updated 4/29/2014 11:27:41 AM ET 2014-04-29T15:27:41

UP with STEVE KORNACKI
April 27, 2014

Guests: Charles Smith, Joan Walsh, Kellyanne Conway, Dave Heller, Pat
Schroeder Joe Slade White, Ann Lewis, Azi Paybarah, Joan Walsh, Lyndsey
Layton, Rob Astorino, Wendell Steinhauer, Jim Douglas


STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: What President Obama has to say about the
racially charged comments that were allegedly made by the owner of the L.A.
Clippers.

The racist remarks allegedly made by an NBA owner that came to light
yesterday have already ignited a firestorm and fueled national outrage.
And now this morning, that outrage has gone international, with President
Obama weighing in from Malaysia just a few hours ago and casting the
comments as part of America`s fraught racial legacy of slavery and
segregation, against which he says we continue to struggle. More on that
in just a moment. First the details.

Meet Donald Sterling. For 30 plus years he has owned one of the reliably
worst teams in the NBA, the Los Angeles Clippers. But they are not that
bad anymore. Right now, the Clippers are in the playoffs actually, and
they are facing the Golden State Warriors. They lead that best of 7 first
round series 2-1, with game four set for this afternoon.

Yesterday, TMZ Sports posted what it says is an audio recording of a
conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend. NBC News, we should
note, has not been able to authenticate the recording. But this is what
went online.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAN: It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you`re
associating with black people. Do you have to?

WOMAN: You associate with black people.

MAN: I`m not you and you`re not me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: According to TMZ, Sterling was upset that his girlfriend, who is
African-American and Mexican, posted an Instagram photo of herself with
Magic Johnson, the photo has since been taken down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAN: You can sleep with them, you can bring them in, you can do whatever
you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that -- and not to
bring them to my games.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Magic Johnson, Hall-of-Famer with the L.A. Lakers, has responded
that he will not attend any Clippers game going forward as long as Sterling
owns the team. In a statement last night, the LA Clippers said the
comments on the audiotape do not represent Donald Sterling`s views. They
also say they don`t know if the recording is legitimate or it has been
altered. They point out that the woman said to be on the recording is the
defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging she
embezzled more than $1.8 million, and they say she told Sterling she would,
quote, get even. The woman is challenging that lawsuit.

LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers says his players considered boycotting today`s
game but decided against it. As for Sterling, he has reportedly assured
league officials that he will not be in attendance this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOC RIVRES, COACH: What are we going to do? It has an impact. You move
on. It upsets all of us. There is not one guy that`s happy with the
situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Before last night`s Grizzlies/Thunder playoff game in Memphis,
the new NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, said the league finds the recording
disturbing and offensive, and plans to investigate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: All members of the NBA family should be
afforded due process and a fair opportunity to present their side of any
controversy. Which is why I`m not yet prepared to discuss any potential
sanctions against Donald Sterling. We will, however, move extraordinarily
quickly in our investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: If the tape is found to be authentic, then the possibility of
some kind of suspension for Sterling looms, or maybe even an aggressive
attempt by Silver to force him to sell the franchise. An X factor in this
is his fellow team owners. How much latitude will they give Silver, the
commissioner, to go after Sterling if the tape is found to be authentic?

In Malaysia just a few hours ago, when asked to comment by our own Chuck
Todd, President Obama expressed confidence in the NBA and denounced the
statements on the audiotape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: When ignorant folks want to advertise their
ignorance, you don`t really have to do anything. You just let them talk.
And that`s what happened here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: The president then cast the comments in a larger historical
context.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race, and
slavery and segregation. That`s still there. The vestiges of
discrimination. We have made enormous strides, but you`re going to
continue to see this percolate up every so often.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Joining me on the phone for more right now is NBC sports
broadcaster Bob Costas. Bob, appreciate the time this morning.

We know that Donald Sterling will not be in attendance this afternoon when
the Clippers play their next game. We know that LeBron James, the best
player in basketball right now, said yesterday there is no room for Donald
Sterling in our league. We also know the league has to go through a
process here of authenticating this tape, there is a sort of a whole bunch
of legal protocols that they have to go through. But if this tape is
authenticated, if we find out this is real, this is Donald Sterling, can
you game out what you expect, what actions you then expect that Adam
Silver, the NBA commissioner, might take?

BOB COSTAS, NBC: What Adam Silver would want, and I emphasize I haven`t
spoken with Adam since this story broke yesterday, but he`s an extremely
measured, reasonable guy. He`s not a guy who likes to grandstand. This is
his first big public test since he succeeded David Stern. I`m sure that
what he would prefer is Donald Sterling be out of the league. But what
public opinion calls for, what even a majority -- an overwhelming majority
of the people in the NBA might hope would be the outcome then comes up
against whatever legal obstacles they might face. After all, Sterling owns
the team. Whether they can force him to divest himself of the team, I
think he`s in his early 80s and he is in failing health, and he wanted to
pass ownership of the team on to family members. Whether or not they could
force him to sell is another question.

Then you get into an area not just of high-handed decrees that a
commissioner would hand down, but one of the most important things a
commissioner can do, which is to exercise effective persuasion, to call
Donald Sterling aside in private and say, look, we are not going to try to
embarrass you any further than you have already embarrassed yourself. But
please understand, you have been in the league a long time. We have to say
he`s been a very controversial and unruly owner who has a lot of demerits
against him. But nonetheless, you have been in the league a long time.
Please consider the well-being of the league overall. There can be no
satisfactory outcome here except an abject, unequivocal apology made
publicly, not through a statement issued by your P.R. office, but by you
personally, standing in front of a microphone at a press conference, making
a statement. And then you saying that, of your own accord, after speaking
with NBA officials that you have decided that it is time not just to
apologize but to sell the team. That`s the outcome the league wants. How
quickly they can effect it, I`m not sure.

KORNACKI: And it`s one of the tools that Adam Silver has here. I guess we
are trying to figure out exactly how much latitude he has from the owners
in this league, because you have Michael McCann, who writes about legal
issues for "Sports Illustrated," saying he suspects there would actually be
resistance from some of Sterling`s fellow owners to the idea of, for
instance, a lengthy suspension, because of the precedent it might set. You
have Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner, who tweeted when this all
broke yesterday, he said on Twitter it`s playoff time, no reason to talk
about anything in the NBA that does not relate to our Mavs. Let`s go,
Mavs. So he wanted no part of addressing it yesterday.

I wonder if there is a parallel to baseball when you think back to Marge
Shott (ph) in the 1990s. I think she served two different suspensions, and
then she finally, as she was getting older, she was in poor health, she
finally agreed to sell the team. Is the threat of a suspension -- a long-
term suspension a tool that Adam Silver has? Does he have the latitude to
use it as a lever against Donald Sterling here?

COSTAS: He definitely has the latitude to do that. A lengthy, significant
suspension, along with a fine, is definitely something he has the right to
do.

I expect that to happen, unless he can get him to just sell the team
outright and he doesn`t have to take that interim step. That he can do.
And I don`t think there is anything that can stop him from doing that.

KORNACKI: And finally, can you just talk a little bit about Donald
Sterling as an owner? Because to me, he`s now the longest tenured owner in
the NBA. And he sort of represents this era in the NBA when teams were --
the pre-Bird, Magic era, pre-Jordan era, the teams were a lot more
affordable. I think he bought the Clippers for something like $12 million
35 years ago.

COSTAS: Now he can probably sell them for something closer to a billion.

KORNACKI: Right. So he can turn a tidy profit if he sells them now. But
Donald Sterling has sort of been a -- you mentioned the controversial past.
He`s sort of mysterious. We don`t even know what his exact age is. There
was a housing discrimination lawsuit that he settled a few years ago where
he was discriminating against African-Americans. There was a
discrimination suit filed by Elgin Baylor, the NBA legend who was his
general manager for years. This has been one of the more mysterious and
controversial owners in all of team sports. Hasn`t he?

COSTAS: Yes. And generally speaking, he`s been an unsuccessful owner,
even a laughing stock owner in some respects. However, in recent years,
the team has come together. They have among the most appealing young stars
in the league. It`s a predominantly African-American league, so noting
this shouldn`t come as that much of a surprise, because the vast majority
of players and star players in the league happen to be African-American.
But he has Chris Paul on his team, he has Blake Griffin on his team. His
coach is one of the most respected and successful coaches in the league,
happens to be African-American, Doc Rivers.

So you have an internal problem there. These guys are deeply, deeply
uncomfortable with what has happened. And if they went with their gut,
there is a lot that they would say right now. However, they are also
concerned with, as Mark Cuban put it regarding his team, concentrating on
the playoffs. As Chris Paul put it, the best thing we can do is do the
best job we can do as a team, focus on what the team can achieve, rather
than let this in the short term distract us. But when the Clippers are
either eliminated from the playoffs or if they somehow go all the way and
win the whole thing and when the season is over, then I expect to see a lot
of these players on the team speak very bluntly and very directly about how
they feel about Donald Sterling and about how -- if and when they become
free agents, they would look to sign with some other team and prefer to be
somewhere else unless and until someone other than Donald Sterling owns the
Clippers.

KORNACKI: All right. Turning now to a former basketball star who played
with the Clippers for several seasons, Charles Smith, who was with the team
from 1988 to 1992. He is now president and CEO of the Pro Basketball
Alumni Association.

And, Charles, you played for Donald Sterling`s team. I`m just curious what
your interactions with him were like, what your sense of him was. And when
you see something like this, all these years later, is it surprising to you
or were there hints in your dealings with him back then that, yes, you`re
not too surprised by something like this?

