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'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Sunday show

Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: October 5, 2014

Guest: Sahil Kapur, Joan Walsh, Katie Packer-Gage, Dr. Aileen Marty, David
Sanger, Adam Schiff, Kathie Obradovich, Jim Morrill, Dave Helling

STEVE KORNACKI, HOST: Hillary Clinton`s big campaign plans.

Good morning. Thanks for getting up with us on what is a crisp fall
morning here in New York. We`ve got a packed show for you today. We`re
going to be unveiling -- be ready for this -- three brand-new polls from
three pivotal races that could decide control of the U.S. Senate a month
from now. We`ll be talking to political reporters on the ground in each of
those three states. Again, three brand-new polls in those key states
coming up later in the show. There`s also the question of whether Congress
is going to vote to authorize President Obama`s use of military force
against ISIS before the end of this year, maybe early next year sometime.
Maybe never. Does the inaction allow members of the House to point their
fingers and shift the blame? We`ll discuss that with a member of the House
Intelligence Committee. We`ll also bring you the latest on the developing
story in Dallas, where the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United
States is now in critical condition. We`ll have a live update from Dallas
just a few minutes from now.

But we are going to begin this morning with this. Look at the calendar
there. We are less than one month away from election day. One of the
biggest names in American politics is now ready to make her move, finally.
Maybe not in the way you might think. Hillary Clinton, according to
Politico`s Maggie Haberman, has put together a schedule that will take her
to some of the nation`s top political battlegrounds, over the next several
weeks, trying to boost her party in what is a very difficult midterm
political environment. And also maybe reacclimating herself to life in the
campaign spotlight.

She`s going to start in Pennsylvania this week to help the Democratic
candidate for governor there. She`ll also be in Illinois. That`s the
state where she was born and raised, to campaign with embattled Democratic
Governor Pat Quinn in that state. Clinton`s schedule will also take her to
Iowa and New Hampshire, surprise, surprise, two pivotal early voting states
for president there. She`ll also be in Florida for Charlie Crist, Kentucky
for Alison Lundergan Grimes. Colorado for Democratic Senator Mark Udall.
Georgia for Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn. Those are just the
highlights of what`s going to be a very busy month for Hillary Clinton. So
this October seems to be both 2014 and 2016 at the same time.

The climate, as we said, is tough for Democrats, and President Obama`s low
poll numbers mean there are a lot of places that he can`t campaign this
fall. So can Hillary Clinton make a difference now for her party? Joining
me to discuss this on set with us, we have Sahil Kapur, congressional
reporter for Talking Points Memo, MSNBC contributor and Salon.com editor at
large Joan Walsh. Former Mitt Romney 2012 campaign adviser and Republican
political consultant Katie Packer-Gage. Thanks everybody for being here.

Joan, and thank you in particular. I know you were up a little late last
night with the San Francisco Giants game. Thank you for being here. So
Hillary Clinton. On the campaign trail, we`ve all been sort of waiting for
this moment. We knew she was going to be out there at some point, but now
we have some states, we have some candidates, we know where she`ll be
going. It does look to me -- I mean, you can certainly say Jeanne Shaheen
in New Hampshire, that`s an important Senate race for Democrats. Iowa is
obviously an important Senate race. But these are also very important 2016
states she`s heading to the next month.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Yes, she`s going to look at states that help her
out as well as help some Democrats out. I`ve been waiting for her to do
this for a long time. I really thought it would be important. We all know
that the women`s vote is going to be crucial in 2014. And she does inspire
and galvanize Democratic women like no other person. So it`s great to see
her out there. I wonder if we`ll see her in Wisconsin, where Mary Burke
has been neck and neck with Scott Walker, but her support among women has
just lessened just a couple of points, but, you know, she could use a shot
in the arm. There are lots of places where she could be helpful, and I
hope she`s as busy as she can possibly be.

KORNACKI: Does she provide -- because one of the stories this year has
been with President Obama`s poll numbers down, sort of in the lower 40s,
and a lot of the battleground being in Republican states. Does Hillary
Clinton provide a boost for Democrats there?

KATIE PACKER-GAGE, FORMER ROMNEY ADVISER: Well, I`m sure -- I`m certain
that she provides a boost among Democrat voters. Of course that`s the
reason that they`re putting her out there. But, you know, I think that
this constant rollout of her campaign, first the book tour and now this and
then the actual campaign, you know, I think that, you know, certainly the
press corps is waiting with bated breath, to see more and more of Hillary,
but at some point you get burnout on the Hillary Clinton campaign that
really started, you know, about a day after the 2012 election.

KORNACKI: We`re talking burnout, is that a real problem, a concern for
them, Sahil?

SAHIL KAPUR, TALKING POINTS MEMO: I think that`s on their mind. I think
that`s on the Clinton`s mind and the Hillary handlers` mind that they don`t
want that to happen. That`s why everything they are doing is very
calculated and strategic. She stayed away from the midterm campaign trail
this whole time. To me it seemed like she was doing that, again,
strategically, because it is going to be a tough year for Democrats, and
she doesn`t want to necessarily jump into the fray when they`re going to
lose a bunch of seats. And it might reflect badly on her if she does
campaign.

But now she`s acting like a party nominee already. She`s taking one for
the team, going to places like Kentucky and Georgia, where the Democrats
are underdogs, not likely to win. You don`t do that if you`re only after
yourself. Iowa and New Hampshire, I get that. Colorado.

KORNACKI: It`s true. The other seems to be Pennsylvania, where the
Democratic candidate is, I don`t know, 30 points ahead of the Republican.
So she is pencilling in a couple of victories here, it seems, too. I guess
those are the two, when you talk about risks here for Hillary Clinton in
the position she`s in right now, I guess the two risks are one, you go to a
bunch of states where maybe it`s not your fault that the Democrats don`t
end up doing well and you could get blamed for that in some way. The other
risk is too, she has tried very hard over the last two years to stay out of
the day-to-day political debate in this country, not to have to take clear
positions that could come back to haunt her, that could divide her base,
that could divide independent voters in the fall. You go into these races
and that becomes a lot tougher now.

WALSH: But it`s time. I would flip something Katie said, actually, on its
head. I think it`s the media that has Clinton fatigue, and they don`t miss
an opportunity to say she`s off her game. We`re bored. We`re hearing too
much from her. I think when you saw it on the book tour, and elsewhere,
when she`s in smaller cities, when she is out with the Democratic base,
when she is out with groups of women, women were lining up around the block
for her book. And I think you`re going to see the same kind of star factor
among women who are hungry to see Hillary Clinton at this point. So I`m
not worried about fatigue in that sense.

I also think it gives her a chance -- you know, she`s been secretary of
state. We know what she thinks about international policy, but she hasn`t
had much of a voice on domestic policy. I saw her at a Center for American
Progress event a couple of weeks ago where she talked about a women`s
agenda, but this gives her also a chance to preview her domestic agenda on
the 2014 campaign trail. And I think that can help, especially with these
women candidates as well.

PACKER-GAGE: But I think what you also saw is time after time after time,
she was tripping over herself during her book tour. And they were
constantly having to play cleanup with, you know, comments that weren`t
really part of their rollout plan. And I think that`s also the shortened
schedule.

KORNACKI: Are you talking about the comments about, you know, just don`t
do stupid stuff? Is not a -- some of that seemed intentional to me on some
level. It seemed like she was trying to create distance without being --

PACKER-GAGE: I`m not really talking about that. I`m talking about things
like, you know, crying poor because they couldn`t come up with the mortgage
payments for multiple homes. I`ve been involved in dozens of focus groups
with women. And that has come up. And they say don`t tell me that you`re
having trouble making ends meet when you can`t make mortgage payments on
multiple homes. This isn`t, you know, the struggles that everyday
Americans are having. And her people are very aware that they were
constantly having to sort of, you know, mop up after her. I think that`s
why you`re seeing a three-week, you know, shortened campaign schedule.

KAPUR: She has made some mistakes, but I don`t think we`re anywhere near
the point of fatigue. I think the media will continue to cover her, and
the fact that she`s strategically slowly rolling this stuff out. She`s not
on TV every day. She could be if she wanted to.

PACKER-GAGE: We`re two years away from the next presidential election, and
people are going to get a little burned out on seeing Hillary Clinton every
single day, every move being monitored, you know.

KAPUR: She seems aware of that, though.

WALSH: She`s also the most popular woman in America. So I really think it
cuts both ways. And I think mostly she`s an asset. And I think her staff
is probably really happy that she got that dead broke comment out of the
way two years before.

KORNACKI: That`s the flip side of being out there so early. Yes, I`m sure
--

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Meanwhile, we talk about Hillary Clinton. We talk about the
Clintons. But there`s also the president himself, who made it clear on
Thursday that while he`s not officially on the ballot this fall, the
midterm election is a referendum on his policies. That`s what President
Obama said on Thursday. And Republicans immediately took that line, turned
it into an ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alison Grimes says this election is not about her
support for Barack Obama and his failed policies.

ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES, CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATE: I`m not Barack Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But Obama himself says a vote for Alison is a vote
for his policies.

OBAMA: I`m not on the ballot this fall, but make no mistake, these
policies are on the ballot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And while President Obama`s poll numbers may be keeping him away
from many midterm battlegrounds, there`s also his very popular wife, who is
hitting the campaign trail, at least a little bit. Michelle Obama was in
Massachusetts on Friday with Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate for
governor there. She also campaigned for the Democratic candidate for
governor in Maine. She`ll be traveling to Wisconsin tomorrow for Mary
Burke, running for governor there.

As the New York Times notes, she is mostly campaigning for candidates for
governor, not for the U.S. Senate. She`s also staying away from places
like Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, most of the red states where
control of the Senate is likely to be determined.

