updated 3/17/2014 12:16:56 PM ET 2014-03-17T16:16:56

UP with STEVE KORNACKI
March 15, 2014

Guests: William Marks, Greg Feith, John Cox, Susan Page, Alex Seitz-Wald,
Isaac Chotiner, Lizz Winstead, Jennifer Jacobs, Alex Seitz-Wald

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Malaysia`s top official says the missing
plane`s disappearance was deliberate.

It was just one week ago today that we came on the air with breaking news
of a missing passenger jet. Just 40 minutes into its intended journey from
Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 had disappeared from
radar. And this morning, seven mornings later it is still missing. The
mystery is confounding, and the clues as to what might have happened keeps
changing. This morning comes news from Malaysia where the prime minister
has weighed in to say that investigators now believe the missing airline`s
communications were deliberately disabled and it veered off course as the
result of action by someone on board.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRIME MINISTER NAJIB RAZAK, MALAYSIA: These movements are consistent with
deliberate action by someone on the plane. In view of this latest
development, the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation
into the crew and passengers on board. Despite media reports that the
plane was hijacked, I wish to be very clear. We are still investigating
all possibilities as to what caused MH 370 to deviate from its original
flight path.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: The prime minister also says that investigators also believe the
airliner flew for more than seven hours after turning back on its flight
path from Beijing. Here`s a new satellite data confirmed the plane headed
west. Prime minister added investigators are now trying to trace the plane
across two possible new flight routes, a northern corridor in the direction
of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and a southern corridor which heads out over
the Indian Ocean. There are also reports that the jet experienced sharp
changes in altitude after it lost contact with air traffic control, first
up to 45,000 feet and then up and down unevenly to 23,000 feet. And then
it also changed course more than once which could be a sign that it was
under the command of a pilot.

On Friday Malaysian officials had expanded the search zone to more than
27,000 nautical miles. It`s a massive area to cover in search of one
commercial passenger jet. And this morning the Malaysian prime minister
said the search in the South China Sea, that`s where the plane first lost
contact with air traffic controllers, that that search would be ended.

Yesterday`s big revelation, that even after the plane dropped off radar it
still managed to give off signals, automated pings that bounced off of
satellites. It`s a signal - how your cell phones send signals to a cell
phone tower, even when you are not actually communicating yourself. So let
me take you through some of the rest of the twists and turns that we move
throughout this past week.

In the hours after the plane first disappeared, there were reports that
wreckage of the plane might have been found, but two oil slicks in the
water off the cost of Vietnam and what looked like airplane debris, proved
to be false leads. Early reports focused on the strange details that two
passengers were traveling with stolen European passports, setting off its
own investigation. But it turned out they were two Iranian citizens
possibly looking to immigrate to the West. By Monday, the Malaysian
military was leaking reports that the plane had changed course. Malaysian
officials refused to confirm that information then the search quickly
expanded for the first time to the waters off Indonesia. And the next day
the search zone expanded yet again, 10,000 more square miles as of Tuesday
evening.

Also, Tuesday a top Malaysian police commander said he was now pursuing
four broad scenarios of what might have happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KHALID ABU BAKAR, MALAYSIAN POLICE INSPECTOR GENERAL: One is hijacking,
two, sabotage, three psychological problem of the passengers and crew, and
four, personal problem among the passengers and the crew.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: By Wednesday, another possible lead in the search for the
missing plane emerged. And this time, it directed investigators back to
the South China Sea where the plane had disappeared. So, when China
released satellite photos taken south of Vietnam, showing grainy objects
they thought could be plane wreckage. But nothing has surfaced in that
area, and the Chinese now say releasing the photos was a mistake. Also on
Wednesday, nearly a thousand personnel from the Indian Navy joined the
search effort. And the U.S. Navy Vessel, the USS Kidd is also helping in
the search. The U.S. officials tell ABC News - Thursday that the U.S.
believes that two communications systems on board the plane were turned off
separately. Here`s how Malaysian`s defense minister described the ongoing
search.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: A normal investigation
becomes narrower with time. I understand. As new information focuses on
the search, but this is not a normal investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And Friday, as we mentioned, it was reported that the plane had
experienced sharp changes in altitude and may have changed course more than
once. Which means that the USS Kidd is now just one of 43 ships and 58
aircraft from 14 different countries surveying a proverbial haystack from
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in the north, the vast Indian Ocean to the
south where the average depth can reach two miles all looking for a needle
a little more than 200 feet long. I want to turn now to Commander William
Marks. He`s the public affairs officer for the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet. He`s
on board the USS Blue Ridge. It is the command ship for the USS Kidd. He
joins us on the phone. Commander, thank you for taking your time. I guess
I would just start - do you - and does the U.S. Navy agree with what the
Malaysian prime minister said this morning that this plane was deliberately
diverted?

CMDR. WILLIAM MARKS, ON BOARD USS BLUE RIDGE: Thank you. That really --
we`re really at the tactical level here so our expertise in the 7h Fleet
are tactics, operations, freedom of maneuvering, searching, things like
that. So, as far as the intentions of the plane and things like that, I
really can`t get into speculating. I know I can tell you the USS Kidd is
ready, it`s got two helicopters. I can tell you about their operations,
where they`re going tomorrow. I can tell you we brought in the latest most
capable patrol aircraft in the world. That just flew its first mission
today and we`ll have that flying tomorrow. So, if you want to get into
that I absolutely can go over all of our tactics and operations with you.

KORNACKI: Well, yeah, we were hearing from the prime minister that the
search in the South China Sea has now been called off. We`re hearing about
these two different sort of zones where authorities are saying the plane
could have gone, one going as far north as - talking about, you know,
Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, the other just going sort of south endlessly into
the Indian Ocean. It seems like an incredibly vast area. So, yes, what is
the U.S. Navy doing to try to cover that?

MARKS: It is. The expanse is just staggering. Our position right now is
we have USS Kidd in the northwest part of Strait of Malacca. Just to give
you some contacts, when this first started in the Gulf of Thailand that was
a very defined area. And when you have a -- a ship can, let`s say it`s
moving at 15 or 20 knots, nautical miles per hour, ships can cover that
area with not too much difficulty. Now, look over to the Indian Ocean. A
ship is not going to cover the entire Indian Ocean. So, what we have, USS
Kidd has two MH 60 search and rescue helicopters. When you factor them and
you`re talking hundreds of miles of range, and then today we have a T3
(INAUDIBLE), and the P8 Poseidon, patrol aircraft, they both flew missions.
Tomorrow morning, we`re going to launch P8 Poseidon once again. Now we`re
talking, when you talk range there, we`re talking - they can get out there
a thousand miles or more and really get some good search area.

In addition, that P8 has the most advanced surface search radar in the
world that can look down there for this type of mission.

KORNACKI: All right, thanks to U.S. Commander William Marks who is
traveling with the USS Blue Ridge assisting in the search? For more on the
story from where the plane originated from, we have NBC`s Keir Simmons who
joins us now from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Keir, I know you`ve been
reporting this morning on the pilots. What can you tell us about that side
of the investigation?

KEIR SIMMONS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that`s right. Today it`s reported
that the pilots` home was searched by police. We were there to see the
police certainly arrive at the gated community where the pilot`s family
live and then a little while later, about two hours later they left again.
Quite a number of investigators there. So, who is the pilot and the
copilot? Well, the pilot is a man called Zahari Shah, he`s in his 50s,
highly experienced. He`s logged 18,000 flight hours. Conversely the
copilot is Fariq Hamid, 27, he`s relatively new, he`s logged 2800 flight
hours. So, two different pilots and co-pilots there with different levels
of experience flying for Malaysia Airlines. At the same time, though,
remember they`re saying that everybody on that plane is being looked at.
And we`ve spoken to the president of the cabin crew union and he says that
in that first crucial hour of the flight there would be one opportunity, if
this was a hijacking, there would be an opportunity to get into the
cockpit. There`s a moment in that first hour when the cabin crew gives
drinks to the pilot and the copilot. So, they obviously have to open the
door. You know, there are safeguards around that kind of thing now. But
at the same time, if there was to be an opportunity for hijacking, perhaps
that would be the opportunity. They didn`t - in the news conference when
we could questions here today. So, we still know - there are many things
we still don`t know. And we know a lot more today.

KORNACKI: All right, thanks to NBC`s Keir Simmons who`s in Kuala Lumpur?
Some interesting information there. And I want to turn now to Greg Feith.
Greg is a former NTSB senior air safety investigator. He`s also an NBC
News aviation and safety expert and joins us now from Denver. And Greg,
so, the reporting overnight, the Malaysian prime minister himself saying
this plane was deliberately diverted. Based on -- you`ve been following
this as closely as anyone. Do you agree with that assessment?

GREG FEITH, AVIATION SAFETY EXPERT: Steve, I`ve been talking about that
since last week. When you look at the initial information where we only
had one flight track based on civilian radar, there was still a number of
possibilities, whether it was a mechanical problem with the aircraft, some
sort of explosive decompression that may have rendered the cockpit crew and
the passengers incapacitated. But soon as they gave that military data,
and it started to show that there was this turn to the left and a track
outbound for at least an hour, to me that said that this was an intentional
intervention by a human and that human would be one of the two pilots or
both. So now, because I said it a week ago, that, you know, one of the
possibilities was an intentional act and they have finally confirmed that
based on their examination of the current evidence, that this was some sort
of intentional act by the pilot, pilots or possibly someone else.

