updated 10/28/2013 11:04:13 AM ET 2013-10-28T15:04:13

UP with STEVE KORNACKI
October 26, 2013
Guest: Larry Sabato, Suzy Khimm, Rebecca Sinderbrand, Krystal Ball, Joe
Watkins, Rep. Frank Pallone, Raffi Williams

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: There`s still time for the White House to
fix its Obamacare headache, but the clock is ticking.

Back to the start of this Saturday morning, we`re feeling a little
adventurous. So, we`re quitting our jobs and we`re joining the Peace
Corps. Well, that`s not true, but there is something about the early days
of the Peace Corps to keep in mind when we talk about the rollout of
Obamacare. I`ll explain that in just a moment.

Also, unicorns, pots of golds at the end of rainbows, and viable third
parties. They`re fun to think about. You almost never -- you almost
certainly never actually see one in your lifetime, but there are moments
when serious third party presidential candidates can emerge for one
election. Now, we may by approaching one of those moments.

Also, we`ll head out to the plains of Iowa. Ted Cruz spoke there last
night and is uniting -- killing pheasants there today, excuse me. The GOP
establishments have been taking some shots at him, but the message doesn`t
seem to be getting through to the GOP base. It`s a big problem for
Republicans and we`ll discuss it.

Also on "Up Against the Clock," we made history last week with our highest
score ever in our first ever jackpot winner. Now, three new contestants
will try to one up that. Brian Beutler, they are coming for you.

But first, I want to start in 1961, it was a hopeful time in America. John
F. Kennedy, the new frontier and new generation, a new idea for how to
foster goodwill throughout the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vanguard of Peace Corps volunteers who will fan
throughout the world in undeveloped countries starts training in Rutgers
University in New Jersey. A rugged physical examination is first on the
agenda for the 128 youths who are seeking to fill 64 vacancies in the
mission to Columbia. On their first day, the group of unpaid volunteers
gathers to hear S. Sgt. Shriver (ph), Peace Corps director.

He calls it the most important project that the U.S. has attempted in a
decade and says its success could mean much to democracy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Ah, the Peace Corps, a mainstay of American public service for
the last half century, but in 1961, it was brand-new and just being
launched and it hit some snags. Here`s a postcard that was written in
October 1961 by a 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer from Foxboro,
Massachusetts. It`s before Foxboro is famous for being the home of the
Patriots. They were playing at Boston University back then.

Anyway, once you reached her assignment in Nigeria, she wrote home
describing her shock at the, quote, "squalor and primitive living
conditions rampant both in the cities and the bush. Everyone except us
lives in streets, cooks in streets, and even goes to the bathroom in
streets." Not exactly a flattering picture of her host country. And since
she wrote this on a postcard and not a letter, someone in Nigeria spotted
it and published it and it caused a national uproar.

There were protests, there were loud demands for the expulsion of all Peace
Corps volunteers. Postcard you`d (ph) perfectly the stereotype of the ugly
American. Back in United States, critics of the new program, and there
were plenty of them, they claimed vindication. They thought that sending
young naive idealists in the third world countries was a waste of money.

It was a waste of money that was only going to make foreign relations
worse, and here was the proof that they`d been searching for. Volunteer
who wrote that postcard was eventually sent home, but the director of the
Peace Corps, Sergeant Shriver, vowed it would carry on, anyway. There had
been some boo-boos, he said, at least some accidents. There`s the
situation in Nigeria settled down.

The "New York Times" published an editorial saying we wish we could expect
the course ill-wishers here at home to display equal balance by not
fastening on the incident as a club with which to believe were the whole
Peace Corps program. No way, this is the story of the rollout of every big
new government program. There are going to be glitches, small problems,
big problems, embarrassing incidents, things that no one thought were going
to go wrong are going to go wrong.

Things that people should have known would go wrong are going to go wrong.
The people who were against the program from the beginning are going to be
handed plenty of clubs to attack the program with. But all those early
problems, all those early claims of vindication from opponents` history is
also full of examples of them adding up to nothing.

When people think of the Peace Corps today, there are many of them are
still asking if the Nigerian postcard incident means the program just can`t
work. This is all essential to keep in mind right now, a little more than
three weeks into the formal implementation of Obamacare. Enrollment in the
state health insurance exchanges began on October 1st, especially now that
the shutdown chaos is over, you have heard all of the very real problems
with it, the many very real problems.

Americans are having when they go online to try to sign up for the
exchanges. When the history of Obamacare is written someday, what we`re
living through right now may end up being a little more than a footnote,
the health care equivalent of that Nigerian postcard story. President
Obama is adamant that the website issues are being resolved. Yesterday,
the administration announced a new absolute deadline, said the exchanges
will be fully functioning on the online portion by November 30th.

But Americans and the individual market will have no problems signing up
and shopping for the competitively priced private insurance plans that they
were created to sell. If that does happen, then the story of Obamacare
chaos as defining news coverage right now will rapidly give way to a story
of a triumph for Obamacare. A big new government program doing exactly
what its supporters promised it would do.

But that history hasn`t been written yet. The website horror stories could
be more than just a temporary PR headache for the administration, because
the success of Obamacare rests on getting people, getting young healthy
people in particular to sign up for these exchanges. They can create
vibrant functioning risk pool (ph) will make insurance affordable for
everyone. If the website is working or if the stories of the website not -
- looks like isn`t working, excuse me, or if the stories of the website not
working, scare off would be customers, then that is a threat to the risk
pool (ph).

And a threat to the risk pool is a threat to the heart of the law. There
is still plenty of time here. December 15th is the first deadline for
people looking to buy insurance on the exchanges. On march 31st is right
now the final deadline before the individual mandate kicks in, but as
recline (ph) wrote yesterday, the administration, itself, spent all of this
year pointing to October 1st, to that opening of the exchanges as a huge
critical test of the law`s success.

No one said that success was letting kids at the age 26 stay under parents`
insurance plan. No one said it was regulating insurers are covering
preventative care. Instead, everyone in the White House shared a singular
definition. Success meant a setting up the exchanges and attracting enough
young people that premiums stayed low. So, that`s the question this
morning.

Are we experiencing the normal frustrating headaches that come with the
launch of any new program or is there something more ominous happening
here? The history of Obamacare is being written right now. What can the
president, what can his team, what can Congress, what can anyone in
Washington or anyone anywhere in the political system do to shake that
history in real time?

I want to ask my panel about that this morning, and we have Krystal Ball.
She`s the co-host of MSNBC`s "The Cycle." A show I have heard of because I
used to be on it. I mean, the stuff making the same --

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: -- every time I introduce Krystal. We also have Rebecca
Sinderbrand. She`s the deputy White House editor for "Politico,"
Republican strategist, Reverend Joe Watkins. He`s a former White House
aide to President George H.W. Bush. We have Suzy Khimm, national policy
reporter for MSNBC.com.

So, there`s a couple directions i Sort of want to go with this, but I guess
right now, let just start with the basics. We have the White House
yesterday coming out and basically saying, OK, look, the exchanges, the
online portion, the enrollment opened on October 1st. We have all these
massive website problems, we now think that by the end -- we are convinced
and we will basically guarantee that by the end of November, these problems
will be resolved.

You can go online and get your insurance exchange. Problems solved.
Obamacare can be a success, anyway. I guess two questions there. One,
Suzy, I`ll start with you. Given that they couldn`t really meet this
October 1st deadline, how confident should we be that they will now be able
to turn around and get this up and running by whether now saying mid-
November?

SUZY KHIMM, MSNBC.COM: It is a really opened question. I mean, as we`ve
seen as we`ve learned more, there are really serious problems that are
plaguing this site and the reason that ended October deadline is so
important is because basically, their insurance plans that don`t meet the
new requirements of Obamacare that basically have to have certain essential
benefits that are covered and so forth.

Those plans are going to be dropped on December 31st and people basically
have to have the insurance that by December 15th, they`ll be able to sign
up for insurance to be covered on January 1st. That`s the reason that this
timeline, you know, not just for the bigger political reasons of is
Obamacare going to succeed or not, but that`s the reason that deadline is
so important.

KORNACKI: You know, Rebecca, in terms of like meeting that deadline right
now, I mean, there is sort of a political question here. There`s a lot of
noise in the air just in general about all the problems people are having
with this. I mean, should we be confident in your mind that we can -- that
this deadline can be met?

REBECCA SINDERBRAND, POLITICO.COM: Well, the interesting thing is you
contrast this to what we saw in the role of October 1st, the administration
was at pains ahead of that deadline to say, it`s down, October 1st is not a
big deal. They didn`t have any huge kind of launch events per se. They
wanted to say, this is just the starting gun. This is going to be a six-
month marathon, not a sprint.

And so, when you set these hard and fast deadlines, that sets them up again
for a sense of disappointment, if, indeed, the technical glitches are not
wrap-up by then and there`s no part billing that they necessarily will be.
There`s a hope that they will be, but there`s no sense that there`s any
actual concrete definitive plan to end up by those dates.

KORNACKI: And Krystal, I wonder what you`re sort of thinking about this,
because I know you`re a supporter of the law, and at the same time, you
know, it`s under attack here in a political context where there are
Republicans, there are opponents of this who have never been for the law,
you know, at all and are hoping for it to fail and are sort of latching on
to this.

But at the same time, if you want this law to work, I mean, this website,
not just the website, itself, but this the whole sort of online
infrastructure that will allow individual to go out and buy private health
insurance, that`s the heart of the law, this has to work or six months from
now, we`ll be talking about how the costs of these premiums are going to be
a lot higher than they were --

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC`S "THE CYCLE": Yes. And that`s my frustration here is
that we have, with really no excuse and for no good reason, given the
Republican opponents a club to beat us with, right, as you were talking
about and even if we look back at historical examples of things going wrong
and certainly things go wrong in big government programs all the time.

