UP with STEVE KORNACKI
December 8, 2013
Guest: Benjy Sarlin, Ann Lewis, Ana Marie Cox, Sahil Kapur, Richard
Blumenthal, Sarah Posner, Raymond Flynn
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Another cold December morning as we draw
closer to the shortest day of the year, we find ourselves starting to think
about time. Time, which is running out on the law that keeps plastic guns
from being able to make it through metal detectors at airports and schools.
And even if Congress does renew that law in time this week, it may come
with a pretty big loophole: is anything going to happen this week? We`ll
also be taking a look this morning at everyone`s fascination with the new
pope. Pope Francis. With what may be an evolution on his part away from
hot button social issues and toward economic ones. He`s got liberals
loving him. He`s got conservatives attacking him. He`s like no pope we
have seen before. Speaking of the Catholic Church, since it is a Sunday,
we thought we would introduce or maybe reintroduce our guests to the
sacrament of confession, we will be unburdening ourselves of our unpopular
political opinions. You might want to stick around for that. And while
when is an important question in politics, so is where. As in where do you
live, where do you come from? We`re going to talk Liz Cheney, Scott Brown,
and the art of carpetbagging. We`ve got five easy steps to make sure you
don`t mess it up.
But, first, no one likes waiting in line to go through airport security.
But it is something we all have to do. We do it willingly. We do it
patiently, usually. Just as we have done for the past 40 years. Before
then, before the 1970s, U.S. airports did not have that much in the way of
security. But a spate of airline hijackings changed that and those attacks
led to the introduction of metal detectors at American airports in 1973.
And once metal couldn`t get through, guns couldn`t get through. I mean
that was the idea at least. But what if metal detectors or even X-ray
machines weren`t enough, what then? What if plastic guns became a
perfectly legal thing to have in this country? What if a kind of detector
you would need to keep those plastic firearms from getting through?
The U.S. does have a law banning any guns that can go undetected by metal
detectors and X-ray machines, it`s a law that is set to expire tomorrow
night. The clock is ticking for Congress to renew it. And this week on
Tuesday, this past week, the House did vote to extend the law as is. Which
means that it is now up to the Senate to renew the law as well. The
trouble is, there are some lawmakers who say the current legislation is out
of date. It was written in 1988, 25 years ago when, quite frankly, the
idea of a plastic gun that could fire real bullets and not just tap water
was more science fiction. This week on Tuesday, as we said, the house
voted to extend that law. Sorry. Got a little teleprompter screw up here.
I`m reading the same thing over and over again. But the -- it is on to the
Senate now, and what is -- what makes it so complicated in the Senate is
the fact that senators are basically -- some senators, particularly
Democratic senators, who are saying that the law doesn`t go far enough as
it is currently written. So the question now, the dilemma now, that the
Senate faces this week is do you pass this law, do you renew this law that
was created in 1988, do you take the extension that you can get on that for
another ten years, or do you wage a fight, do you push a fight here, saying
we want this law to go farther, we want new provisions in there that would
make it impossible for guns that could be printed on these new 3D printers
that are coming out. It would make it impossible for those guns to pass
through airport security. So that is the dilemma that they are -- that
they are facing.
Now to give you a little bit of history and a little bit of context for
this, you really have to go back to the last time that there was a major
successful push in this country for new gun laws. It was a long push. It
took 12 years. It started in 1981. It started when President Ronald
Reagan had just finished speaking. The AFL-CIO at the Washington Hilton.
And within moments of that speech, that hotel gained a new nickname, the
Hinckley Hilton. And president was shot, he was taken to George Washington
University Hospital, and this is where some of the legend of Ronald Reagan
comes from. Because the story goes that his doctors and nurses frantically
attended to his wounds, he turned to a Secret Service agent and he said, I
hope they`re all Republicans. It turned out that Reagan would be OK that
day. But it was a closer call, a much closer call we`ve learned in the
years since then than just about anybody who realized at the time.
And fate was a lot less kind to Reagan`s press secretary, a man named James
Brady. The first bullet had struck him in the head and Brady was
permanently disabled by his injuries. He was left in persistent pain. He
officially remained the White House press secretary for the rest of
Reagan`s presidency, but that was ceremonial. He never performed that role
again. He worked full time on his recovery for the rest of the
administration and as James Brady tended to his health in the 1980S, his
wife Sarah, the daughter of an FBI agent, grew more and more interested and
impassionate about a simple question what could our government do, what
could law enforcement do, what could all of us do through our political
system to prevent tragic stories like her family`s? She worked on some gun
control issues in the 1970s, but never like this. In 1986, five years
after her husband`s shooting, after Congress actually relaxed some federal
gun restrictions, Sarah Brady was so moved that she became the face of a
group called Handgun Control Incorporated. And she set a goal, a
legislative goal, something that would be called the Brady Bill. A seven-
day waiting period for the purchase of a handgun.
But like we were saying, these things do take time. Sarah Brady spoke up,
she spoke out, she pushed for the Brady Bill, and nothing happened. And
then Ronald Reagan left office in 1989, and Jim Brady decided at that point
it was time for him to speak up as well, and he did so in moving testimony
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES BRADY, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO PRESIDENT REAGAN: Of course, I am
honored to be here, but it is not the honor that compelled me to appear
before you today. It is the anger. Anger at a congress that just a year
ago failed to pass a measure, which would reduce the handgun violence by
plaguing our nation. I had no choice but to be here today because of too
many members of Congress have been gutless on this issue. I`m not here to
complain. But since you`re here, I`ll complain a little.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: For all he had been through, Jim Brady still had his wits, he
still had his charm and he still had some pull. It took another two years,
but on the tenth anniversary of the shooting of Ronald Reagan, Brady`s old
boss returned to George Washington University with him, and he made a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN: I want to tell all of you here today something that I`m not
sure you know. You do know that I am a member of the NRA. And my position
on the right to bear arms is well known. But I want you to know something
else. And I`m going to say it in clear, unmistakable language. I support
the Brady Bill and I urge the Congress to enact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: There was a standing ovation and Reagan wasn`t through.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REAGAN: It`s just plain common sense that there be a waiting period to
allow local law enforcement officials to conduct background checks on those
who wish to buy a handgun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And there it was, the voice of the modern conservative
revolution talking about plain common sense when it came to gun laws.
Reagan then went over to the White House to visit with President George
H.W. Bush, his old vice president. He was on the record opposing the Brady
Bill. There were news reports from White House source back then that the
administration, they said, that Republican administration maybe it was
reconsidering its position. According to the "New York Times," a National
Rifle Association official heard of Reagan`s announcement, looked at the
picture of Reagan he kept on his desk and said, don`t do this to me. But
for all of that, Reagan support by itself still wasn`t enough. The Bush
administration came and went and still there was no Brady Bill. It took
another election. The election of 1992, in which Sarah Brady, a life-long
Republican, the daughter of that FBI agent, she supported the Democrat,
Bill Clinton. And she supported him because he supported the Brady Bill.
And in the fall of Clinton`s first year in office, with Clinton`s party in
control of the House and of the Senate, it actually happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the East Room of the White House today, it was not
just an ordinary presidential ceremony, the end of a long road for Jim and
Sarah Brady, parents of the Brady Bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was a road more than 12 years long. But at last gun
control supporters could smile. The Brady Bill was now law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: And now we`re here to tell the NRA
that their nightmare is true, we`re back.
SCHUMER: We`re not going away after Brady. We have a lot to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Chuck Schumer, a much younger congressman Chuck Schumer
back then and he wasn`t entirely wrong when he said that. Congress did
pass and Clinton did sign an assault weapons ban months later. But when
they lost in a landslide in the 1994 midterms, many Democrats blamed their
gun activism for it. And they did so again when Al Gore lost the White
House in 2000. The 2004, when that assault weapons ban was up for renewal,
there was some clamoring from some Democrats, but Republicans were in
control on Capitol Hill by then and the ban just expired.
When the Brady Bill became a reality there was a promise of a wave of new
gun control laws, but it wasn`t to be. In the 20 years since then there
has been Columbine, there has been Virginia Tech, there has been Aurora,
there has been so many tragedies like these. One year ago next week, there
was Newtown. Sandy Hook Elementary School, the mass shooting that took the
lives of 20 children, six teachers. When that happened, everyone it
seemed, at least, everyone agreed that something should be done, that
something finally would be done. But here we are, a year later, and
nothing. Maybe, maybe we will see this week the reauthorization of an
outdated gun law to keep plastic guns off airplanes. Maybe. And if that
happens, that will be it. That will be the total sum of successful gun
legislation in the 365 days after Newtown.
That`s a lesson, a sobering maddening lesson of how the Brady Bill became
the Brady law. Gun legislation can take time. It can take 12 years. And
that was back when Congress actually got a lot more done. What is the
realistic timetable now? And does it have to stay this way? All right, to
discuss this all, I want to bring in Ana Marie Cox, she is a political
columnist at "The Guardian," Sahil Kapur, he is a congressional reporter at
TalkingPointsMemo.com, MSNBC.com political reporter Benjy Sarlin and Ann
Lewis, a former senior advisor to Hillary Clinton`s presidential campaign
and before that, director of communications in President Bill Clinton`s
administration. Thank you, all, for joining us.
