'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, June 28th, 2015
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: June 28, 2015
Guest: Evan McMorris-Santoro, Eleanor Clift, Robert George, Sean Patrick
Maloney, Rick Hertzberg, Rosa DeLauro
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: The next fight, religious freedom.
All right. Good morning, thanks for getting up with us this Sunday
morning. The Supreme Court decision to make same-sex marriage the law of
the land across the country has put Republicans in a tough situation.
Where do they go from here? More on that in just a moment. Also ahead
this morning, some are calling this past week the best week of Barack
Obama`s presidency. We`ll be taking a closer look at that this morning.
Plus, Chris Christie poised to officially jump into the presidential race,
just two days from now. But has Bridgegate already ruined his chances?
That`s coming up too.
But we begin this morning with the latest on that manhunt for the escaped
prisoner and convicted killer, David Sweat. It is a manhunt that has
expanded widely over the weekend, this after police thought they had Sweat
penned into a relatively small area. Sweat and his fellow convicted
killer, Richard Matt, escaped from a maximum security facility in upstate
New York more than three weeks ago now. Federal agents shot and killed
Matt on Friday near Malone, New York. That`s about 30 miles from the
prison. That`s 14 miles south of the Canadian border. MSNBC`s Chris
Pollone joins us now live from Malone.
Chris, we were talking to you yesterday morning. It sounded like then
authorities were confident there is a really small area, felt like they
were going to find him very soon. Now maybe the thinking is, he`s not in
that small area.
CHRIS POLLONE, NBC NEWS: Yes, as we said yesterday, Steve, you know, state
police believe that he is in this 22-square-mile area in the forest south
of Malone, New York. They say they have good reason to believe that. But
they have no proof of that. So overnight, what we saw was pretty much a
maintaining of the status quo. There are more than 1,000 officers from
different state, federal and local agencies working this search. They have
been maintaining a perimeter around that 22-square-mile area. That`s what
we saw overnight. They continued to use huge floodlights, which they used
to light up the entire area, trying to make sure that if Sweat is indeed
inside that perimeter, that he isn`t able to get out of there today.
Now searching is going to be tough today. There is a ton of rain coming to
this area, as you can tell right now. It is pouring down rain, it is in
the low 50s. Conditions will be tough not only for the searchers, but also
for Sweat as well. This is hypothermia inducing weather if he doesn`t have
some sort of shelter with temperatures in the low 50s and up to 2 to 3
inches of rain forecast for today.
This is day 23 of the search, and a local forecaster for our NBC affiliate
here today said this morning that out of the 23 days, it has actually
rained 16 days as part of -- during this search. Different parts of this
search. So it`s certainly been a tough, tough slog for all the searchers
who are looking for Sweat at this point. You know, their guess at this
point is as good as anyone`s, whether he`s still in that perimeter. But
they say they have good reason to believe he is.
KORNACKI: Chris Pollone, I can see that rain coming down behind you. Stay
dry out there, appreciate the report from Malone, New York.
And of course we`ll keep an eye on that search, bring you all the latest as
we learn what is going on up there in those woods. But for now, we`re
going to turn to the fallout from that historic Supreme Court decision on
Friday that has legalized gay marriage across the country. And now the
question of what`s next for both sides. Gay rights activists are already
vowing to build on their victory and to push for more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REA CAREY: And we know that with today`s decision, the momentum will
continue to ensure that we can have equality in many areas of our lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Their first goal after winning on marriage, winning enactment of
a federal ban on employment discrimination against gays. The Employment
Nondiscrimination Act, it`s called. This is a bill that`s been introduced
almost every year in Congress for two decades now. It would make
discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender
identity illegal. A group of senators, House members and civil rights
leaders saying on Friday, quote, "in dozens of states, a couple can marry
in the morning, announce their union in the afternoon, yet lose their jobs
or be evicted from their apartment by the day`s end. Congress must act to
fully realize the promise of today`s ruling by introducing and passing
legislation to finally provide comprehensive federal nondiscrimination
protections to LGBT Americans."
So that is where gay rights supporters are turning their focus now. But
what about opponents? Every Republican presidential candidate has now
spoken out against Friday`s ruling, though they have presented two very
different visions on how to continue their fight. Wisconsin Governor Scott
Walker calling for the most dramatic step, a constitutional amendment to
overturn the decision, saying he would, quote, "reaffirm the ability of the
state to continue to define marriage." Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham
stopping short of that, instead they have been arguing for religious
freedom protections for those who are morally opposed to gay marriage.
Lindsey Graham specifically warning against a constitutional amendment,
saying, quote, "rather than pursuing a divisive effort that would be doomed
to fail, I am committing myself to ensuring the protection of religious
liberties of all Americans." Jeb Bush is also saying no to a
constitutional amendment, making the case for religious freedom carveouts
on a radio show on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think what we need to do is strive
to make sure that religious freedom and conscience is protected, and also
have a society that is just and loving, that doesn`t discriminate. I think
we`re big enough as a country to make sure that we have -- we respect
people in long-term, loving relationships, and we allow people to act on
their religious faith.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right. We`re joined now by Congressman Sean Patrick
Maloney, the first openly gay member of Congress elected in New York. Also
joined by today`s panel, Evan McMorris-Santoro, White House reporter for
Buzzfeed, Eleanor Clift, Washington correspondent for the Daily Beast, and
Robert George, editorial writer with the New York Post.
Welcome to everybody. Let`s start with you, Congressman.
So based on the sort of which side of the aisle you`re on, on the gay
marriage question, looks like two very different paths forward. In terms
of supporters of gay marriage, supporters of gay rights, now it sounds like
this issue of employment discrimination is the next front in this battle.
What is it specifically you`re looking for there?
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY, D-N.Y.: That`s absolutely right. It`s
outrageous that people can still be discriminated against in the workplace
in a country where you have a constitutionally protected right to both
intimacy and now to civil marriage. So we have some catching up to do in
the Congress. The court has clearly moved into the forefront on this,
that`s good. The private sector has been there, in most instances,
particularly in this city and most major metropolitan areas for a long
time. Congress needs to get its act together, and we need to just get with
the simple program that all Americans should be equal under the law,
whether they`re at work or going to a restaurant or trying to rent an
apartment or enter the institution of civil marriage. That`s pretty basic.
KORNACKI: So we say it`s been basically two decades now that this has been
introduced every year. It never gets through. What is holding that up
when you look at the incredible strides in terms of public opinion on gay
marriage, an issue that`s now basically 60 percent of the country say
they`re for. The country can move that far, that quickly, that dramatically
on that issue, and yet the question of job discrimination is still
unresolved in Congress. What has been holding it up?
MALONEY: Well, the guys in the big chair. The fact of the matter is, if
the Democrats were in control, this would be law today. It`s a fair point
to say we should have done it before. But where we are now, is that there
is broad, bipartisan support for employment nondiscrimination. The speaker
should move the bill.
KORNACKI: So, Robert, do you think Republicans would be ready to sign off
on that now?
ROBERT GEORGE, NEW YORK POST: Given the way the ground has changed,
possibly. It`s unlikely, but it is possible.
But the point is, though, I mean, the first two years of the Obama
presidency, Democrats were controlling everything, and it didn`t even get
through then. So it`s not just -- it`s not just Republicans that are
holding this up. It was just seen as one of those kind of issues that the
time never seemed to be right. The time, however, may be right now.
KORNACKI: Put a couple of numbers up here. Again, this was polling right
before the Supreme Court ruling this week. 57 percent of Americans, this
is a Pew research from May, 57 percent say they support gay marriage.
Again, that`s before this ruling. Maybe it will go up after that. We`ll
see. But you look within the Republican Party, you look at red America,
basically 58 percent say they were against this. They are against gay
marriage. This from an NBC poll just taken this month. And so Eleanor and
Evan, it`s that whole two Americas question too, isn`t it, going forward.
Overall, there is majority support for gay marriage. There is probably
majority support for a ban on workplace discrimination. But in one of the
two major parties, the one that controls the House, I don`t think there`s
majority support at this point.
ELEANOR CLIFT, DAILY BEAST: First of all, I don`t know that there has been
particular energy behind -- on either the right or the left behind this
legislation. I think, you know, ask most people around the country what
ENDA is, they don`t really even know what it is.
I wonder where the business community is. Because I think the business
community has lobbied against this. The Republican Party is no longer the
part of big business, but they do represent the small business and FIB, if
we`re going to throw around acronyms. They are very powerful. They don`t
like regulations. They see this as another regulation, and I think the
Republican Party is fighting it on those grounds, and the Democratic Party
has just not found the passion for this legislation yet. I think we`re in
a new age now, in a new world. And I think the congressman is correct that
Democrats and activists are now going to pick this up as a real cause.
