'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, November 8th, 2014
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: November 8, 2014
Guest: Barney Frank, Will Cain, Ann Lewis, Alex Burns, M.J. Lee, Joe
Nocera, Kate Nocera
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, "UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI": The first test.
All right. Good morning. Thanks for getting UP with us and what is the
first weekend of a new era in American politics? The President appears to
have turned the page on the Republican Party`s big gains in Tuesday night`s
midterm elections. He`ll be nominating a new attorney general later this
morning. Loretta Lynch. She`s the federal government`s top prosecutor in
Brooklyn, New York. More on that in just a minute. And President Obama
will be departing tonight on a three nation, nine-day trip to Asia. NBC`s
Kristen Welker will be joining him on that trip.
And she joins us now first from the north lawn of the White House. So,
Kristen, before you head off on that trip, there was a, you know, big
meeting in the White House yesterday. The President, top Congressional
leaders, both parties. What came out of that meeting? I saw certainly the
sound of everybody saying we`re going to, you know, work together,
bipartisanship. I feel we hear that every two years. Anything specific
come out of this that says this is different?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, no, nothing came
out of it that sounded different, Steve. What you heard publicly from
President Obama when he made brief remarks at the top of that lunch was
that he interested in hearing from Republicans. We do know that they
discussed some areas of agreement like increasing funding for fighting
Ebola and fighting ISIS. However, when that lunch ended, the statements
that we got from both sides seem to suggest that they`re still dug in on
some of these key issues, particularly over the issue of immigration,
Steve. President Obama has said he is moving forward with his plans to
issue an executive order on immigration before the end of the year.
Republicans have balked at this, they say that could make it difficult to
get any of the smaller deals that they want to get done on things like
trade and infrastructure.
For their part, Republicans are also digging in on the President`s health
care law. They say that they`re going to bring up bills to repeal his law.
That impart is aimed at sort of mollifying the base that a lot of, of
course, the senators who won ran on that platform, Steve. But it`s hard to
see that there`s a new tone here. Having said that there`s a lot of
pressure on both sides to do something. President Obama states in his
final two years in office. And of course, Republicans now own the
Congress. So if they don`t get something done they`re going to own that as
well. This issue of immigration reform, though, is going to be I think a
major sticking point moving forward. The White House`s response to that is
that Republicans can deal with it by passing something. Of course there is
a bipartisan bill that passed in the Senate so the White House says, look,
pass something in the House and then we won`t have to act unilaterally on
immigration reform. But it doesn`t look like that is going to happen. So,
I think the bickering is going to continue -- Steve.
KORNACKI: And Kristen, just quickly, the other major issue now all of a
sudden is this nomination, Loretta Lynch, for attorney general. What`s the
expectation in the White House they think this is going to go through
smooth sailing, is this a lame duck thing? What`s the thinking there on
getting her confirmed?
WELKER: I think they do think she will get confirmed and that`s part of
the reason why President Obama picked her. She is someone who has a good
reputation for her service as U.S. attorney in Brooklyn. She`s twice
confirmed. So, we`re hearing from lawmakers on Capitol Hill already who
say we`re interested in hearing from her. I think the biggest question is
that second one that you point to, Steve, which is about timing. Is this
going to get done in the lame duck session or will it get done after once
Republicans are in place in the Senate? Mitch McConnell has said that`s
what he would like to see, the latter, that he thinks that this
confirmation process should hold off until then. President Obama has said
he will defer to Congress to basically determine the timing of this.
Having said that, Steve, this all just came out yesterday. So we`re going
to be hearing a lot more throughout the day about Loretta Lynch probably
getting a lot more reaction, so that could change. But at this point I
think there`s an expectation from the White House that lawmakers will have
to get together and figure out the timing of it. The broader expectation
is that she has a good reputation on things like civil rights. She is also
taking on corporate fraud cases, so she does have a fair amount of broad
bipartisan support which, as you know, is rare in had this town, Steve.
KORNACKI: That`s certainly true. Kristen Welker live at the White House,
good luck on that trip coming up. Thanks for joining us this morning.
WELKER: Thank you.
KORNACKI: In meeting with the opposition at the White House yesterday,
President Obama was sticking to a ritual. What you`re seeing here of
course isn`t President Obama, it`s his predecessor, it`s George W. Bush.
He held a similar lunch with Nancy Pelosi after the 2006 midterm
shellacking that made Pelosi speaker of the house. This picture this year
is Bill Clinton in 1994 meeting with the man who was about to become the
speaker of the house after the midterm Republican landslide that year.
Newt Gingrich was his name. Maybe you remember him. Senate Republican
leader Bob Dole, Vice President Al Gore, they are also both in that shot.
So yesterday`s lunch between Obama, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and other
Congressional leaders is part of a long-standing tradition as are vows this
week of cooperation and bipartisanship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people just
want to see work done here in Washington. I think they`re frustrated by
the gridlock. They`d like to see more cooperation. And I think all of us
have the responsibility, me in particular, to try to make that happen.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: The American people have changed the
Senate. So I think we have an obligation to change the behavior of the
Senate and to begin to function again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: This morning is the official start of the first test of whether
a fully Republican Congress and the White House will be able to work
together. That`s the news that President Obama will nominate Loretta Lynch
to become attorney general later this morning. As you heard from Kristen
Welker she comes to the job with some solid credentials more than a decade
spent at the U.S. Attorney`s office in Brooklyn, New York. Now, she needs
to be confirmed by the Senate with the lame duck Democratic Senate with the
new Republican Senate that will be seated in January. And so here is a
test. Will she get confirmed easily? Will it be a big fight? Here is
another test, probably the biggest test in the next few months. What about
immigration? The most immediate test for the President and for Republicans
after this election. And what about the idea of real cooperation and
bipartisanship. They`re talking about it now but we`ve heard it a million
times before. Will anything actually be different this time?
Here to discuss all of this, we have former Massachusetts Congressman
Barney Frank, BuzzFeed Capitol Hill reporter Kate Nocera and Will Cain from
The Blaze. So, it was interesting listening to Kristen Welker there.
Certainly, when you looked at all the names that were out there for this
Attorney General, there were some -- Tom Perez, for instance, you were
hearing from Republicans a lot of negative stuff like Republicans were sort
of gearing up to fight Tom Perez if that was the nominee. Seems like the
White House here in picking Loretta Lynch might be sort of saying, this is
not a fight we want to be having right now knowing we have immigration
coming up. Is that a fair way to read this?
FMR. REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, one on Tom Perez, you
would have then been picking two fights. You would have had another
secretary of labor confirmation fight.
FRANK: And I can see not doing that. I think she`s a very good
prosecutor. She`s an African-American woman. And I do want to address one
of the greatest hypocrisies I have ever heard, namely that nominate,
confirming an attorney general in a lame duck session is inappropriate. I
was in the lame duck session of 1998, when the Republicans were in control
and they impeached Bill Clinton. So the notion that it is legitimate in a
lame duck session to impeach a sitting president and, by the way, one of
the two counts to that impeachment only went through because members who
had been defeated, Republicans in the 1998 election, were allowed to vote.
If that had gone over to the next Congress only one --
KORNACKI: Do you think if there is a delay here, the Republicans say we
want to do this after the lame duck and the President says, you know, as a
gesture of good faith, I`m fine with that, I won`t complain about that. Do
you think even if it goes to that she should be okay to get confirmed?
FRANK: Probably. You never know with them. But also, if I were the
president I would not be making any unilateral gestures of good faith
because the record has been that they do not respond. You know, in 2002
you showed George Bush shaking hands with Nancy Pelosi. In the following
two years, the Democratic Congress came to George Bush`s rescue against the
right-wing Republicans when we hit the financial crisis. Look, it`s not a
good thing to have a lame duck attorney general if we talk about lame
ducks. Why wait three months? I don`t see any reason not to go for the
WILL CAIN, THEBLAZE: You know, Steve, as a matter of principle, imagine
many conservatives want to ask very tough questions of Loretta Lynch. They
might want to have a very tough confirmation process and most of that has
to do with Eric Holder and less to do with Loretta Lynch. I`d like to see,
is she going to follow in his footsteps of making this a very divisive
policymaking office. But as a political perspective, they don`t have any
interest in this fight. They don`t want to have a long drawn out,
judicial, I`m sorry, confirmation process, everything, every single piece
of legislation from trade negotiating power to exporting crude oil, the
keystone pipeline is subtext to the immigration fight and that, to be
honest Steve, is completely 100 percent in President Obama`s hands.
KORNACKI: So let`s talk about immigration right now then. The President,
basically the White House is sending out the message that hey, you have
this bill that passed the Senate last year, the summer 20613. It`s been
languishing in the House ever since then. And he`s saying basically,
Republicans, you have until the end of the year, Republican House. Take
that bill, put it on the floor, put it up for a vote. I`m ready to sign
it. Republicans in the Senate already voted for it. If you do that, then
I am not going to do anything unilaterally. But if you don`t do that, I
am. Is that a serious threat?
KATE NOCERA, BUZZFEED: I think it is a serious threat. I think we should
expect executive action from the President, it`s something he`s been
promising for a long time and there would be a lot of pushback from his own
base if he didn`t do it. I do think that the President has wanted to give
Republicans a lot of room on immigration and every time there`s sort of a
hint at room, he takes that seriously. And so I think he sort of sees John
Boehner and he sees Mitch McConnell and he sees maybe these tiny little
hints that they might try and get something done and so he wants to wait.
But I don`t think that after everything I heard coming out of the lunch
that it was very contentious specifically on the subject of immigration.
You know, I don`t see how he doesn`t do --
KORNACKI: Well, is there a solution here? Is there a way to get that bill
from the Senate, the bill that passed the Senate, is there a way to get the
House to vote on it this year?
