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'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, April 26th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Sunday show

Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: April 26, 2015
Guest: Angus King, John Lewis, Kathie Obradovich, Katherine Mangu-Ward,
Brad Woodhouse, Jon Ralston, Andrew Aydin, Bill Pascrell, Joe Quattrone,
Nate Cohn, Sarah Crowe

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I look so old,
John Boehner has already invited Benjamin Netanyahu to speak at my funeral.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: The race to replace last night`s keynote
speaker.

All right. Good morning to you. Thanks for getting up with us this Sunday
morning. We are again live here in our nation`s capital in Washington D.C.
And as we come on the air this hour, there are new details emerging in
yesterday`s massive earthquake in Nepal. We are going to be checking in
with relief workers who are on the ground there in just a few minutes. All
of the details on what we know from Nepal ahead. Also, a big night last
night here in D.C. President Obama and the journalists who cover him
putting aside their day jobs to make fun of themselves, to make fun of each
other. So, what were the president`s best lines, what were his worst
lines? We are going to be playing some great clips throughout the show for
you. Also, a big weekend out in Iowa. Just about every Republican
presidential hopeful making their way to the Hawkeye state to court
conservative voters out there.

We are going to look at everything that happened there in just a little
bit, but where was Jeb Bush? Why did he stay away from Iowa with all of
his fellow candidates out there? It`s Sunday morning, so it must be time
for Chuck Todd to stop by and discuss all of that with us live on set here.

Plus, the comic book that inspired Congressman John Lewis to write a
graphic novel trilogy about his life. Book two is out now. The veteran
congressman is here to share the lessons of the civil rights movement.
Really looking forward to that one. Also, I took a tour of one of the few
places in the capitol where everybody gets along, Democrats and Republicans
alike, and a lot actually does get done. We are going to talk with Ted
Cruz. That`s right. We are going to talk on this show with Ted Cruz, also
Congressman Bill Pascrell from New Jersey and more. This is from our visit
to the house barber shop. You are going to want to stick around and watch
that. Trust me. Also, Senator Angus King, Washington`s biggest wild card
and independent senator. I talked with him one on one here in Washington.
We`re going to show you what he had to say including his answer when I
asked him how committed he is to continue caucusing with the Democrats.

All of that ahead on the show today. But we begin this morning just
outside of Des Moines, Iowa where the race for president took center stage
last night at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Forum. Nine candidates in all,
nine candidates or possible candidates for the Republican presidential
nomination descending on the hawk eye state to court what is a huge
constituency out there. Religious conservatives. The Iowa caucuses, of
course, will be the first official contest next year. And it is expected
that around 60 percent of all of the Republicans who take part in those
caucuses next year, 60 percent will be evangelical Christians. And that
number creates pressure on the c to stay far to the right on cultural
issues pressure, perhaps to move too far to the right in a way that could
haunt them if they make it to the general election. Always a very
difficult balancing act there. A lot at stake for those candidates last
night. Marco Rubio, he is surging in the polls, since entering the race
almost two weeks ago. This was his first trip to Iowa as an official
candidate. It was also a big test for Scott Walker. He has been at the
top of Republican polls since a strong showing at an Iowa event back in
January. The question last night, was how will he follow up on that
performance. Also, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former
Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, they were wooing the crowd last night as
well. Each of them are past winner of the Iowa caucuses. Each trying to
recapture some of that magic for 2016, but this time with a lot more
competition. How did they all do last night? Well, let`s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE (R ), FMR. ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: The greatest threat we face
according to the president? Climate change.

(LAUGHTER)

HUCKABEE: Because we all know that a sunburn is worse than beheading.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How can it be that our
president shows more respect for the ayatollah in Iran than for our allies
in Israel?

RICK SANTORUM (R ), CONSIDERING 2016 RUN: Here is my promise to the
Iranian government. On the first day of a Santorum presidency, that
agreement is in the trash can.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R-LA), CONSIDERING 2016 RUN: I believe in traditional
marriage between a man and a woman. And unlike President Obama and
Secretary Clinton, the governor of Louisiana views - my views, they are not
evolving with the times. They are not based on poll numbers.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What a sad statement that
today`s modern Democratic Party has become so radicalized in their devotion
to mandatory gay marriage in all 50 states that there is no longer any room
for religious liberty.

CARLY FIORINA (R ) CONSIDERING 2016 RUN: Our government has grown so big,
so powerful, so costly, so complex, so corrupt, the weight of the
government of this nation is crushing the potential of this nation.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), CONSIDERING 2016 RUN: We need a leader in
America today that will recognize that Israel is actually an ally and start
treating them as such.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: All right, to break down exactly who the winners and losers were
last night, we have long time Iowa reporter Kathie Obradovich. She joins
us from Iowa this morning. She is a political columnist at "The Des Moines
Register." She was at the Faith and Freedom forum last night. Good
morning to you, Kathie. Let me start with Marco Rubio. This was his first
big trip to Iowa since formally announcing his candidacy. The backdrop for
this, we can put this up on the screen this is the most recent poll,
national poll on the Republican side. And you see Rubio since that
announcement surging into lead, so he comes to Iowa with a head of steam,
he courts the religious conservatives last night. How did he do?

KATHIE OBRADOVICH, DES MOINES REGISTER: Well, Marco Rubio, I think had a
successful first trip to Iowa. He did - this was not really necessarily
his crowd last night. He did, I think, make a favorable impression but he
did not, I think, go really heavy on some of those social issues that you
were just talking about. He did say that, you know, he felt that the
institution of marriage between a man and a woman pre-dated our laws and
made that very clear. But he never said that we should outlaw gay
marriage, for example. He talked a little bit about the spiritual
underpinnings of America, but didn`t really go heavily into the religious
liberty issues that some of the other candidates did. I had to say,
though, Marco Rubio unlike all the other candidates so far, actually came
in and spent 45 minutes with "The Des Moines Register" editorial board on
Saturday, and he was very, very impressive. Went through all of the
issues, talked in detail about his rational for immigration. Some of the
other issues that, perhaps, conservatives in Iowa have been bothered about
by Marco Rubio. And - and actually, I think even for our editorial board
members who have seen it all, they actually came away fairly impressed.

AC: Well, it`s interesting you mention that. Because one of the things he
said at that editorial board meeting took a little bit of a shot at Scott
Walker. And Rubio and Walker now, if you look at the polls, are sort of a
rivalry there to be that sort of alternative to Jeb Bush and one of the
things that Rubio was saying, was basically governors are not necessarily,
governors like Scott Walker, prepared when it comes to foreign policy.
Walker was asked about that yesterday. Let`s play what Scott Walker had to
say in response to Marco Rubio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: I think he`s questioning how Ronald Reagan was ready. I think
Ronald Reagan decisively showed that as president of the United States, at
least in my lifetime, I think he was the most impactful and the most
important president when it comes to foreign policy. And I believe that
Barack Obama shows as the first term senator isn`t prepared to lead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And Kathie, it was a couple of months ago that Scott Walker had
his - his big debut in Iowa. He made a great impression in event like last
night. He has been near the top of the polls since then. So, what was the
follow up like last night? What was the response to him?

OBRADOVICH: So, he got a very warm response from this group, but I have to
tell you, he spoke dead last at the end of this four hour event. People
were getting tired. And so, they did give him a warm response.

I don`t think it was the best speech I ever heard him give. I don`t think
it matched his really breakout speech at the freedom summit that we had
earlier in the year. I think he really sort of rose to the top of the
polls because of that speech. He wasn`t quite there. But he did talk - I
mean it was a comfortable setting for him. He talked about his faith
growing up as a pastor`s son. And he actually read from a Christian
devotional book, so he went a little bit further than some of the other
candidates in that aspect. And, you know, I didn`t hear anything negative
about him at all. And he got a really pretty enthusiastic applause from
the audience.

KORNACKI: All right, Kathie, stick around for me, and I want to bring in
this morning`s panel. We have with us Perry Bacon Jr., senior political
reporter with NBC News. Brad Woodhouse, president of the Democratic super-
PAC American Bridge and Katherine Mangu-Ward. She is the managing editor
with "Reason" magazine. So, guys, I want to talk a little bit here. But
we set this up. The broader context here is, we talk about Iowa, we talk
about Republicans and social conservatives and there`s a lot of pressure to
go to the right on these cultural questions. At the same time, you think
ahead to the general election. Here is a perfect example to me. Gay
marriage. This week the Supreme Court is going to be taking it up. There
is an expectation this could be legal in all 50 states soon. If you look
at the polling, this is something increasingly the country is comfortable
with. If you look at the sort of conservative base of the Republican Party
you have Bobby Jindal. We played him a minute ago. And put it up on the
screen here. This was his op-ed in "The New York Times" this week. He
made a lot of noise saying he is holding firm against gay marriage. He
wants to put one of those religious liberty laws on the books in Louisiana
like they tried to do in Indiana and took so much heat for it. That
balancing act, Perry, how do they handle that out there in Iowa?

PERRY BACON JR.: You are seeing two different things happening where Jeb
Bush was not in Iowa notably. Marco Rubio statements have been careful.
Walker`s as well, but you had this fight for who is - social conservative
candidate, where they are all trying and really dueling to be who can be
the most - forward with these freedom laws. Who can be like Jindal - in
very strongly against gay marriage. It will still be interesting to see
what happens once this court ruling happens. Because the public opinion
even among sort of younger Republicans is definitely moving toward
supporting the same sex marriage.