And I apologize to you and the viewers for the teleprompter malfunction at
the beginning of this. You know, you make fun of how people on TV become
so reliant on that and then you feel it up there and you have sympathy for
KORNACKI: Who has ever been through that before. But anyway, we got
through that history on that and I think that history sets up -- you know,
the moment we`re sort of at right now this week, the sort of the small
picture right now is this plastic guns bill, the big picture is the
question of Newtown and how nothing has happened. Let`s start, Sahil, with
the question of what`s going to happen or not happen on Capitol Hill this
week with this -- pass the House, that reauthorized this plastic weapons,
you know, ban, Democrats like Chuck Schumer saying they want to expand
this, they want to account for this 3D technology in the Senate. What is
actually going to happen this week?
SAHIL KAPUR, TALKING POINTS MEMO.COM: I think what is going to happen is
that the senators who want to go a little further, who want - who, you
know, who say this is not enough and who say the issue of 3D printed guns
needs to be dealt with as a matter of law, it needs to be expanded a little
bit, they`re going to make that position on, but I think they`re going to
pass the House bill at the end of the day. I think everyone admits that`s
better than nothing and the reality today, the really sad depressing
reality is you have to get the NRA support to pass any gun bill. And that
you not support an expansion of this, they are OK, with an extension of
current laws. So, I think that`s what`s going to happen at the end of the
KORNACKI: So, what - I mean part of the sort of political strategy of
this, I think is one of the reason -- Chuck Schumer has been talking about
maybe making this a one-year extension. And the idea being maybe that if
you extend it for a year, then it comes up after the 2014 elections and
then maybe you can pick up -- we`re always hearing about these Republicans
who are scared of Tea Party primary challenges. Maybe then you could --
after the election, you could pick them off in the lame duck session. And
it is a strategy to maybe get more comprehensive gun legislation then. Is
that - when you start looking at the futility of the last year, is that the
way you have to be thinking right now if you want to get anything through?
ANN LEWIS, FMR. SENIOR ADVISOR TO HILLARY CLINTON: Oh, absolutely. I
think you have to think long-term. I think you have to be politically
strategic. I really appreciated you starting with that little bit of
history. Because we were finally -- there were a lot of objections, a lot
of problems, we were able to pass legislation in the `90s. Why? If you
look at it, you had Ronald Reagan early `90s. I`m going to start there.
You had Ronald Reagan speaking out, you had bipartisan support around the
assault weapon ban. And some - was in the crime bill. You have law
enforcement officials. And this really was about they`re being the face of
that bill. I think those two pieces, and if you can`t get bipartisan
support, more law enforcement officials will turn out to be really
essential. Second comes in `94 election. It stops. I think we need more
good political news. Now, what political news do we have? Well,
interesting. 2012 election, it was perfectly clear there were differences
between Barack Obama and his opponents on the issues of guns. He won.
Virginia election, even more important because a border state, 2013,
governors` election, very different, debated some, Terry McAuliffe very
clear about where he was on gun safety. He won. On the other hand,
earlier in 2013 .
LEWIS: Recall elections in Colorado.
KORNACKI: See, you get the two - you get the two premier swing states in
the country sending opposite political wishes.
ANA MARIE COX, THE GUARDIAN: Which is more representative and which sort
of says more. I think Virginia probably says a little bit more. But I
actually wanted to talk a little bit about this bill and how and even in
the history that you showed, we have a history as a country to only react
to massive tragedies, like that`s our reason to pass any kind of gun
legislation. When really, like, the day to day violence in our country is
what stands out from the rest of the world. You know, and actually as I`m
sure everyone here knows, suicides outnumber gun violence homicides in this
country by kind of a lot. There is a CDC report, I think, just last month
that showed in the 50 most populous cities in the country, suicides
outnumber homicides by 18,000.
KORNACKI: But the mass tragedy, I mean that`s the amazing thing as we sort
of come up on this anniversary, this one-year anniversary, is that the mass
tragedy didn`t in this case, in the case of the Columbine, it didn`t
trigger any legislative action.
BENJY SARLIN, MSNBC.COM: And it triggered quite the attempt at getting
there. I mean the president really put this full force behind this, a lot
of members of Congress. But I remember right after that shooting, I talked
to Mark Glaze, he is the executive director of Mayors against Illegal Guns,
that`s Michael Bloomberg`s big money operation to pass these laws. The way
they talked about it then was that they were trying to overcome this
grassroots advantage, the NRA has, which is that Mayor Bloomberg has $20
billion, he can pump a lot of money into this. So can a few other
supportive billionaires. But the difference is that the NRA has 4 to 5
million members and when they get an action alert, they`ll actually will
call their congressmen, they`ll turn out to vote .
LEWIS: Yes, there you go.
SARLIN: . in low turnout legislative elections in Colorado, they will
write letters to their editor, and what they were trying to do with this
tragedy and the attention around it, was convince more people on the other
side to take that extra step, to start paying attention, signing up,
listening to these action alerts, listening to these emails and it seems on
a basic level they just haven`t been able to replicate what the NRA has.
LEWIS: And I think that is just one small point, which is larger election,
general elections, larger turnout, the fact that most people do have
commonsense views about this will succeed. The smaller we get, the more
motivated you have to be to turn out, again, the harder it is to pass. And
so, as we do our strategy going forward, take both of those .
KORNACKI: Another thing we mentioned, though, is you have the assault
weapons ban that was passed in 1994.
KORNACKI: They let it lapse in 2004. So, to just get the assault weapons
back -- ban back at some point, we`ll almost be going back in history ten,
20 years at this point. And at the outset of the legislative debate we had
this year, the futile legislative debate, one of the first things that was
taken off the table, was the assault weapons ban. So, we`re not even
talking about getting back to the level we were at a decade ago.
KAPUR: What is on the table now, what people wanted, the big thing that
people wanted after Newtown was background checks. That`s a nine to ten
issue. And it still didn`t happen. And this is why, I say, you need the
NRA support to get anything done. 90 percent of the public supports
something and it still couldn`t get through the Democratic Senate, let
alone the Republican House. The NRA will say jump, the entire Republican
Party almost and a fraction of the Democratic Party will do it. So, you
know, what happens now in Congress, I don`t see anything other than perhaps
an extension of this, because it is such an egregious thing, the idea of
getting guns past metal detectors and to bring them into places where they
really shouldn`t be. I think, you know, the fact that the House has passed
it, I think the Senate will do it and then they`ll talk about, you know,
where to go next. But this is on the table. This will come up again. It
is a matter of time. I don`t know when.
KORNACKI: Well, we have one of those Democratic senators who charged with
dealing with that this week, Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut. He`s
going to join us right after this.
KORNACKI: And we are talking about gun control and the plastic gun law
going before the Senate this week. It will be reconvening from its
Thanksgiving break tomorrow. And joining us now from Stanford,
Connecticut, one of the leading advocates of the Undetectable Firearms Act,
Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Senator, thanks for your time
this morning. We were just talking in this first segment about obviously,
we are coming up on the horrible one-year anniversary of the tragedy in
your state. And if there was a consensus, a political consensus in the
aftermath of that, it was that finally something was going to be done
legislatively about gun violence in this country after Newtown. And here
we are, a year later, and the background checks, you know, failed. We`re
talking about just extending a 1988 law, the fact that the NRA got through
this past year without anything more comprehensive happening, is the NRA
actually politically stronger now than it was a year ago?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D) CONNECTICUT: I don`t think so. I think that
the majority of Americans still favor common sense, sensible legislation
like background checks, mental health initiative, and a ban on straw
purchases and illegal trafficking. These kinds of common sense measures, I
think, are a matter of consensus, not only among the majority of Americans,
but even the majority of gun owners. The remarkable history that you
presented and thank you for doing it earlier, indicates that these fights
for gun violence prevention are not a sprint, they are a marathon. 12
years makes 12 months look like a sprint. And so I think that we need to
be persevering and persistent, what has been most impressive over this past
year, speaking very personally, are the strength and courage and resilience
of these families who have dedicated their lives, just as Sarah Brady did,
to making sure that America is made safer and better.
And we cannot allow this Undetectable Firearms Act to lapse. We`re talking
here about plastic guns that have absolutely no use in hunting or
recreational shooting. They`re designed simply to kill people, and evade
the metal detectors that we have at our sports arenas, courthouses,
schools, as well as airports.
KORNACKI: So, senator, that`s the dispute right now, the dilemma, I guess,
facing you and your fellow Democrats in the Senate is, do you take the law
as it is and as the House voted for it last week, and just extend it, or do
you say the law is insufficient because of this new 3D printing technology
and have a showdown over expanding this law a little bit? Are you good
with just extending the law as is and saying we at least need to get this
done right now, or do you want to have more of a legislative showdown here?
BLUMENTHAL: A short-term extension, perhaps, maybe for a year, so that we
can deal with the new technologies. Just so you understand what is at
stake here, and Senator Schumer is absolutely right in his really great
leadership on this issue, the 3D technology is advancing so quickly that
pretty soon access to using this printer, to make a plastic weapon, without
having to buy it from a manufacturer, is going to be more and more widely
available. What does that mean? It means that the metallic portion of
existing plastic manufactured guns, which is required to be 3.7 ounces, so
that it can be detected, soon will not be an essential feature of many of
these plastic weapons. So it is a loophole that needs to be closed.
Otherwise, the metal detectors simply won`t work on plastic guns. And
that`s why it is so important that we extend it, if we do, without closing
that loophole, only for a short period of time, so that we can deal with
this advancing technology.