CAIN: The House will vote on numerous immigration bills. This idea that
he`s given a little bit of -- Republicans just haven`t taken it, it is
honestly kind of absurd. The only thing up for debate for President Obama
is whether he gets a comprehensive immigration bill. That word
comprehensive is all that matters to him. And if Republicans don`t give
it, well, then he`ll take executive action. If he doesn`t take executive
action, Republicans will present a border security bill, they`ll present
H1B visa bills, they`ll go through everything except for amnesty for the 37
million illegal immigrants.
FRANK: The problem with that is it goes against the facts. They`ve been
in control of the House. If they wanted to do that, they could have.
NOCERA: That`s one branch.
FRANK: Well, they think it`s a widely inaccurate -- the fact that, yes,
the Senate did it. You say, well, the House will take it up if John
Boehner hasn`t asked Barack Obama`s permission to take up legislation. If
they wanted to pass those narrower bills, they could have put them to the
NOCERA: They did actually bring a number of smaller bills to the floor the
last Congress but the Senate hasn`t brought them up yet.
FRANK: No, but I object. They have nothing to do with border security.
The biggest issue that we have -- the biggest, I think is, oh, well, we`ll
do this if you can seal the border and make it totally secure and that`s a
goal post that will move forever. What I particularly find troubling was
your statement, though that well if he does this on immigration, that will
be a problem for all the other issues. This notion that if the President
does something on immigration that the Republicans don`t like, they will
not cooperate with him on other issues is a total negation how legislation
is supposed to work. We should do this issue by issue. When Mitch
McConnell says that the President does immigration it`s like waving a red
flag in front of a bull. The political party is not supposed to act like a
dumb animal that`s been aggravated by a piece of --
KORNACKI: But that is what`s going to happen.
CAIN: It is it is what`s going to happen.
FRANK: You pay a political price for it.
CAIN: -- for someone spent as much time in Congress as you did,
Congressman. The idea is you have to work with people, have relationships,
compromise and, to be honest, you personally experienced this. If you push
through a stimulus bill or health care bill that poisons the well in a
partisan manner, you`ll get no cooperation moving forward.
CAIN: And if President Obama pushes executive action in immigration, we`ll
have a complete repeat of you`re the last terms.
FRANK: No, here is your problem. Yes, I have been there and I did work on
a bipartisan basis with the whole lot of Republicans. I was voted one of
the five most bipartisan by the Republicans. Also one of the five most
partisans. Because I think your job is to do both. You fight where you`re
right. But the fact is that, we had cooperated very much with George Bush
in 2008. We gave Paulson and Bernanke more support than the Republicans.
Obama gets elected and the Republicans announce that they want to defeat
him and there was no cooperation. The notion that he started this fight,
there was an effort in the Senate to work with Olympia Snowe, to work with
Susan Collins, and basically their leadership said, no, we`re pulling back.
Chris dodge thought he had negotiations going with Senate Republicans on
the financial reform bill, and he got a call from Shelby saying, sorry, we
can`t do anything except oppose it. That`s an instruction for my
leadership. So, no, it`s just historically inaccurate.
KORNACKI: Let me ask you this. The bill that`s sitting in the House right
now, the one that passed the Senate and I think it was 15 Republican
senators who voted for that when it got through the Senate, most Democrats
in the House would vote for that. How many Republicans, if it were on the
floor, how many Republicans in the House do you think would vote for that?
NOCERA: I mean, it changes a lot and I think it probably has changed since
the last election. I think that a lot of members, new members that have
been voted in in the seats that Republicans gained probably look at that
and think that they did win on an anti-immigration platform in part. And
so I don`t suspect that it would have the same support that it had last
KORNACKI: Would it be enough though with the minority Democrats --
NOCERA: I think it would be close. There are members, there are
Democratic members who have been working on this issue for a long time who
says they absolutely have the Republican support and that if it came to the
floor, it would pass. If it just got a vote. But it`s tough to say
because the language changes a lot from Republicans. You know, sometimes
it`s like we have to, you know, get border security done and then we can
talk about citizenship.
NOCERA: It just varies so much and I just think that this last election,
the anti-immigration -- I`m sorry, anti-immigration bill, people against
the Senate bill not anti-immigration, look at it and say, okay, we won.
KORNACKI: So real quickly, you said amnesty earlier. Now what is in this
bill is a long-term -- the Senate bill is a long-term path to citizenship,
all sorts of fines, all sorts of going to the back of the line. Is the
concept of any kind of path to legalization, path to citizenship for you,
is that blanketly considered amnesty?
CAIN: No. For me personally. But it`s an extremely divisive political
issue for those that reside in Congress, Steve. And my point is on this
entire issues, you can`t attach yourself to the adjective of comprehensive.
If that is in fact the most divisive aspect of any immigration bill, then
why don`t you attack every other aspect of immigration that we do agree
upon? And by the way, there are numerous bipartisan support measures for
immigration reform. It`s just, that one in particular doesn`t have to be
attached to the rest.
FRANK: Well, except 90 percent of the immigration problem, it`s a fact
that we have millions of people who are here, who are otherwise, law
abiding but came here illegally and that`s -- in terms of the impact on the
economy. I think some of the border security stuff is an unrealistic
spending of a lot of money to accomplish a goal that`s not going to be
accomplished in a free society. We can`t seal off the American border.
And to the extent that that`s a condition, a precedent for anything else,
nothing will happen. But the other point I want to make is this. I just
want to get back to your notion that developing relationships mean that you
cannot disagree on any one issue. That`s just nonsense. George Bush
became president and he pushed through tax cuts over the objective to most
Democrats. That didn`t stop us from cooperating. I wish we hadn`t. We`re
creating no child left behind with Ted Kennedy. In a legislative body you
have to be able to disagree strongly on one issue but then work together on
the issue to where you agree. And the Republicans are now announcing that
if he does something they strongly disagree with an immigration, they will
withhold cooperation and other issues where they agree with him even if
it`s in the interest of the country as they say it.
CAIN: Senator Leahy.
KORNACKI: We have another, we have to move on to the next one here because
there`s another divisive issue we`ve been hearing a lot about for the last
five years that suddenly came back into the news in a big way yesterday.
Going to be a lot of fallout for this. We`ll tell you all about it right
KORNACKI: Nearly five years after the Affordable Care Act was passed into
law in two-and-a-half years since the health law survived to Supreme Court
challenge by a single vote by John Roberts` vote, the court agreed
yesterday to hear a new challenge against the law. It`s another test for
President Obama`s signature achievement. The case concerns the tax
subsidies that currently help millions of people afford to purchase health
insurance under the law. Challengers say, those taxes are being unfairly
leveled against citizens in the three dozen states that opted out of
running their own state based health care exchanges and instead rely on the
So the court is taking this case. We know that four justices had to agree
to do so. The reporting I have seen says it`s the four most conservative
justices, Roberts is not one of them. Sets up Roberts again as he was the
last time as sort of the swing on this and it really looks like as I`m
understanding this, this looks like, this is deja vu all over again. This
is the months of suspense leading up to that June 2012 day when the Supreme
Court, you know, kept this legal. And I look at this and say, basically
the Supreme Court has a chance to -- John Roberts basically has a chance to
say, you know what, if he feels he messed it up two years ago, he can undo
it right here.
CAIN: It`s deja vu again as a political question. It`s a much simpler
legal question. The debate we had several years ago. This one is simply
whether or not what the congressmen in charge of putting together ObamaCare
meant what they wrote down, exchanges created by the state. That`s the
question. We talked the last segment and the truth is the Congressman I
continued to debate during the commercial break, the folly of
comprehensiveness. And ObamaCare is the illustration. If you attempt to
restructure something so large as the health care market, you`re going to
make some mistakes. And they wrote this law clearly making some mistakes.
And now the question is, will you be held to your word. Your point about
deja vu by the way is correct. The only question politically, and I hate
to say this when it`s come to the Supreme Court is, put a political
analysis on it. Does John Roberts have the spine to overrule ObamaCare?
KORNACKI: So, well, Barney, is this -- do you look at this and say a
mistake was made, this particular issue?
FRANK: Yes. I will say this, the Supreme Court justices had an argument
about a case which said if you destroy a document or any other tangible
object you are subject to a penalty. And the prosecution went after a
fisherman who destroyed fish and they say you have to read this in context.
Yes, it`s true. A fish is a tangible object, a fiction of tangible object.
But you have to read it in context. And so it`s not unheard of for them to
say we`re not just going to look at the literal meaning and again, the
justices mocked it, you have to read it in context. I do think people that
people obviously did not expect there to be the kind of political outcome
there was or they did not expect so many states to reject --
KORNACKI: They expected all the states would just --
FRANK: Yes. So, they wrote it not anticipating what was a reality and
clearly if they -- if we could rewrite it or they could rewrite it, I`m not
there anymore. They would do it. I will say this. The political outcome
-- the only thing I would disagree with what will said, you hate to say the
Supreme Court is being political. It`s like I hate to say, I hate the sun
is shining. They`ve been very political since 2004.
KORNACKI: That`s a fair point.
FRANK: They are totally political. On both sides. But the point is that
if the Republican side wins this case, what they will do will be to deprive
people in a lot of states of some subsidy. Now I don`t think politically
that`s the best position to be in. That`s a choice they can make.
KORNACKI: Can the Affordable Care Act as we know it, can it continue if
the ruling goes against it?
FRANK: Yes. Well, I frankly spent most of my time for two years on
financial reform. So, I`m not an expert on the details. I will say this,
in terms of comprehensive, if you do make a mistake. I think what we did
comprehensively, the financial reform for the same reason, part of the
problem is, in some of these cases things are interactive. That is if
you`re going to have universal coverage despite pre-existing conditions,
you need a mandate. So, some element, you can`t just do that one piece by
piece by piece. But as to the specifics there, that`s not just something -
NOCERA: I think it`s also going to be difficult for the markets, you know.
It`s going to be difficult for insurance companies. You`ve seen them sort
of talk about how every little bit works together and this is part of it.
