UP with STEVE KORNACKI
December 1, 2013
Guest: Aaron Blake, Perry Bacon Jr. Susan del Percio, Hendrik Hertzberg,
Robert George, Michael Cohen, Goldie Taylor, Bob Franken
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: The balance of power between heckler and
At the start of this first Sunday of December, the very first day in
December, in fact, we`re mulling over the question of when things begin and
how they will end. President Obama redoubling his efforts this week to
keep immigration reform alive. What`s the path forward? Is there a path
forward? And with the clock ticking down on the U.S. war in Afghanistan,
President Hamid Karzai has been refusing to sign the security deal that
would keep some American troops in the region. Could he be sending a
message to the Taliban? Also, the Republican Party says it is making yet
another effort to reach out to minority voters, to urban voters and they
have asked Rand Paul to take the lead. Is the GOP really committed to
reaching out? Finally, if you saw yesterday`s show, you know I tried to
learn how to cook a turkey. The process was tricky or maybe just
disgusting. We didn`t have time to finish it on the air. And I promised
to show you today how it all turned out and I`m going to in a little bit.
And I hope your own Thanksgiving dinners this week went a lot smoother than
that, even if conversations did turn to politics. Our panel will weigh in
with their own experiences this week on the third rail of family get-
But first, for American presidents, there have usually been two ways to
face down hecklers, either put them in their place or you see to it that
they are escorted out or maybe you put them in their place and then you
have them kicked out, so actually, maybe there are three ways. In his very
last rally in the 1980 presidential campaign this is what happened when a
persistent heckler got under the skin of Ronald Reagan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN: I went out to Michigan .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)
REAGAN: There are cities in Michigan .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)
REAGAN: There are cities in Michigan -- oh, shut up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: We saw more of the put them in their place approach from Bill
Clinton who had an extensive back and forth with an AIDS activist at a New
York City fundraiser in 1992.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This is not bean
bag. This is life and death.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)
CLINTON: And we`ve got to go -- that`s not true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without parental permission, you know it`s true.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: He`s addressing you. Let him speak.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are dying of his ambition. I`m listening.
CLINTON: I have treated you and all the people who have interrupted my
rallies with a hell of a lot more respect than you`ve treated me and it`s
time you started thinking about that.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And in the days before he was dodging airborne shoes, George W.
Bush was dodging verbal attacks from protesters and taking the two-pronged
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH: I`m thrilled to be here at Monticello.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (yelling)
BUSH: I`ve never been here before.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (yelling)
BUSH: To my fellow citizens, we believe in free speech in the United
States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Yes that was a little awkward there, although it doesn`t say
anywhere in the Constitution that a president has to listen to everything
that every heckler decides to say at any given moment. Barack Obama, who
has faced both enormous crowds and tough critics since his first days on
the national scene, though, has had a different approach to hecklers.
After all, his entire presidency has been marked by opposition. He has
even been taunted by members of Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The reforms --
the reforms I`m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.
REP. JOE WILSON (R ), SOUTH CAROLINA: You lie!
OBAMA: It`s not true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That kind of heckling by his political opposition has extended
to Obama`s nominees for administration posts in the federal courts, which
have been derailed by a record number of Senate filibusters. In four
years, Obama has been battered by Republicans non-stop, all-out opposition
to his health care legislation, his health care law. And when the news
broke last week that the administration struck a six-month deal to freeze
Iran`s nuclear program, members of Congress began blasting the deal even
before the details were announced. But through it all, Obama has tried to
extend an olive branch to his critics in Congress, often to the dismay of
liberals. Soliciting Republican`s input and searching for compromise. He
has used the same conciliatory approach with the passionate activists who
have lashed out at him at his public appearances.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: As any middle class family will tell you, we are not ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible)
OBAMA: I hear you. I got you. No, no, no, that`s fine. Wait, wait,
wait, wait. We`re OK. We`re OK. Can I just say that as hecklers go, that
young lady was very polite?
OBAMA: She was. And, you know she brought up an issue of importance and
that`s part of what America is all about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And earlier this year in Israel, Obama embraced a heckler as a
reminder of the treatment he gets back home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Given the ties between our countries .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)
OBAMA: I believe your future is bound to ours.
OBAMA: This is part of the lively debate that we talked about.
OBAMA: This is good.
OBAMA: I have to say we actually arranged for that because it made me feel
KORNACKI: So it wasn`t surprising when Obama engaged in undocumented
University of California graduate from South Korea who interrupted the
president`s immigration speech in San Francisco this past Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And most importantly, we will live -- most importantly, we will
live up -- most importantly, we will live up to our character as a nation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Separated. I need your help. There are thousands of
OBAMA: That`s exactly what we are talking about here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: every single day.
OBAMA: That`s why we are here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, please use your executive order to halt
deportation of all 11.5 undocumented immigrants in this country right now.
OBAMA: What .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We agree that we need to pass comprehensive immigration
reform at the same time. We -- you have the power to stop deportation for
OBAMA: Actually I don`t. And that`s why we`re here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need your help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop deportation!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop deportation!
OBAMA: Thank you, all right.
AUDIENCE: Stop deportation!
OBAMA: What I`d like to do - no, no, don`t worry about it, guys.
AUDIENCE: Stop deportation!
OBAMA: OK. Let me finish.
AUDIENCE: Yes, we can!
AUDIENCE: Stop deportation!
OBAMA: How about -- these guys don`t need to go. Let me finish. No, no,
no - let .
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: It might seem like a setback, an embarrassing moment for Obama
and his advance team who had given the young heckler, a man named Ju Hong a
featured spot on stage with the president. But the Obama administration is
depending on folks like him to push immigration reform over the finish
line. Obama can make speeches until he is blue in the face, but House
Republicans who are standing in the way of legislation don`t listen to him
and are probably never going to listen to him. They have no electoral
incentive to take their cues from a Democratic president. The power really
lies in the hands of the millions of activists around the country,
impassioned constituents who can turn up the heat on pivotal Republican
members of Congress.
On Friday, President Obama turned to that constituency again by visiting
with a group of protesters who are fasting on behalf of immigration reform.
As it is right now, immigration reform`s chances of passing this Congress
are slim. As Greg Sargent recently noted, John Boehner has put it on life
support, it`s not dead yet, but it`s not running a five-mile turkey trot
any time soon either. So, advocates are doing the long, hard work of
changing the calculus among House Republicans who represent mostly white,
conservative, Republican-friendly districts. What happens to immigration
reform? Does it stall for years or will the states become the key movers
of policy, making life a little better for undocumented immigrants? The
New Jersey legislature just sent Chris Cristie a bill for the second time
that would allow in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, something 16
states have already enacted. And this comes after ten states and the
District of Columbia have passed legislation giving drivers licenses to
So, more and more states start treating the 11 million undocumented
immigrants like other residents, will Congress be compelled to follow? Is
there anyone to heckle them into action? We want to bring in Aaron Blake,
he`s a national politics reporter at the "Washington Post," MSNBC
contributor, Perry Bacon Jr., he is a political editor at the Grio.com,
Hendrik Hertzberg, he`s senior editor and staff writer at "The New Yorker",
and MSNBC contributor Susan del Percio, a Republican strategist who served
in the Rudy Giuliani administration.
So, thanks, everybody, for being here this morning. And there`s a couple
of different direction I want to go with it. I want to pick up in a little
bit that exchange that Obama had with the heckler this week and this back
and forth about what the president himself maybe can, maybe can`t do, but I
want to start with where we always start conversations about immigration,
and that is what is going on in the House right now, in the Republican-
controlled house, because we know that a comprehensive immigration reform
bill that would allow a path to citizenship passed the Senate this past
summer. There were a number of Republicans, I think it`s about 15
Republicans who`d signed onto that. It is now stalled in the House. What
is the status right now, Aaron? What do we know about the potential for
any movement in the House in the next few months on comprehensive
AARON BLAKE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, right now, the debate seems to be
about whether or not it`s really dead or not. I think comprehensive
immigration reform for all intents and purposes is probably done for this
Congress. The question is whether the House can pass something smaller.
We are talking about something along the lines of a Dream Act, some kind of
immigration enforcement measures, maybe they do something. You know,
there`s a bill where they are talking about potentially having a path to
legalization contingent upon border security measures. So, these are much
lower levels of legislation than the bill that was passed in the Senate and
it`s still not even clear that these bills would be acceptable to Senate
Democrats and President Obama and whether or not they can actually even
pass in the House at this point. So, right now the ball is really in the
House court as far as what they can try to pass and whether that will be
good enough going forward.
KORNACKI: Well, this was the president this past Monday talking about -
because one idea that some Republicans in the House has put out there, just
that the word they use is piecemeal, so you have the comprehensive bill in
the Senate and then you have some House Republicans saying, well we don`t
want to do a big bill, but maybe we can do some piecemeal things, a little
of this and a little of that, so President Obama actually addressed the
possibility of a piecemeal approach this past Monday in San Francisco. And
he is open to it. Let`s play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The good news is, just this past week, Speaker Boehner said that he
is hopeful we can make progress on the immigration reform. And that is
good news. And I think there are a number of other House Republicans who
also want to get this done. Some of them are hesitant to do it in one big
bill, like the Senate did. That`s OK. They can - it is Thanksgiving, we
can carve that bird into multiple pieces.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, Perry, like the fear I think of immigration reform
advocates, when you start talking about carving the bird into multiple
pieces is that sort of the -- if we keep this metaphor going, the easier-
to-digest pieces will be embraced by Republicans, but the tough stuff, when
we start talking about like citizenship, path to citizenship or something,
that just goes away, you won`t, by cutting it up like that you will only
get the easy stuff through and the hard stuff that needs to be bundled
together you will never get through.
