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'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Read the transcript to the Saturday show

December 21, 2013

Guest: John Stanton; Jerry Nadler; Norm Ornstein; Nan Hayworth; Kathy Obradovich, Elizabeth Goitein

STEVE KORNACKI, HOST: How to prevent another year of inaction by Congress.

It`s only four days before Christmas, which means that the start of this
unseasonably warm Saturday morning in December, we`re in a pretty giving
mood. Despite the evidence, the trend of recent years, we`d like to hope
that the recently-concluded Congress, most unproductive one ever, at least
so far, we`d like to think they can turn things around next year. As I
said, we`re in a positive mood this morning. We have some ideas about how
to help Congress achieve that.

Former Montana Brian Schweitzer made huge news on this show just a few
weeks ago by hinting that he intended to run for president. Only he`s not
only now following through, I`ll explain how I think he`s the only possible
candidate so far who`s been willing to challenge Hillary Clinton directly.
More on that later.

And President Obama had a lot to say during his press conference yesterday
about all the revelations this year about the NSA`s mass monitoring of
phone calls. There`s been a ton of movement on that story this week to
discuss. I love election years, and the one coming up is going to be an
especially interesting one, the primary season in particular.

You only have to remember the Christine O`Donnells, the Sharon Engles, the
Joe Millers of a couple years ago to know that no incumbent senator -- no
Republican incumbent senator, is a sure thing anymore.

Plus I have rested my plaid jacket away from crystal ball. We`ve got a new
stack of note cards, excellent questions to put both you and our expert
political guests to the test in another challenging and exciting
installment of our current affairs quiz show "Up Against the Clock."
You`ll want to stick around for that.

But first, you know the story of the second half of President Obama`s first
term. A Republican-led Tea Party powerhouse committed to stalling, to
fighting and to obstructing his agenda, not compromising or negotiating
with him in any meaningful way. We had total paralyzing gridlock.

And as he ran for re-election last year, Obama pitched his candidacy as a
way of breaking through all of that.


now is that we still need to break the fever here in Washington so that
this town operates and reflects those values that are shared by people all
across the country.

CHARLIE ROSE, JOURNALIST: Meaning what, break the fever?

OBAMA: Break the fever meaning that we`ve got to stop thinking in purely
political terms about who`s on top, who gets the advantage? I do think
that the American people are the ultimate tie breaker. I mean, that`s how
our democracy works.

ROSE: They can break the fever?

OBAMA: They can break the fever.


KORNACKI: Break the fever. That was the hope behind Obama`s 2012
campaign. And when he won, well, there were some early signs that maybe
things might actually be a little different in his second term. 2013
started off, don`t forget, with the fiscal cliff deal. A deal that ended
the Bush tax cuts for some high-income earners. It raised the capital
gains rate. It brought in some serious new revenue.

Ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans was huge. This was
something President Obama had campaigned on twice, and after he got
reelected in 2012, he got it done.

And then, well, Mr. President said at yesterday`s end-of-the-year press


OBAMA: A lot of our legislative initiatives in Congress have not moved
forward as rapidly as I`d like.


KORNACKI: For one thing, we just commemorated the first anniversary of the
Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

In response to that, Obama made it one of his chief legislative priorities
to institute background checks. Public opinion seemed to be with him. It
was a 9-1 margin in some polls. It was something that almost everyone said
needed to happen.

Conservative Democrat Joe Manchin teamed up with conservative Republican
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. It looked like the NRA`s nearly two-decade
undefeated streak on Capitol Hill was about to come to an end. But it
didn`t. The gun lobby fought back hard. Background checks went down in a
filibuster back in April.

Then there`s immigration. By their own admission after their 2012 defeat,
Republicans needed to seriously improve their image with Latinos. And more
than a few voices in the party came after that reelection to say that it
was time for real comprehensive immigration reform, and a real
comprehensive, bipartisan bill did pass the Senate in June, a 68-32 margin.
Then it went to the House, and then it went absolutely nowhere else, with
the Republican majority there.

Fever still raged. 2013 is almost over and still no immigration reform.

The House also didn`t pass a farm bill in 2013. It ignored President
Obama`s calm for a minimum wage hike. It was only really productive when
it came to naming post offices after people. That`s about 20 percent of
what`s gotten done in the Boehner era. Maybe some bridge namings thrown in
there, too.

Thomas Mann at the Brookings Institution this week said that, quote, "By
all objective measures, this is the worst Congress ever." It makes the
actual Do-Nothing of the Truman era look like workaholics.

Then something else happened this week. The 113th Congress actually got
something done. They passed a budget and by fairly wide margins. In the
Senate, the vote was 64-36. In the House, in the Republican-controlled
House, the spread was 332 to 94. This makes the first time since 2009 that
a budget has actually been agreed to.

This is admittedly a pretty low bar. But even so, the fact that there`s
any budget deal shows Congress being functional in a way that it hasn`t
been in a long time. Now there are people that are saying this could be
the start of something new, a sudden welcome outbreak of productivity.
It`s a hope that President Obama himself channeled yesterday.


OBAMA: Hopefully, folks have learned their lesson in terms of
brinksmanship coming out of the -- coming out of the government shutdown,
given the pattern that we have been going through with House Republicans
for a while, we might have needed just a little bit of a bracing sort of
recognition that this is not what the American people think is acceptable.
They want us to try to solve problems.


KORNACKI: Well, it is not going to be long before we know if this is just
wishful thinking or if something real is happening, something real is
changing. Because Congress is ending 2013 with a lot of unfinished
business. Will any of the major issues, the major problems, the major
bills that went nowhere this year find new life in the days, in the weeks,
in the months ahead? And that first big test, the first big test to find
out the answer to that is actually here already, with unemployment benefits
for more than a million Americans running out fast.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Lots of things that should be
done, but the first thing is to make sure that those people who are waiting
and waiting to find a job still get the important check that they deserve.


KORNACKI: Emergency unemployment insurance expires for 1.3 million
Americans in just one week. So Congress needs to act fast, and the
president said yesterday that he`s hopeful.


OBAMA: I know a bipartisan group is working on a three-month extension of
this insurance. They should pass it, and I`ll sign it right away. Let me
repeat, I think 2014 needs to be a year of action.


KORNACKI: Unemployment insurance is the first test of whether the fever
that`s made Congress so unproductive might be breaking, at least a little.
And there are several other major tests coming up, too.

We`re going to talk about them now with John Stanton. He`s the Washington
bureau chief at Democratic Congressman from New York, Jerry
Nadler. Norm Ornstein, he`s the author of the book "It`s Even Worse Than
it Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New
Politics of Extremism" and a columnist for "National Journal." And former
Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, a Republican from New York, also exploring a
candidacy for her old seat again. So welcome back to the panel, Nan.
Welcome to all of you.

So I want to go through a bunch of things that were on the agenda in 2013
that didn`t go anywhere that will be back on the agenda in 2014. We`ll see
if there`s prospects for anything real happening.

And I want to start with that question of in one week 1.3 Americans,
Congressman, are due to have their unemployment -- their unemployment
benefits expire. The president was talking there about a little movement
maybe for some kind of a three-month deal. What is going on and how
optimistic are you that something is going to be done before this

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Frankly, I don`t really know. It`s --
the ball`s in the Republican court. They, the House Republicans, have to
decide what they want to do with that. they totally blocked any extension.
A three-month extension is little enough. We normally act a year at a
time, at least. It will cost some money. I don`t know where that money
will come from. The Republicans will demand, though I would disagree with
it, that it`s got to be paid for, instead of just by increasing the deficit
from what it otherwise would be. The deficit has gone down faster than at
any time since after World War II. Too fast; it`s hurting the economy.

We will push. The Democrats in the House and Senate will do what we can.
The Senate will probably pass something quickly. In the House, the
Republicans control the agenda, and they have to decide what they want to
do. But you know, I`m not terribly hopeful. Because you`ve seen people
like Granful (ph) and others say that extending the unemployment insurance
is a bad thing.

That even in an economy in which there are three applicants for every job,
in which the number of long-term unemployed is at record levels, they
believe that unemployment -- extended unemployment insurance is just is a
disservice to people.

KORNACKI: So do we -- do we have a sense, John, within the Republican
ranks on Capitol Hill how much of that sort of libertarian view that
Congressman Nadler is describing, the Rand Paul view in this -- we just
don`t need unemployment insurance -- how prevalent is that, versus how many
Republicans are willing to, in the sort of the classical sense negotiate
over this and come up with some kind of a deal?

libertarian wing will take a broader hold within the party, you know, with
folks like Rand Paul and some of the others in the last couple of years
have sort of set that stage for that.

But I think that there are plenty of Republicans that would be willing to
deal. The problem is that, when Democrats agreed last year, two years ago
to pay for, to offset the unemployment insurance, that set a precedent that
Republicans no longer feel that they have to give in on that anymore. In
the past, they`ve been willing to say, "Fine, we`ll do this in an
emergency. We don`t need to pay for it with offsets or whatever."

Now they feel they can hold that line. And they`re not feeling pressure
from back home. Particularly in the House, where a lot of their districts
are drawn in such a way that they aren`t going to feel that kind of
pressure. And so it`s going to be a difficult thing to move.