So it`s interesting because when we look at Michelle Obama, obviously
typically the first lady would be less, you know, seen as less polarizing,
less politicized than the president. And you think of Hillary Clinton back
in 1998 in the midterms then, she was all over the place, although the
circumstances I assume were very different back then with her husband`s
impeachment and Monica Lewinsky. It`s striking to me, reading the story in
the New York Times, that even with the first lady, the Obama campaign
people are so sensitive to you send her into a red state, everything gets
polarized, the Democratic candidate may not be happy to have her there
either. And so even Michelle Obama is only going to a handful of states
here.

KAPUR: It`s impossible to see her on the campaign trail and think of a
swing voter who doesn`t associate her with her husband. And Dan Balz had a
really good piece in the Post about even though the Republicans are trying
to make this a campaign about nothing, to the extent that they can, issues,
put that out of the way. Medicaid, we`re fine with it. Contraception, we
love it. All the issues that we`re actually debating, they don`t want to
have that debate. And so it`s going to be about the president. Midterm
campaigns are usually about the president. To the extent that that`s true,
they want to make this as much about him as possible. And when the first
lady goes out there, it`s impossible--

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: I saw her in Milwaukee. Can I just say, I was with her in
Milwaukee last Monday for Mary Burke, and she was tremendous. She packed
the Wisconsin center. And the crowd was delirious. So she has a role to
play now that was mainly African-American and also young voter pitch.
She`s going to Madison for a kind of younger college liberal pitch. Where
she`s effective, she`s tremendous. You know, all races use surrogates in
particular ways. I don`t think that this is that extraordinary.

PACKER-GAGE: I think that, you know, the suggestion that Republicans are
trying to make this race about President Obama, he`s the one that made the
comment a couple of days ago that said that this is going to be a
referendum on my policies. And when you have candidate after candidate
after candidate that`s voted with the president 95 percent of the time, it
is about the president and his failed policies. That`s what`s on the
ballot. And that`s what people are voting on. So to go out with a
reminder, I think is something that these candidates are very careful
about. I don`t know that it`s the White House.

KORNACKI: Was it surprising that the president said what he said on
Thursday? Just given what we know about the reality of the midterm
campaign, this is being played on Republican turf more than it is --

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: The red state candidates probably winced when they heard that.
It`s one of these cases where the ad literally wrote itself.

(CROSSTALK)

KAPUR: He`s trying to strike the balance between keeping his coalition
together and turnout. They need minorities. They need women. They need
young people to turn out.

(CROSSTALK)

PACKER-GAGE: Even women have turned their backs on Obamacare. That`s not
a particularly great issue for them.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: That`s a little bit later in the show. We`ll pick that point up
later in the show.

WALSH: I really -- I really think that it cuts both ways. That statement
was to the base. But it`s a case where you`re not narrow casting. It`s
going out to everyone. But if his voters turn out in 2014 like they did in
2012, this is a landslide for Democrats. That`s not likely to happen. But
reminding them that they can`t just vote every four years, which is another
Michelle Obama`s pitch in Wisconsin, is very important.

KORNACKI: It`s just those two dynamics that are in conflict with each
other. The type of electorate that usually turns out in the midterms, the
type that usually turns out in the presidential year. You can`t send
signals to one without the other hearing it. And so it just creates an
interesting situation.

Anyway, we have more on what`s going on in the homestretch of the midterm
campaign and what it could mean for another campaign two years from now.
That`s right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. While we`re only 29 days out from election day for
this year`s midterms, the Republican landscape for 2016 is also taking
shape. Former President George W. Bush said this week, made some news this
week, when he said that he thinks his brother, Jeb, wants to be president.
And in his opinion, Jeb should go for it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: I, of course, was pushing
him to run for president. He, of course, was saying, I haven`t made up my
mind. Yes, I think he wants to be president. I think he`d be a great
president. He understands what it`s like to be president for not only the
person running or serving, plus family. He`s seen his dad. He`s seen his
brother. And so he`s a very thoughtful man, and he`s weighing his options.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Jeb Bush, who`s also been stepping out onto the midterm campaign
trail, like Hillary is about to, says he plans to make a decision next
year. And if he does run, looks increasingly possible, at least, that Bush
and Mitt Romney could end up facing off to be the establishment choice in
the Republican Party. The 2012 Republican nominee certainly sounded like a
candidate in a profile this week. The New York Times Mark Leibovich (ph)
writes that Romney quote, "shrugged off the recent attention but is
noticeably playing along." I thought this was amazing and telling, Romney
really wanted to make sure that absolutely everything he said was on the
record for that interview. "Do you have a tape-recorder," he asked the
reporter? "A notebook?" Near the end of the interview when Leibovich told
Romney he was turning off the tape-recorder so they could relax while they
ate lunch, Romney told him to keep recording.

So a lot of interesting things going on in the Republican world right now.
I`ll tell you, one of the things that I sense there is some Bush fatigue on
the Republican side. Here`s why I say that. I think the interest in Mitt
Romney speaks to this to a certain degree. The fact that we`re talking
about a losing candidate maybe running again. When you poll them, when you
put Mitt Romney`s name in a poll with Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney is up there in
the 30s on the Republican side. And Bush is, like, in the high single
digits. And I was going to say, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney have got to have
about the same name recognition. So the fact that there`s that big a
difference says to me I think there might still be some Bush fatigue in the
Republican Party.

PACKER-GAGE: Certainly the name Bush has the same level of name
recognition. I`m not sure Jeb Bush does. Mitt Romney was the nominee. He
ran nationally. He was on people`s TV screens every day for a year. I
think that if Jeb Bush makes the decision to run, he`ll run a very
different kind of campaign and be a different person than his brother was.
And so, you know, he`ll have the opportunity to do that. And certainly he
was a very popular governor in a very difficult state, in Florida. So I
think time will tell if he ends up doing that. You know, as far as
Governor Romney is concerned, I think there`s a very high regard for him.
He turned out to be --

KORNACKI: Do you want him to run again?

PACKER-GAGE: I don`t know -- I don`t know how to answer that. It doesn`t
really matter what I want.

KORNACKI: You worked for the guy. You probably have some strong feelings.

PACKER-GAGE: If he ran, I would be first in line to support him. I think
he was a great candidate for president, and I think he would have made a
great president. I think the American people are having a little buyer`s
remorse. And are starting to look back at some of the things he said that,
you know, a lot of the media and certainly the Democrats poked fun at
during his campaign. And so people are taking a second look at him and
starting to think maybe he looks more and more like a world leader.
Whether he runs or not, you know, I don`t know. I don`t have inside
information on that. But certainly I would support him.

KORNACKI: What -- Sahil, what do you think of Romney? I have been saying
for a while, I think it`s more real -- this is just a hunch, I don`t have
any inside information either -- I have a hunch that there`s a scenario
there he`s looking at.

KAPUR: I think there`s certainly a scenario where he would consider
running. I don`t know that he will. I think he`s feeling it out right
now. He wants to put the idea out there. There`s certainly a lot of
support for him in the establishment. And it`s very unclear what the field
will look like. It`s clear what the Tea Party side is going to look like
with Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio running and a bunch of
others. But on the establishment side, it`s not clear what that`s going to
look like. Mitt Romney is one of them. I think Chris Christie is another
important candidate who could lock up that vote. Jeb Bush is in the mix,
although he`s having a little trouble locking up the immediate family vote,
it seems.

(CROSSTALK)

KAPUR: The other point I would make is there`s absolutely no downside to
keeping his options open. More attention, more higher speaking fees, more
book sales.

(CROSSTALK)

KAPUR: Nothing to lose. More interviews.

PACKER-GAGE: -- Barbara Bush, if Jeb Bush runs, I`m sure she`ll be first
in line to sign up. She`s a very proud mama.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: The downside for Romney, if he eventually goes forward with it,
is what history ends up saying about a guy who runs three times. We have
the person who runs once and then runs again. But to get the nomination
and to run again. And if he ends up being denied the nomination after
that, his place in history, then, takes a hit.

WALSH: You know, it`s as if he watched that really friendly warm HBO
documentary, right, and saw my staff couldn`t even capture that guy. And
the American people would really like that guy. And there might be a
little bit of that that`s true.

However, he`s not running in a vacuum. He might well win the nomination,
because I think that the three Tea Party guys, we could talk about forever,
none of them is ready for primetime in my opinion. But then again, he
faces probably Hillary Clinton. And he faces the fact that I don`t see
that he brings any new -- any new parts of the coalition to the table.
There`s really been no progress made on the fronts of women, Latinos,
nobody tries for African-Americans anymore. Asian-Americans, who used to
be reliable Republican voters. He doesn`t do anything to change the
electoral -- to change the numbers, really.

KORNACKI: What he does change, according to this article apparently, is he
travels everywhere now assuming there`s a tape-recorder. The 47 percent
remark.

WALSH: That`s just smart.

KORNACKI: Yes. It`s smart, but it`s depressing in a way, too, that the
lesson -- and maybe it is smart politics for everybody, just always assume
that everything is being taped. But you can see, we talk about we don`t
like robotic candidates. That`s what we`re going to get.

WALSH: Some people, I think, are more able to express their core values in
the same way from room to room. You know, I know he`s blaming his
supporter, who was more disparaging and more of an elitist in talking about
those people. But there`s also -- there could have been a courageous
moment, where he stood up and said, you know, I`m going for the votes of
everybody and I`m not writing off that 47 percent.

PACKER-GAGE: I don`t think he was blaming anybody. I think he was
explaining a scenario where he was asked a question in what he thought was
a closed environment, and he was speaking, you know, in a way that, you
know, maybe sounded more like an operative. I`ve heard a million Democrat
operatives during the campaign and since comment on the fact that there are
certain groups that are unavailable to both sides in an election. He
wasn`t talking about being a president. He was talking about being how you
campaign. And he was just explaining the situation.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: Can I just step in there? Democrats tear their hair out over the
white working-class votes. Democrats are --

PACKER-GAGE: Well, we never hear about that.

