'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, June 15th, 2014
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UP with STEVE KORNACKI
June 15, 2014
Guest: Pia Carusone, Richard Feldman, Ralph Northam, Annie Lowrey, Brian
Schweitzer, Wesley Clark, Joe Carr, Michael Collins, Dave Helling, Steve
Grossman, Bruce Murray, Brianna Scurry, George Vecsey, Steve Kornacki Sr
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: The U.S. military gets in the position for
possible air strikes in Iraq.
Good morning and happy Father`s Day. Thanks for getting up with us today.
At this hour a U.S. aircraft carrier is on its way to the Persian Gulf,
giving the Pentagon the option of launching air strikes as President Obama
considers possible military intervention in Iraq. Defense Secretary Chuck
Hagel announced yesterday that he has ordered the USS George H.W. Bush to
escort ships to move from the Arabian Sea into the Gulf. Ships carry
Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets, both with the capability to reach Iraq.
This morning Iraqi government forces are said to be holding back an advance
of Sunni militants somewhere north of Baghdad. These forces have been
reinforced by members of Shiite militia groups. Thousands of young Iraqi
men answering the urgent call to arms yesterday in the southern part of the
country. There are reports this morning that a number of towns have been
retaken from the rebels. They still hold the big cities of Tikrit and
Mosul. Maybe in Mosul today, only days after Iraq`s second largest city
fell to al Qaeda-inspired insurgents, many Iraqis are willingly returning
home. As many as half a million residents escaped as Mosul fell, but
people are being lured back by the conquering Jihadist forces with cheap
gas, food, clean streets and electricity that works for many more hours a
day now than it did before. And some in Mosul telling journalists they
feel safer and less oppressed than they did under the government with Prime
Minister Nouri al Maliki, serving to underscore the challenges the U.S.
backed government faces in regaining control of northern and Western Iraq.
Let`s go now to NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin. He`s in
northern Iraq for us this morning, live in the city of Erbil. Ayman, the
latest reporting suggests that maybe the militants` progress has been
stalled at least for the moment. What can you tell us this morning?
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, ERBIL IRAQ: Well, the situation continues to remain very
tense on the outskirts of Baghdad, more importantly in the areas that are
between Baghdad and some of the towns and cities that are controlled by
ISIS. Now, the Iraqi government certainly trying to change the momentum
and trying to get some momentum on its side, not only with its rhetoric,
but also with the reality on the ground. As you mentioned, there have been
centers, recruitment centers that have been open now for Shia militias to
join the fight, but also you saw on Friday Prime Minister Nouri Maliki hold
a meeting with some high-ranking military officials in Samarra, a very
symbolic and important city for the prime minister to try to assert his
control over the country and more importantly says he wants to push and
repel any of the al Qaeda-linked militants` attacks that have been over the
past several days plaguing some of the cities.
Now, in addition to that the Iraqi government says it will take the fight
to these rebel-held areas, but a lot of people have been pointing out this
is not simply an issue of military victories on the ground. There are
legitimate and political grievances that have been exacerbated over the
last several months by many members of the Sunni Arab community and the
prime minister. And now, the question is whether or not the prime minister
can build some kind of reconciliation momentum to try and win back some of
these communities that are expressing their support, at least symbolically,
to the al Qaeda-linked militant group, which in itself feels it has a
tremendous amount of momentum on its side. It certainly has a ground swell
of support in some of the areas that it is controlling and more importantly
it now has an influx of weapons and cash from some of the bases that they
have been able to loot and control over the past several days. So still a
very tense situation throughout the entire northwestern part of Iraq.
KORNACKI: Foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin in northern Iraq this
morning. I appreciate that. And coming up in the next hour, more on the
situation in Iraq including today`s blame game about what caused the
current crisis. We`ll be talking with General Wesley Clark who led the war
in Kosovo as NATO supreme allied commander. We`ll be talking to him about
all of that.
We want to turn now to one of the violent scenes that unfolded this week
here in the United States. This is what it looked like at Reynolds High
School in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday morning. Distraught
students were filing out of school after a freshman student there shot and
killed his 14-year-old classmate, Emilio Hoffman, in the boys` locker room.
He also wounded a phys.ed teacher who tried to intervene and he turned the
gun on himself after exchanging gunfire with police officers at the scene.
Police say the shooter was armed with an assault rifle, nine magazines of
ammunition, a handgun and a knife. According to the gun safety group
everytown.org, this marked the 74th school shooting since the tragedy at
Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, back in December
2012. Less than two years ago. That was the school shooting that was so
horrific that in its wake there seemed to be consensus that Congress would
surely do something in response. Everytown.org arrived at that number of
74 by counting incidents, in which a firearm was discharged inside a school
building or on school grounds.
Tragedy at Reynolds High School on Tuesday followed another horrific
incident last week in Las Vegas. It`s where a husband and wife who
espoused anti-government and anti-law enforcement beliefs gunned down and
killed two police officers who were having lunch at a local pizzeria. The
couple, who were videotaped at Cliven Bundy`s ranch in Nevada then fled to
a nearby Walmart where they shot and killed the shopper. Police killed the
husband and the wife then shot and killed herself. Firefight with police
killed the husband who was a convicted felon and who was prohibited from
purchasing guns. And the wife then shot and killed herself.
So those are just the mass shootings that happened in the last week. The
day after that Las Vegas incident, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who
represents Nevada, made his first unprompted mention of revisiting gun
control legislation in months.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D) NEVADA, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: A step in the right
direction, universal background checks so that people who are criminals,
who are deranged, can`t buy a gun. The American people are depending upon
us to pass legislation to prevent gun violence and safeguard communities,
schools and families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: On Tuesday afternoon President Obama said the single biggest
frustration of his presidency has been the lack of willingness to take
basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We`re the only
developed country on earth where this happens. And it happens now once a
week. Our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There`s no advanced
developed country on earth that would put up with this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: But the president also expressed pessimism about getting gun
legislation through Congress any time soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And most members of Congress, and I have to say to some degree this
is bipartisan, are terrified of the NRA. The combination of the NRA and
gun manufacturers are very well financed and had the capacity to move votes
in local elections and congressional elections, and so if you`re running
for office right now, that`s where you feel the heat. And people on the
other side may be generally favorable towards things like background checks
and other common sense rules, but they`re not as motivated. But until
that`s a view that people feel passionately about and are willing to go
after, folks who don`t vote reflecting those values, until that happens,
sadly not that much is going to change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: It`s not that Congress entirely ignored what happened this week.
On Tuesday the House held what was described as an emotional moment of
silence for the victims in Portland. It was led by Oregon Democrat Earl
Blumenauer whose district includes Reynolds High School. But absent any
legislative action from Congress, this is how one Oklahoma company is
trying to protect kids while they`re at school.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Sandy Hook school massacre was a wake-up call for
Steve Walker, a father of two elementary school students. Steve
desperately wanted to protect his boys from a dangerous classroom intruder.
STEVE WALKER: We wanted to have our children and have a layer of
protection that they could get immediately. So they would be stored in the
classroom. And when seconds count, that they can be easily applied.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It took him a year to design, create and now market the
bodyguard blanket. It`s made from the same material protecting police
officers and our soldiers in Afghanistan. Kids put them on just like a
backpack with head to toe defense.
WALKER: As the students put them on and they line up in the hallway, they
develop like a (INAUDIBLE) shield like the Romans and the Greeks used to
lock their shields together so it gives them added protection.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Reports like that leave us to ask even in our polarized
political environment, are bulletproof blankets really the best we can do
to prevent future school shootings? To talk about this I want to bring in
Pia Carusone, she`s executive director of the gun safety group, Americans
for Responsible Solutions, that`s Gabby Giffords` group and Richard
Feldman, he`s the president of the independent Firearm Owners Association,
he`s also a former NRA lobbyist. So, thank you to both of you for joining
us. And, you know, we have a little time here. Let`s try to find maybe -
maybe some common ground. But Pia, I`ll start with you because it sounded
to me in the extended clip we played from the president, earlier this week,
it almost sounded to me like he was talking to you because it`s kind of
striking to groups like yours. Because it`s kind of striking, a lot of
times as White House you think of like the issue of immigration and the
prospects of anything happening legislatively on immigration are not that
good, but they talk like they are. They sort of keep the appearance and
maybe even the illusion out there. When it comes to gun control
legislation, though, he`s basically saying, no, look, it`s not happening
and he`s putting the onus on you. And he`s saying I need groups to go out
there and to make this issue matter to people who want gun control as much
as it matters to the NRA. And when that happens, when there`s some parity
there, then something can happen in Congress. So, what`s your response to
the president when he says that?
PIA CARUSONE, AMERICANS FOR RESPONSIBLE SOLUTIONS: We completely agree.
This issue is now political and we need to be able to show the senators
that voted for background checks that you can both do the right thing and
come back to work. And the folks in the House that have co-sponsored, you
know, various bills similar to the background check bill that it`s possible
to be both courageous and successful politically. So our group announced a
couple of weeks ago that we`re getting involved in 11 races. We`ve raised
at least over $14 million that we`ve publicly declared. We`re going to
spend real money.
KORNACKI: So when you say these races, these are people ....
CARUSONE: These are elections, they are mostly incumbents that we`re going
to be supporting this year. People that have stood up, shown the American
public that they`re willing to do the right thing.
KORNACKI: Specifically on background checks?
CARUSONE: On background checks, exactly
KORNACKI: OK, now, let`s look at the question of background checks.
Because it`s, you know, there`s all sorts of angles you could look
legislatively in terms of what you can do on guns.
