'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Satuday, November 9th, 2013
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UP with STEVE KORNACKI
November 9, 2013
Guest: Mara Schiavocampo, Jeremy Peters, Alex Seitz-Wald, Rachel Bade,
Fmr. Gov. Jim Gilmore, Jerrold Nadler
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Medicaid expansion meets a red state, blue
We have a lot on our minds at the start of this Saturday morning, thinking
about what it could possibly take to convince red state governors and red
state politicians to actually back off and cooperate with a crucial
component of President Obama`s health care law, the expansion of Medicaid.
We will get into that in a moment.
We also find ourselves wondering who`s actually going to win the one big
outstanding state wide election yet to be determined from Tuesday night. A
key state wide office in Virginia, the same office that gave rise to Ken
Cuccinelli. Just four days after the election, the races are close, and it
seems there are thousands of ballots that went uncounted on election night.
We`re going to fill you in on the latest on that.
And we`re wondering if history will, indeed, repeat itself when it comes to
how George W. Bush became president with Chris Christie playing that role.
I have some thoughts about that. It involves explaining to you what
something called a hecune (ph) is. You might want to stick around for
And our friend, Mellissa Harris-Perry, has been taking her appearance on
"Up Against the Clock" this morning very serious as she and all contestants
should. She`s been training Rocky Balboa style. We will get a glimpse of
that, and we will find out whether that dedication pays off. That is
But first, President Obama is waking up in Miami, Florida today on his tour
of southern states, red southern states, encouraging Republicans to do
something he didn`t expect he`d have to be doing 17 months ago, because it
starts all the way back in June of 2012. That`s when the Supreme Court
issued its long awaited ruling on Obamacare. And to the surprise of many
and to the dismay of conservatives, it upheld the law.
But that ruling came with a catch. The law called for states to expand
their Medicaid program, to expand the number of low income people eligible
for subsidized healthcare coverage and for the federal government to pick
up the lion`s share of the cost of that expansion. But the court also
ruled that states didn`t have to take part in this expansion. They didn`t
have to take the free Medicaid money.
It would be their choice. And there was someone who said this might be a
problem. Here we were smack in the middle of the Tea Party era when
opposing fighting and railing against Obamacare was a test of basic tribal
loyalty for Republicans so wouldn`t maybe Republican state governors see a
political advantage, maybe even a political imperative in rejecting the
money, in rejecting the expansion of Medicaid and in undercutting a crucial
component of the health care law.
Well, that court ruling came down a year-and-a-half ago, the conventional
wisdom was resounding. Of course not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the most general federal match in the history of
Medicaid. And I think a governor is going to have answer to their own
people. The vast majority of states will come in. For those few that are
slow to come in, they`re going to have to answer to people why they`re
turning this down and why they`re letting people go without cover --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Well, the generous thing you can say is that Lou was partially
right. A handful of Republican states have slowly come into the fold.
Mostly recently, John Kasich of Ohio, mostly, he was wrong and the
conventional wisdom of June 2012 was wrong, because here we are, a year and
a half later, presidential election later, and still, that Medicaid money
is still being left on the table in half the states.
And it basically tracks what the red state, blue state divide. There are
currently 25 states that are not moving forward on the Medicaid expansion.
Of those 25 states, only six of them voted for Obama last year, Maine, New
Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida, and not
coincidentally, all but one of those six states has a Republican governor.
In the sixth, New Hampshire, has a Democratic governor who must deal with a
Republican state Senate.
But that map could be changing a little. In fact, New Hampshire is right
now holding a special session on this issue. The governor, Maggie Hassan,
a Democrat, wants to expand Medicaid, and she`s trying to find some kind of
compromise with those Republican state legislators. The Virginia on
Tuesday elected a new governor, a Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, who
says he wants to expand the Medicaid rules in his state.
Plus, Florida`s Republican governor, Rick Scott, actually came around on
the law this spring only to be jammed up by his Republican State
legislature. We`ll see at happens with that. But in other red states,
there is no sign of any momentum. And then, there are the states that are
embracing Medicaid expansion, there are 25 of them, along with the District
of Columbia. Only five of those states voted for Romney last year.
Three of them, Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, those three states have
Democratic governors. Also, North Dakota`s Republican governor, Jack
Dalrymple, he came around earlier this year. And then, Arizona Jan Brewer
waged a protracted fight with her fellow Republicans in the state
legislature until they relented and they expanded Medicaid.
Michigan`s governor, Rick Snyder, is a Democrat in a blue state with a
Republican state Senate if you can make sense of all that, he had a similar
standoff with his own party and he prevailed this summer. So, there is
progress on the Medicaid expansion front, but it is very slow. And the
technical problems with the health care exchanges website have only given
Republicans another excuse to drag their heels and just say no.
As long as fighting Obamacare remains one of the preeminent test to party
loyalty within the Republican party, it`s hard to see most of red state
America embracing Medicaid expansion. This is why the president went to
the heart of red state America to Dallas, Texas this week to make his pitch
for that state, for Rick Perry`s state to sign on for expansion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that all of you
understand that there`s no state that actually needs this more than Texas.
Here in just the Dallas area, 133,000 people who don`t currently have
health insurance would immediately get health insurance without even having
to go through the website if the state of Texas decided to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: But this is the Tea Party era. This is Texas. So probably, not
surprisingly, outside that event, there were protesters confronting (ph)
President Obama. And Democrats, in general, are fighting a long war here.
It seems that for the foreseeable future, being poor in red state America
and being poor in blue state America will mean very different levels of
service all because of our polarized politics.
We`re going to talk about all of this with Rachel Bade, she`s a policy
reporter for Politico.com. Alex Seitz-Wald, he`s a political correspondent
for "National Journal," NBC news correspondent and host of MSNBC`s "First
Look," Mara Schiavocampo.
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO, MSNBC`S "FIRST LOOK": He got it.
KORNACKI: Steve Kornacki, I should know his last name. And Jeremy Peters,
politics reporter from the New York Times, and thanks for all joining us
this morning. So, I mean, I guess I`ll start with that. We played Jack
Lew from basically the week after the Supreme Court ruling came down in
June of 2012. And I think the conventional wisdom back then that he was
expressing was, yes, sure.
Technically, the court allowed that the states could opt out of this if
they want to, but this going to be free money from the federal government.
There`s going to be an immense amount of pressure from the hospitals and
their states to take this money. At the end of the day, this is one of
those things. They`re all going to have to give in on. Here we are, as
they say, a year and a half later, that just hasn`t happened. Is that a
surprise to anyone here? What has happened that sort of alleged the
stalemate over the last year?
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Well, I think they underestimated the challenge, because,
right now, this is pretty much one of the only affected ways for
Republicans to protest this law. You know, they`ve done a number of
symbolic things. They`ve voted over 40 times in the House to repeal it.
They shut down the government over Obamacare, which everybody knew that
that wasn`t going to work. It wasn`t going to succeed into funding that
And so, this is one of the only ways that they can effectively throw a
monkey wrench in the plan, because it does interfere with goals of the law.
The law plans to cover a large swath of people through the expansion of
Medicare, Medicaid. And so, when they decide to opt out, that interferes
with the goals of the law. It also interferes with some of the mechanisms
that have been put in place.
So, for example, the federal government is going to gradually phase out the
funding for uncompensated care so the care that people received but aren`t
able to pay for because they can`t afford it because that money was
supposed to be offset by Medicaid and for states that opt out and aren`t
expanding Medicaid, they`re just going to lose out on that funding. So,
it`s an effective way for them to protest along with opting out setting up
their own exchanges.
You know, that`s really part of the problem that we`ve been seeing with the
website is that there`s been a lot of money allocated for states to set up
their own exchanges, but not for the federal government to put it together.
And so, when they have to take on that added work of a state exchange when
they`ve opted out, it interferes with the whole process. And so for now,
it`s really one of the only effective ways that a Republican the governor
has to protest Obamacare.
KORNACKI: And that really is sort of what`s driving all of this. When you
talk about the different policy implications, but basically, the Republican
Party decided in the run up to the enactment of Obamacare and for the
three-year since then, that this is the number one thing they are fighting.
This is the number one test of being a Republican today is being against in
this fighting Obamacare tooth and nails. It seems as long as that`s the
case, there`s no incentive for Republican politician to expand Medicaid in
his or her state.
JEREMY PETERS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Not at all. And one of the more
problematic side effects of that Supreme Court ruling was that by allowing
states to opt out of this, what you had is what should have been a policy
debate turned into strictly a political debate. And that`s what`s
happening in these states right now, with the Republican governors and
legislators rejecting the policy that has become their raison d`etre.
I mean, this was that what gave birth to the Tea Party movement, and they
will stop at nothing, it seems, to try to smash this law. But, I mean,
where it gets tricky, I think, is if you look at who exactly is suffering
because Medicaid is not being expanded to the states. You have these 26
who have not opted into it. That`s half the population, but it`s also two-
thirds of the poor, uninsured Blacks, and --
PETERS: Exactly. So, you know, these people who should have been helped by
the law are being left behind.
KORNACKI: So, let`s take -- let`s look at sort of a real-time example.