KORNACKI: Yeah, because I guess that`s the question. How -- to pull off a
maneuver like this. I mean how specialized is the training need to be? Is
this something that plausibly, you know, a passenger could have learned on
his or her own and gotten control of the cockpit or would it really
realistically have to have been the pilots?

FEITH: Based on all of the things that transpired, the shutting down of
the transponders, the shutting down of the data portion of the ACARS unit.
The fact that this airplane is traveling over a large distance. You can`t
learn a lot of this stuff on a flight simulator that you have on your home
computer. It had to be somebody that had a very good fundamental intimate
knowledge of the 777, its systems and how to operate that airplane.

KORNACKI: And we`re also getting the reports now that the search in the
South China Sea has been called off and now there`s sort of this - there`s
a large area, and there`s two sort of parts of that large area where the
search is focused. And one is northerly, and you`re talking - it`s sort of
goes from, you know, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, you know, sort of Northern
Thailand. And then there`s this southern part that just sort of goes
indefinitely south in the Indian Ocean. Do you have a sense, which of
those is more likely? Is there a sense if one area is more likely than the
other for where this plane headed off to?

FEITH: This is where logic comes into play. It`s evident that whoever was
flying this aircraft didn`t want to be detected. That`s why they turned
off the transponders, that`s why they turned off the ACARS system and
basically tried to go as stealth as possible for a commercial airliner. In
these two tracks, if you were to take the northerly track, it takes you
back into a radar environment if you fly long enough because India`s radar
environment is out there, both military and civilian. So why would you
want to go that way if you`re trying to avoid it? The best track would be
to the south because you`re now going over Open Ocean. There is no radar
coverage down there. It`s a vast expanse all the way to Antarctica. And
if you want an airplane to disappear, that would be the place to go. And I
would believe that they`re going to have a lot of assets moving into that
area and I would be surprised if they really didn`t get Australia involved
to assist since I got a feeling based on four, five, six hours of flight
time the airplane wouldn`t be down in that area.

KORNACKI: All right, I`ve got a couple of more questions for you, Greg.
We`ve got to get a break in here real quickly. But we`ll have much more on
the disappearance of Flight 370 and we`ll also talk to a former airline
pilot about some of the theories that are surrounding just what could have
happened. I will continue this conversation next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s only one thing we know for sure about Flight
370`s disappearance, and that is we don`t know much about Flight 370`s
disappearance. And the vacuum of facts has spawned a litany of theories.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Possibility that it was diverted to a secret
location.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An electrical failure of some kind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has got to be a hijacking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is informed conjecture. In an online chat room
for pilots, some suspect a sudden loss of cabin pressure and the
considerably less informed, there are more than a few tweets blaming
aliens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Aliens are definitely low on my list of likely outcomes here.
That`s from NBC`s "Today" show yesterday. A public speculation about what
happened to Flight 370 is definitely growing. Joining me now is Retired
U.S. Airways Captain John Cox who now runs an aviation safety consulting
company, safety operating systems. And we still have with us Greg Feith
who is a former NTSB investigator. And Greg, I just wanted to pick up
where we left off in the last segment. So you were talking about just
logic dictating that the plane was likely to head in that southerly
direction. So, away from land, and into an area where there is no radar
coverage. I guess that raises the question everybody has been trying to
figure out all week. Is there anywhere this plane could have landed? If
it went southernly like that? I mean is there anything down there, any
place where it could have landed that we know of?

FEITH: The only place, Steve, is the water. I mean the airplane would
have been able to make probably landfall to Australia, but that`s going to
really be the criminal part of this investigation. Now that they`ve
declared it an intentional act is try and determine what the intent of the
flight was. There`s been a lot of speculation that they were going to try
and land this airplane and use it for some other malicious purpose. They
were going to, you know, land it, refuel it, put some bad stuff on it. I
mean that makes for a great movie, but it has no factual basis. When we
did the Silk Air investigation in Indonesia, the captain who took over that
aircraft incapacitated his first officer and then crashed the airplane. He
had an intended purpose. Unfortunately it was because of personal issues
and he sacrificed himself and 104 passengers with him. So, they`re really
going to have to dissect what they - what they can of the information
available, to try and find what the possible intent of this, quote,
hijacking is by probably one of the crew members.

KORNACKI: Yeah, I think that`s just an important point to keep in mind
here. We start saying that the evidence points towards sabotage. Sabotage
is not necessarily equal to terrorism. It could certainly just mean a
captain, a crew member, you know, somebody who had had personal issues and
decided to take the whole plane down. But Captain Cox, I want to bring you
in here, because Keir Simmons reporting from Kuala Lumpur said to me an
interesting earlier in the show. That - he was saying there is an
opportunity in the first hour of the flight where theoretically a passenger
could make his or her way into the cockpit. I think it`s when they`re
serving meals to the captains or whatever. This was news to me. I thought
in post 9/11, you know, flying, this thing was just completely sealed off
and there was no possible way for anybody to get in here. It sounds like
there is a potential way, though, if somebody wanted to?

JOHN COX, RETIRED U.S. AIRWAYS PILOT: It`s possible. The door is open
from time to time for the cabin service staff to provide drinks or for the
pilots to get up and use the lavatory. So the door is opened occasionally.
It`s a carefully controlled process and procedure, but yeah, there are
possibilities here that it could be a passenger.

KORNACKI: And we have these reports about it might have changed direction
multiple times. We know about the sort of sudden and dramatic, you know,
change in coarse. We have other reports that it may have changed direction
multiple times in possible kind of dramatic fluctuations in altitude. Just
as a captain, I wonder, when you see reports like that, what goes through
your mind?

COX: Well, there`s actually a couple of different possibilities here. If
the airplane, and I`ve used this term very, very loosely -- was wandering,
meaning it was not flying a specific track, that could indicate that the
auto pilot is off, that it`s in an in-trim condition but the crew is
incapacitated. And I really want to caution everybody. Even in light of
the Malaysian prime minister`s statements that it was a deliberate act,
let`s be absolutely sure we`re factually based because we`ve seen so much
during the course of this investigation unfold and turn one way and then
another. If this airplane was flying without an auto pilot on and was
somewhat like the Payne Stewart airplane until fuel exhaustion, that says
crew incapacitation. If it`s flying a specific track, if it`s doing
deliberate things, if it`s maintaining an altitude as it burns off probably
50 plus thousand pounds of fuel, that`s a commanded act and that`s
something entirely different. But I`m not sure we have a factual base yet
to determine which of these we have. What we do have finally is pretty
continuous information that that continuity says that it`s more likely
valid. So bit by bit we`re getting good valid information, but I want to
be very careful to make sure that we don`t step beyond what we really know
based on facts.

KORNACKI: Yeah, now, that`s - it`s important, obviously to be cautious.
But I wanted, Greg, to get you sort of respond to that a little bit.
Because you seemed pretty certain earlier that the deliberate act idea
works here and that, for instance, this idea of incapacitation like in the
Payne Stewart flight from 1999 doesn`t apply here. Just take us through
specifically on why you are so confident in that, you know, particular
outcome.

FEITH: Based on the information I know and folks that I`ve talked to, the
type of turn, the amount of turns that were taking place wouldn`t be from
an airplane that would be necessarily wandering. And then based on the
ping track that they have on the satellite arc, it was flying a pretty
continuous straight line, if you will. Now the fidelity of that data
hasn`t been established yet because it`s still a long range view, if you
will. But the fact is that when you look at the circumstances right now,
at least a portion of the initial deviation from the track to Beijing was
human induced, it had to have been manually input and that that airplane
was under the control of someone to maintain the altitude that it stayed at
relatively based on the current information throughout the flight.

KORNACKI: All right. What a strange and bizarre mystery. And, of course,
there`s, you know, 239 families who have now been waiting for a week to
find out, just to get some kind of answer about what happened to their
loved ones. Anyway, my thanks to retired airline pilot John Cox and former
NTSB investigator Greg Feith. A big birthday this week, switching gears,
for a worldwide institution. Can you guess what it is? It`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: You may have heard the news. This was a big birthday week for
the Internet which turned 25, the big two, five on Wednesday or maybe it
didn`t, as NBC News pointed out, the origins of the Internet can actually
be traced all the way back to 1969 when the Defense Department created
something called ARPANET, which was "a network of mainframe computers at
major universities. So what did turn 25 this week, though, is the thing
that democratized the Internet, that turned it into something that you and
me and billions of other people now take for granted as part of our daily
lives. The World Wide Web, that`s what was created by Tim Berners-Lee, a
March 12, 1989, 25 years ago. This is the Internet as we know it. Type in
an address and you`ll zip over to a site containing whatever information or
pictures or videos or whatever it is you`re looking for. Then 25 years ago
this week, and while the Web and big time American politics now go hand in
hand, we thought we would take a look back to the early days when
politicians and their campaigns were still trying to figure out just what
to do with this new tool.

So, like 1996, this was the first year that presidential campaigns had
their own Web sites. And look at this. The old Dole/Kemp `96 site is
still up and running. You can read all about Bob Dole`s plan for student
loans. You can follow him on the campaign trail. You can even still find
Elizabeth Dole`s pecan roll cookie recipe. And while the original site
still isn`t floating around, thanks to the Web archive site,
livingroomcandidate.org, you can also see what Bill Clinton and Al Gore`s
1996 Website looked like too. `96 was also the first time a presidential
candidate gave out his Web address during a debate, or at least tried to
give it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB DOLE: This is important business. This election is important. I ask
you for your support. I ask for your help. If you`re going to want to get
involved, just tap in to my home page www.dole comp96org. Thank you. God
bless America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: In 2000 during the Bush core race, the Internet became part of a
punch line you`ve probably heard once or twice or a million times by now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH: Look, this is a man, he`s got great numbers, he talks
about numbers. I`m beginning to think not only did he invent the Internet,
but he invented the calculator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now that was never really a fair attack. But somewhere in
America right now there is probably a Republican who is still telling an Al
Gore invented the Internet joke. Moving forward, in 2004, which showcased
the power of the Internet to mobilize the masses. That`s when Howard Dean
supporters used the site meet up to build the formidable grassroots army
that for a very brief moment transformed him into the favorite to win the
Democratic nomination for president. And then there was this, from Barack
Obama`s first press conference as president in 2009.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Sam Stein,
"Huffington Post, where`s Sam?

