UP with STEVE KORNACKI
March 22, 2014
Guest: Bob Hager, Anthony Roman, Chris Lillis, Barbara Peterson, Matthew
Feeney, John Stanton, Emily Tisch Sussman, Mike Pesca, Jordan Schultz
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST: A brand-new lead in the hunt for the missing
BALL: Good morning. I`m Krystal Ball. Steve Kornacki has the day off
And as of this morning, the search for that missing jetliner, Malaysia
Airlines Flight 370 has now officially entered its third week. We begin
today with the breaking news that Malaysian officials say China is now
investigating new images of an object that has been spotted by satellite in
the southern Indian Ocean.
We should stress that we don`t yet know if it`s actually part of the plane.
But Chinese state television has posted what is said to be a photo of the
floating debris on their official verified Twitter page.
Malaysia says ships will be sent to try to find the object and try to
verify whether this 75-foot piece of debris might be part of that plane.
So far, an international search effort this week for two other objects
spotted by satellite in that same vast stretch of ocean has turned up
This new piece of debris and the two previous pieces of debris that were
sighted are estimated to be fewer than 80 miles apart. The sightings have
raised hopes that the missing Boeing 777, which disappeared March 8th with
239 people on board might be found.
But complicating that search effort is just how far the area being searched
is from the western coast of Australia, Australian prime minister calling
it just about the most inaccessible spot that you could imagine on the face
of the Earth.
It takes search planes four hours just to get there, leaving them only two
hours to canvas the waters before they have to turn right back. Add to
that just how much floating garbage there is in the ocean at any given
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN TRUSS, AUSTRALIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well there is a lot of
ocean debris floating around the globe continuously. And containers do
fall off ships. And so there are any other number of potential
explanations as to what this -- these items actually are. The -- those who
have done the technical analysis believe that they`re of interest in
relation to this disappearance. And even though this is not a definite
lead, it is probably more solid than any other lead in the -- around the
world. And that`s why so much effort and interest is being put into this
BALL (voice-over): Now at least 25 countries right now are involved in the
search for Flight 370, including, of course, the U.S. Malaysia is asking
the United States to provide underseas surveillance equipment to help in
the search for the missing Malaysian passenger jet.
The Pentagon says the request for more U.S. equipment came Friday when
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with his Malaysian counterpart. The
Pentagon says Secretary Hagel promised to see if the equipment is available
and whether it might be useful in the search.
The U.S. has spent $2.5 million so far and yesterday, "The Telegraph"
newspaper of London released transcripts of the radio calls between the
pilots and air traffic controllers. Experts tell NBC News all of it looks
Meanwhile, for the families, the agony of waiting for answers now stretches
into day 15. They`re growing frustrated with the lack of any definitive
news. NBC News has also confirmed that Alliance Insurance has started the
initial payout to the families of the missing passengers and crew.
Under an international convention, the airline must expedite payout without
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Joining me here in New York, Anthony Roman, a former commercial and
corporate pilot, now president of the global investigation from Roman and
And Bob Hager, retired NBC News correspondent and aviation specialist --
gentlemen, I`m so glad to have both of you with us. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice to be with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning.
BALL: Bob, I want to start with you, and with these new images that they
estimate the piece of debris that they see in these images would be about
Is that consistent, potentially, with a part of an airplane?
BOB HAGER, RETIRED NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT AND AVIATION SPECIALIST: Yes, it
could be because the wing is about that dimension. And a wing, if it
didn`t have fuel in it, might float, might float all this time, even two
weeks after the accident.
So it sure is of interest. And one thing is unclear, I mean, being only 80
miles apart from the old image that they got on the satellite some time
ago, could be the same piece of wreckage that`s just floated around there
all that time.
BALL: Well, and, Bob, would they have any way of sort of guesstimating how
far and where those initial images, where that debris might have moved with
the ocean currents over the period of time since those images were
initially taken, the Australian images?
HAGER: Oh, yes, they do lots of calculating at various oceanographic
institutes and so forth. But their computers and, you know, it`s not the
real world. So oftentimes these computers, however good, they have been
miles and miles off when they do locate the wreckage.
HAGER: But what you do, if you find a light piece like this, the light
piece doesn`t really tell you much about the investigation, if it is from
this plane. But then you try to figure out where the currents might have
taken it, if it can get you back to the area where the plane might have hit
the water. And you want to then try to find the rest of the wreckage, the
most important stuff, like the black boxes.
Well, and, Anthony, looking at these satellite images, how much can we tell
exactly how large a piece this is? The estimate is 75 feet. How accurate
And also when we see a splotch like this on a satellite image, is that
something that would that definitely be right at the surface of the water
or could it also be sort of right under the water?
ANTHONY ROMAN, FORMER COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT: Chances are it`s at the
surface of the water, Krystal. And they can measure, NASA satellites,
debris up to the -- 32 feet or so. Anything smaller than that becomes a
little bit more difficult.
But, it`s probably not below the surface with regard to the currents.
Right at the search zone, there`s an easterly current. And that is a
debris field that travels in an oval direction at the southern quadrant of
the debris field. It travels in an easterly direction and goes north and
then back to the west and so on and so forth. And it just circles out
BALL: Got it. All right.
Let`s bring in NBC`s Kerry Sanders, who has got a closer look at where this
possible new object is in relation to what was spotted back on Thursday --
KERRY SANDERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Krystal, I think what`s really
interesting is the relationship between the two. We see the Chinese image.
This has been released by state-run television in China. And then we take
a look, after we look at that picture, we see these images here. These are
the images that were released by the Australian minister.
And, these are two items; the Chinese have one item. I think the one that
is perhaps most interesting is the larger, that may or may not be the same
piece of something floating out there.
Let`s take a look at the area where they`re looking. It`s off of Perth,
Australia. You can see this at the general area here. It`s about 1,500
Now, here`s the most interesting thing. We have in this particular area
here, where the Australians found that debris floating. The Chinese image
is about 79 miles southwest of where the Australians saw their image.
Remember, this is important. There have been aircraft flying in this area
here repeatedly, not only the highest tech aircraft that can look with
satellite gear down. That`s called the P-8. That`s from the U.S. Navy.
But also aircraft from New Zealand, from Australia, and now there are ships
headed in the area from China as well as merchant ships that are already in
And with all of that, nobody has been able to get any sort of confirmation
either on high-tech radar or just visually looking out the window of
anything that would support what these satellite images are showing.
So this is a lead, but remember, there have been other leads before that
BALL: All right, thanks; NBC`s Kerry Sanders.
I want to now turn to NBC`s Bill Neely, who is live in Perth, Australia.
And Bill, what can you tell us this morning about this possible piece of
debris that the Chinese satellite has detected?
BILL NEELY, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is, on the one hand, a glimmer of
hope. It`s a satellite image from about four days ago. It`s roughly 70
feet by 40 feet. It`s very difficult to tell from that image anything that
is consistent with a fuselage or a wing.
I`m no aviation expert. I know some people have already been knocking this
down and trying -- people trying to damp down expectations that really this
is something significant. We won`t know.
What we do know is that the third day of searching in this area off this
coast has now ended. Six planes went out from here. And the crews
reported back it`s not really very good news. The visibility was very
poor. There was low cloud. And underneath the cloud, there was sea fog,
making finding anything on the surface of that choppy ocean really very
But as Kerry was pointing out, let`s look at the positive side.
Reinforcements are arriving, particularly from China. Don`t forget China
had two-thirds of the passengers on that plane. So they`re sending three
planes, three ships, as well as a Chinese ice breaker.
And the crews of all these multinational planes and ships really hopeful
that they will find something.
The big question is, what will they find? What is on that satellite image?
Australia`s prime minister yesterday damping down expectations, saying,
look, the initial image that was first photographed on Sunday could be a
shipping container. So Australia, at the very least, trying to damp down
BALL: And Bill, those initial images from Australia came to our attention
four days after the satellite images had initially been taken.
Do we have any sense of whether these Chinese satellite images are more
current or not?
NEELY: Yes, they are more current. So they are a few days more recent
than the initial image, which, remember, was taken last Sunday, almost a
So, whatever has happened to this debris, almost certainly, experts say,
the debris will have drifted. But as Kerry was pointing out, you know,
it`s a high-tech operation. We have got a U.S. Poseidon naval plane
involved, which is just about the most sophisticated surveillance plane on
the planet. Yet even on that, the guys are using binoculars, looking out a
And on the sea, you`ve got the crew of cargo ships who are on deck with
binoculars. So it`s this curious mix of high-tech. But when it comes to
it, if there is cloud, if there is fog like there was today, it`s about the
skill of people and, indeed, the luck of people just managing to see a
relatively small piece of debris.
Just one other thought: this grid, which has expanded, is about the size
of the fifth biggest state of the United States, New Mexico. So imagine
every one of those planes just drawing a very fine line down that grid.
And you get some idea of how difficult this task really is.
BALL: Indeed. Thanks to NBC`s Bill Neely in Australia.
And I want to bring back in our panel now, Anthony Roman and Bob Hager.
