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'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Sunday show

Date: April 12, 2015
Guest: Bill Scher, Lynn Sweet, Joe Watkins, Ray Flynn, Ed O`Keefe, Kate
Anderson Brower, Rick Lazio, Bill Richardson

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: The final countdown.

And good morning to you out there. Thanks for getting up with us this
Sunday morning. A lot to get to on the show today including why all eyes
are on Hillary Clinton this morning. I think you know the answer. We`re
all anticipating, we`re all waiting for that official launch of her
presidential campaign. That could be coming any hour now. We`re also
going to take a look at the "SNL" factor. Our friends in studio 8H greet
the expected rollout of another Clinton campaign for president on their
show last night. Also this morning, it was supposed to be a big weekend
for Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. What has changed for him now that
Hillary is stealing a bit of his thunder, or a lot of his thunder? Plus,
President Obama calls his meeting with Raul Castro historic. So where does
the U.S. relationship with Cuba stand now? Where does it go from here?
We`re looking forward to having former ambassador in New Mexico governor
Bill Richardson here to talk about that.

Also still ahead this morning, are Bridgegate indictments on the way? We
will take a look at all of the key players there and what it could all mean
for Governor Chris Christie.

And finally, the secrets of the White House residence revealed at last. In
a fascinating new book, the author here to share all of those details with

But we begin this morning on the Internet. Every morning the political
world frantically hitting refresh as we count down and wait for that
official announcement of Hillary Clinton`s 2016 presidential bid. So, what
do we know right now? Well, we know that Hillary is expected to announce
sometime today, probably this morning, maybe around noon with a video
message that she`ll share through a social media platform like Twitter.
The contents of that video starting to come into focus a little bit this
morning. A memo from Hillary`s campaign manager to staffers leaking out
yesterday, probably intentionally, with some guiding principles as the
campaign moves ahead.

This is how it spells out the mission of what will be Hillary`s second
presidential bid. Quote, "to give every family, every small business and
every American a path to lasting prosperity by electing Hillary Clinton the
next president of the United States." And the Associated Press reporting
this morning that the early campaign message will, quote, "Center on
boosting economic security for the middle class and expanding opportunities
for working families. Now, once that video goes live, and again, we`re
expecting it sometime in the next few hours. Once that video goes live,
the campaign will have officially begun for Hillary. She will then be
headed to Iowa likely early this week for a series of what`s described as
small get-to-know-you events. These are not big speeches, these are not
big rallies we`re looking at here. The campaign strategy is to make this
more of a gradual small-scale rollout.

Then after that she`ll make her way to the other key early primary states
in the coming weeks. But Iowa is where it will all be starting for Hillary
this time around. That is also the state where it all started to come
apart for her the last time around when she finished in third place in that
state`s caucuses back in 2008. Now, right now Clinton isn`t facing much
serious competition within her own party. But her campaign is sending a
clear message that they won`t be taking anything for granted when it comes
to Iowa. They are also trying to lower the bar a little bit with national
polls showing Clinton running at or above 60 percent in the Democratic
race. According to "The Washington Post," a talking point the Clinton team
has repeated, "no Democratic candidate for president has gotten more than
50 percent of the caucus vote unless he or she was a sitting president,
vice president, or for Senator Tom Harkin in 1992, a favorite son.

Iowa rejected Clinton in 2008. What will they be looking for this time
around? Well, MSNBC`s Jane Timm is just back from Iowa where she talked to
the very voters Hillary is about to face. Good morning to you, Jane. So
you are out there. You`re talking to the voters. Hillary`s on her way out
there to talk to the same voters. What are they expecting from her

JANE TIMM, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: You know, they`re really ready for her to
come. The Republicans have been there running for weeks. So they want
Hillary to get there and get in this race. Iowa Democrats really love this
part of the race where they get to sort of do their due diligence. I mean
all voters in the state love this part, the first-in-the-nation caucus
part. And they`re ready to see what she has to say. I mean, we spoke with
some voters who said, you know, she`s - we like her, but we want to hear
how she`s going to appeal to us. I think we have some sound of what some
voters told me. So let`s take a look at that.


NATHAN BLAKE, IOWA RESIDENT: She`ll just have to convince us that, you
know, she`s got our back. And I think people are inclined to give her the
benefit of the doubt.

CARL PHERSON, IOWA RESIDENT: I think we`re Hillary fans. We`re also fans
of whomever speaks to the issues and really speaks to our hearts. So
Hillary is not a guarantee. Yes, we love her, but she`s not a guarantee.
I think whoever is really going to touch us where we feel comfortable, then
that person will get the votes needed in Iowa.


TIMM: As you can see, they`re not ready to vote for Hillary just yet.
They`re definitely ready to hear what she has to say and get in that race.
But they`re also ready to hear what Martin O`Malley has to say, Jim Webb
has to say. And these - these people e- There`s not a lock on anybody.
They want to hear and have her stake out some very liberal territory,
particularly on economic issues, which is what almost every voter in Iowa
told me this week was really important to them.

We also know that it`s not -- she may be polling very well in the rest of
the state, but it`s not inevitable by any means of the sense. We spoke
with her, her state chairman from Iowa in 2008. And he said, you know, she
ran a good campaign then, but she still didn`t win. I think that even if
he`s stating this, you know, an ally, let`s take a look at what he had to


ever inevitable. And that`s the thing is Iowans really want to hear from
all of the candidates to find out who really talks about Iowa values.


TIMM: And that sort of says it all for that. She`s going to have to get
there, she`s going to have to say this is what matters to me, and she`s
going to have to really get to know these voters. They know they can make
her work for it, because they foiled her in 2008.

KORNACKI: Yeah, well, Jane, you know, those Iowa voters especially in the
caucuses, they know the first rule of courtship, it`s nice to play hard to
get. I guess they`ll be doing it with Hillary Clinton this time around
again. But thank you, Jane Timm with MSNBC just back from Iowa, I
appreciate that.

President Obama offering his thoughts on Hillary Clinton`s pending
announcement last night from Panama. This is what the president had to


Hillary Clinton, I`ll make my comments very brief. She was a formidable
candidate in 2008. She was a great supporter of mine in the general
election. She was an outstanding secretary of state. She is my friend. I
think she would be an excellent president. And I`m not on the ballot.


KORNACKI: Things a little more conflicted for the former secretary of
state on the front page of "The New York Times" this morning, the article
articulating a key challenge for her campaign. "How can she run for
president as her own person without criticizing the sitting president she
served while the Republican opponents will be working to demonize them
both?" A conundrum for Hillary Clinton and a great one for our panes to
discuss as her official candidacy nears.

Joining us now in Washington, we have Mark Murray, senior political editor
for NBC News and the panel on set here in New York, Lynn Sweet, Washington
bureau chief with "The Chicago Sun-Times," Bill Scher, a senior writer with
the progressive group campaign for America`s future and Joe Watkins, a
Republican strategist who was a White House aide to President George H.W.
Bush. So, let me start with you, Mark, down there, in Washington, here it
is. I mean so much talk, really, I don`t know, back since 2012 about the
Hillary campaign in 2016. We have finally reached the day when she gets in
this race. So it seems clear her campaign is taking pains to make it --
this will be a small-scale, humility, taking nothing for granted. Are you
buying that that`s actually going to be their approach?

message they`re trying to get across. But, of course, you know, we`re
actually - you know, we`re going to actually see if those words are
actually put into place. And one of the things that, you know, Hillary
Clinton is going to end up having in this contest is she has a clear shot
to the Democratic nomination. Yes, there are going to be other potential
Democrats in the field, but poll after poll after poll shows that she`s set
up to really run the table. And you know, you are never hearing the semi-
endorsement from President Obama there that she would make for an excellent
candidate. He`s not saying that about any of the other Democrats.

But one of the worries that she has is, heading in for a general election,
is - she kind of somehow overlearned some of the lessons from 2008. And
you know, you ended up mentioning that memo that was just sent out and
leaked to the press about how the Clinton campaign, we`re all going to be
one family. We`re not going to have internal disputes. This is all about
Hillary Clinton. We`re supposed to represent her. 2008, it was chaos,
internal strife. And they`re trying to give us the message yes, we`ve
learned from 2008. But sometimes, you know, you often overlearn some of
the mistakes from the past campaign. And I look back to 2008. And right
around early 2007, she decided to set her up as the strong establishment
candidate, not knowing it was going to be a change election.

And Steve, it`s worth noting we don`t really know what the overall
environment`s going to look like come November 2016, what the message from
voters are going to be. And so, you know, it`s going to be interesting to
see what she has. The thing going for her is this time she really doesn`t
have a Barack Obama challenging her. The other hand is there are a lot of
external factors and a lot of ups and downs she`s going to have to contend

KORNACKI: I`m curious, too, I would say, she looks so well positioned on
the Democratic side, certainly. It did jump out to me, there`s a little
bit of bar lowering going on already with their campaign saying hey, 50
percent`s a lot to be getting out in Iowa if you`re not the president. The
vice president or Tom Harkin. I think that leaves only, like, three
caucuses in history where one of those things hasn`t been the case. But
anyway, that`s the bar they`re trying to set right now. But what do you
think is going to happen? You have as we say, President Obama weighing in.
Joe Biden, the sitting vice president, has been trying to keep his options
open. Are we going to see Democrats like Joe Biden now coalesce around
her? Is this thing going to wrap up early?

