UP with STEVE KORNACKI
August 3, 2014
Guest: Doug Richards, Sheldon Whitehouse, Sahil Kapur, Lee Miringoff, Ed
Cox, Michelle Bernard
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: The vanishing of the middle class.
Good morning. And thanks for getting UP early with us this Sunday morning.
There`s a lot of news we want to get to, including reports that at least
ten people have been killed in Gaza today in a strike on a United Nations
run school. The number is still being confirmed by the U.N. and by NBC
News. The school was housing civilians who have been displaced by the
conflict. It is the second school to be hit in less than a week. Earlier
on Sunday, shelling in Gaza killed at least 30 people. Hamas fired 13
rockets into Israel. We`ll go to Richard Engel on the ground in Gaza for
the very latest in just a bit.
But first, we want to start this hour with some much-needed good economic
news this week. On Wednesday, the Commerce Department announced the U.S.
economy grew at a 4 percent rate in the spring. That`s a big turn-around
from what had been a winter slump. On Friday, President Obama touted the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re now in a six-month
streak with at least 200,000 new jobs each month. That`s the first time
that has happened since 1997. Things are getting better. Our engines are
revving a little bit louder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Of course, that`s not the whole story, at least not for all
Americans. Wages are barely bundling. Workers aren`t getting more hours,
and long-term unemployment remains high. That`s what Politico this week
called the meh economy. Addressing a crowd in Kansas City on Wednesday,
Obama outlined the economic challenges the country still faces.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I`m glad that GDP has grown. And I`m glad that corporate profits
are high and I`m glad that the stock market is booming. But what really I
want to see is a guy working a nine to five and then working some overtime,
I want that guy making more than minimum wage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That average working guy the president talked about is still
struggling. New research from the Russell Sage Foundation reveals that the
average American household has been getting dramatically poorer over the
last decade. The net worth of a typical household has fallen by a
startling $30,000 between 2003 and 2013.
There`s lots of talk these days about inequality, about the poor getting
poorer while the rich keep getting richer. Average Americans are taking a
big hit, too. So what`s behind this huge shift and what could change it,
and how does it change our politics? Here to discuss we have Suzy Khimm,
she is national policy reporter for MSNBC.com, and MSNBC policy analyst
Ezra Klein, editor in chief with Fox.
Ezra, let me start with you. I guess sort of a big picture question,
because we have the data from this study that we`re showing there, with a
$30,000 drop in income going -- in net worth going back ten years, and you
have the president touting good jobs numbers this week. It just occurs to
me we`re sort of at this moment, maybe the economy is turning around, maybe
it`s finally getting to a place where we`re feeling good about it. But
this has bene -- has there ever been a recovery like this?
EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC POLICY ANALYST: Well, no, not quite like this one.
There have been worse and there have been better. This is a bit of an odd,
grueling slog. I think something needs to be said here. These were not
very good job numbers. They were good job numbers. We are happy to have
them. They are better than we`ve got recently. But this talking point
that`s going around, these we`ve not had six months of 200,000-plus job
growth since `97, well, in a six-month period we had better job growth in
`06. It wasn`t every month above 200, but total jobs created were more in
And the bigger point is that in 1997 when we had that six-month period of
intense job growth, we were in a very good economy. We were at near full
employment, and that heated the economy up more. That was why you saw
workers in the 90s getting raises, because employers were so desperate for
workers, they had to give them raises. We`re seeing 200,000 jobs plus a
month, and that`s great. But it`s coming after and in a very bad economy,
workers have very, very little power.
The thing we did not see after this recession, the thing that we needed to
see and did not see is called catch-up growth. In order to get back to
where we were, we needed to be seeing months and months and months of 300,
400, even 500,000 jobs. The thing that`s happened is we`ve kind of settled
in this new normal. We`re in a normally good economy, (inaudible), but it
is in the context of a very bad economy.
KORNACKI: Ezra, what is the expectation? You know this stuff better than
I do, obviously. Is there a reasonable expectation that that kind of
growth, you`re talking about 300,000, 400,000, 500,000 jobs a month, is
that realistically on the horizon?
KLEIN: I don`t see any particular reason to think we`ll accelerate into
catch-up growth like that on the horizon. And one thing that should be
said is we could be making policy that we`re better at that regard,
something that President Obama said at his press conference I believe it
was on Friday, he talked a lot about, that we could be investing in
infrastructure, we could be cutting taxes. There`s a lot we could be
doing, particularly with the Federal Reserve making money so cheap that
Congress simply is not doing. So one reason the economy has not been
better is Congress has kind of gotten the government out of the game at a
time when there would be really some big returns to the government doing
more to create jobs.
KORNACKI: Suzie, I want to talk about the politics of this, how this sort
of prolonged, slow recovery has affected our politics in this country. We
always think of -- you talk about the economy and politics, you think of
1992, James Carville, it`s the economy, stupid, how many times have you
heard that. But I also think back to that campaign in 1992, Ross Perot,
ran, this Texas billionaire, somewhat crazy guy I guess, ran as an
independent that year. One of his messages was about how every generation
is supposed to do better than the one before. I want to play a clip and
ask you about it. Let`s listen to Ross Perot here for a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSS PEROT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I was a boy, it took two
generations to level (ph) the standard of living. Today it will take 12
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was a theme he just kept repeating throughout that
campaign, and it really resonated, this idea that, wow, things are always
supposed to keep getting better. And maybe they`ve kind of stalled, and
that was 20 years ago. And I look at where we are now, I look at the data
we`re putting out her, and I`m just wondering, has the whole sort of psyche
of the country changed from where it was just 20 years in a generation?
SUZY KHIMM, MSNBC.COM: I definitely think there`s an overall sense of
American decline, this idea that things aren`t ever going to go back to the
way things used to be, that we`re all headed in the wrong direction. I
think Democrats are trying to seize on this moment, as you heard President
Obama saying that we need to boost the minimum wage, we need to improve the
everyday lives of Americans. But the way that the sense around the economy
kind of translates to voters, I think it`s just a general sense of where
things are heading. Are you happy with the direction that the country is
heading? Republicans are trying to turn that into a referendum on the
status quo, on the Democrat held Senate and on President Obama in office.
So I think that`s how Republicans are trying to capitalize on this.
I think there`s a sense, though, that we need to remember, as bad as the
recession was, as kind of meh, as this recovery is, is that a lot of the
major problems with the economy in terms of why we have these jobs that
don`t earn people enough money are structural problems that are deep seeded
in the American economy, they have been going on for decades before we even
had this recession. The death of manufacturing, the fact that we have new
manufacturing jobs that actually pay pretty well but there aren`t enough of
them. And I think that`s where you get into some more fundamental changes.
But from a Democrat`s point of view, that`s going to take a major
investment in government intervention in the economy. And I think that`s a
bigger point that can get lost I think sometimes in the discussion over
things like the minimum wage.
KORNACKI: It`s interesting, I think we were just putting these polling
numbers on the screen. But some recent data, this is from the last two
weeks, asking voters what is the top issue to you? The economy still
easily comes in as No. 1 in this thing. Education, deficit is still up
there. Health care and deficit, I guess, we stopped hearing it about the
last two years.
The other one that just jumped out of me, too, I think we put it up there,
but compared to your parents, people think their children will be better
off or worse off. And that pessimism. You see it there, 63 percent say
worse off; 34 percent say better off.
Ezra, I guess in terms of the policy side, we always look at Washington and
we say, well, since 2011, since we have had divided government, gridlock,
this is Obama`s agenda, Republicans say no, Republicans say, well, we can`t
get this through the Senate. Nothing is happening. But at the state
level, where one party will have control of an entire state, we`ve seen
some states do some pretty sort of radical things, whatever you think of
them in the last few years. Is there any evidence that at the state level,
things are happening to get the economy moving in a way it isn`t
KLEIN: I think a few things. One, we`ve seen some interesting things
(inaudible), some of them have been very bad. Right? North Carolina has
run a fascinating experiment in not giving unemployment insurance to
people, and that has not been good. So there have been some good policy
innovations and some very, very bad policy innovation, and I think we
should put that out there, cleanly.
The other thing, to be honest, there are things states can do, states can
raise the minimum wage, states can invest to some degree in infrastructure,
but they often have a lot less money to do so and a lot of their
infrastructure money comes from the feds. But the big tools of
macroeconomic policy and the big money is at the federal level. And
there`s two reasons for that. One is the Federal Reserve is -- a federal
agency is almost a weird way to put it, but the Federal Reserve is overseen
by Congress. It`s a national employment process. And they are
tremendously powerful. I think Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairman,
Janet Yellen, is doing a fair amount of what can be done to help the
unemployed and help the economy get moving. But if there had been a much
more aggressive Federal Reserve back in 2010, I think that would have made
a big difference.
The other thing here is that states really can`t borrow effectively. 49 of
50 constitutionally have to balance their budget every year. There are
some things they can do around bonds and so forth. But their ability to
respond counter cyclically to a bad economy is pretty weak. That`s really
where the federal government can come in. The federal government can
borrow at extraordinarily low rates, particularly right now they can borrow
at almost nothing, and in fact, if you account for inflation, literally
nothing. And so they can do big things. It would be entirely possibly to
take this cheap money the Federal Reserve is making and use it to create a
huge tax cut for working Americans. You`d think you could get bipartisan
agreement on a tax cut, and yet the payroll tax holiday expired a year ago.
And so the real fire power of this is at the federal level, because that`s
where the money is and that`s where the macroeconomic policy is. But it
just isn`t being done, and so on the margins, states can do a fair amount,
but they can`t be game changers in the way one might hope.
KORNACKI: You make the case there for the federal government being in a
great position to borrow. We have that poll there showing deficits still
up there. I mean, that sort of haunted the national debate and Suzy, you
wanted to say?