KORNACKI: We are -- we are also talking about sort of the political
incentives that exist for both political parties when it comes to, you
know, how they`re going to vote on gun control issues. We`re talking about
how the Democrats passed the Brady Bill in 1993, they passed the assault
weapons ban in 1994 and they got some sort of electoral blowback in the
entire party, kind of in the years following that, de-emphasized gun
control. I`m wondering, as you talk to your colleagues in the Senate side,
maybe on the House side, as you talk to your colleagues in Washington, we
were talking earlier about what happened in Colorado this year, where
members of the states - and Democratic members of the state senate in a
swing state voted for relatively speaking modest gun control legislation
out there and they were recalled, they lost their jobs, the voters kicked
them out of office this year. Has that resonated politically with your
colleagues and maybe sapped some of their will to pursue gun control
BLUMENTHAL: Not really. I think that my colleagues look at the bigger
picture, as you correctly called it. The historic picture. And history is
clearly on our side. There are going to be recall elections and write-in
campaigns and movements of the moment. But in fact, in the long run,
Americans are on the side of gun safety. Even the hunters, let`s look at
the record here, eventually favored common sense measures. Who wants
deranged or dangerous mentally ill people or criminals or drug addicts to
have guns? That legislation banning those people from having guns passed
with the support of the NRA. What we`re talking about with background
checks is simply a means to enforce that law by doing checks to keep guns
out of their hands. Likewise, with mental health initiatives, there is
strong bipartisan support for a major initiative that would have identified
and treated and helped a person like Adam Lanza or others at the Naval Yard
shooting or elsewhere that essentially need that kind of help. Nancy Lanza
herself, his mother, probably could have used it. So this kind of common
sense basic measure supported by law enforcement, I think, will come
eventually and my colleagues, I think, want to do the right thing. And
that measure will be bipartisan.
KORNACKI: OK, we`re going to keep an eye on that. I want to thank Senator
Richard Blumenthal. Thank you for taking a few minutes this morning.
We`ll be right back up with the panel right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, D-ARIZONA: We must do
something. It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at the Senate Judiciary
Committee back in January. We`ll pick this up back here at the table. We
were talking a little bit in the break a few minutes ago about sort of one
of the differences between now and 20 years ago when real gun legislation
was getting through was the climate of crime.
KORNACKI: In the early 1990s, I think we have a poll here, this is in
1994, when the assault weapons ban was passed back in 1994, we took a poll
and asked people what is the biggest issue facing America, the top answer
was crime. This is 1994. If you take that same poll today, and here you
have in 2013, crime and violence comes in at two percent. How much of the
story is this?
COX: I think that`s probably the main story. I mean I think that, and it
is also true, like, like let`s get that out of the way, that crime and
violence, gun violence is down since then. But I`m just going to say it
again, like as long as we continue to focus on mass shootings and sort of
individual tragedies to get gun laws passed, like we`re not going to be as
successful as people seeing the everyday violence in their lives. Like in
that poll, people understood there is gun violence happening every day. It
is not just happening every once a while in a way that .
KORNACKI: And they felt it threatened them.
COX: Individually threatens, yes.
KORNACKI: It is coming to your community.
COX: There is going to be a person with a gun that will threaten you at
COX: And people just have lost that fear, which on the one hand, yeah, you
know, like we live in a safer society. And on the other hand, we can still
do more. We can still do more. I also just wanted to ask about support,
is there anyone arguing proactively on the side of plastic guns?
KORNACKI: I think what the debate is, though, it is about - it`s
Republicans not wanting this to go any farther.
KORNACKI: They don`t want that one year extension, as Senator Blumenthal
LEWIS: That`s exactly right. And I would say, it is, unfortunately, a
tribute to the power of the NRA, they don`t have to make these arguments
public. They just have to pass the work quietly among members of the House
and Senate that they don`t want any extension. And, of course, they pass
it to their own members. That`s a place we all want to get to. For those
of us who care about gun safety, for those of us who care, Senator
Blumenthal said, but common sense gun law, we need similar infrastructure.
SARLIN: Here is one of the problems with that, even if you get that
infrastructure, where you can apply real electoral pressure, where do you
apply it? Now, we`re in an election cycle right now where we`ve had this
huge shutdown, we`ve had all this trouble with the Obamacare rollout, all
this tumult. There is something like 14 of 15 races right now in the
entire House that are raided as a tossup, a true tossup by Charlie Cook
right now, the elections expert. So, part of the problem right now is that
because of gerrymandering, but much more because of just geographic trends,
geographic polarization, there aren`t a lot of members of Congress right
now who have to think about that threat from the middle.
KORNACKI: And there is also -- I feel like this is one of those issues,
too, where it sort of - it depends on the context of how people are
thinking about it. When you - in the wake of Newtown, when you ask people
about background checks, we see all these polls that say 90 percent. With
that 90 percent, how could Congress not act in the 90 percent issue? But
look, here is the poll that came out this week. Stricter gun control laws,
do you support or oppose stricter gun control laws? Oppose, 50 percent,
support, 49 percent. Background checks would be stricter. So, almost half
the country is basically saying, no, we don`t want strict - you know, we
don`t want background checks.
KORNACKI: That`s the net hole.
KAPUR: About the six point dip from what it was right after Newtown. And
I think the lesson here is that if you want to get something done, you have
to take the opportunity when the country is paying attention, when the
people are really kind of personally affected by seeing, you know, 20
children being gunned down by a crazy person with a gun. I think on a
really important dynamic, though, to keep in mind here on Capitol Hill with
the NRA is that personally I think they want to be a lot more reasonable
than they are, but they face the equivalent of a primary challenge every
day. There is a group called the Gun Owners of America that is much more
hardline, that is pushing them further and further .
KORNACKI: Pushing - pushing?
KAPUR: Pushing the NRA.
KORNACKI: The NRA being pushed .
KAPUR: . to the right, because they`re taking the hardline stance that
even these things, they`re opposed, by the way, to extending this current
ban from 1988, so the NRA has taken kind of a position where they don`t
want to lose all credibility on Capitol Hill, you know, and all credibility
among moderate reasonable people by saying OK, let`s just extend this,
don`t go any further. If they do support - if they do start supporting
things like background checks and want to expand this, they`re going to
start losing most of these further right group. And I think I have reason
to believe that during the background checks, some of my reporting found
that they were open to it at first. They came out at the end of it after
enormous pressure. People like Senator Coburn who were dealing with this,
were negotiating with Senator Schumer on this, but I think the pressure
from the Gun Owners of America moved the NRA which moved .
KORNACKI: And that`s why I asked Senator Blumenthal, if the NRA, or more
broadly speaking, the gun lobby emerges from the last year stronger than it
was, weirdly, tragically, terribly enough, stronger than it was before
COX: Right. And the other thing is the NRA has all this money coming from
gun manufacturers who are benefitting from the people who are extremely
avid gun supporters. I mean there is something -- the number of gun owners
in the country has decreased, but the number of guns each individual gun
owner owns has increased. Like they are selling to these people who want
more. Who`ll probably never have enough guns. And also, with the NRA, I
mean, classically, you know, there is no more moderate alternative. There
is this to the right alternative, but the NRA is still the default
organization for people who are recreational hunters. My dad was a member
of the NRA because he likes to go on gun ranges and shoot guns responsibly.
And there is no place for him to go. I mean he`s resigned now. But there
is no place for him to go just to be someone who wants to contribute to gun
safety and to be a part of a membership of gun owners who are fans of safe
and common sense gun laws.
KORNACKI: So, just quickly - does anybody think, this Congress will end
January of 2015, does anybody think that there will be background checks,
any kind of meaningful gun legislation between now and then?
SARLIN: No way.
KAPUR: It will take a miracle.
COX: Not before something more -- a tragedy, or it will take a miracle or
sadly to say this, a tragedy.
KORNACKI: And while we keep - one tragedy after another, we can go back to
Columbine in the 1990s and .
LEWIS: We`ve got to keep building towards it. Between now and 2016, I
think we`re on a different trajectory. But I think trying to do this, A,
before 2014, when we already know midterm elections, I`m going to go back
to lower turnout, it is the most difficult terrain. You need elections
that bring a lot of people to the polls. And, second, some of the most
marginal people are in southern states. Let`s be clear. There is a
regional difference here and be sensitive to it.
KORNACKI: So, 2016 is what to be looking for.
KAPUR: One part in statistics, like I would just add, between 1993 and
now, the pro-gun side has outspent the gun control side 20 to one. I think
that`s a big difference.
KORNACKI: Yeah, and that`s interesting now with Michael Bloomberg, the
world`s richest gun control supporter leaving office here, interesting to
see what he does next. Anyway, we`re going to give everyone here a chance
to speak their minds even more and to make some political confessions. I`m
going to explain how and why right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the winner is .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raquel, so many go to bed hungry in this nation. Yet
cat food is full of tuna. I can`t help but think each time I go to the zoo
and see those porpoises crammed into those tiny tanks what a waste that is.
But you`re half of them now. That`s hundreds of pounds of dolphin meat
that can be fed to our cats, freeing up that tuna for our nation`s hungry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: It`s Frank Drebin, detective Lieutenant Frank Drebin, one of my
all-time favorite comedy characters, that`s from the third "Naked Gun"
movie, he was undercover at the Oscars there, improvising, trying to kill
time and demonstrating perfectly the art of saying something incredibly,
totally unpopular, which brings us to Twitter this week. Which, for a
moment, became that open venue for people to unleash their inner Frank
Drebins, to let out whatever unpopular thoughts they have been keeping from
the world. And when we come back, we`re going to give our guests that same
open forum, right here, in front of everyone, on live national television.