SAM STEIN: Thank you, Mr. President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And that was a bit of history right there. That was the first
time ever that a president had called on the reporter from a Web only news
outlet during a press conference. 25 years after the birth of the Web, 25
years later, 25 years after that birth the sitting president became the
first to appear on a Web only comedy show. Maybe we should have seen the
attacks coming, but not everyone was laughing this week. We`ll have more
on why next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: If you watched President Obama sit between two potted plants
this week to field questions from Zach Galifianakis, you were among
millions of Americans who did the same thing, a vast list that apparently
included the president`s own daughter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: When I was at the dinner table with the girls .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

OBAMA: And I said, well, you know, today I did something with Zach, it`s
called two ferns, I think, Malia was so excited. She had seen all of the
previous episodes. So I figured that it was going to reach our target
audience which was a lot of young people and it turns out that we`ve now
had I think close to 15 million hits.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, we saw it. It was quite a surge after you did
that.

OBAMA: And the amazing thing is afterwards, what happened was people
actually did link to healthcare.gov and people actually signed up for
health insurance. So, it ended up working. But I think I`ve got to keep
my day job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: This is not the first time a sitting president has turned to the
emerging medium of his age to connect with the country. You can never
forget when the ever dower Richard Nixon tried to change his image by
popping up on "Laugh In".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD NIXON: Sock it to me.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: I don`t think that was supposed to be a question. But he read
it that way. Then there was the choose or lose MTV News forum when the 20
something infamously asked President Bill Clinton if he preferred boxers or
briefs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, the world is dying to know, is it
boxers or briefs?

(LAUGHTER)

BILL CLINTON: Usually briefs.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: I can`t believe she did that.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: I can`t believe he answered it. He probably could have ducked
that question. We already know Barack Obama was able to gain some credit
with his 15-year old daughter by subjecting himself to the deliberately
awkward grilling of Zach Galifianakis. But what he really wanted to do was
to get the word out that the 2014 enrollment deadline for the Affordable
Care Act is now only days away, March 31. And if even a fraction of the 15
million people that the president estimates watched him with Zach
Galifianakis this week or encouraged to sign up as a result of seeing him
go viral this week, then you can probably call it a success. That is not
how everyone is measuring this appearance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would be nice if Obama respected the office. When
he does things like this it diminishes not just him, but the office itself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s pretty tragic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much dignity of the office might be lost.

BRIT HUME: What other president can you picture doing something like this?

BILL O`REILLY: All I can tell you, is Abe Lincoln would not have done it.
There comes a point when serious times call for serious action.

KORNACKI: That was this week. It`s not the first time we`ve heard this
kind of things recently. Two weeks ago when the president spent part of
his weekend on a 90-minute phone call with Vladimir Putin over the crisis
in Crimea, he was criticized not for the conversation itself, but for
conducting it in a denim shirt. And there have been plenty of other
instances of Obama being criticized for dressing more casually than his
predecessor who said he never stepped into the Oval Office without wearing
a coat and tie. And that may have had something to do with how as a
candidate for the White House in 2000, this was just after the Monica
Lewinsky scandal, George W. Bush made the dignity of the office of the
president an explicit campaign issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Honor and dignity in the White House is an issue in this campaign.

The objective has got to bring some common sense and integrity into
Washington, D.C.

I will also swear to uphold the honor and the dignity of the office, to
which I`ve been elected so help me God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, back in my reporting days on Capitol Hill, I learned the
hard way that the entire town places a lot of emphasis on wardrobe, even
folks who aren`t conservative in politics are conservative when it comes to
clothing. One time what I thought was supposed to be a casual sit-down
with Steny Hoyer, he`s one of the Democratic leaders in the House, but when
it was over and I was back at my desk, one of my colleagues told me
politely, but firmly, that I was expected to wear a jacket and tie around
any member of Congress. That the khakis and buttoned down shirt I was
wearing was a sign of disrespect. (INAUDIBLE) the speaker`s lobby recently
told "The New York Times", no tie can`t come in, no jacket can`t come in.
Ladies can`t come in with no sleeve blouses. No jeans. The same "New York
Times" article pointed out that Obama usually wears a suit and tie when
he`s in the Oval Office. It`s only at night and on the weekend that his
dress code relaxes. Pete Souza, the current White House photographer
resorted to the Twitter verse this week to remind his follows of his own
photos of Ronald Reagan working in the Oval Office wearing his own
preferred attire of cowboy casual.

There are those in Washington who obsess over the dignity of the office to
the point that as Jonathan wrote in "New York Magazine" this week, it
becomes fetishized. So, what are these signatures of a dignified
presidency? Is it denoted by the style of the man or the substance of the
policies he influence? Some may say that clothes make the man. But what
suits a president to signify that he is worthy of the office or even in the
near future, that she is worthy of the office?

Here to talk about all of this, Susan Page of "The Washington Post," -
excuse me, she is the Washington Bureau Chief of "The USA Today." I`m
sorry about that. Alex Seitz-Wald, reporter with "National Journal, Isaac
Chotiner, he`s a senior editor with "The New Republic" and Lizz Winstead,
she is the co-creator of "The Daily Show and author of the book, "Lives
free or Die." So, yeah, the dignity of the office of the president. I
mean on one level you can see that it`s sort of conservatives attacking
Obama and maybe they just saw an opening here so they decided to use it.
But this is something that`s been talked about, you know, before the Obama
presidency. It`s just something - it`s hard to define. How would you,
excuse me, define what does that mean, the dignity of the office of the
presidency. What do you have to do to sort of uphold that?

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: You know, I think Americans do expect their
presidents to treat the office itself with a certain amount of dignity.
But I do think the most demeaning thing that could happen to a president is
to have his signature legislative initiative fail. And what President
Obama, I think made the calculation that while he - I`m sure they knew they
would get some criticism for doing it, between - that it was going to be
helpful. And trying to get these critical young people to sign up for
healthcare.gov. And so they decided. And little known fact, Abraham
Lincoln tried to do "Between Two Ferns"

(LAUGHTER)

PAGE: And was rejected for reasons .

KORNACKI: Yeah, I can`t believe they would have rejected him. That would
have been a great interview. Well, so, was there anything, you know, that
was - you know, Zach Galifianakis was being sort of very absurd in the
interview. It`s a Web only series. Is there something to the idea that
that`s beneath the president to do that?

ISAAC CHOTINER, THE NEW REPUBLIC: No. But you know, it is a sort of
bipartisan thing to get upset about this. Mike McCurry who was the press
secretary for President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal came out
and he said that this hurts the dignity of the office. This is the guy who
spends six months answering questions about blue dresses and cigars and .

KORNACKI: Right.

CHOTINER: You know, so it`s definitely a bipartisan thing. But look, I
think Obama decided Republicans have been saying young people aren`t
signing up for health care, and so he did something to get young people to
sign up for health care and then he gets criticized for it.

LIZZ WINSTEAD, AUTHOR AND COMEDIAN: We live in 2014, is dignity some set
in stone rule? I mean I think it`s really embarrassing to be holding to
certain standards. First of all, I think that people who have been
unemployed for two years really would like a job. I think that undignified
hearings on the Hill by Darrell Issa that go nowhere and spend the
taxpayers` dollars, he`s wearing a tie. I think that people look at
dignity as - I actually want my leaders to - I don`t care what they`re
wearing, as long as we get our economy going and as long as this health
care thing gets fixed.

KORNACKI: Yeah, what about the attacks then, Alex? Do you think that
conservatives making these attacks, do you think they have gained any
traction, the picture of Obama in the jeans or just you know going on this
Web series. Do you think that gained any traction outside of the
conservative base, which is sort of looking to get exercised in the first
place?

ALEX SEITZ-WALD, NATIONAL JOURNAL: I mean I think the Target is probably
the conservative base. And it`s sort of the opportunistic here. And it
fits in their larger narrative of that he`s, you know, weak, he`s not a
serious president. You know, you could even go all of the conspiracy
theories around the president. It`s just sewing a seed of doubt in the
president about whether he really deserves to be in the office. And, you
know, this - is very important, the symbolism of the office is important
when he rolls up in Air Force One that make a statement. But it should
always have a purpose, it should have a point. And, you know, when he`s`
trying to negotiate with foreign leaders, that doesn`t make a point. Here,
he had a point, in, you know, demeaning, if you will, the dignity of the
office. So, I think - you know, to some extent you should look at the cost
benefit of when you do this. And here I think he was correct.

KORNACKI: Well, there is a line, right? So when President Obama or any
American president goes overseas and meets with foreign leaders, you know,
he`s the head of state. And it`s not always the case. You know, and the
monarchy or something, we might be meeting with the prime minister, so he
really is representing not just his own administration, not just his
political party, he really is representing, you know, the United States.
And so, there is, there does have to be a line somewhere there where the
dignity of the house -- I think back to the speech, his health care speech
to Congress in 2009 when Joe Wilson shouted out, you lie. And I think the
objection to that and a lot of Republicans objected to it, too, was that
demeaned the dignity of the office, right? That showed disrespect for an
office that at a certain level should be above that kind of thing.