This is about getting the maximum amount of people in a system and if you -
- if people don`t get subsidies and then they can get a hardship exemption
then they`re not in the system. And so, it is actually detrimental to the
market and not just to people. Yes, obviously it would hurt a lot of
people who, you know, need health care. But there`s that piece of it, too.
CAIN: You asked if it`s the death of ObamaCare. The answer to that
question is, do the American people want ObamaCare? By the way, I think a
fascinating statement he said that is clearly a mistake and mistakes
happen. Well, if the people want ObamaCare, what will happen is the
Supreme Court will kick it back to the legislature. Congress will then go
back and look at ObamaCare and decide if they want to amend the law. And
if the people want it, you would assume --
KORNACKI: Although this gets to the discussion we`ve been having earlier
and that, the whole Supreme Court review process could be sidestepped if
one party wasn`t locked into, we`re going to repeal ObamaCare and nothing
else and was open to the idea of, let`s fix it here and let`s fix there.
This seems like a fix that could be made pretty --
CAIN: Remember that party represents a good portion of the American
FRANK: Can I respond here, by the way? You made a big deal about the fact
I said a mistake was made, I think they made mistakes, frankly, in the
constitution. I`m not sure about the declaration of independence. In
fact, one of the first things they did was to amend the constitution. Of
course mistakes were made in the process. The normal course of events is a
comprehensive bill passes and then afterwards you go back and you fix a
couple of things. Even if it`s not a comprehensive bill. In fact, there
was a piece of legislation, a form called a corrections bill. The problem
here was, that the Republicans wouldn`t go along with that. That was also
true by the way with the financial reform, there were a couple of things
that I would like to go back and redo as long as people are at warfare over
the whole thing, that doesn`t happen but -- saying that there was a
CAIN: Because the only reason that I find that significant is the
government will be arguing in opposite, or they`ll be arguing at the very
least, well, you know what we meant. You know what we meant, honestly,
isn`t good enough.
FRANK: No, I didn`t say anything to contradict that, in fact, I cited the
case of the phishing situation where they made a mistake and it would have
been better if they made clear what they meant. But the court says, OK, in
this case, a fish is not a tangible object because we want the bill to make
sense. Of course the fish is a tangible object. They take that into
account when they interpreted in that context.
KORNACKI: All right. More on had this. We talk about this more tomorrow
and then obviously in the weeks ahead, a huge ruling will come down at some
point in the next number of months. We want to keep a close eye on putting
Tuesday`s Republican landslide in perspective, a different way of looking
at it. We`ll go to the big board, remember that thing from Tuesday night.
We have it here in the studio. I`ll be over there. And I`ll take you
through it right after this.
KORNACKI: All right. So for the second time in Barack Obama`s presidency
we saw on Tuesday night a midterm landslide for the Republicans. There`s a
lot of talk now, you`ve heard it this week, I`m sure, about the weakened
state of the Democratic Party, how strong it was when Barack Obama came
into office. How many members of the House they had? How many Senate
seats they had? And how reduced to all those numbers are now six years
into his term. By the truth there obviously, you can`t deny the numbers,
but we wanted to go to the big board here and show you a little bit of
context for it. Because I think you might be surprised when you look at
what happened to other two-term presidents.
So, let`s go back to the most recent four two-term presidents. We`ll start
at Ronald Reagan and look what happens during his presidency. Ronald
Reagan comes to office in 1981. There`s a total landslide when he got
elected. He gave his party control of the U.S. Senate. You can see here,
53 seats. In the House, Democrats, they had this, at the time they called
it the permanent Democratic majority, but this was a high number for
Republicans in that era. There are also a lot of conservative Democrats in
this number. So, they were sort of working conservative majority they
called it in the House at that time. Now, Reagan governed. And then when
he got re-elected in `84, after the `86 midterms, this should be same point
in Reagan`s presidency that we are now at in Obama`s presidency, well, look
what`s happened in that point. In the Senate, Democrats have come back.
Now they have 55 seats. They have a strong majority. Republicans are down
a total of eight seats in the Senate since Reagan is sworn in. And in the
House, Democrats now up to 259 seats. Republicans down to 176.
Republicans have lost 16 seats. So on Reagan`s watch, the Republican Party
steadily lost strength in the Senate big time and in the house to a lesser
extent but they lost strength. So that`s the story of Reagan`s presidency.
Now we look at Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton came in in 1993. Huge, huge
majority. You look at 259 seats for the Democrats in the house. Fifty
seven for the Democrats in the Senate. Pretty active two years. First two
years in Clinton. And in `94, the Republicans had their midterm landslide,
`96 he gets re-elected, `98 more midterms. And after that, again, same
point in the presidency look how much it`s changed.
Republicans now control the House of Representatives. They hadn`t
controlled it since the 1950s but six years into Bill Clinton`s presidency
Republicans control it. Democrats are down 47 seats from the start of his
presidency and in the Senate, Republicans now up to 55 seats. That`s a
drop of 12 for the Democrats from the start of the Clinton presidency. You
look at George W. Bush, he`s a Republican president with a Republican
majority in the house. Two hundred twenty seats. It`s 50/50 in the
Senate. They actually with Dick Cheney as the vice president. Republicans
controlled the tiebreaker. That`s what Bush starts off with. You know the
story of the bush presidency, 2006, the shellacking, the Democrats take
back the house. Look at this.
The Senate, Democrats get control of the Senate so the Republicans, that
majority that George W. Bush walked into, he`s lost 17 seats. His party`s
lost the House. He`s lost a seat in the Senate and actually it got much
worse two years later and the final election that Bush was president for in
2008, are these Senate numbers that you can see here, this is what the
final election in Bush`s presidency produced when Barack Obama got elected,
Democrats surged to 257 seats in the House. Fifty nine in the Senate and
ended up getting up to 60 for a point there. Huge, huge majorities for
Democrats at the start of the Obama presidency and, of course, I`m sure
you`ve heard all the stories this week, the estimate right now after this
election is the Republicans will be up to 248 seats in the House, that`s
the most they will have had since World War II and in the Senate right now,
they`re sitting on 52. That number could go a little bit higher. So,
you`re looking at significant losses here for the Democrats during Obama`s
presidency. Seventy seats in the House. Fifteen in the Senate.
Obviously, 70, a very big number but it`s important to where he started out
at high number there at 259. Not every president starts out that high. I
think when you look back at history, you can see one of the best things
that can ever happen to an opposition party is the other party winning the
White House being in the opposition ultimately is going to be good for your
numbers in Congress. Being president for a couple terms is ultimately
going to be bad for your numbers in Congress. Doesn`t mean there aren`t
some serious issues to talk about here, some serious potential problems
with the Obama presidency and with where the Democratic Party is right now.
But I do think the context is important to understand this isn`t the first
time the president has seen Congressional numbers fall on his watch. I`ll
be back to talk about Tuesday night which was encouraging or discouraging
for Hillary Clinton as she decides that she`s going to run for president
again. We`ll going to talk to Hillary what this means for her. That`s
KORNACKI: After Tuesday`s drubbing, Democrats are already looking ahead to
the 2016 election and it to the possible presumed, well, all but certain
candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Hillary supporters are already organizing
events, once Super Pac that causes itself correct the record when meet with
potential donors later this month. The folks ready for Hillary plan to
hold a strategy meeting, too. That group already sent an e-mail to
potential donors on Wednesday night, just a day after the election which
said that now is the time to convince Hillary to jump in. We already know
that she would likely be the most high profile candidate in 2016 but what
can the 2014 midterms tell us about where she stands with voters? She
campaigned for Senate candidates in ten states in the weeks leading up to
the election. Only three of those candidates won and the fourth, Louisiana
Senator Mary Landrieu is now headed for a run-off where she has a very
uphill fight. Clinton also campaigned for 11 gubernatorial candidates and
five of those candidates won.
For more on the post midterms Hillary, I`m joined by Ann Lewis, who was
White House communications director for President Bill Clinton and is an
adviser for ready for Hillary. And Joe Nocera, columnist for the "New York
Times." So, Ann, let me start with you. I`ve heard a couple different
interpretations of sort of what this means for Hillary but one is that it
offers her an opportunity now to sort of sell herself to the Democratic
Party or sell the Democratic Party on the idea of a fresh start, on the
idea that, you know what, the Obama administration began with, you know,
great potential, got some major things through, and has now reached this
point where for the last two years she has kind of stalled, big losses.
She can be the fresh start, the reset button. She`s not part of the
administration anymore. She is her own person, her own brand. I hate that
term. Does that resonate with you?
ANN LEWIS, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL ADVISER: Let me start first with where I
think we are. It was painful watching Tuesday night. Right? I think we
now have a Congress that`s going to spend the next two years making
political warfare instead of trying to pass legislation. That`s not good
for the country. But the good news is we`ve got to start looking forward.
So what do we know now that we maybe didn`t know before about Hillary
Clinton? We know that in a tough climate and a really tough landscape she
went out there and worked hard for Democratic candidates. The numbers I
have are something like 25, 26 candidates of whom 12 won, 13 lost. As I
say it was a tough year where people know she went out there and she talked
about the kinds of values that we ought to be talking about. She talked
about middle class families, she talked about growing jobs and the economy.
She talked about raising the minimum wage, equal pay, making life better
for the next generation. These kinds of issues that Democrats will be
talking about as we go forward. So I think she set that as a kind of
standard and, as I say, she was doing it at a tough time.
KORNACKI: Well, this was also sort of, you know, she ran in 2008. And she
became a secretary of state. As secretary of state, you`re not political,
you`re not doing all of the events you just described so she had a break
from all of that. So, this was sort of her coming out as a political
figure. Do you think she liked it?
LEWIS: I went to a couple of those events. I got to see her and I thought
watching the response from the crowd, watching her interact with the crowd,
that in some ways she was remembering how much she also likes the political
side of things. Hillary has never said she was reluctant to get out there
and campaign. She likes talking to people. She likes listening to them.