We know over that 19 million people have visited this site. And in that
time, we have to have had a lot of missed opportunities for people to sign
up for Obamacare. So, that`s my frustration. I mean, I expected some
glitches. I expected some minor problems that Republicans would be all
upset and hysterical about.

I didn`t expect it to be so bad that the site crashed immediately, that the
information being past insurers is wrong, but the Medicaid eligibility
verification is not working properly. I mean, almost every piece of this
has some sort of a problem. So, do I ultimately think that Obama care is
going to be a great success and when we look down the road, you know, five
years from now even, this will seem like an asterisk?

Yes, but we have taken a risk that was completely unnecessary and we have
given our opponents who have acted in bad faith here, right, the whole way?
They`re not playing fair. They`re not playing by the rules, they`re not
looking at the facts. We have given them a weapon to use against this law,
and it was unnecessary. It was an unforced error.

KORNACKI: You are sort of maybe the opponent that Krystal be referring to.
You represent -- you`re part of a political party that has made opposition
to this law really the centerpiece of this agenda for the last few years.
And tell me that I`m wrong, though, to be very cynical about what I heard.

There was the Congressional hearing this week that the House hearing, and
you had Republican voice after Republican voice in this hearing who had
voted to you know, defund this law, shut down the government over the
funding of this law, speaking up and talking about the outrage they were
feeling on behalf of consumers trying to sign up for this law. And I just
feel like there`s sort of a disconnect there. Am I wrong to see that?

JOE WATKINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Of course, in politics, people posture
one way or the other, because there`s much to be won or lost based upon
whether or not your side wins. At the end of the day, there is no joy to
be taken in the fact that the rollout hasn`t been successful.

I mean, there`s no joy for anybody and the fact that it hasn`t -- and
you`re right, just because the rollout has been a little bit rocky and
there`ve been some glitches early on doesn`t mean that it won`t be up and
working just fine in November or early December. And we`ll all forget that
the October rollout was so poorly done.

That being said, we ought not wish ill on a program because we disagree
with it. But what we ought to do is we ought to work to fix it if there
are things that are wrong with it. For instance, with regards to the
individual mandate, maybe what Senator Manchin who`s a Democrat is saying
and many Republicans are saying, make sense, which is delay the start date
here so that you give people the chance and you give yourself some time as
well.

I mean, if it takes longer to fix the glitches than we think currently. I
mean, yesterday, they said I think November 15th or somewhere there about.
At least then if you delay the start date, you give people a chance to not
worry about having to sign up for the program. You give yourself a chance
to make sure that the program is fixed. And then you can work on some of
the issues in the program, Republicans and Democrats, that don`t work for
people.

KORNACKI: Can I just press that for a minute? I think one of the reasons
that the idea of making a change like you`re suggesting, like Joe Manchin
is suggesting, the reason why there hasn`t been a lot of enthusiasm for
that, from like the administration standpoint, I think, from a lot of
Democrat standpoint is they made the change like on the business mandate,
you know, early this year.

And what happened was they saw every Republican has been fighting this
thing just took that as a weapon to say, they, you know, look, this law is
coming apart. This is a sign of failure, not as an opportunity maybe to
compromise and say, hey, this is the law of the land. We want to work to -
- this.

Can you see the Republican Party getting to a point where every little
change to the law is not another indictment of the law and another reason
it needs to repeal it. And instead it`s just like, hey, this is the law,
and we want to work to improve it. Can you see the Republican Party
getting to that point?

WATKINS: I`d like to see a much more civil tone between the two parties.
It really hurts America when the two parties are on each other`s throats,
and then one side is saying, we wish for the other side`s failure and
everything that they do. That doesn`t really help America move forward and
if Republicans return to power, it doesn`t help Republicans, because then
Democrats will say, well, you didn`t help us while we were here.

So, we`re going to work against you when you`re in power. At the end of
the day, we all benefit if Republicans and Democrats work together and say,
all right, what isn`t working? What about this bill? This is now a law.
This is not, you know -- Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act is now a law,
with which we all have to live.

How can we make it better for Americans? What can we do for small business
owners who are really scared about the bill? Let`s fix it for them. What
can we do for individuals who are upset about the individual mandate?
Folks who have insurance that they like but because they aren`t part of a
big company, they have their own plan. Now, they`re being forced to sign
up at a website that doesn`t work --

KORNACKI: We got to jump out here, but we will come right back and we`re
going to be joined at the table, actually, by one of the Democrats who was
on that House Committee hearing this week and -- we can tell you, he went
bananas. We will tell you about that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. FRANK PALLONE, (D) NEW JERSEY: So once again, here we have, my
Republican colleagues trying to scare everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will the gentleman yield --

PALLONE: No, I will not yield to this monkey court or whatever --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a monkey court.

PALLONE: Do whatever you want. I`m not yielding.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That was democratic Congressman Frank Pallone`s exchange with
Republican Joe Barton on the House Energy and Commerce Committee at
Thursday`s hearing about the Obamacare rollout. New Jersey Democrat was
chairman of the House subcommittee when the Affordable Care Act passed in
2010. He joins us now at the table.

And congressman, I have to say I started out covering politics in New
Jersey. So, I have been covering you for more than ten years now. And I
kind of saw a side in you that I hadn`t seen before on Thursday.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: I think everyone watching the show probably saw that clip. Just
maybe start by telling us, what was it that sort of set you off like that
on Thursday? Why did you respond that way? What happened to you?

PALLONE: Well, it`s sort of what you mentioned before, Steve, which is
that, you know, the Republicans just came off almost a three-week shutdown,
which was ostensibly because they wanted to delay or repeal the Affordable
Care Act. And so, they don`t come to this hearing with clean hands. I
didn`t get the impression even before or at the hearing that they really
wanted to fix this and get the Affordable Care Act running so people could
sign up.

And in that particular instance, Congressman Joe Barton from Texas was
trying to scare people by saying, oh, your privacy is going to be impacted
in some way if you use this site, which is simply not true. And so, if you
scare people and they don`t use this site or they don`t try to sign up,
then as you said, you won`t have people sign up and then there won`t be
enough people in the insurance pool to make it effective or affordable.

So, my fear is always with the GOP that they`re trying to sabotage this
whole effort and there`s a lot of reason to believe that.

KORNACKI: So -- and there are. We started to outline this a little bit in
the introduction at the top of the show. I mean, there are some serious
questions right now in terms of you look at how critical it is from the
administration standpoint, from the standpoint of making this law work, how
critical it is to get people to sign up early to get young healthy people
into this so that risk pool works.

And we`re now dealing with sort of three weeks of all sorts of nightmares
and headaches with this. When you look at the calls from some Democrats
out there like Joe Manchin and I think 10 other Senate Democrats have sing
on to this saying, look, given all this, let`s extend the enrollment period
past March 31st. What do you say to that?

PALLONE: Well, my -- I really feel now that -- and you heard what came up
yesterday that there`s a real effort now to correct the website. I think
three out of 10 people now who go on do end up getting enrolled, OK? And
they`re saying that by November 30th, it should be 100 percent. So, more
people every day should get enrolled and those numbers will continue to go
up.

I think that the pressure is on now to get this thing going and make it
work. And I don`t want to alleviate that by saying, OK, we`re going to
delay. I mean, the first thing I just wanted to say that the committee
chairman now. You saw I was the committee chair when the bill was passed.

But now, the Republican chair, Joe Pitts, came to the hearing saying before
we even started, we should delay this whole thing. And I have heard this
so many times, I don`t think they have clean hands.

WATKINS: I`ll speak not as a Republican, but just as a consumer, somebody
who has to sign up for this new law and because we have our own, my wife
and I have our own plan and I`m under pressure. My wife and I are under
pressure to sign up now under this law. And we are faced with what
millions of Americans are faced with, a website that doesn`t work.

We`ve been promised it will probably be out by the middle of November, but
if it`s not, that means that we`re going to have a tough time having
coverage beginning in January. So, to delay it --

PALLONE: The problem is this, and you know, I listened to you before, you
are well intentioned, unlike some of my colleagues on the committee --

(LAUGHTER)

PALLONE: -- is that there`s too much emphasis on the website. I mean, you
can sign up -- you can still go to an insurance agent. You can call the 1-
800-number. You can go to community health centers. Yesterday, I was at
the (INAUDIBLE) food bank in my district where they were signing people up.
I mean, I know that the administration put all the emphasis on this
website.

But in many cases, that was misplaced. The website needs to be corrected,
and I believe it will in the next few weeks, but people can sign up without
going on the website. You know, a lot --

WATKINS: Busy people who work every day and have jobs. I pastor a church.
I run a school district.

PALLONE: You know, most people used to go to an insurance agent to sign up
for insurance. They can still do that. And usually, they don`t get
charged for it. You know, the insurance agent gets paid, you know, as a
part of the fee. I mean, there`s no reason why people can`t signed up.

WATKINS: It`s a courtesy --

KORNACKI: I want to make sure Suzy gets --

KHIMM: Yes. So, I mean, I think part of the reason that there are other
ways to sign up for Obamacare, but if really the people that you`re
targeting are young, healthy people, these are people who probably have
never talked to an insurance broker, don`t even know what that is. These
are the folks that are going to be going online. They`re used to shopping
for things online, and that`s why that portal, I think, is so important.

I mean, I think I was at that hearing that Congressman Pallone made that
comments. I think you definitely saw two kind of lines -- from the GOP.
One was the kind from Congressman Barton who did raise what appears to be a
completely illegitimate question about privacy as Congressman Pallone
pointed out.

That`s definitely sort of conservatives is trying to monopolize and sort of
take advantage of this for political gain. On the other hand, you had
Congressman Greg Walden who said he didn`t want this to be a failure and,
in fact, managed to push the contractors who admit to the fact that the
testing happened far too close to the deadline.

It was only two weeks before that the entire website had gone for testing
(ph), and that they did not believe that that was enough time. That I
believe is a legitimate question that I think is worth.

