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'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Saturday show

Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: November 29, 2014

Guest: Robert George, Jonathan Alter, Mike Pesca, Paige Winfield
Cunningham, Nancy Youssef, Jack Jacobs, Walt Minnick, Amir Bar-Lev


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, "UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI": Black Friday in
Ferguson.

Good morning and thanks for getting UP with us this holiday weekend. Part
of the holiday for many Americans is the shopping ritual known as Black
Friday that played out yesterday. The frenzied high-traffic official
kickoff to the holiday shopping season. It`s the kind of annual event
where we think we know what`s going to happen. But in and around Ferguson,
Missouri, yesterday on Black Friday and even up to 1700 miles away from
Ferguson, Missouri, Black Friday was being redefined. Protesters urged
shoppers to boycott Black Friday in response to the grand jury`s decision
not to indict a Ferguson police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed
teenager. Now, one of the most popular shopping malls in St. Louis,
demonstrators actually lay down on the floor. More rallies were held
outside big box stores in St. Louis County.

In San Francisco, meanwhile, on the west coast a group of about 300
protesters marched through the downtown shopping district breaking windows
in Union Square in that city across the bay, about 20 people chained
themselves together through the doors of a BART Subway Station, one
that`s heavily used by Black Friday shoppers. Meanwhile back in Missouri
on the streets of Ferguson overnight, police made 15 more arrests in front
of the Ferguson Police Department.

MSNBC`s Richard Lui joins us now from Ferguson. Richard, thanks for taking
the time this morning. Looks calm behind you. We saw certainly calm. I
was on the air the night before Thanksgiving and it seemed certainly calm
then. What`s the expectation for today and for this weekend? Is the
expectation that the protests will be kicking up again a little bit or more
petering out?

RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: You know, Steve, you described it so
well because what we are seeing are different phases since Monday. Of
course the Monday-Tuesday phase where we saw a lot of protests, a lot of
violence. We then moved into the holiday and Thanksgiving where we saw a
downtick of violence and then yesterday a different stage where we saw
those die-ins where demonstrators basically laid down in different malls.
The galleria mall in St. Louis, also another mall, West County Mall, that
was also here in the Ferguson area. That`s where the protesters went
after. And then in the evening, the reports of protests again, and those
protests in the evening at the Police Department where there was some
conflict there, where 16 individuals were arrested, according to the St.
Louis Police Department, and then that takes us to today.

You know, this is the first weekend since the no indictment came down here
in Ferguson. So the question is now that we`ve moved past that phase of
the holiday, that downtick, right, that new phase of the holiday shopping
season where they were saying don`t -- do not shop, an economic protest,
right, and as they move into today, Saturday, whether as we see the
temperatures here, and you were commenting a little bit earlier, it`s going
to be 10 degrees warmer today. So does that mean that we`ll see more
activity tonight? And again, that activity it`s hard to estimate because
each evening when it does happen at that right before midnight time period,
it`s hard to tell what may or may not happen. But you asked about what
might happen today and tomorrow. And, Steve, there`s NAACP in a matter of
hours which will be kicking off that seven-day walk and protest. It will
be 100 miles. It will be seven days long. And I was just speaking with
Cornell Brooks, who is the president and CEO. And he says what their hope
is here, Steve, is to rewrite history and what is the understanding of what
this means. The no indictment decision there of the killing of Michael
Brown.

KORNACKI: All right. Richard Lui live on the ground in Ferguson,
Missouri. Obviously keeping a close eye on that this weekend. Thanks for
your update this morning, I appreciate that.

And now to discuss this and the week`s other big stories, I`m joined by our
panel. We have Robert George of the "New York Post." MSNBC political
analyst, "Daily Beast" columnist and co-executive producer of the Amazon
series "Alpha House" Jonathan Alter. Host of the Slate podcast "The Gist,"
we also have Mike Pesca with us.

So, we got the update from Richard Lui there. He`s talking about the NAACP
is going to be leading this march. I think they`re going to Jefferson
City, the capital of Missouri. As we had in the intro there, the shopping
malls, the big box stores across the country where there were, you know,
protesters yesterday came in. I guess the question I have watching all of
this is, what are we seeing here? Are we seeing just a sort of a temporary
response, frustration to the decision by the grand jury? Is it just people
who want to be expressing their frustration with that? Or is this leading
to something more? Is this leading to something bigger? Are we going to
be seeing protests like this for a long time and are there specific
outcomes that that could lead to?

ROBERT GEORGE, "NEW YORK POST": Well, I think that`s a question a lot of
people are asking. I mean, I think the initial frustration with the no
indictment is understandable. And if they want to try and possibly put
pressure on the DOJ to look into it from a civil rights perspective that
makes some sense. But kind of going forward in terms of what they want to
do locally, I think that`s an open question. And --

KORNACKI: Yes, I mean, it seems like you say -- it seems like the idea of
a DOJ prosecution here seems very unlikely to happen. The other -- legally
speaking, the other thing is can the family do some kind of a civil suit
against the officer. I`m led to believe there`s a little more plausibility
there. But legally, that`s where we are right now. There`s nothing else.

JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: There`s a distinction between
this particular case and what could cause larger, social benefit in the
future. On this particular case, I think it`s important that people focus
on what Lawrence O`Donnell was talking about on his show just before the
holiday, which is that the assistant district attorneys gave the grand
jurors a law about the use of lethal force that was extremely important in
their decision. It basically said that, you know, police officers in
Missouri are allowed to use lethal force even if they don`t feel that their
lives are in danger. The problem is the law was declared unconstitutional
by the U.S. Supreme Court and the jurors were never told about this. So
that`s on a narrow thing. So we need -- we need to have the American
public understand that this was a true miscarriage of justice. That`s the
first thing.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: But hold on a second.

ALTER: That was clarified later in the grand jury proceedings that the law
was declared unconstitutional.

KORNACKI: It was ultimately clarified for the jurors?

ALTER: It was ultimately clarified, but late in the proceeding.

KORNACKI: Because what I`m asking is it`s a key point when people hear
that. I think one question that they raises is, does that mean there could
be the equivalent of like a mistrial called here? I know that`s not the
legal term but --

ALTER: I don`t know the answer to that question but there are other
things, for instance, that half of the witnesses according to this PBS
chart that was done breaking down this voluminous eyewitness testimony,
half of them felt that -- believed that Mike Brown`s arms were raised as
were first reported. And if you have conflicting eyewitness testimony,
that`s to be resolved by a trial, not in a grand jury.

MIKE PESCA, SLATE`S "THE GIST": I`ve read hundreds, not thousands but
hundreds of pages of the documents. I remain unconvinced he should have
been indicted not just because of the law. I think in many other
jurisdictions he wouldn`t have been indicted. He says that a man went for
his gun and then he can claim that just him being within 20 or 30 feet if
this guy showed that he wanted to go for his gun that is potential deadly
force. Most legal experts that I talked to, they questioned how the grand
jury was done. It was very unusual but he was allowed to do that. I think
there are forms that are needed are retraining the cops. And here`s a
simpler one. You know, President Obama and Eric Holder, they run the
Justice Department. We have the worst statistics on how often this
happens. We can`t even say that this many black people are killed or this
many white cops do the killing. That`s pretty simple. But the discussion,
it`s better for the protesters if it gets off Ferguson. Because even
though there is no such thing as a perfect victim, he really wasn`t a
perfect victim. And if we start debating were his hands here, were his
hands here, and that was the debate, it doesn`t matter. The issue is real
in society not just Michael Brown.

GEORGE: Just to Mike`s point about how difficult it is to indict a
police officer in these cases, outside of Cleveland a few months ago where
you had a young black man in a Walmart purchasing a bb gun, legally walking
through the store, somebody came in and said he was pointing at somebody.
Cops came in, shot him dead. A grand jury was convened there and the cops
were not indicted. It is very, very difficult to indict police officers.
But that goes to the point and that was a clearer case where the person who
ended up dead was basically doing nothing.

KORNACKI: Well, to me the problem I have here is it seemed clear to me
when you look at the prosecutor here, this is a prosecutor who looked at
this at the beginning and this could be a totally good faith conclusion on
his part but he clearly looked at this early on and said, I don`t think
there`s a case here. I don`t want to go before a trial jury and try to
make a case here. At the same time, this guy acted like a politician and
you basically, you could see he had the conclusion I don`t want to be the
guy who is standing up and saying, there`s not going to be a trial. I
don`t want to be the guy standing up and saying, I`m exonerating this
officer, therefore, I`m going to give all of this evidence to a grand jury
and use them to try to give me cover. But this idea of like he threw all
this evidence at the grand jury, they didn`t know what to make of it, he
didn`t give them any guidance, that`s true because that`s a prosecutor who
doesn`t want to make a case, whose heart is not in the case, but he also
doesn`t want stand up and beat that says, I`m not going to --

(CROSSTALK)

PESCA: With the Fed`s attorneys and they say, I`ve never seen that except
in one kind of instance when you`re prosecuting a cop.

ALTER: Just to get into the larger point, I think you make a good point
that we want to kind of move toward larger reforms. And to me there is one
that is central and that is a vest camera on every police officer in the
United States. The technology is available. And so we should set a goal
as a nation that by 2017, 2018, every police officer in the United States
has one of these things. This would address a lot of these problems. It
wouldn`t solve the problem but it would be an enormous help in these
situations.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

PESCA: What about a taser? He said it was bulky, I want to carry it in
the car. Again, this might not have stopped that case, but if it stops one
death and turns into a non-lethal --

KORNACKI: It`s not exactly that --

ALTER: But the problem is the demonstrations are too kind of ill formed.
They`re just -- they`re diffuse. They`re just kind of protesting in
general, sometimes smashing windows which of course is very
counterproductive. But even when they`re peaceful, they`re not focused
enough.