KIM: Yes, I think there was one thing I wanted to go back to, which you
sort of flashed earlier, that statistic about household net worth and how
much it`s gone down. A lot of that net worth was tied up in the value of
one`s home in home ownership. One thing the federal government has not
done a great job of is the fact that we actually devoted at a point in
which Congress decided it was okay to spend money, a good chunk of the bank
bailout to helping ordinary homeowners stay in their homes, make their
mortgage payments. Another thing that came out this week was a report from
the Government Accountability Office, basically pointing out the fact that
we`ve only spent 33 percent of that money, that money that was dedicated
five years ago, six years ago. It`s been very, very slow out the door.
The onus is on the federal government to ensure that that housing program
was effective, and people didn`t actually experience all the benefits from
that even after--
KORNACKI: Is the money still going out or---
KHIMM: Yes, the federal government decided to extend that TARP housing
programs for longer. But as the GAO report pointed out, over 200,000
people are still waiting just to get a decisions from their servicers, from
their private lenders that are tasked with actually handing out this money.
So there have been a lot of problems in the private sector as well, but you
don`t really hear about that from the Obama administration.
KORNACKI: That`s true. You talked about the economy and the housing has
so much to do with this, the housing market and the housing bubble. And
what (inaudible). My thanks to Suzy Khimm of MSNBC.com, as always, and
thanks to MSNBC policy analyst Ezra Klein. We will see you later in the
show, Ezra. Stick around down there.
And still ahead, we`ll go to Richard Engel for the very latest on the
fighting in Gaza. Stay with us for that. And coming up, we`ll find out
what`s in a name in the race for governor in Georgia when that name is
KORNACKI: The Israeli military says this morning that the missing soldier
it believed to have been captured by Hamas is now considered to have been
killed in battle. This as intense shelling continued overnight. Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed yesterday to keep heavy pressure on
Hamas. He warned that Hamas will pay a heavy price if attacks continue.
But at the sometime this morning, there are signs that at least the ground
war in Gaza could be ramping down. For more on that, we want to go live to
NBC chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, who is in Gaza.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Steve. First on that
soldier. Israel says that the soldier who went missing here in the Gaza
Strip on Friday was in fact killed. It`s unclear however if the soldier
died in the initial assault in which militants killed two soldiers and
apparently tried to capture a third, or if he was killed when Israel
responded heavily militarily to the incident, to the attack.
Now, also overnight, just in the last few hours, once again Palestinians
trying to take refuge in a school came under attack.
ENGEL: U.N. officials say Israel targeted a suspected militant right at
the gate of a school used as a shelter in southern Gaza. There were
multiple casualties, dead and injured. The round exploded as people and
staff were coming in and out of the U.N.-run school. Israeli tanks pulled
back from parts of the Gaza strip, and signaled more withdrawals could be
coming. The Israeli military said it`s nearly finished with its primary
mission -- to destroy an extensive networks of Hamas tunnels into Israel.
Hamas rocket fire into Israel has slowed, but not stopped.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Hamas again mistakenly
believes that the people of Israel do not have the will and determination
to fight them, and Hamas again will learn the hard way that Israel will do
whatever it must do to protect its people.
ENGEL: For most Gazans, this war has given them nothing but funerals,
wounded and grief.
During lulls in the fighting, Palestinians have been trying to salvage
their belongings and search for remains. Relatives were divided over how
to respond to the strike that turned this house into a tomb.
Nabil, an uncle, wants vengeance. "You want us to surrender? We won`t,"
he said. "Either we live in this country with peace and dignity or we will
die with pride." But his brother-in-law Hamdi told us he wants a deal with
Israel. "We`ve had war after war," he said. "Our people want nothing more
than to live in peace and dignity."
Israel wants quiet and says it will stop fighting when that happens.
Gazans want far more, a deal that will give them a better life. So far
they`re not getting it.
ENGEL: And Steve, today the Israeli military dropped these leaflets over
Gaza. They say to the people of Gaza, you should deliver this message to
your leaders who are hiding under ground. The campaign is ongoing and
every leader of Hamas and other terrorist groups are not safe. It`s signed
the Israeli army.
KORNACKI: Richard, you hold up that flier and you play that video of the
people whose house has been ruined. I guess part of the idea here for what
Israel is doing, from Israel`s standpoint is to take the people from Gaza
and to turn them against Hamas and to say this is essentially what happens
when Hamas runs your territory. Talking to the people there, is it having
that effect at all, or is it having the opposite effect? You heard from
that one guy saying he wants vengeance.
ENGEL: Well, I think in the short term, it is having the opposite effect.
There have been more than 1700, according to medical officials in Gaza,
people killed so far in this campaign. That`s more that were killed in the
last two wars in the last six years. So this has been a very bloody, very
deadly campaign. Right now as Gaza is still under attack and Gazans are
still firing rockets into Israel, people here are rallying behind the
militants and they want to see some sort of achievement.
The question is, once this settles down, and eventually it will settle
down, will the people decide that three wars in six years is too much and
they need to have another form of government? But it`s not that easy.
There are not elections here, there are not elections scheduled. Hamas was
elected. But the period in which new elections were supposed to be held
has come and gone. It`s unclear even if, after the tempers here cool down
and the people of Gaza wanted to change their government that they could.
KORNACKI: Richard Engel live for us in Gaza. Thank you for that.
Appreciate it. Stay safe over there.
Still ahead, the rock `em, sock `em latest from the biggest and most hotly
contested Senate race in America. The insults were flying yesterday at a
church picnic. We`ll show you what happened. Up next, Jimmy Carter`s
latest campaign. He`s not on the ballot, but he is looming large over a key
race. We`ll also tell you about that next.
KORNACKI: You`ll see some familiar names on the ballot in Georgia this
fall. For Senate there is Democrat Michelle Nunn, she is the daughter of
Sam Nunn, who served four terms in the Senate, almost ran for president a
few times. And Nunn is facing off against Republican David Purdue, he is
the cousin of the state`s former Republican governor, Sunny Purdue. And in
that race for governor this year, the incumbent, Republican Nathan Deal, is
facing a Democrat named Jason Carter. His grandfather is someone you might
have heard of, that`s former President Jimmy Carter. Those two are
reported to have a special personal bond. Jason was the first Carter
grandchild. He was only 15 months old when Jimmy Carter, the man from
Plains, was elected president back in 1976. Jason Carter interned at the
Carter Center after graduating from college. He later traveled to Nelson
Mandela`s house in South Africa with his grandfather.
Given the particular nature of Georgia politics, the state senator has
distanced himself from his grandfather on several issues. In a profile in
the New York Times this week, Jason Carter talks about his, quote, powerful
connection to Israel, says he supports the death penalty despite his
father`s call for a ban on capital punishment.
Looks like Jason Carter has his work cut out for him to reach the state
house in Georgia. Republicans hold every statewide office there. Mitt
Romney won the state by about eight points two years ago. But if you look
at the average of some of the recent polls, you`ll see Carter and Deal now
locked in a virtual tie. This may have to do with an ongoing campaign
finance ethics investigation of the governor`s office, but it may also have
to do with some shifting demographics in Georgia. 59 percent of registered
voters there are white. According to the Census Bureau, that number was 72
percent in 2000. That`s a 13 point drop over the last decade or so. You
should also keep in mind that Jimmy Carter`s home state voted for Bill
Clinton when he first ran for president back in 1992, but it has swung hard
to the GOP in the two decades since then.
But could those demographic changes and could some of that old Carter magic
push it back into the Democratic column this year? Joining me now is Doug
Richards from WXIA TV in Atlanta. Doug, thanks for taking some time this
I`m just curious looking at this from afar, we all know nationally the
story of Jimmy Carter, the peanut farmer from Plains, that sort of Georgia
appeal he had back in 1976, made him a hero in the state. Here we are
almost 40 years later, and American politics and Southern politics have
changed so much. Jimmy Carter, I know the name Jimmy Carter is like a
curse word in the national Republican Party today. Is he still a revered
figure in Georgia or has that assessment changed?
DOUG RICHARDS, WXIA: People here really don`t talk about Jimmy Carter that
much except as this sort -- exalted ex-presidential statesman who has a
Carter Center and a library in Atlanta and pops up on national and
international issues occasionally.
He is, I would say he is not revered in Georgia. As you said, Republicans
statewide, just as they do nationwide, love to hate Jimmy Carter still. On
the other hand, an Atlanta Journal Constitution poll taken in about the
last month or so, right after the nominations were ratified in a run-off,
showed that Jimmy Carter had a popularity rating of about 60 percent in
Georgia. That exceeded -- that certainly exceeded the popularity rating of
the incumbent governor, Nathan Deal, who, by the way, is a Democrat turned
Republican, turned Republican in the early `90s right before the Newt
Gingrich Republican revolution. I questioned Deal earlier this year and
asked him if he remembered voting for Jimmy Carter as a Democrat, and Deal
said yes, I sure did, and all my friends did, too.
KORNACKI: That`s the story of southern politics. The Democrats were the
dominant party for so long, now they may be coming back because of
demographic changes. I want to play though a cut, we have Jimmy Carter,
this was just last week, talking about the role or minimal role he`ll play
in his grandson`s campaign. Let`s listen to that and talk to you about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER: He needs to show the Georgia people
accurately that he`s his own man. He`s the one that`s going to make the
decisions during the campaign, he`s the one who`s going to make the
decisions as governor, and I`m not. So he should be the focal point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: It is striking to me, Doug, when I look at the platform that
Jason Carter is running on. We mentioned the death penalty, we mentioned
going out of his way to sort of mention his support for Israel. There is
also guns. He sort of has this very pro Second Amendment view on that.
