'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, September 20th, 2014
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: September 20, 2014
Guest: John Chandler, Amy Holmes, Evan McMorris-Santoro, Garrett Haake,
Pat Quinn, Hakeem Jefferies, Howard Dean, Basil Smikle, Jr., Gabe Fleisher
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, "UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI": An intruder makes it
inside the White House.
All right. And good morning, thanks for getting up with us today. We`re
waking up this morning to all kinds of big news. There was an intruder at
the White House overnight, a man who jumped the fence and made it all the
way inside the front door. This prompted an evacuation of the west wing
and it`s also raising as you might expect serious questions about the
secret service. We`re going to go live to the White House for the latest
on that in just a minute.
Also four dozen hostages were released this morning by ISIS, all of them
Turkish, and Turkey`s state-run news agency reports that no ransom was paid
and the quote, "no conditions were accepted in return for their release."
We`re going to talk about that.
Plus, the President`s plan to arm and train moderate Islamic rebels in
Syria. It passed its big test in Congress this week in a vote that
scrambled party lines and created some bipartisan alliances like you have
never seen before. We will dive to all of that in just a little bit.
But we begin this morning with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell breaking his
silence finally with his first press conference since that surveillance
video of Ray Rice punching his wife in an elevator surfaced last week.
First time since Adrian Peterson was indicted after beating his son with a
switch and Goodell`s first appearance since Jonathan Dwyer of the Cardinals
arrested on Wednesday on domestic violence investigation, these were
Goodell`s very first public words since all of these controversies erupted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: I said this before, back in August 28th
and I say it again now, I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice
matter. And I`m sorry for that. I got it wrong on a number of levels,
from the process that I led, to the decision that I reached. But now, I
will get it right and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And Roger Goodell didn`t seem to say much yesterday beyond the
fact that the NFL is conducting a full investigation with former FBI
Director Robert Mueller, he also addressed some of the other initiatives
that the league plans to take. John Chandler of NBC Station WNBC here in
New York covered the press conference and he joins us now.
John, thanks for taking a few minutes this morning. So, the reviews is
sort of in real time on twitter this thing yesterday, if you look at any
newspaper this morning, not too positive for this press conference. He
said he`s not -- right now no plans to resign. He said he has this Mueller
investigation to fully cooperate with that and he announced a series of
reforms. We can talk about how serious those are or not. But did anybody
really expect that Roger Goodell was going to say anything more than this
JOHN CHANDLER, WNBC TV-SPORTS: Well, no, I think at this point, whatever
Roger Goodell stepped to the podium and said yesterday was going to be too
little too late. And that is part and parcel with the fact that this is a
controversy that he has a hand in creating. He has been too lenient on
domestic violence during his tenure as NFL commissioner, he even admitted
to that, that was a shortcoming and that he was sorry for apologized for
and is now trying to scramble and correct at this point. But too little
too late from the commissioner yesterday.
KORNACKI: In terms of the reforms that he, you know, he`s going to be
talking with the players union and working with the players. You know,
apparently this is a big step for commissioner, he said a very acrimonious
relationship with the players union, but we`re going to be working with
them to develop sort of a new code of conduct. Are these real reforms he
CHANDLER: Well, he was very vague. I mean, he was short on specifics. I
think the only specific thing the commissioner offered us yesterday was
that, no, he`s not going to resign. And he thinks he has the confidence of
all 32 NFL owners. As far as working to be more strict with player
conduct, I mean, he has a record of being strict just ask New Orleans
Saints fans and players and coach Sean Payton there who`s suspended for a
year during the whole bounty-gate scandal that he was very strict for them.
But for whatever reason, he has been lenient with regards to domestic
violence, whether he needs to be more educated on that, you know, going
forward they are going to try to do that. I guess my question and wasn`t
one that was very well answered yesterday by the commissioner is, you know,
Ray Rice was not the first case of domestic violence that the league has
seen. Why just now do you feel the need to be educated on this?
KORNACKI: Yes. And of course, it was during that Saints investigation
that Goodell talked about how ignorance is not an excuse and now, sort of
one of the stories here that he is telling is maybe it`s true that he
didn`t know about this video and he was ignorant of it. My thanks to WNBC
TV-Sports John Chandler for joining us this morning. I appreciate that.
In the second part of this story yesterday, a big news for Roger -- not
long after that press conference, that Roger Goodell press conference.
ESPN`s investigative unit released an exhaustive 7,000 word account of what
it says was the NFL`s handling of the Ray Rice situation. Now, NBC News
has not verified the allegations contained in the ESPN report but the
report does paint a picture of a coordinated cover-up by the Baltimore
Ravens beginning within hours of first learning of Rice`s attack on his
wife then his girlfriend.
According to ESPN, hours after Ray Rice`s attack, quote, "The Baltimore
Ravens Director of Security Darren Sanders, reached an Atlantic City police
officer by phone while watching surveillance video shot from inside the
elevator where Rice`s punch knocked his fiancee unconscious. The officer
who told Sanders he just happened to be a Ravens fan, described in detail
the Sanders what he was seeing." ESPN reports that the Ravens head of
security then relayed that information to team executives, including owner
Steve Bisciotti, President Dick Cass and the general manager of the team
In another point, Dick Cass also received an account of the tape from Ray
Rice`s attorney, quoting the ESPN report further here, quote, "The Ravens
also consulted frequently with Rice`s Philadelphia Defense Attorney
Michael J. Diamondstein who in early April obtained a copy of the inside
the elevator video and told Cass, quote, "It`s expletive horrible. Cass
did not request a copy of the video from Diamondstein but instead begin
urging Rice`s legal team to get Rice accepted in a pretrial intervention
program after being told some of the programs benefits, among them, it
would keep the inside elevator video from becoming public.
ESPN`s report indicates that the team not only knew about the tape and its
contents from the beginning but was also conscious of an effort to cover it
up. Baltimore Ravens responded last night saying, quote, "The ESPN.com
outside the lines article contains numerous errors, inaccuracies, false
assumptions and perhaps misunderstandings. Ravens will address all of this
next week in Baltimore after a trip to Cleveland for Sunday`s game against
Now here to discuss all of this developments this week and the other big
stories, we have Amy Holmes, anchor of TheBlaze.com, "The Hot List." Evan
McMorris-Santoro, White House correspondent for BuzzFeed. Ad David Corn,
Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones Magazine.
Everybody, thank you for joining us. I thought it would just start by this
because it`s not every day you see this kind of consensus. This are the
two tabloid papers here in New York, it sort of drive the news media here
in New York. This is the cover of the New York Daily News on the Goodell
press conference yesterday and you can see here I think, that`s it, that`s
the cover. Now, look at this. The rival tabloid, the New York Post,
that`s it. The exact same headline, almost the exact same picture. I
mean, these papers hire sort of the best and brightest most creative minds
to come up with these and come up with this same exact same thing. What
else is there to say after yesterday?
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it was pretty obvious,
that was everybody`s reaction, that you know, someone clearly gave him a
crisis manager who said go out there and say you were wrong and say nothing
else, promise better results in the future and he stuck to that script and
said it again and again no matter what the question was. This guy got paid
$44 million in 2012. I`ll take $10 million for the job and I`ll say more
in the next press conference.
KORNACKI: Maybe is it his job not to say --
CORN: It looks like his job these days is to make the NBA look good.
AMY HOLMES, THEBLAZE.COM: Yes. The key phrase here is, too little too
late. And I think anything short of his resignation was not going to be
satisfactory. And David you make, I think also the other key point, which,
this is big business, this is all about money. I mean, Ray Rice, he`s
still going to get his paycheck, which is something close to $700,000 per
game. Per game, people. So, you know, is it any surprise that there is a
cover-up of this player`s, you know, obviously monstrous behavior. I mean,
it sort of reminds me like of the old studio system where actors were
getting into all sort of scrapes and studios would cover it up and do their
marketing spin. I think the only surprise here is the NFL, which is
generally a genius at marketing what is basically an entertainment product
has gotten it so badly in this instance.
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, BUZZFEED WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, I mean imagine
if Roger Goodell is a governor and this is a state scandal, state political
scandal, that is the press conference that they give when they think they
can weather it, I mean, they are not weathering it. I mean, I think he
can`t keep going forward with this kind of message.
KORNACKI: Are you saying he pulled a Christie?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: I mean, I think --
HOLMES: Hey, now.
KORNACKI: We`ll talk about that tomorrow, that`s tomorrow`s show --
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: I mean, the thing is, this NFL thing goes beyond Ray
Rice, beyond domestic violence. I mean, this whole league, this idea that
they have to sort of learn about things like homophobia when it comes to
Michael Sam, the controversy about the Washington NFL team name, now
domestic violence. I mean, this is just a picture of an organization that
has no clue about the modern world. I mean, the thing is they have an
active crime scene over there and I just don`t feel like any of the things
that Roger Goodell said yesterday are going to solve any of these problems.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
HOLMES: I don`t think it`s having no clue. I think it`s having an
investment in money that the NFL makes.
CORN: Now that the FBI, the former FBI Director Robert Mueller that
they`ve hired to investigate, this guy is a really straight shooter. I`m
not sure this is a good news for Roger Goodell, people have pointed
initially to a pr move, to sort of put this onto another plate for a while.
But if he really digs in, that ESPN story, you quoted all of the right
portions so people don`t have to read the 7,000 words but it really paints
a picture of them not wanting to know.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
They don`t want to see the video because then --
KORNACKI: The ESPN story does two things, there`s an issue with the Ravens
-- the Ravens organization and among other things in this report. A couple
of things that jumped out to me in addition to what quoted there. John
Harbaugh, the coach, apparently early on in this thing according to this
ESPN report wanted Ray Rice released. And it was the higher ups in the
organization, including news in the general manager who were saying no and
they were looking back and they were saying the Ravens, you can remember
Ray Lewis, the linebacker had been charged, you know, with homicide about
ten years ago, we got through this, so we`re going to have no problem
getting threat. So, this was the most extraordinary thing though.