KORNACKI: They`re expressions of frustration --

ALTER: Which is the cause of some urgency. But we really do need the
signs up there, you know, vest cameras by 2018. Really focus it to go into
the state legislatures and get this done. We have a precedent for this
that President Obama was involved with in the Illinois State Senate which
is getting interrogations videotaped, which is now quite common around the
United States and has been very productive and supported by prosecutors and
defense attorneys. This can be the same kind of thing.

KORNACKI: That`s a good thing to talk about. Anyway, got to squeeze a
break in. When we come back, big news on the Ray Rice case. Remember
that? Big breaking news on that overnight. We`ll get to it when we come
back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Other big news this morning is that one of the NFL`s biggest
stories of the year is now back in the headlines this weekend. This is
because an arbitrator has now thrown out the indefinite suspension of
former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. This means that Rice can
now sign and play with any NFL team that wants to sign him, if any NFL team
wants to sign him. Former judge acting as the arbitrator basically said
that Commissioner Roger Goodell went too far. In a 17-page decision she
said that the league`s assertion that Rice misled them about his actions
was arbitrary and, quote, "an abuse of discretion and must be vacated."
Goodell extended the suspension after the videotape surfaced, the videotape
of Rice punching his then fiancee, Janay Palmer in Atlantic City Casino
elevator back in February. Palmer, who married Rice after that incident,
describes how she felt afterward in a new interview with Matt Lauer that
was taped before the ruling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, NBC HOST, "THE TODAY SHOW": We`ve only seen you months after
the incident.

JANAY PALMER, WIFE OF RAY RICE: Yes.

LAUER: And I can`t imagine that you were that calm when you started to
realize exactly what happened in that elevator. Can you describe those
emotions?

PALMER: I was furious. We came home and we didn`t talk the entire ride.
Well, I didn`t speak to him the entire ride home. He tried to talk to me.
I didn`t want to hear anything. I just knew he hit me and I was completely
over it. I was done, didn`t want to hear anything. I just didn`t even
want to entertain it, entertain him, anything that he had to say, any
explanation. Of course in the back of my mind and in my heart I knew that
our relationship wouldn`t be over because I know that this is an us and
it`s not him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And you can see that whole interview starting Monday on the
"Today" show. This is the kind of morning where I am glad, Mike Pesca, I`m
always glad when Mike Pesca is here. I`m really glad that you`re here
right now because there`s two angles on this. The one is, the reason for
this suspension being lifted if I`m reading this right, is because the
arbitrator is looking at Roger Goodell. Roger Goodell remember issued two
different suspensions. Initially just two games than the more permanent
then, and with the arbitrator is basically saying is Roger Goodell didn`t
learn anything new that second time. Basically saying, Roger Goodell, you
knew the whole time, exactly what happened.

PESCA: Another word to look at is, he just under-punished him and screwed
up the first time. If people are mad at this and if people think there`s
an injustice because this horrible guy shouldn`t be playing in the NFL,
whose fault is that? I mean, ultimately it`s the perpetrator`s fault but
Roger Goodell is at fault because the first time out he gave a two-game
suspension and the arbitrator had said if it had been indefinite from the
start then I`d have no reason to say, well, you can`t have an indefinite
suspension for the whole season. I also think the huge problem is that
Roger Goodell thinks he`s judge, jury and executioner. And sometimes he
gets it right enough that there`s no legal recourse and sometimes he gets
it wrong. And in this one instance where he didn`t understand the issue
and he didn`t understand how serious it was, you can look at it like it
like oh, it was the one time he was being lenient but I just think it was
another consistent time he was being wrong. And there was no process in
the NFL. Goodell wants the process to be him, the owners want Goodell to
be the process and that`s hugely problematic. It`s another loss for
Goodell.

GEORGE: And in between him giving the two-game suspension and then the
indefinite suspension, he changed the discipline parameters for domestic
abuse saying that indefinite suspensions could be an option. So it really
looked like he was making it up as he went along and any arbitrator is
going to find that very, very peculiar. The fact is, though, no team is
going to sign Ray Rice with four games left.

KORNACKI: What about next year?

ALTER: It would be smart to have a club sign him that`s not in a major
media market. It would be easier on him. One thing that`s interesting to
me about this is that however bad what he did was, he told the truth
according to the arbitrator and that`s kind of a good lesson. Because, you
know, honesty paid in this case for him. If he hadn`t been honest, if he
had been even a little bit dishonest when he went in and talked to the
league, he`d be out now.

KORNACKI: I was reading this from the "New York Times" this morning, they
said, here are a couple of examples of players who have been through issues
somewhat like this. Leonard Little, a defensive lineman, played 12 seasons
in the NFL after killing a 47-year-old mother in a drunk driving incident.
Donte Stallworth, wide receiver, played three seasons after pleading guilty
to manslaughter in a hit and run accident that occurred after he had been
drinking. And then of course the Michael Vick situation, we all know about
that. So, you know, what Jonathan is saying, you know, he did apparently
tell the truth from the beginning in this. His whole situation with his
wife, all we know is his wife is still with him and she`s out there
defending him. Is there a future beyond this season from the NFL?

PESCA: Yes, you know, he told the truth, his wife, I mean, he`s a good
running back, that`s is why he is going to get signed, I don`t know if it
will be this year, but there are 32 teams in the NFL --

GEORGE: Actually, his production is on the decline, so.

PESCA: Yes, sure. Every running back who turns 30 gets a little hurt but
if you look at teams that need a running back, they say, oh, you know, he`s
been away from the game. The thing is that the history is, 31 teams are
like how dare you and the one that does it has their fan base rally. And
they`re like, you know, you`re right, let`s give the guy a chance. Let`s
give the guy a second chance. And if he does well on the field, I don`t
know if all is forgiven, but you know, in the NFL, especially with guys who
aren`t quarterbacks, they`re all just useless pieces of meat who`s there
for our great glory and if he can help the Arizona Cardinals get two more
wins or a first round bye, Arizona Cardinal fans will accept that deal.

GEORGE: Mike, though, actually touched upon this earlier. What the real
focus is going to be on this, you`re going to see the NFL players
association use this ruling to try and push back against Goodell`s just
overall power in terms of discipline. They have been kind of itching for a
fight since the last collective bargaining agreement and this may give them
more ammunition for it.

KORNACKI: Yes, I mean, we`ve been talking Goodell issues, Goodell status
all along. It seems like the basis for this ruling at least raises a lot
of questions about Goodell.

PESCA: But don`t think Adrian Peterson who`s been indefinitely suspended,
don`t think that will change because that`s a different part of the
arbitration, it`s a little bit technical. He seems to have done that. And
the last point is, we shouldn`t say, you know, Goodell is not earning his
$40 million. This is why they pay him so owners don`t have to mete out the
suspensions.

KORNACKI: Yes. It`s a good point.

PESCA: That`s exactly why --

KORNACKI: It`s a good point. It`s a good point. We`re also keeping our
eye this morning on a missing Ohio State University football player. He
has not been seen since leaving his apartment at 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday.
Kosta Karageorge is a defensive tackle for the OSU Buckeyes. According to
a police report obtained by the Columbus Dispatch, he texted his mother
complaining about concussions shortly before he disappeared.

Up next, what`s league and what isn`t when it comes to abortion could look
very different a year -- from today than it does right now. We`ll explain
why, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Well, republican victories in Congress were the headline in this
month`s election. If you really want to feel the impact of the GOP wave
you might want to focus away from Washington and on your local state house.
The election has left republicans in control of two-thirds of all state
legislative chambers in America. The party hasn`t had that kind of reach
since, well, ever. Thirty one governors will be republicans come January
and one area where republicans seem very interested in using all of this
power is on the issue of abortion. Some republicans have been trying to
pass a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks in Congress, but that effort
hasn`t gotten far and isn`t expected to get any farther in the coming year.
But as Politico reports, when it comes to all these republican-controlled
states, it`s a whole different story. Thirteen states have already passed
bans on most abortions after 20 weeks. Now many others may be lining up to
join them. Exit polls show national voters are divided over abortion.

A slight majority of voters in favor of legal abortion in all or most
cases. There`s also the question of how far you can restrict the procedure
and still comply with Roe V. Wade, which is still the law of the land at
least for now. So what kind of new laws are we looking at when it comes to
abortion and how will they go over with the voters who just handed the GOP
all of this power?

I want to bring in Paige Winfield Cunningham, she`s a health care reporter
for Politico, author of the piece we just mentioned. She joins us from St.
Louis. Paige, thanks for taking a few minutes this morning. So, let`s
start in that question. I mean, we have a number of states, this has been
a story we`ve been watching for the last few years. A number of states
particularly a republican-controlled states moving legislation on abortion.
We say that 20-week restriction thing has come up a lot. Where in the next
year are we expected to see the most action on this and what kinds of new
laws are we going to be looking at?