I think those - happening in this campaign, has been this question about
who would attend the same sex wedding. And you really heard the candidates
trying to figure out, oh, how do I seem tolerant at one point, but also
show my traditional values on the other hand. It was the rare question
where Ted Cruz, as far as I can tell, still is not giving an answer. I`ve
never heard Ted Cruz speechless, but finally, he was.

KORNACKI: And it`s interesting. So, that question Marco Rubio was asked
two weeks ago, and he said, he made a little news saying, sure, I have no
problem attending a gay wedding. But now going to that audience last night
in Iowa, this is what he had to say on the subject of gay marriage. Let`s
play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUBIO: Marriage is an institution that existed before even government
itself that the institution of marriage is one man and one woman existed
before our laws existed.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So there it is. Two different messages, it almost sounds like.

BRAD WOODHOUSE, AMERICAN BRIDGE: Yeah, it really is. I think that they
have really handled this quite clumsily. I mean I think they`ve tried to
be careful. Jeb Bush has been the worst. He had a representative there
last night who raised the hand and said, you know, Jeb Bush was the first
to defend Mike Pence on the religious freedom law there. He didn`t mention
that Jeb Bush went to a donor - to a fundraiser in San Francisco two days
later and said that the law needed to be changed or that he was having a
donor retreat in South Beach, the gayest geography in the country, this,
you know, this weekend, and then you had Rubio who said that he would
attend a gay wedding, but then went to Iowa and, you know, and said that
marriage needs to be between a man and a woman. It`s the only - way to
raise the child. So, this is striking me a little bit as how clumsily many
of the candidates handled immigration in 2012.

AC: How much, Katherine, on the right, I look at Bobby Jindal and he`s
making this - he`s basically saying look, I know 60 percent of the country
now supports gay marriage, but there are a lot of people on the right who
are still absolutely not there. And it really seems like he is just making
the play to like gobble up as many of them as possible. Going as far to
the right as possible. How much room do you think he has there?

KATHERINE MANGU-WARD, REASON MAGAZINE: You know, I think it`s similar to
what Perry said. That unfortunately, younger Republicans even are moving
on this issue, but older Republicans vote and they vote in primaries and
this is the sort of, you know, when you see it every cycle. There`s this
like moment for like I`m just going to be the conservativist. You know,
it`s like that silly almost. It`s like they are just kind of staking their
claim. The gay marriage issue is the place where they decided to do that
and I think it`s partially because of this religious freedom law, but it`s
also because that`s an easy way to differentiate yourself now. They are
minority. You are a minority if you say, I think that, you know, gay
marriage should be illegal at this point. And playing minority politics.

KORNACKI: Kathy, let me bring you back in this. Because, you know, we set
this up by saying, you know, 60 percent of the caucus electorate in Iowa
evangelical Christians, so obviously social conservatives holding sway out
there, we always talk about that. But I also look at the roster of
speakers yesterday. The candidates who were out there. Rick Perry, Ted
Cruz, Rick Santorum, you know, Scott Walker going after evangelicals. I
almost wonder are there so many candidates Mike Huckabee courting that same
base, that it almost limits the power of social conservatives even though
they have 60 percent in Iowa?

OBRADOVICH: Yeah, absolutely. I mean what we saw in 2012 was, in fact,
the social conservatives really splitting up the Evangelical and religious
right vote. And why else would Mitt Romney be able to virtually tie the
caucuses? Eventually, people unified around Rick Santorum in 2012, but
that didn`t happen until very late. If no one candidate can unify all of
these religious conservatives, somebody like a Jeb Bush, even Chris
Christie can walk in and do very well in the caucuses. That is why I think
it`s a good idea for example, for Chris Christie to have appeared at some
of these - and try to make the pitch for whatever social conservative
credentials he wants to put forward. He talked a lot about abortion rights
earlier in the year. And if he can get even a piece of that and also for
people who think they just want a candidate that is going to be electable
in November.

The people who are going to be the most successful are the ones who can
build coalitions across these factions of the Republican Party.

KORNACKI: All right, Kathie Obradovich with "The Des Moines Register". On
the ground out there, she was live at that thing last night. Appreciate
you taking a few minutes this morning. Thank you very much.

OBRADOVICH: Thank you.

KORNACKI: All right. And coming up next, the big name or the biggest name
on the Republican side who skipped Iowa yesterday. Some ominous new signs
about the state of Jeb Bush`s presidential candidacy and the big name on
the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, taking some heat of her own this week
over foreign money. Chuck Todd is going to be here with us on set to break
down the race for the White House. And, of course, we`re live here in D.C.
this weekend. The big White House correspondents dinner was last night.
So, we are going to be playing some of the highlights for you this morning.
Here is the president with assistance talking about our next guest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: But we do need to stay focused on some big challenges like climate
change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, listen, (INAUDIBLE), California is bone dry.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looked like a trailer for the new "Mad Max" movie up
in there.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Y`all think that Bradley Cooper came here because he
wants to talk to Chuck Todd?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He needed a glass of water!

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH: Today we`re setting up the Right to Rise in PAC, which is a PAC
- to candidates, just to lead in conservative principals to allow all
Americans to rise up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Shock and Awe. That was the term that was being thrown around
when Jeb Bush jumped into the presidential race by forming that super PAC
earlier this year. The idea was he would lean on his name, his family
network, his party establishment`s desire to back a winner, and he would
raise an astronomical sum of money and he would be able to do that quickly.
That was the idea here. Make a powerful statement, intimidate others out
of the race, emerge as the clear frontrunner. But it doesn`t seem to be
working out that way, at least not yet. Bush is now down to just nine
percent in the newest national poll from Fox. Single digit territory.
He`s also running behind fellow Floridian Marco Rubio in the new national
Quinnipiac poll. And Republican donors that are a key part of the Bush
strategy for winning the White House are reportedly alarmed, the Bush
bundler telling Politico that the candidate is playing defense. As Dan
Balls writes in "The Washington Post" this morning, "Is anybody afraid of
Jeb Bush? Quote, given what has and hasn`t happened so far this year, it`s
not hard to see that he will have to earn the nomination through dogged
work, outsized fundraising and a message that persuades conservatives that
they can trust him enough to vote for him. For now he is not scaring off
the competition.

Joining me now is Chuck Todd, moderator of "Meet the Press" as well as the
political director for NBC News. Chuck, thanks for taking a few minutes
this morning. So, the state of Jeb Bush`s candidacy several months in, you
know, he got in with obviously the great expectations that are going to
come with being a Bush running for president. What have we learned about
Jeb Bush in the nature of 2016 over the last few months?

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": I think we`ve learned
that the conservative activist base is much more skeptical of rallying
around Bush or even settling for Bush than even he may have thought.
Steve, I talked to one Bush operative about a week ago and I was going
through all of this and I said boy, this really must be a tough week for
you. It`s the week that Hillary Clinton announced bringing up dynasty
issues, Marco Rubio announced a reminder that Jeb couldn`t even chase him
out of the race. And this person said to me, we`re built for the third
look from Republican activists and I have to say, the third - you know,
that`s their strategy and I guess they`re sticking to it. I think we have
to reassess this question on June 30TH and let`s see the Shock and Awe.
Let`s see how big - you know, can he buy his way to the finals? I think
that`s a question here. But I`ll tell you, you go by the activist base
right now. And it is hard to imagine how it gets to nomination. But you
look at the fund raising potential, and then you see how it`s possible.

KORNACKI: You know, there`s some interesting reporting to this morning
from "The New York Times" out at this closed door event in Las Vegas, this
Sheldon Adelson event. Former president George W. Bush apparently asked
about his brother courting the Norm Coleman, the former senator who was
there. He said, he basically said, "being a bush is a challenge." Another
attendee said to the paper he essentially said people don`t want dynasties
in America. I wonder, too, that -just that Bush name, I`ve always tried to
figure out, resisting among Republicans, is it pragmatic? They say, G., I
don`t know if it`s smart for our party to be nominating another Bush. Or
is it more the legacy of the Bush administration, the George W. Bush
administration on the right and the idea that hey, government grew. He
wasn`t necessarily that conservative. Tea Party sort of arose from that.
What`s you read them?

TODD: Well, look, I think - I think it is split in both of those camps. I
think there`s a camp of Republicans who think, you know what - If you - if
the Republicans nominate Jeb Bush, then Hillary Clinton`s biggest negative
is muted, and that is her last name and her connection with the past. That
makes it easier for her to look more like the future in comparison to Jeb
Bush, because then she can emphasize her gender as the future part of her
candidacy while sort of neutralizing the last name part.

But I think the other part of this more has to do with George W. Bush.
Right? That there are truly is fatigue on the Bush style of governance.
You know, Jeb Bush is a, I call this sort of a strain, I think, of
Republicans that are still legislative conservatives. They are
conservative in ideology, but they believe in the legislative process and
there are some conservatives who think yeah, guess what, all that does is
grow government and they look at Jeb Bush on education, for instance, and
they think you know what? He`s a big government conservative and that`s
their fear and they think that that put them off on the wrong path when
George W. governed that way.