And, Bob, what they were saying there is that there have been multiple
aircraft flying over this area where these Chinese satellite images were
taken. Is it possible for -- we`re talking about human beings here,
looking out of an airplane window, trying to spot a piece of debris.
Is it possible that they flew right over this and didn`t see it?
HAGER: Oh, yes, that could be. Yes. I mean, but they`re well-trained in
spotting anything, any passenger who has flown across the oceans, though,
when you look out of the window of the plane, and I mean, it`s a big ocean
out there, very hard to see these things.
And they talk about trying stress using eyeballs in this case because, in
the first couple of days with the radar looking down, they didn`t find
anything. So now they said, well, we got to have people looking through
the binoculars, otherwise we`re not going to find it.
So that`s why they`re switching to that. But as Bill says now, if they got
surface fog and so forth, that`s going to really make it tough. Now it`s
night. So we won`t hear anything more until tomorrow morning our time,
because that will be when the planes come back from tomorrow`s run and the
runs that they`re going out on tonight.
BALL: Right, although we do expect we may get some information from the
Chinese government in the next few hours.
But Anthony, you were talking about the debris field in this area and the
ocean conditions in this area. It`s a very remote part of the world and
part of the ocean.
Would it be typical to have these sorts of large pieces of debris floating
around in this area, perhaps trapped in a current in this part of the
ROMAN: Well, this is not a very well explored region of the ocean.
Frankly, not a lot of exploration has been done there because the weather
is terrible and the associated sea state makes it very, very difficult.
That particular debris field consists mostly, the majority of it, is
smaller debris, bottles, broken-down components into a sludge field. But,
you have, you know, some shipping lanes there -- not many; you have some.
And cargo does fall overboard. So it is mixed in with larger debris.
BALL: And Bob, will these new images give new energy and perhaps add even
more resources to the search that`s already ongoing in this area?
HAGER: I would think it would. I mean, it`s something. There`s so little
to work on. And we need some hard evidence of something to try to get at
what caused this. So yes, it sure is important that they have this new
sighting. Now we got to see whether it`s true or not, you know, real.
All right. Much more with our guests on the disappearance of Flight 370
when we return.
BALL: We have been reporting this morning on the breaking news on that
missing Malaysian airliner. Satellite images released by China today show
new possible debris found in a remote stretch of the southern Indian Ocean.
Bob Hager and Anthony Roman are still both on set with us.
And Anthony, you have been talking about that part of the ocean. It`s been
called one of the most difficult places, one of the most remote places in
It`s largely unexplored, correct?
ROMAN: Yes. It`s largely unexplored. The ocean bottom there is really a
particularly difficult place. So if it turns out that this debris is
significant and a portion of the aircraft, the next phase would be to start
deploying more advanced sonar buoys and site-scan (ph) sonar.
And let me tell you, they`re faced with a real challenge here. Not only
are the surface sea states difficult, but there are underwater volcanoes,
huge crevasses. It`s a difficult environment. We`re not looking at weeks
and months searching for this aircraft, if it happens to be down there.
We`re looking at years, I believe, unless they`re very, very fortunate.
BALL: That is remarkable.
And Bob, to that point, this is an incredibly intensive process. We`re
relying on humans and advanced technology. I mean, even chasing down these
particular leads could take a lot of time?
HAGER: Oh, yes. I think -- I mean, a key thing would be whether you pick
up that pinger sound because if you don`t pick up the pinger sound, well,
we got another couple of weeks. And sometimes it runs a little longer than
the specs say it will run.
But if you don`t get the pinger, then you`re really into the long haul.
And as Tony mentioned, we have the Air France crash where they did find,
without the pingers, the black boxes. But it took two years. So you`re
into that kind of timeframe or more. And then you may never find them if
you don`t find them with the pingers.
BALL: Now Anthony, what would be some of the reason that we wouldn`t be
able to detect those pings? Because that`s the whole reason they sent out
the ping, to make it easier to find the black box.
What would be some of the conditions that would make it difficult to
ROMAN: That it`s underwater, that, you know, they`re designed to float for
a little while. And these new generation black boxes actually are
satellite enabled so the satellite should be able to pinpoint exactly where
it is, as long as it, as designed, floated on the surface for a period of
time. So clearly, they were either severely damaged which is, you know, a
bit unusual, to the point where they`re not working. Or they`re submerged.
BALL: And Anthony, going back to the idea of what could have happened,
possibly happened in this instance.
Are we at a place where we can rule out some sort of mechanical failure or
fire or problem with the plane?
Or is that still a possibility that`s on the table?
ROMAN: Well, if I switch from my commercial pilot`s hat to my detective`s
hat, you know, what we have here is probably the deepest mystery in
But let`s look at the few facts that appear to have been stabilized in the
last two weeks, that that aircraft made a standard grade left-hand turn,
returned to Malaysia, overflew it, following standard aviation navigation
That is an immediate indication that the flight management system, the
navigation system was manually reprogrammed. So we know a human being
reactivated the navigation waypoints.
What occurred? An emergency? A fire? Unlikely, although the 777 has a
recent history of cockpit smoke and electrical fires, including a frank
fire in the cockpit with Egypt Air; thank goodness it was at the gate and
all the passengers were evacuated.
You know, a fire is so insidious and so fast-spreading that that aircraft
would have declared an emergency. The pilots don`t waste any time with
that at all. So we`re leaning more towards human intervention; whether
passenger or pilot, unknown.
The pilots have a very clear history right now. There`s been nothing to
suggest that anything nefarious in their back ground.
So you know, as an investigator, I would lean towards more the theory of
the passenger breeching the cockpit, although that could change based on
BALL: And it`s, I mean, it is such a mystery. It seems like every theory
has some sort of problem (INAUDIBLE).
HAGER: I think we have got so little hard information to work with right
now that I think, initially, we`re inclined to say, oh, yes; it looks much
more like an issue with somebody in the cockpit when -- goes crazy.
But, since nothing there has panned out in that direction of the
investigation, I think we have to go back to not closing the door on these
various theories about was there smoke, if not a fire or some mechanical
problem? I mean, we have to go back to that because there is so little to
work with here.
BALL: Anything is still really possible.
And Bob, how does this compare to other aviation mysteries that you have
HAGER: Well, this one is taking a lot longer. I mean --
BALL: Got you out of retirement, right.
HAGER: -- it`s been the most -- yes. Even the most difficult of the
investigations, I don`t think it`s ever -- well, we`re going into our third
week, you said. This far out with so little to work with, so, yes, we`re
into a real mystery here.
And the value of these things is trying to figure out what happened. You
give the families some closure and so forth. But the real reason for
investigating is to figure out what do you need to do, generally? What
lessons can you learn?
And if we don`t know more about this, it`s a little difficult to know what
sort of things to go after.
BALL: Anthony, are there lessons that we can take at this point? Because
to me, even if we don`t figure out exactly what has happened, there have
been some red flags raised, both about the ability of those passengers to
travel on stolen documents and perhaps even over some of the control that
the pilots have over the plane, being able to turn off the transponders
easily, for example.
ROMAN: Well, I think the pilots need to have control over the plane. This
is really, you know, turning off the transponder or critical elements and
components of the flight systems is a very rare occurrence. Pilots need to
have full control of their aircraft.
Let`s just say this, there is no one else there. With regard to security,
it has had my attention for quite some time. Airport security and aircraft
security is not what most of us think it is. There have been recent and
recurring serious breaches of airport operations areas, that`s where the
aircraft are actually located, runways, the actual terminals themselves.
Even, even with vehicles and armed intruders. So, it really needs to be
BALL: All right. My thanks to former NBC reporter Bob Hager and Anthony
Roman. We`ll see you back in the next hour and more news on the missing
plane in our next hour. We`ll keep you posted on anything as it breaks.
But switching gears for now, why is the NRA trying to scuttle the nominee
for the nation`s top job in public health? That`s story is next.
BALL: It has been four months since Democrats in the Senate executed the
so-called nuclear option. Four months since they voted to eliminate the
use of the filibuster as a tool to block presidential appointments, which
means you would think, having to worry about getting one of President
Obama`s nominees confirmed is no longer really a problem.
Not as long as Democrats still have a majority in the Senate.
Meet Dr. Vivek Murthy. He`s a doctor with very impressive credentials.
And President Obama`s nominee for surgeon general. But it turns out
Democrats are worried they won`t be able to confirm Dr. Murthy, even though
the Senate Democratic Caucus has 55 members. The Republicans only 45. In
doing away with the nuclear option the Democrats didn`t factor in the NRA
and just how scared some of the Democrats are of the NRA. I`ll explain
BALL: When President Obama nominated Dr. Vivek Murthy for the post of
surgeon general, it looks like Murthy would sail through the confirmation
process with ease. A Yale educated attending physician at Boston`s Brigham
and Women`s Hospital, Harvard Medical School instructor and tech
entrepreneur, Murthy is a leader in world of medicine and in medical
And he`s been endorsed by a wide range of public health experts and
organizations. Also speeding his path was the fact that the Senate
recently changed filibuster rules so that most confirmations require only a
Bu then the NRA got involved. Yes, the largest gun advocacy organization
decided they didn`t much care for Dr. Murthy. Their complaint: this
letter, which was signed by Murthy in his capacity as head of the health
care advocacy group, Doctors for America.