PAIGE WINFIELD CUNNINGHAM, POLITICO: Well, you`re right that in the last
few years we`ve seen a huge number of states pass abortion restrictions.
In fact 231 anti-abortion measures have been passed since 2011 and that`s
the most since Roe v. Wade. A couple of things happened this year and a
couple of things that are at place next year will sort of prime the ground
for more restrictions. As you said earlier, you saw more republicans take
over state houses. In fact more than half of the states have completely
republican-controlled legislatures. We saw a few more governor seats taken
over. And then you have four states that will be meeting next spring that
only meet every other year, Texas being one of them, South Dakota another
one, places where normally you could see more restrictions very likely
there. Something else, another interesting state to watch is Tennessee.

A couple of weeks ago during the midterm elections, voters approved a
ballot initiative saying that the state constitution doesn`t guarantee a
women the right to an abortion and that basically opened the door for the
legislature to pass, to start passing abortion restrictions for the first
time in 15 years. So I think that you`re going to see more movement in the
states that have already passed a lot of restrictions, a lot of the
southern states, Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina potentially, Alabama,
Oklahoma, maybe Wisconsin, and then there`s a new opportunity to do so in
some new states. West Virginia being one of them. Republicans just took
over the legislature there. The 20-week ban that you mentioned earlier,
that`s very likely to come up again. So I think the ground is really prime
for a whole other flood of restrictions to be passed next spring.

KORNACKI: And so, let`s take Texas as an example because Texas is an
interesting one because, you know, it was a year ago when Wendy Davis in
the state Senate staged that all night filibuster, became a hero to some
liberals and launched her gubernatorial campaign sort of on that issue on
what she said was a big backlash of that issue. You fast forward to a year
later. She didn`t just lose the Texas gubernatorial race, she got
clobbered. You could see up on the screen, she got just 39 percent.
Democrats usually do at least a little bit better than that in Texas. So
it says something, I think, about the popularity with voters in Texas of
what the legislature there did on abortion. What they do was they have
that 20-week ban you talked about and also they did things about requiring
places that perform abortions, doctors to have admitting privileges and
hospitals to pass restrictions on that level. So, given that they did
that, given that Wendy Davis lost by such a big margin, where in a state
like Texas do they go from here? What`s the next restriction they come up
with?

CUNNINGHAM: Well, I think you`ll certainly going to see more next spring.
I mean, you`re right, the strategy of anti-abortion advocates has actually
worked pretty well. I mean, the state had 42 clinics and now under this
law if the law continues to stand it will be fewer than 10. Beyond -- I
mean there`s sort of different strategies that they can take. One is of
course limiting abortions beyond a certain point. The other is placing
more restrictions either on the clinics themselves or on women seeking an
abortion. So Texas could kind of -- there`s a whole batch of things that
legislators could explore so as far as, you know, requiring women to wait
longer before they receive an abortion or other regulations to make it
harder on clinics to stay open.

KORNACKI: And Paige, I guess all the questions there too is a lot of these
states, there`s a balancing act or maybe they don`t even care in some cases
where, at what point does it trigger something that goes to the Supreme
Court? At what point does this become a challenge basically to the
legitimacy of Roe versus Wade? Are these laws going to lead do you think
eventually to basically the Supreme Court hearing that and reconsidering
that?

CUNNINGHAM: Well, I think there`s two laws that would be very likely to be
heard by the Supreme Court at one point. And one is the ban of abortions
past 20 weeks. The so-called fetal pain loss. So far the court hasn`t
decided to take that up but it could decide to do so in the future. The
other is admitting privileges. And that`s requiring doctors that
administer abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. You
saw a lot of states pass those laws this past year and there has been a lot
of legal challenges to them. In fact they have actually been blocked in
four or five states at least allowing clinics to remain open at least
temporarily. But I think that you`re going to see those cases kind of
continue to wind their way through the courts. And especially, like most
other cases when you see appeals circuit courts split, that would make the
court more likely probably to take up those challenges.

KORNACKI: All right. Paige Winfield Cunningham joining us from St. Louis
this morning, go Billikens, thanks for your time. I really appreciate
that.

And coming up next, the one thing democrats dread more than anything else
and here`s a hint. It has to do with the Supreme Court.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is back at home this
morning after a health scare earlier this week. Ginsburg had a stent
implanted during a heart procedure early on Wednesday just to clear a
blocked artery. Only hours later, the seemingly tireless 81-year-old was
already requesting work to be delivered to her at the hospital. And even
more remarkably, Ginsburg expects to be back at the office this coming
Monday. Since being sworn into the high court back in 1993, Ginsburg has
been treated for colon and pancreatic cancer. But she`s never missed a
single day of oral arguments. Calls have increased in recent months from
some liberals for Ginsburg to step down so that President Obama might be
able to replace her with a younger justice with similar views but this
summer Ginsburg was having none of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: People know that I`m here to
stay and my answer is I will do this job as long as I can do it full team.
When I feel myself slipping, when I can no longer think as sharply or write
as quickly, that will be the time for me to leave the court.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: But her latest medical trouble does raise a touchy subject.
Republicans have now won control of the U.S. Senate. That means they will
have the power to block any Obama nominee if they want to. So if Ginsburg
does end up stepping down in the next two years or if any other justice
steps down in the next two years, what happens?

Here to help us answer that question, we have MSNBC`s Jane Timm. Jane,
thanks for joining us. So let`s take -- let`s use Ginsburg as an example.
And I mean, let`s say it`s a totally voluntary thing but for whatever
reason a year from now Ruth Bader Ginsburg steps down from the court. You
have a republican Senate that`s wanted to block all sorts of nominations
that feels the democrats have trampled over them when it comes to judicial
nominations. What happens then?

JANE TIMM, MSNBC REPORTER: I mean, there`s no one that these far end
conservatives would like to get rid of more than Ruth. I mean, she is the
person who says, her dissents don`t just say I oppose this and I`m against
what you ruled. They say, here`s how you`re going to fix this mess later
on. I mean, she is the one who comes out and writes down what progressives
want to hear and she puts it in beautiful terms.

KORNACKI: So maybe they would be happy for her to leave the court and be
replaced by somebody else.

TIMM: They love it because you need 60 votes to put a new person back in
that court and they know that they can`t, you know, democrats can`t pull
that off unless this is a pretty moderate or conservative, you know,
justice.

KORNACKI: Because, yes, I`ve heard two different theories on it. And one
is that it`s always about the balance of the court. Right? So Ginsburg,
the most liberal member of the court. So if President Obama had to appoint
a successor to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one theory goes that republicans would
let him put, you know, another liberal on there because it`s a liberal for
a liberal, you`re not affecting the balance. Whereas like, if Scalia left
for some reason, you have a far right conservative on the court and Obama
is going to put a liberal that will not stand with conservatives so they
would fight that a lot more aggressively. Do you see that calculation at
all?

TIMM: You know, I can see that in various establishment. Conservative, I
can see Mitch McConnell striking that deal. I can`t see Ted Cruz striking
that deal. And I can see him, you know, having a pretty big fit if they
said, you know, we`re going to keep the balance where it is. He`ll say
absolutely not. I want to, you know, overturn these rulings. And, you
know, Roe v. Wade, he wants more voting, you know, rights. Remember,
voting ideologues. He wants the court to be ideologically where he is.

KORNACKI: And that creates a test. We always have been saying Ted Cruz is
Mitch McConnell`s biggest headache the next two years. But it is, it isn`t
the perfect example. I think a court fight would be, you know, Ted Cruz
always stakes himself out as sort of this is the position of purity, this
is the position of -- this is the absolute pure conservative position. And
it puts other republicans, Mitch McConnell or anybody else, John McCain,
Lindsey Graham, anybody else, puts them in a position of basically having
to argue pragmatism to a base that loves conservatism. Right? Like
basically, you know, guys, I know this is the thing we`d all really like
but here`s reality and idea was themselves better than reality to any party
base.

TIMM: Yes. And in this sort of partisan bickering environment, it just
doesn`t work. I mean, we saw Obama trying to nominate, you know, a very
conservative democrat out in Georgia for a court and progressives said
absolutely not. I mean, this is, you know, compromise is just not being
had when it comes to these court nominations right now.

KORNACKI: So, is there any way, I mean, because it`s funny you pull the
statistics about like when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated back in `93.
Now, there was a whole circus before she got picked in `93 with others, you
know, who Clinton offered the seat to and everything. But anyway when she
finally got picked, the vote was like 96 to three. When Stephen Breyer was
put on the court a year later, the vote, it was something like that, like
98-one, something like that. Can you ever see us getting back to a day
when, you know, basically the question for Supreme Court nominees were just
basic fitness. Just basically, you know, are these competent people, are
these good, you know, legal minds. And you know, what? The ideology
aside, if they`re competent, solid, you know, legal minds, they belong on
the court. Can you ever see us getting back to that?

TIMM: You know, I think particularly when you know how all of these people
are going to vote like, you can see their records, everything is sort of so
readily accessible. I mean, we`ve saw, I mean, Warren was appointed by --
he was a republican. He was brought onto that court and came out with a
very different and far more liberal agenda. I feel like it`s a lot harder
to find those stealth nominees, you know, that can get onto a court. You
know, people who maybe fit sort of the political hole but don`t exact --
have, you know, their own views and aren`t going to, you know, vote a party
line. And I think that it`s increasingly this court has not become, you
know, the legislative, the protecting the constitution branch of
government, it`s become just another part of the partisan --

KORNACKI: I think it`s true. I mean, I think there`s a little bit more
emphasis on the conservative side but they have this thing down to a
science. They know exactly what they want these justice to be doing, they
know exactly what to look for in potential candidates and they know exactly
how to get those potential candidates through as best they can the
confirmation process without saying anything of substance. It`s true.
It`s kind of depressing too but that`s the reality right. And as we say,
it`s the big question mark for the next two years. If there is some kind
of a Supreme Court vacancy, we don`t know how it`s going to play out.

