'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, June 7th, 2015
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: June 7, 2015
Guest: Dave Johnson, Jessica Taylor, Robert George, Bill Scher, Jim
Gilmore, Arthur Lien, Dahlia Lithwick
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: The week is over.
All right. Good morning. Thanks for getting up with us this Sunday
morning. What`s turning out to be a busy weekend of news and politics.
America has its first Triple Crown winner in 37 years with American
Pharaoh. A wire to wire victory in the Belmont Stakes yesterday. A moment
a lot of people thought would never come again, but here it is. We`ll have
a lot more on that in just a second. Also ahead, two convicted murderers
tunnel their way out of a prison in upstate New York. It`s an operation
worthy of Hollywood. They`re now on the run. A massive manhunt is
underway near the Canadian border. How did they do it? Details coming up.
Plus, that emotional tribute from President Obama yesterday to his
vice president`s late son, Beau Biden, and what it says about the unusual
bond between Obama and Joe Biden. That is ahead in just a little bit.
We begin this hour with history being made. The end of 37 long years
of frustration and heartbreak. That was how long it had been since a horse
had won the Triple Crown until around 6:45 last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). One eighth of a mile to go.
American Pharoah has got a two length lead. (INAUDIBLE). The 16 pole (ph)
and here it is. The 37 year wait is over. American Pharoah is finally the
one! American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Listen to the roar of that crowd. With that, American
Pharoah becomes just the 12th horse in history to capture all three crown
jewels of horse racing. The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont
Stakes. For American Pharaoh`s trainer, this was a moment of triumph and
one that erased years of painful near misses, in 1997, 1998, 2002, Bob
Baffert arrived at the Belmont Stakes with a chance to claim the Triple
Crown, only for his horse to lose. But now he has a place in history. For
the winning jockey, Victor Espinoza, there is redemption for him too. This
was the third time he had ridden a horse in the Belmont Stakes with a
chance to win the Triple Crown, and now finally he has broken through. At
43, he becomes the oldest jockey in history to win the Triple Crown.
And for all horse racing fans, for all sports fans out there, this was
a special moment last night, a streak that many believe, that many were
starting to believe might never end. The great horse Affirmed won the
Triple Crown all the way back in 1978. But after that, nothing. One horse
after another winning the first two legs, only to choke in the Belmont.
But American Pharoah was in control of this race yesterday from start to
finish. He never trailed. His time is the second fastest ever for the
Belmont Stakes, behind only the legendary Secretariat. And now he will
live in sports immortality. The 12th Triple Crown champion of all time.
Joining me now to talk about it, Dave Johnson, long-time racing
announcer and broadcaster, now the co-host of Sirius XM Radio`s show "Down
the Stretch." Of course that famous call you heard for years, down the
stretch they come, that was Dave Johnson. So excited to have him here on a
morning like us. Thanks for joining us.
Let me start with this. We always talk about all the other factors in
horse racing, it`s luck, it`s a good trip, a bad trip. All of the horses
that have come so close to the Triple Crown, fallen short in the Belmont.
Is it luck that American Pharoah was able to win yesterday, or is he
different and that much better than all of the other horses these last four
DAVE JOHNSON, RACING ANNOUNCER: Oh, he is much better. As a matter
of fact, the key to it though is Bob Baffert. A terrific guy but a
sensational trainer, who knows how to keep his horses together through this
grueling five weeks of the Derby, Preakness and Belmont, and Bob Baffert is
the key to this. Of course it`s the horse who did it. But what a
magnificent finish to the Triple Crown this year as American Pharaoh got it
done, finally, Steve.
KORNACKI: And you say Bob Baffert got it done finally. So you
called? I mean, we were playing this clip yesterday, in 1998, Bob Baffert
came so close to winning the Triple Crown that year with a horse named Real
Quiet. It was a photo finish, this incredible ending, incredible
heartbreak for him. We say he had been there three times before with this
chance, and now finally, all of these years later, he breaks through. What
does that mean to him and his place in the horse racing world?
JOHNSON: He deserved the Triple Crown. He had won of course the
Belmont, the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby with different horses. But
to put it all together, and to -- I think it`s the toughest thing in the
world of sports to win the Triple Crown. He did it. And he did it with a
magnificent animal. American Pharoah is simply sensational.
KORNACKI: But what is it in particular? When you look at American
Pharoah, if you`re looking at this just trying to analyze him as a horse,
what is it that makes him so special?
JOHNSON: First of all, he has the breeding. Secondly, the great
conformation, a beautiful stride, and then he was trained to perfection by
Bob Baffert. And he had some hiccups along the way. He was the 2-year-old
champion last year, but he did not go to the Breeders Cup. So there were
some problems, physically. But Bob was able to get him back and to get him
ready for this grueling three weeks, three different tracks, three
different distances. Three surfaces, and then shipping from one track to
the other, it`s why the Triple Crown has gone vacant for 37 years. It`s a
KORNACKI: And so what happens now? We look in horse racing the
horses are often retired after they have a little bit of success. They
kind of go into the siring business. Is that what we can expect for
American Pharaoh? Or is American Pharoah going to be out there racing some
more? Will we see him some more, do you think?
JOHNSON: The owners have said they want to continue racing him
through this year. So I`m hoping, hopefully he might show up at the
Haskill down at Monmouth Park, or maybe the Travers down in Saratoga. And
I guess possibly the Breeders Cup in the fall. Let`s keep our fingers
crossed. I know Americans want to see the Triple Crown not in a stud barn,
but on the racetrack.
KORNACKI: It was, as we say, 37 years was the gap between yesterday`s
Triple Crown victory by American Pharaoh and the last one before that.
There had been a 25-year gap before just after World War II. There was
also a period in the 70s, Secretariat, Affirmed, you had Seattle Slew, you
had a number, I think three in five years. Do you think we might start one
of those streaks again? Or is it going to be another long 37 years?
JOHNSON: I don`t think it`s going be three in the next decade. But
I`m keeping my fingers crossed. I didn`t think I would ever see another
Triple Crown. I called Secretariat when I was the track announcer at
Belmont Park. So I thought, well, that`s probably the end of this streak,
but here we are. Again, history made yesterday at Big Sandy.
KORNACKI: I got to ask you, as somebody who grew up listening to all
of your calls, on the Triple Crown races, nothing more exciting than those
horses entering the home stretch. And you say, down the stretch they come,
especially in a close race. You`re watching it yesterday, did part of you
wish you were calling the race yesterday?
JOHNSON: Larry Comus (ph) does a great job. I was on my couch
watching it at home. And I did give it a down the stretch they come, but
it was just for myself, Steve.
KORNACKI: I wish I could have heard that one.
Dave Johnson, legendary horse racing announcer, thank you so much for
JOHNSON: Thanks, Steve, good to be here.
KORNACKI: I appreciate it.
Let`s turn now to that powerful speech that President Obama delivered
yesterday eulogizing the son of Vice President Joe Biden, with the
president speaking of a deep personal bond that he`s come to share with
Biden. The funeral for Beau Biden at a church in Wilmington, Delaware,
providing new insight into just how close the relationship between Obama
and Biden has grown and strengthened over time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: He made you want to be a better
person. Isn`t that finally the measure of a man? The way he lives, how he
treats others. No matter what life may throw at him.
We do not know how long we got here. We don`t know when fate will
intervene. We cannot discern God`s plan. What we do know is that with
every minute that we`ve got, we can live our lives in a way that takes
nothing for granted. We can love deeply. We can help people who need
help. We can teach our children what matters and pass on empathy and
compassion and selflessness. We can teach them to have broad shoulders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: One of the few times we have ever seen Barack Obama visibly
struggle to maintain his composure. Aides say the president wrote those
comments himself in the weeks leading up to yesterday`s funeral. The words
he chose, the emotion with which he expressed them illustrating just how
close the running mates have grown since Obama picked Obama (sic) to join
his ticket back in 2008.
That`s not to say they haven`t had a few differences in those
intervening years, most notably when Vice President Biden seemed to force
Obama`s hand on the issue of same-sex marriage back in 2012 by announcing
his own personal support for it on "Meet the Press." After Biden did that,
several top Obama advisers reportedly wanted the president to come down
hard on Biden for getting out ahead of them on a sensitive issue, but Obama
reportedly refused that, and yesterday Obama went so far as to call himself
an honorary member of the Biden family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Michelle and I and Sasha and Malia, we have become part of the
Biden clan. We`re honorary members now. And the Biden family rule
applies. We`re always here for you. We always will be. My word as a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Let`s welcome this morning`s panel.