I think we have this apparently, this is an ESPN article, the owner of
Ravens, last week, this past week, after releasing Ray Rice sending two
text messages, the first text message that -- according to ESPN, from the
owner to Ray Rice, "Hey, Ray, just want to let you know we loved you as a
player it was great having you here. Hopefully all of these things are
going to die down. I wish the best for you and Janay." And then following
up with this. "When you`re done with football I would like you to know you
have a job waiting for you with the Ravens helping young guys getting
acclimated to the league."
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Oh boy!
HOLMES: Listen. Listen. Why is there a 7,000 word investigation? There
should be two words, you`re fired. Most of us would be fired for this kind
of thing. And as I say, these are very highly paid entertainers, I don`t
know if they have a morality clause in their contracts but we don`t need
former FBI directors, roll tape, get that guy out of there.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: I think that for all of the sort of slickness from the
outside and how strong it looks and powerful it looks as an organization
and as a business, it`s really rickety and it`s very archaic and it needs a
lot of advancement. And if Roger Goodell thinks he can do it, then maybe
he can do it.
CORN: The poll came out this week, 90 percent of people say they don`t
care about these scandals when they think about watching the NFL. So, it`s
about them, it`s about getting the game on Sunday. We`ll talk about this
after the game on Sunday because the game on Sunday is when we make our
money. So, you know, so unless there`s really a pinch in the pocketbook.
HOMES: All of the players and all of the marketing around their uniforms.
KORNACKI: And I think you`re right though. I mean, a lot of people have
looked at the sort of the way this investigation structured with Mueller
taking over. You have a couple of these owners who were close to Goodell
overseeing it. But I do think Mueller is somebody who values his
reputation. This is a legit investigation.
CORN: This could go down other paths as well. When you put Bobby Mueller
on the trail, he may find more than you want him to.
KORNACKI: Yes. So, this is, I mean, that press conference, may not
satisfy people yesterday but that does not necessarily mean that is the end
of this. And obviously this ESPN question raises also some more more
questions as well. But also, other questions this morning including about
how that guy got into the White House overnight. We`ll going to be talking
about that as soon as we come back.
KORNACKI: As we mentioned at the top of the show, the news breaking
overnight, that a man who jumped over the fence at the White House, that
man who jumped over the fence at the White House, this is not exactly an
uncommon occurrence but he also made it all the way inside the front door
before he was apprehended. He scaled the fence shortly after 7:00 p.m.
last night sprinted across the north lawn and was tackled inside the North
Portico entrance to the White House. This happened only minutes after
President Obama and his daughters departed the White House on the south
lawn for Camp David. The security breach triggered an evacuation of the
west wing and the incident has prompted fresh criticism of the secret
Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz who chairs a house subcommittee on
National Security oversight, asking on twitter last night, was the door
open, seriously? It was open. The statement to NBC News, the secret
service said the man was unarmed and the incident is now under
investigation. The law enforcement official tried to put the incident in
contacts by telling NBC that keeping the White House successful means that
there will be fence jumpers from time to time but he added that the
location of the jumper`s arrest is not acceptable.
We`ll going to go live now to NBC News` White House correspondent Kristen
Welker who is live on the White House north lawn not far from where all of
that happen last night. Kristen, good morning. So, can you just tell, I
mean, the question everybody is asking is, maybe somebody gets over the
fence. How does the guy get into the White House?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that`s the big
question Steve this morning. And you`re absolutely right. It all happened
behind me. This is the north lawn. That fence jumper who secret service
officials have identified as 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez of Texas jumped over
the north lawn fence ran all the way up the north lawn and got right into
the portico doors, that is the residence Steve, and he was apprehended in
there. So, he didn`t make it far once he was inside. But still as you
point out, it is incredibly disconcerting. So secret service officials
trying to get to the root of it. They say the location of his arrest is
absolutely unacceptable, they`re trying to get to the bottom of how it
possibly could have happened.
One of the things they tell me is that he wasn`t carrying a back pack, he
didn`t seem to be armed. They believe he may have been mentally disturbed,
he was taken to the hospital for mental evaluation after he was
apprehended. And as you point out, look, the first family wasn`t here.
They had just left for Camp David. No one was injured and no shots were
fired. But just to put this into context, Steve, I worked at the White
House for three plus years now, I`ve never experienced anything like this.
There are fence jumpers but they usually only make it a few feet on the
north lawn before they are apprehended.
We usually go into lockdown that last for about half an hour. This was
entirely different because the entire press corps was evacuated, we had to
leave the White House along with White House staffers. That`s never
happened before. I spoke with veteran White House correspondents who also
say they`ve never experienced anything like that before. So this is really
unusual. Something that the sea world service is going to have to get to
KORNACKI: All right. Kristen Welker, thanks for joining us from the White
House this morning, I appreciate that update.
KORNACKI: And we`ll turn back now to the panel. And yes, I mean, as
Kristen says, I haven`t covered the White House but we all sort of assume
if there`s one most secure place in the world anywhere it`s the White
HOLMES: Why would we assume that after Michaele Salahi, "The Real
Housewives" of Washington, D.C.
KORNACKI: This is the party crasher.
HOLMES: This is the party crasher. Actually, he was tweeting about it
this week, if you don`t think that ISIS could get into the White House, ask
the moron from "Real Housewives," she was able to -- right pass secret
security, she took photos of herself shaking the hands of the President and
Vice President, had a grand old time. I mean, this is disgraceful. What
if that fence jumper had a suicide belt?
KORNACKI: It sounds like you have a personal story.
CORN: You know, I spent a lot of time in the White House covering it. And
I was stunned by this, a couple of years ago I had a radio logical medical
test, it wasn`t a big deal but walked in through the entrance near he
jumped. I went inside at two seconds, like the alarms went off, alarms
we`d never heard before and the special S.W.A.T. team dealing with
radiological issues, descended upon me. And it really was a matter of
seconds. And I don`t even know where they came from. It was like they
came out of the ground bunker. And I had to call my doctor and everything
was fine. But it was very impressive to me how fast they acted on
something that was even unfamiliar to the general guards. This was not a
usual type of --
KORNACKI: That`s the reaction that everybody assumes.
CORN: We`ve all been there, like Kristen says, when they have been jumpers
and usually they get about six or seven feet because they have people
watching the front. So, they can see somebody come up to the fence and
they start climbing and they actually sometimes meet the person. But
you`re right, a suicide vest can do tremendous damage.
HOLMES: He got through the front door.
CORN: The front doors at the White House are open because usually no one
gets there unless they are invited.
KORNACKI: Well, yes. And you know, sort of the interesting, the evolution
of security at the White House, I think about 20 years ago since the
(INAUDIBLE) go back to Harry Truman`s day though and find stories about a
guy with a gun walking basically right up to the White House, no fence, no
secret service swarming around him. We are, you know, we`ve come a long
way from there but maybe not far enough. Anyway, we have to turn now to
the release this morning by ISIS of more than four dozen Turkish hostages.
All 49 have returned safely to Turkey where they were greeted by the prime
minister, they were captured from the Turkish consulate in Mosul, Iraq
which is back in June when ISIS overruns the city and its march across
The Turkish state-run news agency reports that no ransom was paid and that,
quote, "No conditions that were accepted in return for their release.
Comes after a week in which both chambers of Congress voted to approve
President Obama`s plan to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels and attempt
to put weapons in the hands of those deemed to be good insurgents while
still keeping them out of the hands of extreme." So, Evan, this vote this
week clears the House, clears the Senate. Basically this is the funding
for the arming and training of Syrian rebels, it`s going to last through
December, a lot of people both sides were saying there should be a much
more robust debate there. But there`s going to be no debate and no vote
beyond this until after the election.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: That`s right. I mean, look, this is the war that nobody
wants, everybody thinks we should have and nobody knows how to do. This is
just continually happening this way. You have the -- we`ve heard stories
reporting now that the general is not really happy with how Obama is trying
to operate the war. Congress wants to have more vote but don`t know what
they exactly want either. The situation is very strange in that you have a
president who promised that he would sort of do these kind of Congressional
authorizations not doing it to rely on more Bush style war. And then on
the other hand you have Congress is sort of saying very clearly, like, we
really rather not get too involved with this and let you do this. You
know, they want to be able to criticize him and he wants to be able to go
ahead and do what he wants. It`s a really weird situation out there.
KORNACKI: The weird thing to me, sort of this weird bipartisan coalitions,
but you basically have Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Mitch
McConnell, who I don`t think have ever agreed or anything. They obviously
agree, let`s take this off the table past the election.
HOLMES: Right. This is the kick the can down the road vote and not having
a full debate on this. But, you know, 70 percent of the American public
doesn`t have confidence that the President`s quote-unquote plan is going to
succeed. And, you know, we just reported about those Turkish hostages
being released. If you think that there wasn`t a deal there, I`ve got some
moderate Syrian rebels to introduce you to. Nobody even believes there is
such a thing that 5,000 moderate rebels can over through the Assad
government and ISIS and all of this. I mean, this whole thing is absurd.
And I think the American people just don`t understand what is going on in
CORN: The thing is, you`re right, 70 percent say that they don`t think
this can work. But 68 percent support the plan, support the President`s
actions. I mean, basically the public wants the President to make this
mess go away --
HOLMES: Right. Do something.
CORN: Do something. And this could be one of those situations in life you
try to teach your kids about this, which there are no answers. There are
no good solutions. Every solution could have a set of unintended
consequences that are worse than the actual benefits.
HOLMES: So, David, but where is the left with a louder outcry against what
is about to happen here with Iraq and Syria?
CORN: Whoa, it`s not the left`s --
HOLMES: I think back to the Bush years.
CORN: Obligation here to have a debate, it`s, you know --
HOLMES: The American people but where is the left?
CORN: In fact the progressive caucus in Congress voted more against this
that has pushed for a debate, and yet, you know, the Congress is saying we
would rather criticize than vote.