Thanks to MSNBC`s Jane Timm for joining us this morning. We really
appreciate that.

TIMM: Thanks for having me.

KORNACKI: Six years later, where do things stand on the very first action
that Barack Obama pursued as president. We`re going to talk about that,
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: This was one of the most overlooked stories in recent days. The
fact that inmates are quietly being transferred out of the U.S. detention
facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Closing the prison was the very first
policy action that President Obama carried out after he took office. He
signed the executive order for that on January 22nd, 2009, that was only
two days after he was inaugurated as president. He`s faced lots of
opposition and procedural hurdles in the six years since as he tries to
carry out that order.

NBC`s Kristen Welker joins us from the North Lawn of the White House. So,
Kristen, what can you tell us about -- this is a very underreported story,
seems like a pretty big development.

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You`re absolutely
right, it has been underreported this week, Steve. And a senior
administration officials confirms to me that before the end of the year,
the Obama administration will transfer more prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.
Now here`s how to think about this. This official is telling me there`s
now a renewed focus on getting prisoners out, especially with republicans
set to take control of Congress. As you know, Steve, republicans have
consistently blocked President Obama`s efforts to close Guantanamo. Now
just last week, the Department of Defense announced that six Guantanamo Bay
detainees had been transferred out of the prison camp, so this brings the
total number of detainees at Guantanamo down to 142. That`s from a high of
nearly 800 after the 9/11 terror attacks.

The republican chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon
slammed the recent releases. He along with many other republicans have
argued that the detainees could rejoin the battlefield. That`s their main
line of argument. But administration officials pushed back against that.
They say it`s inaccurate. They point to the fact that 90 percent of
released detainees don`t actually return to fight. That means of course
that 10 percent do. Now, this renewed focus on Guantanamo is also shedding
more light onto President Obama`s decision to replace Defense Secretary
Chuck Hagel. This is why Steve, by law the Defense Secretary has to
approve any prisoner releases. But one administration official tells me
that there is frustration here at the White House that Hagel has not moved
quickly enough to certify the release of detainees.

One Defense Department official pushes back against that and tells me that
while Hagel is still in office he will continue to review transfer cases
in the same manner he`s been doing. Now, of course the main roadblock has
been republicans, which we`ve discussed, who have been calling for more
Congressional oversight, particularly after five prisoners were swapped for
the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Now, NSC spokesperson Patrick
Ventrell has the official line from the administration. He tells me,
quote, "The administration will continue to call on members of both parties
to work together to ensure that Congress lifts the remaining restrictions
and enables the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay."
Still, the thinking here is that there will only be more opposition once
republicans take control of Congress and that`s going to get a lot more
difficult -- Steve.

KORNACKI: All right. Kristen Welker, thanks for joining us live from the
White House this morning. Good segue there too, because up next, more on
what Guantanamo has to do with the abrupt departure of Chuck Hagel from the
Pentagon.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: As Kristen Welker just reported, the U.S. is quietly preparing
to release more detainees from the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba. It`s not clear exactly how many more yet, senior administration
official confirms there is a renewed push to clear prisoners out of
Guantanamo, particularly with republicans set to take control of the U.S.
Senate with only two years left in the Obama presidency. Six more
detainees have been released just over the last nine days. This of course
is a remarkable shift from nothing to, well, something. And as Kristen
Welker just said, many are wondering if this has something to do with it.
By law as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has to sign off on any transfer out
of Guantanamo Bay. And as many have been reporting in the days since his
departure was announced early in the week, administration officials have
privately complained that Hagel has moved too slowly to certify detainees
for release.

Aides to Hagel counter that he makes a point of thoroughly reviewing all of
the evidence before signing off on any release. Either way though, it`s a
major policy difference between the White House and the man who won`t be in
charge of the administration`s defense policy for much longer. Other
reports say that Hagel was pushed out because of concerns that he wasn`t up
to the task of leading the Defense Department in the fight against ISIS,
that it required a different set of skills that he doesn`t necessarily
have. That he needed to be more aggressive instead of low key. But if
that`s the reason, if it`s policy differences and not some personality
conflict or power struggle that got Hagel booted out of the administration
this week, will bringing in a new defense secretary do anything. ISIS, the
Syrian regime, Egypt, Libya, Russia, Iran, if anything else, Hagel`s exit
is just a reminder of how many threats and challenges the President and the
country are now facing. So, what is this apparent firing means?

Nancy Youssef covers the Middle East and Islamic World for McClatchy
Newspapers and MSNBC military analyst Colonel Jack Jacobs is a Medal of
Honor recipient for his actions during the Vietnam War. Thank you both for
joining us.

So, Nancy, let me just start with you. On the point that Kristen was just
raising saying, there`s basically a dispute here between the White House
and the administration and Chuck Hagel when it came to certifying these
detainees for release. Hagel in the White House`s eyes going too slowly.
Tell us, is that a real issue? Is that why this is happening, a big part
of it?

NANCY YOUSSEF, MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS: Well, I can tell you that from the
Defense Department we`ve heard several times that Secretary Hagel was very
reticent to sign off and releasing some of these detainees because he saw
it as very personal. That anybody he signed off on, if that person were to
join ISIS or another extremist group that it would be his responsibility,
that he was the person who released that person. And so the word that we
heard from the department was that he was very, very cautious about signing
off on these releases. That said, his departure was a product of a number
of factors. Ultimately being one where the secretary was seen as not in
step with the administration in terms of how it functioned, his
contributions to it. I think there`s an expectation that when he came in
that he would be a bridge between this administration and Congress vis-a-
vis sequestration, that didn`t happen. And then as the United States
confronted the Islamic State that he wasn`t as willing or able to provide
key advice in terms of how to take on this really intractable problem in
the Middle East.

KORNACKI: So, Colonel that, point is interesting to me because the story
of Obama and Hagel goes back really to like the 2008 campaign. And Chuck
Hagel was sort of the symbol that Barack Obama sort of used publicly to
say, hey, I`ve got, you know, my foreign policy actually has a lot of
common ground with republicans, with the republican tradition. And it`s
Bush and the Hawks and neocons who have sort of gone way out there and I`m
actually much more in this mainstream, and Hagel was sort of a symbol of
that and bringing him into the administration was a continuation of that.
When you see now that apparently there are some pretty big differences
between them. Hagel is being pushed out. What does that tell you about
the Obama administration`s foreign policy and just how this country has
changed in the last six years in terms of how it thinks about foreign
policy?

COLONEL JACK JACOBS, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I agree with you, it
tells you a great deal about the White House. Much more about the White
House than anything else, including the Congress and we know a lots and
lots about the Congress because of the way they have acted over the last
few years. I think that Hagel was selected in the first place because he
was compliant. I think they thought that he could get easily confirmed and
although he had a really --

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: That didn`t happen.

JACOBS: I think they were taken aback by that. In actual fact he was
selected because he was compliant. I`m not -- like Nancy, I`m not a famous
single factor analysis, I think there are a lot of reasons why he`s not
here, Guantanamo may be one. He didn`t have the temperament to be
secretary of defense in an administration where power was really
centralized in the west wing. And I think anybody who is going to take the
job next is going to either have to not be flattered by being selected or
in the alternative will say, I`ll take this job but these are my
requirements and you can`t do everything from the White House. He did not
have the leadership ability to lead a defense department in the environment
in which power, authority and responsibility was centralized in the White
House. In fact I think the White House tried to separate authority and
responsibility by making the secretary of defense responsible, but didn`t
give him the authority to get stuff done.

KORNACKI: Did it surprise you what you`re saying about in terms of his
temperament, in terms of what`s required in this job and him apparently, in
your view not being up to it? Did it surprise you just having seen him for
so long, you know, with his background, his background as a soldier, with
his background in the Senate, you know, his background leading policy role,
did it surprise you?

JACOBS: No, not at all. As a matter of fact we`ve said on this show when
he was first -- on MSNBC when he was first nominated that just because he
fought in Vietnam does not up priority make him a good secretary of defense
and able to focus his attention on national security matters. What you
really need is a junkyard dog. Panetta, successful, not happy but
successful. Gates, also not happy but successful. Having somebody who`s
compliant just doesn`t work. Being the guy in charge of a first tier
ministry, especially in this administration.

KORNACKI: Nancy, so the quick question then, you know, who would want this
job right now? Because it`s a little different. This is the final two
years of the administration, the lame duck years. You know, I heard like
Jack Reed, the senator from Rhode Island, get mentioned. Why would a guy
give up a safe Senate seat for a two-year stint at the end in the
administration? Realistically who would take this job right now?

JACOBS: Well, that`s a great question and that`s one of the ones that`s
dominating the discourse here in Washington. As you point out, this would
be a caretaker secretary of defense for two years during war time and at a
time when the budget -- the defense budget is being cut, which is something
we haven`t seen before. And what`s interesting as well, is this would be
the fourth secretary of defense under this administration. No president
has had four secretaries of defense since Truman, who was the first to have
a secretary of defense. And so, whoever comes in will come in at a
tumultuous period, at a period where the tenure has already been determined
by the end of the administration and at a time when the policy itself will
likely not change because of who their secretary of defense is given that
it comes out of the White House, the policy, not the Defense Department.

KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to Colonel Jack Jacobs and Nancy Youssef
for joining us this morning. I appreciate that. Another full hour of news
and politics straight ahead, so stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: The health care law versus economic recovery.

