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'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Saturday show

Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: February 14, 2015
Guest: Michael Kay, Nancy Youssef, Mike Benner, Genevieve Wood, Ana Marie
Cox, Peter Bacon, Jr., Reynolds Wolf, Bob Casey, Charlie Dent, April Ryan,
Lizz Winstead, Jason Zinoman

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, "UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI": ISIS and American
troops, their closest encounter yet.

And good morning. Thanks for getting UP with us this Saturday morning. If
you`re in the northeast in the United States, that means you`re waking up
yet again to a blizzard warning. And this time also to arctic
temperatures, that could drop as low as 35 degrees in some places, 35
degrees below zero in some places. We`ll have a live report from Boston
where they are now running out of places to dump all of that snow. A
record shattering amount for the month of February. Of course we`re only
halfway through February right now. And if you`re waking up in the Pacific
Northwest this morning, more specifically if you are waking up in Oregon,
oh what the heck is happening there? The state`s governor abruptly
resigning late yesterday. Now the Feds getting involved. A new governor
taking over next week. A truly bizarre scandal.

We`ll going to take you through it in a live report from out in Oregon for
you. And if you`re still a little bit sad about Jon Stewart`s departure
from "The Daily Show," well, you`re probably not alone. We`ll get to all
of that in a whole lot more throughout this morning. But we begin this
morning with chaos spilling across the globe. Violence breaking out now
just 150 miles west of Baghdad. ISIS militants waging a suicide attack on
an airbase where 400 U.S. troops are positioned. ISIS also seizing control
of a town just a few miles away from that base, launching a showdown with
Iraqi troops and with American air support.

Meanwhile in Eastern Ukraine, Russian-backed separatists undertaking a
brutal last-minute assault to gobble up yet more territory, this just hours
before tonight`s midnight cease-fire is supposed to take effect, pummeling
a strategic railway hub with wave upon wave of shelling. This is a last
minute grab for territory as we say. That looming cease-fire also a very
tenuous one. Will it last at all? That question hangs over all of this.
And also meanwhile in Yemen, United Arab Emirates announcing just this
morning that it is joining Saudi Arabia, Italy and Germany in shutting down
their embassies in the country. This as Yemen`s political structure
disintegrates as al Qaeda`s grip on the Arab world`s poorest country is
getting stronger before our eyes. And in Afghanistan, night raids by U.S.
Special Forces now newly revealed by the New York Times shows Americans are
continuing in a combat role in that country calling into question how reel
the supposed draw down of troops actually is.

But we begin this morning in Iraq. NBC News chief foreign correspondent
Richard Engel with exclusive reporting for us on the horrors that residents
on the ground are facing from Islamic State militants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. started
bombing ISIS to stop an atrocity -- the systematic slaughter of a small
religious minority called the Yazidis who trapped in the Sinjar Mountains
of Northern Iraq. But not all of the Yazidis were saved. Thousands of men
have been killed. And Yazidi women by the thousands too were taken as
slaves. We met 12-year-old Hawata and 19-year-old Farida in Duhok in
Northern Iraq. They`ve been bought and sold, raped and beaten for months
before escaping from their tormenters. Farida didn`t want to show her face
but told us her painful story. What did you say to them, I asked her? We
said, "We are human beings." They said, "You are our property." They
said, "You are infidels and we will do what we want with you."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: All right. That was NBC News` Richard Engel reporting from
Northern Iraq. And late yesterday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John
Kirby confirming that about two dozen ISIS fighters dressed up like Iraqi
soldiers actually reached the perimeter of an airbase in Iraq`s Anbar
Province. In that airbase, currently houses 400 U.S. troops. So, the
Defense Department claims the Americans were two miles away when that
fighting occurred. All of the ISIS fighters were killed by members of the
Iraqi army, that`s according to the Pentagon. Some may have detonated
suicide vests.

I`m joined now at the big board by British Royal Air Force officer and
foreign affairs correspondent Michael Kay. Mike, thanks for joining us
this morning.

MICHAEL KAY, FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Good to see
you.

KORNACKI: So, a few things to take a look at here. This is obviously very
scary news to hear that American troops, 400 of them apparently, you know,
close, they are saying a couple of miles. But they are in this base that
these ISIS militants are attacking. We have sort of an aerial shot of it
here. Take us through what we`re looking at and what happened here.

KAY: Well, first thing that`s important Steve is to pick up on what
Richard was saying about the context of this threat. In terms of the
threat to the U.S. troops on the ground on this air base the threat is
quite minimal. There is a very good reason for that. We just have to look
at the size of this air base. These are the two main runways. It`s pretty
standard actually for a Middle Eastern Iraqi air base. But these are about
a mile and a half long. So, you can see actually the whole area. You are
probably looking at about three miles in diameter. Now, let`s say, that`s
a huge amount of area. You have the living quarters which we have up in
this area and the air base as well should have a single point of entry.

KORNACKI: And this be where the troops are?

KAY: I don`t know where the troops actually is situated in the airfield.
But the bottom is, is that the attack would more likely have coming up in
this region here. And therefore, the troops could be situated down here in
hangars or they could be situated anywhere really on this camp when they`re
conducting their training. Now the really interesting bit here is I was
based in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan for a while. Kandahar is a huge
operational base that the Americans and the Brits used. Now, the one thing
Kandahar, little area here, you can see this is a built up area. On a --
basis, probably once a week, we used to have mortar fire which used to be
incoming into the air base here. Now, the tactics the ISIS are using is
very brazen in terms of the suicide vest and actually just launching an all
scale attack on the single point of entry. If I was ISIS I would be going
for a more sort of longevity approach which is launching mortars into the
area and hoping for something that way.

KORNACKI: It seems like a bit of a Trojan horse strategy. And I think
they have done this before. Dressing up as members of the Iraqi army,
maybe being welcomed into this bases in some cases. Oh, you know, they are
sort of with us. And then suddenly there are suicide attacks or something
occurs inside. We take a look and put this in a little bit more
perspective. So, this is al-Baghdadi now. This is a town that ISIS took
just on Friday. We should say the red on this map we`re looking at. This
is ISIS territory right now. Al-Baghdadi is just a few miles from the base
we were just talking about. And now a battle for control. The Iraqi
ground forces with air support from the United States, trying to win back
that town. Tells us a little bit about that.

KAY: Right. So, this is really important. I just want to link back into
the point you made about the ISIS insurgents dressing up in Iraqi uniforms.
Al-Baghdadi, what ISIS did was they took this village fist. This is really
important. Because one of the key ways that we counter ISIS is through
intelligence, but it`s not just through intelligence from predators whether
it`s the image intelligence or electronic intelligence. It`s all about
human intelligence, it`s about having people situated around the area that
if they see something, they can pick up the phone and they can call back
in. And that`s absolutely important. That is the way that Hezbollah works
in South Lebanon. Is through this network. If you got a pair of eyes and
you have a phone, you can report anything untoward that you see. And so,
human intelligence are maintaining the loyalty of the societies within
these local towns. It`s absolutely the key to fighting ISIS.

The other thing I would like to point out in terms of the region is the
geographic disposition of the forces. And we`ll start with Iraq. What`s
really important is, yes, we do have ISIS here. But it`s not all lost. In
this region here, this is the Kurdistan region. This is where you have
about 110,000 Peshmerga forces. Now, they know the Peshmerga but they came
through Turkey into Syria and helped the Syrian Kurds defend against
Kobani, these guys were absolutely key in the fight against ISIS. Down
here, you got what`s called populares (ph) mobilization forces, very much
Shia organizations that are coming in from Iran. The Bader organization,
the Hezbollah brigades. But these are also very much opposed to ISIS. And
then you`ve got the main governmental forces. You`ve got the Iraqi forces
which used to, this in 2009 at the height of the 2009 American equip and
train program were up to 200,000. Now, they`re down at about 48,000, you
think Iraqi ministry is in Syria forces which is about 38,000. So, all in
all about 85,000 Iraqi forces. A hundred thousand Peshmerga and you got
about 100,000 down here.

Let`s jump into Syria. Three main groups in Syria. You have Jabhat al-
Nusra who have just secured the northwest and part of the region. You`ve
got ISIS who were trying to maintain territory down into the southeast.
And then you`ve got Hezbollah and you`ve got Assad forces trying to hold
onto Damascus, they`re the three main protagonists in Syria at the moment.
And then the three main protagonist in Iraq. Just to summarize, you have
the Peshmerga, Iraqi forces and the popular mobilization brigade. So, it
is a complicated beast.

KORNACKI: Yes. I know and it looks like 11 dimensional chest almost when
you lay it out like that. But here`s a question some people starting to
raise. Again, we talk about the American troops on that base. None of
them harmed yesterday. But how close these militants were able to get to
them and the fact that to defend that base, to defend this town, we are now
looking at this combination of ground troops from Iraq but also air power
from the United States. There was the potential that they`ve gotten in
this base for actual U.S. ground forces to have some kind of skirmish, to
get involved. It`s the idea of mission creep. The idea that the United
States is over there right now, we are not saying this is a major combat
operation, we`re not saying it`s anything like that. But is that something
that could inevitably happen because of all these dynamics you`re laying
out?