KORNACKI: But what the focus in Washington has been the Manchin-Toomey
background checks bill introduced in the wake of Sandy Hook. We are still
talking - Harry Reid is still talking about. So, tell us, we have right
now going back 20 years to when the Brady Bill passed in the early `90s,
there is a background check system in place right now. What is it
specifically that Manchin-Toomey would do that doesn`t exist right now?
CARUSONE: So, Manchin-Toomey would have mandated background checks to
occur at sales at gun shows and on the Internet, but it left open many
exceptions for family members, for temporary transfers for hunting, it was
a very reasonable bill. It was not even universal background checks, it
was just expanding the current system that we have today that applies only
to guns bought from licensed dealers.
KORNACKI: So the main thing you`re talking about here is Internet sales.
CARUSONE: And gun shows.
KORNACKI: And gun shows. OK.
CARUSONE: So, now Richard, I said I`m saying we can find some common
ground here. And I`m curious what you make of specifically Manchin-Toomey.
You know, we`re not talking about -- we`re talking specifically essentially
bout background checks here, closing the loopholes that Pia just talked
about. Is that something you find acceptable?
RICHARD FELDMAN, PRES. OF INDEPENDENT FIREARMS OWNERS ASSOCIATION: Our
organization enthusiastically supported the final version of the Manchin-
Toomey bill because it required background checks essentially in commercial
transactions, not between people who know each other. That`s the objection
gun folks have to the universal background check. When you`re buying and
selling a gun in a commercial transaction at a gun show, we think it makes
a lot of sense to require a background check, but that wouldn`t have had
any impact on the recent high visibility crimes. Our shooter in Santa
Barbara went through a background check. Nothing that`s been proposed
would have had him in the system. Clearly he was disturbed. Clearly his
parents tried to get help for him. They sent the police. But we have a
failed mental health system in this country and we`re not really focusing
on the problem that we could do something about.
KORNACKI: Richard, I want to get into the mental health question here in a
minute, too, but I kind of want to stay on this point because it`s
interesting. We have you and we have Pia agreeing and you are saying, you
know, you both support the Manchin-Toomey background checks bill. And yet,
in the wake of Sandy Hook and in the wake of -- I understand you can look
at individual tragedies and say it wouldn`t have worked in this case, maybe
it would have worked in this case. But putting that aside in the face of
all of these tragedies that seem to keep happening, something is where
there`s an agreement between the two of you cannot get through Congress
right now. What is the obstacle? You say it`s reasonable. You`re a
strong supporter of gun rights. You say it`s reasonable, Pia says it`s
reasonable. What`s the obstacle here?
FELDMAN: The obstacle was that it got thrown together with all sorts of
other provisions from Senator Dianne Feinstein on assault weapons. And
while they were separate bills, in the minds of gun owners it was all one
piece of legislation and the opposition to the assault weapons provisions
overrode everything else. If we focused our attentions in this country on
one aspect of the problem, as you`re trying to do right here and now, Pia
and I would agree on solving this problem. Why don`t we act like we used
to in America and take these issues one step at a time. Let`s not allow
the things we disagree over prevent us from moving forward on the many
areas that we do agree about.
KORNACKI: OK, so when we have found agreement on this bill, you just
heard, Pia, Richard`s assessment of why it failed. What is your
CARUSONE: Yeah, I mean I think that these senators just couldn`t accept
the fact that they were going to be doing something that the NRA would not
be supportive of. And many of them have been working with the NRA their
whole career and they couldn`t fathom a re-election where they weren`t
endorsed by them, frankly.
KORNACKI: OK, there`s a piece of video here and we`ve got to squeeze a
break in. But there`s a piece of video here, I think people have watched
this in the last few weeks. And see, it`s incredibly emotional from the
father of one of the recent victims. I want to play what he said and I
want to have our two guests respond to that. We`ll do that when we come
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD MARTINEZ, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: Why did Chris die? Chris
died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk
about gun rights. What about Chris`s right to live? When will this
insanity stop? When will enough people say "Stop this madness, we don`t
have to live like this." Too many have died! We should say to ourselves
not one more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Richard Martinez. He was talking about his son, Chris,
who was gunned down last month at U.C. Santa Barbara. And so, Richard, I
just - I`m sure you`ve seen that clip before and I think a lot of people
out there have seen it and have very, you know, strong reactions to it.
When you hear that, the anguish of a father who just lost his son saying
what he`s saying there, what kind of reaction do you have when you hear
FELDMAN: Well, it`s very understandable, but as a society we can`t respond
to the momentary emotion. We need to take an intelligent, articulate,
cool, calculated understanding of the problem and deal with the problem,
not the emotionalism of the problem. And if we look at the behavioral
indicators that surround the mentally deranged individual, we can do a lot
to keep those guns hopefully out of the hands of some of them. We`ll
probably prevent more suicides than we will mass homicides. We can do a
better job. But if we look for perfection, we`re going to fail. There are
lots of things we can do.
KORNACKI: So what, for example, what would you say? What would the
FELDMAN: Well, maybe we need to take a better look at when the police are
called to a situation, where the parents are concerned, maybe we should do
more about the guns at that momentary moment when the police have been
called in and they are aware, which they weren`t in Santa Barbara, that the
person has guns. We need to take a very hard and careful look at what we
can do in society in those moments of strife and anguish about keeping the
guns away from someone in a situation like that shooter.
KORNACKI: So, Pia, so he seems to be suggesting there some sort of your
mental health assessment and if somebody is found, you know, boy, this
could be a concern here, then look at it, you know, should this person be
owning firearms, should they have access to them in the first place, should
he be owning them?
KORNACKI: When you hear what this father -- when you heard that reaction
and you think in terms of what can we do, what kind of reaction do you
CARUSONE: Well, I mean it`s very difficult. Every situation is different.
And in the case of the Las Vegas incident, when you saw people that were
being manipulated by the rhetoric that they have heard in the media or that
they have read and they have, you know, had this anti-government sentiment.
In the California shooting, yes, he had guns, but like who would have known
he had guns? No one wants registration. You start talking about that and,
you know, you`ve got no support. So, you know, our perch - is we can
agree, and, by the way, background checks is not controversial except in
Washington, D.C. And we just did some polling in Texas, we found 75
percent of NRA members in Texas support background checks. If we can agree
on that, let`s get that done and let that be the first step towards us
having a conversation about really what else can we do, because the rest of
it does get complicated. I mean, you know, talking about dangerously
mentally ill people, how do you prevent them from causing harm to
themselves and others, but not stigmatizing other people with mental health
issues. How do you start to look at, you know, the lethality of weapons
without limiting the responsible gun owners` rights? I mean it gets
complicated. But, you know ...
KORNACKI: And Richard, is that what the NRA is afraid of here? When you
look at something like background checks and you look at something like
Manchin-Toomey and all of these sort of (INAUDIBLE) that have been put into
it, is that ultimately what it comes down to from the NRA`s standpoint that
they can`t let, quote unquote, the other side put a win on the board?
Because if they put one win on the board, they say, well, and that means,
you know, the next thing is going to be, you know, the sort of the myth of
the NRA as all powerful thing gets chipped away? It`s easier to do
something else. Is that what the NRA is really afraid of here, sort of
that cascading effect?
FELDMAN: Well, that may be part of it. And, of course, the NRA is
composed of four plus million Americans. And they have to be concerned
about the views of their membership. But the NRA over the years has been a
lot more responsible on the gun issue than is often given credit. They
were involved very deeply in the original Brady law. In fact, the law
that`s on the books today was written at the National Rifle Association. I
know, because I was there at the time.
KORNACKI: But I mean do you want them -- do you want them right now - I
mean you`ve been there. Do you look at them right now and say, hey, guys,
listen, you`ve got to be a little reasonable here. Manchin-Toomey, you`ve
got to, you know, get behind this one. Do you want them to get behind this
FELDMAN: Well, the earlier version of the Manchin-Toomey bill was very
flawed. It was only the amended version which came up late in the day that
we supported and, of course, you`ll have to ask NRA where they are. But
there are aspects of the bill I don`t think they`d find objectionable and
there was quite a bit in the bill that was very supportive of gun owners.
But if we keep ourselves focused on the problem narrowly and carefully and
always remember that it`s never the gun per se, but always in whose hands
are the guns, and we articulate the discussion that way, we can thread the
needle and move this debate to some resolution.
KORNACKI: All right, well, It`s been a year and a half since Sandy Hook,
and again at that moment I think if you`d said a year and a half later
nothing would have happened, I think people would have been very surprised
but here we are. This is the thing still that`s in the air. Will Manchin-
Toomey - will background checks ever actually become law? That`s the
question. My thanks to Pia Carusone with the group Americans for
Responsible Solutions, Richard Feldman from the Independent Firearm Owners
Association. Eric Cantor wasn`t the only stunning political story out of
Virginia this week. There`s another one, we`ll tell you about it. That`s
KORNACKI: As Virginia Republicans take a hard turn to the right, voting
out Majority Leader Eric Cantor in that stunning primary upset this week as
well as nominating extremely conservative candidates like former Attorney
General Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson last year, as all of that happens,
the state`s current Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, is staking his
entire legislative agenda, his entire governorship on one of the biggest
political lightning rods of the last five years. The Affordable Care Act.
It has been the sole mission of McAuliffe`s governorship to pass Medicaid
expansion in the commonwealth of Virginia. An effort that would extend
health care to 400,000 low income residents in that state. It was this
expansion that met the resistance of his predecessor, Republican Governor
Bob McDonnell, Republican governors all around the country. But when
Democrats swept last November`s election, recapturing the governorship, the
lieutenant governor`s office, it looked like the Medicaid expansion was
going to happen. It put Democrats in control of the state senate while
leaving the statehouse, though, in Republican hands. Virginia is the only
state that Obama won in 2012 where a Democratic governor has not been able
to expand Medicaid yet. It is the outlier blue state in that way. And
with Democrats in power across the board, it looked like Virginia might
finally be able to get that legislation passed this year. McAuliffe wanted
the Medicaid expansion in the state`s budgets, something they put together
only once every two years but the Republican House fiercely opposed his
efforts. They proposed separating the two, McAuliffe wouldn`t budge, the
legislature ended its session without passing a budget in March. So
McAuliffe has been taking his campaign for Medicaid expansion on the road.