KORNACKI: Well, meanwhile, on the Democratic side you mentioned Hillary
Clinton there, second to go to frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, said to be
trying to sure up support in the wake of those reports that the Clinton
foundation didn`t disclose its foreign donations. Campaign chairman John
Podesta reportedly spending Thursday afternoon answering questions from
concerned fundraisers at a kickoff meeting where he`d hoped to be rallying
them into action instead.

So, Chuck, in a way we knew that the Clinton Foundation was going to be
something that her opponents and the media were going to be looking very
closely at this week. You`ve got a taste of what that`s going to look
like. How do you think she handled it this week?

TODD: I think that it handled awfully. This is the single most
predictable issue that this campaign was going to have to deal with and
they seem completely flatfooted, totally unaware of sort of what was coming
because it`s a reminder that they probably didn`t do their own self-betting
on this. And I can tell you, the number of Democratic operatives, some of
whom are actually working in the Clinton campaign, some of whom are not,
who all have the same - shaking their head going, why are they still
accepting foreign donations? That it`s a total head scratcher why they
ever did in the first place. But why are they still doing it? Remember,
the new policy still has them taking foreign donations from a smaller group
of countries, mostly Western allies, but why are they doing it at all? And
that`s - that`s - there`s a whole bunch of Democrats shaking their head.
If there were a real challenger, Hillary Clinton, that the party - that
some of the party were comfortable rallying around, I think you would here
more Democrats openly criticizing these relationship. Frankly, the way
Barack Obama did eight years ago.

KORNACKI: It`s interesting. Of course, the one - the biggest name
challenger, I guess, out there on the Democratic side, Martin O`Malley was
made fun of by the president in his speech last night for basically being
anathema in the party. So, yeah, at this point, it still does look safer
on the Democratic side. Chuck Todd, moderate of "Meet the Press." Thank
you for joining us this morning. I appreciate it. And "Meet the Press",
of course, airs later this morning on NBC. If you miss it, it will re-air
here on MSNBC at 2:00 this afternoon.

Still ahead in this show, Congressman John Lewis, civil rights pioneer and
graphic novelist is going to be here to tell us about revisiting the civil
rights movement. And next, the new signs this morning that there might be
a tough road ahead for that Iran deal. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We remember the journalists unjustly imprisoned around the world
including our own Jason Rezaian.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: For nine months, Jason has been imprisoned in Tehran for nothing
more than writing about the hopes and the fears of the Iranian people,
carrying their stories to the readers in "Washington Post" in an effort to
bridge our common humanity. We will not rest until we bring him home to
his family, safe and sound.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: President Obama in one of the more serious moments in last
night`s White House correspondents` dinner prompting not one, but two of
the headlines we want to catch up on this morning in our "Catching Up"
segment. First, what the president was talking about there. So, as he
mentions, he`s talking about "The Washington Post" bureau chief in Tehran
who has now been held captive by Iran for the last nine months. There were
pins being given out to this dinner last night to show solidarity with
them. The president calling for his release. So, there was that element
of it. And then this morning, just a sort of bizarre thing we want to
share from Twitter, all sorts of people on Twitter including the Supreme
Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, he tweeted overnight that it`s
ridiculous that even though the U.S. president is black, still such crimes
against U.S. blacks continue to occur. Talking about - he`s at the hashtag
"Black lives matter", Freddie Gray, talking about a lot of these recent
incidents, the police incidents with African-Americans, but the supreme
leader of Iran, of course, the backdrop here is that we`re negotiating with
Iran right now. It`s bizarre.

WOODHOUSE: I mean as you said, it`s the craziest thing ever. I mean and
truly be trolling the president and then trolling that, you know, that
hashtag. I mean at some point it seems like Twitter has jumped the shark
when the supreme leader of Iran is doing that and obviously doing that on
the night of the White House correspondents` dinner to get the attention
it`s getting, was quite remarkable. I was just stunned by it.

KORNACKI: It makes me wonder, if it says something about the status, I
mean this is where we are supposed to be putting this final framework
together, the administration and Iran. You`ve got a reporter being held
captive, you`ve got the supreme leader doing this. It makes you wonder,
what`s going on there?

MANGU-WARD: I kind of think this is like a testimony to the power of
Twitter. I think it`s, you know, a lot of times these negotiations are
super-formalized, are super-ritualized, and the idea that we would also
have this additional channel where, you know, you can just kind of poke
somebody during their party is, I actually think it`s great. I think it`s
more information and not just for the people in the negotiations, but also
for those of us watching from outside saying, you know, is this serious?
Is this going to happen? What`s really going on?

KORNACKI: Yeah. Let`s see what else we have in the news today. How about
this - This is from "The Guardian. Headline "Michigan Governor Rick Snyder
could be next Republican to enter 2016 race. This is something that has
come - absolutely out of nowhere, former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman
telling reporters that Sheldon Adelson went in Las Vegas yesterday. He
said, I met with Rick Snyder yesterday. He`s running. And Snyder was out
there also at that event in Las Vegas for the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Ari Fleischer, however, who was also with Snyder this weekend, disputed
Coleman`s claim that Snyder is definitely running. Again, I mean we always
talk about how crowded this field is we think we`ve mentioned every name
it`s out there. Now, the governor of Michigan apparently interested in
this?

PERRY BACON JR., NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You had on Friday,
John Kasich very much leading in a speech in D.C. saying if I look at it in
a sense that I can win, I`m going to get in on this thing. And he was very
- he`s the most qualified candidate, he said, three or four times in the
same speech. And yes, Snyder on Saturday saying, he`s thinking about
getting in. It tells me that we have a Midwestern governor who we thought
had a lot of buzz before. It does tell me that Kasich and Snyder maybe
think - Scott Walker is maybe a little vulnerable, and maybe therefore,
they can become the kind of electable governor for the Midwest. I`m not
sure they are right about that. But I think this was happening. They see
an opening. Jeb Bush`s last name is Bush. There is a bunch of senators.
The one real governor, it seems like he is not quite knowledgeable policy,
he`s not showing the seriousness right now. So, I don`t see Kasich or
Snyder catching on. Snyder expanded Medicaid, that`s not going to be
helpful in the Republican primary, just like Kasich, but that`s what I
think is what`s happening here.

KORNACKI: Yeah, I know, and I mean I read this, too. We were talking
about it in the last segment with Chuck, but just the idea of Republicans
are not intimidated.

WOODHOUSE: Right.

KORNACKI: By Jeb Bush. It`s not - I`m not getting out of the way.
Actually, why not?

WOODHOUSE: I think this is really a testament that they involve, wrote
this morning, is that people do not fear Jeb Bush. Now, look, like Chuck
said, let`s see what this super-PAC actually reports. Plus, remember, a
lot of these other candidates, Cruz has got the backing of wealthy donors
for a super-PAC. It looks like Rubio might have the backing of Sheldon
Adelson for his campaign and for a super-PAC. So, you know, it`s not -
saying, heck, there might be somebody ...

KORNACKI: There might be billionaire.

WOODHOUSE: There might be billionaire - in the back here, too.

MANGU-WARD: And I like the idea that actually at this stage in the game,
you know, we should be having all cameras on the table like, I don`t think
Rick Snyder is probably going to win, but the idea that instead of having
this kind of foregone conclusion where we have a huge chunk of money behind
one person, and they are just going to sweep the victory, yeah, like
everybody get in there, fight it out. Let`s see what you can get.

KORNACKI: Here is what I want to know, though. The first debate is
looming for I think August 15 out in Cleveland. If you`ve got 15
candidates.

MANGU-WARD: It should be tournament style.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: I love that idea

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MANGU-WARD: May madness.

KORNACKI: For the (INAUDIBLE) Santorum.

MANGU-WARD: I think so.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: That`s not bad. Many debates. There you go. That`s not bad.
We`ve got a couple of months to figure out and finally let`s finish with
this. Some video you may have already seen this. If you haven`t you have
to. It is amazing. LeBron James making a full court shot. Look at this.
94 feet. Nothing, but - I can`t believe this. This guy could be a
quarterback with an arm like that. That`s King James. He is doing that.
It looks like in Boston. Cavs, of course, preparing today for game four
against the Boston Celtics. They lead that series 3-0. They could get -
move on to the second route. But year, watch that a couple of more times
and ...

BACON: He`s not 35. He can`t get in the primary. Otherwise ...

KORNACKI: Yeah, exactly.

WOODHOUSE: Of course, the joke is that Cleveland does need a quarterback.
The Cleveland Browns, they ...

KORNACKI: And there it is.

WOODHOUSE: So, there you go.

KORNACKI: Sign LeBron up. I`m sure the Cavs will be happy to have him
taking -risking his health like that.