KORNACKI: Well, Nan, if you`re looking to -- you`ve been in Congress
before. You`re looking to get back here. This is an issue, I think,
that`s going to matter to a lot of your constituents. Is it something that
you want to see happen? And then if so, what is it that you think
Republicans in Congress, the Republicans who you`d like to serve with, what
should their approach to this be right now?

question really is what`s the very best thing we can do for the millions
and millions of Americans who are unemployed, the long-term unemployed?
And that goes to the -- the core of the issue.

And I think it should be the issue for 2014, which is we need an economy
that grows. We need to have real pro-growth reforms. tax reform should be
at the top of the agenda, because the reason these folks are suffering as
they are is because we have not had a climate for the past five years in
which businesses of any size, tall and large.

KORNACKI: But I mean, the immediate issue here that we`re talking about,
with the benefits due to expire in a week with Democrats saying we want, do
you think Republicans should just pass an extension of unemployment
benefits? Do you think they should be asking for any specific kind of
concession? What`s your view on it?

HAYWORTH: I think there`s going to have to be some sort of, I mean, we
have to reach across the aisle. When Jerry and I were in Congress together
we founded the Common Ground Caucus so that we could work together.

But there has to be -- I think there should be movement from both sides.
The Republican side can certainly move toward working with the Democratic
side on extending unemployment benefits. But let`s see some movement as
well toward real pro-growth reforms. I think those could be part of the

NADLER: There is a diametrically opposed viewpoint as to what pro-growth
reforms are.

Nan says tax reforms. Some of us will say, we ought to spend more money on
infrastructure, put people to work, trying to pump in a Keynesian sense.

The Republicans will totally disagree. There`s a total loggerheads as to
what the proper course of action to increase employment is.

That`s going to be fought out, but it`s not going to be settled in a week
or two when these insure -- when unemployment insurance ends for these

And the question is -- the only immediate question is, are you willing to
vote to increase unemployment to extend the emergency extended unemployment
as we always have without, end quote, an emergency because..?

KORNACKI: And Norm, you, you are the expert Congress watcher. As you look
at what is coming up in a week now, what is your read on what`s going to

NORM ORNSTEIN, AUTHOR/COLUMNIST: I think we`re likely to see this
extension. The big problem at this point, and John identified that they
need to find an offset. All of the low hanging fruit and some of the
medium hanging fruit was taken away.

And in fact, because of the controversy now over the $6 billion from
military pensions, that is likely to be put back in, in some fashion.
You`ve got to find money. And they`re not going to find it with loopholes
or other kinds of taxes.

So what`s left in the same thing we`ve turned to 25 times before, spectrum
option revenues. And my guess is we`ll use the spectrum option revenues.

The other element here, of course, is if we are looking for growth, what we
know of unemployment insurance is it is an injection immediately into the
economy. All that money is spent. And it provides a significant amount of
economic growth.

So the need for an offset, if you`re look at it in terms of the cost-
benefit ratio, is much less than it might be for other people. We`re going
to need that offset right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because the Republicans will...

ORNSTEIN: The other thing to keep in mind is, you know, walk, a couple
weeks ago, they opened two Wal-Marts, 25,000 people showed up for 200 jobs.

So the idea that people are sitting back and saying, "three hundred week,
wow, I can put my feet up on the ottoman, crack open a beer and watch
basketball all day long," is crazy. If mean, if you get $300 a week, it`s
"Am I going to pay the rent? Am I going to pay the heating bill? II will
put food on the table.

KORNACKI: It`s money to people who need to go money, and it will go right
into the economy. So unemployment, that is the immediate thing, the
immediate test of whether Congress -- this is a turnaround moment at all
for Congress. There are some other big tests on the horizon. We`re going
to get into all of them, start with the new one right after this, after
this break.


KORNACKI: So we`re looking at a Congress that in 2013 was on pace to
become the least productive Congress of all time. We`re going to see if
they can turn it around in 2014. And we`re going through sort of going
through the test by test of what`s coming up.

We still have the matter of the debt ceiling. This is the next sort of big
test we see on the horizon. It`s next due to expire in March. The last
time we went through one of these, it was a near catastrophe. Is it going
to be smooth sailing this time? Based on what at least some of them are
saying, though, Republicans are still talking like a party that sees a debt
ceiling hike as a bargaining tool, and not an obligation.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I doubt if the House, or for
that matter the Senate, is willing to give the president a clean debt
ceiling increase. Every time the president asks us to raise the debt
ceiling, it`s a good time to try to achieve something important for the


KORNACKI: So I mean, I hear that, John, as a, "Here we go again." That
was what was behind the paralysis this past fall, the summer of 2011, this
whole idea of attaching a list of demands to raising the debt ceiling.

Is that something, do you think Republicans are actually going to go down
that road again, or is that -- are those Republican politicians right now
trying to appease their base for the moment and then not actually go
through with it?

STANTON: No, I think they will. You know, I think the problem for
Republicans right now was that non one`s quite sure what they want. Ted
Cruz says he wants to fight over Obama care. Others say they want to use
it as a way to create more cuts to spending. Others want, you know, long-
term debt relief, that kind of thing.

So right now they`re a bit fractured. But if they come, if they settle on
a set of things, we`re absolutely, I think, going to see another fight.
Now whether or not they go, like they did in 2011, up to the deadline and
actually push past it a little bit and cause sort of a huge problem
internationally, that remains to be seen.

But you know, they I do look at this as a great pressure point. You know,
it was Rob Emanuel who said, you know, crisis is a great time to do stuff.
And they`ve sort of adopted that mantra.

KORNACKI: What is it going to take, Norm, from the Obama White House`s
perspective? I have certainly picked up from them the idea that they
regret, if you look back to 2011, stringing out these negotiations with
Republicans over the debt ceiling and sort of establishing a precedent in
the minds of Republicans that, hey, when the debt ceiling comes up for an
extension, we can demand "X" from you.

And so the White House has been desperately trying to sort of reestablish
this old tradition where, hey, this is Congress`s obligation. You just
raised the debt ceiling. There`s no strings attached, that sort of thing.
What is it going to take to reestablish that? Is that something or are we
past that point?

ORNSTEIN: We are probably past that point. I think what we`re going to
see now, as we saw the last time that this happened a few months bark, the
president is going to take the very strong and firm stand, "We`re not

And it worked the last time, because all the focus turned to the shutdown.
John Boehner doesn`t want a confrontation over the debt limit.

But one thing that emerged from the budget compromise, where Boehner got up
and, you know, attacked Heritage Action and some of these outside groups,
and people were saying, "Oh, look, he`s now standing firm." Every time one
of those things happens, the next time it`s a compensatory move to give
them what they want.

And it was Paul Ryan, the guy who negotiated this deal, who turned around
two days later and said, "We`re trying to decide what we`re going to demand
in return for an increase in the debt ceiling."

So if you get the outside groups whipped up, the Tea Party wing saying,
"This is our chance," the only thing that deters a confrontation here is
the fear that, if this becomes the big issue, it takes the focus off of
Obama care again.

And that may be the argument that Boehner has to use to navigate around

KORNACKI: Another item on the Congressional agenda -- how long has this
been the case? -- is immigration. In his year-end press conference
yesterday, President Obama called it, quote, "the biggest thing I wanted to
get done this year." And clearly, that didn`t happen, but he hasn`t given
up hope.


OBAMA: We saw progress that passed the Senate with a strong bipartisan
vote. There are indications in the House that, even though it did not get
completed this year, that there is a commitment on the part of the speaker
to try to move forward legislation early next year.

We can get immigration reform done. We`ve got a concept that has
bipartisan support. Let see if we can break through the politics on this.


KORNACKI: So, Nan, the dispute between the Senate and the House, there`s a
lot -- there`s a lot to it. But I think the biggest thing is this idea of
sort of a path to citizenship. And that was included in the bill that went
out of the Senate. And there are a lot of Republicans in the House saying
absolutely not to the path of citizenship. Maybe just some of, you know,
piecemeal ideas.

When you look at this, when you look at what happened to your party with
Latino voters in 2012, when you look at the population change in this
country. Where do you think Republicans should be on passing a path to
citizenship in this comprehensive approach, should this be a priority in
the House in 2014?

HAYWORTH: There are so many important crucial elements for the economy,
for our workers, for our industries and agriculture in this bill, aside
from the fundamental issues of compassion, that I think Republicans are
going to be sympathetic to the speaker`s -- I think the speaker`s going to
start taking the lead on the immigration bill, based on certain staff hires
he`s made. It`s -- it is a vital issue. It has to be resolved for all
sorts of reasons.

So I think that elements of a citizenship opportunity with appropriate
recognition of the obligations that have to be incurred to satisfy that, I
think it`s going to have to be a part of it, and I think there will be
extensive discussion.

Look, when we saw the budget pass after four years, we know that there`s an
acknowledgment that an incremental approach will move us forward, and I
think we`re going to have to.

KORNACKI: So the bill that passed the Senate contains all sorts of --
there`s penalties that you have to pay, fines that you have to pay along --
along the way. Congressman, you look at this. Have you had any
conversations with Republicans in Washington? Have you picked up on
anything that suggests, when you listen to John Boehner, for instance, that
suggests maybe in 2014, there`s going to be a more concerted effort by
House Republicans?

