'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, January 25th, 2015
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: January 25, 2015
Guest: Genevieve Wood, Amanda Terkel, Carl Banks, Jennifer Jacobs, John
Hoeven, Roger Cohen, Joseph Stiglitz, Janel Klein, Christopher Dempsey,
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: It begins. All right. Good morning. And
thanks for getting up with us today. One week and counting before Super
Bowl Sunday morning, and speaking of the Super Bowl, in the news this
morning, Bill Belichick dramatically changing the course of conversation or
at least trying to about those underinflated footballs with a surprise
press conference yesterday afternoon. Lots of sound from that, lots of
details, lots of reaction still to come in the show. Also, Steve King`s
summit in Iowa, gives us a remarkable sneak peek at what the Republican
presidential primary is likely to look like and to also to sound like.
Also this morning, that nor`easter hitting the East Coast yesterday may
have just been a coming attraction. Hard to believe with two feet of snow
on the ground in some places. Also Senator John Hoeven from North Dakota,
he is going to be here on the show to talk about his push for the Keystone
Pipeline. The first major confrontation between the new Republican
Congress and President Obama.
That`s ahead, and for the first time ever this morning, a sitting U.S.
president is making a second state visit to India. We`ll go live there to
find out what President Obama has been up to and what he said just this
morning. But we begin today in Iowa, and that`s where the race for the
White House all, but officially began yesterday with one potential
Republican candidate after another making his pitch or making her pitch to
more than a thousand party activists. They were there at the invitation of
Republican congressman Steve King, it`s a conservative firebrand best known
for his controversial and inflammatory comments about immigration.
And that`s a topic, immigration, that many of the speakers who are eager to
make inroads on the right tackled head on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BEN CARSON: Do we have an illegal immigration problem?
CARSON: Can we fix it?
CARSON: Of course, we can. If you employ a person who is illegal, instead
of getting a pass from the government, you should get a criminal activity
on your record because it`s a crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Dr. Ben Carson a name you might not know, but he`s been
doing pretty well on the right in the last year, certainly among the
grassroots. Another speaker, though, got the strongest response from the
crowd with this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R ) TEXAS: There are 110,000 employees at the IRS. We need
to padlock that building.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CRUZ: And put every one of those 110,000 on our southern border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: As you can`t be Republican from Texas without talking more about
the border. Here is Rick Perry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOV. RICK PERRY (R ) TEXAS: We need to send a message to Congress,
secure the border now, override this president`s lawless executive order,
restore law and order to our border with Mexico, stand up to this face of
evil and protect our citizens.
KORNACKI: And it was at that moment you`re seeing some video here that
about a half of dozen dreamers, these are young, undocumented activists who
had been promising to disrupt the event in Iowa yesterday, it was at that
moment in Rick Perry`s speech that they stood up in the balcony and began
shouting in protest and were shouted down by the crowd. They were holding
signs that read "Deportable," and "Deportable" is the term that Steve King
had used just this past week to describe the undocumented college student
who`d been invited to sit in the first lady`s box at the State of the Union
address. That was on Tuesday night. The day yesterday wasn`t entirely
about blaster and protest some GOP establishment -- or on the schedule as
well, the first was Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. He`s the son of a
preacher. He talked about the power of prayer amid the death threats, that
he said he faced, during a 2011 state house protests over this collective
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER ( R) WISCONSIN: You prayed for us. And we are going to
tell you on behalf of our sons and Alex, we could feel the power of those
prayers. We could feel them, and in the darkest of the days I can tell you
what a difference it made to us."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And later, Chris Christie tried to play up his social conservative
credentials while stressing his victories in a blue state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R ) NEW JERSEY: Now, I ran in New Jersey ...
CHRISTE: as a prolife candidate in 2009 and I won. And I ran for re-
election as a prolife governor in 2013 and won by 22 points.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Walker from Wisconsin, Christie from New Jersey, both pitching
themselves to the grassroots as Republicans who can win in blue states and
govern as conservatives and retain their popularity as well. That`s part
of the pitch they made yesterday. Still, despite receiving invitations to
yesterday`s event, we should point out there was no Mitt Romney there,
there was no Marco Rubio, there was no Jeb Bush, all declined to take part
in yesterday`s big event in Iowa. And in fact, just this weekend, Jeb Bush
actually offered a strong defense of immigration reform.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH (R ) FLORIDA: We need to find a way, a path to legalize
status for those that have come here and have languished in the shadows.
There`s no way that they`re going to be deported. No one is suggesting an
organized effort to do that. The cost of that would be extraordinary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And while Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush were not at the Freedom
Summit yesterday, it might be indicative if you look at the crowd`s
reaction to this statement from, of all people, Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP: So you can`t have Romney, he choked. You can`t have Bush.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right. Here to talk about everything that happened in Iowa
yesterday, we have our panel, MSNBC political analyst David Corn, he`s also
Washington bureau chief at Mother Jones. Amanda Terkel, senior political
reporter and managing editor with the Huffington Post and Genevieve Wood,
senior contributor at "The Daily Signal," part of the Heritage foundation,
making her "UP" debut this morning. Welcome to you, Genevieve.
GENEVIEVE WOOD: Great to be here.
KORNACKI: So much that we could talk about here. But I want to start on
that last clip we played. I mean look, forget Donald Trump himself.
KORNACKI: We know what he`s up to. But that reaction from the crowd to
the mention of the name Bush, I mean I have been seeing polls and saying
myself -- I don`t think the Republicans are as ready for him as maybe the
establishment. I think that reaction is- they don`t want this guy.
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: There are going to be so many divides
in the Republican landscape and this primary. We saw two right here. One
is between people who want Bush, maybe a few established types who want
Romney, and the grassroots which don`t care. There are a lot of focus
groups have been done already, that -- Republicans were telling the
pollsters and consultants, we don`t care about Bush. We don`t want Bush.
That`s old, that`s in the past. Yet Republican establishment is in love
with him, and then there`s big debate, in which you have Jeb Bush there
just saying now, nobody wants to deport all these people. Excuse me, the
people in Iowa do.
CORN: That`s why ...
KORNACKI: So, he`s poking a stick in your eye basically on the eve of
their big conference.
CORN: They want to deport people.
AMANDA TERKEL, "THE WASHINGTON POST": And he knows what he`s doing. I
mean that`s not his base. And he has said that, you need to pick a
candidate who can win the general election, not necessarily the one who can
get through the primaries. And so, this is Jeb Bush`s strategy to appear
more moderate than, you know, the Ted Cruz and the rest of the ones who
went to Steve King`s party.
WOOD: The problem with that -- (INAUDIBLE), is like you have got to get
through this primary to get to the general election, right? But it`s not
the first time he`s poked conservatives and people who disagree with him on
immigration in the eye. He did this time last year. This is the first
time as a conservative, I will tell you, that I`ve seen the base, the broad
base as excited as they are about a presidential election. And I think
it`s because of the first time in a very long time there`s actually going
to be a choice and a debate. Now, it may get down to one or two
candidates, it always does, but I think early on people do want to see
these new faces. I mean if you don`t have to go with the folks who have
been around forever and you like some fresh blood, they`re out there. And
they are not people that is way over here or way over there. Governor
Scott Walker, Governor Kasich who was (INAUDIBLE) throw his hats in. So, I
think there was going to be a lot of really legitimate candidates that
people want to give a fresh look ...
KORNACKI: But that`s -- the two most interesting who were there yesterday
to me were Walker and Christie.
KORNACKI: Because they both seem -- they want to straddle that line, where
they can be acceptable to the base, they don`t want to be poking them --
the bases in the eye, but at the same time they want to be the
establishment candidates. Walker seemed to get a better response than
Christie, although I thought that Christie message, you know, was -- it was
a lot -- you can see he was building towards it last week.
CORN: And the question is, how much you mention blood before ...
CORN: Not new blood -- I`m talking about different type of blood. How
much red meat does the base want? I still think that it`s pretty extreme.
It`s pretty excessive and they -- it`s very nice to hear a governor say I
can govern, but there`s an emotional component here. And so, when Rick
Perry gets up there and thumps the lectern and basically says let`s deport,
this is a cultural issue. They`re not looking for the problem solver.
They`re looking for someone to reflect back the intensity they feel about
what they think is going wrong with this country, what they don`t like
about Obama and what they don`t like about deportables. And so at the end
of the day, I would be very surprised if a practical-minded governor can
come in there, even one who believes in the power of prayer or who is
prolife and still capture that energy.
WOOD: But see, this is where I think of Scott Walker, I`m not endorsing
Scott Walker, but I think he`s interesting. Because he did take on another
group that conservatives are not always pleased with, which is the unions.
And a lot of America doesn`t think the unions area always in the right. He
took them on, he beat them. He actually has won election, he`s faced a
recall. So, he`s somebody I think who has shown I`m a tough guy, I`m a
conservative, but I`m willing to stand up. I think he`s an interesting ...
KORNACKI: I mean personality comes into it at some point.
KORNACKI: Does he have the big presidential personality? It`s never
TERKEL: Right. Yeah. I mean I`ve gone to Wisconsin a few times and
followed him around for the recalls in his elections, and he`s -- he wasn`t
what I thought he was going to be. He didn`t really get people as fired
up, but at the same time the fact that he has won three elections in the
last four years, that he did become sort of the representing everything
that progressive thought was wrong. He does get people excited and
interested. He has that sort of Midwestern where he pulls back, he`s also
very, very careful. He doesn`t make a lot of gaffes like you see Rick
Perry and Chris Christie make -- being, what, I think to his benefit, but
he also doesn`t have that big personality that will get people excited with
-- thousands ...
