'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, August 24th, 2014
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UP with STEVE KORNACKI
August 24, 2014
Guest: Sahil Kapur, Jay Newton-Small, Brian Wice, Mary Burke, Tony
Plohetski, Greg Orman, Roger Hickey, Jay Kessler, Fernando Guerra; John
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Another government shutdown? Good morning
and thanks for getting up with us this Sunday morning. The headline at
this hour. More than 50,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area will be
starting their day without power, this in the wake of a preliminary
magnitude 6.0 earthquake this morning. The quake was centered six miles
outside Napa. The "Los Angeles Times" says the reports are starting to
come in of gas leaks and some fires in Napa. We will keep you updated with
more information as we get it this morning. But first, we`re going to
begin today by taking a very short trip in the time machine, back to what
this country looked like ten short months ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The government shutdown, furloughing thousands,
closing parks and gutting agencies designed to keep us safe.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 97 percent of NASA is on furlough.
KORNACKI: Food safety and nuclear inspections have been suspended.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shuttering of national parks has locked out hikers and
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two hours delayed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Museums are closed for business and hundreds of
thousands of non-essential government employees are furloughed
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The families of our fallen soldiers now being told
there`s no money to bury those who died fighting for our flag.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And if it seems now like that couldn`t possibly happen all over
again, at least so soon, well, a Senate minority leader appears to have
other ideas, or at least a very short memory.
Acting what could be a $100 million campaign for re-election this fall,
Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell says he will do what it takes to oppose
President Obama next year, even if that means shutting down the federal
government again. In an interview with Politico on his campaign bus this
week, McConnell said he will make the president reign in his policies.
We`ll face another shutdown "We are going to pass spending bills that are
going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy"
McConnell said. "That`s something he won`t like, but that will be done, I
That`s what McConnell talking about, life would be like next year with a
Republican House, Republican Senate and a Democratic White House. Asked
whether this could lead to another shutdown, McConnell said the president
needs to be challenged, and the best way to do that is through the funding
And so, those two weeks in October of 2013 when Republicans got the blame
and supposedly learned their lesson, we might be seeing a repeat again
soon. We might be seeing it often, in fact. Because this time it won`t be
Texas Senator Ted Cruz leading a band of Tea Party rebels in the basement
of a Mexican restaurant, it will be a Republican leader of the Senate. And
issue won`t be the implementation in defunding of the Affordable Care Act,
of Obamacare, it will be over every item, large and small, that Mitch
McConnell deems necessary to, quote, "reign in President Obama`s policies."
Most of the capital reacted to this story this week with indignation.
Democrats rejoiced about a member of the Republican leadership deviling
(ph) in extremism. Congressman Steve Israel who`s leading the Democrats
House campaign effort this fall said, quote, "For the sake of our economy,
this Republican Congress needs to take shutdowns off the table once and for
all." And meanwhile, Republicans distanced themselves from the shutdown
agenda as well. Conservative activist Grover Norquist tweeted on Friday,
"If you threaten to shut down the government over X, the press will focus
on the shutdown and no one will hear about X. We did this before." And
they have done this before. And the results were disastrous as "The
Washington Post" Greg Sargent reminded us this week, those with an
unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party rose to an all-time high during
that month of the shutdown last year. And again, though, I guess, if
Republicans do pick up enough seats to win the senate this fall, maybe they
would then conclude that the shutdown hadn`t been that disastrous for them
So, what`s McConnell`s motive in bringing this up right now? Is it to
rally the conservative base in Kentucky where he`s facing a perilous re-
election fight this year? Is it to motivate conservatives everywhere so
that Republican can win enough sits to take back the senate this fall? Or
is to shore up his support within the Senate GOP, to make sure that if he
does win his own race in Kentucky in November, he won`t turn around and
face a challenge from his right for his leadership post. When Politico
asked Senator Cruz if he would back McConnell to stay on this leader, he
paused for eight whole seconds according to the article before saying,
quote, "That will be a decision for the conference to make."
Whatever McConnell`s exact motive, there`s also the risk here of a
backlash. Will moderate and independent voters recoil at the new talk of a
shutdown hurting the GOP this fall? And maybe more importantly there`s
this, will raising the hopes of the conservative base now, of another
dramatic shutdown with Obama, will that cascade in the months ahead into
the kind of pressure that Republican leaders will be powerless to fight
next year? In other words, is McConnell tying his own hands here?
Here to discuss that with us is Sahil Kapur. He is a congressional
reporter for "Talking Points Memo," Jay Newton Small, congressional
correspondent for "Time" magazine and Beth Fouhy, senior editor of
msnbc.com. So, this McConnell comment, this is what the world will look
like, if you give us - the Senate give Republicans the Senate, keep the
House and they get two years of sort of confrontation with President Obama.
This is what he says, it will look like this week, I guess the first
question is just trying to figure out what exactly his agenda is in
bringing this up. I mean the three that jump to mind, that was as we said,
his own re-election campaign, Republicans everywhere, and trying to retain
the leadership position after November. Anyone have a good guess there
what it is?
JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME: I this Grover Norquist was right, when you said if
you utter the word shutdown, he actually never did say the word "shutdown",
but when you bring up the prospect of possibly shutting down the
government, you don`t hear about X. X here was about coal, it was about
getting rid of, you know, the EPA`s tough new coal standards. And that
really was the message he was trying to get out with Kentuckians, you know,
with Kentuckians where this huge amount of coal that`s produced. They hate
these new EPA standards. And so, he`s really just looking at his re-
election, he`s looking at trying to, you know, gain popularity in a state
where he`s really not that popular right now. And so, he`s trying, you
know, he`s not looking nationally or at the party, or anything like that,
he`s just looking very locally. With national repercussions.
KORNACKI: And McConnell is obviously a strategic guy. As we saw in that
Ted Cruz quote there, he`s got to kind of be worrying about multiple
things. Like obviously, if he doesn`t win re-election in Kentucky, ball
game, it`s all over. But if he does win re-election in Kentucky, it took
Ted Cruz eight seconds to say something basically neutral.
BETH FOUHY, MSNBC.COM: Well, I mean this is a lot of three-dimensional
chess we`re playing here. I mean he, Mitch McConnell, may not be re-
elected, he may not even want to run for majority leader. If we don`t -
the Senate is going to flip. I mean there`s a whole lot of variables that
are going on here. I agree with Jay. I mean this is a very short-term
ball that he`s playing right now, which is odd, given that he`s very
strategic, as you say. But he`s in a very tough re-election. And one of
his biggest problems is that a lot of Republicans in Kentucky think he`s
totally sold out. He`s gone Washington. That`s why he had a Tea Party
challenger in his primary. I mean he dispatched with that guy, but
KORNACKI: Still at 35 percent against him.
FOUHY: Yeah, yeah. There`s real unhappiness with Mitch McConnell in
Kentucky that he`s a total tool of Washington, he`s in with lobbyists, he
doesn`t care about the folks back home. So, he`s really got to play this
hard. He`s in trouble, he`s the only Republican at this point, chances
are, who has got any chance of losing his seat in 2014. So, he`s got to
play to the base.
KORNACKI: There may actually be a second Republican in trouble. We`re
going to talk about that later the show. A little bit of the tease there.
But Sahil, looking at the shutdown from last fall, because it does strike
me, it`s interesting. When that was playing out, we were looking at those
poll numbers, it just looked like such an epic disaster for Republicans. I
guess you could make the case if Republicans turn around this fall and pick
up those six seats and win the Senate, that they look around and say, hey,
that didn`t hurt us at all.
SAHIL KAPUR, TALKING POINTS MEMO: Sure, they will say that. There`s no
doubt they will say that. And the comments from Senator McConnell were a
little bit puzzling, because he`s not what you`d call a loose cannon, he`s
very shrewd and he`s very calculating. And he of all people knows that
this stuff doesn`t fly with the average American voter. The problem is, it
does play really well with the conservative base. And as Beth was just
pointing out, he needs to shore that up back in Kentucky where he`s not
doing particularly well with Republicans. And he`s actually in danger.
His overriding priority right now is to win the Senate and to become
minority leader. The problem here with the comments he`s made is that once
you dangle something like this before the Tea Party, and, you know, in
front of them, they`re not going to take it lying down. When push comes to
shove, if he`s a majority leader, he`s going to have to follow through.
You can bet that Ted Cruz and every last Tea Party group will put these
comments before and in front of him if he doesn`t go that route and if he
doesn`t force a confrontation with the president over something like coal
or other things that Republicans want at the time. So, this is very
difficult to walk back from.
KORNACKI: Well, yeah, this gets to sort of what is the mindset, what is
the psychology of the Tea Party. Because I can remember back to the 1990s
when Republicans had their shutdown dramas with Bill Clinton. There was
always this band of sort of conservative Republicans who emerge from that.
And it was always like, any time you ended it, it was always going to be
too soon for them. If we just had held out from our hour, another day,
another week, another month, we would have gotten the conservative dream
realized. And is that - I mean, you know, we talk about what the poll
numbers look like for the Republican Party. But Jay, is there their
conservative movement, the Ted Cruz types, is there reading of the shutdown
last year different? Like we were this close to victory?
