'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, November 16th, 2014
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UP with STEVE KORNACKI
November 16, 2014
Guest: Katherine Mangu-Ward, L. Joy Williams, Philip Bump, Paul Butler,
Brian Wice, Greisa Martinez, Raul Reyes, Bill Nye, Coral Davenport, Marc
Edelman, Kavitha Davidson, Norm Ornstein
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST: A third American allegedly beheaded.
Good morning and thanks for getting up on this Sunday morning. I`m Krystal
Ball filling in for Steve Kornacki, and we are now officially halfway
through the month of November, but, of course, it is only the start of the
show and we have got a lot of news to get to. The White House is ready to
go it alone on immigration reform. And we will talk to someone who was out
there pressuring the candidates to act. And it`s the "New York Times"
meets the science guy when we talk about climate change. But the top
headline this morning is breaking news out of the Middle East.
U.S. and British government officials say they are aware of the video
purportedly released by ISIS claiming to show that they have killed hostage
Peter Kassig. Intelligence officials are investigating the content of the
video to determine its authenticity. The 26-year-old Indiana native was
captured more than a year ago while he was doing humanitarian work. If
this video proves to be authentic, Kassig would be the third American
hostage that ISIS has killed. The group has killed also two British aid
workers as well. We`ll have much more on this story coming up a little
later in the hour. A reporter who has spent considerable time in the
Middle East region. NBC News Ayman Mohyeldin will be joining us shortly.
And now we want to give you an update from the ground in Ferguson. The
family of slain teenager Michael Brown is speaking up against what they say
had been leaks biased against charging the police officer in their son`s
Lawyers for the family say that the new video of Officer Darren Wilson
entering the police station after the shooting shows that he was not
severely beaten as an earlier alleged leak claimed. Meanwhile, "The Post-
Dispatch" reports that law enforcement in the Ferguson area is under great
strain from the three months of protest. Aggravated assaults and robberies
are up since Michael Brown was shot to death while arrests are down, the
St. Louis City and county police chief say. Meanwhile, the community is
preparing for a decision from the county grand jury on whether charges are
broad against the officer. MSNBC reporter Amanda Sakuma is live on the
ground in Ferguson this morning. Amanda, thanks for being with us. What
can you tell us about the community`s preparations this morning?
AMANDA SAKUMA, MSNBC REPORTER: Good morning, Krystal, thanks for having
me. You know, various protest groups have been gathering almost daily to
hold mass medians and training ahead of the looming decision. And what
they are doing, they are offering up a very practical information including
how milk can be useful if you are caught up in tear gas and how you should
have enough data storage on you phone in case you need to film any type of
flare-ups between police and protesters.
And it`s - at least one organizer has called a militarized non-violent
civil disobedience and they wanted to not only prep the protesters for any
flare-ups with police, but also to essence, self-contain the crowd that we
saw a bit of this in August when the protesters would link arms and create
a human barricade against any kind of hot headed protesters in the group in
order to de-escalate the situation. So, what they are wanting to do is
kind of ease tensions before police even get involved.
BALL: And Amanda, I imagine that tensions are pretty high there right now
waiting the grand jury`s decision. How do you expect the community to
react depending on what the grand jury does decide?
SAKUMA: You know, whether or not there is an indictment for Darren Wilson,
it seems as though it`s a foregone conclusion that there will be new rounds
of protests throughout the St. Louis region. And they will be different
this time than what we saw in August. They are supposed to take place in
several different locations not only here, near the Ferguson police
department, but also in Clayton where the St. Louis County prosecutors`
office is, and also in a very residential area in St. Louis City. And
because of these geographically diverse locations, it`s likely to impact a
lot of residents who may not want to be a part of these protests. Police
barricades that are traditionally used to contain the protests, in a sense
could make it so that residents are not able to freely move throughout
their homes, making it difficult for them to go do errands or go to work or
as superintendent have raised, go to school.
BALL: All right. My thanks to MSNBC`s Amanda Sakuma live in Ferguson.
Thank you so much.
SAKUMA: Thank you.
BALL: And we want to turn now to the world of politics and what could be a
story to watch in the coming days and weeks. The open enrollment period
for the Affordable Care Act is now open. And while the first day of the
enrollment period went a lot smoother yesterday than last year`s debacle,
we are hearing about some confusion from consumers trying to purchase
health insurance. Some people had trouble logging in to their existing
account, others say that it took 90 minutes to complete their application.
White House has tried to make it easier for Americans to purchase health
insurance. Most people are already covered through the 34 federally-run
exchanges would be automatically reenrolled for the same plan for the
coming year. But the same plans may not carry the same premiums this year.
So, while we may not see the technical glitches that marked the launch of
Obamacare last year, we could see anger over just how affordable the
Affordable Care Act actually is. It`s one of many issues that could come
up in the coming weeks. And here to discuss this week`s other big stories
we have Katherine Mangu-Ward from "Reason" Magazine, Philip Bump from "The
Washington Post" and Democratic political strategist L. Joy Williams.
Thank you all for being with me this morning. How is everybody doing?
PHILIP BUMP, WASINGTON POST: OK.
KATHERINE MANGU-WARD, REASON MAGAZINE: Good.
BALL: Have you sampled the donuts yet? They are delicious. So Philip, so
far this year, a lot better than what we saw in the enrollment period when
things kicked off last year.
BUMP: It would be hard not to be. I mean last year was such a debacle
that, you know, basically, anything would be better. And, you know, I
think that a lot of the glitches that people are seeing as the sort of
glitches. I mean to expect this - people go to the DMV and complain about
the DMV all the time and that is - that is a bureaucracy that people have
to deal with. This is necessarily going to be something that is not easy
to do. Just because you are dealing with the government and they have to
check the databases and so on and so forth. If what we are hearing so far
seems like the sort of thing that you might expect and frankly, not that
big of a deal. Particularly compared to the last ...
BALL: Yeah, the type of glitches we are seeing this year are the sort of
glitches that we had hoped we would have ...
BALL: ... last year. Katherine, a bigger picture, though, you know, how
do we assess the policy so far. There is a new Gallup poll showing that
seven in 10 Americans who bought insurance through the health exchanges are
happy with the coverage that they`ve received. Certainly we have many more
people, millions more people who have experience who didn`t have it before.
So, we have to say this is a good policy at this point, don`t we?
MANGU-WARD: We definitely don`t. Unfortunately. I mean there is - there
are sort of two separate things going on. One is this kind of minute to
minute technical discussion. Like it took me 20 minutes to retrieve iTunes
password and Apple is terrible is the conclusion.
MANGU-WARD: That you come to.
MANGU-WARD: At the same time, because what this mimics is a commercial
product. Because what they are doing is trying to replace and supplement
some things that people are otherwise buying on an open market. The
standards are higher and should be higher. And this short sort of oh,
well, it`s difficult because you have to check databases thing, every
company in American has made it - should make it so you can instantly check
a database to see if you have an account already, the fact that government
is not very good at doing that is not a huge surprise to people who were
proponents of Obamacare to begin with. And the fact that people are happy
with their own status quo also doesn`t really demonstrate that it`s a good
policy, it just demonstrates that, you know, people want to have health
insurance and otherwise consider it kind of a black box.
BALL: Go ahead L. Joy.
L.JOY WILLIAMS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I think we have to separate
the policy from the actual function and logistics of buying health
insurance, right? So the overall policy is popular because people want
affordable health insurance and people want access to it. So, it`s
different in saying that the policy itself is flawed because I can`t log in
or it takes me 20 minutes to log in. Those things are not comparable.
BALL: Of course.
MANGU-WARD: At the same time, what you see is people saying I want
affordable health insurance and then, you know, just at the top of the
segment, what we hear as well, actually, prices may be going up. And
actually - I mean ...
WILLIAMS: Then the notion that somehow you sort of decree we are going to
have affordable health insurance. And that ...
MANGU-WARD: But I hate - the fact that the implementation has been so
varied across the states, right?
MANGU-WARD: Part of it is what the Supreme Court did, part of it is the
fact that some states went with the federal exchange and a lot of states
went with the federal exchange and others states have tried to set up their
exchanges and failed and others states, Kentucky is always the great
example. They did a great job setting their up - exchange and by and large
are having great results, so when you look at those premiums numbers, and
it`s sort of varied right now, whether or not they will go up a little bit
There`s also really wide variability across the country in terms of the
experience that folks are having.
WILLIAMS: And particularly because of that state, right? But thing, and
so people may be complaining about sort of their service or their access to
service. And it just depends on which state you are in, whether you are
using the federal exchange. But to the everyday person, they are blaming
President Obama because they can`t log in or President Obama because the
state exchange is different here than it is from their cousin or their
grandmother in another state.
BALL: Right. Are we getting to a place now that we have enough people
getting insurance through the Affordable Care Act that it really is not
feasible to roll back what has been done at this point?