CORN: And the other thing we didn`t talk about, while this Iowa thing is
going on this week, there`s another important political gathering. The
KORNACKI: We will be. You`re teasing a little.
KORNACKI: It`s very important. It will be part of that segment, but the
one other thing that I think is worth mentioning about yesterday, this
really struck me, especially after I thought about it, but lots of Obama
bashing, almost not a single mention of Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton
clearly is going to be a very likely -- the Democratic candidate in 2016.
They are not warming up their Hillary attack lines. There was no -- it was
still the past six, seven years.
WOOD: Obama has made it very clear, he has got two years left.
WOOD: He identified, and he gave a lot of people a lot of ammunition at
the State of the Union. So, I`m not surprised by that. But I think it
will start turning towards Hillary, I think, as obviously as the campaign
CORN: And I think, you know, call it Obama opposition, or Obama hatred,
that`s really the core of the Republican base now. So, showing that you
can bash Obama better than the next guy. I hope things -- but were there
any women at this event?
KORNACKI: Carly Fiorina. She actually is the only one who took a shot at
CORN: Yeah. Well, that makes sense, by the way.
CORN: But some of it -- you can bash Obama better than next guy or gal.
It`s probably -- a key path in the early primary season.
KORNACKI: I`m being told that Sarah Palin was there and I said she might
run for president.
CORN: Yeah. There`s a one in a million chance. There`s a chance.
KORNACKI: All right. Yeah, exactly. One in a million. That`s the
optimistic odds. Anyway, my thanks to the panel. We`re going to be seeing
you all later in the show.
And still ahead, are the Olympics really ever a good idea for the host
city? L.A. City`s having doubts on this. We`ll tackle that later. And
next, though, the Patriots go on offense as Bill Belichick daring the NFL
to prove him wrong with science. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: A nor`easter wreaked havoc on the East Coast this weekend with
the forecast of an even more powerful storm to come. More on that a little
bit later in the show. But the weather is also managed to blow up the
Patriots underinflated football scandal with New England coach Bill
Belichick turning to Mother Nature yesterday to defend his team.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL BELICHICK: We all know that air pressure is a function of the
atmospheric conditions. We found that once the balls, the footballs were
on the field over an extended period of time, in other words, they were
adjusted to the climatic conditions and also the fact that the balls, you
know, reached an equilibrium without the rubbing process, that after that
had -- you know, run its course and the footballs have reached an
equilibrium, that they were down approximately 1.5 pounds per square inch.
And I believe now 100 percent that I have personally and we as an
organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And NBC`s Ron Mott is in Glendale, Arizona with the Super Bowl
be held next week for us this morning. Ron, so, Bill Belichick basically
offered his explanation. He says the psi can vary. Maybe we scuffed it up
too much before the inspection and it came down. Are people buying this
explanation? What`s the reaction to it?
RON MOTT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning. It was just
fascinating to watch Coach Belichick and this news hastily arranged news
conference yesterday. He went on 19 minutes talking a little bit about
football and a whole lot about football science. And I guess if you were
Patriots fan, I understand you`re Steve, that this may have helped the
Patriots case here this week. They`ve had a tough week with all this media
attention on so called Deflate-gate. If you`re not a Patriots fan, you are
probably calling a lot of this junk science. Because a lot of folks are
saying, well, wait a minute, if the Patriots balls, and they simulated the
weather conditions from last Sunday night`s game, if they saw a pound and a
half difference, a decrease in the football pressure -- the air pressure
inside the footballs, why didn`t the Colts balls which were presumably in
the same conditions out there on that field for 2.5 hours at first half,
not see the same drop?
Well, we`ll just see if this is going to be the end of the saga. A lot of
people think that maybe Coach Belichick was trying to take a little bit of
that heat back from quarterback Tom Brady. People thought that Bill
Belichick sort of threw Brady overboard in his first press conference there
the other day, and then Brady, of course, came on to speak a little bit
after that. Coach Belichick after yesterday, he threw in some -- my cousin
Vinnie references yesterday. It was just fascinating to watch. He says
this is it. He`s done talking about it. It`s now time for them to start
thinking about the Seattle Seahawks. Remember them? That`s who the
Patriots are playing in the Super Bowl week from -- a week from tonight,
and so they want to focus on getting ready for the game.
As you know, Steve, the NFL did come out on Friday and say that it has
interviewed about 40 people so far. There`s still some more people that
they want to talk to, they know that the balls were measured before the
game and that at halftime they checked them again, and some of those
Patriots balls were under the NFL minimum pressure setting, and so they
were inflated again and then they played the second half, and, of course,
the Patriots shut them out in the second half. It was a blowout all
together. So, anyway, we want to talk about football, the Pro Bowl is set
for tonight, some of the best players in the game here.
KORNACKI: Yes, so.
MOTT: Steve, back to you.
KORNACKI: Ron Mott, thank you for pointing out, by the way, that once the
balls were properly inflated, the Patriots won 28 to nothing, and played
Appreciate the report from Glendale, Arizona from you. Have fun out there.
So, with the big game rapidly approaching, coach Bill Belichick also
appeared eager yesterday to put the scandal behind him and the focus on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELICHICK: So, I just want to share with you what I`ve learned over the
past week. I`m embarrassed to talk about the amount of time that I`ve put
into this relative to the other important challenge in front of us. I`m
not a scientist. I`m not an expert in footballs. I`m not an expert in
football measurements. I`m just telling you what I know. I would not say
that I`m Mona Lisa Vito of the football world as she was in the car
expertise area, all right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: There`s that my cousin Vinnie reference that Ron Mott was
talking about just a second ago. So, Bill Belichick has now offered his
explanation for how his team`s footballs could have been slightly deflated
during the first half of the AFC championship. He said he is not a
scientist but is this explanation enough to put the story to rest and to
return everyone`s attention to the big game, which is now just one week
away? Well, here to help us figure it all out is Carl Banks, he is the
former New York Giants linebacker, analyst now, the team`s radio network,
he also played for Bill Belichick when Belichick was a top assistant with
the Giants. Carl, welcome, thanks for joining us.
CARL BANKS, FORMER NY GIANTS LINEBACKER: Thank you for having me.
KORNACKI: So, you know Belichick, you have seen him up close in a way that
almost none of us have. When he gives that press conference yesterday and
offers that explanation, what`s your reaction to what you heard?
BANKS: Well, I believe him. I`ve known Bill for the better part of 30
years or more, and worked for him for ten as a player, and another four as
an employee. And I know what he puts into this sport in preparing his
teams. But, you know, breaking the rules, you had the Spygate thing. This
doesn`t seem like anything that he would remotely be concerned with. And
what he gave yesterday, I believe, will cause the league to take a look at
a broader sampling of how footballs are manipulated by quarterbacks, which
they all do it, because it`s all about the grip and how they feel they can
throw the football best, but then the pressure, and you can`t dispute the
fact that the atmosphere does have something to do with it. If you take a
ball in Denver, a football, and kickers will tell you they get better range
because of the atmosphere there.
So, there`s so much more to look at. And I think at the end of the day,
the league is going to come back and say, you know what? These are things
that happened during the course of a game, across the league. Because it
was a little deceitful the way they even got into this investigation. A
reporter out of Indianapolis said that Nicols Jackson, the guy who
intercepted the football said it felt very soft and he went immediately ...
KORNACKI: He went to the sideline because he was so alarmed by this
BANKS: Exactly. Well, that turned out to be not true.
KORNACKI: Right. He couldn`t tell the difference.
BANKS: But the investigation goes.
BANKS: So, that was kind of a conduit for ...
KORNACKI: Well, you say, it sounded like in his press conference
yesterday, Belichick, he seemed to allude to there`s a lot of issues here
that need to be addressed.
KORNACKI: I think he`s talking about that, because one of the reports
that`s been out there is that the Baltimore Ravens, you know, John
Harbaugh, maybe alerted the Colts ...
KORNACKI: ... and said we think this is happening. And that was certainly
what you`re saying there, it would certainly make sense to me that if the
Colts had some kind of heads up and they told their players, listen, if you
get one of those balls, you bring it right over here. Because here`s the
official, the side judge, he picks the ball up after every play, right?
KORNACKI: You can`t tell the difference.
BANKS: No one can tell. And see, this is the thing that we should really
take a look at, is because ESPN has their sports science department. They
ran a special and pulled it because they showed that a deflated ball
actually performs less effectively than one of regulation. And they pulled
it off, obviously because they have their narrative that they want to
continue to keep the news running on this. But ...
KORNACKI: I mean, yeah, that`s the thing that I keep coming back to. It`s
like -- I`m still -- I`m trying to figure out the mechanics of this. If
the balls were presented before the game and approved by the ref, and then
somewhere between that and the start of the game the Patriots deflated them
all at equal -- I`m just trying to figure out how that works.
BANKS: It doesn`t work.
KORNACKI: Even, let`s say, even if that did happen.
BANKS: Do you?
KORNACKI: Even if it was down a pound or two, in terms of the impact on
the game, that`s a -- that`s the equivalent of a very minor penalty.
KORNACKI: But the thing about it is, you`ve heard all of these armchair,
you know, experts, it`s harder to fumble the ball. That`s not true. And
you would think that the ball was a sponge the way they`re talking about
it. It`s not. And this is -- this is a lot do more about the Patriots
than it is the football. And I think that it`s safe to say there are a lot
of people that don`t like the Patriots, but when you break this down, and I
think when the final analysis comes out, because the NFL has yet to say a
single thing. What they got from Bill Belichick yesterday will make them
examine this probably a lot broader because it is so difficult to do
anything nefarious on these sidelines now. Cameras are everywhere.