HOLMES: The only protesters -- this week were pink code.
CORN: Well, that`s where --
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The groups protesting the Iraq war move on and Howard
Dean`s democracy for America and there`s couple of other groups, they were
out there protesting. I mean, they were out there saying that they didn`t
want this vote to happen and telling people not to vote for this.
KORNACKI: The question though is after the election, is there going to be
-- is there going to be a more robust debate? Is there going to be a vote
for instance on --
CORN: We`ll have to revisit the Syrian authorization but they can swoop
that into another bill. The leading members of Congress don`t want a
debate. In fact, it was one of the House Republicans that said I`ll
explain it to you very clearly, we would rather step back and if something
goes good we can say great, and if it goes bad, we can criticize and we
have no responsibility. That`s why most of these people want to approach
the vote. But the thing is there`s a very big difference here too between
protesting the invasion of Iraq, which is on false pretenses with no plan
but what to do afterwards gave us the situation now, trying to figure out
how to deal with actually a real problem which is ISIS, not necessarily --
HOLMES: David, ISIS embedded in towns and villages in Syria and Iraq. If
you think air bombs --
CORN: I`m not defending this but I think trying to come --
HOLMES: We have no plan.
CORN: No, there is a plan, you may not like it and may not work but to say
there is no plan is wrong.
HOLMES: We have a president of the United States saying that our --
CORN: Our president is trying to do something and not lying to the public
about it and not blunder busing us by sending in hundreds of thousands of
Americans into a situation with no plan what to do --
HOLMES: This White House is not telling us the truth.
CORN: About what?
HOLMES: General Dempsey this week testified that Obama told him to come to
him about combat troops on a case by case basis. The White House then
comes out and says, oh no Dempsey was mistaken, the President said no such
thing. The President then comes and gave a speech and say, I have never
suggested combat troops.
CORN: He hasn`t.
HOLMES: This White House cannot get its story straight.
CORN: This is not compared to say we`re going to war in Iraq over WMDs.
KORNACKI: All right. This is not an issue that`s going to go away between
now and the election or on this show. We`ll going to pick it up a bit
later on the show. But for right now, that is a preview of the kind of
debate we might be having.
My thanks though to Amy Holmes of TheBlaze.com, BuzzFeed`s Evan McMorris-
Santoro for joining us this morning. David, we`ll talk to you a little bit
more later on. And up next, the latest twist in what has become the most
closely watched and probably the most consequential Senate race in America.
KORNACKI: The biggest news in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate
this morning once again comes from the state of Kansas, that`s where the
republican Secretary of State Chris Kobach has now given in and agreed to
print ballots without the name of any democrat on them. Elections
officials start today on mailing those ballots to voters overseas.
Democratic candidate Chad Taylor dropped out of the race more than two
weeks ago and on Thursday, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that Kobach had
to remove Chad Taylor from the ballot. Kobach responded by demanding that
democrats provide the name of a replacement candidate. Any democrat on the
ballot will offer a potentially decisive boost to embattle republican
Senator Pat Roberts.
With Taylor`s name still on the ballot, Roberts was actually running
slightly ahead of independent Greg Orman, that`s according to a FOX News
poll that was released earlier this week. But without Taylor on the
ballot, Orman zoomed ahead, you can see there 48 to 42 by six points. It`s
not yet clear if Kobach still intends to try to force democrats to name a
candidate. Kobach warns the overseas voters will be told they may have to
revote in the U.S. Senate race after balance ballots are mailed to them on
Saturday. A spokesman called Kobach`s apparent change of heart, quote, "A
safety measure to comply with the law."
Remember, this is Kansas, where republicans are undefeated since the year
1932, 82 years ago, this was not a seat that anyone thought republicans
wore in danger of losing until just a few weeks ago. So, is it now
officially finally a one on one race in Kansas between Pat Roberts and
Orman or will there be another twist in what is already the wildest Senate
race in the country?
Joining me now is Garrett Haake who is a reporter with KHSB 41 Action News
in Kansas City. Garrett, thanks for taking a few minutes and joining us
this morning. So, that question, first of all, the ballots are going out,
no democrat on them but it doesn`t sound like Kobach is done fighting this
thing yet, is that right?
GARRETT HAAKE, KSHB 41 ACTION NEWS: Well, he`s going to keep trying but he
may be out of options to really force the issue here. State democrats in
Kansas have shown absolutely no appetite to hold a convention or to do
anything else to put a democratic name on the ballot. They are perfectly
happy to sit on their hands and rally around Orman because they love Orman
but because they would love, absolutely love to take down Pat Roberts. So,
barring a really serious legal move by Kobach to absolutely force them and
it`s unclear if he has the power to do that, statewide democrats are
perfectly happy to stay out of this and let it be the one on one race.
KORNACKI: Yes. So, Democrats are putting their chips on. Greg Orman
here. Obviously they think he can be Pat Roberts but the real beat here
they`re making is, if he wins, he caucuses with them in the Senate next
year. And of course that could be Kansas as we all know now could be the
state that decides the Senate if Greg Orman were to win this race. Just
covering him out there and listening to him, I`m sure you`ve heard him ask
this question a bunch of times, what is your read on him? I mean, are
democrats making a good bet there?
HAAKE: I think so. He flirted to run for Senate in 2008 as a democrat.
He was recruited at that time, basically backed off before it was time to
file any of the paperwork. When you look at where he stands on some of the
issues, he clearly leans left, he`s pro-choice, he thinks there should be
background checks for firearms --
KORNACKI: I mean, he said he voted for Romney in 2012.
HAAKE: And that`s entirely possible but if you look at 2008 who he donated
money too, this guy was giving money to Barack Obama and to Hillary
Clinton. His other major donation was to Scott Brown, who`s another sort
of party shifting creature who`s had to do almost exact same dance that he
has to do in being an independent but sort of a democrat and not really
allowing himself to get pinned down on some of the issues that might paint
him into a corner. And by the way saying he voted for Romney is not a
negative in Kansas.
HAAKE: I mean, Romney was up 20-some odd points in this state. So, that`s
part of this sort of calculus he has to make to be as independent as
possible and still appeal to sort of the moderate wing of the Republican
Party. I mean, Republicans control the state so thoroughly, you can`t have
a D behind your name and make a credible challenge here but you can have
moderate leaning positions and be a republican or an independent and do
quite well here. It`s not -- Kansas isn`t as sort of angrily conservatives
as some other states that have been so red for so long. It is a very
pragmatic state, it`s sort of like we`re going to be fiscally conservative
because we don`t know if it might rain next year or not. So, the attitude
here is very different from some other places and that kind of baby
splitting down the middle if you will, will serve him well.
KORNACKI: And so, there`s a report I think it`s in the "New York Times"
this morning, Bob Dole, you know, Mr. Kansas, former presidential
candidate, former republican Senate leader, 91-years-old, now apparently he
will be backing Kansas this coming Monday to campaign with Pat Roberts, he
apparently cut an ad on Pat Roberts behalf yesterday, cut a television ad.
Obviously, you know, a sign of how nervous Pat Roberts is about this, they
are bringing in somebody like Bob Dole for this. Somebody like Bob Dole
have much sway in Kansas anymore.
HAAKE: Absolutely. But Dole is probably the second most popular person in
Kansas after Bill Self who is the coach of the Jayhawks. I mean, he still
has enormous poll here politically and it represents a tradition in Kansas
politics that a lot of people are proud of here, that sort of centrist deal
making idea, you look at some other politicians in the state, Governor
Brownback for example who`s also in this really tough race, has kind of
steered the state party away from that model and to be sort of more proudly
fist pumpingly conservative and that`s turned a lot of people off. So,
believe it or not, I do think having Bob Dole out or having Bob Dole cut an
ad will help Pat Roberts sort of reclaim some Kansas authenticity that he
really got battered for lacking in that primary race against Milton Wolf.
KORNACKI: Right. The revelations about his residence about Pat Roberts
and I guess the recliner of not doing his campaign any favors. Anyway, I
want to take Garrett Haake, KHSB 41 Action News in Kansas City. Really
appreciate the insight. I`m sure we`ll be calling on you again between now
and November. I appreciate that.
And still ahead, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is trying to save his
political career. It would maybe be the biggest comeback, the most
improbable comeback this election year if he can pull it off. We`ll going
to talk to Governor Quinn. Stay tuned.
KORNACKI: A new poll has Illinois Governor Pat Quinn back from the
political dead in one of the biggest states in the country. Not only back
from the dead but doing back flips. Just one month ago, Quinn looked like
garnered down 13 points against his republican opponent Bruce Rauner. And
this was going to be a huge coup for republicans because Illinois is not
just a blue state, it`s a really blue state and it`s also President Obama`s
home state. But then this week, all of a sudden, a new poll showing Quinn
ahead by 11 points was released and this was a huge swing of fortune in
this race. Quinn has done it apparently by taking a page from President
Obama`s 2012 populist campaign play book.
Treated his opponent, Rauner, a multimillionaire pioneer in the private
equity field as the second coming of Mitt Romney, he`s forced Rauner to
admit that he not only is against raising the current minimum wage that he
once favored eliminating it all together. And meanwhile Quinn is pushing
for a minimum wage increase, even spent a week living on $8.25 an hour.
But Quinn also has a clear vulnerabilities in this race. Another federal
subpoena went out just this week in relation to how much money -- to how
many was spent or how much money perhaps misspent on an anti-violent
initiative championed by Governor Quinn. And there are also questions
about the hiring practice in state government, allegations by bypassing
court ordered anti-corruption measures for patronage jobs. And Republicans
would dearly love to beat Pat Quinn this November. They thought they did
have him beat until a few weeks ago but has he now turned the tables on
them? Governor Pat Quinn from Illinois, he joins us live next.