MURRAY: You know, again, it`s really hard to predict the future, Steve,
but I do think that things are set up where maybe a month or two after the
announcement today, you`re going to see half, if not more, of the
Democratic Party -- and I`m talking about the Democratic-elected officials
-- probably endorse her. There was already one study that ended up showing
that more than 50 percent of U.S. senators have actually said that they`d
endorse her or are ready for Hillary and joined the ready for Hillary
campaign. And when you look at that in past campaigns, the only person who
had kind of gotten that level of wrapping up the party support was George
W. Bush back in 1999/2000. Of course, outside of a stumble that he had in
New Hampshire against John McCain, he ended up easily winning that contest.
And every political scientist often says what you need to watch during this
primary campaign is if the party coalesces around one person and if more
than 50 percent of the party is around somebody, that`s usually going to be
an easy situation for somebody.

So, I think that`s the thing to watch. And I wouldn`t be surprised if we
see more than half of all the elected officials in the Democratic Party
endorse her a month or two from now.

KORNACKI: We`ll keep an eye - the panel in here - Let me start, though,
just with -- take a look. This is the "New York Post" here in the - with
their -I think put this up. They`re already Hillary attack modes begun,
oh, Hill, no. The cover. I mean, the surest sign this race is on, Lynn,
is not just that she`s making the announcement, but her old adversaries in
the press are sort of cranking it up, too.

LYNN SWEET, CHICAGO SUN TIMES: Well, I think this was kind of expected.
And one of the things that I think they know going in, they know who is --
they think they know - I think they know where they could go to build and
where they could go that`s a waste of time. You know, they have a lot of
information, but as Mark Murray was saying, what do you really do with it?
There`s a lot of intelligence there. I think what you have to do is craft
it in a way that you could do billion-dollar fundraising and still say this
is a small mom and pop campaign.

KORNACKI: Can you do that?


SWEET: How do you do that? That`s one of their challenges because this is
the first campaign we have under the new rules, that everything -- you
know, if it`s not a billion dollars, who can even talk about it? OK.
There`s just -- it`s new money. It`s different kind of money, different
kinds of rules. So yes, the thing to watch for is in the next few days,
will the mom and pop in Iowa campaign unfold, go slow, the long on ramp
small events which will be vexing for political reporters to cover because
I bet we won`t know a lot of them. And then still having to create a
billion-dollar enterprise, you know, not only in the key primary states but

KORNACKI: And in terms of the message she`s going to be promoting here, as
we said, no major policy speeches coming out here, no big rallies, but this
was Jonathan Allen in "Vox" looking at one of the aspects of her strategy
that`s expected this time, he reported, from her campaign saying she will
be playing up gender, playing up the possibility being the first female
president. He writes that when Hillary Clinton launches her campaign
Sunday, she`ll do something no other plausible presidential candidate
including Clinton herself has done before, she`ll run like a woman. If she
plays it right, it will be a feature, not a bug of Hillary for president.
The feminine motif will be fully integrated into her persona, her rhetoric
and her platform, according to interviews with a half dozen sources close
to Clinton. That - I was just - It was an interesting thing for me to
read. The end in 2008, she was talking about all the cracks in the glass
ceiling. It seems like this time around, be a bigger point of emphasis for

JOE WATKINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, she`s very smart to do that. I
mean this is an historic election. Once it gets started. And for women
all across the country, whether you`re a hard Democrat or somebody who`s an
independent or if you are even a Republican woman, you have to consider the
fact that we could possibly have the first woman president. So Hillary
Clinton is very, very smart to think about that, to really focus in on
women and to begin to at least make women aware of the fact that this could
be historic. Now, on the other hand, she still has to define who it is
that she is. I mean, Americans think they know Hillary Clinton, but
Secretary Clinton, but they`ve got to get to really know her as candidate
for president in 2016.

SWEET: And can I make a quick point on that? Everyone thinks they know
her. There is a whole generation of people who were not born in 1992 who
are voting now or who were, you know, babies and toddlers then. So,
there`s a lot of stuff that might seem old to us, but needs to be said.


SWEET: The story needs to be told and retold.

KORNACKI: You basically have to be about 35 years old to remember, to
really start to remember the first Clinton campaign back in 1992. It is
amazing how the time goes like that. I wonder, Bill, as you look at this,
we talked about this a little bit in the intro, too. There`s the Obama
factor in all of this. I mean, among Democrats, Obama still extremely
popular. So if you`re Hillary and you want to sew this thing up and have a
very neat on the Democratic side, you don`t want to be attacking Obama. At
the same time, his approval rating sitting there at 46 percent, how is she
going to navigate that?

BILL SCHER, CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA`S FUTURE: Well, I don`t think it`s going
to be that hard. I mean "The New York Times" piece made it seem like it
was just walking a tightrope. I don`t really think it is. The Democratic
Party loves Obama still, very popular. You certainly don`t want to pick a
fight with him at this stage. And you see she goes to great lengths to
avoid creating daylight with him, at least for now. There is some
appearances she made that didn`t get a lot of attention where she said the
American economy is the envy of the world thanks to the hard choices that
the Obama administration made. That`s using the precious title of her own
book and giving it to Obama. She`s been a bit of a skeptic on the Iran
negotiations. But she came out with a pretty strong statement in favor of
the preliminary agreement last week.

At the same time, down the road, she will probably pick her spots. There
will probably be some points over time where she`ll say you know what? I
disagree with Obama on that one. It probably won`t be personal. It
probably won`t be launching a civil war in the party, but just enough to
say, look, he`s him. I`m me. I have my own opinions. I`m going to do
things my way when I`m in charge. And I don`t think it`s going to be that

KORNACKI: We will, as we say, the countdown clock is on. We`re thinking
maybe it will be around noon today. Maybe a little early. In the next few
hours, we`re expected to see this official campaign launch. We`ll have
much more throughout the show and throughout the day. For now, though, we
want to say thanks to Mark Murray in Washington for joining us. I
appreciate you getting up this morning, Mark.

And still ahead, we will take you behind closed doors on 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue, and we will expose the secrets of living above the shop.

But first, what may be the perfect test case for whether America should
still have the death penalty. Stay with us.


KORNACKI: Guilty on all 30 counts. That was the jury`s unanimous decision
earlier this week in the Boston marathon bombing case against Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev. The 21-year-old found guilty of crimes that left four dead and
more than 260 people wounded two years ago. The guilty verdict in a way
was the easy part in all of this, with ample video evidence, Tsarnaev`s
defense team conceding from the very beginning that Tsarnaev and his
brother did carry out the bombings and the subsequent murder of an MIT
police officer. But next week the jury begins deliberations on a much
tougher question. Should Tsarnaev be put to death for this? This really
gets to the heart of the debate over whether we should have a death penalty
in this country at all. After all, there is no question here of guilt.
And the scale of Tsarnaev`s deeds is about as wicked as you could imagine.
If we`re going to have a death penalty in this country, this would seem to
be exactly the kind of case to use it on. And yet there are plenty of
voices saying no.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My heart goes out to the families here, but I don`t
support the death penalty. I think that he should spend his life in jail,
no possibility of parole, he should die in prison.


KORNACKI: In fact, the majority of people in Boston, the city that was
terrorized by the Tsarnaev brothers, seems to agree with that. 62 percent
of Bostonians saying they want Tsarnaev to get life in prison without
parole. But some long-standing death penalty opponents are also
reconsidering in light of this case. Former Boston mayor Ray Flynn writing
in "The Boston Herald," quote, "As a Catholic, I`m personally opposed to
the death penalty. And in any other case, I wouldn`t hesitate to tell you
I am opposed. However, because of Tsarnaev`s arrogance and lack of
remorse, I believe the opinions of the families of the innocent victims
should be taken into consideration by the jury sentencing him."

So what`s the right call here? Well, joining us now from Boston is the
former mayor of that city, Ray Flynn. Mayor Flynn, thank you for joining
us this morning. So, maybe if I could just get you to pick up from that
quote we were just reading from you. Have you settled in a place on this
where you are OK with capital punishment being the punishment here?

RAY FLYNN, FMR. BOSTON MAYOR: No, I`m opposed to the death penalty, but
I`ll tell you this, though. What I`ve experienced even since the verdict
was rendered, I spoke over at Suffolk University last Friday. I was there
for five hours, spoke to many, many young students, very smart, bright
students. I see because the bombing and the terrorist attitude, lack of
remorse, arrogance in personalizing the bombing and how it affected so many
Boston people. Even young students are having reservations that I`m
surprised that, in fact, because it was always a theoretical discussion in
the media or among politicians, but now it`s personal. It`s affecting
people in the most intimate way.

And I think people are having questions about the death penalty now again
and whether or not it would be a good policy. But as I say, I`ve been in
politics over 40-some-odd years. So I`ve formulated a lot of opinions on
very important moral, social, economic issues, and I`m opposed to it. But
I see a real shift taking place, particularly among young people because of
the personal nature that the terrorists had, impact had, on innocent people
here in the city of Boston. That`s such a traditional event as the Boston

KORNACKI: It seems to me when I look at sort of public opinion in the
death penalty, it fluctuates based on two things. Like you`ll have cases
where somebody`s been in jail for 30 years. Somebody`s been on death row
for 30 years. They`re exonerated, they`re let out. And people look at a
case like that, and they say well, absolutely, we don`t want capital
punishment. We`re too fallible a society for that. But then you get this
other side of it in your city. What happened there, people start looking
at it. And as you say, it`s personalized. And opinion starts to swing the
other way. And it seems at a certain point, you`ve got to make a decision.
Either you can have the death penalty or not.