(CROSSTALK)

PALLONE: I mean, I don`t disagree that it`s important to get this website
working again. You`re totally right about that. But I just think when the
Republicans come and say they want a delay or they try to scare people and
say their privacy is going to be impacted, you know, this is really just an
effort, you know, going back to what Steve said before, of hoping that
people are not going to sign up for this thing.

And, you know, one of the things -- and again, I know I keep putting blame
on the Republicans. I can`t help it, because I think it`s true.

(LAUGHTER)

PALLONE: Remember that the reason so many people are dependent on this
federal website now, and you know, the contractor said that`s why it`s kind
of crashed because so many people were going on it, more than they
anticipated is because it was anticipated that there would be state
exchanges for almost every state. And where we have state exchanges like
in New York, they are working --

(CROSSTALK)

PALLONE: But the Republican governors, you know, again, sabotaged that by
insisting in most cases that they would not set up state exchanges. And so
now, something like half the people in the country --

KORNACKI: Two-thirds of the states are yield in the federal government --

(CROSSTALK)

PALLONE: -- this federal website that now is accommodating all these
people that were not anticipated. Now, granted, I`m not suggesting that,
you know, they should have done more testing and they got to get this
right. There`s no question about it. But again, it was a sabotage even in
pushing everybody to this federal website. It shouldn`t have been that
way.

KORNACKI: We are up against the clock, as the saying goes right here,
congressman. I want to ask quickly, we had the exchange of you and Joe
Barton. Did you talk to him afterwards at all?

PALLONE: Sure. Joe Barton is a friend of mine.

(LAUGHTER)

PALLONE: And you have to understand that Joe traditionally was a more
moderate Republican. But I think that now he`s being pushed to, you know,
take the Tea Party stance. And that`s why I got upset, too, because I know
he`s not normally that kind of a person. But I do think he was trying to
scare people not to use the website with the goal ultimately that people
wouldn`t sign up, which is very dangerous for the success of this.

BALL: And congressman, I think you`re right that they would have far more
credibility if they hadn`t been so hysterical about the law from the
beginning.

KORNACKI: Well, we can thank you, congressman. You have introduced a new
term, monkey court, that we will now be using --

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: -- for many, many future of Congressional hearings. Congressman
Frank Pallone, thank you for joining us.

Up next, I want to talk to someone with a slightly different view on
Obamacare. That`s right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. Joining us now at the table is Raffi Williams. He`s
a deputy press secretary for the Republican National Committee. We just
heard from Congressman Frank Pallone. Raffi, thanks for joining us, by the
way. We just heard from Congressman Frank Pallone, a Democrat who
expressed his frustration with sort of the way Republicans have been
handling the question of Obamacare, Obamacare rollout.

And I guess, maybe you can sort of resolve this for me, because I`ve been
trying to figure out what it is that Republicans want here, because the
message from Republicans for the last three years has been absolutely not.
We don`t want this law in the first place. OK. It`s on the books. We
want to repeal it. OK. We`re willing to shut down the government to
defund it.

We`re not going to set it up in our states. Republican governors have been
saying this. And I`m watching that hearing on Thursday, and I`m hearing
all these Republican congressman basically saying, you know, what an
outrage this program, all these people can`t sign up for it. It would seem
to me that would almost make Republicans happy. What is it that you want
to come out of this? What do you want to come out of Obamacare enrollment
phase?

RAFFI WILLIAMS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, I think it`s
important to remember that business has got the employer mandate delayed
for a year. And so, we`re just asking the individual American the same way
as their employers do and that it`s unfair for the individual Americans to
have to pay more for health care because of Obamacare. They should have
the same benefits that big business has that Obama has been playing to.

KORNACKI: But do you want -- I mean, this is now -- right now, you guys
just tried to get rid of this, just try to defund this, and it didn`t work.
The government is opened. The Affordable Care Act is still the law. Given
that reality, you look at all those individuals out there right now who
don`t have health insurance. Do you want them to sign up for this?

WILLIAMS: I want Americans to have health insurance. I think it was a
better way to get them Affordable health care, and the Affordable Care Act
is not the way to do that. I think the Affordable Care Act increased its
costs for people and it`s taking away private insurance. I was just
talking to a conservative the other day who was telling me how his private
insurance plan has been taken away from him because it doesn`t hit the bear
minimum that Obamacare dictates.

But I think people should be able to decide what they want to have in their
health care and what they don`t want to have instead of having it falsely
increased because of Obamacare. Yes, go ahead.

BALL: Can I ask you? We`ve seen these ads campaigns that are actively
discouraging young people from signing up for health care. I mean, do you
think that`s moral, because historically, the Republican conservative
argument has been you need to take personal responsibility and if you get
caught without health insurance, well, that`s kind of your fault because
you weren`t responsible. Isn`t it immoral to actually tell young people
not to sign up for health care?

WILLIAMS: What I`m encouraging people to do is to go get a job that gives
you health care, but the Obama economy has prevented that. And so that --

BALL: So, you think the ads telling on people not to sign to "quote" opt
down which means don`t sign up for health insurance. You think that`s a
fine thing to do?

WILLIAMS: I have nothing to do with those ads, but what I`m telling you is
that Americans, young Americans, especially, they want to find a job that
puts them on the right career track, that can get them the health care they
need. I get health care through my employer. I`m thankful for that, but
not enough --

BALL: So, if you`re not employed, then you don`t deserve health insurance?

WILLIAMS: No. I`m not saying that at all, but I`m saying let get the
costs of health insurance down so it`s affordable for young people so that
making it unaffordable and putting all the old and sick people in the backs
of young people --

KORNACKI: But again, there is a question here of -- there`s the
philosophical, you know, what Republicans -- I`m still sort of trying to
figure out what the Republican replace plan for this is, but again, we are
living in a world right now with the Affordable Care Act the forseeable
future is the law of the land. This is the system that`s in place for this
country.

And I`m watching how the Republicans handle this week and I`m hearing a lot
of outrage about the problems that consumers are having, I think,
justifiable outrage, but I`m wondering, you know, are you telling people
you should sign up for this? Do you want this law to work right now?

WILLIAMS: I want people to have health care and to be able to be healthy
and responsible for their own good. But I think that the problem we`re
facing right now is that most Americans can`t afford Obamacare in the way
that it`s being implemented. I think the rollout has been a disaster. I
think Secretary Sebelius needs to be fired and I think that most
importantly --

BALL: But you`re not answering our question here --

KORNACKI: Yes. It`s just an individual right now who doesn`t have health
insurance, right? And let`s say, you know, they`re in a state --

WILLIAMS: Let`s get a way that makes it easier and cheaper for them to get
health care. Let`s not artificially inflate the price. That`s what I`m
saying.

(CROSSTALK)

KHIMM: So, my question actually from your original statements, it sounded
like what -- it sounds like what Republicans want is a delay of individual
mandates. And that then maybe they can get to work at repealing the entire
law and replacing it with something that has yet to be specified. Is that
the objective right now?

WILLIAMS: There are bills that have been introduced in the House that have
different ways of changing Obamacare and different ways of replacing it.
And the Republican answer to this is to go piecemeal, is to go step by
step, instead of forcing a bill upon Americans like Obamacare was --

BALL: Forcing a bill that was passed through Congress --

(CROSSTALK)

BALL: And then we had another election.

(CROSSTALK)

BALL: Here`s the thing that is frustrating me is we have a reality here,
right? We have Obamacare. That is the law of the land. So, what Steve is
trying to get you to say is do you think that given the fact that we have
Obamacare and that that is the option for young people that they should
sign up or that they shouldn`t?

WILLIAMS: I think that`s a personal choice for them, but I think the most
important thing here is this role has been such a disaster. Why wouldn`t
you delay it? They`re causing themselves problems and looking terrible in
front of the American people.

(CROSSTALK)

SINDERBRAND: I think one of the questions I had just from the political
perspective here. So, we`ve switched. Obviously, there`s been a pivot now
from the defund to -- problems of Obamacare to this oversight role. So,
the question becomes and obviously Democrats had the flip sort of this
problem.

Democrats would like to talk about solutions without spending a lot of time
talking about the problems, but it seems like Republicans would like to
talk about the problems and the logical next step is to look for a
solution. So, are we going to start to see Republicans talking about ways
to fix Obamacare?

WILLIAMS: You hear republicans talk about ways to help America. I think
that`s the most important step. You see Joe Manchin introduced a bill the
other day. He`s a Democrat to delay for Obamacare for a year. I think
you`ll see Republican support for that. And I think what you`re going to
see is Republicans pushing ideas like health savings accounts, like
insurance portability that will help reduce costs and make it easier for
Americans to be insured.

KORNACKI: All right. Raffi William, thank you for that. Krystal and
Frank Pallone, I think, probably drinking the same thing before the show,
both fired up.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Anyway, thanks for joining us. I really do appreciate it. And
we`ll be right back. We`ll pick up the discussion right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Just a quick note to pass along, we just got word next
Wednesday, October 30th, Halloween eve, President Obama -- I don`t know if
that`s a thing, Halloween eve -- but President Obama will be traveling to
Boston and he will be giving a speech on the rollout of the Affordable Care
Act, so we can look forward to that next week.

But Rebecca, I just want to kind of pick up a point. We`re hearing a lot
from Raffi Williams, Republican press secretary in the last segment, you
see him, he kept playing back this idea that Joe Manchin, a Democrat, other
Democrats have called for extending the enrollment period, a delay for the
individual mandate.

There are ten Democrats in the senate. A lot of them up for re-election
next year in competitive states who have signed on to this proposal, this
idea. Do you see, is there any sort of plausible way where there will be
actual political enough momentum behind that where the White House and
other Democrats really would feel we got to extend this a little bit?