And you contrast that with his grandfather, it does seem like he`s trying
to create some distance there in terms of I`m a different kind of Democrat
than you might think of my grandfather as.
RICHARDS: Well, he would prefer that you really not think of his
grandfather at all unless you`re a Democratic donor and you want to go to a
fund-raiser that Jimmy Carter is helping to produce for Jason Carter.
Jimmy Carter has helped Jason Carter raise lots and lots of money, and
Jason Carter is kind of on par with Governor Deal as far as fund-raising.
He`s actually out-raised Governor Deal, although it`s not likely the
Democrats will spend more on this race than the Republicans will when you
count in all the super PACs and that sort of thing.
So I have not seen Jason Carter and Jimmy Carter together at all. There
were photographs that were put on Jason Carter`s Facebook page about six
weeks ago, where Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter showed up unannounced and
unexpected -- unannounced certainly to people like me at the campaign
headquarters, had some photos made, and went on their merry way. You --
only if you`re raising money will you see Jimmy Carter with Jason Carter.
If you`re just seeing Jason Carter campaign, it`s going to be like Jimmy
Carter said, he`s going to be out there on his own, selling himself as a
new Democratic candidate who the Republicans are very mindful of, of not --
it`s not just his name they`re mindful of. He`s not a bad candidate. And
the Republicans respect that about him.
KORNACKI: It`s interesting because the impression I certainly get and
correct me if I`m wrong is behind the scenes there`s this very close bond
between Jimmy and Jason Carter.
And Jimmy Carter would dearly love for his grandson to win this race and to
sort of continue the family name in politics, but in terms of looking ahead
to the fall, Jason Carter versus Nathan Deal. Nathan Deal, you know, we
would talk about, there`s some ethics issues there, we also talk about the
changing demographics of Georgia. How realistic is it as you look at this
race that Jason Carter and the Democrats could win in Georgia this year?
RICHARDS: Every Democrat I`ve talked with thinks that it is - that the
odds are against him just because, not only the demographics, but the
recent history. As you said, every statewide office is now held by a
Republican in Georgia and the demographics have changed, but they haven`t
changed that much. And a lot of people think that Georgia will not truly
turn into a purple state for perhaps another decade or more. So Carter, if
he is going to succeed, is going to have to beat the odds demographically
and politically in Georgia. And the fact that he`s running against Deal is
a plus for him because Deal has had some flaws in the last four years,
particularly in terms of the ethics issues that have dogged him. The thing
about Deal is, though, don`t underestimate Deal either. When he ran for
governor four years ago, he was never ahead in the polls until Election
Day. And, you know, he kind of came out of nowhere in a crowded field full
of other Republicans that thought that Nathan Deal was just, you know,
somebody who they were going to easily sweep aside. And he didn`t. And
Deal had ethics issues, kind of been his background four years ago, also.
And Georgia voters resoundingly elected him over a guy named Roy Barnes who
was a popular folks, a former governor on the Democratic side. And Deal
clobbered him, and so Deal has to be the favorite this November.
KORNACKI: Yeah, I mean Nathan Deal, Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie,
governors` ethics, that`s been the theme of the show. Governor`s new
ethical problems. But I want thank Doug Richard with WXIA TV down in
Atlanta. Appreciate that. And still ahead, we`re going to find out
whether Paul Ryan`s plan to fix poverty survives closer scrutiny. And up
next, we travel to a rowdy church picnic that boasts 15,000 pounds of
mutton. Also, gearing crowds and national political implications. We`ll
put it altogether for you next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R) KENTUCKY: There once was a woman from Kentucky.
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES, (D) CANDIDATE. U.S. SENATE: What a huge crowd for
Senator McConnell`s retirement party.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R) KENTUCKY: By any standard, Barack Obama has been
a disaster for our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To liberals she whispers coal makes you sick. In
Kentucky she claims coal makes us tick.
MCCONNELL: Here in Kentucky we need leadership that understands that a
doughnut burger isn`t a reason to ruin our health care system.
GRIMES: And Senator McDonnell with all this great barbecue, trust me,
there`s no way I`m going to leave here today an empty dressed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was just some of the scene yesterday in rural western
Kentucky at the 134TH annual fancy farm picnic. It wasn`t just the
politicians who weren`t holding back. If you ever wished you could heckle
a politician, you could tell them to their face what you really think of
them without having to worry about being shushed or booed or carted off by
security, well, this political picnic Fancy Farm is one for you. It is
rowdy, it is rambunctious, it is sometimes, it is often downright rude.
And yesterday this can`t miss campaign stuff for Kentucky politicians just
so happened to feature the two contenders in this year`s most closely
watched Senate race going head-to-head on the same stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIMES: But I`ve got good news for the folks in Cloverlick, if Mitch
McConnell doesn`t know where your town is, it just makes it harder for him
to ship your job overseas.
MCCONNELL: With no much turmoil around the world we can`t afford a leader
who thinks the West Bank is a Hollywood fund-raiser.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And while Senator Rand Paul isn`t up for re-election until 2016,
he might be running for another office, too, he took advantage of a home
state crowd with national press attention to attack Alison Grimes with a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: There once was a woman from Kentucky who thought in politics she`d
be lucky. So she flew to L.A for a Hollywood bash. She came home in a
flash with buckets of cash.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right, and joining us now from Louisville, Kentucky, is
Kentucky native, NBC News senior political reporter Peter Bacon who was
there yesterday. So, Perry, try to do this justice for people who haven`t
been - or who weren`t there yesterday. Just set the scene for us. Because
I always tell people that every state has a tradition where the candidates
all come and they all speak. But this was totally different, this is so
much more freewheeling in terms of what they say and in terms of how the
crowd reacts. Just set the scene of what it was like to be there
PETER BACON JR., NBC NEWS POLITICAL REPORTER: This is totally different.
So, you`re in this small town. The town is called Fancy Farms, Kentucky.
It has 500 people, 5,000 come to this event yesterday. And the two unique
things about it, everybody is packed into this small kind of open air barn,
basically, all the Democrats on one side, all the Republicans on the other
side. And throughout the speeches, so McDonnell and all of the speakers
get a certain time limit. The governor gets eight minutes. Everyone else
got six minutes. And you`re pretty much encouraged to boo and hiss
throughout the opponent`s speech, if you don`t like them.
So, there are moments when Grimes or McConnell speaking if you`re there,
you literally could not hear what they were saying. There was probably two
minutes in Grimes speech I totally missed because the crowd was shouting
and booing so loudly and so boisterously. And you also - you had this -
the level of insults was pretty personal and pretty strong. And at times
you could see Grimes like have a good zinger, and turn her head and look at
McDonnell while she said it. And you have this - it is so unusual in
politic to have this kind of confrontation.
KORNACKI: Yeah, no, definitely, I mean - it`s - I love watching it. Well,
let`s take - I`m not sure then if you didn`t hear all of Grime`s speech,
let`s play a part. Maybe you heard this. Maybe you didn`t. But let`s
play a clip of it and then let`s talk about it. This is Alison Grimes
yesterday at Fancy Farm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIMES: If Mitch McConnell were a TV show he would be "Mad Men" treating
women unfairly, stuck in 1968 and ending that season.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: By the way, how greatest is that that they did that sort of
split screen there where you`ve got McConnell watching as she hurls these
insults at him. So, what - how was Alison Grimes - were the reviews
yesterday? How did Alison Grimes do?
BACON: She did well yesterday, I mean she really did hammer him a lot.
This was a kind of her big debut in front of a national audience. And in
fact, a lot of Kentuckians, even like Democrats hadn`t seen her a lot yet.
So I think she did a good job repeating her main themes which are basically
that Mitch McConnell is old, out of touch and needs to be put out of
office. I mean she - she just did a series of lines about there that she
really kind of made that message clear. The thing about this event, it`s
just kind of the kickoff for the political season in Kentucky. So, she was
speaking to some people for the first time. And I think she did a good job
articulating those themes.
KORNACKI: So, let`s take a look at Mitch McConnell. The opposite. He got
up, he got to talk. Let`s play a clip from that and talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: For Obama and his liberal buddies and the media coming to
Kentucky is like foreign travel. These guys can`t tell the difference
between a coal miner and a European male model.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, here is the thing about McConnell, right. Because the big
knock on him, the big vulnerability is that he`s too Washington, he`s too
Potomac. He`s been there for 30 years, and all of that. And so, this is
the sort of the ultimate Kentucky event where you`re going to hurt yourself
by sounding too Washington. Did McConnell pull that off yesterday or did
he sound like a Washington guy trying to read Kentucky one-liners?
BACON: That`s not his view of the race. His view of the race is being
from Washington is fine. He talks about .
KORNACKI: I`m sure it is. Yes.
BACON: How much power he has because he`s the Senate Republican leader.
Also, I mean the fancy - of his speech was, he didn`t use the words Alison
or Grimes ever. It was my opponent, Obama, Harry Reid, Obama, Harry Reid,
my opponent. And that`s kind of the way that -- there`s an interesting
thing going on. Two theories of this race. The McConnell`s theory of this
race is that Kentucky is a red state. If I say Obama enough times, I will
win, period. And the Grimes, on the other hand, their view is that, when I
was talking to him throughout the week, they think that if Bill - that if
Hillary Clinton runs in 2016, she can win Kentucky. And I think that`s
important only because their view is Kentucky is not a really a red state,
but really an anti-Obama state, Grimes` view, I mean. So they think if
they can make sure Grimes is not viewed as an Obama-like candidate, that`s
the key and there`s enough Democratic voters here, the governor is a
Democrat, and they can sort of pull opponents of Democrats together as long
as people view her as a certain kind of Democrat, that is not the Barack
KORNACKI: Just quickly, how do you think Mitch McConnell did, though, in
that speech? Good speech, bad speech?