WALSH: Oh, really? I participated in a roundtable in a magazine about it.
There`s a project, the Center for American Progress--

PACKER-GAGE: It certainly never got the kind of coverage that 47 percent
got.

(CROSSTALK)

KAPUR: Regardless of what we think about the 47 percent comments,
regardless of what he did or did not mean, if Mitt Romney runs again, he`s
out of the political arena now. Everybody`s popularity goes up.

(CROSSTALK)

KAPUR: He jumps back in, all of the things that dogged him then are going
to come back.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: I`m with you. I think ultimately, look, my guess is he
ultimately won`t run, but I just look at a Republican Party where Jeb Bush
is having big trouble with common core, Jeb Bush big trouble with
immigration, we all know about Chris Christie. People say Scott Walker.
We don`t even know if Scott Walker will get re-elected. So I do a
scenario, that might exist, but I don`t think he`ll jump in too eagerly, at
least in the immediate future. Anyway, coming up next, the latest on the
fight against the spread of Ebola virus. A live report from Dallas.
That`s after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: As we`ve been reporting this morning, the first Ebola patient
diagnosed in the United States remains in critical condition in a Dallas
hospital. Doctors downgraded Thomas Eric Duncan`s condition yesterday.
Family members say that when they tried calling the hospital to talk to him
yesterday, they were told he couldn`t speak because he had been intubated.
NBC News`s Mark Potter is live in Dallas this morning. So Mark, we were
hearing when we first learned about this story last week that he had been -
- he was in serious condition. Now he`s been downgraded to critical
condition, apparently intubated. Sounds like things have taken a turn for
the worse with this patient.

MARK POTTER, NBC NEWS: Yes. The signs do not look good. And the CDC
director on the "Today Show" just a short while ago said there is great
concern about this particular case. As you said, he has been downgraded.
He is now being called critical. As of Friday, he was said to be in
serious condition. Family members in North Carolina tell us that they have
been told by medical personnel here in Dallas that he is on both a
ventilator and a dialysis machine, and that he is being experimental drugs.
And there is that story that they were able to talk to him by phone from
Tuesday through Friday morning, but when they tried Saturday, they were
told that he could no longer speak because of the treatment that he was
being given.

But one of our station in Dallas, KXAS, was told by a medical source that
even though he is on life support, the fact that he is young, 42 years old,
does give some hope for his survival. But again, everyone is saying that
this is certainly a dicey case, and they`re watching it very closely.

Currently health officials are monitoring about 40 people who may have had
contact with him. They`re also looking at nine people who they know had
contact. They`re watching them very carefully. That includes four family
members that he was -- had been staying with. So far none of them have
shown any signs of Ebola infection. But authorities say should that
happen, they will be ready for it this time. Steve?

KORNACKI: My thanks to NBC News` Mark Potter live from Dallas this
morning. Appreciate that. And joining me now is Dr. Aileen Marty from
Florida International University. She`s an infectious disease expert, who
recently traveled to Nigeria to help contain the Ebola outbreak.

Doctor, thanks for joining us.

So I want to first start by asking you what your sense is -- I mean, right
now as Mark just said, all of these people who have been around this
patient in Dallas are being monitored, are being tested. No signs yet that
it`s spread in his circle beyond him. We`ve had a number of reports over
the last few days of a possible Ebola patient here or there in the United
States. None of these have turned into anything yet. What is your sense
so far of how well the United States has done in containing this?

DR. AILEEN MARTY, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY: No, the United States
is doing a very good job. It`s just a very difficult job to do. And we`re
going to keep on seeing this as long as there is a public health emergency
of international concern that`s completely out of control in three
countries in West Africa. And there continue to be flights coming in that
carry individuals that either have traveled there or are from there.

KORNACKI: Right. I mean, that`s sort of the eye-opener here with this
situation in Texas. Obviously it`s a tragic story for this individual, but
for Americans looking at this, they say, well, this was a guy who had had
clear, obvious exposure to Ebola in West Africa, was able to get into the
United States really with no problem. And again, it looks like it`s
contained just to him in this case. But it opened the eyes of a lot of
Americans, I think, to how potentially easy it would be for the disease to
enter here.

You, as we said, you played a role in Nigeria in containing Ebola over
there. Nigeria is sort of one of the success stories relative to Liberia.
What can be done in Liberia and in West African nations that are struggling
to contain this, what was done right in Nigeria that they can learn from
and that could help everybody in the world?

MARTY: Well, Nigeria had a number of advantages over Liberia in the sense
that the Nigerians reacted extremely quickly. They called for
international help very, very early on. And the team that was put together
was a fabulous team. So those are huge advantages over what happened in
the three other nations, where things got out of hand and grew, and there`s
a lot of unknown cases out there. Whereas in Nigeria, it`s more similar to
what happened here in that we knew who the index case was. We know -- and
we know who his contacts are, and these contacts are being very carefully
monitored.

Now, it is entirely possible that any one of the people, particularly the
nine who were very close contacts, may, you know, manifest symptoms of
Ebola and may actually become patients, but that should not alarm us if it
happens, because, again, they`re being closely monitored. They`re
quarantined, and it won`t lead to further spread.

KORNACKI: My thanks to Dr. Aileen Marty from Florida International
University for joining us. We appreciate that.

Coming up, Republicans are spoofing wedding dress shopping to try to appeal
to women. But will it work? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Rick Scott is perfect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rick Scott is becoming a trusted brand. He has new
ideas that don`t break your budget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But mom has other ideas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like the Charlie Crist. It`s expensive and a
little outdated, but I know best.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And don`t forget, the Charlie Crist comes with
additional costs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That`s an ad from the College Republican National Committee that
got a lot of attention this week. It`s supposed to be a send-up of the
reality series "Say Yes to the Dress," with the idea of attracting younger
women into voting Republican. But critics say it`s insulting the very
voters the GOP is trying to win over. The latest example of Republicans
shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to broadening their base.

All of this is related, of course, to the gender gap, what may be the
single biggest factor in this year`s midterm election. You`ve been hearing
about the gender gap obviously in elections for a long time now, but here
is what is new. We are now looking at gender gaps in some races that are
bigger than anything we`ve ever seen before. "National Journal`s" Scott
Bland looked at the numbers and put them together this week, and found some
amazing results.

Democrat Bruce Braley, for instance, is leading by 13 points among women in
the Iowa Senate race. Among men, the Republican Joni Ernst is up by 25.
That`s a gender gap of 38 points in that race. Put that in perspective,
the Obama/Romney election in 2012 set the record for the biggest gender gap
ever in a presidential race, and that was only 20 points.

We`re seeing this in a lot of places. North Carolina, Kay Hagan, the
Democrat, leads Republican Thom Tillis among women by 18 points. Tillis is
leading men by 14. That`s a gender gap of 32 points. Similar dynamic in
Colorado. And in the governor`s race in Wisconsin as well. You can see it
on the screen there. Women were the reason that President Obama held off
Mitt Romney in 2012. The Democrat strategy for 2014 has been to try to
increase their support among women as much as possible. In race after
race, they`ve sought to play up issues like education, contraception,
health care, designed to appeal to female voters. In Colorado, Udall has
even made abortion an issue.

What we`re seeing in these numbers is that Democrats are accomplishing
their mission here. But what we`re also seeing is the flip side of the
gender gap. The male side. Just as Democrats are running up the score
with women, Republicans are doing even better than usual among men, and
that has given us what we are now seeing in these numbers, some of the
biggest gender gaps on record.

This is a story to watch in the campaign home stretch. Right now the
gender gap is cutting both ways. But will one party end up benefiting more
from it than the other? To talk about it, I want to bring back in now Joan
Walsh from Salon, former Mitt Romney 2012 campaign adviser and Republican
political consultant Katie Packer-Gage.

Joan, you alluded to Wisconsin earlier in the show, actually. And the
newest poll out of Wisconsin shows Scott Walker leading Mary Burke overall
I think by five points. It shows--

WALSH: Among likely voters.

KORNACKI: Right. It shows him leading her among men by 28 points.
(inaudible) among women, 14 points. I look at that and I`m astounded,
because I`m used to talking about the gender gap, but when you start seeing
gaps like that -- I know it`s one poll, and those numbers can be a little
fungible, but when you start seeing a 42-point gender gap, you start
asking, what`s going on here?

WALSH: And I think Scott Walker made a boneheaded move this week when he
pointed to that and sort of bragged about his support with men and
basically said the problem -- the gender problem is Mary Burke has a
problem with men.

Now, that may be true, but if you`re still out there trying to campaign for
women`s votes, it`s a very odd thing to say. He still trails among women
by about 14 points. It used to be 18 points. So on her side, Mary Burke,
I think, could do a better job of showing that she`s a trail-blazing woman
and what her policies mean for women, but I think it`s dangerous for Scott
Walker to go around saying hey, I`ve got the men and she`s got a problem
with men. That`s really going to be off-putting to women.

KORNACKI: Katie, it`s interesting because we come out of the 2012 election
where all of the talk was the Republicans need to sort of broaden,
diversify their coalition. Immigration was going to be the thing with
Latino voters as sort of a gateway for the Republican Party to re-establish
a relationship. Two years later, the immigration hasn`t happened.
Obviously in 2012, a huge gender gap in that race. And now two years
later, as Joan says, you have Scott Walker running for Wisconsin and
essentially sending the message this week, hey, I think I can win this
thing with the men`s vote.