With have with us, Bill Scher, senior writer with the Campaign for
America`s Future. Jessica Taylor, digital political reporter with NPR, and
Robert George, editorial writer with the New York Post. Excuse me, the
local one. So we`re sitting here watching this live yesterday. The
funeral in Delaware. And we talked about it on the air yesterday, and as I
think about it, it still strikes me, the relationship between this
president and vice president. I`m looking back and I can`t think of a
parallel, of a situation like this that could have happened in the past,
where a president would express that kind of bond with his vice president.
Usually these are shotgun marriages, these are arranged marriages. They
are dysfunctional so many times. LBJ, the most miserable years of his life
would be as John F. Kennedy`s vice president, but not in this case.
JESSICA TAYLOR, NPR: You can tell that they really appreciate each
other and respect each other. When a tragedy like this happens, I mean,
you look back at Joe Biden`s life, and it`s hard not to just feel -- your
heartbreaks for the man. Everything he`s gone through, from losing his
wife and his young daughter, and the health scares he had himself, and then
I mean, no one should have to bury one child, and now he`s had to bury two.
It`s just heartbreaking, and you can just tell, I mean, you saw a lot of
stories running up to this weekend, saying that Vice President Biden asked
him specifically to do this. This is who he wanted to deliver this. To
call himself an honorary member of the Biden clan, this is just a family.
And especially for someone like President Obama, who didn`t have much of a
family structure growing up. I think it really speaks to the fact of how
close they are, but I mean, Biden has always put family first. I think
that President Obama sort of sees that in him, and that`s something that he
missed clearly growing up in his childhood, and the Bidens have welcomed
him into that clan.
KORNACKI: It felt to me too like the president was almost taking a
step back and reflecting on the last ten years of his life, of his journey.
He talked in the eulogy about him and Biden sort of being on this journey,
this amazing journey together. I think that was the term he used, for the
last eight years. I think it`s almost like a death triggered reflection,
obviously. And it seemed like in talking about Beau Biden, in this eulogy,
he was trying to make sense of his own public service, of Joe Biden`s
public service, of the nature of public service.
BILL SCHER, CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA`S FUTURE: Well, you look back and
mentioned LBJ and JFK, but our vice presidential relationships have been
pretty poor. Reagan and Bush were never close. Clinton and Gore got very
strained at the end. Bush, Cheney hit the rocks over the Scooter Libby
situation. It`s an awkward constitutional position that does not lend
itself to a strong bond. And for -- we hate to politically analyze at the
moment of tragedy in -- I`m sure this is how Obama would want people to see
how close their relationship is? But it does make you think is this the
way to have a good vice presidential relationship? Someone who is not
overly ambitious. Someone who has good ties to the Congress, who can fill
in the weaknesses that the president doesn`t have. It`s sad that we are
seeing a window into their relationship, because of this tragedy, but does
it give I think some evidence of how this should be done?
KORNACKI: It`s interesting. The ambition from everything I could
tell is there and has been there. He has run for president before. He
saw, look, I`m the two term vice president. In theory I would like to have
a shot at this. He just got blocked out by Hillary Clinton, like everybody
else pretty much on the Democratic side.
ROBERT GEORGE, NEW YORK POST: That`s exactly right. It is going to
be interesting to see over the next few weeks as to whether this tragedy is
going to cause him to either make a decision to officially decide not to
run or actually to go into it.
I have to agree with what Jessica was saying. It`s the fact that the
two of these men have very problematic family situations that -- the
president of course growing up without a father. Joe Biden having to deal
with this tragedy. That`s -- it caused them in a sense to kind of
compliment each other.
I thought it was interesting, you pointed out that point where Joe
Biden in a sense got ahead of the president on the gay marriage issue.
America is at a point where we`re talking about relationships and families,
and whether, you know, gays should become -- should be allowed to have
marriage and full families. And it`s kind of interesting that these two
men who both defined by very different family experiences have actually
bonded in both personal and political ways.
KORNACKI: And of course the other thing here, Beau Biden who is the
former attorney general of Delaware, who was going to be running for
governor of Delaware next year, he had so much potential in his own right
as a political force, and I think this is somebody that Joe Biden looked at
to carry that torch.
TAYLOR: You had General Odierno who spoke right before President
Obama, and he said he really believed that Beau Biden would be president
one day. He was the heavy favorite to win attorney general. I remember in
2010, everybody was kind of shocked that he didn`t run for his father`s
Senate seat, but he sort of seemed to want to make his own path. He was
still in the military. Still doing (inaudible) as attorney general. There
was so much promise in him. He had certainly his father`s charisma. He
just sort of had that innate ability. You think back to him introducing
his father at the conventions and stuff, too. I think that was another
thing. Like, Beau and Obama are of the same political generation. You can
kind of feel that bond. They are very close in age. I think that`s one
thing, you sort of see the vice president looking at the president as a son
and too -- to have someone with such promise just sort of ripped away so
suddenly is just, it is heartbreaking.
KORNACKI: As you say, on top of all that other tragedy too, no one
should have to go through that in a lifetime.
Still ahead, it`s one of the few times you`re going to see politicians
going hog wild. What you need to know about yesterday`s first annual roast
and ride. You`re looking at the ride portion there. Out in Iowa. But
first a dramatic and developing story in upstate New York. Two convicted
murderers now on the run after escaping from a maximum security prison in a
plot right out of Hollywood. How they were able to fool the guards right
KORNACKI: At this hour, a massive manhunt is underway for two
convicted murderers who escaped from an upstate New York prison. The men
were serving life sentences. They pulled off an elaborate and daring
operation inside New York`s largest prison sometime between Friday night
and yesterday morning. And ever since, they have been on the run. NBC`s
John Yang is live near that prison in Denmore, New York. That`s not far
from the Canadian border. So John, absolute top level security here.
These two guys in adjoining cells somehow managed to get out. Do they know
how they did it?
JOHN YANG, NBC NEWS: It is amazing, Steve, like something out of a
movie. They used clothes stuffed in their bunks to make it look like they
were still there. They cut through steel walls behind their cells. They
were in adjoining cells. And then made their way through essentially steam
tunnels in the prison and came up out of a manhole about two blocks away
from here. Governor Andrew Cuomo came here to the scene yesterday and was
briefed on the escape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, D-NEW YORK: It was elaborate, it was
sophisticated. It encompassed drilling through steel walls and steel
pipes, so this was not easily accomplished.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YANG: The police are warning that these two men are dangerous to the
public. One serving life without the possibility of parole for killing a
sheriff`s deputy. The other serving 25 years to life for beating a
businessman to death and then dismembering him. All sorts of complications
in this search. We`re in the middle of the Adirondaks state park. Deep,
thick forest all around, which could help, could hurt the search. To the
west of here is the Mohawk nation reservation, which has its own
sovereignty, does not -- actually has some friction with local police and
local officials, and 25 miles to the north, the Canadian border. So far
the search still seems to be centered around Denmore. Just a little while
ago, we saw dozens of searchers headed into the woods around here, so the
thought may be that they haven`t gotten very far.
KORNACKI: Wow, an amazing story up there. John Yang, appreciate that
report. Thank you.
Still ahead as we continue the potential candidate for president that
nobody has talked to yet, we will be talking to him in just a bit. But
first, Scott Walker in hog heaven. In Iowa this weekend, and we will tell
you about that next.
KORNACKI: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker pulling away from the pack
both literally and figuratively yesterday. Walker jumping onto a Harley
Davidson to travel with Senator Joni Ernst to her first ever roast and ride
political fund-raising event. Walker was the only presidential candidate
out of seven to attend, who actually joined Ernst on that bike trek over.
Walker wearing a t-shirt and jeans spoke to the Iowa crowd about Joni
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS.: I got to tell you, I love a senator who
knows how to castrate a pig, ride a hog, and cut the pork from Washington,
D.C. Wouldn`t it be nice to get an ally in the White House to help get the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: As the New York Time notes, Walker enjoys a decisive lead
in Iowa, at least early on, thanks to an unflashy style that seems to
resonate with Iowans` Midwestern sensibilities, and an unusual appeal
across wide ideological swaths of Republicans. The latest Des Moines
Register poll, Walker`s favorability rating is 66 percent. That is ahead
of all the other Republicans. Walker at the front of the pack on Saturday,
but will he be able to sustain a lead through the caucuses early next year?
Dave Price is political director and weekend anchor at WHO TV, the NBC
affiliate in Des Moines. He was at the roast and ride event. He joins us
now. Dave, thanks for taking a few minutes. We have seen the early
polling in Iowa. Scott Walker has polled slightly ahead of the rest of the
field. I think the most recent one had him at 17, the next one at 10.
Would you consider him the front runner in Iowa right now?