BACON: It was a good speech for him. I think he`s not like known as a
great speaker. He had a few funny lines, sort of - he had this big funny
refrain, does this sound familiar? He kept comparing Grimes to Obama in
kind of a clever way, I thought. So, for him, it was a good speech, he
spoke over the crowd, which was very loud and booing him. So, the fact
that he was able to be heard itself I thought was pretty good as well.
There was also a funny moment when Elaine Chao, his wife was introduced,
and that was probably one of the loudest boos of the event. They
introduced her like a dignitary, the former secretary of labor is here.
And the boos were huge throughout the crowd from the Grimes people as well.
KORNACKI: Not even the spouses are safe in Kentucky this year.
KORNACKI: Bill Clinton, by the way, did - he did carry Kentucky twice in
the `90s. So, there may be some - I`ll tell you anyway. Thank you, NBC`s
Perry Bacon Jr. I`m jealous of you. That looked like a lot of fun
Still ahead, though, the torture report that doesn`t mention the word
torture. And coming up, are Republicans changing their tune when it comes
to helping America`s most vulnerable citizens? We`ll talk about the party
leader who has people talking about that and about him next.
KORNACKI: Paul Ryan has been making headlines with a new plan to combat
poverty. This plane that was produced after he spent the last year
visiting and talking with leaders from some impoverished areas in America.
It`s a new image for him and once ahead, people talking, but not
necessarily in a way that you might expect. Yes, plenty of his critics
from the left are still his critics from the left, paternalistic and
obsolete were some of the words used to describe the plan last week. But
there are also some critics who acknowledged that the plan does offer a few
ideas that Democrats could be able to work with, like expanding the earned
income tax credit, one of the more successful antipoverty programs.
Wherever you think of this plan now, there`s also some undeniable
awkwardness to all of it, and something Ryan himself touched on with CNBC`s
John Harwood this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN: I didn`t want to get into a debate about proper funding levels
of the status quo because we would spend all of this time talking about
budget numbers. I wanted to start a debate about how to reform the status
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The issue here is that Ryan before unveiling his poverty plan
was the Republican Party`s most vocal champion of austerity, of moving
aggressively to eliminate the deficit by slashing spending on federal
safety net programs, which meant programs designed specifically to
alleviate poverty. The budget blueprint is most famous for what he calls
the path to prosperity, envisions drastic reductions in the food stamp and
But now with his new reform proposal, he`s not talking about making those
kinds of cuts anymore. Ezra Klein writes "Ryan`s budget and his poverty
plan aren`t nearly different. They are flatly contradictory, they cannot
be implemented in the same universe at the same time." So, will the real
Paul Ryan please stand up? Trying to reconcile his old austerity emphasis
with his new plan just won`t work, that`s according to New York Magazine`s
Jonathan Chait who wrote this week, quote, "Until Ryan actually abandons
his commitment to what was known at least until last week as the Ryan plan
he`ll find himself in the same position as he and Romney did in 2012,
offering one set of assurances to conservatives and another to suspicious
So what in this plan is actually workable? Is Ryan just looking for a few
headlines that say he`s fighting poverty, that he`s trying to help the GOP
change its tone or is he actually a changed man? Ezra Klein, MSNBC policy
analyst and an editor-in-chief of Fox.com is back with us. So, Ezra, let
me just start with that, that basic question. I mean Paul Ryan has been -
he isn`t the only Republican who`s embarked on one of his sort of listening
tours in the last year. He`s been focusing on sort of low-income areas in
America. Is the Paul Ryan that you`re seeing now and the proposal that
you`re looking at right now, does it say to you that Paul Ryan has changed
in a meaningful way?
KLEIN: Not particularly. But it doesn`t mean he hasn`t either. I think
that this is one of the things for what lurks in the heart of politicians
cannot quite be known. So, I think that there are a couple of the big
things to take away from this plan. And the first is something you bring
up earlier, which is that there is a heavy conduction between Paul Ryan`s
budget. And the way Paul Ryan`s budget works, and - very clear about this.
Paul Ryan`s budget works by putting up three major promises, right? It`s
going to cut the deficit, it won`t raise taxes and it won`t make near term
changes to entitlement programs. And because it prioritizes those three
things, there`s exactly one option left to it, which is cutting programs
for the poor dramatically. Could also cut defense spending, but it doesn`t
do that. So, Paul Ryan`s budget is a plan to cut spending on programs for
the poor. That is what it is. It is fundamentally the way it reshapes the
American state. This poverty plan doesn`t do any of that. And so, the
thing that`s really important to say here is that if he did both, if both
happened simultaneously, this poverty plan would be an unbelievable
disaster. Right? If Paul Ryan`s argument as he kind of put it to John
Howard, which is a little bit different than what he says in the poverty
If his argument is really that oh, this poverty plan just isn`t worrying
about the budget levels, but he can still cut it, then it`s a complete
disaster. That said, there are important and good ideas in the poverty
plan. There`s ideas to reform sentencing laws so you don`t have such
incredible racial disparities in who goes and how long they serve in
prison. There`s an idea to expend the earned income tax credit, which is
very similar to what Obama put forward to childless adults. There`s an
idea to begin reform an occupational licensing laws at the state in local
level, so it`s easier for people to move into new lines of work. There are
big things here that if the two parties could come together on them, could
make a real difference for the poor.
KORNACKI: What, is there any message in here, is there any lesson in here
about maybe changing priorities within the Republican Party among
conservatives? Because as you said, there`s that austerity emphasis in the
past. Paul Ryan`s budget, and it`s not just Paul Ryan who`s introducing
these things. I mean the Republican House was passing these things every
year as he was drawing them up. Is the fact that he`s maybe at least in
terms of his poverty plan moving away from that, does that say anything
about a broader shift away from the deficit being the absolute bottom line
issue to Republicans?
KLEIN: Absolutely. I think this is really important. But the problem is
I just don`t know if it`s true, right? So, Paul Ryan comes into this plan
and it says right there at the top this is not a budget cutting exercise.
This is - trying to reform these programs to work better, and it`s worth
saying that in Paul Ryan`s career Paul Ryan has not been primarily a
deficit hawk. If you go back to his Bush era voting record, he votes for
program after program that would explode the deficit, unfunded tax cuts,
unfunded wars, Social Security privatization idea that is so costly the
Bush administration says it`s irresponsible and they can`t get behind it.
But Paul Ryan`s theme has been trying to reform the way the federal
government works along more conservative lines, when the deficit became the
big issue, he used those budget plans as a way of sort of putting for these
big reforms, reforms like the Medicare premium support idea, block Medicaid
and food stamps. And now that the deficit is not such a big deal, he`s
using the concern of poverty to put forward very big reforms. So, the
thing I would say that it`s true that Ryan cares much more about reforming
these programs than just about cutting them. The question is where is the
Republican Party on this? We just don`t know because he has not come out
and said, look, the deficit is not that big of a deal, so the budget next
year will look very different. And one thing is just worth of noting here,
Ryan will not be the budget chairman next year, he`s going to be moving,
the expectation is, to ways and means after the elections. So, he might be
able to actually kind of get away from this without ever quite having to
reconcile the collision between his poverty plan and his budget plan.
KORNACKI: Well, you`re right, too, these things are fluid. They evolve.
I mean his mentor in politics was Jack Kemp. And Jack Kemp didn`t care
about the deficit one lick. Anyway, Ezra Klein, thanks, as always, for
getting up this morning. And for sticking around for the segment. I
KLEIN: Thank you.
KORNACKI: Still ahead this morning, why many Democrats running for office
are taking a page out of Michelle Obama`s playbook. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: The American doctor infected with Ebola is receiving treatment
this morning in Atlanta hospital after being flown back from Liberia. He
can be seen walking into the hospital here with some assistance. Both he
and the person helping him are wearing full body protective suits. And the
second American infected with the virus is also expected to arrive in a
couple of days.
And meanwhile Emirates Airlines, a major international carrier just decided
to suspend its flights to Guinea, because of concerns about the spread of
Ebola. Guinea is one of the three African nations that have been hardest
hit by the outbreak. MSNBC will continue to keep you updated on this.
Still ahead on our next hour, Michelle Obama asked Americans to get hungry
this week. We`ll tell you why. That`s coming up.
KORNACKI: We`re going to have more on the prospects of peace in Gaza after
nearly a month of violence there, that`s in just a little bit. But first,
we want to begin this hour with what is possibly the most anticipated event
of the summer in Washington, the Senate select intelligence committee is
expected to release its report on the CIA`s detention and interrogation
program, something commonly shorthanded as the torture report. Release
would have happened -- probably should have happened today.
But Senator Dianne Feinstein of California who chairs the Intelligence
Committee says the CIA made so many, quote, "significant redactions," that
the committee needs more time to understand if those redactions are
justified. Until the rest of us get our hands on the report, there is this
to chew over, though.
The White House accidentally e-mailed its talking points for how to respond
to the report to
"The Associated Press," sending its how to on how to spin was expected to
be a harshly critical assessment directly to a reporter. Quoting from that
memo, quote, "This report tells a story of which no American is proud. But
it is also of another story of which we can be proud.
America`s democratic system worked just as it was designed to work in
bringing an end to actions inconsistent with our democratic values." Some
who have already seen the report says it does not accuse the CIA outright
But that is the word that President Obama used in a press conference on
OBAMA: Even before I came into office, I was very clear that in the
immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a
whole lot of things that were right.
But we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our
KORNACKI: In that same press conference, President Obama defended his CIA
Chief for something else. An internal investigation this week that showed
the agency tapped into the computers of the Senate-select intelligence
committee that it was using to prepare the torture report. In other words,
the CIA was spying on the very lawmakers who were charged with providing
oversight of the agency.
