'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, March 22nd, 2015
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: March 22, 2015
Guest: Emily Tisch Sussman, Raul Reyes, Matt Lewis, Marcelas Owens,
Jonathan Cohn, Richard Socarides, Harry Siegel, Ezra Klein, Carol
Davenport, Michael Daly
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC ANCHOR: The new culture war.
Good morning. Thanks for getting up with us. I`m Jonathan Capehart in for
Steve Kornacki. We begin this Sunday morning with breaking news on the
deteriorating situation in Yemen. The U.S. military has ordered the
evacuation of 100 troops and Special Operations forces, and the United
Nations Security Council has called an emergency meeting for this afternoon
to discuss the situation. The evacuation comes just as Shiite rebels took
hold of the country`s third largest city and after 137 people were killed
in two suicide bombings there on Friday. We will continue to monitor this
situation and bring you updates throughout the show.
Plus, what does President Obama have planned for the now 134-day-old
confirmation battle over Loretta Lynch, the nominee for attorney general.
A live update from the White House is ahead. We are also going to take a
look at why there are new calls for Al Gore to run in 2016. And then
there`s this story breaking overnight. "The Houston Chronicle" reporting
that Ted Cruz, senator of Texas, will become the first Republican to
officially declare his presidential candidacy. The announcement will take
place tomorrow in Virginia at Liberty University, the school founded by the
Reverend Jerry Falwell. Cruz will apparently skip the exploratory
committee phase and head straight into the campaign. We`ll have more on
that for you later.
But we want to begin with this morning with the latest Republican
presidential contender to voice support for religious freedom measures,
measures that would allow individuals to discriminate against gay and
lesbian Americans based on religious beliefs. While in Georgia Thursday
Jeb Bush was asked about the religious freedom bill that recently passed
the Georgia Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH, (R) FLORIDA: I don`t know what about the law, but
religious freedom is a serious issue and it`s increasingly so. And I think
people that act on their conscious shouldn`t be discriminated against for
sure. There should be protections. And so, as it relates to marriage
equality, it may change -- the Supreme Court may change that. That
automatically then shifts the focus to people of conscious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: As same-sex marriage spreads across the country, conservatives
are pushing laws that would provide individuals and business like bakeries,
florists and others their right to refuse service to same sex couples based
on religious beliefs. Bush is not the only potential Republican
presidential candidate to weigh in on these efforts. Ted Cruz was asked in
May if he would provide services to gay couples if he were a baker or a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED CRUZ: I`m am perfectly willing to interact with anybody. But at the
same time, I don`t think the law should be forcing Americans to violate
their religious faith.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Marco Rubio also weighed in on the issue last March after
Republican Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a religious freedom bill supported by
conservatives in the Arizona state legislature.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R ) FLORIDA: I don`t believe that gay Americans should
be denied services at a restaurant, hotel or anything of that nature. I
also don`t believe, however, that a caterer or a photographer should be
punished by the state for refusing to provide services for a gay wedding
because of their religious-held beliefs. So, we have got to figure out a
way to protect that as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Here to discuss all this, Raul Reyes, a contributor with "USA
Today," Matt Lewis, contributing editor at "The Week." Emily Tisch
Sussman, campaign director at the Center for American Progress, and Richard
Socarides, an LGBT activist who was a senior adviser to President Bill
Clinton, now a writer with "The New Yorker." Thank you all for being here.
Richard, I`m going to start with you. The news of Jeb Bush on Thursday
supporting religious freedom measures that would allow discrimination
against the LGBT community. What do you make of that?
RICHARD SOCARIDES, FMR. CLINTON ADVISOR: Well, it`s part of this backlash
that we are starting to see against the success of marriage equality. And
the Supreme Court, people anticipate the Supreme Court ruling later this
year, probably in the spring that there should be a nationwide right to
marriage equality. So, no matter where you live, you`ll be able to marry
the person you love. And in some states, and the more conservative states,
we`re seeing a backlash, and that backlash has taken the form of these
bills which basically say that if you have a religious - an objection based
upon religion that you don`t have to abide by the law. And it doesn`t just
apply to gay people. It could apply to all kinds of situations, where, you
know, different states have drawn them differently.
But the thing to remember is that we have a long history in this country of
accommodating, you know, religious freedom, which is an important American
value, but also standing for equality. And these new bills, I think, are a
bunch of nonsense. I think most of them are unconstitutional anyway. But
for a while now the Republican Party, you know, in the middle of this
primary season are going to focus on this as a way to say we`re not for gay
CAPEHART: You`ve thrown a lot out there. And we have a map, I believe, of
all the states where this religious freedom bills are coming up. Matt, and
there`s the map there. Richard put - threw a lot out there. So, Matt, I
want to have you respond to some of this.
MATT LEWIS, THE WEEK: Well, I think Richard is right about the potential
for a backlash. I think that the American public in recent years has
really become very sort of pro-gay marriage. And I think that because they
were being in a sense victimized. But I think there`s a chance this is
going to go the other way. At some point during the last few years, leave
me alone became bake me a cake. And I think there`s a danger that at some
point you could see that pastors would be compelled to even perform gay
marriages if they want to maintain their tax status. I think that`s a
bridge too far. I think that there really needs to be a reasonable
combination where people who have deeply held religious values are not
forced or compelled by the government to do things that violates their
rights of conscience.
RAUL REYES, USA TODAY: But the way the Supreme Court has interpreted these
laws, first of all, these cases we have already seen among the states where
people refused to bake cakes, or provide services to same-sex couples,
those laws have been struck down by the lower courts, and for good reason.
The Supreme Court has basically held most recently, in 1982, that if you`re
a commercial establishment, once you open your doors in the public arena
you open your doors to all. And you can see some of the reason behind it
in a very - type of way. If you`re a business, if you are running a
company, you would interact with the court system, with the tax system,
police, the infrastructure, those are things that we all as taxpayers fund.
So, therefore as unconstitutional for these businesses to turn around and
say to certain people, well, we`re not going to provide these services to
you. That makes them second class. And the important thing to remember is
that the Supreme Court has a long history of when they look at laws banning
sexual -- banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, it does not
outlaw the religious beliefs. The religious beliefs are irrelevant. It
outlaws certain conduct that may arise from religious beliefs. And there`s
EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yeah, look, this is the
long game, right? Like this is the long game in pushing LGBT rights and
even those who are pushing against LGBT rights. Over the last couple of
years we have talked about marriage as being right in the center of the
discussion. But we need to look a little bit past that. The court
probably will rule on marriage nationwide in June. And do we need to be
looking at what the next thing is for all those who care about LGBT rights.
I think there`s still a little bit of a lack of understanding that in many
states around the country you can still be fired, you can be kicked out of
housing. That is the long game. And that religious freedom really is at
the center of where the opposition will be. These bills will only come up
more and more.
SOCARIDES: Can I say something? One thing about context, too. I mean
because Matt raises an interesting point about deeply held religious
beliefs. But this whole argument turns on the context, right? If you`re
performing a religious service, for a long time in the United States you --
we don`t force religion to abide by any one particular thing. So, if
you`re in a denomination, if you`re a pastor in a denomination that doesn`t
believe in gay marriage, no one is suggesting that you ever be forced to
perform a gay marriage. But if you are engaged in the regular stream, also
if you are engaged in the regular stream of business or commerce, you have
to abide by the rules that everybody abides by, otherwise no one will have
to abide by any rules.
LEWIS: But I think - but I think there`s ...
SOCARIDES: Let also - let`s also just say here in terms of the politics of
this what is happening, is that Jeb Bush is trying to - you know, has to
win some primaries in order to get the Republican nomination. And the only
way he can do that is he can`t be for marriage equality. Now, he`s trying
to thread a very thin line here. And that was really more of a non-answer
than an answer that he gave.
CAPEHART: You`re getting to something I was just about to bring up,
because in that SOT that we just played of Governor Bush saying that he
doesn`t think people acting out of conscience should not be discriminated
against for sure, there should be protections, and so as it relates to
marriage equality and that may change the Supreme Court may change that.
But automatically then shifts the focus to people of consciousness idea
that you can be for marriage equality, but you can also be for people being
discriminated against because they`re gay and lesbian. Because of
someone`s religious beliefs.
REYES: I think it speaks a little of his rustiness as a candidate.
Because he`s trying to thread the needle, fudge it. And I think, you know,
if you`re going to take a side in one of these positions, you just have to
own it. And I know this was an on the fly type of answer, but I think he
is sort of trying to have it both ways. And I always tell people a good
way to look at it is to flip it. What if you were, as for example, in
Utah, and you encountered a Mormon or certain establishments that would not
deal with you because you did not - were not a member of the LDS faith.
Most people would be - most Americans would be deeply offended by that.
LEWIS: I think Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are actually now occupying the
mainstream American position. I think for a long time your gay Americans,
there was a sense that they were not having equal rights, they couldn`t get
married. And I think that there`s a lot of ..
REYES: Most Americans don`t believe in bigotry.