FLYNN: Well, yeah, but still, the debate has always been in the abstract.
It`s never really personally affected people as intimately as this
particular case has. And then they see -- my son was in Guantanamo Bay for
a couple of years as a Naval officer. And when he heard about the release
of the prisoners going back -- the terrorists going back in society and
potentially doing the same kind of random acts of terrorists again, you
know, he was all upset about that. Now, would this be part of a bargaining
negotiation as one student pointed out the other day? If, for example,
that we wanted to make a deal, the president of the United States made a
deal to release terrorists with a country in the middle east, a terrorist
country in the middle east? Would this be -- would this be a case of
releasing this Boston marathon bomber? I mean, these are all the questions
that are being asked. And good people who feel -- you know, there are good
people on both sides of this issue. And so it`s now more than an academic
and a political debate among journalists and politicians. This is an issue
that good people on both sides are starting to discuss. And I think that`s
a healthy debate to have. I`ve not experienced it in my lifetime, and I`ve
been in politics in the international, the national and the local level,
but I`ve not heard this kind of personal debate taking place about capital
punishment as we`re hearing in the city of Boston at this particular time.

And as we say, the deliberations, that jury will begin deliberating this
week on that question. Will Tsarnaev get the death penalty or not? We`ll
keep a close eye on that. For now, though, thank you to former Boston
mayor Ray Flynn. I appreciate it.

Still ahead, "Saturday Night Live`s" take on what we can expect from them
as Hillary Clinton launches another bid for the White House.

But first, this was supposed to be Marco Rubio`s time in the spotlight.
We`re going to turn our attention to the other big name about to enter the
race for president. Stay with us.


KORNACKI: This was supposed to be Marco Rubio`s big weekend, April 13,
tomorrow, Monday is when he will stand in front of the Freedom Tower in
Miami and declare his candidacy for president. But with Hillary Clinton
now making her big move, Rubio finds himself overshadowed this weekend.

Still, this is a big moment for Rubio. He runs in the middle of the
Republican pack of candidates right now, but he`s also seen as having more
potential than many of his rivals to rise up and challenge Jeb Bush.
That`s the same Jeb Bush who was once a mentor to Rubio and who shares his
same Florida political base with him. For now Wisconsin governor Scott
Walker appears to be Bush`s strongest opponent, but with his entrance,
Rubio is now going to try to supplant Walker in that role. He is focusing
hard on foreign policy. To do that, that is supposed to be one of Walker`s
perceived weaknesses.


MARCO RUBIO: It`s described first and foremost as the commander in chief.
And yet President Obama has treated this duty like an afterthought. He
entered office believing that the United States was too engaged in the
world in too many places, that we told people what to do too often, and
that`s why they resented us.


KORNACKI: Will Rubio`s strategy work here? Can he make his way to the
head of the pack? We`re joined now by "The Washington Post`s" Ed O`Keefe.
Ed, thanks for joining us this morning. Well, let me just start with - in
terms of Rubio`s entrance, at this point it doesn`t surprise anybody. But
a few months ago people looked at this and they said well, he`s not going
to run against Jeb Bush. If Jeb Bush runs, Jeb Bush is a mentor. He
defers to Jeb Bush. "The New York Times" writing about that dynamic this
week and saying that Rubio`s decision to go ahead, quote, "signals a
decisive Shakespearean turn in a 15-year relationship so close, personal
and enduring that friends describe the two men as almost family. Given
that relationship, what got Rubio to this point where he`s going to run?

ED O`KEEFE: The fact that there`s no reason for him not to try and that
there`s been enough demand, at least, on him to do it. Look, he`s young.
He`s probably the youngest in this race. At 43. He is up for re-election
in the Senate anyway. And he just decided that given his state law that
doesn`t require - doesn`t allow him to run for re-election while running
for president, he`d rather just do that. Worst case, you know, he loses,
maybe he runs for governor in 2018, or maybe he just leaves politics
altogether, at least for the time being and goes off to the private sector
and makes more money. He does have four young children he has to raise and
feed, after all.

So his options are wide open. And look, they, I think, admit that, look,
that there was another young senator who once tried this after only a few
years in the senate. The difference here is that Rubio, of course, had a
lot more experience at the state level than Obama did. And they feel
pretty confident going into this race that they might be the one to beat.

KORNACKI: And speaking of just the awkwardness of the Bush/Rubio dynamic
here, this was an amazing thing, Politico yesterday reporting Friday night
Rubio and Bush both speak at this NHR convention, then they go - fly back
to Florida and it turns out they`re sitting next to each other on the same
flight. So, for three hours these guys had to - who knows what they talked
about? I have a pretty good idea what they talked about. But let me get
the panel in here for a second. Just on Marco Rubio, Joe, as a
presidential candidate, it seems as like we said, there is an opening there
for at least one sort of consensus, conservative candidate not named Jeb
Bush. And Scott Walker right now sort of is occupying that role. Marco
Rubio`s prospects of getting there, what do you think?

WATKINS: Well, he`s got a lot of work to do, of course. Jeb Bush has a
big lead, has raised a lot of money, has a lot of organization around.
Governor Walker has done very, very well in the early polling. Rubio is
somebody who`s perceived as having a strong conservative credentials but
not being polarizing. So he has the capacity in the minds of lots of early
voters in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, if he were to emerge as the
candidate to actually do well in a general election.

KORNACKI: Is personality - personality and youth, are those the two big
selling points for Rubio?

WATKINS: I think among other things. He`s new. He spoke well at the last
convention. He`s somebody who certainly speaks -- he`s got a compelling
personal story. So he`s got that. And then he has the capacity to attract
Hispanic voters to the Republican -- Republican Party. So those are some
strengths for him. But he has a long way to go. It`s going to be a
crowded field. My favorite still right now is Jeb Bush. I think Jeb Bush
is way ahead, and Jeb Bush is the person to beat.

KORNACKI: I`m not sure I agree necessarily with that assessment. I`ve
been saying Bush`s numbers look weak to me. But in terms of Rubio, what do
you guys think? His prospects here of getting to the top of the tier? The
top of the pack?

SCHER: I see zero path for him. I`m actually with Joe at this. I still
see Jeb as the man to beat. If it`s not going to be Jeb, it`s going to be
someone on the conservative side that consolidates everybody else, all the
different conservative factions to trump the established support that Jeb
has. The first step of that path is to be anti-immigration reform. Rubio
blew that issue completely last year. He put himself out as the leader on
the subject that was going to broker the deal between Obama and
conservatives, and he managed to anger everybody in the process.

KORNACKI: But he`s now, he`s walked back from that since. Ed O`Keefe, I`m
actually curious about that. So, as Bill is saying, a year ago, that was
the talk. Hey, you know, Rubio has alienated the right because of
immigration. He miscalculated, but he has tried to walk that back. Has he
been successful in doing that within sort of the anti-immigration right?

O`KEEFE: I think there`s still a lot of skepticism about really where his
feelings are on it. Look, when he wept to CPAC, he made very clear, once
again, that he`s disavowing himself of that work he had done because he
said he learned through the process that the only way this is going to get
through congress realistically is if Congress and the White House work
together first on securing the border to whatever degree Republicans feel
it needs to be secured. And of course, that starts a big disagreement that
basically makes it impossible the way that Rubio is trying to do it. But
by doing that and saying until border security is done, not concurrent with
everything else, but until it`s done, can we proceed. Yes, his team can
say he`s for immigration reform and all its forms, but when you say that,
that border security`s got to be first at a time when it is arguably more
secure than ever before, and when Democrats and the White House would
certainly say we`ve done that, we`ve done as much as we can on that, we`ve
got to focus on everything else, it just shows you that, you know, that
creates a stalemate. Whether that`s enough for conservatives, I don`t
know. And I think now that he`s in the race and, you know, assessments
will be made of his record, we`ll see.

KORNACKI: All right. Ed O`Keefe on his way down to Florida to cover that.
Good luck with that announcement tomorrow of Marco Rubio. Appreciate you
joining us this morning.

Coming up, the Clintons, as you might have heard, they are back. They`re
also back on late night.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, since we are announcing your candidacy via
social media, we thought it would be fun if you actually filmed the video
yourself, on your own phone. That way it will look more personal and

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, personal and intimate, yes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Citizens, you will elect me and I will be your




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am running because I want to be a voice for women

DARREL HAMMOND, ACTOR: Did someone say women everywhere?

Hillary would make a great president.


HAMMOND: And I would make an even greater first dude.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Bill. That`s nice.

HAMMOND: Hillary, isn`t it crazy that phones can take videos now? I mean,
if they could have done that in the `90s, I`d be in jail.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great, Bill. I love jokes about that.


