'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, January 31st, 2015
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: January 31, 2015
Guest: Dan Balz, Katie Packer Gage, Sam Stein, Jamelle Bouie, Blake Zeff,
Matt Viser, Mark Leibovich, Rosa DeLauro, Charles Grodin
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, "UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI": Mitt shakes up the
All right. And good morning. Thanks for getting UP with this Saturday
morning. The Saturday before super Sunday. It`s a big weekend everywhere
in America. In the headlines this morning, of course, Mitt Romney makes a
big decision about whether he`ll run again for president. And he`s shaking
up the rest of the field in the process. We`ll start looking at the
fallout from that big announcement he made in just a moment. Also, the
countdown continues, as we said to tomorrow`s big game. One of the top
political reporters in the business Mark Leibovich is going to be here to
share what he learned in a season of hanging out behind the scenes with Tom
Brady. It`s an amazing profile to read it online. Read it on The New York
Times magazine. Tomorrow, we`re very excited that Mark Leibovich is going
to be here to tell us what it`s like behind the scenes with Tom Brady.
It`s an amazing stuff in there.
And also, President Obama gets ready to deliver on one of his State of the
Union promises or at least try to. We begin though this morning with this,
the first casualty of the 2016 race for president was three weeks after
shocking the political world with his very idea that he was seriously
considering a third presidential campaign. Mitt Romney yesterday raised
the white flag in a confidence call to supporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: After putting thought in
making the run for president, I decided it`s best to give other leaders in
the party the opportunity to become our next nominee. I am convinced that
we could win the nomination, but I fully realize it would have been a
difficult test and a hard fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Romney also told the supporters that he believed he could win
the general election to but that he ultimately concluded that it was time
for a new blood in what many say was a pretty direct swipe at Jeb Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I believe that one of the next generations of republican leaders,
one not as well-known as I am today. One who is not yet taking a message
from the country, one just getting started, may well be better able to
defeat the democratic nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And Jeb Bush is almost 62-years-old. So, it`s safe to say he`s
probably not part of the next generation of leaders that Romney is talking
about there, and there`s a long reported history of ill-will between Jeb
Bush and Mitt Romney, too. For instance, when Romney was fighting for his
political life in the Florida primary back in 2012, he appealed to bush,
the state`s former governor for help, but Bush stayed on the sidelines.
When Romney lost the 2012 to Barack Obama, Bush was very public and candid
in his criticism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What was wrong with Romney`s message?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It was not a -- an open message. It was one that for a
guy as good as he could have been as president. I think he got off in the
primary, got off to, you know, to a wrong start and never really recovered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: In private conversations, Romney has reportedly been highly
critical of Bush`s political skills and his chances of winning in 2016.
But Bush apparently has won this battle of will. His battle of wallets
moving aggressively to rake in big money to top GOP donors, his goal is to
make an overwhelming show of force. And he`s been making serious end roads
into Romney`s camp. Most recently this week when Romney`s top political
lieutenant in Iowa defected to Bush`s team. Dave Castro is now expected to
become Jeb Bush`s campaign manager. So Bush is behind the scenes pressure
campaign appears to have sped up Romney`s timetable and forced him to make
a final decision now. And his decision is to walk away. So who does that
decision help? Well, Bush, obviously, Romney`s absence an awful lot of big
dollar donors are now up for grabs. Bush has a chance to reel in a lot of
them. It`s also though Bush for Chris Christie.
Christie by the way had a long scheduled dinner with Romney last night.
Christie was in danger of being squeezed out if both Romney and Bush had
run. But how he also has a better chance to build a serious campaign
organization. NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell spoke with Christie`s top political
fundraiser Ray Washburn who says they are already taking calls from Romney
supporters who are on the fence in their effort to raise a reported $100
million. It`s a boom for Scott Walker as well. The Wisconsin governor who
is pitching himself as a Washington outsider and a fresh face in national
politics. Now it`s going to be easier for him to get attention and to
raise money. And there`s also the question going forward of what role Mitt
Romney is going to play now.
The Daily News captured him and his wife Ann leaving Manhattan`s Harvard
club yesterday after a charity lunch with Chelsea Clinton, daughter of his
would have been rival. Will Romney stay above the political fray and be an
elder statesman in the GOP? Or will he get involved in the 2016 race
throwing his support behind one of these candidates. If he goes that
route, remember, as we said, there`s no love lost between him and Jeb Bush
So, here to talk about everything that happened yesterday, what it all
means going forward, we have Katie Packer Gage. She`s a republican
consultant, who worked on the Romney 2012 campaign. She is here with us.
Dan Balz, chief correspondent at "The Washington Post," he joins us. And
MSNBC`s Kasie Hunt is in London. She`s there ahead of Chris Christie`s
visit to that country. And New Jersey governor visiting England to a three
day trip that starts tomorrow.
So, I thank all of you for getting UP early and joining us. And Dan Balz,
let me start with you. You and your paper had a very interesting, I guess
they call these stories the tick-tok when you went through. Exactly, what
sort of played out in Mitt Romney`s decision making process? You write
that he basically have settled on a no answer a week ago and then waited a
few days to sort of see how that felt. I wonder if in this process over
the last month or so. Was there ever a point where Mitt Romney was at yes?
DAN BALZ, THE WASHINGTON POST CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think he was
awfully close to yes for a part of that period in part because everything
he looked at told him that he was in as good of shape as anybody else
during the nomination and to go on to challenge in the general election.
Not that he had an easy path. But every time I talked to people close to
Governor Romney over the last several weeks. Their question back to me
was, who has an easier path through the nomination? And so, I think he
felt that that was the case. And he was in a pretty strong position. But
as they went through this, one of the things he realized, and as the
incoming began to hit him over the last three weeks, as you know, there was
a tremendous amount of criticism from both, you know, opponents and some
allies about the idea that he was going to get in again, he began to
realize how he would look by time he went through the process. And I think
when he began to realize how beat up he would be after a long, difficult
primary contest, he thought he probably wouldn`t be in as good a shape to
take on presumably Hillary Clinton in the general election.
KORNACKI: Kasie Hunt, the other sort of angle on this I think, too, is
that relationship, and we got into it a little bit there in the intro, that
relationship between Jeb Bush, specifically, and Mitt Romney. And there`s
quite a history there. It can really go back to the 2008 campaign. These
two guys really don`t -- that fond of the each other. And I know certainly
as I`ve talked to Romney people felt, who sort of resented the way that Jeb
Bush treated them in the 2012 primary down in Florida. A must-win primary
for Mitt Romney. The time they got no help from Jeb Bush. How much of
this was Mitt Romney, a guy who always wants to be president, looking at
Jeb Bush make these moves over the last few months, sort of come out of
nowhere, makes this move, get all this talk that he`s suddenly going to be
the unifying candidate, and Mitt Romney sort of looks around and says, why
does it have to be him? Why can`t it be me? How much of that was an
element in this?
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it played a significant
role in the sort of build-up to this. Right? I mean, if you think about
it. In many ways, Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are not that dissimilar.
They`re both former governors who went onto careers in business. I think,
you know, the people that I spoke to who were familiar with Romney`s
thinking said, you know, he didn`t quite realize what he was going to go
through with the career that he had, having been associated with Lehman
Brothers and later Barclays. And I think that there was a lot of bad blood
left over from the way that lack of endorsement in the Florida primary in
2012 went down. And I think in particular, Ann Romney is somebody who
remember that and held on to it and it`s hard to overstate the importance
of sort of her outlook on Romney`s political career as a driving force in
his decision making.
KORNACKI: We can as for the record put this up on the screen. Jeb Bush
did respond yesterday to Mitt Romney`s announcement. He put this up on
twitter, here`s what Jeb Bush said, he said, "Mitt is a patriot and I join
many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over."
Another reaction here from another perspective republican candidate, this
is Scott Walker. The governor of Wisconsin. He said on twitter yesterday,
"Had a great conversation with Mitt Romney. He`s a good man. Thanked him
for his interest in opening the door for a fresh leadership in America."
And as we said, Mitt Romney had dinner last night with Chris Christie. So,
Katie Packer Gage, you know Romney very well. You worked on his campaign.
The role he`s going to play going forward in this republican nominating
process. We say, there`s a history with Jeb Bush, seems like a better
relationship potentially with Christie, maybe Scott Walker bit of a wild --
where do you think Mitt Romney ends up when he looks at this field? Who
does he like in this field, do you think?
KATIE PACKER GAGE, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Well, I would expect that Mitt
is going to be somebody that`s going to be very focused on building the
party and very focused on defeating Hillary Clinton. That`s going to be
his ultimate goal. I don`t think I`d role out that he would potentially
support a candidate, you know, lot of folks will remember that Chris
Christie did come in and support Governor Romney and endorsed him very
early in the process. At a very, very critical time. And certainly, you
know, you remember, you know, people that, you know, played a significant
role. I wouldn`t overstate. You know, issues between him and Governor
Bush, you know, Mitt Romney is not a grudge holder. He`s somebody that`s
going to work to, you know, help whoever the best candidate is.
KORNACKI: But Katie, I mean, I got to interrupt. But that statement
yesterday, that line in the statement about finding a new leader from a new
generation who people don`t know right now and I hope that`s what happens.
I hope that`s what this process produces. That really is a pretty direct
shot at Bush, isn`t it?