I watched her working rope lines where just tons of young people were
crowding around to see her. You couldn`t be human and not be moved by
that. What she`s hearing from the people she sees, from the people she
hears from, is so strong and so positive about let`s go forward.
KORNACKI: You`ve been watching Hillary out there for the last two months.
What are you seeing?
JOE NOCERA, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I think a lot of people have an
idealized version of her in the sense that, you know, there`s a lot of
Obama fatigue which was reflected on Tuesday night. And, you know, there`s
this thought of, you know, well, she`s tougher than he is. You know,
she`ll be able to get things done and I think that helps her. Excuse me.
LEWIS: Let me say here the one fact that we will now deal with is the
contrast is not with the current president who`s going to be out there
again trying to govern than usual term.
LEWIS: But the contrast is going to be with the Congress. And when I look
at the Congress in which -- determined by Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and you
have John Boehner over there, sort of like a lion tamer with the chair with
his various factions and then Hillary Clinton over here. That`s the
difference. She`s going to be different from the Republican Congress and
while they, as I say, are fighting, they`re factualize, trying to continue
to make war, she`s going to be out there saying, here is what we should be
doing, here is how we can move forward and people do have some memories
that she`s done that before.
KORNACKI: The thing that always struck me was back in 2008, when Obama had
moved ahead in the primaries. She gave this speech, she was in Rhode
Island and she was sort of mocking his idea of hope and change and she was
saying the way he talks, it sounds like, you know, the clouds are going to
part and the celestial choirs are going to sing and it`s going to be peace
and love on earth and she was really mocking it. I have returned to that
line so many times over the last few years because I think, you know, he
sort of has come up against exactly what she was predicting. You know, she
was basically saying, look, they`re not all going to sit around and agree
with you. It`s going to be partisan warfare, they`re going to be trying to
destroy it at every turn in the road and that seems to be what`s happened.
So what`s her answer to that going to be?
LEWIS: I think her answer is going to be, unfortunately, there is partisan
warfare. It is even worse than it used to be. But, you know, I was a
senator and as a senator, I reached across the aisle. I got legislation
passed in a bipartisan way. So I think I know what it takes to reach
across, if you will, to compromise and get action when you can but, you
know, when you can`t, that`s when you stand your ground. You fight back
and you`re talking about what`s most important to you and to the American
KORNACKI: Joe, do you think -- do you think that`s the kind of message
Democrats after eight years of the Obama presidency, they`re going to be
NOCERA: Yes, absolutely. No question about it people -- you know, people
-- people want a president who knows how to -- who both knows how to fight
and knows how to get things done. And, as I said, I think a lot of people
-- there`s a lot of people who think to themselves, well, if only Hillary
had been in, you know, she could have done this. She could have done that.
Which may or may not be true but that`s the perception.
KORNACKI: All right. Election Day was four days ago, the results are
still coming in. We finally have a winner in one of the closest
Congressional races in the country. We`ll going to give you those results
out in California. We`ll have them for you as soon as we come back.
KORNACKI: Four days after the election now and still more results
trickling in. More races being called. It appears that Democratic
Congressman Scott Peters has now held off Republican Carl DeMaio in
California`s 52nd district. The candidates separated by fewer than 5,000
votes out there. Now along with the defeat of Richard to say in
Massachusetts, this means that both openly gay Republican Congressional
candidates in competitive races lost this week. And the California race
contended with a textbook definition of an October surprise. Carl DeMaio
facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment in the final weeks of the
Coming up next, the search for an endangered political species down south.
Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Tuesday was a dark day for Democrats in nowhere more than in the
south. One race is still in limbo down there. Senator Mary Landrieu is
headed to a run-off with the top Republican finisher in Louisiana`s jungle
primary but her own party has apparently decided it`s too much of an uphill
battle to even help her. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has
canceled the advertising it scheduled for the December run-off in
Louisiana. And elsewhere across the South, Georgia Congressman John
Barrow, who was the last remaining white Democrat from a Deep South state
in Congress, he was thrown out of office by ten points. Tuesday`s
elections saw a solid wall of red. In state legislatures all across the
south. Two years ago Obama did better in North Carolina than Kay Hagan did
In his 2012, numbers slightly outperformed Michelle Nunn in Georgia, too,
he even did better in West Virginia Senate candidate Natalie Tennant. In
the most surprising story of the night, Virginia`s Mark Warner barely hang
on to his seat. Challenger Ed Gillespie conceding just yesterday. This is
something Democrats are now going to have to grapple with. They had good
candidates in the south this year. Many of them ran great campaigns. Some
of them had famous family names. But all of them ended up doing just as
badly, maybe even worse with white southern voters than President Obama
did. Democrats just right off a region as large as the south going
forward. They will never get back to a majority in the house but how can
they do it when everything they tried this year failed so miserably.
Joining me now to discuss this is former South Carolina Democratic Party
Chairman Dick Harpootlian. Now, Dick, thanks for joining us this morning.
I just want to start by showing this was a Greg Sergeant in "The Washington
Post" yesterday, you know, a liberal writer in "The Washington Post,"
writing into the headline, the Democratic Party has a cultural problem.
And what he`s basically saying there, he`s talking about voters in your
neck of the woods. He`s saying that the Democratic Party has been doing
fine in terms of appealing to and getting strong turnout in the south and
everywhere from non-white voters. You have a bit of a drop off issue
especially with younger voters in midterm elections like this. But that in
the south particularly where you have heavy populations of blue collar
working class white voters, Democratic candidates are now basically stuck
at like 20 percent. You know, candidates this year, who the Democratic
Party was so excited about like Michelle Nunn, could not do any better with
those voters than Barack Obama did. And basically, unless you can improve
with those voters you`re writing off the House for a long time. Do you see
DICK HARPOOTLIAN, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: Well, I
see the problem but cultural issues may play a part. But the strongest,
most dominant factor in the south is that under the last 20 years, the
voting rights act, has been use to re-segregate our voters. By way of
example, one out of three voters in South Carolina is African-American.
One out of seven house districts is African-American because, as we come to
each and every census and we redistrict, Republicans in a very cynical way
use the voting rights act to coagulate black voters and Jim Clyburn`s
district. Jim Clyburn had a 50 percent African-American population. He
was getting 60 percent of the vote and they -- what do Republicans do?
They snatch African-American voters out of surrounding white Republican
districts and put them in his district.
KORNACKI: What you seem to be talking about is, this idea of unpacking,
where you take a district like you`re describing, that is just
overwhelmingly African-American, and you spread the population into several
other districts, making those other districts more competitive. The
stumbling block is there usually is that the incumbent in this case -- does
Jim Clyburn want to give up that safety?
HARPOOTLIAN: Absolutely. Look, I`ve talked to Jim Clyburn about it a
number of times and Jim Clyburn understands what`s going on. And because
of that, there`s no general election competition, we had 124 state House
seats up, we only fielded real Democratic candidates in five of those and
we won one of them. Because they`ve done the same thing in the state house
that they did for Congress, which is to take districts that have become
more cosmopolitan, if you will, 34 percent African-American electing an
African-American by 60 percent of the vote. They take that district and
when they redistrict up to 65 percent of African-American bleaching out the
districts around them. The Obama Justice Department was faced very
recently, section five of the voting rights act was declared
unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. They could have weighed in and
said, wait a minute, we need to go back and redo redistricting. There`s a
Supreme Court case being argued by Rick Pildes, New York NYU law professor
in the Supreme Court next week to retroactively apply this Alabama Shelby
versus Alabama case so that we can unpack these districts and stop this
madness of re-segregating our states all over the south.
KORNACKI: The other issue though, even if you`ve got that. You still have
this issue, the share of the vote, the Democratic candidates are winning in
the south among white voters. A huge part of the population in the south
and, you know, the south used to be Democratic. There`s a lot of reasons
for that transition. But the share now continues to drop. I mean, I
remember a generation, the Democrats got under 40 percent of the white
vote, it was a big deal. And then the benchmark was 30. Now we`re talking
20 in some states in the Deep South, you`re talking 10. What is the reason
for that growing sort of disaffection with the Democratic Party?
HARPOOTLIAN: Well, I think there`s two issues in the south. One is it is
cultural. And when the Democratic Party, the party identified with being
against guns, against being God. You know, four gay marriage. There is a
cultural issue with many southerners. However, we are able to communicate
better values, when we have better messengers. And again, there`s got to
be some competition. There`s got to be, I mean, do you really -- when
you`re voting for your state house representative, do you really care about
gay marriage or do you care about jobs? We have to define the elections,
and we`re letting the Republicans define them.
KORNACKI: Does the national party, which talks a lot about, you know,
women`s issues, contraceptive abortions, gay rights, does the national
party then hinder that ability at the local level. Are you saying, we want
to talk jobs, we don`t want to be talking cultural issues tied to that
national party? Is that part of the issue?
HARPOOTLIAN: Well, I think that is part of the issue. I mean, President
Obama came in. He`s cut unemployment dramatically. The stock market`s
twice what it was when he came in. Gas is below $3 a gallon. All these
issues, none of them were talked about in local races or on statewide races
here. So, you know, I`m forlorn that elections are being defined by a gay
marriage and by abortion when the real bread and butter kitchen table
issues are not being talked about which will win in the south.
KORNACKI: All right. Dick Harpootlian, chairman of the South Carolina
Democratic Party. I appreciate you joining us this morning.
HARPOOTLIAN: Thank you.
KORNACKI: And we`ve got another big hour of news and politics straight
ahead. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Watch out what you wish for.
All right. Thanks for staying with us this hour. For incoming Majority
Leader Mitch McConnell winning may have been the easy part, the biggest
opposition he`ll face may not come from the Democrats. We`ll have more on
that in just a minute plus a very interesting report from Kentucky. But,
first, we want to turn our attention to a story that may have gotten less
attention as the national conversation turned to the midterm elections.