BUMP: I think it can be extremely hard politically to try and remove
Obamacare at this point. There are millions of people who have insurance
to your point. Around the 70 percent number - that`s equivalent to what
you have from private sector insurers. It could be granted all of
Obamacare is private sector insurance, sort of to go back to your point,
it`s sort of unfair to say, on one hand, you know, oh, well, I mean I get
the same experience with Apple. But you know, we expect better from the
government, just because these are private insurers. We should expect that
- this is the same sort of things that you see everywhere. And I think
that to the extent that premiums are going up, the idea that premiums don`t
go up on Obamacare insurance, I think it`s easily disprovable. So, in
general this is an insurance system that is - there is a gateway that is
the government. We are seeing the sort of expected sort of - this is kind
of a problem that we see both from the government and from private sector.
To your point and, you know, we are seeing some prices go up in the same
way that inflation goes up. All of those things make something that is I
think very normal for people. And, you know, while there`s a lot of
attention to pay - how this thing is going, I think that the overall
process where people are just, oh, I have insurance and this is the sort of
BALL: We sort of expect health insurance to be complicated.
BALL: My isn`t. I`m not using, you know, an Obamacare exchange.
MANGU-WARD: When you think of any other products, I don`t have to be lucky
enough to live in Kentucky for it to be easy for me to buy their product.
I mean there is still a serve strong element here where sort of regulatory
uncertainty and multiple government bureaucracies interacting are the
source of a less friendly user experience.
BALL: Well, I would dispute that a bit, because what you are talking - I
mean I would think that you would be in favor of states having more
control. And what we are actually seeing is problems at the state level in
certain circumstances now that the federal exchanges are more or less
working. So, in some ways, maybe it would have been better if just the
federal government set up exchanges across the board.
MANGU-WARD: Well, of course, my view is that it would have been better if
the government at any level was not particularly involved in this process
at all. That is, the buying and selling of health insurance even if you
say that the government should be involved in subsidizing health insurance.
That on some level, we as a society want people who can`t afford it on
their own to be able to get health insurance. This vast bureaucracy that
state or federal level winds up sucking in lots of people who could have
BALL: So, what`s the status quo before Obamacare better?
MANGU-WARD: The status quo before Obamacare was nothing like a free
BALL: So, what should Republicans do? I mean should they give up on
repeal and move to their own solution? Should they give up on Affordable
Care Act altogether and fighting it because now people have insurance, they
are happy with that insurance and the law is moving forward?
MANGU-WARD: Republicans are completely screwed. I mean their best case
scenario here is just to basically complain and change nothing, which is
not a good case scenario for ...
WILLIAMS: Oh, we can all work together and improve the system.
BALL: Something tells me that`s not going to happen.
BALL: We`ve got much more to discuss. We`ll be right back after this.
BALL: There is still one U.S. Senate seat up for grabs. That is Louisiana
Senator Mary Landrieu facing off against Republican challenger and
Congressman Bill Cassidy in just three weeks. She is in the fight of her
political life to hold on to her seat and cap that Republican majority at
53 seats in an effort to give her campaign a much-needed boost, Harry Reid
is allowing a vote in the Senate on Tuesday on Landrieu`s bill to authorize
the Keystone pipeline. The popular measure among Louisiana`s oil industry.
So, can Mary Landrieu get the 60 votes she needs to put the bill on the
president`s desk and will this effort do anything to help her chances with
voters back home? L. Joy, it`s looking pretty tough for Mary Landrieu at
WILLIAMS: Yeah, and she has been here before and going to a runoff
election. And typically you would say that a runoff election or something
that is going to be on November as in here in Louisiana the run off is in
December, in Georgia, I think it`s in January. And you would think that
there would be a lot of drop off from voters. That you would have to pay
attention to it. But particularly in Louisiana, it seems that the run -
There has been sort of little to moderate drop off and so, really, the
campaign has to focus on the retail business that we actually run in the
campaign and actually not going to drag in and pull out voters if they are
going to make this happen for her. And so, we see that there has been
conversation in the press about Democrats nationally, sort of pulling away
from her, and sort of money not coming to save the day.
But certainly through this Keystone vote and the campaign really focusing
and bringing their voters out for this runoff election. But, you know,
it`s looking kind of right.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, it`s looking tough until - but I mean part of the story in
Louisiana is drawn to South, is that Democrats are just not winning white
voters. In 2008 Mary Landrieu won 33 percent of the white vote. This time
she won only 18 percent of the white vote.
BUMP: Well, this is a much wider electorate than in 2008. It will
(INAUDIBLE) Obama in 2008, but you know, this is also six years ago. I
mean one of the things that Landrieu keeps coming back to, is I`ve done
this before, I know my constituents and son on and so forth. It`s very,
very different electorate. It`s going to be - I would be very surprised if
it were anywhere close to the same turnout that we had in November. And,
you know, I mean this is - the problem is not only white voters, but the
people who are voting have already chosen people besides Mary Landrieu. In
the November race, she lost - she won by basically one point over Cassidy.
But compared to all of the Republicans combined, she lost by 14 points.
She is - Rob Maness`s voters. Rob Maness has had a lot of support from Tea
Party voters, she is not going to pick up those voters. This is not going
to happen, and so, I mean calling this tight I think is generous. I think
the best case scenario is that it`s tight for Landrieu. And I just don`t
think that`s the case.
BALL: Yeah. And internal polling from Cassidy was showing him up by 16
points. It`s hard to see how Keystone saved her. And Katherine, big
picture - I just think we are in a place where it`s almost impossible to
run a local election about your state. Mary Landrieu tried, right, she
talked about what she was able to do in a powerful position on a powerful
committee for her state and it just doesn`t have the resonance for voters
that it used to. These elections have all become national elections.
MANGU-WARD: You know, I actually, as a libertarian living in Washington,
D.C. You would think that I had used up all of my cynicism, but the ...
MANGU-WARD: The Keystone stuff has been amazing. I mean, you know, after
months and months of, you know, we have to study, we have to think. All of
a sudden, you know, we have got one seat at stake and boom, there it is on
the floor. You know, I think it`s not necessarily a bad development though
if local elections are not about the pork you can bring home. I mean
that`s not a good dynamic, the idea that somehow the best way to choose our
legislators is like who can bring the most federal cash back to whoever
sent them to Washington. I don`t want to see that. I would rather
elections be about kind of broader ideological frameworks or something that
is at least a little bit less mercenary.
BUMP: Although, there is a difference between bringing pork home which has
declined to some extent with the fact that you can`t ...
BALL: There are no earmarks ...
BUMP: You know, I mean and just I am representing my state. And I think
an interesting case study was Scott Brown against Jeanne Shaheen in New
Hampshire. And when Scott Brown tried very, very hard to nationalize it.
And you tried to say, this is - this is about Ebola, you have got to look
out for people coming with Ebola across the border. Whatever, and Jeanne
Shaheen won. She won barely, but she won, in part it was the regional
politics you were referring to earlier. But nonetheless. That was sort of
a case - contrary to the example, which you just said.
WILLIAMS: And I think - it depends - it really depends on whether or not
you know, if you have a national election going on where everybody across
the country is running so that there is the opportunity for all of the
races to be nationalized. And sort of - these issues ...
BALL: Do Democrats need to realize that this is a reality? Because what I
saw this election season was Republicans trying to nationalize the election
and make it about Obama. Obviously, much more successfully than Democrats
who were really sort of every man for themselves. You know, I don`t
remember if I voted for that guy and - no, I`m not going to support
background checks. That strategy is not working anymore.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, but I think there is a balance, right? So, there is also
speaking to voters and constituents where they are and some of the work
that, you know, our organization has done and others have done where we
have poled voters and we know what our base wants in order to increase
turnout and we have to speak to those issues. But then voters also know
when you are being not authentic.
WILLIAMS: And so, they can see it like you say you are a Democrat and yet
you can`t say that you are a Democrat in public. If, you know, sort of
what - so people smell that.
BALL: So, it`s less about the issues than it is inauthenticity. So,
what`s going to happen with Keystone? Do we have enough Democrats in the
Senate who were going to back it to get it across that 60 votes threshold?
BUMP: I just want to say first of all, it is incredibly cynical move.
And, you know, I mean it is one of the weirder things I have seen done. It
looks like there are 59 -the current count that I`ve seen ....
BALL: Although let me just say - I mean at this point with Republicans
coming into the majority and with a number of sort of, you know, moderate
Democrats already on the record of supporting Keystone, wasn`t it going to
become a reality whether you did it now or later? So, you may as well do
it now when you have a chance of helping out a Democratic senator?
BUMP: That is exactly the point. And I think that`s the cynical play. Is
that this was going to happen in January anyway. But we are doing it now
to help out our Democratic senator. To the point that this has been
something that`s been in the works for a long time. And, you know, there`s
still outstanding issues around the environmental impacts - so there`s a
lawsuit that is, existing in Nebraska. To do this now and if they can get
it done, frankly put it before Obama where he can most likely veto it,
which I think is actually good for Landrieu, I think it is a truly
political play and I think it`s the sort of thing that people find a little
BALL: All right. We are going to hear more from all of you in a little
bit, but up next, we are going to talk to NBC News Ayman Mohyeldin about
the breaking news in the Middle East. Stay with us.