LEWIS: I think - I think they have a lot of sympathy, and I think there`s
a chance that they could - this could be - that there could be some
backlash. And look, by the way, I do think there is going to come a time
when Christian pastors and other religious leaders are compelled to perform
gay marriages. Because if I`m a gay person who sits in - you know, who
attends church, why shouldn`t I have my pastor? I mean You know --
SOCARIDES: That was because all of this ...
LEWIS: We need to reach an accommodation. There needs to be a compromise.
SOCARIDES: You`re raising really a false issue here.
LEWIS: I don`t think so.
SOCARIDES: This debate has never been about forcing religious
denominations to perform any kind of marriages. I mean this has always
been about civil marriage.
LEWIS: Civil marriage.
SOCARIDES: No, never in the history of the country. Never in the history
of the country, the religious - we have freedom of religions in this
country and never in the history of the country have we forced a religion
to do any one particular thing.
LEWIS: Why are we forcing photographers who have deeply held convictions
SOCARIDES: Matt, because photographers ...
LEWIS: ... to go photograph gay ceremony.
SOCARIDES: Photographers are in the normal stream of commerce. You
wouldn`t let a photographer not take a picture of an African-American
person because they didn`t like African-Americans.
LEWIS: If they didn`t like conservatives they didn`t want to come to my
wedding, I would hire somebody else.
CAPEHART: There are civil rights laws that we all have to abide by, right?
REYES: And speaking of this in the same arguments we heard during ...
LEWIS: Here we go. Here we go.
LEWIS: Because this is exactly like Jim Crow. This is the perfect
CAPEHART: No. No. No. It`s not a perfect analogy. But I have to tell
you that I get a little uncomfortable when people start using religious
beliefs to hide behind or to use as an excuse to not grant someone or allow
someone their full dignity, the full respect that they deserve under our
Constitution. People use religion.
LEWIS: Yes. And you know what, it was also religious people who used,
abolitionists. It was also religious people ...
LEWIS: ... who fought against the ...
CAPEHART: And you`re exactly right. They used religion to say, hey, look,
you are not treating people fairly.
CAPEHART: But we`re talking about our people who potentially are using
religion to treat people unfairly.
LEWIS: There has to be a reasonable compromise here. We have to have some
agreement whereupon everybody - you know, where religious people can who
have deeply held religious convictions.
CAPEHART: How do they prove that? Could someone ...
TISCH-SUSSMAN: Yeah. No, I think that`s a great question. And I actually
have a little bit of a twist to what Matt is - I actually don`t disagree
that this is entirely out of the mainstream of Americans, but I think it`s
kind of a lack of education. I think that people feel like there should be
a compromise position, and when you go to that extreme of a pastor or
something that is religious in nature, but I think there is a widespread
lack of understanding at the how far this religious freedom ...
SOCARIDES: And that exception exists in law today. Right? I mean it is a
matter of settled law today in this country, that if you are in a religious
denomination that doesn`t want to perform certain kinds of marriages, you
don`t have to. This has always been about civil marriage. But really,
this is a smoke screen that the Republicans are trying to set up right now.
Because, you know, it`s an issue, it`s like a really side issue. And I
think Jeb Bush, I mean I think it was inarticulate, but I think he gave
exactly the answer he wanted to give. He wants to leave himself some
breathing room on both sides so that if he can get the Republican
nomination, if he can get through the primary process and the general
election, he can soften his position.
SOCARIDES: I think no one should miss that point.
LEWIS: I think it`s a mainstream position.
TISCH-SUSSMAN: Look, the best thing - look the best thing that can happen
for Republicans is a widespread very broad ruling from the court on
marriage, so that it takes the issue off the table as much as possible. He
is looking for a way to have it both ways in this ...
LEWIS: No, I think most Americans do not want gays to be discriminated
against and they do not want Christians to be compelled to violate their
rights of conscience. Especially, I think when it comes to ...
REYES: Well, that`s exactly fine.
TISCH-SUSSMAN: But how far does that go?
LEWIS: That`s exactly fine.
TISCH-SUSSMAN: What if it`s a catholic operated hospital. Do they have
the right to deny hospital services to the patients that come in an
emergency - or anything?
REYES: But what if people who say that their religious beliefs prevent
them from approving of some, say, like interracial couples or doing
business with people of ...
CAPEHART: And now again, now again, we`re getting off topic and we`re out
CAPEHART: Many thanks to Richard Socarides of "New Yorker"
SOCARIDES: Thank you for having me.
CAPEHART: Thanks very much.
Still ahead, Obama could be racking up the most far reaching
accomplishments of any U.S. president on a big issue facing the nation.
But up next, my comments about hands up don`t shoot got some attention this
week. I have more to say about that after this. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: Protesters rallied again in Ferguson yesterday. Michael Brown`s
father led demonstrators in a march to the Ferguson police department
carrying a coffin replica calling for justice for his son. On Friday the
Ferguson police department got a new interim chief. One day after a new
judge took over Ferguson`s municipal court. All part of a series of
changes coming to the town in the wake of the Justice Department`s recent
report detailing rampant racism throughout local government and law
But it was the other DOJ report, the one that examined what happened in the
encounter between Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown that forced me to
come to terms this week with its conclusion. As I wrote in "The Washington
Post," the DOJ`s investigation "forced me to deal with two uncomfortable
truths. Brown never surrendered with his hands up and Wilson was justified
in shooting Brown. According to the Department of Justice review, evidence
supports Wilson`s claim that Brown reached into the SUV and punched and
grabbed Wilson. That Brown and the officer fought over the officer`s gun.
That Brown was moving towards Wilson when Wilson shot him. That ballistic
and DNA evidence did not corroborate the hands up and surrender story line.
I write, "Hands up don`t shoot became the mantra of a movement, but it was
wrong built on a lie. It`s imperative that we continue marching for and
giving voice to those killed at racially charged incidents at the hands of
police and others. But we must never allow ourselves to march under the
banner of a false narrative on behalf of someone who would otherwise offend
our sense of right and wrong."
"New York Daily News" Harry Siegel weighed in with another critic of the
black lives matter movement. Siegel writing, "As potent as the black lives
matter movement has been in driving the media conversation, preaching to
and amplifying the voices of the converted, it`s done little to convince
Americans not already on board for the need for change. Joining me now,
author of that piece, Harry Siegel of the "New York Daily News" along with
Harry, thank you very much for being here. I`ve laid out my argument.
Tell us a little bit more about the argument you`re laying out.
HARRY SIEGEL, AUTHOR: I think it`s a cousin to the one you did in a lot of
ways. There just is overwhelming numbers, if there`s a movement to try to
create significant broad change, not just to reform, say, this one town.
The Rasmussen members are overwhelming. So, 82 percent of black people
think police officers act in discriminatory ways toward black people. I`m
inclined to trust them. This is a question about - black people and their
experience. 30 percent of white people. That is a massive, massive gap.
And those numbers just sort of keep coming. 61 percent of all Americans
say that the media hypes up shootings when a white officer shoots someone
who is black. And without shifting those numbers, I think getting to any
sort of real and systematic change becomes nearly impossible. So, this is
not all in the black lives matter movement obviously. Some of this is
racism. Some of it is apathy.
There`s lots and lots mixed in, and finally, you can`t separate policing
issues from other ones. But there`s a certain bottom line that for all the
attention and drumbeat this has received, we are not seeing outside of this
one town anything like systematic changes. It`s hard not to see. Going
through this again when we get to the next victim. And almost every victim
is actually a complicated story. This is the rare instance, in which
because of this false narrative, because of the attention that drew,
because that drew justice in, because the story Tony Johnson told that was
just wrong, and then was repeated and amplified by many other witnesses who
were not telling the truth as we now understand it.
CAPEHART: As detailed in the DOJ report.
SIEGEL: We got to the truth. Right. So, we have a truth in the sense of
what actually happened. And continuing to put that banner out, I don`t
think of hands up don`t shoot, I don`t think it is compelling to people who
are not already on board at this point. I think it distresses those who
are paying attention.
CAPEHART: And we should point out that I mean - it moved from hands up
don`t shoot to I can`t breathe, Eric Garner who was killed a month before
to black lives -- to black lives matter. And I think one of the reasons
why the mantra exploded as it did beyond Ferguson is because you had Eric
Garner, Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Levar Jones. At so many instances where
it wasn`t just about Michael Brown anymore. It was about all of these
black men who were losing their lives in one way or another either by
police officers or other folks. I know you want to jump in here real
REYES: Jonathan, I know you`ve received a lot of push back from people on
Twitter and social media for your article. I think it`s - I mean I think
it`s very commendable and admirable that you are acting on your conscious
and actually willing to say this is where I stand now. And putting that
out there. And I do not disagree with you. I mean the findings - I think
the findings from the DOJ reports are credible. We can`t accept the
findings of one report and disavow the reports - the findings from another.