GAGE: I think it`s a commentary about his place as opposed to somebody
new. I think that`s the point that he was trying to make. And you know, I
do think that he`s anxious to hear from this next generation of candidates
that we haven`t heard so much from before. Christie and Walker and Marco
Rubio, who again was another person that was very, very helpful to Governor
Romney. So, I think that he`s interested in seeing this process play out
and seeing the voices that emerge. And I think it`s an exciting time for
KORNACKI: Dan Balz, from your article in the "Washington Post" this
morning, again sort of the behind the scenes. At this decision, you write
that Romney`s associates also say that had Bush sought Romney`s advice and
support early on, Romney might never have been stirred to action. Instead,
Bush`s aggressive efforts to recruit donors and former staffers from Romney
spurred on to former Massachusetts governor. Quote, "It was like poking a
bear," one Romney associate said. Is that, how much did that drive Mitt
Romney? That sense of he deserved more respect from Jeb Bush?
BALZ: Well, there`s no question that what Jeb Bush has done over the last
six weeks or so spurred Mitt Romney to take a serious look at this. I
think his hope was that he could hang back for some time. That if the
field didn`t come together in a way that the party would turn to him. What
he was told as Jeb Bush was making some pretty aggressive moves was that if
you want to take any look at this, if you want to have any chance of being
a candidate, you have to move now. But I do think also the notion that in
one way or another Jeb Bush had not sought out Mitt Romney, rankled some
people around the governor. I can`t speak for what the governor`s thoughts
on that were. But certainly people around him felt that if Jeb Bush had
come out to Utah two months ago and sat down and said I want to run. I
really am going to run, which I don`t think the Governor Romney anticipated
originally, I would really like your support, give me your advice. It
might have gone down differently. That`s a big what if. We really don`t
know how we can answer that. But there`s no question that the fact that
Governor Romney moved when he did three weeks ago, was in direct response
to what Jeb Bush was doing.
KORNACKI: And Kasie Hunt, playing this forward now. Mitt Romney, he
didn`t officially 100 percent close the door but I think he basically close
the door yesterday. So, let`s assume Mitt Romney is out of this. Looking
forward now, we say obviously, you know, Jeb Bush, his whole game right now
is to raise a lots of money and maybe intimidate some other candidates out,
get republicans on board. So, a win for Jeb Bush yesterday. You`re out
there. You`ll be covering Chris Christie this week. And it looks like it
gives an opening to Chris Christie, maybe. A lot of talk about Scott
Walker. Where do you see the big benefit in this republican field from
Mitt Romney getting out?
HUNT: So you`re right, Steve. And that this obviously, it almost thrusts
Jeb Bush into a front-runner position. Which we haven`t totally had in
this, you know, emerging 2016 campaign. That`s both a good and potentially
dangerous place to be. Because while it does allow him to sort of line-up
all of those resources that you were talking about. It also makes you the
big target for everybody else. So, we`ll see how that kind of plays out
over the last couple of months. I think you`re right that it also gives an
opening for Chris Christie. I mean, we talked a lot about how he had been
squeezed out by this potential of a Romney/Bush battle that, you know,
which establishment type donors are going to be leftover, which voters are
going to be leftover if he`s going to be fighting for those same type of
independent maybe more moderate republican voters in places like New
Hampshire, suddenly that door is cracked open a little bit wider.
And I think, you know, his trip overseas here, for example. He`s going to
be in London attending a soccer game. Meeting with Prime Minister David
Cameron is going to sort of bring the spotlight to him a little bit. And
then Scott Walker who is also scheduled to make another trips to London,
again kind of burnishing foreign policy credentials and what have you, he`s
another one who, you know, even if you look at the line that Romney had in
his call, he is somebody who really does represent a new face as well that
I think is going to get another look in part because the sort of
establishment lens has widened a little bit with Romney getting out.
KORNACKI: All right. Kasie Hunt in London, you draw the fun assignments
covering this campaign. It`s a heck fun out there. Very interesting place
to be. Anyway, my thanks to --
HUNT: Hey, original soccer game, can`t wait.
KORNACKI: There you go. You have to call it football though. Just keep
that in mind.
HUNT: Football, excuse me.
KORNACKI: My thanks to Katie Packer Gage. Washington Post Dan Balz will
be back with us later in the hour. And thanks to MSNBC`s Kasie Hunt.
More on Mitt`s big decision and the political world`s reaction with our
panel. That`s next. And later, we`ll go live to Arizona where they`re
putting the final touches on the festivities for tomorrow`s big game.
We`ll also find out what makes Tom Brady tick. So, keep it here.
KORNACKI: We`re back discussing the end of Mitt Romney`s three week
rotation with a third presidential bid. And here with me now, we have our
panel, Jamelle Bouie, he`s a staff writer at Slate. MSNBC contributor Sam
Stein, he`s the political editor and White House correspondent with The
Huffington Post. And Blake Zeff, he`s a columnist and politics editor with
We`re going to take a look now at how Mitt Romney`s decision creates a big
hole in the republican field. This is a poll that was released just hours
before Romney made his announcement. And it showed him way ahead of his
potential rivals in the republican field. You can see there Romney at 21.
Huckabee second at 11 tied with Rand Paul. Look at that. Jeb Bush all the
way down in fourth place at 10 percent. Scott Walker starting to move up
to eight percent there. And then look at the very bottom. Chris Christie
clocking in at just four percent.
Look, we can make too much out of early polls and all of that. But I`ve
always thought the early polls in this were a little interesting for two
reasons. One was, we always say name recognition, name recognition. Well,
okay, everybody knows the Romney name and everyone knows the Bush names.
And it`s always been striking to me that the Romney name is been running
two to one ahead of the Bush name. And I think that does tell you
something about the mood of the Republican Party right now. And then in
terms of Romney, I`ve been hearing a lot of people who are saying, you
know, oh, he`s ahead in the polls. Why did he ever get out of the race
right now? Twenty one percent against a field that`s a lot stronger in
2012. There`s a lot of room to fall there. I`m not sure how much room to
rise there as well.
SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTON POST: Always thought 21 would be sort of the
ceiling, not the floor. Right? I mean, everyone who knows that Romney his
name. Obviously, he has a portion of the party that loves him and will be
there for him. But how much room do they have on top of that. I guess I`m
with you on my surprise a little bit with the Bush number. But keep in
mind, his brother left office, incredible proposition with republicans.
And they look back at those years and they think to themselves, wow, were
fiscally irresponsible, we pursued immigration that we shouldn`t have. The
Iraq war, you know, maybe some of them are still in favor. But there was
KORNACKI: Basically big government conservatism as they called it, yes.
STEIN: And you know, Jeb is obviously a different person. But in many
ways he reflects his brother on immigration. And he has the name. And I
think there`s hesitancy when it comes to supporting his candidacy and the
JAMELLE BOUIE, SLATE: I would both say the same that there`s a looking
back to the Bush years and thinking, do we want to do this again? But then
you look at where the republicans actually are position wise. It`s not
that far away from where George W. Bush was. In a lot of ways, the party
has not actually changed that much since the Bush years. And so, I see a
little puzzled by the unwillingness to give Jeb a bit more of a chance.
Because it seems like, you know, if I`m a republican primary voter, say
what you will about George W. Bush, but he won the election twice. And
maybe Jeb won`t be able to do that for us again. And he is good on, you
know, several of these issues that we care about from social conservatism.
This sort of, you know, I think Jeb Bush will eventually sort of like move
away from his immigration and education stuff --
KORNACKI: Although, see, I wonder about that. Because we talk about the
history though between Bush and Romney. And part of the history, the root
of sort of the ill will between them is how Mitt Romney handled immigration
in 2007 as a candidate.
BLAKE ZEFF, SALON POLITICS EDITOR: Yes.
KORNACKI: And Jeb Bush looked that that, looked at Mitt Romney who had
been the sort of moderate pro-immigration reform. Massachusetts governor.
Suddenly, you know, going against John McCain for, you know, illegals and
all these things. And Jeb Bush from all accounts was offended by that, and
that was the source of the friction that`s lasted for five years.
KORNACKI: It makes me wonder, I don`t know if he`s willing to make that
ZEFF: Yes. I mean, look, we`ll certainly find out. One of the other
numbers that I just go back to. You were talking about, how, you know,
household name, Romney at the top of that. Bush at the top of the. The
other one that we didn`t really just mention is Christie. And Christie is
at four percent in that poll. Right? So, that`s pretty high name
recognition. I think people --
STEIN: Household name for like, all the wrong reasons.
ZEFF: Right. That`s my point. Is that we`re talking about everyone knows
him. And he`s at four. That`s not a very good sign.
KORNACKI: I`ve been more bullish on Christie even in the face of the
scandal. But when I look at four, I`m surprised.
STEIN: Yes. But that`s definitely the floor --
ZEFF: That`s the floor. That`s the floor.
STEIN: One thing with Jeb in immigration. You know, you mentioned John
McCain. I`m not so sure Jeb makes that pirouette with the Congress
immigration. Because he looks at John McCain and you can say, listen, I
can win a republican primary while also being in favor with immigration
reform. It`s been done. It wasn`t done that longer.
KORNACKI: Yes. But that was the -- I mean, the John McCain strategy for
2008 was like the ultimate, like triple bank shot or some. I mean, it was
just like, yes, oh by the way the frontrunner was this pro-gay marriage.
Pro-choice New York City mayor who cross dressed occasionally. So, Rudy
Giuliani got into all sorts of trouble. Mitt Romney had problems with the
Mormonism caused issues with the Evangelical right. Huckabee was able to,
you know, I believe that.
STEIN: I honestly think that Jeb`s liability in the primary isn`t so much
immigration reform. It`s his image as sort of this establishment kind of
money guy which if there`s been one main story in the Republican Party with
-- it`s the ascendancy of the coalition that hates that element of the
BOUIE: This is sort of why I think Scott Walker is the one to watch.
