'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, March 8th, 2015
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: March 8, 2015
Guest: Perry Bacon Jr., Ben Domenech, Eleanor Clift, Eliana Johnson, Bill
Scher, Jeff Wise, Kate Zernike, Roger Cohen, Sahil Kapur, Noah Emmerich
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: And good morning to you. Thanks for getting
up with us this Sunday morning in March. Tens of thousands, including the
president of the United States are on a landmark moment in the civil rights
moment. With another full day of events planned for today in Selma,
Alabama. One-year anniversary no one was expecting to have to mark new
clue this morning as well, on the disappearance of that Malaysian Airlines
flight a year ago this month.
Also today, the 2016 candidate, but no one really knows. We are going to
try to find out more about him. He`s polling very well, we have a clue
right there, and the one that Democrats are counting on running. What if
Hillary Clinton actually decides against it, do Democrats have a fallback
And finally this morning as well, Chris Christie`s hecklers in Iowa, just
one sign of the opposition he`s facing from the conservative base of his
party. All of that as well as the Russian spies 1980s style. We`ll get to
that in a little bit ahead on the show this morning.
But we begin today with President Obama`s speech in Selma, Alabama. The
president, his family, over 100 members of Congress. Former president
George W. Bush, all of them matching yesterday on the same streets and on
the same bridge that peaceful civil rights demonstrators were viciously
beaten on by police 50 years ago, on Bloody Sunday, March 7, in 1965.
Among those attacked that day, among those nearly killed that day, a future
member of Congress, Georgia`s John Lewis, back in Selma yesterday with the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D ) GEORGIA: If someone had told me when we were crossing
this bridge that one day I will be back here introducing the first African-
American president, I would have said you`re crazy, you`re out of your
mind. You don`t know what you`re talking about. President Barack Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The president`s speech, a wide ranging reflection on the meaning
of Selma and on race in America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Selma shows us
that America is not the project of any one person. Because the single most
powerful word in our democracy is the word "we." We, the people.
OBAMA: We shall overcome.
OBAMA: Yes, we can.
OBAMA: That word is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And also from the president, a blunt plea for Americans to
acknowledge how much farther there is to go toward racial equality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The more common mistake is to suggest that Ferguson is an isolated
incident, that racism is banished, that the work that drew men and women to
Selma is now complete. And that whatever racial tensions remain on the
consequence of those seeking a play to race card for their own purposes.
We don`t need a Ferguson report to know that`s not true. We just need to
open our eyes, and our ears, and our hearts to know that this nation`s
racial history still casts its long shadow upon us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And also a reminder that the horrors of what happened 50 years
ago in Selma led both political parties, Democrats and Republicans to come
together and to pass the Voting Rights Act, a law that has been weakened in
recent years and is now a victim of Washington`s partisan gridlock.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Right now in 2015, 50 years after Selma, there are laws across this
country designed to make it harder for people to vote. Meanwhile the
Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood, so much sweat and
tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of one violence, the
Voting Rights Act stands weakened. It`s future subject to political
rancor. How can that be? President Reagan signed its renewal when he was
in office. President George W. Bush signed its renewal when he was in
office. 100 members of Congress have come here today to honor people who
were willing to die for the right to protect it. If we want to honor this
day, let that hundred go back to Washington and gather 400 more and,
together, pledge to make it their mission to restore that law this year.
That`s how we honor those on this bridge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And joining us now from Selma, Alabama, is MSNBC national
correspondent Joy Reid. She has been down there for all the festivity this
week and for the president`s speech yesterday. So, Joy, let`s just start
on the president`s speech yesterday. What was it like to be there for
that? And what is your - what is your reaction to what he had to say?
JOY REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, I wasn`t actually there at the
bridge. I would have loved to have been. I think it was really a moving
speech. It was one of, I think the best speeches that the president has
given. I think it was important to a lot of people, particularly African-
Americans, to see the first black president actually, you know, put himself
in the trajectory of race progress in the country, in a way that I think
people hadn`t heard him do before. And to make the point very overtly that
the election of the first black president, that his own election was not
the end of the struggle for racial equality. It was a marker of progress,
whether he acknowledged that, listen, the country is still imperfect and
that you can`t simply declare the end of history because he was elected.
And I think because this president was a direct product of the activism, of
John Lewis, of Vivienne (ph), of Fred Shuttlesworth, of the people who
marched across that bridge. The fact that he`s a direct product of that, I
think, made it really, really important and really poignant for him to
actually be the president that is here marking the 50TH anniversary of
KORNACKI: And so the anniversary, the official anniversary yesterday,
obviously. The president speaking yesterday, returning to Washington. But
there`s a lot more that`s going to be happening in Selma today. Can you
tell us a little bit about what`s on tap for today?
REID: So, there`s a strange sort of bifurcated nature of the celebrations
that are happening here in Selma. Yesterday, which was the actual 50th
anniversary to the day, the 7TH of March, was the day when you had the
president, when you had the huge congressional delegation that actually had
an event here at the church behind me first and then marched over and
participated with the president.
Today, the celebration is more about the city of Selma itself. It`s a more
local celebration. And this is actually the one that they do every year.
There`s a re-enactment that takes place. There`s a march that takes place
every year. And that`s the one that`s happening today. So, it`s an
interesting sense that it was sort of acknowledged by the world yesterday
and now this community actually gets the opportunity to do their own re-
enactment, their own acknowledgment.
KORNACKI: All right, MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid live in Selma,
Alabama this morning. Joy, thanks for taking a few moments with us.
REID: Thanks, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right, and while President George W. Bush was in attendance
for President Obama`s speech yesterday, former president Bill Clinton and
former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were in south Florida for the
Clinton Global Initiative. Hillary Clinton had this to say about what was
happening in Selma.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON: Our country is marking an historic anniversary of the
long march toward equality and a more perfect union. But also recommitting
to carry the cause forward into the 21st century.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And Bill Clinton sent his thoughts via this tweet linked to a
video where he talked about the importance of Selma. You can see what the
former president had to say there. I`m here now with our panel for today.
We have Eleanor Clift, Washington correspondent with "The Daily Beast,"
Perry Bacon Jr., senior political reporter with NBC News and Ben Domenech,
publisher at "The Federalist," and the senior fellow at the Heartland
Institute. So I guess let`s just talk about the president`s speech here
for a minute. The reviews that I`ve seen this morning, and was reading
last night, were a lot of people - were always impressed by the president`s
oratory, but this one seems a little different. The response to this seems
stronger than he usually generates.
PERRY BACON JR.: It was very personal, the place and the setting was
obviously very important. He spoke about race very eloquently. He sounded
like a little bit -- I`m sure it wasn`t framed this way. But it was
definitely a rejoinder of sorts to the comments Rudy Giuliani made about
what, you know, how Obama views America and how he doesn`t respect it,
whatever. It definitely felt like the president was saying, here`s my view
of what American progress is like. My view is we`re continuing to evolve,
he still - about how America is a "we" and it`s an idea and that we made
racial progress, we have more to go. He was very - he doesn`t talk about
that kind of stuff a lot. He gave a lot of detail about it, he was very
forceful in talking about the voting rights. I thought it was a speech, in
which he touched on a lot of themes he often doesn`t.
KORNACKI: Did you find it, Ben, listening to it from the right, did you
find it to be a unifying speech, a unifying message he was delivering?
BEN DOMENECH, THE FEDERALIST: I`m not sure that I did. I mean I think
that there are parts of it. I actually agree that his oratory on this
point was really, I think, one of the best speeches that he has given as
president. But I also think that this was a moment where you needed, I
think, to maybe set back from some of the partisanship and talk maybe a
little bit more about the plight of black America in the wake of Selma and
everything that hasn`t - that we haven`t been able to achieve when it comes
to educational and economic progress.
He talked about it a little bit. But I think that this is - this is a
moment when you need to have some of these more unifying themes going out
of this presidency. What kind of legacy he wants to have when it comes to
fatherhood issues, when it comes to educational issues and things of that
nature. I think he stressed more the voting right side of things. But I
have to say, Republicans, I think, are more open - or are more
reconsidering sort of the fights that they`ve had on voting rights issues.
This is a real point of conflict within the Republican Party, which I think
is going to be - maybe aired over the course of the coming presidential
election. There are a number of Republicans who now think that by
stressing those issues first, they`ve actually closed off their ability to
reach black communities simply by saying - by stressing these issues first,
it`s closed off a door where we might have been able to reach out and
broaden our base.
KORNACKI: Well, yeah, so former president George W. Bush, Eleanor, there
yesterday. He signed the extension of the Voting Rights Act almost ten
years ago now. Kevin McCarthy, the number two Republican - a lot of
criticism and the Republican leadership not being there. He ended up going
yesterday. What Ben is saying about maybe the Republican Party rethinking
the resistance to legislation on the Voting Rights Act to fix what the
Supreme Court struck down a couple of years ago. Are you seeing that as
ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: The Voting Rights Act was never
controversial before. People clamored to be on the right side of that
issue they saw that as where the arch of history was leading. And I don`t
see it changing as long as you`ve got that group of House Republicans who
seem to want to object to whatever this president wants to do. But I think
you have to fault the White House, too. The president made an eloquent
point in defending and pushing the Voting Rights Act, but is he going to
keep talking about it? You can`t in Washington and in this country have
one wonderful speech. And this is a great book end to the speech he made
as a candidate. And I think he brilliantly addressed, you know, the
critics who say we haven`t done enough. Things are just the same and, you
know, people who are ignoring the progress that we`re making. And he`s
talking to the two-thirds of Americans who didn`t vote in the last
election, I think hoping to produce a rallying cry that may lead into 2016
and beyond. But he has got to keep at it. And I think that`s been the
fault so much with this White House, is that he drops the ball on these
issues. But I think to your point about the legacy, I think it`s clear
what he`s going to do with his post presidency. It`s going to be about
race, about education, about black youth.