But the problem at the heart of the story definitely did not go away.
Yesterday we learned that President Obama will be doubling the number of
American troops had headed to Iraq. Fifteen hundred more boots on the
ground there. The Pentagon emphasizing that they are not combat troops.
Mainly they are there to train the Iraqi army.
We`re going to go live now to NBC`s Kristen Welker at the White House who
can tell us what this is all about. Kristen.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning
again, Steve. That`s right. Well, the administration is insisting that
those troops will not be in combat roles you but there is a lot of
skepticism about that this morning. Here`s what we know so far. On Friday
the administration announced it was more than doubling the number of U.S.
military forces now on the ground in Iraq from 1,400 to nearly 3,000.
Pentagon officials say the forces will train, advise, and assist the Iraqi
military in its fight against ISIS militants. Now the announcement comes
about three months after the U.S. launched its air campaign against ISIS
targets in Iraq. U.S. military commanders feared that without more U.S.
advisers, the Iraqis could lose the battle.
So those new teams will be spread out over the northwest and southern Iraq
and in two hot combat zones, Steve, Anbar and the North Baghdad province.
We`ve talked a lot about those areas. Pentagon officials insist is they
are not going to be in combat, but they are trained troops and they will be
able to defend themselves. Now the announcement comes with the nation
still weary from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and skeptical about what
seems to be an ever expanding mission in the same region. Some military
experts warn that there will be further increases, more advisers, more
troops on the ground. Now, of course, Steve, President Obama heads to Asia
tomorrow night. There will be a few opportunities for the press to ask him
questions. This will undoubtedly come up when he travels overseas --
KORNACKI: All right. Kristen Welker live at the White House in a November
morning. Thanks for that report. I appreciate it.
KORNACKI: Back in June, President Obama told Congressional leaders that he
did not intend to seek Capitol Hill`s approval for any actions he
undertakes in Iraq. At the same time Senator Mitch McConnell was among
those saying he believed the President didn`t need any. It will be
interesting to see if McConnell still believes that once he`s in charge of
the Senate majority. In fact, there`s a whole lot about a Mitch McConnell
led Senate that`s going to be interesting to watch. Until then we wanted
to find out all we could from the people who know Mitch McConnell the best,
the people on the ground in Kentucky. People have been watching him. They
have had front row seats. We have asked them to help us figure out how he
got to where he is today, who he really is, and where he might be headed
Here is our original report from NBC senior political reporter in Kentucky
native Perry Bacon.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: The American people have changed the
PERRY BACON, NBC SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): Mitch McConnell`s
entire political career has been a balancing act. And here in Kentucky,
observers say the Louisville native has always ultimately found a way to
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He`s not going to come around and just wrap his arms
around you and make you feel like you`re his best friend, but he is someone
you`re going to walk into the office and say, I want to talk to him.
BACON: In his early days the former lawyer was a moderate Republican.
REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D), KENTUCKY: He was someone who was for collective
bargaining of public employees, somebody who was pro-choice.
BACON: And as his party became more conservative, as parts of Kentucky
became more conservative, Mitch McConnell moved to the right, right along
DEBORAH YETTER, THE COURIER-JOURNAL: The courier journal has not been a
supporter of a lot of his policies and a lot of his actions in recent years
particularly including his move to the right.
BACON: But in 2010 a rare misstep. McConnell backed the establishment
Senate candidate Trey Grayson instead of a certain Tea Party upstart with a
libertarian political pedigree.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Thomas Jefferson wrote that government is
best that governs least. Likewise freedom is best when enjoyed by the
BACON: In the four years since Rand Paul`s victory McConnell has managed
to mend fences with Paul and keep moving further to the right.
MARK RIDDLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It is ironic that they`re like best
friends and they`re using each other. He wants Mitch in power so he can
run the presidential race and say, hey, I`m more mainstream and Mitch wants
Rand`s blessing with his Tea Party crowd.
BACON: Rand Paul campaigned all over Kentucky this year for McConnell
helping to shore up the senior senator`s Tea Party support.
MCCONNELL: You will be heard in Washington.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BACON: As Majority Leader McConnell will need to wrangle a conservative
faction that at times can be very hard to control. As for the opposition,
it includes a Democratic president with two more years in the White House.
Still, Democrats in Kentucky remain optimistic about when McConnell will be
able to accomplish.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think having reached his lifetime ambition he will now
start worrying about his legacy and he will not want to be perceived as
someone who was a total obstructionist. He`ll want to be perceived as
somebody who actually accomplished something.
BACON: So after 30 years in the Senate, Mitch McConnell now has his dream
job, one in which he faces his toughest balancing act yet. In Louisville,
this is Perry Bacon reporting for MSNBC.
KORNACKI: All right. And as Perry just mentioned the biggest opposition
facing Mitch McConnell in the Senate might not come from Democrats. It
could be the far right of his own party. Senators like Ted Cruz will pose
the biggest obstacles. Last fall when McConnell was trying to negotiate a
way out of the government shutdown, Ted Cruz tried to lead a rebellion
meeting with other Tea Party legislators in the basement of a nearby
Mexican restaurant. McConnell ultimately prevailed. He and Harry Reid
struck a deal to reopen the federal government and avoid the more dangerous
possibility of defaulting on the national debt. In the end, Speaker John
Boehner had a lot more trouble getting the right flank of his membership
into line. But for McConnell, Ted Cruz was an added complication in an
already complex negotiation.
Joining me again now are former Congressman Barney Frank and The Blaze`s
Will Cain. So Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell
Senate majority leader with the Republican House and the Democratic
president. I think we all know the story that this is the job that Mitch
McConnell has wanted his entire career. He doesn`t aspire to the
presidency. He aspired to be the majority leader of the Senate. When I
watched him this week, he had that press conference the day after the
election. I have to say I covered him a little bit on Capitol Hill a few
years ago. I saw a different Mitch McConnell at that press conference just
in the sense that -- the fact he was having a press conference taking
questions a little bit more friendly, a little bit more, you know, opening
up. It struck me -- it made me sit back and wonder, you know, you think a
little bit of that LBJ. Right? When LBJ became president, he became
something that nobody ever knew he was. And when he was vice president,
when he was in the Senate, he became something completely different. And I
wonder if Mitch McConnell, as John Yarmuth said in that piece there, if
Mitch McConnell, now that he has reached this job he`s always wanted, is he
going to be different?
FMR. REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I have no idea. I`m not an
expert on Mitch McConnell. You know, one of the advantages -- of no longer
being in office is that I don`t have to tell people more than I know. I
honestly don`t know Mitch McConnell very well. I don`t think anybody does.
I think we`re now in what they call the hot stove league when the baseball
season was over, when that was the only sport and people felt they had time
by speculating on things that we really don`t know the answer to.
WILL CAIN, THE BLAZE: Wow. I appreciate that humility. I certainly do.
I`m not going to mirror it, though. You know, I think that we have to
assume past is future. And the past evidence we can draw upon Mitch
McConnell is that he`s understated, a behind the scenes tactician. I think
he will probably approach this job attempt to go fly largely under the
radar both for himself and the Republican Party and keep the focus on
President Obama. You know, you mentioned Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz is much more
interested in symbolic fights, flashiness versus understatedness. I think
there will be some tension. But I think the direction of the Republican
Party most likely will follow Mitch McConnell. Small bills, probably even
some with bipartisan support. And he doesn`t want a shutdown. As he said,
no shutdowsn, no impeachments, no spotlights on Republicans.
FRANK: I have to ask you, would that be the case even if the President
does something unilaterally on immigration? You suggested before that that
would shut it down. I don`t think so. I think you were right the second
time. You know, I just have to go back. When Ronald Reagan was
unilaterally in violation of a statute aiding the Nicaraguan countries, I
was working with Republicans on immigration reform, in fact the last
amnesty that Ronald Reagan signed. But I also think that the problem -- I
agree the problem is not going to be so much in the Senate. I think the
problem is with the House. The House leadership in a number of areas in
the committee I used to -- is very conservative.
The Republican membership of the House became more conservative last time.
A very good story about mainstream conservatives being replaced in a
current climate by people to the right. So, for instance, on things like
the export/import bank, on the replacement of housing finance, on a number
of other issues, that`s where problem is going to be. And I think, also,
the problem is going to be when you said be careful what you wish for. I`m
going to be interested to see how the Republican Congress deals with this
question of legislating authority to increase combat role in the Middle
East. That`s a major problem for the Republican fight.
KORNACKI: We talk about the Ted Cruz factor in all of this and you go back
to the shutdown. I think your point is taking about the House because it
was members of the House that Ted Cruz was meeting with. It`s not
necessarily his own colleagues in the Senate.
KORNACKI: Because he`s probably alienated some of them. But the appeal of
Ted Cruz and the power of Ted Cruz in the Republican universe it seems is,
A, on Capitol Hill it`s more in the House than in the Senate but also is
with the grassroots. And the threat to somebody --
FRANK: The primary voters.
KORNACKI: And the threat to somebody like Mitch McConnell is if Mitch
McConnell wants to do something and Ted Cruz basically says, you have
violated the purity of the conservative cause, he`s going to find a very
receptive audience on talk radio in the House.
FRANK: I`m glad you`ve come to the procedural defense. They don`t need
Ted Cruz. Jeff Penzelen (ph), he`s an honest, decent, deeply conservative
man who is chairman of the Financial Services Committee, a major
policymaking position. One of the problems I think you`re going to have
and you talk about comprehensive legislation, well, I`m very pleased with
the comprehensive legislation we adopted in financial reform. Republicans
refuse to accept our request to compromise but I think that`s very popular.
Health care is not. But financial reform on the whole is. If the
Republicans in the House decide they`ll going to go after the independent
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, that`s a political problem for them
and that`s going to be, I think, where the tension will be.