Because he sort of covers the basis of a lot of the other candidates. He
doesn`t have Bush`s back baggage. He doesn`t have Christie`s scandals.
And he has backing from sort of this emergent establishment of conservative
billionaires who are definitely interested in having someone in the race
who can win the nomination, he represents their particular race.
KORNACKI: He have this, you know, this is not a very political sciency
thing to ask. Does he have the personality? I remember watching in 2011.
And I`m like, I said, you know, I`m starting to think personality matters
more than I used to think. Because I`m like, he just put people to sleep,
but he made sense on paper for republicans.
BOUIE: You know, Scott Walker, Scott Walker speech in Iowa this past
weekend, it wasn`t like a barnstormer for Midwestern governor, but it was
STEIN: That was such a backhanded compliments.
ZEFF: Yes. But the thing about is, I mean, you know, people, the
conventional wisdom is that Romney leaving means good things for Bush. It
means good things for Christie potentially they`re not sort of an
establishment box. But I think someone like Walker, follow-up on Jamil`s
point. Walker-Rubio, these types. What happens is, for some reason
there`s only a finite amount of ink and discussion page to certain
candidates when you have. It doesn`t make any sense. Because with the
internet you can write about everybody basically without having to pay for
the ink. But there`s this limited attention span in the media and the
establishment. The best example I can give you is in 2008. Joe Biden,
current vice president. Could not get his presidential campaign talked
about at all. Right? If you`re not in that sort of top tier, as Hillary
and Obama. And then John Edwards and sort of a second tier he would get
talked about. It`s very hard to get a lot of attention and press if you`re
not in that top tier. Romney leaving does open up a little bit of space
for other people to get some attention and then get a look. So, I think
Walker could get a look now. Rubio could get a look. That could be
KORNACKI: I will say in that. Biden succeeded once in getting people to
know. As you know longer the New York observer that reported this. Joe
Biden gave an interview talked about Barack Obama being clean and
articulate. He did get attention for that. So, I point that out. Anyway,
my thanks to the panel. We`re going to be seeing you guys again throughout
the show. Still ahead, the energizer patriot. How long did he keep going?
Why did a politics writer pay this week`s big "New York Times" profile on
Tom Brady? We`re going to ask that reporter, a little bit later this
morning. So, stay with us.
KORNACKI: As Mitt Romney bows out of the 2016 race, there`s an opening for
others to move up. And as we`ve been discussing this morning, a lot of
that talk is suddenly focusing on the governor of Wisconsin. Scott Walker
launched a fundraising organization on Tuesday and is positioning himself
on something as voters usually love, a Washington outsider.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: In Washington it`s kind of this top-down
government knows best. It`s a tired old approach that hasn`t worked in the
past and I don`t think will work in the future. What I see in the states
and from the people of this country outside of Washington is a craving for
something new, for something fresh, for something dynamic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The keyword there is fresh. Listen for Walker to be saying that
a lot in the next year. Walker used it in his speech at the Iowa Freedom
Summit last weekend. It was a speech that brought him rousing accolades
from the conservative activists in the room. Activists who will be crucial
in the Iowa caucuses. Also rave reviews from national political watchers.
Walker`s freshness pitch sets up a contrast with Jeb Bush, the son of a
political dynasty whose family name and some of that baggage that comes
with the name is familiar to just about every American. As we`ve been
talking about this morning, Romney`s announcement yesterday, and he said
that he thinks the next republican nominee should be from a younger
generation. Someone not as well know and just getting a footing on the
And Walker is not the youngest of the potential candidates. That
distinction belongs to Marco Rubio, but at 47-years-old, he is five years
younger than Chris Christie and 14 years younger than Jeb Bush. The
Washington Post Dan Balz asked him in his column recently, can Scott
Walker`s unflashy style breakthrough in the 2016 presidential race?
And Dan Balz, good enough to join us for a little bit more this morning.
And so, Dan, let me ask you about this. Scott Walker, how would you say he
fits into this race? Because so often when we look at the republican
field, we say, well, there are these establish candidates and there are the
Tea Party candidates, the grass roots candidates, the base candidates. To
me it looks like Walker is making the play to be more of an establishment
candidate here, but at the same time I can see him having a lot of appeals
to the grassroots.
BALZ: Steve, you know, we sometimes we draw these distinctions and to fine
away, we try to slice it a little too thin in these different camps. And
to try to categorize people. But I do think that Governor Walker has more
ability than some of the other candidates to have some appeal across
different aspects of the party. I mean, clearly as a two-term sitting
governor, he has a foot in the establishment camp. But at the same time,
the things he did in Wisconsin, which is, you know, have been tremendously
polarizing in that state. I mean, hardly a state that is more polarized
around a political figure than Wisconsin and Scott Walker. But a lot of
what he has done has resonated tremendously with Tea Party types in the
Republican Party, and I`ve been struck.
I was in Iowa last weekend and was out in San Diego for the Republican
National Committee meeting a couple of weeks ago where he also spoke. And
he talks a lot in religious terms. He talked about during those difficult
days in Wisconsin, about being sustained by the prayer of others. The
prayers of others. And that resonates obviously with religious and social
conservatives in the party. You know, I think overall, his message is
really one of how he would put it, big and bold conservative reform ideas
and approaches. That`s the message he wants. And in doing that, he`s
trying to convey both that he is fresh. Second that he`s a governmental
reformist who is prepared to shape things up.
KORNACKI: Yes. That idea, using the word fresh over and over. The fact
that he`s a governor from the Midwest, not in Washington. And even as a
governor, he`s new to the scene. Nobody really heard of him before 2011.
Put that against Jeb Bush and all that comes with the Bush name and what
Jeb Bush represents and even Christie for that matter who has loomed very
large in the national stage for a few years now. What does that do to the
republican primary voters? Does that create a real opening for Scott
Walker? Is that appetite there for like, we don`t want to be in
Washington? We want to get away from sort of the political leadership
class that we traditionally hear of?
BALZ: Well, if you look at what`s happens in the states, I mean, the
republicans have made tremendous gains in the states over the last four,
five years. I mean, they had big victories in 2010, which brought in a new
generation of republican governors that included Scott Walker and Chris
Christie the year before. They`ve taken over so many state legislature.
They have unified control of state government in almost two dozen states.
So in a sense the energy and the focus of the republican movement at this
point is in the states, much more so than in Washington. You hear a lot of
people saying we need a governor as our presidential nominee in 2016. So
that advantages anybody who is in Scott Walker`s position. But as you
know, Steve, I mean, this is a very long and difficult process.
And somebody can look good on paper and not be able to perform, not just on
one particular day. Governor Walker had a very good day in Iowa last
Saturday. But you have to be able to do that day in and day out. You have
to be able to do that in the debates. You have to be able to put something
of some substance on the table in terms of process and policy. And you
have to be able to, you know, to roll with, you know, the difficult days,
because everybody has those. And how a candidate responds to that, at this
early stage, is un-noble. There`s no question that, you know, that
Governor Romney`s decision not to run opens up space for a Scott Walker and
right now there is a tension on Scott Walker. And that is both a blessing
KORNACKI: Yes. Boy, listening to you describe all the pitfalls there, I`m
thinking of Rick Perry came in like a lion in 2011. Did not quite end that
way. Anyway, Dan Balz of The Washington Post, I really appreciate the time
this morning. Thank you.
BALZ: Thank you, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. Still ahead, you might have seen him years ago,
including on this channel hosting his very own talk show. Maybe you know
him from movies like "Midnight Run" or "Beethoven" or "The Heartbreak Kid."
Well, Charles Grodin, how exciting is this? He joins us ahead. And next,
we`ll go live to Arizona, we`re in the middle of the biggest party of the
week of this sports year. Super Bowl week. We`ll be down there after
KORNACKI: First, we want to turn to the world of politics in a few minutes
in a 2016 race for president. Jeb Bush have a problem with his fellow
republicans. But first, we want to turn to the other big contest everyone
is talking about. The place that one takes place is tomorrow in Arizona.
Of course, we`re talking about Super Bowl 49 between the New England
Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. The Super Bowl is usually a week long
party for the NFL. But this year`s event comes after a tumultuous year for
the week. Commissioner Roger Goodell who`s been at the center for many
controversies talked about it all yesterday in his annual state of the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s been a tough year on me personally. It`s been a
year of what I would say humility and learning. We obviously as an
organization have gone through adversity. But more importantly it`s been
adversity for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And MSNBC`S Craig Melvin who got the best assignment of any
MSNBC reporter this week, down at the Super Bowl for us. Live in Glendale,
Arizona. A little early out there. But if that`s the price you have to
pay for going to the Super Bowl, Craig, I would say it`s worth it.
CRAIG MELVIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I`ll take it.
KORNACKI: Let me ask you this though about the one specific controversy
that`s been in the news the last couple of weeks, the deflated ball issue.
Okay. So, we`ve got now, it turns out when the NFL checked these balls in
the Colts game, the Patriots-Colts game, they didn`t actually weigh them.
They didn`t actually measure them before the game. So, nobody actually
knew at the start of the game what they were. And Bob goes to the bathroom
for 90 seconds, I`m saying he probably went to the bathroom. But what I`m
really saying is, I don`t think anything is ever going to be proven here.
You have staunch denials from the Patriots. You have tape turned over.
And what I`m wondering is, if that`s the case. If this never gets proven
and the Patriots go out there and win tomorrow, is this sports world, is
the football world ready to say, yes, they`re the champions, no questions
asked, or will this thing going to linger?