KORNACKI: All right. Welcome back, we`re talking about the race for
governor of Illinois this morning, in light of a New Chicago Tribune poll
that shows embattled democratic Governor Pat Quinn rebounding to a very
surprising 11-point lead, we`re joined now by Pat Quinn, he`s the
democratic governor of Illinois. He joins us from Chicago.
Governor, thank you for taking a few minutes this morning. So, I mean,
I`ll start with that news for people who have been keeping an eye on this
race and maybe not watching it that closely nationally, I think a lot of
them looked at your political positioning and said you`re a governor who is
in trouble and this poll this week caught them by surprise. So, tell us,
what has happened to give you an apparently a significant lead in the poll
in Illinois right now?
GOV. PAT QUINN (D), ILLINOIS: Well, polls come and go. I work hard every
day, I think the election is 45 days from today, Steve. Ninety if you
don`t sleep. And I haven`t been sleeping that much. You know, when you
campaign, you have to go across our state. We have a very big state and
one of the most important issues is raising the minimum wage. We have a
referendum on the ballot this November 4th and I want people to come out
and vote yes for raising the minimum wage to at least $10 in our state. My
opponent, who is a billionaire, with nine homes, is for eliminating the
minimum wage. There`s a real choice that people have and there`s a
principle as old as the bible. If you work 40 hours a week, you shouldn`t
have to live in poverty. And that`s what raising the minimum wage is all
about. And we have a grass roots campaign, that`s what I`ve always done in
my life, organize people at the grass roots and that`s why we`re going to
KORNACKI: Yes, you say that your opponent Bruce Rauner has admitted that
he previously said he doesn`t support the concept of the minimum wage but
now says, he no longer holds that position. But on that issue of the
minimum wage, Illinois`s level right now is 8.25 an hour. You say, there`s
this nonbinding referendum that`s going to be on ballot November. You`re
for it. The criticism of you and I think your opponent has made this
criticism and say, you`re a democratic governor, you have a democratic
state legislature, you`re in a democratic state, you`ve been in office for
five years. Now, if you want the minimum wage increase, why has not the
minimum wage of an increased while you`ve been governor?
QUINN: Well, we`ve done it before. We did it in 2003 and in 2006. I was
part of the effort that raised --
KORNACKI: But since you`ve become governor in 2009.
QUINN: Yes. We build a majority. That`s how you win. You know, the best
way to get this done this year is to have the voice of the people of our
state encourage legislators of both parties to vote yes on raising the
minimum wage. There was a poll that just came out the other day showing
substantial public support for this issue. But that`s how -- we just
passed marriage equality last year in Illinois. And we did it by building
a majority. And that`s what democracy is all about. And I`ve been
involved in passing petitions and putting referendums on the ballot my
whole political life. And sometimes you go to the ballot box with the
people to get the politicians to listen better.
KORNACKI: You know, the same poll that shows you now running ahead of your
republican opponents. Also shows though your overall approval rating still
not exactly that robust. Clocks in at 36 percent right now, your approval
rating in the same poll that has you running ahead. Maybe one of the
reasons that I look at this race and say, you were faced with something a
lot of governors were faced with the couple of years ago, pension
shortfall, you know, the economy have crashed, the revenue was sort of
deprived and depleted in your state. You did something that a lot of other
governors didn`t do though. You raised taxes, it was a 67 percent increase
in the personal income tax rate in Illinois. That was scheduled when you
passed that in 2011, it was supposed to be a temporary increase in the
state personal income tax that would begin expiring next year. You are now
telling voters that you want to keep the tax increase permanently, is that
QUINN: Yes. Well, I believe in taxes should be based on ability to pay
and that`s why the income tax is much fair than any other tax. Nobody
likes paying taxes. But we`ve got to pay for our schools, in our
healthcare. In Illinois, we`ve added 668,000 people to health care
coverage under the Affordable Care Act. And I want to make sure we
properly invest in things like health and education and public safety. And
my proposal also puts major property tax relief as well as tax reform,
including doubling the value of the earned income tax credit, so really I
think the best way to go is to take on what my opponent wants to do, which
is give himself a million dollar tax cut, he`s a billionaire, he wants a
billion dollar tax cut and then shift the burden on the working people
living from paycheck to paycheck, we wants to slap taxes like on garbage
pickup and things like that. That`s unfair. And I don`t think we should
have that in our state or any other place.
KORNACKI: I have to ask you though because we think so much about the
cynicism that`s out there towards politics, towards politicians in general.
It exists towards leaders in both parties. Certainly we look at approval
ratings like for Congress or something. And I look at this issue of the
tax increase you did in Illinois and you`re making a case right now for why
the state needs the revenue and what that revenue pays for it and you can
certainly go out there and make -- you are making a compelling case for
that. But at the same time, when you guys put this tax increase through in
2011, you said it would be temporary. It seems to me that if you say a tax
increase is 67 percent tax increase going to be temporary, you schedule it
to be temporary and then once it`s on the books, you start saying well,
actually we need the money and it pays for this and pays for that. Doesn`t
that contribute to the public cynicism?
QUINN: Well, what I said when I signed the proposal four years ago, I said
with respect to any taxes we have to look at it every day, every week,
every month, every year. I did not say that this particular matter would
not be reexamined. I said when I signed the bill, we have to take a look
at it as the situation presents itself. You know, Illinois has made a very
good economic comeback, we`ve had steepest decline in unemployment in the
last 30 years in our state. The other day we announced 13,800 new jobs.
So, unemployment is down, jobs are up. But at the same time, we don`t want
to hurt our recovery by having extreme radical cuts in our education, our
health care, our public safety. These are fundamental things that have
helped our economy come back and we`re not going back to where we were.
You know, we inherited this mess from George Bush and the great recession
and I don`t want to have that happen to our state. Some things that are
happening in Kansas, we don`t want to have happened in Illinois which
radical cuts and indications that will harm our economic recovery.
KORNACKI: Your opponent Bruce Rauner, the republican is also trying to hit
you on issues of corruption, on issues of clean government, you know,
Illinois is a state obviously with some of a city political tradition,
three recent governors have gone to prison out there. One thing that he`s
talking about is a hiring scandal involving the Department of
Transportation out there where there`s been a report from inspector general
who`s look at this and said that over the last decade there have been about
245 people, largely these are friends politically connected to major
democratic politicians, you might call them cronies who have gotten jobs
they basically were not supposed to get. They were supposed to be anti-
patronage mechanisms in place. There were ways that were found around
this, and 245 people got these jobs. Your administration announced this
week that a lot of those people you say you decided they should keep their
jobs. Why when the public`s trust was sort of short circuited like that
should people in those jobs keep them?
QUINN: Well, it`s a little more complicated than you just described.
Number one, the inspector general is independent. I gave by law an
executive order the inspector general authority overlooking at any matters
of hiring, whether it`s in that department or any other department. The
inspector general issued a report, gave it to me. I followed every single
recommendation of the inspector general and then went beyond that, we`re
putting a merit board together for that Department of Transportation, I
appointed a new secretary of transportation. A decorated veteran, Rhodes
scholar, someone who will follow the hiring rules to the tee and is
carrying out the mission of the inspector general outline for all of us.
So, you know, whenever you see a problem in government, I take action. I
take responsibility. I`m running against someone who is a private equity
person and had a health care company, that the US attorney in Georgia said
took $13 million from Medicaid and didn`t provide proper care to vulnerable
people. So, there`s a clear difference. That person, my opponent ran out
the door collecting millions of dollars with his company. And I think it`s
important that when something doesn`t go right, you take responsibility and
take action. I`m running against somebody who only takes the money.
KORNACKI: There`s also stories this weekend we mentioned this in the
introduction about more federal subpoenas that went out this week. There`s
also been your former chief of staff who subpoenaed in relation to this,
this issue with the neighborhood recovery initiative. This is anti-
violence initiative that your administration undertook in and around
Chicago four years. Obviously, a violent crime is a major issue in Chicago
right now. But basically, the idea, this is a $55 million program where
there was an audit that found, it was hastily implemented, it failed to
target the highest crime areas, the money was not tracked, and relied
heavily on Chicago politicians in terms of distributing the money.
The question I would ask you is, again, we see this history in Illinois of
sort of corrupt government and lack of faith people have in government in
Illinois. People looking at your administration saying you`ve been there
for five years, there`s the Department of Transportation issue we just
talked about. And then there`s this issue with this federal investigation.
Would it be fair for people to look at it and say Pat Quinn, maybe he means
well but he hasn`t changed the culture of government in Illinois?
QUINN: That`s exactly wrong. I have changed the culture of government in
Illinois. I inherited a mess when I became governor. We have one
governor, former governor in jail and another one going to jail. We`ve
passed strong ethics laws that I enforced, I got recall passed as a
constitutional amendment in our state. We had reform our pension systems.
My opponent as a matter of fact got $50 million from one of our pension
systems when it turned out that he had a swindler on the pension board on
his payroll. So there is a need for strong ethics all the time. That`s
what I`ve done my whole life in Illinois and I think the voters know that.
It`s going to be a tough campaign. I`m running against a billionaire who
has more money than King Midas but we have grassroots democracy. That`s
what I believe in.
KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. It was a
race that a lot of people thought would be that close. But it is a
dogfight in Illinois this year. Governor, we thank you for your time this
morning. I appreciate that and I should note we`ve also invited republican
candidate Bruce Rauner on the show, we would love to talk to him and hope
to do so soon. We`ll be right back.
KORNACKI: Few other big stories we`re keeping an eye here on MSNBC this
morning. Roads are still closed at this hour in parts of Northeastern
Pennsylvania, the state police continue their search for Eric Frein, he`s
the man suspected of the fatal ambushed of the state police cooper. It`s
believed he`s hiding in the dense woodlands of the Pocono Mountains and the
search continues this morning in Charlottesville Virginia for missing UVA
student Hannah Graham who disappeared almost a week ago. Police say they
have identified the man who has seen with Graham when she disappeared.
Yesterday, they searched the condo and a car as part of that investigation.