KORNACKI: So, if you (inaudible) for just a minute, there are a few things
I would like to get off my chest. I`m against animals being abused by
their owners. I think that`s just horrible. I don`t like people who
commit hate crimes. And pardon me, but cancer, count me among those who
say we should definitely be trying hard to cure that. The sooner, the
KORNACKI: OK, now that I`ve unburdened myself, I have to bring up a
Twitter meme from this past week that asked people to do the exact opposite
of what I just did. Asked them to courageously confess their unpopular
opinions. People were encouraged to put aside not just their own
sensitivities, but the sensitivities of others and to say whatever they
have been afraid to share until now. So, for example, Politico`s Ben White
wrote, quote, "I dislike almost all of Paul McCartney`s music. I also hate
John Lennon`s song "Imagine." Pretty unpopular opinion. Talking Points
Memo`s Igor Bobic offered this, "Yoda was a coward." And Forbes` Jacquelyn
Smith chimed in with, "Pizza is better without the cheese." The example -
the - you know, I worked in a pizza place one time, made a few pizzas
without cheese and the customers didn`t seem to agree with that.
But the - gave me like here`s something I would like to do with our panel.
I`d like all of us to express our own unpopular political opinions and
before we begin, I also want to welcome to the table, reporter and tweeter
Sarah Posner and I would also like to start with Ana Marie, because she
participated in this Twitter meme earlier this week and she said that
"Glenn Beck is super smart, and it would be fascinating to get to know.
Limbaugh also smart, but clearly in ." Expletive, I can`t say that one."
KORNACKI: With the hashtag there. So, Ana Marie, you want to elaborate on
that one, your unpopular opinion.
COX: Well, actually, I mean - so, I listen to Limbaugh and Beck a fair
amount. I need to -- I feel I need to keep up on, you know, what the other
side is saying and what their logic is. And Limbaugh is a great
entertainer and he is amazing how he sort of twists things into the shape
he wants them. But Beck, what I like about him, is he has a very kind of
earnest enthusiasm for the forum of radio and for television. He clearly
is having a good time when he does these things. And, you know, I mean
he`s kind of crazy, but it takes a lot of mental energy to keep all these
conspiracy theories straight in your head, so I kind of admire that. And I
just think he would be very interesting to talk to.
KORNACKI: Do you think he`s more genuine than Limbaugh? Is that what .
COX: I do, actually.
COX: I do think that he`s pretty genuine. I also like - unlike Limbaugh,
he really does activism about almost everything he believes in. Like he
has this, you know, TheBlaze Marketplace where they sell (inaudible)
things, but one thing they sell is the line of jeans made in America
because Glenn Beck found out that most Levis are made in China, so he
started a company to make American jeans, which I think is kind of cool. I
also wanted to add to this, though, and this is something that me and Glenn
Beck and I probably agree on, I said this during the break, I also think
that shooting guns is fun. I`ll also say that. I have -- I grew up in
Texas. You know, my grandfather had guns. My father has guns. I`ve got
to rifle ranges. It is fun to do. So I kind of get why people want to
protect that right. I also will say that I think I shouldn`t be able to
get those guns easily.
KORNACKI: I thought this was all building up for, too, I voted for Romney
KORNACKI: But OK. All right. Let`s get another sampling. So Sahil,
confess, what is your unpopular .
KAPUR: My unpopular opinion is that I think Congress needs more
nonreligious people. Atheists, agnostics, nonbelievers, call them what you
want to, they`re 20 percent of America and not a single member of Congress
openly identifies as atheist, agnostic or nonbeliever. I think that`s sad.
KORNACKI: What would a Congress look like that would have 20 percent -
well, Pete Stark .
KORNACKI: And he lost last year.
KAPUR: And he got - he got kicked out. There is one congresswoman from
Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, who initially identified that way and then she
immediately disowned it. Her campaign said she doesn`t identify herself as
an atheist, agnostic or, I think, a nontheist. She doesn`t believe that .
KAPUR: It`s it.
KAPUR: I think it is reflective of society where those are dirty words and
it is secular society that was founded in part to run away from religious
tyranny, I think that`s kind of sad.
KORNACKI: Sarah, our resident, our religion expert at the table, I think
you have a religious unpopular .
SARAH POSNER, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR: I have a related unpopular opinion to
Sahil`s, which is that politicians should stop talking about religion, God
and the Bible.
KORNACKI: So just got in answered, but .
KAPUR: That`s really like a little bit more. People would be less --
public policy would be less based on (inaudible).
KORNACKI: You say 20 percent of the country identifies as nonbelievers.
Why is there no safe zone in our politics?
POSNER: Well, 20 percent of the American public is not affiliated with a
particular religion. Then there is a smaller segment of those who are
atheist and agnostic. But still, you know, as he points out, it is kind of
amazing that given the rise in the number of American atheists and
nonbelievers that there is not a single one in the U.S. Congress and that
it would be poison to run and openly declare that you`re an atheist. I
mean look at, for example, Mark Pryor`s ad which came out last week, where
he talked about the Bible and he doesn`t have all the answers, only God has
all the answers. It is sort of, like, well, if you don`t have answers, why
are you running for office?
KORNACKI: OK, but let`s flip it around, though. Like there has got to be
some - I mean to an elected official who sincerely believes in higher
power, you know, sincerely practices their faith, there has got to be some
civic value in that too, right? And maybe professes .
COX: Except like, you know, as Americans for the most part, we`re taught
not to talk about religion with other people in general. Like so why is it
OK to .
KORNACKI: Politics and religion.
COX: Right. We`re not supposed to talk about that.
KORNACKI: Would be out of business.
COX: Well, it may be out of business, but most Americans probably don`t
talk about religion on a regular basis. You know, and so why is it that
that`s the one place that we`re supposed to talk about it all the time?
Even though it is a divisive issue, no matter what. You know, even if
you`re someone that is 20 percent that has a non-affiliation, like you
probably have some kind of, like, spiritual, higher power, belief, and it
is probably not the same as someone else`s. So we tend to just not talk
about it, which I also, like, why don`t - why does it have to be something
that`s even discussed if we don`t talk about it at the dinner table, why do
we expect our politicians to have opinions?
POSNER: Well, it reinforces that there is a certain kind of religious
belief that is acceptable in public policy discussions, or in a political
campaign. And that particular religious belief is, I believe in the Bible,
I believe that the Bible is the literal word of God, I believe Jesus Christ
is my savior. And there are a lot of Americans who don`t, you know, who
have religious beliefs that don`t comport with that.
KORNACKI: But as you say, it is confess your unpopular opinions,
ultimately what you`re saying probably there is more on the other side of
that right now. But it is an interesting opinion. Benjy, we have not
heard from you yet. You haven`t heard from me either. Haven`t heard a few
more of the interesting ones we found on Twitter this week. We will share
them right after this.
KORNACKI: We`re confessing unpopular opinions, here is a few more we found
on Twitter this week. Frequent guest of the show Business Insiders, Josh
Barro, he wrote, "Elites are usually elite for good reason. They intend to
have better judgment than the average person." Definitely an unpopular
KORNACKI: "Houston Chronicle`s" Mike Glenn, he writes that, "Aaron Sorkin
is a terrible screenwriter who has never written a true sentence in his
life." That`s probably not as - but fairly unpopular. Benjy, join the
pile here. What`s your unpopular opinion?
SARLIN: All right, this one I know is extremely unpopular because there is
a lot of polling on it. And that is term limits for members of Congress.
I`m against term limits for members of Congress. I like them for
presidents, I like them for governors, I like them for mayors, not for
legislators. I think you lose valuable expertise when you kick out the few
people who actually know how things run after all - after decades of
KORNACKI: I am totally with you on that. The strongest case that I make
for it would be that you have an entire branch of Congress, kicking
everybody out, entire branch of the government, where everybody is kicked
out after eight years, that makes the president that makes the executive
branch a lot more powerful.
COX: Can I add on to that? I agree with you. And another reason is that
if you stay in Congress long enough, you do have the radicalism beat out of
you. You know, like you do have to like learn how to compromise. It is
true. Like people, when they - when people say you go to Congress and you
become inert and you become part of the problem, because you`re part of the
structure, because you have to make, you know, connections and compromises,
yes, that is exactly what happens. I think radicalism in Congress is bad
KAPUR: And we know this .
COX: Ideological purity is bad.
SARLIN: We have an unusually high percentage of the current Congress that
only showed up in the last couple of turns. I think it is about 200
members or something like that. They have been the ones where you have to
kind of explain to them, by the way, when we passed this debt ceiling
thing, if we don`t pass it, the whole economy collapses.
KORNACKI: Yeah, we`ve got .
SARLIN: It`s actually been the older members who have to slowly walk them
KORNACKI: So, that`s the last couple of years have been a pretty good, you
know, demonstration of the value and not having term limits. We`re running
out of time. I`ve got a few here that I might as well just share in no
particular order, I`ll put them out there. Gerald Ford was right to pardon
KORNACKI: I don`t know if that one is popular any more. I think he was.
I don`t like -- I hate -- I hate the idea of a balanced budget amendment.
At the federal level. Maybe it`s different at the state level. I cheer
against -- let me qualify this, when it comes to basketball, in the Summer
Olympics, I tend to cheer against -- I tend to cheer for the team playing
the United States, in basketball only, because the United States is such a
-- this is really unpopular. Because the .
KORNACKI: It is such a -- they`re beating up on the -- the United States
versus this tiny country. They`re favored by 85 points. They probably
(inaudible) I think they win.
KORNACKI: I shouldn`t have confessed it. And that`s the danger of this
KAPUR: And in New York to say that.
KORNACKI: I`m sorry. I love you, America.
KORNACKI: It`s I love you - basketball.