MELVIN: This thing is going to linger and it`s going to linger for a
while. And here`s why. I mean, there is this public perception. And
there was the perception, the perception existed before. This has
reinforced the perception for me. The Patriots don`t always play by the
rules. And I had a conversation last night with the pro-quarterback. It`s
the quarterback and the NFL. Because as you know, Steve, from time to
time, we might make something into a big deal. And maybe it`s not that big
of a deal. We`ll do that from time to time. I`ll be to first admit that
in case the media does that, and so I asked him whether this was one of
those instances. And he said absolutely not. This is a big deal. This is
not something that every football quarterback does. And the fact of the
matter is, you know, Ted Wales who is heading up the investigation for the
This is the same prominent New York attorney that ran the investigation
into the Dolphins bullying scandal two seasons ago. The same guy who also
represented Scoter Libby, chief of staff Dick Cheney, he`s heading up the
investigation. He has a great reputation. But I think you hit the nail on
the head there. We probably won`t ever know exactly what happened to those
deflated footballs. And that`s, you know, I think there are a lot of folks
who believed that was the case as soon as this thing started. But bear in
mind that the New England Patriots are a really good football team.
They`re the best football team in the AFC. They`ve been a great football
team for a long time now. Bill Belichick, the all-time winningest coach in
NFL history. But a lot of folks continue to say, if and when they do win,
some 36 hours and 40 hours from now, there will be an asterisk next to that
KORNACKI: Well, Craig, you make some good points. But I`d say, if they
win they have indicated franchise of the decade.
MELVIN: Of course.
KORNACKI: End of discussion. Anyway, Craig Melvin, have fun at the Super
Bowl. I`m very jealous of you for that.
All right. If he still needs another reminder, the big game is on tomorrow
night. 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time on NBC. Still ahead enough this morning,
President Obama decides to pick a brand new fight with the republican
Congress. We`ll tell you what it`s all about and whether he can get his
way. And if you thought you heard all of the Elizabeth Warren for
president talk, well, chances are you have not heard this twist. Keep it
KORNACKI: All right. We`re back here on the set with our panel. Slate`s
Jamelle Bouie, MSNBC contributor Sam Stein also with the Huffington Post.
And Blake Zeff of Salon.com.
So, this is what we call, our catching up segment. We started this a few
weeks ago which been such a hit, we`re doing it all the time now. So, I
got in my hands here a couple of headlines. Couple of interesting
anecdotes from newspapers and news organizations all around the world.
Things people might be talking about in America this weekend. So, I`ll
give you the information. And you guys can make some pithy comments on
these. Here we go. Let`s start with number one. This is an op-ed from,
from Chris Matthews, it appears in the "Washington Post." And the headline
is the 2016 Democratic National Convention belongs in Philadelphia.
Matthews says by gathering in historic Philadelphia, democrats could
capture the values of our founders, and that republicans are usually better
at stage craft and democrats but this would give democrats a chance at
that. I should note, Chris Matthews is from Philadelphia. He may have
mentioned it once or twice on the air. Columbus, Ohio, Brooklyn, New York
are the other options here. You live in Brooklyn.
ZEFF: I do.
KORNACKI: So is that your choice?
ZEFF: Well, you know, I actually note, I don`t want it around, maybe
because -- I actually don`t think Brooklyn is going to get it and I`ll tell
you why. But without getting too boring about it and trying to be pithy.
Well, De Blasio the mayor is lack in a little bit of the heated struggle
with the NYPD as we`ve covered on this show and elsewhere. And they have
actually tried to cause a little bit of trouble. And they took out an ad
in many papers a couple months ago. It was the sergeants union basically
saying DNC, the battle days are here. In terms of crying, you don`t want
to bring your convention here. They did it as a sort of a bargaining play
against De Blasio. They started to reconcile De Blasio in the sergeant`s
union. They`re getting along better. But I don`t know. I think that
there`s a lot of sort of, do you really want to bring the convention to a
place that`s mired in a little bit of controversy? It seems like there`s a
little bit of a risk.
STEIN: Keep it more pithy, come on, man! You`re ruining the segment.
KORNACKI: "The New York Times." Hillary Clinton versus Elizabeth Warren
could delight republicans. Republicans say a Warren primary run would
hobble the general election bid. This comes on the heels of report in
Politico that Hillary Clinton may delay her campaigns, strongly considering
the laying, the launch of her campaign until July. I guess it sounds like,
you know, republicans are looking up and saying we have 18 candidates.
They have one plus Jim Web plus whoever.
STEIN: Don`t make us look this bad, democrats. Like come on.
KORNACKI: I mean, they`re counting on some kind of like Hillary Obama
thing but --
BOUIE: It`s not going to happen.
KORNACKI: They`re not going to have that.
We should have a clock on the screen here. From the hill, the hill down in
Washington, D.C. Obama to Dems. Oh boy. Get informed. Not by reading
the Huffington Post. Sorry, Sam. Obama told liberal House democrats, we
probably put this in because you`re here. Told liberal House democrats to
get more information on the huge trade deal he`s working on before
attacking it. He made the remarks at a closed door session with House
democrats on Thursday. This after the Huffington Post had been potentially
critical of this. So, the President --
STEIN: First of all, he blogged for us the same day he criticized us. So,
you know, whatever. But I will say this --
KORNACKI: Unpaid blogger.
STEIN: We`re thinking of moving him, when he`s done with the presidency,
he can run the Hawaii bureau if he wants. We`ll offer it as an exchange,
maybe an olive branch. Well, I`ll say this. We had a better 2014 than
STEIN: We did.
KORNACKI: The Huffington Post Obama relationship is just coming apart.
STEIN: It`s coming apart.
KORNACKI: Right in front of our eyes here. Look at this. MSNBC reports
Dan Aykroyd delighted by all female ghostbusters. Aykroyd co-wrote and
starred in the original 1984 blockbusters, Ghostbusters, the new
ghostbusters will be played by Christine Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie
Jones, and Kate McKinnon, and directed by the director of "Bridesmaids."
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Interesting. That makes sense.
KORNACKI: I loved ghostbusters.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Freaks and geeks. Yes.
ZEFF: Yes. My favorite part of the story though is the people who are mad
ZEFF: We`re like, of course, everyone knows that only men can bust ghosts.
Why can`t women be ghostbusters?
People are upset about this.
STEIN: Well, the problem is sometimes remakes are really bad. Like
they`re really bad but I`m pretty excited about this one.
KORNACKI: And I like when there`s real -- like sequels are almost always
bad. But when there`s real distance and it`s 20 years later and 30 years
later, there`s time to kind of update it and reimagine it. And these are
funny people. I`m really interested to see this. What do we have? The
last one here is the Seahawks. This is the Associated Press, Seahawks
Richard Sherman faces a dilemma with baby and Super Bowl. Coach Pete
Carroll said, it will be Sherman`s decision whether to play in Sunday`s
Super Bowl if his girlfriend goes into labor sooner than expected.
BOUIE: I say that headline makes it sound like the baby will actually be
KORNACKI: Well, he has a good leg for kicking, I`m told. What do you do?
STEIN: You play in the Super Bowl! I`m sorry. It`s a tough decision.
KORNACKI: Do you have kids?
STEIN: No, I don`t have kids. I have a dog. But no, no, yes, Blake is
probably the best one to answer because he has kids.
ZEFF: You have the great one right now in fact.
STEIN: It`s true. Would you miss your child`s birth to play in the --
than to be on Steve Kornacki`s game show?
ZEFF: That`s a really hard question. I don`t know.
KORNACKI: So big career break. Like, you know, you`re going to -- like
something huge could happen in your career. And you have to be there at
6:30 tonight. And your wife calls you and text you at 6:15 and says water
just broke. What do you do?
ZEFF: I will say this. This is a relatively new thing where athletes are
actually attending the birth. We were talking about this offset just
before the birth of their children. You know, this past year or two years,
the Major League Baseball doesn`t institute a paternity less where they can
leave for the birth of a child and be gone for a couple of days. Before
that athletes were missing these births all the time. I don`t think it`s a
good thing. I`m just saying, this is actually so, it wouldn`t be that
unusual for Sherman to do this. That`s my way of not answering the
question. Happy marriage.
KORNACKI: Anyway. Sam, Jamelle and Blake, thanks. We`ll see you a little
bit later in the show. And still ahead, Tom Brady will lead the Patriots
in tomorrow night`s Super Bowl. And the one reporter who got the
assignment of a lifetime this season to hang out behind the scenes with the
all-star quarterback. He will tell us what he saw. That`s ahead. And
remember, when Barbara Bush said that the country has had enough Bushes.
She could have been speaking for a lot of republicans. We`re going to show
you some numbers that should really worry Jeb Bush as he pushes forward.
KORNACKI: All right. The big news as we said at the top of the show.
Mitt Romney out of the presidential race. Supposedly have big big win for
Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush may be the front-runner now raising all that money. He
has got that name but we can go to the big board here because there are
some serious and ominous signs for Jeb Bush. Even with Mitt Romney out of
this race. We want to show you exactly what these numbers tell us. So,
first of all, this is the last poll that was taken before Mitt Romney`s
announcement yesterday that he would not run. So, Romney is still in it.
But take a look at this. With Romney, and Romney in there, first place
with 21 percent. Look who is in second place though. It`s not Jeb Bush.
Mike Huckabee, 11 percent. Third place, or tied for second I should say.
Rand Paul. Not Jeb Bush, 11 percent. You have to go all the way over
here. That`s where Jeb Bush pops up in that matchup right now. Ten
percent. Given the name, given the money he`s raising, given the
expectations, that`s very weak. But we can show you even more. Let me un-
select that. Okay. Look at this. This is the average from all polls have
been taken by Real Clear Politics.