BALL: We want to bring you up to speed on the breaking news we`ve brought
you earlier this morning. U.S. and British government officials say that
they are aware of the video purportedly released by ISIS claiming to show
that they have killed hostage Peter Kassig. The U.S. aid worker was
captured last year. His friends say that he converted to Islam while in
captivity and changed his name to Abdul Rahman. While we can`t confirm if
it is, in fact, Kassig in that video, the British Prime Minister David
Cameron tweeted this morning, I am horrified by the cold-blooded murder of
Abdul Rahman Kassig. ISIL have shown again their depravity. My thoughts
are with his family. The Islamic State has already killed two Americans,
journalist James Foley and Steven Sotloff and two Brits and workers David
Haines and Alan Henning. NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin
joins me now. He spent considerable time covering the Middle East from
Syria and Iraq. Thanks for being with me.
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Thanks for having me on.
BALL: So, I know this morning is particularly difficult for you because
you actually knew Kassig personally. Talk to us about who he was as a man
and what he was doing in the region.
MOHYELDIN: Well, we had a chance, actually, along with a few other
journalists to see Peter in Beirut just as he was going into Syria on one
of the many trips that he had made over the course of last several years
since about 2012. He had started a relief organization that was helping
provide medical supplies and other kinds of emergency kits to Syrian
communities that were in desperate need of these supplies caught up in the
war. And we had a chance to see him actually before he entered into Syria
that last time. But you get a sense that he was an individual who is very
humble, a man who was driven with a sense of purpose. A man who after
serving in the U.S. Army began to question a lot of things that were
happening in the region and found a way at least through this organization
that he created to really give back and try to help the people of Syria.
And I think that`s ultimately what he will be remembered for. How he lived
those last few years of his life.
BALL: Yeah, just heartbreaking that someone who was there committed to the
people of the region doing such great work could have lost his life in this
way. So, this is the third American who has been killed and the fifth
hostage, Western hostage who has been killed by ISIS. Do we have any idea
how many more Westerners they might be holding at this point?
MOHYELDIN: We have seen various accounts. I do believe that there is
still one other American who is still being held by ISIS, that`s according
to several reports. Certainly, a few others that may be dual nationals,
not necessarily Americans, but European nationals that are still in their
custody or are still in their captivity. But we don`t have necessarily a
complete and accurate account. It`s not yet clear whether all of these
types of beheadings and these types of kidnappings are happening in a kind
of centralized, localized way or whether they are kind of happening in
rogue groups and then ultimately either sold to groups up to ISIS chain of
command or stuff like that.
MOHYELDIN: So, it`s kind of difficult to get an accurate sense. But there
still remain several people that are kidnapped in hostage. And aside from
the Americans and Europeans, don`t lose sight of the fact that they are
doing this almost on a daily basis to Syrian nationals and others nationals
inside these countries, including, obviously, Muslims that they consider to
be, you know, a hostage (ph).
BALL: That`s such a great point. I should point out that NBC News has not
confirmed that this is Kassig, so we don`t know for sure. What do you
make, though, if this video authenticity is confirmed? What do you make of
the timing here? Is this all very strategic in terms of when they are
committing these acts and when they are releasing these videos?
MOHYELDIN: I think it`s - there is a message to it besides just obviously
the barbarity of the organization, what it is doing. I think the message
also is that despite now several weeks and even months of this aerial
campaign by the U.S., the attempt by the Iraqi government to reclaim
territory. I think that ISIS is trying to show it`s still very much not
only operational, but still acting in the same way it was in the early days
of this aerial campaign. We saw the statement that came out of the leader
of the group, Abu-Bark al-Baghdadi. That message was also - said that he
is very much still in control despite the fact that there were reports that
he`s been killed or injured. And now, we are seeing the return to this
type of killings that they have become famous for over the past several
months. I think the group is trying to send the message they are still
very much here, they are still very much doing everything that the world
hates them for.
BALL: And what is the reality? I mean what can we say so far about how
the American-led airstrike campaign is going so far?
MOHYELDIN: Well, that`s a very tough assessment. I mean I`m sure the
United States government is going to say it`s making progress, it is
disrupting its killing, its destroying capabilities of the group, but there
also have to be honest assessments on what the group is doing on the
ground. ISIS is still very much fighting on several and multiple fronts,
they`ve still taken some territory in recent weeks. The fact that the
organization is still capable of fighting in the outskirts of the Baghdad
area in Iraq at the same time fighting near Kobani and at the same time you
are getting support from other militant groups including this week this
reported alliance between the al Qaeda front and ISIS.
BALL: Well, how real do you think that is?
MOHYELDIN: I think to some extent, there is credibility to it. Not
necessarily because of any kind of ideological similarity, but I think the
groups perhaps are realizing, they are spending a lot of energy and
resources fighting each other and not fighting the Assad regime, which is
what they were first setting out to do. But in addition to that, one of
the more - kind of like - if you look at it from 10,000 square feet above,
you have groups now in Egypt, Libya and others declaring their allegiance
and their support to ISIS. And I think if you start seeing this - and
right now it`s kind of just words, but if you start seeing any kind of
operational link, I think this is going to be a very, very serious problem
across the region. Not that it`s not already ...
MOHYELDIN: But it will be a very dangerous escalation.
BALL: Even more troubling. All right, NBC News foreign correspondent
Ayman Mohyeldin. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it. And a former
president is back in the spotlight. What he is saying, up ahead.
BALL: The hospital treating the United States` latest Ebola patient Dr.
Martin Salia says he is in "extremely critical condition" this morning
while being treated for the virus. Dr. Salia`s surgeon who contracted the
virus while in Sierra Leone arrived yesterday afternoon to the Nebraska
Medical Center and doctors say that Mr. Salia is possibly sicker than any
other patient successfully treated in the U.S. and his condition is hour by
hour. Dr. Salia is the third patient to be treated at the Nebraska Medical
Center and the 10th to be treated for Ebola in the U.S. We will, of
course, keep you updated on his condition as we receive new information
throughout the day here on MSNBC.
BALL: President George W. Bush was back in the spotlight this week
promoting his new book about his father, President George H.W. Bush. But
much of the focus turned to Bush`s brother, Jeb and whether he would be the
next Bush to run for the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH: Some guy one time said to me, you know, I don`t like the
idea of Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Bush. I said, OK. I said, hey you
like the idea of Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Clinton?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Hillary Clinton is, of course, the early front-runner for president
on the Democratic side, but President Bush reminded us that a Bush and a
Clinton have squared off before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you imagine a general election between a Bush and
GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah. Bill Clinton and I do have lunch together and
first, they said, what about another Bush-Clinton race. And my (INAUDIBLE)
was - first one didn`t turn out too well.
BUSH: That would be interesting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: It might be interesting, but is it actually what the voters want?
2/3 of voters in this month midterm elections said that we are on the wrong
track. And just like 2006 and 2008 and 2010, this was yet another change
election, an election in which voters shifted the balance of power in
Washington and called for a new direction. So, what does it mean for
Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush? Members of two political dynasties that have
dominated Washington for decades. Our panelists are back to discuss this.
We have Katherine Mangu-Ward from "Reason" magazine. Philip Bump of "The
Washington Post" and Democratic political strategist L. Joy Williams. L.
Joy, when I think about a potential Bush Clinton presidential race, it just
seems at such odds with what we just heard from voters bout how disgusted
they are with the Washington establishment and business as usual. And then
we are going to have Bush versus Clinton?
WILLIAMS: And who knows what the electorate will say that they want in two
years from now, right?
WILLIAMS: So, you know, things - with all of these conversations, voters
change their minds as you said in the beginning. What they want, whether
or not the country is moving in the right direction from there. But
consistently over - for some period for the last couple of years, voters
have wanted candidates and the government to respond to them and the issues
that they care about. We saw this in this election cycle, voters wanted
someone to speak to the issues whether it`s on the economy, whether it was
on minimum wage or on health insurance. All of those things, they just
wanted their issues to be heard. And so, whoever, that is going to be on
the ballot during the primaries or as we get to the general election, the
key will be who can listen and actually respond to voters what they say
BALL: And Philip, I mean we do seem to have had wave after wave after wave
where people are just so disgusted with what`s going on in Washington. To
me that was the clearest message that was sent from this last election. It
wasn`t that people are so in love with Republicans. As you can see by
their approval ratings, it`s the fact that they just want to try something
different and they are trying to express that frustration. Is that
electorate going to then turn around and say we want Hillary Clinton and
Jeb Bush, the sort of emblematic of the Washington insider?