CHARLES SMITH, CEO, PRO BASKETBALL ALUMMNI ASSOCIATION: If you look at my
history when I left the Clippers, it`s pretty much documented. It got to a
point where I just wanted to leave.

I had some interactions with him. Nothing along the racial lines. But he
could be a pretty difficult owner. And I think there are a lot of players
who would feel that way. And these comments and sentiments made are of
global proportion. It`s just not with the players, and the league and the
fans. This is bad for business.

KORNACKI: When you say a difficult owner, it wasn`t necessarily racial
comments. What kind of difficult owner was he then to deal with?

SMITH: You know, from a historical standpoint, the Clippers were always
last in doing things, from an economic basis. The last to get a charter
plane. The last to have an arena. The last to have the proper facilities.
When I was there, the morning of you would find out where we were
practicing. So there were a lot of issues there.

But over the years -- and where they are today, I`m actually happy for
those players that are there now, because as you said, it`s one of the most
reliably worst (ph) organizations in all of sports, but compared to where
they are today -- I went to a game the Clippers last year, and I actually
saw some fans there from when I played. So I`m happy for where they are
today. And I know that -- I played with Doc on three different NBA teams.
I know that he`s primed and he understands this whole dynamic. He`ll get
the team back on track. And this is not the time to boycott, or picket or
march. I think this is a situation where the players save their personal
currency, refrain from comment. The players are built for eliminating
distractions and issues and focus on the game. I know Chris Paul and those
guys will do that. And I look forward to them making it to the NBA finals.

KORNACKI: If you can tell us a little bit -- you played with Doc Rivers.
This is his first year with the Clippers. This may be end up being the
best year in franchise history in terms of how far they go in the playoffs.
He coached the Celtics to the title a few years ago. Tell us a little bit
about Doc Rivers as a man, as a leader, as a coach. He`s the guy sort of
leading the players through this right now. Tell us a little bit about
him.

SMITH: You know, we took Utah into game five finals when that was the
first time we went into the playoffs in 17 years. Doc was on that team.
We remembered the racial riots in L.A. during that time. So there were a
lot of race issues going on. And Doc is a very grounded individual. He
understands players. He understands race relations. He understands the
business part of the game. I think he`ll motivate his team. He`ll
eliminate the distractions. The team will be focused, and they will go out
and play as if this never happened, because he has the ability to motivate
players and himself to do that.

KORNACKI: And, Bob, when you look back at sort of the history of Donald
Sterling`s ownership of the team, I guess one of the things that stands
out, we are talking about how historically futile the team was until the
last few years. And of course, one of the things I guess that sort of --
you look at these comments and you say, they are terrible comments and
everything, and you also say at the same time, this is an owner who hired
one of the first African-American general managers in the NBA. Hired Elgin
Baylor and kept him for 22 years. Has hired several black coaches. It
becomes in a way -- I don`t want to say that excuses anything, obviously,
but it makes it a little more surprising, I guess, from the outside, if you
don`t know much about Donald Sterling, just given some of his hiring
history.

COSTAS: Not everything falls into place as a perfect example of what kind
of guy Donald Sterling is, which is true of most people. There are things
that would kind of prove the point that seems to be out there now about
Donald Sterling, and there might be a few things that would mitigate the
point.

Overall as an owner, with the last few years being an exception and with
the Larry Brown years a decade or so ago being an exception, overall his
tenure as the owner of the team has been awful. And talking to people who
worked within the front office, there were often times they had a chance to
make good trades, or good draft picks, and he vetoed it for financial
reasons or for whatever quirky reasons. He`s a very inscrutable man, a
difficult man to read. He`s in his early 80s. He`s sick, apparently quite
ill. Who knows what`s going through his mind or what is motivating him.

And when you look at this thing, and I don`t have any knowledge of his
relationship with this woman, if it was just a spat between a man and his
girlfriend or whatever their relationship is, and he was expressing concern
or outrage about her associations with other people and about Instagram
pictures and who she brought to games, but there was no racial element in
it, people would just say, oh, you know, it`s just an old guy and his
girlfriend and whatever. And it was just another chapter in a rather goofy
history.

But when you add the racial element to it, then you have an entirely new
situation. And it`s very, very difficult, impossible in fact, to reconcile
these comments with this man being the owner of an NBA team. It would
actually be difficult to reconcile these comments with him being the owner
of a team 30 years ago, let alone now. It`s just impossible. I just don`t
see how there can be any resolution to this where people within the league
will be at all comfortable if Donald Sterling remains as the owner of the
team.

KORNACKI: I guess, Charles, that`s a question then as well. If there is
pressure from the league, soft pressure, hard pressure, whatever, for
Donald Sterling to sell this, to divest somehow in the off season, what
happens though if you get to the next season? You talk about how there`s
been this resurgence in fan interest or maybe for the first time ever there
is fan interest in the L.A. Clippers in LA and nationally. They have been
able to actually go out and sign free agent players the last few years that
they never would have done when you were playing there. What happens
though if come next October, come next November, even if he`s suspended,
Donald Sterling still owns the team? What happens then?

SMITH: I think players, first of all, in dealing with this situation, the
players have very little power, if any at all, on this decision. This is
put in the hands of the commissioner and the owners. From a player`s
perspective, the only thing they can do is from their personal preference.
If they are a free agent they don`t want to play for the ball club. I
think Mike Woodson (ph) already made the statement that if this is true, he
would not want to coach the Clippers. That`s all you can potentially do
for now.

As I mentioned earlier, boycotting, picketing, those sorts of things,
players need to save their personal currency. That`s not the time for it.
Let`s see what the commissioner does, let`s see what the owners do. This
is not a simple slap on the wrist and take some sensitivity courses. This
is something that needs to be addressed, and a result has got to come out.
Because this is not just bad for African-Americans. Yes, the league is 85
percent African-American. This is bad for the owners, it`s bad for the
league, it`s bad for the fans. And more importantly, it`s also bad on a
global level. The league has owners from Russia. President Obama is in
Malaysia. They have an owner from Southeast Asia, from India. They look
at our culture and our race a little differently. It can impact business,
period. So this needs to be handled and dealt with permanently.

COSTAS: Two quick thoughts if I may. One, and I think this part is
encouraging. I`m not being naive about this. I`m not saying Donald
Sterling is the only person who holds these views that may come out in an
unguarded moment. But more and more, people like Donald Sterling are
becoming outliers. It isn`t just African-Americans in the league. It`s
everyone within the league.

Coincidentally, I happened to have dinner last night with an NBA executive.
He happens to be white. He`s outraged and concerned about this. People
are appalled. People within the league are appalled. The NBA has been a
progressive league. This is the sort of thing that everyone, virtually
everyone involved in the league wants to put behind them and thought was
well behind them and has no place in the NBA.

The one area where I might slightly disagree with Charles, and I think he`s
made a lot of really good points, is that while the NBA players may have no
direct power, they do have the power of influencing public opinion. And I
think perhaps post playoffs or after the Clippers are eliminated from the
playoffs, if it happens that way, a united stand by the NBA Players
Association with several of the most prominent players in the league --
past and present -- on camera, standing there. LeBron, Magic, whomever it
might be, saying this is the kind of thing that the NBA cannot tolerate.
And we as a group want something significant done about it. Whether or not
they have official power to influence that decision is one thing. But do
they have the power of public pressure? I think they do.

KORNACKI: Let me do a quick follow-up to that. I mentioned the example of
Marge Schott in Major League Baseball a few minutes ago back in the 1990s.
I remember how long it took for that to sort of play out. There were
multiple suspensions, there were multiple comments that were made by her.
Inflammatory comments about Hitler, about African-Americans. It took years
actually to get to the point where she sold the team. You are talking
about potentially an expedited process here that leads to Donald Sterling
being on his way out by the start of the next season, 2014-15 season. Are
you just looking at it right now, are you fairly confident that that can be
achieved by the start of the next NBA season?

COSTAS: I think it can be achieved. I think it`s what Adam Silver would
logically want to achieve. And he has to pull together a coalition of
players, of owners, of administrators within the league. I don`t think it
will be difficult to do. He has to show a display of force, if that is the
right word, where there is unanimity of opinion here, that this is an
entirely reasonable thing to do. It`s not a unilateral punishment of
Donald Sterling that`s uncalled for or arbitrary. This has crossed a line
-- a bold red line that every sensible person in sports, every sensible
person in America, doesn`t want to see crossed.

SMITH: I think, Bob, we are actually in agreement. I am stating they
refrain for now --

COSTAS: I agree. Sure.

SMITH: They refrain for now, until a decision is made. If you look at the
history of the league, there have been fines, suspensions and bans on
players for different things that they have done. And there have been --
there`s a lot of money that`s been spent on training players and being in
situations sort of like what Donald Sterling is in. I think they have to
look at it from a public outcry and deal with this situation. Now you have
an owner in a situation that players get into sometimes.

KORNACKI: That`s right. See, this is the -- the roles are a little bit
reversed here what happens with an owner, actually, saying something far
worse than I think as far as I can tell, from any player. I want to say
thanks to Bob Costas from NBC Sports for getting up and joining us this
morning. I really appreciate it. And also former basketball player,
former L.A. Clipper, New York Knick Charles Smith.