NADLER: The main thing is that Boehner recently hired a staff person who
had been on Senator McCain`s staff, who did his immigration specialist,
even during the days of the debates over the Kennedy-McCain bill back in

That betokens an interest on Speaker Boehner`s part in getting some real
bill passed.

Now, many of my Republican House colleagues, especially those that served
within the judiciary committee, are just absolutely not. They don`t want
anything with a path to citizenship, no matter what you call it.

We have passed under Chairman Goodlatte, with I presume the speaker has
insisted on not doing a comprehensive bill. We passed so far five
piecemeal immigration bills from a Democratic point of view, each of them
pretty obnoxious, very strong punitive enforcement, et cetera, and not
going anywhere near the question of the DREAM Act or to pass the
citizenship, which will have to be a part of something.

KORNACKI: The theory is the optimistic theory, I guess, for advocates over
form. Is there anything that you can actually get past the House, even if
you consider it obnoxious by your standards, gets you into that committee,
and maybe in a conference committee, something more broad and comprehensive
can come out and they can put it up for..?

NADLER: That is possible. And that`s one reason why a lot of the
Republicans don`t want to...

KORNACKI: No conference at all.

NADLER: None of these -- none of these bills have passed the House floor.
They`ve come out of the judiciary, but they haven`t gone to the floor.

STANTON: That`s where Boehner`s new approach, and sort of his willingness
to go out against Terry Jackson (ph) and Club for Growth and similar
organizations, that`s the one place where it could. Because he has said
behind closed doors, "No, I`m not going to bring it. If it`s going to
conference with the Senate bill. I don`t want to have their bill as part
of it, because we`re just going to get rolled. Now that may open the door
for him to agree to do a full-on conference with them. Even if it`s using
a very small mirror bill as the vehicle for that.

KORNACKI: All right. We`ve got immigration, minimum wage. A couple more
big tests coming up in the week and months in the Congress. We want to
talk about them right after this.


KORNACKI: So we`re picking up with the major tests facing Congress is the
next few months. As we mentioned earlier, Congress did not pass a farm
bill this year. This is actually a big deal. For a long time, it was a
rare big ticket item where there was consensus between the two parties.
The farm bill went nowhere in 2013. The hang-up has to do with Food

In June, the Senate reached a deal, but the House wanted deep cuts to both
Food Stamps and agriculture subsidies. And other members started tagging
on even more draconian amendments, and the whole deal went belly-up.


REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MINORITY WHIP: What happened THAT is you turned a
bipartisan bill necessary for our farmers, necessary for our consumers,
necessary for the people of America that many of us would have supported,
and you turned it into a partisan bill.


KORNACKI: Congressman, he failed last week to resolve the differences
between the House and the Senate bills. So Congress had temporarily
extended the old one from 2008 until early next year when it will try again
to create a new farm bill.

I know, Norm, you`ve written about this, about sort of the historic
importance and significance of the farm bill. If you can talk a little bit
about that and what you think the prospects are for the months ahead.

ORNSTEIN: And I wrote about it as the poster child for dysfunction in
Congress. For 50 years, we had a deal, and it`s the kind of thing that
Congress has to do. If you have strong interests of a minority how do you
build a majority coalition?

So for 50 years, we had urban members of Congress who could get Food Stamps
and rural members who got their subsidies, but also Food Stamps worked to
their benefit. They had surplus. That`s gone now. And it`s gone, in
significant part, because of the House Republicans` insistence on cutting
really serious amounts from the Food Stamp program at a time of economic

Forty billion dollars is what they wanted to cut over ten years and even
beyond that, what Steny Hoyer was talking about was an Eric Cantor
amendment pushed on the floor that would have been even more punitive and
had taken away the state`s ability to have some flexibility with work
training programs and so on for Food Stamps.

So listen, three and a half years now without a Farm Bill. If it had
expired at the end of the year without this one month extension, we would
have reverted back to the 1949 farm bill. Milk prices would have gone to
$7 to $10 a gallon.

So they`ve gotten a temporary reprieve. The problem that we have coming up
is we`re likely to see a deal in a conference committee. But it`s a deal
that`s going to go beyond the $5 billion in cuts and Food Stamps that the
Senate had agreed to. Frankly, after another 5 billion that`s already been
done, pretty punitive as it is, it`s going to go beyond that but less than
the 40 billion.

We may see on the House floor a lot of Democrats saying, "I`m not going to
support this. The cuts are still too big." And the Tea Party Republicans
are saying if you don`t give us the full $40 billion.

KORNACKI: It`s not enough for one and it`s way too much for the other.
That`s the recipe for disaster.

We want to get another one here, another important one. Congress also
spent a good portion of the last few weeks working on a bill to fund the
Defense Department. It actually passed the Senate on Thursday, an 84-15

While the bill does include provisions aimed at more aggressively
prosecuting sexual assault in the military, it left out the most
contentious proposal that`s out there. That`s New York Democrat Kirsten
Gillibrand`s push to remove sexual assault cases from the military`s chain
of command and to place them under control of an independent military

Yesterday, President Obama ordered a one-year review of the military`s
handling of sexual assaults, saying that if progress is not achieved,
additional reforms may be required. Majority Leader Harry Reid has
promised Gillibrand a stand-alone vote on her proposal in the new year.

Congressman, when you look at the support that Senator Gillibrand has
amassed for this thing is very interesting. It cuts across the usual
partisan divide. She`s also getting a lot of -- a lot of pushback from the
military, from those close to the military -- John McCain, Lindsey Graham.

When you look at what the president had to say yesterday, where do you
think the administration is on this? And what do you think the prospects
are for Gillibrand`s proposal -- excuse me -- becoming law?

NADLER: I think it will become law eventually. I think the question is
how long is eventually? I mean, the idea of taking the prosecution, the
decision of prosecution of sexual assaults away from the line of command,
where it makes eminent sense, because your superior could be the person
that has to make that decision and also has to make a lot of other
decisions about you. So you`re inhibited from reporting sexual abuses.

I think it`s inevitably going to happen. I think Kirsten`s done
tremendously good work for this. I hope the president will recognize that
he has to tell the military, which is pushing back, you can`t get -- you
can`t -- this can`t continue. I think it`s a fair chance that Kirsten, in
a vote, in a free-standing vote, may pass it. What the House Republicans
will do, I don`t know. We haven`t heard from them.

KORNACKI: How do you feel about that, that idea, Nan, the idea of removing
it from the chain of command?

HAYWORTH: I think on the face of it, there is certainly some merit,
conceptually. You would wonder whether or not there could be full
objectivity, obviously, if someone in the chain of command has to
adjudicate decisions that made -- that pit one member of the team against
another. So I think it should be looked at.

I agree that the president, I think, has an excellent idea in examining
that further. And it is -- it is right to continue investigating this.

KORNACKI: Yes, I know, it`s interesting. Because obviously, Gillibrand
has been so forceful on this, and it`s brought this interesting coalition.
It seemed like the president himself yesterday, not ready to sign on.
Seemed to be trying to buy a little time, if anything, with his comments.
So that`s another test we`ll be paying attention to in the weeks, in the
months ahead.

Switching gears now, a certain Democrat is trying to make good on his
pledge, expressed to us right here on this show, to visit all of Iowa`s 99
counties before the 2016 election. He is not afraid of a certain
Democratic frontrunner either. That`s next.


KORNACKI: About a month ago on this show, he made a little news when one
of our panelists asked another panelist a very specific, very pointed and
very direct question.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who do you want for president in 2016?

there`s probably around 100 counties in Iowa. And on my bucket list is to
try and make it to all the counties of Iowa someday.


KORNACKI: Well, there are actually 99 counties in Iowa but, arguably, that
is not your normal bucket list item, at least if I`m remembering that movie
correctly. But since that exchange, former Montana governor, Brian
Schweitzer, has kept a pretty low profile until this week.

We will update you on Brian Schweitzer`s bucket list and how Hillary
Clinton is involved. That`s next.


KORNACKI: When we had Brian Schweitzer, the former Democratic governor of
Montana, on our show last month, he made some news.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who do you want for president in 2016?

SCHWEITZER: Well, I`ll just say that there`s probably around 100 counties
in Iowa. And on my bucket list is to try and make it to all the counties
of Iowa someday.


KORNACKI: Now there are, to be exact, 99 counties in Iowa. And now, just
a few weeks after that interview, Schweitzer is already knocking some of
them off that bucket list, beginning with Polk County outside Des Moines
where this past Wednesday night. He delivered the featured address at a
Progress Iowa holiday party.

Now, granted, a would-be Democratic presidential candidate making the
rounds in Iowa or New Hampshire or any other early primary or caucus state
is standard. But there is a key difference in what Brian Schweitzer is

Because if you look at the other potential candidates, like say Maryland
Governor Martin O`Malley. He made it clear that he would like to run for
president and is taking a lot of the necessary early steps to do so. But
he`s also making it clear that he`s only going to go ahead and run if
Hillary Clinton doesn`t.

This is the dilemma of most potential Democratic candidates, whether it`s
Andrew Cuomo or Joe Biden. They are very interested in running and in
being president, but they are showing absolutely no interest in running
against Hillary Clinton.