As I said, MSNBC is keeping an eye on these developments and will bring you
the latest details as they become available. And we`ll be right back.
KORNACKI: ISIS releases 49 hostages.
And thanks for staying with us, the world is waking up this morning to the
news that ISIS is released more than four dozen Turkish hostages overnight.
All 49 were greeted by the prime minister when they returned home to
Turkey. They were captured from the Turkish consulate in Mosul, Iraq back
in June when ISIS overran the city and its marked across that country. The
Turkish state-run news agency reports that no ransom was paid and quote,
"no conditions were accepted in return for their release."
Here at home there is this. An intruder made it inside the White House
last night. He didn`t get very far but the man who had jumped the fence
did manage to make it inside the front door on the north side of the White
House before he was tackled. For more on both of these developments, NBC`s
Kristen Welker joins us now live from the north lawn of the White House.
So, Kristen, there was a lot of activity obviously where you were last
night. I guess one of the questions is, this man made it inside then he
was apprehended. Do we know what happens to him now?
WELKER: Well, he was taken to an area hospital for evaluation. Police
believe he may have been suffering from some type of mental disorder. He
was taken into police custody. And he was charged with unlawful entry. So
clearly, he is in the hands of law enforcement at this moment. But the
question is, Steve, how could this have happened? Of course, fence jumpers
not unusual here at the White House, but usually they are apprehended
almost immediately after they jump over the fence. It is incredibly
unusual for someone to actually make their way all the way across the north
lawn and you see this Instagram video captured the dramatic moments, all
the way across the north lawn and then actually enters the doors of the
north portico into the residence where the first family lives.
Now, we want to be very clear, the first family was not at home. At the
time, they had already left for Camp David. The man who has been
identified as 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez was apprehended once he entered the
north portico doors and officials say he wasn`t carrying a bag, he didn`t
seem to be armed. No shots were fired. No one was injured but the secret
service obviously taking this very seriously. They say that it`s just not
acceptable where he was arrested. So they are trying to get to the bottom
of how exactly that could have happened. I asked if anyone had been placed
on administrative leave, they wouldn`t answer that. So, no response to
that question, Steve.
I can tell you this morning there was another sweep of the White House
north lawn. We had to go back inside to our work quarters while secret
quarters conducted another sweep. They won`t confirm that it was related
to the events of last night but all indications are that it was a follow-up
to the fact that someone was able to access the residence and we`re still
waiting for actual confirmation on that from the Secret Service. But
clearly, they are taking this very seriously, trying to get to the bottom
of exactly how this could have happened and prevent it from happening in
the future. For a little bit of context though Steve, I worked here for
more than three years. I`ve never experienced anyone actually entering the
residence. I`ve spoken to veteran reporters, they say they can`t remember
a time when this has ever happened. So pretty incredible events here last
KORNACKI: Right. And Kristen, quickly on the question of Syria too, the
release of this 49 hostages overnight. When we talk to you last hour, you
mentioned this could have implications for the President as he tries to
assemble his international coalition against ISIS, I mean, earlier this
month you said that.
KORNACKI: Can you elaborate? Are you hearing from the White House about
what this might do for that?
WELKER: Well, the White House is trying to build this international
coalition. Turkey certainly would be key to that. They have one of the
largest militaries in NATO. They have an air base that the United States
would like to use. There`s not a whole lot of optimism though Steve that
because these hostages have been released that all of a sudden Turkey is
going to provide more robust military support in part because they have
commercial interests in the area. They share borders with Iraq and Syria.
But U.S. officials will clearly continue to press Turkey for any type of
military aid that they can offer because this international coalition is
really key to President Obama`s strategy to defeating ISIS, administration
officials say so far more than 40 countries have pledged some type of
assistance but they are not being very clear about what that assistance is
going to look like and which countries are pledging what.
We know that the United States has launched more than 170 air strikes so
far. France launched its first air strikes on Friday. So clearly France
is on board there. But President Obama wants ground troops from partners
and allies in the region and we`re not getting specifics about where those
ground troops are actually going to come from. President Obama very
insistent but he`s not going to put U.S. forces into combat roles in the
region. Of course, the President heads to the United Nations general
assembly next week and this coalition building is going to be a key part of
his goals once he arrives there in New York -- Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. Kristen Welker, NBC News live at the White House.
We really appreciate the time this morning.
KORNACKI: And both chambers of Congress voted this week to back President
Obama`s plan to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels, it was by commanding
majorities. The bipartisan breakdown of who voted for the measure, also
against it led to strange pairings though. For instance, it`s not that
often that you see Marco Rubio voting differently from Rand Paul. Both of
these potential republican presidential candidates but Rubio supported the
President`s strategy, Rand Paul voted against, you also don`t usually see
Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul on the same side of the vote for that
matter. She also opposes the President`s strategy.
Only an hour or so before the Senate vote, even democrats in the leadership
were talking about reigning in the president. Fellow Illinois lawmaker
Dick Durbin -- Senator Dick Durbin told reporters that when democrats come
back after the election, they would draft and vote on a new authorization
for the use of military force, NAUMF. It`s long overdue, Durbin said. The
last two passed more than a decade ago in the wake of this September 11th
attack. But the Obama administration again made clear, they intend to act
with or without authorization from Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I`m asking, do it. Pass it. We
would love to have you do it. But we`re not going to get stuck in the
situation when we have the authority of not exercising our authority to do
what we believe we need to do to protect the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right. Joining us now is New York Congressman Hakeem
Jefferies who voted against President Obama serious strategy this week.
And former DNC Chairman Howard Dean, called the Iraq war the biggest
blunder in the history of foreign policy. You may not be alone in saying
that anymore, by the way. So, Governor Dean, the vote that was taken this
week and the House and Senate, did they vote the right way in your mind?
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN (D), VERMONT: Well, yes and no. I`m not a big fan
of arming the moderates -- so-called moderates because they are incredibly
ineffective. And we`ve dealt with arming people who may or may not be our
friends before, which is one of the reasons we had such terrible trouble in
Afghanistan. I am very much in favor of the President`s air strategy. I
actually think regarding your report about Turkey, that that`s great news
for the Turks and their families and we should all be celebrating the
release but if there was not a deal, I would be surprise that the President
Erdogan is reaching farther and farther away from the west. He is also
becoming something of a megalomaniac. And I think we`re going to
unfortunately not get the kind of support from Turkey that we ought to have
in this area. And he`s likely to actually do his own country harm by
playing games with the ISIS people.
KORNACKI: So, Congressman, you as we said, you voted against that this
week. Your party`s leadership obviously in favor. Just take us through
your thought process on that.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Well, I certainly support the
President`s state objective of trying to degrade and destroy ISIS and also
believe that it`s probably better, it`s certainly better for us to take the
fight to ISIS abroad rather than wait for ISIS to strike us here at home.
But that said, in terms of the amendment that was before us, relating to
arming and training the so-called moderate Syrian rebels, I had several
concerns with it. First, when you think about that part of the world and
in Syria right now, in particular, you`ve got an incredibly broad set of
bad actors, whether that`s the Assad government, Iran, Hezbollah, elements
connected to al Qaeda and ISIS, that`s just a toxic mix, tough neighborhood
and it`s hard to think that any good can come of intense engagement and
The second problem I had is that even if you could identify moderates as
part of the free Syrian army, which is unclear, that`s a question mark, it
still remains uncertain that you can convince those Syrian rebels to
actually turn against ISIS because their state of objective has been to
take down the Assad regime. And in fact, the Syrian rebels have been
fighting alongside ISIS as part of the objective of taking down the Assad
regime. And then lastly, I think to Governor Dean`s point which is a good
point, if you are able to convince and identify moderate Syrian rebels in
the short term, there`s a great possibility that eventually the weaponry,
the training, the sophistication that we provide to them in the short term
may be used against our interests sometime thereafter. And the combination
of things led me to come to the conclusion that I was not comfortable in
voting yes on the amendment that was before us but now that it`s been
passed, I think that we have to stand behind the President over the next
several months, the authorization is good until December 11th. And then
when we get back to Congress, we have to figure out a way forward.
KORNACKI: What is -- Peter Welch, from your state from Vermont this week
say and he voted against it this week. And he said, look, you have people
like Dick Durbin out there saying, you know, when we come back after the
election we`re going to revisit this, we`re going to have a much broader
debate, we`re going to talk about changing the authorization from 2001,
2002, we`re going to talk about making it sort of modernizing it and Peter
Welsh said, let`s not full fool ourselves, this was the vote this week.
DEAN: Maybe so. Here`s the problem, you have a Congress who just
completely present company excluded and capable of doing anything. Now I
believe it`s because the right wing is by designed paralyzed the Congress.
But for whatever reason, the President can`t rely on Congress, he certainly
can rely on the majority in the House. So, they`ve really brought the
country to a standstill and the President essentially governing without
Congress. Well, I think his job is to govern the United States and do the
right thing for the United States. He has not help by the other side
whatsoever who have totally consumed --
KORNACKI: But I mean, on this one, this is neither party`s leadership who
wanted to be voting on this. Right? This wasn`t just republicans.
DEAN: You know, I`m not going to delve into the motivation of people who I
haven`t discussed this with. So, I don`t know what the answer.
KORNACKI: But I mean, they weren`t calling for it.
DEAN: Again, this is inside the beltway hair splitting about who might
have done what. I don`t try not to play that game to the best of my
ability. But the fact is, I think it`s a good idea to go back to the
constitutional requirements that you can`t declare war without a
Congressional resolution. This I think falls under the rubric of defending
the country. And I don`t think we`ve declared war. We`re trying to put
down a terrorist organization, which is a direct threat to the United
States by their own admission. So, I`m not entirely clear that you have to
have a Congressional resolution. But the one thing I do agree with Dick
Durbin about, who I`m a huge fan of, is that this ought to be a publicly
discussed and public debated item and this was not the right time to do it.