PERRY BACON, JR. THE GRIO.COM: Right. I mean we are talking (inaudible)
in some ways. A bit by a bit bill that doesn`t include a path to
citizenship in some way or includes some kind of -- the quickie question
is, what is amnesty and how does it define the Republicans and can they
support a bill that has a path to citizenship in it and can President Obama
sign a bill that doesn`t? I think whether it is big or small, the bill
itself, the same core question we`ve been talking about for six years about
path to citizenship still exists. And I think that on some levels, the
Republicans sort of want to move on that issue, and it doesn`t matter how
the bill is written unless - I don`t - it`s hard to imagine Obama would
sign something that`s less than that. He might sign some version of the
Dream Act, but I don`t think he goes much beyond that without some passage
of being in there and it`s hard to see where the House Republican votes
are, particularly. It`s not like the debt ceiling where there is a forcing
action, there is a date by - starting the Republicans can stall this as
long as, somewhat until the 2015, the 2016 elections, and they may choose
to do that.
SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: But if they know that they don`t
have all the Republican votes and they are going to need Democrats, the
president is actually going to have to appeal to the Democrats to get some
of this, it`s if they do the piecemeal work, to appeal to them to actually
get them on board for this. I think it`s a difficult situation. They want
to go in with everything. So, to get them to agree to this piecemeal may
be more difficult than what the president .
KORNACKI: I mean how bottom line to Democrats, to the administration and
Democrats in general, how bottom line is the path to citizenship? Because
I mean - you have some Republicans who talk about legal status, not
citizenship. How bottom line do you think path to citizenship should be
coming out of this?
HENDRIK HERTZBERG, THE NEW YORKER: I don`t think that`s part of the bottom
line. I think that`s one of the things that gets thrown overboard. The
problem with doing it piecemeal, is that then you have got separate bills
and you`ve got - and you are going to be asking Republicans to vote for
something that -- something like a Dream Act, which they don`t like either.
And you are asking Democrats to vote for something that`s just enforcement
with no guarantee that you are going to end up with what the president has
said that he requires, which is you cut the bird up, but then you serve
every piece of it. So if you`re only -- the whole reason for having
comprehensive bills is you put in stuff that one side doesn`t like, then
you put in stuff the other side doesn`t like and then they can vote for it
because they are voting for something that they like.
KORNACKI: And you all swallow the whole bird together .
KORNACKI: to complete them. But the fact that the president is talking
this way now. The fact that he is sort of showing an openness to the
piecemeal approach sort of tells us something, I think, about the political
condition of this in Washington right now.
DEL PERCIO: Right. Well, it also points to the fact that there`s a strong
support from the business community. Now, if we look at the Alabama first
congressional special election where the business community beat the more
Tea Party conservative, they are putting a lot of pressure. In the last
six months, we have seen South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, not to mention
New York, New Jersey, all of these states put a big pressure, there`s state
chambers of commerce on their congressional delegation. And that can start
to change things, as especially primaries come up within some of these red
KORNACKI: But this remains, and let`s play a clip here of -- you may have
seen this has got a little tension the last few weeks, John Boehner was
approached at a Diner in Washington by some young -- I think 13-year-old
activists for immigration reform, and this was the exchange they had with
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOEHNER, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I`m trying to find somebody to
get this thing done. (inaudible)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we can count on your vote for immigration reform?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I don`t know if you can hear that too well, but he is basically
saying, he is basically saying I`m uncomfortable being in this situation.
KORNACKI: But he`s also - what he is trying to tell them is, I`m trying,
I`m trying, I`m trying. Susan, you talk about the business community being
behind this, but they were still dealing with the Republican Party, where
when you look at the Tea Party base of the Republican Party, any kind of
vote for any kind of immigration reform for the average Republican member
of Congress who does not represent a swing district is still a politically
dangerous vote for them to take.
BACON: I`m not sure the dream act, the most House Republicans, no
legislation passing at all is perfectly good for them. The key thing is
the incentives are not aligned properly. House Republicans have very
little incentive to vote for this. Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, one of the
candidates in 2016 would like this to move, so I don`t think the dynamics
there - it`s still hard to see. I think John Boehner secretly is probably
for this being done tomorrow. He`s a pretty business-like Republican.
That said I`m not sure where the incentive for the other members are. If
you look at most of our districts, most of our districts, the country is
about -- overall about 37 percent of people in the country overall are non-
white. But in most Republican districts, that number is way below 20
percent. And therefore, you have a conservative base. For those
Republicans, there`s not a lot of reasons to say vote for this and I might
get - the permanent challenge is really going to come from the right, not
from the Chamber of Commerce candidate. They are not going to win,
BLAKE: I actually have a slightly different take on this. I think people
talk about the, you know, interest of House Republicans in 2014 versus
presidential candidates in 2016. I don`t think that presidential
candidates in 2016, I don`t even think this is necessarily an immediate
thing for them. I think this is much more of a long-term thing for the
Republican Party, which makes it that much more difficult for them to get
their people on board. I don`t see people like Chris Christie and Paul
Ryan necessarily rounding up votes and saying we needed this done right now
because they know it doesn`t necessarily affect them in 2016.
Republicans, you know, they lost in 2012. They are on a losing streak
right now. They can still win in 2016 regardless of what happens with this
immigration debate. Where it starts becoming a big problem is 2020, 2024
and those future elections when this is a much bigger portion of the
HERTZBERG: And in that way it is like climate change. You know, everybody
knows we are headed for a long-term disaster, long-term utter catastrophe
and the Republican Party is the same way, but to do the things now that
aren`t going to give that immediate reward, it is just impossible.
KORNACKI: It`s only when they wake up in 2024 and say, gee, I wish in 2014
KORNACKI: They are doing something great - and it`s too -- well, I want to
pick up after the break that the heckling that President Obama`s sort of
endured this week, the charge behind that heckling was you, personally, are
not doing enough. Forget about the Republican Congress. Let`s look at the
question of is there anything more that President Obama can be doing,
forget the Republican Congress. We will do that after this.
KORNACKI: So, we played clips from that Obama speech in San Francisco
earlier this week. We had the heckler on stage with him, so - the advance
team, I guess, had brought out there to support him, it ends up heckling
him in the middle of the speech. Nice work there, guys. But he is
basically saying stop deportation, stop deportations. The response from
Obama is, well to do that I need Congress to work with me, I need you to
put pressure on Republicans in Congress to get comprehensive immigration
reform through. The reply to that from some immigration reform advocates
is, well, wait a minute, if you look at the deferred action program that
President Obama silenced, basically an executive order, it wasn`t
technically an executive order, but he has essentially prosecutorial
discretion, and he can curb radically, if you want it, by an order, by a
presidential order, the number of deportations. Is that something that`s
feasible at all? Should there be more heat on President Obama to do
something like that?
HERTZBERG: Well, the president was right in saying that he does not have
the power to stop 11.5 million deportations, to give status to all the
undocumented aliens who are in this country. He has does not have that
power. It is a little bit like the marijuana controversy, where the
president has lowered the priority of going after marijuana possession and
that sort of thing to allow those experiments in states to go forward. He
cannot, however, say, he cannot, however, put out an executive order
saying, OK, everybody can smoke pot. And he can`t put out an executive
order completely eliminating those deportations. He can probably go
further than he has, but not all that much further. So the fantasy that so
many people have, that the president`s power is unlimited and everything
depends on the president, keeps cropping up, and this is just another
instance of it.
KORNACKI: I guess - I guess what it is the number of deportations in 2012,
over 400,000, and then it is up, you know, radically over the last decade,
and some people would look at that and say that there`s sort of a political
element in it from the administration and that they want to be able to say,
hey, look, we are fighting this as aggressively as we can, you can trust
us, you know, Republicans who think we are going to give amnesty or
something like that. The flip side of it is, that I have heard from some
immigration advocates is if you were to sort of do the opposite, it`s not
solve the problem with his pen, but if he were to say, we are going to
radically curb those deportations, pending action from Congress. Hey,
Congress, if you want those numbers back up, you have to take action, you
have to make this part of -- could you apply pressure on Congress that way?
BACON: He could - I assume he`s going to choose not to. They - the White
House uses a pressure point, those deportation policy still exists, is one
reason to force Congress to change it. He doesn`t want to rule all
deportations over here. He doesn`t want to take control because there is
no pressure on the Republicans to compromise with him. So, I don`t think
he would ever do that not just for -- there probably is a substantive way
he could stop all the regions. He doesn`t want to do that, because that is
not politically helpful in terms of pushing forward an immigration bill.
So on the key would, so the heckler wasn`t wrong, I don`t think it. The
heckler had some substantive points to make. The president would only do
that for political reasons. And for the reasons (inaudible)
HERTZBERG: Yeah, but don`t say it like it`s a bad thing.
DEL PERCIO: But then again, I don`t think the heckler did any good for the
president. I mean, that would -- him bringing -- the way he brought up
that issue in that manner does not help him win his agenda that he needs to
get forward. I mean, he doesn`t -- he can`t have, you know, I`m just going
to stop deportation policy. Like Hendrik say, it`s just not going to work
politically. But on top of that when those kind of instances happen,
people start to recoil elected official, the way it plays, and especially
for Republicans in those red states who don`t have to worry about it,
there`s a recoil to that and they just kind of dig in a little deeper.