KORNACKI: It is striking, though, the two very different responses from
the two parties here, where on one side they`re saying let`s push forward
here and get more. On the Republican side, they are torn between do we
fight this thing all out, do we fight gay marriage all out with a
constitutional amendment, or do we settle for this idea of religious
freedom, of basically saying, fine, gay marriage is the law of the land.
Now let`s let the people who don`t want anything to do with this not have
anything to do with it.
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, BUZZFEED: This defines a modern GOP so well. A guy
like Jeb Bush is trying to thread the needle here, like I`m for religious
freedom laws, but I don`t want to do this constitutional amendment thing,
which is very divisive and not good for general electorate. Meanwhile in
the House, right, even if there is a thought of doing ENDA or things that,
the House is full of gerrymandered districts and very, very conservative
Republicans. So even though I think there is a conversation happening in
that party, you can see the statements -- even Scott Walker is saying he
wants to let the states decide. That`s different than saying ban gay
marriage outright, which they talked about before. So we have seen a shift
from that party. They`re having a really difficult time --
KORNACKI: I want to put this one up. This was Mike Huckabee, who is
calling the court completely out of control here. The Mike Huckabee who
could very well win the Iowa caucuses next year, this is what he said about
this. He said, we`re called upon not to be the thermometers that reflect a
temperature in the culture. We`re called upon to be thermostats which can
read the temperature and seek to adjust it to where it should be." So
there is going to be pressure, at least from Huckabee and probably from
some others like that from within the Republican Party to continue to
oppose this thing all out.
Congressman, what I want to ask you about though is this issue of religious
freedom and religious protection. Ultimately, what they`re trying -- what
they`re essentially saying here is, people should be able to opt out.
People who are -- you own a bakery and the gay couple comes in and they
want the cake, you should be able to say if you own that bakery and you`re
a Christian who is opposed to gay marriage, you know what, I`m just not
comfortable with that, I don`t want to have to do that. How much room in
America is there for that kind of opting out?
MALONEY: Well, of course, we`ve been down this road many times. With
issues of religion or issues of race. If you`re engaged in public
accommodation, if you`re a business serving the general public, we don`t
allow you to say I don`t serve Jews, I don`t serve black people. And it`s
not a defense to say it`s your closely held religious belief.
So we take this issue seriously. Look, my partner and I have been together
for 23 years. We got married one year ago this week. We have three
children together. We were married in a church. I was raised in the
church. That`s a very important part of who we are. The notion that gay
people don`t have an intense regard for religious spirituality and faith, I
think is mistaken. And I will tell you, we take very seriously the
distinction between civil marriage, which is what we`re talking about in
this decision, and what people believe in their churches. No one is going
to have to marry anybody in their church. No one is going to have to
believe anything differently in their faith. That`s their right under the
First Amendment. But if you`re selling cake or you are selling pizza, then
we do say we are going to enforce certain nondiscrimination laws in this
country, and we do it in the areas of religion and we do it in the areas of
race. And it`s just the same issue.
KORNACKI: I have still yet to be to a wedding where they serve pizza, but
I`m looking forward to going--
KORNACKI: Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, thank you for
joining us this morning. Appreciate that.
And still ahead, the Supreme Court`s other major decision this week on
Obamacare. Will the ruling force Republicans to finally drop that issue,
or does the decision just open up a whole new can of worms?
But first, Chris Christie announcing an announcement on Tuesday. Is a
presidential run finally in the cards? Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: Either way, I am going to have to make an
announcement, right? There has been enough speculation about this since
the fall of 2010. We`re talking nearly five years now. That whatever I
decide as to 2016, I`ll need to let everybody know. It`s not like I`m
going to come out my front door and whisper, you know, what the answer is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Chris Christie, the outspoken New Jersey governor, who was the
talk of the party, the talk of the whole political world in 2011 and 2012,
launching the new website yesterday. Chris Christie it reads telling it
like it is, just like Howard Cosell, I guess. With this little notice at
the bottom, paid for by Chris Christie for President. Yes, it is true.
Christie is scheduling an announcement for this coming Tuesday at his high
school alma mater in New Jersey. And if that paid-for notice is indeed the
case and he is indeed running for president, Christie can expect to see a
much different it landscape than the one that was laid out for him just a
couple of years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Imagine a world where this --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie won re-election in a
landslide, setting the stage for a possible run for president in 2016.
KORNACKI: Wasn`t immediately followed by this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Newly obtained e-mails for the first time link New
Jersey Governor Chris Christie`s office to lane closures on the George
Washington Bridge last fall. It reads, time for some traffic problems in
KORNACKI: It`s hard to imagine now, but before there was Bridgegate, if
there was one candidate who looked like he could win back the White House
for Republicans in 2016, it was Chris Christie. He had all the
ingredients. He had shown real bipartisan leadership during Hurricane
CHRISTIE: I want to thank the president. We spent a significant afternoon
KORNACKI: He was popular. A Republican, winning re-election in a blue
state with more than 60 percent of the vote, and showing rare strength in
national polls with independents, even Democrats. Here was the candidate
who could unite the Republican Party, electability that appealed to the
establishment and a fiery style made for the Tea Party.
CHRISTIE: You want to have a conversation later, I`m happy to have it,
buddy. But until that time, sit down and shut up.
KORNACKI: But then, the bridge. The mysterious lane closures at the
George Washington Bridge. The bombshell e-mails. The federal
investigation. The indictments. Christie is adamant, he had nothing to do
with it. But the cloud hangs over him. His poll numbers are way down.
He`s far back in the GOP pack. And now others are in position to play the
role that Christie wanted to play himself.
BUSH: I know we can fix this. Because I`ve done it.
KORNACKI: And Chris Christie is set to enter the race for president this
week, not as his party`s savior, but as one of the longest shots on the
board. And all because of a traffic jam.
KORNACKI: All right. Let`s bring in NBC News senior political editor,
Mark Murray. Our panel still on set with us in New York. Mark, I know a
lot of people say Chris Christie was always destined to have problems with
the conservative base in the Republican Party if he ran for president. But
I`ve got to tell you, I honestly think if it hadn`t been for Bridgegate, he
would be the front runner right now, and I`m not even sure there would be a
Jeb Bush in the race. What do you think?
MARK MURRAY, NBC NEWS SR. POLITICAL EDITOR: You know, Steve, that`s a good
point worth noting. There are two ways to actually end up winning the
Republican presidential primary or at least getting enough Republicans on
your side. The one path is saying, I`m with you on all the conservative
issues, vote for me. Of course that`s the path someone like Scott Walker
is taking on the Republican side when it comes to things like immigration.
The Chris Christie path that he was always trying to say, is I`m the
electable person. I`m the person who can beat Hillary Clinton. I can beat
the Democrats. Steve, it`s worth noting that in 2013, after the
Republicans drubbing in the 2012 elections, Chris Christie ended up
addressing the Republican National Committee behind closed doors and said
look, we just need to win, baby. That`s the most important thing.
But as your piece noted, the bridge-gate scandal and I would also argue the
credit downgrades in the state, his own approval rating starting to sink,
made the situation where when you look at all the polling out there,
Hillary Clinton versus other Republicans in the race, Chris Christie is no
longer the person who seems as the electable Republican. And so when you
are not with him on all of the issues, and, again, Chris Christie is
someone who expanded Medicaid, stood with President Obama after Hurricane
Sandy, when you`re not with him on 100 percent of the issues, you better be
the electable person. And now he`s neither, and that is his situation
KORNACKI: Let me bring the panel in here. What do you guys make of this?
Chris Christie gets in this race. There are a gazillion other Republicans
out there. Right now it looks like he could make the top ten cut. He
would be on the debate stage, he would get that chance. We have seen this
before, where Chris Christie, you know, in television interviews,
confrontations with hecklers, whatever, he is prone to have these outbursts
that become viral sensations. Is there a scenario you could see where
Chris Christie gets on that debate stage and just makes everybody forget
all of this with one of those Christie moments?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Of course. We saw that happen a number of times in
2012. Newt Gingrich, right? Newt Gingrich, a guy with tons of baggage,
tons of problems being elected by the general public, would get on these
debate stages and just shellac Mitt Romney and everybody else.
KORNACKI: He was asked about an open marriage and he managed to turn that
into a --
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Chris Christie, you know, this is his brand. And I
think people have forgotten that part of his brand because of the downside
of that brand, which is this tough guy thing has ups and downs. But the
main focus of him sort of doing that thing, sit down and shut up -- people
loved that before, why wouldn`t they love it now?
CLIFT: There is nobody else like him in American politics. And he`s a
memorable figure. But on the debate stage, he`s going to have to compete
with Donald Trump. And that`s the other person who is going to go for the
KORNACKI: I`ve got to tell you, I have heard from people sort of in
Christie`s orbit that specifically, he wants to be on the debate stage with
Donald Trump. I think they think that he can be the guy who shuts down
GEORGE: Well, now, that`s possible. In which case he would be doing a
service to every other candidate, though, there. However, I`m going to
make the case that even without bridge-gate, Chris Christie would be no
more than maybe the sixth or seventh option in the field right now.