Anyway, still ahead, could the Democrats keep the White House and retake
the Senate in 2016. So, it`s actually very possible we are going to show
you how, but first, powerful aftershocks this morning in Nepal after
yesterday`s massive earthquake. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: The new 6.7 magnitude aftershock again shaking the country of
Nepal this morning, the strong as another major earthquake that aftershock,
and right on the heels of yesterday`s massive tremors. Now, the death toll
is steadily rising. There are over 2,000 feared dead at this point.
Thousands more injured. New video this morning from the base camp of Mount
Everest shows the fear and the panic in the immediate aftermath of an
avalanche caused by the earthquake. At least 17 climbers were killed on
Everest yesterday. All of them were at the base camp. It is peak climbing
season there. NBC`s Richard Engel arriving on the ground in Nepal just
moments ago and describing the atmosphere as quiet devastation punctuated
by moments of noise and fear. Aid efforts on the ground are only just
beginning. We are going to keep you updated on the latest from Nepal as
more details become available. Lots more news and politics ahead as we
continue this morning, including up next, the unexpected visitor we ran
into when we went to the house barber shop.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R ) TEXAS: Just try to keep the hair out of my eyes and
look half way respectable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: So as I`ve been saying, we are in Washington this weekend and
the way politics has gotten, if you put a Democrat and a Republican in the
same room in this city, chances are one of two things are going to happen.
One they will ignore each other and they`ll pretend the other one isn`t
there or they will start arguing and fighting with each other. But just
hanging out, t hanging out - talking, laughing, sharing stories. Well,
that used to happen in Washington. But not so much anymore. Except, I
found out, in one place, the barber shop in the basement of a house office
building. It is one of the few remaining places in Washington where
Republicans and Democrats still spend real time together. And it is an
institution here in Washington, too, as is the Italian immigrant barber who
has worked there for nearly half a century. I was on Capitol Hill the
other day and one of the shop`s favorite customers Congressman Bill
Pascrell of New Jersey, gave me a tour. But you`re not - you`re going to
want to pay close attention here, because you are not going to believe who
we also ran into while we were there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. BILL PASCRELL (D) NEW JERSEY: How many years now?

JOE QUATTRONE, HOUSE BARBER: 45 years.

PASCRELL: Only for ....

QUATTRONE: Two months and six hours.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Is this your favorite customer?

QUATTRONE: One of them.

(LAUGHTER)

QUATTRONE: They all seem to come together.

KORNACKI: We say that two parties never talk to each other anymore, but
I`m looking at the pictures here and get, they all seem to come together.

QUATTRONE: They talk here.

PASCRELL: We come here, we`ll sit over here and we`ll argue and argue.

QUATTRONE: If we had more places like this on the hill, on the campus.
The place should be a lot better, you know, place to be so people can
exchange thoughts without having to script it.

CRUZ: It`s interesting. I started coming to the House barber shop when
the government was shut down. Yet the House barber shop is private, and so
they were still open. The Senate barber shop was closed down as part of
the federal government. And so, I crossed over here to get a haircut
during this shutdown. And Sheldon does such a good job that I kept coming
afterwards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally we had a quartet.

PASCRELL: That`s a quickly job, because I had to get back.

QUATTRONE: All right.

Hey, how are you? Former congressman.

(LAUGHTER)

PASCRELL: You know, you ...

FMR. REP. RON KLINK (D) PENNSYLVANIA: No, I never got it.

PASCRELL: What`s your name again?

QUATTRONE: I love you.

PASCRELL: I got to go - I got to run back to the hearing. The trade
hearing. I got all of my amendments coming up. Thank you.

KORNACKI: You have been here 45 years. What are the changes you have
seen?

QUATTRONE: Before they used to discuss, they used to have a coffee. And
the time that they - they used to work together. I`m just an old barber.
Came from another country. The greatest job. I live the American dream.
And I am here with the people that control the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: All right. And still ahead, my interview with independent
Senator Angus King from Maine on who he will caucus with after the next
election, but next, if the Democrats will even need him. How the race for
the Senate is shaping up in 2016. And Democrats probably will need him.
And as we go to the break, here is another bit from last night`s White
House correspondents` dinner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Just this week, Michelle Bachmann actually predicted that I would
bring about the biblical end of days.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Now that`s a legacy.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just hope Marco gets comfortable in front of the
camera, before he has to go on TV to endorse Jeb.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: It`s all the attention on the presidential race. It`s easy to
forget about the other races in 2016 like this Senate seat that Marco Rubio
was giving up in Florida. Democrats are hoping to forget about their nine
seat loss and last year with a wave election of their own in 2016. And if
you look at the map, the Senate map for 2016, Democrats actually have a
pretty good chance at least on paper. You can see it right there.
Democrats are only defending ten seats, the Republicans, meanwhile, have to
hold on to two dozen. Republicans are in danger of losing seats because of
cases like Rubio in Florida. He`s forgoing a reelection bid for his seat
in order to run for president, creating an open election where Democrats
will have a real chance.

Also take a look at a state like Wisconsin that`s where former Democratic
Senator Russ Feingold who lost his seat in the 2010 Republican wave, is
already pulling ahead of Republican Senator Ron Johnson who beat him in
2010. Although, of course, this is an early stage. Now, to win back the
majority, Democrats are going to need a gain of five seats next year, so
can they do it? Well, let`s take an early tour of the Senate battleground
with our favorite expert on elections and maps and numbers, Nate Cohn who
writes at the "Op-Shop" for "The New York Times." Nate, thanks for joining
us this morning.

So, let`s take a look at this map. Put it back up on the screen here. The
big picture is a lot more turf for Republicans to be defending in 2016 than
for Democrats. But what I look at in particular are the states. These are
states that President Obama carried in 2012. We`d call them blue states,
but they have Republicans who are going to be running for reelection or to
held by Republicans right now. So, you`re talking about states like
Illinois, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin. It looks like there is a
lot more opportunities on this map for Democrats.

NATE COHN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Sure, a lot of opportunities for Democrats.
I think there are probably six seats that will - competitive, that were
carried by President Obama. But, you know, there`s another way to look at
that list. And that`s - those are presidential battleground states. To go
for the Democrats. I think that only Illinois is like a strongly blue
state of this action. And to compare to just the last midterm election,
the Republicans had a ton of options in deep red states. They started with
South Dakota, with West Virginia, with Montana, and they had these really
great options in states like Arkansas and Louisiana, and Alaska. And only
Illinois is akin to those states. So, I think it`s going to be - I think
it would be tough for them to pull off.

KORNACKI: So, you ...

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Hillary Clinton has got to win all of these states?

COHN: I think if Hillary Clinton wins the election cleanly, it`s fair to
wonder can Pat Toomey carry Pennsylvania if Hillary wins Pennsylvania by
six. Ron Johnson is an exception. I think he is a weak enough candidate,
Russ - good enough. It`s very easy for me to imagine him loosing
reelection, you mean, if Hillary Clinton loses the general election. But
generally speaking, I think that in a lot of these states, unless the
Democrats have excellent recruits, that - that they need the national
environment stage.

KORNACKI: How are they looking? For we say, in Wisconsin we`ve got this
rematch looming. If Johnson even goes ahead and runs, they`ve got this
rematch looming.

COHN: It was Feingold

KORNACKI: Right. And Feingold looking strong early on. In Ohio, the
former governor Ted Strickland, he`s going to ...

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Like the oldest freshman senator. 75 years old, or something.
But there`s a good recruits of overall, how the Democrats do ...

COHN: I think they are doing better than I thought they would. I think
Ted Strickland is - I didn`t expect him to get - Patrick Murphy is a good
get in Florida. And there are a surprising number of prominent Florida
Republicans who`ve declined to run for that seat. If they can get Maggie
Hassan in New Hampshire, if they get Kay Hagan back in North Carolina, if
Russ Feingold ultimately runs in Wisconsin I think they have good
candidates in all of their option - in all of the most important states. I
think that (INAUDIBLE), is, you know, a fine candidate from Illinois. I
don`t think that she`s an exceptional candidate, but given the state, I
think that`s good enough. I think Pennsylvania is probably of the most
important battlegrounds, the one that the Democrats are struggling to find
a good ...

KORNACKI: So we have right now, Joe Sestak, a new candidate in 2010 is,
and the ...

COHN: They don`t want him to fall. And they just have no alternatives. I
mean I was reading that the Allentown mayor was an option with the
Democratic establishment, now I`m trying to get behind. He`s no name
recognition of - support. So, I don`t know. I think that in the end they
might just have to close up their noses and deal with the ...

KORNACKI: And do it again. Where are there - you see Democratic
vulnerabilities here. They are not defending that much turf.

COHN: Yeah.

KORNACKI: But you see vulnerabilities out there.

COHN: Yeah, I mean Nevada and Colorado are going be competitive. But I
think that Nevada, which is an open state, is a state with applicant
recruit as well with Catherine Cortez - who was the former attorney
general. I think that Bennett is going to be fine in Colorado. The
Republicans still have a deep bench there. And he won reelection last
time, after all.

KORNACKI: And here`s - we talk about taking -- there`s the long view and
there`s the ridiculously long view. But I do want to mention this because
of this - it`s so interesting control of the Senate depends so heavily on
which Senate states are up in any given election. So, we talk about 2016
and suddenly here is a great opportunity for Democrats to take back the
Senate. Like 2014 was a great opportunity for Republicans. Well, if you
play this out and you say, OK, the Democrats, let`s say to get it done in
2016. They have a one or two seat Senate majority. Just take a look at
this, folks, because we can already show you in 2018 this is what it`s
going look like. These are the seats that are up. And in 2018, look at
this. The Democrats will be defending 25 seats, and the Republicans just
eight. And I know we don`t know what the climate`s going be like in 2018,
but just on paper, that`s the recipe for a disaster.