BUMP: The key word there is that electorate. Jamelle Bouie wrote a great
piece about how there`s this cycle now in American politics between the
types of voters that come out in 2010 and 2014 and the types of voters that
come out in 2008 and 2012, 2016. You know, there`s definitely an aspect of
last week`s elections two weeks ago, I guess at this point, that was about
sending a rebuke to Washington particularly to President Obama. There was
a lot of disapproval of President Obama and I think that was a motivating
factor we saw. It`s a poll - at least a third of people said that they
were voting to send a message to the president. And so I think that is the
status quo more than anything. At the same time, 96 percent of incumbents
won reelection. So, this is not as though everyone is saying, throw out
all the bums, they are not saying we are mad about this thing and it is a
particularly anti-Democratic electorate that came out. That`s not the only
reason Republicans did so well. But it`s a significant reason. And in
2016, the people who are going to be voting on this race, whoever happens
to be running for president, is almost certainly going to be more diverse,
younger than the electorate we saw two weeks ago.
BALL: Katherine, I have been having this debate with some of my colleagues
here at MSNBC, which is, OK, let`s say that Hillary Clinton is the
Democratic nominee. Who would she most want to go up against on the
Republican side? I have a guess that you have a feeling on that. I
personally think that someone who is a little bit outside of the
mainstream. Someone who is like a Rand Paul, would be tough for her,
because he does have that like non-politician authentic feel. And that
does resonate with voters and potentially could have some appeal to younger
MANGU-WARD: Sure, I mean, you know, I think the Clinton strategy, the sort
of macro- strategy is remember the 90s? That was not so bad?
MANGU-WARD: And that`s - a lot easier to do, if she`s running against the
Jeb Bush type character. Of course, I would like to see her run against
Rand Paul, mostly just for the kind of mind blowiness of, you know, a
hawkish Democrat and much more non-interventionist Republican. A
Republican who may ...
BALL: Though he is very much shifting his position on exactly where he is
on that stuff.
MANGU-WARD: That`s a little oversold. I think, you know, he has always
been softer than his father, but I think, you know, this notion, you are
absolutely right. Incumbents come back. Incumbents always come back.
You know, the idea that somehow the American public is like let`s start
fresh. No. They reelected basically everyone and it just changed on the
margins after a super-careful reading of the polls. My analysis is that
the American public it like this. They don`t know.
MANGU-WARD: They just don`t know. Anything looks like it`s ...
WILLIAMS: Or like this.
MANGU-WARD: They know it`s bad.
MANGU-WARD: It`s a little bit of both. They know it`s bad, but
structurally we have built a system where people return and come to
Washington. And that`s what they did again this time.
WILLIAMS: But I think to your point also in terms as we move to 2016 and
who the electorate is going to be and particularly mention that it`s going
to be younger, it`s going to be more diverse. Because you have the
increased attention of a presidential election where you have more turn
out. And so, it`s important particularly for Democrats as we move forward
to listen to the base of their party. In this instance it could be black
voters, Latino voters and sort of listening to them so that they actually
come out. You know, we saw dismal turnout here for midterm election. You
know, but as national vote director for higher heights, we focused on what
voters wanted. And particularly black women. When we focused on what
black women, the issues that they cared about, we had more than two thirds
of them actually come out. They typically don`t come out for midterm
WILLIAMS: And so, as Democrats are moving forward, they need to realize
that it`s going to be a more diverse population to actually turn out and
vote. And so, we need candidates and we need to think beyond sort of just
Clinton and Bush and sort of find candidates who can represent those issues
and then you have greater participation from ...
BALL: Yeah, I mean to your point, Jeff Merkley, senator from Oregon had a
really successful night. Won by 19 percentage points and ran this sort of
very populous campaign against trade deals and more affordable college
tuition. I mean it`s Oregon, right? It`s a blue state. But still, he had
a great night on a night when most Democrats did not do so well. Philip,
what other than choice, reproductive rights and Supreme Court nominees,
what are the real differences between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton in terms
of the way that they would govern?
BUMP: That - you are (INAUDIBLE)
BUMP: You know, Hillary Clinton`s campaign I think has been interesting
for how safe it`s been. I mean her campaign has been interesting for how
safe it`s been, which - which makes sense. She`s the frontrunner. She`s,
you know, I think she has a lot of scars from 2008. There are fundamental
differences when you are the leader of the party than when you are
candidate to be leader of the party. And I think that Jeb Bush ...
BALL: What do you mean by that?
BUMP: Well, what I mean is that, Jeb Bush would need to get the
nomination. In order to get the nomination, he would need to appeal to the
sorts of voters that come out in Republican primary.
BUMP: Who are not voters who are necessarily Jeb Bush type of voters. And
not the voters who are necessarily Chris Christie type of voters.
BALL: So, like his courage on immigration, we could see that go out the
window, for example.
BUMP: It will be interesting to see what happens. And how he shapes his
positions if he decides to run. Because in order to get that nomination,
he has to be someone, I think and, you know, I could be wrong and the
electorate could change, but I think he has to be someone who it is not
natural for him to be.
WILLIAMS: And I think the same thing in a Clinton primary as well, that if
you have more of the liberal ring of the Democratic Party sort of wanting
to have a say in the process going forward, there is also something that
she needs to do and a voter she needs to speak to, and that - that will be
different in the larger election.
BALL: That`s what I`m hoping for. All right. My thanks to L. Joy
Williams and Philip Bump for joining me. And Katherine, we are going to
talk to you again later this morning.
What is the St. Louis County grand jury considering as it decides whether
Officer Darren Wilson will face charges in the death of Michael Brown? We
are going to ask our team of legal experts. That`s when we come back.
BALL: The town of Ferguson, Missouri, is on edge this morning as citizens
wait to learn whether or not an indictment will come down in the August
shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. No one disputes that
police officer Darren Wilson did fire the fatal shots, what the grand jury
has been considering is the why in this case and what if anything justifies
the multiple rounds that ended Michael Brown`s life there in the middle of
This week the grand jury heard from Dr. Michael Baden, former New York City
chief medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Brown on behalf of his
family. The legal team for Brown`s parents has been critical of the leaks
from the proceedings that they say are inclined towards exonerating the
police officer. Yesterday, they suggested that new footage showing Officer
Wilson in hours after the shooting disproves an earlier alleged leak about
injuries that Wilson sustained. For his part, Darren Wilson told his side
of the story before the grand jury last month and soon they will decide if
he faces charges.
Turning now to our legal experts, we have Brian Wice, the criminal defense
attorney in Houston who recently served on the legal team for Minnesota
Vikings player Adrian Peterson. And we also have Paul Butler, a former
federal prosecutor who is now a professor at Georgetown Law School.
Gentleman, thanks for being with us this morning.
PAUL BUTLER, FMR. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Good to be here.
BALL: So, Brian, let`s start with you. If the grand jury does decide to
indict, what are the options on the table in terms of charges that Officer
Darren Wilson could potentially face?
BRIAN WICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Krystal, this grand jury is not only faced
with the determination of whether to indict or not, but they have got a
number of options. Four different forms of homicide ranging from murder
two, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and criminally
negligent homicide what in Missouri is involuntary manslaughter in the
second degree. And they carry varying penalty ranges from 30 years all the
way down to two. At the end of the day, if they do indict, they are going
to have to determine what intent if any Officer Wilson had. If he
knowingly and intentionally intend to cause Michael Brown`s death, did he
do so as a result of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause? Did he
do so recklessly or did he do so negligently? And again, this is a
determination that this grand jury has been all consumed with over the
course of this last three months.
BALL: And Paul, what are some of the considerations that members of the
grand jury are going to be taking into account?
BUTLER: Well, it`s a low standard. It`s not whether Officer Wilson is
guilty, it`s whether there is probable cause to bring the charges. And
Brian is absolutely right. They have all this law they have to consider
and they have very little guidance from this prosecutor. He is burying
them in a ton of evidence. And all these shoots, and he`s not going to
make a recommendation. Krystal, I have appeared before grand juries many
times. I`ve never seen it done like this. There was a real question about
whether this prosecutor is proceeding in good faith.
BALL: And Brian, I mean one of the things I think that has stood out to a
lot of folks is how long this grand jury has taken, why has this process
been so drawn out?
WICE: Well, because of the nature and quality of the very investigation
that they have been consumed with their last few times. You know, Paul and
I as legal analysts like to kid around about trials of the century that
seem to happen every couple of years. I don`t think it`s hyperbole,
Krystal, to say that this has been the grand jury investigation of the
century. It`s hard to really think of a grand jury investigation that has
been all consuming. All encompassing and ultimately one that has been as
incendiary and probably one that`s going to be as second-guessed as any
grand jury investigation in recent memory. The stakes for everybody are
high. The accused or the suspect Officer Wilson, the family of the victim
and certainly, the community of Ferguson.
BALL: Well, and the Brown family already expressing their displeasure
here. Why is it that that this process seemed like what they have called a
secret trial? I mean they are recording the proceedings. Is this a way to
get across the appearance of justice playing out?