KORNACKI: "Saturday Night Live" last night making some headlines this
morning. Back with today`s panel. This is our catching-up segment. So
that`s the other aspect of presidential campaign starting, especially for
people like the Clintons. You`re going to get the "SNL" impersonations for
the next year and a half, probably. Darrell Hammond, speaking of the `90s,
coming back. Playing Bill Clinton last night. Kate McKinnon going to be
Hillary Clinton. What do we think of Kate McKinnon as Hillary?

SWEET: With all respect to her, it was a funny bit, but she didn`t strike
me to have the had Hillary thing nailed in the way Amy Poehler did.

WATKINS: She is funny, though.

SWEET: The content was funny. It was a great script. She executed it
well. But here`s what is the genius always to "Saturday Night Live" is
that they distill the essence of something. And the essence that they got
here is people will wonder, is this going to be the third Bill Clinton term
or the third Clinton term. And they were able to encapsulate that.

KORNACKI: And there`s Bill lurking in the background.

SWEET: I think one of the questions, one of the things that Hillary
Clinton will have to do because -- you know, we talked about earlier, do
you distance herself from Obama? And the answer is not too much and not too
fast, at your own risk. But she can embrace the Bill Clinton presidency.
In a sense she did that during her `08 run, but do it in a way that ends up
being productive.

SCHER: There`s also a risk there because you do have this anti-Wall
Street, populist wave coming.


SCHER: Bill Clinton is the person who repealed Glass-Steagall. Martin
O`Malley has already said I want to restore Glass-Steagall. Someone`s
going to ask Hillary the question, do you agree with what your husband did
on financial reform? There`s going to be a conference of --- my group is
putting on, campaign for America`s future, on the 18TH of this month,
they`re going to be putting these issues on the table saying where do you
stand on this stuff?

SWEET: Many things can be true at the same time in politics, you could
push her to the left, and that`s the whole wave of Democratic elections
now, and she could also say that that era represented a time of great

KORNACKI: Yeah. One more I want to get to here, this is in "the New York
Times." We held up the "New York Post" a minute ago. Not a surprise
they`re going to give Hillary a hard time. Also not a surprise that
Maureen Dowd, columnist at the "New York Times," is going to give Hillary a
hard time as well. Her column today, grandmama mia, saying that Hillary
will take the Nixon approach, trying to charm people one by one in the
early states for 2016, an acknowledgment she cannot emulate the wholesale
allure of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. As the old maxim goes, if you can
fake humility, you`ve got it made. But seeing Rahm and Hillary doing it in
the same season, Rahm Emanuel just got reelected in Chicago, might be too
much to take. Joe, somebody is going to enjoy reading the op-ed page of
"the New York Times" over the next year and a half.

WATKINS: I think some of these op-eds are a little bit hard and probably
will win her some support, some sympathy. People say gee, don`t be so hard
on Hillary. I think if she has the capacity - if she takes the advantage
of a "Saturday Night Live" to laugh at herself a little bit and to loosen
up and to lighten up, I think that`s to her advantage. Again, she`s
reintroducing herself to a whole group of voters, who don`t know a whole
lot about the Clintons. They don`t know her from 1992. They`re only just
learning about her. They know a little about her as senator. They know
more about her as secretary of state. She`s got to define who she is for
2016 as somebody who wants to be president of the United States.

SWEET: Also in terms --

KORNACKI: Quickly.

SWEET: Quickly the comparison between Rahm and Hillary, I think Rahm owns
the brash, abrasive corner of this discussion.

KORNACKI: You know what? Yes. Put the two of them next to each other and
Hillary`s going to look very warm by comparison.

Still ahead, a look at the private lives of our first family as we go
behind the scenes and inside the White House.

And next, the latest political squabbling over the Iran nuclear deal. Stay
with us.


KORNACKI: Only two days from now, Republican Senator Bob Corker is
expected to formally introduce legislation that would give Congress the
final say on a nuclear deal with Iran. It is still not clear if the bill
will have enough support from Democrats to override an expected veto from
President Obama. But Republicans have been outspoken in their criticism of
the deal reached earlier this month in Switzerland. With Senator John
McCain calling Secretary of State John Kerry, quote, delusional. Yesterday
President Obama defended Kerry.


OBAMA: Now, when I hear some like Senator McCain recently suggest that our
secretary of state, John Kerry, who served in the United States Senate, a
Vietnam veteran, who`s provided exemplary service to this nation, is
somehow less trustworthy in the interpretation of what`s in a political
agreement than the supreme leader of Iran, that`s an indication of the
degree to which partisanship has crossed all boundaries.


KORNACKI: Now, the White House doesn`t want Congress to be taking any
action until after June 30TH. That`s the deadline they have set for
reaching a final deal with Iran.

Still ahead, Hillary Clinton`s big announcement due any time now, really.
So how do you run a campaign against her? A candidate who once did, who
once tried to beat Hillary Clinton, will be here to talk about that
experience and what he learned from it.

But first, what life is like inside the most famous house in America when
you live above the shop. A new book dishes on what goes on inside the
residence. Its author is going to be here right after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The staircase goes up to the second floor, which I know
are reserved for the private living of the president and his family. I
don`t think any television cameras or motion picture cameras have ever gone
up there.


KORNACKI: That was Jackie Kennedy in 1962 giving the first-ever televised
tour of the White House in what was a highly watched primetime special.
What we know far less about is the Kennedy family`s life when the cameras
stopped rolling, what their lives were like inside the White House. And
that holds true for any first family. It`s not that their private lives
don`t have plenty of witnesses. There are witnesses there, as they`re
attended to by a staff of maids and butlers and cooks, florists, doormen,
engineers, and others who tend to their every need. Those loyal attendants
don`t usually talk about what they see. Until now. Somehow journalist
Kate Anderson Brower got many former members of the White House staff to
talk about what daily life in the White House is like. The secrets have
been uncovered in the book called "The Residence: Inside the Private World
of the White House." And author Kate Anderson Brower joins our panel now.
She`s also a former White House correspondent for Bloomberg. Thanks for
joining us this morning.

The theme of the day here, the Clintons are trying to come back to the
White House after an absence. Hillary Clinton probably announcing her
candidacy any hour now. It`s interesting, some of the revelations in this
book from the staffers who lived with the Clintons, basically, for the
eight years they were there in the White House. A picture comes out of a
first family that was -- I don`t know, for the lack of a better term, a
little paranoid about the permanent staff living around them.

KATE ANDERSON BROWER, AUTHOR: Yeah. I mean, one of the staffers I
interviewed, and I interviewed more than 50 of them, and most of them spoke
to me on the record. They invited me into their homes, and I really got to
know them over the course of reporting this book, over a year and a half.
And one of them told me that they were the most paranoid first family he
ever served, and he had served several.

One of the things the Clintons did was they changed the phone lines to
interior circuitry so they could make calls out more easily rather than
having an operator connect them. But I think one of the really interesting
things is that this book kind of shows how human a lot of these people are.
I mean, Hillary Clinton, during the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal,
placed a call early one morning asking an usher if he could help her get
some time alone by the pool with some books. It was a beautiful day. And
for them, that`s like a gargantuan task. They had to escort her down, make
sure that her Secret Service agents trailed her so she wouldn`t see them.
She was wearing no makeup, had on red reading glasses, was carrying a bunch
of books. And after she spent this time by the pool, she took him by the
hands and said "that just meant so much to me." And he told me that that
really touched his heart. I mean, these people are all about trying to
make the first family comfortable in this very difficult life where they`re
under the spotlight all the time.

KORNACKI: Is there a sense where the paranoia, you talk about where that
comes from?

BROWER: I mean, I think they had a long history with, you know,
Troopergate, and they always felt like they were being listened in on. You
know, it was obviously a very tumultuous time in their marriage. One of
the staffers told me that there wasn`t much laughter on the second and
third floors during the height of the scandal. She -- Mrs. Clinton was
nowhere to be found for appointments she had to look at floral arrangements
because she was dealing with something obviously much more consequential.
And another staffer told me on the record that it was like a morgue on the
second and third floors. It was so quiet. Eerily quiet. And they came to
the White House with, you know, baggage from Little Rock. And I think that
was something that the residence staffers see, because they are so close to
the first family. The maids and the butlers see them in their most
intimate moments.

KORNACKI: How about the current occupants of the White House? What sense
did you get from the people who work there now or have worked there with
the Obamas in the White House, just watching them live their daily lives?
What have they observed?

BROWER: That they really value their privacy. You know, they have two
young daughters. Their grandmother lives there. Mrs. Obama would ask the
florist to label the flowers on the floral arrangements so that she and her
girls could learn the proper names. And she asked one butler who spoke
fluent French to speak French to her daughters so they could learn the
language. And I think that also is a very humanizing thing. That they
came from a middle-class background. And that`s another thing I discovered
over the course of my reporting is that the Bushes, who were used to having
help, dealt with the help in a better way. The help liked working for them
because they knew exactly what they wanted all the time, whereas the
Clintons and the Obamas, they didn`t grow up with that. And so the
relationship is a bit more strained.

KORNACKI: That`s interesting. Yeah, it sounded like George Bush Sr., his
White House, it sounded in your book like that`s the favorite one for the

BROWER: Absolutely. And these are people who are really apolitical.
They`re not Democrats or Republicans. They serve from administration to
add management. A lot of them are there -- I interviewed people who were
there during the Eisenhowers, which is incredible. They`ve seen so much
history. And George H.W. Bush comes off the best because he would play
horseshoes with the staff. If a family member passed away, he would call
you and express his condolences. Barbara Bush would come down and visit
the shops in the basement of the White House where a lot of these people
worked, like the electricians and the carpenters, just poke her head in, in
the morning, and say hello. They were kind of unaffected by their very
high positions.