COHN: And the Democrats could lose a lot of seats in 2018 if Hillary
Clinton wins the presidency. I mean I just can`t see Claire McCaskill or
Heidi Heitkamp pulling on. Indiana will be tough. And then there are a
bunch of presidential battlegrounds, too, that they could lose, and we saw
the Democrats lose a lot of presidential battlegrounds in 2010 and 2014.
What I look over the longer term, though, I think that the Senate is
naturally a place for the Republicans who have an advantage. The Democrats
win a lot of electoral votes at the states like California and New York
that don`t get rewarded - quickly in the Senate. President Obama, I think,
only won 25 states in 2012 when he won comfortably. Kerry, I think, only
won 19 when he lost by 2.5 points. So I think the country is somewhere
between those things. Over the longer term, you would expect Republicans
to have an advantage.

KORNACKI: Yes. I mean that just gets to that sort of that - that sorting
out of American politics where the Democratic voters increasingly live in
those really tight metropolitan areas and landmass, controlled by
Republicans. And the Senate favors landmass over population. So long term
Democrats are going to have to keep defying gravity or lose the Senate.
Anyway, Nate Cohn of "The New York Times," always - If you have any
questions about who is going to win in election, what to look for in terms
of the numbers. Thanks for joining us. They really appreciate that. And
there is much more ahead in our next hour including my interview with
Maine`s Independent Senator Angus King. We ask him about what it is like
to be the man in the middle. He is the key swing vote. Now, this at a
time when it looks like the Senate may be - may be starting to get a few
things done.

Also, once again, the president making him laugh last night at the White
House correspondents` dinner. Here`s a taste of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Being president is never easy. I still have to fix a broken
immigration system, issue veto threats, negotiate with Iran, all along
finding time to pray five times a day.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After six years in office your approval rating is at
48 percent. Not only that, your gray hair is at 85 percent.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: What`s been making the president gray lately?

All right. And thanks for staying with us this Sunday morning. Live in
Washington D.C., our nation`s capital as we continue our coverage of the
people who work and occasionally as they did last night, party here.
Another full hour of news and politics still to come including the new
details that are trickling in this morning about that massive earthquake
yesterday in Nepal. Much more on that ahead, plus Senator Angus King from
Maine. He`s the man in the middle in Washington, and he likes it that way.
The independent from Maine hit the pavement with me. I tried to pepper him
with some questions about drones, about Elizabeth Warren, about Loretta
Lynch, and much, much more. We will play all of that for you in a minute.

Also, the Sheldon Adelson primary. The casino billionaire who is having an
outsized influence on the Republican presidential field. The best
political reporter in the state of Nevada, the foremost expert on all
things Sheldon Adelson will be along to tell us what the candidates have
been doing in Vegas this weekend to try to win Adelson`s vote. And his
money.

Also, Congressman John Lewis looking to the future and the past, a series
of graphic novels that tell us where our country has been on civil rights
and how much farther we need to go. He will be here on set to talk about
that. Plus, we will be hitting the red carpet for last night`s White House
correspondents` dinner. But we are in Washington. We begin this hour here
in Washington on the Senate side of Capitol Hill. We know all about the
gridlock that`s paralyzed Congress, but right now, there actually are some
signs, some very tentative signs, but some signs nonetheless, that things
are starting to get done. Loretta Lynch is going to be sworn in tomorrow
as the next attorney general of the United States. The Senate also finally
confirming her just before the weekend, this after passing a contentious
human trafficking bill that had stalled her nomination. All of this coming
five months after President Obama first nominated Lynch for the job. Also
the Senate this week poised to approve a compromise bill on Iran. A bill
that would give Congress a say over any final nuclear deal struck by the
Obama administration with Tehran. This is a win for Republican Bob Corker,
who had been leading the charge on that front.

Also on the agenda right now, hot on the agenda, all of a sudden, a trade
deal that is pitting Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts against the
White House, with some seated rhetoric between those sides. In the Senate,
of course, little happens these days unless there are 60 votes to make it
happen. That is how routine the filibuster has become. And reaching that
threshold of 60 votes requires a coalition, one that is usually built with
the support of key moderate swing votes in the center, and one of those
moderates is Senator Angus King. He`s an independent from Maine. He`s
also a former governor of that state. When we traveled down here to
Washington this week, I knew I wanted to talk to Senator King about what is
it like to be that crucial swing vote. When things get done in the Senate,
it is because you were able to convince somebody like Angus King that he
should be going along with you. I met Senator King outside his office on
Thursday, here in Washington. Let`s take a listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. ANGUS KING, I-MAINE: The first thing is that everybody is sick about
families and the way this happened. I think the important thing is, though
that you have got to say -- you have got to say okay, what do we gain from
this program versus what are the risks, and clearly this is one of the
risks. On the other hand, this program has been extremely effective in
degrading the leadership of core al Qaeda. And it has done so in a way
that has really minimized excess damage, if you will. This program is very
heavily looked at. We get monthly briefings. We have seen it. We have
been to the places where it`s done. We have seen how it`s done and we`ve
seen the satellite feeds. That doesn`t mean it`s perfect oversight. But
it`s not a case where our government is doing something that Congress does
not know about or is being kept from us. And the real question is, okay,
this happened. It was terrible. Is it worth reviewing and saying we`re
not going to do this at all, and therefore take away a very potent weapon
that, by the way, we`re fighting against people that want to kill us.
These guys killed 3,000 people on September 11, and if they could have,
they would have killed 3 million. It`s not so easy to say oh well, we just
don`t want to do this because something bad might happen.

KORNACKI: A lot of news this week about President Obama, Elizabeth Warren
and opponents in general of the fast track on the TPP, and the president
basically coming out with Chris Matthews in fact, on our network this week,
and saying Elizabeth Warren, he respects her but she`s wrong on this.
Warren fired back last night and she basically said.

KING: No, he`s wrong.

KORNACKI: Right. Where do you come down on that dispute?

KING: I`m leaning more towards the Elizabeth Warren side on this one. I`m
skeptical of fast track, in part because we don`t know what`s in the
agreement. I don`t understand voting for something that fast tracks a very
complex deal that nobody knows what`s in it. My problem is, how do I go to
a company in Maine and say, you have got to compete against a company in
Vietnam and by the way, they don`t have to comply with OSHA, the fair labor
standards act, the environmental protection laws, the clean air act, and
they pay their people 60 cents an hour, but you have to compete against
them head to head.

I don`t know how I can do that with a straight face.

KORNACKI: NAFTA, it`s been 20 years. Seems like that is really shaping a
lot of people`s attitudes right now towards this. You look at NAFTA and
say that was a mistake?

KING: I look at NAFTA and say it certainly didn`t live up to the -- what
the proponents said was going to happen. On the other hand, I don`t think
it was as disastrous as Ross Perot said it was going to be. So I think
it`s sort of a mixed result, but I think it is something that we have to
look at. We`ve been doing these free trade agreements now for 20, 30
years, and I think it`s fair in this debate that`s coming up to ask the
question how they worked. I`m not ready to say today I`m going to vote
against fast track or I`m going to vote against the TPP. I am willing to
listen and -- but my analysis is going be what`s in it for the U.S. And
what`s in it for American workers and American businesses, and try to make
my assessment based on that.

KORNACKI: You have been here a couple of years now. You were elected back
in 2012, and you have the most unique perch of anybody really in
Washington. You are a true independent, you caucus with the Democrats.
Yes, I`m curious. Life in the Senate, first couple of years you were here,
the Democrats were in it. Now Mitch McConnell and the Republicans run it.
Anything different?

KING: I don`t think there`s a lot different. Here`s the key thing, Steve.
I said this to somebody the other day at home. Everybody down here thinks
they`re in charge and nobody`s in charge. In the sense that it still takes
60 votes, it still takes bipartisanship to get anything done, and yet quite
often people say, you know, by golly, we`re right and our people are with
us. It doesn`t matter. If you don`t get to 60 votes, the way the Senate
rules work, you`re not going to get anywhere. So we saw this week, the
Republicans had this sex trafficking bill, it was really a bipartisan bill.
But there was this Hyde amendment abortion language in it that was
unacceptable to the Democratic caucus, and everything screeched to a halt
until they worked it out. They had to work it out.

KORNACKI: And the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be attorney general got
caught as well.

KING: That was sort of inadvertent. I suspect, and I don`t want to put
words in Mitch McConnell`s mouth, but I suspect he sort of wishes that
hadn`t happened. Nobody expected the sex trafficking bill to take a month.
It was supposed to take a week or so. He said let`s get to Lynch next.
And then it kept getting dragged out.

KORNACKI: One thing I have heard from a few Republicans and we have talked
about the holdup on the Lynch nomination was basically that, you know,
well, if you don`t like what Mitch McConnell is doing right now, Harry Reid
did the same thing with blocking nominations for George W. Bush. So is
there a payback culture here, that Republicans have control now and they
want to do what they feel was done to them?

KING: To some extent, yes. And I think that is unfortunate. And that`s,
as an independent coming in from the outside, my feeling is that it`s like
the Hatfields and the McCoys. Somebody has got to say that we will quit
doing this. And I`m hoping. Mitch is a man of the Senate. He`s a
partisan for sure. He`s got his strong beliefs on coal and other issues,
but I am hoping that he wants to see it work again. And I think we`re in a
period now, and we will know the answer to this in a couple of months.
Let`s see how it goes. I`m rooting for it to happen.