Changing gears now. Is simply having a woman on the ballot enough to
overcome the gender gap? That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: With the disproportionate number of men in elected office in
this country, politics can sometimes feel like it`s a man`s game. But the
census with woman at 51 percent of the population and the exit polls, tell
us a different story. Back in 2008, Democrats running in House races
across the country won the women`s vote by an aggregate of 14 points. It`s
not a coincidence that in that same election, they significantly increased
their House majority and took over control of the Senate. And the
candidate at the top of the ticket, Barack Obama, won the White House. Two
years later, in the 2010 midterms, Republicans actually won the women`s
vote by a point, and it helped them to pick up more than five dozen House
seats and win back that chamber. And then the pendulum swung back in 2012,
when Mitt Romney`s "binders full of women" comment during the second
presidential debate went viral, and he lost to President Obama among women
by 12 points, and lost the whole election to President Obama. So now with
the midterm elections heating up, we are seeing the competition for women
voters getting intense, especially but not only in Colorado.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It comes down to respect for women and lives, so
Congressman Cory Gardner`s history promoting harsh anti-abortion laws is
disturbing. Gardner sponsored a bill to make abortion a felony, including
cases of rape and incest. Gardner even championed an eight-year crusade to
outlaw birth control here in Colorado.

But Mark Udall protects our right to choose. Our access to birth control.
Mark Udall. In a word -- respect.

SEN. MARK UDALL, D-COLO.: I`m Mark Udall and I approved this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: The new Quinnipiac poll out in Colorado this week shows the race
between Senator Udall and Republican Congressman Cory Gardner is neck and
neck, with Udall up by just a point. This is a purple state that voted for
the president in 2008 and 2012, but where Republicans have a real chance to
pick up a Senate seat this November.

Now, look below the hood at these tight numbers, and you will see a
gigantic gender gap. Gardner is running practically at 1984 Reagan levels
with men, Democratic Senator Udall is at impressive 2008 Obama levels with
women. These lopsided numbers show just how critical women voters are to
Democrats trying to hold on to the Senate this year. In Colorado, and in
other states.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE TERRI LYNN LAND: I`m Terri Lynn Land. Congressman
Gary Peters and his buddies want you to believe I`m waging a war on women.
Really? Think about that for a moment.

I`m Terri Lynn Land and I approve this message because, as a woman, I might
know a little bit more about women than Gary Peters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That was Republican Terri Lynn Land in Michigan fighting back
against an SEIU sponsored ad in that state. Huffington Post pollster,
which averages all public polls taken in Michigan, has Peters and Land tied
at 39 percent each. They are running for the seat now held by Democrat
Carl Levin.

And in Georgia, there is a rather unique circumstance of Republican
candidate Karen Handel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAREN HANDEL: We (inaudible) war on women and income equality. And my
opponents in the race, they have already generated headlines. That will
play right into the hands of the Democrats. And I would just love to see
Michelle Nunn try to drop the war on oh women on me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: But is being a woman herself, Handel seems to suggest enough to
inoculate her from the war on women attack? In 2012 she Handel was at the
center of a national fire storm over women`s reproductive health when under
her leadership the Susan G. Komen for the cure, the cure for breast cancer
organization cut off the breast cancer screening funding that Komen gives
Planned Parenthood each year. Preventative health care is a big part of the
group`s work. It provides about 750,000 breast exams a year, as well as
other kinds of cancer screening. The group gets lots of attention for
providing abortions that only accounts for three percent of Planned
Parenthood`s annual spending. So, there was a huge public backlash against
Komen for cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer
exams, and Handel resigned her post as a result. Komen ended up restoring
its funding to Planned Parenthood, but Handel didn`t make amends with the
organization. In her 2012 book called "Planned Bullyhood." she called
Planned Parenthood, "a bunch of schoolyard thugs." So, this is the Karen
Handel that says she`s best suited to stand up to Democrats who say the GOP
is waging a war on women in socially conservative Georgia - Could she be
right? And we`re putting forward candidates - putting forward women
candidates, excuse me, be enough for Republicans to win over more women or
the policies actually have to change?

To talk about all this, I want to bring in MSNBC political analyst Joan
Walsh, editor-at-large for Salon.com. Kellyanne Conway, she`s a Republican
pollster, MSNBC contributor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, she`s a fellow with
the University of Texas and former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, she`s a
Democrat from Colorado. Colorado, the state we began talking about there.
So, Pat, I`ll start with you. Colorado really is - this poll this week
told us this could be the tipping point state this year when it comes to
control of the Senate. It`s sort of was the tipping point state in 2012.
No state was closer in 2012 in the Obama/Romney race. No state may be
closer in this election. And you look at those gigantic gender gap numbers
in this Udall versus Gardner race and you look at all these talk out there
about, you know, 2014 is a midterm, midterm turn out patterns tend to favor
Republicans. The Democratic base doesn`t stay home. It looks to me like
Colorado illustrates better than any other state how important it is among
Democrats to get women out to vote and to get that margin as big as they
can among women.

FMR. REP. PAT SCHROEDER (D) COLORADO: I think you`re right. But I think
there is another thing about Colorado. That if we keep - if Udall keeps
explaining his differences it will help. People forget that in 1893
Colorado was the very first state where men voted to give women the right
to vote. It was the very first state in the union. But it wasn`t a
legislator. It was the man on a general election. And I think it`s always
been a fairness state. And I don`t think they really like people over
regulating and over getting into - we have defeated the personhood
amendment several times. His also - his opponent has also not been for the
Fair Pay Act. And all these other things. So, when you put all of those
together I don`t think it`s just going to be resonating with women. I
think we`ll start to see some of the men. So, I`m very pleased that Udall
is going out there. His mother was a Colorado native. She was a pilot.
She went to the Peace Corps. She was - and so, Udall was raised by the
right kind of mother .

(LAUGHTER)

SCHROEDER: And he`s got the idea. And it fits the Colorado model.

KORNACKI: When you`re talking about the personhood amendment that was on
the ballot in Colorado in 2010, the Republican who is running against
Udall, Cory Gardner, as a congressman in 2010, supported that. Now,
running for the U.S. Senate in Colorado. And the district he was in a
little more Republican friendly, and the mistake is as a whole, now saying
he understands what it actually would do. Changes his position on it. But
Kellyanne, as, you know, as a Republican (INAUDIBLE), I mean this is one
obviously if your party could pick off Colorado that puts your party in a
much better position to take back the Senate this year. When you look at
gender gap numbers like that and I look back and I compared it to the last
competitive Senate election in Colorado, 2010 when Bennet beat the
Republican Ken Buck, a very close race. He did it with a 16-point margin
among women. When he was a 17-point margin among women here, it`s got to
concern you. And where do you think that`s coming from?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: The gender gap exists for many
different reasons. Democrats do have a natural advantage among female
voters. Men have a natural advantage among male voters. But in 2014,
Steve, the issues do feel and seem according even to NBC`s own polling a
lot like the 2010 issues. Spending is there, jobs, the economy, of course,
the crown jewel, the Affordable Care Act otherwise known as Obamacare. And
this is something that Senator Udall has really distanced himself from in
public comments. He`s pretty harsh on the president`s promise to keep your
health care if you like it. This is Senator Udall talking now. Not the
Republican. And I think that women in Colorado like women across this
country have a whole basket of issues, individuals, images and ideas that
they consider before they make a choice. I actually think if the war on
women is going to be waged almost exclusively on abortion and contraception
that the Democratic Party is narrow casting to women. We are just - we are
completely ignoring what women say motivates them at the ballot box, which
is any kind of .

KORNACKI: The thing that I wonder about them I see as two things. First
of all, the war on women was a heavy point of emphasis in the 2012
campaign.

CONWAY: Right. Right. It`s different.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Terry McAuliffe in 2013. And again, it`s clear to the
Democrats, Joan, at least, I mean the first ad, the first ad that Udall
goes up in Colorado focuses on this.

CONWAY: But what`s he going to say? Obamacare is good for you? It`s women
.

WALSH: Well, but I mean .

CONWAY: Don`t even say .

WALSH: I would take issue with the idea that this is narrow casting about
abortion and contraception. Those issues definitely matter. But what I
see Democrats doing, which I think is really important and also will widen
the gender gap, is really talking about women`s issues as economic issues.
And pushing for it - and increasing the minimum wage, which would benefit -
disproportionally benefit, when - because they make up two thirds of
minimum wage workers. I can never understand why Republicans who oppose
pay equity acts don`t say, but you know what, let`s coordinate, let`s
compromise on the minimum wage. Because that will .

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: The pay equity blew up many on the White House`s face. It would
reveal that the White House pays women less than it pays men.

KORNACKI: We - this is the point where we have to blame Donald Sterling
for something, but because - first, we have to squeeze a break. And I want
to hear from Victoria and I want to keep this going. But we have to get a
break into that right now. We`ll come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: So, we are talking about Colorado sort of being a template what
we saw in Colorado being a template for the Senate races across country
this year, certainly when it comes to Democratic strategy, Victoria, with
the first ad being run by the Democrats stressing the war on women, trying
to drive up that gender gap as much as they can. Is that - do you see it
as a viable strategy for Democrats in 2014?