KAY: What I think really important is, is that I do think with the latest
AUMF that the President briefed last week, I do think that lessons are
starting to be learned. And the reason I say that is because we went very
an occupation strategy in the whole of Iraq. We had something like 160,000
U.S. coalition troops in 2008. But it didn`t work. And we had the most
sophisticated and powerful air power in the world. It didn`t work. So,
what I think with the AUMF what`s happening is that the President is trying
to go for an attrition strategy, this was very much in an occupy strategy.
He`s not going to get for an attrition strategy but using niche forces,
Special Forces and I didn`t know from my own sources that there are Special
Forces laid out all over this region. And what they are doing is they`re
picking off ISIS militants. Reportedly up to about 200 in a month. Now,
it`s small but what allows the President and the coalition to do is
maintain an enduring presence. Omar from the Afghanistan always said to
the west, "you may have the watches but we`ve got the time." So, what we
need to do is that we need to have an engagement strategy that uses minimal
niche forces that can be employed over 30, 40 years so we can keep on
hammering back at these guys. What we don`t need to do is start occupying.

KORNACKI: And one thing I want to show, if you just take the pen off there
for a second, we can cycle through. This is attitudes in the United
States. We`ll have a little bit more on this later. But this was a new
poll conducted for NBC News Marist College doing it about U.S. ground
troops being sent in to fight ISIS. You see a quarter of the country, 26
percent say they are ready for a large number to be sent over there. A
limited number, 40 percent say that. You add those together. That means
two-thirds of Americans say at least a limited number of ground forces
should be sent over there. None at all, only 26 percent. So, you can see
American attitude, you can think of the years after Iraq how hesitantly
were to say this, that started to change. That`s something we`re going to
visit a little bit later in the show, a fewer number there. But we wanted
to get those in for the perspective.

But thank you to Michael Kay, for taking us through, a lot of great
information there. I really appreciate that. And turning back now to
Yemen, that`s where this morning, we are learning more about embassy
closures following the United States, United Kingdom and France fleeing as
that nation continues to collapse. Yemen`s top U.N. envoy warns the
country is now at a point between, quote, "civil war and disintegration."
Yemen`s elected president resigning last month after a power struggle with
rebels who have since taken over the government and nearly half of Yemen`s
provinces.

For more we`re now joined by Nancy Youssef, she`s the senior national
security correspondent for The Daily Beast. So, Nancy let me just start on
the current state of Yemen. We always hear about Yemen as sort of a haven,
a breeding ground for al Qaeda. We have this western embassies that are
pulling out of there right now. We have reports that this is a country
that`s close to disintegration. Does all of this mean that al Qaeda is
getting stronger in Yemen as we speak?

NANCY YOUSSEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, it means that the country is quite
fertile ground for groups like al Qaeda to emerge, to establish themselves,
to take new territory, to create safe havens. So, it`s stronger, it`s
unclear because right now that they are fighting the Houthis who are the
rebels who kicked out the government last month. They are trying to
establish themselves, working with Sunni militants, they`re attacking
Houthis, they are trying to take territory. So, it`s hard to say that they
are stronger. But they certainly see an opportunity to take ground and to
build and expand their safe haven.

KORNACKI: And what would happen? We hear about the idea of Yemen maybe
disintegrating. If Yemen did disintegrate as a functional nation. What
would happen? We always think back to the example of Afghanistan 20, 25
years ago.

YOUSSEF: Well, Yemen has always been a fragile state. And now, we`re seen
in the situation that is literally giving worse day by day as these groups
fight. You have the Houthis who are reportedly backed by Iran. You have
those who supported the ousted President Hadi, those who supported the
president before him Ali Saleh was ousted during Arab Spring. And so, in
this ongoing battle, if it truly sort of separates in a country that`s 60
percent Sunni. Forty percent Shia, you have another country in the Arab
world, the poorest of them no less, that becomes unstable, that becomes
divided, that becomes fractious at a time that the region is already quite
unstable and for the United States it becomes much, much harder to wage its
counterterrorism and counter intelligence campaign that it was engaged in
quite heavily in Yemen.

KORNACKI: Also that we mentioned earlier the fighting between Ukraine and
pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, the cease-fire going into effect just
hours from now over there. In the run-up to the cease-fire, all sorts of,
you know, heavy brutal action. There is last-second territory grabs. When
you look at the cease-fire, do you think there is a chance this one is
actually going to hold?

YOUSSEF: Well, certainly looking very promising. And frankly, even those
who created the cease-fire, France and Germany who led the effort were with
quite pessimistic. That said, this was arguably the least of the bad
options. Because what the U.S. and western world large confront is ongoing
sanctions that so far haven`t stopped Russian involvement and the potential
of using or giving the Ukrainians defensive weapons, anti-tanks, missiles,
and things like that to try to confront Russia. And there is no guarantee
that those weapons would work. And so, if the U.S. and the western world
decide that this isn`t going to work and they have to go down that road the
question becomes, if these defensive weapons don`t work, do we have an
escalation of U.S. involvement to offensive weapons and potentially laying
the groundwork for Ukraine to become a proxy war.

KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to Nancy Youssef in Washington. I
appreciate that. This is a busy weekend in the world. This is a scary
time in the world. Much more on the show today throughout the weekend
still ahead though on this show today with Jon Stewart making his exit,
just who is going to be delivering your daily moment of zen? Is anybody
going to be delivering a moment of zen anymore?

But next, the Oregonian front page this morning calls Governor John
Kitzhaber`s resignation defiant. But why a new headline this morning may
spell even bigger trouble for the soon to be ex-governor? We have all the
latest from that bizarre political drama that came to ahead yesterday in
Oregon. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Huge news to tell you about this morning. After a week of a
bizarre unfolding scandal, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber announcing his
resignation late yesterday. And just hours ago, this is how the story was
reported this Oregon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is KGW News at 11.

LAURAL PORTER, KGW NEWS: Good evening. I`m Laural Porter.

JOE DONLON, KGW NEWS: And I`m Joe Donlon. Thank you for joining us. By
this time next week, we will have a new governor in office. But for John
Kitzhaber this is not over.

PORTER: Tonight, for the first time, we can tell you without a doubt he
and fiance Cylvia Hayes are facing federal scrutiny. We have KGW live team
coverage Mike Benner in Salem where it has been anything but business as
usual.

MIKE BENNER, REPORTER KGW-TV: Following the story so closely. And to say
that the last few days have been wild would be an understatement. It`s
been an emotional roller coaster, so much so that the halls of the state
capitol were a virtual ghost town by late afternoon. A lot of these
lawmakers just needed to escape the chaos. But not before weighing in on
the big news of the day.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hell of a way to celebrate a state`s birthday, isn`t it?

BENNER: In the state capital, volunteers were getting ready for Oregon`s
156th birthday party. The decorations coming just hours after Governor
John Kitzhaber announced his resignation.

GOV. JOHN KITZHABER (D), OREGON: I understand that I have become a
liability to the very institutions and policies to which I have dedicated
my career and indeed my entire adult life.

BENNER: The governor delivered the news in both an audio clip and a
written statement. It was evident the decision to resign wasn`t one the
governor took lightly.

KITZHABER: It is not in my nature to walk away from a job that I have
undertaken. It is to stand and fight for the cause.

BENNER: News of the Governor`s resignation spread quickly through the
capitol.

PETER COURTNEY (D), OREGON SENATE PRESIDENT: I`m torn to pieces over this
thing.

BENNER: Longtime friend and colleague Senate President Peter Courtney said
it would be unfair to let this one moment to define the governor.

COURTNEY: I don`t think there`s not been a public servant in Oregon`s
history given the length of time, he served in two branches, who`s done
more. And I mean that.

BENNER: On the other side of the aisle, House Republican Leader Mike
McLane said there is nothing delightful about this.

MIKE MCLANE (R), OREGON HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: This is a sad day for
Oregon. We haven`t had a governor resign under circumstances like this.

BENNER: Secretary of State Kate Brown is slated to become Oregon`s next
governor. And judging by her brief statement. She`s well aware of what`s
at stake.

KATE BROWN, OREGON SECRETARY OF STATE: This is truly a sad day for the
state of Oregon. And I am confident that legislators will come together to
move Oregon forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That was the 11:00 p.m. Pacific Time newscast of the NBC Station
in Portland, Oregon late last night. KGW doing a great wrap-up as only the
local news can of stories like these. And as you heard, the latest news in
Oregon last night, not only that the governor, John Kitzhaber is resigning
but also the delivery of subpoenas unveiling a potentially massive criminal
investigation by the FBI into Kitzhaber and his fiance Cylvia Hayes were
accused of mixing personal and state business.

For the latest on all of this, let`s go to the reporter you just saw in
that KGW broadcast, he`s been following the Governor`s every move in
Selman, Mike Benner joins us by phone this morning. Mike, thanks for
taking a few minutes. I wonder if we could just start with -- if you could
sort of thin this down for us. A national audience that had not been
following Oregon politics closely until about a week ago suddenly finds out
that this governor who has been in office for a long time. This is his
fourth term as governor. Seems to be a veteran, Wiley politician is
suddenly at the center of a scandal involving his girlfriend or his fiance
and mixing state business with their personal business. What exactly is it
that he did wrong here?

BENNER (on the phone): Well, that`s the million dollar question. Because,
you know, we as reporters, we are still asking that question. But every
day that passes. Every hour that passes it`s becoming more and more clear
that something is going on here. And you have to understand that this all
started last year when the governor`s fiance Cylvia Hayes had came out with
a couple of very big, first she admitted to a sham marriage to an Ethiopian
immigrant. She got then cash, the kid got a green card. Then she admits
to buying a pot farm in the state of Washington years and years ago to
illegally grow pot. You know, at that point she had our attention, she had
the governor`s attention but he was standing by her and he was reelected.