PACKER-GAGE: Well, I don`t know if that`s what he was suggesting. But
semantics aside, I`m thrilled to be having an actual discussion about this.
Historically when you talk about the gender gap, everybody assumes it`s
Republicans lagging with women. I think the numbers you just showed should
be, you know, sort of scary for Democrats as well. You know, that`s not
sustainable for them either. And you know, I think part of the reason for
that is that Democrats in state after state -- Colorado`s probably the best
example of it -- are literally running a one-issue campaign.

I was out in Colorado a few weeks ago. And every single ad that was on
television that was coming from Mark Udall and the Democrats was about
reproductive issues. And I think it`s insulting to women to suggest that
all they care about are reproductive issues, and I think it`s insulting to
men to not ever see what Mark Udall has to say about any other issue. And
I think that`s why you`re seeing --

KORNACKI: You think Democrats are turning off male voters with the focus
on trying to drive support with women.

PACKER-GAGE: I don`t just think it. I think the facts are bearing it out.
I think as we start to see some issues rise to the forefront like national
security issues as it relates to terrorism, as it relates to Ebola, these
issues are going to start to sort of percolate. And women are going to
say, look, talk to me about something else. I`m more than just a set of
reproductive organs. I`d like to hear where you stand on some of these
other issues.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: First of all, Mark Udall is leading, so he`s doing something right
in his campaign. And second of all, Scott Walker is running away with men.

PACKER-GAGE: Certainly I would argue --

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: And I would argue that Mary Burke hasn`t emphasized women`s issues
nearly enough. So I don`t think it`s oh, they`re talking too much about
the lady parts and men are going away. I think men --

PACKER-GAGE: Well, I was talking about Colorado in particular on that
front.

WALSH: Men tend to be more conservative on issues of government spending,
on taxation. Women tend to support a more robust social state, a more
robust safety net, higher spending on education. So these issues, they`re
very much economic issues as well.

I, too, get uncomfortable -- I`m staunchly pro-choice, but I think the
women`s vote, when we narrow it down to just being about contraception and
abortion, that`s problematic, too. It`s about the minimum wage. It`s
about paid family leave. It`s about better wages and getting women out --

KORNACKI: There`s also the other thing, we say the gender gap. There`s
the gap within the gender gap between married women and single women. It`s
huge. Republicans are actually doing quite well with married women, and
there`s no word for how bad they`re doing among single women. That`s the
other gap.

WALSH: And that`s why that ad was -- you say yes to the dress is so
hilarious. They`re trying to act like the old fuddy-duddy mom, is a
Democrat, she`s pushing Democrats. Actually, the old fuddy-duddy mom, my
generation, is Republican. And the daughters are much more likely to be
choosing the Charlie Crist dress.

(CROSSTALK)

PACKER-GAGE: -- "Say Yes to the Dress" ad, but that`s not an agenda that
the Republicans are pushing. That`s the College Republicans, and you know,
A for good intentions on their part. That`s not something that`s coming
out of the Republican National Committee or the Senatorial Committee. This
is something a bunch of kids came together and came up with. It got a
little buzz, but it`s not the Republican plan for women.

KORNACKI: You don`t think it was helpful for Republicans, right?

PACKER-GAGE: I`m not going to sit here and defend that ad.

WALSH: How about the one where President Obama is compared to an abusive
boyfriend?

PACKER-GAGE: Again, that was not our party. That was one donor out in
California that thought that was a great idea. I tweeted about that
immediately. I thought that that was a really boneheaded move for
Republicans to, you know, to put that out there. That`s not how women make
their choices.

(CROSSTALK)

PACKER-GAGE: Joan and I are in agreement on that one. We are in
agreement. We`re not looking at candidates as dates or husbands or wedding
dresses.

WALSH: I would argue this reflects a mentality among certain portions of
the Republican electorate that cannot get their minds around women voting
for Democrats or voting at all on a broad range of things that are
important to them personally and to their families. And just the default
is that we`re just idiots who care about online dating and picking out a
wedding dress.

PACKER-GAGE: I just don`t want to acknowledge that a group of College
Republicans and one donor in California somehow speak for our party. I
think that our party is much broader than that, and I think that those are
just bad examples of, you know, trying to reach the women`s vote. I think
I concur with that.

KORNACKI: College Republicans haven`t been this mischievous since Karl
Rove was with them. Anyway, we`ll see you both next hour. Joan and Katie,
appreciate that.

Coming up, it helped President Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize. But what
has he done for nuclear disarmament in the five years since? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The United States will take concrete steps towards a world without
nuclear weapons. To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the
role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others
to do the same. Make no mistake, as long as these weapons exist, the
United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter
any adversary and guarantee that defense to our allies, including the Czech
Republic. But we will begin the work of reducing our arsenal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That was the first big foreign policy speech of Barack Obama`s
presidency back in 2009, sometimes known just as the Prague speech. It`s
the address in which the new president laid out his plan for nuclear
disarmament, something that had been one of his passions even while he was
in the U.S. Senate. Maybe he wouldn`t be able to get rid of the entire
U.S. arsenal, but he had ambitious plans, big plans, to reduce it
significantly.

When he won the Nobel Peace Prize later that year, the committee attached
special importance to Obama`s vision and work for a world without nuclear
weapons.

But now, five years later, comes this. A recent report from the New York
Times that`s spawned some other new reports as well, the details of how the
Obama administration is now engaged in a, quote, "nationwide wave of atomic
revitalization." A $355 billion plan over the next decade to upgrade
weapons, plants, laboratories and delivery systems. The president who set
out to move America and the world beyond nuclear weapons is now overseeing
a massive rebuilding of the country`s atomic infrastructure.

It`s a shift that former Senator Sam Nunn, one of Obama`s mentors on the
subject of nuclear disarmament, called, quote, "hard to explain." The
president, he said, set out to create a brand-new direction on nuclear
arms, but has now ended up preserving the status quo.

So what happened? Politics are part of it. In April of 2009, at the
height of those ambitious first few months in office, President Obama and
the man who was then Russia`s president, Dmitry Medvedev, hammered out a
new arms treaty with the stated aim of achieving a nuclear-free world. But
to ratify it, Obama also needed to win the approval of the U.S. Senate,
two-thirds approval. So in order to reduce America`s nuclear complex,
Republicans, who had the key votes, demanded that the rest of it had to be
upgraded. President Obama agreed to what has now turned into that ten-
year, $355 billion plan, a plan in which the costs are expected to rise
even higher, up to $1 trillion, possibly, by the time the decade is over.

Few people would disagree that the U.S. nuclear complex was and is shabby,
at best. But does a trillion dollars in new missiles, new bombers, new
warheads really fit in with Obama`s vision of working toward a nuclear-free
world? Is it what the Nobel Committee really had in mind when they gave
them their top -- him their top prize. David Sanger is the national
security correspondent for the New York Times, and he joins us right now.
David, thanks for taking a few minutes.

So I`m curious, just the basic question, I mean, the politics of this
involving negotiations with the U.S. Senate, a compromise with Republicans.
They want to sort of spiffied-up nuclear arsenal. On the other hand, when
you look at the mission that the president laid out in the start of his
presidency to sort of wean the country off of its nuclear arsenal, this is
where we end up. Do you see a contradiction here at all?

DAVID SANGER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, certainly there is. And that`s why my
colleague, Bill Broad, and I spent so much time documenting in that story
what has happened. And basically, there were two parts of this bargain,
Steve, as you suggested. Part one was the president`s commitment to reduce
the number of nuclear weapons and the agreement that he reached with
Russia, which was ratified by the Senate in 2010. It was a very modest
agreement in that regard. It didn`t require major reductions, but we`re
certainly way, way below where we were thankfully at the height of the Cold
War.

But the other part of the bargain, of course, as you said, was this nuclear
revitalization. To make sure that if your weapons are safe and reliable,
then you can go about reducing their overall numbers. But a lot of things
have interceded. The president himself has not been able to negotiate a
follow-on treaty. The Russians aren`t interested. With the actions that
we`ve seen in Ukraine, it`s impossible to imagine that Vladimir Putin is
going to get interested in it now, or that the president could get it
ratified if it happened. And the president doesn`t want to act
unilaterally to cut the size of our arsenal, even though some of his former
top aides, Sam Nunn included, but also his defense secretary when he was
still in the private sector, has said we could probably cut them by one-
third or more without any great harm to safety.

KORNACKI: It almost sounds like you`re describing a regression back to the
Cold War mentality there, where, you know, well, we want to reduce ours,
but we don`t want to look weak to them. We don`t want to do something if
they`re not willing to do it. You have Putin more of a hard-liner over
there and he`s not going to initiate anything, and so it almost feels like
we`re ramping up instead of backing down, because we`re scared of what the
other side might perceive.

SANGER: Well, we`re certainly ramping up in our capability to produce
weapons, because the revitalization of the nuclear laboratories, even
though you`re not producing more weapons, but instead managing to re-
manufacture the old ones, make them more reliable and so forth, that would
offer a future president, if he had very different inclinations, he or she,
than President Obama does, to ramp up the number of weapons quite
dramatically.

It`s also hard to explain at a time that we`re trying to convince Iran not
to build these kind of facilities so that they don`t have a capability in
the future, and when we`re trying to convince Pakistan not to revitalize
its nuclear arsenal, which, of course, raises tensions in the most volatile
part of the world.

So it does seem to contradict a fair number of the president`s own
initiatives. I don`t think the president would argue with that. He would
simply say we had to get a deal together in order to pass the treaty.

KORNACKI: Yes, and that is the deal that we`re now -- that we`re now
dissecting and dealing with, I guess, for the next 10 years that will leave
the country with a sort of enhanced nuclear arsenal. My thanks to New York
Times` David Sanger. Really good reporting on it and thanks for joining us
this morning. We really appreciate that.

SANGER: Thanks, Steve.