Political figure came to office with a very conservative reputation, seems
to be changing his tune. And he`s winning praise from President Obama.
KORNACKI: We talk a lot about how fast attitudes are changing in this
country when it comes to gay rights, how rapidly laws are changing when it
comes to gay marriage. It really was a radical concept, a decade ago, when
the Supreme Court in Massachusetts declared gay marriage legal by two to
one margin back then, Americans said they were against it. An opposition
to gay marriage became a staple of George W. Bush`s winning re-election
message in 2004. But those numbers have almost completely reversed since
then. Gay marriage now has majority support. It is now legal in 16 states
plus the District of Columbia and that accounts for more than half of the
country`s entire population. There is so much change in such a short
period of time, which is why it can be easy to forget this.
If you take a step back, America is actually behind some other countries,
some other major countries on this issue. This was the scene more than
three years ago in Argentina, as that country`s senate voted 33-27 to make
gay marriage legal there, became the tenth country in the world to do this
and it was a pretty big deal. Argentina has 40 million people, the second
largest nation in South America, it`s also a very Catholic country, a 90
percent catholic country. Which is why that Senate vote was in many ways a
surprise. Because as that law was being debated, the Catholic Church in
Argentina threw its full moral and political weight into fighting it. No
one more fiercely, loudly, or stridently than the archbishop of Buenos
Aires. This is no mere legislative bill, he warned. It is a move by the
father of lies to confuse and deceive the children of God. You may know
that archbishop by a different name today. Pope Francis. But in 2010, he
was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio and to liberals in Argentina, he was the
enemy. Here is what the president of Argentina, the woman who was leading
the charge for gay marriage had to say about Bergoglio and his fellow
church leaders back then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. CRISTINA DE KIRCHNER (speaking Spanish)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The cultural conservatism that we tend to identify with the
Catholic Church, that the pope embodied it as well as anyone back in
Argentina. "We aren`t in agreement with the death penalty," he said in
2007, "But in Argentina we have the death penalty, a child conceived by the
rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death."
This is why when the veils of smoke were released in Rome back in March and
Cardinal Bergoglio became Pope Francis, liberals, especially cultural
liberals weren`t expecting much. Just the next conservative culture
warrior in Rome, that`s what they thought they were getting. But that is
not quite the pope they have gotten. The pope we have gotten caused a
worldwide stir when he said about gay people back in July, "Who am I to
judge them if they`re seeking the Lord in good faith?" And when he gave an
interview in September to a major American catholic magazine and he said, a
person once asked me in a provocative manner if I approved of
homosexuality. I replied with another question, tell me. When God looks
at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love or
reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person. In
that same interview he seemed to suggest the church was putting too much
emphasis on social issues. "We cannot insist only on issues related to
abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive methods," the Pope
said. "This is not possible. And when we speak about these issues, we
have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church for that
matter is clear and I am a son of the church but it is not necessary to
talk about these issues all the time."
Now, to be sure, the pope hasn`t changed the church doctrine on these
issues. And he`s not calling for such a change. But the tone he struck is
very different than the tone that has been coming out of Rome. Maybe
forever. And some of the energy he has not been putting in the cultural
war issues, the pope has been putting into economic issues, into pushing an
aggressive and unapologetically liberal economic message. In an apostolic
exhortation just before Thanksgiving, he declared to, quote, "As long as
the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the
absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the
structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world`s
problems or, for that matter, to any problems." "We can no longer trust in
the unseen forces in the invisible hand of the market."
This definitely isn`t the pope that most people thought the world was
getting back in March. It doesn`t matter if those people are on the left
or on the right or in the middle. Here in America, liberals who haven`t
had much good to say about Rome are embracing Francis as a hero. President
Obama, this week, practically gushing over him and his message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think Pope
Francis is showing himself to be just an extraordinarily thoughtful and
soulful messenger of peace and justice. I haven`t had a chance to meet him
yet, but everything that I`ve read, everything that I`ve seen from him
indicates the degree to which he is trying to remind us of those core
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And with President Obama saying that, conservatives, Catholic
and non-Catholic conservatives who had come to see the Catholic Church as
their political ally are having a hard time with it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW": But the pope here has now gone
beyond Catholicism here and this is pure political. This is just pure
Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope.
STUART VARNEY, "VARNEY & CO." My thought that the pope was really very
much in favor of the European social model, which is neo-socialism, and
which fails its own people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Now, you know, I`m always looking for the historical angle. And
here I can`t help but think of Lyndon Johnson. He spent all those years,
all those decades in Congress and in the Senate, going along, placating,
doing the bidding of the conservative forces who controlled his immediate
political future. This was the Lyndon Johnson who was the segregationist,
but then when he got to the top, when he became president, no one
controlled him anymore. He was free to speak his mind and act on his
conscience. This is the Lyndon Johnson who ended segregation.
I find myself wondering if there is a little LBJ in this pope, a
conservative cardinal who infuriated the left in Argentina, but who now as
pope is becoming something of a liberal icon. Here to make sense of who
Pope Francis is and how he is shaking up our politics, we`re joined by
msnbc.com`s Benjy Sarlin, Sarah Posner, contributing writer for "Religion
Dispatches" magazine, Ana Marie Cox with the Guardian is back with us, and
Raymond Flynn, former mayor of the city of Boston and a former U.S.
ambassador to the Vatican joins us well. Welcome, ambassador. And
Ambassador Flynn, I`ll start with you. You were an appointee of President
Clinton as the ambassador to the Vatican. You are also somebody who has
fairly conservative views on what we call the cultural issues. I wonder
when you look at the pope and then you listen to the pope right now, some
of those clips we played and you think back to, you know, how he was in
Argentina, how do you make sense? Do you think there has been an evolution
from who he was and what he was espousing in Argentina and who he is right
now as pope?
RAYMOND FLYNN, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE VATICAN: Well, I see no
politics involved here at all. Because this is completely consistent with
Ray Flynn growing up in south Boston 74 years ago. I didn`t learn my
politics from the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. I learned it
from my parents, from my church, from my community. So the same thing that
Pope Francis is talking about, social and economic justice, the poor, the
concern, protection of life, stabilizing families, what he said when he was
archbishop of Buenos Aires, what he`s saying now as leader of the Roman
Catholic Church, are the same things most Catholics learned when we were
little kids growing up. So I don`t see any politics any more than I saw
any politics in my church or my religion. I see it as faith, as the
doctrine and the traditions of the Catholic Church.
Now, if people are confused by that, because it doesn`t fit a certain
ideological mode, whether it be liberal or conservative or Democrat or
Republican, I can`t deal with that, but I can tell you what I think and I
think I can completely not only understand what Pope Francis is saying, but
agree 100 percent about what Pope Francis is saying.
Is there a difference in tone? Of course there is. You know, there was a
difference in tone when I was a state representative than when I was a
mayor of Boston. I was representing the whole city. You want to be
helpful, you want to be effective, you want to represent everybody`s point
of view. And that`s what Pope Francis is doing.
KORNACKI: It`s - but there is, to me, at least, there is an aspect of
politics to this. And specifically if you look at Argentina. Argentina is
a South American country that under the Kirchner, the husband and wife sort
of team that have led that country for last decade or so, Argentina has
moved to the left politically. And in all the time, Sarah, that Argentina
was moving to the left, at least before he became pope, really one of the
leading political opposition figures in Argentina, and we played some of
the clips from it, was the pope. Do you see - have you noticed a change in
him since he`s become pope?
POSNER: Well, I think that there is a difference between him opposing the
gay marriage bill in Argentina, and the comments that he made about gay
people that you should accept them, and you should love them. But that`s
kind of a typical conservative line. We are opposed to gay marriage, it is
the work of the devil, but gay people are humans and we should spread the
love of the Gospel to them. I mean this is not -- those two things in the
conservative mind are not incompatible with one another.
KORNACKI: But the question, and I guess also - well, the line that jumped
out at me, I think it jumped at a lot of people was who am I to judge?
Hearing a pope that phrase it that way sounded different. And also
explicitly saying, like, you know, it`s a question of emphasis. And he`s
making the case for de-emphasizing the social issues and talking more about
and acting more on the economic .
POSNER: Well, he`s also talking about being less political and being more
pastoral. I mean that is the principle emphasis of his interviews and of
the apostolic exhortation. I mean it`s a very small segment of that 85 or
so page document where he talks about politics. Most of it is about
missionizing and evangelization and what the gospel means and how priests
should be more pastoral and less political. Now, that is significant for
someone who sees the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United
States, for example, as being overtly political. I do think he`s trying to
send them a message of being less political and more pastoral, but on the
other hand, he`s not saying, change your position on the contraceptive --
change your position on abortion, change your position on gay marriage.
KORNACKI: But, of course, he`s become the central player in our politics
SARLIN: Exactly. And what I`m curious about is the affect it will have on
Catholics around the world, because what is interesting is as everyone
mentioned here, a lot of even this economic talk isn`t that unusual. One
of the last major speeches from Pope Benedict was a condemnation of, quote,
unregulated capitalism, a lot of the same talk about inequality, even Pope
John Paul II, who was this famous fighter against communism also warned
after communism collapsed, capitalism can`t just rest on its laurels here.
It has to adjust -- address its own problems. But what is interesting is
by de-emphasizing those issues, without necessarily changing anything on
them, I think it might let people who might agree more on the economic
side, less on the social side, take at least a second look. I`m very
struck by what our former "UP" host Chris Hayes has been saying about the
pope. He is someone who was raised catholic, considers himself somewhat
lapse today, but has been completely in love with this pope, again, all
without an actual change on any position, just because he`s -- he feels
like there is an olive branch to him.