Democrats Mark Udall and Martin Heinrich, who are members of the
intelligence community, are now demanding John Brennan`s resignation as the
head of the CIA. Republican Rand Paul has now joined them in doing so.
But the President is sticking by Brennan at least for now.
OBAMA: I have full confidence in John Brennan. I think he has acknowledged
and directly apologized to Senator Feinstein that CIA personnel did not
properly handle an investigation as to how certain documents that were not
authorized to be released to the Senate staff got somehow into the hands of
the Senate staff. And it`s clear from the I.G. report that some very poor
judgment was shown in terms of how that was handled.
Keep in mind, though, that John Brennan was the person who called for the
KORNACKI: Here now is Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode
Island, a former member of the Intelligence Committee who helped to prepare
the report and welcomes its release.
Senator, thanks for joining us. And I just want to start on this question
of John Brennan because some of your colleagues now are calling for his
I know you voted for his confirmation last year. But Mark Udall from --
from Colorado said that he has no, quote, "no choice but to call for the
resignation of CIA Director John
Brennan because the CIA unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking
into Senate Intelligence Committee computers."
You`ve seen the allegation. You heard those statements. Do you share that
view that John Brennan should resign?
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D), RHODE ISLAND: I think he should view his
position as in real jeopardy. It`s more than just that the CIA hacked into
Senate staff. It`s also that a false criminal charge was allowed to be
levied against Senate staff by the -- a subject of the report.
And when put on the spot about these activities that Director Brennan
repeatedly said things that have proven not to be true. So he has a lot of
explaining to do.
And I think he`s in a very, very deep hole.
KORNACKI: You think he`s in a deep hole? You think his job might be in
jeopardy? Would you like to see him resign? Do you think he should do that?
WHITEHOUSE: I want to talk a bit more with Chairman Feinstein and see
what`s going on before I make that call. But it`s certainly well within the
realm of possibility.
And there`s nothing inappropriate about what Senator Heinrich and Senator
Udall have asked for.
KORNACKI: So in terms of this -- this report then, the President using the
word torture on Friday, I think it caught some people by surprise when he
talked that way at this press conference on Friday, we`re also hearing now
about apparently a significant number of redactions in this report,
apparently, the CIA also going to have an opportunity to respond to this
report. You also have Ezra -- Ezra talking about these revelations about
the spying in -- in the CIA in terms of the preparation of this report.
Are you concerned at all about how much of this the American people are
actually going to get to see?
WHITEHOUSE: Well, we`re going to wait and take a look and see what the
redactions are. The chairman has I think wisely asked for more time to get
an understanding of why things are being redacted.
It`s a very, very thorough report. And I think the American people will get
a very good idea. I think Chairman Feinstein will insist on making sure
that the report provides that very thorough idea to the American people
about exactly what was done and then what was said about what was done, and
what was said about what the torture produced.
There are several levels to this story. It`s not just the really
reprehensible treatment that some of these people received.
It`s also the fact that the CIA appears to have misled people, all the way
up right up to the President of the United States, about what that program
KORNACKI: Do you -- do you expect this is a report that`s going to actually
produce some kind of meaningful change long term? I mean, again, we talked
about the President using the word torture.
I mean, it does -- it does like a significant thing, the President being
willing to use the term torture, but maybe this report not using that word.
Is this the kind of report that`s going to make headlines for a few day and
then just start collecting dust?
Or do you think real significant long-lasting changes will come from this?
WHITEHOUSE: I think its effect is going to be significant and long-lasting.
America has not been a country that has engaged in torture.
The last time the American military engaged in torture was during the
Philippine occupation about a hundred years ago. We tried and executed
Japanese military officers for the types of treatment that -- that we
imposed on some of our detainees.
A fifth circuit United States court of appeals decision back under Ronald
Reagan upheld a conviction of a Texas sheriff deputy for waterboarding
folks and over and over again, called it torture. So it`s pretty clear that
we stepped outside of the bounds of our values.
And I think a harsh reminder of that will be a good preventive measure
again. I hope that we never go down this path again.
KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode
Island for your time this morning. Appreciate that.
And turning now for more reaction on how this report will be received
politically, three people who know the halls of Capitol Hill better than
basically anybody, Kasie Hunt with NBC News, Sahil Kapur, Reporter for
"Talking Points Memo" and Frank Thorp, also with NBC News.
So, well, you heard Sheldon Whitehouse`s response when I asked him about
John Brennan and does not sound like a guy who really has any confidence in
the CIA director right now. You have Rand Paul already coming out under the
You have a couple of Democrats now coming out.
Those calls for resignation, Frank, are those -- are those going to start
cascading now or.
FRANK THORP, NBC NEWS: I think so. I mean, I think on the House side, you
haven`t really seen any of these calls for resignation. You know, I asked
House Intel Chairman Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger and the ranking
member whether or not they felt that Brennan should resign.
He said that they`re not ready to do -- to call on that yet. But I think
that once this report comes out, I think that -- that members are going to
look at these programs.
And they`re going to see that there are questions about whether or not
Brennan was associated with these programs when they were being implemented
and to the (ph) point (ph).
KORNACKI: Right. So this -- this goes back to the Bush era. But Brennan was
THORP: Right, exactly. And so I think that those calls could start
cascading. And I because -- because I think that -- that those who are
outraged by these programs, while, you know, it`s a good first step for
President Obama to start admitting United States` mistakes.
At the same time, they want to see people held accountable. And the first
person that they`re really going to look for is John Brennan.
KORNACKI: Did the -- the President vouching for him at the press conference
on Friday, did that settle the waters at all in Washington? Because part of
this, too, I guess, as imagined (ph), Senators take this so personally when
it`s spying on them.
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS: Well, right. And -- and, you know, those two things
being twined up together, I mean, this report was already going to be a
huge bombshell as the Senator just pointed out.
It`s going to be something that`s long-lasting. Everyone who I`ve talked to
up on Capitol Hill who talks about this report says even -- even when it`s
heavily censored, heavily redacted, people are going to be shocked to see
sort of on a piece of paper exactly what we did.
Now, to have the CIA in the course of trying to, you know, make that
accounting actually spy on the Senate Intelligence Committee and
essentially, you know, Senators on both sides of the aisle has (ph) called
this, you know, a huge breach of frankly, you know, our Constitution,
saying that this is the Executive Branch getting in the way of the
Congressional responsibility to actually investigate the CIA. You know, I
think that that`s really made it worse.
And there is something a little bit ironic about President Obama defending
John Brennan in this way considering, you know, one of the first actions he
took as President was to ban these kinds of techniques. John Brennan was
deeply involved in what the CIA was doing throughout the war on terror and
has very personally invested.
And you know, one of the most significant things -- Senator Whitehouse
raised this, in that report is this idea that -- that somebody at the CIA
who was, you know, a subject of this investigation, filed a false criminal
complaint, used false information to try to, you know, make a criminal
complaint against a staff member on the committee.
And you saw Senator Saxby Chambliss come out of -- there was a long meeting
on Capitol Hill on Thursday. And you know, Senators went behind closed
doors to read this I.G. report.
And they came out, you know, it got worse and worse the more they heard.
And Senator Chambliss who had been a pretty staunch defender of the
intelligence community and who had initially raised some questions about
Senator Feinstein who -- who took to the floor in March, to raise her
anger, he came out and said, listen, the -- the people who are involved in
this need to be dealt with very harshly.
KORNACKI: Well, so how -- Sahil, how steadfast do you think the White
House`s support for Brennan is? I mean, Obama comes out and gives the
endorsement on Friday? Is that -- is that going to be long-lasting or is
that going to -- is that subject to change.
SAHIL KAPUR, REPORTER, "TALKING POINTS MEMO: I think -- I think it`s
subject to change depending on the politics on Capitol Hill. I think the
reaction from members based on the report and what happens there is going
to determine the White House`s response.
They`re going to stand by him, I believe, to the extent that they possibly
can. He`s been with the President for a long time.
The President clearly trusts him. But this is pretty extraordinary now
because it`s personal for -- for the -- for the Senators and for the staff.
It`s extraordinary in the sense that not only is the CIA forbidden from
spying on Americans generally. Here, it`s -- it`s -- it`s a breach of the
separation of powers because they`re spying on overseers.
So you know, we`ll see what happens here. I think there`s definitely -- I
agree with Frank, there`s going to be calls from the rank and file members
at the very least for him to resign.
The real question is whether the intel chairs and whether the leadership of
both Parties join in on those calls because Party leaders may disagree on
everything including the color of the sky. But they are very united in a
deep reverence for, you know, members of the intelligence community.
And that`s going to be the real question, whether folks like Speaker
Boehner and -- and Senator McConnell come out as well, and including, you
know, Senator Reid and -- and Nancy Pelosi.
THORP: And you see, Senator Chambliss is already raising questions about
this report. I mean, there`s already, you know, they`re already trying to
draw some kind of, you know, concerns about whether or not this is an
ideological report or not.
And there are U.S. officials that are worried that this report could spawn
some kind of anti-American sentiment overseas, you know, something in the
likes of what happened with Abu Ghraib (ph), whether there was retaliation.
After that, those reports came out.
Well, the world knew or knows that these -- these kind of things were
happening in the past. The details that are going to.
KORNACKI: So I mean, so the expectation, you know, really is that this is
going to be shocking. And this is going to break -- this is going to break
new ground that we have not previously.
HUNT: Yes, and -- and Republicans on the committee, you know, they`re sort
of withdrew from this investigative process a while ago. And they are, you
know, being very forceful in saying that this report was ideologically
motivated, trying to show that, you know, and -- and we`re told that one of
the significant things, there`s going to be a minority section of this
report that`s prepared by the Republicans on the intelligence committee.