And, you know, then the tone changes a bit. And we learn that while an
adviser to the governor, there are reports that the fiance was taking
consulting jobs with companies that had direct interest in Oregon policy.
And at this point it`s unclear if she even reported that income on tax
forms. So, that`s why, as you mentioned at the end of my piece there why
the Oregon attorney general and federal officials are now investigating
both the governor and his fiance. As he was resigning yesterday they are
filing criminal subpoena seeking records related to any of this work.

KORNACKI: You know, love is love. This is Valentine`s Day, so it`s
especially true today. But given the history you are talking about with
her. The green card for cash scheme she was involved in, a lot of stuff
that`s come out in the last few months. There is some stuff that would be
very concerning about her. She came into his life at a later point as I
understand. He`s 67-years-old. I think he was in his mid-50s when they
first got involved. Here`s somebody who`s covered him for a while. Was
there any change? Did you ever notice a change in Kitzhaber when he met
her or a change in his life before he met her? It seems like that`s a
critical turning point in his political career.

BENNER: That`s a good question. But not necessarily. The guy carries
himself with a lot of confidence. He used to be an emergency room doctor
before getting into politics. He`s well respected, well liked. Nothing
really changed when she walked into his life. In fact, he was quoted at
some point during this whole thing as saying that he`s in love but he`s not
blinded by it. Of course, very fitting on this Valentine`s Day as you`ve
mentioned. But just a very bizarre situation as the secretary of state
mentioned herself. And I`m not quite sure if your viewers are aware of how
that all went down. She was actually at a national conference -- leading a
national conference on the east coast earlier this week when she was
summoned back to Oregon. So she, of course, hopped on a plane. She was
summoned by the governor. She hops on a plane, and gets here and is
whisked away to this private meeting. And as soon as she gets into the
meeting, she tells us that the governor asks her, what are you doing here?
And of course, she`s like, what do you mean what am I doing here? You
called me back. He then says he`s not resigning. This is on a Wednesday.
And then he proceeds to talk about transition which is the transfer of
power. It`s bizarre.

KORNACKI: What a crazy week you guys have had in Oregon. You get a new
governor next week. It sounds like an investigation into what exactly has
been going on with Governor Kitzhaber and his fiance, that may take a while
-- in many ways, to be continued. But Mike Benner, reporter for KGW, NBC
in Portland, we really appreciate you getting up early and joining us this
morning. Thank you.

BENNER: You bet.

KORNACKI: All right. Still ahead, what happens when Reverend Al Sharpton
meets Reverend Al Sharpton, or the SNL version of Reverend Al Sharpton?
We`ll going to show you that in a little bit. But next, Ruth Bader
Ginsburg tells the not so sober truth about just why she nods off during
the State of the Union Address. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. There is a lot going on this morning. Time to get
caught up on some other headlines making news with today`s panel, we call
this our "Catching Up" segment. Sort of a rapid fire look at the headlines
around the country, around the world. Things that have people talking
today in this weekend. Got them in index card form here.

GENEVIEVE WOOD, THE DAILY SIGNAL: Not many.

KORNACKI: Here we go. Here`s the first one. This is the Washington Post.
The Scalia Ginsburg reality show. A not 100 percent sober friendship. So,
this is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked this week about how she falls
asleep at the State of the Union Address. She`s been caught on camera
doing that. She said, quote, "We sit there stone-faced, sober judges but
we`re not. At least I wasn`t 100 percent sober. Because before we went to
the State of the Union we had dinner together. And I vowed this year, just
sparkling water, stay away from the wine. But in the end, the dinner was
so delicious it needed wine to accompany it." So she showed up a little
tipsy maybe at the State of the Union and dozed off. It`s easy to doze off
at the State of the Union without booze.

WOOD: You don`t need a glass of wine to sleep during the State of the
Union most of the time. So, I think everybody made a lot of fun of the
fact that she fell asleep and I guess her granddaughter even called to say,
what`s going on. But the truth is, probably a lot of people watching TV
were asleep, too. The camera just wasn`t on them.

ANA MARIE COX, THE DAILY BEAST: I`m just shocked that there are people who
were sober. I wasn`t aware that was something that went on, that people
watched it without having something to drink. I mean, I have a few times
now but it`s definitely improved usually by some adult beverages. I think
she`s awesome, I do. Like I`m a big fan of notorious RBG. That I have to
say that the thing that really troubles me about the story is not that she
wasn`t 100 percent sober but apparently that all the, you know, they are
like best buds.

KORNACKI: It`s a mysterious culture.

COX: They travel together. That -- of justice.

WOOD: Yes.

KORNACKI: And they`re getting a lot. The incident Scalia and maybe his
reputation publicly is different -- because they all seem to get along with
him. I covered at the State of the Union one year, I was sitting in the
front row of the balcony and I remember I got there very early. I didn`t
pay much attention to the speech. I paid attention to who do I think was
sleeping among the men. There is democratic congressman from California.
I will not say his name. Because I`m 99 percent sure, not 100 percent, 99
percent sure that he was asleep for the entire speech but I won`t say his
name.

PETER BACON, JR. NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: This is the benefit
of lifetime tenure. If you can`t get fired from your job, the congressmen
stay awake because they might, you know, lose their election.

WOOD: The justices aren`t supposed to show agreement or not. You have to
sit there.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

KORNACKI: With Howard Dean making news about Scott Walker. Scott Walker
suddenly, you know, all the rage in the republican race for president.
Here`s what Howard Dean had to say about him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: Scott Walker, were he to become
president, would be the first president in many generations who didn`t have
a college degree. He`s never finished.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Right.

DEAN: So, the issue here is not just an issue of dancing around the
question of evolution for political reasons. The issue is how well
educated is this guy?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: For the record, Scott Walker attended Marquette University, left
before graduating and didn`t return. Also for the record, 31 percent of
Americans have a college degree. I don`t think this hurts him.

BACON: I don`t think it hurts him. Governor Dean with the same college
went to Yale, but I don`t want to be a snob like Governor Dean either and
suggest this isn`t a problem for Walker. And I think a lot of Americans
went to college for a while, didn`t finish. This is not an unusual story.
And I think it`s a perfectly fine and reasonable thing to do. Walker, as
far as I can tell, he should have done better. He should answer questions.
Evolution, that`s not a great answer. But I think he has plenty of time to
show he`s smart enough and up to the job.

WOOD: Yes. I think, look, I think this has actually helped him. A lot of
Americans are increasingly -- maybe college -- it`s a very expensive price
tag. But you don`t necessarily get that pay off once you get out. And the
reality is look, a lot of success stories aren`t just politics. John
Matthew of Whole Foods didn`t graduate from college. The late Steve Jobs
didn`t graduate from college. And when you start looking at whose
successes are, it doesn`t always have a college degree next to it.

COX: I agree. I think also this hurts the democrats more than it hurts
Walker. In the say to have Dean be the face of this argument, it makes
people who might want to have other arguments against Scott Walker look a
little bit superficial and silly. Because clearly he almost graduated,
number one and he left for a job.

WOOD: To work for the Red Cross.

KORNACKI: This is a sensitive subject for me because when I was graduating
many, many years ago, I had no money in college. So, I charged $25 in meal
points. My last week of school, graduating next week, I`m hungry, I had
five tuna fish sandwiches. That`s how I got through the week. We get to
the ceremony. They handed me the diploma, it`s an empty envelope, they say
you owe the school $25 and they have been sending ever since, you know,
solicitation`s mail, $25, we`ll give you your diploma. And so, I told my
mother, collect every single one of them when they come in. And when it
costs them more than $25 in postage, then I will send them the $25 and say,
give me my diploma. Anyway, I technically graduated they told me so that`s
why I do that.

All right. We got another one here. NPR has this one. For Valentine`s
Day, that`s today. I`m loving the boyfriend I built for myself, it is the
$25 app called the invisible boyfriend, it sends you personalized texts.
You can add on cards or voicemail based where you customize the name and
traits of your dream partner. For example saucy and sarcastic or lovingly
nerdy. And you build a virtual relationship with this.

COX: Just to be clear it`s also girlfriends. Right.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Probably.

COX: Equal opportunity. I`m guessing. I`m not going to say who might be
interested. Part of me wonders if it might be boys more than girls. This
whole thing is just, whatever, it`s sad. Like one thing I read in that
articles was it said it`s supposed to help keep unwanted suitors away like,
I have a boyfriend. This strikes me as a really not just passive-
aggressive but really an unhealthy way to get out of a potential situation
with someone else. I mean, I don`t want to talk to you is a perfectly
acceptable thing to say to somebody. This also just strikes me as highly
creepy.

WOOD: Well, isn`t it also okay to say, I don`t have a boyfriend and I`m
okay with that? And I think a lot of people they say we are using the app
in this way of like, you know, friends think I`ve got somebody in my life,
mom and dad think I have somebody in my life. It`s silly and sad.

KORNACKI: If people say that but I wonder sometime on the inside when
they`re alone at night, maybe they think differently.

WOOD: Maybe the person is real?

KORNACKI: It`s just the, you know, it`s just the illusion of, you know --

COX: I think like literally emotional porn.