BANKS: You know, if you`re a kid eating a hot dog, you are going ...
KORNACKI: I`m going to say, the whole Spygate thing is all about how
cameras were everywhere.
BANKS: Yeah, exactly.
KORNACKI: But let me -- let me ask you this, though. Because look,
there`s two weeks between the conference championships and the Super Bowl.
And Bill Belichick was clearly very frustrated yesterday about the time
he`s had to put into this. You saw Brady out there looking really, really
uncomfortable in his press conference on Thursday. In terms of the time
they spent on this, maybe the emotions in the case of Brady, at least. How
severely does this impact the Patriots?
BANKS: It won`t. I think they`ve during the course of the week, their
preparation is going to be meticulous. But this was one more thing that
they had to address, I`m sure, you know, knowing Bill like I do, he`s
incorporated all of these things into it. Even their testing, because he
is saying to his ball boys and equipment managers, prepare the balls as if
they`re going to be part of a game, we`re going to practice with them,
we`ll test them. And I think they brought in a lot of outside experts to
assist in that area.
KORNACKI: All right, and Carl Banks, do you have a Super Bowl prediction,
by the way? Patriots ...
BANKS: I`m on Patriots.
KORNACKI: I like it.
BANKS: Yeah, I`m in the tank for the Patriots, I`ll say that, but I`m
unbiased in my assessment of that press conference. I think they`re free
of anything bad.
KORNACKI: You`re the best "UP" guest for the day so far. Carl Banks.
BANKS: Thank you for having me.
KORNACKI: Thank you for joining us today. When Bill Belichick and Tom
Brady took to the microphones on Thursday, many thought it seemed like a
"Saturday Night Live" skit in the making, and that`s what the folks at
"Saturday Night Live" thought, too. Here they are last night having a
little fun with Bill Belichick and those who say he threw Tom Brady under
the bus. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came here today to tell you that I have absolutely
nothing to do with deflating those footballs. That`s all I have to say on
the matter. Period. But I still have several minutes left, so, I`d like
to spend the remainder of the press conference throwing my quarterback
under the bus. I never really trusted the guy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, someone that good looking and rich, I mean you`ve
seen "American Psycho."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any way, I love him like a son, just more of an
estranged son that I wouldn`t trust around footballs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coach, one question --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sure you have questions, but I`d rather leave those
questions to the person who did it. Tom Brady.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right. And up next, trying to win the support of the Koch
Brothers, they`re super-secret gathering of rich conservatives and
Republican candidates that get a little bit less secret than it`s even been
before. And a little later in the show today, President Obama makes his
historic trip to India, speaking there only minutes ago. We`re going to go
live to New Delhi with all the details and here what the president had to
say. So, keep it here.
KORNACKI: It is the primary that`s even more invisible than the invisible
primary, but maybe now slightly less invisible than it`s ever been before.
If you want to win the Republican nomination for president you will take a
big step in that direction if you can win over the Koch brothers. And more
specifically their vast network of big money donors. In three would-be
Republican contenders are all speaking tonight on the same stage to an
exclusive private gathering of rich conservatives organized by the Koch
brothers in Palm Springs. This is the annual winter meeting of the group
that oversees the many conservative groups backed by Charles and David
Koch. This is being called the Koch primary. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco
Rubio, they will all be in Palm Springs tonight. This is a very secretive
event. When it was held last year, it took months for the press to find
out that it even happened. And this year, media still are not allowed
inside, although the group is providing a life feed of the forum with the
candidates that`s going to be held tonight, and they have allowed one
journalist, ABC`s Jonathan Karl into the gatherings so that he can moderate
that panel. And last night Charles Koch actually addressed the conference
and according to Politico, he said "Americans have taken an important step
in slowing down the march towards collectivism." That was an apparent
reference to the November midterm election, and he added, "But as many of
you know we don`t rest on our laurels, we`re already back at work and hard
at it, in fact the work never really ends because the struggle for freedom
So, welcome to the Koch primary. And back at the table, to take us through
this mysterious process, we have MSNBC political analyst David Corn with
Mother Jones, Genevieve Wood from the Heritage Foundation.
So, well, Genevieve, let me just start with you, because I look at the
guests list for this. It`s interesting, you know, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz,
Marco Rubio. Not sure Rubio is even going to run. Ted Cruz, Mr.
Government Shutdown, and, you know, Rand Paul is an interesting character.
But it just raises the question to me, in terms of the ideology, how
important is it to the Kochs to win in 2016?
WOOD: Well, I think it is an interest to many conservatives that they want
to win in 2016. I`m fascinated with the fascination with the Kochs.
Because I mean they are -- yes, they`re a rich family. They have these
gatherings where they invite other people with means to kind of come and
talk politics, invite candidates in, but that happens in forums all over
the country. It was happening in Iowa this weekend. Just ...
KORNACKI: But this forum could be -- this forum could be worth tens of
millions of dollars.
WOOD: Well, it`s money -- there are -- there is a lot of money in the
room. But it`s not just that. These are folks who are also activists, in
a sense they are active in groups, they aren`t people who just show up at
dinner parties and want to give a lot of money for the picture make with
president. They`re active. That matters.
CORN: But the people who come to the Koch brothers retreats, are not the
people who go to CPAC, who are grassroots activists from their local
communities, these are, for lack of a better term, the plutocrats. They
come in, and they are willing to give 10 million, 50 million, whatever may
be, a lot of it goes to dark money groups. And we don`t actually know what
they are funding, and this happens on the left, too. There`s the democracy
lines. And so, they have an outsized influence that is not transparent.
We at Mother Jones have published guest lists of the Koch brothers meetings
in the past and have gotten hands on some transcripts and tapes of sessions
KORNACKI: But what -- so, what kind of ...
WOOD: But a lot of these people do come to CPAC.
CORN: No, a lot of -- these people don`t. These people
WOOD: Some of them do.
CORN: No, some of them, many of them don`t, they`re behind the scenes,
they are getting a lot of money, that we don`t know where it`s going at
all. And so, they are -- and it`s -- as I say, there are some liberal
funders like this as well. But I think overall it perverts the democratic
system, because they have so much influence, and you don`t know who they
are, and what their agendas are. So therefore, I think, penetrating the
veil, which we at Mother Jones and Politico and other people have done for
years, is really important. And I think if the Koch brothers want freedom,
freedom, freedom, freedom, and they should just put their cards on the
table and say how they`re going about trying to get all this freedom they
want and let us know where the money is going and what the interests are,
because you have the candidates that ...
CORN: .. in the end. --
WOOD: The money is going in to a lot of political campaigns, it goes into
political causes, I think most people could guess what they are. They are
right of center type efforts. These are folks who think we ought to have a
more limited government, that government does too much. They think
Obamacare was a bad idea. So, you know, I don`t think their agenda is
secret. That`s why I don`t ...
KORNACKI: Yeah, let me -- but so, OK. Whatever we think of how they go
about doing this, and the exact level of influence here, we are talking
about potentially serious money going to these campaigns. And we saw it in
2012, you have one big donor behind you, you can keep a campaign afloat for
months, you can keep ...
KORNACKI: And people like Santorum afloat. That`s what I think. So, I`m
interested. From a pragmatic standpoint, where are the people at this
meeting are going to come down?
KORNACKI: The most interesting one to me, David, is Mitt Romney not
CORN: Yeah, well, Mitt Romney is not invited, we had the story on Mother
Jones talking about how some key people in the Koch brother network have
said they don`t want Mitt Romney.
CORN: Because I think he`s a loser. They are thinking, they have quotes
out there saying like he`s a crap candidate. They really don`t want to --
and the interesting thing is back in 2012, the Koch brother network, more
or less sat out the primary, they spent that time funding anti-Obama ads,
and efforts, and activists, but they didn`t really get behind any
candidate. This time around, they`re really thinking about trying to seed
the money early for one named candidate. And that could end up being Jeb,
even though he wasn`t there. I don`t think that disqualifies him from
this. I don`t think we make a lot out of who was there and who was not
there. But David Koch has been very, very positive and upbeat on Chris
Christie. He tried to get him in instead of Mitt Romney back in 2012. So,
they`re trying to use their influence earlier than they had in the past.
KORNACKI: And Genevieve, let me just ask you this then: what David is
saying about this sort of the antipathy toward Mitt Romney from the Kochs,
that sort of mirrors what we`ve been seeing from a lot of other voices in
the Republican Party as Mitt Romney has flirted with this run.
KORNACKI: Do you think that this is building to a level that Romney might
reconsider the moves he`s made for 2016?
WOOD: Well, I think he has to. I mean you have to kind of look at the
cards on the table and kind of see if you have a -- winning hands, right?
But I think, again, the fact that you have the variety of folks that you
have speaking at the Koch summit, Rand Paul, is not the exact same thing as
Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, and the fact is -- as you said, they may be
willing to get behind the Jeb Bush at some point. I think it shows the
Kochs and the groups that they support are much like a lot of other
conservatives. They would like to win in 2016. Nobody knows yet who that
person or individual is going to be. But that`s part of what the vetting
process is. That`s why you have people come in and speak.
KORNACKI: Right, no, that makes sense, although I`m not thinking that Ted
Cruz is the one who is going to do it for the Republicans.