PAGE: Also not really civil discourse on a big issue. If I could just go
back, and some of this is very predictable criticism by Republicans who are
going to be against anything President Obama does. I think that Mike
McCurry`s point was a little different. And Isaac - certainly, there was
no more undignified period in modern American history than when the White
House was dealing with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. But here is one thing
Mike McCurry did during that time. I think because of this very concern
about dignity of the office. He dealt - he got a different person to
answer the questions about the affair, Landy Davis. He tried to have it
separated from the business of the regular White House briefing. It didn`t
entirely succeed, but I think that he did see this even at that point as
something that you wanted to preserve the sense that there was -- besides
whoever this particular president is, there is a presidency that is worth
preserving. Now, I think this - (INAUDIBLE) is kind of silly, but I do
think there is something about the dignity that you need to pay some
attention to.

KORNACKI: But that`s the point in the way, which is that Mike McCurry, you
know, was there during the Clinton administration, there was this
embarrassing scandal and yet we survived. We then had two more presidents,
and they are treated with dignity, and the office is still treated with
respect. Despite this what happened with President Clinton and .

KORNACKI: Well, right.

WINSTEAD: And President Clinton, you know, had an affair with an intern.
This is I wore a denim shirt in the Oval Office.

(LAUGHTER)

WINSTEAD: Oh, I decided to actually do some research and try to connect
with young people.

KORNACKI: Right.

WINSTEAD: When your party has to do an autopsy on its dead carcass to
figure out how to deal with women and minorities and now, apparently, young
people? Like, I`m sorry, the parallel is so completely different and false
and the narrative is false. And you know that the base they`re trying to
reach on Twitter are sitting in (INAUDIBLE) in their basements tweeting
wildly. And they never wanted to try .

KORNACKI: Well, listen, let`s look at this - this is actually something
obviously that goes back well before the Bush years, the Obama years.
We`ll look at some other examples of presidents who have been accused of
not respecting the dignity of the office and what they were able to sort of
accomplish in that. We`ll talk about it when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: So let`s go back about 90 years and show you another moment in
presidential dignity. This was Calvin Coolidge in 1927. He was being
named an honorary chief of a tribe in South Dakota. You can see him there
on the left. His advisers had warned him not to wear the head dress. They
told him you might look silly. He said it`s good for people to laugh. And
he put it on any way and that picture, Calvin Coolidge and sense of humor
is something that has not been recorded much for history. He doesn`t seem
to be laughing there anyway. But anyway, that is an example going back 90
years when people were wondering .

WINSTEAD: Not to mention, I don`t think that tribe wanted him to be
laughing. Like so, I think, like the bigger thing is that he thought it
was funny and they thought they were honoring him from their tribe.

SEITZ-WALD: I think it speaks to an inherent tension in the American
presidency that goes back 90 years, and not so funny. On one hand we want
our presidents to be a normal average human, a citizen, we want to have a
beer with them. It`s big criticism of John Kerry. On the other hand we
want them to be almost a monarch with all the trappings of the presidency.
And there`s a deep tension there and it`s something that is not easily
resolved.

PAGE: Well, it also goes to the dangers of putting things on your head.

(LAUGHTER)

PAGE: Like the helmets, don`t do that, Indian headdress, probably not.
The first president I covered was Ronald Reagan and he would never - people
constantly gave him hats, cowboy hats, he would never actually put them on
his head, he would hold them in front of him, they could take a picture and
then he would hand it off to an aide.

KORNACKI: That is like an actor. He always thought like an actor. Always
was thinking of how he would look to the audience. What you`re saying,
Alex, is true. It`s like there`s been this -- I think in the last
generation particularly with the explosion in cable television, now the
Internet, there is that side of the American public that wants the office
of presidency to be this sort of elevated thing, but you also want to get
to know the president as a person. It`s sort of a turning point, I
remember, being in 1992 campaign and that`s when Bill Clinton went on the
Arsenio Hall Show, he played the saxophone. I remember, President Bush at
the time, when Bill Clinton was running against, said that those are like
"Late Night Comedy" shows were beneath the dignity of the office and he
would not be appearing on them. And then Arsenio kind of - kind of ripped
George Bush, but now we are in an era when, you know, George Bush himself,
George W. Bush in his post presidency goes on, I`ve seen him on "Jay Leno."
Bill Clinton, Barack Obama was the first to go on a "Late Night Comedy"
show as president. So, there`s this part of us that just - we want to see
them as human beings. We want to know they can laugh, right?

WINSTEAD: Yeah, and I think that laughter, is it`s - we forget that if
somebody makes you laugh it`s an involuntary happy reaction, and so you
can`t help but like that person even for a second. You feel like you just
brought me joy, if I hated you before, I hate you maybe a little less. But
it is an opening. And if you can get someone to find you humorous, to make
you feel good, it helps you getting your message, then following it. And
it`s - don`t underestimate the power of humor.

PAGE: And the power of sorrow too, I mean in a different way. And I think
about in 2008 at the New Hampshire primary right before the vote when
Hillary Clinton kind of famously choked up. And I was on a cable TV show
that week and I said this is a terrible mistake, women are not allowed to
cry. And I was so wrong. It did her so much good, because people saw her
as a vulnerable human being.

WINSTEAD: Yes.

PAGE: And one of the questions now, I think, increasingly, Alex, to your
point - increasingly we expect to see a little bit of the vulnerability of
the inside of the candidates.

KORNACKI: There was also, I`m remembering in the first year of his vice
presidency, Al Gore always had the reputation of being wooden and stiff,
and, you know, sort of the robotic vice president. And he went on the
Letterman show in 1993 and he did this -- he was talking about wasted
inefficiency in government. He did this whole demonstration. This is how
the 200-page government manual would tell you like how to, you know,
properly dispose of garbage. Or something like that. He got laughs. And
it was sort of like - for the first moment, people discovered, you know, Al
Gore is actually a human being.

WINSTEAD: Well, he had the greatest joke on Letterman where he said I pick
Joe Lieberman who`s going to work for you 24/6.

(LAUGHTER)

WINSTEAD: It was the greatest - It was my favorite joke of that -- I will
never forget how hard I laughed at that.

KORNACKI: Yeah, I know, it`s .

CHOTINER: No, no, I just to go back to the hypocrisy angle, though, with
the Washington establishment, is every four years, I think every four
years, this is Al Smith dinner where all the candidates - Romney, Kerry,
Gore, Bush, Obama, do that - and they make jokes and they are dressed in
tuxes and so on. And these jokes, some of them are inappropriate. But
this is sort of seen as being part of the way a presidential candidates
operate. And so, it`s sort of accepted. But when Obama does something,
going on Zach Galifianakis, which is in some way - is some of the same type
of humor, it`s seen as beneath the dignity of the office. It`s a weird
double standard.

KORNACKI: Yeah, they are all wearing tuxedos at the Al Smith dinner, maybe
that`s why - anyway, the dress code of the Washington - it`s just not
applied in the opposite (ph) , by the way. That should go with that.
Anyway, we will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: I want to thank Susan Page, Alex Seitz-Wald and Isaac Chotiner,
but we will see all three of you return in the next hour for the big Up
Against the Clock tournament. A spot in the championship game is on the
line. And Lizz Winstead, we want to say thanks for coming in this morning,
but coming up next, a Republican civil war in the first in the nation
caucus date comes to a head. The establishment versus the forces of Rand
Paul. We`ll tell you who won and what it could mean after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: If you follow American politics you know how things are supposed
to start every four years. Candidate "X" is trekking off to Iowa to speak
to the League of Women Voters. Candidate "Y" is getting photographed
eating a pork chop on a stick at the Iowa State Fair. Somebody who`s
definitely not running but wants everyone to think he is has landed in Des
Moines. In the early days, it is all about Iowa. It`s familiar. It`s
what we`re used to, and it`s what many other states would like to change.

This week that state was Utah. A bill before the Utah state legislature
would have attempted to move their primary ahead of Iowa`s first-in-the-
nation caucuses. even though the Republican National Committee has carved
out special exceptions for the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South
Carolina and Nevada, some Utah lawmakers were willing to see their
delegation to the 2016 Republican National Convention slashed as punishment
from 40 delegates to only nine. That bill sailed through the Utah house on
Monday but failed to receive a vote in the state senate before the session
expired at midnight Friday.

So pictures of candidates with the butter cow at the Iowa State Fair are
still safe, at least for the moment, and Iowa has retained its prominence
at the front of the calendar. But what about its relevance?

Iowa state Republicans are now taking some dramatic steps to alter the
impression of their party.

Take a moment and go back in time here to 2012, when Republicans from
around the country gathered inside a marina in Tampa to crown Mitt Romney
as their presidential nominee. And crown is the operative word here.
Because political party conventions have really become nothing more than
made-for-television coronations. They get out the streamers and the
banners, the big poles with the state`s names on them, and the fun hats,
all of the trappings of the good ole days when conventions really mattered
and when it took 46 ballots and a backroom deal in a smoke-filled room for
the party to pick its candidate.

These days it`s all pretty much an excuse for the party to steal a few
hours of primetime television and to convey its message without a filter to
millions of Americans. Conventions are staged, scripted events these days.
But at that 2012 convention in Tampa, not everyone was reading from the
same script.