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Very much so. Because the
issue of reproductive rights, of abortion rights, and also of contraception
access is a gateway issue. Even though as a woman you may not be in favor
of abortions in all circumstances, you are going to just tune out if you
keep hearing that vitriolic rhetoric against women attacking you. It`s - I
liken it to immigration. Where immigrants, you know, they vote on a bunch
of stuff, not just immigration, but they hear that vitriolic rhetoric,
anti-immigrant, illegal, and they just tune out. And they turn away from
Republicans. We`re going to see the same thing with Democrats. And also,
remember, the Republicans in 2012 tried - Democrats, you`re waging an
economic war on women. And it fell on its face. There was this great ad
that Crosswords GPS put out.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: In Texas as Wendy Davis herself. Now, calling herself prolife,
she`s completely scrubbed abortion and contraception from her Web site.
She raised 12 million nationally as being - you know, running on abortion
rights. And now she said she`s prolife. And the PPP poll last week showed
that she`s got a 46 percent unfavorable rating among women.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: I think she - I`m prolife. We are all prolife in a sense. I mean
I think .

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: We fought that for a long time that people who are anti-choice
should be the ones getting themselves .

SCHROEDER: Anti-choice?

CONWAY: Prolife?

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Let me just ask - let me ask one thing. Because I do want to -
the twist in 2014 from the Republican standpoint is in 2012 the national
ticket was Romney/Ryan. It`s two guys. Now, in a couple of these races we
see it in the ad we played from Michigan. Terri Lynn Land in Michigan -
Karen Handel basically telling Republicans, hey, nominate me. Let them say
war on women against me. That twist. Do you think it helps?

SCHROEDER: But it`s also - women see it as wolves in designer clothing.

CONWAY: No.

SCHROEDER: And some of women say, we have had that - we don`t have women
run in Colorado trying to do that. And they don`t. I mean that people
really listen. And if they are aligning themselves with the very negative
gateway conversation they are not going to buy into it. And they are
really - I mean women are a lot smarter than people think. I think the
other real problem is so many people now who have really been so negative
about abortions start defining contraceptives as a border (INAUDIBLE). And
so, women have figured that out because they figured out - this big
expansive new thing that`s going on. So, I really think that they are
listening a lot closer.

KORNACKI: This is another blame Donald Sterling thing. Because this
conversation should have gone on much longer.

DEFRANCESCO SOTO: We`ll be back.

KORNACKI: I thank you for coming and we`ll pick it up another time. I
want to thank former Congressman Pat Schroeder for coming on this morning.
Joan Walsh we will see you the next hour. Thanks as well to Kellyanne
Conway. We`ll have you back. And how one bill board could change all
political ads forever. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BROKAW: Senator Bob Dole who is standing by in his headquarters.
Anything you`d like to say to him at this point?

GEORGE H.W. BUSH: I just wish him well and meet him in the south.

BROKAW: And Senator Dole, is there anything you`d like to say to the vice
president?

DOLE: Yeah. Stop lying about my record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That was Bob Dole as his 1988 presidential dreams fell apart
when he lost the pivotal New Hampshire primary to George H.W. Bush and
lashed out as opponent in the late night television interview with Tom
Brokaw. Bush`s New Hampshire victory had been fuelled by a late batch of
attack ads that characterized Dole as a tax hiker. And Dole as you heard
thought the ads were lies. But was he right? Who gets to decide? That`s
the basic question at the heart of a case that came before the Supreme
Court this week when the justices heard arguments about whether the states
can make it a crime to lie about candidates during a campaign. About a
third of the states already have laws on the books that make certain kinds
of campaign lies illegal. Steve Driehaus is a former moderate Democratic
congressman from Cincinnati. And during the 2010 election, the anti-
abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List wanted to put up a billboard
targeting Congressman Driehaus for voting yes on the Affordable Care Act.
And part of a national campaign, this part of the national campaign group
was launching against Democrats. The billboard was supposed to read "Shame
on Steve Driehaus. Driehaus voted for tax-payer funded abortion." The
only problem was Driehaus described himself as prolife. He was one of
several Democratic members who tied their support for the ACA to President
Obama taking specific action to keep abortion coverage out of the
Affordable Care Act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THEN REP. STEVE DRIEHAUSE (D), HIO: The president will be releasing the
text of an executive order, which is a sweeping executive order. Grounded
in current law. Based in congressional intent. And clarifying for all
that this health bill doesn`t provide public funds for abortion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: As soon as Susan B. Anthony List went to get the billboard up in
the Cincinnati district, Driehaus filed a complaint with Ohio`s election
commission since Ohio was one of the states in this country that does have
a law against deliberate lies in a political campaign. The bill board
never went up, not because of the law, but because the owner wouldn`t put
it up once Driehaus threatened the legal action so the Susan B. Anthony
list is taking Ohio`s law against political lying to court, saying that it
is unconstitutional. The anti-abortion group has the support of the
American Civil Liberties Union. There`s obviously a broader question here,
that`s not just about Ohio, it`s about truth in political campaigns. Do
candidates have an absolute First Amendment right to blatantly lie, if they
do, then how can the public find out what is true and what isn`t. And if
they don`t, then who gets to make the call whether what the candidate is
saying is true or false. Because the line between the two isn`t as always
clear as you would think.

Joining me to discuss this, we have Ann Lewis, former director of
communications for President Bill Clinton, Joe Slate White. He is the
national media strategist who`s worked for many years with Vice President
Joe Biden and others. MSNBC contributor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto is still
with us. And Dave Heller, political media consultant who`s worked on
numerous Democratic campaigns.

And Dave, I`ll start with you. Just somebody, you know, putting these
messages out into the media sphere. My reaction initially is when I see
these laws is that`s a great idea. You know, there`s too much line - and
to be great if there is some accountability. And then I stopped and think
about it. It falls back to, you know, two things. It`s like how do you
tell the difference between the truth and a lie in a campaign? Because
campaigns by the nature exaggerate. Don`t they?

DAVE: Right.

KORNACKI: And the positive things about the candidate are exaggerated.
And negative things about the opponent are exaggerated. When you see these
laws do you like them at all?

DAVE HELLER, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: I think that there ought to be some
kind of accountability, there ought to be some way of saying you can`t just
blatantly lie, as you said. Especially now in a Citizens United world
where so much money is put in by undisclosed, unregulated donors. And
there is no vehicle for stopping them.

KORNACKI: Is the vehicle, I guess the question, is the vehicle that the
two that I see if you don`t have a law like this would be one - the outrage
of the free press. If something that`s just totally crosses the line goes
up there, then there`s going to be so much noise potentially generated by
the free press that it counters it. And the second thing is, I guess, may
be you have the right to make a defamation lawsuit instead of having this
law.

JOE SLADE WHITE, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: In terms of broadcast when an I.E.
that we are talking about, goes on and does the blatant lie.

KORNACKI: Independent expenditure.

SLADE WHITE: Exactly. Independent expenditure. We do have recourse. And
we have done it over and over again. We go to the broadcast stations. We
go to the - and say this is a lie, have lawyers do it. And if it is, they
take it off - they take it off the air - there is - if you can prove it`s a
blatant lie.

KORNACKI: How tough is it to prove? Because so many times like we say
it`s gray. You know, I mean.

SLADE WHITE: And there are gray areas. But if there are gray areas then I
don`t think it necessarily qualifies as, you know, a terrible lie. If it`s
a gray area. If I say candidate A is the best candidate for governor and
the opponent says, well, that`s not true. Well, truth, you know, or fact
Daniel Patrick Moynihan said a great thing one time. He said everyone is
entitled to their own opinions. They are just not entitled to their own
facts. I think that governs.

ANN LEWIS, FMR. COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: And I think David made a good
point. At first my heart flutters when I hear the words free speech,
right? That`s where I am emotionally. I believe that the, you know, the
antidote to hate speech or - speech should be more speech. But - and this
is a reality in the world we live in. Political speech isn`t free. If
somebody spends $10 million in ads against me, are you saying that my only
recourse is I could go raise another $10 million of my own to push back?
It seems to me that tilts the plank field even further. I think there does
need to be some balance, some accountability. And the toughest question
for me is who gets to decide

HELLER: There is not a right to lie in this country. And there shouldn`t
be.

DEFRANCESCO SOTO: But there is a history of it. I mean going back to our
founding fathers, that`s where mudslinging started. And I think we don`t
give voters enough credit. I think the voters can determine what`s true
and what is a lie. And we also have thankfully a proliferation of this -
of this fact checking. So, personally, I think I would rather err on the
side of a little bit more free speech.

KORNACKI: All right, well, in honor of Donald Sterling and either the 24-
second, the shot clock is expired.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Saying this, I want to thank MSNBC contributor Victoria
DeFrancesco Soto, political media consultant Dave Heller, Joe Slade White,
also a media strategist - I want to have you all back and talk more. We`ll
be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: It is not your father`s Democratic Party any more. Even if you
and your father were both governor of New York. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Every once you stumble across a poll that really does make your
jaw drop. And this week brought one of them. It`s from the state of New
York where Governor Andrew Cuomo is running for re-election this year. The
race hasn`t attracted much national attention namely because New York is a
blue state, Cuomo is a Democrat and his approval ratings have been strong.

And I don`t want to overstate this because the poll that came out this week
shows that Cuomo is still in very good position to win a second term. In a
head-to-head match-up with his probable Republican opponent Cuomo is way
ahead, 58-28 percent. So like I said, he is in very good shape to win a
second term. No surprise there.

But here is the jaw-dropping part. That same poll, that same Sienna
College poll added a twist. They also asked what voters -- what voters
would do if they had a third choice. If it was Cuomo, his Republican
opponent and a candidate from what`s called the Working Families Party.
That`s a liberal party that gets heavy union funding and has its own
automatic ballot slot in New York.

And so the new match-up when they polled that, Cuomo 39 percent, his
Republican opponent 24 percent, and unnamed Working Families Party
candidate at 24 percent. When voters are offered a liberal alternative
Cuomo`s support drops by almost 20 points. Suddenly he`s well under 50
percent and his lead is just 15 points.

