UP with STEVE KORNACKI
January 4, 2014
Guests: Paul Sonn, Evan McMorris-Santoro, Carrie Sheffield, Marc Summers, Irin Carmon, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, Jonathan Cohn, Steve Clemons, Ali Gharib
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: A New Year, a new health care system. Now,
KORNACKI: This first week of the New Year, it begins with a bone rattling
deep freeze for much of the country. It`s also brought about big, big
changes for millions of Americans. We`re not just talking about the
resolutions and promises we make to ourselves every year around this time
to change, but things that have already happened to change the country. Six
million Americans, many who didn`t have health insurance in 2013, they now
That`s thanks to the Affordable Care Act. We`re going to talk about how
that`s going, including the big decision Justice Sonia Sotomayor faces when
she decides the next step in the fight over contraceptive coverage.
There`s talk of big movement in the weeks ahead in the intense negotiations
to implement that arrangement to get Iran to give up its nuclear program,
with plans to implement new tougher sanctions. Will the Senate ruin the
best chance the U.S. has had in decades to curb Iran`s nuclear ambitions
and maybe, just maybe, restore actual diplomatic relations?
And the minimum wage, we heard a lot about it in 2013, and we are going to
hear a lot more about it this year. Could this be the wedge issue that
Democrats need to buck history, especially in red states and farewell in
the 2014 mid-terms? We`re going to talk about all of that. We`re going to
talk about a lot more this morning.
But first, we`ll start March of 2010 when President Obama signed the
Affordable Care Act into law. Back then, the year of full implementation,
2014, this year, well, that year seemed very far away. I mean, who could
predict that futuristic landscape was going to look like back then. I mean,
there were probably going to be moon colonies by 2014, cities filled with
driverless cars all steered by robot brains, kids motoring around on hover
OK. OK. That was actually Isaac Asimov writing about the year 2014 50 years
ago in the "New York Times." And now, last one was actually "Back to the
Future 2" when they were talking about the year 2015. So, technically, we
don`t have to give up on that one yet. Scientist, you still have a year to
get those hover boards into wide circulation. We`re all going to counting
on you and keeping an eye on you.
Anyway, yes, in 2010, the year 2014 seemed far away, very far away. It
would be a long time before the Affordable Care Act would go into full
effect. On Wednesday, New Year`s Day, we finally got there. The American
system of health care changed profoundly, the most significant and
expansive change since the introduction of Medicare back in 1965 is nearly
a half century ago. It used to be the health insurance industry could deny
coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions or make the cost of
their policies so high that they just weren`t worth buying.
They can`t do that anymore, because the Affordable Care Act is basically a
bargain between the insurance industry and the government. The bargain
holds that insurers can`t deny coverage to people with pre-existing
conditions anymore. It means they can`t charge women more than men. They
can`t cap medical expenses imposed over a lifetime. They can`t do a lot of
the things that have made life miserable for millions of Americans and then
have given the health insurance industry such a nasty reputation.
The other side of the bargain is this, in exchange for doing away with
those practices, practices that were awful, but they were also very
profitable, the insurance industry was given a shot at getting millions of
new customers, the kinds of customers health insurance companies dream of
getting, young, healthy, not likely to need a lot of care for a long time.
The kind of customers will make it possible for insurers to cover all of
those Americans they previously deemed too expensive to cover.
That`s the bargain at the heart of this law, the reason for the individual
mandate that ruled that every American has to sign up for insurance or face
some kind of a fine. And it`s a bargain that will only work if enough
government and healthy people sign up. If more and more insurance companies
start to look at the law and say, hey, there`s money to be made here and
they decide to get in on it, they lower the prices, and their competitors
lower the prices, that`s how it`s supposed to work.
We have New Year brings with it many questions about the future of this
law, President Obama`s signature achievement. It also brought some fresh
and encouraging numbers. We now know that more than six million Americans,
many who didn`t have health insurance before, now have coverage under the
Affordable Care Act.
That went into effect this week on Wednesday. Of those six million,
approximately 2.1 million, that`s about a third of them signed up for
private plans under new state-based exchanges. Many of them using
healthcare.gov, the site that caused the White House so many headaches back
in November, but it now seems to be working pretty well.
Add to that, another 3.9 people who`ve gotten coverage through the
expansion of the existing programs like Medicaid or S-chip, it`s a health
insurance program for kids that run by the states, is a number that will
also be much higher if Republicans in so many states hadn`t refused to
expand their Medicaid programs, even though the Affordable Care Act offers
them a huge financial incentive to do so.
So, that means there are six million people right now, many of who didn`t
have health insurance before who now have a means for paying for doctor`s
visits when they get sick.
That`s not the only big New Year`s development for the Affordable Care Act,
because just before she presided on live national television over the Times
Square ball drop at midnight Wednesday, Supreme Court justice, Sonia
Sotomayor, issued an injunction, blocking the laws contraception mandate
from going into effect for a handful of catholic non-profits, these non-
profit groups object to covering birth control on religious grounds in the
violation of conscience.
And the Affordable Care Act to all insurance plans are required to cover
contraception, except for churches and other religious groups. With laws
designed, these religious non-profits like catholic universities and
hospitals have the option of letting employees go directly to their
insurers to get contraceptive coverage instead. All the group has to do is
fill out a waiver form. The question before the court is whether that
paperwork is, by itself, a burden on those group`s religious freedom.
The administration argued to the court yesterday that this is not an
intrusive burden on religious groups, while lawyers for the catholic non-
profit argued that it amounts to a, quote, "permission slip" for what their
clients believe is sinful behavior. Justice Sotomayor can now decide
whether to continue the injunction or refer the case to the entire court.
Either way, the court has already agreed to hear another more comprehensive
challenge to the birth control mandate. That is coming this march.
So, there`s a lot to talk about regarding the full implementation of the
Affordable Care Act this week. And here to help me do it, we have Krystal
Ball, she`s the co-host of MSNBC`s "The Cycle," MSNBC contributor, Dr. Zeke
Emanuel, he`s the chair of the Medical Ethics and Health Policy Department
at the University of Pennsylvania and former special adviser for health
policy in the Obama administration, longest title of the day, we`ll give
you that --
KORNACKI: Also with us, we have Evan McMorris-Santoro, he`s the White House
reporter for BuzzFeed.com, and Irin Carmon, national reporter for MSNBC.com
who has been covering this contraception story.
And so Irin, not just because we used to work at Salon together, I will
start with you this morning.
KORNACKI: It`s complicated, I think, to explain what has actually been
going on here because the news a few weeks ago was about hobby lobby, was
about the idea of non-religious companies claiming the religious
exemptions, and we don`t want to cover birth control because as the owners
of this business, it violates our religious -- so that`s already happened.
Now, the second thing that happened on New Year`s Eve involves this group
in Denver. I think they`re called the Little Sisters of the Poor --
IRIN CARMON, MSNBC.COM: Little Sisters of the Poor, home for the aged.
KORNACKI: Home for the aged. OK. And they`re in Denver. Just take us
through exactly what their complained is, what the government`s response to
it is, and how you think this is going to shake out.
CARMON: OK. So, one of the key models, one of the key provisions of the
Affordable Care Act is preventative care. Of course, if people get better
access to preventative care, they`re less likely to cost the system more in
the long term. Among those preventative care provisions is access to
contraception for women for various reasons. It`s very expensive. Women
often don`t get the right kinds of contraception because of cost barriers.
So, the administration was persuaded by medical experts to include women`s
health -- in the women`s health provision contraception. Now, they knew
this was going to be controversial in part because the reason a lot of
plans don`t cover contraception is because of their religious beliefs of
the owners or the employers of those companies. So, what they said was
after there was some outcry where they only churches would be exempted,
they found a middle ground.
There was a big political yolk. The catholic bishops, the USCCB, basically
came out and said Obama is treading on our religious liberty. So, they came
up with this middle ground. They said, just fill out this form. We`ve gone
to the insurers. The insurers, themselves, will provide the coverage. That
has proved to not be enough for these organizations.
KORNACKI: So, there`s a distinction here between like purely religious
groups, like a church, itself, versus like everybody or just most everybody
just part of that group is religious, shares the same religion, and they`re
totally exempt from this --
KORNACKI: But then, what we`re talking about --
CARMON: And they`re being forced to take birth control. They`re not being
forced to pay for it. They`re not being forced to take it.
KORNACKI: But the issue -- so we`re in this middle ground, the Little
Sisters for the Poor, home for the aged in Denver, we`re talking about a
group of catholic nuns who also employ, they`re non-Catholics who they
employ. So, theoretically, under the law, they`re supposed to fill out some
kind of waver that declares they have a religious exemption and then the
employees would be able to go get their coverage from the insurance
company. That is not enough for this group.
CARMON: And the Little Sisters of the Poor is such a weird example, because
it turns out that the administration doesn`t even have authority over their
plan. So, this may be a poor vehicle. The court may say, you know what, go
back to the lower courts. We`re going to take another case because you have
things like the University of Notre Dame. You have big catholic health --
excuse me -- big catholic hospitals and health systems that are suing.
The idea here is, let`s think about how employees of these companies that
don`t follow catholic teachings on contraception are going to be able to
access the health care the same is (ph). So, it`s a balancing act.
KORNACKI: Where did this come from because it seems so random to me? A
relatively small group of nuns from Denver suddenly getting the attention
of Sonia Sotomayor on New Year`s Eve. Are there larger forces who are
aligned with this group.
KORNACKI: -- not just the nun, themselves --
CARMON: Absolutely. Well, there are several dozen such non-profit cases
that are winding their way through the system. You have to understand this
as a sort of undermining assault on the Affordable Care Act in general.
This is part of a narrative on the right about how Obama is, quote,
"bullying the nuns."