Mitt Romney not included in this. Bush`s in first place here. But 16
percent, that is about as weak as you`ll going to find from anybody who is
a front-runner in any national race. Take a look at this though. Very
honest. All voters nationally, positive, negative view of Jeb Bush.
Nineteen positive. Thirty two negative. Compare it to the same time when
his brother George W. started running for the presidency in 2000.
Remember, that`s the model that Jeb Bush`s try to follow. So, Jeb at 1932
now. At the same point in the 2000 cycle, where was George W.? Look at
this. Sixty to eight. Look at that huge difference. That tells you a lot
about the Bush baggage, Bush fatigue. You can see this among republicans.
Thirty seven-15 positive view for Jeb Bush.
That`s good but not great. This is the thing among Tea Partiers, barely
more people have a positive view of Jeb than negative. That says there are
huge problem for Jeb Bush among the base. And finally this, look, if
you`re Jeb Bush, you want to make the electability arguments to
republicans. Hey, nominate me. I can beat Hillary Clinton. Well, when
you`re seeing Bush losing by 13 points to Hillary Clinton, very tough
argument for him to make to republicans. So, I can see a lot of resistance
here to Jeb Bush, a lot more resistance than his brother faced when he ran
back in 2000. And another full hour of news and politics ahead. Stay with
KORNACKI: What makes Tom Brady tick?
And thanks for staying with us this Saturday morning. Tom Brady is getting
ready to fight for a lot more than another Super Bowl championship on
Sunday. We`re going to be joined in just a minute by the political writer
who spent the season hanging out with Brady in an effort to find out what
drives him to win.
Also, this hour, President Obama`s preparing to pick a fight with the
Republican Congress to accomplish one of the goals of his state of the
union. How is that going to play out? The man who inspired me to get into
this business, the one and only Charles Grodin is going to join us this
hour. I`m very excited about that.
But first, we begin this hour with that massive, clunky list of Republicans
looking to run for president. It was shortened yesterday by one name, by
one very big name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: After putting considerable thought into my making another run for
president, I`ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the
opportunity to become our next nominee.
I am convinced that we could win the nomination, but I fully realize it
would have been a difficult test and a had fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And so the 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney has
now ended a three-week flirtation with a third White House campaign, one
that revealed the depth of his burning desire to be president someday.
Romney`s son, Tagg, telling the Boston Globe this morning that his father
"could win the nomination but all of the guns were going to be trained on
him. And coming out of it, we would face Hillary Clinton. She`d be the
first female nominee, have a lot of money coming out given how tough the
primary would have been, his calculation was he would emerge not in a
position of strength to take her on."
Boston Globe National Politics Reporter Matt Viser covered Mitt Romney in
2012, who`s been back on the road with Romney the last few days and he
joins us now. So, Matt, yeah, I mean the third Romney campaign that
probably after 2012 you and everybody else in the free world figured would
never happen. Well, it`s not going to happen but it came closer than we
You know Mitt Romney very well. You`ve watched him so close up. Take us
through just your read on him and on what motivated him to make these moves
the last few weeks and what motivated him to get out in the end?
MATT VISER, THE BOSTON GLOBE: I think, first, what motivated him to get in
was Jeb Bush. You know, Jeb Bush was acting earlier than people
anticipated so Romney felt he needed to signal that he was thinking about
this, if he wanted to have a chance to actually think about. He was losing
donors and staff members. So I think that`s what caused him to do it. He
was also encouraged a lot by his former staffers, by donors, former
supporters of his to consider this. So I think that`s what causes him to
think about this.
What causes him to get out, I think, was a gut check. You know, over last
weekend, he thought about this, he was in Utah, talked with his family and
decided ultimately not to do this. It was going to be too big of a
divisive primary. I think in their mind they would -- they think that they
would`ve won but he would`ve emerged as Tagg was saying, you know, with all
of the guns trained on him, you know. It would`ve been a difficult road
KORNACKI: So what do you think the road ahead for Romney is now? Does he
retreat and not get involved in day to day Republican politics and try to
be sort of a, you know, bigger than the party, statesman-like figure or is
this a race where he says, "I`ve got a lot of friends with some money. I
got a lot of influence. I want to get behind one of these candidates."
Where do you think he goes?
VISER: I think all indications are that he does not want to get involved
in the primary. Nobody expects him to endorse somebody. That said, you
could imagine if somebody`s emerging that Romney is, you know,
wholeheartedly against, you know, then he might get involved late in the
process to sort of tip the scales.
But nobody expects him to sort of get involved, you know, in the next six
or eight months for sure. I think he sees himself as trying to return to
his statesman-like posture in the party, which really he had, you know,
four weeks ago, you know. And it`s a question of sort of whether this
three-week flirtation does anything to sort of damage that in the mind of
I don`t know that it`ll have a huge long-term effect but maybe the short-
term is a little bit of head scratching over Romney`s maneuvers.
KORNACKI: What do you think -- Just sort of bigger picture here, what do
you think and what role will we see him again sort of will he make another
splash? He`s in his late 60s, he`s run twice, he had this moment now, you
know, he had the Olympics before. Is there a next big act for him or does
he sort of become more of a luminary who sort of pops up at conventions
every four years?
VISER: It`s an interesting question. I mean, I sort of think politically,
he probably fades, you know. I don`t know. And this was sort of the same
feeling that we had two years ago, right? After his loss was sort of what
will Romney do next? I mean he`s not the type to sort of fully retire and
putter around the garage, you know what I mean? Romney sort of wants to be
involved in a public way and doing things, you know. And so he retreated a
little bit with his family, you know, over the last, you know, in the year
after he lost and then sort of quietly -- and then started to emerge a
little bit more on the campaign trail.
I sort of think he find some cause, some sort of thing to get behind and
work on whether that`s with his church, in the Mormon church, or whether
it`s, you know, some kind of non-profit or, you know, something that Romney
could devote, you know, the rest of, you know, to sort of devote his life
to because -- I mean he`s a very active guy who wants to be involved in
things. And I think he`ll still be involved a little bit, politically,
but, you know, I can`t imagine him running for office ever again.
KORNACKI: Yeah, that`s hard to see. My thanks to Matt Viser with the
Boston Globe, we appreciate the time this morning.
VISER: Thank you.
KORNACKI: All right. Mark Leibovich has the best timing in the world.
He`s one of the top political writers in the business and he spent much of
the past year covering something else. Football. And in particular one
player, Tom Brady, which means that when Leibovich`s feature story for
tomorrow`s New York Times` magazine hit the web this week, he looked like a
genius, a genius you got to hang out with Tom Brady at Brady`s house. I`m
sorry, actually two of Brady`s houses and come to think of it houses
probably isn`t the right word, more like fortresses.
Brady won three Super Bowls early in his career but he hasn`t won the big
one in 10 years now. So at the age of 37, an age that`s practically
geriatric for an NFL quarterback, he has something to prove in tomorrow`s
Super Bowl and that was even before the deflated football scandal. Quoting
from Leibovich`s article titled "Tom Brady Cannot Stop". "Brady has long
prided himself on the fact that he has succeeded despite not being the most
gifted or talented athlete. This is a classic trope of star athletes, who
use self-deprecation to disguise self-congratulation for their work ethic
and mental prowess. "I`m always a thinker. I`ve got to outthink them",
Brady told me once, referring to his competitors. Brady had previously
said to me that he tends to view most things in his life through the prism
of people who doubt him, his abilities, his age, even the legitimacy of his
biggest achievements. And now, his integrity."
Mark Leibovich joins me now from Washington. He`s the chief national
correspondent for The New York Times with his week`s cover story and Sam
Stein is back at the table as well.
KORNACKI: So, Mark, that excerpt we just read there. I think -- I`ve
trying to figure out for the last two weeks what kind of Tom Brady we`re
going to see on Sunday night. Because I watched that press conference he
gave in Foxborough where that was a more rattled Tom Brady than I`d ever
seen. And it just made me think to myself, this thing is getting to him in
a way that maybe nothing else has gotten to him before and that might end
up affecting his performance, but from what you`re writing there, this
should be something that he thrives on.
What do you think it`s going to mean for tomorrow night`s game?
MARK LEIBOVICH, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think it took him a while to click
in. I mean, I think his whole career, I mean as the excerpt indicates, it
has been one in which, you know, he`s very much defined by the chip on his
shoulder, by the fact that so many have doubted him.
And even in the middle of that press conference, he seemed to -- something
seemed to click where he sort of settled on the adversity theme and said,
"Look, the team is going to rally around this. It`s sort of us against the
world. I mean a lot of teams take on that math on the Patriots especially
to have over the years. And we`re going to use this as a rallying point.
I mean, what the heck? I mean everyone doesn`t like. So we believe in
each other and we`re going to go forward."
But, no, I mean it was a stunning chapter. I mean I thought, you know,
look, after they won the championship game I thought, "All right, we look
like geniuses. The timing`s working out perfectly. We got Super Bowl
Sunday coming up." And then, you know, for a number of days we`re
thinking, "OK, how are we going to rewrite this? Is this even going to be
playing?" I mean, there were some wild talks of a suspension.
So, yeah, no, I mean I think it could go either way. I think he`s clearly
back in a place where this could be an asset.
KORNACKI: So his -- The longer term thing here, I think it`s interesting
too because -- look, you`re a Patriots fan you say in the article, I agree
with Patriots fan too, I remember the darkest years of New England Patriots
history so the fact that what`s happened with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick
over the last 10, 15 years, it`s still staggering to think about it, you
know, winning the division basically every year, six trips to the Super
Bowls and the fact that here`s Brad, 37 years old and it`s not like
(inaudible) starting to set in yet you write in this article about the
regimen he`s following, the very sort of strict lifestyle he adheres to in
an attempt to prolong the career.