DAVE PRICE, WHO TV: He might be, but I don`t think there is a capital
f on any front runner term, and I think 2012 probably showed us that. But
he had that one dynamic speech earlier this year at Congressman Steve
King`s event, where a lot of people didn`t really know a lot about him, but
he opened up a lot about himself and some of the things he`s gone through
in Wisconsin. He had a very graphic line about he had received threats
after taking on the unions there in Wisconsin, that he had been threatened
that somebody would gut his wife like a deer, and there were audible gasps
in the room there. That`s really what catapulted him out there. There are
still a lot of people who don`t really know a lot about him, and they want
to make sure that that wasn`t just a one-hit wonder with that speech, but
you can probably say loosely that he`s the front runner right now.
KORNACKI: So this event yesterday, this ride and roast event, a lot
of talk in Iowa about the traditional straw poll, which was going to be
held or supposedly going to be held later this summer. Losing sort of its
clout, and maybe this event with the freshman senator, Joni Ernst, with
that appeal she has to the base of the Republican Party out there, maybe
this event is supplanting that in importance. Was yesterday a really big
deal on the Republican side?
PRICE: I think it probably is. Now if you talk to the Republican
Party, they`re not ready to give up on the straw poll, but the first major
hit was when Jeb Bush said he would not go. Now we know Marco Rubio is not
going, Mike Huckabee is not going. And it`s significant for Mike Huckabee
of course, because of his success in the 2008 cycle. He surprised a lot of
people in the `07 straw poll in Ames, where he just about caught Mitt
Romney, despite Romney spending so much money at the time. So it was a big
blow, and Huckabee said, now everybody is just waiting and waiting and
waiting, will any of these big names take part.
So now you`re really down to Scott Walker in a lot of ways. If he
decides not to do this and he was non-committal again yesterday about this,
if he doesn`t decide to do this, people are left wondering what`s left of
this straw poll. So events like Joni Ernst`s roast and ride are a far
different setting, and people can insert all of their hog puns and all of
that, but, you brought in different people to the mix there. As some of
the observers had noted yesterday, some of these motorcycle enthusiasts are
not necessarily the ones who show up at a pizza ranch, for example. So you
have perhaps a new audience there, and you have seven candidates or six
officials, and with Walker one almost declared, you had those seven people
before 1,500 Iowans. And there wasn`t a straw poll vote, so you could just
get there, give your speech and get that one-on-one time with people. And
these are the types of events now that get magnified if this straw poll is
going to go away or at least be greatly diminished in the future.
KORNACKI: I`m trying to remember the last presidential candidate I
saw riding a motorcycle. The name I`m falling back on is Maury "The Grizz"
Taylor (ph). That`s a trivia question, if anybody remembers that guy. The
wheel magnate from 1996.
PRICE: From Iowa.
KORNACKI: Let me bring the panel in on this, though. One of the
subjects that came up, Kasie Hunt from NBC was out there. She interviewed
Scott Walker, and one of the subjects that came up was Hillary Clinton the
other day went after Scott Walker by name, went after a number of other
Republican candidates by name on this issue of voting rights, saying they
passed these restrictions in their state, hitting them on that. Kasie Hunt
asked Scott Walker out there in Iowa yesterday to respond to Hillary
Clinton. Let me play what Scott Walker said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS: Hillary Clinton came out in support of
universal registration for voting. Would you support having everyone be
automatically registered to vote at age 18?
WALKER: I think that should be set at the state level. Because the
decisions, for example, in our state, we have a photo ID requirement. We
don`t (ph) make it easy to vote or to cheat, and I think that`s a good
example. Where her statements show that she`s firmly out of touch with I
think where mainstream America is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: It was interesting to me there that he went right to the
photo ID requirement. Basically saying, that`s going to prevent fraud,
that`s going to make fair elections. That was the one thing that Hillary
was not really speaking about in her speech the other day. And it seems to
me, when you look at the polling on photo ID for voting, we put it up
yesterday, 77 percent support it, and 20 percent oppose it. So for
Republicans to fight back on this issue, that seems to be the thing they
GEORGE: And the majority even among African Americans who are
supportive of voter ID. So I understand why Hillary Clinton would want to
do this. Because she is going to have to work on the base in a way that --
particularly with African-Americans. She`s going to want to try and
energize that base and keep it -- and keep it up. But I`m still not sure
that this is necessarily going to be a winning issue in terms of the
broader electorate. It works obviously within the Democratic Party, but
I`m not quite sure it will work --
KORNACKI: In terms of playing this out, if it`s Hillary Clinton
versus Scott Walker, if it`s Hillary Clinton versus any of these
Republicans she called that, if she`s talking about these issues against
them and she`s hitting them, I want mandatory early voting or I want
automatic early voting, these popular things that she`s coming out in favor
of, and they come back with, all I`m saying is you should have an ID if you
want to vote. Are they -- does that successfully deflect the issue, from
their point of view?
SCHER: They played voting issues harder in 2012, the Republicans. It
completely backfired. It agitated and angered the African American
community. Their turnout went up. All those attempts at voter suppression
went the other way. There is an RNC autopsy that happened afterwards, but
basically said get over this issue. Let`s get in the game on early voting
and stop trying to suppress. All these candidates are not listening. They
need to add to the Republican base. And the problem with the Iowa caucus,
as Dave Price talked about in his political magazine piece earlier this
week, Iowa is losing relevance, in part because it`s been hijacked by the
far -- it is a purple state, it`s a state that went for Obama twice, but
they are not using their caucus process to figure out how to build on the
conservative base, you`re just pandering to it. And these voting rights
issues are a big problem if they get stuck on that.
KORNACKI: Speaking of the conservative base, Dave, let me bring you
back in on this. It was Joni Ernst. This was her big event yesterday, the
freshman senator out there. Is she planning to endorse in the presidential
race? Who realistically in this race would be an likely Joni Ernst pick?
PRICE: She has said repeatedly that she will not endorse. That`s one
of the things about Iowa`s top officials, Governor Branstad, the long-term
governor here and now the freshman Joni Ernst, they have both said
repeatedly that they have no plans to endorse. It doesn`t stop all of
these candidates from trying to get them to change their mind. And we
watched Marco Rubio yesterday working Joni Ernst`s husband before he went
on stage, but Ernst has said time and time again, she will not pick a
KORNACKI: Thanks to Dave Price, political director, NBC affiliate in
Des Moines, Iowa, appreciate the time this morning. Still ahead, the
political ad that just made history not for what it said but for where it
was placed. But first, is there room for one more in the already crowded
field of Republican White House hopefuls? We will talk to a former
governor who is hoping he might be able to make some room. That is next.
Stay with us.
KORNACKI: While the 2016 election may be more than a year away, the
Republican candidates are facing a potential do or die moment just two
months from now. That`s when the first of a limited number of debates will
take place, and the rules are simple. If you`re not in the top ten in the
average of the national polls, you won`t be on the debate stage. And with
18 candidates now running or thinking about running, that ten candidate
limit has created what the New York Times describes as a "Hunger Games"
type feel. It is especially true for one of the candidates who is still on
the maybe list. Jim Gilmore. Gilmore served as governor of Virginia for
one term from 1998 to 2002. Virginia, remember, is the only state in the
union to limit governors to just one term. He actually tried running for
president before. Back in the 2008 race, he ended his campaign after
struggling to raise money. Instead he ran for the Senate in Virginia that
year, losing soundly to Democrat Mark Warner.
But now Gilmore is exploring a 2016 presidential campaign. He has
been in New Hampshire six times this year, and he calls the response from
Republicans very encouraging. Former governor of Virginia, Jim Gilmore,
joins us now. Thank you for taking a few minutes.
Let me just start with the clock you`re up against here. The
primaries and caucuses don`t start until next February, but if you want to
get in this race and be on that debate stage in August, you have got to
make a move pretty soon. So when are you going to make a decision on this?
JIM GILMORE, FORMER GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA: I`ve been in New Hampshire
quite a bit. I`ve been there already five times this year. I`m going back
next week in order to meet with the people of New Hampshire. I certainly
am considering the race. I think I`m the only possible candidate who has
been to every county in New Hampshire. And what I`m really doing there is
talking about the issues. I think on television, we all focus on the horse
race. I think the debate in August is about the horse race. But, you
know, I`m just not a person who is willing to have my life or the life of
the United States defined by the broadcasters or by the national party. I
think we really got to talk about the issues that are facing this country,
and address those things and say what we want to do for the United States,
not just simply worry about the Belmont Stakes on Saturday and the
presidential campaign on Sunday. This is not a horse race, this is about
the quality of life for the people of the United States.
KORNACKI: I take your point, but the debate is an ultimate forum for
getting your views on the issues out there to the maximum possible
audience. And I`ll press the point, because we have seen in the past how
crucial these debates can be. We saw back in 2012 how Newt Gingrich went
from 10 in South Carolina to 40 and winning it, on the strength of those
debates. I can`t think of anything in politics and presidential politics
that seems to move more voters than debates. So realistically, if you`re
not in that top 10, you`re not getting in that debate, how can you run?