KORNACKI: Well, let`s talk about a little bit more here, but first let me
play another clip. This was the president yesterday talking about cynicism
in his speech. Let`s play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If you think nothing has changed in the past 50 years, ask somebody
who lived through the Selma, or Chicago, or Los Angeles of the 1950s.
OBAMA: Ask the female CEO who once might have been assigned to the
secretarial pool if nothing has changed. Ask your gay friend if it`s
easier to be out and proud in America now than it was 30 years ago.
OBAMA: To deny this progress, this hard-won progress, our progress would
be to rob us of our own agency, our own capacity, our responsibility to do
what we can to make America better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, what Eleanor was just saying it actually strikes me -- it`s
on point there. I mean, the knock on Obama a lot of times has been, well,
he`s a great orator, but what can you follow it up with? But when you
think ahead to the post presidency, to have a former president, to have
somebody with the platform of a former president who is able to deliver
addresses like this, like we heard yesterday - I mean he`s going to leave
office at a fairly young age for former presidents, there`s an opportunity
to really make a mark on, on sort of culture.
DOMENECH: It depends on the attitude that he has. I mean I think one of
the problems that this president is going to face is that, there are number
of Americans who are coming out of his presidency disappointed with what
they are seeing when it comes to their economic situation, with the
promises that he made in terms of uniting the country. And I think that
really, there`s an opportunity here for him to rise above that and maybe
become the kind of leader that you`re describing. The mistake he would
make - and I think this is the mistake that we`ve seen historically in the
case of some past presidents, is a level of bitterness, feeling that they
were underappreciated, feeling that they achieved more than they were given
And I think that that`s the problem that he`s really going to face in his
own personal decision. If he goes the track that you`re talking about,
then he can be a unifying post presidential figure who is making these kind
of oratories and inspiring people. If he goes the route of sort of trying
to rewrite the way that he was depicted basically saying I would have been
considered greater if I wasn`t maligned by my critics, or if not for these
KORNACKI: It`s true, although, there is also a tendency with former
presidents. Right? I mean George W. Bush`s poll numbers are up.
Republicans say nice things about Bill Clinton. That might stop with the
next election coming. But, you know, he ...
BACON: He already started this my brother`s keeper`s program to work with
black men on - he`s already started - he says we are becoming part of this
post presidency life. So, we already know he`s going to work on those
issues. I would say in terms of the follow through, the Voting Rights Act,
if it doesn`t pass, I would say not because Obama doesn`t support it
enough, and because voting has become a very partisan issue in America.
Democrats believe voter I.D. laws are discriminatory. Republicans support
them. Democrats want to extend, extend like early voting hours.
Republicans oppose those kinds of things. Voting rights has become a
partisan issue again in a way that I wouldn`t have expected. But there`s a
core divide. The reason Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leaders didn`t want
to go was probably in part because they know like McCarthy apparently when
he was there was actually pushed by Cheryl (ph). She came up to him and
asked him why ...
KORNACKI: On those issues.
BACON: Are you going to have the Voting Rights Act go to the floor? And
he wouldn`t commit to that. And I think that he knew it was going to be
kind of - let`s be honest. Like a lot of the crowd at that event voted for
Obama. Let`s not pretend it was like, you know, a half and half.
KORNACKI: Undecided voters.
KORNACKI: Right. No.
CLIFT: But keeping at it and exploiting the division within the Republican
Party that you talk about, in effect, shaming them if they don`t bring it
up, just talking about it, not with bitterness, just introducing it. Don`t
let it die. And many of the speakers said, if we learned 50 years ago that
we would be seeing a black president, we wouldn`t have believed it. They
wouldn`t have believed it, but they also would have said 50 years? We`re
going to wait half a century?
KORNACKI: No, no, point taken? But keep it here, MSNBC, for continuing
coverage of the march in Selma. A lot going on today. Later today, 3:00
p.m. can have a special show commemorating the events in Selma 50 years
ago. You are not going to want to miss any of that. And still ahead on
our show today, the first major report into why Malaysia Airlines Flight
370 disappeared a year ago today. I`ll show you the details of that report
coming up. And next, how did this man become the first to enter the 2016
Republican field? And why is he polling so well? We`ll find out all about
who he is and why he`s - that`s right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And in Baltimore this morning, two seven-month-old
West German twins are in critical, but stable condition after a 22-hour
operation to separate them. Benjamin and Patrick Binder were joined at the
head. And while they didn`t share any organs they did share a major blood
vessel and part of the skull. The operation was performed by a medical
team of 70 doctors and nurses who practiced the procedure for five months.
DR. BEN CARSON, JOHN HOPKINS UNIV.: I will tell you that we did everything
humanly possible to bring this off. I don`t know whether it will be
successful or not. Right now things are stable, but critical.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was from September of 1987. It`s the first mention we
could find in our NBC News archives of Dr. Ben Carson. And that is the
same Dr. Ben Carson who, this week, became the first Republican to
officially announce a presidential exploratory committee and then promptly
found himself in his first campaign controversy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think being gay is a choice?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you say that?
CARSON: Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight
and when they come out they`re gay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Carson, apologized for that with a note on Facebook saying
there`s no excuse for his remarks. There`s no sign yet if anything is
changing for him because of that in the polls. But he`s been doing
strikingly well to this point. The latest real clear politics average of
the Republican field places him ahead of some of the more mainstream
candidates like Chris Christie and Marco Rubio. So, then Carson is well
known and he`s very well liked within the conservative movement, but the
name Ben Carson is still probably a new one to most Americans.
So, who is he? And how did he end up near the top of the GOP pack? You
saw in that clip, he was the first doctor ever to perform surgery on twins
who`ve been conjoined at the back of the head with both babies surviving.
He then went on to become the youngest physician ever to head a major
division at the acclaimed John Hopkins Medical Center, one of the most
renowned specialists in his field. He even had a 2009 movie made about his
life starring Cuba Gooding Jr. But politically, Ben Carson`s big break
came two years ago when he spoke at the national prayer breakfast and
offered a scathing critique practically to President Obama`s face.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARSON: I think particularly about ancient Rome, very powerful. Nobody
could even challenge them militarily. But what happened to them? They
destroyed themselves from within. Moral decay. Fiscal irresponsibility.
They destroyed themselves. And if you don`t think that can happen to
America, you get out your books and you start reading.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And the day after that speech in 2013, the conservative "Wall
Street" journal writes an editorial, "Ben Carson for President." Speech
went viral, the YouTube clip of it has 3.5 million views to date, and
Carson has been able to harness the passion of a conservative base into the
role he has carved out for himself right now, raising the question, how far
can Ben Carson ride that wave? Joining our panel this morning to talk
about this, we have Eliana Johnson, she`s a Washington editor for "The
National review." She actually wrote a story about Ben Carson and about
this very question, recently for "National review". So, thanks for joining
us this morning. So, you write in your article, this line jumped out at
me, trying to explain his appeal on the right. You said, "He is the un-
Obama." What does that mean?
ELIANA JOHNSON, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, Carson is somebody who is
unquestionably qualified in his field of choice. As you mentioned recently
just now, he is at the very tiptop of his field. And he came from nothing.
As a neuro surgeon, his credentials are absolutely unimpeachable. Whereas
when Obama was elected, people really said who is this guy? He came from
nothing and he doesn`t really have the credentials to be president. And
so, the question, I think, lingering in the air now is Ben Carson, he`s not
qualified in the field of politics. And so, that`s really what people are
going to be looking at as he goes forward, but his qualifications in the
field of medicine people have got to respect. And that`s why I think he is
being allowed all this room in the realm of politics.
KORNACKI: And I think this sort of the cynical -- and I would say this is
the most common thing I hear when we talk about these poll numbers right
now, he`s doing very well. He`s doing - it`s kind of surprising how well
he`s doing on the Republican side, but people are not taking those numbers
too seriously because they say, well, this is like Herman Cain all over
again. There`s a lot of sort of generic - broad grassroots enthusiasm, but
this is somebody who`s not tested as a candidate, doesn`t have a
professional political infrastructure around him. He will meltdown under
the spotlight like we saw this week in the CNN interview. Is that a fair
critique of his prospects?
JOHNSON: I think it`s a fair critique, but I also think it misses
something. Look, Carson is extremely likable. He has real grassroots
support. And he has an incredibly inspirational Horatio Alger story. The
question that`s hanging out there is, are these gaffes going to stop? What
we saw this week wasn`t the first one. He has compared the U.S. to Nazi
Germany and he refused to retract that. The difference this week was, he
did apologize. But he has a real campaign infrastructure. He`s got
chairmen in every county in Iowa, in all 99 counties and I think he has the
potential to be a real disrupter candidate because of his popularity. He
has gotten more exposure on Fox News than many of the establishment
contenders, like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, a lot of the rest of them. And so,
the question is, will he become a more disciplined messenger of the
conservative message? And that remains to be seen, but the gaffes have got
to stop, somebody who says that, you know, being gay is a choice, these are
just mistakes that the carrier of the conservative message cannot make.