SINDERBRAND: You`re reaching a moment for the White House now where they
have almost less to worry about from their enemies or political enemies
than they do from their friends in the sense that during the shutdown, you
saw this incredible Democratic unity, people were really noting the fact
that everyone was in lockstep even these Democrats facing top 14 races.

That now you come to this week and all of a sudden that has evaporated and
you`re seeing these again, these Democrats who are facing these tough 14
races are coming out and saying maybe it`s time to take a breather, maybe
it`s time to push back the individual mandate.

And the White House does have to worry about particularly if they do miss
the November 30th deadline, the pressure from Senate Democrats and from
others on their own side that says, look, maybe we do need to take a
breath, maybe we do need to hold back.

KORNACKI: That`s the ones. I mean, because we can sit here right now at
the start of the show and say, hey, look, a lot of big government programs
in the past have, you know, missed deadlines, have had problems rolling
out. We can look pass the October 1st and say this thing can survive.

But yes, if November 30th comes and goes and they can`t get this thing up
and running, then I think, yes, we`re going to be in some serious hot water
on this law.

Anyway, we are about to confiscate their cell phones. We`re going to lock
them in isolation with Suzy, Joe, and Rebecca are about to become the
latest contestants on American`s fastest growing abbreviated for basic
cable Saturday morning politics and/or current events quiz show. That`s
right. "Up Against the Clock" coming up in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: It is 8:44 on a Saturday morning. You talked about the
political story of the week, and now, we are about to play a clip teasing
our game show. Maybe it feels like you`re living the same day over and
over again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The South American lake --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is today --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bolivia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Milky colored when entering Lake Geneva, this river is
clear blue upon exiting. Jim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The roan (ph). Good for $1,000. You are $500 off the
lead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That was an impressive performance, but you probably won`t see
it replicated by any of the contestants on our game show. None of our
contestants know the questions ahead of time, and we`re proudly an alcohol-
free game show. There`s no that magic Jack Daniels to help anybody out.
It`s just a good old fashion quiz show. Our contestants are warming up.
Med Ryerson (ph) is somwhere in our audience.

Bill Murray may or may not be making an appearance as a celebrity guest
contestant. "Up Against the Clock" starts right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Live from studio 3A in Rockefeller Center U.S.A. It`s time for
"Up Against the Clock."

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ANNOUNCER: Today`s contestants all originate from the New York City
metropolitan area. We have a subway series. Take the el train to Brooklyn
for our first contestants, Rebecca Sinderbrand.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ANNOUNCER: It`s fourth line (ph) on the seven -- for Joe Watkins.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ANNOUNCER: And our returning champion, just a couple of stops on metro
north to Scarsdale, New York in Westchester County, her three-day winnings,
total $15 in cash, plus, a personal website designed by the makers of
healthcare.gov, say hello to Suzy Khimm. And now the host of "Up Against
the Clock," it`s Steve Kornacki.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KORNACKI: Oh, thank you, Bill Wolf (ph). Thank you to our studio
audience. Thank you for tuning in at home for another dramatic high-stake
showdown here on "Up Against the Clock." Joined today by Joe and Rebecca,
two new challengers, welcome to both of you. And welcome back to our
returning champion, Suzy, who`s going today for her fourth appearance in
the winner`s circle.

I know you`re all anxious to get started. But before we do, a quick
refresher for those of you watching at home for the first time and how this
all works. This is a rapid fire quiz show about the week that was in
politics. There are three 100-second rounds in regulation play. Questions
are worth 100 points in the first, 200 in the second, 300 in the third.

It will get a little harder as we go from round to round. There are also a
few instant bonuses scattered throughout. These are follow-up questions, a
no risk chance for you, the contestant, to double your winnings on a single
question. And contestants, remember, you`ll be penalized for incorrect
answers.

As always, I will remind our live audience here in the studio, please, no
outbursts. Our contestants deserve and demand absolute concentration from
their "Up Against the Clock." And also an update for our viewers at home,
we are still working on the scoreboard situation.

Once again, our race producer, Theresa, will be keeping score off screen,
and I will periodically update you on who`s winning and who`s losing. And
with that, I will ask you, contestants, are you ready to play?

WATKINS: We`re ready.

KORNACKI: They are ready. Hands on buzzers, please. We`ll put 100
seconds on the clock. The 100-point round begins with this. Three dozen
House Republicans upset over the Obamacare rollout asked this week that
this Obama cabinet secretary --
(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Suzy.

KHIMM: Sebelius.

KORNACKI: Sebelius. Kathleen Sebelius, they asked that she`d be fired.
That`s correct. A 100-point question. This week, Ready for Hillary, the
Super Pack encouraging Hillary Clinton`s 2016 presidential bid received a
20 --

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Suzy.

KHIMM: George Soros.

KORNACKI: George Soros he is the billionaire who donated $25,000 to Ready
for Hillary. That`s correct. 100-point question, on Thursday, a passenger
in an Amtrak train overheard --

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Rebecca.

SINDERBRAND: Hadu (ph).

KORNACKI: Incorrect. I`ll complete the question. On Thursday, a
passenger on an Amtrak train overheard and tweeted about a series of off
the record phone interviews being given to journalists by the head of what
-- the former head of what federal agency?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Suzy.

KHIMM: NSA.

KORNACKI: The NSA is correct. Instant bonus. This is worth additional
100 points. Name the former head of the NSA who was involved in this?

KHIMM: Michael Hayden.

KORNACKI: Michael Hayden is correct. Suzy jumping out to big a lead here
early. Back with this, according to a new Gallup poll, 58 percent of
Americans now say --

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Rebecca.

SINDERBRAND: Legalization of marijuana.

KORNACKI: Marijuana. They now say that pot should be legal. That is
correct. 100-point question, after boycotting it for four decades because
of its portrayal of Italian-Americans, former New York governor, Mario
Cuomo, finally watched what movie this week?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Suzy.

KHIMM: The "Godfather."

KORNACKI: The "Godfather" is correct. Joe -- a little assist from Joe on
that. No points for the assist, though. 100-point question, the White
House accepted responsibility on Thursday for a readout that resulted in a
quote "miscommunication. " After this, Democratic senator claimed on
Facebook that a house Republican had told President Obama -- I cannot --
Rebecca.

SINDERBRAND: Durbin.

KORNACKI: Durbin is correct. Durbin put on his Facebook page the
Republicans said to Obama, "I cannot even stand to look at you." That
brings us to the end of the 100-point round. And Suzy with 500 points, the
early leader, Rebecca with 100, Joe trailing at zero.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Again, no points on the assist there.

WATKINS: This is rare.

KORNACKI: You can make it up fast. You can make it up fast.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: In the 200-point round, the 200-point round which begins with
this. Which Oscar winning former mayor of Carmel, California, was served
with divorce papers this week?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Joe?

WATKINS: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

KORNACKI: Incorrect.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Rebecca.

SINDERBRAND: Clint Eastwood.

KORNACKI: Clint Eastwood is the former mayor of Carmel who was served with
divorce papers this week. 200-point question, in a phone conversation
Wednesday, President Obama informed what foreign leader that the NSA is --

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Joe.

WATKINS: Angela Merkel.

KORNACKI: Angela Merkel is the foreign leader he notified was not being
monitored by the NSA. That`s correct. 200-point question, eyebrows were
raised on Wednesday when House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, said that
her party`s 2010 mid-term loss had nothing to do with what?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Suzy.

KHIMM: The Affordable Care Act.

KORNACKI: The Affordable Care Act is correct for 200 points. Instant
bonus, Suzy, chance to double that. How many seats did Democrats lose in
the House in 2010?

KHIMM: 23?

KORNACKI: Incorrect. The answer, 63. They`ve lost 63 seats in the 2010
mid-terms. 200-point question, it was confirmed this week that through his
wife`s job at the investment bank Goldman Sachs --

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Rebecca.

SINDERBRAND: Ted Cruz.

KORNACKI: Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz`s health care is paid through Goldman Sachs.
That`s correct. 200 points for Rebecca. Another 200-point question,
according to a report Thursday, Greenwich, Connecticut is the unlikely
location in which this New York City mayoral candidate`s campaign committee
is established.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Suzy.

KHIMM: Bill De Blasio (ph)?

KORNACKI: Incorrect. Anyone want to answer it? Time. The correct
answer, Joe Lhota, the Republican candidate, Joe Lhota. 200-point
question, this Republican candidate for the U.S. senate in Wyoming branded
John McCain, quote, "a liberal Republican" in a fundraising letter this
week.

SINDERBRAND: Cheney.

KORNACKI: Oh, Rebecca.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Rebecca.

SINDERBRAND: Cheney.

KORNACKI: Cheney is correct. Liz Cheney. For 200 points, at the end of
the 200-point round which gives us the score. Rebecca has stormed into the
lead with 700 points. Suzy holding steady 500, Joe at zero. Getting out
of negative territory, though.


(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: It is anybody`s game, because we are at the Ph.D. round now.
This is for 300 points of question. This is going to decide the game.
This is going to crown a champion. For 300 points, we put a 100 seconds on
the clock and with this we go. It was reported this week that former
president, George W. Bush, has contributed $5,000 to what Republican
senator facing a primary challenge next year?

WATKINS: That`s a good one.

KORNACKI: Time. The correct answer is Lindsey graham. 300-point
question, well, speaking at a college in Buffalo, New York on Wednesday,
Hillary Clinton was interrupted by a heckler shouting at her about what?
Time.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Correct answer is Benghazi.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: 300-point question. This is the Ph.D. round. In the 2002 movie
"Frida" about the Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, pardon me for not knowing
that, Edward Norton who is hosting "Saturday Night Live" tonight portrayed
which former New York governor and vice president to Gerald Ford.

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Joe.

WATKINS: Nelson Rockefeller.

KORNACKI: Nelson Rockefeller is correct. 300-point instant bonus for you,
Joe. When Gerald Ford ran for a full term in 1976, Ford did not run with
Nelson Rockefeller instead chose this man as his running mate.