In the letter, he encourages Congress to adopt popular gun safety measures
like an assault weapons ban, limits on ammunition purchases and universal
background checks. These measures are both broadly popular with the public
and noncontroversial within the public health community.
In fact, with gun violence trending towards being the leading cause of
death among young people in this country, it`s a simple fact that gun
safety is a public health issue.
While Murthy`s confirmation did pass through the Senate Health, Education,
Labor and Pensions Committee, the NRA`s opposition to Murthy has put his
full confirmation in serious doubt. Republican senators have jumped on the
NRA train, with Senator Rand Paul indicating he will place a hold on
Joining me now, MSNBC contributor and former democratic governor of
Montana, Brian Schweitzer; Dr. Chris Lillis, a board member of Vivek
Murthy`s group, Doctors for America; John Stanton, Washington bureau chief
of BuzzFeed.com and Emily Tisch Sussman, campaign director at the Center
for American Progress Action Fund.
Thank you all so much for being here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great to be here.
BALL: Dr. Lillis, I wanted to start with you. You both know Dr. Murthy
personally. You have been twisting some arms on Capitol Hill to find out
what is going on here.
Did I get the story basically right?
And what is the latest that`s going on on the Hill?
DR. CHRIS LILLIS, DOCTORS FOR AMERICA: Well, the latest that`s going on on
the Hill is in the wake of the vote for the Department of Justice nominee,
there`s not a broad appetite to take another difficult vote.
But those of us in the health community don`t believe this should be a
difficult vote. The American College of physicians, the American College
of Surgeons, the American College of Emergency Physicians all have publicly
said very same and similar things that we did at Doctors for America during
those letter-writing campaigns.
If you have been in the emergency room and you have seen a victim of a --
gunshot wound victim, if you have been in the intensive care unit and seen
someone cling to life, you understand that gun violence is a serious
With that being said, at his Senate Health Committee hearing, Dr. Murthy
was very clear. He wants to tackle this, the chunk of chronic diseases,
the 75 percent of U.S. health care spending that goes into preventable
illness: obesity, heart disease, diabetes. And this is the real public
health crisis. And I think his attention will be firmly trained there.
BALL: Yes. He was quite clear in his hearings, as you`re saying, that he
wanted to focus on obesity and other issues, and not use the surgeon
general`s office as a soapbox to talk about gun safety.
But do make the case for us because one of the things that the NRA has been
concerned about and these Republican senators is that Dr. Murthy has
advocated for doctors to have the ability to ask patients about having guns
in the home.
Why is that important to have that ability as a doctor?
LILLIS: Sure. Well, I mean, I see patients every day with depression or
anxiety. And if you have someone who`s acutely depressed and thinking
about suicide, you really want to know if they have a firearm in the home
because it`s, unfortunately, the most efficient way to complete a suicide.
Also if -- I`m a father of a 3-1/2-year-old. And leaving loaded weapons
around the house sometimes can pose a real hazard to toddlers, to
preschoolers, because they just don`t understand the lethal potential of a
So the American Academy of Pediatrics is one of the most firm that we need
to have the ability to have this conversation with our patients. It`s
amazing. I don`t think we should squander the First Amendment in sake of
the Second. And it`s not that we have to do anything with the Second
Amendment for physicians to be able to do their job and protect their
BALL: Right. And that is one of the more absurd parts of this story is
the surgeon general doesn`t have anything to do with gun policy.
And Governor, when Dr. Lillis makes the case, it seems pretty plain to me.
But are these vulnerable senators, red state Democrats, are they right to
be this nervous about the NRA?
BRIAN SCHWEITZER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR OF
Montana: Let`s be clear here. The NRA, the National Republican Advocacy
Group, what they`re using is a wedge issue and they`re creating this wedge
issue so some of these potentially vulnerable Democrats, who come from gun
states, are going to have to decide whether they`re going to side with if
the NRA in this irrational attack on a guy who is a doctor talking about
health care issues or whether they`re going to say, on the margin, there
could be 1 percent or 2 percent of the people who are single issue voters -
- guns -- which way will I go?
And, I guess, sitting around this table, you say, my God, how could this
be? But listen, if you take the hypocrites out of politics, ain`t nobody
BALL: Nobody except you, right?
SCHWEITZER: Yes. Well, present company excluded, of course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we replace the hypocrites with the Hippocratics?
SCHWEITZER: So the bottom line is, when you`re asking a senator from
Alaska or a senator from Montana or a senator from Louisiana to decide
whether they`re going to die in the ditch over this particular person or
whether 1 percent or 2 percent of these voters might be swayed by the NRA,
it`s a difficult call for them.
But what I would say to them is the NRA is going to be against you because
you`re a Democrat. You understand me? Democrat. I`ve been a supporter of
the Second Amendment and the NRA has screwed me on every single election I
have been in. Get used to it.
BALL: And you still managed to get elected.
SCHWEITZER: Actually, I was re-elected with 65 percent plus.
But you know, John, politicians are terrified of these little cards that
the NRA sends out right before the election, telling their membership how
they should and shouldn`t vote.
And the complicated thing is even though a lot of NRA members support
things like universal background checks. When they send out that little
postcard with their endorsed candidates, none of that -- none of that sort
of context, none of that detail is in there. So it`s just this person
supports the Second Amendment and that one doesn`t.
So do you think it`s still justified for red state Democrats to have this
much terror of the NRA?
JOHN STANTON, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF OF BUZZFEED.COM: On this one, sure.
I think, look, the surgeon general is a -- by and large a bit of a
ceremonial position. They don`t have a lot of authority. They can`t
promulgate a lot of regulations or anything like that. They sort of set an
agenda for the country.
But after they got rid of the filibuster, ironically, in the Senate, it now
exposes Democrats to being the guys that have to make these decisions. And
before, they could say, oh, well, Republicans have a filibuster. We
couldn`t bring up this nomination; we really wanted to. And they never got
put on the hook on this thing.
But now they either have to vote for it or vote against it. And if they
vote for it, they`re going get that card. And so for most of these
Democrats, I think it`s a bit of a no-brainer for them. They say, this one
we don`t want to fight over. We were not going to fight over your -- turn
your civil rights nominee. We`re sure not going to do this one. So.
BALL: And so --
EMILY T. SUSSMAN, CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR AT THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS
ACTION FUND: I would take note with that, actually. I disagree. And I
think the governor brought up a great point. If you`re framing it, if you
want to get into that fight and frame it as versus the NRA, that may be a
harder fight. And then you do get more into the details of what you`re
talking about, against the card, against Second Amendment, all of that.
But reframe it. You know, reframe it with all the points that you were
just making. Like say this is really, I will not have this conversation
controlled by the NRA. I can say gun. You know, it`s not like a dirty
word. We can talk about serious safety precautions, (INAUDIBLE) serious
But I would think that somebody like Joe Manchin in a state -- from West
Virginia, if the surgery general, next surgeon general wants to talk about
obesity as his number one issue, I think that`s probably a safe thing for
Joe Manchin to be talking about in West Virginia.
STANTON: The landscape of politics over the last 20 years is sort of
littered with Democrats that have periodically stuck their heads up and
said, I`m going to fight the NRA. I`m not going to let you frame me. And
a lot of them have lost. And then these guys look back and that and they
say, there`s no reason on this one, certainly for me, to get into this
Now, I mean, I think that speaks to the lack of political will and spine
that a lot of politicians (INAUDIBLE) have these days. But I think they
look at that and they say, I`m not.
SCHWEITZER: So what happens in red states or purple states where Democrats
were elected is you have to put together a coalition of independents. And
these independents are looking for Democrats and Republicans who don`t walk
the party line on everything.
So you have got to find something, whether it`s on taxes or choice or guns
or whatever it is, not to be the garden variety Democrat that might be from
New York or California if you`re elected in a (INAUDIBLE) state.
BALL: Right. And frequently the issue, that red state Democrats pick as
the one to be their symbol that I am culturally rural and you can vote for
me safely is the gun issue.
We`re going to have much more on this fight right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Is he going to get passed?
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R): I`m not sure that he is. I think that the
Republicans will be united against him. He had a number of Democrats break
with the president last week on one of his nominees and I know there are a
number of senators who are up for re-election who are probably not going
want to vote for somebody who is this committed to taking away our Second
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: That was Republican Senator John Barrasso earlier this month, being
asked if President Obama`s nominee for surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy,
And Governor Schweitzer, one of the problems here and one of the ways that
Democrats always explain their challenge on this issue is you have a number
of voters who are single-issue Second Amendment voters. I mean, when I
decided to run for Congress, the first thing my dad asked me was where I
stood on the Second Amendment.
You don`t seem to have as many folks on the other side who are single-issue
gun safety voters. So you know that if you advocate for gun safety you`re
automatically losing a certain chunk of the electorate, where you don`t
know that on the other side if you do support gun control.