Because conservatives want to win. They may like Ben Carson but they want
to win. And they know that somebody who says something like that is not
going to be the person who wins in 2016.
KORNACKI: So, let me bring the panel in this. What do you guys make of
the Ben Carson phenomenon right now? I mean we talk so much about Chris
Christie, but if you look at the polls, Ben Carson is doubling, tripling
them up right now.
DOMENECH: When I talk to audiences across America, there are conservative
- the person I`m asked about the most is Ben Carson, it`s definitely
someone who appeals the kind of the populous base of the Tea Party. The
thing I would actually push back a little bit against is that, that this is
that much of a gaffe that hurts him with that base. And largely because I
think that if you look at the numbers, Americans are roughly split on
whether being gay is a choice. In fact, I was surprised that Pew forum put
out the numbers in the wake of this most recent comments, and only 20
percent of African-Americans in America think that being gay is something
you`re born with. In fact, 66 percent think it`s a choice. So, I`m not
sure that that actually hurts him that much with its sort of social
conservative base in Iowa, that they`re going to pull away from him for
something like that. And that`s one of the reasons why I think he will be
kind of a spoiler candidate, at least in the early going. But I think in
the long term ....
KORNACKI: You guys, how far can he go?
CLIFT: I think he could win Iowa. And I think he could be - maybe the
Rick Santorum of this cycle. I don`t see him in the end winning the
nomination. But, you know, there are lots of reasons to run for president,
short of thinking you can win. He is a motivational speaker. I mean I
think he has got a career ahead of him now on the lecture circuit. I think
he cares deeply about these issues. He was a brilliant neuro surgeon. I
don`t know that that necessarily gives him the judgment for elective
politics, and I don`t think the comment about being gay was a gaffe. I
think this is what he thinks.
KORNACKI: No, you`re right, there are ways to - you can win running for
president, when you are actually winning the presidency.
CLIFT: Absolutely. He could be, though. Maybe the more - better analogy
is Mike Huckabee.
KORNACKI: Yeah. What evokes, here`s Huckabee`s buff for a second - of the
presidency. Anyway, my thanks to Eliana Johnson with "The National
Review." Thanks for getting up this morning. I appreciate that.
CLIFT: Thanks so much, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right, and still ahead in the show, everyone thinks it`s a
sure thing. But what if Hillary Clinton suddenly decided not to run after
all, what would Democrats do if that happened? And new questions in the
morning papers today about Jeb Bush and education. Those details are next.
Stay with us.
KORNACKI: There`s a lot going on this morning. When you get caught up on
some of the other headlines, with our catching up segment. They hand me
index cards. I read news stories. We react to them. Here we go. This is
from (inaudible). This say, here is the headline. And here`s the State
Department`s first official release of the Hillary Clinton e-mail. So,
Vice has come up with one e-mail here. Bill - Clinton herself didn`t write
it, it was sent to her private e-mail by the State Department spokesman on
Christmas Eve 2010. The subject is WikiLeaks update. It wishes her a
merry Christmas. The rest is redacted.
KORNACKI: Freedom of Information Act. So, here we go. 55,000 pages of e-
mails. (INAUDIBLE) Now we have one. And it says Merry Christmas. We
should add as well, President Obama was asked about Clinton`s e-mails last
night. He has weighed in. Here is what he had to say. Let`s play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, when did you first learn that Hillary
Clinton used an e-mail system outside the U.S. government for official
business while she was secretary of state?
OBAMA: At the same time, everybody else learned it through news reports.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Yeah. So, he didn`t want to talk too much about that, it sounds
BACON: That`s an interesting answer. If you believe the stories, Hillary
Clinton only has a nongovernment e-mail. Hence, the president is saying he
has never e-mailed with her before.
BACON: So, do you think - It`s an interesting story.
BACON: You know, is he - or what is? Did he not e-mail, did he not - do
they (INAUDIBLE) email her? It`s an interesting question.
CLIFT: Yeah, but the word exclusively, if he communicated with her in a
private e-mail the assumption is she probably also had a government one and
that she was reserving that for him. I mean, I don`t -- I think he hedged
-- that answer is very carefully crafted.
KORNACKI: Every answer I`m hearing on this story - to which also - from
the Associated Press, Bill Clinton defending foreign donations, donations,
the other controversy that Clinton has found himself recently. He said, an
event in Miami last night, Clinton was asked by Comedy Central`s Larry
Wilmore about recent revelations that Clinton Foundation received donations
from foreign governments. Here`s quote, Clinton`s, "My theory about all
this is disclose everything and then let people make their judgments. I
believe we have done a lot more good than harm and I believe this is a good
thing." That is certainly a good quote. But, certainly the headlines the
last few days about emails and lack of disclosure, about lack of disclosure
with these foreign governments.
DOMENECH: So, the e-mails thing is kind of an inside the Beltway issue I
really think in the sense that it`s something that we care more about
because we pay more attention to these things and we know that kind of
what`s going on when people are taking these steps. I think the foreign
donations thing in the long term is actually the area that could prove more
problematic simply because there you have the logical progression of quid
pro quo and things that can relate to government work. If that`s there,
CLIFT: Yeah, but the one donation where they apparently skirted the law
had to do with hurricane relief in Haiti.
DOMENECH: Exactly. It`s a sympathetic side of things.
KORNACKI: Right. They`re saying hey, you know, if we`re taking money from
these bad guys we`re putting it to good purposes ...
KORNACKI: But ultimately I could see the ...
CLIFT: But the ferocity of the media response to the e-mails, you know,
surprised me even in this day and age. And it has a huge political press
corps out here waiting. And it`s not even red meat. It`s just a little
morsel and it gets them going.
BACON: Because of the potential.
DOMENECH: Also, Scott Walker pretty tough, too.
BACON: And somewhere Chris Christie is saying, hey, I`ve got --
KORNACKI: I want to get one more - teased this last break. This is in
"New York Times" this morning. An interesting story about a charter school
in Miami fails, it proves useful on Jeb Bush`s resume, basically looking at
Jeb Bush`s experience with the charter schools serving the poor African-
American students in Miami. It was founded in 1996, he talked about it a
lot in his run for governor, and ultimately closed in 2008. They`re
looking at the history of that school right there, how it helped Bush
politically and maybe there are some other questions about how that end
came about. Anyway, take a look at that article. Not enough time to get
into that now.
But still ahead in the show, all of the top contenders for the GOP
nomination under one roof in Iowa. How did it go? What did they say? We
have a lot of clips for you.
And next, the big what if the Democrats do not want to talk about. Stay
with us for that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON: We`ve gotten girls into primary school, but not in the
secondary school. We`ve gotten more women to contribute to the economic
well-being of their families, but they`re by no means where they should be
in terms of economic participation or representation in leadership
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Hillary Clinton in Miami last night, discussing the progress
made since she went to China 20 years ago, famously declared that women`s
rights are human rights. On Tuesday, former secretary of state is going to
be addressing a gathering of the United Nations in New York on that topic.
But the biggest news about Clinton continues to be revelations that she
used a personal e-mail address to conduct all of her official business
during her tenure as secretary of state. Something that she pointedly did
not discuss in her speech last night and that she has not discussed
publicly since the story broke.
Controversy and remind that Clinton`s return to day-to-day politics could
be a bumpy one. And while she remains the overwhelming -- stress
overwhelming favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination, this
week`s events have prompted some to wonder what kind of backup plan
Democrats have should Clinton falter. Yeah, writing that now is the time
for Vice President Joe Biden to jump into the race. Everyone is saying,
Clinton has already shored up the nomination by urges Biden on saying,
quote, "You can`t actually know the shape of the Democratic field unless
and until you jump into it. Meanwhile, over at Politico - the Politico,
excuse me, Bill Scher is asking what many would call the unthinkable, what
if Hillary bows out? While progressive activists want Senator Elizabeth
Warren, SCher thinks it will be difficult for her to capture the party`s
big corporate donors. He concludes, "The nomination would probably devolve
to the most persuasive and Hillary-like of the non-Hillary, someone adept
at co-opting the best of the Warren rhetoric while also claiming the nerves
of the Democratic donor base. Calming the nerves of the Democratic donor
Joining us now to discuss, the author of that piece, Bill Scher, "Politico"
magazine contributing editor and senior writer at the progressive campaign
for America`s future.
So, Bill, before we get to the handicapping the post-Hillary review here,
the possibility that Democrats are going to need a fallback for 2016, how
do you look at that right now?
BILL SCHER, "POLITICO": Oh, I think it`s exceedingly low. I mean of all
things that the Clintons have been through over the past 20 years, this in
of itself this e-mail flack is pretty low on the list of all the stuff
they`ve had to survive. So, that`s not going to take her out. But if
you`re a political professional, you have got to think about the
improbable. I mean people who get ahead in this business take advantage of
random moments and were prepared for it. If you`re Christian Gillibrand,
for example, if you already have the game plan, you had, what do I do in
this circumstance, I know who I am going to call, the doors I`m going to
tap, the infrastructure I`m going to build up. If you read a move on that
day, Jeb Bush is in a much better place now than everyone else because he
KORNACKI: Right. So, contingency planning and weird things happen in
politics just in general.