KORNACKI: Well, and to that, and that is the question, too, if it`s
directed at President Obama, it`s one thing, if that kind of heckling is
directed at Republicans or the message behind that heckling is directed at
Republicans, is that going to shape them anyway? We`re having sort of a
real time experiment with that. I guess, you could say play out in New
Jersey right now with Chris Christie. We will talk about that right after
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R ) NEW JERSEY: In the form that it`s in now, in the
Senate form, I would not sign it. They are overreaching, and they are
making it unsignable and they are putting it beyond -- not only their
technical problems with it that need to be fixed, but they are also making
the benefits richer than the federal program. And federal Dream Act. And
that`s simply not acceptable to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That`s Chris Christie in a radio interview in New Jersey this
past week. He got a lot of attention for a couple of reasons. Chris
Christie obviously wants to run for president in 2016, he is touting the
fact that he just won 51 percent of the Latino vote in New Jersey and
getting re-elected. And in that re-election campaign, he had said that he
would sign and would support his governor, a bill that`s working its way
through the legislature now that would allow in-state tuition for
undocumented children. Aaron, now he is saying in an interview, wait a
minute, read the fine print. What`s going on here?
BLAKE: Well, basically, he got a bill. He asked the state legislature to
send it back to him with some changes to make it a little bit less far
reaching than it is right now. They declined to make those changes. They
sent in the bill just as it was and they dared him to sign it or veto it
knowing that he had promised during the campaign that he would sign
something similar to that. So, basically, 0the ball is in his court now
and he can live up to his promise in the minds of some or he can say, it is
not exactly what I want and I`m not going to sign it.
KORNACKI: The change that he is talking about as I understand it, it`s
basically - it would allow children from out of state who attend boarding
school, undocumented children from out of state who attend New Jersey
boarding school it would also make them eligible for in-state tuition.
He`s saying, this is the reason why it goes too far?
BLAKE: And there is another element of it that I think people have missed
a little bit. It allows for undocumented children to apply for financial
aid when they are attending college. So, this is something, you know, you
talk about how 16 states allow for in-state tuition. Only three states
allow them to apply for financial aid. So, that`s another aspect of it.
It is a far-reaching bill than most of the other states have, but those
fine details are lost on a lot of people, especially immigration advocates
who say you promised us, now make good on that promise.
KORNACKI: Right now.
HERTZBERG: There is no great mystery to what`s going on here. Is there -
I mean, he is trying to have it both ways. He wants to - not now that he
is switching to running for president, having been re-elected
overwhelmingly for governor, he doesn`t want to sign a bill -- even if the
bill didn`t contain those things, it would be deeply damaging to him to
sign it in the Republican primaries, so he is grasping at these little
excuses in a way to say on the one hand to say to his Hispanics, I`m with
you and to say to the Tea Party, I`m with you.
KORNACKI: So what happens to .?
DEL PERCIO: I think we would have signed it. I don`t think he would have
ignored it, as just been suggested. But these nuances, he does bring up a
valid point because what happens is, and New York City is an example of it
in many ways, of people coming in state. You end up not being able to
afford -- when you become a mega-state for anything, like New York City, it
can be for homelessness, for example, you start creating budgets that are
KORNACKI: But if the idea here is to offer in-state tuition, you are
offering theoretically some kind of incentive for what you are talking
about. He already said he was fine. But let`s look at it this way, the
bill that let`s say he has dreamed of, he is now talking about if Christie
was presented with that and he signed it, what happens to him in the
Republican Party heading into 2016? Is this now a guy who`s given amnesty,
is that what they say?
DEL PERCIO: It certainly could be damaging, but he - the way he could play
it especially early on, and if he can do it in the next six months, for
example, he can easily recover from that. And everyone knows the one thing
about Chris Christie, he says what he means and he mean what he says and
that will be something they will be willing to consider.
KORNACKI: Do people know that now, because it sounds like he is saying two
different things here.
DEL PERCIO: They certainly look at him as an in your face, like this is
what I`m thinking, I`m not going to, you know, dance around the issues.
HERTZBERG: Right. Reputation.
BACON: He will be criticized for amnesty, we already know that Rick Perry
was for in-state tuition, (inaudible) and was criticized intensely by Mitt
Romney in 2012. So we know this is going to be a problem for him. He told
to these folks of the "New York Times" they are going to sign a bill like
the bill he originally sent. He is going to stay consistent, is my
impression. He is not going to. If the bill comes as he wrote it
originally, which it probably won`t, but if it does, he will (inaudible) -
I don`t think - I think a flip-flop at this point is unhelpful and I think
he is going to try to avoid the direct flip-flop unless he can really
explain it pretty well. And I think that - I think he is aware that his
reputation as a frank person and he campaigned all over the state saying he
was for this bill it would not be helpful, to be again, at this point,
because probably criticized him for flip-flopping and for having the wrong
KORNACKI: There is the flip-flopping and then there is the fact that he
does not ever have to run in New Jersey again and now he`s thinking about
Iowa and South Carolina, very different electorates anyway. I want to
thank the "Washington Post" Aaron Blake, a Republican strategist Susan del
Will our presence in Afghanistan soon have an end date, should it have an
end date? Could it have an end date? It all depends on Hamid Karzai. We
will discuss the decision facing that country`s president and what it means
here at home. That`s next.
KORNACKI: Every year, before the State of the Union address, members of
Congress pack into the chamber to greet the president. Some of them get
there hours early for a choice spot on the aisle to shake the president`s
hand and to be seen shaking the president`s hand on television as he
enters. But back in 2002, they weren`t just greeting the American
president, they were welcoming the man who was then the interim president
of Afghanistan and who would go on to win two elected terms leading that
country. Two years later, he`d speak to the chamber himself, his very own
address to a joint session of Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAMID KARZAI, AFGHAN PRESIDENT: You came to Afghanistan to defeat
terrorism and we, Afghans, welcomed an embraced you for the liberation of
our country. Afghanistan is a central front in this war against terrorism.
The Afghan people are and will remain with you in this struggle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Decade later, the friendship between Karzai and the U.S. is, to
put it mildly, strained. We are going to talk about that and what it means
for both countries, straight ahead.
KORNACKI: When U.S. Forces led the invasion of Afghanistan in October
2001, in the wake of the September 11th attacks, when they quickly drove
out the Taliban, it was seen almost universally as a triumph, but it also
created a power vacuum. Time was of the essence and so the United States
decided it wouldn`t and it couldn`t find any better ally to take control of
the new Afghanistan than a Pashtun leader, a tribal leader who had been
trying to start his own resistance against the Taliban in Kandahar. U.S.
Special Forces came to his rescue in the mountains north of Kandahar, they
flew him to safety by helicopter to Pakistan where he`d been living with
his family. And when he was soon able to return to Afghanistan to try to
help fight off the Taliban, the U.S. felt they had the local hero they
needed, a man who had saved the Afghanistan, the man who they had helped
save from assassination and the man they believe would be the future of the
country, someone to lead a new democracy in Afghanistan. As the U.S.-led
coalition helped to rebuild that country in the Taliban`s wake, a partner.
That man, of course, was Hamid Karzai. In the early part of 2002, after he
was installed as the interim president of Afghanistan, Karzai managed to
win over more than just the Americans, he charmed the whole world. He was
well educated, he spoke perfect English, Tom Ford, a top fashion designer
called him the best dressed man on the - "chicest man on the planet."
That`s how you say that word. At the start of 2002, Karzai visited world
capitals, one after another, including a stop in Washington for President
Bush`s State of the Union address. In Tokyo, at a donors` conference, a
global telethon of sorts, Karzai used his language skills to persuade other
world leaders to donate a whopping $4.5 billion to the Afghanistan
The entire world, it seemed, was pinning its hopes and its pocketbooks on
Hamid Karzai as the future of Afghanistan. 12 years later though, that
potential has largely gone unrealized. Hamid Karzai is still the
president, the elected president, winning office not once but twice, yet
his administration has been plagued by criticism, by charges of corruption
of graft, the billions upon billions of dollars in aid that has been
donated to Afghanistan since 2002, only a small fraction of it, it appears,
has ever actually made it through, the rest of it, it seems is lining the
pockets of Afghan officials and American contractors. Also, the drug trade
still flourishes, opium, all those beautiful fields full of poppies.
Karzai`s own brother since killed, accused of overseeing one of the largest
drug cartels. The Taliban has returned with a vengeance, not least because
of all of the corruption and the drug trade. In 2005, Transparency
International ranked Afghanistan 117th on its corruption index. In its
most recent survey, it has dropped to 174. The third most corrupt country
on the Planet Earth. All the while, the relationship between the U.S. and
Karzai is showing increasing signs of strain.
President Obama winning the White House, in part, by saying that
Afghanistan was the conflict where the U.S. should be focusing all of its
resources, and not Iraq. And when he took office, he and his
administration gave signs they were not going to be anywhere near as
buddy/buddy with Karzai as his predecessor had been, that they wouldn`t be
looking the other way when it came to all the drugs and all the corruption
that Karzai shouldn`t be doing so either. By August of that year, 2009,
Obama`s first year in office, just during a presidential election in
Afghanistan, polls showed Karzai ahead. And Obama administration officials
were struggling to explain how they would find a way to keep dealing with
Karzai after he won that election. And more than four years later, the
U.S. is planning its own exit from Afghanistan, 12 months from now, by the
end of 2014, Hamid Karzai has announced his plans to leave office, too.
Another Afghan president will be elected next year.
The big question for both sides before they both leave, is how many troops
the U.S. will leave behind. The U.S. has offered to leave around 10,000
troops in Afghanistan as a security force. Karzai can`t seem to make up
his mind. First, he said that Afghanistan`s grand council of elders would
have the final say on the security deal, but once they signed off on it
last week, Karzai himself still wouldn`t sign. And a coalition air strike
killed a two-year-old Afghan boy. Karzai called the U.S. oppressors, said
that that was the reason he wouldn`t be signing. National Security Advisor
Susan Rice says if Karzai doesn`t decide soon, U.S. will have no choice,
but to plan for a future with no American troops in Afghanistan, zero.