GILMORE: Well, you can run whether you`re on the debate stage or not.
Look, I was on that debate stage in 2008 three times, including the Reagan
Library, and I should be on the stage again this year. And you`re right.
That`s what gives exposure and the ideas that need to come forward. But
the fact is that the American people should not be hemmed in by this. We
have to actually address what is important to the country and not to the
show biz that seems -- that people are getting more and more frustrated
with, I believe. What I think we need to do is to focus on the attention
of getting more Americans working for higher wages and address the
international crisis that`s facing this country, and really ask ourselves
which of these candidates or prospective candidates is best able to address
KORNACKI: So what is the Jim Gilmore pitch, then? As we say, there`s
like 18 possible candidates out there, it seems. You did try running
before. It didn`t go so well. You tried running for the Senate in
Virginia after that, and that didn`t go so well. What is it that Jim
Gilmore is offering Republicans across the country that none of these
GILMORE: I think a calmness and experience. I have been around. I
have been the governor of a major state. I have been around foreign policy
my whole life. I`m a United States Army veteran. I lived overseas with
the Army as an intelligence agent. I have had a degree in foreign policy.
I chaired the national commission on homeland security for the United
States for five years. I was the governor during the 9/11 attack. I
understand the national security and foreign policy direction in which we
must go. That means that we have to have an armed diplomacy. The
weakening of America`s posture in the world is a serious danger in this
country, and it needs to be addressed.
Right now our enemies don`t fear us, our friends don`t trust us, and
you have to have the ability to shape things with an active foreign policy.
Which means that you have to be strong, and you have to be strong
economically. And it`s not just foreign policy strong economically.
People in this country are hurting. This rumor that you`re hearing about
the recovery of the economy is not true. We`re seeing in fact the decline
right now of the growth of GDP. 8.5 million Americans are unemployed,
almost another 7 are underemployed, working part time. We need to have
true investment, tax reform to create investment for more jobs, which will
create better wages, and that`s what we have to have in this country. And
nobody is really talking about these issues, which is why I`m re-
considering getting back into the race. Again, but I`m going to consider
that as we go along, and I`m going to look at New Hampshire and see how
KORNACKI: Do you have a date in your mind when you will have a
GILMORE: No, I don`t think that I have to have a date. I think I
have to listen to the people of New Hampshire. I`d like to get back into
South Carolina and see what people are thinking about that, and consider
this all very, very carefully. But right now, what I`m hearing in New
Hampshire is that people are tired of the baloney that they are seeing on
the air and all of this jockeying back and forth and all of the
grandstanding that is going on, both on the campaign trail and in the halls
of Congress, where there`s serious danger to this country that`s being
debated, or not being debated in a serious way.
Experience, calmness, the ability to deal with these issues in a
responsible way is what I`m hearing the American people want. They`re
tired of this baloney that they are seeing right now, and they want
somebody that can bring some seriousness to the debate, with real
KORNACKI: All right. Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, we look
forward to your decision looking at a run for president. Thank you for
joining us this morning.
GILMORE: Thank you, Steve.
Still ahead, an update on the condition of the Red Sox fan who was
seriously injured when a broken bat came flying her way and hit her Friday
night. But first, President Obama among his peers in Germany this morning
ahead of the G7 summit. Why he says he`s looking forward to more than just
good sausages and beer.
KORNACKI: President Obama is in Germany at this hour for the annual
G7 summit. He flew overnight, arriving in Munich early this morning. The
meeting of the world`s largest economies will cover a range of issues from
helping Iraq`s government combat ISIS to Russia`s aggression against
Ukraine. NBC News senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing is in
Austria, that is just across the border from Germany. She joins us right
now. So Chris, what is the president hoping to get out of this trip?
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: Well, he already got some beer. So a beer
and wurst, which is a tradition in these parts, early this morning already.
But look, this is obviously a spectacular setting for what is some serious
business. You talked about the fight against ISIS. They will be talking
about the Greek debt crisis, and particularly his first meeting this
morning was a one-on-one with the most powerful woman in the world, Angela
Merkel, and she has been sort of the go-between with Vladimir Putin, who as
you`ll recall got kicked out of what used the G8 last year for his
incursion into Ukraine. And so that`s a key part of what they`re going to
be talking about here, but people also watching very closely for the
relationship between the leader of the free world and the most powerful
woman in the world, which has at times been a little bit chilly, given the
spying scandal, which put so much pressure on Merkel, at one point she had
to call Obama. He sent his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, to meet with
his counterpart in Germany to try to smooth over the waters.
But look, they are both very pragmatic leaders who look at what`s on
the table, the number of crises around the world, and are determined to
work together. And the president talked a little bit about that early this
morning. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Part of what gives me hope is the example of Germany. This
year marks 70 years since the end of World War II and decades of a great
NATO alliance. It marks 25 years since the unification of Germany that
inspired the world. The fact that all of us are here together today is
proof that conflicts can end, and great progress is possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: One of the things the president is going to be looking for
is support for extending sanctions against Russia, also Iraqi Prime
Minister Abadi is going to be a special guest here. Don`t expect any
further agreements on that, but the face to face is considered to be very
KORNACKI: All right, Chris Jansing, and you win the award, by the
way, for best backdrop today on the show. That is amazing scenery behind
JANSING: I`m telling you.
KORNACKI: Good luck the rest of the trip, you have a great, great
country to visit.
JANSING: No singing of "Edelweiss" however.
KORNACKI: OK, Chris Jansing, thank you very much. Still ahead,
decision 2015. The two blockbuster decisions that could come from the
Supreme Court anyday now. But next, why you may not be able to find a
cappuccino at the menu at Starbucks anymore. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: All right. There is a lot going on in the world this
morning. Let`s get caught up on some of the headlines with today`s panel.
Let`s take this from NECN, New England Cable News, my old employer. A
woman struck by broken bat during Sox game is expected to survive. This
was an awful story, we told you about it yesterday. Her name is Tonya
Carpenter. She was at the Red Sox game on Friday night. There was a
broken bat that went flying straight into the stands. She at the time
suffered life threatening injuries. Was rushed to the hospital on a
stretcher, but Saturday afternoon, the Red Sox issued a statement reading,
"all of us offer our prayers and our thoughts as we wish her a speedy
recovery," now being told she is expected to survive. It`s one of those --
a freakish accident. I imagine we`ll look at baseball stadiums now and say
how can we prevent this from happening. But wow.
TAYLOR: Unless its`s putting up nets or something, but that kind of
takes away I feel like from the being there in the game. I was hit by a
foul ball actually when -- at a minor league game in college. And it was
KORNACKI: Got hit in the head?
TAYLOR: No, no. Just the arm.
KORNACKI: Did you see it coming?
TAYLOR: No, I was turned around talking to somebody, but it was
GEORGE: Something similar happened several years ago. I think to
Keith Olbermann`s mother at a game. You know, this is, you know, it`s part
of it. Thank God she`s going to be safe. I`m assuming the Red Sox are
probably going to give her some, you know, a season`s worth of tickets,
something like that.
KORNACKI: It`s a story that could have ended a lot worse.
GEORGE: You can`t do a lawsuit on that, because you basically, I
think on the ticket, I think all those games, basically says if you --
KORNACKI: Those things, let`s see what happens.
Next headline, business insider. Starbucks taking cappuccino off U.S.
menu. The menu change is coming because the drink has proved too difficult
to make. When the milk is not adequately foamed, the cappuccino ends up
looking like a latte.
TAYLOR: I was also a barista during high school.
TAYLOR: You are learning a lot about me today. And it was very hard
to make. I think maybe by the end of the summer I had mastered it.
KORNACKI: What is a cappuccino?
TAYLOR: It has to be more like two-thirds of the foam. So it`s
pretty much like an espresso and then it`s all foam. So the latte has a
smaller amount of foam at the top. You`ll have the steamed milk and the
foam at the top, so essentially the cappuccino is just more foam.
GEORGE: It`s coffee with foam on top?
KORNACKI: I`ve heard of a cappuccino my whole life, I don`t drink
coffee, so I -- a coffee with foam on it?
TAYLOR: Steamed milk with foam. It`s much harder to make. It is.
SCHER: A beer needs a good head. A cream needs a good head.
KORNACKI: You pour the beer so it doesn`t have a lot of foam in it.
But all right, I`m glad they`re taking it off. That`s a rip-off. You`re
paying for foam. What is this?
KORNACKI: What else is in the papers? The Washington Post, as he
nears a 2016 bid, Louisiana`s Bobby Jindal hits political bottom. Bobby
Jindal expected to announce his candidacy for president in New Orleans on
June 24. His approval rating in Louisiana has now fallen to 32 percent.