Because remember, he fell out of favor with the base during the Sandy
moment. He was then the keynote -- he was the keynote speaker at the
Republican Convention. And he gave a really not well-received address.
People felt he was talking more about himself rather than he was talking
about Mitt Romney.
So the flavor -- the thing that had made him really special with the Tea
Party had already fallen out well before bridge-gate. And then when you
take a look at what the field could have looked like, even apart from
Christie, it could have been, you know, Romney could have been in there,
Jeb Bush in there, Scott Walker in there. All of these people who overlap
with Christie in terms of being governors, who have actually gotten things
done, and can also resonate with the base, and would not have been tainted
by either Sandy or any of these other things.
I think Christie looked good in 2012 because of how poor the Republican
field was then. Now you`ve got to really --
CLIFT: His specialness is one thing. I can bring New Jersey into the
CLIFT: That was the idea thing. I think the base could forgive him a lot
if it looked like he could bring blue New Jersey.
KORNACKI: Turn blue America red. Mark, quickly here. What is the best
case scenario in this campaign for Christie? Do you think he has an actual
shot to win it?
MURRAY: The best case scenario, he is a performer, he is able to have
great town halls, great debate performances and is able to catch lightning
in a bottle. But Steve, our own NBC Wall Street Journal poll shows he has
a very low ceiling. Just 55 percent of Republicans say they could see
themselves supporting him. That`s the highest bad number in our poll next
to Donald Trump. And so I think that just shows the low ceiling he has,
even if he catches fire at the debates.
KORNACKI: All right. Mark Murray from NBC News, appreciate you taking a
few minutes this morning. Still ahead, they have vowed, they have tried to
repeal it, many times. But will Republicans change their strategy on
Obamacare in the wake of the latest Supreme Court ruling to keep the law
And next, will the momentum to expunge the South of the confederate flag
KORNACKI: Another one of the nine victims of last week`s shooting at a
Charleston church will be laid to rest later today. Reverend Depayne
Middleton`s funeral will be held this afternoon. Three victims were buried
yesterday after services at the Emanuel AME church after what turned out to
be an unusual day in South Carolina. It`s a day that began with a woman
scaling the pole outside of South Carolina`s statehouse in Columbia to
remove the confederate flag. She and a man who was helping her were
arrested. The flag was re-raised less than an hour later after it had been
taken down. The top Democrat in the state`s House of Representatives, Todd
Rutherford, now says that he will serve as that woman`s lawyer when her
case goes to trial next month. Yesterday also brought a pro confederate
flag rally at the state Capitol. Their cause, though, appears to be losing
support by the day from elected officials across the South.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mississippi`s Republican House speaker announced he
supports changing his state`s flag.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Terry McAuliffe says he will begin the process
of stripping the confederate flag off Virginia license plates. Maryland`s
governor Larry Hogan says he is also against the flag on Maryland license
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC: Alabama`s governor ordered confederate flags be taken
down today from statehouse grounds.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam said today
that he now wants this Nathan Bedford Forrest bust taken out of the
Tennessee state Capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walmart, the first to announce on Monday, it will stop
selling any merchandise involving the flag. Since then, Amazon, Target,
Sears, and Ebay all announced they too will take confederate flag items off
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: But despite growing opposition to the confederate flag, it still
as of right now flies high near the South Carolina statehouse, as it did
last Wednesday, when Reverend Clementa Pinckney, pastor at the Emanuel AME
and a state representative, lay in state inside the rotunda of the Capitol
The panel is back with me to talk about this. We should say, obviously,
Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina right now, is trying to
convince the legislature there and she is getting some public support from
Republicans in the legislature to take that flag down permanently. We`ll
see what happens there.
And this has been -- I wanted to talk about this a little bit this morning.
It`s been really fascinating to me to watch this issue. I can remember 15
years ago, 20 years ago, this started to come to a head in South Carolina.
The idea of should you take it down from the roof and move it to a separate
place in the Capitol. It became a big national issue. It wasn`t -- they
couldn`t get rid of the confederate flag then, they couldn`t get rid of it
five years ago, they could not get rid of it 30 years ago. Never in the 55
years this thing has been flying could anything budge public -- political
will on this, and now all of a sudden it may be coming down in South
Carolina. It`s coming down in a whole host of other places. This tragedy
has really changed something.
CLIFT: Well, it was a real issue in the 2000 South Carolina primary
between George W. Bush and John McCain. And John McCain basically
supported the flag being there. And after he lost that primary, didn`t get
the nomination, he apologized for taking the political route, and saying
the flag should come down.
Why Republicans now felt compelled to jump on this bandwagon I think has to
do with the nature of the shooting in Charleston, that it was a -- it was a
black church. And, you know, it brings back memories of the Birmingham --
the bombing of the four little girls. And I think people genuinely do want
to do something about it. And I think it did hit home for conservatives,
Republicans, Southerners that, hey, yes, this is a symbol of Southern
pride, but it`s been used since 1962 as a symbol of resistance to
integration. And it`s been abused, and I think it`s kind of in some ways
it`s kind of an easy symbol to go after. You don`t have to look at guns.
You don`t have to look at other, you know, deeper aspects of institutional
racism, but it may have opened the door, finally, to some more substantive
discussions about the inequality that continues in America.
GEORGE: I was struck in Nikki Haley`s speech on Monday where she linked
the horrifying Charleston shooting with how South Carolina has progressed,
and the things -- one of the things she pointed to was how the state
reacted after the shooting of Walter Scott. And they had -- when the cell
phone images came, showing the police officers shot this black man in the
back, and then tried to -- and then tried to cover it up. And she said, we
became the first state to say that all of our police officers have to have
body cameras. And she used -- she connected those two things to pivot to
showing how South Carolina is moving into the future, and the confederate
flag is this image from its troublesome past, and that`s why it has to come
down. I thought it was a very effective rhetorical device.
And on top of that, having that really biracial, bipartisan group
surrounding her, showing the new South Carolina. And yes, it was -- it`s
absolutely horrifying that it took -- this racist, terrorist murder of nine
citizens to make this movement. But it`s really steam rolling throughout
KORNACKI: At the level of elected officials and political leaders, I
should say at the same time, there was quite a few sort of -- especially on
the right this week, you know, pundit types, Rush Limbaugh types, who were
saying this is an absolute offense, the idea of this flag being taken down.
They think it should still be flying proudly.
Also, this was the Washington Post when they visited rural South Carolina,
away from the political center of South Carolina, they found in this part
of rural South Carolina seemingly far away from the prying eyes of a
shocked world, those seeking out new confederate items said they will not
be silent as the state and federal government continue to wage a war, in
their words, on Southern heritage and history. And so reporting that there
are confederate items flying off the shelves in this part of the state.
There is still a constituency out there potentially that is attached to
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: That`s right. But (inaudible) Hendersonville,
Tennessee, which is a suburb of Nashville. After Haslam called for the
Bedford Forrest statue to come down, there was a small rally in favor of
the confederate flag, and the next day there was a huge rally against the
confederate flag from people who -- a woman I interviewed had a direct
family connection to Nathan Bedford Forrest. The South is very different.
I mean, the guys who took the flag off the South Carolina Capitol knew
which way the winds were blowing. That`s why they put a two-thirds
majority requirement in to get the flag down from the legislature. Haley
can`t take it down. They have to have a two-thirds majority vote in the
legislature. These guys knew they were sort of running out of steam on
The problem is, it took this horrible tragedy for the GOP to have this
internal discussion that they have been trying to avoid I think for a long
time. It just became too uncomfortable to stand next to guys with a
confederate flag at political rallies.
GEORGE: There`s this incredible irony, it`s the party of Lincoln,
politicians in the South of the party of Lincoln, that are having a debate
over the confederate flag coming -- coming down. I mean, in terms of how
the parties have flipped over the decades. This was the -- you know, the
Democratic symbol. I mean, the Democratic Party symbol in the Civil War.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: A lot of Southern Democrats also were happy to have the
confederate flag fly rather than have that argument.
KORNACKI: It wasn`t just Southern Democrats. I remember Howard Dean
running for president in 2004 saying I want to be the candidate of guys
with confederate flags. Howard Dean said that, the former governor of
Vermont. He took some grief for that. He was talking about a certain type
of voter Democrats--
CLIFT: Jim Webb, who is unlikely to enter the race but is talking about
it, is sympathetic to people who want to display the confederate flag, and
his selling point as a presidential candidate on the Democratic side, is
that he can relate to white working class people. And so, you know, if you
start to equate this symbol with a portion of the vote in America, you can
see how tricky it is for politicians. You don`t want to insult them.
Maybe it`s a teachable moment about the Civil War. Robert E. Lee is
celebrated in many ways. He went to West Point and all that. But he was a
traitor. You can --
KORNACKI: It`s more than 150 years later, too, and I`m still seeing
arguments out there about was the Civil War about slavery. It`s amazing
we`re still in 2015 having that conversation.