NEWTON-SMALL: Absolutely. And, you know, this actually is a playbook that
was taken from the Democrats, frankly. This is what Harry Reid and Nancy
Pelosi did at the end of the Bush administration to try to end the Iraq
war. Right, like we tried to put timelines and withdraw of troops, and
things like that, and it was a huge gamble because everyone was, like,
that`s really unpopular, the prospect of a shutdown. But the problem is,
is that this time, you know, back then, it actually really worked because,
you know, the war was incredibly unpopular and the prospect of a shutdown
was so distant, so improbable, nobody would ever realize it, right? But
the problem now is that we`ve already had a shutdown. We have this group
that hankers for a shutdown. And every time you raise the prospect of it,
they go, yay, they`re really excited about it. And so, it becomes a really
- you know, a reality. And it takes on a life of its own. It snowballs
and people talking, you know, and get Ted Cruz meeting in the basement of
Mexican restaurants, the next shutdown. And so, it`s just completely
KORNACKI: When we - so, it was last year it was over Obamacare
implementation, it was over health care. Do we know - let`s say
Republicans were to get the Senate this year. They have the House. They
have the Senate. Is there an issue right now, you look at the conservative
base that, hey, this is the thing that they want to turn around if the next
November and pick the fight over.
KORNACKI: It`s immigration?
KAPUR: No doubt it will be immigration, especially if the president unveils
an executive action by the end of the summer, which would expand DACA, the
program that applies to young people right now. Probably would encompass
their families and children. Even if he doesn`t, there`s a lot of angst
right now over what`s happening on the southwest border, there`s a lot of
angst right now about the president`s immigration policies, generally are,
you know, his agenda generally, and they want to .
KORNACKI: So, even - so if he does something, it would be take that off
KORNACKI: Threat of a shutdown.
KAPUR: It would be roll back what he`s already done. And if he does
something by the end of the summer, it would be roll that back.
KORNACKI: So, OK, the deferred action class whatever, this summer.
FOUHY: Yeah, but let me make a contrary argument. I mean there`s no
question that legislatively that`s what they would want to do, but
politically moving into the 2016 election, the presidential which is
immediately, what`s going to happen, as soon as 2014 ends, you`ve got Rand
Paul. You have got Ted Cruz, you`ve got folks who are going to probably
run for president. Sure, they want to play to their base, they want to win
the primaries. But they know this is a complete disaster for any chance of
Republicans taking the presidency in 2016. And especially to go right for
immigration that way just seems like completely suicidal.
KORNACKI: But I wonder, it gets to the psychology, I mean if we`re talking
about a December 2014, Republicans have just won the Senate. And they`re
saying, hey, they all told us it was a disaster to shut down the
government. And look who`s - I just wonder how to fix the psychology. We
are out of time with this segment, but my thanks to Jay Newton-Small of
"Time", Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo for joining us this morning.
And coming up, President Obama ordered a new review in the wake of
Ferguson. We`ll have the details on that, plus a look at the
administration`s overall response. That`s next.
KORNACKI: As we mentioned, it was another night of relative calm in
Ferguson, Missouri. There was no teargas, there were no shootings, no
Molotov cocktails, only a handful of arrests. One of the biggest questions
to emerge in the wake of the situation on the ground there has been this,
how did St. Louis County police forces as well as departments across the
country for that matter, how did they come to be equipped with military-
style equipment in the first place and should they have been, in the first
place? Well, last night we learned that President Obama has ordered a
review of the federal program that supplies local police forces with high
grade weapons and gear. It`s the Pentagon`s "Excess Property" program.
And it spent nearly half a billion dollars last year alone. The President
Obama is sending three aides to tomorrow`s funeral for Michael Brown, the
unarmed teenager who was shot by a Ferguson police officer two weeks ago.
Those are just two actions taken this week by President Obama. But how are
Americans feeling about his response overall especially in one key
demographic that`s helped to propel him to the White House? Well, take a
look at this: 60 percent of African-Americans agree with how President
Obama has responded to the Ferguson shooting and to its aftermath. 60
percent. That`s a clear majority, a super majority in the Senate terms.
But that number is not as huge as maybe you think it might be when you
consider that black voters helped to deliver the White House to Obama by
significantly higher margins. President Obama`s response to what has been
happening in Ferguson has been very measured. He endorsed the rights of
the protesters, he condemned the looting and the violence. He acknowledged
the racial divisions in the community and within the justice system. There
were remarks full of nuance and caution.
And that neutrality has prompted some blowback from some of the president`s
most loyal demographic. Georgetown sociology professor, an MSNBC
contributor Michael Eric Dyson calls the president`s remarks, quote,
"Extremely disappointing," media writer Elon James White tweeted, "I get
Obama`s role, but if he can`t speak directly to this situation, then what
president will?" After the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida,
President Obama took to the podium to say that the young man could have
been his own son. It`s the kind of very personal response some people were
maybe expecting from the president this time around. And they did get it
from his administration. President Obama sent his Attorney General Eric
Holder to Ferguson instead. In a conversation at a community college
reporters say that Holder told Ferguson residents, that, quote, "I
understand that mistrust. I am the attorney general of the United States,
but I`m also a black man." Holder added an anecdote about something that
happened when he was a federal prosecutor, living in a nice neighborhood in
Washington, D.C. "I think about my time in Georgetown." And I`m running
to a picture movie at 8:00 at night, I`m running with my cousin, a police
car comes driving up, flashes his lights, yells, where are you going. Hold
it. I say, whoa, I`m going to a movie."
To help us talk about the administration`s response, too, to situation in
Ferguson we have Michael Eric Dyson, professor of sociology in Georgetown,
an MSNBC political analyst whose op-ed we just quoted briefly, it appears
in full in this morning`s "Washington Post." We were saving the rest of
the thoughts for you to share with us. And also with us is Beth Fouhy, she
is back at the table and senior editor at msnbc.com. So, Michael, I`ll
start with you. We laid out a little bit of what you said in the opening
there. But you talked in this op-ed about you`re watching the monkish
silence on race that President Obama has exhibited. I`m just curious if
you can just explain more fully your frustration in this moment and more
generally what you mean by the monkish silence on race.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, we can count the number
of times that President Obama has weighed in. Of course, he has
brilliantly and wisely protected his racial capital so that when he does
speak, it will make a difference. But I think he`s done too good a job of
that. He hasn`t intervened I think in a fashion that allows him to take
full advantage of the range of experiences, talents and gifts that he
uniquely possesses of any president of the United States of America in
history to be able to speak to one of the most exigent and arguably the
greatest problem that we`ve confronted as a nation, and that is the issue
of race. His personal discomfort with the issue plus the fact that when he
speaks about it, true enough, he takes a dive in poll numbers among certain
demographics, but guess what, when he speaks about Iraq, the same thing.
When he talks about issues of the environment, the same thing. When he
talks about gay marriage even among African-American people, the same
thing. So, he`s going to take a hit regardless. And with two years left,
it`s time to step up I think and at least represent the full range of gifts
he has and to speak more seriously and in a more sustained fashion to this
issue of race.
KORNACKI: OK, so in this particular case, what is it you`d like to hear
him say that he hasn`t said?
DYSON: Well, first of all, the tone of empathy. I mean to come out and
first of all underscore the fact that we`ve got to keep the law and order,
I get that, then we`ve got to keep the peace, I get that, and make those
the major predicates for what we see going on. And then, by the way, also,
citizens should be protected and have a right to peaceful protests without
acknowledging the vicious history of assault upon African-American and
Latino people in this country by the state. Police repression, police
aggression, police execution, if you will, of African-American men and
women, the degree to which black people have been vulnerable, to rebuff in
the criminal justice system and the degree to which the criminal justice
system has worked vigorously against the interest of African-American and
Latino people, in other words, to show us he understands that issue and
don`t recriminalize young black people the way he did in his second set of
Ferguson remarks when he talked about the fact that, you know, some young
black men commit crime and they must be punished. Well, how tone deaf is
that while in the midst of a riotous or rebellious uprising, because of the
fact that black people haven`t had equal access to justice and protection
under the law, to then further criminalize them by making such, I think, an
KORNACKI: OK, so, Beth, that`s the criticism. And Michael is not alone in
making some of those critiques toward the administration. From the
administration`s perspective, what is the reasoning, what is the thinking
behind the approach the president has taken here?
FOUHY: Yeah, it does seem really regrettable, right. You know, the first
black president is so hamstrung about speaking on these issues. But .
KORNACKI: He has spoken before. I mean in his defining speech in 2008 in
the campaign, it was the speech on race.
FOUHY: Right. But that was during the primary that was during the
Democratic primary where he still needed to win that race with Hillary
Rodham Clinton. And so, he was speaking primarily to Democratic voters at
that point. Now he has got to speak to the country. He`s a very
polarizing president, especially among regrettably many white voters. We
have got to get through 2014. And the states where Senate races really
matter are in states that have a lot of, the white working class population
that have never, ever warmed to this president. We are talking about
Kentucky where a Democrat could win, actually, knock off Mitch McConnell.
We are talking about places like Louisiana, North Carolina. These are
places where white working class folks who are Democrats need to come out.
He cannot - these Senate races cannot just be won on the strength of the
KORNACKI: So, the idea is if he weighs in aggressively on this issue, it
stirs up - it potentially stirs up some kind of backlash --
KORNACKI: It could cost Democrats - is that what you`re thinking?
FOUHY: Right. And it could jeopardize - it could jeopardize Senate
Democratic senators in those places and then result in a Republican Senate,
which would be a disaster for many black voters.
KORNACKI: So, Michael, let me ask you about that. You know, that`s not
just about Obama`s poll numbers, they are saying, it`s specifically about
Democrats holding on to the Senate. So, in light of that concern and the
fact that the administration sent - you know, Eric, I mean the attorney
general from any administration rarely goes to the scene of anything like
this. The administration sent Eric Holder in there clearly in terms of its
actual power through the Justice Department, is taking this very seriously.
Is that not a balance you can be comfortable with?
DYSON: I think that Eric Holder is leading and Obama is following. Let`s
not pretend - every president - Why isn`t every cabinet member then tasked
with the demand of the president to figure out a way to engage issues of
race in housing and urban development and the environment and the like.