Tell us like what are the sorts of things you see him doing. And what does
it going to mean in terms of how long he can play?
LEIBOVICH: Yeah, I mean, normally, obviously, I`m around politicians but I
have to say that this excursion him to the life of an elite athlete was an
incredible eye-opener as far as being around someone who is, I think, as
dedicated to his craft as anyone I`ve ever been around in my entire life.
I mean the way he eats. I mean just obsessively, you know, with the diet
in line that will help prepare him to optimize his football abilities both
now and in the years going forward. His, you know, workouts, which are
two, three times a day with his guru named Alex Guerrero, who`s his best
friend, who, you know, sort of his body coach but he has his pretty
exhaustive reach into his life. You know, again, his obsessive sleep
I mean, I think someone like, you know, Johnny Manziel could watch Tom
Brady and learn a great deal.
STEIN: Mark, it`s Sam Stein. First of all, dedication to craft, you got
to watch Steve and the way he purchases a donut table just like Brady with
LEIBOVICH: Sam, we all handle it.
STEIN: You know, for known pat stands, myself included, you touched on
LEIBOVICH: What are you even doing here?
STEIN: But there`s an inherent contradiction or there`s something
maddening, I should say, about Tom Brady which is -- and you`ve touched it
on this new piece. He`s a guy who plays that no one believes in the card
time and again, who has this great chip on his shoulder and he might be the
most blessed individual of all time. He`s got three Super Bowl rings, he`d
married to a world class supermodel, he`s a good-looking guy, he`s rich,
he`s got this fortress households. How does he continue to get that chip
on his shoulder when life has been so damn good to him for like 15 straight
LEIBOVICH: I think he has earned it by the fact that he has worked so hard
to overcome -- first of all, some really big deficits in natural talent and
ability and then also the belief of the traditional talent evaluators of
college football, the NFL. I mean, you know, people do choose to remember
deep in their psyches, I know I do, you know, the times earlier in your or
earlier in your career when you`ve been doubted. And, you know, he can
really -- I mean when you ask him to sort of talk about what`s informative
to him, he`s say, "I was a six around draft pick. I was buried on the
depth chart at Michigan. You know, no one believed in me." And that, I
think he, you know, he would say as the only sort of resume that matters
much more so than anything that he`s been able to build, you know,
obviously in his later career.
KORNACKI: You know, Mark, he was so -- those first two years when he came
out of nowhere and bled so, you know, got knocked out by Mo Lewis and then
suddenly here`s Tom Brady. He was so humble, modest and it was -- it`s
such a part of the appeal. The guy you got to hang out with for the last
year, did he still seem that way or does it feel like, you know, all the
money and the fame and the sort of walled up lifestyle, do you get a sense
it`s changed his personality?
LEIBOVICH: No. He`s a very, I thought, humble, down to earth and pretty
settled person. I mean I think -- another thing that was remarkable about
him is how, you know, open-minded he is. I mean got a lot of belief
systems. I mean he`s -- he has friends from all walks of life. And I
think one of the reasons he let me in to his orbit, frankly, he doesn`t
like being exclusively around people who, you know, say sports writers. I
mean he, I think, likes people who are in other area so that he can learn
from as well.
So, no, I was very, very impressed by how open his eyes were and also how
down to earth he seemed.
KORNACKI: All right. Mark Leibovich, it`s a fantastic article. If you
haven`t read it yet New York Times` magazine tomorrow, you can read it
online now. Really. Check that out.
And still ahead, before I have this talk show, I watched another cable news
talk show, kind of religiously. The host, who made want to get into this
business, he will be here. That is still ahead.
And next, President Obama`s new battle. Will he win it? We`ll tell you
what it is. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Just a few hours before Mitt Romney took himself out of the 2016
mix, the man who defeated him in 2012 took a shot at his old rival.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: We`ve got a former presidential candidate on
the other side who`s suddenly is just deeply concerned about poverty.
That`s great. Let`s go. C`mon. Let`s do something about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That`s not the only fight President Obama is now trying to pick,
though. In 48 hours, the president is going to send Congress his budget
blueprint and it`s a showdown waiting to happen. It`s reported that Obama
wants to get rid of the strict spending caps that were part of the 2011
debt ceiling deal that he wants to loosen those spending restrictions and
to pay for it by taxing the rich. We heard about this plan in the days
before the State of the Union Address, now Obama is taking the next step.
Here`s how Ben White of Politico describes this move by the president.
"It`s a progressive`s dream version of Obama, untethered from earlier
centrist leanings and flirtations with grand bargains with Republicans on
Let`s see how the White House is gearing up for the next fiscal showdown.
We go live now to NBC`s Kristen Welker at the White House.
So, Kristen, they`ve got this budget ready, what are they expecting to get
out of this?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC`S WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Steve, first to
what they are hoping for, what they`re call for. The president calling for
increase in spending by $74 billion, that`s about 7 percent by reversing
and ending this sequester that you just talked about. Those deep across
the board spending cuts that went into effect back in 2011, he wants to do
it by increasing taxes on wealthy Americans as you said. And he`s going to
make the argument that that will pay for middle class priorities, so-called
middle class priorities like funding child care, community college, paid
sick leave, things that the middle class -- priorities that the middle
class really care about.
Republicans were quick to respond. They say that this proposal is dead on
arrival. This was the reaction from the spokesperson for House Speaker
John Boehner, Cory Firtz. He says, "Republicans believe there are smarter
ways to cut spending than the sequester and have passed legislation to
replace it multiple times only to see the president continue to demand tax
hikes. Until he gets serious about solving our long-term spending problem
it`s hard to take him seriously."
The White House reaction to that is with big knowledge that this is going
to be an uphill battle to get any of this pass that they say this is
starting the conversation. But the president feels as though he has an
argument to make because the economy is getting stronger and also because
all of those things that I just mentioned, Steve, pull wealth. These are
things that Americans like.
So, President Obama will make his case by taking it on the road. You`re
going to see him crisscrossing the country trying to sell this budget to
sell these proposals. It is also a part of laying the groundwork, of
course, for 2016 in the final two years of his presidency.
KORNACKI: OK. Kristen Welker live at the White House, thanks as always
And moving from the White House now to the other end of Pennsylvania out
see how Congress is reacting to the president`s opening bid after seeing
the outline of Obama`s claim on Thursday. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch
of Utah told the Washington Post, "He is the most liberal fiscally
irresponsible president we`ve ever -- we`ve had in history."
Joining me to provide another perspective is Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro,
Democrat from Connecticut. Congresswoman, thank you for joining us this
So, let me ask you to try to merge the -- what you want here with the
political realities, with the statement we just heard from John Boehner`s
spokesman basically saying, "Any idea of raising taxes to pay for any of
this, off the table, there are other ways to this," do you see any
potential grounds for a compromise with the Republicans who run Congress
that would get the extra spending the president is looking for and get
enough Republicans to sign off on them? Do you see any basis for that?
REP. ROSA DELAURO, (D) CONNECTICUT: Well, this is going to be a very big
debate. I find the President`s budget liberating. What we`ve seen over
the last several years with these austerity budgets is that there has been
no investment, critical investments in the country and we haven`t been able
to focus on raising people`s incomes in any way. We`ve seen serious cuts
in infrastructure, in education, in biomedical research. And what the
president is suggesting is that let`s reverse this at this time because the
economy is stronger, we have much to do but it is stronger. But the fact
of the matter is, is that what`s happened with spending.
You know, my Republican colleagues don`t want to talk about tax
expenditures. Tax expenditures are spending, and every year we spend $1.5
trillion on tax rates.
KORNACKI: . you`re talking about loopholes in incentives.
DELAURO: That`s right. You got that.
KORNACKI: So you`re saying you want Republicans to think of that not as
tax cuts and think of that on the spending side?
DELAURO: It`s not Republicans. The country needs to understand and we
need to categorize that as spending. It outspends social security,
Medicare, the defense budget and all other programs like child care, Head
Start, education, biomedical research. It.
KORNACKI: I take your point. That seems like an awfully tough sale to
Republicans short of doing that. Is there any way to get to a compromise
here you see?
DELAURO: Well, but the point is shouldn`t we have this debate? That`s why
I say the president`s budget is liberating. It kicks down the door that
has -- where these austerity budgets have constrained economic growth in
the United States, not made those critical investments. And what the
president says, "Let`s invest in this country and let`s make sure that the
middle class gets a tax rate."
DELAURO: And that`s what he does in this budget with a balance.
DELAURO: And I think it`s going to be an exciting debate, one that`s
necessary. And I`m hopeful that while it`s difficult, that we can come to
a position where we have economic growth and we have the middle class that
has not seen its wagers grow over these last decades begin to see that
their economic success is what our.
DELAURO: . in terms of what our priority is.
KORNACKI: OK. Well, that is a debate that will be kicking off this week.
We thank you, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut, for the preview.
We appreciate you being on the show today.
DELAURO: Thank you.
KORNACKI: And still ahead, our battle of the brains in its last semifinal
game before the national championship. The Up Against the Clock Tournament
of Champions rolls on in just a little bit.
But next, one of the biggest reasons why Mitt Romney chose not to run for a
third time. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: All right, we`re back at the big board here for one more look at
the big story about Mitt Romney getting out of the race for president, Jeb
Bush maybe pushing him out a little bit. We want to tell you,
mechanically, how that works, how was it that Jeb Bush put so much pressure
on Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney had to make this decision and get out. So
let`s take a look at Jeb Bush here now.