Still ahead, it`s been a week for the record books including for President
Obama. Not everyone is celebrating. Will Republicans be giving up their
long fight against Obamacare? That question is next.
And later, the art of dealing with Donald Trump. What will it be like to
have him on the debate stage? What is the strategy for the candidates who
have to be up there with him? How do they handle him? That is ahead.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: Five years in, this is no longer
about a law. This is not about the Affordable Care Act as legislation or
Obamacare as a political football. This is health care in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: President Obama this week asserting that Obamacare is here to
stay. This after the Supreme Court rejected a conservative legal challenge
that sought to undermine, probably doom the health care law if it had
succeeded. Even the very phrase Obamacare has been a central piece of the
five-year fight over the legislation. Opponents hoping to saddle the
president with the label, one he appears to wear proudly. Do they finally
accept Obamacare? And what happens if a Republican manages to move into the
White House when President Obama departs?
NBC News senior political reporter, Perry Bacon Jr. wrote about this
earlier in the week. And he joins us now. Panel is back with us as well.
So, Perry, there have been -- we have documented, I don`t know, 40, 50, 60,
70, repeal votes by Republicans in the House. They now control the Senate.
Let`s play this out right now. The Supreme Court basically upholds
Obamacare right now. It is safe through the Obama presidency. We can say
this. What if a Republican president gets elected in 2016? Has that
majority in the House, has that majority in the Senate, can pass anything
they want. Is this a Republican Party right now that would still repeal
BACON: I think it depends on what the phrase repeal means. I think
KORNACKI: Go ahead.
BACON: I think you`re going to get rid of the -- the law now covers 10 to
12 million people. You`re not going to get rid of the law completely.
What I think you can see happening is some -- the way I heard this, is
reconciliation. If you have 51 Republican senators, a House majority of
Republicans and a Republican president, you can use that to change the law.
And you can call it anything you want to, repeal. Ultimately, what I think
you might see is a Republican president might make a few changes to tweak
the law, you know, limits Medicaid a little bit, changes the exchanges
some. They call it a repeal, and then they sign it. The notion they`re
going to get rid of the whole law I think is over. But I do think there is
a possibility of changing the law and you can call -- you can call it
repeal, whatever you want to. I think the law is not necessarily going to
stay the way it is totally. But the idea that we`re going to get rid of
this whole expansion of health insurance I think is over. The Republicans
are accepting. They have to go with their own health care plan that covers
10 or 15 million people in some way. You heard Jeb Bush say we`ve got to
focus on our replacement plan. I think that`s where things are headed.
KORNACKI: As Robert George reminded me, my stupid attempt at humor fell
flat, in part because depends what the meaning of the word is, was Bill
Clinton, not John Kerry. But Perry, what you`re saying is interesting too,
because it strikes me, the words from Republicans for the last five years
has been repeal and replace. And in the five years since this law was
first enacted, we have never really seen that sort of consensus Republican
BACON: Exactly. They have always talked about repeal and replace. But
you have only heard really the repeal details. And even this week, you saw
all of the candidates immediately said, I`m still committed to repealing
Obamacare. You saw in the days before the ruling, in fact, that people
kept asking, what is the Republican plan? What is the Republican plan?
And they really didn`t have one.
And I think now it becomes even more important if you`re a Scott Walker or
Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush. To think about, if you`re going to promise to
repeal Obamacare, whatever you think that means, you then actually have got
to have a detailed plan for replacement, because that`s where we are now, I
Other key thing to watch is, Obamacare, while being law, is still -- you
have these 21 states. Basically, the entire South is not expanding
Medicaid. That`s a huge part of the law. And that`s another place where
they can still keep resisting Obamacare. And up to now, I have not seen a
lot of evidence like thinking about Texas and Florida having a huge number
of uninsured people in those states who would be eligible for Medicaid if
they took the federal funds. And that`s what I`m going to watch over this
next year or so is, now that the heat on this law has gone down some, can
Abbott or can Rick Scott in Florida sort of quietly accept those Medicaid
funds. And that`s a big discussion as well.
KORNACKI: He`s all over the finessing, all of the nuance here, trying to
accept some framework without actually saying you`re accepting it. Maybe
that`s one of the stories to follow the next couple years after the Supreme
NBC News` Perry Bacon, thank you.
Still ahead from Obamacare to everything else, a potentially career-
defining week for President Obama. How does this cement his place in
history? That is still to come.
Next, a series of apparent shark attacks on the beaches of the Carolinas.
Warnings for those headed out to the beach. Stay away! Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Summer vacationers in the Carolinas on high alert this morning
after a recent string of shark attacks on their beaches. Teenager is in
critical condition this morning after an apparent shark attack off North
Carolina`s Cape Hatteras seashore yesterday. He was bitten multiple times.
Also just 14 miles down shore on Friday, a 47-year-old man suffering
injuries on his right leg and lower back, believed that he was bitten by a
shark, as well. All of this comes after two shark attack incidents earlier
this month. 16-year-old Hunter Treschl lost his left arm in an attack two
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUNTER TRESCHL, SHARK ATTACK VICTIM: I didn`t see it coming. Like I said,
I felt it on my leg. And then I saw it once it attacked my arm because it
was out of the water a little bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: There have been at least seven suspected shark attacks in the
Carolinas so far this month. Officials say it is still safe to swim. They
urge people to use caution when entering the waters.
Still ahead, Donald Trump continues to make waves in the race for the
Republican nomination. And next, what Al Gore has to say about the race
for president. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: All right. There`s a lot going on this morning. Let`s get
caught up with some of the other headlines making news with today`s panel.
Buzzfeed`s Evan McMorris-Santoro, the Daily Beast`s Eleanor Clift and the
New York Post`s Robert George. Let`s pull out the first headline on the
first card here. It is from the New York Post. Al Gore says it`s too early
to back Hillary Clinton. Gore declining to back Clinton for president. He
was asked about this at an event in France. He said I wouldn`t refuse to
answer that question. I would try to cleverly dodge the question. I would
say it`s actually too early.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Al Gore, Bernie mentum. Imagine there would be a time
Al Gore would be an important voice to have endorsed somebody. His star
has fallen, so far, I feel like, in politics, period.
KORNACKI: There was a moment about five, six years ago, I think, when Al
Gore and climate change, he had this great comeback and everything from --
CLIFT: Right. And you would think, if the -- if something went wrong with
the Hillary campaign, that he is this sort of spare presidential candidate
in the Democratic Party. I don`t think anybody would turn to him. The
fact that he`s not going to say nicer things about Hillary Clinton at this
point has to do with the lingering resentment he feels towards the
Clintons, and Bill Clinton in particular, for kind of messing up his own
KORNACKI: And of course there are a lot of Democrats who would say Al Gore
messed up his chances by not linking up with Bill Clinton in the fall
GEORGE: That sort of puts Gore in the Bill de Blasio kind of camp, who
don`t want -- even though they`ve got this past with the Clinton world,
they don`t want to jump in and support Hillary, which says something about
them, but it also does say something about Hillary, as well. And, she`s
got the name, and she`s got the money and things like that, but she`s not
KORNACKI: She does continue to lead by about 50 points.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: All three of these guys have their careers -- like
closely linked with Hillary Clinton. O`Malley endorsed the heck out of her
in 2008. De Blasio managed her campaign, and Al Gore --
CLIFT: It`s more about them than Hillary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those who know her best.
KORNACKI: Let`s take a look. She does have a few endorsements, though.
Let`s take a look at the USA Today. Kendall Jenner now has the most liked
Instagram photo ever. Jenner posted this photo five weeks ago. Take a
look at that. It now has 2.5 million likes. She bested her older sister,
Kim Kardashian, who previously held the record for most Instagram likes,
ever. I went and looked at my own Instagram feed. I am quite an auteur
when it comes to Instagram. I took this great picture of a can of beer on
the beach. How many likes did that get? 12.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like it.
KORNACKI: Go find my Instagram page and like that photo. Let`s catch
Kendall Jenner here.
GEORGE: Something we know from the previous segment, that`s the closest
Steve will ever get to the beach, because of the shark attacks.
KORNACKI: I`m scared of shark attacks. So we read the news report.
Officials say it`s -- oh, it`s still safe to go in the water. Only seven
attacks? Oh, go ahead, use caution. I`m careful, I`m watching. If the
shark -- please. Is it ever worth it for a swim?
CLIFT: Put in a can of beer. Maybe they`ll take beer instead.
GEORGE: Can we move the Kardashians and the Jenners into the water and
lead them to the sharks?
KORNACKI: Oh. That`s a mean spirit.
GEORGE: Is that being unfair to the sharks?