It couldn`t be done on this short notice with a continuing resolution and
the 45 days left to the election. So, I think it is a good idea there to
come back and do this in December. But I give the President full credit
for leading the country when the majority in the Congress won`t.
KORNACKI: Well, Congressman, do you think when you come back in December,
do you think you`re going to have a more robust debate on this and a
JEFFRIES: Well, I think that the country deserves a more robust debate.
There`s a lot of war fatigue for good reason. And throughout the United
States, we had a debacle in Iraq. We had a debacle in Afghanistan. It
cost us time and treasure as well as thousands of American lives killed and
ruined. And so there`s reason to be very skeptical about getting entangled
in another complicated Middle Eastern conflict. And for that reason alone,
I think Congress has to have a robust debate. And if you look back at the
two authorizations to use military force, the one in 2001 relates
specifically to those responsible for the attack on September 11th, al
And the one in 2002 relates to operations and threats presented by the
Iraqi government. Neither of those two instances are what are directly
involved in the context of ISIS. And so to fall within the boundaries of
the law moving forward, if this is going to be a protracted military
engagement, I think it`s appropriate for Congress to consider another
authorization, whether the votes exist to move forward is an open question.
KORNACKI: And that`s sort of the issue too, ISIS didn`t actually exist
when those votes were taken although ISIS did -- al Qaeda you have those
two sides. But my thanks to Congressman Hakeem Jeffries for joining us
this morning. And Governor Dean we`ll talk to you a little bit more in
just a minute.
But next, we`re going to turn to the race for the White House and the
distinct possibility that Hillary Clinton`s biggest challenge for the
democratic nomination could come from someone who isn`t even a democrat
right now. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: So, one of the loudest voices of opposition on the Senate on
this week`s vote to train and arm Syrian rebels came from Vermont`s Bernie
Sanders, a left wing independent who caucuses with democrats and he hasn`t
in the past made foreign policy a major point of emphasis, but that might
be changing now because Sanders is looking to run for president and the
woman he`s looking to run against, embodies the party`s moral hawkish pro-
intervention wing. Hillary Clinton who`s last presidential campaign of
course was undercut by her vote for the Iraq war back in 2002. And she was
working a big crowd at last weekend`s Harkin steak fry in Iowa, Bernie
Sanders was also in the first -- caucus state for three events of his own.
And his crowds were significantly smaller but there was still further
evidence that Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist is looking to
run for president. We actually had him on the show recently and had a
chance to ask him about his plans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: I am a United States senator. I did get
71 percent of the vote when I ran for re-election in Vermont. We have a
national constituency. I`m giving thought to running for president of the
United States. I don`t know that I will. If there are other people out
there who is better than I, who can take that message, that`s fine too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And if Bernie Sanders does decide to run, will he run as an
independent or as a democrat?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The truth is profound anger at both political parties,
more and more people becoming independent, the negative it is, how do you
set up a 50-state infrastructure running as an independent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: A new CNN poll has Sanders running in just five percent in Iowa,
far, far behind Hillary Clinton, not surprisingly there. But remember,
Clinton actually finished third in Iowa back in 2008. Where activist hold
disproportionate sway in the caucuses and it does seem to be a growing
movement within the Democratic Party for the kind of economic liberalism
that Sanders embodies. This is the party after all in which Elizabeth
Warren is now a rock star in which a law school professor named Zephyr
Teachout somehow won a third of the vote in half of the counties against
the sitting governor of New York in a primary earlier this month.
So, let`s say Bernie Sanders does go ahead and does run for president.
Sanders versus Clinton in the democratic primary. What will that race look
like? What it will be about? What will happen?
Joining me now is MSNBC political reporter Alex Seitz-Wald. Former aid to
Hillary Clinton and contributor to "The Hill" Basil Smikle, Jr. And former
DNC Chairman, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, governor from Bernie
Sanders home state of Vermont. You may know a thing or two about him. All
viewers still here.
And Alex, I`ll start with you because you recently reported on Bernie
Sanders, you have a really good sense of what he`s up to politically here.
Sanders versus Clinton. I mean, I assume he`s going to run as a democrat.
Let`s assume that. Sanders versus Clinton, what does that race look like?
ALEX SEITZ-WALD, MSNBC REPORTER: Well, I mean, you know, it`s -- you can
look back at 2008 when Hillary Clinton came in third in Iowa, Barack Obama
was able to capture the kind of progressive angst, the anti-interventionist
angst though, of course Clinton`s vote on the Iraq war was the thing that
really sank her. So, there`s still that exists, that exists on the ground.
Activists want somebody to take up the mantle and there`s nobody out there
right now who can do it. So, it might come to Bernie Sanders to take that
up. I was there Sunday night at a church in Des Moines, 400 people cramped
in, totally fired up, three standing ovations, there was a lot of
enthusiasm for him. I was genuinely surprised, there are more people there
than at the Vice President of United States event three days later.
KORNACKI: So, does he, like, what is your read of him as a politician?
Does he want to run? Is this somebody who legitimately feels he`s being
kind of dragged into it or is this somebody who kind of, yes, maybe he`s
had some presidential ambitions all along and he`s kind of found an opening
SEITZ-WALD: Well, I mean, there`s an old joke, you know, I can give you a
list of 100 senators who wanted to be president. Of course, it`s something
that I`m sure he`s crossed his mind but I think he sees an open field here
that hence for the taking. If no one else comes along, somebody needs to
capture that. I think he told me that if he runs he wants to win. He`s
not just doing it to raise issues, he`s not just doing it to be a protest
candidate. He actually wants to take a genuine shot at winning. But it
will raise, you know, anti-Wall Street sentiment, it will raise anti-
intervention sentiment, and it will force Clinton to sharpen her positions
and defend herself in a lot of the places that she`s vulnerable from the
KORNACKI: And that`s interesting to me to Basil, just the contrast of
watching that Hillary Clinton event in Iowa last week at Tom Harkin steak
fry. They call it a steak but they don`t fry the steaks --
Yes, it`s totally misnamed. Anyway, so watching her there, like listening
to Bernie Sanders in his recent interviews and his speeches. Their does
seem to be his message right now is much more -- and probably always has
been, much more pointed than what Hillary Clinton is saying. How much of
an appetite is there on the left for what he said?
BASIL SMIKLE, JR., POLITICAL STRATEGIST: I think there is some appetite
but I also want to get away from this notion that there`s this sort of
dichotomous relationship that the candidates have to policy within the
Democratic Party. It`s not an either/or, there are room for Hillary
Clinton`s ideas as well as Bernie Sanders` ideas. And with respect to a
lot of the language that has been used in terms of this sort of this
populist economic empowerment and inequality, I think all of those are very
important issues but Hillary Clinton is also talking about them. She was
at the center for American progress earlier this week talking about women`s
economic freedom. So, I think even within -- even within the context of
how people are couching her, she`s still able to talk about the issues that
I think broad range of voters in the party can latch on to.
KORNACKI: So, Governor Dean, from Vermont, you probably remember when
Bernie Sanders was a perennial candidate in the city of Burlington. He got
himself elected as a socialist, as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Did
you ever think that in the year 2014, you would be talking about Bernie
Sanders maybe running for president?
DEAN: I tell you he was a perennial candidate getting two to three percent
of the vote. The vote was split. We had a conservative democrat who
wasn`t paying any attention to what was going on. He was doing a good job
running the city but was contemptuous of his constituents and Bernie won by
ten votes. After four terms as mayor, he had earned the respect of the
business community, not just the progressives and why is that? Because
even though he`s tough and has business most people would not call him pro-
business, he keeps his word. If he should get into this race -- I`m
supporting Hillary, not because I don`t -- I dislike Bernie Sanders my home
state guy. But I`ve been with Hillary for over a year.
If he gets in, it won`t be a bad primary. He does not do dirty politics.
He sticks to the issues. And the issues are important that he`s raising
for the country, not just for the Democratic Party. This is not going to
be some -- I mean, you guys have all portrayed though the left and that
Hillary and all of this stuff. This is an issue for Bernie about principle
and stuff that needs to be addressed. And now is the time that needs to be
addressed on an actual level more than ever before. Which is income
inequality, which is corporations who`ve left their mandate to leave behind
and just in it for the money and there`s growing consumers and they don`t
care anymore. I remember when this -- was it the four-front of the
integration, racial integration of domestic partnerships, no more. And
Bernie wants a time that where people stand up and do the right thing for
working people. That`s what he cares about.
KORNACKI: Well, there`s the economic message and we`ll talk about that in
a minute. But this week it was foreign policy, it was Syria. And it was a
little bit some shades of 2008 in what Hillary encountered from the left on
Iraq. In relation to Syria. We`ll talk about that comparison, whether
it`s apt or not when we come back.
SANDERS: Since I was been in Congress and the Senate, we have done
hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of meetings like this in the exact same
format. Because I think at the end of the day what we`re trying to do
tonight is a very radical concept. It`s called democracy.
There`s something sadly that in today`s world is not practiced very much at
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That is Bernie Sanders out in Iowa last week. And so, talking
about the prospect of the Sanders versus Clinton match-up in 2016. So,
Governor Dean, talk about the issue of Syria. Because this is -- I`m a
little curious on. Obviously, this time around, Hillary Clinton is not in
the Senate, she doesn`t have to vote on this this week but she is on the
record saying she favored early on, earlier than we do --
DEAN: Syria is not going to be the same divide Iraq was. We`re being lied
to by our own government. The reason I came out against Iraq was not
because I`m a particular doff, it`s because I was reading the British
papers and putting MI6 information in there. There was no weapons of mass
destruction, there wasn`t no atomic program and if there were, Cheney kept
hinting that there might be. And if there was, it was at least five years
out. That`s what the Brits -- now the Brits and the American intelligence
people, two most intelligent, two most compatible, close working
intelligence agencies in the world, if they knew it, we knew it. We went
to war under false pretenses. I`ve been there before.