Anyway, David and Genevieve, staying put, but still ahead, yesterday`s big
storm moving up the East Coast may have just been a coming attraction for
something even bigger. And warning this one is going to be a blockbuster
storm. Look at that weather map right there. All the details ahead. And
Kevin Johnson, remember him? He plays hail to the chief in a whole new
way, in what might be the best presidential introduction ever. We`ll show
you. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: All right. We`re back with the panel. And Amanda Terkel is
taking a seat here rounding us out at the table, and this is a segment we
like to call "Catching Up." We started a few weeks ago. We are having a
lot of fun with it. What I have here are a bunch of headlines making news,
things people are talking about across America this weekend. Some a little
bit more serious than others. Some a little lighter than others.
But let`s go through them and see what you guys have to say about them.
Here`s a fun one we are going to start with. So, this is Kevin Johnson,
you remember Kevin Johnson used to be point guard with the Phoenix Suns
about 20 years ago. He`s now transitioned into politics. He`s the mayor
of Sacramento, California. He kept the Kings in Sacramento a couple of
years ago. When he was at the White House and he decided to give an MBA-
style introduction to President Obama, and this is what that looked like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR KEVIN JOHNSON (D) SACRAMENTO, CA: He`s even been known to talk a
little hoop and maybe even play a little hoop. So, in honor of that, I
thought I would give him an introduction befitting to a star.
Standing 6`1" ...
JOHNSON: 180 pounds, southpaw from Columbia, University, via Punahou High
School in Honolulu, the point guard of Pennsylvania Avenue, the 44th
president of the United States of America, Barack Obama!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And Jackson also played the music they play for the Chicago
Bulls before the player introduction. So, when you`re president, these are
the kinds of dreams you get to live out.
CORN: You know, I think the interesting thing is, I think Obama has a
pretty high cool quotient. We`ve seen is as a candidate, we`ve seen in the
White House and at events like this. And I wonder if the next, you know,
candidates, the next president has to sort of find a way to match that.
Hillary will have problems doing that, obviously, as will Jeb Bush. So, I
don`t know if the next president will be as cool. But George W. had a cool
-- he had a cool quotient, and Bill Clinton was the first you know, the
first cool president since Jack Kennedy. So, I don`t know what`s going to
KORNACKI: I guess -- yeah, the difference, I think with -- in terms of the
cool, the difference with Obama is, he never really had those visible
idiosyncrasies that were so easy to parody and -- you know, George W. Bush
would mangle the language. To be this awkward moments, or whatever.
And Obama is just -- yeah, he plays it very cool in ...
WOOD: But who wouldn`t want that kind of introduction? That sounds great.
WOOD: It sounds like the lights -- you know, flashing around.
KORNACKI: It`s not there. See, that`s we have here. This is a headline
from "The Hill" newspaper, Obama/Clinton tensions build over e-mail lists
ahead of 2016. Apparently Hillary Clinton`s camp wants the Obama e-mail
list. Millions of supporters and donors listed there. Some Obama backers
say it`s made up of people with personal loyalties to the president.
Compromise could include Obama`s sending emails linking to Hillary site.
My question is, these e-mails you get, we all get 26,000 of these a day.
That trick where it makes it look like it`s coming from Barack Obama or Joe
Biden, or whatever, people figured it out six years ago.
KORNACKI: I don`t know.
CORN: You ...
KORNACKI: Sorry, David. Sorry -- to breaking this. No Santa Claus
KORNACKI: So, but I don`t know. Is this -- we`re going to have a lot of
stories like this, I think, as the Democratic Party sort of becomes
Hillary`s over the next two years and these two old factions have to
TERKEL: Well, that he`s been building for a while, because Obama has
always had sort of his own structure, when many people would have liked to
have seen it go through the DNC and the Democratic establishment more.
Recognizing that what is going to happen when Obama leaves office. This
huge Democratic machine, this tech infrastructure. What`s going to happen
when there`s no more Obama? And that`s been concerning people for a while.
I think there will be a lot of Democrats upset if Obama doesn`t help out
Hillary or whoever it is?
WOOD: Yeah, this will be a real test on whether or not he really wants her
to win in these primaries.
KORNACKI: Right. And I bet, you are a president, you want your party to
CORN: I don`t think there`s any questions, though, that he wants her to
win or any Democrat. The State of the Union speech, he`s talking about
what he wants to see over the next 15 years.
CORN: So, he is looking at ...
TERKEL: He`s going to get what ...
KORNACKI: Here`s another one -- this is from NBC-San Diego.com, a
California law making it harder to skip vaccinations. New data shows that
fewer California parents opted out of vaccinations for their kids last
year. Following the enactment of a new state law. There`s, of course,
that measles outbreak that started in Disneyland that last month that has
hit 78 people, it may be a wakeup call for people in California, maybe
people outside California as well about, you know, who`s -- not that --
it`s smart to get vaccinations.
WOOD: There are people who can`t get vaccinated for house reasons. There
are children who are too young. If you don`t vaccinate your kid, it`s not
just severe affect. You know, as we tell with Disneyland ...
CORN: But this is actually an interesting ideological issue. We were
talking about freedom earlier. You know, do Libertarians, you know, the
people at the Koch brother retreat, where he talks about freedom, you want
the freedom not to vaccinate, I mean, what does it mean for the state to
tell you you must be ...
KORNACKI: Versus the freedom to be (INAUDIBLE)
WOOD: I`m sure that will be a topic at the Koch summit.
WOOD: But, you know, but that`s where libertarians and sometimes as they
work with the rest of civilization. You`re living next door to people, you
are going to school with people. You`ve got ...
KORNACKI: We breathe the same air. And the consequences -- all right,
well, my thanks -- We`ll have more, we`ll get to some of it later in the
show. And we`ll see you later in the show.
And still to come this morning, making sense of the Keystone debate, what`s
going to happen after the president follows through on his veto threat.
North Dakota Senator John Hoeven joins us ahead, and up next, it`s a visit
with many first President Obama`s highly symbolic visit to India. Stay
KORNACKI: In just a few minutes, we are going to dive into one the most
contentious issues in American politics right now, the Keystone pipeline.
Will President Obama approve it? And if so, when? But first, we want to
turn to where the president is right now. He`s in India. He arrived there
this morning for a three day visit meeting this morning with the Indian
Prime Minister in New Delhi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Part of the
reason we are such natural partners, is because we share values as former
colonies. As the two of the largest democracies in the world. As
entrepreneurial nations. As people who believe in the freedom and dignity,
and worth of all individuals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: This is no ordinary trip. There`s an extra significance to this
trip to India for the president. We are going to tell you all about it
with a live report from India. That`s a little bit -- in the show. Stay
with us for that. And still ahead, John Boehner sparking in international
incident with one of our closest allies, and next, we return to Iowa for an
on the ground report -- the two reporters who were there yesterday for that
big Republican panel -- Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R ) WISCONSIN: You`ve seen somebody who`s not only a
Midwestern, like I am, but who is a fellow Harley Davidson rider like I am.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
WALKER: That means she knows how to castrate a hog and she knows how to
ride a hog as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, talking about Iowa`s
new Senator Joni Ernst at yesterday`s Freedom Summit in Iowa where he got a
very strong reception, what many suspect is his debut on the presidential
campaign trail. Governor Chris Christie from New Jersey also there
yesterday. Also got a big reception as he touted his socially conservative
views. And for the firsthand account from two more people who were there
live at the event, yesterday, we go now to Jennifer Jacobs, chief politics
reporter for "The Des Moines Register" and MSNBC political reporter, Benjy
Sarlin. Both braving the cold tonight. I appreciate you both getting up
this morning. So, Benjy, let me start with you. You were in that room
yesterday, we played that clip -- a clip from Ted Cruz that went over very
well. But overall, all of those candidates who were in there yesterday,
who connected the best with that room?
BENJY SARLIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was a pretty clear
consensus on this one. Scott Walker really impressed a lot of people. He
was one of the candidates who intrigued a lot of Republicans heading in,
but he hasn`t had the same amount of attention as a Romney or a Bush. And
he really connected well. He gave an extended retelling of his battles
with public sector unions in Wisconsin, talked about braving these hordes
of protesters during that very high-profile national fight. And in general
he really knocked it out of the park, it was the impression.
KORNACKI: And so, Jennifer, I`m curious, too, about Chris Christie. So,
he went out there. He was sort of the surprise person to appear because,
you know, Jeb Bush wasn`t there. Mitt Romney wasn`t there. He is sort of
the establishment guy who showed up at this event for grassroots
conservatives. He tried to basically make the case, look, I`m as
conservative as you, but I can win in blue states, I can win states
Republicans can`t win. Were they buying that at all?
JENNIFER JACOBS, DES MOINES REGISTER: Yeah. Just the fact that Chris
Christie showed up at all, really telegraphed his commitment to Iowa and
they noticed that. He was -- it was almost like he was trying to say,
look, I`m going to try to come and let you guys get to know me personally.
Possibly he sees a path in Iowa. He was trying to say, you know, I`m going
to let you guys see somebody other than just my YouTube greatest hits. So
-- so, yeah, the Republicans I talked to didn`t say that they`re putting
him in their top three quite yet, but they really gave him points for
KORNACKI: So, he did -- he sort of maybe lay the groundwork a little bit
there. So, Jennifer, I`m also curious about this. And we played the clip
earlier in the show. But Donald Trump shows up as the full Donald,
whatever, but at one point he basically says, look, we don`t need Romney.
He`s lost. And we don`t need another Bush. And the room erupts into
cheers at that line. We don`t need another Bush. Is that indicative of
the attitude that Jeb Bush is going to run into as he goes to Iowa and
starts meeting with conservatives out there. There is that much resistance
JACOBS: Well, this was a really hard right crowd. This was a lot of
constitutional conservatives, a lot of religious conservatives. So, it
does not reflect the entire Republican caucus electorate here in Iowa. But
for that particular crowd, that really showed how they feel about some of
the establishment candidates, they`re just not looking that direction.