My personal theory, this is not based in, you know, any independent
knowledge, is that the Little Sisters of the Poor happens to be the most
palatable name for the right, the most sympathetic, more sympathetic than a
large corporate-like structure like Notre Dame or a big hospital. Why is
Obama bullying the nuns is what all the right was saying yesterday.
So, again, I think the idea is, there`s a larger narrative that Obama
doesn`t respect religious freedom, but again, the question that is going to
be before the court is, what is a substantial burden on religious freedom?
Is it signing a form a substantial burden on religious freedom even if no
one is even going to get contraception out of it? That`s what the court is
going to have to decide.
KORNACKI: And so, in this case, Zeke, as we say, this is the CEO Richards
from Planned Parenthood America. This was her statement on this particular
case which is she said today, "New Year`s Day, 27 million women have access
to birth control without a co-pay under the Affordable Care Act and that`s
not affected by the Supreme Court reviewing the administrative mechanism
that religious groups can use to opt out of covering birth control."
What she went on to say, though, was that a much bigger test in her mind,
what was going to happen in March when these non-profits -- religiously
affiliated non-profit groups have their case heard by the court in March,
how big a challenge to the sort of integrity the law do you think that
DR. ZEKE EMANUEL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, it represents the
question of, can people who are religious, themselves, and have companies
which aren`t religious which are secular dealing in things like hobbies,
can impose their view on their workers where they hire lot -- workers with
lots of different religious beliefs.
Let me go back to this point in the health care field. We`re having a lot
of rearrangement, a lot of mergers going out in the health care field. And
while we have the Little Sisters of the Poor, whatever, there are lots of
big catholic health systems merging with secular health systems and the
question is, whose views are going to dominate on this issue for their
employees? And these are large organizations.
EMANUEL: Exactly. In some cities, these are huge -- it`s going to be the
biggest employers in town or something. And so, you really are having a
very important impact. And I know that, you know, when we were discussing
this, there was a lot of effort made to accommodate the religious views but
also accommodate the vast majority of Americans, including, by the way, the
vast majority of catholic Americans who support --
EMANUEL: And so, it`s a bit of a contradiction.
KORNACKI: That`s an important part. So, I think not just about birth
control, but about where this law came from, an awful lot of support from
the catholic community from sort of a social justice standpoint in
supporting the idea of radically expanding access to health care.
EMANUEL: But also, the birth control issue. Remember, the majority -- as I
understand, the majority of catholic women support birth control and the
use of birth control and a large portion of them. I don`t know the exact
number use birth control.
And so, the idea that somehow we`re imposing, I think the idea is that the
law is going to give people options that they didn`t hitherto have because
of the high co-pays and problems with getting birth control. And I think
that is what we have to look at, the individuals.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC`S "THE CYCLE": Yes. And a couple of things, I mean,
first of all, as you`re pointing out, I think the case involving hobby
lobby is a much bigger question here, not just for the Affordable Care Act,
but for the idea of, you know, can employers basically force their
religious views on their employees and can corporations, do corporations
have religious beliefs?
So, that`s a larger question just not in terms of health care but more
generally the other piece that I would say here from a political
perspective is I have to think Republicans need to be very leery of seeming
like they are anti-birth control, because as you`re pointing out, Zeke, the
vast majority of Americans are accepting of birth control, use birth
control, think it is an important part of family planning.
Catholics do not use birth control and members any less than the general
population. So, I think Republicans who have had an ongoing issue with
appealing to women voters have to be very careful here about, yes, they
want to make this case about religious freedom, but to me and to a lot of
women, I think it`s going to come across as you are against people having
KORNACKI: What are you picking up from Republicans on this piece? I know a
year ago or so during the 2012 campaign, there was a concerted effort by
Republicans to make the Obama administration`s war on religious groups, you
know, a major issue. In light of what happened in 2012 and what Chris was
talking about the gender gap, has there been some rethinking of this? Is
the party less force behind something like this?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, BUZZFEED.COM: Well, they`re trying to talk to women
a little bit differently than they did back in 2012. But, I mean, it`s
important to remember here that the White House acknowledges that there is
religious differences on this contraception stuff. I mean, they tried to
find a way out of this and they try to find an accommodation for it. So,
what we`re really talking about is whether that accommodation is enough.
So, I mean, the fact that groups say that there is religious differences
about contraception and covering it, the White House acknowledges that and
believes that the -- the administration believes it, understands it, and is
trying to do something to fix it. So, the question is, have they done
Now, the republicans, their problem is that they -- every time they talk
about contraception which they`ve tried to talk about several times on
religious grounds thing, it ends up sort of veering offer into very
negative political territory.
You had the whole thing (INAUDIBLE) Rush Limbaugh, Foster Free (ph) is
talking about aspirin, this kind of thing. It tends to happen whether or
not they wanted to or not. They have a kind of a problem controlling the
rhetoric on this issue. But it is one that really does fire up a lot of
Republican base, and they really want to talk about this particular issue,
this religious exemption stuff.
KORNACKI: Yes. No. And I can see that -- again when you start to look at
the granular details of this particular case, the Little Sisters of the
poor, this really is about asking a group to basically fill out a piece of
paper that says we are a religious group and we have objections to this.
That`s all they have to do.
But anyway, we want to talk more about this. We have another expert,
somebody who`s been following the implementations very closely. He is going
to join us right after this.
KORNACKI: All right. Joining us now from Ann Arbor, Michigan is Jonathan
Cohn. He`s the senior editor at the "New Republic" and he has been living,
breathing, reporting on Obamacare from its very early stages, including in
the book, "Sick: The Untold Story of America`s Health Care Crisis and the
People Who Pay the Price."
Jonathan, we appreciate you taking a few minutes this morning. So, we`ll
pick up the discussion with you. You wrote something this week or you sort
of compiled something this week that caught my eye. You talked to eight
experts on health care, looking ahead to the year 2014 and what they
expected to see coming for the Affordable Care Act in 2014, and the
opinions you got sort of varied, but there were some actually some
pessimistic takes on where this is going.
I think it might be interesting to hear a little bit about that because
we`re at this moment when we have seemingly encouraging sign-up numbers
when the website seems to be running a lot better than it was running a few
months ago, when I think there`s -- lot of people that maybe these big
hurdles have been cleared and maybe it`s all clear setting here.
If you can tell us what you heard, what are the big obstacles that this law
has to overcome in 2014?
JONATHAN COHN, NEW REPUBLIC: Sure. Well, look there`s no doubt that we made
a lot of progress. You know, I remember back in October, we were all in a
panic. The website didn`t work. People were getting notices that their
plans were getting cancelled. And now, as you`ve said, we said we have
millions of people getting health insurance. A lot of people are very
excited about the deals they`re getting. They`re saving money. They`re
getting insurance for the first time.
But there are still a lot of obstacles to go. You look at those number, for
example, we don`t yet know, OK, well, how many of those people actually
paid their premiums? Looking ahead, how are people going to actually feel
when they use their insurance? You know, a lot of Americans don`t really
understand health insurance that well.
KORNACKI: But there`s an immediate issue here, too, isn`t there? And I
didn`t even realize this, but people -- we`re coming up with these numbers
of people who have health care as of January 1st. They have until, what,
January 10th to pay that first premium or suddenly they don`t have health
insurance, is that right?
COHN: That`s right. That`s right. So, I mean, you know, if you sign up for
an insurance plan, but you don`t pay the monthly premium to the insurance
company, the company is not going to pay your bills. So, these numbers
we`re seeing are numbers of people who have signed up for health insurance.
And, we need to wait and see how many of these people actually pay up so
they actually have coverage. Now, most of them should, but we don`t know
exactly how many.
And you know, that is one reason when you hear these numbers, you know,
it`s generally a good rule of thumb. It`s never as bad as the critics say.
It`s never quite as good as the proponents say. Just be careful with these
KORNACKI: Well, speaking of those numbers, Zeke, I guess the question that
always follows, six million, whatever the number is going to be, what`s the
mix? Because we talked about that bargain in the setup where the insurance
companies are now taking on people who are previously unaffordable for
them, and to make that work, they need these young healthy people. And so,
what is the mix in this pool? Do we have any sense from these number what
that mix is looking like?
EMANUEL: We really don`t have a very good sense what the mix is looking
like, and I would say that one of the big sort of 2014 issues is that right
after the end of open enrollment, which ends March 31st. So, we have three
more months of people being able to sign up for health insurance and then
we sort of go into a hiatus and we restart in the fall of 2014 for the 2015
year. Right after they end or even really before the data is fully baked
and they know exactly what`s happening, the insurance companies are going
to have to decide, are we going to stay in the exchanges or not?
What are our premiums for 2015 going to be? And that`s going to depend upon
what they see. And they`re not going to have a full set of number,
themselves. And, I think that`s a very critical time. And so, one of the
issues is, you know, there`s no such thing as smooth sailing when you do a
health insurance issue. This is like running a business. This is like
It is constant work, constantly fixing up the website, constantly working
with insurers to make sure you got the right products, constantly working
with hospitals and doctors to make sure that they`re getting the right
information, too. And I think, we have to think of this as a constant
activity going forward that has to be improved every minute and someone has
to be thinking about how to fix it, how to solve problems.
And I think that`s got to be the attitude, the attitude that, wow, we`ve
gotten through the website. It`s not working reasonably well, we can forget
about health care is the wrong attitude.
KORNACKI: Krystal, one of the things that Jonathan wrote about this week is
the idea. We got, I think, a really good kind of living example of this
with the website back in November where there were all sorts of problems
with the website, and it was taken as just a broad indictment of Obamacare
by opponents and if these laws fail, this is why we need to repeal it.