KORNACKI: OK. So, you are saying - I mean because we always look at this
as the big question has always been - will Elizabeth Warren challenge
Hillary Clinton. That`s clearly not going to happen at this point. But
you are saying, even if there`s no Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren does
not rocket to the top of that list?
SCHER: Well, what`s odd is, the Democratic establishment has no - no
conditions to play. They`re not prepared for this scenario. The draft
Warren folks are. And today we`d hit the ground running on that random day
that Hillary bows out. But Warren is a reluctant candidate. She probably
would not jump in within 24 hours. So, she will not get first mover
advantage. And if she sits back to think about it, she would not have as
easy an access to the entirety of the Democratic donor base. She`d have
some, there are definitely some true believer wealthy donors out there.
KORNACKI: For being the face of the anti-Wall Street movement in a party
that still takes a lot of money from Wall Street and from finance
SCHER: I don`t think it`s just the Wall Street. Remember, Obama lost the
Wall Street money in 2012. That`s not the entirety of the corporate
element of the Democratic Party. That piece was not sufficient to undercut
him in 2012. I think there is more of a pragmatism element to that base
that gets unnerved with a candidate that is uncompromising.
KORNACKI: OK. OK. Too far to the left? The risk of another - OK, so
here is the question then. Who does jump in and try to fill that void if
there`s no Hillary?
SCHER: Well, in the obvious ones that people are already flirting. Biden,
Martin O`Malley, Jim Webb. Bernie Sanders. But none of those folks set
the donor hearts aflame or the progressive grassroots aflame, quite
frankly. So, I would have people like Christian Gillibrand, maybe Cory
Booker, maybe Andrew Cuomo, which left doesn`t like, and maybe the governor
like John Hickenlooper. There`s a whole bunch of folks who potentially
could jump in who have a case to make. And the person who has thought
through what their game plan is would have the best chance of catching
KORNACKI: So, what are we thinking here?
SCHER: There`s no Hillary.
BACON: Let`s start with Hillary has hired people to run her campaign.
BACON: Hillary is running for president until we learn otherwise. So, we
would start there. But I think he`s right. The list of people who are
thinking about running against Hillary is not the same list as who would
run in non-Hillary environment. Gillibrand is number one. There`s a big
push right now for a woman president. Gillibrand has a lot of the same
donors Hillary does. There will be a very - Gillibrand- she has done a lot
of the sort of if Hillary doesn`t work - She`s, to me, like the number one
person to think about. I would add in Deval Patrick, another name I might
throw in there. But the notion that the Democratic field is weak is
actually not quite correct. There`s a lot of people who - the Bidens and
the O`Malleys, I don`t think they are very strong.
KORNACKI: That`s a really ...
BACON: But they are sort of - but people who are waiting in the wings -
and also, one of the things is, I think if Hillary tomorrow said I`m not
running there will be a lot of people who said there would be a lot of
excitement. There is a lot of people in the Democratic Party who don`t
want to see Hillary run and a lot of Republicans who are not that excited
about Bush campaign number three. And so, I think that there would be
exciting, Jeb or Hillary decided, let me stand there - I`ll - to have new
people in there.
CLIFT: But all these new people are kind of untested, like the broad field
of the Republican Party. And I think there`s a little bit of a new spring
in the step of Martin O`Malley, who has turned down the opportunity to run
for the Senate in Maryland, which might have been more on his grasp to
stick with the presidential thing. And Joe Biden is out there. He is ...
KORNACKI: He wants to run. He wants to run.
CLIFT: He runs, he continue - no matter where it leads. And then I would
also look at John Kerry. I think, you know, presidential hopes have not
died. If the Iran deal happens and you want still someone in the field
with experience to go up against Mr. Experience on the Republican side,
Jeb, who I think is their strongest candidate.
KORNACKI: So, Kerry on the Democrats, on the Republicans ...
CLIFT: But it`s still Hillary. It`s still Hillary.
DOMENECH: The Clinton machine is alive and everything else is dead.
BACON: You`re right.
DOMENECH: They own the party. They will win. And I just don`t think that
there`s anyone who can challenge her even though it would be very
entertaining, I think, if someone - inspiring the only person who I think
could beat Hillary Clinton is Michelle Obama. Other than that?
KORNACKI: Way to appropriate Joe Biden.
KORNACKI: Thanks to Bill Scher of the Campaign for America`s future. I
And still ahead, new details this morning about Malaysia Airlines Flight
MH-370 exactly one year after the plane vanished and next, why the fight
against ISIS just became a little more global and a little more difficult.
Stay with us.
KORNACKI: The war on ISIS got a little more global this weekend. The
Nigerian terror group Boko Haram now pledging its allegiance to the Islamic
State. The Nigerian terror group`s leader posted a message on Twitter
yesterday urging Muslims around the world to also pledge their support for
the Islamic State. ISIS has not responded to that message. But the
announcement is already without comment, obviously, a big propaganda boost
for the group. Yesterday, a series of suicide bombings killed at least 54
people in northeast Nigeria. Boko Haram is being blamed for those attacks.
No response yet from the White House to this announcement from Boko Haram.
Still ahead in the show today, Chris Christie gets a jersey welcome in the
Hawkeye state. And next, the first comprehensive report on what actually
happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 370 just coming this morning, exactly
one year after it disappeared. The details are next.
KORNACKI: Exactly one year to the day after Malaysia Airlines flight 370
first went missing over the Indian Ocean, we have now received our first
comprehensive report into exactly why the plane went missing, a 584-page
document released this morning by an independent investigative committee
revealing headlines no bigger, perhaps, than the one on page 78.
According to the report here, according to maintenance records, the SSFDR,
ULB battery, that is jargon for the underwater locator beacon that would
have pinged if the plane went down, according to this report, it had
expired in December of 2012. There`s no evidence to suggest that the
battery had been replaced, a battery expiring then more than a year before
that plane disappeared. But beyond that revelation, investigators say in
this report that there really weren`t many red flags, there were no unusual
medical signs from the cabin crew based on medical records, the captain`s
ability to handle stress cited as good. No recent conflicts or family
stresses in his life that could have hindered him. No signs of alcohol or
drug abuse. Nothing unusual in the crew`s financial records. And weather
at all points was confirmed to be fine.
Bottom line from this, we still don`t know what happened. No one seems to.
And believe me as someone who`s flying - I have contemplated many possible
MH-370 outcomes. "New York Times" article this week pointed to a rogue
pilot who purposely misguided the plane as perhaps the likeliest theory.
And in "New York" magazine, author Jeff Wise asked how crazy am I to think
I actually know where that Malaysia Airlines plane is? Wise says his gut
tells him that the plane was hijacked and flown to Kazakhstan on orders
from Vladimir Putin. So, just how crazy is that theory? Well, let`s ask
the man himself. Jeff Wise, author of that "New York Magazine" article and
the e-book. "The plane that wasn`t there. Why we haven`t found Malaysian
Airlines Flight 370" joins our panel.
So, Jeff, give us the layman`s version of your theory here. Because I
think that strikes people as, whoa, that`s a bit out there. The consensus
that it`s been reported, landed somewhere in the ocean, it disappeared at
the bottom of the Indian Ocean and you say not at all the case.
JEFF WISE, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: No, let me correct that a little bit. The
most likely scenario is that it`s correct it went to the southern ocean.
However, the question I wanted to ask was, is it necessarily true that the
plane went to the south? Everything we know about this plane`s last six
hours come from the seven pings, these electronic handshakes that were
exchanged between the plane and the satellite. Now, if you look at the
math of those pings it unequivocally says that the plane went south. But
there`s been no debris, nothing found on the seabed where they searched.
And so the question I want to ask was, is it physically possible that it
couldn`t have gone south? Is that data compatible in any way with it going
north? And indeed, it turns out, that the 777 has a hatch that`s unlocked
and accessible from the passenger cabin that leads to what`s called an
electronics bay where basically the electronic brains of the computer are
located. This controls the entire plane and, indeed, connects with the
satellite data unit that was responsible for the signals that were used to
determine it went south.
So, conceivably, those signals were spoofed, were tampered with. And in
fact, the report that was just issued today kind of adds some questions to
that, because it turns out that this system -- you can turn it off from the
cockpit. But that was not done.
KORNACKI: So, how was -- if the possibility exists that this thing went
north, this thing went to Kazakhstan, how would that work? How would it
land in the middle of a continent and we would have no idea?
WISE: Well, remember, the plane was electronically dark. So, it wasn`t
emitting the signals that air traffic controllers usually use to determine
where it went. And, so, if you - if some of the data was spoofed, other
parts of the data cannot be spoofed or are very difficult to spoof. And
so, that data is reliable. You can generate a track from that data alone
and it shows that the plane would have gone north over India, along the
border between China and Pakistan and wound up in Kazakhstan, which is a
very large, sparsely populated country that`s flat. And there`s a couple
of airstrips where it could land or who knows but I identified one
particular one in my article. And ...