KORNACKI: As you say, that is their background, they were raised in that
kind of world, too. So I guess they knew what they were getting into.
Kate Anderson Brower author of the new book, "The Residence." Thank you for
joining us. Appreciate it.

BROWER: Thank you.

KORNACKI: And coming up, former ambassador Bill Richardson is here to talk
about the thaw in U.S./Cuba relations.

But first, we talk with a former opponent of Hillary Clinton`s about how
this rollout maybe isn`t so different than the last. Another hour of "UP "
is next.


KORNACKI: What`s it like to run against Hillary?

All right. And thanks for staying with us this Sunday morning. There`s a
lot more we want to get to this hour including what will be the biggest
tweet from Hillary yet? But what`s her presidential campaign going to look
like after she officially launches? We`re going to be joined by the man who
ran against her in her first campaign for the Senate to talk all about the
experience of running against Hillary Clinton and what he learned from it.
In the Republican field, Senator Rand Paul is working out some issues with
his father in a public view. How does the would-be president both embrace
his father`s legacy and create some much-needed distance as well?

Plus, President Obama turns the page on a new relationship with Cuba after
decades of hostility. What is this relationship going to look like, and
what will it mean for us as Americans? Former ambassador and New Mexico
Governor Bill Richardson is here this hour to discuss that.

Also still ahead this morning, those Bridgegate indictments you`ve been
hearing about for months now. Are they finally on their way? We`re going
to take a look at the key players and what it all means for Governor Chris

And finally, ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do
for your country. Does the call to public service like JFK`s resonate with
today`s young adults?

But we begin this hour with something the whole country is eagerly
refreshing their browsers for as we speak. That announcement that could
come any hour now of Hillary Clinton`s second presidential campaign. The
former secretary of state is expected to be planting her flag on social
media sometime this morning, sometime around noon, maybe. And insiders say
that Clinton is trying to execute a different kind of campaign launch than
last time. No rallies, no big speeches, no shock and awe, not necessarily
a blitz but a slow ramp-up. That`s what somebody in her campaign is
saying. Part of the announcement is going to come in the form of a video.
That is much like the rollout to her last presidential campaign back in


CLINTON: So let`s talk. Let`s chat. Let`s start a dialogue about your
ideas and mine.


KORNACKI: So that was what Clinton said when she got in the race back in
January 2007. And here is what happened in the days that followed that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton chose a community health clinic for her
first public appearance since her website announcement that she`s running
for president. A way to draw attention to one of her favorite issues,
children`s health care, while vowing she`ll do even more at the next level.

CLINTON: And then I`m obviously looking forward to being in even a better
position to help all of our country make progress on health care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The polls right now seem contradictory. Some showing
Clinton trailing Obama and even other contenders in key states like New
Hampshire and Iowa. But at least one other showing her swamping the entire
field nationally. Her own confident refrain --

CLINTON: I`m in to win, and that`s what I intend to do.


KORNACKI: Now, Clinton will apparently not be using that phrase, "I`m in
to win" this time around. But other than that, it is true that a lot does
feel reminiscent of 2008 in terms of how she`s approaching this launch.
The online kickoff, choosing a small venue for her first public appearance.
Even the polling that showed her coasting nationally, but a lot closer in
some of those key states. Except that`s only in the general election
matchups. Her 2007 announcement stands in stark contrast with the epically
staged launch by the candidate who ultimately defeated her that year.


OBAMA: I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for president of
the United States of America.


KORNACKI: Clinton`s declaration today differs from that Obama model. It
also differs from how her current potential Republican opponents are
announcing their campaigns. It`s different from Ted Cruz, who announced it
in a theater in the round style at a basketball arena at Liberty
University. He also then saw a significant bump in his polling numbers.
They doubled or tripled in some cases. It`s also different, what Hillary
is doing, from Rand Paul, who had a full program of speakers and videos
highlighting his policy interests in Kentucky earlier in the week. And
Marco Rubio, who is all set to stand before an audience at the Freedom
Tower in Miami tomorrow and declare his candidacy for president. Another
big-staged event. All very different approaches from what we`re about to
see this morning from Hillary Clinton.

So this is how it begins. Hillary Clinton`s fourth campaign as a candidate
in her career. She lost the last one, of course, in 2008. She won the
first two in 2000 and 2006, the most difficult being that first one when
she ventured out of the White House, not back to Arkansas, not back to her
native state of Illinois, but to New York, where she ran for the seat that
had been held by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. That was in 2000. The stakes
were high. And Clinton ultimately squared off with the young up-and-coming
member of Congress named Rick Lazio. It was there that year that Hillary
Clinton made history as the first first lady to win elected office. But
not without some bumps in the road.


CLINTON: Now, I know it`s not always going to be an easy campaign. But
hey, this is New York.


KORNACKI: And joining us now is the first opponent that Hillary Clinton
ever faced as a candidate, Rick Lazio, who now runs the Internet
publication "Ignite," along with our panel, Republican strategist Joe
Watkins back with us, Lynn Sweet with "The Chicago Sun-Times," Bill Scher
with the Campaign for America`s Future. Rick, thanks for joining us.


KORNACKI: You have the perspective that almost nobody else in politics
had. You went head to head with Hillary Clinton. This was a very
competitive and a very expensive race. I`m just curious, as you look at
Hillary Clinton, the Hillary Clinton who`s preparing to enter the
presidential race today, and you think back to that candidate you ran
against in 2000, are you seeing the same politician? Has she changed? Has
she gotten better? What are you seeing?

LAZIO: It`s hard to tell because she`s just rolling out. And the last time
she ran, obviously she ran for president, and that was 6 1/2 years ago.
What you see with Hillary, though, I think is that she generally is a
cautious, disciplined candidate, with highly experienced people that
surround her, people that are battle tested. They don`t make many tactical
mistakes. They exploit mistakes on the other side. So you`ve got to be
really on your game. The difference, the primary difference is at that
time she had no record, and so she didn`t have to defend the Obama
administration. She didn`t have to defend her record as secretary of
state, calling Assad a reformer, calling Mubarak a family friend. The --
will she be able to divorce herself from the chaos throughout the world?
And what`s her big-picture issue here? We really didn`t have any real
discussion, I thought, in 2000 about where we were going to take the
country. Of course, that was a Senate race. Now she`s running for
president. And it`s a very different world now. So you`ve got the Walter
Scott killing that wouldn`t be on our TV screens but for the fact that
somebody had a hand-held. Technology changing the scope of the world. The
size of the world. The relationships that we have around the world.
That`s changed dramatically.

KORNACKI: A very different environment.

SWEET: What would you advise somebody who is in a debate with her?

LAZIO: Stay at the podium.


KORNACKI: Can I stop for a second there? Because this was -- I want to ask
you about this. This was the most famous moment in your campaign against
Hillary Clinton. You challenged her on the stage. Sorry to bring it back
to that, but let`s play that for people so they can remember.


CLINTON: That was a wonderful performance. And you did it very well.

LAZIO: I want you to sign it. I`m not asking you to admire it. I`m
asking you to sign it.

CLINTON: Well, I would be happy to. When you give me the signed letter.

LAZIO: Right here. Right here. Right here. Sign it right now.

CLINTON: We`ll shake on this, Rick.

LAZIO: No, I want your signature because I think everybody wants to see
you signing something that you said you are for.


KORNACKI: So Rick, the first thing you said was stay at the podium. Why?
You were going for sort of a dramatic moment there. Why do you think it
didn`t work in hindsight?

LAZIO: So this was about soft money in campaign finance reform. And there
was a verbal pledge that both sides made to keep outside money out. And so
it was a bad tactical mistake for me. And I do regret it because it
allowed them to turn that on me. I don`t think that was really, for people
that knew me, I look at that now, it doesn`t --

KORNACKI: It made you look too confrontational, too aggressive.

LAZIO: Too aggressive and particularly not chivalrous. And I think it was
almost as if they were very good in the operatives in terms of turning this
and trying to communicate to every woman who had ever had some ex-husband
put a credit card statement in front of them and said, you know, what`s
this charge here?

KORNACKI: So there was a gender aspect. If you were running against, you
know, Chuck Schumer or something instead of Hillary Clinton, maybe it would
have looked --

LAZIO: It would have had a different dynamic. It would have had a
different dynamic.


LAZIO: It was a mistake, for sure. For sure.

SWEET: But short of leaving the podium. By the way, if you want to sign
anything, I`ll give you a pen.


SWEET: And that`s what I was -- you got me where I was going to go on
that. But you kind of -- how do you get into her head? Even if it`s not a
debate, what did you learn that you would tell your brother Republicans
right now?

LAZIO: Again, I would say, you know, presume that you`re going to be on
defense at some point. Presume that they`re looking for -- that her
campaign organization is going to look for an opportunity to turn it on you
and to symbolically have you positioned as out of step in terms of being a
sexist or an ageist or whatever it is that might be --

SWEET: So you think they`re going to play the gender card?