And I think what he`s sort of pointing at is there are lot of opportunities
for moments like that, for anecdotes like that where anything negative that
happens to any individual in health care system in 2014. We`re going to
hear a lot of eruptions for people who`ve been against this thing from the
start saying this proves it`s wrong. How does the administration, how does
supporters of this law sort of navigate that?
BALL: Well, it`s going to be sort of the war of the anecdote, isn`t it? I
mean, number one, you`re definitely going to have Republicans as they have
been doing, finding anyone they can, is having a negative experience and
highlighting it as the worst thing on the world. On the other hand, you
have now millions of people who have health insurance, many of them for the
And those are going to be some wonderful stories and you already see OFA in
particular highlighting the stories of people who have access to healthcare
and are able go about their lives in ways different than they were before.
And I personally think one piece of this that has been undersold is the
fact that a lot of people used to stay in a job, solely because they didn`t
want to lose their health care.
Now, you don`t have to have that fear. You can go out into the world. You
can become a job creator. You can strike out entrepreneurially and take
risks that you weren`t able to take before. And I think that`s --
EMANUEL: Let me highlight that. That`s an incredibly important piece. I was
in Minnesota about four weeks ago, talked to the chairman of the Senate
committee on health, and he was saying that there are 30,000 people in
Minnesota who are going to start companies because of the health law,
because they now can get health coverage. That`s a huge number.
And we also know that those people who are starting companies, they are the
drivers of employment. They`re the drivers of getting new jobs out there,
the new entrepreneurs. So, this could have a very important positive
CARMON: Is it supposed to be a demographic that Republicans love I might
add if it had been the --
KORNACKI: We still got the name -- got the term job creators.
KORNACKI: Jonathan, I just want to get back to you. Quickly, here, though,
because it raises the question of we talked about the bargain between the
health insurers and the government. How much are the health insurance
companies doing to get these numbers up there, to get these young healthy
people? I mean, they have a clear incentive to do so, it seems. How much
are they a part of the effort to get the enrollment numbers up?
COHN: Well, you know, in the website, it wasn`t working so well. They
really held back, but recently, just in the last few weeks, they really
started to turn up their advertising campaigns. You know, I`ve heard a
number anecdotally just on the radio. I took a long car ride over the
vacation, and there were ads from Blue Cross plans.
They are really starting to push this now, and particularly, in advance of
that deadline in late March when open enrollment ends. They want these
customers. They want the business. This is money in their pockets, and they
are going to go after them pretty hard.
KORNACKI: All right. I want to thank Jonathan Cohn with the New Republic
for joining us today from Ann Arbor, Michigan, a city still reeling, I
should add, from its shocking defeat to Kansas State in a bowl game last
KORNACKI: Sorry I had to say that, but thank you for joining us, Jonathan.
You got up early just for that. We`ll be right back and pick up the
discussion after this.
KORNACKI: So, one of the questions for the Affordable Care Act in 2014 has
to do with Medicaid expansion at the state level, that sort of a
cornerstone of the law. There`s huge financial incentive for every state to
expand its Medicaid coverage and then these new Medicaid enrollees will
become part of, will be covered under Obamacare. That`s the idea at least.
Of course, the story of 2013 is how many states did not do that. You can
see this map right here.
It kind of mirrors in a lot of ways, though, red state, blue stat -- we
know so much about, but you look at the red states on there, you have
Republican governors, Republican legislators who have basically refused to
expand Medicaid in their states, and this has sort of become one these
litmus test issues in the Republican Party where if you`re a republican and
you`re expanding Medicaid, it means -- Republican speak, you`re for Obama.
And if you`re for Obama as a Republican, you`re going to lose a primary.
Your career is going to end. The question is, is this going to change? Is
that basic dynamic going to change, Evan, do you think in 2014? Are we
going to start to see some of those red states on that map expanding the
Medicaid and saying, yes, this is a good deal for our state. This law is
here. We might as well do this.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well (INAUDIBLE). You know, Virginia is now controlled by
KORNACKI: Well, because the Democrats won.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: But, I mean, the larger issue what happened in 2014 with
the Republicans and Obamacare is totally different ball game now. The law
exists. It`s a fight now about implementations. It`s a fight about how
health care works versus a fight about whether the law will go into effect.
It`s what we had last year digging down to this government shutdown.
Everything else that we have is all about trying to prevent this law from
coming to, you know, to existence. Now, it`s in existence. Now, we got to
talk about how to make it actually work. And you know, the Republicans are
having a hard time sort of rallying around an alternative at this point.
They haven`t really figured out the messaging yet.
This stuff we`re talking about earlier, this religious exemption stuff,
that sort of -- they can all get on board with right now, but as opposed to
what to do next now there`s an Obamacare, they haven`t really figured it
out. And until they do, it`s going to be tough for them, I think, to really
figure out how to run --
KORNACKI: It seems like a piecemeal thing where just sort of like something
comes in the news, anecdotally, you know, the website is not working. OK.
That`s the huge --
BALL: Obama`s bullying the nun.
KORNACKI: Right. Now, it`s the Little Sisters of the Poor. I mean, Josh
Green at "Business Week" was writing about this and he said -- basically,
he`s saying the Republicans have put themselves in a trap for two reasons
on this. The first was a decision not to participate in shaping the policy,
the choice to oppose and obstruct a bill that every turn in the hopes of
killing it rather than steer it in a more conservative direction.
That was as it was being enacted in 2009 and 2010. He said the second big
strategic bet was that Obamacare could still be stopped even after it was
signed into law by stopping Obama, himself, from winning a second term.
That`s ship sail (ph) a year ago. So, where are we right now?
EMANUEL: They have -- first of all, when we were trying to pass the
Affordable Care Act, they had no idea. They had no comprehensive reform
that addressed the big issues of cost control, getting everyone on board,
and improving quality. They still don`t have a big idea. And they now have
actually an important contradiction which is, oh, we don`t want pre-
existing condition exclusions.
We want insurers to take everyone. All right. If that -- if you`re going to
hold that, which is very popular with the American public, as you pointed
out, you have to have the mandate. That`s inextricably linked. They have to
go together. So, if they`re going to support the first, they don`t know
what to do because they don`t like the mandate idea, and I think that`s
going to hem them in.
So, they`re never going to get a suitable alternative policy. And without a
suitable alternative policy, you can`t fight something, something that`s
working, OK, even if not great with nothing. You need something as an
alternative, and they`ve never had an alternative or to the extent that
they have an alternative, it`s very unpopular, which is about getting rid
of the tax exclusion and giving people a $5,000 voucher. Well, a $5,000
voucher for a family of four doesn`t get you insurance that costs $15,000.
KORNACKI: Irin, the government shutdown over defunding Obamacare ended up
becoming about this like medical device tax or something, that became the
big principle at stake.
CARMON: And I think the big problem is that they`re a rhetorical problem,
too, is that there are fundamentally conservative ideas underpinning the
Affordable Care Act. It involves a lot of state autonomy. It involves
purchasing from the private market insurance. I think when it comes to the
Medicaid expansion, it`s going to be really interesting, because you do
have lifetime cases.
You do have Susana Martinez, Chris Christie that have taken the middle
ground on this, how much that`s going to become a litmus test for them for
the ones that are holding strong against the Medicaid expansion. The real
problem is is that the people who are impacted by but don`t have the
political capital of, say, the individual market folks who had their plans
cancelled. So, unfortunately, that`s not a demographic that Republicans
really care about going forward.
EMANUEL: There is one group that does care about the expansion of Medicaid,
which is important, and those are hospitals. Hospitals very much care. They
put a lot of pressure on. I mean, for example, in Pennsylvania, Corbett is
trying to find this middle ground, particularly, because it`s a very big
medical state in Pittsburgh and in Philadelphia and there`s a lot of
pressure on him to find the middle ground.
My own view is, once we pass the 2014 election, you`re going to see a slew
of states coming on because they want the money the 100 percent funding for
Medicaid and then I think across the end of the decade. You have to
remember, history is important here. It took until 17 years after the
passage of Medicaid for the last state to adopt Medicaid, Arizona. So, it
will take some time. By the end of the decade, all states will do it.
KORNACKI: And the other thing as we talk about John Casich in Ohio, so now,
John Kasich has a Tea Party primarily challenger this year. So, that will
be a test of, you know, is that something that`s going to cause him
problems or does he prove it, hey, you can do this and you still got 88
percent in your primary. We`ll find out. I want to thank MSNBC contributor,
Dr. Zeke Emanuel.
EMANUEL: Thank you.
KORNACKI: MSNBC.com reporter, Irin Carmon, for joining us here today.
Remember that historic breakthrough that President Obama made with Iran not
long ago? Is it in danger of being wrecked by our own Congress? That`s
KORNACKI: It was the late 1980s and the tables were turned on one of that
era`s most popular game show hosts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s about time. (INAUDIBLE) really sweating now.
(INAUDIBLE) and get 20 box. That`s a piece of the show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does it feel like to be a contestant on your own
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s really strange. I don`t know. You hosted "Hollywood
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I did for two weeks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what did that feel like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a nervous breakdown, but I`m back now. I`m OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: In our next hour, history repeats itself. My team here at UP has
double dared me. I have apparently agreed to the challenge. There`s still
plenty of time to wiggle out of it. Stick around ahead to see what I`m
talking about to see if it actually happens. That`s later this morning here
KORNACKI: A lot has changed in the five short months since Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad left the presidency of Iran. It seemed the new president of
Iran, Hassan Rouhani, turned to Twitter as a mean of re-engaging Iran with
the world community at large. But Rouhani hasn`t just limited his
diplomatic outreach to social media, he`s also turned to establish
diplomatic channels, too.