Bobby Jindal is fighting with the business community there, and he told
reporters he`s merely paying the price for making hard choices and cutting
the number of state employees, refusing to raises taxes. I was in Orlando
this week at this, the Republican cattle call there that Rick Scott, the
governor put on. Jindal was one of the speakers, and I asked him down
there, he`s another one of these candidates if he gets in. He`s in danger
of not making that cut. A sitting governor of a pretty big state right now
not in the top ten.
GEORGE: As we were talking about with Jim Gilmore before, politicians
are just not like the rest of us. They feel that regardless of everything,
they could actually push through this and actually make it. Bobby Jindal
right now seems to be competing with Chris Christie as to which governor is
least popular in his home state before he announces for president. Jindal
was an up and coming guy a few years ago, but even amongst social
conservatives, I just don`t see it.
KORNACKI: You know what it was? I swear, it was that response to the
State of the Union. I don`t know ever -- did Rick Perry ever recover from
oops? Did Bobby Jindal ever recover from that?
GEORGE: Marco Rubio recovered from his --
KORNACKI: Another full hour of news and politics ahead. Stay with
KORNACKI: The passport to the presidency.
Thanks for staying with us this Sunday morning. We`ve already talked
about the start of President Obama`s big trip to Germany for the G7 summit.
Well, it turns out that Jeb Bush is embarking on a trip to Germany of his
own. More on why and what he hopes to accomplish there, that is straight
ahead. We`re also going to be taking a look this hour at new details in
the ties that bind the Biden family to President Obama in just a couple of
minutes. Also, the secret behind Senator Bernie Sanders` surge among some
Democrats. That is coming up.
We begin this hour with Jeb Bush getting out his passport this week
for a big trip abroad, a trip overseas ahead of his expected announcement
of his candidacy for president a week from tomorrow. The trip is to begin
this Tuesday with a speech in Berlin. To German Chancellor Angela Merkel`s
party, the Christian Democratic Union. After that, Jeb Bush will travel to
Estonia and then on to Poland. Foreign policy promising to be one of the
central tenets of the 2016 campaign. Not only pitting the Republican field
against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but there are also deep
shades of contrast within the Republican party itself. So what is Jeb
hoping to accomplish in his travels abroad this week? What does he need to
say to do it? Joining me now to discuss, to preview this trip is Mark
Murray, senior political editor at NBC News. He joins us from Washington.
Mark, it is sort of a right of passage, I guess, it seems, a trip
abroad for presidential candidates. We have seen these things in a couple
of cases go pretty poorly. Infamously, Mitt Romney in 2012 did not
necessarily have a successful trip overseas. Chris Christie got in some
trouble a few months ago. What are some of the landmines that Jeb Bush has
to worry about as he sets out for Europe?
MARK MURRAY, NBC NEWS: The biggest landmine is dealing with the
press, Steve. You know, that is what ended up tripping up Mitt Romney in
2012. It`s what tripped up Chris Christie when he went abroad earlier this
year, and of course Scott Walker got in a little bit of hot water, too when
he went on one of his trips. But what is fascinating about these overseas
trips is they are coming when these people are not yet announced
presidential candidates. Chris Christie, he went abroad. He is not even a
presidential candidate. Jeb Bush does not announce until June 15. He`s
going overseas. The Mitt Romney example and one that Barack Obama ended up
undertaking in 2008 is one when you become your party`s general election
nominee, then you go overseas to burnish your foreign policy credentials,
to be able to look tough, to look strong, to look like you could have the
part of being president of the United States. But this whole cycle is
happening so quickly now, where people are doing it before they even become
an official candidate.
KORNACKI: When you say the name Jeb Bush and foreign policy, you put
those together, obviously that is a particular challenge for Jeb Bush to
deal with this topic because of the legacy of his brother on foreign
policy, the legacy of his brother on Iraq. We already saw a little while
back just dealing with the sort of relitigating the Iraq war, how much
difficulty Jeb Bush had approaching that. As he now sets out to sort of
articulate a world view, is he feeling some pressure here, some extra
pressure to find ways to distinguish himself from his brother? Is there a
way for him to do that?
MURRAY: We really haven`t seen on foreign policy him being able to
distinguish himself between him and his brother. In fact, when he released
the people who were his foreign policy advisers, many of them are folks who
ended up advising either his brother or his father on -- when they were in
the Oval Office. But when it comes to Jeb Bush, he is doing this a little
bit on safe ground. Going to places like Poland, to Estonia, Eastern
Europe. Eastern Europe has often been a pretty safe haven for Republicans,
including George W. Bush, who was very popular in Eastern Europe. It`s
usually when people, Republicans go to Western Europe it`s a little more
difficult. Democrats seem to have a bigger constituency in Western Europe,
Republicans in Eastern Europe, and I`m not surprised that we`re seeing Jeb
Bush go to a place like Poland. In fact, that`s where Mitt Romney also
went in 2012.
KORNACKI: Interesting. There`s red state Europe and blue state
Let`s bring the panel in for this discussion, too. Joining us again,
they were with us last hour, again with us this hour, Bill Scher with the
Campaign for America`s Future, Jessica Taylor, a reporter at NPR, Robert
George, editorial writer at the New York Post.
Let`s talk about this question of Jeb Bush and the distance he does or
doesn`t need to put in there with his brother on foreign policy. On the
one hand it`s the obvious liability. On the other hand, though, the
Republican Party, especially in the wake of all of these ISIS beheadings in
the last year, has become a lot more hawkish and in a lot of ways has gone
back to that interventionism that George W. Bush is identified with.
TAYLOR: This is becoming a foreign policy election. That`s why you
see so many candidates, as Mark said, who are trying to go abroad, to try
to burnish their foreign policy credentials. Why you are seeing those with
military experience, like Lindsey Graham, like Rick Perry, really sort of
talk up those credentials, too.
But there is still that hesitancy that you don`t want to get stuck in
another quagmire or a way to sort of do this and how to approach ISIS, and
how to deal with that? And so someone like Jeb Bush, you think Bush, you
think foreign policy in a bad way. But he has been governor, and that`s
one of the hits on governors is that they don`t have as much foreign policy
experience that you hear senators talk up a lot, like Marco Rubio has, as
well, and so it`s kind of a double-edged sword for him. He needs this in
order to sort of burnish those foreign policy credentials, but it also does
sort of bring up those bad memories about his brother.
KORNACKI: And he is getting pressured. Marco Rubio, who has really
surged on the Republican side, has done that in part by really taking a
hawkish posture on foreign policy and national security.
SCHER: In one way, it`s an homage to his brother, the I did not
forget Poland tour.
SCHER: But if he is meeting with foreign leaders and not embarrassing
himself, George W. Bush had a problem in 2000 because he forgot foreign
leaders` names. He never, and even as president, never developed a rapport
as a comfortable figure on the world stage. He was a lone ranger. So if
Jeb in his body language is showing I`m a different kind of Bush, he
obviously can`t handle the Iraq question very well. But in his image, if
he can come across as more diplomatic, that is a subtle way to create some
KORNACKI: Mark, one more to you, Mark, shift gears here in a second,
but I want to look ahead to that announcement by Jeb Bush when he comes
back, we`re about a week out from Jeb Bush getting into this race. Think
back six months ago to the promise of this sort of shock and awe that we
heard from the Bush campaign. They were going to raise a ton of money.
They were going to make this big, emphatic statement. And six months
later, now he`s getting ready to get into the race, where is he now versus
where he wanted to be right now?
MURRAY: He is in a place where he`s not in as good a position as he
was six months ago. And of course when he went in with that shock and awe
of trying to grab every Republican fund-raiser, a lot of influential folks,
he was able to almost kind of bully Mitt Romney from thinking about getting
back into the race again. Remember, Mitt Romney ended up thinking well,
maybe I might try to give this another run, then Jeb Bush ends up sealing
his former Iowa top political strategist to make him his campaign manager.
After that Mitt Romney decided not to run.
But what was so striking was that Marco Rubio decided not to get
chased out of that contest at all. And now you`re even seeing someone like
Ohio Governor John Kasich saying, you know what? I thought Jeb was going
to be able to suck all the oxygen out of the room. I`m now going to get
in. And one of the reasons why the Republican field is so big is because
Jeb has not been able to convince enough Republicans that he`s going to be
the dominant person in this race. I think in one way to kind of almost
look at it back six months ago, it looked like Jeb was your front runner or
at least a co-front runner. Right now he`s on the verge of just even
trying to hold on to any kind of front runner status.
KORNACKI: That is amazing when you think back to expectations from
six months ago. NBC`s Mark Murray, thanks for taking a few minutes this
morning. Appreciate it.