Lots more to talk about this morning. Will Congress hold a vote on air
strikes against ISIS? Will they ever hold a vote on that? We`re minutes
away also from some exciting and new polls in the top Senate races in the
country. Brand-new numbers about to come out. Another full hour of news
and politics on UP straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Thanks for staying with us. We have a lot to cover this hour in
the worlds of politics and news. News on this to start with here, another
Ebola patient here in the U.S., one who was already treated and released is
back in the hospital. We`ll be checking in on why in a few minutes. We`re
also going to unveil some brand-new and really surprising polling numbers
from three key states in the battle to control the U.S. Senate.

But first, we want to begin this hour with what is already indisputably
military response to combat ISIS. In just the last two days, fighter jets
and remotely piloted aircraft have conducted nine air strikes in Syria and
five in Iraq against ISIS artillery positions and vehicles. This comes as
ISIS released footage of a new beheading on Friday of British aid worker
Allen Henning. With that video, ISIS also threatened the life of another
hostage, an American. He`s a former soldier and aid worker from Indiana
named Peter Kassig. His family says he has converted to Islam during his
time in captivity and has taken the name Abdul Rahman. Yesterday Kassig`s
parents released a video noting their son`s humanitarian work and care for
the Syrian people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULA KASSIG, MOTHER: Our son, we hope that you will see this message from
me and your father. We are so very proud of you and the work you have done
to bring humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. We implore those who are
holding you to show mercy and use their power to let you go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Congress has voted to approve giving moderate Syrian rebels
supplies and training. That`s the only vote that`s been held so far. Many
in Congress seem to want to hold a vote on the entire authorization, or at
least they say they do. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said this week that
Congress should vote on it in the upcoming lame-duck session. That`s when
members return to Washington after the election, but before the new
Congress is sworn in, in January. House Speaker John Boehner has suggested
that the lame-duck session is not the appropriate time for a war debate,
and that Congress should wait until January.

Congress has already skipped town until after the election with no new vote
maybe until the new session. And so for now, the air strikes continue,
with the president saying he already has the authority to act on his own.

But some brand-new polling data, this is released just moments ago, shows
that Americans have little faith in air strikes and that they`ll achieve
what they`re designed to. Nearly two-thirds of Americans, you can see
this, in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, nearly two-thirds of
Americans say that air strikes alone without ground troops will have no
effect or only a slight effect on ISIS. Brand-new polling numbers right
there. The election is in 30 days. The new Congress won`t start until 90
days from now. A little more than three months ago that we first learned
about this extremist al Qaeda splinter group, too extreme supposedly even
for al Qaeda, that was taking over large chunks of Iraq and causing the
Iraqi army to fold in the face of its advance.

So where will ISIS be three months from now? Will the congressional debate
even matter then? To discuss this, I`m joined by Congressman Adam Schiff
of California, member of the House Permanent Select Committee on
Intelligence. Congressman, thanks for joining us this morning. You have
been out there. You are not only saying you want a vote. You actually put
this in language. You`ve actually put legislation forward for a new
legislation for the use of military force. You are on the record with
that.

I saw this week that the Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, saying she now
thinks Congress should be ready to talk about this and debate this in that
lame-duck session after the election. Have you talked to her specifically
about your legislation, and do you know if she supports that?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIFORNIA: I haven`t talked to her about my bill in
particular. You know, I`m not wedded frankly to any approach, even my own,
but I do think it`s vitally important that when we come back into session,
if not before, that we have a vote on this.

Congress has the power to declare war. Congress has that power alone. And
if we abdicate that authority now, if we kick it over until next year or
kick it over any further, then future presidents are going to decide, you
know, they can go to war without Congress. And I think we`d have
tremendously negative repercussions both for Congress as an institution, as
well as for the balance of power.

So while I would love the resolution that I authored to be taken up, I
would just love to see us have that debate that the British parliament did
and take up an authorization and make sure that we move forward in a
constitutional way.

KORNACKI: So the president right now has authorized basically an open-
ended campaign of air strikes in Syria, in Iraq, designed to go after ISIS,
designed to support the Iraqi military in its campaign against ISIS, to
protect itself from ISIS. That is what the president`s authorized. That`s
what we`re doing right now. What would your legislation allow for?

SCHIFF: Well, my legislation authorizes the president to use force against
ISIL in Iraq and in Syria. It prohibits the use of ground troops in a
combat mission. So it would limit the military mission in that respect,
which is something the president said he wants to do in terms of that
limitation. It also sunsets the original AUMF, that original authorization
passed in the days after 9/11 in about 18 months, the same time that this
new authorization would be sunset, and immediately does away with the Iraqi
authorization to use force, which really is not on point here. So it also
cleans up some of these lingering authorizations that can go on
indefinitely unless Congress acts on them.

KORNACKI: How many of your colleagues do you think really actually do want
to vote on this?

SCHIFF: Well, there`s a growing number, I think, that genuinely want a
vote, that feel very uncomfortable about allowing the executive to go
forward without Congress. Certainly, you know, there are many that might
say that or many that won`t even say that because they`re happy to leave
this all on the president`s shoulders. That way they can blame the
president if things go badly, and they can celebrate and say why didn`t we
do it sooner if things go well. But I think there`s a growing body of
members that recognize the constitutional obligation, and there`s going to
be a real push to take up something in the lame duck, notwithstanding the
speaker`s resistance to doing so.

KORNACKI: Is there an argument to be made there -- I mean, in terms of --
I mean, I would argue that the right time to be having a vote in Congress
is now, because people are going to vote a month from now, and people
deserve to know exactly where every member of Congress stands on this and
what they think about this. When you do it in a lame-duck session, people
have already voted. A lot of those members aren`t going to be accountable
to the voters anymore. They`re going to be out of office in two months,
they are going to be on to other things. Is there something to be said for
the lame duck is not -- it`s better to vote than not vote, I guess, but the
lame duck isn`t the right time to be doing that?

SCHIFF: Well, you`re absolutely right. And the reality is we should have
never gone out of session. We should have stayed until we had this very
important debate. There are few things more important than a vote on war
or peace. And the president has said this will last years. That it
amounts to war. And for us to go into recess is just inexcusable. And I
find it all the more dubiously ironic, Steve, that you have a speaker
saying, well, I can`t bring up a vote on this because the president hasn`t
asked me to. This from a speaker who was suing the president for using too
much authority.

There`s nothing in the Constitution that says the president has to ask. It
merely says this is Congress`s obligation. So I find that extraordinarily
questionable. There`s nothing in the Constitution also that says we can`t
have a war vote before an election. That`s the most crass, I think,
political consideration. So I don`t think we should have left. But having
left, I think we ought to come back and have this vote as soon as possible.

KORNACKI: And final question to you. Your plan, the bill that you`ve put
together, the authorization you`ve put together, would not allow for the
use of ground forces, ground troops. We hear this refrain all the time, no
boots on the ground. No boots on the ground. We heard this from the
president. And it sort of assumes I think that there`s a mentality in this
country that after a decade-plus of war, this country is tired of
committing its troops overseas. And yet we`ve seen polling in the last
week that`s really surprised me, where you asked people this question. A
plurality of Americans now say they would support ground troops if military
commanders say that is what`s needed to get this done. A plurality say
they would support ground troops. We have that new polling also out this
morning showing an awful lot of pessimism among Americans about whether air
strikes alone will get this job done. Does it surprise you to find that
level of support for ground troops?

SCHIFF: Well, it surprises me a bit, except when I think you dig into
those numbers. If you ask people, do they support people on the ground who
may, for example, be able to spot and call in air strikes versus do you
support having a multi-year ground mission like we had earlier in Iraq or
Afghanistan, now in Syria or Iraq, most people, I think, will say no to
that question. So at times, it depends how you define what you mean by
ground troops.

The bottom line is that the massive occupation of another country or two
countries just isn`t likely to work. It`s not likely to be effective. And
while I understand people`s skepticism that we can accomplish our
objectives through the air or in combination with the forces that we`re
trying to work with on the ground, I think frankly, there`s even greater
reason for skepticism that another massive American occupation makes any
military sense.

KORNACKI: All right, Congressman Adam Schiff from California, appreciate
the time this morning. Thanks for that.

Bringing back the panel now, Sahil Kapur from Talking Points Memo, MSNBC
contributor Salon.com`s editor at large Joan Walsh and former Mitt Romney
2012 campaign adviser Republican political consultant Katie Packer-Gage.
So, Sahil, you`re up there, you cover this, you know Capitol Hill as well
as anyone. Is there ever going to be a vote? And if so when is that vote
going to happen?

KAPUR: I really doubt it. I think most members of Congress sort of get
this is an extremely volatile situation, and there`s a high probability of
things going badly. There is a very low probability that things will go
well, and they`re happy to sort of keep their hands clean and criticize
when things go wrong.

KORNACKI: Even this idea of a lame-duck session or Boehner saying maybe in
January, you think not at all?

KAPUR: Right. If you pay attention to what the speaker is saying, he`s
saying he`s happy to have it, but he`s going to wait for the president to
request it. And the president doesn`t think he needs it. So they`re doing
this little dance where they`re both acknowledging the fact that there are
real questions here. And the legal grounds that the president`s using here
is dubious, at best. But the speaker and the president are actually on the
same page here. They can`t agree on the color of the sky most of the time,
but they`re okay on the war issue.

WALSH: It`s so cynical. I mean, you know, Congressman Schiff is right,
and Congressman Jack Kingston said something much to the same effect last
month, talking about --

KORNACKI: Republican congressman from Georgia.

WALSH: Republican congressman soon to leave.

KORNACKI: Right.

WALSH: Talking about his colleagues basically wanting to be able to blame
it on the president if it goes badly, or take credit for it and say he
should have done it sooner if it goes well.