SCHWEITZER: Well, I think -- let`s take another issue. Pro life, pro
choice. It`s the same kind of thing. You have a number of people who are
so called pro life, against a woman`s right to choose. And they are single
issue voters. And a lot of pro choice people are not single-issue voters.
They look at it --
BALL: I would say that it`s more balanced on that issue, though, that you
have more single issue (INAUDIBLE) --
SCHWEITZER: Well, first -- of course, I`m just giving you another one.
But when it comes to guns, it says a lot more than just guns. In these
square states, it`s about culture. And they`re saying, is she one of us or
not? And that`s what you ran into, even with your father, which is, you
know, his buddies are going to ask, the first question --
BALL: I`m pretty sure he voted for me though.
SCHWEITZER: And he can honestly tell his buddies, yes, she knows about
guns. I taught her to shoot, right?
SCHWEITZER: There you go. So this is about culture. If you really want
to run a gun ad, run a gun ad with you as a father, showing your daughter,
who is 12 years old, how to sight in a rifle. That`s all about culture.
BALL: Well, and Dr. Lillis, you know, one of the things that is
interesting about my dad is he is an NRA member, a Second Amendment
supporter, who thinks that we should have things like universal background
You know, he is one of the majority of NRA members who feel that way. He
was incensed when there was this guns and ammo editor who wrote an
editorial in the magazine, saying very broadly that we should have a
conversation about gun safety and was fired for his efforts.
We have situation in the country where you can`t say anything on guns, no
matter how noncontroversial.
LILLIS: Right. And it will put a chilling effect on presidential
appointments, in my opinion. You have seen some incredibly bright
physicians come up for posts. And Dawn Berwick is another one, where just
one sound bite automatically disqualifies you.. And to look at the career
of a Dr. Berwick, to look at the career of a Dr. Murthy, these are folks
who have dedicated their lives to making health care better for Americans.
And yet, you utter the wrong word and you`re automatically disqualified?
It just doesn`t seem like that we`re allowing the right people to get to a
place where they can help the American people.
BALL: Well, and to me, it`s even more outrageous than that in this case
because he was doing his job. He was advocating for public health. With
the levels of gun violence we have in this country, I think that is an
But Emily, from a political perspective, and you have been working in the
gun safety movement. You`ve been working with some of the folks who were
directly impacted by Newtown.
How do we make political progress with rural Democrats in particular?
SUSSMAN: We do need to make a lot of progress. And I think what we have
seen over the last year is a little bit of the politics changing. What you
were talking about, there are single-issue gun voters. There are -- it
doesn`t -- it feels a little squishier on the other side.
One, I think on the single issue gun voters, I don`t think you have them to
begin with. So there`s just this fear of them coming out but there is a
little bit of intensity there. But very few people actually had them to
We are starting to see groups that are popping up, specifically on this
issue, Mayor Bloomberg`s group, Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly`s group. And
they`re putting money into the races. They`re being serious about it.
But then we`re also seeing people that were on other issues saying this is
an important issue to me, like the moms, like the young people. The young
people care about the fact that this is possibly the biggest public health
issue for a generation. You can`t trust people who can`t agree with that.
BALL: John, what is your prediction of what will happen in this case?
STANTON: Oh, I don`t think he`ll be nominated. I think he`s (INAUDIBLE)
at this point. I think the Democrats don`t have -- they don`t have an
outside apparatus that is being able to shift this debate towards them.
And it`s not going to happen for fair amount of time. So I don`t think
he`ll get nominated.
LILLIS: Well, you know, we`re seeing a very broad coalition come together
in support of Dr. Murthy. And I hope that we can do what we often do in
medicine, we take conventional wisdom and we examine it with analysis and
science. And we decide if the conventional wisdom is accurate or not. In
this case, I don`t think it is.
I spoke to a U.S. senator, and that was about a week ago. He said that --
and he`s in a purple state. He, year after year, would take principal
stands on this issue. He said it never cost him any votes.
But in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, he actually thinks that taking
principal stands has net him positive votes. So I think we have to be
careful that conventional wisdom -- in medicine conventional wisdom can
kill people if we`re not scrutinizing it and making sure it`s accurate. In
this case, conventional wisdom could cause a miscarriage of democracy.
SCHWEITZER: You`re making it complicated. Look, you have Democrats who
are running in states where Obama has a 37 percent or 38 percent approval
rating. And so when that Democrat can say, you know, I didn`t support the
president on this particular nominee, it gives them that mark to those
independent voters that says, I`m sick of Obama and I kind of like this gal
over here because she stuck it in his nose on this particular nominee. And
that`s kind of how this thing goes down.
SUSSMAN: But they already have one, right, with the Department of Justice,
that they already have one that they can say that.
SCHWEITZER: Well, sometimes you need two or three.
BALL: Well, Dr. Lillis, there`s also a possibility that the confirmation
vote is delayed until after November so that nobody is forced to take a
tough vote when it`s really tough for them. And perhaps after the
elections happen, then he could be brought up for a full confirmation vote.
Is that a possibility in your view?
LILLIS: I think it is a possibility. I think what we just need to keep
our focus on is that Dr. Murthy is an eminently qualified candidate for
this position. He`s got an amazing track record of building movements.
He`s got a way to get inspiration to action. And that`s exactly what we
need in this post.
We need someone who can inspire the American people to put a dent in
obesity and preventable health problems. And so we have to find way. We
have to find a way to get Dr. Murthy confirmed because he`s going to be a
next generation surgeon general.
BALL: And in your conversations with some of the -- some of the folks on
the Hill who are working with these senators in tough states, they have
been relatively open to your arguments. Correct?
It`s been a mixed bag?
LILLIS: It`s been a mixed bag.
Yes. Yes. And I understand where they`re coming from. But I just hope we
can have an open conversation about public health.
BALL: It is a sad state of affairs that the NRA is having such a say in
who our nation`s next surgeon general will be.
I want to thank Dr. Chris Lillis with Doctors for America.
And still ahead, couples are lining up outside this morning outside some
Michigan County clerks` offices. We`ll tell you why after the break.
BALL: Here is another story we`re keeping an eye on out today in Michigan.
At this hour, same-sex couples are lining up outside of county clerks`
offices just one day after a federal judge struck down that state`s ban on
same-sex marriages. No pictures yet. But there were huge celebrations
yesterday by the couple who sued to see that ban overturned and by many
In the wake of that ruling, people are lining up this morning to obtain
marriage licenses and even at this early hour, at least one couple in
Ingram (ph) County has already received the paperwork they need to wed.
Another county has said it will be waiving its three-day waiting period and
$20 fee to allow couples to marry as soon as they possibly can.
And here`s why that`s important. The attorney general of Michigan has
asked a higher court to freeze the landmark ruling while an appeal is
pursued. It`s not known when the federal appeals court in Cincinnati will
respond. So looks like some same-sex couples in Michigan are hoping to get
married this weekend before that freeze goes into effect -- if it goes into
effect. We`ll be watching for developments on that story and bring you
more news as it develops.
Another full hour of news and discussion ahead beginning with the latest
about that new lead in the search for Flight 370. We will be right back.
BALL: We`re back with a second full hour of news and discussion ahead
beginning with more on this morning`s breaking news. Ships are being sent
to see if they can verify the latest lead in the hunt for that missing
Malaysian Airlines flight.
Chinese state TV has posted what is said to be a photo of the floating
debris on their official verified Twitter page. It might be -- but we
don`t yet know -- it might be debris from missing Flight 370.
Malaysia`s transport minister gave the news this morning at this daily
press conference. He said the largest piece of debris measured 74 feet
long at its longest point. And he added that the Chinese government would
give out more details later today.
This new pieces of debris were found about 80 miles away from the other
pieces debris spotted earlier this week by Australian satellite. The
sightings have raised hopes that the missing Boeing 777 which disappeared
more than two weeks ago now with 239 people on board might be found. At
least 25 countries are involved in the international search effort,
including the U.S. The first planes to scour the ocean for a third
straight day returned to Perth, Australia, today, with reports of difficult
conditions and little success.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. PETER MOORE, ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE: The weather conditions were
less than ideal again today as we have seen in the last few days as part of
the search. Essentially had a thick layer of cloud and got as low as 500
of feet in the search area. We had isolated showers and sea fog at the
surface essentially reducing our visibility as well. We did however manage
visual sensors today, including manning of our visual observer stations.
We did achieve or actually we`re achieving a lot of the condition of 100
percent coverage, however, were not able to find evidence of any wreckage
or survival equipment from the missing Malaysian aircraft.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the U.S. rule in the search
while speaking to college students today during her visit to Beijing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: As my husband has said, the United States is
offering as many resources as possible to assist in the search. And,
please know that we are keeping all of the families and loved ones of those
on this flight in our thoughts and in our prayers at this very difficult
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Let`s bring in NBC`s Kerry Sanders who has details on just what
teams are looking for right now in the Indian Ocean -- Kerry.