So, let`s not - let`s not exactly make Eric Holder a puppet of Barack Obama
or at least a shadow. He is, of course, representative of that
administration. But he represents his own views, his own understanding of
what`s going on there. And he makes comments that I think are far closer
to what we`re aiming for here than the president has. Number two, look, if
the price of admission for me into the party is to me suppress my own
identity and my interests - because we`re not asking, right? We are asking
African-American people look aside because right now your interests cannot
be as compelling as the interest of white working class people who will
never love Obama even within the Democratic Party. With two years left in
his administration, if not now, when? When will African-American people be
able to conscientiously articulate their views without fear that it will
upset a white person or the fact that the president of the United States of
America who understands how complicated a calculation, this is, figures out
a way not only at this point when the 2014 midterms are at stake, but even
long before this and after this. There will never be enough pressure to
leverage for the White House to be able to speak out.
And let`s be clear, unless President Obama is put into some graceful
pressure, he will never speak out, and I think African-American people who
support him like I have -- I have been a two-term surrogate of President
Obama. I have spoken mostly in advocacy of his policies and in strong
defense of his presidency. But I think the price of my support cannot be
the suppression of my voice or the blunting of my consciousness as I tell
the truth about issues of race in America. And I wish he did, because he`s
got a far bigger pull at pulpit. And the ability to really make a
KORNACKI: All right. Some strong criticism. My thanks to MSNBC political
analyst Michael Eric Dyson. I appreciate your perspective this morning,
and msnbc.com senior editor Beth Fouhy, also appreciate you joining us as
An update right now on the breaking new we are telling you about at the
start of the show out of North Carolina- excuse me, Northern California.
We`re getting our first video of the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that hit the
San Francisco Bay Area this morning. A quake center about six miles
outside of Napa. These pictures are coming in from our NBC affiliate in
Santa Cruz. That`s KMTV. Tremors were felt as far south as Santa Cruz, as
far north as Sacramento. U.S. Geological Survey says it`s the biggest
earthquake to strike the area since the 1979 San Francisco earthquake that
caused extensive damage to the Bay Bridge and killed dozens. This morning
there are reports of structural damage coming in? No reported injuries at
this time. More details as they come in. We`ll be right back.
KORNACKI: Another week and another former top aide to President Obama has
taken a new job that`s generating a little bit of controversy. It was on
Tuesday that we learned that Obama`s 2008 campaign manager, former White
House aide David Plouffe is going to work for the Silicon Valley car
service Uber. The company which connects users and drivers through a cell
phone app is fighting to break in to urban markets and is sparring with the
taxi industry and their strong unions. Democrats traditionally support
unions, they don`t usually go after unions. But in this new roll, the taxi
unions will be public enemy number one for David Plouffie. Here is how the
CEO of Uber described the struggle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRAVIS KALANICK, UBER CEO: We`re in this political campaign and the
candidate is Uber and the opponent is (EXPLETIVE DELETED) taxi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Plouffe`s new job follows two more senior Obama staffers who`ve
also picked fights with the organized labor, the president`s former
spokesman Robert Gibbs and Ben LaBolt recently signed on with an advocacy
group that`s trying to gut teacher tenure, a coveted benefit that teachers
unions have fought hard for over the years. Randi Weingarten, the
president of the American Federation of Teachers told msnbc.com that Gibbs
and LaBolt are "working for clients who are trying to undermine public
education by pitting teachers against students, subscribing to a theory
that to help kids, you have to hurt teachers."
And there`s Obama`s 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina who`s now leading
British Prime Minister David Cameron`s campaign for reelection in the U.K.
Buzzfeed reports that Conservative Party, the Cameron`s party is
campaigning on a platform that includes new rules for English labor that
would make it close to impossible for workers to go on strike. And Messina
responded, quote, "I am not taking on unions. There`s no example of that."
But Messina is facing down his old colleague and Obama aide David Axelrod
who`s leading up the campaign for Britain`s Labor Party, a striking divide
within the Democratic Party that is now playing out overseas. So, what do
these riffs mean for the future of the Democratic Party? Do these high
profile appointments mean Democrats are shifting away from staunch support
for organized labor? Or are these advisors out liars? Joining me to
debate the future of the Democratic Party, the Democratic coalition is
Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America`s Future and Jim
Kessler, he`s the vice president of Third Way.
So, Roger, I`ll start with you. There does seem to be a pattern. I know
it`s just a data set would be a little bit small here, but when you`re
looking at these people who are very close, you know, very close
politically to President Obama taking these positions with ventures that
are at this point sort of have an acrimonious relationship with organized
labor, what does this say to you about a schism within the Democratic
ROGER HICKEY, CAMPAIGH FOR AMERICA`S FUTURE: Well, Steve, let me - let me
put this in context. Most activists that I know are now working on
conveying of economic populous message to the voters for 2014. So, for
example, the enemy is the Republicans, it`s Paul Ryan who has got a new
book out and everywhere he goes, activists are out there with picket signs
asking about his austerity budgets, asking about his plans to cut Social
Security and Medicare. That`s the real focus of most Democrats. And in a
sense, the career plans of these former Obama people are at a distraction.
They`re following, unfortunately the old path of many Republican and
Democratic consultants, and they are good people to have on your side in an
election campaign, and I wish they were focused on winning back the House
and taking - and keeping the Senate. Instead, they`re following the path
that the old Washington wag described as, they came to Washington to do
good and they stayed to do well for themselves. They are feathering their
own nests right now.
KORNACKI: Well, so, Jim, what does it - what does this say to you when you
see stories like, the stories like David Plouffe and Uber this week? Does
that say something to you about the nature of the Democratic Party right
JIM KESSLER, THIRD WAY: Let me start with Jim Messina. Because, I think,
too much has been made of him working for Cameron in England. The
Conservative Party in Great Britain is not like the conservative party in
the United States. I think Cameron is more similar to a lot of Democrats,
you know, in this country. So I think, you know, he`s not working for the
Tom DeLay of Great Britain.
KORNACKI: Sure, It`s a little different. But isn`t - I mean there`s sort
of this historical relationship between the Labor Party and the Democratic
Party. New Labor, Tony Blair, new Democratic Party, Bill Clinton. You
know, David Axelrod working with Labor - It does say something, I mean the
Conservative Party in Britain, obviously, the party of austerity over
KESSLER: That`s true. And I`m not saying that there aren`t, you know,
some places where the conservative party in Britain has some -- resembles
in some ways the Republican Party here. But it`s in no way - you know,
they`re very, very different. And you can be a progressive and, you know,
you could be for labor or you could be for Cameron.
KORNACKI: Sure. Socially speaking, culturally speaking, obviously, much
more. But OK, we`re talking about teachers unions, we`re talking about
Uber, taxi unions, this sort of - the relationships of the Democratic Party
KESSLER: Right. So, look, so, first of all, I don`t think - if you look
at Plouffe and Gibbs and LaBolt, like I don`t think this is a real
departure for them. Because if you look at what their role was in the
Democratic Party, they were disrupters. I mean they found a different way
to run campaigns. And if they hadn`t been disrupters within the political
system, Barack Obama wouldn`t be president. And look, I think they`re
looking at other places like taxis, which probably could use some
disruption, and teaching, same as well, in which they`re saying is there a
new model that we can bring? And look, the situation with teaching is,
we`re going to need to hire 2 million new teachers in the next ten years.
Right now mot teachers, more than half, about half come from the bottom
third of their graduating class. Like something is wrong with the teaching
profession right now. We can`t just pretend that, you know, everything is
going well. And look, I think this is a healthy debate. I don`t mind that
this is happening within the Democratic Party.
KORNACKI: Well, let`s pick up this issue on teachers and the teacher`s
union. Because something Jim says there does jump out at me and that is
that the National Education Association right now is calling for Arne
Duncan`s resignation. This is the, you know, the President Obama`s
Education Secretary. Race to the top obviously, is something that sort of
a new way of thinking, a different way of thinking about education as an
initiative from this administration. So, seeing top aides go off and join
through the anti tenure movement maybe not entirely inconsistent with what
this administration has done on education.
HICKEY: Yeah, there`s a real debate going on within the Democratic Party
about education. And we`ve got to be on the side of the American people
who think that teachers are part of the solution, not part of the problem.
And that`s the problem with the Gibbs approach, the camel ground approach
to blaming teachers. And the more Democrats are associated with this
campaign against teachers, against teachers` unions, they`re going to reap
a whirlwind. I mean look at Chicago where Mayor Rahm Emanuel opposed a
strike and went after the teachers. He is less popular right now than the
head of the teachers union in Chicago. This is electoral silliness for the
Democratic Party to be attacking one of its key constituents. And the key
people on the front lines of education are teachers.
KORNACKI: Roger, where does the impetus for this come from? Where does
the impetus for - come from, where does the impetus for everything that
Arne Duncan`s done that has the NEA call for his resignation come from?
Where is the impetus for, you know, for X-Obama aides to go off and work
with - come from?
HICKEY: Unfortunately there`s a lot of money out there. Some people who
are running private school systems, privatized school systems, there`s a
lot of Wall Street money going into this so-called reform movement. And
it`s all turning too many Democrats in the wrong direction on education.
KESSLER: Roger. I think that`s an oversimplification.
HICKEY: This is an election year right now and the Democrats have to be on
the side of more resources and more power to the teachers, not attacking
teachers as a villain. That is a mistake politically and in terms of
KORNACKI: All right we - I know Jim wants to get in. We`ll pick this up
in one second, we`ll continue the conversation on the other side. First,
though, have some more information, the latest on the information coming in
this hour about this morning`s 6.0 earthquake in the San Francisco Bay
Area, centered six miles outside Napa, the Napa County fire department
confirms to the "Los Angeles Times" they are being swamped with calls
including now injuries. It`s still unclear how serious those injuries
might be because they`re still responding to those calls.