But I still think the report about the events there, when we get to talking
about the actual instances -- circumstances of the incident, whether or not
he had his hands up, the altercation in the car, those are still based on
all the eyewitnesses who they deemed credible. And - but the two people
who saw the entire thing, Darren Wilson, Michael Brown, only one of them
was able to give his full side of the story. I`m not saying that the DOJ
report is not credible. I believe that it is. But I think structurally it
does lack the input that it`s not - that it was unable to get from Michael
CAPEHART: From Michael Brown.
REYES: And whether or not he had his hands up, I acknowledge that he did
go into the car, there was a struggle that he -- all these other things. I
don`t dispute any of that. But I just do think the movement is so much
bigger than Michael Brown. I still feel that my gut reaction is at the
most basic level. Michael Brown was a teenager. Michael Brown was an
American citizen. Michael Brown was a human being, and he did not deserve
the spontaneous imposition of a death penalty because he was walking in the
street and had shoplifted some cigarillos. So I feel - I still think that
- when we look at the victims, we may never have a perfect victim. Tamir
Rice who was ten years old, 12 ...
REYES: 12. Even he is not considered perfect because some people say that
he shouldn`t have been playing with that gun. Or his parent should have -
not have let him out in public.
So, I think if you are trying search for perfect victim, there may never be
SIEGEL: There`s plenty of perfect victims. Tamir Rice, is very, very
close. He`s a little boy who`s in a park, playing with a toy gun like all
boys have always done. I mean you have this huge disparity in the numbers
despite the fact - first off, it`s not like there`s been a recent round of
this happening with police. It`s we`re paying closer attention. Secondly,
there are real innocents involved, and frequently, and then there are
ambiguous cases like this. The question is how you start changing minds,
if we need some sort of systematic change. How you get people on board who
have not been there. And I think it`s very distressing when you write
something like you did, Jonathan, and trying - trying to get to an honest
point, trying to speak to people who are maybe not paying close attention
up until now, and you get the sort of push back he did. One other thing in
that report, the (INAUDIBLE). In the report on Brown and Wilson in the
shooting, is the reason the body was out there for as long as it was, you
know, they go over this. There`s two reports of gunfire. While the
detectives are trying to deal with the scene. The detectives always, in
any homicide, want a body to stay on the scene. Because once it`s moved,
it`s moved forever. And you have that one chance to collect evidence with
There`s crowds moving in, and we are very upset and understandably and
chanting "Kill the pigs." And all of this is happening simultaneously.
So, when that also becomes part of the narrative. It takes people who
maybe would be in a position to be sympathetic and to understand what
happened and these true victims, and the disaster in some ways that
American law enforcement has been for a long time and it pushes them off.
LEWIS: Can I say --
CAPEHART: Real fast, because we have to ...
LEWIS: Well, I think it`s a really interesting media story. I commend you
for writing sort of calling them like you see them. And I think the right
has this problem, too. We`ll try to make a hero out of George Zimmerman or
Clive and Bundy, people who represent our cause ostensibly, but really are
not the best people that we want to have represent us.
Tribalism is a real problem where people go to their corners. And I
commend you for sort of not doing that.
CAPEHART: I thank you all for your commendations. But as I`ve said many
times, you know, I have written about this so many times, with so many
cases. And if I`m going to have any credibility the next time this
happens, because there is always a next time, I have got - I have to deal
with the truth. And when people call on the Justice Department, as they
did, right after Michael Brown was shot and killed to come in and
investigate. Eric Holder`s Justice Department to go in and investigate.
Then when that report comes out, you`ve got -- you have to read it, you
have to find it credible. If you`re not going to find the Justice
Department credible, Eric Holder`s Justice Department credible, believable,
then I don`t know who you`re going to believe. And I choose to believe
something or someone. But any way.
Harry Siegel, thank you very much for coming in. Harry Siegel of "The New
York Daily News."
Still ahead, it`s President Obama running out of time to cement his
environmental legacy? And next, we`re going to get nostalgic. What if we
could go back to the Clinton presidency without Bill or Hillary occupying
the White House? We`ll explain what we`re talking about right after this.
CAPEHART: It`s been a little more than two months since Jeb Bush
reportedly said that "if someone wants to run a campaign about `90s
nostalgia it is not going to be very successful. It was supposed to be a
swipe at Hillary Clinton suggesting the Clinton name would recall her
husband`s popularity and memories of economic boom times of the 1990s to
But what if it wasn`t former President Clinton`s wife who was running, but
rather his vice president? This past week, "Vox`s" Ezra Klein made the
case for Al Gore to run for president, arguing that Gore offers a genuinely
different view of what the Democratic Party and by extension American
politics should be about. And not just because of his work fighting
climate change. The issue he`s been most closely associated with since
leaving office in 2000. But also for his embrace of technology and visions
of the future which are laid out in his most recent book "The Future." But
let`s not get ahead of this week`s speculation. After Ezra`s piece in a
"New York Times" story about the new optimism of Al Gore, close confidantes
told MSNBC`s Alex Seitz-Wald flat out that Gore is not running. He`s even
thinking about it.
So, joining the panel MSNBC contributor Ezra Klein with Vox is here to
defend his piece. Ezra, thanks for being here.
EZRA KLEIN, VOX: Good morning.
CAPEHART: So, why 15 years later do you think Al Gore is even a viable
KLEIN: So, one, I don`t think Al Gore is going to run. He`s never shown
any interest, not for at least about a decade, of getting back into
politics. So, let`s put that to the side. What I`m interested here is a
thought experiment of Al Gore. Because to me, the Democratic Party in
particular and American politics to some degree in general is -- needs to
have a conversation about what it`s really about. After Obamacare, the
safety net the liberals have been trying to construct, since really FDR is
in its broad architectural sweep, largely constructed after the Iraq war,
the sort of foreign policy fashion of liberals has been figured out. After
the sort of rapid rise of gay marriage across the country, the civil rights
battle that I think a lot of liberals believed they would have does not
appear like it will be as much of a battle. And so there becomes this
question of what is the Democratic Party`s organizing mission, what is its
big effort over the years? And you have got Hillary Clinton, who is
running. And I think the danger there is not that she won`t have a good
answer but that her answer, will rather than be part of the debate be the
end of the debate.
The argument I think for Gore is that arguably the biggest issue facing not
just America, but the world in the coming generations is climate change.
And while I don`t actually think doing anything about climate change is a
political winner, I`m pretty pessimistic that America or the world will do
enough about climate change in time, I think that is really an argument
worth having. It is an argument worth having to say we should be focused
on something bigger than sort of tweaks to public programs as they exist
now. Instead of thinking about what we`re doing to the planet.
CAPEHART: You know, Ezra, I know you said in your answer that this was --
you know, you really don`t think Al Gore is going to run, and this was more
of a thought experiment. But the fact that we`re having this conversation
and that people keep pushing or opining for Senator Elizabeth Warren to get
into the race, conversations about Vice President Biden. How much of that
is really a reflection on Hillary Clinton and sort of a dissatisfaction
that she`s the only choice for the party it seems?
KLEIN: I think there`s a bit of a vacuum right now. I think that it`s a
bit early to say whether people are going to be satisfied or dissatisfied
with Clinton. Because until she announces and until she begins running,
the media, you and me, Jonathan, are in this sort of odd position of
writing about 2016 without anything happening in the 2016 race. We sort of
hit that moment --
CAPEHART: It`s not even 2016.
CAPEHART: We have hit that moment where there`s interest in talking about
the presidential campaign, but no actual presidential campaign to talk
about. So, we`re going to have to see. When she actually announces which
I believe is going to be in April from the current reporting. And begins
campaigning, my hunch is she`ll begin campaigning pretty aggressively
against Republicans to try to consolidate the Democratic base and we`ll see
to what degree Democrats are pining for more options or whether they`re
uniting behind the flag of Hillary Clinton and training their fire power
and their fury on Jeb Bush or Scott Walker or Rand Paul or whomever looks
to be leading in the Republican primary.
The problem for me, I think she might actually be a very strong candidate.
I just - at the same time I think Democratic Party, it is a healthy process
for parties to have to intellectually renew every so often, and I`m worried
that the strength of her candidacy, which right now is just a juggernaut,
will keep that process from happening.
CAPEHART: Emily, what do you think of this? What Ezra is saying, and just
this `90s nostalgia will help Hillary Clinton or hurt?
SUSSMAN: I agree with Ezra that to whatever degree this discussion is
coming out, whether it`s about the e-mails or Al Gore is because there`s a
vacuum of discussion that we want to be talking about a presidential
candidate, but there`s no active campaign to be discussing, so we`re
looking for things we can pull up again later. Different narratives we can
What is interesting about what Ezra brings up in this environmental first
argument for Al Gore is if you want to recreate that Obama coalition, two
key groups you need, you`ll need millennials and Hispanics. Those are two
groups that have higher poling groups in the environment than any other
group. I don`t know that 2016 is ready for it, in terms of a voting issue.
But it`s an interesting thing to put out there.