KORNACKI: And you`re saying Putin, you think possibly Putin himself --
WISE: Well, listen, Kazakhstan is a client state of Russia. The leader of
Kazakhstan was the only world leader who stood up after Russia annex of
Crimea and said this was a good thing. Russia should have done this. OK.
So, it`s closely ideologically allied with Russia. Kazakhstan itself is
not a technological hub. But Russia has enormous amounts of technological
savvy, they`ve got their own aeronautical industry, they`ve got their space
launch, their satellite industry. So, they have the kind of savvy that you
would require for this super sophisticated hack.
KORNACKI: OK, but guess just - the one thing that people would I think
guess say right away to that, is the idea of Putin being behind this in
some ways, that would be like an act of war, wouldn`t it? To do that to
another country`s domestic airliner, to purposely hijack it on the orders
from the leader of another country? That would be - that would be sparking
some and close to a war, wouldn`t it?
WISE: I mean look at what the situation is in general. I mean talk about
acts of war, I mean he`s essentially invaded in a neighboring country under
the guise of it wasn`t really us. It was really this insurrectionists who
are, you know, completely local, we have nothing to do with it. I mean
this is the guy who`s standing on the brink, there is very belligerent
actions taking place. You`ve got Russian planes that are testing NATO air
space almost constantly. So, it doesn`t really seem that far out of
character. Can I add one thing about the report that was issued today? It
wasn`t underwater pingers that the battery ran out. It was the flight data
recorder. And this is highly ironic. Because we know that the cockpit
voice recorder erases itself every two hours. So, we wouldn`t expect if
this plane is found on the southern ocean bed we are not going to have the
voice recorder, we are not going to have the data recorder if these
batteries expired. So, even if we find the plane we still might not ever
know what happened.
KORNACKI: All right, and that`s it - son in the absence of any hard
evidence, any hard data right now about what exactly happened with this
thing, theories abound. That`s one of them. Thank s to Jeff Wise, author
of "The Plane that Wasn`t There." And a full hour of news and politics
still to come. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Another hit for Chris Christie.
And thanks for staying with us this Sunday morning. Here is what`s ahead
this hour. Chris Christie`s approval rating not only hitting a new low at
home in New Jersey, he`s facing conservative resistance and even more of
it, and some hecklers, too, out on the campaign trail. Video from Iowa
that we will be showing you. Then also, this what happens in Iowa won`t be
staying in Iowa, at least for this hour. We can take a closer look at the
cattle call that put many of the 2016 Republican hopefuls under the same
room for the first time. Out there this weekend, in addition to that, how
close are we to a nuclear deal with Iran? Will Congress listen to the
Israeli prime minister`s warnings against making a deal?
And then finally, the spies next door, we are going to be joined by a star
of the Cold War thriller that tempts its viewers to root against the U.S.
But we begin this hour with what Chris Christie has been struggling to
avoid as he moves toward a presidential campaign. Even more, bad news.
The latest salvo against Christie coming from his right. The conservative
magazine "National Review" out with a new cover story, blasting Christie`s
leadership in New Jersey. Quote, "Christi`s administration could have
achieved so much more. It might have demonstrated to the state cynical and
beleaguered voters that it is possible to change the culture of Trenton, to
overturn the greedy profologate (ph), dysfunctional politics that has so
consistently earned New Jersey a reputation as one of the worst managed
states and to set state government on a path toward financial stability and
But Christie still has time to demonstrate just how destructive years of
tax borrow and spend policies have been, and this would be a real
achievement. This from the conservative "National Review", a cover story
out this week.
And this coming on the heels of the report from "The New York Times" that
after years of litigation, in which the state of New Jersey pursued nearly
$9 billion in environmental damages from Exxon Mobil, Christi`s chief
counsel actually pushed through a deal to settle that claim for a very
small fraction of the pursued amount, just $250 million, pennies on the
dollar of what was at least potentially available.
This week, the governor`s approval rating in New Jersey hitting a new low,
down to 35 percent. You can actually take a look at this on a graph here.
You can see, this is his disapproval rating right now, reaching new highs.
As approval rating reaching new lows. If you look back over the last
couple of years, you can see, right here, this was sort of pick for Chris
Christie. He had 77 percent, just right after Hurricane Sandy. This is
when his prospects in New Jersey and nationally never looked better. You
can see it begin to level off a little bit and then crashed, this is right
when the Bridgegate scandal in late 2013, early 2014 hit. And that brought
him down close to his level right now. The pollster who runs that poll
telling "The New Republic," quote, there`s a perception that he`s no longer
governing. He`s campaigning. And as for how that campaigning is going,
Christie was in Iowa yesterday to speak to potential Republican voters and
to speak of both protesters who interrupted his remarks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R ) NEW JERSEY: This is (INAUDIBLE). And so, so
we`re doing exactly what we need to do and we need to make sure we do that.
I`m glad to see that New Jersey has come to Iowa.
CHRISTIE: How great is that? Great to have you here.
CHRISTIE: And I think you understand I`ll deal with you the same way here
that I deal with you in New Jersey. I have people follow me everywhere.
CHRISTIE: I have (INAUDIBLE). They can`t stay away from me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And we`re going to have more on all of the Republican candidates
who spoke at that summit, the ag summit in Iowa just a little bit ahead
this hour. But to help us break down right now, the Chris Christie part.
Back at our table, Eleanor Clift with the Daily Beast, NBC News` Perry
Bacon Jr., Kate. Ben Domenech is also here, in my Teleprompter. Kate
Zernike, national correspondent for the "New York Times" is here joining
us. Kate, you have been covering this Christie stuff thoroughly the last
few years. This news story about Exxon, about a settlement, an
environmental lawsuit from the state. The potential here, at least, for
$8, $9 billion in damages, and then the news this week it was settled
basically at the administration`s behest for just $250 million. Can you
fill in some of the blanks about why they settled for that amount?
ZERNIKE: We don`t know why they settled. There are a couple of theories,
good operating theories. Partly, the Christie administration knew there
was going to be a bill that will expire in June, allowing them to use
settlements like this to fill the general fund. As the National Review
article talked about, the budget is in terrible shape. So Christie needs
this money to fill the budget quickly. There was some argument that if
they waited on Exxon, Exxon would appeal any settlement, even a $3 billion
settlement, they would appeal. This would last forever. Christie wouldn`t
see that money well until well after he was out of office, or the state
wouldn`t see that money. So that may be one reason. It also didn`t hurt
that Exxon is a huge contributor to Republicans and conservative causes in
general. But we don`t really know. They haven`t justified why they
decided to settle this. The state was in a great position. The settlement
came as a huge surprise.
KORNACKI: That`s the question, too. We see those $8, $9 billion numbers
out there. Realistically, was the state in that position to get that much
ZERNIKE: The state was arguing that`s what it was going to cost to clean
up, and to remedy, sort of pay back residents for their lost use of this
property. I think a lot of people -- people I`ve talked to say maybe they
wouldn`t have gotten the full $8.9 billion, but they would have gotten $3
billion or so. No one thinks it would have been less than $250 million,
which is what they got.
KORNACKI: So let`s talk about Chris Christie here and this story sort of
in the context of national ambitions, we showed the clip. He was in out in
Iowa yesterday. He has been to Iowa a couple of times, clearly looking to
get this presidential campaign started. And it just seems to me, whether
it`s the National Review on his right going after him, this story in New
Jersey now about Exxon Mobil, he has not been able to catch a break for the
last six months or so as he gets to the starting line.
DOMENECH: Chris Christie really doesn`t have a path, anymore, from my
perspective, to the nomination. Looking at the polls a few years ago, it
looked like he was going to be a much bigger candidate, a much bigger force
in terms of the 2016 cycle. The real problem for him is that he doesn`t
have a story when it comes to the conservative base. He has this
personality. And he has some of the initial sort of experiences, the
Youtube moments that he had. But he doesn`t have the experience that some
of these other governors had in terms of how they changed their state in a
way that made it more conservative or how they fixed certain problems.
KORNACKI: The story was supposed to be, hey, I won. I won in New Jersey,
the state that voted for Obama by 15, 20 points. I won with 61percent of
CLIFT: He won a blue state.
CLIFT: His brand of conservative Republican politics could win over the
country, that he could win. But he`s not doing well in New Jersey. The
personality isn`t wearing well. And he`s really missed out on the early
fund-raising. So, I don`t know that he has got any big donors locked up in
his corner that are going to make this run work for him when you need to
raise $70 million to even be considered at all.
KORNACKI: Is there a path for him to pull it off, to get back into
contention for this thing?
CLIFT: If Jeb Bush falters, yes.
BACON: Part of the clip you showed in Iowa, the man who ran the forum in
Iowa, his first name was Bruce, who ran the forum in Iowa yesterday, he in
2011, he flew to New Jersey and begged Chris Christie, please, run for
President, we need you. A lot of reporters have talked to this guy. Now
it`s like, not sure who I`m for. Lot of candidates out there. Not really
sure. You see this a lot. People who were really big for Christie in
2011, begging him to run saying we need you, now saying, well, not so much.
BACON: They`ve got other options. They preferred them. Let`s be real,
though. Bridgegate. Chris Christie. Revisionist history. What`s
happening in New Jersey really killed him. The whole reason Christie was
strong, was he was electable, he had won so well in a blue state, he was
very popular there. That really is what did it. I know conservatives say
the news coverage was negative of him, but it really hurt him.