These pictures you are seeing, they come to us from our NBC affiliate KNTV
in San Jose. We`ll update with more information as soon as it becomes
available. And we`ll be right back.
KORNACKI: All right. Picking back, and picking our conversation back up
here. And Jim, I wanted to pick up on Roger`s point and ask about how much
of this tension and how much of this divide we are talking about in the
Democratic Party, when it comes to attitudes about unions, I wonder how
much of this is driven by Silicon Valley, because Silicon Valley is
becoming Silicon Valley is becoming, you know, such a source, a huge source
of campaign cash obviously, you know, for Democrats these days. And
Silicon Valley is sort of the heart of innovation. And the idea of
innovation is something that Democrats very much like to harness. But at
the same time, when it comes to unions, Silicon Valley is not really on the
same page as the Democratic Party. Is that a big source of this tension?
KESSLER: Well, there`s tons of money in politics now, unprecedented
amounts, especially since Citizens United. And, you know, I think that has
a perverse impact on the debate, on every single debate that`s out there.
I`m not - look, I know that there`s some Silicon Valley money in the
teacher reform movement, but the goal of -- Democrats, we should be
supporting teachers. But - and there`s a lot of great teachers out there
for sure. But there`s also a lot of teachers out there who aren`t great,
or anything but great. And, you know, a system that you have out there in
which it`s very, very difficult to remove teachers who aren`t good. I mean
that - that`s not serving anybody well. And I think regardless of where
the money is coming from, if we can`t have an honest conversation about how
to get rid of teachers who don`t perform, our kids are going to be in
trouble. And if our kids are in trouble, they are not going to survive in
this very difficult economy that`s going to be the 21st century economy.
So, I think we have got to have this discussion within the Democratic
Party. Is there too much money involved in it? Of course. There always
is now in politics. That`s a shame. But this discussion ought to happen.
KORNACKI: All right, I have got to end the discussion here. I`m really
sorry. We`ve got breaking news and it`s just sort of eating into our time
a little bit. I want to thank, though, Roger Hickey, the Campaign for
America`s Future, Jim Kessler of Third Way for joining us today.
KESSLER: Thank you.
KORNACKI: We appreciate that. And coming up, could it be a last minute
spoiler in one of the most overlooked yet still important races in the
country? A big surprising development this week. We`re going to tell you
about it next.
KORNACKI: We can`t blame you if you haven`t been paying close attention to
the Senate race in Kansas. After all, the last time a Democrat won a
Senate race in Kansas, it was 1932. And to the extent you have been paying
attention to this year`s race, well, you probably stopped doing so a few
weeks ago when long-time Republican incumbent Pat Roberts held off his Tea
Party challenger Milton Wolf in the GOP primary. Wolf might have been the
kind of erratic far right candidate who could have maybe endangered the
seat for the GOP. At least that`s how the thinking went. But Roberts is a
known commodity. It`s Kansas, after all, so he`d be fine in the fall.
That was the thinking, but maybe it`s time to start paying attention to
Kansas again. Because a surprising new poll this week suggests that this
Senate race, the race in deep red Kansas could end up as the sleeper race
of 2014, the one that no one thought would be competitive, but ends up
being a dogfight.
Here is Pat Roberts` current approval rating with voters, according to a
new PPP poll. It`s 27 percent, that`s a poisonous level for an incumbent.
27 percent. His longevity, 34 years in Washington is probably hurting him
here. A revelation that he seems to live in someone else`s house on a golf
course to maintain his Kansas residency, that`s not helping either.
There`s also the civil war that`s now raging in the Kansas Republican Party
between the Tea Party right and the more pragmatic traditional party
establishment, the civil war that recently led 100 Republican officials to
turn on Republican Governor Sam Brownback and to endorse his Democratic
opponent. That intraparty Republican blood bath may be taking a toll on
Roberts as well. But here`s the catch: Roberts has two opponents this
fall. There`s Democrat Chad Taylor, he`s a district attorney from Topeka
Area, and there`s independent Greg Orman, a businessman who used to be a
And look at this, in the new poll, Roberts is leading, but with only 32
percent of the vote with Taylor, the Democrat at 25 and Orman, the
independent at 23. And Taylor has struggled to raise money so far and to
attract support from his own party. And now, there are even some
suggesting that he drop out of the race to give Orman a clear shot at
knocking off Roberts. Taylor is scoffing at that talk. But look at this.
In a two-way race, the same poll shows that Roberts, the Republican would
lose to Orman by ten points, 43 to 33. Like I said, this feels like a race
you`re going to want to keep an eye on this fall.
And joining me now to talk about it is the independent candidate for Senate
in Kansas, Greg Orman. Greg, thanks for taking a few minutes this morning.
So, let`s just understand where you`re coming from here ideologically.
Because you - I think six years ago when Pat Roberts was last up for
reelection, you were initially - you were interested in running against him
as a Democrat. Now you`re running as an independent. Why aren`t you a
GREG ORMAN (I), KANSAS SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, you know, I`m fiscally
responsible and socially tolerant and have never really felt like I had a
perfect home in either party. Historically I`ve tried the Republican
Party, I`ve tried the Democratic Party. And I`ve just finally decided that
if we`re going to change things in Washington, we`ve got to attack the two-
party system and stop supporting it.
KORNACKI: Do you want - because look at those numbers and it just screams
out, if this is a one-on-one race, you have a real shot here to knock off
Pat Roberts. If it`s a three-way race, it`s muddled, and it`s a lot more
complicated for you. Do you want your Democratic opponent to drop out of
ORMAN: Well, we actually think that our message resonates with Kansans
from across the political spectrum. And we think we can win a three-way
race. So, from our perspective, our job is really just to go out, talk to
Kansans, deliver our message to them and make sure that they have the
opportunity to make an informed decision in the fall. And I think if they
have that opportunity, I think they`re going to see that they like what
they`re hearing from our campaign.
KORNACKI: I should note that we reached out to Chad Taylor and invited him
on the program and we`d extend that invitation for the future as well. But
Greg let me ask you, if you are successful, the million dollar question, I
think, everybody will be asking you during this campaign is, you`re going
to have to choose sides in the Senate. Do you want to give - do you want
to vote to give Democrats control of the Senate or Republicans control of
the Senate. Even if you an independent, if you are elected, you could have
the deciding vote after this fall`s election. Which side would you vote
ORMAN: Well, you know, I think that`s a great point, Steve. And
ultimately, if I get elected there`s a reasonable chance that neither party
will have a majority in Washington. And if that`s the case, what I`ve said
is I`m going to caucus with whichever party is willing to actually go to
Washington and start trying to solve problems as opposed to just pleasing
the, extremists in their own base.
KORNACKI: But you - looking at those two parties right now, do you have a
sense which one has done a better job of that?
ORMAN: Well, you know, frankly, I think both parties have been sending
extremists to Washington. People are more interested in pleasing the
partisans in their own base and really not solving problems. And I think
both parties are actually guilty of that sort of behavior. Really I think
in an attempt to make sure they win elections and not solve problems for
the American people.
KORNACKI: Let`s try to nail you down on a few issues here. The Affordable
Care Act, obviously everybody talks about it a lot. People who say repeal
the Affordable Care Act. Is that something you agree with?
ORMAN: Well, you know, I look at this issue a little differently. We had
a health care affordability issue before the Affordable Care Act and we
have health care affordability issue today. I run businesses. And every
year the first question we have to answer before we can decide what kind of
raises we can give our employees is how high have health care costs gone?
And every year they just keep going up. So, I think we have a real issue
with health care in this country, and I think the Affordable Care Act has
just been a lightning rod for political criticism and for political
positioning on both sides.
KORNACKI: But Greg, but Greg it`s the law. So do you want the law to stay
on the books and to work to try to improve the law or do you want the law
off the books?
ORMAN: Well, as long as the president is in the White House, I think it`s
impractical to say that the law is going to go off the books. So, I think
what we ultimately need to do is look at the things that are driving health
care costs in this country and try to solve the problem in a real rational
common sense way as opposed to positioning for political gain here.
KORNACKI: Kansas, your state, Sam Brownback, the Republican governor, very
conservative Republican governor, has refused to expand Medicaid under the
Affordable Care Act, that`s an option that the states have. Do you want
your state - do you want Kansas to expand Medicaid under the Affordable
ORMAN: Well, you know, I think the message that Governor Brownback has
sent to the working poor in Kansas is, if you have a health care crisis,
your best solution is to quit your job. And I think that`s a bad message
to send. I think we have a real issue in Kansas with our critical access
facilities that are now underfunded as a result of Governor Brownback`s
decision. And so, ultimately I think he`s made a poor decision there.
KORNACKI: So, you would like it expanded. On the question of immigration,
this has been the issue, one of the issues that seems to have paralyzed
Washington. A bill passed the Senate last year, it`s languishing in the
House that would provide a path to citizenship, it would boost up border
security and provide a long-term path to citizenship, somewhere in the
neighborhood of ten to 13 years for undocumented people who meet certain
thresholds and pay certain fines. Is that legislation that you would
support in the Senate?
ORMAN: Well, and Steve, I think you raised a critical point there, which
is it does boost border security. And so, we`ve talked about our
immigration reform and said it needs to be tough, practical and fair. It
does need to boost border security, but it also needs to be practical. We
have got over 11 million people living in this country, and it`s just
impractical to say that we`re going to send them all home. And frankly, in
Kansas, there are whole industries and whole towns like Garden City and
Dodge City that would be absolutely devastated if we made decisions like
that. But I also think it needs to be fair to taxpayers. And what I mean
by that is, I think if you`re here on an undocumented basis, you should
have to register with ICE, you should have to pay a fine or perform some
community service as an acknowledgment that the law has been broken. And
then I think if you obey our laws, you hold down a job, you pay taxes, you
should be able to stay here.