REYES: I think that also it`s not just, say, a dissatisfaction with
Hillary Clinton that I think drives a lot of this thinking that`s going on
now. I think it`s a sense that people know if Hillary goes through the
primaries with a challenge, it will make her a better candidate. On
certain issues, whether it`s income equality or climate change, having some
degree of competition will battle test her for the general election, and
that would be good for her and for the party.
CAPEHART: You want a battle tested Hillary Clinton?
LEWIS: I`m curious about the desire to have this. Republicans for the
last two cycles have had a clown car where we`re fighting over all sorts of
issues. You could argue that free market and debate makes people better.
But on the right, has it worked out? Is it better to have a candidate like
Hillary that you sort of know is the heir apparent? Republicans have had
the opposite. We have had this big sort of identity crisis and trying to
figure out where the party is. I`m not sure it`s been a good process.
CAPEHART: On that note. Ezra Klein from Vox, thank you very much for
Still ahead, if Al Gore`s environmental legacy is an inconvenient truth,
what will Obama`s environmental legacy be?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I can change how the country thinks about this, as a serious and
immediate threat, not some distant, vague thing, if I can encourage and
gain commitments from the Chinese to put forward a serious plan to start
curbing greenhouse gases, if I`m able to do those things now, when I`m
done, we`ll still have a heck of a problem, but we will have made enough
progress that the next president and the next generations can build upon
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: That was President Obama in an interview with Vice earlier this
week, encapsulating what has been a top priority of his second term,
dealing with climate change. Politico writing in an article this week
about how the president sees environmental action as imperative to his
legacy. Perhaps the biggest challenge coming up at the fall`s U.N. climate
conference in Paris. The stakes are high and people familiar with the
talks say if Paris doesn`t produce a deal, another 20 years could go by
before another agreement is reached, with the effects of global warming
mounting. But it`s not just abroad that President Obama hopes his climate
action legacy takes hold. In the U.S., the president using executive order
this week to cut the government`s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent
over the next decade. But as the "New York Times" Coral Davenport reports,
the Republicans won`t let him get away with executive orders and
multinational agreements without challenge. Senator Mitch McConnell is
intent on blocking President Obama`s climate change agenda in state houses
across the country. Senator McConnell wrote a letter on all of the
nation`s governors how to fight President Obama`s EPA regulations. Even on
Friday, as the first ever guidelines for fracking on federal lands were
introduced, 27 Republicans blocked the rules from taking effect. It`s
clear President Obama would want a strong environmental legacy, but does he
have enough time?
Joining the panel is Coral Davenport, energy and environmental reporter for
the Times. Coral, great to be here. You wrote a story a couple months
back with a sentence that struck me. It goes like this, President Obama
could leave office with the most aggressive, far-reaching environmental
legacy of any occupant of the White House." You were writing about the
president utilizing the Clean Air Act at the time. But we`re still at the
crux of the presidential -- the president possibly having the most lasting
legacy. How do you think that stands right now?
CORAL DAVENPORT, NEW YORK TIMESS: So, the president has used already the
authority of the Clean Air Act to propose a set of Environmental Protection
Agency regulations that could do more for climate change than any president
ever. It could cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, it could trigger
transformation of the U.S. energy economy from fossil fuels to renewables.
The question is whether those will stand up. Those regulations are set to
be finalized this summer. States will still have to implement them.
There`s a lot of political, legal, legislative hurdles ahead. So he`s done
what he can. The question now is are they going to stand up? Are states
going to fight? How will they be implemented?
CAPEHART: You say legal and legislative hurdles remain. That leads me to
think about Republican obstructionism. How much of that has hurt the
president at this point?
DAVENPORT: The president went ahead and used his existing authority under
existing law to put forth these regulations. He did not have to go through
Congress. He didn`t need Congress to get them done. There`s not a lot
that Congress can do to straight up block the regulations. Though
Republicans hold the majority in both houses, they don`t have enough --
they don`t have a filibuster proof majority -- they don`t have the majority
to stop the presidential veto. The biggest challenge is really going to be
the courts. Whether these regulations are going to be challenged in courts
almost certainly in the Supreme Court. And that`s going to be a big part
of what determines whether they stand or fall.
CAPEHART: There`s something else the president said in his Vox interview.
Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I guarantee you that the Republican Party will have to change its
approach to climate change because voters will insist upon it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: I`m sorry that was Vice News, not Vox. Do you see that kind of
upswell happening now?
DAVENPORT: Polling consistently shows that a majority of American voters
think that climate change is real. Support policies to do something about
it. Even within the Republican Party, about half of self identified
Republicans think that human cause climate change is real and support
government action to do something about it. The question is whether that
rises to the level of a major issue in political campaigns. Polling also
shows that although voters care about this and they support action on it,
it`s not necessarily the highest priority. I think we`ll see a shift if
voters start to really identify the impacts of climate change as an
economic issue. The economy is always the number one issue for voters. If
and when climate change is really identified as something that is costing
states and communities and taxpayers money, we might see that shift. You
know, hard to say whether that will happen in 2016 or not.
CAPEHART: Coral Davenport with the "New York Times," thanks for being
DAVENPORT: Great to be with you.
CAPEHART: A new fragrance may get you and your significant other in the
mood for fast food? We`ll explain why in a bit.
CAPEHART: I want to update you on a couple stories we`ve been following
this weekend. First in Brooklyn, where firefighters now believe a hot
plate caused the house fire that killed seven children in an orthodox
Jewish family yesterday. They say the kid`s mother used a hot plate to
warm food while observing the sabbath. The mother and a 15-year-old child
escaped the fire by jumping from a second floor window.
Meanwhile, the man who allegedly attacked officers at the New Orleans
airport on Friday night has died. A sheriff`s deputy shot Richard White
three times after investigators say he was swinging a machete and spraying
TSA agents with wasp spray. He was also found carrying a bag loaded with
Molotov cocktails. Stay with MSNBC and msnbc.com throughout the day for
the latest news. We`ll be right back.
CAPEHART: All right. There`s a lot going on this morning. Let`s get
caught on some other headlines making news. First is Ted Cruz. Houston
Chronicle, Ted Cruz to announce presidential bid on Monday. For real. Not
even an exploratory committee, he`s going all out.
LEWIS: I think it`s a smart move because it`s going to generate a lot of
buzz. If you`re the first one to do it, it`s unorthodox nowadays. That`s
not how it`s normally done. And take Ted Cruz seriously. He`s a very
compelling figure to the base. We are talking about winning primaries in
places like Iowa. He`s for real.
CAPEHART: Emily, what do you think?
SUSSMAN: Winning primaries in Iowa like Michele Bachmann.
SUSSMAN: Ted Cruz, if nothing, he`s bold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s very exciting. 4 percent of people support him
so far. He`s like third tier, for that group of people they`ll be
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s running for people from an institution that nobody
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he`s been there for a cup of coffee. This is --
there`s going to be a lot of people who say, look what happened with
SUSSMAN: And despised by colleagues.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That may help him on the stump.
SUSSMAN: Matt, you`re spinning this so well. I`m impressed.
CAPEHART: Let`s move to the next story, "New York Times" reporting Jeb
Bush`s team plots vast effort to win Florida. According to the "New York
Times," Jeb Bush has a plan code named Homeland Security for his Florida
blueprint. When I read this, I`m thinking this sounds like Rudy Giuliani
in 2008 all over again. You can`t put all your eggs in the Florida basket,
LEWIS: You can`t. But if he wins New Hampshire, loses South Carolina and
wins Florida, he`s off and running.
CAPEHART: What if he loses Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
REYES: Either way he can`t lose Florida. The demographics there are
shifting. Marco Rubio is younger. And Marco Rubio has a weakness on his
position with the new Cuba policy. The demographics are shifting, that
older generation, that demographic is fading away. The younger generation
is much more open. Even the demographic of Latinos in Florida is changing.
It`s not as dominated by Cubans.
LEWIS: Which helps Jeb, Jeb`s wife is Mexican/American, not Cuban. He has
a different angle than Rubio and Cruz.
CAPEHART: Go ahead, Emily.
SUSSMAN: He better win Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t win your homestate, what will you win?
CAPEHART: The other thing about Jeb and putting Florida, everything on
Florida, Bloomberg, the folks at Bloomberg, Heilemann and Halperin, did
focus groups. I think Halperin was the one who did a focus group in New
Hampshire of Republican voters. He asked them what do you think about Jeb
Bush? None of them raised their hands, none of them like him. If Jeb Bush
can`t win New Hampshire, you agree with me. If he doesn`t win Iowa, New
Hampshire, South Carolina or even comes in second, he`s toast.
LEWIS: I agree. I don`t think you can just show up in Florida and win
that. Liz Maher (ph) got in trouble, but we put a lot of emphases on these
early states. You can`t lose like two or three and come back. You don`t
have to win all of them, but you have to win some of them.
SUSSMAN: To stay competitive.
CAPEHART: I have to cut this conversation off because we have something
very serious to discuss. "Wall Street Journal," Burger King Japan bottling
its flame grilled fragrance. Burger King Japan will sell a flame grilled
burger smelling fragrance in its stores on April 1ST. I hope that`s a
joke. Got to be. Look at that ad. No whoppering, no life.