(MUSIC)

KORNACKI: Thanks for staying with us on this final Saturday in November.

One of the top ranking Democrats in the U.S. Senate served up a rather
harsh assessment this Thanksgiving week, diagnosing what he believes
Democrats have done wrong during the Obama years, a time that has seen the
party go from controlling both chambers of Congress with massive majorities
to now controlling neither.

The most surprising and the most controversial area that New York Senator
Chuck Schumer criticized his party over this week -- health care. While
Schumer acknowledged the system clearly needed to be fixed, he said that
pursuing health care so early in the Obama presidency when the economy was
still devastated and unemployment was climbing toward double digits sent
the wrong message to too many voters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: To aim a huge change and mandate to
such a small percentage of the electorate made no political sense, so when
Democrats focused on health care, the average middle class person thought
the Democrats are not paying enough attention to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And Schumer knows a think or two about the electorate. He ran
the Democrat Senate Campaign Committee in 2006 and 2008 when they racked up
those huge congressional majorities that were there when President Obama
took office.

Obama and Democrats did address the economic meltdown with the stimulus in
early 2009, but then Schumer says they took their eye off the ball.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHUMER: After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to
propose middle class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of
the stimulus. But unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the
American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus
on the wrong problem -- health care reform.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Not surprisingly, Schumer`s tough words are getting push back
from President Obama`s defenders in the party. Former White House
speechwriter Jon Favreau tweeted, "Funny, I don`t remember Chuck Schumer
giving that advice when he was privately and publicly championing the
Affordable Care Act in 2010."

Joining me now to discuss this, we have former Congressman Walt Minnick
from Idaho, who was part of the Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats and
voted against the Affordable Care Act. He was defeated for reelection in
2010. Also joining me now is former Vermont governor and current MSNBC
contributor, Howard Dean, who was chairman of the Democratic National
Committee from 2005 to 2009.

So, Walt, let me start with you because a lot of Republicans think, a lot
of Democrats think 2010 was the health care landslide that swept
Republicans into power. You lost your seat in 2010. Is it your opinion
when you look back on how you lost your seat in Congress that health care
reform and your party`s pursuit of it was the main reason?

FORMER REP. WALT MINNICK (D), IDAHO: No. The main reason was I
represented the most Republican district in the United States who elected a
new Democrat in 2008 and I didn`t withstand -- couldn`t withstand the
president`s and Speaker Pelosi`s low approval ratings two years later.

KORNACKI: But until terms of health care, do you agree with Schumer`s
assessment that your party as a whole was hurt in 2010 by this?

MINNICK: Absolutely we were hurt. But I disagree with his assessment as
to why. It was the right issue but the wrong bill.

KORNACKI: Can you elaborate on that?

MINNICK: Yes. It was wrong both substantively and the process by which it
was enacted. The way major legislation is typically done in a more
functioning Congress is you do a white paper that collects the best ideas,
the executive and legislative branch. The committee chair shares that
white paper with a ranking member and gets input as to what`s acceptable,
what`s not acceptable, pick up a few good minority party ideas and make the
process bipartisan. None of that was done with this bill.

KORNACKI: So, Governor Dean, what do you make of what Chuck Schumer said
this week? He`s basically saying, yes, it`s right to do and it is right to
do health care, but given the economic realities of 2009, 2010, we first
needed to do much more on the economy.

GOV. HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: I think Walt has got it right. I
mean, it wasn`t the fact that we did health care. And I have to say
Favreau is right, I didn`t hear Chuck complaining about this.

I was involved with this stuff. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and I were
talking on a very regular basis while this was going down.

And I think Walt`s right. The process was the problem and the bill was the
problem. There was an easier, quicker bill that everybody could have -- we
could have passed and we`d gotten it done with.

KORNACKI: What`s that?

DEAN: What we should have passed is a bill that allowed people under 65 to
sign up for Medicare I if we`d done that -- I signed up for Medicare a
couple of years ago when I turned 65. It took me ten minutes on the
website. Meanwhile the other website was collapsing and caused a huge
problem.

The other problem is the way this was handled. Into the White House went
the insurance companies, the lawyers, the doctors, the hospitals, the drug
companies, everyone got their deal, incredibly publicly. You can`t do
that, especially if you`re the president of change --

KORNACKI: I guess the argument from the White House on that would be,
look, how many presidents tried and failed to get health care reform
through over 100 years before it finally was signed into law in 2010. And
some of the failures are basically if you don`t bring those principal
players in like that and you don`t make deals with them, you get the Harry
and Louise ads and they kill it.

DEAN: It`s not a problem to bring them in, you should. What you shouldn`t
do is make a big deal every time you do it.

I sat down next to -- at a House dinner with a couple of guys from Indiana
who turned out to be Republican. Both of them voted for Obama, both of
them told me they would never do it again. And it was because of this
ridiculous parade of special interest groups going into the White House.

You can`t do that. Of course, you have to make deals but you don`t do it
publicly and pound your chest and say it was a great idea, which was what
was going on on the White House staff.

So, you know, I think first of all Chuck is exercising his prerogative.
He`s a very smart guy and I like him a lot and, you know, he`s going to be
very, very well, has and continue to do but this is revisionism.

The fact of the matter is he was leading the charge. It got screwed up in
Baucus` committee. It was basically written by the insurance companies.
And we have this bill now and it`s going to work, but it was really a bad
way to go about it.

KORNACKI: But, so -- what about the -- and again, Walt, I`ll ask you about
this in terms of the timing on this. Part of what Chuck Schumer is saying
isn`t just the process of getting health care through, he`s saying the
timing.

He`s saying, look, in 2010, the unemployment rate was basically hitting 10
percent in this country. We`d this meltdown in 2008 playing out as
President Obama took office. He`s saying we as a Democratic Party put the
stimulus through. We got the stimulus through in early 2009. And the
message we sent to voters was there, done, economy fixed. Now, on to
health care.

Do you think that was -- do you think that`s the message voters got and was
there a mistake there?

MINNICK: I disagree with the senator`s conclusion on timing. We passed a
billion dollar stimulus bill. We pumped more money, did everything you
could to pump up the economy. It was going to take time and the next big
issue was health care. It was time we dealt with it.

But the problem is we crafted a bill through a process that was foreign and
one party partisan and it was a bill that I gave an A-plus for expanding
coverage but a D-minus for reducing costs. The fact that it really has got
substantially cut American health care costs is the reason more than any
other why it`s unpopular with American citizens pretty much across the
political spectrum. It`s why we Democrats lost the partisan debate.

But if we`d had a few Republicans` ideas into that, ideas like controlling
malpractice, ideas like letting the Social Security negotiate drug costs so
we wouldn`t be paying eight times as much for prescription drug in the U.S.
than you do in Canada, if we put some of those Republican bipartisan ideas
into it, got a few Republicans to have supported it, they wouldn`t have
been able to hammer us three elections in a row and we wouldn`t be in the
minority right now.

KORNACKI: Do you agree with that?

DEAN: I do.

KORNACKI: I think -- those particular things he`s talking about, tort
reform, you think that should have been in there?

DEAN: Well, look, he`s right in general about the necessity of having some
sort of bipartisan approach. Now, in fairness, the Republicans were not
interested in cooperating at all.

KORNACKI: Well, that`s -- I mean, the case the administration would make
is, hey, look, there was no Republican who was ever willing to vote for
this thing. So, ultimately, it was going to have to be --

DEAN: And I think there`s some truth to that. The Republicans decided at
some point, they could hang this around the neck but I go back to two
things. First of all, one I do agree with Chuck on and that is we need to
do a lot of economic stuff as well and the stimulus package was clearly not
enough. There probably needed to be some other things that we should do.

Now, in fairness, the president did do with his shovel ready projects an
attempt to do more stimulus.

KORNACKI: But Schumer was saying that message never got through. The
voter going to the booth on November what it was 2010 said this is a
Democratic Party --

DEAN: That goes back to the point Walt made which was the process. The
process took too long. It went on and on and on and on. If you had a
simple bill that normal people could understand --

KORNACKI: But, I mean, but you`re talking about a bill that affects one-
sixth, one-seventh of the economy. I think they actually got it through in
pretty good time given -- a bill of that magnitude to get through Congress
-- to get through two chambers of Congress twice and signed by a president,
actually they made pretty good time. There`s no fast way to do that.

DEAN: The Senate was incredibly slow and very difficult. And they went
back and around and around and around. Don`t forget -- this thing did not
go through until Scott Brown beat Martha Coakley in the Senate race and
then we lost the 60 votes. And that really damaged our ability to make the
kind of changes that needed to be changed. Now, you were stuck with a bill
that was essentially written in Baucus` committee by the insurance company.
And --

KORNACKI: Just -- again, the point, though, from Schumer is, look, 85
percent of people already had health insurance that they were happy with.
So, he`s saying the middle class --

DEAN: First of all, they weren`t happy with it. That is revisionist
history. The costs were out of control and nobody was doing anything about
it. So, you cannot say that.

And it is true that Chuck was in the leadership of getting this done.
Chuck Schumer did a great job getting this bill through in my opinion. And
now, he would like --

KORNACKI: But do you think -- do you think that the average voter who was
in there in the voting booth in November, 2010, looked at the last two
years and said President Obama was elected with the economy collapsing.
The unemployment rate reached up to 10 percent there. Everybody I know
around me has been affected so acutely by this in the last two years.

Do you think the average voter looked and said the Democrats have done
everything they could on the economy the last two years?