This notion that they can`t do it in a lame-duck session, I think it`s
really ridiculous. Obviously they should have done it before, but they can
come back and do it. We`re still paying them. They still have a job.
This is a war that began on their watch. I mean, they voted to extend the
Bush tax cuts in 2010, lame-duck session. Lame-duck sessions do do work.
And this idea that that can`t possibly happen --

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: It raises --

KAPUR: It`s also true of Democrats.

(CROSSTALK)

PACKER-GAGE: But the question of whether or not you have to have a vote in
order to hear what people think on this issue is sort of absurd. These
candidates are out there. They`re campaigning. They`re attending town
hall meetings. They`re talking to reporters. You know, it`s easy enough
to ask the question. I mean, the fact that it`s going on already, it sort
of begs the question of --

(CROSSTALK)

PACKER-GAGE: The question of whether or not there needs to be a vote,
these things are happening now.

(CROSSTALK)

PACKER-GAGE: I think what you`re seeing the American people clamoring for
is leadership. You know, not a president that says here`s all the things
we`re not going to do. You know, telegraphing to our enemies, here`s all
the things that we`re not going to do that you don`t have to worry about.
I think that that`s a dangerous thing, and I think you`re seeing the
American people respond to that by going I don`t know if we need ground
troops. There are military experts that know the answer to these questions
and we should listen to them. Maybe things shouldn`t (inaudible) entirely
on a political purposes.

KORNACKI: It seems like a great vehicle to get the voices of the American
people (inaudible) would be a congressional debate, to have their
representatives in Congress weighing the pros and cons and casting a vote.

WALSH: And have it culminate in a vote. Not merely a debate.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: You can remember everybody in the run-up to the Iraq war in
2003, in the fall of 2002, there was debate and there was a vote. In the
run-up to the Saddam Hussein and Kuwait in `91, there was a vote in
Congress. It was a very close vote.

WALSH: Right.

KORNACKI: It raises the question to me, if we ended up having some kind of
a vote, whether it was in December or January, February next year, facts on
the ground have been established by three, four months of an air campaign.
So what if they have the debate and they say you know what? We don`t want
to do this and they vote no. What happens then?

KAPUR: And that`s exactly why I think the president doesn`t want to
request this. He doesn`t trust Congress to tell him the time of day, let
alone do a war authorization without messing it up. And the speaker, I
think, also doesn`t want to be in a situation where he could be seen as
messing up the U.S. strategy on this. So they`re just trying to stay away
from this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it`s their job.

KAPUR: It is their job. It`s Congress`s job. As you said, Congress can
have a debate and they can set the parameters of what the president can or
cannot do. They can also say what he should and should not do. This
shouldn`t be entirely up to the executive branch to decide this. I think
this is Congress`s job to declare war and decide what they can and cannot
do.

KORNACKI: It`s a question, too, of precedent for the future. The next
president who comes along and decides hey, I want to do something
militarily right here.

WALSH: That guy didn`t need it, so I guess I don`t need it either. It
widens presidential power.

KAPUR: This could be very dangerous next time, because this is a campaign,
I think, that has broad support among the American public. But the next
president can use the same legal authority to start a war that doesn`t have
that support. That could be much more dangerous. The legal precedent here
is troubling as well.

KORNACKI: I see this from Democrats and Republicans, I`ve seen so many
rank and files or back bencher members of the House over the last few weeks
interviewed about this, and they all say yes, I want a vote, yes, I want a
vote. And it really feels to me like they know they can say that because
their leaders are protecting them. Sure, go home and tell me you want a
vote and be a stand-up guy or a stand-up woman, but at the end of the day,
you won`t have to do it. So we`ll see what happens, but Sahil, I don`t
like your pessimism on this, but you`re probably right.

Up next, brand-new polls in the battle for the Senate, and discussion with
the state`s top political reporters. Three top reporters, three key
states, three brand-new polls. We have the numbers next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. We`ve already talked about the new NBC/Wall Street
Journal poll numbers this morning showing skepticism among the American
people about the potential effectiveness of air strikes. With the midterm
election now less than one month away, though, right here we have the polls
we`ve been talking all morning. Hot off the presses now. These are brand-
new numbers from three of the most crucial battleground states in the fight
for control of the Senate. These are numbers from NBC News and Marist.
They`ve been polling these three states. North Carolina, where Democratic
Senator Kay Hagan is fighting to hold on to her seat. This is one
Democrats really need to win to hold on to the Senate. We also have a
brand-new poll here for Kansas. It`s where Republican Pat Roberts is
facing an independent challenger Greg Orman, and also from Iowa, where
Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst are vying for an open seat.
One that is critical to both parties. We have experts on the ground in
each of these three states, to help put these numbers in context.

I`ll introduce them now. Joining me to talk about Kansas, we have Dave
Helling of the Kansas City Star. From North Carolina, we have Jim Morrill,
reporter for the Charlotte Observer. And tackling the Iowa race, we have
Kathy Obradovich, political columnist at the Des Moines Register. OK, so
we`re going to go through these one by one. Dave, we will start with you
in Kansas. We`re going to put I think the single most surprising number in
these polls up right now. This is the Senate race. It shows Greg Orman,
the independent, now ten points ahead of Pat Roberts, the Republican
incumbent, ten points. 48-38 in Kansas. Dave, we`ve seen a number of
recent polls that have shown Orman with the lead. We have not seen one
where he`s up double digits. This is very surprising to me. It says Greg
Orman -- Pat Roberts is not just in trouble; Greg Orman is the front-runner
in this race.

DAVE HELLING, KANSAS CITY STAR: Yes. It is consistent. It`s a little bit
bigger margin, Steve, than in other polls, but it is consistent with other
polls in this respect. Pat Roberts has been stuck in the high 30s to the
low 40s for months, and he hasn`t been able to reset the race or break out
in any way. He has not been able to find a way to give Kansas voters to
give him another look.

You know, he`s been in office since 1981. If an incumbent Republican in a
Republican state is stuck in the high 30s or the low 40s, he`s got lots of
work to do. And he`s running out of time to do it.

KORNACKI: It`s an amazing number. Now, the second high-profile race in
Kansas, Kansas, the political election capital of America this year. So
there`s a second high-profile race here, and that is Sam Brownback, the
Republican governor, having a very difficult reelection. And you can see,
we have a number in that race now, Paul Davis, the Democratic challenger,
barely ahead. Ahead by a point there, 44-43, basically within the margin
of error. What is your sense right now, Dave, of the state of that race?

HELLING: You get the sense that first of all, the Pat Roberts/Greg Orman
race has really sucked a lot of the oxygen out of the Davis/Brownback race.
A lot less focus on that. So there may be some Republicans coming home to
Sam Brownback.

The other dynamic at work in Kansas, Steve, is -- and I wrote about this
about a week ago -- in some strange way, Roberts and Brownback are sort of
joined, yet they`re apart. And one of the struggles for Democrats will be
finding Republicans who are willing to vote against Roberts and Brownback.
You get the sense that Republicans are going to pick one or the other to
sort of punish in November. And so far they`re punishing, if you will,
Roberts. That means, again, some votes may be coming back to Sam
Brownback. So we guess that one will be nip and tuck right until election
day.

KORNACKI: That`s interesting. So Brownback potentially at least could be
saved by a Republican losing a Senate seat out there. We want to move to
Jim in North Carolina. The race there is Kay Hagan, the Democratic
incumbent, and Thom Tillis, the Republican challenger. The new NBC Marist
poll there, you see Kay Hagan ahead by four points. 44-40 in this new
poll. And to put this in a little bit of context, we can also show you in
North Carolina, according to this poll, President Obama`s approval rating,
remember, this is a state that he carried in 2008, lost in 2012, and he --
that`s actually Kansas on the screen. But in North Carolina, he`s at 40
percent approve, 50 percent disapprove. So the president is under water in
North Carolina, but the candidate from the president`s party, Kay Hagan, is
ahead by four points.

Jim, can you give us a sense of what you think is going on in that Senate
race?

JIM MORRILL, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Yes, Steve. I think that those polls --
your poll is consistent with a lot of others that have been run. In fact,
I think the Real Clear Politics average is about 4 percent. And I think a
lot of that is a reflection of how Kay Hagan and her allies have been able
to dominate the airwaves in North Carolina. I don`t think any state has
seen as much outside spending as North Carolina. And a lot of those, the
preponderance of that spending and those ads have been in favor of Hagan.
And she`s been able to sort of set the ad agenda, at least until recently.

KORNACKI: And so when you talk to Republicans, you talk to the Tillis
people, when they look at polls that have him a few points down, what do
they say their path to victory is?

MORRILL: Well, I think that they`re trying to change the subject. His
latest ads are about the rise of ISIS and blaming the president and Senator
Hagan for not doing more to sort of stop the rise of ISIS. And I think
that they`re trying to get their people out to vote. I think both sides
are doing that, but they`ve got several groups working on their side,
including Americans for Prosperity and others that are trying to galvanize
the grassroots.

KORNACKI: Yes. And you talk about the spending disparity and potentially
benefiting Democrats to this point. Is there any indication that that is
going to change, that that`s beginning to change and even out, or is that
an advantage Democrats can look forward to through election day?

MORRILL: Well, Democrats have a lot of money pledged through election day.
I think the Senate Majority PAC, Harry Reid`s PAC, is in for $14 million in
the entire campaign. Now, I understand that the Republicans and Republican
allied groups have increased spending in the last week or so. But the
coming week could be a pivotal week in the race. There are two debates in
this coming week. And the first one involves the libertarian candidate,
who, according to your poll, is polling 7 percent, which could be decisive.