SANDERS: Well, Krystal, the idea is, of course, to find this debris and
find out whether it`s the same debris as we`ve seen in those satellite
photographs provided by the Australian. So, first, let`s take another look
at that image released by state-run television in China. You can see,
again, it is not a perfect picture. This was taken from a satellite. But
as we look at the picture and we`re calculating, with their assistance, of
course, the size of it is about 74 feet by 42 feet. That could be a piece
of a plane. It could also be something that perhaps is just garbage
floating in the ocean.
Remember, there are merchant ships that travel this area on a regular basis
and sometimes containers get washed over.
Now, let`s take a look at this picture here. This is the satellite image
provided by the Australians. And when we look at these pictures, it`s
perhaps this one here may line up best what the Chinese have released
because of the relative same size. This one here was 79 feet.
Now, as we take a look at the area that they`re searching, it`s right here.
And you can see, it`s a rather large area southwest of Perth. But they`ve
been able to focus in a little bit better on the area. It`s 1,500 or so
miles southwest of Perth.
And when we go to the last part here this is perhaps the most interesting.
This area here, is where the Australians found their suspect debris. It`s
only 79 miles away that the Chinese have spotted their suspect debris.
So, even if they`re not the same pieces, they may come from the same
source. Of course, the real question is, and without a confirmation we
won`t know, is that source Flight 370? Crystal?
BALL: All right. Thanks to NBC`s Kerry Sanders.
And here to talk about all of this, we have Anthony Roman back, a former
commercial and corporate pilot. He`s here in New York.
And Barbara Peterson, senior aviation correspondent at "Conde Nast
Thank you all so much for helping us make sense of this.
And, Anthony, let`s start back with the images that we see on the
satellite. Kerry speculated it could possibly be the same piece of debris
that was spotted in the Australian images at the early part of the week.
Is that a possibility in your view?
ROMAN: It is a possibility. Although the currents are traveling in the
other direction, that would be slightly southwest of the Australian
position. And the currents in that region are traveling eastbound.
However, with the stormy conditions, all bets are off. Anything is
possible. And with the huge 3,000-mile debris field that`s in that
vicinity, traveling eastbound, it could be anything.
So, we have to be careful about riding that emotional roller coaster.
BALL: Of course. Of course.
And with the modeling they`re able to do of the currents in the area, it`s
really just an educated guess.
ROMAN: It`s a tad more than an educated guess, but, it is a difficult
process. Particularly in the sea states, with 15, 20-foot seas, eyeballing
the debris will be very difficult.
BALL: And, Barbara, even as we`re looking at these satellite images and
trying to think, figure out if they could be a part of the plane and trying
to locate them physically on the earth, we also have to think about the
investigation into what might have happened that causes plane to disappear
in the first place?
BARBARA PETERSON, CONDE NAST TRAVELER: Yes, exactly, because even if they
do finally fish out something from the water and positively identify it,
that`s not going to answer the question of why? Why? What happened?
And this is so unprecedented in so many ways. And so, it`s really vital
that they, you know, don`t drop the ball on anything else. This has been
sort of this up-and-down saga of this investigation so far. It`s never
happened before that an aircraft like this has gone down and nothing has
surfaced in now two weeks.
Usually something comes up within the first few days.
PETERSON: So, again, this is like everybody is literally almost working in
the dark on this. That`s very troubling.
But there still has to be an investigation of who was on the plane, what
was in the cargo hold. All of that is still not really answered at this
BALL: Anthony, what are some of the parallel pieces of the investigation
that would be going on right now. We know, for example, the FBI has copies
of the hard drives taken from the computers of the captain and copilot.
What else is being looked at right now?
ROMAN: Well, what we have are concurrent criminal and aviation
investigations that are related to one another. So this is a very
difficult task that they have ahead of them. You have 24 nations involved.
The Malaysians are asking everyone for help. They were late in the game in
getting into this.
So, they have their work cut out for them. It`s a difficult, difficult
BALL: And did we lose valuable time at the beginning while the Malaysian
government was keeping some pieces of information or not being totally up
ROMAN: Yes, I think Barbara brought up wonderful points. Yes, I think
delaying some of the passenger manifests. Not providing the background
information that they did have, delaying searching the pilots` homes.
And from what I saw from the file footage, it wasn`t a forensics
examination of the residences. Where there any microscopic bomb residues
there? Were there any materials that would have created suspicion or any
documents? They were not wearing forensic suits nor did they have forensic
teams on site. It`s really a shame.
BALL: Barbara, of course, all of our hearts and minds right now are with
the families, too. We can only imagine what they`re going through,
imagining the worst case scenario.
When it`s such a mystery, how do they deal with these new incoming pieces
of evidence and try at the same time to manage their grief and start some
process of healing?
PETERSON: Exactly. That is one of the hardest things about this whole
story. And, you know, they need some closure at some point. And that`s
why it`s so vital they find something from the aircraft.
But, at the same time, one of the things that this whole story has shed
some light on is, how do airlines and the governments treat families in
situations like this? And actually that was an issue about 15 and 20 years
ago when there were terrible cases of families really feeling mistreated.
And so, Congress pass a law in 1996 which did put through some reforms.
However, they only affect U.S. airlines or crashes that take place in the
Other countries have followed the lead, though. And the most important
thing is that the airlines have to focus on communicating with the families
and has to be done through one voice. You can`t have competing voices and
competing press conferences as we`ve seen, and that is very, very
BALL: Right, which is exactly what we`ve seen in the circumstance.
All right. We`re going to stay on this story.
We want to thank Barbara Peterson with Conde Nast Traveler and former pilot
Anthony Roman. We`ll be right back.
BALL: Just what exactly is Senator Rand Paul up to? It`s a question that
gets posed a lot. This week, it came up again after the Kentucky
Republican trekked to Berkeley this week.
He gave a speech at one of the most liberal universities in the country and
I should know, my husband went there, the University of California at
So, why was this conservative senator speaking before a student body known
for radical left politics and protests?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: You may be a Republican, or a Democrat, or a
libertarian. I`m not here to tell you what to be. I am here to tell you
that your rights, especially your right to privacy, is under assault.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Rand Paul wasn`t there to tell people who they should be. He`s hip.
He`s no square. He might be a United States senator but he`s not the man.
In fact, his message is one of protecting against the man -- anti-big
government, spying on citizens and data collection, bro.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Your government is interested in what you`re reading. They`re
interested on what you say on your phone calls. They`re interested on what
you write in your e-mails. Or even if they say they`re not interested,
they say the Fourth Amendment doesn`t protect any of these records.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: And Rand Paul, he has a point. The spying powers of the U.S.
government are far greater than anyone suspected, even 10 months ago.
In the front page story Wednesday, "The Washington Post" reported yet
another revelation from an Edward Snowden documents. This time, about a
program with the capability of recording 100 percent of a foreign country`s
telephone calls and storing them for an entire month so they can listen
whenever they want to.
In his speech, Paul seized on the concerns that these and other revelations
are causing, and presented them as something he and the Berkeley students
could agree upon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Most of you have written the dystopian nightmares, the dystopian
novels. And maybe you`re like me, you said, ah, yes, that could never
happen in America. And yet, if you have a cell phone, you are under
surveillance. I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: He was interrupted by applause, just like that, five times, and only
heckled once briefly, a little bit, barely, when he rhetorically asked
whether Edward Snowden is a hero or a villain.
And to his credit, Rand Paul seems really sincere in his effort to create
cross party consensus on national security. Interestingly, though, all the
members he mentioned during his speech, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont,
Ron Wyden of Oregon, and California`s Dianne Feinstein caucused with the
Democrats. In fact, he didn`t mention even once his fellow Republicans,
which was probably smart positioning on his part of the school like
Last week, Senator Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee,
accused the CIA of monitoring her staffers` computers as they investigated
the agency`s detention and interrogation program. CIA Director John
Brennan privately denied to Feinstein that they had spied on the committee,
but also directed the Justice Department to look into whether committee
staffers gained unauthorized access to CIA computer systems.
So, this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ordered a forensic
examination of the Senate Intelligence Committee`s computer equipment to
answer what he called the CIA`s absurd claims that the committee staff have
hacked into the agency`s network. Clearly, Congress and the intelligence
community are headed for a standoff.
And who wants to lead them into it? None other than Rand Paul. He pushed
at the end of his speech for a select committee to investigate and reform
government surveillance. So, that is certainly something to watch for.
As is, what effect is Rand Paul having on his party? Paul thinks he`s hit
on an approach that can help Republicans to broaden their appeal. And he
does like to step outside the GOP`s comfort zones.
Last year, he went to historically black colleges for question and answer
sessions that resulted in some awkward encounters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: How many of you would have, if I would have said, who do you think
the founders of the NAACP are? Do you think they are Republicans or
Democrats? Would everybody here know they were Republicans?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
PAUL: All right. And you know more than I know.
I don`t mean that to be insulting. I don`t know what you know and, you
know, I mean -- I`m trying to find out what the connection is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: That might not have been as successful. But Paul`s broader point is
that Republicans need to talk to people they wouldn`t normally talk to, to
talk about issues they might not normally talk about.