This was yesterday. I want to play this first. This is President Obama
who`s in New Orleans yesterday, and he`s making his case, you know, in
Louisiana, red state, Bobby Jindal governor, and this is President Obama
making his case yesterday in New Orleans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: One thing, though, I was talking to your mayor and your about,
though, is a separate issue, which is one of the things that the Affordable
Care Act does is it allowed states to expand Medicaid to cover more of
their citizens. And -- you know, here in Louisiana, here in Louisiana
that, benefited about 265,000 people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So there -- he`s putting some of his stats out there. He`s
making the case, but of course, within like an hour of giving that speech,
the Republican governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, puts out a statement,
"We will not allow President Obama to bully Louisiana into accepting an
expansion of Obamacare.
We have rejected Obamacare`s Medicaid expansion in Louisiana, because it
would cost Louisiana taxpayers up to $1.7 billion over the next ten years
and move nearly 250,000 Louisianians from private coverage to Medicaid.
The disastrous roulette of Obamacare was a case in point, and we don`t need
top down one size fits all federal mandates."
Alex, it just strikes me, I start to wonder, what is the point of this tour
that President Obama is on right now given the sort of polarized reality
from American politics. He goes into a red state in Texas. He goes into a
red state in Louisiana. He makes a good faith case for this law, but if
you`re a Republican politicians, there`s nothing easier for you to do than
just to attack the bullying of the Democratic president.
ALEX SEITZ-WALD, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Yes. I mean, I think they`re both
posturing here. He knows that he`s not going to convince Rick Perry or
Bobby Jindal to come around on this, but he wants to go there and say he`s
doing his best to do something, because what else can he do? And he knows
that they`re not -- and they know that they`re not coming around.
I mean, I think if I was Bobby Jindal, if I was any other Republican
governor, I would look at the example of Jan Brewer in Arizona who, you
know Tea Party hero. She eats scorpions for breakfast, according to title
of her book.
SEITZ-WALD: You know, she was on the national stage on immigration a few
years ago and then she decided to go ahead with the Medicaid expansion and
was just absolutely pilloried by the right and is now become kind of a
persona non-grata among the Tea Party, among the right-wing in Arizona.
So, if I was Jindal looking at 2016 or if I was any Republican governor
worried about my right flank, I would look at that example and say, woh, I
better back off there.
KORNACKI: Right. And the key there is, you know, Jan Brewer, I don`t
think is running for re-election I think -- eligible to run for re-election
again in Arizona. So, this is sort of the end of the line for her. She
can make sort of a legacy statement. But -- so Rachel, I mean, what,
could, is there anything that the president, that the White House, the
supporters of this law, can do given the polarization that sort of built up
What can they do to get the governor of Louisiana, the governor of
Mississippi, states like this, what can they do to get them to say, OK, we
will sign on with Medicaid expansion?
RACHEL BADE, POLITICO.COM: I think the time is going to be the main thing
here. I mean, it`s been, like you said, more than a year. Lots of time
has passed and a few Republican governors have actually signed on. So, if
you think of them, that there are about 30 Republican governors, I`d say
almost a dozen have actually signed on to expanding Medicaid and their
If you look at someone like John Kasich in Ohio, he`s actually gone against
his party who, in state House, has said, we don`t want this. But he said,
you know, we need this for the state. We need this money. I`m going to do
this on my own with my own independent panel, and now, they`re actually
going to take its court saying, you know, we don`t think you should this.
But he`s not alone.
I mean, Tennessee right now is also looking at this up in Maine. Paul
LePage has vetoed the expansion of the Medicaid, but he`s just recently
come out and said, you know, even though I vetoed it, there are certain
ideas that I would be in support. If you look at Arkansas, for instance,
they came up with a sort of deal to sort of assuage Republicans where
instead of just taking the Medicaid money, they would use that fund and
sort of change it so that the money would go to the private insurance.
So, individuals, instead of being on Medicaid, would get funds from the
federal government and use it for private insurance. And now, we`re seeing
a whole bunch of Republicans sort of opened to that. And obviously, Rick
Perry is not going to be one of them. Bobby Jindal is not going to be one
of them, sort of the extreme cases here.
But I think we are sort of seeing movement on this. And over time, as
governors see that this is a free pot of money, if they want it, I think
we`re going to see more.
KORNACKI: Arkansas is an interesting example, too, because you have a
Democratic governor in a state that voted overwhelmingly for Romney.
But we`re going to talk to, in just a minute, on the other side of this
break, we have a former Republican governor in a state that may be, that
probably right now is the next battleground over the expansion of Medicaid.
That`s Virginia. That`s because of what happened Tuesday night in
Virginia. We`re going to talk to a former governor there right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRY MCAULIFFE, (D) VIRGINIA GOVERNOR-ELECT: It is $21 billion. It`s our
money. We should be bringing it back. Twenty-nine states have already
agreed to do it. It`s just that it`s fiscally irresponsible not to take it
into those 400,000 Virginians who will get access to quality lifesaving
care. It`s morally and socially the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That is the incoming governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, in
August, talking about Medicaid expansion money offered to his state. Here
to talk more about how health care played a role in the 2013 governor`s
race in Virginia, I want to bring in a former Virginia governor, Jim
Gilmore. He`s a Republican. He served from 1998 to 2002. He joins us
live from Richmond right now.
Governor, appreciate the time this morning. So, this was, you know, this
was a pretty big campaign issue in your state where Terry McAuliffe, you
know, clearly said throughout this campaign that he wants to expand
Medicaid. His opponent, Ken Cuccinelli, said he -- his opponent, Ken
Cuccinelli, ran ads saying, don`t vote for Terry McAuliffe, he`ll expand
So now that Terry McAuliffe has won, I know he has to deal with a
Republican majority in one of the state legislative chambers, but do you
expect now that Virginia will have Medicaid expansion as a result of this
FMR. GOV. JIM GILMORE, (R) VIRGINIA: Well, that`s not really clear, to
tell you the truth. First of all, let me just say that whether you`re
liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, everybody wants Americans
to have access to good health care. The real question is, is this the best
way to do it?
Is this Obamacare-type of Medicaid expansion approach, the common sense
approach, and most people really think that it is not the best approach?
Now, look, governor --
KORNACKI: I don`t mean to interrupt, but why from a state standpoint,
because we`ve had the federal argument over, you know -- reform health care
at the federal level. Is Obamacare theright way? But at the federal
level, Obamacare is the law. What`s being asked of the states right now is
to expand their Medicaid rules and to have that paid for 100 percent by the
federal government and then slowly phase it out to 90 percent.
So, ultimately, 90 percent of the money for this is coming from the federal
government for your state.
GILMORE: Well, first of all, let me just show you this. This is a chart.
This is exactly what`s happening in Virginia right now. When I was
governor, we were paying about $3 billion for Medicaid. Now, it`s all the
way up to about $7 billion just in the last ten years. Revenues have not
kept up with that. So, what`s really happening is that it`s an increasing
expanding. And frankly, blank check approach to health care that`s going
to go on forever. And when the states have to kick in that 10 percent,
then it`s going to be a giant blow, a big giant hole in the budget.
And that`s the problem that people are foreseeing that`s going to be the
problem. That`s the reality. So, the question is not whether we want
people to have health care, the question is, is this approach something in
the long run that is sustainable? What`s going to happen as this continues
to expand and expand and expand at the state level and more and more costs
are built in because nothing that controls costs in Obamacare. Nothing at
That continues to go on, then it`s going to crowd out other things. Where
is the money going to come from for transportation? Where is the money
going to come from for education? Where is the money going to come from
for public safety? And the answer, of course, is going to be these are the
first dollars that must be spent. And if you have to do all this other
great stuff, you just raise taxes.
People foresee this, and they understand this, and the problem is that
Obamacare is not a good approach and the difficulty you got now is that
because everybody says, well, it`s the law, so we all got to do it? Well,
it stops us from thinking about other innovative ways of providing health
care and stealth (ph) the fast the entire discussion. The real problem
we`ve got right now is that this thing is going to be a continuous
expansion that goes on forever.
And people of the state got (ph) one more thing, the fact is that they`re
saying right now and Governor-elect McAuliffe who I just met with yesterday
is focusing on the fact as all the other governors are, including Governor
Kasich in Ohio, oh, we`re going to get this big slug of money in here.
Well, the federal government is bribing the states with their own money in
order to enter into a program, then in the long run, it`s going to be
catastrophic to the states.
I think the responsible people across the country are saying, wait a
minute, let`s take a deep breath and try to find more innovative
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Governor, good morning, this Mara Schiavocampo, I just want
to follow up on something you said. You know, you say that everybody wants
better health care and everybody wants more individuals covered, but we
need to come out with more innovative ways to do that. So, if Obamacare is
not the right way, what`s your alternative?
GILMORE: Well, there are a lot of things that you can think about. Number
one, there are self-insurance programs out there at least for employees,
lower income employees, often are provided health care programs by their
companies and there are innovative ways to tail our programs or something
that you can actually afford through self-insurance.
But Obamacare is going to squeeze all that out. And you`re seeing that
right now. You`re seeing a lot of companies saying, look, we just can`t
afford to do this under Obamacare. So, we`re not going to provide any
health care coverage at all as a benefit trial (ph) workers let them go on
to the exchanges. And of course, we know that technically, they haven`t
been able to implement that yet.
