: It wasn`t a one off.

KORNACKI: The filibuster, too, as a way of sort of building, getting a
message out, that is what we will talk about tomorrow. So we will get to
that in tomorrow`s show, a tease there.

But before that, it is not too early to talk about the mid-terms of 14,
1914, that is. We talk Woodrow Wilson. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Ninety-six years ago this month, American was plunging to what
was then called at the Great War, in what we now remember as World War I.
And to pay for it, the president of the United States oversaw the creation
of a borrowing mechanism known as the debt ceiling. That is just one of
the many ways that we are still feeling the reverberations of the
presidency of Woodrow Wilson.

It was Wilson more than anyone who created, shaped and defined the
presidency, as we now know it. The way the country sees it president, the
president see themselves. And the annual tradition of the president
walking into the House chamber and delivering a State of the Union address
to a joint session of Congress, Wilson was the first to do that since John
Adams. Before him, and all those years in between, it was just a written
message.

The federal income tax, that was the Wilson creation. American military
adventurism. It is no accident the president whose foreign policy George
W. Bush`s was most often compared to was Woodrow Wilson`s.

Shortly before the end of World War I, Wilson wrote to an Arizona senator
saying, "I am thinking now only of putting the U.S. into a position of
strength and justice. I am now playing for 100 years hence." Well, it is
now 100 years later, and most of those years, Wilson`s reputation has been
reassessed downward in many ways, by African-Americans, for women, for free
speech, and dissent. They all suffered under Wilson`s presidency.

And even himself was dissatisfied, frustrated by his limits in the way he
was ultimately thwarted by Congress. Maybe a little of that sounds
familiar these days, too. His legacy is a complicated one.

And here to explain is someone who has spent more than a decade analyzing
it, is Pulitzer Prize winner A. Scott Berg. He`s the author of the new
biography, "Wilson", which debuted in "The New York Times" bestseller list
this weekend.

And, Scott, thanks for joining us.

A. SCOTT BERG, AUTHOR, "WILSON": Happy to be here.

KORNACKI: I have been look forward to having this conversation. I guess,
maybe to start out, we outline a little bit of it there. But maybe you can
take us back to that time and look at sort of the presidency as Wilson
envisioned it, and the way he changed it. How just his vision of the
presidency was such a dramatic departure from what the country had known
from 27 who came before him.

BERG: It was, indeed. And, largely, when he arrived in the White House
the legislature was very much dominating American government, in particular
the Senate, many of whom were in the pockets of a half doesn`t very rich
men in this country.

Wilson believed there should be a leveling of that. He believed the
executive branch and the legislative branch should really co-operate and I
mean that literally. They, he wanted them to co-operate the government.
So, as a result of that, he really tried to humanize to personalize the
presidency.

And as you suggested, he began showing up in the Congress, which is
something the legislature had never seen before, State of the Union
addresses. He called 2005 joint sessions of Congress while he was
president. Whenever he had some serious proposition to make, he would calm
them all back, even in the dead of Washington summer and get them talking.

So the big thing Wilson did, I think, and this translates into present day
and what is going on, in the international scene, is he believed in having
dialogue, the same dialogue with adversaries.

KORNACKI: When he was, you know, one of the themes I think of how we have
been talking about the Obama presidency is sort of the limits that come
with the presidency. I mean, when you are a Democratic president,
especially in this day and age, that the Tea Party, and the Republicans
control the House, the Republicans insist on the 60-vote Senate, on that
becoming a new tradition, there are serious limits on what you can do.

And Wilson came up against those limits, too, in some big ways, didn`t he?

BERG: He did. And Wilson believed basically there are no limits until
somebody says there are, that is until the Congress says enough or until
the Supreme Court says you are doing something illegal. The president, the
least defined office in the Constitution, can do whatever he thinks he can
do.

COX: Do you -- I was going to say, do you -- is the visiting of Congress,
the calling the joint session, the humanization of the presidency, I think
there are people that have mocked the idea Obama could be making more
progress if he did those kind of things. But you seem to say that did help
Wilson.

Do you think that that could help Obama? Do you think if he took that
personal touch? I know some people of Congress feel they have been snubbed
by him.

BERG: I think yes on both counts. I think it definitely helped Wilson and
I think it could definitely help Obama, because I think Obama has a lot of
the hallmarks that Wilson had. I think just this idea of being rational,
of thinking before attacking, things like that, he`s often accused of being
too slow in getting into wars. This was an accusation against Woodrow
Wilson as well, who kept us out of war for several years before the First
World War.

But, yes, I think the president could and is starting to rip a few pages
out of the Wilson playbook.

CAPEHART: I mean, one of the things you said when it got to the center,
you were looking at the newspapers, is all of these headlines are Wilsonian
headlines -- talk about that.

BERG: Well, I will. In fact the one that struck me, and I think is the
historic call for Obama in the running today on the "Wall Street Journal" -
- well, I think this is historic in and of itself that President Obama did
something yesterday and "The Wall Street Journal" used the word "historic"
to describe Obama today. I mean, this is just an outrage to me.