LAZIO: I think they`re going to use it as a shield and I think they will
use it offensively if they can. I think that campaign operation is going
to be a very skilled, very tough campaign team. And they`re going to take
every advantage they possibly can. And you see, you know, on these latest
poll numbers from Quinnipiac that it`s not a give-me, you know. So you`ve
got the early states --

SWEET: Well, actually, the new Bloomberg poll that came out today said
only 11 percent of women even like Rand Paul. So there`s gender issues.

LAZIO: Yeah. Republicans generally have a gender issue.

KORNACKI: That`s a question, too. When you look at the Republican field,
do you see a candidate there who is specifically well suited or not well
suited for that matter to go up against Hillary Clinton?

LAZIO: Well, not sure yet. I think, you know, one thing Republicans, both
the plus and the minus for the Republicans is that they will have a real
primary. And that people will be tested, and some people will come up
short, and some people will look pretty good. And I`d be surprised,
although not much.

WATKINS: I think it`s a matter of how you speak to Secretary Clinton. And
I think Republicans have to be very, very careful of alienating women
voters, especially, by not being condescending or by not seeming to be
overly mean in questioning or in disagreeing with her. As long as that
disagreement is fundamental and has to do with policy and it`s substantive,
that`s one thing. But I think Republicans have to be very, very careful in
terms of how they engage Secretary Clinton in the campaign.

SCHER: Republicans seem to like to call out the playing of the gender card
and the playing of the race card. They love to say I don`t want to play by
your politically correct rules all the time. Does that work, or does that
just come across as being defensive and whiny and not actually dealing with
the issues that are being put in front of them?

LAZIO: But the name of the game is 50 plus one. It`s persuasion. You`ve
got to do well with independent voters and you have to peel off Democrat
voters if you`re going to win. The question for me will be will the
Republican candidate be in a position where they`ll be able to engage on
issues that are really affecting women, for example, and minorities? So
stagnating real wages. Income disparity. You know, productivity dropping.
Jobs, small businesses disappearing. And 20 million American families now
that pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing.

KORNACKI: And these are some of the themes, too, it looks like Hillary
will be trying to stress, too, in these coming days. I want to close with
one more question, though. Just looking back, if you can think back to the
start of your campaign against Hillary Clinton and the end of it, is there
anything that you look back and said boy, that surprised me about her? I
didn`t expect she was going to be good at this or vulnerable on that? Was
there a big surprise about her?

LAZIO: No, she had started about a year earlier than me. So she had
started her listening tour, which was perfect for her, because she was able
to go and roll herself out, not take questions, not engage with the press,
and really become a better candidate and get better known. So that was a
huge advantage for her. I think generally a campaign, if there was any
surprise -- and it really wasn`t that much of a surprise - was that it was
a very disciplined, very well-organized, executed campaign. Don`t expect
her to make lots of mistakes. She may not be bold, she may be very
cautious, you may be disappointed with that fact, that she`s not taking on
big issues to move the country forward, but she`s not likely to make a lot
of forced errors.

SWEET: And being a grandmother now, how do you think that would impact

LAZIO: Hard to tell. I don`t know. Lots of grandmothers out there.

KORNACKI: It is, and it looks like she has the new -- the foreword to her
book or the epilogue or whatever it is, and she talks about how becoming a
grandmother, she says, inspired her to get back into politics, basically.
My thanks to former Congressman Rick Lazio for joining us this morning, for
putting up with that old clip, too. I appreciate that.

Still ahead, like father, like son. One presidential candidate may be
trying to prove the old adage wrong.

And next, we haven`t seen this in more than half a century. Not since
Eisenhower was president. The future and the past. That is ahead. Stay
with us.


KORNACKI: President Obama himself calling the meeting he held with Cuban
President Raul Castro yesterday historic. The last face-to-face talks
between an American president and a Cuban leader before yesterday had been
back in 1956. Those were between President Eisenhower and Batista, the
Cuban dictator. President Obama also called the meeting a turning point.


OBAMA: I told President Castro in private what I`ve said in public. That
our governments will continue to have our differences, and the United
States will continue to stand firmly for universal values and human rights.
At the same time, we agreed that we can continue to take steps forward that
advance our mutual interests. We`ll continue to work toward re-
establishing diplomatic relations, reopening embassies in Havana and
Washington, and encouraging greater contacts and commerce and exchanges
between our citizens. I`m optimistic that we`ll continue to make progress,
and that this can, indeed, be a turning point.


KORNACKI: Now, Castro, for his part, says he agrees with Obama, but he did
urge patience. NBC`s Perry Bacon Jr. Is at the White House this morning.
So Perry, what more can you tell us about as the president says, a truly
historic meeting?

PERRY BACON JR., NBC NEWS: It was. Well, good morning, Steve. You know,
the president talked about normalizing relations with Cuba in December.
And this was a big first step was this meeting they had yesterday, a very
historic meeting. The next two steps are, one, currently the U.S.
government has Cuba on its list of state sponsors of terrorism. So that`s
the next step is the president talked about it a bit yesterday. There`s a
study and a review going on that`s likely to see the U.S. remove Cuba from
that list. The second step will be likely over the next year, embassies
opening up in Havana and here in Washington.

I should also note today since it`s kind of Hillary Clinton day is, is also
Clinton was a big advocate in her book she wrote about we need to change
our policy on Cuba. She wanted to normalize relations as well. So this is
one issue where Hillary Clinton really agrees with President Obama. And
the Republican candidates all strongly disagree with President Obama.

KORNACKI: All right. Perry Bacon Jr. live for us at the White House. A
beautiful spring morning behind you, it looks like. Thanks for joining us.

BACON: It really is.

KORNACKI: Joining us now to discuss the future of U.S./Cuba relations, is
a veteran diplomat, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bill
Richardson. Also the former Democratic governor of New Mexico. He joins
us now. Thank you very much for joining us, sir. Let me just start with
the simple question of where do things go from here? They had the
handshake. They had the meeting. There are moves to restore diplomatic
relations. Can you see a point in the near future where completely
normalized relations exist, and that includes the free flow of travel
between the countries?

is one of the foreign policy achievements of President Obama, after 50
years, this needed to happen. First, Latin American antagonism, the 30 or
so countries will be reduced because we took this step. It was an
albatross in our relationship with all of Latin America. The next steps
are going to be, one, the designating Cuba off the terrorism list. That`s
been a big antagonism on Cuba. They want that off.

KORNACKI: Should they be off that list?

RICHARDSON: Yeah, they should be off, Steve. You know, I`ve worked on
this issue before. They actually cooperate with us on homeland security
issues, on drug control issues. What will be difficult will be the
embargo. That is controlled by Congress. And Republicans in Congress are
not going to want to give the president a triumph in allowing more American
investment there. A big problem is also going to be Cuba is very slow to
democratize, to improve on human rights. You know, they`re hard-line
communists. That`s going to be tough to get them to stop repressing some
of the dissidents in their country. That`s going to be a little stumbling
block. And they`re not going to change. But I thought a big positive was
good, warm, personal relations with the two presidents. That`s going to go
a long way. I think you give Obama credit for having taken this very
dramatic step.

KORNACKI: To put this in some context in terms of how Americans are
thinking about this, this was an MSNBC Telemundo poll this week, asking
people, do you approve of restored U.S./Cuba diplomatic relations? Among
all Americans, 59 percent saying yes. Nearly 6 in 10. Among Latinos, 56
percent. Again, nearly 6 in 10. So pretty broad popular support for what
the president`s doing here. But you mentioned the issue of political
dissidents. There are political prisoners still in Cuba. There are many
political prisoners still in Cuba. What would you say to somebody -- and
Marco Rubio is out there making this case saying in light of that kind of
repression that you`re talking about, what business does the United States
have becoming -- forging a more friendly relationship with the leaders of
that country?

RICHARDSON: Well, to improve the human rights situation in Cuba, to stop
quashing dissidents, to open up the Internet, to have freedom of the press.
I think more American investment, more American involvement, having an
exchange of embassies, more people-to-people program. I think the
president`s right, allow more travel by students, businessmen, allow Cuban-
Americans to go back and forth a lot more. The people-to-people exchanges
are going to be what expose, I believe, Cuba to opening up their democratic

It`s very tough, you`re right. I think Rubio is right in that we have to
push hard on the democracy front. Let there be dissension in the country
towards the government. Let them move someday towards fair and free
elections, although I wouldn`t hold my breath. This is a tough communist
regime. This is like the Brezhnev Russia days. These guys are going to be
very tough. So it`s not going to be immediate. But I think the steps
taken, opening up embassies, exchanging cultural educational attaches,
political attaches is going to be good. The big, tough question will be
the humanization of Cuba but also opening up the embargo in Congress.
That`s going to take a while, Steve. And that`s going to be probably
something that keeps the relationship from bearing the strongest possible

KORNACKI: Governor, just to switch topics in the minute we have left here,
I do want to get to the big news of the day. Hillary Clinton getting into
the presidential race. You sought the Democratic nomination as well with
her back in 2008. She`ll be entering any minute now. Are you on board
with the second Hillary presidential campaign?

RICHARDSON: No -- no, you know, we`ve had our differences, but I see her
campaign as an unstoppable train. You know, I wouldn`t jump in there
because I think she`s too strong. She`s got a great asset in President
Clinton. I think she`s got a good record. So, you know, the fact that she
and I don`t see eye to eye because I endorsed President Obama last time is
not an issue. I`m out of this stuff. So I`m happy here in Santa Fe just
watching you guys talk about all this.