But that`s the real underlying problem is not computers. The real
underlying problem is you`re eliminating the private sector completely from
providing health care coverage in a reasonable way because of this one
sides fits all Obamacare problem. The difficulty is not that we don`t want
people to have health care.
The problem is that this government-controlled problem of this approach is
squeezing everything else out. Furthermore, one more point, Mara, I want
to make, the most important thing is we got to get more people into the
workforce so that they can get some benefits from their employers.
And that means that we got to build up this economy, reduce unemployment,
get more people working, and get some excitement going in this economy
again. And there`s nothing going on in Washington right now to build up
this economy and to create jobs and stop worrying about whether or not
we`re going to socialize medicine all across the country, which is a lousy
approach. We need to be putting some innovative things in here to restore
the economy, get people back to work again.
PETERS: Governor, hi, Jeremy Peters here. I want to talk about something
that may seem a little bit obscure to most people, but is actually very
important in terms of the way that we select our candidates for office, and
that`s the convention system that the Republican Party has in Virginia. As
you know, the convention process selected Ken Cuccinelli, a candidate that
did not win and many more moderate voters felt was out of step with their
That happened because the Republican Party decided to forego in more open
primary process and instead put the decision making in the hands of a
relatively small group of very conservative Republicans. Do you think that
the process needs to be opened up?
GILMORE: That`s a great question. The whole political system is on life
support. Maybe Obamacare can solve that for us. But, no, the real issue
is that with a convention, you`re talking about party, rank and file to get
to come in and make this selection. With a primary, that is the entire
general public. And then, at that point, rich people get to come in and
finance their particular candidates.
It`s out of the hands of the party, into the hands of the financiers. But
on the other hand, everybody gets to vote across the state. If we had
party registration in Virginia where you had Democrats and Republicans
register as Democrats or Republican, then a primary system probably might
make more sense and I think it`s a case by case basis. So, both have pros
and cons as to what works best.
But, you know, the question is, are you going to put the selection process
into the hands of the party rank and file or are you going to put it in the
hand of people we don`t even know that write big checks.
BADE: Governor, Rachel Bade from "Politico." A question for you back on
the Medicaid expansions.
GILMORE: Hi, Rachel.
BADE: You mentioned that the concern is really the costs and that if you
expand Medicaid to say everyone who is above a certain threshold of the
poverty line, I believe, it`s for individuals making around $15,000 a year
and for families of three or four making around 32, then, eventually the
costs would just grow, grow, grow and so the costs would exceed what the
states are getting from the government.
My question is more immediate, though. When Obamacare was created, the
point of the Medicaid expansion, it was actually paid for by phasing out a
totally different part of Medicaid. And so, the federal government right
now is actually taking billions of dollars away from the states on another
part of Medicare.
And so, I guess my question is, is that a concern? Because that`s also
being taken away right now? If you don`t expand it to get money for, you
know, certain programs, aren`t states just going to lose more money?
GILMORE: Well, in the short run, they might. But in the long run, the
real issue that we`re dealing with here is that under all these programs,
there has been no thought put into how you control costs and a lot of the
states are looking at that right now. Virginia is looking at it right now
on a commission.
And you know, Governor-elect McAuliffe might decide that he wants to expand
Medicaid because he wants to grab (ph) that cash that supposed to be coming
in, that bribe cash that`s --
KORNACKI: To pick up on Rachel`s point, specifically though, this involves
the hospitals in your state, because the hospitals in your state -- the
result of what Rachel is talking about is the hospitals who right now care
for people who don`t have insurance get reimbursed by the federal
government. The federal government anticipating that states like yours
would take the Medicaid money from the federal government phase out that
So, right now, the hospitals in your state and across the country are
lining up and they are begging governors to sign up to this program because
they are in for a huge hit if they don`t. Isn`t that -- doesn`t that
register with you what the hospitals are saying?
GILMORE: It does and that means that the federal government made a bad
decision. They made a draconian decision which injuries providers. And
you know, in the long run, this whole system here is designed to squeeze
providers. And that means, of course, you`re going to reduce the provision
of health care, the supply of health care. And yet, at the same time,
you`re exploding the number of people who are going to be demanding health
Simple economics tells you that that means the costs are going to go
through the ceiling. And ultimately, somebody got to pay for that. It`s
going to be the taxpayer. Now, look, I`m not saying we don`t want people
to have access to health care. What I am saying is that we got to find
ways of getting the private enterprise system involved more people who are
low wages actually working and getting health care as a benefit. And at
that point, you`re not throwing everything onto the government or the
But the federal government is using this major clout and say, OK, we`re
going to withdraw that moneys from the hospitals and get them screaming so
that we can pressure the states to enter into a program which ultimately
will collapse the state -- I want to say something to you. I was a
governor. And every time I constructed a budget, we always started with
Medicaid is unalterable. It`s right here.
This is a big thing. You can`t change anything. That`s your first dollars
that have to be spent. When I was governor, it was about 12 percent of our
budget. Now, it`s closer to between 16 and 20 percent of our budget. And
when Obamacare kicks in, it`s going to blow things out of the water.
Where is the money going to come from for the other things we need to do?
How are you going to educate children? How are you going to deal with
transportation? How are you going to keep the streets safe? These are
questions, frankly, your panel today has to be willing to give answers to.
And I haven`t heard them.
KORNACKI: All right. Well, my thanks to Jim Gilmore, the former governor
of Virignia. I appreciate the time this morning, and we will be back after
KORNACKI: You know, I was listening to Jim Gilmore (INAUDIBLE) what do you
all have to say about the rising costs of Medicaid? It reminds me so much
to this rhetoric we`ve heard the last few years -- from Newt Gingrich and
the presidential primaries about food stamps. Look at the huge number of
people suddenly on food stamps. As I tell you, what could possibly be
Could it be the fact that the economy melted down five years ago and that
the level of poverty soaring this country, the level of the working force
soaring (ph) in this country that is in more demand than ever, poor
services like this. Maybe it has something to do with that. But we will
digest a little bit more of our conversations with Gov. Gilmore and where
the battle for Medicaid expansion goes from here right after this.
KORNACKI: So, I think we`ve heard from Governor Gilmore pretty much this
is what you`re hearing with large from Republicans across the country who
are saying, no, we`re not going to expand this thing.
One thing I picked up on, though, in a lot of what he was saying there,
Alex, was how the problems with the healthcare.gov right now and how the
problems with the creation of these exchanges are giving ammunition to
Republicans who want to resist expanding Medicaid because they`re also able
to frame it saying, well, look, why would we want to take part in this
program that`s falling apart, that`s failing at the federal level.
It really underscores the importance from the administration standpoint of
getting this thing up and running and getting it working, because it`s
giving ammunition for something completely different to the opposition.
SEITZ-WALD: Yes. I mean, this is a massive law that did all kinds of
things, but from the beginning, Republicans have tried to lump it
altogether, because if you have one problem with one part of it like
healthcare.gov, it translates to everything in the mind`s eye of most
voters. So, I think it`s critical. And I think Obama made a mistake and
I mean, he was correct on the policy argument, but politically, he did
nothing to comfort his allies and just gave more fodder to his critics who
can say, look, even Obama is saying that he made a mistake here when he
told Chuck Todd that he was sorry about the people losing their coverage.
This is clearly a disaster on the website.
But they should have seen this coming from the beginning. There`s no doubt
about that. They also have done a terrible job on the back end of handling
the cleanup which is this classic Obama White House to kind of over respond
too quickly, you know, without thinking through the political calculations.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: What`s interesting when it comes to the criticism of the way
the website is working, especially from Republican governors who are not
running their own exchanges is that that`s part of the reason the website
has had all of these problems is because then the federal government has to
take on the work of managing all of those state exchanges.
There are a number of states where things are going quite well because the
states are managing their own exchanges. You know, there was a White House
official compared this to building a building in a war zone while people
are throwing bombs at you, that the work that was required to put this
website together was tremendously difficult, and then you add on the
aspects of working in a really tense political climate.
And so, it`s a little disingenuous to criticize the way that the website is
working when part of the reason that it`s having problems and granted the
administration did not do a terrific job of setting this up of making sure
that they have the mechanisms in place to handle one of the single biggest
technological challenges that administration has had to face. But within
that, they also have this added challenge of taking on work that they
didn`t anticipate they were going to do.
KORNACKI: Kentucky, the Democratic governor of Kentucky, forced through
the expansion of Medicaid and the creation of these exchanges in his state.
There are statistics from Kentucky where this seems to be working, over
32,000 enrollees, including almost 28,000 enrolled in Medicaid, 5,000
enrolled in the qualified health care plan.
So, there is an example of a state that said, hey, you know, we`re going to
be proactive. We`re going to do this, and we got a result here.
PETERS: In Arkansas, it was something similar, too. You saw, I believe,
6,000 people applying in the first few weeks. I think what the problem
that the Republican Party faces on litigating this issue too much is a
problem that they`ve had kind of all along, including back into the last
presidential election, which is a problem of tone.
And what they`ve wrestled with is striking that right tone, because they
need to realize that the public does not dislike this president or dislike
this law necessarily as much as they do. We saw this with the IRS scandal.