KORNACKI: Yeah, it was -- I`ve been curious, because Jeb Bush`s poll
numbers, we`ve been looking at them, and they`ve not been as impressive I
think as some people might have been expecting they would be. Well, Benjy,
let me ask you about this, too. A lot of the talk heading into this event,
obviously is, had to do with Steve King, Steve King will put it together,
Steve King has made some very controversial, very inflammatory comments
about immigrants. And a lot of talk was about the risk that some of these
candidates were taking in associating themselves with him. And then maybe
trying to make immigration pitches of their own? Do you think there was
any damage done to any of these candidates by attending this? Or did they
thread that needle well?
SARLIN: Well, immigration activists are definitely working to make sure
that every Hispanic voter in the country knows exactly who stood with Steve
King and who has avoided him. They are out there in force. They actually
interrupted multiple speeches. And they`re very aggressively trying to tie
candidates to Steve King. Now, on the flip side, King is not going to let
candidates quietly avoid him. In the subtle dig or not so subtle at Mitt
Romney and Jeb Bush who skipped the event, he mentioned that he thought the
future president of the United States was going to be on the stage that
day. So, I talked to Steve King just the other day. He was talking about
how it`s important for him to try to set a general agenda. Because some of
the promises candidates make in this early state of the campaign, they
follow through on all the way through the general election and possibly the
White House. So, he is going to be tough to avoid.
KORNACKI: All right, thanks to Jennifer Jacobs of "The Des Moines
Register," MSNBC`s Benjy Sarlin. I appreciate that.
And coming up next, the battle over the first big bill the new Republicans
for Congress is going to put on President Obama`s desk. They`re going to
do that with little help from Democrats, too. Senator John Hoeven is going
to join us live next.
KORNACKI: The Keystone showdown.
And thanks for staying with us this busy Sunday morning on the president`s
first day in India. The controversial Keystone bill that might be waiting
for him on his desk when he gets home. Senator John Hoeven from North
Dakota is going to be here to talk all about that. Also, this hour, how
House Speaker John Boehner is flirting with a major diplomatic incident
potentially. Also, the Midwest and northeast bracing for another major
winter storm. And the big dis in Boston. I promise you, though, this one
has nothing at all to do with the Patriots. A very different story out of
But we want to begin this morning in India, as we mentioned this as day one
of the president`s historic visit. No sitting president has ever made a
second trip to that country before. Something I believe came up in his
news conference just a little while ago. NBC`s senior White House
correspondent Chris Jansing joins us now live from New Delhi. And Chris,
it`s not that often I get to say, joins us live from New Delhi. But it is
a historic visit. Tell us a little bit about what went on this morning?
CHRIS JANSING, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it`s not that often I get to be on
your show, so banner day all around. But yes, a really important day here.
And it`s been a very busy one. Look, I think it`s worth setting the stage
if you`ll let me for a minute. And you will see how incredibly surprising
it is to be where we are. I mean for almost ten years, Prime Minister Modi
was for persona non grata, he couldn`t get a visa to come into the United
States because he was a regional leader at a time when there were deadly
And then, more recently the United States had arrested an Indian diplomat.
It caused an uproar. And a lot of hard feelings. So, the fact that these
two men have found what is called a close personal chemistry is really
quite remarkable. And we saw it first thing this morning. The president
gets off Air Force One, breaking protocol. The prime minister met him
there. They hugged. They hugged to get later at the press conference, and
issued a joint statement of friendship. I mean the real question and this
is one. It always goes around diplomatic circles, can personal
relationships like this translate into real action? Certainly, the red
carpet was rolled out for the president today. But then at the news
conference we found out that they had actually come to an agreement on a
nuclear power deal.
There are a number of other important things that they`re going to be
discussing going forward, what is terror. I mean there`s a lot of concern
about ISIS. A lot of concern about terrorists who are finding safe haven
in neighboring Pakistan. Also trade. A bunch of American CEOs are here in
India. There is going to be a kind of a joint roundtable. And the
question is how much further can they open up the market here? This is
1.25 billion people who live here. It`s on its trajectory to surpass China
as the most populous country in the world. And obviously, the implications
are huge. We are also waiting for a state dinner that will happen tonight.
And this is just day one of the three-day trip to India. Steve?
KORNACKI: All right, NBC`s Chris Jansing, live in New Delhi, and Chris,
you are welcome on the show any time, by the way. We`d love to have you
whenever you are around. Now ...
JANSIN: Thank you.
KORNACKI: To what might be waiting for President Obama on his desk when he
gets back, the Senate working late into the night on Thursday as
Republicans aggressively moved to push through what they`ve been saying
since November`s election, is their first priority for the new Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JONI ERNST (R ) IOWA: We`re working hard to pass the kind of serious
job creation ideas you deserve. One you`ve probably heard about is the
Keystone Jobs Bill. President Obama will soon have a decision to make.
Will he sign the bill or block good American jobs?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Iowa Senator Joni Ernst talking up the Keystone pipeline project
in her State of the Union response on Tuesday night. President Obama is
vowing to veto the Keystone bill that Republicans, with some Democratic
help, are getting ready to send to him. But his objection is procedural.
The legislation, which stripped him of his power to approve the pipeline
and handed to Congress instead. Obama says he wants to make the final
decision on whether to go ahead with the project.
But when it comes to the project itself, the president remains undecided,
as he has for years now. The president is in a political bind on this
issue. His basis split. Environmentalists are vehemently against
Keystone, but some unions are for it. And it looks like public opinion is
on the side of Keystone as well. The new NBC poll out this week shows that
those surveyed support the pipeline by a 2/1 margin, at the same time,
though, as many people said, they don`t know enough about the issue to have
an opinion. The administration`s own revue of the project is nearing its
final stages. Federal agencies have less than two weeks to submit comments
on the project to Secretary of State John Kerry. So what is the president
going to decide? And when is he finally going to break his silence?
Joining me now, a sponsor of the legislation supporting the pipeline,
Republican Senator John Hoeven from North Dakota. Senator, thanks for
joining us. Welcome to the show.
SEN. JOHN HOEVEN (R ) NORTH DAKOTA: Good to be with you, Steve.
KORNACKI: So, let`s -- let`s sort of game this out a little bit, if we
could. You guys are going to put this on his desk, he says he is going to
veto it. I haven`t see any indication right now that you would get the
two-thirds supermajority you would need to override that veto. Do you
think there`s any prospect of that?
HOEVEN: We`ll see. We`re trying to, you know, work to build bipartisan
support for the bill. But, you know, first order of business is to get it
passed, to see what he does. And if he vetoes it, either try to get the
two-thirds or perhaps attach it to other legislation that he`s willing to
KORNACKI: So, the other leg of this is, as we say, he says this is a
procedural objection on his part, still no decision forthcoming from him on
whether he actually supports the project. You have that review that
supposedly is wrapping up soon. What do you think the prospects are that
the president himself at some point in the next few months says, OK, we`ve
done the review, and I now support the project?
HOEVEN: Well, you know, I`m skeptical that that will happen. It`s been
more than six years that this project has been under review, which is why
we`re advancing legislation. But you raise a very good point. He needs to
make a decision. So he should go forward and make that decision. I think
the evidence, based on all the reports he`s put together, support positive,
affirmative decision. But we`re going to move forward on the congressional
track as well.
KORNACKI: Do you think it`s politics that have been behind his indecision
HOEVEN: Well, it is. I mean you have got special interest groups that are
very opposed to it. As you pointed out earlier, the American public is
strongly supportive of the project.
KORNACKI: Let me ask you about some of the objections to this then.
There`s sort of two tracks on this, one is environmental. One more
economic. Let me start with the environmental. The idea of this big
pipeline that will be running, connecting Canada to Texas right through the
United States. I mean we have seen disastrous oil spill episodes in the
past. We see how devastating they can be ecologically. If there were any
kind of break, any kind of spill, any kind of breach in this pipeline,
there would be pretty significant environmental damage. How does that --
Does that concern you?
HOEVEN: Well, it`s very important we do everything we can to make sure
that these pipelines are safe and that the safety features are built into
them, that there`s response plan if there is any kind of spill, so that
it`s fully remediated. But remember, what`s the alternative? If we don`t
build this vital infrastructure, which is the safest, most cost effective
way to move energy, then we are forced to rely on other methods. For
example, in the environmental impact statement for this project, if the
pipeline is not built, the alternative is 1400 railcars a day on our
already congested rail lines. So, you know, we have got to find the best
way to do it, and then make sure that we build in safety features.
KORNACKI: Another criticism is -- people say, the critics of the pipeline
now proposal at least say that advocates are overstating the economic
impact. You see Joni Ernst there and her responding, this is the Keystone
Jobs Bill. You have the review from the State Department that said there
would be 42,000 jobs that would be supported by construction of the
pipeline. But that basically all of those jobs would disappear within --
after the construction phase, one to two years, leaving just 50 permanent
maintenance jobs on it. So, they`re saying, there`s a very negligible
economic impact there.
HOEVEN: So, remember, the jobs are just one part of the benefit. The
other part is this is vital energy infrastructure that we need to get to
the kind of energy security plan for this country that people want, so that
we don`t continue to rely on oil from the Middle East.
Look at what`s going on in the Middle East. Together with Canada, we can
produce our own energy, and truly become energy secure. And the other
thing is look what`s happening at the pump right now, because we`re
producing so much more energy here in this country, and working with
Canada, prices have come down at the pump, which is saving Americans
billions of dollars. So, it is about energy security as well as job
creation and other benefits.