This is what Jeb Bush said, this is very important, it`s key what he`s
doing now. This is what he said when he decided he might run for president
back in December. He put a statement out that said, "I have decided to
actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United
States." And if that wording seems very careful, maybe a little
legalistic, well, it`s for good reason because it`s supposed to be careful
and legalistic because what Jeb Bush is doing is something we`ve really
never seen a major presidential candidate do before. He has started his
own Super PAC. You know, the big thing on Super PACs, you can raise as
much money from anybody you want. It`s basically unlimited. You can raise
astronomical sums of money.
And, of course, the Bush goal for these next few months is be putting as
much pressure as he can, as the people around him can on the top donors on
the Republican side to get onboard now, to pony up with a big check. If
you have a normal political campaign organization running for president,
you could tell those people, "Hey, you got to give me $2,600," that`s the
max. If you got a Super PAC, you can raise a lot more. So that`s what Jeb
Bush has set up.
Here`s the one catch for Jeb Bush, though. When he formally becomes a
candidate, and that`s going to have to happen at some point, this Super PAC
could have a huge amount of money in it. He will not be able to transfer
that money to his own presidential campaign committee and he will have to
give up official control of this Super PAC. So that means all that money
would be sitting in there but Jeb Bush would no longer be able to control
it himself. So that`s a bit of a risk he`s taking, could get a little
messy but this is how Jeb Bush is going to about trying to raise that huge
money that could intimidate Mitt Romney and maybe some other candidates.
Anyway, still ahead, leading this year`s Super Bowl halftime show is pop
star, Katie Perry. How does she factor in up against the clock? It`s all
I`m going to say about that.
But next, what NASA just did minutes ago that could help save you and your
family from floods for years to come.
KORNACKI: Your day and weekend may just be getting started but it`s
already been a productive and very exciting day for NASA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five, four, three, two, one. Start and (inaudible),
Delta II Rocket.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: This was only minutes ago, NASA successfully launching a rocket
into orbit securing a satellite that`s going to monitor moisture and Earth
soil for the next three years or so. NASA says that could help predict
floods and monitor drought around the world. Non-scientists in this
wonders why that couldn`t be done here on Earth but maybe that`s why we
don`t work at mission control.
Lots more ahead this morning including the man who inspired me to become a
television host. Stay with us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from Studio 3A and Rockefeller Center, USA, it`s
time for a special Tournament of Champions edition of America`s original
cable news political game show, Up Against the Clock.
He`s got a beagle named Bennett but he`s the hound dog of Washington
scoops, it`s Sam Stein.
He`s a lefty who writes righty, but he`s using both sides of his brain in
this show down. Say hello to Blake Zeff.
Not only is he a member of a (inaudible) club, his trivia skills will knock
your socks off. Please welcome, Jamelle Bouie.
And now, the host of Up Against the Clock, Steve Kornacki.
KORNACKI: Thank you, Jim Cutler (ph), thank you contestants, thank you
studio audience and thank you to everybody tuning in at home for a very
dramatic, very special, very important semifinal match in our Tournament of
Champions. This today is the final semifinal match up before next week`s
So one of the three contestants you see here, Sam, Blake, Jamelle will join
the other two winners to play for our grand prize next week. Sam, Blake
and Jamelle of course all had to win qualifying match ups to get here. So
these are the best of the best competing for that final championship slot.
Quick refresher on the rules, for anyone who needs it, three rounds here,
100 points, 200 points, 300 points, they get harder as we go along. The
round link has been expanded. It`s been super sized to 105 seconds because
we`re in the tournament.
Contestants, as always, I`ll caution you, you can ring in at any time but
you will be penalized for a wrong answer. So keep that in mind. We will
have two bonus questions scattered throughout here. I will get to them as
they come up.
Studio audience, as always, I must caution you, please remain absolutely
silent throughout the game. The contestants deserve and demand absolute
concentration when they`re up against the clock.
With that, contestants, I`ll ask you to put your hands on your buzzers.
We`ll put 105 seconds up on the board. And the final semifinal match
begins with this.
Jailed this week for resisting arrest was the son of this Nevada rancher
who stand up -- Jamelle?
BOUIE: Cliven Bundy.
KORNACKI: Cliven Bundy. That`s correct. 100 points for Jamelle.
100 points toss up. In a dramatic decline from the third quarter of 2014,
the commerce department reported this week that the rate of growth of this
key economic indicator -- Jamelle?
KORNACKI: GDP, that`s right, slowed to 2.6 percent in the final quarter.
100-point toss up. It was reported this week that the iPhone of this
potential presidential -- Sam?
SAM STEIN: Shoot, I should`ve waited for the end of the question. Jeb
KORNACKI: Incorrect. I`ll complete the question for Blake and Jamelle.
The iPhone of this potential presidential candidate includes an easy to
access link to dictionary.com.
We`ll call time. It was Rick Perry. Rick Perry headed on that, of course.
All right, next question. 100 points toss up, after a three-decade
absence, this comedy legend -- Jamelle?
BOUIE: Eddie Murphy.
KORNACKI: Eddie Murphy will be at the.
KORNACKI: 100-point toss up. It was reported this week that David
Letterman wants to invite -- Blake?
ZEFF: Jay Leno.
KORNACKI: Incorrect. I`ll complete the question. Wants to invite former
late night rival Jay Leno to appear on his show before it ends its 22-year
run in May. Who then will succeed -- Sam?
STEIN: Stephen Colbert.
KORNACKI: Stephen Colbert will succeed. That`s correct. 100-point toss.
This Republican senator who`s considering a presidential bid skipped
Thursday`s vote -- Sam.
STEIN: Marco Rubio.
KORNACKI: Marco Rubio. 100 points for Sam. 100-point toss up here.
After 15 years, this pioneer of political blogging announced -- Jamelle.
BOUIE: Andrew Sullivan.
KORNACKI: Andrew Sullivan stepping away from his site. 100 points for
Jamelle. 100-point toss up question. The marquee (ph) attraction in
Sunday Super Bowl halftime show -- Blake?
ZEFF: Katie Perry.
KORNACKI: Incorrect. I`ll complete the question. Would be pop icon,
Katie Perry, who will follow in the footsteps of this headliner from last
year`s Super Bowl halftime show. Jamelle?
KORNACKI: Incorrect. Sam.
KORNACKI. No guess for Sam. It was Bruno Mars.
KORNACKI: That takes us to the end of the first round. Jamelle in the
lead there at 300, Sam, 100, Blake a little quick on the buzzer twice
there, he`s at negative 200. But good news for everybody, things get a lot
crazier now, a lot funkier as we move to the 200-point round, twice as
hard, twice as valuable, twice as easy to catch up. Put 105 seconds on the
clock. We begin the 200-point round with this.
John McCain barked -- Blake.
KORNACKI: Incorrect. I`ll complete the question. John McCain barked,
"Get out of here you low-life scum," to protesters who interrupted a
hearing this week featuring Henry Kissinger and this other former -- Sam?
KORNACKI: George Shultz, the other former Secretary of State who was
there, correct. 200 points for Sam. 200-point toss up. (Scorning)
favorite sons, Ted Cruz and Rick Perry, the chairman of the Texas
Republican Party will reportedly resign to work for this potential
Republican presidential candidate and Kentucky senator. Sam?
STEIN: Rand Paul.
KORNACKI: Rand Paul, that`s correct. 200 points. 200-point toss up
question here. Failure to shovel the snow outside -- Jamelle.
BOUIE: John Kerry.
KORNACKI: Correct, and stop the clock. John Kerry was fined $50 for
failing to shovel snow in his Boston home this week. But, Jamelle, you
have just triggered our use it or lose it bonus question. Here is how it
I have right here a question that is somehow related to the one that you
just answered. You have a choice whether you want to use that question or
not. If you use it and successfully answered it, we will double what you
just won, 200 more points. If you use it and incorrectly answer, we`ll
take those 200 points away.
So, Jamelle, I have your bonus question here. Will you use it or lose it?
BOUIE: I`ll use it.
KORNACKI: He will use it. He`s a gambling man, all right. Your follow-up
question is this. John Kerry kicked off his successful bid for the 2014
Democratic presidential nomination with a victory in the Iowa caucuses.
Who finished second in that contest?
KORNACKI: John Edwards, that`s right. 200 more points for Jamelle, into
the lead leading hundreds. 200-point toss up. Clock back in motion. It
was reported this week that Congressman Steve Scalise -- Jamelle?
BOUIE: David Duke.
KORNACKI: David Duke is threatening to challenge him in the primary.
KORNACKI: 200-point toss up. In an interview with Rachael Ray this week,
Bill Clinton said that if Hillary becomes president, he might adopt what
STEIN: First man.
KORNACKI: Jamelle, you want to take a guess?
KORNACKI: Called. Time. It was Adam. He said Adam. Kind of a weird
answer. 200-point toss up.
KORNACKI: Confirmation hearings this week, New York Senator Chuck Schumer
said that attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch is capable of suffering
through anything because of her experience as a fan of this moribund NBA
STEIN: New York Knicks.
KORNACKI: The New York Knicks, 200 points for Sam. 200-point toss up.
During its market debut this week, the IPO price more than doubled for this
popular burger and fries chain. Sam?
STEIN: Shake Shack.
KORNACKI: Shake Shack is on fire, Sam is too. 200 points for him. 200-
point toss up. The -- That brings us to the end of the round. I don`t
always hear the buzzer. OK.
Sam, 700 in the second place there right behind Jamelle at 900. And
working mind (ph) is Blake.
STEIN: Your son is watching you. Pick it up.
KORNACKI: Blake, and Jamelle can tell you. The third round is crazy.