He went to communities like Martinsville near the North Carolina border, a
region with the state`s highest unemployment rate. McAuliffe visited
health care centers run by Piedmont Access to Health Services, which
estimates that nearly half of their 12,000 patients would qualify for
health insurance under the Medicaid expansion. Expansion would help them
see more patients, some of whom McAuliffe heard from directly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where do I draw the line? Do I not eat? Do I not by
a medication? Do I not pay a bill? Because I was one of those that now do
not exist, but I was once a middle class citizen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So that was the backdrop this week when the legislature came
back into session. They were going to settle the Medicaid dispute. The
state government would shut down by the end of the month if they didn`t,
and Democrats appeared to hold all of the cards, or most of the cards. But
on Sunday night "The Washington Post" learned that a Democratic state
senator, Phillip Puckett, was going to resign his seat, handing control of
the chamber to Republicans. In exchange his daughter would get a judgeship
and Puckett himself would be rewarded with a job with the state tobacco
commission. The alleged quid pro quo certainly has been denied by the
parties, but the alleged quid pro quo prompted an outcry from Democrats,
leading Puckett to withdraw his name from consideration for the tobacco
commission job. The damage was done. The state senate was now in
Republican hands and the united Republican legislature was poised to sever
Medicaid from the budget, which they did late Thursday night along with an
amendment requiring the general assembly`s authorization of any increased
spending on Medicaid. So now Governor McAuliffe is weighing his next
steps. He`s crafting a strategy to bring the Medicaid expansion he
promised to Virginia in spite of these new hurdles. The 400,000 Virginians
who would have received health care under the expansion, they remain
uninsured. For now anyway, joining us now is the Democratic Lieutenant
Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam. He`s a former member of the state
Mr. Lieutenant Governor, thank you for Joining us this morning. So look,
give us the bottom line on this. I mean this is - this is what Terry
McAuliffe ran on, this is sort of the signature pledge of his governorship.
I am going to expand Medicaid. We`re going to be that another one of these
blue states that gets it. The Republicans now have forced this budget on
him that does not include that. What happens next?
LT. GOV. RALPH NORTHAM, (D) VIRGINIA: Well, Steve, good morning. And we
were able to pass a budget Thursday night, but disappointingly there are
400,000 Virginians now, hard-working Virginians without coverage. And as
we know when one doesn`t have coverage, they end up receiving the care in
the emergency room. There`s a time and a place for the emergency room, but
it`s certainly not an effective and an efficient place for care. So we`re
going to continue to move forward with Medicaid expansion and hopefully in
a bipartisan manner. The other thing, Steve, that is important for folks
to realize, we are losing right now in the commonwealth of Virginia $5.2
million a day. To date we have left $827 million on the table. And as a
business model, it just doesn`t make sense for the commonwealth of
KORNACKI: When you say you`re going to move forward, I mean the reports
are saying some kind of executive action. Is that what you`re saying? Do
you expect Governor McAuliffe to take executive action on this to implement
it on his own without the legislature?
NORTHAM: Well, certainly he`s looking at his options right now. We were
disappointed on Thursday night. We came into Richmond intending to pass
the budget, intending to provide coverage for these 400,000 individuals.
We don`t have that presently, but there are some options. He`s looking
into them. He can sign the bill, he can amend it, he can veto it. So
we`re sitting down as a group and in the next seven days we`re going to
make an important decision. But the bottom line is, it is very, very
important for these 400,000 individuals to have coverage. And it`s also
important economically for Virginia to move forward with Medicaid
KORNACKI: Well, this is - here`s the quote because I mean certainly the
expectation now of some kind of executive action or at least the
possibility of executive action is leading to some criticism from
Republicans. This is a member of the House of Delegates, a Republican who
said of the possible executive action. It would be unconstitutional and
he, Terry McAuliffe, would be putting himself in a very precarious
situation both legally and, more importantly, with his relationship with
the general assembly. He`s raising two issues there. Let me just take the
legal one. Have you looked at this and are you satisfied that there is a
legal route to expanding this by executive action?
NORTHAM: Well, we`re looking at that, Steve, but certainly we would like
to do this through the legislature. That`s the way it should be done. You
know, as you said earlier, we ran on this issue in Virginia. Our Attorney
General Mark Herring and myself and Governor McAuliffe, we won. The people
spoke in the commonwealth of Virginia. They are supportive of closing the
coverage gap. So we need to do what the people want to do in Virginia and
that`s move forward with Medicaid expansion.
KORNACKI: Just a quick follow-up. Is there a case to be made for, you
know, rejecting the budget and putting this back and saying, hey, look, I`m
only signing a budget with Medicaid expansion because that`s what the
people want and Republicans aren`t giving it to them. And we`re not going
to have a budget till they do that. Is there a case to be made for that?
NORTHAM: Well, certainly time is a factor, Steve. And, you know, we need
a budget in place by July 1 and here we are in the middle of June, so we
don`t have a lot of time to work on that. So priority number one,
certainly, is to have a budget in Virginia that we can all work with. The
localities rely on that. But we want to move forward with Medicaid
expansion as well so we`re working on those options presently.
KORNACKI: All right, so to be continue - the story. My thanks to Virginia
Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam. There is more on how Medicaid expansion
is playing out all across the country. We`ll talk to two people who know
it very well. That`s next.
GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: A bipartisan coalition of Democrats
and Republicans, business groups and hospitals have said that we need to
accept the Medicaid expansion and bring Virginia`s taxpayer money back to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Terry McAuliffe on election night back in November
talking about the clearest difference he had with his Republican opponent.
He has yet to get it through the state legislature that suffered a major
setback this week. Here to discuss the expansion of Medicaid, a pillar of
Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act and its broader implications, we have
Annie Lowrey, she`s an economics policy reporter from the "New York Times"
and NBC senior political reporter Perry Bacon Jr. He joins us -- both of
them join us from Washington, D.C., this morning. Perry, I`ll start with
you. You wrote about this Virginia question this week. We just had the
lieutenant governor on. He wasn`t really committing to anything as best I
could tell, he just said we`re going to look at it, we`re going to look at
it. But you`ve been looking at this. Is this where you expect things to
go right now, is there going to be an executive action by Terry McAuliffe
in Virginia to expand Medicaid?
PERRY BACON JR., NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I don`t think there will be,
Steve. What happened this week really changed the dynamic, particularly
what happened on Thursday? The Republicans got even more power in the
legislature because of that resignation. And what they did is they passed
a provision that said basically, no matter what the governor has to get our
approval to expand Medicaid. Not just funding, because the actual funding
dollars come from the federal government for Medicaid right now, so there`s
no money the legislature has to give, but they have passed a provision that
says he cannot do anything unless we approve it. And now the budget is in
his hands and he has two options, veto the budget or sign - veto the
budget, lead to a government shutdown potentially or sign this thing.
There are 68 members of the house of delegates that are Republicans and
only 31 Democrats in the House of Delegates in Virginia. It`s hard to see
them moving. It looks more like McAuliffe is going to lose this issue for
KORNACKI: Right. And that is the one thing I did think was clear from the
lieutenant governor there, it did not sound like shutting down the
government and rejecting the budget was a possibility for them. So, Annie,
look at this, if what Perry is saying is right, and the Republicans are
going to win this round. They have fought Terry McAuliffe on his signature
goal in Virginia and it looks like for the moment, they`re going to win.
There is not going to be Medicaid expansion in the state of Virginia. And
if there`s no executive action, then that`s it, at least, you know, for the
foreseeable future. When you look back two years ago at that Supreme Court
ruling that basically said this is the state`s call whether to expand
Obamacare this way, did you think two years later we would be talking about
all these states that haven`t done it? We`d be talking about a state like
Virginia having a fight like this to not do it?
ANNIE LOWREY: Yeah, absolutely. And the Supreme Court ruling, which was
surprising, basically the Obama administration thought that it would be
able to compel states to join the expansion and it also thought that states
-- it gave states a really good deal. They`re going to pay 90 percent of
the cost in perpetuity and it`s I think 100 percent of the cost for the
first three years. But if you look back to previous expansions of benefits
like this, very often when states had the option to do it, so including
Medicare, it took a lot of - a long time for some states to go around. So
currently it`s 27 states and the District of Columbia that have accepted
the Medicaid expansion. About five other states are currently looking
close at it. Are thinking about expanding. And I think that it`s just
going to take a long time before you start to see the really deep red
states perhaps considering this legislatively.
KORNACKI: Yeah, so it will take some time, I guess, but you look at like
in Ohio, Kasich, the Republican governor, he`s gone to great lengths to do
expansion there. You`ve seen versions of it elsewhere. But so a state
like Virginia, a deep red state like you see throughout the South, it`s
going to take time and what else? What is going to happen in that time that
is going to make Republican governors and Republican legislatures say,
yeah, we need to do this? What do you think the key is on that front?
LOWREY: Well, I think that it`s important to note that you have red states
that have already done this. So, look at Arkansas, which, you know, is not
a state that is very Democratic, but they have gone ahead, they`ve done it.
The legislature kind of held their nose, but said that they thought that it
would be the best thing to do. I think that you`re going to have to look
at whether the program succeeds in states like that to help create some
political space for other really deep red states to do this. But frankly,
I think it`s going to be a long time before you see states like South
Carolina, states like Texas actually go ahead and accept it because I think
that it just - you know, it`s not within the realm of political possibility
currently, but I think it will take a long time to get there. And more red
states going ahead and doing it. I think it`s what you`re going to need.