There is a very recent precedent for leaving a country with no security
forces left behind. It`s what happened in Iraq two years ago. The country
has devolved into violence and chaos ever since. 12 years ago, the U.S.
entered Afghanistan with the goal of taking on the Taliban. It was the
first wave in what we would end up calling "the war on terrorism" and has
long since surpassed Vietnam as the longest war in American history.
So, what happens if after more than a dozen years and countless blood and
treasure lost, the U.S. ends up leaving Afghanistan with the very same
power vacuum it helped to create? What fills that vacuum? What are the
security consequences for that? After all, it has cost us, shouldn`t we be
asking ourselves why? Well, here to talk about this at the table we still
have Rick Hertzberg with "The New Yorker," Robert George, he`s an editorial
writer for the "New York Post" and the former aide to House Speaker Newt
Gingrich, Michael Cohen, a fellow with the progressive think tank the
Century Foundation is here and MSNBC contributor, Goldie Taylor, also a
columnist with the Grio.com. Thanks for joining us. So let`s start,
Michael, with the basic dilemma that Karzai is facing right now over this
sort of status of forces agreement, his council signed off on it. The U.S.
says we want to leave these troops behind. Susan Rice now threatening to
leave zero troops behind. Is this a real threat, the possibility that
Karzai won`t sign this and what are the implications?
MICHAEL COHEN, THE CENTURY FOUNDATION: I mean I think the threat is pretty
minimal. I think at the end, Karzai is going to have to sign this, because
everybody wants him to sign it. I mean I think his own staff wants him to
sign it. Leadership wants him to sign it. All the other countries around
Afghanistan want him to sign t.
KORNACKI: So, why is he putting everybody through it? Why is he going
through this kind of .
COHEN: I think there is a couple of reasons. I think one is the longer he
holds out in signing it, the more leverage he has. I mean he`s worried
about, I thinks the U.S. playing too dominant a role in the election come
(inaudible) April. He thinks they played too dominant a role in 2009.
They forced him to run off, he didn`t want to (inaudible). So I think that
is a huge factor here on the one hand. I think - I don`t think he wants to
sign this. I think ultimately, once he signs his document, he is basically
signing the document that says the U.S. stays in Afghanistan for ten more
And I think as a nationalist, I think from a national perspective, he
doesn`t want to be the guy to do that. I think that`s driving him in part.
But I think, also, he doesn`t trust the Americans, he never has. I mean
the fact is that our interests and our strategy in Afghanistan has always
run parallel to what his interests are in Afghanistan, and, you know, this
has been a problem since the surge, it`s been a problem since Obama has
been president and a problem before that. And I think you`re seeing in
some ways chicken come in to roost to some extent on that frayed
relationship. This particular showdown. In the end, I think he does give
in, but it`s going to be ugly before he does.
KORNACKI: So, Goldie, when you look at - let`s say he does give in and
does sign this, and so there will be U.S. troops left behind, you know, for
another decade in Afghanistan. You look back at the last decade, the last
12 years. What do you think we have to show, for America what do we have to
show for the last ten-plus years spent in Afghanistan and what will we have
to show for another ten?
GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think for the lives lost, for the
investments made, we have next to nothing to show. I mean the Taliban is
on the -- on the move again in Afghanistan. I think this is like a lot of
marriages that really looked good on paper, but really dissolved after a
while when you found that you had a partner that was really untrustworthy.
It was not only how the U.S. played its role there, but Karzai himself
became an unworthy partner for us. Whether or not he is going to sign this
remains to be seen. I think anybody who places a bet one with another on
how Karzai thinks or what he will decide, I think that`s bad money. And so
we don`t know what`s going to happen.
What I believe personally, it that it`s time for divorce. I think it is
time for us to come out of Afghanistan. I think it`s time for the aid to
draw up. I think that we have placed bet after bet after bet in that
country that has failed to pay off.
KORNACKI: So, no more - no more, you don`t want the 10,000 troops left
TAYLOR: I want 10,000 troops. I don`t want the aide to support their
military. I think that got to become their own sustained - their own
security. I mean of - they are doing much more today militarily for
themselves. I think that process has to be accelerated and continued and I
think it`s time for us to come home.
BACON: Well, I mean your setup piece, though, kind of showed what happens
if we pull out completely vis-a-vis Iraq. But the broader point, though,
is the president, at least it sounded like when he was running for re-
election, that the United States would be, you know, leaving completely
from Afghanistan by 2014. Now, it is not quite up there with the level of,
you know - if you are what happened with your health care plan, you can
keep it. But it now sounds, so many people - wait, we`re talking about
10,000 troops for like another ten - for another ten years? I mean I think
logistically, troops have to stay there, but it does sound like another
statement from the president that doesn`t quite square with what reality
KORNACKI: So, what does -- what would 10,000 troops staying for ten more -
for ten more years get us? What would it get Afghanistan because we talk
about how much of Afghanistan does Karzai even control? Is Karzai going to
even control right now? And if you have that limited, relatively speaking,
limited the U.S. presence there, is there any real difference between
10,000 and zero?
HERTZBERG: Well, there`s no way of knowing that. I mean we do have
something to show for the last ten years, and that is there have been no
large-scale or even small-scale attacks on the United States that
originated in Afghanistan. Now, it`s impossible to prove whether that`s
because of what we`ve done there or in spite of it, but this is part of a
longer narrative that goes back a couple of hundred years of large, outside
powers trying to impose their will on this incomprehensible, ornery
country. We have done, you know compared to the British and the Russians,
you could say we have done pretty well.
BACON: A light footprint .
KORNACKI: Was it - they greatly say, you know, Afghanistan is the
graveyard of empires. No, I guess it raises the question, could this have
turned out when you look back at the last 12 years, we look at Karzai.
Could it have turned out any differently with anyone else or is it just the
nature of what Afghanistan sort of represents, the history in that country,
was it ever going to work with anyone?
COHEN: That`s - it`s counterfactual and it`s hard to say. But I mean I
say we can say that the strategy we utilized in Afghanistan has failed.
And if you`re back to - you can go back to 2001, you can go back to 2009,
with the surge, if you look back at what President Obama announced, he sent
more troops to Afghanistan, there was no clear political strategy, there
has not been a clear political strategy, there`s been a military strategy.
It slowed the Taliban. That has happened. The problem is there was no
political strategy, no sense of what they wanted to accomplish after the
U.S. left. And so, that`s kind of where you are right now. Fighting has
been as bad this year as it`s been any year of the war. It is -- the
Afghan forces are taking terrible casualties. There`s no sense that once
we leave, even if we do leave or even if we stay that this fight is going
to stop any time soon. There needs to be political resolution to the
conflict and we have really done a poor job of executing on that idea of
pushing a political resolution.
BACON: And to your point earlier, I mean if we have 10,000 troops, I mean
what are they going to be doing? I mean are they a praetorian guard for
Karzai and whoever comes after Karzai? Or, you know, are they just like -
is it a police operation? Exactly, what is it? And I - there`s no
political answer to that, or at least there hasn`t been any political
statements to what that`s going to be. And I think the president also
would have to at least, you know, tell the American people what Americans
are still going to be doing there for, you know, for the next ten years. I
mean it is not even as cut and dried as, you know, what Americans are
doing, you know, in the DMZ.
KORNACKI: And it`s 10,000 troops comes with a pretty big sized check as
COHEN: That is the key thing here. The troops themselves are less
important than the aid money. And if the troops aren`t there, then it`s
going to be very hard to convince Congress to keep spending billions of
dollars. I mean the Afghan - the budget for the Afghan military is bigger
than the amount of revenues the Afghan government takes in. They need that
money from the U.S. and from NATO. And if that aid gets cut off, then we
are really in trouble. And if you remember, you know, after the Soviets
left in `89, the communist government stayed in power for three years. And
how did they do it? They got - they were getting big checks from the
Russian government. And once those checks were cut off, that`s when the
government fell. And so, I think that, if you lose the aid, you are really
KORNACKI: And so, then that probably explains a lot of the - that the
council is telling Karzai, just sign this thing?
KORNACKI: They want that check. Well, I want to thank Michael Cohen with
the Century Foundation for joining us. We will be right back to hear some
breaking news and the first pictures of a huge train derailment right here
in New York City. We will show you that and tell you about that right
KORNACKI: There`s some breaking news to report right now. A Metro-North
railroad train in the New York City area has derailed in a part of the
Bronx that`s the borough directly north of the city, sort of the gateway to
Westchester County, the suburbs. These pictures are just coming in from
our local NBC station, WNBC. Associated Press is reporting that eight cars
have derailed. There are multiple injuries. WNBC reports that 30 people
so far have been taken to hospitals. And you can see in this still shot
just how close to the water the rail cars came, right on the edge of the
Hudson River. The NYPD is saying that none of them are actually in the
water. And we continue to monitor this story and update you with any
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The football, he once said, gave him a good sense of perspective
about politics. He had already been booed, cheered, cut, sold and traded.
OBAMA: Makes me feel better.
OBAMA: A conservative thinker, a Republican leader, and a defender of
civil rights. He was that rare patriot who put country over party, never
forgetting what he learned on the gridiron.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was from the summer of 2009, the White House ceremony where
President Obama honored his choices for the Presidential Medal of Freedom
that year. And one of his choices was former Republican Congressman Jack
Kemp. He was George H. W. Bush`s housing and urban development secretary,
he was the 1996 vice presidential nominee. Kemp had died just three months
The announcement of his medal came with the description of him as "a
bleeding heart conservative." If that description of Jack Kemp sounds a
little unusual for a Republican, well, it is. Or at least it sounds
unusual today. And as Jack Kemp was a very different kind of Republican
than we know these days. He was very conservative. There is no question
about that. He`s one of the original supply siders in Congress. His tax
cut plan of the 1970s was seen as radical and fringe at the time, but then
Ronald Reagan became a convert, he ran on it in 1980, he implemented it in
1981 and anti-tax orthodoxy has been the rule in Republican politics ever
We talk a lot now about how the Republican Party used to be the home of a
lot of real, authentic moderates and liberals, moderates and liberals who
either have been driven out of the party or simply died off. But Jack Kemp
wasn`t one of those moderates and liberals. He was a conservative, he was
at the cutting edge of the conservative movement. What made him such an
unusual Republican, though, was that he was drawn to politics and public
policy by a mission that usually animates Democrats to fight poverty, to
fight racism, to use the power of government to help lift up low-income
Americans who were locked into the socioeconomic conditions by factors much
bigger than themselves.