WATKINS: Bob Dole.

KORNACKI: Bob Dole is correct. 300 more points for Joe. It`s a close
game now. 300-point question, citing obtained diplomatic memos, the
"Washington Post" reported this week the top officials of which government
have secretly endorsed drone strikes in their country for years?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Rebecca.

SINDERBRAND: Pakistan.

KORNACKI: Pakistan is correct. 300 points for Rebecca. 300-point
question, which Maryland gubernatorial candidate admitted this week that he
made a mistake when stopped by --

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Suzy.

KHIMM: Gansler.

KORNACKI: Gansler is correct. Doug Gansler. 300-point question,
according to reports this week, Larry Summers recently rejected an offer
last weekend to lead the central bank of which foreign country?

(BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Suzy?

KHIMM: Israel.

KORNACKI: Israel is correct. And I believe with that, Suzy, on the last
question of the game has come from behind to win with 1,100 points.
Rebecca with 1,000, Joe with 600. This was the closest, the most white
knuckle game we had yet.

SINDERBRAND: Good game.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Suzy, congratulations to you. With that, you become our
champion. You`re actually our returning champion. And Bill Wolf (ph) is
going to tell you what you`ve won.

ANNOUNCER: As our champion, you`ll have your name printed in exquisite
sharpee on the coveted "Up Against the Clock" gold cup. And you`ll get to
take the trophy home with you and show it off to friends, family, and local
school children for exactly one week. You`ll also receive an appearance
this coming week on MSNBC`s "The Cycle" airing weekdays, 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
eastern time.

And you`ll get to play in our jackpot bonus round for today`s grand prize,
a $50 gift certificate to Little Poland, the most authentic eastern
European eating and drinking experience in New York City`s historic east
village. And while you`re there, get a tattoo or a piercing. Back to you,
Steve.

KORNACKI: All right. Suzy, what a prize package we have for you there.
And for that jackpot, we have one question. This is make or break for you.
Your jackpot bonus question. This long time Boston mayor with a famous
pension for malapropisms excitedly announced this week that he hopes the
hometown Red Sox will win, quote, "the World Series cup."

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: I`m going to have to ask for an answer, Suzy.

KHIMM: Manino.

KORNACKI: Manino is correct. Unbelievable! Suzy Khimm, congratulations.
You have won the jackpot bonus. You have won a $50 gift certificate to
little Poland. Enjoy the Pierogies. Congratulations. And with 1,100
points as our winner, you will certainly be back for the tournament of
champions.

Another tournament of champions contestant, Krystal Ball, will be back on
stage in a few minutes. Joe and Rebecca, I want to say, you will not leave
us empty-handed. It was a close game. You gave us some drama. You gave
us some excitement. You`re getting the "Up Against the Clock" home
edition. Enjoy. It`s fun for the family, fun for kids of all ages.
Thanks for playing today.

And we`ll be back with the real show right after this.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Six weeks after his finished his second term in the White House,
Theodore Roosevelt wrote a letter to his sister how his post-presidency is
going.

He wrote, "I am sitting on a cool veranda with vines growing through the
trellises, having returned from a morning hunt in which I killed a python
and an antelope. Yesterday, I killed two antelopes, and the day before a
rhino and a hippo, the day before that Kermit, that was his son killed a
leopard, with I charged after him viciously after mauling one of the
beaters."

This is a part of the story of how Teddy Roosevelt became one of American
history`s larger than life characters. We think of a former president
signing on with corporate boards, writing boring memoirs, lounging on golf
courses, charging top dollar for off-the-record speeches, and building
museums to themselves. Once in a while, they`ll break from the mold like
Jimmy Carter teaming up with Habitat for Humanity.

But none of them have ever done anything quite like what T.R. did in the
year after he left the White House. He was and still is the youngest ever
ex-president. In March 1909, he departed for British East Africa. It`s
now Kenya.

He spent the next 13 months on a safari. Roosevelt and his party logged
hundreds of miles on foot from Kenya, through Uganda, Sudan, and Congo,
living off the land, visiting with he locals, and killing animals -- lots
and lots of big animals, lions, rhinos, zebras and Roosevelt`s favorite,
elephants. That was the official purpose of the trip actually. It was
sponsored by the Smithsonian. And when the trip was over, there were more
than 20,000 new natural specimens to add to the museum`s collection.
Roosevelt kept the folks back home posted on his adventures with a running
journal. And the magazine "Scribner`s" was a big deal back then.

It all added up to, it all added to his legend and when he finally sailed
to New York in June, 1910, he was greeted with a hero`s welcome. The whole
idea of that trip, the whole idea of leaving the country, leaving the
continent for 13 months after he left the presidency was for Roosevelt to
get away from politics and to get out of the way of his and handpicked
successor as president, William Howard Taft.

Maybe it was a case of someone knowing himself too well, because once he
was back in America, it was almost immediate. T.R. started speaking out on
politics and found himself more and more at odds with Taft. Those two men,
Roosevelt and Taft, symbolized what was then a deep split in the Republican
Party.

On the one side were the progressives. In the wake of the Gilded Age, they
wanted regulations to protect workers. They liked unions. They wanted
women to vote. They believed in conservation. Roosevelt, the trust-buster
president, he was their man.

On the other side, there were the conservatives. They were friendly to
business and finance. They were suspicious of labor. They were
uninterested in expanding the franchise. They were the old guard and were
with Taft.

Those two sides, Roosevelt`s progressives and Taft`s progressives, they
went to war in 1912. Primaries were a brand-new concept back then. Only a
few sides had them. They were a reform progressives like Roosevelt had
championed. The 12-state primaries that were held that year, not
surprisingly, Roosevelt nearly swept them.

Real power was still in the back rooms. At the national convention in
Chicago, Taft flexed his presidential muscle. In one state after another,
one top official owed his job, which is his prestige or his career to the
Taft White House. It was enough to win Taft the nomination, but it also
enough to push Roosevelt over the edge.

Last night at the convention, as delegates walked out, set up shop across
town, and rechristened themselves as the progressive party. In their first
act as the new party, they nominated for the office of president, Theodore
Roosevelt. Roosevelt won the company that fall, at least figuratively
speaking. He barnstormed the county. He drew massive crowds. He fomented
against his old party.

Modern art of presidential campaigning was really created that year by
Theodore Roosevelt. Days before the election, he was shot by a would-be
assassin, but he walked into the theater anyway and delivered his 90-minute
speech.

Roosevelt was the best candidate that fall, no question. But the split in
the Republican Party was fatal. He edged out Taft 27 percent to 23
percent. But that was for second place. It made it simple for the
Democrat Woodrow Wilson to coast to the White House with 42 percent of the
vote.

The politicians like Theodore Roosevelt are rare. So are elections like
1912 when the ingredients are in place for a third party candidate to win
real serious support. A century since then, something similar has happened
a few times. Strom Thurmond won a handful of Deep South states as a
segregationist Dixiecrat nominee in 1948. George Wallace pulled off a
similar trick in 1968, he grabbed 13 percent of the vote nationally that
year. He remains the last third party candidate who actually who won
electoral votes.

It`s also John Anderson in 1980. He got about 6 percent. Ross Perot who
grabbed nearly 20 percent in the fall of 1992. He might have done a little
better if he hadn`t kind of cracked up in the middle of campaign.

We are forever hearing predictions about how the next election is going to
bring about a genuine third party uprising. But it almost never happens,
because of the way our system works, I don`t think we`re ever going to see
a real, serious permanent third party in this country. I`m starting to
wonder if maybe, maybe, we`re approaching one of those rare moments where
it is possible, it will happen for the next election, the one in 2016.

This is the most recent NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll. They asked
Republican voters how they think their party handled the shutdown standoff.
And you can see that split. Look at that.

Republicans who say they identify with the Tea Party approve 72 to 25
percent of how the Republican Party behaved. The Republicans who aren`t
part of the Tea Party, though, disapprove their own party, 49 percent to 42
percent.

How about what they think of Ted Cruz? Tea Party Republicans love him.
That 52 to 4 percent. Non-Tea Party Republicans, his numbers are upside-
down there.

Here`s the thing: about as many of the Republican voters say they are.
It`s a real dividing line in the party these days. Their attitudes on
subject after another are very different.

The question is how deep, though, how deep that division is? Are these
Republicans who share the same big picture vision, the same big picture
philosophy and are just divided on tactics and style? Or are these the
makings that fueled Teddy Roosevelt just 100 years ago?

Here to discuss that, we have Republican strategist Joe Watkins,
MSNBC.com`s Suzy Khimm, the reigning Up Against the Clock champion; Krystal
Ball of MSNBC, a former Up Against the Clock champion; Rebecca Sinderbrand
with Politico.com, a former Up Against the Clock contestant, and from
Charlottesville, Virginia, somebody who will be on Up Against the Clock
some day, we hope, Larry Sabato. He is also the author of the new book,
"The Kennedy Half Century: The Presidency, Assassination and Lasting Legacy
of John F. Kennedy". And he is the director of the University of Virginia
Center for Politics.

Thank you all for being here.

And, Larry, I guess I`ll start with you. We had that long introduction
there looking back at 1912. As I say, there have been a few other
instances. It`s never the story of the creation of a permanent third
party. But it is -- there are these moments that emerged when a third
party could be viable for one election.

When you look at what`s playing out in the Republican Party right now this
Tea Party/non-Tea Party divide, I`m curious what you see? Do you see the
makings of a one-time party eruption there or is it something else?

LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Steve, I think it can happen. I
think the Republicans may be headed for a crackup. I don`t think it will
happen after the mid-terms in 2014. They`ll do well enough to stay
together. It could happen after 2016. I don`t think it will happen during
the 2016, though I could be wrong.

If they elect a president, then that president can hold them together. If
hey don`t elect a president, though, whoever they nominate, that`s when the
crackup might come.