ZERNIKE: You`re right, the news coverage was rough around that. That did
hurt him. But remember, his numbers stabilized over the summer. I think
the pension, when he decided to put off the pension payments, again, the
problem he said he went before the Republican convention, said I fixed this
problem. When it came out in the summer that he hadn`t fixed this problem,
that`s when the numbers started to go down again, and when he started
spending so much time out of the state running for president. People want
to feel like their governor is taking care of them.
KORNACKI: There`s more -- this is not all New Jersey. This is another
national story. We have Kate here. This is pending criminal charges,
federal corruption charges being brought against the United States senator,
the recordings suggest that in the next month, that could well be the case
with Bob Menendez of New Jersey. He addressed the reports that emerged
Friday. Let`s play what he had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ, D-N.J.: Let me be very clear, very clear. I have
always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law.
Every action that I and my office have taken for the last 23 years that I
have been privileged to be in the United States Congress has been based on
pursuing the best policies for the people of New Jersey and of this entire
country. That`s who I am. And I am not going anywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Now all of this sort of the investigation here is about -- the
relationship between Menendez and a top donor, an ophthalmologist in
Florida, there have been gifts, there has been free travel to the Dominican
Republic on his private jet, that Menendez took, later reimbursed for, and
the idea that Menendez then turned around and used his position as a
senator to advocate for the business interests of this man. The defense
I`m seeing is hey, he`s my friend, this is all the normal give and take you
would have in a friendship with gifts being given, but Kate, this is a
ZERNIKE: That is his defense. We`re like brothers. His staff keeps
reminding that (inaudible) rushed to his side when Menendez`s mother was
dying. I think that is the defense. It`s just hard to see these -- it
appears to be very aggressive lobbying on his behalf.
KORNACKI: The other piece of this, too, to make this more of a national
story as well, there have been some on the right -- I saw Menendez allies
saying this as well. Menendez had been going toe to toe with the
administration on this issue over Iran and on the issue of the
administration wants the Iran deal. Menendez has legislation that would
basically cripple the administration on that front. Ted Cruz talked about
the pending DOJ charges against Menendez and put it in that context. This
is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: The very week they announce a pending indictment
comes within hours after Senator Menendez showing courage to speak out
against President Obama`s dangerous foreign policy that is risking the
national security of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: This is an investigation that`s been going on for two years
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than that.
KORNACKI: But I saw this. One of Menendez`s supporters in New Jersey,
someone who is not even Republican, was putting this line out there
yesterday, that this is some kind of retribution. It seems like it might
be part of the public relations defense.
DOMENECH: I certainly think it`s part of the PR defense. I am certainly
curious and don`t know enough about the nature of the case to know whether
it has any merit to it. Menendez has been a thorn in the side of the
administration on foreign policy going back some years. It`s not just the
ZERNIKE: Cuba as well.
DOMENECH: Cuba and other things. Certainly he`s not someone that`s been -
- the kind of person that`s been treated with soft gloves.
KORNACKI: He is among Democrats, very hawkish when it comes to --
CLIFT: The origin of this case was apparently the use of prostitutes that
KORNACKI: That was debunked.
CLIFT: That was debunked. But then the Justice Department didn`t let up.
They kept investigating.
ZERNIKE: And that was an interesting story, because it was a story that
had been shopped around to many news outlets. A lot of news outlets went
down, checked it out, found nothing there. Finally one conservative outlet
reported it. The women then recanted, said they were paid to give this
story. But as you said, the FBI kept going. They raided the doctors`
offices. These are pretty arcane issues, as they often are, that trip
people up. It`s Medicare billing. Melgan (ph) is one of the biggest
recipients of Medicare funding in the country, so that`s what they`re going
after, whether Menendez pushed for Melgan to get even more --
KORNACKI: That is a painful irony, right? It was a smear job, basically.
It was an attempt to smear him with something totally untrue, totally
fabricated, and yet it opens the door to what seems to be a much more
serious investigation. Thanks to Kate Zernike, and our panel, we`ll see
you later in the hour. We`ll get to talk to one of the stars of one of my
favorite shows, "The Americans." You watch that one? It`s about the Cold
War. We`ll talk to him about that. I`ll do my best not to find out what
happened in next week`s episode.
Also, did Benjamin Netanyahu`s address to Congress help or hurt the chances
of reaching a deal with Iran over its nuclear program, and is a deal a good
idea in the first place? That is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NETANYAHU: I`ve come here today to tell you we don`t have to bet the
security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We
don`t have to gamble with our future and with our children`s future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his
controversial address to Congress on Tuesday, the speech that was one of
the hottest tickets in town in Washington and a speech that has sparked a
political debate over Iran`s nuclear program that continues now as the
Obama administration tries to put the finishing touches on a deal with
Iran`s leaders. Just hours after Netanyahu left Capitol Hill, Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would fast track
a vote on a bipartisan bill authorizing Congress to approve or reject any
deal with Iran. In other words, putting Congress in position to scuttle
any deal Obama may strike. McConnell relented and postponed that vote
until Democrats said they at least wanted to wait until March 24TH, the
deadline that Obama administration has set for getting its deal with Iran.
Negotiations on that deal will resume a week from today, Secretary of State
John Kerry meeting with his French counterpart in Paris yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: All of us have an interest in making
certain that the countries in the region feel sufficiently convinced that
this agreement is meaningful, that it will hold, that it`s real and that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Even if Kerry and other diplomats reach a deal with Iran, will
it have any teeth? Especially if Congress has the final say on whether
sanctions against Iran can be lifted. Has the anger over Netanyahu`s
address made a potential deal more or less likely to win approval? To
answer those questions, we`re joined by Sahil Kapur, senior congressional
reporter for TalkingPointsMemo, and Roger Cohen, "New York Times" columnist
and former foreign correspondent, an editor who criticizes Netanyahu in a
Roger, let me start with you. So this -- Netanyahu was up there this week
saying basically the alternative -- it`s not a deal or no deal. It`s a
deal or a better deal. Let`s talk right now about the deal that seems to
be taking shape, the one that the administration has been trying to
negotiate. What is in that deal and why is that a good deal in your mind?
ROGER COHEN, NEW YORK TIMES: I think it`s a good deal because it`s the
best deal that can be got, contrary to what Prime Minister Netanyahu said.
This deal is going to ring fence Iran`s nuclear capacity. You can`t take
this out of Iranian minds at this point. They`ve mastered the nuclear fuel
cycle. And this deal would put a fence around it, have a very low-level
nuclear program that is highly inspected, highly monitored, only compatible
with civilian use of nuclear energy, and leave Iran at least one year from
breakout to possible manufacture of a bomb. We don`t like the fact that
Iran has the nuclear capacity it has. But there`s not a whole lot we can
do about it that is better than that at this point.
KORNACKI: So Sahil, with that being the deal that`s taking shape right
now, in Congress the attitude toward this is a little different. It
extends to the Democratic side. As we said, Schumer, Menendez, there are
plenty of Democrats favoring a harder line with Iran. What does the path
forward look like in Congress for dealing with this issue?
SAHIL KAPUR, TALKING POINTS MEMO: Steve, the path forward right now is
first President Obama has to move forward with this and convince members of
Congress, convince Senate Democrats in particular to prevent anything from
going forward, any bill from going forward like the one Senator McConnell
tried to put on the floor this week from passing. Because if that passes,
that would significantly tie the hands of the president to cut the deal
that he`s trying to cut.
One of the critical things it would do that would make it very difficult is
it would restrict the president`s ability to temporarily ease sanctions.
And that`s critical to any deal passing. So, what the president needs to
do -- I think what he did do a little bit this week is get Senate Democrats
to back off a little bit, to say we`re not going to move full throttle
right away. It`s going to be a very tough sell. Because the center of
gravity in Congress, not just on the Republican side, which is pretty
unanimous against this sort of thing, but many Democrats as well aren`t
very favorable to this. So what President Obama has to do is cut this
deal, sell it very strongly to his party. And I think what he`s going to
do, he`s going to go to them and say look, this is the best we`re going to
get. It`s either this or you can go home to your constituents and sell
this idea of another war in the Middle East. I think that will have an
impact. He does have to cut the deal. It`s a very big if, if that`s going
KORNACKI: Roger, I want to play some of Netanyahu this week. This is one
of the themes he was pressing, was this idea of you can`t trust Iran in any
deal. Let`s listen to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NETANYAHU: Why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran
will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the
alternative to this deal is worse? Well, I disagree. I don`t believe that
Iran`s radical regime will change for the better after this deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, what do you say to that, to the idea that the parameters
that you laid out earlier make sense and could work if there`s cooperation
from Tehran? Basically he`s saying there`s never going to be cooperation
COHEN: Of course he has been saying this for 20 years. There was an
interim deal, Steve, two years ago, an interim deal with Iran, that Prime
Minister Netanyahu denounced as an historic mistake. In fact, it`s proved
to be an historic turning point. It`s slowed the momentum, reversed, in
fact, the momentum of Iran. They have no more 20 percent uranium, which
they had before that deal. And they have complied to the letter with that
deal. So at least in the last two years, Iran has demonstrated that it is
prepared to cooperate.