DEAN: No, I don`t think they did that.

KORNACKI: And that`s what Schumer is saying is that is the message we
sent.

DEAN: No, I think the message we sent is we got bog down. Well, maybe
we`re splitting hairs here. I think the message we sent is we got all
involved in this really complicated business. Nobody could understand what
the hell was going on, which is one of the reasons I thought the public
option would have been a much better idea. Everybody knows that of
Medicare is they like it.

Look what happened when Ryan and before him, George W. Bush, tried to undo
Medicare and make it private. There was a huge firestorm.

Stick with what you know in this business. Medicare and Medicaid are great
programs. The president got it totally right by the expansion of Medicaid
and Republicans are paying a huge price in their states for not expanding
it. But where they missed the boat was not expanding Medicare to cover
people under 65.

If they have done those two things, everybody would have understood it. It
would have been no -- none of this complicated you keep your doctor and all
that kind of stuff, because everybody knows what Medicare --

KORNACKI: Yes, the Republicans paying the huge price. Hey, LePage got re-
elected, Walker got re-elected. They`re still waiting for the electoral
fallout from that in a lot of places. But that could be something in years
to come.

Anyway, former DNC chair, former Vermont Governor, Howard Dean, former
Congressman Walt Minnick from Idaho, appreciate you both joining us this
morning.

And up next, in the words of the immortal Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my
friend." I`m going to go over to the big board and show you some red flags
for one potential presidential candidate on the road to 2016.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: So, it`s that time. It`s the past the 2014 midterms. We`re on
to talking about 2016. As we`ve said earlier today and last week as well,
the field is starting to take shape on both sides.

So, we thought we would take a closer look at the Republican side. One
particular candidate, one particular name on the Republican side that I
think comes with a few red flags that I want to tell you about here.

So, the name is Jeb Bush. You know you hear Jeb Bush as sort of the one
that`s hovering above the rest of the Republican field. Everyone is
waiting for him to make up his mind. His father was president, his brother
was president, famous name, all of that.

This is the guy supposedly the establishment can rally around, the most
electable one. These are the sorts of things you hear about Jeb Bush all
the time, the former Florida governor, of course.

So, we thought let`s take a closer look at Jeb Bush in terms of the numbers
we have right now and to put those in a little bit of context.

So, we go over to the big board and what we have this week, there was a new
bit of polling that came out. This is Quinnipiac University, their polling
institute, and they put all the names up there, all the usual suspects for
2016 and they asked Republicans, who would you vote for in this group?

Notice that they put Mitt Romney in here. Mitt Romney probably not running
in 2016 but it`s a good gauge when you include him how they think about
everybody else. As you can see Romney continues to lead there with close
to 20 percent. Jeb Bush down only at 11 percent. Ben Carson, who`s made a
little noise on the right the last couple of years, not sure if everybody`s
heard of him outside of Republican circles but he`s made a little noise,
Chris Christie at eight there.

So, the takeaway from this is, you know, Jeb Bush, given what his name
represents, given the clout of his family in the Republican Party, given
the kind of coverage he gets, it`s very surprising when you stack him up
against Mitt Romney and rest of this field that he`s only sitting there at
11 percent.

But, OK, let`s see what happens. Let`s take Mitt Romney out of this and
let`s see if Jeb Bush then just gobbles up that 19 percent and becomes this
big front runner we keep hearing about.

Well, look, he doesn`t. He`s at 14 percent. He was at 11 percent without
Mitt Romney. You take Mitt Romney out, he`s at 14 percent. Chris Christie
moves up to 11.

This is not showing you that there`s this huge consensus within a
significant chunk of the Republican Party that they are looking for Jeb
Bush to get into this race. This is very lukewarm right now.

Now, to put this in more perspective, we want to look back to what happened
when his brother, when George W. Bush ran for president back in 2000. He`d
actually gotten into the race in 1999. The interesting thing about George
W. Bush back then was he cleared out like half the field. He got into this
race and there were 10 others running and within a few months, half of them
got out of the race because there was so much support for George W. Bush
early on in that process. His name meant then everything people are
thinking Jeb Bush`s will mean now.

So, take a look at some of the polling. This is a head-to-head. There`s
actually one other I wanted to show you on here. In the poll of Republican
voters taken at this same time before the 2000 campaign, George W. Bush was
sitting at 38 percent.

So, you just saw, his brother, Jeb, 14 percent. George W. was at 38
percent at the same point heading into 2000. That`s when he ran against
Elizabeth Dole and John McCain.

So, anyway, one of the reasons that George W. Bush was so attractive to
Republicans back then was at this same point, they tested him head-to-head
against Al Gore, the vice president. He was going to be the Democratic
candidate.

And look at this, George W. Bush was ahead 49-46 percent. So, electability
was always an argument that the Bush people were making. The Democrats
have had the White House for eight years. Give us George W. at the top of
the ticket. He`s an electable candidate, he`ll beat Al Gore. He`ll get
the White House back for the party. That was a big argument.

So, let`s see how that works for Jeb. Can Jeb be making that argument
right now?

Well, here`s Jeb against the most likely Hillary -- most likely Democratic
candidate, Hillary Clinton. He trails by five points. That`s in this
week`s Quinnipiac poll. Not disastrous, but it`s not the same as his
brother.

But now, to put this in some context, if you`re a Republican and interested
in electability, you`ve got Jeb Bush running five points behind Hillary
Clinton. You put Rand Paul up there, you get the same result.

We`re hearing all the time that Rand Paul may be a little too far out
there, may have some extreme fringe positions, may make people
uncomfortable. But right now when you test them, Rand Paul runs just as
well against Hillary as Jeb Bush. And then if you throw in Chris Christie,
well, look at this, Chris Christie keeps it within one point.

So, again, it`s early, it`s fluid and all of these things, but the basic
argument that George W. Bush had from the beginning, late 1998 into 1999,
when he got that Republican Party to coalesce around him like it had never
coalesced around a candidate so early before, electability was a key part
of that.

You don`t see that same clear obvious argument right now when you look at
Jeb Bush. Again, when you go back to the beginning there and think how Jeb
stacks up with other Republicans, that sort of Bush fever not so much there
with Republicans like it was in George W.`s time. In fact, you say it`s
not Bush fever, it might be Bush fatigue. So that`s something to watch in
the next couple of months as this field takes shape.

Anyway, one of America`s favorite or at least favorite Thanksgiving
traditions appears to be catching on around the globe. We`ll tell you what
it is. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Shoppers camping out for hours in the bitter cold for a great
deal on a television. Shoppers willing to drape themselves onto the box of
a TV so other shoppers can`t buy it, police being called in to contain the
violence that ensues.

These are the now familiar images of Black Friday, the unofficial day after
Thanksgiving start to the holiday shopping season here in the United
States.

But here`s a new twist. Those pictures of those bargain battles were not
taken in New York or Chicago or L.A. or anywhere in the United States of
America. They were taken in London, which last we checked does not
celebrate a holiday that comes about after colonists sought to escape
persecution by the British.

Black Friday, it seems, is going global with deals and skirmishes similar
to the ones that you`ll see on this side of the pond. It raises the
question of what`s next in Britain, the Fourth of July?

NBC`s Kelly Cobiella joins us now live from London this morning.

Black Friday, Kelly, in London. Tell me how this works. I`m a little
confused.

KELLY COBIELLA, NBC NEWS LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Go figure, isn`t this
bizarre? I mean, you will never see British decorum fall apart like it did
yesterday when people were going to these bargains. People were lining up
in the middle of the night and that was the end of the lines, which is
typically a very British thing to do, to stand in line for hours very
patiently until you get your turn at the cash register.

No, this was a free-for-all. And people are talking about it because, you
know, it`s so very un-British to break with this decorum and be so impolite
and stomp all over your fellow countryman, to get a TV -- to get a
discounted TV. But this is what happened.

I mean, there were big sales in the United States. Retailers here want to
make a profit as well. They want the profits to come in earlier rather
than later. The traditional sales day here is Boxing Day, the day after
Christmas. But why wait that long when you can get people in so much
earlier? So, it started and I don`t think it`s going to stop.

KORNACKI: And, Kelly, it`s a normal work day in Britain. Like here half
the country is off work a day after Thanksgiving. It`s a normal work day
over there, right?

COBIELLA: It is. So, people actually took the day off work so that they
could go to these stores and grab these discounts. And we`re not even
talking about, you know, massive discounts, like 75 percent off. I think
the average discount was like around 40 percent off. I mean, these TVs
were around 40 percent and 50 percent off. Deals that you can really get
at other times of the year and even later in the Christmas shopping season.

But no, people took time off work, they lined up in the middle of the night
just like they do in the United States. They went in to get their TVs. As
you`ve seen, you know, these pictures have been all over British papers
because people are just in shock over them. They dragged themselves on
those TVs and coffee makers and electronics so that they could get the best
deal.

KORNACKI: All right. NBC`s Kelly Cobiella joining us from London. I`m
going to ask if you got a new TV or anything yesterday, but thanks for the
update.

So, what do we make of an American tradition based on an American holiday
suddenly going global?

Our panel is back to talk about Black Friday. "The New York Post`s" Robert
George, MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter, "Slate`s" Mike Pesca.

Was anybody at a store yesterday? Did anybody go -- do any Black Friday
shopping?

JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Can you imagine doing that?
You`d have to have your head examined.

There`s a reason for this. It`s -- online competition has gotten so big
and important as a part of our economy and the global economy that
retailers need to figure out new ways to get people into the stores. And
so they`re creating these new -- you know, these new sales and marketing
the sales and getting people.