But the thing is here we are in the 20th century playing on a map that
Woodrow Wilson literally drew in 1919, and I think just the concept again
of having dialogue with enemies, having everybody sit at a round table. We
have United Nations in session today. We have the Security Council
actually coming to an agreement on something here -- everybody making a
small compromise for the larger cause. These are all Wilsonian ideas.

KORNACKI: That`s sort of the best of Wilson`s foreign policy. He
envisioned the League of Nation. That didn`t work out. We have the United
Nations. And we`re seeing, yes, an example how the United Nations should
work.

But there is clearly a sort of a downside to the legacy of Wilson`s of the
aggressive promotion of democracy worldwide, over the last decade we
learned that doesn`t always work is there that is correct.

BERG: That`s correct. And good or bad, love them or hate them, our
foreign policy at this minute goes back to a speech Woodrow Wilson gave on
April 2nd, 1917, the declaration of war he asked Congress to prepare.

In the middle of that speech he said the world must be made safe for
democracy. Basically every American incursions since, whether it`s
Vietnam, whether it`s questioning about Syria, wherever we have gone, Iraq,
Afghanistan, has all gone back to that one Wilsonian idea or ideal,
depending if it works or not.

KORNACKI: We`re low in time, but I wanted to make sure to get this in. We
talked about his legacy for a lot of historians is being assessed downward
since he left office. And one of the reasons is we always had this
difficulty on questions of race, going back to a different era, era before
civil rights and what we know today.

But even for his era, it always strikes me that Wilson was way behind the
times. I mean, look at Theodore Roosevelt, when you look at Taft, you look
at Wilson back then, Wilson really does deserve some of that grief, doesn`t
he?

BERG: He deserves some of it. He wasn`t way behind his time. In fact, I
think he was rather centrist in his day, truth be told.

But he was a Southerner, there`s no question about that. He was raised in
the South. He was raised with segregation. He did impose Jim Crow into
Washington, into the bureaucracy there.

So that he does deserve the bad rap for, no question about it. He wasn`t
anti-African-American. He wasn`t trying to put the black man back into the
box. But he just believed the country wasn`t ready for segregation.

Again, this was a period in which Ku Klux Klan members proudly sat in the
Senate and on the Supreme Court. So, in the scheme of things in 1913,
Wilson was somewhere in the middle. But he -- the most progressive
president we`d seen was really the most regressive when it came to race.

KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, 10 years before that Theodore Roosevelt invited an
African-American to the White House.

BERG: That grief once never --

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Right. He did do it, though. I want to thank A. Scott Berg for
joining us. And you can read more about the 28th president in his book,
"Wilson."

So, what do we know now that we didn`t know last week? Well, we`re going
to have our answers right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. We`ve reached the end.

Time to find out what our guests know now that they didn`t know when the
week began.

Joan?

WALSH: Well, we know Democrats hate Ted Cruz and a lot of Republicans hate
Ted Cruz, but according to the PPP poll that came out this week, Ted Cruz
is currently leading the national Republican 2016 race. He is the
candidate who`s on top. So, what he`s doing is working with the people
that he`s trying to reach.

KORNACKI: It`s playing well in the bubble. Definitely.

Jonathan?

CAPEHART: This so-called flip-floppery of the president when it came to
military action against Syria turns out has yielded incredible benefits.
Today, we`re talking about the first-ever conversation between the
president of the United States and the president of Iran, first time since
1979. We`re talking about the U.N. voting on a Security Council resolution
to get Syria`s chemical weapons and before this week, but Syrian president
or dictator Bashar al Assad finally admitted what everyone knew all along,
that he had chemical weapons.

So, the president`s flip-flopping actually yielded concrete results.

KORNACKI: And Ana?

COX: Oh, I`m going to make a really wonky point about the Adorable Care
Act on Twitter, which is an account you can follow to get pictures of cute
animals. Both Republicans and Democrats follow it. Again, that`s
@adorablecareact.

KORNACKI: Bringing the two parties together.

My thanks to Joan Walsh of "Salon", Jonathan Capehart, "The Up Against the
Clock" champion from "Washington Post", and Ana Marie Cox from "The
Guardian".

Thank you for getting UP and thank you for joining us today for UP."

Join us tomorrow morning, we will Ted Cruz. Why we only had Newt Gingrich
and C-Span to thank for theatrics. And "SNL" returns. We`ll look at how
they cover the weekend politics and how they have been covering for years,
tomorrow at 8:00 Eastern.

And up next, is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP," a fascinating
new look at what it costs to keep someone alive for one more day and this
painstaking question -- is it worth it? Stay right there. Melissa is
next.

And we will see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)





THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2013 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2013 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>





  MORE FROM RACHEL MADDOW SHOW  
  
Rachel Maddow Show Section Front
 
Add Rachel Maddow Show headlines to your news reader:
 

Sponsored links

Resource guide