BUTLER: Well, if it is, it`s not working very well. You know, there have
been concerns from the beginning about this prosecutor. His father
unfortunately was killed by an African-American man. He has never brought
charges against a police officer for shooting an unarmed black person. And
it`s not like this is the first time it`s happened in his jurisdiction. He
could have brought charges on his own which is what a lot of people would
have done. Again, instead, he is throwing all the stuff at the grand jury.
It`s not transparent. He claims he`s going to release these videos and
audios of what the grand jury heard. If there is not an indictment, I will
believe that when I see it.
BALL: Brian, what role do you think that external factors like the
protests and the national attention, what have they played in the process
up to this point? And potentially in the decision to indict or not?
WICE: Well, we like to think, Krystal, that the whole mark of any grand
jury proceeding is fairness and secrecy. And as Paul pointed out, this
case has pretty much turned that notion on its head. This is a situation
where the public knows who`s to testify, when they testified, what they
testified to. And even the racial composition of this 12 member grand
jury. But make no mistake, these 12 folks who have served for three
months, understand there is a tremendous amount of heat and light and eyes
on this case. We hope that at the end of the day they apply the law to the
facts. And again, as Paul pointed out, and this is critical for our
viewers. There is a chasm that exists between proof beyond a reasonable
doubt, which a trial jury decides, and probable cause, is it more likely
than not, which these 12 citizens are ultimately going to be called up to
decide in the days ahead, Krystal.
BALL: So important to keep that distinction in mind. And my thanks to
Brian Wice and Paul Butler for joining me this morning. Thank you,
BUTLER: Great to be here.
BALL: And we are on our way back to Washington where despite big time
threats, the president is not backing down. Stick around.
BALL: Thank you for staying with us this hour. I`m Krystal Ball filling
in for Steve Kornacki, and if you are just getting up with us, we are
following breaking news out of the Middle East. U.S. and British
government officials say they are aware of a video purportedly released by
ISIS claiming to show that they have killed hostage Peter Kassig.
Intelligence officials are investigating the content of the video to
determine its authenticity. And we will, of course, bring you the latest
updates in just a few minutes.
Looking now, though, to domestic politics. On Thursday we got wind that
President Obama is moving ahead on his plans to act on his own to address
the broken immigration system. He could act as soon as next week. The
long awaited action after Obama failed to deliver on his promise to make
this move by this summer, and it could come as soon, again, as next week.
Aids say his plan will protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from
deportation and provide work permits to those who are eligible.
Parents of children who are citizens or legal residents are among those
likely to be deprioritized for deportation. House Speaker John Boehner`s
response was swift.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOEHNER: We are going to fight the president tooth and nail if he
continues down this path. This is the wrong way to govern. This is
exactly what the American people said on Election Day they didn`t want.
And so, all the options are on the table. We are having discussions with
our members and there have no decisions been made as to how we will fight
this if he proceeds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: That would be John Boehner there leaving the door open to shutting
down the government if the president issues an executive action on
immigration. Something that congressional conservatives are actually
starting to clamor for. But the president is standing his ground.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I gave the House
over a year to go ahead and at least give a vote to the Senate bill. They
failed to do so. And I indicated to Speaker Boehner several months ago
that if in fact Congress failed to act I would use all the lawful authority
that I possess to try to make the system work better. And that`s going to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Joining me now from the White House for the latest on this
escalating battle over the president`s planned executive action, we have
MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt. Kasie, thanks for being with us.
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Thanks for having me, Krystal.
BALL: So, Kasie, what are you hearing from the two sides right now on this
HUNT: So, I will be honest with you, Krystal. It sounds to me like these
two sides of this issue are having completely different and totally
disconnected conversations about what happens next here. As you said, the
president is - you know that we are hearing that the president is
considering doing this as early as next week. So, on one side you have
immigration advocates who have been pushing for him to do this. You know,
and we`re hearing from some of them that, you know, the president is
frustrated. He`s already put this out - put this off, excuse me, at the
request of Senate Democrats who are in tough reelection fights. But now,
they are preparing to sort of try and calm down some of the groups if the
order doesn`t go far enough. So, if the order excludes some certain groups
of people, potentially parents of Dreamers, something along those lines.
So, it`s possible that they are concerned that President Obama won`t get
full throated support from the advocacy community.
On the other hand, you have Republicans on Capitol Hill and you showed some
of John Boehner there, who essentially say that if Obama does this, it`s
going to be like declaring war. And there are some Senate Democrats -
centrist Senate Democrats who are concerned that if the president does this
before December 11 or December 12 when funding for the government runs out,
are going to have another huge fiscal battle and that they will actually be
in a tougher position this time than they were during the last government
shut down. So, it`s just when you listen to the two sides talk about each
other, the distance is so striking.
BALL: Wow, that is remarkable. And we have that brief moment of
bipartisan comedy. What happened to that? Where are the 2016 Republicans,
the folks who are likely gearing up for a run for president? What are they
saying about the president`s likely action here?
HUNT: I think that you are going to see this theme, actually, throughout
any of Republican presidential primary, and that is that, you know, most of
these candidates have been denouncing this kind of executive action for
months now. You had Rand Paul who has actually gone so far as to say that
he would repeal every single executive order that President Obama has ever
issued in his presidency. Now, that would run a pretty large span of
things, some of which are very technical and who knows the impact that that
could have. Ted Cruz is actually working with some Senate Republicans to
discuss whether or not they want to put something in this government
funding bill that would prevent President Obama from implementing this
executive order on immigration specifically. And that`s actually where we
could potentially see a government shutdown threat.
BALL: Oh, boy. Here we go. Kasie Hunt, thanks so much.
HUNT: Here we go again.
BALL: See you soon.
HUNT: Thanks, Krystal.
BALL: And joining me to dig into this issue further, we are lucky to have
Greisa Martinez, immigration activist with United We Dream. We also have
Katherine Mangu-Ward of "Reason" magazine and USA Today columnist and
NBCnews.com contributor Raul Reyes.
Greisa, let me start with you. Kasie was just talking about how activists
may not be satisfied with this action, that it doesn`t go far enough,
what`s being reported that the president will likely do here. You are an
activist. What is your response?
GREISA MARTINEZ, UNITED WE DREAM: I think the most important thing is that
those are all just rumors for now. We don`t know what the scope of the
president`s action might be. What I know is true is that myself and
immigrant youth from across the country are here in Washington, D.C. And
continue to pressure the president to go as big and bold as possible, to
include parents like my mother and LGBTQ families. So in the end, I think
people like the immigrant youth of United We Dream will be able to find
victories for us, and we are looking forward to what that looks like.
BALL: Greisa, regardless of what actions the president takes, this is far
from comprehensive immigration reform. It`s far from a permanent solution.
What are you and your allies going to do to actually get Congress to act
and have a real solution pass through the House and the Senate?
MARTINEZ: United We Dream and folks across the country have been pushing
for President Obama to use his executive power now to stop deportation and
grant relief. But what we know is that the long-term win for us is also
going to be immigration reform. And I think our community is looking
really closely right now to folks that are thinking about 2016 runs. We
are going to see how Republicans are going to react to any administrative
action the president does and how Democrats will continue to pressure
President Obama to go big. So we are here for the long haul, and we are
making sure our families are together.
BALL: And you already have been here for the long haul. We know you and
your activist allies are not going anywhere. I want to bring in Raul Reyes
now. Raul, President Clinton was talking about President Obama`s decision
over the summer to delay action on immigration reform. He thought it was
detrimental, actually, to Democrats in this election. He said we had a
little bit of a loss of the Hispanic vote. Perhaps because the president
didn`t issue the immigration order, but it was a tough call for him,
because had he done so, a lot of the others would have lost by even more.
What do you make of the president`s decision to postpone to this point?
RAUL REYES, NBCNEWS.COM: It`s easier to judge it now. But I think we can
say that the delay was a failure. It didn`t -- immigration didn`t play out
as a big issue in any of these races, except possibly in New Hampshire,
where Scott Brown emphasized it a lot against Jeanne Shaheen.
BALL: And potentially in Colorado. It was a negative for Mark Udall.
REYES: Right. And there in Colorado, it could have helped him. But also
I think a significant factor is that the Democrats missed an opportunity to
really galvanize and mobilize Latinos to come out and vote and hopefully
lay some more groundwork for 2016. I think now, when we look at the
executive action that`s coming up, aside from just wanting it to happen to
benefit the immigrant community, there are some really sound policy reasons
why the president should go as big as possible. Because we`re hearing
numbers like potentially 4 million, 5 million, that he might potentially
give this reprieve to. But the reality is that the actual number of those
people who can take advantage of it or who do take advantage of it is going
to be much smaller. When President Reagan did his amnesty back in `86,
ultimately only about 45 percent of the people eligible took advantage of
it. With DACA, which is considered a successful program, there are about
1.2 eligible young people who could take advantage of the program; only
about half did, due to language difficulties and not having the money, just
other considerations. There is a risk in taking advantage of these
programs, because you are giving the government your name, address, your
family members` name and addresses.
REYES: There is going to be a smaller subset of people who are actually -
who can actually benefit from the program.