We saw this with Benghazi. And so, what -- some of the Republican
strategists I`ve been talking to are worried about is reigning in members
of Congress and others who are very, very aggressive on this and making --
a real effort to make the party sound like it`s not being to shrill on
this, because if they, they`re going to lose the strategic advantage they
have right now with this very unpopular law.
KORNACKI: Yes. Boy, maybe the ship has sailed on that one, too,
sometimes, I wonder. Anyway, one of these lucky panelists is about to
become a contestant on "Up Against the Clock." Actually, two of them are.
KORNACKI: It`s a very special not to be missed edition of America`s
fastest growing abbreviated made for basic cable Saturday morning politics
and/or current events quiz show, and it`s coming up next.
KORNACKI: Every week on the show, we put three contestants "Up Against the
Clock." A high stakes, nerve wracking, stress-inducing, rapid fire test of
their current events acumen and buzzer pressing agility. But you don`t
always get to see is the rigorous off-camera training of these tightens of
trivia put in.
And one of today`s contestants, you may recognize her from the show right
after this one, Mellissa Harris-Perry has been documenting every arduous
strength building step of her journey to contestant`s row. Take a look.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: I`m ready, coach.
HARRIS-PERRY: LBJ was president in 1964. Those "Up Against the Clock"
podium. Ha! Yes! There it is. I`m ready. Where is my coach?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Standard and Poor -- how much?
HARRIS-PERRY: Downgrade. A-, 3+
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In what is term a -- tidbit to solve --
HARRIS-PERRY: Mitt Romney.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right! You are ready!
KORNACKI: That is very impressive stuff. Clearly, she`s getting herself
in excellent quiz show shape, but don`t forget, she`s going to be facing
two fierce competitors, going through their own growling (ph) regimen. So,
sit tight. We`re mere minutes away from finding out who has what it takes
to be crowned the next Up "Against the Clock" champion. That`s right after
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ANNOUNCER: Live from Studio 3a in Rockefeller Center, USA. It`s time for
"Up Against the Clock."
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
Our first contestant, originally from Brookline, Massachusetts, the
birthplace of JFK, Mike Wallace, and Michael Dukakis, it`s Mara
Schiavocampo. From Santa Fe, New Mexico, home of the minor league baseball
juggernaut, the Santa Fe Fuego, say hello to Alex Seitz-Wald.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ANNOUNCER: And today`s celebrity contestant, from New Orleans, Louisiana,
home of the newly lamented New Orleans Pelicans, it`s Mellissa Harris-
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ANNOUNCER: And here`s the host of "Up Against the Clock," Steve Kornacki.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KORNACKI: Oh, thank you, Jim -- thank you, studio audience, and thank you
to everyone for tuning in at home for another thrill-packed edition of "Up
Against the Clock." And a special welcome to you, Melissa, today`s
celebrity guest contestant. You all know the rules by now. You all know
the rules at home. We have three rounds of play. Wrong answers will cost
you, and there are a few instant bonuses scattered throughout these
As always, studio audience, I implore you, please, no outbursts. Our
contestants deserve and demand absolute concentration when they`re up
against the clock. And with that, I will ask you, contestants, are you
KORNACKI: They are ready to me. Hands on buzzers, please. We`ll start in
the 100-point round with 100 seconds on the clock. And with this, we will
go. Twenty-five years ago yesterday, George H.W. Bush was elected
president in a landslide over what --
KORNACKI: Michael Dukakis was the defeated candidate. One hundred points
Next question, three billion, $2.5 billion, or two billion, the White House
released a report on Thursday finding the governor shutdown cost how much
in employee back pay?
SEITZ-WALD: C, $2 billion.
KORNACKI: Two billion is correct in back pay. Tie game with Alex and
Melisa. One hundred-point question, it took multiple calls and voicemails
to wrong numbers before Vice President Joe Biden.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Marie Walsh (ph)
KORNACKI: Mara, incorrect. I`m going to read the full question. It took
multiple calls and voicemails to wrong numbers before Vice President Joe
Biden successfully placed to congratulatory phone call this week to the
KORNACKI: Boston is correct, Melissa. And this is an instant bonus
question. According to city officials in Boston, this Red Sox slugger came
in third place on write-in votes.
HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely no idea.
KORNACKI: David Ortiz.
KORNACKI: Hundred-point question, the grandson of which former American
president announced this week --
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Jimmy Carter.
KORNACKI: Jimmy Carter is correct. His grandson now running for governor
-- 100 points for Mara. Hundred-point question, New Jersey governor Chris
Christie made his primetime acting debut.
HARRIS-PERRY: NBC Michael J. Fox. I don`t know. Is it the Michael J. Fox
KORNACKI: It is the Michael J. Fox show. Chris Christie had a guesting on
a Michael J. Fox show this week. 100 points for Melissa.
After -- we will finish the question, after being declared the loser on
Tuesday night in Virginia`s governor`s race, Ken Cuccinelli refused to
perform report what customer --
SEITZ-WALD: Calling the winner, Terry McAuliffe.
KORNACKI: Yes, correct. He refused to call the winner, Terry McAuliffe.
Brings us to the end of the 100-point round. We still don`t have
scoreboard. So, I will tell you. Melissa, the early lead with 300 points,
Alex with 200, Mara with zero moving up from negative territory with that
But now things start to get a little wild because we move to the 200-point
round. Again, you`re penalized for incorrect answers, but you get big
points if you get this right. 100 seconds on the clock. First 200-point
question is this, sporting a nifty pair of glasses, this former
presidential candidate returning to Iowa on Thursday and said, if I was
making a plan for 2016, coming to Iowa early an often would be.
HARRIS-PERRY: Rand Paul.
SEITZ-WALD: Rick Perry.
KORNACKI: Rick Perry is correct. Big twin there, 200 points for Alex.
Two hundred-point question, a reader revolt participated the departure of
multiple editors of guns and ammo magazine this week after the magazine
published an editorial in favor of what?
SEITZ-WALD: Gun control.
KORNACKI: Gun control is correct. Two hundred more points for Alex.
Politico reported this week that this nationally ambitious Tea Party
senator recently had private meetings with News Corps Rupert Murdoch and
Fox News`s Roger Ailes.
HARRIS-PERRY: Rand Paul.
KORNACKI: Rand Paul is correct this time.
KORNACKI: Two hundred points for Melissa. Back with this. Nine years
after his death, a group of Swiss scientists reported this week --
KORNACKI: Yes. Yasser Arafat, that he was poison -- the polonium, the
poison that was found in his remains. Two hundred points for Mara. Two
hundred-point question, many believe that the political demise of Ross
Perrot was triggered 20 years ago this week when he delivered an erratic
performance in a primetime debate on the North American --
HARRIS-PERRY: Larry king? Al Gore?
KORNACKI: Incorrect. We`ll have to deduct 200 points now. Finish the
question -- when he delivered an erratic performance in a primetime debate
on the North American free trade agreement against whom? No calls. Time.
Al Gore. The sitting vice president on Larry King Live.
And that brings us to the end of the 200-point round. Alex has stormed
into the lead with 600 points, Mara now with 200, Melissa with 100. You
can see a very volatile gain, though, especially as you introduce the Ph.D.
round. These are 300-point questions. This is where champions are made.
We will put 100 seconds on the clock. The crucial final round begins with
this. Illinois Republican senator, Mark Kirk, teamed up on Thursday with
what conservative Democratic senator to introduce legislation that would
delay the Obamacare mandate by one year.
SEITZ-WALD: Joe Manchin.
KORNACKI: Joe Manchin of West Virginia is correct. Three hundred-point
question, plans to create America`s 51st state are on hold at least for now
after six very conservative counties on Tuesday rejected a non-binding plan
to secede from this increasingly --
KORNACKI: Colorado is correct for 300 points. Instant bonus. Have the
news state then created, Mara, what would its name have been?
SCHIAVOCAMPO: There`s no penalty for getting this wrong?
KORNACKI: That`s correct.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: I have no idea.
KORNACKI: That`s incorrect. The answer was North Colorado. Three
hundred-point question, when Employment Non-Discrimination Act or ENDO
which prohibits discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and
transgenders in the workplace was being debated on the Senate floor this
week, one senator spoke publicly against it. Who was it?
HARRIS-PERRY: David Vitter.
Time. It was Dan Coax of Indiana. Three hundred-point question. John
Runyan, a second-term Republican congressman from South Jersey who
announced this week that he will not seek re-election previously played
professional football for what nearby franchise?
HARRIS-PERRY: The Jets.
KORNACKI: The Jets is incorrect.
SEITZ-WALD: The Eagles.
KORNACKI: The Eagles is correct. South Jersey`s team, the Eagles. Three-
hundred point question. In a concession speech Tuesday night, this
defeated candidate said, quote, "the onslaught of betrayal from our own
political party was at fault for her loss."
KORNACKI: Barbara Buono for 300 points is correct. What does that do to
the scoreboard? It gives Mara 800 short of the 1,200 that Alex Seitz-Wald
has racked up and that makes Alex Seitz-Wald today`s "Up Against the Clock"
champion. Bill Wolf, tell him what he`s 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.
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,
KORNACKI: That was --
KORNACKI: Alex, congratulations of the gold cup, but we have some
unfinished business for that $50 gift certificate. Here is a jackpot bonus
question. Nineteen years ago yesterday, the Republican revolution of 1994
vaulted the GOP to control of the House of Representatives for the first
time in 40 years and made Newt Gingrich speaker. For your bonus, what
Democrat did Gingrich succeed as speaker?