Look, one difference in similarity with the Taft-Roosevelt example that you
used I think correctly is we live in hyper-partisan times. The only way
you could have the Republican Party crack up and say have two candidates or
a splinter candidate is for both of them to call themselves the real
Republican nominee and I think that`s the way it will happen if it happens.

KORNACKI: I`m just curious, leak you are talking about this as a post-2016
thing, and that`s interesting. But when you look at that tension, I`m
thinking ahead to 2015 and 2016, and you look at the sort of the absolutist
side, the Tea Party side. If it looks like they are losing control of the
party, if they sense themselves losing control of the party, maybe it`s
like Chris Christie is wrapping up all endorsements like George W. Bush did
years ago, could you see a moment like that, though, even in 2016, the Tea
Party type saying, look the skids are greased here, we`re not going to get
our candidate to nomination and we`re sick of nominating Romney, McCain,
Christie, these types.

Could -- something needs to happen in 2016?

SABATO: Yes, I think that`s absolutely true. I think it`s more likely
after 2016, if they lose a third presidential election, but it is possible.

You mentioned the scenario that makes the most sense to me, Chris Christie
the most of us looks like a moderate conservative, to the Tea Party, he`s
going to look like a wild-eyed liberal. I just don`t know how they live
with that. I think they would try to join forces with the libertarian wing
of the party and find somebody who could represent that Tea Party
libertarian strain, gee, somebody like Rand Paul or Ron Paul or knows.

KRYSTAL BALL, THE CYCLE: Yes, that`s a scenario that I see as most likely,
too. I think it`s pretty tough for someone like Chris Christie to get
through a Republican primary at this point. But if the other sort of
splits the more hard line group and it did look like they were going to end
up with a moderate, I think that could be the problem. Right now, the Tea
Party has such control over the Republican Party, they can hardly be
dissatisfied enough to actually splinter off at this point, don`t you
think, Larry?

SABATO: Well, that assumes pure rationality. And I`m not sure it`s always
there. But in a sense, I think they can make the argument, that is the
leaders of the Republican Party can make the argument for one more try.
You know, normally in American history, a party that has been shut out for
eight years, running against the same candidate as the Republicans have
been against Obama, they can hold together for one final try to take over.
It`s when they lose the third time, they get the third whack on the head
with a 2 x 4 that they really either weak up and start adjusting to
political reality or they go into the nether lands and I don`t know which
one will happen to the Republicans.

JOE WATKINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think you raise a good point, I
think that obviously if things don`t work out in 2016, that that`s going to
be hard for the Republican Party. I think a lot depends on the field of
candidates in 2016 and how they shape up in 2014 and 2015, and how large
that field is, how incredible that field is, how much money they raise. If
you have a number of candidates, a large number of candidates who are Tea
Party kinds of candidates mixed in with a few candidates who may not be Tea
Party or more establishment Republicans, it`s possible for the party to end
up uniting around a nominee and because whoever the nominee is, they`re
going to have to in order be competitive to move back to the center for the
fall election.

It is likely you will get somebody who can get through primaries, if there
is a crowded field. They have a lot of Tea Party candidates.

KORNACKI: That`s the interesting scenario, too, if there is a Ted Cruz,
Rand Paul, maybe that works to Chris Christie`s benefit.

REBECCA SINDERBRAND, POLITICO.COM: Absolutely. One of the big questions
that a lot of people have had is the impact that the Tea Party can have in
a general election, whether they pull enough votes to make a difference one
way or the other, it had huge impact in the primary process obviously. But
when it comes to the general, whether they can mobilize voters,
particularly when it looks as though voting for a Tea Party candidate is a
Democratic president.

KORNACKI: Right. I mean, 1912 is where the extreme example of this.
Really, that Republican vote was just totally split there. And it was a
cakewalk for the Democrats. That sort of the nightmare scenario that give
a lot of pressure to the party to avoid.

Bu we will pick this discussion up on the other side in just a minute.
Again, I want to get into that, business tactics, or is there`s something
deeper going on in the Republican side. What is that divide about? We`ll
get to that right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: We are talking about basically the question here of can the
Republican Party hold it together, can it hold itself looking until the
2016 election? And as Larry Sabato, after the 2016 election.

I think one thing I`m wondering about, we look at this divide in the party,
the Tea Party, the non-Tea Party side, if there is a poster child for the
non-Tea Party side in the Republican Party, it would be Chris Christie.
Chris Christie is the moderate. That`s the reputation at least.

But I look at how Mitt Romney won the Republican nomination last year. It
occurred to me again, he had the tag moderate that was sort of applied to
him. But if you look at every position he took, the actual ideological
position was he like kind of acknowledged this is a very conservative
party. The Tea Party has for the moment won the philosophical argument.
I`m going to endorse all the Tea Party position.

So, he gave them actually -- they could call them a moderate. He didn`t
actually give them much ammunition to work for. I`m wondering if that`s
maybe going to be the same strategy we see a guy like Chris Christie employ
in 2016 when they call them moderate but then he says, yes, he takes on the
Tea Party position.

WATKINS: Chris Christie, you have to realize, is a very, very popular and
effective governor of a blue state. And that`s a powerful thing for a
Republican to be elected twice as a governor of a blue state, a state
where, you know, it`s dominated by Democrats and he gets there because of
the fact that he`s honest. He`s not. You can`t put him into a box.

KORNACKI: Well, he gets there because he doesn`t have to play Washington,
D.C. He doesn`t have to take positions on the shutdown. Oh, if they did
it like us in Trenton, you know?

But, Suzy --

SUZY KHIMM, MSNBC.COM: Yes. No, it was interesting during the Republican
primary, you had this, just looking at the polls, like everyone had their
moment and they`d just kind of fell away. And Romney basically won because
he managed to be the last standing.

I mean, we are seeing Cruz as sort of the face of the Tea Party right now.
But who knows how long this is going to last. They have this, there is an
article in the `National Journal" this week, that said basically
conservatives like to kill their darlings, like that moment that sort of
comes up, for whatever reason, Ted Cruz for instance opposes some spending
cuts to Medicare, they`re ways rhetorically as is strident he seems, that
you could maybe imagine (INAUDIBLE) attacking from the right.

So, this is -- I mean, this has been ideological pass has all these
candidates rise and fall very quickly.

KORNACKI: So, Larry, I wanted to ask about that Romney path in 2012. I`m
kind of curious, he had that strange path to nomination where, you know,
even when he was sort of the inevitable nominee, he is losing states by 30
points to Rick Santorum. You can see states like Illinois and New York and
California, he could win, states like Mississippi and Louisiana and Kansas,
he would get clobbered in.

Do you think the same basic divide that existed in 2012 that Romney was
able navigate, is the Republican Party divide along those lines, or has it
already shifted in the years since then, do you think?

SABATO: Well, Steve, I think the leadership has shifted. They figured out
what they have to do which is broadened the party`s appeal. They just have
one problem. The base doesn`t agree with them at all.

They still say Romney was too moderate or even liberal and, of course, he
wasn`t. If you examine his position, he had abandoned his moderate past.
They said the same thing about McCain.

You know, Steve, here`s the fundamental problem for the Republicans.
They`re not just divided about issues. They`re divided about attitude. A
large group in the party is suspicious even a very conservative senators
like McConnell or John Cornyn of Texas, simply because they know the street
cred in Washington.

SINDERBRAND: I think you know one of the interesting things when you look
at that Christie matchup as you are talking about is the contrast with
Romney on style the sense that Chris Christie, like Ted Cruz, takes the
fight to Democrats. He`s not afraid to get out there and scrap. And I
think that kind of tonal difference is a very important distinction and
very important for Republicans in the primary process.

Do you think it`s enough to get them to overlook some of the policy heresy?

KORNACKI: Larry, do you have a --

SABATO: Yes. Well; I think that`s a part of it. Also, I think let`s get
down to bakes. Whether the Republicans stay united will depend on how much
they hate the Democratic nominee for president. You know, in our politics,
hate is much more powerful than love. Fear is much more powerful than
hope, and maybe that`s me because I`m in my 60s. But I think that`s true,
especially in this polarized era.

(LAUGHTER)

SINDERBRAND: On a tee-shirt.

KORNACKI: All right. I want to thank Larry Sabato of the University of
Virginia. Some words to remember there as we cover campaigns going
forward.

Ladies and gentlemen, you have heard about the poisonous rock bottom, never
lower than this poll, the national Republican Party for Republican House
and Republican Senate leaders in Washington, but we have actually found one
major Republican in Washington with positive poll numbers. We`ll tell you
who it is. And we`ll tell you why that is, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: I`m old enough that I remember when just about every Democrat in
the country dreamed of John McCain joining their national ticket. And John
McCain actually was kind of interested in doing it.

(BEGIN VDIE OCLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He came across the aisle and asked you, would you even
entertain the idea or will you rule it out for good and forever right now?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: John Kerry is a close friend of mine. We
have been friend for years. Obviously, I would entertain it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: What made John McCain talk that way in 2004, what made him talk
very differently the last few years? Are we now watching him pivot back to
what he used to be all those years ago? We`ll get into it right after
this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: In May of 2001, Republicans barely had control of the Senate.
The chamber was split 50/50, which is right down the middle, and made Vice
President Dick Cheney, who was president of the Senate, the tie breaking
vote, that Republicans control. That was also the month, May 2001, when
Vermont`s Jim Jeffords announced that he was leading the Republican Party
to become an independent and would then caucus with the Democrats, meaning
they suddenly had control of the Senate. This was just a few months into
the George W. Bush presidency, a few months before 9/11, a few months after
the disputed election of 2000.

And it was a huge deal. This was a big blow to the White House. It was a
huge boost to Democrats, who have been completely locked out of power but
who now had a way to fight the Republican administration.