Jamelle came from way back to win his qualifying match. You could do the
same. This is the third and final round. 300-point questions, high
stakes, we`re going to dim the lights for dramatic effect. We`ll put 105
seconds on the clock and that final spot in the championship game will be
decided starting now.
A populist uprising this week brought to power the far left -- Blake.
KORNACKI: In the Syriza party in Greece, that`s correct. 300 points for
Blake. 300-point toss up. Balance of pressure from the Obama
Administration, this senator promised this week to hold off until the end
of March -- Sam?
STEIN: Robert Menendez.
KORNACKI: Menendez introducing on sanctions. 300-point toss us. Despite
a Veto threat from the President -- from President Obama, a bill to force
the authorization of the Keystone XL Pipeline cleared the Senate this week
with how many votes? Sam?
KORNACKI: Incorrect. Anyone who want to guess? 62. 300 point toss-up.
The Youngstown, "The Vindicator" newspaper reported on Friday -- Sam.
STEIN: Ted Strickland.
KORNACKI: Ted Strickland, Former Ohio Governor may run for the Senate in
2016. 300 point toss-up. An eviction notice was sent this week to New
York City resident Jimmy McMillan -- Blake.
ZEFF: The rent is too damn high.
KORNACKI: Yes. Who is better known as the face of "the rent is too damn
high" in minor political party. 300 points for Blake. 300 point toss-up.
With another trip in New Hampshire schedule next month, this former
Maryland governor says he`s considering -- Sam.
STEIN: Bob Ehrlich.
STEIN: Bob Ehrlich.
KORNACKI: Yes, that`s correct. 300 points. 300 point toss-up. Because
Mitt Romney decline to run for president again this week, this one time
Democratic presidential nominee remains the last major party presidential
nominee to run again for the White House after losing. Jamelle.
KORNACKI: Incorrect. No. No guesses. Call time. George McGovern, 72
and 84. 300 point toss-up. In an interview this week, the husband of
Terri Schiavo link this likely presidential -- Sam
STEIN: Michael Schiavo.
KORNACKI: Incorrect. Jamelle.
BOUIE: George Bush.
KORNACKI: George Bush, correct. 300 point toss-up. Last one is ceremony
in Britain Thames river commemorate to 50th anniversary of the death of the
statesman. Time. It was -- sorry, it`s just at the wire. It was Sir
Winston Churchill brings this to the end.
Sam with a dramatic and narrow victory, 1000 points. Jamelle right there
at the end of the night 100, Blake at 200. Congratulations, Sam. You have
won the final spot in the tournament.
When we come back, as we try to recover from this, the one and only Charles
Grodin is going to be here to stick around for that.
(BEGIN OF VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Is this a New Jersey Senate candidate?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, (inaudible).
KORNACKI: I`m so, so sorry. He is not...
KORNACKI: He is the star of the 1992 movie Beethoven Charles Grodin.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was a fun a little thing we did back in 2013.
There was a New Jersey Senate primary going on almost no one was following
and so we trekked out to a mall in Jersey and we showed a bunch of pictures
to voters. Some of them are real candidates, some of them are random
celebrities and we asked them if they knew the difference and surprising
number identified Charles Grodin as a politician, as a Senate candidate.
I grew up practically idolizing Charles Grodin and one of the best things
about having that show is that it means I got to sit down with him earlier
this week and I can show you this now.
My first introduction to you was I was a kid who would watch -- I would
sneak up and watch the Carson show late at night and you going on that show
in the character of this grumpy, sort of belligerent, hostile guest and
this is Johnny Carson, the king of late night television. You did the same
thing with Letterman for all those years. I mean, where did that come
CHARLES GRODIN, ACTOR & COMMENTATOR: The first time I was on it was 1973
with Johnny Carson and I`m back stage and about to come through the curtain
and nobody knew who I was and I start thinking myself, what I`m going to
say? I really enjoyed making the movie, the "Heartbreak Kid" and the, "I`m
Very Happy to Be Here," and enjoyed this and enjoyed that. What I`m going
to do? So I decided right then and there to become a contrarian.
It hit me just before I walked out. In fact the guy, the Telecorder Bob
Dolce (ph) said, "I don`t know who you are when you`re out there." because
no one sees me like that in life but, yeah, that`s...
KORNACKI: Did Carson get it right away, you think or did he.
GRODIN: He got it and then he didn`t and then he just then I was along
Well, at first I would say, tell me I was the first person out of three
people we put under contract as a guest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNNY CARSON: Unless we have an entourage.
GORDIN: No, no, how many people do you have on your entourage?
GORDIN: You don`t have an entourage?
CARSON: No, why do you have entourage?
GORDIN: Do you bathe yourself? And feed yourself?
GORDIN: You cut your own food.
CARSON: Right, we`ll that sounds...
GORDIN: I do nothing to myself anymore.
CARSON: I see. Interesting. Interesting.
GORDIN: You don`t have that?
CARSON: I don`t have that.
GORDIN: Well, see, it shows.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I heard about people on T.V. a lot but really with Carson just
totally different off the air than what people saw on the air.
GORDIN: Well, not with me, you know, I read (inaudible) is the former
Attorney, I guess Attorney...
GORDIN: ... I didn`t know that because its got stuff in there. It was
astonishing and one of the things I did was to say who are you really I
mean who are you?
And he say, I`m Johnny Carson, come on and I, well if had known what was in
that book I probably wouldn`t have done that "Who are you really" because
we`re talking about in the book. I don`t even want to say it here...
GRODIN: ... but this is not -- this is definitely not something you wish
GORDIN: Very unusual.
KORNACKI: Yeah, that caused a lot of waves when that came out. So, let me
talk about you, though, as sort of, I see Actor Charles Grodin but also
talk show host Charles Grodin, political commentator but so, right now, I
think if people know you from something that`s current it`s Louis CK show
and you have this role as doctor who doles out this very dry sort of
cynical but also really good advice on life. It`s kind of hilarious where
did that -- did you know him before.
GORDIN: It`s all him. It`s all him. Generally, the norm for me in movies
or anything like that is that I`ll just sort of improvisation but this is
every word he says the director is exactly.
The first thing I did I think I was a eating sandwich and he`s sitting
opposite me (inaudible) and I`m reading the newspaper and eating a sandwich
so I would never -- he did it. I mean asked me to do that and he`s
sensational and I think I`m going back on with him and, you know, and the
stand up stuff is unbelievable he just...
KORNACKI: Did he like -- did he think of that character like did he think
of you when he was writing that character because I watched it and I was
like that is Charles Grodin, the doctor.
GRODIN: I don`t know. I know he wrote me letter and saying, you know,
nice things and then asked if I would come on and I did and I really look
forward to it.
He is really unusual. I mean he`s -- but in person, if you`ve seen him on
the (inaudible) he walks out there, he is relaxing as if (inaudible) his
own celebrity room. And he was like, you know, when he was in 20
(inaudible) I think he first did something maybe 28 years old.
So he is a sensational talent. I`m very happy to be on his presence.
KORNACKI: It`s such a unique show. It`s also we say talk show host with
Charles Grodin. It was a talk show CNBC and then it became MSNBC so
technically you`re a former MSNBC host very quickly and you`ve got, you`re
in the movie. It`s basically it`s out right now Al Pacino...
GORDIN: Yeah, that`s "The Humbling".
KORNACKI: "Humbling," yeah.
GORDIN: Directed by Barry Levinson in March, the end of March, a movie
with Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts in "Adam Driver". I haven`t seen that one
but I hear it`s very good and you know that`s in the March show.
When they call me to do a movie I don`t ever say how much and I say where
because I haven`t been anywhere.
I have got on to the west coast for 23 years.
GORDIN: Yeah and I don`t really, you know, I forget where the line comes -
- some line from an old comedy retainers but somebody who didn`t do and he
did work and the line was thanks God he doesn`t have to.
KORNACKI: To be at the good place to be.
GORDIN: Yeah, yeah.
KORNACKI: But let me just close it with one thing. I was wondering about
this, when I talk to people specially my generation and I say name Charles
Grodin, they always say Beethoven. Do you like the people associate you
first with that one?
GORDIN: You know I would like to talk to people and then just meet them
and you know, depending on their age, I will say, did you say the Beethoven
movies and if they are older, you know, 40, 50s I would say "Midnight Run".
GORDIN: Those are the two that "Midnight Run".
KORNACKI: This is my new kind of question. I`ve heard -- is there
actually going to be cynical of Midnight Run?
GORDIN: Oh they`re trying to get it. They`re trying to do it. I -- there
is some of the script that I`ve had my son read it and I didn`t get that
done. Let me just put like that. It wasn`t good enough.
KORNACKI: OK, so that still hopefully...
GORDIN: ... I`m in touch with him from time to time, you know.
KORNACKI: And we`re hoping for that and there`s a lot of people out there
who love that movie.
But Charles Grodin, thank you so much for coming. This is great.
GORDIN: You know what`s great about you, you have, I don`t know, you have
no interest to me yet show you a tremendous amount of interest and I
KORNACKI: No, I can...
GORDIN: I could resist (inaudible). You do -- it`s a great job you`re
GORDIN: You`re going to be hosting your shows.
KORNACKI: Wow, you know one of these days...
GORDIN: You know what`s like it is why not.
KORNACKI: Charles Grodin, thank you so much.
GORDIN: thank you. Thank you very much.
KORNACKI: All right
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Charles Grodin, sorry that was the time of my life right there.
Anyway, tomorrow here on UP, Super Bowl Sunday, Boston, Seattle, trash
talking, prop bets, we`ve got a big pre-game show for you, don`t miss it.
You don`t want to Ms. Melissa Harris Perry, she is next and thanks for
getting up with us.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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