SEITZ-WALD: Jim Wright.
KORNACKI: Incorrect. It was Tom Foley, I`m sorry. The $50 gift
certificate is safe for another week, but Alex, with 1,200 points, you have
one of our highest scores of all time. We can put our champion`s list on
the screen for you and puts you in a tie for second place. Mara, you`re in
excellent position to return for our tournament of champions. Mara with
800 points, you may still be in contention. Melissa, it was a fast start.
You had an aggressive buzzer-bringing style.
HARRIS-PERRY: I know. I know.
KORNACKI: You knew about the CNN debate --
KORNACKI: Unfortunately, we didn`t finish the question first, but we thank
you for playing. You will not leave us empty handed. We have for you the
KORNACKI: -- families of all ages. So, enjoy that. Thank you all for
playing today. We will see you next week for another "Up Against the
Clock." After this, the real show begins again.
KORNACKI: There are a lot of good explanations for how George W. Bush ever
became president. The Supreme Court, fatigue over Bill Clinton and his
scandals, lousy campaigns by Al Gore. Those are the most obvious examples.
But I have a different theory. I think it`s all because of the he-coon.
The what? Let me take you back to the fall of 1994. It was two years
after George H.W. Bush had been bounced from office after one term. And
now, two of his sons were launching political careers of their own. George
W. for governor of Texas, Jeb for governor of Florida. George W. was a
few-years-older, but the word was Jeb was the one to watch, sharp
intellect, someone who could dazzle the crowd.
George W., well, he never done much. Goofy, awkward, a little empty, no
there there. Those were the words you would hear people say about him.
Rumor had it the old man, Bush 41 saw Jeb as the future president, the son
who would go on to reclaim the White House for the family.
W. seemed to be acting out a revenge fantasy. The Democratic governor of
Texas, Ann Richards, had famously lampooned his father at the 1988
Democratic Convention, she said he had been put with a silver foot in his
mouth, and now, W. was trying to pay her back. But beyond that, no one
seemed too sure why he was running. In the home stretch of that 1994, it
sure looked like the public saw it, too.
In Texas, Ann Richards approval ratings stood near 60 percent. State is
moving fast toward the GOP, but voters had a soft spot for the plain spoken
incumbent. W. was the underdog.
But in Florida, it was a different story. The state`s business lobby
released a poll taken in mid-October. Jeb Bush 48 percent, Lawton Chiles,
the incumbent Democratic governor, 43 percent. There are other public
polls that showed the same spread.
Jeb Bush ahead. Now, word about Lawton Chiles, he was a Florida political
lifer, a folksy yarn spinner who is 64-years-old, but he looked at least 10
years older than that. Time was catching up. When the poll came out, it
looked like it was all over for Lawton.
Jeb`s campaign, a columnist wrote, is charging down the home stretch like
wildfire, some of those closest to Chiles are telling friends they expect
him to be defeated and are looking for job opportunities. Lawton Chiles
was nothing if not Wiley, when he got the chance to stand face to face with
Jeb on the same stage days before the election.
He knew better than to make it a contrast between a Democrat and a
Republican, a liberal and a conservative. He made it about culture. The
Floridian that native knew and love against the out-of-state transplants
who never understand them, never get their way of life. He made it about,
here`s that word again, he made it about the he-coon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAWTON CHILES, FLORIDA STATE POLITICIAN: My mama told me sticks and stones
will break my bones, names will never hurt me. Let me tell you. One other
thing about the old liberal, the old he-coon walks just before the light of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The he-coon according to rural Florida lore is a tough ornery
raccoon with his might and his wit defends all the other ones that will do
them harm. And there was old Lawton Chiles proudly pitch perfectly
claiming that he-coon mantle and there was polished John Ellis Bush, son of
the Yankee aristocracy, product of unimaginable privilege, utterly, totally
baffled by this folks old man and his backward storytelling.
This was exactly the contrast that Lawton Chiles was going for and he ran
with it. He took to wearing a coon skin cap as he barnstormed Florida in
the final hours of the campaign. You could feel the Bush lead melting
away. 1994 was a devastating year for Democrats everywhere, Florida in
particular, a massive midterm backlash, a backlash of the so-called angry
white males against Bill Clinton and the national Democratic Party.
Those angry Florida voters allowed one exemption to their race on Election
Day `94. They granted one exemption for one Democrat who showed them that
he got them. That he knew them. That he was one of them.
They re-elected the he-coon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHILES: What time is it? It`s just before down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: At the same moment that Lawton Chiles was declaring victory,
though, a few hundred miles west, that same national Republican tide was
hitting Texas. This one came with no special dispensations for folksiness.
Ann Richards had put up her best fight, a wail of a fight. But the tide
was just too strong, too unforgiving. The state was aching to vote against
Bill Clinton`s party, that meant a voting for George W. Bush, voting for
the Bush brother who was never supposed to win that year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, THEN-TEXAS GOVERNOR: What Texans can dream, Texans can do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So there it was, election night `94. The Bush brother who was
supposed to when that night, who was supposed to take that victory, and use
it as a springboard to a Bush White House restoration was derailed.
Instead of going national, he spent the next four years mending fences in
Florida, winning over the locals, making sure that the next time he ran
there would be no, he-coon moment.
It did work. Jeb got elected governor in 1998. But by that point, he had
been lapped by his big brother, the Bush brother who was never supposed to
win in the first place. Because of that weird twist of fate in 1994, it
was W. who got to spend the next four years leading one of America`s
biggest states, building a national name, flirting with presidential
politics. He became the vehicle, the profoundly unlikely vehicle for a
So, on the night that Jeb finally won Florida in 1998, W. was getting
reelected in Texas by a huge margin, 38 points. So, it was his plan. This
was Karl Rove`s plan, run up the score in `98, make eye brow raising
inroads with women, with Latinos, with African-Americans, with voters who
had been flocking to President Clinton and flocking away from the
1998 was a generally miserable year for the Republican Party. You`ve
probably seen the recent polls after last month`s government shutdown that
showed the GOP`s favorable score at an all time low. Well, the only other
time they were in that same ballpark was the end of 1998, because that`s
when a Newt Gingrich-led GOP House, GOP House that had already shut down
the government, it was already unpopular, that has defied public opinion
and led an impeachment drive against President Clinton.
That produced a loss of five House seats for Republicans on election night
in 1998, the first time since James Monroe`s presidency, that the
opposition party had failed to gain seats in the second term mid-term
election. This was the context of George W. Bush`s massive 1998 reelection
victory. It was the biggest bright spot, maybe the only bright spot in a
very dark hour for the Republican Party.
By that point, the GOP had lost the `95 shutdown, lost the `96 election to
him. It had lost the `98 midterms, it was losing the impeachment fight.
The Republican Party at the end of 1998 was sick of losing and it was
hungry to win again. It was nothing particularly ideological about it.
So, when George W. Bush started talking up what he had done in Texas,
started talking up what he called compassionate conservatism, the idea of
the government promoting social welfare in a much more active way than
traditional conservative dogma prescribed, he found a receptive audience in
the party. He`d be there Clinton, they told themselves. Finally, the
Republican who could communicate empathy, who could communicate caring to
every day Americans just the way Bill Clinton did. After all, look what he
had done in Texas.
This is how Bush was able to spend 1999 creating the most formidable
presidential primary machine in the history of modern Republican politics.
And fundraising figures were reported for the second quarter of the year.
His advantage was so staggering, it was so shocking that it set in motion
the demise of not one, not two, not three, not four, not five but six of
his interparty foes before a single primary or caucus ballot was cast.
Bush did end up facing the spirited fight from John McCain in 2000. But
the outcome was never in much doubt, because party elites were so over
overwhelmingly on Bush`s side, he was able to define himself as the
candidate of purity and to portray McCain who`s calling card was campaign
finance reform, a plan that was loathed by interest groups to portray him
as the apostate. All this did was ratchet up McCain`s popularity with
Democrats and independents. That in turn alienated him even more from the
Republican base and in turn that cemented Bush`s hold on the nomination.
The race was over by the first week of March, 2000. In 10 months, one
Supreme Court ruling later, George W. Bush was president.
All of this is the backdrop for what happened with New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie this week. And for what Christie hopes will happen in the
next three years, because it`s the Bush model, the George W. Bush model
that Christie wants to emulate. And on the surface, the set up is almost
This is a low moment for the national Republican Party, the destructive
impact of the shutdown and the party`s general reliance on Tea Party
rhetoric and tactics as of late awakened a number of Republican donors and
There, in the blue state of New Jersey, the state that hasn`t gone
Republican in the presidential race since 1988, the state that last elected
a Republican to the Senate more than 40 years ago, there in that very blue
state is a Republican governor who just racked up more than 60 percent of
the vote, who won a majority of the Latino vote, nearly a third of the
black vote, who outpolled his female Democratic opponent by 12 points among
Christie can say the same thing to Republicans today that Bush did 15 years
ago. Our party is in a bad place, but I know how to win.
The Republican Party is also much different now than it was 15 years ago.
And it is because of what happened after George W. Bush was elected
president. It`s a consequence of how his presidency ended.