KORNACKI: Yeah, no, I mean I`ve been wondering if the key date isn`t
January 21st, 2017, President Obama is no longer in office and maybe stop
being called Obamacare. We`ll see. But I want to thank Annie Lowrey from
"The New York Times" and NBC`s Perry Bacon Jr.
He may be the last person you would expect to speak at a high profile
retreat for prominent Republicans. We will speak to the Democrat who`s
dropped hints of a run for president. We`ll talk to him live when we come
KORNACKI: Some of the country`s most influential Republicans spent part of
this weekend in Park City, Utah. They have Mitt Romney to thank for it.
They were there for a retreat organized by the former GOP presidential
nominee. Lots of 2016 presidential hopefuls were in attendance, including
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Wisconsin
Congressman Paul Ryan. He was the 2012 VP nominee with Romney, of course.
You may be surprised to hear that this man was there too. It`s former
Montana governor Brian Schweitzer. He`s a Democrat. There`s plenty of
buzz that he may be thinking of running for the Democratic presidential
domination. According to "The New York Times" Schweitzer jokes that,
quote, "There`s not a single vote for me in the building." "Times" claims
that Romney then took a shot at the media by saying Schweitzer would find
some votes in the pressroom. Looks like Schweitzer wasn`t the only
Democrat Romney wanted at the retreat political as reporting that he also
invited Hillary Clinton. She`s, of course, in the middle of her book tour
and couldn`t make it to Utah this weekend. At the retreat Romney didn`t
have kind words about Clinton`s tenure as Secretary of State. He said that
"The Obama, Biden, Hillary Clinton foreign policy is a monumental bust."
And he weighed in on the current crisis in Iraq saying "tragically we
fought in Iraq, all the 4500 American lives lost is on the cusp of
potentially vanishing." Brian Schweitzer is back in Montana this morning
from his trip to Park City. He joins us now live. And governor, thanks
for taking the time. So, look, I mean, you know, the stories are all out
there that maybe Brian Schweitzer is interested in running for president in
2016 and here you are talking to a roomful of rich Republicans organized by
Mitt Romney in Utah. How did that come about?
FMR. GOV. BRIAN SCHWEITZER (D) MONTANA: Well, Mitt called and said, look,
Brian, I do this thing every year and many of these people are my donors
and I`d like you to come down and give them the Democratic perspective.
And so I did. And I`ve got to tell you, this was something. It was a
little bit like a boxing ring, so there was a small ring in the middle and
then there were raised seats around it with these 300 people. And in the
middle of my presentation, I kind of thought about the gladiators who were
out there and having the fans all cheer for the tiger. It was a -- they
were -- they were not that receptive, but listen, I told them things like
this. You don`t like Obamacare. You know, I had some concerns with it,
too, because I wanted a single payer, which would be more efficient. Well,
they didn`t boo me on that one. I said to them, no, let`s not talk about
going back into Iraq, because it was a mistake to go there the first time.
I told them, look, I lived in the Middle East for seven years. Iraq was
fighting Iran. Iraq was maintaining Iran`s - sort of holding Iran in
check. And then when we attacked Iraq, we took out Saddam Hussein, we
created that vacuum and now we have a problem. I told them the solution is
not to go back to the Middle East. The solution is a cleaner and greener
American supply of energy, so we`ll never have to fight another oil war.
We`ll never send our sons and daughters to fight for those dictators again
and they can boil in their own oil.
KORNACKI: Let me ask you what you think the purpose of the conference was,
because there`s been a lot of reporting that`s come out of this and a lot
of people who have been there at this thing talking about Mitt Romney in
2016, believe it or not. You even were quoted as saying that looking at
the Republican 2016 field, Mitt Romney would be a giant among midgets. Did
you get this - did you get this sense being at this thing, talking to him,
listening to the donors there, did you get the sense that he`s thinking
about 2016 at all?
SCHWEITZER: Mitt is not running. And I talked to some of his family. And
they said the same things that my family say to me, which is they don`t
want to go through this again. They do not want to have their father,
their husband, involved in this again. Mitt, I guess, feels a
responsibility, to, in particular these donors to continue in the process.
But I don`t believe Mitt Romney. He said he`s not running for president.
I believe him. But what was interesting about this is I got an opportunity
to see Republicans talking about policy among themselves. And they had a
panel just before I spoke. And it was a group of women saying to them, are
you crazy? You`ve got to have immigration policy or you`re not going to
have people of color ever support you. And they said, well, you know, and
you`ve got to do something about gay marriage, because gays, lesbians,
transgenders, they`re in every family in America. And people that are 30
and under, they`re never going to vote for you old white guys if you don`t
support these issues. And so it was kind of interesting hearing from their
own perspective about what their fatal flaws are.
KORNACKI: You are - well, speaking of fatal flaws, a lot of people in 2012
looked at Mitt Romney and said he could be his own worst enemy in some
ways, but you made a little news here, too. This was a quote. Tell me if
they got this right, but this is how you were quoted in "The Washington
Post" of this thing. You were saying - you said to Romney I don`t know why
you lost the election, Mitt, but I know this. I was watching you on TV and
I didn`t see the Mitt Romney that I knew. You`re a fun guy, you`re easy
going and Obama is not. I`ve been in the room with him a little too. He`s
stiff as a board and you`ve got it going on. You think Obama is stiff as a
SCHWEITZER: Sure. When Obama has a great persona in front of people. But
he`s - you know, listen, we all know that. He`s cold, he`s cool, he`s
collected. And some of those are the characteristics that you want in a
president. Somebody who when they get that call in the middle of the night
says, all right, I understand, I got it as opposed to somebody who flies
off the handle. Mitt Romney, he was stiff on television. I think we can
all agree. But when he was in with the group of people that he knows, he
was cracking jokes, he was fluid, he wasn`t that stiff guy that was walking
on stage. So what happens in these presidential elections, that was -
Republicans and Democrats. The question.
SCHWEITZER: Is that they get so handled, that they get stiff.
KORNACKI: Well, so, OK now the question too, that response that I just
read back to you, it was in response to a question saying are you, Brian
Schweitzer, more relatable than Hillary Clinton and you told the crowd,
yes. You think you are more relatable than Hillary Clinton.
SCHWEITZER: I did not. Actually let me tell you what the question was.
The question was this. Did you hear that Hillary Clinton said she was flat
broke? And then the second part of it, are you relatable to people? And
on the first one I said, no, wait, there was more that Hillary said.
Hillary said, look, when we left office, we had millions of dollars` worth
of legal fees and we didn`t have jobs. And so -- and she`s also said well,
maybe I misspoke by saying we were flat broke. But the facts are that they
had - they had debts and they had very few assets. And the second part of
it about reliability, I said, well, I don`t really know how to answer that
question other than to say I`m related to a lot of people. I have 69 first
cousins. That was the only answer that I gave.
KORNACKI: But you also - I want to get one more question because you also
said in another quote that I read, it was, you said I`ll tell you one
thing, I wouldn`t have voted for that damn war talking about Iraq, talking
about 2002, talking about the vote that Hillary Clinton cast as a member of
the Senate in 2002. She`s one of the pieces of news she`s made with this
book tour she`s on right now, saying she got it wrong on Iraq.
Acknowledging she got it wrong on Iraq. Is that good enough for you do you
think - she still have questions to answer about that?
SCHWEITZER: No. Listen, everybody has made mistakes and everybody moves
on. I didn`t mention the name Hillary Clinton or anybody else during my
comments other than Rand Paul, who I said I agreed with on NSA. And I
disagreed with the Bush administration on the Patriot Act that allowed us
to spy on our own citizens. I disagreed with the real I.D., and I told
those folks that. So, the bottom line is, a lot of people supported that
last war in Iraq. The question is now, are we going to throw more money
and more lives in Iraq and the Middle East or are we going to develop an
energy future in America so we`ll never fight another oil war?
KORNACKI: Well, when you are putting out signs you might be interested in
running for president against Hillary Clinton, you say I wouldn`t have
voted for that war in `02, I think people are going to make the connection
and say I think he`s not to be talking about Hillary there. But anyway.
Brian Schweitzer, former governor of Montana and attendee at the - very
interesting, Mitt Romney - thank you for taking a few minutes to tell us
about it. I appreciate it. And we`ll be right back.
KORNACKI: Everyone and everything, it seems, has a Facebook page these
days, including the aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush. And on
that page you can find this photo of how the crew of the USS George H.W.
Bush chose to extend their namesake a birthday wish on Thursday. The men
and women that work the flight deck in their brightening color uniform
spelled out 41 equals 90. And then only two days later the carrier
received orders to head to the Persian Gulf for the possibility of military
intervention in Iraq. USS George H.W. Bush is on its way there right now
and General Wesley Clark, who commanded U.S. forces in Kosovo, is joining
us live to talk about that next.