KORNACKI: Which do you like better? Being a governor or a senator?

KING: That`s a really good question. One of my colleagues, I said, you
know, I`m a former governor, what do you think? He said look, what I have
found is if you have a former governor who is now a senator and you ask him
which job they like better and they say senator, they will lie to you about
other things.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: We actually formed a former governors caucus. There are 10 or 11 of
us, both parties, myself. It`s true. Being a governor is more satisfying
in the sense of being able to get things done, set the agenda, set
priorities, and get things done. But you can`t do things by yourself. You
still have got to have a legislature. Down here it`s much more
frustrating, because it`s slower and more, you know, just a more cumbersome
process, as the framers decided or intended. But on the other hand, you`re
dealing with issues at the highest level, Steve.

KORNACKI: The presidential race is starting to heat up now. Hillary
Clinton, got in, a bunch of Republicans have gotten in. A bunch of your
colleagues, or several at least, in the Senate, running.

KING: We have Cruz, Rubio, but now Rand Paul.

KORNACKI: Rand Paul is in.

KING: Lindsey Graham is flirting with it.

KORNACKI: Ted Cruz is an interesting one because he is seen as such - he
is the Republican base personified, a lot of people say. Do you have any
contact with him? What`s your take on him?

KING: I know him fairly well. We came in together. I have had him for
dinner at my house, so I have these little rib joint dinners periodically
with four or five senators. I have had I think between 30 and 35 senators
so far. It`s my effort to try to break through some of the demonization so
people get to know each other. Somebody said, who have you had? I said,
well, to short circuit it, I have had everybody from Ted Cruz to Chuck
Schumer.

KORNACKI: Who has surprised you? Any of them, wow, this guy or this woman
is nothing like I expected?

KING: Well, I -- surprise isn`t the right word. But I think one of my big
realizations is, these are regular people. These are almost all people
that come from middle class backgrounds, just like you and I, and suddenly
they`re here in the U.S. Senate. And one of my favorite hour of the week
here is the bipartisan Wednesday morning prayer breakfast, and the reason I
really like it is number one, it`s a quiet moment to get your bearings.
Secondly, it is the only bipartisan event of the week. It is the only
opportunity, other than in hearings, where you`re sort of at each other, to
learn about each other. And the third reason is, and this gets to Ted
Cruz. The third reason is, every week a different senator speaks. And
there is no staff, no press, and it`s almost always autobiographical, and
it`s fascinating to learn about these people`s backgrounds, things that you
absolutely didn`t know.

KORNACKI: Let me just, we have one more question for you here. Let me
finish with this one. You are an independent, you`ve endorsed Democrats
and Republicans before. You have endorsed President Obama before. Would
you like Hillary Clinton to succeed? She wants to, do you think she`d be a
good president?

KING: You know, I`m the only guy in Washington who can get away with not
answering that question. I`m an independent. I will let the parties make
their decisions about who the candidates are. We will see when the time
comes.

KORNACKI: OK. I lied. I have one more question for you. January 2017,
new Senate comes in. How confident are you that you will still be
caucusing with the Democrats?

KING: I think reasonably confident at this point. I went both ways on a
variety of issues, because I call them as I see them. I have never met
anybody yet that has a monopoly on the truth. And it`s true, I vote more
often with the Democrats and with President Obama, but there are times when
I differed with them. And that`s you know, I think that`s the way it ought
to be.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KORNACKI: By the way I`m not sure if you can tell, it was a very windy and
chilly day in Washington. Unexpectedly, we came down expecting it to be
spring in D.C. Got a little taste of some Maine weather that day instead
with Senator King. Thanks to the senator for that interview.

Up next, Republican presidential hopefuls playing the odds in Vegas, and
later, Congressman John Lewis will be stopping by to discuss the lessons of
the civil rights movement in comic book form.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Soon the first presidential contest will take place, and I for one
cannot wait to see who the Koch brothers pick. It`s exciting. And look, I
know I`ve raised a lot of money too, but in all fairness, my middle name is
Hussein. What`s their excuse?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: President Obama was joking about the Koch brothers and himself
at last night`s White House correspondents dinner. Some other big money
donors have been headlining Las Vegas this weekend. Casino billionaire
Sheldon Adelson and a group called the Republican Jewish Coalition playing
host to former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and other
Republican luminaries. Some of them considering runs for the presidency.
Number one topic on everyone`s minds at the event, Israel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. MIKE PENCE, R-IND.: We must stand without apology for our most
cherished ally, the Jewish state of Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: President Obama`s potential nuclear deal with Iran has
galvanized Israel`s most hawkish supporters, who believe that deal would
empower Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FORMER GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: It is a dangerous deal and for the sake
of peace in the Middle East, it must be stopped.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Ted Cruz at the same even boasted that he called for John
Kerry`s resignation last year, after the Secretary of State warned that
Israel could become an apartheid state if they let the conflict with
Palestinians continue. He even did his best Jay Leno impersonation to
retell a joke the comedian made during a recent trip to Jerusalem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: In his standup, he said so, you know, most popular name for baby
boys in Israel. Noah. Noah. Least popular name. John Kerry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That would be better than my Jay Leno impersonation. I can say
that.

(CROSSTALK)

Jon Ralston knows Nevada politics better than anyone. He hosts a TV show
out there, is a columnist with the Reno Gazette Journal. He joins us now,
plus our panel back with us on set here, Perry Bacon Jr. With NBC News,
Brad Woodhouse at American Bridge, Katherine Mangu-Ward from Reason
magazine.

But Jon, let me start with you. If you can set the scene for us. Sheldon
Adelson is the big name everybody`s been talking to at this event in Vegas
this weekend. Who else was out there? What was this group that these
candidates and these Republican luminaries were out there talking to this
weekend?

JON RALSTON: There are a bunch of very big time Republican Jewish donors.
There are about 700 of them in that room, Steve, to hear those four
speeches. By the way I thought Cruz`s impression was terrible, but I may
be in the minority of that, of Jay Leno. Adelson did not even show up for
the speeches, mostly because he`s the kind of guy who does not want to hear
the pander fests that occur. He wanted to meet one on one with these
folks, and not only did he want to talk to them about Israel, but his other
obsession is banning online gaming, and he was going to ask them some
pointed questions about that.

KORNACKI: To clarify I`m not saying Cruz`s Leno impersonation was good,
I`m just saying it`s better than mine would be. That`s a very low bar.
But Jon, let me ask you, you know Sheldon Adelson, obviously the large role
he plays in presidential politics, Republican presidential politics. There
was reporting this week that maybe Marco Rubio has the inside track to
locking up Sheldon Adelson`s support. What do you make of where Adelson is
looking at this field right now?

RALSTON: From what I understand, Steve, Adelson was going to inform all
the candidates this weekend that he has not yet picked a favorite. I saw
that story about Rubio. Listen, I think that Adelson does like Rubio, from
what I`ve been told. He also likes Scott Walker, but it`s April of 2015.
When he starts unleashing his millions, he`s going to have made a choice.
People, remember the Newt Gingrich money, tens of millions of dollars to
Gingrich, but Adelson never thought that Gingrich would win the presidency.
That`s a long time personal relationship. I think this time he really
wants to pick the winner so he will take his time.

KORNACKI: Does that -- that shift thing you`re saying, picking a winner
versus Gingrich in 2012. Do you have a sense that he looks at somebody
like Ted Cruz and says maybe I agree with him, but not electable?

RALSTON: The Cruz thing is interesting. Cruz was by far the best of the
four speakers. He was extemporaneous, he was funny, he was substantive, he
really had the crowd in the palm of his hand. But what people forget is
Adelson actually tried to beat Cruz in his Senate primary when he ran. So
I am not sure he`s that enamored of Cruz. I think he would probably rather
see either Rubio or one of the governors. I don`t think he`s a Cruz guy.

KORNACKI: Let me bring the panel in here in Washington. We said in the
intro, obviously a big theme here in the speeches, Iran, the deal with
Iran, the pending deal with Iran. Also some reporting emerging, a closed
door session, former President George W. Bush who was out there, this is
reporting from the "New York Times." George W. Bush apparently in this
closed door session saying he is skeptical about lifting sanctions against
Iran right now at a time when the government he believes is caving in. The
Iranian government is ready to cave in. He said he regretted the leverage
the U.S. would lose as a result of lifting the sanctions. That`s
interesting to me, and I know this is a closed door thing, this is
reporting that is leaking out from there. I do think of his father, and
his father was very adamant about not ever criticizing or questioning his
successor`s actions in office, and George W. Bush has generally hewed to
that. Here is a moment where maybe that he`s letting that slip a little
bit.

BACON: I am surprised by the comments and the fact they slipped out. He`s
almost religiously never, compared to Cheney particularly, Cheney
criticizes everything Obama does. President Bush does almost none of it.
His actual view, though, that this Iran deal is not a great idea, is shared
by basically every Republican in the country, and for that matter, many
Democrats. So it`s not that surprising he had that position.

WOODHOUSE: It will be interesting now that his brother is running for
president, whether his views on the Obama administration policies like Iran
and sanctions will slip out a little bit more as he advocates for his
brother. There is no doubt, he wants -- he did also say that the Bush name
is, you know, a difficult thing for, you know, for Jeb Bush, but as long as
he will advocate for him it will be hard to do that and not criticize the
current administration.