(BEGIN VIDEO

DREW IVERS (R), IOWA REPRESENTATIVE TO 2012 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION:
The first-of-the-nation caucus state that serves our political process by
rewarding hardworking liberty-loving candidates with delegates to this
magnificent convention. Iowa casts 22 votes for Ron Paul. And 6 votes for
Mitt Romney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, this didn`t happen because Ron Paul won Iowa`s caucuses.
He finished third place on caucus night in 2012, a strong third place, but
third place nonetheless. But while those are the Iowa caucuses that we all
remember from 2012, they were actually just the start of a convoluted
months-long process through which Republicans in the state would select
their delegation to Tampa.

Basically, there were more caucuses after the original caucuses and even
more caucuses after those. Even though Romney wrapped up the nomination in
those ensuing months, and even though Ron Paul never won a single primary
or caucus, his supporters mobilized through the entire delegate selection
process in Iowa. And since no one else in the party was doing the same
thing, they won.

It was also during that time the state party chairman stepped down and that
the Paul wing elected one of their own, a man named A.J. Spiker, to succeed
him.

And when June of 2012 rolled around, Ron Paul supporters cleaned up at
state and district nominating conventions. Those were the conventions that
picked most of the delegates to Tampa. And so it was that the Ron Paul
wing got to go to Tampa, that it got to crash Mitt Romney`s party. It got
to declare their state a Ron Paul state at what was supposed to be a made-
for-TV coronation for Mitt Romney.

And more importantly, it was the Ron Paul wing that, because of all of
this, won control of the state Republican Party, the official party
organization in the crucial first-in-the-nation caucus state.

Now, all of this set the stage for a battle that has played out over the
last two years, the two years since all of this: a battle between the
traditional party establishment that hated losing control, that feared the
importance of their cherished caucuses might be undermined with the Paul
crowd in control. It was a battle between that establishment and the Paul
crowd, the Liberty Movement, as they call themselves, who had seized power
and didn`t want to give it up. It is a battle that finally came to a head
just this past week.

This is Terry Branstad. He`s an institution in Iowa Republican politics
and Iowa politics in general. He`s now in his fifth term as governor, and
he`s running for a sixth term this fall.

Branstad, he has spent much of the last two years at odds with Spiker.
Again, Spiker is the state chairman who was elected by the Paul crowd in
2012.

One example of this tension, take the Ames Straw Poll. That`s the
quadrennial cattle call for all of the major GOP candidates. The state
Republican Party sponsors it, and while it does help raise money for them -
- after all they charge $30 for a vote -- some of the campaigns pay a lot
of money just to bring voters in and pay for their ballots -- it has become
a bit of an embarrassment for mainstream Republicans in the state,
Republicans who don`t want Michele Bachmann to be the face of their party,
who fear the straw-poll tradition is costing their state party its prestige
and that potentially, it is costing their state some of its clout in the
Republican nominating process.

This just after the 2012 election that Branstad flat out called for an end
to the ritual of the Ames Straw Poll. He said, "I think the straw poll has
outlived his usefulness. It has been a great fundraiser for the party, but
I think its days are over." He expanded on those comments this past
August.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD (R), IOWA: Anybody who wants to can have a straw poll,
and I think that`s fine. I don`t have any problem with that at all. My
interest is protecting the Iowa precinct caucuses. That`s the first real
test of voters.

We also know that straw polls are not very scientific and whoever wins a
particular straw poll is not a very good indicator of who is likely to win
the caucuses.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: But that is not what the chairman of Iowa`s Republican Party,
the chairman of Governor Branstad`s party, wanted to hear. When Branstad
said that, A.J. Spiker fired back that it would be, quote, "detrimental for
any campaign to skip the opportunity presented in Ames, and I disagree with
Governor Branstad about ending our Iowa straw poll."

That kind of open disagreement between the top elected official and the top
party official has been the story of Iowa Republican politics for the last
two years. The establishment Republicans versus the liberty Republicans.
The statewide officials who competed in and won general elections versus
grassroots activists who won their positions by organizing and showing up
for small caucuses and conventions that the establishment wing skipped.
Republicans who are intent on moderating the party`s image versus
Republicans who want the party to embrace the anti-government
libertarianism embodied by Ron Paul and also by Rand Paul.

Now, this was a potential problem for Iowa Republicans because with Rand
Paul gearing up to run in 2016 and with his supporters controlling the Iowa
Republican Party, the question was whether it would dilute the importance
of the contest. Would it dilute the level of interest in it from the
national press and from other candidates? Would it give them an easy
excuse to skip Iowa or for candidates to downplay a poor showing?

And that brings us to what just happened in Iowa and really what`s been
happening over the last two years, as Branstad and the state`s
establishment Republicans fully absorbed how and why they lost control of
their party and set out to win it back, by out-organizing and out-
mobilizing the liberty wing. And it seems to have worked.

County conventions were held across the state last Saturday, and Branstad`s
forces won big. Now talk to the establishment crowd, and they`ll tell you
that Spiker and the liberty Republicans were simply incompetent. They
didn`t have the experience or the know-how to run a state party
organization. And that even by the end, Republican activists who were
sympathetic to their views were ready to turn the reigns over to the
Branstad crowd. That this wasn`t quite the establishment versus the true
believers battle that those of us looking in from the outside saw.

Talk to the liberty crowd, though, and they`ll paint a much rosier picture
of Spiker`s -- of chairmanship: money in the bank, voter registration
numbers. That`s the sort of thing they`ll talk about.

But if there`s a consensus, it seems to be that Branstad`s success last
Saturday meant that Spiker`s days as chairman were numbered. Which may
explain why news broke almost as soon as the results were in that Spiker
would be stepping down at the end of the month, and then also he announced
that he was signing on with Rand Paul`s political action committee.

Now it`s still unclear who the next state chairman will be in Iowa, but it
seems clear that Branstad and the establishment are now back in charge.
And that means a few things. Most immediately, it should end the Ames
Straw Poll as we`ve known it. Political junkies will have to find
something else to go crazy over in the summer of August -- in August of
2015.

And there trthehere are still some kinks that the Republicans are going to
have to work out to keep their presidential caucuses intact, like the fact
that on the night of the 2012 caucus, the party declared Mitt Romney to be
the winner, only to reverse itself weeks later and give the victory to Rick
Santorum. That caused an uproar that led to state GOP chairman resigning,
which in turn created the opening for A.J. Spiker and the liberty
Republicans to take over.

Now Iowa -- Iowa and its politics have changed dramatically over the years.
Thirty-four years ago George H.W. Bush ran for president as a supporter of
abortion rights and the Equal Rights Amendment, and he won the Republican
caucuses over Ronald Reagan.

Then the state became fertile ground for the religious right, which was
what lifted televangelist Pat Robertson to a shocking second-place finish
in 1988. And evangelical Christians are now a huge part of Iowa`s
Republican universe. After all, it was Mike Huckabee who was the winner
there in 2008.

And the more recent story is the rise of Ron-and-Rand-Paul-style
libertarianism. And in some cases, that libertarianism`s fusion with
evangelical conservatism. David Yepsen, who covered Iowa politics for
decades, wrote this week that, quote, "Iowa is first, because candidates
believe they get a fair shake on a level playing field. There are no
machines. Organizing is not that expensive."

But as the Iowa GOP emerges from a two-year civil war, the question of how
important it will be in 2016 looms large. Even with Spiker and the liberty
crowd losing control of the state party, is the Iowa Republican electorate
just too far out there, so far out there that the caucuses will soon go the
way of the Ames Straw Poll? Or is the rise of the liberty Republicans,
even with their setback last week, a harbinger of where the national
Republican Party is right now and where it wants to go in 2016?

Joining us to discuss this we have Anthony Terrell, who was NBC`s embed
with Ron Paul 2012 presidential campaign and all-around expert on all
things Ron and Rand Paul and a producer now at MSNBC.

Anthony, thanks for joining us. And you have done some reporting just in
the last few days about what exactly went down in Iowa in the last week.
Can you just take us through what you know?

ANTHONY TERRELL, MSNBC PRODUCER: Sure. So it`s my understanding that Doug
Stafford -- he`s Senator Rand Paul`s former chief of staff; he`s now
running the Rand Paul super PAC -- got in touch with A.J. Spiker seven to
10 days before what we saw on Saturday, before the Branstad won a lot in
the conventions. And he decided -- A.J. Spiker decided to talk it over
with his family and take this position.

Branstad`s supporters, folks in Iowa who I spoke with, say that A.J. saw
the writing on the wall. He knew that the Branstad folks were making a big
push at ousting some of the liberty Republicans who you just discussed.
And if it wasn`t for the incompetences, what the Branstad reporters are
saying, the grassroots was fed up with the amount of money not being
raised, donors not receiving phone calls in two years.

Supporters of A.J. Spiker told me that -- that this was a way of them
protesting the liberty movement taking over. They could have forgiven the
way they manipulated the rules, stuck around and gotten themselves elected
into -- into leadership positions, had they been able to raise money.

And something else that`s come up is that the state party wasn`t defending
against charges against Branstad, so Democrats are attacking Governor
Branstad, and the Republican Party has been silent is what they told me.

KORNACKI: So how much of a sea change is this now, with Spiker stepping
aside and with Branstad apparently having control over it? How much of a
sea change is this for the Iowa Republican Party in terms of what that
means for 2016? What`s the significance?

TERRELL: Right. So the folks who are going to be elected to the -- at the
conventions will be the ones ultimately in charge in 2016. What I was
hearing was it would look -- it would appear rigged if the liberty folks
would have stuck around and if they would have won for Rand Paul if he
decides to run for president. It would appear rigged, and the candidates
would have skipped Iowa, which would hurt Iowa.