KORNACKI: Another day of intense fighting across Iraq as President Obama
weighs his options for possible military intervention. The Defense
Secretary is taking steps to make sure the U.S. military can carry out
those options. The Pentagon announced yesterday that Secretary Chuck Hagel
has ordered an aircraft carrier to escort ships to the Persian Gulf. Ships
carry Tomahawk missiles that have the capability to reach Iraq. The
aircraft carrier, the George H.W. Bush carries fighter jets that can also
easily make it to Iraq. Thousands of Shiite men from across southern Iraq
are answering an urgent call to arms today. Hundreds of them set off from
Basra this morning for training before joining in the fight. There are
reports this morning that a number of towns had been retaken from the
rebels, but that the al Qaeda-inspired insurgents still hold the big cities
of Tikrit and Mosul. For nearly a decade the city of Basra served as the
headquarters for the British forces that aided the U.S. And this morning
former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who made that decision to join the
U.S. more than a decade ago, he is saying that the 2003 invasion is not the
cause for the violence happening in Iraq right now. Blair points the
finger of blame largely at the ongoing crisis in Syria, adding that the
idea Iraq would still be stable today under Saddam Hussein is, quote,
"simply not credible and bizarre."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, FMR. U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Even if you left Saddam in place in
2003, then when 2011 happened and you had the Arab revolutions going
through Tunisia and Libya and Yemen and Bahrain and Egypt and Syria, you
would have still had a major problem in Iraq. You can see what happens
when you leave the dictator in place, as has happened with Assad now. The
problems don`t go away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Joining me this morning from Little Rock, Arkansas, to talk
about all of this, we have retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, he`s a
former supreme allied commander with NATO who ran for president as a
Democrat in 2004. General, welcome, thank you for joining us this morning.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FMR. U.S. ARMY (RET.): Thank you, Steve.
KORNACKI: I guess I just want to start with your response to what we just
heard Tony Blair saying right there. He`s saying that, you know, in 2003
Saddam Hussein is deposed, Saddam Hussein, you know, Sunni, now we have the
sort of this radical Sunni insurgency. He`s saying that none of the
destabilizing effects of 2003 account for this. He`s saying it`s the
uprising in 2011, that`s what we can point the finger at. What do you make
of that argument?
CLARK: Well, I think that there`s some truth in that argument and that the
proximate cause of this is that all of these insurgents have been trained
in the Syrian conflict. But I think if you go back and look at it, you`ll
find that the U.S. invasion of Iraq actually served as a focal point, which
built up the resistance in Iraq. It drew in terrorists and wannabe
terrorists from all over the world. They practiced, they worked against
the United States, they sparked the Sunni/Shia conflict that emerged there.
So I think it`s more like a 70-30. 70 percent of it back on what happened
in Iraq 2003, 2007, 2008, and then 30 percent on what`s happening now.
KORNACKI: Let`s talk about what`s happening now and where this is going
from the standpoint of the U.S. military. We have the reports of the USS
George H.W. Bush being sent to the Persian Gulf. We have the president
sort of weighing all of his options right now. We have John Kerry saying
yesterday, apparently, that the U.S. will stand with, you know, the Iraqi
government. When you look at everything that`s happening right now, you`ve
been in situations, you know, sort of similar to this before. When you
look at what`s happening right now, the signals that are being sent, what
do you think the likelihood is of the U.S. intervening militarily in some
CLARK: I`d say it`s a 50-50 right now. But I think that it`s important to
understand what the United States has tried to do under President Obama is
extraordinarily difficult, to pull back from an intervention. When we did
it in Vietnam, it was extremely difficult and painful and it was something
we lived with for 20 years, really until the Gulf war. But when we are
trying to do this and also handle the problems going on, you just can`t
underestimate how difficult this is psychologically, politically,
diplomatically and militarily. And so it`s an extraordinary time. Now,
what`s happening today, as we`re going through these recalculations, is
that you`re seeing nations in the region like Iran and Iraq recalculating.
They`re saying, hmm, you know, maybe the United States does need to be
here. We need American power. So in a way, this is an opportunity for the
United States to reinsert itself on the right side in this conflict. We
cannot permit -- we should not permit something like ISIS to control a
large section of territory in the Middle East on a permanent basis. They
KORNACKI: So you favor some sort of intervention here. I guess that`s the
question. I mean the case made for -- is it air strikes that you favor,
first of all? Because there`s the issue here of everybody is saying no
boots on the ground. I assume you`re talking about air strikes?
CLARK: Well, I think that what`s happening right now is that Iran is
intervening, the Iraqis are getting their house in order, the Pesh Murga in
Kurdistan has moved forward, so I think, ISIS will meet its own end. It
may hold on to a small territory, small piece of territory in Iraq. It`s
to the United States` advantage right now to come in, to go to Maliki, to
say you`re going to have to restructure your government. President Obama
has already said that. You`re going to have to have a different outlook on
life. You can`t take a major part of your country like the Sunni
population and not have them represented. You can`t brand their leaders as
criminals. You`ve got to bring the country together. On that condition
then and a condition of your at least Western orientation, then the United
States, we, the United States, will support you. This is the moment for
that kind of intervention. And then what we do militarily, that`s a matter
of some skillful assessment by General Dempsey and the Joint Chiefs of
KORNACKI: You talk about the reconciliation there, though, basically,
you`re saying, you know, to Maliki, you`ve got to reach out to the Sunnis,
you`ve got to include them, you know, as they sort of were in the final
years of the U.S. presence in Iraq, it seemed that was the trajectory, at
least. But I look back now at the last decade or so and I wonder is that
possible in Iraq? When you`re talking about these friction that goes back,
you know, hundreds of years between these different groups, or tribal
friction that takes place, and you`re saying, well, they`re all supposed to
respect that this is - you know, they live in Iraq, the country of Iraq,
and the country of Iraq was created, you know, basically a century ago in
the wake of World War I. It`s almost artificial in that way. When you
look at how deep this enmity is between all of these sides, can they ever
really co-exist in a central government or are we just trying to put, you
know, things together here that can`t stay together?
CLARK: Well, they may not stay together. I mean nothing stays together
permanently, maybe, in human affairs. Nations change, boarders change,
attitudes change. But the simple answer is, yes, Maliki can do more. He
can bring the leaders in together. And instead of intensifying the
sectarian divide and conflict, which is going to - attempting to sweep into
the region, he can dampen it down. That is the role of Iraq. Iraq is a
state. It was put together. It has Sunni and Shia and Kurds in it. And
it could play a very constructive role in the region by working more
harmoniously. It`s a question of whether the fault lines are emphasized or
the unifying factors are emphasized.
KORNACKI: You -- obviously you have such an impressive military
background, I just wonder when you think of the soldiers, when you think of
the families, when you think of the lives that have been lost and the cost
that individuals have paid on the United States` side for the last ten plus
years in Iraq and you look at the cost that the entire country has paid and
you look at what the conditions were like in Iraq before the invasion in
2003 and you look at what`s playing out right now, what would you say to
the family of a fallen soldier in Iraq? What was it for? What have we
gotten now that wasn`t in place before? Is it better in some meaningful
CLARK: I`m not sure that you weigh it that way. I think what you say is,
you know, we love your children, your son, your daughter, their sacrifice.
It was for the United States of America. We honor you and your family and
their sacrifice. But I think when you go up and tout the costs and
benefits, you`re on shaky ground in any conflict. You do what`s supposed
to be done. This nation was 70 - 60, 70 percent in favor of the war in
Iraq. The news media was pushing it. Lots of the political leaders were
pushing it. 55 percent of the American public believed that Saddam Hussein
was behind 9/11. Governmental leaders threatened mushroom clouds over
American cities if we didn`t do something. So when you look at the hype at
the time, you can hardly go back to the families and say you shouldn`t have
allowed your son or daughter to enlist, that was a mistake. It wasn`t a
mistake. They believed in this country. They trusted the leadership of
this country to do the right thing. It turns out in retrospect it wasn`t
the right thing. Some of us said that at the time. But that`s the
Democratic process. And we love this country, we believe in the system we
have in the United States of America, and those men and women who fought
and died and were injured, they believed in that system, too. They served
it and protected it and we honor them.
KORNACKI: All right. Retired General Wesley Clark, really appreciate the
time this morning. Thank you, sir, for joining us.
And just when the Republican Party appeared to have figured out how to keep
its incumbent members from being primaried out of the office by the Tea
Party, as soon as it looked like they had a handle on that, Eric Cantor was
defeated in one of the biggest upsets in history. So are there any other
candidates who should be worried it could also happen to them? We will
look at the sequel of the shocker we saw in Virginia this week. The
potential sequel, that`s next.
KORNACKI: In show business when a movie becomes a surprise smash hit at
the box office, everybody starts asking, so when`s the sequel? In
politics, when an entrenched well known and well-funded national leader
suffers a shocking loss in a primary, everybody starts asking, so who`s the
next one to go? Remember, Eric Cantor`s loss to Tea Party challenger David
Brat in the Republican primary on Tuesday was merely the latest in a series
of Tea Party upsets that have ended the careers of several major
Republicans since 2010. Think of Dick Lugar, Mike Castle, Bob Bennett and
others. Talk for much of the spring was the Tea Party fever was dying down
in Republican primaries, that the establishment had cracked the code and
figured out how to keep these upsets from happening again. But with Cantor
going down, it`s now clear the danger for Republican incumbents in
primaries hasn`t yet lifted. In the 2014 primary season isn`t over yet.
So who might be next? We know that Thad Cochran, the six-term Republican
from Mississippi tops the list of possible next Tea Party victims. He`s
fighting for his political life in a runoff against state senator Chris
McDaniel coming up on June 24th. But we`ve known Cochran is in trouble for
a while now. What about the ones like Cantor, where it sneaks up on
everyone? Here there are two Republicans who might be sweating a little
bit after what happened this week in Virginia. One of them is Lamar
Alexander. He is the second-term Republican from Tennessee, the former
presidential contender. Alexander has a reputation for being somewhat
pragmatic and has been in politics for decades. These are characteristics
that he has in common with a lot of the Tea Party`s victims these last few
years. He also represents a Southern state where the electorate is
particularly conservative and where the Tea Party is particularly strong.