KORNACKI: All right, Greg, and one quick final question. Are you voting
for Sam Brownback or Paul Davis for governor?
ORMAN: You know, I`m not making that decision public. I think your voting
behavior is ultimately a private behavior. I`m looking for people who want
to go to Washington and in this case go to Topeka and solve problems, work
in a bipartisan way, understand that Kansas .
KORNACKI: All right.
ORMAN: Has a long tradition of bipartisanship. And that`s what I`m
looking for in elected officials.
KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to Greg Orman, Senate candidate in Kansas
for joining us this morning. I appreciate that.
Up next, the latest on the biggest earthquake to hit northern California in
25 years as soon as we come back.
KORNACKI: We want to update you now on this morning`s 6.0 earthquake in
the San Francisco Bay Area, centered about six miles outside of Napa in
California wine country. Photos have been flooding in this hour showing
some of the damage that`s been reported including gas leaks, downed power
lines and at least one fire. Officials are also on the lookout for
structural damage to bridges. A hospital in Napa says "Los Angeles Times"
they are receiving calls of injuries, mostly cuts from glass. We`ll update
as more information becomes available. We`ll be right back.
KORNACKI: The candidate who has got Scott Walker fighting for his
Good morning again. Thanks for getting up and staying with us this Sunday
morning. We`ll keep you updated throughout the hour on the latest
information coming in about this morning`s 6.0 earthquake in northern
But first, one of the biggest political stories of the weekend are the new
documents that reveal the inner workings of Wisconsin Governor Scott
Walker`s fund-raising operation. Emails from top aides show that Walker`s
campaign directed major donors to PACs that supported him. These are
ostensibly independent committees that are supposed to have no coordination
with his official campaign whatsoever. It isn`t clear from the documents,
however, whether Walker himself played a role in the actions of his team.
Walker`s campaign said in a statement that he is not a target of the
investigation. And this spring, a federal judge shut down an investigation
into the financing of pro-Walker efforts in the 2012 Wisconsin recall
election, although that judge`s decision could still be reversed by the
Special prosecutor who had been looking into the matter said in June that
Walker was not a target of the probe at that time that it was shut down.
Of course, this ongoing saga provides an uncomfortable backdrop for Walker
as he seeks re-election as governor this fall, a race that is only now
emerging on the national political radar. After all, many political
observers came into this year believing that Democrats had already taken
their best shot at Walker and that they missed. He was elected governor in
2010 back in the Republican midterm wave that year, a conservative governor
in a state that is generally Democratic. And then Scott Walker stripped
unions of powers and benefits in a place that historically has been
friendly to labor, sparking unprecedented at the state capitol that made
Madison the epicenter of the political world back in 2011. But in that
recall election in 2012, with Democrats around the country uniting to try
to take him out and to deliver a message, Walker held his seat, and he did
so by a fairly comfortable margin. After that, it seemed reasonable to
think that Scott Walker would be in better shape in 2014. That if
Democrats couldn`t take him out in that climate, they wouldn`t be able to
do it now. But the latest Marquette University Law School poll shows a
statistical tossup with Walker actually running a point behind his
Democratic challenger, Mary Burke, 48 to 47 percent.
So Mary Burke, the Democratic challenger, who is she? Well, she is a
former state commerce secretary, who spent years before that working for
her family`s business. Burke`s father founded Trek Bicycle out of a barn
in Waterloo. That company has grown into an international brand. And it
is this connection that has led Walker to attack Burke as an opponent of
not only job creation but business regulations and fair wages.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m making millions of dollars sending jobs overseas
that could have been done in Wisconsin, to countries where women and
children might work up to 12 hours a day, earning only $2.00 an hour.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Only $2.00 an hour?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Some conservatives have met Walker`s attempts to use economic
populism to attack Burke with criticism. The Wall Street Journal said he
was channeling Barack Obama`s 2012 campaign against Mitt Romney. It`s
difficult to tell if the attacks have gained traction. And what is -- what
is only one issue that could decide a very close race this fall.
I want to get to more of those issues now with my guest, Mary Burke, she is
the Democratic nominee for governor of Wisconsin. She joins us now.
Mary, thanks for taking a few minutes this morning. Let`s just start with
the big news, it`s big news in Wisconsin this weekend, it`s big news
nationally this weekend. And that is, these documents from prosecutors,
and again, this investigation sort of in a holding pattern right now, but
these documents from their work coming to light on Friday and basically
showing that prosecutors seem to believe that the governor himself was
seeking out donations for the Wisconsin Club for Growth, this supposedly
independent group, that was then directing money to other PACs, all these
supposedly independent groups that were helping him fight the recall
effort, that were on his side in the recall effort.
Again, the prosecutors saying that when this investigation was shut down,
they were not looking into the governor himself. These documents suggest
maybe they`re looking at his campaign manager. I guess my question to you
is, when you look at all this, do you think that Governor Walker committed
a crime here?
MARY BURKE, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR OF WISCONSIN: Well, Steve,
it`s great to be with you. And if this wasn`t illegal, frankly, it should
be. Across this country and certainly in Wisconsin, people are sick of the
special interest money in politics. They are losing faith in elected
officials because of things just like this. A $700,000 donation from a
mining company that had legislation in process that would have allowed it
to profit from this legislation.
So if it`s not illegal, it should be. And I`m running for governor because
I`m going to focus on the issues that matter most to the people in
Wisconsin. Right now, our economy is lagging. We`re dead last in the
Midwest in terms of job creation. And as a business executive, I know we
can do better. We have to put people ahead of the special interests. We
have to put common sense solutions ahead of the politics.
KORNACKI: And let`s pick up on that. We played a clip from the attack ad
that they`re using against you, trying to turn -- take your business record
and turn it against you. The brand Trek Bicycles, the family business
here. I think everybody nationally has probably heard of Trek Bicycles.
One of the points of attack or one of the points of criticism from the
Walker campaign is they`re saying, hey, basically every bike that Trek
makes, every bike that you see in this country that has the Trek name on it
is actually made overseas. I think 98, 99 percent, something like that.
How do you square that with the idea of creating jobs in the United States?
BURKE: Trek makes more bikes in the United States and in Wisconsin than
any other bike company in the entire country and in the world.
KORNACKI: But the vast majority are made overseas, isn`t that right?
BURKE: It`s a little bit like -- unfortunately, so many industries here in
the U.S. And as governor, I want to fight to level the playing field,
because it`s very difficult for manufacturers, Wisconsin manufacturers, to
compete against other countries that have much lower wages, different
regulations. And so Trek is proud to produce more bikes here in the U.S.
and Wisconsin than any other company. It employs nearly 1,000 people right
here in Wisconsin, a company started by my dad nearly 40 years ago.
KORNACKI: So let`s -- we talk about Wisconsin nationally. I think
everybody obviously -- we showed the scenes there from 2011. Everybody
remembers the protests, everybody remembers the recall. And everybody
remembers that the big issue in Wisconsin politics and the big reason
everybody was talking about it nationally had to do with the power of
collective bargaining for public employee unions and also -- this was
called Act 10, this was the law Scott Walker put through in his first year
as governor. And it sparked all these protests. It restricted the rights
to collectively bargain for public employees and it also demanded that they
contribute more in terms of their pension costs and their health care
I want to look at those two issues with you. First of all, the increased
contributions from public employees for pensions and for health care. That
was part of this law that was part of this big controversy. If you`re
elected governor, would you seek to roll back those increased
BURKE: No. I`ve been very clear from the start. I think it was only fair
to ask for contributions to health care and to pensions. But I also
endorse the right to collectively bargain. I don`t think that that stands
in the way of making sure that we have effective, efficient, and
And I know from being at Trek that an organization is only as good as its
people. And I want to make sure that in the public sector, in our schools,
in our police departments, our fire departments, we`re able to attract and
keep good people. They need to be able to be paid fair wages. But we also
need to make sure people are accountable, and that we`re accountable not
only to the taxpayers, but the citizens of Wisconsin.
KORNACKI: So when you talk about restoring those collective bargaining
rights that were lost for public employees in 2011, a lot of people say it
might take -- a lot of this depends obviously on the makeup of the
legislature -- but it might take doing something as dramatic as Scott
Walker did in 2011. Look what he had to put up with in terms of those
protests to get his way. If you want to restore those collective
bargaining rights -- for instance, would you be willing to say you wouldn`t
sign a budget unless it included the return of those collective bargaining
BURKE: No, I`m not going to say that. I need to work with the Republican
legislature at this point. But the way I have done business my entire life
is to find common ground, to make sure that we are moving forward, that we
get the best ideas on the table. And frankly, I don`t care if they`re
Democratic or Republican ideas. Let`s go with the ones that are going to
work and then let`s bring people together to do that work. And I`m going
to find common ground with the Republicans and make sure we are focused on
the issues that matter to working families here in Wisconsin, and that`s
And our economy is lagging. Under Scott Walker, we are dead last in the
Midwest for job creation. We need someone who actually knows how to create
jobs. I started my own business when I was in my 20s. We`re 46th in the
country in terms of new businesses started. I want to make sure that
Wisconsin`s economy is a leader instead of a lagger.
KORNACKI: Was it a mistake for Democrats to try to recall Walker in 2012?
BURKE: I think it`s only part of the Democratic process, that people in a
state are able to put that to the voters again. If there are issues and if
they get enough of that support to do that, and people did get that --
enough signatures to bring those issues and to put Governor Walker back to
the position where he needed to justify his position as governor.