But instead of prescribing the policy solutions the Democrats tend to
offer, Kemp really believed that his free market, tax-slashing ideas were
the answer. Even if you disagree with him, and Democrats definitely
disagreed with him, they had to give him credit. The Republican Party of
the 1970s and `80s was profiting politically from a backlash against the
civil rights revolution, but Jack Kemp wanted no part of that. The
Republican share of the black vote kept dropping, but he spent more and
more time preaching his message in urban America, in black and Latino
communities. "We had a great history," he said of his party "And we turned
it aside. We should have been there with Dr. King on the streets of
Atlanta and Montgomery. We should have been there on the freedom marches
and bus rides.
It`s why Kemp was so eager to accept a cabinet appointment from George H.
W. Bush that did not interest most Republicans, secretary of housing and
urban development. And he used that job to push hard for economic
development in urban America. He had ideas, enterprise zones, lowering
state sales taxes in small cities -- in cities to encourage commerce to
boost local businesses. Community banks, he crisscrossed the country
trying to win converts to his cause, to his party, trying to build bridges
to communities of color to recruit new voters, new candidates to make the
Republican Party more diverse. And for a moment, it looked like he was
gaining some traction. At least a little traction. Go back to the early
1990s. Republican candidates, Jack Kemp-type Republican candidates,
started running for mayor of some very big, very Democratic cities. And a
lot of them started winning. There was Richard Riordan in Los Angeles in
the spring of 1993, he won the race to succeed Democratic Mayor Tom Bradley
by winning 40 percent of the Latino vote. In Jersey City, where six
percent of the electorate was Republican, where two out of every three
voters weren`t white, a supply side enthusiast named Bret Schundler won the
mayoral election. New York elected Rudy Giuliani, Indianapolis had a
Republican mayor, half of the 12 largest cities in America had Republican
mayors. The term "urban Republicanism" back then was not an oxymoron.
But today, it was Bloomberg reported this week when Bill de Blasio is sworn
in as New York`s mayor in a month, it will end 20 years of non-Democratic
control of New York and it will make all 12 of America`s largest cities
The Republican Party of the Obama era grows ever more isolated from urban
America. Today`s GOP writes off America`s cities, and all the voters in
America`s cities as straight-ticket Democrats. He doesn`t even try.
Relies on the suburbs, on the excerpts, on rural America. It stokes
resentment toward urban America in non-urban America. It is utterly and in
many ways intentionally alienated the exact voters Jack Kemp was so eager
and so desperate to bring into the fold. Voters who just 20 years ago
seemed to be ready to at least give the GOP a look.
This is the backdrop for what is going to happen this coming Friday in
Detroit. City where Barack Obama won nearly 98 percent of the vote over
Mitt Romney, native Michigander, Mitt Romney, last year. It`s in Detroit
on Friday that the state Republican Party will be joined by Senator Rand
Paul to open what it is calling its African-American Engagement Office.
Now, Paul is an interesting choice for the task. He famously questioned
the public accommodations clause of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a few
years ago. And earlier this year, he stood by an aide who previously
called himself the southern avenger, and he once wrote the quote, "a non-
white majority America would simply cease to be America." But Paul has
made several very public efforts to at least communicate with black voters,
speaking at Howard University earlier this year.
The GOP`s national chairman Reince Priebus continues to insist that
expanding the party`s demographic appeal is one of his priorities. The
black voters and urban American in general never have been as hostile to
the GOP as they now are. Are Paul`s gestures sincere? Is the national GOP
really committed to reaching out? And do they truly understand why their
party has failed so miserably to connect with the voters Jack Kemp worked
so hard to cultivate? Here to discuss this, we have back with us, MSNBC
contributor Perry Bacon Jr., "New York Post" editorial writer, Robert
George, syndicated columnist and political reporter Bob Franken joins us
and MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor is here as well.
Goldie, you know, I will start with you. I wonder when you hear the
history we just went through there, the story of sort of urban America, the
story of African-Americans` relationship with the Republican Party, it`s a
long - if you start in the days and the decades after the civil war, the
Republican Party was the home to African-American voters, that was lost
during the civil rights revolution. You had Republicans like Jack Kemp
trying to sort of rekindle that .
KORNACKI: And now you see where we are today. When you see the news of
Rand Paul going to Detroit and what Reince Priebus is now saying, how do
you think about that?
TAYLOR: You know, African-Americans voted solidly Republican for 100
years. And no one really thought -- gave a second thought to it. It
wasn`t that African-Americans walked away from the Republican Party. It`s
that Republicans, Dixiecrats specifically in the South, walked away from
them. They decided that the African-American vote was not a vote that they
needed at that time. You know, but during the -- as the `70s progressed
into the `80s, African-Americans specifically began to take a second look
at the Republican Party. It was because of people like Jack Kemp. I was
with Jack Kemp in the mid`90s, as we walked through the streets of South
DeKalb in Atlanta, you know, alongside J.C. Watts and Newt Gingrich and
others who were at that time, authentically interested in making sure that
this was a party that had a big tent.
Well, it seems that the Republicans once again turned their face away from
Kempian politics in favor of what we are seeing now, some of this Tea Party
revolution that`s coming along, and sort of - containment into bubble, the
kind of, you know, racial animus that we were, you know, accustomed in
hearing in the `50s and `60s, we`re hearing it again today. And so, you
are seeing the Republican Party, generally speaking that doesn`t look as
welcoming maybe as it once did, that is doing more talking to African-
Americans than they are doing listening.
Maybe instead of opening an African-American engagement center where they
are going to do an awful lot of talking, maybe they ought to take another
look at their platform and make sure that it answers the needs of the
people that are living in places like Detroit and Los Angeles and
Birmingham and Atlanta and St. Louis, maybe a two-way conversation is
really what`s necessary.
KORNACKI: So, you mentioned Jack Kemp, we mentioned - just to give people
this was Jack Kemp, 1996, he was Bob Dole`s running mate, the great
Dole/Kemp ticket. Everybody remembers that.
KORNACKI: This is what Jack Kemp sounded like. Let me give you a taste of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK KEMP: We cannot forget, my friends, that a single mom and her
children in this country cannot be left out of our great revolution for
KEMP: The American society as the whole can never achieve the outer
reaches of its potential so long as it tolerates the inner cities of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOB FRANKEN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: You know, it is interesting, first of
all, I don`t know everybody around this table knew Jack Kemp. I certainly
did. He was sort of the Republican version of Hubert Humphrey in a way,
sort of a happy warrior type, a man who clearly did not have hate in his
heart. Quite frankly, I don`t think you can say that about all Republicans
these days. You have the party that wants to work on image control. They
keep on talking about doing the outreach, but its image as opposed to
reality. There are exceptions, by the way, when I talk about this hatred
in your heart. And exceptions, for instance, being John Kasich of Ohio.
John Kasich is up against the Republican legislator. But he was the one
advocating for the inclusion of Medicaid, for instance, because of
principles about the poor. That is sort of the ongoing legacy of Jack
KORNACKI: Well, so, Robert, you know, when we .
ROBERT GEORGE, NEW YORK POST: Well, you know, I was just going to say, the
idea of Jack Kemp and the idea of big-city Republicans, I mean you talked
about before, they go hand in hand, because keep in mind, I mean he
represented - he represents Buffalo. And part of the reason why he had
this sorter of affinity in terms of outreaches, he saw a similarity between
African-Americans as part of his blue collar constituency. So, he was able
to talk in a language that a lot of other Republicans now the center of the
party has moved south and it`s been western so for. He doesn`t - they
don`t - they don`t quite have that kind of .
KORNACKI: Which is - so, which is when Goldie talks about listening instead
of talking, when I hear that Rand Paul is sort of being deputized to open
this office and this is Rand Paul who, on his network famously a couple of
years ago, talked about how, you know, he would not endorse the public
accommodations clause of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he stands by this
guy, the Southern avenger, that sounds like a guy who maybe could do a
little listening before he does a little talking.
GEORGE: He`s going to have to do a lot of listening. But look, I give him
credit for, you know, going to Howard and at least starting. Because I
mean it seems to me we can`t really have it both ways and start saying
that, you know, the Republicans are completely writing off the black vote
and then completely just, like, you know, just mock them if they do try and
go to Howard. No, look, I absolutely agree. Look, the Republican Party
has to make a determination. They have to remember that the Republican
Party, in terms of a percentage of the vote, they supported the Civil
Rights Act in the 1960s, actually, more so than Democrats in Congress
because of the -- because of the split between the North and the South.
GEORGE: Democrats .
KORNACKI: The Democrats who voted "no" became Republicans.
GEORGE: No, no, look, no, I`m not disagreeing with that. No, so, look,
Rand Paul is going to have to, you know, decide, you know, which part of
the Republican Party he is going to speak for. But I give him credit for
going to Howard and if they want to try and create this African-American
engagement center or whatever, you know, fine, but it is going to have to
be -- it is definitely going to have to be a two-way street and, you know,
we will see. But I do think, though, Detroit is not a bad place to have
that kind of a conversation because Detroit has been run, you know, by
Democrats for the last 20 or 30 years and some of the -- some of the
failures there economically can be laid at the heads of Democrats, not
Republicans. And if Republicans at least want to say we have -- we have
ideas, we have solutions to deal with that you know .