With the rise of Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress and the enactment
of an agenda that the right regards as an affront to freedom, to explain
how this could happen, how Americans could go to the polls and willfully
elect a left of center government, the right decided it had to blame George
The basic idea, that Bush`s compassionate conservatism ended up amounting
to reckless big government. That it gave conservatism a bad name that then
led a confused electorate to turn to Obama. It is out of this conviction
the Tea Party was formed. Both to fight Obama and to fight the Republicans
who would enable Bush and who might enable a future Bush.
The attitude of the Republican Party 15 years ago was like the old Al Davis
saying, just win, baby. But today purity is just as important -- maybe
more important to the Tea Party right. This is what makes Christie`s path
to reelection in home state to the GOP`s presidential nomination far
trickier than Bush is. He is going to have to satisfy a critical chunk of
that Tea Party right that he`s one of them or at least he`s close enough to
being one of them, that they can go ahead and check off his name anyway.
There is a school of thought is an impossible task. Christie paid tribute
to Obama`s leadership and literally embraced the president at the most
sensitive moment in last year`s presidential campaign. The charge that he
single-handedly extended Obama`s White House tenure by four years could
make Christie a total non-starter with too many Tea Partiers.
I tend to take a less fatalistic view, though. It`s true that Christie now
enjoys the reputation of a moderate. But look closer and you`ll see that
he is not a moderate in the way we once thought of northeast Republican
moderates. He`s pro-life. He is staunchly anti-tax. He is happy to war
with public employee unions. He is happy to veto gun control bills and
vital public transportation projects.
There is also this trump card, personality. Now I know many people loathe
Christie. But plenty also appreciate his swagger, especially when you are
talking about the Republican universe. The risk of Christie as a national
candidate is that he`ll lose his temper at the wrong moment, in the wrong
way, at a wrong time, an ugly explosion that becomes his identity that
sinks his campaign.
The flip side though is that he is good at this game. He is a rare
politician who can talk to a room of people who disagree with him and win
them over. They warm up to him. They laugh at his jokes, they start to
like him and then even without realizing it, they find themselves working
backwards in their minds to tell them, come to think of it, it wouldn`t be
crazy to support it.
I have seen him do this in rooms of skeptical Democrats. I`ve seen and do
this in rooms of skeptical conservatives, and I absolutely could see him
doing this in rooms of skeptical Iowa Republicans two years from now.
After what happened this week, how much does Chris Christie have to worry
about the Tea Party and how much of the Republican Party? We`re going to
dive into that right after this.
KORNACKI: I`ll tell you about Chris Christie`s political future and how
big a factor the Tea Party will play in tamping down his front runner
status right now.
Here to discuss this, we have back with us, Rachel Bade, policy reporter
from Politico.com; reigning "Up Against the Clock" champion Alex Seitz-
Wald, political correspondent for "National Journal"; NBC News
correspondent Mara Schiavocampo, host of MSNBC`s "FIRST LOOK"; and Jeremy
Peters, politics reporter for "The New York Times."
So, you know, I`m curio what you guys make sort of coming out of this week
of Chris Christie the whole sort of debate is, yes, he is clearly electable
in a blue state. He would be the Democrats` worst nightmare if he were an
But could he get through a Republican Party? Did you see anything this
week in these results? Do you see things percolating right now that
answers that question? Could he get through a Republican primary?
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Well, I think in response to his victory, we got a lot of
clues to that. You saw the rig wing Republicans in different ways being
critical of him. For example, going on the air and calling him a moderate,
which is a very kind of, you know, inside baseball way of slamming him for
those who are looking for a candidate that`s farther on the right.
So, you do see some clues in that. I think what they`re suffering from is
they are dealing with the fear of Romney again, you know, a conservative
who is not conservative in his heart. He doesn`t really believe those
things. You know, he was for gun control before he was against it. He
vetoed legislation for same-sex marriage, but then gave up the fight in the
So, I think that`s their big concern. The same things that make him
marketable in a general election could serve to be liabilities to him when
it comes to trying to get the nomination.
KORNACKI: I guess the thing is, like I try to differentiate in my head, I
look back at last year, Romney`s path to nomination, there are -- clearly
there are like the hard line, you know, conservatives in the party who like
if you give the slightest hint you might somehow theoretically plausibly 50
years in the future to be OK with gay marriage, that they`ll never vote for
you and there`s enough for them from like Rick Santorum to go out and win
11 states, something like that, for Gingrich to win South Carolina.
But there are still enough states out there for Romney to get through and
win. There was still a big enough path for Mitt Romney. I guess I`m
trying to figure out, has that path narrowed in the last year or is it
still sort of the same dynamic?
SEITZ-WALD: I think it`s narrowed. I think if there is anywhere the
establish him and big donors can win, they can win the Senate, but they can
held sway in a presidential nomination race. And I think you`re going to
have a really crowded field on the right with maybe Ted Cruz and Rand Paul
So I think there is a big chance he can come up the middle. Not to mention
the fact that governors tend to do better than senators overall. And he`s
kind of the opposite Mitt Romney was a moderate who then tacked way to the
right to try to win the primary. Christie is a conservative at heart on
unions, on climate change, on gay rights, on pretty much everything. And
he`s become more moderate since Hurricane Sandy is sort of a mantle that`s
been put on him, but it doesn`t actually accurately describe who he is.
So, I think he kind of can take that mantle, and it might upset the base.
But the donor class isn`t fooled by that, and they`ll support. They`re
clamoring for him to enter in 2012 when the field was looking weak. I
don`t think this field is going to be that much stronger as a lot of people
KORNACKI: And next I wonder, would we call him -- because the term
moderate is attached to Chris Christie now almost reflectively, everybody -
- moderate Chris Christie. If it hadn`t been for Sandy, if it hadn`t been
for praising and embracing Obama at the height of that, would we be calling
him a moderate? Because his record otherwise, I remember he was the Tea
Party hero for his first two years in office, with the union stuff, with
ending the millionaire`s tax, is a moderate thing purely a function of
saying nice things about President Obama?
BADE: I don`t think it is. Absolutely. I mean, if you look at some of
the other policy, I mean, social conservatives made a big fuss when he
basically outlawed therapy, what they called procuring gay youngsters.
KORNACKI: The reparative therapy, yes.
BADE: Yes, that was a big thing. The guns thing, introducing not
necessarily specifically legislation but saying that guns should be
controlled more in New Jersey. Obviously, he sort of backed off from that.
That was what he sort of did at first.
Taxes, it`s interesting that you mentioned this -- yes, the millionaire tax
expired under him. But he didn`t necessarily knock that down. It just
expired. And he didn`t, you know --
KORNACKI: The legislature tried to extend it and he vetoed it. So, that
BADE: Right. There is really an interesting undercurrent there. He ran
in 2009 on a platform of tax relief, property tax relief. Property taxes
in New Jersey are $8,000 on average, first in the country, highest in the
country. They have a really high income tax, they have really high
And he came in, in 2009 and said, this is awful. I want to expand tax
relief for the middle class. And he specifically after a few months after
he was elected actually got rid of a whole bunch of tax deductions and
credits targeted toward the middle class that effectively increase taxes on
a whole bunch of people. I`m talking like hundreds of thousands of people.
And I just talked to a few people in New Jersey about this. You don`t
really hear much about it in the media right now. But this is something
that anything that smells like a tax hike is going to be something that
conservatives will attack him for in a GOP primary. I could see this being
something that could potentially hinder him, because he had promised to
expand credits, expand deductions, to scale back taxes and he did the
KORNACKI: Let`s take -- this was -- this was the day after the Election
Day, after Chris Christie got reelected. He held a press conference, he`s
feeling good about himself, listen to what he had to say that day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: People that think that folks vote
based on a checklist, only special interest groups do that. Only special
interest groups do that. When they put together a checklist, they see how
many boxes they check.
Real voters don`t do that. Real voters get a feeling for somebody. It`s
an emotional, visceral type of thing in my experience and they determine in
their gut, can I trust this person? Are they telling me the truth? Not do
they agree with me on every issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BADE: He`s absolutely right.
KORNACKI: Yes, I want to make a very un-political science argument here
and any political scientists out there will probably tell me it`s
ridiculous. But I think personality does matter.
I think the personality Chris Christie has is so different than a guy like
Mitt Romney, where I can see Chris Christie going into a group of Tea
Partier. And they could have all sort of the checklist concerns -- hey, he
didn`t fight gay marriage hard enough. And didn`t you say this in 1995
about immigration and gun control.
I think he`s that rare politician. He`s got the personality, where he can
walk in that room. They can be like, I like this guy. I want to get
behind this guy. And they start rationalizing kind of backwards in their
mind to get there.
JEREMY PETERS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I could see that. I can also see
voters in other states say other than New Jersey responding very
differently. So I would be careful about drawing too many conclusions
about the electorate in New Jersey and applying those to the greater
Republican primary electorate.
You know, he may have won with Hispanics and independents and women
overwhelmingly in New Jersey. But I don`t know that that`s going to extend
to the rest of the country like it did, would that apply in Ohio? I don`t
know that it would apply in Ohio because -- I mean, you`re talking about a
state that elected Rick Santorum, the winner of the Iowa caucuses.