KORNACKI: There are some numbers that can back up that kind of sentiment.
Let`s just put some of the polling up here of American Catholics. First of
all, this is the favorability rating of Pope Francis among Americans. You
expect the pope to be popular among Catholics. But I mean 89 percent
favorable, four percent unfavorable. Now, poll of American Catholics, is
the church too focused on homosexuality, abortion and contraception? This
came out the end of September when he gave the interview. By basically in
three to one margin there, they`re saying yes, 68 to 23. It is too focused
on it. The support for same sex marriage among American Catholics - 60
percent among all U.S. - 56 percent. So, I do feel like, again, with all
the qualifiers about he`s not changing church policy and there is a lot of
consistency here with previous popes, I do feel he`s tapping into something
that Benjy is talking about, among a lot of Catholics and non-Catholics in
COX: It`s true. But also, more - the most important numbers of, you know,
that polling is, that percentage of Americans - or percentage of American
Catholics who think that the pope should not - that it is OK to disagree
with the pope and the pope should not have a -- does not have a say in
their personal lives and their political opinions, which is like 80
So, but what I want to say about him that I think is so remarkable is that
his change -- his shift in this pastoral message is actually - well, in the
classic tradition of Christ, in a way, like he`s saying that we want to
save people, we want to show them the gift of salvation and then we would
hope that their morality and their political positions would flow from
that. The church in the past said that we want to make people behave like
Catholics, we don`t want to turn them into Catholics, we just want to
enforce this certain morality that will make them look as though they`re
saved. That`s not actually, you know, the Christian tradition, the
Christian tradition is to offer the gift of -- the gift and then you see
how -- and then the behavior changes.
And I think that`s really amazing. I do think the one thing also in that
polling that is interesting is if you ask them what the main goal of the
church should be, the most popular answer, they don`t really have a lot of
agreement, the most popular answer is 12 percent, is work on growing the
church. Work on making the church more relatable to Americans - to people
in general. And I think he`s doing that. He`s doing that by bringing the
focus back to what is - you know, what is wonderful about religion, what it
has to offer people, not what it has to say about how you should behave.
KORNACKI: Well, I want to talk more about who Pope Francis is and what he
represents and also pick up on a point with the ambassador that Sarah
raised about maybe a message of sorts being delivered or attempted to be
delivered to the conference of bishops here in the United States. I`ll ask
the ambassador about that when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS (speaking foreign language)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right. It`s Pope Francis a week ago today in St. Peter`s
Square, marking a World AIDS Day, and Ambassador Flynn, I guess I`ll pick
up a point that Sarah was making in the last block, suggesting the
possibility, we had the clip from his interview with the American Catholic
Magazine back in September when he seemed to be talking about de-
emphasizing the social issues and talking more about economic issues maybe.
Not having to talk about abortion, homosexuality all the time.
She was suggesting maybe that was a message to the conference of bishops
here in the United States, which has been very aggressive and very vocal on
the social issues. Do you see it that way and do you agree with that
critique that here at least, in the United States there has been too much
emphasis by the church on social issues to exclusion of economics.
FLYNN: I`ll tell you the reason why Pope Francis has become so popular
across the world, among Catholics and non-Catholics as well, is because
he`s saying something politically as well as morally that no one else is
talking about. Political parties aren`t talking about this, candidates for
political office, he`s talking about the disparity and the inequality that
exists in society today. I come from a working class community, there are
a lot of people who aren`t working. They are not receiving enough wages in
order to support their family. The schools are failing them. And he`s
reaching out to those people, they`re not even religious people. He`s
reaching out to those people in a powerful message that we haven`t heard
from many of our political leaders in this country in a long, long time.
KORNACKI: But also, religious leaders, too, right? Because what you`re
saying there, he`s reaching people on an economic message that just
resonates with them at the .
FLYNN: Amen. That`s what we want.
KORNACKI: But as to the question .
FLYNN: That`s the teaching of the church.
KORNACKI: But has the church - so has the church, which specifically we`re
talking about the conference of bishops here in the United States.
FLYNN: I`m not talking about the conference of bishops. I`m talking about
the catholic faith. I don`t care what cardinals and bishops have to say.
I`m talking about .
KORNACKI: But they set the tone, don`t they?
FLYNN: No, they don`t. No, they don`t. I follow my teaching from Jesus
Christ and the Catholic Church, my faith. If the Catholic Church changed,
the bishops changed their position, you know, so what, they change their
position all the time. But I`m -- I want a consistent position in the
teachings of Jesus Christ. Not some people who are trying to become
popular, but they are trying to do the right thing. And that`s what Pope
Francis is doing. And that`s why he`s so popular.
POSNER: I just want to add that there is one group of Catholics who is
sort of withholding judgment on the economic issues and what the pope is
saying really means. And that`s feminist catholic theologians, because
their view is that, yes, it is fabulous that the pope is talking about
economic disparities and we have been talking about those very disparities
for a long time. And they`re very glad that the pope is re-emphasizing
them. But to them, one of the big issues facing women in poverty worldwide
is lack of access to reproductive health choices, contraception, safe legal
abortion, and so without changes on those issues they see very little
change for women living in poverty around the world. And they see a
disparity there in what the pope --
KORNACKI: And there is no reason to suspect there is going to be any kind
of a change on that.
COX: No, in fact, there is reason to believe there won`t be, because in
his statements about women and the clergy, I mean the way he talks about
women, and this is very kind of retrograde, like women are nurturers, like
women are - and he sees a very specific role for women that is not - like
that is not evangelical in the way - you know the clergy will be there,
they`re not supposed to be part of the power structure of the church and I
think it is a good reason to sort of withhold -- I don`t have withhold
judgment, but it`s just not as positive an indicator, the tone has not
KORNACKI: But it is - and it also seems like we are talking about, there
is a moment here maybe for the -- an opportunity for the Catholic Church.
I think, you know and the polling suggests here, when you look at the
message that`s come from the American leadership of the Catholic Church,
the message on a lot of cultural issues, the last ten years, just this
polling we put out here on -- is the church too focused on these social
issues, overwhelmingly Catholics saying, yes, it seems to be out of step
with sort of the way folk in the church. There seems to be an opportunity
here maybe to reconnect with what you call the lapsed Catholics and the
pope`s message is .
FLYNN: I see more people going back to church now than I ever have been
before. In my native community of south Boston, the churches are pretty
much filled now. A lot of young people, a lot of young women, a lot of
mothers, they are going back to church. Isn`t that what the pope is
supposed to be doing, is it bringing people back to the church, bringing
people back to Christ? And he`s bringing them back to Christ in the church
on a message that they can connect with. I don`t know about these polls.
I don`t know where these poll numbers come from. But I`m telling you about
where the poll numbers in church, for actual people sitting in those pews,
they`re delighted with Pope Francis is talking about and they feel that it
is the values that they believe in for their family and that`s why they`re
coming back to the Catholic Church.
KORNACKI: Well, and we`re talking about, you know, potentially the
political significance here in the United States, one of the sort of -- the
famous Karl Rove political project here was to align Catholics in the
United States with the Republican Party. He saw that as one of the great -
- his permanent Republican majority, one of the bedrocks of that was to get
Catholics into the Republican Party. And I wonder if you have a pope out
now who is talking more about -- stressing more of a social justice,
economic message that is not in line with today`s Republican Party, in the
United States, if that -- when you start, when you start playing like Rush
Limbaugh and the guy from Fox Business, you know, there, they`re really
upset at the pope right now, is it because in a way it`s also -- he could
be sort of blowing up this project to make inroads with the catholic
POSNER: Well, I think that there are conservative Catholics, let`s set
aside Rush Limbaugh who I presume is not catholic, who are trying to - you
know, they`re squirming a little bit, but they`re trying to make this all
coherent with their economic world view. And they don`t want to be seen as
dissenters to the pope`s economic message. They want to make the pope`s
economic message somehow comport with their economic ideology, even though
he was very clear in the recent document about trickledown economics, he
was very clear about free market principles, which is basically .
KORNACKI: We`re trying to mesh that with like supply side theory or .
POSNER: Yes, like, you know, they are trying.
SARLIN: And in many ways it fits the current political moment for the
Republican Party, where even though they are in many ways moving further to
the right on economic issues, and inequality, rhetorically, the big popular
trend right now is to talk more about poverty. Rand Paul who favors, you
know, abolishing the entire Department of Education, Housing and Urban
Development, balancing the budget in five years, delivered a big anti-
poverty speech in Detroit the other day talking about inequality. Paul
Ryan, whose budget is, you know, famous, as this famous austerity budget
that would slash social spending, has also been talking about poverty a
lot. He is catholic, I believe.
COX: His anti-poverty is real radical.
SARLIN: He would probably say, though, there is nothing inconsistent with
what he`s talking about. Just he has specific means to deliver it. That
KORNACKI: Right, but again, the language, though, that the pope used in
his most recent message is so specific, it`s not just a conceptual I`m
against poverty, we should all fight poverty. He was very specific.
COX: There is a way that he wants to fight poverty that is very different
than Rand Paul`s way.
FLYNN: Here is the point, though. Here is the point. You know, Rush
Limbaugh has a consistent -- has a constituency, and so does Rand Paul and
all these different people. So what? You know, that`s - they`re entitled
to that point of view, whether it`s liberal or whether it`s conservative,
or libertarian. What Catholics are finding appealing about Pope Francis is
he`s making a message to them that is consistent with their values that
they want to come home to, which they walked away from for a while in the
past. They`re coming home. It has nothing to do with polls. It has
nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with parties. It has
everything to do with this philosophy and the teachings of the Catholic
Church. Which also happens to be very, very popular in the United States.