In November, Iran struck a tentative deal with the U.S. and other western
nations to temporarily freeze some of its nuclear program in exchange for
the easing of some sanctions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This initial agreement could well be the first step
towards a landmark accord that would change the global landscape, change
the enter region on the world, not only on the nuclear front, but
eventually returning around for the first time since 1979, since the
revolution, to the community of nations. This would affect Syria and all
the other neighbors as well. That is still, though, a big if.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: This is what our colleague, Andrea Mitchell, meant by a big "if."
There are reports this week, none of them confirm by the nation`s involve,
but the deal could be under way, could be on its way towards implementation
in a matter of weeks by the end of this month.
But as difficult as it will be to get diplomats from Iran, the U.S., and
European Union to hammer out the details in the final plan in the coming
weeks as difficult if not more difficult than that will be to fight here in
the U.S. to get lawmakers of both parties to agree to the idea that
sanctions against Iran should be lifted or loosened at all.
There`s one thing Democrats and Republicans appear united on these days,
its opposition to the deal. Before Congress went on break for the holiday,
a bipartisan group of 26 senators put forth legislation that would impose
tough new sanctions on Iran and violates the terms of the interim deal.
Among co-sponsors are democrats Robert Menendez from New Jersey, Chuck
Schumer from New York, and ten other democrats who are in favor of the
deal. Senators who want to see the deal succeed, well, they wrote a letter
to Harry Reid asking him to keep the Menendez bill from coming to a vote.
The White House has said that any new sanctions at all would threaten
negotiations over a final deal with Iran. They might even mean the end of
diplomatic relations with Iran.
Iran has responded as well. Within the last week, more than two-thirds of
the Iranian parliament signed on to a bill to accelerate the country`s
nuclear program if the United States Congress imposes any new sanctions,
the exact opposite of what this deal is intended to achieve. So, as
Congress heads back to work on Monday, what does it intend to do might --
what intends to do, excuse me, my critically imperil this deal just as
negotiations are in their final delicate stages.
Well, here to help try to sort it all out, we have with us still at the
table, BuzzFeed`s Evan McMorris-Santoro, Ali Gharib, he`s an independent
journalist who`s a contributor for "The Daily Beast" in foreign policy
among other publications, writes about American relations overseas, MSNBC`s
Krystal Ball is still here, and in our D.C. isolation booth, we call it, we
have Steve Clemons.
He`s the Washington editor at large for "The Atlantic" who writes
extensively about foreign policy. I hope you`re not claustrophobic, Steve.
We thank you for getting up and joining us. I`ll start with you because of
your isolation booth status.
STEVE CLEMONS, THE ATLANTIC: Thanks, Steve.
KORNACKI: We have -- the big breakthrough in November was the announcement
that they`re in Geneva and this -- the basic framework for a deal has been
struck. Now, we`re talking about the actual details of that being finalized
and hammered out. What is it that this final deal do you think is going to
look like and what is it that the hawks here in the United States Congress,
Democrat and Republican alike, what is it that they are afraid of in this
deal and what is it that they`re trying to do?
CLEMONS: Well, just very quickly, I mean, there are a lot of elements that
Iran -- we know the outline of the Iran deal in which they will dispossess
significant amount of highly-rich uranium. They will stop progress on
controversial parts of their nuclear processing programs. They will allow
inspectors in to parts of their nuclear program that we haven`t seen
before. And0 both sides right now are cozying up to a joint action plan
that primarily is about logistics.
I`m fairly certain that that will now proceed. It was put on hold
temporarily when the treasury department and Undersecretary David Cohen
didn`t take further steps but essentially tightened the screws a bit on
already existing sanctions and penalized those who had violated sanctions
and tried to address those who tried to find loopholes in sanctions. And
the Iranians reacted negative but they said that that was not in breach of
But those senators, particularly Senator Menendez, and I have -- there`s a
lot about Senator Menendez I admire, but in foreign policy and as chairman
of the Foreign Relations Committee, he is looking more and more like the
Democratic version of Jesse Helms, and he and a number of other of his
colleagues in the Senate are working to sabotage the deal, not necessarily
guide it (ph).
And in my view, I think they believe, they`ve diluted themselves into
believing that they think that Iran has stepped forward because they are
the top hammer behind the scenes. I`ve talked to one of the senators,
Senator Manchin, who is a signor, who has signed onto the bill, who I think
has a more steady approach that while he signed on to what Menendez is
trying to do, at the same time, he doesn`t want to necessarily disrupt the
potential for a good deal with Iran.
And that`s really the state of play. Harry Reid has taken the debate and
shut it down by imposing what was called rule 14, which prevented the
Menendez bill from going from the banking committee and having this
tortured process in the press.
Many people think Reid will bring this up in January. I think Reid is
essentially frozen the debate and brought the bill to himself and will
largely support the White House in what it decides to do. So, right now,
Reid is holding most of the cards on the Menendez bill.
KORNACKI: OK. So, let`s pick it up at that point, Ali, because there`s
still a lot of time between this -- this would be like a six-month deal
when implemented. We`re talking about Harry Reid maybe buying into January
to force some kind of a vote here.
We started this by saying look over in Iran where the parliament this week
is responding to the maneuvering in our Congress and they`re basically
saying, hey, if the Congress and the United States says we`re going to
impose new sanctions after the six-month deal, we`re going to set all these
conditions on it.
We`re going to accelerate our nuclear program. That`s what the parliament
Iran is saying. You also have the Iranian foreign minister who`s saying,
quote, "the entire deal is dead if United States Congress imposes --
ALI GHARIB, INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST: Even with the six-month delay.
KORNACKI: Even -- right. So, it just seems to me this classic, almost a
tragic story of the hardliners on one side emboldening the hardliners on
the side, and they both inadvertently team up to kill a deal. Is there a
risk here of that happening?
GHARIB: Yes. Completely. And I think that`s exactly what this is where you
have the sort of the leadership positions in both country now. At this
point, we`ve got the supreme leader of Iran who has the final say on all
these matters actually supporting Rouhani in all its diplomacy. So, the
leadership of Iran is united in favor of diplomacy and so as the leadership
on the American side.
But still, Congress is sort of dragging its feet. But it`s also kind of a
remarkable fight between Democrats. You know, the Menendez-Kirk bill now
has 47 co-signers. We don`t know that, because the Congressional registry
hasn`t opened up yet in the near session, but we know that because APAC,
the pro-Israel lobby group, has put a list upon their website because
they`ve been informed by the offices (ph) of who intends to co-sponsor it.
But aside from the initial 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans, all the rest of
the signatories to it are more Republicans.
And now, you`ve got about 35 or 33 or so Republicans and 16 Democrats,
because Cory Booker signed on late. And Democrats are actually remarkably
split on this. You know, when you compare the fact that these ten
Democratic committee chairs sent a letter to Reid trying to stall the bill
from moving forward, that remarkable considering that the last side of
sanctions passed 100 to zero in the Senate. You know, there is not a single
(INAUDIBLE) vote from that. So, I think that we are seeing a real push from
this sort of west hawkish wing --
KORNACKI: And from the White House, itself, which is, you know, saying, you
know, we do not need this right now. This is not helping. What do you think
is going to happen in January, Evan?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well the White House says that they veto the bill. I mean
and that`s the question I actually have for Ali or Steve, which is, what do
you think it does for negotiations if the bill does pass out of Congress
and the president vetoes it. Will that have any measurable --
KORNACKI: It`s a great question. It`s a perfect time for break. So, we`re
going to -- what happens --
KORNACKI: -- right after this.
KORNACKI: Steve Clemons from the isolation booth, we`ll go right back to
you with the question that Evan McMorris was just posing. So, if this comes
to a vote in January, and it passes and goes to Obama`s desk, what happens
CLEMONS: Well, he`ll veto the bill and it will go back to the Senate. And
folks like Lindsey Graham have said that they`ll override his bill, but it
will put U.S.-Iran relations into, you know, a very serious fragility, and
it will remind people of when Bill Clinton and Khatami in Iran, you know,
try to bring their --
KORNACKI: Do you think they would have the votes to override the veto, that
CLEMONS: Well, I think, you know, as Ali just said, they have 47.
Ultimately, when you have ten committee chairs who`ve said for vital
national security reasons, it`s wrong to proceed. I would hope that they
wouldn`t have that number of votes and I would hope that we have a
healthier discussion. I mean, one of the really interesting things that
very few people are talking about right now is really military intelligence
has issued a report -- it has been reported that they have said they see
deep strategic change in Iran.
This is not what Netanyahu is saying. This is what Israel military
intelligence is saying. So, when you look at that and you say, why are
these senators marching off to basically knee cap the president of the
United States in one of the most important strategic leaps that this nation
could make that would really give the entire world a kind of new direction
and a new way to shape gravity, it would be a remarkable thing for the
Senate not to do that.
But when we see the power of APAC and we see the power of certain other
lobbying groups that have been pushing, you know, really pushing these
senators, it makes one wonder whether they could get it. And I fear that
they might, given the buildup of the numbers we`ve seen already.
BALL: Well, I mean, I think the opening that we have now is pretty unique
and pretty extraordinary. And to Steve`s point, you know, we talk about
health care is such a critical part of this president`s legacy. If we
actually had a deal with Iran and we actually had an opening of the
relationship with Iran, that would in some ways be even more critical
apiece of this president`s legacy and more vital to the world in terms of
the politics of it on whether they could get to number to override a veto.
It is extraordinary that we have this many Democrats willing to go against
the president on this issue to start with. It would be unheard of,
unbelievable, I think, to get that number to override the veto of this
president as it gets increasingly close as an issue.
KORNACKI: Ali, we`re short on time, but what is your sense? Are you
optimistic at the end of the day that the deal hammered out is being
hammered out between the United States and Iran is going to survive the
politics of the U.S. Congress?