And this is what makes Schweitzer different. Not just that he was in Iowa
this week. It`s that he was in Iowa giving the distinct impression that he
likes the idea of running against Hillary Clinton. I mean, he went out of
his way this week to bring up the one issue that, more than any other, sunk
her 2008 campaign.


SCHWEITZER: When we were attacked in 9-11 by 17 Saudis and two Egyptians
who called themselves al Qaeda, who weren`t (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Iraq, and
George Bush got a bunch of Democrats to vote to go to that war, I was just
shaking my head in Montana.


KORNACKI: So is that Iraq War comment a direct shot at Clinton? All
Schweitzer had to say when he was asked by reporters was this: quote, "Did
he vote for it? I didn`t keep track. I think there were 21 Democrats who
didn`t vote for it. She might have been one of those."

As far as being playfully disingenuous goes, I put that one right up there
with the old Ronald Reagan strategy, where he`d get a question he didn`t
want to answer, he`d cup his ear, and he`d pretend he couldn`t hear.

When Schweitzer is serious about running for the White House in 2016, he
does have a lot of work to do. In the latest poll put in the field by the
"Des Moines Register," 89 percent of Iowa Democrats view Hillary Clinton
favorably. As for Brian Schweitzer, 70 percent don`t even have an opinion
of him.

Now coming to us from Johnston, Iowa, I want to welcome Kathy Obradovich.
She`s a political columnist for the "Des Moines Register."

Kathy, welcome to the show. I don`t know if this is the first -- your
first national appearance in the 2016 cycle. But you probably will have
hundreds of these before it`s over, so thanks for taking a few minutes.

And, you know, as I said in the interim there, what really struck me about
what I read and what I heard from Brian Schweitzer being in Iowa this week
was this wasn`t just a guy saying, "Hey, I`m the fallback if Hillary
Clinton doesn`t run." This looked like he was a guy who was saying, "Hey,
this is the contrast between me and Hillary Clinton."

Governor Schweitzer said that, you know, you have a history of nominating
people from the same families. You`ve got Bush, Bush, and maybe another
Bush. You`ve got Clinton, Clinton. Maybe another Clinton. Maybe it`s
time to nominate somebody who`s not a Bush or a Clinton.

When we were asked -- he was asked are you going to challenge the throne,
he played a little bit coy.

But I`ll tell you. I`ve lived in Iowa all my life, and I have not been to
all 99 counties. You don`t do that kind of thing, you don`t say you`re
going to go to all 99 counties in Iowa unless you`re running for something.

KORNACKI: Yes, no, when he gave that answer on the show, I was like, whoa,
that`s -- I was expecting him to do -- you know, "Are you running for
president?" I was expecting him to say, "Well, you know, lots of thing in
the future, I`m not even thinking about that."

I was really -- I was struck by the bluntness of his answer. So what was
the reception of -- you know, when he made these comments this week, when
he worked-- sort of worked a couple of rooms in Iowa, what was the
reception from Democrats in Iowa? Did they like who they received? Did
they like what they were hearing?

OBRADOVICH: Democrats in Iowa like Brian Schweitzer. They think they that
he is entertaining. They like listening to him.

But people here are very reserved about saying that they would support
anyone for president besides Hillary Clinton. They are definitely waiting
to hear what she`s going to do.

Brian Schweitzer may not be waiting to hear what she`s going to do. But
Democrat -- most of the Democrats you talk to, you know, A, think she`s
going to run and, B, you know, are inclined to support her if she does

That does not mean, however, that an insurgent candidate, somebody who
wants to be the anti-Hillary, won`t find an audience in high what. The
history shows that someone like that can and has a good chance of really
gaining a place on the national stage by coming to Iowa.

Well, that`s right. And you mentioned that history. I mean, there was,
right up until the end of 2004, Howard Dean on the anti-war message looked
like he was going to win Iowa, and then he wasn`t able to do so.

In 2008, you had Hillary Clinton finish third in the Iowa caucuses. And a
lot of it had to do with that vote for the war in 2002, the vote that Brian
Schweitzer brought up when he was out there in Iowa this week.

Now you`re saying, you know, and this sort of happened nationally, too. I
guess Democrats are looking at Hillary Clinton a little differently than
they did back in 2008. What exactly -- what has changed, the image of
Hillary Clinton in Iowa? And is it now a lot more friendly turf for her
than it was heading into 2008?

OBRADOVICH: I think it is a lot more friendly turf. In part, because of
her experience as secretary of state. This is a job that she got, you
know, in addition to being a senator. This is an executive experience
besides being first lady, which, of course, brought its own issues. And,
you know, this is something that people respected the job that she did.

I think also the idea of a woman for president has only grown over the
years. Hillary Clinton kind of complained about Iowa in 2008 because Iowa
had not and still has not ever sent a woman to Congress or to the U.S.
Senate or to the governor`s office. And that is still true. Although,
perhaps that will change in 2014.

But I still think the idea of having a woman as president is growing on the
country and growing on Iowans, as well. Plus, I think that just her resume
has grown.

KORNACKI: All right. I want to thank Kathy Obradovich from "The Des
Moines Register." Thanks for joining us. We will be talking to you a lot
between now and 2016, I think.

And we will pick this up with the panel on the question of what we make of
Brian Schweitzer, what we make of the idea of is there room in the
Democratic Party to be challenging Hillary Clinton in 2016? We will pick
that up right after this.


KORNACKI: So we just got a taste of what`s going on in Iowa right now,
where Brian Schweitzer, a guest on this show a few weeks ago, now out there
really kind of starting to give a preview of what it would be like if he
was running against Hillary Clinton. The obvious question, is we always
talked in the run-up to 2008 about how invincible Hillary Clinton was going
to be. We were all totally wrong about that.

But that said, she looks ten times stronger for all sorts of reasons
heading into this -- heading into 2016, if she runs, than she did in 2008.

When you look at Brian Schweitzer out there this week, do you think there`s
room, John, for a candidate like him?

STANTON: I do. I`m still questioning whether or not I think he really is
going to put his energy into this or he`s going to put his energy up to the
point where it becomes a decision he has to make and then says back off
like he did in the Senate race in Montana.

And I think, you know, the difference between now and 2008 in places like
Iowa, is that beyond just the work she`s done as secretary of state, people
feel like they owe her now. There is much more of you went with Obama the
last time, this time this is hers. We really like her. You know, even
some of the concerns we may have had, we`re going to put this aside and
give this to Hillary Clinton.

KORNACKI: She may -- yes. She may -- it was like -- it was such a
contentious primary in 2008. But it ended with...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was real close.

KORNACKI: Right. And she -- 17, 18 million votes, whatever the exact
number was. She didn`t, you know, fight it out to the convention. She was
a loyal soldier in the fall. She had the job of secretary of state. And
then her husband, Bill, delivers that key note address at the convention
last summer that I think made a lot of Democrats sort of, built an enormous
amount of good will that they sort of built back over the last few years.

ORNSTEIN: You know, a couple of things to keep in mind. The reason that a
Martin O`Malley or Andrew Cuomo isn`t going to run is they are now
governors. They`re establishment figures. If she runs, it would look very

It doesn`t look bad for Brian Schweitzer, and if you`re getting out there,
just in case something happens, if she stumbles or if something else
occurs, that`s one thing.

The second thing is there`s a room for a populist candidate, a strong left-
wing populist in the Democratic party. Part of it is every time a two-time
president emerges, you get grumbling from the base. And now you`ve got
serious grumbling from the base: environmental issues, fiscal issues,
immigration. The deportations and the NSA and all of the other things
combined with that.

So Schweitzer is going to have some appeal out there. But having said
that, you look at other candidates who`ve spent a lot of time in Iowa.
Chris Dodd, who was a very impressive guy, moves his family there and gets
nothing out of it. The idea that, just because you visit 99 counties or
you ensconce yourself in Iowa, you`re going to get somewhere, I just...

KORNACKI: Right. You`re getting into that, like the idea of Schweitzer
sort of being the insurgent candidate. And Chris Dodd, after 38 years or
whatever in Congress.

NADLER: But also, the country is a lot bigger than Iowa. And when people
first stood up -- first sat up and took notice of Barack Obama, was way
before he went to Iowa, when he posted fundraising numbers that equaled or
exceeded over a certain quarter Hillary`s fundraising numbers. And that`s
what made him a serious candidate, when he showed he could do that.

KORNACKI: Well, and his speech. He had that speech at the convention in

NADLER: Because of that -- because of that, he was able to raise --
perhaps he was able to raise those funds.

It`s hard to see Schweitzer doing that, unless he`s got some way of, you
know -- it`s a big country. It takes an awful lot of money to run for
president. And he would have to come up with some source of being able to
raise serious money if he wants to be a serious candidate.

KORNACKI: I`ve got to get this piece in the news this week, and then I
want to ask what you think of this. But this is my hobby.

Jerry Brown urged to run for president, won`t rule out 2016. This was "The
L.A. Times" this week. We`ve talked a little bit about this. Jerry Brown
has run for president three times before. If he were five years younger, I
swear he`d be -- he`d be a little more aggressively in the mix. But for
the record, that was in the news this week, as well, somebody not ruling
out 2016.