Now obviously this isn`t a totally fair measure since voters are just being
asked about a generic working families` candidate, not an actual name.
It`s not even clear that the Working Families Party is going to nominate
its own candidate.

New York is one of the few states that allow what`s called electoral
fusion. Different parties are allowed to nominate the same candidate for
the same office. It happened four years ago with Cuomo when he won the
Democratic nomination for governor but also was offered the Working
Families Party`s -- Working Family Party`s ballot line. The Working
Families Party may end up giving him his ballot line again this year.

But the bottom line is this poll practically screams out that Andrew Cuomo
has a serious problem with the left. With liberals. With the party`s
base. This week`s poll shows that a lot of Democrats will vote for Cuomo
if his only opponent is a Republican but they will do it holding their
noses. And if there`s a real liberal alternative on the ballot they`ll be
mightily tempted to switch their allegiance.

This is so startling that it caught the national media`s attention. Andrew
Cuomo has a big problem with liberals. That`s what the "Washington Post"
declared this week. And it`s even more startling when you remember that
Andrew Cuomo is the son of Mario Cuomo, a former three-term New York
governor who liberals begged and pleaded with to run for president in 1988
and 1992. An electrifying speech by Mario at the Democratic convention in
1984 that made the Cuomo name synonymous with liberalism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THEN-GOV. MARIO CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: For nearly 50 year, we carry them all
to new levels of comfort and security and dignity. Even affluence. And
remember this. Some of us in this room today are here only because this
nation had that kind of confidence. And it would be wrong to forget that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So how did Andrew Cuomo get in this jam? Well, most recently
when New York City`s new mayor, Bill De Blasio asked the state to raise
taxes on his city`s wealthiest residence to pay for universal
prekindergarten Cuomo fiercely resisted the tax hike, though he did find
another way to fund the pre-K program. And when De Blasio who`s been a
critic of the charter school movement got into a dust-up with the head of
the chain of charter schools in the city, Cuomo responded by headlining a
massive pro-charter school rally in Albany.

He`s also angered public employee unions over public pensions with budget
cuts and in short he`s shown conservative instincts on fiscal issues.
Meanwhile, though, he`s pressed a more liberal agenda on the cultural front
which Cuomo pointed to when he was asked this week about his trouble on the
left. Quote, "Marriage equality, safe guns. So we have a phenomenal
record of accomplishment. Does that mean we`ve done everything that we
would like to do? No."

What makes this also interesting is that Andrew Cuomo clearly has national
ambitions. He would like to be president. Hillary Clinton runs in 2016
he`s probably boxed out. But if she doesn`t, there`s almost no one who
thinks he`d pass up the race. But then why, if he wants to be a national
Democratic leader, has he done so much to alienate his party`s base?

Well, here`s one thought. Maybe he`s stuck in the 1990s. I mean, think
about it. He watched his father Mario, who was probably the most famous
liberal in America at the time, get swallowed up in the Republican
revolution of 1994, losing his political career as voters across the
country even in blue state New York rejected the liberalism that was so
associated with the Cuomo name.

Andrew ended up in the Clinton administration ultimately becoming HUD
secretary and Bill Clinton became something of a political mentor to him,
which means that Andrew watched closely as Bill Clinton recovered from that
1994 debacle by shifting to the center. Remember triangulation? And
pursuing an agenda that at times angered the party`s liberal base. Maybe
living through all that trauma and upheaval convinced Andrew Cuomo that
pursuing a full scale liberal agenda would be harmful to his political
health.

That`s just a theory, obviously. But you don`t have to get inside Andrew
Cuomo`s head to recognize that in many ways he`s the present day embodiment
of 1990s era Clintonism. And in that case, his story is a national story.
A story about how much the Democratic Party has changed. How much it is
changing. How it`s not just culturalism -- cultural liberalism but
increasingly economic liberalism that`s fuelling the party base.

Is Andrew Cuomo a cautionary tale for other ambitious Democrats for
whichever Democrats do end up running for president in 2016?

And here to discuss this we have Ann Lewis, former director of
communications for President Bill Clinton. She`s back. MSNBC host Karen
Finney from "DISRUPT," she joins the table. Thanks for coming in a little
early today. Karen was also (INAUDIBLE) communications director at the
Democratic National Committee. Azi Paybarah, he`s the senior City Hall
correspondent at Capital New York and MSNBC political analyst of Joan Walsh
of Salon joins us again.

So, Azi, we`ll start with you.

AZI PAYBARAH, CAPITAL NEW YORK: Right.

KORNACKI: You are Mr. New York politics. Maybe if you could just take us
through a little bit about the situation here. The Working Families Party,
as we said, doesn`t exist in every state.

PAYBARAH: Right.

KORNACKI: But here in New York it`s allowed to give its ballot line to the
Democrat if it wants to and the Democrat wants, too. And we`re seeing this
poll that says, wow, generic working families` candidate can get huge
support. Can drag Cuomo way down.

Do you -- do you think, and is the expectation of the Working Families
Party is going to run an alternative candidate to Andrew Cuomo this year?

PAYBARAH: Well, they just put out an e-mail to supporters that very
quickly found their -- found its way to reporters, which was that they have
a deadline of the end of May to make up their minds and the e-mail was
called "The Big Decision." And it was telegraphing in more explicit terms
as if they haven`t already that there are certain things that they want.
There`s going to be a very final deadline by which they`re going to make
this decision.

Now that poll that you mentioned is all but begging them to go forward and
do this. There is some complications for doing that. It is not a race
that they have an option of sitting out. If they have to pick a candidate
that gets all this 50,000 on their line or they`ll lose their automatic
ballot position. So they have to have someone. It`s either going to be
Cuomo or someone who explicitly runs against Cuomo.

Now in that poll he drops about 10 points at least in every demographic
category across the board, which signals, like you said, a real problem on
the left. The problem is that WFP is made of unions and activists. The
unions are a group that is much more -- has more practical concerns, if you
will.

KORNACKI: Right.

PAYBARAH: And if a governor can address those, contracts or change in work
rules, that very key component of the Working Families Party may not be
behind them if they go with someone else.

KORNACKI: So -- and by the way, was this -- is it your sense, when this
poll came out, because it generated national attention.

PAYBARAH: Right.

KORNACKI: Was this a surprise to Cuomo and his people? Did they think
they have a problem this big on the left? Was this a revelation to them?

PAYBARAH: I don`t believe so. I mean, they have seen "Occupy Wall
Street." They`ve seen the rise of Bill De Blasio. They have seen, as
everyone has, Elizabeth Warren. They cannot have been surprised that this
would happen. I think what`s surprising them is that the Working Families
Party is more and more raising the temperature on what they want. They
want campaign finance reform.

And specifically not even a broad reform or the whole thing, what they want
are matching funds. People who run for public office, get public money in
order to run. Now they`re not really demanding that they turn off the
spigot of the LLC loophole, that (INAUDIBLE) to give money. They`re not
even talking about greater enforcement of the current rules or beefing up
the agency that`s going to oversee this. They want more money in the
system that would in the long run help them get their members into office.

KORNACKI: Right. They -- they want more public funding.

So, Karen, I mean, what do you make of this? You have been watching the
Cuomo name, I think, you know, nationally people just hear Cuomo, if
they`re not following New York closely, what`s the first thing you think
of? Liberal, Democrat, you know, Mario Cuomo, 1984. And you look at how
Andrew Cuomo has governed the state. And to me, it`s sort of a great
psychological mystery. You know, what is up here. But it also seems to be
a cautionary tale, like you say, for Democrats nationally.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC`S "DISRUPT": Absolutely. I have to say I was not
surprised by the "Washington Post" story because if you`ve been paying
attention over the last couple of months. So Andrew Cuomo campaigned as,
you know, a progressive, a liberal on some various, you know, things like
raising the minimum wage. Things like marriage equality. Things like
guns. Things like ethics. Right? And then he delivered on some of those
things early on but then over the last couple of months just kind of backed
away.

Like campaign finance reform is one where I think a lot of progressives
were very disappointed in him. And they really thought that New York was
going to be a place where there`d be this great model, right, to say here`s
the progressive agenda alive and thriving in the state. And he sort of
backed away from a number of things. And I don`t think they fully
recognize how much damage that has done with the progressive community.

Whether or not -- in New York you have a specific case in that with the
Working Families Party. The dynamics may work out that they can`t run
somebody else. And he may be fine politically. But it has done some
damage to him nationally. And I think if he were to try to run for
president in the event that Hillary doesn`t run, I do think he will have
more trouble with progressives because they feel like he made some promises
and then didn`t keep them. That`s worse than just not doing it.

KORNACKI: And Ann, you were -- you were up close and personal for the
Clinton years, the Clinton ways.

ANN LEWIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Right.

KORNACKI: Andrew Cuomo was down there at the same time. Do you see a
little bit of that what we talked about there -- the idea of, you know,
maybe the politics of the `90s, where Democrats had to do to survive the
`90s, maybe different than what it is today. And Andrew Cuomo didn`t quite
get the memo?

LEWIS: Let me say first speak up for Andrew Cuomo because go back to what
you just showed. In his first years, we get marriage equality in New York.
This is not a nervous, sort of hold back position. That`s a really big
deal about human rights. And New York is one of the leaders in the state.
He got some gun safety legislation done. And this year in the budget they
did get -- New York City does get prekindergarten money.