So, can Rand Paul re-create this Berkeley moment elsewhere and on other
issues? And are young voters likely to bolt once they see the rest of his
Joining me now, MSNBC contributor and former Montana Governor Brian
Schweitzer. He`s back with us. Join by Matthew Fenny, an assistant editor
at "Reason" magazine, "BuzzFeed`s" John Stanton, and Emily Tisch Sussman
from the Center for American Progress Action Fund are also still at the
Welcome to all of you. I think this is such an interesting moment, an
And, Matthew, I particularly glad to have your take here. The concern with
Rand Paul`s approach is he`s essentially found a way to connect with
Berkeley students by moving to the left of President Obama.
Jennifer Rubin had an interesting quote that I wanted to get your response
to. She said, "In a very real sense, he`s trying to full a fast one on
students, concealing his views on majority of issues while trying to snag
them with some anti-government trinkets on national security. It`s likely
in the end that his pandering in Berkeley would come back to bite him in
Iowa while his Iowa campaign teams would make it impossible for him to win
votes from liberal college kids. What do you make of that?
MATTHEW FEENEY, REASON MAGAZINE: Well, I, you know, obviously, Jennifer
Rubin isn`t a Rand Paul fan.
FEENEY: I think actually, you know, what Rand Paul is doing should not be
surprising. And that he does have concerns about issues that liberal
students are going to be concerned about. But I -- you know, for people
who will libertarians that might like Ron Paul, I think Rubin touched on a
big point, which is he`s going to struggle in other areas in the primaries
if he does decide to run in 2016. I think pretty much he`s doing that all
but name really.
But the problem is, the issue that he`s talking about, the NSA, this is
dividing the Republican Party. You have Chris Christie, who have a very
sort of public falling out with Rand Paul on this issue. And I think it`s
going to be crucial for Republicans to decide on the nominee who -- where
they stand on issues like civil liberties and the war on drugs. Rand Paul
might out be out lifting liberals, but he certainly needs to make
conservatives happy, as well as liberals.
BALL: Yes. And so, that`s the tricky balance for him, because, you know,
he`s extraordinarily pro-life. He believes life beings at conception,
would outlaw abortion altogether. He`s against gay marriage. So, these
are issues that a lot of young voters would have trouble with.
You mentioned that Chris Christie and Rand Paul had a public spat over
national security. I think we have some of that tape. Let`s take a listen
on the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This strain of libertarianism that is
going through both parts right now and making big headlines, I think, is a
very dangerous thought. As the governor now of a state, that lost the
second most people on 9/11 behind the state of New York and still seeing
those families, John, I love all these esoteric debates that people are
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rand Paul, for example?
CHRISTIE: Listen, you can name any number of people with obligation and
he`s one of them. I mean, these esoteric, intellectual debates, I want
them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans,
and have that conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Pretty tough talk. And there`s Republican Party still a strong
national defense party. Is there room for Rand Paul`s brand of sort of
STANTON: Yes. I think there`s always been this strain. I think he is --
there`s increasingly a number of people -- ironically, it`s not so much the
younger people, like in their 20s. A lot of them have grown up with
Facebook, they`ve grown up cell phones. A lot of them seem to be much more
comfortable with this than people maybe my age, late 30s, or early 40s,
closer to his age, frankly.
And those people in the Republican Party are -- he`s speaking to them. But
to the older voters, to -- you know, sort of the bulk of Republicans, I
think Chris Christie is sort of voicing a little bit of their concerns,
although also he and Rand Paul just sot of hate each other. So --
BALL: There`s that, too.
BALL: Governor, what do you make of that and where the Republican Party is
today on national security?
SCHWEITZER: None of your damn business. I like that.
You know what? We shouldn`t spy on our neighbors. I didn`t support it
with the Patriot Act and real ID. The Republicans were wrong with George
Bush. The Democrats were wrong that voted for it.
And Rand Paul has this one right. I`m outraged that a Democratic president
is allowing the NSA to spy on American citizens. It`s OK to spy on
foreigners, American citizens, that`s our constitution.
But Rand Paul needs to add none of your damn business in my doctor`s office
to that. Leave women alone, and none of your damn business who I marry and
who I love. None of your damn business.
So, Rand, if you want to come over to us libertarians, you`ve got to be
consistent. You can`t go halfway.
BALL: And he`s going to have trouble in a way appealing to the young folks
that he`s courting right here, without adopting some of those positions.
FEENEY: Well, yes, I mean, look, it`s not news. Rand Paul is a
conservative. He`s going to have to do a broad appeal. I think on issues
like, you know, social issues, he`s having a good -- he`s having states
rights, sort of argument, which isn`t perfect for a lot of liberals. But
people might say, OK, well, as long as he`s not going to be legislating
from the Oval Office, and that`s different thing.
I will say, though, it`s interesting you described the isolationist foreign
policy. I actually don`t think that Rand Paul has an isolationist foreign
-- I think, you know, nonintervention is different from isolationism. He
wants to engage in the world, he doesn`t want the military being overly
involved. Isolationism to the extreme is something like North Korea and
non-interventionism is taken to extreme something like Switzerland.
FEENEY: I -- I was at CPAC recently and this sort of, you know, John
Bolton and these other Bush hangovers are talking about isolationism. And
I think it`s important, you know, that`s not really the foreign policy that
he`s advocating. It`s actually a foreign policy that I think young people
are sympathetic, too.
BALL: Well, Rand Paul, in a way, has not been as consistent in foreign
policy as his dad was. I think he might draw some distinctions there. He
criticized the president over not being strong enough, whatever that means.
Emily, you work a lot with the young folks. And the Republican Party, it`s
no secret, they need to appeal to more young folks if they`re going have an
electoral shot in the future. They have been making some new attempts.
They`re out with a new ad with a hipster young man, young millennial.
Let`s look that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I get ticked off at politicians who say they want to
help the unemployed and then vote for regulations that make it impossible
to hire anyone. Listen, you can`t help the unemployed by hurting the
people that could deploy them. I`m a Republican because my friends need a
paycheck, not an empty promise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: How`s this going to play with the young ones?
SUSSMAN: He`s so hip in his tortoise shell glasses opinion he`s so
appealing. I mean, I think this is -- you know, the closest thing as a
good messenger the Republicans have found.
Consistently, the problem with the Republican Party reaching out to young
people is they think the problem is messaging. They don`t think the
problem is the substance.
SUSSMAN: The real problem is the substance. Young people don`t see
anything coming out of the Republican Party, policies that can help them,
policies that can help them build a future.
I mean, you know, you talk about Rand Paul going over there. You know, the
reason he went to Berkeley basically is because he wanted to say, oh, you
entrepreneurs, I`m with you, I feel for you. You talk about tech. I get
it. I`m there. But then talk about the realities they`re going to face,
like these young people graduated. Now they actually have the capability
to start a business without worrying about health insurance because they
can buy it on the open market or their parent`s plans, things he`s against.
BALL: Well, one of the things that the recent Pew Research poll revealed
was that on a range of issues, whatever young millenials identified as,
they tended to be much more liberal than older cohorts. And that`s not
likely to change anytime soon.
All right. I want to thank John Stanton with "BuzzFeed" and "Reason
Magazine`s" Matthew Feeney for joining us today.
An update on this morning`s breaking news out of Michigan, two women have
become the first same-sex couple in that state to marry. Congratulations
to them. One day after a federal judge lifted that state`s ban on same-sex
marriage, the couple from Lansing was married by the Ingham County clear
just minutes after their office opened at 8:00 this morning.
There are reports of more couples lining up outside the courthouses in
other Michigan counties this morning. So, maybe there will be even more
same sex couples getting married in Michigan today. The state attorney
general has asked for a freeze on yesterday`s landmark ruling, allowing
same-sex marriage in Michigan. But even if that stay is issued, it will
not have come soon enough to stop all the marriages that are happening this
morning, again, one day after a federal judge lifted Michigan`s ban on
same-sex marriage, the first wedding has taken place this morning at the
Ingham Country courthouse.
We`ll be right back with more news after this.
BALL: Steve may not be here. But that doesn`t mean we haven`t been
keeping up with everything that`s been happening in New Jersey this week.
The arguments continue this morning between lawyers for Governor Chris
Christie`s fired aides and the investigative committee. The legislatures
who are trying to get their records, the aides are insisting on immunity in
order to turn over documents.
Meanwhile, Governor Christie took questions at a town hall on Thursday. He
sort of kind of maybe faced questions before at previous town halls. He
certainly had plenty of them shouted at him anyway by protesters, which
then resulted in those protesters being removed by police, and left the
questions they asked unanswered.
But this week, Governor Christie actually called on someone in the audience
who had a question he could not avoid. The man Fred Kanter (ph) told
Governor Christie on Thursday that he was not satisfied with Christie`s
answer back in January explaining why he fired his deputy chief of staff
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think something needed to be said there. I fired her
because she was involved in an illegal act.
CHRISTIE: Listen. But first of all, you`re again, saying something that
I`m not willing to say at this point because I`m not willing to prejudge
what a prosecutor is going to do. It`s an inappropriate for me to do that.