Nan, when you look at -- as a Republican, when you look at what`s going on,
on the Democratic side, is Hillary Clinton the candidate you don`t want to
run against in 2016?

HAYWORTH: I think there are going to be a lot of great tail winds and a
lot of great opportunities for whoever the Republican nominee may be in

And my biggest concern is that the country end up with a president after
that election who will cause our economy, encourage our economy to grow.

Having said that, looking at the Democratic field, one senses that there is
-- and it`s a natural thing -- a certain amount of -- although Secretary
Clinton has, obviously, an extremely impressive baseline of strength,
there`s a certain amount of fatigue, too. There`s familiarity; there`s
been boredom.

So it`s -- I think Brian Schweitzer has sort of a jujitsu opportunity there
to turn, you know, her strength into his strength. Because you know, he`s
the alternative to Hillary. He`s going to get some attention. The same
with Jerry Brown. You know, it`s something different.

ORNSTEIN: I think it`s just a huge effort, unprecedented on the part of
the Democratic establishment, to get this candidacy settled early and have
the advantage of incumbency without an incumbent. Let the Republicans rip
each other apart.

KORNACKI: Well, a lot of pressure for nobody else to get the idea that
Brian Schweitzer apparently has.

What will President Obama be reading on the beaches of Hawaii over the next
two weeks? We think we have an idea. That`s next.


KORNACKI: President Obama and the first family boarded Air Force One last
night for a two-week Christmas vacation in Hawaii. And as the Obamas begin
their annual holiday break in the state where the president was born and
where he grew up, you can only speculate what he might be reading on the
Oahu sandy shores, what exactly qualifies as a beach read when you are the

You know that Obama did pick up a spy novel at Washington`s Politics and
Pros Bookstore Thanksgiving weekend. Plus, a few more high-brow literary
choices and a book about the science of athletic performance.

But it`s just as possible -- maybe more likely -- that the president will
actually be poring through the new 300-page independent review of the
National Security Agency`s surveillance practices by a White House task
force that landed on his desk this week.

The report which was prepared by legal and intelligence experts makes 46
recommendations on how to rein in the NSA`s expansive data collection
practices. A response in a way to all of the intelligence secrets revealed
this year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The panel`s biggest recommendation is that the NSA should put a stop to his
practice of vacuuming up the phone records of Americans and holding that
information indefinitely. That it should take a court order for the
government to access that information from telecommunications companies.
At his news conference Friday, the president sounded opened to that idea.


that some of the same information that the intelligence community feels is
required to keep people safe can be obtained by having the private phone
companies keep these records longer and to create some mechanism where they
can be accessed in an effective fashion.

The question that we`re asking ourselves now is, does that make sense not
only because of the fact that there are concerns about potential abuse down
the road with the metadata that`s been kept by government rather than
private companies. But also, it doesn`t make sense to do it because people
right now are concerned that maybe their phone calls are being listened to,
even if they`re not.


KORNACKI: The most talked about finding in the report, which was written
by intelligence veterans, including the former head of the CIA, is that
bulk collection of phone records has not made us safer. It is, quote, "not
essential to preventing attacks and could readily have been obtained using
conventional intelligence means." The report came right on the heels of a
district court ruling Monday that the program is also likely
unconstitutional. A federal judge calling it, quote, "almost Orwellian."

The very next day, Obama took heat from Silicon Valley CEOs who said the
government`s sweeping under surveillance programs were undermining
confidence in their products and hurting their bottom lines. At week`s
end, voices from every branch of government and the private sector had
weighed in, in favor of reigning in intelligence gathering.


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: The message is very clear, the message to
the NSA is now coming from every branch of government, from every corner of
our nation -- NSA, you`ve gone too far.


KORNACKI: President Obama has some big decisions to make about his
government`s intelligence gathering. He`s already rejected one
recommendation to create a stronger division between the NSA and the
Pentagon. But there are 45 more recommendations that are still awaiting
his response. If there is one message on this topic, the president wanted
to get across yesterday, it`s that he is open to reform.


OBAMA: The question we are going to have to ask is, can we accomplish the
same goals that this program is intended to accomplish in ways that give
the public more confidence that, in fact, the NSA is doing what it is
supposed to be doing. We pay have to refine this further to give people
more confidence.


KORNACKI: All right. I want to welcome back Norm Ornstein, columnist and
author of the book "It`s Even Worse Than It Looks", and former congressman
and now candidate for her old seat, Nan Hayworth. Welcome back to the

Eliza Goitein, co-director of the liberty and national security program at
the Brennan Center is here with us now. And New York Congressman Jerry
Nadler is still with us.

And, Liza, I`ll start with you. When we played a little of the president
yesterday, we know he has all these recommendation, what did you make of
what you were hearing from him yesterday? Do you think there was anything
significant in terms of a change that was hinted at there? What is your
overall impression of what you heard from the president?

committal and I think he had to be non-committal. I think he is now in a
rather difficult position, where the committee that he appointed, his five
appointees, has recommended sweeping changes to the NSA`s activities and
the intelligence committee that he oversees is going to oppose those
changes very, very strongly.

That puts him in a very difficult position. And I think it`s a very
difficult line that he`s going to have to walk. And so, I think that`s
what we saw, and some of the hedging comments that he gave.

KORNACKI: Well, Congressman, where do you think the president really is on
this? Because some of you campaigned certainly for the office. He
emphasized a lot, you know, civil liberties, the sort of false choice
between security and privacy and now as president, maybe his perspective
has changed a little on this. Where do you -- where do you think he comes
down on us right now?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: He comes down in favor, against civil
liberties pretty solidly. The record of this administration has been very
insensitive on all these issues. On torture and things like that, it`s
been very good. He eliminated the secret sites, they stopped doing the
torture that the Bush administration has been doing, the so-called enhanced
interrogation techniques.

But on under surveillance issue, they have not been willing to move at all.
When we did the -- when we passed, I shouldn`t say we -- I voted against
it. When the Patriot Act, which included section 2015 which is the section
that allegedly gives the authority for this dragnet surveillance was
passed, most of the Democrats on the judiciary committee opposed it. We
opposed its reauthorization a few times, 2008, I think 2011.

Even Congressman Sensenbrenner who wrote it said that the use of this
section to justify dragnet under surveillance, with I seems to be against
the text of what we wrote, the section says, the records to be demanded
have to be relevant to an ongoing investigation and the way the FISA court
has interpreted that at the behest of the administration is everything is
relevant, because you might find a needle in the haystack, which is to say
every phone call is relevant, which rubs it of all meaning.

They have not been good on this. The administration have not been good on
the State Secrets Act or the State Secrets Doctrine, which basically has
been used by this administration as by the Bush administration to stop
every lawsuit alleging violation of rights simply by saying this is a state
secret, you can`t even try the case.

So I think that there is going to be a lot of push back, both from the
liberal wing of the Democratic Party and the libertarian wing of the
Republican Party against this, and the key recommendations of this
committee, especially that the dragnet under surveillance stop you need a
court order to look at any particular person`s phone data is going to have
to be adopted.

And, by the way, this all expires. The legislative authorization expires
in 2015. And if it is not changed in this respect, it will not be

KORNACKI: So that`s, the reporting on this, Liza, has said the most
contentious recommendation from the panel is that, no longer can the
government store all of this sort of bulk data on phone calls, that it
should be the telecommunications companies themselves that hold on to that
data and the government then needs to get a warrant if they want to look at
anybody`s particular records.

Do you -- how big a difference do you think that would make if that
recommendation was accepted? Practical speaking, would that satisfy a lot
of your concerns?

GOITIEN: Well that is, in fact, what Section 258 of the Patriot Act, that
business records provision being used for this program, that`s what it
says. It says if the government wants to get information from a telephone
company, it needs to get a FISA court order after demonstrating that the
records are relevant. So, the recommendation really just squares or would
square the government`s practice of what the statute up here is to say.

The problem is that the statute at the time of the bulk collection is
brought under the statute was stretched beyond all possible meaning. So, I
mean, I think it really is a very common sense reversion of the law

KORNACKI: When we start to get into this, though, and this is a quote from
Michael Hayden, the former director of the NSA and the CIA. And he`s
talking about -- and we`re getting to this old debate about, you know,
security versus personal liberties, he said for sure there are other values
than just intelligence collection. Those may be worth it. But there is no
doubt this will make the collection of intelligence slower and more
difficult, talking about that proposal.

NADLER: The Fourth Amendment was written specifically to say that general
warrant as practiced by the British, let us see everything, were not to be
done. And what this is, is essentially a general warrant, with the way
they`ve used the Patriot Act is to recreate where we fought, part of the
reason we fought the American revolution to oppose. That`s Judge Leon
found it unconstitutional.

Never mind what Section 217 says. I think it is unconstitutional.

NORM ORNSTEIN, COLUMNIST & AUTHOR: You know, this reminds me a little bit
of the discussion we`re having earlier, about sexual assault in the
military. You have all of these military commanders saying, trust us, you
know, we`ll do the right thing. We have 30 years saying they don`t.

It`s clear that you need checks and balances. The NSA is going to push
everything to the limit to get whatever it wants.