GHARIB: I mean, it`s not clear. I think that the veto question is sort of
up in the air. I mean, I would hope that the president will be able to
marshal (ph) enough Democrats to support his veto. But I am not sure of
that, because as I said before, the last sanctions passed 100 to zero. I
mean, it`s not -- these are long odds we`re going up against. Steve talked
about some of the pressure on these members of Congress.
And then even after, this is the interim deal which is going to be
hopefully, according to all the sides, implemented sometime this month. And
then, there are six months of negotiations, and then actually, something
you don`t hear about a lot is that the deal actually allows for an
extension of another six months of negotiations if all the parties agree to
it. So, we could be talking about a year long process and that`s a long
time for spoilers on both side.
KORNACKI: That`s the whole thing, this was supposed to be the short-term
deal. It proves a deal is possible and it proves a bigger deal, you know,
can be arrived at. So, yes -- well, that`s the story to keep an eye on. One
of the big stories to keep an eye in Congress in January. We will be
keeping an eye on that.
I want to thank, reporter, Ali Gharib for joining us. And in Washington, my
thanks to MSNBC contributor, Steve Clemons of "The Atlantic." We`ll be
KORNACKI: At the start of the New Year, there`s lots to celebrate, family,
friends, new beginnings. If you`re like me, lots of football. Meaningless
bowl games mostly, but still, they`re fun to watch.
But roughly 2.5 Americans have something extra to do to celebrate when the
ball drops in Time`s Square this week, because it turns out they have just
gotten a raise. On January 1st, 13 states raised their minimum wage. Some
were in increases that have been passed last year by the state
legislatures, but the majority of the wage hikes were a result of statewide
ballot initiatives that voters passed at the polls over the last two
In New Jersey, where Republican Chris Christie won re-election in the
landslide in November, 61 percent of supporters support a ballot
initiative, a ballot initiative that Christie opposed to raise the minimum
wage to $7.25 an hour, to $8.25, and to index it to rise each year to keep
pace with inflation.
And back in 2006, raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation was
on the ballot in six states. In all six of those states, it won. Even red
states like Missouri and Montana. Overwhelming three-quarters of voters
supported raising the minimum wage.
In recent years, minimum wage has been a gimme at the polls. If you put it
on the ballot, it`s going to pass, probably with flying colors, which
explains why Democrats see this as a powerful political weapon to wield
against Republicans, a chance to show they`re on the side of working
people, a chance to show that Republicans are fighting the interests of
It`s also an issue Democrats have used to motivate their base to get to the
polls. Peer political power of the minimum wage is something that
Republicans used to understand in the wake of the Republican revolution of
1994, the GOP won control of the House for the first time since the
Eisenhower years. Bill Clinton sought to regain political momentum by
proposing to raise the minimum wage.
At first, House Speaker Newt Gingrich vowed he wouldn`t let the bill come
up for vote. Instead, Majority Leader Bob Dole, who was running for
president in 1996, used procedural moves to scuttle a bill in his chamber.
But by the spring of 1996, there were moderate Republicans in Congress who
said they will no longer stand for the leadership stonewalling.
These moderates have just taken a beating in their districts after a
disastrous government shut down in the fall of 1995. Their poll numbers
were terrible. They were afraid of losing their seats in 1996. They were
afraid of their party losing control of the house in 1996. And the last
thing they wanted was to take another needless hit back home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: After an almost daily political pounding and being portrayed by
Democrats as heartless, some Republicans today decided they had had enough.
More than a dozen moderate House Republicans broke with their leaders to
support an increase in the minimum wage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s been seven years sense these people have had a pay
hike. They work hard. We need to reward work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, just a few weeks after that, Newt Gingrich vowed to add some
Republican sweeteners from the minimum wage increase and he agreed to hold
the vote. The bill landed on President Clinton`s desk that August to the
backing of 76 senators and 354 House members.
Now, fast forward to 2006, on top of George W. Bush`s bungling of hurricane
Katrina and the horrors of the Iraq war, Democrats added an economic issue
to the national platform they used to win back Congress that fall. And one
of their key issues was, raising the minimum age.
The next year, once they were in control, Democrats in the House advanced a
bill to raise the minimum wage to 7.25 an hour. That`s where it now stands
at the federal level, 82 Republicans support it in the House. If Senate
added small business tax cuts in the past there overwhelmingly and George
W. Bush signed it. That was in 2007. That was the last time there was an
increase in the minimum wage at the federal level.
The issue is on the table again if now, but the opposition from Republicans
seems far more rigid this time around. The party has changed since 2007.
The Tea Party ideologues have gained traction. Swing district moderates are
vanishing. When it comes to economic issues, the party has moved closer to
Rand Paul`s anti-government absolutism.
Here`s one Tea Party insurgent, Joe Miller, you may remember, he defeated a
sitting Republican senator in a 2010 primary in Alaska. Here he is calling
the minimum wage unconstitutional.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So there should not be a federal minimum wage?
JOE MILLER (R), THEN-SENATE CANDIDATE: There should not be. That is not
within the scope of the powers that are given to the federal government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Miller went on to lose that general election, but his basic
belief is getting a greater airing among those on the far right, even if it
was rejected by the Supreme Court back in 1941.
Last year, Democrats used a procedural maneuver to force a House vote on a
bill to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. It failed to win a
single Republican vote.
So, what was going to happen in year 2014, with the mid-term elections
looming. The Republicans keep standing in the way of an increase, President
Obama is gearing up to make minimum wage one of his key initiatives this
year. You`ve already seen Democrats, even Democrats in some conservative,
southern states who are ready to run on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALISON LUNDERGRAN GRIMES (D-KY), SENATE CANDIDATE: It seems our senior
senator only understands the meaning of one word, stop. Well, Senator,
you`re voting time after time against increasing the minimum wage all the
while you increase your pay and quadruple your net worth. Stop now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And here to discuss the minimum wage as a wedge issue of 2014. We
still have with us, Evan McMorris Santoro of BuzzFeed, Carrie Sheffield,
she`s a contributor with Forbes magazine, who doesn`t believe the minimum
wage should be raised. MSNBC`s Krystal Ball is also back with us. She does
think it should be raised. And Paul Sonn is the legal co-director at the
National Employment Law Project, with the focus on promoting living wage
So, let`s just I guess Paul, I`ll start with you, so we can understand the
call right now, this sort of unified call from the left is to raise the
minimum wage to $10.10 an hour at the federal level. There are some states
which are already are higher than the federal level. Where does that number
come from? What is the significance of that number?
PAUL SONN, NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PROJECT: I think there is really from
the congressional Democrats, Harken and Tom Miller, it was, you know, put
out there as a politically realistic benchmark that will bring the minimum
wage really substantially back to the level it had in the late `60s, early
`70s, when it raised broadly across the bottom of the economy. I think we
are hearing the country is struggling with the fact that most of the jobs
being created pay these very low wages and we`re hearing everyone from
Federal Reserve boards to Bill and the De Blasio inauguration saying it`s s
not unjust, but it`s holding back our economy.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST: Right.
SONN: We really need to find a way to put more money in people`s pockets to
drive growth. That`s why we`re seeing calls for much bigger increases,
$10.10 at the federal level. California is already, $15 in many of the high
KORNACKI: Part of this bill, the Democratic bill, right now for $10.10
would index. We had a minimum wage hike in 1996. You have to wait until
2007, now, it`s seven years later. So, instead of going through that
process, are you saying basically just raise it automatically?
SONN: That`s right. You know, ten states already index the minimum wage. It
keeps pace with the cost of inflation each year. It`s a key best practice
that, you know, results predictable, you know, increases that business
community complain around. And really, a lot of the business communities
It`s interesting, a lot of the business community has moved towards
supporting minimum wage increases, at the same time Republicans have gotten
more polarized on the issue.
KORNACKI: Here, let me up a couple of interesting sort of facts to put out
there. Maybe we can get your take on it. One is minimum wage increase, this
is from the economic policy. This is an estimate from them this past month.
They say, the minimum wage would raise wages for 28 million workers, 88
percent of them are at least 20 years old and the affected workers are
those 28 million, the average one of them accounts for half of his or her
family`s total incomes.
They`re basically saying it`s not just people who are affected right now
directly wage by the minimum wage. It`s somebody who`s making a couple
bucks above the minimum wage. You are bumping those people up, and that
adds up to 20 million people.
And you also have the Economic Policy Institute, which is saying if you
raise it to $10.10 an hour, they are saying there is a stimulus effect here
that nobody is talking about, that $22 billion will be added. All these
people having more money to spend and it accounts to $22 billion more,
translating to 85,000 jobs nationally.
What`s your case against doing it?
CARRIE SHEFFIELD, CONTRIBUTOR, FORBES: All right. That`s a lot of points.
We can talk about this one after another?
So I guess my basic point, though, I think we all of us at this table agree
will is a cost to increasing the minimum wage.
It doesn`t happen, magically, there is a cost. From my perspective, that
cost hits in three dangerous ways. It actually hurts the workers
themselves. You`re basically cherry-picking which workers will get this
higher wage while actually shaving off the access to the latter bottom
So, it hurts the consumers because it jacks up the cost of goods. And we
are talking, for example, about fast food. Who are the primary consumers of
fast food? Low income workers.
It actually hurts business, particularly small business -- Krystal, you
understand this. You`re as a CPA, you understand, you know, when you`re
increasing the costs, that hurts the business.
So, it`s going to put some folks out of business, especially the ones that
are smaller, because they don`t have the economies of scale to absorb this
increased costs. >
KORNACKI: So what about two-thirds of low wage workers, people at minimum
wage. They work at firms that employ more than 100 people. So, most of the
people affected by this we say are at large.
But that doesn`t change the fact there are small businesses here, I don`t
know, you go down the block, they still have video stores? There is a video
store, mom and pop owners, and there is five people.
KORNACKI: It`s bad. I don`t know.
Some store with five employees. What happens, Krystal?