KORNACKI: And on the job creation fund, the president in the State of the
Union address this week, he talked about -- he says his own infrastructure
plan, his own proposals on infrastructure would create 30 times as many
jobs as we`re talking about with Keystone. Do you have an interest in
supporting additional investment in infrastructure along the lines of what
the president outlined this week?
HOEVEN: We very much want to pass a six-year highway bill. Long-term
highway bill, you know, as soon as we can, this session, this year, we`re
committed to doing that. I think that`s an area where we can get together
and get the job done. We`ve got some ideas on how to do it. But let`s not
preclude or block private investment that can help us get to a secure
energy future at the same time.
KORNACKI: And finally, there was some controversy this week, as the bill
works its way through the Senate, amendments are tacked on. They are voted
on. There was a lot of controversy over climate change. So, Democrats
tried to put an amendment on basically saying that human activity
contributes to climate change. You then offered the amendment of your own,
excuse me, the Democratic one said that human activity significantly
contributes to climate change, you then put one in, it says the same thing
that taking the word "significantly" out. So, just a humane activity
contributes to climate change. Why did you want the word significantly
taken out of that?
HOEVEN: Because look, it was about finding that balance, that will bring
bipartisan support to the bill. That`s what we`re trying to do, is get
something that Republicans and Democrats like and support so we can move
forward. We`ve got to break through the gridlock in the Senate, and
address these important issues for the American people, that`s what we`re
trying to do.
KORNACKI: Do you personally as a senator believe that human activity
significantly contributes to climate change?
HOEVEN: You know, I think the climate is always changing. We acknowledge
that. The issue is how do we address it? Right? And that`s the
difference. We want to develop the technology, implement the new
investments, the technology, the infrastructure. We need to produce more
energy and a more secure -- for more secure energy future. And do it with
the best environmental stewardship possible. So, again, we acknowledge the
climate`s changing. It`s what you do about it. How you approach it.
KORNACKI: All right. Senator John Hoeven, Republican in North Dakota,
really appreciate you taking a few minutes this morning. Thank you.
HOEVEN: Thanks, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. Still ahead, the Dropkick Murphys have a message for
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The latest incidents at one of our
favorite set pieces in politics.
And next, John Boehner diplomat. His risky move inviting the Israeli prime
minister to visit behind the president`s back. All the details are next.
Stay with us.
KORNACKI: In just a little bit we`re going to talk more about President
Obama`s tax plan, whether it has any chance of passing with the Republican-
controlled Congress. But we want to turn now to a different political
dispute. One that could drag on until the spring and should it reach a
boiling point damage the United States relationship with Israel. With huge
ramifications for Iran and its nuclear ambitions as well. It`s also here
at home causing a brand-new and maybe unprecedented fissure between the
president and Republicans in Congress. It began this week the day after
the State of the Union when House Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of congress in
March, but, and here`s the key -- Boehner did this without first consulting
the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R ) OHIO: I don`t believe I`m poking anyone in the eye.
There is a serious threat that exists in the world and the president last
night kind of papered over it. And the fact is that there needs to be as
more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is. From
radical Islamic jihadists and the threat posed by Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The White House promptly declared that President Obama will not
meet with Netanyahu during that U.S. visit, because he doesn`t want to
influence Israel`s elections which will be held two weeks later. This is a
matter of standard protocol when it comes to dealing with international
leaders. But that`s not the only reason behind the snub, according to the
Israeli newspaper Haaretz, President Obama is furious that Netanyahu was
encouraging members of Congress to support new sanctions against Iran.
Sanctions that President has vowed to veto, sanctions he says could prevent
a potential agreement with Iran over its nuclear program.
As we mentioned on yesterday`s show, the newspaper quoted a senior U.S.
official as saying "he spat in our face publicly and that`s no way to
behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a
half left on his presidency and that there will be a price. Meanwhile,
Boehner seems to have his own ulterior motives behind the invitation. When
asked about the president`s decision not to meet with Netanyahu because of
the pending election, Boehner`s spokesman said "Our president rolls out
unconstitutional executive actions on a whim and now he`s concerned about
And that begs the questions, is this whole dispute really about Israel and
Iran or is it about trying to pick a very public fight with the president?
And what is in all of this for Netanyahu? Could this trip really help him
win re-election? Trying to get into all of this, I`m joined once again by
MSNBC political analyst David Corn, "The Huffington Post`s" Amanda Terkel
and also joined by New York Times columnist and former foreign
correspondent Roger Cohen.
Roger, thanks for joining us. Let`s -- let me just start with the most
basic question, this idea of Netanyahu, his party will be facing election
in Israel. The timing on this would be close to the elections. Is this
the kind of thing, speaking to a joint session of Congress back in Israel,
that would boost a prime minister`s popularity?
ROGER COHEN, "NEW YORK TIMES" COLUMNIST: I don`t think so. I think he`s
made a fundamental miscalculation, which reflects to certain degree of
desperation over this election. It`s a very close-run election. Netanyahu
has been in power for nine years on and off. There`s a shelf life in any
democracy for a leader. And there`s an incredible challenge from Isaac
Herzog, the head of the Labor Party. But to come to the United States for
an Israeli leader and not meet with the U.S. president, I think a lot of
Israelis are going to be shaking their heads and saying, this is
provocative. Why is he doing it?
KORNACKI: There`s -- I guess there`s a law in history to here, between
tension -- between the Obama White House and Netanyahu, they`ve not been
COHEN: Not at all. It`s a near toxic relationship. The president has
been irritated in the past by Prime Minister Netanyahu, but never before, I
think, has Netanyahu who insulted the president in this way. I think it is
an insult to arrange a trip to the United States without consulting the
White House, given the degree of support over the years that President
Obama has given to Israel. He`s been a strong supporter of Israel. I
think this is gratuitous, and it smacks to me of misjudgment.
KORNACKI: And in terms of the domestic side of this, John Boehner making
this invitation, the White House not knowing, what do you make of that?
COHEN: Well, it`s -- it`s -- you know, to be rhetorical, it`s like near
traders. I mean here is the president trying to negotiate a very tough
deal that`s hard to reach with Iran. In order so that, you know, we may
not go to war with Iran or Israel doesn`t have to bomb Iran to prevent any
nuclear ambitions from going too far. And in the middle of all that
Boehner and Republicans and a few Democrats -- Senator Menendez and others
are out there saying, we`re going to try to throw a monkey wrench into the
works here, and trying to get in the way, rather than what this sort of
play out, even though there`s been some, you know, small but encouraging
signs of progress.
And here in America, part of the defining line in politics for last six
years has been, you know, Obama, do you hate him or do you like him? And
the Republicans have been very obstructionist and very oppositional and
they defined their party more or less by being anti-Obama. And here comes
the prime minister of Israel, and he`s picking a side in this by joining
with Boehner in this very public, you know, stunt. So, I think it`s, you
know, it`s bad all the way around.
KORNACKI: I want to play Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House
weighing in on all of this. She had some critical comments. Let`s play
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI: So, when the speaker did this, is anything a surprise around
here? No. It`s hubris to say, you know, I rule, I`ll decide. And without
any sensitivity to the fact that an election is taking two weeks -- within
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And what`s interesting here is typically when it comes to the
United States and Israel, Congress generally speaks with one voice. You
don`t see Nancy Pelosi saying one thing, and John Boehner saying something
else. That`s why we said at the beginning, a fissure we maybe haven`t seen
before. I can`t remember seeing something like this.
TERKEL: Right. That`s why this is creating a bit of a mess for
U.S./Israeli relations. And that`s why the Israeli public may not actually
look on this that kindly. I mean, sure, President Obama has only a year
and a half left in office, but there`s no guarantee that Republicans will
be in power in Congress, even or in the presidency in 2016. So, if
Netanyahu is re-elected, what is this doing to the relationship with
Democrats who could be in control? I mean, you know, this -- this doesn`t
-- if I -- I were -- you know, I`m obviously not living in Israel, but, you
know, this is the first time that the doors of the White House will be
closed to the Israeli prime minister. And that, you know, that is a bit of
a slap in the face, and that I think, does reflect hubris on the part of
Boehner and now Netanyahu.
CORN: When Netanyahu is doing is I think it`s very dangerous to do this,
very risky. Israel depends on the support largely of American Jews. And
the American Jewish organizations have tended to support Israel and his
party. But most American Jews are Democrats and they tend to be liberal.
He`s now siding with the forces that are trying to embarrass and obstruct
Barack Obama. So this is very dangerous in terms of Israel maintaining its
support in its best community here in the United States.
KORNACKI: If Benjamin Netanyahu, if his party were to lose these upcoming
elections, you are saying it`s very close, I imagine some in the White
House would be privately excited about it at this point. How would that
change the trajectory of the next two years?
COHEN: I would say the White House at this point would be privately very
KORNACKI: Maybe publicly?
COHEN: I`m sure behind the scenes it`s trying to do what it can. But it
could make a substantial leader. If you had a new leader, say the Labor
Party leader, Isaac Herzog. He is a true believer in a two-state outcome.
His views I think are closer to the private views at least of President
Obama, so I think that could make a substantial difference.
And on the basic question here, which is Iran, Prime Minister Netanyahu
keeps saying that there has to be complete dismantlement of the nuclear
program in Iran. That`s why he has come into Congress, to make that point
again. But if you say that, you`re really arguing for war, because there`s
not going to be complete dismantlement. You can`t somehow take out the
heads of Iranian scientists the knowledge that has been acquired. What the
president is trying to do is limit this program in a way that`s only
compatible with civilian use of nuclear power in Iran. And he`s been very
serious about that. He`s been very serious about the threat from Iran. So
for Prime Minister Netanyahu to just dismiss what the president is doing,
as encouraging Iran to become a nuclear power, I think is extraordinary.