BALL: Katherine, Republicans talked a lot about the lawless president,
they filed a lawsuit against him already. Isn`t the base of the Republican
Party going to demand that Republicans either shut down the government or
file another lawsuit or even impeach the president over this action?
MANGU-WARD: The politics of this are an absolutely mess. Bad politics
make for bad policy. You talk about the risk of sort of coming out of the
closet, of getting yourself on government records. Somebody who`s being
rational about this would actually say, listen, if Republicans are going to
-- if we have President Rand Paul and he comes in and reverses all these
executive orders, maybe I made the wrong choice to try and take advantage
of this while it existed. (inaudible) in immigration in particularly, but
frankly with almost any kind of policy, when you have this uncertainty,
right, when you have this sort of partisan-driven possibility of total
reversals of new policy, it doesn`t do any good. We see this also with
drug legalization. We are going to decriminalize but it`s not going to be
fully legal, so then people sort of are not willing to make the same level
of investment to kind of enter the open market and improve their product,
if that`s it. If there is such a thing as immigration. And frankly, we
see this everywhere with immigration too. Just because you are a poor
immigrant and your prospects look bad, the same thing is true at the top of
the heap. You get an H1B, it`s still $20,000 and 10 years later before you
are a citizen.
BALL: Raul, in fact, we are already hearing some Republicans using the I
word. Let`s take a listen to a few of them talking about impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I believe it is an impeachable offense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to agree with him. Of course it would be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Impeachment is indicting in the House. That`s a
possibility, but you still have to convict in the Senate. That takes two-
thirds vote. But impeachment would be a consideration, yes, sir.
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: If the practical effect of his executive order is the
opposite of what the law requires, I hate to say this, Republicans don`t
want to do it and I understand why. He is a candidate for impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALL: Even if they don`t go forward with impeachment, Raul, what kind of a
message does this send to the Hispanic community, that the president taking
action on their behalf could be an impeachable offense?
REYES: Right. That`s very dangerous messaging for them looking ahead in
2016 and it could well outweigh positive attempts at the messaging on other
areas with all the impeachment talk. Aside from the fact that when you
break down what impeachment is supposed to be for, treason and high crimes
and misdemeanors. Executive action on immigration does not fit into those
categories. Just because they don`t like what he`s doing, doesn`t make it
an impeachable offense. Many presidents have taken executive action on
BALL: Greisa, we`ve seen you be very aggressive in some of your tactics,
making people and politicians uncomfortable, where do we expect to see you
MARTINEZ: We are here in D.C. And youth from across the country are
converging here to make sure that the president delivers as soon as
possible. And we`re also in across the country, so we`ll be in Texas and
Florida and California. Making sure that while we`re keeping Republicans
accountable and making sure that we`re making the case for our families,
for any (inaudible) to be bold, broad, inclusive of our parents and LGBTQ
BALL: My thanks for Greisa Martinez and Raul Reyes for joining me this
morning. We are going to be talking to you again in a little bit.
Up next, we will break down one of this past week`s biggest stories.
President Obama`s climate change agreement with China. Will that agreement
be effective and will it even be enforced?
BALL: Imagine, the year is 2030. You are watching this show through your
Google Glass version 10.0, while stepping out of your driverless car back
from your weekend trip to Saturn, and you take a deep breath, and the air
here on earth is maybe on its way to being cleaner. Global warming is
subsiding. President Obama will be long out of office, but if China and
the U.S. keep the promises made this week, this picture of the future may
be a reality. All right, that Saturn part maybe feels a little bit far-
But on Wednesday, in a historic announcement, China and the U.S. negotiated
a plan to curb carbon emissions. The U.S. agreed to target emissions cuts
up to 28 percent of 2005 levels by the year 2025. China is promising to
target peak CO2 emissions by 2030. From the actions of his second term so
far, it is clear President Obama is hoping one of his legacies will be
climate change action. Earlier this year, he directed ambitious EPA
regulations to cut carbon pollutants from the nation`s power plants, and
just yesterday, he pledged $3 billion towards a climate change fund for
developing countries. But while progress abroad is being made, progress at
home? Well, that might be stagnating. On Friday, the House of
Representatives passed a bill approving construction of the Keystone XL
pipeline. The Senate is expected to vote this week and seems to be one
vote shy of a filibuster-proof majority. The Republicans have said they
are eager to obstruct Obama`s EPA changes. So 2030 may bring Google Glass,
space ports and driverless cars, but our vision of the future may be a lot
hazier, if we can`t find a path forward on climate control here at home.
Here to discuss this jam-packed week in climate change news, we are lucky
to have Coral Davenport of the "New York Times," and also Bill Nye the
Science Guy, author of the new book, "Undeniable: Evolution and the Science
of Creation." Thank you both so much for being with us.
BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY: Thank you.
CORAL DAVENPORT, NEW YORK TIMES: Great to be with you.
BALL: So Coral, let`s start with the critics of this Chinese climate deal
with the U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe said that it is a non-binding charade,
and of course the pushback there being that this is not a formalized deal,
these are all just promises that are not enforceable. Can you help us
understand why the deal was crafted in that way?
CORAL DAVENPORT, NEW YORK TIMES: Sure. The first thing to recognize is
it`s not really a deal. There was not any kind of treaty or accord or, as
Senator Inhofe said, legally binding language. What President Obama and
President Xi are doing is working towards a global, international deal that
will be signed next year in Paris in 2015. We had been expecting countries
to announce what kind of targets or what positions they will bring to the
table for that deal. Sometime in early next year, probably February or
March. So what the two presidents did is they said -- they decided to
announce their targets early and announce them together. They had been
working behind the scenes separately on their plans, on what they were
going to bring to the table for this broader deal to be signed next year.
In many ways, this was a signal of good will, a sign that the two biggest
emitters, biggest economies, plan to work together on this broader deal.
They want to send a signal to the rest of the world that they are taking it
seriously, that they want other countries to step in and make pledges. So
in many ways, this was a symbol or a signal, not a legally binding deal.
But it sets us on the path for a broader deal with legal elements to be
signed by the U.N. next year.
BALL: So Bill, Coral saying here that this is a signal of good will rather
than an actual deal. Although I don`t understand. The screen right now
said U.S. climate deal with China. The screen is never wrong. But so -
help us understand the significance of this agreement with China.
NYE: The longest journey starts with but a single step. So just as this -
- the president of the U.S. was able to negotiate at all with anybody about
this is a huge thing, because here`s my belief in the big picture. If the
U.S. were leading the way, if the United States were leading the way in
climate change, around the world, everybody would be on board. You
wouldn`t have this big, these continual arguments. And just watching the
screen, which you said is never wrong, there is a great many numbers.
2012, (inaudible), 2030, 2025 - that`s great, but if the United States were
out in front on all this, it wouldn`t be an issue. And really, the big
picture, having given this a great deal of thought and some analysis, we
need a fee and dividend system. You`ve heard this expression, carbon tax.
Cap and trade. But if we had a fee, where everybody who made carbon oxide
and they put carbon oxide in the atmosphere, if he or she, that company was
forced to pay a fee into a fund and then we`d redistribute that fee to
everybody, middle class people would come out ahead. Rich people in
general produce more carbon dioxide than middle class people, and they
would pay a bigger fee. Companies that produce more carbon oxide would pay
a bigger fee.
And then you`d redistribute this so that everybody would feel good about
it. And the model for this-
BALL: This is sort of a populist climate change (inaudible).
NYE: Here is the thing. There is a model for this. Alaska. The Alaskan
Permanent Fund, where they take money from north slope oil and gas, and
redistribute it to Alaska`s citizens. Works. And by the way, Alaska isn`t
really the most progressive, Democratic place. And it works there. So
this could be done. The key though is the U.S. has to lead. You have a
guy from Oklahoma, Inhofe, who has literally written a book believing that
climate change is a hoax, by most of the scientists on earth. That is
BALL: Now he is the head of the Senate Environment Committee.
NYE: And Mr. Inhofe, I know you`re out there doing your best. I mean, I
have dear friends in Oklahoma, it`s all good, but it`s not a hoax. A
conspiracy is a kind of a lazy explanation for things. If only there was a
group of bad guys who were manipulating the system. That`s not how it is.
BALL: I`d always been curious as to what would the incentive be to
manufacture something like that?
NYE: It`s just 7 billion people breathing and burning the atmosphere, and
we have accidentally changed the climate.
BALL: Coral, what about India? Bill is talking about the U.S. needs to
lead and be sort of the moral leader on the issue of climate change and an
actual leader on the issue of climate change. I know you have been
reporting that India is the world`s third largest carbon polluter, and they
have no plans to curb their emissions for at least the next 30 years. Do
you think this agreement with China could encourage India to make a similar
DAVENPORT: That is certainly one of the intents of this deal is to prod
India, to bring them to the table. Right now, we are expecting India to
make some kind of an announcement in the first half of next year on the
future of their carbon emissions, on their energy plans. I would not
expect to see India to make an offer along the lines of what China made. A
year for peak emissions. India is an interesting situation. They have a
new prime minister, who is very focused on economic growth. But at the
same time he has also written a book about climate change and how it`s a
problem. They want to grow their energy and electricity sources. They
have millions of people without access to electricity. The question for
India is, are they going to try to give those millions of people access to
electricity with cheap coal or are they going to try to develop wind,
solar, low-carbon sources of electricity, which could be more expensive.