GEORGE: I usually completely stay away from Black Friday. However, my mom
is visiting and actually my first eight years were actually in England
actually so we lived over there. But --

KORNACKI: You left too soon.

GEORGE: We left too soon. But mom is visiting and so we -- you know, I
had to take her to Macy`s and stuff like that. It was completely and
totally insane.

KORNACKI: Could you even move?

GEORGE: You could barely -- you could barely move. It was completely a
zoo.

However, I`m not surprised that just given the global economy that, you
know, we may borrow some things from the U.K. and the U.K. now borrowing
some crazy economic and shopping trends from us.

PESCA: Exactly.

KORNACKI: What do we borrow from the U.K.?

PESCA: They give us Simon Cowell. We give them obesity and Black Friday.
I call it a wash.

(CROSSTALK)

PESCA: It`s a work study thing.

But, you know, this idea of the British decorum, there are as many mouth-
breathing dimwits in Britain as there are in America. The reason this is
big, yes, Amazon started the sale, Amazon is local. It`s about the
internationalization of the economy. What great free advertising for
retailers.

Of course, it`s going to be big. And the tabloids love these pictures and
TV loves these pictures. Studies show that without Black Friday, retail
sales would be exactly the same or almost exactly the same.

GEORGE: I want to see them ransacking Harrods, though, that`s the image
you really need to see.

KORNACKI: Harrods is Macy`s of --

GEORGE: I mean, Harrods is the Macy`s and Neiman Marcus and so many others
just rolled into one -- a huge, huge store there. I mean, if they were
really giving in to the Black Friday stuff, you`d know we really won the
war for independence.

KORNACKI: My knowledge of British culture is minimal. But who are the
ones, the guards --

(CROSSTALK)

GEORGE: Fourth of July (INAUDIBLE) --

KORNACKI: They`re supposed to be expressionless at all times.

GEORGE: With the big hats?

KORNACKI: Are they diving after like toys?

PESCA: If they found out a DVD player was being sold for 79 quid --

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: You stand there making faces at them? People in this country
continue to do it every year and I guess -- you`re saying it sounds like
what we end up doing is just taking sales that maybe we spread out over two
weeks and truncating them in one day, but they are getting good deals.

GEORGE: But there was another story they broke over the weekend actually,
that in the U.K., they are actually starting -- this is not a joke. They
are actually starting to celebrate Thanksgiving as well. So, it`s not just
the commercial side of things.

KORNACKI: In the U.K.?

GEORGE: In the U.K.

KORNACKI: Why?

GEORGE: I do not know.

KORNACKI: What holiday can we take from them?

(CROSSTALK)

GEORGE: Actually, I think some of the -- some of the anonymous people are
taking Guy Fawkes Day.

KORNACKI: Yes. I think the victory over --

(CROSSTALK)

ALTER: It`s about revolutionaries.

GEORGE: No, Guy Fawkes tried to take over the parliament actually.

ALTER: You can see why the radical anonymous folks would want to take
over.

KORNACKI: Right.

ALTER: Think about Thanksgiving. What were the pilgrims fleeing?
Religious persecution in Great Britain.

KORNACKI: I mean, it`s very interesting. Well, here we go. Maybe I`ll go
over there for Black Friday and Thanksgiving one of these years. It would
be a fun trip except I don`t like to fly.

Anyway, we`ll see you guys in a little bit.

And up next, we`re going to shift gears because we have a new documentary
to talk about that offers a new perspective on the Penn State sex abuse
scandal. We are going to talk to the man who made that documentary on the
other side of this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: The Penn State Nittany Lions wrap up their regular season today
against their Big 10 rivals, Michigan State. It`s more of a fake rivalry
actually. The Big 10 created the Land Grant trophy game when Penn State
joined the league 20 years ago. But they play it every year 20 years now
and it`s also Senior Day in State College, Pennsylvania. It`s the day the
football program recognizes all of its graduating seniors. The class that
graduates this year which came in in 2010 was once a highly touted class of
20 scholarship recruits.

But today, when the school celebrates those graduating seniors, only five
of them from that original class of 20 remain. A lot of that has to do
with the November 2011 charges against long-time Penn State assistant
football coach Jerry Sandusky which decimated the football program.

Penn State`s star recruits transferred to other schools. Nittany Lions
long revered coach Joe Paterno was fired, and then he died three months
later of lung cancer. The NCAA then banned the school from appearing in
postseason play for four years and erased years of the school`s storied
wins from the record books. It`s all played out three years ago.

And since then, Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty on 45 out of 48 counts
of sexual abuse. Earlier this season, the NCAA actually eliminated the
school`s postseason ban, cut it off after two years.

So, with a 6-5 record going into today`s game against the Spartans, it
appears that Penn State is about to make its first Bowl appearance since
that 2011 season. And a new movement by the Penn State community to
restore Joe Paterno`s 409 victories has more than 12,000 signatures.
Supporters held a rally at state college earlier this month.

The community, the football program, the university seemed to be on their
way toward moving past the 2011 scandal. The new documentary gives voices
to some of the people you didn`t hear from at the height of the scandal.

Sue Paterno, that`s Joe Paterno`s wife. He`s one of those voices. In this
clip, she described what life looked like inside the Paterno house right
after Joe Paterno was fired.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUE PATERNO, JOE PATERNO`S WIFE: We were getting into bed. When it rang,
I gave Joe the phone and he said, "OK, OK." He hung up. He said, "Good-
bye." And he said, "They just fired me." So I redialed the number and I
said, after 61 1/2 years he deserves better, good-bye, and I hung up.

I couldn`t believe that`s how you -- they can take your heart away that
quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Amir Bar-Lev is the director of "Happy Valley." I spoke with
him earlier this week about his film.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KORNACKI: So, three years ago, the whole country is transfixed about this.
I -- it`s still when I think about everything that played out in the course
of about three months in late 2011, early 2012, the revelations about Jerry
Sandusky, Joe Paterno getting fired. You have Joe Paterno getting cancer,
Joe Paterno dying all of this stuff playing, and then eventually the
conviction of Jerry Sandusky. So, you got in there and started talking to
some of the principal players here, Joe Paterno`s wife, his son, Sandusky`s
kid fairly early on.

How did that -- how did that come about as a filmmaker?

AMIR BAR-LEV, DIRECTOR, "HAPPY VALLEY": Well, I was watching the news like
everybody else and transfixed by this story.

And, you know, I wasn`t as interested in Jerry Sandusky as the effect
Jerry`s crimes had on the rest of us in society. And it seemed to me that
it was just a strange warping effect. I mean, I remember the riot, for
instance.

KORNACKI: This was when Paterno was fired.

(CROSSTALK)

BAR-LEV: Paterno was fired. It was the first riot in favor of authority
that anybody could ever remember. And then there was a prayer on the first
game after he was fired. The opposing teams got together and had a --
knelt and held hands and had a prayer. Ron Brown, the Nebraska running
back coach, said, Lord, there`s a lot of people -- a lot of little boys
watching this game wondering about the definition of manhood right now.

I thought that`s a strange thing to say. I mean, Jerry`s crimes make me
feel outraged, sad, lots of things but the definition of manhood is not
questioned, you know, by me, anyway.

KORNACKI: So, you`re watching and all of a sudden thought I`m going to
state college.

BAR-LEV: It seemed like there were a lot of interesting ideas at play that
I think actually even three years later are so much -- are very much still
in play today.

KORNACKI: How did that work? So you got access. Again, this played out,
this happens in late October, early November, and by January Joe Paterno is
dead and you got access to his family in that time?

BAR-LEV: You know, people in Happy Valley were very sick of the news by
the time I got there. But we don`t really do news. We`re trying to --
documentary is a great medium to help people with empathy. That`s why I
love it.

So, we really talked to everybody across the spectrum of perspectives here.
People who don`t agree at all with each other, but we were able to convince
them that, you know, we would be letting them put their best foot forward
and the film represents that.

KORNACKI: So, tell us about -- there are a bunch of different angles here.
Let`s go through a couple of them.

BAR-LEV: Sure.

KORNACKI: From the Paterno standpoint, because this guy it was the
ultimate fall from grace. He was the most revered figure in college
football, maybe in all of sports to some people, and he ends up being the
guy who looks the other way. That`s what he`s seen as at least. The guy
who looked the other way.

Is that a fair impression of him?

BAR-LEV: Well, he`s a great character for a film really because he is
enigmatic. He did represent protecting youth for 61 years, there`s no
disputing that. I think the Paternos rightfully so feel that, you know,
his legacy was almost literally bull dozed in a bit of a rush to judgment.
That said, there`s some -- there`s some pretty unfortunate facts about Joe
Paterno.

KORNACKI: The bottom line question on this is, do you get a sense looking
at this, talking to all of them, when you walk away from this, do you think
Joe Paterno looked the other way?

BAR-LEV: I think Joe Paterno in his own words, he said it very accurately.
He didn`t do enough. And, you know, I think that`s indisputable. But, you
know, I`m --

KORNACKI: But do you think he -- one of the things in the outgoing
governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, who was the attorney general as all
of this is happening, he has since said that he doesn`t think Joe Paterno
should have been fired. And he said, the reason, he thinks -- he doesn`t
think Joe Paterno actually fully understood what he was being told because
this assistant coach, Mike McQueary, comes to him, he`s shaken up, he`s
seen something in the shower. We`re not sure what language McQueary used
to Paterno.