So, again, I see on a number of really important progressive goals a guy
who`s trying to achieve that and at the same time rebuild an economy and
look at his attention to upstate New York which needs that kind of help.
And I`m thinking, OK, now, this may be the wrong person to, quote, "for
these purposes." But I think it was Ronald Reagan who said, you know, if
you`re with me 80 percent of the time and you`re against me 20 percent of
the time, I`ll take it. OK. That`s a lot.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: I think Andrew Cuomo was 80 percent at least progressive and I`m
with it.

JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, he`s 100 percent
progressive on social issues, Ann.

FINNEY: Right.

WALSH: But it`s on the economic issues that he`s not great. Bordering on
actually bad. I would say -- you know, he cut -- he cut business taxes.
He was against -- he wanted the millionaire -- so-called millionaires` tax
to expire. They did cut a deal. There was a compromise. But in the end
the top tax rate is lower than it was before. You know, he`s been very --
he`s been kind of wishy-washy on the minimum wage. He doesn`t want index -
-

KORNACKI: Property tax.

WALSH: Index that. Lowered property taxes. And I think these taxation
issues, you know, particularly the estate tax, lowering the estate tax.
This is something that there`s an increasing attention to among
progressives that we have let inherited wealth get out of control in this
country. And it`s undermining our democracy. So on these -- this package
of issues, he`s been frankly terrible. And I think this is a wake-up call
to him and to the national party.

KORNACKI: And it`s -- you know, it`s striking, too, because the marriage
equality was interesting to me as well because it`s a major accomplishment.
I don`t want to diminish it in any way.

LEWIS: Yes. No, not at all.

KORNACKI: But it`s the first thing that Andrew Cuomo will point to as we
saw in this statement when he`s asked about his liberal credentials. But I
also remember how he got that through. That was an issue where he was able
to work with Republican financial leaders. Big pocketed Republicans.
Because in New York, a lot of these sort of rich Republicans are socially
liberal, and so he was able to work with them.

And the criticism has been -- from the left has been, OK, on social issues,
you can work with them and they`re willing to work with you. But when it
comes to economic issues, you`re also working with them. You`re also
afraid of them. So we got -- we got to squeeze a break in here. But I
want to talk about what lessons this has again more broadly for national
Democrats, for the Obama administration right now, for Democrats looking to
run in 2016.

About where the Democratic Party is nationally, not just on cultural issues
but increasingly on economic issues. We`ll pick it up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: We are talking about how the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo,
how his problems with the base of his own party. Incredible problems with
the base of his own party. Get to a broader discussion about where the
Democratic Party itself is going.

Just to refresh, we can put this up on the screen. This is the poll that
came out this week. This is in a head-to-head race with his likely
Republican challenger. Cuomo is ahead by 30 points. Not much of a
headline there. Now here`s what happens. At a Working Families Party, the
liberal sort of third party here in New York. Look at that. I mean, Cuomo
is down 19 points. The Working Families` candidate is up to 24.

Again, Cuomo still in decent shape in a race like that but that is -- that
becomes a humiliating number for a Democrat in a situation like that.

Azi, just, you know, what struck me watching this for the last few months
has been -- Bill De Blasio has come to office in New York.

PAYBARAH: Yes.

KORNACKI: And he`s sort of -- he`s sort of -- almost -- he`s a leading
national progressive figure and immediately clashed with Andrew Cuomo. And
it seems like that`s -- my sense is De Blasio is a lot closer where the
national party is right now than Cuomo and that the clashing has sort of --
has brought that to the surface.

PAYBARAH: Right. And remember, for Andrew Cuomo, that wasn`t such a bad
thing initially. He was seen as a moderate. He was seen as someone who is
practical. He wasn`t seen as a New York City liberal Democrat, which, if
you`re thinking about Iowa, Ohio, and 2016, that may not be such a bad
thing. But if he has to get through a re-election it becomes problematic.
And one of the things that Bill De Blasio said at the National Action
Network convention hosted by Al Sharpton, he said you cannot have justice
if it`s only social issues.

You also need economic issues. And he linked those two together and said
you need both of them to happen. And what Andrew Cuomo has been trying to
do, as we`ve been discussing, is advance socially progressive policies but
hold back on economic policies. And Bill De Blasio made it very clear you
can`t do that.

WALSH: I think the other reason this is problematic for him is that it
looks like he wants to do a kind of Chris Christie strategy without the
coercion or the other things that went on. With his re-election where he
runs up the score, where he really is a dominant figure. He dominates the
race. His base is solid. But he also reaches out to independents for his
-- whatever his national ambitions might be.

And that`s the other thing that this threatens. And I think he`s got a
national calculus where it`s like, I can get re-elected. Is it more
important that I get re-elected with moderates and maybe even some
Republicans or do I really need to be overwhelming with Democrats and then
add those -- add that coalition in later? And I think this is making it
very difficult for him to be -- to win overwhelmingly.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: I mean, that is a difference from the Clinton era. Like the
energy at the grassroots level in the Democratic Party right now seems a
lot more mobilized, a lot more focused on issues of inequality, economic
issues than it did 20 years ago. You can talk about De Blasio in New York,
you can talk about Elizabeth Warren.

FINNEY: Right.

KORNACKI: We can look at the struggles that Andrew Cuomo has in the polls.
That seems to be -- there`s been a big shift and there continues to be in
the Democratic Party.

LEWIS: Totally. And first, I do have to say to Joan that this is a
historic moment. She just gave the word the Chris Christie strategy a
positive aspect.

(LAUGHTER)

LEWIS: I like it.

KORNACKI: Shut down the (INAUDIBLE), right?

LEWIS: You have to explain it when you say it.

WALSH: Yes. Sorry.

LEWIS: But, yes, a lot more concerned. Look at national, again, Democrats.
We`re talking about raise the minimum wage. We`re talking about equal pay.
It is about very much what we use for what I call the kitchen table
economic issues. I appreciate that. And for good reason. That`s where
the energy is.

I`m going to go back to New York state for a moment and say, however, the
energy is not a battle. For me at least the progressive measure is not how
much do you raise taxes on anybody, but it is, what do you do with the
revenue? How do you make it possible for everybody to do better? And what
I see in Andrew Cuomo a little bit from a distance is a lot more attention
on upstate, on places that are still struggling economically. Trying to
get investment in there, trying to get jobs in there, and leading with that
rather than with leading with raising taxes.

KORNACKI: And, Karen, how do you look at where the national party is?

FINNEY: You know, just from a communications perspective, though, I would
say with Cuomo, I mean, again, it`s about what expectations did you create
and how do you make sure that your rhetoric matches the expectations that
you created? Nothing wrong with, you know, wanting to invest in upstate,
but if you created the expectation that you were going to do some more
liberal, progressive things that are now getting on the back burner while
you do these other things, you`ve got to be able to talk about that and
you`ve got to be able to explain, here`s my story, here`s why I`m doing it.

I do -- I agree with Ana for the national party. I mean, this whole issue
of income inequality, I mean this has become a national issue, right? And
progressives have I think nationalized it quite well and we`re talking
about it when we talk about health care, we`re talking about in the
Medicaid expansion, and we`re talking about it when we talk about equal pay
and the min wage. So I do think those issues, those economic issues are
critical. And again, if he were to run, you know, for national office
you`ve got to have a good story to talk about with progressives, with the
progressive base, particularly to get through a primary.

I mean, yes, Iowa, and New Hampshire, and, you know, Ohio. You want to be
able appeal to moderates. But I do think that the progressive base of this
party is, you know, a lot more active in many ways than it was during the
Clinton years and will extract pain.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Does that say something about, like, the fact that in the
Clinton years, it was a revelation that Clinton could win an election in
1992, that he could get re-elected. Now Democrats look at this and they
say, five of the past six national elections, they`ve won the popular vote.
Now they`re going to say, hey, the numbers are increasingly on our side.
So I get a sense in this base of the party saying, hey, you know, we can be
a lot more bold right now. We don`t have to make the kind of concessions
that maybe a Bill Clinton fealty to -- maybe Andrew thinks he needs to make
the (INAUDIBLE) with Republicans.

WALSH: I think so. And I also think the Democrats -- progressive
Democrats have the feeling that yes, we had two terms of President Clinton.
We`ve had two terms with President Obama. We`ve done some great things. I
don`t want to minimize what`s been done. But we have not -- we`re still
seeing wealth consolidate.

FINNEY: Yes.

WALSH: We`re still seeing the poor get poorer, we`re still seeing middle
class families` wages stagnate. We have not come up -- we have not had our
FDR moment. We have not reshaped the way we think about opportunity in
this country or if we`re starting to reshape the way we think about it,
we`ve not reshaped what we do about it. And we`ve not come up with a
strategy like we had mid last century where everybody grew together.

We have not figured out how to do that with all of the political power
we`ve had. And so progressives are saying it`s not about score settling or
score keeping. It`s about how do we deliver for our constituencies which
are increasingly struggling economically.

KORNACKI: Well, that`s -- we got -- final question. Azi, you said it`s
decision time for the Working Family Party in the next month. What do you
think? Are they going to fill the candidate against him or are they just
going to put him -- Cuomo, I think, they`re going to put them on their line
again?

PAYBARAH: If I knew that answer --

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Take a guess. Take a guess. Let`s hear -- put some odds on it.

PAYBARAH: I am leaning slightly against it, to be honest with you. If
you`re going to put me on the spot. They have a ballot line that they need
to protect. And even if they endorse another candidate it`s not exactly
clear that the unions that helped fund and drive their activities go with
him. Remember, the WFP can endorse someone, then 11-99, 32BJ.