I -- you know, I`m of two minds about this. There are evil people out
there including some Americans who want to do mayhem, and it`s not that
difficult. We found the Boston marathon tells us that. I want tools at a
disposal of people to head off these things.

But it was Judge Walton, also a Republican appointee, Judge Leon, a
Republican appointee who have been furious with the fact that the NSA
basically has jerked the FISA court around from time to time.

So, when you get Dick Clark, who is a part of this administration, who is
Mr. Anti-terrorism, I mean, a man I trust implicitly with these stuff,
coming out with some of these recommendations, they`ve got to be taken
seriously by the president.

KORNACKI: And, Nan, how do you -- we look at the Republicans on this,
there`s two wings that have emerged in the Republican Party on these
issues. You got sort of, you know, Pete King from New York embodies one,
he is the absolute priority to stopping terrorism. We will do whatever it
takes. Then, you got more of the sort of, you know, Rand Paul

Where do you come down on that? And how do you think about these

FORMER REP. NAN HAYWORTH (R), NEW YORK: Well, I am deeply concerned about
potential abuses. There`s no question about it, and deeply concerned about
national security. I mean, we do face hideous threats. There`s no
question about it.

But look at what we saw with the behavior of the IRS over the past year,
which has been observed and studied in terms of their targeting certain
groups or citizens because they`re political beliefs.

KORNACKI: Well, that`s sort of in dispute --


HAYWORTH: Fair enough, Steve. But it illustrates the potential for abuse.
We know it`s there. That`s why we have a Fourth Amendment. That`s why we
did what we did at the founding of this country in the writing of the Bill
of Rights.

So, there is -- at this committee, this commission has come up with who
sounds to me like a very sensible middle ground approach that will respect
the privacy far more materially, respect what`s in the Constitution, what`s
in the Bill of Rights, but also facilitate and we do need to work on all
the mechanics of facilitating swift and decisive action, targeted action,
where it is needed and indicated to have these records accessed.

KORNACKI: Well, we will pick that point out there. We`re going to tease
on the other side on this break. Congressman Nadler, we will pick it right
up with you as soon as we come back.


KORNACKI: All right. We are back.

Talking about the NSA, some of the -- all of the recommendations that
landed on President Obama`s desk. He doesn`t seem quite sure what to do
with them yet, what he wants to do with them yet.

But, Congressman Nadler, you were about to say?

NADLER: I was about to say that one the central findings of this
commission which were stacked with national security professionals, was
that these enhanced powers, these general warrants did not help security.
That, in fact, the NSA and the CIA couldn`t show one single instance where
they would not have caught the terrorists or potential terrorists with
normal powers as opposed to these.

So, it`s not even as simple as saying we have to balance security versus
civil liberties. The fact is these weren`t necessary for security.


NADLER: I really like the way this report begins. It reminds us that
there are two kind of security at stake here. There`s national security.
The need to be secure from outside attack, and then there is the security
guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, the right of the people to be secure in
their homes, their persons, their papers, and their effects against
unreasonable government seizures.

And what this report found, what the committee concluded was that we can do
a better job of protecting the second kind of security while still
protecting the first kind of security. And that`s a very powerful
statement and they really took that principles and applied it very broadly
and in a very forward-looking way. They didn`t stop with collection of
telephone records. They said in general, moving forward, the government
should not be in the business of vacuuming up data of Americans, because
maybe some day, it might be useful.

KORNACKI: The other point I want to raise here, the other thing to think
about is the role of the guy who sort of started all this, this year,
Edward Snowden. Edward Snowden is in Russia right now. He claims to be in
possession of a lot more documents, a lot more materials than he has

I think whatever you think of Edward Snowden, whatever you think of how he
has gone about doing this. It`s pretty clear we wouldn`t be having this
discussion today, this commission wouldn`t have been empanelled if it
hadn`t been for the revelations that he brought out there, back in the

I wonder how do you think, Norm, when you look at Edward Snowden`s role in
all this? The idea of should the government cut some kind of deal to get
him back here. Maybe to get possession if they could of some of the
material he has, how should we be thinking of Edward Snowden right now?

ORNSTEIN: It`s so hard to figure out how to think about Edward Snowden.
There`s no question he`s had a profound effect now, and much of it will be
a positive effect. On the other hand, I don`t think he`s a good guy. I
think the entire process, the privatization of security clearances that got
him this job, that gave him this enormous access is something we got to
rethink as well.

That he went to Hong Kong through China, to Russia, doesn`t leave me
feeling very positively towards him. But he`s got a mound of other
information and evidence, some of which could be deeply damaging to the
United States and it may be that we`re getting close to the time when we`re
going to have to cut a deal.

KORNACKI: We don`t really know what he has, right?

NADLER: We don`t know what he knows. The CIA says they don`t know what he
knows. They don`t have any records of what he took.

So far, at least, we`re not aware that he`s released any information that
has harmed the United States in any way. In one sense, maybe we need an
Edward Snowden to deal with a government that has grossly violated the
Constitution, grossly violated the law and kept that fact secret.

ORNSTEIN: I would say he has done some things that have harmed us,
although they haven`t harmed us in terms of our intelligence gathering

KORNACKI: What he`s done --

ORNSTEIN: Of course, the fact that he had access to all this stuff also
tells you that if you check all this bulk information, who knows what kinds
of people, not just the NSA professionals could get it. But, you know,
looking at what this done -- of course, we have been spying on our allies
as our allies have been spying on us. When you make that information
public, it causes some serious problems. We have them with Brazil, and
that actually is damaging trade. It`s causing a number of other
difficulties. A lot of it is embarrassment, but that embarrassment has
consequences. So, it`s not as if it`s all benign.

KORNACKI: That`s true. There was some story yesterday about -- I mean,
Germany is another example, spying on Merkel. I think there were
revelations United States monitoring, I think it was Ehud Barak in Israeli.
And I believe his comment was --


KORNACKI: Yes, but I think Barak`s comment was, I always expected it. I
just assumed they monitoring, I think every world leader.

You talk about that scale, I feel every world leader abroad probably
assumes the United States is trying to penetrate their communications. And
I assume every leader in the United States assumes that even our allies
abroad are trying to do the same thing.

HAYWORTH: Right. It illustrates the -- we live always in a perilous
world. So, it does behoove us constantly. I mean, Edward Snowden in a way
as a man, I agree with Norman. I don`t think we can hold him up as a hero
at all.

But as a phenomenon, as representing the risk that we take when we do not
master these programs as a citizenry, as a nation, we put ourselves in
terrible jeopardy. We have to direct those resources appropriately.

NADLER: You know, Snowden so far, I mean, unless he`s given somebody
information that will cause real harm in the sense of getting agents killed
or something, which we`re not aware any of that has happened, so far, what
he`s done has resulted in revelations of gross unconstitutional and conduct
on the part of various government agencies that threaten all our liberties.
It has resulted in some embarrassment to the United States, which is the
predominant, the bad or the good I think it remain to be seen.


HAYWORTH: I think it goes both ways.

KORNACKI: Liza, as somebody who has been working hard for years to get
this sort of debate into the public sphere, do you think it was practically
speaking, could you have got then debate going without Edward Snowden doing
what he did?

GOITEIN: No, I mean, you actually could not have gotten the debate going.
But I don`t think that answers the question of how to deal with national
security with (INAUDIBLE), classified information. It`s a very, very
difficult question. You don`t want to turn the classification system into
a free for all.

On the other hand, you don`t want a system where people who come across
classified evidence of government misconduct really can`t do anything about
it. And actually in the review group`s report, there is a recommendation
to strengthen the channels that are available for national security whistle
blowers. They never mentioned Edward Snowden by name. They expressively
condemn leaks of classified information. But there is language in this
report that acknowledges the public service that is provided by whistle
blowers and the need for a much more robust system of legal protections for
national security whistle blowers.

NADLER: And we had a series of court decisions in which plaintiffs
challenging surveillance of them, their suits have been thrown out of court
because they couldn`t prove they were being surveilled until now. And that
is court challenges going forward.

KORNACKI: All right. I want to thank Liza Goitein with the Brennan Center
for joining us today.

Another exciting election year, ahead. And the first big election days on
the calendar will be here sooner than you think. We have a handy guide and
calendar for you, just ahead.


KORNACKI: Four years ago, Mike Castle, a long time player in Delaware
politics was on a glide path with the ultimate career capper, a spot in the
U.S. Senate. Joe Biden left his Senate seat to become vice president and
the seat was being temporarily filled by Biden`s old right-hand man, Ted
Kauffman. And Kauffman was a place holder. The idea was that Biden`s son
Bo would then run for the special election in 2010. Then, Bo Biden decided
not to run.

And that made Mike Castle the obvious choice to win that seat. He was a
Republican but he was a moderate. He was well known to Delaware`s voters
after representing their lone congressional for 16 years, after serving as
governor before that.

Maybe the most popular politician in the state of Delaware and the rest of
the country hasn`t yet contended with the rise of the Tea Party movement,
with the right sudden Obama era dedication to purifying itself, to casting
out voting against any Republican candidate who would compromise with
Democrats, who seemed willing to compromise or seemed too comfortable in

In the state of Delaware, that Tea Party phenomenon manifested in the form
of Christine O`Donnell. In 2006, she had run in the Republican primary for
Senate in Delaware. She finished in 3rd place. In 2008, she won the
Republican primary basically by default, and was the token Republican
candidate against Joe Biden. She raised no money. She got no attention.
She got crushed. She was the definition of a political gadfly.