But I think her candidacy -- her candidacy is, you know, first woman
candidate, qualified. She`s learning from mistakes she made. I hope she
ditches her entourage. It sounds like she will in the campaign. She`s
going to people`s living rooms. That`s the way to go, because she -- her
biggest opponents, Steve, are one, the inevitability that she`s going to
win. And secondly, the press. You guys want a contest. So she`s got to
defeat those. That will be her two biggest opponents.

KORNACKI: No idea what you`re talking about there. A mystery to me.
Former governor, former Ambassador Bill Richardson, appreciate you taking
the time this morning. Thank you.

And still ahead on the show, he may be the most powerful man on earth, but
his job isn`t one young people are eager to pursue for themselves. We`ll
tell you more about that coming up.

But first, indictments rumored to be just around the corner in Governor
Chris Christie`s Bridgegate scandal. We have the latest on that next.



CHRISTIE: This report says that I had no knowledge of it before it
happened, nor did I authorize it or have anything to do with it. And
that`s the truth. That`s what I said on January 8TH.


KORNACKI: It has been 19 months now since access lanes to the George
Washington Bridge were mysteriously closed, causing massive traffic delays.
And for Chris Christie, the moment of truth is fast approaching. Now, more
than a year into the investigation of who ordered the closures and why,
comes word from "The New York Times" that indictments are expected to be
handed down soon, as early as this week.

Now, before Bridgegate, Governor Christie was one of the Republican Party`s
brightest stars, a charismatic Republican who had proven he could win in a
big blue state. But now, after all the revelations, after all the
questions, all the critical press coverage, he ranks as one of the least
popular candidates among Republican voters. Only 32 percent of them say
they could see themselves supporting Christie for president. According to
an NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll, compared to 57 percent who say that
they couldn`t. Christie still has time to undo this damage, of course, and
he does have real skill as an off-the-cuff communicator. So maybe you get
him on the debate stage with the other Republican candidates. It`s
possible he`ll have one of those breakthrough moments.

But to pull off a comeback like that, if he`s going to be able to do that,
Christie first needs to break free once and for all from Bridgegate. For
more than a year now, we have heard his denials, denying first that there
was anything to the story at all. Then when the "time for some traffic
problems" e-mail from one of his top aides came to light, denying he had
any knowledge that anyone on his team was up to anything mischievous. We
have heard him paint the individuals who have been directly implicated in
the closures as aides and appointees who went rogue, as liars who deceived
him. And we`ve seen Christie`s very thorough attempt at self-exoneration.
The Mastro report released almost exactly a year ago.

Who we haven`t heard from, though, the feds, and that is about to change.
Who will they indict? No one expects Christie himself to be indicted, but
how close will they come to him? And what new details will be revealed in
any indictment? Will there be clues? Will there be accusations that
Christie knew more than he`s let on?

We also haven`t heard from just about any of the principal players in the
shutdown. They`ve not spoken publicly even as Christie has attacked their
integrity and laid the blame all on them. But they have been dealing with
federal prosecutors. We will probably hear from them through these
indictments or through this indictment. We may hear from them publicly
after the indictment comes down as well.

Christie has endured real political damage over the last year, but he has
survived, too. And now he`s about to face a real test of whether he can
put Bridgegate behind him, or if it will end his White House dreams once
and for all. NBC New York`s Brian Thompson joins us now. He`s been all
over the story. And Brian, welcome. We wanted to go through with you with
these reports swirling of indictments. I know this has been a drama for a
while. When is this going to happen? It looks like it really will be soon.
We wanted to give everybody a refresher course on who the key players in
all this are. We have sort of baseball cards here. We`ll start quickly,
Paul Fishman is the U.S. attorney, he is the one sort of running all this.
But let`s get to the players here who may be the subjects of indictments.
Let`s start with David Samson. Remind us who he is and the significance of

BRIAN THOMPSON, NBC NEW YORK: Chairman of the Port Authority, he is the
instrument that should be watching all that happens within the Port
Authority. Or was the chairman. Now he`s at the point where he has
resigned from his law firm as we get closer to these indictments. Could
come this week, could come a week after. We`ve been saying for about two
months they could come any week. But it is soon, we know that.

The key so Samson, though, is this. When Fishman, you were just showing
the U.S. attorney, when he comes out with this package that he`s doing,
think of it as a master package of indictments. For example, we have no
evidence that Samson actually had anything to do with the lane closures.
We do have evidence that the U.S. attorney is looking into a whole bunch of
alleged chicanery, manipulation, power moves by Samson to enrich himself,
his law firm, whatever.

KORNACKI: All sorts of other stuff that came out as a result.

THOMPSON: The collateral damage. So think about that in terms of Samson,
because if he`s indicted, then it`s a big master package that the U.S.
attorney is coming out with, which throws a kitchen sink at everything.

KORNACKI: OK. That`s David Samson. Let`s look at another name here,
Bridget Anne Kelly. Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee. That was
her e-mail.

THOMPSON: That was her e-mail. And a lot of people have speculated that
she might turn. She might flip. She might be the person who gives up
everything. And everything we`ve seen up until now is no. She`s not
talking. She`s gritting this out. She is probably within the office of
the governor the closest person to the governor, because she was deputy
chief of staff. One of several, however. And nobody considered her to be
a heavyweight in that office. She was basically considered to be the
person who would do things as she was told, or as she believed she was
supposed to do. And some people think that this so-called abuse of power
tag that they`ve tried to put onto the Christie administration runs right
through her in assuming that this is what my boss wants, this is what he

KORNACKI: All right. Another key player here. This is David Wildstein.
He was one of the directors of the Port Authority. I should also point out
my usual full disclosure, I did once work for David Wildstein. I do owe my
career to him in some ways. What`s the deal on David Wildstein?

THOMPSON: Here`s the deal on David Wildstein. He`s the one who went out
there and put out the cones, for all intents and purposes. He was watching
that morning. It may have been his brainstorm. We don`t know that yet.
He`s the guy everybody believes flipped. He`s the guy everybody believes
is talking. And if this is true, and we don`t know this, but if this is
indeed true, he`s the guy who may not be named in the indictments. The guy
who was at the center of it all may not be named. Because they`ll file --
if indeed he is talking, what will happen, according to one of my attorney
friends, is that he`ll be the one who`s filed an information on. He`ll be
the one who testifies. He`ll be the one who cops a plea to a lesser
charge. And he`ll turn in the --

KORNACKI: The potential star witness, in other words.

THOMPSON: Exactly.

KORNACKI: Very interesting. Let`s end on this one, Bill Baroni. He
worked with Wildstein at the Port Authority.

THOMPSON: He was Wildstein`s boss. He was indeed his boss. Many people
think he picked Wildstein. He`s kind of caught in the middle. He is a
very tight friend of Governor Christie. So far, he`s kept his law license.
He`s working in the clerk -- some minor functionary in a big law firm, they
were able to throw him a bone. He`s not especially wealthy. A very
affable, charming guy. No question about it. I knew him fairly well. We
had a good relationship. But he and Wildstein were at the center of the
fabrication of a traffic study that never existed. It was a cover-up.
Everybody knows it was a cover-up. And so the question is, how far will
they make him fall for something that nobody is clear that was really his

KORNACKI: Interesting. Well, we will keep an eye on it. As we say, we
have had the reports for a while now. But it does appear --

THOMPSON: Don`t hold your breath.

KORNACKI: I know. I`ve been doing it for a few months now. Brian
Thompson, thank you for that. We`ll have you back when these do come down.

Meanwhile, Hillary`s announcement video is not the only thing that is must-
see TV tonight. We`ll have more on that.

But first, will Rand Paul`s famous last name help him or hurt him among



SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: The truth is I loved my life as a small-town
doctor. Every day I woke up, I felt lucky to be able to do the things I
loved. More importantly, I was blessed to be able to do things that made a
difference in people`s lives. I never could have done any of this, though,
without the help of my parents, who are here today. I`d like you to join
me in thanking my mother and dad.


KORNACKI: That was Rand Paul announcing his run for president on Tuesday.
And that was his only mention in that speech of his father, Ron Paul, the
former congressman and presidential candidate from Texas. Senator Rand
Paul, of course, needs the support of the 2 million voters who backed his
father three years ago in that presidential race. But he needs a lot more
than that if he`s going to have a real shot at the GOP nomination. And
that means he is distancing himself a bit from his father and the
controversies his father has faced, like the racist newsletters from the
late 1980s and early 1990s that were published under Ron Paul`s name, or
more recently, Ron Paul`s claim that the government exaggerated fears over
Ebola. So how does Senator Rand Paul become known for being more than the
son of Congressman Ron Paul? MSBNC`s Anthony Terrell is here. He was a
campaign embed with Ron Paul in 2012 for NBC News. He has been back out on
the road again following everything happening with Rand Paul. Anthony,
welcome. Thank you for joining us.

One of the themes this week in the coverage of Rand Paul has been hey, Rand
Paul does not seem to like the press that much. There are certain
questions that annoy him, okay, but it does seem to me, one of the
questions that really annoys him is when you start asking him about his
father. He doesn`t want to be talking about his father at all.