DEAN: Vietnam. Not going to happen. This is different. When you start
beheading people on television in front of millions of people, there is no
sympathy on the left for ISIS.
KORNACKI: No, I don`t mean to draw -- I don`t mean to draw an exact
comparison. I think what I`m asking though is, there is so much war
fatigue in this country and I think that exists on left and the right but I
think it exists particularly --
DEAN: That`s why the dividing line is going to be whether he should or
should not have troops, our troops there and the answer is the President
has already said no. And I don`t think Hillary is going there either.
KORNACKI: Wait. Well, how is Hillary seen in the Democratic Party on this
issue of sort of sort of she`s seen as the more hawkish between these two,
certainly, between Bernie Sanders heard the more hawkish one. I guess what
I see is the possibility that this is something, unfortunately if we get
sucked into it, if people start turning on whatever is happening, why are
we over there? Why are we doing this? Does that sort of work against her?
That hey, yes, she was far Iraq, she was for arming these guys early.
Bernie Sanders was against it early. State like Iowa, you know, a lot of -
- were sentiment there.
SEITZ-WALD: Yes, absolutely. And it`s kind of incredible that in a
democratic debate in 2015, we`re going to have a question, you know, would
you put troops in Iraq? It`s a flashback. I sat down in Iowa with a very
senior person in Hillary`s 2008 campaign, Midwest director, been involved
in Iowa politics for 30 years. And I asked him, who are you scared of in
the democratic side? And he said, I had a dream the other night about
Bernie Sanders. It`s that anti-war sentiment. It`s that Iowa caucus, you
know, the quirkiness about the Iowa caucus, that`s what worries him.
KORNACKI: That`s why I wonder, Basil, it`s like, I still -- when you look
at this national polls, and it`s true, we`ve never seen a front-runner like
Hillary Clinton. I mean, she`s much more of a front-runner now than she
was in 2008. And yet you look at the state like Iowa and you think about a
yearlong campaign out there, somebody like Bernie Sanders can go out and
meet all of these activists, it`s a state that wasn`t particularly warm to
Hillary Clinton back in 2008. Is she in some danger in a state like that?
SMIKLE: Well, I think part of this is the nuance about accessibility,
right? And inevitability. Is she going to run a similar campaign in 2008
where people felt that she was the inevitable candidate and therefore not
as accessible as she needed to be. I think that`s changed. I think she
will be more accessible. And, you know, the conversation in 2008 was that
she was pulling out of Iowa, so and then she also -- there was a question
about the caucus states strategies there, and did she have a post New
Hampshire plan. I think you`ll see a lot of that change and I think the
accessibility issue will fall by the wayside. I think the inevitability
question will fall by the wayside as you have more voices coming into the
debate. And so, I think there will be some of the same criticisms early
but I think she`ll be able to modify that pretty soon.
KORNACKI: Governor, when I want to ask you because I mean, you had the
experience of running for president, you didn`t run a second time but I
imagine you look back and you could as a candidate say, you know, if I had
it to do over, these are the five things, these are the six things that
maybe I would do differently.
DEAN: Once you look back, if I had it to do over, I wouldn`t. And I mean,
I think we shouldn`t get too far ahead of ourselves, Hillary Clinton has
not said she`s running for president. Until she does, she`s not in. And I
KORNACKI: I think the accepted steak fry invitation in Iowa is not the
usual weekend activity of a nonpresidential candidate.
DEAN: I would have gone out there because Tom Harkin was a great friend
and was an incredibly wonderful United States senator.
KORNACKI: Sure. And he supported you --
DEAN: I mean, so yes. And so, I mean, look, she may or may not be
running, she`s certainly doing things she has to do. Until she decides. I
know how hard this is. And she knows how hard this is because she was in
it for a lot longer than I was. I was done after Wisconsin, she went all
the way to the end. And so, this is a hard decision. I would agree that
there`s not going to be a campaign of inevitability. If you do it a second
time you learn where all your mistakes are and you try not to make them
again. You`re going to make new mistakes of course because everybody does.
I expect a different kind of campaign staff, I expected a very different
I don`t expect -- for me it was Iowa or bust. If you didn`t do well in
Iowa, you weren`t going to go in because I was a relatively unknown. For
her, this is a four state campaign in the beginning and then a 50 state
campaign. This is why -- this is the hour of inevitability, if she does
it, it`s like Jeb Bush on the republican side. He`s not leading the polls
but he`s the only candidate other than Mitt Romney should he run with a 50
state organization that can raise national money like that. Nobody else
can do that.
KORNACKI: Right. And we`ve been talking about, you know, is it going to
be does she get this nomination if she runs uncontested or not?
DEAN: Won`t run uncontested. This is presidency of the United States.
Nobody is going to run uncontested.
KORNACKI: Yes. She`s not going to. We have a name, step forward now and
we`ll see if there`s more and we`ll see what else Bernie Sanders does. I
want to thank former DNC Chairman, Vermont Governor Howard Dean for joining
us this morning. Political strategist Basil Smikle, Jr. as well. And
Alex, we will see you next on "Up Against the Clock." We have a very
interesting announcement about that, that may only be the second most
important tests one of our contestants will face this week, the other one,
be a middle school math test. We`ll tell you what that means, that`s next.
KORNACKI: So, back on May 31st we received a surprising tweet from a
viewer named Gabe Fleischer and it read, my dream is to be on "Up Against
the Clock," can we make this happen? I`ve gotten every question right so
far and went to call it my favorite weekend morning cable political game
show. So, we were obviously flattered by that but here`s what really
caught us off guard. It turns out that Gabe is only 12 years old. He`s
not only a bonafide 12-year-old political junky, he`s also the editor of
what he calls "Wake up to Politics," his very own political newsletters
which recently featured in an exclusive interview with retired Supreme
Court Justice Sandra Day O`Connor. That`s interview we wouldn`t mind
having. He`s also very active with his twitter account, it`s followed by
the likes of Doris Kearns Goodwin and -- political strategist Mark
McKinnon. So, we figured in just a few minutes, why don`t we make Gabe`s
wish come true. He is standing by to test his knowledge on week`s current
events on today`s special edition of "Up Against the Clock," Gabe
Fleischer, welcome to the show.
JIM CUTLER, ANNOUNCER: Live from Studio 3A in Rockefeller Center, USA,
it`s time for "Up Against the Clock." Today`s contestants, in college he
made a 3.5 foot model of Rockefeller Center, the building he`s in right
now, say hello to Alex Seitz-Wald. He`s political acumen is beyond his
years but can he compete with the best in the business? It`s Gabe
Fleisher. In high school, he was named West Chester County junior achiever
of the year. Please welcome David Corn. And now, the host of "Up Against
the Clock," Steve Kornacki!
KORNACKI: Thank you Jim Cutler. Thank you studio audience. Thank you
everyone, tuning in home for another exciting edition of "Up Against the
Clock." A very special edition of "Up Against the Clock" today as 12-year-
old all-star Gabe Fleischer competes against David Corn and Alex Seitz-
Wald. We have been looking forward to this all week. For those of you
just joining us for the first time, therefore our contestants if they need
a refresher, I will explain very quickly how this works, it`s a fast paced
political news and current events quiz. We`re going to play for three
rounds, each of them 100 seconds long, 100 points in the first round, 200
in the second, 300 in the third. The questions will get a little bit
harder as we go along, they`ll also get a little bit more valuable as we go
And contestants, I`ll caution, you can ring in at any time but you will
lose points if you get the question wrong. So, take that into account as
you play the game. And also, there are two bonus questions scattered in
these questions here when we get to them we`ll stop the clock and we`ll
explain them to you. Our contestants of course will be playing today not
just for victory, not just for glory, but also for a spot in our tournament
of champions at the end of the year to win and to qualify for that, your
first going to have to win today as always I remind the studio audience, no
outburst please. Our contestants need absolute concentration with that.
Contestants, I will turn to you and ask, are you ready to play?
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I am and I`m rooting for Gabe.
KORNACKI: David is ready. Gabe is ready. Alex is ready.
That means we put 100 seconds on the clock. I have the 100 point question
here. And we begin with this, this. This eldest daughter of President
Obama has begun taking driving lessons -- Gabe?
GABE FLEISHER, MSNBC 12-YEAR-OLD POLITICAL WHIZ: Malia.
KORNACKI: Malia is correct. A 100 points for Gabe. Hundred point toss-up
question. Senator Maria Cantwell proposed legislation this week that
would strip the NFL`s non-profit -- David?
CORN: I would just say non-profit exemption but you just got there ahead
KORNACKI: No answer, take the points off. I`ll finish the question. The
NFL`s non-profit status for continuing to promote the team from this city?
KORNACKI: Incorrect. Gabe.
KORNACKI: Washington is correct, 100 points for Gabe into the early lead.
Hundred-point toss-up question, all 435 seats in the House of
Representatives are up for election this year. How long is a house term?
FLEISHER: Two years.
KORNACKI: Two years is correct. Gabe on a roll here. Hundred point toss-
up question, 36 seats are up for grabs this fall in the United States
Senate. How many Senate seats total are there? David?
CORN: A hundred.
KORNACKI: A hundred is correct. Stop the clock, David, exciting news for
you because you answered that question correctly --
CORN: Don`t tell me bonus time.
KORNACKI: This is the bonus question. This is the secret hidden video
bonus question. This is a quote of note we call it. The quote will be
read to you by a special celebrity guest. You will then need to identify
who said the quote for an extra 100 points, no risk in guessing on this
one. So please turn you -- to our video monitor, where WNBC`s David Ushery
has this week`s quote.
DAVID USHERY, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hi, everyone, I`m David Ushery, an anchor here
at WNBC in New York, with this week`s "Up Against the Clock" quote of note,
which famous Missouri politician says, if you want a friend in Washington,
get a dog?
KORNACKI: All right, David, 100 extra points.