COX: With the philosophy and teachings of Jesus Christ. I mean one of the
great Gandhi quotes, "I like your Christ, I don`t like your Christians." I
mean I think that actually in some ways the message that Pope Francis is
giving, is he against (inaudible) the traditional message of the Catholic
Church, the one that we hear a lot and the problems that the GOP are having
are somewhat parallel and that they are about .
FLYNN: And the Democratic Party (inaudible) too.
COX: I was going to say that I think what Americans don`t like about the
GOP, what moderates are not liking about the GOP right now is the feeling
of judgment, the feeling of judgment on gay people, the feeling of judgment
of women who choose to get abortions or who choose to see their doctors
about contraception. And the judgment of the Catholic Church is what I
think a lot of people who consider themselves Catholic, but lapsed in some
way, was the reason why they were avoiding the church. They felt --
KORNACKI: That quote from him, who am I to judge, he`s talking about the
tone, that, to me, it sounds look a simple --
FLYNN: -- addressed the social and economic justice, inequality. Neither
party that Pope Francis is talking about, so if anybody has some criticism,
they can criticize American politics and American partisanship. But what I
don`t think they can do is say that Pope Francis` points of view on social
and economic justice and the teaching of Jesus Christ is inconsistent with
the Catholic faith. It is not.
KORNACKI: All right. I want to thank former Boston mayor, former
ambassador to the Vatican, Ray Flynn, as well as Sarah Posner for joining
So when you want to run for office but you`re not exactly popular where you
live, what do you do? Well, if you are Scott Brown or you are Liz Cheney,
you move. The art of carpetbagging. That`s coming up next.
KORNACKI: As soon as he lost to Elizabeth Warren last year, the
speculation started, what will Scott Brown run for next? No one thought to
ask a different question, where will he run? Well, it looks like he wants
to run in New Hampshire for the Senate. But we learned this week that he`s
having a hard time keeping his geography straight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER SEN. SCOTT BROWN, R-MASSACHUSETTS: What I`ve heard from the
Republicans up here is thankful that I`ve been around for a year helping
them raise money, helping them raise awareness as to the issues that are
affecting not only people here in Massachusetts -- in New Hampshire, but
also in Massachusetts obviously, and Maine. I`ve been to Maine, Rhode
Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, I`ve been all over the New England
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: If you get confused, just start naming all the states. Scott
Brown could probably use a few pointers, and we have got a few for him.
The tricky art of political carpetbagging. That`s coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: I`m Scott Brown. I`m from Rentham and I drive a truck!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: It seemed unthinkable. Only five months after the death of Ted
Kennedy, a Republican had won the special election to fill his Senate seat
from Massachusetts. That election in January 2010 with Scott Brown beating
Martha Coakley took away the Democrats` 60-seat supermajority in the Senate
and unleashed all sorts of legislative headaches for President Obama and
for his agenda. Brown got a lot of help in that election from the lousy
economy, from his opponent`s blunders, but he also seemed to connect with
the certain type of swing voter in Massachusetts. But that connection was
not strong enough for Brown to hold on to the seat two years later when he
ran for a full term and when he faced a charismatic populist who did know
how to run a campaign and who then beat him by eight points.
Even in his concession speech that night last November, though, Brown made
it clear that he had not run his last campaign. There was speculation he
would run for governor of Massachusetts, or for the state`s other U.S.
Senate seat. What no one would have predicted a year ago is that Brown had
apparently given up altogether on the idea of running in Massachusetts and
is now focusing on the state`s neighbor to the north, the less blue, more
Republican friendly state of New Hampshire.
So he`s been taking that pickup truck of his into the Granite State, where
Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen is going to be running for re-election
next year. The polling shows he might actually have a shot in September.
Public Policy Polling had Shaheen edging Brown by only four points. In
order to face Shaheen, though, if he is going to get that far, Brown is
going to have to get past some interesting primary competition first.
Former Senator Bob Smith, who lost his re-election in the Republican
primary to John E. Sununu, that was way back in 2002. He then left New
Hampshire, Bob Smith did, moved to Florida, and in 2004 he briefly tried to
run for the U.S. Senate in that state. Didn`t go through with it, but then
flirted with doing it all over again in Florida, in 2010. And then Bob
Smith moved back to New Hampshire, and now he said he`s going to run
against or try to run against Shaheen too, setting up a primary against
Brown. I guess that is carpetbagging with a twist of boomeranging or
something like that.
Anyway, New Hampshire is not the only state with residency issues among
candidates this cycle. There is also Liz Cheney, who is running in the
Republican primary against long-time Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi -- yes, it
is the state that her very famous father once represented in Congress, but
she has long made her home in Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.
So with all of the pitfalls of running for office in another state, not the
state you`re identified with, we have come up with five easy steps to
succeeding as a carpetbagger.
To go through them with us, at the table, we have msnbc.com political
reporter Benjy Sarlin, Ann Lewis, former senior adviser to Hillary
Clinton`s presidential campaign Ana Marie Cox of "The Guardian" and Sahil
Kapur of TalkingPointsmemo.com rejoins us. So, Scott Brown in New
Hampshire, the Liz Cheney in Wyoming, I hear that campaign is not going
KORNACKI: We`ll talk about that a little bit in a minute and maybe
diagnose it. Maybe offer we`ll offer her some friendly advice on how to
fix things. But let`s - we`ll start going through these rules. I`ll put
the first one up there. And we can talk - our first rule of successful
political carpetbagging is do have a famous name. And we think here of an
example in New York, 13 years ago, New York state, where Hillary Clinton,
the first lady, who was born in Illinois, who went to school in
Massachusetts, and Connecticut, first lady of Arkansas, lived in
Washington, D.C., at the age of 53, she decided her new home was Chappaqua,
New York. And a few months later, this happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON: You came out and said that issues and ideals matter.
Jobs matter. Down state and upstate.
HILLARY CLINTON: Health care matters, education matter, the environment,
matters. Social Security matters, a woman`s right to choose matters.
HILLARY CLINTON: It all matters and I just want to say from the bottom of
my heart, thank you, New York.
KORNACKI: So the fact that she was not from New York and was not before
identified with New York did not seem to matter to the voters in New York
in 2000 or in 2006. But, Ann, I mean you know her, you`re familiar with
her. How much as she was playing that campaign and as she was campaigning,
how much was she worried about not being seen as a New Yorker, what was the
strategy around that, did she meet resistance to being an outsider?
LEWIS: Look, I know that campaign very well. It was not easy. I left the
White House, in fact, to go work in that campaign because I knew it was
going to be hard and I wanted to help. And here is my first rule. Be who
you are. Don`t pretend. And I will say that to certain potential
candidates now. Hillary Clinton used it, so -- I may not be from New York,
but I will be for New York. I will be your advocate. I will fight for the
issues you care about. And so that was her way into people to say, for my
whole life, I fought for a better life for children, I will do that here.
I fought to make sure that people have a chance, I will do that here. So
for her, the mantra was I will be for you. We found voters found that very
KORNACKI: I wonder if there is an element here, you`ve got to look at sort
of the culture and the psychology of this. And so, New York State, you
know, 30 years, 35 years before Hillary Clinton was elected, elected Robert
Kennedy, you know, the Kennedy family of Massachusetts, he came to New
York, he was a carpetbagger, he won. So, again, I wonder if there is
something in a state like New York, where there is -- they like the idea of
the big name, national politician, who wants to make New York, of course
you want to make New York, I wonder if that would sell in every state or
would some states be more resistant to that?
COX: Look. We`re a country this elected a Kenyan president. So, I`m not
sure, really, if there is a lot .
KORNACKI: That`s your own unpopular opinion.
COX: No, I was going to say that actually, yeah, I think that states that
have a really strong identity, you know, Texas, New Hampshire perhaps
Wyoming, where the state identity is something that people are proud of, I
think you`re probably going to run into more problems. But, you know,
having a famous name is not going to hurt you. And I think -- I do think
that number one tip should be married to a president. If you`ve been
married to a president, you probably have a better chance.
KORNACKI: Well, yeah, but it`s - a certain president. If you were Laura
Bush, running in a blue state, I`m not sure. But I`ll take you for that.
Let`s go to rule number two on this, though, and this is sort of - this
gets the idea of you need a convergence story, you need a good impressive
story. We have an example of this. This is -- we just have a full screen.
John McCain was first running for the House in Arizona, not originally from
Arizona in 1982, his opponent in the Republican primary tried to make an
issue of the carpetbag, and he said I wish I could have had the luxury like
you of growing up and living and spending my entire life in the nice place
like the first district of Arizona, but I was doing other things. As a
matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my
life was Hanoi. End of debates.
SARLIN: What are you going to say after that?
SARLIN: But I think the compelling story is an important -- the most
important thing here. And the compelling story for Hillary Clinton in her
case, and she did work the retail politics too, she traveled upstate a lot,
you saw it in the clip there.
LEWIS: Every county.
SARLIN: Every county.
LEWIS: Every county in New York.
SARLIN: And her compelling story was, you know, New York is trending blue,
it is getting away from what was still then this Pataki, D`Amato, Giuliani
era and she really was way more in tune politically with the voters than
her opponent. The problem in the case like Wyoming, is you just have two
conservative Republicans who agree on everything. And it just forces it to
become a contest of who can out-Wyoming each other. And that`s why you see
Liz Cheney`s first ads are basically her daughter saying, we love Wyoming,
really, we`re from Wyoming, instead of any real political message. Because
there is just not much else to run on.