KORNACKI: I have used the service several times. Anyway, that`s not true.
Anyway, my panel is staying foot. But still ahead, Massachusetts has seen
so much snow this winter. Plows shoveled enough to fill Gillette Stadium,
home of the Patriots, 90 times they could fill that. And there`s more snow
on the way this weekend. We`ll go live to Boston to see how the city is
preparing, if they can prepare. They are even talking about dumping snow
in Boston Harbor. But next, she was against Jeb Bush running before she
was for it. A flip-flop last night from a very famous woman.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Barbara Bush is giving in. The former first lady made headlines
a while back when she poo-poo`d the idea of her son Jeb running for
president in 2016, telling NBC`s the "Today" show, quote, "There are other
people out there that are very qualified. And we have had enough Bushes."
Not exactly a ringing endorsement from mom right there. But now Barbara
Bush is pulling a 180, making a surprise video appearance in Florida late
last night at an event where Jeb was speaking. And she tried to set the
record straight. Jeb, it`s mom, she interjected, according to reports,
listen, what do you mean too many Bushes? I changed my mind. By the way,
the story until now at least have been that it was Jeb`s father George H.W.
Bush who is been the most eager to see his son run. The son he saw going
way back as presidential timber more so than George W. Bush. And speaking
of George W., his name which couldn`t someway haunt Jeb`s campaign also
came up last night. Jeb Bush being asked by a reporter how he would have
handled Iraq and Afghanistan differently in replying with this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I won`t talk about the past. I
will talk about the future. If I`m in the process of considering the
possibility of running it`s not about relitigating anything in the past.
It`s about trying to create a set of principles and ideas that help us move
forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: This comes with the Washington Post reporting last night that
Jeb Bush is, quote, "Far outpacing the rest of the republican candidates
when it comes to raising money." The Post reporting that Bush`s two
fundraising committees are on course to rake in tens of millions of dollars
by early spring and the former Florida governor`s overwhelming dominance in
the race to line up financial backers has come at a speed that is impressed
longtime republican money players who say wealthy party backers have
rapidly migrated to Bush since 2012 nominee Mitt Romney decided against
another White House run two weeks ago. So, interesting Jeb Bush news this
morning. I guess that, look, I get it politically. He doesn`t want to
answer any questions about his brother`s presence. His brother left office
with a 30 percent approval rating. No mystery there. At the same time I`m
picturing, if we got to a Bush-Hillary Clinton race and people are asking
Hillary about Bill`s record and they`re asking Jeb about George W.`s
record, I imagine that`s something Hillary wants to talk about and Jeb
doesn`t. And I wonder if that`s a bad contrast.

COX: If they are asking about Iraq and Afghanistan, I don`t know if you
notice but those are not the past.

WOOD: Right.

COX: Those are not issues that are like somehow in the distance past. And
those are going to be issues that particular question is irrelevant for
both Hillary and Jeb. Not just about past answers and things we have done
in the past but what they would do moving forward. So, I think for both of
them, neither, I mean, there are reasons that Hillary would like to talk
about the past there`s also lots of reasons why she wouldn`t. I`m sure
both of them are going to use a line of -- something like that which is to
say, no, no, no, we`re going to focus on moving forward. But there are
some mistakes and some statements to be held accountable for. And these
last names that they are never going to escape. I mean, you can`t run on a
last name which both of them are doing and then say but sorry.

KORNACKI: I`m my own person. Yes. Can Jeb answer the question though
because this will come out I`m sure. You know, was it the right move? Was
it the right decision by, it was your brother but was it right decision by
this country to invade Iraq in 2003. Can he answer that question?

WOOD: He`s going to have to. Maybe he can use the line that Hillary did
on Benghazi. Now, what difference does it make? Right. He can throw that
kind of thing out. But no, look, both of them, whoever the candidates are
are going to have to answer questions about what they would do and what
they think of what`s been done in the past. I mean, you can`t completely
say, I step in brand new on day one and anything I thought about the past
doesn`t matter. He has going to have to answer those questions.

COX: Yes.

BACON: One thing for Jeb is the advantages that the other candidate answer
the question to, no republican really wants to be on the record saying this
war was, I think it`s maybe Rand Paul. I suspect a lot of other people.
Scott Walker. I think it will be hard for him to say I was opposed to the
war. Hillary Clinton of course voted for the war. So, we`re now in a
place where Jeb is not necessarily in a bad place. On a fundraising piece,
I think it`s really interesting, the couple of things that are happening,
one, I would argue Mitt Romney is not running because Jeb has already
locked the fundraisers down. He`s done a really good job last month.
Also, a lot of these fundraisers are people who are joining Jeb are based
around the New York City area. They in theory could be for the governor
right near them. And think about this for Chris Christie. It shows people
that are in this district in his area right around him are choosing to be -
- this is an almost an anti-endorsement as well as endorsement. They are
not for Christie. They are for Jeb. It`s not the same for Walker.
Christie should be getting more support from people in New York and right
now he`s not.

KORNACKI: So, this is exactly what the Bush people are going for and what
George W. Bush did when he locked up the republican nomination. He`s just
monopolize all these big money people, raise an eye bulging amount of money
and intimidate everybody else out. I wonder if in today`s Republican Party
given the resistance there is to the Bush name in the Republican Party, the
rise of the Tea Party. The billionaire-funded super PACs that can, you
know, equalize things, can that strategy work? If he comes in with obscene
money like we`re hearing, does that have an intimidating effect?

WOOD: Well, I think it certainly helps him. But I think that the couple
of things going on here. One is I think that you do have different play in
terms of who can donate, the rules of the Super PAC and the fact that a
lot of people get in with just a few people behind them and they stay in
for a while. We`ve seen that in recent elections. But number two, I think
you have more qualified candidates getting ready to stand up against Jeb
Bush than you did getting ready to stand up against George W. Bush in 2000.
And a lot of people are interested in them. So, look, somebody just has to
take fire. And the money starts coming in.

COX: Right. This is a different world than George W. Bush. This is a
different fund-raising environment. And I do think that this is, when you
pointed out -- when Perry pointed out, this is New York money and east
coast money that`s backing Bush, that`s not necessarily a good thing for a
lot of other candidates. They will point to that as a weakness.

KORNACKI: Right.

COX: Not just because it points a weakness in Christie but because that`s
the establishment. You know, those are the people they are backing Bush.
Don`t you want something different? This is I mean, in some ways like, you
know, Bush and Hillary have a lot to commiserate about if they ever get
together. I mean, they faced very similar narratives in conquering them.
They face a base that`s not necessarily happy with the choices they have
been given. If anything it is, the republican base that feels a little
more positive about this.

WOOD: I think republicans, they are excited about having a primary.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

And a good primary. Not just, you know, a bunch of people on stage but the
bunch of qualified people on stage. But you know, I think democrats
wanting some of the same thing. I mean, the fact that Elizabeth Warren is
outpolling Hillary Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire right now, maybe it`s
a blip.

KORNACKI: I`m not sure I believe those numbers but yes.

WOOD: Wait. Wait. Wait. And I`m not saying people think she can win.

KORNACKI: Yes.

WOOD: But I think they think a little bit of a primary can be good for
somebody. Now, I`m sure, if you go back, Hillary would say, no, because
that`s what happened last time. And I may not want it again.

KORNACKI: Right. No. And there is a difference between the once in a
lifetime primary challenge from Barack Obama or getting, you know, a real
race from Martin O`Malley or someone. Certainly a lot of democrats think
would be good for her but boy that difference between you poll nationally
right now. And Jeb Bush is at that 15 percent. And Hillary is up there at
65 percent. I don`t know she`d rather be in that position. Anyway, thanks
to the panel. We`ll going to see you though again in the next hour. And
still ahead, Alabama has become the latest focal point in the fight over
same-sex marriage. It`s a reminder that there are still many people out
there who are opposed to gay marriage. We`ll going to use the big board to
show you who exactly and where exactly that gay marriage opposition is
coming from these dais. And next, we are going live to Boston, it`s
bracing for yet another major winter snowstorm. The fourth to hit New
England in as many weeks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Millions of New Englanders are going to spending this weekend
riding out yet another winter storm. And if you`d think you have heard the
story before it`s because you have. This is the fourth major storm to hit
that region in as many weeks. This is what Boston looked like yesterday,
before the latest storm is set to hit. That was bad enough for the city.
City officials say, they`ve removed more than 10,000 truckloads of snow
this winter. Shaping up to be one of the snowiest so far. I think the
snowiest in Boston history. At least for February. The Weather Channel
Reynolds Wolf is live for us now in Boston, Reynolds you`re halfway covered
with snow. It`s going to be up to your shoulders in a few hours, I think.

REYNOLDS WOLF, THE WEATHER CHANNEL: We are getting to the point where this
is not weather. This is punishment. This is absolutely ridiculous. I
mean, I can tell you, stepping off the plane yesterday and chatting with
people in the airport at the hotel and certainly the people we have spoken
to this morning, people are sick and tired of it. The problem is, we are
going to see more of this snowfall coming through over the next 12 hours or
so. Now, the amount of snow, the amount of this stuff that we could be
dealing with could measure up to a foot. Maybe some locations a bit more.
But that`s one factor we are dealing with.

The second issue which is nonexistent for the time being is going to be the
wind, the wind is going to pick up. So, we`ll going to have blizzard-like
conditions. And then along the coast, right there in the center of that
storm system, you have winds spinning around, this is going to cause the
water to pile up. So, we could have some serious beach erosion and
possibly some coastal flooding. So yes, very very nasty stuff on this
Valentine`s Day. Now, in terms of travel, all right, traveling by foot is
going to be one of the best ways to get around. The streets for now are in
pretty good shape. They have done the best job they possibly can.