Alexander is being challenged in a GOP primary by State Representative Joe
Carr, who after Cantor lost this week blasted out a fundraising email with
the message Lamar, you`re next. Carr was on CNBC this week and elaborated
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE CARR: I think Senator Alexander has got a similar problem that leader
Cantor had and that he`s out of touch with his Republican base in
KORNACKI: There`s no recent reliable polling on this race. Alexander`s
campaign did put out an internal poll earlier this year claiming the
senator leads Carr 62-17 percent, although remember, Eric Cantor`s campaign
claimed they were up by 34 points and you saw what happened there this
week. The Tennessee primary is on August 7. Lamar Alexander`s opponent
says he should be very worried. Is that right? We`re going to ask Michael
Collins, he`s the Washington correspondent with the Knoxville "New
Sentinel." Michael, thanks for joining us. So, look, I mean we`re looking
everywhere now to find after what happened to Eric Cantor, if that could
sneak up and happen with nobody knowing it was coming, where else could it
happen? And so I think it`s a little natural to look at Lamar Alexander,
just given I think his longevity in politics, somebody he`s been a governor
of Tennessee, somebody now going for, you know, another six years in the
Senate, someone who`s been around for a while, has a reputation for being a
bit pragmatic. Is there anything for him to worry about, do you think in
this primary coming up in August?
MICHAEL COLLINS, KNOXVILLE, NEWS SENTINELL: Well, his opponent, Joe Carr,
certainly would like for us to think that. But, you know, there are a lot
of differences. Several key differences between Senator Alexander and Eric
Cantor. The biggest one, I think, is that Senator Alexander has been
around a long time. He is not going to make the same kind of mistakes, the
same kind of fatal mistakes that Eric Cantor made. And what I`m thinking
of is Eric Cantor spent a lot of time going across the country, raising
money for other candidates, raising money for what everybody assumed was
going to be his own campaign for speaker of the House. Senator Alexander
is not going to have that distraction. He was a member of -- Senator
Alexander was a member of Senate Republican leadership. He was the third
ranking Republican. He was the chairman of the Senate Republican
conference. He gave that seat up about three years ago because he said he
wanted to concentrate on legislation. He wanted to be able to get things
done. And so, he`s not going to have that distraction. He`s spending
quite a bit of time in the state. He has ramped up his appearances in
Tennessee recently. He`s not been really doing the traditional campaign
kind of events that you see candidates do. He`s done some of those. New
Jersey Governor Chris Christie was in -- at an event for him in the Memphis
area a few weeks ago, and so he`s done some of those things. But what he
has been doing mostly is going to Tennessee and doing the kinds of things
that senators do. He`s been attending, you know, various events,
fundraising -- campaign-style events and his campaign staff seems to think
that as long as he is doing the kinds of things that voters sent him to
Washington to do, then they will send him back to Washington for a third
KORNACKI: OK, Michael Collins in Knoxville "New Sentinel" says Lamar
Alexander may be well positioned to avoid being the next candidate. We`ll
find out in August when that primary happens. The other Republican who
might be - thank you for joining us, by the way. The other Republican who
might be a little nervous right now is Pat Roberts from Kansas. Like
Alexander he has a reputation for being a little more pragmatic. He`s also
been in Washington for a long time. 18 years in the Senate and 16 in the
House before that, a total of 34 years. He also came under fire earlier
this year when "The New York Times" reported that what he lists as his home
address in Kansas is actually a house on a golf course that`s owned by two
of his donors. Roberts, according to that report, pays them $300 a month
and sleeps in the house, quote, occasionally. There`s a long tradition of
intra party warfare within the Kansas GOP and Roberts is being challenged
by Tea Party candidate Milton Wolf. He`s a radiologist who is also,
believe it or not, Barack Obama`s second cousin once removed. Kansas
primary is August 5th. Could Pat Roberts be the next candidate? To answer
that, we`re joined by Dave Helling, he is a political reporter with "The
Kansas City Star." So Dave, take it away. I mean Pat Roberts, 34 years in
Washington, the Kansas Republican Party always seems to be fighting with
each other. Could this one sneak up on people and surprise them?
DAVE HELLING, KANSAS CITY STAR: You`re right, Steve, by the way, Pat
Roberts is a veteran of Washington. First went there in 1980 as a
congressman. You know, we`re all trying to figure out a little bit what
actually happened in Virginia to determine whether it is exportable to
states like Kansas. And we`re not completely sure of that yet. I think
every political reporter in America is going back to look at his or her
notes to determine, you know, what have we missed, what are we not seeing?
Having said that, it does not appear, as is the case in Tennessee, it does
not appear at this moment that Pat Roberts is in serious trouble. There is
a path for Milton Wolf, and it`s a path very much like you saw in Virginia
where he gets sort of a crusade mentality going and the Tea Party really
rises up to oppose Pat Roberts, but you don`t see that yet for a couple of
reasons. First, Pat Roberts has gone hard right. He could make any Tea
Partier blush in terms of his positions on issues. He voted against the
Farm Bill, he voted against a spending bill in Kansas, he called on
Kathleen Sebelius to resign when the Obamacare computer problems cropped
up. So he`s been very aggressive moving to the right, not giving Milton
Wolf room on that side. And then he`s locked up virtually every
endorsement in the state. The Governor Sam Brownback, Tim Huelscamp, Kris
Kobach, people who might naturally find themselves in the same camp with
Milton Wolf have instead endorsed Pat Roberts. So, for those two reasons
he`s still the favorite. But again, as we learn in Virginia, there is a
path for the Tea Party candidate.
KORNACKI: Yeah, and very quickly, that golf course story, it just reminds
me, it seems like the kind of thing, I remember with Lugar in Indiana in
2012. It was the .
KORNACKI: He`s never really in the state anymore. He`s not one of us
anymore. It seems like the kind of story that can get that going a little
bit. Has that had any effect?
HELLING: Yeah, some. And it got Eric Cantor, as you know, in Virginia.
You know, Kansans are a bit ambivalent, though, Steve. You know, let`s
face it. Nobody thought Bob Dole really lived in Kansas either for 20, 25
years. So that in isolation might not make a difference. But, but if you
can get the idea going that somehow he`s been out of touch not just in
terms of where he lives, but what he`s done, then Milton Wolf has a chance.
Now, the other thing that Milton Wolf needs is some money and some energy.
You know, one of the things Eric Cantor had in Virginia was Laura Ingraham
and talk radio. You don`t really get a sense of that here. I think that,
you know, what we`ll be watching is Thad Cochran`s race in Mississippi. If
the Tea Party candidate can win there and beat Cochran, who has some
similarities with Roberts, then I do think national attention will turn to
Kansas. Some money might come in, some more national Tea Party energy and
again, that would help Milton Wolf as we head towards the August primary.
KORNACKI: OK, another one to keep an eye on. Thanks to Dave Helling with
the "Kansas City Star." We appreciate that. Thanks for getting up this
morning. The candidate whose defeat handed Ted Kennedy`s seat to Scott
Brown, that candidate is on the verge of a comeback. Oh maybe until
yesterday. It`s a big breaking news story. We`ll have all the details,
KORNACKI: Yesterday in the Netherlands, Argentina and England fought it
out for third and fourth place in the Field Hockey World Cup. That`s men`s
field hockey. The women have been playing too. And today in the finals
champion Australia is slightly favored against the home team of the
Netherlands. I wish them both well, but I have to confess that is not the
World Cup that has given me a case of World Cup fever. I have a feeling
I`m not alone in this. The symptoms of World Cup fever, and what you need
to know as you`re riding it out, that`s still ahead this morning. Stay
KORNACKI: Chances are that everything you remember about Martha Coakley
you learned in a few shocking weeks in January of 2010. Coakley was the
Democratic candidate in the special election to replace the late Ted
Kennedy. Even though she was running in what may be the bluest state in
America, Massachusetts, she somehow lost to Scott Brown. Do you remember
how traumatic a moment this was for Democrats everywhere and how triumphant
it was for the Tea Party? Barack Obama was just one year into his
presidency, the recession was worsening, his poll numbers were falling and
health care seemed to be hanging in the balance. Democrats had exactly 60
votes in the Senate. That`s the number they needed to break a Republican
filibuster and to pass a bill. Well, they had those 60 votes until
Coakley`s loss left them with just 59. On the eve of Coakley`s loss, then
Democratic Congressman Barney Frank declared that, quote, "If Scott Brown
wins, it will kill the health bill." And actually that was just about
everybody thought back then. And what made Democrats really mad is that
they believed Coakley had blown it, that she had squandered what should
have been an easy win with some mortal self-inflicted wounds, like the
vacation she took just three weeks before Election Day. When she came back
from that vacation and answered a question about whether she was taking the
race for granted by saying, quote, "As opposed to standing outside Fenway
Park in the cold, shaking hands?" And, of course, she had this to say
about the support Scott Brown was getting from Curt Schilling, he`s a local
hero in Massachusetts for leading the Red Sox past the hated Yankees in the
first World Series in 86 years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN REA: Scott Brown is Curt Schilling, Ok?
MARTHA COACKLEY (D-MA) ATTORNEY GENERAL: And another Yankee fan?
REA: Curt Schilling a Yankee fan?
COACKLEY: No. All right. I`m on .
REA: The Red Sox great pitcher of the bloody sock?
COACKLEY: Well, he`s not there anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: On election night Coakley lost to Brown by five points.
Republicans rejoiced and Democrats mourned. And for most people, that was
probably the last they heard from Martha Coakley, now more than four years
ago. So most people outside Massachusetts don`t know what happened next.
What happened when Martha Coakley went on with her life, because she was
still attorney general of Massachusetts? So she went back to that job.
She got re-elected in 2010. She rebuilt her image in Massachusetts and
within a few years she had the highest approval rating of any elected
official in the state. And then the state`s governor, Duval Patrick,
announced he wouldn`t run for a third term this year and so Coakley threw
her hat in the ring. And look at this, she`s way ahead of the Democratic
field, she`s also ahead of the Republican candidate, the presumptive
Republican candidate, Charlie Baker. But then came yesterday. This was
the first major test of this new campaign for Martha Coackley, the first
test of whether her party is ready to take a chance on her once again. And
her strategy was to confront all of those ugly memories head on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COACKLEY: The 2010 Senate election was very painful for a lot of people in
this room. I understand how much of your heart and soul was in that race.