KORNACKI: Well, is there a message, Perry, that Republicans, especially in
light of the most recent history, the last, say, the last 20 years or so -
is there a message that Republicans right now could offer to urban
American, offer to African Americans, could offer to Latino Americans, is
there a message that Republicans could offer that would actually get them a
second look like they were getting under Jack Kemp?
BACON: It`s a great question. Right now, they are not trying to offer a
new message. You look at what they are doing, they`ve set up offices in 11
states around the country, where either to appeal the Hispanic voters or
Latino - Hispanic voters or African-American voters. 11 different offices,
one in North Carolina, one in Detroit, with some of the Republicans on
black voters, some on Hispanics. They are not trying to say, the RNC
(inaudible). They are not trying to say we have a new message. They are
not trying. They are not criticizing voter I.D. laws. They are not
changing the core party message. Maybe they should. I would argue they
probably should on some issues. What their view is right now, we are going
to just try to be there and show up and articulate the views we already
have and that`s better than nothing.
GEORGE: Let me just jump in here. There was one area, though, actually
where Rand Paul of all people actually has an interesting kind of message
there. He is one of the people who has actually been critical of the war
on drugs and given - and given the impact of the war on drugs in terms of
African-American incarceration rates, that`s an interesting - that`s an
TAYLOR: But if they are going to extend that conversation, they`d better
stop talking about getting rid of the minimum wage, they`d better start
talking about extending health care to the poorest people who need it.
What they are actually trying to do and I don`t think this is real
outreach. What I think this is doing, is trying to sort of stave off some
of the criticism that they get from white middle classers, specifically
white women, that they are the party of bigotry.
KORNACKI: Who don`t want to be associated - I have to -- I have to cut
that because we promised to stay on this story, and we have some more
details now, we need to report on some breaking news here on that major
train derailment in New York City. In the borough of the Bronx, police are
now confirming fatalities in the accident. Initial reports are that four
people have died and at least 48 are injured. The fire department says
they continue triage at the scene. Associated Press is reporting that
eight cars of the Metro-North train derailed, coming way off the tracks and
skirting awfully close to river`s edge. It happened in a part of the Bronx
where the Harlem -- where the Harlem River and the Hudson Rivers merge. So
we are not quite sure which body of water it is. We are going to continue
to monitor the story, obviously, update you with more developments. And
we`ll be right back after this.
KORNACKI: So, as we just said before the break, some new developments in
this train derailment in New York City here. We are now reporting that
there are four deaths in this Metro-North train derailment, this was
apparently the 544 train from Poughkeepsie. An F.D., a fire department
spokesman say that there are, quote, "numerous serious injuries at the
scene of the derailment." You`re seeing some pictures there. This is
something we are going to be keeping our eye on. Our producer is obviously
getting more and more news by the second. They are putting it together and
we will have more assume as it becomes available.
In the meantime, we are still here at the table and while we kind of put
this story together, I think we`ll just - we can, you know, continue a bit
with the discussion that we`ve been having and bear in mind, we might have
to shift gears in a second. But Goldie was just raising an interesting
point before the break there, I think, too, in terms of how much of this
outreach that we are probably - we`re talking about Republicans, minority
outreach for Republicans, how much of it is actually aimed at winning over
African-American voters, winning over minority voters and how much of it is
aimed at making, you know, suburban white voters feel comfortable with a
GEORGE: Hey, they care about it, you know?
BACON: Ultimately, we`ll never know. I mean they are not going to
announce it to you, this is a fake initiative. But look at what Chris
Christie did, that`s what the RNC`s model is. When you talk to them, they
want to figure out can we find a way? Christie had some of his staffers
the Republicans have hired in New Jersey appealing to Latinos voters in
particular. If you can find a Republican get 40 percent of Latino vote, 15
percent of the black vote, you will win the election really easily. And
that`s what they want. So, I don`t doubt that they want to bring in more
minority voters. And I think that`s certainly part of - also it does help
appeal to other -- increasingly, the world becomes more diverse, you don`t
want to be the party known as the party of white voters.
BACON: So, this is two - two prone (inaudible) well.
FRANKEN: One of the things, one of the things, they absolutely are going
to have to rethink is their minority voter suppression efforts. In parts
of the country that are now Republican strongholds. And it`s important to
point out, and you mentioned this just a moment ago, Robert, about the move
to the south and the west. Those were fueled by bigotry. There was a
Southern strategy which was aimed at attracting the whites who had been
yellow dog Democrats.
KORNACKI: Civil rights backlash.
FRANKEN: That`s right. That kind of thing. And that`s why they are in
the south and the west. So, that is a tradition that is still honored in
the Republican Party, at least certainly major elements.
KORNACKI: How much - so, I`m curious, Robert, as our sort of resident
conservative here at the table, the reaction of some conservatives.
GEORGE: I`m in residency .
KORNACKI: And I don`t want to say .
FRANKEN: (inaudible) talk to you.
KORNACKI: I don`t want to say, all conservatives, because it`s not. But
there have been some like very prominent conservatives who I think in the
Obama years have responded to the Obama presidency with rhetoric and with
the attacks on the president that are very racially charged. And how much
has - how much has the reaction from some - some conservatives set back,
the broader conservative project in terms of - to President Obama - the
broader conservative project in terms of appealing to African-American
GEORGE: I mean I think - yeah, I mean I think there is an issue that, I
mean, you know, when you have a Southern congressman yelling "You lie" in
the middle of a - in the middle of the State of the Union address, there is
that belief that there is an attitude toward the president that is touched
upon race. And you, you know, that`s exactly - that`s exactly right. And
that - there`s an aspect, the Republican Party has to recognize that, you
know, appearances and rhetoric actually matters, which is one of the
reasons why Chris Christie, you know, was smart, following -- following
Sandy, Hurricane Sandy. You know, embracing the president. Because look,
he`s the president of the United States. He`s somebody he needs to work
with to get pay to his state. And Christie, of course, has taken, some,
you know, hit from the Republicans on it. But that was smart - it wasn`t
just smart politically, it was just smart - it was just smart in reality.
And if, you know, Republicans don`t, you know, kind of recognize that there
is politics on one side and rhetoric on the other side, they can still
work, you know, work with the president, respect the office, you know,
respect the man, even if you are, you know disagreeing.
KORNACKI: We keep hearing - as we keep hearing the name Chris Christie
come up here, and Chris Christie just put together this sort of broad
coalition in New Jersey. Besides Chris Christie they`ve got Rand Paul out
there. Rand Paul seems an imperfect outreach.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
GEORGE: Who else - who else is there?
KORNACKI: Jeb bush is talking. Now .
TAYLOR: He`s been out of politics for a decade.
FRANKEN: But if you are talking about three, four, or five people. I
mean, you know, this is the party is a lot larger than that. You don`t
need a big tent for that.
FRANKEN: You need a little teeny, tiny pup tent.
KORNACKI: Are there Republicans out there today who you could say are Jack
TAYLOR: Well, the fact of the matter is - Well, the fact of the matter is
that the bench is shallow because certainly someone who plays that kind of
game isn`t welcome in all quarters of this party and all quarters of this
country. And so, if you are talking about the kinds of policies and
answers that some of these communities are looking for, then maybe you are
considered a rhino (ph), a Republican in name only, maybe you`re not
considered really a dyed in the wool Republican, and that gets you into a
lot of trouble, you know, for someone like a Chris Christie who everybody
saw - heralds maybe he would be a great general election candidate, maybe
not. My thing is he has got to get out of the Republican primary, and how
does he do that, in North Carolina, in Georgia, in Oklahoma, in New Mexico.
How does he get out of a GOP primary if he is seen as a moderate, sort of a
Yankee liberal, for the rest of the Republicans in the country?
BACON: (inaudible). I`m not sure when in the Jack Kemp era there were
many Jack Kemp Republicans either. In `96, the Dole candidate (inaudible)
campaign that had Jack - you know, (inaudible) kept on won I think ten
percent of the black votes.
BACON: And Romney won six or seven percent last time. This doesn`t exist
- There has been African-Americans are predominantly Democratic and have
been for a very long time. We could say voter idealism not helping the
Republicans, but I think Hillary Clinton will do very well with African-
Americans. Barack Obama did. John Kerry did. So it`s not .
TAYLOR: I`m not going to let Hillary Clinton take the black vote for
granted, because the Clintons are out there now, trying to repair the kinds
of broken bounds that they have got.
KORNACKI: I`m so glad you brought up that, because there`s a piece of news
I wanted to get this in this morning because you had the primary, the
Obama/Clinton primary, in 2008, you had some comments that were made, some
comments by Bill Clinton himself, people around the Clintons, that I think,
you know, caused some damage in terms of the relationship between Clinton
and the African-American community. The "New York Times" this morning has
an article about the outreach the Clintons are now doing, and quotes Al
Sharpton, this networks own Al Sharpton, who`s saying, I think that this is
an effort to repair whatever damage they felt may have done in `08. He
said, there are some speaking - there are some in the African-American
community who have lingering questions, if not an antipathy, towards them.
TAYLOR: You are talking about three strikes you are out, you`re talking
about welfare reform that came to the Clinton era. He`s got a lot of
thing, a lot of Clinton era legacy that`s unraveling, you know, people are
taking a second look at now that I don`t believe, you know. I think that
at the end of the day, African-American voters can be won back, but I don`t
believe they are solidly in a Clinton camp today, because of that .