KORNACKI: All right, Mary Burke, Democratic nominee for governor of
Wisconsin. It is a tossup race right now. Thank you very much for taking
a few minutes and joining us this morning. Good luck on the campaign trail
this fall. And we should say, we have also extended an invitation to
Governor Walker to join us on a future program. We hope to talk to him as
Turning now to reports that are just coming in now of a second earthquake
in California this morning, not an aftershock, but another earthquake, this
time in Southern California, a much smaller one though, west of the Los
Angeles area, near San Bernardino in Big Bear City, a 3.0 quake. In the
northern part of the state, meanwhile, up in wine country outside of San
Francisco, there was a 6.0 earthquake early this morning. There are
initial reports of injuries at a Napa area hospital. The Los Angeles Times
also reports that the California Highway Patrol says it has discovered that
a state road is severely cracked. We`ll be right back with more.
KORNACKI: Texas Governor Rick Perry is taking something of a victory lap
this week, the same week he also had his mug shot taken. On Tuesday, Perry
turned himself in at the Travis County courthouse on charges of abusing
official power and coercion of a public official. This stems from Perry
trying to get a Democratic district attorney to resign her office after she
was arrested for driving under the influence and acted belligerently toward
police officers. Prosecutors allege that Perry broke the law by
threatening to veto out funding for her office if she failed to resign.
And when she didn`t, he did veto more than $7 million in funding for her
office. Perry maintains he did nothing wrong here, and it`s entirely
within his power as governor to use his line item veto as he sees fit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: I remain focused on the work of the people of
this state, doing the job I was elected to do, and I will not be distracted
by these baseless political charges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And on Friday, Perry went north to New Hampshire, continuing his
campaign for an unannounced second bid for president. His PAC, RickPac
it`s called, is even selling t-shirts with his mug shot on it, "wanted," it
says, "for securing the border and defeating Democrats." And at that event
in New Hampshire, Perry insisted that the charges against him are motivated
by liberals and partisan politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: If you all are not aware, Texas is a pretty red state now, but I
refer to Travis County as the blueberry in the tomato soup, if you know
what I mean.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Beyond conservatives, many Democrats and major news outlets are
also rejecting the charges against Perry. The New York Times and the
Washington Post both published editorials dismissing the indictment. Yet
when it comes to the Texas media, the reaction hasn`t been quite as
uniform. And there are those who say the charges against Perry are more
serious than national observers are treating them. For example, there was
the story earlier this week that Perry did not pressure two other district
attorneys to resign after drunk driving arrests. Republican district
attorneys. In a story for the Austin American Statesman this morning, Tony
Plohetski writes that despite winning in the court of public opinion, Perry
still faces very tough challenges in the court of law. Plohetski caught up
with Perry in an elevator this week as the governor was leaving a national
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY PLOHETSKI, AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN: OK, first of all, how are you?
PERRY: How do I look? Do I look pretty good?
PLOHETSKI: How are you coping with all this? You look like you`re hanging
PERRY: Come on, you can give me better than that.
PLOHETSKI: So you believe this whole thing is about partisan politics?
Why do you say that? What makes you say that?
PERRY: Let`s just look at what Alan Dershowitz says, let`s see what
Jonathan Chait says. These are men and women who are on the Democrat side
of the aisle, who say it`s outrageous, totalitarian. I mean, those are
Democrats saying that. That`s not me.
PLOHETSKI: Did you threaten Rosemary Lehmberg?
PERRY: I clearly told the folks what I was going to do with the funding,
and I did that. There wasn`t any hiding it. I spoke clearly that I had
lost confidence in her after seeing the video.
PLOHETSKI: When do you plan to go on down there to -- OK, thank you very
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I think he meant Jonathan Chait there. Anyway, joining me now
to answer all the questions, we have reporter Tony Plohetski of the
American Statesman and KDU TV in Austin. And in Houston, defense attorney
Brian Wice, who represented former Republican House Majority Leader Tom
DeLay against charges from the Travis County District Attorney`s Office.
Hopefully, we`re going to get a little bit of clarity here because I know
we have a lot of people say if you look at the national media, you get one
story, if you talk to the Texas media, you get another story about what`s
going on. We`ll try to get to the bottom of this.
Tony, I`ll start with you. I know we say the Perry defenses here, one of
the Perry defenses here is this is political, this is a political
prosecution. It occurs to me, to be wrong-headed, it doesn`t have to be
political, it could just be overzealous. But that said, what are -- you`re
down there in Texas, you are covering this as close as anybody, what are we
not seeing nationally, what do we need to know from a Texas perspective
that maybe has not bled through the national coverage yet?
PLOHETSKI: Here is the deal, Steve. This grand jury met over several
months. We don`t know exactly what happened behind those closed doors.
Grand jury meetings and deliberations are secret. So this prosecutor, this
special prosecutor in this case, Michael McCrum, could have a well of
evidence that we have not seen or heard about. So I think that`s one thing
that`s really getting lost in all of the national discussion, is that this
grand jury met in secret, behind closed doors. They heard from witnesses
in this case. They looked at boxes of evidence. I camped outside the
grand jury room and saw boxes of evidence going in and out of that grand
jury room, secret, confidential evidence.
We don`t know what it is. This case could potentially be a lot stronger
than anyone thinks it could be based on what we know and what`s been in the
public so far.
KORNACKI: OK, so there is that potential, but in terms of what exactly
he`s accused of here, without knowing all the specifics of the evidence, in
terms of the accusations here, this rests on, it`s not just the use of a
veto, it`s the threat of a veto. Right? This is the part I had trouble
understanding. Maybe you can explain here, it`s not that he used the veto
to cut out the funding. Because apparently he`s legally protected in using
the veto, but threatening the veto is the potential legal issue?
PLOHETSKI: That`s exactly right. The governor keeps shouting from the
rooftops, I have constitutional veto authority. And no one is questioning
that. What is under question here is the fact that he preceded that use of
his veto by threatening a duly elected district attorney, a Democratic
district attorney here in Travis County after her drunk driving arrest, you
must resign your office if you want your public integrity unit, which
again, investigates statewide, $7.5 million, a two-year allotment. She
didn`t resign. The governor carried out the threat. It`s the threat, not
the veto itself, that has caused the governor potential legal problems
KORNACKI: So, Brian, this is the part that I`m having trouble with. The
law there, my understanding then is the law in Texas is saying that a veto,
the actual act of a governor vetoing something, of Rick Perry vetoing out
funding for this office, cannot be coercive. But as Tony is saying, the
threat of a veto is coercive. But what is the threat of the veto without
an actual veto? How can you separate those two things? A veto threat and
a veto go hand in hand, don`t they?
BRIAN WICE, ATTORNEY: I think there`s an opening on the defense team for
you, Steve. You`re absolutely right. The law in Texas is simple. It is
not a violation of the coercion of a public servant if you have the legal
authority to make the threat that you ultimately make.
And what`s ironic about this case is that from all places in Texas, from
the Waco court of appeals, the court where a lot of us in this business
think due process actually goes to die, held in 1990, under facts
remarkably similar to the governor`s situation, that a county judge had the
authority to threaten to cut the D.A.`s budget if they didn`t fire an
assistant D.A. At the end of the day, you said it yourself, a veto is
itself is a threat. And I think that while what went on behind those
closed doors is secret, this case may ultimately be weaker.
I have a funny feeling that David Botsford (ph), the governor`s lawyer,
probably interviewed most if not all of those witnesses before they hit the
inside of the grand jury room. I can assure you, if there`s a proverbial
smoking gun, David Botsford and the governor by extension would not be
nearly as sanguine as they are now.
KORNACKI: Brian, I have a hard time seeing that this is some political
plot, this is a political conspiracy. Do you think it`s a political
vendetta, the way Rick Perry is saying it is?
WICE: Look, I have the utmost respect for senior Judge Burt Richardson,
who oversaw the grand jury investigation, and for Mike McCrum, the special
prosecutor. I don`t think, again, this is about politics as much as it is
about the sheer inanity of the charges and the process itself. I don`t
care whether or not these guys were Democrats, Republicans, conservatives,
Wigs or Tories. This was a runaway train that was initiated by the
warlords at Texans for Public Justice, the people who think they have a
monopoly on wisdom. The same folks who jump-started the Tom DeLay
prosecution. I`m not suggesting that it`s Burt Richardson, I`m not
suggesting that it`s Mike McCrum. I`m suggesting that when David Botsford
files a pretrial writ, probably as early as tomorrow morning, challenging
this prosecution, he`s going to make the claim that this indictment has
more holes than the Iraqi navy.
KORNACKI: Tony, let`s fill in some more of the context, again, what you`re
seeing in Texas. I`m just trying to process all of this. So there were
reports this week also of there are other district attorneys with DUIs,
with DUI issues. Republican district attorneys. Rick Perry apparently did
not go after them in this fashion. That`s one of the revelations that came
out this week. Also, I mean, sort of hanging over all this has been the
talk that it wasn`t really because of the DUI that Rick Perry wanted to get
rid of this district attorney in Travis County, it was because of another -
- it was maybe because she was poking around and her office was poking
around in areas that were making Republicans uncomfortable. Can you fill
in some of the details there?
PLOHETSKI: Yes. So a couple of things about the Republican district
attorneys in other counties here in Texas. The governor didn`t have veto
authority over any funds in their offices. So he did not have the same
sort of leverage that he did over Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis County
The other thing is that the Rosemary Lehmberg drunk driving arrest happened
right here in Austin. She is, of course, based here. Her office is just a
couple of blocks from the governor`s mansion. So it was out there for the
world to see. And it was an ugly, ugly scene that many people on both
sides of the political aisle were talking about in the hours and days
immediately after her arrest.