And so with A.J. Spiker moving on, the liberty folks either not running or
getting beat, this opens up Iowa for 2015 and 2016 for candidates to come
into the state, to see that Branstad`s forces are running the state, and
it`s competent. They`re raising money. They`re able to defend -- what
they`re looking at now is the Senate race that`s open with Tom Harkin
retiring. They`re be able to more focus on down-ballot tickets, since
Branstad is clearly going to win the primary. And so it allows the party
to focus down-ballot without the liberty folks not on the same page with
Branstad folks.

KORNACKI: And this is something that`s always struck me when I look at New
Hampshire and Iowa. And they both have that sort of -- that vaunted
status, the first-in-the-nation status, the primary in New Hampshire, the
caucuses in Iowa. New Hampshire is sort of perpetually under threat. And
it seems like whoever is the governor of the state, it sort of falls on
that person to, you know, really protect the primary, protect this caucus.

It matters so much to the political class in this state that they get this
kind of attention every four years, the national spotlight, the access that
comes with that. And it sounds like Terry Branstad really sort of took it
on himself to say, "I want to make sure that Iowa continues to have this
preeminent role in the process."

TERRELL: I asked a source close to A.J. Spiker about that, about the
threat of Iowa not being the first in the nation, and they seem to believe
that they have the support of Reince Priebus and the RNC. That in the
rules, that Iowa is not going to be threatened.

What they were worried about, the Branstad forces, what they were worried
about was folks not showing up. So they will be first in the nation but
folks won`t show up and won`t bring the money. And with A.J. Spiker being
gone, the Branstad folks showing up and running the party coming up in
June, June 14, with the state convention, that gives other forces a chance
to come into Iowa.

Now, someone I spoke to close to A.J. Spiker said, look, if A.J. was
rigging the game for Rand Paul, why didn`t he bring in Ted Cruz to come
speak? Why didn`t he bring in Mike Huckabee? Why is he bringing in Paul
Ryan? So the defenders of the Liberty Movement point to these certain
things and say, look, A.J. didn`t try to rig the state for Rand Paul. He`s
opened it up to other candidates who may potentially take on Rand Paul in
2016.

KORNACKI: Right. It`s interesting. So the Liberty Movement doesn`t
control the levers of power in the Republican Party in Iowa. They are
still a major part of the Republican Party in Iowa. So these caucuses go
on. They will still be a force to be reckoned with.

Anthony is going to stay with us. And when we come back we are going to
bring in our panel and talk a little bit more about what this all means.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRELL: I`m here at the Iowa State Fair. I am in line to get some fried
butter. It`s 11 a.m. and this going to be my brunch. Mmm. Look at that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ewwww.

TERRELL: That`s a stick of butter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Yes, that was NBC News campaign embed Anthony Terrell, who
survived the 2011 Iowa State Fair, is back at the table to join us. And
joining him is Jennifer Jacobs. She`s the chief politics reporter for "The
Des Moines Register." Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for "USA Today."
And Alex Seitz-Wald, political correspondent for "National Journal."

Anthony, I`m just going to quickly ask you, how many heart attacks did you
have after...?

TERRELL: None. I finished that off with a large Mountain Dew. So that
was my breakfast that morning: a stick of butter and a large Mountain Dew.
I had a lot of energy.

KORNACKI: Wow. If Mike Bloomberg is watching the show this morning, he`s
just -- he`s going crazy.

So Jennifer, we were going through the sort of two-year battle that really
has come to a head in Iowa with, as we`re saying, it looks like these sort
of establishment forces winning.

But the bigger threat here that we`re talking about is the relevance of the
Iowa caucuses. It`s something, obviously, that matters a lot to Terry
Branstad. And we looked at the evolution of the state to the point where
like you could have that straw in 2011, and Michele Bachmann can win it.

Are Republicans concerned out there, even with the success that Branstad`s
forces had, are they concerned that they are not going to be as -- taken as
seriously in 2016 as they have in the past? They won`t be quite as
formidable in picking the nominee?

JENNIFER JACOBS, CHIEF POLITICS REPORTER, "THE DES MOINES REGISTER": I
think that they are beginning to heal these wounds. A party cannot fly in
the face of a governor and not expect to have a backlash. I mean, Terry
Branstad has too much at stake to allow a bunch of renegades to be guarding
the castle.

But it`s not like these people were in constant conflict. There were
moments of cooperation, but there was enough tension and enough, you know,
undercutting that it was an untenable situation.

But the Branstad folks have been able to continue and get what they need
done. There are enough outside groups that they were able to get their
things accomplished without the state party apparatus. The state party can
either be a central player in Iowa politics or it can be a sideline player.
So it`s not like Branstad`s folks going into the 2014 elections would have
been crippled without control of the state party apparatus.

What -- what this changeover means is it`s a very satisfying coup for the
people who wanted it to happen. And it`s also just -- it`s a nice extra
thing that will help the party become stronger. And I do think that things
are healing, wounds are being stitched up; they`re getting stronger.

KORNACKI: I wonder, too, if you could just talk to us, as somebody who`s
watched this, about the evolution of politics in Iowa and Iowan Republican
politics. We talked about it a little bit in the last segment, but I mean,
this is -- when these caucuses first started, it was a pro-choice, pro-
Equal Rights Amendment candidate who beat Ronald Reagan in the Iowa
Republican caucuses.

And I think the stat I saw from 2012, with Rick Santorum winning, was
something like 60 percent of the caucus-goers were self-identified
evangelical Christians. The rise of evangelical Christians as a political
force in Iowa and also the rise of this sort of liberty faction, you know,
the Rand and Ron Paul, just how big a force are they in state Republican
politics right now? And is there -- do you think it`s in line with where
the Republican Party is nationally or is it even a little further out
there?

JACOBS: I do think it`s in line with where the party is at nationally.
Ron Paul took 21 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses. So it -- the
liberty faction is definitely a small part of the GOP.

And then you`ve got just the various other factions. When we talk about
the Branstad alliance, it`s not just the establishment. It`s not just
moderates. It`s a whole coalition of a variety of Tea Partiers, of
evangelicals. It`s a whole coalition of people who just want to get things
done.

So I do think that there is -- there`s a wide number of different factions,
and they`re starting to come together.

KORNACKI: So Susan, I wonder, as a national reporter looking at Iowa and
looking ahead to 2016 and how to cover it, on the Republican side, when you
look at what happened in 2012, when you look at the straw poll itself,
which apparently Branstad wants to get rid of, so that might be gone for
2016; when you look at the fact that it took them two weeks to sort out who
actually won the caucuses and all of the upheaval right now that we just
outlined, I mean, as a reporter, do you look at Iowa a little differently
than maybe you used to? Is there -- is there a risk here for Iowa that the
national media sort of like, you know, reassessing, you know, how important
the state is?

PAGE: Not that it isn`t wonderful to go to Iowa during the winter months,
because it has always a lot of great weather and easy plane connections, so
thank you, Jennifer, for that.

But I think that Iowa was really at risk of losing the stature that it has
worked so hard to gain over -- over a couple decades, because the Iowa
straw poll is just a way for the GOP state organization to extort money
from candidates. And shame on us for covering it, because it was not a
meaningful test of anything except that.

And the Iowa caucuses themself, I mean, to the fact that they were unable
to count the votes that night, they declared the wrong person the winner.
I mean, that was -- that affected the trajectory of the race. What if we
had known that night that Santorum had won? It would have changed thing
for Mitt Romney.

So I think that Governor Branstad is rescuing Iowa to keep its position as
a place that we really pay attention to. I mean, there are lots of things
wrong with starting in Iowa. It`s a rural state. It doesn`t have any big
cities. It`s not diverse. It`s almost entirely white.

On the other hand, the people in Iowa take this really seriously. They
really press candidates on issues in a way they`re pressed nowhere else
except perhaps New Hampshire. So I think a valuable thing to say, but I
think Governor Branstad can argue that he has saved Iowa from itself.

KORNACKI: And Alex, when you look at Iowa, I mean, I guess there`s a
question here of the Democratic versus Republican caucuses. Because what
Susan just saying, no major cities, not that diverse, that`s certainly not
in line with the sort of demographic profile of the Democratic Party, but
it is a little bit more in line with the Republicans.

Do you still see Iowa as a good barometer of sort of where the national
Republicans are?

SEITZ-WALD: Yes, I mean, I think anytime you have a primary process the
way we do, where you`re going to pick any state to go first, it`s going to
be fraught -- there`s going to be problems. No state is perfectly
representative of the country.

And despite the fact that there`s no major city, you know, Barack Obama
still won in 2008, so it is possible. It gives an advantage to candidates
that have less money, which is a big advantage. Because there`s no major
cities, you don`t have huge media markets where you need to spend a ton of
money to get on the air. So if you have an organized ground game, like
Obama did in 2008, you can compete against somebody like Hillary Clinton.
So I think that`s a good thing. It evens out the playing field a little
bit.

There are certainly other states that could play that role. But since Iowa
has that established, you know, cred going back for so long, I think it`s
hard to beat.

KORNACKI: Yes. So we`ll pick this up in a second, and we`ll talk about
the name on the Republican side who kind of hoovers over all of what`s been
happening, the presidential contender, Rand Paul, and what that this all
sort of means for him and his prospects in 2016. We`ll talk about that
when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: So if -- Anthony, if the consensus here is right and the Iowa
caucuses and their relevance on the Republican side has been saved for
2016, I almost think the big winner out of that is Rand Paul...