WALSH: Right.

PAYBARAH: Trade workers, they are all free to endorse whoever they want so
it`s not --

(CROSSTALK)

FINNEY: Some negotiating power. I mean, that`s the way I would look at
it.

PAYBARAH: Yes, how do you --

(CROSSTALK)

FINNEY: What do you try to extract when you have a poll like that on the
table?

KORNACKI: Right. Yes. And that`s the interesting thing about New York,
the fusion voting in New York. You know, most states would not give
leverage to a third party like this. It`s an interesting phenomenon here.

I want to thank Azi Paybarah with Capital New York for joining us, MSNBC
political analyst Joan Walsh, and former Clinton White House communications
director Ann Lewis and my colleague Karen Finney, whose show, "DISRUPT",
you can see right here, this afternoon, 4:00 p.m. Eastern. She will have
the Reverend Al Sharpton among her guests and he will be weighing in on the
Donald Sterling L.A. Clippers controversy just as that Clippers game ticks
off this afternoon.

Coming up, common ground among unions on the left and the Tea Party on the
right. What they can agree they are against. That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: It`s the rare issue these days that can find common ground
between the Tea Party and organized labor. What that is, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Flip-flopping isn`t generally seen as a winning political
strategy. To voters a flip-flopper is indecisive. Only on board with an
issue when it appears politically favorable. To fair-weather politicians.
But one of the hottest political issues this year seems to be putting a lot
of politicians, many of them Republican politicians, in exactly that kind
of "that was then, this is now" position.

Starts in 2007 when education experts who had received -- who received $150
million in funding from Bill Gates, they began meeting to device curriculum
standards that became known as the Common Core. This was an initiative
that was spearheaded by the National Governor`s Association and the Council
of Chief State School Officers. There was broad bipartisan support for it.

And in 2009 after President Obama`s Race to the Top has subsumed the Bush
administration`s No Child Left Behind the federal government recommended
these national standards to the states. Nearly all the states, 45 plus the
District of Columbia, adopted Common Core and have been working to
implement the standards in the five years since then.

But just as quickly in recent weeks, it seems the states have been dropping
Common Core, particularly if a Republican is in charge of that state. This
past week Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wrote an op-ed for "USA Today" in
which he strongly denounced the policy he helped the state adopt. Quote,
"It is true the Common Core standards did originally grow from states
wanting to increase standards so our students can better compete with the
rest of the world. Great idea. Louisiana was in that group."

But Jindal adds that he believes Common Core isn`t living up to those
standards saying centralized, quote, "Centralized planning didn`t work in
Russia. It`s not working with our health care system and it won`t work in
education."

And in North Carolina on Thursday, state legislative committee voted to
replace Common Core standards. A measure will come before the next
legislative session in May. Last month Indiana became the first state to
completely abandon the standards. In fact of the original 45 states that
voted to implement Common Core, more than two dozens of them, that`s more
than half, have now introduced legislation to pause or review their
position.

So why now? Well, for the first time this spring millions of American
students took their first Common Core aligned practice tests which meant
teachers and parents got their first look, too. And it sparked
disappointment, in some cases outrage and protests. The Common Core
standards set to go into full effect in many states next fall. There is
now a climate of political urgency around this issue.

Speaking of protests, Tea Party groups have also gotten behind the effort
to drop Common Core. In some instances labeling it Obamacore, which isn`t
entirely fair for a program that was devised during the previous
administration and is under the control of the states. But in such
attacks, nuance is often and usually lost.

Not every Republican is abandoning Common Core. In fact two big names are
still standing behind it. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former
Florida Governor Jeb Bush, two of the most talked about contenders for the
2016 president -- Republican presidential nominations, so right now to the
right, Common Core represents a heavy overreach of the federal government.
And for the left, groups like the NEA and AFT believe it represents all
that is wrong with standardized testing, teaching to the test.

And what we`re left with is a political Rorschach test. Governors and
state legislatures forced to decide now rather than later whether to
abandon Common Core, whether to risk being labeled a flip-flopper or feel
the wrath of both the Tea Party and some organized educators on the left.
Two groups that rarely find themselves on the same side.

So is there a path through this? Is Common Core an issue that will
resonate the voters in 2016 and beyond? For these questions, I want to
welcome Lyndsey Layton, she`s a national education reporter with the
"Washington Post". She`s in our D.C. newsroom. And here in New York we
have former Vermont Republican Governor Jim Douglas who believes Common
Core is getting a bad rap these days. He`s also a member of the bipartisan
Policy Center Governors Council.

Wendell Steinhauer is a high school math teacher and president of New
Jersey Education Association. They`re affiliated with the NEA. He likes
Common Core but feels the implementation has gone terribly.

We also have Rob Astorino. He`s the Westchester County executive here in
New York. He`s also running as a candidate -- as Republican candidate for
governor in the state. He made a decision this month not to have his kids
take the state`s new Common Core reading exam.

So there is a lot to talk about here.

Lyndsey, I`ll start with you because I hope you can just sort of set the
table for us as somebody who just knows this from a national level. This
is something with its roots, that the National Governor`s Association
nearly a decade ago. Suddenly now seven, eight years later, this is
becoming a huge political issue. I cannot turn on -- I can`t watch a
conservative political event, you know, one of these cattle calls with the
prospective candidates where everyone isn`t up there railing against this
thing.

So tell us how this started and how it got to the point we`re at right now.

LYNDSEY LAYTON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Sure, Steve. You know, the idea of
national standards really has been around -- kicking around for decades.
And President Eisenhower was the first to raise it in 1959 in the State of
the Union address. There have been a lot of attempts over the years to try
to do this. But it`s all come from presidents. President Bush the first
and Clinton. They all made attempts to create some sort of voluntary
national standard and they all collapsed because of this -- they were seen
as federal overreach.

You know, when the Department of Education was created it was very
specific. When Congress authorized that department the Congress said that
the federal government had no role in what goes on in the classroom. And
that it needed to stay out of curriculum matters and --

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: But when they created the Common Core they thought they had
threaded that needle, right? This was a set of national standards, but it
was not -- you know, it was not federal overreach.

LAYTON: Right. This time it was different. And that`s why this attempt
really has had a lot of success until this point because it was -- it grew
out of the NGA and the Chief State School Officers. Two organizations that
represent state officials. And so it came from the states. And that`s why
it really -- it moved very quickly. And it started before, as you said,
before Obama was elected. The work on this began in 2007, that timeframe.
So this attempt came from the states. That`s true.

KORNACKI: And, so, Rob Astorino, you are running for governor here in New
York, and you did not let your kids take this test. They did a trial run
here in New York this year. This is an idea that the Common Core has its
roots and say the NGA, lots of Republican governors. Why is it such a big
deal to you and why is it such a big deal suddenly to Republicans? I`m
hearing so much from Republicans all of a sudden on this.

ROB ASTORINO (R), NEW YORK GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think it`s
just Republicans. I mean, I think this is not in a neat box. Here you
have some of the teachers unions, you do have Republican groups, you have a
lot of ordinary citizens. And that`s really who I`m talking about.

I go -- you know, my child in in 5th grade. My other child is in third
grade and my other one is a little one, so she starts kindergarten next
year. So for the two that are in school right now, I`m dealing with this
as a parent. I`m trying to do this math work for fifth graders and third
graders, and somewhat scratching my head.

And I get what they`re trying to do. But some of this is not appropriate
for the kids who are doing it. And I`m not talking about social issues.
I`m just talking about the actual math and some of the language base that
is in the math. My concern is you have children on individual education
plans. Children who are struggling, children with learning disabilities.

And this one-size-fits-all approach where everyone must learn the same
thing on the same time table and get to the same finish line at the same
time just doesn`t happen. So the reality of what it was like to be putting
it on paper versus what it`s really like in the classroom is very
different. And I talked to teachers who are really concerned about this.
I talked to parents who are very concerned about this. And I as a parent
am very concerned.

Now I have two big issues with the federal government basically moving this
along with dangling money and picking the company that`s going to write the
test which then you need to formulate your curriculum based on that test.
Well, we`ve just had three weeks in our school preparing just for the test
on the English and language arts. Another three weeks coming up just on
the math. So for the kids who are falling behind, they are pulling them
out of the enrichment classes such as music or art or gym or other things
to strictly teach to the test.

But I`m very concerned about where this is going. This is -- let`s
remember, this has never been tested itself. This is a huge experiment
that I believe even Bill Gates said we`ll find out whether it works or not
in about 10 years. So the thought that my kids are a little lab mice who
will become lab rats as they through the school district is a concern to
me. But the expense for this because the federal money is drying up is
going to be massive on a local level.

KORNACKI: But -- Governor Douglas, what do you say to that? Because you
were a governor when the NGA sort of came up with this idea. And I know we
can talk and I want to talk about some of the objections to this from the
left. But the real energy right now, Governor Pence, Republican in
Indiana, Governor Perry in Texas, Governor Jindal in Louisiana, former
governor Huckabee, Arkansas, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz.

This is where suddenly the real national energy -- and the opposition of
this is coming from. What do you make of the change that`s taking place?
Is it because, as Lyndsey was suggesting, you know, President Obama comes
to office and suddenly here`s an opportunity for Republicans to link a
federal policy to him? Is that going on here?