So, when she ran again in 2010 against Mike Castle, everyone pretty much
ignored her, until the national Tea Party money came in. And conservatives
decided knocking off Castle was a statement they wanted to make. And so,
in what remains one of the all-time most bizarre primary election result,
Christine O`Donnell defeated Mike Castle for the Republican nomination for
Senate in Delaware in 2010. And Republicans in Delaware did this knowing
full well that O`Donnell was likely to lose in the fall, taking what would
otherwise have been a guaranteed pick up for their party and blowing it,
which is exactly what happened. Ms. Christine O`Donnell went on to lose to
Democrat Chris Coons in November.

This wasn`t just in Delaware. In 2010, this happened again and again. In
Nevada, Harry Reid was thought to be on his way out of the Senate until
Republicans nominated Sharron Angle to face him. Harry Reid won that race
by six points.

Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski was knocked off her primary. And
only made it back to the Senate, thanks to a write-in campaign that
November. The first time a Senate candidate had pulled off that feat in
half a century.

We saw it again if 2012 when Republicans in Indiana threw out Richard Lugar
for Richard Murdock and lost. Republicans in Missouri picked Todd Akin and

Results like these used to be rare, but they have become common in the Tea
Party era and they haunt every Republican office holder in Washington,
stifling whatever instinct they might have to work with Democrats, the
compromise to do something the Tea Party base doesn`t like. The Tea
Party`s power over Republican officials is psychological in many ways. It
comes from the fear of every Republican in Washington that with just one
vote, he or she could become the next Mike Castle, which brings us to the
next round of elections. Next year`s mid-terms.

Will that same message be reinforced in the Republican primaries or will it
be different this time? Consider this your warning and you`re helpful
guide. Here`s what`s on the docket. What we will be watching closely in
the months ahead.

First up, on March 4th of 2014, just a few months from now, when the state
of Texas, Republican Senator John Cornyn is facing a challenge from
Congressman Steve Stockman, who may be the most far right member of the
House. And things haven`t been going all that well for Stockman so far.
His office has been condemned by fire marshals. He tried comparing himself
to the "Duck Dynasty" guy and he tried to say he won the endorsement of the
NRA when, in fact, their support went to Senator Cornyn. So, maybe not a
good week for Steve Stockman, and it shouldn`t be a surprise that the
initial polling has John Cornyn ahead 50 percent to 6 percent.

But again, we saw in 2010 and 2012, how quickly these things can change and
congeal. This is a race to watch. Then, there`s May 20th, mark that on
your calendar, because this one is going to be huge. That`s Mitch
McConnell, the Senate majority leader, because conservative challenger Matt
Bevin, a wealthy businessman who`s been running on campaign of McConnell

In recent interview, Bevin criticized McConnell for his role in negotiating
the death ceiling deal, saying quote, there is no threat of default. Bevin
is considered a long shot against McConnell, but think of the message the
Tea Party will be sending if it can take out the top Republican in the
Senate. And even if Bevin doesn`t win, he can rough up McConnell and make
him even more vulnerable against the Democrat in the race, Allison
Lundergan Grimes.

Mississippi on June 3rd. Also mark that on your calendar. This might be
the single best chance for the right to take out an incumbent. Long-time
Senator Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel, a candidate who has some neo-
Confederate ties, they are now running neck and neck in polling.

In South Carolina on June 10th, Senator Lindsey Graham was going to be
facing multiple challengers. Nobody gets over 50 percent in that initial
round, there will be a runoff.

That same day in Maine, a challenger to Maine`s Republican Senator Susan
Collins. He announced his candidacy just this month, Erick Bennett, a
conservative political consultant, said in the interview that launching a
primary challenge against Senator Collins isn`t so much about him but about
a desire to force a conversation among Republicans about Senator Collins`
voting record.

Exactly 44 percent of Republican primary voters telling PPP last month that
they would support a more conservative alternative next year.

Go to Kansas on August 5th of next year, the Senate Conservatives Fund,
that`s the group that Jim DeMint started a couple of years ago. There are
already throwing their weight behind the challenger to Republican Senator
Pat Roberts. His name is Dr. Milton Wolf.

Pat Roberts has served in the Senate since 1996. He votes in this party 90
percent of the time. But again, in the Tea Party era GOP, there has been
no such thing as too conservative.

Two days after that, Lamar Alexander will face State Representative Joe
Carr in Tennessee. We might not want to spend too much time on this
because Joe Carr has already making contingency plans to maybe run for a
different if he loses to Senator Alexander. But again, the Tea Party era,
we have seen anything can happen in these things.

And in August 19th in Wyoming, of course, is the big showdown, the one
we`ve already talked about between Mike Enzi and Liz Cheney. Almost like a
family feud when you consider that Senator Enzi really hasn`t done anything
to offend conservatives in the state of Wyoming, he`s been really close to
the Cheney family until now. So far, polls show Enzi with a 50-point edge.
Again, a lot of time between now and then.

That is eight incumbent senators who are up for re-election if 2014 and who
are facing Republican primary challenges. In a different time, we`d assume
that most of these are mostly new sans challenges and we would just ignore
them. But if we`ve learned anything in the Tea Party era, it`s that the
right is happy to go to war with its own.

And if you end up on its hit list, it can take you out with literally
anyone -- just ask Mike Castle and Richard Lugar. That`s how it worked if
2010. That`s how it worked in 2012. We are going to find out if it`s
going to be the same in 2014.


KORNACKI: With only four days to go until Christmas, it makes sense for
this preholiday edition of "Up Against the Clock", we would turn to a `70s
game show icon for some inspiration.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charles, come up out of there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ho, ho, ho, ho.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ho-ho-ho. Ho-ho-ho.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Santa`s back. We hope you had a wonderful.

Now, this acting you don`t see every day during the day. We hope you had a
wonderful, wonderful Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does look real.





KORNACKI: That is the late great actor, director and prolific game show
contestant Charles Nelson Riley appearing on the classic game show "Match

Well, in this week`s game show, I offered each of our contestants the
chance to dress up as Santa, too. We`ll see if any of them took me up on

That is next on "Up Against the Clock."


ANNOUNCER: Live from studio 3A in Rockefeller Center, USA, it`s time for
"Up Against the Clock."

Our first contestant, a Brooklyn native. He now represents part of
Brooklyn as the member of Congress from New York`s celebrated 10th
district. Please welcome Congressman Jerry Nadler.

From St. Louis Park, Minnesota, the hometown of Chicago Bears Marc
Trestman, the Cohen brothers, and Senator Al Franken -- say hello to the
Big O, Norm Ornstein.

And from Alexandria, Virginia, Santa`s last stop before Washington, D.C.,
it`s John Stanton.

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

KORNACKI: Oh, thank you, Bill Wolf. Thank you, studio audience. Thank
you to everyone tuning in at home. And welcome to an all new holiday
edition of "Up Against the Clock."

A very exciting group of contestants today, Congressman Nadler, you`ve
become just a second active member of Congress to take a spot on
contestants` row, a special welcome to you.

And to you Norm and John as well, welcome to the show.

You all know the rules by now. You have three round of play, 100 seconds,
each questions will get harder as we go along, bring in any time. You will
be penalized for a wrong answer. There are some instant bonuses scattered
throughout these questions.

As always, I will remind our live studio audience to please remain
absolutely silent during these proceedings. Respect our contestants as
they concentrate.

And with that, I will ask you, contestants, are you ready?

ORNSTEIN: Yes, Steve.

KORNACKI: They are ready. We`ll put 100 seconds on the clock.

This is the 100 point round. It begins with this. After all ruling by its
Supreme Court on Friday this state became the 18th of the nation -- Norm.


KORNACKI: Utah is correct, where same-sex marriage is now legal.

A hundred-point question, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz rallied to the defense
of -- Norm.

ORNSTEIN: "Duck Dynasty" founder.

KORNACKI: "Duck Dynasty" is the show on A&E. They defended him. That`s
correct. A hundred points for Norm.

A hundred point question -- which governor signed legislation yesterday
this state became the 18th in the nation for the allow immigrant students
without legal status to attend -- Jerry.

NADLER: New Jersey.

KORNACKI: New Jersey allowed to attend and pay in-state tuition. That`s
correct. A hundred points for the congressman.

A hundred-point question, President Obama announced on Friday that he will
nominate this senator as U.S. ambassador -- Norm.

ORNSTEIN: Max Baucus.

KORNACKI: Max Baucus as ambassador to China is correct.

This is an instant bonus, Norm. For 100 extra points, name the current
U.S. ambassador to China.

ORNSTEIN: It`s Gary, oh, Gary the former commerce secretary and why am I -

KORNACKI: Need an answer?


KORNACKI: Time. It`s Gary Locke is the correct answer. I know the
congressman knew, but that was only for Norm. No penalty there, though,
100 points on the tossup.

A hundred point tossup question, it was revealed this week that the husband
of Liz Cheney, who is running for Senate is actually registered to vote in
two different states -- Jerry.