KORNACKI: Wyoming, one of those states - and I wonder - to replace matters
and showing you have roots too. Obviously Liz Cheney has her father`s
roots there, but I wonder about like Scott Brown in New Hampshire. I mean
what is the story to voters in New Hampshire? Is that, hey, look, I`m a
Republican, and I`m from a really blue state, you`re not as blue, so I want
to come here .
COX: I moved here for the taxes, which is .
KORNACKI: And now, OK, a lot of Massachusetts people did move there for
the taxes, so maybe that`s .
KAPUR: It`s just start think live free or die more, I think that may help.
I think I completely agree with your analogy on Wyoming, especially because
-and this was a problem for Liz Cheney, because, you know, she made
headlines after she tried to get a fishing license and she wasn`t there for
long enough to get a fishing license. If you can`t get a fishing license,
that`s kind of a sign to voters that, maybe you`re not really from here.
KORNACKI: You`re setting up one of our forthcoming rules, we have three
more we`re going to get to. We`ll pick up rule number three right after
KORNACKI: So, just continue the unsolicited advice to Scott Brown and Liz
Cheney on how to and how not to carpetbag in politics, the third rule that
we came up with, was it helps if you`re returning to your roots. So, here,
for example, Al Franken technically was not a carpetbagger when he ran for
the Senate in Minnesota in 2008. He was born and he grew up there. He is
a native Minnesotan. But, you know, to most Minnesotans by 2008, he was
New York`s Al Franken, "Saturday Night Live," the radio show, all of this
stuff. So, when he started flirting with the race, this goes back now ten
years. He started flirting with the race way in advance. Talking about
running against Norm Coleman, and he said, I was thinking of a slogan. If
I became a Democratic nominee, of course, against Norm, it would be "The
only New York Jew who was actually raised in Minnesota."
KORNACKI: So he actually was able to -- Norm Coleman began that campaign,
probably, more associated with Minnesota than Al Franken, but Al Franken
found, of course, a humorous way of reminding people that he was actually
the native and that Coleman wasn`t from the state.
COX: Yeah, and, of course, and Minnesotans are pretty welcoming people.
Like there`s not - the huge state identity for Minnesota, where I remind
people as where I live currently, is welcome, you can be one of us. You
know, there is not, like, a -- we`re polite. That`s the Minnesota`s sort
KORNACKI: And I`m also now getting corrected by my producer, Al Franken
was born in New York, moved to Minnesota at a young age, grew up there,
moved back to New York to pursue a career and then moved back to Minnesota.
So I guess technically he was a carpetbagger. We want to get that
correction in. And we want to get to the fourth rule of carpetbagging,
which is in style, teases - a minute ago. This is do no, do be aware of
what your primary dwelling is.
KORNACKI: You can see, as I was talking about, this is Liz Cheney, a
headline in New York from the "Casper Star Tribune" back in August, this
was the rip roaring start of the Liz Cheney Senate campaign. Liz Cheney
listed as a ten-year Wyomingite, gets resident fishing license early, she
claimed that she`s been a ten-year resident, even though she had been there
just 72 days since she had closed on her House when she put this
application in. She blamed the clerk for errors. This is just one of the
many reasons why the Liz Cheney experiment has not been going well right
now. You think she has a natural claim to Wyoming roots to her father, but
she even gets prowled up on this.
SARLIN: Yeah, part of that is that this was such a sudden campaign, it
feels like she didn`t lay the groundwork at all. Al Franken, you saw that
quote, it was from 2003. That`s five years before he ran. And he was
already starting to lay this groundwork, put down his roots. Liz Cheney
was so sudden. She didn`t take the time to start showing up back in the
state, and really establishing herself there. It was just all of a sudden
kind of parachuting back in.
KORNACKI: You know, there is other - and just some - in other countries,
in other forms of democracy, the place matters so little, so you`ll take
like a party will identify like a promising up and comer and they`ll find a
COX: We`re a bigger country than most countries with a stronger sort of
state identity .
COX: . and the country that started out as a federation of states and not
like national identity first. I did want to say that the Liz Cheney
experiment will be my new band name. But also, again, Liz Cheney`s problem
is that she wants people to sort of backdate her residency literally.
She`s not doing the Hillary Clinton thing, or the Al Franken thing of
saying, like, yes, I`m moving there. That`s what I`ve done. I have moved
LEWIS: And here`s why .
KAPUR: Benjy is exactly right about the fact that she hadn`t laid the
groundwork there. But Cheney establishment, in my own, is very strong and
they hadn`t, you know, they hadn`t gotten people on board. People like
Alan Simpson who are close to Cheney is saying - he is a notorious - he is
very strongly - he`s not been .
KORNACKI: In like a 6,000 word essay .
KAPUR: Talking about how Lynne Cheney so to speak .
KAPUR: This is not going well.
LEWIS: The United States system and some others parliamentary systems it`s
when there are countries where you have a national list, but it is in their
job description of House members and senators that you fight for your
district. That`s expected here that you help your constituents if they
have issues with the federal government. So we do have a different way of
measuring or of looking at people, will they fight for me, will they be on
my side? I don`t hear any of that coming out of Liz Cheney and as we said
KORNACKI: Yeah, I know, the Liz Cheney message amounts to, I believe that
I should be a nationally prominent Republican politician and you need to
give me a job and a platform. And the Wyoming voters don`t, at least right
COX: And I`m willing to (inaudible) anything to get there.
KORNACKI: Yes. We`ve seen that in the last weeks.
LEWIS: It`s much more, what you can do for me, and not at all what I could
do for you.
KORNACKI: Here`s what you can do for me, it`s a great campaign message.
Here`s our fifth and final rule for carpetbagging, don`t seek refuge. And
the idea here is, if you`re established politically in one state and you
lose, then it`s going to look really bad if you go to another state and
run. Some examples here with this, this is the Connecticut Senate race
from 1980. Former New York Senator, he was even one of the conservative
lion in New York James Buckley ran against Chris Dodd. He gets trounced in
Maryland, 1994. Bill Brock had been a senator from Tennessee, goes to
Maryland to run. You see this coming. That didn`t work out. Here`s a
famous example, Alan Keyes that run several times in Maryland, was brought
out to Illinois when the Republican Party imploded there in 2004. It did
not go so well against Barack Obama. If this rule is right, and this does
not bode whole for Scott Brown in New Hampshire in 2014 coming off of 2012,
a loss in Massachusetts. That`s our fifth rule. Those are our five rules.
That`s our help. What should we know today? We are going to ask our
panelists right after this.
KORNACKI: All right. It`s time to find out what our guests think we
should know for the week ahead. Ana Marie, we`ll start with you.
COX: I`m going to start with "Blackfish," it`s a documentary about Sea
World and the conditions that the animals are kept in there. A lot of
people may have already seen it. It actually gave CNN their largest
numbers in a while when they showed it. But it`s available on demand, if
you can stomach it. It is actually a very upsetting documentary for people
like me who love animals.
KORNACKI: All right, Sahil.
KAPUR: You should know that Patty Murray and Paul Ryan, the chair persons
of the budget committees are very close to probably hammering out a deal
that would for the first time since 2010 set spending levels and end the
practice of lurching from crisis to crisis. The deal isn`t final, it`s
going to mitigate some of the sequester cuts and it`s going to be a really,
really good thing.
KORNACKI: Very quickly, do you think it`s going to cover unemployment
KAPUR: No, it won`t.
KORNACKI: OK. And Benjy.
SARLIN: You should know that this is another big week for health care
reform. On Wednesday we have Kathleen Sebelius testifying, which is
probably going to be pretty rough in the House, but this is also one of the
first weeks since they`ve started the big marketing campaign to get people
to healthcare.gov, and we`re going to really see how well the site holds
up, as if they`re hoping, there`s a lot more traffic now. So this should
be a very big week to keep an eye on health care
KORNACKI: All right, and Ann?
LEWIS: And here`s what I learned this morning. In 1993, Bill Clinton was
giving a speech to the Congress and he realized the wrong speech was in the
teleprompter and he just kept going until the teleprompter caught up.
Well, this morning, we saw a bad teleprompter failure, right here .
LEWIS: And Steve, you just kept going. So just as that example has served
for, you know, Bill Clinton`s communications skills, I think you`re right
KORNACKI: Why, that`s very nice of you to say. And you are definitely
invited back now.
KORNACKI: I think I had a few more ums and uhs and ehs than Clinton did,
but we did get through our great teleprompter crisis of 2013. And I know
that I fully and completely and enthusiastically support the United States
Olympic team in all of its endeavors and I am now reading this from the
script. Go America, USA. USA. I`m sorry I said I cheered for Lithuania.
I wasn`t against America, I just like the underdogs I don`t know. I want
to thank Ana Marie Cox from "The Guardian," Sahil Kapur of the
TalkingPointsMemo, msnbc.com`s Benjy Sarlin and former White House
communications director Ann Lewis. Thanks for getting up and thank you for
joining us. "UP" will be back next weekend, same time, same place, but a
different host. Our friend, Krystal Ball, will be filling in, so please
get up with her next Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 A.M. Eastern time, and
please stick around now because Melissa Harris-Perry is up next. On
today`s "MHP," President Obama and the Democrats bring a new strategy to
the ongoing political tug-of-war over health care. That strategy can be
summed up in three words, offense, offense, and offense. Don`t go
anywhere, Melissa is next. Have a great week, everybody.
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