CAPEHART: That`s all kinds of ridiculous.
Would you -- one, Matt, Raul, would wear it?
LEWIS: I`m all about the natural pheromone. I think the cologne masks the
manly scent you want.
REYES: I want a cologne that smells like beer.
CAPEHART: And Emily, would you take a guy seriously --
SUSSMAN: This is my worst nightmare. I can`t think of anything more
CAPEHART: On that, we have to go. Up ahead, Dick Cheney reveals a private
moment between him and President Bush in "Playboy" magazine. Another hour
of news and politics is still to come after this.
CAPEHART: Thanks for staying with us this Sunday morning. We still have a
lot of show ahead, including what Dick Cheney told "Playboy" magazine about
his relationship with George W. Bush. Plus why this little yellow logo is
catching on along the 2016 campaign trail. And finally, the big news this
week for the Affordable Care Act. And where the Obamacare kid is five
years later. Marcelas Owens joins us. We begin this hour with the long
delay on the confirmation of Loretta Lynch. It`s been 134 days, more than
four months since Lynch was nominated back in November. It`s been another
three weeks since the judiciary committee voted her out of committee. Even
longer since her confirmation hearings. Despite bipartisan agreement that
Loretta Lynch would be a good attorney general, Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell has not allowed a vote. His explanation is that President Obama
threatened to veto a human trafficking bill, a bill Democrats oppose over
language on abortion, but that is only the most recent excuse. Before that
it was the president`s immigration policies with Politico writing in
February that her nomination has effectively become a proxy war over the
president`s unilateral moves. NBC`s Kristen Welker is live at the White
House with the latest. Kristen, what is the president doing to get Lynch
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Jonathan. First of all,
according to senior administration officials, we know there have been
presidential-level conversations about getting Loretta Lynch confirmed. I
expect that type of outreach will continue in the coming days. We saw the
president escalate his rhetoric this weekend in his weekly address. He
urged Congress to confirm Lynch and he has also accused Republicans of
holding her nomination hostage. So really strong language there. The
president made some of his most forceful comments on the subject in an
interview with the Huffington Post. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say they`re holding up her nomination until they
get to this human trafficking bill with a controversial abortion provision
in it. Would you encourage Democrats to let the bill go through so you can
get a confirmation?
OBAMA: You don`t hold attorney general nominees hostage for other issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WELKER: There you heard some of that strong language. I think you will
continue to see the president make the case for Lynch publicly and also
privately. We`ll probably see him speak about it more this week. His top
officials are also speaking about this forcibly. Press secretary Josh
Earnest telling reporters on Friday during a briefing that I attended that
Lynch`s nomination has been held up now for more than 130 days. And that`s
more than the amount of time for the five previous nominees. White House
officials also noting that there`s been few people who have really mounted
any serious opposition to her qualifications. Both sides, though, still
dug in. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continuing to insist Lynch
won`t get a vote until the Senate passes that anti-human trafficking bill,
which Democrats say they are going to continue to block over that abortion
provision that you mentioned, just really underscores how polarized and
divided Washington remains.
CAPEHART: NBC`s Kristen Welker. Thank you. Have a great morning.
The call for Lynch`s confirmation have made for an odd pairing. Bringing
together the president and one of his chief antagonists. Former New York
City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was most recently in the headlines for questioning
Barack Obama`s love of America. But this weekend, he went back to his
roots, back to when he was a federal prosecutor like Lynch. In a
conference call Giuliani said quote, "as a Republican and looking at the
Constitution, I find Loretta Lynch not only to be an acceptable
appointment, but I find her to be an extraordinary appointment." The
reason Giuliani finds Lynch so extraordinarily qualified, it`s not hard to
find. They`re the accomplishments she`s racked up as U.S. attorney for
eastern New York for the last five years. Accomplishments that President
Obama outlined during that interview with the Huffington Post.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: She`s been a great prosecutor. She`s prosecuted terrorists in New
York. She has gone after organized crime. She`s gone after public
corruption. Her integrity is unimpeachable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Come on now. These two folks can agree, why can`t the Senate?
The panel is back. Raul Reyes with the "USA Today." Matt Lewis from "The
Week." Emily Tisch Sussman with the Center for American Progress and my old
Daily News colleague, Michael Daly. A special correspondent now with the
Daily Beast, who has covered New York City politics and crime. Michael, I
am going to start with you. Talk about Loretta Lynch and her tenure in New
York and why somebody like Rudy Giuliani would so strongly support her.
MICHAEL DALY, DAILY BEAST: She`s the real deal. The other thing is for
all her accomplishments, I`ve never seen her showboat, unlike all the
Manhattan guys, they always do.
CAPEHART: Like Rudy Giuliani.
DALY: Something about you get in the southern district, all of a sudden
you have to stand on a box or something. Her, you never ever heard her
talk about herself. It was always about the case. It was always about the
law. And I talked to her father a little while ago. A fourth generation
Baptist preacher. He went up and saw her in a case. She was prosecuting
some Chinese gangsters. And, you know, he says she`s not one for the
spotlight, but she sure hits hard. You know, defendants arrive in that
court when she was there, they never heard of her. All of a sudden they
heard of her.
REYES: Jonathan, there`s so much we could say about her record, her
accomplishments. But I think when you look at some of the cases that she`s
had here in New York, they`re so salient to the needs of our justice system
today. Some of them the president touched on. She handled -- prosecuted
Michael Grimm for tax evasion. She prosecuted the officers in the Abner
Louima case. She prosecuted a case called Nafia, which was a plot the
president touched on, to blow up the Federal Reserve, and she also
prosecuted Farukh Bakikis (ph), which was a case involving like a slavery
ring among immigrants where they were forcing them to work at 7-Eleven.
When you look at these issues, police corruption, immigration enforcement,
these are issues that we want an attorney general to be familiar with for
the 21ST century. And she`s handled them very well.
SUSSMAN: Her record is phenomenal, outstanding. Nobody is questioning,
even Republicans that are opposing are not questioning her integrity, her
intelligence, her grit. But I think to go through all of her
qualifications time and time again almost makes it seem like we don`t know
why she`s being held up. So we need to make the case for her. It is very
clear why she`s being held up. It is politics at its worst.
LEWIS: No, politics is making sausage. I want to read you an editorial
yesterday in the "Washington Post" about the Republicans bill, the human
trafficking bill, and the headline is Democrats are the new party of no. I
think everything you said about Lynch is right. But politics, let`s make a
deal. Politics is about making sausage. Why don`t the Democrats give the
Republicans this human trafficking bill --
SUSSMAN: The additional abortion --
LEWIS: In return they should confirm Lynch. That`s how politics works.
CAPEHART: All right, everybody. Michael Daly.
DALY: You choose the top cop in the United States of America. You are
going to be playing politics?
LEWIS: It`s compromise, not politics.
DALY: The best person to enforce the law. When those people who are out
raping, killing, selling drugs, plotting terrorism, that`s not politics,
LEWIS: Why are Democrats blocking the human trafficking bill? Give the
Republicans something and they should give --
DALY: You have to go back to the heart of her is her brother. He was a
SEAL before there were book deals, movie deals, all that, when they were
the quiet professionals. That`s what she is.
LEWIS: How come Republicans are never supposed to get anything?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They get the whole world.
DALY: Go to any country club what are you talking about? Come on.
CAPEHART: Let me read something that Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said
about Lynch`s nomination. This is from Politico. Unfortunately people`s
hearts have hardened to the point that they are unmoved by policy points
and who would benefit and who would be hurt by blocking this nomination,
and now it`s a matter of leverage. What kind of precedent, I think they`re
talking about what you`re talking about, the human trafficking bill, what
precedent does this set for the next administration?
REYES: We will hold nominees hostage because the Republicans want to block
this. And get something in return. Who is --
LEWIS: That`s politics.
REYES: We could go ahead with her nomination. There could be discussion
on this bill. It does not have to be an either/or thing.
SUSSMAN: They are moving ahead with some nominees while they`re on this
bill. They are moving ahead with some.
LEWIS: If Bill Clinton were president, or if Ronald Reagan and Tip O`Neill
were cutting deals, they would get -- Republicans would get something and
she would get confirmed. Why can`t the Republicans get this human
trafficking post, which the "Washington Post" yesterday editorialized very
strongly in favor of. The Democrats are the new party of no.
SUSSMAN: They are moving forward on nominations regardless. They`re just
not moving forward with her nomination. I worked on nominations in the
last Congress, and what we looked at, we looked at a block of Republican
and said who is still there of the old guard that believes that the
president gets to appoint who he wants in these positions? And it`s
diminishing by the day.
CAPEHART: But we have got Eric Holder in the meantime. It`s not like they
are going to get ...
LEWIS: I know. That`s the beauty of it all.
DALY: Holder must get up every morning and just laugh.
CAPEHART: Well, I get - I - want you ...
I don`t know if he`s laughing at this point. I think he`s ready to go.