JIM DOUGLAS (R), FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: Well, it`s very perplexing
because I chaired the National Governor`s Association in 2009 and `10 and
governors across the political spectrum, many of them very conservative
agreed to sign on to these standards. And let`s take a step back and
remember what was happening on the decade before. We had No Child Left
Behind passed in the early part of the 2000s. And that established some
national standards. It established some testing requirements.

It required us to proclaim schools failing if they didn`t make adequate
yearly progress and dumped a whole lot of extra federal money into what`s
traditionally been a state and local expense. Well, that sounded like a
federal intrusion into public education. So the governors wanted to push
back and that`s why we came up with Common Core, a state-based initiative.

And the second reason we did it was that we`re all hearing from employers
in our states and around the country saying that the kids coming out of the
educational system today just don`t measure up. We`re 30th in the world in
standardized test scores. We have to do better. Seems like whenever we
come up with an idea to change the way we provide educational standards,
there is always a pushback.

KORNACKI: So when I was listening to Rob and I was hearing some of the
concerns typically raised by the teachers union about this test. Now I
know your position on this has been you are supportive of the idea of the
Common Core. The implementation specifically in New Jersey is what you
have a problem with. Is that -- is that right?

WENDELL STEINHAUER, NEW JERSEY EDUCATION ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT: Right.
Standards -- we have had standard in New Jersey for decades. So standards
are nothing new. What`s happening here is the overreach into the testing.
And that`s I think what`s really hitting everybody at this point.

The standards have been in since 2010. Why all of the sudden now is
because this Park Test, which is the national test that goes along with it
is doing such an overreach and over testing. And you`re seeing a lot of
that in school districts across the nation. How parents are reacting back
to it and they`re tired of it. So make no mistake. New Jersey has been
great with their public schools. They are second in the nation behind only
Massachusetts.

We are embracing standards. But this over testing is just crowding out the
chance for teachers to actually teach these students what they need to
know.

KORNACKI: OK. We`ve got to squeeze a break in here. But I want to talk a
little bit more about trying to figure out the opposition to this and what
it means for where Common Core is going if it has a future at all. We`ll
pick it up right after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: I want to look at the politics of the Common Core because,
again, what`s really struck me about this issue, what landed it on my radar
was there was a -- one of those presidential cattle calls in New Hampshire
a couple of weeks ago. The Republican prospects for 2016 came up. And I
tuned in because I have no life on weekends and I watch these things. But
I expected I would hear the usual Obamacare bashing. That would be the
main thing. And what I heard more than anything else was Common Core. And
I said this is -- this is -- this seems to be replacing Obamacare as the
big rallying cry on the right.

And, Lyndsey, I want to -- I want to ask you a little bit about that
because there is a poll taken last -- just last July, July of 2013, asking
people about Common Core. Will it improve or will it -- you know, will it
hurt educational outcomes, education quality. Among Republicans, 44
percent said improve, 13 -- it was not controversial among Republicans
then. But I`m noticing just in the last -- I`m guessing three to six
months there has just been a major change at the grassroots level in the
Republican Party that has forced all of these big named Republicans not
just to change their position but now to be trumpeting this.

And I watched Jeb Bush go to an event in Florida last month and he was
heckled, he was heckled on his way into the event because of his support
for Common Core.

What specifically on the right is driving this? Is this just another way
of attacking President Obama or is there something -- is there something
else to it?

LAYTON: Well, Steve, basically if you think back to 2012, you know, Obama
is re-elected. The Common Core is being rolled out into classrooms. And
the Tea Party is extremely frustrated. It really -- it`s scorched on its
efforts to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Right? That`s rolling
ahead. And it`s feeling really frustrated and it looks around and it sees
the Common Core as a vehicle to ignite its supporters. And basically to
revive itself.

And so last summer, groups like Freedom Works and others that are
associated with -- or funded by the Koch brothers start getting invested in
this and putting some money into some communications efforts around the
Common Core. And so you can see that started really last summer and it`s
worked its way through the school year now and it`s -- they have picked up
support from parents who are experiencing the Common Core or the botched
implementation in many cases, in many states.

So they have built this campaign basically. And it has replaced Obamacare
in some ways as the hot topic and a way to push back against the Obama
administration.

KORNACKI: So --

LAYTON: And by the way, the administration has, you know, kept -- it
hasn`t done itself any favors in terms of the political calculus here
because the president twice bragged about the Common Core in the State of
the Union address. And Arne Duncan, the education secretary, has basically
taken credit for getting the states on board with Common Core. So even
though it was a state-led initiative, the administration keeps boasting
about how it`s successfully, you know, gotten states to raise standards.

KORNACKI: So, Governor Douglas, what I see here, if the position is having
the idea of drafting Common Core standards is good, the key is that each
state has to implement it the right way, and if each state can implement it
the right way, then this is a good thing for the country. And if that`s
sort of what you`re saying, the threat that I`m seeing is that this thing
has now become sort of a litmus test for conservatives, almost the way that
like maybe Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act is.

And does that have the effect -- is there a threat right now that that
pressure, just within the Republican Party, and we can talk about what`s
going on in the Democratic Party, too, but particularly in the Republican
Party, makes it impossible for Republican governors to implement this
thing?

DOUGLAS: Well, we`ll have to see what happens. Lyndsey is exactly right
that when the president and the secretary of education started talking
about it, it didn`t help from a political standpoint because it is indeed a
state initiative. But the message is going to be rebutted, I think, more
successfully in the future because the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other
business groups are starting to mobilize and belatedly perhaps get the
message out.

The bottom line here is, Steve, that about a third of all college students
in America take at least one remedial course. It`s higher for community
college kids. It`s higher for minorities. The public education system
isn`t getting the job done in the eyes of many employers across this
country. So we need good standards. The implementation, the timing, the
process, that`s something individual states, and some will probably do
better than others.

KORNACKI: And so, Rob, is your view -- I`m trying -- I just want to be
clear on it, is that New York has botched this so badly, but you still
would be OK with the Common Core, or is it just let`s just get rid of the
Common Core?

Well, a couple of things. First of all, you`re putting this into a neat
box that it`s a Republican thing, it`s not.

KORNACKI: No, no. I`m not -- I`m saying there`s particular energy that I
have noticed of late on the Republican side that I`m not seeing as much --

(CROSSTALK)

ASTORINO: I think even that`s a miscalculation because this is coming just
from the average parent. The average parent. And I have a lot of
Democratic women coming up to me around the state, saying, I`m going to
vote for you because this Common Core has to go. And they`ve said to me,
I`m a Democrat.

KORNACKI: Right. You know -- what I`m asking there, I`m wondering if
there`s something specific to New York because New York is a little ahead
of the curve in terms of implementing this thing.

ASTORINO: Well --

KORNACKI: And so the people in New York are you objecting to the
implementation or are they objecting to the Common Core itself?

ASTORINO: The -- this is why I call it Cuomo`s Common Core in New York
because he embraced it. He was one of two governors to rush into the
implementation to take extra money. And it was botched. It`s been awful.
But when the implementation is ironed out, you`re still left with Common
Core, which I philosophically disagree with. But I also disagree with
taking away the creativity and the control from our teachers and our
parents and our local school boards.

And you can`t say it doesn`t because you can only deviate 15 percent if you
go into these standards. And it`s also a misnomer that well, if you`re
against Common Core you`re against standards.

Absolutely wrong. I want higher standards. Better standards. Certainly
New York needs it. We spend more per pupil than any state and we`re in the
bottom rankings on just about everything. So we want better standards and
we`re just saying there are other ways to achieve those standards.
Different roads to take. It shouldn`t just be you have to have strawberry
ice cream. There can be strawberry, chocolate, vanilla or whatever.

And that`s what we`re saying. Take the best of the best in our state or
around the country, apply that locally here in New York and achieve the
same results or better.

KORNACKI: Wendell, just very quickly. The future of Common Core, I mean,
if there`s implementation problems in New York and New Jersey, I mean, can
this thing survive?

STEINHAUER: If it becomes age appropriate, that`s a big key. And
standards are going to come (INAUDIBLE) stay with Common Core or states are
good without the standards like we had before. But the one thing that`s
really complicating all this is they just see Common Core as the whole
issue. Inside of Common Core is the evaluation, the testing, the
standards, and nobody has got the curriculum yet. That`s the whole key.

You know, you`re going to have standards, but then how do we implement it
with what we teach in the school? And that`s what teachers need right now
to have that time, to create that curriculum. And it`s not in any textbook
you`re going to buy today.

KORNACKI: All right. Well, we`ll be seeing it. Next school year is the
full implementation supposedly so we`ll be keeping an eye on it.

Anyway, my thanks to the "Washington Post`s" Lyndsey Layton for joining the
conversation down there. Appreciate that. We`ll be right back.

LAYTON: Thanks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. We`re out of time. I want to thank all of today`s
guests for a great show. Westchester County executive Rob Astorino, former
Vermont governor, Jim Douglas, Wendell Steinhauer, with the New Jersey
Education Association, thank you for getting up.

Thank you at home for getting up as well. Tune in next week because we are
heading the down for our shows to Washington. That`s next Saturday and
Sunday.

Up next, "MHP" with Jonathan Capehart sitting in. A federal appeals court
hears arguments tomorrow on whether Mississippi`s last remaining abortion
clinic can continue to operate. The key doctor working to keep the clinic
open will Jonathan in studio. That`s next.

Now at 1:00 p.m. today, "TAKING THE HILL." MSNBC contributor Patrick
Murphy sits down for an exclusive conversation with Marie Tillman, she`s
the widow of Pat Tillman.

That does it for us today. Have a great week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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