And one of the arguments they`re going to make in that is that we actually
did glean useful intelligence from using these techniques. And that`s
something that the majority section of the report disputes.
But there are already Republicans who are saying, listen, well, you know,
we don`t want to attack the intelligence agencies. We don`t actually want
to be associated with this idea that we gained anything from torture.
I mean, I was -- I spoke to John McCain at some length on the Hill on
Friday. And you know, he was personally tortured. And you know, for him,
this is a really personal thing.
And his argument is that when you`re in that kind of pain, you know, you`ll
say anything to make it stop. Maybe you say true things. Maybe you say
And so he and Senator Graham (ph) wanted to be very forceful in distancing
themselves from that claim.
KORNACKI: And so -- and so what is the timetable here? We`re hearing about
the -- the redactions and the Senate now, Feinstein (ph) wants to review to
make sure those -- those rejections are -- are legit. What`s the timline in
terms of us, members of the public seeing this?
HUNT: It`s up to Senator Dianne Feinstein as to when she wants to release
it. It`s entirely possible that since there is now a declassified version,
and what the White House did was approve this aversion of this document
that that could be declassified. We could see some of those details start
to leak out over time.
But it`s Senators -- but Senator Feinstein says this isn`t good enough. She
wants to go back for another round to the White House. It could take days.
It could take weeks. It`s unclear.
KORNACKI: And Sahil, the -- the President`s use of -- going out of his way,
it seemed, at that press conference on Friday in sort of an intentional way
to say the word torture, that (ph) they (ph) tortured some folks. And
apparently, this -- this report, as -- as shocking it`s going to be,
apparently not quite using that term torture to describe it.
What did you make of the President doing that?
KAPUR: I think he`s trying to preview that this is a huge thing that
happened. And he -- he doesn`t want to dull it down. He wants to say that -
- he wants to preview it in the sense of the country did something that was
bad, contrary to our values.
But we`ve moved past it. We`ve learned from our mistakes. We`ve moved on.
And he wants that message to be out there before this comes out.
I think it`s important, though, to -- to consider the fact that this could
really elevate or advance the debate on -- on torture because as -- as I
think the expectation in this report is that we`re going to find out the
people who were tortured did not provide useful information. And I think
that, you know, that`s a -- that`s been a subject of debate for a long
When you have a report this comprehensive that settles that question, I
think that`s going to be very important.
HUNT: Yes, I mean, I think for the President especially, I mean, for him to
stand up there at that press conference and say, we tortured people, but
then on the other hand, have his CIA trying to interfere with the
investigation that`s designed to lay out what exactly was done.
KORNACKI: Well, right, it sounds -- it sounds like there`s potentially a
fight after the release of the report that`s brewing here between the White
House and the CIA because the CIA is going to have -- have something to say
about this, too, right?
THORP: Right. And -- and you know, I agree. This is kind of, I mean, a
trial balloon for -- for effectively not only the national debate over
torture but the international debate over torture, I mean, kind of talking
about whether or not this is going to be a security concern for Americans
abroad or just even just a broader debate about whether or not, you know,
we give hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to countries like Ethiopia
that have, you know, a lot of allegations of torture for people talking
that are -- are talking out against their government.
So I think that the idea is that a lot of people who are -- are outraged by
these -- these kind of techniques are really hoping that this debate really
KORNACKI: Yes, well, it sounds like there`s a good chance that`s going to
happen with this -- this report. We`ll be watching out for that obviously
this week if that does come this week.
But my thanks, though, for right now, to the panel. We will see you all
later in the show.
And still ahead this hour, she is the Democrat with the highest approval
ratings going. Can she, will she help her Party in November?
And up next, Congress may have skipped town. But can they skip the
ramifications of an inactive session? We will unveil some brand new, as in
released five minutes ago, poll numbers right after this.
KORNACKI: All right, we have a new sign this morning that this year`s
midterm election is not shaping up as the kind of a wave election we saw
back in 2010, the last midterm election when Republicans scored sweeping
gains in Congress in statehouses across America. We have brand new polling
NBC News, "Wall Street Journal," Marist polling numbers to share with you.
This is polling -- these are polling numbers that were released in just the
past few minutes. These are absolutely the latest numbers.
And they show that Americans are about evenly divided on Congressional
control by a 43 to 41 percent margin. They prefer Republicans to keep
control of the House.
And it`s the same then Senate, 43 percent of registered voters want to see
Republicans in control there, 41 percent for the Democrats, which would be
a shift since Democrats now control that chamber with 55 seats. In both
cases, that`s a difference of just two points and is well inside the margin
Also in the poll, 74 percent of voters say Congress has been unproductive
this year, while only 22 percent believe it`s gotten things done. With an
eye toward the continued fighting in the Middle East, the poll finds 43
percent of Americans sympathize more with -- with Israel in the current
fighting. Fourteen percent sympathize more with the Palestinians, 43
percent say they are not sure.
But when faced with the choice between Israel and Hamas, a majority, 54
percent side with Israel and just seven percent sympathize with Hamas. For
more on these numbers and what they tell us, I`m joined now by Lee
He`s the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in
Poughkeepsie, New York. He took this poll.
Lee, thanks for taking some -- some time to talk with us this morning. So
Start with this generic ballot numbers for the House and Senate.
For the House, 43-41, Republicans, for the Senate, 43-41 Republicans. In
terms of, look, Democrats need to gain 17 if they want to win the house.
LEE MIRINGOFF, DIRECTOR, MARIST INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC OPINION: Yes.
KORNACKI: Republicans need to pick up six if they want to take the Senate.
What do these numbers tell us about that?
MIRINGOFF: Well, I think as you identified, there`s a huge division,
polarization in the nation. It`s reflected in these polling numbers.
When you drill down, democrats are solidly democratic. Republicans are
solidly voting or tending to vote for the Republicans. But Democrats,
about one in 10 are unsure, so you have, unlike Republicans who are much
more solid behind the GOP candidates.
So that -- that becomes somewhat problematic for the Democrats in terms of
a national perspective. They need to rally their base more at this point.
KORNACKI: So there`s -- that`s interesting. So there is -- there is an
issue there for Democrats in terms of motivating their base that does not
exist for Republicans?
MIRINGOFF: That`s correct. And -- and that`s not unusual in the six-term of
an -- of an incumbent administration. In fact, the incumbent, only Bill
Clinton picked up seats in his sixth year election.
And only that was five in the House. And as you say, Democrats need to pick
up 17 now. And the Senate is also very problematic for the Democrats
because they`re having seats -- in seven states, they have to defend that
Mitt Romney carried last time.
And as you say, the Republicans need (ph) to pick up six. And there`s other
states that the Democrats may have trouble with that Obama carried.
So there`s a whole lot of things that are going on. And look, I think
there`s a lot going on in the world right now that is diverting attention
understandably from -- from what`s going on in some of these elections.
But Congress goes on recess. And now, we`re going to start stirring up the
partisan pot a little bit, I suspect, in the next few weeks.
KORNACKI: Yes, and just -- just -- I want to ask you about those Middle
East numbers. But one more on the -- on the Congressional numbers.
Now, just in terms of past midterm elections or just past elections in
general, 2010, big Republican wave, 2006, big Democratic wave, these
numbers in terms of which Party would you like to control the House, how do
they look in those elections? Do they look different now?
MIRINGOFF: No -- yes. We`re not seeing the potential for the wave election
right now. Look, there`s strong arguments on both sides that are fueling
Democrats are saying the Republicans can`t govern and all the impeachment
talk and you know, suing the President, that rallies Democrats. And of
course, the Republicans are talking about Obama and Obamacare and this
world situation that`s gotten very hot.
There is one thing in these numbers that`s unifying people across Party
lines. And that is that this Congress has been unproductive. Fifty percent
say it`s been very unproductive.
Only three percent say it`s been very productive. And that goes across
Party lines. So Democrats, Republicans, independents do share something.
And that is that this Congress hasn`t done much.
KORNACKI: That -- that very or somewhat productive number actually a little
higher at 22 percent than I would have expected. So that`s -- that`s a
surprise to me.
But moving on, I do want to ask you one about the Middle East here. So we
KORNACKI: .you know, American -- who do you sympathize with between the
Palestinians and the Israelis -- 43 percent to the Israelis, 14 percent for
the Palestinians, 43 percent unsure.
KORNACKI: Israel-Hamas, the numbers a little wider there. I know there`s
been a lot of talk about, you know, has the coverage in the media been
different this time?
Has it affected public opinion more? When you see these numbers and you
look at that question of has American public opinion changed on this at
all, what do you see?
MIRINGOFF: Well, I -- I see some interesting things here. You know, Israel
is seen more sympathetically than, you know, the Palestinians or Hamas.
But a large number of Americans are undecided. And again, not to get a
partisan split here, but it`s the Democrats who are more on the fence on
Republicans are much more committed to the Israeli side of the equation.
We`re seeing a difference in age in these numbers. Older Americans are more
on the Israeli side.
Younger, if you`re under 30, well, you`re either unsure or you might even
be split between the Palestinians and the Israelis, Hamas clearly less
popular than -- than either. So this is a very are very, very volatile
And I think Americans -- a lot of whom, especially Democrats and
independents, are taking more of a wait-and-see, although, if given the
choice, they would be more on the Israeli side than the Palestinian side.
KORNACKI: All right, and we`ll just mention quickly one other piece of data
in here. Prospects for peace in the Middle East, will it happen?
Sixty-two percent say will not happen.
KORNACKI: Twenty-three percent say it will happen. So we`ll end it
unfortunately on a pessimistic note.