DALY: You know, it`s pretty good from his point of view. You guys are
keeping me in office.
CAPEHART: OK, we can`t have this discussion about Loretta Lynch and
beating up on the Republicans without talking about Senator Dick Durbin of
Illinois, the Senate minority whip. And what he said delay in Loretta
Lynch`s nomination. He said Loretta Lynch, the first African-American
woman nominated to be attorney general is asked to sit in the back of the
bus when it comes to the Senate calendar. Did he go too far? Did he go too
It`s horrible rhetoric. It has got nothing to do with it.
DALY: But the intensity of the whole thing in Washington now, it all goes
back to race. It all goes back to these guys don`t respect Obama as the
president of the United States. He`s been elected twice. They still don`t
look at him as legitimate.
LEWIS: Come on. I don`t think - I don`t think it`s the question of
throwing her to the back of the bus.
CAPEHART: Republicans accused Bill Clinton of murder? Come on.
DALY: They would be happy if she was the bus driver, they just don`t want
her running the bus company.
LEWIS: It`s not about race, it`s about partisan politics and it`s about -
it`s a nasty hardball business. They accused Bill Clinton of murder.
DALY: Why did it get so nasty? That`s been - So intense.
LEWIS: Why was it nasty against George W. Bush and Bill Clinton?
REYES: We love you, but stop yelling at us.
LEWIS: I`m sorry, it`s only four against one here today.
LEWIS: So, I`ve got to ...
CAPEHART: OK, Raul.
REYES: No, I think it`s a legitimate concern to raise when she`s - you
know, no one questions her accomplishments, her expertise, her record. All
these other things. What is the elephant in the room? If it`s not a
racial elephant possibly towards her, then it`s some animus possibly
towards the President Obama. So, I think this was entirely visible ...
CAPEHART: Pass the human trafficking bill. Emily?
TISCH SUSSMAN: Before it was the human trafficking bill, it was the
immigration orders, it was everything before it. Like they - This is --
it`s tough to take seriously that she is being held up because of the human
trafficking bill. Like there`s a lot there.
CAPEHART: It will be something else in two weeks.
TISCH SUSSMAN: It will be something else.
DALY: If you go back to when she was in high school, she arrived at an
almost all white high school. Took a standardized test, scored so high
they figured she must have cheated. They didn`t ask any of the white
students to take the test again, but they asked her. She scored higher. I
mean so - I mean if you are talking about race, it`s not race with the
white hood on, but it`s race making assumptions. And the other thing, when
she became a Wall Street lawyer, or Harvard Wall Street lawyer, she would
arrive for depositions and people would assume she was the stenographer. I
mean so it`s that kind of race you talk about, I think. And to not be
honest about that pervading everything in America, particularly the
Congress, is nuts.
CAPEHART: And Michael, on that - we are going to end on that note. But
the story you told about her and the tests, all I kept thinking about
Loretta Lynch, you go, girl. Thanks to Michael Daly with "The Daily
Still ahead, President Obama weighs in on an issue facing American
And next, a new social app just in time for the 2016 presidential race.
We`ll share that with you next.
CAPEHART: Every election cycle there seems to be a new technology service
that changes the dynamic of the moment. In 2008 it was Facebook where a
candidate could direct market and mobilize large groups of people with two
clicks of a button. In 2012, it was the Twitters, a conduit for quick and
prolific news and thought sharing from a campaign`s every twist and turn.
What`s going to be the medium to break through in 2016? It`s possible it`s
the one that has been in the news a lot recently. Meet the latest hip app
of the month, Meerkat. A live streaming video service that allows you to
live cast your day from the comforts of your phone. Anything from your
stroll down the street to the inner workings of your pizza business like
Toronto`s Frank`s pizza house has taken advantage of it. And then there is
perhaps some staying power in the political realm. Just this week, 2016
likelies Jeb Bush, Senator Rand Paul, Martin O`Malley, former governor of
Maryland became early adopters of the service, live streaming their events
and meet the voter stops.
On Thursday, MSNBC`s own Kasie Hunt conducting the first ever interview
with a White House press secretary using the service. There is a certain
novelty to seeing a raw unedited look at daily events, but is it just a
novelty or something more? And will it mean more 47 percent moments are
caught on tape this election cycle? Well, let`s talk about it.
Joining our panel we have MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt who I
think is meerkating her appearance right now.
We are going to check out her Twitter right now. You can pull that up.
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I can pull it in. Here we go. See?
CAPEHART: OK, you pull it ...
HUNT: It could be - Giving people a close-up shot of my nose.
CAPEHART: So, I have to ask you to emulate Katie Couric. Kasie, can you
explain what Meerkat is?
HUNT: I can explain what Meerkat is. I actually have learned a lot about
it myself over the course of the last week. I had not really done too much
with it since then. We should know that the kernel of this technology is
going to be out in some other apps as well. Twitter owns one called
Periscope, NBC owns one called Stringwire. But essentially, this changes
the game by making it possible for you to live stream video from your phone
with literally one click of a button. And with the broadband
infrastructure that`s available on these phones, it makes it so you can
broadcast from wherever you are at any point. And this is a dramatic
change from 2012. As you pointed out. I was talking yesterday with the
former digital director of the Romney campaign, Zack Moffett, and he was
talking about how they actually tried to execute something like this during
the 2012 campaign. They tried to hire a staffer to essentially cart around
what at the time was a backpack that would allow them to live stream all of
the Romney events. And they found that it was so hard to do that
eventually they sort of gave up on it. And that this is going to change
that dramatically and entirely.
CAPEHART: Kasie, here`s the thing that`s confuses me about this whole
thing. It`s live streaming. Can you save the videos or is this like video
snap chat? Where once it`s done it`s done? It`s gone.
HUNT: Well, there`s going to be a little bit of differences as among some
of these services, I think. In the case of Meerkat, the user can save the
video to their phone after the stream has been conducted. So, I`ll be able
to hit a button on this Meerkat that I`m doing right here. At the end I`ll
have my lovely one-on-one shot with my Meerkat users. But unless they
figured out how to record it separately, it`s not going to be saved
There are some websites popping up that seem to save them. And we here at
MSNBC have figured out how to roll on them, which was actually quite a feat
for our tech teams, so props to them, but otherwise it`s pretty ephemeral.
It just kind of disappears into the ether.
CAPEHART: You know, let me ask you - let`s roll some sound from the
interview you did with Josh Earnest. And you were talking to him about the
White House`s embrace of new media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST: A lot of this is us reacting to a very dynamic media
environment. That even in just the short tenure, even the short six years
that President Obama has been in the White House, we have seen dramatic
changes across the media landscape. And that has challenged us to be
creative and to think differently about how we connect with the American
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: So Kasie, given what Josh said there in the interview with you,
how hard was it to get him to agree to that Meerkat interview you did?
HUNT: You know, he was a pretty good sport about it. This started out
pretty casually. I had put up on Meerkat some of the White House briefing
on Monday and got a really good reaction. There seem to be a lot of people
who are interested in the public service aspects of a service like this. I
had one person who popped up and said, hey, I have not watched the White
House briefing in years, but here I am watching it on my phone in line at
the grocery store. So, I sent Josh an e-mail a little bit after that and
said, hey, would you be game for trying out something new and doing an
interview on this new service? And, you know, to their credit they were
interested, and game. And ultimately we got it scheduled for Friday.
So, I think that, you know, as you saw him explaining there, one of the
things he said to me also is that he has learned over the course of the
last years working for first Senator Obama and then candidate and now
President Obama that these kinds of new technologies, while they bring new
potential pitfalls they are almost always worth the risk.
CAPEHART: Now, let me open this up to the table. Because I`m wondering, I
want to get your quick views on this. Meerkat, in the way Kasie has just
explained this, a positive impact or a pernicious impact on the 2016 race?
REYES: Maybe both. Maybe both, because it will make - like as Kasie
mentioned, there`s greater transparency. But as if it indeed becomes more
pervasive, I could see more public figures anyone from, say, local mayors
to national campaigns becoming so guarded at all times. Even more than
politicians traditionally are. Because they`re so hyper aware of someone -
that someone could be doing that with their phone. So I --
TISCH SUSSMAN: Yeah. I mean the media in general, I think - I think it to
be a serious campaign. Now, you have to embrace new media, and particular
a national campaign, because that is where actually young people want to be
receiving information in different mediums on their phone. So, in fact,
they want information.
CAPEHART: So the potential is there.
TISCH SUSSMAN: The only way. And if you are the campaign, you control
your message that comes out. The issue is that this opposition that the 47
percent moment, generally campaign sends trackers, and so the opposition
campaign recognizes them and knows when they`re in their room. Something
like this you can do it on your phone. It could be ...
CAPEHART: Matt, what do you think, real quick?
LEWIS: I think it`s a double edged sword, good and bad. But look, I think
the game changing element of this is the ease of use. We have had live
stream now for many, many years, but the average person just didn`t have
the ability, the infrastructure to do it. Everybody can do this. It`s
incredibly easy, and I think it is a game changer.