KORNACKI: Okay. And now the third race here, we have new numbers, then
we`ll go to Kathy Obradovich out in Iowa. This is Joni Ernst, the
Republican, Bruce Braley, the Democrat, an open-seat race. We`ll put the
number up there. You see Joni Ernst, the Republican, leading by two points
in this new NBC News/Marist poll. Again, there have been a number of other
recent polls that have also shown Ernst ahead. She clearly has taken a
small, but she does have a lead in this race right now. Kathy, what has
happened out there to put Joni Ernst ahead?

KATHIE OBRADOVICH, DES MOINES REGISTER: Well, I think that this has been
one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. And with your
poll, maybe it is the most competitive Senate race in the country. And
Joni Ernst has taken a slight lead in this race. And there are several
points in her favor, some of which show up in your poll this morning.

One is that Barack Obama`s popularity is low in Iowa. He is below 50
percent. Secondly, Terry Branstad, Republican governor in Iowa, is blowing
the doors off right now. He is headed toward a very decisive victory if
things continue as the trends have been. And also, Bruce Braley and Joni
Ernst are both still trying to introduce themselves to Iowans. And Joni
Ernst appears to have done a better job of that so far. She went through a
very competitive primary, and Iowans have gotten to know her. Bruce
Braley, despite being an eight-year congressman in Iowa, has -- is not as
well known statewide as Joni Ernst. So those are some of the factors going
in.

We`ve got some things that Democrats say will help pull them out in
November. One is that they believe they`re going to have a superior ground
game at getting out the vote. Secondly, they believe that they are going
to be able to let voters know that Joni Ernst has switched from the very
conservative persona that she had during the primary to something that is
looking more middle of the road as she is running toward November.
However, Joni Ernst has something going on in your poll as well, an
enthusiasm gap. Voters who are for Joni Ernst seem to be a lot more
enthusiastic for her. You might say, well, what difference does it make if
everybody votes, right? Except that the people who are most enthusiastic
are not just going to vote. They`re going to bring their friends and
relatives and go and convince them to vote as well. So that enthusiasm gap
is important.

KORNACKI: And the issue here I think a lot of people nationally when they
look at the Iowa Senate race, they think of Bruce Braley and this video
that emerged earlier this year of him at this fund-raiser. He`s talking to
a group of lawyers, raising money from them, and basically saying of Chuck
Grassley, the Republican senator from Iowa, saying you guys don`t want the
Republicans, you the lawyers don`t want the Republicans to get control of
the Senate, because then you`d have a farmer from Iowa without a law
degree, Chuck Grassley, chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee. That tape
got a lot of attention certainly when it came out. Is that a factor in
this race? Does that continue to haunt Bruce Braley and show up in his
numbers?

OBRADOVICH: We have seen Joni Ernst leading Bruce Braley by a big margin
in rural areas. So that video, which was seen as not only disparaging to
Chuck Grassley but also possibly disparaging to farmers, may be, in fact, a
factor going forward. And it was interesting in the Des Moines Register`s
debate with KCCI-TV earlier this month, the two candidates were asked who
was the first person you would call for advice if you get elected, and both
of them said Chuck Grassley. Bruce Braley is saying that Chuck Grassley
would be the first person he`d call for advice if he got elected. I think
that was maybe an acknowledgment that he made a mistake by, you know, maybe
picking on Grassley a little bit earlier in the campaign.

KORNACKI: I`m sure Chuck Grassley enjoyed that moment. Anyway, Kathie
Obradovich from the Des Moines Register, Dave Helling from the Kansas City
Star, Jim Morrill from the Charlotte Observer, appreciate you all joining
us this morning to go over these new numbers. Again, some interesting new
numbers, especially out there in Kansas. I`m sure I`ll be talking to all
of you in the home stretch the rest of the way in this campaign.
Appreciate you joining us. In just 30 days, a potential Republican
presidential candidate faces his biggest hurdle yet. We will talk about it
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: While many embattled Republican governors are running to the
middle in tight races taking place in blue states this year, Governor Scott
Walker of Wisconsin is doing the opposite. He first rose to national
prominence in 2011 when he stripped public employee unions of their
bargaining rights. Organized labor and their Democratic allies railed
against Walker for that, and trying remove him from office, became a
national priority of the left.

Walker survived the 2012 recall attempt and now he`s up for re-election for
a full four-year term. And he`s sticking to his same conservative
playbook. NBC senior political reporter Perry Bacon writes, quote, "in a
state that Obama won in both 2008 and 2012, Walker is running an
unabashedly conservative re-election campaign. Taking no steps to move to
the left on policy and instead bragging up his role as a bogeyman to
Democrats both here and nationally."

Walker wants to institute drug tests for food stamp recipients, expand the
state school voucher program, and refuses to accept expanded Medicaid
funding under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. His
approach is working here, in a state with a large number of Republican and
Democratic partisans but few swing voters.

For months, polls have shown the race neck and neck. But a new poll out
this week showed that Walker has eked into a five-point lead. So will this
boldly partisan and ideological approach work for Governor Walker? As it
seems to be working so far? Joining me to discuss is MSNBC political
correspondent Kasie Hunt, who interviewed both Governor Scott Walker and
his Democratic challenger, Mary Burke, earlier this week.

So, Kasie, thanks for joining us. We have a bunch of clips from these
interviews you had. We want to get to them here throughout this segment.
But I just want to start with the bottom-line issue of your sense of where
this race is right now, because I think this story is very interesting to a
lot of people. Republicans look at this as sort of an inspirational story.
Democrats look at this as a baffling story. But Wisconsin, a state that
typically votes Democratic at the presidential level, it looks like Scott
Walker has moved into a slight edge for re-election here, with a very
conservative message. How?

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC: With a very conservative message. And you know, you
sort of -- you outlined it well in that this is a state that`s extremely
divided. And in my interview with Scott Walker, I talked to him a little
bit about how the state`s changed since he became governor. The state used
to have a wider middle. Like 20 percent or so of voters considered
themselves unaffiliated, might swing back and forth. Now that number is
closer to 4 percent. And most people in the state have already made up
their mind. So it is really a question of machinery organizing, each side
getting its people out to the polls.

And I will say I feel like there`s a very large weight on Mary Burke`s
shoulders right now, because the left, Democrats, really have a lot riding
on attempting to beat Scott Walker. And if they could take Walker out for
all the reasons you mentioned because of this union busting, because of all
these conservative policies, it would be considered a huge victory, and
she`d probably rise to prominence.

I will say that`s a lot to carry for somebody who`s never been a political
candidate before. And I think I picked up some of that in the interview I
did with her.

KORNACKI: And again, we`ll show a clip in a second. Just following up on
the Walker point for a minute, too, because I`ve been thinking looking at
this race, I`ve been thinking a lot if people remember George Allen.
George Allen, a Republican senator from Virginia, and he was up for re-
election in 2006. All year, this was the trial run because he was going to
run for president in 2008, and he was going to be the Republican
establishment choice and all that. He screwed up, that whole macaca thing
happened, and Jim Webb beats him, and that`s it. There is no George Allen
presidential campaign. And it seems like there`s a similar dynamic here
for Scott Walker, where a lot of people are talking about him for 2016. It
makes sense for Republicans for a lot of reasons. Not if he loses here.

HUNT: Probably not. I mean, this is the kind of thing where, you know, he
becomes a conservative here. I mean, I think there is a slight possibility
that should he go down narrowly to Mary Burke, he would still be considered
something of a martyr on the right, you know, somebody who did stick to his
principles, stick to his guns, didn`t try to move to the left, didn`t try
to make any accommodation.

But I think in the broad scheme of things, I mean, it would sink him down
the list significantly. But I will say that, you know, to that point, I
was there when Governor Chris Christie was in campaigning for Walker. And
I think that, you know, you heard from him this idea that Republicans
nationally want to hold up Scott Walker because they want to be able to
show to other Republican governors, hey, you can govern like a real
conservative and still win.

KORNACKI: So I want to play one of the clips here. So you were out in
Wisconsin on Monday. I want to play a clip from that and ask you about it
on the other side. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUNT: -- Mary Burke partly for being a wealthy millionaire who outsourced
jobs. And you actually took a hit from the Wall Street Journal for that.
They said that`s not how Republicans should talk about free enterprise.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WISCONSIN: In our case, what we did was really
criticize the hypocrisy. She was going after a couple of companies. In
the end she was actually wrong about. Her theory was that they got
taxpayers` money and then they sent jobs overseas.

HUNT: Those were Democratic attacks against Mitt Romney.

WALKER: But our point was that she went after me on that, and we said the
hypocrisy of doing that when the very company that she personally was a
part of and still profits from today did exactly that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So that`s interesting, and the background to this, when we talk
about the conservative message that Scott Walker has, he is trying to
strike a sort of populist economic theme running against Burke, who has
this background, the Trek bicycle company and so much of the production
being done overseas. And he`s trying to make that an issue. As you say
there, in a way that Democrats tried to make outsourcing an issue with
Romney in 2012. Is he gaining any sort of crossover traction with blue-
collar Democratic voters by doing that?

HUNT: I mean, I think that to a certain extent, this was, again, playing
up to his base, because as he pointed out, you know, he was trying to turn
those attacks around on her. I just thought what was most interesting
about this is that I think that it serves to highlight the danger that he
feels that he`s in, for him to sort of take this line of attack against
her, because he did get sort of smacked back by the Wall Street Journal for
doing that. They said hey, this is not how Republicans talk about free
enterprise. So even if, you know, Walker is on the one hand pursuing
policies that, you know, maybe Republicans or the Wall Street Journal
editorial page would agree with, you know, to win this campaign, he has to
talk like, as you say, a populist.

KORNACKI: There`s also this issue of the investigation that`s been going
on sort of around Governor Walker, having to do with financing a potential
coordination with other groups that, you know, his campaign, his people are
not supposed to be coordinating with that recall back in 2012. There was a
court that had shut that thing down a while ago. Now it`s apparently back
on. Is that an issue in this race, and how serious is his exposure there?