And if this deal is done, what does it do? It compels us for at least a
decade to have a relationship with Iran. Iran is a young country with an
aging leadership. If there are economic connections that begin to grow
between Iran and the world, if this regime is aging and if there is this
contact over the coming decade, I ask you, is it more likely that Iran will
begin to moderate through that process, or, as Prime Minister Netanyahu
argues, grow more radical. It`s more likely that the regime will gradually
grow -- we don`t know. When the United States in the `70s, when Nixon went
to China, and the Shanghai communique was signed, China and the U.S. agreed
only on one thing, that is it`s better to have diplomatic relations than
not. We don`t know a decade from now where we`ll be. But there`s at least
a possibility that things will evolve in a positive direction. Meanwhile,
Iran will be prevented from getting to a bomb. And that is good for
Israel`s security and good for the world.
KORNACKI: So, Sahil, the bottom line on this, the White House is
scrambling to shore up support among Democrats to try to forestall this.
It`s been pushed past the 24TH right now, there will be no vote apparently
in the Senate before the 24TH. If there is a deal, what are the odds? With
Republicans in control of the House, in control of the Senate? As you say,
plenty of hawkish Democrats out there. What are the odds the
administration actually can forestall this permanently?
KAPUR: Steve, the odds of Republicans trying to move a bill that would
imperil this deal are very high, even if it does get struck. The question
is whether it passes. It`s likely to pass in the House. President Obama
will have a big lift to make sure something like that doesn`t pass the
Senate. If it passes Congress, which I wouldn`t foreclose on that
possibility. Certainly it`s within the realm. But if that happens and
that would imperil the deal by -- it would embolden Iran`s hard-liners by
creating the impression that the United States is not negotiating in good
faith, even if the president vetoes it, because this president is going to
be out of office in the next two years. The next president has to be on
board, and ultimately only Congress can permanently lift the sanctions to
really make this work in the long haul. And the president has the
authority to lift some sanctions or ease some sanctions on national
security grounds, but Congress has a major role to play in this. I think
the president has to cut the deal, convince a Congress not to scuttle it
immediately, and over time if it works, then maybe chip off more and more
members to come on board. It`s going to be a battle.
KORNACKI: Ultimately he will need Congress for at least something on this.
Thank you very much.
Still ahead this hour, we`ll take a look at why this has been a pretty good
weekend for Rand Paul. Next, more protests and new information about the
police shooting in Madison, Wisconsin, that took the life of a young
African-American man. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Last night brought more peaceful protests to Madison, Wisconsin
after a young African-American man was shot and killed in his apartment on
Friday night in what investigators describe as a confrontation with a
police officer. The city`s police chief says the victim, 19-year-old Tony
Terrell Robinson Jr., was not armed. The chief says he understands the
anger over the shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE KOVAL, MADISON POLICE CHIEF: Folks are angry. Resent, mistrustful,
disappointed, shocked, chagrined, and any one of a number of other
adjectives you care to use in terms of the circumstances surrounding this
tragic death. And I get that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: People of all faiths gathered in this church last night to mourn
Robinson. MSNBC will keep you updated on this story.
Still ahead, star from one of TV`s hottest political thrillers, one of my
favorite shows, joins us right here.
Next, calling all candidates to Iowa. What brought all those Republicans
together and what they said right on the other side of this break.
KORNACKI: Republican presidential hopefuls spent yesterday wooing Iowa
voters at 2016`s largest cattle call to date. Nearly a dozen aspiring
candidates gathering at an agricultural summit hosted by an ethanol
executive, and a top Republican donor. Jeb Bush came out swinging against
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: This president has used his authority and authority he doesn`t have
to go way beyond what any president has done in the past. And you can
reorder and restructure that by undoing those executive orders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Chris Christie, when it was his turn, taking a similar approach.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: The EPA administrator in the Obama administration who started
this entire power grab, a woman named Lisa Jackson, where did she come
from? New Jersey. She was Jon Corzine`s environmental protection
commissioner when Barack Obama recruited her to come to Washington, D.C.
I`ve spent the last five years dismantling the overreach that she did in
New Jersey in our environmental protection area. So I understand what this
administration`s attitude is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Ted Cruz, for his part, went after liberals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: The hard core left loves ridiculing Christians, who believe
scriptures that say God created the heaven and the earth. They say it`s
anti-science to believe that an almighty God would do such a thing. But
when it comes to biotech, suddenly these same voices become the most anti-
science zealots we`ve ever seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who in the past has opposed
the ethanol mandate for gasoline, seemed to shift his stance in front of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: It`s something I`m willing to go forward on continuing the renewal
fuel standard, and pressing the EPA to make sure that there`s certainty in
terms of the levels set. Thanks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So bring the panel back in here. We`ll talk about this. Who
sort of stood out at this thing. That was one of the things that I thought
was noteworthy about this. Scott Walker on ethanol, starting to shift his
position a little there. Not everybody is doing this. We always hear the
story about Iowa. In Iowa, you have to be for ethanol. You`re not going
to win the caucuses. You might not win the state in the fall unless you`re
for ethanol. Ted Cruz was up there yesterday. I don`t think he will win
the presidential election in the end, but Ted Cruz, the voice of the GOP
base in a lot of ways, was up there yesterday saying no, I`m against the
subsidy. I`m wondering if that`s something -- one of those truisms about
Iowa we have to start revisiting a little bit.
DOMENECH: Iowa has had a terrible effect on Republican politics when it
comes to the presidential elections for a long time. It is a state that is
not in my opinion very representative in terms of sending people who
actually win, and also has a terrible effect in shifting all of these
conservatives who claim to be for free markets toward these terrible
subsidies that increase the cost of gas and groceries and have a terrible
effect in terms of the overall message that they have about not picking
winners and losers within the marketplace.
You saw that once again with what Scott Walker was saying the other day,
and I expect you`ll see that with more candidates. Marco Rubio has been
bad on sugar. I`ll be interested to see he was not at this the other day.
Where he ends up on ethanol and on these issues, and I think that it is a
question of whether you can win the state without supporting them. But
last time around, the ethanol backers put out all sorts of fliers against
Rick Perry, one candidate who had said there would be no renewal fuel
subsidies with all these big red X`s.
KORNACKI: I`ll give you a lot of reasons why it didn`t work for Rick Perry
last time. Maybe. Jeb Bush, we talk about Iowa favoring very conservative
candidates. Not natural territory for Jeb Bush, making the switch, his
first appearance in the state of this cycle, first appearance in a number
of years. He said apparently on his way out to the crowd that he looked
forward to seeing them a lot in the months ahead. Maybe Jeb Bush making a
CLIFT: His national campaign manager is an Iowan, which suggests that he
does put some premium on perhaps not winning the state. I mean there are
three tickets out of Iowa, isn`t that the conventional wisdom, win, place
and show? I don`t think Bush has to win, but he has to -- you know, he
can`t skip Iowa. The party itself, though, has a terrible reputation.
They haven`t picked a president for -- I can`t remember when was the last
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George W. Bush.
CLIFT: George W. Bush, okay. That was the last time.
KORNACKI: Speaking of Bush, Jeb Bush -- this is interesting, too. And
this is the bind he`s in a little bit. He`s trying to do this thing where
he talks about appealing to the general election voters while at the same
time you have to win the Republican primary. So yesterday, after his
remarks, he was confronted by an immigration activist, and this is the
exchange. Play this for a second.
KORNACKI: Interesting moment there, but basically likening Obama to a
Latin American dictator there in terms of how he`s pursued executive action
on immigration. But Perry, that is the bind for Jeb Bush. Immigration is
this issue where you`ve got to move as a Republican potentially to win in
the general election. When you`re in Iowa, you are trying to do well in
the caucuses --
BACON: He`s moving on both these two issues. You listen to what he`s
saying about common core, the educational standards. He`s saying something
very careful. He`s no longer saying I think common core is a great idea.
He`s now saying I think standards are important. States should have
standards. You should choose what your standards are. They don`t have to
be common core. That`s a very carefully -- that`s what he was doing.
Similarly on immigration, the president has bailed out Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush
can now say the president has been really bad and I really, really don`t
like that. I`m for legalization, but not the president`s way. I really
think he is moving a little bit. He`s not really changing his view but he
is making different emphasis. There is room for him to do pretty well in
Iowa. Romney was basically tied there in 2012. It`s not as if he -- and
you can, by the way -- Jeb Bush also can skip Iowa, win New Hampshire and
win the whole thing. He does seem to be trying, at least, to make sure
conservatives don`t hate him. He has met Erick Erickson, reached out to a
lot of conservative activists in the party. Really has done a good job I
think of saying, I`m coming to you, I`m talking to you, I`m at CPAC, you
may not like me, but here I am. It`s hard to sort of vociferously oppose
someone whom you met and talked to. He is doing a smart thing in reaching
out to the base.
CLIFT: He has to be seen as holding on to his core values. Otherwise he`s
a repeat of Romney. That`s what he has learned the lesson. If you look
like you`re flip-flopping on everything, you`re not going to win anybody.
KORNACKI: You try to get yourself in the right position.
CLIFT: So there`s maneuvering there but he has to look like he`s
(inaudible) when it comes to what he cares about.
KORNACKI: Behind the scenes he`s working very -- and we`re going to see --
I think this will be one of those stories in the next few months when they
start putting these fund-raising numbers out. Supposedly the numbers from
Jeb Bush are going to be just astronomical, and the question is, how does
that change the psyche of the party.