KORNACKI: Jon, let me bring you back in. George W. Bush, we don`t hear a
lot from his publicly, certainly about politics anymore, and this was a
closed door event yesterday, but what`s your sense? Do you have any sense
of how he was received? And what else he was saying there yesterday?

RALSTON: I can tell you this about Jeb Bush, the last one of these big
cattle calls, to come and kiss Sheldon Adelson`s ring, Jeb Bush got special
treatment last year. He got a fancy catered dinner with only Bush there
with Adelson in an airplane hangar. I think Adelson likes Bush, I think he
likes his brother, but even a former president is going go there and tell
Adelson what he wants to hear. That is what this event was all about.
Telling Sheldon Adelson what he wants to hear, so most of those candidates
so they will help him help them for George W. Bush, look, my brother is
good on these issues, don`t worry, Sheldon.

KORNACKI: It`s interesting. Of course we had Jeb Bush distancing himself
apparently a bit from James Baker, his father`s secretary of state, a close
family confidant. A lot of people read that as a little bit of a bow to
Sheldon Adelson.

Thank you to political columnist Jon Ralston for getting up very early out
there this morning. Appreciate that, thank you.

And still ahead, why you won`t find any telephones in Hillary Clinton`s new
campaign headquarters. But first, a congressman`s memoir that is not like
any book written by any other politician.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS, D-GA.: You and I are here. We can bear witness to the
distance we have come and the progress we have made in 50 years. We must
use this moment to recommit ourselves to do all we can to finish the work.
There`s still work left to be done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That was Congressman John Lewis in Alabama last month on the
50th anniversary of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, a march
that almost cost young John Lewis his life after police officers beat him
and other marchers. That beating did not stop Lewis from his role as a
leader in the civil rights movement. That is him next to Martin Luther
King in that picture right there. It also did not stop him from going on
to becoming one of the longest serving and most respected members of
Congress. Lewis is now chronicling his life in a trilogy of graphic
novels. Called "March." Book one was an introduction to his life in
general. It came out last year. Became a New York Times best-seller.
Book two is out now, and its purpose, says Lewis, is to show the path he
traveled to make this country a better place. Including bringing to life
the speech Lewis gave at the march on Washington, just before Martin Luther
King took the microphone to deliver his famous I have a dream speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEWIS: We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now.
We are tired. We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We are tired of
seeing our people locked up in jail over and over and over again, and then
you tell us be patient. How long can we be patient? We want our freedom
and we want it now. We do not want to go to jail. But we will go to jail
if this is a price we must pay for law (ph), brotherhood and true peace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Our thanks to our friends at the Rachel Maddow Show for letting
us air that powerful piece of video you just saw there. We are honored
right now to have Congressman John Lewis here with us this morning, and
he`s joined by his co-author and policy adviser, Andrew Aydin.

Welcome to both of you, and I can hold this up for the camera here. This
is book two, the graphic novel series. Congressman, let me just start with
that. There is so much history here, so much history in your life, you`re
such a big part of modern history. What made you say I want to tell a
story through a graphic novel and not a normal memoir?

LEWIS: We felt it was important to make it clear, to make it plain, to get
young people and people not so young to read it. The story of the civil
rights movement, not just the story of my life, but the story of the civil
rights movement is an untold story. Hundreds and thousands and millions of
young people were not even born. They were not even a dream. We want them
to believe that they, too, can help change our country and make our country
a better place and make our world a better place.

KORNACKI: Tell us about the stories here. Book two starts with Obama`s
inauguration and then goes back in time.

LEWIS: Well, to be in Washington and witness the inauguration of the first
African-American president - if someone told me when I was growing up in
rural Alabama preaching to chickens that one day I would be in the Congress
and see an African-American inaugurated as president of the United States,
I would say you`re crazy. You are out of your mind, you don`t know what
you`re talking about. But we had to tell the whole story. Growing up I
saw segregation and racial discrimination, and I didn`t like it. My mother
and my father, my grandparents and great grandparents would tell me, don`t
get in trouble, don`t get in the way. But Martin Luther King Jr. And Rosa
Parks inspired me to get in the way, to get in trouble, what I call good
trouble, necessary trouble. So "March book 2," like book one, trying to
say to young people, you see something that is not right, not fair, not
just, you must speak up. You must move your feet and be prepared to put
your body on the line.

KORNACKI: And Andrew, writing this with the congressman, let me ask you,
what are you able to do in terms of story telling, the congressman mentions
maybe you`re reaching out to a younger audience. What are you able to do
by telling this as a graphic novel instead of a more traditional book?

ANDREW AYDIN, CO-AUTHOR, "MARCH": We`re able to make it plain. You take
these images and you put emotional resonance behind the horror and the
triumph of this part of history that you can`t find in another medium. I
grew up as a comics fan. I came to love the medium. But there were not
characters who were real. Who we could immediately relate to, whose powers
were not found in a radioactive vat, that they were found in their heart
and in their mind. And with this we are able to show how John Lewis and
others transformed America. And you can`t really understand politics today
without understanding the civil rights movement. We used the comic book
medium to reinforce and to show a different side with the images.

KORNACKI: Congressman, 50th anniversary of Selma was a month ago, the
movie "Selma" coming out earlier this year, you have your book right now.
Is there a mass interest in revisiting the civil rights movement right now
and applying some of the lessons to the stories we have right now?
Ferguson, last summer, stories of police violence all over the news these
days. Is there a connection being made between the past and the present?

LEWIS: I think there is a great connection being made between the past and
the present. I have been saying to myself over and over again during the
past few weeks and few months that maybe, just maybe young people and
police officers and those not so young should come together and study the
civil rights movement. Study the philosophy and the discipline of non-
violence. We should have non-violence training. Community relations
training. Get people to respect the dignity and worth of every human
being. It does not make sense in some of our communities to continue to
arrest hundreds and thousands of young people. Something has gone wrong in
our country, and we got to fix it.

KORNACKI: Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, it`s a really fascinating
project. It is a different way of telling history, and it`s interesting,
it appeals maybe to a much broader audience than a more normal thick book
would. So it`s a really interesting project. Congratulations on it and
good luck with it.

And thanks for joining us this morning. Again, co-authors of the graphic
novel "March" and book 2 is out right now, encourage you to pick that up.
Take a look at it. Still ahead this hour on the show, some fun on the red
carpet at last night`s White House correspondents dinner. And next,
celebrities weigh in and go on the record with their picks for 2016. Some
interesting choices to tell you about. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The fact is I feel more loose and relaxed than ever. Those Joe
Biden shoulder massages, they`re like magic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: All right. There`s a lot going on this morning. Let`s get
caught up on some of the other headlines making news. Let`s start with the
Hill newspaper. We`re in Washington, let`s look at a D.C. paper, the Hill.
They are keeping tabs of celebrity endorsements for 2016. And let`s just
tell you about a few of these. Comedian Amy Poehler and basketball legend
Magic Johnson and let`s see, pop star Ariana Grande, and you all just told
me in the break who she is.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: All of them on board with Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton
locking down that crucial Ariana Grande. She is probably more famous than
anybody on this list, but I don`t know anything after 1980. Anyway, on the
other side, a lot of Hillary support from Hollywood, but there are some
celebrities who are voicing support for Republican candidates. Charles
Barkley, NBA hall of famer, said he likes both Chris Christie and Jeb Bush.
Actor Kevin Sorbo of "Hercules" fame said he supports either Bobby Jindal
or Scott Walker, and singer Kid Rock is backing Ben Carson.

MANGU-WARD: Republican celebrity endorsements are always a sad situation.
I liked it for a minute before the show when you thought that Ariana Grande
may be the same person as Arianna Huffington.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MANGU-WARD: This is sort of the weird fact of American politics that
Republicans are like Kid Rock likes us.

WOODHOUSE: Ben Carson is a sure ticket to the finals now.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Perry, have you got anything to add to this?

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Let`s take a look at Buzzfeed. Days before marriage argument,
dozens wait for a seat on the Supreme Court. A line of people has been
forming outside of the Supreme Court here in Washington, started at 6 am on
Friday. That is 100 hours, days ahead of the time that justices will begin
hearing arguments on same-sex marriage bans. That`s going to start this
Tuesday, and Perry, this is a debate over gay marriage, a debate over gay
rights that really could be coming to a head in the next few weeks, the
next few months, these arguments start this week, and the way people seem
to expect this will end is that in all 50 states, gay marriage will be
legal.

BACON: Great for America. We usually line up for basketball tickets. To
line up for something actually important.

(CROSSTALK)

BACON: This could be one of the most prominent decisions we have had in a
long time. The arguments, I suspect, will be really interesting and really
compelling, you know where the judges are already. Thomas and Scalia
probably against the ruling for same-sex marriage, most of the other
justices probably for ruling for some kind of legalization of this. So
this will be a very interesting argument. This could become a cultural
debate that is almost beyond electoral politics. We were talking about
earlier how the Republican candidates are dealing with this. I`ll be
curious about how the Democratic candidates talk about this as well. This
is a big moment.

MANGU-WARD: Worth remembering too, even a cycle ago or two cycles ago, the
Democratic candidates were all against. Who favored gay marriage? Nobody.
Who thinks that marriage is between a man and a woman? Everybody. And
that`s, there is a joking about who is evolving and who is not, but they
all evolved. Quickly.