GEORGE: But actually, welfare reform, actually was a successful policy and
actually, I think was good for the -- good for many parts of African-
TAYLOR: I don`t know - but I don`t know the African-American who has
BACON: We had - 85 percent approval rating among African-Americans right
now, which is fairly close to President Obama. She is doing - she starts
at a very high place.
GEORGE: And it`s not like there`s another Barack Obama that is going to be
challenging Hillary Clinton in the primaries.
TAYLOR: I think, you know, that .
FRANKEN: There is certainly more in the Clinton camp than there are in the
Republican Party. That kind of thing. I mean, you know, derisively that
office in Detroit is being called the separate but equal outreach center.
FRANKEN: You know, which is, of course, a code word for racism.
KORNACKI: Right. All right, well, I want to thank Thomas Robert George
for joining us this morning, we are going to have more on politics and the
latest on the breaking news here in New York City. We`ll update you on
that when we come back.
KORNACKI: So, there`s now some more we can tell you about that Metro-North
train derail here in New York City. As we said, we are reporting there are
four people now who are dead, at least 48 who are injured. The office of
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is now on his way to the scene. The
New York fire department says 130 firefighters are currently there on the
scene. Metro-North says that there were four - this was a seven-car train
in total. Four or five of those cars derailed. This happened 100 yards
north of the station, just as the train was rounding a curve before the
Spuyten Duyvil Station in the Bronx. It happened 100 yards from that
station. Again, Governor Andrew Cuomo is on his way to the scene right
now. More than 130 firefighters there. As we said, there are reports now
of four people dead, dozens more injured. Obviously, still developing
story, obviously something we will keep you updated on as we learn more.
KORNACKI: For millions of Americans, Thanksgiving means going home, it
means packing your bags and enduring travel hell, clogged highways, airline
delays, bad weather, but then also finally making your way back to wherever
it is you come from, getting to see your parents, they are getting a little
older now, getting to sleep in your old bedroom again maybe, getting to see
people you grew up with, to marvel at how much they have changed or how
little they have changed, to watch your terrible high school football team
lose its rivalry game.
It also means seeing relatives you only see once a year on Thanksgiving for
a big, extended family Thanksgiving dinner, grandparents, aunts, uncles,
cousins, nieces, nephews, maybe everyone gets along just fine. Maybe there
is a little tension just beneath the surface. Uncle Andy is still mad that
Aunt Amy wouldn`t invest in his can`t-miss business idea a few years ago, I
don`t know, something like that. But all too often, no matter what
anyone`s intention there is a landmine just waiting to be stepped on,
Maybe your Tea Party uncle starts yelling at your college nephew who after
half a semester has decided he`s socialist, or your Kennedy-loving mother
starts fighting with her Sarah Palin-glasses wearing sister. The one who
wants to make sure you got that email she forwarded you, about how the
president wasn`t actually born in America. This phenomenon is so
pervasive, that all sorts of survival guides came out last week before the
holiday, "Ten unsatisfying rules for disagreeing with friends and family
over the holidays." There is one. Or "Tired of people talking politics at
Thanksgiving? Here is how you can stop them."
You get the idea. Well, it has been three days now since this year`s
Thanksgiving and we are all back from our family Thanksgiving tables. We
are back here at the "UP" table. Our belts might be a little tighter and
now we have pastries instead of turkey, but I bet there are some stories to
tell. So, I want to know, how did it go? Talk about it. We`ve got Perry
Bacon from the Grio, Rick Hertzberg, from "the New Yorker," Bob Franken and
MSNBC contributor, Goldie Taylor. So, I`ve got my thrilling, exciting
family Thanksgiving stories, actually, they weren`t too thrilling and
exciting this year. We`ve had some in the past, though. But I want to
know what was it -- who talked politics with their family, and then how did
it go this year? Goldie, I know it sounded like you had a particularly
interesting family Thanksgiving. Tell us about it.
TAYLOR: you know, it isn`t often, but my family came to Atlanta from East
St. Louis and so we had a sort of wild and raucous Thanksgiving, a great
one, got to spend time with my 80-year-old aunt. But her oldest daughter,
my cousin, Janice, we call her Bump, loves President Obama and I mean, she
idolizes him. She named her shiatsu Mr. President.
TAYLOR: And so I meet Mr. President, the small, white dog over
Thanksgiving. And I`m -- hilarity ensues, but the real story is my mom had
some really important questions about the Affordable Care Act and that she
and my oldest nephew had enrolled online. They paid that first payment.
They weren`t sure about a lot of things and so there are lots of questions
to be asked. But what didn`t happen this Thanksgiving? As we don`t do a
lot of disagreement. I think first of all, my family`s learned not to
disagree with me.
TAYLOR: But I .
KORNACKI: So it`s happened in the past?
TAYLOR: But it did happen in the past. But I think there was a bit of a
concern because, you know, I do come from a family that I think
overwhelmingly voted for this president. I think there was a concern about
the Affordable Health Care Act. I think there was a concern about his
presidency in general because, you know, they are hearing all of this bad
news, you know.
KORNACKI: The Obama supporters who want to know, hey is this thing going
TAYLOR: Is this thing going to work?
KORNACKI: Is it going to be OK?
TAYLOR: No, my family specifically wanted to know, is he going to be OK?
You know, not in any way that they were thinking that he had done some bad
thing, but what are they doing to him in Washington was a real concern from
KORNACKI: What did you tell them?
TAYLOR: I said he is going to be great. I think this president`s legacy
is as secure as any other president`s, I think, will be - this Affordable
Care Act, this healthcare.gov will work at some point. I have enrolled
certainly. And so I think that at the end of the day, that will stand as
his, you know, sort of shining achievement when it begins to shine. Right
now, we are still sort of in the making of the sausage age of things. What
I don`t believe is, I don`t count him off as a lame duck president. I
think he does have some remaining agenda to achieve. How much of it
achievable? You know that remains to be - remains to be seen.
KORNACKI: So Bob, what was the Franken family Thanksgiving? Take us
FRANKEN: Well, first of all, you might not have known this, but this is
where the term "food fight" came.
FRANKEN: And my experience is, that this will surprise you, but I`m a bit
of a provocateur. And what somebody will talk about on normally - do the
yes button kind of questions and all that, which is to say that it can get
kind of rancorous. That`s always been the case.
KORNACKI: You`re saying you troll your family?
FRANKEN: And the other Thanksgiving tradition is that my wife is angry at
me on the way home.
FRANKEN: But there is a tendency when you got the family, to sort of let
your guard down a little bit and your inhibitions and to say what`s on your
mind. And that is to say if you`re arguing, they are usually not the usual
tactful things that are said .
KORNACKI: So, what did you stir the pot on this year?
FRANKEN: Well, you know, if I`m talking to Democrats, of course I`m
emphasizing Obamacare. If I`m talking to Republicans, I`m talking about
the government shutdown. And that type of thing. It`s usually a very
lively conversation as I said followed by some hard feelings. The problem
with that is that tradition of being either for something or against
something has, frankly, spread to our whole society, and that is a problem
we are having as a nation.
KORNACKI: What about you, Rick, what was the Thanksgiving?
HERTZBERG: Well, I would spend the Thanksgiving with the Whitman side of
the family, that`s my mother`s relatives. We get about 30 cousins, second
cousins, third cousins, around the table. And this year, it looked like
for the first time we might have some disagreement, because it was
announced with great fanfare that Diane Whitman, that`s our hostess and
that her brother, Frank, was a Republican.
HERTZBERG: And so I said, oh, boy, now we are going to have one of those
family fights I read so much about, but we never have. And so, we started
in on the budget and the deficit and that was looking promising, but when
we got to the social issues, we went right back to peacefulness, because it
turns out he is a libertarian.
HERTZBERG: So, he`s totally on board with gay marriage and legalizing
marijuana and all that stuff. So, our big family feud just fell through.
KORNACKI: And this was disappointing for you, because you were looking
forward to it - you were looking forward to that.
HERTZBERG: Yeah, that`s right. I was rehearsing for .
KORNACKI: What about you, Perry?
BACON: So, my wife and I usually go to see our parents, one of our
parents. This year, we hosted ourselves. It was my wife and I and five of
our friends who are all -- work in politics in some way. I think we are
looking (inaudible), but it was me. I think about it. I learned a lot
about Kim and Kanye and that video, which I had not seen before.
BACON: I`ve been spending too much time prepping, too, because we passed
around the iPad, looked at that - of Seth Rogan mockery of it. The
political discussion in our house was kind of, since we all, like two
(inaudible) appointees, was kind of like it ended up with Steve episode.
We talk about who will be Hillary Clinton`s campaign manager, we discussed
the SEC, but not the football conference, but the Security Exchange
Commission, which had an article in "The New Yorker." As one of my friends
is an SEC lawyer. So we had - we wonked out, seriously.
KORNACKI: So, you had the most boring Thanksgiving?
KORNACKI: That`s what I`m getting from that.
Well, we will pick this up. We do want to just update you again, a little
bit more, awkward shift here, I`m sorry, but this is a breaking news story,
it`s a terrible story in the Bronx, just a few miles from here actually.
Again, now this - you`re seeing the scenes from this train derailment, four
or five cars from the seven-car train about 100 yards from the station in
the Bronx, went off the tracks. Reports of four dead, 48 injured.
Governor Cuomo, Andrew Cuomo, from New York, at the scene. Cuomo is going
to be briefing with other city officials. Our local NBC station is
reporting. It was the front four cars of the seven-car train that
derailed. The MTA, that is the agency that runs the train system here,
says it was the 5:54 A.M. train from Poughkeepsie to New York, it was due
to arrive at Grand Central Station at 7:43. The derailment occurred at
7:20 this morning. Again, 100 yards north of that station, the Spuyten
Duyvil station - Spuyten Duyvil, certainly I`m not pronouncing it right, in
the Bronx on a curve section of the track. More details, and more
pictures, obviously, a lot to be unfolding there in the next few hours. We
will keep you posted and we will pick this up right after this.