CLIFT: They are urging people to hold--
KORNACKI: Still ahead, what I think will be a very soggy slide in winter`s
final weeks. And up next, we`re going to party like it`s 1982. The FBI
agent next door becomes the guest in the next chair, actor and director
Noah Emmerich is here to talk about "The Americans." That`s right, after
KORNACKI: It`s easy these days to feel that the Cold War is back or maybe
these are the early days of a new Cold War. Think about this for a second.
An opposition leader is gunned down in the back right outside the Kremlin.
Another major city falls to Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. British
fighter jets scramble after they discover a Russian jet patrolling off the
coast of Cornwall. These things have all happened in just the last few
weeks. At least one hour every week, the Cold War is really back, the
original Cold War on the FX fictional drama series "The Americans," a
typical 1980s married couple raising two kids in suburban Washington D.C.
is actually anything but. They are actually Russian spies living under
false names trying to dig up government secrets by any means necessary, all
while trying to avoid detection by the FBI agent who actually lives next
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got pretty screwed up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How so?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had to pretend to be friends with people I really
didn`t like. Terrible people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: It`s a spy next door scenario based in reality. In 2010, the
FBI arrested 11 people from Seattle to suburban New York City who were
accused of being part of a Russian spy ring. People who seemed to be
ordinary Americans living ordinary lives, but were actually part of a long-
term, very long-term KGB program to plant Russian spies in the U.S. and
ferret out information and recruit more spies. Noah Emmerich plays that
FBI agent who lives right next door to the spies. He also directed this
week`s upcoming episode. Noah, thanks for joining us this morning.
NOAH EMMERICH, ACTOR: Thanks for having me.
KORNACKI: So you are the FBI agent -- I have to say, first of all, I love
this show. I hope people go out there and watch it if they`re not already.
You are the agent next door to these vicious, murderous, but normal-seeming
Russian spies. When you`re acting in these scenes with one of these spies,
do you ever get mad at your character for not figuring it out by this
EMMERICH: That`s a fine line that we`ve always sort of had to walk. If
Stan -- the character I play is named Stan - if he figures out who they
are, it`s either going to be very early demise for Stan, my character, or
for the show. It`s a tricky balance. We want Stan to be intelligent and
perceptive and smart, and we also don`t want him to catch them, because the
show would end.
I always sort of -- my response to that is geographical proximity doesn`t
necessarily provide a lot of clues just because they`re across the street.
There`s nothing happening in their house that`s unusual. You know, as you
mentioned, the case in 2010, I don`t think any of the neighbors of any of
these Russian spies had any suspicions whatsoever that there was anything
extraordinary going on. The work that they do is all outside of the house.
In fact, Stan and Philip, the father who is the spy, have a great budding
KORNACKI: Right. Sometimes the best way is hiding in plain sight. Be the
KORNACKI: That`s the other question, too. I watch this, it is set in the
early 1980s right outside Washington, D.C. And I wonder how much of this
actually happened. Do we know?
EMMERICH: Right. I don`t think we know exactly what happened. I think
it`s safe to assume things very close to this story did, in fact, happen.
I mean, as recently as 2010 is the last time we discovered people who were
actually doing this. I`m sure it`s been going on since the KGB has been up
and running. And it continues to go on to this day. That was a surprise
to me, that it was happening so recently. We thought the Cold War was
over. We thought there was no real reason for the Russians to be spying on
the United States.
KORNACKI: And still -- Yeah.
EMMERICH: I can only imagine the 60S, 70S, 80S how much more it was going
KORNACKI: That`s one of the things I like about this show. I was a kid in
the 1980S, at the tail end of the Cold War but I can remember vividly as a
6, 7, 8-year-old the fear of World War III, the fear that Russians were
going to attack us. There was that movie "Red Dawn" in the 1980S. You
look at it and laugh now, but this takes us back to an era where it was a
EMMERICH: It was a real visceral part of my childhood as well. I remember
going to bed and fearing that the world would end in a nuclear disaster.
In fact, I was an activist as a young kid in anti-nuclear demonstrations.
It was a very visceral, palpable feel we all lived under the threat of
annihilation, and Russia was the evil empire, as we were told by our
KORNACKI: In this show too, as we now watch it with the benefit of
hindsight, it feels like oh my God, there`s a clash between these two
countries and who is going to win? We also know five, ten years down the
line, the Soviet Union just collapses completely.
EMMERICH: It turns out we grossly overestimated their abilities I think
economically and militarily. But, you know, hindsight is 20/20. In the
moment, it was really a fraught time.
KORNACKI: And you guys work in so much -- if you`re a fan of contemporary
American history, contemporary global history, Nicaragua, for instance, the
big issues in the 1980s, the Contras, the secret war that the United States
was sort of backing down there. It all factors in there. I`ve read Oliver
North, who was part of the Iran-Contra scandal in the `80S, he has been a
consultant to the show, is that right?
EMMERICH: He was a consultant on one particular episode, which was a
Nicaragua heavy storyline. Which is really funny to me, because I remember
watching the investigations and the Senate hearings, and to have him all of
a sudden as a creative influence on our show was startling.
KORNACKI: Did you get to meet him?
EMMERICH: I didn`t get to meet him. My storyline didn`t really cross with
the Nicaraguan story line, so I did not meet him, but the writers and the
producers did. I think he was very helpful. It was an interesting moment.
KORNACKI: That`s what I am saying, there are so many little things. I
also noticed, I was watching an episode recently. And in the background,
sort of set in Northern Virginia. The TV is on in the background and an ad
comes on for a Volvo dealership in Northern Virginia. It`s one of these
things that they put in, as a joke for people who get it, I guess, because
it is the Volvo dealership of a guy who is now a member of Congress from
Northern Virginia, Don Beyer. Don Beyer was a Volvo dealer who is now a
congressman. I swear they put that in there --
EMMERICH: I actually missed that. Yes, there are some great old
commercials from the `80S that you can`t believe were real commercials.
Everything on the show is real in terms of what we present on television
was, in fact, was on television then.
KORNACKI: And I remember from the kid`s perspective. It feels like, I
watch that show and I feel like I`m being transported back. Noah Emmerich
from "The Americans," I love the show, you directed the upcoming episode.
Look forward to watching that. Thank you for being here.
KORNACKI: All right now, how Rand Paul is having something in common with
Lyndon Johnson. We`ll tell you what it is, next.
KORNACKI: All right. The panel is back with us. Time to get caught up on
some other headlines making news this morning. I`ve got the index cards
back. It`s another catching up segment. Let`s see what the AP is
reporting this morning. This story from down in Kentucky. Kentucky
Republican leaders clear path for Paul`s dual campaign, so this is a key
development for 2016. State party leaders in Kentucky yesterday allowing
the state to change from having a presidential primary to having a
presidential caucus. This is going to allow Rand Paul to simultaneously
run for the United States Senate and for president next year. I think we
teased this last block, as Lyndon Johnson did. He ran for vice president
and the Senate simultaneously in 1960. So Kentucky Republicans doing a
favor for Rand Paul here.
DOMENECH: This is a big deal for Rand Paul. There was some concern, a lot
of people saying 2016 might not be the best moment for him because of this
rise in hawkishness on the right in recent months, but I think this really
clears the path for him.
CLIFT: Marco Rubio has a similar problem in Florida. So we`ll see if --
KORNACKI: And I`ve been hearing talk is he`s going to do president. He
made a comment publicly. He said I don`t believe in trying to be cute
about it. I would choose, if I was called to run for president, I`d run
CLIFT: I think he doesn`t really like the Senate.
KORNACKI: I get that impression. I also hear governor of Florida if he
loses in 2016.
What else do we have here? This is from our NBC affiliate station WBRE in
Pennsylvania. We got to show you this. This is footage of the tenth
annual cardboard challenge. It takes place in the Pocono mountains.
You`re starting to see the footage of it here. You have all these
elaborate creations. The leg lamp from "the Christmas Story." There it is,
the Viking ship, Spongebob, a space shuttle, a Camaro. They had prizes
including best design and most epic fail, which you might be looking at
right there. There`s Spongebob. That looks like a lot of fun. Also what
do we have here? Take a look at this. This is from Instagram. I like this
one, this is John Stamos. He played uncle Jesse in the hit sitcom "Full
House." Yesterday he posted a photo on Instagram in front of the San
Francisco home that was featured in that series. Tourists were here to see
a piece of sitcom history and did not even notice that John Stamos, uncle
Jesse from the show right there with them.
BACON: This is real nostalgia. This is for me, my childhood, "Full
KORNACKI: Anyway, thank you to Instagram for that. Thank you to today`s
panel, Ben Domenech, Eleanor Clift, Perry Bacon Jr., appreciate you all
being here. Thank you at home for getting up with us this week and getting
up an hour earlier. We all lost an hour of sleep last night. Tune in next
week. We have a very special guest. Look at this, Larry King will be here
next week. Very excited about that. Right now, Melissa Harris-Perry, she
is coming up next. She is live again in Selma, Alabama. Stay tuned for
that. Also at 3:00 p.m. today MSNBC will have a special show on this
weekend`s events in Selma. You are going to want to stick around and don`t
miss that. Stay tuned for that and have a great week.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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