KORNACKI: Speaking of mean spirited, here`s another headline. NBC
deformed mutt Quasimodo crowned the world`s ugliest dog. This is the
winner of the -- I guess the 27th annual world`s ugliest dog contest held
in Sonoma County, California. Take a look at him there. A 10-year-old
pitbull-Dutch shepherd mix. We were talking about this in the break. I`ve
got to tell you --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait a minute.
KORNACKI: That`s unfortunate.
KORNACKI: You watch the real dog shows every year, the Westminster kennel
KORNACKI: I don`t think the dogs in the Westminster kennel show or
whatever -- they`re bred to be -- they kind of look like a little freakish
CLIFT: I think more shelter dogs should be adopted and there should be
less breeding of these super show dogs.
GEORGE: This dog has this spinal defect that it was born with. So it`s
rather sympathetic. And I feel kind of weird that, you know, we`re turning
these -- I mean, kind of a -- an animal that`s had a tough life, you know,
and then celebrityizing it.
CLIFT: It`s a pitbull. And pitbulls have gotten an unfair reputation. If
they`re raised to like people, they`re not going to attack --
KORNACKI: They`re no sharks.
CLIFT: They`re no sharks.
KORNACKI: I like the dog mix (ph) more.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Dogs, you know, they have owners that love them.
KORNACKI: Coming up, Obama secures his legacy. A big week for the White
House, we`ll talk about that. Another full hour of news and politics
straight ahead. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: A week for the history books.
All right. Thanks for staying with us this Sunday morning. Lots more
ahead as we continue this hour, including the question of whether this was
the best week ever of the Obama presidency. We`re going to tackle its
impact on his legacy just a moment from now. Also ahead, what will Donald
Trump be like in the debates? What should his fellow candidates do with
him when they are up on the stage with him? Plus, the celebrations for
Friday`s same-sex marriage ruling from the Supreme Court continue today.
We`ll take you to the biggest celebration, New York`s annual pride parade.
But we begin this hour with President Obama`s landmark week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And today after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken
this law, after a presidential election based in part on preserving or
repealing this law, after multiple challenges to this law before the
Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: A huge win at the Supreme Court this week for Obama, the
Affordable Care Act surviving a Republican-backed lawsuit that could have
gutted subsidies for millions of Americans and sent the health insurance
market into a tailspin. Instead, though, the high court leaving President
Obama`s biggest achievement untouched. President also scored another major
breakthrough in a dramatic turnabout on another priority of his presidency.
A massive 12-nation trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the TPP. By
working across the aisle with Republicans for one of the first times in his
presidency, the president gained fast track authority to finalize that
deal. Congress will decide on an up or down vote eventually, whether to
accept it. We`ll have more on that issue later this hour. The White House
also triumphant on the big win when it came to marriage equality, a
priority Obama and the Democratic Party embraced late in his first term.
So all in all, a remarkable turn of events for the Obama presidency. Not
so long ago, it felt like he hit the second-term blues, lame duck status
seemed to be on the horizon. Republicans taking over the Senate, absolute
paralysis in Washington. The president seemed to be relegated to taking
executive action, and those actions have since gotten snarled up in the
courts. But Obama was back in the Rose Garden this week, celebrating a
sudden string of big accomplishments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: That`s when America soars, when we look out for one another.
That`s why we do what we do. That`s the whole point of public service. So
this was a good day for America. Let`s get back to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right. And NBC News` White House correspondent Kristen
Welker joins us now from outside the White House.
So, Kristen, what is the sense when you talk to people in the White House
right now? Do they feel they have gotten some new momentum for the rest of
the second term out of this week?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Or, Steve, they do. Senior
administration officials here believe that this was President Obama`s best
week in office. This was a legacy defining week. All of those key
priorities that you just laid out were upheld and defended. And one of the
fascinating aspects of this, is that this a president, as you know, who was
locked in bitter battles with Republicans since taking office, and it was
Republicans who helped him secure some of these victories. That bipartisan
deal for fast track authority to get the trade deal done, it was Chief
Justice John Roberts who is a Bush appointee who helped to uphold
Obamacare. So that`s really one of the interesting things about all of
these victories that we are seeing, Steve.
More broadly, though, this really moves the conversation, I think, further
to the left in 2016. This is a more progressive agenda, and something that
2016 candidates are going to have to contend with. And that could create
some new challenges, particularly for Republicans. When you take the issue
of same-sex marriage, for example. You have Republicans coming out, they
are unified in their opposition to it. But you have the more moderate
candidates like Chris Christie who we think is going to announce on
Tuesday. Jeb bush. Saying that look, they oppose the Supreme Court`s
decision, but let`s move on to other topics, essentially. Very different
tone from more conservative candidates like Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, who`ve
indicated that they actually want to take on the Supreme Court. That they
want to see some type of constitutional amendment.
That is something that rallies the base in a primary. Of course, it gets a
lot trickier in a general election, when you have the majority of Americans
who say they support same-sex marriage. So that`s really going to set the
backdrop heading into 2016. And I`ll make one more point, Steve, which is
not a legislative point. We are seeing a much more personal, much more
emotional President Obama when it comes to some of the really difficult
cultural issues, race, for example. He eulogized Reverend Pinckney, of
course, earlier this week. We saw him break out into song. This is a very
different President Obama that we have seen in the past. And a lot of
people, his constituents, welcoming this more personal side to the
president. In terms of what`s happening here at the White House, Steve,
nothing on the schedule. But I will tell you, it`s a beautiful day here.
The president likes to play golf on the weekends. And if ever there was a
day to play golf, this might be it. So wouldn`t be surprised if he hit the
links today. Steve?
KORNACKI: All right. Kristen Welker at the White House. Thank you for
that. Really appreciate it. And here now to discuss this is Rick
Hertzberg of "The New Yorker," he is author of "Obamanos!" also a former
speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter. We are also joined by our panel,
Evan McMorris-Santoro, Eleanor Clift, Robert George. So, let`s talk about
this question of legacy, Rick, and I think that FDR had Social Security.
LBJ had Medicare. I can remember in the 2008 campaign, there was a dustup
between Obama and the Clintons when Obama seemed to say that the Clinton
presidency, the Bill Clinton presidency, hadn`t been transformational.
Bill Clinton doesn`t have that one thing that you identify him, like you do
with those others. So, how important was it to Barack Obama in terms of
his legacy that this health care law be upheld like this?
HENDRIK HERTZBERG, THE NEW YORKER: It`s huge. His legacy was kind of
solidified this week by the Supreme Court, by the same institution that put
George W. Bush in the White House, and that`s thrown out the Voting Rights
Act. It`s really extraordinary. He had those two decisions going the
other way, we would all be talking about how the Obama presidency is in
ruins and that everything had gone down the tubes. Instead, it`s
confirmed. And he now has a shot at being if not at the first here - I
mean the sort of holy trinity of great presidents of Washington, Lincoln,
Franklin Roosevelt and if you`re a Republican, you might try to throw
Reagan in there.
KORNACKI: I think they might. Yes.
KORNACKI: Thank you, Rick. We appreciate that.
HERTZBERG: Well, you have to have somebody. Because those are the other
three are big government.
KORNACKI: Well, we`ve got Lincoln and Reagan.
HERTZBERG: In name only.
KORNACKI: But what would you say right now, if you had to say what is the
legacy -- if he left office tomorrow, what is the legacy of the Obama
HERTZBERG: Well, it`s the Affordable Care Act. It`s getting bin Laden and
essentially avoiding getting us into yet another war like that. It is
marriage equality, which you might say Obama led from behind on it. I mean
it was a very -- it was a very long game strategy. He understood that you
had to do the military first. That was an absolute precondition for
KORNACKI: Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell. The repeal of Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell.
HERTZBERG: Getting rid of that. And to do that, you had to get the brass
behind it. So he changed the personnel, essentially, of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff. The military did it from within. So it`s completely solid.
Completely solid. There`s no way that they`re ever going back on that. So
in those areas, these are easy to name things that will be left, that will
be the Obama legacy. And I think he`s going to be up there, at least in
that second tier of presidents, like Harry S. Truman, like Theodore
Roosevelt. Maybe a little above Clinton. Because what`s the one thing you
can say ...
GEORGE: Well, it`s funny you mention that. Because on both Don`t Ask,
Don`t Tell and basically on gay marriage, he was sort of kind of
reinterpreting or un-wrangling legislation that dated back to the Clinton
administration. So it`s kind of ironic that, you know, one of the reasons
why he`s going to be higher up in Rick`s view in that pantheon, is because
he was undoing something that a - that a ...
KORNACKI: Well, and, of course -- what was the big thing that fouled up
Clinton in his first term, it was health care. He was - the Clinton
presidency promised universal health care, as well, and wasn`t able to
deliver on it. And this is the presidency that was.
GEORGE: And Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell. That was the thing -- that was the big
stumble in the Clinton. You, in fact, you wrote about this on Twitter.