You as a citizen can clearly come to the conclusion that it`s an illegal
act and it may turn out to have been one.
But when you`re standing in this circle and you`re the governor of New
Jersey, you don`t have the luxury to give your opinion on that when there`s
an investigation going on that you have to cooperate with in every way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: And the investigation continues. Not just into the traffic jam in
Port Lee but into alleged conflicts of interest with one of his top
This week, we learned that federal prosecutors in New Jersey subpoenaed
Port Authority Chairman David Samson for conflicts of interest involving
projects he voted to approve that have ties to his own law firm. Mr.
Samson`s lawyer said he is not commenting on any investigations and his law
firm hasn`t had anything to say in the wake of this report either.
It seems this story has quite a ways to go yet. We`ll keep you updated.
BALL: If you`re like me, many of your friends and relatives and maybe
weekend morning show hosts have disappeared into the world of March
Madness. And maybe you`re a fan yourself. You filled in on a bracket with
your coworkers and you know that the president not only chose Michigan
State to win it all in April, he correctly picked Harvard to pull an upset
and make it past the first round. I have that pick, too.
Anyway, March Madness is a national obsession. And maybe part of it has to
do that your favorite player might not be playing in the tournament next
year. After losing to Minnesota in round two of the NCAA tournament,
freshman Shabazz Muhammad, the co-Pac-12 freshman of he year entered the
NBA draft. He now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Anthony Bennett of UNLV and Steven Adams of Pitt both saw their teams exit
the tournament in the first round last year. And that one game of March
Madness would be all that either of them ever played because Bennett and
Adams entered the NBA draft after their freshman year and both were drafted
as top picks.
But if the new NBA commissioner has his way, all three of these players
would be college sophomores right now. As it stands, the NBA draft
eligibility age is 19.
But the NBA`s new commissioner, Adam Silver, has made it a top priority to
change that draft age from 19 to 20. Last month, he said, quote, "It is my
belief that if players have an opportunity to mature as players and as
people for a longer of time before they come into the league, it would lead
to a better league."
If it happens, it would certainly be great news for the NCAA. What is now
often one and done for many college athletes would at least be two and done
before they`d be eligible for that NBA draft. But should they have to
stick around? What would the college players actually get out of it?
Those who agree with Silver say they`d be getting a college education and
maybe some life experience. That`s what. But why shouldn`t players be
able to weigh the pros and cons themselves and come to their own decisions?
Especially when another year of college sports opens them up to a possible
of being injured before they`ll even get a chance to go pro?
College basketball is a huge business. Television ad earnings on NCAA
tournament alone broke the billion-dollar mark, billion. And that does not
include ticket sales or other sponsorships. And that extraordinary amount
of revenue is being generated on the backs of student athletes. Yes, they
But they don`t see any of those billions of dollars of profits. Some
believe that under the current system, college players are being exploited.
Like historian Taylor Branch who wrote in 2012, "For all the outrage, the
real scandal is not that students are getting illegally paid or recruited.
It`s that the two of the noble principles on which the NCAA justifies its
existence, amateurism and the student athlete are cynical hoaxes.
Legalistic confections propagated by the universities so they can exploit
the skills and fame of young athletes." Strong words there.
So, maybe you are the rare person who picked Mercer to upset Duke in the
first round, and Dayton to win over Ohio State and North Dakota State to
finish off the Oklahoma Sooners in overtime. But even if your bracket is
perfect, for the players themselves, questions of eligibility and education
and compensation mean there is a lot more on the line.
For all of that, I want to ask my guests, MSNBC contributor Brian
Schweitzer, Jordan Schultz, sports columnist with the Huffington Post, Mike
Pesca, sports contributor at NPR and host of the podcast "Hang Up and
Listen" on "Slate", and Emily Tisch Sussman, with the Center for American
And I`ll tell you my view -- I think it is very paternalistic for the NBA
to think that they know what`s best for these players. To me, there is no
one in a better position to make the decision over whether they should
enter the draft early or wait through college or a couple of years before
they go in than the player themselves, Mike.
MIKE PESCA, SLATE.COM: Well, Adam Silver`s arguments are right. It would
make the NBA a little better, although we can debate that. There`s
actually Kevin Pelt (ph) did really a good study that shows you as player
get better in the NBA than you do in college. But it would probably make
the NBA better. You`d get more seasoned guys. It would definitely make
the NCAA better. You get guys that you know.
The only this is small little detail, it`s totally unfair.
PESCA: Like, I`m sure a lot of movie directors would like to shoot 14
hours a day with our kids. I`m sure a lot of sweat shop owners would say,
maybe we`d like to have child labor. And that`s not exactly equivalent
because we`re talking about a $4 an hour job with child labor and being an
NCAA basketball player that most everyone wants. It just happens totally
unfair, a totally unfair restriction of labor. Other than that, it`s a
BALL: Governor, I know you have a different take.
SCHWEITZER: Listen, I own the ranch. I get to decide what crops I want to
You own an NBA team, you get to decide which of these people we`re going
put on the floor. You get to say, I want some maturity, because I sell
these tickets to people who bring their sons and daughters, I want our
players to be role models. I want these people to be mature enough to make
$10 million and know what`s right, what`s wrong as they move along.
BALL: Sure, but Emily, this is different than the NBA teams deciding,
we`re going to let that player mature a little and take someone else right
now. This is the NBA as a rule overall saying we`re not allowed to do
that. They have to stay in college or out of the pros for two years.
SUSSMAN: Well, exactly, it`s really forcing them into an additional year
of the college system and beefing up the NCAA and March Madness, which you
pointed out, it`s a business.
SUSSMAN: I feel like we act like it`s a big surprise. It`s a massive,
massive business. And without compensating the players, it`s totally
insane. I feel like this came up last year. Example about when Kevin Ware
broke his leg. Everyone saw that moment. It was like -- and the next
minute, you thought, oh, and he`s not really being paid for this.
BALL: Right, he`s not being paid. And when you`re in college, you`re on a
scholarship. You`ve got no guarantees that you`re going to be brought
back. If you get injured, you could be done. So, I think for a lot of
these players, they`re thinking, I`ve got to get into the pros and start
making money. My window of athletic prowess is rapidly closing.
JORDAN SCHULTZ, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Yes, the thing about the -- since
`05, when this rule was implemented, the one and done as opposed to high
SCHULTZ: -- 57 guys have gone to the NBA. And I think when you look at
what`s happened, a lot of these guys, you think about Kevin Durant, Carmelo
Anthony, you know, Anthony Davis, these are one and done success stories.
But there`s a lot of other stories where guys haven`t made it or out of the
league or in the D-league playing in Europe.
And the bottom line for me is, by making it a two-year system, Krystal,
you`re allowing guys to develop maturity. And I had a lengthy
conversation, one on one with Adam Silver about this and I thought he
raised a really good point. By allowing guys that second year, to me at
least, and to him, you`re making guys better people, more mature. And
ultimately, I think it helps both the college and the NBA game.
If this rule has to change, Krystal, remember, it has to be collectively
bargained with the players union. A lot still needs to happen.
I`ve got to tell you, though, in talking to Adam, I do believe this will
become a two and done rule eventually.
BALL: It certainly seems to be his priority. And one other option,
interesting comment that I wanted to throw on the table here, is from
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. He says that the NCAA rules are so
hypocritical, there is absolutely no reason for a kid to go the college
because he`s not going to class. He`s actually not even able to take
advantage of all the fun, because the first semester he starts playing
So, if the goal is just to graduate to the NBA or be an NBA player, go to
the D League. He`s referring to the NBA development league.
I mean, what about that as an idea?
PESCA: That`s true. And Steven Adams, one of those guys that you talked
about, was one and done. Now he`s developing because he plays for the
thunder. And they said, you know, go to the D-League. I like Brian`s
argument because it`s so easy to rebut.
SCHWEITZER: Good luck.
PESCA: If you`re a rancher, and you own a team, you don`t want to plant
crops. That`s like an NBA owner saying, I`m not going draft a 19-year-old.
But no NBA owner would say that. Your -- the real analogy would be, if a
consortium or if a cartel were to make a rule that says you can`t plant --
BALL: Or the government.
PESCA: Or something like that. And the idea that players mature more in
college. I mean, for me, college was this entire de-maturation progress.
I have to recover from my four years of college. I think guys like Kevin
Garnett, who didn`t even go the college. You think guys like LeBron James,
and as you mentioned, Carmelo, you know, in the NBA finals and semifinals
happen, it`s going to be dominated by guys playing one year or no years in
college. They`re extremely mature.
I think that the whole college maturity should not only as paternalistic.
It`s absolutely not true at all.
BALL: Governor --
SCHWEITZER: I want to go to injury argument.
SCHWEITZER: These are athletes that started when they were 4 and 5 years
old because they loved the game. They love all the games. They played
when they were 9 and when they were 11. And they played in high school and
they`re playing in college.
They play because they love the game. They weren`t worried when they were
9 about getting injured and not being able to make it to the NBA. They
shouldn`t be worried about getting injured when they`re freshman in
They play because they love the game. That`s why they`re playing it,
number one. And number two, someday in the future, there might be somebody
who would pay me to do what I love.