Watching India`s energy economy, energy sector and how they make those
decisions will be crucial. And I think we will see them working through
that in the next year.
BALL: Bill, let`s talk about the Keystone pipeline passed the House this
week. Probably going to pass the Senate next week. We`ll see whether the
president issues a veto or not. What is the actual environmental impact of
building the Keystone XL pipeline?
NYE: Well, the pipeline itself is if I can use the term, another pipeline.
BALL: I think you can use that term.
NYE: It will take Canadian oil to ports in the south of the U.S. That`s
okay, I mean, it`s just Canadian oil is the dirtiest oil going. It`s tar
sand, shale goo, whatever the heck. And there are very few people who will
really work on the pipeline when it`s done. The whole thing just in the
bigger picture, anything that encourages fossil fuel burning is overall
bad. But if we have a cohort, a group of people that doesn`t believe that
it`s overall bad, I`m not sure it`s a fight worth fighting. We have to
have compromises. It just breaks your heart.
BALL: So you think it may not be a fight worth having. We should move on
to the next battle.
NYE: I would like to continue to battle it all the way to the very end.
Because it is ultimately not in anybody`s best interest. That`s the
strange thing. It`s just -- the climate change has this horrible problem,
where it is decades away, and people just cannot get their heads around it.
BALL: My thanks to Bill Nye the Science Guy and the New York Times` Coral
Davenport for joining me this morning. Thank you both.
DAVENPORT: Thanks, Krystal.
BALL: You have probably seen thousands of stories about how much money was
just spent on this mid-term election. But how much of that money are the
candidates themselves actually spending? The answer might surprise you.
BALL: An interesting thing happened on the way to 2016 this week. Wall
Street donors were suggesting to Politico that New Jersey Governor Chris
Christie should resign his office in order to run for president. They are
afraid that if they donate to Christie`s campaign, federal rules would then
prohibit their firms from doing investment business with the state`s
government, which could potentially cost them millions of dollars. But on
Wednesday, a political aide to Christie said that his boss is telling
people that he will not have to resign to run. The aide said this without
elaborating, but perhaps we can explain why. It may come down to the fact
that for the first time in as long as anyone can remember, while more money
is being spent on campaigns, the candidates, the people whose names are
actually on the ballot, they are spending less, an estimated $1.5 billion
this year compared to $1.8 billion in the last midterms.
This is not just one side massively outspending the other. According to
the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, the Republicans and like
minded groups spent 1.75 billion while the Democrats and their allies
forked over $1.64 billion. This is the political world we are now living
in. How much has it changed from the one that we`re used to? Joining us
now is Norm Ornstein. He is resident scholar at the American Enterprise
Institute, and also back with us, we have Katherine Mangu-Ward, managing
editor of "Reason Magazine." Thanks so much to both of you for being with
Norm, let`s start with this. I thought that this was sort of astonishing.
The candidates themselves are now being outspend by outside groups. Is
this just the result of the new landscape they are facing with post
NORM ORNSTEIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INST.: No doubt about that. It`s not
just Citizens United, it`s also a decision made right after that by the
D.C. Court of Appeals, Speech Now. The McCutcheon decision, the inaction
of the Federal Election Commission, the failure of the IRS to enforce its
own rules, and now what we have seen is you can get by with outside money
without having to raise as much yourself.
Just one additional point. The figure from the Center for Responsive
Politics is about all the outside money. It`s a little bit different with
the dark money. The money that`s flowing in through these 501 c 4 and c 6
groups. The nonprofits that we call dark money. 69 percent of that money
came through Republican candidates and made a difference in these Senate
BALL: Norm, I want to get your thoughts on the question and hear from you,
Katherine, on this as well. Do you think that candidates, politicians,
both Republican and Democrat, may become frustrated with the fact that they
are losing control of their own campaigns with more money coming in from
ORNSTEIN: I do think that. We have seen that and I have seen it privately
with a number of Republicans who didn`t expect it would necessarily work
out this way. And even though you are getting a lot of money coming in on
both sides, what it means for candidates is they have to spend even more of
their time doing what we call, call time. Every spare minute, you`re on
the phone raising money, because you have to do it for yourself, you got to
do it for your team now. But now with the dark money especially that can
flow in, in the final couple of weeks of the campaign, you have to raise a
protective almost insurance fund. There is a lot of frustration, but it`s
not going to lead to anything until there is a new Supreme Court.
BALL: Katherine, what are your thoughts on that?
MANGU-WARD: I think the frustration is kind of delightful. What it
basically means is candidates are less able to control the narrative of how
the election will go.
BALL: So it`s better to have random outside groups and special interests
who have direct financial interests in the results of these elections,
better to have them control the narrative?
MANGU-WARD: I think luckily, what we have is lots of voices. I think
basically political spending is a speech issue to me. Political spending
is speech, and what we find when outside groups spend more and they spend
admittedly most of the time totally in coordination with the candidates,
regardless of the technicalities of the thing. Sometimes they go a little
bit rogue, and what that means is as the American public, we are hearing
what is going on. In a more realistic way. When candidates can totally
control their narrative and all the dollars flow through them, they can -
BALL: But at least with the candidates, you can look at the FEC web site
and see who`s donating. Not that anyone does that, but you know there is
some accountability. This is a message coming from a candidate. With this
money, there is zero accountability.
MANGU-WARD: I think that transparency was always largely an illusion.
Money flows around rules and it always has. We know have a slightly
different system post Citizens United, but still, people who want to spend
on elections, find a way.
ORNSTEIN: The notion that Katherine said that this is regardless of the
technicalities means they are doing things that are actually wrong and
illegal. But I go back to the whole notion of whether candidates or the
people are controlling the narrative. An election should be something
where voters can look at what the candidates are about, what they have to
say. Candidates should control a good portion of that narrative, and this
is not voters stepping forward, it`s small numbers of wealthy individuals
and corporations, where if you say money is speech, it means that if I
happen to have a sound system that could propel the Beatles at Shea Stadium
in 1964 and you have just your own voice, that`s not exactly an ability to
hear everybody. And of course the money flowing through, in a dark way,
you have no idea who is actually doing it. It changes the nature of the
messages. I don`t view this as being good.
BALL: Katherine, there was a great quote from Kathy Kealey (ph) of the
Sunlight Foundation about transparency and the money and money being speech
and elections. She said, "if money is free speech, why are you standing on
a soap box in a burqa?" Don`t voters at least deserve to know who is giving
money and what interest they have in pushing out this message?
MANGU-WARD: Anonymous speech is an important part of the political
process. We have all the way back to the founders, we had people writing
pseudonymously for very good reasons. I actually think there is a great
reason why you might want to stand in a soap box in a burqa. Maybe you are
doing it because you have nefarious motives, but maybe you are doing it
because you genuinely prefer anonymity for reasons of your personal safety
or I mean, the notion that somehow anonymous speech is necessarily
nefarious is totally wrong and actually dangerous. There are lots of
conditions where we would want people to be able to speak freely, without
having to disclose.
ORNSTEIN: Krystal, let me just cite a couple of authorities here. Antonin
Scalia and Anthony Kennedy. Scalia basically said if you`re going to be
involved in the rough and tumble of democracy, then of course you should
let people know who you are. Kennedy, basically the foundation of Citizens
United was we could have this money flowing in independently because we
would have transparency, and voters could see who was spending it. What
Katherine is saying goes against not just what a Ruth Bader Ginsburg would
say, but what Scalia and Kennedy have said.
BALL: Norm, the reality is, as you said, because of these Supreme Court
decisions, there is very little that Congress can do at this point to
change the landscape of money in politics short of a constitutional
amendment? Isn`t that the reality?
ORNSTEIN: That`s the reality. The fundamental rules are now in place, and
in fact, they have been loosened even further. And to me the most
disturbing element of this is what happened in the McCutcheon decision,
where Chief Justice Roberts effectively said don`t worry about the
appearance of corruption at all. And as for corruption, the only thing
that we define as corruption is the kind of quid pro quo on videotape of
Abscam or the "American Hustle" variety. I have to tell you, just being
immersed in Congress for a very long time, the corruption that flows from
people having these huge sums of money that they can spend to destroy
candidates, the changes it makes in legislation, the favors that are traded
or the shakedowns that occur from legislators basically threatening people
if they don`t give them money is - makes the Gilded Age look mild by
BALL: There is a very natural - even well intentioned politician, there is
a natural human inclination to want to reciprocate to people who have given
you something, including money for your campaign. We will talk to both of
you a little bit later. But still ahead, the week`s biggest sports story
may have nothing to do with what happened on the field. Stay with us.