(CROSSTALK)

BACON: It was a heck of an evolution.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: I want to squeeze this one in. From CNBC. Interesting, Pepsi
to ditch aspartame in Diet Pepsi. You know about this. The sort of
controversial I guess artificial sweetener. A lot of people have been
complaining about this for years, customers have been clamoring to ditch
Aspartame due to rumors that it`s linked to cancer. So Pepsi now is going
to make that switch. I think I`ve had enough diet soda in my lifetime. If
it`s bad for you, I`m already screwed.

BACON: I`m with you there.

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: I`m on the five a day diet. (inaudible). Thanks to Perry Bacon
Jr. With NBC News. Brad Woodhouse from American Bridge. Katherine Mangu-
Ward from "Reason" magazine. And still ahead on the show today, Richard
Engel has arrived in Nepal this morning, and he`s going to tell us about
the devastation that he has seen there so far. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Developing right now, a U.S. government official confirming that
three Americans are among those who died in yesterday`s massive earthquake
in Nepal. There is no word yet on who those three Americans are. NBC`s
Richard Engel arriving on the ground in Nepal just this morning. He filed
this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: This is a city where people are no
longer living inside their homes. Behind me is a park. In every green
space now in Katmandu, on every sidewalk, in the middle of the streets,
people are now sleeping. They have brought their families and they brought
their cooking pots. They are afraid to go back into their homes, let alone
sleep in their homes, because of all the aftershocks. There was a big
aftershock today, 6.7. It happened just as we arrived in the city. We
were still at the airport, and we felt the arrival terminal start shaking.
We were at customs. The customs officials ran away. Then they came back.
And throughout our time, we have only been here for several hours, but
throughout the time we`ve been here, we have noticed that people are being
incredibly calm and incredibly resilient. We haven`t seen many fights or
arguments. People are taking this as it comes.

It`s a similar approach that we`ve seen with foreign tourists who are here.
They also don`t have places to live right now. The hotels that cater to
foreign tourists -- and there aren`t that many of those -- are running in a
state of semi-evacuation. They are allowing the guests, they can`t throw
out the guests, they are allowing the guests to stay in the lobbies, to eat
in the restaurant, to use the bathrooms, but they don`t want people going
up to the rooms. So at night and during the day, people are mostly
sleeping and spending time in the garden, or in the hallways on the lower
floors of the hotel. They don`t want to be up in the rooms in case there
is another aftershock or another major quake.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KORNACKI: Thanks to NBC`s Richard Engel for that report from the ground in
Nepal. Now, what appears to be a long road of recovery is ahead for the
people of Nepal right now, and Sarah Crowe works for UNICEF and spent four
years living and working in Katmandu. She joins me now from New York.
Sarah, you spent years prepping for scenarios like what we`ve seen
transpiring in Nepal over the past 48 hours. You know that country well.
What has been your reaction to what you have seen? What is the most
important thing that can be done right now by people trying to organize
some sort of response to this?

SARAH CROWE, UNICEF: This was really a tragedy waiting to happen. For
years in fact for 80 years they have known that something big like this
would happen. Another huge earthquake. So children were prepared with
whistles and knowing what to do, the earthquake drill. But Katmandu is a
very fragile city. It is a country, Nepal, that has gone through tough
times and conflict and rebuilding again after all that very fragile period.
So the industry is weak, and of course as you have seen, absolutely
devastated. So right now, it`s truly heartbreaking, and we can only be
thankful that children at least were not at school, because then the death
toll could have been much higher. But the relief efforts are starting to
intensify at the moment.

KORNACKI: How equipped is Nepal? You talk about how fragile it was leading
into this, but how equipped is Nepal as a country to deal with the
aftermath of this, the cleanup, the recovery, rebuilding the country?

CROWE: It`s a very poor country. UNICEF has a regional office there for
South Asia. And also a country office. And of course working with these
kind of development issues, huge levels of malnutrition and so on anyway,
and it`s a very vast country, very wide spread over the Himalayas, and very
remote areas, which is going to mean that the operation, the search and
rescue operations now are going to be very difficult for them to reach all
of those people and children particularly who are so vulnerable and so
small and can easily be, you know, hidden under rubble. So this is a very
delicate time right now, and in many ways a much more crucial time, so we
have relief efforts underway working with the government of Nepal. We have
already set up some 15 medical tents. Because as you saw in the report
earlier, it`s not possible to stay indoors. Our staff and of course the
population are staying outside as these tremors continue. And we are
trucking in water, fresh water, clean water. And of course oral
rehydration salt and zinc, because there`s a very high risk now of
outbreaks of disease, particularly for children. So a very fragile time at
the moment.

KORNACKI: Terrifying situation. Sarah Crowe from UNICEF, thank you for
joining us this morning, appreciate that. OK, the red carpet was about
more than just mingling at last night`s White House correspondents dinner.
The news that Donald Trump broke to us about his presidential ambitions is
right on the other side of the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: My advisers asked me, Mr. President, do you have a bucket list? I
said, well, I have something that rhymes with bucket list.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: All morning long we have been playing highlights from the
president`s speech at last night`s White House correspondents` dinner.
There are other highlights. The who`s who of Hollywood and politics and
media. Even had a red carpet at this thing. MSNBC`s Krystal Ball hosted
our coverage of the nerd prom red carpet last night, she joins us now.
Krystal, it`s true, I saw this last night. I actually went to the red
carpet myself.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC: You did.

KORNACKI: Not to be photographed, but people kept handing me their cameras
and saying take a picture of me with so and so. Random people were coming
up to me--

BALL: I was begging you to come over. But you totally snubbed me. It`s
all right. I forgive you.

KORNACKI: You were busy talking to important people.

BALL: Like Donald Trump.

KORNACKI: Great segue. You talked with Donald Trump and you asked him
about running for president. Let`s get a clip. First of all, I`m sorry.
They put it up on the screen. I ran into Donald Trump too. You can see, I
looked a little surprised to encounter him. I will tell you --

BALL: Great photo.

KORNACKI: I never met the guy before, and certainly I said things on the
air that maybe he wouldn`t necessarily like. One thing that I saw
interpersonally, he`s a charmer. I get it. He does this to people in the
media. I think this is probably how he builds his celebrity.

BALL: That was my impression too. I asked him to come over, and he acted
like he was so happy to see me. This is somebody I have never met.

(CROSSTALK)

BALL: That`s kind of you. We started talking. There was actually a great
moment where I asked him first about the time he had been really roasted at
this dinner and what that was like. He told me he wanted to set the record
straight, that everybody said he had a terrible time but actually he loved
it. He loves everybody talking about him and focusing on him, which I can
kind of buy. I asked if he had figured out where the president was born.
And he told me that was the wrong question.

KORNACKI: You also asked him about running for president, and we do have a
clip of that, let`s play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP: The country is doing as you know, very poorly. We are
looking at it seriously. You`ll be finding out pretty soon.

BALL: How soon?

TRUMP: I would say by June, July, something like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Krystal, as my tribute to you, apparently there is a problem
with my microphone. So I have a hand held mic you were using last night.
So turning the tables on you. So you asked him that, and then we actually
have another clip, we`ll go to that as well. You asked if he doesn`t run -
- this is a good question - if he doesn`t run, who would he support. This
is what he said to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I know so many politicians. They are all talk, no action. They
talk, talk, talk. Nothing gets done. I`m not going to say which one. I
will tell you, I`m tired of politicians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: You don`t think he`s really running, do you?

BALL: Of course not.

(LAUGHTER)

BALL: No. He does it every election cycle. (inaudible). It`s a way to
get attention. This time he swears, no, I really, I formed an exploratory
committee. I`m really looking at it, I am thinking hard about it. No way
Donald Trump is running for president.

KORNACKI: Janet Mock (ph) was doing this with you, we should add, and you
guys also ran into Martin O`Malley.

BALL: Right.

KORNACKI: Martin O`Malley saying he may run against Hillary Clinton.
Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN O`MALLEY, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND: People know our economy is
doing better than it was. But no one can really raise their hand and say
they feel like their kids are going to enjoy a better future. And it`s for
a good reason. Wages are actually lower now for most Americans than they
were 12 years ago. People are working harder but falling further behind.
So we need to return to our true selves and in essence, to do things like
raising the minimum wage. Making it easier for people to collectively
bargain. All the things that in our parents and grandparents day made
wages go up and keep pace with productivity. That`s what we need to do
again as a country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: There he is, Krystal. But the challenge Martin O`Malley faces
was underscored by what happened at the dinner. The president himself
making a joke about Martin O`Malley going to his own rallies and not being
recognized.

BALL: Not being recognized. I think it`s a smart thing for Martin
O`Malley to have been there, for exactly that reason, to remind people,
hey, I`m here, I have a message. I have something to say. I could
potentially be an alternative to Hillary Clinton. He did take a couple of
shots in the room. According to Donald Trump, that`s not a bad thing.

KORNACKI: Any publicity is good publicity. We`ll see if it gets him past
1 percent. Thank you to Krystal Ball, my friend, for being here today. I
appreciate it. Thank you at home for getting up. I love talking into this
thing, like I`m at a rally or something. Up next, Melissa Harris-Perry.
Stay tuned.

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