BALL: Well, I think what we`re seeing here is there is a balancing act.
Very few people you played the one clip. Very few say we should get rid the
minimum wage altogether because there is a balance here. We think people
should get paid for the work that they do. We believe and people on the
right believe in the dignitary of work and having an incentive to,
quote/unquote, "get off the doll and get off their duff and get to work.
The minimum wage in this country has fallen behind where it should be
because it hasn`t been lifted in so long. So we`re in place now where as
you were pointing out, out of this recession, a majority of the jobs coming
out of it are low wage. We have increase in inequality in the country and
folks working 40 hours a week doing everything they can, cannot put food on
the table, cannot support themselves and are, in fact, reliant on the
government for those services.
And in terms of the points you were making, Kerry the point about the cost
to the workers just isn`t borne out by the evidence. We have a sort of
natural experiment in this country because we have states and localities
that have different minimum wages. And economists have looked at this and
found essentially no impact to moderate increases in the minimum wage.
Now, if you made it absurd, if you said, OK, it should be $1,000 an hour
then. Of course, there would be an impact. At the levels we are talking
about, $10, maybe $15 an hour, there is basically no evidence --
KORNACKI: I want to get your respond, but just start with this question,
because there is a division it seems on the right in terms of how to think
about the minimum wage, where you had, we play Joe Miller and we have
plenty of people on the right who say the minimum wage, itself, we don`t
need, that any kind of minimum wage.
Do you believe a minimum wage is good for the economy as sort of a starting
SHEFFIELD: Well, we can look internationally. When you see countries that
have no minimum wage, the Nordic countries, Denmark, for example,
Switzerland. There are many countries that are the most equitable when you
look at Gini coefficient. Those countries the most equitable they have no
minimum wage with the highest quality of life.
The most equitable on the misery scale, they also must equitable as well.
But those are the most controlled economies.
So, when you`re talking about being equitable here.
BALL: You think people should be able to get paid 5 cents an hour?
SHEFFIELD: What I`m saying is look at the countries, look at reality. And
these countries don`t have minimum wage. I hear you --
KORNACKI: What are you calling a debate on the spectrum on the right of
this country, it`s a violation of the Constitution at minimum wage. Or you
say, yes, we need minimum wage --
SHEFFIELD: Well, what I`m saying is I think politically it`s very easy to
exploit this and the left is very effective at exploiting this for
political points. I`m not saying I will be fighting to get rid of a minimum
wage. I am not a Ted Cruz person on the rate. I think that would be
All I`m saying is that I think the right can do a butch better job of
defending this, the morality of the free market.
BALL: But, Carrie, the other piece is what I was saying. I mean, one Wal-
Mart supercenter, employees in one Wal-Mart super center rely on somewhere
between $1 million and almost $2 million dollars. So right now the
government is supporting workers because they can`t support themselves.
It seems to me as a conservative, you would want people to get off the
government dole and be able to support themselves through the dignity of
SHEFFIELD: Right. Well, I guess what I`m saying is that sort of a defeatist
attitude. That`s basically saying that these people are going to be stuck
in low wage jobs.
The answer is education. They can do much more.
BALL: --.are service sector jobs.
KORNACKI: I want to get Paul in here in for one second.
SONN: Right. Jobs I -- in fact, you know, if these were sting stone jobs
for teens that, job is long past. So, median wage and low wage jobs is 35.
You know, more than 40 percent of the workers have some college. And as you
noted, you bring home on average half of their household income.
If we can`t a way to raise these conditions or those jobs, we are going to
do tens of millions of Americans to poverty and hold back our economy.
And that`s why actually, the research with respect, Kerry really has it
wrong. There`s going to be a change in the consensus in the recession the
bulk shows no adverse from raising the minimum wage, poll economists in
Chicago backed increases by a 4-1 margin.
But what`s more interesting is the shift in the business community. A lot
of the business press, cranes, "The Economist," "Bloomberg News" back
hiring minimum wage, recognizing the benefits for the economy, outweighing
any modest costs.
KORNACKI: OK. So, we have not heard from Evan. We will as soon as we come
back because this is a huge political issue for 2014. We can look at the
polling on this. We can look at the unlikely places where Democrats say,
this is going to help them defy history in 2014.
We`re going to talk about that after this.
KORNACKI: Looking at the politics for the minimum wage in 2014. We can
start with this. This is the $10.10 now for raising it. This is how it
polls right now nationally, if you ask the question, do you support this?
Overall 63 percent of people say, yes, we support this, 77 percent of
Democrats, 59 percent of independents, 47 percent of Republicans and given
that broad support, that is why it has been a "New York Times" article last
week, this will be a key strategy, they are looking at states like
Arkansas, South Dakota, sort of traditionally red states that are key
Senate races on the ballot in those states this year, where Democrats are
facing uphill battles. They want to put increasing the minimum wage on the
ballot in those states, because they think it`s the kind of thing that
will: (a) put the Republicans sort on the ropes of those states, and (b)
maybe increase turnout among their own voters.
What do you make of that strategy?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, BUZZFEED.COM: First, thanks for coming to me, I feel
like Admiral --
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: But, you know, this is, it will Chuck Schumer about this
actually, because he`s a lead proponent of this stuff, of this minimum wage
increase, talking a lot about it. And what he said was what they`re hoping
to do with minimum wage discussions is to make a ready sort of take-home
pocket-size version of the fight over wage equality and sort of wage issues
and the wage gap. That`s what they really want to talk about.
I think minimum wage is a part of it they want to talk about issues that
affect a large part of the middle class, buying power going down, access to
wealth going down -- the gap between rich and poor, increasing. And they`re
hoping that the minimum wage is a very simple way, a popular way of opening
up those discussions.
So, what we are seeing are the first steps of a much larger commentary in
2014 about these wage issues, which Democrats think they can put
Republicans on their heels.
KORNACKI: We showed. We can put this right now. We have a map. This is the
states that have a higher minimum wage than the federal level. You know,
we`ve seen this happen before between like `96 and 2007, there was a lot of
activity at the state level that finally spurned the increase at the
federal level in 2007.
We set it up earlier, we talked about in 1996, Republicans in Congress were
coming off of a politically disastrous government shutdown, Newt Gingrich
were the speaker. They were afraid of losing the House. They got scared
into basically a compromise on the minimum wage. You know, in 2007,
Democrats had just given Republicans a beating at the polls in 2006.
Republicans felt some need. Is there any sense that Republicans might be
opened to some kind of compromise this year on raising the minimum wage?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, when you open it out these wages, you were talking
about before, there are Republicans who are acknowledging that this
something they need to get into. They need to start talking about it, and
they sort of change their rhetoric when it comes to economics a bit, talk a
little bit less about tax cuts for the rich, a little bit more about maybe
trying to increase opportunity for the middle class.
So, when, put through that prism, you may have some Republicans that are
thinking about this. I mean, I think we haven`t seen yet exactly where all
of the Republican -- sort of the pressure points have all shaken out in
terms of what the Tea Party is really going to say about this. I mean, you
see D.C. polls well, what -- are the sort of conservative commentaries. We
are not totally sure where they shake out yet. But if you cast it as a
discussion about this larger thing, it`s possible maybe you could see
KORNACKI: Well, and, Carrie, those past examples of 2007 and 1996, what
Republicans send up saying was, OK, we`re going to do this. And we want
something for it. It usually takes the form of like tax credits for small
business, some kind of tax relief for small business. Could you look at
this and say as a conservative who doesn`t want this going to $10.10, OK,
I`ll do it if you give me X? Is there anything on your list that would make
for a compromise?
SHEFFIELD: Well, I mean, that`s politics --
KORNACKI: Don`t say repeal Obamacare.
SHEFFIELD: That`s politics as the art of compromise. So, I mean, I can`t
say specifically what that might be. I mean, you mentioned pressure points.
I definitely think that Obamacare is going to be a much stronger pressure
point when we`re talking about the election.
Short of that, nothing you mentioned, in looking at the states, I think
that actually reinforces my point, and that is that you, companies and
geographies should really be able to differentiate what they want their
companies to do. I mean, you know, I`ve heard you talk about the fact that
Costco has a higher wage. That`s Costco, it`s a different business model
than Wal-Mart for example. I mean, companies and geographies should be able
to differentiate the cost of labor. I mean, we have that in this country --
SHEFFIELD: What about, for example, for servers? Servers make, you know,
$3.25 an hour compared to a hostess who makes $7.25. We differentiate based
on the type of labor.
KORNACKI: Although, there is a movement. And I think in Massachusetts,
where workers who work for tips to bring them up to the same --
SONN: It`s actually not $3.25. If you believe it, it`s $2.13 an hour for
the federal minimum wage staff.
KORNACKI: But there is a movement.
SONN: A lot of states are working to move it. Massachusetts has a ballot
issue that will raise it to $60 percent of the minimum wage, which will be
over 6 bucks an hour. The better states, the West Coast states, California,
states like Massachusetts. I love the West Coast states require the tip
workers get the full minimum wage.
And many of the states have the top growth restaurant states, states like
California, Arizona, Florida and it really shows, it doesn`t have an impact
on job growth. It`s a really a key women`s pay equity, you know, anti-
poverty issues. The waitresses at the Applebee`s, the local diner, they,
you know, supporting families and earning poverty wages.
BALL: You know, Steve, I mean, for me, I would much rather take a strong
labor movement in this country if I had the choice between a strong labor
movement and an increase in minimum wage. There`s no question I would take
the strong labor movement. And we used to have a system in which workers
had more of a voice and they were able to put upward pressure on wages.
We don`t have that anymore. And so, now, the only mechanism essentially
that we have is the minimum wage.
KORNACKI: Are you -- just quickly, Krystal, are you optimistic at all that
there actually will be a minimum wage increase?