That the big stumble early on in the Clinton administration was when he
tried to allow gays to sort of openly in the military, and Sam Nunn and
Colin Powell put the kibosh on that. And that`s how Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell
KORNACKI: Right. Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell was - it was the compromise. It
wasn`t that Bill Clinton said I have this great idea. Let`s tell people
they can`t serve.
CLIFT: In 20 years, a lot has changed. And you could say what Clinton did
on health care and on Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell laid for the foundation blocks
that led to what Obama was then able to accomplish. But boy, we start
ranking Clinton versus Obama and a potential other Clinton. I mean these -
- pitting these people against each other is to me is really - and really
high stakes. But I must say, Obama, if you look at his eight years and you
look at the cultural change in America from health care now being a right
for people and same-sex equality, which was once seen as somewhat of a
perversion, now seen as perfectly acceptable, normal, everybody is like
everybody else, it`s an extraordinary transformation. And you can argue
how many specific policies he actually did. But he is presiding over that
change. And I think that`s what gets him to the transformation.
KORNACKI: How do you think about that, I wonder, too? The sweep of sort
of history and cultural change. How much of it is driven by political
leaders, is driven by how they use the bully pulpit and how much of it is
they just happen to be - it`s sort of like you`re managing a baseball team
in the other town, you are in the right place at the right time.
EVAN: This is why we are convinced it`s so good for Obama. Because I mean
to use - This is like the viral clip of his presidency, right? Because
when he made that speech in 2004, all the way through where he is now, the
promise was, big change, quick change, I don`t care if it`s a Democratic
idea or a Republican idea, I`m going to do it. And so, this week you had
the trade thing the Democrats didn`t like. You have the gay marriage
thing. This happens in a snap. You have the -- you know, the big sweeping
conversations about race and things that happened at that Pinckney memorial
that I was at. I mean, this is like sort of -- I`m not sure that it`s a
very - it`s outlier week in terms of, I think, he`s accomplished a lot and
all that. But if you look -- but to put it all into one sort of take-home
size, this is what people thought the Obama presidency was going to be
like. And now there it is.
CLIFT: It flips the media narrative. And suddenly, you have Democrats who
were thinking, oh he really didn`t perform, we`re disappointed. And now,
oh, my goodness, look what he`s done. He`s a great president and if
Hillary can get elected, Democrats are now entrenched like they were back
in the days of FDR.
GEORGE: In terms of things changing particularly on the gay rights side, I
don`t think you can discount the fact that when Obama finally made the move
in 2012 and said he`s now in support of marriage, that was also a signal to
the African-American community, which had previously been -- a large
segment of it had been kind of ...
KORNACKI: Religious church-going --
GEORGE: Exactly. And so the image that we had on Friday of Obama talking
about the gay marriage decision, and then flying down and flying down to
deliver the eulogy, kind of made things kind of full circle. You had both
the gay rights aspect of it, and him as part of a leader of black America
in a sense. And that was an incredible fusion right there.
KORNACKI: Rick, so where does this -- Hillary Clinton right now is --
fairly well-positioned. Who knows what`s going to happen next? If Hillary
Clinton were to succeed, if a Democratic president were to succeed Barack
Obama, how - where does this presidency end in terms of how is the table
set for the next Democratic president? Where does the next Democratic
president go from where he`s leaving it off?
HERTZBERG: Well, the Obamacare -- Republicans were always warning that
Obamacare was just the first step toward, you know, single-payer, that
horrible thing. That`s true, I think.
HERTZBERG: Eventually, we`re going to have to rationalize this insane
health care system that we have now with it`s got Medicare over here,
Medicaid over there and Obamacare over here and private insurance over
there. And everybody -- if you`re a patient, if you actually use any of
these services, you know what a nightmare it is. The forms, the bills, the
co-pays, all of this stuff. At some point, rationalizing this whole
system, making it simple and easy to understand, and not be just another
awful thing you have to deal with when you get sick. That`s certainly a
root for the next ....
KORNACKI: I think you have just come up with the formula that`s been
elusive for five years to get Republicans to say we`re OK with the
Affordable Care Act. Say, you know what, we`re going to move from that to
single-payer and then maybe they would say, you know, we`ll keep with what
we have. Anyway - my thanks Rick Hertzberg for joining us this morning.
We appreciate that.
And still ahead, a very unique gay pride parade here in New York City
today. We`ll have a live report. But next, a look at how the first
Republican debate may unfold. Who is likely to make the debate stage? Our
latest readout on where the candidates stand. Who is in that top ten, who
isn`t? We`ll show you the numbers. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: All right. As we mentioned earlier, there is one new Republican
in the race for president this weekend. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
announcing his run this week. There are also a few new national polls out
there previewing whether Jindal will pass the first big test for the entire
GOP field. That test is can he make it on to that crowded stage for the
first Republican debate, which is now just over a month from now.
Remember, candidates have to finish in the first ten spots in the average
of the last five polls if they`re going to get a spot at the podium. If
they`re going to make it on the TV for that all-important debate. So let`s
see where they stand right now when it comes to making that cut.
Let`s take a look. First of all, here was a poll this week that caught
everybody`s attention, this was a new poll that came out from Fox News.
And the thing that caught everybody`s attention was this. Donald Trump, a
week after announcing his candidacy, zoomed into second place nationally,
11 percent. Trump had been polling down in the low single digits before
this. There was talk Donald Trump might miss that cut, might not even make
it into the debate. So, let`s see what that did over the average. He got
11 percent in that poll. And here`s what the average looks like right now.
Here`s your top ten. Here`s who would be on the stage right now if the
debate were to be held today. And you could see, Donald Trump, thanks to
that big jump, moves solidly on to the stage in seventh place right there.
Jeb Bush obviously on stage. Walker, Rubio, the usual suspects.
Let`s take a look at who would not make the cut. These are the candidates
who would miss a spot on the stage. They are not in the top ten. You see
Rick Santorum there, John Kasich, the governor of Ohio. Poised, maybe, to
get in this race soon. He would not be on the stage right now. That first
debate, by the way, in Kasich`s home state. In Cleveland. In Ohio. Take
a look here. We`ll zoom in on the cut line. These are the last few in,
the first few out. Think of the NCAA tournament bubble. That`s sort of
what we`re looking at right here. And you can see right now, the last
candidate who would make that cut is Chris Christie. His numbers are
falling a little bit. He`s in tenth place right now, 3.8 percent is his
average. 11th place, the first one out, Rick Santorum. He`s averaging 2
percent. You can see Bobby Jindal, by the way, who got in this week, he`s
moving up a little bit, but still not even at George Pataki`s level.
So one thing to be looking for this week as we say, Chris Christie, he`s
going to be announcing his candidacy on Tuesday, he`ll get a lot of
coverage for that, obviously. A lot of people will get exposed to his
message. Will Chris Christie move up safely into that field, safely on to
that stage? Or is somebody else from back here going to catch him, going
to catch Rick Perry, going to catch one of these other people and make it
on the stage instead.
Again, about a month out, a little more than a month out here from that
first debate, it`s very important who makes that stage or not. When you`re
on that debate stage in 2012 and you are Newt Gingrich, you can zoom up 30
points in a week. You can win South Carolina because of a debate. The
flip side of that is, if you`re not on the stage, you might not exist to
people. So it`s very important to keep an eye on those numbers.
Still ahead, as we have just talked about, if the first debate were held
this week, Donald Trump would be in it. What kind of a headache does that
pose for the other nine candidates on the stage? We`ll talk about that,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can`t believe Bush is in first place. Some people, they`re
thrilled. I`m not thrilled. How could Bush be in first place? This guy
can`t negotiate his way out of a paper bag.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: After I announced, I went through like a rocket. Nobody went up
like me, and I`m in second place out of like 20 or 22 people. I`m in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Donald Trump, being interviewed by MSNBC`s Jose Diaz Balart on
Telemundo Thursday. It is, in fact, true. As we just showed you a few
minutes ago, Trump finishing in second place in the most recent polling,
putting him comfortably on the debate stage, just over a month from now.
If the polling trends continue this way.
What does that mean for the other debaters? For the rest of the Republican
Party? Politico reporting that Republican insiders worry that Trump is a
loose cannon, whose rants about Mexicans and scorched earth attacks on his
rivals will damage the eventual nominee and hurt a party struggling to
connect with women and minorities and desperate to win.
His remarks about Mexicans in his campaign announcement speech calling --
causing boycotts this week of the beauty pageant he produces. So let`s
talk with the panel here. We played this -- going into the break there.
He specifically this week is going after Jeb Bush. Right now, if you look
at the poll nationally, it`s Trump two, Jeb Bush one. And he is out there
just viciously attacking Jeb Bush. He said he can`t negotiate his way out
of a paper bag. He said if you`re stuck in a paper bag, you probably don`t
want to negotiate your way out of it. But anyway, let that go, it does
present an issue here.
You look at the Trump style, you look at the bombast, you look at that --
all the bombs he`s going to set off on stage. If you`re Jeb Bush, you
better show up with a strategy to respond to this.