ANTHONY TERRELL, MSNBC: Right. He said he`s his own man. He ran in 2010.
He has a record to run on. However, he`s really leaning on his father`s
campaign in the early states right now. And a lot of the folks that are
joining Rand Paul`s current campaign are from the Ron Paul organization.
You saw he went on an early state tour, and in many of those states, they
were former Ron Paul campaign apparatus there. And so what he`s trying to
do, is he`s separating himself a little bit to become more mainstream. But
keep the loyalty of his followers.

Now, at the events I were at, there were no chants of "end the Fed." There
was no abolish the IRS. There was no return to the gold standard. There
was no legalize all drugs or end the war on drugs, but it was more
sentencing reform. So he`s trying to become a more mainstream candidate to
become more palpable for the mainstream Republicans. The coalition he`ll
need to build on the libertarian support he`s got.

KORNACKI: What separated his father -- there were a lot of factors, I
think -- but what the Republican establishment ultimately really had
against his father was foreign policy. His father`s noninterventionist
views on foreign policy. Rand Paul has separated himself a little bit from
that, but he has still clearly carved out the more noninterventionist turf
on the Republican side. This is what he`s up against in the Republican
Party, I think. Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post columnist, he was on
Fox News this week talking about Rand Paul and foreign policy. This is
what he had to say.


CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS: Whatever name you want to put on Paul`s
position, isolationist or noninterventionist, he is, without a doubt, the
one Republican who will be running who is the closest to Obama in his view
of foreign policy. Arguably, he`s to the left of Obama on NSA, on
surveillance, on the use of drones, essentially on the war on terror.


KORNACKI: I mean, that`s what he`s up against in terms of sort of the
Republican establishment. Is it realistic for him to grow that base of
support beyond what his father had?

TERRELL: Well, what the campaign told me they`re looking to do is keep the
anti-war base and expand it to conservatives who are over war, who are over
the spending money overseas. They call themselves fiscally conservatives,
however, they`re spending trillions of dollars overseas when we go nation
building. He says a government who`s inept at home, how can we be capable
of building nations overseas? And he says his objective is strength through
peace. And he keeps quoting Ronald Reagan as saying Reagan negotiated with
the Russians for decades. Why can`t we negotiate with some of our enemies?


SWEET: But, see, all that won`t bring him -- you know, the plus of a
crowded primary field for Rand Paul is that he has a niche. And when
you`re dealing in a caucus, in a primary, he goes in with a running start.
But nothing you`re telling me is something that a blend of these other
candidates can`t be selling and doesn`t say how you truly bring back the
base. He is where he is today only because of his father, which gave him
the running start. And I think - what Krauthammer was talking about, I
think if we extended the conversation another five minutes here, you`re
going to get to Israel. And within the Republican primary base and some of
the big funders, once you get to Rand Paul`s views on Israel and you ask
him what he thinks of his father`s views, you`re going to have a big divide
in the Republican Party.

KORNACKI: That is one of the areas where Rand Paul has sort of changed his
views. That was the argument he had with Savannah Guthrie. That was part
of that. He`s changed that.


TERRELL: When I was in South Carolina, I spoke to some evangelicals who
said he can expand on that by getting the evangelical vote on criminal
justice reform. So it`s not just foreign policy. He`s going to focus on
domestic issues, domestic issues like economic freedom zones and the
criminal justice reform.

SWEET: But there, see, he has to have -- there`s just too many
Republicans. You have to be unique. So he has unique, whatever he would
start with. Maybe 28, if that much. And he`s intriguing. And he polls,
again, as the people -- as the man people are curious about. But I don`t
see in anything you said where he can expand that.

WATKINS: The other challenge for any voter in the Republican primaries is
not just voting for the candidate who you like but for a candidate who you
think can be competitive in a general election. And that becomes the big

KORNACKI: I tell you what. I will say this week, we talked about all the
great numbers Hillary Clinton has on the Democratic side and a lot of
national numbers. There were some polls in swing states this week that
came out that showed Rand Paul ahead of Hillary Clinton. Yeah, Iowa,
Colorado, I think competitive in Virginia. Something to keep an eye on
there. It`s interesting with Rand Paul. I`ve seen a number of polls now.
We always say Bush is the big front-runner on the Republican side. I`ve
seen a number of polls that show Paul doing as well as Bush.

SWEET: No oppo yet.


KORNACKI: That is a very good point as well. MSNBC`s Anthony Terrell,
thank you for stopping by. Appreciate it.

Up next, how do Brooklynites living near Hillary`s headquarters feel about
their new neighbor?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to tell you, it`s been hard to find Clinton



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seriously, here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seriously, seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There goes the neighborhood.


KORNACKI: Hillary takes Brooklyn. We will go live to her headquarters
right after this.


KORNACKI: Just like you, we are awaiting Hillary Clinton`s official
announcement that she`s running for president. She`s expected to release
that video making it official any time today. MSNBC`s Alex Seitz-Wald is
camped out outside her Brooklyn headquarters. Alex, I imagine you`re
checking Twitter every three minutes to make sure there`s not a new Hillary
tweet. But what`s the mood over there today? What`s going on?

ALEX SEITZ-WALD, MSNBC: Steve, we are just hours away from that tweet that
will kick off Hillary Clinton`s campaign. Behind me on the 11TH floor of
Hillary Clinton`s campaign headquarters, staffers worked late into the
night putting the final touches on her campaign. And then one came out
this morning and gave doughnuts and coffee to the media that`s staked out
here in an effort to try to repair relations from 2008, which were
notoriously toxic. The Republican National Committee is also out here.
They`ve got staffers with "stop Hillary" slogans and signs that they`re
putting up. So everyone is getting ready (inaudible) sometime this
afternoon a tweet with that video, and then she`s off to Iowa possibly
Tuesday, and New Hampshire beyond that.

KORNACKI: All right. MSNBC`s Alex Seitz-Wald on Clinton watch in
Brooklyn. Thanks for that.

Up next, getting ready for President Celina Meyer.


KORNACKI: All right, there is a lot going on this morning. Let`s get
caught up with some of the other headlines making news with our panel.
Let`s go to the "Los Angeles Times" first, which tells us that "Games of
Thrones" season five premier is tonight. They ask how high can ratings go?
Ratings are still growing for this HBO show. It`s already the most popular
in the network`s history, 18.4 million total viewers across all platforms,
whatever exactly that means the last season. "Games of Thrones" coming
back. Anybody here a "Game of Thrones" fan?

SCHER: Much like John Snow, I know nothing about "Game of Thrones."

KORNACKI: I watched one episode of "Game of Thrones," half the cast died,
and apparently this was like the culmination of four years of stuff.
Anyway, it was very bloody. The other one that`s back that you guys might
like, meanwhile the HBO series "Veep" also returning. Frank Rich, one of
the producers, spilling details in "New York" magazine, Supreme Court
Justice Elena Kagan saying this is the favorite thing she has to talk about
with Antonin Scalia.

SWEET: I love this show. I love every cast member. Really. Because it`s
a true comedy. "West Wing" when it was on, was too much like going to
work, because they tried to relive the real life thing. The "Newsroom"
when it was on was based on real life situations. So you had to think, oh
my God, that`s not how it happened, but this is just pure zaniness.

KORNACKI: I like how you describe it.

WATKINS: Which is how the White House really is, it`s pure zaniness.


KORNACKI: On the "West Wing," every character was like the smartest person
you`ve ever met, they never paused. They all spoke in like--


SWEET: You compare it. No, that`s not how it is in real life. The "Veep"
isn`t like real life. The look is right and they have some of the physical
things right. But they`re not doing situations where they say, no, no,
that`s not how it happened. It`s a fictional thing.

SCHER: A reminder that so much of what happens in Washington are people
who are very full of themselves, who don`t actually have a lot of power and
are wasting their time.


KORNACKI: Let`s get another one in here. Let`s go to "The Christian
Science Monitor," why millennials don`t want to run for political office,
millennials loosely defined as people born in the early 1980s to the early
2000s. As I read this, I find out I`m not a millennial, even though I
might have claimed that at some point. That`s too bad. There`s new
research out there that says these millennials, they are not apathetic
toward the major issues of the day, but they largely reject the idea that
these problems can be solved through politics.

WATKINS: Very, very smart. They realize there are a lot of other ways to
get the word out, to change the way people think, like social media, of
course. Social media is a huge way to do it. They realize that in
politics, people get beaten up. Anybody in politics gets beaten up.


KORNACKI: Beaten up by social media, too.

SWEET: (inaudible) changes as they get older because these are jobs that
have benefits.


KORNACKI: Spoken like a Chicago reporter.

SWEET: I think the thing that will happen is people will see that there
are, through social media and whatever, you don`t depend on government for
all the same things, but you will when it comes due. I think people may
not appreciate what government is until you get --

KORNACKI: Right. A millennial doesn`t need Social Security. We`re out of
time, Lynn, we got to go. My thanks to the panel, Lynn Sweet, Bill Scher,
Joe Watkins, thank you for getting up with us.

Thank you at home for getting up with us too. Up next, Melissa Harris-
Perry. Stay tuned. We will see you next weekend when one of the stars of
"Veep," Tony Hale, will be with us. Until then, have a great week.


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