KORNACKI: One more headline, we just want to make sure to share with you,
this is the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren,
now a politician in Israel, but he came out just yesterday and said
Netanyahu should cancel that speech in March. Is there any chance that
happens and Netanyahu cancels the speech?
CORN: I think if he`s up for election, I`d defer to you. To do that now
would make him look really bad.
CORN: He has tied himself to the Republicans and John Boehner who are
trying to obstruct this deal, which is aimed at preventing war against
KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to Roger Cohen of the "New York Times."
Still ahead, the very mixed views in Boston about being an Olympic host.
Remember when cities used to get really excited about that? What opponents
and the mayor are trying to do about it. Meanwhile, three other cities are
still eagerly vying for the Democratic National Convention, with news of a
big change to the presidential election calendar. We`ll have those details
for you. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: We`re back with our panel, David Corn of "Mother Jones," the
Huffington Post`s Amanda Terkel back with us as well, Genevieve Wood of the
Heritage Foundation. So we were doing this a little bit earlier in the
show, we`ll do this again now. This is our catching up segment again. A
lot of headlines people are talking about all across the country, all
across the world in some cases this weekend. Some fun, some deathly
serious. Let`s get to them and see what you have to say about them.
Here`s a fun one, I think. The Dropkick Murphys, a Boston-based band, they
ordered Scott Walker to stop using their music. They sent him a message,
quote, "we literally hate you." They tweeted this latest rebuke of Scott
Walker yesterday as he entered the stage to one of their songs at the Iowa
Freedom Summit. Dropkick Murphys are strong union supporters, and Walker
of course successfully slashed collective bargaining in Wisconsin in 2011.
I feel this is a story that in some form or another, we get every campaign.
CORN: Tom Petty went after John McCain. Every election--
WOOD: It`s almost always after the Republicans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
KORNACKI: -- "Born in the USA," Springsteen didn`t like that.
TERKEL: The Dropkick Murphys have done this before with Wisconsin
politicians. I forgot, some Wisconsin state lawmaker, they said it`s like
a white supremacist coming out to gangsta rap.
CORN: And I remember when Pat Buchanan was running for president and he
was using "Start me Up" by the Stones. Which has some very racy lyrics in
it, that I won`t repeat, and everybody was going, yeah, yeah. I was like,
are you listening to these words?
KORNACKI: "Born in the USA" became this patriotic (inaudible), and the
Reagan campaign adopted it. If you actually listen to it, that`s not the
America you`re talking about.
What else do we have? Here is one from the "LA Times," 2016 Democratic
convention to be held right after the GOP gathering. So the dates are set
now. Democrats are going to go late July, July 25th. Republicans a week
earlier. This is the trend for years had been to go later and later. They
were in September. Now they`re coming back to July, but of course we know
the Republican convention will be in Cleveland. We still don`t know if the
Democrats will be in Brooklyn, Philadelphia or Columbus. Anyone want to
make a wager on where it ends up here? I think it`s going to go to
TERKEL: I think Brooklyn.
CORN: Brooklyn? I`m thinking Philadelphia, though. I feel bad for
Columbus, because I don`t think anyone thinks it`s going to be in Columbus.
They moved things up, I think, because of the money.
KORNACKI: Right. They get access to the matching funds much earlier.
WOOD: And they`re getting more boring as conventions. I mean, they are
just not what they used to be. So let`s have them earlier. We can get the
good stuff out and then move on.
CORN: You don`t think Clint Eastwood was fascinating?
KORNACKI: Definitely fascinating.
WOOD: What were you watching?
CORN: What was he thinking?
WOOD: Good question.
KORNACKI: Well, he came back to get his movie nominated for an Oscar.
Didn`t ruin that career.
What else do we have here? This is American officials meet with Cuban
dissidents. This is the highest ranking U.S. diplomatic official to visit
Cuba in almost 40 years. They met on Friday with seven leading dissidents
in Cuba. Cuban leadership criticizing the meeting saying the dissidents
were quote, "not legitimate Cuban civil society," but this is interesting.
You open up relations a bit, you get top American officials can meet with
political dissidents in Cuba now.
CORN: This is great. This is absolutely great. That`s what they promised
to do. I`ve met in years past bloggers and writers down there who had been
imprisoned and harassed. And that`s a gigantic problem. I think they`ll
have trouble keeping the lid on the more things open up.
WOOD: I hope David Corn is right. I don`t know that he`ll be right. But
I hope he is.
KORNACKI: We`ll see how the Cuban leadership responds if there`s more
meetings like this.
TERKEL: I think this is great too, because there were some people who were
critical of what Obama did, saying that now America may be nicer to the
Cuban regime. But I think this is a strong stand by them.
KORNACKI: The first gesture is it`s not the regime we`re talking to, it`s
We got time for one more. What have we got? Oh, boy. Nbcsports.com,
Coach K goes for his 1,000TH career win today against St. John`s. Duke
coach Mike Krzyzewski could become the first ever NCAA men`s coach to win
1,000 games. They play St. John`s in Madison Square Garden at 2:00 p.m.
It`s an incredible career, and everything, but I do note everybody out
there just loves to hate Duke. Self included.
CORN: One piece of advice, make sure the ball is inflated properly.
KORNACKI: On that note, I`ll wrap up catching up. My thanks to this
morning`s panel, Genevieve Wood of the Heritage Foundation, David Corn and
Still ahead, a summer Olympics face-off that is already underway, and
President Obama made big proposals for the economy, but do they amount to
anything? Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz is here to tell us,
that is next.
KORNACKI: President Obama did something this week that he`s been wanting
to do for a long time and he did it forcefully. He declared that the
American economy has recovered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It has been and still is a hard time for many. But tonight we turn
the page. Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is
growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So in his State of the Union address, the president laid out a
new and ambitious agenda. He called for infrastructure investment, for
putting federal money back into medical research, and for major revisions
to the tax code.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Let`s close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the
top 1 percent to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth. We can
use that money to help more families pay for child care and send their kids
to college. We need a tax code that truly helps working Americans trying
to get a leg up in the new economy, and we can achieve that together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And you can probably tell from the look on John Boehner`s face
that this proposal is dead on arrival in the Republican controlled
Congress. This is a battle that has been going on for years. Democrats
and Republicans fighting over who should shoulder the burden of taxes.
President Obama is fighting the fight anyway. Here to discuss the
president`s message this week, Nobel Prize winning economist, Columbia
University professor, and senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, Joseph
Stiglitz. Thanks for joining me here.
Let me just ask you about the president`s declaration of economic recovery.
Obviously that`s a political message he`s been wanting to send for a while.
Is that accurate?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ, ECONOMIST: I guess I`m saying it`s half accurate. We`re
clearly so much better than we were when President Obama took over from
President Bush. We created in the last 52 months something like 11 million
jobs. I don`t know if you remember during the Clinton administration, the
big cheer was 8 million jobs in four years. We did better than that. This
is really impressive. They`re private sector jobs.
On the other hand, most Americans are not feeling the recovery. And the
president said that. Median income, income in the middle, half above, half
below, is lower than it was a quarter century ago. This was true before
the crisis, and 95 percent of the gains in the first three years of the
KORNACKI: So even people who are part of that 11 million getting new jobs,
they are not necessarily the kind of jobs they want to have, not the pay
they want to have.
STIGLITZ: Exactly, so incomes have really stagnated in the middle. All
the gains in the income have gone to the top 1 percent. 93 percent of the
gains in the first three years of recovery went to the top 1 percent. So
yes, it`s a recovery, but it is an unbalanced recovery.
KORNACKI: So we talk about, the president laid out a tax plan, a tax
proposal in his State of the Union. We talk about Republican Congress,
they were clearly not interested in this. It looks like these proposals,
things like raising the capital gains tax, using that revenue to do some
middle class tax relief. Let`s take for a minute the politics out of it
and just look at the proposal the president laid out. The problem you just
sort of diagnosed in the economy, what the president laid out this week,
would it address that?
STIGLITZ: It would address it. It would move the ball forward. But it`s
not enough. Let me give you an example. One of the things he said that
was really very good was the elimination of this technical provision,
called step-up in basis, which as he said, allowed rich Americans basically
to escape taxes on their capital gains for their life, pass them on to
their children, and then their children only have to pay capital gains from
the time that they inherit it. So, if they sell it right after, no taxes.
Right after they inherit, no taxes are paid.
This is grossly inequitable. Twenty years ago, when I was in the Clinton
administration, I fought to get rid of it. We didn`t succeed. Take
another provision. He talked about raising the capital gains tax. The
question is why should speculators on land, for instance, pay lower taxes
than somebody who works for a living? So he`s proposed raising it, but not
raising it to the same level as those facing workers. To me, I can`t see
any reason why you shouldn`t be taxing those capital gains at least as
much. After all, if you tax land more, is the land going to go away? You
know, same thing with oil. It`s not like economists are saying there`s no
supply elasticity. So there is no economic benefit from this low tax
KORNACKI: Let`s bring the politics back into it now, because you said
something, you wrote that our stupid politics are holding back the American
economy and the world economy. What do you mean by that?
STIGLITZ: One of the reasons the economy has been so sick, so weak, is
that the typical American doesn`t have the spending power. I mentioned
that income in the middle is lower than it was a quarter century ago. If
they don`t have income and they face a lot of insecurity, and the president
emphasized the role of insecurity, they won`t be spending. If they`re not
spending, firms won`t be investing. So we`ll get a weaker economy than we
otherwise would have. If we had the kind of aggressive policies to create
a shared prosperity, it would both create a fairer society and it would
create more prosperity.