BALL: You know, I actually am optimistic, because I think this is a
brutally bad issue for Republicans. I think there is some realization in
the polling and in the conversation that we come to a place in the economy
where we are starting to see a recovery and people picking up their heads
and saying, what kind of a country and what kind of an economy do we want
to have? So I think Republicans will realize this is terrible for them.
KORNACKI: Well, we`ll see --
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: I mean, if we get it off the table now, if Republicans go
ahead and raise it a little bit, they can go back and talk about Obamacare.
KORNACKI: There is always that incentive. There`s always an Obamacare
incentive. Anyway, I want to Paul Sonn with NELP, and Carrie Sheffield,
contributor with "Forbes" magazine.
We have a special guest coming up right after this. I double dare you to
stick around and see who it is.
KORNACKI: The 1980s was truly a golden era for TV game shows, "Sale of the
Century," "Press Your Luck," "Hard Sharks," even "Bumper Stumpers," if you
remember that one.
Let`s say you were a part of the younger set, you were a child of the game
show crazy 1980s. Well, there was a game show just for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Double Dare." And now here is your "Double Dare" --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: "Double Dare," you remember it, Nickelodeon`s kid contestants,
trivia questions and grossed out humor and one epic obstacle course. It was
a hit and there were different versions. There were super sloppy "Double
Dare." There was family "Double Dare," where you get mom and dad on the
This was the "Double Dare" generation. All of the kids who grew up watching
physical challenges, learning about that strange, slime known as guck,
watching the contestants with their helmets and elbow pads, diving into
slime and scrambling to find a small flag inside a giant pile of human size
waffles, wishing -- all the while wishing while they watched at home that
they might some day make it on as a contestant.
At the center of all of this was Marc Summers. He was the host, the emcee,
the first game show host that an entire generation ever knew. It looked
like he was having a lot of fun, even if he sometimes got as messy as the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARC SUMMERS, TV HOST: I don`t think we (INAUDIBLE) "Double Dare" folks. I
don`t think there`s much (INAUDIBLE) I think I`m in trouble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And more recently, he has been involved in a much less
rambunctious environment, hosting "Unwrapped" on the Food Network, telling
viewers all about how their favorite package foods actually get made.
Might he one day return to the world of games shows and does he have any
advice for certain other game shows aficionado?
I don`t know, maybe somebody who hosts America`s favorite weekend cable
news, inebriated current events and/or quiz show.
Well, joining us now is the one, the only, Marc "Daily Dare" Summers. And,
Marc, welcome to the show and I can`t tell you how excited. Not just me, I
put this on Twitter the other day that we had you on here. I heard so many
people, is he really coming on? I can`t believe it.
I don`t know -- do you recognize how many people my age now in their 30s
right now just grew up watching this show every day on Nickelodeon. It was
such a fun show to watch. We dreamed of being on it. I think I told you in
the break, I was sent postcards in, trying to be a contestant. You guys
never had me on. But you and that show mean so much to an entire generation
of TV watchers.
SUMMERS: It`s fascinating to me now because when it came to the studio in
the makeup room everybody is sort of like oh my gosh, it`s a great feeling
needless to say. It was a lot of right time right place. But we also made
that show what it was. We had some crazy people who, it was like being in a
college dorm. Nickelodeon was just getting started. And they didn`t really
keep their eye on the ball. So, we were just playing and having fun every
And if you go back and look at some of the clips on YouTube, the stuff we
got away with was fascinating, but I am appreciative. We do a thing in
Philly every year, during beer week, where we do drunk Double Dare, and
that`s really fun because you take alcohol and green slime. I mean, it
doesn`t get much better than that.
So, I`m just having fun, and luckily, I`ve had another things in my life
unwrapped as the longest running show on the history of Food Network and
I`m exec producer of the show called "Restaurant Impossible." We`re the
number show on Food Network. So, it`s been an interesting career. But
certainly "Double Dare" got it all started.
KORNACKI: And you were, if I understand it correctly, when you started out,
your hope was to be, you wanted to be a game show host, Bob Barker, "Price
is Right," was sort of your role model? That`s what you want to do.
SUMMERS: My first job in Los Angeles was writing on "Truth or Consequences"
the last time Bob Barker hosted that show. So, there was the guy that I
wanted to be and I got to interact with him. And, yes, it was him and then
it was also Johnny Carson, because for a while I was a stand-up comic in
1976. I was at the comedy store with Dave Letterman and Robin Williams and,
you know, Jay Leno, and all those guys. So, I just wanted to be in front of
the camera and host. The problem was I really didn`t have a lot of talent.
I was super aggressive and had an eye on ball that I wanted to get to. But
I didn`t get that ball until I was 34-years-old when "Double Dare" started.
I was like a brother or an uncle. I am now 62-years-old and people still
want to talk about green slime. So it`s fantastic.
KORNACKI: I love the green slime.
But so what`s the key? I kind of play a fake game show host here.
SUMMERS: You`re doing a great job.
KORNACKI: Well, thank you, because I grew up watching you and somebody
else. But what is the key to hosting, to being good game show host? What
are the tips there?
SUMMERS: Bob Barker and I used to talk about this all the time. And Bob
Barker`s favorite stand up comic was the same as mine. It was Jack Benny.
Jack Benny made the other people on the show the stars.
If you ever go back and watch the old "Price is Right" with Bob, he made
the contestants stars, it wasn`t about Bob. It was about the people that
came on that stage. So, it`s (a), making the contestants the stars and
listening. It`s not about you as a host. You have to listen, and say the
right thing. And it`s not about you being funny and getting the joke.
That`s why most stand-up comediennes don`t work as game show hosts. It`s
all about them. A good game show host and you go right down, you know, Pat
Sajak has been around forever, Alex Trebek and Bob Barker. Those were the
people who were the Johnny Carson of that genre of television because they
listened. And it wasn`t about them.
KORNACKI: Well, we have some exciting news. I`ve teased it a little bit.
But you are coming out of game show host retirement for one day only. In a
few minutes, you have agreed --
SUMMERS: I know.
KORNACKI: -- to guest-host this week`s edition of "Up Against the Clock."
SUMMERS: And I`m trying to decide, now, do I wear my Allen Ludden 1962
glasses like password, or it`s too early in the morning and they want to
put on my context lens glasses? But we`ll figure this out.
KORNACKI: Well, our styles we`re mimicking the `70s and `80s. So, I usually
there`s a loud (ph) jacket from --
KORNACKI: From the 1970s, you are welcome to wear it if you like. You are
Marc Summers, you`re game show, we`ll let you wear whatever you want to
host the show. I am so excited.
Because we`re going to come back from this break. Marc Summers isn`t going
anywhere. "Double Dare" meets "Up Against the Clock." I may or may not be
taking the spot on contestants. I`ve to do something.
SUMMERS: No, you`ve got to do it.
KORNACKI: So, I`ll be there. Stick around. That`s coming up next.
KORNACKI: It may not be Christmas vacation, but the movie, "Christmas
Story," is a pretty fantastic holiday movie, too. If you`re lucky, you got
a chance to watch both of this holiday season, and If you know a Christmas
story, you know someone double dog dares you. The outcome is likely to look
like this. Maybe they triple dog dared him.
In any case, it`s not a good outcome. Don`t anybody at home try that during
this cold snap we`re experiencing right now. Well, anyway, this week, the
members of my team here at UP didn`t quit double dog dare me, they did
double dare me to hand over the reins of "Up Against the Clock" and take a
spot on contestant`s row. I fear it may be the next installment of things I
am talking to doing and embarrass me on national television.
Marc Summers, please have mercy on me. That`s next.
ANNOUNCER: Live from Studio 3A in Rockefeller Center, USA. It`s time for a
special grudge match edition of "Up Against the Clock."
Our first contestant, a one-time runner up who spent the last four months
practicing for his comeback, say hello to Evan McMorris-Santoro.
The returning champion, she knows the sweet taste of victory better than
anyone, please welcome back, Krystal Ball.
Our special guest contestant, a weekend morning game show icon. He`s come a
along way from wearing the same sweater three times a week on national
television. Here is our clearly uncomfortable Steve Kornacki.
And today`s celebrity guest host, you know him, from the classic game show
"Double Dare" and history IQ.
Put your hands together, millenials, this is Marc Summers!
SUMMERS: Thank you so much. Thank you, Bill Wolff. Thank you, studio
audience. Thank you at home for tuning in.
Yes, you heard correctly. I am Marc Summers, in today for Steve Kornacki,
who is giving a chance to see how this game is played from the other side
of the buzzer.
Now, Evan McMorris Santoro and Krystal Ball are back here again for another
shot at glory. And as Bill Wolff mentioned, Krystal is a former champion.
And, Evan, if you win today, it will not only be vindication for you and
your BuzzFeed colleagues. But score high enough, it might qualify you for
possible participation in the tournament of champions. The rules remain the
same, 100 second each round. Questions get harder as we go on, buzz in at
anytime. But you will be penalized for wrong answers.
Also, there`s an instant bonus question in each round, a no risk chance for
you to earn more points. And I want to assure everyone, Steve has not had
access to any of today`s questions. So, with that, I`ll ask you,
contestants, are you ready?
BALL: Sort of.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: As I`ll ever be.
SUMMERS: Hands on buzzers, here`s our first question for 100 points.
On Friday, the U.S. State Department ordered further evacuations of
American embassy personnel from what strife -- yes.
MCMORRIS-SANTOR: South Sudan.
SUMMERS: See, that is correct, Evan. You get on the board with 100 points.
Second the question, worth 100 points. It was revealed this week that in a
postal mix-up, a Christmas packages containing private photos of this
KORNACKI: The Obamas.
SUMMERS: Yes, they got a Christmas gift not belonging to them. So, they
passed it onto the right person, 100 points for you, Steve.