HUNT: Mary Burke has sort of -- you know, when I talked to her about it,
she basically stepped out of the way a little bit. She said hey, this is
for the courts and the voters to decide. So it`s not something that the
candidate herself is going after. Democrats are obviously making a
significant issue of it.

It`s one of these things that in some ways it`s similar to the bridge
scandal in New Jersey in that it sort of has bubbled along very slowly, and
Walker has not been directly implicated. They say he`s not actually being
investigated. He did face a little bit of a backslide last week when a
panel of judges said that the state could, in fact, continue their
investigation. A federal judge had initially said that the state needed to
shut that down.

So it`s one of these things that`s kind of hanging over Scott Walker. You
know, and that sort of threatens to derail him at any moment. But that
also, you know, I think brings -- there`s a lot of frustration right now as
we can see with these midterms, with the process of elections and politics,
and how, you know, everybody seems to sort of be doing it wrong. And
there`s a lot of frustration on the part of voters with that kind of use of
the process. And that`s really what this case is all about. It`s whether,
you know, maybe Walker didn`t actually do anything illegal, but he stepped
right up to the line of what the laws are intended to do in trying to keep
money out of politics. You`re only supposed to be able to raise $10,000
from one person for a governor`s race. And he was using these outside
groups, you know, playing an influential role in trying to funnel larger
sums of money from big donors. So far, no illegalities, but, you know,
voters may decide, hey, that doesn`t smell right.

KORNACKI: And just in terms of Mary Burke, the Democrat, as we say, the
poll putting her five points behind. I know you asked her also this week,
you asked her about President Obama. She didn`t seem too interested in
getting into that at all. Again, this is one of those states, where it`s a
blue state, but the president`s numbers are down there as elsewhere. What
can Mary Burke do to make up this gap and win this race?

HUNT: Well, I mean, the irony to a certain extent there is that they are
actually bringing in the Obamas. Despite the fact that she, you know, put
that distance between them in our interview. She`s sort of trying to walk
this fine line, on the one hand being the candidate who is trying to heal
the divisiveness that sort of plagued Wisconsin politics over the last
couple of years. You know, there are a certain segment of voters who are
looking for somebody who`s going to say, hey, we`re going to stop fighting
so nastily and aggressively. And she, that`s sort of the message that she
brings.

On the other hand, and it`s -- there is no way around the reality that this
is a base election. This is about moving the core motivated voters to the
polls. And for that, you know, they still need the Obamas. This is one of
the few places President Obama is planning to go this fall in the midterms.
Michelle Obama was there this past week for Mary Burke. So I mean, I was
actually very struck by her answer. You know, I asked her, you know, who
would you model your leadership style after? And she said, not Obama, but
maybe Abraham Lincoln or George Washington.

KORNACKI: You can`t argue with either of those models, I guess, if you put
it that way.

HUNT: I guess not.

KORNACKI: Interesting in the context of that question, though. MSNBC
political correspondent Kasie Hunt. Really appreciate you taking time to
join us this morning. Really good interviews this week. That was good
stuff you had from Wisconsin.

HUNT: Thanks for having me, Steve.

KORNACKI: Sure. Coming up, we`re going to look at another close Senate
race, one that`s been under the radar until now, but that involves some
infighting between some two very big-name Democrats. We`re going to
explain that to you right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: In just a little bit, we`re going to dig into a Senate race that
no one is talking about, but where there is a lot happening behind the
scenes. It`s a race that has put two of the biggest-name Democrats in
America at odds with each other and probably cost the party a golden
opportunity. We`ll tell you about that in a minute.

But as you know, also, the world is grappling this morning with the Ebola
crisis. The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States is now in
critical condition at a Dallas hospital this morning. Family members say
they are no longer able to speak with Thomas Eric Duncan by telephone
because hospital officials have told them that he has been intubated.

Meanwhile, the NBC News cameraman who was diagnosed with Ebola while
working in West Africa is expected to arrive at a Nebraska hospital
tomorrow. He`ll be treated by the same team that cared for Dr. Rick Sacra,
Massachusetts doctor and missionary who contracted Ebola while in Africa.

Overnight, we learned that Dr. Sacra is back in the hospital with what
appears to be a respiratory infection. He`s in stable condition. Doctors
do not think it`s a recurrence of Ebola. Important to point that out.

We`ll be right back with more from the world of politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Here`s a battleground state you probably haven`t heard anything
about this year, but where there is some real and some increasing drama
just behind the stage. South Dakota. That`s where Democratic Senator Tim
Johnson is retiring. Because South Dakota is such a strongly red state,
the press and the political world has just assumed all year that former
Republican Governor Mike Rounds will win the seat, and that Republicans
will therefore pick up a Democratic seat in South Dakota. But here`s the
latest poll from PPP. It shows that Rounds is ahead, but that he`s only
getting 35 percent of the vote. Another recent polls have shown him doing
a little better, but in all of them, he is running well under 50 percent.
Rounds would be in real trouble, in fact, if this was a two-man race
instead of a three-way race. Think of what`s happened in Kansas, where
Republican Senator Pat Roberts is now suddenly in grave danger of losing
his seat because the Democrat dropped out, and that left Roberts stuck in a
one-on-one campaign with independent Greg Orman. And as we just saw in
that new poll we showed you, Roberts is now running ten points behind Orman
in that race.

Well, if something like that happened in South Dakota, if either the
Democrat, Rick Weiland, or the independent, Larry Pressler, he is a former
U.S. senator, former Republican U.S. senator running as an independent this
year, if either of them dropped out of that race, it would be very bad news
for Rounds.

But even if that doesn`t happen -- and it still doesn`t look like it`s
going to happen -- even if that doesn`t happen, it doesn`t look like the
Republicans have put this race away, because look at that poll again. The
Democrat is only seven points behind Rounds. So is there a chance here for
Democrats to put up some real money and to catch the Republicans sleeping?
It`s probably a stretch, but maybe there is. Here`s where the drama comes
in. "The Hill" newspaper reported this week that there are some very
bitter feelings between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and former Senate
Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Harry Reid`s predecessor, and Tom Daschle is
from South Dakota, and the tension is over this race. Rick Weiland, the
Democratic candidate, is close to Daschle, and Daschle has been supporting
him aggressively, but Reid wanted a different Democrat, former
Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, he wanted her to run in this race
instead of Weiland. And so with Weiland running now, instead of Herseth
Sandlin, Reid publicly said this, quote, he said, "we are going to lose in
South Dakota, more than likely." And Daschle has been pressing Reid to
reconsider that and to help direct real national money into this race, but
so far Weiland is pretty much on his own out in South Dakota.

So here we are, the election is a month away. Democrats are in serious
danger of losing the Senate. If they could ever find a way to win in South
Dakota, it would probably change everything. This is a race that
Republicans have been pencilled in to win all year. So will Democrats make
a late play in South Dakota? Will Harry Reid reconsider and make this race
one of his priorities? And if he doesn`t, does that leave Democrats with
any chance at a race that could have been a chance for them?

We were hoping to talk, we were planning to talk with Rick Weiland here
this morning and ask him all about this. Unfortunately, technical
difficulties mean we`ll have to look into doing it another weekend. I am
looking forward to that. I am also looking forward to finding out what we
should know for the week ahead. Our answers with the panel, they are back
after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right, we`re getting close to the end of the show. That
means it`s time to find out what our guests think we should know for the
week ahead. Joan, we`ll start with you.

WALSH: This is a week that a lot of the midterm races will start to
consolidate and we`ll start to see trends going in one or the other
direction. And I spent a week in Wisconsin and thought your segment with
Kasie was great. I would add that Scott Walker is consolidating his base,
and Mary Burke still needs to do that with hers. She has a very
technocratic pitch, it`s a very high-minded pitch. I want to bring
Wisconsin together, I do not want to divide, so she`s not talking about
voter disenfranchisement, she`s staying away from those hot button issues,
but I think that in order to heal Wisconsin, you`ve got to get elected
first. And so I look for her to sharpen her message on issues of voting
rights and women`s rights and economic rights in the weeks to come.

KORNACKI: You are saying take a page from the Walker book, know who your
base is and get them out.

WALSH: Know who your base is and turn them out. There are about 4 percent
undecided. It`s really going to lie with turning out Milwaukee and
Madison.

KORNACKI: Sahil.

KAPUR: The Supreme Court`s term officially begins this week, and this
could be really a blockbuster term because they might take up same-sex
marriage, they might take up abortion, they might take up a case that was
once seen as a long shot about the legality of ACA subsidies in 36 states.
What we know they definitely will take up is important cases about
redistricting, online threatening statements, whether they`re protected by
the First Amendment, and there is one other, religious liberty for inmates.

KORNACKI: That is a full docket it sounds like. Katie.

PACKER-GAGE: I think what you`ll see this week from Republicans is a
continuation of President Obama`s comments at the end of this last week,
where he said that his policies are going to be on the ballot this fall.
Republicans are going to start to use that rhetoric. They`re going --
you`re going to see that in campaign ads over and over. I think that the
candidates they`re running against that have voted with Obama consistently
are going to rue the day those words came out of his mouth.

KORNACKI: All right. And I was still struck we had those polls in the
middle of the show that the Kansas numbers and what Dave Helling from
Kansas was telling us about how Democrats may succeed in getting Pat
Roberts out, but it may actually be helping Sam Brownback in the governor`s
race there, that`s an interesting trend to be watching there. Thank you to
Katie Packer-Gage, Sahil Kapur, and Joan Walsh. Thank you for getting UP
with us this morning. Thank you for joining us. We`ll be back next
weekend, Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 Eastern time. Coming up next,
"Melissa Harris-Perry" with guest host Dorian Warren.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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