CAPEHART: Hey, Kasie, last question to you. So, now you have had your
Meerkat interview with Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, who`s
HUNT: Well, we actually did also a great interview with New Jersey Senator
Cory Booker on Friday afternoon that hopefully we`re going to be able to
get online if you want to check it out. He was actually a great Meerkat
interview, in part because he`s somebody who has pioneered for politicians
and some ways using services like Twitter, for example. He sort of was
able to find out where some potholes were as he explained it to us before
the services that his city had knew where those potholes were and to get
them fixed. So, we appreciate him being game also to try out this new
CAPEHART: Actually, that`s not surprising given his history on social
media. Not surprising that he would jump at the chance to do something
like that. MSNBC`s Kasie Hunt, thanks for being here.
CAPEHART: Still ahead, Dick Cheney getting reflective, thinking back to
his partying days and even this moment from early in the Bush presidency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH: A Yale degree is worth a lot as I often remind Dick
GEORGE W. BUSH: Who studied here but left a little early.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: What the former vice president revealed to "Playboy" magazine
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH: If you graduate from Yale, you become president.
GEORGE W. BUSH: If you drop out, you get to be vice president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: That was President George W. Bush talking about his vice
president, Dick Cheney, at Yale University in 2001. It`s a moment that
Cheney recalls in his new extensive interview with "Playboy" magazine. Fox
News correspondent James Rosen recorded ten hours of interviews with the
former vice president where they delved into issues such as U.S. foreign
policy, race in Ferguson and, yes, Cheney`s days "hanging out in bars and
getting kicked out of Yale University." One of the most intriguing parts
of the interview came at the end, when Cheney talked about his religion and
same-sex marriage. "Playboy" asked him to remember back to before when
Mary came out and if he struggled to accept it when she did. Cheney
replied "No." And it was a surprise. I mean it wasn`t something that was
sort of there and nobody ever talked about it. And Cheney reveals his
behind-the-scenes discussion with President Bush saying "I always thought
George W. Bush agonized over it more than I did. When he informed me he
was going to support a constitutional amendment basically to ban gay
marriage, same-sex marriage. I can remember having lunch with him at one
point and he was trying to explain to me what he was going to do. He was
worried that somehow I would be offended by what he was doing."
Turning now to the panel, are you surprised by how Vice President Cheney
describes this exchange? Does it ring true to you?
TISCH SUSSMAN: I think it`s bizarre. I think it`s very strange that he
says - that he phrases it as if Bush thought he would somehow be offended.
He should have definitely been offended. I mean the Bush campaign used
those same sex ban on constitutional amendments in the states as a way to
turn out conservative voters. I mean it was a political ploy. He should
have definitely been offended.
CAPEHART: But I wonder how much of that uncomfortableness that Dick Cheney
- Vice President Cheney is talking about is the fact that this thing that
I`ve heard for years, and that is the Bushes, both President Bush and first
lady Bush, they have lots of gay friends that they love their gay friends,
that they`re supportive, and that politics somehow pushed the president
into that position to have to do that. That might explain why he was
uncomfortable. Not to justify it, but as an explanation.
LEWIS: And also Dick Cheney, too, not just his daughter, but, you know, he
had gay men on staff working for him, I think - as Secretary of Defense in
high profile positions. But the thing that struck me interesting about the
interview, is that it`s unclear whether or not Dick Cheney -- it`s sort of
left unclear. President Bush felt awkward bringing this up at this lunch,
that they were going to go this route in 2004 in terms of getting your sort
of turning out the base to win the re-election. Cheney doesn`t really ever
say how he felt. That the implication is he was okay with it.
LEWIS: But we don`t know.
REYES: It`s a very dispassionate description of something that`s an
important moment. Any time a parent and a child, especially an adult
child, have that heart to heart, things can be emotional and volatile. He
talks about it as if he weren`t there, and he puts the emotional
awkwardness on President Bush. So in a sense, his detachment struck me as
SUSSMAN: And it came back again when his other daughter ran - (inaudible)
said she was opposed to gay marriage - even though her sister --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s unusual.
SUSSMAN: Unusual would be a great way to describe it.
CAPEHART: I want to bring in some sound here. President Obama talked
about things that he would have done differently. He did this on
Wednesday. Do we have that sound?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I think I would have closed Guantanamo on the first day. The
politics of it got tough, people got scared by the rhetoric around it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: I want to bring in what Dick Cheney said in this "Playboy"
interview. He said I can`t count the hours we spent on what I considered
to be a totally wasted exercise arguing about let`s close Guantanamo. It`s
still open today. It`s still there for a reason. And I found that quote
interesting because it`s not still there because the president tried and
failed, or he realized now that he`s in the Oval Office that he can`t close
it. Congress injected itself into the process, took away money that would
allow him to close it, stopped him from releasing anyone into the federal
court system where they could be tried that would allow him to close
Guantanamo. I think the vice president is being disingenuous there and
gliding over the truth.
REYES: He also made a few statements that were flat-out incorrect because
he said everyone in Guantanamo was caught in the act or on the battlefield.
We now know that was not true. There were at least 26 people who the U.S.
government admitted who were there because they were in the wrong place at
the wrong time.
SUSSMAN: He also acknowledged that it was not a major concern of his that
innocent people ended up there. He acknowledged that.
CAPEHART: Does the vice president have a point?
LEWIS: To understand Dick Cheney, and this "Playboy" interview makes it
pretty clear. It is to understand at one point Dick Cheney was an
establishment favorite sort of beloved by the mainstream media. At some
point he became -- I hate to use the word radicalized. But he became very,
very concerned about American security. It had to do when he was the chief
of staff for Ford, or maybe secretary of defense, when he was part of
planning for essentially evacuating the White House, God forbid if there
was a terrorist attack there or something. And after 9/11, this is a guy
who wakes up every morning thinking the end of the world is near. So I
think he views the world as a dangerous world. He views it through that
prism. In a way, I`m happy that people that we elect are thinking about
those things and are worried. But it may have also led him down the wrong
path with things like Iraq.
SUSSMAN: He has really been tasked with upholding the legacy of the Bush
presidency. From the day that President Bush left office, we saw some
SUSSMAN: But it really has been Cheney much more so during the first term
out there defending the Bush presidency.
LEWIS: Cheney is obsessed with security. In a way I`m glad somebody is.
REYES: Come on. It`s not like -- by implication you`re saying the current
occupant of the Oval Office is not concerned about security?
LEWIS: I think anyone who sits in the White House, once they get the
briefings, they act responsibly. I think President Obama does care. But I
think Cheney is obsessed with this. I think it defines who he is.
REYES: Obsessed defines who he is?
LEWIS: I think so.
CAPEHART: I agree with you 100 percent on that. We`ll have more with our
panel in a few minutes.
But first, an update now on the developing political story we brought you
earlier. NBC News can confirm that Texas Senator Ted Cruz will launch a
bid for the White House tomorrow. Cruz and his family will announce his
campaign at Liberty University in Virginia. More news and politics right
after this. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: Want to update you on the developing situation in Yemen, where
the U.S. has removed its remaining personnel after Shiite rebels took
control of the country`s third largest city. The State Department says it
will take action to protect the U.S. and its citizens from imminent
threats. Meanwhile, Tunisia`s government has released this video of the
gunmen responsible for Wednesday`s attack at a museum in Tunis. We should
note the video has been edited in some fashion. At least 23 people died in
the attack. The gunmen were eventually killed in a shootout with security
forces. ISIS has claimed responsibility for that attack.
Still ahead, a beloved candymaker could be shedding its shell soon. Stay
CAPEHART: There`s a lot going on this morning. Let`s get caught up on
some other headlines making news with today`s panel. OK. President Obama
spoke with the Huffington Post`s Sam Stein, and he got to talking about
fraternities. Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have situations like what took place in Oklahoma,
fraternity brothers caught on video chanting about lynching. What was your
reaction to that video?
OBAMA: Look, at any given point on any given day, somebody is doing
something stupid out there. In the age of the Internet, it will attract
attention. I don`t think this is the first time that a fraternity has done
something stupid, racist, sexist. It won`t be the last. What was
heartening was the quick response from President Boren, somebody I know
well and I know who has great integrity. Quick reaction from the student
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: What do you make of that? At any point someone is doing
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Word.
SUSSMAN: I went to a college with no Greek life, and we did just fine.
That is for sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did the same.
SUSSMAN: I also like things, particularly at a developmental point in
life, where people can -- can come together towards a common goal. That`s
why I think being on sports teams is good. I think that Greek life, they
serve a lot of purpose in that way. I don`t know I would go so far as
saying that we should get rid of them, but there`s a lot of systematic
LEWIS: Yeah. I`m sort of a rugged individual. The idea of pledging is
not in my bag. Look, I think President Obama is exactly right. Everything
he said about that was right. People do stupid things. I`m not a big fan
of the frat system. But I wouldn`t ban them or anything like that.