Mine too. I know how hard so many of you worked in that race, and I thank
you for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was at the Massachusetts state Democratic convention in
Worcester yesterday. And when all the votes were counted at that
convention, Coackley was barely in second place, losing by double digits to
Steve Grossman, he`s the state treasurer and the former chairman of the
Democratic National Committee and just ahead of the third candidate, Don
Berwick. There`s going to be a primary because every candidate who got
more than 15 percent yesterday can run in it, but Grossman is now the
officially endorsed candidate of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. And
the bigger threat to Coakley are the headlines. She has been benefiting
from name recognition and from a sense of inevitability. Now the story is
that she`s lost a big test. She`s lost her party`s endorsement and all
those bad memories from 2010 are being revived. Before the convention
Grossman said that Coakley, if she lost, would have to, quote, "do a lot of
soul searching about whether to stay in the race." Well, she`s staying in
the race and, again, she`s been well ahead in the polls and she may well
But this was big news in Massachusetts yesterday. Coakley`s opponents got
almost exactly what they wanted out of the convention while Coakley herself
is left to convince the world that we`re not watching history repeat
itself. So where does this race, where does Martha Coakley`s bid for the
ultimate redemption, where does it go from here? We`re joined now by the
candidate who won that convention yesterday, Steve Grossman, he`s the
Massachusetts state treasurer. He`s now the state`s Democratic Party`s
officially endorsed candidate for governor. Mr. Grossman, thanks for
joining us this morning. So, you know, nationally people remember Martha
Coakley from 2010 and we`re saying here the threat to her is what these
headlines might look like. Let me just put up a taste of what it looks
like in Massachusetts right now. This is "The Boston Herald." This was
yesterday as it became clear she was going to be losing in this convention.
You know, Coakley way ahead in the polls, could make history as the first
woman elected governor and the party is poised to reject her. "Really?" In
shouting print there, as "The Boston Herald" style. Let me just ask you,
you said before this convention, if she doesn`t win, she has some soul
searching to do. She didn`t win, you won by 12 points. Do you think
Martha Coakley should be thinking about getting out of this race?
STEVE GROSSMAN, (D) MA CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR: No, I don`t think she
should be thinking about getting out of the race, but I think she does have
some soul searching to do. I mean after all, if you look at the history of
Massachusetts politics for governor, from Michael Dukakis, 1974, to Duval
Patrick, 40 years, no Democrat has been elected governor without a
passionate army of activists behind them. I mean passion, energy,
activism, organizing. You need that passion. She`s got a passion gap and
KORNACKI: What is the soul searching? What is the soul searching she
needs to do, then? She doesn`t need to think about getting out of the
race. What do you mean by soul searching?
GROSSMAN: Well, soul searching means how do you connect with people? When
you`re the front runner, when you are ahead by a lot in the polls mostly
because of name recognition and you are not able to win a convention
nomination, as a matter of fact when you`re rejected by more than three-
quarters of the delegates in the hall, you begin to ask yourself the
question, I think, what`s wrong and why can`t I connect with people? Look,
this race is going to come down to one simple very clear comparison. I`m
the progressive job creator in the race who spent my life in business and
as treasurer creating jobs. Martha Coakley is a career prosecutor. I`m
going to give people a very clear choice between a job creator and a
prosecutor and we`ll let the people decide that on September 9th.
KORNACKI: She, I mean in her speech yesterday, she came right out and she
addressed the issue of 2010, of the race against Scott Brown, of how -- the
effect that had sort of on the psyche of Democrats in Massachusetts and
nationally too. I have talked to people who were at this convention, you
know, Democratic activists who say they still do have reservations about
Martha Coakley as a general election candidate and they`re saying that`s
why there`s resistance to her at this convention that you`re maybe not
seeing in the polls. Do you think it`s fair when you look back at 2010 and
you look at all these sort of factors that were in the air? I mean we just
played sort of the greatest hits reel as it were that usually tried it out,
when you talk about Martha Coakley and that campaign, but do you look back
at that and say, yes, she did blow that race?
GROSSMAN: The buck stops with the candidate. At the end of the day, when
all the consultants give you all the advice, you`ve got to go out there and
show people that you care about their lives, that you can create jobs. We
have 237,000 people out of work in this state. 800,000 people on food
stamps. You`ve got to be able to show people that you connect with them
and with their deepest concerns. I think I`m able to do that. I think
I`ve been able to do that during this campaign. I don`t have the name
recognition she has, but that`s what the next three months are all about.
But I`m on the road today, tomorrow and every day talking about jobs, and
talking about the economic future and I`m doing it based on a track record
as a job creator in the private sector and a state treasurer who created
jobs using that office. Martha Coakley will have to stand on her own two
feet, but she`s not a job creator. She`s not somebody who`s connected to
the economy and to people`s economic challenges and needs. And that`s a
big problem for somebody who`s going to try to create a connection. You
know, action and passion, we know that phrase, action and passion is not
something the Coakley campaign had in 2010 and is certainly not something
the Coakley campaign has in 2014.
KORNACKI: I just want to ask you because we`re talking about this as Steve
Grossman and Martha Coakley. There is a third candidate who qualified for
the ballot and it was a bit of a surprise yesterday how well Don Berwick,
who used to run the Medicare and Medicaid program. It was a bit of a
surprise how he nearly beat her for second place. I`ve heard from people
he`s pitched his message really at the progressive base of the Democratic
Party and I`ve heard people say that Steve Grossman ought to be worried
about Don Berwick because Don Berwick is catching fire with the grassroots.
And Grossman wanted - with Martha Coakley. Are you a little worried about
how well Don Berwick did yesterday?
GROSSMAN: Well, I`m not worried about how this is going to play out. We
have three people in the race. I`m the one person in this race who spent a
lifetime creating jobs, good jobs and who has a progressive track record
all my life. I think people have known me from all the way back at the
beginning through my career in business and through my career in public
service. So this is, I think, going to be fundamentally -- it`s going to
come down to a race between me and Martha Coakley. But Don Berwick will be
in the race. He`s a distinguished doctor, but this is about jobs and also
about fiscal discipline and responsibility. Who can run government? I`ve
spent the last four years I think doing a pretty solid job, running the
treasury of this commonwealth and all of its component parts so fiscal
responsibility. And who is going to go out there and protect the
taxpayer`s dollar? That`s an important ingredient on this. Jobs, fiscal
responsibility, who`s going to protect the taxpayer and who`s going to
create that energetic army of activists all over the state. I believe I
can do it. I don`t think Martha Coakley can.
KORNACKI: All right, I want to point out that we did invite Martha Coakley
to be on the program this morning, we`d welcome her as a guest any time.
My thanks to Steve Grossman, he`s a Democratic candidate for governor of
Massachusetts. And you also got some other good news yesterday, we should
point this out, the arrival of a new grandson. So you win the state
convention, you become a grandpa, Happy Father`s day to you and
congratulations on that.
GROSSMAN: Right in the middle of the convention at 3:19, little baby Jack
was born. I`ve got to tell you, it was a great day and the most memorable
part of the day is not the winning of the convention, although I`m proud of
it, it`s having that little, little healthy grand baby arriving yesterday
KORNACKI: I`m sure it`s a day you`ll remember now forever.
GROSSMAN: I will. Thank you.
KORNACKI: So congratulations on that anyway.
Every four years like clockwork many Americans begin to feel the urge to
call soccer football. I`m not one of them, I always call it soccer. But
anyway, then they pretend to understand how the offside rule actually
These are just some of the symptoms of World Cup fever and I`m afraid I
have become a victim of it. Luckily former members of the U.S. national
team are here to talk me through it. That`s next.
KORNACKI: Today marks day four of the World Cup in Brazil. With another
full day of matchups ahead in what`s considered to be the biggest game of
the day, Ecuador will take on Switzerland at noon so I guess we`ll find out
if Switzerland actually has any fans or if the Swiss are neutral in soccer
too. I have to say, I don`t follow soccer that much, but around this time
every four years I come down with a pretty intense case of World Cup fever.
And I`d say the fever kicked in for me this year sometime on Thursday
afternoon. That`s when I looked up from my desk just in time to see
Holland`s Robin van Persie lounge into the air, redirect the ball with head
and score one of the most ridiculous goals I`ve ever seen. The Netherlands
went on to beat Spain in that game. That`s the team that beat them in the
World Cup championship game four years ago. The tables were turned on
third day. The score was five to one for the Netherlands. A moment every
American fan is waiting for comes tomorrow. That`s when the U.S. team will
make - will take the field for its first game against Ghana, the same team
that knocked them out four years ago in South Africa. And every game, of
course, is crucial in the World Cup, but this one is especially big for the
Americans who have been thrown into what`s being called the group of death.
After Ghana they`ll play Portugal and then Germany, two of the best teams
in the world. So getting off to a good start tomorrow is hugely important.
Four years ago the U.S. team produced a moment that fans will remember for
the rest of their lives. Desperately needing a win over Algeria to advance
out of the opening round, the game tied, the clock ticking past 90 minutes,
into injury time, the referee ready to blow the whistle any second to end
the game, to end the American dream and then out of nowhere, a breakaway, a
shot, a rebound and a goal or one of the biggest goals in American soccer
history by Landon Donovan. For Americans that thrilling moment of ecstasy
was just a small taste of what other countries have been experiencing for
decades. Soccer is the world sport and we`re still playing catch-up but we
are starting to get there. I`m hardly the only American who gets World Cup
fever this time every four years and that`s exactly how FIFA, the global
organization that runs international soccer, wants you to feel. Your
attention, your enthusiasm, your dollars all captured by a big splashy and
The Brazilians were probably feeling that excitement seven years ago when
it was announced that Brazil would be hosting the event this year in 2014.