CLIFT: Yes, he better have a better strategy than when he was asked about
his position on the Iraq war and how he was going to defend his brother.
It will give the other candidates an opportunity to show how fast they are
on their feet. The simple line is if you can`t deal with Donald Trump, how
are you going to deal with Putin or Kim Jong-il or any other characters on
the world stage. So I think there is an opportunity here for the other
His positions are different. He`s going to force them to be clear on their
positions. You`re not going to be able to duck and weave with Donald
Trump, because he`s a one-man wrecking ball, and he`ll keep at you until he
gets an answer.
KORNACKI: And there really is -- I feel like there is a risk there for
these candidates. There is an opportunity there if they can stand up to
him. The risk is, I mean, this guy is going to be in your face. He`s
going to be badgering you, he`s going to be taunting you. He`s going to be
calling you names. If you look like you`re just sitting there and taking
it or you don`t know how to respond, you are going to look weak.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: But also, the other side of it, you don`t want to have
your whole debate just be piling on and attacking Donald Trump. In his
defense, by the way, it`s a scholarship pageant, and it`s the classiest
scholarship pageant there is.
KORNACKI: Thank you.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: But this is he -- this is the risk. When he got in the
race, I sort of thought, it wouldn`t be that big a deal. I kind of
thought, okay, whatever, he`s in there now, he`s going to -- one step
farther. Last cycle, he floated around for a while. Romney had to do --
stand with him, and he did the whole thing with the birth certificate and
all that. But it didn`t have a huge effect, I think.
Now with this -- I mean, these Mexican comments that we heard about, I
mean, Reince Priebus is already saying this is not helpful, it`s not good.
And I think it`s sort of a piece what we talked earlier about the
confederate flag, the Republican Party is not interested in falling down
these little side streets they fell down in 2012. And Donald Trump is like
that`s all his map has.
KORNACKI: And that means every one of those comments he makes in a debate,
whether it`s about Mexicans or anybody else, every candidate on the stage
is then going to be asked, hey, do you agree with that?
GEORGE: Exactly, and his legacy could be destroying two beauty pageants.
His own, and --
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The scholarship pageant.
GEORGE: And the Republican field. Look, anybody running against him,
anybody who`s going to be on that stage, is going to have to give as good
as they get from him. Because they can`t be made to look, you know, as he
would put it, like weenies on the stage, or something like that.
The thing to remember, though, remember at the White House correspondents
dinner a couple of years ago, after all these months where he had been
going after Obama on the birth certificate and stuff like that, Obama in
his jokes just went right after him. And basically kind of humiliated him.
And it`s going to be a little bit tough when you`re in a debate format,
particularly when you`ve got like 10 or 12 people in there. But somebody
is going to have to do that, and say, look, you`ve been successful in this
private sector, despite seven bankruptcies. And -- but you`ve been
successful, but, you know, that`s different than the world of politics.
It`s different than the world of governing. You`re not serious. The
people on this stage are serious. And unless you act seriously, why should
any Republican listen to you? And then, by the way, start talking about
how he`s flip-flopped over the years. How he himself says that Bill
Clinton has been the best president of the last several years. That`s not
going to go over too well with the Republican base.
CLIFT: Yes, but he`s going to cater to -- from my perspective, the worst
aspects of the Republican base. And so the challenge for the others is,
are they going to dare to rebut him, and risk losing some of the Republican
base. I mean, I think that`s going to be the tension that you`re going to
see on that stage.
KORNACKI: And we should say, the other thing is, one of the reasons people
have been so skeptical about Trump as a candidate, he`s done this before,
but a lot of people feel like he`s not going to want to go through with the
full financial disclosure that`s required of a presidential candidate. We
should point out, there are still -- he`s done sort of a framework filing
right now. He`s put the bare bones out there. He has done that. He has
filed a notification of candidacy. So he`s done some real stuff. But
there is this much more thorough financial disclosure he can basically punt
on that, until I think October or November. So the ultimate test is going
to be, will he file that. But before now and October, there are a few of
these debates. So he is -- until then at least going to get a spot on the
CLIFT: A debate or two and lots of media attention may satisfy his
narcissistic needs for the moment. He may not go fully ahead.
KORNACKI: I know, but I picture that scenario -- boy, if you get to late
October and he`s coming up on that deadline and he is running in first
place in the polls -- boy, that`s going to be tough to not file and back
out at that point. But we`ll see what happens.
Anyway, still ahead, another victory this week for President Obama. This
one on trade. But he`ll have to bring TPP to a vote in Congress yet again
before it`s a done deal. Democrats in Congress saying they are going to
fight on. This is that rare battle between President Obama and his own
party. We`ll talk to one of the Democrats who is at odds with him coming
But first, gay pride celebrations around the country this weekend,
including one here in New York today, the likes of which we have never seen
before. That is next. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: New York City preparing at this hour for its annual gay pride
parade later today. Coincidentally, it comes just two days after the
Supreme Court`s historic ruling on same-sex marriage. MSNBC`s Emma
Margolin joins us along the parade route, the landmark Flatiron building
right behind her. So Emma, set the scene. What are you expecting for
EMMA MARGOLIN, MSNBC: Hi, Steve. You are correct. We are standing along
the parade route this Sunday morning, where in just a few hours, millions
of people will be gathering to celebrate LGBT equality. And there is
definitely a lot to celebrate this year. The parade first began 45 years
ago in 1970 to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which had happened the year
before. That was an event that effectively launched the modern gay rights
movement. On this day, June 28th, gay patrons at the Stonewall Inn, fought
back against a fairly common police raid, and said for the first time, you
can`t treat us like second-class citizens. That bar, Stonewall, was
recently declared a New York City landmark, and, of course, two days ago,
the Supreme Court handed down an historic ruling, legalizing marriage
equality across the country. So organizers are expecting 22,000 marchers
this year, 344 groups, and over 2 million spectators. So if you`re looking
for a big party, Fifth Avenue is definitely the place to be.
KORNACKI: All right. Hopefully they will get those cars out of the way
before the parade starts. MNBC`s Emma Margolin, thanks for joining us this
morning. Appreciate that.
Still ahead, Donald Trump makes a surprising promise to voters in Iowa, and
next, President Obama outmaneuvers his own party. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: It`s not every day that the Republican-controlled Congress teams
up with President Obama on anything that Obama wants to get passed. But it
did happen this week, and it happened in a big way. Republicans joining
with a few Democrats to grant President Obama fast track authority to
negotiate a massive 12-nation trade deal. One of the president`s biggest
second-term priorities. Obama can now finalize the Trans Pacific
Partnership and send it to Congress for an up-or-down vote without
amendments. This big win for the administration coming just two weeks
after liberal Democrats in the House blocked the trade legislation. What
had been a stunning victory for the left of his party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was a great victory for thousands of citizens
allied with progressive leaders and labor inside the House, across this
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama obviously is a lame duck. He`s in the
last two years of his administration, of his final term. And you see the
limitations of his appeals to even the Democrats in his caucus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Now just two weeks later, the tables have completely turned,
though. That big win for the progressive movement is now a big defeat.
President Obama can`t pop those champagne corks quite yet. He will have to
bring this trade deal back to Congress, or his successor will have to bring
it back to Congress for final passage. Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa
DeLauro, a Democrat leading the fight against Obama`s trade deal, telling
the Washington Post quote, it`s not over so we fight on.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. Congresswoman, thank you for
taking a few moments this morning. So let me just start with this. Two
weeks ago, we talked a lot about it on this show. We just played that clip
a second ago. I mean, the story was this was a huge win for the left, this
was a huge win for labor. This trade deal had been stopped dead in its
tracks. What happened?
REP. ROSA DELAURO, D-CONNECTICUT: Well, first of all, let me just say good
morning to you, Steve. Delighted to be here with you and delighted to talk
about the trade issue.
And I think one has to take a look about what -- how important what
happened with regard to this agreement, the outcome -- the outcome is. And
clearly, there was a one-vote victory in the Senate for the president. But
I think what the real story is, on the trade agreement, is that Democrats
are united, and Democrats are no longer going to vote for a trade agreement
that loses American jobs and depresses people`s wages. I mean, so those
days are gone. And I think that that is really the message.
And when you take a look at what I call the unity of the Democrats, 85
percent of the House of Representatives Democrats voted no. All of the
House leadership voted no. 70 percent of the Democratic senators voted no.
All but two of the Democratic leadership in the Senate voted no. All of
the Democratic standard bearers and the likely nominee are opposed.
So the issue is, we`re no longer going to look at a trade agreement that,
in fact, exacerbates the problem that -- the economic problems that working
men and women in this country are facing today. And that`s why this fight
is not over. Because that opposition never budged.
KORNACKI: You were quoted this week on Thursday by the Washington Post
talking about the president and his team and how they handled this issue.