BALL: Intelligence officials are working this morning to verify the video
that alleges the death of ISIS hostage Peter Kassig. Kassig is a 26-year-
old Indiana native and a former Army ranger who was captured more than a
year ago while doing humanitarian work. Kassig founded the humanitarian
group SARA, Special Emergency Response and Assistance, at the age of 24.
He converted to Islam in captivity and changed his name to Abdul Rahman.
British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted this morning, "I`m horrified
by the cold-blooded murder of Abdul Rahman Kassig. ISIL have again shown
their depravity. My thoughts are with his family." If this video does
prove to be authentic, Kassig would be the fifth Western hostage. ISIS has
killed two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and two
British aid workers, David Haines and Alan Henning. We`ll be right back.
BALL: We`re going to take a little break from politics now and focus on
sports. After all, this is a Sunday morning during football season, and
today my beloved Washington football team is a 7 1/2 point favorite in its
game against Tampa Bay. The Giants, whom many of my coworkers love, are 4
and a half points underdogs against the San Francisco 49ers. These odds
shouldn`t matter to you much unless you are in Las Vegas right now. After
all, betting on pro sports is illegal in most of the country, people,
outside of Nevada, that is. But one of pro sports most powerful figures
actually wants that changed. NBA commissioner Adam Silver wrote an op-ed
in the "New York Times" this week urging Congress to allow states to
legalize sports betting. Silver calls it quote, "a thriving underground
business that operates free from regulation or oversight." He says nearly
$400 billion is wagered illegally on sports each year. It`s kind of a big
deal here. In 1992, sports leagues supported a law that Congress passed
that essentially banned states from authorizing sports betting. So for the
head of one of those leagues to speak out against he law is a game changer.
States have tried side-stepping the law. Last month, New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie signed a bill that authorized sports betting at casinos and
horse tracks in the Garden State. The four major sports leagues and NCAA
objected, and a federal judge blocked the state from proceeding with its
plan. Now, a permanent lawsuit to block that plan is moving forward.
Look, gambling is not what it was 22 years ago. You will find casinos in
more than half the states in the country. So is Adam Silver`s case here
reasonable? If so, will there ever be a day you can bet on sports in your
hometown? Joining me now to discuss is Kavitha Davidson, sports columnist
at Bloomberg View, and also Marc Edelman, Forbes contributor and professor
at Kunis Zickland (ph) school of business law. Thank you both for being
So first of all, your opinion. Should sports betting be legal?
KAVITHA DAVIDSON, BLOOMBERG VIEW: I think that the moral arguments against
sports betting are obsolete at this point. There is no denying how large
this industry is and how much lost tax revenue there is from not regulating
it, not taxing it. So I think Commissioner Silver is actually coming down
on the right side of this issue for once.
BALL: Mark, I think of it in terms of the marijuana legalization debate.
You may as well bring it out from the shadows and regulate it and have it
be out in the open at this point.
MARC EDELMAN, FORBES: Adam Silver`s response was really refreshingly
honest. If you look at all the sports leagues, they are moving in this
direction. They are just not admitting it. All four of the sports leagues
now have relationships with what I call daily fantasy sports contests,
which involve entry fees and prizes. You can make money betting to use the
word on a given day. Silver is just saying we are already here. Let`s
call a spade a spade and do it in a way that`s going to be safe and
BALL: What do you think explains his shift in thinking?
DAVIDSON: I think he is seeing how much money could actually be made from
this, there is another revenue stream to add to the NBA`s coffers. He also
said that he thinks that an ancillary benefit of this would be improving
the popularity of the sport among people who might care about betting on
the sport more than the actual outcomes of the game.
BALL: If you put down money on the game, you are much more likely to watch
DAVIDSON: Right. And you see this a lot as Marc mentioned, with fantasy
football for example, it`s a $70 billion industry. Anecdotally, you have
people who care about matchups that they wouldn`t care about that don`t
involve the hometown teams, because they have certain players on their
rosters. When you have a financial stake in this, you`re going to be more
interested in these games. And whether that`s a good thing or a bad thing
can be debated, but it certainly explains why Commissioner Silver wants
this to go through.
BALL: To play devil`s advocate, the argument is here Nevada doesn`t have a
professional sports team, and the concern is if people are betting on it,
that there could be corruption, attempts to fix the game. How would we
make sure the game is not corrupted in that fashion?
EDELMAN: The most important thing is to have information out there in
public to make sure that those affiliated with the NBA, the players
themselves as well, are not involved in any form of online gaming. The
more you do things in the public eye, the easier it might be to regulate.
It`s not just Las Vegas. The NBA very much wants to push into Europe, and
if you look at what`s going on in England, sports betting is fully legal
and regulated in public. They have not had the same type of scandals that
people are afraid of in the United States.
BALL: Marc, do you think Vegas is looking at the move by Adam Silver and
they are nervous about what it could mean for the bottom line? Let`s have
a monopoly, right?
EDELMAN: Oh, they love the monopoly. In fact, it`s not just the people
who are involved in sports betting, but it`s the casino lobby that`s the
most adverse to online gaming and daily fantasy sports. They can`t be
liking it. It could break up their monopoly.
BALL: Do you think we will see other commissioners of the pro sports
leagues follow a suit here, and also say we should just go for it and make
DAVIDSON: I think eventually we might. As of now, Major League Baseball
and the National Football League have both kind of stayed mum on this issue
in light of Commissioner Silver`s op-ed. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman did
come out and express some concerns about whether having people root for an
outcome based on a point spread is better than having them root for a team
based on home team affiliations or a fan base. But I think at this point -
BALL: That`s a little bit of a romantic view of the game.
DAVIDSON: That`s a very romantic view, and the NFL can`t really be picky
about where their fans are coming from or why they`re rooting for their
teams. Going back to your point about Las Vegas not having a team, though.
There`s a lot of speculation that Vegas will get an NHL team, so this will
be something that they will have to confront at some point. But the point
about corruption, I think, is just very outdated as well. Because we`ve
gotten to a point where players especially make so much more money from
their salaries than they could even stand to make from gambling on the
game, that corruption really isn`t an issue.
BALL: They don`t have the same incentive to take the money on the side in
order to fix the game and all sorts of issues. What do you think is going
to happen, Marc? Do you think that there`s enough support in Congress for
this idea of legalizing sports betting, or are the Nevada, Las Vegas casino
interests too powerful to overcome at this point?
EDELMAN: At this point I think it`s moot what the law says. We`ve been
moving in the direction toward legalized sports gaming. It began with
daily fantasy sports companies like Fan Duel (ph). Now we`re dancing even
closer with contests like Score Streak out there that let you predict
specific player performance, not even in the traditional fantasy format.
We`re dancing in that direction. So there`s one of two choices. Either
somebody has to step in and define a line about where online sports gaming
stops. Or recognize the fact that whether we have a change of law or not,
we`re dancing in this direction. And it might make more sense to legalize
it and regulate it than let this slow dance continue to take place in a
BALL: Indeed. All right, my thanks to Kavitha Davidson and Marc Edelman
for joining me this morning. Thank you both.
EDELMAN: You`re welcome.
BALL: And what do we know now that we did not know last week? That`s next.
BALL: All right. We are back with our panel, and I want to find out what
my guests think we should snow for the week ahead. Let`s start with you,
Norm. What have you got your eye on?
ORNSTEIN: Two things over the next six weeks, Krystal. The first is, will
there be a continuing resolution taking these spending issues off the table
until October of next year? Or will the conservative Republicans insist on
doing it just until January, in which case we`ve got the threat of a
shutdown coming up very quickly? The second is, will Harry Reid and Mitch
McConnell reach a deal on nominations, letting most of the confirmations,
judicial and executive, including a slew of ambassadorships, go through
without delay during the lame duck session? Or will Reid basically decide
that he has to keep them around and crank through all of these that will
lead to another meltdown early next year?
BALL: Hmm. Two important indications of where we might be heading. How
about you, Katherine?
MANGU-WARD: I think what we`re going to see next week is the final tragic
confirmation for environmental activists that they don`t matter at all to
the Democratic Party. We`re going to watch as the Keystone debate shuffles
its way through Capitol Hill. And unfortunately for my friends at the
Sierra Club, I think what they are going to find is that a small chance of
a slightly better outcome in a single election matters more to Democrats in
Washington than everything that they have -
BALL: At least they can console themselves a bit with the China deal and
the president seems to want to make this a priority. Raul, quickly from
REYES: I think this week we will likely see the president make his move on
executive action on immigration, after all the promises, after all the
delays, and we also know the battle lines are clearly drawn with where the
Republicans, what their reaction is going to be to that. It`s just
important to know even though it`s not perfect, it`s still progress, and
that`s better than paralysis.
BALL: Indeed. I want to thank Katherine Mangu-Ward, Raul Reyes, and Norm
Ornstein for joining me this morning. Thank you for joining us. Steve
will be back next Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 eastern time. Coming up
next, is Melissa Harris-Perry.
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