The country`s minister of sports expressing enthusiasm at the conclusion of
the last World Cup about the potential boon to turn that would be for
Brazil. Adding that "the world will be surprised by the country it will be
discovering in 2014. That was probably true, but a lot happened in the
seven years it took to get Brazil ready for the World Cup. Stadiums built
well behind schedule, construction workers killed in the pressured rush to
catch up. Massive protests over the transportation hikes to pay for all of
it. And workers strikes in the days immediately before the games. But
despite all that, here we are again. I`ll be watching it 5:30 tomorrow and
pulling for the U.S. and a lot of you probably will too. So where does all
this enthusiasm come from? Will it last? Does the U.S. even have a shot
of pulling off major upsets in basically all of its games?
Well, joining me now is Bruce Murray, he`s a member of the 1990 U.S. World
Cup team and the member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, George Vecsey
is a long-time sports writer, one of the first to cover the sport of
soccer, now a contributing columnist with "The New York Times" and author
of the new book "Eight World Cups: a Journey through the Beauty and Dark
Side of Soccer." In Washington, Brianna Scurry, she`s a former goalkeeper
for the U.S. national team, winner of the World Cup championship in 1999, I
think we all remember that cam e- the two-time Olympic gold medal winner.
Welcome to you as well. George, let me just start with you as somebody
who`s covered a lot of these World Cups and you probably get into this even
more than I do every four years. But is part of the fun for an American
watching the World Cup and watch the U.S. in the World Cup, is part of the
fun that this is a sport where we`re not that good at and we`re the
underdog and it`s a real challenge to win these games? Like when I think
of the Olympics and the dream team and the basketball team, they win by 60
or 70 points and it`s kind of boring to watch. Every game for the United
States is like this is amazing if we can win this. Is that part of it?
GEORGE VECSEY, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: But every soccer game is like that
around the world. I mean it`s like that for Italy. Italy has - and every
game they play in the World Cup. So it`s - I don`t think the United States
wants to be an underdog. I don`t think that`s the plan at all. The plan
is for when they can win everything 4-0 in their region and 2-0 in the
KORNACKI: Well, that would be kind of boring.
VECSEY: You`ll live to see that.
KORNACKI: Well, let`s talk about that, Bruce, the evolution. So 1990 when
you guys made the World Cup, it was in Italy that year, the first time in
40 years the United States has even qualified for this thing. It was
almost sort of a miracle they qualified in the first place. You went 0-3,
but just getting there was the huge accomplishment. When you look back at
the experience for the U.S. and what it was like for this country and sort
of as fans in this country in 1990 and you look at what`s playing out right
now, what kind of changes have you seen in the last quarter century?
BRUCE MURRAY, 1990 U.S. WOLRD CUP TEAM: Well, Steve, it`s incredible, the
amount of interest in the sport and the way it`s grown in the last 20 years
is just absolutely incredible. The United States now can put a competitive
product on the field and we can win. We have a puncher`s chance to be in
every game in this World Cup. I`m very impressed with this U.S. team.
They`re set up in attack mode. We have outside batch going forward.
Jurgen Klinsmann has set this team up in a way to put pressure on the other
teams, versus sitting back and absorbing pressure.
KORNACKI: I`ve got to ask you as part of that pressure that he`s putting
on the other teams saying that the U.S.-- this was a quote that got a
little bit of attention. This in in "The New York Times" magazine on June
4. This is the coach of the U.S. team. "We cannot win this World Cup
because we are not at that level yet. For us we have to play the game of
our lives seven times to win the tournament. And then he leans back and he
shrugs and says realistically it is not possible." I know he`s German and
maybe there`s a different way of talking about games ahead of time and
there`s a cultural difference here, but an American coach talking that way,
I think American fans - I think say, what is he doing?
MURRAY: No, I think he`s trying to motivate the team and that`s his way of
doing it. He`s made a couple of controversial decisions in terms of Eddie
Johnson being left off the 30-man roster. Landon Donovan, arguably the
best player to ever play this game for the United States is sitting on the
couch. So he better get it right at the World Cup or there`s going to be a
lot of people .
KORNACKI: A lot of second guessing.
MURRAY: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
KORNACKI: Brianna, well, let me bring it to you, because I said, 1999, I
mean you think about soccer in the last generation or so in the United
States and just the rapid growth of it. One of the signature moments is
the U.S. winning that game in front of a full rose bowl in 1999. President
Clinton is there, televised on national television. It strikes me when I
think of that, in a lot of major sports there`s a real gap, I think, in fan
interest between maybe the men`s game and the women`s game. It seems that
Gap is a lot narrower in soccer than in any other sport.
BRIANNA SCURRY, 1999 U.S. WORLD CUP CHAMPION: I would absolutely agree
with you, Steve. The one thing I will say about our men`s team this year,
after watching the first couple of games of this World Cup, I have more
faith than ever in our men`s team being able to possibly get out that group
of death. With the games like, for example, Netherlands beating Spain
which you`d mentioned yesterday, Costa Rica won over Uruguay, and also,
Ivory Coast came back to win. And so, this, if any World Cup is a possible
World Cup breakthrough for them, it`s this one. So, I would encourage
everyone to be watching because you might see something amazing.
KORNACKI: George, you are nodding ahead at that.
VECSEY: Oh, there have been some amazing results so far today. You know,
these people are modest. Now, Bruce isn`t going to tell you that he scored
a goal that almost was part of a goal against Italy in 1990 and Brianna
won`t brag, but she saved an awful lot of goals in 1999. I was there to
watch. These are two terrific World Cup athletes under pressure.
KORNACKI: What`s - what the state of soccer as a major sport in the
country right now, when I grew up I think if you had to rank them, I think
baseball was probably number one, football, basketball, hockey, and then
soccer was somewhere after that. I think football might now be number one.
I think it`s kind of grown that way. Where does soccer stack up? Has it
caught up to hockey yet? Can we call it a major sport right now?
MURRAY: Steve, I think it has. As a matter of fact, all these guys that
played soccer in high school now that have young children, these are the
guys that are supporting the United States, supporting the league. Soccer
has grown exponentially and I believe it`s only a matter of time before
soccer does leapfrog hockey.
MURRAY: Yeah, it`s - it`s the ball easier to see in the pocket - as some -
I still can`t - the score, I don`t know. In soccer, you always know.
Brianna, maybe just give us - if you were down there in Brazil right now,
the team`s about to take the field tomorrow, what do you tell the
Americans? The first game against Ghana, they beat them four years ago.
What`s the pep talk?
SCURRY: I would definitely say the pep talk is go out there, be creative,
be yourselves and enjoy the moment. Because like I said, this World Cup
seems to be the World Cup of upsets and if anyone else can have an upset,
then why can`t the USA? And so now if you had asked me a week ago, Steve,
what I thought the U.S.`s chances were, I would have said all the sun and
the moon has to align in order for the U.S. to get out of the group. But
after seeing these last few games, I think they have as much chance as
anyone of getting out of that group of death.
KORNACKI: All right. We`ll see. It`s going to be really fun to watch. I
mean is the group of death, but that`s what makes it fun, I think. Every
KORNACKI: I want to thank columnist George Vecsey for joining us, former
U.S. soccer players Bruce Murray and Brianna Scurry, thank you all for
joining us this morning.
SCURRY: Thank you.
KORNACKI: What should you know today? My answer right after this.
KORNACKI: This is the part of the show where I usually ask our guests what
we know now we didn`t know when the week began. I didn`t know when the
show began that my father was -- it`s Father`s Day. I knew he was in town,
but my father is here. This is my dad. He has the same name as me. That
was very creative naming me Steve. I appreciate that. But he`s here.
Happy Father`s Day, dad.
STEVE KORNACKI SR.: Thank you.
KORNACKI: And you can bring a pastry home with you.
STEVE KORNACKI SR: Thank you.
KORNACKI: Don`t eat it now because you have to talk. What do we tell
people at home? Here`s the thing I was thinking. We were doing a segment
a few minutes ago about the Massachusetts governor`s race. And I think
some people are always saying why are they talking about that. Well, you
know, I`m from Massachusetts, I grew up, you know, we grew up in Grotton
(ph), you know, outside Lowell and the first thing that really got me
interested in politics was the Massachusetts governor`s race in 1990. In
my school, I played the role of John Silver, he was one of the candidates
for governor that year. And he lost. And that was sort of the start of
my, you know, obsession with politics.
STEVE KORNACKI SR.: Well, I remember that obsession, Steve. I remember
that incident, but also a couple of other things. If we remember the Bob
Hart graves write-in campaign.
KORNACKI: And everybody at home is going to .
STEVE KORNACKI SR: And everybody .
STEVE KORNACKI SR: But the thing that I remember most back then is how you
got so taken with politics with the book "Grassroots" about the New
Hampshire primary. Since we lived in Grotton, which was right by the
border, every weekend you would drag me out to take a look up in New
Hampshire where the story unfolded.
KORNACKI: Great. And now everybody - We have now shared just a little bit
of my dorkiness. Which is - I think it was great job. And no, it was.
Thank you, dad. And I want to thank you for joining us. Happy Father`s
day to you. We will see you back here next week. And coming up next is
Melissa Harris-Perry. Today, on MHP, the tough take on tenure from a
California judge. A victory for "Star Wars" nerds. 20 years since the
world`s most famous car chase. And 50 years since (INAUDIBLE). It is a
jam pack that makes me stick around. Nerdland is next.
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