I got to tell you, the main thoroughfares in downtown Boston near Copley
Square. You have places where only a car can get through at the time
because the snow is piled up so high on both sides of the street. So, with
the additional snow that we anticipate, that`s going to be even tougher.
Traveling all together is going to be next to impossible as we get tonight.
Mass transit, the last subways are going to be operational. We`ll be right
at 12:15 this morning. Then after that trollies, ferries, one of the city
buses, again not operating. Back to you, guys.

KORNACKI: All right. Reynolds Wolf in Boston, proof that God must be a
Seahawks fan. That`s my only conclusion. Anyway, still ahead we`ll talk
with members of Congress from both parties about President Obama`s military
authorization request against ISIS. But next as of this morning two-thirds
of Alabama counties are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after
a week of legal wars. Who is still against gay marriage in Alabama and
everywhere in this country? We`re going to show you, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. A big news this week. We`ve talked about a lot on
MSNBC, Alabama where lots of candidates were refusing to hand that same sex
marriage licenses, a few have since changed their mind. And of course,
this is a reminder that there are places in the country, where opposition
to gay marriage remains very strong or very popular, if you look at it
nationally, if you poll this question right now 55 percent of the people
say, they support it. Forty two percent say, they oppose it. We are
always talking about how gay marriage is becoming more and more popular but
that 42 percent is a big number still. And that 42 percent is a lot higher
in some states. States like Alabama. So, we said let`s take you through
where are will going to find the most opposition to gay marriage. One
place you can look is, age, the older you are -- the younger you are, the
more likely you are to support it. Fifty six percent of 18 to 49-year-
olds. Only 38 percent of those over 50.

Here`s another marker. Level of education. If you are a college grad, six
out of 10 of them support gay marriage. If you have no college at all, 39
percent support gay marriage. A big gap there. Here`s another gap, it`s
ideological, if you call yourself a liberal, overwhelming support. A
moderate, pretty strong support. If you call yourself a conservatives,
only one if four conservatives supporting gay marriage. Here is another
way we can look at it. It`s religion. Among Jews, heavy, heavy support.
Three in four support gay marriage, those who have no religion at all,
heavy support for it. Catholics just over 50 percent. Protestants lower
at 34 percent. Now, there is a reason for that. We can look a little bit
closer at Protestants and you can see some gaps here. Among white main
line Protestants it is majority support. Fifty two percent. In black
churches, you find it`s lower at 35 percent. And in white evangelical or
Born Again Christian churches, 19 percent. That is the lowest number
you`ll going to find. If you look at a state like Alabama, heavy
evangelical population. Now, obviously, that`s one of the reasons the gay
marriage is still unpopular in Alabama and all of that stuff you saw this
week happening there this week. Anyway, thought we would take a look at
that.

Much more to come in the next hour including the Congressional reaction to
the President`s request for military force against ISIS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: The authorization of force.

(MUSIC)

KORNACKI: All right. Thanks for staying with us this Saturday morning.
We still have a lot to get to today.

In a few minutes, we`re going to be talking about the president`s request
to define the fight against ISIS with Democratic Senator Bob Casey from
Pennsylvania and Republican Congressman Charlie Dent.

If you are chilly this morning, you`re waking up to some of the coldest
temperatures in a year all across the country.

Also, Jon Stewart, one of the most influential people in American politics.
He`s stepping away from "The Daily Show." You probably heard about that
this week.

But who replaces him now?

MSNBC`s "POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton gets a surprise visitor ahead of
"SNL`s" 40th anniversary spectacular. We`re going to show all the
highlights from that very memorable, and very funny appearance on that show
yesterday.

But we begin this hour at the White House. Six months after the United
States began bombing ISIS, President Obama asked Congress to authorize the
use of force. He included no geographic limitations in his request. But
he did ask that the approval be limited to three years, at which time
Congress would have to reauthorize.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do not believe America`s
interests are served by endless war or by remaining on a perpetual war
footing. It is not a timetable. It is not announcing that the mission is
completed at any given period. What it is saying is that Congress should
revisit the issue at the beginning of the next president`s term.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And NBC`s Kristen Welker is live at the White House this
morning.

So, Kristen, they put this proposal together this week. Congress has been
sort of pouring over, starting to comment on it. A lot of criticism from
the left and right for different reasons. How is the White House handling
the criticism it`s heard so far?

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: You`re absolutely right. Well, the White House
is preparing to make a robust push to get this passed. And the reaction,
as you point out, Steve, has been mixed. There is bipartisan support for
passing the AUMF. There`s agreement about that. But lawmakers are deeply
divided about how specifically to do it. In fact, Obama ally, House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, acknowledged this week that it would be a,
quote, "tough lift", in her words.

A lot of the more liberal Democrats say the language is just too open ended
specifically when it comes to the issue of ground forces. They want the
AUMF to ban the use of ground troops altogether.

As it is written right now, the legislation would prevent the use of,
quote, "enduring offensive ground combat operations". Lawmakers on both
sides of the aisle are asking, what does that mean? What does enduring
mean? What does offensive mean?

This week, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the language is
intentionally fuzzy to give the president some flexibility. But some
Democrats worry that nonspecific language could be the start of mission
creep. They`re also criticizing this AUMF for the fact that there are no
geographic constraints in the language. The White House argues the
president needs to be able to pursue ISIS and its targets wherever they may
exist.

Meanwhile, Republicans feel as though the AUMF limits the president`s power
too much. House Speaker John Boehner earlier this week vowed to work
through the issues one day at a time.

I am told, Steve, that this could pass by April. But even that may be
generous. This is going to be a big fight. A lot of thorny issues to work
through -- Steve.

KORNACKI: OK, a lot of drama still to play out on that. Thanks as always
to Kristen Welker, live at the White for us this morning. Appreciate that.

WELKER: You got it.

KORNACKI: How does the American public feel about what the president is
looking for here?

Well, a new NBC News-Marist poll took a look at that, asked how they
thought their congressman should vote on the plan the president submitted,
54 percent said they want Congress to vote for it, 32 percent said against.
Asked if the United States will defeat ISIS, 66 percent, two-thirds
answered that the U.S. will be able to do that. Only 23 percent said they
wouldn`t.

As we noted last hour, a majority of Americans believe the U.S. should send
at least some ground troops to battle ISIS. The plurality, excuse me, 40
percent siding with a limited number. It`s now up to Congress to decide.

We are now joined by the senior senator from Pennsylvania, Democrat Bob
Casey. He`s a member of the bipartisan national working group. He joins us
from Pittston, Pennsylvania.

Senator, I appreciate you taking the time this morning. I`ll start with
the question raised in that --

SEN. BOB CASEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Thanks, Steve.

KORNACKI: -- in that report we got from Kristen Welker. She said some of
the criticism, some of the concerns raised about what the president is
looking for here has to do with an attempt in the language here to limit
the use of ground forces. But it says it would prohibit them, quote, "for
enduring offensive ground operations".

And the concern that`s been raised is that there`s that very fuzzy
language. Lots of potential loopholes there. That`s something that this
president, or more to the point, a future president, since this runs for
three years, could potentially exploit to very much expand the ground
presence over there.

Is that a concern you share?

CASEY: It is a concern I share. I generally think the president, the
proposal he`s made is headed in the right direction. But there is no
question. And Kristen was right. This will be a big battle.

But it should be. This is the grave question of war. We have a national
security threat from ISIS. Congress has a duty to debate this, and not for
a couple of hours or a few days. We should dedicate a lot of time to this
by way of debate and by way, briefings and engage in debates that get at
the basic question, because I have a concern about what that means. What
does enduring offensive ground combat operations, just five words -- what
do they mean? And what does it do by way of a constraint but not a
constraint that will disallow or inhibit the president from fulfilling his
obligations as commander-in-chief?

KORNACKI: So, what`s -- as you look at this, it`s early. This sounds like
a process that could play out into, as Kristen was just saying, maybe into
April. But as you look at this right now, what do you need to see change?
What do you need to see added here that would make you comfortable
supporting this?

CASEY: Well, first I want to know more about what those five words mean.
That`s very, very important because that`s the part of the proposal where
there`s a grant of authority. That`s if it`s not the most important thing
in the proposal, it`s number two. But I think it is the most important.

I do think the fact it has a three-year time horizon is good. That`s what
I had suggested in a speech in December. As well as a commitment not in
the proposal but in the transmittal letter from the president which said
that -- he raised the question of altering or amending and repealing the
2001 authorization in the aftermath of 9/11. That I think that`s hanging
over this as well, because a lot of folks are concerned that becomes
another way to deploy troops or another way to engage in a broader
offensive.

KORNACKI: There was -- we put some of those numbers from this new NBC
News-Marist poll. I want to show you another one right now. This caught
my eye. Americans were asked about the confidence in President Obama`s
strategy against ISIS.

So, earlier, they support the authorization he`s looking at. But they also
say, a plurality say they have not much or no confidence in the president`s
strategy, only 45 percent say they have a lot.

So, the message I`m getting from this poll, Senator, is people clearly feel
we should be doing something proactive here dealing with ISIS. But in
terms of when they look to the president, they are not seeing much of a
plan right now. Are you?

CASEY: Well, Steve, I think he`s laid out a good strategy months ago now.
But -- and I showed a lot of forbearance in not criticizing it. Some
people criticizing it before the ink was dry. That`s not appropriate to
approach it.

But he has a strategy and it involves a 60-nation coalition. I don`t think
he nor his administration is doing enough to communicate what the strategy
is and to do periodic if not almost daily reporting on where things are
going well, where things are not. And that part of the problem here. You
can`t just have a strategy. You`ve got to communicate it effectively and
repeatedly. You have to spend the time. So, that`s a difficult
assignment.