KORNACKI: So, pick the discussion back up again about what Thanksgiving
dinner was like, politics, the family, eating, food fight, this sort of
thing, a bunch of people on Twitter were relaying some of their experiences
this past Thursday. I thought we might run through a few of those. This
is from Salon`s Brian Beutler, he`s been on the show before. He said "the
best way to navigate uncomfortable Thanksgiving family politics talk is to
drink tremendous volumes of alcohol. I had to drive home on Thursday, so
that wasn`t available to me. We have Buzzfeed`s Matt Zeitlin. He wrote,
"If I can get to the kickoff of the Raiders game without hearing that
Jordan should take back the West Bank ."
KORNACKI: "I`ll be very thankful." Rachel Syme, she`s a journalist, she
tweeted on Thursday, "Mom just declared it was designed to fail and they
wanted it that way. Holiday has officially begun."
KORNACKI: Slate`s Matt Iglesias, "Everyone in my family has pretty similar
political views, so there is not that much to argue about at Thanksgiving."
Well, that was boring.
KORNACKI: So - Ben White, "The best way to talk about politics at
Thanksgiving is to shut up and get over yourself." And then I tweeted live
from our family gathering, I said politics is tearing my family apart right
now over the subject of the recently enacted municipal parking ban for the
KORNACKI: I`m not kidding about that. My sister lives in a -- started
talking about how the street - the cars can`t park on the street in the
winter. An hour later, I come back in the room and there is still a
heated, strong, strong opinions on this subject. I actually ..
TAYLOR: All politics is local.
KORNACKI: It truly is.
FRANKEN: But, you know, there are two ways to save a Thanksgiving dinner,
one is, you talked about the SEC, but the SEC, that is to say the southeast
conference, is the way to save the Thanksgiving dinner. Excuse yourself
and go watch some television. The other way is something that we did this
year, we have a dog, Mingus, golden retriever. He really civilizes things.
You know, as a matter of fact, some friends of ours brought over their dog.
And it was like they are so distracting and so loveable that it really
takes the heat out of a Thanksgiving dinner, to say nothing of most of the
food on the table.
KORNACKI: TV and dogs. I guess it`s - But I`m with you, Bob, and I
remember, this wasn`t a Thanksgiving gathering, this was a Christmas
gathering when I was a kid, family in our town, Christmas eve, I think we
went over there, a few other people were over there, I remember one of the
people who was there, her father was from Scotland and he was there and he
was an out and out proud, admitted socialist. And this is in a suburban
town, a lot of Republicans in the suburban town. A lot of Republicans in
this room. And I was too young to sort of understand exactly. I
understood that the socialist bothered the suburbanites, and so I had a
good time that night sort of egging him on and getting this reaction. That
was - I enjoyed that.
FRANKEN: What`s really good about having a Scottish socialist as part of
the conversation, I don`t know about everybody else, but I`ve never been
able to understand a word that any Scots speak.
KORNACKI: They could understand, and that`s enough.
TAYLOR: Well, you would have heard everything that my aunt Geraldine had
to say on Thanksgiving. She was riled up about Wal-Mart being opened on
Thanksgiving. Not only was she riled up that they were open and that other
stores were open, and that there were nieces and nephews and others in the
family who had to go to work that night, but she was upset that people were
actually shopping on this holiday and that they were feeding into this sort
of, you know, she said what could you possibly need tonight that you can`t
get tomorrow? And so that started a very -- there was not a lot of dissent
but there was a very passionate conversation about, you know, what`s
happening to our world, what`s happening to consumerism, what`s happening
to children, what do we find, you know, sort of permissible in this world.
And I did not anticipate, because there are a number of my family members
who are loyal Wal-Mart shoppers and many of them said, we`re not going back
for a while until we kind of get past this.
KORNACKI: It will be interesting to see if there`s -- if this can be
measured, too, if there`s any kind of backlash with the attention, I got to
see, but Goldie, you had said, and then we coupled these tweets, we
mentioned the same thing, a lot of agreement, political agreement and then
certainly yours, too, are popping up. There is an interesting stat here,
this was a sort of a social science study done a few years ago that
measured different traits among spouses and sort of like, they were most
likely to have in common what they were least likely to have in common.
Most likely thing they were to have in common was church attendance. The
next most likely thing was political attitudes. And then the least likely
thing is neuroticism. So I guess if one person is neurotic .
TAYLOR: There has to be a problem.
KORNACKI: It seems like there is some, you know .
KORNACKI: There`s some, you know, maybe this is a trend or something, but
it`s, you know, you want to be married to somebody with and you want to be
part of a family that largely sees eye to eye with you politically. So,
maybe these -- these, you know, great Thanksgiving family political food
fights are going to be a thing of the past, if we -- if that trend
GERTZBERG: Yeah, it`s like the self-segregation politically that`s going
on where all the Democrats are clumping in one community and all the
Republicans in the other. So the people they are meeting are likely to be
the same, so we don`t get the bipartisan marriages that we used to, which
is too bad. Because I think there is a lot of heat in those marriages.
KORNACKI: The Mary Matalin/James Carville?
FRANKEN: . a few years. Exactly.
KORNACKI: You`ve got a best-selling book out of this. So, there is
incentive. Go marry a Republican.
TAYLOR: My Aunt Gerri would call this equally yoked, that I think the
study talked about, you know, the frequency of church attendance that we
talked about political ideology, that talked about, you know, the frequency
at which you have, you know, cocktails, and so she would call this, you
know, water seeking its own level, being equally yoked in marriage and that
for her, at least, her theology around this, is that that makes for a
longer term marriage. I don`t know if that pans out to be true or not, but
the people that I would marry or date, I tend to sort - you know, when I
meet them. If you say something that I find particularly offensive when it
comes to something about maybe women`s reproductive rights or immigration
reform or -- heaven forbid if you say something bad about healthcare.org .
TAYLOR: We`re probably not going to have a very long conversation.
KORNACKI: There you go.
FRANKEN: The all-encompassing word here is "values."
FRANKEN: Now, within the framework of values, you can have differences of
opinion about politics or a variety of different things. And if you`re
having your typical dinner, you have several generations there, and that`s
where you`re going to get into discussions about such things as gay
marriage. I mean the fact of the matter is, a generation ago, there was an
entirely different view of that. And on certain racial matters ...
FRANKEN: And certainly, on women`s rights. And all those kinds of things.
For the sake of an argument, which is what we`re talking about here, you
can just go back and forth on that kind of thing. But at the end of the
day, you`ll probably realize that you pretty much share the values, the
KORNACKI: Right. So, again, we`ll - we have to transition back to the
breaking news here. It`s just - it`s a little awkward, I`m sorry, but it`s
just terrible news and we have to bring you the latest on this. Train
derailment in the Bronx. Again, you`re seeing some pictures there. As
we`ve been reporting, four dead, at least 48 injured. Now 12 of those
injuries, critical. We`re learning that the first responders have finished
their initial search of the rail cars and it appears that everyone is off
of the trains. They`re rechecking so the search is not finished. They`ve
only finished the initial search. The NTSB is on its way to the accident
site. They`re supposed to be there this afternoon. Our local affiliate
here in New York, WNBC, also says that the FBI is on its way to the scene.
They stress that there`s no evidence, no evidence at this time of
criminality. But I think in a matter like this, they`re going to call the
FBI in to check just in case the FBI is on its way to the scene. Governor
Andrew Cuomo, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, other city officials from New
York, they are already on the scene. And they are going to be - they are
going to be getting a briefing at any time. I think they`ll also be
updating the public at some point as well. So that is the latest. You`re
looking at the latest pictures, again, just a few miles from here, four
people are dead right now, 12 are critically injured in this train
derailment. We will continue to keep an eye on it and let you know what we
KORNACKI: So we`ve been bringing you the latest this morning from that
train derailment in the Bronx. We have been reporting this morning that
four people died in this derailment. We can now say NBC News can say that
three separate city and state sources confirm that four people died in that
derailment. There is also a senior fire department official who is telling
the -- a senior fire department official is saying that the injury toll
maybe as high as 67. I think we had previously said 48. Maybe as high as
67 and that 11 of those are in critical condition. We`ve been saying 12.
This official saying 11. So at least 11 people are in critical condition.
You`re also -- we have here that the NTSB is going to be launching, the
National Transportation Safety Board is going to be launching an
investigation into the derailment. There`s a team that will be leaving
Washington at 11:00 A.M. this morning and they will be holding a media
availability -- they`ll be talking to the press before they leave.
You can see in the video there, I think there are scuba divers who are in
the water. Again, we had -- the word we had received earlier was that they
had -- they had completed their initial sweep of the cars and found nobody
else on the cars, at least in the initial sweep. There are now,
apparently, as you can clearly see in the screen there are scuba divers in
the water. So, we don`t know if anybody is in the water. They`re looking
for that, they`re obviously looking into that right now. If anything from
the train happens to be in the water, but there are scuba divers there too.
So, again, four dead, at least 11 critical injuries, maybe as many as 67
injuries, although that number has risen throughout the morning. NTSB on
its way and will be holding a press conference before they leave
Washington. I want to thank our guests who are with us today for rolling
with us. Melissa Harris-Perry is coming up next and she will obviously be
keeping an eye on this story as well.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning, my question. Is there
any convincing Dan Snyder to change the name of his football team? Plus,
the nerd pie. We asked and you answered. Pie pictures are coming your way
this morning. And a major development in the story of Courtney Andrews.
But first, a reminder of the reason for the season from one of our favorite
Good morning, I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.
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