So, don`t use the argument of you might get injured, because you`ve played
your whole life and you`ll continue to play because you love the game.
BALL: All right. We`re going to have much more on this great debate.
Don`t worry, you`ll get your chance to make your point.
We`ll be right back after this.
BALL: We`re back with more on this debate over whether or not the NBA
should lift the draft eligibility age from right now, it`s at 19, to 20.
Jordan, I know you wanted to jump in. What do you got?
SCHULTZ: Well, you know, I did play college basketball for four years. I
saw guys go through a lot of different things. Not at the level of Duke
and North Carolina and some of these guys.
But I did grow up with guys that went from high school to the NBA, a couple
of them. And I can tell you that if you`re dealing with paying players in
college, that`s an entirely different argument, Krystal. I mean, we`re
talking about guys going pro 18 to 20.
And the D-League comment that Mark Cuban made, I don`t think that`s a real
argument because guys in the D-League, the maximum salary is $26,000.
You`re traveling around on a bus quite often. You`re living a tough life.
And only 10 percent of those guys at most will make the NBA.
SCHULTZ: So, to me, that`s not a valid argument.
Although part of his argument was we could change aspects of the D-League
to make it more appealing, to make it a viable alternative. But, Emily,
one of the things that I think is undergirding some of this debate, is I do
think there`s some whatever a race and a class issue here, too. We`re
talking about a predominantly, African-American young men.
So, we`re looking at it through that prism, versus with golf and with
tennis, we`ve seen much more comfortable with young people going pro at a
much earlier age.
SUSSMAN: I think you`re right. I think there are elements of that. It`s
like an opportunity to go to college through athletic. Like, you know,
this is such a great opportunity.
And I think there are some athletes that do take advantage of the athletic
scholarship and that is totally fair. I would say it`s probably not
But I think that, you know, I do see an analogy here like the military.
You know, you`re OK continuing to go the wars once it was a volunteer
military. Once it was someone else`s child.
BALL: Mike, what do you say to that?
PESCA: Well, I mean, it`s definitely true, not only the individual sports
that you mention. But think about all the other aspects of life. The
programmers sometimes, you know, these big companies hire these wiz kids at
16 and they help the company. And acting, we talk about during the break,
you know, how old was Jennifer Lawrence or Emma Stone when they first got
their roles? And they were great. Who would ever say, no, you can`t be in
a real movie.
BALL: Right, even though at times it doesn`t work out so well.
PESCA: Sure, but that`s the same for everything. Sometimes child actors
become Ron Howard. And sometimes they become Lindsay Lohan. Just keep it
BALL: The point is to me, that nobody is in a better position to make that
decision than the players themselves.
PESCA: That`s right.
BALL: All right. I want to get to what people really care about. How the
NCAA tournament is shaping up right now? March Madness, y`all.
Last night with a stunning overtime upset over number five VCU, the Stephen
F. Austin Lumberjacks pulled off their 29th state win of the year. And
Virginia, my alma mater, and my pick to win it all, by the way, made its
way past coastal Carolina to advance to the second run.
But with VCU and Duke going down yesterday, millions of brackets were
busted. Mine first and foremost. I had both of them in the Final Four.
It didn`t work out so well. I should have listened to Jordan. I did
listen to you on picking Harvard.
SCHULTZ: I told you to take North Dakota State, Stephen F. Austin, and
Harvard, and St. Louis. You`ve got to listen to me, Krystal.
BALL: I know. You know, I might have had a little Virginia and ACC bias.
Just a little bit.
BALL: But you also had, you had Duke going out. Not quite this early.
SCHULTZ: I had Duke going to Michigan actually. So, look, I thought this
Duke team was not -- you know, this was not a classic Duke team. No size.
You look at the NCAA tournament, to me, it`s a matter of parity, 27 of out
30 years, a 12 seed has beaten a 5, three this year.
BALL: Mike, who do you like?
PESCA: Well, I don`t like the Obama bracket. I hate that. He`s picking
all the favorites. It`s extremely unpleasing. It`s guaranteed to lose.
PESCA: Right. He seems smart for two weeks. But you can`t win a
tournament like that.
PESCA: I got a glimpse of this guy`s bracket. He`s bold.
BALL: Pretty good?
PESCA: I think you have to be a little bold. He`s been a little bit
crazy. But I like Wichita because --
BALL: Do you like Virginia?
PESCA: I don`t like Virginia. They`re going to lose next round, not next
round, but in a couple of weeks.
BALL: Jordan told me he likes Virginia.
SCHULTZ: I like Virginia.
PESCA: If he had the Lumberjacks, if he`s riding the Lumberjacks --
BALL: He`s been good so far.
Governor, who do you like?
SCHWEITZER: So, here`s the map of the United States, I`m starting with
Florida and Gonzaga.
SCHWEITZER: And I`m going to go Syracuse and Wichita. But then I`m going
to put Florida and Syracuse in the final. And Florida wins it all.
SUSSMAN: Very visual.
BALL: Emily, you had unique bracket selecting --
SUSSMAN: I do. I have a strategy.
BALL: Tell me.
SUSSMAN: Having work in swing states during the fall, you always feel like
turnout has increased when your teams are doing well, so I went with swing
SUSSMAN: I went to swing states.
And then it was -- you don`t have a clear one, I went states that has been
good on Obamacare. I want to support Kentucky all the way.
BALL: Well, I have to say that even though I had Duke going against UVA,
whatever, I would still be very happy that Duke lost because I`m just happy
to see Duke lose.
BALL: Even though it busted my bracket, it`s a like win-win. It`s really
All right. Enough on that. We will keep you update next on how the search
for Flight 370 is progressing. We`ll have that when we come back.
BALL: Even more planes and ships are now headed to the south Indian Ocean
right now to join in the international search effort. More than 25
countries that are on the hunt for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
The new lead this morning, China said it had a new satellite image of what
might be wreckage from that missing jet liner. China`s state television
has posted what is said to be a photo of that floating debris on their
official verified Twitter page.
The latest lead comes as the search enters its third week. Still no
confirmed trace of Boeing 777 which disappeared from radar March 8th with
239 people aboard.
Switching gears in the time we have left this morning, I do want to find
out what my guest know now that they didn`t know when the week began.
Let`s start with you, Mike.
PESCA: Well, I know and the U.S. military knows or things they know, that
the Iranians are building a fake boat. They called it a target barge that
looks like a U.S. aircraft carrier. And the idea is that the Iranians will
blow it up on TV and claim they sunk a U.S. ship. This is crazy.
But I think, why stop there? If can you do this and convince the Iranian
population with this fake cardboard boat, just hire an Obama lookalike.
Have him fall face first in the custard, right? Have him lose a wrestling
match with a 4-year-old. Think of the propaganda, have (INAUDIBLE) in the
BALL: All the way.
SUSSMAN: (INAUDIBLE) the inauguration.
BALL: What have got, Emily?
PESCA: Mustaches on them, whatever.
SUSSMAN: I know now that oral argument on the Supreme Court on the Hobby
Lobby case are going to be extremely interesting and worth watching.
SUSSMAN: If you liked the Arizona law, you`ll love Hobby Lobby. It is
like Arizona law on steroids. It would be very interesting to watch that
case this week.
SCHWEITZER: So, the Obamacare advocates and opponents, they call it
Obamacare but it was written in Senate Finance Committee, as we probably
recall. They tied it up, they negotiated. They were looking for some
Republican support from Grassley and Olympia Snowe and Enzi.
At the end of the day, we`ve got a bill that a lot of Republican ideas but
no Republican votes.
SCHWEITZER: All three of the Democrats who are involved in that
negotiation are now no longer in the Senate, Bingaman, Conrad, and now Max
Baucus has gone to China. So, Obamacare was actually written in the Senate
Finance Committee by three Democrats and three Republicans, of which four
of the six are no longer in the U.S. Senate.
BALL: Jordan, quickly.
SCHULTZ: Other than that, Warren Buffett is still smarter than everybody
else, 8 million brackets filled out, only took 25 games, Krystal, for the
perfect bracket madness to be over. Warren Buffett continues to show us
why he`s Warren Buffett.
BALL: Amazing. And I learned that I am terrible at picking brackets.
All right. I want to thank Mike Pesca, Emily Tisch Sussman, Governor Brian
Schweitzer and Jordan Schultz. Thanks to you for getting UP.
And thank you for joining us today for UP.
We will be back tomorrow morning, Sunday at 8:00, to take a look at how the
Moral Monday movement is taking root and spreading across the South. I`ll
be speaking Reverends William Barber and Raphael Warnock about that. And
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will join me with his latest in
the fight against wage theft for fast food workers.
But next on "MHP", Jonathan Capehart is in for Melissa Harris-Perry. The
state relations between the U.S. and Russia is a return to Cold War or more
of a big chill? Plus, a very special guest is coming to Nerdland this
morning, the first African-American woman president of the legendary
Stick around. Nerdland is next.
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