KORNACKI: You mean with places (INAUDIBLE) Peoria?
SCHIAVOCAMPO: To your point, I mean, he got a third of Democrats in the
state. He got two-thirds of moderates, two-third of independents.
So, in the cases, let`s look at Democrats. You know, you would presume
that they are opposed to a lot of his policy ideas, but they voted for him
because there was a connection with him. And when you talk about political
skill, which is something that you mentioned, he is a very skillful
And a lot of that comes down to connecting with people one-on-one, making
the effort to go to communities that Republicans don`t traditionally out
reach too. And that`s what he does very well?
KORNACKI: Yes. No, I think that`s the challenge for Democrats, because
Democrats could run against him in New Jersey, they just discovered this.
They would discover the same thing I think nationally, and that is -- you
can find all of these issues where he is out of step with where the
majority of public opinion is. But how much does that personality override
it? I think it`s a challenge Democrats did not figure out in New Jersey
and would have to figure out nationally.
Anyway, you know the basic debate over Social Security, one side says cut
it or privatize it. The other side says keep at time way it is. But there
is a growing group of Democrats who want to blow off the terms of that
debate. We will tell you how, that is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I will keep Social Security in a lock box
and that pays down the national debt. I think it should say in a lock box.
I`ll tell you this: I will veto anything that takes money out of Social
Security for privatization or anything else other than Social Security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That is one of more satirized moments in all presidential debate
history. Gore`s formulaic response fit right into the growing narrative
about his supposedly stiff persona. But the lock box that the vice
president invoked seven times in that debate perfectly summed up the
Democratic Party`s position on Social Security for the last half century --
don`t cut it, don`t privatize it, don`t touch it.
More and more Democrats are now saying they do want to touch it and to
change the basic terms of debate about what`s been called the third rail of
American politics. We will talk to one of those Democrats right after
KORNACKI: The debate over Social Security has been pretty consistent for
the last half century. On the right, conservatives tend to say cut it or
privatize it. It`s the entitlement that`s getting too expensive to
maintain as the senior population explodes and life expectancies rise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: While younger workers on a voluntary basis to take some of their own
money and set it aside in the form of a personal savings account.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think it`s very important that we reform
our entitlement programs. My friends, we are not going to be able provide
the same benefit for present day workers that we are going -- that present
day retirees have today.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: It is a monstrous lie. It is a Ponzi scheme
to tell our kids that are 25 or 30-years-old today, you are paying into a
program that`s going to be there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: On the left, liberals tend to say, don`t touch Social Security.
Preserve it. It`s a good program. It`s a vital part of the safety net.
It will be solvent for years to come.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THEN-SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We`re going to protect Social
Security. I will not private advertise it. I will not cut the benefits.
THEN-SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I think for us to act like Social
Security is in crisis is a Republican trap.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: I don`t believe it adds a penny to the
deficit. It shouldn`t be a victim of deficit reduction when it has nothing
to do with the current deficit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And, of course, there are occasionally Republicans who give
voice to the more liberal argument Social Security and there are plenty of
Democrats who express the more conservative view. But as far as the debate
goes, that`s the limit of it. Those are the two polls cutting it or
private advertising it on one end and leaving it alone and preserving it on
the other, which can be a problem for liberals because when the only
choices are cut or don`t cut it, and any compromise, any meeting point
between those two polls is going to have to entail some reduction in
benefits. I saw this when President Obama offered chained CTI, a
recalculation of the social benefits formula that would have resulted in
lower payouts during the grand bargain talks of 2011, in the run-up to the
fiscal cliff late last year, and again in his budget this spring.
So this is why there are now some progressive Democrats in Congress trying
to expand the terms of debate. This week, Sherrod Brown of Ohio became the
latest senator to put his name on legislation that would increase Social
Security benefits. That`s right. In an era that`s been defined by calls
for belt tightening, there are liberals backing legislation to provide
retirees with bigger monthly checks.
As more Democrats sign on, we are seeing the beginnings of a campaign
within their party to change the default Democratic position on Social
Security from not just wanting to preserve it but to expanding it. These
are the kinds of long-term efforts that can take years but can redefine the
agenda of a political party.
At the table with us now is Congressman Jerry Nadler from New York. He is
one of 39 House co-sponsors of that Social Security legislation.
Congressman, thanks for joining us.
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: It`s a pleasure.
KORNACKI: I guess, we laid it out there. This is a debate we heard a
million times, the conservative side saying privatize, cut it, we can`t
afford it anymore. Democrats saying, let`s preserve it.
Make your case for why that debate is just bogus and we need to be talking
about expanding it?
NADLER: Well, number one, Social Security trust fund is now $2.7 trillion.
It`s going to be $4.2 trillion in 2025. Despite all the propaganda, there
is virtually no prospect of Social Security running short of money in 2033
or any foreseeable future, number one.
Number two, we have always said retirement ought to be a three legged
stool, based on pension, savings and Social Security. Two of those legs
are basically destroyed. In the private sector, there are almost no more
pensions, and there`s a big push against private sector pensions, a push we
have to oppose. But nonetheless, it`s there.
And savings, two-third of retirees have had virtually no savings. The
401(k) experiment is going to be a failure in the sense that the average
retiree is like $30,000 in his 401(k) and there`s just no savings. And
with the average Social Security check being $40,000 a year, if that`s it,
our seniors, we`re headed into a situation where our seniors are going to
be retiring to poverty. In fact, the latest statistics show that while the
overall participation rate in the labor force is down, for people over 65,
it is up. That means people can`t afford to retire.
So, we have to increase Social Security in order to make up for the
collapse of the private sector pension system and the failure of the 401(k)
experiment, the fact that people aren`t saving nearly enough.
KORNACKI: So, what you are up against first of all, I think is just a lot
of sort of knee-jerk conventional wisdom. First of all, you are up against
Republicans who are presumably be against this reflexively.
But there`s also a lot of knee-jerk conventional wisdom that I think
infects your own party. We have the example of President Obama who now
three times in the last couple of years has put this idea of chained CPI
out there, of basically reducing Social Security benefits.
Where do you think, where among your fellow Democrats, where does that
instinct come from when we are having fiscal negotiations and fiscal talks,
where does that come from to put Social Security on the table, given
everything you`d just outlined?
NADLER: It comes from the president, basically. I haven`t seen it come
from -- there is almost a unanimous opposition to the House Democratic
Caucus to that, 100-some-odd House Democrats have signed a letter saying,
no way, no how.
I don`t know why the president puts this on the table. I think it`s a very
bad mistake to do that. It`s totally unnecessary, also. As I`ve said, the
Social Security trustees are always -- they`re reported as quote gospel and
come out and say we`re going to have a shortfall of fund in 2033.
But that`s the intermediate forecast, which has always been wrong. The
optimistic forecast, which they put out every year, they put optimistic and
intermediate, the optimistic forecast, which generally has been right over
the last 30 years, which is never quoted by the press, says Social Security
fluctuated for the entire foreseeable future we can see.
PETERS: I want to zero in on what you are talking about with President
Obama. As we all know, the communication between the White House and
members of Congress is not always the greatest. So what do you see the
president doing to reach out to congressional Democrats to forge a solution
NADLER: Not much.
BADE: That`s actually what I was going to ask. I mean, the president, as
the leader of the Democratic Party, has proposed chained CPI, which would
obviously scale back the annual increases that seniors receive.
I just don`t see where this would go anyway -- I mean, yes, people are
talking about it right now. But Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader,
would not put something on the Senate floor for senate Democrats to vote
for if it goes against what the president wants. And right now ,we`re in
NADLER: Harry Reid said he wouldn`t put a chained CPI on the floor, even
if the president wanted it. The bulk of the Democratic caucus in the house
wouldn`t consider it.
And the fact is, it`s entirely theoretical because the president conditions
it on the Republicans getting increased revenues, in any deal, with they
will never do.
KORNACKI: But is it -- do you think maybe there is a political
calculation, it`s the dirty word in Democratic politics, it`s the term that
they used for Clinton back in the `90s, triangulation? Do you think
there`s maybe a calculation in the White House as a part of we`re going to
go to the left of Republicans by asking for more revenue. But we`re also
going to show that we`re in the middle and where to the right of our own
party on the entitlement?
NADLER: I don`t know. I certainly hope that isn`t the calculation,
because if that were the calculation, it would be foolish politically.
Every poll shows that overwhelmingly, the people do not want reductions in
Social Security benefits or Medicare benefits, overwhelmingly. That`s --
if God forbid, we would do this it would be a terrible blow to Democratic
candidates in 2014 or 2016. It`s politically just foolish.
So why put it out there? I don`t know.
SEITZ-WALD: Congressman, it seems to be politically as Steve was talking
about, this seems to be changing over the long term, moving the poll,
expanding things a little bit. The White House has mostly demanded, you
know, pretty much that Democrats fall in loin on every piece of
legislation. Are they starting to understand the way the Tea Party opened
up the right wing for Republicans, that liberal Democrats should do the
NADLER: Well, I don`t know the White House has demanded Democrats fall in
line on everything. I haven`t seen that.