CAIN: So now to mirror your earlier humility, the first place we will find
evidence is the question you just asked me. It will regard amnesty for
illegal immigrants. It will regard executive action. You are right. That
will be the test. What will be --
FRANK: I didn`t say it will be the test.
CAIN: What would be the Republican response to that? You ask me. What
would be the Republican response to that?
CAIN: And I think Mitch McConnell will not want to indulge any
conversation over impeachment. He will not want to see a government
shutdown over. It doesn`t mean as I said earlier that there will going to
be some kind of bipartisan good will. It could poison the will and he
KORNACKI: Will he have the power to tamp that down?
CAIN: Yes. Yes. Mitch McConnell has efficiently wielded power throughout
his time as minority leader and he will as majority leader.
FRANK: Constitutionally of course, impeachment is a house matter. Even
under Clinton the Senate didn`t do it. But here`s the issue I have.
Again, I want to go back. I`m trying to think of a historical precedent
after we had our debate where one party got so angry at a procedural abuse
by the other party that it shut down cooperation. I can`t think of any. I
can think of the time when Ronald Reagan was president. I was there. He
was doing the Iran-contra thing. He was violating even a statute of the --
amendment, and we were very angry and we cooperated elsewhere. So, I have
to say --
CAIN: Well, I`ll give you an example within the past two years. Democrats
have thought that the filibuster has been such a procedural abuse that they
exercise the nuclear option and said there will be a 60 vote threshold on
any judicial confirmation. And I will tell you this. Republicans aren`t
going to repeal that. So there`s an example of exactly --
FRANK: No, that`s my example. That`s my example where it did not lead to
any meltdown. That in fact, Democrats did something the Republicans
thought were so terrible that they`re going to keep it and it did not lead
any meltdown. My point is simply that you`re wrong that people can get so
angry about one thing that they shut down an areas when they have a
perceived self-interest in working together.
KORNACKI: It`s how you do it, Congressman. If you poison the well --
FRANK: Ronald Reagan had a statute.
KORNACKI: You are right "Up Against the Clock" and we say, we got to leave
it there. But my thanks to Will Cain with The Blaze for joining us this
morning and Barney, we`ll going to talk to you a little bit later in the
hour. You want to stay tuned for that.
And coming up, the question of who still gets to be in charge of the
Democrats in the new Congress. Will any of the cast members change? Stay
KORNACKI: We have a really exciting special family edition of "Up Against
the Clock." Still coming up. Barney Frank and Ann Lewis will be pairing
up among others. Until then, here is a trivia question for you. Who led
house Democrats before Nancy Pelosi? And if you don`t remember, it was
Dick Gephardt, a two-time presidential candidate as well. It`s now been 12
years since Nancy Pelosi has been the top Democrat in the House. That is
the longest tenure in more than half a century. And it looks like it`s
going to be extended for at least two more years. Both Pelosi and Harry
Reid in the Senate said this week that they are here to stay. But there
seems to be some pressure from the left for new Democratic leadership.
Steve Israel, chairman of the party`s Congressional Campaign Committee
stepped down this week after two cycles.
And as Politico reported this week, some Democrats are eager to see even
more change with aides complaining that Pelosi is too focused on reaching
women instead of forming a broader message that could play to other groups
like older voters and men. Nancy Pelosi is still wildly popular in very
effective as a fund-raiser. She helped to bring in more than $100 million
for Democrats this cycle alone. And Harry Reid has been able to get bills
passed through Congress. Speaker John Boehner has not. So is their
sticking around the right thing for the Democratic Party or is it time for
some new blood?
Well, joining me again is Democratic political advisor Ann Lewis and Alex
Burns is here, senior political reporter for Politico. Alex, you wrote a
little bit this week about the Democrats and their bench. It is striking
when you look at, you know, Hillary Clinton, we`ve been talking about the
Clintons for a generation now. Nancy Pelosi has been running the House as
we say since 2002. I think Red in the Senate was 2004. What is the sense
in Washington about how long this can last for?
ALEX BURNS, POLITICO SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I think not much longer
but probably for a little while still. And part of the reason is that you
hit it on the head in terms of her fund-raising abilities and Harry Reid,
both of them have this sort of iron grip over their caucus` right. But
part of it is also, when you look at the next generation down. And this is
more true in the House than this in the Senate. You look at the next
generation down, there are some promising ranking members on committees.
There are some promising folks who have been recruitment chair of the DCCC
or something like that. There isn`t an obvious person who has the stature
that Nancy Pelosi had before she became a minority leader when Dick
Gephardt went off to run for president unsuccessfully again. There are
people who maybe in another two years may be under a President Clinton,
that would be a natural time for turnover in the House. The other part of
it is Nancy Pelosi is by far the most prominent female elected official,
currently elected official in the Democratic Party. It would be hard to
replace her in any number of dimensions.
KORNACKI: How long do you think she wants to keep doing it? Because I
saw, you know, she`s the speaker, they lose it in `10. And then there`s
talk, hey, maybe we can get it back in `12 and I get that. And now you`re
really at a point here where it`s hard to see the Democrats getting the
majority in the near future. How long do you think she wants to stick
ANN LEWIS, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL ADVISOR: Well, for sure the next two
years. I agree with every point that Alex made. I want to add one more.
Both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are not just leaders sort of out front.
They`ve been fund-raisers for their colleagues. They are strategists. I
don`t know anybody better than Harry Reid at knowing how the rules work,
how to make them work. Nancy Pelosi has made the most of being minority
leader. That`s the one reason. But the second, I`m going to have to say
this to my friends, changing Congressional leadership is like not changing
the face of the party. You would have to go even further back to say,
okay, who is the last, you know, majority whip or minority whip who really
stood for or changed the image of the Democratic Party? It`s not that
easy. It`s not just who is on the screen or, better yet, who is on c-span
which is where you`re going to see them. So, I think the idea of having
that kind of change would be a lot of pain for relatively little gain.
That`s what people will conclude and it will be up to Nancy then to decide
her next steps.
KORNACKI: Alex, in terms of how these affect campaigns, how they trickle
down campaigns, I mean, we saw every Republican Senate candidate in the
country this year saying, don`t vote for my Democratic opponent because
Harry Reid will run the Senate. We don`t want Harry Reid running the
Senate. We`ve seen countless Republican House candidates. I`m sure they
can raise money all of this saying, you know, Nancy Pelosi, no, no, you
don`t want this. I mean, are they actual liabilities when it comes to
votes being cast on Election Day?
CAIN: You know, you talk to folks on the house level and they say that
Nancy Pelosi certainly is, that you do see her image in campaign ads in a
way that you don`t with Harry Reid. Harry Reid, he is more of a sort of
symbolic punching bag for Democratic control of the Senate. I think the
idea that if you got rid of him and replaced him with Chuck Schumer
suddenly that wouldn`t be an issue for Republicans. You know, you may
recall back in 2008 when Mitch McConnell was running for re-election back
then again the businessman named businessman Bruce Lansbury, he ran ads
saying, Bruce Lansbury is Chuck Schumer. This New York guy`s favorite
candidate in this race. The idea that changing up in the Senate makes that
go away, I think is sort of a fantasy.
KORNACKI: You know, the other thing I always noticed about when I covered
Nancy Pelosi, the minority at the time was, she had a really tight
leadership circle. There were people she knew and she trusted and nobody
could seem, could get into that. And I wonder if that`s one of those
things we say, if there isn`t much of a natural bench behind her, if that`s
part of the reason.
LEWIS: I think she has a tight -- I will say a strong leadership circum.
You know why? Because they go out and do the work. They really produce
the votes you need. There is a reason why she has been as effective as she
has in an uphill situation. She has a circle of leaders, she`s got the
whip system and really counts on people to produce. If they don`t produce,
there will going to be some changes.
KORNACKI: All right. Well 2016 then, Hillary Clinton, then Hillary
Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi. That might be the face of the
Democratic Party for better or worse. Yes. Martha Coakley`s lost to
Charlie Baker in a Massachusetts` governor`s race and his race criticism.
He already lost to Scott Brown in the race to Ted Kennedy seat. She just
might be the worst candidate ever. Well, I want to defend Martha Coakley
from those charges. I`m going to use the big board to do it. This is a
pet peeve of mine. I`m going to take care of it, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS HOST: In Massachusetts, FOX News is now projecting
that Republican Charlie Baker will beat Democrat Martha Coakley. It is the
second time in four years that Coakley has lost high-profile races to
Republicans in this overwhelmingly Democratic state.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Coakley, I don`t think she should run for office again.
What do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We have Martha Coakley screwing up her second and
presumably final statewide bid.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, Democrats ever say, hey Martha, why don`t you run
for office again?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. I don`t think so. I think Martha Coakley is done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Martha Chokely. Screwing up against. Losing the unlosable
race. How did she mess this one up? You heard this 1,000 times this week.
You probably read it 1,000 times this week. We wanted to use the big
board, though, to give you a different perspective. Martha Coakley did
lose. There`s a kind of headline you`d see. But Martha Coakley did lose
the governor`s race in Massachusetts this week to a Republican, Charlie
Baker. You see a close race there. About a 40,000 vote victory for
Charlie Baker. That`s about a point. Baker becomes the Republican
governor in Massachusetts and it`s true. Massachusetts is a very
Democratic state. It`s a state that President Obama carried by 30 points,
it`s a state that hasn`t voted for a Republican presidential candidate
since Reagan in 1984 when he was basically carrying every state, it`s a
state that is elected one Republican senator, Scott Brown, in more than 40
years and immediately threw Scott Brown out of office.
So, it`s true. Massachusetts is a very blue state. However, this result
is actually not that a surprising and I don`t think says that much about
Martha Coakley as a candidate at all. In fact, I think she ran a perfectly
fine campaign. Let me show you what I mean. You have to go back here --
not to this but to this. This is 1990. We`re going to go through the last
generation really quickly. This is the governor`s race in Massachusetts.