You said what we watched on this effort was an arrogance. We were shut
out. Quite frankly, disrespectful of members and their input. It`s
striking whenever somebody from the president`s own party would talk that
way. What is it that bothered you so much about what happened in the last
DELAURO: Well, you know, what I have said. There was the -- many, many
attempts by members of Congress over several years, including myself. I go
back to 2011, where I asked to be included in the -- in the conversations
around food safety. And have never really been asked to do that. Members
of Congress were shut out. We had the lack of transparency was really
quite outrageous, and unprecedented when it came to the Congress. And by
the other -- on the other side of that, you had, you know, 400 or 500, 600
of the largest multinational corporations, special interests, which had
open access to the documents; Vietnam, Malaysia access to the documents.
Members of the committee who have to vote on this issue, because they`re
voting on behalf of the people who sent them there to represent their best
interests were not allowed to see this document.
And when we were -- the lack of transparency, as I said, was outrageous and
unprecedented. When we were allowed to see it, in bits and pieces, they
have classified it, the document. So if I were to say anything on this
show to you, Steve, about it, I would be violating the law. And -- which
is not the way in which you proceed.
What do they want to hide? Which is why this fight is not over. Let`s get
back to what the premise is here. Is that overwhelmingly, that Democrats
have said no. No more business as usual. This is a tipping point. We are
not going back. We are not going to vote for the kinds of trade agreements
that have lost jobs for American workers. Like the most recent Korea
agreement, which has doubled our trade deficit with South Korea, and which
has translated into about the loss of about 75,000 jobs in the United
We can have trade agreements. We can have good trade agreements that do
not put American workers at risk. This is what the Congress asked for.
This is what the elected representatives of the people of this country
asked for, overwhelmingly and through -- you said, parliamentary
maneuvering. Parliamentary maneuvering. They got a one-vote margin in the
KORNACKI: Congresswoman, does President Obama have a problem right now in
terms of his relationship with his own party in Congress?
DELAURO: Look, everyone -- we all want to see the president succeed. On
this issue, clearly, very, very distinct difference. An overwhelming
opposition to this trade agreement. We were all elated by the victory in
the Supreme Court of the Affordable Care Act. I view that as one of the
proudest votes I ever cast in the House of Representatives. And to have
the court now uphold it twice is a real victory.
The issue is around this trade agreement, which now can -- they can
continue to negotiate it. But we will have an opportunity to see it, and
if it`s anything like what we have seen already, I believe we will reject
the final agreement.
KORNACKI: And finally right now, what this fast track authority does,
obviously, it gives the president the ability to go back and negotiate
this. That power could then potentially transfer to the next president.
Hillary Clinton could very well be that next president who inherits this
power. There has been a lot of calls from her from the left, including
from Bernie Sanders, one of her primary opponents, to take a position on
this issue. She has not done so yet. Do you want to see her publicly
state where she stands?
DELAURO: She has. She has said that any trade agreement that doesn`t
create American jobs and doesn`t increase their -- the economic viability
of Americans is -- is not a good trade agreement. And I believe she said
most recently that if she were in the Senate, she would vote no. So as I
said, all of our standard bearers have said that this is the wrong
direction for the country to go in, because it`s about wages. It`s about
KORNACKI: Congresswoman, just to be clear on what Hillary Clinton said,
she had said that vote was conditioned on this other component, the trade
assistance for workers who might be affected by the deal. She was talking
about that. And she had in the past in 2012 indicated apparent support for
the TPP. So it doesn`t seem clear where her position is on this.
DELAURO: No, I think I would just say that she said -- as she said, a
trade agreement that did not benefit American workers, that didn`t create
jobs, and increase wages, was a bad trade deal. And that`s what this deal
is. It is a bad trade deal. And one that -- the fast track process does
three things. It denies public scrutiny of the document. It limits debate
on the document. And it does not allow for the Congress -- duly elected
representatives of the public to not be able to amend it.
We did not want to provide the president with that kind of authority. He
won, as I said, by one vote in the Senate through political -- through
parliamentary maneuvering. Not because he had support. The support from
the Democrats was never there. It was overwhelming opposition. Now we go
on to the agreement, and yes, we will have a chance to look at it, though
we cannot amend it. But if it is anything like what little bit of what we
have seen today, I believe that the American public will reject it and
members of Congress will reject it.
KORNACKI: All right. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut,
appreciate the time this morning. Thank you.
DELAURO: Thank you.
KORNACKI: All right. Up next, forget about winning Jeopardy. IBM`s Watson
gears up to combat one of the world`s biggest challenges. We`ll tell you
what that is, next.
KORNACKI: All right, there is a lot going on this morning. Let`s get
caught up with the other headlines making news with today`s panel. Let`s
start with this. This is just in from one of our producers down in South
Carolina at Emanuel AME church, where a funeral service is taking place
this morning for the Reverend Depayne Middleton. One of those people
killed in that tragic massacre a little more than a week ago, and the vice
president apparently is in attendance. Joe Biden, you can see, a little
tough to make out, I think that`s actually the back of his head, but you
can see, the vice president actually in attendance at today`s ceremony, the
funeral, in Charleston. See that picture there from one of our producers
who is on the scene keeping an eye on that, obviously.
Let`s see what else we have making headlines this morning. This is from,
look at this, MSNBC, how convenient. Bernie Sanders vows to beef up his
appeal to minorities. There has been some criticism that Sanders has been
-- concern that Sanders has been resonating more maybe with white voters
than with non-white voters. He told reporters quote, "the views that we
hold are important to all Americans, but to be honest with you, they`re
probably more relevant to black and Hispanic voters, because the poverty
rate in those communities is even higher than whites." A recent NBC poll
finding that 95 percent of minorities in the Democratic Party say they
could see themselves voting for Hillary Clinton; only 25 percent say they
could see themselves voting for Bernie Sanders. He`s got some work to do
CLIFT: And if you go back to let`s see, `68, Gene McCarthy and Gary Hart
and even Howard Dean. They basically appealed to more upscale, white
GEORGE: The yuppie Democrats.
CLIFT: Bernie Sanders is from Brooklyn, but now he`s from Vermont, which
is 95 percent white. So there has been very little exposure there, I mean,
I think his message might play well. But let`s face it, I think black
America is going to respond more to Clinton.
KORNACKI: Bernie Sanders has perfected this message aimed at lower income
rural whites. That`s a lot of his constituents in Vermont, and that`s been
his pitch for years, and he`s not necessarily used to talking to a more
diverse Democratic electorate.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Also he`s steered clear of a lot of these discussions
we`ve been having lately, some race (ph) issues -- they haven`t been part
of his announcement speeches like they were, like O`Malley and even Clinton
talked about this stuff. It`s beyond sort of what I think his base -- he
has not done much at all to try to change that.
GEORGE: I don`t think he`s even mentioned something like immigration, for
example, which would be really easy. Yes, it`s a very -- it`s a pale part
of the Democratic constituency that he seems to be appealing to right now,
so we`ll see.
KORNACKI: Let`s see what else we have for headlines here. From the
Washington Post, Watson`s next feat, taking on cancer. How about this.
The hope is that the IBM supercomputer Watson can find personalized
treatments for every cancer patient by comparing their personal histories
to the entire universe of medical knowledge. This precision targeting
currently takes a team of researchers weeks, but IBM thinks Watson could do
these calculations in minutes. That`s potentially exciting news right
there. How about this one? Got to get this one in.
Two Donald Trump headlines. (inaudible). How about this? The New York
Daily News, Donald Trump to finally report for jury duty, after claiming he
never received five summonses in the past nine years. Trump`s lawyer said
the previous summonses were mailed to the wrong place. When Trump reports
for jury duty in August, the fine for missing the previous summonses will
be erased. Also in Donald Trump news, the Des Moines Register reports
Trump gets applause in a Winterset (ph), Iowa appearance when he told 200
Iowa voters that if elected president, he would change his hairstyle,
because he wouldn`t have time to maintain it.
GEORGE: That`s got to be his first flip flop right there.
CLIFT: I would like to know what he does to maintain it. Maybe we could
all get some tips on what not to do.
KORNACKI: Maybe one of the candidates will ask him this in the debate.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: He was in Boca Raton, Florida one time, and he traveled
around with a guy who carried a bunch of hats. In case it gets windy, he
has a hat wrangler. (inaudible). It was amazing.
GEORGE: Trump 2016. Hair today, gone tomorrow.
KORNACKI: That`s not bad, and I want the hat wrangler on the show. That
is an interview I want to have on this show.
I want to thank our panel for today. Robert George of the New York Post,
Evan McMorris-Santoro, Eleanor Clift, thank you for joining us this
morning. Really appreciate it.
Thank you at home for getting up with us. Up next is of course Melissa
Harris-Perry, stay tuned. And at 1:00 p.m. Eastern today, Senator Chris
Murphy from Connecticut joins Patrick Murphy to discuss the new ISIS threat
on "Taking the Hill." See you next weekend. Until then, have a great week.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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