As to the other issue, Democrats have suggested that the governor could
have potentially been trying to intercept an investigation that Lehmberg`s
office was doing into a cancer research institute here in Texas. It was
one of the governor`s hallmarks. And there was an active investigation
going on at the time the governor vetoed those funds. That investigation
did lead to the indictment of a former CIPRIT (ph) is the name of the
organization, CIPRIT official.
But Governor Perry`s attorneys came out during the course of the week and
said they have an affidavit from a former chief investigator who was
leading that inquiry who said, listen, Governor Perry was never a target of
this investigation, and so, you know, they attempted essentially to pour
cold water over that theory that the Democrats have put forward.
KORNACKI: In terms of -- there`s a connection there in the court of public
opinion that Democrats have made. In terms of evidence that has been
introduced in that, is that where it gets into we don`t know what the grand
jury had seen, and maybe evidence making that connection from a legal
standpoint has been introduced there, or is there anything out in the
public square that we know about, that makes that connection, evidence-
PLOHETSKI: There is nothing in the public domain that absolutely makes
that connection. We are dealing with political and legal theories right
now, but nothing beyond that that any of us have been able to take down.
KORNACKI: OK. We`ll squeeze a quick break in here. I want to get Brian
to weigh in on this other piece of it, the other new stuff sort of this
week. We`ll take a break on that and we`ll talk also about the political
fallout, Tony knows something about that, too. We`ll talk about that when
we come back.
KORNACKI: Before we return to our Rick Perry discussion, here is what we
know this hour about this morning`s major 6.0 earthquake in northern
California, north of the San Francisco Bay area, in wine country around
Napa. An aftershock of 3.6 was felt in the same area about two hours
later. At least three homes have been destroyed by fire in a Napa mobile
home park. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the water main break is
hampering efforts to fight fires. There were also reports of numerous
injuries, according to Napa emergency officials. It`s unclear yet how
extensive those injuries are, though so far the local hospital says it`s
been treating people for cuts from glass.
All right, turning from that back to our discussion of Rick Perry, bring
back in Tony Plohetski, the Austin American Statesman, Brian Wice. And
Brian, I`ll go to you. So we were just hearing Tony explain this other
piece of it. And this is what I`m wondering about from a legal standpoint.
And Tony is talking about this cancer center, this cancer institute and
there`s an affidavit apparently that says Rick Perry is not the target, was
not the target of any of the district attorney`s investigations into that.
But, of course, you know, politics is even if Rick Perry isn`t himself the
target, who knows, people around him could be, political allies could be.
This could be a very politically problematic investigation for Rick Perry.
So, when that`s introduced into it, does that raise more of a legal issue
here if you`re vetoing out funding because there`s an investigation
involving people you have political ties to?
BRIAN WICE, DEFENSE ATTY TO TOM DELAY: If you do, sure. In this case the
investigator who has made it clear, that wasn`t the case. And that becomes
the ultimate red herring. But Steve, I think that the governor`s problem
all along wasn`t with any other elected district attorney in any of the 254
counties in this great state that may have had a DWI or a DUI. His concern
was a district attorney who had her finger on a multimillion dollar budget
that had the ability to investigate, prosecute and imprison any public
official anywhere in Texas. And at the end of the day, when that
politician herself has channeled Hannibal Lector and Nick Nolte with her
conduct, I think the governor did what everyone of us and including those
who didn`t - like me, expected him to do, which was to remove that finger
from that investigative trigger. In the end, I think as early as tomorrow,
we are going to see a full-bore challenge to the indictment and a pretrial
writ followed by the governor`s lead counsel, David Botsford.
KORNACKI: Right, no, I mean ultimately that`s the thing, that`s the
problem here for Democrats. I think ultimately politically, at least, is
they can argue that Rick Perry had an ulterior motive here. But their, you
know, fellow party member gave him an incredible opening here if he did
have an ulterior motive. But Tony, in terms of how this is playing out in
Texas, we talk about the national reaction, what is the reaction in Texas
to this? I don`t know if there`s been any polling yet. But are people
mostly behind Rick Perry, are they more concerned down there than they are
nationally? What`s your sense of that?
PLOHETSKI: Well, I can tell you that here in Travis County there are
people who absolutely feel aggrieved, whether or not it was illegal or not,
or whether or not there, you know, was an illegal threat or not, there are
people who definitely feel aggrieved here in Travis County by the
governor`s veto. You know, Travis County officials had to look under the
couch cushions for a spare change to fund the public integrity unit after
the governor was vetoed. Some people lost their jobs, others were
reassigned. So, it really did cause a problem for the government and for
those people, for the local government here in Travis County. You know,
there are a number of people who are watching the governor, you know, in
New Hampshire, in Washington D.C. earlier this week, sort of shape the
public narrative about this whole thing. But at least for Texas Democrats
and Travis County Democrats, you know, while they are trying to if they
can, match some of what he`s saying, at the same time, their position is
this, listen we will see you in court, Governor Perry, have fun with your
KORNACKI: All right. That`s where the story will be on hold for now. But
it`s ongoing, we`ll be following it certainly on this show. Talking to
both of you again soon. But my thanks to Tony Plohetski, the Austin
American statesman, defense attorney Brian Wice for joining us this
morning. Appreciate that. And still ahead, will what happens in Vegas
stay in Vegas, or will it decide the future of the United States Senate?
We will travel to sin city in an effort to find out. That`s next.
KORNACKI: It took the miracle of miracles to save Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid from defeat in the Republican wave of 2010. That miracle`s name
was Sharron Angle. Reid won`t face Nevada voters again until 2016, that`s
coming up closer than you - sooner than you think. But new numbers show
that once again he`s not in an enviable position. And this time Republican
have a popular Governor Brian Sandoval waiting in the wings to possibly run
against him. We learned this week that the biggest muscle in Republican
politics, the Koch brothers, their vast political machine is already
gearing up to take Reid down. Politico reports that Koch affiliated non-
profits are expanding in Nevada and going on TV to bash the six-term
incumbent. Reid has rallied against the Kochs and their political advocacy
in more than 20 floor speeches. Now they`re returning the favor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Harry Reid supports new rules at the IRS that
unfairly targets certain non-profits. The American Civil Liberties Union
says the proposed rule threatens to discourage or sterilize an enormous
amount of political discourse in America. So, why does Senator Reid
support it? Because he hopes to limit the First Amendments rights of
private citizens who disagree with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And Reid commented on the Koch brothers attacks last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID, (D), NEVADA, SEN. MAJORITY LEADER: When I was walking in
here today, someone grabbed me from one of the Washington publications and
said the Koch brothers say they`re here organizing in Nevada. And how do
you feel about that? And I said why would they be worried about me? What
I have done to bother them? Only everything I can, right. The Koch
brothers, these two wealthy, wealthy men, they`re in it for one thing,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And if signs point to Reid facing an all-out onslaught from
conservative groups going into 2016, will that discourage the 74-year-old
Senate veteran from running again? Or might it change how he serves out
his term as Senate Majority Leader. Well, joining me now from Las Vegas to
discuss the impact of Reid`s political peril is the nation`s top
Reidologists, the sage of all things, Nevada politics John Ralston of
Ralston Reports joins us, and got up very early to do this. So, we really
appreciate you taking a few minutes this morning.
JOHN RALSTON, RALSTON REPORTS: Absolutely, John.
KORNACKI: So, the situation for Harry Reid, 2010, he walks in that
reelection here and everybody says there`s no way this guy can survive. He
catches a break to end all breaks, gets re-elected. Gets six more years.
Here we are in 2014, two years out, is he in better position than he was in
2010 in Nevada, is he in worse or is he in about the same position?
RALSTON: I`d say he`s probably in worse, Steve. His numbers are pretty
bad. Most polls that I`ve seen show his disapproval rating over 50
percent. And let`s face it, Sharron Angle is a once-in-a-lifetime miracle
for someone like Harry Reid, there`s no one like that out there. You
mentioned Brian Sandoval. I frankly don`t think the governor is going to
run. Although he`s going to get a lot of pressure, I think after this
election. He`s up this time. But he has no opposition. He`s going to get
65, 70 percent of the vote. And then you go down and Joe Heck who is a
congressman, should he win? He`s probably the second choice. I don`t
think he`s interested in running. So, you have a similar situation in the
sense that there`s no obvious candidate against Harry Reid. And what Harry
Reid will do is not run on his record, he`ll run against his opponent,
he`ll try to choose his opponent as he did in 2010. I think he`s planning
KORNACKI: Well, yeah, that seems - in question. I mean because this has
been national significance, obviously. It`s been ten years, it`s hard to
believe it`s been ten years that he`s been the top Democrat in the Senate
right now. We all know Chuck Schumer in New York is probably waiting -
wondering when - if 2016 will be the last year for him. So, what makes you
think he`s running again? Because he`ll be well into his 70s?
RALSTON: He is 74 as you mentioned. I thought that was kind of an infant
in the U.S. Senate. But then nevertheless, I do think that he has nothing
else to do, Steve. He is not the kind of guy who wants to become a
lobbyist, as I`ve said, he`s not the kind of guy who wants to go to his
house, put his feet up on his ottoman and watch baseball. That`s just not
Harry Reid. He loves the minutia of the legislative process. However, he
has had some health problems. He had a mini stroke about eight or nine
years ago. His wife has had a lot of health problems. They just bought a
house, they moved closer to their grandchildren and their kids which leads
some people to believe he might not run. I can tell you this, I know Harry
Reid well enough, that even if he had decided not to run, nobody would
know. He would wait until the last possible moment because he wouldn`t
make himself a lame duck. And he knows as well as you do as you just
mentioned, that Chuck Schumer is right behind him, maybe with his knife
coming out of the sheath should something happen in November that is not
good for the Democrats. I think he`s running. But unlike some people, I
wouldn`t bet everything I have on it.