Two weeks after that Jeffords s switch, there were stories that that new
majority leader of the Senate, Tom Daschle, was having secret meetings with
another Republican, who was thinking of switching sides. Daschle was
officially wooing the senator. He was trying to see what committee
assignments or chairmanships, or whatever else he could get to get him,
what it would take to make this unhappy Republican come over to the
Democratic side?

In one weekend, those meetings were reported to be taking place at the
Arizona cabin of Senator John McCain. He was the guy looking to jump ship.
In the world of early 2001 American politics, this was not exactly a
surprise, McCain was still so furious with Bush after how he lost the
Republican nomination for president just a year earlier, and he was
entertaining offers to become a Democrat.

We all know it didn`t happen and the idea seems totally ridiculous now,
seems like something that could have happened. But it made all the sense
in the world back then. If you take the long view of John McCain`s
political career, you will see why because what you`ll find is a long
parade of self reinventions, and it`s not hard to trace each of those self-
reinventions to one fact about McCain. He holds a grudge like no one`s
business.

Take what was playing in 2001, this was just after he lost the 2000
nomination to George W. Bush. It had been an ugly campaign, Bush had
played dirty. McCain took it hard. The Republican base, that was Bush`s
base, was deeply suspicious of McCain, which helped explain how he emerged
from that race as every favorite Republican.

When Bush took office, McCain took that image and he ran with it. There
wasn`t just a personal grudge. He reinvented his own politics. John
McCain of 2001 embraced a patient`s Bill of Rights. He spoke out on
climate change. He introduced gun control legislation. Bush`s famous or
infamous, if you will, 2001 tax cuts, McCain voted, no one knows.

He was talking to leave the GOP and he`d run as an independent in 2004.
There was talk he`d go farther and join the Democrats. That`s why no one
shocked when his flirtations with Daschle and the Senate Democrats went
public. McCain kept it going for most of Bush`s first term.

It`s the point in 2004, he entertained the idea, an idea many Democrats
were openly promoting, that they wanted, that might join his friend John
Kerry on the Democratic ticket that year. But McCain stopped short and
returned to the fold. The calculation there was clear. The GOP nomination
was going to be wide opened in 2008. McCain knew he could get it if he
could start playing ball with Bush and the Republicans.

And he did get that nomination, and then he did go on to lose to Barack
Obama, and then came another self reinvention. Now in the Obama era, he
joined with the most anti-Obama Republican, who committed themselves to the
flat-out obstruction of the new president`s agenda. For the second time in
eight years, McCain made himself the chief tormenter of a president he had
been defeated by.

When he and Obama shared the stage at a health care summit in 2010, the
president called him out on it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me make this point,
John, because we`re not campaigning anymore. The election is over.

MCCAIN: I am reminded of that every day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, suddenly, we seem to be looking at yet another John McCain,
one who is motivated by a new nemesis. And that has affected his
legislative agenda once again. Battle lines were drawn on the floor of the
Senate this past May.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: The Senate is supposed to debate and discuss and give our
passionate appeals and believes and put it to the will of the body. That`s
the protection of individual senator, not to just say we`re not going to do
anything. That`s not the way the American people want us to act.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: It has been suggested that we are whacko birds.
Well, if that is the case, I will suggest to my friend from Arizona, there
may be more whacko birds in the senate than is suspected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And since then, Ted Cruz and his band have been the target of
McCain`s resentment. McCain has emerged as the leading voice pushing for
middle ground in the Senate, pushing against Ted Cruz and Cruz-ism.

This week, McCain said he`s considering running for re-election in 2016.
He will be 80-years-old. If he runs, the campaign will be a prolong brawl
with the Tea Party wing of his party. Or at least it could mean that.

So let`s talk about McCain right now and sort of what he represents in the
politics, what he represents in the Senate. And where this came from,
because I`m watching the coverage of John McCain right now, and I`m
thinking this is what I saw in 2001 and 2002, when he has emerged again as
the Republican who gets up and says in the Senate and public what Democrats
are thinking.

It seems to me, and I don`t mean to be cynical about it, you know, because
I know everybody`s motivations are complicated. I don`t mean to cheapen
this too much. But I swear, these McCain pivots, you can you trace them to
grudges, you can trace to the grudge against George W. Bush. Maybe it was
a justifiable grudge, but you can trace it to that.

You can trace the behavior of 2009-2010 to the grudge against Obama. And I
swear the guy has got a grudge with Ted Cruz now and that`s what we`re
seeing. Maybe I`m being too cynical.

BALL: You know, I think -- I think there is a lot to that. I think this
does animate him and where he is coming from. I don`t think it`s like an
intentional thing like, oh, I have to speak with this person. Therefore, I
will be here. I think it comes from a genuine place. I think it animates
a lot of his politics.

The one other piece I would throw in there. In 2010, we saw a different
McCain, because he was running for re-election. And he did face a strong
primary challenge from the right. So, if he is running for re-election in
2016, we could see another --

WATKINS: I think a lot of this has to do with legacy. I mean, realize
that Senator McCain knows at this point that he`s not going to be president
of the United States. He got very close. He was the party`s nominee. At
this point now, he has a chance to -- from a legacy standpoint show
Americans who he is and how he can help the country move forward.

We are in a very tough place as a country. I mean, put aside the label of
Republican or Democrat. With rein a tough place, a place of tremendous
impasse.

And so, Senator McCain has a chance to be the voice of reason in all this,
to kind of help the country pass some of this impasse. And that`s what I
think he`s doing.

KORNACKI: Yes, but he could have been a couple years ago. It`s
interesting that it`s happening.

KHIMM: Yes, part of the reason you are seeing this now is because he has
issues that he cares deeply about that are at stake right now. Among them
are the cuts, automatic cuts to defense, defense spending. Everyone
thought this was going to be the big wedge for Republicans to convince them
for sequestrations. So, far, we haven`t really seen that. But then you
have outliers like McCain who are speaking out very strongly against those
cuts.

And then you also have immigration reform, which is basically, this is the
last possible chance before the midterms that Republicans could help
something, pass something forward -- House Republicans have made it clear
they`re not going to pass the legislation. McCain, who was the face of the
previous immigration fight, has come out again supporting a bipartisan
effort for that.

So, these are issues that are not only legacy issues, they`re really on the
front burner right now.

KORNACKI: Let`s play, this is how this sort of version of McCain is
playing in Republican numbers, this is Sean Hannity. I think this is this
past Monday night, Sean Hannity talking about John McCain on FOX News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: I`m mad at John McCain, I`m mad at Bob Corker, all
those guys, they could have stayed and if Republicans would hold the ne
line the Democrats, hold their ranks, and they could have done it on
principal because this isn`t bad for the country. They would have won.

I want more Ted Cruzs elected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

HANNITY: I want this conservative solution caucus formed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: I guess what I`m wondering, Rebecca is, and Susie makes a good
point. I mean, you look at the like the sequester, you look at John McCain
as being one of the defense hawks. I mean, John McCain, Lindsay Graham,
these guys. I think his frustration with Ted Cruz stems from the fact that
John McCain does not want the sequester hurting the Department of Defense.
And Ted Cruz is one of the reasons it is, he`s upset by that.

But I remember the experience of watching these Republicans gain up on John
McCain in 2000 and how that ideologically did push him to the left. And
I`m wonder, you start getting -- you know, Hannity going after him now.
You get Cruz, could we see something similar, where John McCain, where he
is right now, a year from now, we are talking about a guy a lot more
friendly like he used to be.

SINDERBRAND: And that`s exactly right. This is a dynamic that we`re
seeing before, and it starts this pattern where the more he has critics
from the right, the more it sort of reinforces this urge in him almost
where he kind almost --

BALL: Has to go against the again, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

SINDERBRAND: You`ve seen this before. We also see that it`s a role for
him that allows him to take some measure of leadership within the party,
that sense that he sees the party steer in the wrong direction. So, he
becomes this voice people are turning to. The establishment is turning to
now. And the White House has seen it can work with as well. It allows a
measure of the party it might not otherwise.

KORNACKI: I mean, I think there is almost something psychological. I
didn`t take psychology class or anything, but here`s my life experiences
come from Boston and you cheer for the Boston sports teams. Yay, go Red
Sox, whatever.

You come to New York, suddenly you are surrounded by these Yankee fans who
go, oh, we hate Boston, blah, blah, blah. I dig my heels in. Damn it, I`m
a Red Sox fan. Damn it, I hate the Yankees.

And I look at John McCain, the same thing seems to be, it`s probably true
for a lot of politicians.

BALL: I mean, one thing I will never forget and will always admire John
McCain for no matter where he has been on the ideological spectrum -- he is
basically the only Republican when someone stood up in a town hall meeting
starting railing against, started in 2008, and was railing against the
president being what did she say a Muslim?

WATKINS: Not an American, he said, no, no, ma`am, that`s not true.

BALL: He stopped her. And that I think is his core. I mean, I think at
its core the guy is unafraid, he`s fearless, he does I think hold a grudge.
But again, I don`t think it comes from a cynical or calculating place. I
think it comes from a genuine like Red Sox, you know --

KORNACKI: I mean, a part of the key to what I`m suggesting is there is a
lack of self awareness in a way, he finds himself feeling --

WATKINS: Steve, think about who John McCain is, though. He`s an American
hero who was a prisoner of war for how many years at the Hanoi Hilton? You
emerge from that experience, I think, whole and just strong in his resolve.
I don`t think that experience has left him.

I think now he sees himself as somebody -- one of the people that can be
the voice of the Republican Party going forward, the voice of the Senate to
bring reason and order to the Senate body in these last years of his term
as a U.S. senator.

KHIMM: Yes, it`s interesting to see, to have seen McCain during the
shutdown fight. He feels inspired. He feels compelled to speak out in a
way that he thinks he`ll call a spade a spade. One of my favorite phrases
that he used earlier this year was denouncing the Tea Party hobbit,
basically saying that they should go back to middle earth? This is the old
maverick McCain, the one who isn`t afraid --

BALL: Self consumption.