Notice anything? The Republican beats the Democrat by about three points.
This was a weird election because the Democrat was pretty conservative and
the Republican was pretty liberal but there you go. The Republican wins
that race. Four years later, look at this, the Republicans wins by 42
Bill Weld re-elected over a liberal Democrat Mark Roosevelt. Okay. Maybe
that was a fluke. 1998, holy potatoes, another Republican gets elected
governor of Massachusetts. A. Paul Cellucci, he beats Scott Harshbarger.
Perfectly credentialed Democratic attorney general. Sound familiar loses
by four points. Three points - excuse me, to Paul Cellucci. Okay, 2002,
now the Democrats are going to get it back. Right? The state treasurer,
he is from western mass, he has good moderate appeal. Oh, my goodness,
look at this. Another Republican comes in and gets elected governor of
Massachusetts. This time it`s Mitt Romney by five points. If you`re
keeping -- that`s four straight elections for 12 years in which Republicans
beat Democrats for governor of Massachusetts.
Okay, all good streaks have to come to an end. In 2006, big Democratic
year nationally, Mitt Romney had sort of abandoned the state in the middle
of his term starting making jokes about the state. There was a lot of
anger towards the Republicans in Massachusetts, Deval Patrick came along.
Great candidate. So, there you go. The Democrats are able to get one in
2006. And in 2010, well, there`s a close race, Deval Patrick under 50
percent does gets re-elected but this guy, Charlie Baker, comes along and
gives him a real race. And a lot of Republicans in Massachusetts insists,
it`s a lot closer if this third party candidate Kahel (ph) is not there.
Patrick would have won either way but a much closer race. And then along
comes 2014. Get it back 2014. I don`t know if I get it back up there.
But yes, anyway, in 2014 Martha Coakley goes and she loses by a point. So,
a couple of things there. That is five times in the last seven
gubernatorial elections in Massachusetts that a Democrat has lost to a
Of all of the losing Democratic candidates in that time Martha Coakley
actually came the closest to winning closer than any of them. In all that
have time, over the last generation, just one Democratic candidate for
governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick in 2006, has gotten more than 50
percent of the vote. It is a very, very blue state. It`s a very, very
Democratic state except when it comes to gubernatorial elections. Charlie
Baker fit the mold of an exact type of Republican you can win in
Massachusetts. Socially liberal. Fiscally moderate. Martha Coakley ran a
decent campaign. I don`t think she melted down. I don`t think she blew
this one. I don`t think she choked. I think she simply was running as a
Democrat in a state that likes to elect Republicans governor. It`s one of
the weird quirks of Massachusetts. So, please, go easy on the Martha
Coakley stuff. She did lose but I don`t think it`s really her fault in
Anyway, back with the game show, that`s after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Give me a little kiss. Hello, darling.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m supposed to give you a kiss from my mother.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You`ve got it. Here`s one for the next door neighbor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was the late great Richard Dawson. He couldn`t get through
an episode of "Family Feud" without kissing every female contestant in
sight at least once, all part of his charm, I guess, at least if you were
safely watching in the comfort and distance of your own home. Anyway, I
can promise you that I will not be kissing any of the contestants in just a
few minutes, when we hold our very own special first ever family edition of
"Up Against the Clock." Not just one but two contestants at each podium,
we have brothers and sisters, fathers and daughters and spouses all
standing by. A family battle for the ages you don`t want to miss it, it`s
JIM CUTLER, ANNOUNCER: Live from Studio 3A in Rockefeller Center USA, it`s
time for a special family edition of "Up Against the Clock." Today`s
contestants, he fears flying and she loves turbulence, but the sky`s the
limit for this couple. Say hello to husband and wife Alex Burns and M.J.
Lee. You may want to avoid sitting next to them at a Steven Sande musical
where they enjoy singing along. It`s father and daughter, Joe and Kate
Nocera. He was one of the toughest congressmen on Capitol Hill, but his
big sister was the one watching out for him on walks to kindergarten. It`s
sister and brother Ann Lewis and former Congressman Barney Frank. And now
the host of "Up Against the Clock," Steve Kornacki!
KORNACKI: Oh, thank you, Jim Cutler. Thank you, studio audience. Thank
you, everyone for tuning in at home. Another extra fun edition of "Up
Against the Clock" today. A special edition of "Up Against the Clock." An
all family edition, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, fathers, daughters.
Thank you all for joining us.
A couple twists to the rules to tell everybody about. I think you`ve been
watching at home, you probably know how this this fast-paced political news
and current events quiz works, but we do have some twists today. As always
we will have three rounds of play. Hundred seconds in the first round.
Those are 100-point questions, our easiest questions. Two hundred-point
second round. Hundred seconds there. And 300 points for the third round.
Now, the twist is since we have so many of you, contestants have had to
decide among themselves one contestant to play in the first round. The
other one will stand behind and then they`ll switch places for the second
round. And in the third round, we`re going to call this our free-for-all
round, everybody is going to be at the podium, whoever rings in first gets
to answer the question. If you`re wrong, your partner can blame you for
that. So, rules as always, you know, you get the points if you answer
correctly. But if you answer incorrectly we will deduct the points. There
are several bonus questions scattered throughout here.
We will get to them as they come up. Contestants have you decided who will
play first? All right. Then take your positions, please. I will ask the
contestants who are not playing this round along with the studio audience
for absolute silence. Any hints, any suggestions, any coughs that suggest
you`re trying to give an answer, you will be evicted from the premises on
the spot. Very tough security rules here at "Up Against the Clock." And
with that, we`re going to put 100 seconds on the clock. We have our three
first-round contestants. These are 100-point questions. And a special
family edition of "Up Against the Clock" begins with this.
KORNACKI: On Thursday Robert O`Neill stepped forward saying that he was
the Navy SEAL who shot and killed who? M.J.
M.J. LEE, POLITICO FINANCIAL SERVICES REPORTER: Osama bin Laden.
KORNACKI: Bin Laden is correct. Hundred points. Hundred point toss-up on
Tuesday night, these two states voted to legalize marijuana. Time. It was
Oregon and Alaska. Back with this 100-point tossup. This independent
senator announced this week that he plans to introduce legislation to make
Election Day a national holiday. Ann?
LEWIS: Bernie Sanders.
KORNACKI: Bernie sanders did that. Hundred points for you. Hundred-point
tossup question, this Ivy League college this week admitted to placing --
KORNACKI: Harvard placed hidden cameras in classes. Hundred-point tossup
question soon to be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell`s wife Elaine
Chao previously served --
LEWIS: Secretary of labor.
KORNACKI: Incorrect. I`ll complete the question. Previously served as
both secretary of labor and as director of this volunteer program initiated
by the Kennedy administration. Joe?
JOE NOCERA, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Peace Corps?
KORNACKI: Correct. Stop the clock. Joe, not only do you get 100 points
for correctly answering that go question, you have triggered the video
bonus question. It`s very simple. This is a no risk proposition. We have
a special celebrity guest who is going to read a famous quote for if you
can quickly identify who said those words you`ll get an extra 100 points.
Again, no penalty for guessing here. I`ll ask to you direct your attention
to our video monitor and the former host of the "Family Feud" Mr. Louie
LOUIE ANDERSON, "FAMILY FEUD" FORMER HOST: Hi, this is Louie Anderson with
this week`s "Up Against the Clock" quote of note. Which U.S. president
whose son also held office once said, happiness of society is the end of
government. Good luck.
KORNACKI: Joe Nocera, do you know who said that?
J. NOCERA: John Adams?
KORNACKI: He said that with confidence and he`s right. Hundred extra
points to Noceras. Let`s get the clock rolling. Next hundred point
question. According to the latest jobs report the unemployment rate edged
down to a six-year low at 5.8 percent in October. What was the
unemployment rate the month before? M.J.
KORNACKI: 5.9 percent. Hundred points for you. Hundred-point tossup
question. Among those weighing bids to succeed Colorado Senator Michael
Bennett as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, is this
Delaware senator who won re-election on -- M.J.?
LEE: Chris Coons.
KORNACKI: Chris Coons is correct. Hundred points for you. Hundred point
toss-up. Exit poll show that a majority of women did not wind up
supporting candidate for Texas Governor Wendy Davis and instead supported
this Republican. Ann?
LEWIS: Greg Abbott.
KORNACKI: Greg Abbott is correct. Hundred points for Ann. That`s at the
wire. Brings us to the end of the 100-point round. M.J. and her husband
in the lead with 400 and Noceras at 400. Ann Lewis, Barney Frank at 100.
Now you`ll all switch places.
LEWIS: Good luck.
KORNACKI: The stakes are going to get a little bit higher because we`re
moving to the 200-point round. These questions twice as hard but twice as
valuable. Contestants a lot on the line here. We`ll put a hundred seconds
on the clock. And when we see that, we`ll begin round two with this. Once
infamously misidentified by Martha Coakley as a Yankee, this former Red Sox
pitcher commented -- Alex?
BURNS: Curt Schilling.
KORNACKI: Curt Schilling, he wanted to congratulate Charlie Baker this
week. Correct. Two hundred point toss-up. This week President Obama
awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously to First Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing
veteran -- Barney?
FRANK: Civil war.
KORNACKI: Of the civil war. That`s correct. Two hundred points. Two
hundred-point tossup. After abandoning his own effort to defeat Illinois
Governor Pat Quinn last year former White House chief-of-staff Bill Daley
will now -- Alex?
BURNS: Bruce Rauner.
KORNACKI: Bruce Rauner, gubernatorial transition team. Two hundred-point
tossup. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified this week in the Ray Rice
appeal hearing is the son of a former Republican United States -- Alex.
BURNS: Charles Goodell.
KORNACKI: Incorrect. I`ll complete the question. Is the son of a former
Republican United States senator from what state?
FRANK: New York.
KATE NOCERA, BUZZFEED: Virginia.
KORNACKI: Incorrect. Barney?