KORNACKI: It`s interesting. And you mentioned Sandoval. There`s
Sandoval, the popular Republican governor, and you`re saying you don`t
think Sandoval is going to run in 2016. That will break the hearts of a
lot of Republicans nationally, you say. That gives us the - Why are you
saying you don`t think he`ll run?
RALSTON: Sandoval loves being governor as much as anyone I have known in
the governor`s seat, Steve. He just - he adores every part of the
position. He has essentially told people he`s not interested in being a
U.S. Senator. He`s much more interested, if he`s not going to be governor,
I think, in going back to the federal bench. He used to be a federal
judge. And there`s something else, too. I think he might wait until the
outcome of the 2016 election and perhaps think about a cabinet appointment.
This is one of those weird historical anomalies, Nevada has never had a
member of the cabinet in either a Democratic or Republican administration.
Sandoval I think knows about that, thinks about that. He would be a likely
short-lister for interior or some other cabinet post in either, I think, a
Republican or Democratic administration. Having said all that, Steve, as I
said, I think once the election is over, the amount of pressure that`s
going to come down on Sandoval to run against Reid, he would be an early
heavy favorite against Reid. There`s one poll that`s come out that showed
him ten points ahead. I think that`s generous to Reid. I don`t count Reid
out. Don`t get me wrong, but I think the pressure on Sandoval from the
national Republicans as their person to take out Reid is going to be
difficult for him to resist. By the way, I think he will resist it. But
it`s going to be interesting to see.
KORNACKI: It will be intense. And Brian Sandoval, of course, served on
the bench in the first place at the recommendation of Harry Reid, one of
those ironies in politics. My thanks to John Ralston of Ralston Reports.
Really appreciate you getting up this morning. Thanks for coming on the
More information coming in this hour about this morning`s major 6.0
earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area about six miles outside Napa. Two
major injuries have been reported in Napa County. No further details at
this time. Local hospitals say they`ve also been flooded with moderate
injuries. The U.S. Geological Survey says the earthquake struck on a fault
line that`s long been dormant. It is believed to be the biggest earthquake
to hit the area in 25 years, since the `89 earthquake during the World
Series. Most of the damage so far appears to be from fire. "The San
Francisco Chronicle" reports for the water main break is hampering efforts
to fight the fire. We`ll be right back.
KORNACKI: So, I`m sure you`ve played this game in your head. I know I`ve
probably had. If I won the lottery, what could I do? I could buy a boat,
I could get a new car. I don`t need a car in New York City, but I could
get a new car, I can buy a vacation home, I could pay off my debts. For
me, maybe I would add a skeet ball machine in there, too. The point is you
can buy a lot of things. And one ticket was the sole winner in Friday
night`s mega millions drawing, and the holder of that ticket now gets to
claim a $180 million prize.
But what if I told you that you could enter the lottery without having to
buy a ticket, you could be eligible for a grand prize without having to
spend a dime. All you would have to do is vote. Now, I haven`t turned
this into some kind of an infomercial all of a sudden. The Los Angeles
City Ethics Commission voted earlier this month to recommend that a lottery
system be tied to voting, that if you cast a ballot, you become eligible to
win a prize. And given how low turnout tends to be, especially when it
comes to local elections, it`s an intriguing idea. In last year`s election
for Los Angeles mayor three out of four eligible voters didn`t cast a
ballot. That`s more than 75 percent. So, this is a surefire way to bring
more people out to the polls, right? Well, maybe. Because federal law
prohibits voters from accepting payment in exchange for casting a ballot in
a federal election, but in a California local election where everyone is
eligible for the same prize, the L.A. Commission believes they`re in the
legal right to do so. But does that defeat the purpose of voting, the idea
behind voting? Purists would argue that the right to vote is one of the
pillars upon which our republic was established, a privilege for which
there shouldn`t be any ulterior motive. We all want to win the mega
millions or the Powerball or cash for life. And most would agree that
getting more people engaged in the voting process would be a good thing.
But is marrying these two concepts a smart thing? Well, joining me now is
one of the proponents of the lottery, Loyola Marymount professor Fernando
Guerra. So, Fernando, thanks for getting up earlier out there in the West
Coast and joining us this morning. So, look, that we give - in the
opening, the purist take on this is voting is voting, it`s a sacred
fundamental right that we have as Americans, some would say an obligation
that we have as Americans. No one should ever be doing it for a prize, no
one should ever be doing it for cash. Why is it a good idea to be linking
a lottery of some sort to voting?
FERNANDO GUERRA, MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, first and foremost, I totally
agree that it is a privilege and a right and everybody should go out and
vote. In an ideal world, that`s the way the system would work. But as we
can see over and over, the reality is quite different and we have a 23
percent turnout. And that 75 percent don`t have a voice. Now, there`s a
lot of reasons why people don`t vote. But, I think, this lottery would get
to the incentive and get people out and it would actually - I believe
change the system. And I think we keep taking of talking about reform, and
this is one of the thinking outside of the box reforms that`s come up in
KORNACKI: Well, so, what are we talking about here when it comes to
prizes? What - at a million bucks, $100,000? What are we looking at here?
GUERRA: Well, there`s a couple of things. The ethics commission, which is
a city department is proposing about 25,000. But see, that would still
require that the city council and maybe even a charter -- that is, the
voters who do go out and vote to approve the system. And so, I am doubtful
that this idea, while it`s a great idea, will get off the ground through
the political process. The very process that, you know, prospers from low
KORNACKI: So, voters would need to approve this before it could go into
GUERRA: The current proposal from the ethics commission, correct. But
there is nothing to stop a nonprofit and a wealthy philanthropist to do it
on their own. As you mentioned, it`s not against the law in a local
election, but it is for a federal election. So, a nonprofit could be set
up and you could do it, my proposal would be to do it by district. So that
not there`s just one winner in the city, but in Los Angeles, we have 15
council districts that you would have 15 winners and that way it would be
spread out throughout the city.
KORNACKI: I got to say, though, to win an election, wouldn`t that sort of,
we always talk about, what is the mandate of the new mayor, the new city
council, whatever they campaign on this, they won because of this, doesn`t
that sort of erode the idea of a mandate, as well. They won because people
wanted some cash.
GUERRA: Well, I mean, why do people go out and vote right now? I mean I
want to take on the whole myth of the informed voter that everybody who
goes out to vote right now. The 23 percent in Los Angeles. And by the
way, Los Angeles is about the middle. In urban America, we have lower
turnouts in some cities like Dallas and, obviously, only those cities where
you have the election at the same time as the president have, high turnout,
but those that do go out to vote oftentimes don`t know what the issues are.
They certainly - beyond mayor oftentimes don`t even know what else they`re
voting. And so, we have a system right now where the majority of voters
have no idea why they voted for a particular judge or a particular
KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to Fernando Guerra of Loyola Marymount
University. The Lions, thanks for getting up and joining us this morning,
we appreciate that.
We have reported this hour that three mobile homes have been destroyed
following this morning`s 6.1 earthquake outside Napa California. That
number is now up to four. Four homes. There are also reports that the old
county courthouse has been damaged in addition to major injuries and
multiple moderate injuries have been reported. Stay here with MSNBC for
more developments as soon as we get them. We`ll be right back.
KORNACKI: So, I have to say, I have been resisting the ice bucket
challenge. You`ve heard of this thing, right? You dump a bucket of ice on
you head, you post a video online, you help raise money for ALS research.
It`s a great cause. Definitely glad people are doing it. But by this
point it kind of seems like just about everyone else on TV has done it.
So, I`m sort of thinking, you know, I don`t know, maybe it is getting
boring for people or maybe it`s not that original or maybe it`s not
surprising any more. So, you know, we`re not going to do one of those
segments on this show.
But, you know, actually, a bunch of people have challenged me to do it.
They have challenged me to take the ice bucket challenge. My old cohost in
the cycle, Torre and Chris Labolt (ph). They both did it this week, they
both dared me to do it along with them. Holly Schepisi, she is a New
Jersey assemblywoman who we had on the show a few times when the Chris
Christie`s story was raging, well, she did it and she challenged me and so
did my old friend from college, Jeff. So, they all challenged me to do it,
and I was thinking about it again yesterday and decided, hey, that`s four
people challenging me. It`s a good cause. So, maybe I might as well do it
after all. So, that`s what we`re going to do right here, right now, right
on this set. Maybe not the best place for this. But here`s Ann Thompson,
she`s one of our producers. She`s got the ice bucket and she`s bringing it
out right now, I think she`s right behind me. Ann, nice to see you. Hold
that steady. You got your raincoat. Go ahead and pour the ice bucket on
me. Oh, my god. She`s poured the bucket of ice on me. Vanilla ice.
That`s right. The stupidest joke you`ll ever see right here at the end of
- today. The vanilla ice bucket challenge, I`ve taken it. It is a good
cause. What we`re going to do is $5 for every single one of these pictures
of vanilla ice. I don`t know how many do we count them up, Ann?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. There are 88 there.
KORNACKI: 88 pictures of vanilla ice and I will give $5 to ALS research
for all of those. And I would encourage anybody else out there to give as
well. It`s a great cause. And I`m glad I didn`t get wet. So, thank you
for putting up with that my really lame sense of humor. Thank you for
joining us this morning. We will be back next weekend. Next Saturday and
Sunday morning, 8 a.m. Eastern time. Until then, up next, there`s Melissa
Harris-Perry. We will see you next week. Here on "UP". Have a great
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