KHIMM: It definitely is. I think we see him act into that role, enjoying
the fight.

KORNACKI: And there`s the thing he`ll never say. Maybe years from now,
he`ll even note it will open after it passes, one thing we never talk
about, did I make a mistake with Sarah Palin? How did that affect my
legacy? And I wonder how much is on his mind sort of privately, like, how
can I do something that`s going to erase a little bit of I introduced Sarah
Palin to America politics sting from his legacy anyway.

After he ground Washington to a halt, Ted Cruz`s obvious next step: a trip
to Iowa. He spoke to a packed house of Republicans last night. We will
show you what he said, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: If you read "The New York Times" -- well, that`s your first problem.

But if you read "The New York Times," they will tell you that this battle
accomplished nothing. Let me tell you I think collectively, we
accomplished a great deal.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: If anyone thought Ted Cruz would crawl off into a corner
somewhere after the shutdown and lick his wounds, well, he doesn`t seem to
think he has any wounds to lick and it`s not hard to see why he thinks
that. And we just heard some of what the Texas Republican senator had to
say at last night`s fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party held, of
course, in Iowa. A coveted invitation in a state that`s a key stop for any
Republican, maybe possibly sort of considering a run for the White House.
Cruz made a triumphant return home to Texas earlier this week, a rally
arranged by a Houston Tea Party group.

Speaking earlier this week with the biggest newspaper in Iowa, Cruz didn`t
even rule out another shutdown. Quote, "There will be time enough to talk
about specific strategies and tactics, what I think is critical is that we
keep front and center the need to stop Obamacare. It isn`t working and
it`s hurting millions of people.

He told newspapers he hates avocados, something that may have been relevant
during the ordering phase of last week`s meeting to Tea Party renegades
that Cruz organized at the Capitol Hill restaurant Tortilla Coast.

But the fact that I hate the avocado thing, another shutdown thing, and big
speech at the fundraising dinner for Republicans thing all happened in
Iowa, that is what has captured our attention this morning.

Iowa is obviously fertile ground for Cruz, for the caucus system that
rewards candidates who can appeal to party activists. This is a state that
gave underfunded Rick Santorum a narrow win over Mitt Romney in the
caucuses last year. It`s a state that gave Mike Huckabee a win over Mitt
Romney four years before that.

The state still has a strong, more pragmatic Republican establishment. And
there are signs that that establishment, like the establishment in
Washington, is trying to find a way to tamp down Cruz and Cruz-ism. But
what we`re seeing in Iowa illustrates their challenge, because even after
the shutdown, the base of the Republican Party still looks at Cruz and
likes what he sees.

And that to me is sort of, if you are a Republican nationally or if you`re
just sort of hoping that we`re going to avoid the kind of shutdown
brinksmanship, we had the drama we had in the Washington the last few
months, the last few years really, in moving the Republican Party back in a
functional direction, you got to be concerned I think by what you see in
Iowa this week, because Ted Cruz goes out there, the governor of the state,
Terry Branstad. He was governor for like 20 years before, he is back now,
the quintessential establishment republican in Iowa. He made it very clear
he is not excited to see Ted Cruz in the state.

Republicans nationally, we just talked about John McCain in the last
segment, the Republican establishment figures making it very clear that
they don`t want Ted Cruz speaking for them. But they sold out this dinner,
activists came to hear Ted Cruz last night. He talked about the shutdown.
He said, we didn`t -- you know, we actually got there. They applauded him.

I think it`s a huge disconnect in the Republican Party right now between
the direction that the McCain types are taking and the direction of the
base that`s willing to let them take it.

KHIMM: Yes, I definitely agree. I think part of the reason is that I
think you have to remember that the shut down fight and the Obamacare
fight, while Ted Cruz became the face of it, it wasn`t just Ted Cruz.
There are various groups -- Heritage Action is one, FreedomWorks is another
-- that even though public opinion generally is turning against the Tea
Party, do have very engaged people on the state and on the local level.

They might not represent the majority of Americans. Their views might not
be popular. But they are engaged. They are active. They`re very mad at
the establishment. They think the Republican establishment sold them out
when they decided to band together with Democrats to end the shutdown.

KORNACKI: It just raises the question. It does raise the question to me,
though, Joe. I mean, we showed the poll earlier, that Tea Party/non-Tea
Party divide. What we have seen in the last few years is the extent to
which the Tea Party folks are the ones who turn and vote in these
primaries, and the reason of the chaos we have seen.

But it sure doesn`t seem to me the Tea Party base looked at those record
low poll numbers from the Republican Party and said, oh, no, we can`t go
through this again.

WATKINS: We have to see in 2014. I mean, you have to remember that 2014
is going to be a very important year. Every member of Congress is up, the
House is up for re-election. A whole number, a good number of senators are
up as well.

So, that`s going to be a very, very important year in terms of getting a
sense for what the public`s appetite is. Whether it` Tea Party Republicans
or establishment Republicans or others.

And remember, all politics are local. So, somebody who plays well, what
the national polls reflect about the feelings of Americans with regard to
Congress as a whole differ very much from how they feel about their local
member of Congress. So, while Americans right now are very disappointed
with Congress and very disappointed with perhaps Republicans for having
shut down the government, that doesn`t translate with how people feel on a
local district by district basis.

KORNACKI: That is going to be tested.

WATKINS: That will be the key in terms of 2016, in terms of looking ahead
to 2016, we`ll see whether or not there is an appetite on the part of
Republicans for a candidate who is -- a candidate like a Ted Cruz or a Rand
Paul --

KORNACKI: What we know is there is an appetite among Democrats right now
to take Ted Cruz`s outspoken role and say this America is the face of the
Republican Party, the Iowa Democratic Party in conjunction with this visit
playing him up as the face of the party. I mean, Democrats, basically the
theory of Democrats here is, hey, we`re not -- history says we`re not
supposed to do well in the 2014 midterms but we`re going to say to the
swing voters and marginal districts, a few of them left, hey, look, you
know, you vote for the Republican candidate, you`re voting for Ted Cruz.

BALL: I think that`s absolutely right.

Look, coming down the pike is, you know, another potential government
shutdown, another potential debt ceiling fight, yet Mitch McConnell is
saying absolutely not, we`re not going to shut down the government. But
Mitch McConnell and John Boehner did not want to shut down the government
this time, and they were basically bullied into it basically by Ted Cruz
because as you`re pointing out, the base wants to go in that direction.

So, when Ted Cruz comes out and takes the stand and says this is where you
have to be if you`re a true Republican, if you`re a true conservative, then
there are a whole lot of folks in the House and the Senate that fall in
line right behind him. And I don`t see that dynamic changing.

Now, looking at 2014, even if the Republican Party suffered huge losses,
even if they lost the House, you know the response from the Tea Party will
be, it`s because we weren`t conservative enough.

I mean, that is the lesson that they took in 2008. That`s the lesson from
2012 and they still think that`s their problem.

KORNACKI: Rebecca, what I wonder, too, is that what Crystal is saying,
look at Mitch McConnell, he`s going to have to go back to Kentucky. He`s
going to run in a Republican primary next year. And take that audience in
Iowa that was cheering Cruz last night, that audience exists in Kentucky,
too. Can McConnell go on the stage, to a Tea Party friendly Republican
primary audience in Kentucky and say, we`re not going to shut down the
government again? Will they hear that? Will listen to that from him and
accept it?

SINDERBRAND: Well, this is the kind of interesting calculation you`re
seeing a lot of Republicans make inside their heads right now. One of the
interesting things we`ve seen from the polls is when you kind of break them
down a bit, obviously, they`re very negative for the Republicans, but
specifically seeing losses among independents and seniors, big losses among
independent and seniors. Those were a big part of the Republican Party`s
retaking of the House in 2010.

So, you know, if you see establishment Republicans believe that they have
to make a choice between holding on to these core groups that -- the
demographic groups they need to maintain their majority and the Tea Party,
it will be kind of a fine line, obviously. But you may see some of them --
you may see some of them slightly more power than we`ve seen in the past.

KORNACKI: All right. What do we know now that we didn`t know last week?
We`ll ask, we`ll answer. That`s right ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. Time to find out what our guests know now that they
didn`t when we begin.

Krystal, we`ll start with you.

BALL: The first time marijuana legalization supported by a majority of
Americans.

KORNACKI: A question in Up Against the Clock.

Rebecca?

SINDERBRAND: Another revelation from that "Des Moines Register" interview,
Ted Cruz`s favorite movie is the "Princess Bride."

KORNACKI: An interesting choice. I don`t think anybody saw that coming.

Joe?

WATKINS: I didn`t know that Suzy was so quick on the buzzer. If I had
just been a little bit faster --

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: The recrimination phase has begun.

KHIMM: Just how important a very wonky phrase federal procurement is to
Obamacare, which is how the government acquires goods and services and
makes contracts with outside companies.

KORNACKI: All right. And I learned that Rebecca hasn`t seen "The Princess
Bride", which shocks me. This is the 25th anniversary, the silver
anniversary or bronze or whatever. I never know those metals.

Thanks to Krystal Ball, Rebecca Sinderbrand, Joe Watkins, and Suzy Khimm.
Thank you all for getting up. And congratulations, Suzy, on your victory.

Thank you for joining us today for UP. Tomorrow, the staff at world
headquarters has found a way to help end my chronic indecision. It
involves props and wild cards. If you like Up Against the Clock, you want
to check us out tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel.

But stay here right now because up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". Today
on "MHP": the GOP`s Wile E. Coyote problem with Obamacare. (INAUDIBLE)
keeps falling on their heads and yet they persist the tactical shift in the
unrelenting fight. That`s next in Nerdland.

And we will see you tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. Thanks for getting UP.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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