FRANK: New York.
KORNACKI: Barney -- yep.
FRANK: New York.
KORNACKI: New York is correct. Stop the clock. Barney, not only do you
get two hundred points for correctly answering that and getting the buzzer
to work, that also triggers our use it or lose it bonus question. Now here
is how it works. This is not a risk-free proposition, this is for an
additional two hundred points. I have here a question, a follow-up
question that is related in some way to the one you just answered. If you
choose to have the question and answer it correctly we will double what you
just won and you`ll get two hundred more points. If you choose to use it
and get it wrong we take the two hundred points away. So, I have the bonus
question. Will you use it or lose it?
FRANK: Lose it.
KORNACKI: OK. He won`t take it. No fun that way but we`ll put the clock
back up on the board. Two hundred-point tossup round. I don`t blame you.
It`s high stakes. Here we go, two-hundred points with this. Seven years
after leaving federal prison this legendary former governor force a run-off
FRANK: Buddy Chancy (ph).
KORNACKI: Incorrect. Forced a run-off this week in a race for a Louisiana
Congressional seat -- Alex.
BURNS: Edwin Edwards.
KORNACKI: Edwin Edwards did that. Two hundred points for you. Two
hundred point toss-up. It was announce this week that a new campaign to
promote sentencing reform will be bank rolled by George Soros` open society
foundation launch by this well-known organization -- Barney?
FRANK: American Civil Liberties Union.
KORNACKI: ACLU is correct. Two hundred-point for you. Two hundred point-
tossup. First time candidate Ted Kennedy, Jr. was elected to the state
Senate on Tuesday in what state? Alex.
KORNACKI: Connecticut voters did that. Two hundred-point tossup. And
it`s week -- considerable speculation this week Iowa Senator Charles
Grassley -- Kate?
K. NOCERA: Dairy Queen.
Praised the frozen treats as a good place for quote, you know what. Two
hundred points at the wire for Kate brings us to be in the 200 point round.
Let`s check in what we`re doing. Team Alex, M.J. at 1,000. Team Barney in
at 500. And team Kate and Joe at 200. A wide range there but don`t worry
because anything can happen when we move to the 300-point round. So, this
is the free-for-all. If you all crowd in there, everybody have equal
access to the buzzer. Whoever rings in first, I`ll call on you. Each team
gets one answer as usual. Otherwise the rules are the same. So you can
negotiate strategies among yourselves. We are lowering the lights for
dramatic effect. These are 300-point questions. This is the round that
will crown a champion family and it begins with this.
Ohio Governor John Kasich`s 31-point margin of victory is the largest in
that state`s governor`s race since 1994 when this Ohio governor and future
senator was re-elected -- Alex?
BURNS: George Voinovich.
KORNACKI: George Voinovich. Three hundred points for you. Three hundred
point tossup. Among the embattled Kansas Republicans to survive Tuesday`s
election was this controversial secretary of state -- Alex?
BURNS: Kris Kobach.
KORNACKI: Kris Kobach survived. Three hundred more points. Three hundred
point tossup. "American Idol" star Clay Akin finished second in his North
Carolina house race this week. Who did he finish second to --
LEWIS: Renee Elmers.
KORNACKI: Incorrect. Who did he finish second to in the 2003 "American
K. NOCERA: Ruben Studdard.
KORNACKI: Ruben Studdard is correct. Three hundred points for you. Three
hundred point tossup. If Ed Gillespie succeeded in his bid to oust
Virginia Senator Mark Warner, he would have become the first former RNC
chairman to be elected to public office since what Mississippi governor?
FRANK: Haley Barbour.
KORNACKI: Haley Barbour is correct. Three hundred points. Three hundred-
point toss-up. Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, who now faces an uphill
fight in a runoff election, is the daughter of former New Orleans Mayor
Maurice Landrieu who is better known -- Barney?
KORNACKI: Moon, nickname. Three hundred points. We have 300 point toss-
up. New Jersey Democratic Congressman Rush Holt who is retiring after
eight terms in the house is the son of Rush Holt Sr. who was the senator
from this Appalachian state? Barney?
FRANK: West Virginia.
KORNACKI: West Virginia is correct. Three hundred-point tossup. Spending
just $37 independent candidate for Governor Bob Healey received 22 percent
of the vote in this New England state. Alex?
BURNS: Rhode Island.
KORNACKI: Little Rhode is correct. Three hundred-point tossup. Alex
Mooney, the former chairman of the Maryland Republican Party was elected to
a congressional seat this week representing a district in this neighboring
LEWIS: West Virginia.
KORNACKI: West Virginia is correct. Three points at the wire. Is it
enough? It`s not quite enough. Team Alex and M.J. have won with 1,900
points. A ferocious comeback from Barney and Ann falls just short. And an
honorable effort from Joe and Kate. Kate at the move with the Studdard
answer. Alex and M.J., Bill Wolf is going to tell you what you`ve won.
BILL WOLFF, STAFF ANNOUNCER: As our champion, your name will be engraved
using the finest sharpie ink on the all-new stain-resistant "Up Against the
Clock" gold cup. You`ll also receive a DVD copy of the classic 1988 film
"Cocoon 2: The Return," personally autographed by Wilford Brimley. And
you`ll get to play in our jackpot round for today`s grand prize, a $50 gift
certificate to quick meal food cart, Big Town Manhattan, the only street
meat vendor in the greater 45th St. area operated by a former chef of the
Russian tearoom. I had it for lunch today. Delicious. Enjoy the meal and
congratulations. Back to you, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right, M.J. and Alex. I know you want that street vendor
food so I`m going to give you a chance to win it right here. This is your
jackpot the bonus question. Get this right, the giant check is yours. The
question is this. With her victory over former Massachusetts Senator Scott
Brown this week, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen has now defeated
three former or current U.S. senators in statewide elections. Name the
other two she`s defeated.
BURNS: Gordon Humphrey and Johnson.
KORNACKI: That was easier than it was supposed to be. That`s correct.
You win the check. Let`s give it to you. Congratulations. You guys are
on your way to the street meat vendor. Everybody else, we thank you for
playing. You get the home edition. Hours of fun for people of all ages in
your family. We thank you all for playing. It was a great game.
Congratulations with the jack pot. We`ll be right back after this.
KORNACKI: ISIS officially the most crowded table we`ve ever had here at
UP. I said at one point I never wanted more than three guests. I think
four is too many. Well, we`ve got six right now. But there`s a reason for
it. This was, you know, the first ever "Up Against the Clock" family
edition. First of all, I want to make sure were any family relations
frayed by this? Anybody blaming anybody? Any recriminations? Everybody
still intact here?
K. NOCERA: We`re good.
KORNACKI: Well, congratulations to you guys first of all. Have you signed
the mug yet?
LEE: We did.
KORNACKI: Excellent. Don`t drink from it. That`s like a led based paint.
LEE: All right. All right.
KORNACKI: Was there a strategy? Did you have --
BURNS: I just do what she tells me to do.
KORNACKI: So, you`re the master mind.
LEE: I get all the credit.
KORNACKI: And Ann and Barney, it was a near miraculous comeback.
FRANK: I got my Democratic -- candidates mixed up.
LEWIS: Which could happen.
FRANK: Buddy is a Republican.
KORNACKI: But he used to be a Republican. He`s an independent.
You get did -- yes, there was a trick question there. Trick question.
LEWIS: And I was too fast.
FRANK: Can I ask a question I chickened out on?
KORNACKI: Oh, yes. Okay, so you didn`t want to take the use it or lose it
bonus. So, it was, let me make sure I get this right. Okay, it was. When
Charles Goodell ran for a full Senate term in 1970, he finished in third
Yes. So, there you go.
FRANK: I need to reconsider that.
KORNACKI: It`s only 200. You still would have been 100 short, I think.
But anyway it was really fun thing. This is usually where we do or what
you should know for the week ahead. So, is anybody, what should we know
for the week ahead? Let`s start over here. Anybody got a good one?
BURNS: I think it`s all about this Attorney General -- for the next week
or so. Which is really sort of interesting pivot for the president. From
getting just shellacked on Tuesday to putting forward a nominee who seems
qualified. And it`s going to be a tough person for Republicans to go up
against pretty aggressive comeback I`ll play.
All right. I`ve got something I would like Congress to remember and for
everybody to know, because we`ve been hearing all week since Tuesday night
that well, if the President does something on immigration, it would then be
impossible for Congress to act. So I went back and reread the
constitution. Just to make sure. And the article about Congress, it`s the
first one. They don`t have to go very far. They can just read article one
of the constitution. There is no rule in the constitution of the United
States that says if the President acts first, Congress is therefore unable
to act. They have the power. They have the right to do it. It`s really
up to them.
KORNACKI: Civics lessons for any tenth graders out there about government
task or something. What do you think, Kate?
K. NOCERA: Well, I agree. It`s going to be huge on the hill in the next
couple of weeks. Especially because it`s going to sort of set the tone if
Reid brings it up in a lame duck or waits until January to go through the
nomination. Whether or not the Republicans are so opposed to doing
anything in the lame duck. And if Harry Reid will let them do that.
FRANK: Because they weren`t imposed to do anything in the lame duck when
the Republicans impeached Bill Clinton in the lame duck. So, that is the
hypocrisy. It`s okay to impeach a president. But confirming an attorney
general for two years is much too important.
KORNACKI: Yes. Well, let`s see what happens with this A.G. one. I do
have a feeling this one might be a little smoother than it could have been.
But anyway, thank you everybody for playing. Thank you for being here
today. The name tags are yours to keep as well. That was a really fun
game. Other thing you should be looking for in the week ahead, Kansas
State to defeat TCU tonight. Look for that 7:30 tonight game of the week.
Anyway, thank you for joining us today on UP. Coming up next "MELISSA
HARRIS-PERRY." MHP Nerdland, that is next, stay tuned. And we`ll see you
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