But I think those who say he doesn`t have a strategy are wrong. But I
think they have to be much better at communicating wins and losses,
successes and constantly re-evaluate, because even as we debate the
authorization we have to continually assess how the strategy is being
implemented. Does it need to be changed? Do we have to make adjustments?
But that`s why we need a big debate. It should be a long and important
debate.

KORNACKI: All right. Senator Bob Casey, Democrat for Pennsylvania --
appreciate the time this morning. Thank you very much.

CASEY: Thanks, Steve.

KORNACKI: All right. Now, to get a view from the other side of the aisle,
an about an hour`s drive down Interstate 476, Charlie Dent, Republican from
Pennsylvania, he joins us now.

So, Congressman, you`ve seen -- I will start where I started with the
senator. You have seen the request from the president. You have seen
these polls, too. When you look at the request, are you comfortable
supporting it right now or what would you need to support it in the future?

REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I believe we need an AUMF, an
authorization for force, but I`m not comfortable with the one presented. I
agree with some things that senator said. Others, I probably take issue
with. I don`t think a three-year timeline is particularly a good idea. I
think it sends a bad signal to allies, it certainly sends a message to our
enemies.

It also will handcuff the next president of the United States. That`s a
problem.

KORNACKI: I`m sorry, sir. Are you saying, do you want no timeline, or
just a much longer timeline?

DENT: I wouldn`t put a timeline in at all. Not in the authorization for
the use of military force. And I think you touch on something, Steve. The
public -- and I certainly agree, we need an authorization. However, an
authorization to use force is not a strategy. The strategy must be more
clearly articulated than it has been up to this point.

In my view -- every expert with whom I have spoken said, there needs to be
a ground force there in order to defeat ISIS. Air power alone will not do
the job. I`m not suggesting there be American ground forces there in
massive numbers. It`s not what I`m arguing.

But there`s going to have to be a multinational Sunni Arab and Turkish
force on the ground to defeat ISIS. And if the goal is -- if the objective
is to defeat ISIS, I don`t think we have a strategy that does it. And
there are two issues, there is Iraq campaign and there`s a Syria campaign.
Iraq, I think there is a much clearer path forward on how to defeat ISIS
and Iraq.

Syria, much more complex because there is not a Sunni political
infrastructure within Syria, and that is very important, because we have to
defeat them military. But there`s also a political dimension to this. I
understand the path in Iraq because there`s a Sunni political
infrastructure that we can work with and develop, but not so in Syria.

KORNACKI: What is the mood of your colleagues? I wonder if you`ve got
Democrats you`re talking to, I`m curious and Republicans, because hanging
over this is the experience with Iraq. The experience of the sort of the
last 10 years of American foreign policy, you see how just throughout
history how our decisions on war generally decided in rear-view mirrors
way. You know, World War I haunted us, haunted this country for years. A
lot of people say we should be confronting Hitler, and it was memories of
World War I gave the isolationist movement still much power.

So, now, we are in a condition where the disaster of what played out this
Iraq has caused so much hesitancy to get involved in this, get involved in
a big way in something like this going forward. Are you sensing that
resistance among the members up there, are you sensing that maybe they are
thinking about this is starting to change?

DENT: I think -- certainly, my colleagues are sensitive to what happened
in 2001 and 2003 in Iraq. There`s no question about it. But at the same
time, we realize what happened in Syria one with could argue was in large
part due to American disengagement and detachment. We took largely a hands
off position on Syria, and now, we have seen hundreds of thousands of
deaths.

So, I mean, we`re trying to strike the right balance here. I think
everybody, there`s a consensus that there should not be a major American
ground force in Iraq or Syria. I think we all agree to that point.

But the issue becomes we all want to defeat ISIS. We can`t do it without
the ground force. So, it really becomes a political challenge for us to
get this coalition which I could argue is not particularly -- is half
willing in many cases. Not so with the Jordanians and the UAE, but we need
the Turks and Saudis much more engaged.

And they are looking at this AUMF, too. If they see a three-year timeline,
they see that as a lack of resolve on behalf of the United States. So,
it`s tricky.

It also plays into Assad. You know, there are some on the Sunni side, the
Turks in particular, who feel that Assad must be defeated in order to take
down ISIS. Now, I think I`m not sure -- I don`t necessarily agree with
that position with the Turks, and I don`t think the president does either.
But that is something we also have to consider here. Our Sunni, Arab
allies and Turks have a different view of how to deal with Assad as we
confront ISIS.

KORNACKI: Yes, a lot of different moving parts here. A very complex
issue, obviously. This is a debate, as we say just at the beginning
stages.

But, Congressman Charlie Dent from Pennsylvania, appreciate the time this
morning. Thank you.

DENT: Thank you.

KORNACKI: All right. A lot ahead to come this morning, including the
battle for the top job in fake news. We are taking a close news at the
contenders for Jon Stewart`s chair.

(COMMERCIL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: It`s easier to say, no
limitations, rather than start naming countries and you`ve let somebody
out, giving a roadmap to the al Qaeda as to where they can go because we`re
not going.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday making the case
for not putting geographic limitations in a resolution battling ISIS. Add
that to the latest NBC News-Marist poll numbers showing that Americans are
almost split when asked what amount of confidence they have in President
Obama`s strategy against ISIS. So, we showed this last block, 45 percent
say they have a lot, 48 percent, a plurality, though, saying, they have not
much or none.

This is a revealing one also from the poll in how President Obama will be
remembered for overseas conflicts, 40 percent say he`ll be remembered for
ending the war, 44 percent for starting a new one.

Back at the table is Genevieve Wood with "The Daily Signal", Ana Marie Cox
from "The Daily Beast", and Perry Bacon, Jr. with NBC News.

I forgot to introduce them the first time they were on. But I think
everybody here recognizes you.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Nobody can -- anyway. So, thank you for putting up with my
idiocy on that.

So, let`s talk about this. I`ll start with the poll question that I ended
on right there because that really jumped out at me.

I mean, the whole impetus for Barack Obama`s presidential campaign. The
whole reason Democrats rallied around him in 2007 and against Hillary
Clinton was the war, it was ending the Iraq war. The war that Hillary
Clinton voted for, that Barack Obama was going to get this country out of.
And now, more people say he`ll be remembered for starting a new war than
for ending one.

Do you think he will be?

PERRY BACON, JR., NBC NEWS: I think those people have bad memories. I
mean, the public is off here. When Obama started we had 100,000 troops in
Iraq, we had a lot in Afghanistan as well. We are getting near a small
number.

It`s hard for me to understand how the public sort of views it that way
with. The right critique might be he with drew troops from Iraq too fast.
That might be the right way to think about it.

But in terms of -- and therefore, we are in a situation where we had to go
back in. The notion he`s known more for starting a war than ending them is
confusing from the Republican point of view.

COX: Yes, I think this is a poorly phrased question. We are in a forever
war. That`s just true.

I mean, since 9/11 that`s what we have done. Nothing we have done
legislatively or tactically has done thinking to either start a new one or
end one really. We are just in the midst of a perpetual conflict.

I think the AUMF is actually just -- the way we are talking about it even
shows that we are unprepared to reconcile with the fact that we cannot even
think of these things as wars in a conventional sense.

WOOD: Right.

COX: This is -- we are fighting an ideology. We are fighting a frame of
mind. We`re not fighting a geographic location. There is -- when people
talk about, do we need ground troops to defeat ISIS, what does it mean to
defeat ISIS? Like there is no definition of it. This is not a country
that can wave a white flag. There are no officials that can surrender to
us.

WOOD: The question is, how do you contain it? And I think any president
who gets up and says, we`re going to end a war, or we`re never going to
have another war, is just -- that`s bad foot. Let`s go back to Woodrow
Wilson, the war to end all wars, World War I. Where we do find ourselves
not many years later? World War II.

And the reality is, I think the reason you see that poll numbers because
people don`t feel as though wars -- I mean, just bringing troops home but
still having the chaos going on over there. And Americans feeling their
security is at risk says, look, we don`t think this thing is over. They
aren`t confident we are doing a good job of containing and fighting it.

And I think that`s why you see the president making this move. I think
this is a PR move more than anything else. Democrats don`t seem to like
it. Most on the right don`t like it.

KORNACKI: What`s going to happen with this? Because you got --
traditionally, right, you submit this to Congress. There would be a
negotiation on it and there`d be some kind of settlement. But they are
moving in opposite directions here.

I mean, we just heard it in the last segment. We had the Democrat came on.
He says, a three-year window makes perfect sense. The Republican comes on
and says, I don`t want a window on it. I want this open ended.

So, it`s not like they are moving towards that can compromise in a year or
a half or --

COX: Both of them are arguing out of ideology not practical consideration
of what it would mean to be engaging in this war. The Democrats are saying
that`s what they think Democrats want to hear, and the Republicans are
saying, they think that`s what their base wants to hear.

When it comes right down to it, Congress has not listened to the military
or the intelligence communities when it comes to fighting this war. Right
now, we have people in Gitmo that both the military and intelligence
community say that they should be able to let go that Congress is
considering legislation that would prevent them from being relieved --

WOOD: But you can say the same --

COX: -- out of political motivation.

WOOD: But you can say the same thing about the president. Many people
will say the president has not listened --

COX: Sure.

WOOD: -- to his past secretaries of defense, the current one who is about
to leave, or the defense intelligence agency.

So, I think the problem here, I do think you have a lot of politics
involved. I don`t think there is a doubt about that. But I think many
people, including the public are concerned we are not in a good place now.
They are very worried something big could happen very shortly.