I want to turn now to the deeply moving and emotional funeral service
held yesterday for Beau Biden, son of the vice president and former
attorney general of Delaware. The Biden family giving their beloved son,
brother and husband and father an incredibly personal good-bye in the most
public setting imaginable. We learned that Beau`s youngest sister Ashley
traveled with him to his chemotherapy appointment every other Friday. We
witnessed the vice president making sure that his young grandson, that`s
the son of Beau, was okay before the family proceeded behind the coffin
into the church, and we heard from Beau`s brother Hunter about how after
losing their mother and sister in a 1972 car accident that they themselves
survived, how they had told their father a few years later, we think we
should marry Jill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUNTER BIDEN: Mom, you mended all of our hearts once. You made the
three of us whole. You gave us Ashley, the greatest gift imaginable. You
gave Beau his strength, his steadiness, and you gave him a love that only a
mother could give. You loved him with all of your heart. And we all know
there was no one in the world you were more proud of. You adored Beau. I
loved watching that. And he adored you. And it`s your strength, your
steadiness that holds this family together. And I know that you will make
us whole again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And Hunter Biden also sharing the very first thing he can
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUNTER BIDEN: The first memory I have is of lying in a hospital bed
next to my brother. I was almost three years old. I remember my brother,
who was one year and one day older than me, holding my hand, staring into
my eyes, saying I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. Over and
over and over again. And then in the 42 years since, he never stopped
holding my hand. He never stopped telling me just how much he loves me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: It was a moving service yesterday. Obviously, a three-hour
service in Wilmington, Delaware.
Robert George, one of the things that just occurred to me while
watching all of that yesterday, while watching this for the past week, is
you know, Joe Biden as vice president has kind of in some ways become a
punchline, the Onion has made him this recurring joke, he`s a recurring
joke on the campaign trail in a lot of ways, but I think people were
reminded this week that there`s a side of Joe Biden that people have a deep
respect for, and I think this week people were sort of forced to confront
that and to realize that. Maybe something they hadn`t thought about as
much the last few years.
GEORGE: That`s definitely the case, absolutely. I was also struck by
how much Hunter Biden sounds so much like his father. When you close your
eyes, you`d think Joe was speaking.
I was reminded about a year ago when of all people, when Eric Cantor
left office upset in a primary, and somehow the conversation got around as
to who you can work with in Washington, and he said, look, I don`t agree
politically with Joe Biden, but he`s a straight shooter. He`s somebody who
can bring people into the room and get the necessary work of Washington
done. And I mean, given how Cantor had been a leader in the House and a
rather vocal critic of this administration, I thought that was pretty
impressive praise. And I think you kind of saw, that`s the type of Biden
that a lot of people on both sides of the aisle know.
KORNACKI: And at yesterday`s funeral was Mitch McConnell, the top
Republican in the Senate. And he`s the one when Mitch McConnell had been
at an impasse with the White House, with the administration, with the
Democrats, it`s Joe Biden that he was working this out with.
TAYLOR: When you want something, when the White House wanted
something done in the Senate, you send Joe Biden. He`s one of these old-
school senators. His heart still seems to be with the Senate. You know,
he can work with Republicans. He`s universally beloved there by so many,
even if they don`t agree with him politically, you like the man. And
another point, what Hunter Biden talked about, that I was really struck by,
I think this is the point when watching it, I really sort of lost it, was
just, I mean, Jill Biden, to walk into a situation where this family has
been torn apart by tragedy, I mean, they don`t even think of her as their
stepmother anymore; they call her mother. It was just a moving article in
the Washington Post about how that came about. I was, it`s just really
touching and sort of how they really -- it`s a blended family, but it isn`t
in a way. She became their mother, and just how much they loved her and
how much she is this glue, and I think you see that in the White House.
She has made military family such an emphasis, and that is largely because
of Beau Biden and because of his service, too.
SCHER: I was struck by how composed both of the children were, and
also struck by just how I think across the aisle, around the country people
are so remarkably sad about this. We talked about how we don`t like
dynasties. We don`t want a Bush versus Clinton, but in fact we do like
political families. We honor children who go into public service. We are
deeply sad that Beau was not able to fulfill his promise. Although there
was a great emphasis on the -- how much he did when he was alive. It is
honorable for a child of a politician to go into public service and not
cash out. And we want to see kids do that more and more, and I hope that`s
one takeaway from this moving service.
KORNACKI: All right, still ahead, we will turn back to politics, to
the race for the White House. What are the secrets behind Bernie Sanders`
early success, at least with some voters? We will explain that, and next
how the Supreme Court will decide when it comes to two of the nation`s
biggest hot button issues. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: The Supreme Court has everyone on tenterhooks these days
pretty much around the clock. Now that it`s June, the justices could hand
down their decision on the two biggest block buster cases of the year,
same-sex marriage and Obamacare, any day now. The court having ruled back
in 2012 that the president`s sweeping health care law is constitutional.
Now the court is reviewing a critical provision of that act, the subsidies
that help millions of Americans pay for health insurance they didn`t have
before. At issue is whether the law was written in a way that allows those
grants. More than 6 million people in 34 states could lose this federal
assistance if the court rules that subsidies are not valid. Now, when it
comes to same-sex marriage, the question before the court is pretty
straightforward. Does the Constitution guarantee gay couples the right to
marry? The court appeared divided over the issue during oral arguments in
April. All eyes, as usually is the case, are on Justice Anthony Kennedy,
as the court`s swing vote. Many court watchers are predicting that in the
next three and a half weeks, the U.S. will become the 20th nation to
authorize gay marriage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re about to have a Supreme Court decision that
most people predict will legalize same-sex marriage across the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We now have 36 states where gays can legally get
married, and this court has let that happen. That might be the biggest
evidence that the court is moving in the direction of saying it is a
constitutional right nationwide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I expect the Supreme Court to use the 14th
Amendment to end this issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Is there anyway that conventional wisdom could be wrong?
Joining me now, Slate Supreme Court watcher, Dahlia Lithwick, thanks for
taking a few minutes. Yes, every piece of commentary I have read and heard
over the last few months has said it`s all been building towards this
moment in June when the Supreme Court will finally say gay marriage should
be legal in all 50 states. It`s already legal in many of them. It`s
becoming legal in countries around the world. It`s going to happen. Is
there any way that conventional wisdom you see could be wrong?
DAHLIA LITHWICK, SLATE: I have to tell you having sat in the chamber
for oral argument, it really felt like the conventional wisdom you`re
describing is pretty accurate. Don`t forget, Justice Anthony Kennedy, the
swing vote on this case, has been the author of the three seminal gay
rights cases, in the last couple of decades, and there was a moment, this
interchange when he was arguing with someone defending the ban, where he
kept saying, this is about dignity, this is about dignity. And for Kennedy,
dignity is such a watch word. It`s clear he really felt for these
families, for their children. And so, yes, I think it`s a huge step. But
just watching his conduct in argument, it`s hard to imagine he`s not going
to vote with the four liberals.
KORNACKI: OK, well, now to the other big case before the court. The
future of Obamacare, this one shaping up to be much more of a nail biter.
As we`ve already mentioned this case hinges on whether the law was written
in a way that allows the government to give subsidies to insurance
customers in states that don`t have their own health care exchanges. Some
members of Congress are already working on a legislative fix to that part
of the law in the anticipation of potentially losing before the court. A
way to try to get those federal run health insurance exchanges up and
running again as soon as possible. Yesterday, Governor Chris Christie in
New Jersey urged Congress to pass such a fix if the Supreme Court ends
subsidies to New Jersey and 33 other states. Quote, "we`re out in the
states, trying to make this system work." So Dahlia, trying to understand
the argument here. It`s a very technical case that is being made here, and
yet it`s made its way all the way to the Supreme Court. Is there a
scenario here where the court basically guts this key part of Obamacare?
LITHWICK: Is there a scenario? Sure. Remember, we have been talking
about Anthony Kennedy as a swing vote. In this instance, all eyes are on
Chief Justice John Roberts. Remember, he defected probably at the last
minute and voted with the liberals in 2012 to uphold Obamacare. The
question is, this time when the stakes are really high, you have between
six and eight million people poised to lose their subsidies. Debt spirals
in the states that don`t have exchanges. The implications are so huge. In
addition to which, as you said, this is really having a ripple effect on
the 2016 campaign, what governors in states that have not created exchanges
are now -- they have to choose between creating exchanges, propping up
Obamacare, or watching citizens lose health care. So the really, the
consequences here, the downsides are so high, and for the chief justice who
really doesn`t think exclusively in partisan terms, he thinks about the
prestige of the court. He thinks about how people look at the court, to
have a 5-4 decision gutting Obamacare, going into election, throwing the
political right into complete chaos, might be too much. So who knows.
This is a narrow statutory case. But the ripple effects are huge. I don`t
think we know yet what this is going to do in the coming months.