The controversial mayor of the 4th largest city in North America -- yes,
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Rob Ford?
SUMMERS: Rob Ford is right, filed paper to run for re-election.
Evan takes the lead, Steve in second.
Krystal, I have not heard from you just yet.
A federal judge in Chicago ruled this week that this famous British
fictional detective -- yes, Steve?
KORNACKI: Sherlock Holmes.
SUMMERS: Now, belonged to the public domain, you re right, 100 points. We
have an instant bonus now for more points. Sherlock Holmes, Steve, played
by what actor in the popular BBC/PBS television series "Sherlock."
KORNACKI: Benedict Cumberbatch?
SUMMERS: Will we accept that?
KORNACKI: Yes, Cumberbatch.
SUMMERS: Carrying on with the round, former Representative Mary Bono will
present the Sonny Bono visionary award to this similarly named Irish rocker
at this year`s -- yes, Steve.
SUMMERS: Bono meet Bono. Another 100 points for Steve. You are taking the
This New York congressman rallied -- railed, rather, against "The New York
Times" Thursday -- Krystal.
BALL: Peter King.
SUMMERS: Yes, called the paper a disgrace. Krystal gets in finally in this
Another 100 point question this Florida Republican -- oh, that means the
time is up. We`re going to look at the scores here and find out that Evan
has 200 points, Krystal has 100, but Steve is in the lead with 400 points.
Congratulations. Once again, he had no idea what we are asking, I promise.
All right. Going into the 200 point round. Here we go.
Becoming the first state in the union to legalize marijuana.
SUMMERS: That is incorrect.
SUMMERS: Yes. Colorado would be joined by what state later this year. It is
Two hundred points for Steve. Krystal still with only 100.
Evan, you got to hang in here.
Senate Majority Harry Reid will hold a vote this week on a bill that would
extend -- yes, Evan.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Unemployment insurance.
SUMMERS: That is incorrect. You`re out of this one.
Let me continue the question -- yes, Steve.
KORNACKI: Three months.
SUMMERS: Yes, will hold a vote this week on a bill that would extend
emergency unemployment benefits for how long, three months.
Instant bonus, Steve.
Name the Republican senator who is co-sponsoring the bill with Democrat
KORNACKI: Dean Heller.
SUMMERS: From Nevada. You are right. Another 200 points for you. You`re
running away with it. It kind of looks like we fixed this thing. We really
SUMMERS: An analyst from THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW this week revealed that
this Michigan House Republican made 27 Sunday talk show appearances, the
most of any member of -- yes, Steve.
KORNACKI: Dave Camp.
SUMMERS: That is incorrect.
The most talk show appearances, the most of any member of Congress, 2013 --
BALL: Jim Sensenbrerner?
SUMMERS: That is not right. Evan, can you take it?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Intelligence committee, oh.
SUMMERS: Time is up. Mike Rogers.
Enjoying his 160th round of golf as president, but I think Eisenhower
played more, Barack Obama hit the links with this first foreign elected
official Thursday -- yes, Evan.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The prime minister of New Zealand.
SUMMERS: Yes, that is right. John Key. And you hit 200 points for you.
According to a report this week, this season two, "American Idol" runner-up
is considering -- Steve.
KORNACKI: Clay Aiken.
SUMMERS: Is running for Congress in North Carolina. Clay Aiken is correct.
KORNACKI: And that is the end of the 200-point round. Take a look at this.
Steve, you have 1,000 points. Krystal has, what, minus 300. Is that true?
And Evan at 200.
We are moving into the 300 point round. Krystal and Evan, you better jump
into this. Steve could run away with it all.
KORNACKI: Or they could catch me.
SUMMERS: The (INAUDIBLE) loquacious congressmen such as Ted Cruz and Harry
Reid, it was revealed it was this Alabama Republican -- yes, Steve.
KORNACKI: Jeff Sessions.
SUMMERS: Who logged the most speaking time on the Senate floor. You are
right. Another 300 points for Steve.
This Tea Party-friendly congressman announced that he will accept donations
-- yes, Steve.
KORNACKI: Steve Stockman.
SUMMERS: -- and his Republican president using bitcoin, you are right, 300
points for you.
Steve, you can just take a nap. It makes no difference at this point.
The California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, Krystal, Evan, that Sergio
Garcia can now practice law in the state, which would make him -- yes,
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: He`s the first time document immigrant able to practice
SUMMERS: That is correct, 300 points for Evan.
New York City officials were sent scrambling for a few hours this week
after a bible used to swear in incoming mayor Bill De Blasio went missing
at the inauguration. Yes?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Franklin Delano Roosevelt?
SUMMERS: We have an instant bonus for 300 more. The bible was used by FDR
during his first presidential inauguration in 1933. Who was his vice
president? If you answer this, I`ll give you my house.
SUMMERS: No, it was John Nance Gardner. I have never heard of the man.
All right. Another 300 point question, Krystal, please wake up. New York
City Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged this activity. One of New York`s
longest standing -- yes, Evan.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Horse carriages.
SUMMERS: Getting rid of the horse carriage rides. Another 300 for Evan.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts released his annual year end
report this week, writing this issue was the one that hurt the judicial
branch the most this year -- Evan.
SUMMERS: Correct or budget cuts. Another 300 for Evan
Here`s another 300 point question, moving in on Steve, on Twitter this
week, this former Oakland A slugger and prolific Twitter -- yes, Steve.
KORNACKI: Jose Canseco.
SUMMERS: Is right for another 300 points.
That was the buzzer and let`s see what the score is. The final score is,
Steve, 1,900 points, oh, Evan, 1,400, Krystal Ball minus 300. Oh my
goodness. I`m really shocked by that.
And that means you are "Up Against the Clock," Steve. I have no idea what
I`m doing here. Are you the champion with 1,900 points? Congratulations.
And as our champion, here we go, you will get the official "Up Against the
Clock" prize package.
And, Bill Wolff, tell him what he has won.
ANNOUNCER: As our champion, you`ll have your name printed in exquisite
Sharpie on the coveted "Up Against the Clock" gold cup. And you get to take
it home and show it off to friends, family, and local school 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 also 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.
SUMMERS: All right. Steve, there is one more piece of unfinished business
before we can award you that trip to Rutt`s Hut in -- is it Clifton, New
Jersey? Son of a gun.
I have in my hands -- the instant bonus question for that jackpot. One
question, here it is. "New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof announced
in an article on Wednesday that he would be dropping his middle initial "D"
from his byline after carrying it for more than 25 years. What does that D
Very tough question. Yes, Steve?
SUMMERS: That is incorrect. It was Donovet.
Unfortunately, you don`t get that but you are our grand prize winner,
Sorry, you didn`t win, but you still get to keep that prize and you can
lift the gold cup. Gold cup is here somewhere.
Anyway, congratulations. No one leaves empty-handed because you all get the
home edition of "Up Against the Clock" fun for the entire family. Thanks,
everyone, and thanks for playing at home.
Steve, did I do OK?
KORNACKI: You did more than OK.
SUMMERS: Congratulations. Nice job, Krystal, Evan. Sorry, we`ll be back
with more right after this.
KORNACKI: This thing is like the Stanley Cup. The UP gold cup. I get to
keep it for a week. I`m going to be local -- touring local schools to show
I`m looking at the Krystal Ball. I`ll be -- I`m very excited. I cannot tell
you how exciting it was to have Marc Summers hosting this thing. The most
professionally hosted smoothest operation ever. I think all of us kind of
growing up in the `80s watching "Double Dare," being there with Marc
Summers and playing the game with Marc Summers was really kind of cool.
SUMMERS: I got to go back on and do it again.
KORNACKI: How did it feel? Yes.
SUMMERS: Yes, it was fun. I don`t get to do it that often but when I do I
go back into automatic pilot, I guess, or something.
BALL: I have to say as great of a host as you are, it was pretty
KORNACKI: Do you want -- do you miss hosting game shows?
SUMMERS: Oh, absolutely.
KORNACKI: Would you want to do it?
SUMMERS: I would do one in a nanosecond.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Would you have me on it?
SUMMERS: It would be fun. But, you know, now you have to be famous to even
get a television show and I keep being told I`m too old to do this anymore.
So I don`t know. I still have the energy and I feel like I can do it. Some
network executive should look at that.
KORNACKI: Answer me this question. I was one at the end of every "Double
Dare," I would send in the postcard to try to get on. I sent a couple. How
did you choose contestants on that show?
SUMMERS: We would generally go to schools around -- first, we did the show
in Philadelphia so anywhere from New York, New Jersey, Philly, Virginia,
Washington, that area. And then we moved down to Orlando and we would grab
them right out of the audience, back when we were down there.
So, you know, we never unfortunately took kids who wrote in. Sorry.
KORNACKI: Because I put so much time into those.
BALL: Got the last laugh. Here you are.
KORNACKI: Yes. Here I am on a cheap made for cable -- right?
SUMMERS: You won your own --
KORNACKI: And no one would believe it was a legitimate victory because, I
SUMMERS: You`ve won.
KORNACKI: Anyway, I want to thank Marc Summers. I want to thank all our
guests today for braving this New York City snow. This freezing weekend.
MSNBC`s Krystal Ball; game show host, Food Network star, future game show
host, I also say, Marc Summers; and BuzzFeed`s Evan McMorris-Santoro --
thanks, everyone, for getting UP.
And thank you for joining us today. Join us tomorrow, Sunday morning at
8:00. High anxiety. No, we`re not talking about the classic Mel Brooks
movie. We`ll be looking at how the new marijuana law in Colorado is being
Plus, the internet meme liberalism in four words. It was trending this
week. I`ll ask my guest what they think it means. Tomorrow`s guests will
include John Fugelsang and Perry Bacon.
But coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY."
We will see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
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