Are they starting to understand that this is -- maybe. I don`t know. But
the fact is that we are doing this. That it is essential because we are
seeing increasingly that the other two retirement stools have collapsed and
people cannot be expected to retire on $14,000 or $15,000 or $16,000 a year
and then have a chained CPI, which is frankly a dishonest calculation. It
Frankly, the current CPI also understates inflation. We got to increase it
because the CPI, the consumer price index is figured by saying, what`s a
bread basket, you know, what`s a basket that people buy? How much do you
spend on transportation? How much do you spend on education, health care,
OK. How much does health care increase in costs, et cetera in the fact
what the CPI says if stake gets too expensive, you switch to hamburger.
So, we`ll switch the hamburger course, instead of the stake course. But
that`s, in other words, figuring in a reduction in your standard of living
into the calculation, which I think is just wrong.
Now, instead, what we should look at is a different measure him the Bureau
of Labor Statistics is developing, that says, OK. For seniors, they spend
more on health care than 30-year-olds. They spend less on education than
30-year-olds. We should have a senior CPI which state inflation is heavier
than the current CPI does.
But even that wouldn`t satisfy the problem.
KORNACKI: Yes, that`s one of the issues, the opposite of changed CPI,
moving it in the opposite direction.
NADLER: But this is more accurate --
KORNACKI: I got to say, this is one of the reasons, you talk about 2016
sometimes, this is one of the reasons, I think if you are a Democrat, and
this is an issue you care about, you are hoping that this is a coronation
of Hillary Clinton. You`re hoping there are lots of candidates out there
because that`s what could create the pressure for Hillary Clinton and for
other candidates to take a position on this issue and to make this a
priority if they get in office.
It`s just -- it`s one of the ways I`m going to justify talking about 2016
Anyway, I want to thank Congressman Jerry Nadler for joining us this
morning. I appreciate it.
We still do not have a winner in one hugely important race from last
Tuesday, it`s because of some incredible sleuthing by a couple of numbers
experts on Twitter. It`s a wild story. We will tell it to you, next.
KORNACKI: In Waukesha County, Wisconsin, in April 2011, the results for
the race for state Supreme Court swung dramatically from the Democratic
candidate to the Republican after the county clerk revealed she failed to
count the votes from an entire city. Mitt Romney`s squeaker of a victory
by only 8 votes in the 2012 Iowa caucuses was called into question two days
later when a vote counter in Appanoose County said a counting error had
given Romney 20 more votes than he actually received, and that Rick
Santorum had actually been the winner there.
That was before Iowa Republican officials admitted from entire precincts
were missing, which led to weeks later on the eve of the pivotal South
Carolina primary to a startling declaration from the Iowa Republican Party.
Mitt Romney hadn`t one the caucuses after all. Rick Santorum had.
Mistakes in vote county happen all the time it`s only within they are close
that we start to notice them, that we scrutinize them, that we realize just
how flawed and how imperfect and how human our election system is. That`s
the back drop playing out in the commonwealth of Virginia. It is now four
days since the election there, and we know there is a new governor-elect,
Terry McAuliffe, we know there`s a new lieutenant governor-elect, Democrat
Ralph Northam, but we have absolutely no idea who is going to win the other
race for statewide office, the race for attorney general.
Current Republican general, that`s Ken Cuccinelli, lost Tuesday`s
governor`s election. In that job, attorney general is important in
Virginia for a lot of reasons, including the basic fact that it`s an
established launching pad for future candidates for statewide for governor.
Officially, right now, according to the Virginia board of elections, the
Republican ag candidate Mark Obenshain is in the lead by about 1,200 votes.
But those results do not tell the full story. The full story involves my
kind of people, numbers obsessed political savants. Two of them in
particular, Dave Wasserman of "The Cook Political Report" and Ben Tribbett,
who goes by the Twitter handle "Not Larry Sabato."
This week, they begin noticing discrepancies in the returns from Fairfax
County, one of the most populous and Democratic friendly parts of the
state. It seemed to them like not enough absentee ballots were being
counted in Fairfax County. After they noticed, a local congressman picked
up the scent, too.
Here`s what they say happened. You can usually expect a certain percentage
of people who request absentee ballots to actually use them, to turn them
in, to vote. Fairfax County, that return rate is 88 percent. Of the 8,000
absentee ballots in the 8th congressional district, which is in Fairfax
County, they were requested, only half were counted. So, a lot less than
Fairfax County election officials say they believe almost 2,000 votes in
their county went unaccounted or possibly even hundreds more. They aren`t
even sure yet just what the right number actually is.
The big question is whether those 2,000 votes will be enough for Democrat
Mark Herring to overtake the other Mark, Mark Obenshain, in the race for
attorney general. If Mark Herring becomes the next attorney general, that
would give them the non-segregation sweep of the top three offices in both
U.S. seats from the commonwealth since ever. It`s never happened before.
So, it`s interesting to me because the attorney general`s office in
Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli just gave us a case study in the last four years
in why that job is important from a policy standpoint. I mean, the whole
Obamacare lawsuit idea began with Ken Cuccinelli. Ken Cuccinelli used that
to make himself a rising Republican national star, to become the nominee
for governor of Virginia.
So, obviously the outcome of this race is important. It makes a symbolic
statement if Democrats win it. And it`s shocking to me, though, you know,
we shouldn`t be shocked, we`ve seen this before, but we have no idea today
who`s won this race.
SEITZ-WALD: Yes, and the attorney general`s race is really where a lot of
the attention focused towards the end of the race as it became clear that
Ken Cuccinelli was probably not going to be able to fill it out.
Republicans shifted a lot of money into the race, Democrats did, too.
And I talked to a Democratic strategist a few days before election and she
basically predicted exactly how it went down. McAuliffe underperforming
the polls, running by only little over at one point. The lieutenant
governor`s race going for Democrats, too, which is the attorney general`s
going to be the squeaker and that`s going to be the important one because
you can attribute the Cuccinelli to -- attribute lieutenant governor to
E.W. Jackson, hardly a qualified candidate. But this is going to be a real
test of the parties and a big signal of where Virginia is heading in the
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Well, and election officials have said clearly there`s
something wrong here. They were expecting more than 7,000 of these ballots
to come back and they only got like 5,200.
So, I think now it`s going to be quite a bit longer before we actually know
the results because we`re almost certainly looking at a recount, it could
end up in the courts as both sides decide which votes they want in and
which they want out. It could be a while before we know the outcome of
KORNACKI: We`re talking about it coming down to Fairfax County, northern
Virginia, and that`s where the election of that story was. Big early lead
for Ken Cuccinelli, then that northern blue friendly part of the state
comes in and changes everything. We`ll find out if the absentees there are
enough to give the Democrats what would be a historic sweep.
It`s amazing to me how the story came to light. Anyway, what do we know
how that we didn`t know last week? Our panel is going to tell you, right
KORNACKI: Now, we`re going to find out what our guests know now that they
didn`t when the week began.
And we will start with you, Rachel.
BADE: These. Sweets.
BADE: Food and Drug Administration this week announced that it`s going to
be banning trans fats over the next few years. So things like this, things
like your donuts, they`re going to start tasting a little different because
the food industry is going to have to adjust.
Basically, trans fats, they found more and more research is, you know,
awful for high blood pressure, and if it`s disavowed in foods they think
that this could potentially prevent 7,000 heart attacks a year -- 7,000
deaths a year, 20,000 heart attacks.
KORNACKI: But it`s so delicious.
BADE: I know.
SEITZ-WALD: I learned that female spies are better at spotting
surveillance. People following them, based on their socks, thanks to a
great story in "Mother Jones" about women in the CIA.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Well, this is a sad story. Yesterday, a teenager in Detroit
was laid to rest, 19 years old. She was killed a week ago.
She got to a car accident. She went door to door seeking help and the
person inside one of the homes whose door she knocked came out with a
shotgun and shot her in the face. No charges have been filed, no arrests
have been made.
Police say they continue to investigate. Police say that the person who
shot her believed she was trying to break into the home. So, we`ll wait
and see what happens with that story.
KORNACKI: All right. And, Jeremy?
PETERS: Well, when the Senate took a historic step this weekend and passed
a bill that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and
gender identity, the pivotal votes were four Mormons. And three of them
were Republicans. I think that`s something nobody would have expected five
KORNACKI: Interesting. I learned that Melissa Harris-Perry is a great
sport. She took time off from her show today to come down and play "Up
Against the Clock". In the training interview she did, I hope you saw it.
Check it out online. It was hilarious. If you haven`t seen, go and check
Anyway, my thanks to Rachel Bade, Alex Seitz-Wald, Mara Schiavocampo, and
Jeremy Peters. Thanks for getting UP.
And thank you for joining us.
Tomorrow on UP, it has been over a century and a half since the Whig Party
took America by storm and gave Andrew Jackson fits, and then vanished --
until this week, when a man calling himself a Whig won an election. Who he
is, how he won, and is he still furious with Andrew Jackson?
We are going to introduce you to him and we are going to talk to America`s
only Whig elected official tomorrow.
But next, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY".
We will see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: This morning, my question -- you pay a
hundred bucks for yoga pants. Shouldn`t they last?
Plus, why the policies of the Catholic Church may be a matter of life and
death for you, even if you`re not Catholic.
And, why the real question of who can get health care has nothing to do
with the Web site.
But, first, pour yourself a bowl of breakfast cereal. It`s time to talk
about the economy.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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