But my thanks to Lee Miringoff with the Marist Institute. Really appreciate
you coming on, fascinating numbers. Hope we`ll have you back.
MIRINGOFF: Thank you, Steve.
KORNACKI: .plenty of times before the election this fall.
Still ahead this hour, Democrats make a cry for help to Michelle Obama. But
up next, look back at President Nixon with someone who had a front row seat
for his final days in office and for long after that. Stay with us.
JOHN CHANCELLOR, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: The power is going to be transferred in
an orderly and Constitutional way from one man who is leaving now going
into political exile in California to another man who eight months ago had
as his highest objective being speaker of the House of Representatives. And
tonight or tomorrow, Gerald Ford will become the 38th President of the
But now, it`s time for the 37th President to talk, Richard Nixon. And he is
going to speak to us now from the oval office in the White House in
President Richard M. Nixon.
NIXON: Good evening.
KORNACKI: That was NBC News anchor John Chancellor with live coverage of
the resignation of the President of the United States. Amazingly, that
happened 40 years ago this coming Friday, on August
Richard Milhous Nixon became the first and only person to resign from the
presidency effective the next day. He did so after two years in the
sweltering summer dogged (ph) by a scandal known as Watergate, a scandal he
originally denied any involvement in, but was confirmed by tape recordings
-- tape recordings that he made like this one where he and White House
Council John Dean discussed paying off the Watergate burglars for their
NIXON: How much money do you need?
DEAN: I would say these people are going to cost a million dollars over the
next two years.
NIXON: If you -- on the money, if you need the money, I mean, you could get
the money fairly easily.
DEAN: Well, I think that we`re.
NIXON: What I mean is you could get a million dollars. And you could get it
in cash. I know where it could be gotten.
KORNACKI: President of the United States went on national television then
to announce his departure.
NIXON: I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is
completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I
must put the interest of America first.
KORNACKI: And joining me now is Ed Cox. He`s the Chairman of the New York
Republican State Committee. He is also President Nixon`s son-in-law.
And he was there in the White House the morning he resigned. And you can
see him at the right -- I think we have the picture there as the President
bid farewell to his staff and his cabinet on August 9 40 years ago this
There is Ed on the right. I`m sure you -- lot of emotions this week
probably for you as we have the 40th anniversary of something like this
that you had a front row seat for.
I guess one thing maybe to start with that I wonder is there was the speech
to the nation. We played a clip from it.
There was that speech to the staff that the President delivered on his way
out the door. And we all remember him leaving in the helicopter and the --
the victory salute and everything at the end.
What happened after that? What happened the next day?
ED COX, CHAIRMAN, NEW YORK REPUBLICAN STATE COMMITTEE: Well, Steve, you
have to first understand the context. I knew this man intimately for 30
years, from `63 when I first meet him and met him until he died in `94.
He was a great man, a truly great man who drove a great administration with
a vision of peace abroad and justice at home. People forget about all his
domestic programs that he really had great accomplishments.
But this -- the tragedy of this was, over this small incident, people have
forgotten about those -- those great accomplishments. And as we were left
that picture, that speech to the staff at the White House, I was holding
the book from which he read about Teddy Roosevelt.
When the light went out of his life, his wife had died and his mother died
the same day. His wife died in childbirth. And he thought it was over for
Yet he came back and made some great accomplishments. Well, President Nixon
also came back after that and was consulted by every President for 20 years
until he died because he stayed in the game.
He kept focusing on the important things that mattered to the American
people. And -- and every president wanted to consult him and to get his --
his views on it.
KORNACKI: Well, I -- I understand your sensitivity to the legacy. There`s -
- there`s a lot of people who would -- would disagree about the scope of
But I`m -- I`m interested in talking to you just from a personal
standpoint, as somebody who was.
COX: As a personal standpoint, as we left that staff, he went right into --
left (ph) through the South Portico and got on Army One. And I was seated
across from him as we went by the Washington monument.
And think of what you`d say under those circumstances. He -- and I said,
Mr. President, 10 years from now, you`ll be back. I knew him. I knew he
And it was in 1986 by order of Katharine Graham, the publisher of the
Washington Post`s "Newsweek."
COX: .on the cover of "Newsweek," he`s back because -- because she
recognized how important he was as an ongoing -- the sage of Saddle River
he was called, where he lived, where people are coming to seek his advice
and counsel including the presidents.
KORNACKI: When -- when did you being there for all of this, because it`s --
it`s looking back on it, I didn`t live through it. I`m one of millions of
Americans I think who`s just fascinated by the history of Watergate, it`s
so fascinating that you went from an election in 1972 where Richard Nixon
racked up like 60, 61 percent of the vote, won almost every state except my
KORNACKI: And to go from that.
COX: District of Columbia.
KORNACKI: .in (ph) the (ph) District of Columbia -- you go from that moment
and less than two years later, it`s all over. And he`s forced to resign.
When in that span of about 20 months, when did you realize, yes, it`s over?
COX: They (ph) never really did. I mean, I was -- we were more concerned
about him. And -- and as a member of his family and what his spirits were
and how he could keep going and continue to accomplish and serve the (ph)
administration, only eight weeks before, he had made a tour of the Middle
Millions greeted him in Egypt -- Nixon, Nixon. He went to Israel, similarly
greeted there, and Saudi Arabia and Syria, and Jordan.
And eight weeks later after that, he resigned. So look, that`s the way
politics is. Sometimes you`re up, and sometimes you`re down.
But the advice to young people that comes out of this, when you`re down and
when you -- those inevitable setbacks, the lesson of this, you can always
come back if you stick with it, have determination, and if you`re trying to
do the right thing.
KORNACKI: He -- he talked about you. He talked about his family in
describing his decision to leave. I want to play a clip from that and ask
you about it.
NIXON: I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the
personal agony that would have been involved. And my family unanimously
urged me to do so.
But the interests of the nation must always come before any personal
KORNACKI: "My family unanimously urged me to do so." Is that what you were
telling him? What were those conversations like?
COX: They were very complicated. You want to support him. You want to be
sure he`s right in what he`s doing.
And you know this is driven by bigger events because -- could the President
be effective on an ongoing basis. And yet you want to say, we support you.
It was a way of saying we support you, Mr. President.
KORNACKI: He`s such a fascinating character. I don`t (ph) know (ph), it`s
not a Democrat-Republican thing. It`s not ideological thing. I think
Richard Nixon is such a fascinating character because in a raw sense, it
really comes through I think that a lot of the tapes could have come out.
Everything has sort of been written about his life. He -- he, to me, was
one of our most human presidents. The emotions were so vivid, they come
across so clearly in these tapes.
The prejudices in many cases, all across the spectrum, America sort of has
an ongoing fascination with him that (ph) doesn`t have with a lot of
presidents, it seems to me.
COX: Like all great men, he -- and then he was a very complicated man. But
he was always dedicated to what was right for the country and right for the
And he always made that decisions based on that. His decision in the `73
war, we can`t let Israel go down the tubes. And despite the advice of
Kissinger and Schlesinger, who was (ph) hauling (ph), he said, let`s get as
much as we can, material as fast as we can to Israel.
And that saved Israel. And the laid the basis.
KORNACKI: Did he -- did he look.
COX: .that laid the basis for the Camp David accords, for the Oslo I and
Oslo II and even December of 2000, he laid the basis in a two-week period
by decisions he made, support Israel but then save face for --for Sadat.
And that laid the basis for the next.
KORNACKI: Did he -- did he ever look back? Did he ever say anything to you,
just looking back at Watergate and say why did I do that?
COX: No, no. It was -- it was clearly mistakes were made. But you know, if
there`s any moral that comes out of it, make sure you have next to you a
good counsel, a wise counsel, not, as you, that first discussion on the
tapes that you had there, his counsel wasn`t helping him there.
His counsel is the person to say, Mr. President, you can`t do this and to
make that opinion stick. And that`s what he didn`t have. If he had had that
good counsel next to him, it would have been a different outcome.
KORNACKI: All right, Ed Cox, the son-in-law of former President Richard
Nixon. My thanks for getting up and joining us.
COX: Pleasure to be with you.
KORNACKI: Appreciate it.
KORNACKI: Coming up, what sets Michelle Obama apart from Hillary Clinton?
We`ll have the answer straight ahead.
KORNACKI: As we`ve reported, there are signs this morning, the ground
invasion of Gaza could be winding down. Israeli tanks and other vehicles
are withdrawing from a territory even as intense shelling continued
Israeli prime minister suggested last night that his military is weighing
all options after the tunnels out of Gaza are completely destroyed. He also
warned that Hamas would pay a terrible price if it continues to fire
rockets into Israel, which means a permanent end to the violence does not
appear to be in sight after nearly a month of conflict.
The peace talks intended to take place in Cairo this weekend have been a
non-starter. Israel declined to send a delegation as planned.
KORNACKI: In West Virginia this week, Democratic Senate nominee Natalie
Tennant put out this new ad.
NATALIE TENNANT (D-WV), SENATE NOMINEE: I`ll make sure President Obama gets
KORNACKI: Last month, we asked Tennant on this show if she would have
President Obama come to West Virginia to campaign for her this year. She
didn`t exactly say.
But I think we may have gotten our answer right there in that ad. Barack
Obama is not the most popular Democrat in America today.
He`s not even the most popular member of the Obama family. First Lady
Michelle Obama gets a favorable rating from two-thirds of Americans,
according to Gallup, a rating that has been consistent throughout her
On average, these are better approval ratings than the last two -- than the
last Democratic first lady Hillary Clinton, when she was in the White House
back in 1990s. And like Hillary Clinton, in the 1998 midterm elections,
Democrats now want the First Lady, not the President, out there stumping
for them on the campaign trail.