NADLER: Virginia and Wyoming.

KORNACKI: Virginia and Wyoming. Her husband is registered in both. That
is correct.

A hundred-point question, what high ranking Capitol Hill leader joined the
calls this week for the Washington redskins to change their name?



KORNACKI: Harry Reid is correct, 100 points for Stanton.

A hundred point tossup. At a meeting at the White House Tuesday, President
Obama asked the CEO of Netflix if he brought advanced copies of this
political thriller.


STANTON: "House of Cards".

KORNACKI: "House of Cards" is correct. A hundred of points for John.
Brings us to the end of the 100-point round.

The score, Congressman Nadler, 200, Norm Ornstein, 300, John Stanton, 200.
Very close, very competitive game so far.

And it moves us as soon as I can sort these cards out. It moves us to the
200 point round.

We`ll put 100 seconds on the clock. When we see those 100 seconds, we will
begin with this.

For 200 points, this company, the largest U.S. defense contractor announced
this week that it will no longer give money to the Boy Scouts of America
because of that group`s policies on gays.



KORNACKI: Incorrect.


NADLER: Honeywell.

KORNACKI: Incorrect.


ORNSTEIN: Lockheed Martin.

KORNACKI: Lockheed Martin is correct, 200 points for Norm.

Two hundred-point toss-up. Even though many Republican senators skip down
before a series of confirmation votes on Friday, this senator remained
behind, keeping intact his streak of over 6,800 consecutive votes the
longest streak in the Senate.

Time. It`s Chuck Grassley. Chuck Grassley stayed behind.

Two hundred-point question. In an interview with "The Wall Street Journal"
published Wednesday, Representative Paul Ryan said he will seek to become
the chairman of what?


ORNSTEIN: Ways and Means Committee.

KORNACKI: He will seek to become the chairman of Ways and Means. That`s

Two hundred-point question. In a decision that generated global interest,
Canada`s highest court struck down all of its laws against what, Jerry?

NADLER: Pornography.

KORNACKI: Incorrect.


ORNSTEIN: Prostitution.

KORNACKI: Prostitution is correct. The other P-word.

Two hundred points toss-up question.

Among the tech industry leaders who met with President Obama on Tuesday to
discuss how the government can improve I.T. innovation was this CEO of


His name is Tim Cook.

Two hundred point toss-up question. This long-serving Democrat who was
reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee three years ago -- Jerry.

NADLER: Rangel.

KORNACKI: Rangel, his colleague, Charlie Rangel, 200-point question. He
announced he is running for re-election.

Democrats in Virginia are now in control of every statewide office after
the Republican candidate for attorney general concede Wednesday to this
Democrat -- Jerry.

NADLER: Herring.

KORNACKI: Mark Herring is correct. Two hundred more points for Jerry

Brings us to the end of the 200-point round. Score, Jerry Nadler, 200.
I`m sorry, there was a penalty. Norm with 700. John Stanton with 200.

We go to the 300-point round this. This is the PhD level. This is where
champions are crowned. Very high stakes here, gentleman.

We put 100 seconds on a clock and the 300-point round begins now.

Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston, who is running in a hotly contested
Republican primary for Senate proposed last Saturday that poor school
children -- Jerry.

NADLER: Should have to sweep the floor to get school lunches.

KORNACKI: Yes, for their subsidized lunches. That`s the correct answer.

Three hundred-point question. Harry Reid said this week that he has,
quote, "grown to really like" this Republican senator -- John.

STANTON: Rand Paul.

KORNACKI: Rand Paul is correct, who last month called him a big bully.

Three hundred-point question. President Obama and his family departed the
White House last night for Hawaii, where they will be spending their
holidays. Next year, Hawaii will be the site of a contentious election,
the Democratic primary election between Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa and
this incumbent senator -- Jerry.

NADLER: Schatz.

KORNACKI: Brian Schatz is correct.

Three hundred-point question, the movie "American Hustle," which opposite
wide this weekend depicts the Abscam scandal that resulted in multiple
congressmen being indicted and carted off to prison. "American Hustle" is
directed by whom?


ORNSTEIN: David O. Russell.

KORNACKI: David O. Russell is correct. Norm, this is the instant bonus
question. Six members of the House were ultimately convicted as a result
of Abscam as one senior who became the first to serve jail time in 80
years. Name him.

ORNSTEIN: Harrison Pete Williams.

KORNACKI: Harrison Pete Williams of New Jersey -- 300 more points for

Three hundred-point question -- this Emmy, Grammy and Tony winner and
member of the cast of the 1983 film "The Big Chill" visited Capitol Hill on
Wednesday to advocate for stronger mental health laws.

Time. It`s Glen Close.

Three hundred-point question. On Tuesday, a trio of long-time congressmen
announced they would retire next year rather than seeking another term.
Name one of them -- Jerry.

NADLER: Matheson.

KORNACKI: Jim Matheson of Utah, we`ll take that. The other two will be
Frank Wolf of Virginia or Tom Latham of Iowa. Brings us to the end of the
300-point round. With 300 points for Jerry, who finishes with 1,100, just
short of the 1,300 that Norm has. Five hundred for John Stanton.

And that means that you, Norm Ornstein, the Big O., today`s winner on "Up
Against the Clock." Bill Wolf is going to tell you what you have won.

ANNOUNCER: As our champion, you`ll have your name printed in exquisite
sharpee on the coveted "Up Against the Clock" gold cup. And you get to
take it home and show it off for the family, friend and sc children for
exactly one week.

You will you also receive an appearance this coming week on MSNBC`s "THE
CYCLE", airing weekdays, 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. You will get to
play in our bonus round for today`s grand prize of $50 gift certificate to
Rutt`s Hut in Clifton, New Jersey, serving up the best franks in the
greater Meadowlands area. The relish is on us.

Back to you, Steve.

KORNACKI: Thanks, Bill.

That is quite a prize package. Norm, those hot dogs I tell you, some of
the best hot dogs in the greater Meadowlands area and your chance to win
them in our jackpot bonus round.

This is one question for that $50 gift certificate to Rutt`s Hut. Here it

As we mentioned earlier, President Obama is set to nominate Max Baucus as
the next U.S. ambassador to China. One previous ambassador to China went
on to become president of the United States. Name him.

Correct answer is George H.W. Bush. He was the ambassador to 1970s.
Unfortunately, you will not going to Rutt`s Hut but you`ll get the prize
package. You`ll get the gold cup. Norm, congratulations.

Congressman Nadler and John, you do not leave us empty handed. We have the
home edition for you. That`s perhaps a good holiday gift for someone in
your family.

And we also have our leaders board which we show you moving toward our
tournament champions at the end of the year. Norm, you`re 1,300 points.
Not quite up there, but it puts you near the top. You will be back for a
tournament of champions.

And Congressman Nadler, with a score like that, you might be as well.

John, we`ll see about you.

But we thank you for playing.

We`ll be back with final thoughts just after this.


KORNACKI: So we do our best on "Up Against the Clock" to give you the real
score. We`ve been asking for scoreboards for a while. We have a producer
who is just trying her hardest to furiously update the score with each, 200
here, 300 there, and sometimes it gets confusing and we believe there may
have been a scoring error in the last game. We`re recalibrating. There is
a chance instead of just Norm winning there was actually a tie between Norm
and the congressman being sorted out as we speak. We will update it later.
And I will issue my Christmas present from MSNBC I hope is scoreboards.

But anyway, we have a few seconds here I want to just find out. What my
guests think we should know for the week ahead.

We`ll start with you, John.

STANTON: I just read a story this week on deportations to Mexico and about
the plight of tens of thousands of Mexicans who were sent back to their
home country from the United States, the difficulties that they face. I
recommend everyone read the story, particularly to -- if they would like to
give money to some of the organizations that are working in Tijuana,
Nogales and some of other parts of the border.

KORNACKI: All right. Congressman?

NADLER: We learned this week that a class system is alive and well in
India, where the government and the media are in high dungeon at the arrest
of the deputy council general in New York who was exploiting and apparently
stealing wages from her housekeeper, who was also in India, Indiana, and no
one in India seems to be concerned about the fact that this Indian
housekeeper was being exploited, her wages stolen. She was forced to work
excessively. All they care about is the deputy consul general who was
arrested and not the housekeeper.


ORNSTEIN: Pam Carlin, a brilliant Stanford law professor and an advocate
for voting rights, is coming to the Justice Department to head up the
voting right section. That is good news for anybody who cares about the
state of voting in America and it may put Pam in a position at some point
down the road to be seriously considered as a real progressive on the
Supreme Court.


HAYWORTH: I`ve been having a lot of conversations with constituents under
the age of 30 and the disillusionment with the policies of this
administration is growing. I think that`s going to be a real phenomenon,
especially considering the manifestations of the Affordable Care Act and
that`s something we should keep an eye on.

KORNACKI: If there is a potential Republican candidate in 2014, a message
I think we`ll be hearing from a lot of Republicans in 2014.

My thanks to "BuzzFeed`s" John Stanton, Congressman Jerry Nadler and Norm
Ornstein and Nan Hayworth, thank you for getting up. And thank you for
joining us today for UP.

Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY".

And we will see you tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting up.




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