I`m worried, frankly, that that`s why the president is making this move
right now. That he knows something the rest of us don`t know and that he`s
trying to get a little bit of cover on this.

BACON: Just to add, it looks like Congress is converging but are they
coming together? They are coming out with positions that I would argue
suggest maybe they really don`t want a vote. Maybe they really don`t want
to. Maybe they just want the president to go through with it, because if
Mario Rubio says, we have to have a no strings attached at all, and
Democrats say, we have to have lots of strings, it`s hard to see how a vote
comes together right now.

I think that might be the intention. A lot of people in Congress --
remember they got to Congress because they replaced someone who with voted
for the Iraq war. These guys would love not to be on the record for
anything.

KORNACKI: You know, you know, it`s presidential campaign season. A number
of Republican senators locking to run for president. Maybe, you know,
Democratic, too. There is always an opportunity in these sort of things to
frame it in a way where, here, I`m going to make a stand for my base that`s
being sold out by this. Yes, you could make that from the left, you could
make that from the right on this. There is that incentive to disrupt on
this.

So, we`ll have to keep an eye out for that.

That panel is staying put. Before we get back to them we want you up to
date on late-breaking developments in that pending cease-fire in Ukraine.
Fighting now intensifying in Eastern Ukraine with separatist rebels trying
to take control offer more territory before the troop takes hold. The
cease-fire is set to begin at midnight in Ukraine, hours from now. Stay
with MSNBC and MSNBC.com throughout the day for updates.

Still ahead, new developments in the investigation into the shooting deaths
of those three Muslim college students in North Carolina. What police say
they found in the suspected gunman`s apartment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: We are staying on top of several developing story this is
weekend. A blizzard set to pummel New England once again very soon. Also,
the investigation into the shooting deaths of the three Muslim college
students down in North Carolina. The FBI has opened a preliminary inquiry
into that case. And local police now say the man accused of pulling the
trigger had at least a dozen firearms in his home.

Craig Hicks is charged with three counts of murder. He was the neighbor of
the three victims. Police said a dispute over parking led to the shooting.

The father of two of the victims says it was because the three students
were Muslims. He calls it a hate crime.

President Obama weighing in on the killings yesterday, releasing a
statement that reads in part, "No one in the United States of America
should be targeted because of who they are, what they look like or how they
worship."

Turning back to politics now, what grade would you give our last three
presidents when it comes to race is? We`ll ask the question right after
this.

And later, with Jon Stewart leaving "The Daily Show", there is a scramble
for the chair. Many are asking, will a woman finally get a seat at that
table?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Like the rest of America, black America in the aggregate is better
off now than it was when I came into office. The gap between income and
wealth of white and black America persists. And we`ve got more work to do
on that front.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That was President Obama responding to a question about the
state of black America from senior White House correspondent from American
Urban Radio Networks April Ryan. That`s a familiar face to viewers of this
show. April Ryan has been covering the White House since 1997.

And her book "The Presidency in Black and White" goes behind the scenes to
look at how the three administrations she`s covered, the last three
administrations have handled race issues. Ryan grades each president on
how they definitely they have managed this complicated terrain.

George W. Bush brings up the rear with a C minus. Bill Clinton and
President Obama both score a B-plus. "New York Times" reporting Ryan
originally gave Obama a B but raised his grade due to his handling of the
shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Joining me now to discuss all this is the author of that book, and a
frequent UP guest, April Ryan.

April, thank you for taking a few minutes this morning. And
congratulations on the book. So, that`s interesting. Barack Obama, first
African-American president in history, you know, shatters all expectations
in getting elected. Your instinct was to give Bill Clinton a better grade.

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Yes. Thanks for having me,
Steve.

Yes. First term for President Obama is different from the second term.
You have to remember this president had to navigate the waters to
successfully get a second term. And this second term, particularly in this
fourth quarter, you see a much different Barack Obama as it relates to race
than you did in the first term.

So, the first term, they had to be very strategic. The White House even
said, everything will follow him for history`s sake to include politics and
race. So, today really had to navigate the waters. They said if there was
a subject and it veered off into the issue of race, it would have just
changed the subject and that subject would not be, and it would be more
about race.

So, they really had to be strategic in how they handled the first term.
And that`s why I changed the grade.

KORNACKI: It`s interesting. I mean, you are talking about the specific
policy questions that come up which are hugely important. But I wonder,
when you give a grade out to Barack Obama, is there -- is there credit
given for just the fact of his victory, the fact of what it says to people
about what African-American can do, what it says to young people who had
never seen an African-American president before.

Does that factor in at all?

RYAN: It`s not necessarily that he just became president. Remember, I am
a reporter who questions every president that I cover. It`s about what
they are doing. It`s the questions of accountability. What have are you
done, what are you doing, what do you plan to do?

The first term was a little weaker than the second. That`s what it`s more
about.

And, really, to be honest with you, there could be another book in the
making to round out the grade after this administration is over.

KORNACKI: That`s interesting.

Let me ask you about the other one. George W. Bush with a C minus.

RYAN: Yes.

KORNACKI: Give us the low light of the administration when it comes to
race and what`s the highlight?

RYAN: Well, let`s start with the good first. The highlight is his work in
Africa. He`s known as the president who did the most for Africa, Sub-
Saharan Africa. He established PEPFAR.

You even have former President Bill Clinton on the record in the presidency
in black and white, my book, talking about the fact that he helped George
W. Bush gain that recognition because they were talking on the way to the
funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005 and trying to work out how to get
drugs, the much needed drugs at a discount price. And they worked it out
and this happened.

So, he`s known to have done a lot on HIV/AIDS in Africa, tuberculosis,
malaria, mosquito nets, things of that nature. He still goes back to
health.

Now on the low side, President Bush did get an F for Hurricane Katrina.
Any time you have anyone die, that`s bad.

That F is for that, as well as the fact that you have a group of people who
felt they were not connected in any way to their country. They were
disenfranchised. They were left unfortunately to find their own way. If
they survived, they survived. If not, they did not. It was a sad time for
this country, and for people who lived in the Hurricane Katrina ravaged
areas.

BACON: April, congratulations on the book. You have done a great job.

I wanted to ask you, you have talked to all three of the previous
presidents about race. Can you talk us about what they told you about how
they view a little bit, a snippet of what you`re talking about, what they -
- how they view black American and race in American?

RYAN: Well, let`s start with President Clinton. Former President Bill
Clinton really believed in moving America forward. One he saw the nation
was browning, and we`re going to be a nation that has a majority that will
be minority very soon. So, he tried to start a conversation on race in
America and it really, it floundered because it was overshadowed by the
Monica Lewinsky scandal. But he honestly tried.

And one thing about that, we had an intense conversation, an interesting
and intense conversation about race. We had soulful dinner with the
president, off-the-record soulful dinner and we talked about this in this
book. And he wanted to find out our thoughts about race. The reporters
who covered them and at that time it was more African-American reporters
and producers than it has been since then. We don`t have that many now, as
you know, Perry.

George W. Bush, we talked a lot about race. On the record and off the
record. I remember some instances and it`s in the book as well, when just
before President Obama`s historic election to the president, we were
talking in his limousine about race, the overt and subtle racism that was
happening in the country during the time of the election process, in the
run-up to the elections and how the nation was divided over this potential
-- possible president, over this candidate. Then-Senator Barack Obama and
his run for the Oval Office.

Then President Obama, we talk about race but it it`s a little bit more than
that. It`s more of an instinct of kind of thing that we do, and we deal
with it, and off the record and on the record. And all of that`s here in
"The Presidency in Black and White".

KORNACKI: All right. April Ryan, that`s the title of the new book, check
that out, "The Presidency in Black and White". April, thanks for joining
us this morning. Appreciate that.

RYAN: Thanks for having me, Steve

KORNACKI: All right. Up next the leader of the free world gets goofy for
a cause. Is this what the presidency looks like a digital age?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. We are back with the panel.

A lot going on in the news today. Time to get caught up with it in our
catching up segment. Got a lot of things making headlines in the country,
a lot of things people are talking about, I will pull out the random index
card, and let`s see what we got.

Here we go. We`ve got -- this is interesting. This is a video that`s been
generating a lot of conversation this week. You may have seen it. Let`s
play a little bit of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh! Thanks, Obama.

OBAMA: Thanks, Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President?

OBAMA: Can I live?

Yolo, man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That was for BuzzFeed.

Now, technically, the justification is the White House is trying to talk
about the enrollment deadline for health care. So, they put that video and
it was mentioned in there. This starts out when a president acts like a
human being, we have the debate over whether he or she maybe is beneath the
dignity of the office, which what we`re doing. It used to be time in
history when campaigning -- a president campaigning was violating the
dignity of the office.

I don`t know. I`m hearing that debate here. Anybody think this crosses
the line?

COX: Stupid. Everyone talks about it whenever president -- any president
is inhuman. The other side picks up on it as a reason to criticize. I`m
curious about the cleanliness of the White House mirrors.

(CROSSTALK)

COX: I don`t know who the cleaning staff is there. But it made me as an
OCD person want to scrub.

But I thought it was a cute video. It probably reached the audience it was
supposed to reach. He`s done stuff like this.

Every president has done stuff like this, Republican and Democrat. I think
Obama carries it off with a certain coolness. I don`t necessarily mean
that in a compliment that`s distinctive to him. But --

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: No, no.

COX: He`s got the sunglasses.