CORN: It`s really unfair because he`s from St. Louis, but I would say
KORNACKI: Harry Truman is correct. And Gabe had that look, I knew he knew
it. With the clock back in motion, 100-point tossup. Here it is.
According to a BuzzFeed report on Tuesday, this former Utah governor is
considering a run in the next presidential election as -- David?
CORN: Oh --
KORNACKI: Time. As an independent. Alex?
SEITZ-WALD: Jon Huntsman.
KORNACKI: Jon Huntsman is correct. Hundred point tossup. A new ad from
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker features footage of Lambeau Field, the home
of which NFL team? David?
CORN: Green Bay Packers.
KORNACKI: The Green Bay Packers is correct. Hundred point toss-up.
President Obama is fairly tall by presidential standards but this president
was the tallest at six feet four inches -- Gabe?
FLEISHER: Abraham Lincoln.
KORNACKI: Abraham Lincoln, Gabe is correct, 100 points for Gabe. Hundred
point toss-up. Oh, we will get it in. End of the first rounds. Gabe in
the lead with 400 points, David in positive territory at 100, Alex at zero.
Oh, we got Baltimore wrong. Now I understand. OK. That brings us to the
end of the 100 point round. And now things get exciting because sorry as I
dropped the microphone. We have the two hundred point question, these are
twice as valuable and twice as hard, 100 seconds on the clock. The 200
point round begins with this. A new survey released Wednesday by the
Annenberg Public Policy Center revealed that nearly two thirds of Americans
can`t name all three branches of government. Name them? David?
CORN: Judicial, executive, and legislative.
KORNACKI: And legislative, 200 points for David Corn. Two hundred-point
tossup, a bill board from a pro marijuana reform group was unveiled in
Denver this week poking fun at this New York Times columnist who had a
famously negatively experience with the substance earlier this year. Alex?
SEITZ-WALD: Maureen Dowd.
KORNACKI: Maureen Dowd is correct. I`m glad Gabe didn`t know that one.
Two-hundred points toss-up question. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state
of emergency in response to what`s being called the worst ever fire season
in which state? David?
CORN: That would be California.
KORNACKI: California. Jerry Brown`s home state. Stop the clock, oh my
God, David you`ve hit another bonus question.
CORN: My lucky day.
KORNACKI: This is our use it or lose it bonus question. So, here`s how
this one works, we have a follow-up questions, the one you just answered,
it is somehow related. It is a 200-point bonus question, but if you guess
incorrectly you lose the 200 points you just gained. So David, I have the
bonus question here, will you use it or lose it?
CORN: I`m going for it.
KORNACKI: He`s going to use it. He wants 200 more points. Here it is,
David. In his first stint as governor, Jerry Brown declined to seek re-
election in 1982 instead running for an open U.S. Senate seat and
ultimately losing to this future republican governor.
KORNACKI: Pete Wilson is correct. Two hundred more points for David.
Corn is in the lead --
SEITZ-WALD: No, that can`t be.
KORNACKI: He is, it`s true. Two hundred point toss-up. On Friday, House
republicans are considering changing their rules to protect John Boehner
from a potential challenge as speaker of the house. The job currently
places him behind whom in the presidential line of succession? Gabe?
FLEISHER: The Vice President.
KORNACKI: The Vice President. We also would have accepted Joe Biden. Two
hundred points for Gabe. Two hundred point toss-up, in the wake of the
shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a new office of community
engagement was created by executive order on Thursday by this governor of
the state. Gabe?
FLEISHER: Jay Nixon.
KORNACKI: Jay Nixon. His home state governor. Two hundred point toss-up.
Gabe back in the lead. After proclaiming nobody will hear from me again
when he lost his 2012 re-election bid, this former French president
announced on Facebook -- Alex?
KORNACKI: Sarkozy is correct. Two hundred point for Alex. He`s still in
this thing. Two hundred point tossup.
SEITZ-WALD: To replace the late Don Pardo, producers of "Saturday Night
Live" -- David?
KORNACKI: Incorrect. I`ll finish the question for the rest of our
contestants. Producers of "Saturday Night Live" this week named as the
show`s new announcer, former cast member Darrel Hammond who famously
impersonated which American president?
CORN: Do I get another chance?
KORNACKI: No, and we`re going to call time. It was Bill Clinton. David,
that was a costly one, 500. Gabe in the lead at 800, Alex in contention at
400. A barn burner here as we move to the PH.D. round. Our hardest
questions, our most valuable questions, 300 points. We would usually dim
the lights here for dramatic effect but we`re in a different studio so we
can`t. We will put 100 seconds on the clock though and we will crown a
champion when we begin the round right now. Three hundred-point question,
quote, "I`m not Barack Obama," this democrat Senate candidate declares in a
new ad that features her going -- yes, David?
CORN: Alison Grimes.
KORNACKI: Alison Grimes skit shooting her new ad. Three hundred points
for David. Three hundred point toss-up. Fresh off his failed republican
primary challenge against Senator Mitch McConnell, this Kentucky
businessman announced this week that he might run for governor. Time. No
one remembers, Matt Bevan. Three hundred point toss-up question. On a
speech on women`s issues on Friday, Vice President Joe Biden inexplicably
praised this former republican senator -- Alex.
SEITZ-WALD: Bob Packwood.
KORNACKI: Bob Packwood who -- intersexual harassment. Three hundred
points for Alex. Very close game. Vice president for this retail giant
resigned this week after it was revealed that he lied about earning a
Time. It was Wal-Mart. It was Wal-Mart. Three hundred-point tossup
question. On Wednesday, the House Select Committee on Benghazi held its
first public hearing. Who is the chairman of that committee -- David?
CORN: Trey Gowdy.
KORNACKI: Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, 300 points for David. He`s in the
lead. Three hundred point toss-up, although his points of light foundation
was headed by Michelle Nunn -- Gabe?
KORNACKI: Correct. Anticipated the twist in that question. Very
impressive. Gabe, very impressive. He`s back. Three hundred question,
Harry Reid vowed this week that as long as he`s in the Senate there will be
no further activity at this nuclear waste facility in Nevada. Alex?
SEITZ-WALD: Yucca Mountain.
KORNACKI: Yucca Mountain, 300 points for Alex. Three hundred point toss-
up. Claiming that he and his crew were at risk of a polar bear attack
during its filming, this Alaska senator released a new outdoor campaign as
this week -- David?
CORN: Mark Begich.
KORNACKI: Mark Begich is correct. End of the game. David at the last
question has pulled out a victory. This is the closest game we`ve ever
had. Gabe, your valued effort coming in with 1100 points. Very
impressive. Alex right in there 1000. But David, you did win with that
last question. And because you did, Bill Wolff is going to tell you what
prizes you`ve got.
CORN: I can`t wait.
BILL WOLFF, STAFF ANNOUNCER: As our champion, your name will be engraved
using the finest sharpie ink on the all-new stain-resistant "Up Against the
Clock" gold cup. You`ll also receive a DVD copy of the classic 1988 film
"Cocoon 2: The Return," personally autographed by Wilford Brimley. And
you`ll get to play in our jackpot round for today`s grand prize, a $50 gift
certificate to quick meal food cart, Big Town Manhattan, the only street
meat vendor in the greater 45th St. area operated by a former chef of the
Russian tearoom. I had it for lunch today. Delicious. Enjoy the meal and
congratulations. Back to you, Steve
KORNACKI: All right. David Corn, some very exciting prizes there. And
there`s that mug. Don`t drink from it. There`s some poisonous paint in
there or something. But it`s yours for the week. And now I have your jack
pot bonus question for that street vendor food. It is this. According to
the real clear politics average, Joe Biden is running 44 points behind
Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical matchup for 2016. Who was the last
sitting Vice President to seek his party`s nomination and not get it?
CORN: To seek his party`s nomination and not get it, do you know?
FLEISHER: Is it Alvin Barkley.
KORNACKI: It is Alvin Barkley. And because of that, Gabe, we`re giving
you the street meat gift certificate. Congratulations. It is all yours.
Your trip in New York is not in vain, you won $50 dollars of the finest
street vendor food in the greater 45th Street area. Congratulations Gabe.
Congratulations David. Congratulations Alex on a very fine effort.
Closest 3rd place that we`ve had yet. Thank you all for playing. We`ll be
back right after this. Congratulations.
KORNACKI: All right. We`re back with just a minute or two left. David
Corn, congratulations on your exciting victory. But Gabe, pleasure, I do
have to say you stole the show especially knowing you`re 12 years old and
got a bonus question about Alvin Barkley who is this obscure former Vice
president in 1952. How do you know this kind of stuff?
FLEISHER: Well, I`ve been interested in politics and history since about
age of six. And I just -- I read a lot, all kinds of books and history,
KORNACKI: So, you have got your own daily newsletter. You interviewed
Sandra Day O`Connor recently.
FLEISHER: I did. So, I interviewed -- I reached out to Justice O`Connor.
She does a program called iCivics which is about young people, and so it`s
worth that I am so interested in, and so I reached out to her and she sent
me answers to my questions.
KORNACKI: Wow. And so, who is your dream interview?
FLEISHER: My dream interview, I guess I would have to say Hillary Clinton.
KORNACKI: Hillary Clinton, mine too, actually.
CORN: I want to see who gets her first.
KORNACKI: You know, I`m going to put my money on him. He already gotten
CORN: Game on.
KORNACKI: If you do it, share the footage with us. Maybe we can team on
up on this or something. Any final thoughts to Alex, David?
CORN: Listen, all I can say is that the people at Politico better watch
KORNACKI: There it is. Yes.
CORN: Better watch out.
KORNACKI: Hire him now. Hire him now. I want to thank Gabe Fleisher,
thank you so much for doing this. It was really fun.
FLEISHER: Thank you.
KORNACKI: David Corn, Alex Seitz-Wald, we really appreciate you guys are
playing too. That`s the closest game we`ve had.
Coming up next, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY." We`ll see you right here tomorrow
morning 8 a.m. Eastern. Thanks for getting up.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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