She was reluctant to campaign in previous midterm elections. This time
around, Michelle has plunged right into fund-raising early and often for --
for the National Democratic Party appearing last week in her hometown of
There, she told a small group of donors that the best way to influence
politics is to, quote, "write a big, fat check." I kid you not. We`re going
to be honest with you.
That`s what we need you to do right now. We need you to write the biggest,
fattest check that you possibly can write. I bet a lot of them did, too.
But don`t get the wrong idea. Michelle is going for the grassroots, too.
This week, she released a video for (ph) one million votes for 2014, an
effort by the D triple C, Democrat Congressional Campaign committee to turn
out the Party`s base.
OBAMA: When it comes to the midterm elections this November, we need you to
be as passionate and as hungry as you were back in 2008 and 2012. In fact,
you need to be even more passionate and more hungry to get Democrats
elected to Congress because these elections will be even harder and even
closer than those presidential elections.
KORNACKI: So with the campaign, the election less than a hundred days away,
what should we expect to see from Michelle Obama next? Who`s clamoring for
her on the stump (ph)?
What is she willing to do? Has he warmed up to politics at all like Hillary
Clinton started to warm up to politics in the late 1990s? Or is she just
counting down the days until this is all over and she gets out of politics
in January 2017.
Here to discuss, NBC`s Kasie Hunt back at the table with us, and political
analyst Michelle Bernard, runs the Bernard Center for Women, Politics &
So Michelle, I`m just curious what your read is on the first lady because
we say, I remember at the end of the Clinton presidency and Bill had the
scandal, and he couldn`t go out for candidates, it was Hillary in `98 who
was out there. And she kind of got the bug.
MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN, POLITICS & PUBLIC POLICY: Yes.
KORNACKI: And the next thing you know, she`s running for the Senate and
President and that whole second career sort of starts. Any -- any chance
that could happen with Michelle Obama?
Is she -- is she wired the same way?
BERNARD: I -- I don`t think so. I mean, I think all of this is so exciting.
I love seeing her out and doing what she`s doing, particularly because the
image that we see of Michelle Obama today is so vastly different than the
image that people on the right tried to paint of her in 2008 as the angry
I mean, she is -- she`s youthful. She`s a loving mother. She does so much
to -- to deal with.
KORNACKI: Have they -- have they gotten, by the way, have they gotten that
people like her and it just sort of didn`t take.
BERNARD: Yes, I think -- I think they`re more or less focused on Hillary
Clinton right now and are probably going to let her alone unless we see
that she`s actually successful in raising a lot of money and then the --
the old Michelle Obama things that we heard people saying from the right in
2008 will reemerge. I don`t think she has a bug (ph), though.
I think she is wired very differently than Hillary Clinton. I think that no
one can doubt her dedication to working families. And I think that she
realizes that -- that these midterms in 2014 are absolutely critical.
African-Americans need to vote. Latinos need to vote. Women need to vote.
We know that in midterms historically, these -- these demographic groups
don`t show up.
And she`s out.
BERNARD: .doing the job.
KORNACKI: No, and that`s the -- the message in that video. If you were
there in `08, you were there in `12, we need you in `14. We needed you in
Well, Kasie, so she`s doing the fundraising. She`s doing the video we play
in terms of actually going after and campaigning for candidates, can we
HUNT: I mean, I think that there are some places where you`ll see
candidates want Michelle Obama to come in for them. I mean, in some ways,
you know, there are a lot of states the Democrats need if they`re going to
hang on to the Senate, places like Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina,
where they need, as you were saying, very high African-American turnout.
And the President can`t necessary go in especially for some of those
incumbents because he`s so unpopular. But she is somebody who could
potentially go down there and help them with that.
KORNACKI: So she -- she helps bring out the base without sort of stirring
up the backlash that Obama might.
HUNT: Potentially. On the other hand, one of her initial four (ph) aids
(ph) in the Senate campaign, she did a New York fundraiser for some of the
women who are running for Senate.
And Natalie Tennant attended that fundraiser, so did Alison Grimes in
Kentucky. And they took a little bit of backlash for it.
You know, she -- she made the -- a reference to the background check gun
bill at that fundraisers, the audio that got out. Natalie Tennant`s
campaign had to come out and say, you know, this actually isn`t an
We swear. Michelle Obama has not endorsed us. And -- and Alison Grimes took
some heat for it. So I think she`s still going to have to be a little bit
KORNACKI: Yes, Natalie Tennant is turning off the power at the -- at the
White House in her new ad. No, I remember we had her on this show.
And she just wouldn`t answer that question.
So Michelle, in terms of what you`ve seen over the last, you know, more
than, you know, six years.
KORNACKI: .it`s amazingly six years now, Michelle Obama, as a public
figure, how has she kind of changed? Because, you know, she didn`t have --
she didn`t come to this -- I mean, she`s obviously married to a politician.
But it was such a quick rise for him. And she suddenly finds herself first
lady. How do you think she sort of adjusted?
BERNARD: You know, I think she`s adjusted very well. I mean, the public --
we`re seeing it in the polling numbers. The public loves her.
When they first started running, she seemed a little bit -- a little tepid.
But she seems to have found her place. She`s out and about with her
She`s out talking to people. The childhood obesity campaign that I
mentioned earlier, you know, the Let`s -- Let`s Move campaign, when she
spoke at the democratic convention during the -- during the last election,
her speech was just rousing.
She had the -- I think most of the.
KORNACKI: She`s a really good speaker.
BERNARD: She`s a good speaker.
KORNACKI: Yes, yes.
BERNARD: And she had women on the right and left at that convention who
really were applauding every single thing that she said. So I think that
she -- we have seen her grow tremendously over the last few years.
I really do not think she wants to be a politician. I think she means it
when she says she`s happy being mom-in-chief and wife-in-chief and doing
everything that she can to support Democrats across the country.
KORNACKI: Do you -- do you get the sense, Kasie, January 20 of 2017 comes,
and that sort of -- she kind of has a quiet life, that should (ph).
HUNT: No, I mean, there are people floating Michelle Obama for Senate.
KORNACKI: I can see why, yes, yes.
HUNT: No, I mean, I think, you know, as you were discussing, she`s shown
kind of a clear reluctance in a lot of these sort of campaign events, the
fundraising, sort of known she doesn`t necessarily love that part of her
husband being President. So I mean, I think he`d be surprised if he saw her
step out as aggressively as, say, Hillary Clinton did when she was leaving
the White House.
And you know, speaking of as far as surrogates go, I think it`ll -- it`ll
be particularly interesting to see how Hillary Clinton.
HUNT: .to (ph) poise (ph) herself on the campaign trail this year. I mean,
we`ve already seen Elizabeth Warren, for example, doing a lot of
fundraising, out on the campaign trail for these Democratic candidates.
So far, Hillary Clinton`s been on a book tour. So at what point does she
start -- you know, decide or does the pressure on her to actually help out
on this a little bit ramp up?
BERNARD: Well -- well, my thing is, I`m wondering if anyone`s going to
actually ask her to speak on their behalf, not in a negative sense, but I
mean, if she right now is being looked at as the forerunner in 2016 for the
Presidency, there are people I think who might be scared of the Republican
backlash and might not want her campaigning on their behalf.
KORNACKI: There`s -- there that. And then there are the Democrats who dream
of their name being under hers on the signs in 2016.
BERNARD: Yes, yes.
KORNACKI: You know, let`s get in (ph) with Hillary, I`ll be the vice
president, you know, after this. And I can (ph) -- but anyway, what should
we know for the week ahead? Our answer is coming up right after this.
KORNACKI: All right, time to find out what we think our guests -- our
guests think we should know for the week ahead.
Sahil, start with you.
KAPUR: You should know that we have a really explosive battle over
immigration coming up in the next month or two. Legislation is dead in
But the President is going to unveil an executive action that could shield
up to millions people here illegally from deportation. And conservatives
cast a very strong rebuke to that by first ending his -- his Dhaka (ph)
program that affects young people brought here but also precluding him from
doing that for any more people here illegally.
It`s not going to become law. But it`s -- it`s sort of signifies the battle
that we`re headed for.
KORNACKI: This is the fallout from that House vote on Friday -- two House
HUNT: Iowa, Iowa, Iowa -- the state is filled with Republican contenders
this week. You`ve got Senator Rand Paul spending several days there.
You`ve got Texas Governor Rick Perry, Rubio -- Senator Rubio and Senator
Cruz are both there. And also, the Senate race is one to watch.
Democrats are getting increasingly nervous that they.
KORNACKI: How much do Republican presidential candidates love that there`s
a -- a competitive Senate race in Iowa, gives an excuse to go there (ph) --
I`m not running for president. I`m just here to -- to help the family, you
HUNT: Turning (ph) -- turning down dates left and right.
BERNARD: So President Jacob Zuma, he`s the President of South Africa, and
speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and I think people
need to know that he will be there and listen as we -- we learn a little
bit more about South Africa going back and forth between populism and
liberalism and the real fight in South Africa and in other African nations,
to end corruption and really be liberal democracy.
KORNACKI: And Frank?
THORP: And talking about the U.S. African Leadership
Summit is happening this week. And also, there`s going to be a House
Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on the Ebola virus.
So the -- the debate about Ebola is going to be coming to D.C. It`s going
to be a big discussion this week (ph).
KORNACKI: All right, yes, Ebola -- that is all over the news. We have more
on that I`m sure on MSNBC. But thank you -- thanks, though, to all of our
guests today for getting up.
And thank you at home for tuning in. UP returns of course next weekend. And
you can catch me all week on "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW." Coming up next,
though, is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY", with the U.S. economy humming along.
Are we also seeing the dangerous return of sub-prime lending? I can say
that. We`ll see you next week here on UP.
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