KORNACKI: You see a little bit of why he can be difficult to caricature on
"Saturday Night Live" or something.

WOOD: See, I don`t have -- I don`t think it`s demeaning. I mean, I know
there are people that do. I wouldn`t put it in that category. I do
question again, it`s kind of like playing golf, we had the beheading of an
American in the Middle East. This is put together within 24 hours of us
losing a young woman over there.

Well, I just timing is important. When you think why are Americans
concerned we don`t have a strategy, and then they see this going on and
being done.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: That`s the other --

COX: Use this video as a way of oh deciding it.

WOOD: Two, I think this is also a question for journalists. I mea,
BuzzFeed was helping him promote a particular policy. Would MSNBC have
gone over to the White House and said we`ll help you promote one of your
plans? I think that`s also kind of interesting.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: We have another one of these index cards to get to. This is
from BuzzFeed. Speaking of the devil.

Arkansas legislature passes a bill allowing LGBT discrimination. The
Arkansas legislature approving a bill to block cities and counties from
enacting anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBT people. The governor,
Asa Hutchinson, said he will let it become law without signing it. This
comes the same week of news out of Kansas, where employment discrimination
protections for gay state employees were rescinded by the governor out
there, Sam Brownback. Interesting when the rights get on the book today
don`t get taken away. Now in some places they are.

COX: Well, the judgment of history will be harsh on these things. I
believe that -- I believe these things will probably -- I mean, this is a
roll back. In a way, it`s a wake-up call for some people who have been
taking it for granted that the future of gay and lesbian rights was
proceeding a pace and the country was behind it.

This is a reminder that people -- there are still people who are on the
wrong side of history, and that we have not sort of gotten as far as we
thought we had.

WOOD: Well, I think there is an interesting thing going on here. I mean,
the reality is that over 80 percent, 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies
are offering benefits on their own. So, you don`t have to have the
government to step in and do it.

COX: There`s 20 percent that aren`t doing it.

WOOD: But hold on. And so, I think people are making the voluntary
decisions, a lot of businesses on their own. And I think the concern many
people have, especially people with religious convictions, that they
believe in religious liberty cases popping up. And we see them happening,
and people are concerned about religious freedoms, too.

I mean, there`s got to be a balance of rights here.

COX: It`s preposterous.

WOOD: Well, it`s not preposterous when you`re firing -- when people`s
businesses are being shut down because they as religious believers don`t
want to participate, for example, in a same-sex wedding. I think people
ought to have the right to say, I don`t want to participate in that.

KORNACKI: In a way.

WOOD: That`s where you are seeing a reaction here.

KORNACKI: When the debate turns into should this bakery have to bake a
cake for this wedding, it tells you how far the debate has advanced that
that`s the level we are at right now, as opposed to should there be a
wedding.

BACON: And also the big news, Roy Moore is the only person on the country
on some level who`s defending -- who`s not supporting -- he feels Roy
Moore, even other judges in Alabama went against him. So, he was fighting
to stop same-sex marriages. He`s pretty much left alone now. So, that`s
where the debate is headed.

KORNACKI: All right. And, finally, this is not from an index card, but
this happened last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEN THOMPSON: Coming right up, we`re going to be talking about --
something. Just stay tuned for it. Coming back for a commercial.

REV. AL SHARPTON, POLITICS NATION: We`ll be right back. We`ll be right
back.

THOMPSON: We`ll be right back. Kenan Thompson --

SHARPTON: Kenan.

THOMPSON: Reverend Sharpton.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Oh, my. Kenan Thompson, Reverend Al Sharpton, the highlight to
me of the current "SNL" version are the Reverend Al sketches. They are
dead on. That was hilarious to see.

Also, if you missed it last night on "HARDBALL", Chris Matthews had a great
compilation of old Darrell Hammond as Chris Matthews sketches. That was
also fun to watch.

Anyway, my thanks to Perry Bacon, Jr., Genevieve Wood, Ana Marie Cox,
appreciate you being here today.

The guys over "SNL" are not the only ones to skewer media in politics. Jon
Stewart has been doing it for 16 years. But this week, he announced that
he is done. Can anyone fill his shoes? We`ll talk about that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW: You get in this business with the idea that
maybe you have a point of view and something to express and to (AUDIO GAP)
feedback from that is the greatest feeling you can ask for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That is Jon Stewart Tuesday night, you know the deal -- 16 years
as the host of "The Daily Show." Now, he`s stepping aside.

Who better to talk about it then two great people here: Lizz Winstead, the
co-creator of "The Daily Show." She goes all the way back from the
beginning with this. And Jason Zinoman who writes the "On Comedy" column
for "The New York Times."

Thanks to both of you for being here.

Lizz, let me jut start with you, because I remember when Jon Stewart took
over "The Daily Show." He talked over from Craig Kilborn and I thought and
a lot of people thought at the same time, well, this show is going to go
downhill right now. Craig Kilborn made this unique thing. He got picked
up by CBS. He`s going to the big leagues. Jon Stewart is going to come
in. And what`s Jon Stewart going to do this?

Then, it became the go-to political comedy, political satire show really
for the last decade and a half. Can it keep being that with a new host or
is there a brand new "Daily Show" that comes out of this?

LIZZ WINSTEAD, "THE DAILY SHOW" CO-CREATOR: I think it has to be -- I
think the tenants that it has to live up to is to have a strong point of
view to be sort of this place that cares about the hilarity and cares about
the news and, yes, I think it can be. I think that whoever the host is
will be able to make it their own.

You know, Jon made it a different show than Craig. Anybody who watched it
in the early days remember for lack of a better way of putting it, it was
more like Colbert in the sense that everybody was staying in on the joke.
There was no voice of the person.

And Jon came in and transitioned it into he was our voice. So, he
surrounded himself with the lunatics that represented our media and then
was able to be like, I know what you`re thinking and I`m going to be that
voice for you and did it brilliantly.

KORNACKI: So, what did you have any sense, Jason, what Comedy Central or
Viacom, their thinking right now about how to go forward? Obviously, it`s
hugely important show to them, as the Colbert show. It was a big
moneymaker for them. But do you have a sense what kind of "Daily Show"
they want to have going forward? Any specific sort of musts?

JASON ZINOMAN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: No, and the important thing is most
people talking about this also don`t know. And I think most of the
discussion about who is going to replace Jon Stewart is just fantasy. It`s
like talking about Donald Trump running for president. We don`t know who
wants it, which is the most important.

I think the big question is, do you wanted to go some place in-house, in
which there`s several very good candidates, or do you want to look
elsewhere?

KORNACKI: Who are some of the in-house candidates?

ZINOMAN: Aasif Mandvi, Samantha Bee, Jessica Williams has gotten a lot of
attention. So, you know, Comedy Central has taken a real blow. They have
lost a lot of talent, Oliver, Colbert and Stewart.

KORNACKI: That`s an idea I`ve heard, too, is that Jon Oliver went to HBO,
but, hey, for the right price, they could just bring him right back. He
sat in last summer. Did a good job. Do you think that could happen?

WINSTEAD: They ruled it out. It was like, John Oliver has a job.

KORNACKI: Yes.

WINSTEAD: I think that we have to look -- this is a job that you want to
do because you love having a point of view and love the concept of getting
information and cutting to the bull out. It`s not a job, I believe, it`s
not a job for somebody who is like can be an incredible actor doing a role.

You can`t put somebody who`s in there who`s maybe great at executing jokes,
it has to come from within you. You have to have a base of historical
knowledge. You have to be a news junkie, you have to be funny, you have to
be a leader, you have to have courage of conviction, you have to have
gravitas. You have to have so much stuff to be in that job. You also --

KORNACKI: Who has it? Who`s got that?

WINSTEAD: Who do I think?

KORNACKI: Yes.

WINSTEAD: I mean, there`s outside the box people, I would say I love Ted
Alexandro. For those talking about Ted, I think he`d be great.

I love Rachel Maddow.

KORNACKI: You`re going to steal our talent. Censor this. No!

WINSTEAD: I know. It`s terrible to say, but, you know, when you think of
-- like if you want a woman and you want a woman who has comfortability
behind the desk, has a great sense of humor, is really smart, could keep
that I have faith in the show that I`m going to get information and
smartness alive, you know? By the way, I`m sorry, Rachel.

(CROSSTALK)

ZINOMAN: (INAUDIBLE) always saying, I think I would love to see a woman
get this job. We`re at a real great time for women in comedy. And that`s
not just true with big names like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who probably
don`t what the jobs.

WINSTEAD: Right.

ZINOMAN: But the comedy clubs all the time. There`s a huge amount of
talent. Not just there, on YouTube, on Twitter.

You know, if they want to cast a wider net, which I think they should do
because they are not going to find someone with the same skill set. They
have to be willing to make the risk to evolve. Even Jon Stewart, if you
looked at his early shows, first of all, Lizz deserves a lot of credit for
creating "The Daily Show" -- if you look at what Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart
took a little while to become the Jon Stewart we know.

KORNACKI: Right, I think it`s now illusion. Well, I say Comedy Central
open up for Amy Poehler. Get her on there. That would be my dream host
for the show.

Anyway, thanks to Lizz Winstead. Jason Zinoman, appreciate you guys
stopping by. Thank you at home for getting up with us today.

In honor of "Saturday Night Live`s" 40th anniversary spectacular, tomorrow,
a big roundtable of guests, including former cast members Julia Sweeney and
Tim Meadows right here at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time tomorrow.

Before that, you`re going to want to stick around for Melissa Harris-Perry.
She is next.

See you tomorrow.




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