Do you think Paterno understood the basics of hey, this was --

BAR-LEV: All you have to do is look at what Joe Paterno himself said. He
was told it was something of a sexual nature to a young boy. That`s Joe
Paterno`s own words.

So, you know, but honestly, it`s a film really -- I mean Joe Paterno --
also in Joe Paterno`s words he said, look, I`m not the beacon of integrity.
Years earlier, you know, we sanctified Joe Paterno. We as a culture turned
him into Saint Joe.

He was never very comfortable with it. I don`t think his family was very
comfortable with it. And then, you know, when he didn`t live up to our
own, kind of projects on him, we turned him into the devil. And, you know,
his family is right saying he`s neither the devil nor a saint.

KORNACKI: The other side, well, another side is the Sandusky family. You
talked to Matt Sandusky. This is his adopted son.

BAR-LEV: Yes. You know, Jerry Sandusky`s crimes are about horrible and
they bear scrutiny, but they`re about the least interesting part of this
story for me in a way, because what`s far more interesting to me is the way
we all try to distance ourselves from what happened there. To my mind, you
know, when you have a failure like this, where, you know, so many kids are
grievously wounded like this, it`s bigger than one or two or five men or
even just a town.

You know, this is about so many things that are in the culture today --
football, spectacle, celebrity worship. These are things that are -- you
know, that are part of the news cycle right now with Bill Cosby and all
these things happening.

KORNACKI: The NCAA came down very hard on the Penn State program after
this, a four-year ban from postseason. This year, they ended up saying,
you know what, two years is enough. You can go to a bowl this year if you
qualify. They sort of backed off a little bit. The penalties against the
program, were they too much, were they too little, were we looking in the
wrong place?

BAR-LEV: These are all great questions and I don`t answer any of them
really, because I think everybody will answer these questions slightly
differently. It`s a film about ideas. There are a bunch of very
compelling ideas kind of competing with each other and the audience is, you
know, going to have to decide for themselves.

You know, it`s not a -- it`s not a film you have to endure. It`s -- these
are actually pretty interesting ideas, despite the pain that`s at the heart
of this story. These are things we need to be talking about as a society,
I think.

KORNACKI: Yes. Well, I mean in the story and the Paterno side of it goes
on and on. He had the 409 wins, which was the all-time wins. They
stripped 111. Now, there`s a movement, the former of the president of the
school is on board with it to try to get those wins restored. So, that the
Paterno legacy question goes on and on.

But, Amir Bar-Lev, I really appreciate you coming on, very interesting film
and I hope people check it out, so thanks a lot.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KORNACKI: And "Happy Valley" is playing in select theaters throughout the
country, through the New Year`s, is available on command at Amazon and
iTunes.

We`ll be right back with the latest news on a big reversal of fortune for a
deposed world leader.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: A major story breaking overnight in Egypt, where a court
dismissed murder charges against former President Hosni Mubarak. He had
been charged in connection with the killings of hundreds of protesters
during the 2011 uprising that forced him from office. Eighty-six-year-old
Mubarak was convicted in May on corruption charges and he was sentenced to
three years in prison.

But a technicality forced a retrial and then this morning in Cairo, a judge
dismissed the case altogether. Mubarak has been in custody since April of
2011, so, it`s unclear whether he`ll be released now for time served.

Stay with MSNBC throughout the day for all of the latest news. We`ll be
right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Growing up in Massachusetts, I used to listen on the radio to
Eddie Andelman. He`s a legend on the Boston airwaves. He had a sports
radio show for years. And around Thanksgiving every year, listeners would
call in with what the show called the Thanksgiving Turkey Awards, prominent
figures in the world of sports that listeners said had a really bad year
for some reason or another. He would listen and chime in and decide how
many gobbles each would get. The more gobbles, the bigger the turkey the
person was.

So, we thought, with the huge year we just had in politics, big midterm
election, it would be the perfect time to steal Eddie Andelman`s great idea
and hand out our very own Thanksgiving turkeys -- not for sports figures,
but for political figures. For people who have been in the news this year.

So, I asked our panelists to bring in a few nominations of their own. I
guess it`s my responsibility to start it off.

So, gentlemen, I will nominate for my political turkey of the year there.
there in the screen, you hear some gobbling, too. It`s Domenic Recchia.
This is the guy who had the honor of running against a member of Congress,
Michael Grim, on Staten Island, who is facing a 20-count federal
indictment, and he lost.

And if you want to know why Domenic Recchia, I think we have sound of this.
Jon Stewart explained it pretty well.

(BEGIN VIDO CLIP)

DOMENIC RECCHIA, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: When I was on the
local school board, I ran a student exchange program with Japan for the
students of his district that he represents, all right, with Japan. I`ve
been to Israel. I`ve been to Italy. I`ve been to many, many countries
across this world.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Foreign policy what? I met a Japanese exchange
student. It`s all good.

I can see Schumer doing this, oh boy.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So, if you want to lose to someone facing a 20-count federal
indictment, I think he`d show how. That`s my nomination for the turkey for
the year.

Robert George, who do you pick for this?

GEORGE: Put the wreck win Recchia.

That`s Pat Quinn, governor of Illinois, President Obama`s home state --
home state governor, one of many Democrats incumbents that lost. In
addition, he`s also -- surprisingly for Illinois governor, also facing
ethics investigations about hiring practices, raised income taxes, and so
as a result, Illinois has a Republican governor coming in January.

KORNACKI: All right. Robert George is Pat Quinn.

Jonathan Alter says who for this one?

ALTER: I`ve got two. One is Jay Nixon. He didn`t lose as governor of
Missouri, but I think we can all agree that he could have done a much
better job --

KORNACKI: Not given much praise for how he`s handled this. Yes.

ALTER: He could have gotten a Democratic attorney general to intervene so
we couldn`t have had this horrible conflict of interest in Ferguson.

And the other is Martha Coakley.

KORNACKI: OK, I think that`s unfair!

(CROSSTALK)

ALTER: She has to be one of the all time worst candidates to run for
statewide office.

KORNACKI: Two-time loser.

ALTER: It`s a Democratic state she lost.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Republican governors all the time.

ALTER: Yes, she lost to Scott Brown in 2010 for the Ted Kennedy`s seat in
the Senate. Now, she just lost to Scott Charlie Baker for governor, and
she just wasn`t getting it done as a candidate. There are certain basic
candidate skills. Most famously in her case in the Scott Brown race.

Why would anybody want to stand outside of Fenway Park shaking hands in the
cold?

GEORGE: She didn`t know Kurt Schilling was a member of the --

KORNACKI: The rules of the first annual up thanksgiving Turkey awards are.
My guests get to pick the turkey. I will register my objections.

But Jonathan Alter`s pick.

Mike Pesca, who is your pick?

PESCA: I just wanted to note in that Staten Island Senate race when one of
those lightning round questions, what`s the last book you read, neither guy
could come up with a --

KORNACKI: That`s right!

(CROSSTALK)

PESCA: -- something by Tom Clancy.

KORNACKI: That`s right!

PESCA: One of them didn`t fall for that one.

I`m going to go -- so, politicians, there that has to be a winner. There
has to be a loser. Is it fair or unfair? Some of them have a bad
landscape to run against. I want to pick on the pundits, the experts.

Now, a couple of guys, but Sam Wang who runs the Princeton Consortium.

KORNACKI: Our guest.

(CROSSTALK)

PESCA: Where they try to pick who is going or give you likelihood of who`s
going to retain control. And as recently as I told where he was saying the
Democrats were still going to control the House. Now you can get it wrong
--

KORNACKI: In the Senate.

PESCA: In the Senate, yes.

His methods were I`m only going to look at polls. I`m not going to do what
FiveThirtyEight does, I`m not going to do what "The New York Times" does.
I`m not going to look at the any of the fundamentals.

If you look you say, wow, that seems like a big outlier. And then the
election comes and he got it totally wrong.

And then there was another pundit named Richard Parker who wrote a book
about how Texas is becoming purple and this is the year Texas is going to
win. And then he did an op-ed when Wendy Davis had polled within nine
points saying she might beat Greg Abbott. That did not come true.

GEORGE: And mine was Chuck Hagel, our departing secretary of defense.

KORNACKI: I had one more as well, which was Anthony Brown.

GEORGE: From Maryland.

KORNACKI: Anthony Brown was the Democratic candidate for governor of
Maryland. Now, here`s a blue state that should not elect a Republican
governor. But the reason I give it to him was because when he won the
primary, he basically -- he said, quote, "The general election is a mole
hill, a little bit of a mole hill to take in November." I think when you
talk about the general election, you are asking people to look for a reason
to vote against you.

GEORGE: That mole turned out to be cancerous.

PESCA: Ooh!

KORNACKI: It was a tough loss for Democrats and for Anthony Brown. So,
those are my turkeys. Those are your turkeys. We should have something, a
donut, as I stare at them right now. Maybe we`ll do it next year.

By anyway, my thanks to our panel today.

All in good fun. Anybody who`s named a turkey, you`re always welcomed back
as a guest on UP anyway. All in good fun.

My thanks to Robert George, Jonathan Alter and Mike Pesca for joining us
this morning. Really appreciate that.

And thank you all for joining us today for UP. And join us tomorrow,
Sunday morning at 8:00 Eastern Time for a feisty debate over which city
should host the Democratic convention in 2016. Three finalists, three
icons of those cities are going to join us to do a little trash talking and
self promotion.

Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY".

We`re going to see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.



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