KORNACKI: Let me bring the panel in on that. If the court, we say a
narrow statutory case. But if the court were to rule against Obamacare,
against the administration on this one, as we say, the law could be
destroyed by that or Congress could pass a pretty simple fix and that would
change it. The question is, Congress controlled by Republicans, the House
and Senate are controlled by Republicans. If the court acts, health
insurance for these millions of Americans who get it is in jeopardy, but at
the same time, Obamacare itself is in jeopardy. How will Republicans in
Congress react to that? Do we know?
SCHER: Congress, you probably don`t have to expect too much from. I
mean, there will be pressure on them to deal with the chaos if it happened.
But I would think more likely the pressure would be put on the states.
They made a petty decision to say I hate Obamacare. I`m not going to do
anything for it. I am letting the federal government take control of the
exchanges, which is the most ridiculous thing for a states rights
conservative to do. There will be a huge amount of pressure to say the
ball is in your court.
KORNACKI: Do you think so? The argument a few years ago was that the
states were never going to turn down this Medicare money. There was going
to be so much pressure from the hospitals in these states, and these red
states have held out.
SCHER: Not all of them, though, a lot of those red states have come
around, because that pressure is pretty stiff.
GEORGE: You`re right that there is pressure at the state level. But
Congress, the then Democratic Congress basically put the -- created this
mess because the language was not clear on how these exchanges would be set
up. So now the ball is now in the courts, and now in the Republican
Congress is at hand (ph). I think they will figure out some kind of narrow
way to kind of keep the system as it is for now. If it does come, if the
Supreme Court does rule against the current language, they will figure out
some kind of narrow way. You can`t in an election year have this kind of a
chaotic situation. But of course in the Republican primary, this is once
again is going to energize Republicans who obviously have never been on
board with Obamacare because it was a poorly drafted law.
KORNACKI: On that point, I`m curious, it was a poorly drafted law.
Robert George says that thousands of pages that we know of that a lot of
people, though, have been surprised that the case made it this far. Are
LITHWICK: No. I think that it used to be the case that it would take
decades for one of these strange, off the wall cases. This was brought up
by libertarians, who had brought several cases trying to gut Obamacare.
And this one gets up through the courts. I think in some sense, Chris, it
goes to how politicized the federal bench is. You can take a notion that
honestly, two years ago, people thought was laughable, that this four words
in a statute could eviscerate the statute. We know if nothing else, we
know that courts are supposed to interpret statutes. So that the statute
coheres as a whole. So this would have been a joke a couple of years ago,
and courts take them seriously now. I think you really have to look at it
as a testament to what has happened to the federal bench.
KORNACKI: All right, Slate`s Dahlia Lithwick, thank you for joining
us this morning. A lot of Supreme Court news coming in the next few days.
Appreciate the time.
Still ahead, the man who takes us inside the Supreme Court to the
places where the cameras can`t go. And next the secret behind the surge of
Bernie Sanders in the Democratic field. The surge as we say with some
voters. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I believe we should go
even further to strengthen voting rights in America. So today I`m calling
for universal, automatic voter registration. Every citizen in every state
in the union.
CLINTON: Everyone, every young man or young woman should be
automatically registered to vote when they turn 18.
CLINTON: Unless they actively choose to opt out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Hillary Clinton Thursday on the issue of voting
rights with a pitch aimed right at what we have come to call the Obama
coalition. That is a coalition that depends on strength with
demographically growing groups of non-white voters. We have also seen
Clinton talk about sentencing reform and stake out an immigration position
that`s even to the left of President Obama. We tend of think of this as a
general election strategy for Clinton, and it is, but Clinton`s strength
with non-white voters is also a key reason why she`s not sweating right now
when it comes to the Democratic nomination. This is a fascinating role
reversal for her if you can remember back to the 2008 race, when Clinton
was cast as the candidate of white, working class voters in her campaign
against Obama. But this time around her deepest support is coming from
those non-white voters who powered Obama`s rise and who stopped Hillary
Clinton in 2008. Perry Bacon and Dante Chine (ph) of NBC News write that
while Bernie Sanders is growing his support with white Democrats, non-
whites are not turning on Hillary at all. They point to a new poll showing
Clinton leading Sanders by 42 points among white Democrats. Among non-
whites, that number explodes to 67 points. Another poll finds that a
majority of white Democrats say Clinton should face a primary challenge
next year; 68 percent of non-white Democrats though say that she shouldn`t.
Among non-white Democrats, Sanders right now is polling at just 5 percent,
but his support is almost triple that number, 14 percent, when it comes to
So let`s take a closer look at this demographic gap with NBC News
senior political reporter, Perry Bacon Jr. Perry, thanks for taking a few
minutes this morning.
It`s a fascinating role reversal. I can vividly remember the
Pennsylvania primary in 2008, all of those states sort of late in the
season. We`re hearing over and over that Hillary Clinton is the champion
of white working class voters, and here we are all these years later, and
now it`s non-white voters, the voters who were not with her in 2008, they
are her biggest source of strength right now. How did that happen?
PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS: You know, Steve, it`s very early, so the short
answer is I don`t necessarily know if we`ve had enough campaign to prove
I think it`s (inaudible) you saw stories about the fact how Bernie
Sanders is doing very well. He has these big crowds in Iowa and in
Minnesota. If you look at Bernie Sanders` crowds, you get a sense of this,
and the sense that there are very few minorities there. He is from
Vermont. So it makes sense. It is not a very diverse state either. So
Bernie Sanders has campaigned for a long time on issues like income
inequality, breaking up banks. He got criticized in his announcement
speech because he did not talk about criminal justice and immigration.
Those issues very much. And I think it goes to the fact that his support
up to now has been mainly white voters focused on populism issues, versus
Hillary Clinton has campaigned for a long time on these issues of voting
rights and immigration and things likely to appeal more to minorities. So
I think they start from different places. Sanders could grow that support
and get it more diverse. But I think in the early stages of the race, we
may be over emphasizing the Sanders surge, because the campaign is in Iowa
and New Hampshire. If it were in Michigan or Ohio, Hillary would do
better. Other factor of course is Hillary won the white vote but not the
black vote because she was running against Barack Obama last time. A very
important obvious factor here.
KORNACKI: It is, although, I think it points to something bigger
historically when you look at these races, and I could think back and every
campaign there seems to be that sort of hot insurgent candidate who
emerges. It was Tsongas in `92, it was Bill Bradley against Gore. What
they`ve done in the past it seems, when you look demographically, those
insurgent candidates, they tend to appeal to college educated white voters.
They do well in the New Hampshire primary, they do well in these sort of
the wealthy suburbs around the country. They have failed to bring in --
historically they always failed to bring in black voters, Latino voters,
non-white voters, and Barack Obama in 2008 did this amazing thing where he
united non-white voters with that sort of traditional insurgent base, which
we`ve never seen that before.
BACON: Exactly. Obama was, I remember I wrote early in 2007 that
there was a worry among Democrats that Obama was doing very well among the
what I would call the Bill Bradley or the Howard Dean voters. And Hillary
was actually leading the black vote over Obama, in the early stages. He
was able, once he won Iowa, like you said, get the elite Democrats who are
white and also get African-Americans and minorities as well.
But having the minority vote is even more important now, because
minorities of course are a growing part of the country, and particularly a
growing part of the Democratic coalition. So in some ways, like even if
Sanders or O`Malley turns into the best Bill Bradley or Howard Dean style
candidate possible, even if they do very well among white Democrats -- we
should be clear, Hillary still has a big lead among white Democrats too --
but even if you have the strongest candidate possible with white Democrats
now, it`s not nearly enough to win the primary. We will have states where
South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, these states are -- have delegates in
the Democratic primary. They are overwhelmingly African American, and I
think the primary (inaudible) I should say. And I think Hillary Clinton in
her early strategy has done a lot of focus on these issues. I`ve been very
surprised. She has given I think five policy speeches, two of them have
been on issues that I would say really target, there was one on voting and
one on criminal justice. And then the third on immigration, so you have
seen she is focused on issues that are important to her, and she`s worked
on them for a long time, but also really speak to that coalition and will
make it hard for Sanders or O`Malley to cut into those voting blocks.
KORNACKI: I remember too you said South Carolina, I remember in 2008
how those numbers turned Hillary from doing so well in South Carolina, the
minute Obama won Iowa, it was as if South Carolina looked at it and said,
you know what, this is a serious candidate, and they moved on Hillary
Clinton at that moment. That`s how Barack Obama suddenly won that big
South Carolina victory. NBC`s Perry Bacon Jr., really interesting story.
Thanks for joining us this morning.
BACON: Of course.
KORNACKI: All right. Still ahead, we will talk to the man who serves
as our eyes inside the Supreme Court. And next we will go live to Dennis
Hastert`s hometown to see how folks out there are reacting to the latest
allegations of sexual misconduct against the former House speaker.