TERRELL: Right.

KORNACKI: ... even though it`s his people who have lost control of the
state party, because his people are, his voters are still sort of there in
large numbers.

TERRELL: Right.

KORNACKI: There could be -- very plausibly go out there and win it. And
this way, at least, the win probably would not be discounted the way it
would have been.

TERRELL: And the organization is still there for Ron Paul. So Ron Paul,
look, if you look at 2008, he won 11,817 votes.

In 2012, he got 26,000 votes. That`s up 14,000. So those folks, those
people are still there, those Ron Paul voters.

And when I was covering a lot of his -- a lot of his campaigns, they all
had laptops out, and they were taking down names, e-mail address, phone
numbers, and saving that. And you know where that went? The Campaign for
Liberty. That`s Ron Paul`s -- that`s Ron Paul`s super PAC. And so
Campaign for Liberty is where Ron Paul is at and all his -- a lot of his
staffers.

So when Rand Paul goes back to Iowa to run, that organization is still
going to be in Iowa.

That sound bite you played at the beginning of the segment, at 9 a.m., was
Drew Ivers. He`s still in the state, and he`s got the second amount of
voters -- second amount of votes in the convention. So liberty folks are
still in Iowa. The establishment of what he built in 2008, 2012 is still
there.

So for Rand, he needs to build on that 21, 22 percent, and from what an
establishment person in Des Moines told me was, if Rand Paul can`t get over
22, 25 percent, what`s the point of running?

KORNACKI: Right. It seems like this is -- this state and its system is
just made for him.

But so has he -- are there signs, Jennifer, that his sort of brand of
libertarianism, is its influence, is its role in the Republican Party in
Iowa, is it more popular now than it was four years ago? Because one of
the things that`s interested me is, until sort of the rise of Ron Paul, I
always thought of Iowa more recently as sort of the bastion of Christian
conservatives. And there seems to be a fusion of those two things going
on. Is that -- are you...

JACOBS: And Ron Paul was bringing in some of those Democratic and more
moderate voters who wanted hands-off more and they want to be able to
legalize marijuana, though they really were centrist or modest people.

Now the liberty faction in Iowa is its own -- like you said, its fusion of
Tea Party and evangelical. It`s a different -- it`s not libertarianism at
all.

KORNACKI: Right.

JACOBS: It`s a definite separate movement.

KORNACKI: Which is the thing I`m always trying to find (ph), because the
temptation is to look at those vote totals that Anthony had and say any
vote that Ron Paul got in 2008 is a vote that Rand Paul is going to get in
2012.

And I wonder, you know, Rand Paul -- we`ve talked about this on the show
before -- is a little bit more of a politician than Ron Paul. And I wonder
how many of those Ron Paul votes were people who were completely outside of
the political system, were inspired by sort of the purity of his
libertarian message, and the son is too political for them, and they just
sort of stepped back out of politics. Maybe we`re making a mistake in just
saying he -- Rand inherits everything Ron had.

PAGE: Well, I think Rand probably gets a big step up with Ron Paul
supporters. But one of the -- one of the biggest Republican stories of the
year has been the way Rand Paul has expanded his influence, the regard he`s
held in. He`s somebody who`s worked with Democrats across party lines.
He`s working with Eric Holder on the issue of sentencing reform. The
filibuster he staged on drone issue won him plaudits from both sides. He
has done something his father never managed to do, which was expand his
appeal to become a broadly acceptable candidate. He won the CPAC straw
poll a week ago.

I mean, I think he is in as good a position as anyone for the Iowa
caucuses. The Ron Paul forces may have lost the war -- battle with the
control of the party. It looks to me like Rand Paul is on his way to
winning the war.

KORNACKI: Is anybody here -- so are we -- is the consensus here the straw
poll itself, the Ames Straw Poll, that is gone? We`ve seen the last one of
those?

JACOBS: The Iowa straw poll is dead. I think it`s safe to say that. It
did place a premium on money, and Iowa`s advantage in going first is that
you can have those candidates who have no money come in and do that retail
politicking to get an edge, that you know, handshake, look people in the
eye, you know, answer every questions they have kind of politics.

So it`s...

KORNACKI: It`s a little...

JACOBS: You might see some sort of, like, a party-building activity like a
CPAC-style event. But I do not expect to see a straw poll.

KORNACKI: No straw poll.

TERRELL: A defender of A.J. Spiker told me, "What chairman is going to
give up a million-dollar fundraiser? Who`s going to be brave enough to
step up and step on the party..."

KORNACKI: I guess the question is how many candidates will actually
contest it?

TERRELL: Let me quote David Yepsen. He said, "If candidates come, the the
media will come. And if media people are in Iowa, then candidates will be
in Iowa." So if we show up, the candidates will be there.

KORNACKI: You get to eat that fried butter all over again.

TERRELL: I`m looking forward to it.

KORNACKI: Those days aren`t done for you yet. I want to thank Anthony
Terrell, producer here on MSNBC`s "RONAN FARROW DAILY." We`ll see you
again at the end of the hour.

And Jennifer Jacobs with "The Des Moines Register," thanks for coming in.

Coming up next, Florida`s newly-elected congressman as you have never seen
him before.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: When you win a special election to Congress as a Republican in
Florida did this week, it`s probably an exciting moment for you. But you
don`t always get the added exhilaration of an introduction like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB BARKER, FORMER "PRICE IS RIGHT" HOST: Congressman David jolly, come on
down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That is Florida`s new Republican congressman, David Jolly, being
introduced by legendary "Price is Right" host Bob Barker on election night
last Tuesday. And if you thought that house race was heated, well wait
until you see game two of "Up Against the Clock`s" Tournament of Champions.
Three more contestants scrambling to outsmart, outwit, out-scheme each
other for one spot in our first ever national championship game. Can you
handle the drama? It continues in mere moments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BILL WOLFF, ANNOUNCER: Live from Studio 3-A in Rockefeller Center, USA,
where it`s time for a special Tournament of Champions edition of "Up
Against the Clock."

A Wichita, Kansas, native, she short-circuits Washington`s power grid for
"USA Today." It`s the intrepid Susan Page.

You already know he`s a political reporter, but did you know that he acted
alongside Jamie Lee Curtis and Wallace Shawn in the 1996 classic "House
Arrest"? It`s the multitalented Alex Seitz-Wald.

And he`s the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament, who`s also won a James
Bond trivia contest and a license to compete here today. Watch out: it`s
Isaac Chotiner.

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

KORNACKI: Thank you, Bill Wolff.

Thank you, studio audience.

And thank you for tuning in at home.

We have arrived. It is the second of our three preliminary round matches
in the "Up Against the Clock" Tournament of Champions. Now last week we
saw Buzzfeed`s Kate Nocera win a dramatic last-second victory to win her
pool and to advance to the big national championship game. That`s on April
5.

And today the second of those three spots in that championship game is on
the line. The three people standing on Contestants` Row right now were
hand-picked by our selection committee for their impressive play in our
regular season. They are Susan Page, Isaac Chotiner and Alex Seitz-Wald.

Rules for this tournament remain the same. As always, we`ll have three
rounds of play, 100 seconds in each round. Questions will get harder as we
go along. Contestants, you can ring in any time, but a warning: you will
be penalized for wrong answers. And of course, there are instant bonuses
scattered throughout the game.

As always, I will remind our live studio audience to please remain
absolutely silent; no outbursts while this game is in play.

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

PAGE: No.

KORNACKI: Well, tough luck.

We will begin the 100-point round with 100 seconds on the clock, and it
begins now.

Democrat Alex Sink, who lost in Tuesday`s special congressional election in
Florida, was also defeated in the state`s...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Susan.

PAGE: Race for governor?

KORNACKI: Incorrect. Was also defeated in the 2010 gubernatorial election
by whom?

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Isaac?

CHOTINER: Rick Scott.

KORNACKI: Rick Scott is correct; 100 points for Isaac.

Hundred-point question. The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence
Committee accused what agency on Tuesday...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Susan.

PAGE: CIA.

KORNACKI: The CIA was accused of improperly spying on congressional
computers. A hundred points for Susan.

A bipartisan deal was struck in the Senate...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Isaac?

CHOTINER: Jobless benefits.

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Incorrect.

PAGE: Extended jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

KORNACKI: Incorrect. I will read the question for Alex. A bipartisan
deal was struck in the Senate on Thursday to reauthorize emergency
unemployment benefits for how long?

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Alex?

SEITZ-WALD: Five months.

KORNACKI: Five months is correct.

Hundred point tossup question. On Friday, former Massachusetts Senator
Scott Brown announced he`s planning to form a Senate exploratory committee,
the first formal step that could lead to him challenging what incumbent?

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Susan.

PAGE: Jeanne Shaheen.

KORNACKI: Jeanne Shaheen is correct, and Susan, this is 100-point -- it`s
an instant bonus. For another 100 points, when Shaheen was first elected
to the Senate in 2008 whom did she defeat?

PAGE: Bob Smith.

KORNACKI: Incorrect. It was John Sununu.

Hundred-point question. A ban on receiving new federal contracts that had
been in place for four years was lifted on Thursday for this company that
was implicated in the 2010 Deepwater...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Alex.

SEITZ-WALD: BP.

KORNACKI: BP. Deepwater Horizon spill. Correct.

Hundred-point question. Reubin Askew, a former Florida governor who passed
away on Thursday at the age of 85, sought the Democrat nomination in the
1984 presidential election that was ultimately won by...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: ... whom? Isaac.

CHOTINER: Walter Mondale.