REYES: There are good things that fraternities do. Part of their function
is to have social service things that they do. They do promote fellowship
that many people need when they are making that transition into adulthood
when they are in college. I think it`s wrong to judge this tiny minority -
- to judge the whole organization by this tiny minority of people doing
something stupid. There`s people doing stupid things in churches. There`s
people doing stupid things in this building. Everywhere.
CAPEHART: No, never. The thing about the time we`re in now is all the
stupid things are being captured on people`s phones. I would say the
president gave props to the person who actually took the video and shared
it, put it out there. That`s the good thing. Frats, they have always been
there. They`ve always had people doing stupid things. There are people of
conscience, it seems, who see something happening and they`re like, uh,
we`ll take a record of this and stir some trouble.
Move on to the next one. This is from the "Washington Post." Columba
Bush`s painful unlikely road from Mexico towards the White House. A
profile of former Florida governor`s wife. Karen Tumulty and Mary Jordan
write in Mexico, Columba, now 61, is sometimes spoken of as a real life
Cinderella. There`s pride here that the daughter of a local farmer joined
one of the most political families in U.S. history. She could be the first
Latina first lady.
LEWIS: It`s history. Right? I think Republicans need a way to make
history this time as well. I think she could be compelling and certainly
soften Jeb`s image, his already maybe too soft image.
CAPEHART: I was going to say.
LEWIS: For some Republicans. Like I said earlier, the one thing to keep
in mind, Republicans, their Hispanic outreach is almost limited to Cubans,
whether it`s Rubio or Ted Cruz. She`s Mexican-American. And that`s
politically better for Republicans, for what that`s worth.
REYES: To a certain extent. One thing that`s mentioned in that article,
I`m very curious how this plays out with the Republican base when it
becomes better known. Her father entered the country at least once
illegally, then went back to Mexico and then he came back again legally
under the burcero (ph) program. From what I know of her, she holds the
potential to be perhaps a very dynamic figure, but she personally is very
retiring. Even when she was first lady of Florida, she was not very much
out there on the campaign trail. One thing we have seen with the Latino
electorate, is they do not necessarily support Latino candidates. I`m not
sure you can count on Latinos turning out to vote for her just because she
happens to be Mexican. Latinos, like everyone else, tend to vote on
CAPEHART: I had a chance to meet both the governor and his wife on the
train coming up to New York. Very nice. She`s very nice.
We have to move on to the last one. Running out of time. Tootsie rolls,
they may be going out of business. Washington Post headline, how many
licks can tootsie roll take before melting away? I`m sorry, tootsie roll,
but I -- I wasn`t exactly a fan.
SUSSMAN: I`m more into the doughnuts. That`s more my thing.
CAPEHART: To get credit from the plate, you have to eat it.
SUSSMAN: I`m in.
CAPEHART: Will you be sad to see tootsie roll go?
LEWIS: There`s nostalgia. There`s nostalgia, from when we were growing
up, you used to see the commercials all the time.
LEWIS: For sweets, I think they`re kind of low-fat, low sugar
LEWIS: That`s what I tell myself.
CAPEHART: Tootsie pops are staying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then I`m cool with it. Tootsie rolls are not good for
CAPEHART: Okay. So, I would take a tootsie roll over a tootsie pop, but I
would take a blow pop over a tootsie roll. When you get to the center of
the blow pop, you get the crunchy --
CAPEHART: All right. Panel. I have to thank you and let you go. Enjoy
your Sunday. Many thanks this morning. Raul Reyes, "USA Today," Matt
Lewis from "The Week," and Emily Tisch Sussman with the Center for American
Up next, you have seen his picture dozens of times, and maybe it has had
you wondering where is the Obamacare kid now? Five years later, Marcelas
Owens joins us live after this.
CAPEHART: Believe it or not, tomorrow will mark five years since President
Obama joined with leaders of his cabinet and Congress and set the
Affordable Care Act into law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: In a few moments when I sign this bill, all of the overheated
rhetoric over reform will finally confront the reality of reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: As the president knows, the change did not happen overnight. In
fact, the effects are still being debated. But one thing is certain, more
people have insurance today than they did five years ago. A new report
from the Department of Health and Human Services says that since the
Affordable Care Act took effect, about 16.4 million uninsured people have
gained health coverage, dropping the uninsured rate to about 13 percent.
That is, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell,
the largest reduction in the number of uninsured in four decades, the
biggest since the social safety net expanded after the Great Society.
That`s not the only good news in health care this week. It`s being
reported that House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
are on the verge of fixing the formula for reimbursing physicians for
Medicare patients, along with extending the children`s health care program
for another two years. John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi actually working
together on health care. This could be a big moment. But looming just
over the horizon, the Supreme Court could once again change health care in
America. Here to talk about the stakes are Jonathan Cohn, senior national
correspondent for the Huffington Post, joining us from Michigan, and in
Seattle, 16-year-old health care activist Marcelas Owens, who stood by the
president`s side when he signed Obamacare into law five years ago tomorrow.
Thank you both for joining us. Jonathan, I`m going to start with you.
Tell us what this week`s announcement on the uninsured means and whether it
matches up with the expectations set back in 2010.
JONATHAN COHN, HUFFINGTON POST: Sure. Well, it`s a huge development. If
you think about -- look back in time to the 1960s, after the creation of
Medicare and Medicaid, the number of Americans without health insurance
pretty steadily grew over time. Basically more and more people were losing
coverage. This is the way we were headed. This was the reason we started
debating health care reform and eventually it was the reason that Democrats
and President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. There were
lots of predictions it would be a train wreck, it would be a disaster. But
here we are, the law is in place, and we`re seeing a dramatic reduction in
the number of people without health insurance. There is a lot of work to
do, the law is not perfect. But you look at those numbers, and I think
it`s impossible to argue that on that sort of most primary goal of the law,
it is succeeding.
CAPEHART: Marcelas, as we saw in the 5-year-old video, you were standing
there at the desk next to the president when he signed it into law and you
became a health care activist after you lost your mom. Five years later
after Obamacare`s signing, what have you thought about the debate over
health care in America?
MARCELAS OWENS: Well, I haven`t really been keeping that close attention
with the debate as I should be, but I think it is kind of disappointing to
see people are still trying to bring it down, even all of the good that
it`s been doing and that kind of --
CAPEHART: Well, let me ask you this. How much satisfaction do you get
because you were a health care activist and being so young, and, you know,
tugging at the heartstrings of, you know, a lot of people, but also the
president. How does it feel five years later to know that you played a big
part in something so big in America?
OWENS: It makes me feel so proud, and it makes me feel surprised how long
it`s been and how much I`ve grown. Looking back, I kind of wish I would
have appreciated it more. When I was little, I kind of understood but I
didn`t realize how big what I was doing actually until a few years ago, and
I grew up and I realized what it was.
CAPEHART: Hey, Jonathan, let me bring it back to you. The Supreme Court
is going to hear the case challenging the -- I believe it`s the exchange --
the exchange market or the subsidies in the health care agreement. What do
you think is going to happen? And if the Supreme Court comes back and
invalidates the exchanges, what happens next?
COHN: Right. So, you know, look, it`s impossible to know what the Supreme
Court is going to do. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of this law, so
what will happen is in about two-thirds of the states, states that have not
sort of taken the initiative to implement the law, what will happen is that
people who are now getting tax credits to help them buy private insurance,
they`re getting discounted private insurance through Obamacare, that money
will stop flowing. They will not be able to get that insurance. You know,
experts have run the numbers. They have said basically what will happen is
you`ll have 8 to 9 million people losing health insurance. So here we are,
we just added -- we just took down the number without health insurance by
10, 12, 14, 16 million, depending on which number you want to believe. The
Supreme Court with one decision could take it away from 9 million. And not
because there`s some philosophical objection to what the law does, this is
all about a dispute about one passage in the text of the statute that the
enemies of the law have dug up and what it actually means.
CAPEHART: And Jonathan, what will Republican governors do if the Supreme
Court comes back and invalidates the exchanges?
COHN: Well, that is a very interesting question. You have these
Republican governors and obviously a lot of them are very conservative.
Like Republicans in Washington, they hate Obamacare and I think a lot of
them will sit by and do nothing. But you also have Republican governors in
states who frankly understand that millions of their residents are
depending on this. If this decision goes through and nothing happens,
they`re going to lose health insurance. I think you would see Republicans
certainly in places like Ohio and Michigan who would be very uneasy about
this and very upset. They might try to do something in their state
legislatures or at the very least I think they will try to put pressure on
Republicans in Washington. The problem is the Republicans in Washington
don`t seem to be able to do anything. They can`t even agree among
CAPEHART: That`s true. Marcelas, real fast, do people still recognize you
on the street as the Obamacare kid?
OWENS: No, not anymore.
CAPEHART: You`re older now and there you are with the president.
Marcelas, thank you very much. Jonathan Cohn, thank you very much of "the
And thank you for getting up with us. Up next is Melissa Harris-Perry.
Stay tuned, have a great week.
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