KORNACKI: Just two days from now, Dennis Hastert is scheduled to
appear in federal court in Chicago. This will be the first public
appearance by the former speaker of the House since he was indicted on
charges that he structured bank withdrawals to avoid federal reporting
requirements, money that was allegedly used to keep a decades old claim of
sexual misconduct quiet, also charges that he lied to the FBI. MSNBC`s
Adam Reiss is live in Hastert`s home town of Yorkville, Illinois, where
apparently it`s pouring rain right now. Adam, the reaction out there, it`s
not just at this point the court case that`s being brought by the feds,
it`s also the allegations that came out late last week from a woman who
says her brother -- she named him -- her brother was sexually abused by
Dennis Hastert. How is the town absorbing this news?
ADAM REISS, MSNBC: Steve, good morning. All of these revelations are
starting to change people`s minds. And with 48 hours to go before his
arraignment, we haven`t seen the former speaker. He remains in hiding. We
haven`t seen any sign of him here in Yorkville or his home town of Plano.
Now, the New York Times is reporting in 2010, he was in a rush to make more
money, that he asked a colleague of his at his firm how he could obtain an
annuity that would generate large amounts of cash on an annual basis. At
the same time, he began making payments to the person identified as
individual A, who the FBI says to NBC News, that was a student of his here
at Yorkville High some 40 years ago, that he was having a sexual
relationship with and was trying to cover it up.
I spoke with residents here in Yorkville to get their reaction to the
new revelations, and here is what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were all proud that we had him in our area.
And then when something like this, you`re very disappointed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a shame that a person of that kind of
authority. What was he? Second or third in line for the presidency,
right? And we are now finding out that that would have been an
embarrassment for our entire country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REISS: Now with these new revelations, people here are starting to
think twice about his innocence.
KORNACKI: Adam Reiss, thank you for that report. Still ahead the new
photos of Britain`s Prince George and his baby sister, Charlotte, that had
the Internet oooing and ahhing this morning. But first the man on the
front lines of Supreme Court history. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: As we have been discussing, the Supreme Court will make
highly anticipated rulings on same-sex marriage and Obamacare any day now.
Which means our next guest has his pen and sketch pad ready. The only
visual record of the court is provided by colorful drawings like these,
because no cameras of any kind are allowed in the Supreme Court, or many
federal courthouses across the country as well, so sketch artists provide
the public and the history books the only images of these landmark cases.
For the last four decades, artist Arthur Lien has been covering our highest
courts, as well as the nation`s biggest criminal trials, taking us where
the cameras can`t.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Arthur will tell you that he doesn`t listen
to the testimony, that he is trying to figure out what color the tie the
witness has or get the folds in the fabric just right, but he does. And he
catches those little moments. A couple of weeks ago on the Supreme Court,
a man stood up in the back, and started yelling. Arthur captured that. He
says he`s not paying attention to the testimony, but he never misses those
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Lien spent the last five months depicting the trial of
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber, and he has a busy month
ahead at the Supreme Court. And joining us now to discuss his role at the
frontline of history is that sketch artist, Art Lien. Art, thanks for
taking a few moments. The art of the courtroom sketch. It is interesting
watching this clip we just played of Pete Williams talking about you there.
Here is one thing I`ve always wondered. When you`re in the courtroom and
something sort of dramatic like that happens, if you have a camera, you
take a picture, you capture everything and it`s done in a second. But if
something happens and it lasts for a second, it`s going to take you a long
time to draw it. What is that process like?
ARTHUR LIEN, SKETCH ARTIST: It`s taken me some time to learn that, to
learn to stop and watch what`s going on and then draw. The minute you look
down at your pad and you get into drawing, you`re missing a lot. So really
you`re working from memory.
KORNACKI: How many in a given session, you were just let`s say for
instance, you were covering the Boston marathon bomber trial, a month or
two ago, in an average day in court, how many of these sketches are you
LIEN: On average, probably about ten sketches. Some things don`t get
finished, but I would say ten, as many as 13, as few as six.
KORNACKI: What is it that you`re looking for? Are there certain
requirements that the court has for the kinds of pictures they want you to
be given? Do they give you requests? Are you just sitting there and
deciding on the spot, I`m going to draw this now and I`m going to draw that
LIEN: Sometimes I`m talking to my correspondent, to Pete Williams or
to a producer, and I kind of know what they`re looking for, but there are
certain standard things you need. You need the wide shot, the scene
setter, and that`s always pretty time consuming. After that, it`s really
just a question of paying attention, and you know, trying to follow the
KORNACKI: And what is it like? You`re covering the Boston bomber
trial. This one jumps out at me, because here was a trial where there
really was no question that the guy was guilty, the guy was guilty of
something truly, truly horrible. And you`re charged with sitting there and
giving a fair artistic rendering of him. Do your feelings in a situation
like that, and in other trials like that, does it ever make it tough to
LIEN: I don`t think so. I think I`m trying to capture him as best I
can. During the Tsarnaev trial, it was very difficult, because the only
way to get a front view of him was to actually go in the overflow room and
look at the video. When I was seated in the courtroom, we were behind him.
So -- but as far as the emotion of the trial, that can make it very
difficult, when you have a witness who has lost a child and their testimony
is just so wrenching, it`s very hard to see the paper that you`re drawing.
The tears well up and it`s difficult.
KORNACKI: Actually we had planned last week to have you in studio
here with us. There were breaking news. We were not able to have you on.
You were up here, though. People at home couldn`t see us necessarily, but
you were right off the stage, and you decided to stick around and do a
sketch of UP. So this was last week on UP. You can see me there. You can
see there`s Eleanor Clift on the left. A couple of our guests. There`s
the stage manager, and everybody getting their 15 minutes of fame. It`s a
great sketch. We love looking at that. Thank you very much for doing it
and thank you, Art Lien, for being here today, really appreciate it.
LIEN: It was my pleasure. Thank you.
KORNACKI: All right. Up next, our first pictures of the royal baby
princess Charlotte with her brother Prince George. They are adorable. You
will want to see them. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: There is a lot going on this morning. Let`s get caught up
with some of the other headlines making news with the panel. Let`s go
straight across the pond to the Guardian, first official photographs of
Princess Charlotte published by the royal family. You`re looking at them
right there on your screen. Princess Charlotte being held in the arms of
her older brother, Prince George. These photos were taken by their mother,
she is the duchess of Cambridge also known as Kate. Charlotte will be
baptized Sunday, July 5.
TAYLOR: She`s adorable. I`m a sucker for anything royal.
GEORGE: I thought the Vanity Fair shoot and "call me Charlie" was a
bit too much.
KORNACKI: Life of the royal baby. Let`s go to the New York Times, a
first for Snapchat. OK, so this is the American Action Network, it`s an
outside group closely associated with the House Republican leadership.
They have taken -- they have paid for a political ad, put a political ad up
on Snapchat. It was an ad that was featured in a Snapchat story for Joni
Ernst`s roast and ride event. I`m curious what it means. Let`s look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand up for American jobs by calling Congress and
urging them to pass TPA, because if we don`t lead, China will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Now I see what it is. It`s an ad with the sides of the
screen chopped off because it`s on an iPhone.
TAYLOR: I guess I still don`t understand Snapchat.
KORNACKI: Two years ago it was the dirty thing teenagers were using
to send stuff they were not supposed to send.
TAYLOR: I did my first Snapchat newscast. NPR has a newscast, you
can follow us at NPR News. I will figure it out by the end of the
campaign. It`s obviously something that is becoming very important to
GEORGE: It just doesn`t seem to be the right ad to send to the
Snapchat audience. On TPA? It just has a weird reference.
SCHER: There is experimentation going on with political advertising.
If you`re on Snapchat, you will see the ad. You can`t skip it.
SCHER: You are putting an ad on broadcast television, you`re spending
money for a lot of viewers who aren`t going to actually watch the ad.
KORNACKI: I`m still getting used to Meerkat. I was patting myself on
the shoulder for getting -- for adapting to that. Adapting that early.
Finally, the Washington Post. What to say, what not to say on a first
date, this is according to science. A new study says both men and women
are more likely to spark a connection if the woman talks about herself
using words like I, me, and myself. Men are more attracted to women who
sound confident. They were less attracted to women who used words like
kind of, sort of and maybe. So make declarative statements in the first
person. You will be happily married and you`ll have baby pictures to show
like the royal family. That is the lesson (inaudible). Dating advice for
GEORGE: I kind of agree with that.
KORNACKI: My thanks to the panel this morning. Robert George, Bill
Scher, Jessica Taylor, thanks for being here. Thank you for getting up
with us today. Up next, Melissa Harris-Perry. Stay tuned, we will see you
here next weekend. Have a great week.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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