KORNACKI: Walter Mondale won the `84 nomination. A hundred points for
Isaac brings us to the end of the 100-point round. And it looks like Alex
in the lead with 200 points, Isaac with 100, Susan up to 0 there. She was
in negative territory for a while. So a very close game, and the stakes
only get higher as we move to the 200-point round.

I should pick up the 200-point questions for that and not the 300. Here`s
the 200-point questions. Put 100 seconds on the clock, and we will
continue with this.

What 2012 presidential candidate proclaimed this week on Jimmy Kimmel that
he, quote, does interviews...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Yes, Alex.

SEITZ-WALD: Rick Perry.

KORNACKI: Rick Perry says he does interviews with a gun. That`s correct.

Two-hundred-point question. Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg revealed on
Thursday that he had a telephone conversation with President Obama to
expressed his frustration on this...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Isaac.

CHOTINER: NSA spying.

KORNACKI: Correct. He`s expressed his frustration on government
surveillance.

Two-hundred-point question. Senator Mark Begich unveiled new ads in his
state this week attacking the Koch brothers, who provide financial backing
for this group...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Alex.

SEITZ-WALD: Americans for Prosperity.

KORNACKI: Americans for Prosperity, which had previously run ads attacking
Begich.

Two-hundred-point toss-up question. The fifth annual Women in the
World Summit will be headlined next month by a conversation featuring
Hillary Clinton and Christine Lagarde, who is the director of this
organization.

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Susan.

PAGE: IMF.

KORNACKI: The IMF, the International Monetary Fund, is correct. Two
hundred points for Susan.

Two-hundred-point toss-up question here. President Obama will mark his
sixth consecutive year filling out an NCAA bracket after selections are
announced tomorrow. How many times has the president correctly picked the
national champion?

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Isaac.

CHOTINER: Zero.

KORNACKI: Incorrect.

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Alex.

SEITZ-WALD: Two.

KORNACKI: Incorrect.

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Susan.

PAGE: One.

KORNACKI: One is correct, and this is an instant bonus question, Susan.
Name the team and the year he correctly picked the champion.

PAGE: Geez. OK. I have no idea. I`ll say...

(SFX: CRICKETS)

PAGE: I`ll say the crickets are...

KORNACKI: We`ll have to call time on this. I`m sorry. It was North
Carolina in 2009.

Two-hundred-point question. During the Senate Democrats` talk-a-thon this
week on climate change, Senator Ed Markey turned Ted Cruz`s own filibuster
tactics against him...

(SFX: AIR HORN)

KORNACKI: ... by reading from what other book?

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Alex.

SEITZ-WALD: "Green Eggs and Ham"?

KORNACKI: Incorrect. By reading from what other book by children`s author
Dr. Seuss?

We`ll call time.

(SFX: CRICKETS)

KORNACKI: It was "The Lorax." He read from "The Lorax."

That brings us to the end of the 200-point round. Susan has taken the lead
with 400 points. Alex at 200 still. Isaac at 100. But ladies and
gentlemen, everything can change in a heartbeat when we play the round of
champions, the 300-point round. We call this our Ph.D. level. Remember, a
spot in the championship game is on the line.

We`ll put 100 seconds on the clock, and when it`s over, we will know who is
playing in the final.

And we begin with this. A bill allowing candidates in this state to seek
both presidential and congressional...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Alex.

SEITZ-WALD: Kentucky.

KORNACKI: Kentucky. To seek them at the same time will pass the state
senate on Tuesday.

Three-hundred-point question. In a new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll
released this week, 43 percent of voters said that they are less likely to
vote for a congressional candidate that...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Susan.

PAGE: Supports the Affordable Care Act.

KORNACKI: Incorrect. Supports this movement.

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Alex.

SEITZ-WALD: Tea Party.

KORNACKI: The Tea Party is correct.

Three-hundred-point question: Sarah Palin this week endorsed state senator
Chris McDaniel, who is challenging this long...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Susan.

PAGE: The Mississippi senator, Ted Cochran.

KORNACKI: That`s correct. Ted Cochran is being challenged in the primary.

Three-hundred-point question: In the Senate Democrats` all-night session on
climate change this week, this senator who chairs the Energy and Natural
Resources...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: Susan.

PAGE: Senator Inhofe.

KORNACKI: Incorrect.

PAGE: Oh.

KORNACKI: Who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and faces
a difficult reelection race in 2014 chose not to participate.

We`re going to call time. It was Senator Mary Landrieu. She chose not to
participate.

Three-hundred-point question: Quote, "I may not be a Marine, but I am
marine life," proclaimed this film star at a -- at a screening at the White
House Wednesday of his new movie, where he also received honors from the
joint chiefs of staff...

(SFX: BUZZER)

KORNACKI: ... for his work -- Susan.

PAGE: Tom Hanks.

KORNACKI: Incorrect. For his work with military children.

We call time here. The actor was Kermit the frog.

Three-hundred-point question: President Obama on Thursday announced he
would review his deportation policies to make them more humane after
meeting with three Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Name one of them.

(SFX: AIR HORN)

KORNACKI: And we are going to call time. We would have gone with Ruben
Hinojosa, Xavier Becerra, Luis Gutierrez.

That brings us to the end of the game, and Alex Seitz-Wald with 800 points
has won the pool, has advanced to the national championship game.
Congratulation to you.

And Alex, since you`ll now play in the national championship, Bill Wolff is
going to tell you what you`re playing for.

WOLFF: Congratulations. As today`s winner, you`ve earned a spot in the
"Up Against the Clock" finals next month, where you`ll face off for the
Tournament of Champions grand prize. Not one, but two amazing dinners for
two at New York City`s renowned restaurants Craft and Colicchio & Sons,
founded by Chef Tom Colicchio. Thanks, Tom.

And to compliment your fine dining experience, why, we`ll throw in a bottle
of wine.

Back to you, Steve.

KORNACKI: Thank you, Bill Wolff. That is quite an impressive prize
package.

You will be playing for that, Alex, as we said, on the 5th of April. You
will be playing against Kate Nocera of Buzzfeed, who won a last-second
victory last week. And there is one other spot, one spot left in that
championship game. And it will be decided two weeks from today. We`ll
take a break next week, but two weeks from today, we will decide that spot.
The three players will be Brian Beutler of Salon.com, Elahe Izadi of the
"National Journal" and Krystal Ball, who if you watched our selection show
a few weeks, you remember was the ninth and final selection by the
selection committee. The last one in the tournament. They will compete
for the final spot.

Alex, you`re in. Championship game, April 5.

What do we know now that we didn`t know last week? Our answers after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. It`s time to find out what our guests know now that
they didn`t know what the week began. And Isaac, we`ll start with you.

CHOTINER: Well, we`re used to a gender gap in political polling. But
there was a poll from Harris this week that said that 77 percent of women
worry about money more than sex, but only 46 percent of men worry about
money more than sex.

The thing that the two genders have in common was that both, one out of
four people say in this bad economy that money worries are preventing them
from thinking about sex.

KORNACKI: That is very interesting information. Anthony.

TERRELL: What I know now is this week is the end of the Georgia legislator
-- legislation this week in Georgia. Guns -- felons can have guns under
legislation because of a strike-through in legislation. They meet Tuesday
and Thursday, the Georgia Senate, where felons who are not supposed to have
guns, strike through two (ph) or three means felons can use stand your
ground in Georgia as protection. They`re not supposed to carry illegal
guns.

I spoke to someone at Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and they highlighted
this. It`s hidden on page 2 of a long 26-page bill. So keep your eye on
Georgia this week. Stand-your-ground being expanded.

Jordan Davis`s mom spoke out against this last week, as did Martin Luther
King Jr.`s sister, whose mom was shot and killed at church. This bill
would allow you to bring guns to church.

KORNACKI: I`ll keep an eye on it. Susan.

PAGE: This week we learned that Scott Brown is almost definitely running
for the Senate for New Hampshire. He would be the second person to have
represented, if he wins, both Massachusetts and New Hampshire in the U.S.
Congress. And of course, we all know who the first was?

KORNACKI: Daniel Webster.

PAGE: Daniel Webster. Yes.

KORNACKI: OK. That`s...

TERRELL: You weren`t supposed to know that.

KORNACKI: Yes, no. It was one of the questions actually rejected.

And Alex, Alex Seitz-Wald, the winner today, you`ll go on to the
championship game. We`ll see you in a few weeks. What do you know now
that you didn`t know last week?

SEITZ-WALD: I know now that there are 5 percent of Americans who think
Vladimir Putin is doing a pretty good job of being president of Russia,
according to an NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll. And I`m just very
curious who these 5 percent of Americans are.

KORNACKI: Five percent approval for Putin and 9 percent for Congress.
It`s actually not that far off.

Anyway, I want to thank Isaac Chotiner with "The New Republic"; MSNBC`s
Anthony Terrell; "USA Today`s" Susan Page; and Alex Seitz-Wald from
"National Journal." Thank you for getting up, and thank you for joining us
today for "Up." Join us tomorrow, Sunday morning at 8, when we look at why
everybody loves to root for the underdog in politics, in sports, in life.
We`ll be joined by a member of the original Jamaican bobsled team.

Coming up next, though, is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" with guest host Jonathan
Capeheart (ph). On today`s show, the world is watching as Ukraine remains
a country in crisis. Russian troops are now staged right across the border
of Crimea in Eastern Ukraine as Crimea prepares for a referendum vote.
That`s on "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY," coming up next.

And we`ll see you right here tomorrow at 8. Thanks for getting UP.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)


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