KORNACKI: Do you have any optimism with the dynamic now, strongest
Republican presence in Congress we`ve seen in a while, Democratic White
House, do you have any optimism for the next two years?
STIGLITZ: No, I don`t. There`s so many other things we could do to
stimulate the economy. For instance, if we tax pollution, it would induce
firms to invest more to counter -- to reduce the pollution, to reduce the
carbon emissions. That`s something where you get two for one. You get tax
revenue, you induce firms to create a more environmentally sound economy,
and at the same time you get more economic growth. Because they`re going
to be investing, that is going to be creating jobs, actually you get three
for one in a current situation where we have underemployment.
KORNACKI: All right. Joseph Stiglitz, interesting ideas, but also the
reality of politics can be depressing I think for everybody. Thank you for
joining us. We really appreciate that.
STIGLITZ: Thank you.
KORNACKI: Still ahead, we`ll talk to one proud Bostonian who is fighting
to keep the Olympics out of his city. And next, more Boston as Bostonians
are gearing up for another fight, this one with Mother Nature. A look at
why they are calling this a blockbuster winter storm in the east. Just
look at that graph there. We`ll talk about that in a minute.
KORNACKI: The nor`easter that just tore up the East Coast may be nothing
compared to the winter storm that is brewing now. It`s a storm that could
dump a foot of snow or more on the East Coast. Janel Klein from the
Weather Channel joins us live from Chicago, where that storm is now. You
can see it kicking off there. Janel, what are they expecting there, what
can we expect everywhere today?
JANEL KLEIN, THE WEATHER CHANNEL: It will really hit hard here, Steve.
Worst on the East Coast than it is here. But we are starting to see the
first signs of this big storm here in Chicago. Just a few hours ago, it
was absolutely calm. Temperatures in the mid-30s. And just in the last
couple of hours, we have really seen this storm pick up. Temperatures now
dropping throughout the day. We`ll see temperatures here in the upper
teens. And wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour. Only about an inch of snow
here in the Chicago area, maybe a little bit more south of the city. But
the bigger story is that this storm will start now to move east, and as you
said, really kick off what could be a major storm in the northeast and in
New England by tomorrow. We are going to see this system move through
Columbus, through Pittsburgh, and then by tomorrow morning start to see
states along the coast really get hit. We`ll see a foot of snow in many
places, and wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour in places. So, this
really will be a significant storm. The meteorologists here at the Weather
Channel calling this a crippling storm. So, people on the East Coast
encouraged to get supplies and be prepared for what could be a very
difficult day tomorrow.
KORNACKI: All right. Janel Klein, thank you very much. Look out, New
England. Looking at that weather map, they`ll get hit hard.
Up next, people from my home state who are asking themselves, why in the
world would anyone want to host the Olympics? Even though they may have
the chance to do it themselves. We`re going to wade into that, why people
are not as excited maybe about hosting the Olympics as they used to be.
That`s the other side of the break.
KORNACKI: The city of Boston, Massachusetts was chosen earlier this month
by the U.S. Olympic Committee to compete to host the 2024 summer Olympic
games. But resistance to Boston`s bid is brewing among Bostonians
themselves. In recent years, cities hosting the games have faced billions
of dollars in cost overruns, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. They
rarely ever turn a profit for the host city. London spent more than $15
billion on the games in 2012. Sochi shelled out as much as $51 billion
just two years later. Promises of tourism and economic development haven`t
always lived up to the hype. London and Beijing actually saw tourism
decline during the month they hosted the Olympics. A new poll out from
Boston`s WBUR found just 51 percent of those city residents surveyed
support the city`s Olympic bid. A whopping 75 percent want to see the
issue on the ballot. A ballot initiative or -- could come as early as
November. Boston`s Democratic mayor, Marty Walsh, said Tuesday he will not
stand in the way of a vote. Boston`s mayor is facing growing resistance
from many of his constituents. Many Bostonians are saying not in my
Here to talk about this we have Andy Zimbalist. He is a professor of
economics at Smith College. He is author of the book "Circus Maximus: The
Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup." And
Christopher Dempsey is a co-chair with the group No Boston Olympics.
Chris, let me just start with you. I am from Massachusetts originally. I
saw the news Boston got to represent the United States in this bid. I was
excited. I was imagining the whole world`s eyes being on Boston, that
would be great for the city. Why don`t you want that?
CHRISTOPHER DEMPSEY, CO-CHAIR, NO BOSTON OLYMPICS: Look, Steve, the polls
show that fewer than half of people in greater Boston are excited about the
games coming to town. And I think people here understand that
Massachusetts needs to think big, but it also needs to think smart. When
you look at the experience of prior host cities, it hasn`t left them with
good outcomes. People here want their civic leaders focused on education
and health care and improving their day-to-day lives in Massachusetts, not
on a three-week event that`s ten years away and really benefits others, not
the people that live here.
KORNACKI: So, Andy, you`ve looked at this and we put some of the
statistics up there in the opening about the money that goes into putting
these things on. In terms of the return, are there benefits? There has to
be some benefits for cities from hosting these.
ANDREW ZIMBALIST, SMITH COLLEGE: I think the main benefit is there`s a
feel good benefit that lasts for 17 days and maybe trickles on for a couple
of weeks after that. But the economic benefits have not been forthcoming.
There`s very little evidence, especially since 1984 in Los Angeles and 1992
in Barcelona, very little evidence that you get increases in tourism in the
short run or in the long run, or that you get increases in trade or that
you get increases in foreign investment.
There`s a lot of hype about that. The proponents always claim that it`s
going to happen, but the empirical evidence isn`t there.
KORNACKI: Do we know why that is? You have -- it`s such a great
opportunity to market a city. You have people looking at all of your great
landmarks, people raving about how it is. Do we know why it doesn`t
ZIMBALIST: So I think most of the people who are able, because of their
income level and their knowledge level, able and interested in traveling to
Boston, already know about Boston. They don`t need to see Olympic events
in order to say, oh, let`s travel to Boston. Businesses aren`t going to
invest in a city just because they hosted the Olympics, that doesn`t make
sense, or to begin trading with the city just because the city hosted the
Olympics. And it`s also possible that the optics would be bad. It`s
possible that there would be terrorism, it`s possible that the weather
would be very hot and very humid. It`s possible that there will be lots of
news about congestion on the streets. Not necessarily good news is going
to come out of it. But again, the econometric studies looking back decades
just don`t show an economic kick from it.
KORNACKI: Chris, are you guys in trying to fight this thing, trying to put
-- I understand this referendum, whether it passes or not, just the fact of
it being approved could potentially derail Boston`s bid if that were to
happen. Are you getting heat from civic leaders, from political leaders,
trying to get you guys to back off a little bit?
DEMPSEY: Look, Steve, our goal has always been to provide a voice to
people in Massachusetts that have real concerns about these games, so we`re
looking at a citywide ballot initiative, a statewide ballot initiative,
some sort of action in the legislature, or even direct lobbying to the IOC
members to let them know that there are very mixed feelings about hosting
the games here.
KORNACKI: What are you hearing from the leaders of the city? The people
who have been pushing for this? What are they telling you?
DEMPSEY: The boosters behind the games have made a lot of promises and
they have talked a lot about the benefits. They haven`t talked very much
about the costs. And it`s our goal to really tell both sides of the story
and make sure that all of the facts are on the table. We think if the
people of Massachusetts have that information in front of them, they`re
going to side with us.
KORNACKI: So, Andy, you say you look at all that empirical evidence that
you put out there. I guess the question is are cities getting wise to
this? When you look at the bidding process now, are we seeing fewer cities
that actually put bids in right now? Are there cities that maybe 20 years
ago would have just assumed this is an automatic home run, saying, you know
what, maybe not worth the trouble?
ZIMBALIST: It`s been a very large problem for the last five, or five,
maybe eight years. The IOC has seen decreasing numbers of cities wanting
to bid. So for the 2022 winter Olympics, there are three cities that
pulled out in the last year, and they only have left to choose between
Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing in China. And Thomas Bach, the new head of
the IOC, has started a campaign. He started it back when he came into
office, at the end of 2013, started a campaign to induce cities to bid. So
they`re making a lot of noise about changing the requirements and loosening
the requirements and being more sympathetic to the city`s needs. But as
far as I can tell, there hasn`t been any real substantive change, and Bach
has been successful though for this 2024 bid, because he`s got Paris
interested, he`s got Rome interested, he`s got either Berlin or Hamburg,
and Johannesburg and Melbourne interested, and Doha. So it seems like
right now, the PR that`s coming out of the IOC, the International Olympic
Committee, has changed the dynamic a bit.
KORNACKI: Chris, just quickly, if you are not successful in stopping this
and Boston gets the games, imagine opening night, imagine the opening
ceremony, I don`t know where it would be, Fenway Park, something like that,
you would feel a burst of civic pride at that moment, wouldn`t you?
DEMPSEY: Absolutely. I`m a proud Bostonian. All of us with No Boston
Olympics are. We would have a lot of fun during the three weeks of the
Olympics. Our issue is with the nine years leading up to it and then with
the debt you`re left with after the games. Is it really worth the price.
KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to Andy Zimbalist from Smith College and
Christopher Dempsey, part of the group No Boston Olympics. That brings us
to the end of the show. Thanks for joining us today. We`ll be back next
weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time.
And coming up later today, "Taking the Hill" with Patrick Murphy, that is
on MSNBC at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. Don`t miss that, but first, of course
up next, Melissa Harris-Perry. She`ll be here in one second.
Have a great week.
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